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Entries in Blythe Danner (7)

Tuesday
Aug072018

Together & Apart: 10 Years with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 

By Spencer Coile 

Growing up in the early 2000’s, it was near impossible to avoid hearing someone talk about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It followed four best friends who, realizing the difficulty of being apart from each other for the summer, find themselves inexplicably linked by a pair of jeans that magically fit all of them. The first book by Ann Brashares was published in 2001 with four sequels shortly after, so it wasn’t long before a film adaptation was in the works. 

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was released in 2005 and its sequel in 2008. With the casting of TV stars Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Blake Lively, and Amber Tamblyn, the films brought the same magic that the novels did before them. They were melodramatic and trite, but bursting with themes of loss, love, and friendship. I was swept up in the magic, and with the 10th anniversary of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, felt it was imperative to get nostalgic and explore a series that helped define my adolescence...

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Wednesday
Nov112015

Oscar Scuttlebutt: Hateful Eight, Best Actress, and More

Nathaniel, popping in from a busy AFI schedule to gossip with you!  

One of the best things about this annual trip to Los Angeles, besides meeting West Coast fans and spending time with rarely seen LA friends, is hearing the gossip around the Oscar campaigns and individual opinions on the movie. As I suspected Youth resonates with a lot of people in the industry. I've always thought the Oscar conversations on the internet are sleeping on this one because it's a) not in theaters yet and b) skews older than active rooting interests of typical online communities. Also extremely happy to report that people in town seem more confident in Charlotte Rampling's prospects for a 45 Years nomination than I have previously been. She's getting a tribute at the AFI and Kirsten Dunst is even hosting a party in her honor this weekend.

Now, one must always take every anecdote and opinion with a whole block of salt since one man's treasure is another's junk, some assumptions will always be proven wrong, and depending on who is talking there may be an agenda floating around, visible or well hidden. Here are some tidbits you may be interested in though keep in mind that it's all just hearsay after the jump...

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Wednesday
Sep302015

6 Questions. Best Actress / Supporting Actress Races

With the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress (or "Best Actress Pt 2" if the category fraud forces have their way!) charts updated, all Oscar charts are now up to date. Next update is...? Well, we'll see. But October tends to be instructive. Here are question prompts for the comments after you've checked out the charts.

1. Will it help to be the first FYC screeners out?
Blythe Danner (72) who carries I'll See You in My Dreams and Lily Tomlin (76) who drives Grandma already have screeners out. I can't wait to watch both again. I'd hold them in my hands to prove my eagerness for you but then how could I type? As previously expressed in "either/or" paranoia (The Martian vs. Mad Max or Truth vs. Spotlight situations) "either/or" is often a false lose-lose game. But it will be interesting to see how much room the Academy has for stellar older women nonetheless. Speaking of...

2. Older Titans or Fresh Excitements?
For the senior set, there's also Charlotte Rampling (69) in 45 Years but she's risking being the last person out of the gate, as Marion Cotillard tried (successfully) in a much thinner field last year.  Even if Oscar decides it wants all fresh young things this year -- and there are plenty of them with Saoirse Ronan and Alicia Vikander leading that particular pack -- and none of the enduring thespians end up nominated how refreshing is it that we have three senior women in the running this year whose names are not Mirren or Streep or Dench?  Answer: very! 

3. How can we ever stop Category Fraud?
Alicia Vikander is The Danish Girl (but, yes, so is Eddie Redmayne so it's a perfect title) UPDATE: But the studio has confimed to us that she's running in supporting. The same is true for Rooney Mara who is 100% definitively absolutely totally inarguably a lead in Carol (there should be no doubt as to how we feel) no matter what the campaign strategists claim. I firmly believe both Mara & Blanchett could be nominated if pushed as a box set in Carol, a la Thelma & Louise... if Thelma & Louise had been excited about bedding each other on their road trips instead of, say, Brad Pitt.  Romantic dramas, requited or unrequited, usually require two leads... it's the nature of the beast. Pretending Mara is supporting in Carol is like pretending that Kate Winslet supported Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine or Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic (or vice versa) or like pretending Blanchett supported Dench in Notes on a--- oh ah. DAMNIT!

With Mara & Vikander both in high rising star demand and Oscar's history of LOVING to crown young beautiful actresses near the beginning of big careers, Supporting Actress could well be Best Actress 2 with these two leads battling it out for that win. IF Oscar is okay with the fraud that is... which they usually are, yes. (sigh)

4. Among the actual supporting players/characters this year who could win traction? 
Category Fraud tends to be a bigger problem in years when memorable actual supporting characters show up late in the year. And 2015 is definitely having that problem. Usually I have a full list by this point that I'm eager to hold on to but it's been a weak year for female parts in the ensemble. Case in point: It's exciting to think of Elisabeth Moss squaring off with Blanchett in Truth, but she only has a few lines here and there. And Sarah Paulson is as wonderful as everyone has come to expect in Carol but as with 12 Years a Slave, other much more famous or less famous actresses have much larger roles in her movies. When will a filmmaker give her THE key female role, supporting or otherwise, in a movie? She's earned it.

