a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Archive for January, 2012

Oscar Smear Campaigns ALWAYS backfire!

Yes, dear readers, dear cineastes, S.T.Vanairsdale over at www.movieline.com has done it again on his Oscar Index, which just dropped tonight. Weekly, S.T. or Stu, is Dorothy Parker-witty and, of course, apt. Called this week “They Shoot Horses….Don’t They?” I was ROTFLMAO! As they say on the Internet.

And I think one  reason all this Oscar Talk has grown and grown in recent years, to something nearing a fever pitch, a fever that lasts all Oscar season, and right now is on the very verge of the Broadcast Film Critics(tonight) and the Golden Globes (Sunday), its’ noise is deafening.

As well it should be, really…

I think it’s GREAT that so many people and Oscar bloggers, like myself, can generate so much interest in the year’s best movies that they TALK ABOUT IT ALL DAY EVERY DAY!

And Stu is noting the demise of “War Horse”. Who isn’t? And he posits that AN ENEMY of “The Artist”s front-runner status PUT KIM NOVAK up to placing that Full Page “I was raped” Ad in Variety yesterday. Which is what I immediately thought, as I posted here. Where does she, a recluse, who hasn’t made a movie since 1991, get the money for that? Stu points a direct finger. Go to www.movieline.com and see who he thinks is the culprit.

I think, as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone www.awardsdaily.com has posited, in a different context, that when these SMEAR CAMPAIGNS, which is what Roger Friedman calls it, happen, they actual strengthen the Academy’s feelings for the victim of the smear. And no, NOT Kim Novak. “The Artist.”

Similar tactics have been used in the past against the film “A Beautiful Mind”. It won anyway. And also recently against “The Hurt Locker” which also won Best Picture…

These things always backfire.

It’s going to make me look at “Vertigo” the next time I see it with new eyes. Yes, she IS really nuts in that movie, her character…The Ghost of Carlotta Valdez rises yet again.

Meanwhile, Stu V. also FINALLY notes another conclusion that I had reached WEEKS ago on this blog, but of course, doesn’t credit me. That Octavia Spenser’s front runner status is gonna run out with Jessica Chastain’s probable Supporting nod, also for “The Help.” Two actresses from one film cancel each other out. Usually.

And the winner is – Berenice Bejo! Something I’ve been saying for AGES! She, from “The Artist.” Unless SUDDENLY Vanessa Redgrave gets nominated and blows the whole category out of the water! THAT could happen!

And Corey Stoll has been everywhere, EVERYWHERE, this past week. Don’t rule him out for popping up in the Supporting Actor category. “Midnight in Paris” is gaining in strength every day.

Talking about ties. Stu has Meryl and Viola Davis TIED for First Place for Best Actress on his Oscar Index, which is hilarious! And you know what happens to ties? They’re broken. Allowing Michelle Williams to win for “My Week with Marilyn.”

Tom O’Neill of www.goldderby.com has been with me on this Michelle watch since we both fell in love with that movie. And he thinks, as I have been saying for a lonnnnng time, that Michelle will win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, and will KNOCK IT OUT OF THE BALL PARK with a memorable acceptance speech, just like she just did at the Palm Springs Film Festival this week, wowing the AMPAS-packed crowd. At least, we sincerely HOPE she will.

Jamie Fox did that a couple of years back with his acceptance speech at the Globes for “Ray” and he’s never hit the emotional height that he hit that night ever since. But boy did he nail it to the floor that night! And that was the speech that won him his Oscar. The speech he gave at the Globes.

Stu still has “The Artist” on top of Best Picture Index and Michel H. for Best Director and Jean Dujardin for Best Actor. And Christopher Plummer for Best Supporting Actor.

He has a LOT of compelling and amusing things to say this week too. He doesn’t disappoint with his Oscar Index. Unlike so many of the late breaking films have this year!

And now it’s on to the Broadcast Film Critics! And let’s see who wins there!

Kim Novak – Raped by ‘The Artist’! Ad claim ~ Idiotic!

