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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Entries in Rooney Mara (38)


Miscellania: Flatlining at Fury Road Hotel

• Ellen Page to lead the remake of 1990s film Flatliners [/Film]
• Leonardo DiCaprio walks the walk he talks. He joined a coalition of groups with combined holdings of 2.6 trillion dollars to defund climate change. (At this rate he'll win the Jean Hersholt before an actual Oscar) [New Yorker]
• Any mention of Twin Peaks is still making us tear up, given the Log Lady's recent death, but the 3rd season casting is well underway: Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard are joining [Empire]
• Do Dump or Marry...American Horror Story: Hotel edition [MNPP]
• Speaking of... Ryan Murphy has already offered Gaga Season 6 as well [Twitter]

• I don't really watch SNL (way too many DOA skits) but loved this bit with Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton opposite Hillary Clinton as bartender "Val". She does a pretty fun Trump impression [YouTube]
• Belgian director Chantal Akerman, whose most famous film was 1975's Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles and whose new film No Home Movie we just covered for NYFF, has passed away suddenly at only 65 years of age [The Guardian]
• You can learn a lot about filmmaking from George Miller's speech on Mad Max Fury Road [Mentorless]
• Claire Danes finally broke her silence on that whole infamous early Aughts scandal when she took up with Billy Crudup. [Pajiba]  
• What are the best performances and films from the past 5 years? Sati goes all in for Mad Max Fury Road from this year but it's fun to be reminded of a few others [Cinematic Corner]
• Will Smith confirms that Jared Leto was The Joker at all times on The Suicide Squad set. [Complex]
• Rooney Mara is still being asked about the whitewashing of Tiger Lily for Pan. Still has nothing useful to say about it beyond feeling "bad". Than why take the role, Rooney? It's not like you're hurting for offers! [People]
• 50 Cent, who is no longer popular as far as I'm aware, blames the slightly declined popularity of Empire (still mega popular) on its gay content. Charming. [Towleroad]
• Marvel is trusting its in-house writer's program. Black Panther, due in theaters in 33 months, hasn't been written yet, but will likely go to Joe Robert Cole, who is part of the program that Nicole Perlman (interviewed here) was in before Guardians of the Galaxy [Variety]  
• Ashley Judd now sharing with press that a studio mogul offered her an Oscar nomination for sexual favors. Gross. ("If only Oscar nominations were that easy to come by" - Everyone who has never received one.) [Variety]
• Channing Tatum stepping behind the camera for the first time as director for teen with gun murder drama Forgive Me Leonard Peacock [/Film]
• Not everyone is happy about Warner Bros choice of writer/director on their feature film version of The Flash the novelist Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter). (Also why do an unrelated film when the TV show is so good?) [CHUD]
• 15 best films from Fantastic Fest? FSR has a genre-loving list that includes festival titles we l-o-v-e like The Witch, the soon to open Crimson Peak, and even an Oscar submission, Belgium's Brand New Testament [Film School Rejects]
• George Miller claims that two more Mad Max sequels are coming. Don't hold your breath. Remember that Fury Road was in pre-production as early as the late 90s!  [Tracking Board


Podcast: Carol Aird of Manhattan, Mark Watney of Mars.

Katey, Joe, Nathaniel and Nick, get stranded on Mars with Astronaut Matt Damon. After rescuing each other they fall for shopgirl Rooney Mara with Cate Blanchett. Yes, we're discussing Ridley Scott's The Martian (now playing at a theater near you) and Todd Haynes's Carol (opening November 20th but surely already playing in your head).

Nathaniel is sick -- apologies for the vocal germs! --  so Katey hosts this one. 

43 minutes 
00:01-14:30  The Martian. How often must mankind save Matt Damon? 
14:31-40:00  The miraculous healing powers of Carol. Struggling with/loving on Rooney's remoteness and Blanchett's range and roll. 
40:01-43:00 Oscar fanfare / Sign-offs

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments won't you? Especially those two prompt questions: What did you think of The Martian and when were you most turned on by Cate Blanchett?

