a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

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And now,more! Scott Cakes 2013 at the Provincetown Film Festival, Pt.1!

Ooops! I do everything backwards! So now ~ here’s Part ONE of my visit with Scott Cunningham of Scott Cakes! YUM! I want another Scott Cake NOW!

Scott discusses his marriage this past fall at the Pilgrim Monument and the correct prediction of Anne Hathaway’s winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “Les Miserables.’

Camera ~ Robert Iacovissi
Editing ~ Kevin Teller

Meryl Streep in SUPPORTING for “August”??? I don’t think so…

One of the wackiest things I’ve heard in ages is Meryl Streep being announced as going Supporting for “August:Osage County.” Her character Violet Westin is an award-magnet bravura tour-de-force kind of role.It’s clearly the lead. It won Deanna Dunagan, a Chicago actress who debuted the part on Broadway a Tony Award.

Her co-star Amy Morton was nominated for the role of Violet’s confrontational daughter, but lost to Dunagan at the Tonys. Julia Roberts is playing this difficult part in the movie version, and we all wish her well. And hope she outdoes and confounds expectations, as I think she will.

Putting Meryl in Supporting leaves Julia as a Best Actress likely nominee, as we’re talking about her chances, too, at this moment. And then Julia on her own could get all the “August:Osage” votes, the thinking most be. She and Meryl could split the vote were they BOTH put in this category, both in Best Actress.

Putting Meryl in Supporting then pits her AGAINST Oprah Winfrey for “Lee Daniels’The Butler”. Both are Weinstein films? WHAT is Harvey Weinstein thinking? He’s also got a pretty good shot with Octavia Spencer for “Fruitvale Station.” Sharon Stone is also a likely nominee as Linda Lovelace’s straight-laced mother in “Lovelace.” Those are ALLLLLL Harvey’s films!

Now, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences allows its’ members to nominate actors and actresses in whichever category it chooses to put them into. So like the year Kate Winslet won Best Actress for “The Reader” even though Harvey campaigned her in Supporting for that movie.

If you may remember, that year Kate W. won BOTH Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes, who do follow the studios dictates.

So I think this is all just publicity palaver to get people to talk about “August:Osage” and ALLLL the wonderful performances by women I’m sure it contains. I can’t wait to see it at the Toronto Film Festival in a few weeks.

I think the Academy will put Meryl in the lead, and Julia, too, if they both deserve to be their.

And WHY is this all happening? Fear of Cate Blanchett’s great “Blue Jasmine.”

“August: Osage” after Toronto is going underground and will not be seen again or screened until Thanksgiving. Harvey’s release plan EXACTLY for “The King’s Speech.” But this ploy is so outlandish, it may lead Academy voters to vote for none of the “Osage” actresses and is just handing the win over to Cate Blanchett. Or is it?

Stay tuned. Drama ensues.

Oscar Chances of Cate Blanchett ~ Too much, too soon?

Oscar is such a fickle little devil. If the Academy Awards were held tomorrow, Cate Blanchett would win in a walk for “Blue Jasmine”, ANOTHER astonishing Woody Allen movie with an unforgettable performance by Cate the Great.

Plusses ~ All the rave reviews, and the staggering performance itself.

Minuses ~ All this Oscar brouhaha is WWWAAAY toooo soon in the Oscar season. Sony Pictures Classics has to keep “Blue Jasmine”, a rare, exotic flower blooming til the holidays.For a film that’s only playing now in two cities that’s no mean feat.

Minuses ~ Sony Pictures Classics is NOT the Weinstein Co.

If this were one of Harvey’s girls she WOULD win. Lest not forget that the last woman to win for an Oscar for a Woody film was the beauteous, unforgettable, explosive Penelope Cruz in “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” But that was a WEINSTEIN Co. release! You’ve GOTTA have Harvey…Sony Pictures classics is not known for nailing WINS. But nailing nominations, yes. See Emmanuelle Riva’s near miss last year for “Amour.” She got the nomination, yes, and some major critics’ awards,but…she lost to last year’s Harvey girl, Jennifer Lawrence.

Minuses ~ She’s playing Ruth Madoff

Plusses ~ She makes you LIKE her.

Plusses- It’s a complex, intelligent career-capping role that people will be talking about as long as they discuss Cate Blanchett.

Pluses ~ She had AN HOUR-long chat with Charlie Rose, who gave her the ENTIRE program.

Minuses ~ By the end of the hour, she and Charlie got soooo abstract and convoluted, they completely lost me. And I’m sure many others too. And Academy voters watch Charlie Rose like a hawk.

Minuses ~ She looks like she’ll be up against two OTHER Aussie homegirls, Nicole Kidman for “Grace of Monaco” playing the late Princess, who died tragically in an auto accident. AND that other wonderful Australian actress Naomi Watts in “Diana” about another blonde royal, the late Princess of Wales, who also dies tragically in an car crash. THREE Australian Best Actress nominees? WHEN has that ever happened before? And it is a good thing? Will they split the Australian vote? IS there an Australian vote?

Minuses – Meryl Streep will very likely be nominated for the vicious, drug-addicted mother who you love to hate in “August: Osage County.” a Weinstein Co. production that’s heading straight to the Toronto Film Festival, as are “Grace” and “Diana”. This would leave Meryl the only American actress in this category, although she already has THREE other Oscars. The fifth slot I’m guessing is going to Berenice Bejo for “The Past” ANOTHER of Harvey’s films. And she would be in the now traditional French actress slot. We see it every year now. This film will also be at Toronto…Or it could be ANOTHER French actress Julie Delpy, who stars in and who also co-wrote the “Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight” trilogy. She was nominated before for a Best Screenplay. And Berenice Bejo was also previously nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “The Artist.”

And of course, we must not forget the Babe Factor. The pretty young thing who sweeps in from seemingly nowhere and makes the Academy of collective Old White Rich Men fall in love with her and takes the prize, again, like Jennifer Lawrence did last year. This could be the surprising and gorgeous American Beauty Amanda Seyfried who unbelievably breaks your heart as Linda Lovelace in “Lovelace.” And Radius is behind “Lovelace” which is Harvey Weinstein’s Co., too.

<So LOOK OUT!

A completely empty playing field is going to be SLAMMED in about a month’s time by alllll these female centric movies playing at TIFF and also, some of them at Telluride.

Will I get to TIFF this year to talk to all these great ladies? I hope so. I’m trying my hardest, but I’ll certainly be seeing all four of these acclaimed-already, buzzed-about movies…

So Cate the Great AND especially Sony Pictures Classics REALLY have their work cut out for them.

Cate already has an Oscar. But then so does Nicole and Meryl has three.

It’s Cate’s to lose, as they say. But SPC has a history of stumbling at the end game.

It could be Cate, but…

 

Provincetown Film Festival ’13 Wrap Up!

PROVINCETOWN FILM FESTIVAL 15th ANNIVERSARY Wrap-Up

Epstein/Friedman Triumph TWICE with Double Whammy of “Lovelace” &”The Battle of AMFAR” ~ Almodovar, “Fruitvale” and Divine also score

Oscar-winning documentary filmmakers Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman did the seemingly impossible at the 15th Anniversary of the Provincetown International Film Festival, which just wrapped. They opened this smart, exciting, essential & growing film festival with their first narrative feature film “Lovelace” about the ’70’s porn star Linda Lovelace of “Deep Throat” fame and followed it up with a terrific doc about the AIDS organization “The Battle of AMFAR.” Both were superb.

“Lovelace” was my favorite film of PIFF, boasting a surprising trio of Oscar-worthy performances from Amanda Seyfried (“Les Miz,””Mama Mia”) as Linda Lovelace herself,and Peter Sarsgaard (“An Education”) is incredibly believable in his tough-to-take role as Lovelace’s porn producer/husband Chuck Traynor. The triumvirate of great star turns is completed by an unrecognizable Sharon Stone as Lovelace’s hard-nosed Catholic mother. I never thought Seyfried had the dramatic chops, and I, like Harvey Weinstein I was told, did not realize that it was Sharon Stone as the mother, until the end credits rolled, and I nearly jumped out of my skin!

Stone has been nominated once before for “Casino”, but didn’t win, and now I think she will have another strong shot for sure, as Seyfried and Sarsgaard will, too, be up for Oscar consideration again. And this time, as a Best Supporting Actress, she could actually win. And neither Seyfried nor the worthy-as-hell, overdue Sarsgaard has ever been nominated either. Also, Radius the new Weinstein Co. off-shoot is repping this terrific film.

A biopic of a porn star? I didn’t think I’d like it, but “Lovelace” and Seyfried and Sarsgaard and filmmakers Epstein and Friedman draw you in utterly and make you CARE. And it’s funny, too, when it needs to be, and tragic as Lovelace’s story gets darker and darker. And with Harvey Weinstein in the mix behind them, look out!

