a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Chiwetel Ejiofor’

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“12 Years” Triumphs at Indie Spirit Awards w/5 wins!!!

1.Best Picture

2.Best Director ~ Steve McQueen

3.Best Supporting Actress ~ Lupita Nyong’o

4.Best Adapted Screenplay~ John Ridley

5.Best Cinematography ~ Sean Bobbit

I hope it’s like this tomorrow night at the Oscars! For complete list see
http://www.awardsdaily.com

E.T.A. Pardon my mistake. Matthew McConaughey won.:(

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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.

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BAFTA oddsmakers Split between “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity

New York Magazine

Just checked the Oddsmakers website in England. The British are a betting nation. And therefore, you have to take their betting there seriously. As they do.
With the BAFTAS coming up this weekend, it’s instructive to find out that “Gravity” is the odds on favorite to win for “Best British Film” a category that pertains to it being shot mainly there. And for which “12 Years a Slave” not nominated. I guess it means films that are made in England. Mainly London.
“12 Years a Slave” IS however the favorite for Best Picture. And then they split again, and have Alfonso Cuaron, a Mexican, winning over Brit Steve McQueen! Well that’s how all the awards have been coming down. Cuaron won the DGA. And we could see that split at the Oscar, too. That “12 Years…” wins Best Picture, but Cuaron wins Best Director.

The acting categories are interesting to me because they are always more influential than you’d think they’d be. Wavering voters in a close race like this year’s Best Actor certainly is And the oddsmakers are betting on Brit Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years”! This it has to be noted is a competition where “Dallas Buyer’s Club” and Matthew McConaghey and Jared Leto, the presumed front-runners here in the States, it is thought by many, did not make the cut and were nominated nowhere.

So Chiwetel may get his chance to really sway voters with an emotioanl speech that will be seen around the world, just two days after the AMPAS ballots go out. This could have a HUGE impact at the Oscars. The same could be said for the Oddsmakers.com front-runner in Best Supporting Actor Michael Fassbender!

I’ve always been predicting those two towering performances. And of course, like everywhere else, Lupita Nyong’o(pictured above on New York Magazine’s cover this week) is the leading to win Best Supporting Actress.

Keep your eyes on http://www.awardsdaily.com who always have the BAFTA results FIRST.

This makes me feel happy for Chiwetel and Michael and Lupita, of course, but sad for McQueen. Whose work I feel is far superior to Cuaron’s…

And last but not least Cate Blanchett is favored to win Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine” despite recent events that I won’ even mention here.

This will make Cate and Lupita even more locked than they have been, and maybe help Chiwetel and Michael Fassbender win! Michael will make a very emotional speech. They all will. Keep your eyes on BAFTA Oscar Watchers!

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“Gravity”s Cuaron wins DGA

I hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it did.Alphonso Cuaron, the director of “Gravity,” won the very important DGA award last night in Hollywood. Over Steve McQueen’s greater achievement IMHO “12 Years a Slave.” Usually that means a lot but in this split, competitive Year of Years, it may mean that the effects-laden Sci Fi thriller MAY win best director at the Oscars, more than a month away in March. But still not win Best Picture, which would go to “12 Years a Slave.” I have to note that these two titans of filmdom have been duking it out since Toronto, which I find ironic. It’s like if you don’t open at TIFF, fawgedabawdit. And that’s also where I first saw the both of them, in unforgettable screenings at TIFF’13.

Those are five VERY long weeks from now, and the ballots don’t go out to the AMPAS voters for quite a while yet, in Oscar terms, that’s dog years away. And it gives the Academy time to THINK. No. It really does. There’s no impulse, knee-jerk voting going to happen this year, with the Sochi Olympics taking up more TV time than ever. Between this last big gasp from the Industry’s usually all-important guilds, and the receiving of their ballots in the mail and now online, too around President’s Day Weekend. That’s a long, cold Oscar March until March when the Awards are actually handed out.

Now granted “Gravity” is an astounding technical feat, and will probably win all the technical awards, maybe even as many as seven from the below-the-line categories. But maybe it won’t. And instead of rewarding the one woman in this astounding visual tour-de-force, Sandra Bullock, award after award has been going to the amiable Mexican director Cuaron. And now this.

