a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Disney’

Oscars 2016 ~ Is Cate Blanchett Turning Into Meryl Streep?

Stepmother 1At first when I saw “Cinderella,” which I just loved, btw, I wondered whether the superb performances by the two leading ladies, Lily James(“Downton Abbey”s Rose) and Cate Blanchett as the not-so-Wicked-but-merely-troubled-and-lonely Stepmother, would even be considered for this year’s Oscar race. I now think that two-time Oscar Winner Blanchett for Best Supporting Actress is definitely a possibilty for a nomination. I think she’s becoming the New Meryl Streep, and will get nominated for her usually outstanding work in almost anything she does, even Disney fairy tale extravaganzas. So the precedent has been set. At least in the Supporting Actress category.

I mean, look, if Meryl Streep can get nominated for playing a Witch in “Into the Woods”, her astounding 19th nomination! Then Blanchett certainly could for another fairy tale character.

Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com says her most-looked-forward-to film of 2016 is the upcoming Todd Haynes “Carol” which is the lesbian love drama based on Patricia Highsmith’s “The Price of Salt.” And yes, Blanchett is the lead in “Carol.” So theoretically, she could get TWO nominations this year. Bringing her net total so far to six, with two wins.

And considering, as Sasha points out, this is another bleak year ahead for roles for actresses, Cate Blanchett very well pull off this double-nominated hat-trick.

And on the male side, I personally think it’s Eddie Redmayne by a mile for Tom Hopper’s “The Danish Girl” opening now Nov.26, right in the heat and heart of the Oscar season.

Eddie LiliCould Eddie Redmayne do a Tom Hanks(as they say) and pull off two Best Actor wins in a row? He sure could.

Could he beat out Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”? And get two Oscars while Leo wasn’t won one yet? Yup.

As Oscar Grand-daddy Tom O’Neil is always pointing out in his Slugfests “They sometimes like to give you two.” O’Neill, of course, is at http://www.goldderby.com

Witness Luise Rainer, Spencer Tracy, Olivia de Havilland, Hanks, Kevin Spacey and Sally Fields…and more. Streep has three. Jack Nicholson has three…

Sometimes what is going to happen at the Oscars is SOOO clear. Even at this distance…

 

Oscar Apple Cart Upset by Late-Breaking “Into The Woods?

Into the Woods 1Stephen Sondheim and movies of his work have never really clicked with the public. See Elizabeth Taylor in “A Little Night Music”, and of course, more recently “Sweeney Todd” with Johnny Depp. But Musicals are catnip to the Academy.

Depp is back again as the Big Bad Wolf whose  nemesis is Little Red Riding Hood, a very lethal Little Red Riding Hood. But the word from the screenings yesterday is that Meryl Streep is once again going to be back at the Dolby Pavillion for something like her 20th nomination. But which category will she be in? Could she win? She’s got three Oscars already.

The always excellent Emily Blunt has the Baker’s Wife role in the film and that’s the part that has historically won awards. Joanna Gleeson on Broadway won a Tony for Best Actress.  And pert, pretty Anna Kendrick is getting good  W.O.M.(word of mouth) as Cinderella. A former Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actress for “Up In The Air” could she also be up again of her sparkling Cinderella?

And where does that put Meryl’s Wicked Witch? The Academy put her in lead last year for “August:Osage County” when many thought she’d be Supporting and Julia Roberts would be lead, but the categories were reversed.

That could happen to Emily Blunt, too. And she and Anna Kendrick could be up against the here-to-fore unstoppable Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood.” Would they knock her out of the leading contender spot? In Supporting.

Meryl’s Witch certainly could. The plot sickens.

 

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“Aladdin” Worst Disney Cartoon-to-Stage Transfer Ever!

I thought I’d never live to see a bus-and-truck (lowest denomination road company) musical production on Broadway, but I just saw “Aladdin” and yes, ladies and gentle-persons, it ALREADY looks like it’s touring the sticks. Ugh.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but it’s Disney who has set its’own bar very, very high. You can’t just put a dud like “Aladdin” on Broadway and put the word Disney on it and expect the multitudes to throng in. Or maybe you can.

I kept thinking “Oh No! They’re NOT going to do that??” and then by gum they did it.

