At last, the glamour categories. A lot of tricky maneuverings happening here as our voters cast ballots to decide which performances are Lead and which are Supporting. Mathematics brings down the gavel to make the final judgement. Dr Rob will be here to explain how it all happened – and how it may play out tomorrow morning when the real Oscar ballot results are revealed. How do actual Oscar voters differ from you and me? To quote Fitzgerald and Hemingway:

F. Scott: “The rich are different from you and me.”
Ernest: “Yes, they have more money.”

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by Robin Write

Ex Machina is a movie I saw very early on in the year, and we are talking the calendar year, which is not necessarily the one defined by the film industry’s awards season. Longevity of a January release (April in America) in the motion picture world has seldom been a flourishing flavor come the last quarter of the year when the cluster of Oscar contenders hurtle toward us like buffalo. Take into account too the likelihood that a science fiction slash psychological drama has strong enough legs to make it all the way to the red carpet as a serious contender. For Ex Machina, apparently a legitimate awards underdog then, clear audience and critical acclaim would be ample icing on the cake.

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There were three films involving relations between older women and younger women this year. One is Carol, which has been welcomed into the awards race with open arms. Another is Freeheld, with Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, which has been mostly ignored for Oscar consideration. The third and most platonic is Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria, which has mostly been ignored by awards pundits, but has been given a new lease on life by film critics in recent weeks who are  giving Stewart more consistent praise and awards for her performance than any other supporting actress this year.

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This year’s Best Actress race is a peculiar one. The year started out with the pipe-dream expectation that Jennifer Lawrence might win her second lead actress Oscar for Joy, David O. Russell’s first film featuring a woman at the center. Well, be careful what you wish for because critics of Russell’s choice of lead then criticized the film once he took the risk that everyone has been carping about for years. Now, with the reception Joy has received, he’s likely to go back to doing what he knows will land better — films with central male protagonists. What a shame. Joy is getting way too harshly treated, I think, and probably because — I’m guessing only because — the expectations on it were way too high. It is his best film since Flirting with Disaster, in my opinion. The difference here, though, is that no one really wants to see Jennifer Lawrence not being bubbly and funny. (Adults, anyway – younger girls seem to prefer her warrior fierce). Remember when Julia Roberts tried to get serious? Everybody wanted her to unleash her big loud laugh to bring in ticket sales. So bravo to David O. Russell for finally taking a risk and making a movie about a woman. I think Joy is brilliant in so many ways – I’m sorry no one else did. But we’ll see how audiences respond on Christmas Day to the best Christmas movie in years.

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A funny thing happened in this year’s Oscar race for Supporting Actress. Somehow, some way, the critics did not forget about Clouds of Sils Maria and Kristen Stewart’s historic Cesar win. Stewart began winning early critics awards without any campaigning whatsoever. She did a little early on when the film first opened in America in April but as yet there hasn’t been any campaign for an Oscar nomination. The studio did what studios do when buzz seems to fade – they just hope for the best and move on. We in the Oscar punditry world felt that Stewart’s nomination was a long shot. The film premiered a year ago at Cannes, and her Cesar victory was in February.  Stewart’s sudden resurgence among critics has altered the Best Supporting Actress race but her chances are thought by many to remain slime, all the same. Why is that?
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Santa Barbara, CA (Press Release) – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced today that it will honor Rooney Mara with the Cinema Vanguard Award on Friday, February 12, 2016.  The actress will be celebrated for her remarkable role in this year’s Carol alongside Cate Blanchett, who will present Mara with the award at a tribute at the Arlington Theatre.

The Cinema Vanguard Award was created in recognition of actors who have forged their own path – taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film. Previous honorees include Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga, Stanley Tucci, Peter Sarsgaard, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Ryan Gosling.
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The Best Actress race has been shaken up a bit with the announcement that Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl and Rooney Mara for Carol are “going lead.” This puts them squarely in competition with the Best Actress powerhouses – in Mara’s case, up against her own co-star. How will this play out? It’s hard to say. There have been category mix-ups before. It tends to thrust the race into more unpredictable territory ultimately.
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Julianne Moore and Ellen Page continue their fascinating involvement with gay-themed movies and gay filmmakers in Freeheld, opening October 2.

