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Entries in child stars (23)

Thursday
Jul312014

Smackdown 1973: Candy, Madeline, Linda, Sylvia, and Tatum O'Neal

Behold the five Oscar-nominated Supporting Actresses of 1973: a "bitchin' babe" (Candy Clark), a pint-sized con-artist (Tatum O'Neal), a possessed teenager (Linda Blair), a selfish carnival dancer (Madeline Kahn), and a vinegary New York institution (Sylvia Sidney). 

THE NOMINEES

 

Last month's featured year, 1964, gave us an extremely senior acting shortlist of Oscar regulars but the corresponding shortlist of 1973, apart from Sylvia Sidney who had been a respected working actress for nearly a half-century, skewed very new and very young and not just because it gave us the youngest Oscar winner of all time in Tatum O'Neal; she was 10 years and 148 days old. The four actresses nominated with Sidney were in their first flush of stardom and only acting in their first (O'Neal) second (Kahn & Clark) or third films (Blair). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences obviously approved of their career choice.

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

from left to right: Chambers, Delany, Harris, Longworth, Rogers, Turner

You've already heard 'what 1973 means to them' and now here to talk about these five performances are authors Mark Harris ("Five Came Back") and Karina Longworth ("Anatomy of  an Actor: Meryl Streep"), film critics Bill Chambers (Film Freak Central) and Kyle Turner (Movie Scene), your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience) and our special guest: two-time Emmy winning actress Dana Delany ("China Beach", "Body of Proof", and the forthcoming "Hand of God").

And, as ever, we must thank StinkyLulu for the original Smackdown inspiration in which we revisit Oscar shortlists of the past without all the campaigning and heat-of-the-moment politics that infect each awards race. Without further ado, the main event...

1973
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb112014

Shirley Temple Black, 1928-2014

Here's the last kind of news you want to hear, first thing in the morning. Shirley Temple Black, the quintessential child star, has passed away at 85 years old.

Temple's career exploded at the sage old age of 5, when she appeared in a string of massively successful hits for 20th Century Fox in 1934, including Little Miss Marker, Baby Take a Bow, and Bright Eyes. So fast and so complete was her success, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created a brand new award that year just so that she could receive it, the non-competitive Special Oscar for best juvenile performance. She appeared in a shocking number of films throughout the 1930s, dominating the box office and generally making everybody much less depressed that there was a Depression on. Her career continued strongly until 1949, with the actress still appearing in classics like The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer and John Ford's Fort Apache even as an adult. In later years, she was the U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, in addition to sitting on the boards of a number of corporations.

To most of us, though, her name was and will remain fixed to a very particular idea of childish exuberance, the round cheeks and curly hair of pre-adolescent innocence at its most bubbly and aggressively charming. Temple, in the 1930s, was one of the all-time iconic movie stars, an instantly-familiar face with an immediately-recognizable personality even to people who'd never think to watch one of her movies.

 


It's easy to assume that her stardom was based on being abnormally cute and able to carry a tune, but even in her earliest starring roles, she had a gift for comic timing and a distinctly clever streak that keeps her roles from getting too sacharine. She was, by any standards that have ever fairly applied to a pre-teen, a genuinely good actress and commanding screen presence, on top of being a darling moppet.

We've lost a lot of terrific actors in the last couple of months, but with Temple we've lost more than that. This morning marks the passing of one of the few genuine Hollywood legends left to us, and everyone who loves movies is a bit poorer for it.

Monday
Jan062014

Linker and Commander

My New Plaid Pants the greatest "which is hotter?" of all time
Pajiba's bitch rankings for the new season of Downton Abbey. So happy it's back. Love Mary so much. 
The Backlot Did Sir Ian McKellen out gay actors who everyone knows are gay even though they're not actually really out even though they're gay? The silliest "controversy" of the weekend. Gay gay gay

Awards Daily seems convinced that American Hustle is going to win Best Picture and everyone knows it. Ummm... we don't even have the nominations yet. I'd say the race is still on.
The Carpetbagger let's ask Siri about Samantha in Her why don't we? Yes, let's.
Variety Judi Dench, Bruce Dern and 12 Years get props from the AARP in their annual "best movies for grownups" list
In Contention oooh, it's BAFTA's rising star nominees! I always forget that they do that.  The nominees are: Dane DeHaan (Kill Your Darlings), George Mackay (How I Live Now), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave), Will Poulter (We're the Millers), and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color). They aren't nominated for those specific pictures but I just include them to remind you. Who would you vote for?

Best Read
If you haven't yet read this open letter to James Franco from The Village Voice's Amy Nicholson, titled "do the double dick dude" you absolutely must: hilarious, provocative, and smart.

