Tag Archive: viola davis


 

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Woo…

The movie adaptation of August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ is fantastic.  Debatably the most well known play in the ten play cycle, Denzel directs the film version with virtually the entire cast in tact from the Broadway version that won him a Tony.

‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ came to mind a lot while I watched this.  Like that film, the camera doesn’t move a lot; from what I hear, there are going to be other films in the next couple of months that mesmerizing cinematography will come from.  You come to Fences for the great writing, and the great acting.  And you get it.  Without spoiling too much of the story for those unfamiliar, the audience I was in really turned against Denzel’s character by the end of the film (which is one of the best compliments I can give to one of the most admired actors of all time, period).  And Viola Davis?  Ma’am, I know you caught the short end of the stick the year we thought you would win for The Help, but that aside…

On the page, this is a supporting performance.  On the screen, naw.  And I’m really looking forward to seeing four or five other female performances this season that are genuinely in this league.

Here’s the crazy thing: my favorite performance in the film wasn’t even either of the two leads; it was Mykelti Williamson as Denzel’s brother.  He was only in a few scenes, but as they say, there are no small roles (especially when the writing is this strong…)

So yeah, Christmas release.  High, high, high recommend.

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2012 Oscar Wrap Up

So we had technical difficulties, so if you weren’t keeping up with me on Twitter, you didn’t get my thoughts (sorry).  A few post game feelings though…

  • You all know how much I’m a fan of Clooney, so I was genuinely surprised/amused at the disgust and hate when he didn’t get the Best Actor award.  That one didn’t surprise me at all, but like with Best Picture, some of you clearly are against ‘the Artist’ being acknowledged as the ‘best’ of the year.  Well hey, to each its own I guess.
  • Billy Crystal wasn’t the worst, but man there were some deaaaaaaaad spots at certain points of the show.  I think overall though, things went smoothly.
  • The ‘In Memoriam’ section was the single best part of the show to me personally. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that Elizabeth Taylor was getting the last mention, but even her part was only 10 seconds at the most.  Well done.
  • A few years back I started saying anyone who wanted to make the argument that Meryl Streep is the best film actor ever (over Brando, Deniro and Pacino even) would get no argument from me.  But I still feel for Viola, that had to be rough sitting there.
  • Overall, decent show.  Now we can look forward to next year…

Today we look at the ladies…

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Who I Want to Win: I might get outcast for saying this, but being partial to comedy anyway, I thought Melissa McCarthy stole every scene in the best comedy that came up last year.
  • Who Should Win: She’s kind of been the black sheep as far as awards season goes, but Berenice Bejo more than carried her share of the weight in the film everyone’s been jocking this year (‘the Artist’.)
  • Who Will Win: no reason to think the Oscar won’t go to Octavia Spencer at this point.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Who I Want to Win: I can’t penalize Viola for whatever feelings I may or not have for ‘the Help’ as a movie.
  • Who Should Win: There’s an argument to be made for Meryl (as always), but I’ll say Viola should win it.
  • Who Will Win: Hear me out; it won’t happen, but what if Meryl and Viola somehow split the vote and Michelle Williams sneaks in for ‘My Week With Marilyn’? It’s a performance people seem to like, it just came out on the ‘wrong year’ as they say.  Just throwing it out there…

Tomorrow, breaking down the actors…

 

Some quick thoughts on this morning’s nominations…

Best Picture – 9 films, wow.  I called 6.  Extremely Loud and War Horse haven’t been on my ‘must see’ list, but now I feel obligated…

Best Actor – Gary Oldman, it’s about damn time!!!!! (yes I’m biased, been a fan for decades before he played Commissioner Gordon).

Best Actress – The Globes have made this more interesting than we thought it would be. Viola or Streep?  I guess we’ll see…

Best Supporting Actor – Very eclectic list, I just got around to seeing Warrior last week so it’s nice to see people remembered this movie and Nick Nolte.

Best Supporting Actress – Pleasantly surprised for Melissa McCarthy, she really did steal Bridesmaids out from under a great cast of comediennes.

Best Director – What a list!!!!  And the crazy thing is the favorite is the only name who’s not already a Hall of Famer!

Best Screenplay – Combining the two categories to ask the question, will Woody show up for a group of his most loyal fans?

Actual predictions coming as we get closer…

 

B-man,

What up?  So kudos to you first for taking on the job on such short notice.  You’ve got the pedigree the Academy likes, and at this point, I don’t think anyone has any expectations for next year’s show.

So having said that, I think this year is the perfect opportunity to do something drastic. And by being drastic, I mean give the hosting duties to me.  I’ve thought this through and I will give you my reasons why I’m the perfect host this year…

1. I like damn good in a tux.

I mean seriously, look at me!

2. I’ve been doing Oscar preview/live blogs for the past five years.

Going back to our film school days (maybe earlier), my partner in crime and I have used the interwebs to offer predictions and last year running commentary on the show, so it’s not like I won’t be watching anyway.

https://malikaziz.com/2011/02/27/2011-artfradieu-oscar-live-commentary/

3. I’m cool with ‘this’ Establishment.

My generation of young actors, writers, directors, producers, etc. are coming up so you’d get to keep that ‘we’re still hip’ vibe that Eddie and Brett were giving you.

