a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Ballet’

Tony Predictions 2015. “American in Paris”& “Curious Case…”Will Sweep

Elephant ManMirren AudienceTony 2015And the Tony(s) will go to….Most likely,to the most liked “An American in Paris” the tony (pun intended)  re-imagining of the great Gene Kelly/Leslie Caron cinematic starrer of 1951,directed by Vincente Minnelli, it won the Best Picture Oscar & many  others and I think this million-dollar box-office bonanza for Broadway will make Tony voters vote for it. And I think it’s got legs.

It will sweep its’  Best Actor in a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Robert Fairchild and Max Von Essen in, too. As well as Best Director of a Musical and Best Choreographer. Christopher Wheeldon has brought ballet to Broadway in a way that I can’t really remember. And Fairchild has a growing well of buzz about him. Doing the seemingly impossible and making you forget Gene Kelly in the same part, if only for a moment. When he won the Drama Desk Award earlier this week, in this same category, he thanked Gene Kelly, which I thought was a nice, classy touch.

The fact that Fairchild is a ballet dancer who has suddenly turned into a Broadway triple threat here, singing and acting, too, well, it’s catnip to the Tony voters. It doesn’t hurt that his beautiful ballerina sister Megan Fairchild is kicking up her talented heels as the leading lady Miss Turnstiles in “On the Town” a few blocks south on Broadway, too.

Broadway stalwarts Michael Cerveris in “Fun Home” and Brian D’Arcy James in “Something Rotten” will likely be seen as having other chances. And who can believe the full-throated, full-throttle D’Arcy James as an Elizabethan LOSER? But I think he’ll lose here. And I think “Something Rotten”( to the core) will be just too low-brow for the middle-brow Tony Voters. And Fairchild is the astonishment of the season.

The Drama Desk gave “Rotten” only one award for Christian Borle in Featured Actor. And he was very good, perhaps the best thing in “Rotten” as a rock-star Shakespeare. But Borle has already won a Tony (for “Peter and the Starcatcher” a few years back), leaving the excellent Frenchie, Max Von Essen, who isn’t French, to build his own Stairway to Paradise in that category.

Best Actress in a Play and Musical are slam-dunks for Dame Helen Mirren for “The Audience” and the very popular Kristen Chenoweth for over-exerting herself to the max in “On the 20th Century.”

Best Play will be British import “Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time” which will sweep all its’ many nominated categories Best Play, Best Direction of a Play. Best Lighting, Best Sound Design, Best Dog…(sorry, I REALLY didn’t like this dogs’ lunch myself. It gave me a headache. But that’s the sign of a true predictor. You can see what’s going to inevitably win and predict what you see, even if it made you feel like taking a Xanax, desperately…)

“Fun Home” may get Best Music and Best Book of a Musical for Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, respectively. “An American in Paris” is re-cycling mucho Gerswhin, so is not nominated in the Best Music category, which maintains that the music be original. And nobody liked Craig Lucas’ book for “American” and everybody likes Lisa Kron’s inventive work for “Fun Home.”

Best Revival of a Play I think will be the lush, opulent, but just right, re-interpretation of “The Elephant Man.” Now wowing the West End in London, it also featured sublime support from Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola as well as a dazzling star turn from Bradley Cooper in the title-role.It seems incredible that recent Julliard grad Alex Sharp is going to beat Superstar Bradley Cooper in the Best Actor in a Play race, but he’s won every other award in sight this season for “Curious Case…” Timing is everything on Broadway, and I think that if the sold-out hit “Elephant Man” was still running HERE, Bradley Cooper would’ve won for his tortured portrayal of John Merrick.

There seems to a groundswell that surrounds certain performers as Tony draws nigh(tomorrow night on CBS) and I feel that with Chenoweth, Sharp,  Fairchild, and Mirren.

I also feel that buzz surrounding Annaleigh Ashford for her dreadfully over-done, bad ballet dancer in “You Can’t Take It With You.” Supporting or as they like to say on Broadway Featured actor categories are always tricky to predict. But Ashford seems to have the momentum, inexplicably. to me, at least.

And Best Revival of a Musical is most likely going to be “The King and I”  at Lincoln Center. Well-done and sturdy, it lacks the two leading performances the over-rated and over-cast Kelli O’Hara and the barely understandable Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, playing the King of Siam. But everybody and everything else in it is quite well done.

This means my faves “On the Town” and “Gigi” will come away empty-handed. And so I think, will “Something Rotten” and “Hand to God.” But “Wolf Hall, Pts. 1 & 2” may land its’ solitary Tony win by gaining Henry VIII’s NathaAn American in Paris 1Wolf Hall 1niel Parker a nice, silver trophy to take back to Blighty, when the six-hour two part marathon of the season finishes its’ limited run the first week of July.

So tune in tomorrow night at 8pm to CBS to see how right or wrong I was.

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?

OSCAR LOVES THIS!?!

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!

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