a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Hailee Steinfeld’

Gurus o’ Gold change in one chaaaangeable category!

As the Gurus o’ Gold( I used to be one, once! Yes! It’s true!) put up their near-to-final picks for Oscar, there’s ONLY one change ini ONE major category. “The King’s Speech”, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman and Christian Bale are all the same #1’s they were before, but HAILEE STEINFELD of “True Grit” has move up to # 1 in the Best Supporting Actress category! That race, I swear, is going to be decided by one vote!

We’ll never know of course, because Oscar NEVER prints totals, but it’s gonna be close! A photo finish! I’m still saying “The King’s Speech” will sweep, however.

The Gurus can be found at David Poland’s www.moviecitynews.com

An Unexpected Midnight Missive about Melissa-Gate!

I’ve always considered Scott Feinberg a nice, well-meaning young guy. He’s linked to this blog, before anybody else did, which I was very grateful for, so thank you, Scott. It’s started the ball rolling. This is a blog with no advertising, no publicty. It’s just a WordPress blog. Now you’ve helped it grow by leaps and bounds. Again, thank you.

But this REAALLLY upset email you sent me about Melissa-Gate, and all the apparent controversy that has been stirred up about her taking out her own ill-advised Oscar ads…well…I’ve been trying to think what was the nicest way of responding.

She’s a great actress. I’ve said this over and over again. And I would love to work with her some day. But she did something REALLLLY self-destructive and VERY unfortunate, and knowing her slightly and admiring her work tremendously, I just couldn’t believe she did something quite so, well…it’s almost beyond words how much damage she has caused her own frontrunner status. And maybe her entire career as well.

And Scott points out that he did not “admit that she has blown it” as I said in the previous post. He said EXACTLY “she COULD have…” check out the rest of his defense of Melissa in www.scottfeinberg.com

So OK. He didn’t say “she’s blown it”…Scott uses the more carefully worded “could have…”

Well, that statement, coming from Scott in the midst of his defense of her really shocked me. Scott does NOT make Oscar predictions statements like that lightly. So, I WAS BLOWN away, by his admitting this as even a remote possibility.

Melissa should’ve just sat tight and won the Oscar she was on her way to, and THEN spoken out publicly on all the topics she feels she must, and this is so, so, well ill-timed.

This is a BIG Oscar story. It’s overwhelmed “The King’s Speech” v. “The Social Network.” It’s NEWS. It’s hot news. On the Internet anyway. Everybody is talking about it everywhere. It just hasn’t seeped into TV yet…but it very well may. And I hope for Melissa’s sake it doesn’t.

Scott, this is PUBLICITY, which is what you and I deal with on a day-to-day basis. It’s what we do. I’m primarily a celebrity interviewer, as you are, and a Oscarologist since before you were born, but you’re doing much  than more than that now with your blog. I’m also a film and theater critic. So all this “reporting” is new to me. I think of it more as commenting, observation, and Melissa-gate is the biggest Oscar story going right now. It’s overwhelming the rest of this locked down race.

As now that I’ve just STARTED this blog, only in Sept., so I guess now I am a Oscar blogger. But I do not consider myself a journalist. This is a personal blog, about what I see, what I feel. And right now, I truly am upset that Melissa Leo seems to have hurt her Oscar frontrunner status. www.movieline.com does NOT have in the Number One spot on their Oscar graphs anymore because of this and they say so. Who’s in it Hailee Steinfeld!

Melissa Leo, a marvelously talented, well-regarded member of “jobbing actors” which is a good phrase, has now that she’s been nominated for an Oscar TWICE in the past two-three years, is put in the position of being a star. A movie star.

Those ads should’ve been MUCH more glamourous. She was so beautiful when she was young! She was strikingly beautiful, a fiery red-head. She was so photogenic she was a SOAP star, for goodness sakes.

She was on “All My Children” FOR YEARS, which is when I first became aware of her. And she played a “bad girl” as was ALWAYS terrific in that part. And I wondered what had happened to her, and why her talent had not been recognized in the wider world beyond soaps.

