“Easy A” Poll Results

27 01 2011

Well, Emma Stone didn’t get an Oscar nomination.  Shocker.  It’s unfortunate because – get this – I think she gave a better performance than Annette Bening AND Jennifer Lawrence, both nominated actresses this year.

It’s just another tough year for comedic actresses, who fare only slightly better than Christopher Nolan nowadays.  A truly comedic performance is rarely nominated, probably around once or twice a decade.  We technically classify some performance as comedic – Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada,” Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” Alan Arkin in “Little Miss Sunshine,” Keira Knightley in “Pride and Prejudice,” Kate Winslet in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” to name a bunch – but these are really just light-hearted dramatic acting in movies with some laugh.

There were only a few that charted with the Academy over the last decade: Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder,” Ellen Page in “Juno,” Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and Renee Zellweger in “Bridget Jones’ Diary” are the only nominated performances of the last decade that I consider to be truly comedic actor.  I’m willing to debate a few others, but all of those are heavily tinted with dramatic shades.  These comedic actors get, in the words of Rodney Dangerfield, “no respect.”

In my Oscar Moment about “Easy A,” I didn’t offer any hope that Emma Stone would be nominated; in fact, I didn’t even ask the question in my poll.  I defended the award-worthiness of comedic actors and actresses, saying that they excel in a very different kind of acting that requires a different but still challenging set of skills.  My poll asked voters whether they thought comedic actors deserved to receive Academy Award nominations.

The results were overwhelmingly in favor of actors like Stone receiving nominations.  Nearly 90% of voters replied that they think that comedic actors ARE deserving.  I don’t think that Emma stone’s snub represent a sort of “last straw” for audiences in the consistent overlooking of comedic actors, but I do hope that the unofficial policy gets some serious thought soon.

Advertisements




10 for ’10: Quotes

28 12 2010

Catch up with the idea behind this series here.

A single line can have so much power in a movie.  It can make us laugh, make us think, or make us cry.  It can delve profoundly into the soul, give insight into a character’s mind, provide a perfect punch of beautiful language, or be so foolish that we can’t help but repeat it endlessly.

2010 gave us many great quotes from many great movies.  Here’s just a sampling of how the power of the written word was wielded this year from 10 fantastic lines that served a great deal of purposes.


“Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster.”
– Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) in “The Social Network

“I just want to be perfect.”
– Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) in “Black Swan

“That Charlene … she’s one of them MTv girls!”
– Micky Ward’s sisters in “The Fighter

“It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!”
– Agnes in “Despicable Me

“This rock has been waiting for me my entire life.”
– Aron Ralston (James Franco) in “127 Hours

“It was almost as if … I had a love that was all mine.”
– Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) referencing Natasha Bedengfield in “Easy A

“You’re waiting for a train, a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you can’t be sure. But it doesn’t matter … because we’ll be together.”
– Mal (Marion Cotillard) in “Inception

“When the world slips you a Jeffrey, just stroke the furry walls.”
– Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) in “Get Him to the Greek

“Stop trying, SURRENDER!”
– Richard from Texas (Richard Jenkins) in “Eat Pray Love

“Thanks, guys.”
– Andy in “Toy Story 3





Oscar Moment: “Easy A”

21 12 2010

In honor of “Easy A” hitting video today, I’m writing this Oscar Moment specifically in regards to Emma Stone’s performance.  As Olive Penderghast, the 2010 model of Hester Prynne from “The Scarlet Letter,” she got some very deserved attention for her breakout role.  Here’s what I wrote back in September:

“Emma Stone is hardly a new sight for anyone that’s been seeing good movies recently; she has been scene-stealing as the heartbreaking Jules in ‘Superbad’ and the zombie-killing Wichita in ‘Zombieland.’  This, however, is the movie that will bring her into the mainstream consciousness.  ‘Easy A’ gives her all the material for a breakout role, and Stone seizes every moment to create a character that will shoot her into stardom.”

