Monday, January 22, 2007

Best Actress... What a World

With the posting of the Best Actress and Best Cinematography nominees the first half of the FiLM BiTCH Awards (or: my imaginary Oscar ballot) are complete. Those two categories were the hardest to decide on and while my choice for a Best Actress shortlist probably reads like a statement (in its minus two consensus) ... it's really not. This is just an honest carefully considered (one might say "obsessed over") opinion in a year that had way too many riches --of the 2005 contestants only the winner would make the lineup this year and she'd be in last place. That's how strong this year is comparatively. At any rate the Oscar choices for Best Actress will be thrilling. It'll be the most celebration worthy lineup since 1987. Best in 20 years = not too shabby.

Re: Winslet. I know she has legions of fans. I'm one of them, a die hard. But before you descend with pitchforks and torches, remember this: if I ran the world she'd have already won two Oscars. So put down those torches. Wouldn't you rather live in that world?

Regarding my off-consensus choices. I couldn't part with either no matter how many times I rethought. One terrified me and the other bewitched me in ways I still can't completely figure but felt like I should acknowledge for her staying power in my heart.

P.S. I'll fill in the last few "scene" and "character" prizes for the 7th annual Film Bitch Awards in the next week with medalists in all categories to be announced on February 5th, 2007.

Final Oscar Predictions very soon.


c.p. iñor said...

Wow... I completely agree with you, 2006 was great for actresses, and I love your choices (except I haven't see Inland Empire) I wish there would be space for 10 nominees.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Way to go with the Mol nod; there should have been many, many more of those during awards season.

I'm not nearly as impressed with this year's Oscar lineup as you are—since 1987, I liked 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 2000, and 2004 better, at the very least. But after the low tide of last year, things look much better. And in any case, the FilmBitch list is a solid improvement on what Oscar's will be. (After I see Inland Empire this week, I'm hoping to agree even more strongly!)

Anonymous said...

What upsets me the most is not Dern and Mol being nominated but all the people /I'd like to name them but I won't/ going nuts for your lists.
And I wonder what did you mean by calling Jennifer Hudson's performance "a surface"?

Anonymous said...

Another interesting thing... "Pan's Labyrinth" is a semi-finalist for cinematography. I understand that you didn't want to give a nomination to Rodrigo Prieto /he got silver last year/, but... "The Departed" and "Marie Antoinette" over "Pan's Labyrinth"...? Don't be ridiculous. We already know you love both "Marie..." and "The Departed", that's enough.

Amy said...

Okay, fine. Thanks to your cute little "forgive me, Winslet fans", I like your lineup. With the exception of Meryl.

Anonymous said...

No Winslet :(
She got a pic + shout out from Nat so I'll live.

Can't believe you snubbed Mirren. Whoa.

And man... the winner seems like its gonna be a fight to the death between Streep and Dench.

Anonymous said...

My Nominees for the Best Actress in a Leading Role 2006:

Helen Mirren – THE QUEEN

My Nominees for the Best Cinematography of 2006:

APOCALYPTO – Dean Semler
BABEL – Rodrigo Prieto
THE BLACK DAHLIA – Vilmos Zsigmond
CHILDREN OF MEN – Emmanuel Lubezki

c.p. iñor said...

And I tought Danny Perea was going to be in your supporting actress shortlist... or at least in the finalists.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... Rather live in the world where she has 2 Oscars and STILL gets nominated for Little Children (ahead of Moll or Dern).

But seriously, this is all about the Mirren snub we saw coming months off.

Oy oy oy!



Nick wow. you think THAT little of this year's expected crop? 2004 was AMAZING but for Swank and since she won and I much prefer Mirren's upcoming win to Swank's second. I have to love this year more. And 2000 had Binoche. ewwwww.

(p.s. love binoche in many things: not in that one)

in other news: i have lost my mind i think. between all this blogging, predicting and more of same tomorrow.

someone help me...

P.S. i expect the Dern thing won't be so surprising to people once they see that movie. She's just bizarre in it but Lynch obviously needs special central performances to make his work as memorable as it often is and he usually gets them.

c.p. Perea is part of the film's ensemble nod at least ;) same goes for the missing departed, sunshine, and volver people. in all cases I think the whole is greater than the individual parts... which is why they're perfect for ensemble prizes.

DL said...

JUDI! GRETCHEN! PENELOPE! LAURA! Awesome picks. But Meryl again? I just don't see what's so special about her The Devil Wears Prada portrayal.

