a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Dallas Buyers’ Club’

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“Dallas Buyers Club” wins Best Make-Up, “Great Gatsby” wins Best Costumes. As expected.

This is getting to be a VERY predictable Oscars…so far…”Dallas Buyers Club” wins Best Make-up and Hair, and “The Great Gatsby” wins Best Costumes. They clumped Best picture clips of three films together. “Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dallas Buyers Club” ( I think) and “American Hustle”(I think) I’m typing and posting so fast, can barely keep up with what’s being shown.

Lots of shots of Jonah Hill in the audience looking like he doesn’t care that he lost. Happy as a clam. Barkhad Abdi doesn’t look so happy.

Kim Novak! And Matthew McConaughey presenting Best Animation. Short.Kim whose voice sounds like Mercedes McCambridge. Oscar goes to “M. Hublot!” French? Montrealais? French, I think. Yeah, they’re French. Charmant.

And now the Best Animated Feature. Kim said “Feature” just before when she should’ve said “Short” Kim takes the pause of pauses before she says “Frozen!” Again, not a surprise, is it?

So many awards before this have taken all the air out of Oscar’s tires.

Unneccesary Ordinary Heroes montage intro’ed by a super-nervous Sally Fields.I thought they were going to make the show shorter…er…um…

The Golden Globes and the BAFTAS are only two hours…just saying….

“American Hustle” should’ve won that Best Costumes award…if it was going to win big tonight…a hint?

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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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Phillip Seymour Hoffman & I

Phillip Seymour Hoffman & I

It’s soooo difficult to write about the tragic passing of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, because I looked so much like him & was mistaken for him almost constantly.

Especially when he played Truman Capote and won an Oscar for it. Then didn’t acknowledge the real person whom he was portraying so memorably. I got very angry about that more than once, especially at the National Board of Review awards that year when he didn’t even mention Truman or that he was playing a gay character. Nothing. Zip. In that acceptance speech that night or when he went on to win every award in the world that year for “Capote” culminating in the Oscar.And it was the year of “Brokeback Mountain”, too. The Year of the Queer, if ever there was one.

Contrast these acceptance speeches to what Jared Leto, who keeps winning and winning for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” has been criticized for, which is leaving out People with AIDS He’s corrected that.

Phillip never did. He didn’t think it was appropriate, at that time. 2006 which seems like 100 years ago in gay life.

Phillip saw the resemblance between us, too. I remember sitting in the front row of a press conference at the NYFF, can’t remember the name of the film, but he played yet ANOTHER gay part, this time a drag queen named Rusty. And he REALLY looked like me, when I lived in drag in the early ’70s. And he kept turning to look at me in the audience and was clearly disconcerted by the resemblance as I always was.

But for a straight man with a family and children, he played many, many gay parts both before and after Capote. He looked so much like me in some films especially “Boogie Nights” where he heartbreakingly played a young, long-haired P.A. who had a crush on Dirk Diggler. That part was an enactment of me in the ’70s, friends commented to me. It was unnerving. But of course I appreciated the intelligence and the power that went into that characterization.

We came officially face-to-face in the interview for “When the Devil Knows You’re Dead” which I posted in the previous piece here on my blog. And he was as uneasy about the striking resemblance as I was. It was uncanny sometimes. He was a blond. I was a redhead. But my god, it was an unusual similarity. Too close for comfort, and as you can see in the interview, Phillip is strangely scratching himself throughout. It was weird.

I met him many, many times at press events and junkets after this interview, and he always acknowledged me with respect. He played soooo many gay characters, and there I was the living embodiment of the roles he always claimed were “very difficult” for him. Esp. Capote.

He was one of the greatest actors of our time, or any time. He made 50 movies. He was excellent in all of them.

From the Tod Solendz film “Happiness” where he played a creepy telephone stalker that broke him open to a wider recognition. To his last final great role of Willy Loman on stage live in “Death of a Salesman.” It was a great privilege to have seen him onstage in that iconic role. He was clearly too young for it, but there was a desperation about a forty-something man playing someone who was supposed to be twenty years older. And at the end of his life. And as the title says, it was about “Death”. Willy Loman kills himself at the end of the play. It was oddly prescient like Phillip KNEW something.

There was a tremendous rough, urgency to his performance. Like he had to do that part, and he had to do it NOW. Like he knew there was no time left. And it turned out, there wasn’t.

He had played the part in High School, too, according to published reports. He was kind of obsessed with it. Willy Loman is certainly one of the great roles in one of the great plays of American Theater.

