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


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Entries in Sir Ian McKellen (23)


What a Link. What a Lovely Link

BFI Check out the Sight & Sound poll for 2015. Not pleased that The Assassin topped the immeasurably finer twofer of Carol & Mad Max Fury Road but it is what it is. Perennial critical darling peculiarities abound like Blackhat placing about Ex Machina. Oh please. I didn't hate the former like some but one must assume that's solely on Michael Mann's reputation, the way some filmmakers get a competition spot at Cannes simply because they directed something.
HuffPo Reid Ewing from Modern Family talks about body dysmorphia and getting frequent plastic surgery
The Guardian on a Carol gift-wrapping promotion - it breaks my heart that people keep thinking this is a watch it on DVD film. It's SO breathtakingly cinematic. GO TO THE THEATER.
/Film Gremlins may take a page from Jurassic World/Creed and continue the story decades later


Coming Soon latest Star Wars The Force Awakens news & rumors if you're into that sort of thing. We made a very conscious choice not to watch anything beyond the teaser or to cover it until ti opens. We want to preserve the mystery and thus the possible joy.
Antagony & Ecstasy reviews the original Star Wars trilogy
MNPP Matt Bomer may play The Last Tycoon for Amazon
Vanity Fair Ryan Gosling may play Neil Armstrong for Damien Chazelle
In Contention how the critic awards can boost players in the Oscar race
/Film there are competing Evel Knievel movies on the way one from (possibly Martin Scorsese) and one from Channing Tatum. Do kids today know who Knievel is?
AV Club Michael B Jordan is up for another Creed movie. The movie is set to make back its budget this Thanksgiving weekend
Serving Cinema in defense of Angelina Jolie's By the Sea
Lip Sync Battle Anthony Mackie "2 Legit 2 Quit" versus Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Rhythm Nation"
New York Times ABC actually cancelled a show! But this is a rare with TV's new ratings math
Towleroad two Brazilian actors share a kiss on live tv to combat homophobia. Our Brazilian readers should tell us if these two are as famous as this article implies.
The Hollywood Reporter has an articles about LGBT cinema losing its edge. That's a topic that can be argued about certainly but Carol is an absolutely terrible example since Todd Haynes hasn't lost one iota of his power or daring and the "frostiness" that people complain about with that movie is hardly pandering, you know.
Kevin O'Keefe skewers the article with one well placed barb.



"Category Fraud" Has Gone Mainstream
I can't remember if I coined the term -- let's just say I did -- but I've been preaching against its evil like an obnoxiously pious mad prophet the entire time I've been Oscar blogging... which is quite a long time now. I've been seeing articles about it everywhere this year including this new one from The Hollywood Reporter. You know how when you love an obscure band and then everyone "discovers" them after the fact and you feel kind of betrayed? That. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad people are paying attention now -- perhaps we reached some sort of peak fraudulence where it became impossible to deny the problem anymore? But I also do not like that articles about this never address the media's own hand in creating this monster. (For this next sentence you'll remember that Nathaniel is playing the role of a mad pious prophet in this story and forgive his superiority complex). Other than The Film Experience practically every awards pundit /  site has actively encouraged this 'all fraud all the time / end justifies the means world we're living in by regularly rationalizing leading roles as supporting in articles and actively encouraging studios and publicists to pursue fraudulent campaigns for "better Oscar chances"

Weekend Watch
Jake Gyllenhaal discussses his progressive upbringing and Brokeback Mountain. I love this. Yes, we'll be celebrating the movie soon for its 10th anniversary in December.

Sir Ian McKellen talks Dame Maggie Smith and Oscar good luck charms from his stage show in Los Angeles last weekend "Women I've Filmed With"



Sir Ian McKellen Charms the Brits. And Other Oscar Stories.

Nathaniel again in my last post directly from LA. I'll have to leave you in the good hands of Team Experience tomorrow as I'm travelling back across the country to home base NYC. This afternoon I had the pleasure of attending a Brit-heavy brunch with various BAFTA & Academy voters to honor Sir Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes, one of the year's biggest indie hits.

Look at the starry talent that showed up to support him...

Jane Seymour, Sir Ian, Sir Patrick, Kathy Bates, and The Lovely Laura Linney

Did you know that Jane Seymour and Sir Ian McKellen go all the way back to 1980 together, having co-starred in Amadeus (1980) on Broadway? She was wife to Tim Curry's Mozart and McKellen was Salieri (and won the Tony) but none of the stage cast were used in Milos Forman's Oscar-devouring film version in 1984. I was able to say hello to all the actresses. I informed Kathy Bates of her devout fanbase at The Film Experience and she credited American Horror Story for giving her new fans but admitted the bloodiness of the show was a bit much for her (same) and that drinking the fake blood was disgusting. We even talked about her Oscar-winning work in Misery as I shared earlier today on twitter.


