Entries in Jessica Chastain (52)
Remember when Jessica Chastain brought her grandma Marilyn to the Oscars in February?
What a sweet moment that was. Do you think she'll take her again this year?
What a difference a year makes, huh? Just last year we were wondering who she was and how she'd arrived to us so fully formed as an actress, and I had the pleasure of asking her just that shortly before she won her first nomination (Best Supporting Actress, The Help). This year she'll be fighting it out for the actual Best Actress trophy for Zero Dark Thirty.
Should Jessica be nominated in January (very very likely), one might even be tempted to think of her as Streep: The Next Generation. Meryl Streep is a tough act to be compared to but consider the similarities. Meryl Streep was a late arrival to the cinema (as actresses go) making her first motion picture in 1977 (Julia) in her late 20s after stage triumphs and degrees from Vassar and Yale. Jessica didn't arrive on movie screens until her early 30s last year though she had been filming movies since her late 20s (some of them were significantly delayed before release) after stage triumphs and an acting degree from Juilliard. By Streep's third year in the public eye she had co-starred in three Best Picture Nominees (Julia ,The Deer Hunter, and Kramer vs. Kramer -- the latter two won) and was a two-time Oscar nominee and winner and a full-fledged movie star. By Jessica Chastain's second year in the public eye she will have presumably co-starred in three Best Picture nominees (The Help, The Tree of Life, and Zero Dark Thirty) and become a two-time nominee.
The only thing missing in the comparison is a) the Oscar win for her second nomination which is a maybe at this point and b) the full fledged stardom. Chastain is definitely a known quantity now but not exactly a household name. Her films haven't had the seismic impact of Streep's breakthrough pictures -- The Deer Hunter and Kramer vs. Kramer were colossal hits of their day though The Help's box office reign last year was not unimpressive.
If Chastain wins this year, do you think she's got a triple the caliber of French Lieutant's Woman, Sophie's Choice and Silkwood, in her immediate future? Or is this way way way too much to ask?
In a rather beautiful turn of events, both Les Misérables and Zero Dark Thirty arrived to implications of raves (ah, pointless Les Miz embargo) and actual ones (ZDT had no embargo) and though neither are opening until Santa's elves are deep into overtime, they've made the forthcoming Oscar race much more exciting. What we have are real competitions in multiple categories. At least for now; precursor prizes have a way of flattening out the drama if they arrive at consensus too quickly. We've already discussed Les Miz's first screening and the Hugh vs. Daniel Best Actor race.
But while you're waiting for my Zero Dark Thirty review, let's discuss the confusing Best Actress race.
What's the confusion, you may be asking. Yes, Jennifer Lawrence is still the frontrunner for Silver Linings Playbook and yes Jessica Chastain will be nominated for anchoring Zero Dark Thirty with single-minded determination. More...
Time and the finite nature of it is an essential ingredient in all suspense films. So I need to get myself on the clock when it comes to Zero Dark Thirty. I was shocked at how quickly we knew of its existence post Hurt Locker but then... it never seemed to come. It still feels like something off in the very distant future set in the very recent past. But it actually opens in 66 days. Tick tock.
Let's break down the trailer...
- At the very least it'll make an interesting comparison point to Showtime's "Homeland".
- Jessica Chastain gets her first high profile lead role!
- Joel Edgerton
- That hot soldier with the glow stick
- I've been with director Kathryn Bigelow since Near Dark and I'm not going anywhere. I tend to love her work. And even when I don't, it's interesting.
- It looks far more beautiful, visually, than The Hurt Locker... which wasn't really going for beauty but there's so many frameable stills in the trailer and a rangier color palette. In short: I'm glad it's not Hurt Locker 2. As much as I love The Hurt Locker it requires no sequel.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP
The article originally appeared in my column at Towleroad
Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) doesn't believe the tall tales about the outlaw Bondurant Boys especially the ones about Forrest (Tom Hardy). Local Virginia legend has it that Forrest can't be killed, that he's immortal. "Have you ever seen what a tommy gun does to 'immortal'?" Rakes sneers in a (successful) effort to terrorize the town's Forrest-fearing men into submission. Rakes then beats the youngest Bondurant brother Jack (Shia Labeouf) into a blubbering pulp. But, as it turns out, the Bondurant brothers are resilient enough to inspire tall tales. Forrest and his brothers make their living as moonshiners in this Depression-era Western and with Prohibition empowering organized crime, everyone is looking to be the top boss. The brothers value their autonomy but the guns are out and if an actual crime lord (Gary Oldman's "Floyd Banner") don't get them, then the even more crooked law enforcement (Pearce's Deputy) just might.
Such is the bloody conflict of John Hillcoat's Lawless, based on the historical novel "The Wettest County in the World" which was written by a grandson of the Bondurants (all childless during the movie) suggesting straightaway that at least one of them is going to make it out of the movie alive. Not that the film is shy about spoilers given its heavy handed foreshadowing and the past-tense narration. (You gotta Live to Tell).