a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Midnight in Paris’

“Cafe Society” Worst Woody Allen Ever? S.O.S. Same Old Story

Kristen Stewart 1As you can see by this ultra glamourous pic above ^ of Kristen Stewart, Woody Allen has cast her against type, as a nice little goodie two-shoes,compleat with bows in her hair and ankle socks, in “Cafe Society”. Her character, Vonnie, has to appear so beautiful that the men in the movie fall madly in love with her. The men being Steve Carell as well as his nephew Jesse Eisenberg. And they’re all very good in this magnificently shot and styled paean to old Hollywood in the ’30s.

But this is perhaps the worst movie he’s ever done.It’s soooo boring. It’s that we’ve seen it all before. Over and over and over and over again. We expect more from the man who gave us “Midnight in Paris”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, “Blue Jasmine”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and his Oscar winner “Annie Hall.” But this is not that. Not by a long shot.

At least his other recent sub-par look at the glamourous life circa 1920 “Magic in the Moonlight” had a very strong performance by Colin Firth. And it’s always the younger woman/older man scenario, but at least focusing as much of this film on the young Jesse Eisenberg, the edge is slightly off that scenario, but only slightly. But it doesn’t last for long. Before it’s back to the Carell/Kristen plot-line. Ho-hum.Or rather ho-humbug.

Eisenberg, an actor I’ve always had trouble liking, is appealing in this, and more amourously aggressive than I can ever remember him being.

Kristen & Jesse 1

But try as they might, he, Carell and Stewart and all of the rest of this capable cast, just can’t rise above this bland, bland script.

I felt like I knew what lines the characters were going to say before they spoke them. Parker Posey, here a bubbly, throw-away blonde, is pretty much just window dressing. Corey Stoll is snidely effective as Eisenberg’s gangster brother.Blake Lively is, well, lively.

The only one who really broke through for me was Sari Lennick of the Coen Bros. “A Serious Man.” As Eisenberg’s hyserical, kvetchy sister-in-law and Stoll’s wife.

The biggest,.most consistent laughs in the film, and there are some, not much, but not enough, the most laughs come when Stoll’s character has killed some hapless or irritating sap, and throws the bodies into a ditch as a cement mixer pours cement on them in clearly a New Jersey setting.

Santa Loquasto has designed “Cafe Society” to a fare-thee-well and legendary lenser Victorio Storaro has shot it magnificently. It couldn’t look more glamourous, or be so empty. What a shame!

Do something NEW Woody!!! Surprise us!!! Don’t bore us…All our lives are too short for drivel like this.

#Woody Allen #Cafe Society #Kristen Stewart #comedy #Hollywood

Colin Firth Strong, Emma Stone Weak in Woody’s (NO) “Magic in the Moonlight”

“I want MAGIC” screams Blanche du Bois in Tennessee Williams classic “Streetcar Named Desire”. And I was screaming “I want magic, too!” As Woody Allen’s latest “Magic in the Moonlight” unspooled before me and I didn’t laugh once.

It LOOKS Magical. The cinematography of Darius Khondji is simply swoon-worthy. The Riviera never looked so lovely! Truly! But aside from a very, very strong performance by Colin Firth, it’s not much fun. Although Eileen Atkins as his sensible aunt (they’re both British of course) is also very good. But this film that looks like it should be a comedy, is simply not funny at all.

Firth has the challenge of getting up in yellow-face and being a stage magician  named Wei Ling-Soo, who makes elephants disappear and saws ladies in half, and is an extremely pessimistic curmudgeon. He spews venom constantly throughout the film in all directions, which is arresting, but not funny. Unlike the other recent magician in an Allen film, the great Splendini, in “Scoop” who Allen played himself. “Scoop” was set in London with Scarlett Johansonn in the female lead, a role Emma Stone essays so poorly here. “Scoop” was funny and good-natured as “Magic in the Moonlight” is bitter and grim. Good qualities in a drama, like “Blue Jasmine” but not is a half-baked pseudo-farce.

