I swear sometime I think Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of www.awardsdaily.com is the reason for all the continuously building Oscar hoopla that gets bigger and bigger every year. A one-woman Oscar army she has built up her formidable and must-read Oscar website, which started out as a Message Board ,and then called Oscarwatch.com into a veritable mountain of Oscar influencing.
Sasha just landed back in the States from Cannes, where she outdid herself once again, with her extremely beautifully written and astutely observed Cannes diaries which are very, very moving and absolutely essential to the understanding of what makes the Oscar race tick, and how it all begins. And now, it seems it begins in Cannes.
It certainly did last year with “The Artist,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Tree of Life” and “Drive.” All of which played a major role in the Oscar story of this season just past. And now again, Sasha writes so feelingly and persuasively about the things she sees, and the films she feels deeply effected her this year her diaries and reviews are absolutely irrestible reading. And you know what? She’s usually right on the money. Especially as far as spotting Oscar contenders early. REALLY early, in this case.
Cannes used to be really a catch-all for all the weirdo foreign films, the films the studios didn’t know what to do with, and no big Oscar influencer. This year all that has changed and Cannes may again assume its’ monicker as the World’s Number One Film Festival. Me, I ceded that honor to Toronto for the past 13 going on 14 years.
And what did Sasha like? Well, she tells you in her own voice at a rather incredible podcast she did with Jeffrey Wells, the eternal grouch of www.hollywood-elsewhere.com who like Sasha runs his own very successful website, follows no ruler but himself, and takes no prisoners on his daily movie beat, that she liked “Of Rust and Bone” best.
This is the divine Marion Cotillard’s French follow-up to her Oscar-winning “La Vie En Rose.” Marion is one Best Actress winner who has not let the grass grow under her feet, and has not been content to rest on her laurels, bien sur. Making one strong film choice after the other. Here she is playing an Orca trainer, who after a tragic accident in an aquarium where she works, is left legless.
Sasha mentions this film first in her podcast, which you can find on both her site as well as Jeffrey’s. I hate the title. You almost can’t pronouce it in French and in English, it’s just off-putting. And I don’t think Marion is going to win another Oscar so soon after her Piaf win, and acting in her own language once again. But she’s La Belle Marion, and let me tell you, she is one of the greats, so all bets are off. And if Sasha is mentioning her FIRST at Cannes, for an Oscar nom, in her podcast, then it’s DONE! And it a couple of weeks, she’s in “The Dark Knight Rises” too. She’s hot, hot, hot all over again. And Sony Pictures Classics has “Of Rust and Bone” and they really know what they’re doing with an Oscar campaign. Witness last year’s Best Original Screenplay winner Woody Allen’s sublime “Midnight in Paris,” which you all know I’v e now seen NINE times, and Marion was in that, too!
I don’t know how Sahsa and Jeff did that magic trick of broadcasting so clearly and so distinctly from the middle of a Cannes Film Festival restaurant! It captures the chaos and also the joy that Sasha and Jeff were experiencing being at Cannes. And guess what? They both sounded supremely happy!
It didn’t matter if they missed films because of the scheduling or time flying by or the color of their badges. Sasha had “a lowly blue” and Jeff was the more high-toned Pink. David Poland was also there evidently for the first time.(I thought he’d been going there for years! But I guess I was misinformed.) and landed a pink badge. And you have to line up for films, and then they let the white badges in first. Then the pink with a “Pastille” or dot. Then the pink badges. Then the blue, then the yellow.
I hate to think what color I’d get saddled with.
You could line up in the broiling Cannes sun and not get in at all! That sucks.
But as I said, Sasha and Jeff sounded sublimely delighted by the whole experience. And it was like dropping in on a conversation between Scott and Zelda on the Riviera. You’ve got to check it out. And hear how Sasha reacts to everything, like I do, as an Oscar possiblity, or not.
Her second favorite film she mentioned was Michael Haneke’s “Amour” evidently a total change of pace for him, his films like the recent Palme d’Or winner “The White Band,”are usually VERY dark and unrelenting. “Amour” is about a couple in their 8os with Emmanuelle Riva of “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” who is evidently going to give Marion a run for her money for the Best Actress prize as Cannes. And Jean-Louis Trintignant of “A Man and a Woman” is the man in the picture, also, now, incredibly, in his 80s. And Sasha says they are both wonderful and Jeff Wells counters, in their podcast, that he isn’t going to see it at Cannes. Vive la difference!
Who will win the Palme d’Or this year? It’s anybody’s guess. The jury at Cannes changes every year. And celebrity-heavy as it always is, it leads to some surprising winners. Unpredictable, that’s what it is. But we have to remember that last year Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor award there for “The Artist” mais oui. So I’m guessing that one of the big winners this year is going to also be on Oscar’s list, too.
The big American films were all coming up and Sasha, who was leaving early, hadn’t seen them yet. But you’ll feel like you’ve seen them all when you read Sasha’s trenchant, heartelt reviews and hear her and Jeff Wells talk about it so delightfully on their Oscar Poker podcast.
I was at Cannes once, myself, as a movie star, back in the day, with Divine, for the “Alternative Miss World” but that’s another story.