That’s a lot of Oscars right there. But not one for Sandra it seems. Best Actress is going to Cate Blanchett who is the lock of locks in that category for Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.”

So even if Cuaron DOES win Best Director, voters may feel that “Gravity” has had enough already and give the top prize to “12 Years a Slave.” So there’s that SPLIT again. Which certainly looks like it could happen.

It happened at the Golden Globes where “12 YAS” won Best Picture and “Gravity” got Best Director. Ditto the Broadcast Film Critics awards. Then the TIE vote from the usually authoritative PGA, the Producer’s Guild, between “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave.”

But “Gravity” for all it’s technical wonders is an actors nightmare. If this is the future, “Gravity” shows them that there is only ONE actor in it.

Huge epic blockbusters may get close, but they don’t usually win. See “E.T.” v “Gandhi” back in the day. I was always plunking for “Gandhi” even then.(Yes, I’ve been doing Oscar prognosticating THAT long!) or more recently the tiny “Hurt Locker” defeating the huge mega-millions jackpot that was “Avatar” although “THL” won Best Director AND Best Film, for the first time ever woman director winner Kathryn Bigelow over her big bully of an ex, who nobody liked anyway, James Cameron.

This year, I’m still betting that this proLONGed break between now and the voting gives people time to think “Which is REALLY the more important film?” which is in their parlance “An Academy film?” And you’ve got to admit, “Gravity has NO gravitas.

But “12 Years a Slave” does, in spades. Serious social history writ large, taking on the most challenging issue in American history, race, in terms of the worst atrocity Americans have ever perpetuated on other Americans = slavery. And doing it brilliantly on every level.

And oh yes, BAFTA happens in the middle of this prolonged Month of Oscar Silence, where, I predict “12 Years” will win EVERYTHING it’s nominated for, including Best Director, Steve McQueen, whom we must not forget is British.

And a respected fine artist there in the U.K. before he turned into a master film-maker.

Also, nominated there are Chiwetel Ejiofor for Best Actor and Michael Fassbender for Best Supporting Actor, and last but not least, Lupita Nyong’O who is now the front-runner for Best Supporting Actress.

So basically my take is the “Gravity”s Big Win is not going to change things much at all. In the end.

“12 Years a Slave” & “Gravity” historic TIE at PGA!!!

Sh Christmas

In an historic moment, “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” TIED for Best Picture at the PGA moments ago! It’s being held in LA and is not televised, but thanks to the ever-wonderful Sasha Stone, at http://www.Awardsdaily.com we all got the news like a bolt of lightning, striking down from the skies!

NEVER BEFORE have films directed by a Hispanic and a Black man, Alphonso Cuaron and Steve McQueen ever had films that won Best Picture at the PGA, the Producer’s Guild, considered the most important of Oscar bellwethers. Or is it this year, we’ve got TWO WINNERS?!?!?

This effectively knocks “American Hustle” out of the picture race and into a cocked hat, which is where it should be. Kicked to the curb with the rest of the garbage.

But I can say that “Gravity” is an astounding technical achievement. Best use of 3-D EVAH! But “12 Years a Slave” is a masterpiece of classic story telling. And the next big awards avalanche comes at BAFTA, where “12 Years a Slave” will sweep, the leading talents being all Brits director Steve McQueen, and leading actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, as well as Irishman Michael Fassbender in Supporting and Kenyan beauty Lupita Nyong’o, who has been winning right along this past weekend.

This is incredible news for Fox Searchlight and  “12 Years a Slave”. Even if it ties on Oscar night, it still wins!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lupita wins at the SAG awards! Again!!!!

Lupita wins at the SAG awards! Again!!!!

Last night, I had a double-header, double-booked, my mistake and I chose to go to Broadway to see the “Carol King Musical” which is called “Beautiful” and it WAS beautiful. But more beautiful still was coming home to see Lupita Nyong’Os smiling face plastered all over the internet! The hot news being from the SAG Awards that she in ANOTHER surprise upset had won Best Supporting Actress for her heart-rending performance as the tradgic Patsie in “12 Years a Slave.” I also have finally figured out how to post pictures here! Yay!

