a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Emmanuelle Riva’

Oscar Chances of Cate Blanchett ~ Too much, too soon?

Oscar is such a fickle little devil. If the Academy Awards were held tomorrow, Cate Blanchett would win in a walk for “Blue Jasmine”, ANOTHER astonishing Woody Allen movie with an unforgettable performance by Cate the Great.

Plusses ~ All the rave reviews, and the staggering performance itself.

Minuses ~ All this Oscar brouhaha is WWWAAAY toooo soon in the Oscar season. Sony Pictures Classics has to keep “Blue Jasmine”, a rare, exotic flower blooming til the holidays.For a film that’s only playing now in two cities that’s no mean feat.

Minuses ~ Sony Pictures Classics is NOT the Weinstein Co.

If this were one of Harvey’s girls she WOULD win. Lest not forget that the last woman to win for an Oscar for a Woody film was the beauteous, unforgettable, explosive Penelope Cruz in “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” But that was a WEINSTEIN Co. release! You’ve GOTTA have Harvey…Sony Pictures classics is not known for nailing WINS. But nailing nominations, yes. See Emmanuelle Riva’s near miss last year for “Amour.” She got the nomination, yes, and some major critics’ awards,but…she lost to last year’s Harvey girl, Jennifer Lawrence.

Minuses ~ She’s playing Ruth Madoff

Plusses ~ She makes you LIKE her.

Plusses- It’s a complex, intelligent career-capping role that people will be talking about as long as they discuss Cate Blanchett.

Pluses ~ She had AN HOUR-long chat with Charlie Rose, who gave her the ENTIRE program.

Minuses ~ By the end of the hour, she and Charlie got soooo abstract and convoluted, they completely lost me. And I’m sure many others too. And Academy voters watch Charlie Rose like a hawk.

Minuses ~ She looks like she’ll be up against two OTHER Aussie homegirls, Nicole Kidman for “Grace of Monaco” playing the late Princess, who died tragically in an auto accident. AND that other wonderful Australian actress Naomi Watts in “Diana” about another blonde royal, the late Princess of Wales, who also dies tragically in an car crash. THREE Australian Best Actress nominees? WHEN has that ever happened before? And it is a good thing? Will they split the Australian vote? IS there an Australian vote?

Minuses – Meryl Streep will very likely be nominated for the vicious, drug-addicted mother who you love to hate in “August: Osage County.” a Weinstein Co. production that’s heading straight to the Toronto Film Festival, as are “Grace” and “Diana”. This would leave Meryl the only American actress in this category, although she already has THREE other Oscars. The fifth slot I’m guessing is going to Berenice Bejo for “The Past” ANOTHER of Harvey’s films. And she would be in the now traditional French actress slot. We see it every year now. This film will also be at Toronto…Or it could be ANOTHER French actress Julie Delpy, who stars in and who also co-wrote the “Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight” trilogy. She was nominated before for a Best Screenplay. And Berenice Bejo was also previously nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “The Artist.”

And of course, we must not forget the Babe Factor. The pretty young thing who sweeps in from seemingly nowhere and makes the Academy of collective Old White Rich Men fall in love with her and takes the prize, again, like Jennifer Lawrence did last year. This could be the surprising and gorgeous American Beauty Amanda Seyfried who unbelievably breaks your heart as Linda Lovelace in “Lovelace.” And Radius is behind “Lovelace” which is Harvey Weinstein’s Co., too.

<So LOOK OUT!

A completely empty playing field is going to be SLAMMED in about a month’s time by alllll these female centric movies playing at TIFF and also, some of them at Telluride.

Will I get to TIFF this year to talk to all these great ladies? I hope so. I’m trying my hardest, but I’ll certainly be seeing all four of these acclaimed-already, buzzed-about movies…

So Cate the Great AND especially Sony Pictures Classics REALLY have their work cut out for them.

Cate already has an Oscar. But then so does Nicole and Meryl has three.

It’s Cate’s to lose, as they say. But SPC has a history of stumbling at the end game.

It could be Cate, but…

 

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.

Video

Oscar Predictions 2012!

