a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Kathryn Bigelow’

“Take That, Oscar!” Who’s on the front page of the NYPost? BEN AFFLECK!

Yes, it’s the Day After the Golden Globes and everything has quieted down tremendously in Oscarland. And who is on the FRONT PAGE of the NEW YORK POST? A newspaper that it can be said NEVER mentions the word OSCAR in its’ headlines, esp. with more than a month and a half to go? Why it’s BEN AFFLECK!?! Boldly holding his TWO Golden Globes!

He’s the hero of The Hour! He’s so hot, he’s even selling NEWSPAPERS! And suddenly has the heart of Hollywood on his side. For, of all things, being BUMPED out of the Best Director category by an Austrian auteur Michael Haneke and/or millennial first-timer Ben Zeitlin.

I don’t know WHO is going to win Best Director now, but really who cares?

I mean, isn’t it usually Best Actress or Best Picture or Best Actor, or if you’re gay, Best Supporting Actress, that takes the cake in terms of Oscar ink?

But HOLT ON! This year it’s BEST DIRECTOR that is getting all the attention! I mean, article after article about Ben Affleck AND Kathryn Bigelow being snubbed! With Ms. Bigelow, the reasons are all too clear. All the film’s controversial elements have descended upon HER. What’s the result of HER snub?

Kathryn Bigelow’s film “Zero Dark Thirty” is no #1 at the Box-Office. Is this the price of a Best Director snub? It suddenly seems like A BEST DIRECTING SNUB is the smartest Oscar Accessory to have right now.

Best Director was formerly only a category that Oscar wonks could get excited about. Usually, historically, it’s just been a tag-along award in the Public’s Eye, IMHO, because it almost always since I was a child (yes, I prognosticated for my little brother) went hand in hand with Best Picture. Ho-hum.

But I tell ya, “Argo”s got all the Oscar mojo in the world right now. Warner Brothers is re-releasing it and it will clean up all over again. And “Argo” now has THE STORY. The biggest most important, most elusive element in winning the Golden Guy.

Like for instance, Anne Hathaway this year has THE STORY in Supporting Actress. Her mother was the UNDERSTUDY for Fantine on the first National Tour of “Les Miz” You can’t top that. She’s a second generation Fantine. Done.

And now Ben Affleck and “Argo” has THE STORY. Oscar snub-bee par excellence, the voters will rally around this egregious error, and vote for “Argo” all over the place, but especially, for Best Picture, well, just BECAUSE, he was snubbed!!! I’m not kidding! They think like that. Or rather they FEEL like that. Oscar voters notoriously vote with their hearts, not their heads. It’s not an intellectual choice. And everybody loved “Argo” anyway. It was always a consensus choice since it opened at Toronto in Sept.

And they all secretly, or not so secretly, hate directors anyway, and this is their way of getting back at that pesky, idiosyncratic(I’m being kind) Director’s Branch.

The New York Post said it all “TAKE THAT, OSCAR!”

And my idol Liz Smith has said it was going to be “Argo” all the time. And what the director’s branch did was turn AMPAS into an ARMY of JEFF WELLS’. Did I say this already? But it bears repeating.

At http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com Jeff Wells, who has been a memorable guest on my TV show at the Toronto Film Festival, yes, and talking about “Argo”too!

Yes, you can see it here http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow, then search for “Jeff Wells” in the search box…

Jeff Wells has been “Anything BUT ‘Lincoln'” since, it seems forever. He doesn’t bear his grudges lightly, and he HATES Stephen Spielberg.

I don’t think “Lincoln” with its’ 11 nominations is going to win anywhere. It might get totally shut out, a la “The Color Purple”. Sorry if I’m repeating myself, but history does, ya know, repeat itself, too. 11 Nominations for a Spielberg “breakthrough” film and ZEE-ROW wins.

Stephen Spielberg didn’t look too happy last night at the Golden Globes. And this is exactly what happened at the Broadcast Film Critics only just on THURSDAY.
Only Daniel Day-Lewis won. No. I take that back. Tony Kusher won, too, but they gave him Best Screenplay DURING A COMMERCIAL! No that is also saying something. Probably more about what that stupid TV station the BFCA aligned with this year. Talk about lowering the level.

And no, I’m not a member.

What all this BEN-love has done though is push Hugh Jackman off the front-and-center of the Golden Globes coverage. The headlines should be screaming “Les Miserables win the most Golden Globes!” But no, it’s all about Ben winning TWO!

Yes, Ben Affleck has got the Oscar mojo going on. And Spielberg probably alienated all the members of the Academy who voted for “The Blind Side” – well, SOMEbody did! It even got a Best Picture nomination and of course won for the acting-challenged Sandra Bullock. All those members, let’s call them, well, Republicans, did NOT enjoy seeing President Bill Clinton turn up to present the Golden Globe clips of “Lincoln.”

AMPAS voters see that as taking an unfair advantage. ESPECIALLY if they are Republicans and that whole Bill Clinton moment last night reminded me of the George Clooney/Viola Davis Oscar Issue cover of EW last year. Remember THAT?

P.S. neither of them won. It was Jean DuJardin and Meryl Streep.

And “Argo”s win at the Globes last night also reminded Oscar voters that yes, they can kill two birds with one stone and if they vote for “Argo” they get George Clooney up onstage as well as Ben, since he was one of the film’s producers, and they get to FINALLY give Gorgeous George that second Oscar he’s been drooling over for YEARS now, since “Syrianna.” Which since it was Supporting, just wasn’t enough.

The OTHER story that could get rolling is the “David v. Goliath” scenario of “Silver Linings Playbook” v. “Lincoln” or Harvey v. Stephen AGAIN OR “Shakespeare in Love” v. “Saving Private Ryan.”

And you KNOW Harvey Weinstein is gonna get that one going big time.

And whither for that matter was TWC last night? Well their efforts. their magical implied powers yielded them TWO Golden Globes for “Django Unchained” for Quentin Tarantino(screenplay) and Christophe Waltz(Best Supp. Actor) for what a few weeks ago was a leading role. But Waltz was really, really good in that movie and made it watchable and made it all make sense, and spoiler alert! Gets to die violently, too. But he JUST WON an Oscar two years ago, but since it’s Harvey’s only Oscar shot with “Django”s actors, he may just put all his efforts into, except wait!

He’s got TWO other nominees in the category, too, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, for the fading “Master” and for the very lively “Silver Linings Playbook” Robert DeNiro insulted the HFPA two years ago when he got a Lifetime Achievement Award, and so he wasn’t nominated for “SLP” this year, but he IS for the Oscar.

So Harvey ended up with just the situation he didn’t want THREE in a category. It’s almost like “Which one will HARVEY pick?” Hmmmm…

DGA Nominations! Most Important Predictor Nominations of All!

Here there are – Thanks to Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com

Ben Affleck – “Argo”
Tom Hooper – “Les Miserables”
Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”
Ang Li – “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg – “Lincoln”

The Director’s Guild are the most accurate and also most important of all the precursor awards nominations. They match up with the Oscar nominations usually five for five, or at the very least four for five.

Since the ballots voting for the Oscars were all due in on Friday, and nothing received late after the cut-off date will be considered, and since this is the first year that the voting closed BEFORE the DGA noms were announced, we have a unique situation. But maybe not THAT unique, since it is pretty assured that the Oscar noms are gonna go to these guys.

David O. Russell’s controversial hot-head reputation is still following him, I think. And this means “Silver Linings Playbook” a comedy, is not going to win Best Picture.

Also this is the first time in at least three years or more, even, that the Weinstein Co. does not have a pony in this derby as Tom O’Neil would say.I’m sure Tom O. has A LOT to say about this at http://www.goldderby.com

And since O.Russell did also NOT get a Golden Globe nomination he’s pretty much out on his ass.

Also, replacing Quentin Tarantino for “Django Unchained” is “Les Miserables” wunderkind Tom Hooper. I thought the uber-violent “Django” wouldn’t resonate with Academy types, but since this is NOT the Academy, but a separate voting body, the Director’s Guild, you can bet that if THEY with their much larger membership didn’t like it, the Academy won’t either.

This snub might hurt the three purported Best Supporting Actors from “Django” Leonardo DiCaprio, Christophe Waltz(who has an Oscar already) and Samuel L.Jackson.

This also reduces “Silver Linings Playbook” in other categories, too, perhaps. Only Jennifer Lawrence is a lock. In Best Actress.

This also bodes well, very well for “Les Miserables”. The DGA a small, very snobby group, to be sure, like, REALLY likes what recent DGA winner Tom Hooper did with the radical re-thinking of the musical numbers in “Les Miz.” Me? I’ve seen it FOUR times! And maybe means that for instance, in the Supporting Actor category, Eddie Redmayne may get in and the “Django” guyz remaine chained.

