a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Brokeback Mountain’

Impact of Election on Oscar Race

fences-6I was just about to write a rave review of the wonderful, important revival of “March of the Falsettos” and then The Election happened and turned the world, and my brain and everyone else’s upside down.

I tried to write about it but I couldn’t. I was in such deep shock. Like when you have a serious fall, as I did recently, and it wasn’t until hours later, or was it a day later, that the real pain kicked in, and I was reminded I had fallen backwards onto a fire-hydrant. It took four or five really strong women(In town for the marathon, I’m guessing) to pull me back up and set me on my feet.

Yes, my reaction to The Election was just as severe as that, as disappointed for anyone who voted for Hillary. I can’t believe it happened. I’m still processing it. And so is the country. It’s something that I can’t snap out of but just being depressed and angry isn’t constructive. Hillary Clinton had nothing but a positive message. Maybe there is something good inside Donald Trump. Well, first of all, he’s a native New Yorker. As I am. And that counts for something.

After coming out of a Whole Foods on Union Square, I ran into hundreds of protesting young people. I got on a bus. It took quite awhile for the big New York City Bus to get through the noisy crowd of protesters. They made me smile though. I knew what they were feeling. I had done this, too, in my youth. Protesting the Viet Nam War. Civil Rights. Free Nelson Mandella. Gay Rights. Aids. There’s been a lot to protest, always peacefully. Make your voice heard.I was happy to see them there.LGBY handsThis made me think of what a terrible day it was when Ronald Reagan got elected. I thought it was it the end of the world. It wasn’t. The same way when Bush after Bush after Bush entered the White House. Until Bill Clinton. Until Barack Obama.

I’ve been thinking of the night when “Brokeback Mountain” lost the Oscar to “Crash.” Sasha Stone and I were both disconsolate that night and so was everyone else on Oscarwatch. We thought we’d never get through it. I was never going to watch the Oscars again. But I did. We got through it because we were together.

Sasha did everything she could think of to help Hillary. I’m still shocked, and sickened, but she’s probably more shocked and more sick. She and Assistant Editor Ryan both added Rodham as their middle names.

But, as with “Brokeback”, she went back to work and felt back. I did, too. Over the years I’m happy to report that I developed a friendly relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway and Michelle s and Williams and now Ang Lee, who did win his first Oscar for “Brokeback” by the way. I loved his new “Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk.”

But all those disappointments and depressions and shocks were way worse than this. Maybe as much as I loved Hillary, and I still do, I just knew, I just KNEW that America was never going to elect a woman to the Oval Office.

And now this happened. Donald Trump may not have meant a lot of what he said. Was it Melania or Ivanka who said he was “saying all those things just to get elected”?

Melania Trump and Michele sitting down to have  tea, to chat and tour the White House. File it under a list of Things I Never Would Have Thought Ever To Have Happened.

And now the Oscar Race, how is this going to land with the very left wing Academy? I think this says goodbye to anything light and fluffy like “La La Land” and hello to something that can’t be denied like “Fences” or the very political “Jackie.”

viola-davis-fences-1jackie-1fences-3Gay Pride 2016 2

Jake Gyllenhaal Just Grows and Grows!

Nightcrawler 2

With his new #1 box-office smash “Nightcrawler”, Jake Gyllenhaal shows anew that he is willing to take on the riskiest of roles and stretch his range, and the public’s perception of him as a screen actor and a leading man. Never comfortable with simply the role of a movie star/action hero, “Nightcrawler” shows us that he is becoming a very fine actor indeed. An actor’s actor.One of the best. His name stands for quality.

Playing the slimiest of slime-balls, I don’t think we’ve ever seen so compelling a portrait of a bottom-feeder. His Louis Bloom is an ambulance chaser at best and simply a common thief, when we first see him in “Nightcrawler”. At the beginning of the film, which I saw at TIFF, he is seen stealing copper cables. He moves up the food chain from there, when he witnesses a car crash and sees TV video crews mercilessly filming the dying, bloody victims. He’s got a video camera, too, and thinks, “I can do that!” and does.

And of course, as he pursues his new calling, things just get worse and worse. Rather his deeds do. And the chilling thing about “Nightcrawler” is that it is more or less absolutely true. This is how those tabloid news shows get their scammy footage. So this great LA noir just reverberates with TRUTH. Sadly.

And Gyllenhaal’s massive weight loss for this character, mirrors the hungriness Bloom feels inside and out. And with the box-office bonanza this is turning out to be, the Academy can’t ignore Gyllenhaal’s frightening apt portrayal. People die and he keeps filming them. And selling his shocking, bloody footage to Renee Russo, who has never been better than she is here. As a local TV news manager, she is buying what Gyllenhaal is selling. She could reap her first Oscar nomination for this, too. In Supporting Actress, always a category, that this year more than ever is wide open.

In his last several films, Gyllenhaal has shown an impressive range and daring. Even in the sci-fi mis-fire, “Enemy”, he took on TWO roles. An academic and an actor in Toronto. In “End of Watch”, he was a good cop whose good values and heart shown through every violent scene.

“Nightcrawler” is just as violent as “End of Watch”, but is even more horrific because it shows, accurately, the ruthlessness of those profiting by exploiting that violence.

Jake the Great is turning out to be one of the best actors of his generation. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his unforgettable, doomed cowboy in “Brokeback Mountain.” and his 360 degree turn into the despicable “Nightcrawler” could very well bring him back into the Awards race again. I certainly hope it does. He deserves to be there.

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Phillip Seymour Hoffman & I

Phillip Seymour Hoffman & I

It’s soooo difficult to write about the tragic passing of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, because I looked so much like him & was mistaken for him almost constantly.

Especially when he played Truman Capote and won an Oscar for it. Then didn’t acknowledge the real person whom he was portraying so memorably. I got very angry about that more than once, especially at the National Board of Review awards that year when he didn’t even mention Truman or that he was playing a gay character. Nothing. Zip. In that acceptance speech that night or when he went on to win every award in the world that year for “Capote” culminating in the Oscar.And it was the year of “Brokeback Mountain”, too. The Year of the Queer, if ever there was one.

Contrast these acceptance speeches to what Jared Leto, who keeps winning and winning for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” has been criticized for, which is leaving out People with AIDS He’s corrected that.

Phillip never did. He didn’t think it was appropriate, at that time. 2006 which seems like 100 years ago in gay life.

Phillip saw the resemblance between us, too. I remember sitting in the front row of a press conference at the NYFF, can’t remember the name of the film, but he played yet ANOTHER gay part, this time a drag queen named Rusty. And he REALLY looked like me, when I lived in drag in the early ’70s. And he kept turning to look at me in the audience and was clearly disconcerted by the resemblance as I always was.

