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Posts tagged ‘AMPAS’

Why Casey Affleck Will Win Best Actor Oscar.

If I was an AMPAS voter, I think it’s just between my two favorite movies (alas, not “Jackie” evidently..sadly…)”La La Land”casey-affleck-adand “Manchester by the Sea”. Initiallly, if I were a voter, I would’ve just said “Yes!” to La Land’s bounce and bouyancy all the way, but now that I’ve had time to mull it over, if I were an Academy member, I might put down “Manchester by the Sea”as my #1 film, because it has gravitas. “La La Land” doesn’t. Not really.

And Casey Affleck’s incredible performance! Imagine how different that film would be if Matt Damon, the originally intended lead, did indeed do it. I don’t think I could ever imagine Sunny Matt as a Hot Mess. And Casey Affleck plays the conflicted male loser so believably…I mean, he really puts you in the mindset of someone who’s killed, accidentally, but I mean, I’m not going to spoil it any further… The unfathomable despair of those deaths…. It’s almost unbearable. It’s unthinkable. BUT HE BEARS IT. He survives the unimaginable, which is the point of the whole film I think,manchester-art-direction

And Kenneth Lonergan, the filmmaker, is a great under-sung America playwright, has done just that. Put the unthinkable on screen and says “Here. This is what life is about. Multiple losses. Deal with it.” And the audience and Affleck’s character, in fact, the whole of New England village Manchester itself is still grappling with the ramifications of what he did. “Manchester” is a movie that ABOUT something. It’s profound. But it’s also profoundly, unexpectedly funny, but that is its’ genius.

Surviving something you thought you’d never be able to survive. Like this past election….And still having a battered, but intact sense of humor and decency. He’s still alive. He struggles, but he goes on living. As Beckett said in “Waiting for Godot”, “I can’t go on….I go on.”

Affleck is playing one of the most original characters ever written for the screen, in that sense. And he’s won over 30 acting awards already! He’ll win BAFTA in a walk. The Brits go for the serious, the heavy(see “Hamlet”) and if he wins SAG, too! Bob’s your uncle, as the Cockneys say.manchester-by-the-sea-8

I did not like Denzel Washington, over-acting in “Fences,” is his only credible competition in the Best Actor category, but Washington did not get nominated for a BAFTA either as director or actor.  Another big snub. And he lost the Golden Globe to Affleck. And he wasn’t named as one of the five directors in the DGA.

Both, though, will get nominations on Jan.24. The next big test will be at SAG. If Affleck wins that, the game is over.

#Casey Affleck

# Best Actor Oscar

#Manchester by the Sea

# Kenneth Lonergan

  • [This article was originally  a post in the comments section of http://www.awardsdaily.com, but I thought it was too good not to reprint (and re-write it) here. Thanks as always to Awardsdaily.]
  • A.C.E. announce! The Importance of Editing to Oscar

    Nightcrawler 2The A.C.E. or the Eddies, the Editing organization that the public may not know about, but the industry sure does, just announced their nominees and this year in their two film categories there were 11(!) nominations.  Six in Drama and Five in Musical/Comedy, like the Golden Globes. There was a tie in the Drama category, but they’re not saying who or which film. Including “Nightcrawler”, they were “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood”, “Imitation Game” and “Whiplash.” And the also surprising last minute, late comer to the race,  Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”

    The importance of editing as the central or key aspect in film-making today and in the awards season race, can not be underestimated. And also, no Best Picture has won without at least an Eddie nomination, Which is bad news for “Selma”.

    If I had it to do over again, I’d study film-editing myself. Sometimes you feel like you’ve missed your calling and I think about trying to start to learn how to edit everyday. But I digress…

    The guilds are the first REAL sample of how the industry is feeling this year about the Oscars. All the other awards so far are mainly voted on by CRITICS! And there are NO critics or press in the Academy.

    There ARE press agents, but they only are allowed to nominate five pictures for Best Film, as one small for instance. When the nominations are announced they THEN get to vote in all the categories, but this is Phase I, the nomination phase. In fact, Academy members are nominating right now as we speak.

    And next to the VAST Actor’s Branch, the second branch that really has a say, I think, is the Editor’s Branch. Not all the members of A.C.E. are IN the editors branch, by the way, but it’s a pretty good indicator.

    And what’s surprising about today’s announcements, is what was left in that wasn’t expected, like for instance “Nightcrawler” (on my year’s 10 Best List for sure) and also the late opening Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper.

    Nobody expected either of them to make it and that means they may make it into the Best Picture race at the Oscars. Left out was “Selma”. Which is kind of shocking, with all the supposed momentum that is building for it. But maybe it’s not. Also left out, I’m sorry to say was my fave “The Theory of Everything.” Watch for the Oscar nominations to correct that in two weeks.

    But Jake Gyllenhaal has started really picking up nomination speed with nods from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Broadcast Film Critics. And now this.”Nightcrawler” has LEGS! As many legs as a centipede, it seems.

    http://www.hitfix.com has the rest with spirited analysis by their great Kris Tapley and Gregory Ellwood. The complete list is there.

