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Tag: Best Actress Oscar (81-90 of 106)

Toronto: The 5 biggest Oscar boosts

Gabourey-Sidibe_lNow that the Toronto International Film Festival is officially over, here are the five movies, actors, and filmmakers who got the most potent shots of Oscar adrenaline from their time up north.

1. Up in the Air. Of all the films that premiered at Toronto or Telluride, Jason Reitman’s dramatic comedy emerged as the strongest across-the-board contender. At this point, nods for picture, director, actor (George Clooney), supporting actress (certainly Anna Kendrick, possibly Vera Farmiga as well), and adapted screenplay seem like sure things. Watch me and Missy Schwartz discuss the film in our Toronto weekend wrap-up.

2. Gabourey Sidibe (pictured here). With her attention-grabbing costar Mo’Nique absent from the festival, the titular star of the audience award winner Precious (a certain Best Picture nominee) had her chance to shine…and saw her Best Actress chances soar.

3. Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. The never-nominated Brit and our own four-time nominee share a knockout centerpiece scene in Tom Ford’s gorgeous drama A Single Man. Harvey Weinstein, who definitely has a eye for Oscar-baiting performances, liked what he saw and bought the film for a December release. Here’s Part 1 of my OscarWatch interview with Firth.

4. Clive Owen. His leading-man turn in The Boys Are Back is decidedly on the subtle side, but fabulous trade reviews out of Toronto put the past Supporting Actor nominee (Closer) squarely in the running for a Best Actor nod. Watch me and Missy talk about his chances here.

5. Joel and Ethan Coen. Two years after winning Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay for No Country for Old Men, the brilliant brothers raised some eyebrows by going the star-free route with A Serious Man. But their surprisingly personal film was extremely well-received by critics and audiences alike. Especially given the relative dearth of Best Original Screenplay candidates this season, they could find themselves with a return invite to the Kodak.

Are you as into this stuff as I am? Then follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for more.

Photo credit: Mark Blinch/Reuters/Landov

Abbie Cornish earns 'Bright Star' raves

The reviews are in, and they’re terrific. The New York Times‘ A.O. Scott praised Abbie Cornish’s performance in Jane Campion’s period drama Bright Star, saying that she plays John Keats’ young lover Fanny Brawne “with mesmerizing vitality and heart-stopping grace….She’s as good as Kate Winslet, which is about as good as it’s possible to be.” My own colleague Lisa Schwarzbaum cited “Cornish’s lovely, open-hearted performance.” In Part 2 of our OscarWatch interview, Cornish tells me why she was a loner on the Bright Star set, and what it’s like to have butterflies as your costars.

Watch Part 1 of the interview here, or check out segments with Matt DamonColin Firth, or my Best Actress report with Missy Schwartz. And follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for my Oscar alerts.

More Toronto Coverage:

‘Paranormal Activity': Prepare to be freaked out

Abbie Cornish: 'Bright Star' breakout

Looks like Meryl Streep finally has some Best Actress competition. Australian up-and-comer Abbie Cornish, a standout from past indies like Somersault and Candy, is now having her international breakthrough moment with Bright Star (opening tomorrow), Jane Campion’s love story about poet John Keats and his 18-year-old  neighbor, Fanny Brawne. In part 1 of our OscarWatch interview, Cornish talks about how she pulled off such a dream part.

For more scoop from the Toronto film festival, watch my Matt Damon interview and my festival wrap with Missy Schwartz.

More Toronto Coverage:

‘Paranormal Activity': Prepare to be freaked out

Toronto preview: Three female-driven standouts

If you’re a serious OscarWatcher, you know that today is exactly six months until next year’s Academy Awards ceremony. So on this Oscar equinox (if you will), my EW film-festival pal Missy Schwartz and I discuss three female-driven films that will certainly have moviegoers buzzing at the Toronto International Film Festival (which begins Sept. 10) and over the next few months: Precious, Bright Star, and An Education. Check back tomorrow and Wednesday for Part 2 and Part 3 of our Toronto preview. And please follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for instant updates during the festival and beyond.

More on Toronto from OscarWatch:
Best Actor bets? Three to watch

Abbie Cornish & Carey Mulligan: An education

They’re both adorable actresses in their 20s. They’re both early contenders for a Best Actress nomination thanks to their strong performances in period films, from female directors, that are screening at the Toronto film festival later this month. And they’re even both represented by the same PR firm, WKT Public Relations. So it’s understandable that some people might get Abbie Cornish and Carey Mulligan confused. Like the folks at Variety, who, in touting their upcoming screening series in today’s issue, listed Mulligan’s name under Cornish’s photo. (Oops.)