Quentin Tarantino supposed respect in Hwood, does not extend to the Director’s Guild. Wait a minute! Does he even belong to it

And all the controversy surrounding “Zero Dark Thirty” did not hurt Ms. Bigelow one bit. Whereas the “Django” controversy did.

And congrats to Tom Hooper! He named me the Oscar Messenger after all! This is a big step forward for “Les Miz”! Yay!

Producers Guild Award Nominees A DAY EARLY!

With the Oscars themselves experiencing technical difficulties with their new on-line voting system, the Producers Guild, or the PGA, decided to one-up them and announced their nominees a DAY EARLY! Everyone wants to be first!

Thanks to Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com for this comprehensive list ~
PRODUCERS GUILD NOMINATIONS

Argo” (Warner Bros.)
Producers: Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Grant Heslov

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Josh Penn

“Django Unchained” (The Weinstein Company)
Producers: Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone, Stacey Sher

“Les Misérables”
(Universal Pictures)
Producers: Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh

Life of Pi” (Fox 2000 Pictures)
Producers: Ang Lee, Gil Netter, David Womark

“Lincoln” (Touchstone Pictures)
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

“Moonrise Kingdom” (Focus Features)
Producers: Wes Anderson & Scott Rudin, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales

Silver Linings Playbook” (The Weinstein Company)
Producers: Bruce Cohen, Donna Gigliotti, Jonathan Gordon

“Skyfall” (Columbia Pictures)
Producers: Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson

Zero Dark Thirty” (Columbia Pictures)
Producers: Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Megan Ellison

Not really shocked by any of these nominations except to note the “Beasts of the Southern Wild” got in (YAY!) and “Moonrise Kingdom” did, too! (Boo)

However “Skyfall” too was a bit of surprise. But I knew that “The Dark Knight Rises”, “The Avengers” and “The Master” as well as “Amour” were NEVER going to make it in.”Fllght” not getting in was also a surprise. And this could also indicate the Denzel Washington, the star of “Flight” could also be left at the Oscar altar this year.

“Amour” is NOT liked as much by the Industry types, as I’ve been saying for MONTHS, as opposed to critics who are putting it at the top of their lists. AND it’s in French. AND it’s a downer about D.E.A.T.H. It MAY get nominated for Best Foreign Film from Austria, but it could even get shut out there. It’s on the short list.

“The Master”s not making this list is no surprise to me. The movie is NOT LIKED. AND it didn’t make any money. This also may eliminate two if not all three of its’ major actors. Which would mean no Joaquim(Dirty Carrot) Phoenix, Amy(she’s been nominated enough already, 3x in this category, and they know she won’t win this year either)Adams for a pallid perfomance as Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s strange, always-pregnant wife. And yes, even maybe the great PSH himself might miss out on a nod for Best Supp. Actor. He’s the only one who’s still got a little life in his Oscar dance now, I think.

This helps ALLLLL the other films. And yes, with this early move the PGA IS trying to influence Oscar voters, who still haven’t voted.

And it especially helps, on the cusp of being eliminated “Beasts of the Southern Wild” YAY!

“Zero Dark Thirty”, Jessica Chastain & Ann Dowd Win National Board of Review!

It’s been one of the most intense Oscar Weeks(unofficially of course) I’ve ever experienced in that alllll most all of the major films hit me this past week AND Ann Dowd who was just a guest on my show (see below) won Best Supporting Actress from the National Board of Review! Phew! WHAT A WEEK!

And it was only last Monday that the New York Film Critics announced, and so having that to deal with ,and then seeing “Les Miserables,” which I went to with Ann Dowd(!?!), and then attending “The Hobbit” press conference the next morning at the Wal-dwarf Astoria, and then Ann  winning the National Board Award, while I was out seeing “Zero Dark Thirty”, so I didn’t find out til that evening, and then seeing the new “Hobbit” in 48 fps(frames per second) ALL IN ONE WEEK!!! Or was that just three days?!?WOWOW!!!

So you can see why I haven’t posted anything, dear cineastes, dear readers, until now. One has to pause sometimes, for breath, for clarity to sink in, and with so much happening, and my 25th Anniversary party of being on the air continuously since Dec.7, 1988, well….it was all just too much to absorb. Let alone have a quiet moment to sit down and write about it…

Yes, dear readers, sometimes you do have to DO THE WORK! And alllll these movies are nearly three hours!

