a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Hollywood-Elsewhere’

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.

Back and Forth on the Eddie R. Smear Campaign. Why It Won’t Work.

Golden Eddie 2Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com just wrote a piece on Kris Tapley’s piece at http://www.hitfix.com and I responded. Here’s what I wrote ~

“I too actually LIKED “Jupiter Ascending”. And wrote about it at length on my blog. Click on my name above^ and you’ll get there. I was F.U.N. And Eddie R. brilliant actor that he is, was really quite scarily terrific as the evil queen of the universe. And yes, he was playing camp to the max, but he did it SO WELL. I mean at one moment with the REAL queen(in this movie) of the universe, Mila Kunis, he got actually, totally demonic.

And yes, the script required that he scream at the top of his lungs, and vocal range, so he did.And the audience roared. It was a joke, OK? It’s comic. They were SUPPOSEDLY to laugh.

There’s good camp and there’s bad camp. I admittedly decided to check my brain at the door, as I say, on my blog. And I did. And I enjoyed it for its’-so-bad-it-good unbelievable factor, and the visuals are stunning. And Channing Tatum? In Imax and 3D? What’s not to like?
All this Eddie R smear stuff, by Jeffrey Wells at http://www.Hollywood-elsewhere.com, particularly, is people just grabbing ,as they say, a meme and riding it for all the hits they can get. JW in particular this Oscar season has been complaining how boring it is, because Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette are soooo locked.

And the only movement at all is in the Best Actor race, and JW is VERY afraid that “Birdman” is going to lose everything. Like “American Hustle” did last year. And I think that may be what’s happening.
As exalted a source as Harvey Weinstein himself said that Richard Linklater is going to win the DGA tonight. And JW will have a very entertaining meltdown-to-end-all-meltdowns. And his hits will stay high, which is really all he cares about anyway. In case there was some doubt.

There’s just been nothing else to write about this week, so he and those like him have to come up with SOMEthing. Bravo, to Kris Tapley by the way.”

This is just some posters, some Oscar “pundits”, looking to resurrect Eddie Murphy’s Oscar loss as a “Norbit” moment. This was for his role in “Dreamgirls”, which seems like light years ago. Everybody thought it was going to get nominated for Best Picture, then it didn’t. Jennifer Hudson won for Supporting Actress that year, in what was once again category fraud. She was playing the lead, Effie White.

And Eddie Murphy had the TRULY supporting role as James “Thunder” Early, and while he was very good in what he had to do, I always felt he was just missing ONE crucial scene that could’ve locked in his Oscar chances. He lost, famously, to Allan Arkin for “Little Miss Sunshine.” And at the time of the Oscar voting, which is NOW  btw, his “Norbit” film opened with him plastered all over Hollywood and creation as a very, very fat black woman.

And this was supposed to have lost him his Oscar, and Eddie M. ran screaming from the ceremony. Talk about screaming queens. He immediately left when Alan Arkin won. I wish we had pictures of his more-than-hasty exit.

But Eddie Redmayne is a serious actor giving a serious, actually iconic, performance as Stephen Hawking in “A Theory of Everything.” And this smear moment is Jeffrey Wells and others attempts to stop Eddie R.’s momentum going into the Best Actor race, which started yesterday. Jeff you see is all-in on “Birdman”. I hate to think what is going to happen, as I said, in my “Awardsdaily” comment, if “Birdman” loses EVERYthing to “Boyhood” (and to “Grand Budapest Hotel”) and ends up with a goose egg on Oscar night which is two and a half weeks away.

Wells actually refers to Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair as “a gimmick”!

Mary Dugan, PLEASE!

Jeff Wells Admits Eddie Redmayne Could Beat Michael Keaton

Theory2Theory 1

Well, it had to happen. Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere, arguably the biggest supporter of “Birdman” now admits that yes, as I said all along since I saw it in Toronto, that Eddie Redmayne could very well topple Michael Keaton’s front-runner status for the Best Actor Oscar!

I couldn’t believe I was reading this because Jeffrey has been such a staunch admirer of Keaton, but all along I’ve been on Team Eddie!

What he has to do in “The Theory of Everything” as the severely crippled British genius Stephen Hawking in terms of the great Oscar determinator “Degree of Difficult” is off the charts amazing.

Disabilities, when they are as well and as feelingly portrayed as they are in “Theory of Everything,” are catnip to Academy voters and especially the dominant Actor’s Branch. But this will appeal across all branches.This film has Triumph of the Human Spirit written all over it.

It’s exhilarating. Inspirational to the max. When I think there’s something I can’t do these days, I just think of what that OTHER Stephen has had to go through all this life, and well, it just encourages me to struggle on.

And Jeff Wells writes about this feelingly in his latest posting, quoting David Denby’s elegiac, rapturous review of Redmayne’s performance in this week New Yorker.

Check out what Jeff had to say here at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

I never thought he’d admit it in print, but realist that Jeff is, he did.

I think the recently reconstituted Focus Features is doing this just right for Redmayne and “Theory,” just as I hoped they would.

There was a lovely piece on Redmayne and Felicity Jones, who plays his devoted wife, Jane,and who may also be in line for an Oscar Nomination of her own, in the New York Times, at just the right moment that it should be this past week.

This film is also an amazing love story on top of everything else. Based on Jane’s memoir, it is the story of both their battles, and her dedication to her husband in spite of EVERYTHING. Or because of EVERYTHING is just awe-inspiring. As is this film.

It’s hands down the Best Film of the Year, and I am so glad I saw it at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

If you put Stephen Hawking on the one hand and try to balance it on the other hand with a portrait of a self-absorbed asshole of an actor (Birdman) well, guess which way the awards’ scales tip?

