Lisa Marie’s Possibly Pointless Oscar Predictions For March


I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should even bother to continue my monthly Oscar predictions.  With the current Coronavirus pandemic, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if there will even be an Oscar ceremony next year.  Many completed films have been taken off the schedule so that they can be released at a time when people aren’t scared to leave their house.  Meanwhile, production on several other films — some of them expected to be Oscar contenders — has been suspended.  New films are continuing to premiere on the streaming services but the Academy has always insisted that films also play in a theater if they want to contend for an Oscar.  That’s going to be difficult with the majority of the country’s theaters currently being closed.

Unlike a lot of people, I’m not necessarily apocalyptic or even that pessimistic in my outlook.  I think that, one way or another, we will eventually be able to leave our homes again and that at least some of the movie theaters will reopen.  So, I think that we will be able to have some sort of Oscar ceremony.  For that reason, I’m going to make my predictions for March but, needless to say, take all of these with an even bigger grain of salt than usual.

If you’re curious to see what my Oscar thinking was in the months before the world went crazy, check out my predictions for January and February!

(I’ve tried to take the fact that the Coronavirus led to the suspension of many ongoing productions while making out my list below.  As far as I know, filming wrapped on all of the films listed below before the outbreak.)

Best Picture

Ammonite

Annette

Hillbilly Elegy

The Father

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

On the Rocks

Tenet

West Side Story

Best Director

Isaac Lee Chung for Minari

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Christopher Nolan for Tenet

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Florian Zeller for The Father

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Bill Murray in On the Rocks

Gary Oldman in Mank

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Clare Dunne in Herself

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Burke in Mank

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steve Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Abigail Breslin in Stillwater

Glenn Close in Hillybilly Elegy

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Helena Zengel in News of the World

 

18 Days of Paranoia #9: Blunt, The Fourth Man (dir by John Glenister)


Based on a true story and taking place in 1951, the 1985 film, Blunt: The Fourth Man, tells the story of Anthony Blunt (played by Ian Richardson).

A graduate of Cambridge, Anthony Blunt appears to be a proud member of the British establishment.  He’s upper class with impeccable manners.  He’s the King’s art surveyor, which he says makes him literally a member of the Royal Family.  He belongs to all the right clubs and he expresses all of the right opinions and he has all of the right friends.

However, Anthony Blunt leads a secret life.  First off, he’s gay at a time when that was still illegal in the United Kingdom.  Unlike his flamboyant lover, Guy Burgess (Anthony Hopkins), Blunt is discreet and always keeping an eye out for the vice cops.  Blunt is also a socialist and has been one since his days at Cambridge.  However, he’s not just a socialist.  He’s also spying for the Russians.  It’s not that Anthony thinks much of Russia as much as it’s just that he thinks even less of the U.S. and the U.K.  He feels that the U.S. is pushing the world towards nuclear war.  When his driver says that the UK needs a Joe McCarthy of their own, Blunt can barely hide his distaste.

Even though it was Guy who originally recruited Anthony to spy for the Russians, Anthony now appears to be in charge of the so-called Cambridge Spy Ring.  He’s the one who regularly meets with the group’s Russian contact and he’s also the one who is put in charge of arranging for one of the spies to flee the UK.  The Russians don’t seem to have much faith in Guy Burgess, largely because Guy is an alcoholic and a drug addict.  (Upon returning to London from America, Guy declares that he’s no longer drinks whiskey and that he’s given up Benzedrine.  He then proceeds to get very drunk.)  In fact, the only person who seems to really care about Guy is Anthony but how much does Guy actually care about Anthony?

Almost everyone in Blunt, the Fourth Man is either a spy or a former spy.  And yet, we really don’t see anyone doing much spying.  Guy has a closet that’s full of undeveloped film, official files, and a picture of Lenin and that’s about it.  Throughout the film, Guy brags about how powerful he and his fellow spies are but we’re left to wonder whether Guy’s telling the truth or if he’s just drunk.  For his part, Anthony is more concerned with getting caught and losing his place in society.  He knows that one member of the group is on the verge of getting unmasked and has made arrangements for him to escape to Russia while visiting France.  The problem is that the plan involves Guy and Anthony is not sure if he can trust Guy to play his part.  If Guy’s willing to betray his country, why not his friends and lover?

