a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Girl who Played with Fire’

Melissa Leo’s BAFTA snub? A death blow to her Oscar campaign?

When BAFTA announced yesterday morn that they were putting “The King’s Speech” on top of THEIR Oscar pile (The BAFTAs are considered the British Oscars) and that Movie About Typing at the Bottom with only 6 nominations, which it may not win.

Everybody took notice.

Why? Well, yes, the traditional age-old Snob Effect on the Academy of anything limey. Well, not ANYthing. They seemed to have kicked “Another Year” to the curb, sadly. WHERE IS LESLIE MANVILLE?!? Probably in Oscar limbo forever.

Category confusion is Oscar’s most deadly disease.

After winning Best Actress from the National Board of Review, Manville turned up NOwhere in the U.S. lists,or anywhere else, until she appeared in Supporting Actress at the BAFTA awards. Surprise! There she was at last. Back in her own country, not as Best Actress, but as Best Supporting Actress.

But the BIGGEST surprise of the BAFTAS that landed with a WALLOP was the omission of Golden Globe and BFCA winner for Best Supporting Actress( I tell ya, that race is a doozy this year) MELISSA LEO?!?

HOW is this possible? Well, I guess the Brits didn’t like the “Fighter” THAT much. They didn’t nominate it for Best Picture,and though they grudingly nominated Christian Bale and Amy Adams in Supporting,  they RRRREALLLY didn’t like Melissa’s Grand Guignol Monster Mom from Massachusetts.

Shocking it was that she was riding high SUNDAY NIGHT and now Monday morning they shot her down! She’s in stark jeopardy!

Oh, she’ll be nominated all right. The nominations had to be in to be counted by Friday. But can she win without the prestige of a BAFTA nom NOT on her CV?

In such a constantly changing category as this year’s Best Supporting Actress,(and Best Actress, too, come to think of it, but more on that later) Melissa Leo can be now counted as NOT A SURE THING. But don’t worry Melissa Leo fans, she WILL be nominated! But winning, I wonder…

I think she’s a great unsung American actress, who is now being sung.

But her low-class harpie mom-ster, Alice Eklund, may not be the right tune for the snobby Academy, though Melissa herself seems to know every single member personally and everybody LOVES her.

I think she can play anything. You give her a difficult role and boy! Will she go to town with it. Like she did last year with “Frozen River,” last year’s “Winter’s Bone”, a teeny tiny Indie directed by a woman about a woman (last year Leo, this year Jennifer Lawrence) who stands up to injustice and protects her brood at all costs in a rural setting.

Oscar goddess Sasha Stone’s unremitting advocating for Melissa Leo’s out-of-left field nomination for Best Actress actually contributed to making that nomination happen, IMHO.

She’s doing the same kind of tub-thumping this year for Jennifer Lawrence, who I can’t get behind, and whose nomination, I think, is shakier than people realize she is. And Melissa Leo is becoming a kind of feminist heroine.

She’s the older actress who has mucho chops, who is still fighting her way BACK to the Oscars, now two years in a row, it seems. Melissa Leo is an actress’ actress. She kinda sorta eschews glamour, like wearing her “old tux” to the BFCA awards when she won. And then an OK gown, that was so unremarkable her picture in it appeared NOWHERE in the MANY pictures of the Golden Globe’s red carpet, and the bejeweled, be-gowned actresses upon them. And where was Melissa? Nowhere to be found. And she won! And Natalie Portman the other big winner was EVERYwhere!

The Academy looks at that and sniffs, “Well, she’s not a star.” And she isn’t. The public doesn’t know her like those in the business do. Melissa who? But she’s a constantly working, supremely talented ACTRESS. Did you recognize her THIS year in another Oscar baity film “Convinction” as the evil policewoman who wrecks Sam Rockwell’s life? YES, that dried-up, prune-faced, lying cop was Melissa Leo, too!

All of these things should ad up to Melissa Leo winning a Supporting Actress Oscar, since she’s the type of actress this category and these awards were created for in the first place…but…she was SNUBBED by BAFTA!

