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Guy Pearce celebrates his 50th today. Born in England, he spent most of his youth in Australia, and began his screen career with a three-year run on the durable Australian soap opera Neighbors, after which he had a brief stint on the other long-running Aussie soap, Home and Away, and a regular role on Snowy River: The McGregor Saga. He also made a few Australian films in the early 1990s; he played a drag queen in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which was a surprise success.
However, Pearce was still little-known in the US when he was cast as Ed Exley, one of the three protagonists of Curtis Hanson’s neo-noir L.A. Confidential, adapted from James Ellroy’s novel. After that success, Pearce appeared in two major Hollywood productions in 2000. One, Rules of Engagement, was a relative failure, barely making back its production budget, while the other, a more modestly-budgeted picture, overcame marketing and distribution difficulties to become a financial and critical success.
Kate Winslet celebrates her 41st today. She began acting in 1991 in British television. Her film debut was in 1994, as Juliet Hulme in Heavenly Creatures. In the next two years she was featured in several literary adaptations: as Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, as Sue Bridehead in Jude, and as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. Then, after lobbying James Cameron intensely for the part, she was cast in a certain disaster movie/romance:
Do you sometimes wish you lived in one of those ‘parallel universes’ or ‘alternate realities’ science fiction stories are so fond of dreaming up? You know, the kind where the whims of you and your friends would just fall into place and where your own tastes were pretty much accepted as common knowledge. Well, we’re going to give you just a little taste of what such a place would be like today. In this scenario, we plunge into the heart of a black hole and come out on the other end in a universe in which LeBlog readers are the arbiters of all pop culture taste. So much so, in fact, that when it’s time to give out the yearly awards in film (affectionately nicknamed “the Lebeaus”) it is only the members of the Academy of our readership who get a vote on the major categories. The golden statuette is a reference to two of our favorite genre pictures, Star Wars and Goldfinger. It carries a sword to deal with any smart guys who find it necessary to point out that the history of these awards goes back thirty-five years prior to either of those movies.
Today we will discover how such a world would be different from our own in respects to the film awards that were given out just this past weekend in our own tawdry original timeline. How do we know such a thing? Well, thankfully we’ve been collecting data from our readers over the last couple of weeks for just such an occasion. Obviously, from the top image you can tell that our wise readers have selected George Miller’s thrilling action sequel Mad Max: Fury Road as Best Picture of the year. The decision was not unanimous, with Earth 616’s eventual winner Spotlight posting a strong second place showing. In the end, however, brilliant production design and water tight staging of action sequences won the Lebeau for Miller and company.
Would you like to see the rest of this parallel universe? Just click below and enter a most glorious place and time.
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The supporting actor and actress Oscars were not given out by the Academy for the first eight years of the existence of the yearly film awards. Only lead actors were apparently deemed worthy of such plaudits at first. Is it any wonder supporting performers so often feel so undervalued?
It doesn’t help that two of this year’s five nominees for Best Supporting Actress are clear examples of “Category Fraud.” Both Alicia Vikander of The Danish Girl and Rooney Mara of Carol are undoubtedly actresses who played leads who are slumming in the supporting category in hopes of a win against competitors with less screen time. Of course, this isn’t really the actual actress’ decision in most cases, but the decision of somebody at the studio who is promoting the film and its artists for awards. Should there be some sort of objective criteria to identify what makes a lead performance? Maybe. But how? By billing? That backfired on Robert Shaw on The Sting. Number of lines? That could negatively effect a lead in a quiet film with little dialogue. Total time on screen or percentage of time on screen? Okay, but what if a character dies early in the story and their body hangs out in the background the rest of the way? Maybe a committee independent of the studios? Ugh-the committee hasn’t even been named yet and it’s already corrupt. I don’t really have the solution right now, but boy something should be done. It’s been a problem for a long time.
Okay so, with that out of the way, let’s take a quick look at each of the actresses in the Supporting Actress category this time around. You’ll find them listed in the order that the awards obsessives rank them based on their likelihood of winning.
“A treasure trove of top tens to help you make your way through the booby-trapped jungle of Tinseltown’s younger stars, comers and soon-to-be-goners.”
I had a lot of fun revisiting predictions made by Movieline magazine in their 1991 Young Hollywood issue. So naturally, I went back for more. The format of the magazine changed every year. Future issues didn’t include the same “Who’s Who”-style article I covered last time. But, the 1996 issue included some fun top ten lists.
Here are some of my favorites along with some modern-day commentary of my own.