a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Ann Dowd’

Best Supporting Actress Oscar Nomination Predictions

Following on from my earlier Oscar Nominations Predictions here are my Best Supporting Actress nominations. 

This is the wacky category which is always unstable and where ALWAYS surprises turn up. Even to me. Like for instance last year Jackie Weaver getting nominated for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Even SHE didn’t expect it, she has said.

Why, in a rather weak performance, did she get in? Well simply put she was in a film every Academy voter was watching, to look at the other eventual nominees Bradley Cooper, Robert DiNiro and eventual winner Jennifer Lawrence, and they saw Weaver playing mother hen to all of them, and so out of sheer laziness, I feel, they just wrote her name down as well. Instead of looking at a separate DVD screener (even if they were sent one) on Magnolia Films Indie starring Ann Dowd.

Weaver replaced Dowd in the final Nomination line-up. Even though she was NOMINATED for a Broadcast Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress and WON the National Board of Review.

Weaver was also in a film the Weinstein Co. were pushing. As always, DON’T UNDERESTIMATE HARVEY!

So who does Harvey have in his Supporting Actress stable this year? Well, Julia Roberts, in the best performance of her career in “August:Osage County” so I think she’s in. And so are his other ladies, Opran Winfrey in “Lee Daniels The Butler” and also Octavia Spenser in “Fruitvale Station.”

Adding in Lupita Nyong’O’s breakout debut performance in “12 Years a Slave” and Golden Globe winner and last year’s Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle.”

And 84-year-old June Squibb gets in for “Nebraska.”

Also, I don’t think the Academy can resist making history this year by nominating THREE African American actresses in the same category! That would be Oprah, Lupita Nyong’O, and former winner in this category Octavia Spenser.

ETA: I just realized I predicted SIX nominees! Well, that can’t be right!
Sorry! So who gets left out. Unfortunatley, it’s either Octavia Spenser, but because she’s got Harvey behind her, and he’s ALSO got to do some heavy lifting for Julia Roberts in this category AND Oprah, too, who surprisingly is not a slam dank(She didn’t get a Golden Globe nomination! SHOCK!). He may split his infinity here. And “Fruitvale Station” as worthy as it is, is NOT “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”Or Octavia gets in and June Squibb does not. Last year, Ann Dowd didn’t.

Oscar Thinking and Re-Thinking About Ann Dowd

I guess any of you who have been following my blog and my web-series, never mind my TV series, know that this particular Oscar season I was more involved than I ever was in my whole Oscar-obsessed life.

True, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. Basically since I could write.

And also true, I started doing this the minute I got my own TV show 25 years ago. I had another expert and myself and it was a dialogue.

Then sometime in the early 00’s I connected with Oscarwatch.com and Sasha Stone. And I guess the rest, as they say, is Herstory.

But of course, I had to get even closer, didn’t I? And so this year when I was approached by the great Indie and stage actress Ann Dowd to help her with her very own, self-funded Oscar campaign for “Compliance” I did.

And it was a real education for the both of us, I can tell you.

Sasha at http://www.awardsdaily.com which is what Oscarwatch.com is called now has written, once again, as she invariably does on a staggering, daily basis, about NEXT year’s upcoming Oscar season. And this one is barely done.

But as Sasha so expertly lays it out, it’s pretty clear what’s coming our way, and “Monuments Men” seems to already be the front-runner, just straight out of the Gate.

It’s George Clooney v. the Nazis and he wrote, directed, produced and stars in this one. George is super hot again after the “Argo” win, so since this film hasn’t even begun to shoot yet, I won’t rain on anybody’s parade. Yet. But it does seem like a front-runner already.

And as Sasha always says, you know what happens to front-runners…

But back to Ann Dowd, what Sasha did point out in her astute, austere assessment of THIS year’s race was that no nominee was not backed up by an ace publicist. And a campaign.

And what does that mean? Lots and lots of money.

Poor Ann Dowd spent $16,000 or so of her own money to send screeners of “Compliance” to all the Voting Members of the Academy and also the nominating committee of the Screen Actors Guild. And she didn’t get a nomination from either voting body. Which is awful. But if you do Sasha’s math, it makes perfect sense.

You need to spend even MORE money than Ann did. You need to take out ads and have parties thrown for you. Parties go on all the time in L.A. before Oscars Phase I & also Phase II, and you need to be attending all those parties, especially if you are new to they, them, the Academy.

The AMPAS members are all too happy to meet new, talented faces, so its’ not their faults. It’s getting IN TO those parties. And that’s no mean feat.

But you have to go to a party EVERY DAY sometimes three times a day as Marion Cotillard did the first year she was nominated and won for “La Vie En Rose.” Acting in French, a complete unknown, she taught herself English by day, and networked like cra-zee at night, and she charmed all who met her, and she won.

And PS. her brilliant performance certainly deserved it. BUT SO DID ANN DOWD’S!

Let me quickly add that she did get nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress and also WON the National Board of Review award for that same category.

So she did receive accolades and the Santa Barbara Film Festival honored her as a Virtuoso. So Ann’s been flying back and forth between both coasts for months now, it seems.

IF ONLY she had received that elusive nomination! But it went to Jackie Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Which was a film all these people, all these voters saw. Evidently, they didn’t watch the screeners Ann sent them.Or worse. they didn’t like “Compliance.”

But the moral of the story is ~ if you don’t have a Cyntha Swartz, or a Michele Robinson or a Tony Angelotti behind you to start with. You’re not going to get an Academy Award nomination.

It’s like Hollywood is a closed shop. But we knew that, didn’t we? How naive can I be?

Oscar Blues for Ann Dowd’s Non-Nomination…

Still reeling from the Unexpectedness and downright unfairness of many of today’s Oscar nominations. Ann Dowd’s inexplicable and totally unacceptable omission from the Best Supporting Actress category is horrendous, just horrendous. An injustice has been done. And to replace her with that Australian granny-on-steroids, Jackie Weaver, is just non-sensical in the extreme.”Silver Linings Playbook” is a spoiler.

There wasn’t even really a PART there!

AND she didn’t do it very well.

“Silver Linings Playbook” is very, VERY popular it seems with the Actor’s Branch is all I can think of. It got nominations in all four of the acting categories. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, who just won Best Comedy Actor and Actress tonight at the Broadcast Film Critics. As well as Robert DeNiro, nominated for Best Supporting Actor, who thankfully didn’t. He lost to Phillip Seymour Hoffman. If “Silver Linings Playbook” wins the SAG for Best Ensemble LOOK OUT! It also won Best Ensemble tonight and Jennifer Lawrence won AGAIN for “Best Action Heroine” a new category. With all those awards she was constantly traipsing up to the stage.

They, them, the Academy, will have a hard time finding an Oscar clip for Jackie Weaver for the Awards show itself. But Weaver already was nominated in this category two years ago for a performance that didn’t deserve to be there,in an Australia gansta film that no one saw “Animal Kingdom.” But that film company sent out screeners, and they did it REALLY early, and I guess everyone saw them and voted for her, a complete unknown at the time.

She really gives no performance to speak of in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Certainly not one that was Award Nomination worthy. As Ann Dowd did. Her performance in “Compliance” was one for the ages. And this will always be remembered as a black mark on the Academy’s conscience blotter, or escutcheon, if it has one.

This just totalled me today. The sheer injustice of it all! And the fact that Ann Dowd spent $13,000 of her own money,and got well, she did get nominated for Best Supporting Actress by the Broadcast Film Critics, which happened tonight. And she lost.

But hey, she WON the National Board of Review for Best Supporting Actress on Tuesday night and she was written about TREMENDOUSLY, and did many, many, many interviews and had many, many write ups, and was talked about and considered for the Nomination by the press in many, many forums. So she’s certainly much more well-known now than she’s ever been. You could say famous, even. And so that’s what the Awards Conversation, Otherwise known as Phase One, did for her.

And hopefully all this positive attention she got will pay off for her in bigger and better roles in higher profile movies.

Go Team Ann! I’M still on board!


And the DVD of “Compliance”? STILL hasn’t come out! Or maybe it comes out today, or tomorrow! Too late. But you can rent it or own and when you do, you will see a great unsung American actress, doing great work in an Indie.
And she’s being Honored at the Santa Barbara Film Festival as a virtuoso and she is still nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Indie Spirit Awards, right before the Oscars themselves in February. So there’s still hope.

Down to the Wire! Best Actress Predictions!

Tomorrow morning it will all be over, but the shouting. Yes,dear readers, dear cineastes, tomorrow at the crack of dawn in L.A. and at 8:30pm EST, the Oscar Nominations for 2012 will be announced and all will be revealed and Phase One, as it’s known of the Oscar Campaign will be over.

This has been my busiest Oscar season ever with helping Ann Dowd’s campaign as much as I have been able. Culminating last night in her win for Best Supporting Actress at the National Board of Review Awards ceremony. More, I’m sure, on that later.

But now on to what has become the thorniest category ever this year ~ Best Actress.

To echo all and sundry, there are two locks ~ Vanity Fair cover girl Jennifer Lawrence for the manic-depressive comedy “Silver Linings Playbook” and Jessica Chastain for the taut,controversial Osama Bin Laden hunt-thriller “Zero Dark Thirty.”

In the past two days, the lovely Jessica has received her first, major, best actress award from the New York Critics Circle on Monday night, then last night she got her National Board of Review Award.

Both those awards are announced beforehand and handed out at the aforementioned ceremonies. No nominees at either. Just winners. Plane and simple.

Now, the OTHER three slots for Best Actress are really fraught with possible suprises and booby traps. (Pun) Like for instance, WILL they REALLY nominate a six-year- old? I don’t think so.

So Qu’venshane Wallis is not showing up here, as charming and disarming as she is in person and on-screen in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

As I’ve been saying all along, as much as I love French culture and everything French, I don’t think the Academy is going to nominate TWO French actresses for Acting in their own language!

That would be Marion Cotillard in “Rust and Bone,” and 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour.” I think, to be brutally honest, that the young, cute one, Marion, gets in. And Emmanuelle Riva, who faces death in the most devastating screen portrayal, perhaps ever, will not.

I’m hearing that Academy types just aren’t watching “Amour”, and don’t like it when they see it. It’s a critics darling to be sure, but since the Academy is all about the same age as the two characters depicted in this film, I don’t think they are going to watch OR nominate it. They’ll leave it to the Foreign Language Committee to determine whether this Austrian/French co-production is in, or more likely out. No matter how much critical accolades it has won. One has to keep repeating the mantra ~”There are NO CRITICS in the Academy!” And it’s true. Nary a one.

So now we have three beauties, Jennifer, Jessica and Marion. So who are the other two? I’m thinking Helen Mirren, who got a SAG nod as well as just landing a BAFTA nomination,too this morning for her rousing, bracing portrayal of a real life Hollywood icon Lady Alma Hitchcock, Sir Alfred’s uber-talented wife, in “Hitchcock”, is going to get in. And of course, she’s a former winner, too, for Best Actress, for “The Queen.” But then so is Marion! For “La Vie En Rose.”

And the last place is a toss-up I feel between two talented ladies in films that might not have been seen much yet. Naomi Watts, in the tsunami horror film “The Impossible” and Rachel Weisz for the British drama “The Deep Blue Sea.”

I’m going to plunk for Rachel, since although she really already has an Oscar,like both Helen Mirren AND Maid Marion, they like her, they really like her.And the Oscars are nothing if not repetivive and clannish in their thinking and awarding. Or re-rewarding.

But Rachel IS extraordinary in “Deep Blue Sea.”

And Naomi, poor thing,is an Australia, and is someone who gets overlooked over and over, time and time again. And the same thing may happen this year.

And some of the snobby Actor’s Branch may feel that her portrait of a mother lost and injured by the tsunami that hit the beaches of Southeast Asia a few years back, is more screaming and stunt work, than a performance.

Whereas Rachel, who BEGINS “Deep Blue Sea”in classic Oscar fashion,by trying to kill herself via a gas heater, right after WWII, is more typically, the Academy’s cup of British Tea. And also, though Naomi got overlooked by the BAFTAs today.
So did Rachel, so it’s a toss up. But I’m picking Rachel, thinking that the BAFTA membership now is circling about 300 members of the Academy, too.

Also, Rachel, like fellow Nominee Jennifer Lawrence who raked in over $600 million dollars for “The Hunger Games” this year, Rachel showed her action heroine chops for real in the hit “The Bourne Legacy.” Anne Hathaway scored this double whammy too, this year with the blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises,” as well as cornering what looks like a sure win for Best Supp. Actress with “Les Miserables.” The Academy seems to be going for gals who can act, but also kick butt.And rake in millions at the Box-Office.

And in conclusion, It could also shock of shocks be the forgotten Keira Knightley in devisive masterpiece “Anna Karenina.”

So dear readers, dear cineastes, I see ~

Jennifer Lawrence
Jessica Chastain
Marion Cotillard
Helen Mirren
Rachel Weisz

We’ll know VERY soon, won’t we? And it will all look very, very different, won’t it?
Phase Two is NOT the same thing as Phase one.

Supporting Actress Nomination Predictions!

I think there’s only three super-locks in this coming-and-going, ebbing-and-flowing category, Best Supporting Actress. Always the hardest category to predict because I’ve always felt the Academy itself never took it very seriously. It’s sort of the Ad On category. The wacky, anything can happen category.

However, I digress, dear readers, dear cineastes. I think the three locks are Anne Hathaway for making the whole world cry in “Les Miserables”, Sally Field for making sense out of The Wife from Hell in “Lincoln” and Helen Hunt taking it all off as the animated sex therapist extraordinaire from “The Sessions.”

“Downtown Abbey” starts its’ third season tomorrow night and I think all of the affection for that beloved series PLUS the Academy’s seeming love for “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”(it got a SAG ensemble after all) is going to coalesce around Dame Maggie Smith getting her seventh oscar nomination, for the picky, cantankerous cockney washerwoman who retires to India and doesn’t like it at “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

Finally I think the fifth slot will be the redoubtable and unstoppable Ann Dowd for “Compliance.” She certainly deserves it for her magnetic, astounding, tour-de-force performance as Sandra, the manager of a fast food restaurant who gets a call from who she thinks are the police. And the plot takes off from there. The suspense never stops, neither does Dowd’s masterful, virtuosic turn. An actor’s actor who had to finance her own campaign, she gets the DIY sympathy vote. She’s got the Best Back Story going. And has become famous this past five or six weeks for doing so. And she DESERVES to be rewarded and awarded.

So I see it alphabetically as ~
Ann Dowd
Sally Field
Anne Hathaway
Helen Hunt
Dame Maggie Smith

“Zero Dark Thirty”, Jessica Chastain & Ann Dowd Win National Board of Review!

It’s been one of the most intense Oscar Weeks(unofficially of course) I’ve ever experienced in that alllll most all of the major films hit me this past week AND Ann Dowd who was just a guest on my show (see below) won Best Supporting Actress from the National Board of Review! Phew! WHAT A WEEK!

And it was only last Monday that the New York Film Critics announced, and so having that to deal with ,and then seeing “Les Miserables,” which I went to with Ann Dowd(!?!), and then attending “The Hobbit” press conference the next morning at the Wal-dwarf Astoria, and then Ann  winning the National Board Award, while I was out seeing “Zero Dark Thirty”, so I didn’t find out til that evening, and then seeing the new “Hobbit” in 48 fps(frames per second) ALL IN ONE WEEK!!! Or was that just three days?!?WOWOW!!!

So you can see why I haven’t posted anything, dear cineastes, dear readers, until now. One has to pause sometimes, for breath, for clarity to sink in, and with so much happening, and my 25th Anniversary party of being on the air continuously since Dec.7, 1988, well….it was all just too much to absorb. Let alone have a quiet moment to sit down and write about it…

Yes, dear readers, sometimes you do have to DO THE WORK! And alllll these movies are nearly three hours!

And then, Ann, who was my “Les Miz” date, winning this INCREDIBLY important award, the next day!!!

Well, it’s all been overwhelming!!!

And if I’M overwhelmed, you can only imagine how Ann Dowd is feeling with all this excitement happening to her.”Over the moon,” is how she herself described it to me. “I’m beside myself.”

The National Board of Review win for her in Best Supporting Actress(even though she’s the lead) in “Compliance” means the world for her and her career. It really was a life-changing moment. And she’ll literally will never be unknown again.

The NBR has catapulted her into the middle of the Oscar Conversation now. EVERYBODY was writing about and absorbing the NYFCC and the NBR wins and now they all have to mention Ann and take her one-woman Oscar campaign VERY, VERY seriously. I’ve helped as best I can. I feel like I’ve gone into the Ann Dowd business, but I love helping her, and we’ve become friends. And no, I didn’t know her before the Opening Night of “Compliance” in New York.

