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Posts tagged ‘Captain Phillips’

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My Surprising Best Actor Pic, Or is it?

My Surprising Best Actor Pic, Or is it?

Just take a look at that picture. Can you imagine anyone voting for anything else if they have seen or suffered through that horrendous moment of moments in “12 Years a Slave”? where Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character of Solomon Northrup is hung by the neck until he’s NEARLY dead? And it’s an INTERMINABLE time. It’s goes on and on and on and director Steve McQueen’s camera just holds that horrifying shot. And it comes near the beginning of the film, too.

Northup revolts against Paul Dano’s thoroughly evil twerp of an over-seer and whups the living daylights out of him,and the audience bursts into cheers! Always. But are horrified to see Dano’s character come back with reinforcements, and they string Solomon up and just leave him there for what seems like hours. AND NO ONE CUTS HIM DOWN!!! AND HE’S STILL ALIVE!!! As the other slaves in the background of the above scene just go about their work, and COMPLETELY IGNORE his hanging there before them!

Northup’s feet barely touch the ground and keep trying to find footing or balance as he hangs by his neck until….well, I don’t want to spoil THAT much of the movie But the utter horror of Ejiofor’s Northrup hanging there, and hanging there and hanging there….well, it’s like watching a REAL hanging in real-time.

It’s excruciating and unbelievable but TRUE! Everything in “12 Years a Slave” is directly from that book that Solomon Northrup wrote that is only now beginning to be taught in schools in America….

But for this scene, as Ejiofor as Northrup struggles to free himself, to balance himself, to just keep breathing is well, breathtaking, and is a scene the Academy, if they’ve seen it, will surely reward with a Best Actor Oscar for Ejiofor.

Although the operative word in that sentence is IF THEY’VE SEEN IT. Peggy Seigel, the great Oscar party thrower, said at the Vanity Fair Oscar Chat that Sasha Stone writes so feelingly about at http://www.awardsdaily.com , that many, MANY Academy voters were just NOT WATCHING “12 Years a Slave” AT ALL.

And Sasha keeps trumpeting and advocating for it until the last-minute, and so, this year am I.

She has expressed doubts about it winning Best Picture and thinks that it might be “Gravity.” I hope not. But she’s also said that she thinks, worse case scenario that it might just get ONE big award. And after BAFTA, which Brit Ejiofor won, that THAT would be the Award. “The Big One” that “Slave” gets, if it shockingly doesn’t get anything else.

But I for one think it will get Best Picture. You ask everyone in New York(and I do) on my cinematic travels and everyone HERE says in unison “12 Years a Slave”. Maybe in L.A. you’re hearing something different. But with the BAFTA Best Picture and Best Actor win, I think the Academy may just do the right thing and check both boxes.

Lupita Nyong’o, who may very well be the OTHER “Big One” that “Slave” wins didn’t win at the BAFTAs. She lost to last year’s It Girl, Jennifer Lawrence for “American Hustle.”

So it could be BP, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. But I would also hope Lupita wins. Both the Gurus o’ Gold at http://www.moviecitynews.com and also Tom O’Neil’s Gold Derby at http://www.goldderby.com have Lupita out in front. But Chiwetel isn’t even LISTED in either place.

If “American Hustle” is going to win anything, and the Academy may want to give it SOMEthing, they can award the indefatigable director David O. Russell in “Original Screenplay” which he also wrote and I think that’s where the “American Hustle” voting energy will go. And voila! They’ve honored it and FINALLY David O gets an Oscar.

What else could “Slave” win? It could turn up in some of the below the line categories, like Production Design or even Costume Design. If it wins Best Editing early in the evening, look out, a sweep for “Slave” is coming. But if that early award goes to “Gravity” as well it might, we can look for “Gravity” to take the many, many technical awards it’s predicted for.

But if it’s “Captain Phillips” in editing, there really could be a shake-up and spread amongst the categories, with even an upset like Somali first time actor Barkhad Abdi winning for Best Supporting as he did at BAFTA. Is the Academy so broadened in its’ thinking post-“Brokeback” that giving BOTH its’ Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards to TWO gay AIDS victims, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto?

Still smarting from “Brokeback”s loss to homophobia in AMPAS, I’m hedging my bets that both McConaughey and Leto won’t win. ONE of them may. And this could be where Chiwetel Ejiofor is the surprise of the night who triumphs. But no surprise to me, or to you, dear readers, dear cineastes.

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Who gets Most Oscar Help from BAFTAS? Chiwetel Ejiofor, that’s who!

Who gets Most Oscar Help from BAFTAS? Chiwetel Ejiofor, that's who!

It certainly looks like “12 Years a Slave” is going to win Best Picture and Alfonso Cuaron is going to win Best Director if you judge by tonight’s BAFTA Awards in London. But we knew that already going in.

