Asghar Farhadi has another Oscar contender on his hands...

Oscar History

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Oscar Horrors: The Sixth Sense

"I love this movie so much. And to those sad about M. Night's current career, Split with James McAvoy has gotten positive reviews!." -Connor

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Entries in Meryl Streep (200)


Today's Must Read: Streep's "Kramer vs Kramer" Breakthrough

This new book on Meryl's rise will be released at the end of AprilIf you haven't yet chanced upon it or been directed there by multiple excited tweets, make sure to read this excerpt / reworking of a passage from a forthcoming book by Michael Schulman on Meryl Streep's rise to fame via Kramer vs Kramer that's currently gracing Vanity Fair. We've talked about Kramer vs Kramer multiple times here at TFE and it's been heartening to see the critical tide at least slightly turning in the blockbuster drama's favor of late. For a long time cinephiles seemed to despise it, due in no small part to its Oscars. When you beat noticeably ambitious artistic and stylized masterpieces like Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz to the Best Picture crown there's bound to be a backlash if your film is merely human-sized, no matter how resonant and superbly acted it may be. But, a truth, that's always worth noting in movie buff wars: every year has multiple films worthy of praise and just because one gets singled out in the moment, it doesn't mean its worthy of your ire.

But I digress. Read this piece! Here's a bit about the fantasies, realities, and fictions around Meryl Streep's audition --  nobody actually knows which is which since the accounts are different depending on who is interviewed:

Meryl marched into the hotel suite where Hoffman, Benton, and Jaffe sat side by side. She had read Corman’s novel and found Joanna to be “an ogre, a princess, an ass,” as she put it soon after to American Film. When Dustin asked her what she thought of the story, she told him in no uncertain terms. They had the character all wrong, she insisted. Her reasons for leaving Ted are too hazy. We should understand why she comes back for custody. When she gives up Billy in the final scene, it should be for the boy’s sake, not hers. Joanna isn’t a villain; she’s a reflection of a real struggle that women are going through across the country, and the audience should feel some sympathy for her. If they wanted Meryl, they’d need to do re-writes, she later told Ms. magazine.

The trio was taken aback, mostly because they hadn’t called her in for Joanna in the first place. They were thinking of her for the minor role of Phyllis, the one-night stand. Somehow she’d gotten the wrong message. Still, she seemed to understand the character instinctively. Maybe this was their Joanna after all?

That, at least, was Meryl’s version. The story the men told was completely different...


Q&A: Australian Greats, Leading Men, and Camera Muses

It's time for reader questions. Here are 10 recently asked I'm opting to answer tonight. Join the conversation in the comments. 

INQUIRER: Who do you believe is more worthy of an acting Oscar between Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Johnny Depp, and who do you think is more likely to win one?

This would surprise anyone unfamiliar with the site but Brad Pitt towers over the other two. He's among my all time favorite movie stars. But you've crafted a tricky question because all three men have loyal camps that they've earned. Cruise is the most consistent, always laser focused on Doing His Job in whichever movie. Depp is the most inspired when he's inspired but he's also the laziest. It seems impossible to imagine now but people did not want him to play Pirates like he played it. The studio was concerned. What is he doing? Now people hire him to for Depp shtick and that's what he gives to the point of self parody! Pitt is the most uneven actor among the three but he's also the most endearing, has the best taste, has aged superbly with his talent, and has evolved the most. Years ago I felt certain that all three would eventually be crowned but it's hard to picture now. If any one of them does a moving hit drama when he's an old codger though perhaps he'll get a career achievement prize. If none of them ever win competitively I'd wager that Brad Pitt is the most likely to get an Honorary Oscar. 

This might be as good a time as any to tell you (warn you?) that April will be ACTOR MONTH here at the blog. We talk about actresses so much that it's time for a wee curveball. Any requests?

TABITHA: Why do female movie stars now largely seem to be in their 20's or 60's? There seems to be a resistance to embrace middle-aged stars (apart from Sandra Bullock or Charlize Theron).

I blame this phenomenon entirely on sexism and the patriarchy. It's intrinsically tied to the "Last F***able Day" phenomenon that Amy Schumer named so brilliantly. I think once an actress has passed that threshold of straight men being "ewww she's AGING -- how dare she?" and is now just an older person, who for better or for worse are often desexualized in art, it's easier for people to just enjoy their acting again. That's my 100% correct theory. It's also harder for female stars to age because a huge percentage of them are famous in part because of exceptional beauty which is not necessarily true (certainly not percentage wise!) with their male counterparts.

KEVIN: if you put Meryl on a strict diet of auteurs, who would you pair her with for her next 3 films?

