a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Best Original Screenplay’

Oscars at the Moment, Before the Election

jackie-1Oscars in early November. Things are getting clearer. Could the National Election itself have an impact on Oscar? We’ll see, but now, if it did, it would be the political movie of the year “Jackie” that gets carried forward. It’s a reminder of how decent and moral the people running the country were in the time of Camelot. The Kennedy Years seem light years away from the partisan horror of this current chilly November moment.

“Jackie” has the gravitas that “La La Land” simply does not. And they’re hiding “La La Land” from the East Coast critics. I STILL haven’t seen it. There’s been no big deal press screenings scheduled. Is it because they think the New York establishment isn’t going to like a musical film, a love story, yet, that glorifies LOS ANGELES? I can think of no other reason for “La La Land”s distributors holding it back like this. It wasn’t at the NYFF, if that means anything. But I do think it’s a little suspicious.

Certainly the curators of the NYFF COULD have chosen it to play if they wanted to. There was certainly room. And I’ve heard that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling can’t sing. Or can’t sing well enough to carry a movie musical.la-la-land-1 I hope of course that they can, and I look forward to, musical comedy queen that I am, to enjoying its’ delights immensely. viola-davis-fences-1Also still unseen is “Fences” the late August Wilson’s adaptation of his own screenplay with Denzel Washington directing himself  in his Tony-winning role and co-starring of course, the great Viola Davis, reprising HER Tony winning role. Davis has now won herself an Oscar for sure, by putting herself in the Supporting category. But how good is the film? Is it as great on film as it was onstage? Or is it going to seem long, and talky and “stagey”?

August Wilson,esteemed to such an extent that he has a New York Broadway theater named after him, never lived to see any of his many plays translated successfully into film. I hope Denzel has worked his directorial as well as his actor’s magic. Will he also be up for a Best Actor Oscar? His third. Or will it go to now the supposed front-runner Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea.” If “Manchester” is going to win something big, and it’s so good, it should, then maybe it’s Casey Affleck who’s the beneficiary and not the film.

manchester-by-the-sea-5When we see “Fences” we will know, but right now Casey Affleck is at number one in the estimation of the Gold Derby-ites AND the Gurus o’ Gold, of which I was a member. Once upon a time. In a galaxy, far, far away…

Best Supporting Actor is much harder to parse right now, so I won’t, but don’t expect small, gay, indie “Moonlight” to score. If the Academy is going to go for a small, racially charged indie, I think it’s going to be “Loving.” It’s a superb little film that grows in the mind and lingers like a haunting refrain.  Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton as I’ve posited earlier are both going to get nominated for Best Actress and Actor, respectively, and I think even its’ terrific young director Jeff Nichols will too. Replacing “Moonlight.” In both Best Picture and Best Director.loving-1

If this year it’s going to be OscarsSoBlack, in reaction to last year’s OscarSoWhite, it’s straight “Loving” and “Fences” that will both be nominated for Best Picture. After the rave of raves “Loving” got from Manola Dargis in today’s New York Times, I think THAT’S the indie darling to watch. Not “Moonlight”. If the critically adored “Carol” couldn’t crack it last year then “Moonlight” is certainly a much longer shot at Best Picture or Director.

Only Mahershala Ali in a very small role might get nominated from “Moonlight” in the major categories. That would be as Supporting Actor. But enough Academy members Iin the Actor’s Branch have to see “Moonlight” to nominate him. Will they? And then there’s the terrific Naomie Harris as the drug-addicted mom-from-hell….It worked for Mo’nique in “Precious” and she did no campaigning but she won! Could British actress Harris who so dazzled as Winnie Mandela a few years back in “A Long Walk Home” get nominated, too? That would really be something for this tiny film. And perhaps we might see Black Actors nominated in every category! Wouldn’t that be something new? Something wonderful.

#Oscars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Woody Allen Fires Back

Woody Allen Fires Back

You just never WHAT turn the Oscar Race is gonna taken and that’s one of the reasons I find it so endlessly fascinating. But this left turn is one that really saddens me. That Cate Blanchett might lose an Oscar for the performance of her career in “Blue Jasmine” is just awful. I don’t think she will, but…you never know…and the godawful confused performance of Amy Adams might win instead in Best Actress for the execrable “romp”i.e.,” American Hustle” is too much to bear or even think about.

