a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘DGA’

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Makes DGA History by Winning 2-in-a-Row

Alejandro 1In a surprise win Saturday night, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu made history at the DGA (Director’s Guild of America) when he won Best Director for “The Revenant” after winning LAST year for “Birdman.” You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. I really did think it was  going to be just about any one else. But I think the #OscarSoWhite controversy was very much on the DGA’s mind. And Inarritu IS Mexican and considered Hispanic, so his award speaks to Hollywood-ers wanting to right that perception. This may mean he’s going to win at the Oscars now, too.

And he broke into tears and gave a very moving speech about Mexicans in America and Donald Trump. Including the all Mexican kitchen staff that was “Making you sandwiches tonight.” I’m sure at the DGA’s grand banquet, they were dining on more than sandwiches.

But it is important to note Inarritu’s  historic achievement. He broke records and stats. And I only wish his two-and-a-half hour schlog of a film “The Revenant” were that short and that pointed and that moving.

Besides making film and racial history, what else did this win mean? Well, it’s knocked “Mad Max:Fury Road” out of any serious consideration for Best Picture or Best Director. Many were predicting 70-something Australian George Miller winning, but alas that was not to be.

Pete Hammond kind of tipped everyone off when he mentioned to Tom O’Neil that Inarritu was NOT going to be introducing the award as the previous winner historically does. He told Tom on one of the excellent podcasts on Gold Derby just this past week about Inarritu not making that announcement. “He can’t say, ‘The Winner Is Me!'” Hammond noted. Though evidently Irving Berlin did just that one Oscar year back in the day.Alejandro & Leo 1

This pushes “The Revenant” forward just at the time the Oscar voters are FINALLY getting their ballots towards the end of the week.
Leo will win and now it looks like it’s going to be Inarritu is going to win, too. Will the wealth spread to other of the eleven nominations? It just might. And it might sweep in Tom Hardy, too, in Supporting Actor.Tom Hardy 1

The one really touching, true moment was Hardy talking about his being scalped alive during an Indian attack, and SURVIVING! Since “The Revenant” is facing off against “Mad Max” in many, if not all, of the below-the-line categories, the win may cause a “Revenant” sweep.

But what of Best Picture? I don’t think THAT’s going to “The Revenant” too.”Spotlight” and “The Big Short” the “serious” smaller films, with less nominations. but mucho gravitas will score I’m betting. I think “Spotlight” which is being screened at the Vatican this week is the one who will win. It could get Best Original Screenplay, too, and that’s where Tom McCarthy will score. And THEIR Supporting Actor, if that’s the case, twice-nominated Mark Ruffalo could get swept in, too. PLEASE!

Anybody! But “Mumbles” Stallone!

Is “Birdman” Surging or Is It Oscar Hooey?

Birdman 1Is “Birdman” really experiencing a last-minute surge or is it all just Oscar hooey? Put out mainly by the hugest “Birdman” supporter of all, Jeff Wells at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com. If you read him, and I do, daily, he’s a terrific writer, even if I don’t agree with him half the time, you’d think it’s “Birdman,Birdman,Birdman” all the way. But I wonder…

He and the greatest, most obsessed Oscar prognosticator of  them all Tom O’Neil at http://www.goldderby.com  have a very interesting phone chat they’d turned into a pod-cast, and it’s worth listening to.

Especially when JW reluctantly agrees that it’s Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor and not Michael Keaton. TON feels it’s now “Birdman”s to lose. Both Oscarologists function from deep in the heart of Hollywood as presumably they are hearing more than I do here on the East Coast. But here, I hear, it’s still “Boyhood.”

Their podcast is very interesting to hear the dynamic between the two men. They both are very respectful of each other. Tom more so than with any one else he’s podcasted with. And Jeffrey is much more tentative, nicer, in person, as I know him to be. He’s been a guest on my show. And Tom I’ve met many times at Oscar parties here in NYC.

Jeff’s writings on Hwd are fierce, fiery, bracing blasts of vitriol. And they’re so well written, you find yourself just agreeing with him, even when you don’t, because of the power of his angry missives.

But Tom, especially, I thought was less secure in his predicting “Birdman.” I was surprised. He even admits as much in the conversation.  So it STILL could be “Boyhood” despite “Birdman”s winning the PGA, DGA and SAG. But it LOST the Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical to “Grand Budapest Hotel” and it lost the BAFTA to “Boyhood.” Stats not to be trifled with. And it didn’t get nominated for Best Film Editing, which it seems you HAVE to have to win.

It’s been “Boyhood” for so long, that people think that’s it’s won already. The voting for the Oscars of 2015 closes FINALLY tomorrow. This has seemed like a particularly long year.

Well, “Whiplash” opened at Sundance last year last January and so did “Boyhood.” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” opened right around NOW last year, too. So we’ve been living with these films for a LONG time. “Oscar Island” as Sasha Stone calls it.

Even SHE is thinking that’s it’s both “Birdman” for Best Picture and also it’s director Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu for Best Director. And that if that’s the case “Boyhood” just gets Best Supporting Actress, for Patricia Arquette.

I can’t wait til this whole things draws to a close. I can’t believe I’m saying that I’m tired of Oscar season. But this year I really am.

But I’ll be live-blogging it anyway. As far as I know. Stay tuned.

DGA Nominees! Eastwood IN, Eva DuVernay OUT!

Budapest TildaBradley 1The DGA, the Director’s Guild of America, just announced its’ VERY important and telling slate of five nominees. They are a large,sprawling organization. As opposed to the Academy’s Director’s Branch which only has less than 400 members. Ava DuVernay, the African-American director of “Selma” was snubbed as once again the DGA did not get sent any screeners in time to see it. Shame Paramount, shame! Your biggest Waterloo continues…

Here’s the nominess-

Richard Linklater “Boyhood”

Clint Eastwood “American Sniper”

Alejandro Inarritu “Birdman”

Wes Anderson “The Grand Budapest HoteL’

and the surprise of surprises, the unknown Norwegian director Morten Tyldum for “Imitation Game”!!!

Next up ~ The OSCAR NOMINATIONS themselves will be up bright and early on Thursday morning!Boyhood 2

 

Post Golden Globes ~ Big Winners, Big Losers, What Next?

Golden Eddie 2Tilda GrandPost Golden Globes, what’s the story? Some films won big. There were two major surprises in the top categories, and some films really went down in flames. What does it mean in terms of the Oscars? Well, actors are able to debut or audition, if you will, their winning personalities and speeches. The biggest surprise of the night, but not for me, or anyone reading this blog, is that Eddie Redmayne triumphed in Best Actor Drama for his stupendous performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” He’s playing a real person. Check. He’s playing disabled. Check. He’s British. Check. Yep, he could win Best Actor at the Oscars. His next test is  at SAG, which is coming up soon.

But next, tomorrow, in fact, is the DGA announcements of their five nominees for Best Director and if James Marsh, the director of “The Theory of Everything”, who has already won an Oscar in the past for his directing of the doc “Man on the Wire”, if James Marsh turns up as a surprise nominee among the five honorees, it will cement the momentum of “Theory”.

Also, the other surprise win of the night(But again, not to me or to you, dear readers, dear cineastes) was the grand “Grand Budapest Hotel” winning Best Comedy/Musical over “Birdman.” If “Budapest”s director, Wes Anderson’s name comes up there, as I expect it certainly will, it, too, will confirm the momentum that “Budapest” seems to be enjoying. This is after 11 BAFTA nominations last week.

The biggest losers of the night were “Imitation Game” which went home empty-handed. I wonder now if Benedict Cumberbatch even gets nominated. Eddie may have just knocked him out of contention. Just saying…

Also batting zero was “Foxcatcher” which is now in its’ death throws in terms of the Awards race. The much maligned “Selma” only managed Best Song, which is pretty embarrassing, for such a great, important film. And also “Gone Girl” got nothing. Ditto “Into the Woods.”

And what’s next after the DGA? On Thursday morning, bright and early, the Oscar Nominations themselves will be announced.

Can’t wait!

 

Jean Dujardin Wins Best Actor at SAG Awards!!!

Well, the SAG awards was pretty darn dull until the last half hour when French star Jean Dujardin triumphed over George Clooney to win Best Actor tonight! Suprising? Non. Pas moi! I predicted as much on this blog the post before last. George Clooney has never won a SAG award and I quipped “There’s probably a reason for that.”

George, I guess they just don’t like you THAT much! They like you. But they don’t REALLY like you. And for this extremely American-centric, Xenophobic Screen Actor’s Guild to award their BIG Award BEST ACTOR to a Frenchman! Mon dieu! C’est incroyable! C’est presque impossible! Mais C’EST VRAI!

And Jean gave the most adorable acceptance speech, funny, and moving…
I’m sure it will be all over You Tube in a matter of seconds, but you can see MOI interviewing Jean and his glamorous Argentinian/French co-star Berenice Bejo at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Predicting right to they themselves that they’d be going to the Kodak Pavillion in February! And it’s almost February!

