a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Mark Ruffalo’

“The Price” on Bway Saved by Danny De Vito & Jessica Hecht

There is definitely a Tony Award in Danny DeVito’s future. This super-feisty 72-year-old(same age as Bette Middler in “Hello Dolly.” But more on that later) is making his Broadway debut in what is arguably Arthur Miller’s worst play, “The Price.” It’s as dusty as the old sheets covering the antique furniture, which is soon to be dispensed with. The dust from these items, including a harp, are what make the audience in the front row sneeze, when Mark Ruffalo’s put-upon cop enters and pulls the sheets off them, scattering their dust everywhere. It’s his parents un-used and abandoned apartment in a tumbling down building, which is an apt metaphor for this tumbling-down play.

Dust is what has settled on this barely-a-play at all. Dated it certainly is and it’s infuriatingly so. Because DeVito’s wise ole, funny ole furniture appraiser in Act One named Solomon, (yes, I said he was wise) disappears in Act Two, as so does our involvement in the play because everybody else in this star-studded cast of only four famous actors, just can’t hold our attention.The Price 1

And it’s not totally their faults. Jessica Hecht as Ruffalo’s clothes-conscious wife, gives a delicious performance, but is shunted to the side for most of the action, which concerns the clash of the two Frantz brothers, played by Ruffalo and Tony Shaloub.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so embarrassed for two such famous actors in my life. But it’s not their faults. They are giving “The Price”s Act II their alls, but there is no writing beneath them to support their Herculean efforts to try to create something out of nothing. There is just not much there there, as Gertrude Stein once said about Hollywood.

Shaloub’s ass-hat doctor is the villain of the piece. Rich, successful, and supposedly friendless, he is recovering from a nervous breakdown which no one seems to have noticed.

And Ruffalo, poor guy, still seems to be learning his lines, as a last minute replacement for the exiting actor who quit during rehearsals and got out while the getting was good, I guess. So we’re stuck with a suffering and soldiering-on Ruffalo, who is playing the poor sap who gets stuck holding the family bag as it were, and who hasn’t spoken to his brother Shaloub in 16 years. This should be a monumental clash of the titans. The privileged v. the working class, and you KNOW that’s what Miller was probably aiming at, but he misses it by a lonnnnnng mile. Reams and reams and REAMS of dialogue with the two brother going at it hammer and tongs. But the text just isn’t there beneath. It’s sheer verbosity.

And you’re just dying for Danny DeVito to come back and enliven things. Or for Jessica Hecht to have more to do, but it just doesn’t happen.If only Act Two was as dramatic as the above picture ^. It isn’t.

#the Price, # Mark Ruffalo, # Danny DeVito, # Jessica Hecht

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Makes DGA History by Winning 2-in-a-Row

Alejandro 1In a surprise win Saturday night, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu made history at the DGA (Director’s Guild of America) when he won Best Director for “The Revenant” after winning LAST year for “Birdman.” You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. I really did think it was  going to be just about any one else. But I think the #OscarSoWhite controversy was very much on the DGA’s mind. And Inarritu IS Mexican and considered Hispanic, so his award speaks to Hollywood-ers wanting to right that perception. This may mean he’s going to win at the Oscars now, too.

And he broke into tears and gave a very moving speech about Mexicans in America and Donald Trump. Including the all Mexican kitchen staff that was “Making you sandwiches tonight.” I’m sure at the DGA’s grand banquet, they were dining on more than sandwiches.

But it is important to note Inarritu’s  historic achievement. He broke records and stats. And I only wish his two-and-a-half hour schlog of a film “The Revenant” were that short and that pointed and that moving.

Besides making film and racial history, what else did this win mean? Well, it’s knocked “Mad Max:Fury Road” out of any serious consideration for Best Picture or Best Director. Many were predicting 70-something Australian George Miller winning, but alas that was not to be.

