Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Les Miserables Review

Well, I saw it. The very first showing at my local movie theatre. I've loved the musical for nearly 10 years and me being a huge fan of the musical genre, my hopes were high. Was I disappointed?

NOPE!!! It was truly terrific, the direction was fantastic, and the singers live performances really gave the film a unique boost that made it all powerfully work. I think it succeeded in creating a new creation of it and not just copying the musical or botching it. The epic look of the film was also superb. The sets were SPECTACULAR!! AS were the costumes, but THE SETS! Wow!!!! I personally love the category of Best Art Direction and I really want it to win that category!!

Now the performances. Hugh Jackman was great. He takes a challenging role and does a terrific job at it. His singing is a bit off key on the high notes, but that's fine and all his ballads work. It's amazing how he can play all the different variations and transformations of Valjean so well. I'm not sure if he was better then Daniel Day Lewis, but I'll have to see Lincoln again because I had trouble understanding a lot of the political stuff in it. As for Anne Hathaway, I thought she was fantastic. She brought so emotion and commitment to the part of Fantine and she makes her character arc build and build to a truly gut-wrenching explosion of emotion. I sure hope she wins the Oscar, as much as I love Sally Field in Lincoln. The rest of the cast was very good too, though Russel Crowe doesn't add enough vitality and power to Javert. He understands the character, but never fully brings him to life. He gets better as the film goes on and he's not nearly as bad as people say, but I still prefer Phillip Quast from the 10th Anniversary Version. Eddie Reymane and Samantha Barks are very strong as Marius and Eponine respectfully, but Reymane is a bit too puny to be Marius when compared to Michael Ball. Amanda Seyfried is fine as Cosette, but the part is small and I missed Judy Kuhn. The Enjolras is nothing compared to Michael Maguire, but who could compare? The Thenardiers are fun, but you can't help feel Sacha Baren Coen and Helena Bonham Carter might be miscast in the parts, though she fares better then he does.

So my overall grade is probably a 4 and a half, because it is not perfect (It runs a little long and some of the changes are lacking, like the thenardiers seeing Valjean for an additional time and the tooth pulling in Lovely Ladies), but what art in this world isn't perfect? And what's here is spectcbular and first rate all around.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Oscars Are On!!!

So, i haven't been posting in forever, but now I'm back!!! So the Oscar season is on and I think either Les Miserables (Can't wait to see it!) or Zero Dark Thirty will win Best Picture. I also think Daniel Day Lewis will win Best Actor as well as Anne Hathaway winning Best Supporting Actress. Best Actress is a mystery right now so we'll see. I've seen lincoln, and it was good, though really confusing!!1 I need to see it again!! Sally Field was great, she deserves a nomination and even a win!!!

So what have you seen? What are your thoughts on the race? Who do you think will win?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Performance Review: Bette Davis in Jezebel

Bette Davis receved her 2nd Best Actress nomination and won the Oscar for playing Julie, a stubborn southern belle ahead of her time in Jezebel.

Jezebel is one mess of a movie. It starts out rather mild and pleasant, but as the film goes on, it turns into soapy melodrama. I also was stuck with lousy sound and the accents are so thick it made things hard to understand at times. But the acting is overall strong, especially by Bette Davis.

Bette Davis plays Julie Marsden, a young woman who is ahead of her time. She is rebellious and full of life. However, this makes her cause trouble and she is very spolied. Her boyfriend Preston (Henry Fonda) is fed up with her, especially after she wears a red dress to a ball (An unmarried woman had to wear white to formal occasions in those times) and a year later, comes back and marries another woman.

Bette Davis does a terrific job in the 1st half of the film. She is spoiled, free-spirited, and full of soythern fire. She is extremeley fun to watch and has captivating presence. Her chemistry with Fonda is also great, especially that famous red dress scene. The two actors do brilliant jobs with it. She also injects the character with a lot of underlying subtlety. She shows the internal battle and all the internal feelings going on in her head.

Unfortunately, the film starts to become ridiculous and this affects Davis's performance. She is still very strong, but the mediocrity surrounding her brings her down a bit. But she still has many fabulous scenes, like the scene with her and Fonda in the garden. She is so luminous and alluring! Her end scene is also wonderful, although the ending is rather unbelievable too.

So, overall, a very memorable and strong performance that is brought down a bit by the material, but is always above it. A worthy winner.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Performance Review: Lila Kedrova in Zorba The Greek

Lila Kedrova received  her 1st Oscar nomination and won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Madame Hortense, an aging, lonely hooker in Zorba The Greek.

It's incredibly hard sometimes to determine the frontrunners/dark horses of winners from 40 years ago  and before. Yes, we have books like Inside Oscars among others to tell who were the locks/surprises, but they don't always tell us this in their analysis of the year's races. Anyway, I assume Lila Kedrova's win may have been a surprise given Agnes Moorhead had won the G.G for her performance in Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

Anyway, Zorba The Greek is one crazy movie. It is brilliantly made and acted, but it is sometimes confusing and hard to follow. Still, you've never seen a movie quite like this before!

