a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Clint Eastwood’

Oscar News ~ “American Sniper” Breaks Records at the Box-Office

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Once again, Sasha Stone proves she has her finger on the pulse of Hollywood. ANOTHER wonderful piece on the ASTOUNDING, RECORD-SHATTERED Box-Office Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” is having. It may pass $100 million VERY soon.  And surprised by these developments, this is how I responded to all this sudden brou-haha in http://www.awardsdaily.com’s comment section.

“Well, this is news. Records-breaking over what I thought was just going to be a routine shoot’em up, rah-rah war picture. And to think this debuted the same day as “Selma” at the AFI fest in LA, and “Selma” got all the excitement and standing Os! And “American Sniper” was regarded with…well…a sort “Meh” response.

And now look what’s happened! What was the difference? Well, “Sniper” was a finished film and Warner Bros., who know what they’re doing with an Oscar campaign, IMMEDIATELY started getting those screeners out to all and sundry. Paramount who helmed “Selma”s sorry lot,  couldn’t, because the film wasn’t “finished” yet. So sad, so sad.

And they both debuted the same day!

WHAT a difference!And as far as Bradley Cooper is concerned, I was frankly SHOCKED, SHOCKED by his nomination. He chose to do a Mo’nique and do zero campaigning, because he is in New York starring on Broadway, in the VERY unusual part, for him, as the Elephant Man himself.

And he’s superb in it He very well may get a Tony.But Cooper has chosen to go the class-y way this year. No campaigning and BOOM! He gets nominated anyway. Could he upset Keaton/Redmayne? I wonder….I can’t believe he’s better in “AS” than he is in “Elephant Man.”

So it’s “Kudos To Cooper Year” everywhere you look. This is his third nomination in THREE years! VERY rare. I guess they like him, they really like him.

A.C.E. announce! The Importance of Editing to Oscar

Nightcrawler 2The A.C.E. or the Eddies, the Editing organization that the public may not know about, but the industry sure does, just announced their nominees and this year in their two film categories there were 11(!) nominations.  Six in Drama and Five in Musical/Comedy, like the Golden Globes. There was a tie in the Drama category, but they’re not saying who or which film. Including “Nightcrawler”, they were “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood”, “Imitation Game” and “Whiplash.” And the also surprising last minute, late comer to the race,  Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”

The importance of editing as the central or key aspect in film-making today and in the awards season race, can not be underestimated. And also, no Best Picture has won without at least an Eddie nomination, Which is bad news for “Selma”.

If I had it to do over again, I’d study film-editing myself. Sometimes you feel like you’ve missed your calling and I think about trying to start to learn how to edit everyday. But I digress…

The guilds are the first REAL sample of how the industry is feeling this year about the Oscars. All the other awards so far are mainly voted on by CRITICS! And there are NO critics or press in the Academy.

There ARE press agents, but they only are allowed to nominate five pictures for Best Film, as one small for instance. When the nominations are announced they THEN get to vote in all the categories, but this is Phase I, the nomination phase. In fact, Academy members are nominating right now as we speak.

And next to the VAST Actor’s Branch, the second branch that really has a say, I think, is the Editor’s Branch. Not all the members of A.C.E. are IN the editors branch, by the way, but it’s a pretty good indicator.

And what’s surprising about today’s announcements, is what was left in that wasn’t expected, like for instance “Nightcrawler” (on my year’s 10 Best List for sure) and also the late opening Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper.

Nobody expected either of them to make it and that means they may make it into the Best Picture race at the Oscars. Left out was “Selma”. Which is kind of shocking, with all the supposed momentum that is building for it. But maybe it’s not. Also left out, I’m sorry to say was my fave “The Theory of Everything.” Watch for the Oscar nominations to correct that in two weeks.

But Jake Gyllenhaal has started really picking up nomination speed with nods from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Broadcast Film Critics. And now this.”Nightcrawler” has LEGS! As many legs as a centipede, it seems.

http://www.hitfix.com has the rest with spirited analysis by their great Kris Tapley and Gregory Ellwood. The complete list is there.

