Sunday, November 22, 2009

Late to the Comment Party? No Biggie

Some of you may have noticed that any articles that have slipped off the front page now have moderated comments. I was forced to do this by huge waves of spam hitting my blog -- it's getting worse all the time actually, dozens of spam comments to be weeded out every day. But I'm delighted that people still comment on older articles. Two recent comments I wanted to draw attention to:

anonymous (sign your names people, it takes all of 1.5 seconds) on the casting of the August: Osage County movie
You know Doris Day has been itching to come back to do a film....and what a way of coming back to movies...also Im surprised no one has mentioned Beth Grant (from Sordid Lives) or even Delta Burke
I can't imagine that Doris Day wants to work again. A Doris Day return would be an event regardless of the vehicle. Her last feature film With Six You Get Eggroll was released 41 years ago. After that she did five years of her own TV show and then retired at 51. She's 87 years old now. That's not exactly young but if Estelle Parsons can travel the country doing a 3 hour play twice a day at the age of 82... maybe there's a lot of elderly actresses still spry enough for a good movie role, should any screenwriters bother to write them. Still, I worry when actors retire. 'If you rest, you rust' and all of that. But wouldn't it be fun to see Doris Day one more time on the big screen? Especially in a comedy.

janelia commented on the Precious review, and I'm glad she did
I am all for Meryl winning Best Actress. I have now watched Meryl, Carey and Gabourey and I honestly think Meryl gave the best performance of these three. Sure, it was a lightweight movie, but that doesn't mean Meryl's performance is lightweight. I remember a youtube video from way back when showing clips of Oscar winning actresses that all had crying scenes and people wondered if an actress could win without a dramatic screaming and crying scene. I think one can make the argument that it takes more effort to win over an audience without the sympathy factor. We always lament the crowning of Oscar bait roles, but then we complain when there is a contender that isnt the typical Oscar type?

She makes a great point. This is totally and always the case when a "lighter" performance gets recognized in any way. So Oscar is damned if they do and damned if they don't. We have to get beyond our hangups about tears equalling great acting, in order to see that each character makes different demands of the actor playing them. I don't personally think the Julia Child performance is the best of the year but it is super fun and besides, preferences and predictions are different things. Curiously, literally every Oscar pundit I've talked to online or in person thinks I'm crazy in my firm suspicion that Meryl Streep will win this year. I guess I'll either have the last laugh or I'll look, well, crazy. Either way is fine; you have to call it like you see it and give yourself plenty of rope to hang or else it's no fun to swing.
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40 comments:

BETTY said...

Natalie Portman is going supporting!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.awardsdaily.com/FYC/gallery/2009-10/photo.php?id=1544

Maybe she can get nominated? I think the BROTHERS song will be nominated, at least.

BETTY said...

And there's a lot of buzz for Shohreh Aghdashloo in THE STONING OF SORAYA M.

So many FYCs by the way!!!!!!!!!!
at least an Indie Nom.

joe burns said...

I hope that Sidibe wins. I haven't seen Julie And Julia yet,but Sidibe was great and superior to Mulligan. Could you please tell me what was so great about Mulligan's performance? I thought it was perhaps nomination worthy,but good enough for the win?

Jude said...

Doris Day in a new comedy movie would just about make my life. But you gotta give her some good co-stars. Studios would probably cast young co-stars like Bradley Cooper/Katherine Heigl though...

I'm thinking Doris Day, Olivia de Havilland, Luise Rainer, Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Fontaine (try getting Joan and Olivia in a room together...) should make a comedy. Or just somebody film those six sitting in a room.

NATHANIEL R said...

@Betty -- I've been updating my Oscar charts all day and I have moved Natalie into supporting. But I don't see how she can make it. It's an even weirder decision than moving Marion Cotillard into lead.

Brothers is basically a three character drama. They're all leads. But that said, the american version did reduce the focus on the female part of the triangle. In the danish version it's basically the wife as central focus. In this version you can tell the film cares most about the Tobey Maguire character's arc.

i have not heard any buzz... not one spec for Shohreh Aghdashloo but I do hope to watch the film soon.

