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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

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Entries in gender politics (128)


Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 2: Female Directors & Debut Filmmakers

Pt 1 - All 81 Movie Trailers
Pt 2 Everything You Wanted to Know About the Foreign Language Film Category...  *But Were Afraid to Ask

Mustang has a female director and female cast. Will this be a good year for women in Oscar's Foreign Film race?

The next time you see someone tweeting about the lack of female directors that get work in Hollywood, please point them to Oscar's Foreign Language Film category. This category reminds us, year after year, that Hollywood is not the entirety of Cinema. We'd do well to commit that to memory. And progressive thinking moviegoers would do well to seek out the alternate voices that already exist that they say they want... even if that requires reading subtitles.

You see, each year countries around the world are asked to submit one film to represent their entire country at the Oscars (it need no longer be in an indigenous language to that country, just not in English). Each year at least a handful of countries submit films directed by women. This year it's much more than that. Now, that might not be a direct correlative to "it's better for female directors in ____ than in the USA" but it's not nothing!

Consider the act in reverse. Can you imagine Hollywood, if they were forced to submit one film that represented them for a whole calendar year, choosing a female-directed film to speak for them? Given their lack of interest in films about women let alone films directed by them, this seems unthinkable. The sole exception is probably Kathryn Bigelow's military drama The Hurt Locker (2009). 

Where are the Women? Right Here!
This year the Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film has 81 contenders. A total of 13 of those films are directed or co-directed by women. [More...]

Click to read more ...


Stage Door: Nicole Kidman in Photograph 51

Stage Door is taking a little trip across the Atlantic, since David is lucky enough to live in London, where TFE deity Nicole Kidman is currently treading the boards in Photograph 51.

Every article announcing Nicole Kidman’s return to the London stage made reference to the infamous review labeling her “pure theatrical Viagra” when she first played in the West End in 1998’s The Blue Room. Seventeen years on, the subject of Photograph 51 could hardly seem more antithetical: Rosalind Franklin’s passion in life is her work, the groundbreaking research into the structure of DNA, her part in which has been forgotten by mainstream history, partially due to her premature death from ovarian cancer before her male peers were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work.

Click to read more ...


Something Link-ed This Way Comes

The Movies
• How does The Intern stack up to previous Nancy Meyers releases at the box office? It's a bit too early to tell but I totally didn't know and was a bit surprised to realize that they were nearly all bigger hits overseas than in the US [Box Office Mojo]
• Sasha Stone comes up with a new sneaky way to define leading roles as supporting. She's calling them "anchors" as in "anchors to the lead," not "the other lead." Hee. Of course she doesn't mean Anchor as Category Fraud but a rose by any other name... [Awards Daily]
• Singing the praises of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and their upcoming slate for cinema-voracious New Yorkers. And really, sing these praises at full volume. [MNPP]
• Not everyone loves the new Macbeth [Shadowplay
• "The people behind [Sicario] understand that what makes a great thriller is not the abundance of shootings, murders or jump scares and plot twists - it's the fear that something horrible can happen at any moment." [Cinematic Corner

Off Screen
• Oh god. File under totally depressing: If even Meryl Streep doesn't understand what feminism is, the earth is doomed. One of the most successful things conservative thinkers ever did is fooling progressives (and women of any political stripe) into thinking it was a bad word [Refinery 29]
• I mean... Keira Knightley is awesome but shouting marriage proposals at her while she's trying to make her Broadway debut last night. Not cool, drunk stalker! [Playbill]
• "Homophobia unites people of different Christian faiths" - Dan Savage, hero, on the Pope/Kim Davis mishegoss [MSNBC]
• I missed this report last week but The Tony Awards might be leaving their regular home - considering different theaters [NYT]
• "The last time I saw Madonna was on September 6th, 1989, during the live telecast of the MTV Video Music Awards. I was in my parents basement with my mother..."  Love these personal essays about stars when people can pull them off. Must Read. [The Hairpin]

Scream Queens
• Is Nick Jonas too into queerbaiting his fans? [Towleroad]
• Are any of you watching? It's such a mess, strains for laughs and (worst of all) revels in its misogyny (Murphy and his writers really need to stop putting words like "gash" into the girls mouths to demean other girls) to the point where you know it's not parody but just actual feeling disguised as parody. I'm only in it for Jamie Lee Curtis (fun but she's been better) and recent Emmy nominee Niecy Nash (making the very very very most of a small role - what a gift she is!). This quote from Towleroad's recap of the third episode made me LOL:

“Chainsaw” ...crammed in so many obvious red herrings, I think it qualifies as an aquarium.

Image of the Day
Michael Fassbender as MacBeth. I will never for the life of me understand what is taking so long with this movie (remember how long ago we saw the first images -- I swear it was 2013 -- or even why they're going to distribute it like a poor stepchild movie. (sigh).

click to embiggen

"Critics Choice" Ch-ch-changes
It's worth noting that the BFCA, of which I am a member -- yes, I'm still bragging about sitting with Jessica Chastain last year --  is making a major change. They're fusing their fairly new TV arm (which currently holds their ceremony in May each year) with their cinema body for one conjoined show starting in January that's 3 hours long. I don't understand what that will mean for current TV shows (two awards for their favorites in just a seven-month span?) but this will obviously make the Critics Choice Awards far more like their sworn enemy* the Golden Globes. Obviously to make this successful the BFCA will have to axe some of their odder categories from their ever-expanding roster but that was okay because things were getting seriously weird there in their attempts to cover everything but NOT officially categorize anything (resulting in weird 'it's an action movie but it's not... it's a comedy but it's not... it's a drama but... no, scratch that we don't say "drama" about anything --that's the default!') 

