a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Michael Fassbender’

DGA & BAFTA Upsom Downs ~ Who’s In, Who’s Out as Oscar Nom Balloting Closes

The Phase I of Oscar Season, as it’s called closed today with the due date of the nomination ballots this afternoon at 3pm.

So it’s done. It’s over. And while everything seems like it’s set in Stone(as in Sasha Stone), is it really? There’s always surprises. Like for instance “Dallas Buyer’s Club” and its’ performers being totally shut out from BAFTA. Ditto Meryl Streep for “Best OverActressing” for “August: Osage County.” And Robert Redford for “Best Non-Actoring” in “All Is Lost.”

I remember soooo well my thinking that the notorious Melissa Leo was dead-in-the-Oscar-water, when SHE wasn’t nominated for a BAFTA for “The Fighter,” but guess what? She WON! So those rules don’t necessarily apply. However, someone like Jonah Hill’s being nominated NOwhere, means that’s where he’ll probably stay.

And it forecasts not very easy waters ahead for veterans Streep or Redford. Today it feels like someone. Probably Leonardo Di Caprio is going to take Redford’s place in THE FIVE.(in the tighttightight Best Actor race.)

The DGA nominated the directors of “12 Years a Slave”(Steve McQueen), “Capt.Phillips” (Paul Greengrass), “Wolf of Wall Street”(Martin Scorsese), “Gravity” Alfonso Cuaron and “American Hustle” (David O. Russell). I think we can safely say that all those five films WILL be nominated for Best Picture Oscar, when the nominations are handed out Tuesday morning. 8:45AM EST.

But what about the actors in those films? Well, they’ll all have an easier ride than those that aren’t in a DGA film.

So that’s good news for Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’O, and Michael Fassbender, Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, Leo, but not Jonah Hill, Sandra Bullock, and only perhaps Jennifer Lawrence from “American Hustle.”

Everyone else, except the winning frontrunner Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine” is in doubt. Not serious doubt, but doubt nonetheless. I wonder if this hurts Bruce Dern’s chances, although he surely will get a nomination for “Nebraska” and also I wonder now about June Squibb…

And then in another universe entirely are the Weinstein films, all orbiting around their own sun, Harvey, who knows better than anyone in any world, how to bend the Academy to his will and the will of his FIVE films, or six, if you count “Ten Feet From Stardom.” I loved that movie and I bet that’s his big winner this year. It’s the wing-ding of a doc about back-up singers.

But he’s also got “Philomena”, “August:Osage County”, “Lee Daniel’s The Butler”, “Long Walk to Freedom” and “Fruitvale Station.” A workaholic (and who isn’t in the Oscar race?)Dame Judi Dench is probably in like flint for the grieving mother in “Philomena” and didn’t Harvey surprise us all by getting JACKIE WEAVER nominated for Best Supporting Actress for a non-performance of epic non-magnitude in “Silver Linings Playbook”? NOOOOOObody expected THAT.

And why, when she certainly didn’t deserve it, did she get nominated? Well, the Voters SAW her, when they went to look at “Silver Linings Playbook”. There she was playing Bradley Cooper’s mom and Robert De Niro’s wife, and lazy voters that they are, they wrote her name down(probably at Harvey’s suggestion) and a clearly not-winning performance, it was nevertheless a nominated one.

Who of those movies is no one talking about at all, esp. in Supporting, always a flibbertijibet of categories? Well, there’s Naomi Harris who is just terrific as Winnie Mandela, in what is clearly a leading role, in “Long Walk to Freedom.” But will enough people have watched that? There’s Margo Martindale, whose role in “August:Osage…” has been all but eviscerated but she has made an impact and is on many radars. And an obvious choice previous Supporting Actress winner Octavia Spenser for “Fruitvale Station” who was just awarded her Best Supporting Actress trophy tonight by the National Board of Review. So she’s not exactly obscure. Melonie Diaz for “Fruitvale” would be a VERY big surprise. She was just as good as the grieving girl-friend of the slain lead character…

And poor “Inside Llewyn Davis” left out in the cold…just like it’s leading character…and the break-out star of this year, Oscar Isaac…I think it could very well get a Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography and maybe Best Score and Song”Please Mr. Kennedy” or another song from “Llewyn.”

