a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Jeffrey Wells’

Oscars, in Conclusion…

Oscars 2015It’s been a very long night. My hands have nearly fallen off from typing, or should I say Oscar Blogging? til all hours. It was more fun last year. And my friend, Eddie Redmayne, won. So it was all worth it.

In case you haven’t heard “Birdman” won Best Picture, which I didn’t predict, and it also won Best Director, which I DID predict…and “Boyhood” only won for Best Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette.

For a complete list of winners go immediately to http://www.awardsdaily.com

I know Sasha was behind “Boyhood,” too, so even though she got to go to the Oscars themselves for the first time in her life tonight, I’m sure she’s very bummed about “Boyhood”s loss.

But Eddie won the miracle win. So yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus, and sometimes things do turn out right. And quality and talent triumphs as it did tonight in the Best Actor category.

And “Grand Budapest Hotel” won FOUR awards, including Alexandre Desplat’s evocative musical score. I think that was as many as (blech) “Birdman” won.

But GOD, was this a lonnnnnng show? One of the longest ever.

And congratulations to Jeffrey Wells at htttp://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com.

He was all about “Birdman” from the minute he saw it at, I think it was Tellluride. He championed it and wrote about INCESSANTLY! It was driving his writing, like the percusssive score was driving “Birdman” the movie. And the character. I bet Jeff feels like HE won an Oscar himself tonight. But for a major Oscar blogger to go after a film and help and espouse it against all odds, initially, and for it to actually win is really, really an important thing for all us other bloggers. Makes them take our writing and our WORK much more seriously. Thank you for that, Jeff.

I wish I had liked “Birdman” more. It was about an actor, and I love actors. Everybody knows that. But I think this film demeaned actors and the theater. And I love the theater. Everybody knows that, too.

*sigh* Well, maybe I’ll see it again someday. But I doubt it.

My heart goes out to Richard Linklater “Boyhood”s visionary director. I can’t imagine how he feels tonight….and Sasha…

But as Scarlett O’Hara said “Tomorrow is another day.”

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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!

And Then…He Didn’t Like it…Jeff Wells, that is, and “Saving Mr.Banks”

I feel very sorry for Jeff Wells right now. He flew half-way around the world to post his review of “Saving Mr. Banks” and he was well, disappointed by it. That’s really a bummer. To spend all that money and sit for ten hours in coach, to see a movie that you thought you were going to love, then didn’t…

Well, you can read Jeff’s reaction here at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

But the ones who benefit by this are we, his readers, who are delighted by these dramatic,colorful postings. So thank you, Jeff, for doing this for us.

Long story short he didn’t like the movie. AND he didn’t like Emma Thompson‘s performance as P.L. Travers, one-note and irritating. Grating, I think was the word.

But all the others who’ve seen it and there are PLENTY of reviews all over the internet now, seem to LOVELOVELOVE Emma Thompson’s tart take on Travers. the Australian/British authoress of “Mary Poppins.

The praise for her is unanimous except for Jeff Wells. Most feel the film though isn’t what it’s cracked up to be and are up-and-down on Tom Hanks’ Disney.

Gregory Ellwood of www.hitfix.com feels, however, that Hanks will win his third Oscar for playing Walt Disney. His “Capt. Phillips” is a huge hit, and he’ll probably get a nomination for that, too.

But will T.Hanks be able to knock out Michael Fascintating Fassbender in that category?

Jared Leto, who is in drag for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” is the other name that keeps cropping up in that category’s conversation. But the Academy is queasy about giving Oscars to drag queens. Remember Jaye Davidson in “The Crying Game”?

I was soooo sure that he’d win, but OF COURSE, they gave it to Gene Hackman that year for the “Unforgiven.”

Fascinating Fassbender, however….that’s a TITANIC unforgettably frightening performance! If you’re scared during “12 Years a Slave“, it’s Fassbender’s evil Epps that you’re scared of…Just saying…

They DO reward scary villains in this category. Javier Bardem  as Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men“? Remember who frightening he was in that Dutch Boy haircut?

And Fassbender is playing a real-life character, too. There was a scary slaveholder named Epps. There was. Versus an amiable Walt Disney? Crazy stuff…

Post-TIFF ~ SUDDENLY, So many predictions about “Silver Linings”! But TIFF isn’t the Academy, folks!