But the thing about BAFTA is for the first time this year, people are noticing that we have a voting body that actually OVERLAPS the American Academy it is said to the tune of 1000 members out of 6000 AMPAS voters. And each year the Academy(and the press AND the blogosphere) is paying more attention than ever. It just keeps growing and growing . In coverage. In importance. And the more coverage the BAFTAs get, the more important. And influential, they become.

So who would be the BAFTA front-runner in that tumultous BSA category? I think it’s Helen Bonham-Carter as the slam-dunk.

My esteemed colleague David Karger at Entertainment Weekly takes this Oscar business VERY seriously. I always had the ultimate respect for his opinions, insights and conclusions. And Dave, like me, is still staunchly insisting that “The King’s Speech” is the front-runner to win Best Picture, and this avalanche of BAFTA nominations seem to prove us right.

ALLLL That Typing Movie’s awards were from the press. Who, let’s face it, spend all day typing.

BAFTA is the first time we’ve heard from a large group of industry professionals. And attention must by paid.

As I said earlier today at www.Awardsdaily.com , in the section of Comments on The BAFTAS!

I think where the BAFTAS have the most impact (on Oscar) is where there is a very close race, like this year’s Supporting Actress and certainly Best Picture.

When the BAFTAS finally do their thing, and announce their winners, it’s timed astutely to be RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OSCAR VOTING PERIOD.

Personally, I think most Academy Members who are actually voting, mail their ballots (by Snail Mail, yes, that’s how they do it) immediately that they receive them.

But sometimes the BAFTAS have an impact in recent years that sways Oscar’s contests…like for instance, when it was Mickey Rourke v. Sean Penn a couple of years back for ANOTHER Pugilistic Movie “The Wrestler” v.Sean Penn’s assassinated Gay Rights leader Harvey Milk in “Milk.”

Actually, Rourke WON the BAFTA, then got up and made a truly embarassing acceptance speech dropping the F-bomb so may times on the stunned Limeys, it seemed like the Blitz was back on.

And I knew, I just knew, if there was any doubt in any Academy voters mind who STILL hadn’t mailed in their ballots, Rourke just lost it big time there. With that speech and the Academy was NOT going to let itself be embarassed by awarding him in the same way. The Snob Effect. See.

So Sean Penn won and he should’ve for his great portrayal of a complicated, but sweet crusader…who died SUCH a tragic death.

I could go on.

And I will.

Also, take the instance of Marion Cotillard’s surprise win at the Oscars the year before that. She trounced Brit legend Julie Christie in the politically correct Alzheimer’s movie “Away From Her.”

How did THAT happen? Marion a UNKNOWN foreign actress acting in her own language (French) WON for playing Edith Piaf, gave a beautiful, totally shocked, moving acceptance speech at the BAFTAs for “La Vie En Rose” and then WON at the Oscars.

It also didn’t hurt that night that at the BAFTAS that Best Actor winner Daniel Day Lewis said in HIS acceptance speech that “Marion Cotillard is acting on a different level than all of us.” And I think that sealed Marion’s deal.

Marion also MOVED to L.A. during this crucial voting period and went to EVERY Hollywood party and charmed and enchanted all her met her, as did my other unknown(at the time) actress friend Marcia Gay Harden, who appeared out of nowhere to be nominated with no precursor awards. In 2000. But “The Stephen Holt Show” had her.

And SHE won. Best Supporting Actress for “Pollock”.

So who could surprise? Who could win THIS year? Well, it looks like it’s Natalie Portman, an American princess to be sure for “Black Swan.” BAFTA, yes, has nominated her for Best Actress.

But wait! Who else popped out of nowhere at BAFTA?!? NOOOOOMI RAPACE!??

And “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” the last of the Steig Larsson Millenium Trilogy, picked up three nominations at BAFTA including Noomi’s Best Actress.

And wait, she’s foreign. But hardly unknown in London, where she has moved to escape the paparazzi-fest  that her incredible portrait of  Lisbeth Salander turned  her life into in her native Sweden.