I loved Scarlett Johansson’s magnificent voice work in “Her” but aren’t there Academy rules against parts that are just voice-work? Maybe there are and maybe there aren’t. She’s never been nominated so THAT would be the surprise of surprises…And of course, Joaquin Phoenix would be a total surprise if he broke in Best Actor. But he did just that last year for “The Master” when everyone was counting him out(including me). So would the aforementioned Oscar Isaac and/or Michael B. Jordan for “Fruitvale” in Best Actor…And don’t forget Sally Field as Cate Blanchett’s lovable sis in “Blue Jasmine.” The Golden Globes included her in, and not Oprah. Could happen again.

We’ll just have to wait and see! But I can’t wait any longer!!!! I WANT TO KNOW NOW!!!

Racists at New York Film Critics get a taste of their own medicine

There’s something about the esteemed New York Film Critics Circle that just breeds racists incidents, like the one that happened last night, or the night before when Black Director Steve McQueen was supposedly heckled by an African-American Film Critics Circle member, who was seated WAAAY in the back, but was nevertheless overheard as has been widely reported.

I read Scott Feinberg’s balanced analysis and reporting at http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com on this latest brouhaha over “12 Years a Slave”, the masterpiece out there that is causing as much of a ruckus as “Wolf of Wall Street.” In fact, this incident is so loaded that it’s pre-emptively absorbed all the controversy that has been hounding “Wolf”. So the discussion of the awards now surrounds this horrifying Incident, and the critic in question, whose name I’m withholding, just denied to Scott Feinberg, and maybe to others, that this ever happened.

Racial slurs and the F bomb were supposedly heard all hurled at Steve McQueen. Maybe they weren’t meant to be heard by all. I wasn’t there, so I’ll give the critic-in-trouble the benefit of the doubt, though thousands wouldn’t.

It’s a sad moment once again for the New York Film Critics Circle. They started off the season by showing their true WHITE colors, by voting for that sub-par semi-moronic comedy “American Hustle” Best Picture by a vote or two over the instant classic “12 Years a Slave.” They repeated this behavior in Best Actor where Chiwetel Ejiofor to “12 Years”lost to A VERY WHITE man, Robert Redford! Who last night bored everyone silly with his acceptance speech for Best Actor. You can see a horrendous video over at http://www.goldderby.com Tedious, self-serving, entitled, and you really wanted him to shut the front door.

But I digress.

The NYFCC also closed out Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’O of “12 Years a Slave”,choosing MORE WHITE PEOPLE like Jared Leto and Jennifer Lawrence as the their Best Supporting Actor and Actress.

Lawrence had the good sense not to show up, and sent a funny note.

I knew, I just KNEW, that the NYFCC was going to reap the whirlwind for shutting out “12 Years a Slave” in every category, except Best Director. But then THIS incident that I referenced above ^ had to happen!

This isn’t over yet. Their credibility on this issue – race, has severely damaged their reputation as the leading critical group they once were.

And the last laugh of this, is that it’s made Steve McQueen MUCH more sympathetic in everyone’s eyes and is going to cause him to  get MORE votes and  win MORE awards, in a very tight race. Just you watch.

He was just nominated for the DGA Award today. REALLY an honor I have to say.

McQueen acted like he didn’t hear the F-bomb and the racial slurs. Class Act. He didn’t react or acknowledge it according to Feinberg.

Sometimes I think there is really something very dark behind the awards season, and this incident certainly illustrates that maybe indeed there is.

Oscar Ballots Go Out~ So where are we now?

The 2013 Oscar ballots went out in the mail and became available online yesterday. So RIGHT AT THIS EXACT MOMENT, they provide a snapshot, if you will, of the Academy’s deepest(or most superficial) feelings.

That a silly little film like “American Hustle” could be at the top of everyone’s minds right now is really irksome to me. But I would be re-miss if I didn’t say that I think that’s the case. That’s awful, but I think that’s what’s really happening.

