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Entries in Supporting Actress (357)


A Raggedy Oscar Podcast Reunion

Surprise! The old team is back together momentarily. Clearly we need more time than 40 minutes to get into everything that's going on in the Oscar race so this one is a totally raggedy conversation... a la Margaret and Rampart, two films that are discussed.

So welcome back to Katey, Joe, Nick from Nathaniel, your host here at The Film Experience.

UPDATE: The entire podcast is embedded below but it is having some trouble playing all the way through with Google Chrome. Works perfectly in Firefox or download from iTunes

Topics include but are not limited to:
• Cooking tips from The Help
The Iron Lady and Streep's hard sell for the third Oscar
• Team Margaret and Team Rampart, two wildly underseen movies that share some intuitive storytelling and vivid ensemble work.
• Critical advocacy in the age of consensus
• The silly battle lines drawn between Hugo & The Artist
• Shailene Woodley and Nick's Descendants agnosticism.

A Raggedy Oscar Reunion


Oklahoma & Phoenix & The Supporting Actress Traffic Jam

The Artist, Albert Brooks, Michelle Williams and The Tree of Life's cinematography continue to assert dominance in the regional critics prizes as two more circles & societies weigh in. How long until we have 60 US critics organizations, one for each state plus a handful of redundant consolidating regional groups and another handful of national groups?

11 perfs by 9 women have divvied up Critics Supporting Actress prizes in North America

Meanwhile Supporting Actress --which is a real clusterf*** to predict with 6 women doing superbly in precursors and 2 more super lauded performances waiting eagerly for a miracle stumble from one of those 6 -- continues to be a total free for all among critics groups as I've illustrated with this map of the prizes thus far... so exciting! Would that more races would inspire this much healthy difference of opinion, art being subjective and all.

I've been discussing the Best Supporting Actress race with other pundits recently and I'm finding it amusing how "obvious" everyone claims it is despite no one agreeing on who is out front or who gets dumped. How then, can it be obvious? Even the statistics don't solve this equation as will be noted after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Interview: Jessica Chastain's Big Year / Big Future

Jessica Chastain was in Morocco when we spoke, jurying on a film festival. Or was she in Toronto filming a movie? No, maybe she was right here in New York City or in Los Angeles for a premiere or event? Who can say. It's been a dizzying year. Her definition of "staying put", I quickly discover, is staying in one place for a whole week. "I don't think this is a normal year for an actor," she says understating the case.

Chastain reigns over 2011's movies

She sounds bright and cheerful and ready for more movies, believe it or not, though she admits that the year has been tough on her personal life. This past summer she starred in two of the most talked about films of the year (The Tree of Life and The Help) and in the fall she was doing press for four more (The Debt, Take Shelter, Coriolanus, The Texas Killling Fields). 

Though her characters are already multiple, she is but one woman. The movies we're seeing all at once she made over the span of a few years and she helpfully provided the order when asked:

  • Wilde Salome ("My first film. It hasn't come out yet")
  • Jolene 
  • Stolen ("very small role")
  • The Tree of Life
  • The Debt
  • Coriolanus
  • Texas Killing Fields
  • Take Shelter
  • The Help ("I went straight from the set of Take Shelter")

I figure her sudden ubiquity is a good place to start the conversation...

"I'm fine right here" 

Nathaniel R: It's almost like you've sprung full grown from the head of Zeus for moviegoers.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: Which is so funny because I've been working so long!  But it does feel like this year with people starting to see my films they're asking "Where did you come from?" Well, I trained. I have been working for a long time.  You guys are just getting caught up . I didn't come out of nowhere.

NR: It just feels that way for us! I want to ask you about Take Shelter first. Long suffering wives of male leads -- how shall I put this? This type of part always runs the risk of feeling like a thankless stock role. How did you make it feel as specific as it does? That marriage is so vivid.

JC: It's funny. I think I teased Jeff [writer/director Jeff Nichols] quite a bit when we first started working together. I'm sure they were like "oh no…" because I do a lot of work before i show up on set. My script, it's not necessarily filled with answers but there are a lot of questions that I write down. In a scene in Take Shelter I might write down 'When's the last time he told me he loved me?'  Something like that which gets me thinking 'hmmmm, okay...'

For that movie I did that throughout the whole script. I had to make it so specific because my entire subtext in that film is "what's wrong with you?" but I can't say that the same way in every scene so I had to look for what's happened before each scene to make it as specific as possible. I really wanted to grasp it so much that on our first day I really embarrassed Jeff and Mike [Michael Shannon]. We're at lunch. The three of us sat down and I've got some questions. I looked at Jeff and said 'When do they have sex? I just wanna know.' Mike's mouth opened up, Jeff turns beet red.

'what's wrong with you?' Now, ask it in multiple unspoken ways.

[The Help, The Tree of Life and Chastain's future plans after the jump.]

Click to read more ...


London Critics Love: A Separation, Drive, Tinker Tailor

The London Film Critics will not name their winners, as far as I can tell, until a ceremony on January 19th. I wonder if that's correct? Do they really have enough clout to get celebrities to show without winning in advance? (That's how most critics organizations get celebrities at their events. They come specifically to receive awards they've already won). But here are their nominees. It's good news for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive which led the nominations with six each including Best Film. A Separation also did really well as it continues to build momentum. It's just so sad that it didn't get an earlier and harder push. It should've been in the Best Picture discussion and lord knows it's about time we had an instant foreign language classic in the Best Picture discussion again. Remember when that was happening regularly for a few years about ten yeras back.

I don't want to keep you or myself -- I have things to type up -- but how about these actress categories? It's like one amazing woman after another.

Kirsten Dunst - Melancholia (interview... not on this film)
Anna Paquin - Margaret *
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady 
Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk About Kevin 
Michelle Williams - My Week With Marilyn

* NYC readers should note that Margaret, which has been causing such a no screeners / no campaign year-end critical fuss is reopening at Cinema Village on December 23rd. That theater is microscopic so expect sell-outs. I can't say whether I'll end up on #TeamMargaret or not but I appreciate the chance to see it before I publish my lists.

Sareh Bayat - A Separation
Jessica Chastain - The Help 
Vanessa Redgrave - Coriolanus
Octavia Spencer - The Help 
Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom INTERVIEW

Olivia Colman - The Iron Lady & Tyrannosaur INTERVIEW
Carey Mulligan - Drive  &  Shame 
Vanessa Redgrave - Anonymous & Coriolanus
Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk About Kevin
Rachel Weisz - The Deep Blue Sea

I've never quite understood British Award groups tendencies to have specifically British prizes. Can't we just assume they'll prefer the Brits and be as patriotic as other countries in their homegrown awards? The Oscars don't have a "Best American Actress" category. The London Critics regular "Best Actress" category is two American blondes who were once teen star co-stars, a Canadian/New Zealander, a Jersey Girl (that'd be Streep) and a Scottish alien goddess. 


'Attack of the 50 Foot Vanessa!' San Francisco Winners

I've long been saying that if Oscar voters actually see Ralph Fiennes Shakespearean adaptation Coriolanus -- it's an "if" because 80% of the contenders, even the teensy tiny ones, chose December as their best Oscar strategy -- it'll be tough to stop Vanessa Redgrave from crushing her Best Supporting Actress competition. Though Fiennes is the actor/director it's the legendary Oscar winner who walks away with the movie as his proud, fierce, monster mom, so proud of her son's battle scars she comes across as yet more bloodthirsty than he.

So today she picks up her second precursor after the British Independent Film Awards. San Francisco apparently likes their moms all sticky with a violent son's blood. See also their best actress winner: Tilda Swinton

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Winners
PICTURE The Tree of Life
DIRECTOR Terrence Malick, the Tree of Life 
ACTRESS Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
ACTOR... Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
SUPPORTING ACTOR Albert Brooks, Drive

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
SPECIAL CITATION "The Mill and the Cross"
MARLON RIGGS AWARD (Courage and Vision in Bay Area film community)
National Film Preservation Foundation 

All in all a very good showing for The Tree of Life, Tinker Tailor and bloody mamas everywhere. Now excuse me while I do a happy dance for Certified Copy. YES.


Complete the Chastainy Sentences...

If I could ask Jessica Chastain one question it'd be this:  ________________________________________.

She's the new _________________ because  ______________ .

When I heard she won the first Supporting Actress award of precursor season I thought _______________________ .

I really hope she works with _________________ and plays __________________ .