And for the record, in all my encounters with him over the many years I was covering him as a critic and entertainment journalist, I never saw or even THOUGHT of anything drug related in reference to him.

He won the Oscar the year of “Brokeback Mountain” when many said that Heath Ledger should’ve won it. And then Heath died in an equally tragic way in similar circumstances.

I wonder if that bothered him. It bothered me.

And then he went on to play even MORE gay roles…Guilt over “Brokeback” and Heath not winning? Who can say?

But the point is he played them all brilliantly, and with a range that we have almost never seen in an American actor.

His agent, whom I mention in the interview, Sarah Fargo “found” Phillip right as he was graduating from NYU UNDERgrad it should be noted. And not their illustrious Graduate Acting Program.

And it was Sarah, who became one of his life-long friends, who jump- started his career by getting him seen and into roles and projects where someone who looked like him would normally not have been seen and seen so quickly. He was a character actor, not a leading man, and I think he always saw himself that way.

He always gave himself 200% to any part. And EVERY part. How different was he in “Boogie Nights” and as the baseball manager in the baseball movie, whose name escapes me at the moment? ETA: “Moneyball”

Or in the indelible preppy monster/alcoholic Freddie that Matt Damon dispatches so abruptly in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”? Or the creepazoid/charismatic cult leader Lancaster Dodd in “The Master”?

And now that I think back on it the role that he was only moderately effective in was perhaps the role that was closest to him in real life as events have shown,the alcoholic Jamie Tyrone, in the incredible revival of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” Starring Vanessa Redgrave as the tornado/virago of a drug-addicted mother who terrorized her hapless family, she blew on to the stage with hurricane force and pretty much stayed at that unbelievable level of performance throughout the plays three acts.

She was like a demon unleashed and she frightened the wits out of her family and CHANGED THE BLOCKING every night, though not the lines, which I could hear with crystal-clear clarity even sitting in the rear of the orchestra. Phillip shrank from her as his character was supposed to. And she throttled the living daylights out of Robert Sean Leonard every night, but you never knew WHEN she was going to attack him. I saw it twice. I’ll never forget it.

Phillip’s untimely death is such a shock and an incalculable loss to American film and American theater. Maybe leaving us soon so was his way of saying “I’m done now. I’ve nothing more to give. I’ve said what I had to say.” And now he’s gone. In the most lurid way possible. With a needle in his arm.

That small detail will haunt all of us who knew him, and the many millions who knew him through his work. But to know him that way or any way was to love him.

His great, hungry spirit will always be with us. Our hearts go out to his surviving family and friends.

That he will be missed is an underestimate.

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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.

Editors Noms minus PGA Noms = Best Picture Oscar Nominees

The A.C.E Nominations for their Eddie Awards were announced yesterday. Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of http://www.Awardsdaily.com has always maintained the nominations for Best Film Editing are more important than basically every other nominations when it comes to predicting and of course eventually winning, Best Picture at the Oscars.

This year I’ve tried to do a little adding and subtracting of my own here. Using the Producer’s Guild nominations of the Year’s Ten Best and minusing the A.C.E. Eddie nominees from them.

That leaves us with “American Hustle”, “Captain Phillips”, “Gravity”, “Her”, “Nebraska”, “Saving Mr. Banks”, “12 Years a Slave”, and “Wolf of Wall Street”. I think we can now safely assume that these eight films will equal this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees.

So which Guild is stronger for the remaining “outliers” if you want to call them that. From the Eddie list, it’s “August:Osage County” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” finally turning up SOMEwhere in Guild land with Roderick Jaynes, who is the nom des plumes of both the Coen Brothers. Just FYI, the Academy’s Editing Branch doesn’t like the flim-flannery of this fictitious editor.

And the two films that got the PGA nods, but not the editors were, “Blue Jasmine” and surprisingly “Dallas Buyer’s Club.”

The Academy allows for at least five, and no more than ten nominees, which the Producer’s Guild goes for ten.

Of the remaining four films “Inside Llewyn Davis”, “Dallas Buyer’s Club”, “August: Osage County” and “Blue Jasmine” remain in Oscar Purgatory. With my guessing “Llewyn” and “Dallas” having better shots than the other two films.