“12 Years a Slave”, the masterpiece that’s out there, that I’ve seen THREE times now, is on everyone’s minds, too. I just hope they (the Academy) are watching it. And appreciating it the way I and Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone do. Check out her latest readings of the Oscar tea leaves at http://www.Awardsdaily.com. It’s horrid that this maybe happening, but I’m protecting myself from getting another “Brokeback” heart on Oscar night, by getting ready for the worst.

The water cooler movie that everyone is talking about right now is “Wolf of Wall Street,” but I don’t think the Academy is going to dig it. I don’t think either M. Scorsese or Leonardo DiCaprio and especially Jonah Hill are going to get nominated for what is in essence a three-hour orgy supporting and glamorizing what it purports to condemn. Which is the excessive greed on Wall St.in the 1980s and early ’90s. They could’ve called it “Crack Hoes on Parade,” but then they would be admitting it to be the porn film it almost is.

I think Cate Blanchett is sitting pretty, VERY pretty and very high up in everyone’s esteem right now, to get her Second Oscar for her unforgettable turn as a socialite in free-fall in “Blue Jasmine.” Actually, “Blue Jasmine” is also about what “The Wolf of Wall Street” is about economics crashing and burning, but “Blue Jasmine” and Woody Allen who wrote it, SHOW you the downside and what the victims of this powerful abuse of  money, one of whom is Jasmine herself, suffered.

Allen pointedly depicts the people who got hurt, as WOWS never does. Those who invested their money and lost everything by trusting Jasmine and her Bernie Madoff-esque husband (Alec Baldwin in one of the best performances of his career)

One after other after the other, the visible victims  unload on the now pathetic Jasmine, whose son won’t even speak to her. The most memorable scene being between her and her brother-in-law(Andrew Dice Clay) who lets her know just exactly how many lives she and her husband have ruined.

It’s devastating.

Woody Allen got it right. Which may be why you might find him turning up nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. And don’t be surprised if Blanchett’s centrifugal force pulls her sunny sister Sally Hawkins into the Supporting Actress category, too. Hawkins is wonderful as the only person left on earth who is on Jasmine’s side.

And don’t be shocked if Robert Redford is going to find out that REALLY All IS Lost when he or his film doesn’t end up anywhere on Nomination Morning, Tuesday, Jan. 14. He was not nominated for a SAG Best Actor award and NOBODY has ever won Best Actor without a SAG nomination. NOBODY.

And we all know that Oscar stalwart Harvey Weinstein is campaigning heavily behind the scenes for all FOUR of his Oscar hopefuls, “Philomena”, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and ” August: Osage County.” And finally, “Long Walk to Freedom.”

He could be making sure that  AT LEAST ONE of his Best Actors candidates, Forest Whitaker, the Butler himself or Idris Elba(Nelson Mandella)could take the slot that Redford was supposed to.

I think Tom Hanks is also in danger of splitting his vote. He’s got “Saving Mr. Banks” in Supporting as Walt Disney and also he’s got his leading performance of “Captain Phillips.” His Disney so far has garnered no precursor awards. And “Banks” seems to be stumbling everywhere except for leading lady Emma Thompson who seems destined to get a Best Actress nomination for her prickly pair of a performance as “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers.

If I had to pick one, I’d say his “Captain Phillips” turn is the more likely of the two.

And now to Harvey and his other “fillies” as Tom O’Neil http://www.goldderby.com would dub them. Meryl Streep just got the worst reviews of her career for “August:Osage County” and they all came out YESTERDAY, and the NYTimes’ A.O.Scott was particularly,unusually brutal. But I agreed with him.

Julia Roberts in Supporting(at the moment) is getting universally better reviews that Streep, if you can believe it. Streep described it in a Q&A this week in Hwood as “Streep Fatigue”. And she herself even admitted that the Academy’s Actors Branch might be suffering from that. It looked as though she was too. It seems like she doesn’t like the role of Violet she was playing, quite frankly. So why did she do it???

