Sunday, December 9, 2007

Possibilities

Here's a post from contributor extraordinaire, K, where she reflects on the latest developments in what's turning out to be a nail-biting awards season and dissects Marion's possibilities for a NYFCC win tomorrow. Enjoy.

As early as this morning, I really believed that the one major obstacle Marion Cotillard would face this awards season would be the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. I felt confident about Los Angeles, I’m feeling confident she’ll walk away with at least a Breakthrough Performer award from Chicago, and I feel confident she’ll earn a Golden Globe nomination this week from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The NYFCC, more than many of the other critics’ groups, tend to award films that don’t have a full-blown campaign backing them. They prefer to honor the indie films that made almost no profit and have little (to no) Oscar buzz. Here are the small films the NYFCC have honored in the past 10 years:

2006

United 93 (Best Picture)

The Last King of Scotland (Best Actor - Forest Whitaker)

The Queen (Best Actress - Helen Mirren; Best Screenplay)

Little Children (Best Supporting Actor - Jackie Earle Haley)

2005

The Squid and the Whale (Best Screenplay)

A History of Violence (Best Supporting Actor - William Hurt; Best Supporting Actress - Maria Bello)

Howl's Moving Castle (Best Animated Feature)

2004

Sideways (Best Picture; Best Actor - Paul Giamatti; Best Supporting Actress - Virginia Madsen; Best Screenplay)

Vera Drake (Best Actress - Imelda Staunton)

Closer (Best Supporting Actor - Clive Owen)

2003

Lost In Translation (Best Actor - Bill Murray; Best Director - Sofia Coppola)

The Secret Lives of Dentists (Best Actress - Hope Davis; Best Screenplay)

American Splendor (Best Actress - Hope Davis)

A Mighty Wind (Best Supporting Actor - Eugene Levy)

House of Sand and Fog (Best Supporting Actress - Shohreh Agdashloo)

2002

Far From Heaven (Best Picture; Best Actor - Dennis Quaid; Best Supporting Actress- Patricia Clarkson)

Spirited Away (Best Animated Feature)

2001

Mulholland Drive (Best Picture)

In the Bedroom (Best Actor - Tom Wilkinson; Best Actress - Sissy Spacek)

Ghost World (Best Supporting Actor - Steve Buscemi)

Gosford Park (Best Supporting Actress - Helen Mirren; Best Director - Robert Altman; Best Screenplay)

2000

You Can Count On Me (Best Actress - Laura Linney; Best Screenplay)

Pollock (Best Supporting Actress - Marcia Gay Harden)

Erin Brockovich (Best Director - Steven Soderbergh)

1999

Topsy-Turvy (Best Picture; Best Director - Mike Leigh)

The Straight Story (Best Actor - Richard Farnsworth)

Boys Don't Cry (Best Actress - Hilary Swank)

Being John Malkovich (Best Supporting Actor - John Malkovich; Best Supporting Actress - Catherine Keener)

Election (Best Screenplay)

1998

Affliction (Best Actor - Nick Nolte)

Rushmore (Best Supporting Actor - Bill Murray)

The Opposite of Sex (Best Supporting Actress - Lisa Kudrow)

1997

Ulee's Gold (Best Actor - Peter Fonda)

Afterglow (Best Actress - Julie Christie)

Critics groups are more likely to hold the flaws of the film against the performer. Other actors (who vote for nominees/winners at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Oscars) focus more on the performance than the structure of the film, which is why I haven’t had any worries about Cotillard’s chances at those functions. New York critics, in particular, seemed to be very hard on La Vie En Rose, which was my main concern. However, upon realizing that Marion Cotillard/La Vie en Rose supporters Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Jan Stuart (Newsday), and Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly) are all voting members of the NYFCC, I feel that Cotillard’s chances at a win have increased enormously.
Now knowing who (courtesy of the NYFCC official website) exactly, will be voting (Peter Travers, for example), and who wouldn’t be (A.O. Scott of The New York Times, who admired Cotillard’s “ferocity”), I went out and searched for NYFCC member reviews of the film. I now feel reassured about Cotillard’s chances tomorrow. Even those critics who disliked the film, like David Edelstein of New York Magazine, seemed to have something positive to say about Cotillard.

All in all, I’d say Cotillard’s chances are very strong. If she loses to anyone, it’ll be to Julie Christie for Away From Her. Christie took the New York Online Film Critics Awards prize for Best Actress today, and several of their members also sit on the NYFCC.

New York Film Critics Circle Member Reviews of La Vie en Rose


Peter Travers, Rolling Stone:
“And Marion Cotillard, lip-syncing Piaf's songs and digging into her soul with gale-force urgency, gives a performance for the ages.”

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly:


“I'm not usually in the business of hailing a performance as ''award-worthy,'' but why is La Vie en Rose, with its furious turn by Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf — less a performance than a possession — coming out in early summer? Hurtling and impassioned, driven by some of the greatest popular music ever recorded, this wildly overripe and unkempt biopic is a true experience, yet I suspect it needs the backdrop of a duskier time of year — and, yes, awards season — to draw audiences to the mad intensity of Cotillard's acting. She fills the diminutive, firebrand Piaf with life force at every age: as a lusty teen urchin, warbling on the streets of Paris for her supper; as the imp-diva with drawn-on eyebrows, looking like a depressed mime as she belts out her sublime cabaret ballads in a voice as strong and clear as a bell; and as Piaf the arthritic, morphine-addicted wreck (she died at 47), a Gallic Judy Garland who extinguished everything inside but the flame of her will.”