Now in her middle years she’s finally getting what it seems she always wanted. “Frozen River” was a GREAT performance, better than “The Fighter” IMHO because she was chewing the scenery a tad too much, for my tastes…but that was the part…

NOBODY understands ageism in Hollywood as well as I do, and have written about older actresses’ situation over and over again. And as a playwright/director and a member of the playwright/director’s unit at the Actor’s Studio, which is where I encountered Melissa again, when I auditioned with an aspirant to be one of the their members. I wasn’t trying to become an ACTING member of the studio. My scene partner was. We did a scene from “A Taste of Honey”. I played the gay character, of course.It was an incredible experience acting on that stage(yes, I’m an actor, too) and auditioning for Melissa. Who is held in the highest of high regard there, as you would expect.

She’s treated with tremendous respect there. Deference. As well she should be. And she seemed VERY at home there in that Method Acting atmosphere. And coming from a New York stage background Hollywood is just not a situation, and the Oscars, especially, is not a situation that she seems comfortable with AT ALL.

I am just honestly bewildered and perplexed that she did something so unfortunate as what she just did and that she was not told or stopped by her management at ICM.  Her manager, Jason Weinberg, her friend film critic Thelma Adams. I was ESPECIALLY surprised to see Thelma turn up in her photo shoot video!

Thelma, of ALL people, who writes for all manner of Show Biz publications, should’ve known the consequences of something like this.

AND I’m asked about Melissa EVERYwhere I go! And people know that I know her, and I am writing about her, to the extent that I have because it’s THE STORY of this year’s Oscars, and I am bewildered and SHOCKED, not by the reaction this has engendered, but WHY an artist of her caliber could’ve damaged something so badly, that did not did not NEED be damaged. At the very least, Melissa did not need publicity LIKE THIS.

I’m posing questions to her in my writing and to her friends and her management, looking for answers. Scott, if YOU are such a good friend of hers, why didn’t YOU stop her? You’re an Oscarologist. You cover the Oscars obsessively, as I do.

I guess the answer is you didn’t know about this. Why didn’t THELMA stop her? Or Jason? OR ICM? I guess because they COULDN’T.

But in the end the Oscars aren’t about merit, if they ever were, they are about HOOPLA. Which is what Melissa is getting now, and tons of it. On the Internet. But it’s not what she bargained for. I’m sure she didn’t expect THIS to happen and that it would be a backlash to the extent that it has. And the story just keeps getting BIGGER.

I just sincerely wish she hadn’t done this. She’s just HANDED Hailee Steinfeld, who doesn’t deserve it, or Helena Bonham-Carter, who does, an Oscar.

Somewhere Hailee Steinfeld is giggling.

Melissa-gate gets worse. Paramount cuts her out of TV ads.

I feel so awful for Melissa Leo. This situation just keeps getting worse and worse and at the worse time possible, right in the middle of the Oscar campaign season, i. e. the voting itself. Which is going on right now.

It’s one thing to take out personal ads. A move, it must be said that has won NO ONE an Oscar doing it.

It’s gotten people nominations, but it’s never gotten anyone an Oscar win.

Sally Kirkland’s name keeps being brought up, and yes, there is a resemblance. Sally’s own self-financed Oscar ads for “Anna” a great film, that was a teeny tiny indie that started at the Montreal Film Festival in 1987 did lead to her getting a nomination for the Best Actress Oscar, then the Golden Globe, which she one for Best Actress, Drama. But she lost the Oscar to Cher. Sally was roughly Melissa’s age, and “Anna” was her only Oscar chance. She never had a shot like that again. And I know Sally. She never got over this loss.

Melissa Leo was in a completely different position this year being the front runner in the Best Supporting Actress category. And having won the Broadcast Film Critics, then the Golden Globe, then the SAG awards all in that category. She seemes unstoppable until she took out those self-bought ads.

People think they’re tacky. But Melissa is even more beautiful than those ads. They were a bit “Dynasty”-esque…but the point is Who told her to do this? Where was her management? Did she have a personal publicist who TOLD her to do this? If so, WHO WAS THIS IDIOT!?!

But I maintain that it wasn’t just the ads, it’s what she then started saying to of all people Nicki Finke’s www.deadlinehollywood.com via Pete Hammond. That article really did her in. Why? Because the ads and this Hammond/Finke rant blindsided Paramount, who is the distributor of “The Fighter.”

And then she says it all over again to The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Appello. www.hollywoodreporter.com

Read it and weep.

