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Oscar Sees Double

Oscar Sees Double

Thompson on Hollywood

There are two Oscar universes: fantasy and reality.

And every year, some lucky folks find themselves with an embarrassment of riches: two potential Oscar roles instead of one. When this happens, each actor has to pick and choose their spots without costing themselves a possible nomination. Usually, one role winds up feeding the other. Thus last year Kate Winslet got extra points for Revolutionary Road, which fed her performance in The Reader, for which she won the best actress Oscar.

Thompson on Hollywood

This year, it’s likely that Oscar perennial Penelope Cruz’s leading role in Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces will give her a boost in the supporting actress category for Rob Marshall’s musical Nine.

Another Oscar-winner, Marion Cotillard, is getting a push for her lead role in Nine, but could also come out ahead in supporting for her gangster’s moll in Public Enemies.

Thompson on Hollywood

Meanwhile James McAvoy is getting a campaign for best actor in The Last Station, even though Christopher Plummer plays a volcanic Leo Tolstoy opposite likely best actress nominee Helen Mirren. That’s because Plummer’s going to push for supporting for The Last Station, saving best actor for Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. (That movie will likely do better on the awards front with its visual elements, from cinematography and production design to costumes and visual effects.)

Matt Damon is heading for best actor status in The Informant! and supporting for Clint Eastwood’s Invictus.

While George Clooney has two movies opening this fall, the stoner comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats and Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, only the latter is a real Oscar contender.

And Meryl Streep is far more likely to land a best actress nom for Julie & Julia than the Nancy Meyers relationship ensemble It’s Complicated. But it won’t hurt Streep if she emerges with a hot DVD release as well as a new hit comedy at year’s end.

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But, but, but…there’s a possibility that Jimmy Cagney is the only one who knew that guy? I can’t account on who made that vernacular widespread but Jimmy sure made it iconic.

And I know. I didn’t catch the word “clock” in Julius Caesar, but I haven’t thrown out my copy yet, so maybe one vacation…. And besides, by the 18th century, theatre has moved to actually using period correct costumes, dialogue, etc., an attitude more or less in vogue in film moreso that theatre. And Michael Mann is not Shakespeare.


Actually, Paolo, the greeting “Whadda ya HEAR? Whadda ya say?” that James Cagney said in “Angels with Dirty Faces” he actually took from a pimp who he once knew while growing up in New York, which would’ve been in the 1920s. This could imply that the line was heard often throughout the 20s and 30s, and therefore the character in “Public Enemies” would already know it. Not to mention that Mann’s movie is basically recalling the gangster films of the 30s, which “Angels” clearly was.

Also, anachronisms are somewhat acceptable for period pieces, I think. Just read Shakespeare.

Vlad Kragmirich

Paolo, thanks for your comments. Whenever I tell people that Mann´s recent movies look like french porn, they shake their heads and declare me a fool.


Also here’s Norman Wilner showing the not so good effects of digital film making:

but that’s just an excuse to correct my “Your.” It’s “you’re.”



I think digital worked out in Collateral. I also think it worked out in Rachel Getting Married. But to use digital in a period piece is putting too much on your hands. For instance, using digital while shooting in a dark interior night club scene and zooming in to make the quality of the picture grainier and look, there’s Diana Krall! Please come back and reply and tell all of us that that is superb film making. Maybe digital can be as versatile as 35mm, but no one’s showing us how that’s done right now.

Fine, the only reason why I was dissing Michael Mann was to take the heat of Cotillard, who, again, didn’t ruin the movie.

You shouldn’t be calling people on the internet amateurs. Your lucky that I can only afford an undergraduate HBA. I’m not Robert Osbourne but I’m not a spring chicken neither.

And another thing, I also spotted how one of the supporting characters was going around saying “What’ya do? What’ya say?” That was throwback to Jimmy Cagney’s character in “Angels with Dirty Faces,” released in around 1938. The reference, therefore, makes “Public Enemies” anachronistic, since the plot surrounding “Public Enemies” occurs between 1933 and 1934.

But don’t take my word for it. I’m an “amateur” who “knows nothign about cinema.”


Nobody knows how Billie Frechette sounded; not much can be seen from photographs, either. What we do know is she was half French and half Native American. So Marion Cotillard could have simply kept her French accent and no one today would have been the wiser. But she and Mann decided she should work with the Native American tribe Frechette came from, to get the accent. Those who think her accent was distracting have no evidence whatever on which to base this. They don’t know what Billie was “supposed” to sound like either. The fact that Cotillard was universally praised in this supporting role — even that she had honored her contract in a supporting role after winning the Oscar for Best Actress — overcomes any amateur’s opinion about her accent. She was terrific in the scenes she was given.

Maria Dolores

I’d be delighted to see Christopher Plummer, Meryl Streep and Matt Damon amog the nominees next february/march. I think the three of them have top top top acting abilities … and they show it in their last films!!!


Streep was brillant in Julie & Julia. She received raves (rightly so) and will be nominated for Best Actress and should walk away with it…


Um Paolo,

If a college student did what Michael Mann and Dante Spinotti did with the look of Public Enemies, then they would most certainly deserve an Academy Award for what they did. I mean do you know anything about cinema? Just because they did not follow the norm and shoot 35mm doesn’t mean that it’s amateurish. If you really want to know why they chose to shoot the movie with a digital camera, then I invite you to read the following article:

It’s always nice to learn new things


Of course anything Meryl Streep touches turns into gold – but JULIE & JULIA really was a rare miss by her. I think she over-acted and was, more than anything, annoying. If this really gets her a nomination, all it would mean is a loss of critical judgment by the Streep-wowed Academy!


So we’re actually blaming Marion Cotillard for ruining Public Enemies? I thought it was the digital camera that made the movie look like it was shot by a college student.

Back on topic, Julianne Moore was screwed over by having two juicy roles and thus nominations in the same year.


Dominik, are you aware that is how Julia Child was…?


I’ve read a lot about John Dillinger and, by association, Billie Frechette, so I’m somewhat biased. I thought Cotillard’s portrayal in PUBLIC ENEMIES was all wrong and nothing like the real Billie. The movie itself was a pretty poor recreation of actual events. Read the book instead.


I love Cotillard and thought she was luminous on screen, but her accent was absolutely awful and, in fact, nearly ruined the film. I doubt they could find an Oscar-worthy clip in the movie…except for the last scene.

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