20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Over the course of her career, Cameron Diaz has played everything from an ogre princess to a crime-fighting angel to the most irresponsible teacher of all time. But though she's best known for starring in goofy, raunchy comedies, Diaz's resume is filled with varied compelling roles that don't get talked about nearly as much as her underwear dance in Charlie's Angels. In fact, we'd go so far as to say that over the course of her career, Diaz has steadily delivered surprising, awards-worthy performances that often get overlooked by both the press and the public. In honor of her latest film, Sex Tape, arriving in theaters Friday, we've taken a look back at Diaz's life and career to pinpoint every single performance that shocked, moved, and impressed us... and, in a just world, would have impressed the Academy as well.
The CounselorLet’s get this out of the way: yes, Diaz’s character does have sex with a car. It’s a shame, though, that the hubbub surrounding that scene overshadowed everything else about her performance, which is insane in the best possible way. As Malkina, the calculating girlfriend/partner in crime to Javier Bardem’s Reiner, Diaz turned everything up to 11 to give an over-the-top, off-the-wall performance that is more entertaining than attempting to figure out what’s happening with Bardem’s hair. Despite a star-studded cast and a script by Cormac McCarthy, Diaz was easily the most memorable thing about The Counselor, as well as the most compelling.
ShrekOkay, so the Oscars don’t honor voice over work. That doesn’t mean that Diaz’s work as Princess Fiona isn’t worthy of praise. With anyone else voicing her, Fiona would probably turn out to be another cookie-cutter animated princess – kooky, sure but not downright weird, and probably not willing to convince a bird to sing itself to death or having a burping contest with an ogre. Diaz gives Fiona an absurd amount of personality, depth and fun, making her feel as alive as she would if it actually ere Diaz up on that screen.
My Best Friend’s Wedding Julia Roberts get all of the attention, but her Julianne Potter would be nothing without Diaz’s sweet, warm-hearted Kimmy Wallace. A character like Kimmy could have easily been one-dimensional: an unrealistic perfect girl meant to make the protagonist jealous. But Diaz’s Kimmy is a fully realized person; she’s not just sweet, she’s also naïve and awkward and genuinely open-hearted. And her ability to turn what would otherwise be a painfully embarrassing karaoke scene into an endearingly goofy moment deserves much more credit than Roberts letting Dermot Mulroney go.
USA Films via Everett Collection
Being John Malkovich And you thought The Counselor was a strange movie. In Being John Malkvoich, Diaz plays Lotte, the unhappy, pet-obsessed wife of John Cusack’s Craig, who enters into a relationship with Craig’s work crush Maxine (Catherine Keener) while inside the head of John Malkovich. It would be easy to let the craziness of the plot outshine the characters, but Diaz, wearing a horrendously frizzy wig and a series of unflattering outfits, uses the opportunity to give a weird, intense, complex performance that is, unfortunately, often forgotten in favor of her comedic ventures.
There’s Something About Mary The Mask may have put her on the map, but it was the Farrelly Brothers’ comedy that really made Diaz a star. The entire movie hinges on her being the most irresistible woman in the universe, so she needs to win over the audience in addition to the characters. Diaz does exactly that. Her performance is bright, charming and effortlessly funny, and it’s not hard to see why everyone fell in love with her hilarious and heartwarming character.
In Her Shoes In Her Shoes is a much better movie than it appears in its trailer, and much of that is due to Diaz’s performance as Maggie, the free-spirited wild child sister of Toni Collette’s Rose. It would be easy to turn Maggie into a flighty, one-dimensional character, but Diaz manages to turn a somewhat trite reveal – Maggie is dyslexic and has trouble reading and doing basic math – into an opportunity to showcase the insecurity, doubt, and hurt that has turned Maggie into the frivolous party girl that she is. It’s a surprisingly layered performance for a light-hearted movie about the relationship between sisters, and Diaz easily holds her own opposite Collette and Shirley MacLaine, both of whom received more attention.
Vanilla Sky Whether you loved Vanilla Sky or found it impossible to get past Tom Cruise’s melted face, there’s no denying that Diaz’s performance was the standout of the film. As Julie, the suicidal, jealous ex-girlfriend of Cruise’s David Aames, Diaz is simultaneously terrifying and heartbreaking, showcasing all of the hurt, anger, and instability that drive her to extreme measures. More than just the femme fatale or the vindictive ex, Diaz’s Julie is a tour de force performance that unfortunately got overshadowed by some terrible prosthetics.
The Fourth of July has come and gone, which means that the best time of year for movies is in full swing. From the end of the month through the New Year, theaters will be packed with some of the biggest, best, and most explosive movies of the year, thanks to the summer blockbuster and winter awards seasons growing ever closer each fall. With so many movies competing for your attention and your money, it can be difficult to keep your Oscar-baiting dramas from your superhero franchise sequels from your sentimental, romantic tearjerkers... and let's not forget about the little indies that are hitting at the end of the summer, hoping to gather enough buzz and box office steam to make it to the Golden Globes in February. In order to help you keep it all straight and plan out the rest of your year accordingly, we've rounded up every movie that the second half of 2014 has to offer and organized them by genre so that the next time you're in the mood for an action flick, a nail-biting thriller or a goofy comedy, you'll know exactly where to turn.
Action/AdventureWe might be nearing the end of Summer Superhero Movie Season (only Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are left to keep us safe) but the rest of the year still has plenty of films packed with explosions, witty banter, and dizzying fight sequences to satisfy your adventurous side.