So who takes her place? Julia Roberts? Or is it Amy Adams who has been nominated FOUR times in Supporting in the past eight years, but never won. This would be part of the “American Hustle” effect. Which could also see Christian Bale pop up in Best Actor and Bradley Cooper in Supporting. Don’t gasp. It could happen.

Though Adams is the LEAST effective performance in “AH.” Weak is the word. She’s just not believable as the Whore of Babylon. Opposite Jennifer Lawrence, who certainly IS playing that part. But as a housewife in Queens. Or is it New Jersey? And Lawrence will FOR SURE get nominated.

How much do people like this already over-awarded very minor comedy?

I’m unfortunately guessing a lot right now. And Bale, Cooper and ugh, even Adams could get pulled along by “AH”s coat-tail effect. I HATE to even type this. But all four of them have been nominated for a Golden Globe, but in the Musical/Comedy category. Or rather Bale and Adams have for their leading performances.

It could happen.

And what of the wonderful actors of “12 Years a Slave”? I think they all will be nominated. Chiwetel Ejiofor in lead, and Michael Fassbender in Supporting Actor and Lupita Nyong’O in Supp. actress. They all could win, too.

Out of the three Nyong’O has the least competition in her category. And there’s a healthy history of Black Actresses winning in Supporting. And the part! I mean, her character “Queen of the Fields” Patsie gets raped, whipped, and a glass decanter is thrown in her face. She wants Solomon Northrup to kill her. She even offers him money to drown her….From the part ALONE, I would think this is Lupita’s to lose. How can anyone else compare? And this is ALL TRUE!!! Patsie was a real slave who actually lived, too.

And there’s thoughts being floated that “12 Years a Slave” might not win Best Picture, losing to either “American Hustle” or “Gravity.” But that Chiwetel Ejiofor will win Best Actor. I certainly hope they all do. And that Right, and a masterpiece, will triumph.

And as for the landslide of precursor awards that is consuming Jared Leto for his portrayal of a sweet transvestite named Rayon in “Dallas Buyer’s Club”…well, the Academy has been historically quirky about awarding cross-dressing performances, though Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry” and William Hurt in “Kiss of the Spider Woman” would belie that rule. Maybe the ground has been broken, but I do feel Michael Fassbender’s horrifying villain of a slave owner Master Epps is the greater performance.

You can’t just put on a dress and expect them to give you an Oscar. Just ask Jaye What-his-came from “The Crying Game.”

Golden Globes Shockers! No OPRAH! No Forest Whittaker! No “August:Osage”! No “Mr.Banks”!

Well, color me shocked, but this mornings Golden Globe nominations contains more shocking snubs than even the SAG Award nominations did yesterday!

NO OPRAH WINFREY! For Supporting Actress for “The Butler”! No Forest Whitaker for “The Butler”! In fact, NOthing for “The Butler”! At All! And Harvey Weinstein has another morning shocker on his plate this morning! No “August:Osage County” nomination for Best Picture -Comedy of Musical! However, Meryl Streep did turn up in Best Actress:Comedy or Musical and Julia Roberts was simply nominated for Best Supporting Actress, as she was yesterday for “August:Osage County!”

That pretty much seals the deal for Roberts in that category, which is not split into TWO groups, allowing for as many as ten nominees. The other Best Supporting Actresses were, as expected, Lupita Nyong’O for “12 Years a Slave”, June Squibb for “Nebraska”, and Jennifer Lawrence for “American Hustle”.Sally Hawkins, the British actress who was truly excellent as Cate Blanchett’s put-upon, plain, working class sister in “Blue Jasmine” is the lady who replaced Oprah. I love Sally Hawkins and I’m happy for her.

But who says “No” to Lady O? The Hollywood Foreign Press Association(HFPA) that’s who!

The biggest winner was “12 Years a Slave” nominated for 7 Globes, Best Picture, Best Director(Steve McQueen), Best Actor Drama- Chiwetal Ejiafor, Best Supporting Actor ~ Michael Fassbender, Best Supporting Actress- Lupita Nyong’0, Best Screenplay and Best Score.

It tied with “American Hustle” with 7 also for Best Picture Comedy or Musical, Best Director (David O. Russell), Best Actor~Comedy or Musical (Christian Bale), Best Actress ~ Comedy or Musical ~ Amy Adams, Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper) and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence).