Pete Hammond kind of tipped everyone off when he mentioned to Tom O’Neil that Inarritu was NOT going to be introducing the award as the previous winner historically does. He told Tom on one of the excellent podcasts on Gold Derby just this past week about Inarritu not making that announcement. “He can’t say, ‘The Winner Is Me!'” Hammond noted. Though evidently Irving Berlin did just that one Oscar year back in the day.Alejandro & Leo 1

This pushes “The Revenant” forward just at the time the Oscar voters are FINALLY getting their ballots towards the end of the week.
Leo will win and now it looks like it’s going to be Inarritu is going to win, too. Will the wealth spread to other of the eleven nominations? It just might. And it might sweep in Tom Hardy, too, in Supporting Actor.Tom Hardy 1

The one really touching, true moment was Hardy talking about his being scalped alive during an Indian attack, and SURVIVING! Since “The Revenant” is facing off against “Mad Max” in many, if not all, of the below-the-line categories, the win may cause a “Revenant” sweep.

But what of Best Picture? I don’t think THAT’s going to “The Revenant” too.”Spotlight” and “The Big Short” the “serious” smaller films, with less nominations. but mucho gravitas will score I’m betting. I think “Spotlight” which is being screened at the Vatican this week is the one who will win. It could get Best Original Screenplay, too, and that’s where Tom McCarthy will score. And THEIR Supporting Actor, if that’s the case, twice-nominated Mark Ruffalo could get swept in, too. PLEASE!

Anybody! But “Mumbles” Stallone!

Brie Larson Wins SAG Best Actress for “Room”!”Spotlight” Wins Best Ensemble!

Brie Larson 3Looking not at all like this possessed picture above ^ Brie Larson just won her well deserved SAG Award for Best Actress or as they put it, Best Female Actor.  She seems so much like the girl next door, you can’t believe that she was the “captured for seven years” girl next door.  In the shed in the back garden. And now here comes Best Actor!

Annnnnd it’s Leo. Oh well. And a Standing O, too. That’s it. That’s the ball game. He’ll win the Oscar, too. As will Brie Larson.

And “Spotlight” wins Best Ensemble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK GOODNESS!!!!

A shocked Mark Ruffalo gave a very nice speech, very moving, very heartfelt. “I really didn’t expect this”he exclaimed. And then handed the blue “Actor” award over to Michael Keaton, who ALSO gave a very impassioned speech about the “disenfranchised everywhere. Flint, Michigan, everywhere.”

So basically, that ALSO is the ballgame, dear readers, dear cineastes, for Best Picture.

I saw “The Big Short”,”Spotlight”s main competitor, but I kept thinking “They’re not giving their main award to a film that they may not understand.”

Even though the heroes in “Spotlight”  are journalists, a species that actors purport to disdain, but not tonight. And this win for “Spotlight” which I’m happy about, re-emphasizes that “Spotlight” is about something very, very serious and it’s a drama. “The Big Short” is a comedy. Comedy always loses and will probably now lose the Oscar, too. Spotlight 4

“Spotlight”is about the decades-long cover up of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church is an important topic. SAG felt it was more important than Wall St.’s corruption.

I also felt that “The Big Short” disturbingly glamorizes this corruption. Which is something that “Spotlight” does not. It faces its’ issues straight on, and condemns them. And everybody in the movie is just terrifically understated, and quietly brilliantly intense.

This win tonight for “Spotlight” puts it in the front-runner spotlight, once again, and I think it will stay there through to the Oscars.

Mark Ruffalo’s very moving acceptance speech showed Oscar voters, who watch these predictive proceedings like a hawk, are very likely to take note of that marvelous moment of Ruffalo’s. They also saw Leo, and Brie, and Alicia Vikander doing their best Oscar audition acceptance speeches, too. And they did it so well, I think all three of them nailed down their Oscar wins tonight. Indupitably.

The only category left up in the air tonight was Best Supporting Actor, because supposed favorite Sylvester Stallone is leading that Oscar category and Idris Elba isn’t nominated there. But Mark Ruffalo is.