She’s embraced London and British society totally. And they her. And I just have this feeling that the Brits feel this immense sense of injustice being done to Noomi, who endured A YEAR AND A HALF of CONSTANT filming of the three Larsson movies, all shot one right after the other after the other, since Noomi has been replaced by an unknown American girl Rooney Mara. And that these beloved, hugely successful movies are being now remade IN ENGLISH by David Fincher….He who directed The Typing Movie…

Well, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear Noomi Rapace’s name called on BAFTA night.

And how will that impact the Oscar race for Best Actress? Well, if she’s not nominated, not a bit.

But I think people in England are enraged by these remakes by the presumptous Americans who have the NERVE to redo those beautiful Swedish movies! And watch they give their best director to home town boy Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech.” NOT to David Fincher, who has the temerity to remake these Larsson/Salander movies! The NERVE of him!

 This would really set those Yankees back a few steps, if it was then to be recorded by all the journos in the world press, who are bound to write about these great Swedish films V. the trashy American re-makes. Well, the Swedish movies starred the BAFTA AWARD WINNING BEST ACTRESS NOOMI RAPACE. Then every time someone wrote about these new American versions,they’d HAVE to mention BAFTA. Not that Noomi could upset Natalie in the U.S. ,but in Britain she certainly could.

And Noomi would give a beautiful, charming,moving acceptance speech. You know she would.

And also, now that I think of it Noomi’s Lisbeth GETS A GUNSHOT WOUND TO THE BRAIN AT POINT BLANK RANGE !!! AND SURVIVES!!! There’s also that political parallel to be raised…so I’m raising it. Gaby Giffords is a heroine, but so is Lisbeth. Especially to Europeans. She’s a fictional character, but who can forget her first entrance in “Hornet’s Nest” where they are cutting open her skull, and are showing REMOVING A BULLET from her brain! And she SURVIVES!

And oh, Melissa Leo…back to her…

What has the BAFTA done to HER Oscar race? Well, I think it’s stopped it dead in its’ tracks, I’m sorry to say.

I think she and co-star Amy Adams will BOTH be nominated and cancel each other out and Helena Bonham-Carter will sweep in and win as she certainly will the BAFTAS for “The King’s Speech.”

However, what does Dave Karger think this does? Check out his updated lists at www.ew.com

But I’ll tell you who Dave has picked to win Best Supporting Actress now. AMY ADAMS!?!?

It could happen. She’s been nominated twice before. They know her. They love her. And she’s still young and beautiful and she’s wonderful in “The Fighter” too. Playing something she’s never played before. A tough, working class chick, a bartender no less.

So THAT’S what the BAFTAs have done with their snubbing of Melissa Leo, they’ve HELPED Amy Adams BIG TIME!

Read “The Girl Who Played With Fire”WOWOWOW!

I just found this lost draft! So for those you can’t get enough Noomi, here it is ~ again ~ sort of. I thought the machinery had deleted this…but…it didn’t! And Noomi was just shocking nominated for Best Actress for the Critic’s Choice Awards ~ which is also called the Broadcast Film Critics in some places…

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Stieg Larsson has sort of co-opted my life. At least for the past few weeks. What with interviewing Noomi Rapace, Lisbeth Salander herself about ten days ago, and having her go up on You Tube in all her glory, I plunged into Book Two of the Millenial Trilogy and finished it all in one big hungry gulp this weekend.

Once again, I couldn’t put it down! I couldn’t believe it! I had thought the middle book would be somehow less absorbing than the first and last one’s. But I was delighted to find I was totally wrong!

It was just as absorbing as the first one, if not more so.

Lisbeth Salander is front and center in Book 2, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and she is the one every one is after and is trying to kill. She’s at the center of many mysteries, only unraveld in the very last pages. I guess I won’t spoil it for the rest of you Johnny-Come-Latelys who may have only stumbled on to this brilliant Swedish series of crime novels, but the books are doozies.

