Burt Reynolds and Candice Bergen in Starting Over (1979). Reynolds gives a very human and sensitive performance as Phil Potter, a newly divorced man navigating life as a single adult dating and ultimately having to choose between his ex wife (Candice Bergen) and the new love in his life, Marilyn (Jill Clayburg). Watching Reynolds in Starting Over reminds us how his presence in film made “breathing easier.” He breathed beautifully fun life into cinema during the 70s and 80s. #RIP Burt!
This year, Willem Dafoe received his third Oscar nomination for The Florida Project, playing the manager of a down-and-out motel near Disney World (aka the Happiest Place on Earth). Dafoe received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Max Schreck, the star of the silent classic Nosferatu (1922), in Shadow of the Vampire (2000). Dafoe brillantly embodies Schreck, masterfully making what could have been a characature into a work of art.
Lesley Manville received her first Oscar nomination for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread playing the sister and business partner of fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis, who also received a nomination). Manville has been active in mostly British films and television since the 1970s. She is a favorite of director Mike Leigh appearing in Secrets and Lies (1996), Topsy Turvy (1999), Vera Drake (2004), and Mr. Turner (2014) to name a few. In Leigh’s Another Year (2010), Manville plays Mary, the desperate woman of a certain age who is both pitied by and annoying to her friends.
Denzel Washington is celebrating his eighth acting nomination (ninth career nomination) for his work in this year’s Roman J. Israel, Esq. He is tied with Paul Newman and Spencer Tracy as third most nominated actor in Oscar history (behind Jack Nicholson with 12 and Laurence Olivier with 10). Washington received his first Oscar nomination 30 years ago for his role as South African activist and martyr for the cause Steve Biko in Cry Freedom (1987).
We begin our celebration of Oscar season by celebrating the previous films of this year’s nominees. Saoirse Ronan is celebrating her third nomination this year for her performance in Lady Bird. Ronan is the second youngest woman (behind Jennifer Lawrence) to receive three nominations. Ronan received her first nomination at age 13 for her role as the little girl you love to hate in Atonement (2007).
Today’s Movie-Still Monday celebrates the Olympic games in Rio with director’s Kon Ichikawa documentary masterpiece Tokyo Olympiad. A film commissioned by the Japanese government to show a new positive post-World War II image. The beautifully shot film successfully presents the emotional side of the games.
Deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, isolated from society, a devoted father (Viggo Mortensen) dedicates his life to transforming his six young children into extraordinary adults. But when a tragedy strikes the family, they are forced to leave this self-created paradise and begin a journey into the outside world that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent and brings into question everything he’s taught them.
Captain Fantastic is the rare movie that asks such big questions – about parenting, about family, about modern-day America – and comes up with answers that are moving and meaningful, that make you laugh and cry. Writer, director Matt Ross bravely, also asks his audience to think about who’s right, too.
-Myrna E Duarte