a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Archive for the ‘women’s rights’ Category

Viola Davis Wins Best Supp. Actress, Gets Another Standing O

viola-at-oscarsViola Davis, the most expected and predicted winner of the night Best Supporting Actress for “Fences.” In a beautiful red off-the-shoulder gown with a train, she looked like she was really levitating as she give one of the greatest speeches she has ever given. Again. She always gives great speeches. viola-davis-fences-1

Kimmel joked “She just won an Emmy for that speech.” She is a great, great actress, one of the greatest on this planet. I’m in awe of her. And she’s from Rhode Island, which is where my mother was from.

This was her third nomination. She’s the first woman of color in history to have three nominations.  She should’ve been in the lead category. I wish she hadn’t switched. It was her choice, they say. I think she would’ve won whatever category she was placed in.

“The Salesman” wins Best Foreign Film for Ashghar Farhadi. A woman accepting for the absent filmmaker, who is Iranian, who was not present, protesting the recent travel ban on people from his country.

Sting sings one of his songs, this one “The Empty Chair” for the documentary on the slain journalist James Foley. Very short, but touching. Very political evening.

And it’s important to note that for the first time two African-Americans have won both Best Supporting Acting Awards in the history of the Academy and it’s about time, too, isn’t it?

“Zootopia” wins Best Animated film. There’s been no surprises tonight, unless you want to say that Mahershala Ali was a surprise. Although just about everyone else predicted him.

“La La Land” FINALLY wins something its been nominated for Production Design.la-la-land-seine

Can Meryl Parlay Her Golden Globes Speech Into Oscar #4?

meryl-streep-oscarHer Unforgettable Speech at the Golden Globes last Sunday was fiery, brilliant And she reminded us all that she is the greatest there ever was and certainly deserved her Lifetime Achievement Award. I certainly agreed with every word she said, but was she doing something more? Was she going for the Gold? Was she consciously or unconsciously trying to secure her Oscar Number Four? This time it would be for “Florence Foster Jenkins” which she is currently nominated for both SAG and BAFTA?

It could happen.

She effectively upstaged every one and everything that night at the Globes and ended up on the front page of every newspaper and magazine world-wide, looking like she had just one something BIG. Like an Oscar. The nominations are going to be announced on Tuesday morning, Jan. 24, albeit in a new format. They are going to be  shown as a live feed to all and sundry, not a live announcement in front of an audience of press at 5am PST as always before. So it can be shown as part of GMAmerica. We’ll see how this gambit works out.

But Meryl will be nominated again, you can take it to the bank, for her astonishing star turn as the worst opera singer who ever lived Florence Foster Jenkins in the hilarious, touching movie of the same name.florence-foster-jenkins-2-jpg

And in a tumultuous year where she was one of the bravest possible making the political statement that she did, SAG may decide to reward her courage first, when it holds its’ ceremony this week. And that may set the stage for her to win her fourth Oscar, too, tying her with all time winner Katherine Hepburn. Although Young Emma Stone seems a slam dunk at SAG. Best Actress is the only place SAG members can vote for the” La La Land” juggernaut.

The 67 year young veteran has some stiff competition this year.Perhaps her stiffest ever, as she is looking at her 20the Oscar Nomination! 20th! That’s already a record breaking honor.meryl-streep-2

The Best Actress race is the tightest in Oscar history. We have front-runner and Golden Globe winner Emma Stone, closely followed by BFCA winner Natalie Portman as Jackie, and now French icon Isabel Huppert, who just won ANOTHER Best Actress trophy at the Palm Springs Film Festival for the French language film “Elle.” Huppert also just won the New York AND LA film critics, so she’s on a major role. Meryl could upstage them all. Once Again. The power and anger and eloquence behind her Globes speech is something SAG, then the Academy might want repeated on their stages, too. It made headlines.

Supposedly going to be the lowest rated Oscar broadcast in years, industry voters may just want La Streep to put it back on top. and needless to say, her Florence was a fine, fine award-caliber performance. She’s got stiff competition with Stone and Portman and Huppert, but they’ve got stiff competition, too. And with Taraji P. Henson’s “Hidden Figures” suddenly trouncing “Star War: Rogue Nation” at the box-office this MLK long weekend. It’s going to be quite a jam-packed category. Stay tuned.florence-foster-jenkins-3#Meryl Streep

