To celebrate this year’s Oscar nominations which were announced this week we have a special episode about one of the nominees for best actress; Carey Mulligan. We discuss her filmography, her screen persona and dig deeper into three films; Shame (2011), Wildlife (2018) and her latest Promising Young Woman for which she recieved her second Oscar nomination. For this conversation podcast host Murtada Elfadl welcomes producer and writer, Jordan Crucchiola host of Disaster Girls and Aughtsterion podcasts.
Often associated with British period films from her first role in Pride and Prejudice (2205) to Far From the Madding Crowd (2013) to Suffragette (2015) to The Dig (2021).
Promisng Young Woman and why this film and performance are taking Mulligan to the next level with the industry and audiences.
We go into detail about two of her performances; Sissy in Shame (2011) and Jeanette in Wildlife (2018).
At the time this was seen as a new direction for Mulligan to break from prim and proper British period pieces with a modern provocative character.
Her rendition of “New York, New York”… melancholy, defeated with piercing hurt.
Builds a complex prickly sibling relationship that’s rooted in physicality with Michael Fassbender.
The way she modulates her voice, sounds different as Sissy than her other characters.
“We are not bad people, we just come from a bad place.” – a line delivery that unlocks the character and movie.
Carey’s performance. Exacting, mercurial… the character is messy but the actor is in control.
Follows a long tradition of ‘women unraveling” on screen that beget fantastic performances. Gena Rowlands (A Woman Under the Influence), Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine). This is my fave genre of films. On screen when women unravel they show their vulnerabilities, while men just become violent.
Why didn’t this film – impeccably made – find a bigger audience? Mulligan has talked about the negative reaction audiences had for her character.
A key line that unlocked the film for me “if you got a better plan for me, tell me I’ll try it.”
This is a performance whose brilliance lies in tiny moments despite a few loud notes.
The centerpiece scene; Jeanette’s clumsy seduction of Mr. Miller (Bill Camp) in the presence of her 14- year old son (Ed Oxenbould).
In a snippet from the podcast host Murtada Elfadl and guest Kevin Jacobsen discuss this year’s best actress race at the Oscars. And they choose their favorites; Frances McDormand in Nomadland and Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Listen to the podcast this Sunday March 21st when we will have a special episode about the career of another nominee for best actress; Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman.
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Well the time has come. This week we have a hurricane in us and we are going to command the wind. It’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), the movie that contains that most famous monologue in Cate Blanchett’s filmography. We discuss the film, that iconic scene and delve into that year’s best actress Oscar competition. Plus we nominate younger actors whose screen work remind us of Blanchett. For this conversation, Murtada Elfadl welcomes back Izzy from Be Kind Rewind.
From imdb: “A mature Queen Elizabeth endures multiple crises late in her reign including court intrigues, an assassination plot, the Spanish Armada, and romantic disappointments.” Directed by Shekar Kapur; also starring Clive Owen, Samantha Morton, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush, and in a tiny part as an assassin Eddie Redmayne (in 2015 Blanchett presents Redmayne with his Oscar).
What year did it come out?
Who does Cate play?
Duh – top billed.
Box Office: Domestic = $16MM, Int’l = $59MM.
Metacritic: 45 RT: 34, definitely not a stellar reception.
Starts in1585 and charts the latter years of Elizabeth I reign. Still plays with marriage as one of the main plots. As with the previous film, it takes the broad strokes of history to tell its story. There’s scant historical accuracy.
Love when Cate is at the center of the filmIn this film she either is at the center or the scene is about talking about her.
Unlike the first movie, she brings humor to this performance. Sometimes commenting n the script’s simplistic notions of female power – like when she repeats the line ”men have needs.”
What is the thesis of this film? It tries to say something about the loneliness of power, about aging… but what exactly? It’s all muddled.
Dismissing the attentions of the Austrian duke… back to my note above about bringing humor to the performance.
Reprising a signature role is not always successful. See Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment (1983) / The Evening Star (1996). Though it worked for Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961) / The Color of Money (1986). Other examples include Peter O’Toole as another monarch in Beckett (1964)and The Lion in Winter (1968).
Costumes we loved:
Looks amazing in cream white in the assasination scene. Intricate eye catching design of most of Elizabeth’s costumes. Though I found many comments in my research that they were not historically accurate. Doesn’t matter, they were noticeable.
The film must’ve won the Oscar because of the 360 shot of Elizabet’s costume after she wins the war.It’s main competition was Atonement which everybody expected to win because of Keira Knightley’s iconic green dress.
