a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Into the Woods’

Oscars 2016 ~ Is Cate Blanchett Turning Into Meryl Streep?

Stepmother 1At first when I saw “Cinderella,” which I just loved, btw, I wondered whether the superb performances by the two leading ladies, Lily James(“Downton Abbey”s Rose) and Cate Blanchett as the not-so-Wicked-but-merely-troubled-and-lonely Stepmother, would even be considered for this year’s Oscar race. I now think that two-time Oscar Winner Blanchett for Best Supporting Actress is definitely a possibilty for a nomination. I think she’s becoming the New Meryl Streep, and will get nominated for her usually outstanding work in almost anything she does, even Disney fairy tale extravaganzas. So the precedent has been set. At least in the Supporting Actress category.

I mean, look, if Meryl Streep can get nominated for playing a Witch in “Into the Woods”, her astounding 19th nomination! Then Blanchett certainly could for another fairy tale character.

Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com says her most-looked-forward-to film of 2016 is the upcoming Todd Haynes “Carol” which is the lesbian love drama based on Patricia Highsmith’s “The Price of Salt.” And yes, Blanchett is the lead in “Carol.” So theoretically, she could get TWO nominations this year. Bringing her net total so far to six, with two wins.

And considering, as Sasha points out, this is another bleak year ahead for roles for actresses, Cate Blanchett very well pull off this double-nominated hat-trick.

And on the male side, I personally think it’s Eddie Redmayne by a mile for Tom Hopper’s “The Danish Girl” opening now Nov.26, right in the heat and heart of the Oscar season.

Eddie LiliCould Eddie Redmayne do a Tom Hanks(as they say) and pull off two Best Actor wins in a row? He sure could.

Could he beat out Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”? And get two Oscars while Leo wasn’t won one yet? Yup.

As Oscar Grand-daddy Tom O’Neil is always pointing out in his Slugfests “They sometimes like to give you two.” O’Neill, of course, is at http://www.goldderby.com

Witness Luise Rainer, Spencer Tracy, Olivia de Havilland, Hanks, Kevin Spacey and Sally Fields…and more. Streep has three. Jack Nicholson has three…

Sometimes what is going to happen at the Oscars is SOOO clear. Even at this distance…

 

Oscar Nomination Predictions~ The Supporting Actors & Actresses

Oscars 2015It’s really much harder predicting the Oscar NOMINATIONS which are coming out tomorrow morning before the dawn breaks over Hollywood 5AM PST. They are announcing ALLLL 25 categories tomorrow so they may start even earlier. But right now I’m going to predict the way that the four Acting categories are going to go.

Believe it or not, my feeling for biggest surprise may be from Renee Russo, who, due to the ever-increasing popularity of “Nightcrawler” may just snatch that fifth slot in Best Supporting Actress away from Jessica Chastain, who may have unfortunately split her own vote three ways by having three exemplary examples of her stellar work in “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”, “The Most Violent Year,” and “Interstellar.”

The other more or less agreed upon four ladies, front-runner Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”), Emma Stone (“Birdman”), Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods”) and Keira Knightley (“Imitation Game”).

Supporting Actor has five men who have dominated this category since the beginning, but again, that pesky fifth slot I think is going to contain a surprise. Like for instance Steve Carrell(“Foxcatcher”) being dropped down to from Best Actor, as he was by the BAFTAS.

The 84-year-old Robert Duvall is the shakiest IMHO, because his film “The Judge” was not as much seen by audiences, i.e,  it was NOT perceived as successful. So if there were one too many screeners to see in an extremely limited amount of time “The Judge”, even though it opened the Toronto Film Festival, may very well be the one they skip.

Edward Norton was  terrific as the most over-acting actor of all time in “Birdman” and is a sure slam-dunk. Also many are gathering around Mark Ruffalo’s character in “Foxcatcher.” He’s playing a family man, and he gets tragic come-uppance which he doesn’t deserve. IOW, people are finding him the only sympathetic character in this dark, jerky movie.

Ruling the roost of The FIVE is J. K. Simmons for his blistering portrayal of a seemingly sadistic teacher, who then has also a tragic arc of sorts in the terrific “Whiplash”, a film I feel will get nominated, too, for Best Picture. But more about that category later!

