Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oscar Talk

So, the Oscar Talk! I can’t believe is starting all over again. We are now in September and with that comes the Venice Film Festival, currently happening, Telluride, currently over, and in a  day the International Toronto Film Festival, where there’s everything to see (to the ones that are actually going there and even they aren’t able to take a look at most films).
This is a political year, more than the usual every year political aspect, we should start by acknowledging that, and I should start by saying it is hard to argue against the fact that every award is always a bit political, a bit calculated but let’s not go this way, at least not this soon. What I should start saying is that my political views either overseas or not are pretty mediocre, too messy for me to get it sometimes (like, aren’t the people with money, the real decision owners? See? I’m ridiculous for asking this question). Ok, what I should say is that I don’t think politically, I’m not an active citizen.
It is a political year, but from what I’m gathering it is also a weak year for leading female roles; it’s instead the year for significant child roles. I should also say that Jessica Chastain keeps herself on the surface. What else?

I’m hoping for the arrival of this season, especially of the films really, because right now I really need good films. I’ve been gradually having troubles with fiction, with love stories. I’m in this negative period. Somehow and this may sound contradictory but I always find in films my way of having feelings, of knowing and feel emotions. Because really, sometimes it’s like I don’t have emotions. It’s what makes my life complete, getting out of a screen and feel that I grew up a bit more; that I see certain aspects of life differently. Through time this was my way with films. I knew the world through them. Recently I’ve been so disconnected. And what is so sad is that I only saw like eleven films the entire Summer. This is really bad and scares me because I don’t want my position with films to change. I guess this is what I get colliding with reality, but I’m going to stop now because it’s starting to sound like a diary. So I hope I take a different road to this peculiar season, and how would that be? I should try not read full reviews before I see the films, definitely care less a bit more, pay more attention at really good but unspoken stories in films.

Here’s an early list I gathered from what seems to be the likely road, obviously, I’ve seen nothing included in here, but this is how it works, sometimes naming (the known) names (as in Daniel Day Lewis, Spielberg) it’s enough to get us there.

Actors on the road
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour
Clint Eastwood, Trouble With The Curve (Suddenly I don’t feel very sympathetic towards him)
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Ben Affleck, Argo
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Bill Murray, Hyde Park On Hudson
Denzel Washington, Flight (oh please, no)

Actresses on the road
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone (one of the most beautiful things that happen to film and “Hollywood”, they’re really lucky they have her sometimes)
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina (one always hopes)
Naomi Watts, The Impossible (likely to be impossible?)
Maggie Smith (for whatever she is in, that being Quartet or Hotel Marigold)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed (one hopes)
Laura Linney, Hyde Park on Hudson
Kristin Wiig, Imogene (why not?)
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour (I wouldn’t be surprised only for the fact that most of the voters are old; is it a disrespectful thought?)
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha (it would so freaking cute)
Elle Fanning, Ginger and Rosa (why the hell not?! She's the leading role so it's unlikely)

Supporting Males on the road
Phillip Hoffman Seymour (did you remember when Alan Arkin missed his name at the Oscars and he simply giggled?) I love him, so why not another nomination? This year is The Master.
Matthew McConaughey, for Magic Mike (I think this would be brilliant, especially if then they would put the clip of him teaching the Kid the way with his hips!)
Leonardo diCaprio, Django Unchained (please, why would this happen?)
Woody Harrelson, Seven Psychopaths
Hal Holbrook, Promised Land (this film really promises)
William H. Macy, The Sessions
Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Bryan Cranston, Argo (actors who deserve some recognition already)

Supporting Females on the road
Amy Adams, The Master (it is as clear of a nomination as it is clear that she won’t win; only Adams.)
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (I should write a post of actresses I just simply don't feel the hype and have a consideration for, one being Hathaway, other being Nicole Kidman; I also feel like someone wants to kill me already)
Sally Field, Lincoln
Annette Bening, Imogene
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Helena Bonham Carter, Great Expectations
Frances McDormand, Promised Land
Viola Davis, Won’t Back Down
Maggie Smith (again for whatever she is in, that being Quartet or Hotel Marigold)

Ginger and Rosa

There are more, but right now I don’t feel like putting other known names, it will get boring. Besides, in a couple of weeks I’m sure things will change a bit.
I think I’ll finish here and let the other categories for later.
I hope lots of surprises arrive in the meantime.

Finally, as of right now, these are the films I desperately want to see.

Rust and Bone

Stories We Tell

Frances Ha

On the Road

And then some more:
Anna Karenina

The Girl

Aprés Mai

Beyond the Hills

The company You Keep

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Liberal Arts


  1. This blog is keeping my mind lit up with passion and wonder. It is like getting a little present by surprise. Thank you for expanding my world.

  2. Thank you for your words, it means a lot to me.

  3. As someone who is so steeped in cinema, what do you think is an important story to tell in the here and now. I am searching for what needs to be said next in film. It seems I may have lost my voice a little bit. Nonetheless I don't think that means I have a lack in keeping relevant. What do you want to see next?

  4. Wow, that requires a lot of thinking but what comes to my mind right now it's something like having a female version of "Brokeback Mountain", not necessarily the same conflicts nor as dramatic but necessarily as good of a story telling as Brokeback... I would like to see more sports' movies that are more than the sport, that are taken seriously... Different approaches to coming of age stories, gay or not gay, teen and not teen(Frances Ha, promises at that level)...

    I don't know, maybe we should be thinking about the way stories are told. That should also be one of the focus. I think one of the problems with minor films like 'Life Happens' or 'Lola Versus' is that it doesn't take that next step into something more personal, falling instead in that narrative we know too well. At the end, there's no "voice", if you know what I mean.