Longtime readers, particularly "par3182" who named her thus, will be happy to know that "The Lovely Laura Linney" is now aware that at The Film Experiencce we only ever refer to her by that full title and have for years. One may not even say 'Laura Linney' in casual conversation as it must be properly heralded with 'The Lovely'. She beamed with all the apple-cheeked radiance we've all fallen for repeatedly over the years.

McKellen's close friend Sir Patrick Stewart was also on hand. Though McKellen singled several attendees of the party out beautifully as he spoke to the crowd, about his fellow X-Man he joked...

Patrick Stewart and I are practically married at this point. But his wife is here so we won't talk about that."

I personally admitted to Sir Patrick that I keep almost going as him for Halloween. "That is a terrible idea!" he proclaimed, destroying my future dreams of Professor Xavier drag.

As for the man of the hour, Sir Ian McKellen was just as funny, warm, and winkingly arrogant as you could expect. 'I'm very good in the picture!' he agreed without shame with those twinkling eyes while chatting. He was a delight to talk to and especially gracious to fellow actors.

I told the twice Oscar nominated actor that I thought the makeup work to age him up for Mr. Holmes was incredible -- the actor is a spry 76 but he plays Sherlock Holmes as a frail 90something. He agreed and mentioned that "the big hooter" specifically helped him in feeling like someone else. Looking into the mirror after hair and makeup and seeing the character taking shape is a great help. 'Your body starts to join in,' he remarked hunching over to recall the aging affect. When it comes to actors and transformation, he quipped  'I knew what DNA was before the scientists!' 

related: current best actor chart | more on Sir Ian


London Film Fest Hoopla: Cate Blanchett, The Witch, Female Directors

The BFI London Film Festival wrapped up yesterday and with festival wraps (well, the juried festivals) come awardage. The big news for our actressy purposes was of course Galadriel receiving her BFI fellowship from Gandalf. More hoopla after the jump...

Click to read more ...


List Mania! Frances McDormand and all the "Triple Crown" Icons

Since I'm on record as being annoyed that all anyone cares about is the EGOT and since Steve asked in the comments of the Emmy post-mortem about my preferred obsession (The Triple Crown of Acting) to date only 21 actors* have accomplished this, two of them within this very calendar year (Dame Helen Mirren and Frances McDormand). Of course this has become more commonplace than it used to be given that actors no longer feel like they should be solely a movie star, or solely a tv actor, or only a thespian of the stage. With more and more people willing to do all three, sometimes consistently, these ranks will likely swell in another 20 years.

Currently the rarified list of actors who've won The Tony, The Oscar and The Emmy for their acting reads like so...

Frances McDormand is your latest Triple Crown Winner. From Fargo (1996) to Good People (2011) to Olive Kitteridge (2014)

  • Jack Albertson (Tony: 65, Oscar: 69, Emmy: 75)
  • Anne Bancroft (Tony: 58, Oscar: 63, Emmy: 99)
  • Ingrid Bergman (Oscar: 45, Tony: 47, Emmy: 60)
    Our Ingrid Bergman Centennial was fun wasn't it? You're welcome. Ingrid is the youngest performance to complete the trinity at age 45. 
  • Shirley Booth (Tony: 49, Oscar: 53, Emmy: 62)
  • Ellen Burstyn (Oscar: 75, Tony: 77, Emmy: 09)
  • Melvyn Douglas (Tony: 60, Oscar: 64, Emmy: 68)
    Did you know that this Hud star was Illeanna Douglas's grandfather? I certainly didn't.
  • Helen Hayes (Oscar: 32, Tony 47, Emmy: 53)
    (Though IMDb does not state what her Emmy was for so who knows if she's a special case or not)
  • Jeremy Irons (Tony: 84, Oscar: 91, Emmy: 97)
  • Frances McDormand (Oscar: 97, Tony: 11, Emmy: 15)
    The most recent inductee to this hall of fame. 
  • Helen Mirren (Emmy: 96, Oscar: 07, Tony: 15)
    And yes she won all three for playing Queens named Elizabeth! Though she has multiple Emmys so she's won for other roles, too. 
  • Thomas Mitchell (Oscar: 40, Tony: 53, Emmy: 53) 
  • Rita Moreno (Oscar: 62, Tony: 75, Emmy: 77)
    The second youngest to the Triple. She was 46 when she completed it with the Emmy for The Muppet Show
  • Al Pacino (Tony: 69, Oscar: 93, Emmy: 04)
  • Christopher Plummer (Tony: 74, Emmy: 77, Oscar: 12)
  • Vanessa Redgrave (Oscar: 78, Emmy: 81, Tony: 03)
  • Jason Robards (Tony: 59, Oscar: 77, Emmy: 88)
  • Geoffrey Rush (Oscar: 97, Emmy: 05, Tony: 09)
  • Paul Scofield (Tony: 62, Oscar: 67, Emmy: 69)
    The youngest male actor to the Triple. He was 47 when he completed it with the Emmy for Male of the Species 
  • Maggie Smith (Oscar: 70, Tony: 90, Emmy: 03)
  • Maureen Stapleton (Tony: 51, Emmy: 68, Oscar: 82)
  • Jessica Tandy (Tony: 78, Emmy: 88, Oscar: 90)

Weird Statistic
The Emmy, which seems like the easiest to win since they have so many damn categories, is actually won last by the majority of Triple Crowners. How about that? 