And I LOVED the movie. It was one of Disney’s sweetest cartoons, and Robin Williams’ voicing the genie, is sorely missed. It was the most original of creations. The magic carpet was a character. Jafar the Evil Brassiere, I mean, Vizer, had a monkey not a retard for a pet. And the monkey was voiced by the annoying Gilbert Gottfried. I even missed him! This is so bad and no, you just CAN NOT replicate the magic on stage, easily.

Easy, or rather cheesy, is the word for this production. The sets, the over-bedangled costumes. The over-choreographed choreography, if there is such a thing.

Director Casey Nicholaw, who wowed us with “Book of Mormon,” seems here to have lost all his talent, or left it with the Mormons. He’s done serious damage to his reputation with “Aladdin”, and no, you can’t make a wish and take all this back, and do it over. But he should. He’s let the genie out of the lamp and you can’t put him back in.

Especially the large-and-in-charge James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie, who huffs and puffs his way through his big number(And I mean, BIG) “A Friend Like Me” to such an extent I feared for his health. He looked like he was in cardiac arrest. He was having to a heart attack to get a standing ovation in the middle of the first act. Which he got, by about six or seven scattered people, who seem to have THOUGHT they should do it, because they’ve read that it happened before. I wanted to call an ambulance. if not for him, then for me. Yes, I said it was a painful experience to sit through. As in chest pain.

I mean, girls were squealing. Little kids were, too. Just like they did at “Newsies” a show which “Aladdin” resembles in tone and format. OLD FASHIONED. But “Newsies” had a better choreographer, so the dances were always innovative and snappy. NOT SAPPY, like they are here.

A LOT of dancing, isn’t necessarily GOOD dancing. It aspired to Bollywood. But Bollywood does this way better every time.

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin is almost the only saving grace of this painful experience. And they HAVE kept the original voice of the Evil Jafar, Jonathan Freeman, thank goodness! He’s reveling in his misdoings so much, I thought it was the great Peter Bartlett. But no, fear. It’s Disney, so this show is guaranteed to run at least long enough for Bartlett to replace him, when HE has a cardiac. Freeman, I mean, not Bartlett.I feared for his health too. It’s THAT kind of musical. It’s so over-done the cast seems literally to be killing themselves, because they have to work double over-time to hide the fact that THERE’S NOTHING THERE!

This show was so bad, so lacking in imagination I felt for the late lyricist Howard Ashman, who created the magical, moving movie cartoon “Aladdin” in the first place, and wrote the lyrics to the songs that have wisely been retained for this cartoon of a stage version. I felt like he was turning over in his grave.

And I felt sorry to for Alan Menken,too, the composer, who is still very much in the land of the living. Although “Aladdin” is just D.O.A. Dead. Dead. Dead.

Disney better be tuning up “Frozen”, and I’m sure they are.

I say Bring On Adele Dazeem!

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Jonathan Groff of “Glee” in Disney’s “Frozen”

The delightful Jonathan Groff of “Glee” is now voicing and singing one of the leads in Disney’s new animated holiday film “Frozen.” He plays the Norwegian Ice Man, Kristoff and also his reindeer Sven.
Jonathan is also starring in a new HBO series “Looking” debuting in January.

Editing ~ Kevin Teller

Oscars ~ After the NYFF, Where Did Everyone Land?

As the 51st Edition of the New York Film Festival, wound up tonight, where did all the Oscar seekers land? Who was helped? Who was hurt? Well, one thing is still sure. “12 Years a Slave” is STILL the front-runner and the one to beat emerging from this festival, where it also received its’ lion’s share of raves to match its’ tumultuous receptions at Telluride and Toronto. And it opens this coming Friday in theaters and expect the lion (NOT M.G.M.s) to keep on roaring.

“12 Years a Slave” depicts the horrors of slavery more completely and compellingly than any other film on the subject has been able to do. Oscar bound director Steve McQueen said “It is a film about a holocaust.” And it is. The moniker “The Black ‘Schindler’s List’” still aptly describes it, glib though that may be. And remember how many Oscars that dark, frightening, monumental film won!

But other things emerged at the NYFF, but not I think any other film that could topple “12 Years” from its’ front-runner status.

