a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Archive for January, 2011

“King’s Speech” wins SAGs’ Best Cast! Colin Firth Best Actor!

“The King’s Speech” just continued its’ road to Oscar glory by winning the SAG Award for Best Ensemble, the Screen Actors Guild equivalent of Best Picture. And of course, Colin Firth won Best Actor! Again! Long Live the King!

Best line of the night ~ C.Firth, “I’d like to thank security for letting me into the building.”

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, but a joyous broken record, HALLEJUAH! And Congratulations to Colin, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham-Carter and all the rest of that astounding cast! There’s nothing stopping “The King’s Speech” now on the road to Oscar!

Only I wish Geoffrey Rush and Helena B-C had won in their Best Supporting Categories losing to Christian(ugh)Bale and Melissa Leo, both for “The Fighter.”

Bale gave his usual cringe-worthy speech with the added embarrassment of having the real Dickie Ecklund, the person he played, jump up on stage, too. It really was too much.

 Then Mark Wahlberg admitted, while he was introducing his own film, that he told Eckland to do that…Was that covering or the truth?

You can bet dollars to donuts that the Academy is NOT going to let that happen on Oscar night. I mean, seriously. It was like Mickey Rourke’s F-bomb riddled acceptance speech  when he won the BAFTA that year for “The Fighter” and THAT lost him the Oscar.

Melissa Leo embarrassed her self LESS than usual. Can’t that brilliant woman learn how to give a speech? She ALMOST segued into a political, pro-union rant. A better dress than the forgettable ones we’ve seen her in thus far, but remember Leo isn’t nominated for a BAFTA so she can’t win there. Although Amy Adams could. And so, of course, could Helena Bonham-Carter!

I still don’t think BOTH are going to win the Oscars. We’ve got the BAFTAS next where Geoffrey Rush(who gave an INCREDIBLE speech accepting the Best Ensemble Award) and Helena B-C could very well both triumph. And give better speechs than Leo and Bale. Rush’s speech is going to resonate with Academy members, too. He named EVERY SINGLE CHILD ACTOR in TKS! Very moving and VERY classy! AND Claire Bloom! “Who puts us one degree away from Charlie Chaplin.” That ALONE could make the undecided AMPAS voters vote him in right there. A class, not a brass, act.

Oh, and Natalie More-Pregnant-Than-Ever Portland won Best Actress. That’s the same four people marching in formation to the podium at EVERY SINGLE AWARDS SHOW! Like last year with Bullock, Bridges, Christophe Waltz and Mo’Nique. BORR-RING!

And “The Joy of Typing” got NOTHING! Which is what it deserved! WHAT A REVERSAL OF FORTUNE! This is one for the Oscar history books and I hope TKS and co. are celebrating all the way til the end of February! And the Big Night itself!

The only big award show left before the Oscars is the BAFTAs and I guess we all know how THAT kudofest is going to go!

What a wonderful weekend of awards’ joy this has been! Last night Tom Hooper wins the DGA and tonight, Best SAG Ensemble! WOW! Hollywood has gone Brit crazy! And it’s starting to remind me of Ben Hur’s year when it won 12 out of 12.

Sasha Stone, over at www.awardsdaily.com

is now saying, buried deep in the comments section on the SAGs that she thinks that TKS is going to REALLY, REALLY sweep. And if Sasha, who was not in TKS’ corner in any way shape or form, is saying this, then it MUST BE SO!

Congratulations, and thank you, Colin, Geoffrey, Helena, Tom and Harvey for creating this Masterpiece of a Movie and for letting me be a small part of its’ Road to Glory!

Now on to the BAFTAs and let’s win there too!!!!!!

Why Tom Hooper’s DGA win clinches Oscar for “King’s”

Tom Hooper, the winner of last night’s DGA award for Best Director for a Feature Film, for “The King’s Speech” has all but clinched the winning streak that has now become I guess you could say the Royal Flush of the Oscars.

For those of you who don’t follow this as avidly as I do, the Director’s Guild win is almost ALWAYS what wins the Best Director Oscar also.

And whoever wins the Best Director Oscar will also most probably win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Things are looking very rosy for TKS this morning. Hollywood time.

Hollywood time is now Oscar time, esp. at this time of year and on top of all this hoopla there’s the SAG Awards tonight.

With this winning streak which equals MOMENTUM, “The King’s Speech” will very probably win the SAG Best Ensemble Award, which is the Screen Actor’s Guild Award equivalent of their Best Picture.

And how has this changed the Oscar race? Well, Oscar goddess Sasha Stone called this as noted a post or two back. And now she, the Oracle of Delphi of Oscar predictors, is saying that she sees an Oscar SWEEEEP happening for “The King’s Speech.” It got TWELVE nominations this past Tuesday, which now seems like AGES ago.

It’s very, very exciting when things change so radically and so suddenly. Sasha is even predicting that Geoffrey Rush will trounce Christian Bale tonight! And you all know that I HOPE HE DOES!

What you may not know that G. Rush(you can see me interviewing him, and Hooper and the pre-ordained Best Actor winner Colin Firth[who’s been winning everything under the sun] on www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow) is that he was also one of the main producers on TKS. He was literally the driving force behind it being turned into a movie.

And last night, just FYI, Rush jumped to THIRD place on my You Tube hit-getter chart. Colin Firth is number one and the lovely Marion Cotillard is STILL #2. That’s my pre-Oscar interview with Marion for “La Vie En Rose” in May of that year, when she first landed on our shores. This is one the private statistical graphs and charts that each You Tube User has. It’s very telling!

So that shows me that TKS sweep is even reaching as far as my You Tube channel! Talk about a grass-roots ground-swell!

But seriously folks…

I just hope this sweeps Helena Bonham-Carter in, too, as Best Supporting Actress tonight at the SAGs!

This win for the affable, polite, soft-spoken and self-effacing Hooper is another indicator that Nice Guys don’t always finish last.

Melina Rysik of the NYTimes, no less. the Carpetbagger of their Oscar blog, tweeted that the minute Hooper’s name was announced David Fincher, who everybody THOUGHT would win, immediately left the Director’s Guild ballroom! Reminding me of when Eddie Murphy fled the Oscar Hall when they announced Allan Arkin as the winner of Best Supporting Actor that year and not Murphy for “Dreamgirls”!

The surprise Producers’ Guild win many in the blogosphere thought of perhaps as a fluke. And that was only THIS PAST SUNDAY! Then Tuesday the 12 nominations more than any other film! But some felt that could be shrugged off, too…Not me, of course, but when someone who’s been SUCH a staunch supporter of “The Joy of Typing”, Sasha Stone predicted Tom Hooper was going to take it, well, I simply couldn’t believe my eyes! www.awardsdaily.com

Then Kris Tapley did, too! www.incontention.com

And well, hallelujah! They (and I ) were all right!

This makes David Fincher, the new Martin Scorcese. There’s an arrogance about that man that is palpable. And for a relative unknown, and a new comer  to the Director’s Guild, Tom Hooper to triumph is just SHOCKING! SHOCKING! I would like someone to do stats on a first time nominee’s winning like this. Has it EVER happened before to someone who is not known first to H’wood? Robert Redford and Mel Gibson and Kevin Costner were known of course as actors But Tom Hooper?

Who the hell IS Tom Hooper? Well, now he is the hottest director on the Planet of Hollywood. And he’s young, but he’s no neophyte. He helmed the Emmy Award-Winning “John Adams” TV mini-series. Garnering its’ stars Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti Best Actress and Best Actor Emmys…

And he directed a British film “The Damned United” which was very well reviewed last year, but not widely seen.

“The King’s Speech” is breaking box office records all over the world, and will continue to. Another prediction. Harvey Weinstein must be SOOOO happy today!

Of course, the SAGS will honor Colin Firth tonight. And if Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter win tonight over favored front-runners Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, well, then we know we’re really in for a “King’s Speech” awards tsunami!

I’m thrilled! Thrilled!

TOM HOOPER WINS BEST DIRECTOR FROM THE DGA!!!!

