Thursday, February 18, 2010

Actors on Actors: Zoe's Lust, Tobey's Caution

I love New York Times "T Screen Tests". Thanks to In Contention for pointing out this beautifully minimalist video. I sometimes miss them. This one is hot actors of the moment talking about favorite performances from this past decade. It's pretty interesting.



I love reading between the lines on things like this. The questions it raises. Is Jake Gyllenhaal just a fundamentally unserious person? Is Tobey Maguire sincere when he chooses super close BFF Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator or just not committing to the exercize (though I love his acknowledgement that there needs to be more to biopic acting than mimicry)? Is Christoph Waltz hoping to be employed soon by the Coen Bros? Who is Sandra Bullock's hairdresser?

There's also Carey Mulligan freaking out over Saoirse Ronan's baby blues (don't we all?) and hip Vera Farmiga singing the praises of TFE's current It boy man Michael Fassbender in Hunger.
There's something about his face that is unlike anyone in the way it conveys emotion.
I also like imagining which actors might have totally whacky off-consensus Oscar nomination ballots (Jeff Bridges obviously) and which might be total conformists (Morgan Freeman, Julianne Moore?!?)

But my favorite of all has to be Zoe Saldana's left field praise of Tang Wei in Lust, Caution. You don't hear that performance brought up every day but it's simply beyond. God Tang Wei was great in that movie. And just this acknowledgement makes me love Zoe Saldana way way more. And the fact that she dwells on the physicality... I think she's telling filmmakers she's totally down with the sex scenes if anyone wants to offer her a truly meaty part.

35 comments:

BeRightBack said...

Ha! "Truly meaty part," indeed.

OtherRobert said...

Wow, I didn't realize Vera Farmiga was that gorgeous. Having good taste in films? That goes without saying, no?

However, Zoe Saldana gave the closest to the correct answer. Brava.

Jim T said...

I knew you would like the Tang Wei admiration. You and Nick Davis seemed to love that performance.

Bullock talking seriously with that hair was just brilliant!

Cory Rivard said...

Great headline! I don't write "LOL" unless it truly occurred. And I LOLed.

gabrieloak said...

Yeah, I was excited by the mention of Tang Wei too. But I think Zoe was simply saying that a lot of films deal with love scenes in a very tame way these days, not that she necessarily wants to film a lot of hot sex scenes.

Joe K said...

I watched this, and all I could think was that if Sam Worthington ever wants to be taken seriously as an actor, he probably shouldn't spend too much time praising Eddie Murphy.

Jim T said...

Joe K, the improvement of his "serious" image won't save him. :p

Jorge Rodrigues said...

I loved this, and of course Vera Farmiga and Zoe Saldana take the gold medal here, but I especially loved Sandra Bullock saying:

"If I looked like Kate Winslet I would act naked as well, all the time, but I don't, and that's why I don't do the roles Kate Winslet does".

Peggy Sue said...

Is Sandra Bullock's hair for real? I mean...

Owen said...

That's not the only reason Sandra Bullock doesn't do the roles Kate Winslet does.

Casey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Casey said...

ya seriously. she should've added "also im not talented enough to play those parts and no one offers them to me"

par3182 said...

i kept waiting for someone to mention heath ledger in brokeback mountain

Brook Brooks said...

I think we should all try to comprehend Sandra Bullock in Kate Winslet's role in The Reader.

It's quite fun.

brandz said...

Morgan Freeman: anything Meryl Streep has done in the past 50 years.

don't ya know it!

Rick Evans said...

Is Sam Worthington for real? I mean come on.

NATHANIEL R said...

@ Brook Brooks -- what is this word "fun". Please to explain. The context is throwing me ;)

@par -- right? couldn't Jake have gone there if he was going to use his personal life for an answer?

gabrieloak -- i dunno. i sense a caged tiger waiting to get out. mroooowwwr.

Alex said...

Bullock's hair was INSANE.

Kate Winslet is mentioned but not for Eternal Sunshine? Weird...

I may be wrong, but did Sam Worthington just say that Eddie Murphy in Norbit is one of the best performances of the decade? Couldn't we have at least gone with Nicolas Cage in Adaptation?

When George Clooney said Marion Cotillard was great at playing "old," was he aware that Edith Piaf died at age 48?

I thought Julianne was going to name something totally off the wall. Nope.

Morgan Freeman could've been edgy if only he'd said Angels in America. Oh well.