My final Oscar Predictions! Shot at the great Health Food Store Green Sympathy, where they named a smoothie after me “The Stephen Holt Special”! I’m assisted here by Bway producer Jayne Ackley Lynch and Kyle Shim, son of the owner of Green Symphony, Jae Shim.

And after winning the WGA (Writer’s Guild of America) Award last night, “Argo” is pretty much locked down for Best Picture and also probably Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editor, which I didn’t discuss here…but if it really is winning in all seven categories that it is nominated for, it could sweep Alan Arkin in in Best Supporting Actor.

Talk about having Oscar Momentum!

Camera& Editing- Kevin Teller

British Oscars, the BAFTAS ~ What will they mean? If anything…

So tomorrow over in Blighty, the BAFTAs will be announced. The last major precursor award before the Oscars themselves, which are held on Feb.24.

Being socked in and basically locked in by the Blizzard of 2013, gives one time to really ruminate on the BAFTAS. It’s broadcast live in London, but here it can only be seen online. Check out http://www.awardsdaily.com to see if it’s live streaming there, or if not, they will tell you what, where and when to find it.

So, who’s going to win at the BAFTAS? And will they mean anything at all to Oscar?
Like, for instance, Robert De Niro isn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor for “Silver Linings Playbook.” I think De Niro has the momentum at the Oscars, but since he’s not nominated, then who? Some say German actor Christophe Waltz for “Django Unchained,” why? Because he’s a European,Then there’s the other nominees from the states Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”, Phillip Seymour Hoffman for “The Master” and Alan Arkin for “Argo.”

They’ve nominated Ben Affleck for BOTH Best Actor AND Best Directorand also “Argo” for Best Picture! So they really like “Argo,” and I suspect it will prevail in both picture and Director, but if Ben Affleck wins Best Actor! LOOK OUT!

He’s up of course against Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln”, who may be the only BAFTA winner for “Lincoln” since Steven Spielberg isn’t even nominated here! But on the other hand, OTOH, as they say in Internet-speak, if DDL doesn’t win here and either Affleck or Hugh Jackman does, this could be the last nail in the boring, talky “Lincoln”s coffin. Hey! It could happen!

Likewise a win for Alan Arkin for “Argo” could signal a sweep is going on and that’s what’s going to happen the rest of the night.

But since the Weinstein monkeys are working like cra-zee over there, they’ve still got two entrants in Supporting Actor, PSH for “The Master” and Waltz for “Django Unchained”, so either could win. As in American, Supp. Actor at the BAFTAs is really too close to call. Although that’s what I’m supposed to do. So I’ll call it for Waltz, simply because it’s another Harvey Weinstein situation there.

And Anne Hathaway has best supporting actress sewn up there, for “Les Miserables” mais oui, as she has it here.

But Best Actress is really the one to watch. If 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva wins for the French language film “Amour” over Jennifer Lawrence for “SLP” and Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty,” that win and Riva’s acceptance speech could really impact the Best Actress race here. But then again, if she doesn’t show up. But still wins anyway, it probably will not have the same impact, as if the still comely octogenarian French icon wins, is there to accept, and moves every one to tears, as she probably will, with a lovely French-accented acceptance speech.

Remember that BAFTA is really where Marion Cotillard, also acting in French in a French-speaking film “La Vie En Rose”, won, and moved the whole world with HER acceptance speech, setting herself up very nicely for her Oscar win a few weeks later.

This is prime Oscar voting time, the balloting being opened only YESTERDAY, Friday. And who watches the BAFTAS? Well, the Academy members who are still undecided about who to vote for in tumultuous races, like this year’s Best Actress assuredly is.

So I guess you could reduce this all to say “How many awards will ‘Argo’ win?” and who wins Best Actress? Riva, Lawrence or even Chastain? We shall very soon see.

I Solve the Mystery! Why Ben Affleck Was Snubbed for Best Director Oscar!

I think I’ve finally cracked the case, Sherlock. The imponderable Oscar riddle of why Ben Affleck, Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year, was unbelievably snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nomination this year for “Argo.”

Let me also note, that this snub by the AMPAS director’s branch has turned the entire 2012 Oscar race upside down. Since it happened, the affable Affleck and his terrific, suspenseful crowd-pleaser “Argo” is winning every award in sight. And will continue to do so, too, it seems.