Elaine Stritch Passes at 89

Elaine StritchI regret to say that I never got to have the late Elaine Stritch as a guest on my TV program, though I actually did meet her once. And had a little bit of conversation with her. It was in some theatrical eaterie on W.46th St. Joe Allen’s or Orso’s or some place like that.

I was going out and she was coming in and I raved and raved to her about her performance in Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance” on Broadway. Her rare foray into a serious role, and she was of course, terrific.  She didn’t care about my blandishments. She waved them off and kept saying “But do you think it’s a good play?” and I said I did and she kept at me “But Is it a GOOD PLAY??”

This exchange got repeated several times, and I don’t think I convinced her of my position and I

wondered why she would be so stuck on that question.

I also of course, saw her onstage, probably more than once in her iconic stage performance of “Company” when she screeched out “The Ladies Who Lunch” with nary a voice at all. But it didn’t matter.

And I saw her “Elaine Stritch:At Liberty” on Broadway which was wonderful, just wonderful, and she was a mere slip of a girl at 79 at the time.

I remember her copping to being a diabetic. In fact, she had to leave the stage at one point, presumably because she had had a diabetic “low” and returned literally moments later with a glass of orange juice in her hand. I could relate.

Jeff Wells at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com has just penned a lovely tribute to her, and he has her entire “At Liberty” you tube video posted there. I wish I could figure out how to post it here.

Elaine Stritch also famously didn’t have a bigger career because of her drinking, which went on for years and years. And then I guess because of her diabetic condition, she stopped.

She was 89. Perhaps if she hadn’t been such a boozer and for so  long, she would’ve lived longer and had been much, much more famous.

But you could never forget her.

R.I.P. Elaine

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It’s Spring & Jeff Welles is in Paris, heading to Cannes

It's Spring & Jeff Welles is in Paris, heading to Cannes

It’s finally Spring in New York, and Jeff Welles? Well, our intrepid movie-mad traveling friend is ALREADY in Paris heading shortly to Cannes.

You can read about it at http://www.hollywood~elsewhere.com

Jeff says it’s FREEZING in Paris aujourd’hui and he’s taken some neat videos and shots of the neighborhood where he’s staying. He took the neat photo above ^. He’s in an Airb&b which he highly recommends.

Our other intrepid Cannes-ian correspondent/friend the great Sasha Stone is headed there any minute now, too. Keep your eyes on http://www.Awardsdaily.com for Sasha’s always delightful postings from Cannes.

Last year it rained all the time. And Jeff says it’s so cold in Paris, he almost had to buy an overcoat!!! He bought a scarf instead!

However,, the weather in New York today is sunny and just gorgeous and I can’t wait to get out in it!

Going to see “After Midnight” tonight, for the SECOND time on Broadway. Loved it the first time. I’m sure I’ll love it even more this time. Vanessa Williams has replaced Fanatasia in the role of the lead singer, but the gigantic, all African-American, all-singing, all-dancing cast is the same, and I’m sure is better than ever…

Haven’t been to Cannes since the ’80s….but that’s another story….

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.

 

Racist NY Film Critics Ignore “12 Years a Slave” Well, almost

Black director Steve McQueen won Best Director from the New York Film Critics, but otherwise “12 Years a Slave” a masterpiece IMHO was ignored by the NYFCC, the Gotham Awards and the National Board of Review. It’s official. There’s a “12 Years a Slave” racist backlash in full swing. And it makes me very angry.

The beneficiaries of this most racist slate of awards voting I’ve ever seen in my adult life of covering entertainment are strangely( but good for them), Ryan Coogler and the actors of “Fruitvale Station”. “Fruitvale Station” is goodness knows about racism and its tragic effects and I’m the first one to cheer for Octavia Spenser, Melonie Diaz and Michael B.Jordan. Coogler scored with all three critics groups, much to his astonishment as I described in the previous post.

If you were handicapping the Oscars (Like Tom O’Neil does on http://www.goldderby.com), you’d have to take note that young Coogler has scored ACROSS THE BOARD.

And the lacerating “12 Years a Slave” did not. “12 Years a Slave” has the disadvantage of being the early front-runner, which as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone says historically is the worst place any deserving film can be. http://www.awardsdaily.com And unfortunately, she’s absolutely right. A pushback, a take-down seemed impossible. But three days of dealing with this VERY bad news for “12YAS” it now seems inevitable.

So word got out that “12 Years a Slave” was a difficult sit. It’s challenging, frightening, electrifying and horribly historically accurate. Which is what makes it great. And I’m ashamed that these cowardly critics turned their faces away from the reality of slavery depicted in this majestic movie. Sasha had a feeling this was going to happen, but I thought if it happened at all it would be in insular L.A. not knowledgeable New York. DISGRACE!

Steve McQueen getting Best Director from the NYFCC is to be applauded of course, but it almost seems like a boobie prize when Best Actor goes to Robert Redford for “All’s in the Wash” And the brilliant, painful performance of Chiwetel Ejiafor is left out!?!? REALLY, New York Film Critics!?!? REALLLLLY?!?!?

And the searing supporting performance of Lupita Nyong’o is ignored by them in favor JENNIFER LAWRENCE?!?!? This is for “American Hustle” the David O. Russell film which I haven’t seen yet. I’m sure she’s fine. But REALLY, New York Film Critics?!?!? Really?!?! For SHAME!!!! A BIMBO over an abused slave?!?!? And to ad insult to injury, they named “American Hustle” best picture!?!??!?

And while Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere has a source that says voting for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress were THAT CLOSE. I mean, Michael Fassbender’s choice to go film in New Zealand and ignore the whole thing seems a wise one.

I thought we lived in an enlightened age. But I guess not, Chiwetel and Lupita losing to TWO BLONDS?!? Robert Redford and Jennifer Lawrence is just unconscionable.

I protest!

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