a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Another Year’

Barbara Hersey’s Scarey Mom – Oscar-nomination-worthy in “Black Swan”

How many crazy moms-from-hell can we have in one Oscar race for Best Supporting Actress? Well, at the moment there’s THREE. In addition to long shot Jackie Weaver for “Animal Kingdom” and SURE shot Melissa Leo in “The Fighter” out Friday. But wait! There’s ONE MORE! Who’s even more frightening because she’s also sympathetic and complex. A combo that the Academy usually CAN’T resist.

We can’t be blinded by the evil of these two aforementioned diva-moms when the largest, scariest performance of all of them is  Barbara Hersey’s pyscho-stage mom who puts the BLACK in “Black Swan.”

I really do think that out of the trio of Supporting ladies in box-office and critical hit “Black Swan” Hollywood vet Hersey has the best chance. She’s got the biggest part. You love her and you HATE her sometimes in the same scene! WHAT A PART! You watch her try to help and nurture her already slightly schizoid ballerina-wannabee daughter Natalie Portman at the same time she’s trying to KILL HER!Or IS she?


Since she first came to prominence as “Last Summer”s teenage seductress in 1969’s classic indie, Hersey has been working steadily in every aspect of acting that Hollywood has to offer. Films, TV, Series, Mini-Series she’s worked with EVERYBODY and she’s beloved. She even got her first Oscar nomination for “The Portrait of a Lady” in 1996.

Sorry Winona Ryder and Mila Kunis. I think Barbara Hersey’s got the other acting nomination in this film, besides the brilliant-beyond-words prima screamer ballerina Natalie Portman, who is pirouetting her way over all this season’s STIFF competition for Best Actress. But that’s another category!

Back to Barbara!

I met her IN PERSONI at the Fox Searchlight Christmas Party one cold night earlier this week. Was it JUST Monday? It seems like ages ago so much Oscar/Awards stuff has been happening I can barely write it down!

But Barbara Hersey was the loveliest of lovely ladies, wearing black, of course. It’s the “Black Swan” and I was only toooo happy to tell her that I was her “Oscar Messenger.” She really liked that. You’d think with the lesbian-themed Kunis and other previous nominee Winona, that she might be over-looked. But neither of them were there working the room of Oscarologists, but Barbara was!

And as I told her how much of a good mother I thought she character was, with the craziest of daughters, Hersey disagreed with me. “No! She’s crazy, too! She’s driven her daughter crazy.”

“But” I insisted, ” I liked her. I understood where she was coming from. She was trying to be a good mother.”

And again Barbara disagreed with me. “No, but she’s ALSO crazy, too.”

But that, of course, is what makes Hersey’s performance so compelling – and frightening. You can see the Black and the White, the Black Swan and the White Swan, within HER, too, as well as Portman.

Hersey’s Swan Mom has been driven to her own point of madness by her frustrations of being a failed ballerina herself, so she’s PUSHING her talented, beautiful daughter, Natalie Portman to do what she wasn’t able to do in her lifetime, which is to succeed at ballet. Tom O’Neill or Tom-Ohhh agrees with me and has Hersey on his Best Supporting Actress list at www.goldderby.com  Tom has his finger on the pulse and looks at the Gold Derby as he’s so aptly named it from all angles.

I LOVED “Black Swan”! I saw it at that memorable screening at the Bell Lightbox at TIFF’10 this year. In fact, it was the first film I ever saw there. And I was sitting with the Pitch-This! winners Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery. More on them later this week! www.killshakespeare.com

And what a frightening/nauseating portrait of the dance world, director Darren Aronofsky has painted in the “Black Swan.” They’re all anorexic, back-stabbing, little horrors, those corps(e) de ballet girls. And the film didn’t seem like a horror film to me. It just seemed terrifyingly ACCURATE.

And lest we forget super-oily Vincent Cassell’s evil, sleazoid ballet master. He’s being campaigned for Best Supporting Actor by Searchlight, too. And watch he scores with the Golden Globes, too.

One of France’s leading film actors who wowed audiences this year with his hard-hitting Public Enemy #1 in “Mesrine”, which is in two parts, Pt.1 & Pt.2, which is essentially two movies, Cassell is also floating on a tide of good will as America just begins to discover him. And nominations for a Golden Globe by the Hollywood FORIEGN Press are just around the corner next week! Phew! I can barely keep up! And the L.A. Film Critics announce Sunday and the NYFilm Critics on Monday. Then the Golden Globe nominations come out practically right on top of them.

