Earning an Academy Award nomination is always a big deal. Yet on the morning they were announced in March this year, Amanda Seyfried — who earned her first ever nod for “Mank” — was far from glued to the TV set.
“I was absolutely sleeping,” says Seyfried, who adds that she’d agreed to let her mom wake her with any good news when this year’s nominations were announced. And she’s not alone — first-timer Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”) was also zonked out when the nominations were read. Meanwhile, fellow first-timers Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) and Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) were busily filming their next projects and had to learn the news from coworkers.
From actors to production designers to screenwriters to directors, everyone seems to have a place at the Academy Awards. But that doesn’t mean all the greatest moments from this past year’s films are getting their moment in the sun. The Envelope is here to change that with the 2021 Envy Awards — prizes handed out to some of the most moving or incredible moments in film from this awards season, along with a couple of the real head-scratchers (in our humble opinions). But be warned, there are spoilers ahead. Now get out your popcorn, ‘cause it’s awards time!
It takes a fully embodied performance to earn an Academy Award nomination. But deep inside those heightened performances lies one critical moment that stays with viewers and voters alike — and elevates the actor into being worthy of the industry’s greatest honor: The Oscar. We pinned down the producers and directors from the films that gave us this year’s lead actor and actress nominees to ask them: What was the most key moment for you?
Here’s what they had to say.
A deleted scene from a movie is a sad sort of orphan: It went all the way through the moviemaking strainer — conception, writing, shooting, editing — and still didn’t make the cut. And although today, deleted scenes don’t always go unseen thanks to bonus DVD material or director’s edits, it’s always fascinating to discover how filmmakers made the final decision to splice out a scene that worked all the way until it flickered on the (test) screen.
Here, directors from four of the best picture Oscar nominees give us a peek into the edit suite to understand how they cut, where they cut and — most important — why we’ll never even know what we’re missing.
At more than 30 years old, the Law & Order universe seems to have always been with us. Revolutionary when the mothership show (also known as “original recipe”) premiered in 1990, Law & Order debuted in an era when cable was still a baby and streaming wasn’t even invented yet.
NBC called it quits on the original series in 2010, but Law & Order still goes on in endless reruns. Considered the 36th best show of all time by Rolling Stone, it’s probably playing somewhere on your TV right now. But how much do you really know about Law & Order? Here are 20 historical bits about the series and its stars—plus how it had a large hand in helping revitalize New York City’s TV industry
Vanessa Kirby is having a moment. Riding a string of accolades for her role as Princess Margaret in the early seasons of “The Crown,” the southwest London native sailed into two Academy Award-eligible films this season with “Pieces of a Woman” and “The World to Come,” both of which dealt with the loss of a child — and one of which, “Pieces,” earned her a lead actress nomination last week.
She’s now off into the world of CGI, explosions and international intrigue with back-to-back stints in the next two “Mission: Impossible” films. But the emotional roller coaster of “Pieces” continues to linger. She spoke via Zoom with The Envelope.
Amid all the (deserved) hoopla for Netflix’s “The Queens Gambit,” there’s one character who is often overlooked: Mr. Shaibel, the janitor who sparks the chess obsession in our young heroine. But Bill Camp’s performance — understated, taciturn and, in the end, generous — is as critical as any of the leads. That’s part of Camp’s talent: No matter where the Massachusetts native turns up — including “News of the World,” filmed with wife Elizabeth Marvel, and HBO’s “The Outsider” — he makes his contribution, whatever size, essential. Armed with a SAG nomination for his “Gambit” role, Camp dialed in from lockdown in Vermont to talk with The Envelope about his own Mr. Shaibel, overcoming his competitiveness — and bribing his son.
On the surface, “Our Friend” seems like familiar awards-movie territory: Beautiful young mother dying of cancer, steadfast man by her side. But there’s more going on here than that. The film, which stars Dakota Johnson and Casey Affleck as the couple, includes the curveball of Jason Segel — a friend who puts his own life on hold to stay with them, helping with her care, and with their two young girls. Not only that, but the film, from director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, is based on a real-life story.
All three actors joined Zoom in early February to chat with The Envelope to address early critical reception, how they bonded on set, and misunderstanding the Super Bowl. But if you haven’t seen the film, note that there are spoilers ahead.
Charles Dance is feeling much better, thank you. Just out of isolation from “this wretched virus,” he’s looking hale and up for a discussion of his role in “Mank” (as William Randolph Hearst), but clearly politics are also on his mind. At 74, he’s a stage-trained actor who broke big in “The Jewel in the Crown” in 1984, then slowly became one of the most reliably enjoyable character actors who seems to be everywhere — “Game of Thrones” and “The Crown,” “Ghostbusters” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” He spoke remotely with The Envelope about the size of “Citizen Kane,” battling COVID and having a resting villain face.
Family life, and family members, have a surprising way of infiltrating personal film projects. Several scripts this awards season use personal histories, or direct family connections, to tell their stories: Along with “Minari,” Florian Zeller’s “The Father” uses family history; whereas Edoardo Ponti directs his mother, Sophia Loren, in “The Life Ahead,” and brothers Anthony and Joe Russo directed “Cherry,” which was cowritten by their sister Angela Russo-Otstot. In addition, David Fincher’s “Mank” is based on a script his late father Jack wrote.
But however the family connection gets made, those who’ve done it say using that intimate connection to make a movie is a real boon, in more ways than one.