I really thought Daniel Day-Lewis was going to pop up. I was hoping for Julianne Moore and Laura Linney as well, but that was less likely.

Whew. Rant over.

Danny King said...

I thought Gyllenhaal's bit was hilarious.

Marcy said...

Okay, at least Sam Worthington was being honest.

But I was still kinda hoping he would somehow mention Dreamgirls since that's basically Murphy's best performance to date?

In defense of Bullock, I don't think it's because she's not talented enough to get offered Kate Winslet roles, but because they're just completely different actresses.

Bryan said...

I totally agree with your call on Saldana... she knows her stuff.

Lara said...

Is it stupid that I'm somehow disappointed with Julianne Moore's choice? And that bland explanation?

And Alex, I was wondering about that as well, George Clooney talking about Edith Piaf like she's 70 or 80 when in fact she was as old as he is now when she died??

Loved Jake G's explanation. :-)

GayAsXmas said...

I am not too surprised about Saldana talking about the physicality of Tang Wei. After all, isn't Saldana a trained ballet dancer (she looked perfectly poised in Centre Stage)? I guess this would give her an understanding of the ability of using the whole body for expressing emotion. Her role in Avatar was also intensely physical, with her feline grace being particularly important to Neytiri (so loved that performance and wish there had been room for her in the Best Actress list)

JoFo said...

I was so thrilled when Saldana mentioned Tang Wei, and even mroe so when Harrellson mentioned Ulrich Muhe who gave an amazing performance that is so under appreciated. I thought it was an interesting way of seeing the way people might vote:
Morgan Freeman: I like Meryl. I'll vote for her.
Jeff Bridges: That guy was good. Who was he again? Whatever.
Sam Worthington: Haha. He's in a fat suit and made a funny.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire: No YOU were great. No seriously bro. Amazing. I'm totally voting for you buddy!
Jullianne Moore: Did you see how loud Sean Penn yelled in Mystic River? His dawduh was in der, and he was saaaad. Thats my vote.

Firth, Harrellson, Waltz, Farminga and Salda all seem to have great taste though.

Victor said...

Thank God for Woody Harrelson!
Seriously, who would ever think that he would choose Ulrich Mulhe in The Lives of Others as the best performance of the decade?? I was expecting something like Jeff Bridges' anwswer, and comes the guy we all expect to give us a crazy anwser and he just knock out me praising one of the most sensible performances ever.
Congratulations Woody!

Lorenzo said...

Hurray for Zoe Saldana's choice!!! I absolutely LOVED that film and both the leading actors' performances!

NATHANIEL R said...

JoFo... it just reminds us that discerning what is great acting isn't the same skill as being able to greatly act. :)

whitney said...

I like how Colin Firth pronounces the word "PETAphile." Makes it much more palatable! Hurray!

xixi said...

It appears Morgan Freeman is not the only fan of La Streep. NYT film critic A.O.Scott just wrote a tribute to her

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/movies/awardsseason/21scott.html

"Since her last one Oscars have gone to Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank (twice) and many other more- and less-deserving younger performers, while Ms. Streep, 60, has been a constant, patient and routinely passed-over Oscar-night presence. Has she received too much recognition or too little? Trying to quantify an answer is really just trivial showbiz math, pseudoscientific data marshaled in support of a conclusion that is already axiomatic: Meryl Streep is the best screen actress in the world"

xixi said...

Sorry the link to A.O.Scott's NYT article on Meryl Streep is broken

here it is again: "The Unmistakable Streepness"

http://tinyurl.com/yz8tsej

judy said...

Poor Sandra. Even her hair acts better than she does.

erika said...

I can tell these "actors" have never watched Birth, Dogville or Margot at the wedding.

Burning Reels said...

She may of given one of the blandest answers but i'd say on recent reflection, Ms Moore gave the greatest performance in the last decade

Lucky said...

"That's not the only reason Sandra Bullock doesn't do the roles Kate Winslet does."

lol.

What's funny is that most of them are in the Academy, so we get to listen to what Academy Members were voting for, and it's not always thatt good.

Anyway I loved Carey Mulligan picking Saoirse Ronan, she was great in Atonement.

I would've chosen either Daniel Day (TWBB), Mickey Rourke or Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain.

Adam M. said...

I really loved this too. And I also loved Zoe Saldana's left-field-though-actually-right-down-the-middle answer.

Can you still write in candidates on the final Oscar ballot? If so, I bet Julianne Moore still votes for herself :P