86th Annual #Oscar Nominations Announced: An Actor’s Thoughts

untitled (9)The 86th Annual Oscar nominations were announced this morning. The winners will be revealed during the live telecast on Sunday, March 2, 2014, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. Here are some initial thoughts about the pending awards ceremony.  The Golden Globes, as well as this Saturday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards have always been good predictors of who will take home acting’s ultimate honor, the Oscar. Given who won at this year’s Globes, as well as those who didn’t, this year’s Oscar race is definitely going to be very interesting. At the Golden Globes, lead acting awards went to Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, Leonardo DiCaprio in the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for The Wolf of Wall Street, as well as Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine and Amy Adams for American Hustle, which was somehow thought of as a comedy, but that’s the subject of another post all together. In the supporting category for the Golden Globes, Jared Leto won for Dallas Buyers Club and Jennifer Lawrence (last year’s Best Actress Golden Globe & Oscar winner for Silver Linings Playbook)  won for American Hustle. In years past, those who have won in those categories have often gone on to take home an Academy Award. I think the actors from Dallas Buyers Club have strong chances to win in their categories. However, Leonardo DiCaprio and Chiwetel Ejiofor could shake up the Best Actor category. Or, who knows, Bruce Dern might come out of the woodwork and surprise us all. In the Best Actress category, either Meryl Streep or Sandra Bullock could definitely surprise us if Cate Blanchett or Amy Adams don’t take home a statue.  In the supporting actress category, honestly, I want Lupita Nyong’o to take it. I honestly think she was the most impressive out of the supporting actresses and the fact that she didn’t win at this year’s Golden Globes, to be honest, was upsetting. I definitely would love to see Jared Leto win for Best Supporting Actor (I think he’ll win) but I wouldn’t count out Michael Fassbender. He had an equally as impressive role as the plantation owner with a heart of stone in 12 Years a Slave, and it is very difficult to play that type of villain. Honestly, this year is actually a really difficult Oscar race. It’s going to be very interesting to see who takes home acting’s top prize. To see the list of nominees go to: http://oscar.go.com/nominees

And check out this amazing featurette about Jared Leto’s transformation into Rayon:

Hometown Pride: Boston Accents on Film

Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams in “The Fighter” (2010)

I’m a Boston gal at heart. When I moved to the Big Apple nearly 6 years ago, I retained something that could be considered a setback: my accent. I remember the first day of class at Circle in the Square Theatre School and the late K.C. Ligon telling me, “We need to work on that” upon hearing me speak. K.C. was a well-respected speech coach within the industry and I credit her and Ken Schatz with helping me ease up on my native dialect.  Fun Fact: K.C.’s mother was stage actress, Nora Dunfee, famous for her performance alongside Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump as the Elderly Southern Woman on the bench towards the end of the movie.

Being a Boston girl, I am always aware when actors can and cannot do a good “Boston Accent.” Most commonly, people think of the Boston accent as it is when done by Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck, or Matt Damon. But, like any accent, there are certain subtleties that set different sections of Massachusetts apart from another in terms of dialects. Katharine Hepburn, for example, had what is known as a Boston Brahmin accent which is more refined and often considered more “upper-class” than my standard, Boston accent. All I need to do to retain my accent is talk to my parents and I automatically revert back to my natural tongue.

On film, it always helps when there are actual Boston natives involved on the screen or behind-the-scenes within the production if set within the Boston area. Amy Ryan is said to have refined her speech from Jill Quigg, a local whom Ben Affleck ended up casting alongside Ryan in Gone Baby Gone (2007.) Quigg went on to appear alongside Christian Bale and fellow Boston native Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter (2010.)

As a person with a native Boston accent, I can tell you right now, that the actors I have found to be the most convincing with the accent (in recent years) are as follows: Christian Bale (The Fighter) Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)  Blake Lively (The Town) Amy Adams & Melissa Leo  (The Fighter.) But, there are those who tend to go overboard with their dialect and it sort of  sounds like they are making fun of us.  Not cool. To illustrate how good these actors do their accents, here are some clips. None of them are natives. Although, in all of these movies, at least one or two native speakers are in the films with them. Also, my acting coach, Ken Schatz, has always said that I need to get rid of my “moshpit” in regards to how I speak. You’ll notice that oftentimes, for as much as we elongate our “A”s and drop our “R”s, we also tend to mumble sometimes. These actors seem to pull of that characteristic well.
Blake Lively (The Town):

Amy Adams & Christian Bale (The Fighter):

Melissa Leo (The Fighter) She is probably the most stereotypical in terms of how people perceive the accent :


Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone):

And for the record, we don’t all swear that much. Well…maybe we do.