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Oscar Afterwards’ ~ Sasha Stone & Jeff Wells Look Forward

Oscar Afterwards' ~ Sasha Stone & Jeff Wells Look Forward

It takes up something like six months of the year. From September when Toronto unfurls the usual winner, and they were right. “12 Years a Slave” was winning the minute it opened and it won the Audience Award there. Til March(this year) when the Awards are given out.

Then it’s time for the Oscar Afterwards period as I’m now calling it. The blah period when everything returns so much to normal, which usually means tons and tons of dreadful movies, that I return to Broadway with a vengeance and a thank god for the theatre.

People ask why I continue to ignore the Tribecca Film Festival, which is right next door, as it were, but I’m a proud Voting Member of the Drama Desk, and so for three months of the year, which is NOW, I turn to the stage.

Others, however, this year are looking ahead, WAAAAY far ahead to the Oscar race 2015. And Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone http://www.awardsdaily.com and Jeff Wells http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com do this very entertainingly as always in a new Oscar podcast I just stumbled upon at Hollywood-Elsewhere.

I’ll summarize. I was surprised to see this as Sasha is usually averse to this sort of thing soooo far in advance. She says and I agree it’s bogus and full of possiblities that turn into pot-holes.And then there’s “How’s the Academy going to react?” She points out that “Who could’ve predicted they would totally turn their back on a great film like “Inside Llewyn Davis?” But Jeff ALWAYS has his Oscar Balloon up all the year long.

But everybody seems to be doing this this year and I can tell you why. Especially if you’re on the Internet as I am and they are, if you don’t talk about the Oscars, your hits drop. The Oscars as opposed to just plain movie-going enjoyment.

I can’t tell you the disparity between the hits I got on Oscar day and for a week or so after. And now…well, as I said, everything’s back to normal.

Spring is coming. And so Jeff’s thoughts, particularly, turn to “What’s Next?” From their whole conversation, which veers off their picks A LOT and onto other(interesting) talking points, the one film that jumped out at me was “Gone Girl.” This is the new David Fincher film based on the best-selling book, which Sasha particularly got excited about.

She certainly intrigued me. Starring in the title role is the beauteous Brit Rosamund Pike. Who I’ve had a guest on my show a couple of years back, and who impressed me as someone who was much more than people took her for when I interviewed her.

And I thought “Why doesn’t someone give this lovely, beautiful woman a role she can really shine in?” And it seems that David Fincher may be just the one to do just that.

Look what he did with Rooney Mara in “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” People criticized him for casting an unknown more or less in the iconic role of Lisbeth Salander, and she ended with an Oscar nomination, though the film was not nominated for Best Picture…

“Gone Girl” may suffer the same fate. I don’t want to give anything away. I really do hate the way Jeff spoils things for people. But Sasha made this film sound so tantalizing, I’ll just say I’m glad I haven’t read the book, because I want to be surprised.

It seems it’s a thriller, and Fincher always does well, very well with that. One of my favorite films of his was “Zodiac” in which Jake Gyllenhaal gave ANOTHER under-rated, but great performance. And no, “Zodiac” wasn’t nominated for an Oscar either.

The Academy gave “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” an Oscar for Film Editing. It was a surprise. It’s like they wanted to give it SOMEthing.

Jeff was initially just dismissing “Gone Girl” saying “There won’t be much underneath it”, and Sasha just jumped all over him, and said “What? Wait a minute! It’s David Fincher!”

I really did like Rosamund Pike when I met her for “Barney’s Version” and could Fincher be the man to tap her untaped potential? Is there an Oscar Nomination in the beautiful Rosamund’s future?

As far as what’s coming up…it looks like another barren tent-pole summer of blockbusters. Not looking forward to that.

When Broadway is offering Bryan Cranston as LBJ in “All the Way” next week and also “Rocky: the Musical” directed by the extremely innovative Alex Timbers, well, I’m happy to be going to them both.

At this time of year as I’m waiting for Broadway to start, I am always glad I made the decision to keep going back to the theater.

Cate Blanchett’s Oscar Suddenly in Trouble?