So we have a very locked and loaded Oscar race now. Except for Best Supporting Actor, which will be announced VERY early in the evening as it usually is.

This occasion is a much more joyous one than the Golden Globes were.Indubitably.Boston Globe

 

Oscar Nomination Predictions~ The Supporting Actors & Actresses

Oscars 2015It’s really much harder predicting the Oscar NOMINATIONS which are coming out tomorrow morning before the dawn breaks over Hollywood 5AM PST. They are announcing ALLLL 25 categories tomorrow so they may start even earlier. But right now I’m going to predict the way that the four Acting categories are going to go.

Believe it or not, my feeling for biggest surprise may be from Renee Russo, who, due to the ever-increasing popularity of “Nightcrawler” may just snatch that fifth slot in Best Supporting Actress away from Jessica Chastain, who may have unfortunately split her own vote three ways by having three exemplary examples of her stellar work in “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”, “The Most Violent Year,” and “Interstellar.”

The other more or less agreed upon four ladies, front-runner Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”), Emma Stone (“Birdman”), Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods”) and Keira Knightley (“Imitation Game”).

Supporting Actor has five men who have dominated this category since the beginning, but again, that pesky fifth slot I think is going to contain a surprise. Like for instance Steve Carrell(“Foxcatcher”) being dropped down to from Best Actor, as he was by the BAFTAS.

The 84-year-old Robert Duvall is the shakiest IMHO, because his film “The Judge” was not as much seen by audiences, i.e,  it was NOT perceived as successful. So if there were one too many screeners to see in an extremely limited amount of time “The Judge”, even though it opened the Toronto Film Festival, may very well be the one they skip.

Edward Norton was  terrific as the most over-acting actor of all time in “Birdman” and is a sure slam-dunk. Also many are gathering around Mark Ruffalo’s character in “Foxcatcher.” He’s playing a family man, and he gets tragic come-uppance which he doesn’t deserve. IOW, people are finding him the only sympathetic character in this dark, jerky movie.

Ruling the roost of The FIVE is J. K. Simmons for his blistering portrayal of a seemingly sadistic teacher, who then has also a tragic arc of sorts in the terrific “Whiplash”, a film I feel will get nominated, too, for Best Picture. But more about that category later!

Also, the Academy all did get the controversial “Selma” screeners, so they all got a chance to watch how good it is, and you just might find Tom Wilkinson’s portrait of LBJ turning up here. He’s got the only other significant, sizeable part, and Wilkinson has had two previous nominations, so they all know him and respect him.

All this “Selma” back-and-forth-ing may pay off in this category. But perhaps not with the directors branch.

If there is indeed an attempt to rally ’round “Selma” by the Actor’s Branch Carmen Ejogo who plays Coretta Scott King so beautifully might surprise here, too, and knock out – wait for it – Meryl Streep!

They may not want to give her her 19th(!) nomination. Then, again, they always nominate her for just about getting up in the morning. And she always turns up, and smiles, and laughs. But will Meryl be laughing on Oscar Nomination morning? Her terrific performance as the Witch was aided by many, many dazzling special effects…the Actor’s Branch doesn’t like special effects. They like ACTING! With a capital “A”, which Meryl WAS doing and singing as well.

Keira Knightley has the Weinstein Co. behind her. So she’s in. They still wield a mighty awards sword, despite their weak showing Sunday night with the Golden Globes. Only Amy Adams won, from TWC’s film slate. Best Actress for “Big Eyes” a nomination that is probably NOT going to be repeated on Thursday morning. But more on that category later!

Emma Stone is the Girl-Of-The-Year in “Birdman” as Michael Keaton’s mouthy teenaged daughter. She was very good in this, as she wasn’t in Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight,” but she got acclaimed for even THAT weak portrayal but not by me.

So in conclusion I think we have for Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette, Emma Stone, Keira Knightley, Renee Russo and MAYbe Meryl Streep. MAYbe.

