Friday, June 29, 2012

Best Actress 1985: Geraldine Page in The Trip To Bountiful

Geraldine Page received her 8th Best Actress nomination and finally won for playing Carrie Watts, an old woman who runs away from her son and his annoying wife to her old home Bountiful. Along the way, she meets a lovely woman named Thelma (Rebecca De Mornay) who she bonds with on the bus and helps her get there.

The Trip To Bountiful is a wonderful movie. I love the way it's shot and made and the performances are fantastic. I think a Best Picture nomination would have been a bit much, but it is still a very good film. I feel Geraldine was the easy frontrunner this year.I think Whoopi was really close to upsetting, but I think she was too new to take the prize just yet(She had to wait 5 years later for Ghost). It was sentiment and the quality of Page's performance that put her through to the top.

This is such a beautiful, stirring portrayal that is the heart and soul of the movie. Page's performance builds and builds, it starts out subtle, and gradually gains more emotion. I love how she comes to life after she leaves the apartment. Her whole self starts to awaken again and it's so wonderful to watch. I think her chemistry with Rebecca De Mornay is perfect and their scenes on the bus are some of the best scenes in the film. We can also really see her love for Bountiful and how it drives her to go there at last. Page is quite heartbreaking in the scenes in which we feel she may not make it to Bountiful. But when she finally does, it's so beautiful to see. We can feel her happiness and great array of emotions at being back home. I also love her body and her mannerisms. Sure, they can be a bit grating at times, but this is hardly a complaint given she is so great and this is how her character should be played.

Geraldine Page gives such an affecting, beautifully wrought performance which gets

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Best Actress 1985: Anne Bancroft in Agnes Of God

Anne Bancroft received her 5th and her last Oscar nomination for playing Mother Miriam Ruth in Agnes Of God.

Agnes Of God is actually a really interesting story which really surprised me. Things start to go downhill towards the end, but I found Jane Fonda captivating, the script very strong(Mostly), and the atmosphere of the film perfect. Let me just say here the sets are fantastic. I loved the convent and the beautiful way that the nuns live in it. It is about a physologist who goes to find out about the murder of a baby. The baby was killed by Agnes, one of the nuns there, and it is discovered that Agnes is very naive and maybe even insane. The Mother Superior is mistrusting of her and wants to block her from seeing Agnes. The two clash swords and the movie is about what they uncover together.

Anyway, Anne Bancroft got a Best Actress nomination for this film. Frankly, I feel it was a filler nomination, not that it was totally undeserved. I think Jane Fonda gave the stronger, more layered performance. But given it is Bancroft who was nominated and not Fonda., I'll proceed with my review. Anne gives a good, though not great performance.Miriam is a tightly wound character who is a bag of secrets.Bancroft plays her like this, and she does it with the utmost control.Of course, this is the way it should be played, and Bancroft does it well, but I felt there was a dissconnection with her performance. In her scenes with Fonda, she often outbursts and the control goes away. But there's something that doesn't work about it. It's well played, but they never connect.It seems as if the movie didn't know what to do with the character. There are moments where Anne seems to be employing comical mannerisms, or slightly comical that is. But they simply don't work and are a misstep in her performance. I feel that there are so many facets to this character, but the movie doesn't know how to handle it and Bancroft doesn't either.

That said, there are some great scenes. In the first really heated confrontation between them,Bancroft makes a funny joke and after that they cut to a scene between them in the churchyard. This, to me, is the best scene in the film. Both women are connecting and we see Miriam's true self for the 1st time. We also see how much she cares for Agnes, given she believes SPOILER that she is an angel(Although it is never quite clear how serious she is about this). This is the true reason that Bancroft hid her secrets from Fonda. She's afraid of losing her. The performance gets better as the film goes on, and there are some wonderful scenes with her and Fonda that show their strength as an onscreen pair.

Overall, Anne Bancroft gives a good performance. It just doesn't go in the direction she should have gone. It's close to a four, but I give her

Broadway Score Review: Assassins (Music And Lyrics By Stephen Sondheim

To simply shake things up and have something to do during the Best Actress years, and since Sage has started reviewing albums,I've been inspired to write reviews of broadway scores. I listen to basically just broadway scores (Although I like other music as well), and I feel it's time to go back and listen to my collection over again. I've decided to start it out with review one of Sondheim's strangest and lesser-known works, Assassins.

