As much as I respect and admire Cloris Leachman‘s performance in The Last Picture Show, which won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1971, Ann-Margret‘s portrayal of Bobbie-the-alleged-ballbuster in Carnal Knowledge, I now feel, dug deeper and delivered in a way that was more real, wide-open, vulnerable. All hail Mike Nichols for making this scene work as well as it does, and for generally hitting the film out of the park.
This scene alone (half of which obviously belongs to Jack Nicholson) more than proves my point about how good she was. What 2010 Best Picture nominee has a scene this raw and penetrating?
This kicks off a daily feature, running from today through 2.27, in which I’ll post video clips of performances that should have won in whatever category, but didn’t. Over and out.
The fact that the BAFTA bunch handed its Best Director prize to The Social Network director David Fincher this evening instead of to the King’s Speech helmer Tom Hooper — overcoming Hooper’s home court advantage — suggests that Fincher is all the more likely to win the Best Director Oscar on 2.27.
Otherwise The King’s Speech ran the table at the Orange British Academy Film Awards, taking 7 trophies including Best Film, Best British Film, Best Original Screenplay, and acting honors for Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter and some other prize.
TSN won for Best Film Editing, the Best Cinematography prize went to Roger Deakins‘ work on True Grit, Best Art Direction went to Inception and Best Costume Design was won by Alice in Wonderland.
Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil, writing on the Envelope’s Awards Tracker, says he was “flabbergasted” on 2.10 when a sage Academy member said his Best Actress vote is going to Annette Bening. O’Neil gasped because this guy “has backed all of the underdogs who ended up winning in recent years — Crash, Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton.” The wise guy’s other picks: The King’s Speech (Best Picture), David Fincher (director), Colin Firth (lead actor), Christian Bale (supporting actor) and Melissa Leo (supporting actress).
Lee Marvin‘s Kid Shelleen in Cat Ballou (’65) was the funniest movie drunk of all time. I remember my alcoholic father totally losing it when he first saw this otherwise so-so Eliot Silverstein film. Drunks were enjoyable as hell in the ’50s and ’60s, but they stopped being funny sometime between the late ’70s and the time of Iran Contra. Dudley Moore was hilarious in the original Arthur (’81) but seven years later he was dead meat in Arthur 2: On the Rocks.
The main problem with Cat Ballou was that horrible musical accompaniment from Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole. It grates.
For his brilliant drunkenness, Marvin won the 1965 Best Actor Oscar, an equivalent of a BAFTA award for Best Actor, a Best Actor Golden Globe award and a Best Actor prize from the 15th Berlin International Film Festival.
Consider Kirk Douglas and Cyd Charisse‘s wild car ride through Rome (starting around the 3:13 mark) in this clip from Vincente Minnelli‘s Two Weeks In Another Town (’62). Obviously studio-shot with rear-screen backdrop and a wind machine, it recalls Lana Turner‘s hysterical car ride in Minnelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful (’52). And it shouts out a self-disgusted, I’m-really-miserable-and-have-had-it-up-to-here nihilism that I associate with other compromised characters in Minnelli’s best non-musical films.
In a review of this and three other mid-career Minnelli films from Warner Archives, N.Y. Times columnist Dave Kehr describes Two Weeks as basically about Hollywood exiles at Rome’s CineCitta studios. I would describe it also as being about Minnelli’s own life and frustrations, and about the fact that his powers were ebbing when he made it.
Douglas is “a washed-up actor who checks out of a rehab center when he’s offered a job on a film being shot in Rome by the director (Edward G. Robinson) who first made him a star.” Two Weeks in Another Town also features Claire Trevor, Daliah Lavi, George Hamilton and Rosanna Schiaffino.
The film’s Wikipage says the story was seen by some as partially inspired by the early ’50s relationship between actors Tyrone Power (i.e., Douglas) and Linda Christian (Charisse) and producer Darryl Zanuck (Robinson).”
Christian’s fame, it says, stemmed largely from having wed and divorced Power. They were married from 1949 to 1956. Christian later had a dailliance with athlete Alfonso de Portago, and was photographed with de Portago at the 1957 Mille Miglia car race when he later crashed his Ferrari and died, killing at least ten spectators in the process. Power died the following year of a heart attack at the age of 44. Christian was later also briefly married to the Rome-based British actor Edmund Purdom.
