This infographic was sent to me by a good friend of mine named Holly. She was curious to know if it was accurate. What think you, Oscar watchers?



When an actress faces the gauntlet of Oscar campaigning, usually it requires that extra something something. This isn’t to say you can’t get there if you’re Judi Dench (sexy in her own right), Helen Mirren (ditto) – but there is a reason why many brilliant actresses seem to “age out” of the process — their window for winning an Oscar fading, along with her sexuality (as defined by the male gaze — usually defined as younger). With so many Oscar nominations under her belt, freedom with her own nudity, Kate Winslet still had to go there to finally win:


The sex card is a powerful hand to play during Oscar season because the voting bodies tend to be dominated by older straight white males. Women who can play it often do. Women who can’t must depend on their reputation and general likability. But if you’re young and trying to break through, often sex is the only way to really do that. Oh sure, every so often it doesn’t matter. As far as I can tell, Jessica Chastain has never needed to play the sex card, although she lost to Jennifer Lawrence who not only played it in print but played it in the movie, Silver Linings Playbook.

While it might not always be the right hand to play to win, it can often make the difference in a very crowded year with many contenders. For instance, Adele Exarchopoulos is an actress who is so hot she could probably fry eggs just by looking at them. She has a powerful weapon at her disposal — all she needed to do was say yes. GQ spreads her out like butter on its pages. That magazine will likely make its way to the commodes, waiting rooms and offices of many voters.


These images might, at the very least, get voters who might be afraid of a three hour movie, to watch. They’d be watching (or fast-forwarding) anyway, but surely this helps.

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You know, it’s funny. Saving Mr. Banks was given the impossibly raised expectations sentence by the time it screened at the London Film Festival a day ago.  The critics are mostly positive on it, with no negatives. But the interesting thing about it is how the non-critics reacted to it. Here are some tweets:

As for the reviews, I don’t many of them warrant attention, at least not yet. Though I did find this pull-quote from the Hollywood Reporter’s review about Emma Thompson:

In a part once mooted for Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson takes charge of the central role of the waspish P.L. Travers with an authority that makes you wonder how anybody else could ever have been considered. Firing off withering, perfectly timed put-downs in a musical Received Pronunciation accent (disguising the character’s Australian origins), with the confident stride of a governess tidying up the nursery, she’s a fearsome figure of feminine steeliness. There’s an echo here of Sandra Bullock’s Tiger Mom in Hancock’s The Blind Side, except that Travers is considerably less maternal, despite being a children’s writer. When a woman with a babe-in-arms on the plane to Los Angeles offers to move her own hand luggage to make room for Travers’ bag, she offers no thanks and only asks if “the child will be a nuisance” on the flight.

Re-creating the scene in Big…via JustJared:

(thanks to Paddy at ScreenOnScreen)

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 2.13.08 PM

Best Actress race is very heated this year, needless to say.



In her new column on the Oscar race for Women and Hollywood at Indiewire, Susan Wloszczyna celebrates the longevity of Sandra Bullock’s career arc. When you look at where she started and now, where she’s landed with Gravity you can’t help but marvel at the ways she’s redefining not only her career but the potential trajectory for actresses over 40 in Hollywood.

Last year’s Zero Dark Thirty made $95 million, and eventually took the number one spot at the box office when it opened wide and was headed straight for the Oscar race before it was hit with controversy. But to understand the kind of tiny revolution happening here one must set aside that controversy for the moment and look only at the success of that film. Let’s also forget it was directed by a woman because that, too, is beside the point.

What is to the point with Zero Dark Thirty is that a film with a woman in the lead, making the decisions, having the whole plot turn around her character is the kind of thing Hollywood has to be talked into. Maybe it seemed like a one-off last year. You could say that the subject matter — killing Bin Laden — was enough to drive the box office. But either way, the facts are the facts: a film with a woman in the lead who wasn’t naked, having sex, someone’s mother, wife or girlfriend was kicking ass and taking names.