This probably isn’t going to happen. The Academy has a history of ignoring alleged bad behavior in favor of great work. And AMPAS, if any body, is made up of a jury of Woody’s peers, if ever there was one. I’m predicting that Cate the Great will still win and that this controversy might even win, in a surprise, and garner Allen yet another Best Orginal Screenplay Oscar. It’s a better screenplay than “Her” OR “American Hustle” now that I think about it.

But Woody came out firing on all guns in the New York Times no less and here’s what he had to say, in full. over at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com. Jeff Wells’ take is instructive and scroll down to “My Feelings Exactly” to read the entire statement.

Jeff Wells by the way is in Berlin for the Berlin Film Festival and isn’t liking it one bit.

Oscar Voting Closes ~ Sasha Stone Says 9 Out of 10 for “The Artist”!

So as of yesterday, the Oscar Voting for the Best of 2011, closed at 5pm PST. Now what happens? Well, we all just sort of COUNT THE HOURS til Sunday night’s BIG SHOW. And try to figure out what went wrong, or right, depending. Me, I’m just over-the-moon delighted with how incredible an Oscar response the beautiful French bon-bon received. “The Artist” is poised, thinks Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone, who lives and breathes this stuff even more than I do, she thinks “The Artist” is going to take home NINE out of its’ ten nominations!

That would be divine, as far as I’m concerned. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Score, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Costumes is what I thought would happen. And then Scott Feinberg, STILL the only Oscarologist who’s linked to this site.Thank you, Scott.

Scott ALSO predicted the same number 7, and he even wrote a comment on the previous blog post here, saying so. And no, I didn’t read Scott’s “The Hollywood Reporter” til AFTER I had written and posted mine. And I was kind of shocked that we agreed so completely.

This after last year’s Melissa Leo debacle.

Well, you can look that one up for yourselves. But every time I mentioned the words “Melissa Leo” last year, the hits SOARED! This year, not so much. But any way, Scott and I are now copacetic this Oscar year. And so much so we were predicting the same seven wins for “The Artist!” INCROYABLE! Scott’s at www.thehollywoodreporter.com

Then Sasha said “Nine” at www.awardsdaily.com and I nearly fainted! But she who knows all,(She lives in Hwood, too, so she’s right in the middle of it) thought that additionally Michel Hazanaviscius would trounce Woody Allen for Best Original Screenplay!!!! And she hasn’t been the only one saying that lately.

And that “The Artist”s production designer, who had to work in Black and White, mind you, only, that he would win over Dante Ferretti’s 3D and color work on “Hugo.”

Well, who am I to  disagree with Sasha at a final moment of the season like this?

I’m just over-the-moon about Jean Dujardin’s pulling ahead of G. Clooney with the SAG and BAFTA wins for Best Actor!

The only hold-out for George still seems to be Anne Thompson, who is parsing the possibilities over at www.indiewire.com Anne says that it’s the only interesting race left. The Jean v. George smack-down. Speaking of Tom O’Neill’s favorite word “smack-down, over at www.goldderby.com he has one of his editors Aussie Matt Noble do a very funny video about George Clooney being told that he wasn’t going to win Best Actor. Check it out. It’s hilariously done.  And yes, as Tom states, George will never forgive Matt Noble for this. But the voting’s closed. So it can’t influence voters one way or the other.

That was all done three weeks ago or more when the nominations went out.

And evidently they FLOODED back in, so says Pete Hammond at www.deadline.com

which I have been mistyped as www.deadlinehollywood.com all season. Sorry Pete. Sorry Nikki(Finke). But I’m sure you avid Oscar readers have been all over Pete Hammond’s great pieces all season long. And it IS a season. From Toronto til now, it just doesn’t stop.

And to think that Harvey Weinstein could be TRIUMPHING for a second year in a row, it’s just mind-boggling! Where would “The Artist” be without his excellent producing skills? And his drive? And his uncanny ability to read the Academy voters and play them like violins.

Although I must say, when I saw “The Artist” I DID think “The Academy is going to LOVE this! It’s all about THEM!”

But without Harvey “The Artist” would just be a small tres charmant French film, playing the Festivals and the art house circuit and not the PHENOMENON he turned it into! Bravo! Once again, all of Hollywood owes you bigtime for making the Oscars so exciting again!

And Jean! As I told Jean and Berenice Bejo when I interviewed them back in November in NYC at “The Artist”s press junket, they were going to become VERY famous in America and that they would win the Oscars! And once again, the Oscar Messenger’s message came true. Just like I told Colin Firth and Tom Hooper of “The King’s Speech” their great Oscar news a year ago last September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

You can see me telling them the good news if you search for Jean DuJardin -Stephen Holt show on You Tube. Or just go to my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and search for it there. It’s gone viral with over 45,000 hits at this point. Ditto Colin Firth from last year who is now up to 92,ooo hits!

And TWC also sent me over the moon with two terrific satellite interviews with Penelope Ann Miller and James Cromwell, also of “The Artist.” They played George Valentin’s neglected, unhappy wife and his loyal Butler/Chauffeur respectively.

And Best Actress???? Well, that’s another topic ENTIRELY! I’ll get into that next!

Masterful Woody Allen doc on PBS! Part 2 tomorrow!

Dear Readers, Dear Cineastes, you MUST see the new Woody Allen doc on American Masters on PBS! It’s simply one of the best things I’ve ever seen on TV! And if you think you know Woody, think again! There is sooo much new material on Allen, who is really letting us see inside his life, in a way, he’s never done before…It was gripping, compelling, revelatory!

And Part Two is on tomorrow night! At 9pm! Monday night! So don’t miss it! It’s required viewing! I loved it!

I just sat there enthralled. I who have seen “Midnight in Paris” EIGHT TIMES! I was just overwhelmed how much this man, this one human being, had such an impact on my life. And of course, also, my work. It really is staggering.

Well, we’re both redheads, and we’re both native New Yorkers. He’s from Brooklyn. I’m from the Bronx.

He’s Jewish. I was raised Catholic.

And he emphasized things, in this, I guess, the official, authorized version of his life story, that I had assumed, but never thought he would admit. Like for instance, the impact Diane Keaton had on this life and work…Well, he starred her in SOOOOO many movies and he won her the Oscar for “Annie Hall” which remains to this day his only Academy Award winning movie…and also the same for Keaton.

She was certainly his great muse and the relationship endured for years, and he acknowledges her talent, and the impact she had on his life.  And I was staggered to be reminded just how many movies he starred her in. It was almost uncountable.

And the way he laid out, or the filmmakers did, just how his career grew and developed and CHANGED and evolved and I realized that I had seen every single one of his Part One movies. I was a die-hard fan in those days! I guess I still am.

Part Two is going to be very interesting, because I think it’s entitled “Woody and Mia” and it’s going to be very compelling to see how they handle his Second Act, which is plagued with The Scandal. And that hovers overz him, like a black cloud, to this day.

This was a very palpable (there’s that word again) plea for remembrance and re-consideration of his staggering oeuvre, coming right when it does at Oscar time, and when his great financial success “Midnight in Paris” is on everyone’s Oscar list.  Will he win Best Picture? Well, I think for sure he’s going to win Best Original Screenplay. And there will be more nominations in categories people aren’t expecting him and his film to turn up in. He may get a Best Director nomination. And Corey Stoll and Marion Cotillard may both turn up in the Supporting  categories and there may be many technical below-the-line, as they say, categories, where “Midnight in Paris” could score, too.

This really stupendous American Masters profile is one of the best,most vital things PBS has ever done. And it kept going back and back everytime to his writing. Emphasizing that it was his writing that everything flowed from.

So, yes, to a Best Original Screenplay win and I can’t wait to see Part Two tomorrow night!

“J.Egdar” Clint Eastwood’s New Masterwork. Leo Will win the Oscar!.

Clint Eastwood has done it again! At age 81, he has created yet ANOTHER career-capping masterwork. And Leonard DiCaprio will FINALLY win an Oscar. And it will be his first but not his last. He’s a great American actor who has finally been challenged by this, his greatest role of all time, and he gives his greatest performance ever.

Wow!

I could hardly believe my eyes and ears! Eastwood & DiCaprio were making us sympathize with this most unsympathetic of men. And making us care about him. In the end I was crying. I’ve been totally bowled over by this amazing, powerful movie.

I saw it in the same screening room, in almost the same exact seat where I saw “Million Dollar Baby” not so long ago, and it had the same kind of impact. Stunning.

Desaturated is the color of the day and the few times we do see a trace of a bright red it’s either in the flags flying gaily at the race track, where he sits in stands with his closeted homosexual lover, Clyde  Tolson (played greatly here by the astonishing Armie Hammer, who will also get nominated for his great performance! I predict!)  finally relaxing a little. Or it’s red as the color of blood. And this film has plenty of that, too. Being as violent as a ’30s gansta flick itself.  And in one incredibly powerful scene, Tolson actually bloodies Hoover. Don’t want to say too much more about that, because it’s probably one of the greatest scenes in the movie and one of the greatest scenes ever filmed.

Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award Winning screenwriter of “Milk” has also done it again and given us a heartfelt, incredibly moving story about two men who can only express their love for each other by holding hands.

Everything is hidden. But that’s the way homosexuals had to live in those days. And thank god, that those days are gone! But thank god this movie is here! I never thought I would ever be raving about a movie about J.Edgar Hoover, but I am!

Leonard Di Caprio, I’ve always felt was one of the greatest of the great actors who are alive today, and he seems more alive in this movie than he’s ever been, even though his face is often buried beneath TONS of disfiguring age make-up.Best Make-Up. That category is now closed, too. Along with Best Actor. Di Caprio has just beat George Clooney AND Brad Pitt good and proper. The Oscar is now totally his. Category closed!

It’s a bold, brave performance in a bold, brave movie about a man whom many thought that he was the opposite of that. He was feared more than liked.And hated by many.

But liked by, it seems from “J.Edgar”, only three people, his devoted secretary (Naomi Watts, with too little to do), his mother, the great Dame Judi Dench, who will be surely going to the Oscars again nominated for this film, and her polar opposite performance as the gracious, generous, giving grand dame, Dame Sybil Thorndike’ Her Dame Sybil in “My Week with Marilyn” helps her nomination for the evil Mrs. Hoover, who is certainly up there with the greatest of screen villanesses. It was is she were animating the corpse of Norman Bate’s mother in “Pyscho.” She’s cut from the same cloth and seems to be wearing the same dresses that Norman’s mother, and Norman wore.

And yes, there is cross-dressing here, too, but it’s used to VERY powerful effect, and in such a PROFOUND way, it made even me understand my own homosexuality a bit more clearly. I just couldn’t believe that scene. It will be talked about as long as they talk about movies!

This film is going to be nominated for slews of Oscars. They all love Clint anyway, and whatever ambivalent feelings they’ve ever felt about Leonardo will be all erased by his magnificent performance in this monumental movie.

Best Picture, Best Director,  Best Actor, Best supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor(Armie Hammer), Best Original(or is it adapted?) screenplay, best cinematography, best editing, BEST MAKE-UP! And more. It will get the whole Oscar kit and kaboodle thrown at it and everyone should be tossing their hats in the air! I know I am! A great  American master Clint Eastwood has created ANOTHER great American Masterpiece. And it’s about a love story that’s never been told, and is so, so heart-rending, you’ll never forget it.

If J. Egdar Hoover was an evil man who abused his power and did evil things in unlawful ways, it was because he could not, as his mother could not, accept his homosexuality. Thank god he had a Clyde Tolson in his life! We all should. The world would be a better place.

In homophobic Hollywood, “J.Edgar” could be heading to another “Brokeback” heart break at the Oscars. For Best Pic, I mean. I think it will be nominated(they all over Clint) but it won’t win. Again. Like “Brokeback”, but this time Leo will.
When a straight icon like Leo, plays a gay man/monster like “J.Edgar” who was totally ashamed of his homosexuality, the Academy will reward. George Clooney has his Oscar already. And with this monumental performance of a life-time, he doesn’t stand a chance.

At TIFF the hits keep coming! Whit Stillman makes a marvellous comeback comedy “Damsels in Distress”!

One just HAS to love filmmaker Whit Stillman’s unique oeuvre. “Metropolitan” introduced me to him and to international audiences and won him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. His films “Barcelona” and “Last Days of Disco” kept his standards of wit and style as high and polished as a Fred Astaire B&W dance floor. And now he’s back, thankfully, and at last with a delightful new comedy “Damsels in Distress.”

The pink  back drop to the Sony Pictures Classics logo followed by pink titles of”The Damsels” and then the female cast’s names, and “Their Distress” and then the male actors’ names.

And the great Greta Gerwig! What a revelation! As Violet, the extremely original character is well, I don’t have the time and the space to go into it right now. Gotta dash! But let me just say “Damsels” is HI- larious!

“Midnight in Paris” FOUR Times now!

Dear Cineastes, dear readers, dear theatrelovers of literature, yes, it’s true, I’ve seen “Midnight in Paris” four times now! And I’m cautiously looking forward to a fifth! As a film critic, I NEVER see movies more than once, especially movies that I’ve liked and this one, actually, loved. “Midnight in Paris” is a runaway hit at the box-office and it has run-away with my heart *sigh*

Will it prevail at the Oscars? Well, one indication, besides the ENORMOUS box-office it is now doing is that my webmistress Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone over at the only-place-to-be-on-the-Internet www.awardsdaily.com has put “Midnight in Paris” up on her awards tracker in the Best Picture category, as well as Best Director and Best Original Screenplay categories! This is serious, but of course, wonderful!

