1. Last week, I watched 1985's The Purple Rose of Cairo, one of my favorites, starring a peppy and smooth-skinned Jeff Daniels as both a rising movie star and the adventurous character he creates. The next day I saw him as a grizzled, unforgiving lit professor in theaters in The Squid and the Whale. Twenty years separate these two roles, and Daniels proves how competent and comfortable he is in any kind of part (don't forget Dumb & Dumber). So it's great to see he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best actor today.
2. Not sure how to defend The Upside of Anger and its sudden plunge into self-importance. It's flawed or bold, depending on how you sway once the twist hits. Regardless, Joan Allen...
Joan Allen. There were two moments in the film I had to watch multiple times because she's so damn good. The Gurus of Gold have her in the sixth spot for the best actress Oscar race, and the film came out in March. Only Kate Winslet can stick in peoples' memories like that (and did -- Eternal Sunshine was a March movie the year before and Kate snagged a nom). It's great if Joan sneaks in for Anger, which will make nomination No. 4, and no doubt another loss. But what about Sally Potter's Yes, the most ravishing movie of the year thusfar? It premiered in New York in June and evaporated after getting mixed reviews. A shame. It is Joan's career-best performance.
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