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Oscars 2016 ~ Is Cate Blanchett Turning Into Meryl Streep?

Stepmother 1At first when I saw “Cinderella,” which I just loved, btw, I wondered whether the superb performances by the two leading ladies, Lily James(“Downton Abbey”s Rose) and Cate Blanchett as the not-so-Wicked-but-merely-troubled-and-lonely Stepmother, would even be considered for this year’s Oscar race. I now think that two-time Oscar Winner Blanchett for Best Supporting Actress is definitely a possibilty for a nomination. I think she’s becoming the New Meryl Streep, and will get nominated for her usually outstanding work in almost anything she does, even Disney fairy tale extravaganzas. So the precedent has been set. At least in the Supporting Actress category.

I mean, look, if Meryl Streep can get nominated for playing a Witch in “Into the Woods”, her astounding 19th nomination! Then Blanchett certainly could for another fairy tale character.

Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com says her most-looked-forward-to film of 2016 is the upcoming Todd Haynes “Carol” which is the lesbian love drama based on Patricia Highsmith’s “The Price of Salt.” And yes, Blanchett is the lead in “Carol.” So theoretically, she could get TWO nominations this year. Bringing her net total so far to six, with two wins.

And considering, as Sasha points out, this is another bleak year ahead for roles for actresses, Cate Blanchett very well pull off this double-nominated hat-trick.

And on the male side, I personally think it’s Eddie Redmayne by a mile for Tom Hopper’s “The Danish Girl” opening now Nov.26, right in the heat and heart of the Oscar season.

Eddie LiliCould Eddie Redmayne do a Tom Hanks(as they say) and pull off two Best Actor wins in a row? He sure could.

Could he beat out Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”? And get two Oscars while Leo wasn’t won one yet? Yup.

As Oscar Grand-daddy Tom O’Neil is always pointing out in his Slugfests “They sometimes like to give you two.” O’Neill, of course, is at http://www.goldderby.com

Witness Luise Rainer, Spencer Tracy, Olivia de Havilland, Hanks, Kevin Spacey and Sally Fields…and more. Streep has three. Jack Nicholson has three…

Sometimes what is going to happen at the Oscars is SOOO clear. Even at this distance…

 

Oscars, in Conclusion…

Oscars 2015It’s been a very long night. My hands have nearly fallen off from typing, or should I say Oscar Blogging? til all hours. It was more fun last year. And my friend, Eddie Redmayne, won. So it was all worth it.

In case you haven’t heard “Birdman” won Best Picture, which I didn’t predict, and it also won Best Director, which I DID predict…and “Boyhood” only won for Best Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette.

For a complete list of winners go immediately to http://www.awardsdaily.com

I know Sasha was behind “Boyhood,” too, so even though she got to go to the Oscars themselves for the first time in her life tonight, I’m sure she’s very bummed about “Boyhood”s loss.

But Eddie won the miracle win. So yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus, and sometimes things do turn out right. And quality and talent triumphs as it did tonight in the Best Actor category.

And “Grand Budapest Hotel” won FOUR awards, including Alexandre Desplat’s evocative musical score. I think that was as many as (blech) “Birdman” won.

But GOD, was this a lonnnnnng show? One of the longest ever.

And congratulations to Jeffrey Wells at htttp://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com.

He was all about “Birdman” from the minute he saw it at, I think it was Tellluride. He championed it and wrote about INCESSANTLY! It was driving his writing, like the percusssive score was driving “Birdman” the movie. And the character. I bet Jeff feels like HE won an Oscar himself tonight. But for a major Oscar blogger to go after a film and help and espouse it against all odds, initially, and for it to actually win is really, really an important thing for all us other bloggers. Makes them take our writing and our WORK much more seriously. Thank you for that, Jeff.

I wish I had liked “Birdman” more. It was about an actor, and I love actors. Everybody knows that. But I think this film demeaned actors and the theater. And I love the theater. Everybody knows that, too.

*sigh* Well, maybe I’ll see it again someday. But I doubt it.

My heart goes out to Richard Linklater “Boyhood”s visionary director. I can’t imagine how he feels tonight….and Sasha…

But as Scarlett O’Hara said “Tomorrow is another day.”

Is “Birdman” Surging or Is It Oscar Hooey?

Birdman 1Is “Birdman” really experiencing a last-minute surge or is it all just Oscar hooey? Put out mainly by the hugest “Birdman” supporter of all, Jeff Wells at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com. If you read him, and I do, daily, he’s a terrific writer, even if I don’t agree with him half the time, you’d think it’s “Birdman,Birdman,Birdman” all the way. But I wonder…

He and the greatest, most obsessed Oscar prognosticator of  them all Tom O’Neil at http://www.goldderby.com  have a very interesting phone chat they’d turned into a pod-cast, and it’s worth listening to.

