Let’s fight – Round 2: The best actresses under 40

I know.

I KNOW.

I’m terrible. When I posted the list of the best actors under 40, I said we’d be doing the actresses the next week, and now here it is, months later. What can I say? I’m lazy. But now here we are, with a list of the best actresses under 40. The same rules apply—same age range (25-39) and criteria (body of work, diversity of work, recognition received). I can’t stress enough how much harder this list was than the actors’ list. First, I had waaaay more options. Even after remembering that Rachel Weisz and Gong Li (if you’re scratching your head at Li, check out Raise the Red Lantern or Farewell My Concubine) were over 40, I still had over 30 candidates. At one point, I had five French actresses alone. I know you’re going to be like, “Where’s so-and-so?!” and want to know how I could possibly leave what’s-her-face off the list. The answer is probably that she tied with someone on the list and I made a taste call between them. Continue reading “Let’s fight – Round 2: The best actresses under 40”

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Let’s fight: The best actors under 40

I few months ago I realized that everyone I thought of as the best actors working today are over 40. This startled me and got me to thinking about who are the top actors under 40, since they’re the ones who will take over, in a sense. I wrote out a list of nearly thirty names (over sixty when I included actresses, whom we’ll deal with next week), and started Netflixing away. Over the next couple of months, I began winnowing down my list. For example, I realized that while I like Shia LaBeouf and think he’s talented, he tends to make crap movies. The last few years have shown a dearth of good taste, a kind of lowest-common-denominator thinking that concerns me. Sure, Shia will deliver quality to your crappy blockbuster, but the result for him, as an actor, is a kind of stagnation I can’t admire. So he was removed from the list. Continue reading “Let’s fight: The best actors under 40”

Handicapping the Oscars for real

I engaged in some tomfoolery during my fall movie preview, assigning movies asinine Oscar odds that had no real bearing on anything since the movies weren’t out yet and I hadn’t seen most of them at that point. This marks my first effort at real handicapping. I’ll revisit this after the SAGs at some point and then do a final line right before the Oscars proper. I bet on these things. These odds—they’re how I’m placing my bets. So who I think WILL win and who I think SHOULD win are two different things. That’s why, in my final odds, I always post both options. For now, though, I’m sticking to the WILL wins, listed first, with odds decreasing after that. I’m also doing this without the input of my acquaintance who is a voting member of the Academy. He just texted to tell me he was bummed for Ryan Gosling, calling Blue Valentine a “duet” and saying he thought it was unfair to nominate Michelle Williams and not her on-screen partner. Oh well. It’s the Academy. Unfairness abounds. Continue reading “Handicapping the Oscars for real”