Tag Archives: Meryl Streep

Coming soon….my year of the diva!

From wikipedia:

diva is a celebrated female singer; a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera, and by extension in theatre, cinema and popular music. The meaning of diva is closely related to that of prima donna.

The word entered the English language in the late 19th century. It is derived from the Italian noun diva, a female deity.  The basic sense of the term is goddess.

(My definition includes actors, playwrights, novelists and any form of artistic expression.)

Jennifer Hudson

 

 

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Meryl you are a witch???

No I am not complaining about my disappointment in Meryl Streep’s Oscar win last week for “The Iron Lady“.

This post is much more of a delight.

Meryl Streep is rumoured to be cast as the Witch in a film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical “Into The Woods”. The film is to be directed by Rob Marshall who brought “Chicago” to the screens successfully (in box office terms-not artistic) but we must remember he is also responsible for bringing “Nine” to the screen which was a disaster (box office and artistically!) I do love his TV remake of “Annie” that was a success in my own opinion.

But there is more rumour-mongering about Meryl as the Witch…..

The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare In The Park Festival are mounting an outdoor production of the Sondheim musical this July and rumoured to play the Witch is none other than the reigning Oscar Queen Meryl. Is this an audition?

I am a big fan of this show and was very very lucky to see the original Broadway production way back in 1987 – Bernadette Peters played the Witch and she was fabulous. Of the course the role to steal the show belongs to the Baker’s Wife. Who will be cast in that coveted role? Joanna Gleason won the Tony that year and she was also fabulous! I recall turning to my partner and said – “she will win the Tony, not Peters!”

Brilliant Bernadette Peters – the original Witch of the woods.

In the meanwhile…..

Sondheim has announced that he is collaborating on a new musical with playwright David Ives who is currently represented on Broadway with the hit show “Venus In Fur” – of which Babs has on his list of “shows to see” when he is in town in May.

He has apparently written 20-30 minutes of the piece and says of it – “Having spent the better part of four years writing two books [Finishing the Hat and Look I Made a Hat], I’m really rusty,” Sondheim humbly said of his process. “I sit at the piano and think, ‘Where’s middle C?’ Any muscles, as you know, atrophy when you don’t use them, and I haven’t been using my musical muscles.”

Who cares? Any thought of another Sondheim musical certainly gets my muscles into action. I am so excited about this.

And what does he say about Streep the Witch? Sondheim neither confirms nor denies the rumours. “We will see,” the composer said. “I think she’d be great.”

My hero Stephen Sondheim.

Nina Arianda & Hugh Dancy star in David Ive’s “Venus In Fur”.

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16 out of 24 not too bad?

16/24

Two thirds correct is better than half.

I did ok in my Oscar picks better than last year.

Congratulations to all this years Academy Award winners.

As predicted The Artist won Best Picture and another 4 awards, Martin Scorcese’s 3D Hugo took home 5 – all technical.

The big surprise (for me) was Meryl Streep winning Best Actress for The Iron Lady after a 30 year absence – her 3rd Oscar (she gave a terrific speech – a class act). Not her greatest performance but a good caricature of Margaret Thatcher – sad that Viola Davis missed out, glad that Octavia Spencer grabbed gold for supporting actress in The Help. 

Golden lady of the night – Meryl Streep in a Lanvin gown.

Thrilled that Aussie lad Kirk Baxter won his 2nd oscar for co-editing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – he must love his boss David Fincher after winning last year for The Social Network.

Aussie golden boy Kirk Baxter with his co-winner Angus Wall.

Glenn Close joins the record books (most actress losses – 6) and so does Christopher Plummer now the oldest Oscar winner (well deserved).

I enjoyed Billy Crystal and his banter, the jokes worked for me even if a tad tired. Loved the Wizard Of Oz target audience send-up from Chirstopher Guest’s gang.

The outrage for me was the late costume designer Eiko Ishioka not being in the “in memoriam” section – she has won an Oscar (for Bram Stoker’s Dracula), yet was forgotten – how did Steve Jobs make the cut??? I predict Eiko will be up for an award next year for the upcoming Mirror Mirror, and win!

Julia Roberts in an Eiko creation for the new film “Mirror Mirror”

Talking about next years Oscars – expect a post soon on Bab’s super early predictions!!!

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Babs Oscar picks 2012

As preparations are underway for this years 84th Academy Awards ceremony to be held at the Hollywood and Highland Centre (formerly the Kodak theatre) on Hollywood Boulevard this Sunday night (Monday lunchtime in Australia)  Babs gives you his predictions of the winners and who he would like to see win.

