a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Australian’

Oscar Chances of Cate Blanchett ~ Too much, too soon?

Oscar is such a fickle little devil. If the Academy Awards were held tomorrow, Cate Blanchett would win in a walk for “Blue Jasmine”, ANOTHER astonishing Woody Allen movie with an unforgettable performance by Cate the Great.

Plusses ~ All the rave reviews, and the staggering performance itself.

Minuses ~ All this Oscar brouhaha is WWWAAAY toooo soon in the Oscar season. Sony Pictures Classics has to keep “Blue Jasmine”, a rare, exotic flower blooming til the holidays.For a film that’s only playing now in two cities that’s no mean feat.

Minuses ~ Sony Pictures Classics is NOT the Weinstein Co.

If this were one of Harvey’s girls she WOULD win. Lest not forget that the last woman to win for an Oscar for a Woody film was the beauteous, unforgettable, explosive Penelope Cruz in “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” But that was a WEINSTEIN Co. release! You’ve GOTTA have Harvey…Sony Pictures classics is not known for nailing WINS. But nailing nominations, yes. See Emmanuelle Riva’s near miss last year for “Amour.” She got the nomination, yes, and some major critics’ awards,but…she lost to last year’s Harvey girl, Jennifer Lawrence.

Minuses ~ She’s playing Ruth Madoff

Plusses ~ She makes you LIKE her.

Plusses- It’s a complex, intelligent career-capping role that people will be talking about as long as they discuss Cate Blanchett.

Pluses ~ She had AN HOUR-long chat with Charlie Rose, who gave her the ENTIRE program.

Minuses ~ By the end of the hour, she and Charlie got soooo abstract and convoluted, they completely lost me. And I’m sure many others too. And Academy voters watch Charlie Rose like a hawk.

Minuses ~ She looks like she’ll be up against two OTHER Aussie homegirls, Nicole Kidman for “Grace of Monaco” playing the late Princess, who died tragically in an auto accident. AND that other wonderful Australian actress Naomi Watts in “Diana” about another blonde royal, the late Princess of Wales, who also dies tragically in an car crash. THREE Australian Best Actress nominees? WHEN has that ever happened before? And it is a good thing? Will they split the Australian vote? IS there an Australian vote?

Minuses – Meryl Streep will very likely be nominated for the vicious, drug-addicted mother who you love to hate in “August: Osage County.” a Weinstein Co. production that’s heading straight to the Toronto Film Festival, as are “Grace” and “Diana”. This would leave Meryl the only American actress in this category, although she already has THREE other Oscars. The fifth slot I’m guessing is going to Berenice Bejo for “The Past” ANOTHER of Harvey’s films. And she would be in the now traditional French actress slot. We see it every year now. This film will also be at Toronto…Or it could be ANOTHER French actress Julie Delpy, who stars in and who also co-wrote the “Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight” trilogy. She was nominated before for a Best Screenplay. And Berenice Bejo was also previously nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “The Artist.”

And of course, we must not forget the Babe Factor. The pretty young thing who sweeps in from seemingly nowhere and makes the Academy of collective Old White Rich Men fall in love with her and takes the prize, again, like Jennifer Lawrence did last year. This could be the surprising and gorgeous American Beauty Amanda Seyfried who unbelievably breaks your heart as Linda Lovelace in “Lovelace.” And Radius is behind “Lovelace” which is Harvey Weinstein’s Co., too.

<So LOOK OUT!

A completely empty playing field is going to be SLAMMED in about a month’s time by alllll these female centric movies playing at TIFF and also, some of them at Telluride.

Will I get to TIFF this year to talk to all these great ladies? I hope so. I’m trying my hardest, but I’ll certainly be seeing all four of these acclaimed-already, buzzed-about movies…

So Cate the Great AND especially Sony Pictures Classics REALLY have their work cut out for them.

Cate already has an Oscar. But then so does Nicole and Meryl has three.

It’s Cate’s to lose, as they say. But SPC has a history of stumbling at the end game.

It could be Cate, but…

 

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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.

Can You Can Cannes? Some do. Some don’t.

As Cannes 2012 departs, it’s reverberations nevertheless will be felt throughout the Oscar season to come.

Pete Hammond of http://www.deadlinehollywood.com chimes in that he LIKED “Lawless” the Weinstein Australian gangster movie starring Shia LeBouef. Whereas Manohla Dargis of the New York Times  just dismissed it out right.

Jeffrey Wells was left with a WTF? reaction to the awards at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com and is taking three days off to recuperate.

Todd McCarthy, now at the Hollywood Reporter, felt the awards went where they should’ve gone, as did Dargis at the Times.

Hammond unearths a little known Cannes factoid that the two unknown Roumanian actresses, who are now unknown no longer, since they shared the Best Actress prize for Christian Mongiu’s lesbian nun story “Beyond the Hills” , were found by their director ON THE INTERNET! Now that should be uplifting news to a lot of aspiring actresses out there, that the Internet is now a career path.

Did they have websites I wonder? Just WHAT were they doing when Mongiu spotted them?

Another little know fact. If a film wins the Palme d’Or, the French equivalent of Best Picture, it can NOT win another major award, like for instance, say Best Actor or Actress.

And with the across-the-board acclaim of Michael Haneke’s “Amour” and the praise being heaped on 80-something stars Jean-Louis Trintingant and Emmanuelle Riva, they are both likely Oscar contenders for nominations, not wins. But who knows? I still think this film will not be nominated by the French, and the Austrians or Germans are unlikely to support a film that is in the French language.

Sony Pictures Classics already has this on the awards track. “Amour” is a must-see, no matter which way you slice it.

And Marion Cotillard’s “Of Rust and Bone” is being mentioned by all who have seen it as also a very likely Oscar contender for another nomination for Maid Marion. Having just won rather recently for “La Vie En Rose” acting in her own language, French, I wonder if that lightning would strike TWICE for her in another French film. The win, I mean, not the nomination. The nomination for Mlle. Cotillard seems almost a done deal and the only one that is emerging from Cannes.

Although there is also that American film, that opened Sundance “Beasts of the Southern Wild” which also won a major prize, for a first feature film, and is also a film that Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com kept commenting on in her famous Cannes’  podcast luncheon with Jeffrey Wells. Sasha thinks, especially with Fox Searchlight having picked it up, that they are going to  ride this one all the way to a Best Picture nomination. The directors first name is Behn. Others would spell it “Ben” and he’s only 23. But this is the film, about a 6-year-old girl trying to cope with the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina, that has captivated not only the Sundance scenesters, but also the French, so it’s broadly popular.

And Sasha thinks the young girl in it could likely be the youngest person ever nominated for an Oscar. She’s THAT good evidently. And her name is unpronounceable and well as un-spell-able, so I’m going to look it up and include it later.

No American films seem to have hit at Cannes, but this one has. And with Fox Searchlight behind it. They are gonna “Tree of Life” it all the way to the Dolby. Which is the new name of the Kodak.

But other than “Beasts” no other American film has gotten much, if any traction. Then comes the big Summer Pause in the awards world, where all the summer blockbusters roll out and we don’t really see much of anything until Toronto. Which I will be attending for the 14th year! Can’t wait! But first comes Provincetown in a couple of weeks. And they always have such smart films there…

Best Supporting Actress~Unknown Aussie Jackie Weaver’s Uphill Fight

I have to say thank you to Sony who IMMEDIATELY sent me a screener of “Animal Kingdom” Right as soon as I mentioned that I hadn’t seen it ~ in the previous post yet!

And I couldn’t believe it! But the power of This Humble Blog grows and grows! And I IMMEDIATELY set everything aside to watch it! And it sucked…

I’m sorry to say. And David Poland of www.moviecitynews.com was right when he said  in his Hot Blog that Jackie Weaver has no chance at an Oscar nomination. The film is not very good at all. In fact, it’s downright bad. And Ms. Weaver is better than everybody else, but that isn’t saying much.

And her character whom someone refers to early in the film as “Grandma Smurf” is pretty much exactly that. She’s quirky, odd. Very eccentric looking and she’s does POP as it were against her dreary, murky Australian underworld/suburban background. And she’s the only one you remember vs. her many Aussie gangster sons. I could barely understand what any of them were saying, their accents were so thick, the film really could’ve used sub-titles.

And it was a good idea of Sony Pictures Classics to send out the DVD so early in the awards season to the various members of the various voting bodies. Because, that, and nothing else really landed Jackie Weaver this odd-ball win. But apart from a few big scenes at the end of this ENDLESS film, she really doesn’t get to grandstand until nearly all her sons are dead…and then, well, not so much…but you do remember her. But  voters are going to have to wade through most of a very tedious, confusing(which son just got shot?)schlog before they’re rewarded(sort of) with Weaver’s good scenes at the very end of the film.

But it isn’t “an Academy performance.” And I don’t think she’ll be nominated. Not in a film that’s as bad as “Animal Kingdom,” A box-office dud,  from early in the year, AND it’s unintelligible. Those ACCENTS!

Not when you have two terrific performances in “The Fighter” that could go into this category, always the weirdest, but I personally have always loved it. Best Supporting Actress that is. That would be Amy Adams and Melissa Leo also doing heavy accents. This time hailing from the slums of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Melissa Leo’s monstrous mother Alice Ward in ” The Fighter” is similar to Jackie Weaver’s Australian Ma Barker, but Leo is better. And so is Amy Adams. And so is the wonderful Helena Bonham-Carter in “The King’s Speech.”

Helena BC also has great turns in “Alice” AND “Harry Potter” as I’ve said previously. AND she’s been nominated before. As Melissa Leo was last year for “Frozen River” and Amy Adamas – twice for Supporting in “Junebug” and “Doubt.” Helena also was nominated for “Howard’s End” a long time ago. And now that she’s married to Hollyweird’s own Tim Burton, she’s definitely on the Academy’s “to do” list. In the sense that she’s never won.

Also always a bridesmaid and not yet a bride is Kristen Scott Thomas for “Nowhere Boy,” a biopic about the young life of a pre-Beatles John Lennon.

Scott is unrecognizable as Lennon’s prim and proper aunt Mimi. And Anne-Marie Duff is just as good as Lennon’s crazy biological mother, Julia. Both were nominated for the BAFTAS last year. either won. Mo’nique did….And Scott-Thomas was nominated for Best Actress for “The English Patient.” Which won every award in the book a few years back, when Harvey Weinstein really WAS the King of the World.

And let us not forget the beauteous Marion Cotillard in the mind-blowing “Inception.”

There’s also Miranda Richardson for “Made in Dagenham.” A film which I loved, personally, but seems to be fading with the public….Too British….IF a film can ever be said to be “too British.”

And Leslie Manville’s WIN for Best Actress from the National Board of Review is pretty much going to guarantee that Sony Pictures Classics, who has SOOOOO many of these marvelous women in their wheelhouse this year, is PROBABLY going to just go on campaigning for her in the Leading Actress category.

Maybe Natalie Portman and Annette Bening will cancel each other out and Manville will win the Oscar, too….But probably given the SWORM’s propensity for voting for cute young women to win Best Actress…Manville’s memorable Mary is probably too much like they would be voting for their wives. If you know what I mean.

And then there’s Naomi Watts sooooo wonderful in”Mother and Child”. And now comes Hailee Stanfield, the girl with the pigtails, in “True Grit” which I haven’t seen yet. People are talking her up for Supporting. But she’s a complete unknown…and they’ve held the film back for soooo long…Sometimes that strategy backfires…

Like I haven’t seen it yet. It’s the last one of the majors. And now it’s time for me to yell at Paramount! Hey Paramount! I have to do my Year’s Ten Best List VERY soon and you haven’t let me see your “True Grit!”

Let’s see if I get a response to THIS scream!

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