Give me a Best Supporting Actress campaign, or I'll blow your brains out
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Give me a Best Supporting Actress campaign, or I'll blow your brains out
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I’ve been following the Emmys for a couple of years now and they are quite interesting because of their strange choices, because they are considered THE television awards and because of their voting system.
And, after seeing the pilot of Nurse Jackie, I’ve said to myself: why not rank the nominees from Lead Actress in a Comedy Series / Drama series, respectively.
To vote the winner of the category, you don’t have to see all the episodes from the season. Just one episode that the nominee submits. (that’s why it’s such an important decision). So, just like any other voter :P I’ve watched the tapes of the nominees and I am ready to judge.
Other info: Goldderby is the place for Emmy info, the ceremony is on 29th August and I am gonna post the Drama category in the next weeks.
Here are the nominees:
Toni Collette – United States of Tara (“Torando!”)
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie (“Pilot”)
Tina Fey – 30 Rock (“Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – The New Adventures of Old Christine (“I Love What You Do for Me”)
Lea Michelle – Glee (“Sectionals”)
Amy Poehler – Parks & Recreation (“Telethon”)
This is how I would rank the performances based on the episodes, my vote quality-wise:
1. Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie (“Pilot”)
The episode: It’s the only episode I’ve seen from Nurse Jackie, but I found it to be both fun (on the smiley side, this is not a sitcom) and dramatic. In a strange way, it reminded me of the Mad Men pilot, especially the ending.
The performance: Edie Falco should have no competition, based on the episode submission. Her performance is just as good as in The Sopranos and I’ve just realized (and I bet many voters feel the same) how much I’ve missed her. She nails every scene in this rich episode, she gets all the screentime and breaks my heart at least once (in the scene towards the end where she almost kills the patient; that look on her face…). I never laughed outloud, but it was a touching witty performance. Loved it: 4.5/5.
2. Tina Fey – 30 Rock (“Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001)
The episode: 30 Rock is the only show out of the nominees that I watch regularly, so I’ve seen every episode. I think Tina Fey submitted her best tape of the season. The episode by itself is very funny, definitely one of the best.
The performance: It’s the usual Liz Lemmon (which is good enough for me) with a spin. The episode is mostly focused on Liz, who is on her (disastrous) way of getting her own talk-show. Tina gets to joke a lot about her character, as Liz goes through many humiliating transformations. It’s taken too far at times (of course: it’s 30 Rock!), but it worked for me, as I found everything charming. It IS the performance that brings most laughs. 3.5/10
(It’s all downhill from now on)
3. Julia Louis-Dreyfus – The New Adventures of Old Christine (“I Love What You Do for Me”)
The episode: 1990’s style sitcom nonsense. :) I’ve seen 2-3 episodes of the series, I’m not a fan, but strangely enough this episode wasn’t all that bad. Not good , but definitely a sit-through (unlike others I’ll mention).
The performance: Julia is doing the same Seinfeld thing she’s been doing forever, but believe it or not: she does get some funny scenes. I don’t know if her character is usually this bitchy, but she totally was in this episode when she decides to change her life, but then refuses her lover’s marriage proposal. There are also some effective scenes with a car dealer. All is ok, nothing great. 2.5/10
4. Amy Poehler – Parks & Recreation (“Telethon”)
The episode: It’s the only episode I’ve seen from this series, and definitely the last one. The writing is so bad, with just a couple of good one-liners and funny final credits, but it was painful at times. Amy is obviously above material, but the supporting cast really takes it down. The voters will find it painful to follow.
The performance: The writing kills Amy’s performance, because we all know she has the talent. She’s good as an ambitious woman trying to stay awake through a night telethon and dealing with all kinds of crisis situations. But she doesn’t have the dialogue or material in general to work with. Because I disliked the episode so much, it did affect my take on the performance. And also, I’m more into expressive acting and this role is more… abstract, her face almost never moves. Too bad. 2/5.
