a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Compliance’

Congrats to Ann Dowd for Winning Her 1st Emmy for “A Handmaiden’s Tale!”

A belated and hearty congratulations to the great New York character actress Ann Dowd for winning her first(but I’m sure not her last) Emmy on Sunday night for “A Handmaiden’s Tale.”

I worked with Ann trying to get her an Oscar for “Compliance” a few years back. What it actually takes, besides having immense talent, which Ann certainly has, is MONEY. Money spent on Oscar campaigns, and Oscar strategists, who make in the six figures.

Well, I’m not that, but it was an eye-opener. To me. And to Ann, too. I remember her saying “I can’t believe that after all these years(acting) I’m still naïve as to how this all works.”

She did win a National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress that year, so I did help get her that.

Well, she’s where she should be now. Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama Series. Congratulations, Ann! You’ll just keep on winning…I’m so sure…

Ann appeared  on my show at that time. See above ^ My lovely interview with her shot and edited by the great Kevin Teller is on my You Tube channel.

http://www.youtube.com/Stephenholtshow

Search under Ann Dowd

 

 

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Oscar Thinking and Re-Thinking About Ann Dowd

I guess any of you who have been following my blog and my web-series, never mind my TV series, know that this particular Oscar season I was more involved than I ever was in my whole Oscar-obsessed life.

True, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. Basically since I could write.

And also true, I started doing this the minute I got my own TV show 25 years ago. I had another expert and myself and it was a dialogue.

Then sometime in the early 00’s I connected with Oscarwatch.com and Sasha Stone. And I guess the rest, as they say, is Herstory.

But of course, I had to get even closer, didn’t I? And so this year when I was approached by the great Indie and stage actress Ann Dowd to help her with her very own, self-funded Oscar campaign for “Compliance” I did.

And it was a real education for the both of us, I can tell you.

Sasha at http://www.awardsdaily.com which is what Oscarwatch.com is called now has written, once again, as she invariably does on a staggering, daily basis, about NEXT year’s upcoming Oscar season. And this one is barely done.

But as Sasha so expertly lays it out, it’s pretty clear what’s coming our way, and “Monuments Men” seems to already be the front-runner, just straight out of the Gate.

It’s George Clooney v. the Nazis and he wrote, directed, produced and stars in this one. George is super hot again after the “Argo” win, so since this film hasn’t even begun to shoot yet, I won’t rain on anybody’s parade. Yet. But it does seem like a front-runner already.

And as Sasha always says, you know what happens to front-runners…

But back to Ann Dowd, what Sasha did point out in her astute, austere assessment of THIS year’s race was that no nominee was not backed up by an ace publicist. And a campaign.

And what does that mean? Lots and lots of money.

Poor Ann Dowd spent $16,000 or so of her own money to send screeners of “Compliance” to all the Voting Members of the Academy and also the nominating committee of the Screen Actors Guild. And she didn’t get a nomination from either voting body. Which is awful. But if you do Sasha’s math, it makes perfect sense.

You need to spend even MORE money than Ann did. You need to take out ads and have parties thrown for you. Parties go on all the time in L.A. before Oscars Phase I & also Phase II, and you need to be attending all those parties, especially if you are new to they, them, the Academy.

The AMPAS members are all too happy to meet new, talented faces, so its’ not their faults. It’s getting IN TO those parties. And that’s no mean feat.

But you have to go to a party EVERY DAY sometimes three times a day as Marion Cotillard did the first year she was nominated and won for “La Vie En Rose.” Acting in French, a complete unknown, she taught herself English by day, and networked like cra-zee at night, and she charmed all who met her, and she won.

And PS. her brilliant performance certainly deserved it. BUT SO DID ANN DOWD’S!

Let me quickly add that she did get nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress and also WON the National Board of Review award for that same category.

So she did receive accolades and the Santa Barbara Film Festival honored her as a Virtuoso. So Ann’s been flying back and forth between both coasts for months now, it seems.

IF ONLY she had received that elusive nomination! But it went to Jackie Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Which was a film all these people, all these voters saw. Evidently, they didn’t watch the screeners Ann sent them.Or worse. they didn’t like “Compliance.”