Film within context of Cate’s career:
Released the same year as I’m Not There; she got a lot of notices about her range, “she can play both Elizabeth and Bob Dylan,” which added to her allure as the “best of her generation.”
Awards: Won Oscar for costume design, nominated for best actress at all the usual awards ceremonies. For such a critically derided film, Blanchett didn’t miss out on any nomination.
Other best actress nominees:
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose – the winner.
Julie Christie, Away from Her.
Elliott Page, Juno.
Laura Linney,The Savages – surprise nominee.
Missing out – Angelina Jolie A Mighty Heart, Keira Knightley Atonement, Amy Adams Enchanted, Tang Wei Lust and Caution.
Cate gave us two priceless reaction shots while best actress was presented at the Oscars:
This week we discuss Galadriel, Cate Blanchett’s most iconic role. We delve into the enduring populariy of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and what diffrentiates them as excellent action adventure films, what makes Galadriel so special within Blanchett’s filmography and even ask Peter Jackson for a Boromir / Aragon rom-com. For this conversation Murtada Elfadl welcomes filmmaker Conrado Falco, co-creator of the show Wormholes and host of The Criterion Project podcast.
This week we take a brief detour from the films of Cate Blanchett. Instead we are discussing a current film, out on release now, Ammonite. Plus the career of Kate Winslet and in the latter part of the podcast we discuss a few other queer films out this season. Hosted by Murtada Elfadl with guest queer writer-performer, producer and filmmaker Ren Jender, whose work has appeared in The New York Times,NPR, Slate, Bandcamp and The Village Voice.
From Wikipedia: “Acclaimed paleontologist Mary Anning works alone selling common fossils to tourists to support her ailing mother, but a chance job offer changes her life when a visitor hires her to care for his wife.”
Who are the main characters?
Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) – a real life fossil hunter who is known to have been single, no historic evidence of her being queer which raised mild controversy before the film’s release – though that’s par for course since queer history is never recorded
Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) – also a real life person though reportedly older that Mary in real life, there is evidence that Mary was invited to her London house for a weekend.
Elizabeth Philpot (Fiona Shaw) – Mary’s neighbor and assumed former lover.
Molly Anning (Gemma Jones) – Mary’s mother and live-in companion.
I recently saw Nomadand at the New Yorl Film Festival from the comfort of my couch.
“You know you are not watching just any old prestige drama when a film throws in a shot of its lead character – played by a 2-time Oscar winner – defecating a mere three minutes into its running time. Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland is a film concerned with the concrete realities of life. Things that might seem mundane or unmentionable but take up a big part of everyday life. How a woman carves a small place on earth to sleep, eat, work and yes defecate.”
Cate Blanchett will start her jury president duties at the Venice International Film Festival this Wednesday September 2. The festival will be the first major international film event since the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled all events around the world. Fashion lovers are cautiously excited since there will be some sort of red carpet.
Blanchett has indicated in an interview with WWD magazine that she plans to exclusively re-wear looks from her closet throughout the festival. Yes, no new couture for Cate this year. It fits a socially distant event to be more responsible and promote sustainability. So we applaud the decision and suggest six looks we hope to see on Cate in the next 10 days.
Arriving at this list was arbitrary. Balnchett has wowed so many times that it’s futile to try to come with any rhyme or reason for my choices. It’s just a few that I love. There is one I did not choose whilst being my favorite because I’d like it to remain exclusive to that moment, the Carol premiere at Cannes.
Where / When : The Oscars, February 2011
Divisive at the time but now universally acknowledged as one of Cate’s most audacious red carpet moments. Everything about it is unusual. The pale lavender color spiked with yellow, the intricate embroidery, the pleats and the architectural breast piece. So avant garde, so Cate!
Where / When: SK-II event in Shanghai, September 2010
Designer: Christian Lacroix
This is more obscure yet remains one of my faves ever. A glowing burgundy gown embellished with shimmering gold sequins. We have previously waxed poetic about it on the pod.
Where / When: The Oscars, February 2007
She wore this column Armani couture silver sheath the year she was nominated for Notes on Scandal. That was also the year she witnessed a moment we love from the telecast. You can see her front row clapping and whooping when The Aviator director, Martin Scorsese won his first Oscar after many nominations and decades of a wonderful career.
Where / When: Cannes Opening Night and premiere of Robin Hood, May 2011
Designer: Alexander McQueen
What a way to pay tribute to the recently deceased McQueen at the time. Cate wore this gorgeous black and white gown with the striking eagle print just 3 months after McQueen had passed.
Where / When: The Good German, LA premiere, December 2006
This cream and gold peekaboo dress is singular but rarely mentioned in any fashion retrospectives about Cate. Bring it back, let the people enjoy.
