Entries in Supporting Actress (245)
Kieran, here reporting from AFI Fest in Hollywood.
James White (played by Christopher Abbott) is a 21-year-old whose life is in a kind of disarray that's sometimes indistinguishable, at least from the outset, from typical millenial aimlessness. He spends his evenings binge drinking, getting high and instigating bar fights all while harboring vague notions of becoming a writer. His estranged father has recently passed away and he sleeps on the sofa of his ailing mother, insisting that he's only there to take care of her. There's a lot in that plot description to suggest something trite and indie-by-numbers. My own antennae were up for yet another indie about a disaffected, yet ambiguously wealthy young white man. Thankfully, writer-director Josh Mond's directorial debut (he was previously a producer on Martha Marcy May Marlene whose director, Sean Durkin is a producer here) opts for something more specific and lived-in here.
The film's saving grace, at least on the script level, is that it manages to be kind to its lead character without co-signing his worldview or behavior. Yes, James is "a mess" as a family friend played by Ron Livingston tells him during a job interview that's going terribly in every possible way. [More...]
Nine year-old Jacob Tremblay (Room), fourteen year-old Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation), and 21 year-old Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) are the youngest actors who appear to be in the mix for possible Oscar nominations this year. But none of them will be breaking any records if they are as younger actors have been nominated in their categories. It's actually Jennifer Lawrence, an old lady at 25 (Kidding, but she sure does like playing older women) who is the one to watch for trivia's sake. She is likely to break a record that is currently held by another Jennifer.
Should Lawrence be nominated for Joy (talk about the new trailer here), she will have amassed an incredible four acting nominations by the age of 25. I assumed that record was held by Elizabeth Taylor but the record is actually held by one of the more forgotten superstars of the 1940s, Jennifer Jones.
Kieran, here. With this week's wide release of the already heralded Steve Jobs and yesterday's Elizabeth "Lee" Miller biopic casting announcement, it could well be a entering a second era of peak Kate Winslet. Winslet was on a career high with six Oscar nominations, four before her thirtieth birthday. Then things slowed down considerably. Yes, she had that awards run for Mildred Pierce and she was Globe nominated for her turns in Carnage and Labor Day. However, the consensus these past few years is that Winslet has been in a bit of a slump. If her Steve Jobs work does indeed land Winslet a seventh nomination, it'll be thrilling to see her return to the ceremony.
It's been seven years since Winslet last nomination for The Reader (which she won). In honor of one of our favorite actresses/shampoo-bottle-Oscar-speech-rehearsers let's look through her list of nominated performances, and rank them. Heavenly Creatures and Holy Smoke!, two of her best, are missing, but that's another story.
6. Little Children
(Best Actress, 2006--Lost to Helen Mirren in The Queen)
Her turn in Little Children is an excellent example of how Winslet is rarely uninteresting to watch on-screen, even when she happens to be miscast. Todd Field makes good use of her highly-charged eroticism and her gift for conveying inner turmoil. Unfortunately, the screenplay forces her to tell more than show.
Reporting from the ongoing New York Film Festival here is Jason on Oscar hopeful "Steve Jobs".
It should surprise no one that a movie directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin is all about rhythm. The rhythm is established at the start (and Steve Jobs runs zero to sixty so you'd best get a grip quick) and pulses outwards like the blink of a cursor, or a techno beat. You could probably set your watch to it... if you were a maniacal math genius who could work out the exact algorithm they're working off of.
The new film is structured around three events in Jobs professional life: his first presentation of his Macintosh computer in 1984; the "perfect black cube" of the NeXT machine in 1988 after he was fired from Apple; and his triumphant return to the company a decade later with the crayola-tinted iMac every girl in my college dorm owned. Within each chapter, there are a series of sonnets of sorts, devoted to the folks in his life - his daughter, his work-wife, his boss, so on. The pieces shift once the rhythm is established, but structurally speaking the film is rigorous, in a (and I do not use these words lightly) soul-pleasing kind of way. Once you find your way in to Steve Jobs, there's this satisfaction in expectations, and the massaging thereof. [More...]
With the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress (or "Best Actress Pt 2" if the category fraud forces have their way!) charts updated, all Oscar charts are now up to date. Next update is...? Well, we'll see. But October tends to be instructive. Here are question prompts for the comments after you've checked out the charts.
1. Will it help to be the first FYC screeners out?
Blythe Danner (72) who carries I'll See You in My Dreams and Lily Tomlin (76) who drives Grandma already have screeners out. I can't wait to watch both again. I'd hold them in my hands to prove my eagerness for you but then how could I type? As previously expressed in "either/or" paranoia (The Martian vs. Mad Max or Truth vs. Spotlight situations) "either/or" is often a false lose-lose game. But it will be interesting to see how much room the Academy has for stellar older women nonetheless. Speaking of...
2. Older Titans or Fresh Excitements?
For the senior set, there's also Charlotte Rampling (69) in 45 Years but she's risking being the last person out of the gate, as Marion Cotillard tried (successfully) in a much thinner field last year. Even if Oscar decides it wants all fresh young things this year -- and there are plenty of them with Saoirse Ronan and Alicia Vikander leading that particular pack -- and none of the enduring thespians end up nominated how refreshing is it that we have three senior women in the running this year whose names are not Mirren or Streep or Dench? Answer: very!
3. How can we ever stop Category Fraud?
Alicia Vikander is The Danish Girl (but, yes, so is Eddie Redmayne so it's a perfect title) UPDATE: But the studio has confimed to us that she's running in supporting. The same is true for Rooney Mara who is 100% definitively absolutely totally inarguably a lead in Carol (there should be no doubt as to how we feel) no matter what the campaign strategists claim. I firmly believe both Mara & Blanchett could be nominated if pushed as a box set in Carol, a la Thelma & Louise... if Thelma & Louise had been excited about bedding each other on their road trips instead of, say, Brad Pitt. Romantic dramas, requited or unrequited, usually require two leads... it's the nature of the beast. Pretending Mara is supporting in Carol is like pretending that Kate Winslet supported Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine or Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic (or vice versa) or like pretending Blanchett supported Dench in Notes on a--- oh ah. DAMNIT!
With Mara & Vikander both in high rising star demand and Oscar's history of LOVING to crown young beautiful actresses near the beginning of big careers, Supporting Actress could well be Best Actress 2 with these two leads battling it out for that win. IF Oscar is okay with the fraud that is... which they usually are, yes. (sigh)
4. Among the actual supporting players/characters this year who could win traction?
Category Fraud tends to be a bigger problem in years when memorable actual supporting characters show up late in the year. And 2015 is definitely having that problem. Usually I have a full list by this point that I'm eager to hold on to but it's been a weak year for female parts in the ensemble. Case in point: It's exciting to think of Elisabeth Moss squaring off with Blanchett in Truth, but she only has a few lines here and there. And Sarah Paulson is as wonderful as everyone has come to expect in Carol but as with 12 Years a Slave, other much more famous or less famous actresses have much larger roles in her movies. When will a filmmaker give her THE key female role, supporting or otherwise, in a movie? She's earned it.
I'm currently predicting Jane Fonda in Youth, Julie Walters in Brooklyn, and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Hateful Eight for the more traditional type of strong candidates, making big marks in well liked movies either by way of the script blazingly focusing on them or by way of scene stealing or by way of being the key woman in a man's movie. All three of these are risky bets for different reasons (Leigh mostly because people haven't yet seen the film ... and because she has historically proven easy for the Academy to ignore even when she had juicy big roles) but the supporting actress race is looking like the last of the four acting competitions that will come into proper focus.
5. Who do you think we're underestimating and which chart position do you think is spot on?
6. Remember that New Best Actress Hierarchy we published in February?
Jane Fonda (#6), Cate Blanchett (#11), Maggie Smith (#12) and Kate Winslet (#18) could all move up a rung or two this year if Oscar voters embrace their latest roles.
Manuel here asking: when did Kristen Wiig become the reigning queen of indie cinema especializing in fascinatingly messed up women?
I just watched Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sundance review) and while the film is clearly a showcase for newcomer Bel Powley, I couldn't shake off the former SNL funny gal's Charlotte. And that got me thinking about Wiig's amazing recent roster of fascinating female characters, some of which deserved better vehicles (coughGirl Most Likelycough). She really was never going to rest on her comedic laurels, was she?
In other Wiig news, her other Sundance flick, Nasty Baby (read Nathaniel's review) now has a trailer and a release date (Oct 23). I'd embed it on here except all trace of it has apparently disappeared from YouTube and thus from all other outlets which posted it (guess they want to keep the film a secret?). But you can still watch it here.
BYOYNMS in the comments and tell me: Which indie drama Wiig is your favorite?