Saturday 27 April 2013

Musical Project: Best Supporting Actress 2012: Amy Adams - The Master

I have already reviewed two performances from The Master before, so you probably know I liked it enough. Though it's not my favorite Anderson's film, but I enjoyed it. One of the reasons are the performances in it.
Amy Adams plays the wife of Lancaster Dodd, the character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The first thing I want to talk about is the chemistry between these two actors. They met together before in Doubt, but there he played a priest and she played a nun. Therefore he should be more authoritative and their scenes together went well. But in The Master they're supposed to play a married couple, but Hoffman still must be more authoritative, because he's the leader of the scientological church and she is pushed aside for the church. They greatly mirror this fact into the film and they have a well-working and strange chemistry.
Adams plays a young caring mother, who supports his husband and takes care about their child. She is always ready to help him in his job and tolerates him. She's afraid of him, and sometimes she wants to open his eyes, when he doesn't see something that is wrong for him.
These are actually the scenes I liked the most from her performances. The first one is her Oscar clip, where she explains Hoffman that they should attack. The other one is really perfect and it's the scene at the dinner, in which she tells him that Freddie (Phoenix) may not be as secure, as he seems to be. This scene is the highlight of this performance.
I also have to mention the scene of the masturbation, which is very powerful.
Until now I have been writing about the good points of her performance. Now is the time for the bad ones. There are not any bad points. But there is one thing I need to mention, because I didn't like it very much, though it's not actually bad. It's the fact that she has got many scenes she has nothing to do in. She's got too many scenes that don't allow her to truly show off the talent. It wouldn't matter that much, if these scenes weren't approximately the third share of her performance...
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think the fight was between Field and Hathaway, but Adams was probably the third behind them. Harvey is very powerful in Hollywood and Amy is a great actress that is (sooner or later) going to win her gold...

Saturday 20 April 2013

Musical Project: Best Supporting Actress 2012: Helen Hunt - The Sessions

The Sessions is a very decent biographic film, but without the great performances it would be a bit boring. But I enjoyed it enough and even cared about its characters.
Helen Hunt's performance is one of those that make this film easier to watch. He plays Cheryl, a sex therapist. When I first read about this film and her role, I thought it's an Oscar-baity character - a prostitute that helps an immobile virgin to lose his virginity. Therefore it's almost unbelievable that while watching this film it never came to my mind she's a prostitute. She handled this role so naturally, that her job almost seemed to me normal and usual.
One very important thing that needs to be said is that her performance could never be perfect without a great performance of the leading actor. Fortunately, John Hawkes gives a wonderful performance in The Sessions, so that we can sympathize and familiarize with him. The other needed thing was that Hunt herself had to give a very natural, realistic and likable performance.
Now that both of the actors did their job greatly, we could absolutely care about the character of Cheryl. Just when we completely sympathize with Mark and we understand him, we can see Cheryl through his eyes and only then she is likable enough. Luckily, both of the actors succeeded in doing this.
She becomes so likable, that in the end, when she's supposed to leave after the last session (and never come back) and both of the characters are really sad about the whole thing, I realized it's not only the characters that don't want that to happen. I also didn't. That's the best proof of a great performance given by Hunt...
The chances of winning an Oscar: Very very low. I think even Jacki Weaver had better support among the Academy members because of Harvey Weinstein. This small (but great) performance in such a small film was just happy to be nominated...

Thursday 18 April 2013

Next Year: Musical Project: Best Supporting Actress 2012

The Nominees:
Amy Adams - The Master
Anne Hathaway - Les Misérables
Helen Hunt - The Sessions
Jacki Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook
Sally Field - Lincoln

So, what's your nominees? What's your ranking? What's your prediction for my ranking? Write in comments... 

Musical Project: Best Supporting Actor 1972

5. Eddie Albert - The Heartbreak Kid
Right now, when I'm writing this brief conclusion of Albert's performance I can hardly remember a thing from it. He was fine and his only purpose in The Heartbreak Kid was to hate the leading character and in this he was succeeded very well. But he didn't have many things to do here...

4. James Caan - The Godfather
He portrayed the anger in some of his scenes very well, but in other moments he was a bit unrealistic. And though his character was supposed to be likable, I didn't care about his fortune, at all. On the other hand it's obvious from his performance that the character of Sonny really cares about and loves his family. But he didn't amuse me anyhow this time...

