Best Supporting Actress

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Olivier Assayes’ Clouds of Sils Maria was the best movie about women you never saw last year. The story centers on two women in the middle of a publicity blitz as the older and established actress, Juliette Binoche, contemplates taking on a part in a play she made her name on as an emerging actress at 19. Back then, though, she played the young ingenue. Now they want her to play the opposite character, the matron, who generates a simmering sexual dynamic with the younger actress. This time around, Chloe Grace Moretz, a Lindsay Lohan type public figure is taking on the younger part. Kristen Stewart plays Binoche’s assistant who manages her life, keeps her updated on the changing world around her, and runs lines with her. The play within a play begins to bleed into the actual story so that, at some point, the lines become so blurred you can’t really tell what’s real and what isn’t.

Kristen Stewart more than holds her own with Binoche, and very nearly steals the movie. It’s a performance that won her the prestigious Cesar — the first American actress in 67 years to accomplish such a feat. Stewart’s assistant, she tells me in an interview last week, is many things to the Binoche character, including a mother figure. She also says there was sexual tension there, something I detected but wasn’t sure was intentional. Of course it would be intentional, given that the play within a play is about an older woman and a younger woman involved in an affair.  As they read lines to each other, the plays seems to sometimes say what they themselves can’t because of various barriers, like Stewart is Binoche’s employee.  Stewart’s character is also involved with a younger male character, but that world is kept off screen, something the film hints at but never directly confronts.

There are three women in this story — Moretz, Stewart and Binoche — each at different stages of their lives and careers.  Moretz recalls (almost but not quite) a younger Stewart, whose private life behavior took on a life of its own in the press.  As such, we see Moretz portrayed one way by the press, then we encounter someone who is not like that at all.  Each woman dwells in the visible and the invisible, with Binoche being the one who matters in the earlier part of the film, with the Stewart character receding. When Moretz shows up, Binoche — and all of her fame and glory — seems to then disappear.

I loved this movie so much. It is so rare to see a filmmaker sink in and invest in women as though they are actual people with their own thoughts, careers, whole lives. I spoke very briefly to Stewart about this film. I was given a very strict 10 minute window, though honestly I could have talked to her for hours. She’s a smart and focused young woman whose choices in the films she stars in are careful, intelligent, and deliberate. I didn’t get nearly enough time to cover everything — and I wasted WAY TOO MUCH TIME telling her stuff about myself, which is embarrassing. So, sorry about that.

Still, I thought you all might like to hear the interview instead of my transcribing it. But you have to make a deal with me that you will disregard all of the dumb things I say, of which there are many.  I am terrible at interviews which is why I hardly ever do them.

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Writer-director Richard Linklater’s latest and unique cinematic achievement is less about a 12-year production and more because of his almost seamless blend of the melodramatic and the quotidian. One doesn’t need a context to appreciate Boyhood, but the film does need a little defense against some younger twitterers whose reactions can be summarized as “What’s the big deal?” When Gravity came out a bit more than a year ago, a thousand science-fiction-loving bloggers leapt to their keyboards to explain why the film was a “game changer”; Boyhood doesn’t have a constituency that’s quite so…naturally vocal, so this post is here for the next time someone shrugs at the marvels of Boyhood.

First, when have you ever seen a bildungsroman (a.k.a. coming-of-age story) where the plot hinged on nothing but the coming of age? No one does that! There’s always something else – Huck Finn helping Jim down the river, Pip unlocking the secret of his fortune, Narnia to be saved, Traveling Pants to be secured, the Stand By Me kids looking for the body, Pi trying to survive the raft with the tiger – authors never trust you to “only” experience a child’s maturing without some kind of larger artifice. If every other growing-up story is a symphony, Boyhood is the same song “unplugged” with no more than an acoustic guitar. And suddenly, you’re hearing the beauty of the notes in a way you never before understood.

Ever since Georges Méliès put his fantastical dreams on screen more than a century ago – dramatized by Martin Scorsese in Hugo three years ago – people have been trying to strip film narratives of their artifice. A laudable impulse against grandiosity and “unrealism” has inspired everything from the first documentaries to John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath (1940) to the Italian neo-realists to the anti-“cinema de papa” films of the French New Wave to the “gutsy” movies of the Hollywood Renaissance to the 1980s indie films by people like Jim Jarmusch and Steven Soderbergh to the Dogme 95 manifesto. That said, the exact tension between the demands of narrative and the desire for “lifelike” conditions was never expressed better, or funnier, than in Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze’s Adaptation (2002), in an exchange between “Charlie Kaufman,” played by Nicolas Cage, and screenwriting guru Robert McKee (who is still religiously followed by Pixar and half of Hollywood today), played by Brian Cox:

KAUFMAN
Sir, what if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens, where people don’t change, they don’t have any epiphanies. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. More a reflection of the real world —

MCKEE
The real world?

