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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


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

 

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Entries in SAG (46)

Saturday
Dec202014

Critical Consensus: Boyhood or Birdman?

Birdman and Boyhood continue to split regional trophies. This round tips in Birdman's favor for a change though. I'm becoming more and more curious to see who SAG selects as "Outstanding Cast". Will they opt for the heartfelt dedication of 4 actors who spent a few weeks each year for over a decade making the same intimate masterpiece, or will they go with a very exciting movie that's about acting to a significant degree with the lively interactions of movie stars pretending to be theater stars who are actually acting together in frame in a way you rarely see in the movies but see all the time in theater where this is no camera and editing to distract you.

It's a tough predictive call though my vote goes to Birdman because there's far more acting with each other (and more consistency in the quality of each performance) something that is pure pleasure if you're a lover of the art of acting as interacting.

Results and commentary from Florida, Las Vegas, Utah and St Louis after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec142014

SAG & Globe Reader Questions. Podcast Answers! 

Last week's tidal wave of precursor buzz - most notably the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations have everyone talking possible Oscar nominations. Those nominations are still one month away if you can believe it which gives us plenty of time to keep theorizing.

You asked a lot of questions. So Nathaniel, Nick and Katey answered them in this week's podcast!

How this one goes...
00:01 BFCA Ballot Buyer's Remorse. How many times did Katey vote for The Hundred-Foot Journey?
03:00 Is Jennifer Aniston going to happen?
05:15 Robert Duvall and/or Selma's Supporting Bids 
10:00 Humble Brag Jake Gyllenhaal Party
15:15 "What were they thinking?" & potential surprises
22:00 Julianne Moore's frontrunner status  
27:45 Boyhood's performances & Budapest's momentum
32:25 Rewatchability. Does it matter? Should it?
37:00 Miscellaneous Last thoughts
40:10 Julianne Moore Stinger 

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes tomorrow. Continue the conversation in the comments. Hopefully though we answered your initial questions we raised even more talking points... 

Precursor Questions. Podcast Answer

Wednesday
Dec102014

How to be SAG Snubbed Even When You're Nominated

As is our annual tradition we like to peruse the credits of the SAG Ensemble nods to see who got left out despite their film's nomination. The Film Experience started this kind of analysis ten years ago when The Aviator had some really dumb exclusions and inclusions but lots of other sites now cover the injustice. We never get credit for starting this line of Norma Rae righteous anger but, that said, at least a lot of people have it now.

Did SAG think her face looked like she'd licked a homelessman's ass?

If you aren't familiar SAG uses a system whereby only actors with solitary title cards are official nominees for the Cast category. This means if you are famous in a bit part and have a good agent you are more likely to be an official nominee than the unknown who delivered a better performance in possibly a much larger role than yours but had to share his or her card. There are occasionally exceptions to this rule; no actors in Woody Allen films get their own title cards, so in those cases SAG uses the first roll call title card but not the second and we see this solution with Birdman this year which does not give its cast separate billings.

What this means is that sometimes the person giving the single best performance in a film, like Corey Stoll in Midnight in Paris a few years back gets the snub because they weren't famous enough even though they undoubtedly contributed to the nomination happening in the first place. Stoll is now famous enough to get his own title card which he can thank Midnight in Paris and all the things it led to (like House of Cards) for but at the time, despite inarguably contributing to the nomination appeal, he was left out. 

It's really an unfortunate system that a union like SAG should consider revamping: it essentially awards the rich and powerful and demeans the little guy which is kind of a union no-no, you know? So let's look at who's nominated (officially) and who's not from the nominated casts. Though, as I've often been reminded by those defending SAG, it is worth noting that the non-nominate nominees (errrr) still get some kind of 'congrats' citation from SAG and something to put on their resume and nobody really balks when they fudge the officialness and declare themselves a best cast nominee!

BEST CAST NOMINATIONS
(Listed in order of billing. This year proves to be far less egregious than past years in terms of thoughtless shunnings. But it's a tradition at The Film Experience so we'll soldier on through it)

BIRDMAN
Michael Keaton, Zach Galifanakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts [They all share an end-credit title card - like how woody allen films do it, with only Keaton interrupting the alphabetization] 

Who got the boot:  Lindsay Duncan, Merrit Wever, and Jeremy Shamos share the second actor credits page. The Emmy winning Wever, of Nurse Jackie fame, is blink and you'll miss her as the stage manager so it's no great loss in terms of a citation but surely Lindsay Duncan, who is rather key to the narrative as the much-discussed fearsome critic "Tabitha," should have been the exception to the rule and among the nominees. I believe Shamos plays the "terrible" actor that Mike Shiner (Norton) replaces in the play within the movie. Bill Camp (the crazy homeless man!) and Damion Young are the only other actors with a shared credit card.

BOYHOOD
Patricia Arquette, Eller Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, "and" Ethan Hawke [title cards end credits] 

Only "grandma" is left out of Boyhood's blood relative nominees

Who got the boot: Though this seems somewhat fair given the 12 years that the immediate fictional family put into the project, there are a few other players who stuck around a year or three or four with highlighted roles. So you could complain (though I'm never in the mood for complaining when it comes to this gift of a movie) about the lack of Libby Vallari (Grandma) especially. There's also Barbara Chisolm as the mom's protective generous friend (Carol) or either of mom's drunk later husbands Marco Perella (as Professor Welbrock) or Brad Hawkins (as Jim)

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Ralph Fiennes, F Murray Abraham, Mathieu Almaric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzmann, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Willinson, Owen Wilkinson, and  "Introducing" Tony Revolori

Grand Budapest has an insanely large cast so it makes sense that not everyone can be included. Sorry, prison gang!

Who got the boot: With the largest cast nominated, 17 players, all the important players as well as a few famous cameos are accounted for. So no complaints. Of those not "officially" included my votes for most memorable would go to Giselda Volodi as Serge's doomed club-footed sister and Florian Lukas as "Pinky" in the jail. Others might miss the cameos by the "The Society of the Crossed Keys" Wes Anderson regulars Bob Balaban, Wally Wolodarski and Waris Ahluwalia share that title card. 

THE IMITATION GAME
Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, "with" Charles Dance, "and" Mark Strong [title cards after prologue]

Who got the boot: Among the government corralled code-breaking teams James Northcote (who was also in Nymphomaniac and Belle this year) as "Jack Good" is left out, as are the young actors Alex Lawther and Jack Bannon who play Alan Turing and his mate Christopher in their boys school youth. And I might be a teeny tiny bit annoyed to see Tuppence Middleton left out since I loved her scene(s?) as "Helen" - and because she gifted Turing and Team with their scripted 'Eureka!' moment with all her flirtatious you know? But overall the nomination here is inclusive enough.

THEORY OF EVERYTHING 
Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, "and" David Thewlis.  [title cards end credits]

Harry Lloyd was Best Friend to Hawking, but doesn't get to enjoy the awards spoils

Who got the boot: The only principal cast members who got title cards but were left our are Maxine Peake and Harry Lloyd who had to share a card. This is a shame. Both Lloyd and Peake have major roles as Hawking's speech therapist of sorts and his best friend respectively so this is disappointing. Those are certainly much bigger parts and more impressive performances than, say, Emily Watson whose role Nick famously and hilariously summarized in our podcast as

You haven't met me. You should go to church. Bye!" 

 

What did you think of the SAG Cast Nominations, readers? Which films were you upset to see left out and which film are you rooting for for the win? 

Wednesday
Dec102014

SAG Noms: Surprises, Snubs, Sexism, Stunts

The nominations were announced live here (by Eva Longoria and Ansel Elgort) and on TBS & TNT. My wrong predictions were back here.

Though I have many pet peeves about the way the actors guild decides and divvies up its honor, here's one that's wildly underdiscussed online and I don't think it's at all insignificant or petty. Each year they refuse to alphabetize correctly, always listing Male Actor categories BEFORE Female Actor categories. That might make sense at the Oscars since "Actor" does comes before "Actress" in the alphabet if not in our hearts, but "Female" does not  come AFTER "Male" when you alphabetize and yet SAG always lists the men first. Highly sexist if you ask me though they are obviously super self-righteous about not calling women "Actresses". Go figure. 

If you don't think this is sexist consider this subliminal perhaps subconscious related value judgement: Drama is always listed before Comedy in their press releases though that's also not alphabetically justified. 

So The Film Experience always course-corrects for SAG by listing female actors first. Of course we do that with the Oscars too which is alphabetically incorrect since we use "Actress" but in our case it isn't a subliminal but a purposeful value judgement. Duh! Women are better than men. 

NOMINATIONS & COMMENTARY (ALL CATEGORIES) ARE AFTER THE JUMP

MOVIES

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec092014

SAG Predictions & Other Giggles

Before I begin my sure to be pointless and extremely late SAG predictions, I must share this good LOL. For the past 48 hours IMDb had had a hilariously odd Golden Globes 2015 page up that Nick pointed out on twitter. They FINALLY fixed it this evening but I took a screenshot earlier, knowing it would eventually vanish, to prove it once existed.

I probably shouldn't have photoshopped the screenshot to underline (aka magnify) the funny but I swear to you this actually existed.

 

Best Motion Picture Drama - The Expendables 3 

Hee! It's even funnier because it wasn't "nominated" for Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.

Ansel Elgort will be announcing the SAG nominees but I will not try to justify this gif by suggesting after the jump that Christoph Waltz will be nominated for Big Eyes even though the Expendables 3 also features old European dudes repeating their beloved schtick to diminishing returns.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov192014

FYC for SAG: "Outstanding Ensemble"

SAG ballots go out today (and Globe and BFCA ballots in a week or two) so it's FYC season again. SAG's most unique categories are "Stunt Ensemble" -- may we adamantly remind them that the fight scenes in Captain America: Winter Soldier are better than the ones in Guardians of the Galaxy even if the latter film is more popular and beloved --  and the one we tend to obsess on "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture"" 

Unfortunately, the older the SAG Awards become the less adventurous their nominations. Rarely do we see the surprise Off-Best Picture nominee as in years past like Hustle & Flow or The Birdcage or what not. We'd love it if their randomly selected nominating committee were not thinking about the Oscars when they went a-balloting. We know, for example, that Boyhood, Selma, Theory of Everything, Birdman, Foxcatcher and The Imitation Game have an advantage do their strong assumed place in the Best Picture race but if you really think about it (which you always should if you have a ballot) are half of those movies all that impressive in terms of group acting? They're impressive in other ways, don't misunderstand. But you can nominate individual performers for prizes so why waste an ensemble spot on the same people!?

The Film Experience would like to make 3 suggestions off the expected path for those voting this year. These are films with impressive large ensembles that are very in sync with each other as well as the film's tone

For SAG's consideration...


DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Jason Clarke does a fantastic atypically peaceful hero job leading the fine human cast but though they're at odds with the apes, their performances mesh extraordinarily well. Keep in mind that they were acting with people dressed up in funny performance capture suits. And the performances those suits captured are special, too!

GONE GIRL 
Though this one is focused on a marriage like the more likely nominee Theory of Everything, the supporting cast has a lot to do and many of them really pop from the TV hosts (Sela Ward & Missi Pyle) to all the family members (Carrie Coon), cops (Kim Dickens) and lawyers (Tyler Perry). SAG could and probably will do a lot worse than selecting this film.

PRIDE 
A loveable underdog but in past years when they latched on to movies as small as The Station Agent, they knew how to throw an adorable indie curveball. And, like, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, this one basically has two opposing sets of actors, at odds, but mixing more superbly than you thought oil and water or, rather, coal miners and urban gays, ever could. 

Films that derive their full strength from the symbiotic contributions or a large diverse talented cast list rather than an acting triump MVP or two (usually leads) ... aren't these the type of films that ought to be considered for "Outstanding Cast" honors?