a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Corey Stoll’

“Cafe Society” Worst Woody Allen Ever? S.O.S. Same Old Story

Kristen Stewart 1As you can see by this ultra glamourous pic above ^ of Kristen Stewart, Woody Allen has cast her against type, as a nice little goodie two-shoes,compleat with bows in her hair and ankle socks, in “Cafe Society”. Her character, Vonnie, has to appear so beautiful that the men in the movie fall madly in love with her. The men being Steve Carell as well as his nephew Jesse Eisenberg. And they’re all very good in this magnificently shot and styled paean to old Hollywood in the ’30s.

But this is perhaps the worst movie he’s ever done.It’s soooo boring. It’s that we’ve seen it all before. Over and over and over and over again. We expect more from the man who gave us “Midnight in Paris”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, “Blue Jasmine”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and his Oscar winner “Annie Hall.” But this is not that. Not by a long shot.

At least his other recent sub-par look at the glamourous life circa 1920 “Magic in the Moonlight” had a very strong performance by Colin Firth. And it’s always the younger woman/older man scenario, but at least focusing as much of this film on the young Jesse Eisenberg, the edge is slightly off that scenario, but only slightly. But it doesn’t last for long. Before it’s back to the Carell/Kristen plot-line. Ho-hum.Or rather ho-humbug.

Eisenberg, an actor I’ve always had trouble liking, is appealing in this, and more amourously aggressive than I can ever remember him being.

Kristen & Jesse 1

But try as they might, he, Carell and Stewart and all of the rest of this capable cast, just can’t rise above this bland, bland script.

I felt like I knew what lines the characters were going to say before they spoke them. Parker Posey, here a bubbly, throw-away blonde, is pretty much just window dressing. Corey Stoll is snidely effective as Eisenberg’s gangster brother.Blake Lively is, well, lively.

The only one who really broke through for me was Sari Lennick of the Coen Bros. “A Serious Man.” As Eisenberg’s hyserical, kvetchy sister-in-law and Stoll’s wife.

The biggest,.most consistent laughs in the film, and there are some, not much, but not enough, the most laughs come when Stoll’s character has killed some hapless or irritating sap, and throws the bodies into a ditch as a cement mixer pours cement on them in clearly a New Jersey setting.

Santa Loquasto has designed “Cafe Society” to a fare-thee-well and legendary lenser Victorio Storaro has shot it magnificently. It couldn’t look more glamourous, or be so empty. What a shame!

Do something NEW Woody!!! Surprise us!!! Don’t bore us…All our lives are too short for drivel like this.

#Woody Allen #Cafe Society #Kristen Stewart #comedy #Hollywood

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Oscar Gets “Amour”

Well, this certainly is news! Austria has decided that “Amour” is going to be its’ official submission to the Best Foreign Film race this coming Oscar season. Since it’s by a German director, who I LOVE, Michael Haneke, and maybe it’s German-Austrian financed although the two octogenarian leads,  who are winning raves, act in French, this makes “Amour” kosher. And definitely eligible for a Best Foreign Film nomination and perhaps win.

This is despite Jeffrey Wells at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com not liking a whole hell of a lot.

And to top that off Sony Pictures Classics is deciding to open it in Dec. RIGHT in the heat of the Oscar season. I know, I know. It’s freezing in New York at that time of year, and this is hardly your Christmas-y picture. But SPC, as I’ll now call them, are throwing down the Oscar gauntlet(is that a mixed metaphor?) going full court press with this one.

Although Michael Haneke only gives interviews in German, and the two stars are yes-for-real are in their 80s. But have Oscar buzz will travel. So we’ll be seeing them, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva stateside around the holidays. Or at least I will be seeing them, I hope, in their press tour.

I love SPC’s taste in movies. Last year,  they had “Midnight in Paris” and while it got a bunch of nominations in many categories and won in Best Original Screenplay, they did not move any of the many wonderful performers in that movie from the sidelines to center stage. Like for instance, Corey Stoll as Hemingway, Marion Cotillard as the Muse of many centuries and Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein. Not to mention Owen Wilson’s, astonishing lead performance and Rachel McAdams as his blonde bitch of a fiancée.