Tonight is the DGA, and Affleck will probably win Best Director there, too.

Why then o why did the Director’s branch of merely 370 voters leave him off their list? They left off Kathryn Bigelow, too, but the controversy surrounding her sharp espionage thriller sunk her ship. And Tom Hooper of “Les Miz”? Well, some people just don’t like musicals. And Hooper’s wide-angle, fish-eye-lens, mostly-in-close-up-style-of-shooting of this all sung-through and recorded-live musical, was just too much of a departure for the stodgy director’s branch to take. Too much innovation, methinks.

But “Argo”? And Affleck? A straight forward thriller diller from start to go? Why did the Director’s Branch not go for “Argo”?

Well, I think the answer lies in plain sight. In the movie itself. It’s in John Goodman’s hilarious line “You can teach a Rhesus monkey to direct a Hollywood movie in a day.” THAT’S IT. RIGHT THERE. The Directors Branch Voters, or enough of them to make Affleck just miss(probably) were INSULTED! And I mean insulted!

“He’s making monkeys out of us! Well, we’ll make a monkey out of him!” I think they thought, judging by their actions.

The Director’s Branch has always been very idiosyncratic, to put it mildly, and what else could it have been that made them react this way?

Well, we know one thing for sure. AMPAS has never been known to have much of a sense of humor. They continually favor drama over comedy. (So watch out Jennifer Hudson. I mean, Lawrence. Emmanuelle Riva is creeping up on you.)

And I bet, I just bet dollars to donuts, as Mrs. Patmore, the cook on “Downtown Abbey” would say, that that line about Hollywood directors being as smart as, or less smart than Rhesus monkeys, sunk Ben’s ship for an Oscar nomination. In this VERY competitive year. A few votes could’ve done it. One vote even.

Obviously, the shoe fit.

But by not nominating Ben Affleck, they’ve basically handed him every other award of the season, and probably tonights’ DGA, too.

Mystery solved. He insulted them.Ladies and gentle-persons of the jury, I rest my case.

Down to the Wire! Best Actress Predictions!

Tomorrow morning it will all be over, but the shouting. Yes,dear readers, dear cineastes, tomorrow at the crack of dawn in L.A. and at 8:30pm EST, the Oscar Nominations for 2012 will be announced and all will be revealed and Phase One, as it’s known of the Oscar Campaign will be over.

This has been my busiest Oscar season ever with helping Ann Dowd’s campaign as much as I have been able. Culminating last night in her win for Best Supporting Actress at the National Board of Review Awards ceremony. More, I’m sure, on that later.

But now on to what has become the thorniest category ever this year ~ Best Actress.

To echo all and sundry, there are two locks ~ Vanity Fair cover girl Jennifer Lawrence for the manic-depressive comedy “Silver Linings Playbook” and Jessica Chastain for the taut,controversial Osama Bin Laden hunt-thriller “Zero Dark Thirty.”

In the past two days, the lovely Jessica has received her first, major, best actress award from the New York Critics Circle on Monday night, then last night she got her National Board of Review Award.

Both those awards are announced beforehand and handed out at the aforementioned ceremonies. No nominees at either. Just winners. Plane and simple.

Now, the OTHER three slots for Best Actress are really fraught with possible suprises and booby traps. (Pun) Like for instance, WILL they REALLY nominate a six-year- old? I don’t think so.

So Qu’venshane Wallis is not showing up here, as charming and disarming as she is in person and on-screen in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

As I’ve been saying all along, as much as I love French culture and everything French, I don’t think the Academy is going to nominate TWO French actresses for Acting in their own language!

That would be Marion Cotillard in “Rust and Bone,” and 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour.” I think, to be brutally honest, that the young, cute one, Marion, gets in. And Emmanuelle Riva, who faces death in the most devastating screen portrayal, perhaps ever, will not.

I’m hearing that Academy types just aren’t watching “Amour”, and don’t like it when they see it. It’s a critics darling to be sure, but since the Academy is all about the same age as the two characters depicted in this film, I don’t think they are going to watch OR nominate it. They’ll leave it to the Foreign Language Committee to determine whether this Austrian/French co-production is in, or more likely out. No matter how much critical accolades it has won. One has to keep repeating the mantra ~”There are NO CRITICS in the Academy!” And it’s true. Nary a one.

So now we have three beauties, Jennifer, Jessica and Marion. So who are the other two? I’m thinking Helen Mirren, who got a SAG nod as well as just landing a BAFTA nomination,too this morning for her rousing, bracing portrayal of a real life Hollywood icon Lady Alma Hitchcock, Sir Alfred’s uber-talented wife, in “Hitchcock”, is going to get in. And of course, she’s a former winner, too, for Best Actress, for “The Queen.” But then so is Marion! For “La Vie En Rose.”

And the last place is a toss-up I feel between two talented ladies in films that might not have been seen much yet. Naomi Watts, in the tsunami horror film “The Impossible” and Rachel Weisz for the British drama “The Deep Blue Sea.”

I’m going to plunk for Rachel, since although she really already has an Oscar,like both Helen Mirren AND Maid Marion, they like her, they really like her.And the Oscars are nothing if not repetivive and clannish in their thinking and awarding. Or re-rewarding.

But Rachel IS extraordinary in “Deep Blue Sea.”

And Naomi, poor thing,is an Australia, and is someone who gets overlooked over and over, time and time again. And the same thing may happen this year.

And some of the snobby Actor’s Branch may feel that her portrait of a mother lost and injured by the tsunami that hit the beaches of Southeast Asia a few years back, is more screaming and stunt work, than a performance.

Whereas Rachel, who BEGINS “Deep Blue Sea”in classic Oscar fashion,by trying to kill herself via a gas heater, right after WWII, is more typically, the Academy’s cup of British Tea. And also, though Naomi got overlooked by the BAFTAs today.
So did Rachel, so it’s a toss up. But I’m picking Rachel, thinking that the BAFTA membership now is circling about 300 members of the Academy, too.

Also, Rachel, like fellow Nominee Jennifer Lawrence who raked in over $600 million dollars for “The Hunger Games” this year, Rachel showed her action heroine chops for real in the hit “The Bourne Legacy.” Anne Hathaway scored this double whammy too, this year with the blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises,” as well as cornering what looks like a sure win for Best Supp. Actress with “Les Miserables.” The Academy seems to be going for gals who can act, but also kick butt.And rake in millions at the Box-Office.

And in conclusion, It could also shock of shocks be the forgotten Keira Knightley in devisive masterpiece “Anna Karenina.”

So dear readers, dear cineastes, I see ~

Jennifer Lawrence
Jessica Chastain
Marion Cotillard
Helen Mirren
Rachel Weisz

We’ll know VERY soon, won’t we? And it will all look very, very different, won’t it?
Phase Two is NOT the same thing as Phase one.

Rachel Weisz Wins Best Actress in Surprise Vote from the NYFCC!

There were several BIG surprises when the New York Film Critics Circle, after five reportedly contentious hours of voting, announced their winners.

Biggest among them was the shockeroo of Matthew McConaughey winning Best Supporting Actor for “Bernie” and “Magic Mike”!?!

When I saw that stat come up I could NOT take the rest of their voting seriously. First of all, both films are comedies, and second MMcC. was not THAT good in either.

I saw “Bernie” recently on a DVD screener I was sent and his performance as the Sheriff of the town in question barely registered with me. It was adequate. Just barely. And speaking of barely!

“Magic Mike”!?!? Are they kidding?!?!

That film was barely watchable and NOT because it was about male strippers…I think they did the subject a disservice. If that’s even possible.

They were all gorgeous to look at, natch, but boy! When they started to ACT!?! And that includes YOU Mr.McC! Oy vay! Bad acting at that magnitude = boredom. This film that I really thought I was the target audience for,  put me to sleep.

And it wasn’t the stripping. It was the rest of the film. And, oh yeah, male strippers are all straight. I don’t think so.

Dull, dull, duh….

However Rachel Weisz beating out the touted “front-runners” Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook” and Jessica Chastain of “Zero Dark Thirty.” I REALLY thought that they were either of them going to take this, but o no, they dinn’t. So much for punditry. I don’t think J. Law is going to get ANY of these critics prizes coming up. I don’t think she’ll get the LA Film Critics and don’t think the National Board of Review will go with her, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marion Cotillard or Emmnuelle Riva turned up in either race.

And Rachel Weisz’ performance was superb. I loved that movie “The Deep Blue Sea” and I loved her in it. I saw it at Toronto TWO years ago! And interviewed rising co-star Tom Hiddleston, and the wonderful director Terence Davies. I even got to connect with Terence AGAIN in NYC. But neither time I did I to talk to the magnificent Rachel Weisz.

I really look forward to connecting with this super-smart Oscar winner for “The Constant Gardener” some day.  I know it seems to you all that I’ve interviewed EVERYBODY in show business at this point, as my TV show nears its’ 25th year…Yes, it’s true…I can’t believe it myself…*sigh*

But I wonder if this will catapult her into the actual Oscar Bactress race itself, though…The Hollywood Reporter wisely included her in their Best Actress Roundtable, and Scott Feinberg had her in his “A Few Minutes with Feinberg” in the Race section of http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com. He also had Matthew McC. come to think of it…

I can’t believe I’m writing about Rachel Weisz and Matthew McConaughey in the same sentence!

Next up the National Board of Review. They’re choices are always….well, gay-er than springtime, as is their membership. So I look forward to that. If Matthew McConaughey wins THERE, TOO! Uh-OH!

Matthew McConaughey over Phillip Seymour Hoffman?!? I just don’t believe it.

ANOTHER surprise was their awarding Katherine Bigelow best director for “Zero Dark Thirty.” Which won the Top Honor, Best Picture, and also Best Cinematography, too. I see that in two days. I see “Les Miserables” FINALLY tomorrow! Can’t wait!

Oscar Double Shocker! 2 Best Actress slots may open! “Beasts” not nominated for Best Picture at Gotham Awards!

Still reeling from Joaquim Phoenix’s “Oscar is utter bulls–t” remark, I think it’s gone unnoticed by all except the astute Anne Thompson on this week’s Oscar Talk podcast at www.indiewire.com and also on www.hitfix.com,where when partner Kris Tapley points out that the much-heralded “Beasts of the Southern Wild” did NOT get a Best Picture nomination from the upcoming Gotham Awards, she said “That’s not a sign of strength.”

“Beasts” did however get nominated for Best Breakthrough Performer for 8 Year-old Qu’venzhane Wallis and Best Director for 29-year-old Benh Zeitlin.

But not getting a Best Picture nomination from the Gothams, the East Coast’s answer to the Independent Spirit Awards, is a real and unexpected slap in the face to “Beasts,” and to Fox Searchlight. And may forecast what I am hearing about the way the Academy itself is responding to this beautiful, small Indie film. Which is not well.

Check out Pete Hammond on www.deadline.com, who has been saying this all along. Especially the Actor’s Branch, who take the SAG disqualification of performers Qu’venzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry of “Beasts” from consideration from THEIR awards, VERY seriously. SAG is the Screen Actors Guild, whose large membership hands out their own awards and whose membership overlaps the Academy. The Screen Actors Guild is also a Union. The film version of Actor’s Equity. And all voting members of the Actor’s Branch are all members of SAG.

Non-actors when they started “Beasts of the Southern Wild “& critically acclaimed though they are, I hear that the super-powerful Actor’s Branch especially is not liking the idea of nominating a non-actress,and a non-union member, who is an eight-year-old child.

“When there are so many PROFESSIONAL actresses who gave great performances this year.” So goes the current AMPAS Actor’s Branch thinking, I am told. And it’s that powerful branch, the largest in the Academy and they are the ones, the ONLY ones who nominate the Actors. And the Actresses. And most Oscarologists have little Miss Wallis in their top five. See Tom O’Neill’s http://www.goldderby.com charts, for one example.

Meanwhile, two of the  other main contenders for Best Actress that are on everyone’s lists of five potential nominees are French.

Marion Cotillard for “Rust and Bone,” who is being honored by the Gothams and AFI and just about every which way you turn for her stunning turn as the legless victim of a whale attack. She’s a whale trainer in a Sea World-like situation in the South of France and one of her Orcas attacks her. And even though Mlle.Marion is acting in her own language French, she’s IN with a capital “I” and a capital “L” for Lock.

But  the other Gallic contender, who very well may NOT make it, I’m hearing, is Octogenarian French actress Emmanuelle Riva. Riva plays the stroke victim in “Amour” The film won the Palme d’Or this year in Cannes. And the same-aged Academy is NOT digging this grim, unrelenting film about death. It’s too much and too close for Academy members. It should’ve been called “La Mort” which is French for death.

So Riva’s nomination is not a slam dunk, either though this difficult, gripping, unforgettable film may very well score a Best Foreign Film nomination.

So BOTH Qu’venzhane Wallis’ and Emmanuelle Riva’s slots may very well not be their slots at all come nomination day. But there are OTHERS, a few stellar Others who are waiting right in the wings right at their doorsteps,

Leaving two doors, or slots, in that suddenly contentious category, WIDE open for a pair of Dames. Always bet on the Brits. Dame Helen Mirren playing The Master of Suspene’s wife Alma in “Hitchcock”(which has not been seen yet) and also perhaps Dame Maggie Smith as a retiring but disliked opera diva in “Quartet.”

I saw”‘Quartet’ in Toronto and 77-year-old Maggie Smith could very well find herself Oscar bound. And then there’s of course the beauteous Brit, Keira Knightley, much more likely as the tortured heroine of “Anna Karenina”which I also saw in Toronto, and which is still my favorite film of the year so far. For the record, I thought both performances were divine and definitely Oscar-worthy.

And the leader of the pack at the moment, according to all and sundry is Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook,”which I’m finally slated to see this week.

Nevermind, the still-unseen Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty.” We still don’t know if she’s a leading player or supporting, though.

But there are plenty of worthy, beautiful Oscar performances by actresses awaiting Oscar’s nod this year if BOTH Qu’venzhane Wallis and Emmanuelle Riva don’t make the cut.

So except for Lawrence’s presumed lead, this is now a very wide open category, with a small, but stellar group to pick from. Cotillard, Knightley, Mirren, Chastain, Smith. There’s enough. Or ALMOST enough. And all these ladies, I must point out are either Oscar nominees, and many of them winners! Cotillard and Mirren both have won. And Dame Maggie Smith has two wins out of SIX nominations! Knightley, Chastain and Lawrence are all previous nominees. They are all, as Anne Thompson likes to say, “In The Club.”

Oscar Poker & the Mystery of Snuggles 4

On this week’s Oscar Poker podcast, which you can reach if you go on  over to www.hollywood-elsewhere.com ,host Jeff Wells welcomes www.goldderby.com & Tom O’Neil, the most indefatigable  Oscarologist of us all. And Tom is just raring to give us even MORE dish on the mysterious Gold Derby subscriber, who also predicts, and predicts BETTER than anyone, even though he is not a journalist. If you click on Snuggles4’s name at Gold Derby you will see just what he has said and when and where. But there’s a couple of caveats.

Tom O. created Internet headlines yesterday by saying that Snuggles 4(who named himself after the Fabric softener…lol) was predicting on OCT.6(!) that “Les Miserables” was going to have a “monster sweep” of the Oscars and win Best Picture. But if you go see just exactly WHAT Snuggles4 IS predicting,  you first have to sign up with your email account or your Facebook account, and THEN and only then can you see EXACTLY what Snuggles4 said.

And Tom O. reveals more in the podcast.

Upon prodding from Jeff Wells, Tom says that he does think that Snuggles HAS seen “Les Miz” and was utterly blown away by it. Tom demurs about this in his actual Goldderby articlepost, but Jeff got him to go on. He says Snuggles describes himself as “an industry gadfly” and “an industry insider,” and he’s afraid to claim his Gold Derby prize from last year, because he doesn’t want to “come out” which of course, according to my gay mind, is code for Snuggles being gay,too.

And he doesn’t want to reveal more because of “the people he’s associated with,” not who he WORKS for, means he’s an agent of some kind.

A gay agent? In Hollywood? Well, that narrows it down to just about the entire industry.

And no straight man would be THIS obsessed with the Oscars, the gay Olympics. Nor would a straight man call himself Snuggles.
Why should we care? Why should we pay attention? Because according to Tom O. , he’s been more accurate than ANY one. He also was predicting the Emmys!  And so…what did Snuggles actually predict, if we are to believe him more than anybody? Even Tom. Even Jeff.