Carol and The Martian


NYFF: 10 Best Things About "Carol" (First Impressions)

Todd Haynes' highly anticipated Carol screened a week ago for NYFF press and I immediately began marking time P.C. "POST CAROL". It was that impactful. For something that appears so delicate it breaks with immeasurable force. Carol recounts the relationship between a posh 40something society wife (Cate Blanchett), no stranger to lesbian affairs, and a curious 20something photographer/shopgirl (Rooney Mara) who has never been in love. Haynes's sixth feature is one of his best and thus both a marvel and a relief since he had gone AWOL from movie screens for eight years. The film which began the long drought, I'm Not There, is the only one that this longtime Haynes fanatic doesn't cherish.

Herewith 10 favorite things (in no particular order) about Carol right after meeting her. This infatuation is too potent to think clearly at this point for a traditional review. A word of caution: exciting first dates don't always lead to fullblown rewarding relationships but this one appears to be a (celluloid) romance for the long haul. 

1. Gifts & Gift-Wrapping
We like to think of final quarter movies as "gifts" since so much of awards season is centered around the holidays. This one is beautifully wrapped (the production values are breathtaking on literally every level) and even better once you start tearing the careful packaging apart to see what it's gifted you with. Carol also takes place during Christmas just like Tangerine so in one single cinematic year we've received the best Lesbian Christmas movie and the best Trans Christmas movie. How about that? More...

Click to read more ...


6 Questions. Best Actress / Supporting Actress Races

With the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress (or "Best Actress Pt 2" if the category fraud forces have their way!) charts updated, all Oscar charts are now up to date. Next update is...? Well, we'll see. But October tends to be instructive. Here are question prompts for the comments after you've checked out the charts.

1. Will it help to be the first FYC screeners out?
Blythe Danner (72) who carries I'll See You in My Dreams and Lily Tomlin (76) who drives Grandma already have screeners out. I can't wait to watch both again. I'd hold them in my hands to prove my eagerness for you but then how could I type? As previously expressed in "either/or" paranoia (The Martian vs. Mad Max or Truth vs. Spotlight situations) "either/or" is often a false lose-lose game. But it will be interesting to see how much room the Academy has for stellar older women nonetheless. Speaking of...

2. Older Titans or Fresh Excitements?
For the senior set, there's also Charlotte Rampling (69) in 45 Years but she's risking being the last person out of the gate, as Marion Cotillard tried (successfully) in a much thinner field last year.  Even if Oscar decides it wants all fresh young things this year -- and there are plenty of them with Saoirse Ronan and Alicia Vikander leading that particular pack -- and none of the enduring thespians end up nominated how refreshing is it that we have three senior women in the running this year whose names are not Mirren or Streep or Dench?  Answer: very! 

3. How can we ever stop Category Fraud?
Alicia Vikander is The Danish Girl (but, yes, so is Eddie Redmayne so it's a perfect title) UPDATE: But the studio has confimed to us that she's running in supporting. The same is true for Rooney Mara who is 100% definitively absolutely totally inarguably a lead in Carol (there should be no doubt as to how we feel) no matter what the campaign strategists claim. I firmly believe both Mara & Blanchett could be nominated if pushed as a box set in Carol, a la Thelma & Louise... if Thelma & Louise had been excited about bedding each other on their road trips instead of, say, Brad Pitt.  Romantic dramas, requited or unrequited, usually require two leads... it's the nature of the beast. Pretending Mara is supporting in Carol is like pretending that Kate Winslet supported Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine or Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic (or vice versa) or like pretending Blanchett supported Dench in Notes on a--- oh ah. DAMNIT!

With Mara & Vikander both in high rising star demand and Oscar's history of LOVING to crown young beautiful actresses near the beginning of big careers, Supporting Actress could well be Best Actress 2 with these two leads battling it out for that win. IF Oscar is okay with the fraud that is... which they usually are, yes. (sigh)

4. Among the actual supporting players/characters this year who could win traction? 
Category Fraud tends to be a bigger problem in years when memorable actual supporting characters show up late in the year. And 2015 is definitely having that problem. Usually I have a full list by this point that I'm eager to hold on to but it's been a weak year for female parts in the ensemble. Case in point: It's exciting to think of Elisabeth Moss squaring off with Blanchett in Truth, but she only has a few lines here and there. And Sarah Paulson is as wonderful as everyone has come to expect in Carol but as with 12 Years a Slave, other much more famous or less famous actresses have much larger roles in her movies. When will a filmmaker give her THE key female role, supporting or otherwise, in a movie? She's earned it.

