Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Return

No not that silly horror flick --Me, Nathaniel. I'm back. Did you miss me? Before I hurl myself back into the relentless demands of blogging and awards season, I need to say a huge gracias to me blogpals Gabriel (Modern Fabulousity), JA (My New Plaid Pants), and Catherine (I Am Screaming… ) for their service in my time of need. Go and visit their excellent blogs!

This is how badly I needed that break: The night before I was to hand over the reigns, I had a dream in which I was writing an article about the Supporting Actress Oscar Category [and yes those predictions need to be updated] with info on various would-be competitors. No matter whose photo I tried to insert into the article, be it Jennifer Hudson, Abigail Breslin, Vera Farmiga, Cate Blanchett, whomever --All of the photos, once published, looked like this:

Now, nothing against George Lucas (well…) but that ain’t right! That was a grade A nightmare and it went on forever. All jpegs transformed themselves into pics of Mr. I Spit On Your Childhood Memories of Star Wars Lucas. I am happy to report that upon my return today, photoshop and dreamweaver have not called out sick and seem eager to please me.

Before my nightmare becomes yours, here’s a prettier picture to look at: Emily Blunt in The Devil Wears Prada.

This woman is not really in the running for an Oscar nomination but, damn it, she sure should be. I know a turn that's elevating a movie, adding punchlines, and improving on the script when I see one.

So I'm back fully rested and I hope that the short hiatus has prepared me for the next month of collective Eastwood (sigh. again?) and Gibson (argh. i can't escape) drooling and whatever else that unfortunate obsession o' mine (The Oscars) decides to throw at me.

What a world...


Brian Darr said...

Welcome back, Nathaniel!

It looks like my local film society just sold its soul to the Sith Lord himself; the first announcement of next year's 50th annual International Film Festival is that they're giving an award to the guy who made "Mitichlorian" a household curseword. I mean, I grew up loving the original Star Wars like everybody, but it just gives me the creeps, you know. This is where I'm supposed to get my annual fix of off-the-beaten-path films from France, Argentina, Iran, etc!

Oh well, I guess I can look on the bright side: he's not being awarded for his skill as a director.

Beau said...

Welcome back.

Please start hating on the unnecessary Eastwood hype, would you please? :(

Joe R. said...

Welcome back! And just in time!

RC said...

i too was impressed with emily blunt in devil wears prada.

and now devil wears prada picking up a NBR top 10...who would have thought it.

--RC of

Glenn Dunks said...

Yay! Welcome back. I need some spitefully acidic comments about Eastwood stat. There's way too much praising going on.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I'm going to wait till Letters rolls in, but Flags of Our Fathers was almost unbelievably mediocre. Karmically, it just doesn't feel like Eastwood should be a factor this year, but I'm willing to be surprised.

Maybe I'm just feeling hyper-resistant because I saw The Departed again today, and I really think it's a terrific movie.

And I'll go on record, even though that don't matter a thing: I don't see anyone but Scorsese winning the Director prize this year.

adam k. said...

But Nick, isn't that exactly what everyone thought in 2004?

I think you hit the nail on the head when you say "karmically, Eastwood shouldn't be a factor" but people love him to bizarre extents. I'm actually not Marty's biggest fan either, but come on, just give him one already; it's time. I don't think Babs saying "I'm so happy to be giving you this again, Clint" at this year's ceremony again would go over quite so well.

I dunno, maybe Eastwood will just get double-nominated and cancel himself out? I feel like maybe that's the best we can hope for...

adam k. said...

In other news: (sigh) Only a B+ for Pan's Labyrinth?

I thought it might be that mythical "A" film.

Alright, Inland Empire, it's all up to you...

But Nat, on that note, I'd recommend seeing The Fountain again. Like most great films, it just gets better the second time around.

Anonymous said...

If I were giving out the best director Oscar this year...

... keeping in mind that I live in Australia, so I've not been blessed with Babel, The Fountain and others...

... I would give it to any of:
- Michael Winterbottom - TRISTRAM SHANDY
- Paul Greengrass - UNITED 93
- Christopher Nolan - THE PRESTIGE

Martin Scorsese, Alfonso Cuaron and Michael Mann make the strong-but-flawed film list.

Actually... maybe I'd give it to Shyalaman for LADY IN THE WATER. Just becuase I'm curious where his ego-as-art could possibly go from here... ;)


adam, i thought you didn't like the fountain?

nick --i concur. i don't see Marty losing either regardless of the BP winner.

oh and I've given up --no A films this year. I'm ready for 2007! NOW.

Sid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lucas Dantas said...

Welcome baaaack!! And thanks for Emily, that sure lightened up my day.


Anonymous --shyamalan? ego as art encouraged!? omg... that's the most perverse thing i've heard all week. ;)

Yaseen Ali said...

Emily looks heavenly in that photo.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel - I'm the Shyamalan suggester (also the fellow who sends you boring film music info every now and then ;) )... Just think about it - the question I'm asking after LADY IN THE WATER is 'how much more self-absorbed could his next movie be?' If he turns it up, the explosion could be incredible...

Craig Hickman said...

I found "The Departed" to be gratuitously violent. I didn't dig it.

If Martin loses again, I won't be shocked. He appears to have a fetish for violence.

Anonymous said...

Better a ...Prada nomination for Blunt than for the eternally overrated Streep.

Yaseen Ali said...

"If Martin loses again, I won't be shocked. He appears to have a fetish for violence."

HAH. You should watch Apocalypto. Better yet, don't.

Yaseen Ali said...

"If Martin loses again, I won't be shocked. He appears to have a fetish for violence."

HAH. You should watch Apocalypto. Better yet, don't.

jbnyc said...

Hey Nathaniel,

Such competition this year. Just wanted to say I thought Emily Blunt was fantastic from the moment she uttered "This must be HR's idea of a joke" to the Hermes scarf explosion/car/pedestrian collision on Madison Avenue. What a fun role.

Haven't seen Kate in Notes on a Scandal, and probably won't, and just as an aside I don't understand why she bothered taking the role she did in Babel, where she was used basically as a prop. Maybe it was my residual memory from last winter as her Hedda Gabler at BAM which makes me conspire against her. Plus she just got one last year and I though she was great as Hepburn. Not to mention most of the gals can't hold a candle her her (fashion-intelligence wise) on the red carpet. But that's another award.

Abigail is very worthy in a great part, with that beautifully played scene with her brother which required hardly any dialogue to convey her feelings, which is quite a screen acting feat for a child. And that priceless striptease. She'll always be in my mind when I hear "Super Freak".

I definitely see Jill Clayburgh getting a nomination again, which would be nice, as like you said, it was nice to see her back on the screen. And her most unglamourous turn as Agnes was great and totally different than I would have thought someone would interpret that role.

Probably won't see World Trade Center anytime soon, but I think Ms. Gyllenhaal is accumulating a great resume with plenty of good roles (did she get nominated for Secretary? I don't remember). I still remember her from the very thin Mona Lisa Smile, where I thought she outshone all of her co-stars in a performance I don't remember anyone picking up on(sorry, Nathaniel, I thought that was Kirsten's nadir, but I adore her in most everything else).

Haven't seen Volver yet or Stranger than Fiction, but I happen to think both these actresses are fine in most anything they do. Plus I have a soft spot for Emma for writing and starring in Nanny McPhee - thought that was adorable. Hey speaking of that film, how about Celia Imire as Mrs. Quickly for a nomination? I thought her characterization as a clown-face pushy strumpet after Colin Firth was absolutely hysterical. But maybe it was just her in that wonderful interior set of her cottage.

I was quite taken with Vera Farmiga. And, I think you're right, there was some kind of gap in the writing that I can't put my finger on. But, I thought the role was very well played and the fact that someone in the mental health field working as a shrink is in denial about the mess in her own life and blinded by Matt Damon's charm is very true to life. I also had the opportunity to see the new Anthony Mingellla film (don't remember the name of it and it was okay, but flawed) at a screening a few weeks ago and she had a great little part as a Russian prostitute befriending Jude Law. The film is problematic, but she's one of the comic bright points. And she looks nothing like she does in "The Departed". I hadn't seen any of her previous indie films but I did happen to catch an article in a recent Interview (I know I must be the last person in Manhattan who reads it still) and was quite impressed with her intelligence and integrity as an actor.

Sort of looking forward to seeing "Dreamgirls" mostly for the reason that the night I saw it on B'way (when was that - 1981?) either Jennifer Holliday had already left the production or there was an understudy. That's basically one of the worst while slip experiences in a Playbill that I've ever experienced. I think she was out sick that night, 'cause Sheryl Lee Ralph was still playing Deana (Deena?). Anyway then Holliday's replacement got sick BEFORE the end of the first act and HER understudy went on. She wasn't even hefty and I had to listen to her sing "And I Am Telling You" which closes Act I. Ugh. And she sucked, no Ruby Keeler story here. I get pissed remembering it now. So, I'm not really into this because of Beyonce being in it, only because she's gorgeous but vapid. And I don't expect to see a "Lady Sings The Blues" caliber performance from her anytime soon. And Jamie Foxx is just starting to get on my nerves. But I'm sure this gal Jennifer Hudson is good in it (even though I think American Idol is the beginning of the end of the breakdown of decent TV programming forever). Plus I'm not too crazy about her recent anti-gay comments despite the fact she may have been misquoted. But I digress.

Finally, for me this year there should be a winning tie for this category and it should go to Barazza and Kicuchi for their amazing acting in Babel. A movie that's a noble mess of a film by a terrific director (what did the review in the New Yorker say? Something like the most talented director making the most frustrating film). These two performances just ripped my heart out, and if I had to list an absolute favorite, I guess it would have to be Barazza. Just incredible work, a fantastic casting coup.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for reading, if you got through it.



john welcome.

no Maggie has never been nominated. which is why this year would be good. but the problem for Magggie and Oscar is picking which role and are any of them alone, really nominatable given the films and whatnot?

sorry about your Dreamgirls experience.

the worst understudy experience i had was probably for Wonderful Town in that Donna Murphy (the star) actually left at intermission so her understudy had to finish the musical. Very awkward. The understudy had a terrific voice but I just felt terrible for her because the audience was none too pleased with that strange Lynchian moment.

wait now there's a different person in the same role?