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Entries in SAG (39)

Monday
Jan022012

SAG Ensemble Flashback: "The Birdcage!" & Oscar Trivia

With the Screen Actors Guild Awards less than a month away, let's look back at the history of our favorite SAG Category, "Outstanding Performance by a Cast" i.e. Best Ensemble. Though the Guild had long been in the business of lifetime achievement awards, they didn't hold their first full fledged awards ceremony until 1995 for the 1994 film year. That first SAG year did not include an Ensemble movie prize which is strange since they handed out TV ensemble prizes from the start so it's not like they hadn't dreamt up that honor! The next year Apollo 13, which was something of a frontrunner for Oscar's Best Picture prize (it eventually lost), won the inaugural ensemble prize. It beat a field that included only one other Oscar Best Picture nominee (Sense & Sensibility)... a percentage ratio you rarely see today.

At the third annual ceremony the award went to the (thankfully) dated gay marriage comedy The Birdcage (1996), based on the 1978 French classic and three-time Oscar nominee La Cage Aux Folles. The films farcical comedy emerges when a gay couple (Robin Williams & Nathan Lane) try to fool a conservative couple (Gene Hackman & Dianne Wiest) into thinking of them as a "reputable" traditional family so that the son can marry the other couple's daughter (Dan Futterman and Calista Flockhart). Everything goes wrong over dinner as the gay couple has a terrible time keeping up the facade.

This is so Guatemala. They put hardboiled things in everything down there. Because, you know, chicken is so important to them. it's their only real currency. A woman is said to be worth her weight in hens and a man's wealth is measured by the size of his cock."

Will you excuse me?"

MORE

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec142011

BEST ENSEMBLE... Except You Corey Stoll in "Midnight in Paris"!

It's become something of a tradition here at The Film Experience to take issue with the Screen Actors Guild and their problematic "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture" prize. Year after year they don't even seek to address an issue that you'd think would matter to the 90,000+ guild members: the preferencing of "names" over character actors, no matter the size or importance of the role. As you may know acting is one of those fields were you're lucky to just be working and those who make millions are few and far between. Yet the guild, which should be protecting their less-famous members often lets them be crushed by fame and its perks (aka getting your own title card or high billing). If you don't have your own title card you usually don't end up in the "ensemble" list. Our interest in this situation was first stirred by The Aviator (2004) when we were horrified to realize that the very famous Gwen Stefani was included as a nominee for essentially walking and sitting onscreen in Jean Harlow drag while Matt Ross, who was excellent in MANY scenes as Howard Hughes's right hand man was excluded. 

So who is nominated and who is excluded this year? Let's take a looksee.

THE ARTIST
nominees: Bérénice Bejo, James Cromwell, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, and Penelope Ann Miller
who is excluded? Missy Pyle who has a fun cameo and Beth Grant who appears in the movie briefly in its final act ...and Uggie the dog who some people think is best in show. 

BRIDESMAIDS
nominees: Rose Byrne, Jill Clayburgh, Ellie Kemper, Matt Lucas, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig.
who is excluded? This is fairly representative of the film though Ben Falcone, Air Marshall Jon (and Mr Melissa McCarthy in real life), is excluded. Also missing though understandably given that he went "uncredited" is Jon Hamm.

THE DESCENDANTS
nominees: Beau Bridges, George Clooney, Robert Forster, Judy Greer (Interviewed), Matthew Lillard, and Shailene Woodley.
who is excluded? Nick Krause as "Sid" who has been given quite a lot of attention in the movie's trailer and appears in several scenes. An even more important character, the youngest King daughter played by Amara Miller is also absent. We'll forgive them for omitting Patricia Hastie as Elizabeth King. (Not that it's not difficult to appear comatose for scene upon scene upon scene; I could never sit still that long, I don't know about you.)

THE HELP
nominees: Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Ahna O'Reilly, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Mary Steenburgen, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson and Mike Vogel.
who is excluded? With the largest amount of nominees, they do fairly well at covering the movie but there is one key player missing: Aunjane Ellis who plays "Yule Mae" and gets a few really good scenes involving her struggle to send her boy to college. Other exclusions: Tony winner LaChanze who plays "Rachel" in one of the most heartbreaking scenes as her mother is fired from a lifelong job, and the diminutive Leslie Jordan who bosses Emma Stone around frequently at work between meatier scenes is also absent.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
nominees: Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, and Owen Wilson (who are all listed alphabetically, as is Woody's generous ensemble-friendly way, on the first title card)
who is excluded? Where to even begin? Each year one of the nominees takes the cake for the year's most bizarre exclusions and this is inarguably that film for 2011.

