Awards season has long been the perfect time for the movie industry’s fresh faces to gain exposure at movie premieres, on red carpets and in a barrage of print and TV interviews. Often, it’s when we first become aware of young actresses, like Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Lawrence last year. This year, it’s not just teenagers catching our eye; a few ladies who’ve been around for decades are finally getting their due as well. All week long, we at TheFablife are saluting these women and looking forward to what they’ll bring us after the last statuettes are handed out on Sunday. We’ve looked at Berenice Bejo’s, Shailene Woodley’s, Melissa McCarthy’s and Rooney Mara’s big moments so far, and now we turn to …
Who: Jessica Chastain
What she did before 2011: A graduate of the Juilliard School, Jessica started her acting career in theater and broke onto the small screen in 2004 appearing in hit television shows like, ER, Veronica Mars and Law & Order. In 2008 she made her film debut starring in Jolene.
While Hollywood accountants were having heart attacks over the worst box office weekend in years, movie critics all over the country were doing their best to make sure the year’s best films get their due — if not in cash, then at least with a little extra buzz leading up to the Oscars. The American Film Institute, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Online, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle made their picks, adding to what we’ve already heard from the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Independent Spirit Awards nominations. Here’s whose looking good so far:
Tree of Life, which was tailor-made for critics and film geeks, was named a top 10 film by AFI and the NYFCO; star Jessica Chastain was named Breakthrough Performer by the latter and Best Supporting Actress by the LAFCA (for Tree and five other films); NYCFO, LAFCA and SFFCC all named Terrence Malick Best Director; and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki earned Best Cinematography from those three and the BSFC.
Bridesmaids, which isn’t likely to earn any Oscar nods but will probably earn a few Golden Globe nominations, was named an AFI top 10 (Melissa McCarthy and the whole ensemble cast were also recognized by the NYCFO and the BSFC).
Now you can stop pretending you understood it when people bring it up at parties: Sean Penn’s Tree Of Life role was as confusing to him as it was toÃ¢â‚¬Â¦any other person watching the movie. “I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever read,” Penn told the French paper Le Figaro Sunday. “A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact.” Sean might disagree with this on this one, but a few more random shots of dinosaurs couldn’t have hurt either, in our opinion.
Co-starring Brad Pitt, Tree of Life was met with very mixed reviews. “Frankly, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m still trying to figure out what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context!” Penn explained, before throwing the film’s director Terrence Malick under the bus: “WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more, Terry himself never managed to explain it to me clearly.” Terry! Something tells us Malick’s next movie is going to have a much more clear role for Penn, as a compelling, artfully-directed lunch for all those extra dinosaurs.
That Angelina Jolie is just stunning to look at is something we can all agree on. Go ahead and call her a home wrecking b—, friendless or a sex-crazed dominatrix, but on looks alone, she just wins every time. Having said that, we’ve seen Angie dress over and over again in her favorite black with detours of color once in a while. It’s usually white (at NYC The Tourist premiere), or chocolate brown (at The Tree of Life showing in Cannes) or emerald green at The Golden Globes. But never, in our recent memory, do we recall Angie wearing red! We love the color on her. She’s a stone cold fox in this Jenny Packham gown (with Tiffany & Co. subtle bling) at The Tree of Life L.A premiere. It may be partner Brad Pitt‘s movie but she’s stolen the show.
[Photos: Getty Images]
Wow, maybe family is the most important thing for Brad Pitt…that or he’s afraid of Angelina Jolie‘s sex grotto. Terrence Malick‘s Tree Of Life won the Golden Palm, Cannes’ highest honor, this weekend, but Pitt—who produced and starred in the film—wasn’t around to soak in the praise. No, the two-time Academy Award nominee had jetted back to Hollywood to stand beside his wife at the Kung Fu Panda 2 premiere in khakis and a matching tan shirt, leaving non-famous producers Bill Pohlad and Dede Gardner to accept the award for the reclusive Malick and ridiculous Pitt. It looks like Brad took Malick’s message of love and family to heart and knew his time was best spent with people dressed like pandas, and friends like Jack Black and Seth Rogen, rather than the cineastes of Europe. Plus, again, the sex grotto.
Check out the gallery to see photos of Lucy Liu, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Marcia Gay Harden and other stars who probably would have rather been at Cannes. But not Brad!
[Photo: Getty Images]
It’s a shame Scarlett Johansson didn’t show up to support Sean Penn at the Tree Of Life premiere today at Cannes—then we would have had three Hollywood power couples on display! With the amped-up Terrence Malick booers sated by this morning’s screening, hopefully tonight’s viewing will be a little less intense. On top of the expected appearance of star Brad Pitt (trading the morning’s turtle-shell shades for a darker pair) and Angelina Jolie—banging in a giant Versace gown—Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale also walked the red carpet. While we can’t say we’re in love with Gwen’s sparkly, lowwwwwwww-cut pantsuit, we understand the pressure any lady that steps on Angelina’s red carpet must be under. Gavin’s blue suit certainly looks submissive to Brad’s tux.
See photos of both couples, Sean Penn and other stars like Zoe Saldana at the premiere—no sign of Life director Terrence Malick, though. He’s so shy!
[Photos: Getty Images]
It just ain’t the Cannes Film Festival without a hotly debated film welcomed with catcalls, and this year’s Sacre Boo! trophy goes to Tree Of Life, only the fifth film in almost 40 years by reclusive director Terrence Malick (Badlands, The Thin Red Line). While there was reportedly a burst of booing following the film’s finish, the haters were quickly drowned out by cheers and applause, with most of the released reviews quite positive, or at least respectful.
Since we haven’t seen the two-hour plus movie about a suburban family in the ’50s choosing between “the way of nature” and “the way of grace” (though we did see Thor!), we can’t judge it for ourselves quite yet (Life hits the US on May 27th). We can, however, judge Brad Pitt’s ensemble at the film’s photocall this morning and…sacre ewww! White undershirt under white suit jacket, slicked-back mullet, turtle-shell sunglasses and a grody gray goatee? Maybe Malick skipped the press conference because he didn’t want to look at that.
See more photos of Pitt and co-star Jessica Chastain after the jump.
[Photo: Getty Images]