Lila Kedrova plays Madame Hortense, a larger then life, flamboyant prostitute who's life has become extremely lonely. She has no one to talk to in the village,she no longer gets the men she used to get, and everyone seems to laugh at her. Things start to improve slightly when Zorba (Anthony Quinn)and his boss Basil (Alan Bates) come from Britain  and stay at her hotel. He courts her, and Madame Hortense mistakenly  believes he is in love with her, or more likely, she latches all her feelings on to him in a desperate way.

Kedrova is simply incredible in this movie. Her performance is so full of zest and sadness. In the beginning, Kedrova is very lively and infectious, filled with stories about her youth. You can't help but be intrigued by her and can't stop watching her in these moments, but when Basil laughs at her, she is heartbroken. Kedrova makes her loneliness so real and heartbreaking, and we so want her to have a happy life again.

As the film progresses, her life continues to go downhill. Zorba loses interest in her, and she starts to become more obsessed and hopeful that he will come back. This is where she REALLY is devastating. Despite how sad her work and character is, when something good happens to her, she seems to come to life again. I especially love the moment when she tells Basil to order wedding silk for her. She is now so grand and commanding, like a French Queen. I love it! I also must mention that she disappears into the role completely. You can tell that Lila was 100% committed to the part and the transformation is astonishing.

She is equally riveting towards the end,when she is dying. Kedrova plays it so compelling, and I was moved to tears! Not to mention the horrible aftermath of her death. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but it is awful!

Lila Kedrova gives a stunning supporting performance that is now in my Top 10 and perhaps my number #! favorite winner ever! She leaves me speechless...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Performance Review: Glenda Jackson in A Touch Of Class

Glenda Jackson received her 3rd Oscar nomination and won her 2nd in Best Actress for her performance as Vicki Alessio in A Touch Of Class.

Glenda Jackson scored a major surprise win back in the 70's for her comedy performance in the Best Picture nominee A Touch Of Class. My guess is that the race was so unpredictable that nobody was the favorite, so Glenda triumphed again. Does anyone know if her Women In Love win was a surprise?

Anyways, A Touch Of Class is rather mediocre. Yes, the screwball jokes are funny and it is entertaining, but the script isn't strong enough to make the plot work and it simply hasn't aged well. But I still would watch it again if I wanted to, and much of that is due to George Segal and Glenda Jackson. She plays Vicki, a divorced woman who works at a fashion designing place (?). She meets Steve Blackburn (Segal) and the two begin to have an affair by deciding to go to Spain for a week. But the trip soon becomes a traveling nightmare and the two bicker constantly.

Glenda Jackson gives a terrific, very enjoyable performance in this film. The character of Vicki is razor sharp intelligent and has many one-liners, and Jackson brings everything she can to the part. Vicki is a very fun character to watch and maybe the only really good thing in this movie. There's also something strange about her that draws me to it: There is a certain allure to Vicki and perhaps to Glenda Jackson herself that says you just can't your eyes off her.

She also is able to show that there is a very vulnerable young woman underneath her smart exterior. In such scenes such as the first time they're making love or towards the end where she confronts him about the affair, we get the sense that Vicki is really an insecure young girl. Her chemistry with George Segal is also great. You'd never think these two actors are a likely pair, but somehow, the dysfunctional nature of their relationship makes everything work.

I did have a few problems though. Sometimes her mannerisms bother me. I know she's a great actress, but there are times when it felt too mannered. And also, the film doesn't do a very good job of developing her character and takes the easy way out by not really resolving the relationship. But I still think its a wonderful performance that is indeed Oscar-worthy and I'm really glad I decided to make her the start of my Performances Project.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Performances I Want To Review and WILL review!

Yes, I've changed my mind again, LOL. But I think I've come to a decision. Here's a list of the performances that I will review in the future!My main goal is to build enough Best Actress reviews to do a straightforward ranking of all the Best Actress winners (Like Fritz did on his blog for B.A and B.S.A) and eventually Best Supporting Actress as well. Any requests for ones I can do first? Or ones I can add? I've thrown in some random ones too, both from Best Actor and from non-nominees.

Brenda Blethyn in Secrets And Lies

Ruth Gordon in Rosemary's Baby

Jeremy Irons in The Reversal Of Fortune/Glenn Close in The Reversal Of Fortune

Anthony Hopkins in The Silence Of The Lambs

Patricia Neal in Hud

Jo Van Fleet in East Of Eden

Natalie Wood in Splendor In The Grass

Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot

Jennifer Jones in The Song Of Bernadette

Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose

Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovich

Halle Berry in Monster's Ball

Jessica Lange in Blue Sky

Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner's Daughter

Glenda Jackson in Women In Love

Jane Fonda in Coming Home

Glenda Jackson in A Touch Of Class

Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line

Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls

Linda Hunt in The Year Of Living Dangerously

Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda

Jennifer Jones in The Song Of Bernadette

Bette Davis in Jezebel

Greer Garson in Mrs. Miniver

Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle

Bette Davis in Dangerous

Kate Winslet in The Reader

Anne Baxter in The Razor's Edge

Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady

Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holliday

Anna Magnani in The Rose Tattoo

Susan Hayward in I Want To live

Linda Hunt in The Year Of Living Dangerously

Grace Kelly in The Country Girl

Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce

Ruth Gordon in Rosemary's Baby

Holly Hunter in The Piano

Kathy Bates in Misery

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ranking of Best Actress years so far

1. Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
2. Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple (1985)
3. Geraldine Page in The Trip To Bountiful (1985)
4.  Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake (2004)
5. Catalina Sandino Moreno in Maria Full Of Grace (2004)
6. Jessica Lange in Sweet Dreams (1985)
7. Meryl Streep in Out Of Africa (1985)
8.  Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby (2004)
9. Anne Bancroft in Agnes Of God (1985)
10. Annette Bening in Being Julia (2004)

Congrats to my winner and now # 1 Kate Winslet!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Best Actress 2004: The Results!

5. Annette Bening in Being Julia: Being Julia is an awful film, and Benning's performance falls right into that mix. I wouldn't say she's bad, but I'm just not a fan of her overly theatrical style. Some good moments, but not a worthy nomination to me.

4. Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby: Swank is working with better material then Benning is, but she just can't elevate her character from anything but a cliche. She has some great scenes, but a win or even a nomination is too much. Still, not as bad as some say.

3. Catalina Sandino Moreno in Maria Full Of Grace: With realism and just the right touch, Moreno is able to give a great performance here. She is excellent at showing all the sides of her character and she has some truly powerful, haunting scenes. Not amazing work, but I'm very glad the Academy nominated her.

2. Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake: Although I wish the film had focused exclusively on her and given her more development, Imelda Staunton still comes through with a fantastic performance here. The nice and cheery facade of Vera is fascinating to watch, and when it's shattered, Imelda provides some of the most powerful and most devastating acting on film.

1. Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind: An amazing film that is one of my absoulute favorites features a simply great performance. Winslet is so unique and natural and her Clemintine is a wonderful creation that I love. I was thinking about changing her rating due to not loving her quite as much as I used to, but I decided to stick with a five.

Overall Thoughts: A year that is a little overrated to me. It's a very strong year, but I wouldn't call it an amazing one. She had some competition from Imelda, but overall, Kate is a clear winner for me. Swank's win is kinda a bummer, but she was still better then Benning, IMO, and is not as bad as most people say, IMO as well, LOL.

My ranking of the films:

1. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
2. Maria Full Of Grace
3. Million Dollar Baby
4. Vera Drake
5. Being Julia

Best Actress 2004: Catalina Sandino Moreno in Maria Full Of Grace

Catalina Sandino Moreno received her 1st Oscar nomination for her performance as Maria, a confused young, pregnant teen who becomes a drug mule in Maria Full Of Grace.

Maria Full Of Grace is a very good, and well made film. It was a lot less gritty and depressing then I expected, but it packed a punch all the same. Parts of it are underdeveloped though: Like the fact that Maria is pregnant, it all seems so random and doesn't really fit in with the story.

Catalina Sandino Moreno gives a very good and natural performance here. She is completely believable as a teenager, despite the fact that she looks nothing like one! She captures Maria's fire and stubborness and her unbreakable spirit. Once she starts getting into drugs is when the performance really starts to take off: She brilliantly shows all the painful changes that Maria has to go through while traveling to N.Y and the internal battle inside her head, wondering if this was the right thing to do. She doesn't have a lot of showy moments, but Morino plays it just right.

She has great chemistry with her costars and I find her to very impressive. But I can't praise the performance much more though. She does a commendable job, and it's very powerful at times, but I can't say I was bowled over or blown away. But overall, it's an excellent performance that Moreno plays with 100% commitment and realism. She gets

Friday, August 10, 2012

Future posts/activity

Hey, you all!!!! Sorry I've been away for so long!!! I've been in Chicago for about a week, but now I'm back! Ever been there? If so, tell me your thoughts!

Anyway, 2004 will be finished soon, but after that, I think I won't be doing any more profiles. I know, I know, I made a poll,and I was planning to continue with them. But I simply find them too exhausting and time-consuming. They seem to take away energy from my singing, which is the most important thing to me.

But my posts are certainly not ending: I've decided to do a post once a week, and that will be a performance/film review. After reading so many amazing Oscar profiles, one wants to watch performances that seem to be praised a great deal, or not praised a great deal. That's why I sometimes get tired of the B.A profiles, because you must watch all the nominees and some of those films I don't really care for. I don't mean to sound like a whiner, but sometimes, I want to watch films I really want to watch! However, if someone really wants me to do a B.A profile, I can watch the performances once a week and it'll take 5 weeks to finish.

Another thing I wanted to do was revive my Best Supporting Actress project. To those who don't recall, it was my plan to watch all the B.S.A winners and do profiles on them. Given Best Actress is covered so much on here and I haven't seen as many Best Supporting Actress winners as I'd like, I think it would be a lot of fun.

Here's a list of performances that will soon be reviewed:

Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line

Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls

Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady

Linda Hunt in The Year Of Living Dangerously

I hope you're not too dissapointed! Please tell me what you think! And if you have any requests for future performances, please tell me those as well!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Best Director picks for the 2000''s

Just for fun, I've decided to post my picks for Best Director for the 2000's because those are the films I've seen the most:

Best Director:

2000: Steven Soderbergh for Traffic, Ang Lee is amazing, but Soderberg is simply brilliant.

