Black Swan

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Postby Big Magilla » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:01 pm

Clarkson maybe, but she's a better, more consistent actress than Leigh whose quirkiness turns off more people than it turns on.

I found Wendy & Lucy to be off-putting. Blue Valentine is a film that most people can relate to, that is if they bother to see it.

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:20 pm

I think Michelle Williams is just one of those actresses like Patricia Clarkson or Jennifer Jason Leigh who make a smash in indie films, but never get Oscar recognized for it. After all, Williams was superb in Wendy & Lucy, but didn't even manage a blip in Oscar consideration.
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Postby Big Magilla » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:10 pm

The only thing that can hurt Michelle Williams is not enough voters seeing her film. There was nothing dirty about it.

When asked why her film was rated NC-17 for its brief oral sex scene and Portman's wasn't, she replied "I think maybe it was because Natalie's scene was more about a fantasy and mine was more about reality...Maybe it all comes down to my character finding the pleasure in it. Who knows." Didn't Jane Fonda win her second Oscar for a similar scene with Jon Voight in Coming Homne? I don't remember anyone making an issue of that.

Portman and Bening are locks. Lawrence is a near-lock. The rest are up in the air.

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Postby Sabin » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:57 pm

I'm not sure this category is as locked up as we think. Annette Bening and Natalie Portman have nothing in their way and Jennifer Lawrence seems like a very good bet. However, Michelle Williams is in a dirty movie that failed a SAG nom, and there is some residual indifference to Nicole Kidman these days, especially now that Rabbit Hole is an utter flop. Julianne Moore and Hilary Swank wait in the wings. I think Lesley Manville is done, and I don't really buy into Mike Leigh's screenplay nomination this year either. I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict Hailee Steinfeld. I mean, it worked for Kate Winslet, it worked for Keisha Castle-Hughes, it clearly works for women if not men.
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Postby flipp525 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:53 pm

The 2003 Best Actress field was decidedly a bit more anemic than this year's though. Don't you see Steinfeld having a bigger battle cracking into a line-up where even Michelle Williams is not even guaranteed a spot?

Is Lesley Manville just a non-issue at this point? The Sally Hawkins of this year.
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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:48 pm

There is no doubt in my mind that Steinfeld is lead in True Grit. It IS her story. Matter of fact, a better case could be made for Jeff Bridges in support than for Steinfeld.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:42 am

I forgot that Castle-Hughes had been nominated in support at the SAG.

If Steinfeld is nominated as leading (as she should be, at least from what I've heard - I haven't seen True Grit still) Best Actress could become even more interesting.

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:30 am

Italiano, we need look no further back than Keisha Castle-Hughes, nominated in support at the SAG (like Steinfeld) and category fraud aside was nominated at the Oscars in lead. And apparently there are other rumblings around the net that Academy members are putting her in the right place. But, we shall see. I think Castle-Hughes benefited from a weaker Best Actress slate of competitors.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:14 am

Eric wrote:I don't type these words lightly: Italiano is right.

:)

Oscar Guy, I hope you are right, and it would be the rare case when the Academy does it right - at least considering its most recent history - but... I don't know, we will see.

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Postby Big Magilla » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:06 am

I wouldn't say he's right, but his reasoning is understandable, though I will say that Dario Argento never had the delusions of grandeur that Darren Aronofsky has.

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Postby Eric » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:38 am

I don't type these words lightly: Italiano is right.

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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:25 am

Italiano, I think if Hailee Steinfeld is still competing in Supporting Actress, she will be in over Kunis, but if she gets into lead as I'm expecting, I believe her spot opens for Kunis. At least that's what happened in my predictions when I moved Steinfeld out of support.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:08 am

But Marco knows you better than you even know yourself... :)

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Postby Uri » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:12 am

ITALIANO wrote:(Uri, my friendly advice is: don't waste your money on this one),

Ahm, what should I do now? With what pre-conceived notion am I going to watch it when it opens here next week? I want to be one of the cool guys too, so I guess I'll have to come up with a far fetched new perspective. Now, I have a few days to go through all the stuff you guys said and decide whose point of view I can use. But it's so tough – Damien hated both TSN and BS. Marco hated TSN but likes BS. Sabin liked both. Life is so complicated. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to faint a little now. Damn, where are the smelling salts when one needs them?

This morning, on the radio show I was listening to, the host apologized for canceling an item about the Globes – Ehud Barak made a surprising and typically self indulgently smug political maneuver so everything else had to be put aside. This host then put a piece of music from Black Swan and said that while the music is great, the movie itself is crap. Now, although I tend to agree with her social and political stands, this host's tastes tends to be quite trendy and hip and usually totally oposing mine(after the Emmis she said that Breaking Bad should have won and the Mad Men is over rated), so I must say I was surprised.

Can't a person simply go see a movie knowing exactly how he's going to react to it anymore?




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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:31 am

My approach to this movie was the same I have to those old Italian giallos - and, of course, the most internationally famous giallo is also set in the world of ballet. The Social Network it isn't - one shouldn't go to Black Swan expecting carefully (and predictably) developed little ideas; it's a completely different kind of experience - and of filmmaking. It isn't a movie for everyone (Uri, my friendly advice is: don't waste your money on this one), and even I have some problems with it. Yet - how shall I put it - I like the problems I have with it more than the problems I have with, again, The Social Network. I understand now why this movie is so divisive - some find it brilliant, some find it irritating, and it IS by turns brilliant and irritating, but at least it doesnt leave one indifferent, which, in the year of (I swear it's the last time I'll mention it here) The Social Network and its absolute critical consensus is I believe a big plus. It's certainly closer to my idea of cinema; I can't deny that I liked this movie - though I wouldnt want all movies to be like this one.

Ok, it's not original, but its references to those celebrated films of the past that we all know are very intentional and very explicit. And I'll even say that compared with the flamboyant and excessive directors of the 60s and 70s - from Ken Russell to Dario Argento - Aronofsky is little more than a neorealist. Still, by today's much more ordinary standards, he's certainly a visually daring talent.

I smiled when I saw Natalie Portman's room whose appearence Damien found so grossly obvious; and of course he's right, yet this isn't the movie where one must look for subtle psychological insights - it is an excercise, and at times a fascinating one, in the baroque, and while the baroque isn't a style anyone must like or appreciate, it's definitely an artistic style. (That room is exactly the type one would see in a 70s giallo - those directors were postmodernist before it became fashionable).

Natalie Portman is a good actress, but she could also be a bad one, it doesnt really matter in this case - it's the way she is used by the director that makes her performance so impressive. If she wins, she'll probably be the Best Actress winner with most close-ups since Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice. And she certainly could win - she's actually the perfect Best Actress candidate: a young, beautiful, promising, famous, critically appraised actress, already nominated in the past, and nominated now for a Best Picture contender; she has some edgy sex scenes; and her turn can be called a "tour-de-force" - she literally carries the movie, she's in every single scene, she even does most of her dancing (her performance is also a tour-de-force of editing, cinematography, make-up, special effects and directing, but let's not be too picky - the Academy won't be). I'd say that I've never seen a most sure Oscar winner in this category in recent years (and by the way she'd certainly deserve it more than some recent winners), except that... it might not happen. And if it doesn't, it will be because of the movie, which may be respected but won't be loved by anyone - especially, I'd say, by the older members of the Academy. They have a solid alternative: an older actress who has never won before and who, despite playing lesbian, is in a much softer, more pleasant (and more socially oriented) movie. Right now, I'd say Portman should still make it (I definitely hope she will, she's the best of those I've seen so far), but it will be a VERY close race and, even if Portman wins the SAG, a potentially surprising one.

I also liked Mila Kunis, who had the Venice jury at her feet. She's certainly very beautiful, and extremely well-used by Aronofsky, and I think not without a certain instinctive talent. She's not Melissa Leo or Jacki Weaver and she probably doesnt deserve to be nominated; but at least she IS a supporting player in this movie, so if she's replaced in this category by a teenage actress in an essentially leading role it will be really unfair.




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