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Posts tagged ‘Gold Derby’

Oscar Last Minute ~ “Spotlight” & Mark Rylance Rises

Oscar MarchOscar Nominees 2016 Supp.ActressLast minute Oscar thoughts. I can’t believe(!) but OTOH, I do, that Oscarologist Maestro Tom O’Neill just changed his prediction for Best Picture from “The Revenant” to “Spotlight!” Not only that also over at Gold Derby, my esteemed colleague Jack Matthews, seems to be having the same thoughts I was expressing in my last post about British Actor Mark Rylance upsetting Sylvester Stallone in Best Supporting Actor. Rylance is nominated for “Bridge of Spies” and Stallone for his Rocky 6 comeback “Creed.” Is everyone at Gold Derby just reading this blog and stealing my ideas, or are they really the REAL THING? Le Vrai Choise, as the French would say? You can check Gold Derby out here. http://www.goldderby.com

Or are we all witnessing and reporting the same thing? I.E. “Spotlight” could win, and personally I hope it does. And so could Rylance. Pictured below with his real life counterpart, who he played so subtly and brilliantly in “Bridge of Spies.”Over at the Wrap, Steve Pond has been suggesting that the Best Way to Win an Oscar Pool is “to follow the Best Picture.” Meaning that nominees in other categories usually tend to be in or from the Best Pictures. And lest we forget “Bridge of Spies” is also a Best Picture nominee, directed by Steven Spielberg.Mark Rylance 4And also Jack Matthews, in a really great article, the same one I referenced above at Gold Derby, is talking about Deadlines.  And I must confess, full disclosure, that I entered a for real Oscar pool this year, and picked the popular choices “The Revenant” for Best Picture and Sylvester Stallone for Supp. Actor, despite the qualms I’m writing about here.

After reading Tom and Jack, I feel I’m going to lose that pool. I would have won a free ticket to an AMC cinema movie. Oh! Just what I need! To see ANOTHER movie!

Well, being a film critic, it just never ends. They keep coming. And as we speak on a beach in Santa Monica, California, under their signature tent, the Independent Spirit Awards are being handed out. Check out http://www.awardsdaily.com who have a thread announcing the winners as they happen.

And what’s going on at the Indpendent Spirit Awards? I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see “Beasts of No Nation”s Abraham Attah, the child soldier win Best Actor there. And also who’s going to deny Idris Elba yet ANOTHER Supporting Actor trophy for the same film?

Idris Elba 4I also think “Tangerine” might surprise. You know that little tranny movie shot on an iPhone? It has a LOT of nominations.

And one more word about Mark Rylance. If there’s a living successor to Sir Laurence Olivier, he’s it. He’s a great actor. One of the greatest now living and is obviously going to go on to an equally stellar career on the big and small screen.

He was terrific in PBS’ “Wolf Hall” this year. In this day and age, there is beginning to be no big difference between TV and movies. Especially as far as acting achievements are concerned. His Oliver Cromwell was ANOTHER great performance. He was in nearly every scene of the entire successful mini-series of the dirty doings during Henry VIII’s reign and he held your attention every single minute. And Academy voters have that to consider,too, as they look at the Supporting Actor category.Mark Rylance Wolf Hall 1Plus, he’s an awards magnet. Every time he steps on a New York stage, they throw a TONY at him.Mark Rylance & Tony

Maybe they’ll start doing that with Oscars now, too.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anybody! But “Mumbles” Stallone!

Is “Birdman” Surging or Is It Oscar Hooey?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom O’Neil at Gold Derby Now Thinks “Theory of Everything” is Going to Win Everything! And I Agree

Theory 1Oscar Pundit Extraordinaire Tom O’Neil makes me feel like he’s reading my mind! Once again! And I totally agree with him! He’s written a very stirring piece about “The Theory of Everything” being the “Dark Horse Best Picture winner” as well as Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking winning Best Actor! And he’s right!

Tom is so passionate about the Oscars, as am I, and you can read his wonderful article right here ~ http://www.goldderby.com/news/7736/theory-of-everything-eddie-redmayne-oscars-entertainment-13579086-story.html

Tom O. puts it all right out there. On the line. And already this season, he(and Gold Derby) actually influenced the race by placing Patricia Arquette in Supporting Actress, and then IFC obediently followed suit and campaigned for her there. He’s doing it again with “The Theory of Everything” and I think he’s right on.