New Jersey police lieutenant, Laurel Hester, and her registered domestic partner, Stacie Andree, both battle to secure Hester’s pension benefits when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer.


Much of the work women find in film these days isn’t in lead, but in supporting, certainly in the movies that are most often considered for Best Picture. Both Boyhood and Birdman featured women in supporting, rather than leading, roles. The woman around the man, the woman behind the man, the woman underneath the man, the woman confronting the man, the woman seducing the man, the woman raising the man, the woman marrying the man. This is where so many filmmakers feel comfortable putting women. The problem gets worse when female characters are required to “always be good” in films, always portrayed in a positive light to right the wrongs our culture has imposed upon women. Just look at the fuss over Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl. Women must never be portrayed as bitches even though so many are (Yours Truly wears the badge proudly). If women are not given the same freedom as men to play failures, cunts, murderers, presidents, inventors – how then are they to be portrayed? Well, as supporting characters.

If you go back to the films of the 1930s and 1940s and even into the 1950s and 1960s you will find the most glorious portrayals of “bad women,” particularly in the pre-code days. Who wants to see movies become a book of etiquette for “good women” because that makes it 1) unrealistic, and 2) boring. Can you imagine if Terms of Endearment were out now, the kind of lengthy think pieces that would be written about both characters in terms of whether Aurora was a stereotype or Emma was a stereotype — there would have been no room for the film to simply exist and breathe on its own without a town meeting on whether or not they were portrayed correctly. Of course, there are reasonable complaints – black women always playing maids, for instance. Women always playing hookers with hearts of gold. Women represented as moist cuts of meat on a platter every time the camera hits them. These things are to be avoided at all costs and do not factor in when we’re talking about diverse portrayals. If you’re seeing it everywhere all of the time chances are that isn’t an example of under-representation. But when a film comes along where the female is complicated and strange, evil or even bitchy, that doesn’t immediately mean it should all be flushed down the toilet because it’s painting women in the wrong light.

This issue will not likely come into play much this year – as there won’t be that many female performances to choose from (as usual) in the leading categories. The supporting categories always offer up more freedom for women to play lots of different types of characters. Already the category is full up with great performances. There will no doubt be a long list as you can match the many lead male performances almost always with a corresponding female supporting performance.

One of the most surprising things that happened this year was that Kristen Stewart became the first American actress to win the Cesar for Supporting Actress. Surprising because the French don’t give out those awards to us Americans — never before, in the 40-year history of the Cesar. In one of the strongest turns for women overall, Stewart shines opposite Juliette Binoche in The Clouds of Sils Maria, one of the few films to examine the complicated relationships between women. Stewart is brilliant as the assistant who is plugged into the modern world helping to protect the aging (and self-involved) actress she works for. She represents integrity in an industry that has mostly forsaken it. The two actresses dig deeply into the play within a play, working out the stage relationship between the characters which then reflects on their own relationship. Stewart must therefore be considered among the strongest contenders at the moment for Best Supporting Actress.

Right up there with her is Elizabeth Banks in Love & Mercy. In what really could be considered a leading role (and might very well turn out to be), Banks holds her own in a film that features two bravura performances by Paul Dano and John Cusack. But don’t take my word for it, read this lovely David Thomson tribute at Thompson on Hollywood about Banks:

“Love & Mercy” is an old-fashioned film, I know, about a woman saving a troubled man, not simply because she loves him, or likes his music, but because she possesses a nuanced detailed power of sympathy that waits for someone who needs rescue and who has taken up the odd challenge of selling Cadillacs as a way of finding him. There is something of Doris Day with Sinatra in “Young at Heart” here, or of Elisabeth Shue with Nicolas Cage in “Leaving Las Vegas.” We are not accustomed to such generosity, or to stories that place so much value in love or such belief in rescue.

