CINEJABBER: Close but no Jack

Posted by · 9:16 am · November 6th, 2010

Catch up with the idea behind these weekend posts here. What a coup it would have been if Jack Nicholson really was the first guest on “Conan.”  Shame on Movieline for not catching Andy Richter’s joke and getting my hopes up for the actor’s first talk show interview in nearly four decades. Caught up with […]

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The Great Performances: 2003

Posted by · 9:14 am · December 4th, 2009

There is little doubt in my mind I am going to take some heat this week, so let’s kick it off right away with my belief that Sean Penn deserved his Best Actor Oscar for “Mystic River,” a performance of overwhelming ferocity and staggering emotional power. Yes, I too loved Bill Murray in “Lost in […]

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The Great Performances: 2002

Posted by · 9:45 am · November 27th, 2009

2002 was probably one of the greatest years for performance excellence in film history, from leading actor right through all the supporting players. They could have easily nominated 10 actors in each of the four acting categories, and still missed some. Though Adrien Brody won the Oscar for “The Pianist,” which was a huge shock, […]

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The Great Performances: 2001

Posted by · 6:23 pm · November 20th, 2009

In one of the weakest years in memory, not just for performances but for great films, 2001 saw Denzel Washington and Halle Berry knock “two birds out with one stone,” as the former declared on Oscar night, as two African Americans won the top acting prizes for the first time ever.  And it was difficult […]

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Fixing the Oscarcast … get your ideas in early

Posted by · 6:43 am · October 26th, 2009

With the 2009 Oscar telecast a little over four months away, it may seem a tad premature for the annual round of “how-to-save-the-show” suggestions, but it’s really the best time — now that Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic have been handed the reins, they’ll be drawing up plans immediately. So the LA Times’s Mary McNamara […]

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The Great Performances: 1997

Posted by · 8:03 am · October 23rd, 2009

1997 was a great year for actors, but a tough year for Oscar; how do you choose when there are so many deserving nominees? It’s that age-old issue that some award-worthy performances are going to be left out, which though unfair and sad, is very much part of the Academy Awards and frankly what makes […]

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The Great Performances: 1995

Posted by · 4:06 pm · October 10th, 2009

Based on some of the comments I received last week regarding my article on great acting, I took the suggestion of a young lady and am kicking off a series of articles, one per week, that will explore the best performances ofeach year, beginning today with 1995.  So let’s go back and work our way […]

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Great performers at their best

Posted by · 7:50 am · August 21st, 2009

After spending some time this summer watching some excellent films on DVD, I was inspired to write this piece about the great actors’ (living, with one exception) greatest performances. Narrowing it down to one each (brutal, believe me), I think have come up with a list of actors, young and old, that represents some of […]

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Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’ — 20 years later

Posted by · 11:49 am · June 23rd, 2009

There is a reason I am such an embarrassingly devoted Batman fan. It’s not because I’m a life-long comic book reader.  That came later.  And it’s not because I grew up watching reruns of the old ABC television series.  Though I certainly did.  It’s because Tim Burton’s “Batman,” released in theaters 20 years ago today, […]

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Great performances in bad movies

Posted by · 8:21 am · April 3rd, 2009

It happens, sometimes when a really fine actor manages to give a brilliant performance in a terrible or weak film, a diamond in the rough. In fact, some of the best actors working have shone brightly in bad films as far back as the 1940s, though I will focus on the 1970s to present day […]

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Are 70s acting legends on the verge of fading away?

Posted by · 5:58 pm · March 22nd, 2009

Growing up I was a huge John Wayne fan, but I remember when the Duke started to fade, and then that shocking evening he presented the Academy Award for Best Picture to “The Deer Hunter” just a few months before his death in 1979. Perhaps because we watch these people age in front of our […]

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Great point

Posted by · 11:12 am · February 27th, 2009

This would’ve been a great opportunity: If Nicholson were a supporting-actor presenter and spoke about Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. Longtime Oscar hound Wayman Wong to Tom O’Neil in O’Neil’s recent Gold Derby blog entry on the conspicuous absence of Jack Nicholson from Sunday’s Oscar telecast.

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Best Actor race — shades of ’74 and ’02

Posted by · 6:26 am · February 10th, 2009

The 1974 Academy Award nominees for Best Actor were Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown,” Al Pacino in “The Godfather, Part II,” Albert Finney in “Murder on the Orient Express,” Art Carney in “Harry and Tonto” and Dustin Hoffman in “Lenny.”  There had been some mild surprise that Gene Hackman had been passed over for his work […]

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Walking away with it

Posted by · 10:40 am · August 30th, 2008

I remember slipping into a small theater in 1987 to see something called “Street Smart,” the new Christopher Reeve film that I had no particular interest in, to be quite honest. Two hours later I emerged knowing two things: Morgan Freeman was a brilliant actor, and he would be nominated for an Academy Award. In […]

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Mr. Beatty, direct another film please?

Posted by · 2:19 am · June 24th, 2008

Interviewing Warren Beatty a few years ago in Toronto, I was struck at once by his intellect, which is laser sharp. The man misses nothing. He speaks slowly, taking long pauses before he speaks, and avoids personal questions, which I dislike and refuse to ask anyway. He was with Annette Bening at the time, supporting […]

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Greatest non-nominated perfs: too many to count…

Posted by · 6:38 am · June 17th, 2008

…but I’ll try.  A sprint of sorts through deacades of deserving contenders (in my opinion, of course). I ask you this: How did those lovable characters from “The Wizard of Oz,” portrayed so brilliantly by Ray Bolger (Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Tin Man), Bert Lahr (Lion) and Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch), fail to be nominated in […]

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Actor/movie star — who walks the line the best?

Posted by · 10:18 am · May 22nd, 2008

Continuing the conversation from a few days ago on actors that are more than icons, only one name comes to mind: JACK. For more than 40 years Jack Nicholson has been one of the most dominat acting forces in movies, with an impressive array of performances that both challenge him as an artist and also […]

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Great new Dern book!!

Posted by · 3:01 pm · May 12th, 2008

He was nominated for an Oscar just once for his riveting performance in “Coming Home” as a vet who cannot wait to go to Vietnam, and once there cannot wait to get home, horrified by what he sees, betrayed by the dream of what he believed war should be. Bruce Dern was best known in […]

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