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Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.


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"They're saying this is for Adam Driver what Kramer vs Kramer was for Dustin Hoffman. More about him than about her.  Scarlett, to me, is the open question. By now it's Driver vs Phoenix for best actor." - Melchiades - Andrew

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Entries in Jessica Chastain (143)


Natty the Link Slayer

24 Frames Why is Harvey Weinstein the ultimate campaigner?
Art Info meet the sexy subway rider from Shame, actress Lucy Walters.
Mother Nature six things you probably didn't know about It's a Wonderful Life 
Super Punch Robot Chicken makes an Alien funny: the dangers of acid blood.  
Whedonesque Huh. Did not know this. Willow on Buffy was only a coincidental redhead. T'wasn't planned at all though it's impossible to think of Willow as anything but.
Alyson Hannigan is pregnant again. Congratulations to Mommy Willow! 

In Contention Kris Tapley's "superlatives" of the year. He's on #TeamMargaret and Team Tilda.
Sum Up Film the Desperate Women of the Best Actress Race
My New Plaid Pants Man crotch, the hot new movie poster trend
Empire Robert Redford back to work eh? He'll team with Margin Call's breakout writer/director J.C. Chandor on All is Lost, a man vs nature drama.
Cinema Blend Leonardo DiCaprio has two villain roles coming up and The Devil in the White City just hired its screenwriter Graham Moore
The Carpetbagger This is a "hearing about your nomination" story that isn't 100% generic. Angelina Jolie was at the dentist office. Hee. 
The Playlist Jessica Chastain to star in The Darling... which is about 4 or 5 movies from now on her schedule. At some point girlfriend's going to have to come up for air! Maybe she'll take a break in 2015?

For what its worth The Academy has disqualified The Smurfs from the Animated Feature race. No one expected it to be nominated but it's still important to note. 18 films were submitted and the category requires 16 qualifying entries for five-wise "Best" category. If more are disqualified before the nomination ballots go out, the shortlist may get, well, shorter. It's a curious and quite competitive category this year given the rarity of a Pixar fumble and a frontrunner (Rango) that is not quite beloved. That said, Pixar's Cars 2 could still well be nominated from force of habit. The Golden Globes went there despite several more acclaimed option and so did the Annies though they select ten nominees so it was practically a gimme. It's kind of a nail biter, isn't it? Do you think Pixar will manage a nod?


Complete the Chastainy Sentences...

If I could ask Jessica Chastain one question it'd be this:  ________________________________________.

She's the new _________________ because  ______________ .

When I heard she won the first Supporting Actress award of precursor season I thought _______________________ .

I really hope she works with _________________ and plays __________________ .



Naked Gold Man: The "Breakthrough" Business

This week, let's talk beginnings and breakthroughs.

The annual Hollywood Awards, which announced their awards and nominees on Friday (previously noted), aren't typically considered part of the Oscar race. Unofficially-officially the National Board of Review's early December announcement is still the kick-off though the Gotham Awards (late November) have been rising as an alternative "first stop" in power. Still, the Hollywood Awards are glance at in order to see which publicity teams are working overtime to gather kindling for awards fire. Of particular interest, I think, is the plethora of "breakthrough" awards that they hand out. Breakthrough Awards are nearly always more PR driven than other categories by their very nature regardless of worthiness of whoever is honored. That's not a judgement but a neutral statement.

If breakthrough awards didn't exist, it would be much harder for young talents to be competitive in an awards race. They don't come into any contest with the advantages of pre-sold media interest, critical reputation, or habitual preferencing. The only advantage newbies have each year is nascent; people of all shapes, sizes, and ages (including Oscar voters) like receiving shiny new toys to play with at Christmas. Make of this what you will but this lone advantage is quite potent for actresses and often inconsequential for actors.  

But you made me feel...
Yeah you made me feel shiny and new
Like a virgin 

If you stop to think about it from a publicity perspective, Breakthrough Awards are very much like those old Vanity Fair Hollywood covers. Yes, there were probably teams of editors or creative directors selecting the 9 to 13 cover beauties, but those same beauties were essentially culled from whichever young "up and coming" stars had management teams that were able to bend Conde Nast's ears in the first place.

Vanity Fair's 2010 "Dolls". Five of them are in awards-hopeful films this year: Carey Mulligan (SHAME), Mia Wasikowska (ALBERT NOBBS & JANE EYRE), Emma Stone (THE HELP), Anna Kendrick (50/50) and Evan Rachel Wood (THE IDES OF MARCH)

The Hollywood Awards are but the first organization of many to come to name their favorite shiny new toys of 2011. They offer up not one, not two, not three, not four but FIVE (whew) for us to play with. CONSIDER...

Click to read more ...


TIFF: "Jeff...," "Hysteria", "Take Shelter" and "Amy George."

