After five successful collaborations including Che: Part Two (2008), the corporate whistleblower comedy The Informant! (2009) and the star-studded Ocean's Eleven trilogy, director Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damon will reteam for the upcoming thriller Contagion, about a team of doctors hired by the Center for Disease Control to prevent the outbreak of a lethal virus. Better yet, Damon, along with co-stars Kate Winslet and Jude Law, will be filming their latest adventure in San Francisco, starting Feb. 9.
The last time Melissa Leo was nominated for an Academy Award, in 2009 for the blue-collar drama Frozen River, she was perhaps a sentimental favorite among critics but a decided longshot to beat out Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and eventual winner Kate Winslet.
Anything could happen between now and February’s Oscar telecast, but Leo, 50, is already earning accolades for her supporting role in The Fighter, David O. Russell’s biography of hard-knocks Lowell, Mass., brawler Micky Ward. (The San Francisco Film Critics Circle ranked her nuanced portrayal of a domineering mother as among the year’s best.)
The Oscars have arrived, and with them the inevitable slew of so-called expert predictions. And though I find myself naturally curious, I must admit that my anticipation of Sunday evening’s ceremony has been subdued by lingering disappointment with some of the nominations. Put simply, my heart’s not entirely in it.
WALL*E should have been earned a nomination for best picture, as should The Wrestler. (A win for either would have suited me just fine.) Woody Allen’s strongest contribution in years was largely overlooked. And Bruce Springsteen, in the midst of a creative surge as strong as any in his career, managed to write a song for a movie (again, The Wrestler) without so much as a hint of recognition. Go figure.
It’s time for the Up-lifting Triumph vs. Tragedy Smackdown. Oscar night is nigh.
Sure, Oscar loves its incurable diseases, cripples and the mentally handicapped. Will the lead actor playing an assassinated gay martyr win? The young talent who died tragically before his time of a drug overdose?
In the one of the best episodes of the HBO series, “Extras”, Kate Winslet played a far-fetched very bawdy version of herself on the set of a film about the Holocaust. The fictionalized Kate Winslet – in full costume as a nun in habit -- boldly admits she’s going for Oscar:
January is traditionally treated as a dumping ground for Hollywood's most embarrassing blunders and stalest leftovers, but there are still plenty of viable options for those seeking a satisfying night at the movies. Among them:
You may not have heard of Michael Shannon, but it would be impossible to walk away from the Eisenhower-era marital drama Revolutionary Road without being shaken by his blistering performance as John Givings, a recovering psych-ward patient who might just be the sanest inhabitant of a Connecticut suburb where desperation and malaise seem almost universal.
An attack on ‘50s suburbia as a bastion of gray-suited conformity is hardly a fresh idea. So what, pray tell, is the point of Revolutionary Road, besides providing a showcase for two dynamic actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, to chew the scenery in an overwrought exposition of domestic combat Connecticut-style?
There’s no denying the pair’s ability to infuse their dialogue with a wintry chill, and here they attack each other like a pair of poisonous passive aggressors, lacing every syllable with bruising bitterness. Theirs are intense, tortured performances tailor-made for awards consideration, but where is the pleasure in watching them?