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“Llewyn Davis” SWEEPS Nat’l Soc.of Film Critics! Oscar Isaac Best Actor!

After feeling really terrible for the past two days about “Inside Llewyn Davis”s being shut out of the PGA and the DGA, things have suddenly perked up with ILD winning FOUR count’em FOUR National Society of Film Critics Awards! Best Film, Oscar Isaac Best Actor, and the Coens Bros. for  directing. Also M Bruno.Delbonnel the super superb cinematographer won  for making Greenwich Village looked like I remembered it as a kid. New and clean and dreamy.

This is a wonderful honor for Oscar who, if you haven’t listened to my interview with him which is posted below, has FOUR films opening next year. Imean, this year.Maybe more.

And part of me wonders if this was just in reaction to the shut-outs of the WGA and PGA.  Like “Argo” last year. But the ballots would all have had to be in before the WGA and the PGA announced, right?

In any case, Cate Blanchett AGAIN won Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine”so there’s now no stopping her and of all people, James Franco won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Alien in “Spring Breakers” and Jennifer Lawrence pops up again in Best Supporting Actress for “American Hustle.” They are soooo lucky she was in that movie! I found it unwatchable except for her.

The bad news is that “12 Years a Slave” placed third in Best Picture. Behind “Llewyn” and “American Hustle:(ugh) and the same for Chiwetel Ejiofor for Best Actor and Lupita Nyong’O for Best Supp. Actress. They just missed out and both came in second. This makes me sad.

But the good news is that the National Society of Film Critics is NOT a well-known predictor for the Oscars. NOT.AT.ALL. Considered the most intellectual of all the critics’ groups that vote on the Oscars, we have to keep repeating “There are no film critics in the Academy”. At least 200 times.

Anne Thompson of http://www.indiewire.com calls it “A Last Ditch Effort to Save the Coens”! You can read the complete list of winners and where they placed, including their voting tallies there.

So take it for what you will. But it’s not the end of the story and this race is CLOSE!

I think this helps “Llewyn” get into Best Picture and Dulbonnel, too. He also won the New York Film Critics for Best Cinematography. Could help the Coens into the Best Director race. And for sure the Best Original Screenplay category. But THE FIVE are so locked for Best Actor, I don’t know if this means that Oscar has a chance. I hope he does.

Go Oscar! Isaac, I mean…

I See “Llewyn Davis” for the Second Time & LOVED it!!!

I don’t think I have been more wrong or had such a wildly different reaction to a film, than I did seeing “Inside Llewyn Davis” for the second time. The first time I wrote “I was bitterly disappointed.” But this time I laughed my way through it and was enchanted! I couldn’t believe it! I had a blast! I found it uplifting! I had a marvelous time this second time, because almost unlike any film I’ve ever seen I couldn’t stop thinking about it and went back to see it AGAIN! And I loved it!

The first time I saw it was at a jam-packed critics’ screening in a too-small Soho screening room. And no one laughed. Except at John Goodman. Critics don’t react. But this second, paying audience(including myself) roared with approval. It was a very transformative experience.

This time I just LOVED it, and I got what the Coen Bros. were trying to do with it, which is to depict grief in show business. with a small “b”.

It didn’t really register that Llewyn played brilliantly by Oscar Isaac, is still reeling from the death of his beloved singing partner, a guy, who threw himself off of the George Washington Bridge. John Goodman’s character reacts the most violently to that statement of fact. His drugged out jazz musician says “He jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge? Who does that? You jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.” And the audience roared.

And Llewyn cringed. He’s just full of unexpressed pain in the tragedy that has enveloped his life and him left so lonely. You get the impression this time that he depended on his late partner for everything. He brought harmony, more than just vocally into his life.

So Llewyn’s violent reaction when a friend, a woman(played perfectly by Robin Bartlett) starts harmonizing with him and he explodes at her and ruins a perfectly nice dinner party, we now see that it’s because it’s his late partners’ lines and harmonies that she’s filling in. Now wonder he exploded at her!

And this time, my heart just went out from the get-go to Llewyn. Oscar Isaac’s quiet power, the charisma of his pained dark eyes and his sad, sad solo singing…well, it’s heart-breaking.

The Coens have decided to explore failure and also grief in all its’ aspects, as it pertains to the Greenwich Village Folk scene of the early ’60s. And besides by blowing up at nearly every one he meets(he’s got a mean streak and a temper), his sadness is expressed in his singing. Like in the opening number “Hang Me, O Hang Me”. It really was about his lost partner’s death. And it immediately involved me. Now that I knew that that’s what this film is about.

He pours his heart out in a singing audition in an empty nightclub in Chicago that he has hitchhiked to in a snowstorm(with a cat). He sings an English ballad a very sad song indeed about “Queen Jane” to a stone-faced, cadaverous night club owner (F.Murray Abraham) who reacts by saying “There’s not much money in this.” And he advises him to “get back with your partner.” Llewyn looks like he’s about to tell him that his partner just committed suicide, but chooses not to and just says, “Yeah, right.”

And he has no winter coat, and his falling-apart shoes are soaked through to the socks. And it continues to snow in Chicago. Everything in Llewyn’s life is winter and snow. Bleak, bleak, bleak. The Coens are keeping it really real.

But I saw it this time as a joyous tribute to survival even if  EVERYthing isn’t going your way. NObody has it as bad as Llewyn does in this movie. It’s Schadenfreude for the audience in spades. I thought of the book of Job. And yes, the Coens are torturing him, their main character, as they often torture their protagonists.

In a normal movie about a singer, he would succeed through his music at the end. But that moment never comes.

Prepared for that, I braced myself for the unnerving ending, and this time it didn’t shock with its’ brevity or annoy me, it left me singing “Inside Llewyn Davis” praises for being startlingly original and as unique a piece of American film-making as I’ve ever seen

Bravos to all involved! It just is a film that you HAVE to see TWICE! At least! And I’m running out to get the sound track album! And all the singing and playing was done live by Oscar Isaac and co. under the expert tutelage of T-Bone Burnett. I bet T-Bone wins a Golden Globe in a couple of weeks for Best Music.

I wish the Best Actor race wasn’t so cruelly crowded with vets and heavyweights giving the performances of their careers. Oscar Isaac should be nominated for Best Actor for his indelible, unforgettable performance. I can’t wait til I see it again!

Video

Oscar Isaac ~ Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor Comedy/Musical for “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Meet Oscar Isaac, the breakthrough performance of the year in the Coen Bros. unique, haunting “Inside Llewyn Davis” which is also nominated for Best Film Comedy or Musical and Best Music by T-Bone Burnett. A Juilliard Graduate, he’s had a considerable stage and film career before he got this Big Break  as Llewyn Davis, the loser folksinger who just can’t catch a break.

A.O.Scott of the New York Times named it “The Best Picture of the Year.”

Oscar was named Best Actor by the Toronto Film Critics and “Inside Llewyn Davis” was named Best Picture. Also the Village Voice and Film Comment magazine named “Llewyn” Best Picture. And it won Best Picture at the Gotham Awards and Oscar accepted the Award in a very thrilling acceptance speech on behalf of the Coens who weren’t there.

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