Hercules, July 25 Lucy, July 25 Guardians of the Galaxy, August 1 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, August 8 Into the Storm, August 8 The Expendables 3, August 15 Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, August 22 Step Up: All In, August 25 November Man, August 27 The Maze Runner, September 19 A Walk Among the Tombstones, September 19 The Equalizer, September 26 Left Behind, October 3 Dracula Untold, October 17 Kingsman: The Secret Service, October 24 Interstellar, November 7 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, November 21 Exodus: Gods and Kings, December 12 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, December 17 Barely Lethal, TBA
Highlights: While we can't wait for Marvel's crime-fighting band of misfits, Guardians of the Galaxy, we're equally pumped for Scarlett Johansson's action hero turn in Lucy, Christopher Nolan's mysterious Interstellar, and Colin Firth's performance as a spy mentor in Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Comedy Whether you prefer them raunchy and in-your-face, quiet and filled with high emotional stakes, or likely to get the whole country blown up (thanks, James Franco and Seth Rogen!), 2014 has a comedy for every mood, person and sense of humor.
Sex Tape, July 18 The Fluffy Movie, July 25 Magic in the Moonlight, July 25 Wish I Was Here, July 25 What If, August 8 Let’s Be Cops, August 13 Life of Crime, August 29 This is Where I Leave You, September 19 The Interview, October 10 Birdman, October 17 St. Vincent, October 24 Dumb and Dumber To, November 14 Horrible Bosses 2, November 28 Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Christmas Untitled Cameron Crowe Project, Christmas
Highlights: Well, if it makes North Korea that angry, it's got to be good, so we're excited to see The Interview. We're also looking forward to Daniel Radcliffe's hilarious rom com debut in What If and Michael Keaton's big comeback performance in Birdman.
Animation and Kids’ Movies Whether you need to keep a younger sibling quiet and amused for a few hours, or you're just particularly young at heart yourself, the second half of the year is when all of the big hitters in children's entertainment and animation come out to play. Will one of them manage to finally bring Frozen's reign to an end?
Planes: Fire and Rescue, July 18 Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, August 22 Dolphin Tale 2, September 12 The Boxtrolls, September 26 The Hero of Color City, October 3 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day, October 10 The Book of Life, October 17 Big Hero 6, November 7 The Penguins of Madagascar, November 26 Night At the Museum 3, December 19 Annie, December 19 Paddington, Christmas
Highlights: Everything Laika painstakingly creates is a joy to watch, so we're counting down the days to The Boxtrolls, which looks completely charming. Ditto the gorgeous and elaborate The Book of Life and the adorably action-packed Big Hero 6.
Sony Pictures Classics
Dramas Whether you're looking for a biopic, a musical, a musical biopic or just an intense, moving cinematic experience, now is the best time to check out your movie theater's more dramatic offerings. Besides, at least half of these films are likely to be in play come Oscar night, and you'll want to be on top of things before the trophies get handed out.
Get On Up, August 1 The Hundred-Foot Journey, August 8 The Giver, August 15 If I Stay, August 22 When the Game Stands Tall, August 22 One Chance, August 29 Addicted, September 5 The Drop, September 12 The Identical, September 12 Hector and the Search For Happiness, September 19 Jimi: All Is By My Side, September 26 The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, September 16 Gone Girl, October 3 The Good Lie, October 3 The Judge, October 10 Kill The Messenger, October 10 The Best of Me, October 17 Reach Me, October 24 Theory of Everything, November 7 Foxcatcher, November 14 Fury, November 14 Beyond the Lights, November 14 McFarland, November 21 The Imitation Game, November 21 Wild, December 5 Inherent Vice, December 12 Unbroken, Christmas Big Eyes, Christmas Selma, Christmas Into the Woods, Christmas A Good Marriage, TBA
Highlights: From the looks of things, Foxcatcher might be the film to give Channing Tatum his own "McConaissance," even if we never do manage to figure out a catchy nickname for it. And if you're looking for more superheroes in serious films, try The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, which tells one story from two distinct perspectives (and stars Professor X himself, James McAvoy).
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
Indie If you're tired of blockbusters and Oscar bait, and instead want a more low-key way to spend your afternoon, this is the best season for indie movies. Comedies, dramas, romances, dramedies, action, musicals, characters that wear giant fake heads - there's something for everyone, and they're all worth checking out.
I Origins, July 18 Mood Indigo, July 18 Happy Christmas, July 25 Very Good Girls, July 25 Calvary, August 1 The Trip to Italy, August 15 The One I Love, August 15 Life After Beth, August 15 Frank, August 15 Two Night Stand, August 22 Love Is Strange, August 22 The Congress, August 29 The Skeleton Twins, September 19 Laggies, September 26 Whiplash, October 10
Highlights: There are plenty of Sundance darlings hitting theaters soon, but the most exciting one for us is probably the weirdest: Frank, which stars Michael Fassbender as a musician who wears a giant fake head at all times. A bit more normal is the zombie romantic dramedy Life After Beth, which highlights the challenges of dating the undead. Plus, there's Whiplash, which is set to remind us all just how terrifying J.K. Simmons can be.
Open Road Films
Horror As summer winds down, that means only one thing: Halloween is approaching. And what better way to celebrate ghosts, ghouls, goblins and everything that goes bump in the night than with one of the many upcoming horror movies that 2014 has to offer?
The Purge: Anarchy, July 18 Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, August 1 The Possession of Michael King, August 22 Jessabelle, August 29 Leprechaun: Origins, August 29 The Green Inferno, September Untitled New Line Horror Project, October 3 Annabelle, October 3 Ouija, October 24 Paranormal Activity 5, October 24 See No Evil 2, TBA
Highlights: This list is packed with sequels, but the one we're most anticipating is an original: Eli Roth's The Green Inferno, about a group of Amazonian explorers who are taken captive by a tribe of cannibals. If we know anything about Roth's work, it's probably going to be intense, gory and potentially a little scarring.
Thriller More intense than a drama, but with a better story than a horror film, thrillers are the perfect indoors-y alternative to rock climbing, roller coasters and water sports. It's all of the thrill without the risk of sunburn.
Aftermath, July 18 A Most Wanted Man, July 25 The Prince, August 22 As Above, So Below, August 29 Addicted, September 5 No Good Deed, September 12 Before I Go to Sleep, September 12 The Two Faces of January, September 26
Highlights: A Most Wanted Man was one of Philip Seymour Hoffman's final films, and it promises to be an intense roller coaster of a film featuring what we're sure is a powerhouse performance from one of the greatest actors of his generation. Later in the year, there's The Two Faces of January to look forward to, which will see Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac go toe-to-toe.
Lately, it seems like a franchise is not truly a franchise until it’s gotten its gritty reboot. Superman had Man of Steel, Batman had the Christopher Nolan trilogy, and Doctor Who now has Twelve to bring some dark realism to a show about a man who travels around space and time in a mysterious flying police box. Previous seasons have seemed to mix the show’s campier, sillier side with a few serious moments, but the first full trailer for Peter Capaldi’s time at the helm of the TARDIS promises a season that is decidedly darker than Matt Smith or David Tennant’s runs.
But Doctor Who is not a show that has exactly shied away from darkness before. Between the horror that creatures like the Weeping Angels or the Silence bring and the show’s many tragic deaths and departures, not to mention the ramifications of the Time War that haunted the Doctor for years, there has always been plenty to temper the more ridiculous aspects of the show. However, this time around, the show seems to be re-focusing on the darker functions of the Doctor’s story, with goofier elements like dinosaurs rampaging through London taking a backseat to questions about the Doctor’s morality.
In fact, this darker edge seems to be the selling point for the new Doctor. That’s most likely due to the fact that Capaldi is an established dramatic actor, and we as an audience are used to seeing him play darker moments or roles. Even his most famous character, the aggressive and very profane Director of Communications Malcolm Tucker was arguably more of an anti-hero than a straight-forward good guy. Though Capaldi is often funny, both on and off screen, he’s better known for being brash, mean and sometimes evil.
Doctor Who started to take a darker turn towards the end of Smith’s tenure, with much of his happy-go-lucky façade slipping to reveal the guiltier, tortured side he hid underneath. Bringing in Capaldi gives the show a better opportunity to explore some of those more serious elements, as Eleven always needed to hold on to his goofier side. Twelve, however, is a blank slate, which allows the writers to properly delve into the grittier side of space and time travel, and being responsible for the fate of an entire planet. And since the anti-hero is so popular right now, it makes sense for Doctor Who to hop on the tortured male lead bandwagon with someone who is adept at playing that role.
Of course, no matter how good Capaldi will be as Twelve – and given everything we’ve seen him in thus far, it’s likely to be a fantastic performance – it remains to be seen how well Doctor Who as a whole will be able to pull off its gritty reboot. Recently, the show’s darker moments have been somewhat hit-and-miss, so it would be a challenge for the writers to maintain such a serious tone for the entire season. Recently, the show has struggled to ensure that its serious moments have the right amount of impact, thanks to show runner Steven Moffat’s disregard for continuity and love of resurrecting characters from the dead. A tone like this requires consequences in order to be effective. Audiences need to be worried about the fate of Clara and the Doctor, scared by their actions or the actions of the enemies they face, and since Moffat doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of lasting consequences, it doesn’t bode well for the new season.
However, if Doctor Who is able to maintain its balance between camp and drama, it should be able to ensure a memorable run for Capaldi. The goofiness will offset some of the tension, allowing audiences time to relax, breathe and enjoy the time they’re spending with these characters, as well as taking some pressure off of the consequences of the show’s darker moments, while the grittier elements will be able to raise the show’s stakes as well as allowing them to explore new territory with the Doctor, both in terms of location and character development. Although, if they really run out of options, they could always just have Twelve verbally eviscerate the Daleks. That should help them find the ideal blend of comedy and darkness.
The eighth season of Doctor Who premieres on August 23 on BBC One.
Touchstone Pictures via Everett Collection
Summer: it's a time to relax, soak up the sun, eat mountains of ice cream and tackle the massive pile of books you've been meaning to read. Whether you need to make your way through hundreds of pages of classic literature before school starts up again or you've just been putting off the heavier tomes on your shelf until you have some more free time, reading the classics can sometimes be a slog in the summer. But it's a task well worth undertaking, and not just because it's good to broaden your literary horizons. Many of your favorite films are actually twists on well-worn tales. Sure, they're enjoyable on their own, but the only way to really pick up on the humor of Jane Austen or the references to Shakespeare in a suburban high school rom com is to read the books first. We've rounded up the best movies that become even better, funnier and more charming after you've read the works their based on. Consider it a well-earned reward for a book well read.
10 Things I Hate About YouBased On: The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.Most Drastic Change: Aside from the high school setting, he plot was simplified to reduce the amount of characters and false identities. For example, Joey Donner was originally two characters, Gremio and Hortensio. Best Reference to the Source: After Kat almost hits Michael with a car, he calls her a “shrew”; Michael also quotes Shakespearean sonnets several times throughout the film, and Cameron quotes the play itself (“I burn; I pine; I perish”). And there's that one girl who is oddly in love with "William."You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: Almost every name in the film is a reference to something else. Padua High School refers to Padua being the location of the play, and Patrick’s last name, Verona, is where Petruchio is originally from. Kat and Bianca’s last name – Stratford – is a reference to Shakespeare’s hometown.
Clueless Based On: Emma by Jane Austen Most Drastic Change: Updating the film to be about ‘90s Valley girls; none of the character’s names are similar to Austen’s characters.Best Reference to the Source: The wedding fake-out at the end of the film. Since Austen wrote a great deal about the marriage plot, all of her novels end with the heroine getting married. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: While most of the characters have Austenian equivalents, Dionne is an original character, although it could be argued that she represents Ms. Weston. Also, Amy Heckerling cut out the character of Jane Fairfax completely. She is the main obstacle to Emma and Frank Churchill’s relationship; his Clueless doppelganger, Christian, is gay instead.
