Meryl @ 68 – Happy Birthday, My Love

meryl.jpgPhoto from Variety.

I started becoming so passionate about film around 2008. I was thirteen years old.

I watched all the Best Picture nominees at the Oscars. I tried to watch as many Oscar nominees as possible.

That year, one film really stuck with me like no other, and I think it’s still my most watched film from that year. It was Doubt.

The entire cast was excellent – from Amy Adams’ delicately balancing nun, to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s emotionally charged priest, to Viola Davis’ rapturous one-scene wonder.

But of course, my eyes were on that nun, Sister Aloysius Beauvier.

Meryl Streep played her. Or to say it better, Meryl was Sister Aloysius.

I was just so attached on her quiet ferocity, that determination that simmers as she fights for what she believes is the right thing to do. And on repeated viewings, Meryl just stuck with me as, for lack of the better word, the definition of ‘great’.

When I say a performance is ‘great’, I always go back to Meryl and see if “has this person met her standards?”.

I know it’s not fair to do that to other actors, but that’s how she struck me. And then 2009 came – Julie and Julia and It’s Complicated. I loved her in both.

By that time, I was just fascinated by how she always does her best in acting but not seeming as if she was trying to hard.

She came at a crucial moment in my life – as my love for film was about to become serious (which eventually led me to taking Bachelor of Arts in Film as my course), she was there, reminding me of what excellence is and how a person can convey so much, can portray life within the limited time of a film.

Meryl Streep, in other words, was a godsend for me.

And I couldn’t be more thankful for her existence.

She’s a trailblazer – she showed through her work how her willingness to bare herself in camera can help us understand more about other people.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this. Meryl has influenced generations of actors, filmmakers, and artists not just in acting and in film, but also in life.

I haven’t met her yet. I don’t know if I ever will.

I really wish I could meet her one day and give her a big hug for everything she has done.

I know she’s just trying to do her best in her craft, but in doing so, she has touched so many lives.

And I’m no exception.

To (probably) my first true love in film.

I love you, Meryl.

And I thank you for what you have done to us.

Here’s looking forward to your future work (and Oscar nominations) while I also go back to your earlier works.

Here’s an altar of her twenty Oscar nominated roles, an all-time record (and I seriously doubt someone will break that anytime soon).

meryl @ 20.png

Just for the fun of ranking stuff, here’s how I’d rank her Oscar-nominated works (performances, not the films; all good-to-all-time-great; purely subjective):

  1. Sophie’s Choice (1982) as Sophie Zawistowski
  2. The Iron Lady (2011) as Margaret Thatcher
  3. Doubt (2008) as Sister Aloysius Beauvier
  4. Ironweed (1987) as Helen Archer
  5. A Cry in the Dark (1988) as Lindy Chamberlain
  6. Silkwood (1983) as Karen Silkwood
  7. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) as Joanna Kramer
  8. The Devil Wears Prada (2006) as Miranda Priestly
  9. Postcards from the Edge (1990) as Suzanne Vale
  10. August: Osage County (2013) as Violet Weston
  11. Julie and Julia (2009) as Julia Child
  12. Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) as Florence Foster Jenkins
  13. One True Thing (1998) as Kate Gulden
  14. Adaptation. (2002) as Susan Orlean
  15. Music of the Heart (1999) as Roberta Guaspari
  16. The Deer Hunter (1978) as Linda
  17. Out of Africa (1985) as Karen Blixen
  18. The Bridges of Madison County (1995) as Francesca Johnson
  19. The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981) as Sarah/Anna
  20. Into the Woods (2014) as The Witch

Plus, her non-Oscar nominated performances:

  1. The Hours (2002) as Clarissa Vaughan
  2. Ricki and the Flash (2015) as Linda Brummel/Ricki Rendazzo
  3. Hope Springs (2012) as Kay Soames
  4. The River Wild (1994) as Gail Hartman
  5. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) as Mrs. Fox
  6. It’s Complicated (2009) as Jane Adler
  7. Suffragette (2015) as Emmeline Pankhurst
  8. The Homesman (2014) as Altha Carter
  9. Mamma Mia! (2008) as Donna Sheridan

There you go. Looking forward to more years to come for you.

Always wishing you the success you deserve and the health that you need to do great work, on and off-screen.

Happy birthday, My Love.

Love you, Meryl.

Best Picture Nominees (2009-2016), RANKED

Since the Academy Awards reinstated the expanded Best Picture field in the 82nd Academy Awards (2009 in film), a system implemented during from 1930s to mid-1940s, the Academy has nominated 72 films for the awards’ highest honor.

Now in its eighth year, this new system has produced some of the most out-there choices, films that would not have gone anywhere near the Best Picture race had it stayed the traditional five nominees, as well as some stinkers that benefitted from the increased number of slots in the category.

Here is my ranking of the 72 Best Picture nominees from 2009 to 2016:

Gravity (2013) and Spotlight (2015) – the best nominee and the best winner of this category since the expanded category began in 2009.

BEST OF THE BEST
1. Gravity (2013)
2. Spotlight (2015) – WINNER
3. La La Land (2016)
4. Arrival (2016)
5. Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) – WINNER
6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
7. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
8. Amour (2012)
9. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
10. The Tree of Life (2011)
11. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
12. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
13. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
14. Inception (2010)
15. Black Swan (2010)
16. Whiplash (2014)
17. The Artist (2011) – WINNER
18. The Hurt Locker (2009) – WINNER
19. Up (2009)
20. Hell or High Water (2016)
21. 12 Years a Slave (2013) – WINNER
22. Les Miserables (2012)
23. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
24. The Revenant (2015)
25. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
26. Selma (2014)
27. Up in the Air (2009)

Relatively young production/distribution company A24 scored back-to-back nominations with Room (2015) and Moonlight (2016), with the latter becoming a landmark Best Picture winner.

GREAT CHOICES
28. The King’s Speech (2010) – WINNER
29. Room (2015)
30. Moonlight (2016) – WINNER
31. The Martian (2015)
32. The Fighter (2010)
33. Her (2013)
34. The Social Network (2010)
35. Toy Story 3 (2010)
36. Brooklyn (2015)
37. Hugo (2011)
38. Midnight in Paris (2011)
39. Nebraska (2013)
40. District 9 (2009)
41. Captain Phillips (2013)
42. Lincoln (2012)
43. Lion (2015)
44. An Education (2009)
45. True Grit (2010)

EARNED THOSE BEST PICTURE NOMINATIONS
46. Life of Pi (2012)
47. Boyhood (2014)
48. Hidden Figures (2016)
49. Manchester by the Sea (2016)
50. A Serious Man (2009)
51. Winter’s Bone (2010)
52. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
53. Fences (2016)
54. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
55. Philomena (2013)
56. The Imitation Game (2014)
57. Moneyball (2011)
58. The Kids are All Right (2010)
59. The Help (2011)
60. 127 Hours (2010)
61. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
62. American Hustle (2013)

STRIKING MERITS DESPITE MY INDIFFERENCE (ON VARYING LEVELS)
63. Argo (2012) – WINNER
64. The Big Short (2015)
65. American Sniper (2014)
66. Django Unchained (2012)
67. Avatar (2009)
68. War Horse (2011)

I WON’T CHOOSE THEM, BUT I UNDERSTAND THE MENTION
69. The Theory of Everything (2014)
70. The Descendants (2011)

THOSE BAD APPLES FROM THE BUNCH – WHY?
71. Bridge of Spies (2015)
72. The Blind Side (2009)

6th TFO Awards: Best Motion Picture

The nominees for Best Motion Picture are:

  • Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John `Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole
  • Citizenfour – Mathilde Bonnefoy, Laura Poitras, Dirk Wilutzky
  • Gone Girl – Ceán Chaffin, Joshua Donen, Arnon Milchan, Reese Witherspoon
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales, Scott Rudin
  • Interstellar – Christopher Nolan, Lynda Obst, Emma Thomas
  • Mommy – Xavier Dolan, Nancy Grant
  • Selma – Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey
  • Two Days, One Night – Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd
  • The Way He Looks – Diana Almeida, Daniel Ribeiro
  • Whiplash – Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak

And The Final Oscar goes to…

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Finalists (6-12): TBA

Semi-finalists (13-20): TBA

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PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Opening Remarks | Original Screenplay | Adapted Screenplay | Production Design – Contemporary | Production Design – Period | Casting | Costume Design – Period | Costume Design – Contemporary | Actor in a Supporting Role | Visual Effects | Makeup and Hairstyling | Sound Editing | Sound Mixing | Actress in a Supporting Role | Music – Original Song | Music – Adapted or Song Score | Music – Original Score | Cinematography | Film Editing | Ensemble | Animated Feature | Documentary Feature | Directing | Actress in a Leading Role | Actor in a Leading Role

6th TFO Awards: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

The nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role are:

  • Tom Hardy – Locke
  • Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year
  • Michael Keaton – Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Ghilherme Lobo – The Way He Looks
  • Antoine Olivier Pilon – Mommy

And The Final Oscar goes to…

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Finalists (6-12): TBA

Semi-finalists (13-20): TBA

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PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Opening Remarks | Original Screenplay | Adapted Screenplay | Production Design – Contemporary | Production Design – Period | Casting | Costume Design – Period | Costume Design – Contemporary | Actor in a Supporting Role | Visual Effects | Makeup and Hairstyling | Sound Editing | Sound Mixing | Actress in a Supporting Role | Music – Original Song | Music – Adapted or Song Score | Music – Original Score | Cinematography | Film Editing | Ensemble | Animated Feature | Documentary Feature | Directing | Actress in a Leading Role

6th TFO Awards: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

The nominees for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role are:

  • Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
  • Anne Dorval – Mommy
  • Isabelle Huppert – Abuse of Weakness
  • Julianne Moore – Still Alice
  • Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

And The Final Oscar goes to…

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Finalists (6-12): TBA

Semi-finalists (13-20): TBA

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PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Opening Remarks | Original Screenplay | Adapted Screenplay | Production Design – Contemporary | Production Design – Period | Casting | Costume Design – Period | Costume Design – Contemporary | Actor in a Supporting Role | Visual Effects | Makeup and Hairstyling | Sound Editing | Sound Mixing | Actress in a Supporting Role | Music – Original Song | Music – Adapted or Song Score | Music – Original Score | Cinematography | Film Editing | Ensemble | Animated Feature | Documentary Feature | Directing

6th TFO Awards: Best Achievement in Directing

The nominees for Best Achievement in Directing are:

  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu – Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • David Fincher – Gone Girl
  • Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Xavier Dolan – Mommy
  • Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

And The Final Oscar goes to…

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Finalists (6-12): Ava DuVernay – Selma | Christopher Nolan – Interstellar | J.C. Chandor – A Most Violent Year | Richard Ayoade – The Double | Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher | Amat Escalante – Heli | Krzysztof Skonieczny – Hardkor Disko

Semi-finalists (13-20): Laura Poitras – Citizenfour | Alberto Rodríguez Librero – Marshland | Damián Szifron – Wild Tales | David Mackenzie – Starred Up | Abderrahmane Sissako – Timbuktu | Richard Linklater – Boyhood | James Gray – The Immigrant | Elçin Musaoğlu – Nabat

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PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Opening Remarks | Original Screenplay | Adapted Screenplay | Production Design – Contemporary | Production Design – Period | Casting | Costume Design – Period | Costume Design – Contemporary | Actor in a Supporting Role | Visual Effects | Makeup and Hairstyling | Sound Editing | Sound Mixing | Actress in a Supporting Role | Music – Original Song | Music – Adapted or Song Score | Music – Original Score | Cinematography | Film Editing | Ensemble | Animated Feature | Documentary Feature

6th TFO Awards: Best Documentary Feature

The nominees for Best Documentary Feature are:

  • Citizenfour – Laura Poitras
  • The Kill Team – Dan Krauss
  • The Overnighters – Jesse Moss
  • Rich Hill – Andrew Droz Palermo & Tracy Droz Tragos
  • The Salt of the Earth – Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado

And The Final Oscar goes to…

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Finalists (6-12): The Case Against 8 | Ivory Tower | Happy Valley | Code Black | Citizen Koch | Finding Vivian Maier | Virunga

Semi-finalists (13-20): Documented | Private Violence | The Circle | Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me | Fed Up | Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart | Night Will Fall | What Now? Remind Me

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PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Opening Remarks | Original Screenplay | Adapted Screenplay | Production Design – Contemporary | Production Design – Period | Casting | Costume Design – Period | Costume Design – Contemporary | Actor in a Supporting Role | Visual Effects | Makeup and Hairstyling | Sound Editing | Sound Mixing | Actress in a Supporting Role | Music – Original Song | Music – Adapted or Song Score | Music – Original Score | Cinematography | Film Editing | Ensemble | Animated Feature