a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘best director oscar’

I See “Three Billboards” for the 2nd Time! A Modern Masterpiece!

Even though today’s Oscar Nominations are carrying the elegiac headline “Martin McDonagh Snubbed for Directing Three Billboards,” I saw it again before all this happened, and had such an rapturous experience I had just had to write about it. AGAIN.You really DO have to see this film twice, at least,to get what is really going on in this incredibly rich, dense screenplay that McDonagh has graced us with. I found it soooo moving all over again. And perhaps this time, it was because I was looking at it from the perspective, that yes, this is a gay story. Or is it?

Finally, there was confirmation in the voice over that today’s Oscar Nominee for Best Supporting Actor, Woody Harrelson, writes in a letter to  Officer Dixon, at a very dramatic point in the story, which I won’t spoil here, except to say that Harrelson, as Officer Willoughby is saying that he knows that the angry, violent Dixon has spent time in jail, in his past and that the other prisoners are going to think at first that he’s “homophobic and will they be surprised!”

So McDonagh slips this rather crucial piece of information into the plot in a VERY understated way,  stealth to the max, and if you’ve missed it, you’ve missed it, and missed perhaps the most important point of the story. That this is not the story of a simple bigot. It’s the story of most of the red-neck south, and particulary of a confused, violent young man, who lives at home with his ancient alcoholic mother, who’s almost embalmed in gin, and he doesn’t like it one bit. He flirts with her in a jarring, but again, understated way, tousling her hair like he would another teenagers,

He’s totally confused and his youthful energy and rage knows no outlets, except beating up his prisoners, and he seems so randomly violent, at times you think that HE’s the killer of McDormand’s teenage daughter. You think that about Harrelson, too. Everyone is under suspicion in “Three Billboards.” And I didn’t notice the resemblance between McDormand and his mother’s character, with the close-cropped, dyed, blonde hair (pictured below). The actress who plays his mother so well is Riya May Atwood.

I found that last scene so incredibly moving. And it’s so, so simple. How can I explain it without spoiling the main dynamic of the film? Except to say that everything takes another amazing twist. And you really have to be ready for it. Dixon needs to find SOMEone to talk to, someone who understands his violent rages. And she does.

Seeing it twice, I was captivated. Are they villains? Are they murderers? Or could they be? And the acting by McDormand and Rockwell is mesmerizing and fine in the extreme. It’s a master class of understatement. They hypnotize you, as each hypnotize each other. Their acting is very, very rare indeed. It is off the charts.

She’s so bereft cannot cry. Her grief is ineffable. And her rage! Which fuels the movie with explosions literally and figuratively, that take the same form as Rockwell’s incomparable, terrifying outbursts, and I can’t wait to see it again!

May they all continue to be showered with Oscars!

I Solve the Mystery! Why Ben Affleck Was Snubbed for Best Director Oscar!

I think I’ve finally cracked the case, Sherlock. The imponderable Oscar riddle of why Ben Affleck, Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year, was unbelievably snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nomination this year for “Argo.”

Let me also note, that this snub by the AMPAS director’s branch has turned the entire 2012 Oscar race upside down. Since it happened, the affable Affleck and his terrific, suspenseful crowd-pleaser “Argo” is winning every award in sight. And will continue to do so, too, it seems.

Tonight is the DGA, and Affleck will probably win Best Director there, too.

Why then o why did the Director’s branch of merely 370 voters leave him off their list? They left off Kathryn Bigelow, too, but the controversy surrounding her sharp espionage thriller sunk her ship. And Tom Hooper of “Les Miz”? Well, some people just don’t like musicals. And Hooper’s wide-angle, fish-eye-lens, mostly-in-close-up-style-of-shooting of this all sung-through and recorded-live musical, was just too much of a departure for the stodgy director’s branch to take. Too much innovation, methinks.

But “Argo”? And Affleck? A straight forward thriller diller from start to go? Why did the Director’s Branch not go for “Argo”?

Well, I think the answer lies in plain sight. In the movie itself. It’s in John Goodman’s hilarious line “You can teach a Rhesus monkey to direct a Hollywood movie in a day.” THAT’S IT. RIGHT THERE. The Directors Branch Voters, or enough of them to make Affleck just miss(probably) were INSULTED! And I mean insulted!

“He’s making monkeys out of us! Well, we’ll make a monkey out of him!” I think they thought, judging by their actions.

The Director’s Branch has always been very idiosyncratic, to put it mildly, and what else could it have been that made them react this way?

Well, we know one thing for sure. AMPAS has never been known to have much of a sense of humor. They continually favor drama over comedy. (So watch out Jennifer Hudson. I mean, Lawrence. Emmanuelle Riva is creeping up on you.)

And I bet, I just bet dollars to donuts, as Mrs. Patmore, the cook on “Downtown Abbey” would say, that that line about Hollywood directors being as smart as, or less smart than Rhesus monkeys, sunk Ben’s ship for an Oscar nomination. In this VERY competitive year. A few votes could’ve done it. One vote even.

Obviously, the shoe fit.

But by not nominating Ben Affleck, they’ve basically handed him every other award of the season, and probably tonights’ DGA, too.

Mystery solved. He insulted them.Ladies and gentle-persons of the jury, I rest my case.

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