a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Alejandro 1In a surprise win Saturday night, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu made history at the DGA (Director’s Guild of America) when he won Best Director for “The Revenant” after winning LAST year for “Birdman.” You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. I really did think it was  going to be just about any one else. But I think the #OscarSoWhite controversy was very much on the DGA’s mind. And Inarritu IS Mexican and considered Hispanic, so his award speaks to Hollywood-ers wanting to right that perception. This may mean he’s going to win at the Oscars now, too.

And he broke into tears and gave a very moving speech about Mexicans in America and Donald Trump. Including the all Mexican kitchen staff that was “Making you sandwiches tonight.” I’m sure at the DGA’s grand banquet, they were dining on more than sandwiches.

But it is important to note Inarritu’s  historic achievement. He broke records and stats. And I only wish his two-and-a-half hour schlog of a film “The Revenant” were that short and that pointed and that moving.

Besides making film and racial history, what else did this win mean? Well, it’s knocked “Mad Max:Fury Road” out of any serious consideration for Best Picture or Best Director. Many were predicting 70-something Australian George Miller winning, but alas that was not to be.

Pete Hammond kind of tipped everyone off when he mentioned to Tom O’Neil that Inarritu was NOT going to be introducing the award as the previous winner historically does. He told Tom on one of the excellent podcasts on Gold Derby just this past week about Inarritu not making that announcement. “He can’t say, ‘The Winner Is Me!'” Hammond noted. Though evidently Irving Berlin did just that one Oscar year back in the day.Alejandro & Leo 1

This pushes “The Revenant” forward just at the time the Oscar voters are FINALLY getting their ballots towards the end of the week.
Leo will win and now it looks like it’s going to be Inarritu is going to win, too. Will the wealth spread to other of the eleven nominations? It just might. And it might sweep in Tom Hardy, too, in Supporting Actor.Tom Hardy 1

The one really touching, true moment was Hardy talking about his being scalped alive during an Indian attack, and SURVIVING! Since “The Revenant” is facing off against “Mad Max” in many, if not all, of the below-the-line categories, the win may cause a “Revenant” sweep.

But what of Best Picture? I don’t think THAT’s going to “The Revenant” too.”Spotlight” and “The Big Short” the “serious” smaller films, with less nominations. but mucho gravitas will score I’m betting. I think “Spotlight” which is being screened at the Vatican this week is the one who will win. It could get Best Original Screenplay, too, and that’s where Tom McCarthy will score. And THEIR Supporting Actor, if that’s the case, twice-nominated Mark Ruffalo could get swept in, too. PLEASE!

Anybody! But “Mumbles” Stallone!

Tom McCarthy 2Tom McCarthy 1I know this is very down-to-the-wire, but at the very last minute, I have to put in a big thumbs up for director Tom McCarthy’s chances of winning the big awards coming up tonight, the DGA, and on Feb.28 the Oscars. He certainly deserves them. He’s one of America’s best young directors. Actors LOVE him. He’s directed previously two very esteemed pictures “The Station Agent” with Bobby Cannavale,  the divine Patricia Clarkson and Peter Dinklage giving career-best performances.

And I brought up Tom’s name to Paul Giamatti and Bobby Cannavale, who I was talking to about McCarthy’s OTHER great, slightly unsung film “Win Win”. I think I mention him at about 3:35 as “one of  America’s Best Young Directors” and Paul and Bobby both totally agreed, and jumped right up on the subject. McCarthy ALSO  co-wrote “Win Win” and “The Station Agent” as he also co-wrote the crisp, terrific and terrifying screenplay of “Spotlight” for which he is deemed to the front-runner and winner of Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars.

(This is a satellite interview where we can hear but can’t see each other.)

It just bugs the heck out of me that this multi-talented guy is being so under-rated for his awards’ chances. He’s an actors’ director. Actors who’ve worked with him, love him, as you can see by Paul and Bobby’s excited reactions, when I mentioned his name.

He’s been an actor, too. And I think he was the original sleep-deprived, put-upon tech guy in the original “Noises Off” on Bway. He was hilariously exhausted. I still remember his collapses from over-work backstage, as a jack-of-all-trades and everybody’s doormat. And he was holding his own with Broadway biggies like Dorothy Loudon, Paxton Whitehead and Victor Garber, too.

So he’s come up through the trenches and everybody who knows him or his work, likes him. And respects him. And “Spotlight,” the presumed Best Picture winner is all his. He wrote it. He directed it. He got it right about a complicated, important topic, exposing child molestation in the Catholic church, by the dogged, intrepid Boston Globe reporters in the 1980s.

If it’s going to win Best Picture, because, as Anne Thompson says, “It’s got the gravitas.” Then won’t the person who directed it, be a likely award winner, tomorrow night, too? At the DGAs I mean. That’s the Director’s Guild of America. And if McCarthy wins there, it’s a clear “game-over” for the Oscar race as the other big awards, especially the acting, Leo, Brie and Alicia Vikander. And I hope-not, he doesn’t deserve it Sylvester Stallone.

In any case, “Spotlight” and all its’ acclaim has vaulted Tom McCarthy into the front-ranks of American film directors. And I applaud that whole-heartedly.Spotlight 4

OJ Cast 1I wasn’t going to watch it and then, I did, and after a few false starts, I was gripped. So kudos to all involved with the new TV Movie series “The People Vs.O.J. Simpson”. Based on the book by Jeffrey Toobin, it’s very well done. And smart, too. I was gripped. Even though, we all know how it turned out.

No spoilers are necessary, as this was the first court case that was turned into a TV series already when Judge Ito allowed cameras into the courtroom. It crackles. It’s sharp and it’s right on the money Writtten by .Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewki and directed/co-produced by Ryan Murphy “The People…” sizzles and burns up the small screen in just the right way. I was surprised. And delighted. Smart TV is always welcome.

And the casting is phenomenal. Cuba Gooding, Jr. FINALLY lives up to his Oscar potential (He won Supporting Actor EONS ago, it seems, for “Jerry Maguire” opposite Tom Cruise and a very young Renee Zellweger.)Yes, Cuba Gooding IS O.J. in this, although he is a man of much smaller stature. He has the bravado and the charm and the impatience of a super-star-football-hero-jock, which is what he was.

And Sarah Paulson, always a personal favorite, gets the role of HER career as the prosecuting attorney Marcia Clark. She is depicted here as a harrowed, over-worked single mom, and a feminist, who is appalled by the case she’s just been handed. It seems to her like it should be open and shut, except it isn’t at all.Sarah Paulson 2

Strangely, “The People…” doesn’t take sides and depicts the LAPD as the bumbling bunch of key stone cops that they probably were, in this instance.

Sarah Paulson really delivers here and puts her in the realm of leading lady roles where she’s always belonged. And David Schwimmer, of all people, is just grand as the compassionate heart of the O.J. side of things as Robert Kardashian. Yes, the father of all those Kardashians who now reign supreme as the Queens of Reality TV. And yes, Kris Kardashian Jenner is depicted, too. Although she only has a very small part to play in Episode One. She was a very close friend of the murdered Nicole Brown Simpson.David Schwimmer 1

He was a lawyer and one of O.J.s best friends who is just bewildered by the unbelievable events he sees unfolding around him. O.J. hides out at Kardassian’s house and we see him even attempting suicide in “Kimmy’s” bedroom, as the stricken Schwimmer, pulls him out of it.Before he disappears from the Kardashians hideaway starting his infamous White Brono chase.

In sharp contrast, there is ANOTHER lawyer, Robert Shapiro, who is played again at the top of his A-Game by John Travolta! Another shock. And a shockingly good performance. One of the best of Travolta’s career, and he is the super slick lawyer, a legal shark, if ever there was one, who knows that his client is guilty, probably,  and goes for it, takes the case, anyway.Schwimmer & Travolta 1

People forget now, but it was on TV EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR MONTHS! I watched the entire proceedings unfold with the rest of America. I was living alone in the Bronx after my mother’s death. I wondered what she would’ve thought of all of it. I was as gripped then. As I am gripped now by this exciting, insightful news series that is going to be on at 10pm on the FX channel on Tuesday nights for nine more weeks. And even though I thought I knew everything about it, “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson” is constantly revealing new and startling aspects and yes, it WAS the birth of reality TV. Kardashians and all.


Alicia SAG gown 1THAT dress! That marvelous Louis Vuitton fully sleeved gown that Alicia Vikander wore to the SAG awards last night! I can’t stop thinking about it! And she WON in it and it’s now going to famous as one of “THEE dresses” that people always talk about when they talk about the SAG awards, or the Oscars for that matter.

And it’s all sequins! Truly an iridescent wonder! And the colors are so muted! The use of black, brown and white makes the other muted earth tones stand out even more and look even richer and more dazzling. It’s very Scandinavian. Very Swedish. The Swedes have their own great sense of style.

Alicia OTHER dress at the Broadcast Film Critics last week was pretty terrific, too. And here it is, again.It was also a stunner, but in a very different way.Alicia Critics Choice 1It’s a dress that says “I’m a winner!” And she is. As I said before we haven’t seen this Red Carpet WOW of a new style icon, since, well actually Lupita Nyong’o two years ago, and look how many magazine covers and red carpets SHE’S graced before and after she won the Oscar for “Twelve Years a Slave.”

And if you’ve read this far, I know you’re an Oscarologist like me, and I am happy to introduce you to a whole new bunch of predictors called The Gold Rush Gang and you can find them on Twitter


It’ll take you to their website and you’ll find razor-sharp stats on the current gold rush, er, Oscar race. Even Sasha Stone follows them, and now, so do I. And who are they? Well, they’re a bunch of NORMAL people, who just love movies as you and I do, dear cineastes, dear readers. And they are a split off, I think, of the former  very passionate http://www.awardsdaily.com forums.

Sasha, and, now I, too follow them because well, they’re not press and they live outside the Oscar Bubble, and are run by the super-sharp former Forums Operator, Eric Anderson, and guess who’s winning according to the Gold Rush Gang? “Spotlight” for Best Picture Oscarsand then Tom McCarthy of “Spotlight” for Best Director! That just floored me! But I think they might be right. And I thought it,and they, are important enough to warrant a serious mention here at ALLTHINGSOSCAR otherwise known as “The Stephen Holt Show’s Blog.”

And the Gold Rush Gang picked Leo, and Brie and yes, the above lovely Alicia ^ Only one I disagreed with them about is Sylvester Stallone winning Supporting Actor for “Creed”. I don’t want to see that happen. But they’re number 2 was Mark Ruffalo for “Spotlight”! Hey THAT could happen and I’m totally behind that! Mark Ruffalo 1

Alixia SAGThis has got to be the greatest SAG awards presentation ever! It FLEW! And the Good Guys Won! So glamorous, in an understated way. Favorite moments ~ Alicia Vikander, the Swedish star of “The Danish Girl” was looking stunning in an iridescent Louis Vuitton gown composed of sequined panels of black, white and earth tones. She thanked her mother, who is an actress, describing her childhood of growing up in a theater in Sweden watching her mother act. Classy and beautiful. And that charmingly accented British/Swedish speech! She looked divine and she sounded divine! She sounded and looked every inch a star! The New Audrey Hepburn is born! And I’m predicting this the upcoming, inevitable Academy award is just the FIRST Oscar win for the lovely Alicia! She’s unstoppable!

Downton Abbey SAG“Downton Abbey” winning Best TV Series Drama and a large portion its’ brilliant cast, accepting and Lesley Nicol “Mrs. Patmore” the funny, maternal cook, thanking everyone in Hollywood for being “so kind.” I’m sure THAT’S an adjective that hasn’t been used before about Hwood, and of course, she thanked Julian Fellowes “Who wrote every single word we say. He’s a great writer.” And he is.

Idris Elba 4

And of course, Idris Elba referring to his incredible double win and his saying “Welcome to Diverse TV!”

And last but not least, the wonderful win of “Spotlight” as the “Best Ensemble.” The good guys won!

Brie Larson 3Looking not at all like this possessed picture above ^ Brie Larson just won her well deserved SAG Award for Best Actress or as they put it, Best Female Actor.  She seems so much like the girl next door, you can’t believe that she was the “captured for seven years” girl next door.  In the shed in the back garden. And now here comes Best Actor!

Annnnnd it’s Leo. Oh well. And a Standing O, too. That’s it. That’s the ball game. He’ll win the Oscar, too. As will Brie Larson.

And “Spotlight” wins Best Ensemble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK GOODNESS!!!!

A shocked Mark Ruffalo gave a very nice speech, very moving, very heartfelt. “I really didn’t expect this”he exclaimed. And then handed the blue “Actor” award over to Michael Keaton, who ALSO gave a very impassioned speech about the “disenfranchised everywhere. Flint, Michigan, everywhere.”

So basically, that ALSO is the ballgame, dear readers, dear cineastes, for Best Picture.

I saw “The Big Short”,”Spotlight”s main competitor, but I kept thinking “They’re not giving their main award to a film that they may not understand.”

Even though the heroes in “Spotlight”  are journalists, a species that actors purport to disdain, but not tonight. And this win for “Spotlight” which I’m happy about, re-emphasizes that “Spotlight” is about something very, very serious and it’s a drama. “The Big Short” is a comedy. Comedy always loses and will probably now lose the Oscar, too. Spotlight 4

“Spotlight”is about the decades-long cover up of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church is an important topic. SAG felt it was more important than Wall St.’s corruption.

I also felt that “The Big Short” disturbingly glamorizes this corruption. Which is something that “Spotlight” does not. It faces its’ issues straight on, and condemns them. And everybody in the movie is just terrifically understated, and quietly brilliantly intense.

This win tonight for “Spotlight” puts it in the front-runner spotlight, once again, and I think it will stay there through to the Oscars.

Mark Ruffalo’s very moving acceptance speech showed Oscar voters, who watch these predictive proceedings like a hawk, are very likely to take note of that marvelous moment of Ruffalo’s. They also saw Leo, and Brie, and Alicia Vikander doing their best Oscar audition acceptance speeches, too. And they did it so well, I think all three of them nailed down their Oscar wins tonight. Indupitably.

The only category left up in the air tonight was Best Supporting Actor, because supposed favorite Sylvester Stallone is leading that Oscar category and Idris Elba isn’t nominated there. But Mark Ruffalo is.

So we have a very locked and loaded Oscar race now. Except for Best Supporting Actor, which will be announced VERY early in the evening as it usually is.

This occasion is a much more joyous one than the Golden Globes were.Indubitably.Boston Globe


A speechless Idris Elba just won a SECOND Screen Actor’s Guild in one night!?! He kept saying “I don’t know what to say!”

Idris Elba 3Elba won his second “Actor” in one night for Best Actor in a TV Series, “Luther.” Elba really needed this recognition in order that his name really means something in America.

He SHOULD be a household name in the US. And now, I hope, he will be.

He thanked his children, his wife. And the writer of “Luther” who lives in New Zealand. “And he writes this dark series, looking out a little window in New Zealand. I don’t know how he does it.”

The camera keeps cutting back to him as the show goes on and he is SMILING the biggest smile and flashing the peace sign at the camera. He can’t stop smiling.

Carol Burnett is being given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. And of course, she gets a standing ovation!Red Carpet Idris

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