How can this much heightened sarcasm be not funny in a Woody Allen film? Well, for one thing his character seems an utter realist, if not a downright atheistic. Yes, that’s right. This is a film that is about atheism. Or a comedy about atheism. WTF? It’s seems like it should be by Ayn Rand and black and white and set in the ’40s.

Not the glamorous 1920s, a period Allen returns to again and again. And he’s done it better. I just watched “Midnight in Paris” for the umpteenth time last night and it delighted and chilled me all over again. I actually got goose bumps from it and from Mlle. Marion Cotillard’s superb performance.

And there were actually French people in it. And they spoke French! Imagine that! In “Magic in the Moonlight” we have the beautiful French countryside, but no French people are in it. At All.

And Emma Stone is very, very weak in this. As a supposed psychic, she’s a little spacey, a little kookie. Her red-hair flies beautifully in the wind. She has lovely large eyes, but Woody seems to have a problem with her overly large forehead which is covered up throughout much of the movie by her own bangs, which is fine and series of tam o’shanters, head-bands and hats with extremely low brows, which would look fine on Marion Cotillard, but on Stone they make her look odd. She is photographed soooo well in fact, she looked liked she’s acting, but she isn’t. The cinematography and costumes were acting FOR her.

I didn’t ever think I would miss Scarlett Johansonn, but in this film, I did. Stone is really out of her depth here, and she shouldn’t be.

I just attended a press conference for this film with Emma Stone notably absent. And Colin Firth when asked about working with her, just skipped the question entirely. “My Best Day?” he was asked, ” I guess the scene in the planetarium at night. I was wet. And I felt wet, so that was good.”

Unfortunately, it’s (no) “Magic in the Moonlight” that is all wet. Sadly.

Every OTHER film of Woody’s recently has been terrific. “Midnight in Paris” was a masterpiece. “To Rome, with Love” was a dud. “Blue Jasmine” won Cate Blanchett an Oscar for Best Actress, and so we were due for another disappointment, and unfortunately, we got it.

I can’t wait for the next one, however. That’ll be good again.

Woody did a press conference in New York today. He NEVER does that. I sensed Flop Sweat and I was right. But Colin saved the day, and Jacqui Weaver was buoyant, too.

Woody said “Life is meaningless.” And he meant it. And then added “Now that I’ve depressed you thoroughly, have a nice weekend.”Magic in the Moonlight 1Magic in the Moonlight 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Diane Kruger saying “Hello” to Oscar as She Kills in “Farewell, My Queen”?

German actress Diane Kruger absolutely KILLS as the doomed Monarch in “Farewell, My Queen” the hot new LESBIAN re-thinking of Marie Antoinette’s final days as the French revolution was about to engulf her. Here’s a wonderful interview with Diane and I hope that although she’s acting in French, the Academy will consider her for a nomination for Best Actress(she’s playing the title role, after all) or Supporting, since her handmaiden Lea Seydoux is really the central character of the film Seydoux, the gamine whom Owen Wilson ends up with at the end of “Midnight in Paris” also shines, but it is Kruger who speaks perfect English with an American accent yet. And whom the Academy is familiar with.

I think Best Actress is a wide-open category at this point. If the French get the ball rolling and choose it as their Best Foreign language selection, it could very well get a slew of nominations. For sure, Best Costumes. And Diane is the one who is most familiar to the Academy since she ALMOST got nominated for “Inglorious Basterds” playing a glamourous German actress/spy. She had the misfortune of splitting that film’s Supporting Actress vote with Melanie Laurent, who was also breaking out in that film as Shoshanna, the Jewish freedom fighter. Will she? Won’t she? We shall see…

In any case, it’s the perfect antidote to the summer overload of ComicBookBlockbusterSuperHero movies. I can barely tell them apart. I thought “The Avengers” was just plain BAD, and was sorry I coughed up the dough to see it. I felt robbed. And THAT crap makes $600 milllion?

But “Farewell, My Queen” is the only really wonderful Oscar-y movie that’s Opening in this Summer of Hell, where the temperatures in New York are hitting 100 degrees Every. Single. Day.