I totally sympathesize with her personally. She’s 50. The same age, BTW as Best Actor Frontrunner, Colin Firth(the King of “King’s Speech”) and she can’t get a magazine cover. In fact, she’s not even PICTURED or MENTIONED in Vanity Fair’s must-buy Hollywood Issue.

Hailee Steinfeld gets a paired color PAGE, paired with Elle Fanning, under the headline “The Old Souls”. Helena Bonham-Carter gets a whole page to herself, looking quite bananas, but then that’s her thing these days evidently. But she can get away with it. She’s British. She’s eccentric.

But the most shocking reaction to this is the speed with which Paramount yanked their “Fighter” ads, which DID feature Melissa as heavily as they featured Christian Bale, who, sorry to say, is the frontrunner in Best Supporting Actor.

Christian is no walk-in-the-park in terms of his relationship with the press. But at this moment Melissa-gate is making him look like Bambi.

So then last night, the ads made a sudden re-appearance, withOUT Melissa!?!?! But WITH Christian!!! IOW, Paramount cut her out of their own pictures promotion!!!

Paramount, meanwhile, to those not paying attention to this sort of thing, Paramount has THREE of the Best Supporting Actress nominees out of five this year. Hailee Steinfeld from “True Grit” and ALSO Amy Adams from “The Fighter.” The other two nominees are Helena Bonham-Carter for “The King’s Speech” and Jackie Weaver from “The Animal Kingdom.”

Melissa Leo’s Self-Bought Oscar Ads=Career Suicide?

Oh, no, she didn’t!

Yes, she did.

Supporting Actress frontrunner Melissa Leo has just taken out a considerable amount of personal ads for herself in Hollywood Trade Papers and on movie news sites like “Deadline:Hollywood” where she talked to their Pete Hammond and basically blindsided Paramount, then slammed them(specifically studio execs and publicists) to Hammond for her not landing on magazine covers at this crucial time of the year.

You can read the entire run-down and blow-by-blow history of what Melissa just did to her almost assured Oscar win (she won the Golden Globe, the Broadcast Film Critics and the Screen Actors Guild Award)at www.deadlinehollywood.com and the article is entitled “Melissa Leo Goes Rogue with her own Oscar ad campaign.)

Pete Hammond in a very well researched piece runs down the history of actors who have done this and upon re-reading it, I noticed that not one of these results in an Oscar win. Nominations, yes. But not a win.

But Melissa already HAD the nomination.

And she says she “discussed it with my management” and I can’t imagine her manager, Jason Weinberg, who is considered one of the best in the business, letting her do this. But perhaps he couldn’t stop the determined fire-brand.

I knew Melissa when she was young and a great beauty, and a fiery red-head and ALREADY, I thought, a great actress. And she still is. She’s just grown and grown. But she’s 50 now and quite brilliant, but over-the-top in “The Fighter” as Alice Ecklund, the monstrous manager mom with an innumerable brood of bruising offspring, including fighters Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.

It’s considered, FYI, by the Academy, who is sometimes very prim and proper about these delicate issues of acting nominees advertising themselves, it’s considered bad form.

It’s not illegal, according to their rules, but it’s just- well- not done.

And I don’t think it’s EVER been done by someone who already has a stash of precursor awards already on her shelf.

Why why why did she do this? And THEN knock Paramount, who has taken out TV ads, very expensively,  which highlight her performance and Christian Bale’s?

And blind side them, and then knock Paramount and Relativity Media and their publicists to NICKI FINKE?????

I guess, as I re-read the article that her management just couldn’t stop her or thought that it wouldn’t matter. But she just lost ALLLLL of Paramount’s substantial studio support in terms of their AMPAS members voting for her and that ESPECIALLY includes their publicists, who are probably FURIOUS about this, to them, seeming betrayal. And all these people are probably voting members of the Academy.

Not smart.

And perhaps fatal.

A few votes in a four way Oscar category that is now blown wide open by this, a few votes this way or that  could go to her OTHER Paramount Supporting Actress nominees, Amy Adams, also for “The Fighter” and Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit.”

At Movieline, with their funny, interesting Oscar graphs, www.movieline.com

I was surprised to find Melissa and Hailee Steinfeld listed as a TIE!?!

Everyone thought she was a front-runner, except Melissa herself.

