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15 Oscar Bait Flops starring the last 15 Oscar Best Actress Winners   Leave a comment

vlcsnap-2015-09-30-13h10m44s22Take a good look at that Best Actress Oscar, Cate!

An actor’s career won’t ever be complete if he/she hasn’t had that one film perceived as his/her Oscar vehicle only for the movie to not live up to its expectations and its Oscar chances ultimately ending up in a crash and burn in situation. Today, we’d be revisiting the last 15 Oscar Best Actress winners, and while all of them have ended up with Oscar statues in their mantles already (some even more than one, coughMerylcough), these are some films that were perceived to be the one.

2000: Julia Roberts

Then America’s Sweetheart Julia Roberts was unstoppable that year sweeping all televised precursors leading to the Academy Awards for her sassy superstar performances as the title role in Erin Brockovich, and while she obviously “loved it up there” in the podium, her post-Oscar career has mostly focused on doing favored works for her director friends (such as Steven Soderbergh and Ryan Murphy) or actor friends (such as Tom Hanks). However, in 2007, she starred alongside Hanks and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson‘s War as Texas socialite Joanne Herring donned with a big blonde wig and her signature wide grin. While she picked up a Golden Globe nomination for this, her real Oscar comeback came seven years after in August Osage County.

2001: Halle Berry

After her historic win in 2001, Berry remains to be the only African-American actress who have won the Oscar in a leading performance for Monster’s Ball. However, most of her post-Oscar career has been panned left and right specifically during her turn in Catwoman. While the actress have fared better in television (with her Emmy nominated performance “Their Eyes Were Watching God“), Berry still tried to prove her win was no fluke by starring in different Oscar vehicles such as “Things We Lost in Fire” in 2007. For this list though, nothing is as baity as her attempt for a comeback in 2010’s “Frankie & Alice” where she played a 70s stripper suffering from a dissociative identity disorder. Berry picked up a filler Globe nod for it, but the awards failure performance caused the film to be shelved only to be revived four years later for a theatrical release to the knowledge of… nobody.

2002: Nicole Kidman

Winning on her second consecutive nomination, Nicole Kidman was the biggest movie star on the planet during her win as author Virginia Woolf in Best Picture nominee The Hours. And while everyone thought this would be the start of the Academy’s love affair with the Australian actress, the opposite happened with her starring in low-key indie films (Dogville, Birth), flop mainstream attempts (The Stepford Wives, Bewitched), or Oscar baits that simply didn’t materialize (Nine, Australia). That said, her worst Oscar bait flop happened in 2013 when she played another Best Actress Oscar winner Grace Kelly in “Grace of Monaco.” Issues over cuts and versions between screenwriter Arash Amel, director Olivier Dahan, and distributor Harvey Weinstein all contributed to the tragic fate of this film (which as of this writing, has apparently three different versions). While Grace opened the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, it was panned by critics there losing any chance for a theatrical release. It ended up premiering on TV via Lifetime earlier this year, though that ended up as a blessing in disguise as that decision earned it an nomination for Best Television Movie at the Emmy Awards earlier this month.

2003: Charlize Theron

After her unanimously praised performance of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, Theron easily received another Oscar nod two years after for the movie North Country. That said, Theron stayed low key with her movie choices tackling supporting roles mostly or really, small films. While her comeback in 2011 for Young Adult didn’t fruit to Oscar nom #3, it can’t be considered an Oscar bait flop considering the nature of the film doesn’t seem like the type that will get its actress nominated. However, after the success of Gone Girl last year and its lead actress Rosamund Pike receiving a nomination for it, studio A24 tried to ride on its success by releasing another Gillian Flynn novel turned to movie “Dark Places” starring Theron as the only survivor of a town massacre. Suffice to say, this was released in limited theaters and VOD killing all its chances to get Theron nominated.

2004: Hilary Swank

Only five years after receiving her first Best Actress Oscar, Hilary Swank easily snatched her second after starring as the female boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in the Best Picture Oscar winner of that year “Million Dollar Baby.” That’s why her third bid for an Oscar nomination (exactly ten years after her first and five years after her second), was for playing the great, late Amelia Earhart in Mira Nair’s 2009 take on the life of the prominent figure. Unlike her first two vehicles though, Swank quite received the flak for portraying yet another character leaning on the masculine strengths for another shot at Oscar. So despite Fox Searchlight handling the campaign for this film, not even that is enough to save this critical and commercial flop. Surprisingly enough, her next Oscar bait came in 2014 for “The Homesman“, but again to no avail. Maybe Hilary decided to plot her Oscar vehicles every time a year ends on 9 or 4 no?

2005: Reese Witherspoon

Her Oscar-winning role was that of the late country superstar June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line.” In this 2007 thriller however, Reese joined forces with Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Alan Arkin, as well as Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal. Back in 2007, films dealing with the CIA and terrorism have been as baity as one can expect, so Witherspoon’s role as a pregnant woman involved in some terrorism actions seem like a shoo-in Oscar contender. Add the fact that this was Witherspoon’s foray into straight drama territory and this seemed anything but an Oscar flop. Until it was. Luckily for Reese, she managed to come back in the Oscar race earlier this year for her turn as Cheryl Strayed in Wild.

2006: Helen Mirren

Usually when a woman in her sixties win an Oscar, it’s mostly an indirect lifetime achievement award of some sort. But not for Dame Helen Mirren. Since her win for The Queen in 2006, this has led her to receive more leading roles and she has been the go-to British actress even surpassing Dame Judi Dench and Dame Vanessa Redgrave to name a few. She easily picked up an Oscar nod in 2009 for The Last Station, and we’re certain that she came close in 2012 for Hitchcock after receiving Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA nominations for it. Mirren is an easy name check for nominations too, as proven by her Golden Globe nomination (yet again) for The Hundred Foot Journey. However, Woman in Gold was a different story. It’s a great feat that the movie earned four times its budget, but with the topic of a Jewish refugee fighting for a painting of her aunt by the Nazis, this is the type of role that can easily skate its actress to awards talk… only that it won’t happen anymore.

2007: Marion Cotillard

Among all the Oscar flops in this list, The Immigrant is that one film that really doesn’t deserve its placement. It’s a great film and its number of accolades received could certainly prove it. However, after acquiring this film at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Harvey Weinstein certainly did not know how to market or simply, what to do with this film and he ended up throwing it to E-One, the smaller right hand company of The Weinsteins which is an indication that they won’t be pushing this film for any awards consideration. But when Cotillard started to pick up steam for her performance in “Two Days, One Night“, Weinstein made a sudden last minute play of giving Cotillard and its cinematography some push hoping it can get her the nomination. Of course it didn’t, and Marion ended up getting that overdue second nomination for her better performance. Sadly, Marion has yet to be nominated for an English performance, and this could have been it had it been handled properly.

2008: Kate Winslet

For quite a period in the late 2000s, Jason Reitman has been the Academy’s catnip. His films have ended p receiving Oscar nominations for Ellen Page in Juno, and George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air with Golden Globe nods for Aaron Eckhart in Thank You for Smoking and Charlize Theron in Young Adult. However, all streaks will come to an end, as Reitman’s one began with the Kate WInslet-starrer Labor Day. Based on the novel by Joyce Maynard, Winslet plays another lonely suburban housewife (as if Little Children and Revolutionary Road weren’t enough) who had an encounter with convict Josh Brolin. The movie was met with horrible reviews, but hand it to the Golden Globes for still name checking Kate Winslet giving her a Best Drama Actress nomination for it.