I aired her great interview on “The Stephen Holt Show” twice, this past Friday and the Friday before. www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and was happy to do so. I hope I am conveying the excitement that being INSIDE the Oscar Race and really dealing with it on a day to day basis is like to you, my dear readers, dear cineastes all.

Both the NYFCC and the NBR are New York based awards, and since they announce first they give clarity to the season, in very concrete ways. And BOTH groups gave Best Picture and Best Director to the movie I was seeing when the NBR was announced “Zero Dark Thirty”. And the NBR gave Jessica Chastain Best Actress, too.I know Jessica, too, since she was a student at Juilliard about 7 years ago.

So one thing that happened with these two major award announcements is that now “Zero Dark Thirty” a film that was not seen or screened until RIGHT NOW is now the purported front-runner. And so is Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director.

I loved “The Hurt Locker,” for the record, Ms. Bigelow’s last film and was thrilled when it won the Oscar for Best Picture, despite having a low box-office, and of course, it gave her the honor of being the first woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director.

But “Zero Dark Thirty” is a MUCH more difficult film to sit through.

It’s incredibly shocking, at the beginning, and then for what seems like two hours, but probably more like an hour and a half, it settles down into being a VERY boring procedural on just how this single-minded woman named Maya(fictional name, but a real person)played by Jessica Chastain, goes about doggedly pursuing Osama Bin Laden.

It’s over-long and it’s BOR-RING, but then when the incredibly exciting ending appears FINALLY, the film takes off into the stratosphere of excitement.

But there’s that VERY boring middle section that takes up half the film. I wonder, I really wonder, if audiences are going to sit through that en masse. The pay-off is big at the end. But this impresses me as being a critics movie more than an audience movie. And I’m frankly shocked, SHOCKED that it won so many awards this week.

It does also make “Argo” seem like a cartoon, I’m sorry to say. “ZDT” is much more serious-minded and nowhere near as entertaining as “Argo” is. “Argo” seems to have dropped off everyone’s radar. It will be interesting to see if the LA Film Critics annoint “Zero Dark Thirty” AGAIN when they announce later today.

This is reminding me of “The Social Network” all over again. Which won all the critics awards and then “The King’s Speech” turned everything around and won all the REAL awards, if any awards are realer than the others. Well, in terms of Oscar, the DGA, the PGA, SAG and even the Golden Globes are all much more clearer as Oscar precursors that the two New York critics groups that I’m writing about right now.

Me? I LOVED “Les Miserables” and what an incredible experience seeing it with Ann Dowd! We both sat there crying our eyes out for what seemed like, again, three hours. I don’t think I’ve ever been that deeply moved by a movie, since well, “The King’s Speech” actually, which “Les Miserables” reminded me of. And why? Well they were both directed by the brilliant Tom Hooper.

“Les Miz” I could go on and on, but let me just say that it’s now my Best Film of the Year and one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen and should garner more Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Director, Actor(Hugh Jackman), Best Supp. Actor(Eddie Redmayne), Best Supp. Actress(Anne Hathaway) and on and on and on, than maybe any other film in Academy history. It’s this year’s “King’s Speech” And could turn everything around on “Zero Dark Thirty” the way “The King’s Speech” did on “The Social Network.” But more on all this SOON. Very SOON!

Ann Dowd wins Indie Spirit Nom! Will she win NYFCC this AM?

This past Tuesday Oscar Dark Horse Ann Dowd won the Indie Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for “Compliance.” Then Scott Feinberg of http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com listed her FIRST in his “A Few Minutes with Feinberg” video last night, and this morning(!) Gold Derby has one of its’ Derby Pundits predicting her to win the New York Film Critics Circle Award today!

The NYFCC starts its’ voting at 10Am this morning. Thelma Adams is one of their critics who has appeared on my show “The Stephen Holt Show” last year at the Toronto Film Festival. You can search for her video in the search box at http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow. And my two part interview with Ann Dowd, the woman of the hour is also there.

Gold Derby, of course, is http://www.goldderby.com That’s with two “D”s in the address!

And according to GD’s few pundits who are predicting the NYFCC this morning they think it’s “Zero Dark Thirty” Daniel Day Lewis, Jessica Chastain, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the other categories.

They finish by 3pm. I think they meet historically at Sardi’s and you can, again, check out Gold Derby for a link to the NYFCC website.

I’m so bad with links, myself, so just go there and Gold Derby will tell you all you need to know.

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