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Entries in Supporting Actress (163)

Friday
May302014

If We Had Oscar Ballots... a 1941 Extra

Tomorrow when the Supporting Actress Smackdown 1941 hits, we'll just be discussing the five nominees (24 more hours to get your ballots in for the reader's section of the vote!). As it should be. But for the first time in a Smackdown I polled my fellow panelists as to who they would have nominated if, uh, they'd have been alive in 1941 and if, uh, they'd been AMPAS members.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde lust after Lana Turner & Ingrid Bergman. And so does our panel.

Angelica and I didn't vote (I haven't seen enough 1941 pictures, I confess) but our other three panelists have recommendations for you outside the Oscar shortlist. In fact, all three of them only co-signed 2 of Oscar's 5 choices... different ones mostly so the Smackdown should be interesting (I'm not telling you which as the critiques come tomorrow!). So here are some For Your Considerations for your rental queues or your own assessments of that film year...

ANNE MARIE writes: 

Two of the nominations stay but otherwise I'd mix things up. First things first: Justice for Dorothy! Dorothy Comingore should have been nominated for playing Kane's second wife in Citizen Kane, but she was buried under bad publicity by the vengeful William Randolph Hearst. Comingore's performance was so good that her character continues to overshadow the real story of Marion Davies (who was neither bitter, nor talentless, nor married to Hearst). It's not fair that one ticked-off media mogul could kill a promising career. On a lighter note, I'd definitely add Lana Turner to my ballot for a solid year of supporting actress-ing in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeZiegfeld Follies, and Johnny Eager (which would wait two years to be Oscar eligible). 1941 was the year that proved The Sweater Girl could act, and sparkle even in overheated melodramas like these three.

However, since How Green Was My Valley was clearly the Oscar magnet of 1941, a Supporting Actress nomination seems inevitable, so I'd cast my vote for Maureen O'Hara in another solid newcomer performance. Mostly though, I just want Maureen O'Hara to have an Oscar nomination. Just one.

Brian (aka StinkyLulu)

Agnes Moorehead and Ruth Warrick from Citizen Kane.  

And for a stirring glimpse of a potentially great comedic actress not yet fully shackled by the Hollywood machine, see Carmen Miranda in Week End in Havana or That Night in Rio

Nick Davis
He's trying to cheat! He knows how I feel about ties but he has trouble narrowing down his three remaining slots so he sneaks in an unofficial tie, sly one that he is...

My ballot would certainly include Theresa Harris (the veiled subject of Lynn Nottage's recent play By the Way, Meet Vera Stark), who is so spry and witty in what could have been a simple "maid" part in René Clair's The Flame of New Orleans, with Marlene Dietrich.  I also love Beulah Bondi in Penny Serenade, where she eschews the usual Bondi-isms that Margaret Wycherly so embraces in Sergeant York and plays a warm, fully dimensional adoption agent trying to bring happiness to Cary Grant and Irene Dunne while also managing their expectations, and treading her own line between public official and private sympathizer. 

Marlene Dietrich and Theresa Harris in "The Flame of New Orleans"

Ingrid Bergman comes on hot and heavy in the 1941 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, out Lana Turner-ing Lana Turner in her own movie.  But then Marjorie Rambeau is a complete hoot in John Ford's much-maligned Tobacco Road, where she merits recognition much more than she does in the two movies that actually got her nominated.  She'd beat Bergman in a tug-of-war for that last spot, unless Bergman's sensuality burned up the rope.

Tuesday
May272014

Introducing... The Supporting Actresses of 1941

The next Supporting Actress Smackdown hits this coming Saturday and you can still vote as part of the panel. Your votes count toward the outcome since one of the panelists spots is for the readers! We'll look at How Green Was My Valley for Best Shot late tonight but for now, it's another edition of "Introducing..." How do we first meet these 1941 characters who will then grant their actresses the honor of becoming Academy Awards Nominees? Was the direction, music and lighting already helping to single these ladies out for honors?

Here's how they're introduced in their films...

Click to read more ...

Monday
May052014

Monday Monologue: Anne Baxter’s Nefretiri

Hollywood's found religion again so here's Andrew on The Ten Commandments

Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956) is the epic by which all biblical epics should be judged. There's something for everyone: romance, drama, melodrama, religious feeling, glorious Edith Head costumes and a wide scope.  And, yet, despite so much to choose from and no matter the scene, I always find my eyes settling on Anne Baxter, my pick for MVP and the Best Supporting Actress of 1956 (she wasn't nominated). Baxter’s husky tones and lilting line-readings are so memorable that it's easy to reconfigure the film and the dialogue as a series of actressy monologues...

Click to read more ...

Monday
May052014

A Smackdown Summer Cometh

When I announced that The Film Experience would be the new home of the long departed series Stinky Lulu's Smackdown last summer I figured you would be thrilled. It's our kind of party. I promised Stinky we'd do at least six smackdowns if we brought it back. With four battles already behind us -- pie throwing 1952shady and sinister 1968, warm and kooky 1980, and troubled histrionic 2003-- let's wrap it up with four more. 

Rather than announce at the end of each month, I figured we'd give you all four lineups in case you'd like more time to catch up over the hot months and cast your votes in the reader polling that accompanies each battle. Those votes count toward the final outcome, so more of you should join in. 

These annums were chosen after comment reading, dvd searching, handwringing, and also to rope in prospective panelists (to be announced later) though I know you'll go bonkers for a couple of them.

Saturday May 31st
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1941

Mary Astor won an Oscar for The Great Lie in which she co-starred with Bette Davis. Davis herself was something of a good luck charm that year for this category. Two of her other co-stars, Patricia Collinge and Teresa Wright, were nominated for their roles in The Little Foxes (a film we'll be covering very soon in "Seasons of Bette"). Rounding out the category were two formidable mamas in men's pictures:  Margaret Wycherly for Sergeant York and Sara Allgood in the Best Picture winner How Green Was My Valley.

Monday June 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1964

Women of a certain age for the awesomeness - somehow this shortlist escaped the usual attack of the ingenues. My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins were splitting the statuettes that year but neither took home a Supporting Actress trophy. That honor went to Zorba the Greek's Lila Kedrova. Also nominated that year were regular Oscar losers Gladys Cooper for My Fair Lady and Edith Evans for the Deborah Kerr picture The Chalk Garden, and two actresses from perpetually overheated... and perpetually wonderful genres: Agnes Moorhead in the grand dame guignol Hush... Hush Sweet Charlotte and Grayson Hall from the Tennessee Williams Night of the Iguana

Thursday July 31st
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1973

One of Oscar's most fascinatingly diverse Best Picture years also produced quite a range of peculiar one-offs right here. All five nominees were first timers and only Madeline Kahn (Paper Moon) was ever nominated again. The other contenders were showbiz trouper Sylvia Sydney (Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams) and three young film newbies 26 year-old Candy Clark (American Graffitti), 15 year old Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and the youngest competitive Oscar winner of all time, 10 year old Tatum O'Neal (Paper Moon).

Sunday August 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1989 (Season Finale!)  

Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot) took home the gold for playing mom to Daniel Day-Lewis on his first Oscar win. Her shortlist sisters? Quite a famous bunch they were. Oscar chose Oscar winner Dianne Wiest for the ensemble comedy Parenthood, both Lena Olin and Oscar winner Anjelica Huston from the underseen but  actressy Enemies: A Love Story, and brand new starlet Julia Roberts, then considerably less famous than brother Eric, for Steel Magnolias.

Drink your juice, Shelby, and join us for all of four Smackdowns. Queue up those DVDs. You know you want to for more movie merriment.

Sunday
May042014

First Round Predix: 5 Questions About Best Supporting Actress

"Actressing on the edges" is one of our favorite things, as the Smackdowns should make clear. Since most TFE readers are similarly affected with this obsession love, we assume you'll have plenty to say on the topic of "Best Supporting Actress" even before you've seen the performances and movies in question here. 

Will The Baker's Wife (Emily Blunt) cheat on her husband with a handsome Prince (Billy Magnussen)? Anything can happen in the woods

Oscar traction for the supporting categories of either gender is always hard to see in advance primarily because the size and substance of the roles in question aren't broadly telegraphed in advance the way lead characters tend to be. (It's not even always clear with adaptations of familiar material since role compositing happens and focus can shift characters from one version of a story to another.) What's more, supporting campaigns are often dependent on love for the lead actors and for the movie itself and the reverse is hardly ever true.

But speculation is fun! 

01. INTO THE WOODS
Who will win MVP reviews? This is always a pertinent question for ensemble properties when it comes to awards traction. In the first Broadway production in the 80s The Witch and The Baker's Wife were where it was at. In the revival in the Aughts people seemed more obsessed with Cinderella and, arguably, Jack. Into the Woods is funny like that, shifting focus and soul with each production. Some people though the recent short revival in Central Park with an all star cast turned the show over to The Baker (Denis O'Hare at the time who is not in the movie). Despite shifting love from viewers, The Witch (Meryl Streep in the movie) is always considered the lead role but that's only because it's the "star" part, not because the role is larger than the others. (Technically speaking Jack is probably the biggest role). If Streep goes lead that'll leave Anna Kendrick's Cinderella and Emily Blunt's Baker's Wife as our possibilities. I'm currently predicting Oscar favor to lean in Blunt's direction. Maybe that's wishful thinking and the desire to see her strangely quiet career get noisier but there's no arguing that The Baker's Wife isn't a great part (Amy Adams played it in the park recently). This adaptation could go any which way from Oscar behemoth to total flop and any actor could well be the one that gets people excited. Yes, even Little Red Riding Hood (played by the recent "Annie" on Broadway, Lilla Crawford).

After the jump four more pertinent year-in-advance questions about this year's Best Supporting Actress race...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr262014

ICYMI, A Smackdown Addendum

Busy busy week but that was mostly the team running around catching Tribeca Screenings. (We'll finish the write-ups very soon). But other than the film festival, I hope you didn't miss these five key posts from the week that was.

A Year With Kate reaches the Spencer Tracy years
Podcast Gets Under the Skin the gang's all back to discuss Noah and Under the Skin 
Looking Back at Pocahontas Disney's ambitious epic 
April Showers: The Piano Holly Hunter was the surprise star of the week because we also finally got to...
2003 Supporting Actress Smackdown Renée vs. Shohreh vs Holly vs Patty vs. Marcia Marcia Marcia. (What a strange Oscar year that was)

Film Bitch Addendum
For those of you wondering which actresses I voted for back in 2003 (many of you weren't around these parts in those early early days), here was my ballot which only had a little Oscar overlap. FWIW, David Cronenberg's Spider got a one week qualifier in 2002 but back then I went only by NYC release since I wasn't privvy to Academy screeners. Of course AMPAS ignored it as they do most one week qualifiers but Miranda Richardson was all kinds of haunting in it x 3. Curiously my finalists list suggests that I thought The Lovely Laura Linney was equal to Marcia back then within the confines of Mystic River. No more. The only part of the movie that's aged well for me at all is Harden's performance.

 

Today's Retro Watch
Given the 2003 Smackdown discussion, it's a great time to look back at this classic Cold Mountain sketch from French & Saunders as they poke fun at Nicole Kidman's whispering & posing and the Zeéeeee's overacting in the Cold Turkey DVD commentary track

Friday
Apr252014

Smackdown: Internal Dramas & DVD Death

Just to give you all a sense of the challenge of the Supporting Actress Smackdowns, I thought I'd share some behind-the-scenes notes. A lot of prep work went into the years we've covered (19521968, 1980, and 2003). Only one of them was difficult to stick with (that'd be 2003 because the movies stunk). Of the years not yet covered (StinkyLulu hosted a lot of them) there are 39 years still aching to be Smacked Down!

1937 • 1938 • 1941 • 1943 • 1944 • 1946 • 1947 • 1948 • 
1951 • 1954 • 
1957 • 1960 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1970 •
1972 • 1973 • 1977 •
1979 •
1981 • 1984 •  1986 • 1987 •
1989 • 1991 • 1994 • 1995 • 1997 • 1998 • 2000 • 2001 •
2002 • 2004 • 2005 •  2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 

But here's where it gets tricky....

Click to read more ...

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