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Tom Hiddleston! Of “The Avengers!” Top hit-getter On You Tube!

Well, in the sense of sharing the ups and downs of my Internet existence, here’s the guy who’s #1 on my You Tube Channel right now, the great Tom Hiddleston! Who’s having the year of years with “The Deep Blue Sea”,”War Horse”, “Midnight in Paris” and the box-office blockbuster “The Avengers” in which he plays Loki, the villain!And no, I still haven’t seen it. But I’ve seen all his others this years! Love HIM! Part One of Tom at TIFF ’11.

And Part Two is Coming Soon to this blog! Stay tuned!

Oscar Gets “Amour”

Well, this certainly is news! Austria has decided that “Amour” is going to be its’ official submission to the Best Foreign Film race this coming Oscar season. Since it’s by a German director, who I LOVE, Michael Haneke, and maybe it’s German-Austrian financed although the two octogenarian leads,  who are winning raves, act in French, this makes “Amour” kosher. And definitely eligible for a Best Foreign Film nomination and perhaps win.

This is despite Jeffrey Wells at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com not liking a whole hell of a lot.

And to top that off Sony Pictures Classics is deciding to open it in Dec. RIGHT in the heat of the Oscar season. I know, I know. It’s freezing in New York at that time of year, and this is hardly your Christmas-y picture. But SPC, as I’ll now call them, are throwing down the Oscar gauntlet(is that a mixed metaphor?) going full court press with this one.

Although Michael Haneke only gives interviews in German, and the two stars are yes-for-real are in their 80s. But have Oscar buzz will travel. So we’ll be seeing them, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva stateside around the holidays. Or at least I will be seeing them, I hope, in their press tour.

I love SPC’s taste in movies. Last year,  they had “Midnight in Paris” and while it got a bunch of nominations in many categories and won in Best Original Screenplay, they did not move any of the many wonderful performers in that movie from the sidelines to center stage. Like for instance, Corey Stoll as Hemingway, Marion Cotillard as the Muse of many centuries and Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein. Not to mention Owen Wilson’s, astonishing lead performance and Rachel McAdams as his blonde bitch of a fiancée.

Although Owen did get a Golden Globe nomination in the Musical or Comedy category, he lost out to Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” And who could’ve stopped THAT express train once it left the station???

I can’t stand Wes Anderson movies, so I only go to them, if dragged so I haven’t seen “Moonrise Kingdom” yet. But I guess I’ll have to at some point. I hate when straight men try to do camp. Which is basically what his great “Style” is. Stolen from the Homosexual Handbook. I ought to know. I helped write it back in The Day.

And tomorrow I’m actually going to see “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”  I’ll let you know if I think all the who-ha at Sundance and Cannes was justified.

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone’s Heavenly Cannes’ Diaries Delight

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.

Oscar Voting Closes ~ Sasha Stone Says 9 Out of 10 for “The Artist”!

So as of yesterday, the Oscar Voting for the Best of 2011, closed at 5pm PST. Now what happens? Well, we all just sort of COUNT THE HOURS til Sunday night’s BIG SHOW. And try to figure out what went wrong, or right, depending. Me, I’m just over-the-moon delighted with how incredible an Oscar response the beautiful French bon-bon received. “The Artist” is poised, thinks Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone, who lives and breathes this stuff even more than I do, she thinks “The Artist” is going to take home NINE out of its’ ten nominations!

That would be divine, as far as I’m concerned. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Score, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Costumes is what I thought would happen. And then Scott Feinberg, STILL the only Oscarologist who’s linked to this site.Thank you, Scott.

Scott ALSO predicted the same number 7, and he even wrote a comment on the previous blog post here, saying so. And no, I didn’t read Scott’s “The Hollywood Reporter” til AFTER I had written and posted mine. And I was kind of shocked that we agreed so completely.

This after last year’s Melissa Leo debacle.

Well, you can look that one up for yourselves. But every time I mentioned the words “Melissa Leo” last year, the hits SOARED! This year, not so much. But any way, Scott and I are now copacetic this Oscar year. And so much so we were predicting the same seven wins for “The Artist!” INCROYABLE! Scott’s at www.thehollywoodreporter.com

Then Sasha said “Nine” at www.awardsdaily.com and I nearly fainted! But she who knows all,(She lives in Hwood, too, so she’s right in the middle of it) thought that additionally Michel Hazanaviscius would trounce Woody Allen for Best Original Screenplay!!!! And she hasn’t been the only one saying that lately.

And that “The Artist”s production designer, who had to work in Black and White, mind you, only, that he would win over Dante Ferretti’s 3D and color work on “Hugo.”

Well, who am I to  disagree with Sasha at a final moment of the season like this?

I’m just over-the-moon about Jean Dujardin’s pulling ahead of G. Clooney with the SAG and BAFTA wins for Best Actor!

The only hold-out for George still seems to be Anne Thompson, who is parsing the possibilities over at www.indiewire.com Anne says that it’s the only interesting race left. The Jean v. George smack-down. Speaking of Tom O’Neill’s favorite word “smack-down, over at www.goldderby.com he has one of his editors Aussie Matt Noble do a very funny video about George Clooney being told that he wasn’t going to win Best Actor. Check it out. It’s hilariously done.  And yes, as Tom states, George will never forgive Matt Noble for this. But the voting’s closed. So it can’t influence voters one way or the other.

That was all done three weeks ago or more when the nominations went out.

And evidently they FLOODED back in, so says Pete Hammond at www.deadline.com

which I have been mistyped as www.deadlinehollywood.com all season. Sorry Pete. Sorry Nikki(Finke). But I’m sure you avid Oscar readers have been all over Pete Hammond’s great pieces all season long. And it IS a season. From Toronto til now, it just doesn’t stop.

And to think that Harvey Weinstein could be TRIUMPHING for a second year in a row, it’s just mind-boggling! Where would “The Artist” be without his excellent producing skills? And his drive? And his uncanny ability to read the Academy voters and play them like violins.

Although I must say, when I saw “The Artist” I DID think “The Academy is going to LOVE this! It’s all about THEM!”

But without Harvey “The Artist” would just be a small tres charmant French film, playing the Festivals and the art house circuit and not the PHENOMENON he turned it into! Bravo! Once again, all of Hollywood owes you bigtime for making the Oscars so exciting again!

And Jean! As I told Jean and Berenice Bejo when I interviewed them back in November in NYC at “The Artist”s press junket, they were going to become VERY famous in America and that they would win the Oscars! And once again, the Oscar Messenger’s message came true. Just like I told Colin Firth and Tom Hooper of “The King’s Speech” their great Oscar news a year ago last September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

You can see me telling them the good news if you search for Jean DuJardin -Stephen Holt show on You Tube. Or just go to my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and search for it there. It’s gone viral with over 45,000 hits at this point. Ditto Colin Firth from last year who is now up to 92,ooo hits!

And TWC also sent me over the moon with two terrific satellite interviews with Penelope Ann Miller and James Cromwell, also of “The Artist.” They played George Valentin’s neglected, unhappy wife and his loyal Butler/Chauffeur respectively.

And Best Actress???? Well, that’s another topic ENTIRELY! I’ll get into that next!

How Many Oscars Will “The Artist” Win?

It’s now less than a week away. And on Tuesday at 5pm PST, the ballots that aren’t there are due in. Or else they won’t be counted.

Tom O’Neil at www.goldderby.com wonders if tomorrow’s President’s Day holiday isn’t going to confuse last-minute voters. It’s a postal holiday, too. And if you dropped something in the mail on Saturday, it might not get there in time for Tuesday. So your vote won’t be counted.

Me? I’d send it back in the minute I got it which would be several weeks ago now, right after the nominations were announced. A lot of people do do that. They who want their votes to be counted. Those who CARE.

Some people don’t even see the movies and some people don’t even BOTHER to vote. Which this year all somehow helps “The Artist.”

How many will it win? I’m predicting a more or less duplication of the BAFTAS which would be seven. I’ll count them for you, shall I?

Best Picture is in the bag, as is Best Director Michel Hazanaviscius(and that’s the last time I going to spell all that out in this article!) Jean Dujardin, I think is going to repeat his Cannes win for Best Actor, which he also reduplicated at the Golden Globes, THE SAGS and the BAFTAS?!? And the wonderful score by Ludovic Bource, which in the place of dialogue, IS the dialogue of this wonderful, classic movie. So that’s four.

It won costumes at the BAFTAS and it’s an American costume designer, Mark Bridges, who also has designed recent Academy faves “The Fighter” and “There Will Be Blood.”  So that makes five.

And last night “The Artist” won the A.C.E.Eddie award which is even more important an indicator and more predictive than the DGA. And who was the recipient? Why, Michel H.! Again! He could carry home THREE Oscars, for BP, BD, and now also best editing, too, which he shares with Anne-Sophie Bion!

The last one is a little tricky by I don’t see how they can ignore how important the contribution of Guillaume Shiffman was as the Black and White Cinematographer. Yes, “The Artist” could win this, too.

Michel H., since he’s already taking home THREE Oscars, may not win Best Original Screenplay, since he’s up against his Idol, and mine, Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris.” They’ll give Woody SOMEthing. But this could be an upset, too, since its upset everything else. It won’t be a record, either, since I think the Coen Bros. pulled off a triple crown with “No Country for Old Men.” Best Picture, Best Director(s) and Best Screenplay.

Art Direction, as at the BAFTAS, will probably go to Dante Ferretti of “Hugo”. And “Hugo” with the most nominations will probably win BOTH Sound Awards, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. And also I think Best Special Effects for it’s use of 3D.

I don’t think Berenice Bejo, who actually is a Latina, since she was born and raised in Argentina, and moved to France as an adult, is going to win in Supp. Actress. That seems locked up long ago by Octavia Spencer in “The Help.”

But 7 is an impressive  take, and it could be MORE! If he beats Woody. AND Dante Ferretti. But I don’t think so.

Oscar Nomination Predictions 2011

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants

Midnight in Paris

Hugo

The Help

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Moneyball

My Week With Marilyn

In a year where there could be as little as five and as many as 10 Best Pictures, I’m going to split the difference and say 8.

Best Actor

JEAN DU JARDIN “The Artist”

GEORGE CLOONEY “The Descendants”

BRAD PITT “Moneyball”

LEONARDO DI CAPRIO “J.Edgar”

DAMIAN BECHIR “A Better Life”

I think the S.W.O.R.M. the Straight White Old Rich Men who are let’s face it, the majority of the AMPAS voters are not gonna be OK with Michael Fassbender’s full frontal EXTENSIVE nudity through “Shame”, but WILL be OK with Mexican actor Damien Bichir’s heart-wrenching portryal of a good father/gardener working in the Palm Trees of L.A.

Best Actress

MICHELLE WILLIAMS “My Week With Marilyn”

MERYL STREEP “The Iron Lady”

GLENN CLOSE “Albert Nobbs”

VIOLA DAVIS “The Help”

ROONEY MARA “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

I think that late opener “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” which is nearing the $100 million mark domestic is going to be on a lot of voters’ minds. And this will be a kind of pay back to David Fincher & crew for NOT winning last year and the biggest beneficiary of this will be leading actress Rooney Mara, for her bravura turn as Lisbeth Salander. And the person she’ll knock out is not the revered Glenn Close, who has been struggling to get “Albert Nobbs” made for over 20 years, or more, but Tilda Swinton, who HAS an Oscar already.

Best Suporting Actor

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER “Beginners”

KENNETH BRANAGH “My Week with Marilyn”

ARMIE HAMMER “J.Edgar”

COREY STOLL “Midnight in Paris”

JONAH HILL “Moneyball”

This is the hardest category to predict this year with the prospective nominees jumping all over the place, like Mexican Jumping Beans throughout the precursor awards. And no, Damien Bichir is NOT in this category. I think SAG nominee Armie Hammer will pop up here as he did in SAG, and knock out Albert Brooks who was snubbed by SAG AND BAFTA. And also they’re going to nominate SOMEBODY from “Midnight in Paris” besides Woody and Corey Stoll’s Ernest Hemingway made the strongest impression in that gigantic ensemble.

I hate to say it, but I’m putting Jonah Hill in because he was in the movie, “Moneyball” that the most voters will probably have seen and because by the same token they WON’T have watched Nick Nolte in “Warriors.”

Best Supporting Actress

VANESSA REDGRAVE “Coriolanus”

OCTAVIA SPENCER “The Help”

JESSICA CHASTAIN “The Help”

BERENICE BEJO “The Artist”

JANET McTEER “Albert Nobbs”

I think Vanessa Redgrave’s towering performance in “Coriolanus” will FINALLY turn up here, as it hasn’t so far anywhere else. The Harvey factor is in play here and yes, it’s a Weinstein Co. movie. As is “The Artist” as is “The Iron Lady” as is “My Week with Marilyn.”

Best Director

Michel Hazanaviscius “The Artist”

Alexander Payne “The Descendants”

Martin Scorcese “Hugo”

Woody Allen “Midnight in Paris”

David Fincher “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

I think this will match the DGA nominees(the Directors’ Guild) five for five.

And on Tuesday morning we’ll see. I predict the steamroller of “The Artist” will continue with its’ getting the most nominations of any other film. And for a 90 min. Black and White SILENT film made for only $12million, it’s a phenomenal run that is STILL just getting started!

Oscar God Dave Karger of EW speaks out!

Well, my own personal choice for Oscar God, Dave Karger, is speaking out all over the place. He’s turning up on www.goldderby.com chatting with Tom O’Neil about Best Picture and Director and he’s on a podcast at the Hollywood Reporter talking about A LOT of things Oscar with Scott Feinberg www.thehollywoodreporter.com

Thx to poster Sia for sending me their podcast which was very interesting. Until it kept disconnecting itself. Grrr…but I got most of it. It was fascinating.

OGDave, ever polite, to both Feinberg and O’Neil and always measured in his responses, has to, in the back of everything, justify that OUTrageous gaffe of a cover Oscar Race issue of EW, a couple of weeks back, with George Clooney and Viola Davis looking and acting like they already won! What nerve! And how precipitous if not downright presumptive of them both, and of  course, EW, too. And of course, comes the Globes this past Sunday and Meryl Streep wins! George does, too, but ouch! For Viola losing, and making that cover invalid! Just, OUCH!

I think neither of them are going to win. George already has an Oscar and even O’Neil in ANOTHER Skype-like podcast(yes, with pictures) admits that he thought Le Clooney’s speech was more like Le Clown-ey. “Missed opportunities! Missed opportunities!” O’Neil said that also about presumptive Supp. Actress winner Octavia Spencer. “It was a list! It was just a LIST” bemoaned Our Tom. And of course, he’s right.

Tom thinks like I do that Michelle Williams is the upset winner and Dave Karger, in his podcast with Scott Feinberg even admitted that “in the case of a close vote, there can be a split, and a third party gets through.” He was saying this to Feinberg in relation to Viola Davis winning the BFCA and Meryl winning, the much more highly viewed Golden Globes, on NBC.

Our Dave was sweating a little there, I thought. And it’s all very interesting, because these men, live and breathe Oscar, well, just like you and me, dear readers, dear cineastes.

Tom O’Neil created this whole Internet Oscar game we are all now so invested in. And Dave Karger is certainly one of the best. Dave and I and also, possibly, Anne Thompson www.indiewire.com

last year were the only ones standing by “The King’s Speech” and our conviction that is was going to win and win BIG was not the popular choice at this time last year.

