a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Martin Luther King’

Oscar Thoughts ~More on the “Selma” Mess. They Should Have Waited.

Selma Poster 1I wrote the following in Awardsdaily.com’s comment section And I’m cutting and pasting(and polishing) it up here.

It makes me soooo angry, as it does Sasha Stone, the great writer and editor of http://www.awardsdaily.com

So here’s what I said (spelling and typos corrected) (I HOPE!) I get so angry about things like this. As does Sasha, as does everyone.

“The reason all this debacle that happened to “Selma” was that it wasn’t finished or “fixed” in its’ final edit til too late for screeners to be made, which evidently is a much longer and complicated process than people realize.

I  blame the producers for jumping the gun on this, an unfinished film, of tremendous import, culturally, racially, artistically.

But it missed it’s Oscar Nomination deadlines.

People in the guilds, for instance, are MIFFED when they don’t get sent their screeners. The Academy did get theirs and the DID nominate “Selma” for Best Picture. But if the producers had WAITED TIL NEXT YEAR(It’s already 2015), and released it THIS year coming up, they would I think would’ve won everything under the sun.

There are certain rules to play this game, and it is a game. It’s a business, and it’s a game. But if you have a great work of art, a great film like “Selma” you don’t RUSH IT INTO THE MARKETPLACE BEFORE IT’S TIME!!!!!!

This year is so great because you’ve got a film that was released in MARCH “The Grand Budapest Hotel” doing so well(9 nominations for a Wes Anderson film!)

If they had only waited on “Selma,”and treated it, with the respect and care it deserves, they would’ve gotten EVERYTHING under the Awards’ sun. Because it deserves everything.

And Oprah, you just jumped the shark with this one. So sad, so sad.

And I bet there’s a HUGE slate of diverse acting nominees NEXT year..

You can bet on it.

And one thing you can say for the Hollywood Foreign Press, they’re PRESS, so they see ALLLLLL the movies, all year-long. The Academy members don’t. But they all had PLENTY O’Time to see, “Grand Budapest Hotel.” And just FYI, the HFPA are as diverse as diverse can be. All 80 of them. They’re as diverse as the Academy is not. Clearly.

Maybe now they’ll stop the insane pattern releasing everything on Christmas Day nonsense. It’s counter-productive. Awards-wise, anyway. But then they don’t care about awards anyway. They just care about money. Paramount you REALLY messed up.

And Warner Bros. who are releasing “American Sniper” are laughing all the way to the bank.


“Selma” The Film That Could Stop “Boyhood”s Oscar

Selma 1The astonishing “Selma” is the film that could stop “Boyhood”s seeming march to the Oscars. About Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement of the ‘6os, African-American director Ava DuVernay, has done the seemingly impossible and created a moving, tumultuous film that is so right on and right now, Oscar with his gleaming social conscience can not in all good conscience ignore “Selma”, DuVernay for Best Director and the superb British actor David Oyelowo unforgettable, searing performance in the leading role.

I could go on and on. And you know what? I will. There is so much to praise about “Selma” and it’s got the sweeping scale and scope that Oscar appreciates and a message that is very, very important for audiences to see TODAY. RIGHT NOW.

As I reported earlier, it got a standing ovation at its first public screening in LA at the AFI festival. And Oprah(who’s also in the film) and Brad Pitt are the producers of it.I saw it this week and was just blown away by its’ power.

And Martin Luther King is painted as a Christ-like figure. He was a minister after all. But the film doesn’t gloss over his humanity. Oyelowo is allowed to go to the dark side with him. They show his infidelity, his troubled marriage to Coretta Scott King, who is the real saintly figure in his relationship, the film makes clear. He makes mistakes. He makes wrong calls. People are killed on his watch. Violence erupts everywhere. For injustices that seem ludicrous to contemplate today, but of course, race in the United States is still a very serious issue. The trouble in Ferguson, Missouri reflects in this incredible, important way.

Martin Luther King would not be surprised by today’s headlines. In a way “Selma” predicts them or foreshadows them. And Oyelowo and Ava Du Vernay and the film itself are all going to be nominated for Oscars. “Selma” is so strong, it makes films like “Boyhood” and “Birdman” seem mere piffle, when compared against them.

I saw Dr. Martin Luther King speak. He was at my college to deliver a speech on race, talking about what students could do to change things.

I remember being impressed by his great, eloquent voice, and the fact that he seemed younger than I had expected. He spoke also completely extemporaneously, with no notes or papers of any kind on his podium.

Of course, as “Selma” makes abundantly clear, he was ALWAYS speaking out on the topic of race, and so he needed no notes to guide him. He knew what he wanted to say and said it.

I was seated up in a balcony and to the side, so I could see that he had no papers in front of him. I knew I was witnessing a historic moment.

And a year later, he was assassinated, while I was still in college. I remember the day so well. “It was unbelievable” I thought “How could this be happening?” He was so young and vital. And then I remember looking out my dorm window at the nearby football field, and seeing the all-white football team practicing, as if nothing of import effecting their lives at the University of Rhode Island had happened.

“Selma” brings back all those memories and creates a world of its’ own incredibly vivid and important ones.

See this film. By all means, see it.


Oscar Changer “Selma” Gets Standing O at AFI Fest

Selma 1

Last night’s double whammy of a double bill at the AFI Fest in LA netted a standing ovation from the industry/cinephile crowd for “Selma,” reports Steve Pond at the Wrap. http://www.thewrap.com. And a kind of meh reaction to Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” which followed it.

Chris Tapley of HitFix http://www.hitfix.com one of the foremost Oscarologists(and one of the youngest,too) thinks that this could be an Oscar game changer and that “Selma” a Martin Luther King biopic, co-produced by Oprah Winfrey and starring David Oyelowo could be a best picture contender as well as a Best Actor nomination in that crowded race. Oyelowo plays Martine Luther King.His star has been consistantly rising in the past two years.

Also interesting and exciting is filmmaker Ada DuVernay’s chance at a Best Director nod. This would be the first and only time an African-American woman could be up in that male-dominated category.

“Selma”s standing ovation was in stark contrast to the rather tepid reaction to Eastwood’s Oscar ontender “American Sniper” which immediately followed it.

So on the Oscar roller coaster, I would have to say that “Selma” is definitely on an Up this morning, and “American Sniper” is a Down.

Tapley praised Bradley Cooper’s performance in “Sniper” but aren’t we being Bradley Cooper’ed to death recently? With Oscar nominations in the past two years. for “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle”? And “Elephant Man” opening shortly on Broadway, starring again, yes, Bradley Cooper.

We shall see. And I’ll still be surprised if Steve Carrell makes it into the over-crowded Best Actor race with his rabbity, two-dimensional Henry E. DuPont in “Foxcatcher.” Too many Oscar seeking movies with leading actor wannabees and virtually no actresses. As usual…

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