4. I keep my private affairs to myself.

So no talk from me about my gigantic balls or what 70s group my genitalia are named after.  But having said that…

5. I’m down for a little bad publicity.

But only on a short term basis, and only if we’re clear the endgame is to drive more eyeballs to the show. I’m single, Kim Kardashian is single; I’m just saying…

6. I’m a genuine film geek.

I have the respect for ‘Old Hollywood’ that I think is mandatory for the job.  And in my particular case I know the history of those who came before me, from Sammy to Whoopi to Chris, and the historical part of that turns me on. And it’s going to be a little weird if Viola Davis is the only black person in the Kodak Theatre.

7. I’ve been vocal about my support for gay marriage.

So you’d be getting someone who’s gone in the complete opposite direction from the little fiasco that got the last guy fired.

8. I’m an award winning producer/director/actor who has hosting experience.

And my writing team works cheap to boot!  Here’s a joke I was just handed:  “So this Herman Cain fella? This week one of his accusers says that he grabbed the back of her neck and said ‘You want the job right?’ during her sexual assault.  When asked for comment, former President Clinton said, ‘I like a blow job as much as the next man, but if that’s your modus operandi, you are NOT qualified to be the President of the United States!”

(Hm, you’re right. That’s more of a Golden Globes joke, than an Oscars joke isn’t it?  I’ll fire that writer.  Let’s table that one for now…)

9. It’d be a Full Circle/Small Town Moment

One of the first gigs I ever had in this town was working for Imagine Entertainment as a researcher for your Hugh Hefner project.  You paid me to go to the Playboy Mansion everyday, so really, as a man, I’m already in your debt.  There’s a lot of jokes there, but I’m saving them for the monologue.  And finally…

10. I’d Genuinely Be Happy to Have the Gig

And that should mean something right?

The Help

Count me among the many whose face curled up in disgust as soon as I heard the re was a movie about black folks called ‘The Help’.  I mean, really?  That was the best title they could come up with?  There’s a very short list of actors at this point who I would consider ‘dream colloborators’, but Viola Davis is on that list.  So hearing that she was in this film bought it a little bit of rope.

Next I heard that this was based on a popular book.  That and knowing all the main charaters were women sent me next to my mother to see if she saw the movie or read the book.  I’ve made reference before to my roots being in the South; so when my mother told me that the book and film gave her flashbacks to her teenage years (i.e. for a brief period of time, she was ‘The Help’), well, now I had a vested interest in seeing this film.

There’s nothing groundbreaking in the film in terms of story (‘black people really got the short end of the stick during Jim Crow’) or as a movie about racism (‘there’s the one educated white person who’s ready to tear down Jim Crow and side with the blacks).  That doesn’t mean I think it was a poorly made film either; as award season comes around I think ‘the Help’ will be remembered more for the performances than for its whole.  Emma Stone as the ‘ugly girl’, Jessica Chastain as the white trash girl, Bryce Dallas Howard actually being very convincing in the part I imagine they offered to January Jones first.  Sissy Spacek and Cicely Tyson in bit parts that were both very memorable.  On a side note, I half jokingly wondered if Cicely Tyson just rents herself out to ‘questionable’ projects; like a safety net to let folks know ‘if Cicely Tyson is in it, it can’t be racist.’

This is Viola Davis’ film though and to no surprise she carries it.  I’ve already heard the ‘O’ word thrown around a little bit.  I cringe a little when I think about the parts and scenes that have won black women Oscars (see Butterfly McQueen and Halle Berry), but we can cross that bridge later if it comes to that.

The film has been at the top of the box office for a minute now, so it’s worth being part of the conversation if you haven’t seen it:

Best Supporting Actress

 

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Here are the nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

  • Amy Adams in ‘Doubt’
  • Penelope Cruz in ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’
  • Viola Davis in ‘Doubt’
  • Taraji P. Henson in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
  • Marisa Tomei in ‘The Wrestler’

What may happen:  The people who love ‘Doubt’ may split the vote between Viola Davis and Amy Adams, opening the door for one of the other three ladies.  It’s also possible (but less likely) that voters may want a ‘sister’ to win and split votes between Taraji and Viola.  Either way, it doesn’t look good for Viola Davis (who did a hell of a job in a few scenes, worth checking out).

Who will probably win: Hmmmmmm.  This is usually the ‘unpredictable’ category.  I could see a case for Penelope or Taraji, but it would be ‘Oscar-style’ to give Marisa Tomei a second Oscar (to prove the first one wasn’t an ‘accident’ – classic urban legend, look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

Who I’ll be cheering for:  Taraji.  ‘Benjamin Button’ wasn’t my favorite movie this year, but not because I didn’t enjoy Taraji’s performance.  The sister can act man, and she added a lot to what was probably written as a one-note character.  And you know she’d give a hell of a speech if given the chance.