a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

It’s been one of the most intense Oscar Weeks(unofficially of course) I’ve ever experienced in that alllll most all of the major films hit me this past week AND Ann Dowd who was just a guest on my show (see below) won Best Supporting Actress from the National Board of Review! Phew! WHAT A WEEK!

And it was only last Monday that the New York Film Critics announced, and so having that to deal with ,and then seeing “Les Miserables,” which I went to with Ann Dowd(!?!), and then attending “The Hobbit” press conference the next morning at the Wal-dwarf Astoria, and then Ann  winning the National Board Award, while I was out seeing “Zero Dark Thirty”, so I didn’t find out til that evening, and then seeing the new “Hobbit” in 48 fps(frames per second) ALL IN ONE WEEK!!! Or was that just three days?!?WOWOW!!!

So you can see why I haven’t posted anything, dear cineastes, dear readers, until now. One has to pause sometimes, for breath, for clarity to sink in, and with so much happening, and my 25th Anniversary party of being on the air continuously since Dec.7, 1988, well….it was all just too much to absorb. Let alone have a quiet moment to sit down and write about it…

Yes, dear readers, sometimes you do have to DO THE WORK! And alllll these movies are nearly three hours!

And then, Ann, who was my “Les Miz” date, winning this INCREDIBLY important award, the next day!!!

Well, it’s all been overwhelming!!!

And if I’M overwhelmed, you can only imagine how Ann Dowd is feeling with all this excitement happening to her.”Over the moon,” is how she herself described it to me. “I’m beside myself.”

The National Board of Review win for her in Best Supporting Actress(even though she’s the lead) in “Compliance” means the world for her and her career. It really was a life-changing moment. And she’ll literally will never be unknown again.

The NBR has catapulted her into the middle of the Oscar Conversation now. EVERYBODY was writing about and absorbing the NYFCC and the NBR wins and now they all have to mention Ann and take her one-woman Oscar campaign VERY, VERY seriously. I’ve helped as best I can. I feel like I’ve gone into the Ann Dowd business, but I love helping her, and we’ve become friends. And no, I didn’t know her before the Opening Night of “Compliance” in New York.

I aired her great interview on “The Stephen Holt Show” twice, this past Friday and the Friday before. www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and was happy to do so. I hope I am conveying the excitement that being INSIDE the Oscar Race and really dealing with it on a day to day basis is like to you, my dear readers, dear cineastes all.

Both the NYFCC and the NBR are New York based awards, and since they announce first they give clarity to the season, in very concrete ways. And BOTH groups gave Best Picture and Best Director to the movie I was seeing when the NBR was announced “Zero Dark Thirty”. And the NBR gave Jessica Chastain Best Actress, too.I know Jessica, too, since she was a student at Juilliard about 7 years ago.

So one thing that happened with these two major award announcements is that now “Zero Dark Thirty” a film that was not seen or screened until RIGHT NOW is now the purported front-runner. And so is Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director.

I loved “The Hurt Locker,” for the record, Ms. Bigelow’s last film and was thrilled when it won the Oscar for Best Picture, despite having a low box-office, and of course, it gave her the honor of being the first woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director.

But “Zero Dark Thirty” is a MUCH more difficult film to sit through.

It’s incredibly shocking, at the beginning, and then for what seems like two hours, but probably more like an hour and a half, it settles down into being a VERY boring procedural on just how this single-minded woman named Maya(fictional name, but a real person)played by Jessica Chastain, goes about doggedly pursuing Osama Bin Laden.

It’s over-long and it’s BOR-RING, but then when the incredibly exciting ending appears FINALLY, the film takes off into the stratosphere of excitement.

But there’s that VERY boring middle section that takes up half the film. I wonder, I really wonder, if audiences are going to sit through that en masse. The pay-off is big at the end. But this impresses me as being a critics movie more than an audience movie. And I’m frankly shocked, SHOCKED that it won so many awards this week.

It does also make “Argo” seem like a cartoon, I’m sorry to say. “ZDT” is much more serious-minded and nowhere near as entertaining as “Argo” is. “Argo” seems to have dropped off everyone’s radar. It will be interesting to see if the LA Film Critics annoint “Zero Dark Thirty” AGAIN when they announce later today.

This is reminding me of “The Social Network” all over again. Which won all the critics awards and then “The King’s Speech” turned everything around and won all the REAL awards, if any awards are realer than the others. Well, in terms of Oscar, the DGA, the PGA, SAG and even the Golden Globes are all much more clearer as Oscar precursors that the two New York critics groups that I’m writing about right now.

Me? I LOVED “Les Miserables” and what an incredible experience seeing it with Ann Dowd! We both sat there crying our eyes out for what seemed like, again, three hours. I don’t think I’ve ever been that deeply moved by a movie, since well, “The King’s Speech” actually, which “Les Miserables” reminded me of. And why? Well they were both directed by the brilliant Tom Hooper.

“Les Miz” I could go on and on, but let me just say that it’s now my Best Film of the Year and one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen and should garner more Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Director, Actor(Hugh Jackman), Best Supp. Actor(Eddie Redmayne), Best Supp. Actress(Anne Hathaway) and on and on and on, than maybe any other film in Academy history. It’s this year’s “King’s Speech” And could turn everything around on “Zero Dark Thirty” the way “The King’s Speech” did on “The Social Network.” But more on all this SOON. Very SOON!

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Comments on: "“Zero Dark Thirty”, Jessica Chastain & Ann Dowd Win National Board of Review!" (2)

  1. Stephen, what did you think of Jessica’s work in Zero Dark Thirty? Is it Oscar nomination worthy?

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