Melinda could have been a sentimental stooge. She could have been a mere sexpot or a bimbo. But she has the moral force of Cary Grant saving Ingrid Bergman in “Notorious,” and it comes from the assurance with which Pohlad knows he only needs to photograph Melinda’s face thinking about Brian and the fairytale ordeal in which she must overcome the dread spirit of Eugene Landy. Her scenes are with Cusack (who is brilliant) and the chemistry in which their two ardent but wounded and uncertain faces dip closer together is deeply touching.


The Sorrentino film Youth delivers two powerhouse supporting performances, both by previous Oscar winners. Rachel Weisz, who plays Michael Caine’s daughter and Jane Fonda in one long “holy fuck” scene that ought to get recognition, or at least attention. Weisz is also in The Lobster and fantastic in it, of course. Fonda can be seen in the Netflix series Grace & Frankie. Fonda is once again defying the notions of what it means to be an actress closing in on 80, much like Katharine Hepburn did. While Fonda wants to be seen not as an old woman but as a vital woman still. At the same time, as Youth proves, she isn’t afraid of looking “ugly.” Probably it’s this aspect of her performance that might get her the most attention. It is also what she says about the business that will turn heads. She may obliterate Weisz but Weisz has the much bigger part. Youth has yet to screen for critics or run the fest circuit so its fate is still up in the air.


Speaking of up in the air, it’s difficult to know whether Rooney Mara will be put in supporting for her work in Carol or put in lead. Since the Best Actress race is traditionally “thin” these days it makes sense to put Mara in lead. But if she’s put in supporting, she has a better chance to actually win the prize, which she very well may do. It is unlikely she would win in lead with Blanchett alongside her splitting that vote.

What other performances are coming up that might get some attention? Well, look for Best Picture contenders and work your way back from there. Many of them are just too mysterious at this point to know which performance might be “the one.”

Amy Ryan in Bridge of Spies
Jennifer Jason Leigh in Hateful 8 (lead or supporting?)
Melissa Leo/Shailene Woodley in Snowden
Jessica Chastain in The Martian (lead of supporting?)
Olivia Wilde, Nicole Beharie, Hailee Steinfeld in The Keeping Room (which is lead and which are supporting?)
Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Meryl Streep in Suffragette (but probably Duff)
Emma Thompson, Sienna Miller in Adam Jones
Ellen Page or Julianne Moore for Freeheld
Keira Knightley for Everest
Rachel McAdams in Southpaw
Kristin Wiig in Diary of a Teenage Girl
Diane Lane, Ella Fanning, Helen Mirren in Trumbo
Mamie Gummer in Ricki and the Flash

Right now, this category is mostly a mystery, but for a few slots that could be filled right now. If Rooney Mara goes supporting she’ll be the biggest threat to win (at the moment anyway).


Todd Haynes’ Carol has been named the winner of the 2015 Queer Palm prize at Cannes. The Queer Palm was instituted in 2010 by journalist Franck Finance-Madureira to honor films for their portrayal of LGBT themes, and is selected from among all the films nominated or screened at Cannes each year.

Queer Palm Winners
2010: Kaboom – dir. Gregg Araki
2011: Beauty – dir. Oliver Hermanus
2012: Laurence Anyways – dir. Xavier Dolan
2013: Stranger by the Lake – dir. Alain Guiraudie
2014: Pride – dir. Matthew Warchus
2015: Carol – dir. Todd Haynes



redmayne moore

Lead Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Lead Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

These four actors have championed prizes in their respective categories from the three award shows—SAG, BAFTA, and Golden Globes—that are instrumental for a success at the Academy Awards. There should be no hysterical dramatics and edge-of-your-seat anxiety during the Oscars for a nominee when they have swept the category clean at all of the preceding award shows. The absence of those hysterical dramatics in the race can lead to people who spend a superfluous amount of time thinking about the outcome of these awards to speculate who would win if the frontrunner were not nominated in the category.