But the moral of the story is ~ if you don’t have a Cyntha Swartz, or a Michele Robinson or a Tony Angelotti behind you to start with. You’re not going to get an Academy Award nomination.

It’s like Hollywood is a closed shop. But we knew that, didn’t we? How naive can I be?

Oscar Blues for Ann Dowd’s Non-Nomination…

Still reeling from the Unexpectedness and downright unfairness of many of today’s Oscar nominations. Ann Dowd’s inexplicable and totally unacceptable omission from the Best Supporting Actress category is horrendous, just horrendous. An injustice has been done. And to replace her with that Australian granny-on-steroids, Jackie Weaver, is just non-sensical in the extreme.”Silver Linings Playbook” is a spoiler.

There wasn’t even really a PART there!

AND she didn’t do it very well.

“Silver Linings Playbook” is very, VERY popular it seems with the Actor’s Branch is all I can think of. It got nominations in all four of the acting categories. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, who just won Best Comedy Actor and Actress tonight at the Broadcast Film Critics. As well as Robert DeNiro, nominated for Best Supporting Actor, who thankfully didn’t. He lost to Phillip Seymour Hoffman. If “Silver Linings Playbook” wins the SAG for Best Ensemble LOOK OUT! It also won Best Ensemble tonight and Jennifer Lawrence won AGAIN for “Best Action Heroine” a new category. With all those awards she was constantly traipsing up to the stage.

They, them, the Academy, will have a hard time finding an Oscar clip for Jackie Weaver for the Awards show itself. But Weaver already was nominated in this category two years ago for a performance that didn’t deserve to be there,in an Australia gansta film that no one saw “Animal Kingdom.” But that film company sent out screeners, and they did it REALLY early, and I guess everyone saw them and voted for her, a complete unknown at the time.

She really gives no performance to speak of in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Certainly not one that was Award Nomination worthy. As Ann Dowd did. Her performance in “Compliance” was one for the ages. And this will always be remembered as a black mark on the Academy’s conscience blotter, or escutcheon, if it has one.

This just totalled me today. The sheer injustice of it all! And the fact that Ann Dowd spent $13,000 of her own money,and got well, she did get nominated for Best Supporting Actress by the Broadcast Film Critics, which happened tonight. And she lost.

But hey, she WON the National Board of Review for Best Supporting Actress on Tuesday night and she was written about TREMENDOUSLY, and did many, many, many interviews and had many, many write ups, and was talked about and considered for the Nomination by the press in many, many forums. So she’s certainly much more well-known now than she’s ever been. You could say famous, even. And so that’s what the Awards Conversation, Otherwise known as Phase One, did for her.

And hopefully all this positive attention she got will pay off for her in bigger and better roles in higher profile movies.

Go Team Ann! I’M still on board!


And the DVD of “Compliance”? STILL hasn’t come out! Or maybe it comes out today, or tomorrow! Too late. But you can rent it or own and when you do, you will see a great unsung American actress, doing great work in an Indie.
And she’s being Honored at the Santa Barbara Film Festival as a virtuoso and she is still nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Indie Spirit Awards, right before the Oscars themselves in February. So there’s still hope.

Supporting Actress Nomination Predictions!

I think there’s only three super-locks in this coming-and-going, ebbing-and-flowing category, Best Supporting Actress. Always the hardest category to predict because I’ve always felt the Academy itself never took it very seriously. It’s sort of the Ad On category. The wacky, anything can happen category.

However, I digress, dear readers, dear cineastes. I think the three locks are Anne Hathaway for making the whole world cry in “Les Miserables”, Sally Field for making sense out of The Wife from Hell in “Lincoln” and Helen Hunt taking it all off as the animated sex therapist extraordinaire from “The Sessions.”

