a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Once again. “12 Years A Slave” has been dealt a body blow in this awards’ season. The VERY influential Los Angeles Film Critics only awarded the brilliant Lupita Nyong’O, which is great news for Hollywood’s newest star, but bad news for “12 Years a Slave.” I am shocked, SHOCKED that the usually cutting-edge LA Film Crix went for “Gravity” and “Her”! In a tie! Yes! A tie!. In fact, there were three ties!

Best Picture – “Gravity” tied with “Her”.

Best Actress – Cate Blanchett tied with Adele Exarchopoulos of “Blue is the Warmest Color”

And Best Supporting actor tied :Jared Leto and James Franco for “Spring Breakers”!!!

A motley crew.

But this is a very important win for Lupita Nyong’O and congratulations to her.

But very bad news for “12 Years A Slave.” It is now officially NOT the front-runner for Best Picture anymore. I’d say “Gravity” is, if anything.

The Boston Film Critics and the New York Online Film Critics both awarded “12 Years” heavily in many categories…

Though strangely Michael Fassbender is ending up NOwhere. That’s not a good sign. And though the NYFCO and the BFC are nice to have and all that, it’s the LA Film Critics that are a one-two punch of “12 Years”, I’m sorry to say.

But looking at the all these critics awards you can see that this year’s Oscars are all over the place. Literally.

Also not turning up is Martin Scorcese’s just finished three hour “Wolf of Wall Street”. It’s still so new Jeff Wells is reporting at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com that many in Boston did not get a screener in time. Or couldn’t make a very last minute screening.

I feel just awful for “12 Years…” It’s a masterpiece and I can’t believe that it’s anything but racism animating its” exclusion. If that’s the case and even CRITICS are shying away from advocating for it. Then the award it’s likely to win is indeed Best Supporting Actress for Lupito Nyong’O. As I’ve said before, it’s the Booby Prize of the Oscars. They look at the Best Supporting Actress award rightly or wrongly as a throw away. As a less than important category and if they are not giving “12YAS” anything else, they KNOW they have to give it something and Best Supp. Actress is a place where they will feel most comfortable awarding it.

An equivalent situation occured two years, when African-American-themed box-office winner “The Help” won ONLY Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spenser.

So I do think the LA Film Critics is indicative in that case.

They also importantly gave Best Director to Alphonso Cuaron for “Gravity.” Steve McQueen, thank god, won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Director, but that was it.

Also notably absent from all of this was Tom Hanks and “Captain Phillips”. Nowhere to be seen. Sunk without a trace. Leaving that fifth Best Actor slot now open for maybe Oscar Isaac in “Inside Llewyn Davis” or Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station” or most likely Leonard DiCaprio for “Wolf of Wall Street.” I can’t believe I’m typing these words, but I am. “Llewyn Davis” has opened this week to doing tremendous box-office and Leo has never won an Oscar, unbelivably.

If you read Jeff Wells and Tom O’Neil over at http://www.goldderby.com , they BOTH LOVED “Wolf of Wall Street”to the max.

Cate Blanchett seems to be storming across all awards-giving bodies in Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine.” And also not registering anywhere is “Saving Mr. Banks” which I’m seeing tomorrow night.

I suffered through “Out of the Furnace” because it SEEMED Christian Bale might turn in a possibly nominatable perforrmance. But he didn’t. I didn’t see much hope for any awards for this hard-scrabble violent film.

But Emma Thompson WAS nominated for Best Actress for “Saving Mr. Banks” by the National Board of Review.

Both the NBOR AND the LA film critics gave Best Actor to Bruce Dern! For “Nebraska” And the NYFCC gave that other spry 77-year-old in the race, Robert Redford Best Actor for “All Is Lost.”

The only across the board unity seems to be Cate Blanchett in Best Actress and also, surprisingly Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club” for Best Supporting Transvestite.

And Sandra Bullock has floated into outer space with nary a mention.

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