Also, the Academy all did get the controversial “Selma” screeners, so they all got a chance to watch how good it is, and you just might find Tom Wilkinson’s portrait of LBJ turning up here. He’s got the only other significant, sizeable part, and Wilkinson has had two previous nominations, so they all know him and respect him.

All this “Selma” back-and-forth-ing may pay off in this category. But perhaps not with the directors branch.

If there is indeed an attempt to rally ’round “Selma” by the Actor’s Branch Carmen Ejogo who plays Coretta Scott King so beautifully might surprise here, too, and knock out – wait for it – Meryl Streep!

They may not want to give her her 19th(!) nomination. Then, again, they always nominate her for just about getting up in the morning. And she always turns up, and smiles, and laughs. But will Meryl be laughing on Oscar Nomination morning? Her terrific performance as the Witch was aided by many, many dazzling special effects…the Actor’s Branch doesn’t like special effects. They like ACTING! With a capital “A”, which Meryl WAS doing and singing as well.

Keira Knightley has the Weinstein Co. behind her. So she’s in. They still wield a mighty awards sword, despite their weak showing Sunday night with the Golden Globes. Only Amy Adams won, from TWC’s film slate. Best Actress for “Big Eyes” a nomination that is probably NOT going to be repeated on Thursday morning. But more on that category later!

Emma Stone is the Girl-Of-The-Year in “Birdman” as Michael Keaton’s mouthy teenaged daughter. She was very good in this, as she wasn’t in Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight,” but she got acclaimed for even THAT weak portrayal but not by me.

So in conclusion I think we have for Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette, Emma Stone, Keira Knightley, Renee Russo and MAYbe Meryl Streep. MAYbe.

And for Supp. Actor ~ J.K. Simmons, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo,

Ethan Hawke(for “Boyhood”) and the surprise ~ Tom Wilkinson for “Selma.”

The Academy does not shy away from the kind of press that “Selma” has been getting of late, which, as I said, may hurt its’ chances in the Best Director category but not Best Picture, and perhaps not here.

Wilkinson is a controversial LBJ? What the H! Let’s nominate to show how tough we really are, and he’s very good in the film.

We shall see.

Post Golden Globes ~ Big Winners, Big Losers, What Next?

Golden Eddie 2Tilda GrandPost Golden Globes, what’s the story? Some films won big. There were two major surprises in the top categories, and some films really went down in flames. What does it mean in terms of the Oscars? Well, actors are able to debut or audition, if you will, their winning personalities and speeches. The biggest surprise of the night, but not for me, or anyone reading this blog, is that Eddie Redmayne triumphed in Best Actor Drama for his stupendous performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” He’s playing a real person. Check. He’s playing disabled. Check. He’s British. Check. Yep, he could win Best Actor at the Oscars. His next test is  at SAG, which is coming up soon.

But next, tomorrow, in fact, is the DGA announcements of their five nominees for Best Director and if James Marsh, the director of “The Theory of Everything”, who has already won an Oscar in the past for his directing of the doc “Man on the Wire”, if James Marsh turns up as a surprise nominee among the five honorees, it will cement the momentum of “Theory”.

Also, the other surprise win of the night(But again, not to me or to you, dear readers, dear cineastes) was the grand “Grand Budapest Hotel” winning Best Comedy/Musical over “Birdman.” If “Budapest”s director, Wes Anderson’s name comes up there, as I expect it certainly will, it, too, will confirm the momentum that “Budapest” seems to be enjoying. This is after 11 BAFTA nominations last week.

The biggest losers of the night were “Imitation Game” which went home empty-handed. I wonder now if Benedict Cumberbatch even gets nominated. Eddie may have just knocked him out of contention. Just saying…

Also batting zero was “Foxcatcher” which is now in its’ death throws in terms of the Awards race. The much maligned “Selma” only managed Best Song, which is pretty embarrassing, for such a great, important film. And also “Gone Girl” got nothing. Ditto “Into the Woods.”

And what’s next after the DGA? On Thursday morning, bright and early, the Oscar Nominations themselves will be announced.

Can’t wait!