Kim Novak, a big star once upon time, was always classified as a “dumb blonde,” and now we can see why. Reported more fully by Nikki Finke & crew  at www.deadlinehollywood.com Kim took out a full-page ad in one of the trade papers, saying, provocatively, “I want to report a rape.” And now that she’s got the readers’ attention, she goes on to explain why. There was music from her Best Film (and her first) “Vertigo” used at the end of “The Artist.”

And Novak claims this constituted a “violation of her body(of work).” I beg to differ. Somebody supporting one of the “Artist”s rivals for the Oscar, where it is STILL, miraculously, the front-runner, may have put Ms. Novak up to this. Those ads in the trade papers are VERY expensive. Does she at this late stage of her life have the money for something as pricey as AN AD?!? Makes you wonder.

It’s ridiculous. Many quotes from famous movie scores are used all the time. And of course, in this semi-recent one, well, er, 1958, there are licensing fees involved being paid to the late composer Bernard Herrman’s estate for its’ use. And they are probably hefty.

Kim Novak didn’t WRITE the music. She didn’t DIRECT the movie. That was Alfred Hitchcock, who must be rolling over in his grave, with laughter, at this.

And “Artist” director Michel Hazanaviscius, who just won a nomination from the prestigious Directors’ Guild, today issued a very dignified response. And you can read this in either Deadline Hollywood, or www.hollywoodreporter.com or www.movieline.com

Over at www.awardsdaily.com, Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone, has chosen to ignore this tempest in a teacup. At least last time I looked. Sasha is more excited, TRULY excited by her favorite director David Fincher’s getting the surprise nomination from the DGA. Add to this his CINEMATOGRAPHER getting recognized by the ASC nominators this morning, Sasha must be having a VERY good day.

And yes, the cinematography of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was sumptuous, in its’ own frozen ice-scape way.

And the Broadcast Film Critics’ Awards are TOMORROW night. Yes, dear readers, dear cineastes, it’s the beginning of the end. Of awards season. Last year, the BFCA were very predictive of the Actors’ races, but I think not so much with Best Picture.

And I’ll also add kudos to Sasha for her trumpeting of “Dragon Tattoo.” I think she really did help Fincher get that out-of-the-blue nomination from the DGA. Replacing Steven Spielberg. And now the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers), ignored “War Horse” AGAIN! “Dragon Tattoo” seems to be effectively replacing it.

And some people,myself included, thought the cinematography of “War Horse” was one of its’ strongest suits.

Guess not.

But also don’t forget the Guilds aren’t THE ACADEMY. The largish, younger DGA is not at all like the super-small, very elite, mostly male and VERY old and somewhat conservative director’s branch of the Academy, who may turn around and put Spielberg right back in the race.

Last year’s BFCA started the four-strong lock step to the Oscars that mirrored the Golden Globes acting winners and the eventual Oscar winners exactly. They got the Best Picture wrong last year. And the year before Meryl Streep TIED with Sandra Bullock, lest not forget. For “Julie and Julia” and “The Blind Side” respectively. And the year before that didn’t the same Ms. Streep tie with Anne Hathaway for “Rachel Getting Married”? Is it wrong to not predict MS might tie AGAIN this year with a younger competitor like Michelle Williams? Since the BFCA does historically seem to be all tied up with its’ Best Actresses?

This year all the categories, except Best Supporting Actor, Christopher Plummer, are up in the air. Which is going to make for a VERY interesting evening!

Director’s Guild Nominates Woody & “The Artist” & SUPRISE! “Dragon Tattoo”!!

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes, the Oscar Race changes again and clarifies itself even further with the announcement by the prestigious DGA for their five nominees for Best Direction. It’s Woody! Great! For the wonderful “Midnight in Paris”(eight times! I’ve seen it EIGHT TIMES!), Michel Hazanaviscius for “The Artist”,his first time. And the surprise of surprises DAVID FINCHER! for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Alexander Payne for “The Descendants” and Martin Scorcese for “Hugo” were also nominated. Snubbing Steve Spielberg and Terence Malick right out of the running, probably for “War Horse” and “Tree of Life.”

