a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Jeff Bridges’

Oscar Chances of Casey Affleck,”Manchester by the Sea” Boosted by Early Critics Awards

Well, the first critics awards of the season have come rollin’ in, and the Big Winner so far is Casey Affleck, who has just racked up Best Actor from the Gotham Awards and the National Board of Review. Right behind him is his beautiful film “Manchester by the Sea” and I couldn’t be happier or prouder of this fierce little Indie’s overcoming all the studio behemoths to reap these much-deserved rewards.

“Manchester by the Sea” also was just named Best Picture of the Year by the National Board of Review. It landed in its’ top Ten Films and Lucas Hedges as Affleck’s truculent but funny nephew got Best Breakthrough Performer also for “Manchester.”manchester-by-the-sea-5

It’s such a good film. And its’ filmmaker, playwright/director Kenneth Lonergan is one of the best talents we have working today. “Manchester” is a film that grows in the memory. It lasts. It stays with you, as all great films do. It’s a comedy that contains its’ characters going from one funeral after the other.

To reveal more of the plot is to spoil it, so I’ll stop here and say that Casey Affleck’s performance of the grief-stricken Boston janitor certainly deserves these accolades and I’m sure he’s got more on the way. No more “Ben’s little Brother” fleck really comes into his own in “Manchester.”Such a searing portrait of grief, I don’t think we’ve ever seen on the screen quite so indelibly.

Also gaining some surprising and much needed traction from these early awards is “Moonlight”s Naomie Harris, who I’ve been mentioning over and over in previous Oscar blogs as the crack addicted mother of the central character.

naomie-harris-1

Also rollin’ in to the National Board of Review is Jeff Bridges’ nominated for his crusty, West Texas retiree lawmaker in “Hell or Highwater” for Best Supporting Actor. hell-or-high-water-5The Independent Spirits nominated Ben Foster also from “Hell” in this same slot, but not Bridges. And as previously stated the entire ensemble of “Moonlight”s actors received a special award for excellence at the Gothams.

“Moonlight” was also the Big Winner at the Gothams last night with four awards. It’s Out Gay writer/director Barry Jenkins scoring in both categories.

It’s also interesting to note that neither of the millennial actresses who are considered front-runners Emma Stone for “La La Land” and Natalie Portman for “Jackie” won in this busy past 24 hours. French actress Isabelle Huppert triumphed for “Elle” at the Gothams and six-time Oscar loser Amy Adams won the NBR Best Actress Award for “Arrival.” Could this FINALLY be her year?arrival-1

For a list of all Gotham Award Winners and the National Board of Review’s, too, go to http://www.awardsdaily.com.

#Casey Affleck

#Oscars

#Manchester by the Sea

#Lucas Hedges

#Naomie Harris

 

“King’s Speech” wins SAGs’ Best Cast! Colin Firth Best Actor!

“The King’s Speech” just continued its’ road to Oscar glory by winning the SAG Award for Best Ensemble, the Screen Actors Guild equivalent of Best Picture. And of course, Colin Firth won Best Actor! Again! Long Live the King!

Best line of the night ~ C.Firth, “I’d like to thank security for letting me into the building.”

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, but a joyous broken record, HALLEJUAH! And Congratulations to Colin, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham-Carter and all the rest of that astounding cast! There’s nothing stopping “The King’s Speech” now on the road to Oscar!

Only I wish Geoffrey Rush and Helena B-C had won in their Best Supporting Categories losing to Christian(ugh)Bale and Melissa Leo, both for “The Fighter.”

Bale gave his usual cringe-worthy speech with the added embarrassment of having the real Dickie Ecklund, the person he played, jump up on stage, too. It really was too much.

 Then Mark Wahlberg admitted, while he was introducing his own film, that he told Eckland to do that…Was that covering or the truth?

You can bet dollars to donuts that the Academy is NOT going to let that happen on Oscar night. I mean, seriously. It was like Mickey Rourke’s F-bomb riddled acceptance speech  when he won the BAFTA that year for “The Fighter” and THAT lost him the Oscar.

