a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Archive for June, 2012

New York Suffering Through ANOTHER Heat Wave!

This is the third day that feels like it’s over 100 degrees. They say it’s 91, plus that heat index, especially for midtown Manhattan is plus 10 more. The streets are heated here. Great for the winter because the snow melts so quickly, but in the summer, SHEESH!

There was only one day like this last week. Wednesday. I remember that day particularly since…well…more on that later…I hope…

It’s like you take your life in your hands every time you just step outdoors, which basically you shouldn’t do.

You have to get everything done early in the AM, which is bearable, before it heats up. But now around 2pm and later, til sunset….LOOK OUT!

Wear light-colored clothing. White if possible, and always bring at least ONE bottle of water. Loose fitting clothing. A hat. An umbrella even, which deflects the sun, but again, a light-colored umbrella.

I find myself ducking into doorways of air-conditioned stores on my way to my latest destination.

Everyone in these treacherous climes, take care!

I wish I was in Provincetown NOW, where it is probably gorgeous! It was freezing when I was there. More on that later, too…

Oscar Updates as Gold Derby Puts Leo at NY#1 for “Django”for Supp! Dwight Henry Is #2 “Beasts”!

The great Tom O’Neil lets us know just what is what with the Oscar race on an almost daily basis. Certainly weekly. And for sure, monthly. Now that we’re reaching the last day of June, it’s interesting to note that the race that has changed THE MOST is Best Supporting Actor!

June 1, it was wacky Jaoquim Phoenix for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Scientology take “The Master“. Now, less than a month later, Joaquim is nowhere to be found at the top of this category. Possibly because Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com clued Tom in that Joaquim is THE LEAD in “The Master.” Lol….And who’s at #1 now? Why Leonardo DiCaprio, as a scuzzy, sleazy slave owner in Quentin Tarantino’s Civil War shoot’em up “Django Unchained!” With Harvey Weinstein at the helm, this could certainly happen.

However, right behind him, is non-actor until now, newcomer Dwight Henry playing Hushpuppy‘s abusive, alcoholic father for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”! I don’t think Dwight Henry was even on the chart last time I checked! Go Dwight! He’s a baker turned actor and really scores in this magnificent debut film of Benh Zeitlin.

Phenom-of-the-Year Zeitlin has NOT managed to crack the top five of the directors chart. Go to http://www.goldderby.com and see who the rest are. Usual suspects, all. All previous Oscar Winners.Spielberg, Tom Hooper, Ang Lee, Except Paul Thomas Anderson who tops the list, and I’m so sure won’t win. “The Master” is going not to be a loved-by-the-masses film, I’m feeling. Scientology isn’t a topic that the ticket buying public is going to warm to. Where the now critically acclaimed “Beasts of the Southern Wild” sure is.

And it’s 6-year-old heroine has cracked the top five of the Best Actress contenders. That category is still headed by my darling Laura Linney for “Hyde Park on Hudson.” #2 in Best Actress is Carey Mulligan for “The Great Gatsby” and #3 is Keira Knightley for “Anna Karenina.” Keira’s always nominatable, as of course is Laura. Previous recent winner ++is #4 for the French language “Of Rust and Bone.” And then comes Qu’venzhane Wallis at #5.

I think it speaks to the strength of “Beasts” A+++ reception that BOTH Dwight Henry and Qu’venzhane Wallis have popped into the top five since the month began! And Dwight Henry is #2! Higher than Benh Zeitlin or QW(as I will now abbreviate her). The charges of racism that were thrown the Academy’s way when Viola Davis lost(though Octavia Spenser won – albeit in Supp.) for “The Help.” Dwight Henry could be the beneficiary of the famous Academy catch-up boomerang effect.

What they don’t do right one year, they correct the next.

And it’s also interesting to note that Anne Hathaway still seems to be a mortal lock for Best Supporting Actress for “Les Miserables,.” nailing one of the best trailers in movie history, which is already playing at a theater near you.

Likewise Daniel Day-Lewis in Best Actor and “Lincoln” for Best Picture remain where they were June 1.

It’s the arrival of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” that has shaken this list up! Good! No! Great! Go Team “Beast”!

Video

Chris Crocker at the Provincetown Film Festival, Part 2 on the Stephen Holt Show!

Chris Crocker, the Internet/YouTube superstar, concludes his two part interview with Stephen Holt at the Sage restaurant at the Provincetown Film Festival about his new film “Me@theZoo”, which is a terrffic documentary about his young life as an Out Gay being bullied in his hometown of rural Tennessee. It is a very inspiring film about the triumph of the human spirit, and how he escaped and succeeded in life by expressing himself on You Tube where he’s gotten over 540 million hits!

