Friday, April 30, 2010

Best Actress 1974: Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Ellen Burstyn received her third Oscar nomination and won for playing Alice Hyatt in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Alice's husband dies in a car accident and she and her foul mouthed kid leave their home to go to Monterey. Alice is looking for a job as a singer, and she gets one, but when that doesn't work out, she movies to Tuscan and gets a job as a waitress, and there she meets a man named David who she falls in love with. Ellen Burstyn is simply terrific in this movie. She is always so real, funny, and believable. She makes Alice a very moving character and one that we can identify with and she shows us her flaws. Her romance with Kris Kristofferson is a little underwritten, but they work great together. Her scenes with her son are just wonderful to watch and they form the core of the movie. I thought that she had a little too many crying scenes, but most of them are done superbly especially the one in the club she goes in before her audition and the one in the car after she can't find her son. She also is able to make Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore a great experience to watch, and she makes up for the flaws in the script. Ellen Burstyn gives a natural, enjoyable, and outstanding performance which gets

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Best Actress 1974: Diahann Carol in Claudine

Diahaan Carol received her first Oscar nomination for playing Claudine, an African-American woman who is a single mother, raising six kids and she meets a man named Rupert (James Earl Jones) , who she falls in love and he falls in love with her and he bonds with her kids. First of all, Claudine is an awful movie in my opinion. It's cliched, boring, and the ending just makes no sense. But amazingly, Diahann Carol's performance is never brought down by the horrible material. She is always real and believable as Claudine and she makes the film watchable, whenever she's on screen. Her scenes with James Earl Jones have a beautiful intimacy to them and I thought she did a fantastic job in the scenes with her children, especially the ones with her oldest son and the ones her older daughter. The performance certainly grew on me through out the film and and it's a really impressive achievement. So, a very strong performance that makes the film worth watching, which gets

Monday, April 26, 2010

Best Actress 1974

The next year I'll be doing a profiles/ranking on is 1974 and the nominees were:

Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Diahann Caroll in Claudine

Faye Dunaway in Chinatown

Valerie Perrine in Lenny

Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under The Influence

So who will be my pick? Who are you rooting for?

Final thoughts and ranking of the nominees so far

What a great year! Close, Streep, and Foster were all great! Weaver was very good , and while Griffith brings the year down a little, I don't really mind her nomination. A stronger year then 2002, and almost as strong as 2006.

1. Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven (2002)

2. Judi Dench in Notes On A Scandal (2006)

3. Kate Winslet in Little Children (2006)

4. Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

5. Meryl Streep in A Cry In The Dark (1988)

6. Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

7. Jodie Foster in The Accused (1988)

8. Diane Lane in Unfaithful (2002)

9. Renee Zellweger in Chicago (2002)

10. Penelope Cruz in Volver (2006)

11. Signourney Weaver in Gorillas In The Mist (1988)

12. Helen Mirren in The Queen (2006)

13. Nicole Kidman in The Hours (2002)

14. Melanie Griffith in Working Girl (1988)

15. Salma Hayek in Frida (2002)

From now on, I'll be posting both my thoughts on the completed year and the ranking of the nominees together.

Best Actress 1988: The Resolution!

5. Melanie Griffith in Working Girl:

Griffith has some good moments, but she mostly doesn't handle the character very well, and the material drags her down.

4. Signourney Weaver in Gorillas In The Mist: Signourney Weaver delivers an outstanding performance that is sometimes brought down by the flatness of the script, but is very powerful work.

3. Jodie Foster in The Accused:

Foster is completely real and heartbreaking as Sarah, who shouldn't be a likeable person, but Foster is able to put us on her side and she is exceptional all the way.

2. Meryl Streep in A Cry In The Dark:

Meryl Streep gives one of her best performances, always intriguing the audience. Subtle, fascinating work.

1. Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons:

Close gives a chilling, brilliantly layered performance which is never overplayed or underplayed. Brilliantly executed.

