Did I miss anyone out? Let me know in the comments section below!
The 90th Academy Awards is just a few months away - and you can tell. The industry has stepped up its game by firing out its best and brightest titles in the hopes of bagging gold - but who’ll come out on top? While Oscar predictions can often be hit and miss, some stars wear their intentions very much on their sleeve when it comes to Academy approval. People like...
When actors pick roles the old saying goes: one for them, one for you. Unless you’re Joaquin Phoenix. The Gladiator star seems to have dedicated his entire career to fully immersing himself in characters most likely to land him on the Best Actor shortlist. While he may have only been nominated thrice (Gladiator in 2001, Walk The Line in 2006 and The Master in 2013), you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s happened more, having starred in look-at-me awards fodder Her, Inherent Vice and Irrational Man all in the last decade alone. This year’s no different, with Phoenix doubling-down on his personal quest by playing none other than the Son of God in Mary Magdalene. Thems some big sandals to fill. Jesus Christ, somebody give this guy an Oscar.
Some stars have been around long enough to vary their output to suit all audiences whilst still managing to juggle their dedication to earning an industry nod. Amy Adams has dabbled in almost every genre going - from big budget kids films like Enchanted to questionable tent-pole epics like Man of Steel - and yet at the same time she’s proven time and time again that there’s much more going on beneath the surface. 2005’s Junebug flagged this aspect of her character early on and it’s continued with powerful performances in 2008’s Doubt, 2010’s The Fighter and most recently 2016’s quiet sci-fi Arrival. Adams may be following up her appearance in Tom Ford’s artfully shot Nocturnal Animals with a return to popcorn cinema in Justice League and Disney sequel Disenchanted but it feels like it’s only a matter of time until she bags gold.
Jake Gyllenhaal burst onto the scene in 2001’s Donnie Darko, a film that was possibly a little too bizarre for major industry recognition at the time but one that perfectly showcased the burgeoning actor’s talent and potential. He may have been unable to resist the occasional big studio paycheque (Prince of Persia, we’re looking at you) but Gyllenhaal has consistently returned to roles with depth, pathos and the ability to appear on the radars of Academy voters. In 2006, he came tantalisingly close with Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain and has tried restlessly to return to that spot in the years since, with smart choices like 2013’s Prisoners, 2014’s Nightcrawler and 2016’s Nocturnal Animals. With his new one Stronger pulling on heart strings by telling a real-life Boston bombing tale, perhaps 2017 could finally be his year.
It takes some serious acting chops to receive four Best Actress nominations, especially when you consider the time and effort it takes to fully embody a character worthy of receiving that accolade. Then there’s all the additional press and promotional work that so often comes hand-in-hand with pushing for Academy recognition, all when you could very easily be making a decent living with big payday roles in summer blockbusters. And yet one look at Michelle Williams’ IMDB page showcases her dedication to constantly churning out high-brow content. Whether it’s showcasing all colours of a long-term relationship in Blue Valentine, taking centre stage in My Week With Marilyn or playing opposite grief in Manchester By The Sea - Williams’ end-goal is clear. Your move, Academy.
He made his name by making us laugh in Bruce Almighty, Anchorman and of course, America’s superb adaptation of The Office but Steve Carell clearly has higher aspirations than tickling a few funny bones. His serious slant was teased relatively early on when he played a suicidal teacher in the ace Little Miss Sunshine but it was his transformative portrayal of the troubled John du Pont in 2014’s dark drama Foxcatcher that made his intentions of Oscar glory crystal clear. While his goal may be set, making the transition from token funnyman to the owner of a gold bloke is no easy task (Robin Williams did it but not many others have) but by continuing to surprise audiences with roles like the one he files in this year’s Battle of the Sexes, Carell could very well be in with a chance.
Did I miss anyone out? Let me know in the comments section below!
“We made a movie about the worst movie and it might be our best movie,” Tweeted Seth Rogan earlier this week. He was referring to The Disaster Artist, a James Franco-Directed retelling of how one of the best-worst-movies ever came to be and the pair’s latest project. Franco’s film chronicles the creation of Tommy Wiseau’s bizarre passion project The Room, a now-infamous cult-favourite that has been celebrated in cult circles since its 2003 release. Never heard of it? You’re missing out - but in the meantime, here’s a whistle-stop guide.
Following years of failed auditions, mysterious struggling actor Tommy Wiseau pens a script and enlists the help of his friend and fellow budding thesp Greg Sestero alongside a cast, crew and seemingly never-ending back account to bring his dream to life and show Hollywood what they’re missing. The end result was The Room - a truly awful yet awfully hilarious guide on how not to make a movie. Audiences loved it, just not for the reasons Wiseau intended and almost fifteen years later, the film still manages to draw eager crowds. It’s an impressive feat but one that makes you wonder - what elements does a so-bad-it’s-good movie need to elevate it above being just another bad film?
Word of mouth is a base ingredient. Much like fellow terrible tale Troll 2, chatter amongst movie fans helps raise a bad film’s status and that doesn’t come without some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments. Troll 2 hit the mark and eventually got its day in the sun via Director Michael Paul Stephen’s ace documentary Best Worst Movie. Both are proof that a movie can be terrible for many reasons and if its a real turkey, it evaporates out of a viewer’s brain almost instantly. In the case of The Room and Troll 2 the opposite was true, with fans barely able to contain themselves during viewings without blurting out one of the movie’s many awkwardly delivered lines.
However with The Room, the key element that helped it avoid an eternity in obscurity was having a creator who was full of real-life intrigue. To this day nobody quite knows where the clandestine Wiseau is actually from, what his actual age is or where he got the (reportedly) $6 million he needed to finance, promote and self-distribute the movie. In the years since, Wiseau has appeared at numerous screenings all over the world to interact with fans and famous friends in his own bizarre way, proving that despite his oddball persona he’s more than grateful for the appreciation of his work.
Ironically, this key saving grace of The Room is also the most successful aspect of The Disaster Artist. Franco’s rendition of Wiseau is weird and wonderful in spades but also accessible and empathetic at the same time. In both cases it’s hard not to think that without this alluring figure at their core, both films would hardly be worthy of comment, regardless of whether they were good or bad.
What do you think makes bad movies good? Let me know in the comments section below!
Author: Simon Bland