And on Monday, the Producer’s Guild is set to announced its’ list of ten nominees for Best Picture. The PGA as it’s called was the first group to vote for “The King’s Speech,” when they voted for their winner that year when everyone else up to that point was going “The Social Network,” a film that I STILL intensely dislike. I still think of it as “The Joy of Typing.”

The PGA even more than the A.C.E. Eddies are ALLLL mostly Academy Members. They have ten slots and use a preferential ballot, like the Oscars do.

So films that are on the edge of the Oscar bubble, like for instance “Gone Girl,” “Nightcrawler”, “American Sniper,” “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods”, “A Most Violent Year” or “Whiplash” will find their hopes either raised or dashed on Monday.

I think frontrunners like “Boyhood”, “Birdman”, “Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” will all be on the Producer’s List. And “Selma”, too, even though it was left off the A.C.E. Eddie’s today.

Never underestimate the importance of film editors. They silently run the show, and year after year do great unsung work that is respected and admired by the industry. These are the first voters we’ve heard from who REALLY count.

So who do these Eddie Nods help? For sure, Jake Gyllenhaal’s bid to get in to the extremely tight Best Actor Oscar race. It could help give “Nightcrawler” Best Picture cred, too. And don’t forget the wonderful 60-year-old-but-still-glamourous Rene Russo, who could get swept into the Supporting Actress race. Why not? She certainly deserves it.

And what of Bradley Cooper and “American Sniper”? Well, we shall see what we shall see.

 

 

 

Oscar Changer “Selma” Gets Standing O at AFI Fest

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Last night’s double whammy of a double bill at the AFI Fest in LA netted a standing ovation from the industry/cinephile crowd for “Selma,” reports Steve Pond at the Wrap. http://www.thewrap.com. And a kind of meh reaction to Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” which followed it.

Chris Tapley of HitFix http://www.hitfix.com one of the foremost Oscarologists(and one of the youngest,too) thinks that this could be an Oscar game changer and that “Selma” a Martin Luther King biopic, co-produced by Oprah Winfrey and starring David Oyelowo could be a best picture contender as well as a Best Actor nomination in that crowded race. Oyelowo plays Martine Luther King.His star has been consistantly rising in the past two years.

Also interesting and exciting is filmmaker Ada DuVernay’s chance at a Best Director nod. This would be the first and only time an African-American woman could be up in that male-dominated category.

“Selma”s standing ovation was in stark contrast to the rather tepid reaction to Eastwood’s Oscar ontender “American Sniper” which immediately followed it.

So on the Oscar roller coaster, I would have to say that “Selma” is definitely on an Up this morning, and “American Sniper” is a Down.

Tapley praised Bradley Cooper’s performance in “Sniper” but aren’t we being Bradley Cooper’ed to death recently? With Oscar nominations in the past two years. for “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle”? And “Elephant Man” opening shortly on Broadway, starring again, yes, Bradley Cooper.

We shall see. And I’ll still be surprised if Steve Carrell makes it into the over-crowded Best Actor race with his rabbity, two-dimensional Henry E. DuPont in “Foxcatcher.” Too many Oscar seeking movies with leading actor wannabees and virtually no actresses. As usual…

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

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

Wow!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oscar Race Changes AGAIN ~ IN A DAY! With Leo as Gay J. Edgar!

It’s now really for real November and we now really for real are in OSCAR SEASON! Yes, dear readers, dear cineastes, November is the really hot-cha month when all the good stuff  starts happening. Or not…

Like this morning I started off the day with the beauteous and beneficient Kristen Scott Thomas calling me via satellite from Paris! Oui, oui, bien sur, mes amis! That’s where KST really lives most of the times, though she is of course, thoroughly English. And guess who? Harvey Weinstein is at it again, and this time he’s decided to throw an early season opener “Sarah’s Key” that sort of blipped by unnoticed by most (I knew it was there. I just didn’t get to it. Then it was gone.) Well, he’s putting “Sarah’s Key” back into some theaters and also releasing it on DVD and so Kristen Scott was calling me at a very early hour of the morning here where I am, but for her in Par-ee it was a comfortable middle of the day, a beautiful day to hear her tell it. And you will, and see her, too, coming up on my You Tube channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and also on my TV show.

The Best Actress race is really packed at the top this year already. There’s really no room with supposed locks – Meryl, Glenn Close(as a man!), Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, and Viola Davis for “The Help”. Lots of competitsh for that fifth slot. Although there’s always the Golden Globes with their ten slots and I think Kristen will fit very nicely in there. For “Sarah’s Key.” Yes, I’ll mention the name of the film again…

And meanwhile, back at the AFI opening in LA, Leonardo Di Caprio really did upend expectations with the(I knew it all along) very GAY J. Edgar, Or Gay Edgar, as I and many  people I know are calling it. Not necessarily derisively, either. This is the story that dared not speak its’ name in J. Edgar’s lifetime, and with Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, penning it. He won for “Milk.” What else COULD it be?

And Clint Eastwood has evidently told it quite while and Leo a great, great actor as well as star has never won an Oscar. Yes, ladies and gentle person’s, it’s true. And now that he’s evidently giving the performance of his career as this tormented closeted gay man of the ’30s & ’40’s. Oh, and the ‘6os and the ’70s, too, who could never come out of the closet. And neither could his supposed lover who took the name “very close friend” Clyde Tolson, here embodied by none-other than the super-hunky Winklevoss Twins themselves, Armie Hammer, and HE’S supposedly got a supporting Actor nomination in his future now, too.

So with Leo on board, I think it’s buh-bye for George O’Clooney’s Oscar hopes. He already has one. For “Syriana” for Supporting. But still…

Leo’s been nominated three times AT LEAST and never won and now it looks like with Clint Eastwood at 81 at the helm, we may finally see Leo’s Titanic Oscar ship finally pull into port…

And oh yes, the Academy has decided to honor Vanessa Redgrave, I’m not quite sure how. A dinner? A plaque? She’s already majorly in the Supporting Actress race for “Coriolanus” and now…well now, I think this is the Academy saying VOTE FOR HER! Forget her politics of the past. And let’s give her an Honorary One, or whatever it is they’re doing. And giving it to her. All her. Just her. In one Vanessa-filled night in London…well, if it’s not taking place in Hollywood itself, it really ISN’T rrrrreally official…but it’s the Academy’s way of saying “VOTE FOR HER!”

She’s 72 or 73 or 74 and her beautiful daughter Natasha died so tragically and young during the filming of “Coriolanus”…and she’s BRRRRRILLLIANT in it. And oh yes, who’s the Producer? Harvey Weinstein. Oh yes, him again. So yes, I think THAT category just got closed, today, too.

So right now King George has been de-throned by Prince Leo. And the Academy is giving Vanessa Redgrave their version of an honorary knighthood…”Sarah’s Key” is coming out AGAIN.

And “War Horse” was “sneaked” all over the country this week, and it seems people like it, they really like it.  So last week “The Descendants” was the front-runner, but now I think “War Horse” was galloped back on top.

You can see a very astute young You Tube film critic/star (y’know, like me *cough*cough*)over at www.awardsdaily.com and you can hear what he has to say about being lucky enough to have stumbled in to one of these “War Horse” sneaks…It’s a custom as old as the Academy itself. Showing a film to a surprised audience in the hinterlands…Even “Gone With the Wind” was introduced this way…”War Horse” is gonna be a tough one to beat. It’s STILL playing to sold-out houses in New York’s Lincoln Center, and it won the Tony for Best Play last year, though the writing was atrocious. I nearly left at the Intermission, but I stayed…and was amaaaazed by its’ powerful second act.

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