Every once in a while, you have to thank the universe for the gifts it gives you. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to work on a new untitled project by director, Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace.) However, technically, I wasn’t in front of the camera. I was able to be a stand-in for none other than Kathy Bates. I’m not sure how in the world I got the call at 6:00 in the morning, let alone how I got called in to be her stand-in. Yet, I was excited to be back in an environment I love and learn from every time I work on a film. I will be eternally grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the observations I made during my three day work week. Honestly, it was like one big master class. I got to watch Kathy Bates, Danny Glover, Michael Shannon & Rachel Weisz work, rehearse, and just be. well, normal human beings. More importantly, I got to be a part of something that will no doubt yield wonderful performances from its cast members. I also learned more about the ins and outs of the process in three days, than I have in a long time. I was there to do a job and contribute to what they needed at the time. That pretty much sums it up about the film industry in general, you do your job for the time allotted and move on. I’m glad that i got the opportunity to work with and learn from four of the most talented actors in the business.
Here is the complete list of nominees, followed by who I voted for.
Performance by a cast in a motion picture
“Boyhood” — I wasn’t too crazy about the actual story, go figure, but I was impressed that the core group of actors made up of Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater came together for 12 years and kept the dynamic together. However, I probably would have voted for Birdman, but let’s face it, it’s really Michael Keaton’s movie.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”
Performance by a male actor in a leading role
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”— This was a difficult one, but I truly believe that this is Michael Keaton’s best performance. It’s his comeback year.
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Performance by a female actor in a leading role
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” — I have never been more torn about who to vote for in this category. While I thought the other nominees performances were amazing, the minute I saw Julianne Moore’s portrayal of Alice, I made up my mind I was astounded, and I have never been more impacted by a film in my life.
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, I am able to vote in the SAG Awards. Below are my choices for each award.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards air Saturday, January 18th on TNT & TBS at 8p.m.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE
Nominated: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, August: Osage County, Dallas Buyers Club, Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
Voted for: August: Osage County seems to me to be a true ensemble piece in itself, but with these specific actors, they gave performances that helped move the film along as a whole. As an ensemble. Plus, filming dinner scenes are actually extremely complex.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler), Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Voted For: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave): I was so impressed with his performance. It’s truly amazing because it has made me want to become a better actor. To learn as much as I can. Although, I was impressed with Matthew McConaughey, I thought the depths that Chiwetel Ejiofor had to go to in order to give a complete portrayal of his character were so much deeper. *Side note, he’s BRITISH and does one of the best American accents I’ve ever heard.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Nominated: Meryl Streep (August: Osage County), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine). Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
Voted For: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine): It was a toss up between Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett for me once I narrowed my choices down. Ultimately, I thought the arc of Blanchett’s character was played beautifully, her performance as Jasmine simply impressed me more than the others. Although, it was extremely difficult NOT to vote for Meryl Streep (BECAUSE she’s MERYL STREEP)
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nominated: Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), James Gandolfini (Enough Said), Daniel Bruhl (Rush)
Voted For: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club): He truly immersed himself into this character and the power of his performance, for me, is undeniable. Although, before I saw it, I was convinced I would be voting for Michael Fassbender because there is nothing forgivable about his character, and it’s extremely difficult to play the bad guy well. Leto blew the competition out of the water for me.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nominated: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), June Squibb (Nebraska), Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels’ The Butler)
Voted For: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave): She truly gave a supporting performance and was so visceral in the process of playing Patsey, that I felt I had so other choice but to vote for her. I was blown away by her skill and talent. Although, there were pleasant surprises from Julia Roberts and Oprah, but Lupita is one to watch. She was fantastic.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominated: Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland.
Voted For: Breaking Bad
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominated: 30 Rock, Arrested Development, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Veep.
Voted For: Modern Family
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominated: Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom)
Voted For: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) *There was no contest. Seriously.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominated: Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Coven), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), Claire Danes (Homeland), Kerry Washington (Scandal)
Voted For: Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) *Side note, this was the most difficult decision I had to make this year. I love them all.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominated: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Ty Burrell (Modern Family) Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Voted For: Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominated: Tina Fey (30 Rock), Julie Bowen (Modern Family) Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Voted For: Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Nominated: Matt Damon (Behind the Candelabra), Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra), Rob Lowe (Killing Kennedy), Al Pacino (Phil Spector), Jeremy Irons (The Hollow Crown)
Voted For: Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra)
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Nominated: Angela Bassett (Betty & Coretta), Helena Bonham Carter (Burton & Taylor), Elisabeth Moss (Top of the Lake), Holly Hunter (Top of the Lake), Helen Mirren (Phil Spector)
Voted For: Helen Mirren (Phil Spector)
OUTSTANDING ACTION PERFORMANCE BY A STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Nominated: All is Lost, The Fast the Furious 6, Lone Survivor, Rush, Wolverine.
Voted for: Wolverine.
OUTSTANDING ACTION PERFORMANCE BY A STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES
Nominated: Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Homeland, The Walking Dead.
Voted For: Game of Thrones. Due to the sheer amounts of stunts in this series, for me, it was a clear choice. Plus, it seems like they would have more fun. Voting for stunt ensembles is really difficult.
The good thing about being in the Screen Actors Guild is that we often get to see films before they are released into theaters to the general public. Last night I had the pleasure of viewing Alexander Payne’s Nebraska (separate review coming) and the adaptation of Tracy Lett’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning play, August: Osage County in the comfort of my own home. I loved the movie, I really did. However, I think that both the play version and the movie version are two separate entities. Oftentimes, I kept finding myself comparing it to the stage version, but then I realized that the majority of people who will be viewing the film have never seen the stage play. That being said, as a stand-alone film, August: Osage County can almost put the mirror up too close the nature. At the same time, the family dynamic is actually believable which makes it a refreshing change from the cookie-cutter family movies out there. At the helm is the matriarch of the family, played by none other than the magnificent Meryl Streep. She’ll probably beat her own record again with Oscar nominations for this one. And, as a pleasant surprise, Julia Roberts gives a solid performance as Barbara Weston, a role for which Amy Morton garnered a Tony nomination. Roberts’ portrayal, as well as Streep’s are worthy of the SAG nominations they received. In the supporting cast, you have the likes of Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Misty Upham, Abigail Breslin, Julianne Nicholson, Bendedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, and Juliette Lewis. Sam Shepard is the pivotal role as Beverly Weston. Each and every one of the cast members are great actors, so to see them all together in one film is a real treat. Taken out of the confines of the stage and put on location, the film still has the element of a frustrated and fractured family, sometimes more so because the characters are actually put into the elements of the Oklahoma county in which it takes place. Streep’s vocal and physical transformation is a far cry from the woman who danced and sang her way through Mamma Mia! or took home the Oscar for playing one of England’s toughest women. There’s a weakness, fragility, and all out strength that Streep brings to Violet Weston that makes the film 1000 times better. In the hands of a lesser actress, it would just be another film about a dysfunctional family. The film opens on January 10th everywhere and needs to be seen for its sheer verisimilitude.
Welcome to my new blog! I’m excited and honored to get to share my passion for the arts with the world on WordPress. There are a lot of blogs out there that deal with the topic of entertainment. However, I think that there are very few blogs that come from the perspective of an actor. I’m not talking about your Hollywood starlet or your dashing leading man; I’m talking about your honest to goodness, work for the day and still has to audition every day-ACTOR. Technically, I’m considered an actress, but for the sake of clarity and to not get too gender-specific, I’ll use actor.
Now, for the introductions. My name is Stephanie Gould and I am an actor. I have union status in both theater (AEA) and film & television (SAG-AFTRA) and have been living and acting professionally in NYC for about 6 years now. My goal with this blog is to provide my audience with a unique view of the industry and the craft itself. I’ll equate it to being in battle (in a sense, fighting for what you want) and reporting from the trenches.
I’m still in the trenches. I fight every day for my career. I want to keep nurturing it and grow from my experiences. I also believe that in order to grow and thrive as an artist, no matter what the medium, there needs to be a community that is, dare I say it, supportive. More often than not, I see other artists (especially actors) try to tear each other down and raise themselves up through gloating or a “know-it-all” attitude. I, at times, especially early on, was guilty of this too. But I can’t blame actors. It might come from the fact that we are really proud to achieve something, whatever it is, in an industry that prides itself on being very exclusive. It’s the big boys club. Like Frank Sinatra said of New York, “If I can make there/I’ll make it anywhere…” And it’s true. As an actor in New York City, it’s difficult.
The whole industry is difficult. But if it were easy, everyone would do it. That’s true of any profession. If being a doctor were easy, we would all be doctors. It takes a very special individual to realize their talents in a given field and pursue them. I have a talent for acting, I know that. I also have a talent for writing. In some respects, I’ve been writing before I could actually physically do it. Apparently, I would tell my mother stories and she would record them on either a tape recorder (old, I know) or write them down. I’ve been telling stories, whether fictional or not, since a young age both on paper and on stage.
I’m glad that I get to meld my two loves into one project. In college, I wrote for the student newspaper called the Crier and I reviewed films (mostly) and occasionally predicted awards shows. I want to use that as a jumping off point for this blog. Not only do I want to review films, television, theater and the ever expanding “new media” categories, but I also want to do it from a specific perspective. I’m an actor who is, in general, at the beginning of my career. I’ve only been considered a “professional” since I filmed the movie Dribbles in 2005.
I’ve been acting professionally for the past 8 years or so. And I’ve been in the unions since 2009. However, I feel I can offer enough of a daily insight to make things interesting. I’m not going to sugar-coat the truth. I’ll relay the information about auditions (without mentioning specific casting people, directors, etc.) and even general frustrations and triumphs.
There is a blog that was acquired by the industry trade publication Backstage called Audition Update. And, while it’s a wonderful resource to use for audition purposes (i.e. where they are held, who is in the room, whether or not they are seeing non-union) it has it’s drawbacks. There is a specific section that rubs me the wrong way. It’s called The Bitching Post. Up until very recently, I was one of those people (although not active in the forums) who, for lack of a better word, bitched about anything and everything that went on in the industry. It’s not to say that one can’t vent their frustrations, but when it bleeds over into your everyday life and makes you a Negative Nancy, that’s when things have gone too far.
From the audition process to projects themselves, I want to say, here and now, that a bad attitude, whether it is in jest or not, doesn’t help move things along. In a great many ways it hinders the growth of an artist because they are so hung up on faults and things that they might find irksome. The industry is hard enough, so why do we as actors make it even more difficult through self-deprecation and put-downs? I think the important thing to note is, the entertainment industry is a wonderful industry with artists who look at life from a different angle. Why not make it a positive one? Let’s take this journey through the industry together. Let’s review films, watch television, go to the theater and watch web series with gusto. Let’s learn from each other. Thank You for taking time out of your day to come and visit my blog.
For more information on my career please visit my listing on: IMDB