So Best Actor was the one big Weinstein Co. win tonight. The Screen Actors Guild only gives out five awards. Best Ensemble AND Best Actress AND Best Supporting Actress all went shockingly to “The Help.”

It was an upset after “The Artist”s director Michel Hazanaviscius won Best Director at the DGA last night.

“The Help” COULD perhaps be perceived as perhaps making this year’s Oscar race a two-way race now between “The Help” and “The Artist” and a case COULD be made for that point of view. Except for the fact that “The Help” did not receive a Best Director nomination, nor did it receive any screenwriting or below-the-line technical nominations. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress and two Supporting Actress nominations and that was it. It didn’t even get Best Song from Mary J.Blige.

Now, I’ve often said how the Academy has had a lot of personal resentment for Meryl Streep in the past. But now that she’s 62 and she’s playing quite aged most of the time in “The Iron Lady” there’s a sympathy for her that I have never felt before, since, well, the earliest days of her Oscar career, like around the time of “Sophie’s Choice” which is arguably one of the greatest performances by an actress on-screen of all time.

So now we know, as I’ve heard over and over again from FEMALE members of SAG, of “She’s gotten everything, including all the parts, why should we give her ANOTHER Oscar?” She’s got two, one for Best Actress for “Sophie’s Choice” and one for Supporting Actress for “Kramer vs.Kramer.” in the 80s!

And she wasn’t helping herself with the extremely dowdy brown drape dress she was wearing. Literally. The curtains. It looked like she was wearing the curtains, Miss Scarlett.

And Clooney. I told you how I noticed how rattled I thought he was and tired at the Golden Globes in his acceptance speech. And I knew why. He had just had to follow Jean Dujardin’s incredibly funny and moving win for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical.

This year everyone has been noting that POWER of SAG seems to have grown. So it makes a very good case for Jean Dujardin winning again at the Oscars, and not George. “The Descendants” got NO-thing.

And he’ll probably win at the BAFTAS, too, later this week. And be as equally as funny and charming as he was tonight AND at the Golden Globes.

Jean Dujardin reminds me of a cross between Clark Gable and Gene Kelly and Maurice Chevalier(when he was young.) He’s irresistible.

And so he’ll continue his march to the Oscars. As will the wonderful Christopher Plummer who won tonight as Best Supporting Actor. And his speech was better tonight. So was Octavia Spencer’s speech. She looked wonderful and really READY to win and be the star that everybody, inexplicably, wants her to be.

But the Screen Actor’s Guild isn’t THE ACADEMY. There’s an overlap, but not all that much. There’s 300,000 members of SAG and only 1,500 members of the Academy’s Actors Branch. And most members of AMPAS don’t even BOTHER to vote in the SAGs. The Academy is nothing if not tres exclusif, bien sur.

And “The Artist” got TEN nominations, “across the branches” as Anne Thompson is wont to say on www.indiewire.com

Stu Van Airsdale, the Oscar’s Wizard of Wit, with his great, carefully calibrated Oscar Index, which week-in, week-out, is a delight to read AND to look forward to. You can see it every Wed. PM at www.movieline.com  Stu, or as he likes to style himself lately, STV, had it both ways with Meryl AND Viola tied for first place and also Jean Dujardin and George Clooney tied for first place. So STV REALLY had it all right this week. Except he didn’t have “The Help” anywhere near the top.

But then it’s the OSCAR Index, not the SAG index.

So now, we, like Harvey Weinstein & Co., is doing, turn our attention to the BAFTAS. Where Best Actress is really still up for grabs. Michelle is nominated there, too. I really felt sorry for her when she didn’t win. But if the Brits give Best Actress to her, when she’s up against Viola and Meryl and also Berenice Bejo, who they put in lead there….she could be a surprise win. “My Week with Marilyn” is a British film, after all.

And I don’t want to sound delusional, but I think Jean Dujardin did a sort kinda Stephen Holt Shout Out-imitation, when he kept exclaiming “Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! OH MY GOD!” in ever-ascending levels of shrillness, that I’ve been noticed to do, in the past, and even recently in my very own interview with Jean and Berenice.

Jean, I’m honored by your, er, quoting of me. Merci, merci beaucoup. Et alors, maintenant Les Baftas et apres-la l’Oscars! And lets hope “The Artist” wins there, too.

Kim Novak – Raped by ‘The Artist’! Ad claim ~ Idiotic!