KAUFMAN
Yes, sir.

MCKEE
The real f—ing world? First of all, you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis, you’ll bore your audience to tears. Secondly: nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your f—ing mind? People are murdered every day! There’s genocide, war, corruption! Every f—ing day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every f—ing day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can’t find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don’t know CRAP about life! And WHY THE F— are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don’t have any use for it! I don’t have any bloody use for it!

KAUFMAN
Okay, thanks.

The truth is that McKee has a point: the ineffable feeling of the everyday has always taxed the patience of movie audiences. John Cassavetes and Andy Warhol well knew it while doing their 1960s experiments; today’s mumblecore artists know it as well. It’s very, very difficult to get audiences to invest in something with the veracity of a surveillance video for 90 minutes. When a filmmaker tries to produce that feeling of unrehearsed spontaneity, s/he almost always has to resort to certain tricks. Understated lighting and soft-speaking actors can help, as in films like The Bicycle Thieves (1948) and Celebration (1998). But all too often, narrative asserts its priorities, and the final thirds of such films tend to favor melodrama. Rarely, filmmakers can be boldly stylish even as they seek to highlight the everyday-ness of things, as Warhol was, and as Terrence Malick has lately been doing with films like The Tree of Life – not that everyone appreciates his efforts.

Malick’s fellow filmmaking Texan Richard Linklater, in his quarter-century of a career, has proved that he can be as bold and experimental as anyone – if you’re not sure about that, re-watch Waking Life (2001). Roger Ebert wrote that it’s not what a film’s about but how it’s about what it’s about, and Linklater found a deceptively terrific tone for Boyhood that’s all the more right for how it makes some people go “meh.” The trick is that the melodramatic moments and the “normal” moments feel all of a piece; they complement each other perfectly.

The big moments include one stepfather throwing things at the dinner table, another stepfather stopping Mason as he comes home late, the actual father at the bowling alley learning what his daughter remembers, Mom’s final scene about the shortness of life, Mason’s breakup on the bleacher seats, and Mom grabbing her kids and moving them out of the bad stepfather’s house. The more quotidian moments include video-game-playing, chore-doing, camping, shooting, politics-talking, and walking and biking around small-town Texas. This is a film where time marches on even as it seems like anything could occur. Thanks to some strong performances and Linklater’s clever mise-en-scène, which echoes the better filmmaking realists, Boyhood’s big moments feel as though they just happened to happen, and the little moments feel like tiny shards from some larger symbolic mosaic. When we arrive at the final half-hour, and Mason’s graduation party, we’re in a sort of giddy state between realism and melodrama that very few films have achieved. As the friends congratulate Mason, as Mom and Dad confer for one of the only times in the film, as Dad confides in Mason that he never liked his beautiful girlfriend, we almost don’t know how to feel – should we expect a big melodramatic culmination? Should we expect this to be as prosaic as pissing on a campfire? It feels like a little bit of both, and that feels almost unprecedented for a film’s final act…almost a brand-new type of imitation of life.

In 2014, we expect breakthroughs in realism to come only from television, perhaps from a show like Orange is the New Black, which is also a virtuosic modern blend of the everyday and the narrative-driven. As a movie, Boyhood has to ace the routine and stick the landing all at once. Yes, you could see a few breathless wobbles, particularly during Mason and Mom’s final scene, where Linklater shoehorned in framed photos of moments that we’d never seen, to remind us that this has been a 12-year journey – without resorting to flashbacks. (Imagine this film with flashbacks! Entirely destroying the sense of ineffable inevitability.) Mason’s spat with his photography teacher was a little too well-timed for the end of the film’s second act, just when things are meant to be bleakest (as Robert McKee teaches). But a few trembles wouldn’t stop the judges from awarding this a 10 out of 10.

Ever since someone said, “Every fiction film is partly a documentary, and every documentary is partly a fiction,” people have tried to split the difference, and if Richard Linklater didn’t quite hybridize the two classic bildungsroman franchises, 7Up and Harry Potter, into 160 elegant minutes, he came as close as anyone ever will. (As a side note, one wonders how well-received a similar movie would have been about an old man becoming 12 years older.) All this in a raw-edged, almost unsentimental film about the sensitive kids of working-class, divorced people, a film as proletarian as it is protean. Boyhood is already the film of a decade, but we’re not in bad shape if it becomes the film of this decade.

Weirdly, the most radical thing about Boyhood may be its title and the fact that it isn’t Childhood (About a Boy was taken). Deep in the red-meat heart of red-state America, even a boy named Mason is growing up painting his nails and piercing his ears, more metrosexual than his grandparents could have imagined. Brit Hume had a point when he stood up for Chris Christie: our culture is relatively feminized, but the Mason character provides compelling evidence that The Kids Are All Right with that. Because Boyhood begins in 2002 and ends in 2014, Mason naturally signifies a sort of sifter that decides what to keep and what to throw away from the previous century. And what a beautiful testament to our country and culture, that despite our divisive politics, divorce epidemic, and digital overload (Mason loudly rejects the latter), we can still raise Masons and Samanthas. That final bend in the river still leads to America, and “always right now” isn’t as bad as it sometimes seems. Boyhood skeptics, tell me: how is that “meh”?

If anything distracts from the achievement of Boyhood – notice that in 1500 words I haven’t yet mentioned this aspect – it’s the chance to see the film’s lead actor growing from age 6 to 18, which critics are fawning over perhaps a bit too much. Not that I’m not one of them: there’s something about the very actual aging that warms a rarely touched zone of the heart, like the first time you see a 30-second time-lapse video of a day in the life of a flower, extending its petals to the sun and then withdrawing. Having said that, I’d like to go out on a limb here and suggest that if Linklater had cast four different actors as Mason and shot the whole thing in one summer – like most filmmakers would have – Boyhood would have been about 85% as good. Going back to my Gravity comparison, 3-D long-take shots were to Gravity what the 12-year production was to Boyhood, the decorative frosting that masked a surprisingly meaty filling. We might express surprise that the initial premise – kids navigating divorced dating mom and absentee dad through wackadoo new century – was so durable, but we really shouldn’t be surprised that the author of the Before trilogy, given 12 years on his labor of love, was able to conjure up so many effective scenes. As expressed in the final edit, the script was nothing short of magnificent. But oh, oh…that 15% of watching them grow up is worth all the long takes in Gravity.

Just when we think we’ve seen it all, Boyhood challenges what we think is possible in film, even what we think during films, without ever being formally flashy like Linklater’s Slacker (1991), Waking Life (2001), and A Scanner Darkly (2006). Boyhood is a challenge to every future attempt at feature-length realism, but perhaps its most salient feature is that it feels nothing like a challenge. Instead it feels like a culmination of themes that ran through the Before films, Tape (2001), Dazed and Confused (1993), and even School of Rock (2003). Linklater’s patience, decency, humility, and generosity of spirit come through in every frame. His directorial signature has been to give his characters room to grow, and with Boyhood he found (created) the ideal canvas. Like John Sayles and Mike Leigh, Linklater must hurry up his actors just to stay on-budget, but you never sense that. Instead you feel life as it happens, life as it is: that gossamer-grabbing feeling of how 12 years can feel like 2 hours, that sepia-fading sensation of how one day you turn around and your kid is going to college. Boyhood will someday sit next to other films in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry, and there it will reside like a treasured photo album placed next to a group of great books.

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Read more from Daniel Smith-Rowsey at his blog, Map to the Future

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Clouds of Sils Maria won’t be released until next year but it looks like we have our first Oscar contender for 2016 with Kristen Stewart in the supporting category. No word yet on whether or not that will also include Juliette Binoche in lead – but if we have another year like we just had she should have no problem getting in.  Stewart has been buzzed for months now after the film showed in Cannes.

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Reese Witherspoon continues her reign as Most Valuable Player in the Oscar race this year, having produced two films (Wild and Gone Girl) and starred in two, all the while challenging herself in unexpected ways. In Wild, we follow her journey as Cheryl Strayed, who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and lived to tell about it. Witherspoon’s Strayed carries the entire film – just her, the food, her fears and her grief. It’s a spectacular performance. Also in the picture, another lost woman – Hilary Swank who stars in the feminist take on the western, The Homesman. Swank has never been better in a film that is not an easy sit. Swank, like Witherspoon, plays that rare breed of female who is smart and capable yet unwittingly undone by having no opportunities.

