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Entries in Frances McDormand (6)


Blog Wars: The Link Strikes Back

Must Read ICYMI
The Hoopla Frances McDormand suggests that looking your age is a subversive act. Great stuff. It's been great to see her face all over signage for Olive Kitteridge

More Linkage
Coming Soon strange news: Christian Bale drops out of Steve Jobs biopic two weeks after taking it claims 'he's not right for the role'. Hmmmm, then why take it?
CHUD the poster for Neil Blomkamp's Chappie with Hugh Jackman. It's weird and cute and hmmm.
Previously TV great piece on a key scene in the awesome series Transparent (on Amazon - you must watch it if you haven't, especially if you're interested in the psychology of family dynamics or in trans issues) 
MNPP if you missed any episodes of Jason's "13 Phones of Halloween" now is the time to rectify that. Was your holiday good this past weekend?
Towleroad Benedict Cumberbatch responds to complaints that The Imitation Game isn't as gay as its subject
Dissolve JJ Abrams confirms via "thank you" letter (such manners!) that Star Wars Episode VII has wrapped filming 
Deadline bonafide crazy person Nicolas Winding Refn is making a female led horror film called The Neon Demon because...

One morning I woke and realized I was both surrounded and dominated by women. Strangely, a sudden urge was planted in me to make a horror film about vicious beauty" 

Variety Johnny Depp performed with Marilyn Mason on Halloween
MNPP [NSFW] Awww, it's Dolph Lundgren's birthday today. Remember Showdown in Little Tokyo? a Bad Movies We Love winner
/Film Tom Cruise doing his own Mission Impossible stunts again like a crazy person
Pajiba Taylor Kitsch "Officially" reacts to being replaced as Gambit by Channing Tatum in the forthcoming superhero movie
Pop Culture Crazy thinks The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a knockout (I wish I liked this one more! I want to)
Daily Mail Jamie Dornan refers to his cock as "gratuitous, graphic and ugly" when discussing what we will and won't see in 50 Shades of Grey. How could any part of him be ugly? 

Exit Video ICYMI
Every death in the original Star Wars trilogy. The saddest part isn't even a minute in when the body count jumps to 2 billion. Sigh, Alderaanians. We hardly knew thee.



The ½ Way Mark Finale. Best Supporting Actress

Previously: Actress, Actor , Supporting Actor and Picture.

As per usual even with only six months of film releases, not even of the prestige variety, there's more than enough to choose from for a solid Supporting Actress list. Though I'll always be most tied to Best Actress on account of movie star fascination, it's easy to understand why this is year in, year out, many readers favorite category.  

SUPPORTING ACTRESS  January through June Releases
For Your Consideration... my ballot as of July 7th. 

  • Eva Green, Dark Shadows (discussed in the review)
  • Frances McDormand, Moonrise Kingdom
    Magic. Don't you feel like you know exactly what it's like to be her child, her husband, or her middle aged lover while you're , to be her husband and her lover while watching this? 
  • Olivia Munn, Magic Mike
    A textbook example of seizing an opportunity and making the most of a character. Her slumming grad student with an open body, adventurous spirit, but compartmentalized heart is a key foil to reveal Magic Mike's own self-awakening.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, People Like Us (previously discussed)
  • Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
    Could she do this in her sleep? Probably. But that shouldn't negate the joy of watching her work or the affecting reveal of a kind heart buried under a nasty exterior and a lot of ignorance.

With apologies to Charlize Theron who made good on that Young Adult comeback twice over by ruling over Snow White and the Hunstman like a Queen, the royal kind, in Snow White and the Huntsman (maybe she went too big ... maybe... but someone had to keep that film from flatlining!) and an intriguingly robotic ice queen, the figurative kind, in Prometheus. 

Team Experience Votes?

