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The biggest Oscar winners that weren't Best Picture nominees

"That Dracula costume win is one of the most deserved Oscars of all time. Ishioka = genius. Her costumes were their own characters." - Sawyer

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Entries in Best Actress (447)

Friday
Jan062017

Isabelle Huppert, French Legends, and Oscar Stats

by Nathaniel R

Are you biting your nails yet? No prediction for this year's Best Actress shortlist can come without some degree of "I could be getting this very wrong!" nerves. We've been Oscar watching for a long time and it's genuinely never looked this open this late in the game (with the possible exception of 2003 but for nearly the opposite reason). If Best Actress is not a five-way lock up by now (and it often is) it's usually at least settled but for a minor battle between two women for the "just happy to be nominated" fifth spot. This year is different. Seven women remain strong and precursor supported and virtually any combination of five names seems possible as long as you include both Emma Stone (with the reliable boost of leading a Best Picture frontrunner) and Natalie Portman (with the reliable boost of Oscar's deep-deep love for mimicry).

We always believed that Isabelle Huppert was a genuine threat for a Best Actress nomination this season for her phenomenal star turn in Elle. It wasn't so much that Elle, in which she plays a video game enterpeneur who becomes obsessed with her rapist, was a a fresh look at an old star (against type) or right in Oscar's wheel house (a dark comedy about rape. LOL, no). The appeal instead is that in Elle is a suffusion of everything that's special about Huppert: her superior intellect, fascinating opacity, tortured psychology, and her daring sexuality. Oscar would be wise to pounce in a year where the media has been this celebratory about her unique place in the cinematic landscape. 'It's time!' feelings don't generally come around all that often for true iconoclasts or women of a certain age. She's both so they must act now.

Binoche, Cotillard, Adjani, Deneuve

Here's another far more superficial but still excellent reason why Isabelle Huppert needs to be nominated...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan052017

What's your favorite Jane Wyman?

It's Jane Wyman's Centennial.  The actress was born on this day in Missouri in 1917 as Sara Jane Mayfield.

Like many major stars her legacy rests on a period that's only about a decade long -- in Wyman's case the mid 40s through the 50s, or more specifically the Best Picture winner The Lost Weekend (1945) through the Douglas Sirk classic All that Heaven Allows (1955) a period in which she specialized in childlike women and their inverse young widows-- but her career was long, stretching from bit parts in the early 30s through TV stardom in the 80s.

Her greatest hits and Oscar triumphs after the jump. Which is your favorite?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan042017

W Magazine's 2016 Best Performances

Chris here. Have you seen this year's W Magazine "Best Performances" spread yet? Each year the photo collection features Oscar hopefuls and breakouts alike in one massive treat, and this year is as sprawling as ever. Previous years have ranged from the avant garde to the candid, but this year seems to spark inspiration straight from the loins. No seriously, its actually titled "Come Together", winks at gender and self-love, and recalls 90s lesbian chic supermodels on more than one occasion.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec262016

Female Performance Heaven Across Mediums

Our Year in Review is doubling up now, two "best of" lists a daily to wrap up. This afternoon Matthew Eng exercizes his actressexuality.

Here are 25 scenes, songs, shots, reactions, line-readings, gestures, and whatnot that have stuck with me the longest from some — but not all — of my favorite female performances across film, television, music, and theater this year. Remember these? They are... in alphabetical order:

01 Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny’s bravura comic badinage is the main engine driving Love & Friendship, which only ever threatens to turn softhearted when these two catty soulmates are finally forced to part. Beckinsale and Sevigny carefully modulate their straight-faced hauteur during this fond farewell, but refuse to let even an ounce of sentimentality disrupt their regal self-possession. It’s one final, triumphant occasion for game to recognize game.

02 “Value,” the sixth episode of Donald Glover’s extraordinary first season of Atlanta, opens with an extended showcase scene of friendly rivalry between the luminous Zazie Beetz (as long-suffering public school teacher Van) and one-episode wonder Aubin Wise (as her childhood pal, now an “Instagram escort”). Both actresses tear into the scene with a comical trenchancy that scores its necessary laughs but also establishes a layered and fleetingly poignant background of affectionately-waged one-upmanship.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec212016

New Oscar Predictions: Acting Categories... Locked Up or Not? 

By Nathaniel R

Post SAG & Globe Nominations each year oscar's acting categories start feeling locked up. But here's something always worth remembering: Each year brings us 1 or 2 new additions to the "nominated for SAG & Globe but still missed Oscar" close-but-no-cigar club.  This year in particular seems unlikely to have as much exact 5/5 correlation due to the double whammy of Oscar's acting branch voting a little later than usual (they don't get ballots until January 5th) and the precursors voting a smidge earlier than usual. The next two weeks are crucial; no one who is remotely close to a nomination should give up just yet.

ACTRESS
Portman has been winning lots of critics awards but, strangely, her film (just as strong or even stronger than her eery performance) isn't doing as well. She's not exactly locked for a second win but she's definitely giving Emma Stone a fright and probably preventing Amy Adams or Annette Bening from dreaming of their first very long-awaited wins. The nomination race is even tighter...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec202016

Showbiz History: Irene Dunne's Near-Record, Brittany Murphy's Untimely Death, Scream's Release

Today in showbiz history if you need something to celebrate with the world ending* and all...
*too dramatic? That's what it feels like lately, is all... 

1812 "Grimm's Fairy Tales" is published. They never stop influencing popular culture thereafter. 
1880 Broadway gets the nickname "The Great White Way" when it's first lit up by electricity
1892 Phileas Fog completes his trip 'round the globe in the novel Around the World in Eighty Days (later adapted to the screen)
1898 Irene Dunne, one of the greatest actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age was born on this day in Kentucky. She went on to five leading actress nominations (my favorite is The Awful Truth, 1937) without ever winning.

WHY THAT'S A BIG DEAL IN OSCAR HISTORY IS REVEALED AFTER THE JUMP...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec172016

Interview: Jessica Chastain on playing "Miss Sloane"

If you haven't yet seen Miss Sloane about a formidable political mastermind and the sure-to-lose case against the gun lobby that she takes on to the surprise of DC, you'll want to catch it soon. It's rather a classic star vehicle in that the glamorous leading lady is front and center and steering all the juicy twisty drama. That leading lady is, of course, the tireless Jessica Chastain. Chastain shot to stardom with seven films in 2011 (including The Tree of Life and her Oscar nominated role in The Help) and she seemingly hasn't left movie theaters. She's starred in everything from moody business thrillers (A Most Violent Year), gothic horror (Crimson Peak), fiery military dramas (Zero Dark Thirty), and more.

I sat down to talk with her in NYC a month or so ago about how far she's come since that explosive debut year, how she recharges between movies, and how she approached her Golden Globe nominated role as the amoral steely Miss Sloane.

NATHANIEL: One of the things that stuck with me from the first time we talked years ago was how many questions you write into each script about your character. With this character in particular, she is really a complicated woman

JESSICA: So complicated.

NATHANIEL: So was your script just buried in notes? 

JESSICA: Oh my gosh, it was insane...

Click to read more ...

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