And there's just no way this year's Best Actress Oscar lineup is as good as 1996's. Watson, McDormand, Blethyn, Keaton and Thomas make for a real tough bunch to beat.

J.D. said...

You hypocritical bastard! Sorry.

You have the He-She Devil battling with Bening in 1999?!?!?!?!?!?

What is wrong with you?!?!?!?


Oh, and Happy 34th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade! 34 years, and it still isn't that withstanding!


NicksFlickPicks said...

1995 and 1996 are my faves in the years I listed. I think those are pretty stellar years, even though I wish Emma were there for Carrington instead of S&S.

Everyone this year is preferable to Binoche in '00, but then, I don't think anyone is up to the level of Roberts or Linney that year... and even though I personally thought Burstyn overdid it in Requiem, I still think it's more exciting work than what Mirren or Winslet or Dench or even Streep got up to this year. I'd even take Swank in MDB over Winslet in Little Children (don't stop taking my calls, Nathaniel!), and when you bounce those weakest lengths, the remaining four in 2004 had it all over this year's crew, in my view. I see this year's predicted field as a list of above-average turns that don't feel incredibly remarkable, or incredibly beyond the expected skill level of these actresses. Many of them are refreshingly different project choices for these women—Dench loosening up and firing away, Streep doing understated and imperious comedy, Cruz (my fave) looking so relaxed and humane on screen—but I can't say that they had as much impact on me as performances as I would have liked. Cruz is the only one with a shot at my final five.

Anonymous said...

Gretchen Mol was unreal as Bettie Page. Thank you for recognizing her, Nat. I wish she were a surprise nomiminee tomorrow morning in spite of the great likely line-up.

Paxton Hernandez said...

Great to see Mol and the great Laura Dern upthere! Can't wait for them to see their films!

My ballot for Best Actress in a Leading Role:

*Kate Beckinsale for Underworld: The Evolution
*Valeria Bruni-Tedeshi for 5 x 2
*Ellen Page for Hard Candy
*Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada
*Charlize Theron for North Country

adam k. said...

Wow, I didn't realize you loved Gretchen Mol THAT much... like as much as Joan Allen? Wow. I should see her film. It is weird that she didn't even get an indy spirit or globe nod for this.

And I thought you wouldn't nominate Dern when you said Inland Empire wasn't her best work. You just didn't seem all that enthusiastic about her. But I guess I'll be seeing that one, too, soon enough.

Sad about Winslet.

Glenn Dunks said...

Aagh, I shoulda known you'd pick Laura Dern. Other than that I got 4/5! I totally knew you would go for Mol.

I'm still just so glad you're actually nominating The Black Dahlia for stuff. I still haven't gotten an answer from Dave Poland, despite numerous askings, as to why he thinks that movie is DePalma's ugliest and worst looking film. Like... huh?

Anon 1.57, huh? Why are you upset that people like Nathaniel's opinion? 'tev.


on my initial Dern reaction: what happened was I was looking for a coherent character creation ---like what you normally expect from a best actress candidate so i had to get over my ideas of what i was looking for and take it for what it was. possibly would've been a failure as a performance if it was a standard portrait of a specific woman. -- or at least that's my theory right now ;)

regardless she has a freaky ass monologue that beats anything Mirren is up to in The Queen ... and that's just one scene. so says me.

but again. I like THE QUEEN I just haven't been reacting to it as strongly as others. And I think Mirren has been better elsewhere: for instance her work in Gosford Park (to me) packed more of an emotional wallop and she had a lot less to work with. If they'd have given her the Oscar then (instead of Jenniferzzzzzz Connelly we wouldn't be having this Queen sweep this year --at least not to this degree. I don't think I've seen anything like it in my time of awards watching. Even PSH last year lost a few battles.


Bruno: tell me you're joking on Beckinsale (Bruni Tedeshi i'm fine with --good stuff)

Anonymous said...

"If I had a ballot"...

1 Meryl Streep
2 Helen Mirren
3 Judi Dench
4 Penelope Cruz
5 Kate Winslet

Isn't this (give or take a reversal in the top 2) pretty much every Academy voter's ballot?



probably, rob, probably.

the only possible shock thing that could happen in best actress is if the ballots are too similar and the skewed rankings (with Mirren hogging to many) throw someone out for a dark horse with a tiny #1 balloting mania.

but it makes me crazy to even try to figure out the hierarchial balloting thing... but it's obviously what led to things like City of God getting major nominations.