The Coens have a dedicated fan base in the Academy, and despite “Llewyn”s lact of support in the other guilds, I can see it getting nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography (Bruno DelBonnell) who was just awarded for his de-saturated, wintry work by the New York Film Critics, and maybe Best Sound and Best Sound Editing, along with Best Editing(the aforementioned Roderick Jaynes) and possibly even Best Directing, too. As well as Best Picture. Never mind the musical categories…That’s actually a VERY big haul for this Little Film That Could. Only the over-crowded Best Actor field I think it’s reasonable to assume will leave the brilliant Oscar Isaac out. Though wouldn’t it be wonderful if he got in?

Where this truly leaves me scratching my head is the Big Fat Fact that means both “Her” and “Saving Mr. Banks” get in for sure for Best Picture…grrr…

And shockingly no “Philomena” ANYwhere!

DGA & BAFTA Upsom Downs ~ Who’s In, Who’s Out as Oscar Nom Balloting Closes

The Phase I of Oscar Season, as it’s called closed today with the due date of the nomination ballots this afternoon at 3pm.

So it’s done. It’s over. And while everything seems like it’s set in Stone(as in Sasha Stone), is it really? There’s always surprises. Like for instance “Dallas Buyer’s Club” and its’ performers being totally shut out from BAFTA. Ditto Meryl Streep for “Best OverActressing” for “August: Osage County.” And Robert Redford for “Best Non-Actoring” in “All Is Lost.”

I remember soooo well my thinking that the notorious Melissa Leo was dead-in-the-Oscar-water, when SHE wasn’t nominated for a BAFTA for “The Fighter,” but guess what? She WON! So those rules don’t necessarily apply. However, someone like Jonah Hill’s being nominated NOwhere, means that’s where he’ll probably stay.

And it forecasts not very easy waters ahead for veterans Streep or Redford. Today it feels like someone. Probably Leonardo Di Caprio is going to take Redford’s place in THE FIVE.(in the tighttightight Best Actor race.)

The DGA nominated the directors of “12 Years a Slave”(Steve McQueen), “Capt.Phillips” (Paul Greengrass), “Wolf of Wall Street”(Martin Scorsese), “Gravity” Alfonso Cuaron and “American Hustle” (David O. Russell). I think we can safely say that all those five films WILL be nominated for Best Picture Oscar, when the nominations are handed out Tuesday morning. 8:45AM EST.

But what about the actors in those films? Well, they’ll all have an easier ride than those that aren’t in a DGA film.

So that’s good news for Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’O, and Michael Fassbender, Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, Leo, but not Jonah Hill, Sandra Bullock, and only perhaps Jennifer Lawrence from “American Hustle.”

Everyone else, except the winning frontrunner Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine” is in doubt. Not serious doubt, but doubt nonetheless. I wonder if this hurts Bruce Dern’s chances, although he surely will get a nomination for “Nebraska” and also I wonder now about June Squibb…

And then in another universe entirely are the Weinstein films, all orbiting around their own sun, Harvey, who knows better than anyone in any world, how to bend the Academy to his will and the will of his FIVE films, or six, if you count “Ten Feet From Stardom.” I loved that movie and I bet that’s his big winner this year. It’s the wing-ding of a doc about back-up singers.

But he’s also got “Philomena”, “August:Osage County”, “Lee Daniel’s The Butler”, “Long Walk to Freedom” and “Fruitvale Station.” A workaholic (and who isn’t in the Oscar race?)Dame Judi Dench is probably in like flint for the grieving mother in “Philomena” and didn’t Harvey surprise us all by getting JACKIE WEAVER nominated for Best Supporting Actress for a non-performance of epic non-magnitude in “Silver Linings Playbook”? NOOOOOObody expected THAT.

And why, when she certainly didn’t deserve it, did she get nominated? Well, the Voters SAW her, when they went to look at “Silver Linings Playbook”. There she was playing Bradley Cooper’s mom and Robert De Niro’s wife, and lazy voters that they are, they wrote her name down(probably at Harvey’s suggestion) and a clearly not-winning performance, it was nevertheless a nominated one.

Who of those movies is no one talking about at all, esp. in Supporting, always a flibbertijibet of categories? Well, there’s Naomi Harris who is just terrific as Winnie Mandela, in what is clearly a leading role, in “Long Walk to Freedom.” But will enough people have watched that? There’s Margo Martindale, whose role in “August:Osage…” has been all but eviscerated but she has made an impact and is on many radars. And an obvious choice previous Supporting Actress winner Octavia Spenser for “Fruitvale Station” who was just awarded her Best Supporting Actress trophy tonight by the National Board of Review. So she’s not exactly obscure. Melonie Diaz for “Fruitvale” would be a VERY big surprise. She was just as good as the grieving girl-friend of the slain lead character…

And poor “Inside Llewyn Davis” left out in the cold…just like it’s leading character…and the break-out star of this year, Oscar Isaac…I think it could very well get a Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography and maybe Best Score and Song”Please Mr. Kennedy” or another song from “Llewyn.”