2001: Peter Jackson, his acheievement was terrific.

2002: Rob Marshall, he really made Chicago soar.

2003: Undecided, both Jackson, Coppola, and Eastwood are all so great!!!

2004: Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby is perfectly directed, if not perfectly written.

2005: Paul Haggis, I may be in a minority around here, but I love Crash, and his direction is fantastic. He gets incredible performances out of his cast and balances all the stories so well. But I need to rewatch Brokeback and Capote and see G.A.G.L and Munich.

2006: Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu hands down. I still need to see Eastwood and Greengrass's films (Not to mention rewatch The Departed, but innaritu's work on babel is astonishing.

2007: Another undecided, but maybe I'd lean towards Anderson.

2008: Danny Boyle. Daldry and Van Sant are close-runner's up, but I think Slumdog was the film that benefited most from the directing. It was simply dazzling.

2009: I've only seen 2 (Lee Daniels for Precious and Jason Reitman for Up In The Air), and I make it a rule that I need to see at least 3 of the nominees in any category to make my pick.

So, tell me your picks! Your thoughts, do you agree/disagree with me? I'll probably publish a post on my original screenplay and adapted screenplay picks. I also could do profiles on any of these categories!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Best Actress 2004: Kate Winslet in The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Kate Winslet received her 4th nomination and 2nd in Best Actress for her performance as Clementine Krucuynski, a free-spirited, wild, yet very fragile girl in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is a masterpiece. It is brillianty written, directed, and acted. It is truly amazing. The journey it takes you on is so magical in every way: heartbreaking, horrifying, dizzying, you name it. Why it didn't get Best Picture and Best Director nominations is beyond me. Well, at least it won Best Original Screenplay... It is about a man named Joel Barish (Jim Carrey)whose girlfriend Clementine decides to erase him from her memory. Miserable and hurt, he decides to do the same. You can imagine what this process might be like, and Eternal Sunshine's version of it is simply surreal. Anyway, in the middle of it, he decides he wants her back and the two begin to try and escape from the memory erasers who are currently dealing with problems of their own.

Clementine Krucynski is the most challenging character yet in this group of nominees. The structure of the film is simply so crazy in relation to her character, given most of her scenes are the memories that are being erased from inside Joel's mind. I think Richard Roeper described it perfectly when he said "You could say Winslet almost plays multiples roles here". And she does them both wonderfully. Winslet disappears into the role of Clementine and never comes back. She captures all facets of the character: Her fun-loving crazy side, her shy awkwardness, her spontaneousness, her vulnerability, and most surprisingly, her dark side. I remember loving the role of Clementine when I first saw it, but Winslet is not afraid to show the more bitter and negative sides of her character. She can be selfish and push people away, and not care about other people's feelings. Yet, this doesn't mean I hate the character , because Winslet certainly makes her like-able.

She also has amazing chemistry with Jim Carrey, the two are simply so natural together. She's everything he's not, and he's everything she's not, but the two are able to give back so much to each other. I also love the scenes where Clementine is not in his head- Winslet is 100% believable and is so natural and real. I find all of it so terific.

I wasn't as blown away by her as I maybe used to be though. Perhaps it's because Clementine isn't quite as love-able as I thought or maybe it's because I wanted to see more of her (The film follows Carey's character much more).I'd go with the latter. But I still think it's a truly terrific performance that I love. She gets

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Best Actress 2004: Annette Benning in Being Julia

Annette Benning received her third Oscar nomination and 2nd in Best Actress for her portrayal of Julia Lambert, an aging diva of an actress who falls in love with a young boy (Shaun Evans, in an AWFUL performance) who is really manipulating and using her.

Being Julia really is a terrible movie. It is horribly written and none of the actors are up to scratch. It's just very badly made and annoys me to no end and this has to be the reason Benning lost the Oscar and her frontrunner position besides Swank. The material is nothing Oscar voters would award and to tell you the truth, showy, theatrical performances like hers hardly ever win in this category(I went through all the Best Actress winners in my mind today, and the only theatrical performance I can think of is Maggie Smith, tell me if you disagree!).

Anyway, Annette Benning is basically the only one in the film who can survive it, but only in points. In the beginning,her over the top-ness did not convince me and I was turned off by her from the start. It's obvious Julia is an over the top character, but Benning isn't convincing enough in these moments. Her over the top dramatic moments also seems to be too sudden and I just didn't buy it. But as the film goes on, the performance does get better. She displays a certain radiance as Julia starts to come out of her post-show depression as a result of her affair with the young boy and she also is able to survive his horrible interpretation. I love watching these moments, and Benning is great at showing the vulnerability of her character throughout.