Bridget Jones’ Diary Based On: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Most Drastic Change: Instead of the large family that Elizabeth Bennet has in the book, Bridget is an only child, and has a large group of friends to give her advice, all of whom vaguely resemble her sisters. Best Reference to the Source: Casting Colin Firth as Mark Darcy. Author Helen Fielding has said that she based the character (both in name and looks) on his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: Instead of Darcy making two proposals, he only makes one; Bridget’s speech when she finds out that he is moving is a reflection of his second confession of love.
She’s the Man Based On: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Most Drastic Change: In the play, Viola just pretends to be a man, and calls herself Cesario, rather than specifically impersonating her brother Sebastian. Best Reference to the Source: The character of Malcolm, who is based on the character of Malvolio, has a pet tarantula named Malvolio. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Books: Like 10 Things I Hate About You, all of the names are either adapted from those of the characters - Duke Orsino is the modern-day equivalent of Orsino, who is a duke, and the restaurant they frequent is called Cesario – or the locations – the school’s name Illyria, is where the play takes place.
Screen Gems via Everett Collection
Easy A Based On: The Scarlett Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne Most Drastic Change: In the book, Hester is ostracized for cheating on her husband with a priest; she got pregnant during the affair. In the film, Olive only pretends to sleep with people. Best Reference to the Source: The foreign film that Olive goes to see, courtesy of one of her fake hookups, is called Der Scharlachrote Buchstabe, which translates to The Scarlett Letter.You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: The film is up-front about many of its similarities to Hawthorne’s book, as Olive is studying it in class. Though Olive doesn’t have an affair with anyone, Hester and Arthur Dimmsdale’s relationship is paralleled in the affair that Mrs. Griffith has with Micah.
ScroogedBased On: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Most Drastic Change: At the end of the film, Frank reunites with his love, Claire. However, in the book, too much time has passed for him to reconcile with Belle, and so he is instead content with becoming part of the Cratchitt family. Best Reference to the Original: In addition to Frank Cross joking about “scaring the Dickens out of people,” one of the TV shows he produces is called “Scrooge,” which was an alternate title that Dickens published the story under. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: The Bob Cratchitt part is played by two different characters: Frank’s overworked assistant Grace Cooley and the much-abused yes-man Eliot Loudermilk.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Based On: Homer’s The Odyssey Most Drastic Change: Instead of journeying home after a great war, Ulysses has escaped from a prison chain gang. Best Reference to the Source: The film is filled with references to the epic, but the cleverest is the repeated use of the song “Man of Constant Sorrow,” as the name Odysseus (the Greek equivalent of Ulysses) means “man who is in constant pain and sorrow.” You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: In order to win Penelope’s hand in marriage, all the suitors must string Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow through a dozen axe heads, but only Odysseus is strong enough to string the bow. In the film, Ulysseus also strings a bow in order to prove that he is who he says he is, and not an imposter.
Ruby Sparks Based On: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.Most Drastic Change: In the play, Higgins “makes” Eliza by transforming her from a flower girl into a lady, but in the film, Calvin physically creates Ruby, as she is a product of his imagination.Best Reference to the Source: At the end, Ruby becomes her own person, and leaves Calvin behind to do what she wants and become who she wants, which reflects the controversial ending of the play, in which Eliza leaves Henry behind in order to marry Freddy, even though Henry disapproves. The ending of Shaw's play was very controversial when it was first performed, but it was important to him that Eliza doesn't marry Henry. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: Calvin’s brother, Harry, repeatedly warns him to be careful with what he’s doing, and not to disregard Ruby’s emotions, just like how Henry’s friend, Colonel Pickering, constantly warns Henry to be kind to Eliza and to treat her like a real person, rather than an experiment.
Nothing says “Christmas” quite like an epic story of struggle, survival and triumph over impossible odds... at the movies anyway. This holiday promises to be just as stirring and emotional thanks to Unbroken, the latest directorial venture from Angelina Jolie. Based on an incredible true story, the film charts the life of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), an Olympic track star who was gunned down during World War II, stranded at sea, and kept as a prisoner of war at a Japanese internment camp until the end of the war. It’s a dark, intense and incredibly inspiring story, but unfortunately, the first full trailer only serves to highlight one of those elements.
There’s no doubt that the trailer gives plenty of attention to the darker moments of Zamperini’s experiences – the scene where soldiers line up to punch him in the face should be enough of an indication of the terrible conditions that he endured – but there’s something about the way the clip is cut together that makes Unbroken look a bit, well, cheesy. Maybe it’s the swelling violins in the background, maybe it’s the dramatic text overlay, or maybe it’s the washed-out filter that the first half of the trailer has, but the trailer gives off the impression that Unbroken is just a generic, corny tearjerker.
To an extent, we get it. It’s already difficult to cut a trailer the shows off the best aspects of the movie, teases more to come, and showcases what the film is about without completely giving away the plot. For a film like Unbroken, which is centered on someone who most moviegoers might not be familiar with and whose story is epic and wide-spanning, it’s even more challenging, as the trailer needs to outline who Louis Zamperini is, what he went through, and why we should care, while at the same attempting to make it look like an attractive, entertaining experience. But the trailer doesn’t make his story look unique; it just makes it look like another Oscar baiting film that will probably make you cry.
It’s still disappointing though, primarily because it plays down the more compelling parts of the story in favor of sweeping, emotional beats and moments of patriotism designed to appeal to the widest, most mainstream audience possible. And while it makes perfect sense that studios would want to make the trailer as inoffensive as possible in order to attract a larger audience, it keeps Unbroken from standing out amongst all of the other emotional, life-affirming dramas that will flood movie theaters around the same time. Mostly though, the cheesy trailer makes us worried that the film itself is the same kind of pandering, melodramatic Oscar bait that the winter months have become famous for. We’re not interested in seeing an interesting, complicated, moving true story simplified in order to try and win awards. We want to see a movie about Zamperini because we’re interested in his story, no matter how dark or depressing it might be at times.
Of course, trailers are never a good indication of what the final film actually looks like, but watching the teaser for Unbroken, we can’t help but hope that the story was cheesed-up for advertising purposes only. Maybe for the next trailer, the editors could try a little less violin?
Unbroken opens in theaters on Christmas day.
The Emmy awards inspire more conflict, shock and outrage than possibly any other major awards show on the circuit. It makes sense; we spend so much time getting to know these characters and their struggles that we become incredibly invested in the show's success. But with so many channels, platforms, programs, stars and prestige dramas on the air right now, it’s going to be impossible to please everyone. Of course, that knowledge doesn’t stop us from waiting impatiently every year, hoping that our favorite performances from the past year will be recognized with an Emmy nomination. And every year, we end up with a new list of nominations that surprise and delight us, or send us into a spiral of rage, heartbreak and Twitter ranting. The 2014 nominations were no different, and these are the biggest shocks of the year.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Despite its critical acclaim and Golden Globe wins, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is still something of an underdog in terms of ratings and public attention, so we weren’t expecting the Television Academy to take much notice of the Fox show. Which is why we were so delighted to read Braugher’s name on the list of nominees this morning for his work as the magnificently deadpan Captain Ray Holt. Brooklyn Nine-Nine might have only gotten one major nod, but it was for the single best part of the show, and for that we’re endlessly grateful. We know it might be hard to read, but we are... ecstatic.
Best Actress in a Drama: Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex Masters of Sex probably tops the list of brilliant shows that nobody pays enough attention to, but for all of its high points – the costumes, the dialogue, the chemistry between Masters and Johnson, the tense, quiet drama, the brilliant guest starts – much of the show’s excellence can be credited to Caplan’s performance as Virginia Johnson. It’s a complex, layered, funny, sexy, compelling role and it’s thrilling to see her work rightfully acknowledged as one of the best performances of the year.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Allison Janney, Mom Mom is a complicated show. It’s ostensibly a typical Chuck Lorre comedy, with lots of inane jokes and strange plots, but it also devotes a great deal of time to the dramatic, difficult relationship between mother and daughter, both of whom are recovering addicts. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s usually thanks to Janney, who transforms what could have been a stereotypical over-the-top, obnoxious character into a flawed, layered, realistic human being.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Fred Armisen, Portlandia While it’s sad not to see Armisen’s co-star and co-writer Carrie Brownstein on the list of nominees as well, we’re excited to see the Television Academy finally pay attention to this weird, hilarious show and the weird, hilarious characters who inhabit it. Whether he’s learning the history of hip hop before a big concert or playing a feminist hippie who hates the customers in her shop, Armisen’s always original, funny, and just a little strange.
Best Comedy Series: Silicon Valley Another critical favorite that didn’t seem to get a lot of mainstream attention, Silicon Valley had an excellent first season, skewering the tech industry, the people who aspire to be part of it, and the people who make fun of it. Although airing on HBO automatically got the Emmys’ attention, it wasn’t the cultural phenomenon that some of its network-mates have become, and so it was good to see that a show doesn’t necessarily need A-list stars or famous directors in order to get attention.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live This season of SNL got bogged down by an influx of new cast members, the loss of its head writer halfway through the year, and controversy over the diversity of its cast. But there was one cast member who held things together, who was consistently hilarious and able to rescue just about any sketch just by being in it, and that cast member was Kate McKinnon. From Bieber to Ellen to “Dyke and Fats” to doing it on a twin bed, McKinnon was definitely this year’s MVP, and we’re happy to see the Emmys recognize that as well.
Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie: Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon To be honest, we never expected this weird, awkward and often hilarious miniseries to even be on the TV Academy’s radar, let alone the nominations list, but Wiig’s performance as Cynthia Morehouse, who endures poverty, war, an unhappy marriage, and a forbidden romance with her adopted brother in outrageous, strange and hilarious fashion was one of the funniest things on TV this year. Not quite on the same level as Lady Anne, but we imagine it would be a little awkward to nominate a mannequin for an Emmy.
Best Supporting Actress and Guest Actress(es) in a Comedy: Kate Mulgrew, Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, and Natasha Lyonne, Orange is the New Black Orange Is the New Black swept the nominations this year, and while we’re happy to see it get recognized for Best Comedy and Taylor Shilling’s lead performance as Piper Chapman, it’s the supporting cast who we’re really thrilled for. Between Mulgrew’s transformative work as Red being included in the Supporting Actress category and three of the finest, funniest and most heartbreaking actresses (Aduba, Lyonne, and Cox, who is the first transgender Emmy nominee) crowding everyone else out of the Guest Actress category, don’t be surprised if Orange takes home plenty of gold on Emmy night.
Tatiana Maslany Gets Snubbed… Again Apparently, playing eight distinct characters, all of whom are equally complex, interesting, and fully-realized is not enough for the Emmy voters to take notice of Maslany’s incredible performance on Orphan Black, and both she and the show were snubbed for a second year. Since the tension between Helena and Sarah or the complicated relationship between Allison and Donnie or Cosima’s fight through her debilitating illness wasn’t enough, it seems the only way that Maslany will ever a nod is if she plays every single character on True Detective Season 2.
The Emmys Don’t Care About The Americans Despite turning out some of the most compelling, interesting, thrilling drama that has aired on television in the past year, The Americans was almost completely ignored by Emmy voters, earning one nomination for Margo Martindale’s guest spot. And though we pretty much expected the show not to make the Best Drama Series cut, we’re mostly shocked that Matthew Rhys’ incredible performance this season was also completely ignored by the Academy. Clearly the Emmys have a hard time looking past some bad wigs to see the brilliance underneath.