In an announcement of Magnolia’s acquisition of Lars Von Trier‘s Melancholia, which the director has described as “a beautiful movie about the end of the world,” a senior exec said something very strange. In an official release, senior Magnolia vp Tom Quinn declares that “as the 2012 apocalypse is upon us, it is time to prepare for a cinematic last supper.”
What apocalypse is this? The Biblical nut end-of-days version? Or the general apocalypse signified by the radical political right? Is Quinn referring to the presidential campaign of Sarah Stillson? Does he see frogs falling from the sky? What film executive has ever alluded to a right-wing wackjob fantasy in order to hype a film?
There is only one apocalypse in this instance, and that is the creative one that has been afflicting Von Trier for the last two or three years. It is/was apparently rooted in the same psychological depression that resulted in Antichrist, easily the most ludicrous film of his career.
The not-yet-completed Melancholia costars Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard and Udo Kier. The Wiki page says it “deals with a variety of people trying to cope with the death of the planet as a large foreign body threatens a deadly collision.” Melancholia will most likely play at next May’s Cannes Film Festival.
If and when Chris Nolan manages to adapt Michael Drosnin‘s Citizen Hughes, a history of Howard Hughes‘ reclusive, obsessive-compulsive years, it will be, at best, a commercial disappointment if not a failure. Double guaranteed. Vulture has reported that Nolan wants to film the biopic in late 2012 for a 2014 release.
Nolan wants to do this, I’m presuming, because (a) for whatever perverse reason he personally relates (like Warren Beatty did before him) to Hughes’ Las Vegas agorophobe phase, and (b) he feels artistically watered down and corporately poisoned from working on two superhero movies (directing The Dark Knight Returns, producing Zak Snyder‘s Superman film) and needs to assert his quirk weirdo side.
There are so many problems with the selling/marketing of Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 (4.15) that it’s hard to decide which ones top the list. The absence of stars is obviously concern #1. Concern #2 is that the trailer’s slogan — “Who is John Galt?” — sounds like a rehash of the “Who is Salt?” copy used for last summer’s Angelina Jolie thriller. Concern #3 is that Atlas Shrugged is basically a Ron Paul message movie — an ultra-rightist, get-the-regulators-off-our-backs propaganda film.
The fact that the trailer had its big promotional debut at the just-concluded Conservative Political Action Conference gathering in Washington, D.C., tells you everything.
In and of itself, the Libertarian/Objectivist philosophy that inspired Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel has a kind of beauty, certainly if regarded in an ivory-tower sense. Government big or small has always had a bureaucratic tendency to hinder or smother genius and stifle innovative risk-taking. But in today’s context, the movie is obviously made for and playing to the super-selfish deregulatory uglies — those who value the freedom and power to be SUV-driving, gated-community superstuds above all other things — and to the general anti-progressive, leave-us-alone, stop-Obama Tea Party community.
The thing that sold The Fountainhead, the most successful and/or legendary film adaptation of an Ayn Rand novel, was the throbbing sexual current between costars Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal (who were off-screen lovers during filming). I’m not getting anything like this from Atlas Shrugged costars Taylor Schilling (as Dagny Taggart) and Grant Bowler (as Hank Rearden).
The film’s innovator-financier-producer-and-screenwriter is John Aglialoro. The Wiki history says that Howard and Karen Baldwin “obtained the rights while running Phillip Anschutz‘s Crusader Entertainment. The Baldwins left Crusader and formed Baldwin Entertainment Group in 2004, taking the rights to Atlas Shrugged with them. Michael Burns of Lionsgate Entertainment approached the Baldwins to fund and distribute Atlas Shrugged. A two-part draft screenplay written by James V. Hart was re-written into a 127-page screenplay by the conservative-minded Randall Wallace, with Vadim Perelman expected to direct. Potential cast members for this production had included Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt,” etc.
“Brian Patrick O’Toole and Aglialoro’s screenplay is reportedly set in the year 2016, with a dystopian United States suffering economically amid greater calls for collectivism and calls for increasing government intervention.
“Though Stephen Polk was initially set to direct, he was replaced by Paul Johansson nine days before filming was scheduled to begin. Principal photography began on June 13, 2010, beating out the reversion of the film rights set to expire on June 15. Shooting took five weeks and came in on a budget north of $5 million.
The film is obviously doomed.