And then, Ann, who was my “Les Miz” date, winning this INCREDIBLY important award, the next day!!!

Well, it’s all been overwhelming!!!

And if I’M overwhelmed, you can only imagine how Ann Dowd is feeling with all this excitement happening to her.”Over the moon,” is how she herself described it to me. “I’m beside myself.”

The National Board of Review win for her in Best Supporting Actress(even though she’s the lead) in “Compliance” means the world for her and her career. It really was a life-changing moment. And she’ll literally will never be unknown again.

The NBR has catapulted her into the middle of the Oscar Conversation now. EVERYBODY was writing about and absorbing the NYFCC and the NBR wins and now they all have to mention Ann and take her one-woman Oscar campaign VERY, VERY seriously. I’ve helped as best I can. I feel like I’ve gone into the Ann Dowd business, but I love helping her, and we’ve become friends. And no, I didn’t know her before the Opening Night of “Compliance” in New York.

I aired her great interview on “The Stephen Holt Show” twice, this past Friday and the Friday before. www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and was happy to do so. I hope I am conveying the excitement that being INSIDE the Oscar Race and really dealing with it on a day to day basis is like to you, my dear readers, dear cineastes all.

Both the NYFCC and the NBR are New York based awards, and since they announce first they give clarity to the season, in very concrete ways. And BOTH groups gave Best Picture and Best Director to the movie I was seeing when the NBR was announced “Zero Dark Thirty”. And the NBR gave Jessica Chastain Best Actress, too.I know Jessica, too, since she was a student at Juilliard about 7 years ago.

So one thing that happened with these two major award announcements is that now “Zero Dark Thirty” a film that was not seen or screened until RIGHT NOW is now the purported front-runner. And so is Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director.

I loved “The Hurt Locker,” for the record, Ms. Bigelow’s last film and was thrilled when it won the Oscar for Best Picture, despite having a low box-office, and of course, it gave her the honor of being the first woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director.

But “Zero Dark Thirty” is a MUCH more difficult film to sit through.

It’s incredibly shocking, at the beginning, and then for what seems like two hours, but probably more like an hour and a half, it settles down into being a VERY boring procedural on just how this single-minded woman named Maya(fictional name, but a real person)played by Jessica Chastain, goes about doggedly pursuing Osama Bin Laden.

It’s over-long and it’s BOR-RING, but then when the incredibly exciting ending appears FINALLY, the film takes off into the stratosphere of excitement.

But there’s that VERY boring middle section that takes up half the film. I wonder, I really wonder, if audiences are going to sit through that en masse. The pay-off is big at the end. But this impresses me as being a critics movie more than an audience movie. And I’m frankly shocked, SHOCKED that it won so many awards this week.

It does also make “Argo” seem like a cartoon, I’m sorry to say. “ZDT” is much more serious-minded and nowhere near as entertaining as “Argo” is. “Argo” seems to have dropped off everyone’s radar. It will be interesting to see if the LA Film Critics annoint “Zero Dark Thirty” AGAIN when they announce later today.

This is reminding me of “The Social Network” all over again. Which won all the critics awards and then “The King’s Speech” turned everything around and won all the REAL awards, if any awards are realer than the others. Well, in terms of Oscar, the DGA, the PGA, SAG and even the Golden Globes are all much more clearer as Oscar precursors that the two New York critics groups that I’m writing about right now.

Me? I LOVED “Les Miserables” and what an incredible experience seeing it with Ann Dowd! We both sat there crying our eyes out for what seemed like, again, three hours. I don’t think I’ve ever been that deeply moved by a movie, since well, “The King’s Speech” actually, which “Les Miserables” reminded me of. And why? Well they were both directed by the brilliant Tom Hooper.

“Les Miz” I could go on and on, but let me just say that it’s now my Best Film of the Year and one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen and should garner more Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Director, Actor(Hugh Jackman), Best Supp. Actor(Eddie Redmayne), Best Supp. Actress(Anne Hathaway) and on and on and on, than maybe any other film in Academy history. It’s this year’s “King’s Speech” And could turn everything around on “Zero Dark Thirty” the way “The King’s Speech” did on “The Social Network.” But more on all this SOON. Very SOON!

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