3. Robert Duvall - The Godfather
I remember I didn't like him very much the first time, but this time I really liked him. He knows where his place is, but he doesn't forget to create a complex and likable character. The calmness of his character is perfect and chilling. It's very subtle and yet still very powerful performance given by Duvall...

2. Al Pacino - The Godfather
I've given Pacino a win for his portrayal of Michael Corleone in the second part and he is almost as powerful here, as he was in that. At the beginning of the film he is just an innocent boy and the only spotless member of the Corleone family, but he changes throughout the film. This change is so slow and non-violent, that it is very very natural. Very good performance...

1. Joel Grey - Cabaret
Though it's not the best character for the film, it's good enough for this musical. Grey gives a great amount of energy into his part and he's just adorable as the Master of Ceremonies. He sings perfectly, he dances extremely well and I can't imagine a single person that would not like his performance. As I said in my review, the could be the prototype of a good musical performance...

Musical Project: Best Supporting Actor 1972: Joel Grey - Cabaret

Cabaret is a very strange musical. It's very well made and directed, but the topic of it is so serious, that it's not as enjoyable, as musicals usually are.
Joel Grey plays the Emcee in Cabaret, which is a role much more typical for musicals. Though some of his songs are about a serious topic, they are in a very easy-to-watch mood and he even handles them as they were nothing of serious.
The Emcee (or The Master of Ceremonies) is a very theatrical character. He doesn't have a single scene, in which he would react as himself. It's a person that confers and introduces the cabaret and therefore he's always acting. We never know how he really is. It's not because of Grey, his character just doesn't have a single scene that would allow him to go into the depth.
Therefore it's not the best character for the film. In the theatre we can have a show filled with only such characters. But in the film it's not very usual and not even the best thing to do. But in Grey's hands you almost forget this fact.
He has only got four bigger scenes and all of them are musical numbers.
The first one is the very first number of the film and it's called 'Willkommen'. This song should get us into the mood and the atmosphere of the film. And Grey succeeded in doing this. He's funny and he sings extremely well. This scenes teases us, so that we want to see more of the film.
The second one is 'Money'. He shares this scene with Liza Minnelli and they have a great chemistry together. This would probably be Grey's best scene. I don't know if I'm being subjective, because I've seen this number long before seeing the film and I loved from the first second, but this is just an adorable song and number. Both of the actors never failed to be funny and extremely entertaining.
The third scene is 'Two Ladies'. I liked it enough, though it's not somehow favorite of mine. He did what was needed to and wasn't worse than in the rest of the film.
The fourth (and the last big scene) of him is 'If You Could See Her Through My Eyes'. This is the second best scene of Grey, very close after 'Money'. He has to act he is in love with the monkey. He did it so wonderfully that it is not hard to believe he really loves it. He's got a short monologue in the middle of this number, in which he talks about love itself. It's so much powerful, I really felt the catharsis.
Though it's not the best performance in a musical I've ever seen, it could be the prototype of a musical performance. It's filled with songs and dances and the great energy Grey has given into it...

Saturday 13 April 2013

Musical Project: Best Supporting Actor 1972: Al Pacino - The Godfather

Al Pacino is one of the few actors that have been nominated for an Academy Awards twice for playing the same character. In The Godfather he plays Michael Corleone that he repeated in The Godfather: Part II, which I gave him a win for.
The fact that I gave him a win for, means I liked his performance in the second part. Did I like him in the first part? I'm going to say very soon, but what needs to be said is the fact that though he plays the same character in the film, he portrays it very differently than in the second film. The reason of that is the change of his character. From a 'normal' innocent person he becomes a typical mafioso.
At the beginning of the film he plays some kind of a black sheep of the family. He is the only member of it that didn't do anything illegal. I really liked Pacino's scenes at the beginning of the film. Especially the ones at the wedding. He really wonderfully shows the innocence of his character.
Then later, after his father is stricken, he has to take the responsibility for the family and the change of his character is perfectly showed by Pacino. I really like to think of (and compare) his first and his last scene. It's an incredible difference, and yet it's still the same character, deep down.
He has got great moments, of course, but there are also a few scenes he has nothing to play in. He just is there and though I can imagine that moment been played more memorably. But there are just few of them and I can easily forgive him.
Here is the moment I should point out the best scene of him, but I can't decide from the two of them. The first is in the hospital, where he finds out that his father is not guarded and how he solves this situation. Pacino greatly portrays the nervosity that he feels, but he has to hide it. The same emotion he has to do in the second scene, which is the one in the restaurant (if you've seen the film, you know which one I'm talking about and if you haven't, shame on you).
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think he was the second along with Duvall...

