Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best Actress 1977: Anne Bancroft in The Turning Point

Anne Bancroft received her fourth Oscar nomination for playing Emma Jackline in The Turning Point. Emma is a famous ballerina, who has been dancing in the company for 38 years. Years ago, she and her friend Dedee (Shirley Maclaine) were competing for the same part. Since Dedee got pregnant, Emma landed the part and became a huge star, but her life feels empty, and now that she is getting older, her stardom is going down.

The role of Emma is really a supporting one, the leading nomination is just weird, but I guess she was such a great actress, they couldn't deny her the leading nomination. Anyway, that didn't bother me. I was already prepared for the fact that she has small screen time. That isn't a problem really in her performance. Anne Bancroft does a wonderful job here, making Emma the most interesting thing in the movie. I couldn't help but feel sorry for her, since she is starting to realize that she is too old for the very best parts in ballet. Anne shows us that she is a sad woman, knowing that she could have had a life with meaning, like her friend did, and not a life with just success. I felt all her scenes with Shirley were excellent, but a problem is that these two do not seem like old friends at all. I mean, they seem like each other, but best friends? The script really should have developed they're relationship more. I also thought it was so stupid how we never actually saw either of them dance. I know we saw a bit of Emma dancing, but this woman is supposed to have been dancing for nearly her whole life, she's supposed to be amazing. I might have seen more of that had she been given more dancing scenes. And although this probably should have been in Shirley's profile, but WHY did we never see Shirley dance? Throughout the whole film, we here that Dedee was a great dancer too, but we never see her dance. NEVER.

But these are more complaints about the film then about Anne's performance. The onlly real problem with her is that there should have been more character development. I just wanted more. But Anne Bancroft really gives a very good performance here, and for this , she gets

Best Actress 1977: Shirley Maclaine in The Turning Point

Shirley Maclaine received her fourth Oscar nomination for playing Dedee, in The Turning Point. Dedee was once an extremely talented dancer in a refined dancing company, both she and her best friend Emma (Anne Bancroft). When both Emma and Dedee were auditioning for a major ballet role, Dedee got pregnant and she decided to have the baby and raise a family, while Emma got the part and became a huge star. 38 years later, they meet again. Dedee's daughter jooins the same dance company they both were in, and starts to climb her way to the top, prompting Dedee to think about her daughter's future, and the fact that she never became a star.

When The Turning Point begins, it is a an entertaining, interesting story. It really brings up our choices when we are young and how they affect us when we're older. The dancing is beautiful to watch, and I personally was excited to see how both Emma and Dedee's relationship would develop. Shirley Maclaine is wonderful here, showing us that she regrets how her life ended up and that she is afraid that her daughter will end up hurt or disappointed. Shirley has a captivating presence in these scenes, that are just beautiful. But when her daughter moves to New York, the air seems to come out of the movie and this damages both the film and everyone's performance. The movie is trying to focus on Leslie Brown exclusively, and sort of drops Shirley's character development. There are never really any good scenes afterwards, and when she has an affair, it seems so random and unbelievable. She picks up more steam in the end, I like her scene at the ballet with her old director, asking him whether if she had not gotten pregnant, had she had been picked for the role instead of Emma. Her arguement in the restaurant is also pretty good, but her fight outside is too screechy, and ridiculous, I personally felt that Anne Bancroft outshined her here, though I should rewatch the scene just to be sure. But she does have a lovely moment at the end, when she looks at her daughter, surrounded by admirers, getting the fame that she herself did not get, but Shirley shows us that Dedee is radiant with happiness about her daughter's success. But this is ruined due to the incredibly dumb ending scene with her and Anne Bancroft, which is glib and unbelievable.

Shirley Maclaine tries her best to get a strong performance out of this movie, and she does in some ways, but the awfulness of the screenplay drag her down until the badness of her performance overshadows what's good about it. She gets

The 80th Oscars, a look back: Part 2

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem was the biggest lock that year, and everyone knew he'd win. The only possible spoiler was Hal Hoolbrook, due to sentiment, but I honestly feel that the Academy didn't like Into The Wild enough to give it an award. The other nominees never got enough buzz at all. I myself was dissapointed by Bardem's win, just because I hate sure-things, and because his performance didn't seem that great to me. It wasn't when I saw it two years later. Tom Wilikinson is my pick, but I should see/rewatch all of these nominees.

Best Supporting Actress: The years most unpredictable race, beating Best Actress. Everyone had a chance, except for Saorise Ronan.

