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Entries in Frances McDormand (15)

Wednesday
Aug032016

Frances McDormand: from Blood Simple (1984) to Olive Kitteridge (2014)

1984 is our year of the month for August. Here's Matthew Eng to talk about a treasured actor that made her on camera debut back then...

For the better half of her nearly four-decade film career, Meryl Streep has managed to compel generations of moviegoers to accept a self-styled character actress as not only an acting heroine for the ages but also a bona fide movie star with mass-market appeal and unimpeachable box office credentials. Like no other actress since Bette Davis, Streep has perfected a once-unfeasible practice of playing the sort of idiosyncratic women she has always drifted towards, but within the safe confines of midrange, studio-supported moviemaking that seems to satisfy audience expectations as well as her own.

Sometimes Streep’s projects—and, it must be said, Streep herself—can disappoint. For every quietly graceful gem (like her underrated Hope Springs performance) or skillfully uninhibited turn (as in the best passages of It’s Complicated), there are another two or three within Streep’s latter-day canon that could stand some sharper finesse or at least more dexterous directorial guidance. Whenever I’m let down to by Streep, I can’t help but wonder what one of her less-viable peers might do with the opportunities that are scarce for any actress born before the Kennedy administration and which Streep barely has to put up a fight for.

The Beginning: Blood Simple (1984); The Most Recent Triumph: Olive Kitteridge (2014)

For as long as I can remember, Frances McDormand has served as the purest and most intimidating embodiment of what a character actor should be. “That woman has no vanity,” my mom remarked with clear admiration after watching her in Lisa Cholodenko’s Olive Kitteridge, where McDormand delivers one of the decade’s most masterful star turns, a perfectly prickly meeting of actor and role that might have been a surefire Oscar winner had the project aimed for a bigger screen...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun232016

Happy Birthday, Frances McDormand

Kieran, here. There are certain actors whose absence would create a huge void in cinema. It’s not always the movie stars, despite their merits. It’s often the character actors. The beautiful, interesting, wholly human faces that populate our films, only semi-regularly leaping forward to truly headline a vehicle, but still remaining a vital part of the movies we love. Few actors working today embody this more fully than the wondrously versatile, endlessly watchable Frances McDormand whose entry into the world we celebrate today.

What’s your favorite Frances McDormand performance? Okay...that’s a rhetorical question. We all know what it is. But her filmography is diverse and fascinating to explore, who what's your #2?

Frances McDormand’s 5 Best Movie Performances

 5. Burn After Reading (2008)
Broad, but undeniably funny and completely understanding the tone of the vehicle. Mileage varies in terms of McDormand’s many outings with the Coen Brothers, but it’s almost never uninteresting... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
May272016

Podcast: Cannes 1996 Revisit 

NathanielNick, and Joe revisit the Cannes film festival of 1996 (you might wanna quickly check that lineup & those prizes before listening) and the Best Actress race that started there. We also recommend other 1996 goodies that you may or may not have seen... or thought of in years.

Index (43 minutes)
00:01 Intro, Juries, and Crash's audacity prize
03:00 Best Actress: McDormand (Fargo) vs Blethyn (Secrets & Lies) vs Watson (Breaking the Waves)
10:09 Goodbye South GoodbyeThe Eighth DayPillow Book, and Microcosmos
17:50 TrainspottingFlirting With Disaster, A Self Made Hero, Lone Star, and Love Serenade
30:07 David Cronenberg's Crash
37:45 We each recommend a few more 1996 titles from Bound to The Long Kiss Goodnight

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments. Which 1996 picture have you still not seen? Who got your Best Actress vote that year?

tfw when you're turned on by car crashes

Articles We Mention
5 Contentious Cannes Juries 
• Nick's Annual Cannes Project 
Nick on Cronenberg's Crash 

Cannes 1996. Recommendations

Wednesday
Mar092016

In Ebbing

Jason from MNPP here with today's best news if you ask me, and you didn't, but here I am anyway -- perhaps you'd heard about In Bruges writer-director Martin McDonagh's new film when it first got announced back in September? You had to at least have heard the whooping sound I made since it was very loud, for Martin McDonagh's new film is going to star Frances McDormand.

Frances McDormand!!! You know her recently from scowling through last year's awards-shows even though she gave probably the best performance out of anybody at said awards-shows in HBO's Olive Kitteredge. Scowl away as much as you want, glorious Frances, you have earned it. (McDormand-related side-note: yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the release of Fargo, meaning yesterday was also the start of my 20-year torrid love-affair with Frances McDormand from afar, and over at my own site I made a list all about that movie's ladies -- check it out here.)