“Downtown Abbey” starts its’ third season tomorrow night and I think all of the affection for that beloved series PLUS the Academy’s seeming love for “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”(it got a SAG ensemble after all) is going to coalesce around Dame Maggie Smith getting her seventh oscar nomination, for the picky, cantankerous cockney washerwoman who retires to India and doesn’t like it at “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

Finally I think the fifth slot will be the redoubtable and unstoppable Ann Dowd for “Compliance.” She certainly deserves it for her magnetic, astounding, tour-de-force performance as Sandra, the manager of a fast food restaurant who gets a call from who she thinks are the police. And the plot takes off from there. The suspense never stops, neither does Dowd’s masterful, virtuosic turn. An actor’s actor who had to finance her own campaign, she gets the DIY sympathy vote. She’s got the Best Back Story going. And has become famous this past five or six weeks for doing so. And she DESERVES to be rewarded and awarded.

So I see it alphabetically as ~
Ann Dowd
Sally Field
Anne Hathaway
Helen Hunt
Dame Maggie Smith

SAG Nominations Shock! Nicole Kidman IN, Ann Dowd Out!

Dear Readers, dear cineastes, so shocked this morning and saddened with the announcement of the SAG nominations! The supposedly venerable Screen Actors’ Guild chose to nominate Nicole Kidman in her rather dirty and low down turn as a Southern-Fried bimbo, in the worse than worst “The Paperboy.” Instead of the great Ann Dowd for “Compliance”!

This, after Time Magazine said, “The Dowd vote is the cool vote” in this week’s Oscar projections!

Nicole Kidman is many things, but cool, right now, is like not one of them. She performs a umnentionable and disgusting act upon Zac Efron, and it’s something that the Academy in all its’ snobbish glory will NOT reward. A similar unbelievably gross moment occurred with Michael Fassbender faced upstage and let it, er, flow. I KNOW that’s what knocked him out of Oscar contention, which shocked many, but not ME! Nicole will follow down that, er, drain.

The SAGs are really getting knocked around this morning with all the media outlets leading with Nicole Kidman and “The Paperboy” story.  It’s everywhere. I don’t think the Academy will follow suit. And Nicole SHAME ON YOU, AN ACADEMY AWARD WINNER doing something like this! That movie was bad enough, but you’ll never live that unmentionable act down. Way to ruin a career, girl.

Also IN was Dame Maggie Smith for “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” in Supporting. Rounding out that category were the expecteds ~ Anne Hathaway in “Les Mis”, Helen Hunt in “The Sessions” and Sally Field in “Lincoln.” Of the four ladies nominated, Smith(2 Oscars), Hunt(One), Field, (two Oscars) and Kidman(One). Only Anne Hathaway does not have an Oscar yet. But she probably will soon.

“Les Miserables”, “Lincoln’. “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Argo” were all chosen as Best Ensemble, which is SAGs way of saying “Best Picture.”

They are NOT wildly accurate Oscar predictors. Esp. not last year when Best Ensemble went to “The Help” and Best Actress for Viola Davis.

They were WAAAAAY off. But they do indicate trends.

Like the absence of “Life of Pi” and also “Zero Dark Thirty” is significant, I think. So that means that “Les Miz”, “Lincoln”, “Argo” and “Silver Linings Playbook” (say THAT fast, three times!) are really the presumptive and eventual Best Picture winners.”Best Exotic…” may very well be nominated for Best Picture, too. But it won’t get Best Director. BTW, there are no Best Director awards from SAG. It’s the Screen ACTORS Guild and as far as Actors are concerned…well, this is one night that’s THEIRS and they get to leave the directors home.

While both NY critics groups, the NYFCC and the NBR went with “Zero Dark Thirty” and the LA Film Critics went with “Amour” NEITHER of these films cracked the top five and ZDT had only one mention Jessica Chastain as Best Actress.

And as I predicted there was also no Emmanuelle Riva nomination for “Amour” and Qu’venshane Wallis was deemed ineligible as was Dwight Henry for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. So Best Actress included Chastain, supposedly front-runner Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook”, Helen Mirren for “Hitchcock”(YAY!) and Naomi Watts for “The Impossible” a tsunami movie where she has virtually no dialogue and just grunts and groans and screams for the whole movie. And my lovely Marion Cotillard got in for ANOTHER French language film of “Rust and Bone” and Marion, bonne pour vous!