And for Supp. Actor ~ J.K. Simmons, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo,

Ethan Hawke(for “Boyhood”) and the surprise ~ Tom Wilkinson for “Selma.”

The Academy does not shy away from the kind of press that “Selma” has been getting of late, which, as I said, may hurt its’ chances in the Best Director category but not Best Picture, and perhaps not here.

Wilkinson is a controversial LBJ? What the H! Let’s nominate to show how tough we really are, and he’s very good in the film.

We shall see.

Broadcast Film Critics Nominations Announced

 

The Broadcast Film Critics, sometimes known as the Critics Choice Awards announced this AM and “Birdman”(13 nominations),Budapest 1 then “The Grand Budapest Hotel”(11) led the pack followed by, of course, “Boyhood”(8).

The most interesting thing is that Steve Carrell was snubbed for Best Actor for “Foxcatcher” in a field of six actors! As I prediceted BTW. And “Foxcatcher” also did not make it in to the Best Picture category in a field of ten…very big blow to its’ Oscar chances, which now seem limited to Mark Ruffalo in Supporting Actor, who did nominated.

However, Marion Cotillard DID make it into Best Actress and Tilda Swinton was in in Supporting Actress for “Snowpiercer.” Again both in a field of six.

Also left out of Best Picture was “Into the Woods” but Meryl Streep was IN in Supporting Actress. I’m seeing tonight and will give a full report back.

Also “Gone Girl” was in as was “Nightcrawler.” The Broadcast Film Critics are considered the MOST predictive of the Oscar precursors, but they’re muddying the waters a bit with their fields of six nominees in many categories where they Oscars, of course only have five

BEST PICTURE
Birdman
Boyhood
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Nightcrawler
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Unbroken
Whiplash

BEST ACTOR
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton – Birdman
David Oyelowo – Selma
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

BEST ACTRESS
Jennifer Aniston – Cake
Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
Tilda Swinton – Snowpiercer

For complete list see http://www.awardsdaily.com

Disappointing Oscar hopeful “Foxcatcher”

Foxcatcher 2

I was soooo disappointed in "Foxcatcher", a film that has been touted as an Oscar hopeful since its debut at Cannes, and followed by TIFF, and the NYFF. But I was just not on board with this film. Bennett Miller, who directed "Capote" to great acclaim and netted an Oscar for the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is a director I admire. And though he directed the baseball saga "Moneyball", he has a penchant for tackling gay themed projects.

Which he is doing once again here with "Foxcatcher." Except that he isn't. He's totally de-gay-ed a VERY gay story, ripped from yesterday's headlines about Henry E. Dupont, the very rich and very weird scion of the Dupont family. They had so much money, Henry basically felt he could buy anyone or anything.

And he was gay, although you'd never know it from this incredibly closeted movie. I mean, how can you take the homo-eroticism and also the homosexuality out of this, what should have been a Big Gay movie? Except that it's not.

If you think wrestling in and off itself is exciting, which I don't, you might like this movie. But Henry DuPont was clearly a predator, creating this camp of muscle-bound young men, who he was purportedly training for Olympic wrestling.

Everyone thinks that comedian Steve Carell is going to get an Oscar nomination for his cold, rabbity portrayal of DuPont. It's true he's almost unrecognizable with this humonguous fake nose. He also attempts a monotonal speaking voice for DuPont, which is irritating. OK. So he's not relying on his comic chops. So?

So what do we get?

What he gives us is just a two-dimensional creep. Not the three dimensional one that Jake Gyllenhaal is currently essaying so well in "Nightcrawler." Gyllenhaal's Nightcrawler is obsessed with things that actually are depicted in the film. Money, power, violence, fame,tabloid television.

Dupont is obsessed with men and what's missing is the gayness. It's so toned down, repressed, if you will, that it seems that DuPont is totally in the closet, which he wasn't.

You think wrestlers are hot? In this film, they are cold.And so is the whole film.

"Foxcatcher" is the most unsexy movie imaginable. You can't do what is essentially a gay movie and leave the gayness out of it. I mean, c'mon! It's 2014 already!

And as the plot reveals, or rather, doesn't reveal that DuPont is super obsessed with one wrestling hopeful Channing Tatum( who BTW is turning in the really stellar performance here ), to the point that he moves him on to his estate which is called Foxcatcher. And yes, they do have horses and presumably hunt foxes. His domineering mother, Vanessa Redgrave, who is totally wasted here, with one mere scene of dialogue, is a formidable presence clearly. And Mrs. DuPont does NOT approve of her son's zealous pursuit of the sport of wrestling. She calls it "a low sport" and wishes Henry would stop importing all these young wrestlers to the grounds of their estate. She wishes we would, well, catch foxes at Foxcatcher, and not healthy young male wrestlers, everyone a beauty.

I guess we’re supposed to draw the parallel that he collects handsome athletic young men, the way that his mother collects horses.

Of course, this doesn't end well. And based on a true story, the events, when they at last unfold AFTER TWO HOURS, are baffling rather than revealing. Or tragic. As they should've been.

The only scene that approximates what may have been an homosexual affair is where DuPont and Channing's character snort cocaine together on DuPont's private plane.

The violence that in the end ensues is totally shocking in that it makes no sense with what we have seen before.

Mark Ruffalo, as Tatum's smarter, married brother is also wasted pretty much here. Which is a shame. But then so is Redgrave.

So what we are left with is a very cold, remote film about this weird rich guy that makes no sense.

Miller tried this de-gay-ing thing, too, with "Capote" but in that case it worked, because Truman Capote was sooooo gay, no matter how toned down you made him, he was still VERY gay.

Do we need another portrait of a gay psychotic? Well, I for one was looking forward to this film, given its' festival hype. But I was severely disappointed. It shed light on nothing. It's a gay film for straight people in that case. Maybe straight people will think that SUGGESTING DuPoint's sexuality was enough. To me it was just a big cop-out. I expected more from the talented Bennett Miller than a lot of tense, conversational scenes that illuminate NOTHING.

Gay people are going to be very disappointed with this closet of a movie.

Only one week left! To help fund my Kickstarter Project to Toronto!

Only one week left Stephen Holt Show fans! Dear readers, dear cineastes! We need YOUR help to get to the Toronto Film Festival this year! 2014 is shaping up to be a very exciting year with great films galore at Toronto! Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” as I mention in the video clip, and David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars” among them.

I can’t tell you how crucial the Toronto International Film Festival is to my continuing coverage of all the stars that I get on the level that I get them. And the hotels adjacent to the Film Festival have raised their prices accordingly. Which is what has put me in this Kickstarter mode.

And right now, if you’re reading on this far, I can tell you that so far we have received $0.00 which is just a devastating figure to have to deal with.

I know you are out there, friends, Facebook-ers and fans! PLEASE HELP! Only one week left before Facebook turns off the lights!

“Avengers” Has No Oscar Chances, Except Special FX, Maybe Sound

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes, I finally saw “Marvel’s The Avengers” and it was just what I was afraid it would be. A big, loud, cartoon. Garish. Overlong.Disappointing.  A two-dimensional ugh.

And I don’t see any Oscar chances for it except maybe in the Special Effects and the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing categories. A Best Picture, despite its’ huge international box-office, it’s not. Not a nominee even. The Academy historically doesn’t like this kind of film. Especially since it’s most effective character is a completely a cartoon, the Incredible Hulk.

Mark Ruffalo plays him amiably enough to start with, but the real character work(if you can even call it that) is when the Hulk turns  green with anger, and then, he’s, yes, a completely drawn cartoon.

Mixing all this animation, CGI, whatever, with the real performances of the rest of the actor, it makes them all seem puny by comparison. The one who comes off the best is Tom Hiddleston, of all people, playing the wildly camp, villainous Loki, brother of Thor, who yes, is once again enacted(if you can even call it acting. It’s more like grunting. So I guess you could say, en-grunted by Chris Hemsworth. And yes, he seems to be grunting more than the Incredible Hulk, which is, er, incredible.) Yes, Loki saves the picture as does Samuel L. Jackson who gives a stateliness and dignity to the eye-patched mega-brain Ned Fury. Was that even his name? There’s so many superheroes in this crammed, cramped movie I can’t even remember their names.

And Loki is the only screen villain in my memory who I wanted to see SAVED. Spoiler alert! And survive to the next installment. Hiddleston is a magnificent actor and his zest for the villainy of Loki was fun to watch.

Scarlett Johansson sticks out because she is simply the only woman front and center. As Black Widow, however, she has no  discernible super-powers whatsoever. Except maybe pouting.

Robert Downey Jr. is again on-hand to wise-crack his way to the bank as Iron Man. Is that really HIM when he’s in that iron helmet and suit or is that a body double? If so, he’s REALLLLY phoning this one in. Or was he a cartoon, ,too? Could be.

Jeremy Renner is totally wasted as Hawk-Eye, who only seems to have skill with a supersonic bow-and-arrow. And he can’t hide his embarrassment at being caught at the fuzzy end of the superhero lollipop with this dullest of characters.

It’s fun, only if you want to enjoy the air-conditioning and throw your mind away for something like two and a half hours.

It could perhaps have had more depth if there wasn’t so many g-damned superheros crowding out every shot.

It is really dispiriting to think that this movie has made so many millions of dollars.

Oscar Nomination Predictions- Best Supp.Actor & Actress

Here at last is what I think is going to go down on Tuesday morn at 8am EST when the Oscar Nominations are announced and the whole game changes…or does it? Or is it going to be what everybody has been been saying all season long? Ho-hum.

I used to do this on my TV show, but this year now that I have this wonderful blog, IT’S HERE!

Best Supporting Actor ~

Christian Bale – “The Fighter”

Michael Douglas- “Wall St. 2 Money Never Sleeps”

Jeremy Renner-“The Town”

Mark Ruffalo- “The Kid’s Are All Right”

Geoffrey Rush-“The King’s Speech”

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams -“The Fighter”

Helen Bonham-Carter -“The King’s Speech”

Melissa Leo-“The Fighter”

Barbara Hersey-“Black Swan”

Haillee Steinfeld – ‘True Grit”

My reasonings are thus. The Academy whose estimated age is unimaginable, tends to honor veteran performers in the Supporting Categories, when it can. Thus I see Barbara Hersey, who has been nominated only once before in her long carrer, also in Supporting. Hersey gives the most complex, layered, multi-faceted performance as Natalie Portman’s scary/caring/over-powering/over-protective mother. Try to image “Black Swan” without her. You can’t.

Mila Kunis from that film is just young and hot and she plays a lesbian. That seems to have turned many on the precursor awards circuit on, but not me, and not the Academy.

“Another Year”s magnificent Leslie Manville is going to fall victim to category confusion, I’m afraid which leads to vote-splitting, which leads to NOTHING. And she unknown here.

And the late releasing film hasn’t really caught on. Whereas the other possible vote-splitter, Haillee Steinfeld, is in another late released film, “True Grit” that HAS caught on, BIG TIME. And the interest in her(why?????) is so great, that there’s so many that seem to want her IN, that she could turn up in the category she SHOULD be in and was campaigned for in Best Supporting Actress.

Whereas Leslie Manville was campaigned in LEAD, in a tough, competitive year, too, when many thought she should’ve been campaigned in Supporting, she’s just not going to turn up ANYwhere.

And the Brit vote will go to Helena Bonham-Carter in “The King’s Speech.”

Michael Douglas also knocks out another Brit  Andrew Garfield, from that Film About Typing….Garfield is soooo young, and the Academy is soooo old and Michael Douglas is a Hollywood legend and he was very, very good in “WS2”. And most importantly, he nearly died this year, from throat cancer. He’s beat it, he says. But who knows? It’s a disease that could be in remission right now and may come back more strongly at any moment.Like during the voting period. And the Academy doesn’t want to risk him dying on them, without even a nomination for very fine work.

The Academy is a bunch of old softies and the LOVE the veteran guys, and regularly reward them over youth, especially in this category.

Also in Douglas’ and Jeremy Renner’s as well as the three from “The Fighter”, and Steinfeld from “True Grit”‘s favor is that they are backed by major studios. Warner Brothers and Paramount.

Then there’s the Harvey Factor. NOBODY runs an Oscar campaign like H. Weinstein and he’s got Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter, both superb in the superb “The King’s Speech.” They might as well nominate Harvey himself.  He’s a stealth factor behind alllll the Weinstein Company’s nominees. Though HW is hardly the definition of stealth.

AND LOOK out! IF on Tuesday morning GUY PEARCE ALSO turns up in Supporting for his vile abdicating King Edward VIII in “The King’s Speech” that’s going to show that “The King’s Speech” has much more support from within the Academy than many have thought.

He would, I’m guessing, replace Renner. And this would be, I think, Pearce’s first Oscar nomination. Whoa!

Parsing the BAFTA’s Long List’s Supporting Asterisks

Ok, we continue. With the BAFTA’s Long List and their Supporting Actor and Actress asterisks. OK. Once again I have to thank www.awardsdaily.com and Sasha Stone for putting up the whole she-bang so that we can react to it. In astonishment or wonder or delight or all of the above.

The BAFTAs once again, I know I’m repeating myself, but yes, this IS an odd system. I lived in England for many, many years and went to school there, too. So yes, EVERYthing is a bit odd. A bit eccentric. But the British LIKE eccentrics. In fact, they are cultivated there and even celebrated.

I was told when I lived there that I was a British eccentric, too. And I thought that they were perhaps overstating the case, but now, I think they were completely right.

But I digress…

So the BAFTAs publish this LONNNNNNNNNNNNNNG list first (see www.awardsdaily.com Everyone MUST see Awardsdaily. It’s a must-read, especially that now that we are in the heat of Awards season.) And for the first time this year, since I am now writing this blog on almost a daily basis.

I now have the platform to write about these little details, these minutae of the Awards Seasons. I guess this is something I’ve always wanted to do, but never did. But now I am. It’s like a damn bursting.

And I never noticed it before, but the BAFTAs put an asterisk on the names of five actors and actresses in their LONNNNNNG lists in each category, of who gets the most votes.

I don’t know why THEY JUST DON’T PUBLISH the darn nominations, goshdarnit! And let up the suspense. But then, that’s probably precisely WHY they do it this way. To build up suspense. Interest. It’s Hitchcockian. But then of course, Alfred Hitchcock was British.

So in Supporting Actor we have ~ WITH asterisks ~

ANDREW GARFIELD – For that movie I will not name. He also got a Golden Globe nod, but NOT a SAG, which is probably more significant, in that he IS British, and so you’d expect him to turn up here. And the Hollywood FOREIGN press would go for him, too. However, the ACTORS did not which is significant. Garfield was also long listed for “Never Let Go” but not asterisked. And that film, as well done as it was, bombed on both sides of the Atlantic. But Andrew is this year’s Hot Young Brit, so yes, he’ll be nominated here, but I don’t think he’s going to be nominated for an Oscar. And I don’t think he’ll win the Globe either.

BOB HOSKINS– “Made in Dagenham” A beautiful, sensitive performance as the union guy who’s SYMPATHETIC to the women strikers. And no,  not  a chance. No Globe nom seals it.

CHRISTIAN BALE-“The Fighter” Yes, of course, he’s in. And he’s also British. Yes, he is.

