Sunday, February 24, 2008

8th Descriptor for Elizabeth

Every 8 days in 2008 we'll celebrate the 8th something of something. Whoa, Specific!

I was going to save this until next week, since... who will care about anything other than Oscars today? But I also want to put all things 2007 behind me so here you go... Ever since Oscar nomination time I've been trying to ignore the silliest of the main honors, Cate Blanchett's 'this one goes to 11' star turn in Elizabeth the Golden Age. For the most part while the film was ravaged, her work was praised (my review). But it's not as if she doesn't share that film's impulses for excessive grandeur and bold strokes... she's just infinitely better at selling and controlling them. So while the film is stinking up living rooms across the country on DVD and Cate will undoubtedly be thrilling on the red carpet tonight, let's revisit the original.

Cate's bewitching first closeup in Elizabeth (1998), turning to the camera while dancing

The poster to The Golden Age used the tagline "Woman. Warrior. Queen." I had forgotten that the original film also preferred a grocery list of nouns as descriptors. The DVD menu opts for "Heretic. Traitor. Queen. Assassin. Lover. Outcast. Prisoner... ELIZABETH" [cue huge orchestral score]

Setting aside the informal and abundant "milady" and "madame" here's where the first eight descriptors take us. "Sister", "Heretic", "Bastard" are bandied about first as the Queens advisers try to convince her that her Elizabeth is a threat to the throne. Her arrest starts with the royal address "Princess" and ends with the common "Prisoner" [tough demotion, that] Once she realizes the gravity of her situation, Elizabeth tries more florid self-titling "True and Faithful Subject" and "Your Majesty's Most Humble Servant". This last identity she assumes for the Queen herself. The royal's response? The eighth adjectival noun...

"I see you're still a consummate actress"
Hee. That about sums it up. She's really quite terrific in that movie.


Anonymous said...

I'm loving the Film Experience love for Cate. And she should have won back then, amazing performance.

Kurtis O said...

I'm trying to remember the last time a movie I so thoroughly loved spawned a sequel I so thoroughly loathed. (It actually happens all the time, but this feels different, b/c the material is so...Oscar-bait regal?). Hmmm...
Oooh! Here's a random one: The Ring and The Ring Two - like black & white. The sequel is a nasty stain on Naomi Watts impressive filmography. Out, spot! Out!

Kurtis O said...

Now I'm gonna get flack for loving The Ring. What-ever. It's gorgeous and chilling...who cares if it makes no sense?

ryansumera said...

everyone knows "who" shouldn't have one that best actress oscar. and as great cate was in this, i still think it should have gone to fernanda montenegro.

Anonymous said...

Actually *I* wanted Gwyneth Paltrow to win that year. She gave the year's best performance by an actress in a leading role and justly won for the Oscar for it. Cate came a close second for me.


i was pretty nutso for ALLY SHEEDY in high art and HOLLY HUNTER in Living Out Loud (the latter of whom got no traction whatsoever... probably because of the lightness of the piece) and also crazy about MONTENEGRO and BLANCHETT.

J.D. said...

One of my most favorite performances in one of my most favorite films. ♥

Anonymous said...

Living Out Loud. Sigh. What a slyly entertaining movie. And Queen Latifah was fantastic.

Lets see. If we take away Paltrow's oscar and give it to Hunter, we can then take away Hunter's oscar and give it to Bassett. Then Berry wouldn't be an oscar winner today, and I think the world would be a better place.

Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't mean Cate upsets tonight in Best Actress ;)

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