Oscar History

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Entries in Please Give (3)


Take Three: Catherine Keener

Craig from Dark Eye Socket here with this week's Take Three. Today: Catherine Keener


Take One: Being John Malkovich (1999)
Do you think it’s possible to admire an actress’ immense talent yet still be somewhat immune to her overall allure or effectiveness? Or perhaps it’s fair to acknowledge their greatness, but have issues with many of their performances? It’s been this way with me and Cathy K for eleven years. It was very likely Being John Malkovich that kick-started my general viewer/star incompatibility with Keener. I did, however, enjoy her sarcastically dry, bolshy, personality-destroying task master Maxine Lund in Spike Jonze’s breakthrough film a great deal. But in the film – and in many things since – she’s baffled, transfixed, annoyed and intrigued me in equal measure. Watching one of her films is a tug-of-war, filled with both appreciation and irritation.

Objectively I can see just how good a performance Keener gives here (evident to anyone watching). She has her eye on the ball at all times. Maxine’s never less than alert to her surroundings and ready to manipulate any sad interlopers who infiltrate them to her advantage. While sympathetic to protagonist John Cusack’s plight, I didn’t blame Maxine for maneuvering every event to her betterment. But Malkovich was the key film in how I came to view Keener as an oddly awkward yet undeniably captivating screen presence. Maybe her interpretation of this adversely egoistical role was too successful and the character and actress detrimentally intertwined in my mind.

Keener herself apparently didn’t originally think she was right for the part because of her dislike of Maxine. Regardless, her Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod was well deserved. Unlike her second one...

Take Two: The 40-Year-Old-Virgin (2005)
...or should I say her second Oscar nomination was misplaced?

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Spirit Award Winners

Since they aren't airing the show live (it comes on at 10 PM EST) we shan't live-blog -- seriously in this day and age no live airing? Epic stupidity -- but we can share winners and talk about highlights after zee fact late tonight or tomorrow as we just skim through the show.

Jennifer Lawrence and Nicole Kidman, both nominated

Best First Screenplay Lena Durhman Tiny Furniture. Though she's already won the true prize: an HBO pilot deal. Tiny Furniture is quite singular and funny so check it out when you can.

Best Cinematography Matthew Libatique Black Swan. Yay! Single best thing about Black Swan if you ask me. He also won our gold medal.

Best Supporting Actress Dale Dicky in Winter's Bone. She puts the hurt on Lawrence so beautifully.

Best First Feature Aaron Schneider for Get Low. (Scott Cooper won this last year for Crazy Heart. Moral of the story: Find an old grizzly acting legend and you're newbie gold!)

Best Actor James Franco in 127 Hours. I'm so glad Colin Firth wasn't eligible. Firth was good in The King's Speech but so were a lot of people this year.

Best Documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop. Mr Brainwash accepts the prize. Apparently goes on and on. Honestly I feel like I'm live blogging blindfolded. I hate tape delay. This is 2011. This is not my childhood with 3 television stations and friends who had something exotic called "cable"

Best Foreign Film The King's Speech.  I guess it's too much to ask the masses to vote for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. And the masses can vote on the Spirits if they join. Which is, I think, why it's more like the Oscars than not of late.

Robert Altman Award to Please Give. Yay. It also made our best ensemble nominations. Have you seen it yet?




Cassavettes Awards Daddy Longlegs

Best Supporting Actor John Hawkes for Winter's Bone. It's turning into quite a "Weekend in the Ozarks" here. Is it too much to hope that Jennifer Lawrence wins too? A nice change of pace that'd be. And when there are so many hundreds of awards to win each year, why do they all gotta go to the same things?

Mark Ruffalo tweeted a beautiful congrats to his "opponent" and apparently friend.

John Hawkes is the Man. Congratulations brother. All our days in shitty little theaters back in the day paid off. Blessings!!

And he also snapped a photo of Lisa Cholodenko and her woman Wendy. The Cholodenkos Are All Right. Speaking of...

Best Screenplay Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg for The Kids Are All Right

Best Actress Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Best Director Darren Aronofksy, Black Swan

Best Feature Black Swan

It started as a Winter's Bone evening and then sported a rash that quickly turned into black swan feathers.

And that's it. Now the show is but an afterthought. What strange programming decisions stations make of late. The things that IFC felt were more important to show during the actula awards were The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005) and Boondock Saints (2000) which they have undoubtedly shown hundreds of times already.

Stranger still it seems my IFC is not working. Dang. I was really not meant to watch this. I shall dutifully wait to see YouTube videos of Dale Dickey and John Hawkes winning their well deserved prizes.




Best of 2010: Honorable Mentions

Before we begin, new readers take note: This is but the beginning of The Film Experience year-in-review kudos. It goes on for some time because we're giddy and OCD like that when it comes to recognizing great work. The "Film Bitch Awards" title is misleading and an old joke from college. We don't look down at the movies through our noses, but look up at the silver screen in reverie.

Here's a quick overview of well-loved films outside of the top ten (make that a top thirteen, coming tomorrow). Don't we all ♥ more than ten films a year?

Best Documentaries
I don't include documentaries in my top ten -- a personal quirk since they're a different artform with wildly different goals -- but if I did include them, please note that the Kimberly Reed's trans identity essay Prodigal Sons [Netflix Instant Watch] and the Chinese migration family drama Last Train Home, both released theatrically in 2010, would be in the mix. They might be the two best docs I've seen since Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man which you'll understand is the highest compliment I can pay them. I was also intrigued by Catfish, but then I saw it long before it was possible to have it "spoiled."  It's arguably exploitative take on online relationship and virtual identity works whether it's staged or real. And the scene that gives the film its name? Wow.

Exit Through Joan's Gift Shop

Quite by accident I saw more documentaries this year than I ever have. The two other true keepers among the batch were laugh-out-loud goodies: Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop and Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work which both stare straight at the lunacy of celebrity and artistic success, one with twinkling eyes and amused disbelief, the other with trembling lip and defiant survival.

Movie I Feel Bad About Missing
I shan't bore you with the details but please know that I did try to see Dogtooth -- most people I trust have urged me to see it -- but was thwarted in my attempts. One for the future. For what it's worth I also missed: For Colored Girls,  Robin Hood, and the French romantic comedy Heartbreaker which was an international hit, finishing in the top 100 globally. How did I miss that one? Grrrr.

The Movies I Can't Count
There is an argument out there that in this new millenium, theatrical release is more or less meaningless and shouldn't be a factor in year-end honors. But, without some sort of structure, how can there be community in movie discussions?

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