Really, Jeff Daniels Again? Don’t get us wrong, the once and future Harry Dunne does good work on The Newsroom, but it’s nothing special, especially compared to both what his fellow Best Actor in a Drama nominees turned out this year, and the performances of so many other actors who didn’t make the cut. But considering how much the Emmys seem to love him, we think Bryan Cranston and Matthew McConaughey might want to hold off on writing their acceptance speeches.
Ricky Gervais Gets Nominated For… Derek? We loved Gervais’ arrogant, deluded David Brent on The Office. We’re still laughing about his performance as the rude, frustrated and sometimes desperate Andy Millman on Extras, and we’d watch him bicker with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington all day. However, we weren’t as crazy about his work on Derek, the saccharine, gentle-hearted sitcom where he plays the saccharine, gentle-hearted nursing home caretaker Derek, so we’re surprised to see just how vastly the Television Academy’s opinion about the show differed from ours. Still, at least we know we’re guaranteed a hell of a show if he actually wins.
Downton Abbey Keeps Racking Up the Nominations We get it: Maggie Smith is an international treasure. That doesn’t mean that the Emmys have to nominate her every single year, without fail. And just because Downton Abbey is a British period piece, that doesn’t mean it’s better than any number of excellent dramas who continue to be overlooked just because everyone on the show speaks with a British accent. It’s okay not to nominate them, Emmys. Everyone will still think you’re smart and worldly, we promise.
The Wrong People from Shameless Get Nominated, as Per Usual Here’s the good news: Shameless finally got more than one nomination! The bad news, though, is that they went to the actors with the most name recognition – William H. Macy, who is up for Best Actor in a Comedy and Joan Cusack, whose Guest Actress hot streak continues – rather than the ones who carried the show this year – Emmy Rossum, Jeremy Allen White and Noel Fisher, to name just a few. But, hey, it seems like that category switch actually paid off, even if it means nominating the actor whose character was in a coma over the ones who were struggling with jail time, balancing college and caring for his family and coming out and looking after his bipolar boyfriend.
Somehow, House of Cards Got 13 Nominations There are only two possible explanations: either the Emmy voters thought that, like Orange Is the New Black, they were voting based on the first season of the show, or they didn’t actually watch the new season of House of Cards, and they decided to throw a bunch of nominations its way to cover up that fact, since it’s an “important, prestige” drama.
No two elements in Hollywood make more sense together than Ridley Scott and epic, sprawling period dramas. After all, who better to direct an action packed, intensely dramatic, incredibly serious film about Moses leading the Jews out of slavery in Egypt than the man who made Gladiator and Black Hawk Down? Unfortunately, that's about the only thing that seems to make any sense about his latest film, Exodus: Gods and Kings, a movie that promises to live up to its poster. The first trailer for the epic sees Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton (who are Welsh and Australian, respectively) face off over the people of Egypt.
At least, that's what we think is going on. To be honest, we were a bit distracted by the sheer insanity of the trailer to really follow along with the plot. No matter how hard we tried to pay attention to the exposition that the dramatic voice-over was revealing or focus on the intensity of the torch-lit glares, there would be something else that drew our attention and made us stop everything we were doing in order to exclaim "Wait, what?!" In a desperate attempt to make sense of everything that's going on in Exodus: Gods and Kings, we've rounded up all of the most surprising, confusing and downright insane moments in the trailer.
0:13 – Christian Bale’s Impeccably Trimmed Facial Hair Was ancient Egypt particularly well known for its barbers? Because the angles on that goatee are distractingly perfect. Surely Moses has more important things to deal with than making sure that is facial hair looks pristine at all times... like, say, freeing the slaves? Bale doesn't even show up to the Oscars this well groomed.
0: 19 – Joel Edgerton’s Painted-On Eyebrows Was the makeup team worried that audiences wouldn’t be able to find Edgerton’s eyes after he shaved his head? Did they really think we needed two clear arrows pointing at them at all times, so that we can better appreciate the intensity of his gaze? Did they confuse old hieroglyphs for an accurate representation of what people’s eyebrows looked like then, and attempt to match his makeup to a cave wall?
0:24 – What Accent Is That Supposed to Be? It’s clearly an attempt at the standard “British gravitas” that is a fundamental requirement of any epic period piece, but then towards the end of the line, it takes a strange detour into what we can only assume is an attempt at Egyptian, but which really sounds more like someone from a vaguely European country speaking with his mouth full.
0:27 – Hang on, Was There an Epic Battle in the Original Story?There was definitely fire, we know that, but as far as we remembered it came from a burning bush. Was there this much swordplay in the Bible? Did Ridley Scott just grow up reading a different version of the story or was this all in there, just buried between the lines? Maybe we’ve all been wrong this whole time…
20th Century Fox Film
0:31 – Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton Are in Two Completely Different Movies Edgerton clearly thinks he’s starring in a shot-for-shot remake of a classic Hollywood epic, complete with period-accurate – well, for the 1950s and ‘60s, at least – makeup and the kind of voice that proclaims, “I am a Serious Actor. Respect Me.” Whereas Bale is clearly playing off-duty Bruce Wayne, who has been hanging out in his desert mansion for a while in order to build up his base tan.
0:41 – Is Someone Casting a Spell on that Baby? Why else would you wave your hands over its head? What did this baby do to warrant a curse like that? It didn’t harm anyone, it’s just a baby. What movie do you think this is, Maleficent? Also, why would you wake up a sleeping baby? It probably just got to sleep and now it’s going to be up all night, which means someone’s going to be exhausted when they show up for battle tomorrow. Nobody wants sleepy soldiers.
1:06 – Wait, Sigourney Weaver Is in This? Wow, they didn’t even try to cast anyone who looks like they could actually be from this region, did they? Also, is she playing someone’s mother? Because Sigourney Weaver is far too young to play either Christian Bale or Joel Edgerton’s mother, and yet here she is, looking authoritative and resplendent, like she’s going to yell at Moses and Ramses to stop fighting and clean up their wing of the palace, without even smudging her perfect eyeliner.
1:14 – Moses’ Casual Reveal of the Plagues About to Terrorize Egypt“Oh, hey Ramses. Don’t freak out or anything, but there’s something really terrifying headed your way, and I’m not gonna stop it or anything, but you’re basically screwed. No worries, though. I’m sure it will all work out fine. Well, it was good talking to you, hope the hail doesn’t knock you out. See you at the family reunion!”
1:22 – Christian Bale’s “Serious Archer” Face If you’re leading an army into battle against their greatest foe, the king who has held them captive for generations, you might want to find a facial expression that’s a bit more intimidating and inspiring than just opening your mouth as wide as you can and refusing to blink. You were Batman. You should have a perfect fighting face ready for any occasion.
1:30 – The Plainest Title Cards of All Time After a minute and a half of sweeping panoramas, epic battle scenes, stunning visual effects and a literal river of blood, the trailer fades out into the titles… which are just thin silver letters on a black background. Did they run out of money for titles thanks to the massive effects budget? If you’re going to wimp out on the titles, at least try and pick an interesting font. It’s advertising 101.
And we didn't even touch on the fact that Aaron Paul is playing Moses' second in command. Exodus: Gods and Kings opens in theaters on December 12.
Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths
If you happened to miss the first half of today’s World Cup semifinal match between Brazil and Germany, you missed out on perhaps the most shocking 45 minutes of television since the season finale of Game of Thrones (not this past one, the good one). In a series of events the escalated far too quickly for Brazil fans’ liking, the German national team scored five goals in rapid succession, which sent spectators around the world rushing to their Twitter feeds in hopes of being the first person they knew to make an Anchorman joke. But just because Brazil is down, it doesn’t mean it's out, and whether they win or lose today – and if they win, it will probably be the most memorable soccer game of all time – they’ve still got plenty to be proud of. So, cheer up, Brazil, you’ve still got plenty! Like...
You still have more World Cup titles than any other nation.
You're still the biggest country in South America.
You still have an entire population of people that look like Giselle Bundchen.
You still have Pele's glory days.
You still have Christ the Redeemer, the biggest art deco statue in the world. Oh wait...
Hey, Carnival is only seven months away...
You still have that weird version of volleyball where you can only use your feet. That's almost soccer, right?
You still have City of God, the only movie in the world that everyone thinks is good.
You still produce more Victoria's Secret models than any other country.
You still have the knowledge that most other countries look like idiots when dancing the samba.
You still have the comfort of knowing that the Red Wedding was still a more gruesome massacre than what you just went through.
And hey, there'll probably be at least two more Rio movies! That's worth something, right?
Movie posters are a tricky medium. They need to sum up the premise of a film, showcase the stars, and still be flashy and intriguing enough to attract random moviegoers’ attention, while still being simple enough to look good on the wall of a college dorm room. Sometimes, designers fight back against that expectation, and come up with a more creative solution. Unfortunately in the case of Exodus: Gods and Kings, the creative solution wasn't a good one. Instead of previewing the no doubt epic struggle for power between Moses (played here by Christian Bale, because why not) and King Rhamses (played here by Joel Edgerton, with the eyebrows of a 1950s screen villain) as Moses attempts to free the Jews from slavery in Egypt, the poster instead gives us a disgruntled looking Bruce Wayne and a vaguely familiar guy who just smelt something terrible standing in front of a fake pyramid in a world where the only visible colors are gold and shadow. There’s got to be some explanation for this, some logical reason why people actually signed off on this poster, right? Here are our theories:
20th Century Fox
The designer in charge of the poster was still a little worn down from the epic Fourth of July party they went to, and when they realized that the final poster was due on their boss’s desk bright and early yesterday morning, they pulled the first still they could find off of a Christian Bale fansite, played around with the coloring, and came up with a spiel about the colors “connecting them, but highlighting their differences” in order to cover it up.
The designer’s going through a “gold” period right now, and that bleeds into everything they’re working on. It’s art; you couldn’t possibly understand.
The intern in charge of touching up the colors just figured out how to work the contrast controls and got a little over-excited. It’s their first week, cut them some slack, okay?
Someone was standing in Christian Bale’s light again, but rather than drawing attention to it on set, everyone decided it was better to fix the colors afterwards, but it was worse than they first anticipated, and after spending weeks on the tiniest tweaks, they gave up and made the whole thing black and white (and gold).
In an attempt to market the film toward a younger audience, the head of the studio commanded the designer to oversaturate and over shadow and selectively color the poster so it looks like it “could be from that Twistagram thing. You know the photo site? I forget the name, but my daughter’s always using it on her phone.” The good news is that it looks amazing under the Valencia filter.
The designer colored the poster on Instagram on his way into the office.
The head of the studio can only see shades of gold and black, and he just really wanted to be able to see what the movie was promoting. He’s a big Christian Bale fan.
The art department at 20th Century Fox started hiring people off of Tumblr and DeviantArt to work on movie posters.
Everyone’s Internet connections are playing tricks on them, and it just looks like the contrast is out of control. When pressed for a comment, someone at the studio was quoted as saying “These are not the droids you’re looking for.”
Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale lost World Cup bets to some of the crew members, and found out that they’d have to pay an absurd amount of money at the exact moment that the camera went off for the poster shoot. But to be fair, how were they supposed to know that Spain was going to have such a terrible year?
Christian Bale saw the first pictures from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice while shooting, and this was the only picture they could get of him before he stormed off set.
Joel Edgerton has a long-standing blood feud with someone in the promotions department at 20th Century Fox, so they purposely picked an outtake from the photo-shoot and overemphasized the eyebrows to make him look bad on an international movie poster.