    And on Monday, the Producer’s Guild is set to announced its’ list of ten nominees for Best Picture. The PGA as it’s called was the first group to vote for “The King’s Speech,” when they voted for their winner that year when everyone else up to that point was going “The Social Network,” a film that I STILL intensely dislike. I still think of it as “The Joy of Typing.”

    The PGA even more than the A.C.E. Eddies are ALLLL mostly Academy Members. They have ten slots and use a preferential ballot, like the Oscars do.

    So films that are on the edge of the Oscar bubble, like for instance “Gone Girl,” “Nightcrawler”, “American Sniper,” “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods”, “A Most Violent Year” or “Whiplash” will find their hopes either raised or dashed on Monday.

    I think frontrunners like “Boyhood”, “Birdman”, “Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” will all be on the Producer’s List. And “Selma”, too, even though it was left off the A.C.E. Eddie’s today.

    Never underestimate the importance of film editors. They silently run the show, and year after year do great unsung work that is respected and admired by the industry. These are the first voters we’ve heard from who REALLY count.

    So who do these Eddie Nods help? For sure, Jake Gyllenhaal’s bid to get in to the extremely tight Best Actor Oscar race. It could help give “Nightcrawler” Best Picture cred, too. And don’t forget the wonderful 60-year-old-but-still-glamourous Rene Russo, who could get swept into the Supporting Actress race. Why not? She certainly deserves it.

    And what of Bradley Cooper and “American Sniper”? Well, we shall see what we shall see.

     

     

     

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    The United Colors of Lupita!

    The United Colors of Lupita!

    A picture, in this case a photoshopped one, is STILL worth a thousand words! And all of them are Lupita, Lupita, Lupita!!!

    Scott Feinberg has chosen to wind up his extensive coverage of The Race over at the Hollywood Reporter http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com with anonymous, and VERY candid interviews with FOUR very differnet Academy voting members.

    They are all so all over the place, it’s not to be believed. This year is one for the record books in that sense, but three out of the four VERY different(men I think, all of them, so far) all agreed on only one thing LUPITA NYONG’O for Best Supporting Actress!!! And none of these voters were from the Actor’s Branch which already awarded her the SAG award in this category.

    And the excellent Mark Harris notes that if “12 Years a Slave” loses to “Gravity”(or something else), it will win what “Precious” won which was Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.

    I rest my case.

    E.T.A. They also all agreed on Cate Blanchett.

    Oscars for “Wolf of Wall Street”? Dicey

    Having just sat through the WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too long “Wolf of Wall Street”I really wonder about its’ Oscar chances. It’s a three-hour movie that is self-indulgent and repetitive to the max. It’s budget is upwards of $100 million and it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, directed by Martin Scorsese, but I wonder…

    Simply on paper alone it looks REALLY appealing to the mostly male, mostly older Academy demographic. There’s a great deal of the Voting Membership that will relish this over-the-top Old Man’s Fantasy of a young man’s wild, drug-fueled life.  So yes, on all those counts it does get in. There’s more tits and ass(including Leo’s) to float it to a nomination from that sector alone. Or maybe not.

    EVERYBODY in every branch of  the Academy gets to vote or rather at this stage NOMINATE 10 films for Best Picture, so I think on that alone in a field of ten, and taking into account the “Meat Eaters” Anne Thompson is always referring to from the many tech branches, it will get in.

    But only actors can nominate actors. And only five of them. Are you following me on this distinction?

    And when you turn to the Actor’s Branch, who is the largest and most critical, some would say snobbish section of the Academy, I dunno. They consider themselves, and perhaps rightly so, as the guardians of the High Art (in the case of “Wolf” that is literally) in the Temple of Acting.

    These are the people who will nominate Leo or Jonah Hill…Or not…

    And I can tell you right now, the women in the Actor’s Branch are going to be highly offended by the extreme sexism of this Wall St. romp.

    And they don’t like Leo, who is still only 39, that much any way. They’ve not given him  an Oscar ~ YET, though he has received three nominations.

    He’s giving it all he’s got, and there are some brilliantly funny set pieces, like the soon-to-be infamous “Quaalude” or “Lemon” scene, where Leo takes soooo many “Old” pills of this type, he and Jonah Hill don’t have a reaction til 45 minutes later. Trust me, it’s hilarious, and Leo exhibits a highly developed skill for physical comedy that he has never shown before….but then there’s a climatic scene that is border-line pornographic…well, I don’t see that wowing the sometimes staid Actor’s Branch.

    Jonah Hill executes all that he is given to do expertly, but as of yet, he has been shown NO critical love in the crucial precursor awards, and they’ve been MANY of them at this point. He’s playing a truly repulsive character, repulsively.

    Leo has turned up on some nomination lists. Like the Golden Globes ~ Best Actor Comedy, most notably, and he could win there.

    Although Bruce Dern is in that category, too, for “Nebraska.” Uh-oh.

    Leo really HAS to win there, but the Best Actor race has been so tightly locked up with THE FIVE = Dern, Redford, Hanks, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Matthew McConaughey(who is also in “Wolf” for one terrific scene ONLY). This race has been tied up and locked down for so long, I don’t really know if he’s going to break into it.

    So we could see “Wolf of Wall Street” winding up with a Best Picture nomination in a field of ten. But not much else. Certainly not costumes, since in so much of the film, much of the cast, especially the women, aren’t wearing ANYTHING! I’ve never seen $100 million studio release that has had so much blatant onscreen nudity and sex.

    “Wolf of Wall Street” is infuriating in that it’s this colossal missed opportunity. With all the talent involved, it operates between scenes of great social satire, alternated with scenes of repetitive boredom. And it’s all on Leo. It’s his movie. He’s in nearly every scene. And when he’s good he’s very, very good, and when he’s  bad, he’s just SHOUTING,And  it’s boring.

    And there’s at least FIVE looonnnng monologue scenes of Leo at the mike exhorting his troops, of office workers. to sell MORE, MORE, MORE! Ugh, I wanted to yank the mike out of his hand.

    And awards-wise its’ timing, so late in the season, and opening right after “American Hustle” which deals with the same subject on a much smaller canvas and with only two hours running time. With an astounding comic turn from Jennifer Lawrence, it’s a comedy about greed and con artists that is actually quite funny, in the part of the movie that Lawrence is in.

    I kept thinking “Has Martin Scorcese lost his mind?” He’s never made such a lewd, nude, orgy-filled film, which of course is probably an accurate representation of the abuses of power on Wall St. which is the point of the film. But there’s too much enjoyment in the excesses and the crime and punishment of said misdoings seems not much at all. Although no one is killed, he is getting away with murder. With gleeful merriment trumping the “It’s illegal” side of the story.

    And I can’t believe I’m typing these words, because I wasn’t that wowed by “American Hustle” to say the least, but “Hustle” just did this story, and better, and funnier.

    Jean DuJardin pops up as a very funny Swiss bank exec. And is really marvelously comic and venal. And McConaughey’s one scene is also very  funny but pointed and BRIEF.

    Martin Scorcese is known for serious films about violence and crime.This film too is about crime and the examination of a criminal mind. There’s no blood this time, just lots and lots of nudity and sex.

    Didn’t anybody ever tell these people that brevity is the soul of wit? You can’t have a THREE HOUR COMEDY.

    Paramount rushed Scorcese and his legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker to finish this picture in time for this year’s Oscar Race. It WAS four hours. FOUR HOURS! And now it’s only three. And it’s run right smack dab into the awards karma of “American Hustle.” And it doesn’t gain by comparison.

    And Then…He Didn’t Like it…Jeff Wells, that is, and “Saving Mr.Banks”

    I feel very sorry for Jeff Wells right now. He flew half-way around the world to post his review of “Saving Mr. Banks” and he was well, disappointed by it. That’s really a bummer. To spend all that money and sit for ten hours in coach, to see a movie that you thought you were going to love, then didn’t…

    Well, you can read Jeff’s reaction here at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

    But the ones who benefit by this are we, his readers, who are delighted by these dramatic,colorful postings. So thank you, Jeff, for doing this for us.

    Long story short he didn’t like the movie. AND he didn’t like Emma Thompson‘s performance as P.L. Travers, one-note and irritating. Grating, I think was the word.

    But all the others who’ve seen it and there are PLENTY of reviews all over the internet now, seem to LOVELOVELOVE Emma Thompson’s tart take on Travers. the Australian/British authoress of “Mary Poppins.

    The praise for her is unanimous except for Jeff Wells. Most feel the film though isn’t what it’s cracked up to be and are up-and-down on Tom Hanks’ Disney.

    Gregory Ellwood of www.hitfix.com feels, however, that Hanks will win his third Oscar for playing Walt Disney. His “Capt. Phillips” is a huge hit, and he’ll probably get a nomination for that, too.

    But will T.Hanks be able to knock out Michael Fascintating Fassbender in that category?

    Jared Leto, who is in drag for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” is the other name that keeps cropping up in that category’s conversation. But the Academy is queasy about giving Oscars to drag queens. Remember Jaye Davidson in “The Crying Game”?

    I was soooo sure that he’d win, but OF COURSE, they gave it to Gene Hackman that year for the “Unforgiven.”

    Fascinating Fassbender, however….that’s a TITANIC unforgettably frightening performance! If you’re scared during “12 Years a Slave“, it’s Fassbender’s evil Epps that you’re scared of…Just saying…

    They DO reward scary villains in this category. Javier Bardem  as Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men“? Remember who frightening he was in that Dutch Boy haircut?

