a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Ethan Hawke’

Oscar Site Gold Derby Now Decides Category Placement!

Oscar HeadlessJust where do I think everything is today as the end of October, always a crucial month for Oscar, is less than two weeks away.

I have a lot of questions and there are some clear answers.

Both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories are all but sewn up at the moment. The winner, I mean, or the Front-Runner, always a deadly term, especially in the Best Picture category. Best Actor or Actress and especially in Supporting don’t suffer the fate the leader of the pack in Best Picture does. Different rules apply.

Julianne Moore for “Still Alice” and Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood” seem to have locked down their Oscars already.

There was a lot of category shifting, a few weeks back(when I didn’t have Internet access to comment more swiftly on it) for the wonderful, under-appreciated Arquette. She could’ve been in Best Actress, but, and this is another thing that has changed this year, methinks, GoldDerby.com and its’ experts(Tom O, why O why am I not one?) decided that Supporting was where Patricia dominated their charts, and so IFC, the distributor of “Boyhood”, dutifully put Arquette in the lesser race. Why? Because Gold Derby said so! A few weeks back.

Now, this IS a change. Tom O’Neil’s http://www.goldderby.com has always been exhaustively covering the Oscars. But never, before, I think, EVER (and people will remind me if this isn’t so) NEVER have they LED the race so clearly as they have with placing Patricia Arquette in Supporting Actress for “Boyhood”. And whatever I thought of the movie(too long, couldn’t relate to the kid) I LOVED Arquette’s soulful 12 year journey as the Boy in questions mother. The good Mom, always an Academy favorite.The Earth Mother, who’s trying her best to do her best.

And I think that’s the biggest award “Boyhood” is going to get from the Academy. MAYbe Original screenplay. But not a lot else. More nominations for sure. Like Ethan Hawke also in Supporting for his best-ever turn as the deadbeat-dad-with-a-heart-of-gold.

But I don’t think Gold Derby is really deciding the other races, but its’ putting Arquette where she is for sure now going to land, is a first, I think. Making Gold Derby essential reading. The other categories there are all not so clear at all. Take a look. They’re confused and confusing. Up and down. In and Out. Well, Tom styles it as a horse race, a derby, and he’s right. That’s exactly what the Oscar Race, which he always calls “the Derby” is, when you boil it all down.

A lot is still up in the air. Although they have got Julianne Moore in their #1 spot, and I think that’s right. Right now anyway. Until Harvey Weinstein potentially dynamites J-Moo’s rock-solid position for “Still Alice,” which I truly loved BTW with his Amy Adams starrer “Big Eyes,” which opens in late December.Is that going to be too late now that the deserving Julianne has gotten so strong? Perhaps. Maybe Harvey will move the Opening of “Big Eyes” up. If he does, watch out!

I thought Julianne wouldn’t have a prayer after I saw “Maps to the Stars” deflate right in front of my eyes at the Toronto Film Festival. In that she plays a VERY unsympathetic, aging actress, and the film is pretty much a mess. But SHE’S great! And she won Best Actress at Cannes.

But “Still Alice” is a lovely,searing film about an important issue, early on-set Alzheimer’s, and Moore is simply astounding as she goes through every startling, debilitating change of the disease. From A to Z and back again. Moore’s work in “Still Alice” makes Julie Christie’s a few years back on a similar topic in “Away From Her” look like a doodle. A mere sketch. Marion Cotillard won that year for her tour-de-force as Edith Piaf in “La Vie En Rose”.

And though there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, hence no requisite happy ending,  it’s a supremely graceful film, and the ending is appropriately in tune with the serious subject matter. And you have to applaud the filmmakers Wash Westmoreland and his partner Richard Glatzer for telling this difficult story right. They’ve even gotten Alec Baldwn to be sympathetic, too, as the do-the-right-thing hubby. Alec Baldwin warm and fuzzy? Will wonders never since?!?. Kristen Stewart shines, too, in a change of pace role for her as Moore’s quarrelsome actress daughter.

I thought, as you know, Rosamund Pike, was a category leader in Best Actress for my immensely liked “Gone Girl”, but then I saw Moore seal the deal in “Still Alice”. She’s admitting to being 50 and she soars. And this performance,plus her challenging, all -out vain-to-the-max actress in “Maps to the Stars” and her Cannes win, all add up to Oscar in my book, and I think the Academy’s, too.

While others are rushing to judgment, I personally feel the other categories, Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor are all over the place right now, and the rest of the remaining unseen films need to be seen. They may figure heavily this year. Especially in Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor. I don’t think we’ve seen the winners there yet. But it’s vague, to me, for sure.There’s a lot of variables and a lot of bloody contests to be fought still. And it’s only OCTOBER! Wait til November when the Oscar combatants’ gloves REALLY come off. And oh yes, “The Theory of Everything” finally opens!

But I guess what I’m trying to say is, Gold Derby has now become more important than ever this year . So go there and enjoy the podcasts and predictions and videos. I do. And I think Academy members and for sure the films’ publicists do,too.

Oscar Disappointment “Boyhood” WAAAAY tooo long at 3 hours!

After the incredible reviews for “Boyhood”, I had my expectations high. Higher perhaps than they should’ve been. I was expecting to see The Second Coming.

At three hours, it was waaaay toooo long. I couldn’t wait for him to graduate high school and get the hell out of the house!  And then, set in Houston, it seemed we were going to be dragged through college with him (the University of Texas is a backdrop) as well.”Oh no!” I thought.

I was unfortunately feeling that sinking feeling of when is this going to be over???

