a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

fences-1Well, I don’t think any of the as yet unseen Oscar-seeking films is going to FINALLY screen with the impact that “Fences” just did on Saturday night in LA. I always said it would win everything. It’s certainly going to get nominated for everything under the sun, as I always predicted it would.

Denzel Washington, who directed as well as starred in this film, has done himself really proud this time, everyone says, by successfully managing the stage to screen transfer that was everyone’s bugaboo. Chiefly Jeff Wells at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere. But no more. He didn’t think it would transfer to screen well enough to be “an Oscar movie.” But now that he’s seen it, he’s crazy about it.

I, having seen it twice onstage, was just blown away by Denzel’s greatest performance. And Viola Davis’, too. Both of them at their best ever and evidently judging by all the early news. (See Anne Thompson’s piece on Indiewire) It’s nothing fences-3but huzzahs. According to Sasha Stone. http://www.awardsdaily.com there was a standing ovation!

Even though everyone who was at that screening was supposed to hold their critical tongues until the film’s review embargo is lifted. I was not there. I was here, in NYC, but I can tell you what all and sundry have been saying  and it’s nothing but raves. Just the way it was on Broadway. Just as I predicted.

And yes, even Jeff Wells admitted, that Denzel could win his third Oscar, for his re-creation of combative Detroit garbage man. Troy Maxon.fences-6

I never thought I’d ever hear Jeff say that. He’s been a staunch “Manchester by the Sea” supporter since he saw it at Sundance.  And “Manchester” is a wonderful film. I  loved it, too. I hope it wins Something.

“Fences” ascendance is very bad news for the “Manchester by the Sea” bunch. Casey Affleck will now not win his front-runner Oscar for Best Actor. He’ll lose to Denzel. And since Viola has determined to “go Supporting” she’ll win that category.viola-davis-1fences-5 And there goes Michelle Williams front-runner status as the injured ex-wife in “Manchester.” Viola has gotten the Supporting Category all sewn up now. Too bad for three, now maybe four time nominee Michelle. There’s nothing to stop Viola. Her role as Denzel’s injured, long-suffering wife is the type of role the Academy LOVES to reward.

The surprise to me is that there may actually be THREE Supporting Actors nominated from “Fences.” Stephen Henderson, who was in the original Broadway cast, but whose performance I don’t remember at all. Mykelti Williams who was also in the Bway cast but he made even less of an impression than Henderson. I mean, I remember Henderson, APPEARING in it. He was there. But I don’t remember what he did. And I don’t remember Williams at all.

I was too dazzled by Denzel and Viola, I guess. They really were electrifying. And then there’s the role of the son, which I remember vividly. It’s a large, juicy part, and as played by newcomer Jovan Edson, he’s up to be nominated, too.

The three of them could all be nominated and cancel each other out, like the three gran dames of “Tom Jones” did in Supporting Actress in another decade long, long ago. Dame Edith Evans, Joyce Redman and Diane Cilento all went home Oscarless, tom-jones-1while fellow brit Dame Margaret Rutherford won for the V.I.P.S.

And of course, it’s going to be nominated for Best Picture, too, and certainly Best Director. Denzel who has two Oscars already could win two more that night of nights.  Best Director and Best Actor.fences-2And the late August WIlson, who wrote the screenplay before he died, could win posthumously for Best Adapted Screenplay. Wouldn’t that be something? You heard it here first, folks! Below is a shot of the entire cast at the Q&A in L.A.

OscarsSoWhitefences-4,no more. At least not this year!

 

 

 

 

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