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Podcast - 1996 Cannes Competition Revisit

"Never forget Madonna (!!) beating Frances McDormand for the Golden Globe that year" - David

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Entries in Michelle Pfeiffer (97)

Sunday
May012016

Best Actress: An "Overdue" Narrative or Fresh Blood?

The next Best Actress race hasn't remotely started so we're at the "anything goes" stage. Sally Field is the only player thus far who feels like a distinct if long shot possibility. With a Golden Globe Comedy nod highly likely for Hello My Name is Doris she'll be discussed again at year's end reminding people of her endearing star turn in the sleeper hit. But what to make of the Best Actress race. Most or all of the contenders are yet to come and there are no sure things. 

Sure, Viola Davis looks good on paper to repeat her Tony win in 2010 for Fences as the long suffering wife of a trash collector who was once a promising ball player. But there are some "what ifs" involved. Denzel Washington hasn't yet proved he's special as a director and when the revival in which they starred on Broadway hit not everyone agreed on her category placement with some theater awards deeming her "featured" (the stage's term for "supporting") rather than lead like the Tonys. And then there's the not small matter of whether the Fences will be ready in time for a release and a big Oscar push. If Viola doesn't dominate, will we have an Overdue Narrative this year or a Fresh Blood moment in Best Actress?

Consider: La Pfeiffer (3 nominations... deserved many more. Waiting to win since 1988); The Bening (4 nominations... waiting to win since 1990); Amy Adams (5 generous nominations. Waiting to win since 2005); Viola Davis (2 nominations... waiting to win since 2008). With Jessica Tandy, Hilary Swank, Rachel Weisz, and Meryl Streep winning their rightful Oscars there's ample opportunity for a "make up" year in Best Actress. 

But then again not every leading race sees a "career win" like Julianne Moore's or Leonardo DiCaprio's recently. Do you think 2016 will be an old guard year like that or a new blood situation (Negga? Pike?)? Or will it be somewhere inbetween (Emily Blunt...waiting so long for a first nomination? Jessica Chastain, twice nominated thus far?). Check the Best Actress chart and make a call in the comments. 

Friday
Apr292016

April 29th should be a national holiday

It's an open thread... with party favors. If you are throwing a birthday party in honor of Michelle Pfeiffer, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Uma Thurman today (and if you aren't, why not?), what is the party theme? food? dress code? What will you sacrifice at their altars give them for a gift tonight? 

Friday
Apr152016

Pfeiffer + Aronofsky = !!!!!!!!!!!

Pfeiffer in Beat-Up Little SeagullJust so everyone knows, I am indeed still alive. After briefly passing out. I was on a flight when news broke that Michelle Pfeiffer had signed on to the cast of the new untitled Darren Aronofsky film due in 2017 with filming to start this June.

La Pfeiffer has been MIA from the movies in a significant way since White Oleander (2002) her last Oscar worthy performance (she has famously never won despite multiple breathtaking star turns)  and the last onscreen appearance without significant breaks thereafter. She flirted with a comeback in a brief flurry of activity around 2007-2008 (Stardust & Cheri being the highlights) but it's been relatively quiet since then. But no more?...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar162016

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]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb182016

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

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov262015

Pfeiffer Back to Work

HAPPY THANKSGIVING. Guys,It's really happening! The happiest news of this holiday is that the elusive movie goddess Michelle Pfeiffer actually went before cameras again for her first feature film since The Family. The superstar was spotted, with dark hair (no bueno Michelle. You're the blonde!), and extremely colorful ensemble on the set of the intriguing sounding Killer Films production Beat-up Little Seagull.


In other just started production news something called Doctor Strange (sp?) also started shooting this week. Anyone heard of it ;) 

Thursday
Oct292015

Dream of the Pfeiffival

Pfeiffer aged up to play grey haired Ruth Madoff in "Wizard of Lies"The McConaissance ended with an Oscar and an Emmy nomination. The Reeseurgence went well, too, even if it's pop cultural impact wasn't so Wild. Can't we get a Pffeiffival now? (I'll have to work on the name but renaissance and resurgence were already taken so I'm going with revival).

As previously reported our favorite M.I.A. movie goddess Michelle Pfeiffer, Susie Diamond herself, is back at work. She and Robert De Niro are currently filming their roles as The Madoffs in HBO's telefilm "Wizard of Lies". It will be Pfeiffer's first major television role in over 30 years. Among the top bakers dozen of female movie stars of the 1980s (roughly speaking that's: Streep, Close, Lange, Spacek, Midler, Keaton, Basinger, Pfeiffer, Turner, Weaver, Field, Hawn, and Winger in no particular order) only Pfeiffer and Hawn have refused to do television since. Streep and Close even dabbled before it was cool to toggle back and forth. Hawn doesn't really count as she is essentially retired and with Pfeiffer making an HBO film, yes, TV has won the final round. (There's a great conversation about this, via Jane Fonda -- who retired from movies halfway through the 1980s -- in the forthcoming movie Youth

But the most exciting thing about Pfeiffer returning to acting is not that she is -- look we've been here before and she never dives in the pool after sticking a toe in but runs from the water -- but that she'll do so twice in short succession. After the HBO movie, she's signed on for a regular movie, a proper silver screen effort from Killer Films called Beat Up Little Seagull.

Pfeiffer at her last film promotion event way back in September 2013

This is a very big deal for a number of reasons: Killer Films is awesome and has been for decades -- you can thank them for Todd Haynes and and also the bulk of interesting LGBT movies from the past couple of decades;  Pfeiffer never does "indies" so she's getting out of her comfort zone which is well past long-needed; it's a leading role and she's too luminous to get shoved to the background to play someone's supportive grandma; the director previously made the indie Mother of George which was shot by cinematographer Bradford Young... so can we hope he affixes his brilliant lenses on Pfeiffer? (What better subject for his eye than one of the world's great screen beauties?)

 The film is described like so:

Beat-Up Little Seagull follows the life of a sensitive and fragile woman (Pfeiffer) who struggles to find footing in a fast-paced world. When her mother dies, she faces a crisis in which she must find a means for survival, all the while hiding her struggles from her new lover (Sutherland)."

"Sensitive and fragile" Pfeiffer? Yes please. Perhaps she'll even cry in a sweater or lie to herself. That all said we look forward to trying hard not to view this 'struggles to find footing in a fast-paced world' plot as a thinly veiled allegory for La Pfeiffer's repeated disinterest in her own career.

Comment if you embrace this news with wet eyes and/or if you're suspicious that she won't go through with it. You can have both reactions. Your host here at The Film Experience is living proof.