Snuggles ACTUALLY predicts only FOUR wins that I could count for “Les Miz” Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress(Anne Hathaway), Best Director Tom Hooper(AGAIN!?!) and Best Production Design.

That’s only FOUR Oscars! That’s not a “monster sweep”! To be fair, what Tom was referring to was a “monstrous sweep” of the nominations. And yes, there were so many categories “Les Miz” was figuring in, according to Snuggles,  couldn’t quickly count them all, and THAT’S the sweep. He’s not predicting it will win in all those categories!

For instance, he has Hugh Jackman as his number five for Best Actor, but Snuggles has him losing to John Hawkes for “The Sessions” as Best Actor! He’s got Daniel Day-Lewis and Joaquim Phoenix in there, followed by Sir Anthony Hopkins for “Hitchcock.” I could totally see Hawkes winning, too, since you brought it up. Or rather Snuggles did.

Snuggles also has no mention of Dame Helen Mirren as Best Actress, but has Helen Hunt in the lead category, and not switching her to Supporting…And no Marion Cotillard. But Emmanuelle Riva of “Amour” is in. And she’s popping up everywhere and knocking Mademoiselle Marion out on many boards.

He’s got Jennifer Lawrence on top as does EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Except Scott Feinberg, who demurred and thought that Qu’venzhane Wallis would get it for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”(!) “if the Academy picks up on her story.”

Meanwhile, Tom O. told Jeff that he thought the fact that SAG disqualified Q. Wallis and Dwight Henry from “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (they’re not members)might actually hurt their being nominated AT ALL by the Academy. SAG(The Screen Actors Guild) and AMPAS are two entirely different beasts, and not of the Southern Wild, thank you very much.

Vis a vis little Miss Q. ,Tom said that the snobby, clannish Academy’s Acting Branch Members, who would have to nominate her might think “Well, she’s not one of us.” Plus she’ll only be nine years old come February.

The plot sickens.

Oscar Actress Chances per Gurus o’Gold ~ Post TIFF

The Gurus o’ Gold at http://www.moviecitynews.com have posted their first rankings Post-TIFF. Having been a Guru for a couple of years myself, I take this quite seriously, but also at the same time with a grain of salt. Simply because most of the Big Contenders haven’t been seen yet. “Les Miserables”, “Lincoln”, the newly added “Hitchcock” and on and on.

abbreviating it all for you, I was sad to see “Anna Karenina” not make in it to their Top Ten. It was #11. I think that might change. I hope so. But Keira Knightley was clearly included in the five Best Actress choices, albeit at #5. Number One, I’m sorry to say, is Jennifer Lawrence in”Silver Linings Playbook.” Which, full disclosure, I have not seen. I’m looking forward to it, however.

The other four ladies included were Marion Cotillard for “Rust and Bone”, Qu’venzhane Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, Emmanuelle Riva in”Amour” and Keira Knightley…but missing were Dame Maggie Smith for “Quartet” OR Ann Dowd for “Compliance.” Two women I clearly thought would be included…

IFC is putting Ann Dowd in Supporting and she did not rate there at all, sad to say. Even though she’s clearly the lead in that taut thriller. OTOH, Helen Hunt’s category switch per Fox Searchlight has put her in the lead in the Best Supporting Actress comedy. This is for her all-naked, all-the-time, full-frontal sex surrogate in”The Sessions.”

Number Two in Supporting for the Gurus was Amy Adams in “The Master”!!!

And Anne Hathaway was Number Three for “Les Miserables.”

Dame Maggie Smith got in there, too for “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” even though her “Quartet” tour de force was snubbed in Lead.

And finally the supposedly miscast Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln in “Lincoln.” In the new trailer of “Lincoln” which is now out, she seems, well, OK.

I’ll have to react to the male side of the slate later. But the big question, Are they going to nominate TWO French actresses, Marion Cotillard and Emmanuelle Riva for acting in FRENCH? That would be a first, though both deserve it.

The Best Thing About This List. It’s a great clarifier, if nothing else. More soon.

 

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