Melissa Leo embarrassed her self LESS than usual. Can’t that brilliant woman learn how to give a speech? She ALMOST segued into a political, pro-union rant. A better dress than the forgettable ones we’ve seen her in thus far, but remember Leo isn’t nominated for a BAFTA so she can’t win there. Although Amy Adams could. And so, of course, could Helena Bonham-Carter!

I still don’t think BOTH are going to win the Oscars. We’ve got the BAFTAS next where Geoffrey Rush(who gave an INCREDIBLE speech accepting the Best Ensemble Award) and Helena B-C could very well both triumph. And give better speechs than Leo and Bale. Rush’s speech is going to resonate with Academy members, too. He named EVERY SINGLE CHILD ACTOR in TKS! Very moving and VERY classy! AND Claire Bloom! “Who puts us one degree away from Charlie Chaplin.” That ALONE could make the undecided AMPAS voters vote him in right there. A class, not a brass, act.

Oh, and Natalie More-Pregnant-Than-Ever Portland won Best Actress. That’s the same four people marching in formation to the podium at EVERY SINGLE AWARDS SHOW! Like last year with Bullock, Bridges, Christophe Waltz and Mo’Nique. BORR-RING!

And “The Joy of Typing” got NOTHING! Which is what it deserved! WHAT A REVERSAL OF FORTUNE! This is one for the Oscar history books and I hope TKS and co. are celebrating all the way til the end of February! And the Big Night itself!

The only big award show left before the Oscars is the BAFTAs and I guess we all know how THAT kudofest is going to go!

What a wonderful weekend of awards’ joy this has been! Last night Tom Hooper wins the DGA and tonight, Best SAG Ensemble! WOW! Hollywood has gone Brit crazy! And it’s starting to remind me of Ben Hur’s year when it won 12 out of 12.

Sasha Stone, over at www.awardsdaily.com

is now saying, buried deep in the comments section on the SAGs that she thinks that TKS is going to REALLY, REALLY sweep. And if Sasha, who was not in TKS’ corner in any way shape or form, is saying this, then it MUST BE SO!

Congratulations, and thank you, Colin, Geoffrey, Helena, Tom and Harvey for creating this Masterpiece of a Movie and for letting me be a small part of its’ Road to Glory!

Now on to the BAFTAs and let’s win there too!!!!!!

DGA and SAG awards this weekend. NYC buried in MORE SNOW!

What follows up the Oscar Nominations in this the first Awards Season of my blog? SNOW, SNOW, and more SNOW!

It’s not snowing at the moment but there are traces of flurries here and there. It just never seems to STOP snowing! I’ve never seen a January like this! And it’s not over yet! There may be more coming this weekend.

It’s lovely to look at and a great excuse for not going out. Then the dreaded CABIN FEVER sets in!

And you do go out. I had a dentist appointment at a relatively distant location yesterday (but still in Manhattan) and I fell down FOUR times crossing the various street corners which have been plowed or rather NOT been plowed.

The Mayor got the streets plowed this time. But then the snow gets piled PARTICULARLY high on the street corners. And then the sun came out and you were dealing with piles of slush and I did not have the right footwear for this weather! So I was soaked from the ankles down. Shoes and socks were like walking, clinging puddles, they were so thoroughly wet-through.

Moral: Always carry AN EXTRA PAIR OF SOCKS, OR TWO, when going on these marathon treks!

The dentists almost didn’t want to go through with the procedure I was in such a state when I arrived, but they checked my blood pressure and my temperature and everything was shockingly normal, so we all decided to go ahead with it.

I was not wearing gloves (which were in my pocket, d’oh) when I kept falling over, so I was basically putting my bare hands into mountains of  snow, but as shockingly cold as each of these snow grabs were, my hands came up clean! Like I had just washed them!

Another NYC  lesson- take the SUBWAYS not the buses in weather like this.

Today was much better as it was relatively mild and the snow was even more plowed than yesterday and a lot of it had melted. Wednesday night, it went from rain, to snow, to sleet, all within a half hour’s journey.

But New Yorkers are very hardy and the dentists’ waiting area was PACKED yesterday! Nobody, it seemed was missing their appointments!

So, yes, after all the anticipation and hype surrounding the Big Reveal of the Oscar nominations, it’s been pretty much of a lull. The quiet before the storm of Awards this weekend will bring.

The DGA awards which are the Directors Guild, are expected to go with David Fincher for “The Joy of Typing.” It seems pretty much a foregone conclusion. But wait! Sasha Stone, our resident Oscar Goddess, has switched her prediction to TOM HOOPER, the amiable, young director of “The King’s Speech”!?!?! Has momentum shifted as much as I think it has?!? I couldn’t believe Sasha was saying that, but she LIVES in LA, and is like the Oracle of Delphi, and very adamant, and controversially so, this year about TJOT.

So this shift, and her defection for the Gurus o’ Gold, or rather, her abstaining…is well, startling…But Sasha knows what she knows, and being as she herself puts it “in the middle of the maze” I do listen to her…Although this year, I always thought it was “The King’s Speech” right out of Toronto, as all you reading this blog all know.

And Sasha was beyond zealous in her advocating for That Other Movie.

One thing is certain. All season long we AGREED on Colin Firth for Best Actor for “The King’s Speech.”

Now this tectonic(sp?) shift that occurred on Sunday-to-Tuesday morning, with “The King’s Speech” winning the PGA(producer’s guild) in a Awards season shocker. Then it getting 12 Oscar nominations, more than any other film on Tuesday morning, sure shook things up in Bloggerland. But it was something I’ve known all along.

“The King’s Speech” is an EXTRAORDINARY movie. In every aspect. I couldn’t BELIEVE I was being moved so profoundly by a story that on the surface wouldn’t be something that would’ve affected me, and audiences all over the world, like it has been doing. But it does!

Me, I think Tom Hooper’s a bloody genius. And if “The King’s Speech” is going to win Best Picture, as it seems now, it MIGHT, then Hooper should be named Best Director by the DGA.

Hooper also directed the Award-winning TV mini-series a couple of season’s back “John Adams” starring my faves Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti. I really must get a hold of it and see that. Paul and Laura both won Emmys. Hooper directs actors to award-winning performances.

And you know what that means? Actors LOVE him! And Actors are the largest branch of the Academy.

The Director’s Guild is however, a breed apart. When I was predicting the Oscars on my TV show, I shied away from the Best Directors category, because I always found the Directors, en masse, a difficult body to figure out.

By my sites, Tom Hooper is the Best Director of the Year and OMG! Colin’s performance as the stuttering King George VI is, as I told him on my show, “one of the great screen performances.’ And it is! Colin has won just about EVERY SINGLE MAJOR award so far this season.

And then we have the SAG Awards on Sunday night. One of the bothersome things about the DGA is that they don’t start til 8pm West Coast time and the Best Feature Film Director is given out dead last, at around 2AM EST, OR LATER.

Usually, I just pack it in, and wake up to whatever the news may be, on Sunday morning.

Now the SAGS are broadcast(check your local listings) at start at 5pm PST and that’s 8pm here. So it’s easier to do.

Are the SAME FOUR ACTORS going to continue their lock-step to the podium, as Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock,  Christophe Walsh, and Mo’nique did last year? If so then we’ll see Colin and Natalie and then Christian Bale and Melissa Leo triumph. But I wonder…

I still maintain that Bale isn’t well liked in the business and Melissa Leo hasn’t gone head-to-head with that monstrosity muppet Hailee Steinfeld yet. And Steinfeld could win here….The buzz is swirling around her. And the buzzards of Hollywood are too.

I don’t get it…but…there it is…

And for Best Ensemble? Which is the SAG equivalent of Best Picture? It’s either “The King’s Speech” or some think “The Fighter.”

EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of SAG, who’s paid their annual dues, can vote in this contest, that a HUGE voting body, and “The King’s Speech” and “The Joy of Typing” are the only two movies sent to EVERY SINGLE MEMBER as a DVD screener.