So what does this mean? Well, THIS one is really important, because it shows “Midnight in Paris” is being taken very, very seriously by the Directors, the guys who run Hollywood, let’s face it. And it’s a comedy! This almost NEVER happens!

And “The Artist,” a silent Black and White Film by a French director!  Michel H. (it’s so hard to type that last name over and over and over, though it’s a delight to pronounce it!) ANOTHER COMEDY!

One set in France, and the other made by French people and set in Hollywood in the 1920s! Didn’t I tell you right after Cannes that it was going to be a very French year at the Oscars?!? Fantastique! Vive La France!

I maintain that “The Artist” actually IS about the Academy themselves. Or as they were in the 1920s, when silent film was going out and talkies were coming in. Even though its’ creative team is as French as a baguette! Mais oui, bien sur!

And “The Descendants” which feels like an also ran at this point, but it’s critically acclaimed as was “Hugo” which I REALLY didn’t like at all. The last half hour was brilliant, but you had to wade through TWO HOURS of childish dreck to get to that grand pay-off, which most everybody thought was worth it, but not me. Oh, and it’s set in a French train station. Where everybody inexplicably speaks English with a variety of British accents. Ick. Why didn’t Scorsese hire French actors?!?! Sacre Blue!

And now DAVID FINCHER!!! For a film that made my Top Ten list.(It was #6. “The Artist” was three and “Midnight in Paris” was TWO. Watch me go on and on about this on my TV show which is now up on You Tube at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow)

But “Dragon Tattoo”!?!?! Well, I DID like it. A lot. Especially considering how much I LOVED the Swedish movies with Noomi Rapace burning holes in the screen with the intensity of her fierce portrayal of Lisbeth Salander. She seemed tougher, than Rooney Mara, who now looks like she actually could snag an Oscar nomination, too. This puts “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” possibly in the Oscar race for Best Picture and certainly in the Oscar race for Best Director. And Kudos to Cynthia Swartz, the Oscar Publicist extraordinaire. Who was on Fincher’s case in the chase, and also is repping Rooney Mara! Good job, Cynthia!

Four out of those five gentlemen will also make it to the Kodak with a Director nod, historically. Maybe this year all five will.

But everybody’s jaws were in their laps when they read out Fincher’s name! This is getting more and more like a real race EVERYDAY! I like it!

Beautiful Acceptance Speech by Michelle Williams @ Palm Springs Film Fest

Michelle Williams just gave one of the most moving, heartfelt speeches of her career, accepting her Desert Palm Actor Achievement Award honor at the Palm Springs Film Festival. You can watch it all at www.awardsdaily.com

Now you tell me if that isn’t an Oscar acceptance speech?! She was glowing, and intelligent, and touching. And she accepted the award on behalf of herself AND Marilyn Monroe!?! I was sooo moved by that mention!

And interestingly the last Four Desert Palm Achievement Award actor honorees and the last three out of four Best Actress winners went on to win at the Oscars! The Palm Springs Film Festival is becoming an essential Oscar step.

And of course, Michelle thanked Harvey Weinstein, as well she should!

And she thanked her publicist Myra Buxbaum, her personal publicist,  more than anyone else. WOW! Who does that?

But I like that. Sometimes (if not all the time) it’s the publicists, personal and otherwise, that are doing the heavy-lifting in the Oscar campaigns, and actually, sometimes, always, it’s the publicists who are on duty 24/7, Oscar campaigns or not. And they never get the credit they deserve.

And congrats to Myra! Let’s give credit where credit is due. And a long-time personal publicist, which is what Myra is to Michelle, sometimes becomes the star’s best friend.

Beautiful, beautiful speech! I’m glad Ryan Adams at Awardsdaily.com posted it! Kudos to all!

And that Marilyn mention, at JUST the right minute, at the end of her speech, just NAILED her Oscar win, IMHO.

I’ve never been to Palm  Springs or to its’ Film Festival, but it sounds more and more tempting, the more I hear about it. Jeff Wells, for instance, of www.hollywood-elsewhere.com is there and writing about it. Before he takes off for Sundance, as most people do. Me? I stay here.

