Saturday, May 26, 2012

No news is... no news. 

I am putting on hold the Best Actress series, first of all because of limited time & the fact that I am almost always tired (possibly because of some pills I'm taking) which makes me moody and not willing to write anything longer than 2 sentences... and second: I am so behind on 2011 films (still!) that I'd rather try to focus on that and see those 10-15 I have left and wanna give them a shot. Don't know how long this will take... but Liza will have to wait a bit.

But if we're here... I still have my eyes on Oscar 2013 race. And how about Best Actress 2012?? What a mess this is going to be... No hope in sight. The past week brought some disappointments: Nicole is clearly out of the race for The Paperboy given the Cannes reaction; the trailer for The Great Gatsby was released and it doesn't look like much potential for Carey Mulligan, and we also had the trailer for Hyde Park on Hudson (hope I got the name right), and Laura Linney looks like a co-lead at most, and no crying scenes. :(

They won't give a 2nd Oscar to Marion (Lowlife or Rust & Bone), I don't trust Quartet yet (might be just a light dramedy, and Maggie might not even be lead), I am giving in and predicting Helen Hunt for nomination, but I doubt a win, also they will never nominate Kristen Wiig so that's that. And who do I end up with? Keira Knightley! (Keira f***** Knightley)! Loved her in Pride & Prejudice, liked her a lot in Atonement, but I'll say it again; and again; and again: she is not Anna Karenina. It's a clear example of poor casting: she is not mature enough, not pretty/charming enough (sorry, I had to say it), not woman enough for this role; while the 1935 film version might've been crap, one can't argue: Garbo had the look for the part and the maturity. No schoolgirl should attempt this role. 

Which doesn't mean Keira won't do a good job; hopefully, she won't overact it, which she tends to do. My problem here is that I ended up predicting her for a win, even if I don't think she will manage... 
Is it really such a weak Best Actress year?

Saturday, May 05, 2012


When I announced that I’ve made the draw from the 1970s, Cal asked me for a clue about what year it was. I said: it was a historical year for the category. He said 1974 (I have no idea why); to me, it was an easy clue: as you might know, 1972 is the first and ONLY time two African-American actresses competed for Best Actress. As always with a draw, I am somewhere in the middle on the excitement factor. This certainly is an unusual line-up: I haven’t seen any of the drama actresses, but two black actresses and a Swedish one, plus a loud cabaret performance and an unusual highly-criticized comedy role – not Oscar’s regular line-up, for sure. I have only seen Cabaret and Travels with My Aunt, though none recently. I’m very excited about The Emigrants, which I’ll probably save for last.


The 5 ladies that Oscar had chosen for 1972, in alphabetical order:

Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, in Cabaret

Diana Ross as Billie Holiday, in Lady Sings the Blues

Maggie Smith as Aunt Augusta Bertram, in Travels with My Aunt

Cicely Tyson as Rebecca Morgan, in Sounder

Liv Ullmann as Kristina, in The Emigrants

As usual, I’m gonna make a short analysis, trying to figure out how they got nominated. Liza Minnelli was probably the only lock for a nomination that year; she carries her film, Cabaret was a huge success both with the critics and the Academy and she had already won a Golden Globe for her performance; adding to it all: she was already an Oscar darling, being nominated 3 years before plus she was the daughter of their beloved Judy Garland, past nominee. From here on, I’m sure the voting was all over the place.

Liv Ullmann was already a well known actress, because of the films she had made with Ingmar Bergman starting with 1966’s Persona. Strangely enough, she got her first nomination for a Swedish film, but not under Ingmar Bergman’s direction. Even with her popularity in the States, it was still unusual for a foreign actress to get into Oscar’s line-up. On her side she had a Golden Globe win for this performance, and also from the New York Film Critics Circle; The Emigrants itself was surprisingly a Best Picture nominee. All these helped secure the nomination.

One would say that Cicely Tyson was a sure thing for the nomination; I’m sure she got plenty of votes, but let’s not forget that before 1972, only one African-American actress had received a nomination in this category, and that happened 18 (!) years prior. She went to Oscar night with a couple of wins on her side: from the National Board of Review & National Society of Film Critics, plus a Golden Globe nomination and her film too, Sounder, was a Best Picture nominee (however, with minimum chances of winning).

