(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)
July 12, 2012
If you know anything about Limité, you know that we don’t follow the norm, nor do we care what the “others” glorify. Awards and recognition are usually given out to those who’ve sold a certain amount of music albums or for their performance in a big budget movie in the last fiscal year, but what about celebrating someone’s entire career and being recognized? That’s what we’ve done in our 3rd Annual Limité Honors. The individuals below have entertained us on more than one occasion and we deem it necessary to give respect when respect is due. Enjoy!
by Daniel Quitério
Don’t tell Jessica Chastain that Rome wasn’t built in a day, because you’d be speaking to the one person who proved that all wrong in 2011. Chastain’s list of film credits and honors that one year surpasses most actors’ entire careers.
Born Jessica Howard, the would-be actress grew up in Northern California. She began as a dancer in her early teens before acting in local Shakespeare productions. The entertainer eventually enrolled at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York as a drama major, where during her last year, she was offered a holding deal by TV producer John Wells (ER, The West Wing) and worked on three of his shows.
Film was a logical next step. Chastain went on to debut as the title character in Jolene (2008). A few years later, moviegoers were watching the blossoming-yet-seasoned actress in an astonishing seven films in 2011, including The Debt, Take Shelter, and The Tree of Life. She went on to receive multiple breakthrough artist awards and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for The Help, in which she played a sympathetic and domestically challenged housewife. Thanks to her meteoric rise, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
This year, Chastain’s credits threaten to nearly trump her 2011 filmography. She’s set to star in six more films, including a second collaboration with Malick (To the Wonder) and a film about Navy SEAL Team 6—the soldiers that killed Osama bin Laden—entitled Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker).
Chastain may very well be the most prolific actress in the movies today, but let’s not forget that film is just one of the media in which she has proven herself. With a background in theatre and television, Chastain’s versatility makes her an actor among actors.
by Leslie Long
She was born in New Orleans and went to college in the Bronx, followed by Yale School of Drama where she received an MFA. No wonder her voice is such a fine and appealing soup.
With her long honey hair, pale skin, and angular features, Patricia Clarkson doesn’t quite look like anyone else around today. She’s indefinably aged (actually, I thought she was a little older than her 52 years) with a vintage type of Hollywood glamour (Ingrid Bergman was her inspiration), and she’s also completely modern.
Seeing Patricia Clarkson as the brooding Olivia in The Station Agent(2003); the free-spirited Aunt Sally on Six Feet Under; or the wise, spurned wife in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) is to remember her. And the variety of roles she’s played on stage and in film goes on and on. From indie to commercial, and supporting to starring, she explores her craft from so many vantage points.
Clarkson has worked with the finest directors and discusses two of the most famous directors in an interview in The Village Voice:
“I love working with Woody [Allen] because we get lazy as actors, and with Woody, you have to do your homework. He’s doing long takes and you have to ad-lib, too. You can’t be at Craft Services, you have to be present. You can’t decide between coming here or M&Ms.”
About Martin Scorsese, who directed her as Rachel in Shutter Island(2010), she said, “He’s very present. He hears it. It’s music to him. He’s looking for how far he can take you—and the depth and breadth of the emotion.”
Clarkson’s next film, The East, is due out later this year. She stars alongside Ellen Page (Juno, 2007), Julia Ormond (My Week with Marilyn, 2011), and Brit Marling (Another Earth, 2011) in this film about a contract worker who infiltrates an anarchist group and falls for its leader.
She has never been married and doesn’t have children. In fact, Clarkson has said she knew she would never marry since the age of 14. “I’m deeply invested in everything I do, and it’s a good thing because acting is the only thing I know how to do.” Maybe that’s why Clarkson and the characters she chooses to inhabit are so completely unforgettable.
by Morgan Goldin
For the past 40 years, Glenn Close has sustained a remarkable acting career on stage, screen, and television. After her theatrical debut on Broadway in 1974, Close went on to star in such wildly popular films as The Big Chill (1983), The Natural (1984), Fatal Attraction(1987), and 101 Dalmatians (1996). Last decade, she recently performed such revelatory work on television in two FX original programs, The Shield and Damages. It was her role as Patty Hewes onDamages for which she won the Emmy for Outstanding Leading Actress. After her win, Close admitted in an interview that role was the role of her life.
Following that recognition, Close chose to turn her talents toward her decade-long passion project, Albert Nobbs (2011). The 19th-century story depicts a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to secure a position as a butler in a posh Dublin hotel. For the first time in her career, she took on the behind-the-scenes role as a producer and co-writer. She even wrote the lyrics to the film’s original song, “Lay Your Head Down.” Close was familiar with the material beforehand and won an Obie playing the role on stage in 1982. Close said, “I believe in this story and its potential to take everyone on a sensuous, funny, heart-breaking, wildly unexpected ride.”
While Albert Nobbs was released to generally mixed reviews, critics were almost unanimous in their acclaim of Close’s performance. She was nominated for a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Academy Award (an impressive sixth Oscar nomination). After such an esteemed career, Close remains capable of surprising audiences with her roles and deservedly continues to collect the accolades she so well deserves.
by Saidah Russell
Any ranking of the Hollywood elite would be remiss to exclude the name Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s become something of an icon. With a career spanning a little over two decades and a knack for intense, explosive performances, DiCaprio is an actor who continues to dominate the industry. And considering Titanic has made a triumphant return to theaters, it seems like an appropriate time to revisit such a phenomenal career.
The Los Angeles native first gained critical attention for his role inWhat’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993). His performance as the mentally handicapped brother of Johnny Depp’s character garnered numerous accolades, among them Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. He followed with a string of successful, but smaller, films, including The Basketball Diaries (1995) and Baz Luhrmann’sRomeo + Juliet (1996), before starring in the aforementioned blockbuster, Titanic (1997). Taking the lead in the highest-grossing film in the world (at the time) has a way of solidifying one’s reputation in Hollywood.
After the international success of Titanic, DiCaprio went on to work with Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can, 2002), he’s formed a lasting and prolific relationship with Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York, 2002; The Aviator, 2004; The Departed, 2006; Shutter Island, 2010), and he recently collaborated with Christopher Nolan on Inception(2010). Last year, the actor starred in the Clint Eastwood-directed biopic J. Edgar and received praise for his performance, despite the film’s mixed reviews. This year should tell a different story. DiCaprio will once again partner with Luhrmann for the highly anticipated The Great Gatsby adaptation, as well as star in Quentin Tarantino’s long-awaited western, Django Unchained, alongside Oscar winners Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, 2009).
by Janice Y. Perez
After this past year’s Academy Awards, the bedraggled nation of Iran finally earned a positive hash tag for once—#AsgharFarhadi—the first Iranian ever to bag an Oscar.
A Separation, Farhadi’s riveting drama about a Tehran couple on the brink of a divorce, has been a film festival favorite from the onset since it premiered at the 2011 Fajr International Film Festival in the Iranian capital, raking in all the top honors all the way to the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. That’s no easy feat, especially for a country that is been known to heavily censor its artists in the name of Islamic morality.
The domestic drama is a self-contained portrait of regular family life in modern-day Iran. Two couples are contrasted against each other—the first: a secular, middle-class pair; the second: strictly religious from the working-class. The story, at the surface, is very Iranian, but its heart is so universal that it has resonated to critics and audiences, alike.
Farhadi, for his part, has dispelled general interpretations that A Separation is a subtle commentary on Iran’s societal class differences, its justice system, and the rattling changes brought about by modernity to the paternalistic country’s traditions, choosing instead to leave it all up to the viewers to take what they can from his film. Farhadi’s oeuvre of films mostly showcases regular folks from his homeland, centering on family dynamics in the face of extreme adversities. The filmmaker’s stories have gained him much accolade and admiration because of the way he skillfully weaves insights on Iranian culture and life, in general, into the everyday lives of these Persian families. For his efforts and influence, Limité is proud to honor Asghar Farhadi.
A bore, mundane, unoriginal, and flat. Certainly not the adjectives you’d select to describe the Mr. Steven Paul Jobs. In just 56 years, Jobs led the charge in altering the way we use computers, listen to music, watch movies, use phones, and even how we read books. The man may have not been known for his philanthropy or for being a nice guy, but he certainly left his mark in creating products that are synonymous with being cool, hip, and sleek.
At a young age, Jobs developed quite the passion for consumer electronics and started his career out by landing a summer gig at Hewlett Packard. While there, he became good friends with Steve Wozniak. A few years later, the pair developed the first Apple computer. Wozniak built it and Jobs had the idea to sell it. And from then on out, Jobs accelerated his career in churning out the products in which we’ve developed unhealthy attachments to.
As you jam out to your iPod on the train, observing passenger after passenger cradle their iPhone or iPad as if it were a newborn, take a moment and think how none of this scenery would ever exist without Jobs. Because, let’s be serious. This is our worst nightmare.
by John Dixon
Ghostface Killah, next to Biggie, Jay-Z, and Nas, might be the most influential entity to second generation Hip Hop MC’s and culturalists, along with being one of a select few on the sacred list of a rappers, who have ten or more albums and 50% don’t suck. His solo rise to relevance was engendered by a lyrically mature and emotionally relevant and arguable classic Ironman, reinforced by the definite Hip Hop classic, Supreme Clientele. He has carved a permanent space for himself in the unspoken Hip Hop Hall of Fame with buoyant wordplay, heedless content, and bottomless depth. He’s in all your favorite rappers’ top 5.
Ghost has given us everything a rap fan could ask for in his 20 year career [And you know rap years are like dog years so Ghosts’ longevity is up there with Moses]. From classic street albums, to radio hits with the biggest R&B Divas [Beyonce], highly publicized record label beef [Def Jam], TV show cameos [Boondocks], and books on his incredibly hilarious personal philosophy [The World According to Pretty Toney]. Impressively enough he has been able to do all of this by not reinventing himself on every album. The word play gets trickier, and the slang gets more coded, but the core is constant. He continually serves fans what they want without excavating his long matured hip hop roots. Unfortunately in the world of, what have you done for me lately?, we don’t hear Ghost Deni on the radio waves much, but when you put out quality shit, the once gold-teeth having, Helly Hansen jacket wearing teenagers, turned 40 yr old corp slaves, will still come home early on Friday to download the new album on iTunes, and go to the show on Saturday. Shows on a weeknight, different story. Long live Tony Starks aka Pretty Toney.
by Curtis John
His films are as iconic as they are controversial, much like the man himself. And even if you don’t like his brand of cinema, you definitely know who Spike Lee is.
Beginning August 10 in his hometown of New York City, the legendary writer/director/producer will release Red Hook Summer, his eighteenth narrative feature film. The Brooklyn-set, coming-of-age drama about an Atlanta boy who is sent to Red Hook to live with his preacher grandfather for the summer pokes holes at “the establishment” through religion. The film is regarded by many as an ode to Lee’s most celebrated film, 1989’s Brooklyn-based Do the Right Thing, a day-in-the-life portrait of racial tension that made stars of cast members like John Turturro, and introduced younger generations to husband-and-wife actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
Since then, Lee has had his share of commercial successes (Malcolm X, 1992; Inside Man, 2006), as well as flops (Miracle at St. Anna, 2008). He has also established himself as a triumphant documentary director with emotional fare, like the 1963 racial-terrorist-church-bombing tragedy 4 Little Girls (1997) and the Hurricane Katrina victim-focusedWhen the Levees Broke (2006).
Though audience members and critics panned Red Hook at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, upstart independent distributor Variance Films agreed to handle the release. Lee’s confidence to make the movie he envisioned, despite others’ unflattering opinions, makes him worthy of being honored time and time again. Sho’ nuff.
by John Lee
When Saturday Night Live begins its 38th season in the fall, it will be without popular performer Kristen Wiig. Taking cues from her SNLpredecessors, the Emmy-nominated actress left the show in May 2012 to focus on her film career. Since joining SNL in 2005, Wiig has been a breakout star, creating indelible characters like the mischievous schoolgirl Gilly and the manic Target Lady. With the massive success of last year’s comedy Bridesmaids—which Wiig co-wrote and received a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for—she has become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses.
Born in upstate New York and raised in Pennsylvania, Wiig caught the acting bug by accident after she took an acting class at the University of Arizona to fulfill a course requirement. Shortly after dropping out she moved to Los Angeles to continue taking acting classes. Finding those classes ineffective she took odd jobs while auditioning for parts. It was a random night out with a friend to see renowned improv group The Groundlings that lead her into comedy. After taking classes with the company’s school, Wiig joined the main cast before being spotted by SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels.
Up until last year’s starring role in Bridesmaids, the actress had varying success in film with small parts in Knocked Up (2007),Adventureland (2009), Whip It (2009), and MacGruber (2010). A small dramatic part in 2010’s All Good Things, starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, hinted at a range that spans beyond comedy.
You can be sure that Wiig’s star will continue to rise. Upcoming projects look promising, including Imogene (with Annette Bening),The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (with Ben Stiller and Sean Penn),Freezing People Is Easy (with Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson), and The Comedian (with Robert De Niro).
Michael Kenneth Williams
by Stephanie Dawson
Michael Kenneth Williams entered pop culture’s consciousness as Omar in the critically acclaimed drama series The Wire. Williams continues to be a strong screen presence in roles large and small, in drama and comedy. And for this, Limité honors the versatile actor.
Williams had an atypical rise to stardom. He dropped out of business school to pursue a dance career and toured with Chrystal Waters, Technotronic, CC Penison, and others. On his 25th birthday, a bar room brawl left him scarred from his forehead to his cheek. He was undeterred and used his scar as a distinguishing feature for a brief modeling career.
Williams decided to pursue acting after his emotional performance in the George Michael “Killer” music video. After only seeing a photo of Williams, Tupac Shakur cast him in Bullet (1996) with Mickey Rourke. Shortly after, he landed a role opposite Nicolas Cage in Bringing out the Dead (1999), directed by Martin Scorsese. Williams became known as “the bald-headed boy with the scar,” so he trained at La Mama Experimental Theatre to develop his craft and rise above that moniker.
The training paid off. Williams has been seen almost non-stop fromThe Road (2009) with Viggo Mortensen, to Wonderful World (2009) with Matthew Broderick, and even a recurring role on the NBC sitcom Community. The actor shares ensemble award nominations for Miracle at St. Anna (2008) and Life During Wartime (2009). He won the SAG Award for best ensemble cast in a drama series for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Williams’s next big screen effort, the Sundance selection Luv, will be in theaters this fall.
by Alex Bursac
She may have captured many tween hearts in the late ’90s with her role in Dawson’s Creek, but nowadays there’s no doubt the name “Michelle Williams” is synonymous with “superb talent.” In just over a decade, Williams has graduated from “Jen Lindey” to Oscar-nominated actress, catapulting her from a national TV gem to an internationally celebrated movie star.
Born in Montana, Williams moved to California at the age of nine. Her career began in the early ’90s with guest appearances on a variety of television shows. By 1994, Williams made her big screen debut inLassie. Four years later, she was cast in Dawson’s Creek, a TV role that came with a successful five-year run.
Williams’s film work is largely focused on independent features. Praised for her work in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2005), the actress’s supporting performance earned Williams her first Oscar nomination. Since then, she has continued to rise to the occasion, proving her versatility and willingness to take risks by tackling roles in films like I’m Not There (2007), Wendy and Lucy (2008), Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010), and Blue Valentine (2010). A hit among critics and at festivals, the latter film earned Williams some of the highest praise of her career, earning her a second Oscar nomination (her first for a leading role). Most recently, Williams starred as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn (2011), delivering a hypnotic performance that added a third notch to her growing list of Oscar nominations. This summer, Williams stars in Take This Waltzopposite Seth Rogen. In 2013, she will play Glinda in Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful with James Franco.
Outside of her undeniable talent, there is something beautiful—maybe at times hauntingly so—about Michelle Williams. Somewhat mysterious—at times the embodiment of true strength, and other times porcelain-like—Williams is always, without a doubt, the classiest act in Hollywood.