The movie was very well received by critics upon release (an 88% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) yet still somehow managed to miss a Best Picture (Musical/Comedy) nomination from the Golden Globes.  In its place: “Alice in Wonderland.”  Big mistake.  Huge.  However, Stone did get her recognition in the form of a Best Actress nomination.  There’s hardly a chance for a win against the two “The Kids Are All Right” actresses and an even further shot at an Oscar nomination thanks to an impressive dramatic faction headlined by Natalie Portman.  But what’s with our bias against comedic actresses?  Why does the Academy only feel the need to honor actors dealing strictly in serious fare, perhaps dabbling in comedy but keeping their heart in drama?

A lot of Stone’s fans have raised this concern for months now.  Why not Emma Stone?  She’s as deserving as most of the actresses in the predicted five at the moment.  While she may not have an illustrious career under her belt or have undergone a massive physical transformation, Stone goes above and beyond what a movie like “Easy A” requires from its leading lady.

Castor over at Anomalous Material elaborated on Guy Lodge’s article at In Contention making a case for Stone, listing five reasons he came up with that might be the reason why comedy is so constantly overlooked by the Academy.

  1. Western audiences are conditioned to enjoy flashy and bombastic dramatic performances, such as Daniel Day Lewis’ in There Will Be Blood, over more subtle or seemingly “effortless” portrayals.
  2. Giving a good performance in a great movie is harder and hence more deserving of recognition than shining in a mediocre/good movie.
  3. Comedic actors are generally less talented than dramatic actors.
  4. Comedies are generally not as good, serious and important as dramas.
  5. Drama is harder than comedy.

As an actor myself, I’ll argue that comedy is every bit as hard as drama – there are just those for whom comedy comes naturally.  You can’t fake comedy because it takes total commitment.  Drama can be passably done with half a heart, and a well-liked actor can often do this to great acclaim.

For my money, Emma Stone gave one of the best performances of the year.  But according to Academy standards, her Golden Globe nomination is her highest reward.  Is this right?  Should comedic actresses get their due?  Is a performance like Stone’s deserving to stand next to Natalie Portman’s come Oscar night?

BEST BET FOR NOMINATION: Best Actress





Officially in Print!

28 11 2010

This post is coming about two months too late thanks to difficulties with my household scanner, but back in September, my reviews were put into print for the first time!  I submitted two of my reviews to the editor of my school newspaper, and sure enough, they ran them!

So here are my reviews of “Easy A” and “The American” on paper!  Perhaps this is only the beginning…





REVIEW: Easy A

20 09 2010

Finally, I get a high school movie for my time in high school!

For the past three years, we’ve been left quoting “Mean Girls” left and right, yelling out “She doesn’t even go here!” in situations when it doesn’t even make sense and putting on the strict face of authority to say, “If you have sex, you will get chlamydia – and die” whenever the practically taboo topic is brought up.  We get all the jokes now, but in 2004, high school was as foreign a place as Afghanistan.  Even in the six years since Tina Fey’s first big splash (and Lindsay Lohan’s last big splash), high school has changed, and we can thank Facebook, YouTube, and iPhones for that.

I was afraid that I might graduate high school with only a dated high school movie to show my kids what it was like to be my age in 2010.  Thanks to “Easy A,” such concerns are no more.  It’s a near perfect reflection of the realities of living in a sphere where gossip travels as quickly as text messages can be sent over a 3G connection and reputations can be ruined in the split-second it takes to update a Facebook status.

It’s also remarkable that while the movie is very current, it isn’t entirely grounded in 2010.  It takes a page from one of American literature’s finest, “The Scarlet Letter,” and plops it down in front of a webcam.  And darned if we aren’t convinced that Nathaniel Hawthorne would have vodcasted his classic story through YouTube had it existed back in the nineteenth century.  The movie is a testament not just to the creativity of the writers of “Easy A,” but also to Hawthorne for spawning a story that is still relevant centuries after publication.