Babs is a bit underwhelmed by this years Oscars, a lot of the movies never lived up to their hype. Both The Artist & Hugo seemed to en-trance every movie loving critic but I felt that although they showcased amazing film craft , overall they weren’t that great. The major ommission of Drive in many categories was an upset to me, and how the hell did Charlize Theron miss out for Young Adult? Of course it is the Oscars and as we all well know they aren’t a true reflection of what is great in cinema out there. Of my predictions I would honestly love it if I did badly – I would love this year to be full of upsets and surprises – but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Best Picture

Will win – THE ARTIST

Should win – THE DESCENDANTS

Actor in a Leading Role

Will win – JEAN DUJARDIN – The Artist

Should win – GEORGE CLOONEY – The Descendants

Actor in a Supporting Role

Will & Should win – CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER – Beginners

Actress in a Leading Role

Will & Should win – VIOLA DAVIS – The Help

 Actress in a Supporting Role

Will & Should win – OCTAVIA SPENCER – The Help

Animated Feature Film

Will & Should win – RANGO

Art Direction

Will & Should win – Dante Ferretti & Francesca Lo Shiavo – HUGO

Cinematography

Will win – Emmanuel Lubezki – THE TREE OF LIFE

Should win – Robert Richardson – HUGO

Costume Design

Will win – Mark Bridges – THE ARTIST

Should win – Michael O’Connor – JANE EYRE

Directing

Will win – MICHAEL HAZANAVICIUS – The Artist

Should win – ALEXANDER PAYNE – The Descendants

Documentary Feature

Will win – IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT

Documentary Short Subject

Will win – GOD IS BIGGER THAN ELVIS

Film Editing

Will win – Anne-Sophie-Bion & Michael Hazanavicius – THE ARTIST

Should win – Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Foreign Language Film

Will & Should win – A SEPARATION

Makeup

Will & Should win – Mark Coulier & J. Roy Helland – THE IRON LADY

Original Music Score

Will win – Ludovic Bource – THE ARTIST

Should win – Alberto Iglesias – TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY

Original Song

Will win – “Real In Rio” from RIO

Should win – “Man Or Muppet” from THE MUPPETS

Short Film Animated

Will win – THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE

Short Film Live Action

Will win – PENTECOST

Sound Editing

Will win – HUGO

Should win – DRIVE

Sound Mixing

Will win – HUGO

Should win – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Visual Effects

Will win – HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2

Should win – RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Writing Adapted Screenplay

Will & Should win – THE DESCENDANTS

Writing Original Screenplay

Will win – WOODY ALLEN – Midnight In Paris

Should win –  ASGHAR FARHADI – A Separation

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A loss for the record books?

As a loser I expect that Glenn Close will go into the record books this year. She has been nominated for the 6th time at the Oscars for her performance in the film Albert Nobbs. If she loses then she will tie with Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter for the most losses in female-acting categories in the history of the Oscars. They all have had 6 nominations. Deborah was a bigger loser than Glenn because all of her noms were for Best Actress. Glenn has 3 for Best Actress and 3 for Supporting. Thelma’s 6 were all for supporting.

Peter O’Toole is the king of Oscar losers he has had 8 noms and no wins.

Of course Glenn Close can beat the record in the future and get nominated again, and lose again but Deborah and Thelma cannot as they are both dead.

I know I am pre-empting the results but I feel that Viola Davis (The Help) is a sure thing with Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) right behind her. I wouldn’t mind an upset though. The Oscars and the awards seasons of late have been so predictable and boring I would love a surprise on the night.

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An Oscar feast for 2012

It’s exactly one week away to the Academy Award ceremony. Babs usually plans an Oscar night party  with friends, this year he is going to an industry live event, very excited as nothing beats watching the awards live, and no media block out required.

I had been planning my annual Oscar menu so I will still share it with you even though I won’t actually be doing food this year. As usual I like to tie in theme related treats that correspond to the best picture nominees.

THE ARTIST

The Artist is set in the golden days of Hollywood silent movies full of glamourous film premieres and such, as the movie has been made by the French I thought French champagne should flow.

THE DESCENDANTS

The unique setting of Hawaii has influenced my menu choices – Prawn Cocktail to eat  and a Blue Hawaiian cocktail to drink. (a cocktail soon to appear in the new Australian film “The Sapphires”).

EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE.

I have yet to see the film (it opens in a few days) so I don’t know if there is any significant food items appropriate. As the film is a post 9/11 story  I thought I would make something from the “Windows Of The World” menu – the famed restaurant was atop the twin towers.

THE HELP

Its a no brainer – southern fried chicken – yum yum.

HUGO

A French railway station setting and a cafe  run by Frances de la Tour helped with this choice – macaroons!

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

Another French set movie, this time the sophisticated drawing rooms of the artistic and literati – Duck Liver Pate to go with the champagne I think

MONEYBALL

Set in the world of baseball it’s an easy choice – gourmet mini hot dogs!

THE TREE OF LIFE

I disliked this movie so much that I can’t even bother to include an inspired dish to tie in, but if I was to include some food related to it I would say corn as in corny duh!

WAR HORSE

Well as the story goes old nags end up as mince meat – so yummy meatballs are in order with a tomato sugo to represent the blood of war (I know it’s a stretch)

So if you are thinking of having your own Oscar night do then include some of these delicious treats and party away.

 

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This Iron Lady has creases.

Film Review: THE IRON LADY

Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher how can one resist?

That will be the only reason the new movie “The Iron Lady” will make any bucks – die hard Meryl devotees and those curious to see how Britain’s ex-Prime Minister’s life is portrayed on screen (they will be the most disappointed).

Meryl has re-teamed with her “Mamma Mia” director Phyllida Lloyd and like their previous collaboration this film is just as clunky and misconceived.

The film opens with an elderly and semi-senile Thatcher attempting to pack up the belongings of her dear departed husband Dennis (Jim Broadbent acting like he has stepped off a Mike Leigh set). It has been 8 years since his death and Margaret still can’t let go of his presence, haunted by his ‘ghost’ she recalls her past glories. Unfortunately too much time is dedicated to these senile moments and not enough time telling the story I wanted to see – the rise and eventual fall of Britain’s first female Prime Minister and her cold hearted no compromise choices that changed a nation and indeed the world! We see these fleeting moments through newsreel footage and the occasional Parliamentary sittings and internal meetings full of buffoons – well that is how they are portrayed here.. It is hard to tell whether we are meant to take all of this seriously, sometimes it felt like I was watching a skit from a French & Saunders episode (Streep made up playing older reminded me of one of those old ladies going on about fuss and nonsense – see clip below). The film is full of strange stylistic choices, odd camera movements and choppy editing, one is not sure what the overall tone of the film is.  There are a few good scenes that work – a trip to her doctor in which she rants about her preference for ideas over feelings, and the scenes with her daughter Carol (Olivia Colman) are equally funny and moving, and some that don’t work but should – a powerful moment in which she humiliates her  foreign secretary is ruined by style and editing choices. Streep is wonderful of course, at times burying herself so deep into her impersonation of Thatcher that you do forget it is her. Jim Broadbent is wasted and gives a performance we have all seen before. The rest of the support cast hardly register aside from newcomer Alexandra Roach who portrays Thatcher as a young girl with the right amount of pluck.

Aside from Streep’s transformative hair and make-up other technical aspects are so-so, Thomas Newman’s score is jarring and overpowering at times and it looks like it was made on a tight budget.

Please Meryl can you next choose a film project that is worthy of your formidable talent, this film sure isn’t.

The Iron Lady opens in cinemas across Australia on Dec 26.

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Ooh-Aah!

Can’t wait to see this one.

Meryl looks marvelous.

I don’t care if the director has dubious film-making talent, Meryl has bucket loads.

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Glenn vs Meryl

Oscar buzz has so far put Meryl Streep as a front runner in this years best actress race for her (yet unseen) portrayal of British Prime Minister in the upcoming film “The Iron Lady”.

Now it appears she has a rival to run with.

Deadline.com reported today that an independent film starring Glenn Close is getting a release in the latter part of the year, prime  award season. The movie is called “Albert Mobbs” and tells the tale of a woman passing as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland.

Pure Oscar bait I reckon.

Gender-bending roles often get noticed and sometimes win. Think of Linda Hunt who won a best supporting actress gong for playing a man in Peter Weir’s “The Year Of Living Dangerously”. Dustin Hoffman got noticed in “Tootsie”, Jack Lemmon in “Some Like It Hot”, Hilary Swank won best actress for “Boys Don’t Cry”, Felicity Huffman in “Transgender”, Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There”– the  list goes on……..

Glenn Close won an Obie (an off-Broadway theatre award) for playing the same role in a play back in 1982. She is also a producer on the film and co-wrote the screenplay.

She has been nominated 5 times for an Oscar but has never won, but she has won a couple of Tonys and Emmys, is she heading for the EGOT?

Go Glenn!

Glenn as Albert

Footnote: Interestingly Meryl Streep portrayed a male Rabbi (amongst a multiple of roles) in the TV adaptation of Tony Kushner’s  masterpiece “Angels In America”, she won the Emmy!!

Wanderlusst  take note, gender-bending is a happening thing 🙂

 

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Reel Life!

The film biopic is always a popular genre. Sometimes they deal with the subjects whole life or career and sometimes just a certain period, some are accurate, some are fanciful. This year  there are a few movies of interest coming out about famous people that have attracted some top acting talent – the Oscars do love awarding actors playing real people.  Here is a small preview of some.

THE IRON LADY

starring Meryl Streep as former British PM Margaret Thatcher and Jim Broadbent as her hubby Dennis. The film deals with the period immediately prior to the Falklands war.  The Falklands was a crucial point in the Thatcher’s career and the film will unfold over a period of 17 days leading up to the war, showing how she dealt with the pressure. Similar in a way to “The Queen” in which that film dealt with the period following the death of Princess Diana and how Her Maj Elizabeth II dealt with the crisis. That particular film won Helen Mirren a best actress Oscar and you can be sure Meryl will be up for a nomination. The film is directed by Phyllida Lloyd who helmed (if you can call it that) the mega-hit musical “Mamma Mia”, which I have to say, in all honesty, was one of the worst film musicals I have ever seen – in my own opinion! The only downfall of this particularly movie is that they may give us sympathy for the hideous Thatcher, I abhor her and her principals and especially her reforms – she is an evil woman.

Meryl & Maggie

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN

This film depicts the making of the 1957 movie “The Prince And The Showgirl” which paired Marilyn Monroe with Laurence Olivier – with tumultuous results! Based on the dairies of Colin Clark who was a production assistant on the film. It stars Michelle Williams as the screen icon, and Kenneth Branagh as Sir Larry (Ralph Fiennes originally cast in the role had to pull out of the film), and in a supporting role as Dame Sybil Thorndike – Judi Dench. Harry Potter witch Emma Watson is also in the cast portraying an innocent wardrobe mistress, Dougray Scott plays Arthur Miller hubby of Marilyn at the time, and according to Clark a complete arsehole.  Michelle Williams won the role over a bevvy of Hollywood starlets – Scarlett Johansson, Kate Hudson & Amy Adams amongst them. I think they made a good choice, I can imagine Williams will capture Marilyn’s strength and vulnerability to perfection. I expect another Oscar nod for her this year. Check her out in “Meek’s Cutoff”, she can do no wrong.

Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller and Michelle Williams as Maz

J. EDGAR

This film is an oddity and high on my list of wanna-see films.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as famed FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, it focuses on his controversial career as the founder of the FBI and addresses his homosexuality and penchant for cross-dressing. Armie Hammer who made an impression as the identical twins in last years bio-pic “The Social Network” has been been quoted promising a few kissing scenes between him and DiCaprio (he plays J. Edgar’s lover). The screenplay has been penned by Dustin Lance Black who won the Oscar for another controversial bio-pic – “Milk”. Will this be Leo’s year for the Oscar statue? It sure is fodder for the academy voters that’s for sure. Clint Eastwood is a stalwart director, his films always worth checking out.

Leo the brave & J. Edgar

A DANGEROUS METHOD

This film is the one I am eagerly awaiting the most. Masterful director David Cronenberg teams up for the 3rd time with the fabulous Viggo Mortenson and has also cast alongside him one of my new fave actors Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank, Hunger, Inglorious Basterds).  What is it about? It follows the intense relationship between Sigmund Freud (Viggo) and his protege Carl Jung (Fassbender) – the fore-fathers of psychoanalysis. Keira Knightley plays the women who comes between them. Not so thrilled about Keira in the film, I get very distracted by her jutting chin and very thin body, but I do think she does act well. Cronenberg is one of my all-time favorite directors, and the last 2 films he has made (History Of Violence & Eastern Promises) I think are masterworks of style and storytelling.No idea what to expect but I am sure it will be a treat, and possibly a few Oscar noms in their reach.

Psycho-hunk-arama, Viggo & Fassbender

 

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