Eddie Redmayne is very young to have already won two of the big threeWho do you think will join the list next?
Of currently working stars Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen Barkin, Hugh Jackman and Bryan Cranston are just missing the Oscar which is obviously the hardest to win.

Overachiever Glenn Close has three Tonys and three Emmys but (sigh) zero Oscars. Kevin Spacey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dame Judi Dench, Denzel Washington and Marcia Gay Harden are just missing the Emmy. The youngest immediate threats are Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne: she is only 32 and just needs a Tony; he is only 33 and just needs an Emmy... though he isn't currently doing any TV so the Triple Crown will probably have to wait. 

And get this: Sally Field, Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Dianne Wiest and Jane Fonda who all have won multiple Oscars and multiple Emmys are all just missing the Tony though they've all worked the Broadway stage!

Depressing Three-Medium Stats: Sir Ian McKellen, a hugely lauded thespian has only won the Tony despite Oscar & Emmy nominations. The gifted Sarah Paulson who works all three mediums with regularity has not won any of the prizes and has only been Emmy-nominated. The Lovely Laura Linney, another regular three-medium threat has only won the Emmy despite multiple Tony and Oscar nominations. Marisa Tomei who works all three has only won the Oscar with no Tony or Emmy honors. Martha Plimptonwho does all three (though movies only occasionally) has only won the Emmy but has at least been nominated for multiple Tonys. Kathleen Turner who only occasionally does TV (unthinkably her work on Friends did not even win her a Guest Actress nomination) but used to be a huge movie star has been nominated for the Oscars and Grammys (once) and the Tonys (twice) but has yet to win any of the big showbiz awards beyond her two Golden Globes. Annette Bening has NONE of the top three prizes despite being nominated for all. The strange thing is that though she now regularly does stage work, she does not do it on Broadway. She could win a Tony if she came back!

* Special Cases: Notable superstars like Judy Garland (her Oscar was a non-competitive juvenile Oscar), Liza Minnelli (her Emmy was for a televised concert), Barbra Streisand (her Tony was a special award) and Whoopi Goldberg (her Emmy was not a Primetime Emmy which is all that people usually refer to when they talk about winning Emmys) won all three statues but they did not win them all in regular competitive categories or for performances exactly so they are special cases.


Somewhere That's Link

Defamer Elizabeth Berkley finally coming to terms with the love out there for Showgirls -- like Faye Dunaway with Mommie Dearest this has been difficult for her
Towleroad ...and there's video of the event, too!
Theater Mania to say that I am excited to see Ellen Green reprise her Audrey Little Shop of Horrors role this week (I bought tickets the day they went on sale, long before Jake Gyllenhaal nabbed the Seymour part) would be the understatement of the summer. I'm more excited for it than any upcoming movie. Yes, even Magic Mike XXL. She talks about returning to the role.
Awards Daily Kathryn Bigelow (our filmmaker of the month for Anne Marie's "Women's Pictures" series, every Thursday) pens an op-ed on endangered elephants

Birth.Movies.Death New Spider-Man movie will have a "John Hughes Vibe" and they're not going back to the Goblin again for a villain. Wow... you mean they realized that three times as villain in 12 years was enough?
Hayley Atwell continues to ace her social media game 
VF Meryl Streep asking Congress to revive the Equal Rights Amendment 
EW why Inside Out kept "Bing Bong" a secret (would that more films would keep em)
Nicole Kidman just celebrated 9 years with Keith Urban 
Interview Kyle Maclachlan talks about returning to Agent Dale Cooper for Twin Peaks
Dissolve upcoming movies for EuropaCorp including a sequel to Lucy... even though Scarlett Johansson morphed into an entirely digital entity by the end? well, ok!
The Movie Scene on all this talk of gender equality in "objectification" for the cinema which is usually lusting after only women
Ant-Man gets a "meet the crew" tv spot so finally David Dastmalchian, T.I., and especially the always wonderful Michael Peña show up in the promotional material

Oscar Talk
Hot Blog setting the Best Picture field -is Carol the only possibility thus far that's been seen
THR on the more inclusive more foreign Academy invites 

