a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Archive for December, 2011

“Iron Lady” unleashes a tsunami of Bulk Bile from critics!

Now, I can say it. Now that’s it’s officially “opened” and the BAD reviews are piling up, “Iron Lady” is one of the worst films of the year. And certainly the worst film Meryl Streep has ever been in.

SHE’S great in it, however. But as Stephanie Zacharek at www.movieline.com puts it in her very insightful, angry review, “To what end?”

Great technique, but the movie SUCKS!

Directed by the same director Phyllida Lloyd who directed “Mama Mia” (which, BTW, I LOVED!) It’s like “Mama Mia” without the music.

Stu Vanairsdale’s Oscar Index, which is also at www.movieline.com (I keep writing about him and it! I can’t help it! It’s essential Oscarology!) I predict Stu will change his chart VERY much under the weight of this sea of BILE that “The Iron Lady” has just unleashed. His current Index, which comes out about 8pm on Wed. nights EST, does not figure in this tsumani of rage-filled reviews, which are coming out right about NOW.

“The Iron Lady” totally white-washes Margaret Thatcher, whose ruled I lived under whilst I was in England struggling to be an actor/playwright. Nobody I knew liked her. NO.BODY. How she ever got elected to three straight terms as Prime Minister there was totally beyond me then, and now.

“Billy Elliot,” which is still running on Broadway, depicted the reality of Thatcher’s impact on the country and its’ devastating Miner’s Strike, which, of course, Thatcher opposed causing countless hardships with her union-busting stance. She seemed to be at war with the poor. She called them “the enemy within.” But that’s not in the movie.

And the Falklands “War”!?! Don’t get me started! But Stephenie Z. at www.movieline.com lays it out in much more historically accurate perspective than I can tonight.

And she’s not the only one! St. Anne Thompson over at www.indiewire.com goes even further lining, up the pans as they pile up, one on top of the other on top of the other. INCLUDING A.O.Scott in the NYTimes!.

She, too, sounds as riled up as Stephenie! And they’re both women! Reviewing what is supposedly a feminist movie. But of course, it’s not. It’s trying to be, but the actuality of Thatcher’s extreme right-wing, arch-conservative politics keep tripping up Streep’s believability as a figure of reverence and  turning it in to a joke. An unfunny joke, which is causing anger and resentment. Especially among Academy members. Oh, yes. I’m hearing how angry they are about this, too. AMPAS is historically left-leaning. And that’s not a secret.

They’re mad as hell, and they aren’t going to take it anymore! And I would not be surprised if Meryl was out and Rooney Mara was in. Things are suddenly heating up in the Best Actress race!

STOP.STREEP.NOW! I can see all the headlines beginning to scream.

And oh, I guess, yes, I am screaming them, too.

But if you don’t believe me just READ those reviews!?! I’ve never seen anything like this! In any Oscar seeking movie.

“Extremely Loud…” was extremely bad. But “The Iron Lady” is WORSE. A third Oscar for THIS?!? That would be like giving Sarah Palin an Oscar this year. Or the Republican Nomination. AINT.GONNA.HAPPEN. Like Palin, Streep should recuse herself now.

Half of the film show Streep as the aged-dementia-ridden Alzheimer’s patient that she is today. Streep plays this sublimely. But as the film goes on, and on, on. We see far too much of her doddering and drooling. Director Lloyd alternates this with scenes of Thatcher in her Prime Minister prime. Switching back and forth between her imaginary conversations with her dead husband Dennis(Jim Broadbent and he’s great! He won an Oscar for playing an Alzheimer’s care-giver in “Iris.” Here, he’s not giving care. He’s an out-and-out ghost! Boo!) and Thatcher giving yet ANOTHER rousing speech to parliament. So either she’s cuckoo or she’s giving speeches. It’s a template for boredom, if nothing else.

But this critical shellacking is OK with Harvey W., this film’s ubiquitous producer, since this moves the brilliant, lovable Marilyn Monroe, of Michelle Williams right into FRONT RUNNER for Best Actress. And oh yes, “My Weekend with Marilyn” is one of Mr. Weinstein’s Oscar movies, too. It’s a win-win situation for him. Oh, and he’s got “The Artist”, too!

Oscar confusion as Xmas B.O. disappoints, but “War Horse” is still good to go…

Dear Readers, dear cineastes, I hate to be waving you off into the New Year with disappointing, confusing news…But it does look like the Grinch stole some Oscar hopefuls Christmas this year.

First, you can cross off “Extemely Loud and Incredibly Close” right off your Oscar must-see list right now. If you even had it on there in the first place. It was STRANGE how Warner Bros. held it to the last minute so that even the two New York based award-giving organizaations the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review could not even SEE it before the voted. So they didn’t.

And why? Because they probably wouldn’t’ve anyway. It’s distasteful in the Extreme in its’ depiction of the tragedy of 9/11 turning it into a Lifetime Movie Special. Ugh. It’s even worse than “The Iron Lady”. Which is a shoe that doesn’t drop until tomorrow, Dec.30.

So that the Vanity Fair cover and the Kennedy Center honors, etc. for Meryl Streep could all be for naught. WHEN IT’S REVIEWED. I know the Twin Towers weren’t BOMBed, per se. But these two films sure are bombs. The only explosions will be the bile that is unleased when the critics finally get a chance to review it/them/her.

So IOW “Extremely Loud…” is not only extremely bad, it’s being withheld from those from the NYFCC and the NBR was nothing more than a publicity stunt, in retrospect. It seems. Or one that back-fired, in any case.

So that means NO OSCAR nods for anybody in ELAIC(the useful web abbreviation), and it’s doubtful that “The Iron Lady” will grab anything except a nod of Meryl. But the baaaad reviews “The Iron Lady” is going to get may torpedo her purported Oscar front-runner status.

Also surprising to me, is the disappointing (in industry terms) Box Office of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It only made $27 million this holiday period, when it should’ve been closer to $50 million, or so thought Sony.

Anne Thompson, whom I often call St. Anne, (because she is) RRRREALLLY lays it all out VERY clearly in a great, great piece in www.indiewire.com She’s Thompson on Hollywood, and she certainly spells out the reasons why “Dragon Tattoo” is only doing so-so business.

And this is DEATH in terms of Oscar voters, who are getting their ballots as of TODAY, and in terms of Rooney Mara’s Oscar chances. She’s NOT going to rock the lock on The Five Locked and Loaded Ladies. Meryl(yes, even despite the bad press, she’s inevitably going to get. It’s a default nomination. They will ALWAYS nominate her, but she’ll never win.) Glenn Close, Tilda Swinton and the favorites Michelle Williams and Viola Davis.

It’s particularly good news for Michelle Williams, because this means that she’s the youngest and hottest BABE in competish. All the other ladies are over 44. See last year’s Babe-win. Natalie Portman v. Annette Bening, and we all know how that turned out.

More bad news for Viola Davis. She’s one of the LEADS in “Extremely Bad…” Yes, she is, though no one is blaming the failure of the film on HER. But her performance is just OK. It’s good. But not THAT good.

Me? I put “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” on my year’s ten best list I liked it so much. And the kicker is ANNE THOMPSON LIKED IT, TOO! So for her to write such an objective, strong piece about it’s Box-Office is something that attention must be paid to…

Along with the fact that the only one of the Big Last Three films of the year (ELAIC, TGWTDT and “War Horse”) the one with the Horse as the star did JUST FINE. And it, too, ended up on my Year’s Ten Best List. It’s Number 10, but still…IT’S ON THERE.

And with “TinTin” also disappointing at the B.O.( I found it unwatchable and dull, dull, dull) the fact that “The War Horse” got through the Christmas War is nothing short of miraculous. But then they call Joey “The Miracle Horse” in the movie…

So if you check out S.T.Vanairsdale’s always excellent (and accurate) Oscar Index at www.movieline.com and also see what Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone at www.awardsdaily.com says about “War Horse”s strong weekend, you’ll see that they, anyway, think that the HORSE has just galloped back into The Race.

So that leaves us with “The Artist” now perhaps unofficially at any rate versus “War Horse.” And two more different films you couldn’t imagine!

Next up, the Broadcast Film Critics Awards which are more predictive recently than almost anything else. So hold on, Oscar-ers and Oscar-ettes, it’s going to be a bumpy ride! WHOA NELLY!

Top Ten Films of 2011

Dear Readers, dear cineastes, here it is! At long last! Just what the world has been waiting for! ANOTHER top ten film list! Soon also to be seen on my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Where suddenly “The Artist” has surged to take the #1 spot on my Channel’s Top Ten List.

Not to be confused with my Year’s Ten Best list, which starts here –











Oscar & Rooney Mara’s “Dragon” grrrl ~ Inevitability or a Near Miss?

So, now it’s out there FINALLY, for all the world to see. But is David Fincher’s version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” a day late and a dollar short? It’s ridiculously late in the season opening and the oppressive(to some journalists, like Jeff Wells www.hollywood-elsewhere.com and David Denby of the New Yorker) EMBARGO of reviews may have left everything too late this year for this terrific thriller-diller to make the gigantic awards impact it perhaps would’ve had otherwise. And box-office? Well, the jury’s still out on this one. But by  Monday, we’ll know. Or rather, we’ll know MORE.

But we do know this. It’s a damn shame that Rooney Mara’s magnficicent avenging angel portrayal of Lisbeth Salander may not get the awards recognititon, she, at least, thoroughly deserves for her transformative work in this her starring debut in a studio feature film.

The Feel-Bad Movie for Christmas, it was initially advertised as, in an early trailer, and now it’s Christmas and I, unexpectedly, feel badly for Rooney Mara. THAT’s how startlingly good she is in this. She just darkly dazzles you. You can’t forget her, and the film dies a little when she’s not on.

But then the Swedish films all felt that way, too.And Noomi Rapace as Salander was beyond brilliant.

Likewise, you FEEL for this great character and Mara’s great portrayal. You WANT her to make things right. You want her to save the day. And of course, she, like all great Operatic heroines(I keep comparing her to Brunnhilde) does exactly that. I wouldn’t’ve been surprised at hearing a Hoya-Ta-Ho!

This pint-sized Swedish Valkryie saves Mikael Blomkvist’s ass many, many times in this suspenseful thriller, and Mara’s creating her own Best Actress suspense, too.

The question is ~ Will she be nominated or won’ t she? She certainly DESERVES to be. Her performance is that good, that overwhelming an achievement.I’m awe-struck and performances this monumentous are hard for the Academy to ignore. Especially in the Best Actress category where this seldom happens. Attention. Must. Be. Paid.

And degree of difficulty? I mean, all those piercings?!?! And having to bleach her eyebrows, learn karate and how to ride a motorcycle and speak with a Swedish accent?!? And oh, yes, all those tattoos! Dragon and otherwise.

The tattoos, however, are just THERE. They are not dwelt on. They’re just part of who she is. What she looks like. And oh yes, she likes girls. She USUALLY sleeps with them…

You see, the Best Actress race is considered locked and loaded with five powerful performances that have been kudo-thumped nearly all season. Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”, Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”, Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn” Viola Davis in “The Help” and to that Oscar lock-box has been added just this week Tilda Swinton in “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin.” SOMEbody has to go to make Room for Rooney? But who?

Frankly, I could do without Meryl Streep’s obnoxious “Iron Lady,” a weak movie, about an arch-conservative monster of a woman, who eventually ends up demented with Alzheimer’s, but y’know what? I found the portrayal so accurately LOATHSOME I felt like Thatcher deserved what she was getting. I lived in England during her “reign” and it was awful what she did to that country. See “Billy Elliot” on Bway or the movie, to relive the miner’s strike for one small example. And no, I couldn’t separate Thatcher’s politics from Streep’s portrayal. And I’m hearing that the left wing Academy can’t either. Technically brilliant though her performance may be. Streep has Thatcher down to a “T”. So much so it seems like an impersonation rather than a performance.

It would be a GREAT shock if she didn’t get nominated and Rooney Mara did. But the Mara has the debut-ingenue factor on her side. The Academy has famously nominated and sometimes even rewarded spectacular debuts, which Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander is…This is certainly a bravura performance. She carries on her thin, tiny shoulders this three-hour behemoth of a thrilling blockbuster. No. Mean. Feat.

Oh, and she’s naked, too. And gets raped. Anally. That rape is something I can’t get out of my mind. And as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone www.awardsdaily.com

always points out, the Academy’s overwhelmingly male voters LOVE to nominate the cute, young NAKED girl. This could also apply this year to Michelle Williams’ magnificent Marilyn Monroe.

Her Marilyn is lovely, lost, beauty personified. And Rooney’s Lisbeth is spikey, frightening. But then Meryl is frightening, too. As Thatcher was.

And Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs” is FRIGHTENED. She’s a woman, posing as a man, in 19th century Dublin, and she scared to death that she is going to be  found out. And her performance is necessarily inward. Close has lowered her voice several octaves and she moves and sounds like a man. A scared rabbit of a man. Timorous. Self-effacing. Albert Nobbs doesn’t want anybody to look at him/her too closely, lest they notice that he doesn’t have an Adam’s Apple or any trace of a beard. I found it an incredible portrayal, but people are freaked out by the movie itself.

Which simply is the story of a transgendered person. Hillary Swank WON an Oscar for “Boy’s Don’t Cry” playing another trans-female-to-male. But for some reason, “Albert Nobbs” for all its’ 19th century setting, is confusing people even more. Not the critics. The critics are RAVING. And Close has been nominated for a Golden Globe and a SAG award.

Also, Close, as observed previously, has been nominated FIVE times before and “Albert Nobbs” would be her sixth and she’s NEVER won. She’s got a great bank of unpaid affection stored at the Academy, and they could pay her back with a career nod for “Nobbs”. Or is she going to be the one to be bumped by Rooney Mara’s bi-sexual bopper?

And then there’s Tilda. Tilda, Tilda, Tilda, who is in the unique position, like Close, of having had to become a PRODUCER to get the projects she wants to appear in on to the screen. And “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin” is a film that was so disturbing, so devisive, I NEVER thought Tilda would be back in this race. I thought it would be TOO MUCH.

But her protrayal of a mother who wishes she never had given birth to the monster child, Kevin, who, as a teenager becomes a school shooter, and in the process, dooms his mother, particulary, to a living hell, is beyond a doubt the pinnacle of Swinton’s already stunning career as an actress.

And ironically, it’s super-publicist and Oscar strategist extraordinaire, Cynthia Swartz, who is helping this tiny indie from Oscilloscope Studios make its’ way forward into the Oscar campaign, and Swartz is also repping Mara! Can she do for Rooney what she seems to be so effectively doing for Swinton? Or is it just too late to get the Oscar mojo going for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Could only ONE of Swartz’ clients get in? Could Mara K.O. Swinton?

And one shocking fact I just discovered the SAG nominating committee did NOT get sent DVD screeners of “Tattoo”! So no wonder they didn’t vote for nominations for it! They didn’t SEE it! And yes, there were screenings, but they were overpacked, because of the lack of the screeners, and many couldn’t get in. Ditto “War Horse”. Ditto “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

Talk about being late to the party! Or are these films so good it won’t matter, but for sure, one of those aforementioned six ladies is NOT going to the Oscar Ball come February. They only have five slots, so we’ll wait and we’ll see.

Oscar on its’ way to being “Tattoo”-ed? Fincher’s GREAT re-do nails it!

I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful experience it was to be soooo totally surprised, stupefied and blind-sided, and deee-lighted to be so, by David Fincher’s re-do of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” I’m kinda hog-wild about it. I think it’s an instant classic.

Shocked that material I knew so well ~ I saw all three Swedish movies and read all three blockbuster books and was totally entranced by all of them, and I  could not BELIEVE that a director whose work has been so notoriously uneven, really could re-invent, in a completely NEW, a startling way, a movie we’ve actually already seen. As recently as last year. Which is when I caught up with it.

I mean, really! Quelle shock! Quelle surprise! And how wonderful to suddenly see David Fincher turn into Alfred Hitchcock, in all of the best possible ways. I mean, Fincher has really done the IMPOSSIBLE. He re-thought and re-shot a re-make and made it all utterly, entirely entertaining.engrossing and WATCHABLE. All nearly three hours of it! Yes, it’s that long, dear readers, dear cineastes.

Fincher wants you to go through an epic, an ORDEAL, as his Viking goddess, Lisbeth Salander, becomes a true immortal Norse Mythological Heroine in his hands, and in Rooney Mara’s equally stunning performance ~ It’s a SAGA! An Icelandic SAGA! Or in this case Swedish.

Lisbeth Salander is  on par with Brunnhilde, these days. But, oh wait! That’s German! But yes, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” has that on its’ mind, too. Nazis. And there’s a lot of them. And they populate Sweden and esp. this film (and the book, too. No Fincher didn’t ADD them. But he did ad a cat… )

And there’s a LOT of Swedish politics and rage against the supposedly perfect Swedish social machine. Where corruption exists on all levels, mostly high, but mid-range, too, as exemplified by the beaurocrat Bjurman(a really slimy pig of a politico played here Yorick Van Wageningen.) His rape of Salander jump-starts the film into hyper-space, if the film’s opening five minutes of INCREDIBLY dark and oily, inky black  titles  with pounding music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, that turn into blood and then into fire, didn’t already blow you there.  I don’t ever remember Opening titles getting applause!

How DID he do this???

Welllll, there is a biiiiiig difference between a $15 million budget which is what all THREE Swedish films had, and the something upwards of $150 milllion that this “Tattoo” was inked with.

Quelle difference! But it’s not just the money. It’s how Fincher USED the money, wisely. It’s superbly shot in a de-saturated, almost black and white tone, by his great cinematographer, who makes Sweden look black and BLUE.  There are snowscapes upon snowscapes of incredible beauty. Some thing the original Swedish version directed by Niels Arden Oplev did NOT do.

Oplev’s Stockholm looked glamorous, beautiful, colorful, intriguing, inviting. It made you want to go there. It was a celebration of Stockholm. It was if we’d never seen it before. Oplev WANTED you to go there.

There is no color whatsoever in Fincher’s version. It’s all chilly, foreboding, FREEZING. Everything seems like it’s happening in a new Ice Age. And he’s more interested in frightening the living daylights out of you by the winter gloom. It’s as though the two “Tattoos” were filmed in two totally different cities. One you’d want to go to and one you wanted to run from.

And there is a LOT of darkness in Lisbeth Salander’s world, the world that Steig Larsson created for her. It’s a Nordic vision of hell, and it’s so rotten you can also smell the stench of decaying souls. Lisbeth’s last scene takes place, metaphorically, next to a dumpster, as once again, it’s snowing.

And the suspense! Not since Hitchcock, as I said. My hero. He was the greatest of great filmmakers IMHO. And that Fincher is able to sustain this for NEARLY three hours is absolutely astonishing.

There are SOME bright lights shining in this land of the midnight sun, and it’s all in the casting. The excellent ensemble boasts a rubicund Christopher Plummer as the rich guy who hires the down-on-his-luck Blomkvist. And Blomkvist is magnificently played by none-other than James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. He’s the hero and we all know it. And a helluva nice guy. A journalist who’s a crusader against corruption in all forms, Henrik Vanger (no, not WAGNER, but you get the drift) hires the hapless Blomkvist to track down the disappearance many years prior of a beloved neice, Harriet.

Add a perfectly cast Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard and Joely Richardson, who’s never been better and you’ve yourself got a superb group of players. Down to the smallest bit part, Fincher has assembled a great, an historic ensemble of actor’s actors. One of the best ever for his kind of thriller-diller shockeroo. But that’s what Hitchcock did, too. He always had THE BEST actors, and by doing so elevated the genre.

That’s ONE plot, the Harriet plot. Then there’s an Agatha Christie-esque mystery-within-the-mystery, which is the real core of the story. THEN there’s the great love story that develops between Blomkvist and Salander and SHE’S definitely the one on top here.

One of the great successes of Steig Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy is his reversal, his up-ending of the usual sexual expectations in a genre like this. And both Mara and Craig are totally up to and under it. They were hot together when their relationship starts to turn carnal. And it does! We suddenly see what is keeping all those Swedish nights so warm!  And like in Ingmar Bergman’s great cinematic ouevre, it was always about the women.

And Lisbeth Salander is one of the great fictional heroines of our time, and Noomi Rapace in the Swedish films did a beautiful, mystifying job. She was as glamorous and intriguing and complicated as the Sweden that was depicted in the previous films.

Rooney Mara has large, almost gigantic blue eyes, They seem to dwarf her completely. Noomi had dark, impenetrable, almost black eyes. What WAS going on behind them in all those intense close-ups of her throughout the first three films?

With Mara’s enormous orbs, we SEE what is going on inside her much, much more clearly, and yes, there is ultimately a vulnerability that Fincher finally reveals in the film’s last scene which was like a cinematic sucker punch.

And Rooney and Oscar? Well, I’ll write more about that tomorrow!

“Dragon Tattoo” inks it BIG! I liked it! I really liked it!

Much to my great surprise, I LOVED the re-make of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo!” I can’t believe I’m typing this! I, the biggest fan of the three beautiful Swedish movies and the three best-selling blockbuster books, I never thought that David Fincher(not a fan) and Rooney Mara(who?) could wipe the smile off my face regarding the previous incarnations and leave me in a total state of wonderment. But it has, dear readers, dear cineastes, it HAS!

More soon—

Noomi v. Rooney~ Take Two~ “Dragon Tattoo” FINALLY lands…

So it is with great trepidation that I look forward to Monday and the inevitable screening of the American version of “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Will I like or won’t I? I would like to THINK I am approaching this with an open mind. But I wonder…

If you saw all three brilliant, beautiful Swedish movies and read all the books and had the privilege of interviewing Noomi Rapace herself, how un-prejudiced, how objective  can you really be?

I mean, I’ve gone on record with my indignant “How dare they remake perfection?” and you can look back in this blog to find many, many posts on Steig Larsson and Lisbeth Salander and how wonderful I thought this all was…The three Swedish movies and those three great un-put-downable books…

So I didn’t REALLY press the press people behind this film. I mean, there was this EMBARGO and all, I guess Sony(who is the producer of this $125 million REMAKE) figured that they knew I probably wouldn’t like it so they didn’t pursue me and I didn’t pursue them and there was this awful embargo thingie.

And everyone kept saying “It’s not an Oscar movie.” anyway…so I took it easy…but now that the embargo is lifted and the reviews are starting to pile in and pile up…and they’re GOOD…I’m beginning to thaw towards Rooney Fincher…I think of them as one…

MAYBE I might even enjoy this.

I feel so terrible for Noomi Rapace. But maybe…just maybe…I might actually LIKE this movie….This is a pre-review. I’m “reviewing the situation” as Fagin sang so memorably in “Oliver!” another Best Picture winner of years gone by…

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone just LOVED it to pieces. But then of course, she’s a HUGE Fincher fan. Read her moving pieces, by all means, at  www.awardsdaily.com But Stu VanAirsdale at www.movieline.com said in his ESSENTIAL Oscar Index this week that she was the only one…

But then more reviews, like Owen Gleiberman in EW www.ew.com wrote very movingly about it. And Rooney Fincher DID get a Golden Globe nomination, and then and then….

A fellow journo, a broadcast TV producer took me out to dinner tonight at my favorite place in NYC Angus McIdoe’s www.angusmcindoe.com and he told me that he had just done the “Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” TV junket THIS AFTERNOON!!!??!!!

I had no idea it was TODAY! And obviously, I wasn’t invited…and well, my friend, who had read none of the books, and HAD seen the movie, liked it. He thought it was “interesting.” Hmmm…

And he said Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig were taking it VERY seriously. And Christopher Plummer and Stellan Sarsgaard were not. THEY were incredibly jolly and having the time of their lives, evidently. Stellan, who I’ve interviewed many, many times, stood up and greeted every journalist as they came in the TV junket door.

No one ever does that.

And Christopher Plummer was jovial personified, my friend said. Well, I countered “Of COURSE, he is. He’s having the biggest moment of his career. He’s in this BIG movie, and he’s going to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor this year. Of COURSE, he’s in a good mood!” And he was incredibly funny and witty as only Canadians can be when they’re on a role.

And Rooney Fincher? She said as my friend entered her suite that she was in a bad mood. Guess she was still in character…Did she say that to allll the journalists?

But in all fairness, the movie is riding on HER, and her performance, and even though she’s got Cynthia Swartz on her side, she doesn’t have Harvey Weinstein. She’s got Scott Rudin, whose dreaded EMBARGO seems to have nearly killed the buzz on this film…I mean, it’s all a tad late, isn’t it?

To open a film this late in the (Oscar) season, and to junket it TODAY when Christmas is nearly upon us…Peace on Earth. Good will towards men. The OPPOSITE philosophy of Lisbeth Salander. The Feel Bad Movie for Xmas…

Well, I guess I’m in the mood for it…Buzz is starting. People seem to have wildly divergent reactions to it.

Kristopher Tapley got into an almost-fight in his podcast with St. Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood www.indiewire.com Anne REALLY liked it. She really, REALLY liked it. Like Sasha did. And Krist HATED it…

But he admitted to liking Rooney Fincher’s performance…Hmmm…

Well, if Sasha and Anne and OWEN liked it…

But one thing’s for sure. It’s TWO HOURS AND A HALF!!!!!

Well, on Monday I’ll let you all know what I thought. Or for sure on Tuesday.

And I DID like “Se7en” and “Zodiac”…HATED “Fight Club” and “The Joy of Typing”….so…we’ll see…Is it too late-breaking for Oscar? Everyone says “Yes” but maybe I’ll like it just for itself.

My friend said they took the book very, very seriously. I liked the sound of that…

But can Rooney erase the memory of Noomi?

Golden Globes Announce! “The Artist” leads with six!

Dear Readers, dear cineastes, it’s that day again. That moment.(Have we really been waiting ? Is it really a surprise? This year. No.) It’s here and it’s gone already. The Golden Globes have announced and they are the last big critics group to do so before the Oscar nominations, which are more than a month away. OR MORE.  Awards fatigue is setting in already. However, the good news is “The Artist” leads with six.

Followed closely by “The Descendants” and “The Help” with five each. So it’s still close.

Big bad news. No nomination for Steven Spielberg for “War Horse” but then they didn’t nominate him for “Munich” either. The Golden Globs have a tradition where they INSIST that every single nominee pose with EVERY SINGLE ONE of their members(less than a hundred, but still…that’s a lot of posing). And when some one refuses as Spielberg has done in the past, they simply DON’T nominate him.

So who were they going to pose with for “War Horse”? The Horse?

But recently the Golden Globes have been waaaay off the mark. Last year they had “The Social Network” not “The King’s Speech.” Time was when their Best Picture Drama was always the same as the Best Picture Oscar winner. Not any more. “Babel” anyone?

However, it sure looks like “The Artist” will win in Best Picture Musical or Comedy category. So “The Artist”s winning streak will continue.

The Globes have dug “Ides of March”(hate that title) out of the Awards cellar and set George Clooney up with a WHOPPING FOUR nominations for himself, personally. As Best Actor for “The Descendants” and Best Producer of “Ides” and also Best Director and Best Screenplay, too! So one could say that George is on a roll. But with the HFPA, it’s more like a croissant.

He COULD still loose to Brad Pitt or yes, Jean Dujardin. No, wait. Jean Dujardin is in the Comedy category and he’ll probably win there. So it’s just George v. Brad.

And no Damian Bechir(who?) here for Best Actor in that Mexican film I haven’t seen.

Gary Oldman AND Vanessa Redgrave continued their March of Snubbation. Ditto “Extremely Loud” which had no become the last picture of the season NOT to be seen in time for ANYthing. I think we should re-name it “Extremely Quiet and Incredibly Absent.” The Daldry as it was being called has become The Dud-ry. Sight unseen. Just going by what all the critics groups have said about it which is NO-thing. Scott Rudin loses to Harvey Weinstein, again.

And “Midnight in Paris” scored with four. Owen Wilson was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy and he will go up against Jean Dujardin and lose to him, probably. “The Artist” is now officially an awards juggernaut. Harvey must be VERY happy about how all this parses for his films. This Oscar game is REALLY Harvey’s world this year and we all just live in it.

And it seems my beloved “Marilyn” got three nominations Best Picture Comedy or Musical where it will lose to “The Artist.” Harvey has sooo many films in play that he will now be losing to HIMself! But he still wins! And Michelle Willaims will win in this category. And also Kenneth Branagh got in for BSA for his great Olivier impersonation. But he’ll lose here to the pre-ordained winner since May Christopher Plummer for “Beginners.”

There’s no getting around that.

And with no Vanessa Redgrave or Melissa McCarthy in Supporting Berenice Bejo may play the Babe card there(which means HARVEY will play the Babe card there, and you know he will. He’s going to make Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo household names before he’s through) So yes, “The Artist” will win those three categories. All Harvey. All the time. And Michelle, also Harvey’s girl will win Best Actress.  Has Harvey EVER had this kind of awards dominance? Probably not since “The English Patient” has he run the board so completely.

With Jessica Chastain (good, but not great) and Octavia Spencer (that pie will do her in, I think) cancelling each other out for “The Help” that leaves Bejo with Supporting Actress to lose. And she probably can’t. Janet McTeer is awesome as a MAN in “Albert Nobbs” and all four of these ladies will make it to the Oscars, and then there’s Shailene Woodley for “The Descendants” back in again here. She’s too young to win, but the HFPA has got to have its’ ingenues.

And if Vanessa Redgrave gets in FINALLY after the BAFTAs probably annoint her for “Coriolanus”, she’ll replace somebody in Best Supporting Actress, and win at the Oscars. And yes, she’s a Harvey girl, too! Oy vay! I’m losing my ability to count Weinstein’s winners!

And no, the GGs did not go all-out for “Midnight in Paris” and it will probably only win for Best Screenplay. They only have five in this category. Unlike the more literate Academy which has ten. Five for Best Original and five for Best Adapted Screenplay.

And bringing up the rear, “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” finally did win SOMEthing! It got Rooney Mara nominated for Best Actress Drama where she will lose to either Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Tilda Swinton or Viola Davis.

Somewhere Harvey Weinstein is celebrating! All of his ponies got in. Except Vanessa Redgrave. Go figure. Guess the HFPA as well as SAG doesn’t like Shakespeare.*shrug*

Feeling a “Midnight in Paris” surge @ midnight BEFORE the Golden Globes!

Well, if anything has become clear this Oscar season so far is that is it wild, WILD! Wild with guesses. Wild with unexpected twists and turns. Who would ever have thought “Bridesmaids” would oust “War Horse”, “Hugo”, “Girl With a Dragon Tattoo” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”??? Not ME!!!And the Golden Globes, or Globs, as I sometimes hastily mistype them, will take note of all this confusion and believe you me, they will capitalize on it by doing something no one has done before. No critics groups, I mean…They will honor the as-yet-unhonored and I’m feeling that could very well be A BUNCH of “Midnight in Paris” stars.

Strangely left off the list of SAG Ensemble Nominations? Who? Well, Corey Stoll for one. As Ernest Hemingway. Well, just watch the GGs nominate him in Supporting Actor tomorrow! Is it tomorrow yet? Oh, no? It isn’t. Well, I have time then to mention that I think they will go even further and nominate “Midnight in Paris”s lovely leading ladies Marion Cotillard and maybe even Rachel McAdams, too!?!

Why not? They’ve got PLENTY O’room. Nominating them in the always-almost-empty Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. Yes they can nominate TWICE the leading actors that the Oscars and the SAGS and the BFCAs do.

AND THEY WILL! Maybe even MORE! They can, and have nominated as many as six, and sometimes even SEVEN in their categories! Yes! They do! Regularly! And they are announcing tomorrow morning! On the Today Show. So you can all get up at 7 or 8:30am EST.

Me? I don’t think so…but don’t worry, dear readers, dear cineastes, I will get all the Golden Glob nominees STUFFED into my in-box in the morning! Meanwhile,  I need my sleep!

I think else-wise, the GGs will pretty much mirror what the other awards groups have done.

Hell, they may even nominated Rooney Mara for “Girl With a Dragon Tattoo” who the hilarious, and apt, Stu VanAirsdale describes as “circling the drain.” SHOCKED by the consensus reaction which is what I said in the comments section of www.awardsdaily.com and also here, way back when, is that WHY THE HELL ARE THEY RE=MAKING THIS BEAUTIFUL MOVIE? That seems to be everyone’s reactions so far. I keep hearing that question over and over.

And as I postulated in the post Noomi v. Rooney a few months back, right here in this blog, I foretold all this happening.

But I thought SOME critics group SOME where would go for it, or her. And of course, Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone loveloveloves Rooney’s Lisbeth Salander and writes more eloquently about her again at www.awardsdaily.com than ANY BODY ELSE has…at least so far…

Me? I’ve got until Monday to wait before I see it.

And what did I think of “War Horse”? Which I saw last night. All two and a half hours of it. I liked it. I really, really liked it. I really did. And so did the Academy-heavy audience I saw it with last night.

But shockingly the SAG actors did not. Why? The horse is the star. Not the actors. But I’ve said this already.

Mark Harris, who is such a brilliant writer over at www.grantland.com floats the theory that when there is a three-way race, like he says this one is with “The Artist” and “The Descendants” and “Hugo”. Me, I just think it’s a two-way between “TA” and “TD”.  Harris notes that it could be a FOURTH film(or in my scenario, a third) that takes the big prize come The Big Day. In which case that COULD be “War Horse.”

Notably also left out was “Harry Pooter” and I don’t feel tuppence as far as that is concerned.

And also let me end with the fact that SAG is also very famously American-centric. Thus explaining the snubs of Redgrave and Gary Oldman, but not however Albert Brooks and Shailene Woodley in Supporting….

So you have to give credit to Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, Janet McTeer(beyond brilliant as A MAN in “Albert Nobbs”) and Damian Bechir(who? What film was HE in?) making it through SAG.

The Hollywood Foreign Press who is by definition FOREIGN will most likely nominate all the above-discussed foreigners, PLUS the “Midnight in Paris” crew. It’s they way they roll.

And as I said earlier today, some where Harvey Weinstein is laughing.

SAG Nominations Out! No “War Horse”, Oldman, Brooks, Woodley or REDGRAVE!

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes, I’m back. Having major Internet issues…but I just HAVE to respond to the all-important SAG nominations which are just out this AM! For a complete list, see www.awardsdaily.com

Mainly I’m SHOCKED that “War Horse” is completely left out! This is for the SAG Ensemble Award, which is their corresponding award to “Best Picture.” Having just seen it last night at a (mainly) AMPAS screening, the audience, and myself, too, reacted VERY favorably. But the horse is the star. And the actors performances are all strangely flat. Though great actors and actresses abound. Like Emily Watson, Eddie Marsden, Peter Mullan, etc. etc.

Left IN however, is “Midnight in Paris”!!! For Best Ensemble. But also left OUT are the two main contenders from “Shame” Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan(for Supporting Actress). I think it’s because of their nudity. Period. Well, and the over abundant sex scenes.

The Actors don’t want to be turned into cartoons or stop motion characters, nor do they want to be seen naked and having sex on the screen. It’s retro thinking all around. I’m just responding to the way it is.

And no love whatsoever for “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”! AND “Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close” !!! Both those films with the latest possible release dates. And the strict embargoes, and I’m guessing just too late for most of the SAG nominators to see them. Too bad. I’m still waiting on MY invites to them. BTW!!!

However, the SAG nominators DID get Damien Bechir’s film EARLY. And they saw it and liked it and nominated the Mexican actor in the Best Actor category. Effectively knocking out Michael Fassbender and Gary Oldman.

Oldman, with the large British voting block in AMPAS, may get back in when the Oscar nominations are FINALLY announced next month! Yes, we’ve still got a month to wait!

But what they did get right was the Best Actress category with Meryl Streep, Glenn Glose, Michelle Williams, Viola Davis and TILDA SWINTON! Well…great for TILDA! With the help of master Oscar strategist, Cynthia Swartz, behind “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin” Tilda, I think is very secure in reaching their mutual goal of snagging an Oscar nomination for this dark, difficult, challenging film, too. But I want to go on record as saying I THINK SAG Has now nailed the five Best Actress candidates down. I think all five of these ladies will duplicate their SAG noms on Oscar Nomination Morning. And Glenn Close breaks her losing streak with inclusion here by the Actors.

But Cynthia Swartz also is famously backing “Tattoo” and Rooney Mara and got NO-Thing…

“The Help” got the most noms with Best Ensemble and Best Actress(Davis) and TWO Best Supporting Actresses in Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. So this effectively keeps “The Help” in the race and also FINALLY narrows it down to which of Chastain’s 6 or 7 or 8 performances that the Academy will also probably nominate. So it’s Chastain for “The Help” is she’s in it at all.

The Big Winner of course is Harvey Weinstein. With his nominations for Best Ensemble for “The Artist”, Best Actor, Jean Dujardin, Best Supporting Actress, Berenice Bejo, Best Actresses Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams for “The Iron Lady” and “My Week with Marilyn” and Best Supporting Actor Kenneth Branagh also for “My Week with Marilyn.”

Both Supporting categories are the ones that are going to change the  most when Oscar is announced.  They are kind of all over the place. With wildcards Melissa McCarthy “Bridesmaids” and Armie Hammer “J. Edgar” getting in. I don’t think McCarthy is going to get in for this category with Oscar. She’s a TV actress and the “Bridesmaids” as successful as it was, is still A COMEDY.

Shailene Woodley not getting in for “The Descendants” was a shocker. Another fore-gone conclusion, well, gone. And ditto Albert Brooks in “Drive.” He could replace the execrable Jonah Hill for “Moneyball.” And if Woodley doesn’t score here, who is the BABE in this category? Well, Berenice Bejo!

Yes, my friends “The Artist” continues to sweep as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” seem not to be registering at all.

Somewhere Harvey Weinstein is laughing.

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