Three more leads fill the frame, including the frontrunner, Julianne Moore whose performance in Still Alice is reportedly heartbreaking.  Amy Adams in Big Eyes, a standout in Burton’s film, and Felicity Jones, who plays Jane Hawking, the woman who is almost responsible for saving Stephen Hawking’s life and thus, changing the way we view the universe and ourselves within it.

Two supporting actresses in the mix, including the frontrunner, Patricia Arquette – her complicated young mother in Boyhood who evolves as her children grow. Arquette held this character in her mind and heart for 12 years, delivering not just the best supporting turn of the year but one of the best performances overall. And finally, Laura Dern who is partnered with Witherspoon in Wild, as her free spirited mother whose death inspires Witherspoon’s character to something, anything to ease the pain of her loss.

These are varied, interesting and complex roles for women in this photo here.

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Meryl Streep will be run in Supporting, not lead, while Emily Blunt will be the lead actress contender for Into the Woods, a rep from Disney confirmed. Sometimes the “category confusion” as my friend Nat calls it can lead to odd happenings when the award nominations come down. There was Kate Winslet getting a supporting nod for The Reader but then winning for Lead in that category. There was Jennifer Connelly for supporting in A Beautiful Mind being nominated for Lead by SAG then going for and winning in Supporting at the Oscars. It happens sometimes as voters (Academy or SAG) are not required to put any actor in any category. They do what they want. But much of the time, if it’s done early enough, ducks get put in a row and things line up as expected, especially lately with so much publicity around the Oscars now.

When there are so many contenders in one film it becomes harder to decide where to put them, especially when there are kind of gray areas. For instance, Channing Tatum is actually lead for Foxcatcher, along with Steve Carell, where Mark Ruffalo is Supporting.

In this case, both Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick will be in supporting for Into the Woods, which could also be in line for a SAG ensemble nod given the talent involved.

Right now the Supporting Actress category is led by Patricia Arquette for her astonishing work in Boyhood. She is joined by Laura Dern for her heartbreaking turn in Wild, Keira Knightley who is ferocious in The Imitation Game, Emma Stone hard hitting in Birdman, Viola Davis paying against type in Eleanor Rigby, and Kristen Stewart who is said to be great in Still Alice. Melissa McCarthy for St. Vincent, and Naomi Watts for Birdman AND St. Vincent.

Kendrick and Streep, Anne Hathaway in Interstellar, yeah, it’s going to be a crowded year for Supporting Actress.

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Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, the stars of the Clouds of Sils Maria, pose here for Germany’s Interview. It was just announced that the film will hit the Toronto Film Fest in September.

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Posted moments ago on Indiewire, starring Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart…

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Sally Field was featured on ABC Evening News tonight in a story that originally aired on Valentine’s Day.

Sally Field has been a beloved part of American pop culture for nearly a half-century. At 66, she has as many Best Actress Academy Awards as Meryl Streep. Pretty good for someone who began on the ABC sitcoms “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun.”

“When I started in the business, I started in situation-comedy, that’s kind of– those were it,” Field said. “People will say to me, ‘you made such wonderful choices in your life.’ I have? I had so few choices.”

Still, she was undaunted and unabashed in her desire to play Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.”

“I’m proud of the film, I’m proud of my work in the film, I’m proud I fought to get in it,” Field said.

Proud, too, of doing it all, deep in the midst of a heartbreak she has never talked about publicly before: Her mother’s death.

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Kerry Washington (Django Unchained), Kristen Stewart (On the Road), Lorraine Toussaint (Middle of Nowhere) and Rosemary DeWitt (Promised Land) discuss their various works.

Of these, I’ve only seen Stewart and Toussant – both give great performances worthy of awards attention. We play this Oscar game to win, we pundits, so we predict those we think most likely to get in. But that doesn’t mean that we’re right and it doesn’t mean we should keep our minds open to the possibilities. While there are scant few lead female performances that portray strong, independent woman (because then what on earth would we do with them all?) but Stewart and Toussant are standouts for that reason. Have a look:

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EW’s Owen Gleiberman says Speilberg’s Lincoln, scripted by Tony Kushner, “is one of the most authentic biographical dramas I’ve ever seen.”