I loved Scarlett Johansson’s magnificent voice work in “Her” but aren’t there Academy rules against parts that are just voice-work? Maybe there are and maybe there aren’t. She’s never been nominated so THAT would be the surprise of surprises…And of course, Joaquin Phoenix would be a total surprise if he broke in Best Actor. But he did just that last year for “The Master” when everyone was counting him out(including me). So would the aforementioned Oscar Isaac and/or Michael B. Jordan for “Fruitvale” in Best Actor…And don’t forget Sally Field as Cate Blanchett’s lovable sis in “Blue Jasmine.” The Golden Globes included her in, and not Oprah. Could happen again.

We’ll just have to wait and see! But I can’t wait any longer!!!! I WANT TO KNOW NOW!!!

Racists at New York Film Critics get a taste of their own medicine

There’s something about the esteemed New York Film Critics Circle that just breeds racists incidents, like the one that happened last night, or the night before when Black Director Steve McQueen was supposedly heckled by an African-American Film Critics Circle member, who was seated WAAAY in the back, but was nevertheless overheard as has been widely reported.

I read Scott Feinberg’s balanced analysis and reporting at http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com on this latest brouhaha over “12 Years a Slave”, the masterpiece out there that is causing as much of a ruckus as “Wolf of Wall Street.” In fact, this incident is so loaded that it’s pre-emptively absorbed all the controversy that has been hounding “Wolf”. So the discussion of the awards now surrounds this horrifying Incident, and the critic in question, whose name I’m withholding, just denied to Scott Feinberg, and maybe to others, that this ever happened.

Racial slurs and the F bomb were supposedly heard all hurled at Steve McQueen. Maybe they weren’t meant to be heard by all. I wasn’t there, so I’ll give the critic-in-trouble the benefit of the doubt, though thousands wouldn’t.

It’s a sad moment once again for the New York Film Critics Circle. They started off the season by showing their true WHITE colors, by voting for that sub-par semi-moronic comedy “American Hustle” Best Picture by a vote or two over the instant classic “12 Years a Slave.” They repeated this behavior in Best Actor where Chiwetel Ejiofor to “12 Years”lost to A VERY WHITE man, Robert Redford! Who last night bored everyone silly with his acceptance speech for Best Actor. You can see a horrendous video over at http://www.goldderby.com Tedious, self-serving, entitled, and you really wanted him to shut the front door.

But I digress.

The NYFCC also closed out Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’O of “12 Years a Slave”,choosing MORE WHITE PEOPLE like Jared Leto and Jennifer Lawrence as the their Best Supporting Actor and Actress.

Lawrence had the good sense not to show up, and sent a funny note.

I knew, I just KNEW, that the NYFCC was going to reap the whirlwind for shutting out “12 Years a Slave” in every category, except Best Director. But then THIS incident that I referenced above ^ had to happen!

This isn’t over yet. Their credibility on this issue – race, has severely damaged their reputation as the leading critical group they once were.

And the last laugh of this, is that it’s made Steve McQueen MUCH more sympathetic in everyone’s eyes and is going to cause him to  get MORE votes and  win MORE awards, in a very tight race. Just you watch.

He was just nominated for the DGA Award today. REALLY an honor I have to say.

McQueen acted like he didn’t hear the F-bomb and the racial slurs. Class Act. He didn’t react or acknowledge it according to Feinberg.

Sometimes I think there is really something very dark behind the awards season, and this incident certainly illustrates that maybe indeed there is.

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 Shocker! PGA nominates no Weinstein films nor “Llewyn Davis”!!!

Color me shocked! The PGA, probably the most powerful Hollywood Guild these days, in terms of being an Oscar precursor nominated ten films but NONE of them from the Weinstein Co. Harvey’s head must be exploding this morning. No “Philomena”, no “Butler”, no “Long Walk to Freedom”, no “August:Osage County.” Also no “Inside Llewyn Davis” which really bums me out, having just seen it again last night and found it exhilarating.