Where / When : The Oscars, February 2005
Designer : Valentino
Go big and re-wear something from one of your biggest career moments. That would be the bespoke Valentino that was specially designed for her to collect her first Academy Award. Cate and Valentino wanted to create a unique fashion moment, so he dressed no one else that year at the Oscars. This Yellow taffeta with the mauve sash was certainly a big wow and my favorite Oscar fashion from Cate.
I haven’t chosen anything from last year’s Venice or from her stint as jury president in Cannes 2018 because I wanted to go further back in time. However let us know in the comments what you want to see repeated from those festivals?
For the 2nd season finale of the podcast, we return to 1998. Elizabeth was Cate Blanchett’s international breakout and the first time many people saw her on screen. Hence it deserves a revisit. To discuss the film again, along with Blanchett’s first Academy Award nomination and the 1998 best actress Oscar race, Murtada Elfadl welcomes Izzy from Be Kind Rewind. Click to listen:Subscribe: Apple Podcasts / Stitcher / Spotify/ iHeartWhat is the film about?From imdb: The early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her difficult task of learning what is necessary to be a monarch. Directed by Shekar Kapur; also starring Richard Attenborough, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes, Emily Mortimer, Kelly McDonald.What year did it come out? 1998.Who does Cate play? Duh – top billed. How is Cate introduced? 7 Minutes in, dancing in a field among her ladies in waiting.Box Office: Domestic = $30,082,699 (36.6%), Int’l = $52,067,943(63.4%).Topics Discussed:
Why was this performance so well received? It was considered such an arrival of a major star. How much is the role? How much is Cate? She charts a whole journey and character arc from young woman to monarch to stateswoman to almost deity, getting the chance to play innocent, cunning, in love, betrayed; the whole gamut of emotions.
So many actresses played this part: Bette Davis, Glenda Jackson, Anne-Marie Duff, Helen Mirren and Margot Robbie. Why is it so attractive to storytellers?
What is the Cate moment that sealed her stardom and Oscar nomination? Basically what’s this film “I have a hurricane in me” from Elizabeth: The Golden Age?
Ominously surrounded by men as Elizabeth is interrogated in the tower early on the film. Vacillating between fear and trying to hold it together while answering a barrage of questions.
Her scene with Kathy Burke as Mary “I see you are a consummate actress.”
Preparing and delivering her speech to the bishops.
Lamenting the defeat of her troops in Scotland by Mary of Guise.
The finale “I’ve become a virgin.“
Other 1998 Oscar Best Actress Nominees:Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love – the winner. She and Cate both won at Golden Globes.Meryl Streep, One True Thing– Nomination #11 out of 21. Only nomination for film. Great monologue, “I’m tired of being shushed.”Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station– won best actress at the Berlinale, LAFCA and NBR. She and Cate were runners up to Ally Sheedy (High Art) at NSFC. Runner up to Cameron Diaz (There’s Something About Mary) at NYFCC. This tweet is funny!Emily Watson,Hillary and Jackie – forgotten film, more of an afterglow nomination 2 years after Breaking the Waves. Interesting career trajectory with Blanchett as she was considered for Elizabeth.Did Paltrow win because she played a romantic lead, something academy members are prone to award —Roman Holiday, Moonstruck—while Blanchett was playing a more traditionally male role as a monarch?More from Murtada and Izzy: Elizabeth was previously discussed on the podcast. Don’t miss Be Kind Rewind on how Shakespeare in Love won its Oscars.
Note on the headline: This Oscar year is sometimes referred to as “the 1999 Oscars” since the ceremony took place in March of 1999. However I prefer using the year of the film’s release, 1998.
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In part one we discuss Cate Blanchett as the real auteur of Blue Jasmine, and the many ways her performance makes her the author of the film.
#2 The “Streetcar” Allusions with Candice Fredrick
In part two, we talk about the similarities to Tenesse Williams’ A Streetcar named Desire, the character of Blanche Dubois clearly is the blueprint for Jasmine… the many actresses who played Blanche or were inspired by her from the women in Pedro Almodovar’s movies to Gena Rowlands in Woman under the influence to most recently Carey Mulligan in Wildlife.
# 3 Jasmine and Her Sisters with Jose Solis
And in the final part we discuss Jasmine and her sisters within the Woody Allen Oeuvre. Annie Hall, Helen St Clair in Bullets Over Broadway, Maria Elena in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Cecilia in The Purple Rose of Cairo, among others.
