The Academy Awards for 2008 have been handed out, and the “popular kids” have Oscars on their mantles, but the dirty little secret about winning awards is that you’ve gotta campaign for them. Thousands of dollars were spent by the distributors and filmmakers behind Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Milk (Focus Features), The Reader (Weinstein) and other assorted winners and nominees, but not all performances received that sort of big money backing.
I am an unabashed lover of the acting craft. I see virtually every movie, large and small, that passes through the US marketplace, and, taking nothing away from Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz and Heath Ledger, not all of 2008’s best performances have been recognized. I’m not going to be obvious here. Clint Eastwood was snubbed for Gran Torino, but he received lots of acclaim for the role including being named Best Actor by the National Board of Review. My goal is to highlight 10 performances from last year that have received virtually no acclaim in the US. Many of these roles can be found in hardly-seen, under-appreciated movies that came and went without much notice. Each and every one of these movies deserve a spot in your Netflix (or Blockbuster) cue.
My list is by no means definitive. If you have a favorite performance from 2008 that sticks with you, this is a great place to tell the world. There were 20 actors nominated on Oscar night, but there is a lot of great work that hasn’t been recognized with a walk down the red carpet.
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Well, it’s official: Martin Scorsese‘s mystery drama, due in 2009 and formerly known as Shutter Island, is now entitled Ashecliffe. New title is the name of the plot’s asylum located on the fictional island off Boston harbor. No word on why the title was changed. I keep thinking of a fat kid with a pinwheel hat pronouncing it “Asscliffe” while producing lots of drool to entertain himself. Shutter Island is also the name of the 2003 Dennis Lehane novel on which the film is based.
Dehane is quoted as saying his novel is a cross between the classic, romantic imagery found in Bronte sisters’ literature (Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre) and the paranoid creepiness of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1956, the decade in which the book is based. I wouldn’t read it, but I’d watch it. Scorsese’s film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, the currently mourning Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley (hot off The Wackness) and Patricia Clarkson. And if you’re a babe wondering about Sly Stallone, he’s no longer rumored to be involved. So, babe, you like Rambo, huh?
All of the details thus far make it sound like an ideal bookend to the director’s wonderfully deranged and tension-bubbling remake of Cape Fear from 1991. As long as the fat, drooling kid above doesn’t sit behind me, call me siked. And is it just me, or does Paramount seem like its behind all of the surefire moneymaking powerhouse flicks these days?
Were you a fan of the HBO series Six Feet Under? I was one of those people who discovered the movie on DVD, and watched almost every single episode in the span of a few weeks. I have yet to see another show with the same sensibilities. Six Feet Under screenwriter Nancy Oliver’s new movie Lars and the Real Girl has some of the same dark weird dramatic comedy. The film is described as:
A heartfelt comedy starring Academy-Award nominated Ryan Gosling as Lars Lindstrom a loveable introvert whose emotional baggage has kept him from fully embracing life.Â After years of what is almost solitude, he invites Bianca, a friend he met on the internet to visit him.Â He introduces Bianca to his Brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and his wife Karen (Emily Mortimer) and they are stunned.Â They don’t know what to say to Lars or Bianca â€“ because she is a life-size doll, not a real person and he is treating her as though she is alive.Â They consult the family doctor Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson) who explains this is a delusion he’s created â€“ for what reason she doesn’t yet know but they should all go along with it.Â What follows is an emotional journey for Lars and the people around him.
Check out the trailer after the jump.
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Warner Bros sent over 20 new production photos from No Reservations (Movie Trailer), the by the book dramatic crisis romantic comedy, complete with the overtly cute little kid (who you might reccognize as Abigail Breslin from Little Miss Sunshine). We’re not really too interested in this one, but since we have the photos, I may as well post them (and heck, some of our female readers might be interested). Check out the photos and official plot synopsis after the jump. As always, left click to enlarge the photos.
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