Octavia Spencer was primarily a career TV guest star for the first 20 years of her career. There aren’t many dramas or comedies from the late 1990s to early 2000s that don’t have a guest appearance from Spencer. She picked up the odd role in films, but it wasn’t until her Oscar-winning turn in The Help that he exploded into one of the best character actresses in Hollywood. Spencer is almost never the star, but any film is immediately elevated by her presence, versatility, and strength as an actress. Equally comfortable with drama or comedy, Spencer has a deceptive intensity. When she fixes her gaze on the target of her character’s focus, she commands not only their attention, but transfixes the audience as well. With multiple Oscar nominations since breaking out in The Help, Spencer has become one of the most sought after additions to any ensemble cast. Continue reading Octavia Spencer’s 10 Best Movies→
Kevin Costner didn’t turn out to be the second coming of Gary Cooper that some people thought he would be in the late 1980s to early 1990s. A champion of sports films and westerns (genres he’s continued to revisit over and over during his four decade career), Costner’s meteoric rise, which peaked with the success of Dances With Wolves ended with legendarily horrific production nightmares on subsequent directorial efforts like Waterworld and The Postman. Costner’s star fell and fell hard. However, the actor has-in the past decade-reinvented himself as a supporting character actor and done better work there than he ever did as a leading man. Hidden Figures, Man of Steel, Molly’s Game, The Company Men, and more all feature Costner in strong supporting roles in ensemble films, and he’s become so good at it that his appearance in a film’s credits makes a film more appealing than it does when he was one of the biggest stars in the world. Continue reading Kevin Costner’s 10 Best Movies→
I’m a born and bred space nerd, so any movie that tells me a story I don’t already know about NASA’s golden age already has me at hello. Hidden Figures wasn’t as good a film as it was hyped to be, but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t a great story told exceptionally well with a fantastic ensemble. It’s a both sad and practical problem that there have been so many films about discrimination that it’s sometimes hard to hammer home the vicious indignity of it without borrowing from previous efforts.
What Hidden Figures did so well was to take an everyday reality for every person on the planet-using the restroom-and make it the film’s most poignant moment of the maddening unfairness of segregation. Kevin Costner and Taraji Henson both give fantastic performances in this film, and Henson’s quiet character finally losing her mind over the ridiculousness of having to run 30 minutes to find a “colored restroom” is a wonderfully written and performed monologue. Costner’s response has a lot fewer words in it, but then he got to do his talking with a crowbar.
Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. January 27th has three challengers to the surprising success of Split, though none of them are garnering much praise with critics. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (1/27/2017): Resident Evil 6, A Dog’s Purpose, Gold→
This morning, the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were announced and, as expected, La La Land lead the way with 14 nominations, which ties Titanic and All About Eve for the most in Oscar history. It literally cannot win more than 13 (it has two songs nominated), but if it walks away with less than 10 I’ll be shocked. The biggest snub on the entire list is Amy Adams inexplicably being left off the Best Actress list, but Arrival still tied for the second most nominations with Moonlight, each film getting 8 nods. Hacksaw Ridge and Lion each received six nominations.
For geeks, Rogue One got two nominations as did Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but nothing for Captain America: Civil War or Deadpool, but Suicide Squad got one nomination. Oh Oscars, you always me confused beyond belief. No Finding Dory for Best Animated film…..but an animated film is nominated for Best Special Effects? One nomination for The Jungle Book? And, I will certainly be rooting for Emma Stone come Oscar night because the only two performances on her level in Arrival were Amy Adams (SERIOUSLY?) and Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen, which was also completely shut out
The 89th annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT. The only way I can stay sane when the Oscars do what they always do, is to have my own, which we do annually on the site, and The Renaissance Film Awards (or the Rennys as people in the biz call them) will be posted during Oscar Week. Now here’s the complete list of categories and nominees (I was going to go through and analyze who will win each category, but here’s a quick and dirty way: if La La Land is nominated in the category, there is an 85 – 100% chance of it winning that category, except for the Oscar that Casey Affleck will get for one of the most overrated movies in recent memory. Continue reading 2017 Oscar Nominations Announced: “Or La La Land and Some Other Films→