Especially when JW reluctantly agrees that it’s Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor and not Michael Keaton. TON feels it’s now “Birdman”s to lose. Both Oscarologists function from deep in the heart of Hollywood as presumably they are hearing more than I do here on the East Coast. But here, I hear, it’s still “Boyhood.”

Their podcast is very interesting to hear the dynamic between the two men. They both are very respectful of each other. Tom more so than with any one else he’s podcasted with. And Jeffrey is much more tentative, nicer, in person, as I know him to be. He’s been a guest on my show. And Tom I’ve met many times at Oscar parties here in NYC.

Jeff’s writings on Hwd are fierce, fiery, bracing blasts of vitriol. And they’re so well written, you find yourself just agreeing with him, even when you don’t, because of the power of his angry missives.

But Tom, especially, I thought was less secure in his predicting “Birdman.” I was surprised. He even admits as much in the conversation.  So it STILL could be “Boyhood” despite “Birdman”s winning the PGA, DGA and SAG. But it LOST the Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical to “Grand Budapest Hotel” and it lost the BAFTA to “Boyhood.” Stats not to be trifled with. And it didn’t get nominated for Best Film Editing, which it seems you HAVE to have to win.

It’s been “Boyhood” for so long, that people think that’s it’s won already. The voting for the Oscars of 2015 closes FINALLY tomorrow. This has seemed like a particularly long year.

Well, “Whiplash” opened at Sundance last year last January and so did “Boyhood.” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” opened right around NOW last year, too. So we’ve been living with these films for a LONG time. “Oscar Island” as Sasha Stone calls it.

Even SHE is thinking that’s it’s both “Birdman” for Best Picture and also it’s director Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu for Best Director. And that if that’s the case “Boyhood” just gets Best Supporting Actress, for Patricia Arquette.

I can’t wait til this whole things draws to a close. I can’t believe I’m saying that I’m tired of Oscar season. But this year I really am.

But I’ll be live-blogging it anyway. As far as I know. Stay tuned.

Final Oscar Predictions ~ A Week Away from The Big Day

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes,  it’s almost over. Last week I was really beginning to feel Oscar burn-out as opposed to Oscar fever. And really since TIFF, which was now nearly six months ago, we Oscarologists, or Oscar Ninnys as the late lamented David Carr called us, have been writing over and over again about the same small group of films.”Oscar Island,” Sasha Stone calls it. And it gets smaller and smaller and also more crowded every year, and it’s not because of Global Warming.

With the FINAL three guild societies weighing in over the week, Sound, Hair and Make-Up and the Writers Guild, I think, we have to pause and note that “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won in all three races. That really says something. I think that “Grand Budapest” is going to be, astonishingly, the film that wins the most Oscars next Sunday night. It’s not a blockbuster sci-fi film with a lot of explosions and special effects, but it’s going to sweep I think all the below-the-line categories.

The outstanding group of artists and artisans that idiosyncratic filmmaker Wes Anderson assembled to create this uber-charming town (really Goerlitz Germany) will all be following each other, one right after the other, to the Dolby podium, to accept their golden statuettes.Oscar & tiles Now as to my main predictions, I think it’s pretty clear that Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette are all locked down, signed sealed and delivered for the categories of Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress for respectively “Still Alice”, “Whiplash” and “Boyhood.”

I think Golden Boy Eddie Redmayne is going to get a l’il golden guy of his own for his extraordinary, heart-wrenching portrayal of Stephen Hawkings in “The Theory of Everything.”Theory 6The main, brain-teasing question is what is going to win Best Picture and Best Director, and this year has been so close and so crazy that I’m predicting a split between the two supposed front-runners “Boyhood” and “Birdman.” And that one will win Best Director and the other Best Picture.

True I didn’t really LOVE either film, but I think it’s going to be “Boyhood” for Best Picture, simply because as Sasha Stone says “The heart wants what it wants” and the Best Director award will go to Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu for “Birdman.”

One of the three Mexican directors known as the Three Amigos, Innaritu saw his fellow countryman Alphonse Cuaron win Best Director last year for “Gravity.”

I think it’s going to break down this way because the Academy has been so stung this year by accusations of racism for not nominating Ava DuVernay or David Oyelowo as Best Director and Best Actor for “Selma.” So by giving the Best Director award to ANOTHER minority director, Innaritu, who is Hispanic, that particular accusation can be quelled. Somewhat.

