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Helen Hunt, John Hawkes in The Sessions

Helen Hunt seems to be doing a variation on her character in As Good as it Gets, which means Oscar will be all over it. They love nothing more than a kind, semi-downtrodden woman who is sexually free. It’s like their favorite female meme. The other meme they like? Characters with disabilities. Even as presumed Oscar bait, it still looks pretty good — these actors are so good. Nominations seem like a sure bet. Lead for Hawkes, Supporting for Hunt.

32 Comments on this Post

  1. Kevin Klawitter

    The first clip from the movie can be seen here:

    http://collider.com/the-sessions-movie-clip/191665/

    Most articles I’ve read about this movie say that Helen Hunt is a clear lead. Of course, that hasn’t stopped category fraud in the past, but still…

    William H. Macy is also said to be a threat for Best Supporting Actor, though that category seems pretty packed this year.

  2. rufussondheim

    This looked utterly and completely dreadful. Nothing in it seemed sincere. It looks like a calculated set-up at the start of the film and everything gets overcome so the audience can cheer at pre-determined intervals.

    I rarely hate a trailer this much.

    Everyone else will love it.

  3. julian the emperor

    “I rarely hate a trailer this much.
    Everyone else will love it.”

    Would Hawkes have participated in this, if he didn’t feel the material was sincere or up to his standards, though? I firmly believe in his ability to pick the right projects, but let’s wait and see.
    It does seem mighty awards-baity by the looks of it, but then again, a lot of trailers for indies like this one are more than often hellbent on trying to obscure the tone of the actual film. This could be just another case of “misrepresentation”.

    … But then again, I remember having the same feeling when I saw the trailer for The Descendants last year, thinking “Oh, they are trying to sell this probably great new Payne movie as some lousy light comedy with some slapstick thrown in for good measure” and then it turned out that the actual movie was…well…JUST like the trailer (slightly worse, actually).

    Also, that quote of yours, Rufus, exudes a certain air of self-consciousness. I like that;)

  4. Sasha,

    “Helen Hunt seems to be doing a variation on her character in As Good as it Gets, which means Oscar will be all over it.”

    Is rewarding the same performance really their style? Especially if Hunt’s character doesn’t have an accent, disability herself, etc.

  5. Jake G!!!

    Helen Hunt is definiteley lead. I hope she does it again at the Oscars. I

  6. Robert A.

    “Helen Hunt seems to be doing a variation on her character in As Good as it Gets, which means Oscar will be all over it.”

    Is rewarding the same performance really their style? Especially if Hunt’s character doesn’t have an accent, disability herself, etc.

    ****

    They sort of did it when they awarded Katherine Hepburn an Oscar for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and then one for On Golden Pond thirteen years later. But Hunt is no Kate Hepburn. I suspect Hunt stands a strong chance for a nomination but won’t win.

  7. This just looks so hokey and oscar-baity. I have only seen John Hawkes play slimey sleazebags so it’s hard to even recognize him. He does pick good movies though, so I can only assume this trailer makes it look much more lighthearted than it is and I HOPE TO GOD that after six sessions Helen Hunt shags ass outta there and he never sees her again. Otherwise, it’s bullshit.

  8. There is disability and it’s based on a true story with an uplifting ending for audiences to cheer according to reviews (King’s Speech anyone?) Pretty big Oscar bait. The academy already loves Hunt and Hawkes so it’s not even a question that they will be nominated. Hawkes has put out some really fantastic performances so I hope he wins soon.

  9. Helen Hunt stole the 1997 Best Actress Oscar from Kate Winslet for a TV-movie esque performance. Hope,it doesn’t happen again with this relentless bait of a film.

  10. Tero Heikkinen

    The trailer destroyed my expectations for this by 78% (approximately). Without sound it was better, cause the music in this trailer is for those films I usually don’t want to see. Actors film it will be, anyways.

  11. rufussondheim

    I think the part that bothered me most was the William H. Macy stuff, an actor I normally would enjoy.

    But the way his character was presented as some New Age Hippy Catholic Priest was offputting. I am sure there are some people like that in the world, but why do I only ever see them in movies?

    I hated how Helen Hunt was talking about the client in the tape recorder (“He was nervous”, she said.) But it just seems like the kind of movie that breaks everything down for the audience to understand. I mean wasn’t it obvious when we saw the scene he was nervous? How could one not be nervous in that scenario? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    I hate how the one guy didn’t know what “simultaneous orgasm” was. How could someone not know that? Even if you never heard the term before you know what each individual word means. I mean it’s not that hard to put the two together. (Maybe, it’s because he’s Asian and doesn’t know English, wink wink)

    This movie just seems manipulative in the worst way.

  12. The trailer is disappointing considering how anticipated the film is, but hey they really are trying to make it a crowd pleaser (which apparently it is). I still think the movie is probably very, very good and at this point it has long been assumed/known that Hawkes and Hunt are locks for nominations. My horse in the Best Actor race has always been Hawkes (who also is in LINCOLN with his main competition DDL) and I am sticking to it. I also think that Macy has a strong shot at Supporting Actor.