But Chiwetel Ejiafor saw competition to his Best Actor Oscar chances emerge from veterans Robert Redford and Bruce Dern, both 77. For “All Is Lost” and “Nebraska” respectively. Also Tom Hanks as well for “Captain Phillips” which opened the Festival. It’s clear now that ALL FOUR of these men are really seriously vying for the five slots. They may all get in. But so intense was the competition trying to take down Ejiafor (but assuredly not the Picture) that the rival film companies had all THREE of these films competing for red carpet time and media and audience attention by all playing on the same night! Tuesday!

I think that shows that Redford and Dern’s parties are especially scared. But this is particularly surprising in Redford’s case. He got a standing O and cheers galore from the audience at the NYFF, but I sense flop sweat. Ejiafor’s portrait of kidnapped slave Solomon Northrup is going to go down in history and is going  to be hard to beat. But clearly Redford’s crew has thrown down the gauntlet with this Tuesday night manuvering.

Some thought Hanks may not even squeeze into the top five, but Redford evidently is a sure-thing. But will he win?

Some say he’s giving the performance of his career, but if “All Is Lost,” a film with virtually no dialogue, tanks at the box-office that will be a different story. A sparse, intense drama at sea, which is well, exactly what “Captain Phillips” is, too. Uh-oh…

But “Phillips” killed at the box-office this past weekend. It was evidently smart to get it out immediately after its’ NYFF Opening Night stint. Where, like Redford, Hanks got a standing ovation. But who is in the better film?  It’s clearly Ejiafor.

And where does that leave Bruce Dern? Maybe in Supporting, if he’s smart. But I don’t think he’s smart. And the film is in Black and White, another hard sell.

These tiny, little gradations mean MUCH MORE than they’d usually mean in an ULTRA-tight Oscar race. Hanks was rumored to maybe even not get in!

But then again the box-office just spoke up on his behalf. And loudly.

Meanwhile, outside the NYFF, in the real world, “Gravity” was still breaking box office records and was even satirized on SNL on Sat. night. I can’t think of when a MOVIE, an Oscar-seeking movie was on SNL BEFORE the opening titles, this quickly! it’s become a pop cultural event and at barely 90 mins. running time, millions more people can see it and more quickly than any of the other film.

Who came a cropper at the NYFF? Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” which I quite enjoyed, but it’s slot as the prestigious Centerpiece film raised expectations and garnered the genial, funny film lots of negative reviews that its’ Oscar chances certainly didn’t deserve or need. I think it will make a lot of money and  family audiences will to it respond, too. It opens Christmas Day, which sounds perfect.

And “Inside Llewyn Davis” the latest from the much beloved Coen Bros? It seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. So many films. SO little time

Meanwhile, waiting in the wings are “Saving Mr. Banks” about the making of Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” which Jeff Wells of http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com has announced that he’s going to fly over and see its’ London opening,, so he can scoop every one over here. Jeff, who’s been crazy about it, since he read the script, has been a big champion of it sight unseen and it co-stars Emma Thompson(who already has a two Oscars) and oh, him again, Tom Hanks (he’s also got two). Hanks could see himself in Supporting playing Walt Disney, which sounds like an Academy slam dunk, if ever there was one. But it could also diminish his “Captain Williams” shot at lead. Yes. It’s THAT competitive this year. Which is great, because it means that there are a lot of excellent films in the mix.

We shall see. I can’t wait for Jeff’s postings from London! But meanwhile, my (seemingly) endless journey of festivals is done. For the greater moment anyway. And I’ve seen a lot of good films this year. But nothing, NOTHING beats “12 Years a Slave.”

Oscar to Spread the Wealth! Final Predictions in All Categories!

I think Oscar is going to spread his love all over many movies on Sunday night at the Dolby pavillion, and there’s going to be at least one major upset. Read below.

This is NOT who I WANT to win, but who I think will win. Never did ALLLLL the categories before, but FINALLY this year, I think I can.

Best Picture ~  Argo ~ Slam Dunk. It even just won Best Foreign Film at the Cesars, France’s Oscars. Does any one else even have a chance? Would be the ultimate shock if that happened.

