Oscar History

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Entries in Best Actress (404)


Still Blissing Out Over "La La Land"

Over the weekend I wrote up an Oscar preview for Towleroad - which you can consider a companion to our current Best Picture Chart and updated Oscar predictions. Here's what I wrote about La La Land, which I realize I didn't capsule review for you at TIFF: 

This musical from the young writer/director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) won the coveted "Audience Award" at Toronto. That prize nearly always aligns with a Best Picture nomination in January. But the nomination will be the least of it - it has "winner" written all over it. La La Land is a total bliss-out, a colorful two hour romance with song and dance numbers about an aspiring actress and her jazz musician boyfriend. This is the third movie to co-star Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and their onscreen chemistry is even better this go around and it was tremendous to begin with in Crazy Stupid Love five years back.

Here's a shocking statistic for trivia buffs: If La La Land is nominated for Best Picture it will be the first original live-action musical to do so since All That Jazz (1979). The musical nominees inbetween them were either animated  (Beauty & The Beast), adaptations of pre-existing shows (Chicago) or used pre-existing music for their songs (Moulin Rouge!). If La La Land wins it will be the first original movie musical to win the Oscar since Gigi (1958).

In addition to these general notes here are a few slighter more specific ones...

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Beauty Break: Maribel Verdú, Goya Darling

Happy 46th birthday to Spanish beauty Maribel Verdú of Y Tu Mama Tambien and Pan's Labyrinth fame. How many women can claim to have terrorized Snow White and been tag teamed by Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, and knifed a dictator's officer right in the face? How many women have been nominated for a Goya ten times and won twice*. Just Maribel, that's who!

Those Goyas must be heavy!

More beauty after the jump...

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Beautiful Teasing: "Fences" and "20th Century Women"

The latest potentially rich films to tease are two of our most anticipated 2016 features. They aren't coming out until the last week of December. We worry for 20th Century Women that it will be lost in the shuffle (why oh why this release date?) but Fences at least will win attention due to the combined starpower at its center and the event prestige of the August Wilson award-winner making it to the big screen. The terrific teaser trailers are after the jump with a few notes on each.

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Best Actress - Who will dance with Oscar? 

While Best Actress remains the most impressively competitive category, the buzz has been so deafening on Natalie Portman and Emma Stone's work in Jackie and La La Land respectively, that we have our first acting nomination "locks" of the year. Yes, I hate to use the word so early -- i generally prefer not to use it until after a film has opened -- but in this case it applies.

Short of either of these well loved actresses murdering someone casually or becoming a spokesperson for Trump on his campaign trail their traction for Best Actress is a done deal. Having now seen both pictures it's tough to imagine either of them missing; their movies are probable Best Picture Contenders which hang on their every flickering bit of feeling. And they've both got multiple "clips" galore for award show reels, clips that will look like "of course she won the Oscar!" in retrospect should either of them manage the win.

So spots three through five is where the true competition is. Most people feel that Ruth Negga is a given for Loving -- though how a movie fares in release is often a factor and it's not out yet. One worrying factor is that she's significantly less famous than most of her competition. Everyone is banking on Viola Davis being spectacular in Fences but we must remind everyone (and also ourselves despite our raggedy "Team Viola" t-shirts!) that nobody has seen the picture; history has many examples of stage-to-screen transfers that underwhelmed. Beyond those two we have Oscar regulars like Meryl Streep (always a threat even if she doesn't campaign), Amy Adams (always a threat and always campaigns hard), and Annette Bening (unless the movie is waiting too long to make its move). And then there's "critical darling" possiblities like Isabelle Huppert. I've been harping on this for some time, I know, but I remain convinced that she could happen as a nominee. Natalie & Emma being so far out front actually makes passion votes more important because with both of them sucking up so many votes, other women will need to stick out in the hearts of voters to fight their way in. 

It's also fair to wonder what Globe Comedy/Musical nominations could do to boost profiles of particular actresses. Hmmmm...

the possibilities

Stone - La La Land
Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins
It's easy to imagine them as nominees...
Field -  Hello My Name is Doris
Beckinsale - Love & Friendship
Winslet - the Dressmaker
But the Globes can surprise. What about...
Huppert -Elle
Sarandon - The Meddler
Zellweger - Bridget Jones's Baby 
anyone else? 

New Best Actress Oscar Prediction Chart. What'cha think?


TIFF: Thomas Vinterberg returns with "The Commune"

Nathaniel R from the Toronto International Film Festival

Thomas Vinterberg first came to fame with the Dogme 95 masterpiece The Celebration (1998) which was an international success reaping Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Foreign Film. Oscar famously snubbed it during their long stretch of controversial years in the 90s and 00s where they regularly ignored major critical darlings eventually prompting reforms to the selection process in the late Aughts. Vinterberg was eventually nominated with another international success The Hunt (2012) and after his English language sleeper success Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) it's safe to say he's on quite a roll currently. 

For years people had suggested to Vinterberg that he make a film about commune life since he had grown up in one as a child in the 70s...

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Emmys 2016 - Why Keri Russell should win Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Here’s Lynn Lee, with a closer look at the newcomer and underdog of the six Emmy nominees for Best Lead Actress in a drama:

When I first started watching The Americans, I was blown away by one actor, and one actor alone: Matthew Rhys, as the male half of a pair of KGB operatives hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Reagan-era Washington, D.C.  Oh, the rest of the cast was strong, too, but Rhys—whom I’d never previously seen in anything—left everyone else in the dust, including Keri Russell as his partner in espionage.  She was good, I thought, but not quite at the level of her co-star.

Flash forward three seasons, and Russell’s more than made up that gap.  Not only does she now easily hold her own opposite Rhys, there are times when she surpasses him...

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Emmy Spotlight - Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

by Eric Blume

We love our actresses, and the Emmy race for Best Actress, Limited Series or Movie on Sunday night is filled with very good ones.  Let’s take a look at who’s in the running and who the winner might be.

Kirsten Dunst nabbed her first Emmy nomination in her freshman foray into television for her role as a deluded hairdresser in season two of Fargo.  Unlike Nathaniel, I’m not a huge fan of Dunst, but her work here is probably the best thing she’s ever done outside of Melancholia.  What she pulls off here is a very tricky blend of naturalism and heightened comedy, a dangerous high-wire act that could have fallen flat quite easily...

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