Why is this significant, at this early a stage, you may well ask?

Well, initially Sasha, who was famously, marvelously in Cannes for the second year in a row, this time with her daughter Emma (NOT the actress Emma Stone of “Easy A”) saw many, many films there and was more impressed with many of those other films to the extent that she wasn’t writing much about “Midnight in Paris.” But NOW SHE IS!?! Just like I am!

So her latest post which is as lovely and evocative as the picture itself, is now up, where in she posts a podcast of an extended interview Woody himself gave to Scott Foundas, David Edelstein & co. She accompanies this marvelous chat with a very forthcoming Woody, with a gallery of stunning stills from the film.

I so tech-tarded I have not yet learned how to bring those lovely pictures here. But they are so beautiful, this may motivate me to finally figure out how to do it.

Each time you see a movie that you’ve previously seen is pretty much a different experience.

And when you see “Midnight in Paris” with an audience that gets the jokes, the references, it’s just heaven. But if they don’t and they don’t laugh, then it’s another experience entirely.

One late night showing, they didn’t laugh at THOSE jokes, but they did laugh at other spots. Like for instance the future in-laws, the Tea Party Republicans, and Inez (Rachel McAdams) and the relationship jokes, THAT they got. Mimi Kennedy, as the prospective mother-in-law is particularly hilarious as she keeps looking Owen Wilson’s character right in the eye and dead-panning some of the films funniest lines, like “Cheap is cheap.”

But check out that podcast at Sasha’s. Particularly interesting is his description of Owen Wilson, his lead this time, and he goes on and on and on about him. Oscar hopes for a Best Actor nom? He treats him like he’s one of the great screen actors around today. And in Woody’s hands in “Midnight in Paris” He is.

He also mentions “the young actor who plays Hemingway” But doesn’t name him. But all you dear cineastes who keep reading this blog, even though I STILL don’t have pictures of the movies to go with it, know that Hemingway, who is clearly a stand-out in the Supporting cast, is Corey Stoll. An NYU Grad acting grad.

And Woody refers to him as “very charming” even though he thought basically that Hemingway was a “boor, a bully” and a general all around awful person.

Strangely he doesn’t mention ANY of the magnificent actresses in “Midnight in Paris” which is really odd, though he does mention the character of Zelda Fitzgerald, but again, not the actress, Allison Pill, who plays her so beautifully.

“I don’t know if she was as crazy as I made her moment to moment,” he says. He also notes that he was writing about the popular perceptions of these characters rather than anything like researched materials. It seems he’s done none of that. It’s all his emotional response to movies about Paris which as he describes it is “The City of Love.” But doesn’t name which movies inspired him, although “An American in Paris” is obviously a major influence. Oh wait a minute! No. He DOES mention “Gigi” and the era of La Belle Epoque. And how these were times “You would not want to have a burst appendix and go SLOWLY to the hospital in a horse-drawn carriage!” And they all laugh. Woody can’t help being funny, even when he’s deadly serious.

Seeing it so many times, you start to notice the rich, rich detail of the superb art direction of Annie Seibold. Like in Gertrude Stein’s(Cathy Bates, another Oscar slam-dunk for a nod, I think, and even a possible winner. In Harvey Weinstein’s hands, she would FOR SURE be nominated a win!) In Gertrude Stein’s famous salon, there ARE those famous Picassos on the wall behind her, including his portrait of her.

And Alice B. Toklas? Well, she opens the door to Hemingway, who brings Gil(Owen Wilson) to Stein’s salon for the first time and Hemingway exclaims heartily “ALICE!”

Then Alice disappears from view, played by an unknown French actress, she doesn’t have any more lines, but she is seen with someone of indeterminate gender knitting in the background of another room, as Bates’ Stein intones one of the great speeches in the film about art.

I could go on and on and on. And I probably will. It’s a long way to the Oscars, but “Midnight in Paris” is going there. Just ask Sasha.

Woody hasn’t had a Best Picture nomination since the ’70’s and “Hannah and Her Sisters” which garnered many nominations but landed a double win in the Supporting Categories for Dianne Wiest and Michael Caine!

Corey Stoll you better get your tux ready and Cathy Bates, your gown, madame! I know you already have an Oscar for Best Actress for playing the pyschos of pyschos in Stephen King’s “Misery” but get ready, milady, you may be going to do it again!

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