I noticed she wasn’t on the cover of Entertainment Weekly’s Oscar Issue. It had a banner across the top which contained YES! Amy Adams AND Hailee Steinfeld AND Natalie Portman, but no Melissa!!!!

THEN, on the cover of Vanity Fair’s always much-hyped and extremely popular Hollywood(read Oscar issue) once again, Melissa is no where to be found. But visible, past the first fold, is an unrecognizable Jennifer Lawrence, who is nominated for(but doesn’t deserve it)”Winter’s Bone” as Best Actress, then also-rans Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde and then on the third fold, Rashida Jones(WHO????) and finally right on the edge and about to fall off Noomi Rapace in a dazzling purple gown, when everyone else is wearing black and white.

But no Melissa.

Also on the inside I couldn’t easily find her, although there were plenty o’ Oscar nominees VERY beautifully photographed. Colin Firth, for instance, driving a car, in a beautiful color-desatureated  Cary Grant close-up, with the caption “The King of Pain” There’s full-page, distinguished-looking CU, too of a bearded but cleaned-up Christian Bale called “The Shape Shifter” and a full-color close-up shot of an embracing HAILEE STEINFELD and Elle Fanning entitled “The Old Souls”, and entire article on Mark Walhberg with pictures. many pictures, but NO MELISSA ANYWHERE!

That, coupled with this weekend’s coming BAFTA awards in London, where Melissa was famously snubbed, but Amy Adams and Hailee Steinfeld made it in, probably sent Melissa over the edge and into her “rogue”(Nicki Finke’s word) mentality, to do this…

Amy Adams, in must be said, is also not pictured, in VF. That I could easily find. And it is Amy Adams who gets the first layout and two page color spread in “Entertainment Weekly” in the Best Supporting Actress section of their Oscar issue.

These exclusions and magazine placements send coded messages to the Academy like “THESE are the stars.” and these other are not…

And David Karger of EW, who if Sasha Stone is my Oscar Goddess, then Dave is my Oscar God, has switched his Best Supporting Actress pick from Melissa to Hailee Steinfeld!

Uh, oh…

And at the BAFTA Helena Bonham-Carter will win in the Best Supporting Actress category for “The King’s Speech”(it;s expected to sweep all 16 categories that it’s nominated in) and she WILL make a moving, funny, quirky acceptance speech( a la Tilda Swinto) that will be televised and You Tube-ed round the world. Helena is the one to beat in this category, IMHO. Not Hailee, Not Amy. And Melissa isn’t even nominated. (and how many times have I typed Hailee Steinfeld, in the article, and I CAN’T STAND HER. What’s happening to me?)

And I just wish Melissa had not done this. She didn’t need to.

But with three strong competitors in Supporting Actress, Amy Adams in her own movie, Hailee Steinfeld and Helena Bonham-Carter, Melissa has done herself a great disservice.

Oh, Melissa, what have you done? You don’t bite the hand that hypes you.

Now that “True Grit” has been snubbed AGAIN~

Welllllll, even if “True Grit” is killing at the Box-Office despite that dreadful child actress’ performance ruining most of it. Yes, I’m talking about YOU Hailee Steinfeld. It was MUCH better in the second half with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon taking over from the brat-in-Judy-braids. And then there’s that MAAAAHHHVelously grotesque Coen ending with the survivors…

ANYwaaaaaaaaaaay!

Will AMPAS feels it had to right a wrong and nominate the Coen’s for Best Director? ANYWaaaaaay…

Well, there’s two schools of thought. Either they think that YES, they do have to right this egregious wrong, or no they don’t.

The Director’s Branch of the Academy always has me scratching my head. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!?! Is my usual reaction when the nominations are announced.

You all know who are reading this that it’s Oscar 101 that the Director’s Branch nominate directors. AND they get to vote for the Ten Best Pictures.

Each branch does this and the Actor’s Branch, the largest dominates.

OK, perhaps you don’t know this about me, but I was trained as an actor and spent most of the early part of my life as an actor, and then, I switched to directing. In theater, and also of course, on a weekly basis, my TV show for the past 23 years.

But even after all this life experience, I STILL think like an actor. Can’t help it. Acting is the central CORE of well, everything in the Spoken Word Arts. And Actors think a certain way.

And director’s, especially if they haven’t been actors themselves, don’t. And Especially the Director’s Branch doesn’t.