2009: Sandra Bullock

2009 ended up as the start of a career renaissance for Sandra Bullock. Not only did she star in two movies of that year with grosses combined a 600+ million dollars, she ended up with the Best Actress Oscar for her turn as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. What could have been the pinnacle of an actor’s career only was the beginning for Sandra who followed it up with box office hits like The Heat and Minions or critically backed films like that of Gravity. This year, however, she dons her blonde wig yet again (just like in her Oscar winning performance) to headline David Gordon Green’s “Our Brand is Crisis.” While her awards chances have yet to be determined, you can mostly count her out since the movie received mixed to negative reviews since it premiered at Toronto International Film Festival this year. At least her personal reviews weren’t tragic, but count no Best Actress nomination for her this year.

2010: Natalie Portman

Portman’s road to the Oscar was for her performance as the ballerina in Black Swan, but only a year before that, we saw her closest attempt to follow up her 2004 nomination for “Closer” in Jim Sheridan’s “Brothers“, based on the 2004 Danish film of the same name. As the woman who was left in between the characters of Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire, Portman was given the tough position of acting upon two other contemporaries. Sadly for the film, it has gained little to no traction at all that year, mostly for the U2 song “Winter” and a Golden Globe nod for Tobey Maguire.

2011: Meryl Streep

Yes, even Oscar’s favorite actress takes a break from being Oscar nominated. Grunt all you can as Meryl enjoys her 19 career Oscar nominations and three statues at home (her latest for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady), but every now and then she takes on flop Oscar vehicles such as this one directed by Robert Redford and had her starring with Tom Cruise. Streep plays liberal TV journalist Janine Roth who thinks the government is using her position to be an instrument of their plans. Here’s another film that tried to combined issues of journalism, terrorism, and war ending up with zero awards traction, rotten reviews, and a disappointing box office performance.

2012: Jennifer Lawrence

After starring in Best Picture nominees Silver Linings Playbook (for which she won her Oscar) and American Hustle, it seemed like the pairing of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is one that seems to have find its footing in the Academy. Their third pairing, however, is from Oscar winning director Susanne Bier from the 2008 novel of the same name. While this costume drama seemed like it would continue the trajectory of both actors getting nominated, too many issues surrounding the film’s release ended up losing all momentum for the movie. It finally was released in the US last March which is enough reason to say that the movie’s intention to get any awards consideration is already killed.

2013: Cate Blanchett

At this stage in her career, Cate Blanchett is already infallible with everything she touches is suddenly critic proof. She has reached that stage in her career already where she has the respect and admiration of her peers and critics alike, as proven by her great comeback in 2013 because of Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine for which she won her second Oscar and her first one in Lead. But before any of those happened, she has been starring in one flop bait after the other in the early 2000s, particularly this Ron Howard film in 2003 entitled “The Missing.” It was Howard’s comeback after winning for “A Beautiful Mind” and starred Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones. Good for Blanchett though because the year after, she finally natched her first one for “The Aviator.” And the rest, as they say, is history.

2014: Julianne Moore

Lastly, we have current Best Actress Julianne Moore. Before winning the Oscar this year for Still Alice, Julianne’s last visit to the Oscars as a nominee was still way back in 2002 when she was double nominated for The Hours (losing to Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Far From Heaven (losing to The Hours co-star Nicole Kidman). While we all have probably thought that Julianne would end up being forgotten (as it’s harder to win an Oscar when you’re in your 50s), she proved it otherwise. The journey to 2014 was a long wait though appearing in Oscar contenders where her co-stars got nominated but not her (such as The Kids Are All Right and A Single Man) or low key Oscar flop baits (The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio and Savage Grace). What stood out was the one directed by Fernando Meirelles though. As the opener of the 2008 Cannes Film Fest, Blindness was destined to be a real Oscar contender with its great ensemble, and the reputation of the people involved. After all, it was one of the most prominent best selling novels that time, and this was a challenging role. Alas, the bad reviews killed any of its perceived Oscar chances.

There you have it. What are your favorite Oscar flops? Which Oscar bait ones did you secretly enjoy? Talk to me about it on Twitter: @nikowl

2013 in GIFs   Leave a comment

So I decided to skip my annual movie, TV shows, red carpet looks, and songs lists for this year since I have no time to write them all. Instead, I’ll be posting my favorite moments of 2013 in GIF style. So yes, most of these would be from awards show ceremonies or basically any pop culture event of the year. Okay.

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Okay so let’s begin with five six time Oscar loser a.k.a Albert Nobbs herself Glenn Close. At the Golden Globes last January, Close probably thought that she’s also one of the cool kids when she decided to play drunk after Tina Fey’s signal. You probably have no idea how epic this moment was. I mean I can’t even choose my favorite part. Is it the closing of her eyes to give a more convincing portrayal? Is it when she changed her mind and started to look up the heavens instead to make it even more convincing? Is it her husband’s coy “WTF I think I actually married Alex Forrest” tepid laugh? I guess I have to go with none of the above and choose the closing shot of her looking sideways to see check if people find her stuff funny.

That same night, we’re treated to one of the best (and yes I mean the best) awards show presentations ever. When SNL alums Kristin Wyg and Will Pharrell (as Tina Fey would say it) presented the Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical/Comedy, I.WAS.DYING. As a refresher, here’s how they described the nominees that night:

(on Emily Blunt’s Salmon Fishing in Yemen): “When the salmon comes out.. and when the bad guy comes…. and the salmon was like.. and you’re in Yemen.
(on Judi Dench of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel): “That Judi Dench. Where did she come from? Unknown, she used to be a police officer, and this is her fist movie. And when all the marigold comes out.. and it’s on her hair. And on one scene, she looks at the town people and she’s like “YOUUU!!! YOUUU GET OUT OF HERE!!!”
(on Jennifer Lawrence of Silver Lings Playbook): “Ugh love Jennifer Lawrence. J.LAW. And then comes the silverrr!! I thought it was an animated film. And all the silver she has collected and they tried to get it away from her and she’s like “NOOO! THAT’S MY COOKBOOK!” and she’s like “YOUUU!!! YOUUU GET OUT OF HERE!!!”
(on Maggie Smith of Quartet): “And no one knows what a quartet is. IT IS AMBIGUOUS! And you think you know what it is, but then the guy comes and says “I think I know what a quartet is!” but he doesn’t”
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on Meryl Streep of Hope Springs): “And Meriall Streep. And she’s the sassy sheriff! “I’m Hope Springs!” She comes in a horse and she’s like she looks at the town people and she’s says “YOUUU!!! YOUUU GET OUT OF HERE!!!”

UGH TYPING THAT WAS A HOOT. I’m laughing again. And everyone in the room was actually entertained. Everyone that is except that creature named Tommy Lee Jones.

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Ugh Gramps looked grumpy as hell during that presentation. Guess what TLJ, that was my exact look when you stole that Oscar from Ralph Fiennes and Leonardo di Caprio.

Then we have the Screen Actors Guild Awards where you’re allowed to waste a minute of your life listening to Giuliana Rancic say things like this:

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Girl is useless as their manicam. By the way let’s appreciate that the SAG was the only time this award season where Anne Hathaway opened her mouth and said something entertaining that does not involve
a.”a blunt object I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt”,
b. thanking Victor Hugo
c. thinking her Oscar win will stop prostitution.
d. correcting the spelling of her name
It was when Anne presented with co-star Hugh Jackman and they played a banter of how they will describe Les Mis in 2013.

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Yes Anne, you crushed it. Speaking of crushed, don’t you love this BFF pic of Nicole Kidman and the lesser Nicole Kidman Naomi Watts at the SAGs? Go Nic, giving some Regina George fierceness.

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Prior to her history making releasing an album without anything stint, Beysus graced us all with her presence at the Superbowl. But it wasn’t even her who stole the show. Two words: poor Michelle.

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Go poor Michelle!! Put that one day off to good use and appear at the Superbowl.I’m living for her facial reaction. She suddenly got cocky when she realized she did not fall off the mosh pit. YESSS!!

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But then again, we’re quickly reminded why she never skyrocketed as a solo artist. I mean not literally a rocket but even Bey can do it.

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Anyway, let’s move on to the Grammys a.k.a the first televised exam to see if Taylor Swift knows this song…

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and this one as well…

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and did you know she knew this song too?

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Okay we get it Taylor. You know all the songs. But then again who wants to see her do it for a fifth  time when you can see Legend Kidman bopping to that Bob Marley tribute?

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It wasn’t as epic as her singing Teenage Dream  at the Grammys last year but she gets bonus points because Adele is wearing a red doily.

Then there’s also the BAFTA where the only two interesting things we saw were Dame Dench’s O face (and when I say O, I mean Oh my god!) as Javier Bardem falls asleep

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and David O. Russell’s reaction when Emmanuelle Riva wins Best Actress.

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I was secretly wishing Emmanuelle would say “I beat J.Law” at the podium but then I remembered she doesn’t speak in English. So maybe in French? Anyway, off to the Oscars.

Okay remember when I said a few posts above that Giuliana Rancic is as useless as the manicam? Well I take it back. The Manicam is more useful than Giuliana apparently. I’m pretty sure it made Catherine Zeta Jones upset when Ryan Seacrest denied her to do one. You can clearly see in her eyes she wants to parade her fingers on the manicam. Not good, Ryan!

nicole-kidmanSee even Mr. and Mrs. Keith Urban felt bad for La Zeta.

Aside from that, we saw Lil’ Quvenzhane Wallis proving she’s the man (with a proud Denzel Washington beaming from behind),

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a bored Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter

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and a tripping Best Actress winner. Whoever put that banana peel there for Anne Hathaway clearly didn’t work

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But the best moment happened when Emmanuelle Riva unintentionally takes revenge on David O. Russell upon learning his reaction to her BAFTA Best Actress win.

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Be thankful, David. At least Em didn’t squashed your face with a pillow. #justsaying

In April this year, Reese Witherspoon was arrested by the cops but she tried to get herself out of this…

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…which only means she ended up in prison with a mugshot. You should have called Elle Woods to save you, Reese.

Taylor Swift won eight Billboard Music Awards in May of this year. But surprisingly, not any of those can match the WIN level of her reactions here:

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Meanwhile, Miguel channels his inner Bjorn Barrefors and trains for the Olympics on air

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Ouch for that woman whose head was found in between Miguel’s legs.

And as everyone celebrates film over at the Cannes Film Festival, two tiny teeny things clearly doesn’t wanna be there. Julianne Moore’s little toes can’t wait enough to go home instead they’re trying to escape while she’s on the red carpet.

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Still on the subject of feet, it’s not cool to talk about North West anymore, so let’s just hope Kim K’s feet some speedy recovery for everything they’ve been through this year:

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tumblr_mo6lqdTBl81qanm80o1_400Yes Debra Messing don’t act too surprised, those are her feet.

Last August 10, two of the biggest popstars go head to head as Lady Gaga releases Applause and Katy Perry releases Roar on the same week. You know it was bound to get messy.

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And someone’s coming out on top:

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But come the VMAs, it wasn’t even the two of them who became the talk of the town. But before that we saw…

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Justin Timberlake joined by four other lessers perform,

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Taylor Swift asking her BFF to STFU,

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Willow Smith whipping her head back and forth as Jaden Smith tries another shot at “acting”,

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Lady Gaga opening the show,

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but Katy Perry closing it.. (Ouch Gags! Was that msg for you?)

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But it Miley who made the whole thing classic. Even getting a classic rxn from Rih

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September also was the end for Breaking Bad. And I think no amount of GIF will give it justice so I’ll just post a photo of Bryan and Aaron because uhm, duh, bitch.

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And when the Emmys came, Neil Patrick Harris bombed as host, but no other bombed better than what this guy did:

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Then cute Merritt Wever gives one of the best Emmy speeches ever when she said nothing but…

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while Julia Louis Dreyfus stays in character in her speech.

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Michael Douglas, meanwhile, uses Matt Damon as metaphor in his thank you speech

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And though he did not win, Kevin Spacey still scores one in my b0ok after doing this:

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And the delight of Oprah pushing people

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And last month, Miley Cyrus wins Round 2 of best performance at the American Music Awards when she performs with a huge cat behind her:

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As Ariana Grande shows us all how it’s really done just by standing up.

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Meanwhile, a certain legend named Christina Aguilera is slaying the red carpet fo’sho:

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And that’s how you make an exit!  Wait let me reiterate

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On the other hand, here’s how you make an entrance. An album entrance that is. As Beysus Christ showed us, just drop em ‘off and boom.

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Let’s pause this moment and recognize Queen B.

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Oh wait, did you know Britney released an album this year? I’m sure even she’s not aware, but I guess she’s raking it in Vegas no so go Brit and

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And as Oscar season comes, we’re treated to a whole lot of epic GIFs from contenders like this of J.Law pleading…

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or Sandra Bullock in Gravity a.k.a basically whatever you wanna do to your enemy

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But to close this off, a legendary performance to close the year happened between Gags and Legend X when they did a duet of Do What U Want on The Voice finale.

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Anybody who does not get the ABBA meets Whatever Happened to Baby Jane reference is deads to me. Plus, I’d kill to have my head on Legend’s bosoms. Anyway, cheers to a happy 2013 and let’s hope for crazier things this 2014.

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Happy New Year everyone!

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12 Best Nicole Kidman Performances   4 comments

It is no big secret that my favorite actress ever is Legend Nicole Kidman. It’s definitely not because we share the same name (well maybe before when I was still young), but my appreciation for Kidman as an actress has really grown over the years. Sure, she might not have the numerous Oscar nods like the Blanchetts and the Winslets, and there was a point in her career where she was considered as a box office poison (which is really stupid because her films do better in the worldwide box office and US ≠ world), but she really takes on interesting projects and directors despite compromising situations. As a matter of fact, I think she belongs solely on a category that is a movie star that is also an auteur darling. She’s an A-list star but she does more indies than commercial outings, and that’s probably one of the reasons why I love her.  As for the other reasons, here are 12 performances that will help you understand what I’m saying.

12. THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY (1996)

In one of Jane Campion’s underrated pieces, Kidman played lead character Isabelle Archer who in the midst of finding herself gets entangled in a complicated twists and turns resulting to her further  desolate life. Kidman has her way of portraying sadness in the screen quite effectively, and this is one of the complex ones. It’s quite sad that this turned out to be underwhelming to a lot of people, but I say it’s a matter of releasing it in a time not ready for it. I’ve read a lot of sudden appreciation for this film, and one of its biggest asset is that of the actors’ performances in it, including Kidman’s.

11. HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN (2012)

Kidman’s first foray into the TV movie territory is via Philip Kauffman’s Hemingway and Gellhorn with Clive Owen. While the overall response to the film was mixed, Kidman’s performance as journalist Martha Gellhorn earned good response resulting to Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG nominations. What I particularly like about this performance is that it shows Kidman’s variety in approaching characters. While she also has the physicalities in it, she also punches the emotional needs of the character effortlessly.

10. THE HOURS (2002)

On one hand, I’m glad to see that Kidman’s take on author Virginia Woolf is what paved her way to Oscar glory. It’s really a combination of the voice, the nose, and the whole physical changes that she did  that made it memorable. It’s even more impressive to learn that she shot this film at a stage in her career when her personal life is going into shambles. However, it’s a bit saddening that she won her Oscar for this, when it’s not even one of her five best performances. Yes, the train station scene was pure acting gold, but I guess I’ll have to settle with the fact that an Oscar is an Oscar no?

09. EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)

Probably one of the best career highlights that Nicole Kidman ever had was that she got to work with the great late Stanley Kubrick on his final film. While the production for the film has reached over two years in the making, it was two years worth working for. Kidman even herself wrote a letter about how much she find this film memorable and important to her saying she learned a lot from this film. And this is also one of her underrated performances, as she was magnetic all throughout in it.

08. MARGOT AT THE WEDDING (2007)

There is just something so brave about Kidman’s options that makes you ask WTF when you watch the movie, but goes on understanding why she chose to do that film by the end. That’s where Noah Baumbach’s Margot at the Wedding falls too. Probably darker than the other more obvious comedies, Kidman’s Margot exudes this vulnerability and awkwardness that translates not only to the other characters in the film but to the audience as well. Plus, you can’t take the tree climbing scene against her.

07. DOGVILLE (2003)

One of the most memorable risks that Nicole Kidman did in her career was after her Oscar win, when she was the top A-list actress in Hollywood, she opted to work with someone like Lars von Trier. Of course, we know von Trier has been tried and tested when it comes to his actresses, giving them risky roles and churning out fearless performances. And that’s exactly what we have witnessed in Nicole’s performance of Grace in the film. How she failed to nab the Cannes Best Actress that year is beyond me.

06. THE PAPERBOY (2013)

Kidman’s latest movie offering is from one of the critically panned movies of last year: Cannes entry The Paperboy by Lee Daniels. Despite the movie getting unanimous thumbs down response, what seemed to be the only silver lining in it is that of Kidman’s performance. As Charlotte Bless, the white trash who Zac Efron’s character fancies like no other, not only does she performed a telepathic sex scene with John Cusack, but she also peed on Zac. How Legend does it at 45 showed no signs of stopping for this bravura actress.

05. THE OTHERS (2001)

In a one two punch of her 2001 performances that showed her versatility as an actress, first we get to see Nicole Kidman in Alejandro Amenabar’s The Others. In the film, she played single mother Grace, who comes to so much extent of love in order to defend her children. Despite the film being of horror genre, Nicole commanded the screen showing a boatload of emotions, that of love, hope, and even confusion as the movie unravels. It’s one of those performances that just sizzled all throughout the movie.

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04. MOULIN ROUGE! (2001)

As for her other 2001 performance, it’s from Baz Luhrmann’s Oscar Best Picture nominee Moulin Rouge! For this, she received her first Academy Award nomination in 2001. What’s fascinating about this performance is that she did almost everything here. Sings? Check. Dances? Check. Makes us laugh? Check. Makes us cry? Check. Satine has turned out to be one of the most memorable movie characters of the last decade, and this performance is here to stay. This is a good representation of how she penetrated Hollywood, and there’s no turning back then.

03. RABBIT HOLE (2010)

For her first producing duties, Nicole Kidman chose this Tony award winning play and gave a really depressing and heartbreaking performance as Becca Corbett, the grieving mother of a child who died from an accident. While she gets a lot of Oscar scenery chewing scenes it, the Kidman in this film is annoying but sensible, open but still holds back every now and then, and it is the subtle moments in it that actually remains more with the viewers after. Also, this is her Oscar comeback, as it was her first nominations after winning eight years ago for The Hours.

02. TO DIE FOR (1995)

Before, she was simply seen as Mrs. Tom Cruise and the Aussie eye candy that he has. But all it took was a single performance that will change the way she is perceived in Hollywood. That performance came from her character as Suzanne Stone Maretto in Gus Van Sant’s To Die For. In it, she was just deliciously evil playing her comedic skills to the top. It was such a natural performance that hits right with the tone that van Sant aimed in this movie, and the result is a new found Hollywood actress, aside from her Golden Globe win that year.

01. BIRTH (2004)

And Nicole Kidman’s best performances comes from the underrated Jonathan Glazer cult classic Birth.  As Anna, Kidman plays a wife who thinks her dead husband reincarnated in the form of a ten year old boy. Kidman was just on a different level here. The intensity of her performance lingers to you all throughout. I just can’t at how intense the character was from the way it was written, but her performance just elevates in further. Plus, it featured the classic close up “theater scene” which still is one of the best acting moments I’ve ever seen in any film.

Now, let me ask you, what is/are your favorite Nicole Kidman performance/s? Pipe them in below!

By the way, the reason why I wrote this is because it is Legend’s 46th birthday today. Happy birthday to my favorite actress! 😀

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

66th Cannes Film Festival Best Dressed List   Leave a comment

The 66th Cannes Film Festival already finished its run yesterday, and boy has it been a whirlwind. After all, we are not only seeing the best of world cinema, but this also serves as a platform for worldwide fashion. The Cannes red carpet is known to be one of the most prominent in the world with actors all over the globe debuting and making their mark on the red carpet. This year, these 15 looks stood out among the rest.

*The photos can be clicked to see in a bigger form. 

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

15. JESSICA BIEL in Marchesa

Only coming in as a plus one for husband Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel played the card well in this Marchesa creation that is not a total showstopper, but not totally lazy as well. It’s the perfect outfit for a star who has no movie in the festival. Plus, I love how strong the effect of the serpent necklace was.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

14. AUDREY TAOTOU

The festival hostess this year has been mostly in short dresses throughout the whole festivities, so it’s nice that she did saved the best for last. Her closing ceremony big red gown is both a showstopper and easily gets your attention.

Photo courtesy of: gettyimages.com

13. SHARON STONE in Roberto Cavalli

One of 90s superstars was literally a diva during the Behind the Candelabra gala night, as she stepped on the red carpet just minutes before the actual screening start. But who can blame Sharon Stone? She’s dressed the part in this blue Cavalli gown, and attention must really be given to her in this winning look.

Photo courtesy of: thefashionmedley.wordpress.com

12. LEA SEYDOUX in Louis Vuitton

Palme d’or winner Lea Seydoux was va va voom as she attends her other Cannes entry, Grand Central, gala screening. I particularly like the shade of blue that she wore here and the simple do and the dark lips add more character to this outfit. Best dressed worthy!

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

11. BERENICE BEJO in Elie Saab

Cannes Best Actress winner Berenice Bejo was a sight to behold as she wears this teal ensemble during the closing festivities. While one might consider the whole teal look safe, it works exactly here and compliments her perfectly. That of course, and her new Best Actress plaque.

Photo courtesy of : luxury-insider.com

10. ZHANG YUQI in Ulyana Sergeenko

Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko made a bold statement at the opening gala of the Cannes this year, as Zhang Yuqi strutted this peacock green gown in the red carpet. I think that while others might see this as too much of a cabbage leaf gown, it is the over the top nature of the dress that suits with the grandiose of the Cannes red carpet.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

09. UMA THURMAN in Atelier Versace

Uma Thurman was tasked to present the biggest award at Cannes yesterday, so it is just fitting that she comes out in top form which she did in this Atelier Versace creation. I’m not particularly enamored with the top part (as it gives me throw pillow vibes), but Uma hasn’t looked this good in a while.

Photo courtesy of: grisclair.tumblr.com

08. LIU WEN in Roberto Cavalli

Roberto Cavalli’s blue creations stood out this year. Aside from Sharon Stone, Victoria’s Secret model Liu Wen was the vision of elegance in this royal blue gown. It’s even better that she paired it with just jewels on the hand and kept her neck open.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

07. JESSICA CHASTAIN in Givenchy Couture

Two time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain was a royal vision in purple as she steps on the red carpet of the All is Lost premiere in this custom made Givenchy ensemble. The embellishments added layers in this gown, and she kept the hair simple as to not compete with the attention of the dress.

Photo courtesy of: tomandlorenzo.com

06. JANE FONDA in Atelier Versace

It’s always such a breath of fresh air to see Jane Fonda parading the red carpet. After all, she’s one testament that age is no hindrance to rock the red carpet. That is what we have witnessed once again as she attends the Jimmy P premiere in this turquoise Versace ensemble with some very interesting designs.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

05. ROSIE HUNTINGTON WHITELEY in Christian Dior

While this one is not from the actual red carpet. Rosie Huntington Whiteley shows different personas as she showed up at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS Gala in this white Dior dress. Half sultry, half sweet, dear Rosie kept it sweet and simple, which perfectly suited the event she attended to.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

04. ZHANG ZIYI in Elie Saab

As she attends the premiere of Venus in Fur, Zhang Ziyi looks fantabulous in this lilac Elie Saab creation that easily grans the attention of the audience. Whether it’s the see through top, the three fourths sleeve, or just the jewels, it surely made its mark in the red carpet scene.

Photo courtesy of: becauseiamfabulous.com

03. EMMA WATSON in Chanel Couture

With her film The Bling Ring opening the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, Emma Watson set the bar already high when she attended the gala screening in this Chanel creation. I love how this screamed elegance and sophistication and at the same time, she still managed to avoid looking boring and safe.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

02. KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS in Armani Prive

Not only is Kristin Scott Thomas getting raves for her scene stealing turn in Only God Forgives, she also nailed the part when she appeared in the gala screening of the said film in this glittering Armani Prive creation. It’s just so bold that it will easily grab your attention.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

01. IRINA SHAYK in Elie Saab

And Elie Saab strikes homebase in this pink gown accentuated with a belt. It was definitely a stunner, attention grabbing color, and does not lack tacky at all. Sounds like an easy winner to me.

BUT WAIT…

Of course we all know that there’s one legend who ruled the whole Cannes in terms of fashion. It will be unfair for the others to be lumped with her since I’m clearly biased, but Legend also is on a caliber of her own this year. If there’s one fashion icon who ruled this past festival, it’s no other than jury member Nicole Kidman. Here are her five amazing red carpet looks this year:

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

LOOK 1: Opening Ceremony in Christian Dior

Legend wasted no time to impress everyone and hit the red carpet in this amazing Christian Dior creation that definitely stood out from the whole pack. Everything about this look just screams iconic from the strapless gown, to the interesting details, and the perfect do, and the coral shoes, this is how you start a festival, and Kidman knows exactly that this is the deal.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

LOOK 2: Inside Llewyn Davis gala screening in L’Wren Scott

Kidman’s next appearance would be her only one with husband Keith Urban for the whole festival. This time, it’s a L’Wren Scott creation that’s part of her 2013 Fall collection. This one is consistent with her previous look, and she was unafraid to bring the colors in the red carpet which totally paid off.  This could have been an easy misfire, but the gown plus that movie star hair is another hit for me.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

LOOK 3: Nebraska gala screening in Valentino Couture

For the Nebraska screening, Kidman stepped on the red carpet again, this time with a Valentino creation. Most bloggers quickly mentioned that this is the same dress that Anne Hathaway ditched the last minute at the Oscars (though people from Valentino already cleared the reports by saying it is NOT the same gown). With that said, Anne who? Legend Kidman is just majestic and ethereal in this look, which clearly cements this as one of her all time best.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

LOOK 4: Venus in Fur gala screening in Chanel

After that heavenly appearance during the Nebraska screening, it will difficult to follow the impact it caused, so this one is probably the weakest among Kidman’s red carpet appearances. However, this Chanel isn’t necessarily outstanding on its own, but the red pumps idea and the fact that Kidman seems to be comfortable wearing it gives this a free pass.

Photo courtesy of: Just Jared

LOOK 5: Closing ceremonies in Giorgio Armani

As to cap off her Cannes jury experience, Nicole Kidman attends the closing ceremony in a custom made Giorgio Armani gown. I love how this look is subdued but sublime. Kidman really exused a true movie star elegance and I like how she wore this white Armani gown which complimented her skin and height effectively.

What are your favorite looks this year? Are you as happy as I am that Legend Kidman wore different designers every time she appears on the red carpet? Which one will make the year end list? Add them in the Comments section. 🙂

Also, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

66th Cannes Film Festival Winner Predictions   1 comment

 

Photo courtesy of  Zimbio

In just a few hours, the 66th Cannes Film Festival is about to close. After almost two weeks of non-stop film premieres, the biggest movie festival in the world will soon end. And it is up to jury head Steven Spielberg, together with members Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Christoph Waltz, Lynne Ramsay, Naomi Kawase, Cristian Mungiu, Daniel Auteuil, and Vidya Balan, to reveal their choices on the winning films and performances for this year. It’s definitely one of those up in the air years, as there were a lot of films that gained positive response from the media and the Cannes audience this year. And of course, there’s also those surprising choices that came from movies that received cold reception.

