Oscar History

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"This genre gives actresses some really juicy lines and roles,but denies them the acclaim that comes from more 'serious' roles.Kidder was a gifted actress who was indelible in a few films."-Lady Edith

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Entries in Martha Marcy May Marlene (12)

Jun 18 2014

Beauty Break: Bewitched Elizabeth Olsen

Flaunt magazine,which always has amazing photoshoots of gorgeousity,is featuring Elizabeth Olsen right about now witha profile articleanda photoshoot.I've been smitten sincethat eery girl-without-a-center performance inMartha Marcy May Marlenebut it didn't hurt that when I met her on the Oscar campaign trail that year she was even more beautiful (skin of creamy flawlessness) and we talked Michelle Pfeiffer since she's also a pfan.But I digress...

These days she doesn't have to wait for her phone to ring with movie roles though we've yet to see a role or performance from her as stellar as that quadruple named indie breakthrough.[More...]

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Jan 03 2012

Best of Year Pt 3: Nathaniel's Top Ten List

Best of Year Pt 1: Thirty-two flavors and then some.2011 Treasures,guilty and otherwise.
Best of Year Pt 2:Tree of Life,Midnight in Paris,Young Adult,Pariah,The Housemaid,Shame.


And so we reach the top ten list about which I endured my usual personal angst until I finally gave up the flip flopping,the future hindsight worrying and all the old ways and accepted the new sabremetrics of the game since I had accidentally shoved 11 films in.I ran out of time outs and it was either hit publish or forfeit my chance to play this beloved listing game.

MONEYBALL(Bennett Miller)
Columbia Pictures.September 23rd.
Who knew that a film about sports strategies and mathematic calculations -- two things I personally find enormously difficult to understand and care about even less -- could be so stirring?Thank the typically sharp writing of Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian,the assured unfussy direction from Bennett Miller who really knows his way around these sharply focused biographies (see alsoCapote) and an intensely pleasurable star turn from a perfectly cast Brad Pitt as a former golden boy trying to up his own game before his time runs out.

CERTIFIED COPY(Abbas Kiarostami)
IFC.March 11th.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder,than so to is the worth of any piece of art,whether it's a bonafide original or a copy.The worth of Kiarostami's dizzying intellectual game of a movie will vary greatly from viewer to viewer depending on whether they think the movie transcends its intellectual exercize.It's worth may even vary from screening to screening.For example,the first time I saw it I was riveted by the dialogue and Binoche's face though I thought it outstayed its welcome but the second time I was slightly annoyed with its archly comic tonal shift late in the film but also more impressed with its visual intricacies.Certified Copyspends a day in Tuscany with a weary antique shop owner (the exquisite Juliette Binoche as "She"--her character is never named) and an author by the name of James Miller (opera star William Schimmel).They are ostensibly strangers and their conversation about originals and copies (the subject of Miller's book) gives way to an increasingly complicated sense that the two of them are either play-acting at being lovers or are actually estranged spouses whose current union is a disappointingly inferior fascimile of its original form.

Fox Searchlight.October 21st

Martha Marcy May Marlene

With Lizzie,John Hawkes,Durkin's Team
A Perfectly Titled Time Machine
Martha Marcy May Marlene


[Review,Interview,Comic Strip]

BRIDESMAIDS(Paul Feig) Universal.May 13th
MELANCHOLIA(Lars von Trier) Magnolia.November 11th
You're invited to a wedding.Don't start throwing rice yet.They're meant to be happy events but god do they try the patience.Especially when the bride or maid of honor is enormously depressed -- apocalyptically depressed even!

Brides,drivers and romantic troubles after the jump...

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Dec 20 2011

Interview: Sean Durkin on "Martha Marcy May Marlene"

Oscar ballots hit the post office one week from today but movies often live well beyond the confines of awards season if they're any good.

One film that I suspect will be vying for the great honor of Best Future Shelf Life,with or without Oscar nominations,is Sean Durkin's cult dramaMartha Marcy May Marlene.Durkin was recently named one of Forbes "30 Under 30"and a week ago the prestigiousLos Angeles Film Critics Associationnamed the creative team the recipients of this year's "New Generations"award.It's one of the best critical calls this season;who wouldn't be eager to see what this team comes up with next?

I spoke to Durkin recently about his debut feature which hits BluRay and DVD on February 21st,2012.That happens to be one week before the Oscars but let's not get hung up on dates since Martha herself never knows what time it is.亚博主页

There are no clocks or calendars in those places.People totally lose track of time..."

The FYC Original Screenplay shipped to votersSo Durkin tells me while discussing his research for the film and interviews he'd had with former cult members like the fictional Martha."They don't remember anything about the first couple of weeks.But they get flashes and then they remember lying to everyone about where they've been.They're always paranoid."Piecing together the past when your identity has been systemically reprogrammed is difficult work. The decision to crosscut between the past and present,Martha never quite able to keep them separate,seemed like the only way to go."It just made sense to me"

The challenging movie favors ambiguity in its storytelling.The writer/director laughs when asked which question he most hates getting during the ambiguous-averse tradition of Q&As.(He's been promoting the movie for nearly a year now,starting at Sundance,and I figure he's heard some doozies.)

That's an original question!Whatever people feel when they're watching it or if they walk out,it's all fine."

[Ambiguity,That Title and What's Next?after the jump]

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Dec 08 2011

"Speak as you might to a small child or golden retriever"

This past week I've become concerned with the awards prospects ofShame(is Carey Mulligan going to win anything?) andMartha Marcy May Marlene(which I loved) on account of its loss of every breakthrough actress and best first film contests thus far (in the admittedly young awards season.)

I began to wonder if the problem wasn't the constant withholding of the comfort food that is exposition.So I put in my screener toMargin Call,which keeps beatingMMMMto prizes and while I enjoyed the film,I was immediately struck at the ginormous difference in verbosity.One movie tells you everything through it's play-like dialogue.The other tells you only so much and nearly always through its visuals.

So I wrote about ambiguity vs.directness in my Oscar column for Fandor.

There's even an infographic!Apparently I believe in both showing AND telling.

Nov 29 2011

Spirit Awards: "Take Shelter"& "The Artist"Lead the Nominees

TheNew York Film Critics Circle isn't even finished with its announcements yetand now we've got The Spirit Award nominations.They have the longest lag time between nominations and ceremony since they aren't even held until the day before the Oscars.亚博主页Like the NYFCC they've been swerving ever closer to Oscar over the years,often championing a runner-up type of candidate like,say,SidewaysorBlack Swan.That could be good news forThe ArtistorThe Descendantsthis year depending on which takes the lead in the Oscar race.Though if you believe the nomination tallies here this could be a very big night forTake Shelter.

50/50 (3 noms total) -review
Beginners (4 noms total) -review
Drive (3 noms total) -review
Take Shelter (5 noms total)
The Artist (5 noms total) -review
The Descendants (4 noms total)

I'm super fond of ½ of this lineup and whenever you're super fond of ½ a lineup you should smile.Perhaps unsurprisingly,given the way awards season is aiming to go,The Descendantsis my least favorite from their preferred lineup.


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Nov 11 2011

Actressland: "Martha Marcy May Marlene