The nomination does not include the three co-stars who were, arguably, the most fun to watch. Corey Stoll who won the lion's share of "stole the show!" plaudits for his breakthrough work as Ernest Hemingway is missing. Perhaps even more baffling, given their higher degree of fame before this film, is the exclusion of Alison Pill and Tom Hiddleston as the Fitzgeralds. I spoke to Corey Stoll this morning (read the interview) and since I was particularly aggravated by his absence from the list, I asked him how he was feeling about it:

That's a nomination for us whether we go there or not. We are undeniably a part of the ensemble and we brought a lot to the table. But it's strange that it's SAG that does that. I could understand something that's more critic or producer-centric but acting? From my union, I think it's a little strange. 

We wholeheartedly agree!

Other key cast members of Midnight in Paris who appear with "Hemingway" & "the Fitzgeralds" on the second title card and were thus excluded from the honor were: Mimi Kennedy and Kurt Fuller (the future in-laws), Léa Seydoux (the vintage shop worker) and Nina Arianda (Michael Sheen's fiancé).

SOLUTION / SUGGESTION
Wouldn't SAG do better by its own union members if productions were expected to choose the nominees themselves (up to a certain number of people), the way Oscar nominated films must choose who gets the credit fo such efforst as producing and visual effects and what not? 

 

Wednesday
Dec142011

SAG Nominations: Surprising, Silly, Shame-less 

Regina King and Judy Greer announced the SAG nominees

Before we begin can I get something off my chest. You've possibly noticed that I always list actresses before actors when I do lists or my own awardage. Beyond my own actressexuality there is another reason for this. It galls me that they're listed second everywhere as if they're just slightly less important than actors. Now, you might say that's just a matter of alphabetics since "Actor" comes before "Actress" in correct alphabetization and that's true enough. But it's not only alphabetics, its our lazily sexist society. Please to note that SAG makes a point of calling all acting professionals "actors" without gender division and yet they do this and then STILL list men first even though "female" comes before "male" in correct alphabetization of category titles.

Grrrrr and also "girl!"

So women first when I list it because that's how we like it! 

MOVIES

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A MOTION PICTURE 

  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Midnight In Paris

These are strong nominees this year but as usual they left great actors out, even when their films were nominated.  Some comments on that problem in a separate post.

One theory of SAG ensemble voting is that actors vote for the movies that they wish they'd been in and that theory definitely holds up this year. All five of these sets must have been a blast when you think of the actors involved, the costumes, the color, the comedy (all five have comedic spirit even the two that are dramas).

 

 

 

It's also worth noting that this list is 80% identical to the BFCA list for ensemble. The only difference is you need to swap out Midnight in Paris for Ides of March. Still... it's clear that voters don't watch the more under the radar movies. I wish A Separation had opened a few months ago and built up to the acclaim it so deserves.

How fun would a win for Bridesmaids be as a ceremony capper? I demand a Wilson Phillips song be played when they take the stage should it occur.

COMPLETE LIST OF NOMINEES & MAJOR SURPRISES AFTER THE JUMP

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct152011

Discussables: Lousy Animated Year, The TV is All Right, The Artistic Cast

Animation Magazine suggests that if the Czech Republic's Alois Nebel (recently submitted for Oscar's foreign language film race) also enters the Animated Feature race there might be over 16 eligible films and then that category could expand to five nominees. Christ, of all years to have enough films for a 5 wide race, this is not the year! That would probably mean that Pixar's Cars 2 got a nomination and who can live with that? NOT I! Can anyone even name 2 animated films that deserve to call themselves "Best Feature" this year? If Best Picture had the same ratio of release to nominees the Best Picture shortlist would be like 150 movies long. And the foreign language film nominees would total like 20. Seriously, the Oscar rules on the animated feature category are an unholy mess! 

Whew, with that off my chest -- sorry, I h-a-t-e-d Cars 2 -- Happier things now!

