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Entries in Supporting Actress (182)

Saturday
Nov012014

Meet the Contenders: Rene Russo "Nightcrawler"

Each weekend a profile on a just-opened Oscar contender. Here's abstew on this weekend's new release, NIGHTCRAWLER, which is a perfectly dark treat for a Halloween opening.

Rene Russo as Nina Romina in Nightcrawler

Best Supporting Actress

Born: Rene Marie Russo was born February 17, 1954 in Burbank, California

The Role: Screenwriter Dan Gilroy (2006's The Fall, The Bourne Legacy) makes his directorial debut with Nightcrawler (which he wrote as well). The film stars a gaunt, crazy-eyed Jake Gyllenhaal (a Best Actor Contender) as Lou Bloom, an unemployed but determined man in Los Angeles that stumbles upon a career as a news journalist. He video records car crashes, home invasions, and bloody crimes, selling the footage to the local news station. Russo stars as a veteran television producer, in charge of the "vampire" shift of the lowest rated station in town. She encourages Bloom's budding career, forming a twisted relationship with him to gain viewers.

The film is also a family affair for Russo who is married to Gilroy (he also wrote two of Russo's previous films 1992's Freejack and 2005's Two for the Money) and her brother-in-law, Oscar nominated writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, Duplicity), is a producer on the film.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct292014

Podcast: Gone Girl, Whiplash, and Kathleen Turner Sightings

The Podcast is back! 
And just in time for awards season to heat up. Please welcome back Nick Davis, Joe Reid, Katey Rich and your host Nathaniel R, as they discuss Gone Girl's conversational staying power, agnosticism about the very popular Whiplash, and fun anecdotes from Nick's jury duty at the Chicago Film Festival.

The discussion goes like so:

  • 00:01 Wild Anecdote & Podcast Reunion
  • 01:20 Kathleen Turner & Chicago Film Festival
  • 03:50 Gone Girl
  • 25:52 Wide Open Supporting Races
  • 27:31 The Selma Plan? 
  • 29:20 The Gotham Awards
  • 32:00 Whiplash
  • 41:25 Goodbyes

Articles Referenced in This Discussion
Gone Girl's "Psycho Bitch" |  Vulture Gone Girl's Woman ProblemKatey on Supporting ActressNathaniel on Supporting ActorThe Gotham Award Nominations 

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes tomorrow (it generally takes 24 hours to show up there). Continue the conversation in the comments! 

Whiplash, Girl !

Tuesday
Oct282014

The Honoraries: Maureen O'Hara in "The Parent Trap" (1961)

Welcome to "The Honoraries". From now until November 8th when the Governor's Awards are held, we'll be celebrating the careers of the three Honorary Oscar recipients of 2014 (Maureen O'Hara, Hayao Miyazaki, Claude Carriere) and the Jean Hersholt winner (Harry Belafonte). Here's Abstew...

Maureen O'Hara's impressive body of work includes a Best Picture winner (1941's How Green Was My Valley), a perennial Holiday favorite (1947's Miracle on 34th Street), even an early film with Hitchcock (1939's Jamacia Inn). No offense to those classics but the greatest film the star ever appeared in has to be that Disney masterpiece about a pair of long-lost twins trying to reunite their parents in The Parent Trap.

It was my first encounter with The Queen of Technicolor and although the appeal of twice the juvenile star wattage of teenage Brit Hayley Mills was the main selling point as a child, there was always something special about O'Hara as their mother, Margaret McKendrick. Even before she finally appears a half an hour into the movie, the film has already built her up as a glamorous and intriguing figure. Susan (Hayley Mills as tomboy) talks about how she used to stare at her picture and how fabulous ("Absolutely fabulous") her mother was. And the word Sharon (proper, upper-crust Hayley Mills) uses to describe her is divine, both adjectives usually reserved to describe bedazzled drag queens lip-syncing for their lives. But once Sharon reveals the beauty shot of her mother, there was no doubt in my young mind that that was a movie star. [More...]