I don’t know when I’ve been so compelled. Larsson really pulled it off on a great, grand scale. And Lisbeth Salander goes from the interesing, eccentric side-kick of Mikael Blomkvist, investigative journalist and ordinary het guy, to being the central character of this gripping yarn.

I always wished the late Patricia Highsmith were still alive today to scare us even more with her “Talented Mr. Ripley” series, but she’s gone. Only achieving her greatest fame after her death. And the same is true of Larsson, who died before these amazing books of his were published. Soooo sad….

So I’ve seen the last movie in a theater, “The Girl Who Kicked Over the Hornet’s Nest” and I just watched “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” over again on a DVD from the New York Public Library. This one played all the way through. The first disc I got from them of “Dragon” was corrupted and missing a whole lengthy section in the middle.

I told the library this and they immediately put me in line for reserving another one and it came this weekend, too.

And after interviewing Noomi….What a little sweetheart! And sooo different from her scary, stern Salander…And what a great job of film acting. The close-ups on her pitch black eyes….are soooo frightening, yet transfixing. Powerful.

Although she wears punked out clothes to the max, black leather jackets, the piercings, the tattoos, etc, it’s her intense inner life that fascinates. 

I shudder  to think what David Fincher is going to do with this series of terrific movies, which he’s re-making right now, even as I type. WithRooney Mara. Who is a very good strong intelligent actress…who made such a strong impression in “The Social Network” as the only woman…

Sweden is SUCH a strong character in the books and in these films. It makes you want to go there. I even felt the urge to start studying Swedish…

It seems it’s been re-set in America. I can’t imagine any American locale subsituting adequately for fascinating Sweden. I just can’t. Fincher’s good with creepazoid atmospherics as he proved in “Se7en” and especially “Zodiac.” I think his version will resemble “Zodiac” which was set in San Francisco and is probably his strongest film to date. Or at least the one I liked the most…

San Francisco never seemed more threatening…

But rent or buy the books or see the movies! I hope Music Box entertainment is sending out all three movies to the Academy.

I still haven’t seen the movie of “The Girl Who Played with Fire” but just having spent a weekend totally gripped by its’ powerful spell…I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I guess I am a bit of mystery/suspense/crime buff myself. My favorite director is Alfred Hitchcock.l have relished his classic films over and over again…Maybe Fincher will surprise me. And the world. He BETTER!

And I felt such a deep connection with Noomi Rapace. It was a beautiful thing. I hope she goes on to win every award in the book. She’s already picked up quite a few.

She’s needs to be in L.A. and going to every party under the sun there. Marcia Gay Harden did that and she won for “Pollack.” Marion Cotillard just MOVED there for all intents and purposes, during the voting period. And Noomi, since she’s new, and foreign, though she speaks perfect English as you can see in my interview with her which is now in the MainFrame at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow.

Now I can’t wait for Episode 2, the movie of “The Girl Who Played With Fire” to arrive from the NYPL. What an achievement for all concerned!

And Noomi Rapace! Her Lisbeth Salander is one of the great screen performances.

Stephen Holt Show’s 2010 Year’s Ten Best List

I’ll elaborate further later,when I have more time, but for now, here is my 2010 Year’s Ten Best List –

1. The King’s Speech

2. A Film Unfinished

3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

4. Nowhere Boy

5. Black Swan

6. 127 Hours

7. Mesrine, Pts. 1 & 2

8. Blue Valentine

9. Another Year

10.I Love You, Phillip Morris

Just finished “The Girl Who Played With Fire” WOWOW0W!

Just finished reading second volume of the late Stieg Larsson “Millenium Trilogy” and once again, I couldn’t put it down! It’s even more compelling, more gripping than the first one! I didn’t think it was possible. I thought the second one would dip, but it didn’t! Not at all!

Noomi Rapace, oops! I mean Lisbeth Salander(they are now forever indivisible in my mind) is front and center and is being persued by it seems, all the law enforcement offiicals in Sweden. For crimes, murders, she didn’t commit. Natch.