Chris Na Taraja said...

OMG Doris Day is probably won't be doing August Osage. We all fantasize that it would be great to see her on film again, but it depends on how life is treating her at 87. How old was that gal from Titanic? 100?

brandz said...

Nathaniel, Ive commented before that you are one of the few predicting a Streep win. I couldn't agree with you more. Streep elevated a lightweight movie with a transcendent performance. Joy will win the day.

mB said...

Streep for the win (if only for the amazing speech she would give!)

I think another way of thinking about it is that rewarding a "lightweight" Meryl performance could also be looked as a reward for her career as of late (Adaptation, Prada, Mamma Mia...) where she's been playing it light (though still keeping the dark cred with Angels, Hours and Doubt) but raking in the cash nonetheless.

adam k. said...

I don't get how everyone's gone anti-Meryl-win now. I wasn't even aware that this had happened. Wasn't it not too long ago that she was the consensus pick? And lately, Mulligan's buzz has been fading, so it's looking more and more like an open race, in which case Meryl would be favored.

I mean, she's still pretty much universally assumed to be nommed, and if she is, how can one NOT think she might win? This would be loss #14. Twelfth in a row. Plus there's momentum from last year. If Meryl is nominated for anything ever from now on, she'll have a solid shot to win.

I just don't get it.

Particularly since both Gabby and Carey, plus possibly Abbie and Saorsie, will be in it splitting the youth vote. Meryl will stand out.

julianstark said...

I don't remember Streep ever being the consensus pick. It didn't seem that there was one until everyone noticed that Carey Mulligan looks like Audrey Hepburn 2.0 and then predicted her to win.

Literally. Tons of people have referenced how she looks like Miss Hepburn, and it bugs me. Not because they look alike, but apparently that's some reason that you should win an Oscar? Because you look like someone who did?

Anyway, tons of people are predicting Streep. If the Oscars were voted on at this exact moment, it'd be either Mulligan, Sidibe, or Streep winning.

I'm predicting Sidibe at the moment, but I'm not so sure.

And I'm not saying that Streep won't win; it's just not what I'm thinking

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nathaniel that Streep will win. She has the most important factor going into the race - momentum from last year. Momentum is very important in the Oscar race. Plus how can the academy hand her a 14th loss in a row - it would be an outrage in my book. Anyway, I hope Streep wins and unlike Nathaniel it WAS my favorite peformance of the year...

adelutza said...

I loved An Education and if the noms are going to be like everybody predicts, I'll root for Carey Mulligan. But I won't be upset with a Streep win, she deserves all the awards she gets.

Asam said...

yeah, but wasn't it an outrage to lose the thirteenth nom as well?

the academy has a pattern of awarding late oscars for lightweight roles to make up for screwing someone over in their serious noms (here's looking at you denzel)...so maybe meryl will win since she was so incredible in doubt.

but it would be great to see sidibe win, if only because it will be near impossible to find an oscar calibre vehicle for a heavy set black female in the near future...

Arlo said...

I also find it surprising that people would think you are crazy for predicting Streep. I hope she wins and you get the last laugh!

Robert said...

One of my favorite quotes is "An actor tries to cry. Everyone else tries not to cry."

I admit my own personal reaction is getting extreme but as soon as I see an actor start to cry anymore I turn off. It just feels like such "ACTING!"

Jim T said...

I love Meryl but I don't want her to win.


1) I liked the performance but I don't really like the role. I want her to win for something else.


2) I know it shouldn't matter but I didn't like the film. At all.

3) Since she was nominated last year (She didn't impress me the way Meryl can) and I don't want her to win this year, I don't even want her to be nominated. Give the spot to Swinton or Cotillard.

Again, I looove Meryl.

Lucas S. said...

I hope Streep wins. I've seen both Precious and An Education,but I just enjoyed her so much more than Sidibe and Mulligan. And I honestly thought it was just a better performance,all around.

Glenn Dunks said...

Why is it that people want Meryl to win her third Oscar for playing Julia when there is another actress playing an altogether different Julia who should be winning her second Oscar.

TILDA!TILDA!TILDA!