I have to admit that it seems odd to have two separate organizations do one event together. Just let us vote on both, and not have to be part of two organizations! Just change the name to Broadcast Critics Choice Awards, dropping the pesky film or tv separations. 

* I'm kidding though for all the heat the Golden Globe take from US journalists, it's perpetually hilarious that US journalists always want to be more like them. 


7 Bullet Points: Fall Festival Fallout & Oscar Chart Updates

Before we begin, please to note: the four Oscar category acting charts are not yet updated. Everything else is for the purposes of this discussion.  

• That was exciting. Now... breathe!
With the fall film festival trifecta (Telluride, Venice, TIFF) behind us, the fourth and noisiest early rung in the climb to Oscar (the first being Sundance, the second being Cannes, the third being anything else that happened from January through August (i.e. summer box office, media &  audience response to early offerings), we are well on the way towards Oscar nominations. It's important to note that while many over-eager pundits begin to declare winners in all sorts of categories at this stage, that's silliness. We should be focusing on the battle for nominations (still days away) until they're announced. Many things can still happen and do regularly happen in October through January which alter that who might win landscape each year. And, a crucial reminder: you can't win if you aren't nominated!

six more topics to discuss after the jump

Click to read more ...


Interview: Gillian Armstrong on Her Orry-Kelly Documentary and Why the Film Industry Needs Affirmative Action 

Jose interviews the director of a new costume design documentary at TIFF 

Orry-Kelly with Kay Francis. Photo courtesy of Scotty Bowers

In Women He’s Undressed, the extraordinary Gillian Armstrong paints a delightful portrait of Australian costume designer Orry-Kelly whose bold designs changed Hollywood forever (he was the first costume designer to draw the actors' faces on his designs!). The brilliant man behind Ingrid Bergman’s tasteful suits in Casablanca, Rosalind Russell’s larger than life gowns in Auntie Mame, and Marilyn Monroe’s nude dress from Some Like It Hot (he did Jack and Tony’s dresses too) had an exciting life that had him leave his small hometown to find a career in a budding industry across the world. From gangsters and plays with an unknown Katharine Hepburn, to affairs with Cary Grant and uprisings with Bette Davis, Orry-Kelly’s life was so rich that one wonders why no one had done a film about him before.

In typical Armstrong fashion, the documentary is told with whimsical flourishes (Darren Gilshenan plays Orry who reads from letters and adds commentary) and features interviews with Colleen Armstrong, Michael Wilkinson, Jane Fonda, Catherine Martin, Angela Lansbury and the legendary Ann Roth, all of whom express their admiration for Orry, and share anecdotes about working with him. The film played at the Toronto Film Festival, and I had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Armstrong about discovering Orry’s work, working with Ann Roth (“someone should do a documentary on her next, she’s extraordinary”) and her thoughts on the way the industry treats women.

Orry-Kelly, Australian Oscar winners, and artists as film subjects after the jump...

Click to read more ...


HBO’s LGBT History: Middle Sexes (2005)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we looked at the surprisingly touching, inclusive and politically relevant Rosie O’Donnell documentary All Aboard! (it seems not a lot of you were as enthused as I was). This week we change gears by looking at perhaps the most boring HBO LGBT entry yet, Middle Sexes - Redefining He and She, a documentary on gender variance that is as entertaining as those educational tapes you’d be forced to watch in high school when your teacher couldn’t be bothered lecturing.

It’s disappointing given its exhaustive approach to the material and the many opportunities it offers in engaging narratives and insightful conversations about those living outside of the gender binary.

Middle Sexes - Redefining He and She (2005) (YouTube)
Directed by: Antony Thomas

If sexual diversity is natural, why is it so threatening?”

Oh that the doc could have taken up this question with the inquisitiveness of most of its talking heads. [More...

Click to read more ...


Pt 1 Smackdown Xtra: High & Mighty Executive Suite

Nathaniel (your host) welcomes Brian Herrera (aka Stinky Lulu), Mark Harris (Grantland and EW) Anne Marie Kelly (The Film Experience), Manuel Muñoz (award winning writer) and Todd VanDerWerff (Vox) to the podcast for a Smackdown conversation. To flesh out our thoughts on the 1954 Oscar Battle (we trust you've read it now?) and expand the topic to include the four films themselves, and where Hollywood's head was, here is our 80 minute conversation in two parts.

Pt 1 (40 minutes)
00:01 The High and the Mighty and the birth of both DeGlam and the Disaster Epics. With shout outs to The Love Boat (?), Airplane, and Grand Hotel
21:45 Executive Suite, experimental filmmaking, and trusting the patriarchy.
36:40 Marlon Brando and New Acting Styles. Post World War II / Pre Something Else.


You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes Continue the conversation in the comments. For fun I thought I'd include this video of Nina Foch (An American in Paris), our Smackdown runner up, discussing her Oscar nominated role in Executive Suite. The pencil necklace was her idea! Thank you to reader David Q. for pointing it out to Nick who sent it along to me.


Pt 1 Smackdown: The High and The Mighty