But Oscar always brings a surprise or two along. Although this year has been so over-analyzed and yes, even over-covered, that will probably be nothing new to us Oscar Ninnys that follow all this. Except that. Except that. “Grand Budapest Hotel” which has been quietly picking up award after award in the third place position (it also just won Best Screenplay at the BAFTAs, and Best Original Screenplay last night at the WGA) could surprise and cancel out the two battling competitors. It’s true. It could happen.

Tilda GrandOscar I love it when you surprise!

Back and Forth on the Eddie R. Smear Campaign. Why It Won’t Work.

Golden Eddie 2Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com just wrote a piece on Kris Tapley’s piece at http://www.hitfix.com and I responded. Here’s what I wrote ~

“I too actually LIKED “Jupiter Ascending”. And wrote about it at length on my blog. Click on my name above^ and you’ll get there. I was F.U.N. And Eddie R. brilliant actor that he is, was really quite scarily terrific as the evil queen of the universe. And yes, he was playing camp to the max, but he did it SO WELL. I mean at one moment with the REAL queen(in this movie) of the universe, Mila Kunis, he got actually, totally demonic.

And yes, the script required that he scream at the top of his lungs, and vocal range, so he did.And the audience roared. It was a joke, OK? It’s comic. They were SUPPOSEDLY to laugh.

There’s good camp and there’s bad camp. I admittedly decided to check my brain at the door, as I say, on my blog. And I did. And I enjoyed it for its’-so-bad-it-good unbelievable factor, and the visuals are stunning. And Channing Tatum? In Imax and 3D? What’s not to like?
All this Eddie R smear stuff, by Jeffrey Wells at http://www.Hollywood-elsewhere.com, particularly, is people just grabbing ,as they say, a meme and riding it for all the hits they can get. JW in particular this Oscar season has been complaining how boring it is, because Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette are soooo locked.

And the only movement at all is in the Best Actor race, and JW is VERY afraid that “Birdman” is going to lose everything. Like “American Hustle” did last year. And I think that may be what’s happening.
As exalted a source as Harvey Weinstein himself said that Richard Linklater is going to win the DGA tonight. And JW will have a very entertaining meltdown-to-end-all-meltdowns. And his hits will stay high, which is really all he cares about anyway. In case there was some doubt.

There’s just been nothing else to write about this week, so he and those like him have to come up with SOMEthing. Bravo, to Kris Tapley by the way.”

This is just some posters, some Oscar “pundits”, looking to resurrect Eddie Murphy’s Oscar loss as a “Norbit” moment. This was for his role in “Dreamgirls”, which seems like light years ago. Everybody thought it was going to get nominated for Best Picture, then it didn’t. Jennifer Hudson won for Supporting Actress that year, in what was once again category fraud. She was playing the lead, Effie White.

And Eddie Murphy had the TRULY supporting role as James “Thunder” Early, and while he was very good in what he had to do, I always felt he was just missing ONE crucial scene that could’ve locked in his Oscar chances. He lost, famously, to Allan Arkin for “Little Miss Sunshine.” And at the time of the Oscar voting, which is NOW  btw, his “Norbit” film opened with him plastered all over Hollywood and creation as a very, very fat black woman.

And this was supposed to have lost him his Oscar, and Eddie M. ran screaming from the ceremony. Talk about screaming queens. He immediately left when Alan Arkin won. I wish we had pictures of his more-than-hasty exit.

But Eddie Redmayne is a serious actor giving a serious, actually iconic, performance as Stephen Hawking in “A Theory of Everything.” And this smear moment is Jeffrey Wells and others attempts to stop Eddie R.’s momentum going into the Best Actor race, which started yesterday. Jeff you see is all-in on “Birdman”. I hate to think what is going to happen, as I said, in my “Awardsdaily” comment, if “Birdman” loses EVERYthing to “Boyhood” (and to “Grand Budapest Hotel”) and ends up with a goose egg on Oscar night which is two and a half weeks away.

Wells actually refers to Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair as “a gimmick”!

Mary Dugan, PLEASE!

Why “Birdman” Will Have a Lot of Trouble at the Oscars

Birdman 1Despite the apparent benefice of its’ upsets this past weekend, “Birdman” is not the Oscar slam-dunk it appears to be. Not by a mile.

You see, it unexpectedly won the Producers Guild very important precursor award, on Saturday night, then also won Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards on Sunday night.

HOWEVER!

It didn’t win Best Actor. The Birdman himself lost to Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything”, and that was a VERY big loss for Michael Keaton.

Especially coming from the SCREEN ACTORS, the guild that you would think would be behind his Riggan Whathisname’s character, that of a veteran actor trying to make a comeback.