Best Actor – Daniel Day Lewis. Does anyone else have a chance? No. Wish it was Hugh Jackman, but…

Best Actress- Jennifer Lewis ~ She’s Hollywood’s future. Young, beautiful, shapely, funny. She’s got it all. A last-minute surge of Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour” is not gonna be enough. I think not enough people saw it. Believe it or not. But they ALLLL saw “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Best Supporting Actress ~Anne Hathaway. “Les Miz” Slam dunk. See Daniel Day-Lewis.

Best Supporting Actor ~ Robert De Niro “Silver Linings Playbook” He’s got the Weinstein Co. behind him full force. If for some unforseeable upset in Best Actress, meaning Riva OR Qu’venzhane Wallis(my pick. I would vote for her. I WOULD!) getting R. De Niro his third Oscar is where “Silver Linings Playbook” will prevail. It just went of $100 million just this past week.
But if ALAN ARKIN wins here for “Argo” you KNOW that “Argo” is going to win everything it’s nominated for, which it might. It’s not just gonna win Best Picture.

<p>Best Director ~ Ang Li “Life of Pi” Beautiful film, best use ever of 3D, and degree of difficulty make this a second Best Director win for the much loved director of “Brokeback Mountain”. That terrible night when “Brokeback” lost to “Crash” may make Ang Li winning again, a KIND of Karmic pay-back. Same thing happened to the late Heath Ledger, but he was gone, tragically, when he won for “The Dark Knight.” I just feel Heath steering Ang’s boat to shore here.

Best Original Screenplay ~ Michael Hanke “Amour” I think this is the big win for “Amour” like it was for Pedro Almodovar for “Talk to Her” a few years back.

Best Adapted Screenplay -Chris Terrio for “Argo”.Again. It’s going to be an “Argo” kind of night.

Best Cinematography – Claudio Mirando for his beautiful work in “Life of Pi”

Best Visual Effects- Again, “Life of Pi”

Best Costumes -Jacqueline Duran “Anna Karenina” Wish it was going to win more. Another beautiful, beautiful film that wasn’t appreciated as much as it should’ve been.

Best Production Design ~ “Les Miserables” ANOTHER Beautiful film that didn’t get its’ due. I’ve seen it FOUR times! It’s nominated for Best Picture, so I think it will win this category, which used to be called Best Art Direction. They like them big and dressy and period in this category.

Best Film Editing ~ William Goldenberger  for “Argo”. He also edited much of “Zero Dark Thirty” which I don’t think it going to get anything, unfortunately. Too much controversy.

Best Song ~ “Skyfalll” and Adele will blow the roof off the play. Especially if this loses to “Suddenly” from “Les Miz.

Best Score – Alexandre Desplat “Argo” AGAIN.

Best Sound Editing ~ “Argo” AGAIN.

Best Sound Mixing-“Les Miserables” No contest. The live singing was brilliantly mixed!That’s Sound Editing at its best. And how it was blended, later with a 60 piece orchestra! Incredible!

Best Animated Short – “Paperman” Disney’s first black-and-white cartoon since when? “Steamboat Willy”?

Best Live Action Short – “Buzkahshi Boys” The actual Afghan locations and child actors are breathtaking and heartbreaking. Revelatory. And director Sam French is a director/Rock-Star in the making. Alternately, it could be the only film in English, “Curfew” set in New York City. Which is the light-er funny one here. Sometimes that wins this. But who has heard the Afghan language actually as spoken dialogue in a film?

Best Documentary – SHOULD be “Invisible War” but probably will be the very popular “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Best Doc Short “Open Heart”

Best Animated Feature ~ “Wreck It Raplph”

And the biggest surprise upset? Could be if “Amour” does NOT win Best Foreign Film, yes! It could happen! And it goes instead to the feel-good high-seas adventure, Norway’s “Kon-Tiki>” How can that happen when “Amour” seems so locked and so acclaimed and awarded? It’s,as they say, a difficult sit. For “Amour” details in stark, sterile clarity the step-by-step deterioration of a Parisian married woman, Emmanuelle Riva’s acclaimed Ann, after a series of strokes. It’s NOT for the faint-of-heart, which the small, the VERY small and elderly group of Academy voters, who vote on Best Foreign Film, are noted to be.
Anyone who’s a member can vote, but they have to sign in at the screenings of ALL FIVE FOREIGN FILMS, to make sure they’ve seen them all. This also applies to Doc Shorts.

