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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Oscars (11) (328)


Yes, No, Maybe So: "The Artist"

Sometimes our Yes No Maybe So series is just formality. Who doesn't want to see this big shiny novelty, a silent movie for 2011!?

Nevertheless let's manage expectations with our patented Yes No Maybe So system. Yes (all the reasons we're on board) No (potential issues the trailer suggests we could have) Maybe So (random introspection that's neither positive nor negative exactly)

Yes That Cannes win for Jean DuJardin is tantalizing, especially since the performance in short trailer form looks so deliciously physical and charismatic rather than a traditional 'Master Thespian!' type deal. But mostly the concept alone, the evidence of joyful dance scenes, clever physical comedy and the a heart that beats with the sincere love of cinema promises a good time. 

No Uh.... what to say... what to say... how will any onscreen terrier ever measure up to Skippy who starred in The Thin Man and The Awful Truth?
As you can see I'm failing to come up with a "no" this movie looks so gorgeous and fun. In all seriousness, though there's nothing in any way "turn off" about this brief look, I do wonder how the movie will sustain its gimmick over 100 whole minutes. 

Maybe So I've successfully read nothing about the plot of this picture but the trailer suggests A Star is Born style plot yes? I understand that we're dealing with Hollywood homage and archetypes and tropes so it's appropriate and all of that but my god that's been done hundreds of times already.

Here's the trailer...

are you a yes, no or a maybe so? does the trailer justify (for you) the Oscar buzz?


Who is Jessica Chastain?

Here's pretty much all that we know about her: She was raised in North Carolina, she just turned 30, she's in every seventh movie opening in 2011, and though we've only seen three of them thus far (The Tree of Life, The Help and Take Shelter) it takes a minute in each to realize that yes, that's her. Even in photoshoots she seems to be more than one person.

Is she a moldable young starlet?
Is she a Swintonesque Off-Hollywood provocateur?
Is she a Lead Star just waiting for her own vehicles?

Further IMDb and Wikipedia grazing reveals that she graduated from Juillard and that her best friend is the actress Jess Weixler (of Teeth fame. How about that?) but the point is this: we like people we can't pin down immediately.

I don't want to play the same character twice. There's something about the feeling of 'I don't think I can do this.' If you have that moment of doubt, you have to rise up and meet it. I learn from my failures more than my successes."
-Chastain to Michael Musto at the premiere of The Debt 

Hitting a Take Shelter screening last night I tweeted "Okay, Jessica Chastain. Show me what else ya got" Of her three summer performances (her fourth The Debt opens soon) it's the least impressive but it's almost the most telling. 'What I got' was the surest indication yet that she's a future Oscar winner as she embraced their favorite role, the long suffering wind-beneath-her-husband's-wings type, with such unfussy naturalistic ease.

Regarding Oscar...
While she's ethereal and lovely in The Tree of Life it seems less an acting feat than a well judged minimalist act to allow Terrence Malick and Emmanuel Lubezki's camera and the rich scoring to fill her Way of Grace with meaning. Auteur vessel performance are rarely nominated. While she's hugely entertaining in The Help she probably has too much internal competition for traction. And her most Oscar-friendly role in Take Shelter is within a film that one suspects will be too under the radar for Oscar. She may have to wait for the Kodak theater but it'll be exciting to watch her work her way there.


Happy 50th Birthday, Alexandre Desplat

Robert G here from Sketchy Details wishing a Happy Birthday to the most in demand film composer of our time.

Can you believe that Alexandre Desplat has scored 128 separate film and television projects since 1985? How about how a year hasn't gone by since 1991 where he didn't score at least three different TV or film productions? He has had quite the successful career in France and has started to work consistently in America in the past eight or so years.

Desplat has been nominated for Best Original Score four times at the Academy Awards: The Queen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The King's Speech. He's clearly doing something right to get the Music Branch's attention. His work is especially noticeable for not being the super flashy film scoring that demands attention. He does what needs to be done to set the right tone and lets the film be the focus.

Indeed, every year he lost the Oscar, he lost to a film with a far flashier or more pronounced score...

Click to read more ...


Hey, who Abducted my links?

Taylor Lautner, that's who!
and Kate Winslet but we'll get to her in a minute.
Michael Musto wonders if Taylor Lautner can be a film star outside of Twilight. My guess is no... but that he'll be crying all the way to the bank for the rest of his life by association. But, really, if you can't even sell a performance (Abduction) for two minutes in a trailer, how are you going to carry an entire film? 
Ultra Culture also has some words about the disingenousness of the promotional efforts for Taylor's BabyBourne film and...
Movie|Line giggles about how desperately Abduction wants to be seen as Teen Bourne.
Biblioklept "all four Twilight books in one comic" by Lucy Knisey is totes funny so read it. Unless the previous words about Taylor hurt your feelers.

P.S. I don't follow these things: Is there another Twilight about to come out or something? Cuz why is everyone talking Twilight again just as Harry Potter finally shut up? Blargh! Put new things into the world. Why is 2011 just like 2007? Noooooooo

And since you're all talking about it in the comments without me even posting it, here is an early teaser/trailer (?) for CARNAGE.

For those of you who haven't seen the play you're seeing two of the three big moments from Winslet's character.... and almost none of anyone else's. Which is interesting choice for marketing... but doesn't necessarily mean anything in terms of the movie as a whole.

My New Plaid Pants "who the hell wears this to dinner?" Sophia Loren, that's who!
Lemonwade the author of War Horse already has another film adaptation of his work, lined up. Private Peaceful is about two young farm brothers and, like War Horse, also takes place during The Great War.
Art & Design on the Jim Henson exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image and Cookie Monster's origins. Have I ever told you how much I love Cookie Monster? Probably not. I do.
Towleroad True Blood's Carrie Preston records an "It Gets Better" video.  (Loooooove her. Wish she'd do more supporting roles in movies as the last few were awesome)
Towleroad I'm not one for bathroom humor but Anderson Cooper is the world's cutest giggler - totally loses it when discussing Gerard Depardieu's urination incident.


Leo vs. Ryan: Oscar's Golden Young Men?

If this year's Best Actress competition is the race of the sixty-somethings (Close vs. Streep) that most people are predicting with the films still sight unseen, what kind of shape will the corresponding male category take? Could we see a race between 30-somethings in a sort of reverse age scenario of what normally occurs with actresses winning young and actors winning as soon as they have a gray hair or fifty.

Leo frets. It's not always good news to be the early unarguable frontrunner.

As an Oscar pundit I'm always trying to roll different scenarios on my tongue to see how they taste. How about this: What if this year's race is between Leonardo DiCaprio in J Edgar who will draw strength both from his past Oscar history and from AMPAS Official Favorite Genre (the biopic) and Ryan Gosling in The Ides of March? Gosling will be propped up by last year's Blue Valentine snub, his sure to be iconic character in Drive, and his general quickly achieved status as THE best of his generation...on this side of the Atlantic at least. I assume Michael Fassbender is just warming up. And what if the vote siphoning ingredient is not Clooney or Fassbender or whomever but Cannes Best Actor winner Jean DuJardin in The Artist?

I know most people have called this one for Leo despite  J Edgar being sight unseen and Clint Eastwood's Oscar appeal slightly faded. On paper (Oscar weight paper), yes he looks unstoppable. That's especially true because if Gosling proves his main competition, well, Gosling is very young still for Oscar votes being only one year older at this writing as the youngest Best Actor winner ever (Adrien Brody, The Pianist). But I always hesitate to assume that we know winners before we have seen virtually any of the competitive work. I mean, would fans of other young movie giants of their day ever assume that Paul Newman or Al Pacino or Peter O'Toole or whomever would have to wait as long as they did or are? Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, both as big as Leo, are still waiting, too.

Nothing is certain until it's already happened.

As for Supporting Actor, The Ides of March is the big reigning question mark in the same way that The Help (previous posts) is for the ladies with multiple appealing choices for voters. The political drama has three former Oscar nominees, two of them winners, all circling 'round and talking at Ryan Gosling in the actor friendly piece. Who will voters favor: showy Philip Seymour Hoffman, subtle (at least in comparison) Paul Giamatti, or charismatic George Clooney?

Make your wild guesses now! Soon the movies are upon us. Wheeee

UPDATED PREDICTIONS: Index | Picture | Director | Actor | Supporting Actor