Yaseen Ali said...

All I needed to see was Gretchen there - Bravo, Nathaniel.


"I'd even take Swank in MDB over Winslet in Little Children..." - Nick Davis.


Anonymous said...

But what about Sandra Huller (REquiem)? Or Isabelle Huppert (Gabrielle)? Or Julia Jentsch (Sophie Scholl)? Nick, I'm surprised you consider this a weak year with those three perfs.

Anonymous said...

This year was definitely a heartbreaker. My own list looks like yours except switch Mol for Dunst. Then sometimes I want to get rid of Cruz for Mol, or Dench for Mol, or Streep for Mol. Or Dern for Mol. Dunst is my only constant (and my personal favorite). Then there's Gyllenhaal, Huller, Jentsch, Mirren, and Lee, who have all figured into my list at one point of another. I loved Winslet, too, but even she was lesser than those I just listed.

Beau said...

Ellen Page - Hard Candy
Penelope Cruz - Volver
Ivana Baquero - Pan's Labyrinth
Kate Winslet - Little Children
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal

(Note: I love the Streep, but she missed it here by a hair. Mirren I need to watch again, it's been since early October that I've seen that film.)

OhMyTrill said...

So excited to see Laura Dern on the list...its my fav performance of the year, and I haven't seen the film yet.

Sid said...

I can understand the Winslet snubbing -- it was a crazy year. I briefly considered moving Streep and/or Bening to supporting -- but then decided against it. I had Epps in supporting anyway (which really is a borderline case).

But I'm as yet undecided as far as my ballot is concerned cause it's just too damn difficult.

But I'm glad you included Dern -- I love that performance more than most -- in fact, it's my favorite in the category this year. But good choices, overall.

NicksFlickPicks said...

@Anon 9:54pm: I don't consider it a weak year in general, especially not when you bring in the un-Oscarables like Huppert and Hüller. I was commenting on the (presumed) Oscar roster for Best Actress and comparing it to other Best Actress rosters from other years, which is what I think Nathaniel was doing, too.

@Ali: Don't think I haven't noticed that I haven't had a word from Nathaniel since I said that about Hilary and Kate. Is he going to Photoshop horns and a tail onto me, too? Who can know........

J.D. said...

Anon@9:54 - " Or Julia Jentsch (Sophie Scholl)? I'm surprised you consider this a weak year with th[is] perf. "



Actually, IMO, it was a very full race. At least in drama. M/C was dull and lifeless and it was hard finding nominees for it. These are mine to this point (chances are, for the thousandth time, they'll change):

Helen Mirren, The Queen
Radha Mitchell, Mozart and the Whale
Gretchen Mol, The Notorious Bettie Page
Ellen Page, Hard Candy

Even as Movie nerds, you've only heard of four of those movies, admit it.

And the biggest star of them is Helen Mirren, who is famous to most people only know for the awards stampede. Am I right or am I right?

J.D. said...


Srry, I have to add that in. [smiles wide and runs]

J.D. said...

Oh, and cinematography:

Babel (Rodrigo Prieto)
Children of Men (Emmanuel Lubeski)
Marie Antoinette (Lance Acord)
The Promise (Peter Pau)
The Queen (Affonso Beato)

To explain The Queen, the sweeping shots got to me. The visual beauty of the British Isles from the modernized London and beautifully crafted [by God in place] Thames river, to the rolling hills of Scotland and Ireland, the vast green plains, and, of course, Kate Winslet and Keira Knightley. LOL. Seriously. Put a picture of Kate Winslet vs. a picture of the White Cliffs of Dover, and who wins? Exactly.

Back on topic. I LOVE the sweeping shots, the one long, non-edited shot. That's why Children of Men has the best chance of winning. BRAVO, Emmanuel! BRAVO! First The New World, and now this! A 1-2 punch of polar oppisites of beauty.

And the way the images were [back on The Queen] created and beautified was just breathtaking. Especially the scene where E is driving in the forest and the SUV gets stuck in the river. Just a beautiful shot. And the deer. The deer did it for me.

Well, you're getting bored and my brain hurts.

Anonymous said...

GREAT ACTRESS NOMINEES... sad for winslet and Mirren, but that's life!
I really hope Meryl will be a double medalist, golden medalist, at least once, I hope...
Congratulations Nat...

Anonymous said...

Why is Kidman for Fur not even a semi-finalist ?