Kim Novak, a big star once upon time, was always classified as a “dumb blonde,” and now we can see why. Reported more fully by Nikki Finke & crew  at www.deadlinehollywood.com Kim took out a full-page ad in one of the trade papers, saying, provocatively, “I want to report a rape.” And now that she’s got the readers’ attention, she goes on to explain why. There was music from her Best Film (and her first) “Vertigo” used at the end of “The Artist.”

And Novak claims this constituted a “violation of her body(of work).” I beg to differ. Somebody supporting one of the “Artist”s rivals for the Oscar, where it is STILL, miraculously, the front-runner, may have put Ms. Novak up to this. Those ads in the trade papers are VERY expensive. Does she at this late stage of her life have the money for something as pricey as AN AD?!? Makes you wonder.

It’s ridiculous. Many quotes from famous movie scores are used all the time. And of course, in this semi-recent one, well, er, 1958, there are licensing fees involved being paid to the late composer Bernard Herrman’s estate for its’ use. And they are probably hefty.

Kim Novak didn’t WRITE the music. She didn’t DIRECT the movie. That was Alfred Hitchcock, who must be rolling over in his grave, with laughter, at this.

And “Artist” director Michel Hazanaviscius, who just won a nomination from the prestigious Directors’ Guild, today issued a very dignified response. And you can read this in either Deadline Hollywood, or www.hollywoodreporter.com or www.movieline.com

Over at www.awardsdaily.com, Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone, has chosen to ignore this tempest in a teacup. At least last time I looked. Sasha is more excited, TRULY excited by her favorite director David Fincher’s getting the surprise nomination from the DGA. Add to this his CINEMATOGRAPHER getting recognized by the ASC nominators this morning, Sasha must be having a VERY good day.

And yes, the cinematography of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was sumptuous, in its’ own frozen ice-scape way.

And the Broadcast Film Critics’ Awards are TOMORROW night. Yes, dear readers, dear cineastes, it’s the beginning of the end. Of awards season. Last year, the BFCA were very predictive of the Actors’ races, but I think not so much with Best Picture.

And I’ll also add kudos to Sasha for her trumpeting of “Dragon Tattoo.” I think she really did help Fincher get that out-of-the-blue nomination from the DGA. Replacing Steven Spielberg. And now the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers), ignored “War Horse” AGAIN! “Dragon Tattoo” seems to be effectively replacing it.

And some people,myself included, thought the cinematography of “War Horse” was one of its’ strongest suits.

Guess not.

But also don’t forget the Guilds aren’t THE ACADEMY. The largish, younger DGA is not at all like the super-small, very elite, mostly male and VERY old and somewhat conservative director’s branch of the Academy, who may turn around and put Spielberg right back in the race.

Last year’s BFCA started the four-strong lock step to the Oscars that mirrored the Golden Globes acting winners and the eventual Oscar winners exactly. They got the Best Picture wrong last year. And the year before Meryl Streep TIED with Sandra Bullock, lest not forget. For “Julie and Julia” and “The Blind Side” respectively. And the year before that didn’t the same Ms. Streep tie with Anne Hathaway for “Rachel Getting Married”? Is it wrong to not predict MS might tie AGAIN this year with a younger competitor like Michelle Williams? Since the BFCA does historically seem to be all tied up with its’ Best Actresses?

This year all the categories, except Best Supporting Actor, Christopher Plummer, are up in the air. Which is going to make for a VERY interesting evening!

Oscar Goddess Switches Her “King’s Speech” picks on Gold Derby!

If I’m counting right, anyone who follows all this Oscar nonsense (like I do) so avidly that they are going from Oscar site to Oscar site trying to take the temperature of the Little Golden Guy, may be a bit surprised to go to www.goldderby.com and see that Tom O’Neil has rounded up a whole passle o’pundits and asked them what they think…NOW…RIGHT NOW. This week. This moment. When MOST Oscar ballots get received and filled out and returned, post-haste.

And frankly, the group is too unwieldy to really get a sense of…unless you’re following one particular pundit, and of course, I’m noting Sasha Stone’s rather startlingly changed Oscar position. A woman definitely had the prerogative of changing her mind, but this is a little confusing.

