a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

I feel so swamped. Trapped. I used to be a fan, but after seeing “A Star is Born’ I was just boiling mad and supremely disappointed in all aspect of it, except the uber drag queen scene in the gay bar at the beginning, where the Lady Herself turns “La Vie En Rose” inside out. I was enchanted. Then Bradley Cooper, who also in incongruously in this particularly outre bar, sees her for the first time and immediately falls in love with her.

A cute meet by a heterosexual couple in a gay bar. OK. That unique. That was special, then a scene in a parking lot at night time was kind of touching and poignant but from there it went down hill. For another HOUR AND A HALF!!!

I posted this on Awardsdaily.com tonight, where some insist I do my best writing ~

I walked into a tony bar tonight and the typical Academy-aged-voter-of-yore was talking and talking and talking about Lady Gaga and that she was going to win Best Actress. I disagreed. But everywhere I turn it’s gagagagagaga -GAG ME! But if the Oscars were voted on TODAY, she’d undoubtedly win. But they aren’t. It’s a long way til January. But TODAY, she’s the Talk-of-the-Town. Can she act? Can she not act? Wasn’t she snubbed once already? Isn’t this just like Bette Middler and “The Rose”?

And Glenn will be lucky if her film is even in theaters by January. She has to sweep all the critics awards to stay in the conversation. Right now the conversation is gagagagagaga. Well, I repeat myself.

Glenn Close, that is, for “The Wife.” Poor Glenn Close. Always a bridesmaid but never a bride. Close, but no cigar.

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http://www.awardsdaily.com/2018/10/09/orson-welles-day-at-the-new-york-film-festival/

This is such an exciting day! To have TWO major articles up at http://www.awardsdaily.com. Kudos to Ryan Adams, the Film Mystic, who edits there so well, and of course, the great Sasha Stone!

And yes, Ruth Warrick DID say that to me about Welles’ homosexuality, in 1992, when she appeared on “The Stephen Holt Show.” I asked her if it was true and she, after the interview, and off camera, agreed that it was.

And the movie “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead” confirms this. If you get a chance to see it.

So proud, as always to continue my magnificent relationship, with the great Oscar site Awardsdaily! Here’s a link to my first review of the New York Film Festival’s Opener “The Favourite.” www.awardsdaily.com/2018/10/09/new-york-film-festival-review-the-favourite/

So much Oscar confusion with this one because the three leads, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz(both pictured above) and the beauteous Emma Stone(pictured on Awardsdaily.com) are all sooooo excellent. Too much of a muchness? Not in this case!

“The Favourite” is one of MY favorite films of the year!


A theater goddess walks among us. Clearly, British actress Janet McTeer is one of the greats. Anyone who saw her “Doll’s House” back in the day can attest to this. Anyone who sees Theresa Rebeck’s half-baked “Bernhardt/Hamlet” will wonder why this acting colossus is attempting this pygmy play.

And of course, the answer is “There are no great parts for women.” Or few great parts as the play makes abundantly clear. Over and over and over again. Pedantic, didactic and I agree with playwright Rebeck’s conclusion. And frustration. But the means she uses to execute her thesis, and this is a thesis play. Collegiate. If she were in college, and she wrote this at the time she was in college, say roughly the 1970s, it may have seemed like something sparkling and new, but as “Bernhardt/Hamlet” as presented on Broadway by the redoubtable Roundabout, it is trite, trite, trite.

However the sublime Janet McTeer makes you almost forget all these things. Almost. If  Hamlet was a vivacious housewife who just solved her servant problem.And she is surrounded by some of the best young actors working today. Dylan Baker, Matt Saldivar, Nick Westrate and main among them, Jason Butler Harner. And they are all defeated by this mediocre material that the Roundabout is trying to foist on us as a silk purse, when it’s really the sow’s ear. Or in this case, the entire sow.

McTeer is a gargantuan presence. She is six-foot five at least, with the deepest and most resonant of voices. She has played many, many male roles herself, recently a remarkable Petruchio, in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park’s all female “Shrew” a few seasons back. And on-screen she was the transvestite lover of Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs.” So she is no stranger to cross-dressing. Nor, evidently, was the diminutive  Bernhardt, who was barely five feet.

Considered to this day, the greatest actress of the 19th century, she was a dyed-in-the-wool eccentric. She slept in a coffin. She had a leopard for a pet, and wore a hat made out of bats’ wings. The only way we non-time-traveling mortals can experience her greatness today is by reading about her in the many, many books and biographies of “La Divina” as she was known. And the contemporary reviews of her critics. Don’t forget the critics! George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde both adored her and wanted her in their plays.

None of this is in “Bernhardt/Hamlet.” Rebeck the writer makes her seem smaller than life and seems to have tailored this play as simply as a vehicle for the dynamic McTeer. Who deserves to have plays written for her. Just not this one.

She seems like a socialite, a gad-fly, someone who likes to have a beer and pal around with the guys, rather than sleep with them. She had many, many lovers and yes, McTeer kisses Butler Harner (As Edmund Rostand) again and again and again. As if to prove some kind of heterosexual point.

The great French playwright wrote “Cyrano de Bergerac” for her, but the part of Roxanne is hardly what you remember Cyrano for. And she chastises him, but he doesn’t make the part any better, and she still continues her affair with him. And yes, they kiss and they kiss and they kiss at every opportunity. Rebeck even presents us with Rostand’s wife,(Ito Aghayere) who in a very bizarre scene, seems to condone the affair, but that’s about as eccentric as this earth-bound Berhhardt is allowed to get.

Rebeck  has made the great Bernhardt seem very everyday as an actress. She seems remarkably superficial, constantly complaining the Shakespeare’s greatest play had too many words  in it. And constantly going “up” (forgetting her lines) in rehearsals, which this Bernhardt seems to treat as a schlog and a joke.

Ah! But then McTeer is allowed to do “Hamlet” straight on, it is just wonderful. And a great gift to those who witness it. There are only TWO niggardly moments that Rebeck allows her to play Hamlet at full throttle..

At the beginning of Act Two, she gets to do the entire “What a piece of work is man” scene with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. And she and Dylan Baker play the Ghost scene as if it were a love scene and it works. (pictured above^)How it works! These two moments really are worth the price of admission. I just which we had a chance to see the great Janet McTeer do ALL of the real Hamlet and not just this shoddy imitation.

And would that the witty and wonderful late playwright Wendy Wasserstein was still with us. SHE would’ve made Bernhardt scintillating, rather the mundane feminist Rebeck leaves us with.

Focus Features will release the DOWNTON ABBEY movie on Friday, September 20, 2019 in North America and Universal Pictures International will release it on Friday, September 13, 2019 internationally. 

 

“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” commented Focus chairman Peter Kujawski.  “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen next September.”  

 

 

About the DOWNTON ABBEY movie

 

The television series Downton Abbey followed the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country house.  Over its 6 seasons, the series garnered 3 Golden Globe Awards, 15 Primetime Emmy Awards, 69 Emmy nominations in total, making Downton Abbey the most nominated non-US television show in the history of the Emmys – even earning a Special BAFTA award and a Guinness World Record for the highest critically rated TV show along the way. 

 

The Downton Abbey movie will star the original principal cast, including Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol, Penelope Wilton, and Academy-Award® winner Maggie Smith, as well as new cast members Academy-Award® nominee Imelda Staunton, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, David Haig, Tuppence Middleton, Kate Phillips and Stephen Campbell Moore. 

 

Academy-Award® winner Julian Fellowes who created Downton Abbey and wrote the film’s screenplay will produce alongside Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge. Michael Engler returns to direct. Brian Percival, who directed the series’ pilot, will executive produce the movie alongside Nigel Marchant.

 

The Downton Abbey movie is produced by Carnival Films, and will be released by Focus Features and Universal Pictures International.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I saw the annual NYU Grad Acting Actors Presentations and John was one of the fine actors they were presenting with a song(not usually) and two scenes,one of which he also wrote(!) and the other this searing, powerful scene from “Brokeback Mountain.” John is unforgettable in it truly. It’s haunting. AND heartbreaking. His future seems so bright. And I’m happy and proud to bring him to you today on “The Stephen Holt Show.” There’s Part One also where he sings and Part Three where I do a brief interview with him.  You can also see this on my You Tube channel. http://www.youtube.com/Stephenholtshow


Could Mahershala Ali, who won the Best Supporting Actor a mere two years ago for Best Picture Winner “Moonlight”, win a SECOND Oscar in the same category for “Green Book”?

If so, he would be the first African American actor to win TWO Academy Awards, never mind two nearly in a row, after Denzel Washington won two.

In “The Green Book,” he plays a real life character, a jazz pianist sensation of the 1950s. The film is set in the rural South in 1963, when it was very dangerous for a successful Black man to have a white driver from the Bronx, played by Viggo Mortensen.

Both actors received very strong, positive notices out of Toronto, where it became a surprise hit, and won the prestigious, and predictive Grolsch People’s Choice Award, voted on by the public, vaulting all involved into the middle of the Oscar race.

The film was directed by Peter Farrelly of “Dumb and Dumberer” film.

Should this happen and Ali get nominated and win again, he would make Oscar history. No Black actor has ever won twice.

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