Who is helped the most in the top categories? It for sure is British Black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor who had his first win tonight for “12 Years a Slave” and his magnificent performance in it.

Leo DiCaprio was there. And he looked pretty pissed in the cut-away shots they showed of him. Just like George Clooney looked in the year he ALMOST, but not quite, had the BAFTA Best Actor in his grasp for “The Descendants” only to see French heartthrob Jean Dujardin win for “The Artist.” And Dujardin went on to win the Oscar, too..

Chiwetel could upset Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar apple-cart, that’s for damn sure.Leo is now oficically out. “Wolf of Wall Street” was shut out completely by the Brits tonight. And “Dallas Buyer’s Club”s two front-running(supposedly) stars McConaughey and Jared Leto were not even nominated in Bligthy. So they couldn’t compete here.

This gave Chiwetel a chance to give a beautiful, moving speech, which he did. So Matthew “Awright, Awright, Awright” McC. you better watch out!

But Jared Leto, you’re OK. They are not going to give the Oscar to first time actor Barkhad Abdi for “Capt. Phillips” who surprisingly won the BAFTA over Irish actor Michael Fassbender for “12 Years”. Leto looks set to continue his march to the Dolby, as does Cate Blanchett in Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine.” Who was pure class in her acceptance speech, not even mentioning Woody Allen, but instead dedicating her award to her late friend, Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

And what to make of Jennifer Lawrence WHO WASN”T EVEN THERE to accept her also surprising Best Supporting Actress win over favorite, the beautiful, brilliant Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years.”?

Well, JLaw was snubbed last year for Best Actress by BAFTA who awarded Emmanuel Riva for “Amour” instead. JLaw was memorably filmed looking awfully embarassed as she was there to win, but stayed in her seat. So I think the BAFTA membership was making up for last year’s no-show. But Lawrence not wanting to repeat that awful faux pas. Didn’t even come. And she won.And she didn’t even BOTHER to come.

JLaw doesn’t have the momentum this year that the lovely Lupita does. And the Academy here is NOT going to give Lawrence ANOTHER Oscar when she got one last year. “She already won!” is what everyone is saying about JLaw’s skilled comic performance in “American Hustle.” So I think Lupita,, Vogue magazine’s “It” Girl, should be just FINE.

L. A.Film Critics also ignore “12 Years” but Award Lupita Nyong’O Best Supp.Actress

Once again. “12 Years A Slave” has been dealt a body blow in this awards’ season. The VERY influential Los Angeles Film Critics only awarded the brilliant Lupita Nyong’O, which is great news for Hollywood’s newest star, but bad news for “12 Years a Slave.” I am shocked, SHOCKED that the usually cutting-edge LA Film Crix went for “Gravity” and “Her”! In a tie! Yes! A tie!. In fact, there were three ties!

Best Picture – “Gravity” tied with “Her”.

Best Actress – Cate Blanchett tied with Adele Exarchopoulos of “Blue is the Warmest Color”

And Best Supporting actor tied :Jared Leto and James Franco for “Spring Breakers”!!!

A motley crew.

But this is a very important win for Lupita Nyong’O and congratulations to her.

But very bad news for “12 Years A Slave.” It is now officially NOT the front-runner for Best Picture anymore. I’d say “Gravity” is, if anything.

The Boston Film Critics and the New York Online Film Critics both awarded “12 Years” heavily in many categories…

Though strangely Michael Fassbender is ending up NOwhere. That’s not a good sign. And though the NYFCO and the BFC are nice to have and all that, it’s the LA Film Critics that are a one-two punch of “12 Years”, I’m sorry to say.

But looking at the all these critics awards you can see that this year’s Oscars are all over the place. Literally.

Also not turning up is Martin Scorcese’s just finished three hour “Wolf of Wall Street”. It’s still so new Jeff Wells is reporting at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com that many in Boston did not get a screener in time. Or couldn’t make a very last minute screening.

I feel just awful for “12 Years…” It’s a masterpiece and I can’t believe that it’s anything but racism animating its” exclusion. If that’s the case and even CRITICS are shying away from advocating for it. Then the award it’s likely to win is indeed Best Supporting Actress for Lupito Nyong’O. As I’ve said before, it’s the Booby Prize of the Oscars. They look at the Best Supporting Actress award rightly or wrongly as a throw away. As a less than important category and if they are not giving “12YAS” anything else, they KNOW they have to give it something and Best Supp. Actress is a place where they will feel most comfortable awarding it.

An equivalent situation occured two years, when African-American-themed box-office winner “The Help” won ONLY Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spenser.

So I do think the LA Film Critics is indicative in that case.

They also importantly gave Best Director to Alphonso Cuaron for “Gravity.” Steve McQueen, thank god, won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Director, but that was it.

Also notably absent from all of this was Tom Hanks and “Captain Phillips”. Nowhere to be seen. Sunk without a trace. Leaving that fifth Best Actor slot now open for maybe Oscar Isaac in “Inside Llewyn Davis” or Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station” or most likely Leonard DiCaprio for “Wolf of Wall Street.” I can’t believe I’m typing these words, but I am. “Llewyn Davis” has opened this week to doing tremendous box-office and Leo has never won an Oscar, unbelivably.

If you read Jeff Wells and Tom O’Neil over at http://www.goldderby.com , they BOTH LOVED “Wolf of Wall Street”to the max.

Cate Blanchett seems to be storming across all awards-giving bodies in Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine.” And also not registering anywhere is “Saving Mr. Banks” which I’m seeing tomorrow night.

I suffered through “Out of the Furnace” because it SEEMED Christian Bale might turn in a possibly nominatable perforrmance. But he didn’t. I didn’t see much hope for any awards for this hard-scrabble violent film.

But Emma Thompson WAS nominated for Best Actress for “Saving Mr. Banks” by the National Board of Review.

Both the NBOR AND the LA film critics gave Best Actor to Bruce Dern! For “Nebraska” And the NYFCC gave that other spry 77-year-old in the race, Robert Redford Best Actor for “All Is Lost.”

The only across the board unity seems to be Cate Blanchett in Best Actress and also, surprisingly Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club” for Best Supporting Transvestite.

And Sandra Bullock has floated into outer space with nary a mention.

And Then…He Didn’t Like it…Jeff Wells, that is, and “Saving Mr.Banks”

I feel very sorry for Jeff Wells right now. He flew half-way around the world to post his review of “Saving Mr. Banks” and he was well, disappointed by it. That’s really a bummer. To spend all that money and sit for ten hours in coach, to see a movie that you thought you were going to love, then didn’t…

Well, you can read Jeff’s reaction here at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

But the ones who benefit by this are we, his readers, who are delighted by these dramatic,colorful postings. So thank you, Jeff, for doing this for us.

Long story short he didn’t like the movie. AND he didn’t like Emma Thompson‘s performance as P.L. Travers, one-note and irritating. Grating, I think was the word.

But all the others who’ve seen it and there are PLENTY of reviews all over the internet now, seem to LOVELOVELOVE Emma Thompson’s tart take on Travers. the Australian/British authoress of “Mary Poppins.

The praise for her is unanimous except for Jeff Wells. Most feel the film though isn’t what it’s cracked up to be and are up-and-down on Tom Hanks’ Disney.

Gregory Ellwood of www.hitfix.com feels, however, that Hanks will win his third Oscar for playing Walt Disney. His “Capt. Phillips” is a huge hit, and he’ll probably get a nomination for that, too.

But will T.Hanks be able to knock out Michael Fascintating Fassbender in that category?

Jared Leto, who is in drag for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” is the other name that keeps cropping up in that category’s conversation. But the Academy is queasy about giving Oscars to drag queens. Remember Jaye Davidson in “The Crying Game”?

I was soooo sure that he’d win, but OF COURSE, they gave it to Gene Hackman that year for the “Unforgiven.”

Fascinating Fassbender, however….that’s a TITANIC unforgettably frightening performance! If you’re scared during “12 Years a Slave“, it’s Fassbender’s evil Epps that you’re scared of…Just saying…

They DO reward scary villains in this category. Javier Bardem  as Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men“? Remember who frightening he was in that Dutch Boy haircut?

And Fassbender is playing a real-life character, too. There was a scary slaveholder named Epps. There was. Versus an amiable Walt Disney? Crazy stuff…

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Super Smart Peter Knegt Predicts the Oscars Early at TIFF!

The incredibly telegenic and incredibly smart Peter Knegt, the go-to Oscar guy at Indiewire.com calls the Oscar shots at TIFF’13. And he’s always right!

Has much changed since TIFF? It’s like my life gets frozen in these two big Canadian film festivals for MONTHS as they play and re-play on my You Tube Channel http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and also my TV show in NYC!

This segment with Peter aired tonight and I have to say even though I’m plunged into the best-in-years NEW YORK Film Festival, I don’t think much really has changed. Even though I missed both “Captain Phillips” Tom Hanks’ shot at the Oscar and also the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis”, the buzz on them, in a very crowded field for Best Actor, is not the greatest. Both played to capacity crowds. “Inside” turned away 20 or 30 people. And with “Captain Phillips” it was hundreds(seemingly).

Both films could get into the ten slots of the Best Picture race, possibly. The Coens have very loyal support within the Academy. Even their unlikely “A Serious Man” got nominated for Best Picture. It didn’t win, but it got nominated.

And box-office will play a big role in whether “Captain Phillip” makes it. But the Best Actor race for their leads, the unknown Oscar Issac and the very well-known Tom Hanks, is no sure thing. Only five slots. Even Hanks could get left out. Which I’m hearing which is shocking. That’s how crowded the Best Actor race is this year.

Meanwhile on the distaff side, Sandra Bullock is now firmly entrenched as a VERY strong competitor to the front-runner Cate Blanchett of “Blue Jasmine”. “Gravity” which I hadn’t seen at the time of this taping above * at TIFF, is now breaking box-office records and as it ascends to the top of the charts Sandra Bullock is, too. She’s PHENOMENAL in “Gravity!” Color me shocked. But congratulations to Sandy, as they call her, for confounding expectations! Including mine!

Oscar Shocker? White Stars Knock Black Stars Out of Best Actor Race

Sad, but true. In what is being touted as the best year ever for the recognition of Black film making, with “12 Years A Slave” steam-rolling every Oscar category in its’ path, the Best Actor race may sadly be the same old same old-as in The Same Old White Faces.

There were FOUR possible Black Best Actor candidates. I’m using the word Black because two of them are British and therefore the term African-American is not totally apt here. Chiwetel Ejiafor for “12 Years a Slave” is British, and so is Idris Elba “Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom.” The other two being Forest Whittaker (already an Academy Award winner in this category) for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler‘”and Michael B. Jordan for “Fruitvale Station.”

I’m afraid when the nominations are announced in January only Chiwetel Ejiafor is going to be the last one standing. And the hue and cry resulting from this happenstance, may very well secure his win. WHICH HE TOTALLY DESERVES!!! “12 Years a Slave” is a masterpiece!

I have no trouble saying that “12 Years a Slave” won the Oscar in September. In Toronto, to be exact. At TIFF’13. I know. I was there. I saw it.I felt it.  It was seismic. The ground was trembling. It was like an Academy Award earthquake!

And the words on everyone’s lips formed a mantra “’12 Years a Slave’ has already won the Oscar in September!”

And lo and behold, it did go on to win the Toronto Film Festival Audience Choice Award for Best Picture. One of the only awards that non-award-giving TIFF gives out. And it’s the audience at TIFF that voted for this.

And I think it’s going to dominate in every category that it’s nominated for. Particularly Best Director(Steve McQueen), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender) and Best Supporting Actress ( dazzling newcomer) Lupita N’yong’o. Yes, I think Jeff Wells http://www.hollywood-elswhere.com is right in saying she could beat Oprah Winfrey in this category. Oprah being in the running for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

But back to the lead in this story. The SWORM which IS the Academy (Straight White Old Rich Men) are going to make sure that Robert Redford, Tom Hanks and Bruce Dern all end up nominated in this category.

Hanks certainly landed with a big splash on Friday night, opening the New York Film Festival with “Captain Phillips.” Everyone, critics and audiences alike were ecstatic in their praise. Also of Barkhad Habdi as the main Somali pirate. There could be a surprise nomination there. No one saw that coming. But there it is.

Robert Redford’s solo performance in “All Is Lost” is a career-capper, too, by all acounts, and so is Bruce Dern’s in “Nebraska.” Up against these Hollwyood legends, I fear Whittaker, (“He already has an Oscar “) and Idris Elba( his film did not wow the critics or audiences at TIFF) and newcomer Jordon(“He’s young. He can wait.”) will all cancel each other out and leave Chiwetel as the last Black man standing.

And he could win. Satisfying EVERYONE. I hope.

I’m figuring the #5 slot is going to go to the long-overdue, career-changing Matthew McConaughey, who, yes, scored mightily, yes, at TIFF, for “Dallas Buyers Club.”

So much was decided at TIFF this year, I just couldn’t believe it.

When “Mandela” bombed, as did “The Fifth Estate,” those two films were quickly taken off the Oscar table.

It doesn’t bother me that “12 Years a Slave” is the presumptive winner. It deserves it.  It’s one of the greatest films ever made and deserves to be acknowledged as the masterpiece it is.. The injustices and horror of slavery that it depicts, just SCREAM “AWARD THIS!” All the other films coming up this year simply in terms of subject matter seem picayune by comparison.

The fact that in the Best Supporting Actress category, which some refer to as “The Booby Prize” of the Oscars,” there could very well be a historic TRIO of African American nominees, Oprah Winfrey, N’yong’o( She’s an American. She went to the Yale School of Drama! Yes, she did!) And past winner Octavia Spenser for “Fruitvale Station”. That would be terrific precedent-breaking situation. But in the Best Actor category, sadly, no. The status quo will, I fear,prevail.

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