Best Actress 1988: Meryl Streep in A Cry In The Dark

Meryl Streep received her eighth Oscar nomination for playing Lindy Chamberlain in A Cry In The Dark. Lindy and her husband are accused of killing their baby at a campsite, but they both say that it was eaten and carried off by a dingo. Lindy is put on trial, and a whole media frenzy is put upon her and her husband. Streep is exceptional in this. It's a fascinating, beautifully controlled performance. Streep makes us see why someone would think she's guilty and why someone would think that she was innocent. Her scenes in the courtroom are so well played. It's just fantastic. I thought she and Sam Neil were a little unbelievable at first, but by the end I thought they both worked very well together. Her earlier scenes are also great, even though her accent wanders a little. We feel the pain and guilt she is feeling and it's executed perfectly. The ending is a little abrupt, but that is not her fault and to me, both the movie and her performance left me contemplating if she was guilty or not. A great, subtle performance that draws you in which gets

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Best Actress 1988: Jodie Foster in The Accused

Jodie Foster received her second Oscar nomination and won for playing Sarah Tobias in The Accused. Sarah is brutally gang raped on a pinball machine at a bar and she identifies the men and they are arrested. But the prosecutor who takes the case doubts that Sarah would make a credible witness and she makes a deal which puts the defendants away, but under the charge of reckless endangerment. Sarah is furious, and after she gets into a car accident, the prosecutor decides to charge the ones who encouraged the rape with criminial scillitation and Sarah agrees to testify, despite that she is not entirely credible. To me, the best part of Fosters performance is in the beginning. When she is in the hospital being examined, she makes us feel her pain and humilation. Foster is 100% believable as Sarah, who is not very intelligent or shouldn't really be likeable, but Foster makes us understand her and root for her. The scene after she calls her mother is heartbreaking and when she confronts McGillis for making a deal, she nails it. It drops a little in the second half (Probably because McGillis is the main character and we see less of Foster) , but Foster is still real and devastating when she is on the stand. We feel her anger and emotion and it works very well. I fast forwarded through the rape scene, but having seen it before, I can say that Foster played it perfectly. She also deserves credit for having excellent chemistry with McGillis, who is also very good. Both McGilis and Foster elevate the film and make it interesting, and also make it believable, since the script has many unconvincing and predictable parts. So, a great performance that is believable every step of the way which gets

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Best Actress 1988: Melanie Griffith in Working Girl

Melanie Griffith received her first Oscar nomination for playing Tess McGill in Working Girl. Tess gets a new job for Katherine, (Signourney Weaver) a bitchy, self centered business woman who breaks her leg while skiing and as a result , Tess has to take over. Tess then finds out that that Katharine took some brilliant business idea of hers and passes it off as her own and Tess decides to pretend that she has Katharine's job and she gets a handsome business man (Harrison Ford) to help her who she falls in love with. What an amazing performance! Just kidding. While I don't think Griffith is awful, I don't think she knew what to do with the character, especially in the first half. Another problem is that I think that her performance is not very inspired, just like the film itself (Which I have no idea how it got so many nominations). But there are some good things though. The scene when she meets Ford in the nightclub is played just right and Griffith really shines. Also, the scene when she tells off Katharine in the lobby is very good as well. But this doesn't change that the performance is not very strong and Griffith doesn't do anything that is Oscar-worthy. I've decided to be nice and give her

Monday, April 19, 2010

Best Actress 1988: Signourney Weaver in Gorillas In The Mist

Signourey Weaver received her third Oscar nomination for playing Dian Fossey in Gorilla's In The Mist. Dian leaves her fiancee to go live in the mountains in Africa to study gorillas and to save them since poachers kill them and harm them. She is a determined woman who would do anything to save her gorillas. She meets a man who is taking photos for a magazine (Bryan Brown) and she falls in love with him. But he leaves for another job and five years later, Dian is still in Africa and has become crazy. Weaver is outstanding as Dian, but I had a few problems, especially during the beginning. Sometimes, she is stuck with very glib, unrealistic lines that her delivery can't make up for and it feels a little flat. But Weaver makes up for this. We really feel the passions of this woman and Weaver does a great job during the scenes with the gorillas. We really feel the intimate connection that Dian has with the gorillas and it's beautiful to watch. She and Brown have great chemistry and I really enjoyed their scenes together. Weaver also makes us feel her anger at the people who harm the animals and when she goes crazy, she does it just right, not going too over the top. A very strong performance that makes her film and character work which gets

And I'm sorry for not posting for awhile. Been busy lately and preoccupied with other things. But I'll be posting more this week and next week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Best Actor 2003

1. Bill Murray as Bob Harris in Lost In Translation: Bill Murray delivers a subtle, sad, and funny performance that completely carries the movie. I couldn't see any acting in it and this performance really works.

2. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow: Depp completely makes Pirates Of the Carriabean and is very effective and funny. Could have been a complete failure, but I thought he nailed it.

3. Jude Law as Inman in Cold Mountain: Law is very subtle and natural and carries the emotional weight of Cold Mountain. The only good performance in the film.

4. Sean Penn as Jimmy Markum in Mystic River: Penn is very good and heartbreaking and is a big asset to Mystic River. He hams it up a little in some scenes, but it is still a good performance.

5. Ben Kingsley as Behrani in House Of Sand And Fog: Ben Kingsley is quite good, but he's a little stiff at times. His last scenes though are great.
I couldn't find a nominee picture for all of them that would fit. But what did you think of this lineup? Who would your choice be?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Best Actress 1988: Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons

Glenn Close received her fourth nomination for playing Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons. Her character seems like a nice person, but is actually incredibly evil and incredible and doesn't really care about anything or anyone. She conspires with her former lover (John Malkovich) to take advantage of and destroy the people around them. At first, this all goes well, but it ends up becoming much more then they bargained for. What I love about this performance is that Glenn never overplays or underplays it. Like Meryl in The Devil Wears Prada, Close takes a subtle approach to a performance that could have been way over the top. It's an incredibly chilling,brilliantly layered performance. Close's evilness is so delicious and it's so much fun to watch! She and Malkovich have great chemistry, and their final scene together is fantastic. Close shades Marquise so well, making us see her vulnerability and her eventual sadness. Her last scene is an incredible moment that's perfectly executed. So, a great, fascinating performance which is a marvel to watch which gets

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Best Actress 1988

The next year I'll be doing a profiles/ ranking on is 1988 and the nominees were:

Glenn Close in Dangerous Liasons

Jodie Foster in The Accused

Melanie Griffith in Working Girl

Meryl Streep in A Cry In The Dark

Signourney Weaver in Gorilla's In The Mist

I decided to upload a picture of each of them since I don't have their nominee's picture. So, who do you think will be my pick? Who are you rooting for?

Best Actress 2002: The Resolution!

5. Salma Hayek in Frida: Salma Hayek's performance does not save Frida from being a bad film and doesn't feel like the real Frida Kahlo at all, but a hollywoodized caricature.

4. Nicole Kidman in The Hours: Despite being a little underwhelming, Kidman delivers a piercing performance that makes Virginia Wolf a fascinating enigma.

3. Diane Lane in Unfaithful: Diane Lane gives a great, intimate performance that dominates the entire film and makes it worth watching.

2. Renee Zellweger in Chicago: Zellweger carries Chicago with a fantastic performance which shows Roxie's manipulative ways and her vulnerability.

1. Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven: Julianne Moore is amazing as Cathy and gives a heart wrenching , brilliant performance for the ages.

Best Actress 2002: Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven

Julianne Moore received her 5th Oscar nomination for playing Cathy Whitaker, a suburban housewife of the 50's in Far From Heaven. Unlike Moore's Laura Brown in The Hours, Cathy starts out very happy. She loves her husband and children and loves taking care of them. But then she finds her husband and another man kissing and she starts having feelings for her African-American gardener which stirs gossip and unrest in the town society. This performance has to be one of the greatest of all time. Moore is so wonderful in capturing Cathy's love for her children and her husband and she completely carries Far From Heaven. The film is a great one (and was robbed of Best Picture and Directing nominations), but without Moore, it would be nothing. The scenes with her best friend Eleanor (Patricia Clarkson) are great and it's so sad what happens to their friendship at the end. Moore is just incredible with Dennis Haysbert, who plays the man she falls in love with. You really can get the sense that she, despite her love for her family, wants something more and wants to be with this man. It's very deep, subtle work and so devastating. That look at the train station is one of the best close ups ever. So heartbreaking. If you haven't seen this performance, see it now. Julianne Moore gives one of the most layered, heartbreaking, and beautiful performances of all time which gets