5. Lea Michelle – Glee (“Sectionals”)
The episode: Except for this, I’ve seen the first 2 episodes of Glee and I’m not jumping onboard with the phenomenon. I might be mature for this, even though I wouldn’t really use mature to describe myself. :) It’s just too cheesy. And the episode is the cheesiest possible; talk about bad episode submission.
The performance: As I said, Lea made a big mistake. She should have submitted the Pilot episode, where she got enough screentime and appeared in all important moments of the episode. She’s hardly in this one: a bit of dialogue at the beginning (nothing special) and then her big (all the singing is so out of place because it doesn’t seem believable) singing moment, Don’t Rain on My Parade. She sings GREAT, but the Emmy race is not a singing competition, and you hardly notice her on screen in the last 10 minutes or so of the episode. With the pilot she would’ve had a shot. 2/10
6. Toni Collette – United States of Tara (“Torando!”)
The episode: Except for this episode, I’ve seen just a couple of scenes from another one. The subject didn’t sound attractive to me. It’s a short, boring episode. That’s all I’m saying.
The performance: Toni is last year’s winner, but, despite what some think/predict, I really don’t see her winning again this year. There is nothing funny in this tape, not even a bit, a scene, anything. Her multiple personality character gets a new persona, of a psychiatrist and most of her scenes are bla-bla-bla talking. Mostly dramatic, nothing funny. She does get tearful eyes at one point, but with the lack of comedy or witt, I’m not seeing anything likeable in the episode. Where’s the buzz coming from?!
Objectively judging by their chances of winning:
1. Edie Falco (because she’s great and Emmy voters love her)
2. Tina Fey (the one with the laughs)
3. Lea Michelle (3rd based on general popularity for the show)
4. Toni Collette (just because she is past winner)
5. Amy Poehler (doesn’t have the good material; no scene stealer)
6. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (nothing new to the table; dying show)
Saturday, July 24, 2010
It’s of course too early to tell. But a bit of guessing game didn’t kill anyone. I have nominees prepared for all categories, I’ll just list the winners (and possible nominees just for acting)…
Best Picture: The Fighter
Best Director: Terrence Malick, for The Tree of Life
Best Actor: Javier Bardem – Biutiful (the other 4 nominees: Robert Duvall, Jeff Bridges, Mark Wahlberg, Johnny Depp)
Best Actress: Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole (Annette Bening, Hilary Swank, Natalie Portman, Lesley Manville)
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale – The Fighter (Ed Harris, Brad Pitt, Sam Rockwell, Jack Nicholson)
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo – The Fighter (Dianne Wiest, Amy Adams, Helena Bonham Carter, Cecile De France)
Best Original Screenplay: The Tree of Life
Best Adapted Screenplay: Love and Other Drugs
Best Cinematography: True Grit
Best Original Score: Inception
Best Original Song: Toy Story 3
Best Art Direction: The Conspirator
Best Costume Design: The King’s Speech
Best Editing: Inception
Best Sound Mixing: Inception
Best Sound Editing: TRON Legacy
Best Visual Effects: Inception
Best Makeup: Alice in Wonderland
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
From the main categories, I am most certain about Christian Bale unless they move him to leading and the least about Melissa Leo.
I enjoyed the witty dialogue and the chemistry that the two actors have. It’s an easy film to watch, with some scenes much better (and believable) than others and I was not bothered by its obvious theatricality. Interesting trivia I’ve recently discovered: the film also had a much more dramatic alternative ending. I’m curious how it would’ve played.
A record has been set: Ellen Burstyn is now the only actress to get 3 Best Actress profiles on my blog (out of her 5 leading nominations). It was nothing planned, it just happened for me to choose/draw years in which she received Oscar’s attention. She was my winner for Requiem for a Dream (2000) and I was way too generous with her performance in Resurrection (1980). This time, she got nominated for a comedy role, infamously occupying the 5th slot, reserved by many for Liv Ullmann (Autumn Sonata).
