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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
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Entries in Best Actress (601)


Actress "Characters" Wins: Miranda, Clarice, Clementine

Talking Points!

Last month I asked you to vote on the most memorable characters within the ranks of the Best Actress nominees. It wasn't about who gave the best performances but which characters have stuck with you the most. Here are the results -- I assumed you'd like to see.


  1. *CLARICE STARLING (Jodie Foster) from Silence of the Lambs
  2. THELMA (Geena Davis) from Thelma & Louise
  3. LOUISE (Susan Sarandon) from Thelma & Louise
  4. *ADA MCGRATH (Holly Hunter) from The Piano
  5. FRANCESCA JOHNSON (Meryl Streep) from The Bridges of Madison County

    runners up (in descending order):  (four way tie for sixth place!!!) SERA Leaving Las Vegas, TINA TURNER What's Love Got to Do With It,  ELINOR DASHWOOD Sense & Sensibility and *SISTER HELEN PREJEAN Dead Man Walking and... coming in tenth *MARGARET SCHLEGEL Howards End

    observations: Clarice Starling had the widest margin of victory in any of the polls, a classic character indeed. I was a bit surprised to see Thelma just edge out Louise for #2 given that Sarandon was the "leader" but perhaps people still get the characters mixed up? Thelma, Louise and Ada were pretty evenly matched with Francesca just barely edging out that cluster of women competing for the the 5-Spot. I'm surprised that Margaret Schlegel was as low as she was (I would've voted for her myself) but I have noticed that today's film culture has greatly devalued the Merchant/Ivory filmography. A true shame because nobody does Brit lit adaptations like that historic team.

    weakest showing: Rose (Laura Dern) from Rambling Rose, Viv (Miranda Richardson) from Tom & Viv barely made a blip with 1% of the vote each. The surprise there is Rambling Rose since Dern's Oscar breakthrough was quite a memorable girl. But it's true that you never hear people talk about that film these days.

1996-2010 AFTER THE JUMP

Click to read more ...


Actress Polling - Final Days

Only a couple of days remain to vote on the "Character" Best Actress Polls that were posted earlier this month.

If you haven't already voted on 1991-2000 in particular please do so. That decade's polls got far fewer votes than 2001-2010 and it'd be great if another 400 of you voted to even things out a bit. You can vote for five characters in each poll!  I mean I'm dying to know whether you think Cynthia "Sweetheart" Purley in Secrets and Lies is more memorable than, say, cross-dressing Viola in Shakespeare in Love. Or whether you love Louise but not Thelma (aren't you required to vote for both?) or if you'd vote for Senator Laine Hanson from The Contender but would never buy a house from Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty. Have you ever ridiculed Nell "tae in the win'" or sold your body to an alcholic like Sera did in Leaving Las Vegas.

Go and vote: Which Best Actress characters from that era do you think about the most?


Oscar June Predix Update. What We Know Now...

... can fit into a thimble or a wee baby's hand. Sometimes by May's end one or two fairly-sure things have become clear, but the closest we have to that, still, is Rango in the animated film department. Old news.

What did the Month of May teach us suggest to us?

1. The Weinsteins, who finally won their first post-Miramax "Best Picture"  with The King's Speech, will not likely be satiated by that triumph. It'll just make them hungry for another. They have been beefing up their competitive slate. They either have faith in both Phyllida Lloyd's Thatcher bio The Iron Lady (which sounds typically "prestige" enough for Oscar play, even if it turns out dull) and the crowdpleaser The Artist (which sounds accessible enough for Oscar play, despite being a silent film) or they didn't want anyone else to have one or both of them. You never know with them. And you won't know till the last minute; the Weinsteins are notoriously patient about waiting it out, either because they like to see what the awards air is like, or just because they believe more strongly in the "ONLY DECEMBER!" Oscar strategy than any other distributor. We'll find out more about their plan towards the end of the year. 

2. Cannes elevated the intriguing possibility of Kirsten Dunst Best Actress traction for Melancholia -- something we've long hoped for for one of our favorite actresses -- but what's yet more delicious than her Cannes win is the myriad ways this could play out with a complicated mix of voting factors (actual high quality performance, off-performance sympathy votes, career comeback of sorts, Lars von Trier's unpredictable track record in US distribution); Those moviegoers who love to follow the politics of Oscar, not just the movies, are bound to enjoy this particular story as it unfolds. 

3. The warm reception for Midnight in Paris raised the distinct possibility that Woody Allen could see his 15th Best Original Screenplay nomination. Pundits, including myself, have regularly sold the idea that Mr Allen is always a threat in the Original Screenplay category but in truth, that "always" is quite an overestimation given that he hasn't been a  "regular" since the 90s. (He only received one nomination in the Aughts making him less an always then a 10% kinda guy these days). He didn't even get much Oscar traction for Vicky Cristina Barcelona despite a Golden Globe  Picture win and an eventual Oscar for Penélope Cruz. But Midnight, might be a different story. Firstly, there's no individual performance that awards bodies can latch on to -- the showiest work is done by the people with the teeniest parts -- and if anyone reaps the benefits of the love for the film, it'll be Allen himself. Midnight is quite light on its feet despite a theme with melancholy resonance, and it's performing well at the box office. As The Film Experience has always maintained, Oscar voters tastes are basically a figurative amalgam of critics + moviegoers + media; if those three groups like something (even if they do so for entirely different reasons), Oscar will join them.