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Monday
Oct202014

The Year I Fell In Love with Kristen Stewart

Jose here. A couple of weeks ago, I went to the NYFF press screening of Clouds of Sils Maria. It was my second time seeing the film, and on that occasion I mostly showed up because I wanted to bask in the glory of its MVP ... Kristen Stewart.


As I sat there, observing the lithe actress, taking pictures of her and giggling and blushing at her responses - as if she was answering them just for me - I realized I had a crush. I swooned when Juliette Binoche called her "a genius". If you had told me I’d be feeling this way last month, I would have laughed in your face and explained I wasn’t a TwiFan. Or blind. After all, Stewart has made herself a reputation for being one of the worst young actresses, who does nothing but exploit her expression-less or annoyed looks that are meant to be interpreted as undying devotion to a glow-in-the-day vampire.


Then, in a little two-punch move, my entire perception of her changed forever. 

I went into Clouds of Sils Maria expecting Binoche to swallow K.Stew and Chloë Grace Moretz alive, Margo Channing-style. Instead, perhaps unsurprisingly, the great French actress turns in one of her most generous performances allowing the younger women to steal it.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct182014

Meet the Contenders: Emma Stone "Birdman"

Each weekend a profile on a just-opened Oscar contender. Here's abstew on this weekend's new release, BIRDMAN which is marvelous as previously noted.

Emma Stone as Sam Thomson in Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Best Supporting Actress

Born: Emily Jean Stone was born November 6, 1988 in Scottsdale, Arizona

The Role: Known for his sprawling (and epically depressing) Oscar-nominated films (21 Grams, Babel, Biutiful), writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu tries his hand at a more comedic film with Birdman. Don't worry, it may have laugh-out-loud humor, but it's still as satirical, dark, and complex as we would expect from the filmmaker. The film centers on a movie star, Riggan Thomson, most famous for playing a costumed superhero (played by Best Actor contender Michael Keaton) that attempts to revive his career by mounting a play on Broadway. Stone plays his resentful daughter, who was recently released from rehab and now works as her father's personal assistant. She also forms an unlikely bond with the play's egotistical leading man (Best Supporting Actor contender Edward Norton).

Previous Brushes with Oscar and more after the jump...

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Monday
Oct132014

75th: Absence of Melinda

Two time Oscar nominee Melinda Dillon turns 75 today. Since we don't like any major actresses to totally fade from public consciousness when they stop working, let's look back. Though her last working year was 2007 her most recent high profile gig goes back much further to a SAG nomination as part of the ensemble of Magnolia (1999, pictured left) in which she played wife and mother to Phillip Baker Hall and Melora Walters. 

Though she'd been working for a decade before it in small parts (TV guest gigs and improvisational comedy) her first real claim-to-fame came as "Memphis Sue" Woody Guthrie's wife in the Best Picture nominated bio Bound for Glory (1976). She received a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Acting Debut" (a now long defunct category) even though it wasn't her debut. Dillon's breakout led to bigger parts and two well-regarded Oscar nominations though curiously the Globes, who had first honored her, skipped her both times when her major hits rolled around. Her first Oscar nod made actually history: as the wide-eyed young mother in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1976) she was and will forever remain the first actor to ever receive a nomination for a Steven Spielberg film (it wasn't until The Color Purple when anyone else followed). Later she was nominated as a particularly fragile soul and key character at the heart of a war in Absence of Malice (1981) between journalist Sally Field and businessman Paul Newman (also Oscar-nominated).

Melinda Dillon as "Teresa" in Absence of Malice (1981)

Though Dillon's heyday preceded the birth of my own film/actress obessions I remember getting the sense that she was a critical darling, the kind of actress with a devout if not populist following. By the time I was watching movies regularly and passionately though the roles were all mom roles sometimes with lots of screentime as in A Christmas Story (1983) and Harry and the Hendersons (1987) and sometimes on the peripheries as in those very blonde family flashbacks in Prince of Tides (1991) or "Merna" in To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar (1995).

If you're familiar with her work what's your favorite of her performances? If she could be coaxed out of her retirement what would you have her do?