And in this book, Larsson puts his best footward, as it were, and plays his trump card, by moving Lisbeth from the sidelines as Mykael Blomkvist’s Dr. Watson-like, crime-solving helper, to being the Goth/RockStar/Heroine we all knew her to be.

“The Girl Who Played With Fire” justifies Lisbeth Salander’s place in the Zeitgeist as far as I’m concerned. And again a weekend went by RIVETED!

I am also beginning to like the books more than the movies, even. They really do work as novels, even though their sort of dogmatic, procedural density should make that not so. But it is so! Because of Larsson’s excellent central character. Who is so much more convincing than the rather dull Blomkvist.

So I have now since the first and last movies(“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” is now playing in theaters) and I haven’t seen the middle film, but having just enjoyed the hell out of “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” I can’t wait to see that one, too!

This trilogy is addictive! You read one, or see one, you want to see them all! And so far, they haven’t disappointed.

Hopefully, the Oscar voters will get hooked like I did! Lisbeth Salander/Noomi Rapace are irresistable!

I FINALLY meet NOOMI!*Swoon* Give that girl an Oscar Nomination!

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes and dear Stieg-0-philes, I FINALLY had my big interview with the legendary Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who has the third and final film of the late Stieg Larson’s  ”Millennium Trilogy”, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” which I liked A LOT, needless to say,opening this week. And she was here in New York to talk about it and to kick off her campaign for an Oscar for Best Actress. She’s Foreign. She’s new. But then so was Marion Cotillard. And look what happened to her! She talked to me and against all odds, she won! And that video is still up and getting over 200,000 hits on YouTube! 

So a Golden Globe nomination from the Hollywood FOREIGN press, I do think she’s already got in the bag, and this year the category of Best Actress is JAMMED to the gills. And the Golden Globes have a bit more lee-way having ten slots. Five for Best Actress, Drama and Five, for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.

 Whereas the Oscars of course have only five Best Actress slots. She has a lot of competition this year, whereas Marion didn’t, but if ID-PR and UTA get her out there and talking, so charmingly, so wistfully, as she did with me today. Then VOILA! Noomi might get in!

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know how much I’ve been posting about these books and movies and Noomi. I mean, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been obsessed!

And Nooooomi, which is actually pronounced like that, Like “Nuumi” a long “U” sound and her last name is pronounced like “Replace” but it’s Rapace. I knew I was never going to get the correct pronunciation until I met her today, and what a moment that was!

She floated into the swanky (always) New York City hotel room where we were to film the interview for my Cable Television Show and my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow with such grace and glamour and delicacy, every inch a great European film star.

 And how she managed to float on high heels as tall as the Empire State building, I do not know.

She is very beautiful in person. And indeed her beauty and charm were her major obstacles in over-coming the film director’s reservations in casting her in the first place as Lisbeth Salander, the most famous female character ever to emerge from a work of fiction, a novel (or series of novels) since Scarlett O’Hara.

I am beginning to think that the three novels are really one BIG novel an epic, in Iceland they’d call it a Saga, like “Gone With the Wind”. It’s a Swedish “War and Peace.”

I’ve read the first novel in a serious (ra)pace this weekend, then saw the first film last night, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Phew! 

I haven’t read #2, “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” but  I saw the third film “The Girl Who Kicked Over the Hornet’s Nest” first a couple of weeks back, as I told you in this blog. And I couldn’t believe the impact it had on me! I felt like I’d had my head blown off ,and I knew I was in the presence of a great screen actress giving a legendary, incomparable performance.

And I’ve been trying to catch up ever since. It’s a VERY complicated story and you really do need to read all three books. (Which I still haven’t) to get the full effect.

Disguised as a crime novel, it really is the late Stieg Larson’s social chronicle of life in Sweden today. It’s an indictment, really. And it isn’t pretty.

Though in the movies the city of Stockholm and the surrounding countryside and many islands all look sumptuous. Stockholm has never looked more beautiful. And at times, it’s so romantically photographed in these films you wonder why its’ beauty hasn’t been used more often as a great, cinematic location.

