Categories One-by-One: Best Actress

Mister Tee
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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:29 pm

Eric wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:Crash was a mediocre drama which should never have topped Brokeback Mountain, but it wasn't an unspeakably cornball effort.

This is the most upsetting thing you've ever written.

Yeah, I was aware you hated it at DEF-CON 3 level. I've honestly never understood that. I think the movie's too mild to evoke such a response. But, different strokes.

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Postby Eric » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:24 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Crash was a mediocre drama which should never have topped Brokeback Mountain, but it wasn't an unspeakably cornball effort.

This is the most upsetting thing you've ever written.

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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:03 pm

Well, I'm going to be the one who rallies to Magilla's side. I see this as very much a tight Streep/Bullock race, and I don't quite understand why,based on so little evidence (basically, the SAG win -- when everyone knew Streep's year-earlier win would make it tougher on her -- and The Blind Side best picture nomination, which is untested as a factor given the new-ness of the 10 picture slate), so many have been persuaded that Bullock is some unstoppable force.

I think there's a factor that's being overlooked here, Streep's strongest asset and Bullock's biggest vulnerability: the fact that many (including here) would view a Bullock win as appalling.

I'm sure some are already saying, big deal, the Academy makes lots of choices I find appalling. To which I would say, that's because your outrage meters are set way too low. There are plenty of Academy choices I've found deeply disappointing...demoralizing...enough to send me to bed miserable. But the number I've found truly appalling -- as in, how can I ever take anything this group does seriously again? -- sorry, but that's really small. Crash was a mediocre drama which should never have topped Brokeback Mountain, but it wasn't an unspeakably cornball effort. Halle Berry and Charlize Theron didn't rate the acclaim thrown at them, but they at least showed up to perform at a higher level that I could understand impressing some. I've been through close to five decades of Oscar now, and, apart from the 1973 Best Actor/Actress tandem, however dsappointed I've been by some outcomes, I've rarely felt choices made were so categorically awful they bespoke not just taste different from mine but taste indefensible by even any middlebrow standard of art.

Which, you may guess, is how I feel about Bullock in The Blind Side -- an utterly unimpressive piece of work by a middling actress in a cloying, dreadful movie. For her to win would overrun my generous low setting for outrage.

Just for the sake of history: if I go way back, I can think of a few people who were SUPPOSED to win who would have met this criteria. Major case in point: Ali McGraw in Love Story. Those who weren't around at the time -- reading now that Glenda Jackson had swept the critics' prizes -- may not realize how close McGraw (as untalented an actress as ever received a nomination) came to winning. But Women in Love was a tiny art-house film, and Jackson's name recognition was sub-Carey Mulligan's, while Love Stiory was of course breaking box-office records (and McGraw had had a previous-year hit with Goodbye Columbus). Every major Oscar pundit I knew was predicting a McGraw win, despite loathing the prospect. A friend of mine, a very knowledgable Oscar enthusiast, correctly predicted the Scott win despite the refusal controversy (far from a universally-held view), but he said he thought McGraw had best actress in the bag. That she failed to score suggested to me there (thankfully) was a level below which Oscar voters wouldn't go.

Something to which they had to face up two years later. Jeannie Berlin had easily won the critics' supporting actress prizes, but Academy folk didn't much like The Heartbreak Kid (even the writers didn't nominate it), and, when Shelley Winters won the Globe, she became a widely-predicted winner. (Gene Shalit guaranteed it) I'm not at all crazy about Eileen Heckart's win -- I've always considered Butterflies Are Free bourgeios shlock -- but she's an actress of some value and clearly deserved the win more than Underwater Shelley, whose win would have made all-time worst lists had she triumphed. Again, we were spared.

These events (and other, lesser examples, like favorite Tom Cruise losing to Daniel Day-Lewis in '89), I'm going to choose to believe the academy maintains some minimum standard, and this will work against Bullock winning for a movie everyone knows is garbage. If I'm wrong, I'll be happy to acknowledge my personal bar needs to be lowered.

I do find it interesting, by the way, how many comments this thread is getting; I'm beginning to think there's a Rohrschach element at work here for everyone (myself included).




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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:07 am

If it weren't for the fact that the reason I even predicted her to win BAFTA was because she's British and of the nominees, she was the most likely to win on that card alone.

I wouldn't read too much into this result, though. They did pick Colin Firth for Best Actor, which shows they aren't trying to predict the Oscars. Just ask poor Imelda Staunton or Judi Dench in Iris or Judi Dench again in Mrs. Brown. Aside from Iris, these were all critically acclaimed performances that we all thought had a shot at Oscar, yet didn't make it through.
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Postby Big Magilla » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:24 am

I still think it will be Streep, but I wonder if Carey Mulligan's win at Bafta might garner her a few votes she might not otherwise have gotten.

She was the presumed front-runner all year until the critics started jumping on the Meryl bandwagon. When she almost burst into tears when they announced Sandra Bullock as co-winner at BCA she came across as very young and immature, but at Bafta she was very composed and even witty, appearing very sincere when she said she didn't prepare anything because she didn't expect to win. This was, in fact, the same kind of charming acceptance speech at the Baftas that gave boosts to Cotillard and Swinton two years ago.