Tom, and Scott both ask Dave if he thinks that “The Artist” is still way out in front, and Dave says “Yes, it is.” End of story. It’s a “Slumdog Millionaire” slam dunk. But Dave hedges to both Tom and Scott that he doesn’t think it’s going to “sweep the guilds like ‘The King’s Speech’ did last year, where it won everything.”

He’s talking about the upcoming PGA, which is when SUDDENLY TKS started winning everything. That was such an exciting day for me!The PGA is the Producer’s Guild and they announce this Sunday, I think.

I was fortunate enough to have gotten to Colin Firth AND Tom Hooper FIRST at the Toronto Film Festival  Sept. 2010, and told them the Oscar news as I saw it,  which is when Tom named me “The Oscar Messenger,” and the name, as you all know stuck, and I was right! He won! And so did “The King’s Speech!”

And yes, I agree with Dave that “The Artist” is going to win Best Picture, and he doesn’t really see anything stopping it, unless “Tate Taylor(“The Help”) gets a Best Director nomination,” which would be coming from the VERY exclusive Director’s Branch of the Academy. I don’t see that happening.

Tom brings up the chance that Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” could upset everything, and Dave literally pooh-poohs that onscreen, in the politest way possible, of course. Dave is nothing if not a gentleman.

When pressed by Scott Feinberg about Supporting Actor, he gets Dave to admit “it’s all over the map,” (except for Christopher Plummer winning) which is what I posted yesterday. Were they reading my blog? I hope so. Let it also be said that despite our violent dispute over Melissa Leo last year, Scott was an always agreeable and friendly presence on the awards circuit. And so far he’s the only one who has been nice enough to link to this blog. Again, thank you, Scott, for that.

But now with his new job at The Hollywood Reporter as THEIR Oscar guy with “The Race” and “Feinberg and Friends,” which is where the podcast I’m speaking of was located, he’s like a steam roller in his enthusiasm and energy and STATISTICS about the Oscar race. He’s very young, not long out of college, if truth be told, and so last year OF COURSE he was going to side with “The Joy of Typing.” It was about the Internet! Of course, it was going to win!

And I always countered with the fact that a large portion of Academy are barely online. Hence their WTF reaction to it.

The stuttering King of England, now THAT they could understand!

Tom keeps Dave and his conversation limited to Best Picture and Best Director and will probably cover the other categories before the Nomination Morning of Tues. Jan. 24.  But I thought one of the most interesting observations of Dave’s was to Tom, about Best Director, that Martin Scorcese won too recently (for “The Departed”) to win again for “Hugo” as he did on Sunday at the Globes.

And Dave does emphasize that the Broadcast Film Critics AND the Globes’ HFPA have NOTHING to do with the Academy, as I’ve been saying all along. They are PRESS. And NONE of those people are Academy Members.

Compassionate Dave seems to listen to all  the members of the Academy that he can. Whereas I think Scott, because he’s so young himself, listens to people his own age. Most of whom are NOT members of AMPAS, and if they are they are in the minority.

I myself here in NYC do not sense any kind of overwhelming love for “The Help” which Scott and Dave(that cover again) and to a lesser extent Tom said they feel ~ out in L.A. It’s a different world out there, granted. But here, if I had to say anything could surprise “The Artist”, it’s “Midnight in Paris.” I keep hearing how much everyone LOVES it here. And I hear that LOVE expressed about “The Artist,” too.

And one of the most interesting things Dave says about “The Bridesmaid” topic(it keeps turning up like the proverbial bad penny) is that he thinks Kristen Wiig is going to get a screenplay nomination and that “If anyone can upset Octavia Spencer in Supporting Actress, it’s Melissa McCarthy”!!!! From “Bridesmaids”!!!

I don’t think, and Stu Van Airsdale of www.movieline.com thinks that she’s even going to get nominated.

And on another note, Glenn Close had an hour-long interview about her career on PBS. And when they showed a clip of her as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard”, it just took my breathe away at how wonderful she was in was probably her finest hour. Now if only they’d make THAT into a movie! She won the Tony for that too, in a walk, and she deserved it.

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