Monthly Archives: November 2018

The Also-Rans Project – Hilary and Jackie (Best Actress/Supporting Actress Also-Ran 1998)

Hilary-and-jackie-poster.jpgDirected by Anand Tucker

Screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Starring Emily Watson, Rachel Griffiths, James Frain, David Morrissey, Charles Dance, and Celia Ermie

Emily Watson had never been in a film before her breakout role in Breaking the Waves.  Perhaps being unknown helped her intense, emotional, and sexual performance land with such a wallop.  Or, it could be she’s simply a fierce actress, capable of that sort of performance day-in and day-out, and didn’t need a longer film history behind her to show it.  And there may be the truth of Emily Watson: she was a quality actress from the jump, even if the individual film itself is not. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project – The Wings of the Dove (Best Actress Also-Ran 1997)

Wings of the dove ver1.jpgDirected by Iain Softley

Screenplay by Hossein Amini, from the novel by Henry James

Starring Helena Bonham Carter, Linus Roach, Allison Elliott, Elizabeth McGovern, Charlotte Rampling and Michael Gambon

Here we are again, folks, with another installment in this series about something other than a Best Picture Also-Ran, owing to 1997 being a year in which I’ve seen all the Best Picture winners and losers.[1]  The same goes for the Best Director race, and the Best Actor and Supporting Actor/Actress Races – seen ‘em.  In fact, I’ve even seen all 10 of the movies nominated in the screenplay categories as well.[2]  I could have taken a dive into the Foreign Language Film or Documentary categories – after all, everybody could use a little more foreign exposure in their lives, and the Documentary Feature category included 4 Little Girls from Spike Lee.  But, as I enter the homestretch on this project I want to be laser-focused on what’s readily available, and so here we are with a Best Actress loser.[3]

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The Also-Rans Project – Rambling Rose (Best Actress and Supporting Actress Also-Rans 1991)

Ramblingroseposter.jpgDirected by Martha Coolidge

Screenplay by Calder Willingham, based upon his book

Starring Laura Dern, Robert Duvall, Lukas Haas, Diane Ladd, and John Heard

I sometimes wonder what it’s like growing up as the child of a famous person.  Or a rich person.  Which is obviously the greatest indication of my background that I can ever give you, because if you ever have to wonder what wealth and fame does to kids, it usually means you had neither when you were a kid.

Anyway, I have it in my head that living with a parent’s wealth and/or fame warps a person and their worldview.  When it’s fame it’s living in a world where everybody thinks your parent is great and are lauded with attention.  Just having that sort of attention shining around you can be a problem one its face, as everything you do is suddenly noticed.  Worse is if you don’t ever do anything to earn the glow yourself and have to deal with it going away. Continue reading

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The Also Rans – The Trip to Bountiful/Agnes of God (Best Actress Winner/Loser 1985)

Trip to bountiful.jpgA Trip to Bountiful

Directed by Peter Masterson

Screenplay by Horton Foote, based upon his play

Starring Geraldine Page, John Heard, Rebecca De Mornay, and Carlin Glynn

Agnes moviep.jpgAgnes of God

Directed by Norman Jewison

Screenplay by John Pielmeier, based upon his play

Starring Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft, and Meg Tilly

Originally this was to be a piece about The Trip To Bountiful, based on it being a Best Adapted Screenplay lower.   At least, that would have been the ostensible angle into the film, which was just a proxy to assess the performance of Geraldine Page.  Why Geraldine Page?   Because despite being nominated for eight Oscars – four as a supporting actress, four as a lead – I had only ever seen a single one of her films.  This in spite of my own cinephile leanings, and her having worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood history – John Wayne, Paul Newman, Francis Coppola, Clint Eastwood, and Woody Allen.  What had I seen her in?  John Schlesinger’s The Day of the Locust.  And even then, I have zero memory of her in it.  So taking The Trip of Bountiful was meant to open my eyes to her a little bit. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project – Sayonara (Best Picture Also-Ran 1957)

Original movie poster for the film Sayonara.jpgDirected by Joshua Logan

Screenplay by Paul Osborn, from the novel by James Michener

Starring Marlon Brando, James Garner, Red Buttons, Miiko Taka, Patricia Owens, Ricardo Montalban, Miyoshi Umeki

In the early 1950s, two airmen (Brando and Buttons) are pulled out of Korea and reassigned to a base in Japan.  One (Brando) would rather not go, because reasons.  The other (Buttons) is happier for the change of locale, because he can finally marry his Japanese girlfriend (Umeki), even though this marriage will go against the wishes of the Air Force brass and racist US policies.  Unexpectedly, Brando falls in love with a Japanese woman as well (Miiko Taka) and decides to marry her.  Tragedy ensues as people stand up to, and buckle, under the racism invited by their decisions.  Oh, and they see a fair amount of Japanese theater along the way.

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