Anyway McDonagh's new film is called Three Bridges Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which is a title I want to give a great big bear hug to, and it's about a woman who takes on the local police after her daughter is killed. They are set to start filming in April, so today's news is casting news! The always-under-appreciated Woody Harrelson has just joined the cast -- Woody is very nearly always the best thing happening in his projects (he gave five times the performance McConaughey did in True Detective for example) and yet nobody takes decent notice. Take notice!

And then there's Sam Rockwell, who worked with McDonagh on Seven Psychopaths, who is also on board for Ebbing. He too is also a right and proper good egg, that Rockwell. All signs for this movie point to "Heck Yeah!"

One thing though: I do hope that we hear more actresses' names dropped into the cast, since McDonagh's films are always heavy on the sausage-fest (poor Abbie Cornish in Psychopaths) and having McDormand in the lead's giving me hope that he wants to broaden that POV out a bit with, you know, some broads. Wonderful broads!

Wednesday
Oct072015

Cheers, Frannie. And Other Links

Awards Daily pays tribute to Jane Fonda (Youth) and Lily Tomlin (Grandma) as we all should. Weekly. (Daily? Hourly?)
People introduces new princess 14 year old Auli'i Cravalho who voices Disney's Moana
Jezebel "Today we are all Frances McDormand drinking wine on a toilet" Amen!


Interview Magazine has really been really topping itself lately. Now they've got Jeff Bridges talking to the iconic cinematographer Roger Deakins (Sicario). Thus begins the hard push to get him his long overdue Oscar I suppose. We interviewed him for True Grit and he was a good chat!
The Bitter Script Reader thinks The Martian screenplay is a great example of how to write obstacles for characters that engage the viewer in the same "oh shit" living of them as plans fall apart
Film School Rejects tears up over Room and appreciates the Mother & Child thread running through many films this year
i09 is (rightly) horrified by what Frank Miller has done to Superman in a new comic book cover
Variety thinks its time Oscar voters caught up to Love and Mercy and Straight Outta Compton

Taylor (left) and Rodriguez (right) the stars of TANGERINEP.S. First Trans Actress Oscar Campaign
You may have heard (from everywhere) that Magnolia Pictures is launching the first ever Oscar campaign for transgender actresses - the spirited girls from the awesome Tangerine (a film which we've recommended often). TFE actually broke this news first (albeit in early "we might do this" planning stages) but we were asked to remove the reference to it, post publication, from our James Ransome interview since he wasn't supposed to talk about just yet. We get no respect I tell you -- even when we heartily support a film from its first screening!

Anyway, if you haven't seen the film yet do so the first chance you get. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez (who plays vengeful hot-tempered Sin-Dee) will be pushed for Best Actress and Mya Taylor (her much calmer best friend Alexandra) will be campaigned as a Supporting Actress but... you know how these same gender movies go, that's total Category Fraud bullshit since you can't have one without the other. They're like a trans Thelma & Louise only with less of a crime spree and no wheels of their own; these girls have to settle for the indignities of public transport (those bus scenes. LOL) and walking in L.A.

Tuesday
Sep222015

List Mania! Frances McDormand and all the "Triple Crown" Icons

Since I'm on record as being annoyed that all anyone cares about is the EGOT and since Steve asked in the comments of the Emmy post-mortem about my preferred obsession (The Triple Crown of Acting) to date only 21 actors* have accomplished this, two of them within this very calendar year (Dame Helen Mirren and Frances McDormand). Of course this has become more commonplace than it used to be given that actors no longer feel like they should be solely a movie star, or solely a tv actor, or only a thespian of the stage. With more and more people willing to do all three, sometimes consistently, these ranks will likely swell in another 20 years.

Currently the rarified list of actors who've won The Tony, The Oscar and The Emmy for their acting reads like so...

