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Eddie Redmayne | The House Next Door | Slant Magazine
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Eddie Redmayne (#110 of 6)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Starring Jude Law and Johnny Depp, Gets First Trailer

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Starring Jude Law and Johnny Depp, Gets First Trailer

Warner Bros.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Starring Jude Law and Johnny Depp, Gets First Trailer

When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, our own Eric Henderson bemoaned: “J.K. Rowling’s newest salvo in a career spent writing mostly about the world of wizards exists so resolutely outside of salience and so doggedly within the comfort of escapism that even witch hunts, underground railroads, self-righteous religious fundamentalism, parallel societies with their own discrete presidents, and harbingers of world war are all presented with the same weightlessness of anything under Hermione Granger’s levitation spell: Wingardium leviosa.” Warner Bros. is now going back to the well with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which is set to be released almost two years to day after the first film arrived in theaters to fill the hole in the hearts of Harry Potter fans the world lover. And judging from The Crimes of Grindelwald’s first trailer, we are in, perhaps, for a darker experience, though the footage suggests that Eddie Redmayne, reprising his role as half-blood king of the gingers Newt Scamander, will continue to leave us shook by his uncanny ability to avoid eye contact at all costs.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Actor

20th Century Fox

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Actor

The spectacular flame-out of Steve Jobs from this year’s Oscar race was depressing for once again illuminating the media complicity, mainly among those particularly susceptible full-time pundits who are perversely unaware of just how much their groupthink influences the industry’s own, that goes into turning this dog-and-pony show, year in and year out, into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once the frontrunner for best picture, the Danny Boyle film saw its Oscar ambitions stymied not so much by its underperformance at the box office, but instead by the million unnecessary think pieces debating the potential costs of said underperformance.

Rather than run with the narrative that Steve Jobs, like the Apple brand in its nascent years, was an underappreciated commodity, that it would not be hurt by its box-office failure any more than, say, Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker was, pundits stopped cheerleading for the film because they convinced themselves it was no longer fashionable to do so. (Being right, after all, is the modus operandi of the average pundit’s investment in any given year’s Oscar race.) And because the hearts and minds of the industry, at least its ears, are privy to how films go up like stocks on the countless charts published on sites like GoldDerby, a challenger quickly became an also-ran.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Actor
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Actor

First, praise be to the brave Oscar pundits who have Bradley Cooper in their crosshairs. Indeed, given how close this race probably is between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton, it’s easy to see how Cooper could benefit from a vote split, not unlike, some have argued, Adrien Brody did back in 2003 when this award was anticipated to go to either Jack Nicholson or Daniel Day-Lewis. But we don’t have the courage to rally behind Cooper, terrific as he is in American Sniper, as this and adapted screenplay seem like the two categories where the contentiousness surrounding the Clint Eastwood film’s ostensibly mythmaking depiction of Chris Kyle is most likely to hurt. Which is to say nothing of the fact that, unlike Brody, Cooper enters this race without SAG, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations.

Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

With all due respect to the gentlemen in contention, this year’s likely Supporting Actor crop has shaped up to be a snooze, filled with veterans who, however gifted, feel like obvious choices, and whose singling out undermines some truly vibrant male turns. It’s true that Silver Linings Playbook boasted Robert De Niro’s best performance in years, giving the actor a tender comic role that required more than just cracking wise and mugging for the camera. And frontrunner Tommy Lee Jones turned in fine, fiery work in Lincoln, bringing complex life to abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, whose character arc is arguably the movie’s most dramatic. But both industry icons still feel a tad like instant candidates, and they’re liable to be joined by Alan Arkin (Argo) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), both of whom have been lauded for performances that are neither remarkable nor surprising. As consistent and consummately professional as Meryl Streep, Hoffman is faithfully intense as L. Ron Hubbard stand-in Lancaster Dodd, but there’s nothing in the character we haven’t seen him play before. And Arkin, whose crotchety film producer is a wellspring of rib-elbowing condescension, seems to have joined this race merely for his seasoned way with one-liners.

New York Film Festival 2011: My Week with Marilyn

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New York Film Festival 2011: <em>My Week with Marilyn</em>
New York Film Festival 2011: <em>My Week with Marilyn</em>

At the Q&A following the press screening of My Week with Marilyn, director Simon Curtis said he fell in love with the two Colin Clark memoirs the script is based on because of the insights they provided into Marilyn Monroe. A funny thing must have happened on the way to Film Forum though. Either those insights just didn’t make it into the screenplay or else Curtis knows a lot less about Hollywood’s Lady of Perpetual Sorrow than I had thought was possible for any reasonably well-educated citizen of the developed world.

Michelle Williams’s Marilyn is a thinking, feeling human being, but My Week with Marilyn’s script is so banal (“I’m not a goddess. I just want to be loved like a regular girl,” the poor girl has to say) that she relies almost entirely on body language and facial expressions to convey Monroe’s essence. Viewed from a distance or with dark glasses on, she looks remarkable like her, especially when she recreates the funny little dance Monroe’s character performs to amuse herself when she’s left alone for a bit in The Prince and the Showgirl, the god-awful romantic comedy Monroe was filming under the direction of her co-star, Laurence Olivier (brayed by Kenneth Branagh), during the week of the movie’s title.