Neither one of the stars was available to take promo pictures and they didn’t have any usable stills, so they photo shopped Christian Bale’s head onto a random extras body and found an actor in the 1963 Cleopatra that vaguely looked like Joel Edgerton, slapped him in there and de-saturated the colors in the hopes that nobody would notice.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Everett Collection
Whether you loved the way it neatly wrapped things up or hated the cheesy fairy tale ending it gave the series, the epilogue to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been, for the most part, the only real glimpse that fans got at the lives of Harry, Ron, and Hermione after their time at Hogwarts concluded. Though many have been able to get their fix of the Wizarding World through the snippets that J.K. Rowling has posted on Pottermore, she's been silent on the fate of the Golden Trio and the rest of Dumbledore's Army... until Tuesday morning, that is. In honor of the Quidditch World Cup — which conveniently coincides with the muggle world's World Cup — the author has released a series of short stories and mock articles about the game, its history, and now its famous spectators.
But while the always reliable Rita Skeeter has filled us in on what Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny have been up to in the years since school (working as an Auror, helping George run Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, working up the ranks in the Ministry, and becoming a Quidditch reporter, respectively), there are still so many more characters whose fates were not addressed. In fact, Rita's article brings up more questions than answers, since everything it reveals leaves us wanting to know more about the Wizarding World. On the off chance that Rowling is looking for inspiration for another Pottermore update, we'd recommend she start by tackling some of these burning questions:
Where’s Draco Malfoy? We don’t expect Draco to be hanging out with Dumbledore’s Army any more now than he did when they were all at Hogwarts, but does Rowling really expect us to believe that he would pass up any opportunity to swan around a VIP area and brag about his success, real or exaggerated? Surely, if everyone were gathering at the World Cup, he would be there, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle and ready to start a fight, just as he always was. Draco Malfoy never shies away from a potential spotlight.
Did Lee Jordan Ever Make It as a Quidditch Announcer? Perhaps the greatest sports announcers – real or fictional – of all time, Lee Jordan had a gift for adding color and sass to even the most boring of calls, and even if Professor McGonagall didn’t appreciate his admittedly biased reporting, readers certainly did. It’s hard to imagine a career that suits the Weasley twins’ former partner-in-crime better.
How Does Rita Have Trouble Telling the Weasley Boys Apart? They might all have red hair, freckles and hand-me-down clothes, but all of the Weasley boys are distinct entities, and if she’s already got Ron and Bill down, it shouldn’t be too difficult for her to figure out the other three. Here’s a cheat sheet: if he looks self-important, slightly nerdy, and wears glasses, it’s Percy; if he’s ruggedly handsome and desert-worn, it’s Charlie, and if he has one ear, is constantly joking around and seems like there should be another one of him standing right there, it’s George.
Has Luna Mellowed Out Since School? Rita seems intrigued by Luna’s World Cup outfit, but we’re a little disappointed by it. What happened to the elaborate roaring lion’s head she broke out for a Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match in the sixth book? Where are her radish earrings or her Spectrespecs or her colorful shoes? This is the tamest Luna costume we’ve seen, and it makes us a bit worried that she’s lost some of her unique, spacey edge.
What Did Hannah Abbott Do Before She Married Neville? The epilogue revealed a bit about what the other potential Boy Who Lived has been up to since school has ended, but we know next to nothing about the new Mrs. Longbottom. What were her school years like? What did she get her OWLs in? How did she and Neville meet and fall in love? How long have they been married? What did she do for work before deciding to become a Healer and move to Hogwarts with Neville? Forget the Marauders; we want to hear a lot more about Neville and Hannah.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Everett Collection
Where’s Angelina Johnson? There’s no way that the former Gryffindor Captain would let her husband George Weasley attend the Quidditch World Cup without her. After all, this is the one person who was as obsessed with the sport as Oliver Wood, who captained the team with a drive and determination that would have made even her predecessor request a day off. The only possibly explanation, therefore, is that she’s a Chaser on the English National Team and was getting ready for the match at the time Rita observed her friends.
Is Hagrid Still Working at Hogwarts? That mention of Neville and Hannah hoping to move to the school’s grounds reminded us of the only non-dormitory living quarters we’ve seen: Hagrid’s hut. So, naturally, we’re curious as to what the Wizarding World’s foremost foster parent to dangerous animals is up to now. Is he still working as the Keeper of the Keys and Grounds? Did he and Madame Maxime ever manage to work things out? Did he ever get his pet dragon? For the sake of everyone else on the Hogwarts grounds, we’re hoping the answer to that last one is still “no.”
Is Professor McGonagall Still Headmaster? She was, after all, the natural successor to Dumbledore. And more importantly, is she still the toughest, kindest, smartest, most sensible and admirable woman in the Wizarding World? Actually, we can just answer that one ourselves. She definitely is.
Who’s the Current Minister of Magic? We know that the Department of Magical Transportation falls under Percy’s jurisdiction, and that Hermione is, as expected, quickly working her way up the ranks at the Ministry, and is currently the Deputy Head of Magical Law Enforcement. But what we don’t know is who Hermione would potentially be outsing as Minister of Magic, should she ascend to the position. Last we heard, it was Kingsley Shacklebolt, but knowing the Wizarding World as well as we do, it’s entirely possible that power has changed hands since then.
Who Is Still Hiring Rita Skeeter as a Writer? Was the Daily Prophet so desperate for subscriptions that they kept her on? Or does the Wizarding World have its own version of TMZ, where Rita can write and publish all of the gossip her QuickQuotesQuill can possibly come up with? Is there a publication out there that could keep up with the sheer number of slander lawsuits she’s probably had filed against her?
Charlie Weasley Is Basically the Wizarding World’s Equivalent of George Clooney, Right? Handsome bachelor, more focused on his glamorous job than his love life, unlikely to settle down any time soon, but making people swoon everywhere he goes? All Charlie needs is a villa in Italy, and they’d be the exact same person.