Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ewan McGregor's Link Saber

Fin de Cinema appreciates Tilda in Julia. More people need to
Spiegel Online "we make lists because we don't want to die" Good point. But also because they're fun
In Contention the animated shorts finalist list
Movie|Line interviews Hal Holbrook for That Evening Sun. The performance of his career?

Hollywood Elsewhere asks an understandable question regarding The Twilight Saga: New Moon's box office numbers
Awards Daily wonders whether Sandra Bullock is a safer bet than previously thought for The Blind Side
Vanity Fair handicaps the Oscar race and makes a case for Fantastic Mr Fox costumes (hmmm) but falls into the age old lazy schpiel about "not enough best actresses to fill a category". I swear to god that people say this every f***ing year and it is never ever true. You just have to be willing to look at performances that people aren't talking about for various reasons: Tilda Swinton in Julia, Abbie Cornish in Bright Star, Michelle Pfeiffer in Chéri, Saoirse Ronan The Lovely Bones, Melanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds, etcetera... and that's just off the top of my head beyond the contenders that people are talking about at the moment (Bullock/Cotillard/Mirren/Mulligan/Sidibe/Streep) which already equals more than an entire shortlist can hold. The lists are always at least twice as deep as most pundits are ever willing to admit. Why is that? Why won't these blinders ever come off?

Finally, you've probably seen Forbes' list of Hollywood's most overpaid stars by now. This isn't something I think about a lot given that my favorites tend to be people whose salaries aren't reported. But I do think lists like this are problematic. They underline obvious truths (no star is foolproof... even when they stick to formula and some people are just lucky / some people are grossly overpaid because they happen to star in franchises that would be hits without them) and often obscure some real truths.

Ewan McGregor's diminishing filmography

Ewan McGregor comes in at #2. Is he grossly overpaid or is he just making films that his core audience isn't remotely interested in? I'd guess the latter or somewhere inbetween. I'm hardly an accurate judge of box office appeal -- in my world Tilda Swinton is a way bigger name/draw than Tom Cruise or Adam Sandler and the name "Pedro Almodóvar" would put more asses in seats than "Michael Bay" on opening weekend -- but I am a huge fan of McGregor's and frankly, he hasn't made a movie that I've been excited about since the twofer of Big Fish and Young Adam back in 2003. I really love him but I have little interest in seeing him play second fiddle to Renée Zellweger (Miss Potter) or Hilary Swank (Amelia) in stale prestige biographies or do ensemble work in lame Tom Hanks franchises (Angels & Demons). Ewan came to fame doing edgy, boisterous and inventive cinema (Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge!, Velvet Goldmine, The Pillow Book) and might that not still be what his base is hoping to watch him do? That won't keep him in the lap of luxury or anything but it might be more artistically satisfying.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Sasha as far as Sandra Bullock. I think that SaBu is a bigger threat to a nomination that people think

mrripley said...

I agree someone was only saying the other week we may have a surprise on our hands I assumed it maybe gyllenhall going lead but something tells me bullock is it,could she win though,mulligans heat has cooled,i hear no buzz for mirren,maybe meryl will take it for her slight supporting role or maybe it is gabby's too lose or meryl for her fall comedy

B/off helps Bullocks cause too,she is the only actress besides cameron diaz and meryl streep able to open a film and bring in decent numbers.

adelutza said...

Oh, cmon, this movie is so weak, the only thing it has going for it is Sanda Bullock indeed. But from this to an Oscar nomination is a looooong way....

Julian Stark said...

Bullock is in my top ten right now for this year's Actress race, but not even in my top five for Drama Actress at the Globes. I have Laurent in there as a surprise nominee.

Still, Bullock is starting to shape up as a contender (no joke - I'm actually believing the hype.)

Seeing The Blind Side Wednesday along with Precious (!!!) so I'll have a better outlook on it then

Iggy said...

My God! If Bullock gets nominated for an Oscar and Pfeiffer doesn't, it will be definite proof the world is coming to an end.

Really, I hope this Bullock talking gets over by ... next Thursday. I do realize she's a lovable person for many people, but she's way (but waaaay) limited as an actress. To me she's one of those actress whom you can see their craft (and mannerisms)coming miles miles away.

Some people say she won't make it because she should apologize for The Proposal and the like. But honestly, shouldn't people who bought tickets to see those movies the ones asking for forgiveness? Or at least 50/50.

Amir said...

i haven't seen sandra bullock's performance yet, and i'm not a fan of her work at all.
but i totally agree with you, i think this is actually a rich year for actresses.
i haven't even seen cornish or mirren yet and even without them, i already have a really strong personal top five.
(mulligan, streep, gainsbourg, swinton, sidibe, roughly in that order)

also, why does it feel like the talk for carey mulligan is dying down? i still like her better than gabby sidibe.

brandz said...

Nathaniel, I have to agree with you. The race for best actress is really a crowded field, so many good performances.

The reason the buzz may be dying down for Carey Mulligan is because it was not a great performance. A good performance, yes. A solid performance, yes. But it wasn't great, IMHO.

adri said...

Re: Ewan McGregor - I actually think he's conducting his career pretty well.