“The Battle of AMFAR” is about the founders, the unlikely duo of research scientist Dr. Mathilde Krim and superstar-turned-activist Elizabeth Taylor. who joined forces to bring about a critical change in the perception of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1985. This terrific doc that sped by at a lightening pace was ALSO directed by Epstein and Friedman, who also directed “Lovelace”! Is there anything these two titans of cinema can’t do? It was definitely their time to shine at this year’s charming sea-side Festival.

The Weinstein Co. was also behind the laceratingly powerful racial drama “Fruitvale Station”, a true story about an innocent African American youth, 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who is wrongly slain by police on New Year’s Eve 2008. Unknown actor Michael B. Jordan has to carry virtually every scene of the film, and he does, but it is Oscar Winner Octavia Spenser(“The Help”) who outdoes herself here as Grant’s mother.

Grant is no plaster saint and his mother knows it. We are shown flashback scenes of Grant in prison, when his mother comes to visit and tells him she won’t be coming to see him anymore and refuses to hug him. We see her try to control her wild, pothead son, when he gets out, and she tries to keep him on the straight and narrow, and most monumentally, we see her grieving when he is shot-to-death by police. Octavia Spenser meets every challenge of this bravura, heart-breaking role that pulls out all the stops, and then some.

Having won both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film at 2013’s Sundance Film Festival, “Fruitvale Station”, the subway station where the tragedy occurs, seems primed to compete across the categories as last year’s Sundance favorite “Beasts of the Southern Wild” did. And with Harvey as its’ producer, you know it will be a significant player this awards season.

An enchanting Film Festival by the sea, picturesque Provincetown is surrounded on three sides by water, and boasted a particularly strong slate of docs this year, with “Casting By” about the late, great, legendary casting director Marion Dougherty. Who at one time, as Tom Donahue’s film amply illustrates, seemed to be running the film industry in the ’70s. Dougherty speaks for herself fortunately in many insightful interviews, where it is revealed that she single-handedly talked directors Peter Friedkin into casting Gene Hackman in “The French Connection” and also persuaded John Schlesinger to cast Jon Voight in “Midnight Cowboy”! Try to imagine those two films without those two great performances, both of which won Best Actor & Best Film. Dougherty became so powerful that she turned Casting which was a male-dominated field, into the female-centric one it is today, as she constantly hired women as her assistants. But Casting Director don’t get Oscars. They don’t even have their own category, even as Dougherty and others fought for accreditation. The all-powerful DGA wants to make sure the power stays with The Director and not The CASTING Director. If the public only knew! And “Casting By” at least shines a bright, benevolent light on this tricky situation.

Another doc that knocked my socks off was “I Am Divine” about the late drag performer and cult icon of John Waters’ films “Pink Flamingos”, “Female Trouble” and “Hairspray” among many others. Filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz emphasizes what a good actor Divine was underneath all the make-up and gowns and that he was poised to have a substantial character as a male character actor when he died of a massive heart attack at age 40. Too young. Too soon. And like with the unlikely heroine of “Lovelace”, Schwarz makes you care about his too-chubby protagonist, who just couldn’t stop eating. Or acting. Or acting out.

Waters was there to speak about the film and his late star. Noting that when people said that they often saw Divine walking around Provincetown in kaftans back in the Day, Waters said, “That’s a lie! Divine took cabs!”

And last but not least there is Pedro Almodovar’s HILARIOUS new comedy “I’m So Excited!” which is already one of my favorite Almodovar films. The hottest ticket in one of the smallest theaters (The Art House 2), I had to line up in a Rush Line for AN HOUR before the film started! But I got in! And what a delight it was!

I don’t remember Almodovar doing such an out-and-out comedy since “Woman on the Verge…” or “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down”. Pedro, always a scamp as well as a camp, lets the bobby pins fall where they may as he lets his hair down in the wildest situation imaginable. A plane is stalled flying over Toledo, where it circles and circle and circles. The three tres gay male flight attendants have drugged all the passengers in coach and are left to entertain the first class passengers with campy numbers like “I’m So Excited”, which is a music video-like gem. Pedro could direct musicals, too, if he wanted. I couldn’t stop laughing!

Penelope Cruz and Antonia Banderas make hilarious brief cameo appearances at the beginning of the film. And I was particularly fond of returning Almodovar regular Lola Duenas, “Sole” Penelope’s illegal hair-dresser sister in “Volver”, as a wacky psychic who predicts that she’ll lose her virginity on this flight. What do you think? Hilarity ensues! Don’t miss it!

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