Gasmii, your long lost P-Baby here! No, I haven’t fled the country in fear of a Palin dynasty and no I haven’t suffered from any grave illnesses stemming from ass fusion to my couch. What in fact happened is that my husband and I decided to move across the country (work-related) during the first two weeks of December. That sucked for a multitude of reasons, first and foremost being that I didn’t get to put up any Christmas decorations this year, with a close second being that unpacking all of our crap sucked pretty hard. Who needs Toyota Prius hybrids and shoes made out of potato sacks when moving companies wrap empty boxes of graham crackers with 90 sheets of paper? The flip side to our lack of Christmas decorating is that Mr. P-Baby’s football watching ass doesn’t have lights to unstring from our rooftop and I no tree needles to cuss at while vacuuming the floor. There’s your silver lining. Anyway, we are kind of settled into our new space except for the guest room which looks like we are hoarding closet hangers and bed in bag sets from Walmart.
So Gasmii, the good news in my TVgasm sabbatical is that in between unpacking, working and avoiding my mom’s phone calls at 5 AM because she still doesn’t realize we are 2 hours behind her, I’ve conned Mr. P-Baby into taking me to see some of the awards season heavy hitting movies because 1. The Oscars are my Superbowl and 2. Some of my favorite actors this season are finally receiving overdue recognition. I mean if Keira “You can cut diamonds on my cheekbones” Knightley can have an Oscar nomination associated with her name, shouldn’t Christian “I sure have come a long way since Newsies” Bale have received some love 7 years ago when he lost like 200 pounds to play a guilt ridden dude in The Machinist?
And while we’re on the topic, if Johnny Depp is going to get nominated for that Alice in Wonderland/The Tourist bullshit and Burlesque a best comedy/musical Globe nod, then Bale certainly should have gotten a Globe nomination for Newsies. He danced his ass off in that flick and was oh so dreamy.
Sorry Gasmii, getting a little off topic. The point is, I love awards show season, study it year after year, and keep my ass glued to the television every Sunday from January to February because there is almost always some Hollywood circus on TV awarding celebrities for their acting “achievements.” Keeping that in mind, after my duty recapping America’s Next Top Model this past season, I thought it might be fun to do some mini recaps of awards season fodder as a gear up for the Oscars. Mini because I don’t have a photographic memory of the details of the movie and don’t have access to every film on DVD yet to dissect. So sorry. If any readers out there are lucky enough to get screeners, well, send that shit my way! (Disclaimer: Recap will contain spoilers so don’t read to the end if you don’t want to know what happens. Or you can be like P-Baby and spoil everything before you see it anyway because you can’t help yourself or keep away from the IMDB message boards.)
Back to the topic today. On Christmas Eve, I managed to convince Mr. P-Baby to take me to see Black Swan. He obliged due to me agreeing to see True Grit a couple nights prior. Joke’s on him since I wanted to see True Grit anyway but feigned otherwise. Even though as a rule I typically find Natalie Portman insufferable (and that new shit show Ashton Kutcher sex movie is not helping her case), I decided the buzz was so heavy around this particular film that I had to see it in order to truly appreciate who walks away with the Best Actress Oscar this year. So far the race seems to be between Portman and Annette Bening for her role in The Kids Are All Right. I think after this performance, Portman may have the edge on Bening. We’ll get into that at the end of the recap.
Black Swan is a psychological thriller brought to us by the director Darren Aronofsky, the mind behind Pi, Requiem For A Dream, The Wrestler, and The Fighter, to name a few of his better known ventures. Jared Leto is forever grateful to him for casting him in a role in Requiem that could showcase his acting talent past Jordan Catalano, but I know I can’t be the only one that saw Requiem for a Dream as kind of a post My So-Called Life Jordan Catalano, out in the world on his own now dabbling in the world of drugs and banging his junkie whore girlfriend.
In Black Swan, Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a dancer in a New York City ballet company. She is annoying for a plethora of reasons most obviously her penchant for pink coats and white feathery scarves.
Nina lives with her psycho mother Erica, played by Barbara Hershey, who used to be a dancer but is now washed up and still recovering from the fact that her long term boyfriend disappeared in a plane crash only to resurface with an illegitimate child and surprisingly luscious locks of hair.
Nina is basically overworked and under-appreciated as indicated by her absolutely disgusting feet and lack of recognition from her asshat of a director Thomas, played wonderfully by Vincent Cassel. Good news though, as Thomas wants to put on a production of Swan Lake and is on the market for a new principal dancer as his prior principal dancer used to be awesome but is now 40 and a lunatic with bad hair.
Nina gets the opportunity to audition for the lead with several other dancers including a sexy new addition to the company named Lily. Lily is edgy because she wears lots of heavy eyeliner the better to eye-fuck everyone with and has ill-advised tattoos decorating her back.
Nina sweats and dances and pops hemorrhoids from clenching her ass cheeks her entire life but feels as though she’s blown the audition after losing her concentration. Thomas tells her that if he was just casting for the White Swan she’d be perfect but the Black Swan role requires a little more Britney and little less Selena Gomez. With that, Nina takes the bull by the horns and goes to see Thomas all tarted up with Wet N Wild lipstick, kissing him and then biting him on the lip when she realizes dude is totally expecting a hand job.