But for a straight man with a family and children, he played many, many gay parts both before and after Capote. He looked so much like me in some films especially “Boogie Nights” where he heartbreakingly played a young, long-haired P.A. who had a crush on Dirk Diggler. That part was an enactment of me in the ’70s, friends commented to me. It was unnerving. But of course I appreciated the intelligence and the power that went into that characterization.

We came officially face-to-face in the interview for “When the Devil Knows You’re Dead” which I posted in the previous piece here on my blog. And he was as uneasy about the striking resemblance as I was. It was uncanny sometimes. He was a blond. I was a redhead. But my god, it was an unusual similarity. Too close for comfort, and as you can see in the interview, Phillip is strangely scratching himself throughout. It was weird.

I met him many, many times at press events and junkets after this interview, and he always acknowledged me with respect. He played soooo many gay characters, and there I was the living embodiment of the roles he always claimed were “very difficult” for him. Esp. Capote.

He was one of the greatest actors of our time, or any time. He made 50 movies. He was excellent in all of them.

From the Tod Solendz film “Happiness” where he played a creepy telephone stalker that broke him open to a wider recognition. To his last final great role of Willy Loman on stage live in “Death of a Salesman.” It was a great privilege to have seen him onstage in that iconic role. He was clearly too young for it, but there was a desperation about a forty-something man playing someone who was supposed to be twenty years older. And at the end of his life. And as the title says, it was about “Death”. Willy Loman kills himself at the end of the play. It was oddly prescient like Phillip KNEW something.

There was a tremendous rough, urgency to his performance. Like he had to do that part, and he had to do it NOW. Like he knew there was no time left. And it turned out, there wasn’t.

He had played the part in High School, too, according to published reports. He was kind of obsessed with it. Willy Loman is certainly one of the great roles in one of the great plays of American Theater.

And for the record, in all my encounters with him over the many years I was covering him as a critic and entertainment journalist, I never saw or even THOUGHT of anything drug related in reference to him.

He won the Oscar the year of “Brokeback Mountain” when many said that Heath Ledger should’ve won it. And then Heath died in an equally tragic way in similar circumstances.

I wonder if that bothered him. It bothered me.

And then he went on to play even MORE gay roles…Guilt over “Brokeback” and Heath not winning? Who can say?

But the point is he played them all brilliantly, and with a range that we have almost never seen in an American actor.

His agent, whom I mention in the interview, Sarah Fargo “found” Phillip right as he was graduating from NYU UNDERgrad it should be noted. And not their illustrious Graduate Acting Program.

And it was Sarah, who became one of his life-long friends, who jump- started his career by getting him seen and into roles and projects where someone who looked like him would normally not have been seen and seen so quickly. He was a character actor, not a leading man, and I think he always saw himself that way.

He always gave himself 200% to any part. And EVERY part. How different was he in “Boogie Nights” and as the baseball manager in the baseball movie, whose name escapes me at the moment? ETA: “Moneyball”

Or in the indelible preppy monster/alcoholic Freddie that Matt Damon dispatches so abruptly in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”? Or the creepazoid/charismatic cult leader Lancaster Dodd in “The Master”?

And now that I think back on it the role that he was only moderately effective in was perhaps the role that was closest to him in real life as events have shown,the alcoholic Jamie Tyrone, in the incredible revival of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” Starring Vanessa Redgrave as the tornado/virago of a drug-addicted mother who terrorized her hapless family, she blew on to the stage with hurricane force and pretty much stayed at that unbelievable level of performance throughout the plays three acts.

She was like a demon unleashed and she frightened the wits out of her family and CHANGED THE BLOCKING every night, though not the lines, which I could hear with crystal-clear clarity even sitting in the rear of the orchestra. Phillip shrank from her as his character was supposed to. And she throttled the living daylights out of Robert Sean Leonard every night, but you never knew WHEN she was going to attack him. I saw it twice. I’ll never forget it.

Phillip’s untimely death is such a shock and an incalculable loss to American film and American theater. Maybe leaving us soon so was his way of saying “I’m done now. I’ve nothing more to give. I’ve said what I had to say.” And now he’s gone. In the most lurid way possible. With a needle in his arm.

That small detail will haunt all of us who knew him, and the many millions who knew him through his work. But to know him that way or any way was to love him.

His great, hungry spirit will always be with us. Our hearts go out to his surviving family and friends.

That he will be missed is an underestimate.

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We LOVE Anne Hathaway! Congratulations, Annie!

I meet Anne Hathaway for the first time here in this TV interview promoting “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005. It was the same day I also met Michelle Williams and the late Heath Ledger. It was one of the great afternoons of my life. And Anne had it all going on, even then. So kind of her to help me back in to the light in that moment. She was looking at a monitor and I didn’t know I was leaning too much on the wrong side.

I can’t believe I’ve known her that long! And I was so thrilled that she won the Oscar on Sunday for Best Supporting Actress for “Les Miserables.”

I was hinting that there was an Oscar in her future, mentioning how Luise Rainer in “The Great Zeigfeld” for a performance as Zeigfeld’s discarded wife that was basically a one phone call scene.

And of course, there was! Congratulations, Annie! Everybody predicted you would win, and you did! Or as you said when you received it “The Dream Came True!” And it did! It did!

Oscars! “Argo” wins Best Picture, Jennifer Lawrence wins Best Actress & falls down!

I really enjoyed this year’s Oscars. I ADORED Seth MacFarlane as the host and hope he’ll be back for more! He was funny, and insulting, but not tooooo insulting. Since when did it become a pre-requisite for all Oscar hosts to act like Ricky Gervais?
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This above ^ introductory paragraph was written before the anti-Seth MacFarlane outcry began today and before MacFarlane himself nixed the idea on Twitter.

I must tell you dear cineastes, dear readers, that I am late in responding to the Oscars because a) I was at a wonderful Oscar party with friends on Sunday and b) on Monday I had to start physical therapy for a back and neck injury and it knocked me sideways. But I was feeling, and walking, much better today. I felt a real spring in my step. Was it the Oscars? I think so. Also, Spring is coming. Right? Isn’t it?

But I’m back up tonight and shocked, SHOCKED by everyone in the media world dumping on the stupendous Seth. He can sing. He can dance. He’s got a dazzling kind of Donny Osmond-like charisma, that he undercuts totally with his wicked sense of humor. And I guess it was just too wicked for some. But he’s got a big career ahead of him whether he ever hosts the Oscars again, but since the ratings were WAY UP, he just might be back. He said “Tina and Amy will be doing this next year.” But I wonder…

Everyone at my party enjoyed it and so I am saddened that there was all this back-lash. Seth, I love you! And I thought you did a magnificent, hysterical job!

Quick-witted Seth sort of sank himself at the beginning of the show by doing 17 minutes with the barely endurable William Shatner, who was “beamed in” on a screen above the stage, in all his Star-Trek paraphernalia, and proved just why HE was never a movie star himself.

I know he’s from Montreal, but he was flat-out boring in that flat-lining opening gambit. And it went on far too long, ending, however, in the hilarious set-up of the Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A. singing “We Saw Your Boobs,” which is a number that will go down in Oscar history as love it or hate it, but me, I thought it was the essence of great comedy.

Not unlike his screamingly funny, and money-making film “Ted.” The potty-mouthed Teddy Bear, who MacFarlane voiced in the hit movie, also made an appearance with Mark Wahlberg to announce the Best Sound Categories. Which was an unprecedented tie for Sound Editing between “Zero Dark Thirty” (the only award it got) and “Skyfall” which also got Best Song for Adele.

The hue and cry against MacFarlane has all but dwarfed the actual awards and movies themselves as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone points out at http://www.awardsdaily.com , but I’m happy to say that “Argo” won three. and Ben Affleck had his great moment in the sun, winning as a producer of the hit film, along with fellow producers,Grant Heslov, who hogged the microphone, and George Clooney, who stood by totally silent, and in a beard, clutching his hard-earned second Oscar like it was pure gold. Which it sort of is. But only gold-plated, really.But his firm grip was noticeable. I thought he was gonna break it in two. But then remember just last year, when he lost out on Best Actor to Jean DuJardin for “The Artist.”

Affleck was incredibly moving as he told everyone everywhere in the world to “never give up.” I took that very much to heart. He also said “Never hold grudges” in Hollywood. And to “always get back up when the world knocks you down.” Words of wisdom all…

“Argo” won Best Adapted Screenplay which I correctly predicted and also Best Editing for William Goldenberger, which I predicted, too. It lost out on Best Score. I thought they would acknowledge Alexandre Desplat, subtle, Middle-Eastern flavored work, but no, they instead gave to “Life of Pi”, which was Indian-flavored.

Affeck’s words about when the world knocks you down, get up, were illustrated minutes earlier, in a Forever in Oscar History Moment when Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence tripped on her massive Dior gown and face-planted right on the stairs up to the Oscar stage! For the rest of her career everyone is going to remember her like that! And then she got a standing ovation! Everyone loved her for it! And I did, too!

A great screen comedienne, as well as a talented actress, who is being rewarded at 22. And probably will be again, in a career that is looking by the minute. to be of LEGENDARY PROPORTIONS.

Her fall made the front pages of newspapers around the world! The New York Post headlined her prone picture with the words “Fallen Star”! Lolol..

That fall all but knocked Anne Hathaway’s win for Best Supporting Actress for her stunning, unforgettable turn as the doomed prostitute Fantine in “Les Miserables” out of everyone’s memories.

Hathaway’s unfortunate change of dress from Valentino to Prada, resulted in emphasizing her nipples to a ridiculous, impossible to ignore degree. I know. I know. It was only two seams hitting the wrong places, or perhaps the right places, because this made her pale, pale pink Prado famous around the world for all the wrong reasons. Joan Rivers cracked “Anne Hathaway was with the Pointer Sisters. And they were all very excited to be there.” I think, Anne Hathaway’s Nipples have their own Twitter account.

She’s a great, great young actress, who is just turning 30 and is at the height of her career, and I couldn’t be more happy for her! Congratulations, Annie! You had Oscar at “Hello”! The minute they released the “Les Miserables” trailer in June, I predicted she would win this! And I also predict this will not be her last Oscar. Only her FIRST!

There was a very rousing medley of “Les Miz” sung live by the entire cast, including Russell Crowe(!) and Annie. Another standing ovation! “Les Miz” got three Oscars, the same number as “Argo.” It also won Best Hair and Make-Up, as I predicted, and Best Sound Mixing, for its’ incredible blend of the live singing with a 60(!) piece orchestra that was added later! It’s a stunning achievement, my favorite film of the year and I wish it had won more.

The Academy really OWED Anne Hathaway an Oscar I.O.U. to quote Tom O’Neil, who was in Oscar heaven hyper-drive over at http://www.goldderby.com. After what she went through with James Franco! And their co-hosting a couple of years ago. That was ANOTHER one of Annie’s great performances as she kept trying to keep the show going at all costs despite Franco’s complete, er, disinterest…

And I can’t help but think that Ang Lee’s winning Best Director for “Life of Pi” and Annie’s win for “Les Miz” on Sunday night, were a kind of karmic pay-back from the “Oscar Gods” as Ang called it in his acceptance speech, for that awful night when “Crash” beat “Brokeback Mountain.” And the late Heath Ledger got his Oscar, too, although it was posthumously for “The Dark Knight.”

I was very happy for all of them.

A great, great, memorable show overall,too. I’ll never forget it! And I’ll have plenty more to say about it soon.

Oscar to Spread the Wealth! Final Predictions in All Categories!

I think Oscar is going to spread his love all over many movies on Sunday night at the Dolby pavillion, and there’s going to be at least one major upset. Read below.

This is NOT who I WANT to win, but who I think will win. Never did ALLLLL the categories before, but FINALLY this year, I think I can.

Best Picture ~  Argo ~ Slam Dunk. It even just won Best Foreign Film at the Cesars, France’s Oscars. Does any one else even have a chance? Would be the ultimate shock if that happened.

Best Actor – Daniel Day Lewis. Does anyone else have a chance? No. Wish it was Hugh Jackman, but…

Best Actress- Jennifer Lewis ~ She’s Hollywood’s future. Young, beautiful, shapely, funny. She’s got it all. A last-minute surge of Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour” is not gonna be enough. I think not enough people saw it. Believe it or not. But they ALLLL saw “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Best Supporting Actress ~Anne Hathaway. “Les Miz” Slam dunk. See Daniel Day-Lewis.

Best Supporting Actor ~ Robert De Niro “Silver Linings Playbook” He’s got the Weinstein Co. behind him full force. If for some unforseeable upset in Best Actress, meaning Riva OR Qu’venzhane Wallis(my pick. I would vote for her. I WOULD!) getting R. De Niro his third Oscar is where “Silver Linings Playbook” will prevail. It just went of $100 million just this past week.
But if ALAN ARKIN wins here for “Argo” you KNOW that “Argo” is going to win everything it’s nominated for, which it might. It’s not just gonna win Best Picture.

