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Entries in Supporting Actress (276)

Friday
Jul082016

Halfway Mark: Best Actressing of 2016 (Thus Far)

Previously at the Halfway Mark
• 5 Favorite Pictures and imaginary Oscar scenario
• 11 Costume Design Honors from couture to the puritanical with swimwear on the side
• Cinematography & Production Design Sunset Song, etc...
• Heroes & Villains from Deadpool to Shere Khan
• 23 Male Actor Honorees in 5 categories

Cue fireworks. It's the grand finale. Our brief Halfway Mark Review honoring the best of the 50+ movies we've seen that have been released between January 1st and June 30th, is now at its end. But don't worry. The listing impulse fully never goes away and there's more excitement soon as we'll start updating the Oscar charts tomorrow. Naturally we're ending with BEST ACTRESS if five categories -- the same categories we previously did for the men.

If I had a ballot (hey, I do... albeit not an AMPAS ballot) here's what I'd honor from the year thus far -- January through June releases only though I've seen some July & August titles. [Disclaimer: The most noticeably actress-led film I haven't yet seen this year is The Meddler so please dont read anything into the absence of Susan Sarandon.]

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Sally Field as "Doris" in Hello My Name is Doris
    Doris is a CHARACTER but Sally never fails to humanize her written eccentricities making sure that she's the endearing source of the laughter rather than its target.  
  • Tilda Swinton as "Marianne Lane" in A Bigger Splash
    The "vocal rest" was her idea -- imagine an actor purposefully losing all their lines! -- and the result is you see Tilda's face and body alone capturing and reflecting the drama and auteurist impulses
  • Anya Taylor-Joy as "Thomasin" in The VVitch
    That angelic face is sensually attentive and her behavior innocent but mischievious. So many possible Masters (God, Lucifer, Herself, General Teen Hormones, and Restlessness)
  • Rachel Weisz as "Short Sighted Woman" The Lobster
    What a tricky tone to master, but she's in control. Her voiceover is beautifully at odds with her meekly submissive than overtly romantic screen self
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead as "Michelle" in 10 Cloverfield Lane
    Sells shifting (dis)belief in this strange new reality while doing right by primal horror. Nails the only real in-script details about this character -- whip-smart instincts and a "Flight or Flight" response

Choices in 4 more categories after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun272016

Emmy FYC: The Actresses of "Penny Dreadful"

Our Emmy FYC series concludes with Nathaniel's final plea for Penny Dreadful...

When Penny Dreadful aired its surprise series, not season, finale a week ago, the event felt as dark to fans as Vanessa Ive's increasingly fatalistic worldview. In its 3 short seasons the series grew quickly from a gimmicky concept -- all your favorite monster myths thrown together! --  with rich visual panache (Season 1) to a complex, increasingly focused, and confidently disturbing drama (Season 2) to a rushed and scattershot but even more thematically daring and superbly acted grande finale (Season 3). By the Season 2 premiere it had become abundantly clear that the blood-pumping heart of this gothic universe, belonged to its haunted, dangerous, three-dimensional women...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun242016

Emmy FYC: Amy Landecker in "Transparent"

Eric here, with a plea for Emmy consideration for a dark horse candidate for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy:  Amy Landecker for Amazon’s Transparent.

Transparent is generous to all of its actors because it gives them dramatically complicated landscapes to play in with dialogue that doesn't always fill in those gaps for emotional transitions and arcs. It's the kind of hard work actors love to do.  This is, of course, how we all make realizations in “real life” so the actors in Transparent are key to the delicate naturalism of the show, and the creative team behind them have the grace and intelligence to capture the work without exploiting their vulnerability.

Amy Landecker, who plays the eldest sibling Sarah, does wonders with an extraordinarily difficult character.  In season one, Sarah leaves her husband Len for another woman (Tammy) in a sex-obsessed haze and a rebellion against her controlled, “perfect” existence.  But in the first episode of season two, under Emmy consideration this year, Sarah realizes that not only can she not go through with the wedding to Tammy, not only does she not love Tammy, in fact she HATES Tammy, and that all of her decisions have been wrong.  

The idea of realizing on your wedding day that you’ve made the wrong decision is a decades-old entertainment cliché, usually reserved for romantic comedies.  But Landecker has to carry the naturalistic weight of what that epiphany REALLY means.  This sense of loss, and of being lost, is her arc throughout season two, and the actress finds layers of anger, humor, and fear that are quite astonishing. Sarah may be a control freak, but she is constantly on the verge of falling apart.  After spending her lifetime building the ideal family, season two finds her completely alone.  Landecker’s natural appeal clues you into the fact that Sarah has always been popular and successful, and for the first time in her life she has driven full-force into a wall. She has no resources for being lonely.  Landecker calibrates Sarah’s unraveling in the way we see it in people we know:  bursts of anger, momentarily losses of control, casual cruelties to others she sees as weaker and less witty than herself.  

It’s also unerring to see such a sexually frank portrayal of a middle-aged mother in any medium.  Sarah not only talks about sex, she makes life decisions based on sex (as, of course, most people do).  She’s extra proud of her boobs (the character is costumed with subtle attention to them) and leads with sexual confidence.  Landecker is also smart enough to show us Sarah's spoiled streak - she comes from a family with money, and she’s accustomed to attention and accommodation, and she’s lost without those things,  too.  This is a fully fleshed-out character, etched by an actress in masterful control.  She makes many actresses getting nominated for sitcom work seem juvenile in comparison. 

Previous Emmy Pieces
Emmy Drama Ballots |  Emmy Comedy Ballots | Donna Lynn Champlin "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" | Girls |  The People vs OJ SimpsonGillian Jacobs "Love"Riley Keough "The Girlfriend Experience" | Jeremy Allen White "Shameless" | Constance Zimmer "UnREAL" | Noah Galvin "The Real O'Neals" | "Mr Robot" leads TCA Nominations | Ten Nominees? 

Wednesday
Jun222016

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Pt. 2: Firing Squads and Flop Sweat

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this Oscar-winning classic, Team Experience is revisiting the picture, tag team relay style. In Chapter 1, Nathaniel discussed our first look at George and Martha as they "welcomed" Nick and Honey into their home for a late night boozy marital bout. The first true bomb had just gone off when George realized that Martha had broken their "rules"... we rejoin the party now as George strikes back.

 Pt 2 by Daniel Crooke

My first wallop by Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was in my early years of high school after developing a formative penchant for emotionally explosive character dramas, iconic Hollywood movie stars, and Mike Nichols’ The Graduate. Once I learned of this film’s existence, I snatched up the first secondhand DVD I could find. It may have proved a bad role model; I shouted and scowled around the house for days, hunched in doorways with a clinking tumbler full of iced tea. The drama was just too magnificent to leave on the screen and, especially in this section, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton have so much fun spitting poison that their hysterical wickedness becomes infectious.

Through my green teenage lens of inexperience, I thought George and Martha should divorce immediately, move on with their lives, and leave this self-destructive cycle in the rear view. Jesus, can you imagine their Tinder profiles? Now that time and experience have obliterated my preconceptions of the idyllic American relationship, I can plainly see that they need one another to survive. They’ve got an arrangement in their marriage that – however revolting or sadomasochistic it may seem to the outsider – more or less works for them.

32:11 ....As long as they stay within the bounds. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun212016

Happy Birthday, Juliette Lewis!

We don't get many screen talents that defy simple categorization as much as Juliette Lewis. One minute she's raw and dangerous then vulnerable and timid the next, her humor at once bawdy and passive. Even when playing a supportive girlfriend trope, she always draws you in with a flash of the unexpected. She's so consistently arresting and specific that you forget how disimilar some of her characters are.

Filmmakers of late aren't giving her the type of heavy lifting she can handle, even though her heyday 90s work (including her Oscar nominated Cape Fear performance) still deliver on repeat viewings. Of course her most unpredictable turn was in the early 2000s with the launch of her rock band The Licks, developing a rock persona as vivid as her screen performances and then some. Of her screen peers that have stuck around, none of them kick this much ass.

Michael Rapaport's documentary short on Lewis, Hard Lovin' Woman, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. It's a fun look at her career but also a reminder of her ferociously versatile talent - and you can watch it online for free!

What is your favorite Juliette Lewis performance?

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