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Entries in Stephen Daldry (4)

Tuesday
May142013

May Flowers? Mrs Dalloway Buys Them Herself!

How soon into a movie or book or anything do you know you'll love it? When I first read The Hours, Michael Cunningham's transcendent riff on Virginia Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway" I knew as soon as Clarissa had entered the flower shop. With the film version I knew even sooner, perhaps having been prepped for the movie by the book but also because of the unfussy simplicity of the kick-off to this glorious triptych. (The Hours isn't always unfussy, of course, but note how the music drops out completely in this absolutely key moment when Virginia finds her first sentence.)

All we're left with is three women, three eras, three great actresses, and three separate temperaments. 

Virginia: Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
Laura: Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
Clarissa: Sally, I think I'll buy the flowers myself. 

How utterly perfect and succinct - Art, uttered first in the imagination, is then received and contemplated, and finally lived-in and through, having made its mark. (It's a subtle thing but how beautiful that Stephen Daldry's camera pulls out a bit with each repetition, making more room in the world for the words)

"Mrs Dalloway", Virginia Woolf's masterpiece -- or one of them at least (I can't live without "Orlando") --  was first published 88 years ago on this very day!. The concept, a woman's whole life in a single day. And as the later book and film helpfully extrapolates and reminds us ... and in that day her whole life

I love the cut to Allison Janney's blunt exclamation, that pulls us out of this first sentence reverie before it gets to precious.

[to Clarissa] WHAT? What flowers?
[to Self] Shit.

Which  books do you wish would inspire not straight adaptations but spun off works of art that stand beautifully on their own? How soon did you love The Hours?

Previously in The Hours
Nathaniel talks to Nicole Kidman about her Oscar win
Joe & Nick discuss The Hours its kisses, hands, actresses and tics at length 

Sunday
Feb102013

I Think I'm Going to Link It Here

NPR Bradley Cooper speaks. And charms. 
New York Times 'red carpet projects' 478 looks from Oscar's past. Truly random selection but it was fun seeing some of the stunners again
LA Times another day, another prize for Argo. This time it's the USC Scripter prize for screenplay (which goes to the author of the original text and the screenwriter who adapted it). I'm glad there are a few "who will win?" dramas left for Oscar night but, as ever, Best Picture won't be one of them. Argo has become a steamroller.

Gawker Rich Juzwiak slams Rex Reed's unkind words for Melissa McCarthy but makes a righteous demand of Identity Thief's star: "Transcend, McCarthy, transcend."
Atlantic Wire beautiful posters for Oscars Best Pictures via Gallery 1988
Salon The Rethuglicans are already spending big to "make fun of" actress Ashley Judd even though she's not yet (officially) given up showbiz for politic
Guardian talks to Stephen Daldry about his Oscary career and his latest stage piece (directing Helen Mirren as the Queen again)

Coming Soon
in the many articles spreading the assumption that Quvenzhané Wallis will soon become little orphan Annie in the second big screen adaptation of that stage musical, none have ever confirmed that she can sing. If you can't belt "Tomorrow" the role can't be yours. Can she?
Carpetbagger with Oscar, there's even competition to make the "In Memoriam" list. No, not by dying. I didn't mean it like that.

and here's the complete Oscar nominated short Adam and Dog by Minkyu Lee

Lovely.

Wednesday
May022012

A Modern Day Fleming?

Jose here. I am fully aware that Stephen Daldry isn't among the most beloved filmmakers in the world; however, I feel that he's earned a bad rep on some extremely unfair bases, given that he excels at a kind of filmmaking that was the norm during Hollywood's golden age. His entire career seems to have been made to piss off auteur theorists, and today on Mr. Daldry's 52nd birthday, I couldn't help but wonder: is he a modern day Victor Fleming?

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov132011

Naked Gold Man: Roles For Which Meryl Streep Was Not Nominated

For this week's gold man column, we're skipping the general overview and getting really specific. Who doesn't enjoy a good zoom in on Meryl Streep? The Iron Lady, her Margaret Thatcher biopic performances, begins screening very soon -- they moved the release date back but not the screenings. So we need to discuss this before it does and the focus shifts from groundless speculation to case evidence.