    The question is whether it gets in for Picture and Screenplay. It really depends on the reviews for the overall film and not just the performances.

  13. The Great Dane

    Everyone keeps saying “The Academy LOVES Helen Hunt”… Uuuuhm, is THAY we she was nominated ONCE? Sure, she won, but that was a given. She was the only American Actress nominated. Every time there a four foreigners, the American wins. Not that she did not deserve it. Arguably, she stole Bonham Carter’s Oscar. Winslet was never going to win (and did not deserve to either).

    It would be hard to find a film or a performance that Hunt should have been nominated for outside of As Good As It Gets… But to say that “the Academy loves her” after ONE nomination/win is absurd.

    They apparently loved Nicole Kidman and Tilda Swinton as well, when they won. And after that came YEARS of undeserved snubs for both of them. So a win doesn’t mean “LOVE” in the long run…

  14. Amusing seeing all the clowns to Sasha’s bait that the remorkable work Hunt does here is a repeat performance. She’s utterly fantastic and deserves all the praise that comes her way.

  15. Oh the humanity!! Helen Hunt stole Helena Bonham Carter’s Oscar for Wings of the Dove.

    That is an interesting feat though, that 3 times in Oscar history when all the nominees were non-Americans, the American won.

    Year 1971: Jane Fonda wins over Christie, Jackson, Redgrave, Suzman

    Year 1992: Marisa Tomei robs Judy Davis in a category with such brilliant performances from Richardson, Redgrave, Plowright, Davis

    Year 1997: Helen Hunt’s mediocre performance wins over Bonham Carter, Dench, Winslet, and Christie

  16. Year 2007:

    Cotillard: French
    Christie: British (or Indian)
    Page: Canadian
    Blanchett: australian
    Linney: american

    Winner: the French one.

  17. Wings of the What? Another art house film that no more than 50 people saw outside the academy membership?

    No. Winslet was robbed, period.

  18. Hunt won partly because she had a featured role in the James L. Brooks comedy-drama hit, where she delivered a reasonable turn. Winslet’s work was far from great and worth awarding, and she was still pretty green in the AMPAS’ eyes. In addition, her performance was overshadowed by a sinking boat. Oscar Winner Christie’s performance was the least seen. I don’t recall Bonham-Carter’s role being all that baity and I remember her work much more from Howards End (five years previously, for which she was not nominated along with costars Emma Thompson and Vanessa Redgrave). Hunt’s main competition was the then little-known Judi Dench (in her first of six nods) who had an art-house hit in Mrs. Brown. Out of the five performances, Dench did the best and most memorable work, IMO, and was the front-runner or runner-up (she won the Drama GG, right?) Unfortunately, something else Hunt had on her side: she starred in the well-reviewed, high-grossing Brooks hit, which had multiple nominations. And, she had youth on her side. (As well multiple Emmy’s on a current TV show)

    Since Dench’s ’97 lead loss, Mirren won for The Queen and Streep has won for The Iron Leader. Both of these women who were of a certain age also played former English “leaders,” like Dench. The Queen, however, was a huge hit. And Streep was on her 17th nod with no wins for 12-in-a-row (a record?).

    In the area of “the perfect storm,” Hunt was closer to the eye than Dench. True, she was the only American. Maybe it was a coincidence. I think it was. But, that’s just me.

    I say this as a member of “Take Hunt’s Oscar Away.”

    Hi Robert A! >> I think I’m going with supporting on Hunt, and she will likely get nominated.

    /my gibberish

  19. steve50

    In 97, I would have gone with the remarkable Julie Christie, but nobody saw her film (or probably any of the others except for Hunt’s).

    TV success played a huge part in Hunt’s win, but, man, did it ever evaporate quickly in that she was completely off the map within two years.

    Not on board with the take _____’s Oscar away. Karma usually kicks in eventually.

  20. phantom

    Uhm…what ? Hunt stole the Oscar from Winslet ? I don’t think so. Granted , her Rose was a good performance and a star-is-born turn of epic proportions BUT I firmly believe Judi Dench was by far the most deserving Best Actress nominee that year, something Hunt kind of ackowledged in her Oscar acceptance speech. Helena Bonham Carter was good but definitely not the best. Cinesnatch is spot on.

    Having said that, I do believe Winslet was robbed on several occasions : her sublime performance in ‘Sense & Sensibility’ should have been her first Oscar (she was damn close with the two most important ‘academyoverlapping’ precursor wins, SAG & BAFTA), but the Academy opted for Mira Sorvino (who has unfortunately failed to live up to the honor ever since). Then in 2001, in a very competitive supporting race, she didn’t lose to the deserving, ACTUAL supporting contenders like Tomei (In the Bedroom) or the Gosford ladies (Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren), she lost to Jennifer Connelly, whose studio clearly committed category fraud by placing her in the supporting race. AND as arguable as it is, I think Winslet OR Bening should have won in 2004. I’ve grown to love Swank as an actress and consider her turn in ‘Boys don’t cry’ nothing short of extraordinary, but I do think it should have been down to Winslet and Bening who gave (IMO) carreer-best performances that year. I know I am probably alone with this but Swank’s turn in ‘Million Dollar Baby’ always seemed way too calculated and mechanical to me.