#Oscar Number Four

#Florence Foster Jenkins

#Meryl Streep

#Hugh Grant

#Best Actress Oscar

#Acceptance Speech at Golden Globes

#Golden Globes

#Natalie Portman

#Emma Stone

#Isabelle Huppert

#La La Land













Golden Globe Winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson on “The Stephen Holt Show”

aaron-taylor-johnson-winning-golden-globeThis video is from a few years back when I interviewed a then-unknown(in the US) Aaron Taylor. At the time that was the entire name he was using. He then took his wife’s last name Johnson and hyphenated it. Into Aaron Taylor-Johnson. And he was the first, and perhaps biggest surprise upset of last night’s Golden Globes in Best Supporting Actor, right at the start of the show. He’s playing a serial killer btw in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.”aaron-taylor-johnson-3

#Aaron Taylor Johnson

#Nocturnal Animals

#Golden Globe Winner


#Best Supporting Actor

# John Lennon

# Beatles

# Nowhere Boy







“La La Land” Best Picture NYFilm Critics, Isabelle Hupert, Michelle Williams Best Actresses

michelle-williams-1The New York Film Critics finished their annual announcement of winners with “La La Land” named as Best Picture and Isabelle Hupert as Best Actress for “Elle”& “The Things to Come.” Michelle Williams was cited as Best Supporting Actress for “Manchester by the Sea” and also her role as a bemused house-wife in one part of the three-part “Certain Women.”la-la-land-1isabelle-hupert-1By honoring both “Elle” and “The Things to Come”, the NYFCA is really acknowledging Huppert’s towering career in French films, where she is an icon. Both films are in French. This definitely gives her a leg up in the very competitive Best Actress race at the Oscars.

She’s also among the nominees for Best Actress for the Broadcast Films Critics. I’ll get to them later today. It’s an avalanche of nominees. But off the top of my head, Best Actress of course is Emma Stone for “La La Land”, Natalie Portman for “Jackie”, Amy Adams for “Arrival” and Annette Bening for “20th Century Women.” The BFCA had six slots to accommodate all these talented ladies, but the Oscars only have five so one of them will be left out.

I can also quickly note that once again “La La Land” lead the field with 12 nominations. Meaning this year is going to be a very “Slumdog Millionaire” year where one film just walks all over everything else, and never misses a beat on its’ road to the Oscar for Best Picture. More later.

Got to see a Broadway show tonight. “Oh Hello.” Until then Oh, good-bye!








Indie Spirit Awards Announce Noms.What Does It Mean? Something, if You’re Ben Foster

jackie-tourThe Indie Spirit Awards announced their nominations today. So, what does it mean, these days? Not much. But something, but…well, in terms of influencing the Oscars, really not that much. Unless you’re Ben Foster and I’ll try to explain why.

Most of these worthy Indies get a shout out, maybe a slight nudge into bigger distribution, bigger recognition than they would have otherwise, but it serves to illuminate Oscars voters as they sit home for the holidays in Aspen, Bel Air or wherever, as to which DVDs of Oscar movies under consideration in their Oscar pile, which believe me grows and grows like the Grinch, at this time of year. It tells them what to watch and what to skip as to what’s been presented to them so far.

The Indie Spirit Awards, and the Gothams, bless their feuding hearts, tell Oscar voters what to watch this year, and this year it’s resoundingly for “Manchester by the Sea” and also “Moonlight”, as expected, but several things didn’t happen as planned. Like the ascendance of “Jackie,”which got a plethora of nominations besides Natalie Portman as Best Actress. It also got Best Picture, Best Director(!) and more.

I think the Indies giving an ensemble award to the entire cast of “Moonlight,” good as they may be, cuts into their individually getting any nomination here. (They aren’t eligible for separate awards. Just one.) While their director GLBT African-American breakthrough writer/ director Barry Jenkins, helps him  towards a screenplay Oscar nomination, but not necessarily as a director.(Different branches at the Academy. VERY different, and separate too from the massive Actors Branch.)

There are two female directors nominated and I am SURE that they won’t be come Oscar nomination Day. They are for sure most likely not in, while the much-liked and respected Kenneth Lonergan of “Manchester” and also, probably Martin Scorsese for “Silence,” will get included instead of the women directors, worthy though they may be. Andrea Arnold and Kelly Reichardt are the ladies in question. And their films “American Honey” and “Certain Women” which I admired greatly while covering it at the NYFF.

Pablo Lorain’s shocking (to many, but not to me) nomination for Best Director for his superb, blood-curdling, but at the same time sensitive helming of “Jackie” is very likely the Man of the Hour, and the VERY snobby, insular Director’s Branch of the Academy is going to like Lorrain a lot. Leaving Jenkins to probably win Best Director at the Indies, while the Academy skunks “Moonlight” because it’s too-too GAY.

Spreading the actors into an ensemble, may mean lazy Oscar voters won’t even take the time to find out who Naomie Harris is, who she’s playing or why they should nominate her. I don’t think “Moonlight” is going to be watched. It’s “Carol” all over again. And that stand up and Out Lesbian love story was something they weren’t going to nominate for Best Picture. The two lead actresses, sure. Big stars like Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, with name recognition value. But who the hell is Naomie Harris?

This helps Mahershala Ali in Supporting because the Indies MAY encourage(Six nominations for “Moonlight” the most this year) the tired-eyes AMPAS voters, MAY watch the first 15-30 minutes of the film before they decide it’s too GAY for them, and everyone’s a crack head. But Mahershala’s character dominates those precious beginning minutes quite beautifully. And if they’ve been paying attention, they’ll find out that he’s also in real life a Muslim. DONE. And he may win in this category. Academy, in this election year, giving a main Oscar to a Muslim actor of color would make a HUUUUUGE statement.manchester-by-the-sea-3

But I worry about the hugely talented Naomie Harris.(She’s the crack-head Mom, btw.) Also Michelle Williams not getting nominated for “Manchester by the Sea” is RIDICULOUS! The Oscars WILL nominate her. Only Molly Shannon for “Other People”(what?) in that category has a chance to make an impact in Supporting Actress. They know her from SNL.

Now another anomaly is that “La La Land”, “Fences” and Martin Scorsese’s just completed and beginning to screen “Silence” are not nominated at all for the Indies because their budgets were too large. The Indie Spirits are solely for Indie films. And Weinstein’s “The Lion” was also deemed ineligible.

And you can bet for sure that they Academy will watch all four of these biggies and probably nominate all four in a great variety of categories.

Natalie Portman will win in Best Actress in the Indies in a walk. She’s nonpareil as the murdered late President Kennedy’s heroic wife. She has no competition. And she’ll probably win at the Oscars, too, even though she’s won before. She’ll also win the Golden Globes for Best Actress Drama. While Emma Stone is likely to win Best Actress Comedy or Musical at the Globes, although she’ll have tough competition from Meryl Streep for “Florence Foster Jenkins.”hell-or-high-water-1

I’d also like to give a BIG shout out to the fact that the always excellent Ben Foster got a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Indies for “Hell or High-Water.” The New York Times has already named him the Best Actor of his Generation a year or two ago, and I bet they come back around to loudly remind everyone that they got there first with Foster. His nomination could knock already-awarded Jeff Bridges out of competition in that category perhaps completely.

The superb Foster has never even been nominated for the first class work he’s done FOR YEARS! (See “9:10 to Yuma,” etc. etc.) The time is right for him to be acknowledged STAT!  Naomie Harris, too, but that’s a longer shot…I hope not, but…I can just hear Ms. Harris somewhere in England saying “Thanks Indies, but I’d rather have the individual nomination.” Joel Edgerton, for “Loving,” who was completely shut  out for Lead Actor is probably complaining that he didn’t get nominated AT ALL!

manchester-by-the-sea-5 Whereas Casey Affleck who changed his career with his indelible drunken janitor/reluctant father figure in “Manchester” will totally win here. Both he and Natalie Portman can go two-for-tw0 at Indies and the Oscars, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did!

For the complete list of nominees and this year’s many, many categories go to http://www.awardsdaily.com

Wonderful, Important “Falsettos” is Back on Bway!

falsettos-1The most astonishing, important new musical on Broadway,  isn’t a new musical at all. It’s a revival of “Falsettos.” And in its execution and impact, it is absolutely overwhelming. In Act Two. In Act One, well, it left me wondering what all the fuss was about. It won Tonys back in its’ day,(1992) and the same Tony-winning team of composer William Finn and director James Lapine are both back, too. It’s cumulative effect however is devastating. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Mine among them. I could barely speak, either.

I didn’t know what was coming in Act Two, but most people know what it’s about. It is a damaged, damaging cry from the front-line of AIDS. And this revival of “Falsettos” is so fresh and new, especially in Act 2, as I’ve said, that it hits you like a ton of bricks as its’ horrible, inevitable denoument plays out.

And of course, it’s the character I loved the most, Whizzer, who gets sick and dies. He’s played by the admirable Andrew Rannells, who launched like a supernova as the lead in “Book of Mormon” six years or so ago. But here he surely has stepped into a kind of legend with this heart-wrenching portrayal, that does not once ask for self pity of any kind.