So last night, also in preparation of this interview, which I was strangely, atypically very nervous about, I watched every single solitary interview Noomi Rapace has done so far in English on YouTube, and there aren’t that many. So far. Just wait….

And of course, everybody asks the same questions of her, and I wasn’t going to do that.

I was determined to ask her things that nobody ever interviewed her about. I wanted to bring out another side of her.

And I knew how to do that. To talk about ICELAND! Where she spent part of her childhood and where she started her film career in Hrafn Gunlagsson’s “In the Shadow of the Raven” as a little child.

Hrafn which is pronounced “Rafe” like Fiennes, is the Icelandic word for Raven, and Gunlaugsson has the reputation of being the most difficult director in Iceland. I know because I was fortunate to have traveled to Iceland twice. Once in December of 1999 for a series of “Christmas in Iceland” shows I did, and once again the following summer of 2000 when the sun is up all day long, for a series of shows(nine episodes!) on film and theatre in Iceland.

So when Noomi realized I just wanted to talk about how beautiful she was, and different from Lisbeth Salander she is, and how talented she was, and how wonderful a place Iceland is to have spent (at least part of) her childhood in, she just melted.

She loves shoes, especially expensive designer shoes, and she was wearing black(her favorite color) sky-high stilletto heels, and I got her to put her feet with the shoes on them on to the low coffee table in front of us and I held her ankle. Turning it for the camera to see in its full effect.

I don’t think I’ve ever held a woman’s ankle before. I’m gay. When would that situation arise? Anyway, she just loved that I got her to show off her VERY shapely Scandinavian cinema goddess legs. She was wearing a skin-tight, black mini- sweater-dress,and her hair is brown, a dark brown, but not black. And when we sat down on these very LOW cushioned chairs in the hotel suite, her dress went up so high, I could barely see it anymore!

This video is going to get A LOT of hits on YouTube!

And she was so delighted to not have the SAME questions asked that everybody else has asked her over and over and over again about Lisbeth Salander.

The magic word was ICELAND!

And I got her to speak Icelandic! I got her to say “I Love You” in Icelandic, and I repeated it to her.

It was a rapturous moment…

I can’t wait to see the video! And you can’t miss it either. But it won’t be up on YouTube for at least a week or so… But when it is it’ll be here www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I brought out her sweet side. SOOOOO different from Lisbeth Salander. Which I feel is one of the great, legendary screen performances by an actress.

I really hope,and WANT Noomi to get an Oscar nomination for Best Actress this year, and so does her publicist, of course.

Those three performances in three films, put together and filmed right after each other is an overwhelming achievement. One of the greatest acting feats ever by a woman, I feel, and so do many critics.

I was so excited and thrilled to meet her, I hope I told Noomi all this. But not as succinctly as I’m expressing it now.

What a lovely lady!

And I just HATE David Fincher more and more for not using her in the American adaptation that he is filming now with Rooney Mara.

Noomi was devastated by this.

In one interview, in English on YouTube,she blurted out “They didn’t want me!” And I just wanted to cry.

This tiny, brave, beautiful, young woman put every ounce of her heart and soul and intelligence and TALENT into these three UNFORGETTABLE performances.

And then to be ignored by the Americans!?!…

David Fincher…you made one film already this year that I hated, as you all know, “The Social Network,” and YOUR version of these fantastic books had better be BETTER than the beautiful Swedish versions!!!

I HATED “Benjamin Button,” “The Fight Club” and “The Social Network” and I did like “Zodiac” and “Se7en” which are both about serial killers, a crime genre at which he really does excel. And of course, the Stieg Larson trilogy IS, partially about a serial killer, at least the first book.

But poor Noomi! She’s doing all right though, and seemed to be enjoying the hell out of her New York press day!

And all I can say is ” I LOVE YOU, NOOMI!” I’d say it again in Icelandic, if I could remember it, and GIVE THAT GIRL AN OSCAR NOMINATION!?!?!?

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