    Here's an example: I would love that the novel "Rubyfruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown would be adapted to the screen. I think it would be really interesting; it's a tremendous three dimensional character in a very worthy story.

    Stories are out there, all kinds...

    It's inevitable to think that possibly, the majority of sports' stories aren't as popular because in this section we have either the 'biographical' story or the coming of age story (often teen, soft, comic or romantic oriented approach). And they can either be both cheesy or have that problem with the end of sports' movies, the happy (or tragic) ending, the game is won, the record is broken, etc. Even if often works. That's true. Maybe there must be a turning point, a change to the genre.
    I would consider 'Swimming Upstream' a positive example.

    'The Kids are Alright' was really satisfying for me and a satisfying example on how lesbian stories should broaden. But an example like 'Beginners' also helps to prove that there are so many ways to tell a gay story. It's maybe go back in time and discover those old stories of people, to understand their lives in different ages, I don't know.
    Mainly I just liked to see more of them.

    I think I lost my direction and went into something more personal, forgetting about 'what needs to be said'. Well, I'm thinking about diversity, I'm thinking about all kinds of people. United States it's this cultural plot and its representation in film is pretty rare.
    All I know is that it is hard to find a road to say something 'meaningful', 'worth', even if how minor it can be, and it's hard to write it. But we shouldn't be afraid, right?

    (Sorry for the messy words).

  5. Your words are not messy! I hear you loud and incredibly clear. Thank you for your insight. I think that this conversation should continue, but not on your blog space. Here is my email When you fancy, drop me a line, as I think that your thoughts and ideas are inspiring.

    It is interesting to me when you say that U.S. representation in film is pretty rare. Seeing as we have such a large film industry, we are steeped in America represented in our film. And so I wonder in what sense of context you speak. Like real American culture in film instead of the glitz and glam idealized America, or the country itself? I mean I think that U.S. film in general doesnt totally capture life outside the big cities. Middle America is a strange and interesting place. But I do wonder what you mean by that.

    I also feel that queer cinema in general is really lacking here. I mean there is a significant indie queer cinema culture, but the work they do is really not very good. I feel that I could make a much better queer film than most of the directors here and now. I just need to find the right story/script. John Cameron Mitchell is really one of the few indie queer directors that does it right. Queer female directors are even harder to come by.

    I havent read Rubyfruit Jungle, but I just ordered it on line. Will read once it arrives.

    I do agree that they way stories are being told need to have a fresh new edge. I have come away from indie films this past year. In part they all started to seem the same. Though I feel like the indie market is coming back now that many of the major studios have gotten rid of or are not producing as much with their "indie" branches.

    Sports stories... I like that. I dont pay much attention to sports stories and I am not overly interested in sports outside of the olympics. But I like that you mention it. It gets my mind turning.

    These days I feel like I am so in the work and trying to get another project happening that I have become blind to everything around me. Thank you for being my eyes. I hope to continue this conversation. I also hope that you soon realize the validity of your passion. Your blog is great.


  6. That’s why I said I needed to think! I just spoke out of my mind and didn’t explain my thoughts too well.

    When I mentioned the U.S representation I was probably referring to the cultural range, the Americans from around the world so to speak and the influential results, but then you reminded me about the wide film industry. This leads to me something else, actually. I think the stories exist, and I’m referring to all kinds of stories. But then there are other aspects that come along, which is obviously the opportunities of some specific stories adapted to film being difficult and shorter, the viewing of the films, but I still believe that the stories are out there.

    About sports movies! I have this sports’ bone in me, so I am always hoping for a good sports story. Whether if it’s around the sport or not, really. I wanna believe that there can be great quality films with sports ‘around’ the story.

    About queer films: I think one of things about this theme in particular is that it’s hard to satisfy the community in general. That’s why I think that the more universal the story is (The Kids are alright) the more successful can turn out to be, but then what really means ‘universal’? Is ‘Brokeback Mountain’ a universal story? Yeah, possibly…

    I don’t know about what’s not said already, you know? I mean, globally. Obviously some stories are more popular than others. Romance is seen more often than stories about world refugees, about pedophiles. Let’s be honest, the reasons are obvious and yes I’m generalizing. Everyone knows that if you are going to make a film about women being raped changes are that you won’t earn any money, anything but that. It’s a choice, and these films have other kind of reaching, it’s sort of an extra investment. It’s harder to watch stories about refugees (it depends on the approach, of course, it could be a comedy). But it also feels good sometimes to watch a romantic film. This is how it is and I’m not judging in any way.
    Sometimes stories don’t have to be complex, too elaborated. Sometimes what one has to say can be as simple as of a day in the life of a man in the brink of a meltdown. The narratives are established, I don’t think someone can invent anything else. We, humans, are also pretty much established. So we have these things established. Like I said, there are all kinds of stories. We can go from talking about childhood, to talk about dogs’ slaughter, back to the lives of models, back to an autobiographical take on obese people. By some miracle, or sometimes by an intelligent and a truly committed understander of the art, one of these stories will have something that transcends in some tiny detail that makes us exhale emotions and makes us think, or makes us understand life a little more. Then there’s also the balance, the outer world of responses to the stories which we all know it can be anything.
    I also don’t really know if this generalizing view is productive or not.
    We could even go on and mention documentary, but that would be another page…

    The thing is that we should never stop try to reach those details that can make a difference, at least for ourselves. The chances of succeeding are rare, but that’s why we should never stop try.

    I really don’t know what’s not said today, that wasn’t said yesterday. But I’m certainty always hoping to see something new or refreshing to me.

    I don’t think you should worry, because out of nowhere we have this enlightening moments that shakes us a bit every now and then! And nothing like watching a bunch of good quality films to boost our imagination. Or just go out… ;)