Monday, December 26, 2016

Sizing up the 2016 competition: Ruth Negga in "Loving"

A few days ago I was able to see Jeff Nichols' film Loving.  The biopic follows the legal struggles of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple living in Virginia during the 1960s who appeal the statute that outlaws their marriage in the state.  Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star in the title roles.  Earlier this year, it was widely regarded that Negga would challenge not only for an Oscar nomination, but possibly even a win.  Following last year's #OscarsSoWhite debacle, this season's slate of films in contention for awards recognition thankfully includes a more diverse group of actors.  One has to imagine that Academy members are anxious to show their willingness to be more inclusive in their voting choices.

As it turns out, Negga is the only black woman who stands a chance at a nom in the Lead Actress category, following the announcement that Viola Davis will be campaigned in supporting for Fences.  Even so, the chances for Negga at this point seem quite smaller following the SAG nominations announcement that excluded her.  She did get a Golden Globe nod for Actress in a Drama, however.  But is she for sure out?  I don't think so.

Knowing that Negga's "buzz" has somewhat fizzled over the past few months, I was expecting to be rather underwhelmed by both her performance and the film itself.  While I agree with some reviewers that her performance is subdued and the film bit slow, I thought it was absolutely a role that could garner great attention.  It's not flashy and lacks a big "Oscar scene," but she left me completely empathizing with her and the plight of her family.  Racial injustice stories often make me angry when I watch them and Negga's portrayal of a sort of dutiful, unassuming, yet persistent character added to my reaction of exasperation for her troubles.

Few have Negga cracking the top five, but if anyone squeezes out Meryl, I have lingering feeling it may be Negga instead of Annette Bening (20th Century Women).  Less likely would be that both Negga and Bening get in over Streep and maybe Isabelle Huppert (Elle).

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Streep to be honored by Human Rights Campaign

For her contributions to the LGBTQ cinematic canon, the Human Rights Campaign will be recognizing Meryl at their annual gala in New York City with the 'Ally for Equality Award' on February 11.  Particularly, her work on Mike Nichols's 2003 HBO miniseries Angels in America and 2002's The Hours continue to be influential examples of queer individuals on screen.  She has been a voice for gender and LGBT rights for decades, while her extensive variety of portrayals of complex, funny and outspoken women has secured for her icon status in the community.  

Congratulations, and thank you, Meryl.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dick Van Dyke officially joins "Mary Poppins Returns" cast

Several sources are reporting today that Dick Van Dyke has officially joined the cast of the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns.  Earlier reports have suggested that both he and Julie Andrews were in talks to make cameos, but it sounds like it's less likely Andrews will be participating.  Both of course starred in the original 1964 film.   The article I linked above stated that filming is already underway in London, which is complete news to me.  IMDbPro is usually pretty good about listing start dates, and it still has it listed as "pre-production."  That certainly doesn't guarantee that it hasn't started, and considering the film won't open for more than two years, post-production will likely be extensive.

The article also quoted Van Dyke as stating that Angela Lansbury is part of the cast, but I have seen no further information on whether that is true, nor which role she would be playing.  The main cast members up to this point for the project include:

Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins)
Meryl Streep (Topsy)
Ben Whishaw (Michael Banks)
Emily Mortimer (Jane Banks)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Jack)
Christian Dixon (The Milkman)
Colin Firth (William Weatherall Wilkins)
Dick Van Dyke (old banker?)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Streep lands SAG nomination

Woo hoo!  Meryl received a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild this morning for her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins.  Her co-star Hugh Grant was also recognized in the supporting category.  This is a very good sign for Meryl's chances at her 20th Academy Award nomination next month.  I'm pretty sure the only other time she was nominated for both a Golden Globe and SAG and didn't get an Oscar nomination was for 1994's The River Wild.  Joining Meryl in her category were the following actresses:

Amy Adams (Arrival)
Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Emma Stone (La La Land)

I'm rather surprised by Blunt making the top five.  I was more expecting Annette Bening.  Stone and Portman were slam dunks, and I think those two and Adams are at this point shoe-ins for Oscar noms.  The Academy will announce their nominations on Tuesday, January 24.   The full list of SAG nominations can be seen here.