Ellen plays Doris, a young 1950s housewife who starts an unusual affair with a married man, with the promise of them meeting every year, on the same weekend. They fall in love, but none of them is ready to leave their families and children. We get to see the changes in Doris for 26 years (every 5) and notice how she goes from being a naive wife, to a Marilyn Monroe type, to a hippie, to a mature business woman.
Ellen Burstyn won the Tony Award for her performance of Doris on Broadway, so she had already known the character very well. As the film started, I was kind of bothered by the obvious age difference between Ellen and the 20-something young woman she’s meant to play. Despite this factor which affects the believability of the character, Ellen gives a good performance and she tries to stay focused on the characteristics of each different Doris. However, it sometimes creates the impression of different characters and not so much different life stages of the same woman.
Some of the Dorises work better than others. The least effective one is the 40-year-old hippie, because she’s such a big shift from the other faces of the character that it throws the movie off-balance a bit. It’s also the Doris in which Burstyn looks the least comfortable in. The ups & downs of the performance (due to too many Dorises) are what’s keeping it from being great, but you generally need this kind of character contrast to create a fun comedic story. So the play/script isn’t always helping Ellen because it forces her into going too far from the essence of Doris.
Because: do I know who Doris really is at the end of this film? I would have to put all the puzzle pieces together, but I’m not sure I would be satisfied with the result… Ellen tries her best and does manage to also glue it all together with a heartbreaking final, mature Doris image.
Some might consider the blonde hair Doris to be the most effective segment, acting-wise. And Ellen is truly great there, as a mature woman expressing her frustration of not being able to fully have the man she’s fallen in love with. There’s good stuff there, but to me, the best portrayal of the character is the final one. Burstyn is superb in the last couple of minutes when she feels like she might be losing him forever and it kills her. That I am already married line is perfectly said and terribly heartbreaking.
Ellen is the heart of the film and the element that’s keeping together both the film as a whole and the character itself. Doris is a puzzle and Ellen tries her best in connecting the pieces: sometimes one Doris is too out of line (hippie), but sometimes everything is so emotionally effective. Just like in Resurrection, it’s a performance hard to judge. But because of the last 15 minutes, there’s no way I’d go for less than .
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Even with the long dialogue scenes and the camera work focused mostly on the faces, Autumn Sonata still is one of the most accessible Ingmar Bergman films. The film’s two strong elements are the dialogue (deep and effective) and the acting: a very good performance from Liv and a career best from Ingrid.
Doesn’t it make you feel good? To see a famous actress, from another movie era taking a role towards the end of her career that suddenly puts her back on the map, for a creating a fabulous performance? You really DON’T see that many good roles for women over 60 (even less nowadays), not to mention leading ones. After an infamous Oscar win 4 years earlier, Ingrid finally got the attention she deserved. It was Casablanca that made her famous and a superstar, but I think it was Autumn Sonata that actually reconfirmed the respect critics and audiences had for this screen legend.
Ingrid plays Charlotte, a famous internationally acclaimed pianist, who comes to visit her eldest daughter Eva (great Liv Ullmann) after many years. In an unexpected turn, she is suddenly confronted with Eva’s repressed feelings towards her mother and the women finally have a real conversation that opens up a lot of trauma from the past. The characters are written to perfection, so all Ingrid has to do is act, and boy does she go there.
Charlotte is a cold, distant woman, but so good at hiding and pretending. Actually, there are more than two layers to this character and it all feels so believable. While Eva seems shy and frail, Charlotte is more of a diva. We can sense her superiority even from the start of the film. Even though I immediately realized she is a cold selfish person (she abandoned her other crippled daughter), Ingrid brings some kind of likeability to Charlotte.
Her monologues are long and difficult, even from the first half of the film and Ingrid understands them and reads them so perfectly (challenging with this complex dialogue), making them her own. I understand where she is going with Charlotte; without saying so, we instantly notice she is not someone who accepts the presence of the weak, not because she is overly cruel, but because she’s so emotionally crippled and self-conscious that she instantly gets disgusted and afraid: just like her attitude towards her sick daughter.
