a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Here’s a re-print of my “Last Minute Oscar Thoughts ~ “Spotlight” & Mark Rises”

I wrote this because this is what I kept hearing from NYC Oscar voters. And yes, adding the Brit voting bloc in the Academy to the New York voting bloc equalled Rylance surprise success!

Oscar MarchOscar Nominees 2016 Supp.ActressLast minute Oscar thoughts. I can’t believe(!) but OTOH, I do, that Oscarologist Maestro Tom O’Neill just changed his prediction for Best Picture from “The Revenant” to “Spotlight!” Not only that also over at Gold Derby, my esteemed colleague Jack Matthews, seems to be having the same thoughts I was expressing in my last post about British Actor Mark Rylance upsetting Sylvester Stallone in Best Supporting Actor. Rylance is nominated for “Bridge of Spies” and Stallone for his Rocky 6 comeback “Creed.” Is everyone at Gold Derby just reading this blog and stealing my ideas, or are they really the REAL THING? Le Vrai Choise, as the French would say? You can check Gold Derby out here.http://www.goldderby.com

Or are we all witnessing and reporting the same thing? I.E. “Spotlight” could win, and personally I hope it does. And so could Rylance. Pictured below with his real life counterpart, who he played so subtly and brilliantly in “Bridge of Spies.”Over at the Wrap, Steve Pond has been suggesting that the Best Way to Win an Oscar Pool is “to follow the Best Picture.” Meaning that nominees in other categories usually tend to be in or from the Best Pictures. And lest we forget “Bridge of Spies” is also a Best Picture nominee, directed by Steven Spielberg.Mark Rylance 4And also Jack Matthews, in a really great article, the same one I referenced above at Gold Derby, is talking about Deadlines.  And I must confess, full disclosure, that I entered a for real Oscar pool this year, and picked the popular choices “The Revenant” for Best Picture and Sylvester Stallone for Supp. Actor, despite the qualms I’m writing about here.

After reading Tom and Jack, I feel I’m going to lose that pool. I would have won a free ticket to an AMC cinema movie. Oh! Just what I need! To see ANOTHER movie!

Well, being a film critic, it just never ends. They keep coming. And as we speak on a beach in Santa Monica, California, under their signature tent, the Independent Spirit Awards are being handed out. Check outhttp://www.awardsdaily.com who have a thread announcing the winners as they happen.

And what’s going on at the Indpendent Spirit Awards? I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see “Beasts of No Nation”s Abraham Attah, the child soldier win Best Actor there. And also who’s going to deny Idris Elba yet ANOTHER Supporting Actor trophy for the same film?

Idris Elba 4I also think “Tangerine” might surprise. You know that little tranny movie shot on an iPhone? It has a LOT of nominations.

And one more word about Mark Rylance. If there’s a living successor to Sir Laurence Olivier, he’s it. He’s a great actor. One of the greatest now living and is obviously going to go on to an equally stellar career on the big and small screen.

He was terrific in PBS’ “Wolf Hall” this year. In this day and age, there is beginning to be no big difference between TV and movies. Especially as far as acting achievements are concerned. His Oliver Cromwell was ANOTHER great performance. He was in nearly every scene of the entire successful mini-series of the dirty doings during Henry VIII’s reign and he held your attention every single minute. And Academy voters have that to consider,too, as they look at the Supporting Actor category.Mark Rylance Wolf Hall 1Plus, he’s an awards magnet. Every time he steps on a New York stage, they throw a TONY at him.Mark Rylance & Tony

Maybe they’ll start doing that with Oscars now, too.

 

Oscars 2015Big “O” day and all the world( or some of it anyway) will be watching ABC at 8pm EST. And has anything changed in the last few minutes as it went down the wire? Well, Jeff Wells at http:www.Hollywood-Elsewhere.com says he was worried that he kept hearing that Best Picture may be stolen at the last minute by “Spotlight.” Which is something I’ve been hearing, too.

You see, I figure it like this. NOBODY takes into consideration that the AMPAS voters who live in New York, like I do, vote oftentimes as a block. Like the supposedly 600 members of BAFTA supposedly do.

But I think the number in New York is MORE much, much more. And I HEARD that yes, “Spotlight” is going to surprise. I also heard that NOBODY here in the East is voting for Sylvester Stallone.

Then who? The obscure British actor Mark Rylance for his nuanced Russian spy, someone who you think you’d hate, but you end up liking him immensely in “Bridge of Spies.” He just won the BAFTA. And he has won the hearts of NY theatergoers with his THREE TONY winning performances. He’s a Theater God. And all NYC AMPAS voters will have also seen his many incarnations on stage, and they all may be TONY voters as well. They who vote for Broadway every year.

They look down on Stallone. A bogus star, who has made so many bad movies, squandering his “Rocky” cachet. and barely an actor at all and celebrate Mark Rylance as a true actor’s actor. “Mark Rylance is a genius.” You hear that over and over again. And a vote for Rylance is a vote for Steven Spielberg, after all, who’s “Bridge of Spies” received a Best Picture nomination. “Creed” or Rocky VI got only Stallone.

