Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Entries in Best Actress (511)


C O N S I D E R -Fav Actresses of 2017, 3rd Qtr

With less than three months of the year to go - eep! -- it's time to do another tally of favorite performances -- this is how we keep track so we're not like Oscar voters who only vote on the last couple months of the year. Here are the 17 best female turns this past quarter according to your host, Nathaniel. Which movies were considered? Movies released between July and right now (October 6th) as well as unreleased movies (marked by an asterisk*) which were screened in that time frame but have no firm release date in the future. Previous 3rd quarter lists: Filmmaking and Male Acting

Disclaimer: Key actress-focused films I missed this past quarter were Home Again, Ingrid Goes West, and Lady Macbeth. If you've seen them give their MVPs a shout-out.


Dame Judi Dench as "Queen Victoria" in Victoria & Abdul
I love the idea of character sequels decades later rather than continuing story sequels (that's what TV is for!). The movie is no great shakes but it's quite fun to see her return to this signature character. 

Regina Hall as "Ryan Pierce" in Girls Trip 
A wonderfully nimble performance. She's got to provide the straight man to the comic bananas but to make that funny, too, while dexterously handling the script's somewhat heavy handed character arc.

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Glenn Close as "The Wife" - Now a 2018 Release

Dearest Glenn Close Maniacs and Film Experience Readers (two groups which seem to have much crossover), this just in: Sony Pictures Classic has acquired The Wife for release. After a quick check in with SPC from yours truly they have officially confirmed that they're planning a 2018 release with no qualifying run for this season's Oscar race. 

This is either great news or terrible news depending on how you look at it. On the bright side, Sony Pictures Classics has several Best Actress candidates already (Annette Bening, Daniela Vega, etcetera) so why risk diluting their campaigns with another? What's more Best Actress is already a bloodbath (see the charts -- just updated to remove the Glenn Close equation) with more contenders than can possibly be happy with their fate come Oscar nomination. On the downside, sometimes you can lose heat if you wait a year for release and there's no guarantee that next year will be any less competitive. But if you're worried there's no chance for Glenn next year, do not. Blue Sky with Jessica Lange sat on the shelf forever and still ended up getting her an Oscar. Crash and The Hurt Locker both won Best Picture after waiting it out for the next calendar year after their festival debuts. Losing "buzz" or heat is a danger but not an inevitability.

But in the end, whatever happens, great performances are their own reward and Glenn Close nailed this one - see our TIFF review if you missed it


Best Actress: The Shape of Sally. The Mouth on Frances.

by Nathaniel R

Sally says "Hi!" (I apologize profusively that my camera cut off her cute wave to all of you via this TIFF photo)It's getting hot up in the Best Actress race. The fall festivals have thrust a dozen or so women toward potential red carpet glory but how will time and general reviews and audience response and campaigning sort them out? It's nail-biting! At least until the first awards are handed out at which point things always narrow down too quickly.

But for now -- and it's early still (our annual refrain) -- it's appearing like it might be a battle between Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water (which has won consistently strong reviews and the Golden Lion in Venice) and Frances McDormand who stars in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, the surprise winner of the Oscar bellwether "audience award" at TIFF. It's fun to think about the performances in tandem since Sally plays a literally mute woman and Frances a foul mouthed woman who will not be silenced...

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TIFF: McDormand Dominates in "Three Billboards..."

by Chris Feil

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri unfolds in typical fashion for writer/director Martin McDonagh: unspeakable violence provides a backdrop to profanity of everyday people. Here McDonagh provides us one of his most righteous heroes in Mildred Hayes, a mother grieving the brutal murder of her daughter and the local police’s inability to bring justice. Verbal fireworks and bloody consequence is to be expected.

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TIFF: Glenn Close is "The Wife"

our ongoing adventures at TIFF. An abdriged version of this review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad.

Film festivals nearly always provide curious dialogues between films that you weren't expecting. On the same day on the exact same screen at TIFF I managed to see two films about female writers and the male writers in their lives who take up all the oxygen (and praise) in the room. Who would have thought that a film about the origins of Frankenstein (just discussed) and a star vehicle for Glenn Close in Stockholm would have so much in common? 

THE WIFE (Björn Runge)
Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) is a longsuffering wife who would bristle at that very description. She's married to a famous novelist Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce) and their homophonic names are no coincidence. The silver-haired couple have been together for nearly half a century and are inseparable if not quite interchangeable...

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Tilt Your Head, Pfeiffer!

by Murtada

Mother! is my most anticipated film of the fall. And it’s so good that we don’t have to wait that long for it. Just 14 days from today it will be everywhere. The obsession is real, and for the last few days it has become very specific.

Of course it has to do with Michelle Pfeiffer. There’s a new clip making the rounds where Pfeiffer intimidates Jennifer lawrence about having kids...

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OTD: The Whisperers, Marlee Matlin, and "The Power of Love"

On this day (August 24th) in showbiz-related history...

1890 "Father of modern surfing" and part time movie actor Duke Kahanamoku born in Hawaii. We've written about him before. Where's his biopic?

1967 The Whisperers premieres in London. It's about an old poor woman living in solitude who is beginning to lose her grip on reality. Dame Edith Evans sterling work was instantly lauded - she won Best Actress at Berlinale and from such disparate groups as the NYFCC, NBR and the Golden Globes. She landed her third and final Oscar nomination in the Best Actress lineup (sadly only the winner, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner's Hepburn, was less than superb in that shortlist!). At the time Evans was the oldest Oscar nominee of all time in any acting category having just turned 80 years old. That record has since been undone but she's still the third oldest lead actress nominee after Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy (also 80, who won) and Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (who was 85).  Have you ever seen The Whisperers? It's haunting and quite a time capsule of contemporary British cinema of the time. [And check out Nick Davis' 5 star review of this legendary performance]

1985 Huey Lewis and the News hit #1 with their theme from Back to the Future "The Power of Love". The music video had a cameo by the car and Christopher Lloyd's "Doc" though it was mostly just the band playing in a bar. Best Original Song was one of the film's 4 Oscar nominations (it won for sound effects editing).  In case you haven't yet heard, 1985 will be our "year of the month" in September as we build to the next Smackdown.

2012 Remember that movie where Michael Shannon was evil (wait, that's not helpful) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a bicycle messenger (now that's more specific). Premium Rush opened on this day. Isn't it weird how some movies, like that one, feel much more ancient than they actually are while others from years earlier feel fresh as daisies? 

Happy Birthday to Them!
Oscar Winner: Usurper of Kathleen Turner's and/or Sigourney Weaver's Best Actress statue. More generously we must admit that it's super impressive that Matlin trailblazed by refusing to be a one hit wonder, turning that splashy debut into such an unlikely but full career. She's been working ever since!
Oscar Nominees: Ava DuVernay (13th), Anne Archer (Fatal Attraction), Ronee Blakley (Nashville), Robert Pulcini (American Splendor)
Cool Talents: Actress Elizabeth Debicki, Wit Stephen Fry, Auteur Takashi Miike, Novelist A.S. Byatt
80s Touchstones: Steve Guttenberg (Cocoon, Can't Stop the Music, and so many more) and Gordon Wanecke (My Beautiful Laundrette!)


Emmy Review: Best Actress, Limited Series or Movie

We've been reviewing Emmy categories. Voting concludes next Monday with the ceremony on September 17th.

by Eric Blume

Entertainment writers have been crowing for a while about this category, claiming that it looks more like a Best Actress Oscar list than it does an Emmy list.  And it’s true, this year’s six nominees include four women who have already won that Oscar, along with two of television’s biggest names.  It’s an embarrassment of riches: six interesting, surprising, deep performances from six formidable actors...

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