Posts Tagged ‘Jessica Chastain’
It’s that time of year again – time to predict who will win the ultimate Hollywood prize at the grandest award show in the world. The 85th Academy Awards are going to be a place where young careers get made, long careers get rewarded, and viewers get incensed that their favorites didn’t win. We’ll get ready to hear, “I’ve never even heard of that movie,” “How could she win, she didn’t even deserve to be nominated,” and of course the old favorite, “Of course that would win. The Academy doesn’t know what people actually like.”
We must keep in mind two very important things: 1) “The Academy” is not some shadowy panel of a dozen or so anonymous judges, but hundreds of well-known industry participants. 2) The winners are not meant to represent what American culutre’s favorites are. If only box office favorites were ever nominated, we’d have The Avengers going up against The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games – none of which objectively deserve to be called Best Picture.
Figuring out who will win for which category takes a special sense of reasoning. So special, in fact, that all three of our writers – Dan Supanik, Marisa Carpico, and Cliff Bugle – claim to be the only one to have that sense. And yet, they disagree about who will in the six most important categories. Read on to see what the chances are of your favorites winning, and which of them will be left sitting in their seats giving disappointed claps of congratulations.
Director: John Hillcoat
Length: 1h 56m
Synopsis: [Based on a true story] During the Prohibition era of American history, the Bondurant brothers (Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, and Jason Clarke) cook and distributed bootleg alcohol around the state of Virginia. Amidst their success they attracted the ire of federal law, and found themselves working and fighting against ruthless agent Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce). This fight led them down many roads, among them new avenues of success as well as dark alleys of vengeance. Through it all, they struggled to remain unified as a family.
Director: Jeff Nichols
Screenwriter: Jeff Nichols
Synopsis: Curtis (Shannon) is a husband, father, and construction worker whose main concern is providing for his family. Recently, however, he’s been experiencing vivid nightmares involving terrible storms that compel him to expensively modify the storm shelter behind his rural home. With his worries seemingly unfounded, his efforts cause his wife (Chastain), friends, and community to suspect that he’s succumbing to psychosis just like his mother did when he was young. The project takes a financial and emotional toll that threatens his marriage and way of life, but he just can’t shake the feeling that another kind of catastrophe lies just over the horizon. He tries desperately to seek help, but finds that the only way to ease his anxiety is to finish creating that which is meant to protect what he’s so close to losing. What happens after it’s finished, however, will end up challenging him the most.
Director: Tate Taylor
Screenwriter: Tate Taylor, Kathryn Stockett (novel)
Length: 2h 17m
Synopsis: Rural Mississippi in the 1960s, before the civil rights movement gained much momentum, was a cesspool of racism and bigotry. In the town of Jackson, where every upper-middle class housewife hires the services of a negro maid to cook, clean, and raise her children, recent college grad Skeeter (Stone) decides to collect testimonies from the maids of her friends and neighbors. Looking to reveal the level of hardship these women go through on a daily basis, Skeeter’s project commences with the testament of a maid named Aibileen (Davis) who works for her friend Hilly (Howard). As the stories get darker Skeeter can’t help but become more involved, and before she knows it her sympathies for negroes ostracizes her. She and the women she interviews, with tensions growing throughout the town, grow increasingly disconcerted, but despite the dangerous risks they take they must believe that their collaboration is for a higher purpose. When fortune smiles and Skeeter’s work is published as a compilation of anonymous depositions a palpable sense of relief can be felt, as though the gravity of what they accomplished had drastically changed their world in an instant. However, the reality is that what they had done had not yet changed their world as they had hoped, but it did begin to change. And in a town where progress hadn’t been seen in ages, to see it again at all is enough to provide hope that they might get to see even more of it.
Director: Terrence Malick
Screenwriter: Terrence Malick
Length: 2h 18m
Synopsis: The era is 1950s America. Mr. O’Brien (Pitt) is an old-fashioned man who, like his father before him, adopted the kind of parenting skills that, looking back, leave a bit to be desired. He cares for his wife (Chastain) and three sons, but his disciplinary methods and anger issues prevent too strong of a connection from forming between them – at least not in the same sense that parents nowadays are expected to achieve. The eldest son, Jack (McCracken), goes through a sort of coming of age process that involves learning various exceptional and unexceptional life lessons, mostly by way of observing his father, mother, brothers, and friends. This family story is also at certain intervals juxtaposed with scenes showing the creation of the universe, extinction of the dinosaurs, and several biblical references. To be sure, it is very much an avant garde film; using montage at certain points not too unlike what Eisenstein might have enjoyed, as well as narrative temporality that likens back to the French New Wave. It belongs with the class of films that can be described as being like a Rorschach test: you will understand it best from your own perspective, and feel sensitivity in whichever ways correlate with that perspective. It is not necessarily whatever you want it to be, but it is dramatically more abstract than anything else Terrence Malick has done.