As the title character of Steven Spielberg’s solemnly transfixing Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis is tall and elegantly stooped, with thatchy gray-black hair, sunken cheeks, and a grin that tugs at the corners of his mouth whenever he tries to win someone over by telling them a good story (which is often). Day-Lewis looks so much like the photographs of Abraham Lincoln that you don’t have to squint, even a bit, to buy that it’s him. He nails Lincoln’s thousand-yard stare — a gaze directed at once inward (at the whir of his own mental machinery) and outward (at the cosmic hum of history). Day-Lewis’ performance has a beautiful gravitas, yet there’s nothing too severe about it. He gives Lincoln a surprisingly plainspoken, reedy high voice that retains the courtly cadences of the South. That voice — from everything we know, it’s quite accurate — makes Lincoln sound like Will Rogers as a professor of human nature. This Lincoln lives deep inside his own unruly-haired head, yet he loves the people around him, even the ignorant (and racist) common folk, who repay the favor by loving him back. And that’s where he draws his political force.

Lincoln, which Spielberg has directed from a lyrical, ingeniously structured screenplay by Tony Kushner, plugs us into the final months of Lincoln’s presidency with a purity that makes us feel transported as though by time machine. (Kushner is the husband of EW columnist Mark Harris.)

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Thanks, as always, to the diligent crew at ONTD for posting this info, finding the original source on the Washingotn Post. A new clip featuring Amy Adams. Her interview with Letterman after the jump.

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In a recent article on the Oscar race by Christopher Rosen an attempt was made to figure out which actors have the best shot at an Oscar nod in The Dark Knight Rises. There is only one. And her name is Anne Hathaway. Spirited, beautiful, liked by Academy members and the only performer singled out for her work in the film. She comes in at number two on Rosen’s list but don’t believe the hype. If there is going to be one, it will most likely be her. True, everyone thinks Les Miz will be her big Oscar grab and it probably will be but — that doesn’t take away the fact that she’s still the film’s best shot at an acting nod.

It would be lovely if Michael Caine or Christian Bale or Morgan Freeman has a shot here. But the way these things go, they usually don’t.

Thelma Adams is assembling a few of us women Oscar peeps for an ongoing discussion of the Oscar race.   This is my favorite one of the bunch so far because the thing about Thelma Adams and Susan Wlosczcyna, Kim Voynar and Anne Thompson is that they’re funny.  So they make a great coffee klatch, just saying.  Here is a bit of it as we drill down McCarthy’s chance — but you might want to read the whole thing over at Thelma’s site.

As for Ms. McCarthy, I actually had no idea how versatile she was because all I’d ever seen her do was the plucky chubby best friend on Gilmore Girls. But once I saw her show her true acting ability on Bridesmaids (I can’t wait to see her host SNL next weekend) I realized that it’s not just about: let’s reward the brave fat girl. This is about acting. It really and truly is – and if those idiots in the SAG are too dense to notice because she isn’t speaking with a British accent? Well I don’t know what to say.

KIM: Sasha, I agree with you that great acting SHOULD be rewarded. But we’re talking here (I think) about whether the Academy is LIKELY to. And like it or not, I think the mostly male academy won’t see beyond the “brave fat girl in a comedy” thing. Or SAG either, for that matter. I think her best shot is in Comedy and Musical for the GGs. There are just to many other contenders in the kinds of films Oscar likes for her to have a legit shot at that.

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Probably those who greenlit The Help never imagined it would be birthed into a racially contentious time in our history.  It’s 2011 and we have our nation’s first black president – the shit has mostly hit the fan, but let’s face it – race relations have never entirely cooled down, not when Rodney King was beaten up, not when OJ was set free, not during Hurricane Katrina’s wrath, not now, when Obama and his very black family live in the very White House.  We can all pretend like it isn’t still a controversial topic,  and that we’ve moved beyond racism and all of that – but we haven’t.  The only thing, in fact, that keeps it from stirring up is the contrived political correctness we all try to adhere to.

The other thing that can sometimes help is talking about it in a realistic way.  One important voice missing in this whole debate around The Help is Oprah Winfrey.  Oprah would use her show, perhaps, to address some of these issues — her show was kind of like a town hall meeting for women (the main audience for the film) and the African American community.  But there is no Oprah so now people are taking sides. But I wondered, though, how this ends up helping or hurting people like Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, two strong black performances in an atmosphere that discourages them. Will they get flushed down the toilet with the rest of the shitstorm? Hm.

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There is much to complain about in The Help.  For one thing, the black folk cluck around like uniformly “good” hens in a hen house.  This makes us sympathize with them, of course, but it tells the story from Whitey’s perspective, which means that it’s impossible to get a more realistic impression of what it was like to be a maid in Jackson, Mississippi on the eve of the civil rights movement.   The black and white in The Help is literally black and white – so much so that it doesn’t leave a lot of room for placing film in 2011, when we already have a black President.  However, having said all of that — and it needs to be said — The Help is full of what will undoubtedly be the year’s best ensemble and supporting acting for women.  And for that, it gets a major pass.

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I was just yet again grossed out by this statement by an Academy member as quoted by the Hollywood-Reporter’s Tim Appelo. Regarding the Melissa Leo FYC ad, a member reportedly said:

“She lost my vote.”

Wow, really? So that is how you win an Oscar. Huh. Here all this time I thought it had to do with the actual performance! Silly me. Actually, of course I’ve always known that you don’t win Oscars by giving the best performance of the year – you win them by either 1) being most liked by your peers, 2) playing a character most liked by your peers. Every once in a while a deserving performer gets it.

Leo has a refreshing newbie taste on the race:

“The race, all this is sorta unfamiliar to me,” Leo told The Hollywood Reporter. “But it might mean more work, so that’s interesting. The Oscars — it’s this illustrious group, a jury of my peers, I find out. It’s also a marketing [thing]. It’s show business. I didn’t ask that this opportunity for more come to me. I’ve just done what I’ve done. I think I’m finding out why I watch those competitive cooking shows, ’cause people aren’t on about who they are or how they’re dressed. It’s about what they’re doing.”

Just to state one more time for the record: everybody campaigns for the Oscar. Only they don’t do it directly the way she did. They do it hiding behind very powerful and skilled publicists. Notice how when David Lynch does it it’s considered funny and quirky but for Leo? A 50 year old fighting to continue to get access to interesting roles? She’s an embarrassment. I’m not saying she deserves to win or not; what I am saying is that she doesn’t deserve to NOT get it because of this.

For the record? David Lynch rules. And Laura Dern was robbed.

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While the men characters are doing things like cutting off their arms to survive, creating a social networking revolution, learning to give speeches and becoming king of England while doing so, winning boxing matches, robbing banks and getting the girl – the women are coming apart. Many of them, anyway. There are a few strong oaks in the mix – Ree from Winter’s Bone and Nic from The Kids Are All Right (note that these are both written and directed by women). The stronger female leads, where the women are kicking ass and taking names, don’t seem to be featured as prominently as the crazy ones – Naomi Watts in Fair Game, Hilary Swank in Conviction. This year, we like them shaking and crazy.

Herewith, the top five craziest female characters in the Oscar race:

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From Alt Film Guide.

David Michod’s crime family drama Animal Kingdom bagged 10 Australian Film Institute Awards at a ceremony held on Dec. 11 in Melbourne.

Among Animal Kingdom’s ten trophies were those for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress (Jacki Weaver), Best Actor (Ben Mendelsohn), Best Supporting Actor (Joel Edgerton), and Best Original Screenplay (Michod).

Other AFI winners included Best Supporting Actress Deborah Mailman for Bran Nue Dae (Mailman also won the supporting/guest television actress award for Offspring) and Best Adapted Screenplay for Tomorrow When the War Began (Stuart Beattie). The AFI International Awards for successful Australians abroad went to Avatar’s Sam Worthington and Alice in Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska.

At an “industry” ceremony held on Dec. 10, Jane Campion’s Bright Star won three AFI Awards: Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design.

Read the rest here.

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Today, the 2,100 randomly selected Screen Actors Guild nominating committee members are getting their ballots. They will then have a few weeks to see everything before jotting down their choices.

Votes for nominees may be cast online or via mailed paper ballot. Votes must be received by the Guild’s official teller, Integrity Voting Systems, by Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 at 5 p.m (PT). Nominations for the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be announced at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010 at 6 a.m. (PT)/9 a.m. (ET), telecast live on TNT and webcast live on tnt.tv and tbs.com.

The SAG members will likely rely on screeners and on their own memory from screenings they attended. Some films will play very well on screener, while others, not so much. The year’s best performances have somehow been about the power of two. Two co-stars coming together or pulling apart. If you look behind one great performance, in other words, you will see many supporting faces that help them get where they want to go.

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