After their encounter, Thomas sees that Nina may just have a dark side to her after all and casts her as the lead. Meanwhile, back at the Casa del Loco, Nina starts to develop a weird rash on her back, inciting Mommie Dearest to frantically clip her fingernails as she figures it is Nina scratching herself at night. Mom also likes to tuck her daughter in at night, give her sponge baths, and breast feed her at 7 pm on the dot every night. Well not really the last two things, but bitch has more than an unhealthy obsession with her precious Nina. Think Carrie’s mom without referring to her daughter’s breasts as dirty pillows and telling her the entire ballet company will laugh at her while she stands on stage, tutu doused in stinky swan blood.
Being cast as the lead in such a large production adds even more pressure on Nina and she starts having bizarre hallucinations often in the form of some type of self-harming. No big deal though, because after a particularly overbearing encounter with her mother, Nina goes out with Lily for dinner, pill popping, and some non-graphic lesbian sex. It should be mentioned that despite letting Lily get to third base, Nina is wary of her due to Lily being cast as Nina’s understudy for Swan Lake.
The next morning after her bad trip wears off, Nina wakes up late and rushes to rehearsal only to see Lily practicing her part of the Swan Queen. This of course makes her even more paranoid about Lily’s intentions to overthrow her from the throne and steal King Henry the VIII from her.
She confronts Lily only to find out Lily actually spent the night banging some random from the club and never actually went home with Nina. At this point we have pretty much settled on the fact that Nina is fucking nuts but are still holding out hope that she’ll pull through her mental instabilities and totally kick ass in her performance.
Such hope doesn’t last, however, as Nina intensely practices the night before the opening performance and hallucinates the shit out of everything, seeing talking paintings of herself in her mother’s bedroom, sprouting black feathers from her rashy back, and her legs contorting into the shape of a swan. Bitch passes out and cracks her noggin on her bedpost, which is probably the best thing that happened to her all movie.
She wakes up the next night locked in her bedroom, being informed by mom that she already called the ballet company to tell them Nina was sick and not making it in. This just won’t do so Nina smashes mom’s hand in a door and gets to the theater as fast as her bent swany legs can carry her, just in time to start preparing herself for the show. The first half kind of falls apart, however, with Nina’s baby daddy dropping her knocked-up ass on the floor.
During half-time, Nina heads back to her dressing room only to find Lily in there, taunting her to sit the second half out since she clearly is out of her fucking mind. Nina shows her what’s up, throwing her against a mirror and stabbing Lily in her side with a shard of broken glass. I mean, we knew Nina was crazy, but I didn’t think she’d murder a bitch. That is, until this face.
After the performance as the black swan comes to an end, Nina is in the dressing room again with Lily’s dead body bleeding away in the closet. Or so we think. Nina hears a knock at the door and opens it only to see Lily who is congratulating her on her kick ass dancing. Nina is all WTF and realizes that Lily is alive and that she hallucinated the whole fight with Lily. Nina then finally feels the GIGANTIC PIECE OF GLASS in her abdomen and figures out she stabbed herself.
Well, despite her gaping wound and internal bleeding, Nina decides the show must go on and goes out to dance the final act. She is bleeding all over everything but no one notices until the end of the performance when she jumps off a platform on to the mattress below. We don’t really know if she dies or not at the end but she’s happy either way because she finally achieved “perfection.” If perfection means detrimental hallucinations and stabbing my insides with sharp objects, then I’ll keep my couch potato ass firmly imperfect.
Gasmii, I said before that while Natalie Portman annoys the bejesus out of me for reasons unknown, I’ll think she’ll take Oscar gold over Annette Benning. Here’s why:
1. Age/Relevance. Natalie is the younger, new thing in Hollywood, not to mention drop dead gorgeous. She is campaigning the shit out of this movie and she wants it bad. She even went so far as to bang the choreographer, get pregnant, AND engaged all right before the serious campaigning took off. So now we are going to have an adorable Natalie Portman with child on the red carpet. Annette Bening is Hollywood royalty in her marriage to Warren Beatty and multiple Oscar nods but let’s be honest. Most people are going to be looking for Ms. Natalie on the red carpet over Annette. In the 2000′s, past Best Actress winners have included Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Hillary Swank, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, and Helen Mirren. While all are lovely in their own right, and while I think Annette is quite attractive as well, the hat has often tipped in the direction of the screen siren over the more seasoned, possibly more deserving winner. (See Meryl Streep, Ellen Burstyn, Meryl Streep, Laura Linney, and Meryl Streep as women who know what it means to lose when they probably should have won.)
2. Timing. The Kids Are All Right came out months ago and is already out on DVD. While the timing of the DVD is still pretty good in terms of people viewing loving the performances, Black Swan is hitting theaters right when it needs to in order to make a splash. Also, it has been buzzed about for so long that people like me have been chomping at the bits to go see it. Natalie’s performance is fresher in the minds of many and that could work in her favor. Not only that, but there is a possibility that some of the older fuddy duddies who vote for this type of thing might be less willing to embrace the subject matter of The Kids Are All Right over a crazy ballerina. Hopefully this isn’t the case but some still insist on keeping their head buried in the sand.
This is by no means meant to be a Natalie Portman vehicle in terms of supporting her Oscar bid. I personally think Annette is long overdue and should have won for American Beauty but no one could deny Hillary Swank’s boyish good looks in 1999. It’s still hard to say who is destined for glory this year as the Globe and SAG winners haven’t been yet announced but in the mean time, go see Black Swan in between New Years resolutioning and ice scraping your windshield.