Today in Randomness...
A happy 25th birthday to actor Max Pirkis. Remember how great he was opposite Paul Bettany and Russell Crowe in Master and Commander: Far Side of the World? I've been meaning to rewatch that for in forever. You never know with child actors if it's merely a great director, a natural gift, or a happy accident. Pirkis later had a supporting role on HBO's Rome as the evil Gaius Octavian (I only saw the first season of that show but I understand it was akin to a King Joffrey part?) but he's been absent from screens for all of his twentysomething years. He's returning to the movies this year in Flying Home (with Jamie Dornan) and the horror flick The Quiet Ones (opening in April) and we wish him well, especially if Master and Commander was indication of his potential. As I was typing this up I realized he was on twitter and twitter accounts from non celebrity actors are a peculiar joy. There you can sometimes spot actual opinions instead of careful PR positivity about everything. For example, he has Oscar opinions, didn't like whatever Jodie Foster was doing in Elysium (but who did, really?). And, this is my favorite, because I never quite understood why people were so gaga for The World's End (which I think is the worst of the Cornetto Trilogy and by a significant margin. 

 

Thursday
Dec052013

Team FYC: Tye Sheridan for Best Actor

In this series we sound off (individually) on their favorite fringe contenders. Here's Philippe Ostiguy on Tye Sheridan in "Mud"


It is no secret that, while the Academy rarely misses an opportunity to reward a young actress’ breakout, it likes to keep the boys running a while longer – in fact, over the past twelve years, female acting nominees have been on average a full eight years younger than their male counterparts. Little Tye Sheridan, then, has virtually no chance of catching voters’ eyes, especially in a field as crowded as this year’s Best Actor category, and with a film that peaked in buzz back in May.

But boy, does he deserve a chance. Previously only seen as The Tree of Life’s youngest, quietest sibling, the seventeen year old gives in Mud a performance of the highest class, one played with evident maturity that nevertheless remains candid and childlike (Sheridan was fifteen at the time of filming). Though it was sold as the story of a runaway criminal, likely to bank on Matthew McConaughey’s involvement, Mud is above all the tale of Ellis’ coming-of-age, as his naïve idealism is confronted with a reality much harsher than he had anticipated. Having lived a sheltered childhood and bumpy family life, Ellis is all too happy to find a role model in McConaughey’s Mud, with his grand talks of love, freedom and independence, and all too unprepared for the kind of letdown his trust sets him up for. Though the veteran gives a first-rate turn as the titular character, it is Sheridan’s much less showy portrayal that gives the film all of its heart. His Ellis is earnest and hopeful, out of his depth but determined to hold it together. The way Sheridan grounds the entire film with his restraint and soul brings to mind Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout as Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone, albeit with a greener, tenderer character. Ellis’ tenderness is in fact his biggest strength: when he finally lashes out in disappointment, eyes red and voice cracking, he rips your heart out.

For reminding us adulthood is not a prerequisite for complex, layered and relatable characters, Mud should mark Tye Sheridan’s first Academy Award nomination. But hey: if that doesn’t pan out, he’ll still have David Gordon Green’s acclaimed Joe, David Fincher’s star-studded Dark Places and the central role in the dark indie Grass Stains, all due next year, to cheer him up.

Related Post
Critics Choice Balloting: Eligible Performances for "Best Young Actor/Actress" 

previous FYCs
Original Screenplay In a World... | Production Design The Conjuring | Supporting Actor Keith Stanfield | Score Nebraska | Costume Design Lawrence Anyways | Foreign Film Neighboring Sounds | Supporting Actress Cameron Diaz | Picture The Spectacular Now | Make-Up Warm Bodies | Sound Mixing World War Z | Director Edgar WrightSupporting Actor Ulysses the Cat

Monday
Nov182013

"Critics Choice" Best Young Actor/Actress. Any FYCs?

Updated to add voting options!

Yesterday out of nowhere I suddenly felt a shiver go down my spine. I realized that if I didn't pull some advocacy action, my fellow Broadcast Film Critics might just give Chloe Grace Moretz TWO nominations for Best Young Actor/Actress for Kick-Ass 2 and Carrie and nobody needs that. Not even Chloe who doesn't strike us as the sort that needs the validation to go on. (Horror of horrors that's already occurred back in 2010 when she won a double nom) And then I pictured Quvenzhané Wallis getting nominated for her one line in 12 Years a Slave and remembered that frustrating nomination for Asa Butterfeld in Hugo (he could repeat this year for Ender's Game) and I knew I had to intervene with some advocacy or at least a helpful voting cheat sheet.

Thomas Horn & Quvenzhane Wallis, the last two winners of this category

See, sometimes the lazy voting in this category can be attributed to its low profile. If you're not actually researching / thinking about "which actors that aren't yet 21 did good work this year?" chances are when it comes time to vote you'll just be scribbling down whoever comes immediately to mind. That strategy favors the famous and the lucky (are they in a film you're thinking about for other categories?) and "Best" is not really even a part of the equation.

HELPFUL CHARTS AND READER BALLOT REQUESTS AFTER THE JUMP...

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