Bradley Cooper surprised me by landing a Best Actor nomination for SLP, knocking Joaquim Phoenix out of the mix, as I well thought he would be. People haven’t forgotten those remarks he made. As well they shouldn’t. And Sir Anthony Hopkins, who also dissed the Awards Circuit as “disgusting” was also notably left out for “Hitchcock” though Dame Helen Mirren got in. YAY!

I’m reading Steve Rebello’s excellent account of “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Pysho'” right now. It’s a real page turner! Love it! Sooo glad for Dame Helen.

The rest of the Best Actor category contained Daniel Day Lewis for “Lincoln”, Denzel Washington for “Flight”, Jon Hawkes for “The Sessions” and the magnificent Hugh Jackman for the magnificent “Les Miserables.”

No Supp. Actor nominees from “Les Miz” but they were Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the ONLY nominee for “The Master”, Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”, Alan Arkin for “Argo”, Robert De Niro for “Silver Linings Playbook” and Javier Bardem for “Skyfall” ALLLLL of whom already HAVE at least one Oscar(DeNiro has two). I don’t think there’s ever been a playing field with ONLY previous winners. If Eddie Redmayne knocks out Bardem, Redmayne is soooo stunning in “Les Miz”, then he’d be the newbie but as it stands, it’s all oldies but goodies in this category.

Left out completely were end of year openers “Django Unchained” and “The Hobbit”. Either their late openings did them in or they just simply weren’t liked.

 

“Zero Dark Thirty”, Jessica Chastain & Ann Dowd Win National Board of Review!

It’s been one of the most intense Oscar Weeks(unofficially of course) I’ve ever experienced in that alllll most all of the major films hit me this past week AND Ann Dowd who was just a guest on my show (see below) won Best Supporting Actress from the National Board of Review! Phew! WHAT A WEEK!

And it was only last Monday that the New York Film Critics announced, and so having that to deal with ,and then seeing “Les Miserables,” which I went to with Ann Dowd(!?!), and then attending “The Hobbit” press conference the next morning at the Wal-dwarf Astoria, and then Ann  winning the National Board Award, while I was out seeing “Zero Dark Thirty”, so I didn’t find out til that evening, and then seeing the new “Hobbit” in 48 fps(frames per second) ALL IN ONE WEEK!!! Or was that just three days?!?WOWOW!!!

So you can see why I haven’t posted anything, dear cineastes, dear readers, until now. One has to pause sometimes, for breath, for clarity to sink in, and with so much happening, and my 25th Anniversary party of being on the air continuously since Dec.7, 1988, well….it was all just too much to absorb. Let alone have a quiet moment to sit down and write about it…

Yes, dear readers, sometimes you do have to DO THE WORK! And alllll these movies are nearly three hours!

And then, Ann, who was my “Les Miz” date, winning this INCREDIBLY important award, the next day!!!

Well, it’s all been overwhelming!!!

And if I’M overwhelmed, you can only imagine how Ann Dowd is feeling with all this excitement happening to her.”Over the moon,” is how she herself described it to me. “I’m beside myself.”

The National Board of Review win for her in Best Supporting Actress(even though she’s the lead) in “Compliance” means the world for her and her career. It really was a life-changing moment. And she’ll literally will never be unknown again.

The NBR has catapulted her into the middle of the Oscar Conversation now. EVERYBODY was writing about and absorbing the NYFCC and the NBR wins and now they all have to mention Ann and take her one-woman Oscar campaign VERY, VERY seriously. I’ve helped as best I can. I feel like I’ve gone into the Ann Dowd business, but I love helping her, and we’ve become friends. And no, I didn’t know her before the Opening Night of “Compliance” in New York.

I aired her great interview on “The Stephen Holt Show” twice, this past Friday and the Friday before. www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and was happy to do so. I hope I am conveying the excitement that being INSIDE the Oscar Race and really dealing with it on a day to day basis is like to you, my dear readers, dear cineastes all.

