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Entries in The Help (38)

Sunday
Jan292012

SAG Live Blog: Bridesmaids, Silent Stars and The Help

6:30 I was writing an (unrelated) short little note about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy moments ago and am suddenly thrust onto a red carpet with fast talking E! reporters uttering inanities while stars explain who they're wearing. These are things old spies never have to think about. But tonight is not about the spies. It's about bridesmaids, silent film stars, time travelling writers, Hawaiian land barons and maids. The first four things I hear are two engagement stories (good news for Bridesmaids or mere coincidence?), one ode to George Clooney via The Good Wife herself. Then Octavia Spencer --  love that bun (is there are name for those high buns on steroids?) -- announcing that she's robbed Cougar Town of Josh.

Which begs the question: Is anyone in Hollywood not friends with Octavia Spencer?

6:37 Armie Hammer on his wife's bakery. He's not the baker, he's the, uh, taster. The reporter or his wife I can't recall calls this "out of the closet taster?" which he confirms. I'm not making this up. 

I'm an out of the closet taster and Elizabeth is the master baker: lemon pies, tiramisu, many cupcakes. Let's just say we now have the most special red velvet recipe there is. 

For some reason when he's talking about food it sounds utterly filthy. I'm having a flashback to Rock Hudson talking about recipes in that one movie. 

6:40 Rose Byrne is wearing a sparkly jumpsuit and reminding me that she is Australian. I always forget the she's Australian and that jumpsuits exist. The latter by choice.  Although she says Scarface was her inspiration and I can sort of see Michelle Pfeiffer circa 1983 in this look. The BEST part is when she leaves the reporter who is going to commercial and Glenn Close (Damages reunion!) looks her jumpsuit up and down... more than once. She doesn't know what to make of it until...

No, she definitely doesn't like it. Hee.

6:53 Viola Davis is talking about her new daughter. I didn't realize she had adopted. Somewhere I missed that. She sounds happy and nervous and she definitely isn't completely comfortable in her Jimmy Choos. Since we're talking about feet, I feel the need to share this photo.

Regina King tweeted "toes done" an hour ago.

I did not retouch this photo so either her camera phone has some issues or her feet are sunburned. Ouch. Put some aloe vera on that. If feet horrify you I apologize. But, true story, it's how I remembered it was time to live blog.

This live blog is brought to you Regina King's pedicure.

7:02 Jonah Hill says everyone can't believe he was Oscar nominated. To his credit he says that he can't believe it either so he understands.

7:08 Michelle Williams, who clearly does not like talking to reporters about her personal life, does a pretty good job of pretending to be okay with it whilst astrally projecting herself away. I'm reasonably certain she was floating somewhere over Montana whilst Guiliana was inundating her with questions about child rearing.

much more after the jump

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan292012

SAG Predix: Will They Really Give "The Help" 3 Prizes?

Only two more awards shows to go before we reach Oscar night. One of them is tonight. SAG sometimes surprises (remember 2002 and 2003?) and sometimes goes total consensus. Let's take a stab at this... which is easier to do with statues with sharp corners. LIVE BLOGGING HAS BEGUN!

Best Actress
Nominees: Close, Davis, Williams, Streep, Swinton
Will Win: Viola Davis because the most voters have seen her film and because she's great in it.
Will Win: Meryl Streep because she's Meryl Streep and it's a biopic and actors are crazy about those and because it's a virtuosic impersonation.
Will Win: Michelle Williams because she's the new "Best of Her Generation" actress everyone is excited about and because it's a biopic and...

Okay. Yikes. I suspect it's a tight three woman race. I'd like to believe that Viola's box office and general narrative will differentiate her just barely enough. On the other hand actors rightfully worship Streep and she might win this with ease and she's definitely the most likely winner for voters who haven't seen all their screeners. I mean if I was voting blindly I'd always vote Streep (not that I'd vote blindly). On the other otherhand (we've grown a third arm) perhaps the vast voting body of the guild will have a heatwave for Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe.