So they may think, and probably they do, that since the Coens won so recently with “No Country for Old Men”, their masterpiece, that they don’t need to be rewarded again and so soon. They may think that since the movie is making MORE MONEY THAN ANY COEN BROTHERS MOVIE EVER MADE, and that includes ALL OF THEM put together, that they should take note and reward them.

But I don’t think they will.  It WILL be nominated in the Ten Best Movies. I mean, the NOMINATED “A Serious Man” last year, even. Oy.

So no, the Coen’s don’t need it, they’ll think.

Whereas David O. Russell, who’s never been nominated before, and who is the one out of Hooper, Fincher, Aronosky and Nolan, who is probably the shakiest DGA nominee(he burst out crying when told) is either going to be thought of as a)just a hired hand brought in at the last-minute, when it was clearly a job nobody wanted OR

B) He made a very difficult situation that he did not create(producer/star Mark Wahlberg did) WORK, and WORK very, very well. They, the Director’s Branch may admire that making a lemon out of lemonade situation.

The supposedly personally disliked O.Russell is now “IN”. It’s OK to like him, according to the DGA.

Sasha Stone at www.awardsdaily.com has pointed out that the two director’s groups DON’T always match 100 %, although they OFTEN do and more often than not. And I’m sure Sasha is readying a chart, or put one up already, that illustrates this.

And how does this effect the films’ acting chances? Well, since the Golden Globes ALREADY left “True Grit” out COMPLETELY, I think all of its’ chances are shaky. Matt Damon is being completely disregarded, it seems. And the Hot-Tween-of-the Moment Hailee Steinfeld is said to be so beloved that she’s splitting her vote – between being nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. That she may split her own vast popularity and end up with NO-THING.

We can only hope.

I don’t know what everybody is going so crazy over her lousy, unbelievable, embarrassing performance for. She should stick to commercials extolling “Blingatude” Now, she was REALLY authentically believable in that.

And the only one of “True Grit”(I feel like calling it “True Shit”)’s actor who may be impervious to these winds of changes is Jeff Bridges in Best Actor. The Dude Abides.

DGA announces its’ Nominees for Best Director!

Newsflash, Oscarwatchers! Dear readers, dear cineastes, the all mighty Directors Guild just announced their nominees. Five only. For best director of a motion picture 2010.

This announcement is RRREALLY good news for the nominated directors and their pictures. And bad news for those that are left out.

Some surprises, of course.

Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech” His first nomination

Christopher Nolan, “Inception” Nominated twice before for “Momento”(one of my top ten films of the DECADE! And also, the Batman sequel “The Dark Knight”)

Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan” Also a first-time nominee!

and the Big Surprise, the universally not-liked David O. Russell of “The Fighter” shows that yes, they like him, they really like him.

And of course, David Fincher, who was nominated once before for “Benjamin Button” is nominated AGAIN for that Film I Will Not Name.

Surprisingly, no Coens for “True Grit” which is doing so well at the box-office. Also, no Danny Boyle for “127 Hours.” Bad news for those films and though they may make it into the Oscar Top Ten, this puts their actors suddenly in a big of jeopardy, to put it mildly.

Also, no John Cameron Mitchell for “Rabbit Hole.” So Nicolle Kidman look out.

No Lisa Cholodenko for “The Kids Are All Right” and no Debra Granik for “Winter’s Bone.” So all male nominees. No women at all after last year’s great breakthrough triumph of Katherine Bigelow winning Best Director for “The Hurt Locker.”

Also out, I’m now thinking is Matt Damon for “True Grit” although Jeff Bridges and the awful tyke Hailee Steinfeld seem in the stronger positions in their categories.

Also, no Tony Goldwyn for “Convinction.” Not good news for Hillary Swank. Though I think the never nominated Sam Rockwell could surprise in Supporting.

Also, not good for James Franco’s Best Actor chances of “127 Hours.” I think he’ll get a nomination but without a directing nomination, “127 Hours” is in a much weaker position than it was yesterday. Although people aren’t going to it.

I think these five gentlemen are IN LIKE FLINT though as Nominees for Best Director at the Oscars.

Congratulations to Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech” who is the one who named me the Oscar Messenger, let’s not forget!

This group of five men are locked and loaded. So now we know…

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