My upcoming guest Oscar Isaac was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy for his indelible leading role as a doomed folk singer in”Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Llewyn Davis” was also nominated for Best Picture Comedy/Musical. As well as Best Song “Please Mr Kennedy” which Oscar Isaac sang with Justin Timberlake in the Coen Bros. movie. It was not however nominated for either direction or writing.

My recent guest Berenice Bejo’s lovely French film “The Past” was nominated for Best Foreign Film but she was not nominated for her beautiful portrayal of a distracted Parisian housewife.

Bradley Cooper of “American Hustle” replaced yesterday’s posthumous Supporting Actor James Gandolfini for “Enough Said” although Gandolfini’s co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfuss scored as Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical.

The other big surprise was that Tom Hanks was AGAIN nominated for “Capt. Phillips” as Best Actor Drama, but that again, like with yesterday’s SAG awards his Walt Disney was ignored in Supp. Actor. Long shots Barkhad Abdi for Supporting for “Capt. Phillips” and Daniel Bruhl for “Rush” were again included in Supp. Actor. With stalwarts Fassbender and Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club”. The surprise addition was Bradley Cooper for “American Hustle” who was not nominated for SAG.

And oh yes, the biggest Snub-ee of yesterday’s Screen Actor’s Guild Awards Robert Redford is back in it again as Best Actor Drama for “All is Lost”.

Complete list below (thx to http://www.Awardsdaily.com)

Here’s the complete list !

Best Picture, Drama
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Philomena
Rush

Best Picture, Comedy
American Hustle
Her
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Wolf of Wall Street

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett
Sandra Bullock
Judi Dench
Emma Thompson
Kate Winslet

Best Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Idris Elba
Tom Hanks
Matthew McConaghey
Robert Redford

Best Actor Comedy
Christian Bale
Bruce Dern
Leonardo DiCaprio
Oscar Isaac
Joaquin Phoenix

Best Actress Comedy
Amy Adams
Julie Delpy
Greta Gerwig
Julia Louis Dreyfuss
Meryl Streep

Best Sup Actor
Barkhad Abdi
Daniel Bruhl
Bradley Cooper
Michael Fassbender
Jared Leto

Best Sup Actress
Sally Hawkins
Jennifer Lawrence
Lupita Nyong’o
Julia Roberts
June Squibb

Best Score
All is Lost
Mandela
Gravity,
Book Thief
12 Years a Slave

Best Original Song:
Atlas (Hunger Games)
Let it Go (Frozen)
Ordinary Love (Mandela)
Please Mr. Kennedy (Inside Llewyn Davis)
Sweeter Fiction (One Chance)

Best Screenplay
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle

Best Foreign Language Film
Blue is the Warmest
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past
The Wind Rises

Best Animated Feature:
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Frozen

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SAG Awards Nominations ~ Tricky or True?

So FINALLY after months and months of hot & bothered, heated & cool Awards speculation, the Screen Actors Guild Awards announced their 2013 nominations. In film, that’s five categories only, Best Actor, Actress, Supp. Actor & Supporting Actress, and Best Ensemble, which is their euphemism for Best Picture.

Since these are card-carrying actors and actresses voting for their own, and since their membership overlaps(albeit only slightly)with the Academy Voters, this is the first GUILD, and a very important and large one, to announce. And the surprises were few and far between.
Everything went almost by rote. The Best Actresses were The Locked Five everyone and his mother has been saying it would be. Blanchett, Bullock, Dench, Streep and Emma Thompson in “Blue Jasmine”, “Gravity, “Philomena”, “August:Osage County”, and “Saving Mr. Banks” respectively.

SHOCK OF THE MORNING! Robert Redford being left out for “All is Lost”! This is very important. The actors, if anyone, should’ve revered Redford, their suppossed idol, but no, their Idol has feet of clay, it turns out. There is no good way to parse this. Even though he is ASSURED a nomination tomorrow morning, when the Golden Globes announce. This weakens his possibility (even if he DOES got an Oscar nomination) of WINNING an Oscar highly unlikely, if he doesn’t have the SAG voters behind him. He really in effect lost the Oscar this morning with this announcement. I’m not kidding. It’s THAT important. Who SAG leaves out(even more than who they honor) is what is important, esp. this highly contested, congrested year.