Although Owen did get a Golden Globe nomination in the Musical or Comedy category, he lost out to Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” And who could’ve stopped THAT express train once it left the station???

I can’t stand Wes Anderson movies, so I only go to them, if dragged so I haven’t seen “Moonrise Kingdom” yet. But I guess I’ll have to at some point. I hate when straight men try to do camp. Which is basically what his great “Style” is. Stolen from the Homosexual Handbook. I ought to know. I helped write it back in The Day.

And tomorrow I’m actually going to see “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”  I’ll let you know if I think all the who-ha at Sundance and Cannes was justified.

Oscar Nomination Predictions 2011

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants

Midnight in Paris

Hugo

The Help

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Moneyball

My Week With Marilyn

In a year where there could be as little as five and as many as 10 Best Pictures, I’m going to split the difference and say 8.

Best Actor

JEAN DU JARDIN “The Artist”

GEORGE CLOONEY “The Descendants”

BRAD PITT “Moneyball”

LEONARDO DI CAPRIO “J.Edgar”

DAMIAN BECHIR “A Better Life”

I think the S.W.O.R.M. the Straight White Old Rich Men who are let’s face it, the majority of the AMPAS voters are not gonna be OK with Michael Fassbender’s full frontal EXTENSIVE nudity through “Shame”, but WILL be OK with Mexican actor Damien Bichir’s heart-wrenching portryal of a good father/gardener working in the Palm Trees of L.A.

Best Actress

MICHELLE WILLIAMS “My Week With Marilyn”

MERYL STREEP “The Iron Lady”

GLENN CLOSE “Albert Nobbs”

VIOLA DAVIS “The Help”

ROONEY MARA “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

I think that late opener “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” which is nearing the $100 million mark domestic is going to be on a lot of voters’ minds. And this will be a kind of pay back to David Fincher & crew for NOT winning last year and the biggest beneficiary of this will be leading actress Rooney Mara, for her bravura turn as Lisbeth Salander. And the person she’ll knock out is not the revered Glenn Close, who has been struggling to get “Albert Nobbs” made for over 20 years, or more, but Tilda Swinton, who HAS an Oscar already.

Best Suporting Actor

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER “Beginners”

KENNETH BRANAGH “My Week with Marilyn”

ARMIE HAMMER “J.Edgar”

COREY STOLL “Midnight in Paris”

JONAH HILL “Moneyball”

This is the hardest category to predict this year with the prospective nominees jumping all over the place, like Mexican Jumping Beans throughout the precursor awards. And no, Damien Bichir is NOT in this category. I think SAG nominee Armie Hammer will pop up here as he did in SAG, and knock out Albert Brooks who was snubbed by SAG AND BAFTA. And also they’re going to nominate SOMEBODY from “Midnight in Paris” besides Woody and Corey Stoll’s Ernest Hemingway made the strongest impression in that gigantic ensemble.

I hate to say it, but I’m putting Jonah Hill in because he was in the movie, “Moneyball” that the most voters will probably have seen and because by the same token they WON’T have watched Nick Nolte in “Warriors.”

Best Supporting Actress

VANESSA REDGRAVE “Coriolanus”

OCTAVIA SPENCER “The Help”

JESSICA CHASTAIN “The Help”

BERENICE BEJO “The Artist”

JANET McTEER “Albert Nobbs”

I think Vanessa Redgrave’s towering performance in “Coriolanus” will FINALLY turn up here, as it hasn’t so far anywhere else. The Harvey factor is in play here and yes, it’s a Weinstein Co. movie. As is “The Artist” as is “The Iron Lady” as is “My Week with Marilyn.”

Best Director

Michel Hazanaviscius “The Artist”

Alexander Payne “The Descendants”

Martin Scorcese “Hugo”

Woody Allen “Midnight in Paris”

David Fincher “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

I think this will match the DGA nominees(the Directors’ Guild) five for five.