Both the NYFCC and the NBR are New York based awards, and since they announce first they give clarity to the season, in very concrete ways. And BOTH groups gave Best Picture and Best Director to the movie I was seeing when the NBR was announced “Zero Dark Thirty”. And the NBR gave Jessica Chastain Best Actress, too.I know Jessica, too, since she was a student at Juilliard about 7 years ago.

So one thing that happened with these two major award announcements is that now “Zero Dark Thirty” a film that was not seen or screened until RIGHT NOW is now the purported front-runner. And so is Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director.

I loved “The Hurt Locker,” for the record, Ms. Bigelow’s last film and was thrilled when it won the Oscar for Best Picture, despite having a low box-office, and of course, it gave her the honor of being the first woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director.

But “Zero Dark Thirty” is a MUCH more difficult film to sit through.

It’s incredibly shocking, at the beginning, and then for what seems like two hours, but probably more like an hour and a half, it settles down into being a VERY boring procedural on just how this single-minded woman named Maya(fictional name, but a real person)played by Jessica Chastain, goes about doggedly pursuing Osama Bin Laden.

It’s over-long and it’s BOR-RING, but then when the incredibly exciting ending appears FINALLY, the film takes off into the stratosphere of excitement.

But there’s that VERY boring middle section that takes up half the film. I wonder, I really wonder, if audiences are going to sit through that en masse. The pay-off is big at the end. But this impresses me as being a critics movie more than an audience movie. And I’m frankly shocked, SHOCKED that it won so many awards this week.

It does also make “Argo” seem like a cartoon, I’m sorry to say. “ZDT” is much more serious-minded and nowhere near as entertaining as “Argo” is. “Argo” seems to have dropped off everyone’s radar. It will be interesting to see if the LA Film Critics annoint “Zero Dark Thirty” AGAIN when they announce later today.

This is reminding me of “The Social Network” all over again. Which won all the critics awards and then “The King’s Speech” turned everything around and won all the REAL awards, if any awards are realer than the others. Well, in terms of Oscar, the DGA, the PGA, SAG and even the Golden Globes are all much more clearer as Oscar precursors that the two New York critics groups that I’m writing about right now.

Me? I LOVED “Les Miserables” and what an incredible experience seeing it with Ann Dowd! We both sat there crying our eyes out for what seemed like, again, three hours. I don’t think I’ve ever been that deeply moved by a movie, since well, “The King’s Speech” actually, which “Les Miserables” reminded me of. And why? Well they were both directed by the brilliant Tom Hooper.

“Les Miz” I could go on and on, but let me just say that it’s now my Best Film of the Year and one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen and should garner more Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Director, Actor(Hugh Jackman), Best Supp. Actor(Eddie Redmayne), Best Supp. Actress(Anne Hathaway) and on and on and on, than maybe any other film in Academy history. It’s this year’s “King’s Speech” And could turn everything around on “Zero Dark Thirty” the way “The King’s Speech” did on “The Social Network.” But more on all this SOON. Very SOON!

Ann Dowd wins Indie Spirit Nom! Will she win NYFCC this AM?

This past Tuesday Oscar Dark Horse Ann Dowd won the Indie Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for “Compliance.” Then Scott Feinberg of http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com listed her FIRST in his “A Few Minutes with Feinberg” video last night, and this morning(!) Gold Derby has one of its’ Derby Pundits predicting her to win the New York Film Critics Circle Award today!

The NYFCC starts its’ voting at 10Am this morning. Thelma Adams is one of their critics who has appeared on my show “The Stephen Holt Show” last year at the Toronto Film Festival. You can search for her video in the search box at http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow. And my two part interview with Ann Dowd, the woman of the hour is also there.

Gold Derby, of course, is http://www.goldderby.com That’s with two “D”s in the address!

And according to GD’s few pundits who are predicting the NYFCC this morning they think it’s “Zero Dark Thirty” Daniel Day Lewis, Jessica Chastain, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the other categories.

They finish by 3pm. I think they meet historically at Sardi’s and you can, again, check out Gold Derby for a link to the NYFCC website.

I’m so bad with links, myself, so just go there and Gold Derby will tell you all you need to know.

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