I’ll give my shot on who I think will end up as winners in the festival this year. However, it is noteworthy to emphasize that it is really difficult to predict these things since there’s no trend to follow as the jury members change every year. But with that said, here are my predictions for the seven categories to be awarded at the closing festivities:

SCREENPLAY:

Prediction: Ethan and Joel Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis
As of now, the Coens’ latest entry is turning up to be the best reviewed American film of the year thus far (with a perfect 100 score), and Llewyn seems to be destined to win something in the festival. While chances of directing, actor for Oscar Isaac, and even the Palme d’Or (critics are comparing it to Barton Fink which won them a Director prize), I think they will spread the wealth and reward it with a Screenplay win.

Alternate: Asghar Farhadi, “Le Passé
Farhadi is shaping out to be one of the notable names in festivals and his follow up to 2011’s A Separation also gained notable mentions from the critics. If Farhadi won’t win the top plum this year, then they can pick up multiple wins including this one for screenplay.

ACTOR:

PREDICTION: Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra
While odds for a tie are slim, I’m predicting the team up of Matt Damon and Michael Douglas to pick up the top male plum for this year. It really sucks that this won’t get a theater premiere (which easily eliminates them from Oscar contention), but Douglas’ unanimous reviews (and even mentions of his all time best work) is definitely a shoo-in for an Emmy already. It’s also likely that it will solely be Douglas who will win, but with Damon working with Spielberg in the past, he can easily sneak Damon for the win too.

ALTERNATE: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska
If not Douglas, then one can expect Bruce Dern to snatch up the Actor prize for his work in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. This can be some sort of a prelude to his possible Oscar season, and they can also tag team Will Forte as well, in case they give Behind the Candelabra a higher award.

ACTRESS:

PREDICTION: Adèle Exarchopoulos, “Blue is the Warmest Color
If the jury doesn’t connect to a consensus choice of Blue… being the Palme d’Or, then it can find its way to recognition by winning the Actress award via Adèle Exarchopoulos’s unanimously praised performance. If the Damon/Douglas tie don’t work in Actor, then expect a consecutive tie here (after last year’s victory from Beyond the Hills ladies) between Adèle Exarchopoulos and co-star Lea Seydoux.

ALTERNATE: Marion Cotillard, “The Immigrant
After failing to win this category last year for Rust and Bone, Cotillard can see herself in contention and even a win for this year, thanks to James Gray’s The Immigrant. Cotillard is a famous French star who has been a regular at Cannes for the past few years. This can also be The Immigrant’s win especially if the movie divides the jury.

DIRECTOR:

PREDICTION:  Paolo Sorrentino, “La Grande Belleza
Sorrentino surprised everyone when he got overwhelming positive response for this year’s The Great Beauty. Reviews specify the good combination of breathtaking visuals and the strong direction, which leads me to believe that if Sorrentino wins anything from the festival, it’ll most be likely this one.

ALTERNATE: Steven Soderbergh, “Behind the Candelabra
Soderbergh is one of the true Cannes breakouts. His career started out with sex.lies.videotape in 1989, and this could be a statement from the jury for Hollywood passing up on the film because of its theme. Also, Soderbergh hasn’t won in this category yet, and this can be his first prize here.

JURY PRIZE

PREDICTION: Hirakazu Kore-eda, “Like Father, Like Son
Kore-eda’s drama about the nature vs. nurture of two children switched at birth was a hit at Cannes, and Jury Prize seems to be the most fitting category to reward it. Rumor also have it that Kore-eda is already back at Cannes, which means that it’s likely that the film will be rewarded for something. It also seemed to be getting raves from the jury with Spielberg quoted as emotional to the film’s theme.

ALTERNATE: James Gray, “The Immigrant
Gray is such a divisive filmmaker. His works is always between a love it or you hate it. It’s either for you or not. With that said, I can also see a scenario where they give him the Jury Prize in order to satisfy members of Jury who wants it to be rewarded with something while also satisfying those members who do not like it, as it won’t get the top prize.

GRAND PRIX:

PREDICTION: Jia Zhangke, “A Touch of Sin
Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin seems to be perfect for the Grand Prix category. It’s not a total standout to win the Palme, but it gains specific supporters that can push it for this. He was also spotted already back in Cannes, and he’ll probably get something tomorrow.

ALTERNATE: Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue is the Warmest Color
I can see this following the scenario of The Master over at Venice last year. It’s the unanimously praise film that gets the jury pumped up. But since the top prize can’t win anything else, they’d have to settle giving the runner up prize to it in order to accommodate other noteworthy things about the film such as rewarding the lead actresses. It can be a battle between giving a sole top prize or settling for second with multiple mentions to go home.

PALME D’OR:

PREDICTION: Asghar Farhadi, “The Past
And I guess the top prize will be given to Farhadi’s The Past. It’s French, it has Farhadi, it’s the conventional choice, it made jury member Kidman in tears after leaving the screening. The Past seems to be the logical choice that will not be hated; after all, it got solid reviews, it’s not as particularly polarizing from the other commendable entries, and you know everyone is just in love with Asghar Farhadi right now. While this is no sure thing, I can see this getting the consensus pick among the jury members.

ALTERNATE: Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue is the Warmest Color
Lo and behold, this is really the film that towered among everyone else in terms of critical reception. It has already gained buzz and world interest, and the reviews are really staggering and far and away from the other contenders. The thing though that makes it an easy choice to win is that the theme might alienate others. We still don’t know for sure what type of jury is this, and we don’t know if they’re really gonna go for something as bold as this to receive the top prize. But as always, it can easily snoop in the top prize if it gets the jury fired up.

That’s it. I’m really excited to see a lot of entries from this year’s batch, as it’s one of the most lauded in years. I’m also gonna miss Legend Kidman’s red carpet appearances and teaching everyone how it’s done. I’m looking forward to the closing and awarding ceremonies later. Now, who are you rooting and predicting to win? Post it there in the Comments section.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

85th Academy Awards Best Dressed List   Leave a comment

And with the Oscars wrapping up the awards season yesterday, it is safe to say that the fashion and the red carpet ended with a bang. As actresses walk the red carpet at yesterday’s Academy Awards, we got a good representation of the glitz and the glamour that is Hollywood. Here are my picks for this year’s best dressed list at the Oscars.

Once again, you can click the photos to enlarge them. All photo credits go to: Yahoo! OMG coverage

Amy Adams

12. AMY ADAMS in Oscar dela Renta

This design has been done a lot of times at the Oscars (more notoriously by the ethereal Charlize Theron in baby blue back in 2005 ), but what makes this light gray Oscar dela Renta creation work was that Amy sashayed this on the red carpet very effortlessly. I’m liking the natural look both with her hair and make up too.

Jessica Chastain

11. JESSICA CHASTAIN in Armani Prive

There is an unwritten rule in red carpet fashion to not wear a dress that perfectly matches the color of your hair, with black being the sole exception. With that said, Chastain’s Armani Prive gown is an exception to that rule as she gave a throwback to early Hollywood in this very sexy and classic ensemble.