Deadline I keep forgetting to mention this and I'm sure you already know but they're turning The Kids Are All Right into a TV series. On the one hand TV series thrive on character you'd like to spend lots of time with and on that front it's a total winning idea. On the other hand the movie thrived on how succinctly it captured one crucial timeframe (the summer before college which is a universal Important Time Frame for families when it happens) and plus, how the hell you gonna replace 3 of the best adult actors on the planet and 2 of the most promising teen actors on the planet?

Frankly My Dear... thinks that either Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained or Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby will have to move away from Christmas Day 2012. I dunno. Didn't Gangs of New York and Catch Me If You Can open right on top of one another for Christmas 2002? It worked out for both those films. Maybe the general public is okay with Leonardo DiCaprio double features.

The Lost Boy says the smartest thing we've heard said about the This Means War trailer. But maybe you should watch it before clicking over. 

Broadway Blog reminds us that "Celebrity Autobiography is back for another season in NYC. In the show famous comedic celebrities read verbatim from the bios of famous self serious celebrities. I must go.

Twitch reminds me that I really should probably see Trespass even though the review is scathing and everyone agrees that it's a terrible movie. I keep putting it off but there is the Nicole Kidman Mandatoryness of it. What to do... what to do...

THE ARTIST TEAM: star Jean DuJardin, director Michel Hazanavicious, and the cast: Bejo, Miller, Grant and Cromwell

The Hairpin talks to character actress Beth Grant (who doubts your commitment to Sparkle Motion). I don't know if you were aware but Beth Grant is in the upcoming Oscar contender The Artist. She has a teensy tiny role in the excellent black and white / silent movie but at the press conference that followed its screening this past Friday, she made no bones about her excitement, calling it the pinnacle of her career even after name-checking No Country For Old Men, Rain Man and Donnie Darko. In short, she's totally besotted with it. A feeling that's easy to come by, actually.

If you believe the theory that SAG Ensemble Nominations go to The Movie That Actors Most Wish They Could Have Been In rather than the movies with the most ensembley of acting (DuJardin and Bejo totally hog this film) than this will be one of your five SAG Ensemble Nominees come January.

Wednesday
Jun012011

Beauty Break: Catwomen

Mmmm, Loveliness circa 2003.

Tuesday
Feb012011

Red Carpet: Matchy-Matchy, Swans & Sweet Revenge

Previously: SAG live blog and SAG screen shots.

Final SAG Post!
Aren't you relieved? When people say the verb "sag" do you think automatically think of unionized actors? Glam Overload especially after that Vanity Fair cover. But we can't wrap up SAG discussions without a quick fashion run-through, can we? It wouldn't be right. I'm dying to talk about actual movies again. Funny how movie awards season shoves the movies into the background. Must watch some actual movies that don't have awards on their mind this week so that we can better appreciate all the sleek beauties and shiny gowns again by BAFTA & Oscar time.

Amber Riley, Paz de la Huerta, Angie Harmon, Throwback Goddess

Too Matchy-Matchy
Let's start with the TV girls because we never do and this was their last chance in the season to shine. This group is way too frustrating. I didn't know that Amber Riley (Glee) was rooming with Julia Stiles. How else to explain this saloon girl in mourning gown that we just saw at the Globes. Angie Harmon is wearing something that's very suspiciously Penélope Cruzesque and if you're not Penélope... Christina Hendricks remains a goddess but I don't know what to make of this.

Paz de la Huerta from Boardwalk Empire... matching lips with dress? Must she? Is that ever a good idea outside of maybe classic reds and even then. A little bit of red goes a long way. Aren't you glad other actresses didn't do this?

BEST DRESSED (TV Division)
Cara Buono (Mad Men), Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Edie Falco (Edie Falco!), Juliana Margulies (The Good Wife), Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)

The Pretty. The Unexpected. The Vivid. The Classy. The Va Va VoomLove that Bowen managed to pull off pants at a glam event; risky means big pay off if it works. When Modern Family first started I worried that Julie Bowen would have the boring "straight man" role among comediennes but...

(more after the jump including Best Dressed and the Black Swan girls)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan312011

True Clinch

Mattie & Rooster ReunitedAwwwww. Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) and Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) didn't wait a quarter century to see each other again. All it took was awards season hustle and bustle.

I'm growing fonder of Jeff Bridge's Rooster weekly and I'm usually the opposite with awards season performances. Every time I see a clip of that courtroom scene I giggle.