a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Lupita N’yong’o’

“La La Land” Wins People’s Choice Award at Toronto

la-la-land-1“La La Land” is proving to be the People’s Choice. It was just won that award, considered very important by all Oscarologists at the Toronto Film Festival. I haven’t seen it yet, but it seems everybody loves it. So this surely pushes it squarely into the Oscar nomination category for Best Picture, as well as many other nominations in many other categories. It looks luscious. I can’t wait to see it!

Pundits from Sasha Stone http://www.awardsdaily.com to Tom O’Neil at Gold Derby have placed it at #1. In fact, for a complete list of TIFF winners check out awardsdaily.

“Queen of Katwe” with Lupita Nyong’o placed second. And “Lion” a Weinstein film with Dev Patel came in third. Lupita, people say, is looking at another Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Katwe.”Lupita 2016And Emma Stone is the front-runner now in the Best Actress category.

“La La” is directed by Damien Chazelle who directed the great “Whiplash” last year and won an Oscar for Supporting Actor for J.T. Simmons.

#TIFF # Oscars # La La Land # Emma Stone

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Past Best Picture Oscar Winners I Adore (& Own & Re-Watch)

Oscars Now that’s it all over but the shouting (on Oscar night, this coming Sunday, Feb.28), I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic about other films that have one Best Picture in the past and really won my heart. Some I’ve watched over and over and over again. Some I own. I love them so much I always want them to be with me or near at hand anyway to play at any time.

  1. Gone With the WindGone With the Wind
  2. All About EveAll About Eve
  3. Tom JonesTom Jones 1
  4. The King’s SpeechThe King's Speech
  5. The ArtistThe Artist
  6. Lord of the Rings Part 3, Return of the KingSam & Frodo
  7. Twelve Years a Slave12 Years a Slave 2
  8. RebeccaRebecca 1
  9. Midnight CowboyMidnight Cowboy
  10. No Country for Old MenNo Country for Old Men 1

As Oscar Voters Are Voting, Why Alicia Vikander Is the New Oscar “It” Girl!

Alicia Vikander 2Every year Oscar has a new “It” Girl. The young actress who seems to be EVERYWHERE and is on everybody’s tongue, and radar, and who is haunting the SWORM(Straight White Old Rich Men) of AMPAS’ dreams. It’s called Oscar Buzz. It’s called Momentum. And this year it seems to be  sizzling around Alicia Vikander, who is  currently on the cover of Vogue (see above) and where she is being dubbed “Hollywood’s New Swede Heart.”

This tradition of falling in love with beauteous Swedish actresses is a classic one. There was Greta Garbo, who won no Oscars, and Ingrid Bergman, who won three.

And Alicia is so ubiquitous this year, she is on Oscars’ mind in TWO categories, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Firstly, there’s “The Danish Girl” which I personally think is going to prove more loved by the Academy, and yes, even SAG, than it seems to be in the blogosphere, where people are grossly underestimating it. But not me. It’s my Number One Film of the Year!

Alicia Vikander 4And do I have to remind you, dear readers, dear cineastes that the blogosphere does not contain ANY voting Members of the Academy. Their tastes are their tastes, and are not the taste of the Academy’s. Maybe the Golden Globes and certainly the Broadcast Film Critics are perhaps nearer to Oscars, but even then the Academy likes to go its’ own independent way.

But the lovely Alicia is everywhere! Breaking hearts in “The Danish Girl” Eddie & Alicia 1in a role that is so dimensional and relatable, the long-suffering wife of the transgender transitioning Lili Elbe, played by last year’s Oscar winner( and also a surefire nominee for this one, too) Eddie Redmayne. And mystifying men around the world as the quixotic robot Ava in “Ex Machina.”Alicia Vikander 3

Yes, I’m thinking that Alicia is blowing up so big right now, just at the right time, the heretofore little known Swede is going to perhaps get such a big “Welcome to Hollywood” hug from the Academy, that she could very easily be nominated for TWO Oscars! That’s right. One for lead for “The Danish Girl” and one in Supporting for “Ex Machina!” That’s SOME welcome!

That strange, sexy, barely clad robot in “Ex Machina” is the sort of role that lingers in the mind, as well as elsewhere, for most straight men, I am guessing. She’s been nominated in Supporting by many critics groups too numerous to mention for “Ex Machina.” It doesn’t hurt her Oscar chances either that she’s seen nude in both films.

She also won the esteemed Los Angeles film critics award for Best Supporting Actress for “Ex Machina.”

SAG put her in Supporting for “The Danish Girl.” While the Golden Globes put her in lead. Anyway you slice it, Alicia is everywhere.

And she’s also got a ton of films coming up, proving that many leading filmmakers and studios are banking on her for their futures. Reminding me of the year the unknown Angelina Jolie came out of nowhere to win her first and only Oscar for Supporting Actress in “Girl Interrupted.” Nobody knew her in the general public, but Hollywood was counting on the fact that she was going to have a major future, and lo and behold, she certainly did. You could say the same for the unknown Marion Cotillard, or even America’s own Lupita Nyongo just two years ago. They both went from zero to winner. Hollywood LOVES a Cinderella story and certainly Alicia seems to be this year’s princess just waiting to be crowned.

This year, I think,it’s Alicia Vikander’s turn.

At every turn, the 5’5″ brown-eyed beauty is turning heads and hearts. With her talent and her smarts.aLICIA vIKANDER1Every where you turn, there she is smiling that beguiling, but intelligent smile, saying even from the cover of Vogue, “I’m here to stay.” Or “Give me that Oscar!” (more…)

Best Supporting Actress, Wide Open or Not?

sarah PaulsonRoonwy MARA 2Is this year’s Supporting Actress race wide open or not? I think the HFPA(Hollywood Foreign Press Association) who give out the Golden Globs, er, I mean, GLOBES, dynamited both the Best Actress race and the Best Supporting Actress races, by insisting that Rooney Mara for “Carol” and Swedish actress Alicia Vikander of “The Danish Girl” MUST be considered in lead.aLICIA vIKANDER1

And they are 100% right! Both are leading roles. However, after seeing how dismal Rooney Mara’s “Carol” turn is, and how GREAT Cate (the Great) Blanchett’s is in the title role, I think voters are going to have no trouble nominating Blanchett, and overlooking the sub-par Mara for “Carol.”

I would never have thought that yesterday. I had to see it to believe it. I mean, Mara did win Best Actress in Cannes, which I guess in this day and race really means nothing.

And since Best Actress is incredibly jammed already, there just may not be room for Mara AND Blanchett, and/or for Mara and Vikander, who gives a truly transcendent performance as the conflicted wife of a transitioning transgender man-to-woman in “The Danish Girl,” played brilliantly by probable nominee for Best Actor, and last year’s winner, Eddie Redmayne.

Brie Larson in “Room” and Saorise Ronan in “Brooklyn” SEEM locked and loaded as they say. And then there’s Blanchett in “Carol” and Vikander. With only one slot left for Carey Mulligan in “Suffragette” with Lily Tomlin’s “Grandma” and Charlotte Rampling’s “45 years” nipping at her heels. Never mind Dame Maggie Smith coming up fast on the outside for her glorious, smelly, homeless woman “Lady in the Van.”

So who is going to fill up the now empty Best Supporting Actress race?

Well, as I said before, I would love it if Sarah Paulson (above top picture) got nominated for “Carol.” Since the HFPA’s Edict of Nantes, they CAN’T nominate Rooney,in Supporting, they might just go far Paulson’s steely Best Friend and ex-lover of Carol. That would be great and people WILL get to see “Carol”. And see Paulson in it and how good she is.

Paulson was pretty stellar in “Twelve Years a Slave” wherein she horrified voters as the vicious slave-owners wife, who throws a glass decanter in future Oscar winner Lupita N’yongo’s face, scarring her for life.

And then there’s room for probable nominee screen legend Jane Fonda getting in for a five minute scene in “Youth.” I bet they are going to nominate her sight unseen because she is well, Jane Fonda.Jane Fonda Youth 1

I keep banging the drums for Parker Posey in Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man,” but no one seems to be listening to me. Posey has another juicy role coming up next year in Woody’s next opus. Maybe the Academy will wait for that role before they get on the Parker-Posey-is-now-legit(to us)-train.Itrational Man 2

I’ve mentioned before two look-alike blondes Elizabeth Banks and Rachel McAdams in, respectively, “Love and Mercy” and “Spotlight,” the front-runner at the moment for Best Picture. Both blonde beauties may have been pushed further inside the race than they ever might have been otherwise by the HFPA’s ruling on Mara and Vikander.Elizabeth Banks1Rachel McAdams1And let’s not overlook the wonderful Oscar perennial Laura Linney, who really holds Ian McKellan’s house and home(and picture) together as the put-upon drudge of a housekeeper in “Mr. Holmes.” If the voters view “Mr. H.” to see Sir Ian’s great nonogenarian detective, they’ll see how beautiful Linney’s work is opposite him. I thought people would forget this charming film and McKellan’s and Linney’s lovely work in it, but it seems they’re not.Laura Holmes 1And last but not least, you can never count out Dame Helen Mirren’s campier-than-thou take on the late real life gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in “Trumbo,.” who underneath her elaborate headgear was a ruthless red=baiter.Helen Mirren Trumbo

There’s nothing like a Dame as the ole saying goes. A rubric that AMPAS lives by. They’ve always have got to get a “sir” or a “dame” in there somewhere to give the evening class.

Have I left anyone out? Probably. But I’ll catch you up on these magnificent ladies on the flip side.

Oscar Hallowe’en!BOO! It’s Scary Out There for a Contender

Joy1EddieandlilliIt’s Oscar Hallowe’en! Boo! Did I scare you? Not as much as some of the box-office news is scary for some of the Oscar Wannabee Contenders. “Steve Jobs” has just about died at the Box-Office. Michael Fassbender in the title role might not even get nominated! As I said before about “The Joy of Typing”(my title for “The Social Network”) who in the Academy wants to see a movie about the Internet? NO ONE.

Some Academy members don’t even HAVE a computer. You have to call them on the antiquated machine known as the telephone. Or worse, WRITE THEM A LETTER. Some don’t even have email.

They hate the Internet with a vengeance. It’s changed their world in too many ways, none of which they understand, or like (Don’t believe me? Look back at few years at “The Joy of Typing”)

Also sinking like a stone at the B.O. is, sadly, “Suffragette.” Women will love this movie. Men will hate it and the Academy as I’ve always said is made up of the SWORM. The Straight White Old Rich Men, who dominate Hollywood(and the Oscars) since the dawn of time. They’re gonna hate it, since there is NOT ONE sympathetic male in the entire movie.

And “Suffragette”s lack of relatability (to men) will sink it at the Oscars and Carrie Mulligan’s very good performance, too. Perhaps…Sad for Carrie. But good news for Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn.” “Suffragette’s lose, may be the charming, small period film’s gain. “Brooklyn” I mean. As Brit Carrie goes down with her ship, Irish Saorise will rise with hers as the token femme Celt.

A film that is also going to scare all the other contenders is the upcoming “Joy”. With Jennifer Lawrence once again being up for Best Actress for her role as a house-wife who turns into a mega-businesswoman. A single mom, at that. And if you can find it(it’s not hard. It’s everywhere now.)on the Internet, the trailer REALLY looks great for Jennifer to perhaps do it again and win a SECOND Best Actress Oscar.  She’s a star. She’s under 25. She’s box-office. It’s David O. Russell-directed(again) and it’s going to be her v. Brie Larson in “Room.” You mark my words.And strangely Brie Larson’s character is ALSO named Joy. So it’ll be Joy v. Joy at the Oscars this year in the first time in AGES since we’ve really had a race going on in that category.And that IS a joy!

Cate Blanchett’s excellent “Truth” is also tanking at the box-office so she’ll probably be nominated for her other upcoming film “Carol.” But having won so recently for “Blue Jasmine,” I don’t think they’ll give her a third Oscar this year, though Jennifer Lawrence very well may be looking at her second.

Also looking straight at a second Oscar is Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”. Based on a true story(see above^) and featured magnificently in VOGUE with Lupita N’yongo on the cover with a spread that shows his remarkable transition. Lili Elbe one of the first, if not THEE first transgender pioneer, is such a tragic figure. It may also tug at the Academy’s hard heart. I think it will. Eddie makes a beautiful girl. His performance as Lili is nothing short of incredible. He’s even better than he was in “The Theory of Everything” which he won Best Actor for last year.

NOT scaring anyone is Johnny Depp’s “Black Mass” another mis-fire. People admire his performance as Whitey Bulger, a mob informant/killer (Haven’t we seen him in this role before?Wasn’t it called “Donny Brasco”?) Critics like HIM, but not the movie and It’s not scaring up much $ either. Though “The Martian” is! And that could be our Best Picture winner, BTW. And could garner Matt Damon a nomination as Best Actor.THAT is the red elephant in the room.

Also, everyone is afraid that it just may be Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar year FINALLY. But “The Revenant” is still to be seen. I didn’t think it would be ready in time, but it looks like it is. Will the public embrace it more than “The Martian”? Hard to say. And Ridley Scott, “The Martian”s director has never won an Oscar, though his film “Gladiator” did.

So BOO! And Happy Hallowe’en, dear readers, dear cineastes! I’m BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Michael Place talks Lupita at Yale

Michael Place talks Lupita at Yale

Michael Place is a wonderful, talented, inspiring young actor just like his classmate from Yale Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o. He just went on NPR radio and talked about her soooo eloquently that I just felt I had to share what he had to say about his best friend and her ASTOUNDING Oscar journey.

I met Michael the night I met Lupita in May 2012, and his description of her school days and the naming of their class as “The Wilsons” is goofy and historical at the same time.

His heartfelt description of her beauty and her talent and just how she made the transition from her native Nairobi to where she is now with so much grace, poise and intelligence and yes, ease, is just wonderful, and wonderfully insightful and detailed. And take it from me, his acting is just as good as his interview(s).

You have to wade through the NPR show about geneologies and Google glass before you get to Michael on Lupita at about 25:00, but it’s worth the wade.

Michael says and I quote:

“When your friend wins an Oscar people ask you questions about them on the radio: http://wnpr.org/post/scramble-are-aj-jacobs-lupita-nyongo-and-john-rowland-related starts at 25:00 #teamlupita #TheWilsons

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