Lou Lumenick, New York Post:

“FRENCH actress Marion Cotillard delivers a tour de force as legendary singer Édith Piaf in "La Vie En Rose," an otherwise conventional and sometimes confusing portrait about yet another tortured musical genius…Thanks to the extraordinary performance of Cotillard, who expertly lip- syncs to Piaf recordings and disappears into the part, few will regret seeing "La Vie En Rose," named after a famous Piaf tune.”

Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal:

“Olivier Dahan's phantasmagorical biopic gives us a brilliant performance by Marion Cotillard as the passionate, tortured Piaf, and Ms. Cotillard gives us something new in a show-business portrait -- a sense of what the song does to the singer.”

David Edelstein, New York Magazine:
“Virtually all showbiz biopics have lapses and groaners, but as Jamie Foxx, Joaquin Phoenix, Sissy Spacek, and almost everyone except Kevin Spacey can affirm, they pay off in awards for actors willing to hurl themselves into the volcano. Marion Cotillard is a hurler. She’s prettier than Piaf, with round eyes that take up half her face, but she doesn’t get by on her looks. She knows you can’t play Piaf halfway. As the diva in her prime, she still gives you glimpses of the child famished for connection.”

Melissa Anderson, Time Out New York:

“The greatest obstacle in mounting a successful biopic—a genre in dire need of a shot of adrenaline—is for the lead performer to overcome ventriloquism. Although Marion Cotillard, in a career-defining performance, lip-synchs all of Edith Piaf’s songs, the actor is no dummy. She doesn’t merely embody the French singing legend; she is possessed with all of the monstrous talent—and behavior—that burst out of the 4'8" chanteuse.”

Rex Reed, The New York Observer:


“Imitation isn’t always the sincerest form of flattery. This is why Marion Cotillard’s sensational performance as Edith Piaf in the awesome new film La Vie en Rose is so unforgettable. Like Stephen Fry’s Oscar Wilde in Wilde and Toby Jones’ memorable Truman Capote in Infamous (light years ahead of Philip Seymour Hoffman), Ms. Cotillard doesn’t try to imitate Piaf, the greatest French chanteuse of all time. She channels Piaf. “The little sparrow” comes to life before the camera in this long, exhilarating and dazzling movie masterpiece, while Ms. Cotillard delivers one of the most inspired and breathtaking performances in film history. La Vie en Rose left me devastated…

Ms. Cotillard has more faces than Piaf’s saga has chapters. Flawlessly lip-synching the icon’s passionate voice, she synchronizes Piaf’s energy, eyes, body language, madness, tragedy, triumphs and outrageous humor until you are galvanized by her greatness…

The movie, the voice of Piaf, and a performance that turns Marion Cotillard into a great new star shimmer with the kind of beauty, power, intensity and visual opulence you might want to experience again and again.”

Andrew Sarris, The New York Observer:


“Marion Cotillard gives a highly charged, heavily made-up performance as the grown-up and decidedly unattractive Piaf…”

Jan Stuart, Newsday:
“...it is hard to imagine any open-hearted Yank not responding to this swaggering musical biography and its sublime leading lady, Marion Cotillard…In stripping away that legendary warble for a brief moment, Dahan also makes us fully cognizant of the magnitude of Cotillard's acting triumph. While Cotillard lip-synchs to Piaf's recordings with enormous fervor, she is never more heartrending than when listening: taking in the praise of an adoring Marlene Dietrich, or lighting up as a French army corporal sits at a piano and plunks out the first bars of a song he has composed for her.”

Armond White, NY Press:
“It’s early for Oscar baiting but Marion Cotillard’s performance as Édith Piaf in La Vie En Rose puts itself on the hook…Cotillard’s Piaf is genuinely impressive. Cotillard goes through Piaf’s pathological shyness, her on-stage desperation, her constant vulnerability, her sexual passion, her aging and debilitation. But this showcase of phenomenal skill has to compensate for the movie’s totally unoriginal biopic framework…Cotillard shows a trained actress’ craft.”

Stephen Whitty, Newhouse Newspapers:
“The film belongs to Cotillard, who throws herself into the part.”

Non-member review:
A.O. Scott, New York Times:

“No one else could possibly be Édith Piaf, or Johnny Cash or Ray Charles (or Truman Capote or Muhammad Ali or anyone else on the ever-growing list). Their larger-than-life self-sufficiency adds a thrilling element of risk to the task of portraying any of them on film. Or so it would seem. Really, though, the audacity involved in taking up such a challenge predisposes audiences (and critics) to applause, as does the durable popularity of the originals. So it is hard not to admire Ms. Cotillard for the discipline and ferocity she brings to the role…And it is true that Ms. Cotillard is a dynamic, quick-witted performer, one whose sheer force of will goes some way toward showing how a funny-looking, abrasive street urchin could become the idol of postwar France.”

4 comments:

k_obrien said...

I should probably add, now as an after thought, that she will also be helped greatly by the NYT screentest thing. That's a good sign for her tomorrow, right?

Cotillard-Admin said...

I think it might have helped keep her on the radar.

Your research gave me lots of hope, but man, that Julie Christie win (from "Afterglow") kind of scared me. I remember I was pulling for Christie that year. So funny in hindsight. No offense to Christie, who I really admire (she's so amazing in "Darling" and "Doctor Zhivago").

siutou_amy said...

Award season drives me nuts... xD

Though I loved watch Away from Her, and Julie Christie was really great in it, I'm still supporting Cotillard because, man... Marion's performance blew me away even with no subtitles that I could understand...

Besides, I gotta campaign for her since I said she's got Oscar written all over her face, when I left the theater xD... I don't want my prediction not happen =D

Cotillard-Admin said...

I sure hope she wins too -- talk about having egg on my face come February. LOL.

But seriously, I'm ecstatic that Marion is being recognized *at all* considering the sorry-ass history of most award entities in the US when it comes to rewarding actors in foreign language films.