For the most part, the entire film is Anthony and Guy having cryptic discussion with themselves and with others.  There’s a threatening subtext to almost every conversation in this film.  There’s also a pervasive atmosphere of regret.  Anthony, Guy, and their friends are no longer the idealists that they were back in Cambridge.  They’re now middle-aged men who know that they’ve devoted their lives to a lost cause.  Each deals with it in their own way.  Guy drinks.  Anthony insists that his spying has less to do with betraying a country and more with staying loyal to his friends.  What’s perhaps most interesting is that almost all of these upper class socialists are most worried about losing their place in society.

This is a very talky film.  Fortunately, it stars two great talkers, Ian Richardson and Anthony Hopkins.  The two of them play off each other very well and create two fascinating, if not necessarily likable, characters.  Admittedly, there are a few scenes where Hopkins comes dangerous close to going a bit overboard with Guy’s drunken ramblings but Ian Richardson’s performance is close to perfect.  Somehow, he makes Anthony both smug and vulnerable at the same time.

Obviously, this isn’t a film for everyone.  It requires a bit of patience.  But, for history nerds like me, it’s an interesting historical document, a recreation of one of biggest spy scandals of the previous century.

Other Entries In The 18 Days Of Paranoia:

  1. The Flight That Disappeared
  2. The Humanity Bureau
  3. The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover
  4. The Falcon and the Snowman
  5. New World Order
  6. Scandal Sheet
  7. Cuban Rebel Girls
  8. The French Connection II

 

Lisa’s Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For February


It’s a fool’s errand to try to predict next year’s Oscars nominees this early but we’re all about taking risks here at the Shattered Lens.  So, with that in mind, here is my latest set of monthly predictions.

If you look over these names, you’ll see a lot of familiar ones.  That’s because it’s early in the year and familiarity is really the only thing that a lot of these unreleased films have going for them.  Some of the films mentioned below were hits at Sundance.  From what I’ve read, I really do think Minari could be a contender because, along with being loved by critics, it sounds like it’s very much of the current cultural moment.

But the important thing to remember is that, last year at this time, no one expected Joker to become the film of the year.  No one had even heard of Parasite.  Most people were still predicting the Oscars would be dominated by Harriet.  So, my point is — take this stuff with several grains of salt.

To be honest, I think a lot depends on how the presidential election goes.  If Trump is reelected, I think you’ll see the Academy voting for angry, political films, if just as a way to get back at Trump and the people who voted for him.  (Think about the otherwise baffling love that was previously shown to a movie like Vice.)  The Trial of the Chicago 7 sounds incredibly tedious to me but I could imagine people voting for it and thinking to themselves, “This is so going to piss off the Republicans.”  If Trump is defeated, I imagine the Academy will be a bit more upbeat in their selections.

If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, check out my predictions for January here!    (It’s only been a month so my thinking hasn’t really evolved at all.  Still, we could always use the clicks.)

Best Picture

Dune

Happiest Season

Hillybilly Elegy

Ironbark

Minari

News of the World

Respect

Stillwater

The Trial of the Chicago 7

West Side Story

Best Director

Isaac Lee Chung for Minari

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillybilly Elegy

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in Ironbark

Matt Damon in Stillwater

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman in The Father

Clare Dunne in Herself

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Angelina Jolie in Those Who Wish Me Dead

Best Supporting Actor

Bo Hopkins in Hillbilly Elegy

Merab Ninidze in Ironbark

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Abigail Breslin in Stillwater

Glenn Close in Hillybilly Elegy

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Mary Steenburgen in Happiest Season

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Lisa’s Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way Too Early Oscar Predictions for January


It’s a new year and that means that it’s once again time for me to do something spectacularly stupid.

Below, you’ll find a list of Oscar predictions.  However, this is not a list of what I think will be nominated on January 13th.  No, instead, these are my predictions for the upcoming year.  This the first installment of my monthly predictions for which 2020 films will be nominated next year at this time.

Just in case it’s not already obvious how foolish this is, consider the following: Last year, at this time, no one had heard of Parasite.  Maybe a handful of people knew that Noah Baumbach’s next film was going to be called Marriage Story.  There were vague rumors about 1917 and there were still serious doubts as to whether Scorsese would ever finish putting together The Irishman.  In short, trying to predict the Oscars 12 months out is impossible.

Needless to say, I haven’t seen a single one of these films listed below so I can’t tell you one way or the other whether or not they’re going to set the world on fire.  Instead, what is listed below is a combination of random guesses and my own gut feelings.  You’ll notice that there are a lot of big names listed, Spielberg, Anthony Hopkins, Ron Howard, and Glenn Close.  Yes, all of them could very well be Oscar contenders.  At the same time, they’re all also a known quantity.  They’ve all got a good track record with the Academy and, as of right now, that’s all that I have to go on.

You may also notice that I’ve listed several films that will, in just a few weeks, be playing at the Sundance Film Festival.  Again, it’s not that I know anything about these films that the rest of the world doesn’t.  Instead, it’s simply a case of I looked at the list of Sundance films, I read the plots, and a few times I said, “That sounds like it could potentially be a contender.”  After all, it seems like at least one nominee comes out of Sundance every year.  Why shouldn’t it happen again?

My point is that you shouldn’t take these predictions too seriously.  Some of the films and performers below may be nominated.  Some definitely will not be.  But, next year, we will at least be able to look back at this list and have a laugh!

So, without further ado, here are my Oscar predictions for January!

Best Picture

Dune

Hillbilly Elegy

The Many Saints of Newark

Minari

News of the World

Respect

Tenet

The Personal History of David Copperfield

The Trial of the Chicago 7

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Christopher Nolan for Tenet

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper in Bernstein

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Lance Henriksen in Falling

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Michael Keaton in Worth

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Glenn Close in Four Good Days

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Elisabeth Moss in Shirley

Amy Ryan in Lost Girls

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Last Thing He Wanted

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Tilda Swinton in The Personal Life of David Copperfield

Marisa Tomei in The King of Staten Island

Helena Zengel in News of the World

The Satellites Really Like Ford V Ferrari


The Satellite Nominations were announced earlier today and they appear to really, really like Ford v. Ferrari.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Who gives out the Satellites?”  They are awarded by the International Press Academy.  They should not be mistaken for the Golden Globes, which are given out the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  Instead, the Satellites should probably be considered the Golden Globes’s less popular cousins.  Unlike the Globes, they haven’t really proven themselves to be reliable as a precursor.

Anyway, here are the Satellite Film Nominations.  If you want to see their television nominations, click here!

ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE DRAMA

  • Alfre Woodard, “Clemency”
  • Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
  • Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
  • Helen Mirren, “The Good Liar”
  • Renee Zellweger, “Judy”
  • Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE DRAMA

  • Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
  • Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
  • Christian Bale, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • George MacKay, “1917″
  • Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
  • Mark Ruffalo, “Dark Waters” 

ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

  • Awkwafina, “The Farewell”
  • Ana De Armas, “Knives Out”
  • Constance Wu, “Hustlers”
  • Julianne Moore, “Gloria Bell”

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

  • Adam Sandler, “Uncut Gems”
  • Daniel Craig, “Knives Out”
  • Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Taron Egerton, “Rocketman”
  • Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers”
  • Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
  • Margot Robbie, “Bomshell”
  • Penelope Cruz, “Pain and Glory”
  • Nicole Kidman, “Bombshell”
  • Zhao Shuzhen, “The Farewell”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
  • Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
  • Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood”
  • Willem Dafoe, “The Lighthouse”
  • Wendell Pierce, “Burning Cane”

MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA

  • 1917 Universal Pictures
  • Bombshell Lionsgate
  • Burning Cane Array Releasing
  • Ford v Ferrari Twentieth Century Fox
  • Joker Warner Bros.
  • The Lighthouse A24
  • Marriage Story Netflix
  • Two Popes Netflix

MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

  • Hustlers STX Entertainment
  • Knives Out Lionsgate
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Columbia Pictures
  • Rocketman Paramount
  • The Farewell A24
  • Uncut Gems A24

MOTION PICTURE, INTERNATIONAL

  • Atlantics, Senegal
  • Beanpole, Russia
  • Les Miserables, France
  • Pain and Glory, Spain
  • Parasite, Korea
  • Truth and Justice, Estonia
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire, France
  • The Painted Bird, Czech Republic

MOTION PICTURE, ANIMATED OR MIXED MEDIA

  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon Netflix
  • Alita: Battle Angel Twentieth Century Fox
  • Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles GKIDS
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2: The Hidden World Universal Pictures
  • The Lion King Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Toy Story 4 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Weathering With You GKIDS

MOTION PICTURE, DOCUMENTARY

  • 63 Up BritBox
  • Apollo 11 Neon
  • Citizen K Greenwich Entertainment
  • Honeyland KJ Films
  • One Child Nation Amazon Studios
  • The Apollo HBO Documentary
  • The Cave National Geographic Documentary Films
  • FOR SAMA PBS

DIRECTOR

  • Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”
  • James Mangold, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”
  • Pedro Almodóvar, “Pain and Glory”
  • Sam Mendes, “1917″
  • Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”

SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL

  • Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”
  • Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • Lulu Wang, “The Farewell”
  • Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”
  • Pedro Almodóvar, “Pain and Glory”
  • Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”

SCREENPLAY, ADAPTED

  • Anthony McCarten, “The Two Popes”
  • Edward Norton, “Motherless Brooklyn”
  • Matthew Michael Carnahan, Mario Correa, Nathaniel Rich, “Dark Waters”
  • Steven Zaillian, “The Irishman”
  • Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”
  • Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, “Joker”

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Thomas Newman, “1917″
  • Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • Randy Newman, “Marriage Story”
  • Robbie Robertson, “The Irishman”
  • Terence Blanchard, “Harriet”
  • Hildur Guonadottir, “Joker”

ORIGINAL SONG

  • Don’t Call Me (Angel), “Charlie’s Angels”
  • Into the Unknown, “Frozen II”
  • (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again, “Rocketman”
  • Spirit, “Lion King”
  • The Ballade of the Lonesome Cowboy, “Toy Story 4”
  • Swan Song, “Alita: Battle Angel”

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Dick Pope, “Motherless Brooklyn”
  • George Richmond, “Rocketman”
  • Lawrence Sher, “Joker”
  • Phedon Papamichael, ASC, GSC, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • Rodrigo Prieto, “The Irishman”
  • Roger Deakins, “1917”

FILM EDITING

  • 1917
    Lee Smith, ACE
  • Ford v Ferrari
    Michael McCusker, ACE
    Andrew Buckland
  • Joker
    Jeff Groth
  • Marriage Story
    Jennifer Lame, ACE
  • Rocketman
    Chris Dickens
  • The Irishman
    Thelma Schoonmaker

SOUND (EDITING AND MIXING)

  • 1917
    Oliver Tarney
    Stuart Wilson
    Scott Millan
    Mark Taylor
  • Avengers: Endgame
    Shannon Mills
    Daniel Laurie
    Tom Johnson
    Juan Peralta
    John Pritchett, CAS
  • Ford v Ferrari
    Donald Sylvester
    Paul Massey
    David Giammarco
    Steven A. Morrow, CAS
  • Joker
    Alan Robert Murray
    Tom Ozanich
    Dean Zupancic
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Wylie Stateman
    Mark Ulano, CAS
    Michael Minkler, CAS
    Christian P. Minkler, CAS
  • Rocketman
    Matthew Collinge
    John Hayes

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alita: Battle Angel
    Joe Letteri
    Eric Saindon
  • Avengers: Endgame
    Dan DeLeeuw
    Matt Aitken
    Russell Earl
    Dan Sudick
  • The Lion King
    Robert Legato, ASC; Andrew R. Jones
    Adam Valdez; Elliot Newman
  • Ford v Ferrari
    Olivier Dumont
    Mark Byers
    Kathy Segal
  • Joker
    Edwin Rivera
    Mathew Giampa
    Bryan Godwin
  • The Irishman
    Pablo Helman

ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • 1917
    Dennis Gassner
    Lee Sandales
  • Ford v Ferrari
    François Audouy
    Peter Lando
  • Joker
    Mark Friedberg
    Laura Ballinger
  • Motherless Brooklyn
    Beth Mickle
    Michael Ahern
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Barbara Ling
    Nancy Haigh
  • The Two Popes
    Mark Tildesley
    Saverio Sammali

COSTUME DESIGN 

  • Dolemite Is My Name
    Ruth E. Carter
  • Joker
    Mark Bridges
  • Judy
    Jeny Temime
  • Rocketman
    Julian Day
  • The Two Popes
    Luka Canfora
  • Downton Abbey
    Caroline McCall
    Anna Robbins
    Susannah Buxton
    Rosalind Ebbutt

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions For November


Well, here we are!

We’re on the verge of the official start of Oscar season.  The Spirit Nominations have been announced.  The National Board of Review will be announcing their picks on December 3rd (I believe).  In just about a week from now, we’re going to be flooded by hundreds of different guilds and critics groups handing out awards and it will be a struggle to keep up.  With so many strong contenders this year, it’ll be interesting to see who actually emerges with the momentum.

(For instance, I don’t think anyone really took Mad Max: Fury Road seriously as an Oscar contender until it started sweeping all the critics groups in December.  And then we were all like, “Well, of course it’s going to be nominated for best picture….”)

With all that in mind, I’m going to go out on a limb with a few of my predictions below.  I mean, why not?  At this point, anything could happen.

To see how my thinking has evolved over time, be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October!

Without further ado, here are my predictions for November:

Best Picture

1917

Bombshell

The Irishman

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Parasite

Richard Jewell

Uncut Gems

Best Director

Noah Baumbach for Marriage Story

Joon-Ho Bong for Parasite

Clint Eastwood for Richard Jewell

Jay Roach for Bombshell

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Best Actor

Paul Walter Hauser in Richard Jewell

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite is My Name

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes

Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems

Best Actress

Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan in Little Women

Charlize Theron in Bombshell

Alfre Woodard in Clemency

Renee Zellweger in Judy

Best Supporting Actor

Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy

Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes

Al Pacino in The Irishman

Joe Pesci in The Irishman

Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell

Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers

Thomasin McKenzie in JoJo Rabbit

Margot Robbie in Bombshell

Zhao Shuzhen in The Farewell

 

Lisa Reviews An Oscar Winner: The Silence of the Lambs (dir by Jonathan Demme)


Oh, The Silence of the Lambs, I have such mixed feelings about you.

On the one hand, I’m a horror fan and Silence of the Lambs is a very important film in the history of horror.  Back in 1992, it was the first horror film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture!  It even made history by winning all of the big “five” awards — Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Adapted Screenplay!  It was the first film since One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and It Happened One Night to pull that off!

Beyond that, it’s one of the most influential films ever made.  Every erudite serial killer owes a debt to Anthony Hopkins’s performance as Hannibal Lecter.  Every competent but untested and unappreciated female FBI agent owes a debt to Jodie Foster’s performance as Clarice Starling.  Even though the whole criminal profiler craze probably owes more to Manhunter (a film to which Silence of the Lambs is a sequel, though that often seems to go unacknowledged) than to anything else, this Oscar winner still definitely played a part.  I mean, how many people watched Manhunter for the first time, specifically because Lecter mentioned the events in that earlier film in Silence of the Lambs?

Plus, this won an Oscar for Jonathan Demme, one of my favorite directors!  And while I’m sure Jodie Foster would have gone on to have a strong career regardless of whether she had played Clarice Starling or not, it’s generally acknowledged that Silence of the Lambs revitalized the career of Anthony Hopkins.  So for that, we should all be thankful.

And yet, it can be strange to watch Silence of the Lambs today.  All of the imitations (not to mention some ill-thought sequels and prequels) have lessened its bite.  I can only imagine how it must have freaked out audiences when it was first released but I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed the first time that I watched the film.  Looking back, I can see that disappointment was due to having been told that it were one of the scariest movies of all time but, because, I had seen a countless number of imitations, parodies, and homages, I felt as if I had already watched the film.  So, I wasn’t shocked when Lecter turned out to be ruthlessly manipulative and dangerously charismatic.  Nor was I shocked when he managed to escape and poor Charles Napier ended up strung up in that cage.  I’m sure that audiences in 1991 were freaked out, though.

Actually, as good as Foster and Hopkins and Scott Glenn are, I think the best performance in the film comes from Ted Levine, playing Buffalo Bill.  Seriously, Levine’s performance still freaks me out.  It’s the voice and the way he says, “Precious.”  Levine’s performance, I found to be a hundred times more frightening than Anthony Hopkins’s and I think it’s due to the fact that Hannibal Lecter was clearly an author’s invention while Levin’s Buffalo Bill came across like he might very will be hiding in an alley somewhere, waiting for one of your friends to walk by. (Interestingly enough, I had the same reaction when I first saw Manhunter.  Brian Cox did a good job as Lecter but he still came across as a bit cartoonish.  Meanwhile, Tom Noonan was absolutely terrifying.)  Levine has subsequently gone on to play a lot of nice guy roles.  He was a detective on Monk, for instance.  Good for him.  I’m glad to see he was able to escape being typecast.  Admittedly, I do kinda wonder how many serial killer roles he had to turn down immediately after the release of The Silence Of The Lambs.

Still, it’s a good film.  Time may have lessened it’s power but The Silence of the Lambs is still an effective and well-directed thriller.  It’s impossible not to cheer for Clarice.  It’s impossible not to smile at the fun that Anthony Hopkins seems to be having in the role of Lecter.  Jonathan Demme creates a world of shadows and darkness and still adds enough little quirks to keep things interesting.  (I especially liked Lecter watching a stand-up special in his cell.)  It’s the little details that makes the world of The Silence of the Lambs feel lived in, like Clarice’s nervous laugh as she gives a civilian instructions on what to do in case she accidentally gets trapped in a storage locker.  Even the film’s final one liner will make you smile, even though it’s the type of thing that every film seemed to feel the need to do nowadays.  It’s still a good movie, even if it no longer feels as fresh as it once may have.