Thursday, October 12, 2006

Deep Curtsy

I don't need a calendar. I know it's October when visions of Oscar possibilities start dancing endlessly in my head. So, I wanted to throw out a couple of discussables. These are only partially formed thoughts (help me to mold them in the comments)

Could Winslet be snubbed altogether?
I know that's a terribly rude question to ask just two days after the glorious Winsletation but the Actress competition is heated this year. One of the best things about her Little Children performance, as a young mother who resents mothering at all, is that she doesn't pull any punches --she does justice to a troubled character. Academy voters sometimes back away from difficult characters but they do love Kate Winslet. She isn't snubbed often. Holy Smoke!, Jude and Quills are the only real "coulda beens" and, among those, only Quills was a snub in the traditional sense: it had awards traction and the voters did nominate it elsewhere.

Streep, Bening, Mirren, Dench, Kidman, Zellwegger, Weaver and Blanchett are all, like Winslet, respected recurrent nominees. That's a lot of "preferred women" in one year, mucho bait for Academy voters. And that's before factoring in the younger hungrier crop waiting for their first shortlisting (Gyllenhaal, Cruz, Judd, Dunst, Miller, etc...) This could get crazy. And it could get crazy depressing.

Will The Queen be a Best Pic nominee?
I need to see it again but the audience I saw it with was completely into it. The response felt similar to the opening night show of The Devil Wears Prada. You know exiting the theater that the word of mouth will take the film far. The unexpected humor in The Queen could prove a major asset. There's not much funny ha-ha in the race this year (I think Little Miss Sunshine stops at screenplay and an acting nod or two) and dramas with strong laughs could benefit from sneaky levity.

And while we're on the subject of The Queen...

Why does the media love a sure thing?
This has always puzzled me. Wouldn't a competitive race garner more eyeballs? The Brokeback vs. Crash business last year (not to open old wounds) certainly got people talking, clicking, and reading. But that seemed to me at least to be an anomaly. Usually the media prefers a stampeding frontrunner, loves to crown someone and hammer home the point over and over until the awards bodies follow suit. Everyone falls in line with the same opinion.

I bring this up because it's already easy to imagine this happening with Helen Mirren this year. But, however great Mirren is, this is B-O-R-I-N-G... especially in a 'great year for actresses.' To me the 2003 race was the apotheosis of this problem. All four acting leaders just kept winning and it became a snoozefest. Penn, Theron, Robbins, Zellweger for three months. There was perhaps an (imagined?) three-way race for Best Actor at the last minute that year but it came too little too late to disrupt the inevitable. Why do people like things predictable?


Anonymous said...

(vague spoiler)

Despite liking Little Children quite a bit, the first thought I had exiting the theater was a certaintly that the film would be largely, if not completely, snubbed. It's too literary and open-ended for it's own good. Difficult subject matter combined with the lack of a big, American Beauty-style, end-of-film catharsis and I think the film is out as a major player, taking Kate down with it.

Also, for Kate the problem is not one of performance, naturally, but with screen time. She's part of an ensemble here, and I feel she's going to get run over by the women, like Streep and Mirren, who dominate their films completely.

I'd say run Kate for supporting, but that would mean shoving aside the amazing Phyllis Somerville who I believe now represents the film's best chance at serious awards attention.

adam k. said...

They are NOT running Kate for supporting. I guess I really wouldn't know, as I haven't seen the film, but that seems next to impossible.

And really, it's hard for me to imagine the film getting completely snubbed when it has such a pedigree and is apparently very good. Adapted screenplay seems hard for it to miss.

And with Kate... she really seems at a point now where they'd nominate her for anything they can. If it's an oscarable film, they jump. I felt that Eternal Sunshine last year was a test of this. Sure, there wasn't much competition, but Kate still made it in from a film they clearly didn't get or care for, simply because she was Kate. They could just as well have nominated Thurman, or Delpy, or Kidman, but they chose Kate even when the her film was largely ignored.

She's getting Streepian in her oscar ubiquity. Remember the 80s and 90s when Streep was almost always nominated for films that were otherwise ignored, because they were difficult or small or not oscary enough? Cry in the Dark, Postcards, Bridges, One True Thing, Music of the Heart were all Streep only, and Prada will be too.

I think Kate has reached that point already. It's hard for me to imagine her missing for this. Hopefully the critics will realize the situation with Little Children and prop it up like mad, but even if they don't, I expect at least Winslet and the screenplay to make it. Best picture may be out, but Kate and Todd have been there before and should be very much in play. Kate especially.

The win on the other hand may be too much to ask. Dammit.

Amy said...

Well, this is disappointing, Nathanliel.

I think once the film goes wide release, New Line will start promoting it the way it should be promoted.

adam k. said...

Oh, regarding snubs, though, she WAS definitely snubbed for Finding Neverland. It had a bucketload of nominations, and she did get the BFCA nom. It doesn't count so much, since she was nommed for something else that same year, but it was a snub. So it's true, they do pass her up occasionally... she could have 6 nominations by now if they'd really wanted her to.


i'm just throwing it out there. i'm not saying she WILL.

i always horribilize with actors i love. maybe i'm just a pessimist?

adam k. said...

You're not a pessimist, you're just a worrier. It goes with the OCD. Believe me, I know.

adam k. said...

Whoa, what happened? Little Children used to be a solid A-.

Anonymous said...

I think Neverland was a definite snub where Jude was not. Neverland did have some traction for her (Broadcast Film Critics, and a LEAD nomination from BAFTA, and don't forget they've snubbed her before where the Academy hasn't - Titanic, I seem to recall).

Jude was never going to get in the mix in 1996, what with Madonna, Courtney Love and Debbie Reynolds all nipping at the heels of the nominees. Her Hamlet turn wouldn't have been far behind 6th place for supporting that year though.


Anonymous said...

er... Winslet's nom for ESOTSM was hardly a stretch for the Academy. It was one of the most acclaimed roles in one of the most acclaimed films of the year.

Anonymous said...

Jesus.. Adam K as most annoying poster of all time?

Cinesnatch said...

Too much to respond to ...

First off, I would just love to say that I love how Nate mistyped Renee's last name, because I always spell it that way too before I check myself.

I love Rob for remembering the "almost wuzzes" of 1996 (to perfection).

Where was I? I agree with EVERYTHING Adam said. However, I'm still on the fence (haven't seen Little Children, though). At this point, Mirren, Streep and Bening seem to be locks because they're showcased in a way that Winslet probably isn't.

I still have to think that we're all setting ourselves up for dissapointment with that category in general, though. I want to believe that it's the 1980's again more or less (perennial nominess). I really do. But, I can't believe it until I see it. (I feel the same way about the footing that the Republicans have supposedly "lost" in the run up to November) And I want to see it!

adam k. said...

Yeah, if Best Actress sucks this year AND the Republicans keep Congress, I'm gonna be really depressed.

And I don't think I'm that annoying.

Anonymous said...

The novel wasn't great, and the film, "Little Children" looks like it sucks. Winslet looks so boring in it too. I think Penelope Cruz is Mirren's biggest threat, and second to her, Kirsten Dunst, and behind them, Sienna Miller, and behind her, the always reliable Renee Zelweger.

Anonymous said...

Well, given how constantly Sienna Miller is pulling some prima-donna shit (calling Pittsburg "Shitsburg" to the Rolling Stone; throwing a hissy fit because someone asked her for photo ID at a bar), I fully expect her to be shunned come oscar time. If a young actress sneaks in, it's going to be Maggie Gyllenhaal, who's everywhere this year and has been getting consistent raves for "Sherrybaby."

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I enjoyed felix's take on the mis-use/over-use of the term "snub". (Now, as far as ETOTSM goes, I watched it and wondered "Where was Carrey's nomination?" Likewise Sideways, "Where was Giametta's nomination?" Both those people carried their films, WERE their films. (Likewise Kidman in "The Others" as opposed to MR, whatever the flaws of either film. Or come to think of it - Kidman in Birth or in Dogville...but I digress.)

I'd also like to add that I enjoy Winslet very very much (Holy Smoke is still in my book an unjustly-neglected gem) but there's something I find a little depressing in the implication that someone should be nominated(much less given an award) because it's their "time" or they "deserve" it (keeping in mind all the great actors and great performances that never received an award - and heck, I "deserve" a Swiss bank account filled with small unmarked bills but I don't see that happening anytime soon.) I think that the whole "best actor" best this best that is so subjective as to be ridiculous. In the end I'd just as soon let them have their little dinner party where no awards are given out but they can all schmooze and clap one another on the backs for a job well done - just so long as the red carpet is still televised and I get to see what everyone was wearing in the next issue of People.


for what it's worth HOLY SMOKE! is my favorite Winslet performance (ever)... which is saying a lot.