NOBODY respects Stallone as an actor. He didn’t win an acting Oscar for “Rocky I” but the picture did. And so the thinking goes, he’s already been awarded. Some would save over-rewarded for Rocky Balboa.

The Academy is not feeling nostalgic in this era. He’s about to get Lauren Bacall’ed. She who did not win for Best Supporting Actress a number of years ago for the Barbra Streisand directed “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”. Losing it astonishingly to the prestige choice, French actress Juliet Binoche in the Best Picture Winner “The English Patient” in 1996.

Hey! It COULD happen. That would be the biggest upset of the night. If the Brits and the Big Apple AMPAS voters vote for Rylance, he’s got it.And then there’s the possiblity that “Spotlight” might upset, too. Wouldn’t that be a great ending to a night that so full of locks? Leo, Brie, “Inside Out” etc.Juliet Binoche 1Mark Rylance 3Oscars

Oscars Now that’s it all over but the shouting (on Oscar night, this coming Sunday, Feb.28), I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic about other films that have one Best Picture in the past and really won my heart. Some I’ve watched over and over and over again. Some I own. I love them so much I always want them to be with me or near at hand anyway to play at any time.

  1. Gone With the WindGone With the Wind
  2. All About EveAll About Eve
  3. Tom JonesTom Jones 1
  4. The King’s SpeechThe King's Speech
  5. The ArtistThe Artist
  6. Lord of the Rings Part 3, Return of the KingSam & Frodo
  7. Twelve Years a Slave12 Years a Slave 2
  8. RebeccaRebecca 1
  9. Midnight CowboyMidnight Cowboy
  10. No Country for Old MenNo Country for Old Men 1

Final Oscar Predictions!

OscarsHere it is folks, my final Oscar predictions of the season 2015-2016, though Oscars are usually designated by the year they are handed out in so it’s 2016, barely two months old…

It’s Leo for Best Actor for “The Revenant.” Brie Larson for Best Actress of “Room.” And my fave Alicia Vikander is going to triumph in Supporting for my beloved “The Danish Girl.” Sorry, Kate Winslet. Everytime you go up against the lovely Alicia for “The Danish Girl” you lose. But you already have an Oscar. For “The Reader.”aLICIA vIKANDER1And I think it’s going to be “Spotlight.” for Best Picture. I’m going up against “The Revenant” because of the preferential ballot. “The Revenant” is going to win Best Director for Alejandro  Gonzalez  Inarritu and Best Cinematography for “Chivo” Lubezki and as I said, Leonardo will finally win an Oscar (he’s never won, although this is his fifth nomination). This VERY divisive, violent LONNNNNG film WILL get a lot of Oscars. But it’s not going to be so impressive watching it on a DVD, which how much of the Academy voters will be seeing it for the first time. Whereas “Spotlight” will gain.

And sadly, I’ll have to go with the crowd that thinks Sylvester Stallone deserves an Oscar for mumbling his way through “Creed.”

Best Animated Film will be “Inside Out.” Best Foreign Film will be “The Son of Saul.” “Spotlight” will win one Oscar for sure for Best Original Screenplay and “The Big Short” will win for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Should something happen early in the night, like Mark Ruffalo winning Best Supporting Actor for “Spotlight.” I’d just love that. And it would tell us that “Spotlight” may indeed win best Best Picture, too.

Spotlight 7

BAFTA Leo & KateWell, here’s the shot you’ve all been waiting to see, or not. Two people who I DON’T want to win at the Oscars on Feb.28. Leonardo Di Caprio & Kate Winslet with their pair of BAFTA awards from last night in London for (shoot me now) “The Revenant” and (shoot me again)”Steve Jobs.”

But all is not over dear readers, dear cineastes, although there are no more major(or minor)awards to be given out between now and the Big “O” a week from Sunday. Oscar Voters are busy voting now.Most may have voted already. Voting opened on Friday. And I think most members may have voted BEFORE this big BAFTA haul for “The Revenant.”

And with a stunning quintet win of Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Sound, “The Revenant” looks like the Big Bear that’s going to eat up the Oscars. Just like in the movie. Which, as you all know, I hated. But not so fast!

BEAUTIFULLY photographed as it was, with natural winter light, and landscapes we’ll never see unless we lived way up in the north, I am fine with it winning Best Cinematography for “Chivo” Lubezski. And the historic win at the DGA for the director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, was repeated here at BAFTA, and will be, I’m resigned to say, repeating this win at the Oscars. Leo, too.

But will it win Best Picture? The words “Preferential Ballot” have been swirling around in the snowscapes I was slogging through today in New York.Revenant 4

And I saw a glimmer of hope for “Spotlight”, my fave, to win, to surprise, to save the day. You see, the Best Picture Oscar is not voted on like any other of the Golden Guys they are handing out  on  week from Sunday. It’s a simple plurality for all those others categories.

(Why I think Kate Winslet is NOT going to repeat her BAFTA/Golden Globe win I’ve explained in exhaustive detail in the post previous to this one. Read it.)

The preferential ballot is something very complicated. Though you have to list your choices as 1,2, 3, 4, 5,6, 7, 8, it’s the COUNTING of them that changes everything. Let me see if I can illustrate what happens and why.

Here’s my top five for this year.

1.The Danish Girl (pictured below)Alicia 6

2. The Son of SaulTrumbo 3

3. Hitchcock/TruffautHitchcockTruffaut 1

4.RoomRoom 3

5. Trumbo

So let’s just say for the sake of a real argument, my #1, #2, and #3 choices wouldn’t be counted, because those films won’t have gotten a 50% +1 total of other number ones. IF “The Revenant” say, doesn’t get enough #1s on the first count, it triggers a re-distribution of the ballots, and then a re-count. And then the other film that WAS nominated for Best Picture, my #4, would be counted in the “Room” pile, as a #1.  All the remaining Pictures are put into piles, and counted by hand. Anarchic? Arcane? Strange, but true…

Following this?

So it would look like my Number One choice was now “Room.” And what if “Room” didn’t get enough number ones? Well, they just might count my Number Six film, which was “Spotlight.”

Confusing, no?

YES! And I’ve probably gotten this wrong. But I think my #6 choice would now be counted as my #1 and that would be “Spotlight” and would be the way that “Spotlight” may just win the Oscar for Best Picture because “The Revenant” is so divisive, too put it mildly that Oscar Voters would put it on the lowest portion of their list of eight films. Like at #8. THAT could happen. And the film like “Spotlight” or “The Big Short” could win.Spotlight 7

But it sure looks today, after BAFTA, that “The Revenant” is now the winner. It’s going to win many awards, but “Spotlight” or “The Big Short” could win Best Picture. Both will get Screenplay awards. So it looks like they are still in the race. Unless there are so many AMPAS voters who put say, “Spotlight” at #1 to start with, it would just win on a simple plurality on the first tally.

Only Best Picture has been voted on like this. And that’s why we’re seeing so many Best Picture/Best Director splits in recent years. And we may see it again this year. I HOPE! The good guys always win in the end, right?

Alicia 9The most shocking upset of the BAFTA night was Alicia Vikander losing Best Supporting Actress to Kate Winslet! Of all people! It was thought that Alicia’s main competition was Rooney Mara in “Carol”, but lo and behold, it’s turning out to be Kate Winslet for playing what amounts to a Slavic doormat-to-end-all-doormats from the flop “Steve Jobs.” Her role was based on a real person, Joanna Hoffman, marketing executive for Apple and NeXT and Jobs’ confidant in the film. It’s one of those ugly-up roles that actors and actresses use to show their range, as the wonderful Winslet certainly did in this awful film.

Winslet has now won TWO major awards for this slovenly lady. A Golden Globe and now a BAFTA. So her Oscar chances must now be taken seriously. Or do they?
Kate Winslet steve jobs 3It is interesting as I noted yesterday that both these awards for Winslet were from foreign press and industry, the Golden Globes and now the BAFTAs. And she was playing a Polish woman succeeding in America, a woman who was known as the only one who could stand up to Steve Jobs.

However in neither of those awards races was she up against Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl.” In both the Golden Globes and the BAFTA, Vikander was competing in the leading actress race. And Vikander’s role as the long-suffering painter wife of a man Einer Vegener, who was going through a sex change, was in the lead in those races.

Vikander WON over Winslet at the SAG awards, when they were both in the Supporting Actress category and again at the Broadcast Film Critics. Both those wins were for “The Danish Girl” in Supporting Actress as she is nominated at the Oscars. As is Winslet for “Steve Jobs.”

At the BAFTAs last night, Winslet was competing with Alicia in Supporting, but it was for Alicia’s role as the Eva the robot in “Ex Machina.”

“Ex Machina” won nothing last night at the BAFTAs. Neither did “Carol.” Nothing. Nada. Zip.

As happy as I am to watch Winslet career trajectory move heavily forward as she progresses in age, I do have to point out that she has already WON an Oscar. For “The Reader, ” in which she was brilliant, and again doing a German accent. Her German accent was better than her Polish, which kept slipping in “Steve Jobs.”

It’s also interesting to note that both Winslet and Vikander were playing parts that are based on real people, something Oscar always loves, and Rooney Mara was playing a fictional character from the Patricia Highsmith lesbian love story, the ’50s  novel “The Price of Salt” on which “Carol” is based.

So don’t worry, Dear Readers, Dear Cineastes, my conclusion is this. As she did at SAG and the BCFCA, Alicia Vikander will win her first Oscar for her shattering portrayal in “The Danish Girl.”, in the Supporting Actress category, whether she’s a lead or not.

More on the Preferential Ballot, shortly.

Alicia 8

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