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Entries in Oscars (00s) (80)

Tuesday
Dec102013

Top Ten: The Oldest Best Actress Line-Ups

Statistics show us time and again that Oscar likes his ladies young. In fact 29 is the most common age that leading ladies win Oscars (for comparison's sake only one man under 30 has ever won Best Actor). And yet, as we speed towards the Oscar nominations, barring an extreme long-shot fresh-faced spoiler like an Adèle (20) or a Brie (26), this year's Best Actress Lineup will likely skew incredibly 'vintage'. If the expected five make an historic "all winners lineup" it's going to be the oldest lineup ever. Now, there is some degree of unusual feeling (I share it) that Meryl Streep (64) is vulnerable to a shut-out for her work in August: Osage County -- something that seemed unthinkable even a few months ago -- but even if she doesn't make the shortlist, there's no guarantee it'll be someone at the beginning of their career. Amy Adams (39) and Julia Louis Dreyfus (52) might still triumph over Brie or Adèle for that hotly contested fifth slot.

So let's look at...

The Top Ten Most Mature Best Actress Shortlists

This top ten is actually only nine years long. I'm reserving a spot for 2013. Barring a major upheaval, the 2013 lineup will be our oldest on average ever. Unless Adèle makes it... and even then it'll come close to being the very oldest. A funny thing occurred while researching this: the years I thought of as elderly weren't. I immediately thought of 1950, for example, with those grande dame performances by All About Eve's Bette Davis and Sunset Boulevard's Gloria Swanson (two of the best performances to lose the Oscar) but both of those women were barely 50 (Grande Dame used to start young!) and the rest of the category was young, younger and youngest. I was also wrong about these years which average a touch or a lot younger than I remembered or was expecting: 1960, 1962, 1974, 1990 and 1992.

Runners Up [3-way Tie] With an Average Age of 41.2 years
1997 As Good as It Get's Helen Hunt, the winner, was the median age of 34.
1996 Fargo's Frances McDormand, another median age winner, was 37.
1952 Come Back Little Sheba's Shirley Booth, pictured left and recently discussed, was the oldest at 52 and the winner. (She's still the only woman to win Best Actress during her fifties. Isn't that insane?) Can you guess which years made the list before you click to proceed? Try it silently for fun...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov302013

Introducing... Five Nominees 2003

For the buildup to this  year's Oscar race we thought it would be fun to revive StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Smackdown and so far it's gone just beautifully. This month we're hitting the 2003 lineup for its 10th anniversary. Unfortunately I have to announce a small delay: The Smackdown will now air on Thursday, December 5th at Noon EST instead of, well, right now.

But in its place our new Smackdown tradition which we keep meaning to turn into a regular non-Smackdown series. "Introducing..." in which we remember our first glimpse of key movie characters. You've met this month's panel but these events now include an extra panelist: You (the collective you) so feel free to send in your ballots (by tomorrow at the latest) if you'd like your vote to be counted. Here's how you do that.

Without further ado...

INTRODUCING... (in the order of how soon they appear in their films)

[no dialogue]

Shohreh Aghdashloo as "Nadi" in House of Sand and Fog
Arrival: 1½ minutes into the 126 minute running time, preceded only by Fog (and Jennifer Connelly) and Sand: She's reflected in the water in the opening credits and then glimpsed frolicking with her children on the beach, before a terrible visual omen strikes: trees felled nearby. Subtle!

I'm ready.

Holly Hunter as "Melanie Freeland" in Thirteen
Arrival: 3 minutes into the 100 minute running time. She stamps out a cigarette. Note the smart girly girl styling -- kudos to the makeup and costume team on this movie -- you don't even know she's not a teenager until the camera pans up. 

[no dialogue]

Patricia Clarkson as "Joy Burns" in Pieces of April
Arrival: 4 minutes into the 80 minute running time. While her family frantically searches for her, she's found waiting in the care for their Thanksgiving road trip. 

Where have you been? It's 3 AM."

Marcia Gay Harden as "Celeste Boyle" in Mystic River
Arrival: 16 minutes into the 138 minute running time. She's looking in on her sleeping child when her husband returns home with (gasp) what is that? Blood! on his hands!!! With Marcia's arrival the plot arrives to mingle with the foreshadowing prologue and completed character survey. 

Those cows want milkin'. If that letter ain't urgent then cows is, is what I'm sayin'. 

Renée Zellweger as "Ruby" in Cold Mountain
Arrival: 50 minutes into the 154 minute running time. And boy is the director (and the Zeéeeee) marking it. She steps into the frame like it's a proscenium, her face hidden by a huge hat as she turns from side to side. Cows even moo to introduce her and she sighs loudly before barking out her first line at Ada (Nicole Kidman) who is lost in her papers on the porch.

*

Did you know you were in for something special when these actors came into frame?

Friday
Nov152013

The Smackdown Cometh. Let's Meet Our Panelists

The 2003 Supporting Actress Smackdown is just 15 days away! If you're like "um... it's 2013" you should know that each month we look back at a particular Oscar race and debate it.

This month we're having a tenth anniversary party. For context before we get to the main event we're revisiting films. So far we've hit Finding Nemo, The Triplets of Belleville, The Fog of WarGirl with a Pearl Earring, Much Ado About Nothing, and Love Actually

Let's meet our panelists for the main Supporting Actress event. They'll be sounding off soon enough on Renée, Holly, Marcia, Shohreh and Patty. For now we're asking them "What does 2003 mean to you?"

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov112013

Looking back on the 2003 Best Animated Feature nominees

Andrew Stanton with the first of his Animated Feature OscarsTim here. This November, we’ve been reflecting on the films of 2003, in preparation for the newest edition of the Supporting Actress Smackdown, and I’d like to use this as the opportunity to return us all to a simpler time. An easier time. A saner time. A time when the Best Animated Feature category at the Academy Awards wasn’t routinely filled up with five nominees because some much-too-small arbitrary threshold had been reached.

There were three nominees in the category that year, out of a field of eleven. And even that was not quite a small enough number to keep away from something a bit like a filler nomination (looking at the list, the fact that Satoshi Kon could have two eligible titles in Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers, and swing a nomination for neither of them, depresses me something fierce). But it’s not a bad mix of films at all, anchored by two films that have survived the intervening decade as bona-fide classics of the medium, and one film that… hasn’t, though it’s clung to an appreciative cult.

Fish, Bear and Other after the jump

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov022013

Reader Ranking: Smackdown '03

The Year of The Month is 2003, so we'll be sprinkingly a little 10th anniversary Early 'Aughts glitter here and there on our usual blog party for the next few weeks. On December 5th, we'll be celebrating those 10th anniversary Supporting Actress Nominees in the next SMACKDOWN. Since the revival of StinkyLulu's series began (with his blessing and participation), we've covered 1952 (comic landslide), 1980 (super tight race), and 1968 (Happy Halloween!). 

And now something presumably all of us actually lived through!

We'll get to discussing Shohreh, Patty, Holly, MarciaMarciaMarcia, and the Zeéeeee as a group on December 5th (The Smackdown!). For now I wanted to let you know that balloting is open. If you'd like your votes counted in the smackdown tally you...

a) rewatch the movies (be suspicious of 10 year old memories!)
b) send us an email with "2003" in the subject line by Sunday December 1st
c) give whichever of the five performances you've seen a rating on a scale of 1 to 5 hearts with or without commentary. (You may only vote on performances you've seen all the way through... no guessing or 'i've seen clips! presumptions'... its unfair to the actors!) 

And since we like to build a little "context" for a given year's Smackdown please vote on which of these 2003 movies you'd most like to read about (none of the Supporting Actress nominated pictures are in this poll because those movies will obviously get talked about).