Every time I've floated the notion that Meryl Streep cannot be an Iron Lock for a Best Actress nomination since her film has not been seen, people object. "But Meryl is ALWAYS nominated," sayeth everyone. Not so, not so. While it's true that The World's Greatest Actress™ seems as much a can't miss prospect in Best Actress as she did in the 80s what with nominations for Prada, Doubt and Julia fresh in our minds, she has missed the shortlist. Yes, even THE MOST NOMINATED is not always nominated. Some of those roles even looked good on paper and in some of them she was marvelous onscreen. If there'd been Oscar blogs back in in the 80s and 90s, for example, pundits would've leaned on her whilst predicting each and every year with as much lazy force as voters do when balloting. There is no such thing as someone who is Oscar-nominated for everything they've ever done -- unless they only made one film or their name is Stephen Daldry (three-for-three thus far in Best Director). Even James Dean, who famously received two post-humous Oscar nominations, was only nominated for 66% of his three iconic film roles...

...yeah, yeah. true, true. okay, okay...

You can't be nominated in the same acting category twice in one year so theoretically Dean could have been nominated for Rebel Without a Cause if it hadn't been for East of Eden. This is an important point which we will discuss in the following "snub" list. 

25 Streep Roles That Weren't Oscar Nominated

Meryl's entrance into the cinema she would soon reign. Julia (1977)

1977 Julia
"Anne Marie" is really just a cameo (two scenes) but it's magically fitting that this then unknown actress's first screen role was opposite two acting legends: Jane Fonda & Vanessa Redgrave (a probable Best Supporting Actress this year as she is quite sensational in Coriolanus). For most people the only way is down from there but for Meryl she's all, like, 'hey shove over. I'm here!' If she felt intimidated it doesn't remotely show in her haughty, funny, scene-stealing bit. But only important actors get nominated for cameos, even cameos this juicy, and Meryl was not yet a star. [More on Meryl's debut]

1978 The Deer Hunter -1st nomination

1979 The Seduction of Joe Tynan and Manhattan
This was the year of Kramer vs Kramer (her first win, following her first nom for The Deer Hunter in '78) so Academy voters couldn't have nominated her politico's mistress "Karen Traynor" or her angry lesbian ex-wife "Jill" in Woody Allen's other 70s masterpiece. Though these roles undoubtedly helped her win (note that the critics awards she won that year include all three) they wouldn't have won her nominations in a theoretical Kramer absence given the Oscar reception of Tynan (zero noms) and her internal competition in Manhattan. [More on this her year of actressy ascendance]

1979 Kramer vs. Kramer -2nd nom/1st win
1981 The French Lieutenant's Woman - 3rd nom

1982 Still of the Night  
This noirish femme fatale role arrived two weeks before the Sophie's Choice juggernaut (her second Oscar win) so technically she couldn't have been nominated for it unless they demoted her to "supporting" which they didn't. (The actress who got the 'demotion so we can double dip' you was Jessica Lange for Tootsie, who went on to win supporting while losing lead to Meryl.)  Though this noir may have added to surface cries of "Meryl can do anything!" Meryl herself didn't think so; according to some reports she wasn't particularly thrilled with her own work in it.

1982 Sophie's Choice -4th nom/2nd win
1983 Silkwood -5th nom

1984 Falling in Love
Meryl's work as "Molly Gilmore" a married woman who falls for a fellow commuter (her Deer Hunter co-star DeNiro) is actually rather touching. But it arrived fast on the heels of five shape-shifting legend-making iconic roles. This normal contemporary woman probably felt underwhelming to voters. Something "Magic Meryl" could probably do in her sleep and why not take a wee break from the exhaustingly perfect new legend? Trivia Note: We can't prove it but we believe any American actress not playing a farm wife that year was disqualified in a special one-year-only AMPAS ruling.  That's the only feasible explanation for the psychotic snubbing of Katheen Turner in Romancing the Stone.

1985-2009 including the 3 most interesting case studies in When Meryl is Not Nominated AFTER THE JUMP.

Click to read more ...