In those "missing" film years, he did 2 TV travel series, the Long Way Round and The Long Way Down, where he motorcycled around the world with Charlie Boorman. Those show made him an extremely popular personality in the UK. Plus, they must have been fun, adventurous, and seeing the non-celebrity world must have been personally grounding.

He also did 2 London theatres roles that got excellent response, in the musical Guys and Dolls, and as Iago in Othello. Talk about having a wide range.

Lately he's done smaller roles where he's playing American. Like Hugh Laurie, people will forget he was ever Scottish to start with. For a long range career plan, it looks like he's got it covered. Popular regular guy in British TV, name performer for all kinds of stage productions, American actor who's starting to know everybody and who will agree to play a romantic lead.


@ADRI -- i hope you're right. I just miss the old Ewan magic. His films seem so MOR now. (sigh)

@MANY OF YOU -- thanks for having my back on best actress. I get so angry and I used to think it was just terrible terrible sexism that made people say this "it's a weak year for women" thing every year. Now I've decided it's pure laziness. And tunnel vision. It's the same reason that the Academy can't notice brilliant performances outside of their comfort genres.

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

Ewan McGregor comes in at #2. Is he grossly overpaid or is he just making films that his core audience isn't remotely interested in? I'd guess the latter or somewhere inbetween.

I think it's mostly the latter since I think with McGregor, besides his hardcore fans, most of his films would have been hits or flops with someone else in them just based on the concept alone.

I think that's pretty much the same for most stars too. Sometimes their name will be a big office draw, but besides a few like probably Will Smith, Clint Eastwood, I guess Tyler Perry now, most of them can't sustain the hits unless they go the animated/kid's film route, but even that's not always foolproof.

My God! If Bullock gets nominated for an Oscar and Pfeiffer doesn't, it will be definite proof the world is coming to an end.

Well, I don't know if I would go that far, but sometimes I think if Maggie Gyllenhaal doesn't get her first nomination this year but Sandra Bullock does, then I might believe that whole 2012 thing.

Really, I hope this Bullock talking gets over by ... next Thursday. I do realize she's a lovable person for many people, but she's way (but waaaay) limited as an actress. To me she's one of those actress whom you can see their craft (and mannerisms)coming miles miles away.

I hope so too. It is tempting to jump on board because she has had a very good year, and I could see her getting a Globe and a BFCA nomination. You're right though that even though I find her highly likeable and charming, I've never associated her name with Oscar at all. I have thought about actors like Meg Ryan, Cameron Diaz, and even Bullock's frequent costar Keanu Reeves with Oscar at one time or another in their careers, but Bullock seems so limited and basically coasts on charm. She does it well mind you, but I've just never seen her really I guess "act" even in her serious movies where she was suppose to be "acting". Again, I do think she's likeable and probably as nice as everyone says about her, but I just don't see it happening unless she's in a vehicle that's built around her first and not something like The Blindside.

jessica said...

I honestly think Ewan takes roles that seem interesting to him, but a lot of them don't take. Stay, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Cassandra's Dream, Incendiary, Deception, I Love You Phillip Morris, The Men Who Stare At Goats...It's easy to say in retrospect that most of these movies aren't that great but I don't think it's fair to fault him for the choices. It's not like he's Nicolas Cage making endless National Treasure movies.
Also, there have been a lot of interesting-sounding roles that he had agreed to take but the funding keeps falling through.

He also makes movies at a slower rate these days than he did in the early years of his career, when he used to make an unsustainable 4-5 movies a year, plus numerous side projects. That means he has less chances to strike it lucky with a movie. I mean, some of his earlier roles include 'Blue Juice,' 'The Serpent's Kiss' and 'Nightwatch.'

Glenn Dunks said...

Iggy, why should Bullock apologise for The Proposal? It's my understanding that that movie is incredibly popular and that she was good in it.

Iggy said...

Glenn, I didn't say she should apologise for The Proposal. For one reason, I haven't seen the movie. And also, because I don't think stars should apologise for their careers or nobody in Hollywood would be safe.

I mentioned some people say she won't make it into the nomination because they think she should apologise for it (that is, the same way last year some people thought Hathaway's possibilities could diminish because of Bride Wars). But my point was precisely the opposite, IF someone is to apologise, responsibility should be at least half on the people making the movie and half on the people who go to see it and make it a box office hit. It is my personal standpoint that one has to take an active position. If you don't like certain kind of movies, don't go to see them so that (hopefully) Hollywood will eventually realize and stop making them. But if you go to see them and so contribute to their success, then don't blame it on someone else.

It comes to my attention that when there's a popular movie that is questioned about its quality, it seems nobody actually went to the theatre to see it. You know, the same way nobody admits to watching certain TV shows, but ratings say the opposite.

I hope I made my point more clear this time. ;)

ALEX said...

I think that Sandra Bullock never will be nominated: Horrible actress.

Oscar for Pffeifer¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ She is the best¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

For all the people who wants that Pffeifer goes nominated, write to Miramax¡¡¡

Me, and many people at the site Pffeifer the face, are writing to Miramax to push Cheri and Pffeifer.

I write to the Golden Globes too, People¡¡¡ Write for Michelle¡¡, Golden Globes Mail

ALEX said...

Melanie Laurent doen't deserve a nomination to best actress, she is only OK, but nothing more