Well, you’re going to be hearing their names in the same sentence a whole lot over the next few months, so let’s get this out of the way now. Abbie Cornish, the leading lady of Jane Campion’s Bright Star, is Australian and has lighter hair. Carey Mulligan, the breakout from Lone Scherfig’s An Education, is British and has darker hair. I have a feeling we’ll all be able to tell them apart before too long.

Photo credit: Cornish: Ian West/PA Photos/Landov; Mulligan: Lucas Jackson/Landov XX

What will be Sunday's biggest surprise?

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One of the most fun items I posted this year was my list of the top possible surprises of the Oscar nominations, some of which ended up coming true (or half-true). With the Academy Awards ceremony now just days away, here are my 10 possible shockers that could take place this Sunday.

1. Slumdog Millionaire picks up the Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing prizes, winning all nine categories in which it’s nominated.
2. Doubt’s Viola Davis avoids vote splitting with costar Amy Adams and tops Penélope Cruz for Best Supporting Actress.
3. The Kate vs. Meryl showdown in Best Actress ends in a loss for both, as Frozen River’s Melissa Leo pulls an Adrien Brody and comes through with the win.
4. After losing the BFCA and SAG awards to Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke finally wins his first major domestic prize (i.e. voted on by Americans) and takes home Best Actor.
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button gets upset in the Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, and Best Makeup categories and becomes the biggest Oscar loser in history, going 0 for 13.
6. David Hare’s script for The Reader steals the adapted screenplay trophy from Slumdog’s Simon Beaufoy.
7. France’s The Class wins Best Foreign Language Film over critical favorite Waltz With Bashir (my colleague Thom Geier and I are actually predicting that one).
8. WALL•E not only wins Best Animated Film but also picks up Original Screenplay and both sound prizes for a total of four Oscars.
9. The Dark Knight wins Best Supporting Actor but otherwise goes home empty-handed.
10. Telecast producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark actually manage to keep the ceremony under three hours. (You can do it, guys!)

EW's Oscar predictions!

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The awards gods don’t seem to be smiling on me this year. First, I publish my Oscar nomination predictions, which end up matching perfectly with the Producers Guild and Directors Guild nominees but naturally miss a few of the eventual Academy Award honorees. Then I arrive at my Oscar-winner guesses…which almost completely match with this weekend’s BAFTA winners. So, with my predictions hitting newsstands today, I ask you: What have I (and my intrepid colleague Thom Geier, who handles all the documentary and shorts races) gotten wrong? Let us have it.

Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Director, Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Animated Film: Wall-E
Foreign-Language Film: The Class
Documentary: Man On Wire
Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Costume Design: The Duchess
Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Score: Slumdog Millionaire
Song: “Jai Ho,” Slumdog Millionaire
Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sound: The Dark Knight
Sound Mixing: The Dark Knight
Short: Spielzugland (Toyland)
Animated Short: Presto
Documentary Short: The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306

Weinstein vs. Miramax: The double showdown

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Two of the closest major races at the Oscars this year — Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress — have something very intriguing in common: They’ve both become competitions between Harvey Weinstein and the company he used to run, Miramax. In the lead-actress race, the top two contenders are The Reader‘s Kate Winslet (a Weinstein Co. release) and Doubt‘s Meryl Streep (a Miramax film), while in supporting actress, Vicky Cristina Barcelona‘s Penélope Cruz (Weinstein Co.) and Doubt‘s Viola Davis (Miramax) have the best shot at a win.

In a year when Weinstein — who had an 11-year run of consecutive Best Picture nominees while at Miramax but had been absent from the big dance the last few years — is surprisingly back in the race, it’s rich that his two best chances at Oscar victories are against his old company. Since Weinstein’s departure in 2005, “the new Miramax” is a much different place, run by the unflappable, understated Daniel Battsek. But that’s not to say Battsek’s relative calm hasn’t produced Academy results: He and his team shepherded Helen Mirren to a Best Actress win for The Queen in 2007 and took home Best Picture last year with No Country for Old Men. This year they’ve had a rougher go: After dominating the critics’ awards, Happy-Go-Lucky‘s Sally Hawkins was shut out of the Oscar race, while five-time nominee Doubt failed to score a Best Picture nod.