Anonymous said...

Not that Streep is a clear frontrunner for the win or anything, but I didn't think it's unconventional to think she can win. At least I wasn't aware that the pundits though so. I mean, there's been plenty of articles in different publications (Hollywood Reporter, etc) actually pointing Meryl out to be the frontrunner.

ainsley said...

I can't stand the Hepburn comparisons either. They did the same thing with Ellen Page when she was nominated for Juno. I came across a very interesting comparison of Ellen's role in Whip It, Carey's role in An Education, and Gabby's role in Precious.

It basically stated that with these three sort of "coming of age" stories,Ellen's character dealt with middle class people, Carey's dealt with the Upper Class, and Gabby's dealt with people who were lower class. I really like that comparison and I really didn't think about too much. Can anyone else see that comparison? These three actresses gave some of the best performances of the year. It's a shame that Ellen's most likely won't be recognized,but she'll have a next time hopefully.

gduncan said...

I hate to say this, but I really don't want Sidibe or Mulligan to win because I just think that there is a bit of a "curse" when young or "new" actors and actresses win an oscar with their "breakout" role. I don't want them to end up like Tatum O'neil, Gwyneth Paltrow,Adrien Brody, or Marlie Matlin,who are actors I really like but honestly haven't topped their winning roles. I think that a nomination would be a good "launching" point for them like they were for young actresses like Ellen Page, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, and Abigail Breslin.

Julian Stark said...

ainsley - Ellen Page was compared to Audrey Hepburn? I can understand it with Mulligan (again, don't like it but understand it), but Ellen Page?!

ainsley said...

Yeah, Audrey with Ellen! I like really Ellen,and Carey as well , but there will NEVER be another Audrey Hepburn.

Here's a quote from an 2007 NY times article about Ellen in Juno: "Ms. Page owns her character the way Audrey Hepburn owned Holly Golightly, and the role is going to make her a star."

Article:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/movies/moviesspecial/04brea.html?pagewanted=2&_r=3

moror said...

Swinton needs more attention! Maybe since Food Inc. is almost a shoo in for documentary, Magnolia will focus only on Julia!!

julianstark said...

Even though I agree that there will never be another Audrey Hepburn (blasphemers lol), I can totally see why people would draw a comparison between her and Mulligan.

But the parallel to Page just isn't happening for me. And I totally love Page btw

At any rate, I just don't see Mulligan winning. I'm still thinking Sidibe, but I honestly have no clue :(

Glenn said...

gduncan, it was always going to be hard to someone like Marlee Matlin. Roles for deaf people just aren't that common. In the grand scheme of things I'd say that Matlin has had a far better career than anyone would have thought she'd have at the time of her winning the Oscar.

Glenn said...

btw, the spam really IS getting crazier lately.

GreyDog said...

I saw An Education this weekend and while I admire Mulligan's work I don't think she can hold a candle to Meryl. Streep put that movie on her back and made it work. Not an impersonation but an embodiment. Great work.

Haven't seen Precious but Meryl will be hard to beat in my book.

george said...

While few actors have won for light comedic roles, that small list includes Diane Keaton, Cher, and Helen Hunt (!) in recent years, you can not discount the difficulty that any actress other than streep would have had with this role. That is, to emulate a real life icon, complete with outlandish voice and mannerisms, yet imbue this with humanity and charm. Can you recall a real life role ever portrayed on film as comedy and not drama? Only Meryl could have pulled it off and that is an achievement worth rewarding.

Catherine said...

Out of the three preumed Best Actress locks, I've seen Streep and Mulligan. Not crazy about the idea of Meryl winning for this particular perf, but she would liven up the speeches considerably. I'm cuckoo nutso about Mulligan, but she doesn't need to win. I'd worry it'd be the death knoll for her. It kind of reminds me of the Anne Hathaway situation last year, although Hathaway was far more established, I suppose; a great performance by a talented young actress who still has so much more to give. She needs to be nominated, but I don't necessarily think she has to win, despite her being my current favourite.

On the other hand I worry that, without a win, Sidibe will fall off the radar.

badmotherfucker said...

Sidibe's backers seem to have one thing in common: the sympathy vote. Hell, I'm one of them.

How many roles (Oscar-worthy, no less) could she possibly have a shot at after this? It's hard enough being a black actress, let alone one who doesn't look like Halle Berry. Plus, this girl's obviously talented.

Then again, Meryl Streep is fourteen years overdue. I just might throw my television out the window if she gets rejected again.

Will said...

Meryl Streep is closer then ever to her 3rd Oscar win with Carey Mulligan being her only competition. Gabby Sidibe ain't winning - Academy will not 'waste' Lead Oscar for a newcomer with foggy perspective in the industry. No matter how cynical it sounds. I hope I wrong, though.
Dame Helen Mirren won 2 years ago, no matter how good she is they not gonna give it to her. Same with Marion Cotillard.

If Michelle Pfeiffer's Chéri was a big hit with critic, she would've been a frontrunner, but sadly it ain't so.

As for August: Osage County casting - Angela Lansbury, please! So she can finally win an Oscar. Doris Day would've been great too.

Rick said...

Again, Streep has always been mentioned for a nom for J\"Julie/Julia"..

I have n ow seen all three main contenders for best actress... although, both carey and sidibe are excellent in their roles, streep totally becomes child in a non-imitating performance... you want to continually see her on screen and when she is absent, the movie dies.

I think her role was much more challenging then the other two. Who else could have played Julia to perfection, while the other two roles could have been done by a number of young actresses?

NATHANIEL R said...

hmmm. i'm not sure anybody coulda pulled off PRECIOUS and AN EDUCATION ... those are both fairly demanding lead roles.

I'm happy that this 'trinity' this year are all good performances. But it's sad that other performances that are just as good or better or slightly less good but still terrif aren't getting any attention. Grrrr

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, have you tried other commenting programs? I know some people who swear by DISQUS. Or what about disabling the ability to post as Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

^ironic^

GFH said...

It enrages me to see how many people really take "constantly screaming and crying" for "great acting". That explains nominations for, say, Naomi Watts (21 Grams) and Angelina Jolie (Changeling).

NATHANIEL R said...

anon who has it out for anons ;) I can only work with what blogger offers and i don't like pop up comments. i like them to be closer to what is a natural extension of the article. I like the dialogue.

i've thought of disabling the anon feature many times but unfortunately (and I'm not sure why this is so) it also eliminated NAME/URL which is obviously the best option since you aren't required to put in a url and anyone can use it without a membership to any specific program.

I hate it when blogs require you to be a "registered" user to comment. That said if the spam grows as quickly next month as it has this month I may be forced into it. I feel like I spend all of my time fighting spam now. it's constant.

ak said...

I agree that Angelina was so incredibly bad in Changeling. That whole movie was terrible. I still don't see the point in it being made. The story was NOT riveting. Wanted was her (far) better performance last year, but there was no way in hell that was going to get nominated.

Although it is highly unlikely that Cotillard or Mirren will win this year, it's not impossible. Tom Hanks won Lead two years in a row and Swank's wins were five years apart. That's not much longer than the three years its been since Mirren's win.

Styx said...

At this point, I almost want to see a fourth person swoop in and disrupt this anointed triumvirate that's going on in lead actress right now. It would be pretty funny if that person ends up being Sandra freakin' Bullock. But of the top three, I really don't know how things would turn out in a matchup between them. I thought that for a screen debut, Gabourey Sidibe was amazing and heartbreaking, but her film was a mess. Carey Mulligan anchored "An Education" beautifully, but I think the film will end up being too small, too British, and maybe too icky for some voters to go all the way with her. As for Meryl, I'm not itching for her to win a third with her two Oscars already, and if she must win a third one, it should be for something better than for what she did in "Julie & Julia", which yes, for me, was a trifle of a film and role. But she did make more of it than just about anyone would I guess, and that seems to be enough for people to justify another win. My choice would be Carey Mulligan, and a lot of that has to do with her film being the best of the three. I really want to see how the precursors handle things, b/c this could be the most exciting of the acting races this year (the other three feel much more secure with the likely winners).