TOM HOOPER JUST WON BEST DIRECTOR FROM THE DGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For “The King’s Speech”!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS TOM!!!!!!!!!!

And KUDOS to Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone and uber-smart Chris Tapley for predicting this!!!! WOWOWOW!!!!

Check it out at www.awardsdaily.com if you don’t believe me!

And he certainly deserves it! A nicer, more humble, self-effacing guy you never could meet! See my interview with him at TIFF at

www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Bravo TOM!!!!

Woody Allen’s “You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger”

While we await with baited (Oscar bait-ed) breath to see who will win tonight at the DGA Awards out in LA-LA land, I’ve been catching up on a few DVDs that have been coming my way in the snail mail.

While I attended Woody Allen’s press conference at TIFF for “You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger”( look it up back in Sept. ’10), I hadn’t seen the movie until just now.

The DVD is coming out soon, and if you’re a die-hard Woody fan, like I am, I guess, EVERY Woody Allen is a must-see. Even his not-so-good ones, like this.

I thought he sounded a tad desperate with that personal TIFF appearance, and I had heard that YWMATDS, was not one of his best. And everyone was right, but there is still SOMEthing about Woody, even at his worst, that grabs you in the end if you stay with it. The press conference was much more entertaining than this film.

No Scarlett Johansson in this one. And I sort of missed her. Again, it is set in London, and more than ever, it seems like he wishes he was shooting it in New York. You can almost hear him sigh with nostaligia…but all his financing is coming from Europe, so in Europe he stays. He’s shot one coming up in Paris, and another London romp, and also a return to Spain where he did seem inspried with the marvelous “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” that won Penelope Cruz her Oscar three years ago…

I don’t think Woody likes the British very much. He doesn’t really GET them, like he gets New Yawkers. He loves New York. He seems to miss it, and so this film’s characters are very superficially observed. And they all seem like neurotic New Yorkers ANYway.

Naomi Watts is Sally in the ScarJo role, I think. But a little older, a little wiser, and much more serious. In fact, this film is hardly funny at all. I barely laughed at all. But I did find myself LISTENING. This is his most serious film since “Interiors”, but I THINK he meant it to  be a comedy…

The title “You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger” comes from what a Cockney fortune teller named Cristal (the always wonderful Pauline Collins) is constantly telling the hapless Helena, Gemma Jones, who is SORT OF the central character, or one of the main characters…A HUGE star in England, ever since she was a beautiful young blonde in the ’60s. Now, Gemma is IN her 60s and playing a daffy, tipsomaniac, an abandoned wife, who is seeking help from the beyond through this soothsayer, who is patently a phony, who mainly serves tea and biscuits and acts as a cheaper psycho-therapist to Jones.

Naomi Watts is her daughter, who is having marital problems, with her blocked novelist of an American husband, Rory, Josh Brolin. EVERY body is cheating on every body else here, per usual in Woody land.

Sir Anthony Hopkins as the desperately exercising ex-husband Alfie of the dumped Gemma Jones, and Naomi Watt’s father, begins by being very pale and wan,a milquetoast ghost of his former robust self, but Hopkins grows in power and force as the film progresses.

I really thought it was VERY bottom draw Woody, but even at that level, Woody grabs you, as you become more and more involved, first with Brolin’s desperate writer, then Hopkins’ desperate older exec. He, OF COURSE, chases after and ultimately bags a hooker, ANOTHER favorite Woody plot, who is decades younger than him, and totally his social inferior…And THEN he marries her…Judy Punch punches it up here as the hooker with a heart of lead.

And the press conference, Punch was there as was Hopkins, Brolin, Jones and Frieda Pinto, who is just sort of generally playing Brolin’s newest muse. Not much depth to this character.

And well, you see where this is going from here…

You can almost predict this film. It’s so by-the-numbers Woody, but then, he hits you with a confounding ending a la the Coen Brothers and suddenly…well, once again, you have to re-think your preceptions about Woody Allen. He DOES get you finally, even if he’s dealing from the bottom of his deck.

I guess I’d rather watch  any mediocre Woody movie than most the other films I, as a critic, am forced to watch throughout the year…Even grade C Woody is still something to see. I’m still a fan. After all these yeas and all these movies. He makes too many movies, and sometimes he seems to be just going through the motions, but…one does cherish those motions…

Chris Tapley joins Sasha Stone in Predicting TOM HOOPER to win the DGA!

NEWSFLASH! I just checked the excellent Oscar site www.incontention.com

and Chris Tapley, whose site it is, has now ALSO switched his prediction to TOM HOOPER of “The King’s Speech” to win Best Director tomorrow night at the DGA!

That is not, of course, the pre-ordained choice of LAST week, which would, of course, be David Fincher. Of “The Joy of Typing.”

This after Sasha Stone was going that way, too. On www.awardsdaily.com

And who am I to disagree? Tom Hooper! FTW!

Chris points out that the DGA ballots were just due in today, or was it yesterday? So they had the advantage (inspiration?) of knowing how the PGA went down on Sunday and the 12 Oscar nominations for the “King’s Speech” on Tuesday.

TOM HOPPER!!?!??!!!!WOOOOO-HOOO!!!!

And I’m still seeing snow flurries!

DGA and SAG awards this weekend. NYC buried in MORE SNOW!

What follows up the Oscar Nominations in this the first Awards Season of my blog? SNOW, SNOW, and more SNOW!

It’s not snowing at the moment but there are traces of flurries here and there. It just never seems to STOP snowing! I’ve never seen a January like this! And it’s not over yet! There may be more coming this weekend.

It’s lovely to look at and a great excuse for not going out. Then the dreaded CABIN FEVER sets in!

And you do go out. I had a dentist appointment at a relatively distant location yesterday (but still in Manhattan) and I fell down FOUR times crossing the various street corners which have been plowed or rather NOT been plowed.

The Mayor got the streets plowed this time. But then the snow gets piled PARTICULARLY high on the street corners. And then the sun came out and you were dealing with piles of slush and I did not have the right footwear for this weather! So I was soaked from the ankles down. Shoes and socks were like walking, clinging puddles, they were so thoroughly wet-through.

Moral: Always carry AN EXTRA PAIR OF SOCKS, OR TWO, when going on these marathon treks!

The dentists almost didn’t want to go through with the procedure I was in such a state when I arrived, but they checked my blood pressure and my temperature and everything was shockingly normal, so we all decided to go ahead with it.

I was not wearing gloves (which were in my pocket, d’oh) when I kept falling over, so I was basically putting my bare hands into mountains of  snow, but as shockingly cold as each of these snow grabs were, my hands came up clean! Like I had just washed them!

Another NYC  lesson- take the SUBWAYS not the buses in weather like this.

Today was much better as it was relatively mild and the snow was even more plowed than yesterday and a lot of it had melted. Wednesday night, it went from rain, to snow, to sleet, all within a half hour’s journey.

But New Yorkers are very hardy and the dentists’ waiting area was PACKED yesterday! Nobody, it seemed was missing their appointments!

So, yes, after all the anticipation and hype surrounding the Big Reveal of the Oscar nominations, it’s been pretty much of a lull. The quiet before the storm of Awards this weekend will bring.

The DGA awards which are the Directors Guild, are expected to go with David Fincher for “The Joy of Typing.” It seems pretty much a foregone conclusion. But wait! Sasha Stone, our resident Oscar Goddess, has switched her prediction to TOM HOOPER, the amiable, young director of “The King’s Speech”!?!?! Has momentum shifted as much as I think it has?!? I couldn’t believe Sasha was saying that, but she LIVES in LA, and is like the Oracle of Delphi, and very adamant, and controversially so, this year about TJOT.

So this shift, and her defection for the Gurus o’ Gold, or rather, her abstaining…is well, startling…But Sasha knows what she knows, and being as she herself puts it “in the middle of the maze” I do listen to her…Although this year, I always thought it was “The King’s Speech” right out of Toronto, as all you reading this blog all know.

And Sasha was beyond zealous in her advocating for That Other Movie.

One thing is certain. All season long we AGREED on Colin Firth for Best Actor for “The King’s Speech.”

Now this tectonic(sp?) shift that occurred on Sunday-to-Tuesday morning, with “The King’s Speech” winning the PGA(producer’s guild) in a Awards season shocker. Then it getting 12 Oscar nominations, more than any other film on Tuesday morning, sure shook things up in Bloggerland. But it was something I’ve known all along.

“The King’s Speech” is an EXTRAORDINARY movie. In every aspect. I couldn’t BELIEVE I was being moved so profoundly by a story that on the surface wouldn’t be something that would’ve affected me, and audiences all over the world, like it has been doing. But it does!

Me, I think Tom Hooper’s a bloody genius. And if “The King’s Speech” is going to win Best Picture, as it seems now, it MIGHT, then Hooper should be named Best Director by the DGA.

Hooper also directed the Award-winning TV mini-series a couple of season’s back “John Adams” starring my faves Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti. I really must get a hold of it and see that. Paul and Laura both won Emmys. Hooper directs actors to award-winning performances.

And you know what that means? Actors LOVE him! And Actors are the largest branch of the Academy.

The Director’s Guild is however, a breed apart. When I was predicting the Oscars on my TV show, I shied away from the Best Directors category, because I always found the Directors, en masse, a difficult body to figure out.

By my sites, Tom Hooper is the Best Director of the Year and OMG! Colin’s performance as the stuttering King George VI is, as I told him on my show, “one of the great screen performances.’ And it is! Colin has won just about EVERY SINGLE MAJOR award so far this season.

And then we have the SAG Awards on Sunday night. One of the bothersome things about the DGA is that they don’t start til 8pm West Coast time and the Best Feature Film Director is given out dead last, at around 2AM EST, OR LATER.

Usually, I just pack it in, and wake up to whatever the news may be, on Sunday morning.

Now the SAGS are broadcast(check your local listings) at start at 5pm PST and that’s 8pm here. So it’s easier to do.

Are the SAME FOUR ACTORS going to continue their lock-step to the podium, as Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock,  Christophe Walsh, and Mo’nique did last year? If so then we’ll see Colin and Natalie and then Christian Bale and Melissa Leo triumph. But I wonder…

I still maintain that Bale isn’t well liked in the business and Melissa Leo hasn’t gone head-to-head with that monstrosity muppet Hailee Steinfeld yet. And Steinfeld could win here….The buzz is swirling around her. And the buzzards of Hollywood are too.

I don’t get it…but…there it is…

And for Best Ensemble? Which is the SAG equivalent of Best Picture? It’s either “The King’s Speech” or some think “The Fighter.”

EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of SAG, who’s paid their annual dues, can vote in this contest, that a HUGE voting body, and “The King’s Speech” and “The Joy of Typing” are the only two movies sent to EVERY SINGLE MEMBER as a DVD screener.

And if Colin Firth is an actor’s actor, then “The King’s Speech” could very well be considered an Actors’ Actor of a movie. And so…on Sunday…the winner is…Well, it’s probably NOT the “Joy of Typing”. Even Dave Karger at EW www.ew.com.

says it’s either TKS or “The Fighter” but he’s not hearing “The Joy of Typing.”

If “The King’s Speech” wins Best Ensemble and Tom Hooper wins the DGA, it really is all over already. And all I can say is Long Live the King!

And of course, check out the detailed results on www.awardsdaily.com

I wish Sasha and I were in agreement on what we consider the best film of the year, and most years we have been, but not, sadly, this year. But that’s what makes horse races. Which is what the Oscar race is, let’s face it.

OSCAR NOMINATIONS OUT! “King’s Speech” rules with 12!

So I feel pretty generally pleased this morning with the announcement of this year’s Oscar Nominations which gave 12(!!!!!) nominations, the most of any film this year, to “The King’s Speech”! Bravo!

This massive nomination haul + the PGA win this weekend puts “King” right where it’s meant to be! To rule! And to win! Bravo!

But not only was it nominated in ALLLL the major categories where it was eligible…Best Picture, Best Director (YAY for Tom Hooper! I told you so! You didn’t believe me, but…you did say I was your Oscar Messenger, and the name has stuck!), Best Actor, of course, the King of Kings, Colin Firth, who has won everything else this year, Best Supporting Actor, Geoffrey Rush, (Geoffrey I told you so, too, at Toronto) Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham-Carter), Best Original Screenplay(David Seidler) and on and on all the way down through every single branch of the Academy including SOUND MIXING!!!!!!! YIKES! That’s what they call across-the-board, or more accurately, across the guilds, support. It bodes, very, very, very well for a Best Picture win. People are already calling it an “upset” to me it was the Academy’s favorite right out of the box at Toronto! Bravo TIFF! It really was the the Oscar race not only launched, but also more or less landed in the sense that “The King’s Speech” ALSO won the Audience favorite this year. Bravo! What’s the plural of Bravo? Bravos!

And Michelle Williams got nominated for Best Actress for “Blue Valentine”! YAY! Michelle! Again I TOLD YOU SO! Like I told you you were going to be nominated five years ago for “Brokeback Mountain” and you didn’t believe me, but I WAS RIGHT! Brava! Diva!

I feel awful for Ryan Gosling however. DUDE! You totally deserved this!

You should have replaced that horrible non-actor Jesse Irritatingberg for “The Joy of Typing” who STILL gives me a headache everytime I hear his grating, staccato voice.

Also was UNhappy to see “Winter’s Bore” get FOUR nominations(and perhaps more, I haven’t finished counting) and I won’t bore you any further with that.

NO LESLIE MANVILLE ANYWHERE! I HOPED that wouldn’t happen! But it did. Category confusion and a too-late release date(Dec.31) for this little film that at least scored a screenplay nod for Mike Leigh, but nothing else.

This was SUCH a beautiful movie, and NOT a bore like “Winter’s B.”….

I guess the snubs have upset me more than anything else. And no Noomi Rapace or “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” anywhere. Guess that is the American Producer(Sony?) blockading against its’ Oscar chances so that the dreaded American Remake with David Fincher and Rooney Marra that is slated for next Decemeber can rule Oscar then And it probably will….grrrr…If by some strange fluke of fate and David Fincher does NOT win the Best Director Oscar for “The Joy of Typing”, he undoubtedly will for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” next year. The late author Steig Larsson must be turning over in his grave.

Well, Noomi could still triumph at the BAFTAS, where she is nominated for Best Actress and the film for Best Foreign Language Film.

Not surprised(although I predicted him) that Christopher Nolan was left out of the Best Director Five although he received a DGA nomination. There almost always is a four v. five situation there with the directors. And the Coens got in. AND I must mention that “True Grit” followed “The King’s Speech” with 10 nominations. Including that brat Haillee Steinfeld(who I predicted would end up in Supporting, and she did although she really belongs back in middle school in 1000 Oaks, or doing “Blingatude” commercials. She was totally believable as a Valley Girl brat…but that’s the extant of her believable range.) And Jackie Weaver got in for the unwatchable “Animal World”! Which is a shocker! And neither Barbara Hersey OR Mila Kunis! So while “Black Swan” was shaking a bit, Natalie Portman DID get in for Best Actress and Aronofsky for Best Director. Good.

Check out www.awardsdaily.com of course, for alllll the nominations. And David Karger, my hero, who stuck out with me on the limb of “The King’s Speech” ALLLLL season and now you see, along with Anne Thompson of “Indiewire” ‘and our Fearless Leader David Poland of “Movie City News” that we were right all along. They are at www.ew.com

www.indiewire.com

www.moviecitynews.com

And if there is toooo much traffic at Awardsdaily, which is one of the MOST popular Oscar sites in the world, and you can’t access it, as I couldn’t earlier this morning. There’s those three Pro-“King’s Speech” addresses and also Steve Pond’s excellent “The Wrap” at www.thewrap.com

DAVID!!! PUT ME BACK AS A GURU O’ GOLD!!! PLEASE!!!

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