Frances McDormand is your latest Triple Crown Winner. From Fargo (1996) to Good People (2011) to Olive Kitteridge (2014)

  • Jack Albertson (Tony: 65, Oscar: 69, Emmy: 75)
  • Anne Bancroft (Tony: 58, Oscar: 63, Emmy: 99)
  • Ingrid Bergman (Oscar: 45, Tony: 47, Emmy: 60)
    Our Ingrid Bergman Centennial was fun wasn't it? You're welcome. Ingrid is the youngest performance to complete the trinity at age 45. 
  • Shirley Booth (Tony: 49, Oscar: 53, Emmy: 62)
  • Ellen Burstyn (Oscar: 75, Tony: 77, Emmy: 09)
  • Melvyn Douglas (Tony: 60, Oscar: 64, Emmy: 68)
    Did you know that this Hud star was Illeanna Douglas's grandfather? I certainly didn't.
  • Helen Hayes (Oscar: 32, Tony 47, Emmy: 53)
    (Though IMDb does not state what her Emmy was for so who knows if she's a special case or not)
  • Jeremy Irons (Tony: 84, Oscar: 91, Emmy: 97)
  • Frances McDormand (Oscar: 97, Tony: 11, Emmy: 15)
    The most recent inductee to this hall of fame. 
  • Helen Mirren (Emmy: 96, Oscar: 07, Tony: 15)
    And yes she won all three for playing Queens named Elizabeth! Though she has multiple Emmys so she's won for other roles, too. 
  • Thomas Mitchell (Oscar: 40, Tony: 53, Emmy: 53) 
  • Rita Moreno (Oscar: 62, Tony: 75, Emmy: 77)
    The second youngest to the Triple. She was 46 when she completed it with the Emmy for The Muppet Show
  • Al Pacino (Tony: 69, Oscar: 93, Emmy: 04)
  • Christopher Plummer (Tony: 74, Emmy: 77, Oscar: 12)
  • Vanessa Redgrave (Oscar: 78, Emmy: 81, Tony: 03)
  • Jason Robards (Tony: 59, Oscar: 77, Emmy: 88)
  • Geoffrey Rush (Oscar: 97, Emmy: 05, Tony: 09)
  • Paul Scofield (Tony: 62, Oscar: 67, Emmy: 69)
    The youngest male actor to the Triple. He was 47 when he completed it with the Emmy for Male of the Species 
  • Maggie Smith (Oscar: 70, Tony: 90, Emmy: 03)
  • Maureen Stapleton (Tony: 51, Emmy: 68, Oscar: 82)
  • Jessica Tandy (Tony: 78, Emmy: 88, Oscar: 90)

Weird Statistic
The Emmy, which seems like the easiest to win since they have so many damn categories, is actually won last by the majority of Triple Crowners. How about that? 

Eddie Redmayne is very young to have already won two of the big threeWho do you think will join the list next?
Of currently working stars Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen Barkin, Hugh Jackman and Bryan Cranston are just missing the Oscar which is obviously the hardest to win.

Overachiever Glenn Close has three Tonys and three Emmys but (sigh) zero Oscars. Kevin Spacey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dame Judi Dench, Denzel Washington and Marcia Gay Harden are just missing the Emmy. The youngest immediate threats are Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne: she is only 32 and just needs a Tony; he is only 33 and just needs an Emmy... though he isn't currently doing any TV so the Triple Crown will probably have to wait. 

And get this: Sally Field, Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Dianne Wiest and Jane Fonda who all have won multiple Oscars and multiple Emmys are all just missing the Tony though they've all worked the Broadway stage!

Depressing Three-Medium Stats: Sir Ian McKellen, a hugely lauded thespian has only won the Tony despite Oscar & Emmy nominations. The gifted Sarah Paulson who works all three mediums with regularity has not won any of the prizes and has only been Emmy-nominated. The Lovely Laura Linney, another regular three-medium threat has only won the Emmy despite multiple Tony and Oscar nominations. Marisa Tomei who works all three has only won the Oscar with no Tony or Emmy honors. Martha Plimptonwho does all three (though movies only occasionally) has only won the Emmy but has at least been nominated for multiple Tonys. Kathleen Turner who only occasionally does TV (unthinkably her work on Friends did not even win her a Guest Actress nomination) but used to be a huge movie star has been nominated for the Oscars and Grammys (once) and the Tonys (twice) but has yet to win any of the big showbiz awards beyond her two Golden Globes. Annette Bening has NONE of the top three prizes despite being nominated for all. The strange thing is that though she now regularly does stage work, she does not do it on Broadway. She could win a Tony if she came back!

* Special Cases: Notable superstars like Judy Garland (her Oscar was a non-competitive juvenile Oscar), Liza Minnelli (her Emmy was for a televised concert), Barbra Streisand (her Tony was a special award) and Whoopi Goldberg (her Emmy was not a Primetime Emmy which is all that people usually refer to when they talk about winning Emmys) won all three statues but they did not win them all in regular competitive categories or for performances exactly so they are special cases.