That spoke volumes to the effect that support of “Birdman” wasn’t THAT deep.

Keaton won THREE Critics Choice Awards at BFCA a couple of weeks ago and now, this defeat.

It’s bad for Keaton and bad for “Birdman”s supposed late groundswell.

Also, let me point out that it does NOT have the all-important Film Editing Nomination, without which no film has won Best Picture since “Ordinary People” 30 years ago.

So with the Editors against it, and also, apparently the Actors, Keaton is NOT winning Best Actor, nor does “Birdman” have a cake-walk to Best Film.

Also between now and Oscar Night Feb. 22, Sunday, on ABC-TV, the BAFTA awards will happen in London and Eddie Redmayne is sure to win Best Actor there. And it’s possible that “The Theory of Everything” will sweep its’ six categories, Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Felicity Jones, Best Screenplay, Best Director, James March and Best Score for Johan Johansson.

On top of which it is a Fantasy Film, a Magical Realism film, if you will, which the super-serious Academy does not go for historically at all, except for “Lord of the Ring: Return of the King.”

It’s quirky. It’s divisive, and I personally was put off by its’ sort of “holier-than-thou” attitude to the theater, which supposedly it was celebrating, but I felt its’ attitude disdainful.

And the ending! He shoots off his nose, ends up in a hospital and jumps out the window. Did Birdman finally fly away or was it a suicide? Will the Academy vote Best Picture to a film that is saying, insidiously, that all Riggan’s efforts lead to this? Self-annihilation? Or pursuing a career in the theater equals death?

I just don’t see this film winning Best Picture for all these reasons.

What will win? Something else. But not this sanctimonious mess.

ETA: Sasha Stone herself commented on this article on FB by saying to me: “Another thing to note, it didn’t win Best Comedy at the Globes…”

That was, of course, won by the GRAND “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

“American Sniper” Sound & Fury Signifying It Will Win Both Sound Oscars

Here I go again, cut and pasting a reply to yet ANOTHER tumultuous, magnificently written piece on “American Sniper”s chances now that it’s become Ben-Hur. Read, by all means, what Sasha Stone has to say at http://www.awardsdaily.com. She’s been doing this day after day. I don’t know how she does it, but she does it. She’s one of our great writers. She sets the bar so high, and then keeps raising it!Younger EddieBradley Cooper 2

And here is what I said in my reply to this hot button topic ~(PS: I was in a bus crash today, which I wrote about but didn’t get posted in this section. Don’t know how to move it to here. Tech-tarded still. After all these years.)

“ANOTHER brilliant, impassioned piece of writing from Sasha, analyzing this past weekend’s rather astounding events at the box-office.

Sasha hasn’t dragged politics in to this year’s Oscar race, the movies themselves have, like it or not.

Tom O’Neill was raving about “American Sniper” on Entertainment Tonight for “livening up the Oscar race.” It DID look pretty boring and predictable, more so than ever, with Moore, Arquette and Simmons having all their categories, Best Actress and the two Supporting categories laid down in Grauman’s Chinese cement already.

But now comes “American Sniper” and SUDDENLY there’s actually something to DEBATE about. Something to write about for the blogosphere. But they are not Academy voters.

The Academy still has many members who DON’T EVEN HAVE A COMPUTER!?!? But are too ashamed to admit it, and the average age is 80 or 85. Not 62. As they are saying. Just attend an actual academy screening and the number of walkers and wheelchairs lined up at the back is staggering.

That said, “AS” doesn’t have a chance with the Left-leaning Academy. R U kidding me? It will never win Best Picture. They will think. “It’s gotten the $. It doesn’t need the awards” but it just might get something. Like the two sound awards! Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

Now, as far as Best Actor, if the sudden attention being paid to Bradley Cooper, translates into actual votes(and I wonder about that), it’s Michael Keaton who gets hurt by this. And the people who were going to vote for Eddie Redmayne are still going to vote for Eddie Redmayne.

He’s playing a heroic, triumphant character, a real person, a genius, Stephen Hawking, who’s ALIVE. IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING.And he’s playing a CHARACTER. Not himself, or a version of himself as Michael Keaton is doing in “Birdman.”

Bradley Cooper may win an Oscar some day, but no GG, SAG, etc. percursor love, kills his chances but allows him to take “steak eater” votes away from Keaton. Everybody knows he’s going to get a Tony for Best Actor this year for “Elephant Man” on Broadway, and every other award, too. They’ll let that be enough for him for this year. And vote for Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything.”

And watch out for “Grand Budapest”! It could win the SAG Ensemble this Sunday and then everything will be up for grabs! Topsy-Turvy!”

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