And on Tuesday morning we’ll see. I predict the steamroller of “The Artist” will continue with its’ getting the most nominations of any other film. And for a 90 min. Black and White SILENT film made for only $12million, it’s a phenomenal run that is STILL just getting started!

As Oscar Gets Nearer & Nearer, Supporting gets more Cloudy, Not Clearer

With the Oscar Nominations getting nearer and hearer, next Tues, less than a week now, some things are getting more and more cloudy, not clearer. We seem to THINK we know who the winners are going to be(and maybe except for Best Actress) everybody may be right. Or ARE they?

Christopher Plummer is going to win Best Supporting Actor. We’ve know this since May. But who is going to be nominated alongside him? And does it really matter? Well, it matters to those of us who are Oscar-obsessed, which means YOU since you’re reading this. And moi, aussi, of course.

Yes, to Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier in “My Week With Marilyn.” BUT everybody else in that category is a maybe, and this is one of the several main categories where there are going to be surprises. In the nominations. Not the winners. Or maybe the nominations will REALLY shake things up!

The suspense is killing me!

Will Jonah Hill of “Moneyball” get nominated for a mediocre performance at best? Is THAT an Academy Nomination?An “Academy Performance” No, it’s just a very big part( who is standing next to Brad Pitt) and played by an actor who we thought couldn’t do that. Even as meagerly as he did it…

Mark Harris of www.grantland.com has done a marvelous job of parsing all this as of course the great Stu Vanairsdale at www.movieline.com They both are essential reading at this point.

Mark Harris brings up the interesting “Norbit” plot-line. Arguably it was the release of “Norbit” a critically reviled low comedy right in the middle of Oscar voting that killed Eddie Murphy’s win for Supp. Actor for “Dreamgirls”. But HE was already nominated when this happened. Jonah Hill has not even been nominated YET and “Norbit”-like bomb “The Sitter” in which he stars, is playing at a theater near YOU.

Could that knock him out of contention? It could.

So could the lack of interest in “Warrior” knock Nick Nolte out in the prize-fight movie that critics raved about but no one went to see. Will the Academy Voters, so busy at this time of year, have the time to watch “Warrior” ONLY for a Supp. Male Performance possibility? Nobody’s claiming he will win this.

They’ll PROBABLY watch “Drive”. But with no SAG nomination for Albert Brooks, another comedian-turned-actor this season, and now, SHOCKINGLY no BAFTA nomination, will Brooks get left out too? Are Brooks and Jonah Hill too “samey” as they used to say in England.

WHO could replace them? Well, Armie Hammer who DID get a SAG nod for his moving turnas Leonard DiCaprio long-term lover in “J.Edgar” They will have watched “J.Edgar” Whether they like it or not is another question. ME? I LOVED it. It was on my Ten Best List.  As was “Drive” come to think of it.

Armie could benefit from “J.Edgar”s seeming lack of support in other major categories, though I do think “J.Edgar” COULD surprise,too. It’s Clint after all. Clint Eastwood. And they LOVE Clint.

So surely could Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris” Stoll’s beautiful, nuanced, scary performance in a film that is very likely going to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (it’s been winning that award all over the place, BFCA, Golden Globes, etc) AND Best Director, so surely could not this momentum sweep in at least ONE actor in “Midnight in Paris” gigantic, superb ensemble?

Jeff Wells, whose site www.hollywood-elsewhere.com is essential reading, too, has been going on and on about Stoll’s excellence, and how he wasn’t even AT the Golden Globes. Woody was a guaranteed no-show. They had room for Corey. But no. They didn’t.

I’m thinking that they Academy might, however. Knowing Stoll’s work for YEARS on the NY stage, I know what  a powerful, deep acting talent he has. Maybe the Academy will sense that, too. And the NEW YORK-based Academy Members who attend the theater regularly(and they all do) will know Stoll’s work too.

SOME member of the cast of “Midnight in Paris” should be honored. And if it’s anyone it’s him.

Then there’s the problem of “Extremely Loud, etc. etc.” ELAIC and the mute Max Von Sydow. He could sneak in here, too. I was at an Academy screening and he got a terrific amount of applause at the end credits when his name came up. The NY  audience I saw it with also, seemed to like it. Or liked some of it. The subject, 9/11, was not something most of these people wanted to see re-visited.