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Best Actress 2002: Renee Zellweger in Chicago

Renee Zellweger received her 2nd Oscar nomination for playing Roxie Hart, a woman who shoots her boyfriend because he lied to her about having an act at a nightclub. After she goes to jail, she gets a lawyer (Richard Gere) who has never lost a case. Roxie then becomes a celebrity due to her case and plans to become a singer after she gets off. First of all, this is one of my all time favorite films. It was the film that got me interested in musicals and even movies in general. And Zellweger gives her best performance in it, in my opinion. I couldn't imagine anyone else playing Roxie and Zellweger nails it. She captures Roxie's thirst for fame, her childlike personalty, and adds a lot of vulnerability and sprit to Roxie. And I was rooting for her all the way. Sure, Roxie is a manipulative liar and criminal, but Zellweger makes us love her. She has a great singing voice and "Roxie" is just a knockout! Zellweger carries Chicago from start to finish with a tour de force performance that gets

Best Actress 2002: Diane Lane in Unfaithful

Diane Lane received her first Oscar nomination for playing Constance Summer in Unfaithful. Connie is happily married to Edward (Richard Gere, who he and Lane are always paired up together for some reason) and has a son. On a very windy day in the city, she has a bad fall and hurts her knee and a handsome stranger invites her into his apartment so he can get her patched up. Connie is entranced by him and she vistit's his apartment several times after that until she begins to an affair with him. Her husband who is suspicious, has a man follow her. Once he finds out, there are grave consequences. Diane Lane delivers a fantastic performance that drives the whole film. She doesn't have a lot of showy moments, but she expresses her emotions on her face and you can always feel an emotional undercurrent beneath her performance. She also deserves credit for making the script believable because we have to believe that Connie would choose to have an affair, even though she loves her husband very much and that it hurts her to lie to him. She also makes us understand Connie's emotions and to care about her. And that train scene! One of the best acted scenes ever, if you ask me. It's filled with such raw emotion and Lane plays it perfectly. A great , performance that elevates the film completely which gets

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Best Actress 2002: Salma Hayek in Frida

Salma Hayek received her 1st Oscar nomination for playing famous artist Frida Kahlo in Frida. The film is about her relationship with her husband and how her constant physicals pains (Which mostly came from a bus accident when she was a child) affect both her life and relationship. First of all, Frida is a terrible film, in my opinion. It doesn't delve deep enough into their relationship or their career's as artists. I also find it to be badly directed. Salma Hayek is unable to save this. Her performance felt like an imitation of Frida Kahlo, and even worse then that, a failed one, since I never the Frida Kahlo that I pictured her as. Instead, I saw a hollywoodized, caricature that is very one note. That said, there are some good moments in this performance. Her early scenes are actually quite good and the scene when her husband is asking her to remarry him is a very well done scene by her. But can this save the rest of the performance? No. So, overall a failed performance in an awful film which gets

Monday, April 5, 2010

Best Supporting Actress 2005

1. Rachel Weisz as Tessa Quayle in The Constant Gardener: Weisz is just so great in this film! She's sad, radiant, and her presence really drives the whole film! One of the best decisions that the Academy has made.

2. Amy Adams as Ashley Johnsten in Junebug: If only there had been a tie! Adams is fantastic as Ashley, she is funny and has terrific presense, but adds layers of sadness to her character. Wonderful!

3. Michelle Williams as Alma Beers Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain: I've seen this film in bits and pieces, so I'm not sure if this rating will stay the same, but I thought that Williams was heartbreaking and very effective as Alma. She and Ledger work very well together.

4. Frances McDormand as Glory Dodge in North Country: McDormand's role in North Country is a stock role, but she does the best she can with it and both she and Theron help keep North Country from being a terrible film. Grade: two and a half stars (I don't have the star image).

5. Catherine Keener as Harper Lee in Capote: Keener is just okay as Harper Lee, but she has nothing to do except for being supportive to Phiilip Seymour Hoffman. Some good moments, but unimpressive.
What do you think of this lineup? Are you in the Amy Adams fanclub? Who is your pick?