Alexandra says: since I am at a loss, I have to give it to Anne Hathaway for Les Misérablespurely on the strength of the trailer ;)

Michael says: The Five-Year Engagement may have been a minor entry in the Apatow pantheon, but his technique of loading the supporting cast with comedy ringers continues to pay dividends. This time its Alison Brie, sporting an impressive English accent as Emily Blunt's sister, who ends up supplying the film with its most consistent source of laughs. It makes one wish the movie was changed to Five Week Engagement and rewritten to follow her and Chris Pratt's couple. 

Beau says: Eva Green in Dark Shadows. For (finally!) delivering on that promise she showed nearly a decade ago in Bertolucci's The Dreamers. For circumventing the limitations of the script and strutting off with the film in tow. For stealing a picture away from incredible name actors, looking quizzically at you when you mention that and denying it; you can't steal something when it was always yours.

Nicely said, Beau. Green would be my winner if I was forced to vote right now, too. On to the second half of the year! (After we get your ballots in the comments that is.)

And if you haven't seen them... my Current Supporting Actress Predictions


Red Carpet: Serious Actresses, Voices of Reason, Flamboyant Firemen.

For this week's red carpet convo, Your Movie Buddy Kurt is back to chat with Nathaniel and we're joined by special guest Guy Lodge from In Contention! We're discussing a couple handfuls of usually cross-platform celebrities who hit the Tony Awards.

Kurt: ‬ ‪i should say first that i did not watch the show‬
Guy: ‬ ‪That makes two of us!‬
 ‬ ‪but i did see NPH's opening number. killer.‬
Nathaniel: Here we go... soak it in.


Guy: WOW where to even begin?
Nathaniel: Let's start at the obvious place. Make up a show in your head that allows for all of these looks to happen. A schizo show it might be...

[long pause]

Guy: ‬ ‪I'm imagining a revisionist take on the Wizard of Oz where a washed-up tennis star, a washed-up Lilith Fair singer-songwriter and a washed-up Julianna Margulies body double all join forces to seek guidance from an all-knowing, black-clad sorceress -- except instead of lacking heart-brain-courage, they simply all lack style. And a mirror.‬
Kurt: ‬ way to make Whoopi the magical negro.
Nathaniel: ‬ ‪I love you, Guy. You've even brought us full circle to TAMMY BLANCHARD's original calling card: that Judy Garland miniseries aeons ago! Tammy is in a sparkly blue number here. I don't think we can top Tom & Lorenzo's comment "serving drag queen realness." But Tammy is a biological woman.
Kurt: She's really out of place here. Has my taste level plummeted or does she look pretty ok?‬


wow. ouch.‬
Guy: ‬ ‪That she's also the best dressed person here doesn't bode well.‬
Nathaniel‪: ‬ ‪Well, I've started with dessert - this is as crazy as it gets.‬
Kurt: ‬ ‪fo realz‬. I really want to talk about Frances but we should probably move left to right.
Nathaniel: ‬ ‪We can hop around. Something is telling me that FRANCES MCDORMAND wouldn't mind that breach of etiquette as she showed up to an awards show in a jean jacket!

Guy: ‬ ‪On reflection, I think Whoopi's actually the best-dressed here -- because she looks more like herself than any of the others. You know she only dresses to amuse herself.‬
Kurt: She's amusing me, too.
Nathaniel: ‬ ‪Is that how you explain WHOOPI GOLDBERG's Queen Elizabeth Oscar look?‬
Guy: ‬ ‪Totally. And remember that purple dress with green leggings she wore to the Oscars one year? Frankly, if she pitched up dressed in a sleek Prada number, I'd be worried about her.‬
Kurt: ‬ ‪very true‬


Nathaniel: ‬ ‪Perhaps one can say the same for Frances, who clearly cannot be bothered to project FAMOUS MOVIE STAR and instead opts for THEATER COMPANY EARTH MOTHER‬
‬ ‪this look is absolutely nuts.
 ‬ ‪She clearly wants to show how serious she is about her craft that she can't be bothered with all this glam-up business... but come on.‬
Kurt: ‬
‪it's a little tooo defiant‬.
 ‬ ‪I was talking to Joe Reid earlier today and he said that he wanted to go on record.‬ 'Make sure someone defends Frances McD' he says. I'm like "ON WHAT GROUNDS?!" and he says "That she's Frances McDormand and can do as she pleases"
Guy: ‬
‪Well, she's Frances McDormand and we love her, but that's as far as the defence goes.‬ Remember the navy dress she wore when she won the Oscar? It was simple and sensible and got the same message across without being fugly.‬
Nathaniel‪: ‬ ‪True Story: I once had a jean jacket and painted Annie Lennox on the back of it (circa SAVAGE cd) and wore it everywhere and everyday. But i don't know that I would have pulled it out for awards night.‬
Kurt: ‬Should Frances turn around then?
Guy: ‬‪Yes, in fairness, we can't see what's on the back of Frances's leather jacket.‬
Nathaniel: ‬ ‪Ha. I think she mentioned some hippie rock band being on that stage last time she was in this very theater.‬. I forget who. Maybe I'm mischaracterizing.
Kurt: from the waist up, she's on her way to see a hippie rock band.
Nathaniel: also she's in Transformers: Dark of the Moon so maybe SHE HAD TO DO THIS to reestablish her Serious Thespian cred.
Guy: ‬ ‪If it has "SUCK IT, VANESSA REDGRAVE" on the back or her jacket in iron-on letters, she's totally forgiven.‬
Kurt: ‬ ‪HAHA
Nathaniel: ‬ Frances nears the triple crown -- just the Emmy remains -- but ‪Vanessa is a triple crowner already
Guy: ‬ ‪As she should be‬

As is AL PACINO. Do you think anyone would notice if Whoopi and Pacino traded headgear?‬
Kurt: ‬ ‪i really like guy's washed up tennis star notion; however, i can never look at Al anymore without thinking of Roy Cohn, and here, Roy just got back from a tryst and still has the dude's underwear on his head‬
Nathaniel: ‪That is so wrong Kurt... so so wrong.‬
Guy: ‬ ‪Whoopi's hat would help Al's look -- if only because it could fall over his face and he'd be spared the embarrassment of being recognised.‬
Nathaniel: Was there a hairplug incident? He had to mprovise last minute and Whoopi would just not trade!‬
Guy: ‬ ‪Maybe the hair is ATTACHED to the hairband.‬
Nathaniel: ‬ ‪...serving drag queen fierceness‬.
Kurt: ‬ ‪is that the evening's theme?‬
Nathaniel: ‬ ‪no, sadly.‬
Kurt: ‬ ‪because frances would be lip-synching for her mother effin life‬

Guy: ‬ ‪Aside from the headband, though, what's up with the ill-fitting suit? He looks like a teenager wearing his older brother's tux to the prom.‬
Kurt: ‬ I was gonna say. Sadly, the vest is actually the outfit's worst feature. it's blinding me‬ and it's enormous.
Nathaniel: ‬ ‪Incidentally since you guys missed the show. Frances's acceptance speech was kinda awesome if a little braggy. She said she's played both Stella and Blanche‬ AND ALL THREE OF CHEKHOV'S SISTERS.
Guy: ‬
‪Rub it in, Frances.‬
‬ That's not easy to boast while wearing that. Rock star.
Nathaniel: ‬ ‪and then implied she thinks this role she won for in "Good People" would one day join the canon of "great parts"‬
Guy: ‬ ‪Yeah, bet she said that about "Handler" in Aeon Flux.‬


IT'S NOT OVER! keep reading for...  Catherine Zeta-Jones inner fire (plus super gay firemen!), and Viola Davis as "the Voice of Reason."

Click to read more ...


The 65th Tony Awards - Live Blog Song & Dance!


6:33 I feel like a 14 year old Michigander again, all excited for the Tony Awards to start despite not having any access to the shows. It's so masochistic, loving the theater! See, this has been my most poverty stricken year yet, so all I've seen is Catch Me If You Can, The Normal Heart, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (which didn't get the main nomination it deserved in Best Actor) and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown which was kinda terrible but still got some nominations.

6:35 Norbert Leo Butz arrives. He's nominated for Catch Me If You Can in the Tom Hanks role. Tom Hanks couldn't catch him if he tried Butz is so great in it. He says he's feeling...

joyous, celebratory, triumphant.

He also reveals that he met his wife while doing Wicked, a "showmance" that lasted and he says he filled out Fiyero's super tight pants better than his current Catch Me co-star Aaron Tveit

I couldn't find good pictures so you'll have to imagine the captain tight pants competition.

Norbert (original cast) & Aaron (one of many replacements)



6:52 My showmance with the theater, like Butz's, also lasted. Obviously due to my masochism.

6:53 They're talking to John Benjamin Hickey, who is the frontrunner for Featured Actor (i.e. "Best Supporting") for The Normal Heart. He is quite incredible in it -- easily best in show -- but he says he won't be doing much celebrating tonight because he has an early morning call on The Big C. From Tony to Linney... nice work if you can get it !

7:00 Sutton Foster and Bobby Cannavale we're just introduced as 'theater's new "It" Couple' and this was their reaction. Heh. Sutton Foster has been "it" for some time but Bobby is welcome to join.

Bobby & Sutton

The reporter is IN LOVE WITH THEM  even commenting on how "in shape" they are? Lol. (Keep it in your pants, Donna!!!) but that love is going around. It's what happens to it couples, don'cha know.

7:11 Harry Connick Jr has just announced that he is going to star in a revival of ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER. Good luck finding a Barbra Streisand level co-star, Harry!

7: 15 Victoria Clark from Sister Act says...

God is front and center this season, I'm happy to say.

Huh. I don't remember seeing him in the nominee list. Was he even eligible? 

More after the jump including VIDEO plus Vanessa Redgrave, Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris. And Frances McDormand is on the way to a triple crown, you betcha!

Click to read more ...


Stage Door: "The Normal Heart" (Plus Feisty Divas, McDormand and Chenoweth)

Time for your semi-weekly theater fix. This one's about a famous play that has (thus far) eluded movie adaptations, the most publicized of which was Barbra Streisand's attempt to have a go at it in the late 1980s.

A new Tony nominated Broadway revival of Larry Kramer's psychic scream The Normal Heart opened recently to absolutely ectastic reviews. The play is very much a product of its time and place, AIDS ravaged 1980s New York. The original play premiered in 1985 Off Broadway, with film star Brad Davis in the lead role. (Davis was diagnosed with the disease himself that same year though this wasn't revealed to the public until 1991 before his death) The play must have been an absolutely defiant shock to the system at a time when people were still struggling to even say the word "AIDS" out loud. Though Kramer's best known work has been revived a few times since, this is its first Broadway run.

It's a strong play, even accepting that it errs always on the side of pedantics, but I'm afraid I wasn't nearly as taken with the new production as most have been. I'm assuming most of the enthusiasm for this production would have been a bit more muted if the 2004 Off Broadway revival which starred the great Raul Esparza as "Ned Weeks" aka Larry Kramer, had been a bigger success. The play's bristling humanity and hammered messages were somehow both easier to take and harder to stomach (if that makes any sense) in the intimacy that the Off Broadway stage provided.

a starry cast for the 2011 revival

It's the scale that's often the issue here. Tony nominated Joe Mantello is a fine actor but it was difficult (for me at least) to wipe Esparza's quieter and more nuanced portrayal from memory as I watched him. Ellen Barkin, who may win the Tony for her very aggressive and crowd-pleasing second act monologue as "Dr. Death", has Mantello's same problem of scale. It seems to be a question of direction since nearly everyone in the cast is constantly shouting at the top of their lungs. Anybody would given the narrative proceedings but the play is so innately blistering that actors who trust that ravaged vocal chords could never grant it more potency than it already has fare better; best in show is Tony nominated featured actor John Benjamin Hickey as Ned's lover "Felix Turner", who both admires and is perplexed by his partner's constant shouting and fighting.

[Tangent: Though it's neither here nor there, Lee Pace, who plays Ned's antagonist, the handsome but closeted "Bruce Niles", is AMAZINGLY TALL. He towers over the rest of the cast, which I wouldn't have guessed watching Pushing Daisies (Did everyone stand on boxes around him?) He is so imposing physically, live on the stage, that I was forced to check his height on IMDb on the way home: 6'3"]

Mantello and Hickey in "The Normal Heart"This production's white and boxy stage design is both weirdly offputting and far too-static in the first act and emotionally right and eerily tomb-like in the play's much stronger second act. The final moments, aided considerably by Hickey's performance and inspiring lighting, do stun. But I have to confess: I never once cried though I was a bawling mess through the entire second act of the 2004 revival.

Tony Kushner's Angels in America, which arrived a half decade after Kramer's play, has long since been canonized as one of The Great Masterworks of American theater. Angels has held tight to the unofficial title of the AIDS play. But in its own particular personal way, The Normal Heart is its angrier cruder earth-bound cousin. The Normal Heart doesn't bother with symbolism or poetry -- whether that's through lack of ability or easily imagined bilious rejection of escapism is up to you -- and generates all of its admirable potency from its fragile impotent humanity, raging against the powers that be, from within its diseased bodies. Everyone should see both plays in their lifetime.

This production of The Normal Heart: B
The 2004 revival: an easy A

Stage People
La Daily Musto
Frances McDormand stopped the show (literally!) during one of the last performances of Tony nominated Good People (from the Rabbit Hole author David Lindsay-Abaire)
Awards Daily
David Mamet's turn to the dark side, politically speaking.
Playbill Composer David Yazbek (of The Full Monty fame) talking about Pedro Almodóvar and the adaptation of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for the stage.

Busy Broadway Baby: Kristin's new CD and new TV show

Finally...Just Jared spoke with Kristin Chenoweth who will try to tour for her new CD around her schedule for her new TV series "Good Christian Belles" and, one presumes, eventual future Glee cameos because who doesn't love "April Rhodes"? Busy busy!

I love the Cheno as you know so I'm thrilled by her ever increasing fame, but I can't imagine buying her country CDs and this lead off single sounds very generic. Her first CD "Let Yourself Go" is glorious fun but it's all show-tunes which is just where she shines. Personally I only listen to country music if it leans towards bluegrass or folk and stays far from generic "pop" unless it's just straight up A+ music like the Dixie Chicks. How will Kristin marry her different personas in a tour. I've seen her live five times now and while she is amazingly charismatic on stage and I've never regretted a ticket purchase her concerts seem increasingly schizo as her fanbase expands. Will country fans be able to deal with her comedic/operatic  "Glitter and Be Gay" moments... or will she just dump all the showtunes / opera to appease mainstream fans?


True Grit's Masculine Ideal

I thought this was noteworthy. It's an argument from Anita Sarkeesian that Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) in True Grit is not a feminist character. I admire Anita's sand, to borrow a phrase from the film in question.

The points are pretty well made (though I'm not sure the existence of character arcs has much to do with masculine or feminine anything) and it's true that pop stories often labelled as 'girlpower' are really just drag exercizes. Though some, like Kill Bill which is visually referenced (negatively), do have relatively complicating issues involving the femaleness of their protagonists which I don't think she's giving enough credit to.

Still it's an interesting conversation to have and interesting even within the confines of the Coen Bros filmography. By Anita Sarkeesian's standards Fargo's Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), for example, is just about as feminist a creation as the movies have ever dreamed up... and that's even excluding her ginormous pregnancy. She never adopts "male" values so much as just making her way through a hostile violent world by her personal truths and unique cooperative funny relatively peaceful spirit.

She really is one of the best movie characters of all time. We love Marge, you betcha.