[Editor's Note: Apologies from Nathaniel, I've been under the weather and Paolo, who has been so dependable at sending capsules and reviews our way, now has a log jam of them. So many movies to discuss. Enjoy. TIFF wraps this weekend. -Nathaniel R]

Paolo here, discovering that HYSTERIA, a film about inventing the vibrator, isn't based on the recent Broadway play "In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play" although they tackle the same subject. However, some scenes here still look like you might see them in a stage play, set in offices of upper middle class Londoners. These are  perfectly designed offices, with the requisite deep trendy colours of today's period films. The character played by the unrecognizable Rupert Everett is an electricity geek. A generator occupies his office, a Rube Goldberg like thing connected to a feather duster. However, protagonist Mortimer Granville (a composite of three actual doctors played by Hugh Dancy) sees something else in this feather duster.

The comedy in the film is repetitive; how many 'strong hands' jokes can one take even if Jonathan Pryce, playing Mortimer's boss Dalrymple, delivers them so capably? Dalrymple's daughter Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal) enters the plot, a welcome break from the 'paroxysms' of Mortimer's clients. Her story line gets dramatic when her East End connections land her in prison but there isn't enough of a struggle to convince us that something bad might truly happen to her. Gyllenhall plays Charlotte with an optimism rarely seen in her darker films. She's also required to speak in a West End English accent alongside real English actors but she's not enough to elevate this film into a genuine crowd pleaser.

HICK, based on Andrea Portes' novel, is a movie set in the middle of nowhere and ends up there, despite the wishes of a thirteen year old girl named Luli (Chloe Moretz). Luli is very knowledgeable of her  provenance, her mother Tammy (Juliette Lewis) giving birth to her in a bar. Her father's no different, the kind of guy who drives into playground monkey bars without hiding the bottle of whiskey in his hand. She decides to run away to Las Vegas even if she's too young to be part of the workforce. The film from this point forward becomes a road movie,  taking place inside cars or at pit stops.

Chloe's child acress 'rite of passage', Take Shelter Oscar buzz, and endless potato boiling after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Jessica Chastain Receiving Her First Award...(of Hundreds?)

Though we've been as curious as any cinephile about the overnight sensation* that is Jessica Chastain (see previous post), allow us to register vaguely mild surprise that it took just 109 days in the public eye in a major way (starting with the Cannes premiere of The Tree of Life) before she's already standing at podiums thanking people for giving her shiny things! In this case the Gucci Women in Film prize.

In reality this is Chastain's second award, one click of research indicates that she won a best actress festival prize in 2008 (Seattle International Film Festival) for a film called Jolene though that didn't see the inside of movie theaters until late 2010 (Have any of you seen it?) But what a whirlwind these past few months must have been.

Madonna presents the Gucci Women in Film Award to Jessica Chastain

What a summer. It starts with a Cannes trip alongside Brad Pitt and three months later she's part of a $100 million hit and Madonna (that's right, Madonna) is handing her trophies. From Brad Pitt to Madonna all in the same summer. Hopefully her eyes have adjusted to travelling in these blinding megawatt circles. 

This news hit me courtesy of luxury style expert Jessica Michault who is trying to make us all jealous with her tweet droppings. Consider this one:

And for what it's worth Ms. Michault thinks Keira Knightley is Oscar-worthy in A Dangerous Method. Not that luxury fashion experts vote on Oscars but they do hobnob with those who do.


*"overnight sensation" is nearly always an oxymoron. Obviously Jessica Chastain put in a lot of acting hours prior to this weird explosion of film releases... 



Who is Jessica Chastain?

Here's pretty much all that we know about her: She was raised in North Carolina, she just turned 30, she's in every seventh movie opening in 2011, and though we've only seen three of them thus far (The Tree of Life, The Help and Take Shelter) it takes a minute in each to realize that yes, that's her. Even in photoshoots she seems to be more than one person.

Is she a moldable young starlet?
Is she a Swintonesque Off-Hollywood provocateur?
Is she a Lead Star just waiting for her own vehicles?

Further IMDb and Wikipedia grazing reveals that she graduated from Juillard and that her best friend is the actress Jess Weixler (of Teeth fame. How about that?) but the point is this: we like people we can't pin down immediately.

I don't want to play the same character twice. There's something about the feeling of 'I don't think I can do this.' If you have that moment of doubt, you have to rise up and meet it. I learn from my failures more than my successes."
-Chastain to Michael Musto at the premiere of The Debt 

Hitting a Take Shelter screening last night I tweeted "Okay, Jessica Chastain. Show me what else ya got" Of her three summer performances (her fourth The Debt opens soon) it's the least impressive but it's almost the most telling. 'What I got' was the surest indication yet that she's a future Oscar winner as she embraced their favorite role, the long suffering wind-beneath-her-husband's-wings type, with such unfussy naturalistic ease.

Regarding Oscar...
While she's ethereal and lovely in The Tree of Life it seems less an acting feat than a well judged minimalist act to allow Terrence Malick and Emmanuel Lubezki's camera and the rich scoring to fill her Way of Grace with meaning. Auteur vessel performance are rarely nominated. While she's hugely entertaining in The Help she probably has too much internal competition for traction. And her most Oscar-friendly role in Take Shelter is within a film that one suspects will be too under the radar for Oscar. She may have to wait for the Kodak theater but it'll be exciting to watch her work her way there.