The theatrical scenes also get better and become more bearable over time. but unfortunately, her material kills her. It's not like Benning isn't trying, she is trying very hard, but it's hard to believe anyone could make this script work. I also can't stand her big scene at the end, I just don't like her over- mannered style in it. But I do give Annette credit for being the best thing in her movie and being almost great in some moments and I do love her very last scene! She gets

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Poll/Open Thread

Please vote in the poll I've created! I'm having a hard time picking the next year and I've narrowed it down to:

Best Actress 1939

Best Actress 1940

Best Actress 1945

Best Actress 1956

Best Actress 1958

Best Actress 1962

Best Supporting Actress 2000

I decided to throw in a supporting year, because it makes t more interesting. I actually plan on doing supporting years in the futre and when I go back to school, I might be reviving my old Best Supporting Actress project, where I'll watch winners and review them in random order.

Other then that, how are you? Are there any years not on here that you'd like me to do?

Friday, July 20, 2012

The 75th Oscars: A Look Back

In preparation for Annette's profile either this weekend or next week, I've decided to publish another one of these.

Best Picture: Chicago deservedly took home this award, given it was a popular hit that audiences and voters love. And it brought back THE MUSICAL!!!!!! Unfortunately, we haven't had a really great one like this in awhile. Anyway, the runnerup was probably The Pianist, given it had won the BAFTA and scored surprise wins in three major categories. It may have been too quiet and reserved to win the award though. The Hours was not quite liked enough to win, G.O.N.Y was too controversial and the L.O.T.R.T.T.T had no chance given it was almost the guaranteed winner for the next year. My pick: Chicago, it's simply my favorite movie of all time! It made me love musicals and film! I like Two Towers and The Pianist though...

Best Director: Polanski scored a huge upset over frontrunners Marshall and Scorsee. I guess voters felt it was finally time to honor him and The Pianist was definitely a strong achievement. I'm guessing Marshall was an EXTREMELY close competitor given he won the DGA and his film won B.P. People thought Scorsese had a chance, but Gangs was simply so controversial, and Marshall had stolen all his buzz. The other nominees weren't contenders. My Pick: Marshall, pretty easily, but I love Almodovar too.

Best Actor: Adrien Brody pulled a surprise win over his competitors, Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day Lewis. I would have predicted Day Lewis, but I'm guessing voters thought he was too over the top and he didn't need another Oscar quite yet. I think Nicholson's buzz faded and the role is very subtle, again, not something the Academy honors a lot any more! Caine's campaigning probably turned voters off as for lack of buzz around the film, and Cage was a long-shot. My choice: I've seen 3 of them (Cage, Brody, Nicholson), and they were all great! If pressed, I'd pick Nicholson!

Best Actress: Nicole Kidman won here, and although her SAG loss to Zellweger was a blow, I think she edged her out because Nicole may have been considered the stronger, more overdue actress. She had a great year the year before, and sentiment for her divorce with Tom Cruise helped her a lot. Not to mention the role is an extremely juicy one and the past two winners were actresses showing unseen range in dramatic roles (Out of the three, Kidman had the longest dramatic resume,but it's still something that she had never done before). I think voters didn't feel Zellweger needed to win, and cast a vote for her co-star Zeta-Jones instead. Moore was the frontrunner, but her loss of momentum to Kidman and Zellweger and Far From Heaven's lack of buzz caused her to loose, as well as a nomination for her lesser work in The Hours. Diane Lane was a long-shot: I have a hard time believing the Academy would ever honor her film with an Oscar and they probably didn't think she needed an Oscar quite yet either. Salma Hayek had no chance in hell of winning. My Pick: Julianne Moore, sorry Diane and Renee, I love you, but Moore is on a whole other level. Her work in The Hours is not bad at all, but it pales in comparison to her magnificence here.

Best Supporting Actor: Chris Cooper took the award, and I think he was able to maintain his lead given he had won almost everything else and the academy wanted to honor the actor and the film. Walken was obviously the runner-up, given his SAG win, but I think the film was not a big enough hit with the Academy. My pick: Cooper, though I need to rewatch him and Walken.

Best Supporting Actress: Zeta-Jones took it, due to Chicago being the frontrunner and people loving the performance. I'm guessing Meryl was the runner-up, given her G.G and strong campaign. Moore had a shot, but all The Hours buzz seemed to be centered on Kidman, and she was still going to split the votes with her work in Far From Heaven. Neither Bates or Latifah had a chance. My pick: Zeta-Jones, though I love Streep too and respect, but not love Julianne.

Best Original Screenplay: A race between Far From Heaven and Talk To Her, and I'm guessing Talk To Her won given it was more colorful and original. My Pick: Talk To Her, closely followed by Far From Heaven.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Many felt The Hours or Adaptation would win, and I would have to agree,I would have probably given the edge to The Hours. But The Pianist won, it's a good script, but it's not what makes the movie a sucess, in my opinion. My pick: Adaptation hands down. It is so original and great.

So, what would be your picks and preferences? Who did you think would win? Who were the runnerups/dark horses?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Best Actress 2004: Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake

Imelda Staunton received her 1st Oscar nomination for playing Vera Drake, a kind and loveable woman who is actually an abortionist. Eventually, her work comes back to her and she is charged and convicted for her crimes.