Assassins tells the story of every person who has tried to assassinate The President Of The United States at one time or another. It's an odd topic for a musical, but it all works out brilliantly thanks to John Weidman's book and Stephen Sondheim's score. There are two recordings of this show: One from the original Off-Broadway version back in 1991 and the other from the 2004 revival (?) (It never came to broadway in the 1st place!) which came out 13 years later. Unfortunately, I have never got to listen to much of the 91 version, though I plan to buy it soon. So, this is a review of the 04 version.

Sondheim's score is a terrific one, filled with dark and complex songs. They don't glorify the assassins, simply present their actions to us and make us aware that all of the people who did these horrible things had their reasons for doing this and are human beings. I find the show quite disturbing and the songs really stay with you.It's bolstered by an incredible cast: Michael Cerveris deservedly won a Tony for his work as John Wilkes Booth and is probably the highlight of the cast. His "The Ballad Of Booth" is probably the best of all the ballads (The Ballad of Czolgosz and The Ballad Of Guiteau). Luckliy, not all the songs about the assassins are in this ballad form, though all of them are fantastic.Sondheim finds a creative way to combine the stories of John Hinckley Jr. and Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme (Charles Manson's lover) by using a duet emtitled "Unworthy Of Your Love". This song is in a class by itself and is incredibly beautiful and unsettling. I also really like "Take It Away Lee" a setpiece in which the assassins go and convince Lee Harvey Oswald to kill John F. Kennedy Jr.

Although I think the show is very strong, it doesn't match the power of Sondheim's other works (Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Into The Woods, ect) due to it's small scale. But these other scores are a hard act to follow and this is still an incredibly strong character study.

Best Tracks:

Everybody's Got The Right

The Ballad Of Booth

How I Saved Roosevelt

The Ballad Of Czolgosz

Unworthy Of Your Love

Another National Anthem

Take A Look Lee

Something Just Broke(Incredibly affecting and beautiful song about the citizien's reactions to Oswald's asasssination of Kennedy)

So, overall, a great impressive work which is essential for Sondheim fans! My rating is a strong

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Best Actress 1985: Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple

Whoopi Goldberg received her 1st oscar nomination at the age of 30 for her film debut as Celie, a downtrodden black woman who has been forced to marry a man she hates, who constantly abuses her, sent her sister away, and is now basically a servant for him. Her life stays in this vein with ocassional ways of finding happiness until she meets Shug Avery, Mister's (Her husband) old mistress who brings confidence and love into her life. Whoopi Golberg is simply wonderful in this movie. She plays Celie just right, never playing her as too soft or too acertive. She turns Celie into a loveable character, and she simply does this by immersing herself completely into Celie's body and mannerisms.Her facial expressions are perfect and she shows all sorts of emotions in the character using this tool. It's a subtle and quiet performance, and Goldber brings out everything in the part.She portrays her sorrows and her sadness of not being with her sister perfectly and builds and builds Celie's sense of strength and dignity until it all comes out in one great scene in the dining room. It's a powerful scene with great acting all around, but it's Goldberg who gives it it's magnetic, inspiring glow. She also has great chemistry with Margaret Avery, who is also quite good in her role as Shug. She makes Celie's evoloution due to Shug's presence totally believable and wonderful to watch. I love the sense of familiarity that she and Shug have later in the movie, especially in the scene when Shug explains her meaning of God to Celie. So, overall a fantastic effort from Goldberg. Although I don't quite love the performance, it's a warm and extremely emotional portrayal that is not easy to forget. She gets

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Best Actress 1985

Yes, after 4 months I've decided to blog again! I'll be starting things off with this year, 1985, in honor of my newfound love for The Color Purple. The nominees were: Ann Bancroft in Agnes Of God Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple Jessica Lange in Sweet Dreams Geraldine Page in The Trip To Bountiful Meryl Streep in Out Of Africa So what are your predictions? Who do you think should win? Ect? P.S: I'm REALLY sorry about my lack of comments on blogging for the past few months.I simply have fallen off the blogging zone, but I'm back and determined to finish this year.