Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Best Actress 1987: Holly Hunter in Broadcast News

Holly Hunter received her first Oscar nomination for playing Jane Craig, a T.V Network producer who finds herself caught between the handsome new news reporter  Tom(William Hurt)and her best friend Aaron(Albert Brooks) in Broadcast News.

Broadcast News is surprisingly a kind of WTF movie for me- I couldn't really tell what the hell was going on for a lot of it and it's kinda stuck in the 80's LOL, but it still has its merits.  The acting is overall quite strong, with both Hurt and Brooks turning strong work. Hunter, despite winning the N.B.R award for this film, probably didn't have much of a chance at winning  the Oscar given  her stiff competition. She was too new to Hollywood at the time and Cher took the romantic comedy votes away from her and  Moonstruck overshadowed Broadcast News for these same reasons in the general Oscar race.  Not to mention Kirkland and Close had more passionate supporters. So , I think Hunter came in fourth with Streep bringing up the rear.

Holly Hunter is an actress who I like a lot: I personally love her   southern  voice and she  has great acting instincts and a real presence on screen. Here, she does a lot of great work. Her best moments are when she is listening to her co-stars during a scene or reacting/feeling on her own: With her facial expressions, she communicates exactly what Jane is feeling and  we can read her like a book. She makes us care about Jane, admire her for her spirit and intelligence, and even love her when she is radiant and happy about her love life with Tom. She is beautifully natural and fiercely present at the same time, never making her work become too subtle, but letting the character  speak for itself. She is perfectly cast in the role:  who else can you  imagine in this part?  And she has great chemistry with Hurt and especially Albert Brooks. Their  scenes together are probably the best in the film because the two  character are so a like and have such a strong, passionate relationship that is extremely funny and moving.

But the problem that Hunter can't get out of  is the fact that the character's whole purpose is just wondering whether or not she's good enough for Tom and the conflicts that she has over both him and Aaron.  We definitely see her commitment to her work and to her job in the beginning, but in my opinion, we don't see enough of it. I wanted to see more fire in the character, more of a love/hate relationship between her and Hurt, and that just doesn't seem to come across. Jane Craig could have been a lot more opinionated and less needing of a man to define her, but the script cheats us out of this. It could have been a lot worse, but the writing and the acting is just three levels or so above this that it doesn't sink the film or Hunter's performance. But it still could have been  better.

Still, though Hunter gives a luminous portrayal that is both funny and touching and beautifully captures the full range of her characters emotions and quirks, in the end creating an extremely  memorable   character.  She gets

Monday, July 24, 2017

Best Actress Overall Winners: Part 6

Moving right along to the finish line! Please  feel free to comment on and check out Part 5 below! I updated it to include Fritz's, Dinasztie's, Alex's, and my own choices for the years in which I've/they've  done profiles on and which races I have opinions on who I think the winner should have been  currently even though I have not done a profile yet. I would have included all of Sage's too, but since she deleted  some of her Best Actress posts/rankings and a great amount of time has passed since she posted all of her rankings when she concluded the category, I can't  definitively  consider   the majority of them her choices anymore, unless I get clarification from her. Anyway, we miss you Sage and hope you're doing well!!

Best Actress 2008: This one is hard, because I haven't heard too many opinions on the race in general- Some dislike Winslet, others don't, so I'd say she's split down the middle. Streep has more detractors then supports and Jolie even more so. That leaves Hathaway and Leo- I guess I'll go with Leo? Fritz picked Winslet, Alex picked Streep, I need to rewatch all of them to get a definitive opinion on my thoughts.

Oscar Winner: Kate Winslet

Overall Winner:  Melissa Leo

Best Actress 2009: Sandra Bullock's win is one of the biggest WTF winners in many  people's minds, but on a rewatch of a chunk of the film a few weeks ago, I personally liked the performance film much more then when I saw it the first time all those years ago. Who would have thought? Anyway, she still is no overall winner. I'll go with Mulligan, despite strong support for Sidibe and Streep. Dinasztie went with Streep, Alex went with Mulligan.

Oscar Winner: Sandra Bullock

Overall Winner: Carey Mulligan

Best Actress 2010: It's getting to the point that the more recent the winners become, the harder it is to judge who is the most popular winner these days. This is a strong lineup though, so I think you could find any of the nominees being someone's pick. I'll just go with Portman for now, but feel free to help me on this guys!  Dinasztie went with Portman , Alex went with Portman, and  although I never completed this year officially , I think Kidman was the best of the nominees.

Oscar Winner: Natalie Portman

Overall Winner: Natalie Portman

Best Actress 2011:  Ah, the year Meryl finally won her third Oscar. I think you can find people that both love and hate the performance, but despite some support for Williams, I think Davis is the overall winner here.  Dinasztie picked Meryl, Alex picked Meryl as well.