Maybe next year. I never been to Palm Springs…Hmmm…Well I can dream, can’t I?

“Oscar Race” EW Cover w/Clooney & Viola Davis. Controversial? Accurate? Embarrassing?

I really wonder if the venerable Entertainment Weekly has jumped the shark this week with its’ “Inside the Oscar Race” cover prematurely, I think, showing George Clooney in a tux (nothing new), but at his side,, resplendent in a white ball gown, is Viola Davis! THIS is new! And the cover states “Front-runners George Clooney (The Descendants) and Viola Davis (The Help).” WHAT???

I thought Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams were the two heavyweights for Best Actress! But the usually reliable Oscar God David Karger is plunking his two cents down (and EW is presumably totally backing these choices), and inside we see V.D. depicted holding what looks like an award, or a Golden Globe, or SOMEthing, when on closer look it is seen to be a hand mirror. A bejeweled one, but a HAND MIRROR!

This is the kind of thing that INFURIATES Academy Voters, who are voting or rather nominating, right now as you read this. Many of them perhaps have not even sent their ballots in yet or filled them out, and here is EW acting like IT’S ALL OVER! BAD MOVE, EW!

I would be OK with this if it was a year where this was TRUE, but George is fighting for his life in Best Actor, (He’s got one already and “The Descendants” is depressing.) against his BFF Brad Pitt, who, BTW, just won Best Actor from the prestigious National Society of Film Critics. Take THAT, EW! They seem to be saying. And the Best Actress race is all over the place, between those three ladies. Williams, Streep & Davis.

And Viola Davis, as talented as she is, has not yet won ONE major award yet for “The Help”! A cover like this and a lay-out and an interview like that, may infuriate Academy types into NOT voting for her, when the time comes. And it IS a Supporting Performance in most peoples’ books…including mine.

But to photograph her looking so RADIANT and BEAUTIFUL and AIR-BRUSHED to death, well, we’ve never seen her like this before. And acting like she’s already won! But she hasn’t!

I fear this cover is going to make AMPAS voters feel like “Wait a minute! Don’t tell US who’s won!” or who to vote for. MISTAKE! This is what the Board of Governors was actually warning people about this year.  See Scott Feinberg’s excellent analysis of this at www.hollywoodreporter.com where Scott now is writing “The Race.”

And Jean Dujardin of “The Artist” is the one who most Oscar experts are picking for Best Actor. But not to EW.

I totally agree with Dave Karger with his choice that “The Artist” has already won Best Picture and is waaay out in front in that category. He’s right about that. But I would not be a very good Oscarologist myself, if I didn’t feel it incumbent on me to say “WAIT A MINUTE! Hold your (War) horses, EW!”

What they are doing is championing or campaigning for Clooney/Davis with this glossy cover and the even glossier interview inside. Acting like it’s a done deal. That is SOOOO BAD in Oscar campaigning terms.

And I know Dave Karger is familiar with Oscar 101.

I’ve NEVER seen EW so blatantly Up a Duo from two different films, yet, who may not be pictured together ever again this awards season. How embarrassing! But EW is nothing if not BOLD.

However, their first Oscar cover of the season isn’t a NEWS issue. It never is.

Didn’t they depict “Finding Neverland” once upon a time? Oy vay.

And there was once an Oscar issue like this with three actresses shown. I think it was Jennifer Connelly and Nicole Kidman and somebody else. And that third lady did not get nominated. I can’t even remember who she was. How embarrassing was that for her? And presumably for the magazine. But guess not, cuz they’re doing it again!

But some of you will remind me who that third gal was, who didn’t get nominated.

And even though Michelle Williams is splattered all over the INSIDE of the magazine in their for real predictions section on who’s going to be nominated…that story/interview on George ‘n’ Viola’s friendship was a little grating and self-serving. And yes, both of them are acting like they’ve ALREADY WON! NO! They haven’t!

THIS IS A HUGE OSCAR “No!NO!”

George has picked up a couple of critics awards, but Viola has gotten none, separately, herself, for Best Actress. Though “The Help” has gotten kudo-ed for Ensemble in several places.

This is the kind of cover that could de-rail a campaign. SERIOUSLY. Dave, what were you thinking? Well, obviously, he thinks he’s right.

I beg to differ.

And inside, though, his predictions themselves, were pretty spot-on for who was going to be nominated for Best Picture, Actor and Actress, though he’s got Michael Fassbender in there, and I think it’s Demian Bichir. Although Demian DOES receive a cute consolation prize, a “For Your Consideration” box.

But his supporting picks were all over the place, especially in Supporting Actress.

I was shocked at how wobbly his Supporting predictions were and yes, the Supp. Actress category is historically the hardest to predict. He’s got Berenice  Bejo (yes, she’s nominated for a BFCA, Golden Globe and a SAG) Ditto Octavia Spenser. He’s got Janet McTeer pictured, and I think that’s right. And Jessica Chastain for “The Help” which seems to be what she’s inevitably nominated for, though, it’s the least of her EIGHT performances this season! And then he has Melissa McCarthy, who EW just had on another of their covers recently as “The Queen of Comedy”. This would be for the gross-out “Bridesmaids.”

He doesn’t mention Vanessa Redgrave AT ALL. NOWHERE. And I think she WILL TURN UP here. Especially after being snubbed by BAFTA!!! Can you believe it?

I’m sure it’s the ghost of her earlier-in-life, extreme left-wing policies from the ’60s still haunting her. But if the Academy, Anglophile Lefties all, (well, the majority anyway) will over look Redgrave’s policy and put her in where she belongs and she could win this for her ASTOUNDING performance in “Coriolanus.”

Karger also gives Carey Mulligan from “Shame” a “For Your Consideration” box. And that is valid. She was great, if not greater, than Michael Fassbender in “Shame.”

We all know Christopher Plummer is going to win his career award in Supp. for “Beginners” and Dave Karger duly notes this. The other nominees, in this category, though, except for Kenneth Branagh are all up in the air. ESPECIALLY, his pick of Max Von Sydow for “Extremely Late and Incredibly Distasteful”! I don’t think so.

He’s got Jonah Hill and Albert Brooks in there but they were overlooked by SAG, and Nick Nolte and Armie Hammer WERE SAG-nominated, which he notes, but doesn’t see them getting in.

Who could pop up here, unexpectedly, is Corey Stoll for his finely etched portrait of Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris.”

And Kathy Bates and/or Marion Cotillard could be two last-minute  pop-ups from “Midnight in Paris.” They both just were named on the BAFTA long list…So they’ve been noted there.

Oh, and that BAFTA long list!…well, let’s just say it’s TOO LONG to even bother with at this point. But as always you can check out www.awardsdaily.com for a much closer look at that ENDLESS list, on which nearly everybody who made a film this year, is on. Wait for the BAFTA nominations themselves. But Beth Stevens, at Awardsdaily does a really good job at parsing them, especially in the comment section.

Oscar’s Pesky Supporting Categories. Mucho loco.

Oh, those pesky Oscar Supporting Categories! They are sooo hard to pin down, always, but this year’s there’s so much movement it makes the potential nominees look like Mexican jumping beans!

And no SAG didn’t match the Golden Globes, and they both didn’t match the  (Broadcast Film Critics Assoc.) But look who these groups REALLY represent. Look closely. And the first thing you may notice is that the Broadcast Film Critics, is made up, of mostly, well, film critics.

And there are NO film critics in the Academy. Repeat after me. THERE ARE NO FILM CRITICS IN THE ACADEMY.

And Stu Vanairsdale’s www.movieline.com excellent depiction of the Hollywood Foreign Press as “swag monkeys” is sooo apposite I want to adopt it just for my own, but yes, that defines them. ABSOLUTELY. And also, they are PRESS. And yes, repeat after me…no don’t bother. There’s no press in the Academy either….

So the fact that Michael Fassbender didn’t get a SAG nom is much more significant than it may at first seem. AND he’s urinating on-screen. Literally pissing his nomination away. And that’s how Demian Bichir got HIS SAG nom, playing a heroic Hispanic gardener. Yeah, this category this year . It’s a pisser.

But also not nominated for SAG was Albert Brooks from “Drive” and that make me wonder. He was nominated for Supporting Actor by both the BFCA and the GG, but to be left out of SAG may be fatal.

Why was Brooks not nominated for “Drive”? Maybe because THEY DIDN’T WATCH “DRIVE.” SAG gave nothing to “Drive” whereas the BFCA nominated it A LOT.

Who was nominated in Brooks’ place? Armie Hammer for “J. Edgar!” Stupendous in “The Joy of Typing” as BOTH Winklevoss twins, he’s riding a crest of good will. And Academy members keep exclaiming “I loved J.Edgar!” Which is something obviously Stu V. isn’t hearing.

And Hammer benefits by being in Leo DiCaprio’s shadow. He gets to kiss him, after all (Degree of difficulty!) And even though “J. Edgar” was left off the PGA list, it made MY Ten Best, and I STILL think it’s another Clint Eastwood masterpiece. THAT could be a surprise BP pop-up on Oscar Nomination Day, which is Tuesday Jan.24.

AMPAS members are voting right now on their choices of nominations. Yes, they are. And so what’s on their minds? Well, “The Artist” for one, which is going to get more nominations than any other film this year. And Berenice Bejo is on her way to a for sure Best Supporting Actress nomination and possibly even a win, in my book.

The Argentinian/French beauty carries as much of the film as the stalwart Jean Dujardin, who did win the Best Actor prize in Cannes this year. And she got a BFCA, a SAG nod, and also a Golden Globe nomination. So she was the triple crown of nods as it were.

And she also just won BEST ACTRESS in the Rome Film Festival which just wrapped last week.

So she’s definitely on a roll, and she’s also married IRL to “The Artist” s front-runner for Best Director Michel Hazanaviscius. And HE’S probably going to win Best Director across the board, and if she won, too, that would be the first time in Oscar history that a husband and wife team won double Oscars, a quaint touch that the Academy may very likely find too charming to resist, too. Just like their movie!

They’re French, and SOOOO in love! And so happy!

Berenice’s main competition is Octavia Spenser for “The Help.” Spencer, an unknown up until this season, also was a recipient of a SAG, BFCA & a GG nod. So she’s almost assured of a nomination. But she’s an Academy newbie. Her memorable performance as the foul-mouthed Minnie is the kind of role that gets nominated but doesn’t necessarily WIN awards.

And there was that shitting in the pie scene. Unlike Michael Fassbender, we don’t SEE her doing it, thank god, but she does do it, and then serves it to Bryce Dallas Howard, RON HOWARD’S daughter! in real life, who plays the villainess Hilly so well here in “The Help.”

Stu V. and Tom O’Neil at www.GoldDerby.com and many others have her as a frontrunner in Supporting Actress, but I wonder….

I do NOT think the Academy is open-minded enough to award TWO African-American actresses in ONE year. One of them, maybe, but not both. And Viola Davis is pictured and named as “The Frontrunner” on this week’s Entertainment Weekly annual Oscar issue. She’s pictured with George Clooney, which actually could be the kiss of death. They could BOTH not win.

And the two “Help” women, may split the “Help” vote. And neither wins.

It’s a very interesting year in that the actress categories are so up-in-the-air.

And it just goes to show that Meryl Streep’s reviews for “The Iron Lady” were sooooo bad that they vaulted Viola Davis on to the cover of EW!

And Shailene Woodley of “The Descendants” was not nominated for a SAG award either.  Too young, merely a teenager. But Janet McTeer of “Albert Nobbs” was…and Stu V. has Glenn Close of “Albert” slipping out of the locked five in Best Actress, being replaced by Rooney Mara. I don’t see that happening. But Janet McTeer has ALSO scored the trifecta of BFCA, SAG & GG.

And then there’s Jessica Chastain & her 5000 films she was in this year’s problem. What to nominate her for? Well, if it’s for “The Help” (a good perf, but not great) she’d also be splitting the “Help” vote with Spencer and then…and then…Berenice Bejo wins!

And Vanessa Redgrave could win in this category, but she’s been nominated nowhere so far and it seems like NO body is watching “Coriolanus.”

And then there’s sweet Carrie Mulligan who shows HER nether regions in “Shame.” But oh yes, since she’s a young girl, that could help her…but so far…No nominations…which is a REAL shame.

And Christopher Plummer? He won this race, Supporting Actor, the minute his marvelous film “Beginners” opened in May. The question that plagues us Oscar-ers and Oscar-ettes, is who’s going to be nominated in that category and lose to him. Plummer has never seen so, well, plummy. And he’s experiencing the most attention and love he’s perhaps ever gotten in his long and very chequered career. He’s very grand, too, as Herbert Wanger in “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” It’s his year. He’s everywhere!

Producer’s Guild Announces 10 Nominees, Surprises, Snubs

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes, we can now attempt to parse the latest BIG DEAL list of the Best of 2011. It’s yes, the Producer’s Guild, and yes, though I waited with bated breath for this announcement to turn up online, it was more than a little anti-climatic and more than a little irritating.

Well, here’s the list in no particular order – The Artist, Midnight in Paris, The Descendants, Moneyball, Hugo, The Help, War Horse, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo(!), The Ides of March(!?!) and Bridesmaids(!!!!)

Can NOT fathom all this “Bridesmaids” love that keeps appearing. It was nominated for SAG ensemble, as well. But yet, there it is!

But no “Drive” which is sad.

And also no “Tree of Life” which is fine with me.

And finally no “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two.” Which puts that HP8 question to bed once and for all, I think.

Because you see, if ANYone was going to honor the achievement of this most successful franchise in Hollywood history, it would be the Film Producers, who are the MONEY guyz in the biz, lest we forget.

So it’s “No” to “Harry Potter” but a double “Yes” to George Clooney!

They love George. They really love George. And while I thought “Ides of March” was OK. Good, but not great. And it didn’t do fantastic business at the B.O., but here is “Ides of March” turning up, like the “Bridesmaids” once again, like the proverbial bad penny.

The Hollywood Foreign Press, who give out the Golden Globes, were slobbering all over themselves to include “Ides of March” in their nominations, too.

Of course, George has “The Descendants,” a much better picture, and a MUCH better performance by The Gorgeous One.

I actually think this Out-of-the-Blue nomination for “Ides” which GC directed and produced as well as starred in…well, it helps George’s Oscar chances in his inevitable bid to get himself his SECOND Oscar, this time in lead, for “The Descendants.” He got a Supporting Actor Oscar in 2005 for “Syriana.” And he’s been nominated for Best Actor twice more for “Michael Clayton” and “Up in the Air.” But lost both those contests.

It makes it a two-way race not just between him and Brad Pitt. I think this vaults him over Pitt. And puts it between him and Jean Dujardin of “The Artist.”

The films that didn’t make this list, like shockingly “The Tree of Life”, are going to have a very hard time coming back from this snub.

Those dinosaurs! Those GDed dinosaurs! I knew that they would stop “Tree” in its’ tracks come awards time. Which is NOW.

And sad to see “My Week with Marilyn” not turn up here…

But happy for “The Artist” which still seems to be leading the way all over the place. It also leads alphabetically, which is interesting.

And glad that “Midnight in Paris” made the cut.

So with “Drive” done in, I’m wondering if it’s going to get anything. And this includes YOU, Albert Brooks…in Supporting Actor.

And no “J.Edgar” either.

What does it all mean? Well, ONE of these pictures is going to win BP, and I don’t mean Brad Pitt.

And also surprised and happy that “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” got a nomination. That HELPS it, too. In a BIG way.

It’s still underperforming at the Box-Office, but time will tell.

Next big announcement coming up  – the Directors Guild.  This is the Directors nominating Directors and there’s only five slots this time.

Michel Hazanaviscus and Alexander Payne(“Descendants”) are the only sure things in my mind in this roundelay. Then you’ve got Spielberg, Scorcese, Woody Allen, Terence Malick and David Fincher all circling those other three spots, like vultures circling carrion…so we’ll see.

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