Queen Latifah

10. QUEEN LATIFAH in Badgley Mischka

It has been exactly ten years when Quene Latifah herself was nominated for the Oscar, but she’s still looking every inch a winner in the red carpet. This clean white Badgley Mischka creation that she wore last night quickly trumps both her Chicago co-stars Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Sandra Bullock

09. SANDRA BULLOCK in Elie Saab

I just love it when Sandra ditches sexy for fab. Well, it does seem like she managed to hit both in this lacy black Elie Saab dress which revealed enough skin, but at the same time, showed movie star vibes too. Plus points for that hair brooch she wore.

Naomi Watts

08. NAOMI WATTS in Armani Prive

The second Best Actress nominee in the list, Naomi Watts, is also wearing Armani Prive. This metallic ensemble with some very unique details need some warming up to do, but for an event such as the Oscars, it worked for Naomi who’s looking fresh and fab in it.

Charlize Theron

07. CHARLIZE THERON in Dior

Though not nominated this year, Oscar winner Charlize Theron was a hoot all night. One of the reasons definitely is this white Dior dress that looked simple but elegant to her. I imagine this as the better version of what Anne Hathaway wants to achieve at the Golden Globes.

Jennifer Garner

06. JENNIFER GARNER in Gucci

She might not be going home with an Oscar, but she’s going home with an Oscar winner. That, and some fabulous remarks with her purple Gucci gown that had some very interesting back details. Garner didn’t just look like a plus one that night; she’s definitely a star in her own right.

alicia vikander

05. ALICIA VIKANDER in Elie Saab Couture

Supporting her nominated film A Royal Affair is such an easy task when you have the lovely Alicia Vikander, here in an intricately beaded blue Elie Saab creation, to grace the event.

Nicole Kidman

04. NICOLE KIDMAN in L’Wren Scott

While it was husband Keith Urban who chose this dress for her, Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman proved that the best way of responding to an Oscar snub is by going up to the event in this head turning L’Wren Scott creation that playfully gave the viewers a glimpse of her sexy body. How one achieves that at 45 is simply astonishing.

AManda Seyfried

03. AMANDA SEYFRIED in Alexander McQueen

Third time seems to be the charm for Les Mis star Amanda Seyfried, as she finally hit it right the red carpet at her third Oscar appearance. Wearing this Alexander McQueen gown bearing these dragonfly design that fits her like a glove is her easy way en route the best dressed list.

Corinne Bishop

02. CORINNE BISHOP

Just eight years ago, we witnessed this young woman at 11 seated beside her father who won Best Actor for Ray. Fast forward to now, Corinne Bishop isn’t just a companion to her father, but she’s also showing signs of fashion greatness when she stepped out the red carpet in this teal blue gown.

Jennifer Lawrence

01. JENNIFER LAWRENCE in Dior Haute Couture

Who said you can only win one at a time? Aside from taking home the Oscar Best Actress, Jennifer Lawrence is also red carpet’s best dressed woman yesterday as she stepped out of this Dior Haute Couture ensemble yesterday. You know how some Best Actress Oscar frontrunners just look “winners” in their coronation night? That trend continued yesterday with J.Law. As far as Oscar appearances go, J.Law is 2/2 for me (that red dress in 2010 was also loooove).

That’s it! Who are your best dressed picks at yesterday’s Oscars? Did you also fall in love with J.Law’s Oscar dress?

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Five Best Oscar Best Actress Lineup in History   13 comments

One thing I like about the Oscar Best Actress lineup this year is that it is inspired. We’re treated to a wide array of female performances that caters to different demographics. On one hand, it’s impossible (no pun intended) to ignore Naomi Watts’ performance in The Impossible as she embraces  into the physical requirements of the role of a suffering mother. Then, you also have the subtlety of Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty. Her role can be considered as too quiet and passive, but it is through this silence that you can feel the emotional commitment she puts in the role of Maya. Youngest Best Actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis carries Beasts of the Southern Wild with so much charm and appeal that it’s hard not to root for her and see the potential that lies within her acting skills. Silver Linings Playbook‘s Jennifer Lawrence avoids the scenery chewing approach and was also solid in a way that it impresses you and makes you wonder where she tugs all these emotions in her portrayal of Tiffany. Lastly, Emmanuelle Riva of Amour just makes your heart break as she transcends her performance to the viewers, thanks to an effective combination of emotional and physical combination that the role required.

Refreshing isn’t it? Just like this year, these five years stand out as the best of the Best Actress lineup in the 85 years of the Academy.

1988

05. Best Actress 1988

The nominees were:
Glenn Close, “Dangerous Liaisons”
*Jodie Foster, “The Accused”
Melanie Griffith, “Working Girl”
Meryl Streep, “A Cry in the Dark”
Sigourney Weaver, “Gorillas in the Mists”

1988 is definitely a strong year for Best Actress. For once, this is the year where we had a triple tie at the Best Actress Drama category at the Golden Globes with even snubbed Shirlay Maclaine for Madame Sousatzka snubbed for a nomination. With that said, let’s start with probably the “weakest” of the bunch, Melanie Griffith. In Working Girl, Griffith displayed a charming approach to a woman who wanted to matter in a corporate world. In some ways, it is through Griffith’s appeal that carries Tess when the writing starts to get borderline cliche. Glenn Close just gave the performance of a lifetime a year earlier via Fatal Attraction, but that did not stop her in giving back to back tour de force performance when she followed it up with her turn in Dangerous Liaisons. It is quite similar to Watts and Riva this year wherein they were lying on a bed most of the time, but Close’s facial expressions gave justice to an otherwise pretty helpless character. Sigourney Weaver gives a one two punch performance that year both in lead ans supporting, but her more interesting performance is the one for which she was nominated here. As concerned monkey expert Diane Fossey, Weaver made us attached to an otherwise unknown woman and made us care for what she cares about. Cannes Best Actress winner that year was for A Cry in the Dark‘s Meryl Streep. It’s such a shame that she already has two Oscars by the time this movie was released, but it probably ranks as my favorite Meryl Streep performance ever. Beyond nailing the Australian accent perfectly, it is the emotional attachment that Streep carved that made Lindsay Chamberlain not only a sympathetic mother but a real human being. Plus points to anybody who can deliver the line “The dingo killed my baby” with a straight face. Eventually, the winner was Jodie Foster in The Accused. The movie was pretty much an acting vehicle, and Foster was game all the way. For that alone, I commend her. And that probably is what puts her over the edge that year.

If I was a voter, I would vote for: Meryl Streep hands down. That would have been a very deserving third Oscar win for her.