Read the rest of this entry »





What To Look Forward To in … September 2010

15 08 2010

Weird to think that the circle is complete and I’m back doing my second September preview post!  All strangeness aside, we have emerged from a summer that many people loathed.  Now it’s up to fall, which begins in September, to redeem the year.  With the big film festivals beginning, it’s time for the Oscar hopefuls to hit the stage and make it or break it.

September 1/3

Getting a head start on the weekend is Anton Corbjin’s “The American,” starring George Clooney.  The director has only one other film under his belt, “Control,” which received enough raves that it’s sitting comfortably on my DVR.  Nevertheless, it’s George Clooney’s only movie of awards season 2010, so that makes it worth seeing.  Added bonus is the trailer gives very little of the plot away.

Apparently Robert Rodriguez didn’t get the memo that more is more when it comes to having old people in action movies, as August’s “The Expendables” bloated cast translated into cash.  But “Machete,” with Danny Trejo as the titular swordslinger along with Steven Seagal (tragically overlooked by Sly), Cheech Marin, and Robert DeNiro, still looks pretty fun.  Plus, there’s Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, and America’s favorite jail bait, Lindsay Lohan!

Going the Distance” finds a home in September for Labor Day weekend after August just seemed a little too crowded.

Americans remake foreign movies all the time, but “A Woman A Gun and A Noodle Shop” switches it up on us and remakes an American movie.  The source: The Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple.”  Should be interesting…

September 10

Haven’t we seen enough “Resident Evil” in the last 8 years?  In case we haven’t, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” is here.  I will give the marketing executives credit for the trailer: they get that people can tell phony 3D from real 3D, and they are selling the fact that this is real 3D.

The prospects don’t look much better off the beaten path, either.  “The Virginity Hit” just looks like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” for the YouTube era.

September 15/17

Emma Stone’s “Easy A” looks to make “The Scarlet Letter” much more enjoyable for the juniors at my school who have to read it (I was not among those).  Hopefully this can make a star out of Stone, best known as Jules from “Superbad.”

I have absolutely no idea what to make of the trailer for “The Town” or “Never Let Me Go.”  But with a cast including the likes of Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, and Ben Affleck for the former, which opens in wide release this weekend, I’m definitely in.  Ditto for the latter which opens in limited release on Wednesday and stars Oscar nominees Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley.

“Devil” looks kind of freaky … but I’m wondering how many viewers Universal lost for this movie after “The Last Airbender” was so poorly received.  Maybe selling the movie based on M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t the best idea…

The weekend also brings Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, “Jack Goes Boating,” starring he and Oscar nominee Amy Ryan.  It’s a very quirky, melancholy-looking romance.  Hoffman would.

Hey, look, another talking animal movie!  I’ll give “Alpha and Omega” the fact that it has the slight distinction of being Dennis Hopper’s last movie.  Don’t cry; he wouldn’t want us to.

September 22/24

I’m interested in “You Again” because it’s a different kind of high school movie – one where all the students are out of school.  Forced to be around each other, old high school rivals duke it out.  And Betty White watches.  What could be better?

Is “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” a zeitgeist-tapping look at our economy?  Or just Oliver Stone trying to reclaim his glory days?  Carey Mulligan is in it … good reason for me to see it.

Ryan Reynolds inside a coffin for an entire movie?  Will it work?  I want to see “Buried” if for no other reason than to see how they pull it off.

Wednesday sees the latest film from prolific director Woody Allen, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.”  It has a great ensemble cast, but it didn’t get the greatest reviews at Cannes.  We’ll see how this goes.

I lost so much respect for “Legend of the Guardians” when the filmmakers attempted to convince me that their movie about talking owls was comparable to “The Lord of the Rings.”  Talk about a stretch…

What are YOU looking forward to in September?  Planning on going to the movies at all?  Or just clearing out your DVR…