It’s the second part that brings the best acting, just at topics go a bit deeper. Ingrid manages in a fantastic way to slowly peel off Charlotte’s vanity layers, as she is being confronted with the emotional harm she had caused her daughter. Under the mask of a nice person and under the mask of the cold brilliant pianist we discover the empty Charlotte, incapable of loving, scared of losing her talent and fame, guilty for the damage she had caused.
With the help of the fabulous camera work, Ingrid expresses all we need to know about Charlotte, she feels comfortable with the dialogue and you can tell those 40 years of acting experience: when to look, when to react and her ability to create the impression, even if for a short time, of a heartbroken sympathetic Charlotte.
It means a lot to also have a great screenplay. Even if this is an emotional journey for Charlotte, the character is so well built, that in the end I was not sure if she’s changed at all. Both Ingrid and Ingmar go for a very believable take. I myself agree: it’s more believable that she hasn’t evolved and that the whole emotional episode might’ve been exactly that: an episode that came and went, as Charlotte is too incapable of feeling to be able to change. Ingrid easily gives one of the top 5-10 performances this category has even seen. So easy to rate: .
P.S.: There is a scene with Eva playing the piano and Charlotte watching her and listening. She is the genius, her daughter is the clumsy. But Charlotte suddenly gets teary. Do you think she got emotional and proud of Eva or did Chopin remember her of her youth? What do you think? Do you remember the moment?
*** reportedly, the hands playing in the piano scene belonged to Ingmar Bergman’s wife, so in a way it’s a body double; I didn’t count it as screentime if it wasn’t Ingrid’s body part in an obvious way. :)
Monday, July 12, 2010
It started out of my obsession for ranking, for Oscar and due to my desire of participating in Stinkylulu’s Supporting Actress Smackdown. I had no job at the time, and in many ways this blog helped solving this issue. It’s because here I got to practice my English (I still get to, obviously) and that does help keeping things fresh in mind.
It is great coming back to the blogs, especially when feeling a bit depressed, or sad, it does often separate me from real life stuff.
When I first started, there weren’t this many Oscar ranking obsessed people out here. :) I knew about Stinkylulu’s Supporting Actress passion and Nick (Nick’s Flick Picks) was doing Best Actress, but I discovered his blog later on. Now, everywhere you turn people are doing Oscar categories :) , some with incredible speed, as if it’s some kind of a race. I move slower, I did so especially in my first year (due to all personal stuff) and I really enjoy digesting the categories.
Stinkylulu was a big influence, obviously, and I am forever grateful. Step by step, I started doing this just a bit differently and I’m happy with the way the blog looks right now. I’ve obviously met interesting people here, yet considering “geography is a bitch” (my line), all friendships will probably remain virtual at most.
I’ve just arrived in Athens for 1 week with lots of work (some might remember I’ve lived here for 4 1/2 months) and it feels strange coming back; it might take some time away from my blogging or maybe not. I have no idea.
So: a bit of patience and thank you very much for reading. May we all enjoy many wonderful Oscar years from now on.
Monday, July 05, 2010
It felt ok and important the first time, but the second time it was a pain in the ass to watch and count Jane’s screentime. I can’t say why, it just looked even more dated and just not the kind of film to make for a fun movie experience. But what I did notice again: Jon Voight is great in this, as it’s probably his best performances.
Jane plays Sally Hyde, a good, shy, decent married woman whose husband, a Captain, goes to fight in Vietnam. Due to a game of circumstances, Sally volunteers at a local hospital for wounded soldiers and befriends Luke, an angry wheelchair bound person who ends up becoming her lover. The film is both a love triangle and an anti-war political movie; but, I realize now, from a certain perspective, it’s about the changes in a woman’s life and spirit!