    What is always fascinating to me, that people tend to consider Winslet overrated…even though she didn’t win for either ‘Sense & Sensibility’, ‘Iris’ or ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, not to mention that as impressive as her 6 nominations are, the Academy still ignored several of her brilliant, memorable and definitely Awards-worthy performances like the ones she gave in Heavenly Creatures, Jude, Hamlet, Quills, Finding Neverland, Revolutionary Road.

    Damn, now that I think about it, she is still only 36 and has already worked with most of the top directors of recent years…impressive.

  21. filmboymichael

    I think this movie looks quite good – I don’t think it is fair to call Hunt a bad actress. Did she deserve to win the oscar for As Good As it Gets? That’s debatable – but there have been far less forgiving wins in the Oscar history book, so people should just let it go. I’m glad to see her back in a film that people will see, and on another note, it’s quite refreshing to see a middle age Hollywood actress not fall victim to the throes of plastic surgery.

  22. rufussondheim

    If she got plastic surgery she wouldn’t be able to crumple up her forehead and she would lose her only facial expression.

  23. TV success played a huge part in Hunt’s win, but, man, did it ever evaporate quickly in that she was completely off the map within two years.

    I have a great story that literally proves JUST THIS.

    Spring of 2000 I was with a friend in Las Vegas. We were walking through Mandalay Bay casino past the Blackjack tables and my friend goes, “Oh my God, that was just the guy from The Birdcage!” and I say, “Who? Robin Williams?” and she says, “No the other one” and I say, “Nathan Lane?” and she goes, “Nooooo, the maid one the cute one!” and I say, “What?” and so she walks me back to the table and it was Hank Azaria; however sitting next to him at the table was his wife at the time….Helen Hunt. I got really excited and said, “Holy shit, that’s Helen Hunt! You noticed him and not her?” and she said, “No, who is Helen Hunt?”….Helen had just won the Oscar two years prior.

  24. julian the emperor

    Winslet won for the wrong role, that is the only problem I have with her (or rather, to be fair, with the Academy). She won for a crappy movie (no nicer way to say it), and yes, she probably should have won way back for Sense and Sensibility and then we would never have had to live through that travesty when she won for the unnameable movie, one of the worst movies ever to be nominated for BP, imo. But her part as Rose is not by any stretch of the imagination a worthy Oscar-winning performance, cute as she is.

  25. Props to Steve50, Phantom, and FilmBoyMichael.

  26. ChrisFlick

    Didn’t endorse HH’s Oscar for As Good As It Gets, though I liked her in the movie, being a fan of her TV show. Her problem as an actress is that while she is appealing and can run with it when she has good material she cannot hoist a mediocre script and make it watchable. She suddenly seems like a TV actress. Witness the terrible piece of pablum Play It Forward. I like her still and wish her luck with this. It would ne nice to see her back on screen, perhaps as a reliable character actress.

  27. @Cyrus, I completely disagree about Tomei robbing Judy Davis of the Oscar. First of all, all the performances that year were outstanding and Oscar worthy and upon rewatching many of them recently, they have all aged beautifully. Tomei’s performance in MY COUSIN VINNY was and is absolutely jaw dropping and hilarious. It is one of the great scene-stealing/star making performances in recent memory and in my opinion was certainly worthy of the recognition it go. It certainly has helped that she has gone on to show that she is an incredibly gifted and talented actress with an interesting amount of range.

  28. Bennett

    What is with all the random Helen Hunt hate? She’s been a working actor since she was a child in the 70s.

    She has four Golden Globes, an Oscar, four Emmy Awards, two SAG awards and more money than God.

    Not every actor needs to wear a fright wig, false teeth, lose or gain a hundred pounds and speak with a stilted dialect to be considered “worthy” of an Academy Award or any other award for that matter. If Tomei or Hunt or anyone else didn’t “deserve” there Oscar, they would not have won. That’s insulting.

  29. Helen Hunt won her Oscar just because of that one scene where she’s reading the thank-you letter to Jack Nicholson’s character. She was just ok the rest of the movie (and I did love that movie).

  30. There are some who don’t “hate” Hunt, they just feel that she has been “over-recognized,” like some other actors.

  31. So much of this movie appears cliche and rigged for Oscar recognition:
    Biopic – check.
    Hooker With a Heart of Gold – check.
    Disabled character – check.
    Catholic priest/nun – check.

    It looks enjoyable and the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Country Club should eat it up.

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