Must Read
Vulture's TV Awards series has been fairly cool, including entries from actual TV artists, but they ended incredibly strong with this piece by Matt Zoller Seitz on Mad Men as TV's Best Show overall. Frankly, it might well be the best essay on Matthew Weiner's masterful achievement that I've ever read and I've read a lot of them! Love this 'graph near the opening:

All of the episodes, even the ones I don’t especially like, are inexhaustibly detailed: packed with comic and dramatic moments; period-accurate clothing and hairstyles and music; imaginative, hilarious, and often deeply moving performances; and screenwriting that depicts the complexities and contradictions of the human personality with more insight and empathy than any American series in recent memory. It’s a historical drama about how individuals are and are not affected by the local, national, and international history that’s constantly unfolding around them. It’s a psychodrama about how our personalities are shaped by our parents, our lovers, our friends, our bosses, and everyone else we know, as well as by people we’ve never met but feel as though we know: the politicians, civil-rights leaders, athletes, movie stars, musicians, and other icons who inspire, entertain, confound, and sometimes anger us as we muddle through our daily lives. It’s also a series with an unusually strong affinity for mythology, spirituality, religion, psychoanalysis, pop psychology, literature, poetry, cinema, and all the other means by which human experience is transformed into narrative. And at every level — the scene, the episode, the season, and in total — it is a masterpiece of construction, filled with major and minor bits of foreshadowing and recollection, lines and images that seem to answer each other across time.

Read it! And hope along with us that it pulls off a historic fifth win at the Emmys in September. Mad Men (2008-2011 wins) is currently tied with Hill Street Blues (1981-1984 wins), LA Law (1987,1989-1991 wins), and The West Wing (2000-2003 wins) for the most Drama Series wins (4 each). The leader for nominations is Law & Order which was nominated 11 times, far outdistancing its nearest rivals (The Sopranos, Mad Men, ER, Studio One, and The West Wing)

P.S. on the TV Front:  I just watched my first episode of Fresh Off the Boat since y'all were complaining about Constance Wu not making our Best Actress list. It's really funny. They won "best couple" at Vulture 

I was feeling so much love for heroes of the past (and present -- it used to be that only Broadway had multiple out stars but now every medium does) but I was especially pleased that I wasn't the only one singing Madonna's praises... she supported the LGBT community long before it was par for the course with celebrities but gays can be fickle and though her iconic status will never be undone, sometimes people are assholes about her what with all the ageism and so on. 

All in all it was a good weekend. And all the marriage equality will eventually lead us into a less homophobic world as there are endless examples of people being less prejudiced once they are familiar with the "other" (any kind of prejudice applies). On this note, Variety is wondering when film is going to catch up with TV when it comes to comfort with the gays?  

Sirs Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi were the Grand Marshalls of the NYC parade. And anyway, gay geniuses of the past and out talents of the present should both be celebrated. And not only on Pride Weekend. So how about some Cole Porter via John Barrowman in the movie De-Lovely as we move into a new week. (That movie is kind of a mess -- anyone remember it? -- but this seen is lovely) 


HBO’s LGBT History: And the Band Played On (1993)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions... 

Last week we looked at a biopic of one of the most reviled political figures in twentieth century American history in Citizen Cohn. This week we continue our collection of HBO AIDS films (notice that every single film we’ve discussed so far has been centered on the epidemic: from the Harvey Fierstein chamber piece, Tidy Endings, to Epstein & Friedman’s Oscar winning doc, Common Threads and even that James Woods’-led biopic which structured itself around Cohn’s own battle with the disease) by looking at And the Band Played On, a film you should all watch if for no other reason than to see the eclectic cast Aaron Spelling (yes, he produced it!) assembled.

Lily, Sir Ian, and a troubled production history after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Best Actor. April Foolish Predictions

It's that time of year. But judging on your semi-quiet response maybe you weren't quite ready for it yet? Anyway. Light a fire. Whoohoo. It's time to pull out the crystal balls and make stupidly early Oscar predictions.

There are so very many questions to ask about the forthcoming Best Actor race. These are just 8 of them:

• Can Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) be the first back-to-back acting winner in 21 years?
• Will Tom Hiddleston (I Saw the Light) & Don Cheadle (Miles Ahead) do their musician legend biopics proud?
• Will Michael Fassbender prove Michael Fassbender's undoing (5 leading roles this year)?
• Same question for Jake Gyllenhaal (3 leading roles this year)?
• Perennial Write-In Question from Leo "when will it finally be my turn?" 
• Can money-grubbers Will Smith (Concussion) & Johnny Depp (Black Mass) find artistic redemption and thus Oscar favor?
• Can Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) triple-crown by February next year? He's already got the Tony & the Emmy 
• Will any of the old guard (Warren Beatty, Tom Courtenay, Sir Ian McKellen) rise up?
• Will Beasts of No Nation sort out its theater vs online situation so that Idris Elba has a shot?