The non-actor playing the central character Mason was OK in the child hood scenes where all he had to do was be a kid. But he was constantly being upstaged by his precocious and obnoxious older sister,Samantha, who turns out to be director Linklater’s daughter Lorelei! Who btw doesn’t look like either of her biological parents, who are played to the hilt,  and then some, by the more-remarkable-than- she’s=ever-been Patricia Arquette, in the role of her career, as Mason’s patient, loving mom, and Ethan Hawke, who holds his own, too, as Mason’s dead-beat dad.

The thing that astounded me throughout the film, however, was not simply the fact that everyone in it was really aging as they would in real life, but the incredible 12 year long dedication of Arquette and Hawke and all involved to director/writer Richard Linklater. This is his second time-lapse, if you will film. The other also with Hawke was the “Sunrise” trilogy, of which I only saw the last film, and was underwhelmed by that one, also. Of his recent films, I liked “Bernie” better.

I guess you had to see the other two first. I felt when I saw it that it would get no Oscar action. And it didn’t. The Gotham Awards and the Indie Spirits are where this film will clean up. As its’ doing at the box-office.

But Oscar, I don’t think so. It’s not a Best Picture picture. It’s more of simply a film stunt. And Ellar Coltrane as Mason is more of an absence than a presence, but I guess that’s what the director intended. As we SLOOOOWLY procede to Mason’s adolescence and his interest in photography grows and grows, we see something of the young filmmaker Linklater merging with the character. I would’ve liked to have seen more of that. It’s a film of tiny, small moments. I would’ve liked more substance.

Most successful is the painful portrait it paints of a dysfunctional single mother (Arquette) who is constantly drawn to drunken, abusive men. She drags her two children through three horrible marriages, and while accurate, paints a very bleak, bleak picture of American married life today.

As the daughter, Samantha bemoans the fact “that we have to move AGAIN!” every time one of Arquette’s marriages break up.

I found it depressing and disturbing rather than enlightening. And bourgeois beyond belief.

Oh well! On to the next Oscar front-runner that going to sink from over praise.

Linklater might get a Best Director nod, and perhaps win. And Patricia Arquette’s is the best written part. And she plays it wonderfully with warmth and intelligence and makes you realize this talented actress has been underestimated and under-utilized her entire career. Until now. She is so good she could be nominated in either category. Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress. But if she’s in Supporting she’ll be up against the likes of Dame Maggie Smith for “My Old Lady.”

She’s so good and is the performance that really stays with you, as she ages from cute-as-can-be hippie Mom, to a matronly, committed Psychology professor single mom with a degree, who is something like 15 pounds heavier. You  root for her all the way. And she gets the big Summing Up Scene at the end.

So while “Boyhood” like in real life has its joys, it is also something I couldn’t wait to get out of.

And as I was leaving this public showing of the film, I heard people with puzzled expressions on their faces saying “It was three hours!” and “It’s so ordinary.” That about says it all. Don’t believe the reviews. It’s a critics darling, clearly, but Oscar? I don’t think so.BOYHOOD 1But it might get SOMEthing big. Like Arquette winning Best Actress. Or even Linklater winning Best Direcot or Best Original Screenplay. I don’t think he’s ever won an Oscar before, so this clearly is his year. And every body likes him and Arquette, is very popular in Hollywood. They’ll get nominated. But Best Picture? No. It will go to a much bigger studio film. But Linklater could finally win Best Screenplay. He’s been nominated in that category before.

The childhood references  it revels in are going to be lost on the aged Academy members. this childhood wasn’t their childhoods. Harry Potter any one?

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…

 

“Before Midnight” Put Me to Sleep…zzzz

Never having seen the previous two movies in this Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy written and co-starring trilogy vehicle directed by the great Richard Linklater, I was not prepared really, I guess to see “Before Midnight.”

IOW I had no back story with these two characters. I think you really have to have that to appreciate this one.

Not having that reference point, although I read all the reviews, goodness knows, and they all were positive, I wasn’t ready to be put into the deep, deep sleep that “Before Midnight” put me into. It was scary how bored I eventually got with these two talky, upper middle class, privileged white characters.

Oh, and of course, it’s mainly about heterosexuals and how great they are.

I was soooo bored.

“Before Midnight” is endlessly self-referential and if you haven’t seen the two previous movies which they cite endlessly, you are shit out of luck, following all the *ahem* subtle twists and turns*cough*cough* that these bland WASPs go through.

The film starts with an ENDLESSSSSS two-shot of Delpy and Hawke in the front seat of a car driving to some vacation spot in Europe. I think it was Greece.

It went on for sooooo long, I wanted to scream “Cut”. The camera never moved once. What was Richard Linklater thinking? Well, I guess he wanted to convey the claustrophobia and confining suffocation that marriage can bring. Stultifying, it sure was. Was that shot twenty minutes long? Forty? It seemed like an hour. This prolonnnnnged car shot was preceded by the only dramatic moments this film possessed. Ethan Hawke’s wrangling his divorced son, who excliams, “MOM, HATES YOU!” Well, that outburst I believed.It was all down hill from there.

But if you want an audience who hasn’t seen these two oh-so-in-love-with-themselves rich people before, to identify with them, it was a very dicey way to introduce these two.

The filmmakers just ASSUME you’ll like them, if not love them already. 

And well, I didn’t.

I think I lost them and consciousness completely towards the latter part of the film, when they eventually ended up bickering in a hotel room in France somewhere, or it could have been Greece. 

“Before Midnight” is currently a critics’ darling, but I just don’t get the love. I guess I have to go back and watch their first two movies. But I’m afraid they’ll send me off to Dreamland again, if I do.

My rating: zzzzzzzz…..

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: