a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Archive for December, 2011

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.

Glenn Close miraculous in heart-rending “Albert Nobbs”!

Glenn Close, who has never won an Oscar, but been nominated four times is certainly heading for a fifth nomination with her career-best, shocking, moving, heart-breaking portrayal of “Albert Nobbs.” Close also co-produced and co-wrote this beautiful, incredible movie, set in 19th Century Ireland, where most of her countrymen’s aspirations revolve around getting out and going to America. But not Albert Nobbs. Nobbs wants to continue to pass as a man, even though he’s biologically a woman, and to save up enough money to open a tobacconists shop in a nearby Dublin street.

Albert works as a waiter in a high-class hotel. And Close captures the minutiae of this very frightened, up-tight, intense, TENSE,  worried creature.

“Albert Nobbs is a funny little man,” one character says about him, and that he is. He’s just considered an odd duck, but a very, very good waiter. He is an all around excellent dogsbody/servant. Albert Nobbs is the essence of humble, slavish, self-effacing servitude to a fault.

Albert is so good at respectfully, perfectly serving, he gets tips. And he has been saving, super-frugally for all his years in service. And the scenes of him counting his paltry savings by night, which he’s hidden under the floor boards in his nearly empty, poor-as-a-church-mouse room are incredibly moving. He’s got room and board, but very little else.Pinching pennys is hardly describing the self-deprivation that Nobbs has subjected him/herself to all her hard-scrabble life.

Asked to share a room with a gangly, six foot-something house painter by his landlady/boss(the magnificently florid Pauline Collins), Nobbs is terror-stricken at sharing his bed, fearing that this huge, butch man, may find out his “secret.” And inevitably, that happens. In such close, poverty-stricken quarters how could it not?

I don’t want to reveal any more except to applaud the flamboyant star turn of Janet McTeer, who let’s just say, befriends the poor, frightened Nobbs. Nobbs then reveals to his new-found friend and his equally friendly wife that he has fallen in love with another servant, a young woman named Rose Dawson, who is also marvelously played by the up-and-coming Mia Wasikowska.

Close does something here I’ve never seen her do before which is UNDERPLAY everything. And playing such a tense, quiet man is a very difficult task for an actress to set herself. But producer/writer Close has challenged herself on every level imaginable.

The late transvestite Warhol Superstar Candy Darling once said to me about her transgendered life, “The whole trick is in the passing.” Meaning getting away with it. Being convincing as the opposite gender. And Candy certainly was that.

I myself lived an Albert Nobbs-like existance when I was a young protegé of Candy’s, and the hardly passable Jackie Curtis. And I feel that “Albert Nobbs” really NAILS the reality of a transgender who is DESPERATELY trying to pass.

Every moment, every gesture, every vocal intonation must be believable and Glenn Close REALLY pulls this off. Some people may wonder WHY he/she is doing this. But as the film so succinctly and straightforwardly shows, living as a man and getting away with it, is infinitely worth the risk, because men, even of his/her class(working) and a servant, had a much more respectable and decent life than any woman of that time.

“Albert Nobbs” is the absolute pinnacle of Glenn Close’s long and varied career. I certainly hope the Academy will nominate her. And her superb, unforgettable portrait of the most frightened and intense of poor souls, should win her accolades everywhere. At least I hope they do.

This film totally blew me away with its’ beauty, grace and heart-break.

Kudos to Glenn Close for taking on such a risky, gender-confouding role.  Albert Nobbs is a displaced person in his own body. And its’ a tragic, heart-rending tale. It’s one of the best performances of the year in one of the best films of the year.

National Board of Review gives “Moneyball” & Brad Pitt NO-thing!

So now the National Board of Review announces. Sadly (to them) in #2 after the New York Critics Circle announced FIRST on Tuesday. And as I predicted this is group who would be so incensed that they were not the FIRST out of the gate, as they always have been historically, they would pick NO BIG WINNERS who already won earlier this week. “The Artist” did hang on to a spot in their Top Ten(They have a very odd line-up of awards, always).

But picture went to “Hugo” which I despised, and Best Director was Martin Scorcese for said non-children children’s film. BORED ME TO TEARS for the first hour! With the worst child actor EVAH in a leading role. EX-CRUUUU-CIATING.

This leviathantian epic is PROBABLY NOT going to get nominated for Best Picture. Even. It’s not gonna look good in 2D on a screener which is the way most AMPAS voters, and SAG, too, for that matter, will inevitably view it.

Best Actor is their beloved George Clooney, who is SUDDENLY back in the race again, after being left out pretty completely on Tuesday by the NYFCC. And Shailene Woodley, his mouthy teenaged daughter-from-hell probably does cement her Supporting Actress nomination with this win. (And also an Indie Spirit nom in this category, when Clooney got NO-thing from the Indie Spirits.) And “The Descendants” won big here with three major wins. George, Shailene and Alexander Payne for Adapted Screenplay…But they award George almost every year no matter what.

But who and what this hurts(if it hurts at all) is “Moneyball” and Brad Pitt and everyone involved with it , who did not even score in the NBR’s Top Ten. OUCH!!!

So it is Brad v. George for Best Actor? I think they effectively cancel each other out and hand it to Jean Dujardin for “The Artist” which at least scored in their “Top Ten”. Oh! I’m repeating myself!

So, I will repeat myself some more and once again reference “The Artist”s artists with moi on my You Tube channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

The only award that duplicated the NBR win last year at the Oscars was Christian Bale in “The Fighter.” So this bodes well for Christopher Plummer who won here for “Beginners.” And doesn’t bode so well for George or Shailene, who will probably get nominations from AMPAS, though.

The NBR also has a very bad history with Actress winner, so the stunningly brilliant, yet horrifying turn by the great Tilda Swinton for “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin” who is the winner here as Best Actress…is basically winning what can now be called the Lesley Manville award, since that brilliant Brit won here for the amazing “Another Year”, and then went on to win nothing else.

I don’t think Tilda’s tremendous, bloody turn will sit well with the Academy. Though certainly it needs to be…if there is any justice in Oscarland, and we know of course, that there isn’t.

So other than Rooney Mara getting a Breakthrough Performance Award and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” landing in the Top Ten, this is the only recognition this film that made the NYFCC WAIT got. Rooney Mara is playing Lisbeth Salander here in David Fincher’s American re-make..

So what does this all mean? I think it means CLEARLY less than the NYFCC. It means that Gorgeous George is down but by no means out. And that “The Descendants” is still in the game. And that Brad Pitt and his “Moneyball” makers better look to their PR campaigns for Oscar, like NOW!

But it is pretty much of a sharp slam to Pitt & co.

And “The Help” got Best Ensemble, FWIW and nothing else…

So the only one who this wacky award clearly helps is Christopher Plummer. But then we knew he’d win for Best Supporting Actor way back in June!

And “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two” made it into the Top Ten and got a special award for the franchise as a whole. OR hole, whichever way you want to parse it.

For a complete list of the NBR(also-rans)winners see Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone’s www.awardsdaily.com


Oscar Index of a very exciting week! Plus “Consider Uggie”!

I am firmly convinced, if I wasn’t so before, that Stu Van Airsdale of www.movieline.com is on his way to becoming one of America’s foremost humorists. His just-up Oscar Index is now a Must-Read! And not only because I think he’s right. I also think he’s funny. He’s started a “Consider Uggy” campaign, which I think you can find on Facebook. Uggy is the adorable dog in “The Artist.” “The Artist” has gotten so much momentum from it’s New York Film Critics’ win as Best Picture AND Best Director that now even Uggie is a contender!

Uggie has as much of a chance of scoring a nomination for Best Supporting Actor as poor, brilliant Andy Serkis in the ape-suit in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Well, it’s not an ape suit EXACTLY but you know what I mean…

Meanwhile, back to Stu and his Index. “The Artist” is now on the top of Best Picture and Best Director(!) AND Best Actor, Jean Dujardin having knocked falling George out of first place and “The Descendants” is going down, down, almost as low as my beloved “J.Edgar”. Leo Di Caprio has now all but fallen off the Best Actor chart. The only “Descendant” who is holding her own is Shailene Woodley, who also landed an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, while falling George got NO-thing. Nada Zilch. People are really starting to NOT like that movie! And last week it was the front-runner all over the place!

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone says that Front-Runners are always in a terrible place. We’ve seen “War Horse” go down(when people finally saw it) and now “The Descendants.” “The Artist” has to continue its’ romp for two more LONNNG months…Or three actually counting when all the nominations are FINALLY announced….

Meanwhile, back the Oscar Index ~

Stu’s STILL got Octavia Spencer for “The Help” as the un-wavering Best Supporting Actress leading contender. And I like Jeff Wells, www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

think this is wrong. Stu’s got Berenice Bejo as #2.

Bejo and Dujardin of “The Artist” bien sur…

But there’s also the awesome Vanessa Redgrave in “Coriolanus.” And Janet McTeer now places #5 on Stu’s chart for “Albert Nobbs” which I surprisingly LOVED. But more on that beautiful film a little later…

And now also I am pleased to report that Corey Stoll, who I’ve known since his NYUGrad Acting days, is now popping up as a new #5 on Best Supporting Actor for his masterful Hemingway in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”(seen 8 times by me).

Corey could really knock out SOMEone in that category. Jonah Hill was just AWFUL in “Moneyball,” for instance…

And of course, Meryl is #1! Somehow, I just can’t see the Academy giving her another Oscar, but she just SWEPT the NYFCC for the “Iron Lady” which I see Saturday. FINALLY!

I lived through Margaret Thatcher reign when I was a young struggling/starving actor-playwright in London in the ’70s. And it was NOT a pretty time. Nor was she a beloved figure. Controversial is more the word.

But more on Meryl, Glenn, and Charlize later. There’s time. They’re in it(The Best Actress race) for the long haul. You better believe it.

Oh and you once again, can see Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo on my You Tube channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

And coming down the chimney soon, maybe even tonight, James McAvoy who IS “Arthur Christmas”!

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