It’s taken long enough dead readers, dear cineastes, but I’m tech-tarded, as you know and totally Old School in these new techo matters. But at last I think I’ve figured it out.I’m embarrassed to admit it but it’s true. The Internet is an EFFORT for me.

And also I have to be frank I just couldn’t bare to spend ANOTHER night in where “American Hustle” and Jennifer Lawrence were going to be applauded, and I was right. They were. She wasn’t. But Broadway beckoned and boyoboyo am I glad I went!

A+++ for “Beautiful”. The music! The performance by Jessie Mueller, a recent guest on my show for her Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” in which she played an Indian princess named Lawless,Jessie was pitch perfect in both, and may very well win the Tony this year. She also played her own piano music! As Carole King did! Yes! She did!

They are portraying Carol King as the ultimate hausfrau schlep I’m sure she wasn’t in real life. But here the Ugly-Duckling-who-becomes-a-swan narrative worked liked gangbusters for the typical Broadway crowd,

Lupita is also living out that Ugly Duckling scenario in real life, it just occurs to me. Could her unwashed, scarred and scared Queen of the Fields, be further removed from Vogue’s “It” Girl which she has just morphed into. Her acceptance speeches are touching, beautiful, thoughtful and eloquent as she is. She looks SOOOO happy in this picture!

And for those who must know, this is a VERY strong step closer to Oscar. Next for Lupita is the BAFTA awards in London, and I’m sure she’ll win there, too.

Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto also repeated their Broadcast Film Critics wins. Seemingly all three locked for Oscar now. But HOLT ON!

Neither McConaughey nor Leto will win at the BAFTAS because neither were nominated nor was their film”Dallas Buyers Club”, although all were eligible. Which paves the way, and leaves the door wide open for “12 Years a Slave” to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor(He’s Britsh, and so’s McQueen) , Michael Fassbender for Supporting Actor (he’s Irish) and of course Lupita who’s lovely Kenyan accent sounds British and African and American all at the same time. And for ALLLL of them to make speeches that may thrill Oscar voters right in the middle of the critical voting period. Cate Blanchett will also win at the BAFTA. As expected.

I chose to go to “Beautiful” because I just couldn’t face “AH” that tiny, weasly, little comedy win “Best Ensemble” which it did. But it’s awards glory may stop there. Remember “The Help” winning two years ago? Well….

This year it really ain’t over til it’s over.

“12 Years” Best Picture, McConaughey & Blanchett win Critics’ Choice Awards!

This is starting to seem a little bit familiar. But thank god that “12 Years a Slave” won Best Picture, again. But aside from Lupita Nyong’O breaking through in Best Supporting Actress, “12 Years” only also won Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley but won NOTHING else. I guess McQueen was not satisfied that Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender didn’t win in their categories, and he lost AGAIN to Alphonse Cauron for Best Director for “Gravity”

But at least the Critics did the right thing and gave “12 Years” Best Picture. Director Steve McQueen looked more than a little pissed and gave a very brief almost waspish speech, like he couldn’t get off the stage fast enough. Consequently, the show seemed to end early.

Lupita was seen laughing and smiling and bouncing up and down in her seat in the audience, clearly the picture of happiness personified. What a beautiful night she must be having!

Matthew McConaughey won AGAIN for “Dallas Buyers Club” and Cate Blanchett won AGAIN for “Blue Jasmine” and they both gave nice speeches. She profusely thanked Woody Allen “for writing such great parts for women. I’m just the lucky girl who got the call,” she demured modestly.

Jared Leto at least acknowledged HIS award also for “Dallas Buyers Club” was “for people living with HIV-AIDS and all those that are trying to help them live.” That was beautiful.

But the shot of Leonardo DiCaprio’s face, as McConaughey was giving his SECOND acceptance speech of the past three days, was priceless. He looked fed up and unhappy. Like “So this is what’s going to happen now?” Since he did win the Best Comedy Actor award at the Golden Globes and again tonight, you could’ve said that it was down to him v. McConaughey. And now it seems clear that McConaughey is going to keep on winning. And “Wolf of Wall Street” and Leo and Martin Scorsese are NOT.

The highpoint for me was Lupita! Congratulations, young Hollywood’s newest Princess!

