- Salon sets two of its critics, Andrew O'Hehir and Matt Zoller Seitz, ablaze talking about the best actress, actor and film Oscar categories. Their best actress race revelations include:
Zoller Seitz, on Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine: "My heart is with Michelle Williams. She reminds me of a young Ellen Burstyn in that she plays a lot of different parts, yet every time I see her in anything, I come away thinking she was so perfect in that role that not only can I not imagine anyone else playing it…her time will come."
O'Hehir, on Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine: "There's no question she's still near the beginning of a major acting career. It's totally possible that somebody looking back at the 2011 best-actress nominees from 40 years' distance will be like, "Huh, Michelle Williams was nominated that year and didn't win. I wonder who the rest of those people are."
O'Hehir, on Natalie Portman in Black Swan: "I honestly wonder, though, if Portman's overexposure in much weaker films since the Oscar campaign began -- the lame sex film with Ashton Kutcher and the undercooked stepmom film "The Other Woman" -- have damaged whatever chances she started out with."
Zoller Seitz, on Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole: "I don't think she's awful -- in fact she's quite focused and effective, and she doesn't do anything that might take you out of the movie's atmosphere, which could be described as sort of a fog of grief…Kidman has had so much work done that it's paralyzed her face to the point where now she's only plausible as a semi-catatonic character."
O'Hehir, on Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right: "[Bening's character] Nic is a little bit of a jerk as well as an incipient alcoholic. She's got sharp edges and is way too quick with a cutting remark. You don't like her all that much right up to the point where she realizes she's been betrayed, and I feel like Bening turns that around with tremendous technique and perfect emotional pitch."
Zoller Seitz, on Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone: "I'd love it if [she] snuck in and pulled off an upset along the lines of Adrien Brody in The Pianist -- one of my favorite wins in recent times, if only because it rewarded a minimalist, reactive performance instead of a shouting-from-the-rooftops sort of turn."
- Little Gold Men's John Lopez says the Academy should be "begging Banksy to tag the Kodak theater" with his "gleefully diabolical graffiti," especially since "hip, young viewers engaged by [the Academy's] ceremony" is "exactly what [the Academy] wanted" and are attempting to accomplish with Anne Hathaway and James Franco. But sigh, the Academy "can’t connect with its inner vandal: it has reportedly refused Bansky permission to attend the Oscars in disguise to preserve his (her?) carefully protected identity. Which prompts us to ask the Academy forefathers very respectfully: “Are you crazy?!” Lopez refuses to believe that "Hollywood can’t work out the logistics so Banksy’s identity is kept secret. This is, after all, an industry devoted to figuring out how to catch impossible shots: trains running down city streets, evil ballerina doubles coming to life in a mirror, Hailee Steinfeld fording a river on a horse." While "No little gold man is worth the ensuing market devaluation of [Banksy's] works the instant we see him as just another Brit in a tuxedo," Lopez's final wish is for the Academy to simply "hand Banksy a can of gold spray paint and a special water-marked monkey mask, the ID code of which only Bruce Davis knows, and bring the Oscars into the 21st century."
- Thank you, Vulture, for reminding us of the fifteen "funniest, weirdest, and, admittedly, most trivial revelations of the long slog" that is Awards season, including:
Christian Bale's favorite movie is Beverly Hills Ninja: "One time I sat down and watched [that movie] two nights in a row, and cried with laughter both times." —Esquire
Jesse Eisenberg keeps foster cats: "I've got more cats. I'm a foster parent for cats. The more movies I do, the more guilt I feel, and the more cats I feel the need to get to alleviate the guilt from doing the movies. If a move is god forbid popular, then I have to get even more cats.I have a lot of cats, cat food, litter, and nothing else in the apartment. My life is basically just feeding and cleaning cats, and then I get to be the 'Sexiest Geek Alive.'" —Conan
James Franco has a sex tape, somewhere: "I think if anybody who has made a home sex tape knows, what feels best doesn’t always look best [laughter]. I remember when I was 19 doing that, and then watching it back and thinking, oh, that looks horrible." —Newsweek
The Coen brothers thought Javier Bardem's haircut in No Country for Old Men was a joke: Bardem: "There was no mirror. So I turn and I look at [the Coen brothers] and they were laughing so hard. One of them fell off on the floor. And I said, 'I need a mirror. I need a mirror right now. What's going on here?' And I saw it. And it was like 'Wow, that's really insane.'" —NPR
Justin Bieber thinks he's too old for Hailee Steinfeld: "I think she's cute. [Buts] She's young ... She's 14; I'll be 17 in less than a month." —The Tonight Show
Robert Duvall thinks Stanley Kubrick is "an actor's enemy": "To me the great Stanley Kubrick was an actor's enemy. I can point to movies he's done, which are the worst performances I'e ever seen in movies. The Shining. Clockwork Orange. Terrible performances." — The Hollywood Reporter
[Williams/Gosling photo courtesy of W Magazine; Photo montage courtesy of Vulture]