Miss Diana Ross had the celebrity factor on her side, and I suspect there was also a bit of deglam for the role, which always helps; plus, it’s a dramatized biopic of a well-known singer. Her Oscar nomination was supported by a Golden Globe nomination.
Maggie Smith, I’m sure we can all agree, was the shocker here; nobody seems to like Travels with My Aunt, though I remember it as a silly comedy. The role itself has a lot of aging in it, which probably helped. Still, they rarely go for comedies, less so for poorly reviewed ones; prior to the Oscar nomination, she had received a Golden Globe nomination for this role.

Liv Ullmann, Cicely Tyson and Diana Ross were first time nominees. This was the 2nd nomination for Liza Minnelli (her first one came for 1969’s The Sterile Cuckoo) and the 3rd for Maggie Smith (she had won Best Actress for her performance in 1969’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and she had previously been nominated in Supporting for Othello).

Let’s throw in some names of other actresses that competed for a nomination. Given this was 40 years ago, I wasn’t there to witness, but I’m quite sure my guesses are correct:

2 clear front-runners:
Joanne Woodward - The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (the obvious runner-up for a nomination and the snub is surprising)
Susannah York - Images (I’ve heard she’s quite something in this)

Quite possible:
Carol Burnett - Pete'n'Tillie
Barbra Streisand - What's Up, Doc?
Janet Suzman - A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
Stéphane Audran - The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Anne Bancroft - Young Winston

Dark horses:
Elizabeth Taylor - X, Y and Zee
Tuesday Weld - Play It As It Lays
Trish van Devere - One Is a Lonely Number
Goldie Hawn - Butterflies Are Free
Juliet Mills - Avanti!
Patty Duke - You'll Like My Mother

Here’s the video proof that 1972 was correctly drawn, in case you wanna waste some time :)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

And the Oscar goes to...

On April 3rd, 2011 I had predicted the following: Best Picture for Hugo Cabret (as it was called at that time) and Best Director for Martin Scorsese - and less than 10 months later Hugo was the runner-up for Best Picture and Best Director wins. Also, I had predicted a Best Actress win for Meryl Streep (and I was right), also wins for Hugo in Art Direction & Sound Mixing (happened), The Iron Lady for Makeup (happened); plus, such exotic nominations that came through as Moneyball for Best Picture & Best Actor and Nick Nolte for Best Supporting Actor (for Warrior). Overall, I did good. (proof: April 3rd, 2011 predictions)

Let's see how I'll handle it now. Oscar predictions are here (8 1/2 months before nominations are announced & almost 10 months before the actual ceremony). Winners is bold, the nominees in alphabetical order. The nominees will be:

BEST PICTURE (8 films): Les Misérables (The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit, Killing Them Softly,  Life of Pi, Lincoln, The Master, Zero Dark Thirty)

BEST DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson - The Master (Tom Hooper - Les Miserables, Ang Lee - Life of Pi, Steven Spielberg - Lincoln, Kathryn Bigelow - Zero Dark Thirty)

BEST ACTOR: Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master (Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln, Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables, Bill Murray - Hyde Park on Hudson, Brad Pitt - Killing Them Softly)

BEST ACTRESS: Nicole Kidman - The Paperboy (Sandra Bullock - Gravity, Keira Knightley - Anna Karenina, Laura Linney - Hyde Park on Hudson, Carey Mulligan - The Great Gatsby)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix - The Master (Russell Crowe - Les Miserables, Leonardo DiCaprio - Django Unchained, Ray Liotta - Killing Them Softly, Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway - Les Misérables (Amy Adams - The Master, Samantha Barks - Les Miserables, Laura Dern - The Master, Sally Field - Lincoln)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The Master (Django Unchained, Hyde Park on Hudson, Imogene, Zero Dark Thirty)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Killing Them Softly (Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, The Paperboy)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: The Hobbit (The Dark Knight Rises, Gravity, Les Miserables, Life of Pi)

BEST EDITING: Les Misérables (The Hobbit, The Master, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Lincoln (Anna Karenina, The Hobbit, Life of Pi, The Master)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Sparkle (Brave, The Hobbit)

BEST ART DIRECTION: Les Misérables (Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit, Prometheus)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Anna Karenina (The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit, Les Miserables, Snow White and the Huntsman)

BEST SOUND MIXING: Les Misérables (The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, Prometheus, Zero Dark Thirty)

BEST SOUND EDITING: The Hobbit (Battleship, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, Prometheus)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: The Hobbit (The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Life of Pi, Prometheus)

BEST MAKEUP: The Dark Knight Rises (The Hobbit, Les Miserables)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Brave (Frankenweenie, The Pirates!, The Secret World of Arrietty, Tales of the Night)

These could happen, right?? :)