Vera Drake isn't that great of a film. I just found the characters not very interesting, besides Vera and Sally Hawkins (Whose storyline is completely wasted). But I think the film was well liked by the Academy, given it was nominated for Staunton's performance, the script, and a surprise directing nomination for Mike Leigh. I think this factor was what gave Imelda the edge over Annete in the role of Hilary's competition, as well as a BAFTA win, but Hilary still walked off with the gold.

Vera Drake is a very happy woman. She is totally commited to her children and her family, and is warm and kind to everyone she meets. The role of Vera could have easily been one-note in the hands of another actress, but thanks to the way imelda plays it, it becomes a terrific one. Throughout the beginning scenes, Vera is very friendly, yet you sense a depth underneath her sunny facade. in some ways, you feel like it is a facade to a certain extent. Vera must convince others that she is not the type of woman who believes these things, and Imelda sells us from the get-go.

Yet, it's the 2nd half where the performance really becomes amazing. Vera's happiness is gone, and Imlelda is simply devastating. All her closeups are truly amazing, and Staunton breaks your heart every time. You see all the emotions in her face. She is shocked and shattered by the realization she has been found out by the authorities, and she is ashamed of the fact she kept it a secret from her children. But she is not ashamed of her actions, because she believes that this was the right thing to do. Her chemistry with her husband in these scenes and throughout the film is fantastic and it is simply so heart-wrenching to watch.

My only complaint is that the role of Vera is a little one-dimensional. Well, I shouldn't say that. I think the role could have been developed more and if it had,Staunton could have been incredible.Still, she completely disappears into the part and gives a beautiful, exceptional performance that gets

Monday, July 16, 2012

Best Actress 2004: Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby

Hilary Swank received her 2nd Oscar nomination and won the Oscar for playing Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby, which also took home Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor.

I think Swank won the award because Million Dollar Baby was the B.P frontrnner and the character is a sympathetic one who is easy to root for. I also think the other nominees all had obstacles that got in the way of them winning. At first, it was Swank Vs. Benning, but the latter's film was a commercial and critical flop and Benning's work isn't material voters would honor. Staunton was her biggest competition, but her momentum came to late to take the prize. The other nominees weren't contenders.

Anyway, Swank's win has to be one of the most hated, but I honestly don't find her that bad here.In the beginning, Swank's eagerness is actually well played and it seems that Swank may be pulling in a strong performance. I also really love the moment where she stands up to Clint Eastwood's character, telling him that he shouldn't say he only he looks at her out of pity.

But unfortuantely, once Eastwood begins to train her, the role becomes very one-dimensional. Maggie is simply a trailer trash girl with a dream, and Swank doesn't go any deeper then that. It's not really her fault, because this is how the character is written, but I don't think Swank found depth in the part. But that being said, her character has some great moments throughout . When they go to see her mother, Swank plays her dissapoint very well and when she tells Frankie that he's the only one she's got, she's perfect. Her later scenes when she's in the condition that she is, she has some powerful moments, but the nature of the character gets in her way again with others.

My overall thoughts are that Swank does the best she can, but she's stuck in a part that keeps her from being great. Still,not as bad as people think she is. She gets

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The 68 Oscars: A Look Back

Well, here we go again with the Oscars for the year 1995, which is a year which is considered weak and not often discussed by Oscar fanatics, which, of course, makes it all the more interesting!.

Best Picture: It's hard to say who the frontrunner was, but I think Mel Gibson's starpower helped catapult Braveheart to victory. I myself have never seen it. I have seen most of Apollo 13 from science class, and I think it's fine, but not very compelling. I think it just didn't have enough momentum to get it. Babe was probably the spoiler, given it was a big hit, but I think voters were hesitant about honoring a kids film.I think Sense And Sensibility would have been honored with Screenplay and Ill Postino had no chance. My pick: Sense And Sensibility, I barely remember Babe. I saw it in the 90' folks. Apollo 13 is not a great film, as I've said.

Best Director: Probably an easy win for Gibson, given Howard was snubbed. My pick: Tim Robbins, easily. Although I admire Figgis's work for Leaving Las Vegas .

Best Actor: Cage won for L..L.V! And it was somewhat of a slam dunk, sometimes a popular performance from an acclaimed actor catches on like wild fire and takes it. i'm guessing Penn was his only competition, and he'd be my pick (Though I need to see Cage again)but they decided to honor D.M.W by giving someone else an award for....

Best Actress: Susan Sarandon. Shue and Streep were the dark horses, but Susan was extremeley overdue and her performance is so perfect and powerful. My pick: Sarandon, although Shue is fantastic too.

Best Supporting Actor:Ed Harris was considered the frontrunner, but I think lack of support for Apollo made him lose. I think the Academy wanted to spread things out this year, and they obviously liked Suspects, given it won Screenplay, thus paving the way for Spacey. My pick: Need to watch and rewatch.

Best Supporting Actress:A very interesting 3 way race occured this year. Many seemed to feel Joan Allen would win for Nixon. I think she had a shot, but her movie wasn't liked very much and Allen didn't have the star power to pull off the win this year. I think Sorvino surprised a lot of people with her now love it or hate it performance, and Miramax's campaign must have worked wonders, plus she won the G.G. I also think Woody is an academy favorite: Wiest did win twice in this category for roles in Woody films after all, including the year before. If I had been a pundit at the time, I would have bet on Winslet. She did win the SAG and the BAFTA and Sense And Sensibility was a well liked film that Winslet did wonderfully in. I guess they figured the 20 year old would have other chances,and she got nominated 5 more times (6 in total), with 6th being the charm.Mare Winningham's film hadn't been seen enough and Quinlan's nom was most likely just filler. My pick: A rewatch is needed, but all of these nominees were great from what I can remember, besides Quinlan who is not bad, but not a standout. I'll do this year very soon as I find fascinating! Tell me your thoughts on this one especially!

Best Original Screenplay: I think The Usual Susects was the frontrunner this year, and Mighty Aphrodite and Toy Story were the spoilers.My pick: I have not seen Suspects yet, but I have seen Nixon, Mighty Aphrodite, and Toy Story. I'd probably pick Toy Story with a nod to Mighty Aphrodite (I LOVE Woody Allen!).

Best Adapted Screenplay: Sense And Sensebility's Emma Thompson was probably a lock. My pick: Probably S.A.S, but Leaving Las Vegas is fantastic too!

Let me just say that Dead Man Walking and Leaving Las Vegas were easily the best films of the year and should have been nominated! Horrible Academy mistake!

Anyway, what were your picks/predictions? What are your favorites/thoughts?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Best Actress 2004

The next Best Actress year I'll be doing is 2004 and the nominees were:

Annette Bening in Being Julia

Catalina Sandino Moreno in Maria Full Of Grace

Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake

Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby

Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

It will be 2 weeks before I officaly start this year. I'll be doing some singing stuff and then going on vacation. All I can say now is Hilary is first. Anyway though, what are your thoughts? What are your predictions? Who is your pick?

Ranking of the Best Actress nominees so far

1. Whoopi Goldberg in the Color Purple (1985)
2. Geraldine Page in The Trip To Bountiful (1985)
3. Jessica Lange in Sweet Dreams (1985)
4. Meryl Streep in Out Of Africa (1985)
5. Anne Bancroft in Agnes Of God (1985)

Since I couldn't upload this video in time on my actual ranking of the nominees, I decided to post this amazing scene here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Best Actress 1985: The Resolution

5. Anne Bancroft in Agnes OF God: It's not a bad performance by any means, but Anne doesn't spin the part in a solid way. She's all over the place and the film's script is at fault because it didn't give her a consistent enough character. Still, some good moments.

4. Meryl Streep in Out Of Africa: Meryl Streep is at her usual best here, giving a layered and rich portrait of a unique and strong woman. It's just that her film didn't explore the character enough for her to really deliver. That said she is still very good.

3. Jessica Lange in Sweet Dreams: I thought long and hard between Streep and lange for the 3/4 spots, and I eventually gave it to Lange because she had the harder task of creating a 3 dimensional character given that she's stuck in a less- then statisfying movie . Her signature beautiful presence and her wonderful southern fire make an extremely loveable, if not flawless, performance.

2. Geraldine Page in The Trip To Bountiful: Geraldine Page gives such a heartbreaking, wonderfully simple performance in The Trip To Bountiful. She's so real and moving. I love the pain she shows in the character.

1. Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple: Goldberg gives such a subtle, beautifully played performance. Every note is right and her development of the character is truly like watching a flower bloom. Terrific work.

Overall Thoughts: A very strong year, though not an amazing one. 5th place was very easy, the rest were very difficult. Geraldine Page almost won, but in the end, Whoopi's quitely powerful work is too good to ignore.Still, a very worthy win for Geraldine and I'm fine with it to a certain extent. The rest, even Bancroft, are worthy nominees. Aren't you proud of me? I've finally finished a year! It's been a whole year since that happened!

My Ranking Of The Nominated Films:
1. The Color Purple(By a landslide, sorry other films! ).
2. The Trip To Bountiful
3. Out Of Africa
4. Agnes Of God
5. Sweet Dreams

I do have a year picked to do next, but I won't start till 2 weeks from now. Do you want me to reveal it now or then? If now, it'll be posted either late to today or most likely tomorrow.

Best Actress 1985: Jessica Lange in Sweet Dreams

Jessica Lange received her 4th Oscar nomination for playing Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams.

Sweet Dreams is an entertaining film, but it lacks in a lot of crucial ways. I wish it had focused more on her stardom and much(Well,not much,but still less) on her relationship with her husband Charlie (Ed Harris).Still,it's worth seeing and I love it's southern, country feeling.

Jessica Lange plays Patsy Cline and she does an excellent job here.From the moment I saw her, I just knew I was going to love her. She is simply terrific, I think she makes the character that is written much better then any other actress would. She does a radiant job bringing Patsy to life. It's obvious Patsy is from the south, and the brand of southerness Lange brings to the part is simply a treat to watch. Her lip syncing scenes are also impressive, though a tad obvious. But she still captured Cline's style of performing very well.

That said, her performance isn't perfect. I feel the film and her chemistry with Ed Harris bring her down. The two work well together most of the time, but his character is simply so awfully written that she sometimes falls into the same trap. Not to mention the writing, which has many fake scenes that she can't help, but be stuck in. I also think Lange can sometimes be fake on her own, although these are only small moments that affect her work very little. Her dramatic scenes also could be a little better, though I love the scene in the studio with Ed Harris. What a haunting look.

So, overall, a luminous, very entertaining portrayal that is brought down by the script, but Lange's wonderful acting ability and instincts put up one hell of a fight, and, in the end, won. She gets

The 74th Oscars: A Look Back

I've decided to do more posts like these. Some of you may remember my post on the 80th Oscars almost 2 years ago on Oscarfan. If not, click here: http://oscarfan69.blogspot.com/search?q=The+80th+Oscars%2C+a+look+back+. Although I have revived my Best Actress profile work, I won't start my next year till August given I want to focus on singing right now . Don't worry though, the year will be finished tomorrow with Jessica's profile .

Anyway, these posts are so fun and stir up all sorts of opinions and thoughts about past years:

Best Picture: A Beautiful Mind won the award. It actually wasn't a sure thing at the time, given all the controversy about whether it was truthful or not to the real-life story. In the end, it was just nit-picking and the academy loved it. I think Moulin Rouge was the spoiler given it had won the P.G.A award and people really seemed to love it.But it's momentum peaked too late, luckily giving Chicago a chance to ride it's wave of buzz the year after. L.O.T.R had it's fans, but it seemed like from the beginning, people knew the third one would win. Gosford Park chances were ruined when the Academy's voter's cassete tape made the sound quality even worse and this simply isn't a movie that the Academy would honor with Best Picture. In The Bedroom is too small a film to win, unfortunately. My pick: Uh, a difficult choice. in the end, probably Moulin Rouge. Although rewatches are needed here, especially for A Beautiful Mind.

Best Director: Ron Howard. No matter what would have happened with B.P, this was his to lose. Jackson had his fans, but again, 3 times the charm. I think Altman was the one who could have surprised, but merely for sentimental reasons.My pick: As of now, Jackson, although I've heard good things about David Lynch.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington easily, if you ask me . Many felt Crowe had a big chance, but his Oscar win for Gladiator the year before and his bad antics at the time knocked him off in the ring. I also think voters felt A Beautiful mind would be honored in other categories. Denzel's performance made many oscar voters fall out of their chairs and he is an extremeley well liked actor in the industry, even today. The other nominees weren't really contenders. My pick: Tom Wilkinson, though I remember liking Washington and Crowe.

Best Actress: Halle Berry won here and I probably would have predicted her. I think many pundits were dumb to just think Sissy would cruise after losing both the SAG and the BAFTA. I think Berry was the Jodie Foster (88) /Julia Roberts of her year. She shed her average film acting style to deliver a performance which many were impressed with and rallied around. I think Sissy's work was too subtle to win the award and she lost too much momentum. Nicole could have won, but it just didn't feel like her year. Judi was actually liked a lot by voters (Well 6 of them were interviewed by E.W that year! Not much but it counts!). Maybe she was the runner-up. My pick: I need to rewatch all of them here to decide!!!

Best Supporting Actor: Ian Mckllen was considered the frontrunner here and I probably would have gone with him, but I just think people were hesitant about honoring this kind of performance. Even I am to a certain extent! Jim Broadbent won instead, and I think it was because of this performance and all of the other films he was in this year. Also, he won the G.G award and I think people underestimated his chances. I feel Ben Kingsley was the dark horse, but maybe people felt he was too over the top. My pick: I sactually really like Ethan Hawke, but once again a rewatch is needed. Same with Broadbent, though I am very mixed on him as of now.

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer was really a lock here. Her performance got so much buzz and people seem to love a young actress coming into her own to give an a acclaimed performance.But maybe I shouldn't have said she was a lock, because Helen Mirren won the SAG for her excellent performance in Gosford Park. She was a veteran, and was somewhat overdue. Still, her SAG win was probably the result of Jennifer being placed in the leading category. The rest had no chance. My pick: Oh gosh, rewatches are needed again!!! Mostly for Connely and Tomei. But from what I remember, Tomei is really good and is my pick as of now. Winslet is great and Helen is a close 2nd for her brilliant performance. So complex and layered. Smith didn't do much in G.P, if you ask me, not that she's bad, but it's just not much.

Best Original Screenplay: Gosford Park won and it's easy to see why. With no ensemble award, it was the only chance to honor the film and it is admirably written (Although Fellowe's Downton Abbey is much better to me! Please tell me if you have seen it!). Some felt Memento had a chance, but I think the Academy wasn't ready to honor such a risky movie. They got more diverse with this category as the years progressed when Talk To her and the brilliant Eternal Sunshine won this prize. My pick: Probably G.P, given I do not like Monster's Ball very much and I haven't seen Amelie in YEARS. I need to see Momento and all of The Royal Tenenbaums.

Best Adapted Screenplay: A Beautiful Mind picked up this award. As I've said before, more often then not, the B.P wins best screenplay and a lot of the time an adapted one wins. My pick: In The Bedroom, easily, although I admire L.O.T.R and Shrek is extremely funny and witty.

So what your thoughts? Who were your predictions? Who are your favorites? Do you agree/disagree on my thoughts?