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Entries in Best Actress (368)

Friday
Feb052016

Official Oldie Olivia de Havilland!

David here with a bit of golden Hollywood news you may have missed and definitely need to know about.

Two-time Best Actress winner and third-oldest Oscar nominee still living, Olivia de Havilland is understandably rarely seen in public. So we must send our precious thanks to satirical British magazine The Oldie, who honoured Olivia in their annual awards as one of their 'Oldies of the Year' and managed to elicit both a photograph, signed letter and a recorded thank you from the star, which was played at their ceremony this Tuesday and can be heard over on the BBC website.

The Illustration she's holding is by Gary Smith who has been featured on the site before.

In the letter, she made note of her early withdrawl from public life:

I must admit that I have not had much time recently to reflect on what it means to be old. I was fortunate to have been able to enjoy a retirement experience somewhat earlier than most.

Olivia turns 100 in July and what a joy it is to get a rare glimpse of her and how well she looks! TFE will certainly be marking her centenary in some way come the summer - is there anything you'd like to see?

Friday
Feb052016

Colette vs. Mary Magdalene

Here's Murtada speculating very early on the 2017 Oscar race.

There’s usually a real life person in the best actress lineup. It’s not as prevalent as it is in best actor - 4 this year. But we do have Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence). Last year there were Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) and Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon). Recently we got everyone from Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) to Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard) and most famously The Queen (Helen Mirren) and her 80s nemesis Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep). Now we have two more possible candidates for the 2017 Oscar race as two interesting biopics were announced this week with two actresses well known to the Academy. French writer Colette (to be played by Keira Knightley) and Jesus disciple Mary Magdalene (Rooney Mara). 

Colette in 1920s

Colette is the more intriguing figure, at least to this non-believer. Born in 1873 she was a journalist, an actress, a mime and of course most famously the writer of the novel Gigi which became an Oscar winning film and a stage musical. Colette and her first husband Willy Gauthier-Villars, also a writer, were pivotal figures in the salons of the turn of the century Paris and collaborated on several novels. The rumour is that the writing was all Colette’s - shades of Big Eyes. Colette also had sexual and romantic relationships with women. And based on the people behind this film, we know they won’t shy away from telling that story.

The film is written by Wash Westmoreland and the late Richard Glatzer (Quinceañera, Still Alice), with Westmoreland directing. It will be produced by Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen who most recently produced Carol. With lukewarm reviews for her Broadway debut in Therese Requin and a small forgettable part in Everest being her only 2015 credits, this looks like a juicy part that Knightley can sink her teeth into and possibly get her career back on the upturn it was on with 2014’s double bill of Begin Again and The Imitation Game.

While I’m not into religious movies, actresses are my religion and after Carol I would follow Rooney Mara anywhere she wants to go. She’s choosing to collaborate with Garth Davis (Top of the Lake) to tell the story of Mary Magdalene. The actress - director combo is exciting especially when it’s noted that they have recently worked together on Lion (2016) - with Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel. They must have really enjoyed working together to choose to do it again so soon. Wonder who will be cast as Jesus? It’ll have to be someone fantastic if they are to replicate the explosive chemistry Mara had with her Carol co-star Cate Blanchett. This tweet says it best.

Who would you like to see play opposite Knightley and Mara as Gauthier-Villars and Jesus?

Friday
Jan292016

Best Acting, Female Division: Personal Ballots & Oscar Charts

We've reached the end of the Oscar Correlative portion of The Film Bitch Awards... and we're only running like 2 weeks late! Now you can compare nomination stats if you'd so desire. A short take: Mad Max Fury Road is loved in roughly the same dose but The Revenant has only 1 nomination to Carol's 10. You're welcome. That said I do not choose my nominees "in response" to Oscars. The choices are grouped into semi-finalists before the Oscar nominations come out and even when I'm behind schedule I'm still usually only a fifth-slot decision away from my final 5 in each category by that time. 

On to what you've been waiting for... ACTRESSING! 

the best BEST ACTRESS duo since Thelma & Louise? Oh what could have been Academy. What could have been.

BEST ACTRESS
Though we continue to despise The Academy's willingness to embrace Category Fraud and thus deny us the pleasure and spiritual rightness of seeing Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett side-by-side for Carol, the Academy's leading lineup is pretty damn great this year. Though Jennifer Lawrence's nomination was probably pre-ordained and thus lazy voting, she's actually quite good in Joy. Not as good as about ten other leading ladies this year mind you, let's not be crazy -- there were so many that I couldn't squeeze into my personal ballot that I wanted to. We should thank the cinematic gods for years in which we have to make such tough choices about who is "Best".

And yes I feel total guilt about abandoning Lily Tomlin in Grandma at the very end of the film year after championing her for so long but that was what 2015 was like with an abundance of valid and great choices. Some unfortunate soul falls into sixth place each year - damn you, list math. In truth my Best Actress ballot needed nine slots in the worst way this year. 

Cynthia Nixon earning her EGOT... only the people who provide the "O" in that equation weren't paying attentionBEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Here Oscar and I are forced to part ways decisively. Not just from their 'f*** character actresses!' habits with creative category placements but because we rarely see eye to eye when it comes to what StinkyLulu calls "actressing at the edges".

The Academy chose Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rachel McAdams, Kate Winslet, Alicia Vikander, and Rooney Mara and though all of those performances are noteworthy in one way or another my personal ballot only includes one of them: Kate Winslet, who returned to electric form in Steve Jobs (welcome back, baby). Vikander and Mara absolutely have no business here since they're the co-leads of their romantic dramas and as attentive as McAdams was to her sources in Spotlight and as forceful as Jennifer Jason Leigh is when diving straight into cackling evil in The Hateful Eight, they didn't even come close to making my top dozen women who amazed from just off to the side of the lead or further out in the periphery.

Despite our dissimilar tastes, Oscar's acting branch definitely would have loved Cynthia Nixon in James White, had they seen her. It's a traditionally juicy part (a dying, angry yet loving mother) but who among the Academy watches indies that make only $101,000 in theatrical release? Not too damn many of them, that's who. Check out my list and the Oscar chart (now with statistics and trivia!) and choose your own beloveds in the comments. And, as a reminder, ICYMI, Alicia Vikander was granted a special gold medal for "Body of Work" here a couple of weeks back. 

Thursday
Jan142016

7th Time the Charm for Cate & Kate

Murtada here to celebrate the nominations for Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet. It's the 7th nomination for both. Blanchett for Best Actress in Carol and Winslet for supporting actress in Steve Jobs. (Which means they're both moving up that Oscar Hierarchy) .

The two have always been linked since they have (essentially) the same name and started winning the hearts of cinephiles around the same time in the mid 90s.

Although younger by 6 years it was Winslet who first made a splash in Heavenly Creatures (1994) and received her first Oscar nomination a year later for Sense and Sensibility (1995). Three years after that Blanchett announced herself as a force to be reckoned with - and got her first nomination - with Elizabeth (1998).

Winslet’s other nominations are for Titanic (1997), Iris (2001), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Little Children (2006) and The Reader (2008). Blanchett’s are The Aviator (2004), Notes on Scandal (2006), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), I’m Not There (2007) and Blue Jasmine (2013).

Let’s have fun with 7 anecdotes after the jump...

Click to read more ...

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. 

Click to read more ...

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?

Click to read more ...

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...

Click to read more ...

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