I felt the same electric thrill when I saw it for the first time at TIFF at the first press screening. It was pure cinematic magic. Everyone in that room felt it.

Then the biggest tip-off of all was, as I was leaving the theater, I saw Rex Reed and Roger Friedman involved in a very spirited, absorbing discussion. “The Theory of Everything” had just blown their sharp Oscar-watching minds, too.

 

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.

Oscars Ups and Downs~ Upsom Downs? Sounds like a Racetrack!

Oscars Ups and Downs~ Upsom Downs? Sounds like a Racetrack!

So much is SOOOO close this year! One vote could make the difference, but I’m happy to see that for all of the supposed heat for “Gravity” and “American Hustle” that “12 Years A Slave” still sits atop the charts at http://www.goldderby.com. for Best Picture by a wide margin. And it’s been that way for a while. And Chiwetel Ejiofor is also now pulling way ahead of Robert Redford, whose boat seems to be sinking fast. They didn’t even send out screeners for “All Is Lost” to the SAG membership.

And Lupita Nyong’O”12 Years” and Cate Blanchett”Blue Jasmine” both sit at the top of their Supp.Actress and Best Actress categories. Tom O’Neil, the head of Gold Derby, keeps countering and denying “12 Years a Slave” constant full-on ascent. He does a particularly entertaining and funny “smack-down” Podcast with Theater Talks’ Michael Musto, who is predicting a “12 Years” sweep, and doesn’t back down. Tom O. finally says “A film directed by a Black man(Steve McQueen, in this case) has never won,” he finally admits and Michael just says coolly, “In a year of great African-American filmmaking, “The Butler”, “Fruitvale Station” as well as “12 Years a Slave” and with Obama in the White House,don’t you think it’s about time? In fact, it’s the perfect time.”

And O’Neil admits “Maybe I have blinders on.” And Musto says “Yes.” You can hear this historic(hysteric) bout of the champions, of course, as always at http://www.goldderby.com.

Also “12 Years a Slave” sits atop the Gurus o’ Gold(of which I used to be one) at http://www.moviecitynews.com

Sounds like a consensus to me. And it was also nominated yesterday by the Producer’s Guild. Later today the Writer’s Guild announces their nominees but “12 Years a Slave” great adapted script by John Ridley isn’t eligible for some arcane reason, so don’t take the WGA as any accurate Oscar barometer.

And Tuesday we have the DGA, which OF COURSE, will nominate McQueen. And then Thursday, the BAFTAS, which will nominate the daylights out of “12 YAS”, McQueen & Ejiofor are British and Michael Fassbender is Irish. So I expect “12YAS” to lead the nominations there. And the following Tuesday, we have the Oscar nominations announced and the Broadcast Film Critics the same evening. Where “12YAS” has the most nominations for any film. It’s in a false-tie with “American Hustle”, ,but they’ve piled up the “Comedy Actor” and “Comedy Actress” Awards, so I don’t really count those as legitimate.

And Jared Leto, for playing Rayon, a sweet transvestite in “Dallas Buyers Club” keeps sweeping up all the awards in the Best Supp. Actor category. Strange but true.

New York had one heck of a snowstorm last night. And today it’s FREEEEZING, but the snow has stopped. I have to go out to see a show tonight, the rarely performed Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “Patience” which was their satire of Oscar Wilde. It’s WAAAAY uptown at the Symphony Space. Hope I can get there with all the snow on the ground.

Oscar Buzz High on “Hitchcock”

As NY struggles to recover from the devastation of “Hurricane Sandy”, I struggle to keep up with the Oscar race, such as it is, now that half of Showbiz, the NY half is basically turned off.

The big event of the Oscar week was “Hitchcock”s premiere at the AFI fest in LA. It seems the reception was rapturous, and Pete Hammond of http://www.deadline.com and Tom O’Neil of http://www.goldderby.com both were there as was Anne Thompson of http://www.indiewire.com. Pete and Tom O. both agreed in their reactions. Both thought that BOTH Sir Anthony Hopkins and Dame Helen Mirren will receive Oscar nods for playing Sir Alfred Hitchcock and his feisty, smart collaborator/wife Alma Reville.

Hitchcock himself in his lifetime never won an Oscar, believe it or not, though his first film “Rebecca” won Best Picture in 1941.He was nominated five times for Best Director, but never won. And evidently there is a scene in “Hitchcock” where he complains about this while lying on a psychiatrist’s couch. Lolol…Can’t wait!

This OTT reaction of Hammond/O’Neil was matched by In Contention’s Kris Tapley. In Contention, his smart, savvy Oscar site has been absorbed into HitFix.com for those of you keeping track of these things.

As I’ve said before both Anne Thompson and he do a terrific weekly podcast called Oscar Talk, which airs after noon EST, even this week, with Tapley in New York. He said he was the only member of HitFix’s team that still had power. So there he was sounding loud and clear on Oscar Talk with Anne.

Anne Thompson did NOT like “Hitchcock” AT ALL. And she and Kris practically came to blows over it. In the end the gallant Mr. Tapley smoothed things over by a bet. He bet her that BOTH Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren will get nominated by the Academy for Best Actor and Best Actress. And Anne bet him a dinner with a bottle of wine that NEITHER would “get in.”!!!!

Now they RARELY differ to this extent. I have to say that I have not had the privilege of seeing “Hitchcock” myself yet. But Anne Thompson, as I do, feels Hitchcock is her “cinema idol” and she, unlike myself, does not want to see his reputation “tarnished” by these two recent depictions of him on film. “Hitchcock” and HBO’s “The Girl.”

So we have Pete Hammond, Tom O’Neil and Kris Tapley all saying “Yea” and only Anne Thompson saying “Nay.” These are died-in-wool Oscarologists and except for Tapley all are in my age group. I tend to think that they are right, the guys. Let’s face it, the Academy is all men.

And I think, at least in the Best Actress race, Dame Helen Mirren, already an Oscar winner for “The Queen” six years ago, is VERY likely to replace either Emmanuelle Riva or Qu’venzhane Wallis, who are both more than shaky in their slots.

The Best Actor race is the one that is soooo jammed with contenders. I think Daniel Day-Lewis will get nominated for sure for “Lincoln” which I saw, but am embargoes not to write about fully until Nov.7(!) So you’ll have to wait for my take on this heavily in contention film .

There’s also the upcoming Hugh Jackman in “Les Miz” (still unseen) and then John Hawkes in “The Sessions” is another certainty. And Denzel Washington in “Flight” just entered that race, with strong reviews. I really wonder about Joaquim Phoenix now.

After his remarked upon remarks about the Oscar being “utter bullshit” and a “bad tasting, dirty carrot” that he “didn’t want to taste” or “eat”, that and the failure of “The Master” on all fronts and its’ divisive  reaction critically may very well squeeze him out of this tight category. Especially with Sir Anthony and Hugh Jackman coming on strong.

I guess I feel more normal today. This is the first time that I have written about the Oscars since the storm hit.

And for the record, no, I did not see “Silver Linings Playbook” which is one of the many screenings that got cancelled because of the storm.

Also, Tom O. did not mention Scarlett Johansson as a contender for Best Supporting Actress for “Hitchcock” for playing the late Janet Leigh. I think Kris Tapley did and so did Pete Hammond.

Pete Hammond, since http://www.Deadline.com has merged with Variety is now probably the most important Oscar prognosticator in the biz.

Jeff Wells wrote a very weird review where he doesn’t mention the Oscar chances of either Hopkins or Mirren. You can read it at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

And Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com was there, too,  but hasn’t posted her review yet. It doesn’t officially open til Thanksgiving Day.

Oh, and Oscar God Dave Karger, tweeted after seeing “Hitchcock” that he thought BOTH Hopkins and Mirren had “decent shots.”

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.

“Hitchcock” biopic moved into heat of Oscar Race! Fox Searchlight nervous about “Beasts”?”Sessions”?”Marigold”?

Alfred Hitchcock is back from the dead in a big way. He’s always been my Numero Uno Cinema hero since Forever, and now Fox Searchlight has startlingly announced that they are opening their biopic on Hitch on Nov.23! Right in the middle of the Awards Race and nearly right on top of “Silver Linings Playbook!”

This is a very bold, last-minute move on the part of Fox S. And I’m sensing it had to do with a perceived weakness in some of its’ own entrants. Which are “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, “The Sessions” and most importantly “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

In the Gold Derby podcast I mentioned a few days back, Tom O’ Neil and Pete Hammond really dug into the Oscar season so far in a substantive way. And particularly the tough, no-nonsense Pete Hammond. This is at http://www.goldderby.com

He announced at the start of his convo that “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, a critical favorite, was not going to play so well with the Academy, in his opinion. And while Tom O. was quite enthusiastic, he was also shocked by Pete’s rather stubborn insistence that “Beasts” wasn’t going to fly. Neither he nor Tom O. could pronounce Qu’venzhane Wallis’s name. Not a good sign. And they made a joke out of it calling her “Miss Unpronounceable”.

