a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

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.

Comments on: "Oscar & Rooney Mara’s “Dragon” grrrl ~ Inevitability or a Near Miss?" (2)

  1. Okay, you convinced me to watch this. It is already showing here in cold Helsinki! 🙂

    Do you think this being a part of the trilogy will make voters think “we will vote this next year?” Actually my first question is, do you know if they plan to adapt the entire trilogy?

    Oh and Merry Christmas!

    • Dear Erica,

      I had no idea you were in Helsinki! Merry Christmas to you, too!

      The other two books are up in the air until the box-office comes in. if they make the millions they think they are going to…then yes, they will. I think Steve Zaillian has already written a script for “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and Fincher said in an interview that he liked it.

      And yes, perhaps, they will wait. But it’s still a question mark if they are going to do the other two. Fincher said in an interview that he wants to shoot BOTH of them, back to back, in like, one whole year.

      We’ll have to wait and see what the box-office turns out to be.

      Thank you again for you nice, smart comments! You can see me 24/7 on my You Tube Channel, y’know. http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

      And Happy New Year!

      Stephen

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