So, who would in each category win if the frontrunner didn’t exist? With little evidence and much confusion over the past few months of this year’s Oscar race, it’s not something easily calculated.


Despite early distress about the strength of contenders in this field, the Academy ended up producing an array of impressive performances in its lead actress field. If Julianne Moore would have won for Far from Heaven, The Hours or Boogie Nights, this would be the biggest prediction gamble of Oscar night.

Once you take the projected winner, Moore, out of the lineup, the list of nominees divides into two subgroups: 1) Felicity Jones and Marion Cotillard, 2) Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon.

Particularly when picking predictions for the BAFTA awards, many pundits and award season followers pitted Jones in the runner-up position for The Theory of Everything. Yes, she is a co-lead in a popular film with the older Academy members, but the performance itself has never been the distinctive focal point of the film’s praise. Her role is not as dramatically heavy as her fellow nominees, and the industry’s good will for the Stephen Hawking biopic is being dosed over Eddie Redmayne’s work.

The numerous awards Cotillard won from critic associations is probably what kept her alive enough to hop into the last Best Actress spot, despite being excluded from the Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA nominations. The performance itself, though considered brilliant by many, is quite subdued, lacking the overt fireworks of Witherspoon and Pike’s towering performances. And the last foreign language performance to win was Cotillard herself in 2007, and whether we like it or not, to win an Oscar for a non-English-speaking role is not common. In addition, Cotillard has a history of being unpopular with the Academy since her win for La Vie en Rose. Many regard her missing the Academy’s lineup for Rust and Bone and Nine to be egregious snubs.

If Moore weren’t in the race, it would most likely come down to Pike and Witherspoon.

After Wild’s premiere at Telluride this past summer, Witherspoon’s buzz was moving at an accelerated level. But whenever the film was released widely, the critical acclaim was there…the support just never felt as passionate as we were led to believe. But still, Witherspoon received the best reviews of her career for her portrayal as Cheryl Strayed, she has been working the campaign trail harder than anyone and had a “comeback” year after a decade of flops and tabloid treachery. Taking the role itself was a drastic change of pace for Witherspoon, and the fact that she pulled it off terrifically could have won her a second Oscar, had Moore not been in the race.

The major problem that would have prevented Pike from going all the way is the distance the Academy put between itself and Gone Girl in every category but Best Actress. (Many are still waiting to wake up from the terrible dream and learn Gillian Flynn’s snub in Adapted Screenplay was a bad dream.) But everything else is in Pike’s favor. Playing a character as memorable and iconic as Amazing Amy holds more weight than most are giving it credit for. Pike disappears into a role that is bound to ignite some form of strong reaction from just about everyone who watches the Gone Girl. And besides starring in an R-rated film that grossed over $165 million domestically, she was named as the best actress preference by over a dozen critic associations.

Projected Outcome without Julianne Moore
1. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
2. Reese Witherspoon, Wild
3. Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
4. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything


This category is not as securely fastened as the others, because Birdman has won the major guild awards in spades, and before Redmayne won the SAG, most were predicting Michael Keaton to soar to Oscars. Keaton was the critics’ darling of this category and the Golden Globe winner in the musical/comedy category. To bet against Redmayne and his winning streak would be imprudent, but Keaton is still viable option for a Best Actor win if his film scores the Best Picture trophy. If Redmayne wouldn’t win, it would (and could) be Keaton.

The wild card of the group this year is Bradley Cooper for American Sniper, because he has not competed in any other award show until the AMPAS. His movie has surged at the box office, making inconceivable amounts of money, and the Academy proved their admiration for Eastwood’s war on terror effort by nominating it six times this year. This is Cooper’s third consecutive acting nomination from the Academy, and it stands to reason that the politics of playing a United States veteran could finally put him in a more “winner-friendly” stature. If American Sniper performs better at the ceremony than many pundits surmise, it would not be too surprising to see Cooper upstage the two other frontrunners.