 

 

I don’t think Leo’s nominated for the SAG Award which is SATURDAY night(exhausted yet?) So we’ll see if McConaughey looses or beats Chiwetel.
And if Lupita triumphs again…

“American Hustle” won Best Comedy, Best Comic Actress Amy Adams, Best Ensemble.

Oscars Ups and Downs~ Upsom Downs? Sounds like a Racetrack!

Oscars Ups and Downs~ Upsom Downs? Sounds like a Racetrack!

So much is SOOOO close this year! One vote could make the difference, but I’m happy to see that for all of the supposed heat for “Gravity” and “American Hustle” that “12 Years A Slave” still sits atop the charts at http://www.goldderby.com. for Best Picture by a wide margin. And it’s been that way for a while. And Chiwetel Ejiofor is also now pulling way ahead of Robert Redford, whose boat seems to be sinking fast. They didn’t even send out screeners for “All Is Lost” to the SAG membership.

And Lupita Nyong’O”12 Years” and Cate Blanchett”Blue Jasmine” both sit at the top of their Supp.Actress and Best Actress categories. Tom O’Neil, the head of Gold Derby, keeps countering and denying “12 Years a Slave” constant full-on ascent. He does a particularly entertaining and funny “smack-down” Podcast with Theater Talks’ Michael Musto, who is predicting a “12 Years” sweep, and doesn’t back down. Tom O. finally says “A film directed by a Black man(Steve McQueen, in this case) has never won,” he finally admits and Michael just says coolly, “In a year of great African-American filmmaking, “The Butler”, “Fruitvale Station” as well as “12 Years a Slave” and with Obama in the White House,don’t you think it’s about time? In fact, it’s the perfect time.”

And O’Neil admits “Maybe I have blinders on.” And Musto says “Yes.” You can hear this historic(hysteric) bout of the champions, of course, as always at http://www.goldderby.com.

Also “12 Years a Slave” sits atop the Gurus o’ Gold(of which I used to be one) at http://www.moviecitynews.com

Sounds like a consensus to me. And it was also nominated yesterday by the Producer’s Guild. Later today the Writer’s Guild announces their nominees but “12 Years a Slave” great adapted script by John Ridley isn’t eligible for some arcane reason, so don’t take the WGA as any accurate Oscar barometer.

And Tuesday we have the DGA, which OF COURSE, will nominate McQueen. And then Thursday, the BAFTAS, which will nominate the daylights out of “12 YAS”, McQueen & Ejiofor are British and Michael Fassbender is Irish. So I expect “12YAS” to lead the nominations there. And the following Tuesday, we have the Oscar nominations announced and the Broadcast Film Critics the same evening. Where “12YAS” has the most nominations for any film. It’s in a false-tie with “American Hustle”, ,but they’ve piled up the “Comedy Actor” and “Comedy Actress” Awards, so I don’t really count those as legitimate.

And Jared Leto, for playing Rayon, a sweet transvestite in “Dallas Buyers Club” keeps sweeping up all the awards in the Best Supp. Actor category. Strange but true.

New York had one heck of a snowstorm last night. And today it’s FREEEEZING, but the snow has stopped. I have to go out to see a show tonight, the rarely performed Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “Patience” which was their satire of Oscar Wilde. It’s WAAAAY uptown at the Symphony Space. Hope I can get there with all the snow on the ground.

Oscar Best Picture Race~Is It Really Down to Three?

New York’s just had its’ first major snowfall, Christmas is around the corner, and can the Oscar race for Best Picture be just down to three films already?

To judge by the major Oscar websites, it already seems a done deal. With “12 Years a Slave”, “Gravity” and unbelievably “American Hustle” being judged the only three that could. Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone has another great “State of the Race” piece and she sees it this way at http://www.Awardsdaily.com and so does Tom O’Neil at http://www.goldderby.com

But interestingly though they came to the same conclusions about THE THREE. Sasha has “12 Years a Slave” is on top, and Tom O. is sticking to “Gravity.” Me? I’m on Sasha’s side. And I hope that’s the way it plays out.