And if Colin Firth is an actor’s actor, then “The King’s Speech” could very well be considered an Actors’ Actor of a movie. And so…on Sunday…the winner is…Well, it’s probably NOT the “Joy of Typing”. Even Dave Karger at EW www.ew.com.

says it’s either TKS or “The Fighter” but he’s not hearing “The Joy of Typing.”

If “The King’s Speech” wins Best Ensemble and Tom Hooper wins the DGA, it really is all over already. And all I can say is Long Live the King!

And of course, check out the detailed results on www.awardsdaily.com

I wish Sasha and I were in agreement on what we consider the best film of the year, and most years we have been, but not, sadly, this year. But that’s what makes horse races. Which is what the Oscar race is, let’s face it.

Oscar Nomination Predictions ~ Best Actor and Actress

Well, this year I feel the BAFTA nominations have had a huge impact – on me personally. I find myself THINKING about them more than I have ever had in my Oscar life before. Now the BAFTAs can’t influence the Oscar nominations which will be announced bright and early Tuesday morning. The only day of the year I actually look forward to getting up that early.

They CAN’T influence the actual Oscar nominations, as I’ve said , but they can TELL US something that perhaps we’ve not seen coming. And REVEAL what a large group of voters, supposedly the numbers are one in six Academy members, are thinking.

And first of all I’d say they REVEAL that Julianne Moore is much more IN the Best Actress race than just about everybody under the sun in the U.S. has given her credit for for “The Kids Are All Right.”

And their leaving out of BOTH Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lawrence for “Rabbit Hole” and “Winter’s Bore” completely, shows us that these presumed locked ladies are not so locked at all.

We all can agree on Annette Bening for TKAAR and Natalie Portman for “Black Swan.”

And they have my favorite performance, who I also think is going to WIN, the BAFTA, Noomi Rapace, down for “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s”. Of course, she’s really being honored here for ALL THREE Steig Larsson films.  I think her Lisbeth Salander trumps Natalie Portman’s schizy ballerina. In British eyes.

But–

So my Best Actress nominees are –

ANNETTE BENING – The Kids Are All Right”

JULIANNE MOORE- ‘The Kids Are All Right”

NATALIE PORTMAN- “Black Swan”

NOOMI RAPACE-“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

MICHELLE WILLIAMS- “Blue Valentine”

Putting Rapace in there is really going out on a limb…but…I do think the BAFTAS have pointed the way for this category this year. And I’m replacing their Haillee Steinfeld for “True Grit” with Michelle Williams. And I’m betting the Academy which seems hell-bent on honoring Steinfeld will put her in Supporting as I said yesterday. Which I think is where she belongs.

Best Actor, this is easier

JEFF BRIGES – “True Grit”

COLIN FIRTH “The King’s Speech”

JAMES FRANCO- “127 Hours”

JESSIE IRRITATINGBERG – “The Movie About Typing”

RYAN GOSLING- “Blue Valentine”

I think Robert DuVal is not going to make it in for that sub-par performance in “Get Low” or “How Low Can You Get?” or “How to Throw Your Own Funeral” which actually sounds like a fun movie with that title. But trust me, it isn’t.

Looking eastward again to the BAFTA nominees, I’ve got four of their five for Best Actress AND Best Actor! Now that’s an impact! Their fifth Best Actor Nominee is Javier Bardem for “Biutiful”…and he could sneak into that fifth slot, but I don’t think people have been watching the movie. Whereas they WILL have watched “Blue Valentine.”

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…

Summarizing the BAFTA asterisks! Surprises galore! Oscar surprises in store?

First let me say, thank you to www.awardsdaily.com for making all us Oscarwatchers AWARE of what the hell the BAFTA long list is.

Never heard of it? Well, for some eccentric British reason, the BAFTA awards, which are the British equivalent of the Oscars, posts a LONG list of their contenders ~ now with asterisks, no less. The Asterisks tell us who has gotten the most votes in each category, though they don’t do this for Best Picture. The lists themselves are VERY long and include the less-than-heavyweight choices like Gemma Arterton in “Tamara Drewe” as Best Actress!?!

Of course, they are very Brit-Centric OF COURSE, but coming as they do, their timing is TIME-LY and  is more influential on the Oscars each year. AMPAS bows to the Brits. Almost always. When in doubt, vote with the British. They did in Marion Cotillard’s case, didn’t they? For “La Vie En Rose.” STILL cant stop talking about THAT unexpected win. Which yours truly predicted, mais oui.

So here with surprises galore are the five actors & actresses in each category that got an asterisk, which means they PROBABLY will also get all the way through to an actual BAFTA nod.

Best Actor

Colin Firth “The King’s Speech” (of course)

James Franco “127 Hours”(natch)

Javier Bardem “Biutiful” ( a foreign surprise)

Jeff Bridges”True Grit” (of course)

Jesse Eisenberg(The Film-That-I-Will-Not-Name)

Except for Bardem, the other four will most likely also be Oscar nomed.

Best Actress

Annette Bening(TKAAR “The Kids Are All Right”)

Carey Mulligan”Never Let Me Go”( superb performance, but not gonna happen stateside. The movie bombed.)

Julianne Moore (TKAAR. Would be a surprise at the Oscar Nom morning, if this happened.)

Michelle Williams “Blue Valentine” ( I sure hope so. This HELPS her.)

Natalie Portman “Black Swan” (of course)

This is a three out of five situation, with Michelle being one of those three + Annette & Natalie. But wait! NO NICOLE KIDMAN! Though she is on the long list, she’s not gotten an asterisk! Uh-oh! And double WTF is Haillee Steinfeld being nominated, on the long list,no asterisk for “True Grit”!?!

This lists perhaps signals that Nicole may not make it into the Oscar Derby. “Rabbit Hole” is dying at the Box-Office, while “True Grit” continues to ride high.

More movement in this category than many have thought, I think. And Jennifer Lawrence is on the Long List here, too. But with no asterisk. Uh-oh.

This piece is getting too long. Will deal with the Supporting categories later! And it’s SNOWING again in New York! Uh-oh!

As we go into the final weeks, before the Oscar Nominations…

As we go into the final weeks before the Oscar Nominations, things to me seem to be more fluid than they’ve ever been in years, in that so much keeps changing.

“Rabbit Hole” bombed at the box-office and was snubbed by of all groups, the Writer’s Guild! And it was a Pulitzer Prize winning play that on the stage I just loved. And voted for in all categories for the Drama Desk Awards.

And Dianne Wiest’s rather flat, colorless performance as the mother of the grieving wife kinda shocked me compare with the vivacity of how Tyne Daly attacked the role on Bway. Cynthia Nixon won the Tony and the Drama Desk for playing the character Nicole’s playing so memorably onscreen, but…that may be the only nomination “Rabbit Hole” gets.

The best actress race has solidified into a group of four Natalie Portman, Annette Bening, the aforementioned Nicole Kidman, and the Shouldn’t-Be-There-At-All Jennifer Lawrence.

The fifth slot is up for grabs with I think Michelle Williams of “Blue Valentine” leading the pack for it. And she’s got Harvey Weinstein behind her. And now we hear that Hailee Stanfield, who also doesnt belong there, might be nominated in LEAD! Instead of Supporting.

The runaway box-office train of “True Grit” has surprised everyone, and given more heft to the films Best Picture chances, though if they are going nominate a Coen Brothers film every year, then hey, why not get on the bandwagon? They nominated “A Serious Man” a MUCH better film last year for Best Picture, but none of its’ actors…but with “True Grit” they’ve got a terrific Jeff Bridges and then the problematic Hailee Stanfield who may end up splitting her own vote, by those that want her in lead and those that will go along with Paramount’s supporting campaign.

She deserves to be left out in my opinion. And however, LISTENING to what all are saying, she’s probably IN in one or the other category.

But if the Academy is being inventive with where they write down the names of the nominees, and it really is up to the Academy where to place whomever they want to place, they may also start to think outside the box and nominate people who haven’t turned up in precursor awards at all.

Like I’m thinking Barbara Hersey, whom they all adore. As the crazy mother in “The Black Swan.” Don’t be surprised to see her replace Mila Kunis also from the same movie. Kunis was just hot and bitchy. No depth there. Hersey may trump Kunis, I think.

And then there’s the Best Director race which the Coens may be back in again, and so will first timer Darren Aronofsky for “Black Swan.”

Falling and failing at the Box-Office is also one of MY year’s Ten Best “127 Hours”. People aren’t going to it. But Franco will probably be in.

Also left off the Producer’s Guild Top Ten was the indie film that everybody loves except me, “Winter’s Bone” The PGA likes big STUDIO movies, not tiny indies.

I wish they’d dump Jennifer Lawrence, too. They just seem OBSESSED with teenage girls. But now if everything is true about Hailee Steinfeld…Well, she’s just thirteen. With no background in acting whatsoever, but that didn’t stop Gabourey Sidibe for scoring a nom last year…Hailee Stanfeld seems to be the Girl-of-the-Moment, although I don’t think she deserves this at all.

Melissa Leo AND Amy Adams of “The Fighter” both seem very solid though in Supporting Actress, as does, of course Helena Bonham-Carter of “The King’s Speech,”the ultimate supportive, long-suffering, devoted wife, a role that the Academy loves to reward in this category.

Supporting Actor seems to have gained the great Jeremy Renner of “The Town”. With “The Town”s Producers Guild Nod, and Renner’s nomination for the SAGS, I think he’s in and Andrew Garfield is out. Renner was also surprisingly nominated at the last minute for “The Hurt Locker” last year. He’s like cat-nip to the Academy. Geoffrey Rush, Michael Douglas and Christian Bale also look solid to me. At to most everyone else Oscar-watching this. That leaves one more slot in Best Supp. Actor up in the air. Could it be Armie Hammer’s double-trouble Winklevoss Twins for THAT film? Stranger things have happened. But THAT film may have too many Supporting Actors in the race – three. Garfield, Hammer and the fabulous but maybe to famous to be taken seriously Justin Timberlake.

Hailee Steinfeld seems to be upstaging them all as the girl of the hour. Sorry to say. It’s her film being released last. And THEN the surprise of its’ box-office success. I’m giving her far too much ink. But she’s who everybody is SUDDENLY talking about. So Strange.

I think Andrew Garfield, the only sympathetic character in the Film-I-Will-Not Name has fallen out. He was not nominated by SAG. And Jesse Irrititatingberg is IN.*gag me* So are of course Colin Firth of “King’s Speech” and Franco, the Oscar co-host . But will the fourth person be Ryan Gosling of “Blue Valentine”or the super-ancient Robert DuVal, in a REALLY bad performance. in “Get Low.” The audience I saw it with at the Provincetown Film Festival this summer actually laughed through his big, final monologue spiel.

So many of these people seem to be really seriously in the mix and they don’t deserve to be at all.

And no Leslie Manville anywhere to be seen. And no Jackie Manville, the odd-as-can-be Aussie actress didn’t get a SAG nom, either. Though she got a Golden Globe and was inexplicably replaced by Hailee Steinfeld. Yes, her again. Oy Vay,

I wish somebody like Kristen Scott-Thomas could surprise…but…for “Nowhere Boy.” It’s people like her, and performances like hers that could come out of nowhere and get a nomination for the Oscar without any precursor notice. Except the BAFTAS last year. She and Barbara Hersey could be the surprises, and so could I think “Alice in Wonderland” for Best Picture.

I Finally See “True Grit” A Wordy Woodpecker of a Western

Well, I guess Paramount did hear my blog screams and they sent me quite unexpectedly a DVD screener of “True Grit.” FINALLY!

“True Grit” is the latest oeuvre from the redoubtable Coen Brothers, and it’s…Ok…sort of…I mean, it’s good. Although some parts of it strain credulity. Especially the overwrought, arch script, which Jeff Bridges manages quite, quite well. And Matt Damon, too. But poor 13-year-old newcomer Hailee Stanfield has the most demanding role, verbally, that perhaps has ever been written for a tween actress.

It is to her credit that she ALMOST pulls it off. But I was always aware that it was DIALOGUE being written and spoken, and not the character’s own voice speaking.

Her child/woman dichotomy is also, paradoxically, the most unusual part of this western. Yes, the Coen’s are doing a Western. A real traditional attempt at the genre in the classic John Ford manner. And Roger Deakins’ masterful cinematography is up the task at hand. And so is Bridges. But Ms. Stanfield…well, I’m of two minds about her “performance.”

Either it’s one of the most impressive screen debuts of an ingenue ever in a very challenging role that has already netted her a SAG nomination for Best Supporting Actress, though she is ostensibly the lead. OR it’s a career ender. It’s the beginning AND the end for her. Which one is it?

Like her or not, and I’m not totally sure that I do, you can’t get away from her in this film that is mostly, as the British would say, a  three-hander. That is a three person play. And again, the script does seem overly theatrical, for a Western. The three hands being Bridges, Matt Damon and Ms. Stanfield.

We’ve never seen or heard any Oater where people talked in such highfalutin rhetorical terms. Sheesh! They could’ve almost been in a Restoration Comedy some scenes are soooo over-written. Especially at the beginning of the film. Which is very slow getting started and a lot of that is due to the clusters of almost unspeakable, and certainly almost unpronounceable verbiage  the  Coens have saddled their three leading actors with. Or in Ms. Stanfield’s case, crippled with. I know we’re supposed to believe that SHE has “True Grit.” But talk about overkill!

With the surprise SAG nomination for Stanfield, her fellow actors are obviously Haillee-ing her arrival, big time. You do feel sorry for her in that she has scene after scene after scene where her voice is Woody Woodpeckering the screen, with its’ rat-a-tat ryhmns. And you feel like I always felt like with Woody Woodpecker that I need to watch his cartoons like a need a hole in the head.

Let’s face it, the Coens are not known for their work with child actors.

But they have to take pains at the beginning of the film, to established her hard-headed, stubborn as a mule character, so that we believe and care about her all the way through the film. It’s her journey. And the coda at the end of the film, which I won’t give a away as it’s a semi-spoiler, but the film visual images are striking. And rather unforgettable.

And then there is the unvarnished delight of Roger Deakins’ breath-taking scenic vistas of the wild west. Between this film and “Meek’s Cut-Off” I feel like I’ve actually BEEN there and back this filmic fall season.

Matt Damon is very funny as a Texas Ranger named Le Bouef, but which they all pronounce “Le Beef” as in meathead. He’s the comic relief. And Bridges’ scenes with Mr. LeBeef are just terrific stuff.

I don’t know WHAT the John Wayne version of this was like. I’m sure this is a thousand times better and Rooster Cogburn won Wayne his only Oscar and it is to Bridges’ everlasting credit that he really does excel in this part, as well.

It’s sooo close to his Oscar-winning turn as Bad Blake in “Crazy Heart.” A has-been boozing singer v. this time a has-been boozing gunman. That Bridges’ makes the Coens stick-in-the-mouth dialogue that HE has to say look and sound effortless as a horses’ snorting. Well, that’s the sign of a consummate actor at the top his craft.

Is it almost tongue-twistingly unprounceable? Well, Bridges attacks each line like his eating a mouthful of steak. Chewing the scenery has never been such a sumptuous meal. And if Oscar remembers “True Grit” for anything, it’s bound to be Bridge’s excellent crowing Rooster of a performance.

If SAG, the Screen Actor’s Guild, hadn’t voted l’il Miss Woodpecker a Supporting Actress nomination, I would say she didn’t have a chance. She knocked out Jackie Weaver of the dreadful Australian “thriller” “Animal Kingdom.” But since the 2ooo plus members of the SAG nominating committee hadn’t included her, I would say she didn’t have a chance in hell of getting in. She’s no Sairose (sp?) Ronan.

But they do like nominating under-age actresses, esp. in this category and especially lately. Think Abigail Breslin of “Little Miss Sunshine.” as well as the aforementioned Ronan.

I think Roger Deakins’ superb cinematography is the strongest  award element here as well as Jeff Bridges stellar performance. Deakins could actually win in this category and I’m also sure that “True Grit” as mixed as my reactions were to it, is going to be nominated for one of the Ten Best Picture slots.

No, though, to Best Director chances of the Coens, for this Western mishmash. But if they can get nominated for “A Serious Man” last year, then they could get nominated for this — in a field of Ten, sure. Why not?

Hollywood, unbelievably, has come to love the Coens. But you can’t help compare this too well-spoken Western to their other trip West which was “No Country for Old Men.” Now, THAT was a masterpiece and won the Oscar…But “True Grit” is not NCFOM. Not by a mile there, pard’ner.

Golden Globe Nominations! King’s Speech leads with 7!!!

Very gratified to report that the wonderful “King’s Speech” which I have been championing ever since I saw it at its’ first press screening at Toronto received seven Golden Globe nominations this morning. More than any other film, and that usually means it’s going to win!

It was nominated for Best Film -Drama, Best Actor, the wonderful Colin Firth, Best Supporting Actor, Geoffrey Rush, Best Supporting Actress, Helena Bonham-Carter, Best Director, Tom Hooper(who named me “The Oscar Messenger” after all, LOVE him!), Best Screenplay and Best Score.

Congratulations to Colin, Geoffrey, Helena, Tom and to Harvey Weinstein who produced all this magnificence.

Yesterday that OTHER FILM, whom I will not mention by name any more, won all the critics’ awards across the country, and today, “The King’s Speech” is on top!

Also nominated for Best Actor -Drama was Ryan Gosling, whom I just interviewed for “Blue Valentine.” That is going to be up on YouTube shortly and Best Actress-Drama- Michelle Williams for the same moving film, whom I also interviewed. And she’ll be coming soon, too. www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Omissions~ They left  out a LOT of possible contenders like Jeff Bridges, and Hailee Stanfield from “True Grit”. In fact, “True Grit” (which I STILL haven’t seen) was shut out completely. And Danny Boyle for Director and “127 Hours” were not nominated, though its’ star James Franco was. Franco was expected. The shut out of “127 Hours” and Boyle were not. Nothing for Robert Duvall in “Get Low.” Nothing for “True Grit” other than the despised Jennifer Lawrence’s expected but undeserved nomination. Will somebody please put a stop to that woman! Her adulation in that faux-Ozarkian indie is incomprehensible to me.

And Leonardo Di Caprio was left out ~ TWICE! For “Shutter Island” AND for “Inception” Yikes! Methinks this was not category confusion but actual, for real, MOVIE confusion. There were astounding similarities in the plots of both movies. And certainly Leo’s characters.  So Leo got left out twice, but Johnny Depp was nominated TWICE for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical. For “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Tourist.” BOTH Annette Bening and Julianne Moore were nominated for “The Kids Are All Right” in the Musical/Comedy Best Actress category.

And sadly “Another Year” was nowhere to be seen. No Mike Leigh. No Leslie Manville. And also no Noomi Rapace for “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” Sadly.

IN were Jackie Weaver for “Animal Kingdom.”!!! And Mila Kunis, and NOT Barbara Hersey for “The Black Swan.”  I think the Academy will correct that. And switch the two. This is for Best Supporting Actress, and as I predicted BOTH Melissa Leo and Amy Adams got in for “The Fighter” and they will cancel each other out, leaving the way for her Royal Highness Helena Bonham-Carter to win here. And at the Oscars, too, I’m betting.

And Michael Douglas DOES go supporting as Peggy Siegel told me he would, also back in Toronto. For “Wall Street 2” which I enjoyed immensely. And NO Mark Ruffalo for “The Kids Are All Right” though it scored big everywhere else and won him a Best Supporting Actor nod from the New York Film Critics. So Douglas is IN. Ruffalo is now OUT?

After “The King’s Speech”, came “The Fighter” with six nominations, as I predicted. And THAT OThER MOVIE also got six. Best Foreign Film nominations included Tilda Swinton’s “I Am Love.”

These nominations HELP all those nominated, but hurt the ones unexpectedly left out, like “True Grit” and “Another Year.”

For the complete list, see www.awardsdaily.com

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