    And Fassbender is playing a real-life character, too. There was a scary slaveholder named Epps. There was. Versus an amiable Walt Disney? Crazy stuff…

    I Solve the Mystery! Why Ben Affleck Was Snubbed for Best Director Oscar!

    I think I’ve finally cracked the case, Sherlock. The imponderable Oscar riddle of why Ben Affleck, Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year, was unbelievably snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nomination this year for “Argo.”

    Let me also note, that this snub by the AMPAS director’s branch has turned the entire 2012 Oscar race upside down. Since it happened, the affable Affleck and his terrific, suspenseful crowd-pleaser “Argo” is winning every award in sight. And will continue to do so, too, it seems.

    Tonight is the DGA, and Affleck will probably win Best Director there, too.

    Why then o why did the Director’s branch of merely 370 voters leave him off their list? They left off Kathryn Bigelow, too, but the controversy surrounding her sharp espionage thriller sunk her ship. And Tom Hooper of “Les Miz”? Well, some people just don’t like musicals. And Hooper’s wide-angle, fish-eye-lens, mostly-in-close-up-style-of-shooting of this all sung-through and recorded-live musical, was just too much of a departure for the stodgy director’s branch to take. Too much innovation, methinks.

    But “Argo”? And Affleck? A straight forward thriller diller from start to go? Why did the Director’s Branch not go for “Argo”?

    Well, I think the answer lies in plain sight. In the movie itself. It’s in John Goodman’s hilarious line “You can teach a Rhesus monkey to direct a Hollywood movie in a day.” THAT’S IT. RIGHT THERE. The Directors Branch Voters, or enough of them to make Affleck just miss(probably) were INSULTED! And I mean insulted!

    “He’s making monkeys out of us! Well, we’ll make a monkey out of him!” I think they thought, judging by their actions.

    The Director’s Branch has always been very idiosyncratic, to put it mildly, and what else could it have been that made them react this way?

    Well, we know one thing for sure. AMPAS has never been known to have much of a sense of humor. They continually favor drama over comedy. (So watch out Jennifer Hudson. I mean, Lawrence. Emmanuelle Riva is creeping up on you.)

    And I bet, I just bet dollars to donuts, as Mrs. Patmore, the cook on “Downtown Abbey” would say, that that line about Hollywood directors being as smart as, or less smart than Rhesus monkeys, sunk Ben’s ship for an Oscar nomination. In this VERY competitive year. A few votes could’ve done it. One vote even.

    Obviously, the shoe fit.

    But by not nominating Ben Affleck, they’ve basically handed him every other award of the season, and probably tonights’ DGA, too.

    Mystery solved. He insulted them.Ladies and gentle-persons of the jury, I rest my case.

    “Take That, Oscar!” Who’s on the front page of the NYPost? BEN AFFLECK!

    Yes, it’s the Day After the Golden Globes and everything has quieted down tremendously in Oscarland. And who is on the FRONT PAGE of the NEW YORK POST? A newspaper that it can be said NEVER mentions the word OSCAR in its’ headlines, esp. with more than a month and a half to go? Why it’s BEN AFFLECK!?! Boldly holding his TWO Golden Globes!

    He’s the hero of The Hour! He’s so hot, he’s even selling NEWSPAPERS! And suddenly has the heart of Hollywood on his side. For, of all things, being BUMPED out of the Best Director category by an Austrian auteur Michael Haneke and/or millennial first-timer Ben Zeitlin.

    I don’t know WHO is going to win Best Director now, but really who cares?

    I mean, isn’t it usually Best Actress or Best Picture or Best Actor, or if you’re gay, Best Supporting Actress, that takes the cake in terms of Oscar ink?

    But HOLT ON! This year it’s BEST DIRECTOR that is getting all the attention! I mean, article after article about Ben Affleck AND Kathryn Bigelow being snubbed! With Ms. Bigelow, the reasons are all too clear. All the film’s controversial elements have descended upon HER. What’s the result of HER snub?

    Kathryn Bigelow’s film “Zero Dark Thirty” is no #1 at the Box-Office. Is this the price of a Best Director snub? It suddenly seems like A BEST DIRECTING SNUB is the smartest Oscar Accessory to have right now.

    Best Director was formerly only a category that Oscar wonks could get excited about. Usually, historically, it’s just been a tag-along award in the Public’s Eye, IMHO, because it almost always since I was a child (yes, I prognosticated for my little brother) went hand in hand with Best Picture. Ho-hum.

    But I tell ya, “Argo”s got all the Oscar mojo in the world right now. Warner Brothers is re-releasing it and it will clean up all over again. And “Argo” now has THE STORY. The biggest most important, most elusive element in winning the Golden Guy.

    Like for instance, Anne Hathaway this year has THE STORY in Supporting Actress. Her mother was the UNDERSTUDY for Fantine on the first National Tour of “Les Miz” You can’t top that. She’s a second generation Fantine. Done.