"Look, darling, we're both nominated."

Monday, December 12, 2016

Streep receives record 30th Golden Globe nomination

Breaking her own record, this morning the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated Meryl for the 30th time for a Golden Globe Award.  As expected, Streep was included among the five actresses nominated in the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy category for her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins.  Excited to see that both Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg were nominated as well, for Actor in a Musical/Comedy and Actor in Supporting Role in any Motion Picture, respectively.  I thought Grant had a pretty good shot here, but wasn't necessarily expecting Helberg.  In addition, the film received a nom for Best Picture Musical/Comedy, so it's nice to see the love for Florence!  

Joining Meryl in her category were:

Annette Bening (20th Century Women)
Lily Collins (Rules Don't Apply)
Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen)
Emma Stone (La La Land)

It's almost a foregone conclusion that Emma Stone will win, but ya never know.  There were a few surprises/omissions that I'll have to let sink in a bit before discussing.  I'm interested to see what peoples' reactions are.

The Globes will be handed out on Sunday, January 8.  Don't forget that Meryl will also be honored with the Cecil  B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement, so even if she doesn't win her category, we'll get to see a bunch of her.  The full list of nominees can be seen here.

In other news, while not in attendance, Streep actually WON the Critics' Choice Award last night for Best Actress in a Comedy.  This is a bit ironic considering my original post attempted to report that she hadn't even been nominated.  This award is super small potatoes in the grand scheme of 'awards season,' but it's nice for her to be recognized regardless.

On to SAG Wednesday.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Previewing Golden Globe and SAG nominations

Next week will be very telling for Meryl's chances at landing her record 20th Oscar nomination in January for Florence Foster Jenkins.  Dark and early Monday morning, the Golden Globe nominees will be revealed, where she is expected to be recognized in the category of Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.  She is likely to be joined by Emma Stone (La La Land), Annette Bening (20th Century Women) and Kate Beckinsale (Love and Friendship).  That fifth slot in this category is a bit tough to choose, but my money is on Sally Field in Hello, My Name is Doris.  

Revealed two days later, the Screen Actors Guild Award nominations are more of an enigma for Streep, and will be much stronger predictor of her chances for Oscar than are the Globes.  Stone is for sure in at SAG, as is Natalie Portman (Jackie).  Those are perhaps the only slam dunks in the category, but I'd be shocked if Amy Adams (Arrival) weren't nominated.  Ruth Negga (Loving) has perhaps her best shot at SAG.  That would leave one more slot.  Meryl will have to contend with Bening, Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and longshot Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures).

Actors love Streep and despite strong showings from a larger than usual field this year at SAG, I have hope that she'll sneak into that fifth spot.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

No Critics' Choice Nomination for Meryl (just kidding)

***EDIT:  After this went to post it was brought to my attention that Meryl was indeed nominated in the comedy category, as was Hugh Grant.  I'm disappointed to have missed this seemingly obvious piece of information and apologize to readers for the misinformation.  Congratulations, Meryl!***

The Critics' Choice Nominations were announced this morning and unfortunately Meryl was not on the list.  I wasn't necessarily expecting her to make the cut, but considering these are the first of the major televised awards to be announced and that they nominate six actors, it doesn't exactly boost my confidence in Meryl's chances for recognition from other bodies.  The nominations for Actress in a Leading Role were:

Amy Adams (Arrival)
Annette Bening (20th Century Women)
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Ruth Negga (Loving)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Emma Stone (La La Land)

This is a fantastic list and I'm sure all are well-deserving.  So far I've only seen Arrival, but most of the remaining will be accessible within the next month. Meryl's chances should increase considerably in a of couple weeks when the Hollywood Foreign Press reveals their nominees for the Golden Globe Awards.  If Meryl doesn't snag a nod there we can kiss any chance at her 20th Oscar nomination goodbye.