But back to Barbara Hersey. I was soooo thrilled to talk to her in this lovely, swanky, holiday setting. And she was so eager and happy to talk about her Oscar possiblities. I assured her that she had them. Which made her VERY happy. So happy, she introduced me to Darren Aronosfky!

He was surrounded by well-wishers or Oscarologists DISguised as well wishers and when I told him I was HIS Oscar Messenger, too.

He said, in a whisper, or certainly a hoarse voice, “I don’t know. I hope so.”

“Black Swan” is one of the best films of the year and is DEFINITELY going to be on my Ten Best List that is coming soon to this blog. VERY, very soon. As Sasha Stone has said at www.awardsdaily.com “Black Swan” is Aronofsky’s masterpiece.

If Natalie Portman reigns at the two big film critics this coming week, then it’s a done deal. I THINK however since they are going to think that Oscar is going to reward her, that they may bestow their cherished Best Actress accolades on Underdog Leslie Manville of Mike Leigh’s “Another Year.”

The race is definitely ON!

I have this feeling that Leslie Manville is going to win all the Critics’ Awards for Best Actress..

Call me psychic. Call me “The Oscar Messenger” but by all means CALL ME!

No, but seriously dear readers, dear cineastes, dear Awards-obsessives, I do have this feeling that taking their cue from the National Board of Review this week that all the major Film Critics associations. Of which I’m only seriously counting TWO. Or there’s only TWO that seriously count, the New York Film Critics and the L.A. Film Critics groups, who are voting this coming week end I think. They don’t nominate. They just announce. Like the National Board of Review…And I think they are all going to think that the brilliant, unknown, but incredibly deserving Leslie Manville of “Another Year” is going to be who they both pick.

This also may be in reaction to her LOSING the BIFA(British Independent Film Critics Award) where she was nominated in Supporting to Helena Bonham-Carter. For “The King’s Speech”. Maybe this is what Michael Barker of Sony Pictures Classics was thinking all the time. That AT LEAST if she gets a lead actress nomination, that’s a distinction that will always be with her.

Leslie Manville…who? I know, I know. She’s nearly as obscure as Jackie Weaver. So I should at least take the time to explain that Manville, 50, is the mad Mary character in Mike Leigh’s BEAUTIFUL “Another Year.” I loved this film and saw it at Toronto and wrote about it, here, in this blog, at the time.  So search back to September and you’ll find it.

Leslie has been the Mike Leigh stalwart for 12 films. That’s nearly all of them. And the Academy ALWAYS watchs a Mike Leigh screener, and they’re especially going to love the bittersweet mid-life crisis joys and sorrows of “Another Year.” And Manville’s Mary is hovering between lead and supporting. And she just won lead actress at the NBR, but lost at the BIFA, in her OWN country! So that can be put down to category confusion.

Something that the NYFCC and the LAFC are going to feel bound and determined to correct.

We’ll see soon enough as the awards and nominations start flying at us like frisbees in the coming weeks.

If you REALLY want to get a taste of Leslie’s loveliness Paula Schwartz, the Baugette of the Carpetbagger Oscar Column at the New York Times www.nytimes.com

wrote an equally lovely “Introduction to Leslie” kind-of-piece. The Carpetbagger is the Times answer to all us Oscar Bloggers. Now they have their own, too.

Mylena Rysik and Paula are the main Carpetbaggers this season. I hope that link works!

Nope. It doesn’t.:( I’m STILL so tech-tarded, I can’t believe it!

National Board of Review reactions…

Wellllll, David Poland of www.moviecitynews.com calls it the National Bored with Reviews…and says it reflects nothing but how ineffective Fox Searchlight has been with the Board this year. They represent or ARE represented by “Black Swan” and “127 Hours” which got nada…Guess they won’be be buying a table at their shindig this year….www.nbrmp.org

David, my former boss, I guess, I was once a Guru o’ Gold, Yes, it’s true, David thinks this is the Week of Irrelevant Awards…but he does have an amusing take on it….Worth reading….He thinks this helps Leslie Manville get a nomination…That would be in Best Actress for “Another Year.”

But NOT Jackie Weaver…I mean, I haven’t even seen “Animal Kingdom.” David knows…well, what he knows..