 

“Into the Woods” is 4D. Drab, Disappointing, Depressing & Disneyfied

Woods PrincesInto the Woods 1Yes, that’s right “Into the Woods” is in 4D. Not 3D. The D’s being Drab, Disappointing,  Depressing, and yes, Disneyfied. What a great waste of a Great What-Might-Have-Been. A golden opportunity squandered and cheapened like the Golden Egg that the Giant’s Golden Goose lays (off-screen in Giantland) and that Jack (of Beanstalk fame) steals. It looks more like a giant basketball, than an egg. But it serves as a metaphor to represent what the makers of this mess have turned a great musical into. A Golden Basketball. Or something that the whole family can use and bounce around, hurting or offending no one.

Except perhaps those of us who saw the ORIGINAL Broadway production in the ’80s. I can barely describe the power it had in that first incarnation.

The niftiness( and shiftiness) of combining all those great Grimm fairy-tales of childhood lore into one complicated Jungian mash-up.

And then, and THEN, because all these presumptuous fairy tale characters, Jack main among them, have caused the death of the giant, his wife, a giantess, descends to stalk the land and squishes half of the cast to death.

Believe it or not, this was a musical that I always felt was Stephen Sondheim’s reflection of the AIDS crisis, which was at its’ fever peak, at the time of the original Broadway production. Suddenly, for almost no reason, half the characters we had come to like, some of them a lot, like the Baker’s Wife, just DIED.

And this was a metaphor for the AIDS crisis. Half or more of all the people I knew, mostly gay, although some not, phfft, were gone never to return.

So in that sense the original ’80s “Woods” was heart-breaking, soul-searing and profound and when Cinderella, beautiful beyond description, sang “No One Is Alone” to the survivors of the Giantess’ wrathful apocalypse, it was utterly moving and I remember it to this day, a jewel-like, ineffable Broadway musical moment. It was cathartic.

I was waiting to feel SOMEthing like that in this facockta movie version. But no. I didn’t get it. Although they had the super, sharp Anna Kendrick sing it. Not a traditional beauty with her hawk-like, aquiline features, she radiates intelligence, which is all to the good and she sings beautifully, but THEY KEPT CUTTING AWAY FROM HER!?! Which in this case ruined the impact of the iconic song and the film’s climatic moment utterly diluted and lost.

This is just one small example I can pull from MANY in this film, trying to illustrate just how watered-down, and MILD. Nearly pure pablum this disappointing Disneyfication is.

What a shame!

The death of one of the central characters was absolutely pivotal to the original and her death by gigantic squashing was traumatic in the original because she was the one really decent character (spoiler alert!) the Baker’s Wife, who you really cared about. The role was considered a lead and won Johanna Gleeson a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, no mean feat, in any year.

Here played by Emily Blunt, the part seems curtailed, and well, blunt-er. And certainly her death is. She sort of falls out of frame, slowly, like she was simply, well, falling. A little girl in the row where I sat said “Mommy, what’s happened to her?” In fact, the child kept voicing simply confusions all the way through the movie.

Emily Blunt’s part has been curtailed in its’ impact to feature more of her co-star Meryl Streep as the Wicked Witch. And thank goodness they have Meryl in this movie! SHE’S terrific in it. She sings and screams and cackles up a storm, and casts spells with the help of perfectly executed special effects. Her performance seems larger than life and it is! It should be. And she’ll get her 19th Oscar nomination and then lose to Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood.”

But as good as she is when she’s all made up in horror garb and face-to-give-you-nightmares, when she transforms into the beauty she once was about half-way through the film (and of course, loses all her magical powers), she plays it as a blue-and-green version of Kim Kardashian, which makes her not at all the heroine she turns into in the stage version. She’s a reality show joke. So the film loses its’ moral compass there, too.

British comedian James Corden is mis-used too as the Baker. He seems ten years too young to be Blunt’s hubby, and he just over does or over-bakes all that he has to do. He’s too much of a muchness. Whereas Blunt in what should be the leading role, is just not enough.

There are high-points, though. Main among, the surprisingly comic duet of the two Princes, Cinderella’s Prince, and Rupunzel’s Prince, wailing about “Agony” on the rocky outcroppings of a stream. Chris Pine, as the really sleazy Prince Charming, shows you just why Cinderella keeps running away from him, couldn’t be better in this scene. And Broadway’s Billy Magnusson matches him beat for bare-bresting bro beat, as they keep trying to out do, or out-complain or out-splash each other, as each claims to have the greater “Agony”, and they both end up soaking wet! Hilarious. Billy for those who don’t know was Spike in Christopher Durang’s Tony-Winning play “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike.”

And then the film settles down to its’ gobbledygook of a book. And the tedium layer in this lonnnng film gets higher and higher.

Broken thankfully, by Meryl, chewing as much scenery as she can fit in her green mouth, as she knocks both “The Last Midnight” and “Children Will Listen”(the other great Sondheim song) out of the ball-park, hitting high-notes you never thought were in her register. Such a shame that she never got to do “Evita” when she was the right age for it. And MADONNA got to do the screen version! What a sad story that turned out to be!

And yes, a lot of the Sondheim score is present and accounted for, but a lot also seems to be missing, replaced by even inane-er dialogue by James Lapine, who simply should be shot at dawn for participating in the tragic abortion of a film musical.

And they think THIS is going to appeal to a family audience?!?! It’s going to give little children nightmares. Like Lilla Crawford’s performance as Little Red Riding Hood will surely do for the rest of my life. For all the wrong reasons.

Johnny Depp is great in a VERY small part of the Big Bad Wolf. In this case, I WANTED him to devour Lilla Crawford completely. But no such luck, she is saved, and alas we have to endure looking at her and listening to her sing(flat) for the rest of this overlong, un-fulfilling movie.

So the dueling, vain Princes, and Meryl’s Witch-for-the-Ages, make the unbearable bearable.On my Top Ten List, it’s not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broadcast Film Critics Nominations Announced

 

The Broadcast Film Critics, sometimes known as the Critics Choice Awards announced this AM and “Birdman”(13 nominations),Budapest 1 then “The Grand Budapest Hotel”(11) led the pack followed by, of course, “Boyhood”(8).

The most interesting thing is that Steve Carrell was snubbed for Best Actor for “Foxcatcher” in a field of six actors! As I prediceted BTW. And “Foxcatcher” also did not make it in to the Best Picture category in a field of ten…very big blow to its’ Oscar chances, which now seem limited to Mark Ruffalo in Supporting Actor, who did nominated.

However, Marion Cotillard DID make it into Best Actress and Tilda Swinton was in in Supporting Actress for “Snowpiercer.” Again both in a field of six.

Also left out of Best Picture was “Into the Woods” but Meryl Streep was IN in Supporting Actress. I’m seeing tonight and will give a full report back.

Also “Gone Girl” was in as was “Nightcrawler.” The Broadcast Film Critics are considered the MOST predictive of the Oscar precursors, but they’re muddying the waters a bit with their fields of six nominees in many categories where they Oscars, of course only have five

BEST PICTURE
Birdman
Boyhood
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Nightcrawler
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Unbroken
Whiplash

BEST ACTOR
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton – Birdman
David Oyelowo – Selma
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

BEST ACTRESS
Jennifer Aniston – Cake
Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
Tilda Swinton – Snowpiercer

For complete list see http://www.awardsdaily.com

Eddie Redmayne Now #1 on Gurus o’ Gold chart!

Theory 3Theory 1I’m happy to say that Eddie Redmayne is now #1 on the Gurus o’ Gold pre-Thanksgiving chart! For Best Actor for “Theory of Everything”!Guess that’s my Thanksgiving Day present.

Here’s the rest over at Movie City News ~

http://moviecitynews.com/2014/11/gurus-o-gold-a-week-from-thanksgiving-aka-screener-time/#comment-1136242

They strangely didn’t do Best Supporting Actor, but now that I’ve seen and loved “Whiplash” J.K. Simmons has got that all locked up. Unless someone from the late opening movies “Into the Woods” and “Unbroken” knocks him out, but nobody in the Supporting Male Category for “Into the Woods” seems to be making an impression. NObody’s raving about Johnny Depp’s Big Bad Wolf.

They ARE however raving about many femmes from that movie which just starting screening yesterday for press et alia. Meryl Streep’s Witch, Emily Blunt’s Baker’s Wife and Anna Kendrick’s Cinderella are all now in play seems to me. But NOT on the Gurus radar yet.

Can’t wait to see it. There’s an embargo on writing about it, I understand, but since I haven’t seen it, doesn’t apply to me. At least not yet. I hopeit’s as good as I hope it to be. We’ll see.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: