a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Laurie Metcalf’

ACE Eddie Inches Allison Janney forward towards Oscar

How important is Film Editing? Well, over the years I’ve come to recognize that Film Editors are among the most important and hardest working artists/technicians in our business. I don’t know what we’d do without them. I really can’t praise their industry and expertise and devotion to their work highly enough. People in the business know how incredibly vital their are. And after helming my own TV show “The Stephen Holt Show” for over 30 years, I do, too. God bless the film editors, and so when they chime in, in the name of their united Guild, the A.C.E. Eddie Awards, attention by AMPAS voters is paid. Seriously.

So when they gave their big award this week to the Best Edited Dramatic Film, in this case “I, Tonya,” it gave that raunchy tabloid of a film that much more of a serious contender boost. And in this case the largest recipient of the Film Editors collective good will and approval would by extention go to Allison Janney, who plays the wild-cat mother of alley-cat Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya.” This is “I, Tonya” biggest Awards bid, Best Supporting Actress. Which is turning into a mud-wrestling final between Janney and Laurie Metcalf, formerly of “Roseanne,” and this season as the Good Mom in “Lady Bird.”

“I, Tonya” was an Indie that opened late in the awards season without much fanfare, whose importance has grown by the day, as more and more people see it. So much so that Allisson Janney’s Mom From Hell is inching ever forward in her death-match struggle against Laurie Metcalf’s much more likeable Mom in “Lady Bird.” And the Ace Eddie Award just continues to add to Janney & Tonya’s steaming forward.

You see, Best Supporting Actress has become basically a two woman race between Janney and Metcalf in the Battle of the Moms. And until the Golden Globe Awards two weeks ago, Metcalf’s gold was considered in the Oscar tank.

Then a strange thing began to happen. That race just turned around and Metcalf’s main Mom competitor Allison Janney started winning every single major award going forward, the Golden Globe, the Critics Choice Award and finally the SAG Award(pictured above ^). The A.C.E. just adds to “I, Tonya’s prestige and by extension, Allison Janney’s.

Tonya Harding was not considered a prestige player in real life. So it’s ironic in the extreme that the film about her “I, Tonya” is now considered a prestige, must-see-it Oscar film contender more and more by the day.Janney is majorly known for the nearly-decade run in “The West Wing,” amassing many Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series Emmys along the way.Allison Janney 3
An excellent actress no matter what the role, her gargoyle, LaVona Harding is just another example that she can play just about ANY type of role and make audiences like it and remember it and award it.

The race between her and Metcalf is razor thin, so we must take careful note of it, this Oscar season. Even if Metcalf just ended up on the cover of EW with “Lady Bird”s star, Saoirse Ronan and creator Greta Gerwig.Sometimes Entertainment Weekly just jumps the shark and lays out their mag and covers, goes to print too early. I think this is the case here. This is a VERY volatile Oscar race this year and if they’d waited a minute or not, and saw that their supposed front-runner “Lady Bird” had not one ONE AWARD AT THE SAGS, they never would’ve run this cover. It’s premature inauguration. A few more hours and it may have been Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell on the cover. Or Sally Hawkins and her magical Fish.

But you see just how close this supporting actress race and every category, as a matter of fact, this year is. And Brit Great Lesley Manville, an O.B. E. has been added to the mix, both here in the America Oscar Nominations and abroad at the BAFTAS in London. So do stay tuned for more mud-wrestling.

What Does Producers Guild List of 11 Mean?

Three Bill Boards 10Harry Styles Dunkirk 3Call Me Upside DownLady Bird 12What does the odd, never before seen, ELEVEN choices of the Producers Guild mean? Well, to the films seen above jockeying for position to get Oscar nominations it means a lot. The  five pictured above  means that they are all in like flint. They are, counting down, “The Shape of Water”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”, “Dunkirk”, “Call Me By Your Name” and “Lady Bird.” They all can relax and take it easy for at least 48 hours, til the Golden Globes are announced Sunday.

Not that anyone campaigning for the Oscars EVER gets to take it easy at this time of year. Impossible! The mode now is almost always PANIC. But especially if you’ve been left out, like “Darkest Hour” and most importantly, “The Florida Project”.

All Academy Members, especially the Actor’s Branch, at this crucial point, are looking at this list. This means that poor little, brilliant, tear-jerker “Florida” may get left off the Academy’s list which always averages to something like nine. It has to duke it out with the films above and also “Wonder Woman”(can’t believe it’ll be nominated for Best Picture”), “Get Out”((ditto)) and “I, Tonya”(((Triple Ditto))) and “The Post”(yes, probably.)

“The Florida Project”s Oscar chances was mainly riding on the coattails of its Best Supporting Actor hopeful Willem Dafoe, who plays the patient, likable, motel manager. He has VERY strong competition from Sam Rockwell in “Three Billboards” and the inclusion of “Billboards” pretty much knocks Dafoe’s chances down a peg or two. Or three. Proves that people like Hollywood Producers Guild members don’t like films about people on welfare that star people on welfare. (Except for Willem Dafoe, of course.)

Rockwell’s star continues to rise and rise, and he’s even hosting SNL tomorrow night! If you compare the two, as I’m sure the Actor’s Branch members are doing right now, as they begin to vote for their nominations, Rockwell, though I can’t spoil exactly how, where and why, has the truly transformational character. He has to go through many, many amazing permutations, and his film “Three BillBoards…” is a Big Indie, almost a full-on feature film. And “The Florida Project” is not. It’s as small as small can be, and isn’t liked as much as the much admired “Billboards.”

The leaving off “The Darkest Hour” is also not good news for Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. 19 year old(when he shot it) Timothee Chalamat (“Call Me By Your Own Name”) is really giving the veteran British character actor a run for his money, too. He’s 23 now, but would they really shaft the veteran? Timothee’s low-key charisma is charm without end…but…same with Saoirse Ronan’s lost-in-high-school Lady Bird. Two coming of age stories…Are they going to award BOTH teenagers-in-question?

I would say that those four men, Oldman, Chalamet, Dafoe and Rockwell  are the ones in serious awards contention here. They’ll all be nominated, but who will win?

“I, Tonya”s emergence out of the mire that was Tonya Harding’s life and the inclusion of it on this List of Lists really means that it has to be taken much more seriously than anyone had expected. And that not only the respected vet Allison Janney, but the emergent Australian actress Margot Robbie, is no longer merely a sex-bomb, but also quite possibly a Best Actress nominee. As unbelievable as that may have sounded even last week.

I don’t think this helps or hurts Allison Janney, as her mother-from-hell, because if “Lady Bird” is going to win anything, it’s Laurie Metcalf as Lady Bird’s mother from Purgatory in Best Supporting Actress.

So what will “Lady Bird,” which seems to be leading  the momentum. Wwhat will that mean for its lovely Irish star Saoirse Ronan and its brilliant writer-director Greta Gerwig? I’d say the jury is still out on that one, and that it’s going to be a battle to the end or a fight to the finish either way for both of them.

Greta Gerwig is a genius! Her first film “Lady Bird” Is Brilliant! Will be nominated for many Oscars!

Greta Gerwig is a genius! There are no ifs and or buts about it, she just IS! Her new film “Lady Bird” is so brilliant, you can’t believe it. And she wrote it and directed it, too! Superbly! We’ve all known her as an actress. She emerged in her early 20s to become the Queen of Mumblecore. But she’s the Queen of Mumblecore no more! In her 2O’s, she seemed to be in every single Indie film that was happening during “The Mumblecore Period”. I never thought she was mumbling. Her light as a quirkily original young actress, always outshone most of her films. One notable exception was Whit Stillman’s witty,wicked take on college sororities,”Damsels in Distress.” Stillman and Gerwig seemed a perfect match. Later she began to turn up in more adult roles, like Mike Mills’ “20th Century Woman” and last year’s “Jackie.”

Indeed her style and wit seems the most similar to Stillman’s fizzy blend of champagne and real pain.

“Lady Bird”s big shocker and also its redemption is that is based in HIGH SCHOOL! Yes, it’s a coming of age story. That old trope which seems as ancient as time immemorial. A young teenage age girl struggles to find herself and to come to terms with her harassed embarrassment of a nagging mother. How cliché is that? But in Gerwig’s amazing young hands she turns this time-worn epic into something quite wonderful and new. In that alone, it’s amazing. It transcends genre, time and place.

She seems to have invented teen-ager-dum, or rather re-invented it. Set in the mid-1980s, we see Lady Bird fighting with her frazzled Mom. Sairose Ronan plays Lady Bird and Laurie Metcalf her Mom, and BOTH are going to the Oscars this year  with a ton of other nominations. Including, yes, Gerwig herself, breaking in to the male-only best directing category as well for sure the Best Original Screenplay category.And young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, who plays Lady Bird so convincingly at the same time, she seems to be channeling Gerwig herself. As is we’re seeing a halo-gram projection of Gerwig’s inner life. As she desperately tries to escape her ho-hum life in Sacramento “the mid-west of California” and go to a college in the East where it seems everything is “more exciting in a place like, y’know, Connecticut.’

In the first amazing scene in the film, we see her fighting with her mother about this who is adamant that she go to a Community College in Sacramento. Lady Bird screams and jumps out of the moving vehicle. And that’s just the first scene of the movie!

We’re with Lady Bird every step of the way, as she continues her fight in every aspect of her life in Sacramento. Especially the hide-bound Catholic school she attends where all the students have to wear the traditional uniform of the blue  plaid skirt and ugly, flat-chested navy blue jumper.

Lady Bird 10

How did Gerwig pull off this amazing double hat trick of writing & directing a major motion picture? At the press conference at the NYFF last month, she told a room of spell-bound press (pictured above ^) that being ”a film director is what I always wanted to be” And that as a much-employed actress, she was always studying just how all the great directors she was working with were doing it. An apt student, very much like Lady Bird herself, she clearly didn’t miss a trick.

And it has to be said that young(21) Saiorse Ronan is something of a genius herself. She plays the title role so that you love her AND hate her. She’s died her hair nearly every color of the rainbow, but it’s not becoming.

Lady Bird 11And she’s the first potential Best Actress nominee that has every played the leading role in a film with a full face of realistic teenaged acne. Ronan at her early age has been nominated TWICE already. For Best Actress just last year in “Brooklyn,” and for playing the villainous child Bryony Tallis in “Atonement.” And she’s really quite a good-looking young lady. Ingenue! Oscar can’t resist that word. Ingenue! She might be the one that takes the Oscar home this year. AND she’s Irish playing a convincing Californian….

And now that the film “Lady Bird” itself is such a success on every level, I don’t think we’ll be seeing much of Gerwig herself in front of the camera. She’s going to continue on with writing and directing and I hope she never stops! Her talent seems unfathomable and endless. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

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