Thursday, November 30, 2017

Greta Gerwig to direct Meryl?

Yesterday, Showbiz411 released an article in which director Greta Gerwig is quoted as saying that she's meeting with Meryl next week to discuss a film she's writing for her. OMG!

Gerwig of course is the screenwriter and director of Lady Bird, which is currently slaying in theaters and drawing the attention of critics groups. Earlier this week, the film set a record for the most consecutive "fresh" reviews ever on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 100% score after 180 reviews (at time of posting).

I have no idea what the role might possibly be that she's written for Streep, but I have to admit, I've thought about what it might be like for Gerwig to write and direct Meryl on screen. Gerwig is likely to become only the fifth woman ever to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, and with that pedigree, the fact that she is specifically interested in writing a role for Meryl...well, I'm over the moon (although I still REALLY wish there were a way for Meryl to play Hildy Good in the The Good House).

Excited to see what the next year of new projects holds for our girl.

By the way, I read this bit of info on the current status of The Nix yesterday:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Streep wins National Board of Review award for Best Actress

Just a few minutes after I posted about the first social media sentiments for The Post and how favorable they were for Meryl, the National Board of Review announced their selections for best films and performances. In addition to The Post being awarded the top prize, its two lead stars, Meryl and Tom Hanks were both recognized with Best Actress and Actor awards, respectively.

If memory serves, this is the first time Meryl has received this award since her legendary turn in 1982's Sophie's Choice. As the first major precursor award of the season, these NBR results add to the already strong buzz that is building for both The Post and Meryl's apparently brilliant performance. Keep 'em comin'.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First official social media reactions are favorable for "The Post"

The stupid "social media sentiment" embargo for The Post was lifted last night, and since it has already screened to a large number of Academy members, SAG members, critics, journalists and various other media outlets, everyone is now tweeting out their initial thoughts.  Entertainment Weekly has a nice crop of the generally positive reactions here.

Of course not every opinion praises the film, but I've read through several articles, including over a dozen pages of comments on Awards Watch, and the general sentiment is definitely that the film is very good. More exiting, however, is that Meryl is being almost universally praised for her understated performance as publisher Katharine Graham. Many are saying it's her best performance in a decade, and that she's by far the best thing about an already good movie.

This is a big deal, folks. We'll know more next week when official reviews can be published on December 6, but Meryl is almost guaranteed a nomination at this point with the feedback we're getting. If Streep is generally raved for her performance, the film reviews result in a Rotten Tomatoes score above 80% or Metacritic score above 80 and the box office ends up being over $100 million, without even mentioning the combined pedigrees of the filmmakers/cast and an extremely topical subject matter, not only will the picture be in contention for the top prize, but so will Meryl for her record-tying fourth Academy Award.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Best Actress 2017: Saoirse Ronan in "Lady Bird"

Things have sort of turned the corner this week for the Oscar race. Every eligible contender has been screened and the Best Actress contenders are therefore becoming increasingly clear. Thus far in my posts regarding Meryl's challengers for her fourth Academy Award, none are likely to actually be nominated (Salma Hayek, Emma Stone, Judi Dench). Over the long holiday weekend, I managed to see a few movies, two of which are almost certain to be recognized with a Best Actress nominee.

The day before Thanksgiving I caught a matinee of Lady Bird. I happen to find Saoirse Ronan to be one of the most delightful actors working in film today, and was excited to watch her fabulous lead turn in Greta Gerwig's solo directorial debut. The film revolves around Christine, who's shucked her parents' given name and chosen to call herself "Lady Bird," and her high school coming of age story set in Sacramento. For more on the specifics of the plot, check out the Wikipedia page.

First off, this cast is filled with actors whom I adore for one reason or another. Ronan's appeal I've already mentioned. Lauri Metcalf holds a soft spot for me, as I was and am a huge fan of Roseanne, and although I'll always see her as "Jackie," she was a marvel as Christine's mom, Marion. I didn't know Lucas Hedges was in the film prior to seeing it, and after last year's Manchester by the Sea (possibly my favorite of 2016), I'm happy to see him in any flick. Tracy Letts, who portrays Christine's dad, was of course was the writer of August: Osage County, which means his brain was essentially responsible for one of Meryl's Oscar nominations. And finally, Timothée Chalamet plays sort of a scuzzball to whom Christine loses her virginity, and happens to star in a likely Academy Award-nominated lead role in Call Me by Your Name, which I've yet to see,but have read the book on which the film is based, and absolutely loved.

Anyway! I'd be shocked if Ronan weren't nominated for every major precursor as well as the Academy Award. That said, I'd be equally shocked if she won the Oscar. But her fans shouldn't fret. If she's nominated for this role, it will be her third before the age of 24. Knowing this, I imagine it's only a matter of time, considering her skills and the variety of roles that attract her interest, before she's on the podium receiving her first little golden guy.

Although I've only seen one of the following five performances, the collective internet "wisdom" has these fine ladies as the leading contenders for Best Actress in a Leading Role:

1. Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
2. Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)--which I saw yesterday, more to come...
3. Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)--which I cannot fucking wait to see!
4. Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
5. Meryl Streep (The Post)

Sidebar: the "social media sentiment" embargo for The Post is lifted tomorrow (Monday), so we'll have a few more specific opinions from individuals who've seen the movie. We'll have to wait for actual reviews until December 6th, unfortunately.

Monday, November 20, 2017

"The Post" screens in New York

Although there is an embargo on official film reviews for The Post, after its Academy screening in New York City last night, some of the pundits who happened to be present have posted their not so necessarily ambiguous reactions online. A Q&A took place after the screening as well which included Meryl, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, among a few others involved with the film's making. Unfortunately, there isn't one video with the whole Q&A, but YouTube has a few shorter clips (posted by Gold Derby).  You should be able to get to the rest of them if you open the following clip in YouTube:

Leave it to Meryl to find interest in and bring attention to a human relationship that most of us probably wouldn't notice or necessarily appreciate right away. Also, Tom O'Neil at Gold Derby updated his Best Actress predictions with Meryl moved up to his top spot, among a few other Oscar prognosticators (although not all moved Meryl to first place). It's still kind of reading the tea leaves at this point, but I'm more confident in the film and Meryl's chances at recognition from what I've seen discussed thus far.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Best Actress 2017: Judi Dench in "Victoria & Abdul"

I managed to get myself to the theater recently to catch a showing of Victoria & Abdul. It was 1997 when Judi Dench sort of burst onto the Oscar scene for her performance as Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown. I'm sure to this day, many believe she was deserving of the award for Best Actress, which she lost to Helen Hunt in As Good as It Gets. Fast forward twenty years, and she's portraying the same character, this time in the queen's final years, when she meets and forms a bond with an Indian subject named Abdul Karim. 

The film itself is fine. I'm a big fan of movies depicting British monarchs, so I'd have been OK seeing it even if there weren't buzz around Dench. I definitely prefer Mrs. Brown, as V&A was pretty predictable and sanctimonious at times. They did a nice job of depicting how awful her family was to Karim (and to her), as her affections for this man disrupted the normalcy of the royal family. 

At this point in the season, Dench is most likely not going to crack the top five for Best Actress. But she does have a few things going for her: one, she's Judi Dench, and the Academy loves her. Two, it's a rather good performance from her, even if the film itself is only at 65% on Rotten Tomatoes. Three, it's been doing quite well at the box office (at least foreign), as it's taken in $60 million worldwide. 

This wouldn't be the first time an actor was nominated twice for the same role. Coincidentally, Cate Blanchett did it for portraying another English Queen, Elizabeth I in Elizabeth, and then nine years later for Elizabeth: The Golden Age. I happen to think both she and Dench were robbed for the former of their two films. 

Right now, although The Post has yet to screen (I believe the first will be for Academy members on Sunday in New York), the top five contending for Best Actress seem to be fairly firm at this point, with Meryl, Frances McDorman (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) and Margot Robbie (I, Tonya). Even though there will apparently be an embargo on reviews after The Post's screening this weekend, I'll keep an eye out for any prediction changes from pundits who were privy to reactions from the Academy. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Anna Wintour interviews Meryl Streep about "The Post"

I thought this was a joke when I first saw the headline, but it's not. And it's amazing. I love listening to Meryl talk about stuff like this and didn't think it was possible to enjoy her any more than I already do, but this may have done it. Check out the special Vogue December cover below. Let the campaign officially begin.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

First trailer for "The Post"

I was up pretty late watching the returns come in for the Minneapolis mayoral race and thank goodness I did, as just before I was about to close my laptop and head to bed, I got an alert that Stephen Colbert premiered the first trailer of The Post on his show tonight:

As is typical, when I've been impatiently waiting for something like this to drop, it's difficult for me to be objective right out of the gates. Main reaction is that the trailer really puts Meryl front and center, in that this is a story chiefly about her character. Many pundits have questioned how large of a role she'd have.  This, in my opinion, puts that curiosity to rest.

Friday, November 3, 2017

New production stills from "The Post"

A pair of new production stills were released today by Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times:

Both are of Meryl with Tom Hanks. I'm guessing the first one might be from one of, if not the very first scene of the film, in which Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee get introduced to us and we learn about their prickly relationship over a lunch meeting. The two photos make the cinematography and production design look very high quality. Janusz Kaminski (director of photography) works with Steven Spielberg on almost all of this films, and the window lighting in the top pic seems very much him.

With the handful of stills that have been released over the past two days, my guess is that we can expect the trailer this week, hopefully sooner than later. Gird your loins.