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Entries in Best Actress (350)

Friday
Jan082016

Who Will Be This Year's Surprising Snub at the Oscars?

Coco here, ready to talk about the current Oscar race and the surprising snubs that wait around the corner.

Last week, I wrote about performances that might get nominated despite not having a lot of precursor support. This week, I'm writing about the opposite. If you're an actor and you're nominated for the Golden Globes, the SAG awards, and the BAFTAs, then you're widely assumed to be a lock for an Oscar nomination. This is true for the most part, but there are plenty of instances in which seemingly beloved performances that do great with precursors are nowhere to be found on Oscar morning. This has been especially true in recent years. We've seen at least one such performance be left off Oscar's list in each of the last four years.  

Here's a quick rundown... 

2014 - Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler popped up at all the right places. What's more, the movie seemed to gain momentum consistently, scoring nominations from practically every awards-giving body throughout January. As you probably know, Jake didn't get the nomination. Maybe Oscar didn't like Nightcrawler as much as we were expecting. After all, the movie only got one nomination for Original Screenplay.  

2013 - This year was a bloodbath as far as snubs are concerned. The most surprising omission was Tom Hanks, who gave one of the best performances of his career in Captain Phillips. The movie scored six nominations including Best Picture, but Oscar couldn't make room for its lead star. Also ignored despite support from SAG, BAFTA, and the Globes were Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks and Daniel Brühl in Rush. Although neither of those films were as beloved as Phillips (Saving Mr. Banks only got one nomination for Original Score, Rush wasn't nominated at all). 

2012 and 2011 stats, as well as 2015 speculation after the jump. 

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Saturday
Jan022016

A Happy New (Twitterful) Year

2016 is upon us. So far it's been a wash since a cold has attacked me without warning but while I sleep and stay hydrated (not simultaneously) and procrastinate here are some favorite tweets of the week. But the year started beautifully with two of our favorite film thinkers and Oscar historians Nick Davis and Mark Harris announcing new projects. Nick will be expanding his "Best Actress" section and Mark Harris will be celebrating 1966 movies all year as he preps for the 50th anniversary of those Best Picture nominees he celebrated in his first book "Pictures at a Revolution" which was on the Best Pictures of 1967.

Our first tweet is a perfect message for the "survey the greats" season we're in via filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. Our friend Nick has an interesting solution to this favorites versus perfection equation. He has two top 100s, greatest and favorites. He just wrote a huge batch of new essays which you should really read. Recent pieces include two movies that are accidentallly perfect for New Year's week including Strange Days and When Harry Met Sally (on the "greatest" list)  movies like Movies become "favorites" for so many reasons, whether that's great experiences at the theater where we saw them or, the ease at rewatching them, or just the slow dawning realization that this one you just love whatever its shortcomings (this is me with Burlesque which showed on cable in a loop in 2015 and I couldn't look away.)

 

 MORE AFTER THE JUMP including but not limited to Blanchett, Damon, Gleeson, Isaac ...and Eartha Kitt as 2016's Patron Saint?

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Wednesday
Dec302015

Q&A: Oscar Ceremonies, Sex Work, and... The Warlocks of Eastwick? 

Soon, we'll be buried in an avalanche of awards news again so tonight a brief respite from the current Oscar race. It's Q&A time. Here are eight reader questions I chose to answer. I skipped anything on Category Fraud because I feel so exhausted by that fight ("though undeterred in my moral superiority!" he says arms akimbo and chin up, like a superhero with cape billowing behind him, sworn to upheld 'the Awards Way') and I might have to freak out all over again on nomination morning so let's ignore it for now.

MDA: What 2015 release that you were looking forward to watching disappointed you the most?

NATHANIEL: It feels stranger to answer with a film I liked, especially one that's already getting a critical rethink by way of surprise top ten placements but maybe Magic Mike XXL? While I admire its super cajzh vibe and its focus on female pleasure, I'm puzzled as to why they went more demure with the sequel when they kept promising it would be more stripperific i.e. what everyone expected from Soderbergh's first brilliant film (which you'll remember was a Bronze medalist for Best Picture right here.)

Another big disappointment was Sisters. It's totally funny don't get me wrong. But that's all it is. It's strange that we know that Tina Fey can write brilliant comic masterworks (30 Rock, Mean Girls) but keeps wasting her star power and comic gift on propping up other people's wildly underwritten cliché-filled scripts. I'm beginning to wonder is she even wants to make another comedy classic? Perhaps she's fine coasting until retirement. But it's hard to not wonder what could be if she'd only apply herself again. 