It used to be applicable to Animated and Live Action Shorts and Feature Docs, too, but for the first time this year, they’ve opened up the voting to all 6,000 Academy members and deluged them with screeners. So now, a new rule must be applied. The most popular film like “Searching for Sugar Man” is the likely win over the VERY serious “Invisible War.” Unfortunately.

That’s at least four or is it five for “Argo”? Four for “Les Miserables”,Three for “Life of Pi”,Two for “Silver Linings Playbook”,One for “Amour” and One for “Lincoln” 

 

Check back on Monday and see how right, or WRONG, I was! Have fun watching the Oscars!With “Les Miserables”, “Argo”, “Lincoln”, “Silver Linings Playbook”, “Django Unchained And “Life of Pi” alllll having past the $100 million mark at the box-office, this may be the most-watched Oscars in a very, very long time.

“Lincoln” is Boring Tweet Clarification

So, is it a Tempest-in-a-Teapot that was? Or was it the real deal? Super Critic Thelma Adams picked up my Tweet Delete story and confronted Lou Lumenick of the NYPost about it. on Facebook. Thelma, full disclosure, used to be one of the New York Posts film critics herself.

This is all regarding an article in the NY Post about a New Jersey viewer stumbling into a sneak peek preview of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-seeking “Lincoln” which doesn’t open for another 7 weeks or so.

The viewer was incensed that it was so BOR-ING.

And Lou told Thelma, on Facebook, that yes, the story was up, and yes, the story went down, along with the rest of the New York Post yesterday, eividently and now, this morning his story, tweet and all are back up and readable at www.nypost.com  And no, DreamworksDisney did not make him do it. He has heard nothing from them he claimed.

Technical glitches do happen of course, even to major newspapers.

Jeffrey Wells was suspicious, nonetheless, and you can read his version of things at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

I believe the film goer. A congressional procedural movie on the passing of a bill, however important, can be VERY dull to watch as politicians drone on and on…I get it. That IS dull. And if that is what the film is mainly about…well, it sounds like a history LECTURE, rather than a film. A MOVIE. It should MOVE.

According to this disgruntled film-goer it’s just dull, dull, dull.

Well, the trailer is dull, too.

The positive note that this viewer struck was the appreciation of Daniel Day-Lewis’s Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones and Hal Holbrook’s performances, too. Sally Field, as I reported, was roundly dissed as “mis-cast.”

And there you have it. That’s the story, folks. Read Jeff Wells. Read Thelma Adams. Read Lou Lumenick of the NYPost and you can make up your own minds about this.

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone Parses the Oscars! In June!

Well, Tom O’Neil’s Oscar throw-down at http://www.goldderby.com has certainly stirred the waters! Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com parses even further with “Is It Too Early To Predict the Oscars?” And yes, it is. The Silly Season, as it was so named by David Kehr of the NY Times when he pounded the Red Carpet beat with his historic Carpetbagger column, IS far away.

But it’s NOT for those behind-the-scenes folks, the industry peeps who are assembling all this for our delectation. This is stuff is planned YEARS sometimes in advance. And carefully planned, too. Yes, there are people called Oscar Consultants, who are a whole breed of PR people unique unto themselves. And behind the scenes they are working like dogs chasing a bone. Already. Yes, already.

Sasha and others like her have revealed how much it is the Oscar campaigns behind the actual voting that really does sway, yes, the actual voting.

At this time last year, who woulda thunk “The Artist” was gonna win Best Picture? And Jean Dujardin Best Actor? And certainly, Meryl Streep winning her THIRD Oscar was unexpected and a shock to all Oscarologists. Who could’ve predicted it? Well, actually, Tom O’Neill sorta did.

That’s why one has to give credence to his prognostications. If you followed closely at Gold Derby, VERY closely, who could feel the tide shifting at the last minute AWAY from George Clooney and towards Jean Dujardin. A lot of people saw that coming. But Streep? Only O’Neil. But not his staff of Ditto-heads(I refuse to call them Butt-heads, though my spell check changed it to that…lol…) all kept saying Viola Davis.

That’s why, for instance, I give Tom more credence than say, Anne Thompson at Indiewire and Thompson on Hollywood last year. She stubbornly clung on to George Clooney ~ AND Viola Davis til the very last.  And she was wrong.

Just to show that the Oscars still have some life in them.

I knew the Weinstein wizards were working like crazy last year behind the scenes and subtlety as is their wont. But I read the tea-leaves wrong and thought it was Michelle Williams, not Meryl, who would reap the rewards.

Viola Davis, ably abetted by that egregrious Entertianment Weekly issue and cover which pictured her and George Clooney, dressed to the nines,  getting out of a limo, like they had actually won already!. That proved to be BOTH their ondoings. An Academy Voter upon seeing that cover and then reading the embarassing self-congratulatory interviews with BOTH of them “WELL! The Nerve! They haven’t won YET! “would be an Academy members thinking, I thought at the time and still do. Or “Don’t tell US who to vote for!?!“…Viola Davis was doing herself NO GOOD, but the obvious heavy-handedness of all her talk show appearances. I mean, she was on “The View” FOUR TIMES!?!? If that wasn’t overkill…I don’t know what is…

I know. I know. Disney owns ABC, which “The View” is on, and Disney had “The Help.” But in the end as I said at the time, Disney does not know how to run an Oscar campaign.

Whereas Harvey Weinstein does. Of course. But he has to have the goods. I don’t know if “Django Unchained” ANOTHER bloody shoot’em by Quentin Tarantino, is gonna fly all the way with Oscar voters, who historically have avoided blood-shed. IF THEY CAN HELP IT. You can of course point to “The Departed” winning recently and also “No Country For Old Men” But as Sasha has pointed out there were other stories going on in those years i.e. Marty Scorcese never won & ditto, the Coens for “NCFOM”.

I wonder if Universal who has “Les Misearables” is going to be able to do the trick this year.

Paraphrasing Sasha, she feels that Tom O’Neil in listing “War Horse”. oops! I mean “Lincoln,” as the Frontrunner NOW, is putting an albatross, around “Lincoln”s neck.  Or as I’m calling it handing Spielberg “The Golden Albatross” award, this far ahead. Sasha is saying basically that Frontrunners never win. Which is a very interesting observation. Especially lately.

Some people feel that that “Les Miz” trailer with Anne Hathaway is “pre-mature” but I don’t think so. It’s established Hathaway as the one to beat in Best Supporting Actress, and the Best Supporting Actress race is run by a whole different set of rules. I mean, look. That’s where “The Help” won. And the year before that that’s where Melissa Leo, totally off her own bat, won. So different rules apply.All of Disney’s heaving breathing and heavy lifting on “The Help” reaped them ONLY a Best Supporting Actress win. Personally that’s my own favorite category, but still…

Also, Universal is trying to establish a fan-base with a genre that the fanboys of today just don’t flock to. Musicals.  Just from that point alone, I think “Les Miz” has an uphill battle. But the general public is not the Academy.

I mean, just look at this year’s big grossers “Hunger Games” and “Avengers” both of which are films I just can’t bring myself to see….at least not yet…will the Academy award box-office over quality? They certainly haven’t been looking at the bottom line with films like “The Artist” or “The King’s Speech”….Who do they listen to? Well, Harvey Weinstein. But “Django Unchained”? Quentin Tarantino??? I don’t know about that. This sounds like it’s gonna be “Inglorious Basterds” all over again with that film.

And in conclusion, no it’s never to early to predict the Oscars. That’s what we do.

Oscar Index at Movieline Keeps the Quality(& Enjoyment) Level at 100%!

All season long, Oscar season, I mean, of COURSE, I look forward every Wednesday evening to Stu Van Airsdale’s erudite, witty analysis of the preceding weeks Oscar madness on his unfailingly fun Oscar Index at www.movieline.com  It’s ACCURATE, too. Even if he doesn’t agree with MY thoughts on The Race. But that’s OK, because he is always persuasive, showing me the error of my Oscar-y ways.

And yes, he’s right on the money again with the idea that it’s “The Artist” but also, “The Help” that is on everyone’s minds. Whether I like to admit it or not.

Me? Moi? You KNOW I love “The Artist” and its’ nominated stars. And I TOLD Jean Dujardin that he was going to win The Oscar and he laughed and smiled and CHARMED his way into the 38,000 (and counting) You Tube viewers who’s enjoyed me, the Oscar Messenger, giving Jean and Berenice Bejo and Michel Hazanaviscius the Oscar News here at ~ www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I haven’t been able to top that highpoint yet all season, so I’m leaving it in the main frame. The two of them, Jean and Berenice were an utterly winning couple, just as they are in the film, and no, not in real life. The beautiful Berenice is married to Michel Hazanaviscius. So her real name is Berenice Hazanaviscius. Glad she kept the Bejo. And yes, she, too was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, as I foretold her she would be.

So, non, it’s not “The Artist” I have issues with I just love it to pieces. And so I agree with Stu V.A. who has “The Artist”, Jean, and Michel all in their number one slots in their respective categories. It’s that I just couldn’t wrap my head around all this “Help” love.

To give Oscars to African-American women for playing MAIDS, I just think is the highest form of racial ineptitude. I think  with a black President, it’s just downright insulting, but Stu V.A. has had Octavia Spencer in his #1 position as Best Supporting Actress all season long. And I just couldn’t buy it. But now with Spencer’s wins at the BFCA, the Globes AND SAG, she seems almost a DONE deal.

I just don’t think she was THAT good in the movie. That it was not an “Academy performance” but evidently everybody except Kris Tapley, disagrees with me.

I mean, give the “Help” ONE SAG award, but not ALL THREE!!! However, that’s what’s going down.

And Viola Davis, who IS a great actress, certainly gives great speeches, too. And if there ever was one single article that may win an actress a Best Actress Oscar, it’s the poetic, persuasive, insightful, almost panegyric piece that Mark Harris just wrote in www.grantland.com this week, in his Oscarmetric section.

Viola Davis should thank HIM, because he makes the case that there was no SUBTEXT in this year’s Oscar race and that “The Help” and especially, the performance of Viola Davis COUPLED with her great speechs have created a narrative that the Academy, guilt-ridden white people all, may just indeed buy.

And it’s NOT a great picture. It’s good, at best. And yes, “The Artist” is much better…

But TWO Best Actress (lead and supporting) wins for “The Help”??? I was not convinced, but now I’m beginning to think so.

Though I still hope Michelle Williams upsets this at the BAFTAs….

Viola Davis is a great actress and she deserves all the acclaim she’s getting. But I still think it’s a Supporting performance and that Michelle Williams is better in a more difficult role in a better movie.

We’ll see what the BAFTAS have to say…

P.S. I turned on my television set this AM and who should be onscreen at “The View” but Viola Davis!!?! I thought I was seeing things. I think she’s been on “The View” AT LEAST three times previously this season! Or maybe FOUR! Somebody’s pushing this to the max. That would be Disney/Dreamworks. Also means they are REALLY sweating Harvey Weinstein’s campaigns for Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady” and Michelle Williams for “My Week with Marilyn.”

Does this mean V. Davis is being OVER-exposed? And god forbid, pushy? I am the first to say that she’s a great American actress and deserves her time in the sun, and she certainly seemed to be enjoying it. What did she have to say? Well, I just caught my major role model Barbara Walters saying “It’s always great to have you here on the ‘The View’, Viola.” And then they signed out!

I think this cuts both ways. It’s good to keep her in the public(and the Academy’s) eye. And yes, I’m sure they watch “The View” or at least the female members do. Which means that Disney/Dreamworks is targeting the female Academy voters. Of whom, as you all know, there aren’t very many! So they are fighting over the Streep-aged demographic. But this shows they are really sweating a Streep win? But who are THE MEN, the bulk of the Academy membership voting for?? That’s what I’d like to know. And again, my guess is the beauteous Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. The Babe Factor still rules Hollywood, I’m so sure. Will the Academy’s left-y social conscience trump the Beautiful Young Nude Girl syndrome. We shall see.

Only the Actor’s Branch overlaps with the SAGS. And that by not much. It’s two different groups of people. SAG and AMPAS. One is female-filled. That would be SAG and one is male dominated and that would be AMPAS.

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