Oh man, you guys, there was some SERIOUS action happening in this week’s matchups – several ties that went on long into the night, one runoff match, some dramatic upsets, and a lot of fan favorites who unexpectedly got sent packing. Drama! Scandal! Controversy! Let’s recap.
Emma Thompson vs. Moneypenny
It’s the Battle of the Brits over here in the game’s ONLY Giselle vs. Giselle matchup, where the lovely Emma Thompson and Miss Moneypenny have knocked out a serial killer, a Bond girl, two cartoon characters and two 80’s icons to face off against each other to win the Film bracket. All those Americans never stood a chance; these two were in it to win it. They’ve both shown such fierce determination that it’s a shame to send one of them home – either one of them could knock anybody else out to win the whole thing for Queen and Country. Emma was an early favorite to take the whole thing, while Moneypenny kind of came out of nowhere. She’s the only one of the eight left standing who NOBODY picked to win on the bracket submissions. (I guess she showed us.) But only one of them can represent the Film bracket in the Final 4 next week, so who will it be? Let’s weigh their battle-readiness against each other.
Assets: Shelves full of awards (which – TRUE STORY – she keeps in her bathroom) including Oscars, BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and an Emmy for her absolutely hysterical guest appearance on the 90’s sitcom Ellen where she played a parody of herself as a lesbian from Ohio who faked a British accent by watching Julie Andrews movies; she’s a little bit of a cougar (dreamboat husband Greg Wise is quite a bit younger than she is – go Emma!); affiliation with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Harry Potter franchise make her virtually indestructible in the Serious British Actor category, while she also enjoys American Pop Icon street cred for her roles in Angels In America and Every British Movie You’ve Ever Seen; hangs out with Judi Dench.
Liabilities: Honestly? None. We love her.
Assets: High-ranking staff member at the British Secret Service with high security clearance, which means access to quality blackmail information; member of the military (according to the Ian Fleming novels the Bond films are based on, she holds the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Navy), which means even though she currently works a desk job she’s probably been in a scrap or two; brilliant, resourceful, highly-educated and clearly trusted at the highest levels of government; hangs out with Judi Dench.
Liabilities: Fictional; susceptible to flattery from handsome men in tuxes.
Lady Macbeth vs. Clytemnestra
OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS SO MUCH DRAMA. The History bracket has been where ALL the crazy action has been going down. On Day 1 of this round, Esther and Lady Macbeth traded off the lead all day long before stalling at a tie that lasted well into the night. It was so intense that I have been going seriously ALL CAPS about it for days. But in the end, the bloodthirsty Lady M emerged victorious, having won a long and arduous battle against hands-down the toughest competitor Team Giselle has put forth yet. Seriously, you guys. Without Esther, the other three Giselles left standing (Emma, Moneypenny, and Audrey) better MAJORLY up their game.
Meanwhile, in the Day 2 matchup, Clytemnestra and Morgan le Fay were ALSO tied for a substantial portion of the day, trading the lead back and forth by maybe a vote or two before leveling out again. Clytemnestra earned her place in this round by knocking out Dido from the Aeneid with an 81% margin, while feisty sorceress Morgan le Fay smacked down her sister-in-law Guinevere to go Carmen-on-Carmen with this vengeful queen. But only one of them had the stuff to go up against Lady Macbeth, and your votes gave that honor to Clytemnestra, which means I get my wish, and we’re calling this matchup “The Wives With Knives.”
Assets: Feisty and Scottish; adept at getting people to do what she wants; not afraid of a little blood; a terrific actress (“King Duncan! Welcome to my house! We’re so glad you’re here! Come eat dinner with us! We are definitely not going to kill you in your sleep tonight!”); ambitious and ruthless; one of the most popular characters in the entire Shakespeare canon, played by every great Shakespearean actress from Sarah Bernhardt to Helen Mirren.
Liabilities: Goes insane under pressure. Literally.
Assets: Patience (she waited 10 years for her vengeance, while Lady M had to pounce the first night Duncan was in her house); devoted to her children; half-deity (Zeus was her dad) so she could potentially have latent supernatural powers, or at the very least could probably get one of her Olympus-dwelling kinfolk like Athena or Apollo to hop down and do her a solid.
Liabilities: Will hold a grudge FOREVER.
Pop Culture Bracket
Angelina Jolie vs. Audrey Hepburn
These two knocked out a lot of competition to make it into the finals for the Pop Culture bracket. The fictional characters and the musicians are gone, so it’s actress vs. actress, making the pros and cons of each slightly easier to weigh. Audrey has sailed fairly smoothly through this whole contest, and hasn’t met a bad girl yet who could beat her – initial opponent Joan Crawford barely made it out of the gate, while her match against Alias action heroine Sydney Bristow (SO RANDOM) was pretty much over before it started. She may look tiny and adorable, but Audrey’s got serious muscle in this game. The question is, how will she stand up against someone who is famed far and wide for her actual muscles? Actress Angelina Jolie made an international sensation bringing to life the role of Lara Croft, star of the phenomenally popular Tomb Raider video game franchise, on the big screen, thus establishing a teenage boy fan base the likes of which the world hadn’t seen since Princess Leia donned that gold bikini in Return of the Jedi. But lest you dismiss her as merely a gun-toting action hero, let’s not forget the fact that she won an Oscar, 2 Golden Globes and 2 Screen Actors’ Guild awards for her gripping, emotionally raw, and deeply nuanced performances in Gia and Girl, Interrupted. Mock her acting skills at your peril. They’re fairly evenly matched, these two – both award-winning performers, both U.N. humanitarians, both devoted moms, both estranged from their fathers and raised by their mothers, both famed as one of the most beautiful women of her generation. Audrey has grace and elegance, Angie has edgy sex appeal. Audrey is the picture of femininity, while Angie pushes the envelope in her life and fashion. Audrey is classic, Angie is 21st-century. Who will prevail? It’s anyone’s game.
Assets: 1 Oscar (2 nominations) and 3 Golden Globes (6 nominations), plus plenty of others; Brad Pitt as backup; international humanitarian status; devoted fan base of teenage boys; martial arts/kickboxing/gunfighting/etc. experience onscreen; plus I suspect she’s adopting all those adorable children as part of a secret plan to amass a child army.
Liabilities: Nowhere near the level of international fame Audrey has; five kids means a lot less time for glamour (while Audrey never looked less than perfect in public, Angelina often appears in People Magazine with unwashed hair and yoga pants); she has to work a lot harder to be taken seriously as a Real Actress.
Assets: 2 Oscars (5 nominations) and 3 Golden Globes (10 nominations), plus plenty of others; Cary Grant as backup; international humanitarian status; devoted fan base of cinemaphiles; an insanely fabulous wardrobe that Angelina WISHES she could pull off.
Liabilities: Fairly dainty (hand-to-hand combat is unlikely to be her strong suit).
Tosca vs. Catwoman
Both these fearless femmes fatale held on through some seriously ferocious competition to make it into Round 3. Tosca, you will recall, knocked out La Bohéme‘s Mimi in the first round with a substantial margin, and then went head-to-head with Three Musketeers archvillainess Milady de Winter, in a duel that was so aggressive that it ended in our first tie-breaking runoff match. But Milady’s cunning and guile were no match for Tosca’s, and she soared to victory in the tiebreaker match Wednesday afternoon. Well-played, madam. Catwoman easily beat early favorite Lois Lane in Round 1 with over 3/4 of the votes, perhaps the game’s first real surprise upset; Lois was a popular favorite to win the whole thing, but Catwoman scratched her out on Day 1 before going on to best the mean, gin-swilling Martha from Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Both these women have earned substantial margins of victory against some of the game’s toughest competitors, but there can only be one winner. Whoever emerges victorious from this contest will represent the Literature bracket in the Final Four matchup next week and face off against the winner of the History bracket. And those girls are not messing around. Choose wisely.
Assets: Resourceful; excellent knife skills; good at manipulating men; business savvy (when Scarpio promised he’d let her boyfriend go free if she slept with him, she insisted on getting it in writing).
Liabilities: Opera characters sing all their dialogue, so she’s unlikely to be great at stealth. Catwoman would hear her coming a mile away during her “Shhh, I am sneaking up on Catwoman” aria.
Assets: Can see in the dark; has claws; good at climbing and escaping; helpful dual identities; martial arts skills; can use a whip; has nine lives.
Liabilities: Easily distracted by shiny, steal-able jewels (such as Tosca would probably wear), Batman’s chiseled jaw, and, presumably, catnip.
Voting is open in the comments! GO GO GO!