At first, it was Ryan vs. Blanchett. Ryan had won all the critics awards, and received raves, but Cate had won her share of critics awards too, and the fact that she had convincingly pulled of playing Bob Dylan received great word of mouth. Cate had also won the globe too, which helped her chances. But on SAG night, when the Best Supporting Actress envelope was opened, neither of their names were in it. Ruby Dee won, for her short, yet memorable performance in American Gangster. People started to realize that she had quite a lot of sentiment,going for her, and the Academy easily could reward a veteran.

But what counted against all three of these women was that they're films weren't well received at all by the Academy. One's who was was Tilda Swinton. She had been a sure-bet for a nominee, yet no one ever really touted her as a winner. But she pulled a huge surprise by winning the BAFTA, and this led some pundits to predict her, spotting that Michael Clayton really didn't have much chance of a win anywhere else. This and the fact she gave a great performance tipped the odds in her favor, though in the actual voting, I bet it was a close race between her, Ryan, and Blanchett. I was rooting for Ronan at the time, and was totally shocked when Alan Arkin read Tilda's name I was predicting a win for Amy Ryan. When I saw Gone Baby Gone after the Oscars, I personally felt that Ryan's performance was more impressive, but Tilda is an extremely deserving winner. \

I loved her speech by the way!

Best Original Screenplay: Juno won, and it was a pretty sure thing. Everyone raved about the screenplay, plus it was the only way to honor Juno. It's only competition came from Michael Clayton, a terrific script, that in retrospect, probably should have won, though The Savages was great too. I was rooting for Juno at the time, and though I don't like it as much as I used to, I still think it's a worthy winner here. I felt the script did a great job of developing all the characters in the film and it was a pretty entertaining story . And some of that dialogue is really memorable.

Best Adapted Screenplay: No Country won here as well, this was an easy category to predict. Usually, though not always, the Best Picture winner picks up a Screenplay award. Diving Bell And The Butterfly and There Will be Blood were strong contenders too, but I suppose the academy really loved No Country.

My preference is Away From Her, a beautiful screenplay, and a great movie.

Overall, this was a good year for movies, not my favorite, but a good year none the less. But nearly all the winners didn't deserve it, at least to me. I personallly feel that 2006 and 2008 were better years for film, and I think I'll cover the 2008-2009 oscars next.

What werre your feelings/predictions then? What do you think now?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The 80th Oscars, a look back: Part 1

Since Oscar season is coming up, I felt that we should take a look back at the Oscars three years ago, a much different Oscar year then this or last year. Let's try to remember how we felt about the nominees and who we wanted to win and what we think of them now. I'm only going to do the first 4 out of the major 8 categories and the next 4 tomorrow.

Best Picture: No Country For Old Men won this year, sadly. It was a pretty sure thing, having won all the main precursor awards, and given that the Coen's were overdue. There Will Be Blood was buzzed about, and many now call it a masterpiece. I personally liked it, but felt it was flawed. It was too dark and offbeat for the academy, I think. Juno had a chance, given that it was the highest grossing film of the five, and was an upbeat comedy, but comedies rarely win, they probably figured the screenplay win was enough. Michael Clayton never got enough momentum to ever pull off a win, and Atonement's buzz really faded before the nominations came out, so it had no chance either.

I personally was rooting for Juno with all of my heart at the time, and was disappointed, but not surprised when it lost. I had seen it five times, and loved it when it came out. Now, I've rewatched it and found it okay, but not really oscar-worthy. I loved Michael Clayton, loved the 1str half of Atonement, was disappointed by the 2nd half. About a year or two ago, I saw No Country, I didn't really like it. It was just alright. Not that strong of a year, but perhaps I'll rewatch in the future.

Best Director: The Coen brothers won, though they're win wasn't as locked up, given Julian Schnabel was a strong compepitor as well. I need to rewatch here, plus I haven't seen Diving Bell, but I don't really want too.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis was a sure thing. George Clooney was once a major compepitor, but Day-Lewis was just on a roll. I was rooting for Depp at the time,, but now I just don't know. I still haven't seen Tommy Lee or Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress: Here was the most exciting category for me. I was rooting for Ellen Page, I totally wanted her to win. I was so heartbroken when she didn't. My hopes were too high, I suppose.

I was right though in predicting that Julie Christie would lose. I thought the film was too little seen, and I think that might have been a factor. When I first saw it, I didn't think she was that great, but I just didn't how to judge subtle acting then, and was angry about her beating Ellen Page at all the precursors that year. I really underestimated Marion, I just thought a foreign language performance wouldn't win. When I saw her, I didn't like her, but my sister said I was being unfair, so I sort of talked myself into liking her. As for Blanchett, I actually thought she was great, but the film was terrible. I saw Linney afterwards, and I really liked her! And she's grown on me since! But as you can probably see, I really need to rewatch all of the nominees before I can defintely say who should have won.

Part 2 will come soon! But what were your thoughts this year, and what are your thoughts on this year looking back on it now?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you have a happy Holliday!

Friday, December 24, 2010

True Grit and Winter's Bone reviews

True Grit: I didn't really expect much from this movie and I actually thought it was alright. Well made, and entertaining, but nothing Oscar-worthy, and it had a ridiculous story towards the end. Jeff Bridges was okay, but all he really did was mumble and act tough. He had some pretty good moments, but as I say, this isn't oscar-worthy. Matt Damon was actually funny and entertaining, a nomination for him would be deserved. It's pretty ridiculous though, that Hailee Steinfeld is being campaigned in Supporting, she's in every scene, basically! But her performance wasn't that great, it feels annoying, and she only excels in the last 20 minutes or so. So, an entertaining film that is worth a see, just nothing amazing.

Winter's Bone: This is a movie I was really looking forward to. It's about a girl (Jeniffer Lawrence) who's father goes missing, and she has to find him, either dead (Preferably) or alive. This movie and Frozen River have a lot a lot in common. They are both about people living at the edges of society and have to use they're bravery to make things better. They're also pretty realistic in how they're made. But I personally prefered Frozen River because the heroine is more likable and I got a lot more out of the story then this one. As I've said, it's pretty real and well made/written, but I really didn't get anything out of the story. Jeniffer Lawrence was okay, in fact, very good in a lot of scenes, but she's also pretty bad in others, with her sassy attitude, plus her rather wearing accent. I plan on re-watching some of her key scenes though, ones I thought were good, but I could see the acting in them. I think John Hawkes was really good though. He should be nominated. A good effort, but it just never really affected me.

Have you seen either of these? If you have, tell me your thoughts!

And unfortunately, I can't do a B.A 1977 profile in a while, because I want to save Diane for later, and the library's closed for the hollidays, so I can't check out Julia or The Turning Point yet.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oscar predictions part 2

Now that the critics awards are rolling in, the odds have changed, though we still have no clear frontrunners yet in certain races.

Best Picture: The Scocial Network really has been sweeping these awards, and it will no doubt be a top contender. I haven't seen The King's Speech yet, but I doubt it will win, unless it's AMAZING. Usually, period pieces don't win, unless they're on the level of The English Patient, and this movie doesn't look like it is. But I'll decide when I see it. The Fighter is looking more and more to me like a strong possibility as an upset, but we'll have to wait till the Globes plus the B.F.CA to see.

Best Director: David Fincher , along with The Social Network, have been taking home all the awards, and I have a feeling that he could win, but his film does not get Best Picture. But it's still to early to say.

Best Actor: I just checked a precursor chart from an Oscar site that I follow and Collin Firth is in the lead, though James Franco is close behind, and Jesse Einberg in The Social Network as well. I still think Collin will win, but Franco is a serious threat. His performance got great word of mouth, plus he's an actor who's been very active these past couple years. Einberg is probably too young, though I still haven't seen the movie.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman's chances are increasing, but I'm afraid that Benning is still a threat, given her overdue status, and also if Sandra Bullock could build momentum out of nowwhere last year, anyone could. Lawrence will be nominated, probably, but I doubt she can win, though I still haven't seen her, UGH! I have it in my living room, but still haven't watched it. Nicole Kidman is a solid bet, but her chances of winning are very slim, though the role is quite interesting. I just read the play last week, and it was really good, though a bit bare. I wonder how they'll adapt to film. As for the last slot, I'm still unsure about. Neither Swank or Berry are going to make it, I think they're SAG/GLOBE nominations were just star-power. I'm going to say MIchelle Williams will get it for Blue Valentine . She's a hardworking actress, and the film looks wonderful.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale will get nominated for The Fighter and he'll probably win too. Geoffrey Rush (The KIng's Speech) and Andrew Garfiel (The Social Network) will also get nominated, I think.