This means none of those films will be nominated for Best Picture, most likely. But Harvey being Harvey won’t allow this situation to remain status quo. Watch “Philomena” his strongest film kicks out “Her” my guess. And for all the possible acting nominees from all these films, this is not good news either. Forest Whitaker, Oprah,Idris Elba, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, but probably not the great Judi Dench are all now officially on the ropes, vulnerable.

Harvey will just work harder. Which is what he does best. I can’t remember him having such a bunch o’ bad news.But nothing stops him. NOTHING. ONE of his films will get into the Academy’s top ten.

And “Llewyn”s being left out makes me very sad…

Below are the ten nominees. Thankfully “12 Years a Slave” is right where it should be. But surprisingly they nominated “The Wolf of Wall Street”!!! And the disliked “Saving Mr. Banks”!!! The power of Disney…And the super tech-y “Her” which I didn’t think would be to their taste. The Director’s Guild nominations are coming up too on Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Thanks to http://www.hitfix.com for this list ~~~And check out Kris Tapley’s EXCELLENT analysis on what all this means. Can’t wait for him and Anne Thompson to do their Oscar Talk podcast, but I’m guessing they’ll wait until after the DGA on Tuesday and BAFTA on Thursday. They’ll have one up next Friday I bet.

Kris, who like myself, is a big “Llewyn”/Oscar Isaac fan (as are Sasha Stone http://www.awardsdaily.com and Jeff Wells at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com) thinks there’s still hope for ILD with a lot of Coen Bros. fans in the Academy. If they nominated the less relatable “A Serious Man”, they’ll nominate “Llewyn Davis.”

Here’s the list below~

“American Hustle (Columbia Pictures)
Producers: Megan Ellison, Jon Gordon, Charles Roven, Richard Suckle

Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

Captain Phillips (Columbia Pictures)
Producers: Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Scott Rudin

Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)
Producers: Robbie Brenner, Rachel Winter

Gravity (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman

Her (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producers: Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, Vincent Landay

Nebraska (Paramount Pictures)
Producers: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa

Saving Mr. Banks (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Producers: Ian Collie, Alison Owen, Philip Steuer

12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers:  Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt & Dede Gardner

“The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount Pictures)
Producers: Riza Aziz, Emma Koskoff, Joey McFarland

 

Oscar Ballots Go Out~ So where are we now?

The 2013 Oscar ballots went out in the mail and became available online yesterday. So RIGHT AT THIS EXACT MOMENT, they provide a snapshot, if you will, of the Academy’s deepest(or most superficial) feelings.

That a silly little film like “American Hustle” could be at the top of everyone’s minds right now is really irksome to me. But I would be re-miss if I didn’t say that I think that’s the case. That’s awful, but I think that’s what’s really happening.

“12 Years a Slave”, the masterpiece that’s out there, that I’ve seen THREE times now, is on everyone’s minds, too. I just hope they (the Academy) are watching it. And appreciating it the way I and Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone do. Check out her latest readings of the Oscar tea leaves at http://www.Awardsdaily.com. It’s horrid that this maybe happening, but I’m protecting myself from getting another “Brokeback” heart on Oscar night, by getting ready for the worst.

The water cooler movie that everyone is talking about right now is “Wolf of Wall Street,” but I don’t think the Academy is going to dig it. I don’t think either M. Scorsese or Leonardo DiCaprio and especially Jonah Hill are going to get nominated for what is in essence a three-hour orgy supporting and glamorizing what it purports to condemn. Which is the excessive greed on Wall St.in the 1980s and early ’90s. They could’ve called it “Crack Hoes on Parade,” but then they would be admitting it to be the porn film it almost is.

I think Cate Blanchett is sitting pretty, VERY pretty and very high up in everyone’s esteem right now, to get her Second Oscar for her unforgettable turn as a socialite in free-fall in “Blue Jasmine.” Actually, “Blue Jasmine” is also about what “The Wolf of Wall Street” is about economics crashing and burning, but “Blue Jasmine” and Woody Allen who wrote it, SHOW you the downside and what the victims of this powerful abuse of  money, one of whom is Jasmine herself, suffered.

Allen pointedly depicts the people who got hurt, as WOWS never does. Those who invested their money and lost everything by trusting Jasmine and her Bernie Madoff-esque husband (Alec Baldwin in one of the best performances of his career)

One after other after the other, the visible victims  unload on the now pathetic Jasmine, whose son won’t even speak to her. The most memorable scene being between her and her brother-in-law(Andrew Dice Clay) who lets her know just exactly how many lives she and her husband have ruined.

It’s devastating.