Jane Fonda has just one scene in Youth (and a flash cut from another scene) but boy is it a doozy. Half of the movie points right at this scene.

I'm currently predicting Jane Fonda in Youth, Julie Walters in Brooklyn, and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Hateful Eight for the more traditional type of strong candidates, making big marks in well liked movies either by way of the script blazingly focusing on them or by way of scene stealing or by way of being the key woman in a man's movie. All three of these are risky bets for different reasons (Leigh mostly because people haven't yet seen the film ... and because she has historically proven easy for the Academy to ignore even when she had juicy big roles) but the supporting actress race is looking like the last of the four acting competitions that will come into proper focus.

5. Who do you think we're underestimating and which chart position do you think is spot on?
Sound off. 

6. Remember that New Best Actress Hierarchy we published in February?
Jane Fonda (#6), Cate Blanchett (#11), Maggie Smith (#12) and Kate Winslet (#18) could all move up a rung or two this year if Oscar voters embrace their latest roles.  


3 in One - Pfeiffer, Blanchett , Mara

 Here's Murtada with just released pictures of 3 upcoming projects.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth Madoff
Quick turnaround from the casting announcement, they have already started filming The Wizard of Lies and released the first picture. New cast members have been added to the HBO project including Nathan Darrow (famous for House of Cards' menage a trois with Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey) who will play the Madoff’s younger son Andrew.

Pfeiffer is completely transformed as Ruth Madoff. More...

Click to read more ...


Best Actress Updates, Or: Get Right With God. Stop Category Fraud!

News, or shall we say "scuttlebutt," recently broke in regards to Todd Haynes long-awaited Carol that Cate Blanchett would campaign for Supporting Actress and Rooney Mara for Lead. Speaking at length to someone who has seen the picture they say, and I quote, "...either demotion absolutely insane. Even moreso than Notes on a Scandal." referring of course to the last time that Cate Blanchett pulled out the category fraud stops to get nominated for a lesbian drama. Only this time she's the title character, making it even more ridiculous.

Then Cate's agent denied it.

Which is all along way of saying... that discussions and are still forming. But why should they be when it comes to Supporting/Lead campaigns? why should they be?

If it were to go that way the reasoning is clear: to have Cate avoid competing with herself for Truth, the Rather-Gate movie in which she plays Mary Mapes to Robert Redford's Dan Rather, and defer to Rooney Mara since Rooney took Best Actress at Cannes. If you remove all concerns about ethics, this is just fine and makes sense... but really now. Shouldn't power players within Hollywood have some ethics and set good examples? Cate has two Oscars already. It's time for actors, particularly those of Cate's magnitude, to stop with the greed and start standing up for what's right: let actual character/supporting actors have a shot at Oscar nominations in the category designed to honor them rather than pretend you're not huge star in a leading role just so that you can be feted again. (See also: Julia Roberts in August Osage County recently who also had no excuse for the greed, and whose very stardom ruined the property's ending by insisting on a cutaway closeup that dampened the meaning)

And yes stars do approve their campaigns. They are not blameless though the strategies come from elsewhere.

On the other hand this particular Carol proposition would not likely be the type of Category Fraud that voters would go along peacefully with. Especially not with Cate having top billing, being the title character, and getting 3/5th of the movie poster for her face. Every once in a while they do balk at fraudulent campaigns as when they "promoted" Keisha Castle-Hughes to her true category (Lead for Whale Rider despite a supporting campaign) or when Kate Winslet greedily attempted a double nod by pretending she was supporting in The Reader to clear the way for her lead campaign in Revolutionary Road. Instead AMPAS voters just ignored the latter and "promoted" her for the Holocaust drama to the category she belonged in anyway. For now I'm demoting both Rooney & Cate on both charts until we see further evidence that anyone beyond SAG (who are required to vote by how the studio submits) is going to buy this 'Carol is the supporting player in Carol' business.

Finally, there is no reason to believe that both Rooney and Cate couldn't be nominated in Best Actress if they ran a truthful campaign as it's happened before, and not just once either. One could argue that the only reason it doesn't happen anymore is that its only very rarely attempted it. In supporting where it's frequently attempted it happens frequently. 