Best Actress has the odd and slightly unpleasant distinction of being filled with performances that are mostly significantly better than the film housing them (though this is not to say that all of the films are terrible). Given that rather specific sandbox, I'd argue that Davis does the most successful job of working against her film's limitations. As technically great as Meryl Streep's work is, it just can't vault the hurdle of "why was this film even made other than to win Best Actress awards?" None of the other films, not even My Week With Marilyn leave quite the same "why does this exist?" aftertaste. But then again, films made solely to win awards no matter how shamelessly obvious about that they are,  have never been exactly shunned by awards bodies so that might not matter at all. Plus after taste is hard to notice while you're still eating which is why some distributors wait till the last possible second for voters to see movies they want votes for.

Okay, okay: Streep.

Best Actor
Nominees: Bichir, Clooney, DiCaprio, Dujardin, Pitt 
Will Win: George Clooney for his movie star charisma. He seems to be just sailing through this awards season with ease as if his performance towers over the competition. Strange.
Should Win: Brad Pitt for his movie star charisma and how it completely suits his character and his film and for the simple matter that he gave two incredible performances in the same year, one of which is this one right here. It's always a pity when career peaks happen and awards bodies are only vaguely paying attention, temporarily blinded by other flashy objects in the same room. 

Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Branagh, Hammer, Hill, Nolte, Plummer
Will / Should Win: Christopher Plummer. Like Clooney he has no competition for the win in his category. The main difference being that his performance easily reveals why that is.

Best Supporting Actress & Best Ensemble
Nominees: Bejo, Chastain, McCarthy, McTeer and Spencer 
Nominees: The Artist, Bridesmaids, The Descendants, The Help, Midnight in Paris 

Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy are, like Brad & George, friends and competitors both. But more importantly they're also both in awesome female ensembles. Voters have shown in the past that they don't mind giving acting prizes AND the ensemble to the same film but won't they want to throw Bridesmaids something instead of possibly giving The Help three of their five prizes?

I'd love to predict a Bridesmaids win in ensemble and I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility especially if voters do the old "vote for the film you'd most like to have been in" (in which case this is Help vs. Bridesmaids vs. The Artist) but as SAG has settled into its [ahem] 'precursor duties' they've strayed further and further from thinking about ensemble and moved right into thinking about Oscar so a win for a movie that's not up for Best Picture might be beyond their imagination now (in which case this is The Help vs. Descendants vs. Midnight vs. The Artist)
Will Win: Melissa McCarthy (repeating the Emmy surprise?) and The Help... though maybe i have it in reverse and wouldn't that be fun.
Should Win: These categories are killers, so many good performances. But If I was voting I'd throw Ensemble to Bridesmaids and Supporting to... god, who knows. This is why I still haven't finalized my own awards.

ON TO THE SAG LIVE BLOGGING


Friday
Jan272012

Oscar Loves Two Women. In The Same Film. Often. 

Amir here. Since the Oscar nominations were announced on tuesday we’ve all heard tons of new stats about this year's slate. All the ‘oldest’ and ‘youngest’ and ‘most’s aside, the one thing that caught my eye was the double nomination for Best Supporting Actress for The Help’s ladies Jessica Chastain & Octavia Spencer. This is now the fourth consecutive year that the category has included two nominees from the same film. For the trivia lovers among you, this equals the previous longest streak of double supporting actress nominations from 1947 through 1950: Gentleman’s Agreement, I Remember Mama, Come to the Stable, Pinky and All About Eve... (though the earlier run is more impressive since 1949 had two sets of double nominees.)

Trivia: The two longest double supporting runs (though 47-50 actually had a year with two double noms."Pinky" is not pictured by accident. Apologies). In both one actress appeared multiple times (Amy Adams and Celeste Holm) and one of those times she played a nun!!!

Last year’s winner, The Fighter’s Melissa Leo, was accompanied by her co-star Amy Adams, who had been nominated along with Viola Davis for Doubt two years earlier. When Adams was taking time off inbetween, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick filled in for her for their performances in Up in the Air. Had it not been for 2007's spread of wealth, the record could have been extended another two years since Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza were both nominated for Babel the year before.

