Long considered to be one of the most talented film stars ever, Peter O'Toole held what must have been a frustrating distinction. O'Toole, who died on Dec. 14 at age 81 in London, is the performer nominated most often for a best actor Oscar - eight times - without winning.
Meryl Streep was in a playful mood last night when she held court backstage before a crowd of admiring press after winning her Best Actress Oscar for "The Iron Lady." "I thought I was so old and jaded, but they call your name and you just go into sort of a -- I don't know, a white light, and it was just thrilling," she told us. "It was like I was a kid again. I was a kid when I won this. It was like, 30 years ago. Two of the nominees were not even conceived," she pointed out, to laughter.
I didn't get to watch a lot of movies as a kid. (It's a long story.) The few ones I did watch left indelible impressions. As it turns out, when you watch the Sound of Music close to 30 or 40 times as a young teenaged woman, Christopher Plummer sticks in your mind. (As does the soundtrack. These are a few of my favorite things...La la la la...)
"Hugo," based on Brian Selznick's illustrated novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is Martin Scorsese's magical, majestic, fantastically told 3-D tale of Hugo, an orphaned 12-year-old boy. After the disappearance of his clock-maker uncle, Hugo struggles to survive in the dark labyrinths of the subterranean train station of 1930s Paris by secretly winding all the station clocks. The ticking-of-time serves as visual and thematic metaphor, enabling Hugo to take on a beyond-his-years philosophical dimension as both agonist and antagonist. Along his curious and circuitous journey, Hugo establishes an unlikely bond with a forgotten cinema legend that brings Hugo into further magical regions. 50+ viewers will appreciate Scorsese's unabashed flirtation with the mercurial and mysterious realms of early cinema.
"The Descendants" takes an understated, emotionally uncompromising look at a family in crisis. The movie is set in paradisiacal Hawaii, a contrast against the slow unraveling of its main character, played by George Clooney, who faces a series of emotional challenges that test his limits. Older audiences will identify with the film's surprisingly stark look at true-to-life family dilemmas. (You can read our full review here.)
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