[more Q&A after the jump]

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YNMS: Florence Foster Jenkins

Murtada here. Stephen Frears recent output has been uneven. This month, his Lance Armstrong biopic The Program was met with lukewarm reviews and a VOD purgatory release, while Lay the Favorite (2012) and Tamara Drewe (2010) were both immediately forgotten. However he does well when teamed with grand actresses in intimate dramas (The Queen, Philomena). So we are cautiously optimistic about his collaboration with Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins. The story, of an amateur opera singer, known and ridiculed for her very bad singing and her complete delusion about her abilities, is intriguing.

Let's break down the newly released trailer..... after the jump.

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If these were offered as doll sets each year...

yes, that's the whole decade* thus far



...I would need a bigger apartment.

... Also I would go bankrupt. (Especially when trying to hunt down 1950, 1973, 1961 and 1939)

(On a Related Note: Did you see Jose's Best Dressed List?)


* Well, not quite the whole decade. Judi Dench was the sole no-show for her nomination for Philomena so that's 59 of the 60 nominees above as they were be-gowned on Oscar night. If you could only afford 1 of these 6 doll sets which year would it be?


Jessica Chastain Can't Stop, Won't Stop, Launches All-Female Production Company

Daniel Crooke here. When it comes to gender inequality in the film industry, Jessica Chastain would like the means of production to know that she finds it very disrespectful. Deadline reports that Chastain has thrown her Zero Dark Thirty Aviators in the ring and founded her own production company, Freckle Films. This is obviously hugely exciting news and such an Aries move. As if her engine of multifaceted roles wasn't already roaring on overdrive, she decides to kick it up another notch and become the president of her cinematic brainchild. Hold onto your Coca-Colas because it gets better: Freckle Films will be employing all-female executives and (we assume) zero sex-stymying stereotypes onscreen.

Freckle Films has partnered in a first dibs development deal with Maven Pictures – whose execs’ credits include The Kids Are All Right, Still Alice, and Black Nativity – with two film adaptations (from female authors with female protagonists) already in the works. Ten cheers for the endlessly inspirational Chastain, who constantly reminds us of how to be an unrelenting champion on and off the screen and on Twitter. We’re not surprised that in the midst of #OscarsSoWhite and torrential reports of gender wage inequity, when the call for industry diversity is arguably louder now than it has ever been, Chastain is on the side of shaking things up in the name of representative evolution. More power to the people after the jump...

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Team Experience - Favorite Presenter Moments from the Oscar Show

The Academy has announced the names of many presenters for the big night on February 28th. The list includes the best actress nominee who gave us this often used gifable funny moment, reacting to the makeup in The Wolfman (2010).

A few writers from The Film Experience share 7 more favorite moments from the presenters after the jump, including Meryl, Jim Carrey and Emma Stone...

Click to read more ...


Q&A: Actressexual Longings & Carol Gender-Flipped

It's another Q & A. Ask it and it shall be er... might be answered. When I started typing this week I couldn't stop and before I know it there were thousands and thousands of words. So that takes care of two Q&As .

Here's the first half of the mad scribblings typings then.

What is your favorite non-nominated performance from each of the five titans of the acting nominations? (Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn, Jack Nicholson, Bette Davis and Laurence Olivier) - SEAN

NATHANIEL: Oh this is a tough one since those people were Oscared for breathing. Okay. Let's take them in reverse order of preference as actors...

Sir Laurence Olivier. Weirdly I was just watching As You Like It (1936) just the other day. I wasn't all that impressed though he definitely had an easier time with the material and the medium than the other stagebound performers. I have seen several of his non-nominated films, mostly from when I was very young so I don't remember them well. SpartacusDracula? That Hamilton Woman? I have no idea. I'm not a Sir Larry person at all! I almost always prefer his co-stars even in his biggest hits.

Katharine Hepburn. Bringing Up Baby (1938) is such a comic jewel. Mid 30s to Early 40s is best with Hepburn. 

Jack Nicholson. The Shining (1980). Sure he goes big but the nightmare requires that level of commitment to devilish abandon. He does supersized devilish abandon in Witches of Eastwick (1987) as well but in the latter case it's distracting since the women are already sparking so much. Take it down, Jack.

Bette Davis. I confess: I haven't seen all that many of her non-nominated performances. I don't think she's very good in Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte or her late camp work and not very memorable in Three on a Match. Hmmm. Maybe The Great Lie (1941)? But Mary Astor performs Grand Theft Movie in that one. What a knockout star turn.

Meryl Streep. Easy. The Hours (2002). "I seem to be... unravelling."

lots more after the jump

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