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Entries in Supporting Actress (257)

Monday
Apr042016

Chus Lampreave (1930-2016)

Almodóvar aficionados, like you and I, have been dreading this day. But every great movie face eventually only still flickers on screens and in our memories. The great Chus Lampreave, so memorable in so many Pedro Almodóvar movies, has died at 85 years of age. She had been home bound recently in Almería.

Her film career began when Pedro was just a pre-teen. She was given her first acting job by the director Jaime de Armiñán. Like many directors after him, he worked with her repeatedly, including in the Oscar nominated film My Dearest Senorita (1972). She came to international fame via her relationship with Pedro Almodóvar though. She joined his troupe early on as one of his subversive nuns in Dark Habits (1983). She was always easy to spot with those coke bottle glasses, that tiny frame and inimitable voice. Dark Habits was the first of eight collaborations with Pedro over the next 26 years in which her comic timing and deliciously matter-of-fact next door neighbor / elderly relative charisma were always put to great use. After Dark Habits she appeared in Labyrinth of Passion, Matador, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Flower of My Secret, Talk to Her, Volver and Broken Embraces.

After the jump a bit more plus photos of some of her most memorable roles...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar122016

Mercedes McCambridge: Giant (1956)

Our second chapter of the Centennial Mercedes McCambridge celebration is also the second time Oscar celebrated her. She received her second and final nomination in Best Supporting Actress for Giant, a massive epic about social discrimination affecting a wealthy Texas ranching family. Here she's playing opposite massive stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean (his final performance), but McCambridge still lingers over the film after her staunch matriarch Luz Benedict departs. She has perhaps only twenty minutes of screentime at the start of the film's sprawling length, it's a brief performance that the actress makes both broad and oddly complete.

You might call her performance wooden or inexpressive if you've never experienced this kind of woman in real life. The stoic inexpressiveness and static undercurrent of rage is eerily familiar if you're accustomed to this brand of southern woman, one who has been toughened up by a man's world and educated to hate. McCambridge respects the deliberate unknowability with which Luz wants to greet the world - this is a woman who has thrived on not letting anyone in to subvert her authority. She wears Luz's hatred (and self hatred?) like an impenetrable shield of armor, as her eyes offer the only suggestion of more brewing underneath the facade. More...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar112016

Mercedes McCambridge: All the King's Men (1949)

Manuel here kicking off our centennial celebration of under appreciated (and under discussed!) Oscar winning actress Mercedes McCambridge.

We begin with her film debut which also happens to be her Oscar-winning vehicle, All The King's Men. She'd been doing radio work consistently for over a decade but this was as big a break as they got. The film is a political parable about that most rare of characters, the honest politician (Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark), who succumbs to corruption on his way to the top only to be punished by his deeds. It's Shakespearean in essence and all the more powerful for being based on a real-life politician, Louisiana governor, Huey Long (the inspiration behind Robert Penn Warren novel of the same name).

It's a testosterone-fueled film with only two gals...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb042016

Interview: Alicia Vikander on Modern Girls, Talking Robots, and Scandinavian Celebrity

Vikander at the SAG Awards where she won Best Supporting ActressWhen I sat down with Alicia Vikander to discuss her career she was full of surprises, and not just in the way she answered questions. She approached in what looked like the simplest black dress, nothing special at all, until she turned around and the dress had an elaborately elegant back with a trailing bow. She promptly plopped down in a chair, opened a small bag of chips, and began munching away. She's a vision, alright, but the vision kept shifting: Unadorned Beauty, Glamorous Star, Girl Next Door. 

This hard to pin down picture shouldn't come as a surprise. In the short time we've been watching her she's been equally believable as a sly robot, a conflicted Danish queen, a debutate Russian aristocrat, a bohemian artist whose world is turned upside down, and a British writer during wartime.

But she's been so ubiquitous this year, both on screen and red carpets, that we're wondering which sides of herself she's yet to reveal. So we begin, counterintuively, with her future.

[The following interview was conducted before she won her SAG Award else we'd have talked about it.] 

NATHANIEL R: You've had so many movies released in the last few years. If you don't slow down, what's going to be left to accomplish?!? 

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb032016

Links: Secret Talents, Visual Effects, Best Girlfriends

Salon Why Rooney Mara can't win for Carol. Interesting piece on what really matters in Supporting Actress (Hint: Best Actor)
MCN David Poland looks at the writers branch and how the new Academy rules might affect them
Gurus of Gold interesting to see where the volatility is in the new charts: Best Picture and Best Director contain all the (seeming) drama 
Towleroad Jonathan Groff interviewed by Kevin Sessums talks sex scenes in the Looking movie, filming wrapped, and his Sutton Foster obsession 

 

AV Club The Flash will officially crossover with Supergirl despite different networks
Variety on the new warp speed market for television shows 
The Film Stage first clips and new images from Jeff Nichols's Midnight Special. I'm not watching them because I want to be surprised 
Variety Jessica Chastain still looking for her Oscar movie, in talks for Woman Walks Ahead, about a 19th century woman who advised Sioux chieftain Sitting Bull 
The Hairpin a listical "best friends of rom com heroines"  from Judy Greer through Joan Cusack and back to Carrie Fisher
Pajiba praises Helen Mirren's beer commercial 

Today's Watch
Secret Talents of leading ladies and more links after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb032016

Q&A Pt 2: Comic Winners? Revisiting Characters? Oscar Darlings of 2026?

Yesterday we got all the Leonardo DiCaprio questions out of the way so now on to other Reader Questions. Let's jump right in. Here's eleven questions from readers. You asked. I'm answering.

EUROCHEESE: What's your favorite comedy to win Best Picture?

NATHANIEL: Toss up between It Happened One Night (1934) and Tootsie (198---Damnit. Tootsie is >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Gandhi)

CHRIS JAMES: Sylvester Stallone now holds the record for the longest time between Oscar nominations for the same character (39 years between 1976 nomination and 2015 nomination). Which nominated roles would you love to see a sequel of 39 years after their original film with the same actor reprising the role? Is there some from the past year or are there any characters this year you would love to check in with 39 years down the road?

NATHANIEL: What a cool question! Unfortunately a lot of these characters might not be alive in 40 years... so we'll have to stick with (mostly) the younger players and wonder who still has story left in them? Brooklyn ends so winningly in the golden sunshine, so let's leave Eilis there. I'd say Ma & Jack from Room but I don't wish them anything but completely normal non-eventful lives after Room

Some of the "true life" characters died or died much sooner than 39 years after the events of the film.Which leaves us with Therese Belivet from Carol which is the correct answer. Rooney Mara will be 69 years old in 39 years so that puts her at the same age as Charlotte Rampling now...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan292016

Best Acting, Female Division: Personal Ballots & Oscar Charts

We've reached the end of the Oscar Correlative portion of The Film Bitch Awards... and we're only running like 2 weeks late! Now you can compare nomination stats if you'd so desire. A short take: Mad Max Fury Road is loved in roughly the same dose but The Revenant has only 1 nomination to Carol's 10. You're welcome. That said I do not choose my nominees "in response" to Oscars. The choices are grouped into semi-finalists before the Oscar nominations come out and even when I'm behind schedule I'm still usually only a fifth-slot decision away from my final 5 in each category by that time. 

On to what you've been waiting for... ACTRESSING! 

the best BEST ACTRESS duo since Thelma & Louise? Oh what could have been Academy. What could have been.

BEST ACTRESS
Though we continue to despise The Academy's willingness to embrace Category Fraud and thus deny us the pleasure and spiritual rightness of seeing Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett side-by-side for Carol, the Academy's leading lineup is pretty damn great this year. Though Jennifer Lawrence's nomination was probably pre-ordained and thus lazy voting, she's actually quite good in Joy. Not as good as about ten other leading ladies this year mind you, let's not be crazy -- there were so many that I couldn't squeeze into my personal ballot that I wanted to. We should thank the cinematic gods for years in which we have to make such tough choices about who is "Best".

And yes I feel total guilt about abandoning Lily Tomlin in Grandma at the very end of the film year after championing her for so long but that was what 2015 was like with an abundance of valid and great choices. Some unfortunate soul falls into sixth place each year - damn you, list math. In truth my Best Actress ballot needed nine slots in the worst way this year. 

Cynthia Nixon earning her EGOT... only the people who provide the "O" in that equation weren't paying attentionBEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Here Oscar and I are forced to part ways decisively. Not just from their 'f*** character actresses!' habits with creative category placements but because we rarely see eye to eye when it comes to what StinkyLulu calls "actressing at the edges".

The Academy chose Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rachel McAdams, Kate Winslet, Alicia Vikander, and Rooney Mara and though all of those performances are noteworthy in one way or another my personal ballot only includes one of them: Kate Winslet, who returned to electric form in Steve Jobs (welcome back, baby). Vikander and Mara absolutely have no business here since they're the co-leads of their romantic dramas and as attentive as McAdams was to her sources in Spotlight and as forceful as Jennifer Jason Leigh is when diving straight into cackling evil in The Hateful Eight, they didn't even come close to making my top dozen women who amazed from just off to the side of the lead or further out in the periphery.

Despite our dissimilar tastes, Oscar's acting branch definitely would have loved Cynthia Nixon in James White, had they seen her. It's a traditionally juicy part (a dying, angry yet loving mother) but who among the Academy watches indies that make only $101,000 in theatrical release? Not too damn many of them, that's who. Check out my list and the Oscar chart (now with statistics and trivia!) and choose your own beloveds in the comments. And, as a reminder, ICYMI, Alicia Vikander was granted a special gold medal for "Body of Work" here a couple of weeks back.