I saw “12 Years a Slave” for the THIRD time last night, and was bowled over by it all over again. It’s beauty.It’s musical score by Hans Zimmer. The cinematography, director Steve McQueen’s expert use of his large cast. There’s not a weak one among the vast ensemble. And the writing is so good! And it’s a true story!John Ridley is the screenwriting, based of course on the now best-selling book by Soloman Northrup. First published in 1856.

And Lupito Nyong’O and Chiwetel Ejiafor broke my heart all over again.

I can’t even imagine sitting through “American Hustle” Three times. Maybe to figure out its’ dense con artist plot within a plot within a plot. But not even Jennifer Lawrence’s hilarious mob wife would get me back a second time. There’s not enough hours left in my life.

“American Hustle” benefits greatly from being the new kid on the block as it were. “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” have been going strong since Toronto Film Festival, which is where I saw the both of them. And that’s a problem, too. Keeping the momentum going this long. Both Fox Searchlight and also Warner’s have that as a task they must fulfill.

I just  got a press release that it’s going to be re-released, though I just saw it for the third time, as I’ve said, last night. It’s made $35 million, which is no small amount of Oscar change. And the nominations are only now about to be mailed out to the membership.And of course, those all important DVD screeners.

Seeing movies on the big screen is the only way, really, to see these important films, IMHO. I saw “Her” tonight. Cute. With a small “c”. But with so many films these days being so dark and so tragic, “Her” is really a sweet, sweet love story…about a man(Joaquim Phoenix) who falls in love with his Ciri-like Operating System, voiced magnificently by the totally unseen Scarlett Johansson. It gains by comparison. It aims to be GENTLE. And it refreshingly is.

It’s a futuristic love story, but that’s all it is. Filmed in Beijing, it looks like it really HAS been shot in the future, too.

In any other year, Joaquim Phoenix’s kindly, lost, dweeb Twombly would be in the best actor race. Most of the film is ONLY shots of his face. I didn’t know if it would sustain, if he’d be that riveting, but newsflash, he is. TOTALLY different from his disturbed loner Freddie Quell from last year’s “The Master” which, yes, indeed he WAS nominated for Best Actor for. But this year Best Actor is so crowded, he hasn’t a chance to get in.

He hasn’t turned up in any of the precursor critics awards. And neither, strangely has Tom Hanks for “Saving Mr. Banks”. His Disney on Disney performance is not going down or turning up anywhere.  At least not yet.. NOBODY nominated him for this Supporting turn, whereas they ALLLLL nominated him for “Captain Phillips” as Best Lead Actor and they’ve nominated Somali newcomer Barkhad Abdi in all three major races, too. For Best Supporting Actor.

He and Daniel Bruhl  of “Rush”as well have been nominated for the SAG Award, the Golden Globe award and also the Critics choice awards, something NOBODY could have seen coming, but yet, there they are. They made the golden trifecta that you NEED to get to be nominated for an Oscar.

Oprah was left out of the Golden Globes in Best Supp. Actress for “The Butler”. So does that make her vulnerable? Or just simply unpopular with the Hollywood Foreign Press?

And Robert Redford not being nominated for a SAG award for Best Actor for “All Is Lost” is still the most shocking snub. And it WAS nominated for Best Stunt Ensemble, which is really crazy weird because HE IS the Ensemble, in this one person movie.

That, yes, can be seen as merely stunt work.And it IS incredible stunt work. For a 77-year-old man to be doing all that running (around his sinking yacht), climbing the mast, swimming with sharks…well, he’s certainly in good shape for his age. And his agility is amazing. But is that great acting? Well…

It’s also  almost totally silent.

He says one word and one word only “FUCK!!!!!” when he begins to finally sense the utter desolation of his desperate situation. IF ONLY THAT WEREN’T HIS ONLY WORD…And I thought, “Well, he’s lost the Oscar. Right there.”

In this tough field, he’ll be lucky to be nominated. And he’s not actively campaigning as the other 77-year-old in the race for Best Actor is, Bruce Dern, for “Nebraska”. He’s everywhere. In L.A. Guess he’ll be showing up in New York to pick up his National Board of Review award for Best Actor. He won that, Bruce did. And he also triumphed at the L.A. Film Critics.
But neither of them are going to win against “12 Years a Slave”s majestic powerhouse Chiwetel Ejiafor.

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