4. I'm not sure what we know about The Tree of Life. I feel lost here. At first one heard "mixed reviews" than it won the "Palme D'Or" and then it opened. It's been a whirlwind of activity. If the random stories of older audiences walking out are true -- can one ever trust "stories" about certain demographics loving or hating any film? Said stories always seem rife with possible agendas and/or horse's mouth biases -- than it might be dead in the water for Oscar. BUT. It just opened. Let's see how it plays as it expands. If Malick teaches us anything he teaches us patience, right? See you at his next film in 2019! (I'm kidding. Supposedly the next film has already completed shooting... but I'll believe back-to-back Malick releases when they happen and no sooner.)

5. My guess is that Pirates of the Caribbean bombed too badly with critics to win it much heat in the technical categories where it's previously done fairly well for itself. Thor wasn't a big enough deal financially and in the passion-meter of its fans to score any technicals (though it's worth noting that its production designer Bo Welch is an Academy favorite), so the next two superhero tests are X-Men First Class and Green Lantern. For some possibly silly reason, I've convinced myself that it's Captain America that might get the tech nods that you know at least one of the comic book films will win.

Eventually comic book films will invade Oscar. Though it seems improbable now it's a matter of percentages. As more and more of them get made, Oscar will have less and less ways to avoid them.

Here's something we don't know...

What the hell is going on with The Eye of the Storm? It's one of those titles, an adaptation of a novel, that I only discovered in researching potential Oscar players (and talking in the comments to you!) but I never hear a peep about it in terms of "official" anything. Nevertheless it looks promising and actressy, and maybe Geoffrey Rush's post-Speech heat and general hammy deliciousness (to AMPAS palettes at least) can help it out? I've tried everything I could think of to embed the teaser (everything I could think of = copy and paste) but nothing works so you'll have to go to Twitch to see it.

Fly away, pigeon. Just say your farewell and go.

Dying Charlotte Rampling theatrically dismissing bitchy Judy Davis is my new two second obsession. Enjoy it with me!

Click on the individual category titles to explore further.


Cannes: Best Actress and Best Actor

Hmmm. Not sure what to make of this. It's both awesome in that Kirsten Dunst is realizing she's part of history (why am I hearing a Drew Barrymore lispy childhood throwback in her voice? It's so cute) and troubling. You see, as we've discussed before the Melancholia press conference can't have been easy for her but my personal feeling is that she should defer the LvT questions -- say as little as posssible -- rather than join in the condemnation. He is, after all, her director of the performance that's bringing in the accolades and helping her win her first huge Best Actress prize as a star. She needs to  separate herself but still be gracious about it. If her performance ends up being one of the best of the film year, hopefully she'll have the chance to perfect this tricky balance later on in Oscar season.

For the French speakers among you, to balance things out, here's Best Actor winner Jean DuJardin from The Artist.


The Rose

may flowers, blooming each afternoon

Just remember.... in the winter... far beneath the bitter snow...

How beautiful is that song? On a scale of 1-10? 11! One of the all time classics.

I don't think we've ever discussed that particular Best Actress race. Sally Field took her first Oscar for Norma Rae "UNION!". But who gets your vote?

  • Jill Clayburgh, Starting Over
  • Sally Field, Norma Rae
  • Jane Fonda, The China Syndrome
  • Marsha Mason, Chapter Two
  • Bette Midler, The Rose

I've just realized that the reason we've never discussed it here at The Film Experience is that I barely remember these movies (and have never seen Starting Over ... which sounds like a spiritual sequel or straight up remake of An Unmarried Woman). I remember really liking the other four performances when I saw them on VHS (gulp) in the late 80s. I was a huge fan of Chapter Two in particular for a split second but barely remember it now. No one speaks of Marsha Mason anymore...


Streep. The Lady Turns Blue

A new photo of Jim Broadbent and Meryl Streep as Mr & Mrs Margaret Thatcher from The Iron Lady [via The Daily Mail]

This is apparently a recreation of her "The lady is not for turning" speech when she was at war with the unions. As much as I hated Mamma Mia! from her Iron Lady director and as much as I am largely suspect about this movie and whether it will lionize (perhaps accidentally?) an über conservative doing the kind of thing everyone is correctly pissed at the Wisconsin Governor for doing, I'll have to admit I'm getting more curious about the movie.

If only because it's so hard to read this far out. Did I underestimate it in my Oscar predictions?