I don’t think I am alone in saying that I was initially uninspired by this year’s Oscar season. In 2010, the massive Hamptons Film Festival Oscar mash up that included “Black Swan,” “127 Hours,” “The King’s Speech,” “Blue Valentine,” preceded by NYFF’s “The Social Network” sent me into an Oscar fervor I hadn’t experienced before… one that ended Oscar night in a “King’s Speech” tailspin. Although I wasn’t quite as upset about the loss of “The Social Network” as some (mostly due to the fact that my true passion was behind “Black Swan” and Portman) I felt I needed a break. But that didn’t stop me from going to the theater. At least not at first.

I saw a few goodies at Tribeca Film Festival, followed by a surprisingly enjoyable summer (“X Men,” “Super 8” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) and some even better treats at New York Film Festival: “Melancholia,” “The Skin I Live In,” and “The Descendants.” Although I had the opportunity to see many more (“Shame,” “The Artists,” etc.) I couldn’t get myself in the damn seat. I guess I should’ve sucked it up and taken the opportunity I have been blessed with… but alas… I didn’t. And even with those few enjoyments, that moment all you Oscarwatchers know, when the Oscar season really clicks in, wasn’t happening.

Instead of focusing on this season…I started to explore why I wasn’t interested and why I had been in the past. With the exception of a few “picture” obsessions (“The Crying Game,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Boogie Nights,” “Billy Elliot,” and a sucessful-ish “Brokeback Mountain”) the years I got freakishly into the Oscar ceremony were mostly sparked by a female performance or two.

I have written before about how I accidentally ended up in the Corinth, Mississippi Twin Cinema watching “Moonstruck” when I actually bought a ticket to see “Police Academy 5” (Thank you universe!). And so my Oscar-crazy began. And my first Best Actress obsession. I didn’t really know much about prognosticating (Who am I kidding? I still don’t! Did you see my predictions last year? Disaster!) but I didn’t think Cher would win. For one thing I was a child…and secondly, I just couldn’t imagine the singer/superstar from the 70s who wore those wacky Bob Mackie costumes would be allowed on the prestigious Oscar stage holding that naked golden statue. I was so glad my ignorance was proven wrong.

Several years later, when I was in college, my Oscar crazy waned slightly, but did not completely diminish. I can remember quite clearly, in my Sophomore year, back in 1995 trying to will the Academy to vote for Elisabeth Shue in “Leaving Las Vegas.” And the next year I recall hoping with all hope that Madonna and Courtney Love would both be nominated for “Evita” and “The People v/s Larry Flynt,” respectively. Although my passion for Madonna’s performance has definitely lessened, I still feel Love was robbed.

You could say these two years might have planted the seed for this piece. These three… ok… forget about Madonna, TWO performances were dark, going to places that seemed to take acting out of the picture, portraying such naturalism that we, the audience, felt as if we were voyeurs of reality, not craft. This is a theme I have talked about before and will talk about again, I am sure. This is the style of acting I most connect with. And it seems to be a style the Academy does not. Why are these types of performances rarely nominated, much less awarded?

When Lee Strasberg brought Stanislavski’s method to the stars of Hollywood and NYC many of the “established” stars rejected it. But the animosity didn’t seem to apply to men. People praised, quite highly, men of the method (Brando and DeNiro, most specifically come to mind) but not the likes of, say, Marilyn Monroe. (You might see where this is headed!) Maybe some of you think it wasn’t her method acting, but her beauty Hollywood and the Academy didn’t take seriously. But even Ellen Burstyn, who was the female method-deer equivalent to the “boys,” (ALSO beautiful… she was a model before she was an actor) was nominated many times but only winning once… losing what many believe to have been her deserved 2nd Oscar to Julia Roberts.

With the exception of Hillary Swank for “Boys Don’t Cry” in 1999… and maybe Halle Berry for “Monsters Ball” (although there was a deeper story to her win) the darkest, most realistic of performances…the ones hailed by critics have been ignored by the Academy. I’m not including the ones given by the beautiful actress/star turned “ugly” (aka: Theron, Cotillard, Kidman). I am thinking more along the lines of Naomi Watts in “21 Grams,” to site a success story. At least in terms of a nomination.

The conversation in the most recent years has been the “established” actresses… the Careers (to steal from “The Hunger Games”) versus the young actresses. Cotillard v/s Christie. Streep v/s Bullock. Portman v/s Bening. This year that competition shifted a bit for me. This year, the actual nominees might be the Careers v/s the young actresses with a few stars turned ugly thrown in, as per usual. But what I truly care about are the ones on the edge, loved by many of you, the critics and me…who simply are not in the Oscar lexicon.

First there is Kirsten Dunst in “Melancholia.” I have never seen depression portrayed this way before. I have unfortunately seen depression, first hand, as I’m sure many of you have. Not always a pretty thing to talk about…a bit of a faux pas… but here goes! I have been the person struggling to keep my depressed lover’s exterior at its best when said lover is in actuality falling deeper and deeper. Luckily not at (but getting close to) a wedding. What I saw in Dunst was what I have not seen before… not on film. I was enamored watching her smile through the mud of her sadness. And then as Melancholia comes closer to Earth (so much metaphor!!!) we see the most private of moments: a person seeking an end to her life, realizing it is actually going to happen, achieving a surreal elation right before the end.

And then there is Elisabeth Olsen in “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” A performance like this is very difficult to analyze because it is almost always the same descriptive. “Lost in the role.” “Doesn’t seem to be acting.” But the difference here is that I don’t know Olsen’s work. I have never seen her act… never seen her in an interview. All I know is this portrayal. I heard another Oscar pundit say they needed to see more of her work to take her seriously. And sadly this might be the way the Academy thinks as well. But I’m sorry… it’s not the Best Performance by an Actress (that has been seen in many roles therefore we all know what she can and will do) in a Leading Role. Right? This is an individual portrayal. I saw a remarkably sad covering of pain, hidden by a blanket of groupthink insanity. Eventually (although quite delayed…in a way I found brilliantly deliberate while others found slow) the covers come off in an amazing party scene beginning with a tightly wound Olsen in conversation with a bartender, erupting…and ending with Olsen unraveling… exploding… revealing what damage has really been done to her. And it all seems so incredibly real. Realism… I think that is where the Academy seems to shy away. I think they really like to see a transformation. From star to _________. They need an Oscar story. And being the long lost Olsen sister isn’t enough.

Maybe the buffer between these two types of performances lies in Michelle Williams portraying Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn.” Williams isn’t exactly Streep… but with what would be her third nomination, she will be closer to a Winslet than an Olsen. And playing someone with the magnitude of Marilyn, it almost seems like she is a Career. Williams doesn’t even attempt to mimic Marilyn Monroe. The way she embodies her is by making us feel the way Marilyn made people feel. She seduces. Makes us laugh while simultaneously arousing us. We are unable to take our eyes off of her. Even in her darkest moments the pain I felt for her was because I had, somehow, fallen in love with her. Just like Colin (who is having the week with Marilyn) does. Just like all the people before me did. It’s not about Marilyn-isms. Michelle’s Marilyn is present. The way I’m sure Marilyn was. So present that it became a fault. A young actor trying to understand the method, falling into the trap of complete spontaneity in all aspects of life instead of saving it for the stage/screen. Which can lead to utter sadness, elation, but often brilliance.

In defense of Streep and the Careers my Awards Wiz contributor Rick Hamilton nailed it for me. He said:

“It is one of the films where Streep completely disappears into the role… Despite her incredible talent, or indeed partly because of it, it is rare not to be conscious that you are watching her onscreen… The looks and mannerisms are all distinctly Thatcher’s, but the performance becomes how well Streep is portraying the Prime Minister without devolving into a simple impersonation”

But Michelle Williams is brilliant because she is not just playing Marilyn. She is playing Norma Jean, playing Marilyn, playing MARILYN! Williams, in the blonde hair, pale makeup and red lips is so unbelievably real. She shows us the method by using it. Williams’s Marilyn is not trying to out act Olivier, as he fears, but simply trying to be a better actress when the world only sees her as a star. And that is why Williams is straddling that line in my internal Career/DH debate. If Olsen and Dunst can’t be nominated, I hope Williams will give those Careers a run for their money.

* * *

Brian Whisenant runs Awards Wiz

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  • menyc

    I love this article. Brian W. always is a great, albeit rare read. I’m the only gay man that puts Best Actress at #5 or #14 on his on his Oscar excited-for lists, but I’m agreeing with this article – especially Olsen and Williams’ perfs – and feeling it. Well done.

  • brandz

    Great piece but I agree with Rick Hamilton.