There are at least two big elements working against Jane’s performance: and, in a strange way, none has to do with her precise acting. First, there’s the matter of casting. Jane Fonda has GREAT chemistry with Jon Voight and they make for a loving, touching, believable couple. But I did feel like the role was written for a younger actress, maybe in her late 20s. It’s because the ingenuity of Sally interacts strangely sometimes with Jane’s mature expression; it just doesn’t feel right and it affects the likeability of the performance.
The other element giving me a negative feel was the character itself, which has to be the least interesting one of the film. Jane is above the character and the writing, but even so: how much can you do with limited dialogue creativity and moments of just standing there. Strangely, it feels like Sally has nothing to do with the war; the conflict of her character is purely sentimental. Is this what makes it less appealing? Jane gets the boring scenes and has to work twice as hard to express something.
Believe it or not, there is good stuff in the performance: the change of the character is believable and Jane gracefully shows up the independent woman Sally becomes. You notice it not just in the hair style, but also in the movement and the self-image of the character. She nails the character arc! And who could deny her beautiful, emotional face? Those eyes do most of the work, especially in scenes where the writing really doesn’t live up.
The scene with the two of them together on the beach before they separate is emotional and beautifully played by both actors. However, her best moment has got to be the orgasm scene and I’m NOT being ironic; it has to be one of the most believable (and that’s important) sex scenes I’ve ever seen in a non-porn.
Jane got to play vulnerable many times before and I just adored her in Julia, but that was the mature woman feeling vulnerable in a tense situation. Here, her character is much less interesting and rather dull. The casting is shaky, the character is ignored by the screenplay despite being the lead, and even so: Jane still manages a good performance, touching at times. It most certainly didn’t deserve the win and it’s hardly her best acting hour! But Jane is good and I feel comfortable with .
***Jane got a body double for most of the sex scene, so considering it wasn’t her on camera, I’ve mostly counted the voice time and less the boobs showing :))
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Previous to the year selection, I had seen 4 of the 5 performances, but barely remembered them. In the meantime, I got familiar with Coming Home and I’m terribly, disturbingly etc. excited to see Interiors for the 2nd time, which I’ll probably save for last, just to torture myself. The nominees include 3 (!) previous Best Actress winners, a future BA winner and a first-time nominee. All are very familiar names for any movie fan.
So I give you the 5 ladies that Oscar had chosen for 1937:
- Geraldine Page, in Interiors
- Jill Clayburgh, in An Unmarried Woman
- Jane Fonda, in Coming Home
- Ellen Burstyn, in Same Time, Next Year
- Ingrid Bergman, in Autumn Sonata
Jane will be first, of course, because she was the winner.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Some things about me and these categories:
- I have few real favorites. I think the men easily had a greater year. The women had some fabulous performances, but just a few and, as a whole, cannot compare will all those wonderful leading men.
- Best category: Best Actor, the other ones are less interesting. Each of the male performances in my top 10 could easily be a winner of his own, from no. 1 to no. 10 which is Tahar Rahim and those great runner-ups.
- I’ve made some eccentric, subjective choices like in Supporting Actor, but some obvious ones which I consider brilliant, like the Supporting Actress winner (a strange category, in which I can find moments of greatness AND flaws in all except for the terrific first 2).
I am mentioning again the list of eligible/seen films (60):
Incredible. Simple, but heartbreaking. Likeable. Regular guy. The power of the intense moments. Reliving the war moments.
The face, those eyes! So much with so little dialogue. Underrated. Heartbreaking and moving. Perfect casting.
3. Tom Hardy – Bronson
Unexpected. So much cruelty. Disturbing hotness. 100% dedicated to the character. Deliciously plays around. Fantastic.
Makes an impact. Fit for the film. Subtle. Right casting. Effective macho bullshit. Natural & charming. The camera loves him.
Complicated. Survives the story. Believability. Lived-in performance. Attention grabbing. Knows how to play the victim. Heartbreaking.
