Tag Archives: Meryl Streep

Oscars 2012: Great Performances

Each January, Los Angeles is effervescent with anticipation, as the world’s biggest stars gather to participate in a flurry of parties, dinners and events in the walk-up to the Golden Globes, marking the beginning of the awards season. This year was no exception.

TIME’s annual Oscars portfolio showcases each year’s best performers through a portfolio of striking portraits. Tears, giggles, pranks and emotions ran high, and loads of laughter pealed through the studio during this year’s shoot, which resulted in a series of images and short films photographed and directed by Sebastian Kim. It was our most ambitious Oscars shoot yet. We had just three days to photograph and film 12 world-class actors during their busiest time of the year.

George Clooney arrived early on set, but it didn’t take long for the actor to settle in and begin joking around and planning pranks with Michael Fassbender, who had recently been photographed by Kim for the February issue of Interview magazine. This previous experience of working together made for a great rapport between them. And it wasn’t the only happy reunion on set: Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer happily embraced upon seeing each other on our set, giving us a glimpse of the fun these two had while working together on The Help. Later, Adepero Oduye was brought to tears when introduced by Joel Stein, who was on hand to interview the actors, to Davis, one of her greatest heroes. “It was so unbelievably Hollywood and yet really real,” Stein says.

Kim says that the project was the most star-studded he’s photographed so far. “I was quite excited photographing Meryl Streep,” he says, noting that his girlfriend is a big fan of the actress’s, “so naturally I was quite nervous when I met her. Being nervous on set is not a good thing as it impedes your concentration, but I just kept thinking, ‘My gosh…I better a get a good shot of her and make my girlfriend happy!’”

But Kim needn’t have been nervous. Streep was running a bit late, having arrived from a previous shoot with MGM studios, where she was taking part in a project to photograph the greatest living actors of our time. She was immediately forgiven—and how could she not be? Streep is kind and gracious, possesses a rare elegance and professionalism that made the photo shoot feel like anything but work. In fact, this set the tone for all of our actors’portraits, which also included sittings with Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, Rooney Mara, Jean Dujardin, as well as the adorable Uggie, the dog in The Artist.

It’s a rare pleasure to watch actors of this caliber play for the camera. Instead of characters, they play themselves, with a focus and passion that can only come from years of experience on set.

The performers’interviews with Joel Stein can be viewed here.

Doha Tribeca Film Festival: Brigitte Lacombe’s Larger Than Life Portraits

Brigitte Lacombe was just a teenager when she got her start snapping film stars at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. More than 35 years later, Lacombe has photographed many of the industry’s most influential icons, including Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep and Quentin Tarantino, among others. But her latest major project also focuses on emerging talent—particularly the rising filmmakers in the Middle East. Titled I Am Film, the portrait series debuts today at the opening of the third annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through Oct. 29 in Qatar’s capital city.

Installation view of Lacombe's "I Am Film" portrait series at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar. Photograph by Brigitte Lacombe

Working with film stars unknown to audiences stateside, as well as newcomers in the industry, was a refreshing experience for Lacombe. “I found the same type of passionate people, the same form of expression, but somehow, devoid of all the other things that have been added to the culture we know so well—which is a lot of money, an entourage,” she said. “Everyone I did portraits of would come by themselves with a change of clothes under their arm if I’d asked them to. It was a very simple encounter instead of all that accompanies the world of film as we know it now.”

When Amanda Palmer, executive director of the festival, and Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, founder and chair of the Doha Film Institute and festival, first approached Lacombe with the idea of a possible collaboration for the festival’s third run in 2008, the photographer decided very quickly that she’d take black-and-white series portraits against neutral backdrops to give the various images a sense of unity. Lacombe began shooting in 2009 and has traveled around the world photographing nearly 200 actors, directors and producers.

Brigitte Lacombe

More than 600 of Lacombe’s images have been printed on billboards, which run for one mile on both sides of the road that leads to the Katara Cultural Village, where the film festival takes place. Lacombe says she immediately embraced the idea for the installation, which was spearheaded by designer Michael Rock at 2×4 studio. Aside from the photo wall, approximately 100 print ads featuring Lacombe’s portraits are on display throughout Doha.

“It’s a kind of situation that does not exist very often—to be entrusted with an idea and then be able to do it, be given the means to do it and not be controlled in any way,” Lacombe said of her experience. “It was a life-changing proposition for me. I was able to concentrate on the long-term project and do what I do, and with great support.”

Brigitte Lacombe is contributor to TIME. See more of her work hereThe Doha Tribeca Film Festival runs through Oct. 29.

Feifei Sun is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @Feifei_Sun or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.