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17 great performances that were totally overlooked this awards season



Betty Gabriel, Gal Gadot and Adam Driver

Image: mashsable composite

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In theory, awards season is a chance to celebrate the best of the best that Hollywood has to offer. As anyone who’s ever rolled their eyes at a list of nominees could tell you, however, it never quite works out that way in practice.

Fortunately, that doesn’t mean we can’t praise those who were unjustly overlooked.

Below are some of our favorite performances of 2017 that were snubbed by the major awards – by which we mean the Oscars, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Golden Globes, the Indie Spirits, the BAFTAs. (We are not counting critics’ awards, festival awards, or audience awards.)

In no particular order …

Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

Stuhlbarg is actually pulling off the rare and unusual trick of co-starring in three Best Picture nominees without netting a single nomination himself – he’s also in The Post and The Shape of Water. But his third-act monologue in Call Me By Your Name seems like it should be worth a nomination in itself.

Betty Gabriel, Get Out

Gabriel plays a character at war with herself – she’s both the Sunken Place and the one trapped inside the Sunken Place – and it’s to her immense credit that we see that tension all over her face, even when her expression is perfectly pleasant and placid.

Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman

Diana was an impossibly tall order. She had to be both otherworldly and down-to-earth; purely good without being totally dull; sheltered and innocent but never naïve or stupid. Gadot filled all those and imbued Diana with a warmth made her impossible not to love.

Adam Sandler, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Sandler’s work as an overlooked son and affectionate father in The Meyerowitz Stories is so good, it’s almost infuriating. It’s a reminder of just how excellent he is when he tries – which emphasizes just how rarely he does.

Jack Black, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 

Black is playing a teenage girl in a middle-aged man’s body, and he’s so convincing it’s easy to forget we’re not actually watching a teenage girl. Moreover, he manages to pull off that trick without ever once tipping over into caricature or mockery – even when his character is at her most obnoxious.

Chadwick Boseman, Marshall

We’ve been waiting since 2016 or perhaps since the beginning of time for Black Panther, but Chadwick Boseman managed to find time in between to portray former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in a biopic. The young Marshall is idealistic but firm and – perhaps a cinematic liberty – possessed of a charismatic sarcasm. And it helps that he has a nose for justice. – Proma Khosla

Cate Blanchett, Thor: Ragnarok

In typical Marvel fashion, Thor didn’t give its villain nearly enough to do – but Blanchett took what she got and ran with it. She delivers her lines like she’s savoring every vowel, and struts like she knows the entire world is watching. In short, she looks like she’s having the time of her life vamping it up as Hela, and we had the time of our lives watching her do it.

Luke Evans, Beauty and the Beast

Even by cartoon standards, Gaston is larger than life. Luke Evans is not. Or at least we didn’t think he was until we saw Beauty and the Beast, in which he demonstrated that – though he may not have the animated Gaston’s thick neck – he can project a swagger that’s roughly the size of a barge.

Rebecca Hall, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

All of Professor Marston‘s most deeply felt conflicts play out across Hall’s expressive face – she’s a proudly unconventional woman who’s scared to break the rules, a brilliant thinker who goes under-appreciated in her time. On a lesser actress, those contradictions might play as inconsistencies. On Hall, they feel like messy reality.

Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip

Awards voters rarely know what to do with a comedy, so perhaps it’s not all that surprising that Haddish wasn’t nominated. That doesn’t make it any less disappointing. She was one of the biggest breakouts of 2017, and it’s thanks to her unforgettable demonstration that we’ll never look at a grapefruit the same way again.

Jason Mitchell, Mudbound

Mudbound is an all-around acting powerhouse, and Mitchell deserves special recognition for his work as Ronsel. He’s alternately tender and tough, seething with righteous fury and weighed down with regret, and he says as much with the words he can’t say as the ones he does.

Jason Sudeikis, Colossal

In Colossal, Sudeikis took his slightly-douchey-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold schtick to a new level as the ultimate manifestation of the toxic Nice Guy. The genius of his performance lies in its subtlety – he’s never a cackling villain, just an all-too-recognizable regular dude who thinks the world owes him far more than he got.