Steve Carell launched the season with glowing reviews out of the Cannes Film Festival for Foxcatcher, but his buzz began to wilt as the year progressed and other performances joined the sprint to the finish line. Benedict Cumberbatch, currently an “it” man in pop culture, acquired raves for playing Alan Turing, but so far this season The Imitation Game has a barren record despite piles of nominations.

Projected Outcome without Eddie Redmayne
1. Michael Keaton, Birdman
2. Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
3. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
4. Steve Carell, Foxcatcher


Patricia Arquette has been invincible the past few months for her moving work in Boyhood. Because of her popularity with the critic association awards and the televised award shows, we do not have the smallest indication to even suggest an alternate frontrunner. The only contender that began to build a case against Arquette was Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year, but she ended the season with a snub from the Academy. Any one of the other nominees could rise to the occasion if Arquette would not have been nominated.

Meryl Streep’s nomination always felt secure for her creative turn in Into the Woods, but it seems as if people are not taking her film seriously enough to reward it in a substantial way. Laura Dern’s nomination was an inspired one considering her role in Wild is limited to flashbacks–which means a smaller amount of screentime–and the fact that she was largely ignored before her nomination from the Academy.

Keira Knightley rode The Imitation Game’s buzz to all of the crucial award shows this year. In playing Joan Clarke, Knightley does her usual melodramatic, aggressive British act and she has Harvey Weinstein’s heavy promotion in her favor, but I hesitate about relying on her rank in the race too heavily. Knightley’s role, in a similar way to Jones in Lead Actress, does not feel vigorous enough to take down her co-nominees.

Birdman reminds me of American Hustle in the Oscar race last year. The ensemble was among the most heralded aspects of the film and several of the actors were nominated, yet none of them were unable surmount the frontrunner and most likely took second place. Like American Hustle, Birdman lacks an acting frontrunner despite having various performances nominated.

To compare Emma Stone’s standing to Jennifer Lawrence’s position last year would be unfair because the Lawrence had more going for her, but Stone relates to her in another way: She holds a position in pop culture that could have been an entry into frontrunner status had it not been for Arquette. Also, Stone benefits from starring in a Best Picture frontrunner, having an uproar of an “Oscar clip” and losing a significant amount of weight to portray her character more accurately. She makes the most sense of the non-Arquette contenders.

Projected Outcome without Patricia Arquette
1. Emma Stone, Birdman
2. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
3. Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
4. Laura Dern, Wild


Like Best Actress, a race without J.K. Simmons for Whiplash in Best Supporting Actor would divide the other nominees into two groups: 1) Mark Ruffalo and Robert Duvall, 2) Ethan Hawke and Edward Norton.

Duvall was one of the better attributes of The Judge, but his nomination feels like a gesture of reverence from his peers, showing their appreciation for all his years of hard work in the business. Mark Ruffalo has settled into a place in the film industry as a character actor, like his work in Foxcatcher exemplifies. His respect may be growing in the industry, but it’s not enough to climb over the other, more emphatic performances in his company.

In a world where Simmons was not orchestrating another Supporting Actor sweep (like we saw in previous years with Jared Leto, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, Christoph Waltz, Heath Ledger, Javier Bardem, ect.), the hypothetical winner would most likely be either Ethan Hawke in Boyhood or Edward Norton in Birdman.

After winning a fair amount of critics association awards, Norton’s loud, grabbing, memorable turn would probably be named the best of the year, especially when the industry’s support of his film is taken into consideration. I do have my reservations because of Hawke and the general question surrounding which film the Academy will support more: Birdman or Boyhood? Hawke gives a more flavorful performance in Boyhood than his co-star Patricia Arquette, and yet she is the undivided frontrunner for Supporting Actress. In addition, he has paid his dues and collected several nominations over the years from the Academy between acting and writing.

Projected Outcome without J.K. Simmons
1. Edward Norton, Birdman
2. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
3. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
4. Robert Duvall, The Judge


When Naomi Watts was nominated by the Screen Actors Guild the pundits kind of giggled and twittered about it being a major coup by the Weinstein Co. to bring an out of nowhere performance onto the Oscar stage. But really, that was just an example of dropping the ball, of being too locked into the consensus to consider other options. Watts steals the show in St. Vincent, which is one of the most entertaining films I saw this year. I know it isn’t going to light the critics on fire but it’s making money at the box office and who knows, maybe it might turn up here or there despite it being dismissed in the “conversation.”