But who got the most thunderous applause for that film? Thomas Horn, the young boy who plays the lead. Now THAT would be a big surprise. And the Academy has a history of honoring children in leads in Supporting. See Hailee Steinfeld last year…And Horn surprised by winning “Best Young Actor” at the Critics Choice Awards(the BFCA) just last week.

And then there’s the always nominatable Sir Ben Kingsley in the much-liked “Hugo.”

THREE surprises in the Supp. Acting category nominations? Impossible you say. But this has been a very difficult year to predict. In some categories, and this is one of them.

And the Supporting Actress category would be blown wide open by the entrance of Vanessa Redgrave for “Coriolanus” and also, incredible as it may sound, Dame Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike in “My Week with Marilyn.” Yes, and Dame Judi got a BAFTA nod. Vanessa did not. But the PERFORMANCE!!! TOWERING!!! And Degree of Difficulty ~ Shakespeare.

Vanessa has been nominated for NO precursor awards so far.NO-thing. Nada.Zilda. But if she did she would land like a bomb exploding all expectations so far. And if BOTH she and Dame Judi made it in. Impossible, you say? But both Redgrave and Dench are in WEINSTEIN CO. movies.

I rest my case.

More about the other categories soon

Oscar Smear Campaigns ALWAYS backfire!

Yes, dear readers, dear cineastes, S.T.Vanairsdale over at www.movieline.com has done it again on his Oscar Index, which just dropped tonight. Weekly, S.T. or Stu, is Dorothy Parker-witty and, of course, apt. Called this week “They Shoot Horses….Don’t They?” I was ROTFLMAO! As they say on the Internet.

And I think one  reason all this Oscar Talk has grown and grown in recent years, to something nearing a fever pitch, a fever that lasts all Oscar season, and right now is on the very verge of the Broadcast Film Critics(tonight) and the Golden Globes (Sunday), its’ noise is deafening.

As well it should be, really…

I think it’s GREAT that so many people and Oscar bloggers, like myself, can generate so much interest in the year’s best movies that they TALK ABOUT IT ALL DAY EVERY DAY!

And Stu is noting the demise of “War Horse”. Who isn’t? And he posits that AN ENEMY of “The Artist”s front-runner status PUT KIM NOVAK up to placing that Full Page “I was raped” Ad in Variety yesterday. Which is what I immediately thought, as I posted here. Where does she, a recluse, who hasn’t made a movie since 1991, get the money for that? Stu points a direct finger. Go to www.movieline.com and see who he thinks is the culprit.

I think, as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone www.awardsdaily.com has posited, in a different context, that when these SMEAR CAMPAIGNS, which is what Roger Friedman calls it, happen, they actual strengthen the Academy’s feelings for the victim of the smear. And no, NOT Kim Novak. “The Artist.”

Similar tactics have been used in the past against the film “A Beautiful Mind”. It won anyway. And also recently against “The Hurt Locker” which also won Best Picture…

These things always backfire.

It’s going to make me look at “Vertigo” the next time I see it with new eyes. Yes, she IS really nuts in that movie, her character…The Ghost of Carlotta Valdez rises yet again.

Meanwhile, Stu V. also FINALLY notes another conclusion that I had reached WEEKS ago on this blog, but of course, doesn’t credit me. That Octavia Spenser’s front runner status is gonna run out with Jessica Chastain’s probable Supporting nod, also for “The Help.” Two actresses from one film cancel each other out. Usually.

And the winner is – Berenice Bejo! Something I’ve been saying for AGES! She, from “The Artist.” Unless SUDDENLY Vanessa Redgrave gets nominated and blows the whole category out of the water! THAT could happen!

And Corey Stoll has been everywhere, EVERYWHERE, this past week. Don’t rule him out for popping up in the Supporting Actor category. “Midnight in Paris” is gaining in strength every day.

Talking about ties. Stu has Meryl and Viola Davis TIED for First Place for Best Actress on his Oscar Index, which is hilarious! And you know what happens to ties? They’re broken. Allowing Michelle Williams to win for “My Week with Marilyn.”

Tom O’Neill of www.goldderby.com has been with me on this Michelle watch since we both fell in love with that movie. And he thinks, as I have been saying for a lonnnnng time, that Michelle will win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, and will KNOCK IT OUT OF THE BALL PARK with a memorable acceptance speech, just like she just did at the Palm Springs Film Festival this week, wowing the AMPAS-packed crowd. At least, we sincerely HOPE she will.

Jamie Fox did that a couple of years back with his acceptance speech at the Globes for “Ray” and he’s never hit the emotional height that he hit that night ever since. But boy did he nail it to the floor that night! And that was the speech that won him his Oscar. The speech he gave at the Globes.

Stu still has “The Artist” on top of Best Picture Index and Michel H. for Best Director and Jean Dujardin for Best Actor. And Christopher Plummer for Best Supporting Actor.

He has a LOT of compelling and amusing things to say this week too. He doesn’t disappoint with his Oscar Index. Unlike so many of the late breaking films have this year!

And now it’s on to the Broadcast Film Critics! And let’s see who wins there!

“Oscar Race” EW Cover w/Clooney & Viola Davis. Controversial? Accurate? Embarrassing?

I really wonder if the venerable Entertainment Weekly has jumped the shark this week with its’ “Inside the Oscar Race” cover prematurely, I think, showing George Clooney in a tux (nothing new), but at his side,, resplendent in a white ball gown, is Viola Davis! THIS is new! And the cover states “Front-runners George Clooney (The Descendants) and Viola Davis (The Help).” WHAT???

I thought Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams were the two heavyweights for Best Actress! But the usually reliable Oscar God David Karger is plunking his two cents down (and EW is presumably totally backing these choices), and inside we see V.D. depicted holding what looks like an award, or a Golden Globe, or SOMEthing, when on closer look it is seen to be a hand mirror. A bejeweled one, but a HAND MIRROR!

This is the kind of thing that INFURIATES Academy Voters, who are voting or rather nominating, right now as you read this. Many of them perhaps have not even sent their ballots in yet or filled them out, and here is EW acting like IT’S ALL OVER! BAD MOVE, EW!

I would be OK with this if it was a year where this was TRUE, but George is fighting for his life in Best Actor, (He’s got one already and “The Descendants” is depressing.) against his BFF Brad Pitt, who, BTW, just won Best Actor from the prestigious National Society of Film Critics. Take THAT, EW! They seem to be saying. And the Best Actress race is all over the place, between those three ladies. Williams, Streep & Davis.

And Viola Davis, as talented as she is, has not yet won ONE major award yet for “The Help”! A cover like this and a lay-out and an interview like that, may infuriate Academy types into NOT voting for her, when the time comes. And it IS a Supporting Performance in most peoples’ books…including mine.

But to photograph her looking so RADIANT and BEAUTIFUL and AIR-BRUSHED to death, well, we’ve never seen her like this before. And acting like she’s already won! But she hasn’t!

I fear this cover is going to make AMPAS voters feel like “Wait a minute! Don’t tell US who’s won!” or who to vote for. MISTAKE! This is what the Board of Governors was actually warning people about this year.  See Scott Feinberg’s excellent analysis of this at www.hollywoodreporter.com where Scott now is writing “The Race.”

And Jean Dujardin of “The Artist” is the one who most Oscar experts are picking for Best Actor. But not to EW.

I totally agree with Dave Karger with his choice that “The Artist” has already won Best Picture and is waaay out in front in that category. He’s right about that. But I would not be a very good Oscarologist myself, if I didn’t feel it incumbent on me to say “WAIT A MINUTE! Hold your (War) horses, EW!”

What they are doing is championing or campaigning for Clooney/Davis with this glossy cover and the even glossier interview inside. Acting like it’s a done deal. That is SOOOO BAD in Oscar campaigning terms.

And I know Dave Karger is familiar with Oscar 101.