Dafne Keen, Logan

In a film filled with dusty, hardened men, Keen was the spark of life that made it all seem worthwhile. Her ferocious intensity is what gets you to sit up, but it’s her quiet vulnerability that keeps you paying attention. Even more impressively, she conveys all of this without a single word for much of the film.

O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ingrid Goes West

Jackson first rose to fame playing his dad in Straight Outta Compton, but it was Ingrid Goes West that proved he had more than a famous name. He’s utterly winning as a boy next door with an intriguingly odd edge. That thousand-watt smile helps, too.

Florence Pugh, Lady Macbeth

If you didn’t know who Florence Pugh was before, you’re not likely to forget her after you see Lady Macbeth. Throughout the course of the film, she swings from meek terror to insolent sensuality to ice-cold cruelty – hers is a sly, slippery turn, in the best possible way.

Zac Efron, The Greatest Showman

Truth be told, The Greatest Showman is a hollow Christmas ornament of a movie. But you’d never know it from watching Efron, who elevates every scene he’s in. He’s effortlessly charming in the song-and-dance numbers, and surprisingly soulful in his romantic subplot with Zendaya.

Adam Driver, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Driver gave one of the most indelible performances of 2017 as the conflicted Kylo Ren, adding heartbreaking nuance to the character without ever losing sight of his darker side. (And only occasionally losing track of his shirt.) It’s just a shame that the one thing the Academy disdains more than laugh-out-loud comedies is big-budget blockbusters.

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‘A Star is Born,’ ‘First Man’ And ‘Widows’ Are This Year’s Early Oscar Front-Runners

Charmaine Blake



“On the first day of the Toronto International Film Festival last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the Oscars will table the polarizing new category meant to honor the year’s “outstanding achievement in popular film.” Good. The award isn’t only misguided what makes a film popular, and why reward something on those grounds? but also quite unnecessary, as the festival itself made clear.

Many of the movies that premiered and screened in Toronto are crowd-pleasers destined to earn piles of cash and offer the sort of skillful prestige the Oscars favor. Already I can pinpoint three awards front-runners with solid shots at revenue exceeding the coveted $100 million mark: “A Star Is Born,” “First Man” and “Widows.”

All three have obvious selling points that could vault them into blockbuster territory. “A Star Is Born” is a beloved story exquisitely reimagined by the uberfamous Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga; “Widows” is an electrifying thriller featuring an all-star cast led by Viola Davis; “First Man,” which reunites Ryan Gosling with “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle, depicts Neil Armstrong’s 1969 lunar journey imagery that’s seared into the American consciousness.

If all goes well, these movies will hit the sweet spot between commercial success and artistic merit that the academy seems to think eludes its grasp. (Never mind that “The Shape of Water,” a dreamy sci-fi romance with $195 million in worldwide grosses, scored this year’s Best Picture trophy.) “Star,” “Widows” and “First Man” are major studio releases distributed by Warner Bros., Fox and Universal, respectively, giving them the leverage needed to sail into the national zeitgeist long before fall’s top awards are announced. ……………………….”

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The Coen Brothers Films Ranked!



“With the 20th anniversary re-release of The Big Lebowski, we rank the duos films (directing only), from their 1984 debut Blood Simple to this years The Ballad of Buster Spruggs

18. The Ladykillers (2004)

What on earth was this about? A remake of the Ealing crime-caper classic (with Tom Hanks in Alec Guinnesss crackpot mastermind role) at least proves, if proof were needed, that the Coens have excellent cinephile taste. But this was pointless and baffling. A case of No Coen Do.

17. Burn After Reading (2008)

What a dogs brunch of a film: a strained and unfunny black comic gang-show of big names, with one or two good gags and an admittedly intriguing turn from Brad Pitt as a dopey fitness freak.

16. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

This period Capraesque comedy about an ordinary guy a rather uncharismatic Tim Robbins who is elevated to corporate greatness as part of a share-price scam is an example of how the Coens comedy can sometimes lack focus: too quirky and spongy.

15. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

The Coens love of Preston Sturges resurfaced in this film that whimsically takes upon itself the title of the desperately serious social-realist movie being planned in Sturges 1941 Sullivans Travels. It is an appealing, likable film about three runaway chaingang convicts in depression America who pass themselves off as a bluegrass trio, their record somehow becoming a hit. Silly, amiable stuff that has faded with time.

14. Hail, Caesar! (2016)

More golden age Hollywood nostalgia with this cantering comedy about tinseltown: the boozers, the fixers, the divas, the hoofers, the scribblers. It features George Clooney as a none-too-bright ageing star in a cheesy toga-wearing Roman epic. The movie reminded the world what a great dancer Channing Tatum is.

13. True Grit (2010)

Unprecedented commercial success was what the Coens found with this handsome remake of the 1969 John Wayne classic; or rather a new adaptation of the original novel by Charles Portis. Jeff Bridges was probably the only possible casting as the no-account Rooster Cogburn, with Hailee Steinfeld as his employer, the 14-year-old Mattie Ross. It is a good-natured, well-made movie, but perhaps without the strong taste of the original, or the Coens other films.

True Grit. Photograph: HO/Reuters

12. Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

Here is the biggest underrating issue in contemporary Coenological studies. On release, most critics seemed to decide that this screwball divorce comedy with Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney was no good. I disagree. The smoothie lawyer Miles Massey was a part Clooney was born to play, and Zeta-Joness cat-that-has-every-intention-of-getting-the-cream predator is tremendous.

11. Raising Arizona (1987)

Some Coenoisseurs regard this early comedy as one of the top three; maybe even the gold medal. For me, it doesnt stand up that well, but it is an utterly distinctive film with twang and snap, a realist-fantasy action comedy drama with weird subplots and extraneous minor characters. Holly Hunter is the cop who falls in love with Nicolas Cages criminal; on discovering they cant have kids, they get involved in the most wackily innocent child abduction imaginable.

10. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

The Coens have created a gem with their latest film, a western portmanteau of tales from a comically picturesque old west, conceived with humour, warmth and visual flair. Some stories are better than others, but the best are superb, and Tim Blake Nelson has what must be the greatest role of his career as Buster Scruggs, the singin, gunslingin cowpoke……………………………..”

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Burt Reynolds: the Easygoing Cannonball of Old-School Hollywood Manliness | Peter Bradshaw

Charmaine Blake



In his heyday in movies like Smokey and the Bandit, Reynolds became a hugely popular star who embodied the twinkly-eyed mans man with a touch of the rebel

“At his peak, Burt Reynolds had the kind of face, the kind of body, the kind of masculinity and appeared in the kind of movie that hasnt been fashionable in Hollywood for decades. From 1978 to 1982, Burt Reynolds in all his easygoing ruggedness was the undisputed king: the industrys top grossing star every year in that time for increasingly unfashionable but lucrative pictures. It was a short but legendary reign, after which his awful career moves, calamitous personal investments and matrimonial woes put his star into the descendant. But, like Travolta, he enjoyed a hip and postmodern comeback in the 1990s as the porn movie mogul in Paul Thomas Andersons Boogie Nights (1997), a role with a streak of darkness which reconnected to him to the disturbing John Boorman picture that made his name in 1972, Deliverance, the story of four white salarymen who go on a trip to the Georgia wilderness, unwisely patronise the locals and encounter a situation which unlocks ruthless violence in Reynoldss character.

But Deliverance however sensational it was was a slightly atypical role for Reynolds. In his glorious, sunlit heyday, Burt Reynolds was an easygoing figure. He had a wide, handsome and very intelligent face: sometimes accessorised with a big moustache, he appeared in an outdoors-guy leather, denim, sometimes in lawmans uniform or sports kit the kind of rangy look that was later co-opted by the gay community. Reynolds had a fine singing voice and appeared opposite Dolly Parton in the musical The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, and in 1973 released a country album called Ask Me What I Am…………………..”

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