Oscar History

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Great Moments in Horror Actressing: Margot Kidder

"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

"She won a Genie for it - because Canadians have great taste!"-Mike in Canada

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Entries in Paprika Steen (5)

Sep 14 2018

TIFF Quickies with Gael García Bernal,Paprika Steen and more...

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival

Herewith very quick notes on five new films from world cinema,some with stars you'll recognize,that deserve lengthier word counts.That said,we're a week behind with TIFF reviews so we have to crank them out somehow -- better short-takes than no takes at all!

The ever prolific Gael García Bernal continues to be a gift to world cinema.He has a small role inThe Kindergarten Teacher(which...more on later) but fully carriesMuseo,a restless gem from Mexico.The movie begins with a formative father and son memory and memorable newsreel footage of an ancient statue being hauled across Mexico as a prized museum acquisition.Years later in 1985,the son Juan Nunez (García Bernal),or "Shorty,"as his often derisive family calls him,remains obsessed with the story and robs the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City of 140 more mobile pre-Hispanic pieces...

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Mar 08 2013

It's International Women's Day !

I had so many different ideas with which to celebrate today that I didn't manage to get any of them done.It's a typical problem when you have more ideas than time and when indefatigable ambition meets easily exhaustable execution.So herewith...a few off the cuff LISTS celebrating actresses that work primarily outside of the English language that are every bit as good and sometimes a whole lot better than their American/English/Aussie counterparts who get the bulk of attention in the global market.

The gold standard here is always Deneuve."Catherine Deneuve"...go ahead,sound it out.The name itself just reverberates with glamour but the razzle dazzle of her international celebrity is hardly the reason she's the gold standard.She's also got a filmography that would be the envy of any actor who cares about cinema beyond their own image and though she'll turn 70 this fall,she's still challenging herself.Frankly,if you look at some of the work she did in the past dozen years or so (Dancer in the Dark,Potiche,Pola X,Beloved,8 Women,A Christmas Tale,etcetera) other actresses her age are slacking...

10 Foreign Film Actresses Most Likely To Get Me in the Movie Theater

Paprika Steenmultiple actressy lists after the jump!

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Jan 09 2012

This &That: Makeup Finals,Foreign Beauties,Rule Changes

So I spent all of last night exuberantly "Oh No You Maggie Smith'nt!"* with friends over the 2 hour season premiere ofDownton Abbey.Then I spent the better part of today at a table full of Oscar voters picking their brains (in a polite conversational way,mind you) at a luncheon forThe Artist.More on both of those events soon but between last night and today,so many OscarQuakes or at least golden tremors.

*joke stolen from Patton Oswalt

Let's discuss four of themimmediately!

1.Hunger Gamesbeauty Jennifer Lawrence will announce the Oscar nominations.
Usually people dress somewhat sedately for that super AM event but we're hoping Jennifer pulls out another one of those va va voom numbers she kept finding for last year's awards circus.The nomination event happens so early in the morning and if Jennifer wears skin tight white or form fitting red again,that's better than a pot of steaming coffee as an eye opener.

P.S.Is the publicity team behindHunger Gamesthe hardest working team in showbiz?You know this is all part of that evil world domination blitz.

2.Documentary Rule Changes
Michael Moore and others proposed someOscar Rule changesto the Academy and they've been adopted.The most controversial one,which we're totally fine with,involves requiring a review from the Los Angeles or the New York Times.The idea behind this rule is that the papers have a policy of reviewing each film that opens for a full week engagement.But it seems silly to stipulate that a review is required when the whole point is to get the movie in theaters for a full week.Why not just say "must play a week in Los Angeles and New York City to qualify?"Seems strange to put the qualification requirement on newspapers.According toMichael Cieply at the New York Timesdocumentarians are not on board with these changes which would drastically reduce the number of qualifying entries.

I take a rather hard stance on this topic all the time and I assure you that it is not an anti-filmmaker stance.My stance is only a pro audience stance.I do not believe that films should be eligible for awards if they are not playing for the public.I'm tired of this elitist film culture where people only show their films in very discreet ways for very select audiences and hope that they'll win awards by which they will then try to lure paying audiences.On an individual case by case basis it's easy to see why the vast majority of pundits and filmmakers side with filmmakers on this topic and back these rules that make peekaboo engagements possible.But if you back up and look at the full picture it is much healthier for the survival of cinema if theatrical engagements are required and the audience is included.If movies aren't made to be seen there is no point in making them.If you want an engaged audience you have to create one.And to create one you've got to get the films out there in the marketplace.

3.Makeup Citations
The bakeoff for Oscar's continually confounding Best Makeup category has finally happened and seven films are moving on to compete for the 3 wide nomination list.I've never found any reasonable explanation as to why this category has such a tiny amount of nominees given that a huge portion of movies require wig and makeup and prosthetics work but it is what it is.Despite "Best"often equating with "Most"J.EdgarandGreen Lanterndid not make the cut.Neither did that much talked about Michelle-to-Marilyn transformation wow them.

So your finalists go like so...

  • Albert Nobbs
  • Anonymous
  • The Artist
  • Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Hugo
  • The Iron Lady

I am not remotely a fan ofThe Iron Ladybut I think it'd be a very deserving nomination in that category since the makeup work on Streep is just flawless / transformative.The rest of the field I don't have strong opinions of.Do you?It's worth noting that no Harry Potter film has ever been nominated for Makeup though a few of the previous films have made it to pre-nomination lists like this one.

4.Foreign Film Finalists Will Be Announced on...TBA?
I wish I knew when.If so I could plan better.Every day I wake up in fear that I will miss my chance to tell you how much I liked movie A or B before Oscar cuts them in the winnowing process,he says pessimistically.And every day I run out of time.I need a deadline!Last year they announced a week ahead of the regular nominations so I guess that gives me...5 or so more days?

Left (France's Declaration of War) Right (Denmark's SuperClásico with the always awesome Paprika Steen)

For the record in case I get no other chance to say it should the Academy not respond well to them the 'Movie A' in question is France's cancer dramedyDeclaration of Warwhich is super lively,passionate,funny,and tearful (Take that50/50...You are nothing to me now!) and the 'Movie B' in question is Denmark's divorce comedySuperClásicostarring the inimitable Paprika Steen (Applause) who you already knowI 'stan for whenever I get the chance.

I interviewed her recently (we'll get to that eventually) and much to my delight she dubbed me a "nerdy film blogger!"Her exact words!Now I love her even more.I wish American directors would hire her because she speaks English fluently and is a great actress who can do both intense drama and spiky comedy.What more do they need?Why should the Nykqvists,Mikkelsens and Skarsgaards be the only Scandinavian actors Hollywood has on speed dial?Paprika can act circles around so many people.Get on that,Hollywood!Time is a wasting.

Aug 12 2011

Something is Golden in the State of Denmark.

Hot off an Oscar win in February forIn a Better World,Denmark has announced their follow up contender ...or at least their intention to announce it.The land of my ancestors has narrowed down the past year in Dansk film tothreetre:SuperClásico,Martin Zandvliet'sDirch(A Funny Man) and Pernille Fischer Christensen'sEn familie(A Family).

En Familie,which my Danish informant Thomas (tak!) predicts will be the selection is a drama about a wealthy family with a dying patriarch.Jesper Christensen stars.You might recognize him from the Daniel Craig Bond films (he plays Mr White) or from the popular Swedish flickEverlasting Moments.He's also inMelancholiathis year though I don't know how large his role is there.

SuperClásicois a divorce comedy which actually takes place in Buenos Aires.No word yet on whether that naked bum on the poster is Argentinian or Dane in origin ;).It's from the director ofFlame & Citron,a film that got a healthy festival run a few years back.Important Note:Paprika Steenheadlines and you'll recall that she was theFilm Bitch Silver Medalistright here in last year's "best"celebrations.It'll be nice to see her smile this time around!

Nathaniel's Favorite Danes: Paprika Steen (SuperClásico) and Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Dirch)

The final contestant,DirchorA Funny Manis a biopic about a famous Danish comedian.It starsNikolaj Lie Kaaswho you may have seen in Lars von Trier'sThe Idiotsor famous Scandinavian films likeReconstructionorBrothers(he originated the role that later housed Jake Gyllenhaal).He's only recently started to branch out into English language films (something many Scandinavian giants do albeit usually in minor supporting roles) so you might have also seen him inAngels & Demonsor inWhistleblower,Rachel Weisz's Oscar bid,which recently opened here in the States.You might think thatDirchwould be too homegrown specific for Oscar submission but you never know.There are always a few biopics in the 60+ wide submission list of people who are infinitely more famous in their home countries than abroad.

