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Entries in Best Actress (492)

Thursday
Nov162017

The 2017 Actress Roundtable Lineup

Chris here. There may already Gotham noms and film festivals, but Oscar season doesn't really start until The Hollywood Reporter's Actress Roundtable - at least in our hearts. This year's lineup includes returning folks Jennifer Lawrence (mother!), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes), and Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game), while the newbies are Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound - finally arriving on Netflix today!), and Allison Janney (I, Tonya).

The reliance on returning guests is still irksome, and that is particularly felt this year with a smaller lineup. The ongoing reckoning with sexual predators in the industry looms large over the conversation, but we also get the usual soundbites on creative risk, career advice, and dream collaborators. Who who you like to add to this lineup? Or what film would you recast with these ladies? (I'll offer Tiffany Haddish, and a Steel Magnolias where Lawrence plays Ouiser) Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday
Nov012017

123 days until Oscar... we've got Bette Davis eyes

by Nathaniel R

It's time for your morning dose of highly unneccessary Oscar-mad trivia.

Did you know that Bette Davis, Oscar's third favorite actress of all time (after Hepburn & Streep), had exactly 123 screen credits to her name?! Her debut film The Bad Sister (1931) was released a week before her 23rd birthday and her 123rd and final project, Wicked Stepmother (1989), was released eight months before her death of breast cancer at 81. That's 58 years of big-eyed, inimitably voiced, ferocious performances.  

Two Bette-inspired questions for the day...

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Sunday
Oct222017

Joan Fontaine Centennial: Jane Eyre (1943)

Part two of our Joan Fontaine celebration. Here's Tim Brayton...

Joan Fontaine's reign at the top of the Hollywood pyramid was short and intense: three out of four movies made in three out of four years netted her Oscar nominations, with a win for the second, Suspicion. We come now to the film made immediately after this golden run: the second talkie adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 classic Jane Eyre, released in the United Kingdom at the very end of 1943, but held back from the U.S. until February, 1944.

By the time the film arrived at 20th Century Fox, it had already passed through the hands of super-producer David O. Selznick, who had assembled all of the main components in an apparent bid to replicate his Oscar-winning Rebecca. Fontaine appears once again as a delicate, innocent ingénue dropped into a rambling Gothic mansion where a bullying man falls in love with her, in a story whose horror-film atmosphere (courtesy, in both cases, of cinematographer George Barnes) could be given the gloss of prestige and class thanks to the material's literary origins. I will commit an act of grave apostasy by suggesting that Fontaine is better here than she was in that 1940 film; there's a certain toughness in her posture and facial expressions that hadn't much appeared in her screen acting prior to this, and which considerably deepens the "meek virgin" trope she's once again saddled with.

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Saturday
Oct212017

Fontaine Centennial: Mrs de Winter in "Rebecca"

For the next few days we'll be celebrating Joan Fontaine's Centennial. Here's Eric on her most famous picture...

David O. Selznick, Joan Fontaine, and Alfred Hitchcock at the Oscars for Rebecca. The film won... but Fontaine and Hitch didn't.

One of the best things about writing for The Film Experience is the chance to open up windows of your film history you haven’t explored before.  For some reason, throughout all the years, I had never seen a movie with Joan Fontaine.  Just one of those black holes.  And because she stopped acting before I was born, I have zero frame of reference for her (unlike, say, sister Olivia de Havilland)... 

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Thursday
Oct192017

"I, Tonya" I, Teaser

Chris here. 2017 is a banner year for divisive movies, and prepare yourself for I, Tonya to be added to the heap. It was greeted with mostly warm response when it debuted at TIFF, eventually being runner-up for the People's Choice prize. While Nathaniel is one of the film's growing number of detractors, I find myself somewhere on the middle on its wild tonal shifts and competing, disparate narrative points of view.

The film opens in just over a month and there's finally this (very brief) teaser to go along with a few scant production photos. Aside from one of its wittier shots at the onset, this first enticement for audiences relies mostly on its truly ghastly figure skating sequences - trust me, there's even worse CGI to be seen. In many ways the film is a rumination on tackiness but even if there's something honest in the film's garishness, this is maybe not the best way to announce a coming film fast-tracked for awards season release.

And its awards prospects will be a question mark on the season, but it did rack up some Gotham noms. Can Margot Robbie compete with a very wide Best Actress field? She crushes the third act, but the film oddly ignores her for long stretches. How far can newbie distributor Neon take this? It's a crowdpleaser, but its flippancy with domestic abuse will be a major talking point. One thing you can count on: a genius and cruel Allison Janney in Best Supporting Actress for a performance that nails all sides of the films many tones.

Friday
Oct062017

C O N S I D E R -Fav Actresses of 2017, 3rd Qtr

With less than three months of the year to go - eep! -- it's time to do another tally of favorite performances -- this is how we keep track so we're not like Oscar voters who only vote on the last couple months of the year. Here are the 17 best female turns this past quarter according to your host, Nathaniel. Which movies were considered? Movies released between July and right now (October 6th) as well as unreleased movies (marked by an asterisk*) which were screened in that time frame but have no firm release date in the future. Previous 3rd quarter lists: Filmmaking and Male Acting

Disclaimer: Key actress-focused films I missed this past quarter were Home Again, Ingrid Goes West, and Lady Macbeth. If you've seen them give their MVPs a shout-out.

6 LEADING ACTRESSES

Dame Judi Dench as "Queen Victoria" in Victoria & Abdul
I love the idea of character sequels decades later rather than continuing story sequels (that's what TV is for!). The movie is no great shakes but it's quite fun to see her return to this signature character. 

Regina Hall as "Ryan Pierce" in Girls Trip 
A wonderfully nimble performance. She's got to provide the straight man to the comic bananas but to make that funny, too, while dexterously handling the script's somewhat heavy handed character arc.

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