He’s starring opposite another Broadway legend of sorts of the most modern kind, the two time Tony winner, Christian Borle, who also astonishes and steps up his game big-time as Marvin.the bisexual love of Whizzer, who survives him. But suffers with his decline with an anguish and depth I didn’t think Borle was capable of. But he is and he makes you cry along with him as Whizzer slowly dies. One of their greatest love songs, “Two Unlikely Lovers.”

Their song ” What Would I Do(If I Hadn’t Met You)” is a love song that tops the show and makes you think and makes you cheer with pride, all at the same time. I wanted to give it a standing ovation, but was so emotionally devastated by its’ power and beauty, I could not stand. Just yell, hoarsely “Bravo”!

And if Mr.Rannell’s doesn’t get a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his “Everybody’s Gotta Die Sometime” as he expires…well, I don’t know what to say.

This show deserves all the accolades that will get thrown at it. Stephanie J. Block can reap a Supporting Actress nomination surely for her turn as  Trina.the ex-wife of Borle and the mother of their understandably confused child, twelve-year-old Jason( a fantastic Anthony Rosenthal. )She’s never been better than when slamming out the solo “I’m Breaking Down.” As she tries to describe the confusion a straight woman feels who is left by her husband for another man.falsettos-3

This is a limited run only through Jan. 8 however. It’s at the Walter Kerr, where “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”  ran for two and a half glorious years. And now it’s got another smash musical there “Falsettos.” I hope it runs forever.



#Andrew Rannells

#Christian Borle

Impact of Election on Oscar Race

fences-6I was just about to write a rave review of the wonderful, important revival of “March of the Falsettos” and then The Election happened and turned the world, and my brain and everyone else’s upside down.

I tried to write about it but I couldn’t. I was in such deep shock. Like when you have a serious fall, as I did recently, and it wasn’t until hours later, or was it a day later, that the real pain kicked in, and I was reminded I had fallen backwards onto a fire-hydrant. It took four or five really strong women(In town for the marathon, I’m guessing) to pull me back up and set me on my feet.

Yes, my reaction to The Election was just as severe as that, as disappointed for anyone who voted for Hillary. I can’t believe it happened. I’m still processing it. And so is the country. It’s something that I can’t snap out of but just being depressed and angry isn’t constructive. Hillary Clinton had nothing but a positive message. Maybe there is something good inside Donald Trump. Well, first of all, he’s a native New Yorker. As I am. And that counts for something.

After coming out of a Whole Foods on Union Square, I ran into hundreds of protesting young people. I got on a bus. It took quite awhile for the big New York City Bus to get through the noisy crowd of protesters. They made me smile though. I knew what they were feeling. I had done this, too, in my youth. Protesting the Viet Nam War. Civil Rights. Free Nelson Mandella. Gay Rights. Aids. There’s been a lot to protest, always peacefully. Make your voice heard.I was happy to see them there.LGBY handsThis made me think of what a terrible day it was when Ronald Reagan got elected. I thought it was it the end of the world. It wasn’t. The same way when Bush after Bush after Bush entered the White House. Until Bill Clinton. Until Barack Obama.

I’ve been thinking of the night when “Brokeback Mountain” lost the Oscar to “Crash.” Sasha Stone and I were both disconsolate that night and so was everyone else on Oscarwatch. We thought we’d never get through it. I was never going to watch the Oscars again. But I did. We got through it because we were together.

Sasha did everything she could think of to help Hillary. I’m still shocked, and sickened, but she’s probably more shocked and more sick. She and Assistant Editor Ryan both added Rodham as their middle names.

But, as with “Brokeback”, she went back to work and felt back. I did, too. Over the years I’m happy to report that I developed a friendly relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway and Michelle s and Williams and now Ang Lee, who did win his first Oscar for “Brokeback” by the way. I loved his new “Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk.”

But all those disappointments and depressions and shocks were way worse than this. Maybe as much as I loved Hillary, and I still do, I just knew, I just KNEW that America was never going to elect a woman to the Oval Office.

And now this happened. Donald Trump may not have meant a lot of what he said. Was it Melania or Ivanka who said he was “saying all those things just to get elected”?

Melania Trump and Michele sitting down to have  tea, to chat and tour the White House. File it under a list of Things I Never Would Have Thought Ever To Have Happened.

And now the Oscar Race, how is this going to land with the very left wing Academy? I think this says goodbye to anything light and fluffy like “La La Land” and hello to something that can’t be denied like “Fences” or the very political “Jackie.”

viola-davis-fences-1jackie-1fences-3Gay Pride 2016 2

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