<p>Best Director ~ Ang Li “Life of Pi” Beautiful film, best use ever of 3D, and degree of difficulty make this a second Best Director win for the much loved director of “Brokeback Mountain”. That terrible night when “Brokeback” lost to “Crash” may make Ang Li winning again, a KIND of Karmic pay-back. Same thing happened to the late Heath Ledger, but he was gone, tragically, when he won for “The Dark Knight.” I just feel Heath steering Ang’s boat to shore here.

Best Original Screenplay ~ Michael Hanke “Amour” I think this is the big win for “Amour” like it was for Pedro Almodovar for “Talk to Her” a few years back.

Best Adapted Screenplay -Chris Terrio for “Argo”.Again. It’s going to be an “Argo” kind of night.

Best Cinematography – Claudio Mirando for his beautiful work in “Life of Pi”

Best Visual Effects- Again, “Life of Pi”

Best Costumes -Jacqueline Duran “Anna Karenina” Wish it was going to win more. Another beautiful, beautiful film that wasn’t appreciated as much as it should’ve been.

Best Production Design ~ “Les Miserables” ANOTHER Beautiful film that didn’t get its’ due. I’ve seen it FOUR times! It’s nominated for Best Picture, so I think it will win this category, which used to be called Best Art Direction. They like them big and dressy and period in this category.

Best Film Editing ~ William Goldenberger  for “Argo”. He also edited much of “Zero Dark Thirty” which I don’t think it going to get anything, unfortunately. Too much controversy.

Best Song ~ “Skyfalll” and Adele will blow the roof off the play. Especially if this loses to “Suddenly” from “Les Miz.

Best Score – Alexandre Desplat “Argo” AGAIN.

Best Sound Editing ~ “Argo” AGAIN.

Best Sound Mixing-“Les Miserables” No contest. The live singing was brilliantly mixed!That’s Sound Editing at its best. And how it was blended, later with a 60 piece orchestra! Incredible!

Best Animated Short – “Paperman” Disney’s first black-and-white cartoon since when? “Steamboat Willy”?

Best Live Action Short – “Buzkahshi Boys” The actual Afghan locations and child actors are breathtaking and heartbreaking. Revelatory. And director Sam French is a director/Rock-Star in the making. Alternately, it could be the only film in English, “Curfew” set in New York City. Which is the light-er funny one here. Sometimes that wins this. But who has heard the Afghan language actually as spoken dialogue in a film?

Best Documentary – SHOULD be “Invisible War” but probably will be the very popular “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Best Doc Short “Open Heart”

Best Animated Feature ~ “Wreck It Raplph”

And the biggest surprise upset? Could be if “Amour” does NOT win Best Foreign Film, yes! It could happen! And it goes instead to the feel-good high-seas adventure, Norway’s “Kon-Tiki>” How can that happen when “Amour” seems so locked and so acclaimed and awarded? It’s,as they say, a difficult sit. For “Amour” details in stark, sterile clarity the step-by-step deterioration of a Parisian married woman, Emmanuelle Riva’s acclaimed Ann, after a series of strokes. It’s NOT for the faint-of-heart, which the small, the VERY small and elderly group of Academy voters, who vote on Best Foreign Film, are noted to be.
Anyone who’s a member can vote, but they have to sign in at the screenings of ALL FIVE FOREIGN FILMS, to make sure they’ve seen them all. This also applies to Doc Shorts.

It used to be applicable to Animated and Live Action Shorts and Feature Docs, too, but for the first time this year, they’ve opened up the voting to all 6,000 Academy members and deluged them with screeners. So now, a new rule must be applied. The most popular film like “Searching for Sugar Man” is the likely win over the VERY serious “Invisible War.” Unfortunately.

That’s at least four or is it five for “Argo”? Four for “Les Miserables”,Three for “Life of Pi”,Two for “Silver Linings Playbook”,One for “Amour” and One for “Lincoln” 

 

Check back on Monday and see how right, or WRONG, I was! Have fun watching the Oscars!With “Les Miserables”, “Argo”, “Lincoln”, “Silver Linings Playbook”, “Django Unchained And “Life of Pi” alllll having past the $100 million mark at the box-office, this may be the most-watched Oscars in a very, very long time.

Oscar Nominee Ang Li “Life of Pi” gets in touch with us!

 

From Ang Lee himself, getting in touch about his gratitude for his being nominated for Best Director and Best Picture for “Life of Pi.” It got many techical nominations, too! ELEVEN Nominations total! ONE behind leader “Lincoln’s TWELVE!And lest we not forget I have to mention that this film OPENED the New York Film Festival 2012! GO NYFF!

“I am deeply honored and frankly a little overwhelmed by all of the nominations that ‘Life of Pi’ has received this morning. So many talented people gave everything they had to this film, both in front of and behind the camera, and to see all of them receive this kind of recognition is something I am incredibly grateful for.”

 

Some fun facts about LIFE OF PI:

 

  • Film is approaching $400 million worldwide gross
  • Film is approaching $100 million domestic gross and Ang Lee’s highest-grossing film to date
  • LIFE OF PI is Ang’s most Oscar nominated film of his career
  • Ang Lee is the only director in the race this year to receive nominations from the Academy Awards, BAFTA, Golden Globes, DGA and the Broadcast Film Critics.
  • While many have assumed that the film can’t win because it has no well-known actors, including an experienced lead actor, the film has made a sweep of key factions including DGA, PGA, WGA, BAFTA, ASC, VES, AFI, ADG, HFPA
  • Previous films including BRAVEHEART, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING And believe it or not NONE of these films had acting nominations!No, reallY!

– LIFE OF PI fits with the precedent of films that win Best Picture with no acting noms for the following reasons:

  • Large technical achievement (BRAVEHEART and LOTR: ROTK)
  • No big star in the cast (SLUMDOG)
  • Predominantly cast featuring people of color (SLUMDOG)
  • Considered a great directorial achievement (All of them)
  • Non-American stories (All of them)
  • Ang is being recognized for his achievement with this film by VES (Visionary Award), MPSE (Filmmaker of the Year), and the International 3D Society (Harold Lloyd Award). He was also recognized this year as VARIETY’s “International Filmmaker of the Year” at the Mill Valley Film Festival, and he received a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres insignia.
  • Film is not a story specific to one country or region – it’s a world wide story
  • Film based on best-selling book that is now back near the top of the NEW YORK TIMES Best-Seller list
  • Film is Ang’s first foray into the world of 3D
  • Famous quote from W.C. Fields about never working with animals or children, but LIFE OF PI has both animals, a young lead actor, and water – and the film successfully uses all three
  • Film crew was comprised of over 3,000 members from all over the world, including members for 21countries worldwide.