The completely unknown Jackie Weaver was named Best Supporting Actress for “Animal Kingdom.” Sony Pictures Classics sent out the screener for this Australian film before anyone else did, way back in Sept. I think. Along with “Mother and Child”, which I adored, and obviously these award-giving bodies had the time to watch them as Autumn leaves were falling…But I haven’t gotten one! Hey! Sony! Send me a SCREENER!

I’ll tell you who they did send my way, the handsome and funny Armie Hammer, who plays the Winklevi in TSN. See him cracking me up and vice versa and talking Oscar in my Main Frame. At www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

And St. Anne Thompson at St. Anne’s Warehouse, or rather Thompson on Hollywood at www.indiewire.com thinks that this does not mean anything to Colin Firth. That he shouldn’t worry, that the Academy Actor’s Branch will reward him anyway. And I’m so sure they will.

And Sasha must be VERY happy about this. I never thought Jesse Irritatingberg would EVAH get any kind of serious awards attention for “TSN” but Sasha did. And I went to read what every one said and I got an “error” on that NBR thread’s comments section on www.awardsdaily.com. Maybe it’s fixed now…There was so much traffic Sasha’s server crashed! Whoa! I wouldn’t know WHAT to do if that ever happened to this humble blog…But it’s fixed now, I think…

Anne Thompson said she passed Christian Bale(Best Supp. Actor for “The Fighter) in a Hollywood hallway and he looked “very happy.” I bet. He’s never gotten any serious awards consideration. EVAH. Batman or no Batman.

And me, I think none of these award winners will be repeated at the Oscars. Sorry, I don’t. Well, except for Aaron Sorkin for Best Adapted Screenplay. Otherwise, none of the others should expect anything except nominations….Jesse Irritatingberg and Jackie Weaver are all of a piece to me…I hope her performance(if I EVAH get to see it!) doesn’t give me a headache like he did.

And the NBR’s recent awards, have hardly been bell-weathers for the Oscars. Only one performer Penelope Cruz went on to win for “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” Nominations, maybe. I’ll have to do my homework but Sasha has probably already done it. But last year, for instance nobody won. But they were all nominated…


Oscar Actress’ Temperature=Hot! Hot! Hot!

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone, who invariably writes one magnificent article/post after the other after the other on all things Oscar, has done it again with a couple of beautiful, truly moving pieces on “Black Swan”, Natalie Portman IN “The Black Swan” and the Oscar race of Best Actress, which as Sasha so eloquently points out has now heated up to the boling point for the first time in recent memory.

Check all the excitement out at www.awardsdaily.com

I wrote a lonnnng post in response to her Best Actress article,But it was eaten by the technology, so I’m re-rendering it here. These pieces were soooo meticulously, daresay, breathtakingly arranged and researched to a fair-thee-well, KUDOS, SASHA!

She’s right on a lot of points, almost all, and then goes off the rails over all this ” Jennifer Lawrence is a lock” love. No. She isn’t. She’s lucky she’s getting all this buzz. Her performance is so inert, so understated, it could be a zombie movie. Except zombies have more life than this gal. She reminds me of a pile of botox. If botox were to be found in piles.  Or would it be quarts? Or gallons?

Underacting like this is something the Academy does not like.Young, blonde teenage girls who are ****able, as Sasha put it. THAT they like.

But they’ve got the probable winner Natalie Portman to drool over. Isn’t that enough?

 Well, I’m seeing “Blue Valentine” tomorrow and I hope my darling Michelle Williams doesn’t disappoint.

I’ll let you know when I’ve seen it.

So I think it’s Bening, Moore, Portman, Kidman and somebody else. But NOT Jennifer (who?) Lawrence…

Interestingly Anne Hathaway’s momentum seems to sunk like a stone.

Oh, and that fifth slot could be the much talked about Leslie Manville in “Another Year”. This year is so tough MICHELLE WILLIAMS might not even get in, it’s so crowded.

And I hear that there was a near-riot at the first AND ONLY SAG screening of “The King’s Men” in New York. People were lining up AN HOUR AND A HALF beforehand to get in! Lines around the block! And the response! Tumultous!

One female SAG member was saying “It’s the Best Film I’ve Ever Seen in My Life” and she wasn’t the only one who was saying that. And I agree!

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