Woody Allen got it right. Which may be why you might find him turning up nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. And don’t be surprised if Blanchett’s centrifugal force pulls her sunny sister Sally Hawkins into the Supporting Actress category, too. Hawkins is wonderful as the only person left on earth who is on Jasmine’s side.

And don’t be shocked if Robert Redford is going to find out that REALLY All IS Lost when he or his film doesn’t end up anywhere on Nomination Morning, Tuesday, Jan. 14. He was not nominated for a SAG Best Actor award and NOBODY has ever won Best Actor without a SAG nomination. NOBODY.

And we all know that Oscar stalwart Harvey Weinstein is campaigning heavily behind the scenes for all FOUR of his Oscar hopefuls, “Philomena”, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and ” August: Osage County.” And finally, “Long Walk to Freedom.”

He could be making sure that  AT LEAST ONE of his Best Actors candidates, Forest Whitaker, the Butler himself or Idris Elba(Nelson Mandella)could take the slot that Redford was supposed to.

I think Tom Hanks is also in danger of splitting his vote. He’s got “Saving Mr. Banks” in Supporting as Walt Disney and also he’s got his leading performance of “Captain Phillips.” His Disney so far has garnered no precursor awards. And “Banks” seems to be stumbling everywhere except for leading lady Emma Thompson who seems destined to get a Best Actress nomination for her prickly pair of a performance as “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers.

If I had to pick one, I’d say his “Captain Phillips” turn is the more likely of the two.

And now to Harvey and his other “fillies” as Tom O’Neil http://www.goldderby.com would dub them. Meryl Streep just got the worst reviews of her career for “August:Osage County” and they all came out YESTERDAY, and the NYTimes’ A.O.Scott was particularly,unusually brutal. But I agreed with him.

Julia Roberts in Supporting(at the moment) is getting universally better reviews that Streep, if you can believe it. Streep described it in a Q&A this week in Hwood as “Streep Fatigue”. And she herself even admitted that the Academy’s Actors Branch might be suffering from that. It looked as though she was too. It seems like she doesn’t like the role of Violet she was playing, quite frankly. So why did she do it???

So who takes her place? Julia Roberts? Or is it Amy Adams who has been nominated FOUR times in Supporting in the past eight years, but never won. This would be part of the “American Hustle” effect. Which could also see Christian Bale pop up in Best Actor and Bradley Cooper in Supporting. Don’t gasp. It could happen.

Though Adams is the LEAST effective performance in “AH.” Weak is the word. She’s just not believable as the Whore of Babylon. Opposite Jennifer Lawrence, who certainly IS playing that part. But as a housewife in Queens. Or is it New Jersey? And Lawrence will FOR SURE get nominated.

How much do people like this already over-awarded very minor comedy?

I’m unfortunately guessing a lot right now. And Bale, Cooper and ugh, even Adams could get pulled along by “AH”s coat-tail effect. I HATE to even type this. But all four of them have been nominated for a Golden Globe, but in the Musical/Comedy category. Or rather Bale and Adams have for their leading performances.

It could happen.

And what of the wonderful actors of “12 Years a Slave”? I think they all will be nominated. Chiwetel Ejiofor in lead, and Michael Fassbender in Supporting Actor and Lupita Nyong’O in Supp. actress. They all could win, too.

Out of the three Nyong’O has the least competition in her category. And there’s a healthy history of Black Actresses winning in Supporting. And the part! I mean, her character “Queen of the Fields” Patsie gets raped, whipped, and a glass decanter is thrown in her face. She wants Solomon Northrup to kill her. She even offers him money to drown her….From the part ALONE, I would think this is Lupita’s to lose. How can anyone else compare? And this is ALL TRUE!!! Patsie was a real slave who actually lived, too.

And there’s thoughts being floated that “12 Years a Slave” might not win Best Picture, losing to either “American Hustle” or “Gravity.” But that Chiwetel Ejiofor will win Best Actor. I certainly hope they all do. And that Right, and a masterpiece, will triumph.

And as for the landslide of precursor awards that is consuming Jared Leto for his portrayal of a sweet transvestite named Rayon in “Dallas Buyer’s Club”…well, the Academy has been historically quirky about awarding cross-dressing performances, though Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry” and William Hurt in “Kiss of the Spider Woman” would belie that rule. Maybe the ground has been broken, but I do feel Michael Fassbender’s horrifying villain of a slave owner Master Epps is the greater performance.

You can’t just put on a dress and expect them to give you an Oscar. Just ask Jaye What-his-came from “The Crying Game.”

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