    And now Ben Affleck and “Argo” has THE STORY. Oscar snub-bee par excellence, the voters will rally around this egregious error, and vote for “Argo” all over the place, but especially, for Best Picture, well, just BECAUSE, he was snubbed!!! I’m not kidding! They think like that. Or rather they FEEL like that. Oscar voters notoriously vote with their hearts, not their heads. It’s not an intellectual choice. And everybody loved “Argo” anyway. It was always a consensus choice since it opened at Toronto in Sept.

    And they all secretly, or not so secretly, hate directors anyway, and this is their way of getting back at that pesky, idiosyncratic(I’m being kind) Director’s Branch.

    The New York Post said it all “TAKE THAT, OSCAR!”

    And my idol Liz Smith has said it was going to be “Argo” all the time. And what the director’s branch did was turn AMPAS into an ARMY of JEFF WELLS’. Did I say this already? But it bears repeating.

    At http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com Jeff Wells, who has been a memorable guest on my TV show at the Toronto Film Festival, yes, and talking about “Argo”too!

    Yes, you can see it here http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow, then search for “Jeff Wells” in the search box…

    Jeff Wells has been “Anything BUT ‘Lincoln'” since, it seems forever. He doesn’t bear his grudges lightly, and he HATES Stephen Spielberg.

    I don’t think “Lincoln” with its’ 11 nominations is going to win anywhere. It might get totally shut out, a la “The Color Purple”. Sorry if I’m repeating myself, but history does, ya know, repeat itself, too. 11 Nominations for a Spielberg “breakthrough” film and ZEE-ROW wins.

    Stephen Spielberg didn’t look too happy last night at the Golden Globes. And this is exactly what happened at the Broadcast Film Critics only just on THURSDAY.
    Only Daniel Day-Lewis won. No. I take that back. Tony Kusher won, too, but they gave him Best Screenplay DURING A COMMERCIAL! No that is also saying something. Probably more about what that stupid TV station the BFCA aligned with this year. Talk about lowering the level.

    And no, I’m not a member.

    What all this BEN-love has done though is push Hugh Jackman off the front-and-center of the Golden Globes coverage. The headlines should be screaming “Les Miserables win the most Golden Globes!” But no, it’s all about Ben winning TWO!

    Yes, Ben Affleck has got the Oscar mojo going on. And Spielberg probably alienated all the members of the Academy who voted for “The Blind Side” – well, SOMEbody did! It even got a Best Picture nomination and of course won for the acting-challenged Sandra Bullock. All those members, let’s call them, well, Republicans, did NOT enjoy seeing President Bill Clinton turn up to present the Golden Globe clips of “Lincoln.”

    AMPAS voters see that as taking an unfair advantage. ESPECIALLY if they are Republicans and that whole Bill Clinton moment last night reminded me of the George Clooney/Viola Davis Oscar Issue cover of EW last year. Remember THAT?

    P.S. neither of them won. It was Jean DuJardin and Meryl Streep.

    And “Argo”s win at the Globes last night also reminded Oscar voters that yes, they can kill two birds with one stone and if they vote for “Argo” they get George Clooney up onstage as well as Ben, since he was one of the film’s producers, and they get to FINALLY give Gorgeous George that second Oscar he’s been drooling over for YEARS now, since “Syrianna.” Which since it was Supporting, just wasn’t enough.

    The OTHER story that could get rolling is the “David v. Goliath” scenario of “Silver Linings Playbook” v. “Lincoln” or Harvey v. Stephen AGAIN OR “Shakespeare in Love” v. “Saving Private Ryan.”

    And you KNOW Harvey Weinstein is gonna get that one going big time.

    And whither for that matter was TWC last night? Well their efforts. their magical implied powers yielded them TWO Golden Globes for “Django Unchained” for Quentin Tarantino(screenplay) and Christophe Waltz(Best Supp. Actor) for what a few weeks ago was a leading role. But Waltz was really, really good in that movie and made it watchable and made it all make sense, and spoiler alert! Gets to die violently, too. But he JUST WON an Oscar two years ago, but since it’s Harvey’s only Oscar shot with “Django”s actors, he may just put all his efforts into, except wait!

    He’s got TWO other nominees in the category, too, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, for the fading “Master” and for the very lively “Silver Linings Playbook” Robert DeNiro insulted the HFPA two years ago when he got a Lifetime Achievement Award, and so he wasn’t nominated for “SLP” this year, but he IS for the Oscar.

    So Harvey ended up with just the situation he didn’t want THREE in a category. It’s almost like “Which one will HARVEY pick?” Hmmmm…

    Oscar Nominations FINALLY Announced! Quick Reactions!

    So there they are, surprising one, surprising all, even me. That’s right, dear readers, dear cineastes, the Oscar Nominations for 2011 have finally been announced, and yes, I did wake up VERY early to get the news! And the shocks! The delightful shocks, like for instance, predicting Best Actress completely accurately. Meryl, Michelle, Viola, Glenn, and ROONEY MARA!

    She “knocked out” Tilda Swinton, who was one of the SAG five nominees for Best Actress this year. Her film”We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin” is something the Academy clearly DIDN’T want to talk about. The mother of a school shooter is clearly now outside their “wheelhouse.”

    As is Michael Fassbender full frontal onslaught and yes, his urinating, while nude, onscreen in “Shame.” I KNEW that they would not like to nominate THAT! But yes, they DID nominate Damien Bichir, which I am happy to say, I predicted.

    The noble Mexican illegal immigrant/gardener is definately a heroic figure to the Academy, as Bichir, a great actor in any language, tries his best to save his teenage son from gang-life in today’s L.A.

    I’m also happy to report that Gary Oldman also POPPED UP with no American precursors WHATSOVER in Best Actor for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and it’s about time this great British Actor FINALLY got his first nomination!

    This is probably attributable to the supposedly large British voting bloc within the Academy. TTSS got the most BAFTA nods of any film this year over across The Pond. And Oldman certainly richly deserves this for his astounding decades-long body of work. And you can see my interview with him over at my You Tube channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

    Who he “knocked out” of the Best Actor face, one of the SAG Five men, was Leonardo Di Caprio for “J.Edgar” which I just totally attribute to homophobia on the part of the Academy which not so long ago denied Best Picture to “Brokeback Mountain” and gave it instead to the OK “Crash.” The worst moment in Oscar history. For me, anyway.

    So out of the ten possible choices in my Oscar Nomination Predictions, Leo was the only one I got wrong. To leave out such a big star as Leo is in a Clint Eastwood-directed movie, I find shocking, SHOCKING! But Gary Oldman is a more than worthy choice, and so is Damien Bichir. Congratulations to them both!

    However, I underestimataed the Academy’s enthusiasm for their #1 voting change. Because I thought it would be eight and NINE got in. Again, I got one wrong. “My Week with Marilyn” which is STILL MY OWN PERSONAL #1 movie of the year, although it did get Acting nods for the extraordinary performances of Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe and Kenneth Branagh in Supporting Actor, for his terrific turn as Sir Laurence Olivier.

    You can see alllll the nominations listed at www.awardsdaily.com

    “Hugo” to MY great shock bested “The Artist” in the number of nominations it got. 11 to “The Artist”s ten. Both got nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, which would be Martin Scorcese for “Hugo” and Michel Hazanaviscius for “The Artist”.

    It was Jennifer Lawrence’s finest acting moment when she pronounced Michel H.s name correctly. Hah-zana-VIZ-use, phonetically. Accent on the VIZ.

    “The Artist” also was nominated for Best Actor, Jean Dujardin, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress – Berenice Bejo, Best Score – Ludovic Bource who was won at the BFCA AND the Golden Globes, Best Cinematography, Best Costumes, Best Editing and Best Art Direction.

    “Hugo” scored mainly in the technical categories or “below-the-line” as they’re called in industry parlance, but no acting categories whatsoever, and may be the first Best Picture nominee with the most votes to ever not have ANY actors nominated at all. Not a good sign.

    Historically, the film with the most nominations USUALLY wins, but not always. But “The Artist” is the clear favorite here.

    Steven Spielberg saw his “War Horse” surprise in Best Picture, but also saw no actors from his film get in, and he himself didn’t either for Best Director.

    Best Director including Scorcese and Hazanviscius as I said, and also Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris” and Alexander Payne for “The Descendants.” The surprise Best Director in the Fifth slot was Terence Malick for the controversial “Tree of Life” which also got nominated for Best Picture!

    Best Actor nominee for “Moneyball” Brad Pitt is in “Tree of Life” too, don’t forget, and so is The Girl of The Year Jessica Chastain. Both arguably giving better performances than they did with what they were nominated for “Moneyball” and Chastain in “The Help”, OK, but not great.

    I think “The Artist” is still way out front for Best Picture. And I still think BOTH Jean Dujardin and Michelle Williams could upset.

    “The Iron Lady” only got two nominations. For Meryl’s great lead performance and for Best Make-Up, which it probably will win.

    Glenn Close’s passion project of 30 years “Albert Nobbs” got three nods. For Close, Supporting Actress Janet McTeer and again, Best Make-Up.

    And the biggest surprise of all is the Ninth BP nominee, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close!” And Max Von Sydow for Best Supporting Actor in a wordless mute role in the 9/11 drama.

    “Oscar Race” EW Cover w/Clooney & Viola Davis. Controversial? Accurate? Embarrassing?

    I really wonder if the venerable Entertainment Weekly has jumped the shark this week with its’ “Inside the Oscar Race” cover prematurely, I think, showing George Clooney in a tux (nothing new), but at his side,, resplendent in a white ball gown, is Viola Davis! THIS is new! And the cover states “Front-runners George Clooney (The Descendants) and Viola Davis (The Help).” WHAT???

