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Entries in Best Actress (487)

Monday
Aug072017

Race in Lady Macbeth and The Beguiled: Not so black or white?

by Lynn Lee

Florence Pugh in Lady Macbeth / Nicole Kidman in The Beguiled

In a summer filled with movies by or starring women of exceptional talent, The Beguiled and Lady Macbeth make an especially fascinating cinematic pairing.  Both films center on mid-19th century women who appear trapped by their societies’ constricting gender norms.  In both, the women are confined to an isolated, often claustrophobic space, yet nature is a constantly beckoning presence that at once shapes and reflects their desires.  (Both even have plots that turn on poisonous wild mushrooms!)  And in both, the women up-end the patriarchal structure of their circumscribed universe without liberating themselves.  If anything, they reinforce that power structure even as they seize momentary control of it, leaving not a feeling of triumph but a somber queasiness.

For all these thematic similarities, the differences between the two films are even more striking...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul292017

Actress Chart Updates: Kate Winslet is Buzzing

Wonder Wheel continues to gather quite a lot of pre-release hype. It's opening quite late for a Woody Allen picture on December 1st. If you look at the history of his releases they've been summer counter-programming for a very long time now. Midnight in Paris (2011) and Blue Jasmine (2013) have been his biggest Oscar and commercial successes since the 1990s and they both opened in the summer. You have to go all the way back to Match Point (2005) to find a successful December release for the annual Woody Allens and that one came up short of expectations on Oscar nomination morning (1 nomination) despite a lot of pre-release critical buzz.

But Amazon Studios, who plan to distribute Wonder Wheel themselves (a first for them), seem to have an eye on Oscar. Perhaps they've bought into the common (and very wrong) belief that you have to be a December release to catch Oscar's eye? Good luck to them and we hope the movie is as good as we're hearing!

Consider this high praise from Kent Jones who selected the movie to close the New York Film Festival in October:

I’m not quite sure what I expected when I sat down to watch Wonder Wheel, but when the lights came up I was speechless. There are elements in the film that will certainly be familiar to anyone who knows Woody Allen’s work, but here he holds them up to a completely new light. I mean that literally and figuratively, because Allen and Vittorio Storaro use light and color in a way that is stunning in and of itself but also integral to the mounting emotional power of the film. And at the center of it all is Kate Winslet’s absolutely remarkable performance—precious few actors are that talented, or fearless.

Now, it's important to note that Kent Jones is the Festival Director and thus has an obligation to promote his festival but still... wouldn't it be wondrous to see Kate rise again after the delicious hint of her full throttle starpower returning via The Dressmaker last year?

UPDATED OSCAR CHARTS
Best Actress - Kate, Emma, and Meryl on the rise
Best Supporting Actress - Holly Hunter securely up top... for now
Foreign Film Chart 1 - Afghanistan to Ethiopia speculation

Saturday
Jul222017

10 Favorite Moments in the Emmy Drama Actress Roundtable

THR's exciting tradition is upon us. They've released the full roundtable of Emmy Drama actress hopefuls. Well, hopefuls at the time. Oprah Winfrey was not nominated as she was expected to be for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The same thing happened to her when she was on the Oscar-seeking roundtable for The Butler. Despite being the former queen of talk, perhaps this format is a curse for her? The other women present were nominated: Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies), Jessica Lange (Feud: Bette and Joan), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale), and Chrissy Meitz (This Is Us).

The Roundtable in full, and ten favorite moments therein after the jump...

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Wednesday
Jul122017

Stage Door: An Ode to S. Epatha Merkerson 

Editor's Note: I've been away at the National Critics Institute in CT but will be back in a few days to regular blogging right here at The Film Experience. In the meantime please enjoy this review of one of the shows I saw in my absence, starring two of television's best actresses. The Roommate is playing through July 16th at the Williamstown Theater Festival and you should expect a transfer to NYC stages. - Nathaniel R

S. Epatha Merkerson in rehearsals. Photo by Daniel Rader

She wanted to be a spy… or a baker if espionage didn’t work out. It’s tough to square these  interchangeably silly abandoned dreams with timid Iowa retiree Sharon, standing right there in her well-stocked suburban kitchen. Sharon dreamt of being a spy? — Sharon!?!  Her new roommate doesn’t seem trustworthy but is right about at least one thing: Sharon shouldn’t “mummify” herself this early and needs to get out there and live.

I’m speaking like you know Sharon because I do. Sharon is fictional, you see, but the glorious actress S Epatha Merkerson and the playwright Jen Silverman have breathed such life into this rich idiosyncratic character in the new play The Roommate that for two hours I was convinced otherwise...

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Friday
Jul072017

Annette Bening as Gloria Grahame

by Murtada

We just got the news that Annette Bening will be presiding over the Venice Film festival jury. Now we get two new photos of her as Gloria Grahame in the anticipated biopic Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. And that's not all. The film has a UK release date of November 17. A US distribution and release date news must be imminent. Unfortunately Bening presiding over the Venice jury not only rules the film out of that festival, but also out of Telluride which takes place at the same time, and the first and more important week of buzz building at TIFF. Unless they unspool the film without its star which seems unlikely. And we'd like her to get that festival buzz that is important for awards later on.

Till then enjoy the Bening and Jamie Bell as Grahame and Peter Turner, an actor she befriended late in her life while appearing in a production of The Glass Menagerie in London. The film is based on Turner’s memoir about the time Grahame spent recuperating at his family home in Liverpool when diagnosed with cancer. Directed by Paul McGuigan (Victor Frankenstein), it also stars Julie Walters and Kenneth Cranham as Turner’s parents.

Will Bening follow Blanchett and win an Oscar for playing an Oscar winner? 

Monday
Jul032017

C O N S I D E R - Actresses of 2017, 2nd Qtr

With the year's second quarter over, here's a listicle of noteworthy performances we'll eventually compare to what's to come. These are my personal favorites from screenings and releases from April 1st through June 30th (if the film hasn't opened in theaters yet, it's marked with an asterisk). Herewith the 17 best from the year's second quarter, divvied up into three categories. (If you'd like to group them with the women from the first quarter, that list is here). Did these actresses speak to you with their turns?

Disclaimer: Key actress-focused films I missed that I'll have to catch up with later were Beatriz at Dinner, Manifesto, A Quiet Passion and Rough Night. If you've seen them give their MVPs a shout-out.

6 LEADING ACTRESSES

 

Gal Gadot as "Diana" in Wonder Woman

Nicole Kidman as "Miss Martha" in The Beguiled...

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