Tag archive for "best actress"

Celebrity, Movies & TV

Meryl Streep Berlinale Masterclass: What the Oscar winner finds useless and stupid and un-artistic

1 Comment 19 February 2016

meryl in berlin 2On Sunday, Meryl Streep addressed a select group of actors and filmmakers at the Berlinale and I was fortunate enough to attend as tickets were scarce. While I wrote about her for VF.com, here’s more from the event, and the actress discussing directors Mike Nichols and Clint Eastwood:

When asked by the British critic Peter Cowie if acting with a lot of makeup in The Iron Lady inhibited her acting, MERYL responded: “I feel I must disabuse. I was not wearing any make up. There are great things that they can do with lighting or not do. It’s fantastic. You can’t have a long career and really play a lot of different kinds of characters of all different ages and maintain your magazine-cover vanity. You just can’t. It’s useless and stupid and it’s un-artistic and who cares.”

[Related: Unwitting Feminist: Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher]

About her preparation to play Thatcher, Streep said: “I prepared wildly. I read five biographies. I read some man who was the Samuel Pepys of his time in 70s London and noted every time she came to dinner — Woodrow Wyatt I listened to her obsessively. I watched film of her. And then I threw it away. We were concerned with her private life. It was on power in decline. After she’s out of power, the confrontation with mortality….when we feel least certain that is when we lash out most vehemently. When we feel attacked and not able to withstand it.”

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Celebrity, Movies & TV

Meryl Streep Berlinale Masterclass: on Directors Mike Nichols and Clint Eastwood

No Comments 17 February 2016

Meryl Streep talents BerlinOn Sunday, Meryl Streep addressed a select group of actors and filmmakers at the Berlinale and I was fortunate enough to attend as tickets were scarce. While I wrote about her for VF.com, here’s more from the event, and the actress discussing directors Mike Nichols and Clint Eastwood:

MERYL: “Mike Nichols used to say to me each subsequent time that we worked (Postcards from the Edge, Heartburn, Silkwood, The Seagull in the park and Angels in America on TV), each time he would drill me on other directors. I said it’s like asking about other boyfriends: does he do it better than I do?

“The most interesting thing about having a long career is how many different ways you can get to a good result. Each has his own way in, talking to actors. Clint Eastwood only betrayed himself once, I never felt that he was watching me as we were acting together. He never says ‘action’ so as the director [of The Bridges of Madison County] I’d have to divine when he’d start acting. He’d stroll from behind camera and walk into the kitchen and say ‘okay, you can put your knitting down,’ and we can start acting.

“He was sort of seamless; he doesn’t play a wide range of roles. He looks like Clint Eastwood. He was fully committed as an actor and very self-denigrating. He would make a comment after — ‘Well, that was adequate,” about himself. But he would very often shoot the rehearsal and then move on so I have never in my life seen a crew so terrified on the tips of their toes trying to solve all the problems that normally they solve on take four. Everything was ready on the first time we encountered the scene because Clint might just move on. That was a lesson on fascism that I thought was interesting (I’m joking).

“But Clint only betrayed himself once. In one scene we were having a big fight in the kitchen and it was going particularly well speaking for myself. He was watching me and I saw it in his eyes and I said you were watching me you weren’t with me. He said, ‘It won’t happen again’ and it never did. We shot the whole film in 5 weeks.”


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Celebrity, Movies & TV, Oscar Race

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander talks ‘The Danish Girl’

No Comments 28 January 2016

Alicia Vikander is 'The Danish Woman'

Here is what Vikander told me when I interviewed her for The Hollywood Reporter:

It was wonderful to have Gerda’s art, her personality came through. She was successful in her own time, experiencing that struggle any artist undergoes trying to find their own voice and be true to it. Other people will start to appreciate the work once you find your own voice. Gerda started to become very successful when she found her muse in Lily [Eddie Redmayne’s transgender artist]. It’s pivotal in the beginning with Gerda starting to paint Lily — both of them go on the journey of allowing Lily to step forward and see her true self. Gerda goes on a journey, too. With transgender people, and the loved ones or friends of transgender, you realize that every single story is different. People forget that the wife was on a transition as big as her partner. They were a couple going thru a big change together. I was privileged that my emotions, that are my tools, were employed to portray such an extraordinary woman, the pain and tough road that she also travelled. Gerda always knew that the most important thing was that the person she loved became what she wanted. That sort of unconditional love is inspiring.