TIFF only ended on Sunday, but it’s Oscar after-effects ripple on. The announcement that “Silver Linings Playbook” won the prestigious People’s Choice Award sent Oscar pundits and Oscarologists  (is there any difference?) running for the hills. And ALLLL of them suddenly putting “SLP” in their #1 position, when this was hardly the case way back when, say, on SATURDAY!

The Oscar pick’em race turns on a dime, and it certainly just did. AND NOBODY was predicting Jennifer Lawrence would win Best Actress “out front by a mile” as Tom O’Neill put it in two podcasts ~ one which he did with Sasha Stone and Jeffrey Wells, who barely let him, the Granddaddy of all Oscar prognosticators barely get a word in edgewise! No really! But Tom was very good-humored about it.

He, who did not even get to TIFF this year. Sasha has never been. And of course, Jeff Wells was VERY MUCH there.As you’ll see when my terrific interview with him comes out shortly at http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow.

Sasha, of course, is at http://www.awardsdaily.com and Jeffrey holds forth at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

Jeff fell, as I did, and fell HARD, for “Anna Karenina”, and he was outraged, just outraged, as I was too, and still am, by Manohla Dargis’s dismissal of “Anna Karenina” as “a travesty,” and she also calls the divine Keira Knightley’s great performance “miscast. ” and what is soooo galling is that this is in the NYTIMES! Jeff was hopping mad about this. APOPLECTIC! and I am, too! So much so he barely let poor SASHA even get a word in on her own podcast!

Conversely, Tom O’Neil and Pete Hammond barely discussed Keira Knightley’s performance or “Anna Karenina” at ALL! THEY were all about Jennifer Lawrence although Pete Hammond cautioned “It’s early yet.” They can be found at http://www.goldderby.com

All I can think of is the year when “Sideways” won the People’s Choice Award at Toronto, too. It got a lot of nominations, but it lost Best Picture. I’m also thinking of George Clooney’s starrer “Up in the Air” and also just this year’s past “The Descendants” both Toronto Hits, though not People’s Choice winners.

They were, however, raved and raved and raved about out of Toronto and all season long, and then…The Air Went Out. Of Both Of Them. Almost like clockwork. And George was certainly being championed as Best Actor, too. And both times, it didn’t happen. Last year, the Little Golden Guy went to Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” Face it, George, you’re just never going to win Oscar #2.

Interestingly, “The Artist” was also at TIFF(and at Montreal AND at the New York Film Festival) but didn’t win the People’s Choice Award, or even come in second. But of course, it did win the Oscar.

And as Harvey W. would say regarding the Academy Voters “These are the ones that count.” So just because some film has won big in Toronto, doesn’t mean it’s also going to be embraced by the Academy. Oh no. Not by a long shot.

And Jennifer Lawrence? Well, I haven’t yet seen “Silver Lining’s Playbook,” but I’m not a fan. Her flat performance in “X-Men” coupled with her execrable under-acting(non-acting to me) Academy Nominated turn(she barely moved) in “Winter’s Bone” turned me off her in a very big way. I didn’t even bother to go to see “The Hunger Games” because she was starring in it.

Bland, bland, bland. Flat and bland. Curvaceous, attractive by any and all Old Hollywood or even New Hollywood standards, to be sure. She’s pretty. Ok. I’ll give her that. But I have yet to see her be anything other than sub-par. Jennifer, I’m waiting.*sounds of my foot tapping*

But with all these critical hurrahs she’s now receiving, I guess, in the case of “Silver Linings Playbook”, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. I certainly am looking forward to seeing it and seeing what all this fuss was SUDDENLY about.

I was certainly tracking the Best Actress contenders in earnest at Toronto. I got up at 5:30 AM to make a 8:45am screening of Marion Cotillard in “Rust and Bone” and the  otherworldly, magnifique Marion did not disappoint my Best Efforts.. Neither did the lovely,understated, shy mouse of Laura Linney in “Hyde Park on the Hudson”, or Helen Hunt, the VERY naked and full frontal sex surrogate  in “The Sessions,” the sublime,tormented  Keira Knightley as “Anna Karenina,” and last but not least, Dame Maggie Smith’s all out Oscar-bait turn as an aging Opera Diva in “Quartet.”

Not ONE person in Toronto. NOT ONE, mentioned to me I should see Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook’! NOT ONE! And I was listening…In fact nobody recommended “Silver Linings Playbook” to me at all. NO BODY! And then, BAM, out of nowhere this award! And then all these predictions! On Saturday…nobody was predicting her.

As Laura Linney said to me about all this Oscar madness “I take them with a grain of salt. You have to.”

I think all of this took the Weinstein Co. by surprise, too. During TIFF the #1 film was “The Master” Remember “The Master”? THAT’S what they were pushing, NOT “Silver Linings Playbook.” Now “The Master” is a SUDDEN #3, behind “SLP” and “Argo.”

And on the other side of the gender divide ~Is it Joaquim Phoenix in “The Master” or is it Daniel Day Lewis in “Lincoln”, or is it the much more sympathetic John Hawkes in “The Sessions”? I think the jury is really out on that category and you all KNOW how the Academy relates to Comedies, which the “Silver Linings Playbook” seems to be.

I’ll let you know MY take on all this as soon as I see the remaining films. You can’t write the story of 2012 when Oscar seekers like “Les Miserables”, “Lincoln”, “Zero Dark Thirty””Django Unchained” and “The Hobbit” are all still unseen.

In that case, the person I feel most in agreement with is Pete Hammond of http://www.deadline.com !

It’s not over until the Fat Lady(or in the case of Dame Maggie Smith in “Quartet”) the Thin Lady Sings!

“The Master” Sneaked Last Night in Santa Monica. Massive Tweet/Reviews Result.

Ok, Ok, I missed this one completely ~til this evening in NYC. Last night the world stood still in shocked silence as Paul Thomas Anderson’s Weinstein Company Oscar Seeker “The Master” sneak-screened last night to a surprised audience of cinephiles in Santa Monica!

However, it seems Anne Thompson was there…She liked it. You can read about it over at http://www.indiewire.com in her Thompson on Hollywood section. It’s not really a sneak screening for the public if ANNE THOMPSON was actually there and reviewing it. Read her early review.

When that happens, the critic is almost FORCED into a writing a positive response but St. Anne does say she thinks the film is going to be “devisive,” which is her way of saying, “not everyone is going to agree with ME!”

Nor does she expect them to.

But then also at this screening was a frequent poster at http://www.awardsdaily.com and http://www.hollywood-eleswhere.com named Jessie Crall, and he had an even-handed response. Everybody else was, like as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone put it ,”hyperbole on toast.” More like Fanboys Gone Wild!

But here is my reactions to their reactions, esp. Jessie’s, which made me believe him.

I wrote this at Awardsdaily.com just now in their comment section on “The Shining” and “The Master.”

“ONLY Jessie Crall who posts frequently here and at Hollywood-Elsewhere seemed to have his head screwed on right.

I guess I should just refer you all to the other thread (at http://www.awardsdaily.com)and what Jessie said.

Essentially, good ,but not great. Great to see in 70mm.(What isn’t?) and Amy Adams has nothing to do. Nominations for all. but no wins. PSH in Supp. not lead. Joaquim Phoenix is drawing universal raves, but already all are saying “Can he beat Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln? ALREADY this is THEE question!” And at this early a date!

Not having seen either film I can’t say, but I don’t like that Sept.15 release date and all the tweet/reviews don’t mention Scientology AT ALL. Like it’s not the topic of this film.

Seems to be about Alcoholism if anything.

No religious overtones, or undertones, or references WHATSOEVER.

B+ not A, I’m sensing. Which is in line with that TOOOOO early Sept.15 release date.

HW wouldn’t be releasing the film in a rush like that if he didn’t have to, methinks.”

However, nobody makes Harvey do what he doesn’t WANT to do. Harvey knows best is TWC’s mantra, and who can argue with that? He’s a SUPERB distributor of his films, and I can’t think of ONCE in all the years I’ve been covering him, which is now 24 on my TV show, has he ever done wrong Oscar-wise, or distirbution-wise with a film of his. So we shall see…

Guess I should start figuring out which theater in NYC can project in 70mm?

“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.

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