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With several potentially pivotal roles left to be seen — Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks and Amy Adams in American Hustle, two names seem like they might dominate the category when the critics start handing out their awards. Those awards will then influence the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice, the Screen Actors Guild and ultimately, the Oscars.  The Golden Globes often reflect the early part of the race, not the late breaking changes that can sometimes occur.  The New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review both announce early and also tend to reflect the early part of the race.

Here is a poll for you to respond to whom you think is in the lead.  I make my own list after the jump.

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Pic is slated for release December, 2014 and also stars Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, and Johnny Depp. Hat tip, EW.



It’s funny how we bloggers often try to stuff contenders into categories to suit our own desires. Factoring in the performances in movies yet to be seen, at this point in the race it looks to me like the strongest contenders are these:

1. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
2. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
3. Judi Dench, Philomena
4. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
5. Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Right after these big names come Kate Winslet in Labor Day and Amy Adams, expected to be in for American Hustle (though, like Thompson, she has yet to been seen). Then there are powerhouse performances that have been seen — like Julie Delpy in Before Midnight, and Brie Larson for Short Term 12. Finally there’s Adele Exarchopoulos for Blue is the Warmest Color.

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This year, it feels like there is Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine and everyone else.  It isn’t that anyone is confident Blanchett can win. When Anne Thompson suggested Blanchett was the frontrunner she was was pounced upon by many of her colleagues who said the often heard Oscar season phrase, “no way.”  Even still, here it is September and a few performances insist upon sharing the spotlight. Most of the challengers, and even Blanchett herself, are prior Oscar winners.  That means that the winner this year, at least so far, is likely to be a repeat winner.

Blanchett’s first and strongest competition (so far) comes from two such previous  winners, Sandra Bullock (won lead for The Blind Side) in Gravity and Judi Dench (won supporting for Shakespeare in Love) in Philomena. The urgency to reward a winner tips in Blanchett’s favor, however, given that Bullock has won fairly recently, and Blanchett has an impressive grossly under-rewarded body of work behind her.  Not having yet seen Philomena, it’s hard to gauge how good or powerful or undeniable the role is.

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Blue 2

Admirable job by Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) at the Daily Beast. He never prods Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos to say any more than they want to say, but simply allows the conversation to unfold naturally when it’s clear they’re eager to be candid. After a few minutes talking about their first experiences falling in love, Marlow asks an obvious question and the floodgates open wide.

(Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, and based on a graphic novel by Julie Maroh, Blue tells the story of Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), an awkward but beautiful 15-year-old girl whose initial sexual forays leave much to be desired. All that changes when she crosses paths with Emma (Léa Seydoux), a blue-haired college student studying art. It’s love—or is it lust?—at first sight, and before long, the two are inseparable).

This is a very immersive role that demanded a lot from both of you. You must have had a lot of trust in Kechiche before signing on to this.

Léa: The thing is, in France, it’s not like in the States. The director has all the power. When you’re an actor on a film in France and you sign the contract, you have to give yourself, and in a way you’re trapped.

Adèle: He warned us that we had to trust him—blind trust—and give a lot of ourselves. He was making a movie about passion, so he wanted to have sex scenes, but without choreography—more like special sex scenes. He told us he didn’t want to hide the character’s sexuality because it’s an important part of every relationship. So he asked me if I was ready to make it, and I said, “Yeah, of course!” because I’m young and pretty new to cinema. But once we were on the shoot, I realized that he really wanted us to give him everything. Most people don’t even dare to ask the things that he did, and they’re more respectful—you get reassured during sex scenes, and they’re choreographed, which desexualizes the act.

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(Press Release) London, 30th August, 2013: – The 57th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is delighted to announce that the Festival’s American Express Gala will take place on Wednesday 16 October at the Odeon Leicester Square with the UK Premiere of Stephen Frears’ PHILOMENA, the moving, funny and at times shocking true story of one woman’s search for her lost son.

Academy Award ® winner Judi Dench plays the title role, with BAFTA winner Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith. The screenplay is written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by Martin Sixsmith. Pathé release the film in UK cinemas on 1 November 2013.

