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Entries in Oscars (00s) (79)

Sunday
Apr202014

"They call this war a cloud over the land..."

... But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say 'Shitit's raining!”

Isn't that a great line from Cold Mountain? It's profound down-home truth and blunt poetry at once.

Realizing you're your own worst enemy is tough business. Even if you've realized it countless times before. Many have you have asked whatever happened to the 2003 Supporting Actress Smackdown and if you don't mind a little navel gazing you can click for more on the why and the new hopeful when...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr102014

April Showers: An Education

waterworks each night at 11. Here's Andrew on Carey Mulligan's breakthrough

Carey Mulligan will be back headlining a new version of Far From the Madding Crowd later this year and it's now been five years since she won the world's attention. 2009 was the year Carey grew up from youngest Bennett sister to an actress worth following. She'd previously had slight but efficient turns in Brothers and Public Enemies, and a lovely performance opposite Susan Sarandon in the unremembered The Greatest but it was with Jenny Mellor in An Education that she made us fall in love. 

The film has only recently begun and Oxford hopeful, Jenny Mellor, is making her way home from band practice. A thunderclap in the preceding scene signals bad weather ahead and we cut to:

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar312014

Women's History Month: Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf

Our Women's History Month posts, celebrating real actresses as real women conclude with abstew on Virginia Woolf & The Hours.

Virginia Woolf

Born: Adeline Virginia Stephen was born January 25, 1882 to Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Prinsep Duckworth Stephen in London, England. Her father was an author, historian, and critic while her mother was known for her beauty, even posing as a model for Pre-Raphaelite painters. 

stone-filled pockets and golden statues after the jump...


Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar012014

But who did Zhang Ziyi vote for?

I know you. You woke up this morning desperate to know what Zhang Ziyi's Oscar ballot looked like. I am here, as ever, to improve your day with answers and actressness.

The Chinese superstar wasn't* nominated for  Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) or Memoirs of a Geisha (2005, around the time AMPAS invited her to join) despite plentiful US media attention. (I imagine teen and early 20something readers aren't super familiar with her since it's been 9 years since she was a regular fixture in the US entertainment press???) The Grandmaster raised her profile a bit again and she obviously helped the costumes and cinematography to their Oscar nominations on account of good god she's photogenic.

She discussed her ballot with fans on her Weibo account  though she was cleverly vague about whether she was talking votes or predictions (AMPAS members aren't supposed to reveal their actual votes).

She wrote [translated for TFE - thanks Tony!]:

Quite a chaotic year. Voted without taking any precursor awards into account. Some simple predictions based on experience and personal feeling.  

Best picture: Gravity. Animated feature: Frozen. Not just great movies but both female-centric.  Blanchett best actress. J.L. best supporting actress. Leto best supporting actor. For best actor I loved Matthew's performance but voted for DiCaprio, he deserves this no matter what.

For art department and cinematography I'm rooting for the home team of course. Good luck to them. A tip: Mr. Sunglasses** will walk the red carpet

 

In the spirit of Zhang Ziyi's social media sharing you know you want to share this ballot on Facebook or twitter

*As I've stated numerous times Asian actors don't have much luck with the Academy or Hollywood. They don't get invited to present very often at the big show, you rarely seen them in color blind casting decisions, and they rarely get nominated for Oscars even when they have a high profile year like Ziyi or Gong Li before her. In fact, no Asian has ever been nominated for Best Actress (unless you count "Dark Angel"'s Merle Oberon who was half Indian but hid her heritage in the less diverse Hollywood of the 1930s)

** "Mr Sunglasses" would be her director Wong Kar-Wai

Monday
Feb242014

6 Days Til Oscar. Cuarón and His Gifts

Our countdown continues with new contributor Adam Armstrong on six-time nominee Alfonso Cuarón

Y tu mama tambíen

There comes a point in everybody’s lives when the awareness of their own mortality becomes apparent. For myself, it came when I was walking to class on a particularly snowy morning and saw a bus slam into a conveniently placed guardrail on a bridge. Snow related accidents are common enough but what happened next is not -- a man in an oversized Santa Claus costume exited the bus, choosing that moment in his life to dabble in the art of traffic enforcement, directing the chaotic traffic away from his fellow passengers as they escaped to a shabby Dunkin Donuts across the street.

Life is a fragile thing and few directors understand this as well as Alfonso Cuarón.

Tenoch, Julio and Luisa (who is very aware of her mortality) are driving to a beach they've hopefully named "Heaven's Mouth" in an effort to escape their unfulfilling lives in Y tu mamá también. Theo and Kee perilously make their way through the war torn United Kingdom to reach the sea where a boat will carry them to salvation in Children of Men. Dr Ryan Stone hangs on to what will to live she has left to descend back down to Earth in Gravity. In all three of these films, which garnered Cuarón his six Oscar nominations, the characters journey to their own deliverance from death, be it in the literal or figurative sense.

Cuaron’s nominations (the script from Y tu mamá también, the editing and script of Children of Men, and the editing, directing and producing of Gravity) each showcase specific storytelling gifts that augment the characters’ struggles and triumphs along the way.  Y tu mamá también’s screenplay layers character-specific dialogue, multiple agendas, and political allegory to deepen its road trip journey. The seamless editing in Children of Men sutures together unsettling drama and thrilling realistic action sequences that thrust the viewer into the scenes right alongside the characters as if we're in danger, too. Cuaron’s concise committed vision enable him to maintain control over Gravity's high concept premise, sustaining its plausibility and telling the story as he meant it to be told. (This is especially true in regards to the lead character when he was pressured consistently to cast a man in the leading role.)

A beach. A boat. The earth. All three destinations represent freedom to the travellers (however temporarily) from their fleeting mortality. Cuarón isn't literally escorting us to safety, but he crafts stories that help us fully value our lives, still in progress. That's quite a gift to bring us semi-annually.

 

previously in our number laden countdown
7 Oscar nominated films about AIDS * 8 time losing Peter O'Toole * 9 nominations for Twelve Years a Slave * Perfect 10 Paul Newman * 11 Days (Bette Midler) *  a 12-wide best picture field * 13 years ago in Best Actress (Matthew McConaughey?) * 14 times nominated giants (All About Eve & Titanic) *  15 Days (Supporting Charts) * 16 times nominated costume designer * 17 years ago + 1917 * Meryl's 18th * 19 Days (Julianne Moore) * 20 Year-Old surprise dramas * 21 Days (Billy Wilder)