In Truth, Cate Blanchett plays journalist and TV news producer Mary Mapes in the story of the fallout from the CBS investigation into George Bush’s military service, that led to the resignation of Dan Rather. The performance was warmly recieved even if the film wasn’t widely seen, we examine why in the latest episode. Hosted by Murtada Elfadl with guest Kevin Jacobsen host of And The Runner-Up Is podcast.
From IMDB: Newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush’s military service, and the subsequent firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers.
What year did it come out?
Who does Cate play?
Mary Mapes; TV news producer, and author. She is known for the story of the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, which won a Peabody Award.
How is Cate introduced?
Immediately as Mapes is hiring a lawyer who will represent her during an internal investigation that CBS is conducting, the set up for the flashback to the main story.
Blanchett’s performance as the center holding the film.
The movie is based on Mapes’ book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power – does that make it inherently one-sided? Did we need to hear “the other side?”
Awards wise – if this wasn’t the year of Carol could she have contended? Media seemed to think so in early fall post TIFF but the movie actually made no business. Is the performance worthy of awards?
The filmmaking- James Vanderbilt has an interesting career. Wrote David Fincher’s Zodiac (2003), The Amazing Spiderman movies (2012-14) and Adam Sandler’s Murder Mystery (2019). Also produced many movies including another collaboration with Cate; The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018).
Robert Redford as Dan Rather and the other actors – Elisabeth Moss, Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace.
The movie was filmed in Australia to accommodate Cate, giving the opportunity to many Australian actors and crew, including a dynamite Noni Hazlehurst as Nicki Burkett. Hazelhurst previously played Blanchett’s mother in Little Fish (2005).
Journalistic procedural similar to Zodiac and other classics of the genre like All the President’s Men and Spotlight – that was the ambition. How was the reality?
“Our story was about whether Bush fulfilled his service. Nobody wants to talk about that. They wanna talk about fonts and forgeries and conspiracy theories, because that’s what people do these days if they don’t like a story. They point and scream. They question your politics, your objectivity, hell, your basic humanity. And they hope to God the truth gets lost in the scrum. And when it is finally over and they have kicked and shouted so loud, we can’t even remember what the point was.”
Scenes we liked:
Above monologue – shows Cate at her best.
The tense tv interview with Col. Bill Burkett (Stacy Keach) – shows the different allegiances, priorities and the corporate machinations.
What seemed off:
The morality tale is intriguing but perhaps the story itself is minor and does not warrant a film treatment?
The exposition between Quaid and Moss where they explain Rather is Mapes’ “father figure.” The film hammers that connection, does it feel real? Much better is the scene in the hotel when they share a drink and he tells her he’ll apologize on camera.
What reviews said of film / Cate:
“Suffering only from a measure of familiarity when set beside the actress’s other work, Blanchett’s performance is forceful yet delicately shaded, and she renders Mapes with admirable complexity: We see a hard-working wife and mother who struggles to find time with [family], but also a tough-as-nails producer whose excitement outstripped her attention to detail at one crucial moment.” – Justin Chang, Variety.
“Blanchett makes us feel the creeping horror of professional disgrace, the fear and stigma, however unfair Mapes argues her treatment may have been. We watch a polished professional come apart at the seams, caught up in self-incrimination and spiralling neurosis. She’s in the form of her life at the moment.” – Tim Robey, The Telegraph.
“The weirdness of “Truth”—and, I fear, its involuntary comic value—arises from a disparity between the sparse and finicky minutiae of the narrative and the somewhat bouffant style of the presentation. As the program airs, those who have toiled on it are seen smiling in proud slow motion, while ordinary folk, all across the nation, in bars and in living rooms, stare up at their TV screens as if witnessing the descent of the Messiah. Later, when the report unravels, along with Mapes’s sang-froid, the film offers up as tear-streaked tragedy which is, in fact, a cautionary tale about photocopying, the moral being that you should check your information at the source. Vanderbilt has marshalled his material with scrupulous care, as he did when he wrote the script for David Fincher’s “Zodiac,” so how come that movie was twenty times more riveting? Partly because of Fincher’s scary visual command, and because deaths rather than deadlines were at stake, but also, I suspect, because the new film clings to the nagging thought that if the National Guard story had held firm the Presidential election—and thus recent history—might have followed a different path.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker.
“I went online, as one does, and I saw this series of interviews Mary gave after the story had come out. I saw this quiet, defensive lockdown in her, and when I met Mary, I found it very difficult to reconcile this vivacious, hilarious, searingly intelligent and instinctual human being with that. I thought, somewhere between those two things, those two energies, lies the performance.”