I’ve NEVER seen EW so blatantly Up a Duo from two different films, yet, who may not be pictured together ever again this awards season. How embarrassing! But EW is nothing if not BOLD.

However, their first Oscar cover of the season isn’t a NEWS issue. It never is.

Didn’t they depict “Finding Neverland” once upon a time? Oy vay.

And there was once an Oscar issue like this with three actresses shown. I think it was Jennifer Connelly and Nicole Kidman and somebody else. And that third lady did not get nominated. I can’t even remember who she was. How embarrassing was that for her? And presumably for the magazine. But guess not, cuz they’re doing it again!

But some of you will remind me who that third gal was, who didn’t get nominated.

And even though Michelle Williams is splattered all over the INSIDE of the magazine in their for real predictions section on who’s going to be nominated…that story/interview on George ‘n’ Viola’s friendship was a little grating and self-serving. And yes, both of them are acting like they’ve ALREADY WON! NO! They haven’t!

THIS IS A HUGE OSCAR “No!NO!”

George has picked up a couple of critics awards, but Viola has gotten none, separately, herself, for Best Actress. Though “The Help” has gotten kudo-ed for Ensemble in several places.

This is the kind of cover that could de-rail a campaign. SERIOUSLY. Dave, what were you thinking? Well, obviously, he thinks he’s right.

I beg to differ.

And inside, though, his predictions themselves, were pretty spot-on for who was going to be nominated for Best Picture, Actor and Actress, though he’s got Michael Fassbender in there, and I think it’s Demian Bichir. Although Demian DOES receive a cute consolation prize, a “For Your Consideration” box.

But his supporting picks were all over the place, especially in Supporting Actress.

I was shocked at how wobbly his Supporting predictions were and yes, the Supp. Actress category is historically the hardest to predict. He’s got Berenice  Bejo (yes, she’s nominated for a BFCA, Golden Globe and a SAG) Ditto Octavia Spenser. He’s got Janet McTeer pictured, and I think that’s right. And Jessica Chastain for “The Help” which seems to be what she’s inevitably nominated for, though, it’s the least of her EIGHT performances this season! And then he has Melissa McCarthy, who EW just had on another of their covers recently as “The Queen of Comedy”. This would be for the gross-out “Bridesmaids.”

He doesn’t mention Vanessa Redgrave AT ALL. NOWHERE. And I think she WILL TURN UP here. Especially after being snubbed by BAFTA!!! Can you believe it?

I’m sure it’s the ghost of her earlier-in-life, extreme left-wing policies from the ’60s still haunting her. But if the Academy, Anglophile Lefties all, (well, the majority anyway) will over look Redgrave’s policy and put her in where she belongs and she could win this for her ASTOUNDING performance in “Coriolanus.”

Karger also gives Carey Mulligan from “Shame” a “For Your Consideration” box. And that is valid. She was great, if not greater, than Michael Fassbender in “Shame.”

We all know Christopher Plummer is going to win his career award in Supp. for “Beginners” and Dave Karger duly notes this. The other nominees, in this category, though, except for Kenneth Branagh are all up in the air. ESPECIALLY, his pick of Max Von Sydow for “Extremely Late and Incredibly Distasteful”! I don’t think so.

He’s got Jonah Hill and Albert Brooks in there but they were overlooked by SAG, and Nick Nolte and Armie Hammer WERE SAG-nominated, which he notes, but doesn’t see them getting in.

Who could pop up here, unexpectedly, is Corey Stoll for his finely etched portrait of Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris.”

And Kathy Bates and/or Marion Cotillard could be two last-minute  pop-ups from “Midnight in Paris.” They both just were named on the BAFTA long list…So they’ve been noted there.

Oh, and that BAFTA long list!…well, let’s just say it’s TOO LONG to even bother with at this point. But as always you can check out www.awardsdaily.com for a much closer look at that ENDLESS list, on which nearly everybody who made a film this year, is on. Wait for the BAFTA nominations themselves. But Beth Stevens, at Awardsdaily does a really good job at parsing them, especially in the comment section.

2011 in review- 13,000 Thanks!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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