Monday, August 22, 2011

Best Actress 1971: Janet Suzman in Nicholas And Alexandra

Janet Suzman received her first Oscar nomination and last to date for playing Empress Alexandra in Nicholas And Alexandra. She is a woman who takes advantage of her husband to get what she wants, especially with regards to her son, who is sihttp:with hemophilia, a genetic disorder which causes terrible bleeding. Alexandra makes her husband call on Rasputin, a foolish, power-hungry man who claims to have holy healing powers. Eventually, the royal family is disgarded and disgraced from the palace after the people have had enough of being denied their well-being due to the power hungry Alexandra and Nicholas.

This movie is simply a confusing mess. The story is indeed somewhat interesting, but is just so mishandled and hard to follow that you stop caring towards the end. I suppose the acting is alright, and Suzman is indeed the stand-out of the film. Alexandra is not a terrible person, merely she only cares about things that affect her and her family, especially her son, she pays no attention to the suffering of her people. She does a strong job of showing her grief over her son's disease and her determination to stop it. I'd say her best moments are in the beginning, these moments where she's trying to help her son. Unfortunately, the middle of the film is such an over-wrought mess that she is lost in the shuffle, and becomes underwhelming (I also thought her delivery was a bit too mannered at times, but that's a minor complaint).

When the family are removed from the palace and sent to Siberia, she is fairly good, and quite great when we see her shattered from her experience of being poor and hated. But the film just focused on her husband and random, confusing things that took all the focus away from Suzman, and her performance does not recover.

I'm divided on what to give her, but I suppose I'll give her a

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Best Actress 1971

Yep, that's right! Joe Burns is back on the Best Actress train! I'm excited and determined to finish it with well-paced timing!

So, the nominees were:

Julie Christie in Mcabe and Mrs. Miller

Jane Fonda in Klute

Glenda Jackson in Sunday Bloody Sunday

Vanessa Redgrave in Mary , Queen Of Scots

Janet Suzman in Nicholas And Alexandra

Your thoughts? What do you think my ranking will be? Which nominee would you like me to do first?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Open Thread: Upsets

Open threads are so much fun! And this is a juicy topic! Here we go: In this open thread, we will discuss so-called oscar upsets, meaning what you think is the biggest one of all time, which one was the biggest one in a particular category, one in which you were happy that happened/happy about, and upsets that, in your opinion, were not upsets, and so on and so on.

Let's make this a long and fun conversation/debate!

My opinion on the biggest, but a thrilling upset:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Stage Door (1937)

Today, I watched Stage Door with my mother on TCM which turned out to be a pretty entertaining, if somewhat melodramatic movie, but with great acting from Katharine Hepburn in particular. It is about a wealthy woman Terry Randall, who has moved into a boarding house for women pursuing careers in theatre. She meets a shattered actress (Andrea Leads), who is desperate for the new role in a play called Enchanted April, a bitter dancer looking for love ( Ginger Rogers), among others.

The concept of this film seems so original and fantastic today: Can you believe it? A house for girls wanting to make it in the theatre? Such a great idea! In fact, back then, these houses really existed, according to the hosts of TCM.

Anyway, the script has a lot o great points, especially with Hepburn's character, who is so witty and shot out of a cannon. My personal favorite though was Rogers: I loved how perfectly she captured this woman, and made her so affecting and likeable. But sadly, neither received an Oscar nomination: Leads did for her role as Kay. I thought she was good, but the character lacked other dimensions. Too bad she was the only one nominated from the cast.

Anyway, I felt the film was entertaining and effective, but the ending didn't work as well as it should for me. I didn't buy the resolution to the film: It felt too predictable at points, like a new girl arriving at the house to replace the one who just left. We've seen that before! Still, I reccomend the film for it's story and overall great acting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

B.S.A: Mary Steenburgen in Melvin And Howard

Mary Steenburgen received her first Oscar nomination and won for playing Lynda Dummar, the crazy wife of Melvin Dummar, a loser who one night picks up and befriends a man who claims to be Howard Hughes, and sometime into the film, we discover that it really was him, and that he left him quite a bit of money in his will.

Melvin And Howard is a crazy, entertaining film that is a bit of an awkward mess. Right after Hughes disappears from the movie, we are simply rushed into the situation of wife leaving, then his daughter leaving, then getting married to her again. Huh? There needs to be more explanation here, and it just doesn't click. I suppose this is the point of the movie though, and although she's hampered by the flaws in the story Mary Steenburgen does succeed with her part.

Lynda is an eccentric, rather stupid, but in a good way, and Steenburgen has fun with the part, doing everything that she should do. The part fits her like a glove, no one else could play the part as well as she could. Steenburgen aslso brings radiance and love-ability to Lynda, we like her despite her stupid decisions and the scripts poor handling of her.

Still, the scripts bad handling of the part is too damaging for me to love her performance or call her one of the best winners in this category, but like the film itelf, we can't help finding it enduring and wonderful at the end.