Video

You Tube Phenomenon Chris Crocker of “Leave Britney Alone!” fame on the Stephen Holt Show

Chris Crocker, who sobbed in drag on the Internet dressed as Britney Spears “Leave Britney Alone!” and got 540 million hits, talks to me about his stunning new documentary film “Me @theZoo” about his life online and in rural Tennessee where he was bullied so much he wasn’t allowed to attend high school! His marvelous doc tells his life story and also the story of the Internet and You Tube and the tremendous impact it has on life today.

Shot at Sage restaurant at the Provincetown Film Festival 2012.

Camera & Editing by Kevin Teller

Video

Newsflash! “Beasts” director is NOT 23 years old! He’s 29!

Breaking Hollywood News! Benh Zeitlin who is being proclaimed the new Orson Welles for having directed the award-winning “Beasts of the Southern Wild” for doing this at age 23. Benh himself says, “No, no. I’m 29. I want to stop this rumor. I’m not a child!” But he certainly knows how to direct children, as he certainly has done with his 6-year-old star Qu’venzhane Wallis. He also co-wrote this with a woman, Lucy Alibar, who he has been collaborating with for many years. He also reveals that though he has never been to film school, he teaches film and video to school children. This explains, a bit, the authenticity of the female child, Hushpuppy’s perspective.

Camera & Editing ~ Cody Michaels

“Avengers” Has No Oscar Chances, Except Special FX, Maybe Sound

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes, I finally saw “Marvel’s The Avengers” and it was just what I was afraid it would be. A big, loud, cartoon. Garish. Overlong.Disappointing.  A two-dimensional ugh.

And I don’t see any Oscar chances for it except maybe in the Special Effects and the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing categories. A Best Picture, despite its’ huge international box-office, it’s not. Not a nominee even. The Academy historically doesn’t like this kind of film. Especially since it’s most effective character is a completely a cartoon, the Incredible Hulk.

Mark Ruffalo plays him amiably enough to start with, but the real character work(if you can even call it that) is when the Hulk turns  green with anger, and then, he’s, yes, a completely drawn cartoon.

Mixing all this animation, CGI, whatever, with the real performances of the rest of the actor, it makes them all seem puny by comparison. The one who comes off the best is Tom Hiddleston, of all people, playing the wildly camp, villainous Loki, brother of Thor, who yes, is once again enacted(if you can even call it acting. It’s more like grunting. So I guess you could say, en-grunted by Chris Hemsworth. And yes, he seems to be grunting more than the Incredible Hulk, which is, er, incredible.) Yes, Loki saves the picture as does Samuel L. Jackson who gives a stateliness and dignity to the eye-patched mega-brain Ned Fury. Was that even his name? There’s so many superheroes in this crammed, cramped movie I can’t even remember their names.

And Loki is the only screen villain in my memory who I wanted to see SAVED. Spoiler alert! And survive to the next installment. Hiddleston is a magnificent actor and his zest for the villainy of Loki was fun to watch.

Scarlett Johansson sticks out because she is simply the only woman front and center. As Black Widow, however, she has no  discernible super-powers whatsoever. Except maybe pouting.

Robert Downey Jr. is again on-hand to wise-crack his way to the bank as Iron Man. Is that really HIM when he’s in that iron helmet and suit or is that a body double? If so, he’s REALLLLY phoning this one in. Or was he a cartoon, ,too? Could be.

Jeremy Renner is totally wasted as Hawk-Eye, who only seems to have skill with a supersonic bow-and-arrow. And he can’t hide his embarrassment at being caught at the fuzzy end of the superhero lollipop with this dullest of characters.

It’s fun, only if you want to enjoy the air-conditioning and throw your mind away for something like two and a half hours.

It could perhaps have had more depth if there wasn’t so many g-damned superheros crowding out every shot.

It is really dispiriting to think that this movie has made so many millions of dollars.

Image

Qu’venzhane Wallis & Stephen Holt

Qu'venzhane Wallis & Stephen Holt

The absolutely captivating Qu’venzhane Wallis talks to Stephen Holt about her sensational film debut in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” You can see Parts One and Two on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Camera & Editing by Cody Michaels

Video

Qu’venzhane Wallis “Beast of the Southern Wild” star rises!

Believe it or not, the Best Performance by an Actress this year is by 6-year-old Qu’enzhane Wallis of the extraordinarily original “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Venzie, as she’s called, is smart, funny, intelligent and articulate beyond belief in an interview situation, too, as well as in the already award-winning film. Could the Oscar go to a now 8-year old? If she even gets nominated and I think she will, Qu’venzhane will be the youngest actor ever to be so honored. This is part one of a 2 part interview. Qu’venzhane (pronounced Kwa -VENG-e nay) is a charmer. Critics are raving.

Clash of the Oscar Titans! Oscar Goddess, Oscar Grouch & Gold Derby go Head-to- Head in Historic Pod-Cast!!!

Just back in town, to find to my great joy and amazement that Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone, Oscar Grouch Jeffrey Wells and Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil just did a historic podcast on Tom’s also historic June 1 Oscar predix list. June 1! Yes, June 1! I’ve already discussed his list in a previous posting and so I wondered just what more could be said by all three together at once.

Clash of the Oscar Titans? Well, kinda.

Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com of course, is the person I agree with most. No surprise to my readers, dear cineasstes all, but to MY surprise, Sasha I and seemed more in sync that EVAH!

She feels, and Tom did too, and I heartily concur, that the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, not due until the holidays, is highly tricky and  risky. The film rises and falls on his performance, needles to say, Abraham. Lincoln was not a bombastic man or a scenery-chewing role like Billy the Butcher in “Gangs of New York” or that awful creature he played in “There Will Be Blood.” And won a second (and UNDESERVED) Oscar for.

When he goes introspective or quiet as he is bound to with a subtle man like Lincoln, he is, as Sasha said, “a cold motherfucker”. Which of course is what ruined “Nine,” and also a passion project “Rose” which is uber-talented wife Rebecca Miller directed him in. Blah. This demi-god of acting is NOT infallible.

So we can safely say that the Best Actor category is still up in the air.

Even more to the point and very questionable IMHO still is playwright Tony Kushner’s screenplay for this, the saga of Lincoln’s entire life. Kushner tends to overwrite and his plays all end up VERY long. He’s not a concise, clear screenwriter. Witness “Munich” as a case in point, also with Spielberg. Sure it eeked out a Best Picture nod, in the end, but it was not the masterpiece Time Magazine’s pre-mature cover story suggested it would be. Far from it. And the numbing pain of his three-hour “Mother Courage” in Central Park several seasons back, I can’t forgive or forget. He “adapted” his own translation of Brecht’s great play, which was NEVER known to be LONG. And poor Meryl Streep gave one of her worst performances ever as she struggled to keep this corpse afloat. I thought she was going to have a heart attack right there on the stage!

Sasha also pointed out that Tom’s Gold Derby-ites had mixed up the categories for “The Master” and had Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the lead, and Joaquin Phonenix as Supporting and Tom O’Neil agreed! So there’s THAT confusion. As if we needed more.

Sasha also iterated, and again I agree with her, that the two big films to look out for for Best Picture and in many other categories are “Les Miserables” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” And again Tom O. agreed with her.And once again, I do, too. Even at this great distance in June this seems clear.

Jeffrey Wells of http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com still seemed like he was in Prague, and perhaps that’s where he was calling in from. If it was in L.A., he really did seem out of the loop indeed. And called this lively discussion “A revelation.” And added that he’d have to update his Oscar Balloon. Oy, Jeffrey. Get with the program.

Sasha felt that Oscar movies need to make you FEEL, and I couldn’t agree more. The ones thatultimately win, I mean.

And of all those out there, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (seen by all) and “Les Miserables”(still unseen until the holidays) are the two films who could go all the way.

I’m interviewing all involved with “Beasts” on Thursday there in NYC. Which I came back into town for. And I am very happy to finally be able to ask the 23-year-old Wunderkind Behn Zeitlin, the co-screenwriter and the director, of this mind-blowing milestone of a film just HOW he created this cinematic miracle.

“Beasts” may be too edgie and too Indie to WIN Best Picture. But what of it extraordinary child actress, the now eight-year-old Qu’venzhane Wallis?

This is undoubtedly the best performance I’ve ever seen by a child, but could she win Best Actress???? Sasha seems to think she could and that that is the category where she is going to end up. And again, I find myself in astonished, but delighted agreement.

She’s got EXTRAORDINARY chemistry with the camera. And her performance haunts my mind.

Sasha said “I pity the actress that is going to have to go up against her for Best Actress.”  And she and Tom discussed the others in contention in THAT category. Laura Linney for “Hyde Park on Hudson”, Keira Knightley in “Anna Karenina”, and Marion Cotillard in “Of Rust and Bone.

Maybe they’ll create a Special Oscar just for Qu’venshane. Like they did for Shirley Temple and Judy Garland back in the ’30s.

And, after reading all this, you want to hear MORE. Go to http://www.goldderby.com and you’ll find it all there. It’s really worth a listen to all you Oscarwatchers out there.

Tom and Sasha agreed more than I ever thought they would. And I agree with them more than I ever thought I would.

Video

More Saki Sushi in Provincetown! Ahoy! Enjoy!

As I get ready to head out for the fourth year in a row to cover the wonderful week of the Provincetown Film Festival, here’s one more delicious look at the mouth-watering Saki Sushi! Ahoy! And enjoy!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: