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Entries in Supporting Actress (262)

Sunday
Jun282015

Smackdown 1948: Jean, Barbara, Claire, Ellen, and Agnes Moorehead

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '48. A young writer, a drunken chanteuse, two spinster aunties, and a girl who never gets to the nunnery.

THE NOMINEES

1948 is so basic. A typical Best Supporting Actress shortlist looks almost exactly like this: an actress whose paid her dues finally getting a plum opportunity (hello usually uncredited Ellen Corby in I Remember Mama finally stepping into the limelight), a rapidly rising star (Jean Simmons in Hamlet, not her first attention grabbing role in the late 40s), a fresh ingenue in a popular picture (Meet Barbara Bel Geddes in I Remember Mama), and if you're lucky in a good year a couple of revered character actresses to class up the shortlist joint (Agnes Moorehead in Johnny Belinda and Claire Trevor in Key Largo). And within that mix you'll usually have a protagonist demoted to "supporting" and Best Picture heat helping at least a few of them find a seat at the table. All of that is true for 1948. What isn't so typical is a supporting actress winning on a picture's sole nomination and that happened here. Key Largo has aged well but Oscar didn't have any time for it back then outside of Trevor's drunk despair. The other three pictures had 24 nominations between them!

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Here to talk about these five turns are screenwriter/author Abdi Nazemian ("The Walk in Closet"), film blogger Catherine Stebbins (Cinema Enthusiast), freelance journalist Joe Reid, film critic Tim Robey (The Telegraph), and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience). In addition to this write up we recorded a companion podcast  where we flesh out some of these thoughts and expound on the movies themselves.

Without further ado...

1948
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 

 

BARBARA BEL GEDDES as "Katrin" in I Remember Mama
Synopsis: A teenager who dreams of being a writer finds source material in her immigrant mother
Stats: Then 26 yrs old, 2nd film, first and only nomination. 72 minutes of screen time (or 54% of running time). 

Abdi Nazemian: She carries much of the emotional life of the film, but I found the film unbearably sentimental (this from a man who loves Andy Hardy movies and Little Women). She lacks the unique quirks that young actors like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney brought to the same kinds of roles, and gives us a bland portrayal of adolescence. Of all the nominated actresses, she was given the most screen time, and did the least with it. 

Catherine Stebbins: One of these days I’ll figure out why I’m always so drawn to Bel Geddes. She has a lot of screen time as Katrin, given the unenviable task of holding up the film’s relentless episodic nostalgia. She is narrator, observer, worshiper, and an adult playing an adolescent. Katrin constantly looks at her mother, whether in the background or foreground, with reverent awe. Bel Geddes plays this with a partial cognizance that Katrin is in the gently reenacted memories of her past. ♥♥♥

Joe Reid: I can see how, if you were swept up in the homey charms of George Stevens' film, you'd want to throw accolades at Bel Geddes, who plays such an observant window onto the life of her saintly mother. Her hushed voice-over gets to the gauzy-memoir nature of the story effectively, but I'm not sure the performance ever gets much farther than doe-eyed wonderment.  ♥♥

Tim Robey: Saddled with just about the hoariest framing narration in film history, and doing little to lift it out of sanctified goo, Barbara has a near-impossible task here – making the terminally precious Katrin and her “gifted” (read: soporific) memoirs interesting. She can’t win, but we still need something more than a voice like tree sap to get us through this. In overegged close-ups she’s weirdly divorced from real-time engagement with her scenes, and every co-star seems faintly embarrassed about what to do with her. 

Nathaniel R: In the movie's crowded frames, you can often see just her hair or the back of her head; unfortunately her full closeups aren't that much more expressive, generally landing a single emotion. The narration is even stiffer like she's reading to a very small child from an immobile body cast. (The direction and screenplay all but force this stiff repetitiveness though, so it's not all on her) She aces warm awestruck looks at goddess Irene Dunne, but... I mean... who doesn't?  

Reader Write-Ins: "She is telling THEIR story, which she happens to be in. Therefore she is bland, quiet, blending to the background so others can showcase themselves." - Tom (Reader average: ♥♥¼)

Actress earns 10¼ ❤s 

four more actresses after the jump


Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun222015

The Many Faces of Ann Dowd ~ 25 Years in Film & TV

As this new week begins, I need to take a moment to express gratitude for what made last week special. Ann Dowd was gracious with her time and thoughts for a special guest blog day. In case any of you missed it, it was neat to get an insight into her work on The Leftovers, hear about her teenage reaction to Romeo & Juliet, and more. I particularly enjoyed her comments on falling in love with acting and advice for young actors. Regarding the latter, I'm not an actor but it resonated with me strongly and I think it's great advice for any career that requires risk, heart, soul, and the ability to handle considerable peaks and valleys.

Which is quite a few careers if you stop to think about it.

Ann Dowd's film and television career began in earnest 25 years ago in 1990 with a role in the Golden Globe Comedy winner Green Card and guest appearances on two different TV series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd and The Baby-Sitter's Club.

this is just scratching the surface

Her gallery of characters has been growing ever since but with critical raves and a few prizes for her riveting film-carrying work as a duped fast food manager in Compliance (2012) audiences finally starting putting a name to the face. Ever since we've been blessed with more and more of her. The Leftovers was arguably her greatest showcase yet. If Emmy voters don't notice what casting directors already have, it'll be their loss. 

What's your favorite Ann Dowd character and did her Guest Blog Day make you long for more peeks into your favorite character actors? (I'll take suggestions)

Monday
Jun152015

FYC: Lauren Weedman for Supporting Actress, Comedy

Team Experience shares their personal dream picks in multiple Emmy categories as voting begins. Here's Adam on an actress we're all hoping to see a lot more of... - Editor

Lauren Weedman was to the first season of Looking what Joan Cusack was to Working Girl. They each drifted in and out of the main narrative, never the primary focus, but neither restricted entirely to the background. Their sharply delivered lines punctured their scenes, dick-slapping the audience, demanding attention. While they may have been vital to their best friend’s stories, they couldn’t tell their own stories. 

During the second season, Looking realized the strength of Weedman’s performance, allowing the indispensable Doris to come into her own as a character. Adding another individual to their mosaic of souls wholeheartedly discovering who she was, searching for where she wanted to be, and loving the people that surrounded her elevated the show. We followed Doris as she dealt with the repercussions of losing a parent and revealing her childhood of abuse. We championed Doris when she reclaimed her autonomy by confronting an unhealthy codependent relationship. We swooned when she allowed herself the possibility of a romantic future by finally exposing her vulnerabilities without the masking of her humor.  

Lauren Weedman positively throttled me like a famished crocodile death-rolling a dehydrated antelope during the Doric-centric episode, “Looking for Plot.” That raw, acerbic wit, and melancholic longing Weedman was able to express with only the constricting of her chin muscles split my sides and welled my tear ducts simultaneously. Her fucking CHIN made me feel feels I didn’t even know I was capable of feeling. Jesus.

We will no longer be able to follow this group of friends and lovers around each week but when I reminisce on my times spent with the boys and gal of Looking, I’ll always cherish Lauren Weedman’s performance as Doris. I'll cherish it in much the same way I once, while at a funeral, devoured an entire Edible Arrangement centerpiece while fellow mourners shot me disapproving looks as I selfishly grieved. It may seem reductive to compare Lauren Weedman’s affecting, poignant, barbed performance to that of a gloriously displayed collection of sculpted fruit, but each supported me while I accepted circumstances I couldn’t change, and helped me move on. 

Previously:
The Americans
Jane the Virgin
Cara Seymour, The Knick
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Ruth Wilson, The Affair 
Matt Czuchry, The Good Wife 
Gwendolyn Christie, Game of Thrones 

Coming This Week:
Ann Dowd, The Leftovers ...and more!


Tuesday
Jun092015

Cara Seymour on Playing Sister Harriet in "The Knick"

Cara Seymour (Adaptation, American Psycho, The Savages) is Guest Blogging all day today! - Editor
 

-by Cara Seymour

Getting to work on "The Knick" has been one of the greatest experiences of my career. I screamed with joy when I got the part and I'm not a big screamer of joy.  Amazing director, talented and really fun cast and all round impeccable team of super talented people in every department.  I'm madly appreciative of this.

Michael Begler, Jack Amiel and Steve Katz wrote this extraordinary character of Sister Harriet - she leapt off the page. But I wanted to know more about nuns in 1900 when The Knick takes place, so I ordered nun books.

"Through the Narrow Gate,"  by Karen Armstrong was an unflinching account of her life as a nun in a convent pre Vatican II -- read every word of that!

Didn't read them all from cover to cover. Not quite that crazy!

(more on The Knick after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun082015

Cara Seymour ~ TOMORROW !

The Savages (2008)

See you in the morning.
-Cara Seymour 

 

The Film Experience proudly reminds you that Cara Seymour (currently starring in "The Knick") guest blogs right here, all day, tomorrow!

Sunday
Jun072015

Smackdown 1979: Barbara, Candice, Jane, Mariel ...and Meryl Streep!

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '79. Three divorcées trying to find themselves or build new lives (a white hot character type / movie theme in the late 70s) battled for the statue with a simple suburban mom and a precocious student at the 52nd Annual Academy Awards.

THE NOMINEES

 

Candice Bergen and Mariel Hemingway were first-time Oscar players in 1979, but they shared the interesting distinction of being previous Globe nominees in the long since cancelled category of "Promising Newcomer/Acting Debut" in 1966 (The Sand Pebbles) and 1976 (Lipstick) respectively. Barbara Barrie , the eldest nominee, was no stranger to good reviews having previously won Cannes Best Actress (for the little seen interracial romance One Potato Two Potato in 1964) but was largely considered a TV actress. She returned to the small screen immediately after her most beloved film role  -- in a TV series based on that film no less making her the rare performer (the only one?) to have received both an Emmy nomination and Oscar nomination for the same exact role! But the Kramer vs Kramer ladies were the marquee draws in 1979 and not just because the public response to their divorce drama was so seismic: Jane Alexander and Meryl Streep had been nominated before and would be again. Especially La Streep. No one could have then predicted that she'd continually obliterate Oscar records over the next thirty plus years but everyone knew she was the Next Big Thing. 1979 was the year of her true ascendance, a third consecutive year co-starring in a Best Picture contender (Julia, The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs Kramer) and the small matter of two other much-raved about performances in the same year (Manhattan and The Seduction of Joe Tynan). 

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Here to talk about these five turns are author KM Soehnlein ("The World of Normal Boys") and film bloggers Kristen Sales (Sales on Film), Bill Chambers (Film Freak Central), Brian Herrera (StinkyLulu), and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience). There's also a must-listen Podcast companion conversation to the Smackdown where we flesh out some of these thoughts and expound on the movies themselves.

Without further ado, the Smackdown...

1979
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 
An in-depth discussion after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun062015

Rose Byrne in "Spy"

Let's make this happen universe.

Or we'll all be as sad as Bulgarian clowns. 

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