Watts is joined by co-star Melissa McCarthy, whose tender and vulnerable turn is a sharp contrast to the slapstick comedy she did in Tammy, one of the biggest hits for women of the year.


Watts is also a standout in Birdman, along with co-star Andrea Riseborough. Emma Stone is getting all of the attention, of course, because she’s the younger, hotter of the bunch. She’s great, no doubt, and has the bigger part. But the other two women are fantastic, especially Watts.


Another unsung contender (though I’ve heard In Contention’s Kris Tapley writing about her) is Renee Russo in Nightcrawler. She takes what could have been a standard cliche, borrowed straight out of Faye Dunaway’s Network and turns it into something more human. She isn’t a success crazed automaton but is a woman being driven out by a business that needs a continual stream of fresh blood. Though I don’t think Nightcrawler is a metaphor for our news media so much (no metaphor needed – it’s straight up how our news media is) but the way we all devour and deliver news online now, how the beast is endlessly hungry, all ethics secondary, is what Nightcrawler is about to me.

Two actresses have knocked it out of the park in a variety of ways, though because they have so many performances that are hard to categorize it’s not easy squeezing them into the Oscar race. Also, judging by the work of Tilda Swinton and Jessica Chastain it’s more clear than ever how much these nominations are tied to Best Picture contenders. But for the odd standout here or there, the supporting actress not only must back up the male protagonist now and for all time, they also must appear in a film deemed worthy by the critics and the industry. Not an easy cup to fill.


Tilda Swinton once again delivers a delicious array of diverse work with Only Lovers Left Alive, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Snowpiercer. She is brilliant in all three though how to categorize her? She’s like Scarlett Johansson, breaking the mold as she goes but there is no place in the Oscar race where she can fit. Swinton is the best thing about Snowpiercer but she must pay the price for the film not being “Academy friendly.”


Ditto Jessica Chastain in Interstellar, and in lead for the Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, lead in Miss Julie and Supporting again for A Most Violent Year. The JC Chandor Lumet-inspired drama features Chastain as a firecracker of a wife, with the nails and the cleavage. The categorization of her and her work this year feels too small to me and yet we all know that is exactly how it’s all going to turn out.

I’m not saying the five in line for the nomination right now don’t deserve it. They absolutely do. The industry is bursting with supporting work for women – men do the hard jobs but they need women to help them figure it all out.


Laura Dern is not getting any love, it doesn’t look like, for Wild. That film was not one of my favorites because I am uncomfortable with movies about women where empowerment is all there is to it. If seeking out personal happiness and empowerment isn’t good enough for a male lead, it shouldn’t be good enough for a woman. But looking at Wild a different way and a better movie emerges for me and that’s the one where Reese Witherspoon must recover from the agony of losing her beloved mother, embodied so beautifully by the unsung Dern.

Meryl Streep is always great no matter what she’s in but to me the real standout in Into the Woods is Anna Kendrick as Cinderella. What’s a sister gotta do to get recognition? I love Ms. Streep and I’m all for her nomination this time around but I feel like Kendrick’s work is going unrecognized.


Kristen Stewart’s work has been singled out for the chances she took this year with three films, only two that came out. But her best work that I saw was as the daughter in Still Alice. Stewart brings so much honesty to the part, as she tries to deal more directly with her mother getting Alzheimer’s than her two other siblings. She might have had a better shot with the Clouds of Sils Maria, where she was getting the most heat. But that’s been pushed to next year.


Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King in Selma is another unsung performance, though admittedly that isn’t the kind of showy role that often gets recognition. But it’s worth noting, Keira Knightley’s in Imitation Game is one the same level yet for some reason she’s an instant contender where Ejogo isn’t – that’s probably to do with star power. Selma will end the year the more popular film, I think, yet Ejogo probably won’t crack the top five.