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Celebrity, Movies & TV, Oscar Race

Julianne Moore’s Long Red Carpet to the Oscars

No Comments 21 May 2015

Julianne Moore sighs over a mondo coffee cup in 'Maps to the Stars' and wins Best Actress at Cannes 2014

Julianne Moore sighs over a mondo coffee cup in ‘Maps to the Stars’ and wins Best Actress at Cannes 2014

Can it be only a year since Julianne Moore owned the red carpet at Cannes — and won the festival’s Best Actress — for playing a diva on the verge of a nervous breakdown in Maps to the Stars? And then David Cronenberg’s bitter little Hollywood pill lost its way to the theaters and what had once seemed like Julianne’s yearstumbled. And then came Alice, Still Alice and Moore was back in play. Here’s my interview of Moore for the New York Observer that appeared on January 21st on finding Oscar without a map:

It was a lunch at Le Cirque, it was star-studded, and actress Julianne Moore was at Table One. The star of Still Alice—a tough, raw portrait of an academic, wife and mother coping with the disintegration of her identity due to early-onset Alzheimer’s—looked, at 54, terrific. Friends surrounded her: Kate Capshaw, wife of Steven Spielberg, on her right; Ellen Barkin to her left. The mood was hopeful, even giddy, with a side of wood-knocking: Ms. Moore was and is the frontrunner for the Best Actress Academy Award. Last week, she received her fifth nomination and, if it happens February 22, this would be her first win.

It’s no coincidence that Cate Blanchett held down that same circular table last year on her juggernaut to the Oscar for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, also, not coincidentally, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. But while Ms. Blanchett held the Best Actress lead from a midsummer release to the Oscars, it’s not an easy position to maintain. Ms. Blanchett’s frontrunner status could easily have been torpedoed by the abuse scandal surrounding director Woody Allen Continue Reading

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Criticism, Oscar Race

Office Politics Gone Wild: Why you must see ‘Two Days, One Night’

No Comments 30 December 2014

Two Days One Night
Naturalistic and probing, in Two Days, One Night, Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Kid with a Bike) tell an apparently simple, linear story with astonishing depth. Recovering from depression, wife and mother Sandra (Marion Cotillard) returns to work at a solar panel factory after sick leave. Once there, she discovers that her bosses have made her co-workers a Sophie’s Choice: take a thousand Euro bonus and lay-off Sandra, or save Sandra and sacrifice the cash.

It’s not surprising that Sandra’s colleagues choose the bonus over their colleague’s needs. But, when management allows a last-minute recount, Sandra’s husband Manu (Fabrizio Rongione) urges her to visit each and every individual to plead her case. This reluctant quest — a married mother on the verge of a second nervous breakdown travelling door-to-door over two days and one night — opens up a working class world to the audience. We see into the lives of the others from the factory and their impact on the sobbing Sandra.

Oscar-winner Cotillard (Ma Vie en Rose) portrays Sandra in jeans and a tank top, bra straps showing, hair clutched uncombed in a pony-tail; far more unkempt than the actress who plays her, who is the face of Lady Dior handbags. As Sandra, Cotillard’s walk rides low in her hips, she pops Xanax and, defeated, she retreats to her bed where she lies in a fetal position under the duvet. But none of this is overwrought. She melds perfectly in the Dardennes’ matter-of-fact style; the first true star these Belgian brothers have cast as a lead.

[Related: TIFF Critic’s Pick: ‘Two Days, One Night]

Cotillard has become one of my favorite actresses. Whether in high-gloss blockbuster mode in The Dark Knight Rises or period perfect in The Immigrant, she works from a very quiet core. Her characters always have a life beyond the screen, a before and after. These women don’t ask you for permission, they compel you to watch. The biggest emotions register in tiny gestures.

While Sandra’s struggle and transformation is central to Two Days, One Night, the drama is less a star vehicle than an ethical exploration. Do you leave your morals at the door when you clock in? You may treat your family humanely at home, but the actions taken in pursuit of a paycheck also define your character. In reality, what you do at work is as much who you are as your private identity. In this competitive economy of layoffs and job insecurity, that certainly is cause for reflection, whether you’re American or Belgian

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