Stephen Frears, Judi Dench and Steve Coogan are all expected to attend the American Express Gala.

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cate rooney

Rooney Mara has signed on to co-star opposite Cate Blanchett in Todd Haynes’ Carol, adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novella, The Price of Salt — a tale some have incorrectly assumed is a suspense thriller. It’s not. It’s a bold romance with a tense road-trip that outdoes Thelma and Louise.

From a review in Slate (a link that you shouldn’t read in its entirety unless you want to know too much):

Highsmith’s novel preserved the trashy, sexy feel of the pulps but combined it with a grown-up love story that turned the tables. When the novel opens, Therese Belivet is working as a temporary sales clerk at Christmas in the toy department of a large New York department store… Without really intending to, she has managed to acquire a self-absorbed suitor named Richard whose lumpish sexual overtures leave her dismayed. (Highsmith is surely the first major writer to capture from deep inside that mysteriously appalled, don’t-want-to feeling many budding lesbians experience while attempting—for form’s sake—to make it with a guy. “It made her feel self-conscious and foolish, as if she stood embracing the stem of a tree.”)

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'Gravity' Photocall  - The 70th Venice International Film Festival

'Gravity' Photocall  - The 70th Venice International Film Festival

More pics at JustJared



The beautiful and talented Marion Cotillard has replaced Natalie Portman for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, directed by Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders).



One of the biggest surprises of 2013 so far is Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12. It’s the kind of movie that seems “too little” to break through to Oscar, and maybe will only land at the Spirit Awards. But the truth of it is that Brie Larson’s performance as Grace will probably capture enough hearts to break through in a very crowded category.

(minor spoiler warning)
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Screencaps after the jump. Swiped from Brad Brevet at Rope of Silicon

UPDATE: Translation transcript after the cut. Thanks to Aurélien at Rope of SIlicon via our good pal, Arnaud Trouvé (@CineCharlie)

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It is kind of astonishing that the  Hollywood Reporter would cover the Oprah story from the point of view of, what looks to me like, right wing bloggers. Clearly, the HR is unaware of the standard position said bloggers have been taking for the last many decades on racism? It doesn’t exist. In fact, it’s backwards. White people are the ones being discriminated against. Racism had nothing to do with the Trayvon Martin case. Why? Because racism evaporated after the Civil War. To not know where these “bloggers” stand, and worse, use them as a valid reference, is shoddy. A quote from the story:

Meanwhile, some media pundits — mostly on the political right — are noting that Winfrey is telling the story while promoting Lee Daniels’ The Butler, a movie largely about the black civil rights movement, and they are suspicious about the timing.

“Did the media even wonder for a moment how a potentially exaggerated, racially charged anecdote of this kind might help to sell Oprah’s upcoming film?” wrote John Nolte at “Did no one in media wonder if such an anecdote mixed with the promotion of a film based on a racial theme might be a little too neat?”

The Weinstein Co., which is distributing Lee Daniels’ The Butler, declined comment. Reps for Winfrey have not yet responded to a request for comment.

So now Breitbart is a “media pundit”? Oh rilly? That’s like calling Fox News news.  Try again, Hollywood Reporter. That is no “media pundit” that is a “right wing blogger.” Saying “mostly on the political right” doesn’t quote cover it.

You know, call me crazy, but I think Oprah has proven herself beyond any reasonable doubt and you know, I’m just going to take her word for it. I know, a shocker.  Surely she has to be a liar, being that she’s a “powerful billionaire and cable network owner.”  Ooooo, scary Oprah coming to get you. Better run and hide scared right wingers!  Here’s a thought – go and hide behind the Koch brothers. They’ll protect you against this evil witch of the cable airwaves!

The right wing, or the hysterical right I should say, is invested in you believing that racism has been eradicated. This is how they managed to overturn key aspects of the Voting Rights Act. All black accusers are liars. All white defenders are heroes. And so it goes.

[UPDATE: Zurich boutique owner apologizes after the cut].

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