    I thought Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams were the two heavyweights for Best Actress! But the usually reliable Oscar God David Karger is plunking his two cents down (and EW is presumably totally backing these choices), and inside we see V.D. depicted holding what looks like an award, or a Golden Globe, or SOMEthing, when on closer look it is seen to be a hand mirror. A bejeweled one, but a HAND MIRROR!

    This is the kind of thing that INFURIATES Academy Voters, who are voting or rather nominating, right now as you read this. Many of them perhaps have not even sent their ballots in yet or filled them out, and here is EW acting like IT’S ALL OVER! BAD MOVE, EW!

    I would be OK with this if it was a year where this was TRUE, but George is fighting for his life in Best Actor, (He’s got one already and “The Descendants” is depressing.) against his BFF Brad Pitt, who, BTW, just won Best Actor from the prestigious National Society of Film Critics. Take THAT, EW! They seem to be saying. And the Best Actress race is all over the place, between those three ladies. Williams, Streep & Davis.

    And Viola Davis, as talented as she is, has not yet won ONE major award yet for “The Help”! A cover like this and a lay-out and an interview like that, may infuriate Academy types into NOT voting for her, when the time comes. And it IS a Supporting Performance in most peoples’ books…including mine.

    But to photograph her looking so RADIANT and BEAUTIFUL and AIR-BRUSHED to death, well, we’ve never seen her like this before. And acting like she’s already won! But she hasn’t!

    I fear this cover is going to make AMPAS voters feel like “Wait a minute! Don’t tell US who’s won!” or who to vote for. MISTAKE! This is what the Board of Governors was actually warning people about this year.  See Scott Feinberg’s excellent analysis of this at www.hollywoodreporter.com where Scott now is writing “The Race.”

    And Jean Dujardin of “The Artist” is the one who most Oscar experts are picking for Best Actor. But not to EW.

    I totally agree with Dave Karger with his choice that “The Artist” has already won Best Picture and is waaay out in front in that category. He’s right about that. But I would not be a very good Oscarologist myself, if I didn’t feel it incumbent on me to say “WAIT A MINUTE! Hold your (War) horses, EW!”

    What they are doing is championing or campaigning for Clooney/Davis with this glossy cover and the even glossier interview inside. Acting like it’s a done deal. That is SOOOO BAD in Oscar campaigning terms.

    And I know Dave Karger is familiar with Oscar 101.

    I’ve NEVER seen EW so blatantly Up a Duo from two different films, yet, who may not be pictured together ever again this awards season. How embarrassing! But EW is nothing if not BOLD.

    However, their first Oscar cover of the season isn’t a NEWS issue. It never is.

    Didn’t they depict “Finding Neverland” once upon a time? Oy vay.

    And there was once an Oscar issue like this with three actresses shown. I think it was Jennifer Connelly and Nicole Kidman and somebody else. And that third lady did not get nominated. I can’t even remember who she was. How embarrassing was that for her? And presumably for the magazine. But guess not, cuz they’re doing it again!

    But some of you will remind me who that third gal was, who didn’t get nominated.

    And even though Michelle Williams is splattered all over the INSIDE of the magazine in their for real predictions section on who’s going to be nominated…that story/interview on George ‘n’ Viola’s friendship was a little grating and self-serving. And yes, both of them are acting like they’ve ALREADY WON! NO! They haven’t!

    THIS IS A HUGE OSCAR “No!NO!”

    George has picked up a couple of critics awards, but Viola has gotten none, separately, herself, for Best Actress. Though “The Help” has gotten kudo-ed for Ensemble in several places.

    This is the kind of cover that could de-rail a campaign. SERIOUSLY. Dave, what were you thinking? Well, obviously, he thinks he’s right.

    I beg to differ.

    And inside, though, his predictions themselves, were pretty spot-on for who was going to be nominated for Best Picture, Actor and Actress, though he’s got Michael Fassbender in there, and I think it’s Demian Bichir. Although Demian DOES receive a cute consolation prize, a “For Your Consideration” box.

    But his supporting picks were all over the place, especially in Supporting Actress.

    I was shocked at how wobbly his Supporting predictions were and yes, the Supp. Actress category is historically the hardest to predict. He’s got Berenice  Bejo (yes, she’s nominated for a BFCA, Golden Globe and a SAG) Ditto Octavia Spenser. He’s got Janet McTeer pictured, and I think that’s right. And Jessica Chastain for “The Help” which seems to be what she’s inevitably nominated for, though, it’s the least of her EIGHT performances this season! And then he has Melissa McCarthy, who EW just had on another of their covers recently as “The Queen of Comedy”. This would be for the gross-out “Bridesmaids.”

    He doesn’t mention Vanessa Redgrave AT ALL. NOWHERE. And I think she WILL TURN UP here. Especially after being snubbed by BAFTA!!! Can you believe it?

    I’m sure it’s the ghost of her earlier-in-life, extreme left-wing policies from the ’60s still haunting her. But if the Academy, Anglophile Lefties all, (well, the majority anyway) will over look Redgrave’s policy and put her in where she belongs and she could win this for her ASTOUNDING performance in “Coriolanus.”

