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Entries in 20th Century Women (30)

Tuesday
May292018

Top Ten: Annette Bening's Best Performances

The one and only Annette Bening turns 60 today. But, really, she's ageless. And with agelessness comes the superpower of never-peaking. She's been brilliant from the start and, if anything, keeps getting moreso. Herewith our ten favorite performances by The Bening, though should you ask us on another day the films and the order would change.

THE BENING'S 10 BEST

10 Mother and Child (2009/2010) 
Released in the early summer of 2010 to little fanfare, and immediately eclipsed by a much bigger summer hit in The Kids Are All Right,  she was moving playing an unlikeably negative and guarded woman who'd once given up a child (Naomi Watts) for adoption. 

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Monday
Feb262018

Interview: Greta Gerwig on what kind of filmmaker she's going to be

by Nathaniel R 

Greta Gerwig directing the prom scene in Lady Bird. Look, she's even dressed for the occasion!The first time we spoke to Greta Gerwig in 2013 for Frances Ha it was over the phone. Her voice was so animated it felt like an in person interview. She was learning the accordion because of that seismically magical moment in the French film Holy Motors and revealing to me that she didn't think being an "actor-for-hire" in other people's work would be her path. Little did I know -- though perhaps she did -- that the exquisite Lady Bird was coming. In between she wrote and starred in Mistress America (2015) and gave what is arguably her best performance in Mike Mills 20th Century Women (2016). The rest is of course current celebration and future history: Lady Bird proved a mainstream breakthrough as a writer/director. It's up for five Oscars including two for Greta Gerwig herself as a writer and as a director.

This time, speaking in person, that familiar voice is just as lively but her laughter even more infectious. She radiates as much joy from talking art in real life as she often has creating it onscreen as a performer.

When I ask her her how the accordion is coming, she admits she's "rusty" and that it hasn't been a movie that inspired her lately but 'certain books' though she leaves them unnamed. Whatever feeds your soul as an artist, that's where you go.

on set directing Timothée and Saoire in Lady Bird (2017)

I reminder her about that comment about acting for others not being her path and she says "I know..." in a goofily apologetic way, like she always knew where she was heading but just hadn't told us.  Our interview is after the jump...

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Monday
Apr032017

The Furniture: Repairs for the House in "20th Century Women"

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in much more magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

"The house is a character in its own right," everyone says. It’s one of our more meaningless cliches, poltergeists notwithstanding. But the sentiment behind it is understandable. A building, though hardly alive, can still offer charisma. A dynamic visual language can be built from its beams.

20th Century Women has one of these abodes. The house in question belongs to Dorothea (Annette Bening), who lives with her son Jamie (Lucas Zumann) and two boarders, Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and William (Billy Crudup). As she explains to a fireman she’s invited to a party...

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Sunday
Feb262017

Film Bitch Award Winners

This site's own prizes, Nathaniel's long-running Film Bitch Awards, the Oscar correlative categories at least, all arrrived before the Oscar nominations this year. I was on schedule for once!

Amy & Jeremy wondering how they only managed one gold medal in the first round of Film Bitch Awards

I'm behind schedule on the "extra categories" which are supposed to be done by now (sigh) but for now, please to enjoy the medal ceremony in the standard categories. If you're a purist and only want winners and not "gold / silver / bronze" which is my personal awards preference because spreading the wealth is the only way to go with awards for things as apples & oranges beautiful as movies, the list of gold medalists is after the jump...

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Wednesday
Feb222017

Annette and Sonia: Considering Two Snubs

Robert here. With this weekend's Oscars closing up the film year, can we take one final minute and dive into two performances that have been given the prestigious honor of being declared snubbed by the academy? That'd be, namely, Annette Bening in 20th Century Women and Sonia Braga in Aquarius (who are both nominated in Nathaniel's own awards; Braga was runner up for Best Actress in the 2016 Team Experience Awards).

Some minor spoilers and possibly very unpopular opinions after the jump...

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Friday
Feb032017

Podcast: Top Ten Lists

Nick and Nathaniel and Joe compare their top ten lists for the year -- only two movies are on all three lists.

Index (42 minutes)
00:01 Nick & Nathaniel talk Fire at Sea, The Lobster, Right Now Wrong Then, La La Land, allergies to directors and "delight" at the movies
14:00 Joe joins in for The Witch, Little MenIxcanul, and Francophonia  
23:00 Annette Bening's miracle performance and the bliss of watching 20th Century Women
28:30 More divisive films: The Handmaiden and American Honey
38:00 Things to Come and wrap-up

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Our Top Ten Lists