EZ: I hereby grant you special powers to go back in time and attend an Academy Awards Ceremony of your choosing. Which year do you choose and why?

NATHANIEL: This question sounds nice until you realize the genie has only granted you one wish instead of three.  So stingy!

Retro Oscar Races, Domnhall Gleeson, Bridget Jones's Baby, and more after the jump...

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Wednesday
Dec302015

Contrarian Corner: Age is Just a Number As J.Law Dazzles in 'Joy'

Jose continues our new series Contrarian Corner in which team members who feel very off-consensus about a particular topic can work through it... 


One of the most surreal moments in my life occurred when I was able to speak to Winona Ryder about Jennifer Lawrence. Like J.Law, Ryder became the “it girl” early during her career, and during the early 90s earned back-to-back Oscar nominations and critical/commercial adoration. Unlike J.Law, Ryder wasn’t able to make the most out of what fame and screen maturity had granted her, as she was denied serious parts because of her age. She looked “too young” to play “older parts”, and reached a point (i.e. her 30s) where she was “too old” to play younger parts. Perhaps because she has the good fortune of staying away from social media, Ms. Ryder was unaware of the constant criticism J.Law faces whenever she teams up with David O. Russell.

I don’t even know how old she is. I always thought she was the age of her characters”

Kudos to Ms. Ryder for reminding us that films are all about suspending our disbelief.  [More...]

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Wednesday
Dec302015

Oscar Ballots Out Today. Three Simple FYCs for Voters.

Let the Oscar balloting begin. The image we use to illustrate is envelopes because they're pretty but they're also analog when even as ancient an institution as Oscar -- he's 88 years old now! -- has gone digital. Academy members can start nominating their favorites TODAY.  I won't barrage AMPAS members with requests other than these three wishes:

1. Please ignore precursors. Surprise us! 
The precursor bodies make terrible mistakes in trying to predict you (SAG & Critics Choice in particular this year are just a mess of lazy "what will the Academy vote for?" impulses rather than a searching for what constitutes great work which should always be the only concern). Two fine movies off the top of our heads that nobody expects you to vote for this year but why the hell shouldn't you? Sicario and Tangerine. People also seem to agree that you won't get behind stories about women but we know you have it in you. The public is enjoying reliving 1977 because of Star Wars: The Force Awakens but remember in 1977 how 80% of your Best Picture lineup was about women? Good times! I mean, why shouldn't you vote for something as gentle, resonant, and well modulated as Brooklyn, for example?

2. FYC: Remember that love stories require two leads. 
Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett are a beautiful team in Carol - so don't separate them in two different categories. Think of the classic screen couples (Gone With the Wind, The Way We Were, Titanic, It Happened One NightCasablanca, Coming Home, etcetera). In none of those romantic dramas do people pretend one movie star is "supporting" the other movie star. Be reasonable and put an end to greedy campaign strategies that make the very notion of awards seem crassly opportunist when the conversation should be edifying and fun; "Best" is a beautiful word! And love stories are love stories are love stories whether the couple is straight or LGBT. (See also: The Danish Girl)

3. Most ≠ Best
This isn't just about the acting categories but how about a deserved nod here or there that you could never call "Most" but could definitely argue "Best".  Three examples of many: The Production Design of Room (a top notch technical achievement but also emotionally intelligent and a true creative challenge); The Visual Effects of Ex Machina (there's no grand setpieces, sure, but damn if these fx aren't a master class and hugely impressive in comparison to the typical CGI shenanigans of blockbusters like Jurassic World); and the Original Score of Steve Jobs (unusual, contemporary, and creatively retro too).

HAPPY VOTING EVERYONE!

Friday
Dec252015

Merry Carol-mas Everyone!

may you give or receive thoughtful gifts...

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Thursday
Dec242015

A Favorite Scene From Brooklyn

Murtada here with a favorite 2015 scene and a warning. Please note this post divulges plot points for Brooklyn.

The setup: Irish immigrant Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) has been seeing her Brooklyn Italian beau Tony (Emory Cohen) for a few weeks when he surprises her with a declaration of love. Not knowing if she loves him back or how to respond, she looks for an answer from one of her house mates at Miss Kehoe's, Sheila (Nora Jane Noone).

More...

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