Best Supporting Actress: HBC, and the two Fighter ladies are in, but the other two slots are mysteries. I'll say Mila Kunis, (Black Swan) and Hailee Steinfelt will get in.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen any Oscar movies lately?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Actress 1977: Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl

Marsha Mason received her 2nd oscar nomination forf playing Paula in The Goodbye Girl. Paula lives with her 10-year old daughter ( Quinn Cummings), and has just been walked out on by her boyfriend. She is so depressed, and frustrated with her life, and before she knows it, an actor by the name of Elliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss)knocks on the door, telling her that her ex-boyfriend rented the apartment to him. Given that she has no choice in the matter and that he has the decency not to call a lawyer, they both compromise, deciding to share the apartment. It's unbearable at first, but sooner or later, they begin to fall in love.

In the beginning, Marsha Mason does a fantastic job: She's believable, funny, and loveable. She could have made this character stale and boring like all the other roles like this, but instead she chooses to play Paula in a tougher, stronger way that makes the performance so strong. Both she and Richard Dreyfuss have brilliant chemistry, they never make one wrong move in making they're relationship believable. But there are problems in her performance, that is both her fault and the films. Marsha Mason is engaging, funny, and completely enjoyable in the first half while Richard Dreyfuss is alright, but annoying and over the top. But as they start falling for each other, it reverses. Marsha Mason is still wonderful, but during some moments, I really felt I could see the acting. It's not that it's bad acting, it's not obvious in a bad way. it's still delivered perfectly, but it felt obvious, on the other hand, Dreyfuss is able to be funny, but also really natural. Also, the movie starts to become predictable, and I really wanted there to be more development, things got too rushed. Especially the ending. It seemed so unbelievable to me. And I think that Quinn Cummings should have been given more material to work with, but that's the script's fault and it doesn't really affect Marsha's performance.

But Marsha Mason still delivers an excellent, entertaining performance that along with Dreyfuss, makes the movie worth seeing. She gets

Friday, December 17, 2010

Black Swan review

After seeing both Requiem For A Dream and The Wrestler, I never thought I'd see something more gruesome or harrowing. Well, The Wrestler isn't that harrowing, but it sure is gruesome. Anyway after seeing Black Swan today, I have.

It is about a ballerina named Nina (Natalie Portman), who is a complete shut-in: She shows no real emotion, and is shut in inside herself. It's really her mother's fault (Barbara Hershey, who is quite good) who not only pushed her, but kept her feeling like a child, never a woman, or her own person) . But eventually, she gets the dual role in Swan Lake and she is extremely happy, but since she show's no emotion, her dancing is all techinque, but no feeling, it's extremely hard for her to dance the Black Swan, something the director constantly points out. Soon, a new dancer arrives, who is exactly the opposite- She's outgoing, funny, and dances with feeling, she is able to let go. Nina is constantly afraid that lily will take the role away from her, and the role itself soons becomes so much stress, she is barely keeping it afloat, and soon a whole series of things start to happen that make the film so unpredictable. This is a fantastic piece of work-superbly directed, it was so surreal, and visionary, it was indeed a fascinating experience. But it is truly disturbing- it's even more then requiem for A dream, and I had to close my eyes more then once. But Natalie Portman really outdid herself here. She perfectly sets up and balances the character, making us really feel her paranoi and her feelings of being preassured. Portman makes us see that she wants to be a star, but doesn't really think she fits the bill. That's why she wants to be ''perfect". Quite a lot of her performance is very subtle and Natalie truly disappears into the part, making it her own. Who else could have played it? No one.

But I have a slight complaint. I felt that that she could have maybe have given a little more strength in some scenes and I felt that could have the change in her character slower, but that's really the script's fault. Which brings me to something else: I felt the movie was a bit too abrupt, and the script could have been more carefully thought out, especially with the director's character. But it was still a great movie anyway, and Natalie Portman is definetly worth seeing...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Best Actress 1977

The next year I'll be doing a ranking/profile on is 1977 and the nominees were:

Anne Bancroft in The Turning Point

Jane Fonda in Julia

Diane Keaton in Annie Hall

Shirley Maclaine in The Turning Point

Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl

So, who do you predict? Who are you rooting for?

What Oscar stuff is on your mind now?

What to do now?

Hey! I'm REALLY, REALLY sorry about all these delays. It has been over two months since I've made a real post, and I stopped blogging for so long because my schedule has been so busy and I was burned out of of doing profiles. But I'm determined to start up again and although I said I would do 1958, my interest in the year has gone down a little and I've decided to save it. I'm not sure what I'll decide to do, but I'll decide by today. I'm olpen to any requests and anything you want to talk about it with me.