 

5 SAG men and 5 SAG women poised to score Oscar noms

At this juncture, the first post of the New Year 2012, I’m beginning to think of the Oscar landscape as sort of a roiling seascape. It’s most fascinating aspect is the tides, their ever-changing ebb and flow. And it does change, this Oscar race, we are all so avidly following. And if you’re not, why are you reading this???

So what’s changed since yesterday? Well, certain box office numbers came in, and came in lower than expected. Like for instance, the holiday numbers of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” which are OK, but not the blockbuster figures Sony was hoping for with a $100 million budget. This hurts Rooney Mara’s nascent Oscar campaign, I’m afraid. Right at the time the voters have received their ballots in their homes.

Most send them RIGHT BACK, making sure that they are counted. You can check out the stats at www.boxofficemojo.com And “The Iron Lady” opened strong, but not THAT strong. Everybody these days feels that the first weekend is everything, and especially in the middle of the Oscar campaigns, that is not necessarily the case.

But “Dragon Tattoo” is not measuring up, and I think that dooms Rooney Mara’s chance to crack that locked and loaded Five SAG women, who are nominated for Best Actress. I think that on Oscar morning, we’ll find out that Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Michelle Williams and yes, Tilda Swinton, are going to repeat their SAG nomination victories. If you consider the SAG nominations a victory. And they are of sorts.

Of course, it’s an honor. It is after all your peers voting for you here. And it’s the first glimpse we get into what the all important Hollywood guilds are actually thinking and feeling right about now. And the above ladies are who they are feeling for.

Rooney Mara is the newbie, the upstart outsider trying to get in, but…with those numbers at the B.O. I’m afraid “Dragon Tattoo” is not going to make  it into that very locked-up-for-ages category.

You always wish they could expand the category just a LEEETLE bit, but, of course, they never do. It’s against the rules.

Then there’s the Five SAG men. And last night I finally got a chance to watch Demian Bichir’s out-of-the-blue nominated performance in the leeetle-seen Indie “A Better Life.” It starts slow, but then BANG! It blew me out of the water and Bechir held me in the grip of his powerful, moving performance as a Mexican father, an illegal immigrant in today’s L.A., who is working as a gardener and trying to make “A Better Life” for his son. He was heroic. No anti-hero here. And troubles galore do ensue, as he is always trying to do the right, moral thing in the immoral, or amoral world of the hispanic underclass.

It’s a terrific film and a great performance by Bichir. Summit Entertainment, the film’s distributor, did the smart & impossible that usually is associated with Sony Pictures Classics or Lionsgate,  by sending out the DVD screeners of this film to the entire SAG membership, and most especially the 2100 members of their nominating committee EARLY. REALLY EARLY. Like SPC did last year with “Animal Kingdom” that just as unseen-in-theaters film that got Australian actress Jackie Weaver an Oscar nomination in Supporting Actress last year. She didn’t win, but in her very unlikely case, it was a honor just to be nominated. And like Lionsgate did so famously with “Crash” upsetting “Brokeback Mountain.” That was in 2005. And the strategy still works.

Oh! Those September screeners! Those first out-of-the-box DVDs to arrive at a time when the voters have time to watch them. Like in the REALLY early fall. Like Labor Day. And it seemed EVERYone in SAG watched “A Better Life” and were equally wowed, as I was, by Bichir’s heart-wrenching performance.

He didn’t repeat this at the Golden Globe awards. He was replaced there by Michael Fassbender for “Shame” And much as I adore Michael F. and his constant full frontal nudity didn’t faze me in the least, I think it WILL faze the S.W.O.R.M, The Straight White Old Rich Men, who make up the Academy. Yes, as I’m always pointing out, THEY are the majority. Like it or not, that’s what we’re dealing with here. ALWAYS.

And sadly, the double standard is still in effect. The naked young girl, like for instance, last year’s Natalie Portman, almost always wins over the older actresses who are also nominated. I think, as I’ve said many times, this “Babe Rule” is going to apply once again this year in a close race for Best Actress between Michelle Williams and her older cohorts.

But oh no! MEN can’t be seen naked in Hollywood films! Especially not from the front! And especially when shown urinating! And yes, you don’t just HEAR it happening! You see the actual, physical process taking place RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU! Michael Fassbender is facing upstage(and totally naked, again, natch) but you get the picture.

But the Academy won’t get this picture. They are nothing, if not closet prudes and homophobes as we know (See “Brokeback Mountain” NOT winning in 2005) So no, to Michael Fassbender, and yes, to Demien Bichir. As the SAGS have already said.

Also, “Shame”s box-office is not registering with movie-goers despite the constant sex scenes and the as-noted nudity. See BoxOfficeMojo, again. Which is, well, a shame.

What is doing WELL at the Box Office surprisingly is “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” which is a British film that boasts a terrifically understated performance by the great actor Gary Oldman, who has never ONCE been nominated. He could sneak in here and replace Bichir, if the large British voting bloc within the Academy votes for him and not Mexican  Bichir. But George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jean Dujardin of “The Artist” I think are as equally locked and loaded in their category of Best Actor, as the five aforementioned ladies are in their category.

The Supporting races, especially Best Supporting Actress, are usually not SAG matches and are usually all over the place. So much so that I will discuss them separately. But the SAG 5 & 5 rule!

Homophobic Brett Ratt gone in 60 seconds from job as Oscar producer!

This happened so fast, I barely had time to absorb it, never mind write about it. I do have a weekly TV show, y’know, which you can see 24/7 at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Brett RATTner, who was the unusual choice to produce this year’s Oscar telecast, made the UNBELIEVABLE gaffe in a press situation by saying that “rehearsals are for fags.” And all hell broke loose in a day as the well deserved gay shitstorm blew this man out of his job.

Led I’m happy to say by www.awardsdaily.com Sasha Stone and Ryan Adams! They were both on top of this particular news cycle(while I was writing about “J.Edgar” and producing and editing my show) and then my TV went out and this one totally got by me, but Sasha, Oscar goddess that she is, really hit it out of the ball park on this one, and so did her trusty companion editor at Awardsdaily, Ryan.

They said it better than I could. Oh yes, and then my TV decided to die. So when I looked up all this had happened, and now it’s over. RATTner is gone. Resigned. You can also read about it at David Poland’s www.moviecitynews.com

David was on the right side of this argument, too.

I can only add that times HAVE changed. Back in the “Brokeback” days, I don’t think this would’ve happened. I’ll never get over the heartbreak and shock of it losing the Oscar that year to “Crash.” Sasha and I bonded over that one. I was bereft that night and so was she. I had been writing for her for quite a while before that, but that night…oh god…it was one of the most horrible experiences of my life…and hers, too…

She was so upset, I thought she would never  go back to Oscarwatch, as it was called in those days. But I, and others, many others encouraged her to go on. And GO ON SHE DID!

She also, full disclosure, was my Internet mentor and muse. I knew NO-THING about the Web, nor did I particularly want to know – at that time.

And now…

Well, Sasha told me YEARS ago. I mean, YEARS ago that I should do my own blog. And she was right! It took me something like six years to come around to her way of thinking about the ‘Net. Or more.

I’m still tech-tarded but I’m getting better.

And then my television died. So I nearly missed this.

THANK GOD THAT MAN IS GONE! Brett RATTner, I mean. I think he just ruined his own career. What a jerk! To put it very mildly…

“She’s Never Been Happier!” Michelle Williams interview from Jan.2006 for “Brokeback”

“SHE’S NEVER BEEN HAPPIER!” Michelle Williams Interview from Jan.2006 by Stephen Holt

Originally published at that time by Www.Oscarwatch.com (Now www.awardsdaily.com)

 Best Supporting Actress Oscar Nominee Michelle Williams talks about “Brokeback Mountain,” Oscar, her man Heath, and her new baby.

 Hollywood’s new golden girl is definitely Michelle Williams, first time Oscar Nominee for Best Supporting Actress for the record-breaking, landmark film “Brokeback Mountain.” With the ballots now in the Academy voting members hands, “Brokeback” is still in the front-runner position with Eight Nominations, including Best Picture, and Best Actor for Michelle’s fiance Heath Ledger. Heath is also the father of their baby girl Matilda Rose.

Heath and Michelle are also making Oscar history by being the first real life couple nominated for playing opposite each other in the same film and the same year. And their acclaimed roles could also make history if they both  each go home with their own little golden guy on March 5th.

Michelle exudes a warmth and a delightfully brainy, but bubbly glow as she talks with great affection of her man, her  baby and her love for her Oscar nominated character, Alma, the betrayed wife of Ledger’s iconic gay cowboy Ennis Del Mar. If Ledger’s portrayal of Ennis is a man who is so repressed he is like a clenched fist, Michelle’s Alma is all heart.

Michelle is a marvelous a conversationalist as she is an actress, and her devotion to her art and her craft, is second only to her love of great writing.

Since she burst upon the world at age 15 on the WBs “Dawson’s Creek” ten years ago, she’s proven herself time and time again to be an intelligent actress with “chops” and not just another pretty teen face. After six long years on “Dawson’s,” she used her TV  money wisely, allowing her the freedom to pursue quirky, unusual roles in indie films, like the love-scarred librarian in “The Station Agent” where she got to share a SAG ensemble award with its great cast including Patricia Clarkson and Peter Dinklage.

She also appearing notably on stage in New York, with Off Broadway’s red hot New Group, in Mike Leigh’s “anti-farce” “Smelling a Rat” under the direction of Scott Elliot.

I met Michelle in the electric atmosphere of the New York TV press junket for “Brokeback Mountain” in early December before the film opened. I had seen it in Toronto at the Film Festival, where the reaction was ecstatic. Grown men staggering out of the theatre and into the street in tears. My friend Rex Reed, immediately proclaimed it “a masterpiece.”

Then it wasn’t screened  widely again until after Thanksgiving. And when I first met Michelle and Heath and Anne Hathaway, all hell had not broken lose yet. But I knew it was going to.

I interviewed her and told her that she and Heath and “Brokeback” were going to have a very active awards season, to say the very least. And most astonishingly of all, she remembered that I was the first one to tell her this.

It’s now a snowy afternoon in February in New York and Michelle is calling me on the phone from sunny L.A. Am I the happiest guy in the world today? Michelle’s joy is infectious. She’s an utter delight and a winner in every sense of the word.

MW: Hi, it’s Michelle Williams.

SH: Hi, Michelle! How are you?

MW: I am fine thank you. How are you doing?

SH: Oh! So excited to be talking to you!

MW: Thanks so much. Likewise.

SH: Do you remember me?

MW: I do. Of course. I remember.From the junket.( You can see that original TV interview from the “Brokeback Mountain” junket at my YouTube Channel. www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow)

SH: And you said to say “Hello” to everyone at the New Group(the New York theater company where she appeared in Mike Leigh’s “Smelling a Rat”) for you, and I did.

MW: Oh, thank you.

SH: My friend, Jill Clayburgh is in  Scott’s ( New Group Artistic Director Scott Elliot)- He’s doing “Barefoot in the Park” with her right now on Broadway, and she  said that he talks about you all the time. And how much he likes you.

MW: You’re kidding. That’s so nice.

SH: And everybody was thrilled that here, in this big moment of yours, you were thinking of them.

MW: Oh, that’s so sweet! Hey, you know, you were right. When we met, you knew exactly how well the movie was going to do. You predicted all of this.

SH: I know. I know. I’ve been riding the “Brokeback” bubble, too. (Laughs) I was the one who said it was “the Gay ‘Gone With the Wind’.”(MICHELLE laughs) and then people starting writing about me and saying I was “a Toronto Wag” and I had to call them up and correct them and that yes, I really was a film critic and a theatre critic.(Both laugh.) And so, I gotten written up by Anne Thompson in the Hollywood Reporter. So now, I’m writing for Oscarwatch.com because of “Brokeback”!

MW: You’re kidding? Really?

SH: Yeah, that’s who I’m writing for now. In addition to doing my TV show.

MW: Oh my gosh!

SH: So “Brokeback” made me a star, too! (Both laugh.) Anyway, so, honey, congratulations!

MW: Thank you very much.

SH: When I met you, Matilda was five weeks old.

MW: I know. (Laughs)

SH: How old is she now?

MW: She’s now three months and one week.

SH: How’s she’s doing?

MW: She’s just fabulous. She really is.

SH: Does she look more like you or Heath?

MW: Personally, I think she looks the most like Heath, though people say that she’s a pretty balanced combination of the two of us.

SH: Well, that’s a very good-looking baby then.

MW: But I really see her Daddy in her.

SH: You must be so happy in the middle of all this. I mean, to get an Oscar nomination?

MW: Yeah.

SH: And all of this? And you won the Broadcast Film Critics Award!

MW: I know, I’ve never been happier. I’ve never imagined that my life would turn out this way. I really didn’t.

SH: You know, because it’s Oscarwatch, I have to mention that I don’t think any other couple has ever been nominated before.

MW: Yeah, somebody asked me about that recently, if I knew if that was any kind of fact, or record. I can’t think of anybody.

SH: I don’t think so either. Maybe people got nominated in the different years. But never for playing opposite each other.

MW:  Never in the same year, and for the same movie.

SH: So you’ve made history, too.

MW: I know. The whole thing is pretty serendipitous.

SH: Well, it’s a great love story and the movie’s a great love story, so—

MW: So it’s only fitting.

SH: Right. Right. So the day I saw you,  it was the following  Monday and Tuesday when all the critics  awards came out, so your whole life must have changed since I last saw you? The film hadn’t really opened I think even when I interviewed you?

MW: No. It hadn’t. Only select groups of people had seen it thus far.

SH: I saw it in Toronto where everyone was going beserk. (MICHELLE laughs) But how has, my god, all this recognition, and all the attention and the nomination and all changed things?

MW: Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t change our immediate, personal, mundane, day-to-day life outside of our careers. Nothing’s different. We’re the still same people, and we feel the same way about ourselves, and each other, but   career-wise,  y’know, all of a sudden! All of the offers!

That’s the most exciting thing to watch happen after being nominated for awards like these is that your work opportunities increase, and they just get better. You get more opportunities to do the thing that you love, and that’s really the greatest reward.

SH: I’m from the Bronx myself, so I just think it’s great that you and Heath have chosen to live in Brooklyn. I think that’s wonderful.

MW: We just adore it. And so many people say that, and “How can you stand to live in a boro?”and think that —

SH: There are very beautiful spots in Brooklyn.

MW: Oh god! We think so! I don’t feel like we live in a substandard environment.

SH: (laughs) And I’m sure you don’t.

MW: People are so surprised that we wouldn’t want to live in the center of Manhattan.

SH: Well, you’re from Montana, and there’s a kind of balance in Brooklyn, between the city and — I mean, you want to see the sky, I’m sure.

MW: Yeah, I realized I was homesick for space. Homesick for sky. I was so claustrophobic in Manhattan, so caught up in Manhattan. I had no conception of Brooklyn. And it blew my mind, when I took my first subway ride, and I walked out, and there was air!

SH: We should talk about “Brokeback”. I went back to see the film again, and I just read the screenplay. I couldn’t put it down. I have to tell you this, Michelle. I went to see it at 10 o’clock on a Friday night in Times Square, totally straight kids, teenagers, who are usually very noisy. They were totally quieted by the movie. I couldn’t believe it! And this was a straight audience, to say the least. I was floored! It was reaching people I never dreamed it could possibly reach. And anyway, when I saw it again, I was really looking at your performance, because I knew I was going to be talking to you, and there wasn’t one false moment with Alma.

MW: Thank you.

SH: Of course, the scene where you look out the door and you what you see. It’s just unforgettable. And you see Jack and Ennis kissing. And then, and I didn’t notice this the first time, you made this incredible choice, you ran to your purse.

(MICHELLE laughs)

SH: And you started going through your purse!

MW: You’re the first person to ask me about that! I know!

SH: That was your choice, wasn’t it?

MW: Yeah, yeah, it was.

SH: It was brilliant! It was like “What is she looking for? Where is she going? How can she –?” Like there was no way out. It was so right for the character and was a really brilliant touch, I thought.

MW: Thank you so much. I’m really pleased that you saw that.

SH: Had you decided to do that? Was that planned? Or did it just happen?

MW: It was somewhere in the back of my head. I never said it out loud, or talked to Ang about wanting to do it, or what he thought of it. I just had kind of a vague wisp of an idea about it. Just about how to physicalize a moment of total vertigo. I think that her feet really weren’t on the floor anymore. I’ve had moments like those, where you just start reaching for something that’s ordinary, something that you do everyday, something to ground you.  And somewhere to put –– She couldn’t – Y’know, how was she going to really look at her husband? She needed something that was her own. I think there was safety and I think there was history and there was an identity in her purse. It was like reaching for a talisman.

SH: And then she closes it(her handbag), and puts it on! Like it’s her only defense against what she’s just seen.

MW:  Like she has something. Like she has something in the world that’s her own.

SH: My mother would’ve done something like that.

(MICHELLE laughs)

MW: So would’ve mine.

SH: It was such a feminine thing. And just so right. And, y’know, we’re all the audience –I mean, I’m gay, obviously- but I mean, I was like rooting for you at that point! You know? You totally made everyone see Jack and Ennis from HER point of view. Because, you are the audience. You’re the character the audience goes through this with, I feel. Most of the straight audience can understand you totally. If they don’t understand the men, they’ll totally understand you. Alma, I should say, the character.

MW: Right. Right.

SH: And then, there was the scene where they come back, I think. And there’s a cut .There’s a shot of you, and your face looked disfigured with crying. Like you had been crying for days, or hours. It was not she’d just recently cried, it was that she couldn’t stop. It was like your features had moved to different places on your face.

MW: I think that kind of transmutation is entirely possible. I’ve seen that happen myself. I’ve seen that happen in friends. I think that you can feel things internally that manifest themselves externally. And I think that she had been crying non-stop since he left. I mean, wailing and throwing herself at the furniture and all that stuff. I think you’re absolutely right. I think she is disfigured by the end of the film.

SH: Well, she doesn’t look like she does when we first see her as the innocent bride.

MW: No.

SH: When you first got the script, when your agent brought it to you, did you just get Alma’s sides(scenes) or did you get the whole script?

MW: I got the whole script, though, at times, it felt like I was just reading Alma’s sides, because my heart went out to her first, completely. I only had eyes for her.

SH: And you immediately wanted to do it?

MW: Oh, immediately.

SH: It’s a beautiful script. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a brilliantly written screenplay.

MW: Isn’t it though?

SH: And Diana (Ossana) and Larry (McMurty,the authors)! What a great job they did! I mean, oh please! Because I knew I was going to be talking to you, I went back and watched “Hud.” Have you seen that?

MW: You know what, not in a long – What’s the actress’s name in that film?

SH: Patricia Neal.

MW: Patricia Neal. That’s right. I was trying to think of her name.

SH: Alma. Her character’s name is also named Alma.

MW: Oh, right! Of course she is!

SH: And she won the Oscar for Best Actress for that film in 1963, the year “Brokeback” is set.  Here at Oscarwatch, we try to make all the Oscar connections.

MW: Oh! Ohhh! Wouldn’t that be sweet?

SH: Well, Larry McMurtry, everytime he does something, all these people win Oscars. Melvyn Douglas got a Supporting Actor Oscar, also for “Hud.” (Based on a Mc Murtry novel, “Horseman, Pass By”). And Patricia Neal won Best Actress for “Hud.” And then in “The Last Picture Show” it was Cloris Leachman, in that wonderful part, and Ben Johnson in 1971, both won for Supporting. (McMurtry co-wrote the screenplay with Peter Bogdanovich, based on his novel of the same name. McMurtry and Ossana are also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. McMurtry has never won an Oscar.) So the characters are very, very, very well written. Of course, it’s very interesting, Alma Del Marr is very much in the story (by Annie Proulx). Did you read the story subsequently?

MW: I did. After I read the script.

SH: Because my god, is that a beautiful story!

MW: Oh, I know. You know, that was a lot of my preparation for the film was reading that collection of short stories. (“Close Range” by Annie Proulx) I started actually reading it about a month before filming began, and a couple of stories into the collection,  I knew I had to put it down, because the world was so intoxicating and so effective that I wanted to save it for while we were shooting, because I felt transported immediately. But as far as the screenplay, you know, it’s astonishing that it was adapted from a short story. You know you feel it’s so flawless that it must have come from a novel. You can underestimate exactly how much work Larry and Diana put into. These characters are so alive and so real to them. They took every word. Every word was precious and necessary.

SH: Well, I think what Annie Proulx did, it’s part of modern times, where everything in our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. Everything is compressed. The short story read to me like a novel. Like she’d taken a novel and just stripped it to the absolutely bare minimum of its elements. Like there was not one spare sentence in it, which is like actually the best kind of writing to adapt to a film, because it’s so efficient. Because the scenes in movies are so brief.

MW: Yeah.

SH: And you have to make this impact.

MW: Right, right. In three pages or something.

SH: And you also had this wonderful thing I noticed when the jars all fell over in the store, you got to see that she had an inner resolve. That she was going to make the best out of whatever it was, and that she had a way of righting things. I mean, correcting things.

MW: She is a survivor.

SH: Yes, yes, that’s why you love her.

MW: You know I think that it changes her irrevocably, and for the worse, what she endured. I don’t think that she was able to understand or appreciate the love that the two men had. I think that it just turned her cold, and it turned her bitter, but she did pull through enough to be able to live in the world, to work in the world, to meet another man, to consent to marrying him, however for convenience sake that might have been. But she continues to exist.

SH: She seemed to have made a better choice with the second husband.

MW: She made a better choice in that he wasn’t in love with somebody else, but I think she made a safer choice. I don’t think– it wasn’t a marriage of great passion, or intensity. I think that she knew that she would never be exposed again in that way. I doubt that she even spoke of what her previous marriage (with Ennis) had been like with Munroe(her second husband). I doubt that she told him what was really going on. I think that it shamed her too greatly. I think it challenged her womanhood too intensely.

SH: Right. And it all boils out in that scene in the kitchen, years later after the marriage, when they’re divorced,  in that incredible scene in the kitchen. I know Anne Hathaway said, “How are you ever going to say that line ‘Jack Nasty’?” But –(MICHELLE laughs) – That’s a famous line now.
MW: I know. Isn’t it? I know. People like to tease me about it.

SH: Well, y’know, something, Michelle, when the characters name go into the vocabulary, and that you’re not talking about “Oh, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal…” You’re talking about Ennis Del Mar, and Alma, and Jack Twist. That means that’s the highest level of cinema greatness is when the characters become part of the world’s vocabulary.

MW: You’re right. You’re right. You’re right. Wow…I’m going to pass that on to Heath.  You’re absolutely right. That certainly happened with Ennis Del Mar.

SH: I know that name, it just resonates.

MW: It’s come to mean so much.

SH: Does that mean “Island in the sea” in Spanish?

MW: I think Ennis means “island” and Alma means…

SH: Alma means “soul.”

MW: Alma means “soul.” That’s right. Thank you.

SH: That’s from-

BOTH: Tennessee Williams! (Both laugh)

SH: That’s from “Smoke and Smoke.” Oh, I know you’ll play all those great roles some day.

MW: I would so love to play a Tennesse Williams play.

SH: Well, this woman was like a Tennessee Williams character, in that she was regional. She was in great conflict, but she had this modern edge. She survived. She got out of it. Blanche (du Bois of “Streetcar Named Desire”) doesn’t survive.

MW: In contrast to a Tennessee Williams character.

Correct. Absolutely correct. Oh, this was fun!

SH: Oh, I’m glad! I could talk to you for the rest of my life! Maybe I’d be lucky enough to do that. Oh! And so for the Oscars, do you know what you’re wearing yet?

MW: I have no idea. (SH laughs) I haven’t seen anything. Thought of anything. Touched anything. I have no idea.

SH: I know for the Golden Globe awards you said that beautiful, purple gown, the dress was too small, that you didn’t try it on soon enough?

MW:  That won’t be happening again.

SH: Let me tell you as an Oscarologist, there’s a history of the Academy of awarding the Supporting Actress Award to the actress who is in the Big Film. Juliette Binoche in “The English Patient”, Cate Blanchette in “The Aviator,” which was nominated for Best Picture. So you have a very good chance of being up on that stage. Do you know what you’re going to say?

MW: Oh, I don’t know about that. I really– I don’t.

SH: Well, you gotta work these things out before hand because you get to that moment and it’s like “Oh my god!”(BOTH laugh) They expect you — Frances McDormand said she saw it as an improvisation. She said, “There’s this bare stage and you’re supposed to get up there and do something for five minutes. You know, fill the space.” I don’t know what I’d do. I’d probably totally break down crying and thank my mother. Who’s dead. But I anyway, I don’t know what I’d do. It’s been such a delight speaking to you, Michelle!

MW: Likewise. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. It’s really nice.

SH: I hope you win! Is there something perhaps you’d like to say in conclusion that hasn’t been brought up in all these interviews you’ve done about “Brokeback” that you would like to say as a final  word to–?

MW: Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.

SH: That you would like people to remember?

MW:  I mean, I feel like my greatest goal  is for people to walk away from the film, and to feel less alone in the world.

SH: Yeah, that’s what you’ve done. That’s what you’ve done. Wow…wow…It’s a miracle. Any great film is a miracle…

MW: That’s what I hope for. I hope that they see themselves. They see themselves no matter if it’s gay, no matter if it’s cowboy, no matter if it’s fifty years ago.

SH: There are very few films that change things, and “Brokeback” there’s the film, and then there’s the social impact that it’s had.

MW: Yes.

SH: And I’m just going to tell you in closing that I’ve been Out in the media since forever. I was one of the first Out actors in America.

MW: Wow….

SH: And for 18 years I’ve had this show and I’m out on it, and it’s always been that I was “too gay.” But now, suddenly, because of “Brokeback”, I’m not too gay. I’m just right.

(MICHELLE laughs.)

MW: And guess what? YOU’ve never changed!

SH: That’s right.  That’s right!(Both Laugh)

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