If you look back through the history of the shiny gold man you'll find that in the 76 years since the Supporting categories were introduced 28 films have managed two supporting actress nominations. That’s an astonishing number but here’s what's more interesting. (Continued... with Pie Charts!)

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan242012

How We Did On Our Predictions! How About You?

I am not one to put too much stock in "scores" for Oscar Predictions. It's more exciting to predict something fewer people saw coming and this is why, I think I'm much better at "year in advance" predictions than most pundits; I don't always embrace the "sounds good on paper" options. But there's a flip side! My willingness to take risks always hurts my stats somewhere down the line. Nevertheless we have to take stock. It's fun to survey where you soared and plummeted each year. On average I'm completely happy with my track record. Here are my hits and misses!

I had a sensational batting average with Moneyball

My Perfect Scores
Supporting Actress. I knew Janet McTeer was stronger than people were guessing. She's a gender bender and Oscar loves drag. She totally steals the movie and Oscar loves Grand Theft Movie. Plus, it's a moving role with modern resonance.
Best Director. I figured Terrence Malick was too much of a god among directors for his peers to pass up.
Cinematography. Though I'll readily admit that this didn't feel too terribly tough to predict.
Moneyball and The Artist and Hugo and A SeparationI guessed their every placement correctly...which seemed risky with two of them.

Incorrect Guess That I Was Still Kinda Right About
I knew that if Rooney Mara prevailed it'd be Tilda taking the dive. Tilda Swinton joins Sally Hawkins from Happy Go Lucky in the exclusive sorority of  "People With More Precursor Notices Than One Could Possibly Dream of But No Oscar Follow Up" ...It's a very long name for a very tiny club.

Abject Failure
Wow did I ever miss on Original Song this year. Even with five guesses I couldn't manage 1 correct one. But then, this category is the worst. The documentary branch and the foreign film branch get the most push back each year on needing guidance and rule adjustments but it's actually the music branch that's in dire need of infrastructure work. More on that in the podcast (coming in a couple of hours. It's uploading). I also made a mess of the Documentary Feature category where I only guessed 2 correctly (Pina and Paradise Lost 3).

The Single Thing I Feel Stupidest About Missing
John Williams double nomination for score. I only guessed War Horse. I predicted him to get his umpteenth double nomination for practically the whole year until the precursors and other pundits convinced me to jump on the Dragon Tattoo train which I never felt right about (in that particular category) since Reznor & Ross's Oscar success with The Social Network felt like such a wonderful anomaly. Wonderful anomalies rarely repeat themselves.

The Long Shot I Most Wish I'd Predicted for Bragging Rights
Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. In retrospect it'll feel kind of obvious to people especially since Supporting Actor felt unstable beyond Plummer. And here we have a legendary actor in a mute role (when does Oscar not go for that?) 

Something I Both Overestimated and Underestimated.
The Power of The Weepie. I put all my eggs in The Help's basket but War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close both ate into the demographic that Mark Harris amusingly dubbed "tear duct based voters" 

My Stats
37/44 in the big eight categories 
74/104 in the categories everyone tries to predict... the sound-based categories just destroyed me! 
83/119 if you include the shorts which many people don't bother with. 

How'd you do? 

 

*purists (you know who you are!) may quibble that I predicted only 6 Best Picture nominees. But hello the number is a separate guess from the titles ;)  I listed them in order of likelihood "if 6 nominees then... if 7 nominees then... if 8 nominees then... " etcetera which means I scored 8/9 for the Best Picture nominations. Ta da! If you don't count it that way it penalizes the people who guess fewer and awards the scaredy-cats who guess ten spots to cover all their bases. 

Friday
Jan202012

Link Crumbs Trail

Mike Myers Oscar BuzzLinks. I Know These People Edition
<-- This Had Oscar buzz is a new tumblr from Joe Reid. I was totally giggling gawking at it earlier. It's all true! It's all true!
Pajiba Joanna on Michael Fassbender Penis Expert
Do Dump or Marry is but one of me pal JA's great features on My New Plaid Pants but I particularly enjoyed the latest all ladies 9 to 5 edition. 
Critical Condition looks at five stars who squandered their goodwill.
Nicks Flick Picks have you been following Nick's Best Actress Birthday party? It's amazing. Next up Patricia Neal and Geena Davis 
In Contention Kris Tapley is a Sundance Virgin. Virgin!
Slant Kurt interviews Steven Soderbergh 

Awards, Special Interest Edition 
The NAACP has released their Image Award nominees and Awards Daily is pleased to see the Cicely Tyson mention in supporting actress. That's all well and good as she was quite touching in the movie but it seems utterly bizarre to have FIVE actresses nominated from The Help for acting prizes and no sign of Jessica Chastain. It's Viola, Octavia, Cicely, Emma... and Bryce!?! Pariah, which is finally in theaters, also did very well in their nominations. Congratulations to the nominees especially Regina King who was nominated for Southland... so underrated. 

Team "Help" when the Oscar buzz was but a whisper at their world premiere.

And though I forgot to mention it a few days back, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (aka GALECA) gave both of their best film prizes --the standard best film plus the best gay film prize -- to Andrew Haigh's Weekend. Michael Fassbender won the "We're Wilde About You Rising Star Award". We Were Here, a documentary about the early years of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco, took their Best Documentary honors. It's also an Oscar finalist this year.

Overseas the London Film Critics Circle took their cue from Nathaniel (kidding) splitting their prizes between his two favorite films of the year The Artist (Picture, Director) and A Separation (Screenplay, Foreign Film, Supporting Actress). And back here in the States the Iowa Film Critics yearned for Hawaiian vacations with The Descendantszzzs

Saturday
Jan142012

Globe Winner Predictions. A Nail Biting Night?

I normally look forward to Golden Globe night with the feverish pitch I otherwise save for Oscar Nomination Morning and Oscar Night itself. They're the holy trinity of awards season Father (Oscar Noms), Son (Oscar Night) and uh... Holy Ghost (The Globes). Well, there are spirits involved. I expect that the drunkest table will belong to The Help or Bridesmaids. Here's to inebriated ladies!

And here are my predictions. I'm just going for it and predicting a return to... January 2003. Wait, what? Read on!

MOVIES

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA

  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • The Ides of March
  • Moneyball
  • War Horse 

With most of the attention swinging towards The Artist, Best Picture Drama feels like a free for all this year. Three films (The Descendants, Hugo and The Help) look like feasible winners since they've retained heat after the nominations. Common wisdom points to the inexplicable near-universal love for The Descendants but for whatever reason I'm imagining a repeat of the 2002/2003 Globes season wherein the throbbing heart of a female epic (The Hours) beat out an expensive Scorsese film and the Alexander Payne film about the widower dealing with his angry daughter whilst having spiritual awakenings. (Gangs of New York and About Schmidt)
Prediction: The Help
Spoiler: The Descendants 

BEST PICTURE, COMEDY or MUSICAL

  • 50/50
  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • Midnight in Paris
  • My Week With Marilyn

This one seems all sewn up for The Artist but I think it's worth noting that the Comedy or Musical category tends to be where the Golden Globes house their biggest surprises on average. That said a defeat for the Artist would be the kind of shocker that only happens once a decade. 
Prediction: The Artist
Spoiler: Bridesmaids (imagine the uproar!) 

BEST DIRECTOR 

  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • George Clooney, The Ides of March
  • Michel Hazanavicus, The Artist
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Hazanavicius may or may not be the frontrunner for the Oscar. It's tough to say with lesser known directors when they're battling cinematic giants who win awards based on their whole filmography rather than the specific film they're up for. But I'm guessing that the presence of Woody Allen pulls enough votes from Martin Scorsese to keep Hazanavicius in the lead.
Prediction: Hazanavicius
Spoiler: Scorsese

PREDICTIONS IN ALL CATEGORIES after the jump...

Click to read more ...