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Entries in Oscars (11)

Sunday
Feb162014

14 Days Til Oscar: "All About Titanic"

[Our countdown to Hollywood's High Holy Night continues. Here's abstew with a fun "battle"]

We've only 14 days to go. It seemed like the perfect time to take a look at the two films that jointly hold the record for most nominations (in case you hadn't guessed, that would be 14). One is a fabulous Actressexual's dream about back-stabbing in the theatre world and the other a small indie about a boy and girl in love. Oh, yeah and something about a ship. 

Technically, Titanic holds a higher place in Oscar history, having won 11 of its 14 nominations while All About Eve went home with only six statues (though 12 was the most it could have won with double-nods in Lead and Supporting Actress). But haven't you always wondered what film would come out victorious if they had gone head-to-head?  No? Well, let's find out anyway

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Tuesday
Jan212014

Tuesday Top Ten: Working Actors In Need of an Oscar Nomination

[Editor's note: The last time I published a list of this sort Christian Bale was way up top and then The Fighter happened. Time for a new look at the Oscar Nomination-less. While I'm in Sundance, abstew steps in with his list. My list (and I'm sure yours) might not be exactly the same but... discuss! - Nathaniel]

This past Thursday, when the Oscar nominations were announced, only eight actors were hearing their names called for the first time (the Best Actress category was all previous nominees and 80% winners). Some were for film debuts (Lupita Nyong'o and Barkhad Abdi), but for the other 6 names (Ejiofor, McConaughey, Fassbender, Leto, Hawkins, and Squibb) it was their first recognition from the Academy after years of hard work and dedication to their craft. But not every great actor ever gets to hear their name called Oscar nomination morning. Despite powerful performances and decades of service to the film industry, sometimes a nomination (let alone a win) evades the greats. For some, the oversite will never be remedied (Marilyn Monore, Edward G. Robinson, Myrna Loy, Peter Lorre, Jean Harlow, and John Barrymore are just some of Hollywood's finest that went without the prefix Academy Award Nominee), but for many great actors still working today there is still time. In honor of those overlooked artists, I present 10 actors that continue to give us astounding performances year after year that deserve to have their work recognized with an Oscar nomination. 

Honorable Mention:

Not Now, But Soon: Benedict Cumberbatch, Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hardy, and Greta Gerwig We May Have Lost Them to Television: Steve Buscemi, Robin Wright, Kevin Bacon, Lili Taylor, and Kerry Washington Comedians That Get No Respect: Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Carol Burnett Still Great Despite Not Making the Top Ten: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hugh Grant, Hope Davis, John Cusack, and, of course, Mia Farrow (who rarely works now)

10. Gong Li
Should've Been a ContenderJu Dou (1990), Raise the Red Lantern (1991), Farewell My Concubine (1993), To Live (1994), Breaking the Silence (2000), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

With a series of well-received films in the early 90s, Gong Li became the face of Chinese cinema. The actress and her frequent director Zhang Yimou are frequently credited for bringing Chinese cinema to the awareness of American and European audiences. Their collaboration, Ju Dou, was the first film from China to ever be nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Despite groundbreaking work in such films as Raise the Red Lantern and Farewell My Concubine (which won her a New York Film Critics Circle award), the Academy has yet to nominate this influential actress. In 2005, she made her Hollywood film debut appearing in Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha (her first film in which she performed in English–she learned her lines phonetically) and winning a National Board of Review award for Best Supporting Actress. But a nomination still eluded her. After a few more turns in Hollywood (Miami Vice and Hannibal Rising), she seems to have slowed down and hasn't appeared on screen since 2011 (which is essentially why she's not higher on the list). She is currently filming the aptly named Return, which reunites her with Zhang Yimou. Hopefully the film is also a return to Oscar's attention or, at the very least, more work. The cinema needs Gong Li's face.

Nine more after the jump...

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Monday
Jan062014

Oscar's One Hit Wonders or When Bad Nominations Happen to Good Actors

[Here's abstew to talk about a semi-annual Oscar tradition. Even if you disagree with the picks you surely recognize the curious problem. Will any of 2013's future nominees qualify for this list? -Editor]

When it comes to acting nominations, let's face it, not everyone can be Meryl Streep (17 nominations and counting). And with only 20 acting nominations to hand out each year, there's always going to be people left out. So many factors affect nominations: how well the actor is liked in the industry, whether they've been nominated (or won) before, how visible they've been promoting the movie, whether or not it's their "time". Sometimes the actual performance doesn't weigh in as heavily as it should.

Which is why the Academy gives something I like to call the "Oh, sorry we didn't nominate you for that great movie you were in a couple years ago, but let's call it even by nominating you for this instead" nomination. For many actors their body of work greatly out-weighs the single nomination. (For purposes of this list, I'm focusing only on actors who've received their nomination in the past 25 years or so but this has been happening since the beginning of (Oscar's) time.)

With so many greats yet to receive a nomination, perhaps we should be grateful that the following actors can precede their name with "Academy Award Nominee", but knowing how much better they are than this single nomination implies... 

Single Nomination: Best Actress, Catherine Deneuve Indochine (1992)

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Friday
Dec132013

TGIF: What's Your Favourite Award Presentation?

Glenn here. It's Friday, which for a lot of people means the weekend. If, like me, you don't work a traditional 9 to 5 job then it means nothing at all. Except, of course, it becomes socially acceptable to be up until 4am watching movies. I have an OFCS ballot that is incomplete and I've only got 30 hours to watch all the contenders!

Of course, I'll never actually get to watch them if I spend my time continuously watching clips from award shows, which is something that inevitably happens during the season. It's a sickness, I swear. Inspired by yesterday's Golden Globe nominations and watching Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell present musical/comedy actress at this year's award show for about the 100th time. Apropos of it being the end of the week, here are some of my favourites, but how about yours? 

Saturday
Mar162013

Can Oscar Sustain His Unlikeliest New Love Affair?

*Not all films discussed here exist outside my head.

Amir here, to obsess about the Oscars because, you know, March is never too early to start doing that around these parts.  Recently, I’ve started to wonder whether Oscar might have started an unlikely love affair with Iran.

Stop laughing and allow me to explain. Oscar took a long while to take notice of Iranian cinema or any of the Iranians who were working in Hollywood. To be fair to the shiny gold man, he wasn’t really spoiled with choices, but still took his time before deciding that Darius Khondji was a worthy cinematographer (Evita, 1996) and Habib Zargarpour’s did fine fx work (Twister, also 1996). Oscar has taken short trips to Iran a few times since then and last year, after watching A Separation, finally decided to stay awhile... in Asghar Farhadi’s house.

No one expected Oscar to go back so soon, especially with no major Iranian films present on the festival circuit, but AMPAS had other ideas. Oscar went back and took one of Hollywood’s golden boys along with him. Famously, they had such a hard time getting out of Iran they had to fake Canadian passports. Britain aside, Oscar doesn’t really embrace any foreign countries two years back to back, let alone a Middle Eastern one. What is happening?

Could this once politically forbidden passion turn into a stable relationship? I turned to the festival circuit, but to no avail. So I've decided to take the intiative and suggest a few projects that might turn the trick again with Oscar. more...

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