Oscar goddess Sasha, who I feel knows more than anyone about what’s going on, has gone on Gold Derby from saying at www.awardsdaily.com, her own great site, that “The King’s Speech” is going to take everything in its’ path. And I think that’s right. To now saying to Tom O’Neil Gold Derby that the only Oscars she’s now predicting “The King’s Speech” to win, are THREE! If I’m counting correctly, and I’m slightly dyslexic with numbers…So we’ve gone from 12 to 3 in Sasha’s King Speak. Which would be Best Actor – Colin Firth. Of course, EVERYBODY and EVERY pundit polled predicted him and this has been the case since Toronto…

To just predicting Colin and David Seidler for Best Original Screenplay, to, her only controversial choice, Geoffrey Rush for Best Supporting Actor.

She’s the only one who is predicting him. But of course, I am, too…but Tom didn’t ASK ME!

I think out of loyalty to her season-long advocation of “The Joy of Typing,” she’s switched back to saying it will win Best Picture, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score, as well as Best Director for David Fincher…

I don’t think any of these wins are happening. But yes, to her Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and David Seidler picks, of course.

I think that it’s Tom Hooper and “The King’s Speech” for Best Picture All the Way. And if judging by the FIRST EVER bloggers panel at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, which you can watch at Awardsdaily, and see, at a distance, and very out of focus, from left to right, Jeffrey Wells www.hollywood-elsewhere.com, Scott Feinberg www.scottfeinberg.com , Pete Hammond www.deadlinehollywood.com, Steve Pond www.thewrap.com, Sasha herself, and Anne Thompson www.indiewire.com  being moderated by my frequent guest Peter Rainer of the Christian Science Monitor, who really is a critic and not a blogger.

It was a fascinating moment. This was right after Tom Hooper’s surprise win at the DGA and right BEFORE the SAG awards started, where “The King’s Speech” won – AGAIN.

This bloggers panel is on page two of www.Awardsdaily.com now, but it really is worth checking out.

It’s in Six parts, and there’s nary a close-up, but the sound quality is good, even if the picture is beyond blurry.

But what I was surprised at was how totally “The King’s Speech” dominated the conversation of the panel. They just couldn’t stop talking about it.  I think that means something.

And Sasha, Jeff and Scott Feinberg, were the main proponents of “The Joy of Typing” before the Big Switch happened at the DGA two weeks ago when the whole Oscar race turned upside down to put “The King’s Speech” on top and “Typing” somewhere near the bottom. But at least it was discussed avidly.

“True Grit” and “The Fighter” were barely mentioned. It was like there was no other movies in the race, except TKS and TJOT.

Peter Rainer, turns out, is a big TKS fan. He gave it an “A- minus” he said. I’d give it A++++. I think it’s one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen. And Anne Thompson and Steve Pond were positive about it, too.

Although Steve Pond barely said anything.

So there were two competing teams on this panel. King Team and Team Typing.

And went to Secretarial School. More than once! And I can tell you. There is very little Joy in Typing.

But I digress…

I guess the whole point of this is that “The King’s Speech” seems to have obliterated everything else. And Jeff Wells kept knocking it because “it was a feel good movie.” And return to Old Hollywood values. Among many other things, it is, yes, a World War II movie. It’s certainly Anti-Hitler. And you just LOVE Colin Firth’s great kindly king valiantly getting through the climatic Speech of “The King’s Speech.”

And at one point, a member of the audience asked, referring to who was voting on Best Foreign Film, “Are they elderly?” and Scott Feinberg had to admit that yes, they were. I don’t know how that question landed on him, but he answered it.

But I do think, going back to Sasha’s Gold Derby picks again, that she’s on to something with Geoffrey Rush over Christian Bale.

I do think the Supporting categories are much shakier than generally thought, and Christian Bale, as good as he is in “The Fighter” is not well liked. AND he’s young. He’ll have other chances.

And Geoffrey Rush has won a bunch of precursor awards. And Sasha when said that “The King’s Speech” was going to be “coming back for everything.” Meaning an across the board sweep…thinks that the King’s broom will sweep the King’s Speech Therapist in, too.

I’ve always thought that and said that. And told Geoffrey Rush that himself, when I famously interviewed him and Colin and Geoffrey at the Toronto International Film Festival which is where this blog began, after all.

Sasha also joined forces to predict something else equally startling, to me, Hailee Steinfeld as Best Supporting Actress over Melissa Leo!?! She is joined on Gold Derby by the redoubtable combination of Anne Thompson, Kris Tapley AND David Karger alllll saying the same thing!

And on Movieline, where they have those fabu graphs, THEY’VE got Hailee Steinfeld and Melissa Leo in a TIE!?!

So watch out, Oscarwatchers, and fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be bumpy three weeks

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