a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Lowell’

“The Fighter” An Oscar Knock-Out!+ Other Awards News

I have to say, having just returned from an Academy-ish screening(it was mixed with guilds and obviously, actual press, too. I mean,was there!) and yes, it’s got Oscar nomination chances galore!

The audience at this screening seemed to love it, as I was tipped that the Academy would and they audibly did. That was born out by all the laughs and gasps and cheers throughout, though there was no final applause at the end. Every one left with smiles on their faces. ALWAYS a good sign for Oscar!

Mark Wahlberg’s passion project of many years has come to ripe fruition with him wisely surrounding himself with the some of the Best Actors in the business, like Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, all of whom I think are assured Oscar nominations in Supporting for this.

So it’s a holiday feast of blue-collar, but blue-ribbon actors all trying to out-do each other in what is a veritable Oscar smack-down and SUCCEEDING mightily. Each landing punch after thespic (acting) punch in this knock-out of a movie!

Although this is a boxing saga, it’s really more of a family drama, being played out against a boxing background. This Lowell Massachusetts hard-scrabble setting, replete with Boston accents, gives Leo, Adams and especially Bale, career-capping chances to really go to town in an award-winning, Oscar-baity way. Are they chewing the scenery for Thanksgiving? Gobble Gobble. Well, Leo and Bale are anyway…but the Academy LOVES these showy turns.

Wahlberg OTOH plays it down, very understated, almost dour and lets the wildness of the colorful characters around him shine. And shine, they do!

Bale is unfogettable as his crack-headed brother who is also his f**ked up trainer. Leo is  their horrible Mother-From-Hell  who is also his money-grubbing manager, and Adams gets to play against them as the good girl who he hooks up with, and who has to stand up to his insane family AND SHE DOES! You are totally rooting for her to take down the dastardly, deadly duo of Mom Leo and Brother Bale. This movie is one juicy fight scene from beginning to end! Whether it’s in the ring, or in the living room, or on the front porch, EVERY one is fighting!

As Wahlberg is also the producer here (and Bob and Harvey Weinstein are also listed as producers, too(!) with Paramount the main distributor) he’s going to get nominated for  getting this made & helming this irresistible (to the Academy and I think to audiences, too) combo of heart, guts and BOXING.

Boxing films have traditionally been catnip to the Academy and this one, though the formulaic trailers have been misleading-by-a-mile, “The Fighter” will be no exception. So in a field of ten possible nominees for Best Picture, I say the “The Fighter” is going to score one of those ten best slots.

With Wahlberg so monotone himself, I don’t think he’s got a chance at an Acting nomination. But as a producer of “The Fighter”, yes!

It’s going to be a Golden Glove( and Golden Globe) bout between Geoffrey Rush for “The King’s Speech,” and Bale for this in Supporting Actor  and THAT match-up is going to cause all the major Oscar attention for this film.  And those two performances are so different and also so  juicy, well, it’s a delicious prospect!

And Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are BOTH so good that they are BOTH going to be nominated most likely. Canceling each other out, and leaving the win to Helena Bonham-Carter for “The King’s Speech.” 

When two actresses from the same film get nominated in Supporting it’s historically someone else, who wins. The last time I remember this happening was in 2001 for “Gosford Park” when it was both Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Maggie Smith going head-to-head in Supporting…and somebody else won. Jennifer Connelly in a year that there was “A Beautiful Mind” sweep.

Bale v. Geoffrey Rush, who is brilliant, but already HAS an Oscar would be literally duking it out til the last minute in Supporting. Rush, as the hilarious, genial ,but tough speech therapist Lionel Logue, who is the Australian Henry Higgins teaching Colin Firth(the King) how to speak, is going to be a Battle Royal(pardon the pun) with Bale’s junkie, who, though everyone forgets it, as also a Brit. Yes, he is. He really is. Remember him as the kid in Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun”? Yes, that was little Christian. A child actor who has endured and ended up as “The Dark Knight.” Yes, that was him, the last time in the hood and cape. But all people remember from that film is the astounding Joker of the late Heath Ledger. R.I.P. Heath.

Bale, however, ALMOST overdoes it in the OTT category,but how can you play a character who is always tweaking, and not seem OTT, as well as ADD? Bale has lost a ton of weight for the part and as a  junkie who jumps out of windows to escape his harridan, chain-smoking mother (Leo), I do think he’s in contention.

It’s just that how much do they like Christian Bale? I mean, really? With that Internet rant to that poor stage hand being something that still lurks in people’s mind when they think of him? They may just make him wait, and give Rush a second Oscar for what is clearly the performance of the year.

But Bale’s never been nominated before and Rush has won before.  Me, I’d vote for Rush…but…it’s gonna be a fight to the photo finish at the Kodak between the two of them.

It’s also just a question of HOW many Oscars are they going to give to “The King’s Speech”? Colin Frith and Helena Bonham-Carter are both way out in front in Best Actor and now, Best Supporting Actress, too. Is “The King’s Speech” going to sweep?

I heard people discussing how there was one movie where there were lines around the block about ten days ago.  It was for a SAG screening and that was for “The King’s Speech.” “The Fighter” was well attended, but not full, by any means. And no applause at the end, though a consistently involved chorus of laughs and gasps, means they were involved. But  not as enthralled as “The King’s Speech” audiences are.

Bale has the best Oscar shot of the bunch of them. He gets to OD, and then go cold turkey in a jail cell! Now that’s what I call a PART! So Christian Bale will finally get his first Oscar nomination…

But will he win?

And in terms of other films…I heard when the New York Film Critics get together to vote soon, very soon. (“True Grit” FINALLY starts screening next week for all and sundry) that at the moment it’s still going to be a pitched battle between “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network.” So, what else is new? That’s the way it’s been since Toronto!

Except that today, “The King’s Speech” just got 100% from the Top Critics on Rotten Tomatoes! How can ANYone argue with those stats? Especially the Academy!

Harvey Weinstein must be having a very happy Thanksgiving indeed!

Coupled with women, who are just flat out refusing to see “127 Hours” because of the gore, and the arm-thing…

People, again it was women I was talking to, are not digging “Black Swan.” ‘It ruins ‘Swan Lake'” one balletomane told me. But ballet lovers are going to be in the minority of AMPAS.

But then, of course, WOMEN are not the majority of the AMPAS voters. The SWORM are. Single White Old Rich Men…

And EVERYbody is digging Michael Douglas’ performance in “Solitary Man.”

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