I’m sure Hammond’s podcast didn’t cause Fox Jr. to throw the over large corpse of “Hitchcock” into the ring. Or did it? Or was Hammond sensing what Fox 2.0 had already known for a while?

And Dame Judi Dench’s Best Actress campaign for “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” doesn’t seem to be catching on. And Miss Upronounceable Wallis may also be seen as a non-starter. I mean, she’s only six years old(when the film was shot). Hammond said flatly, “These are ACTORS voting.They are going to see a performance by a child THAT young as a manipulated one by the director.” Uh-oh. He may be right about that.

Fox-Searchlight also did something strange with “The Sessions,”  a film which I personally was very moved by. The story of a man in an iron lung for life and his desire to have sex with a surrogate may not have been playing as well as they hoped.

Purporting to have a full-on press junket in NYC next week, they now are not. And only junketing in LA! There’s a press DAY in NY, but that’s a much smaller, less expensive deal. Basically it means they are cancelling the A&B camera crews, and just doing print, wherein the journos come equipped with their own tape recorders…Cheap. For a Film they are supposedly campaigning for in all the categories possible, including Best Picture. John Hawkes is a slam-dunk for a Best Actor nomination, but now they are putting Helen Hunt in Supporting, as I said last week from TIFF.

A big come down. And this also paves the way for them spending more money on “Hitchcock” This is also their way of trying to draw the helium out of the “Silver Linings Playbook” balloon, since “Hitchcock” is also supposed to be a love story like SLP is. But Hitch and his wife Alma, played most likely quite wonderfully by Anthony Hopkins and Dame Helen Mirren, is also a love story, it now turns out. And not just about the making of “Psycho.”

I think this move busts the whole race wide open again. Jeff Wells was saying in HIS podcast over at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com that he was suddenly feeling “trapped” by the “Silver Linings Playbook” s sudden ascension to front-runner as Best Picture and Best Actress and Best Director.

I’m sure he feels trapped no more.

This is also, I think, in response, to the rather weak reception the much heralded trailer of “Lincoln” got. Really quite tepid all ’round. Fox Searchlight saw this as a major new HOLE in the season, and they’ve run to plug it with Alfred Hitchcock’s huge self.

Directed by a documentary filmmaker, “Hitchcock” is his first feature. So I’m not seeing “Hitchock” as a Best Picture contender, but Anthony Hopkins could very well be. And on the weaker, constantly changing distaff side we now have Dame Helen’s Alma Hitchcock and also Scarlett Johansson’s Janet Leigh to figure out(which category we should put them in.)

It’s sounding more and more like “My Week with Marilyn”. Which was my #1 film of last year. Of course it didn’t get nominated for Best Picture, but Michelle Williams sure did as Best Actress. And Kenneth Branagh as Best Supporting Actor for his hilarious spot-on Sir Laurence Olivier.

To quote Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone on this hot topic “I can’t wait”!

Post-TIFF ~ SUDDENLY, So many predictions about “Silver Linings”! But TIFF isn’t the Academy, folks!

TIFF only ended on Sunday, but it’s Oscar after-effects ripple on. The announcement that “Silver Linings Playbook” won the prestigious People’s Choice Award sent Oscar pundits and Oscarologists  (is there any difference?) running for the hills. And ALLLL of them suddenly putting “SLP” in their #1 position, when this was hardly the case way back when, say, on SATURDAY!

The Oscar pick’em race turns on a dime, and it certainly just did. AND NOBODY was predicting Jennifer Lawrence would win Best Actress “out front by a mile” as Tom O’Neill put it in two podcasts ~ one which he did with Sasha Stone and Jeffrey Wells, who barely let him, the Granddaddy of all Oscar prognosticators barely get a word in edgewise! No really! But Tom was very good-humored about it.

He, who did not even get to TIFF this year. Sasha has never been. And of course, Jeff Wells was VERY MUCH there.As you’ll see when my terrific interview with him comes out shortly at http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow.

Sasha, of course, is at http://www.awardsdaily.com and Jeffrey holds forth at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

Jeff fell, as I did, and fell HARD, for “Anna Karenina”, and he was outraged, just outraged, as I was too, and still am, by Manohla Dargis’s dismissal of “Anna Karenina” as “a travesty,” and she also calls the divine Keira Knightley’s great performance “miscast. ” and what is soooo galling is that this is in the NYTIMES! Jeff was hopping mad about this. APOPLECTIC! and I am, too! So much so he barely let poor SASHA even get a word in on her own podcast!

Conversely, Tom O’Neil and Pete Hammond barely discussed Keira Knightley’s performance or “Anna Karenina” at ALL! THEY were all about Jennifer Lawrence although Pete Hammond cautioned “It’s early yet.” They can be found at http://www.goldderby.com

All I can think of is the year when “Sideways” won the People’s Choice Award at Toronto, too. It got a lot of nominations, but it lost Best Picture. I’m also thinking of George Clooney’s starrer “Up in the Air” and also just this year’s past “The Descendants” both Toronto Hits, though not People’s Choice winners.

They were, however, raved and raved and raved about out of Toronto and all season long, and then…The Air Went Out. Of Both Of Them. Almost like clockwork. And George was certainly being championed as Best Actor, too. And both times, it didn’t happen. Last year, the Little Golden Guy went to Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” Face it, George, you’re just never going to win Oscar #2.

Interestingly, “The Artist” was also at TIFF(and at Montreal AND at the New York Film Festival) but didn’t win the People’s Choice Award, or even come in second. But of course, it did win the Oscar.

And as Harvey W. would say regarding the Academy Voters “These are the ones that count.” So just because some film has won big in Toronto, doesn’t mean it’s also going to be embraced by the Academy. Oh no. Not by a long shot.

And Jennifer Lawrence? Well, I haven’t yet seen “Silver Lining’s Playbook,” but I’m not a fan. Her flat performance in “X-Men” coupled with her execrable under-acting(non-acting to me) Academy Nominated turn(she barely moved) in “Winter’s Bone” turned me off her in a very big way. I didn’t even bother to go to see “The Hunger Games” because she was starring in it.

Bland, bland, bland. Flat and bland. Curvaceous, attractive by any and all Old Hollywood or even New Hollywood standards, to be sure. She’s pretty. Ok. I’ll give her that. But I have yet to see her be anything other than sub-par. Jennifer, I’m waiting.*sounds of my foot tapping*

But with all these critical hurrahs she’s now receiving, I guess, in the case of “Silver Linings Playbook”, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. I certainly am looking forward to seeing it and seeing what all this fuss was SUDDENLY about.

I was certainly tracking the Best Actress contenders in earnest at Toronto. I got up at 5:30 AM to make a 8:45am screening of Marion Cotillard in “Rust and Bone” and the  otherworldly, magnifique Marion did not disappoint my Best Efforts.. Neither did the lovely,understated, shy mouse of Laura Linney in “Hyde Park on the Hudson”, or Helen Hunt, the VERY naked and full frontal sex surrogate  in “The Sessions,” the sublime,tormented  Keira Knightley as “Anna Karenina,” and last but not least, Dame Maggie Smith’s all out Oscar-bait turn as an aging Opera Diva in “Quartet.”

Not ONE person in Toronto. NOT ONE, mentioned to me I should see Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook’! NOT ONE! And I was listening…In fact nobody recommended “Silver Linings Playbook” to me at all. NO BODY! And then, BAM, out of nowhere this award! And then all these predictions! On Saturday…nobody was predicting her.

As Laura Linney said to me about all this Oscar madness “I take them with a grain of salt. You have to.”

I think all of this took the Weinstein Co. by surprise, too. During TIFF the #1 film was “The Master” Remember “The Master”? THAT’S what they were pushing, NOT “Silver Linings Playbook.” Now “The Master” is a SUDDEN #3, behind “SLP” and “Argo.”

And on the other side of the gender divide ~Is it Joaquim Phoenix in “The Master” or is it Daniel Day Lewis in “Lincoln”, or is it the much more sympathetic John Hawkes in “The Sessions”? I think the jury is really out on that category and you all KNOW how the Academy relates to Comedies, which the “Silver Linings Playbook” seems to be.

I’ll let you know MY take on all this as soon as I see the remaining films. You can’t write the story of 2012 when Oscar seekers like “Les Miserables”, “Lincoln”, “Zero Dark Thirty””Django Unchained” and “The Hobbit” are all still unseen.

In that case, the person I feel most in agreement with is Pete Hammond of http://www.deadline.com !

It’s not over until the Fat Lady(or in the case of Dame Maggie Smith in “Quartet”) the Thin Lady Sings!

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