IN DARKNESS,Poland's Holocaust Themed Oscar EntryMore Best Foreign Film News
GREECE,which up until last year'sDogtooth,hadn't been nominated since 1977 (and has never won),will submitAttenberg,which you'll recall won the Best Actress prize at the Venice Film Festival last fall.

POLAND,8 nominations / zero wins,will submit Agnieska Holland'sIn DarknesswhichIn Contentionmade the following funny about.

Poland...appears to have intensively focus-grouped the Academy's foreign-language branch and subsequently created their Oscar entry in a purpose-built lab: a true-life Holocaust drama about a Leopold Socha,a reformed petty criminal who heroically helped numerous Jewish refugees hide in the sewers of Nazi-occupied Lvov.

Holland was previously nominated for best screenplay for her arthouse hitEuropa Europain the early nineties,also a Holocaust drama.

What does all this mean?That I've got to start building the Oscar Foreign pages again.(My work is never done!) In case you missed's the discussion about what Norway might submit.

Feb 05 2011

Best Actress.My Ballot and Time Capsule.

Time is a funny thing.It shifts our feelings,sorts them out.Awards are a product of time,a time capsule.They're equally funny.If you'd told me back in January 2010 when I first sawBlue Valentinethat it would end the year as my 4th favorite picture and that Michelle Williams would be in my best actress list,I wouldn't have believed you.I liked her and the movie quite a lot back then but now come February 2011,I love them.The Williams/Gosling duet yields richer rewards each viewing,little intricacies thrown into sharper relief while other ideas you held about the characters get foggier with mystery.

It says a lot about the quality of this year'sBest Actress fieldthat Sally Hawkins inMade in Dagenhamdidn't even make the finalist list.She does expert work revealing how ordinary courage and moral outrage properly channeled,can transform even the meekest of people.It says a lot about the quality of this year's Actress field that Jennifer Lawrence inWinter's Bonedidn't even make thesemi-finalist list.She does fine work embodying the cold small range of feeling that this life might allow for and she gives the hard film just the right amount of heart as a resilient eldest sibling acting as parent.In the end though,despite Lawrence's absence,my own ballot is the closest its come to Oscar's Actress list[Trivia: that's the only year from the past three decades that my own choices for Best Actress line up 5/5 with Oscar.]

Needless to say I was quite pleased withOscar's nominations.It's my favorite Best Actress Oscar list in recent memory with the exception of2006...maybe.

Needless to say part two: It was such a toss up for spots 4-8 that I'm sure I'll regret my choices tomorrow.If anyone in tier 2 had come out in 2009 or 2008 or 2007 or even 2006,they would've knocked someone out of the 5th spot.And if they'd ALL been released in 2005,my awards would have been radically different.Such is the arbitrary nature of awards,chained to calendars as they are.

Favorite Dozen Lead Actresses 2010 (in alpha order).If only I could nominate 12 people!

  • Annette Bening,The Kids Are All Right
  • Greta Gerwig,Greenberg
  • Sally Hawkins,Made in Dagenham
  • Kim Hye-Ja,Mother
  • Nicole Kidman,Rabbit Hole
  • Lesley Manville,Another Year
  • Natalie Portman,Black Swan
  • Ruth Sheen,Another Year
  • Paprika Steen,Applause
  • Emma Stone,Easy A
  • Tilda Swinton,I Am Love
  • Michelle Williams,Blue Valentine

My nominees with write-ups

This will undoubtedly feel anti-climactic as my own nominees are usually more off Oscar's path -- who knew they'd have such good taste this year ;) -- and I usually finish before Oscar nominations and here I am wrapping up thefirst half of the Film Bitch Awards(medals and all) a week late.

I think the year produced two true masterpiecesI Am LoveandThe Social Networkso I split on Picture/Director,Picture going to the one I've remained most possessed by but I think both will stand the test of time.And yes,Nicole Kidman finally gets her Gold Medal after many years of near-misses.She's just transcendent inRabbit Holenailing the insatiable hunger of grief for more and more of itself and doing so with the barest minimum of histrionics and more humor than you'd think was possible.She also brilliantly foreshadows Becca's escape route through her thicket of pain,a path cleared by her curiousity,compassion,and capacity for stillness on a park bench,feeling whatever it is she needs to feel.