Finally, it’s been an inexplicable fact of Oscar season that somehow Gone Girl’s Carrie Coon hasn’t flipped he switch on anyone’s radar. Coon has all of the great lines in Gone Girl and delivers them like she’s shooting an automatic rifle. She is the antithesis of Amy, who glides smoothly through the film like a sharp knife cutting through frosting. Coon is the opposite – sloppy, honest, raw and trapped. Great performance, the year’s most underrated.

We all know that the Oscar race is about buzz. We know it has little to do with really finding the best. Sometimes they manage to flail around and reward the best. Time confirms it. But most of the time, the popularity contest is just about the right now, not necessarily the right.


Nars cometics has chosen Tilda Swinton to be the face of their spring 2015 collection. ||

Says US Weekly:

In the campaign poster, shot by Nars’ Founder and Creative Director, Francois Nars, Swinton, 53, flaunts her flawless ivory skin—and little else. She’s wearing barely any makeup, save for nude gloss on her lips and black eyeliner below her ice blue eyes. The British rogue’s platinum pixie is windswept above her, while a cloud of black netting frames her face and bare shoulders.

“As a photographer, working with an actress like Tilda is very enjoyable,” said Nars in a press statement announcing the collaboration. “She is a living legend. I love her bold style and really admire her work. As an actress, she brings such strong personality to the camera. And as a woman, she lives the experience of transformation and expression. She was the perfect choice for Nars.”

The question is, with Only Lovers Left Alive actress modeling such little makeup—and so few bright colors, which are a signature of the brand—what will the Swinton-fronted collection include? If the campaign image is any indication, hopefully products for pristine skin like the actress’ to start!



Kristen Stewart in Chanel Couture on the cover of Vanity Fair France. [translation of the full article via @SomeLostBliss]: At 24, she has already known a huge amount of fame by being the star of blockbusters.She’s had her first loves under the spotlight of paparazzi. And she’s discovered the curse that Hollywood gives to those who do whatever they want. After two years of not speaking to the media, the sullen actress is making a come back – obviously – where we weren’t expecting her, in a French film by Olivier Assayas, and she takes the opportunity to discuss with Ingrid Sischy, the confusing similarities between this fiction and her reality.

How many people can brag about having wolves hybrid as pets? It’s the case of Kristen Stewart, troubling premonition for the one who was Bella Swan in the “Twilight” series, the old-fashioned teenager but romantic, the laughing stock of her high school who falls in loves with a buff vampire and whose best-friend turns into a werewolf on occasion…

Actresses who have the guts of breaking the Hollywood mold don’t grow on trees in the United States. When you’re lucky enough to croth paths with them, you’ve got to jump at the opportunity. Particularly when this actress grew up in Los Angeles, with two parents working in the cinema and television industry – because that’s how Kristen Stewart ended up on the big screen. She’s not a “little rich kid”, protected by the cocoon of celebrity and/or a huge amount of fortune, enclosed in a Beverly Hills mansion, surrounded by a perfect high hedge. Kristen Stewart’s childhood, in the substantially less glamourous San Fernando Valley, was the complete contrary. Her parents, Jules Mann-Stewart and John Stewart were employed by celebrities. And they knew very well how some of them can make your life a living hell.

When their daughter Kristen, who was wearing the exact same clothes as her brother Cameron, in other words, was dressed like a boy, as in wearing tracksuits, even in class, said she wanted to go to auditions, her mother warned her: “I work with those kids – they are crazy. You are not like them.” But as she won’t stop doing it after that, Kristen held onto her dream, and, at 11, she gets the role of Jodie Foster’s daughter in “Panic Room”, the thriller by David Fincher. An inspiring cast. Stewart isn’t pretending to be cute, she’s more like the kind of kid that you would bring with yourself in adventures. I talked to Jodie Foster about Kristen – who also survived through the tricks of getting famous at a young age – a few years ago, and she defines her with those few words: “Kristen doesn’t have the usual personality of an actress. She doesn’t want to dance on her grandmother’s table with a lampshade on her head.”