No sooner had I typed the words “There’s nothing that can stop Cate Blanchett’s March to the Oscar” when there appeared in The Hollywood Reporter http://www.hollywoodreporter.com that indeed there WAS something. Something awful. And there’s been volley’s and cross-fires on http://www.awardsdaily.com and also http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com All are now essential reading. 

But the definitive piece, I think is http://www.showbiz411.com/2014/02/01/mia-farrow-uses-close-pal-journalist-in-woody-allen-war-writer-of-latest-piece-is-close-friend

By Roger Friedman.

You, dear readers, dear cineastes, can make up your own minds. I am more with Roger Friedman on this.

First the timing of the piece, right in the supposedly “Quiet period”, the two week before the AMPAS voters get there ballots. And the attaching of Cate Blanchett to this horrible story. The NBC news last night ran it with 20-year-old footage of Allen with the police, etc. etc. He had red hair in all the shots of him, that’s how old it was. But they didn’t link the story, with Cate Blanchett and “Blue Jasmine.”

While if you believe Dylan Farrow’s detailed account of her molestation by Allen, did she wait all these years to release this new salvo, and come out of the shadows, just now, when Cate Blanchett is poised to win yet another Oscar as one of Woody’s Great Roles of Women. “Midnight in Paris” won him ANOTHER Oscar last year for Best Original Screenplay and nothing was said. But now to attack and involve Cate Blanchett in this??? Smacks of another actress’jealousy, an actress who DOESN’T have an Oscar, and is probably never going to get one, and I’m looking at you, Mia Farrow.

Will this affect,, however Cate Blanchett’s Oscar win? Well it might and it might not. Look, the Academy awarded Roman Polanski Best Director for “The Pianist” and also it got Best Actor for Adrien Brody, in an unexpected (but not by me, who predicted it) on my TV show)win for Best Actor. But then again, it might. 

As I said in my previous post here on this blog, the BAFTAS are really going to tell the tale. And who would be the primary recipient of this really sad situation? I think it’s not Amy Adams, who gave one of the worst performances of her career in “American Hustle”, but 77-year-old Dame Judi Dench, who is also nominated in that category for “Philomena”. AND she’s got Harvey Weinstein behind her, and the Weinstein Co.behind her.AND she’s going blind.

But I don’t think this will have any impact at all on the innocent party in this Cate Blanchett. If the Academy Awarded Roman Polanski, who really was at the center of HIS scandal from the ’70s, they’ll award Cate Blanchett who has nothing to do with this.

 

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.”

“Lincoln” is Boring Tweet Clarification

So, is it a Tempest-in-a-Teapot that was? Or was it the real deal? Super Critic Thelma Adams picked up my Tweet Delete story and confronted Lou Lumenick of the NYPost about it. on Facebook. Thelma, full disclosure, used to be one of the New York Posts film critics herself.

This is all regarding an article in the NY Post about a New Jersey viewer stumbling into a sneak peek preview of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-seeking “Lincoln” which doesn’t open for another 7 weeks or so.

The viewer was incensed that it was so BOR-ING.

And Lou told Thelma, on Facebook, that yes, the story was up, and yes, the story went down, along with the rest of the New York Post yesterday, eividently and now, this morning his story, tweet and all are back up and readable at www.nypost.com  And no, DreamworksDisney did not make him do it. He has heard nothing from them he claimed.

Technical glitches do happen of course, even to major newspapers.

Jeffrey Wells was suspicious, nonetheless, and you can read his version of things at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

I believe the film goer. A congressional procedural movie on the passing of a bill, however important, can be VERY dull to watch as politicians drone on and on…I get it. That IS dull. And if that is what the film is mainly about…well, it sounds like a history LECTURE, rather than a film. A MOVIE. It should MOVE.

According to this disgruntled film-goer it’s just dull, dull, dull.

Well, the trailer is dull, too.

The positive note that this viewer struck was the appreciation of Daniel Day-Lewis’s Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones and Hal Holbrook’s performances, too. Sally Field, as I reported, was roundly dissed as “mis-cast.”

