In case you were wondering: Yes, Meryl Streep is our greatest living actress. There is clearly no role this woman can’t play, as her Oscar-winning performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady attests.
The movie itself is a mess, which makes Streep’s accomplishment stand out even more. Director Phyllida Lloyd shows the elderly Thatcher puttering around her house, having imagined conversations with her late husband, Denis (Jim Broadbent). As she observes the changing world around her, Thatcher recalls key moments in her life, from her days as a politically aware teenager to her controversial run as Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Tale of pride and family transcends Iran’s struggle between tradition and modernity.
By LOEY LOCKERBY
Special to The Star.
Rated PG-13 | Time: 2:03 In Farsi with subtitles
A Separation begins with two characters looking directly at the camera.
They’re in a courtroom, talking to an off-screen judge, but the audience becomes involved immediately as Simin (Leila Hatami) and Nader (Peyman Moaadi), a middle-class Iranian couple, argue their case. This urgent intimacy permeates writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s drama, as memory, emotion and self-interest collide in the lives of otherwise ordinary people.
A Separation won the Academy Award for best foreign language film (and was nominated for original screenplay), and it illustrates how a filmmaker can work around government censorship to reveal a great deal about Iranian culture — and human nature — without being overtly political.
I was at a fabulous Oscar-viewing party this year, hosted by my friends at Scene-Stealers and Lost in Reviews, so there were plenty of distractions during the telecast. That was probably a good thing, as I can barely remember any specifics about the show. And that’s not the alcohol talking, either….
Billy Crystal is like Oscar-host comfort food. Even when his jokes fell flat, it was just so nice to have him around, I honestly didn’t mind.
The show itself was solid, professional, no-bullshit. Admirable, but not much fun. We need streakers and impromptu smooching and one-armed push-ups (not all at the same time…necessarily).
The only interesting things that happened all night were before and after the show – Sacha Baron Cohen dumping “ashes” on Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet, and Sean Young getting arrested for starting a fight at the Governor’s Ball. Save it for the broadcast, people!
The one year they decide not to have Best Song performances is the one year there are only two nominees, and they’re both good. Next year, it’ll be back to the likes of Phil Collins and Celine Dion, and we can schedule our bathroom breaks accordingly.
The Cirque du Soleil routine made absolutely no sense, but was kind of awesome nonetheless. Which should be their official motto.
If Meryl Streep and Christopher Plummer can’t win every year, can they at least write everyone else’s speeches? I can almost forgive Viola Davis losing, since it meant hearing Streep be her witty, charming self.
Is there a rehab program for Oscar producers who can’t stop with the pointless montages? Every year, we get this crap (what was Adam Sandler doing anywhere near an Oscar broadcast?). At least this year, it didn’t suck up too much time.
You know what would be a great use of that time? Letting the honorary/special Oscar winners be part of the show again. Their absence is a continuing travesty. Who wouldn’t want to hear James Earl Jones give an acceptance speech?
On a related note, winners on the telecast were actually allowed to accept their awards, without being played off by the orchestra after two seconds. It’s nice that someone, somewhere remembered what this show is supposed to be about.
But seriously, no more Adam Sandler. At least until he makes another Punch-Drunk Love.
Young Adult should have gotten an Original Screenplay nod, along with an acting slot for Charlize Theron.
I’ve seen two of the Foreign Language nominees! In Darkness and A Separation are both excellent. Catch them if you get the chance.
There are only two nominees for Best Song. Finally, the Academy has figured out what the rest of us have known for years – there are never five good contenders for this category. Plus, the show won’t be dragged out by unnecessary, terrible production numbers. I hope.
I’m looking forward to seeing Billy Crystal again. Let’s just cut out all the gimmicks (Brett Ratner, really?) and focus on the awards for a change. Crystal knows what he’s doing, probably better than anyone.
The lack of primo Pixar product this year left some interesting slots open in Best Animated Film. Aside from the usual kids’ movies (Rango, Kung Fu Panda 2 & Puss in Boots) are two foreign films nobody’s ever heard of – A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita.
Like all film fanatics, I was up early this morning to get the scoop on the Oscar nods. What a weird year. Do you realize a mostly silent, black & white French movie with no big stars could win Best Picture? Try to comprehend the awesomeness of that.
Disappointments? Oh, naturally. Best Actress was a super-competitive category this year, so it was inevitable that several deserving nominees would be shut out. Why can’t they expand all the categories, instead of just Best Picture? You don’t even need the crazy calculus they use to determine that category – just open up, say, 7-10 slots in each, and let it ride.