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Postby Hustler » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:18 am

Ok, Bullock has a chance to win but she will be remembered in our polls as one of the worse winners ( if not the worst) of Oscar History

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:50 pm

You guys are too funny. Either way I'm going to laugh myself silly whichever one wins.

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Postby Damien » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:39 am

OscarGuy wrote:Honestly, BM, I think you're just trying too hard to justify why Bullock won't win and Streep will. I wonder if you're trying to talk yourself into believing that it doesn't have the remotest chance of happening, which we all know it does.


I agree. Big, you're twisting yourself into a pretzel with your tortuous reasoning.

First of all, you lose credibility when you refer to Crash as "generally despised." Maybe on this Board, but not among the people who are determining this year's Best Actress -- these are the same folks who named the damn thing Best Picture.

Julia Roberts was not some "hot new star" when she won for Erin Brockovich -- she had broken through a dozen years earlier, and like Bullock, was emerging from a slightly rocky period in her career; thus she is more akin to Bullock than to Berry and Thereon.

Ginger Rogers may have been in 4 previous Best Picture nominees at a time when mere "entertainments" made their way into the lineup with regularity (Here Comes The Navy, anyone?), but she was a minor part of the ensemble of 42nd Street and no one thought she was much of a thespian in the Astaire/Rogers pictures. And in Stage Door she was overshadowed not only by the nominated Andrea Leeds, but Hepburn, Eve Arden, Constance Collier and the cat. Her recent movies before Kitty Foyle, such as Bachelor Mother, 5th Avenue Girl , Vivacious Lady could be Bullock vehicles.

The bottom line, though, is that Academy members are the same people who decided Ron Howard was worthy of an Oscar and that Gladiator was the Best Picture of the year. Taste-wise, they have more in common with audiences at a multiplex in Winnetka, Illinois than with members of the National Society of Film Critics.

It was only yesterday that people were decrying that Streep would win for such a "trivial" performance. Now all of a sudden, her role is being treated as a combination of Regina Gibbons, Lady Macbeth and Madame De, all because folks don't like her suddenly strong competition.

The way the industry views it, Bullock is a highly likable, self-effacing star and a money making commodity of long standing. She was named Number One Star of the year in the Exhibitors' Poll. Streep is, of course, more respected and more highly regarded as an actress, but when did THAT have anything to do with the Oscars?

This is Bullock's year.




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Postby Okri » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:16 am

I think Bullock winning would be perfectly in keeping with this year at AMPAS.

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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:28 pm

Honestly, BM, I think you're just trying too hard to justify why Bullock won't win and Streep will. I wonder if you're trying to talk yourself into believing that it doesn't have the remotest chance of happening, which we all know it does.
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Postby Big Magilla » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:19 pm

People have compared a potential Bullock win to those of Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, even Ginger Rogers and Sally Field, but I don't agree with any of those comparisons.

Yes, there have been several high profile veteran vs. hot young star races in the past decade that have resulted in the hot young star winning (Roberts over Burstyn; Berry over Spacek: Theron over Keaton), but in all those cases the hot new star had serious critical support and the veterans were deemed in some quarters as having been lucky enough to get the job and the nomination when most of their contemporaries were unemployed.

That's not the case this year. At 45, Bullock is no longer a hot young star and Streep, now 60, rather than being considered lucky to be still be working has a career that that no one wants or expects to see ending any time soon. Unlike Roberts, Berry and Theron, the critical responses to Bullock's film and her performance have not been over the moon. The best they can up with is they didn't know she had it in her to play a dramatic role with such force and conviction and/or that she's better than her material, which is little more than a TV movie.

As for Ginger Rogers, she may not have personally been anywhere near an Oscar before, but she had starred in four of the best loved Best Picture nominees of the previous decade (42nd Street; The Gay Divorcee; Top Hat; Stage Door), unlike Bullock whose only brush with Oscar has been as part of the ensemble of the generally despised Crash.

Sally Field may not have had a brush with Oscar before her first win but she certainly had more than a brush with Emmy the previous year in Sybil and swept the critics' awards with Norma Rae.

I think the closest comparison to Bullock is Debbie Reynolds, a popular star of the 50s and early 60s whose starring roles were mostly in lightweight, but popular, comedies (Tammy and the Bachelor; The Mating Game; My Six Loves), but who won her first (and only) Oscar nomination for playing a spunky heroine in The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

No one, other than conscience stricken Liz Taylor, was predicting an Oscar for Debbie. But back then there were no Broadcast Film Critics or SAG Awards to muddy the waters.

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Postby Sonic Youth » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:05 pm

Common sense indicates that ontology never does recapitulate phylogeny.

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Postby The Original BJ » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:30 pm

Common sense indicates a race -- like most this decade -- between a glamorous princess awaiting her first coronation and a respected vet looking to repeat.

And that's why we're all on pins and needles awaiting the outcome of the Carey Mulligan vs. Tilda Swinton smackdown! Go common sense!

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Postby Sabin » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:41 pm

Common sense indicates I have never cared less about a race than I do this one.
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Postby mashari » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:59 pm

Common sense indicates she has enough already.
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