And there you have it. That’s the story, folks. Read Jeff Wells. Read Thelma Adams. Read Lou Lumenick of the NYPost and you can make up your own minds about this.

Clash of the Oscar Titans! Oscar Goddess, Oscar Grouch & Gold Derby go Head-to- Head in Historic Pod-Cast!!!

Just back in town, to find to my great joy and amazement that Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone, Oscar Grouch Jeffrey Wells and Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil just did a historic podcast on Tom’s also historic June 1 Oscar predix list. June 1! Yes, June 1! I’ve already discussed his list in a previous posting and so I wondered just what more could be said by all three together at once.

Clash of the Oscar Titans? Well, kinda.

Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com of course, is the person I agree with most. No surprise to my readers, dear cineasstes all, but to MY surprise, Sasha I and seemed more in sync that EVAH!

She feels, and Tom did too, and I heartily concur, that the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, not due until the holidays, is highly tricky and  risky. The film rises and falls on his performance, needles to say, Abraham. Lincoln was not a bombastic man or a scenery-chewing role like Billy the Butcher in “Gangs of New York” or that awful creature he played in “There Will Be Blood.” And won a second (and UNDESERVED) Oscar for.

When he goes introspective or quiet as he is bound to with a subtle man like Lincoln, he is, as Sasha said, “a cold motherfucker”. Which of course is what ruined “Nine,” and also a passion project “Rose” which is uber-talented wife Rebecca Miller directed him in. Blah. This demi-god of acting is NOT infallible.

So we can safely say that the Best Actor category is still up in the air.

Even more to the point and very questionable IMHO still is playwright Tony Kushner’s screenplay for this, the saga of Lincoln’s entire life. Kushner tends to overwrite and his plays all end up VERY long. He’s not a concise, clear screenwriter. Witness “Munich” as a case in point, also with Spielberg. Sure it eeked out a Best Picture nod, in the end, but it was not the masterpiece Time Magazine’s pre-mature cover story suggested it would be. Far from it. And the numbing pain of his three-hour “Mother Courage” in Central Park several seasons back, I can’t forgive or forget. He “adapted” his own translation of Brecht’s great play, which was NEVER known to be LONG. And poor Meryl Streep gave one of her worst performances ever as she struggled to keep this corpse afloat. I thought she was going to have a heart attack right there on the stage!

Sasha also pointed out that Tom’s Gold Derby-ites had mixed up the categories for “The Master” and had Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the lead, and Joaquin Phonenix as Supporting and Tom O’Neil agreed! So there’s THAT confusion. As if we needed more.

Sasha also iterated, and again I agree with her, that the two big films to look out for for Best Picture and in many other categories are “Les Miserables” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” And again Tom O. agreed with her.And once again, I do, too. Even at this great distance in June this seems clear.

Jeffrey Wells of http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com still seemed like he was in Prague, and perhaps that’s where he was calling in from. If it was in L.A., he really did seem out of the loop indeed. And called this lively discussion “A revelation.” And added that he’d have to update his Oscar Balloon. Oy, Jeffrey. Get with the program.

Sasha felt that Oscar movies need to make you FEEL, and I couldn’t agree more. The ones thatultimately win, I mean.

And of all those out there, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (seen by all) and “Les Miserables”(still unseen until the holidays) are the two films who could go all the way.

I’m interviewing all involved with “Beasts” on Thursday there in NYC. Which I came back into town for. And I am very happy to finally be able to ask the 23-year-old Wunderkind Behn Zeitlin, the co-screenwriter and the director, of this mind-blowing milestone of a film just HOW he created this cinematic miracle.

“Beasts” may be too edgie and too Indie to WIN Best Picture. But what of it extraordinary child actress, the now eight-year-old Qu’venzhane Wallis?

This is undoubtedly the best performance I’ve ever seen by a child, but could she win Best Actress???? Sasha seems to think she could and that that is the category where she is going to end up. And again, I find myself in astonished, but delighted agreement.

She’s got EXTRAORDINARY chemistry with the camera. And her performance haunts my mind.

Sasha said “I pity the actress that is going to have to go up against her for Best Actress.”  And she and Tom discussed the others in contention in THAT category. Laura Linney for “Hyde Park on Hudson”, Keira Knightley in “Anna Karenina”, and Marion Cotillard in “Of Rust and Bone.

Maybe they’ll create a Special Oscar just for Qu’venshane. Like they did for Shirley Temple and Judy Garland back in the ’30s.

And, after reading all this, you want to hear MORE. Go to http://www.goldderby.com and you’ll find it all there. It’s really worth a listen to all you Oscarwatchers out there.

Tom and Sasha agreed more than I ever thought they would. And I agree with them more than I ever thought I would.

“Avengers” Oscar Throw Down!

Oscar the Grouch, Jeffrey Wells of www.hollywood-elsewhere.com really slammed Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of www.awardsdaily.com on his always-interesting-to-read-and-get-angry-bout website, but knocking her in a very disrespectful way about her “Avengers” article/piece which I already posted about a couple of days ago.

He’s says Awful! at her P.O.V. that you have to now consider “Avengers” as an Oscar candidate because it’s made so much money. And if they do that “Nominated Because They Got the Most #1 Votes” scenario like they did last year, which yielded surprises like “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”, yes, it’s Anything Day Happen Day, like on the Olde Mickey Mouse Club. (I think it was Wednesdays.) Sasha calls it “the herding cats” syndrome, and I can’t get that image or phrase out of my mind. It’s stuck. It sticks like all great new-word coin-age should stick.

What does that mean EXACTLY? Well, I think it goes to the Studio involved, in this case Disney, and do they have enough Academy Voters to put “The Avengers” at #1 on their ballots. And yes, they actually do.

So like it or not, Jeff Wells, this is a distinct possibility. But with two other blockbusters coming up, tomorrow “Prometheus” and in July Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” there’s a chance that they may knock “The Avengers” out of it. But will either of them make more money? IDK.

Oscar Gets “Amour”

Well, this certainly is news! Austria has decided that “Amour” is going to be its’ official submission to the Best Foreign Film race this coming Oscar season. Since it’s by a German director, who I LOVE, Michael Haneke, and maybe it’s German-Austrian financed although the two octogenarian leads,  who are winning raves, act in French, this makes “Amour” kosher. And definitely eligible for a Best Foreign Film nomination and perhaps win.

This is despite Jeffrey Wells at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com not liking a whole hell of a lot.

And to top that off Sony Pictures Classics is deciding to open it in Dec. RIGHT in the heat of the Oscar season. I know, I know. It’s freezing in New York at that time of year, and this is hardly your Christmas-y picture. But SPC, as I’ll now call them, are throwing down the Oscar gauntlet(is that a mixed metaphor?) going full court press with this one.

Although Michael Haneke only gives interviews in German, and the two stars are yes-for-real are in their 80s. But have Oscar buzz will travel. So we’ll be seeing them, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva stateside around the holidays. Or at least I will be seeing them, I hope, in their press tour.

I love SPC’s taste in movies. Last year,  they had “Midnight in Paris” and while it got a bunch of nominations in many categories and won in Best Original Screenplay, they did not move any of the many wonderful performers in that movie from the sidelines to center stage. Like for instance, Corey Stoll as Hemingway, Marion Cotillard as the Muse of many centuries and Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein. Not to mention Owen Wilson’s, astonishing lead performance and Rachel McAdams as his blonde bitch of a fiancée.

Although Owen did get a Golden Globe nomination in the Musical or Comedy category, he lost out to Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” And who could’ve stopped THAT express train once it left the station???

I can’t stand Wes Anderson movies, so I only go to them, if dragged so I haven’t seen “Moonrise Kingdom” yet. But I guess I’ll have to at some point. I hate when straight men try to do camp. Which is basically what his great “Style” is. Stolen from the Homosexual Handbook. I ought to know. I helped write it back in The Day.

And tomorrow I’m actually going to see “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”  I’ll let you know if I think all the who-ha at Sundance and Cannes was justified.

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