GEOFFREY RUSH– “The King’s Speech” Yes, of course he’s in. Superb career performance

MARK RUFFALO-“The Kid’s Are All Right”- Well, yes, of course. A SAG and a Golden Globe nom, too, make him ALMOST a slam-dunk. But if the BRITISH are voting for him, yes, I guess he’s in. Though will the SWORM(Straight White Old Rich Men) like his kinda negative male character back in Hollyweird. We’ll see.

Also listed but not asterisked Jeremy Renner for “The Town” the SAGs switched him out for Andrew Garfield. Last year the SAGs were 19 for 20 matching the Oscar Nominations. Except for Maggie Gyllenhaal and I HAD HER!!!!!

Vincent Cassel is long listed to in this category for “Black Swan.”AND NO MICHAEL DOUGLAS!

 Justin Timberlake was long-listed but no Armie Hammer! Is Armie the total dark horse now? Guess so. His Winklevoss Twins is STILL the Best Performance in that goddamn whatzit.I really thought they were two different actors playing both twins!! I DID!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

This is the one category that even stumped the New York Times’ Oscar section. So much so, they didn’t even write about it in their OSCAR section of the Arts & Leisure section this past Sunday! This is reminding me of the year that Tilda Swinton won, in that it is a race that is all over the place. Tilda was the only actress to keep appearing on everyone’s lists, although she was never on the top. But she was on every list.

Do the BAFTAs asterisks clear things up? Well, yes, and no.

AMY ADAMS– gets an asterisk and for the first time we see her in this category this year WITHOUT Melissa Leo’s companion performance in “The Fighter” glued to her side. She’ll get an Oscar nomination for sure now. Though it looks like Leo MIGHT not get a BAFTA nod, when they FINALLY announce it. But it looks like Amy will. Good for her.

BARBARA HERSHEY-“Black Swan” !!!! Turning up for the first time on a serious list, she’s the performance that the Academy is more likely to honor than the SAG and Golden Globe nominated Mila Kunis. Hershey had a rangey, multi-faceted performance. Is SHE driving her daughter insane or is it vice versa? It’s the real central conflict and Hersey’s dynamic, frightening MOM-FROM-HELL makes it work. Think “What would the “Black Swan” be without her performance?” So she’s on her way to a BAFTA nod it seems. She’s got an asterisk.

HELENA BONHAM-CARTER – “The King’s Speech” Natch. The one to beat. Everybody LOVED the Queen Mum. EVERYBODY. And that love will lead Helena to the Bafta podium. She’s certainly going to be Oscar nominated and I hope will win.

LESLEY MANVILLE “Another Year” BRILLIANT performance, much lauded, FINALLY turns up somewhere. Neither the Globes, nor the SAGs nommed her. She was totally left out. Small British Indie, but the Academy LOVES Mike Leigh. Sony Pictures Classics has been campaigning her in lead and it’s been the biggest mistake of this year’s Oscars. BAFTA her own country says she’s Supporting. Maybe the Academy will too. And nominate her FINALLY. But so far she’s only won the National Board of Review for Best Actress then NOTHING ELSE. Poor Leslie Manville. ANOTHER victim of category confusion.

And FINALLY~ MIRANDA RICHARDSON in “Made in Dagenham” Much pre-season heat, but not nommed by either the Globes or the SAGS. BAFTA has asterisked her. So maybe she could turn up as a surprise, too.

LOOKS like there’s going to be A LOT of surprises in the Supporting Actress category. Melissa Leo is not even asterisked here. Though she’s listed. Ditto Jackie Weaver. Ditto Mila Kunis.

AND HAILEE STEINFELD IS LISTED AS A BEST ACTRESS CONTENDER!?!? Though she is NOT asterisked….So you see, she’s already splitting her own vote. The Academy might leave her off completely and I wish they would. But “True Grit” is a hit and it’s blowing up so big…

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