To say that the “Twilight” films didn’t bring in a lot of money would be a euphemism [400 million of dollars worldwide only for the first one]. Needless to say, these films weren’t the best. But Stewart never despised them, just like the millions of fans of the books. It would have been so easy for a hipster like her. But Robert Pattinson – her lover off and on screen at the time – and her seemed to have a real respect for the fans of the sage. And for one another as well.

[Mentions 2012 but no1currs] Contrary to France, the United States never hesitate to get on their high horse when it comes to morality, but it went even farther than that. The public was disappointed. And I think that the most interesting part is that Stewart herself was the most disappointed in herself. No one would have ever expected her to end up in that kind of common situation. But the truth is, it’s precisely this burning humanity that sets her apart from this other horde of falsely cheerful actresses, and incredibly redone that obstruct the pages of magazines. Even if “On The Road”, the adaptation of Kerouac’s novel, that she loved a lot, came out in the US around the same time, she has more or less disappeared from radars since. In the interview that you’re about to read, she remembers: “I came down from this giant wave and I wanted to shelter myself a little bit. That I would come back later.”

(cont’d Part 1 and Part 2)










The official synopsis hardly does it justice: “Into the Woods is a humorous and heartfelt musical that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.”

Hi-fidelity version here. (“What that means is that it’s the highest quality fidelity.” — Boogie Nights)

sup actress fea

Which actresses in supporting roles will rise above the rest?

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It’s exciting that Lupita Nyong’o has been cast in Star Wars as initially promised. When casting news first came out and her name wasn’t it there was the fear that one giant door had bee closed. Why does it matter so much? Well, because usually any Oscar winner who is the “it” girl immediately is flooded with offers. Since opportunities for black actresses are scarce it looked as though this would be the beginning of bad news for her career.

Why does Star Wars matter? Because nowadays most actresses must attach themselves to some fanboy tentpole to stay relevant. There is little doubt the part will be substantial. This is still a boy’s game. We’ve come a long way from the days when Carrie Fisher was a major standout in the original Star Wars movies.


Kristen Stewart told the Wall Street Journal, “The reason this movie was made was not to make a statement about how superficial media can be, but it was a lot of fun for me to be the one to say it. Obviously, I’ve had more experience with the media, so it makes it funnier.” It’s great to hear her speak on the topic and mostly that she’s come out the other side with a healthy perspective.

Meanwhile, Stewart received rave reviews for her performance out of Cannes, along with Juliette Binoche and Chloe Moretz.

Indiewire’s Eric Kohn: “Maria heads to the sweeping getaway of the Swiss alps with her trusty assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart) to rehearse the part. Buried in glasses and tattoos, Stewart fully inhabits her role as a credible young woman riddled with self-doubt that nicely complements the fears of aging that plague her employer.”

Hitfix’s Guy Lodge: “Delivering the film’s most touching, textured performance, Stewart plays her gradual self-assertion beautifully, her signature underplaying building in light and shade, her sullen body language opening up as her co-star’s turns appropriately tight and uncertain. There’s a rueful twinkle, too, to her delivery as Valentine muses on the relentless pettiness of contemporary celebrity journalism. La Binoche isn’t the only actress whose own career is under the magnifying glass here.”

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, “The relationship here is quite beautifully drawn, with Stewart again demonstrating what a terrific performer she can be away from the shadow of Twilight. She’s sharp and limber; she’s a match for Binoche. Sitting down for dinner, in one telling scene, Val dismisses her boss as a snob and claims that blockbuster fantasies can be just as valid, in their way, as social-realist dramas set in factories or on farms. Maria arches a delicate eyebrow. Yet again, she’s unconvinced.”


It’s come to our attention that there might be one or two people not yet utterly enthralled by Lupita Nyong’o. To see if we can fix that, we’ll post this speech she gave a week ago at Essence magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon.

Transcript via Essence, after the cut.

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