Sunday 7 April 2013

Musical Project: Best Supporting Actor 1972: Robert Duvall - The Godfather

As I said in my previous review, after re-watching The Godfather I was surprised how much I've changed my opinion about some performances in it.
I thought Robert Duvall was very dull and lackluster in The Godfather after I've seen it for the first time. He absolutely didn't capture me, I rarely noticed him in the film and I couldn't understand his nomination. Now I can't believe I really thought this. This time I not even understood his nomination, I can see the brilliantness of this performance.
Duvall never goes over the top and knows, where his place is. He gives a very supporting performance and he doesn't try to be the scene stealer, or something like that. He gives a perfect subtle supporting performance, that I don't usually adore (and I didn't adore him before). He realized he is some kind of a messenger to the Corleone family, but he's irreplaceable to them. And this fact is wonderfully portrayed in his performance. It's a very subtle and gentle work, but also very effective and powerful.
I need to give some examples to this. For instance the scene he goes to the film director into his studio. He realized that the best thing would be just say the lines and don't do anything more (the same 'more' I wanted from Caan) and this scene works perfectly. Also the next scene at the director's house. He eats and just listens to the director. This fact, that he does nothing, that he is so calm and just eats, makes it so powerful. This fact is very promising, you wonder why is he so calm. The director is telling him something he didn't want to hear. But it's because Duvall's character knows, he's gonna get what he wants, anyway. Duvall succeeded even in this.
And finally I must mention the best scene of him, but it contains spoiler. It's the scene, where he informs Vito Corleone, that Sonny died. He showed a great amount of emotions. He is a calm man, but he cares about his brothers. His performance in this single scene amazed me more than James Caan's whole performance.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think, he was the second, at the worst the third. He didn't have his Oscar in 1973 and his performance here is really very very decent and solid...

Friday 5 April 2013

Musical Project: Best Supporting Actor 1972: James Caan - The Godfather

Watching The Godfather again mad me a bit surprised. I had some opinion about all of the supporting performances (not just nominated) and I've changed my mind about many of them. So did I about James Caan.
Right now I should say what I thought about him. I really liked him. Though I didn't remember exactly his performance, I knew he did a great job. After watching The Godfather again today, I don't adore his performance so much. The character of Sonny, that he plays, is very unrealisticly written. His reactions are quite ridiculous. In a moment he's angry and in a second he's supposed to laugh. Though Caan does what he is able to, it's still not enough to make this character just a bit more realistic.
Another thing I should mention is his (non-)likableness.  I believe the character of Sonny was supposed to be likable and I should care about him. Somehow I didn't. It may be my guilt, but I has very natural feelings to him. In translation, I didn't give a damn about him.
But not to be just negative, I need to say he wonderfully portrayed anger. For instance, in his best scene, in which he fights his good brother (who happens to be not so good) the anger is palpable. But it's not just case of this scene, he's been realisticly angry in more scenes.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think he was fourth, just before Albert...

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Musical Project: Best Supporting Actor 1972: Eddie Albert - The Heartbreak Kid

Before I've seen The Heartbreak Kid I didn't like it very much. The topic seemed to be nothing for me, but it surprised me. It's not anything mind-blowing, but I enjoyed it enough, so that I wasn't bored while watching it. Anyway, I think it should stay at the theatre, because I don't see a point in filming it, but it was fine enough.
This review is going to be a bit short (when you read this, you know if it is, or not), because there's nothing to say about Eddie Albert's performance in The Heartbreak Kid. He plays the leading character's (probable) future father-in-law that completely hates him. And that's all he's supposed to do. Hate the leading character.
There is not a single bad performance in The Heartbreak Kid. But Albert's is the weakest. It's not his guilt, it's just that he really has the least acting opportunities. He succeeded in portraying the hate and in the scene after dinner, (which is his only normal scene and) which is his best scene and which offered him a bit more to do, he wonderfully used the more.
The chances of winning an Oscar: He was at the bottom. There was Joel Grey, then The Godfather gentlemen and far behind them Albert...
By the way, this is my hundredth post... :)

The problem is solved

The problems I had are solved now, so I'm going to write on both of the blogs (the same things), so I can can have some save. Sorry for confusing...