Spotlight's ensemble features Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo in the largest roles. But technically they could go any which way with campaigning, even trying "all supporting" like The Departed did

In other strange categorization news I forgot to add Jason Segel (in another two-hander same-gender film) to the Supporting Actor chart last time round for End of the Tour so there he goes. All Acting Category Charts are now updated:

LEAD ACTRESS - lots of strong contenders
LEAD ACTOR - lots of strong contenders
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, - very vague at this point. much will still happen 
SUPPORTING ACTOR - starting to take shape


it takes two to make a link go ri-ight. It take two to make it outta site

Two-Some Links

  • Stuff has the cutest story ever: Stunt doubles from Mad Max Fury Road fell in love on set (while punching each other in the face and so on)! I swear to god Fury Road is like a gift that keeps on giving. Have you seen it yet?
  • Bryce Dallas Howard still hasn't quite convinced people she isn't Jessica Chastain. So she's trying it in musical form in this cute video. But they really do look alike -- it's the coloring plus the chins.
  • Deadline Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara will co-star in Collateral Damage. Plot details are scarce but Jackman is an ad executive trying to overcome a personal tragedy. They better not be romantically paired! There are plenty of actresses in his age range (mid 40s) who he'd be great onscreen with.

Today's Must Read #1 - Awards Fallout
Entertainment Weekly Mark Harris wonders why the Tony Awards are so afraid to be the Tony Awards. Even if you don't follow the Tonys this is worth a read in the way it echoes what we're always saying here at The Film Experience about the odd choices Oscar producers make. It's as if every awards show is terrified of really thinking about its core audience and serving them and accepting that nothing is for everyone anymore. (It was different when there were only three channels but that hasn't been the case in a very very long time and many institutions have had trouble with that paradigm shift and they're constantly all "maybe [insert teenage/early 20something star] will bring in new viewers by reading from a teleprompter about something their fans aren't interested in!?!?")

[More Tony Fallout: The Visit closes on June 14th; Gigi closes June 21st; Fun Home's sales quadruple after its Best Musical win; Kelli O'Hara is getting some mainstream attention - like her insanely quick costume change going viral, that dancing gif, and a little photodiary in Vogue]

Today's Must Read #2 - Mia Wasikowska
Film Comment Nick Davis interviews Mia Wasikowska! Nick even mentions Streep's Jane Eyre shout-out at the Globes but I liked this exchange on costuming best (just a small sample)...  

As an actor, do you like being in dialogue with people like the cinematographer and the costumer, or do you prefer responding to creative choices they’ve made independently?

I do like collaborating, but I also feel I’ve been working with such wonderful people that there’s nothing I could even add to what they’ve already imagined. As much as possible, we still find ways to feed off each other, but really, across the board, everyone on these films I’ve been doing has just been incredible. Costumes, especially, are so important, especially on a project like "Madame Bovary". Every color was so representative of Emma’s place in her journey... 

..Enquiring minds are dying to know if you got to keep your gloves from "Maps to the Stars".

That’s so funny! I didn’t! I should have. They’re so stingy, they never let us keep any of the costumes. But for sure, those gloves were completely great.

Exit Video #1 Swiftie Spoof
The hilarious Jeffrey Self & Drew Droege ("Chloe"!) & Robert Michael Morris ("The Comeback") and more co-star in this spoof of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" (recently discussed right here due to its movie trailer riffings) called "Sad Studs" that's also an activist reminder of FDA's obnoxious anti-gay policies. 

Exit Video #2 Showtune to Go
Judy Garland would have turned 93 today if she had lived to be a very old lady. Not that she would have still been working -- not every actor has the stamina to work into their 90s like Christopher Lee & Betty White (both born the same year as Judy) -- but oh what glorious entertainments the world was robbed of when we lost her. "The World's Greatest Entertainer" and also one of the best movie stars the cinema ever had. 

They're playing
Ta-tlee-a-ti, Ta-tlee-a-ti, with Shostakovich,
Ta-tlee-a-ti, Ta-tlee-a-ti, Mozart and Bach,
Ta-tlee-a-ti, Ta-tlee-a-ti, and they don't know which,
'Cause anything can happen when they start to rock

I chose this number from Thousands Cheer (1943) because of the Mozart mention. Shameless Plug: Our Best Shot episode of Amadeus (1984) is tonight -  don't forget. Especially since it's about to leave Netflix Instant Watch. Have your entry posted befoire midnight so we can include you in the visual fun. Even if you only have time to skim your favorite scenes, you should join us.