Jane Fonda has just one scene in Youth (and a flash cut from another scene) but boy is it a doozy. Half of the movie points right at this scene.

I'm currently predicting Jane Fonda in Youth, Julie Walters in Brooklyn, and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Hateful Eight for the more traditional type of strong candidates, making big marks in well liked movies either by way of the script blazingly focusing on them or by way of scene stealing or by way of being the key woman in a man's movie. All three of these are risky bets for different reasons (Leigh mostly because people haven't yet seen the film ... and because she has historically proven easy for the Academy to ignore even when she had juicy big roles) but the supporting actress race is looking like the last of the four acting competitions that will come into proper focus.

5. Who do you think we're underestimating and which chart position do you think is spot on?
Sound off. 

6. Remember that New Best Actress Hierarchy we published in February?
Jane Fonda (#6), Cate Blanchett (#11), Maggie Smith (#12) and Kate Winslet (#18) could all move up a rung or two this year if Oscar voters embrace their latest roles.  

Monday
Aug312015

What Is It With Ruth Madoff and Actresses?

You've already heard that Michelle Pfeiffer is finally planning to work again for an HBO movie called Wizard of Lies. So let's give the story its proper due.

Pfeiffer in The Family / Ruth Madoff

(I included the Pfeiff News in the last link roundup but the Pfans among you didn't deem that sufficient. (I heard from a pflummoxed pfew by e-mail). Look, stop demanding my bonafides! I have been devoted to La Pfeiff since 1985 in. real. time. I've followed her long enough to take each new probject with a full brick of salt until I see footage. She is so skittish about working.)

For the moment at least she is planning to play Ruth Madoff in Wizard of Lies with Robert De Niro in the leading role of fraudulent financier Bernie Madoff. Aside from cameos and voice work this will be her first TV role since just before superstardom hit in 87/88. In her last film The Family, DeNiro (who is 72) and she had teenage children but they're aging up this time around and delicious/undervalued Alessandro Nivola (who is 43) will play their son. Frankly I'd rather see Alessandro romantically paired with Pfeiffer than playing her biological! She's closer to his age than De Niros (by one year - hee - as she's 14 years older than Nivola and 15 years younger than De Niro - but it counts! Especially since she's so foxy. And especially because Nivola is even hotter (it sounds impossible but it's totally true) when paired with actresses that are older than he is - think Frances McDormand in Laurel Canyon, Embeth Davidtz in Junebug and Emily Mortimer in real life (his wife is just one year older - but for this argument it counts ;) 

But back to the Madoffs.

It's worth noting here that Ruth Madoff has already been played by Cate Blanchett (kinda) in Blue Jasmine, and BEFORE Pfeiffer she'll be played by Blythe Danner in the ABC miniseries Madoff (currently filming) so the disgraced rich lady is really getting around among the actresses. It is kind of an instant classic dream role in the Women Who Lie To Themselves™ subgenre.

Blythe Danner and Richard Dreyfuss in Madoff, coming to ABC in 2016.

If Pfeiffer actually goes through with it, we can hope for an Emmy but won't hold our breath. Despite her fame and acclaim, she has never been an awards magnet only picking up an odd trophy here and there (the BAFTA for Dangerous Liaisons, the Silver Bear for Love Field, and several coveted prizes for Fabulous Baker Boys including the Globe, the NBR, and the holy trinity of critics prizes -- NYFCC, LAFCA, NSFC -- before losing the Oscar for that role. ARGH x ∞).

But after both Blue Jasmine (2013) and ABC's Madoff (2016) will audiences and showbiz voters still be into this story for a third round in late 2016 or 2017? 

Sunday
Aug232015

Podcast: Straight Outta U.N.C.L.E. and Into Old Lady Movies

For this week's edition of the podcast, Nathaniel and Nick gab about old lady movies (I'll See You In My Dreams, Ricki & The Flash, and Grandma). Nick hasn't seen The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Nathaniel hasn't seen Straight Outta Compton so they tell each other about them, too.

Contents (43 minutes)
00:01 Grey Gardens to Straight Outta Compton?
06:45 I'll See You In My Dreams, Ricki & The Flash
19:30 Grandma
27:00 The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
30:00 Sam Elliott
33:00 Miscellania: The Gift, Tom at the Farm, Sand Dollars, and being over Helen Mirren


You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes

Straight Outta Old Lady Movies

Thursday
Jul022015

Halfway: Best Leading Performances of 2015 Thus Far

½way mark - part 2 of ? You can't see everything but you should see as much as possible if you're in the awardage business, or business of watching awardage, or business of watching awardage watchers and... well you get the picture. SEE MORE MOVIES. I know I need to and I see plenty.

Let's take stock of what's come out in theaters thus far (Jan 1st - Jul 1st for our purposes here). Even if conversations suggest otherwise in November through January each year we always pray that Academy members are regular moviegoers and don't just wait until their screeners arrive.

10 best lead performances from the year's first half...

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