6. Colin Firth – A Single Man
7. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days of Summer
8. Toni Servillo – Il Divo
9. Robert Downey Jr. – Sherlock Holmes
10. Tahar Rahim – A Prophet
Almost there: George Clooney – Up in the Air, Johnny Depp – Public Enemies, Sharlto Copley – District 9, Joaquin Phoenix – Two Lovers, Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart.
Fascinating. So inside the character. Accomplished. Heartbreaking. Real. The greatness of simplicity. The best.
A star is born. Breath of fresh air. Lightness. Believable. Adorable. Smart, well thought, but so natural.
3. Tilda Swinton – Julia
The experience of acting. Tough. Rough. No vanity. Fun & crazy. Carries an unlikeable character. No excuses.
Diva is back. Sentimental. Easy & effortless. The beauty of simplicity. So cool to like. Fun, but with dramatic twist. Delivers the ending.
Real. Keeps it grounded. Emotional. Heartbreaking. No excuses. In the zone. Natural. Powerful.
6. Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia
7. Meryl Streep – It’s Complicated
8. Zooey Deschanel – (500) Days of Summer
9. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Antichrist
10. Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Almost there: Saoirse Ronan – The Lovely Bones, Abbie Cornish – Bright Star, Penelope Cruz – Broken Embraces, Helen Mirren – The Last Station, Julia Roberts – Duplicity
I am so damn subjective. One scene to kill them all. The crying game. Raw emotions. Incredible talent. Contributes to the mystery.
Great team with Renner. Believable. Always in control of the performance. Emotional twist. Subtle. Likeable.
The performance has balls. Relaxed. Natural. Makes it look easy. No excuses. Great mix of funny and dramatic.
4. Christopher Plummer – The Last Station
Heart of the film. Emotional. Relaxed. Believable. Forest scene. His honesty. Intelligence. Acting experience.
Intelligent performance. Calculated. Knows how to play with the camera. Funny. Cruel. Steals the show. Takes advantage of the role.
6. Peter Capaldi – In the Loop
7. Peter Sarsgaard – An Education
8. Alfred Molina – An Education
9. Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones
10. Robert Duvall – The Road
Almost there: Zach Galifianakis – The Hangover, Brian Geraghty – The Hurt Locker, Jim Broadbent – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Jim Broadbent – The Young Victoria, Steve Buscemi – The Messenger
One of the best ever. Indescribable. Well calculated. No vanity. Has fun with the monster. Reinvents a character type. Heartbreaking. Brilliant.
Does justice to an all-familiar character. Delicate. Sweet. Extremely likeable. Fierce. Grabs the attention. Shows experience.
3. Melanie Laurent – Inglourious Basterds
Subtle. Brings the acting just in key scenes. Her face. Believable. Knows the character. Likeable. Restaurant scene.
4. Emma Thompson – An Education
A fan. So much with limited screentime. I smiled. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted more. In 3 minutes, I felt like I knew her.
Take it as it is. Subtle. Kind. Not afraid of the camera. The difficult dialogue. The difficult scenes. Natural, free. Confident.
6. Diane Kruger – Inglourious Basterds
7. Marion Cotillard – Nine
8. Edith Scob – Summer Hours
9. Olivia Williams – An Education
10. Julianne Moore – A Single Man
Almost there: Susan Sarandon – The Lovely Bones, Penelope Cruz – Nine, Paula Patton – Precious, Mariah Carey – Precious, Rosamund Pike – An Education.
1. Mo’Nique – Precious
2. Ben Foster – The Messenger
3. Viggo Mortensen – The Road
4. Tom Hardy – Bronson
5. Yolande Moreau – Seraphine
Best Picture: Precious
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, for The Hurt Locker
Best Actor: Ben Foster, for The Messenger
Best Actress: Yolande Moreau, for Seraphine
Best Supporting Actor: Leonard Proxauf, for The White Ribbon
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique, for Precious
Best Original Screenplay: Mary and Max
Best Adapted Screenplay: Precious
Best Cinematography: Bright Star
Best Original Score: Up