a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

As I predicted Dev Patel, the British Indian star of “Lion” won Best Supporting Actor just now at the BAFTAS in London. Upsetting many who were predicting Mahershala Ali of “Moonlight.” Patel, who was also the star the Oscar Juggernaut of its’ year, “Slumdog Millionaire” is a very big star internationally. And while everything else in the major categories was almost rote, “La La Land”, Emma Stone, Casey Affleck, and yes, Viola Davis for “Fences”, it’s interesting to note that the little touted “Lion” got two major awards, Best Supporting Actor for Patel and also Best Adapted Screenplay for Luke Davis. Best Original Screenplay went (thank god!) to Kenneth Lonergan.

casey-kennethLonergan is such a great talent. I can’t praise him highly enough. He’s the real deal. An award-winning playwright/director in the theater here in New York, he’s a great guy, all heart, and just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. When I met him, years ago, I felt like I was meeting Shakespeare. Or as close as we are going to get to him in our time.

His dedication to his craft and his love of actors results in the multi-layered portrait Casey Affleck is rightly winning all these awards for Best Actor.manchester-by-the-sea-10I hope they both continue their way to the gold on Oscar night in their categories, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay.

Strangely, “Moonlight” went home with nothing. As did “Nocturnal Animals.”

Casey Affleck gave a very touching speech about how his mother would take him and his brother Ben to Al-Anon meetings for children of alcoholics. The alcoholic would have been the father, who was also an actor in Boston, where they grew up best friends with producer of “Manchester” Matt Damon, who was also brought up by a single mom in similar circumstances.

“This is an honor I’ll never forget,” said Affleck. “The reason I act is when I was a young kid my mom took me to Al-Anon meetings for children of alcoholics. It was therapy but it was acting and acting has sort of been that for me ever since.”

This was a touch of genius on Affleck’s part, getting up close and personal for the first time in the many, many speeches he’s had to give at every award ceremony you think of this year, UNTIL the SAGs, when Denzel Washington unexpectedly won for his blow-hard performance in “Fences.” That wasn’t acting. It was screaming.

And Dev Patel’s surprise win is no surprise to me. I predicted it as you can see in the last post before this. Last year, Mark Rylance went on to win the BAFTA and then the Oscar. Which I also predicted would happen last year. I knew Academy members hated Stallone, esp. the NY Actor’s Branch, though they nominated him would never let him win. Again.

This could happen this time, too. I keep telling people that the Academy is as homophobic as they were in the “Brokeback” era. And “Moonlight” is  a VERY gay film. Even though it’s made by straight people, and I could see this same result happening at the Oscars.

It’s also interesting to note that “La La Land” won only five awards out of its’ overwhelming 11 nominations. That may be something that is also repeated at the Oscars.

I keep hearing that if any film could upset “La La Land” it’s “Lion” not “Hidden Figures.”

But even though, Ali is straight himself, and he’s playing a straight character “Moonlight” is so gay, I could see the Academy turning up their blue noses at it, the way that the Brits just did.

Emma Stone for Best Actress and Viola Davis in Supporting for “Fences” just nailed their Oscars tonight with wins at the BAFTAS. But Best Supporting Actor is now up in the air, and you KNOW, the Weinsteins will work that advantage to the max. And “Lion” I keep hearing is beloved and this is one category where AMPAS voters can show their love for it. And Patel is an actor of color, too. So there’s no shade thrown here, as they say.








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