Oscar Winner: Meryl Streep

Overall Winner: Viola Davis

Best Actress 2012: Lawrence's win is largely disliked now it seems, unfairly IMO, but there you go. I think Chastain has some love out there, but Riva probably is most people's pick nowadays. Alex picked  Riva, Dinasztie picked Riva as well. Sage has stated Chastain is her pick.

Oscar Winner: Jennifer Lawrence

Overall Winner: Emanuelle Riva

Best Actress 2013: Cate Blanchett won the Oscar and her win is hugely popular.  Alex  went with Blanchett and for me it's a tossup between Blanchett and Adams, with a nod to Streep.

Oscar Winner: Cate Blanchett

Overall Winner: Cate Blanchett

Best Actress 2014: I get the impression most consider Julianne's win a makeup award, but I don't think she is disliked for her win. I'll go with Pike as the overall winner.  I haven't seen Witherspoon yet, but both Pike and Cotillard are amazing. I think Cotillard deserved it the most. Sage stated her choice is Julianne Moore.

Oscar Winner: Julianne Moore

Overall Winner: Rosamund Pike

Best Actress 2015: This is the second to most recent win, so it's hard to say who the overall winner is. Certainly not Jennifer Lawrence or Cate Blanchett. I'll just give this one to Rampling, lol. Alex picked Rampling.

Oscar Winner:  Brie Larson

Overall Winner: Charlotte Rampling

Best Actress 2016: Stone's win seems destined to become unpopular, but as I've noted again and again, it's a bit too soon to be definitive about who most think should have won this year. I'll pick  Portman  and Huppert in a tie for now. Louis gave his personal Best Actress award to Emma Stone and Alex picked Streep.

Oscar Winner: Emma Stone

Overall Winner:   TIE- Natalie Portman & Isabelle Hubbert

So, that's it!! Feel free to comment on your thoughts about these years and who your personal winners are, if you disagree with me, and more!

Best Actress Overall Winners: Part 5


Decided to finish this series!!!  Here's a link to my  third  post in the series on here (https://filmoscarsandmore.blogspot.com/2014/02/best-actress-overall-winners-part-4.html)  and a links  to the second (http://oscarfan69.blogspot.com/2010/09/best-actress-post-part-2.html) (http://oscarfan69.blogspot.com/2010/09/best-actress-post-part-1.html) and first post from my retired blog, Oscarfan.

Best Actress 1995: Hmm, hard to say since I could see all the nominees besides maybe Emma Thompson having a passionate fanbase. I'll go with Elisabeth Shue, although I could be wrong. Let me know if you think so.  Dinasztie picked Shue.

Oscar Winner: Susan Sarandon

Overall Winner: Elisabeth Shue

Best Actress 1996: Another tricky one, but I'm going to go with Emily Watson in Breaking The Waves. Her performance is astounding and her fanbase is strong and loud, despite the love for McDormand out there. Dinasztie picked Watson, Fritz picked Watson, I'd pick Watson.

Oscar Winner: Frances McDormand

Overall Winner: Emily Watson

Best Actress 1997: Oh, this is an easy one. Judi Dench clearly takes the crown here as the overall winner these days, with Hunt's win becoming one of the most hated and infamous in the Academy's  history. Dinasztie picked Helena Bonham Carter.

Oscar Winner: Helen Hunt

Overall Winner: Judi Dench

Best Actress 1998: Another no-brainer and another queen taking the prize: Cate Blanchett has even been asked about her infamous loss to Gwyneth Paltrow, whose career immediately took a turn for the worse after this and she's now one of the most unpopular actresses around. Fritz picked Blanchett, Dinasztie picked Montenegro.

Oscar Winner: Gwyneth Paltrow

Overall Winner: Cate Blanchett

Best Actress 1999: Well, here comes a nice change of pace from the Oscar winner losing out in the last previous three years: Swank's win is regarded as one of the best winners in this category and one of the best choices the Academy has ever made. Alex picked Swank.

Oscar Winner: Hillary Swank

Overall Winner: Hillary Swank

Best Actress 2000:  Sadly, we can't say the same for Julia Roberts, another extremely disliked win (and IMO, unfairly). People have been saying Ellen Burstyn was robbed for years.  Alex picked Burstyn.

Oscar Winner: Julia Roberts

Overall Winner: Ellen Burstyn

Best Actress 2001: Berry's win/speech is ridiculed all over the Oscar fan world and beyond, but it's hard to say who the overall winner is. Perhaps the then perceived favorite Sissy Spacek? Or maybe even Nicole Kidman? I'll go with Spacek. Fritz picked Nicole, Dinasztie picked Berry, Alex picked Nicole.

Oscar Winner:  Halle Berry

Overall Winner: Sissy Spacek

Best Actress 2002: Kidman's win is largely panned here, but in my mind, not as much as the previous winners I've mentioned, although maybe that's just around here? I think Lane and Zellweger have their fans, but in most people's minds, this is Moore's year, as it should have been at the Oscars as well. Fritz picked Moore, I picked Moore, Dinasztie picked Moore.

Oscar Winner: Nicole Kidman

Overall Winner: Julianne Moore

Best Actress 2003: Charlize Theron's win is widely regarded as highly deserved and her performance is indeed  stunning. I'm sure the other nominees have their fans though. I picked Theron, Dinasztie picked Theron.

Oscar Winner: Charlize Theron

Overall Winner: Charlize Theron

Best Actress 2004: SIGH... Back to the hated wins. Swank's turn in Million Dollar Baby is another unpopular victory. Staunton has her supporters, but Winslet is no doubt the winner here. Fritz picked Staunton, I picked Winslet,  Dinasztie picked Winslet.

Oscar Winner: Hillary Swank

Overall Winner: Kate Winslet

Best Actress 2005: And yet another disliked win this year with Reese Witherspoon's Oscar win for Walk The Line. Felicity Huffman is the overall winner easily.

Oscar Winner: Reese Witherspoon:

Overall Winner: Felicity Huffman.

Best Actress 2006: A hard one to call because most people don't feel that Helen should have won, but her win isn't hated either.  And all the other nominees have their supporters: it  was a fantastic year in this category after all. I'll go with Judi Dench.  I picked Dame Judi, Dinasztie picked Dame Judi.

Oscar Winner: Helen Mirren

Overall Winner: Judi Dench

Best Actress 2007: Not everyone goes gaga over Cotillard's win, but that doesn't mean she isn't still the overall winner here. Many call her performance one of the best ever and I count myself as a fan of her work here. Fritz picked Marion, Alex picked Marion, Dinasztie picked Marion.

Oscar Winner: Marion Cotillard

Overall Winner: Marion Cotillard

And that's it  until Part 6!! You guys agree with my analysis? Who do you think are the overall winners in each of these years?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Performance Review: Kathy Bates in Misery

Kathy Bates received her first Oscar nomination and won the Oscar for playing Annie Wilkes, a very disturbed woman who is fictional writer Paul Sheldon's number one fan and "rescues" him from a car crash and saves his life, only to eventually force him to burn his new book out of retaliation for killing her favorite character in his novels Misery,   force to him write a new book about her resurrection,  both threatening and executing   violence on him, and continue to  hold him capture  in her house, all the while making Paul greatly fear for his life in the process.

On the surface, it seems rather odd that the Academy decided to honor Bates's performance- Films like Misery are hardly ever recognized by the Academy in any way and characters like this  had been passed over previously by the Academy(see Glenn Close's loss to Cher for Fatal Attraction 3 years previously). And Bates was no A-lister  in Hollywood at the time. But Bates beat the odds.  I think she had the always desirable advantage of too many things going against her competition: Woodward may have been the sentimental favorite, but the film may have been too slow for Oscar voters. Huston gave a great performance as another villainous character, but she had just won an Oscar five years earlier and she  is more of a co-lead then a de-facto lead.  Julia Roberts was not going to be honored for a film like Pretty Woman, the nomination was the reward for her. And Meryl Streep had no chance of winning. So voters rallied around Bates, who was helped by her Golden Globe win and her unforgettable character.

Annie Wilkes is certainly one of the  more complex and memorable characters in this  category: She very clearly has serious psychological problems, most of which are believed to be  a mix of Bipolar Disorder, anti-social personality disorder, erotomania, ect.  Given all these aspects, Annie Wilkes is a tricky character to get right for any actress,  but Bates gets her to a T. When we see Annie for the first time, we believe, like Paul, that she is a sweet,  eccentric, but well-meaning woman.  Bates plays all these traits perfectly: She plays all the flattery, the adoration, the kindness, the hesitancy about asking Paul certain things, all wonderfully. Of course, we come to notice Annie is not what she seems very quickly, due to her erratic nature. She gets extremely angry about things that are relatively minor or not worthy of the amount of anger she spouts about them. For example, she loses it when Paul scoffs at her dislike of profanity and spills soup on his bed after going on an angry tirade about how she never uses profanity(at least not the normal kind, lol).  And when she  finds out Misery is dead, she goes completely insane and violent. She and James Caan work extremely well together, with Bates always commanding the screen in every scene she's in.

 Bates is very convincing and terrifying throughout as Annie: She brilliantly shows her character 's cleverness, longing for control over everything she does, her charisma, her high status over Paul in their power struggle, her continued adoration over Paul, and eventually her obsessive, disturbing, unfathomable love for him.  Annie Wilkes is a juicy role and a brilliantly  written character and Bates milks her for all she's worth.

The one slight complaint I have is that some of Annie's outbursts come across as slightly cartoonish and overly mannered, but it doesn't take away from the power of her performance.