  • I think the whole hooplah about giving Meryl Streep a third oscar is just kicking a dead horse at this point; people would cry for her homecoming even if someone accidentally taped her donning a burlap bag in a potato sack race.

  • Bobby C

    Still early for me to make a prediction. Haven’t seen the performances of Streep, Close, Dunst, Mara and Theron yet; my favorite so far is Olsen (I hope she gets a nod); Williams was okay but unconvincing to me– she seemed too self-conscious. I have to watch The Help again to remind me of Davis’ performance. In the supporting, I loved Mulligan in Shame; haven’t seen Redgrave’s yet. I do hope it’s Streep’s year!

  • Joseph

    I’m sorry, but I’ll never get the love for Dunst’s performance. I’ve experienced depression first hand and, while depression is different for every person, Dunst’s performance was completely empty of the signs of depression that I experienced; the most accurate portrayal of depression on the big screen that I’ve seen remains Julianne Moore in The Hours. Dunst is just pure blandness in the whacky ridiculousness of Melancholia.

  • Bobby C

    Also haven’t seen Swinton’s performance yet. I have a lot of catching up to do.

  • I sadly haven’t seen Swinton’s performance either. It is stuck in the dvd drive of my broken laptop in at the Apple repair center!

    Obviously disagree with you Joseph about Dunst. But agree with your thoughts about Moore!

  • Deena Jones’ wig

    “But Michelle Williams is brilliant because she is not just playing Marilyn. She is playing Norma Jean, playing Marilyn, playing MARILYN! Williams, in the blonde hair, pale makeup and red lips is so unbelievably real. She shows us the method by using it.”

    No offense Brian but I burst out laughing when I read this. You can’t be serious.

  • First off, not offended at all. But am definitely serious. It’s based in the moment when she says to Colin, “Should I be her.” I realized Marilyn was playing so many parts herself…and Williams was portraying all of that. Maybe it’s a little laughable in words. It’s a little over the top…but still find it to be true.

  • nic

    I just wish Keira Knightley would at least get one critics award for her amazing performance

  • andrew Bell

    Great Brian I couldn’t agree more.
    There was so much depth and nuance to Williams’
    performance that she left me longing for more
    just as Marilyn would have.
    She clearly deserves the oscar and i’m glad you
    write so eloquently about the charisma,
    charm, emotion, allure and innocence that she brought
    to such a difficult role.

  • knee_play

    michelle williams should’ve won for “wendy and lucy”, not this marilyn monroe garbage.

  • Deena Jones’ wig

    I will respectfully have to disagree with you then. It seems to me like me Williams’ fans are over intellectualising a passable performance. I was expecting to see two sides of Marilyn: the vulnerable little girl and the vivacious bombshell. Williams does a good job in capturing the woman behind the name but the narrative is overly simplified. I didn’t witness anything a mediocre biography would have not told me. As for the vivacious bombshell, Williams tanked. Watching her trying to be sexy was awkward and, in all honesty, laughable. The dance number was stiff, she has no rhythm, no sensuality, no nothing. There was not a single hard dick in my theater. I’m sorry but she is no Marilyn.

  • jorge


  • steve50

    Nice article, Brian. Despite her previous nominations, I think most underestimate Willliams and her skill. Maybe it’s the passiveness of some of the characters she’s played, but I think she’s one of the smartest and most talented actors working.

    And Knee-play – I agree – Wendy and Lucy is still my favorite performance of hers.

  • Joey

    I don’t like the idea that you need to see if an actress has range before she gets a nomination. Sidibe or Mulligan didn’t have to prove it with a back up performance. It should be about how the performance makes you feel. In any category. How the performance makes you think and about what emotions, either positive or negative, that character stirs with you.

  • Rosie

    This review is exciting! It is written with love and passion for movies. It gives credence to the reason Oscars were created, to honor the work! Thank you to the author, Brian Whisenant for sharing this with us!

  • daveylow

    Elisabeth Olsen is wonderful in MMMM but for me, she was the only good thing in a truly awful movie. I didn’t buy the script and some of the writing was terrible. I just hated the movie. (Olsen is also very good in the feel-good Beresford film Peace, Love and Misunderstandings.) When movies like MMMM are talked about as award calibre films it makes me want to stop caring about awards at all and just appreciate the truly good work out there.

  • daveylow:

    I totally get that feeling (obviously not for MMMM). Lots of movies I have hated haven’t just been in the conversation…they’ve won. But there are reasons to still enjoy the awards. Some of the nom’d docs and foreign films…and the shorts as well…films that I loved would’ve never been on my radar without the noms.

  • WalterNeff

    My predictions as it stands now:

    Michelle Williams (The Gwyneth Paltrow Award)
    Michael Fassbender (The Adrien Brody Award)
    Christopher Plummer (The Jack Palance Award)
    Melissa McCarthy (The Kevin Kline Award)

  • @Deena Jones’ Wig.

    I think Williams’ performance deserved a better, more expansive film about Marilyn Monroe’s life. If the film had covered all of Monroe’s life, the performance could have developed more. Nevertheless, I think she gives a wonderful performance, it’s not laughable at all. I also think the sexy bombshell element didn’t seem as big a part of the performance as the other aspects. I think the movie knows how we perceive Monroe so it doesn’t waste too much time on making her sexy. The film is more interested in showing Monroe as struggling with her acting as well as reaching out to Colin.

    Also, you don’t have to say you’re sorry before you state your opinion. It’s a little beside the point I always feel offended when act like they have to apologize before stating an opinion, as if my world is going to come crumbling down. I don’t live in a bubble.

  • Joseph

    Put me in the pro-Michelle Williams column. I’ve liked her ever since I first saw her in Dick (1999) — I never watched Dawson’s Creek — and to have seen her grow as an actress in the past decade has been a magnificent ride, with incredible highs (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine) and frustrating lows (the excrable Wendy & Lucy). In My Week With Marilyn, she totally nailed it — vulnerable, sexy, wounded, sassy, complex. It’s a staggering, joyous, hurting performance. Of what I’ve seen so far this year, Williams and Viola Davis in The Help are my favorite leading lady performances.

  • Jerry

    Sorry Brian, I remain unseduced. Williams is better than that Lifetime Channel crap Harvey is trying to pass as a real movie. This role was just not her strength and the movie itself pure fluff. Elizabeth Olsen on the other hand was crazy good. I would rather see her nominated than Williams but Olsen doesn’t have Harvey to push her forward.

  • Dooby

    Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia is one of the most breathtaking portrayals of the year and it depresses me (no pun intended) that it is unlikely to be nominated.

    I also loved you write-up on Olsen.

    Two wonderful, extraordinary performances.

  • Jamie

    Williams’ should have won for Blue Valentine. I thought Portman was great, but it was too close to comfort. Portman reminds me of a Nina-like character in real life… I didn’t seen any transformation there besides ya know, the physical part. But is that worthy of an Oscar win? Did she really stretch herself to the point where she really deserved that Oscar? I don’t know. Williams’ was devastating… raw… real… brilliant in Blue Valentine. I couldn’t imagine Portman even coming close to a performance of that much delicacy and authenticity as Williams’. Portman played a fragile, meek little girl– and she was good but Williams’ did something else, something so tremendous it’s hard to even describe. She made me believe she was Cindy… caught in a loveless marriage with Dean. I guess in a year where Williams’ had the least showy role of the nominees, she wasn’t bound to win.

    And now… look at her. She’s playing the showiest role of them all– Marilyn Monroe. I like the film, quite a bit and I think Williams’ is wonderful in it but it doesn’t come close to her performance in Blue Valentine.

  • Aaron

    Williams has about as much peronsality as a radish! Just wait until she attempts a speech at the GG(she will win for comedy actress)

  • Zooey

    i really wasn’t impressed with Williams. To me she absolutely lacks the charisma, the naive sensuality of Monroe. Meryl completely disappeared into the Iron Lady and I believe that it’ll be FINALLY her year.

  • Marie

    I am pro Michelle too. She is one if those actresses that can make me feel what she is trying to convey. Like when she frowns I do too.

  • RyanT

    Haven’t seen The Iron Lady or We Need to Talk About Kevin so I can still change my mind, but right now I’m on Team Williams. Then again I’ve been on that team for awhile now so I’m admittedly a little biased. BUT THEN AGAIN I also love Streep and Swinton. Argh, this year’s actress race is so exciting to me. I love it.

  • Aaron

    Michelle Williams was wonderful and I will be more than happy if she wins. However, my favorite performance this year is hands down Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin…such a tremendous, devastating, frighteningly convincing performance.

  • manrico

    You hit the nail in the head Brian!
    It’s not who is the best actress, it’s supposed to be whose is the best performance.

    In 1999 Hilary Swank won for BOYS DON’T CRY. The other nominees were Annette Bening, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Janet McTeer. I think, if you were to rank them in order of talent, most people would put Swank last. But if you look just at the performances, Swank actually gives the best one. Her win is, in my opinion, one of the most deserved in Oscar history, even though I don’t think she is a very good actress. It’s like a mediocre batter hitting a grand slam. It can happen.

  • Pierre de Plume

    A good read, Brian. About Michelle Williams — I thought she did a very good job of capturing Monroe’s vulnerability and need to be loved. She also was good as the bombshell aspect of Marilyn, thanks to technical assistance from the camera and editor. However, I thought she needed to gain more weigh or at least have her breasts enhanced. Let’s face it, Marilyn was fleshier. Definitely worthy of a nomination.

    A note on playing a depressed character: Dunst was better at it than Theron in Young Adult. Playing depressed is tricky because it’s a situation where you need to add something else for the portrayal to be interesting and to work for the audience. This is a case where “getting it exactly right” (technically) is something to avoid.

    Up ’til now, I’ve figured Viola Davis is the one to beat this year. Her performance was quite compelling, and the politics of Oscar seem tilted in her favor at this point.

  • Diego


    Is this article officially announcing your shift from Davis and Close to Williams in regard to who you want winning an Oscar since the first two are not getting any critics awards so far?

    Personally, I think that this season appears to evolving into an exciting Lead Actress race as there are three (Streep, Swinton and Williams) who are doing musical chairs in winning precursor awards.

  • … by the way, they’re making a “Who do you think will win Best Picture?” poll at IMDB.com

    link to current standings: http://www.imdb.com/poll/results

    unsurprisingly, Harry Potter is number 2nd, and it’s quite impressive that mainstream audiences are already firmly believing a french mute movie is gonna win the American Best Picture Oscar.

    I voted for Hugo, though. Lol.

  • James

    So this year, judging by the buzz and the early critics awards, it’s Streep vs. Williams? Who’d you rather?

  • Rick Hamilton

    Not only is this an excellent piece, but what a fantastic discussion! “My Week With Marilyn” has been under my radar and Brian’s love for Williams has bumped it up. We don’t always share the same opinions, but his excitement is contagious.

    I think Davis in “The Help” gives an excellent performance that was reminiscent for me of Moore in “Far From Heaven:” a crumbling within while being stoic without. Sadly, Moore lost that year to the showier role of Kidman wearing a fake nose. And I think Davis is overshadowed by the showier roles of Spencer and Chastain in her own film. (But that’s for a Supporting category topic).

    Streep gives a grandiose performance in what I thought was a mediocre film. But will people vote for her just because of her (what many felt was) undeserved loss 2 years ago? I hate when the awards become not about the performances, but about giving credit to correct past year “errors.”

    I actually think that the Leading Actress Category is the one place the Academy is most likely to honor someone with a NOMINATION who hasn’t shown a body of work. There frequently seems to be a slot (if only one) for the likes of Gabourey Sidibe, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Ellen Page… But they tend to make it clear that they should be happy with the nomination, that’s all they will be getting. So, it will be interesting if any of the “Dark” horses get that slot this year!

    WalterNeff–funny, in my piece on “Beginners,” I almost referenced Plummer getting the Jack Palance Oscar…

  • Tero Heikkinen

    I saw The Iron Lady today, and Meryl is stunning. I think she will win BA. But the film itself – Geez – it was even worse than I expected. A complete mess in Editing. I was very disappointed. And yes, you don’t hate the character at all. There’s only one scene where Thatcher is being a complete bitch. Politics are secondary in this movie, maybe it’s a good thing, I’m not sure.

    Listen to this: IF early in the show The Iron Lady wins Best Makeup, then you don’t need to think about Best Actress anymore. It’s hers. This will follow the same route as La Vie en Rose. Both films are bad in general (particularly in Editing), but the makeup and female performance will rule. I can also see Costume Design nomination, but not much more. Thomas Newman is a possibility, but I didn’t like the score. 3 or 4 nominations.

    Seeing Williams’ and Mara’s performances in a couple of days…

  • steve50

    Thanks for your take, Tero. Haven’t seen it, but I’m guessing that without another actress sweeping the precursors, it’s gonna be Meryl this time. The interesting competition is Davis and Williams (Tilda’s movie is too divisive). If Davis really wants the oscar, they have to move her to supporting at this point. That leaves a contest between two Weinstein-backed horses and since neither movie is getting raves, looks like Meryl will dominate.

  • Diego…not sure how Sasha feels about it…but for me, yes. Until I see Dragon Tattoo.

  • Nic V

    Well as someone who was alive when Marilyn was alive I can tell you there were times when the public did have enough. What comes to mind quickly is The Misfits and Let’s Make Love. I understand exactly what Brian is saying because when you got those glimpses of Marilyn off the set or hamming it up it was really clear that it was a performance. Monroe knew what the public wanted from her and she gave it to them. She also knew what the public didn’t want from her and sadly wasn’t able to hide that part of her life from them and that’s not what the public wanted too see. Monroe created an incredible persona and in the end paid for it dearly because she was never truly allowed to go beyond that “Smile for the camera and turn just a little so we can see that ass” stage.

    So many people forget her breezy flousy performance in Bus Stop. I personally think she would have been a much better choice for Picnic than Kim Novak. Trouble with that was you would have had to corral Monroe for that part where Novak didn’t have to be. Monroe not only had a vulnerability she had a very deep dark place that she tried to hide. I don’t think and I might be way off base here, but I don’t think that the public really felt a great deal of sympathy for Monroe. Empathy perhaps but not sympathy. Too often people wondered why she “squandered” so much of her talent and she was talented.

  • steve50

    “I don’t think that the public really felt a great deal of sympathy for Monroe”

    You’re absolutely right. I remember when it hit the papers that she had died, the attitude was, “well, that’s no surprise.” She was a facinating train wreck at the time and the beloved icon image only started to grow after her death.

  • debo

    I hope Michelle Williams wins, BUT I don’t really care as long as that Streep loses. She could fart on screen for two hours and the phony Academy goes nuts. I couldn’t stand her since the first time I saw her at the first showing of Julia in NYC in October 1977.

    What about Jane Fonda for Peace, Love and Misunderstanding for Supporting?

    I suppose it has to be released first.

  • Ivan

    The pitch perfect line-up


  • Nic V

    That would be very interesting Ivan.

  • Marshall1

    It’s funny how no one actually talks about Olsen’s superb performance in MMMM, even on the comments about this article. It might be a one-time thing (time will tell), but it is definitely the top 3 performances by an actress this year. And the article is right, sometimes we judge an actor by his/her body of work instead of taking each individual performance to evaluate. However, I think MMMM is not just an actress showcase, but a collaborative effort that results in one of the best and quietly haunting movie of the year.

  • Nic V

    Had the American public been aware of Monroe’s affair with JFK her career, which was already headed there; would have gone the way of Fatty Arbuckle.

  • Zach

    Manrico, who the hell would say Hilary Swank is less talented than Janet McTeer? This is off-topic for sure, but Hilary doesn’t get enough credit. She’s one of the most naturalistic, present actors in Hollywood. She aced two transformative performances without prosthetics (not that there’s anything wrong with that). She’s also managed to carve out a respectable “big-star” Hollywood career for herself even though she’s not a great beauty, very feminine, or a great comedian. If she’s getting typecast, it’s a wonder that she’s found a niche for herself since what made her so great in her two Oscar-winning performances, in my opinion, was that she was such a blank slate for the roles.

  • Mehrdad

    Meryl Streep is amazing in Iron Lady…
    Shes acting with her eyes n you can
    Feel the strength of a female leader in
    The movie as Margaret Tatcher really was… That was awesome… The music
    Is also very sympathic…

  • Jeff N.

    BRIAN! I have a question for you:

    How frequently is the Best Actress Oscar awarded to a first-time nominee? I wonder the same about the Best Actor race. It seems like Oscar prefers to hand out these grander statuettes to the Careers — even Natalie Portman had received a prior nomination before this year’s win — over the newbies, Sandra Bullock being that uber-rare exception.

    Maybe it’s OK that Ms. Olsen and Ms. Dunst don’t get nom’d this year. Their work has already been deftly praised (Dunst with the Cannes award at that!), and I’m sure this attention will lead to other great roles for their careers in the future.

    This year, it’s ALL about the Careers. Streep, Theron, Williams (2 prior Oscar nominations make her a Career), and Close/Swinton. Viola Davis will be taking it home. Though I’m scared! Davis hasn’t received any citations from critics groups so far… x_x

  • Jeff…gonna check that out! Probably in the Osbourne book. Will check when I get home.

    On another note, seeing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Tuesday morning.

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