For the sake of equality, I’m hoping Weinstein and Miramax each take home one female-acting prize next Sunday. But my hunch is that Harvey might just turn out to be a double winner.

addCredit(“Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic”)

Revisiting 'The Reader'

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I first saw The Reader in the middle of November and thought it was, well, fine. I certainly liked and respected the film, but I felt that it was something of a flatline, without any sufficiently gut-punching moments (for the viewer, not the characters) to make it truly memorable. I specifically was looking for Ralph Fiennes, playing a man who unknowingly had an affair with a Nazi guard as a teenager, to have a killer “Oscar scene” near the end of the film, which he doesn’t.

This past weekend, I decided to give The Reader a second chance. It’s fascinating to learn which films grow on you with repeat viewings and which don’t. This year, I enjoyed Slumdog Millionaire and Milk more when I watched them again, while my love for Frost/Nixon faded a bit the second time. (And I simply don’t have enough time to sit through Benjamin Button again.) With The Reader, though, the difference was the most dramatic. This time, I found myself quite moved by it, particularly during Kate Winslet’s centerpiece courtroom scene in which the film’s surprising plot twist is revealed. By the end, I was a wreck.

Since then I’ve been asking myself what was different the second time. Did I miss something when I first watched it? Am I simply being swayed by the five Oscar nominations it received? I don’t think so, but I do believe my shifting opinion has to do with the awards strategy for the film. Back in November, the Weinstein Co. was campaigning Winslet for Best Supporting Actress, meaning there were no lead-acting candidates from the film. So I watched it as if it were more of an ensemble piece, which it clearly isn’t. With Winslet now firmly in my mind as a Best Actress contender, her performance really jumped out at me as the true anchor of the film. Though I remain a huge Revolutionary Road fan, I am in awe of what she was able to pull off in The Reader.

So do I suddenly think The Reader has a shot to top Slumdog Millionaire for Best Picture? Not a chance. But I’m more convinced than ever that Winslet will win Best Actress next Sunday. And if the actress was at all disappointed that she didn’t get nominated for her husband’s film (it seemed like it when she declined to do any interviews on nomination day), she’s certainly on board with her current campaign:  She’s set to appear at a luncheon honoring the film in New York tomorrow.  It’s been a punishing awards season for Winslet, but I’m feeling like it’s going to pay off in the end.

The unsinkable Harvey Weinstein

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I just read an interesting item over at InContention in which writer John Foote speculates that Harvey Weinstein’s successful campaign for The Reader may end up costing Kate Winslet the Oscar this year. His view is that Winslet gave a better performance in Revolutionary Road and may now lose to Meryl Streep next month since she was nominated for Best Actress for The Reader instead. I’m not so sure about that. While I agree that her turn in Revolutionary Road was spectacular, the Academy obviously feels much more love towards The Reader, and that she only received one nomination this year means voters have only one place to vote for her. So in a way, a vote for her Reader performance will be a vote for both performances.

But I also know that Weinstein has been counseled by some of his friends and colleagues to back off on the overall campaign for The Reader between now and the Oscar ceremony, the argument being that while a Best Actress prize is certainly within the film’s reach, it really doesn’t have a shot at surpassing Slumdog Millionaire for Best Picture or Best Director. (I’d say only The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Milk have even the slightest chance at an upset, and that’s a stretch in both cases.) This would be Weinstein’s chance, these advisers say, to run a classy, understated campaign and basically acknowledge the film’s nominations for Best Picture and Best Director as its wins in those categories. Particularly at a time when tons of costly For Your Consideration ads might not be the smartest move for a company said to be in a spot of financial trouble of late.

But let’s get real: That’s just not going to happen. Even though as recently as three weeks ago, Weinstein was telling acquaintances that he’d “be back in the Oscar race next year” with movies like Nine and Inglourious Basterds, now that he’s got a surprise Best Picture nominee, you just know that he’s going to go whole hog with the campaign. Otherwise he wouldn’t be Harvey Weinstein. And while it may end up being a waste of money as far as the biggest prize is concerned, consider this: With Winslet out of the Best Supporting Actress race, Penélope Cruz may just pick up the Oscar for her amazing work in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, meaning Weinstein could very well be responsible for both female acting winners on Feb. 22.

addCredit(“Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com”)

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