Nicolas Cage & Jean Dujardin Join Zooey Deschanel on SNL

The uber twee Zooey Deschanel brought her brand of quirkiness to SNL last night with some funny sketches, including one that lampoons her ukelele playing, sing-songy persona.  Nicolas Cage stopped by Weekend Update and Jean Dujardin brought his tap dancing skills.

Cage’s sketch was the best of the night.  He turned up alongside Andy Samberg’s version of himself to explain how cloning will allow him to appear in every film ever released instead of just 90%.  He also promoted his new flick Ghost Rider, which has all the element of a Cage movie: “1) all the dialogue is either whispered or screamed; 2) everything in the movie is on fire.”

 

Dujardin appeared in the recurring dance sketch Les Jeunes de Paris, which went black and white for The Artist star.

 

Zooey Deschanl took a jab at herself with Bein’ Quirky, a show where Michael Cera, Mary Kate Olsen and Bjork make an evening of doing quirky thing like pretending to fall off chairs and knitting to hula music.  “This is the part in the show where Mary Kate and I make our eyes real big while Mama Cass plays.”

 

The cast took on the Super Bowl halftime show and M.I.A.’s finger flip with interviews on Piers Morgan. While Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen might not have LMFAO’s crazy interview style down, they definitely rocked the outfits perfectly. Andy Samberg talks genitals as Tightrope Guy.

2011 Oscar Nominations Go More or Less as Expected

With the speed of a lumbering engine powered by critical hubris and self-importance, the 84th Academy Awards nominations dropped into our newsfeeds this morning with predictable result. Did you know that people liked The Descendants this year, The Artist as well? Brad Pitt and George Clooney scored the requisite Hollywood heartthrob acting votes (they will lose to the no-name French guy who doesn’t talk), while Meryl Streep got her due for sticking around. Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese were also nominated, just like they always are. It’s another Oscar ceremony, y’all!

But not to sound cynical or anything. It’s somewhat surprising, though definitely nice, to see Terrence Malick get official recognition for The Tree of Life, even if there’s almost no way the hype-happy Academy will give their highest awards to a movie with more than a handful of inscrutably artsy scenes. Equally surprising on the other end is the inclusion of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, a movie that no one seemed to like but not for any inscrutably artsy reasons, simply because it’s kind of schmaltzy and not very good. Why not give the spot to something innocuous like Bridesmaids or even the last Harry Potter movie, if they’re trying to go commercial? Madness, it’s all madness. (I won’t even get started on Albert Brooks’ snub for Drive.) You can look at the important nominees below, or go to the Academy’s website for the full list.

Best Picture
The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse

Actor in a Leading Role
Demian Bichir – A Better Life, George Clooney – The Descendants, Jean Dujardian – The Artist, Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Brad Pitt – Moneyball

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis – The Help, Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn

Directing
Michael Hazanavicius – The Artist, Alexander Payne – The Descendants, Martin Scorsese – Hugo, Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris, Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branaugh – My Week with Marilyn, Jonah Hill – Moneyball, Nick Nolte – Warrior, Christopher Plummer – Beginners, Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Actress in a Supporting Role
Berenice Bejo – The Artist, Jessica Chastain – The Help, Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs, Octavia Spencer – The Help

‘The Artist’ Star Jean Dujardin Has Hollywood Talking Without Uttering a Word

When Jean Dujardin was awarded the top acting prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for his cocksure performance in The Artist, the 39-year-old Frenchman wasn’t quite sure how to react. “I didn’t want to go up on stage, it was intimidating,” says the square-jawed alpha male. “In the end, it was not a big deal. The room carried me. I saw Jude Law smiling, he looked happy! De Niro, too!”

That Dujardin now finds himself in such rarefied company is no mystery. He is France’s highest-paid male actor, after all. What’s surprising is the vehicle that launched him there. The Artist is a silent, black-and-white love letter to 1920s Hollywood. To be sure, it’s a risky old-fashioned cocktail—no dialogue and no color in the post-Avatar era?—but it’s also one of the most creative, joyous films of the year. Dujardin plays George Valentin, a silent film star in the mold of Douglas Fairbanks, whose pre-talkie stardom withers away with the arrival of sound. In a cruel twist of fate, his would-be lover, Peppy Miller (played by the intoxicating Bérénice Bejo, who happens to be the director’s wife), becomes the toast of the town.
 
Dujardin’s virtuoso performance relies heavily on exaggerated physicality and facial gymnastics—a flick of a cigarette, a timely lift of the eyebrow—techniques no doubt honed in his years of comedy work, including roles in two highly successful spy-film spoofs (think The Bourne Trilogy meets The Naked Gun). “He’s a real classical actor,” says fellow Frenchman Michel Hazanavicius, who directed Dujardin in all three films. “One movie I made with him was set in the ’50s, the other in the ’60s. In the first one, he looked like a young Sean Connery, in the second, Ben Gazzara. He’s very flexible.”
 
With the Weinstein brothers hell-bent on hyping The Artist all the way to Oscar glory, Dujardin has a shot at the same crossover success that France’s Marion Cotillard enjoyed after she earned a golden statuette for her performance in La Vie En Rose. But does the veteran actor—who lives happily in Paris with his wife, actor Alexandra Lamy —crave that level of stateside acclaim? “I have to go for a good reason, not only to be involved in an American movie,” he says of Studio  City. “But first I have to learn to speak English.”