The Hollywood Foreign Press(HFPA) however, is a different kettle of fish entirely. These are the 90 or so Foreign “Journalists” who give out the Golden Globes. Star struck to the max, to put it kindly, they will want Redford in that audience.(They announce tomorrow)

But the Screen Actor’s guild clearly doesn’t.

Maybe they just didn’t like that one-man film thing.

But they nominated Sandra Bullock for what is essentially a one-woman film thing, too, in “Gravity.” Which has made millions, whereas “All is Lost” has made nothing.

Zilch.

Another surprise was how poorly “Saving Mr. Banks” did. No Ensemble nomination and no Tom Hanks as Disney in Supporting. Instead in Supporting Actor we find the late James Gandolfini for “Nuff Said” and surprise(!) Daniel Bruhl of the Ron Howard racing film. for playing Hans Landa.

The Supporting Actor nominations were expected for Jared Leto and Michael Fassbender. The first time, let it be noted, that Fascinating Fassbender has been nominated by this august group. And finally, another delightful surprise Barkhad Abdi, the frightening Somali pirate in “Capt. Phillips.”

The fact that both Hanks as Philips himself and Abdi as his scary adversary bodes well for “Capt. Phillips” at the Oscars. The SAGS are notoriously American-centric so the inclusion of the German actor Bruhl and the Somali actor Abdi and the Irishman Fassbender is significant I think.

Supporting Actress was as expected Lupita, Oprah, June Squibb and JLaw and the inclusion of Julia Roberts(For August:Osage County), who knocked out Octavia Spenser, the winner of the Supp. Actress award by the National Board of Review. Confusing isn’t it?

Four nominations were the most and they were for my favorite film of the year “12 Years a Slave” Best Ensemble, Best Actor -Chiwetel Ejiafor, Best Supp. Actor ~ Fassbender, and Best Supp. Actress Lupita Nyong’O.

For a complete list go to http://www.hitfix.com

Independent Spirit Nominations Announced! 12 Years a Slave leads!

The Independent Spirit Awards were announced this morning, and  first of all let me congratulate, the Stephen Holt Show’s guest Melonie Diaz who received a Best Supporting Actress Nomination for “Fruitvale Station”!!! I’ll re-post her great satellite interview with me asap.

But first things first, “12 Years A Slave” dominated now as it will continue to do, I predict, for the rest of the Awards Season, with seven nominees, Best Picture, Best Director(Steve McQueen), Best Actor (Chiwetal Ejiafor), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), Best Supporting Actress ( Lupita Nyong’O), Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography. I’m still saying it will also win all those awards and more on Oscar Night. And certainly with the Critics Awards which start piling up on Monday with the New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review on Tuesday. It’ll be like a juggernaut or a landslide. Look out!

“Nebraska” came in second, as it were, which is how most Alexander Payne films do. This bleak, small Black and White film about senior citizens in the plains states came out in the Place Place(using Tom O’Neil’s derby metaphor here http://www.goldderby.com) getting nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Screenplay (Alexander Payne), Best Actor (Bruce Dern), Best Supporting Actress(June Squibb) and the surprise here for Saturday Night Live Alum Will Forte, for Best Supporting Actor, for his sensitve, understated turn, which everyone has been ignoring heretofore, as Bruce Dern’s caring son.

For all the nominees, check out http://www.awardsdaily.com and/or Kris Tapley’s analysis at http://www.hitfix.com/incontention

Oscars in November ~ Where We Stand Now

OK. It’s on! The Oscar season has more than officially started. We are in what’s called “Phase One”  and as I’ve been saying since Toronto. It was all over as soon as I saw “12 Years A Slave.” Nothing could touch it. Nothing has.

Of course, it’s a very bad position to be the front-runner from the get go, but quality is quality and this is one of the greatest films of all time, a masterpiece, and the Academy cannot deny it it’s due. AND it’s making money, too.

I was worried when it first unspooled at Telluride that the praise was too deafening to be true. But when I saw it, the hosannas were understated. It’s one of the greats.

I was also worried that it was too much too soon. Could it sustain all the way though this LONG Oscar season, which doesn’t end this year until MARCH!

But it has been sustaining and people are going to see it, placing it at a strong #7 now on the Box-Office Top Ten for two weeks in a row.

And the critics awards aren’t going to be handed out for another 2-3 weeks or so. And when it starts, I’m telling you it won’t stop. “12 Years a Slave” is going to win EVERYthing!

The Best Actor race is much more variable with Chiwetel Ejiafor still out in front in my estimation. That’s for playing the title role in “12 Years a Slave”. And the Academy is poised to make history, which it often doesn’t shy away from doing, by giving Steve McQueen an Oscar for Best Director. He would be the first black man to ever win this award, shockingly.The news this year is that African-American and Black films and stars have all arrived and are here to stay, with performances that should be recognized. I am also predicting a record number of AA nominees this year. Maybe the Most In Oscar History. Call it the Obama Effect hits the Oscar big time this year. And I think that’s a good thing for everybody.

“12 Years a Slave” two months after TIFF is still a juggernaut that can’t be stopped. And thank goodness, everyone is getting on board.

The Gurus of Gold (which I used to be one for several seasons) has both 12YAS, McQueen and Ejiafor in the number one spots in their respective categories. And Lupito Nyong’o, too for Best Supporting Actress. The brilliant actress whose family really is from Africa(her father was a diplomat and politician) and she’s a Yale School of Drama graduate to boot. That stunning performance as Patsey, the tragic slave heroine will haunt your dreams. I can never stop praising her searing, magnificent performance. And Lupita is growing on the Awards Circuit every day, giving gracious, intelligent interview after interview. She’s the Cinderella story of the year, and she’s more than ready for her close-up.

And I still say Michael Fassbender’s multi-faceted turn as the villainous slave-owner Edwin Epps will also win the German-born, Irish actor a Best Supporting Actor Award. He’s got the industry cred behind him, with many many starring roles in movies lined up and coming out one right after the other.So Hollywood has a vested interest in him becoming a bigger and bigger and bigger star. His getting this award will validate all those expensive movies that have already invested millions in him becoming one of Hollywood’s new, true stars. Who also happens to be a great actor, too. And I think his non-campaigning  campaign is only going to help him. Silence is sometimes golden. Ask Garbo, if she were still alive. Ask Jean DuJardin and Michel Hazanaviscious. Hell, ask Mo’nique.

And the fascinating Fassbinder’s  got the title role in the controversial “The Counselor” out now. He’s also one of the leads in the X-Men franchise, and on and on and on. He’s what movie stars are made of, and so is Lupita Nyong’o.

Best Actress I feel personally is going to go to Sandra Bullock for “Gravity.” A sensationally popular mega-hit, which people are seeing over and over again, Bullock, or Sandy as she’s know to one and all in Hollywood, is the only person in 95% of the movie. George Clooney is barely in it. Spoiler alert.

With “Saving Mr. Banks” on the horizon, and two other major players “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” still unseen, it’s non-sensical to even call everything as I have been calling it since Sept. and Toronto. But hey! It’s the Oscars! It’s the Silly Season as David Karr of the NY Times so accurately called it, back in the Golden Days when he was the Times’ Oscar guy. He called himself “The Carpetbagger.” Because that’s what he felt like being a TImes financial reporter covering the Oscars. And so yes, it’s silliness personified.

But then so are the three unseen films which cover “Mary Poppins” back story, and financial guys at different end of the social spectrums. And different eras. Call me irresponsible, but I don’t see anything in the subject matters of these three films, all maybe comedies, We don’t know for sure yet. But yes, they all seem picayune by comparison.

But I can tell you what will win Best Animated Feature already Disney’s “Frozen” and Best Song “Let It Go” From Frozen.

And I don’t see any of these last three films really shaking up The Race.

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