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Entries in Oscars (11) (328)


We Need To Link About Kevin

Given that many of you are on pins and needles about the new Tilda Swinton tour de force (no, we haven't seen it. But it's getting easier and easier to assume given her recent track record) We Need To Talk About Kevin...

Critics aren't tossing tomatoes but bouquets to Tilda in "We Need To Talk About Kevin"

Given that I have been weirdly unwilling to post the multiplying clips out there (I get in these moods where I don't wanna know see anything for movies I'm especially looking forward to) I should cave enough to link up to the raves. Perhaps you don't share my sudden unwillingness to read anything longer than a twitter length review for movies you can't see yet. Too many critics -- even the best ones! -- no longer worry about spoiling the experience in crucial ways.

Ezra Miller ("Kevin"), Tilda, the incredible Lynne Ramsay and Reilly in CannesMorvern Callar, the last Lynne Ramsay film, was way back in 2002, so add Ramsay to that "slowpokes" list of directors we were discussing. That earlier film with an indelible mysterious performance from Samantha Morton was such a startling and visceral experience that I want to experience We Need To Talk About Kevin in the same way. Which is to say, I'm going in cold!

But if you're less nervous -- MUBI has a collection of the raves. Might we see Tilda Swinton picking up "best actress" but zero Oscar attraction (you know how they ignore her brilliance 95% of the time)? Time will tell. In roughly two weeks and then again in the winter when precursor season kicks in.

Have any of you read the book this film is based on?


Waif vs. Waif: Mia Wasikowska vs. Saoirse Ronan

[This guest post is from Ester Bloom, recently reader-spotlighted. She and I were speaking off-blog about how much we missed the old shuttered website Fame Tracker. Ester whipped up this homage to one of their best series "Two Stars: One Slot". We hope you enjoy. -Nathaniel R.]

Battle of the Stars With Unpronouncable Names

Mia & Saoirse on May 2nd, 2011 at the Met Costume Gala

Saoirse (“Sur-shuh”) Ronan and Mia Wasikowska (“Vash-i-kov-ska”) burst upon the scene at roughly the same time: In 2007, S. Ronan lent much-needed eeriness to Joe Wright’s Atonement in her first major role and received an Academy Award nomination. In 2008, Mia W. elevated both the HBO series “In Treatment” and the Daniel Craig vehicle Defiance, earning a place as one of Variety magazine’s “Actresses to Watch” in the process.

Since then, neither actress has sat on her hands. S. Ronan gave critics something to praise about Peter Jackson’s misconceived but lush adaptation of The Lovely Bones. Mia W. brought gravitas to Tim Burton’s misconceived but lush adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and helped made 2010 The Year of the Teenage Virgin with her role as the daughter in Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right.

Mia W. skipped ahead with a career-defining turn as the fierce, independent, young star of Jane Eyre, matching the intensity of Michael Fassbender. S. Ronan caught up by embodying another titular character: the fierce, independent, young star of Hanna, where she matched the intensity of Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett.

Mia as "Jane Eyre" & Saoirse as "Hanna"

Both parchment-skinned, fiery-eyed women hail from the former British Empire: though S. Ronan was born in New York, she was raised in Ireland, and Mia W. is from Canberra, Australia. They are only five years apart in age, and in many ways they could be sisters: they share a self-possession and a grace not easily found among Hollywood starlets. (Try to imagine either of them falling out of a limo, half-dressed.)

But where do they go from here? S. Ronan appears later this year in another popcorn flick about teenage assassins called Violet and Daisy directed by Geoffrey Fletcher (an Oscar winner for the screenplay of Precious). It could be good—Hanna is good, anxiety-inducing fun—but the presence of Alexis Bledel as a co-star doesn’t inspire confidence. After that, S. Ronan will return to form (and to screen with Cate Blanchett) in another, hopefully better, Peter Jackson vehicle, The Hobbit.  

Mia W. has chosen a more indie route, joining the crew of Gus Van Sant’s Restless and Rodrigo Garcia’s Albert Nobbs, as well as several other small-budget projects. 

Both of these steely sylphs have it in them to succeed despite their tongue-twisting names. Who has the edge? S. Ronan’s Hanna scared the bejesus out of audiences and Manohla Dargis, and she is already one of the youngest actresses to get an Oscar nomination; she has proven she can play to the mainstream and to art houses. Mia W. could manage a Best Actress nod this year for Jane Eyre and has plenty of other roles that will be catnip to Oscar on the horizon, but she hasn’t yet proven her box office chops. We have faith in both and this could easily be a draw, but Mia W., with more serious projects coming up, gets the edge.

Advantage: Mia W.


Vilanch & Musto: Crystal or Jackman?

Comedy writer Bruce Vilanch and the Village Voice's Michael Musto are such enduring sidebar figures of popular culture that it was kind of right somehow to read them conversing in the Village Voice. They talk comedy, James Franco, Cher, racist carnival barkers (that's Donald Trump if you haven't been paying attention), and more. But mostly it's about the Oscars.

Here's a tidbit.

Musto: Who will host next year's Oscars?

Vilanch: I think there might be a revival of Billy Crystal. It was such a success. They were so happy to see him that even as we speak, they're sending a gold wagon to his house: "Please come back!" My guess is they'll go back to a comedian—maybe just one person, so you don't have to worry about servicing two. I'd like not even a comic but a Renaissance person like Hugh Jackman. Or someone may surface. It's Charlie Sheen's time!

I'm with Vilanch on this one. Would love to see Jackman back. You?


Oscar Calendar and Today's Linkage

A note before we get to the links. Here's the new Oscar calendar. I'm updating the clock (downloadable) in the side bar as we speak.

  • 12/27/2011 - Nomination Ballots mailed
  • 1/13/2012 - Ballots Due
  • 1/24/2012 - OSCAR NOMINATION MORNING! (aka Christmas!)
  • 2/1/2012 - Voting Ballots mailed
  • 2/6/2012 - Nomination Luncheon
  • 2/12/2012 - All Ballots due
  • 2/26/2012 - OSCAR NIGHT (aka New Year's Eve!)

Boy Culture SPOILER ALERT writes up the finale party of RuPaul's Drag Race. With video interviews of the cast. (This is the first time I've been happy about the winner of any season. Not only was Raja my favorite contestant but she was also, perhaps not coincidentally, the most obviously movie-aware, referencing Carrie, Heathers, and other movies and classic stars throughout the competition.
Scene Stealers Top Ten movies about Runners. Apparently Track and Field isn't my thing. I was shocked to realized that I've only seen [gulp] 10% of this list. Which is not something I normally can say about top ten movie lists.
Sociological Images asks "who goes to the movies" the answers, given what Hollywood makes, may surprise you.
Marvel commemorates the start of The Avengers production with a set photo. Logo chairs!
My New Plaid Pants commemorates the same by offering up costume design of his own for Chris Evans' Captain America.
Serious Film condemns and defends The King's Speech now that it's out on DVD; Oscar winners have a tough time defending their reputations as history marches on.


IFC will make you scroll through five pages for the full list but they're naming the Top 25 Best Female Characters From TV. It's an all time list rather than a current list so don't get too excited about seeing, like, "Tami Taylor" on the list (I'm so obsessed with Friday Night Lights. Final season airing right now). 30 Rock's Liz Lemon is the highest ranking contemporary character (#9) and we can fully get behind #1, especially if it's night time, we're outside, and fanged creatures are approaching us.


Streep. The Lady Turns Blue

A new photo of Jim Broadbent and Meryl Streep as Mr & Mrs Margaret Thatcher from The Iron Lady [via The Daily Mail]

This is apparently a recreation of her "The lady is not for turning" speech when she was at war with the unions. As much as I hated Mamma Mia! from her Iron Lady director and as much as I am largely suspect about this movie and whether it will lionize (perhaps accidentally?) an über conservative doing the kind of thing everyone is correctly pissed at the Wisconsin Governor for doing, I'll have to admit I'm getting more curious about the movie.

If only because it's so hard to read this far out. Did I underestimate it in my Oscar predictions?


April Foolish Predictions Complete: Actress & Picture

So my "April Foolish" Oscar Predictions are now complete. I rejiggered two tech predictions once I finally decided on my ten Best Pictures but honestly, any combo of the top 20 listed seems just as plausible as any other so long as the obvious get, War Horse, is there. (It's practically as obvious as The King's Speech was a year out.) We won't know until January how well I did but it's exciting this far out when anything seems possible yes?

I didn't expect to get so fully behind Super 8 but sometimes your own predictions surprise you once you have to work every category out. My wishful thinking pick is David Cronenberg's psychoanalytic period drama A Dangerous Method which is a big old question mark for a number of reasons. But my hunch is that Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley will all bring it which will heat up the material which is already sexual conceptually speaking since it's about Freud and Jung. But Cronenberg has never been to the Academy's liking so I'm probably wrong. My wildcard guess -- as in something that's not an obvious contender -- is Oren Moverman's Rampart, a police corruption drama. This film will have the same challenge as My Week With Marilyn in that it will only win real Oscar traction if it feels much larger or more mythic than a telefilm on the same material since both cover topics that have been dramatized on television many times: cop dramas and Marilyn Monroe respectively. My guess for Smallest Nomination Tally But still Best Pic competitor is We Bought a Zoo (just a hunch). My guess for Film With Most Noms That Doesn't Get Nominated For Best Picture (whew) which was Alice in Wonderland last year and Nine the year before (i think?)  is The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn but if I'm wrong on that, I feel certain it'll be Hugo Cabret.

Which film am I greatly overestimating?
Which movie am I greatly underestimating?
Where am I Goldilocks "just right"?
I'll admit I had NO idea what to make of Moneyball. You?

Elizabeth Olsen and Felicity Jones were the twin Sundance bids for this category in January and we know how last year and the year before (Bening & Lawrence, Mulligan & Sidibe) turned out: all were nominated. But in a fit of bravery, I'm not predicting either of them.

I'm going with a mostly Previous Nominees lineup. How do you deny Michelle Williams, Glenn Close or Keira Knightley for example this far ahead with juicy roles? As for never-nominated people, I'm totally curious to see what happens with Charlotte Rampling's film The Eye of the Storm.

Anyone think they'll pass on Meryl Streep this year? (I perversely wanted to predict it.)
Which actress am I underestimating?
Could you see Williams winning for Marilyn?

Note to New Readers
The navigation bar up-top has pull down menus for each Oscar charts or you can click on the Prediction Index and investigate from there. Join in the conversation!