2006

04. Best Actress 2006

The nominees were:
Penelope Cruz, “Volver
Judi Dench, “Notes on a Scandal
*Helen Mirren, “The Queen
Meryl Streep, “The Devil Wears Prada”
Kate Winslet, “Little Children”

2006 is probably known as the year where Helen Mirren steamrolled her way to the Oscars. It was one of the instances where in as early as September, it was already clear on who will win the Best Actress Oscar. While Mirren was every inch deserving, the whole category was such an embarrassment of riches in terms of the nominated performances. Kate Winslet was on her fifth nomination already for Little Children, and she was able to portray the complexities of a suburban housewife who was longing for something that will elicit interaction to her, even if it means having an affair to the one of her neighbors. If there’s one thing I commend about Winslet, it’s her willingness to use her body as a part of her total display of emotions, and it was highlighted here. Meryl Streep was such a hoot in The Devil Wears Prada. In this, she showed another facet to her as an actress, and she avoided Miranda Priestly to be a total caricature which was a total delight to watch. I wasn’t a fan of Penelope Cruz’s English language features, but she was totally in her element in Volver. Despite being a part of a strong huge female ensemble, it is still Cruz whose at the front and center and she totally was up to the challenge. Like Meryl Streep, Judi Dench was able to show another side of her, this time in an unlikable villainous role in Notes on a Scandal. It wasn’t an easy task, mind you, as Dame Dench probably has one of the most endearing performances that it’s hard for someone to not like her. But she did it with so much raw intensity that she totally disappears into the role of a stalking old woman. Lastly, I don’t think there’s any adjectives left that wasn’t use to describe Helen Mirren in The Queen, and she was able to convey the role of the Queen not as a public figure but as a human being, and that’s what makes the performance remarkable and stand the test of time.

If I was a voter, I would vote for: Helen Mirren. As much as I think it’s a three way race among her, Dench, and Cruz, she’s just a hair better as she carries the whole film stronger and in a more vital manner.

2010

03. Best Actress 2010

The nominees were:
Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
*Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

As 2009 ended with a Sandra Bullock win for The Blind Side, the current decade starts strong with these five performances that are arguably better for the other nominations that these actresses got in the past or after this year. Let’s begin with Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone. Sure, she was more charming in Silver Linings Playbook, but the potential was already there way back in her first lead role status. Most of the time, we just follow her journey as Ree finds her father, but she encompasses it in a raw manner that it’s not hard to see the greatness that lies with her acting talents. Annette Bening’s fourth nomination comes from her role as lesbian Nic in The Kids Are All Right. In any other weaker year, I can totally see this performance dominating the awards circuit. In Kids, Bening was devoid of the easy way out with her performance as the “man” in a lesbian relationship. Her Nic was tough but sensitive, possessive but vulnerable, and Bening brings another layer to it effectively. The secret to Blue Valentine was probably the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Williams was totally as giving as Gosling was; shedding away not only her clothes, but also her emotions as she deal with a relationship that at first was ideal, but in the end was complicated. The same sadness was encompassed by Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, though, in her case, it was about a grieving mother who lost her only son. What I like about this performance was that Kidman didn’t make it as a pity party for Becca. She was unlikable,and you can see that, but it was her grieving process that tales center stage, and Nicole was more than aware of that. Lastly, Natalie Portman in Black Swan was probably the role of her lifetime. Her commitment to the role is already an accomplishment, but beyond that, she was more than willing to enter the role that Darren Aronofsky set up for Nina. Admittedly, my favorite part of her performance was the famous “phone call” scene where she told her mother that she passed auditions, but this is a totality body of work that one can be proud of, and Portman was deserving to win this year.

If I was a voter, I would vote for: Nicole Kidman. Becca was such an interesting character study devoid of the over the top histrionics that one can expect, and Kidman was the effective means to connect Becca to the viewers.

1995

02. Best Actress 1995

The nominees were:
*Susan Sarandon, “Dead Man Walking”
Elisabeth Shue, “Leaving Las Vegas”
Sharon Stone, “Casino”
Meryl Streep, “The Bridges of Madison County”
Emma Thompson, “Sense and Sensibility”

1995 was considered as the greatest year for lead female performers during that decade. While this line up is strong, think of these non-nominated performances during that year: Nicole Kidman in To Die For, Kathy Bates in Dolores Clairborne, Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, Toni Collette in Muriel’s Wedding, Julianne Moore in Safe and son on and so forth. Anyway enough about the snubees, let’s begin. Emma Thompson’s safest niche is probably British period pieces. And just like her winning performance in Howards End, her performance in Sense and Sensibility connects easily to viewers not solely because of the familiarity of the novel, but because of how she makes her presence felt in it. With that said though, I like her screenwriting credits for this movie better than her acting in it. Sharon Stone can be considered as a borderline supporting in Casino, but her role as Ginger stands out in this film that’s dominated by the men. Stone wasn’t able to match her performance int his and has been a Hollywood joke for years now, but this is always a good reminder of the talents that she had. Meryl Streep. Can you ever get tired of her? I surely don’t. If she mastered the Aussie accent in A Cry in the Dark, here she went all Italian. And once again, she nailed it. Streep has this habit of rising over the material, and while most of the time, that’s not a good thing, in The Bridges of Madison County, it’s the opposite. This makes you fell more for her Francesca, and the breakdown at the near end of the deal sealed the deal for me. It’s quite sad when people connect Leaving Las Vegas as solely the Nicolas Cage show, because Elisabeth Shue was darn fantastic in it. On the outside, Shue can easily be summed up as a hooker with a heart, but her performance is a straight connection to the viewers that it’s just spectacular to watch her in it. I can even go as far as saying that she steals the show for me. Lastly, Susan Sarandon wins after four failed attempts for Dead Man Walking. In it, she gives a devoted performance as Sister Mary Prejean to Sean Penn’s character, and she does not rely to histrionics but focused to the bigger picture of a nun committed to help.

If I was a voter, I would vote for: Elisabeth Shue. It’s not really hard to vote for this one. She was simply magnificent.

1950

01. Best Actress 1950

The nominees were:
Anne Baxter, “All About Eve
Bette Davis, “All About Eve
*Judy Holliday, “Born Yesterday
Eleanor Parker, “Caged
Gloria Swanson, “Sunset Boulevard”

And we’ve finally reached the best line-up at the history of this category at the Oscars. This is probably one of the years where I change my personal winner every single time. There’s something to commend about all these performances that makes them not only iconic, but as a representation of acting masterclass. Let’s begin with the least familiar performance of the bunch. Eleanor Parker probably wasn’t as remembered as the other names or movies like her co-nominees, but Caged is an underrated gem that shows Parker’s versatility as an actress. Her ability to convey multiple emotions from her audience is a testament of how this performance should always be remembered. Then we have the All About Eve actresses. On the left corner, we have Anne Baxter in the role of an inspired up and coming actress Eve. Her role required her to do a lot, and while I see some flaws here and there with her approach of the character; nevertheless, she made her mark with it instead of the other way around. Then we have the fabulous Bette Davis in a comeback memorable performance as an aging actress that lives with the threat of her age being a detriment to her fame. Davis fires one liners like no other, one after the other, and it was just fantastic to watch her do that right in front of our eyes. Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard was another “diva” that was such a joy to watch. It was commendable to see Swanson stretch herself to all the demands to her character, and she displays each of them with such panache that’s inevitable to ignore. But the Oscar that year went to none other than Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday. Academy rarely rewards comedic performances that’s why it’s such fun when you see actors get rewarded for them. Holliday never relied on baity scenes, but instead focus on creating a whole picture that stands on its own rather than several clips to justify her performance.

If I was a voter, I would vote for: Gloria Swanson. One of the performances that I’d probably recommend to every aspiring actor/actress. How she effectively answers these different needs of the character is uh-mah-zing.

That’s it! What are some of your favorite Best Actress line-ups? Who would you have chosen as your personal winners in these set of nominees? Pipe them in below!

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl