Trauma Queen: Isabelle Huppert Leads The Rest Of The Best Actresses

elle-isabelle-huppert-arthur-mazetIn the movies, if not so much in life, 2016 has turned out to be a very good year for the ladies. While the Best Actor race is suffering from a dearth of truly exciting performances in 2016, the Best Actress race is stacked. You could fill the Best Actress category twice before you come across five male performances that have the fire and finesse displayed by the women this year. The clear frontrunners are Natalie Portman in Jackie and Emma Stone in La La Land, with Annette Bening’s work in 20th Century Women also expected to pick up a nod. That leaves two slots open to a wide swath of women, from Amy Adams in Arrival to Ruth Negga in Loving — both deserving, though perhaps not showy enough to stand out this year.

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Love In A Hopeless Place: ‘Jackie’ Is A Requiem For The American Dream

jackie-natalie-portman-caspar-phillipson She remembers how hot the sun was in Dallas, and the crowds — greater and wilder than the crowds in Mexico or in Vienna. The sun was blinding, streaming down; yet she could not put on sunglasses for she had to wave to the crowd.

And up ahead she remembers seeing a tunnel around a turn and thinking that there would be a moment of coolness under the tunnel. There was the sound of motorcycles, as always in a parade, and the occasional backfire of a motorcycle. The sound of the shot came, at that moment, like the sound of a backfire, and she remembers Connally saying, “No, no, no, no, no…”

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Ehh ‘La La’: Damien Chazelle’s Sun-Soaked Ode To A City of Stars

another-day-of-sun-dance-sequence-la-la-landLos Angeles is a city paradoxically known for two things: its sun and its stars. Most of La La Land‘s musical moments revolve around one or the other.

For months now, the follow-up from the writer/director of Whiplash has been positioned as the front-runner for Best Picture, with plenty of precedent — 2002’s Chicago was a musical named after a populous American city; 2005’s Crash was all about the populace of Los Angeles; 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire revolved around a popular TV show; 2010’s The King’s Speech followed a monarch who needed a vocal coach in order to deliver a performance; 2011’s The Artist, 2012’s Argo, and 2014’s Birdman dealt with showbiz even more explicitly. Put all these Best Picture winners in a blender, add a dollop of Crazy Stupid Love for good measure, and you pretty much get La La Land, Oscar nominee Damien Chazelle’s third music-centric film in a row, starring Hollywood darlings Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. I don’t mean to question Chazelle’s motives in making this film, but it does kind of seem like it was concocted by a Netflix algorithm based on the members of the Academy’s viewing preferences.

Because You Watched Birdman

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Stronger Together: Amy Adams Anchors ‘Nocturnal Animals’ & ‘Arrival’

50805_AA_6087 print_v2lmCTRST+SAT3F Academy Award nominee Amy Adams stars as Susan Morrow in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, a Focus Features release. Credit: Merrick Morton/Focus FeaturesSince no studio executive can see into the future, it is impossible to to know if the right date has been selected to launch a film. Sure, 4th of July weekend was a pretty savvy time to release Independence Day back in 1996, and you can consider that a safe bet, but there are moments when news headlines trump Hollywood offerings that no one sees coming. The high school-set dark comedy Election had the misfortune of being released days after the Columbine massacre shocked the nation; just this year, The Birth Of A Nation was sunk by bad press surrounding Nate Parker’s rape allegations. (Because if there’s one thing Americans won’t stand for, it’s letting influential men get away with sexual assault… right?) The Birth Of A Nation might have been a massive hit if released last winter, on the heels of its Sundance breakout buzz, or maybe even this weekend, when a story of black Americans rioting against cruel and bigoted white oppressors might resonate. But that’s not how it happened.

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Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That (When We Were Young, Episode 4)

seinfeld_cast“I didn’t know she had a pony! How was I to know she had a pony? Who figures an immigrant’s going to have a pony? Do you know what the odds are on that? I mean, in all the pictures I saw of immigrants on boats coming into New York Harbor, I never saw one of them sitting on a pony! Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn’t make sense! Am I wrong?”

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