    Karger also gives Carey Mulligan from “Shame” a “For Your Consideration” box. And that is valid. She was great, if not greater, than Michael Fassbender in “Shame.”

    We all know Christopher Plummer is going to win his career award in Supp. for “Beginners” and Dave Karger duly notes this. The other nominees, in this category, though, except for Kenneth Branagh are all up in the air. ESPECIALLY, his pick of Max Von Sydow for “Extremely Late and Incredibly Distasteful”! I don’t think so.

    He’s got Jonah Hill and Albert Brooks in there but they were overlooked by SAG, and Nick Nolte and Armie Hammer WERE SAG-nominated, which he notes, but doesn’t see them getting in.

    Who could pop up here, unexpectedly, is Corey Stoll for his finely etched portrait of Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris.”

    And Kathy Bates and/or Marion Cotillard could be two last-minute  pop-ups from “Midnight in Paris.” They both just were named on the BAFTA long list…So they’ve been noted there.

    Oh, and that BAFTA long list!…well, let’s just say it’s TOO LONG to even bother with at this point. But as always you can check out www.awardsdaily.com for a much closer look at that ENDLESS list, on which nearly everybody who made a film this year, is on. Wait for the BAFTA nominations themselves. But Beth Stevens, at Awardsdaily does a really good job at parsing them, especially in the comment section.

    National Board of Review gives “Moneyball” & Brad Pitt NO-thing!

    So now the National Board of Review announces. Sadly (to them) in #2 after the New York Critics Circle announced FIRST on Tuesday. And as I predicted this is group who would be so incensed that they were not the FIRST out of the gate, as they always have been historically, they would pick NO BIG WINNERS who already won earlier this week. “The Artist” did hang on to a spot in their Top Ten(They have a very odd line-up of awards, always).

    But picture went to “Hugo” which I despised, and Best Director was Martin Scorcese for said non-children children’s film. BORED ME TO TEARS for the first hour! With the worst child actor EVAH in a leading role. EX-CRUUUU-CIATING.

    This leviathantian epic is PROBABLY NOT going to get nominated for Best Picture. Even. It’s not gonna look good in 2D on a screener which is the way most AMPAS voters, and SAG, too, for that matter, will inevitably view it.

    Best Actor is their beloved George Clooney, who is SUDDENLY back in the race again, after being left out pretty completely on Tuesday by the NYFCC. And Shailene Woodley, his mouthy teenaged daughter-from-hell probably does cement her Supporting Actress nomination with this win. (And also an Indie Spirit nom in this category, when Clooney got NO-thing from the Indie Spirits.) And “The Descendants” won big here with three major wins. George, Shailene and Alexander Payne for Adapted Screenplay…But they award George almost every year no matter what.

    But who and what this hurts(if it hurts at all) is “Moneyball” and Brad Pitt and everyone involved with it , who did not even score in the NBR’s Top Ten. OUCH!!!

    So it is Brad v. George for Best Actor? I think they effectively cancel each other out and hand it to Jean Dujardin for “The Artist” which at least scored in their “Top Ten”. Oh! I’m repeating myself!

    So, I will repeat myself some more and once again reference “The Artist”s artists with moi on my You Tube channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

    The only award that duplicated the NBR win last year at the Oscars was Christian Bale in “The Fighter.” So this bodes well for Christopher Plummer who won here for “Beginners.” And doesn’t bode so well for George or Shailene, who will probably get nominations from AMPAS, though.

    The NBR also has a very bad history with Actress winner, so the stunningly brilliant, yet horrifying turn by the great Tilda Swinton for “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin” who is the winner here as Best Actress…is basically winning what can now be called the Lesley Manville award, since that brilliant Brit won here for the amazing “Another Year”, and then went on to win nothing else.

    I don’t think Tilda’s tremendous, bloody turn will sit well with the Academy. Though certainly it needs to be…if there is any justice in Oscarland, and we know of course, that there isn’t.

    So other than Rooney Mara getting a Breakthrough Performance Award and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” landing in the Top Ten, this is the only recognition this film that made the NYFCC WAIT got. Rooney Mara is playing Lisbeth Salander here in David Fincher’s American re-make..

    So what does this all mean? I think it means CLEARLY less than the NYFCC. It means that Gorgeous George is down but by no means out. And that “The Descendants” is still in the game. And that Brad Pitt and his “Moneyball” makers better look to their PR campaigns for Oscar, like NOW!

    But it is pretty much of a sharp slam to Pitt & co.

    And “The Help” got Best Ensemble, FWIW and nothing else…

    So the only one who this wacky award clearly helps is Christopher Plummer. But then we knew he’d win for Best Supporting Actor way back in June!

    And “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two” made it into the Top Ten and got a special award for the franchise as a whole. OR hole, whichever way you want to parse it.

    For a complete list of the NBR(also-rans)winners see Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone’s www.awardsdaily.com

     

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