Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Ecstasy of Madame de Tourvel

[i'm on vacation so a prerecorded note on today's blog event...]

Madame de Tourvel may have found previously unknown pleasure in the arms of her cruel lover Valmont but her ecstasy was short-lived in Dangerous Liaisons, the best film of 1988. The field of Oscar supporting actress nominees was almost entirely newbies that year but Pfeiffer (The Madame in question) suffered a little death there as well when she lost the Oscar to Geena Davis. I'm guessing Michelle de Tourvel's fate doesn't improve in this month's Supporting Actress Smackdown over @ StinkyLulu's... but you'll have to click over to find out. As will I (it's a nail biter to the actual contributors too)

To whet your appetite for that Smackdown rematch, here's five minutes of retro '88 pleasure with Sigourney Weaver, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Davis and Pfeiffer:

Uploaded by nathanielr


John T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

A nice field. I'd have picked the unnominated Elizabeth Perkins for Big, but of the 5, still Davis for me.

LOVE the clip ending!


Neel Mehta said...

What a strong field. They don't make 'em like that anymore, it seems.

I think Weaver should have won, but in retrospect, maybe Pfeiffer deserved it for NOT parlaying that role into a pregnancy like Meg Tilly and Reese Witherspoon.

NicksFlickPicks said...

...though perhaps not for want of trying. She did get bruised by the press for having an affair with Malkovich (who was married at the time).

Neel Mehta said...

Whoa, really?

Then what is it about those 2 roles? It's really unusual, even for Hollywood.

I should've suggested Valmont's story for my high school play...


didnt malkovich also have an affair with uma?

or am i remembering it incorrectly since Uma did have a rather strange lovelife early on (remember gary oldman?)

c.p. iñor said...

I love Michelle Pfeiffer and I love this particular performance, but I don't think she should have won the Oscar for it (she should've for White Oleander, Batman Returns, The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Age of Innocence), I would have give it to Sigweavie.

Anonymous said...

This was the film that led to the affair that ended Malkovich's marriage to Glenn Headley, or as we call it here in the ugly community, The Civil War.

Unknown said...

I thought for sure that Sigourney would win that year, even though Cusak was wonderful. I loved Gina in that role and don't think she's found anything since that suits her quirky talents as well. My big problem with that win remains that Gina's role was clearly a leading one. Gina was only nominated for supporting because she wasn't well known enough for the leading category. She should have won for Best Breakthrough Performance or something, and Best Supporting should have gone to Sigourney. Sig was nominated twice that year and still went home empty handed.

Anonymous said...

I recently saw The Accidental Tourist and thought two things - first that I agree with Sam and Geena's perf was more the lead actress than supporting (Kathleen Turner I would have called supporting), and second, that it didn't seem Oscar-worthy to me. I could see too many of the seams in that perf, as if she was trying to hard, especially when compared to William Hurt's quietly effective, barely-there subtleties (but then again, the Academy is rarely interested in subtleties.)It hardly compares with her perf in Thelma and Louise, for which she should have won Best Supporting - just watch the "something's turned over in me" scene in T&L. Magnificent stuff.

Liasons was one of my favorite films back in the day and remained so for some time (I haven't seen it in several years) but Michelle's performance seemed the weakest to me of the major perfs. Again, you could see the seams, the effort a little too much. Maybe I'm confusing the discomfort she felt in the role with the discomfort her character felt in the situation, however, so I'm willing to cut her some slack.

Thanks for the reminder of Elizabeth Perkins in Big, Rob. I loved that movie and loved her performance in it - her parting scene with Tom Hanks lingers, creating it's own bittersweet melody within another of my favorite films.

And it astonishes me that Sigourney continues to go Oscarless. *sigh*


StinkyLulu said...

While Davis is clearly the closest thing The Accidental Tourist has to a female lead, her screentime puts her smack dab in Supporting Actress territory.

Geena's stats for this perf:
approximately 29 minutes and 30 seconds of screentime; 31 scenes; roughly 25% of film's total running time.

See the Supporting Actress Archive at my site for further context and comparison.


also satin it's very weird to call Geena a lead in TOURIST and then supporting in THELMA ---she IS thelma... say what?!

but at any rate. it's kind of wierd that Geena came in LAST place in the poll when she was the winner. has that happened before at the smackdown? i'm too lazy to look it up

Anonymous said...

//it's very weird to call Geena a lead in Tourist and then supporting in Thelma//

Good point, Nat, (although I didn't call Geena lead for Tourist, or am I misunderstanding your post?) but the problem of course is a tricky one with Thelma and Louise - Louise (Susan Sarandon - who should have won an Oscar for T&L, not the saintly nun in Dead Men Walking. She barely had to break a sweat in that film - how did it stretch her abilities or the concept of them? It rather froze them into the image of "Saint Susan" she's had to play against ever since.) Louise is the protagonist, the one with the complicated backstory, the one who's actions (shooting the rapist) propel the story, and the one whose past determines where they do or don't go (as in "get to Mexico without going through Texas.) But she's the protagonist only by a smidge. This is a case where it was truly teamwork and Oscar ought to invent awards that acknowledge ensemble acting - even if, in this case, the ensemble is only two people.

But acting awards are a funny thing anyway. They honor the individuals when films are amoung the most collaborative of arts, and no one person can do their job without all the other team members, onscreen or off. Name any performance, and except in cases where a single performance stands out in an otherwise awful film, no praise-worthy perf that comes to mind would be what it was without the input of the director, the other actors, all the collaborators in the situation.