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Entries in Best Actress (177)

Monday
Feb172014

13 Days Til Oscar: Matthew McConaughey... And the 2000 Best Actress Race?

[The Oscar countdown continues with new contributor Matthew Eng - he wrote that popular Jennifer Lawrence piece! -- making a fascinating cross gender lines comparison to 13 years back]

Thirteen years ago, the only acting prize Matthew McConaughey seemed likely to ever win was a Razzie*. Or, you know, at least a Teen Choice Award. And yet, here we are, thirteen years later, all those Wedding Planners and Failure to Launches gone (but not forgotten), and Matthew McConaughey just so happens to be:

  1. an Oscar nominee
  2. the indisputable frontrunner of the Best Actor raceand
  3. a presumable Oscar winner.

It’s the Second Coming of McConaughey, a shockingly successful, rule-breaking career reversal that approximately zero people saw coming. But can you really blame us, especially considering that pre-Magic Mike McConaughey seemed pretty intent on solidifying his status as a Hopeless Hollywood Himbo, continually submerging his skills behind a pair of wide-eyed peepers, a self-satisfied smirk, and a notorious, Southern-fried catchphrase that may have made for one great Matt Damon impression but which can still send even some of the more willing McConaughey converts up the wall?

It’s always nice to see a performer sizably step up their game, to start choosing roles for the challenge, rather than the check. Maybe it’s the nature of the Dallas Buyers Club role or maybe it’s the inconsistent reputation of the genre he spent the better part of the past decade residing in, but McConaughey’s performance and subsequent awards trajectory have been giving me major flashbacks to Julia Roberts and the 2000 Best Actress Race, which culminated with Roberts’ inevitable coronation nearly thirteen years ago. [More...]

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Monday
Feb172014

Monologue: Kate Hepburn Jabbers Away in "Alice Adams"

It's actually difficult to find speeches for our monologue series which accounts for its haphazard appearance at The Film Experience. With Anne Marie's brilliant chronological "A Year With Kate" hitting the Oscar nominated Alice Adams (1935) in two days time, I thought it was time to revive an old episode of this series.

Screenwriters generally favor single sentence utterances and the ole trusty shot / reverse shot conversation, leaving the bulk of monologue-writing to playwrights. But watching Alice Adams (1935), it's easy to think of virtually every scene as a Katharine Hepburn monologue. Occasionally her co-stars will start a sentence in response but Kate as Alice rarely lets them finish a thought. She spends the whole movie jabbering away as if she's the only character...

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Wednesday
Feb122014

Best Actress: Nathaniel's Ballot & Oscars

It's time to get back to our Film Bitch Awards. I've 18 days to finish everything. Give me strength! 

I was rooting for Brie Larson all season, but Oscar had bigger stars in mind

When it comes to Oscar's Best Actress field this year I'd rank the performances in this order without hesitation: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) > Adams (Hustle) ≥ Streep (August) > Dench (Philomena) > Bullock (Gravity). But as usual my own lineup differs quite a lot. I looked beyond the twelve titles that voters were considering nominating for Best Picture and then conveniently dropping onto their ballots in each and every other category. I also had to consider shoeless Emma (Mr Banks) who obviously just-missed Oscar's cut-off since they were all about their ol' standbys this year (this year's amalgam of all five contenders has been nominated 7.6 times which is probably a statistical "most" record in any acting category). So in addition to Oscar's conversation topics I took long hard looks at the Before... franchise's Julie Delpy again (she was nominated right here in 2004), Jane Adams and Paulina Garcia in the little seen arthouse gems All the Light in the Sky and Gloria respectively, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said), too. And then there were the fresh faces (well, fresh before the spaghetti sauce and sobbing) like Adele Exarchopoulus and familiar young stars like Brie Larson (Short Term 12) and Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) who are just now coming into what feels like their true power as screen stars. I even considered Melissa McCarthy in The Heat, she of the perfect line readings, who was quite unjustly robbed of a Golden Globe comedy nomination this year. 

It was a tough call. I tore my imaginary hair out. In the end, as always, you want six or seven nominees but you conly get five. And here they are with my capsule comments... The Best Actresses of 2013.

P.S. If Oscar voters choose anyone other than Cate Blanchett, it's going to be so catastrophic for my mental health that you'll see me on a park bench somewhere in 2014 chattering away to no one in particular as I replay the events of 2013 endlessly on a loop, torturing myself as to how it all went so terribly wrong.

P.P.S. The Best Actress Oscar Page now has "how they were nominated?" theorizing and a reader poll

P.P.P.S. Like TFE on Facebook and follow Nathaniel on twitter. Why haven't you already? Lot of exciting plans for 2014 including more interactivity with you.

Wednesday
Feb122014

18 Days Til Oscar. 18 Nominations For Meryl Streep

Here's a piece of trivia that even people who are clueless about the Oscars can recite: Meryl Streep is the most nominated actor of all time. Sometimes those same people will say she's won the most Oscars but you can't know everything if you don't pay attention. But, any way you come at it, her record is astounding (18 noms / 3 wins) 

Today I'm having fun repurposing her bitchy dialogue from August: Osage County and pretending its mockery of her fellow nominees and their (comparatively) puny Oscar histories.

You ever been married nominated before?
...More than once

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Tuesday
Feb112014

Seasons of Bette: Of Human Bondage (1934)

ICYMI - We announced last week that as a sidebar series to Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate", Nathaniel will be discussing each of the Oscar Roles of Bette Davis, 11 in total or 10 if you're a purist, as they appear within Kate's chronology. There will be spoilers.

You should know as we begin this new mini-series that I am not, like Anne Marie with Kate, a Bette historian. My knowledge of Bette Davis is something like the cliff notes version that most people who love movies absorb along the way. The earliest and only pre-Jezebel (1938) Bette Davis performance I had seen before beginning this series was Three on a Match (1932) which didn't, in any way, prepare us for the Bette we know; she's not the MVP of that racy pre-code girls-gone-bad drama. So I'm happy to report that Of Human Bondage (1934) gives us the Full Bette-of-Legend Arc. She goes from unsatisfying bit player to unforgettable star to terrifying disintegrating old harpy all in the space of 83 minutes! It's quite the retrospective ride. [More...]

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