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Posts tagged ‘Mike Leigh’

“Mr. Turner” Will Get No Acting Nominations

Mr. Turner 1

“Mr. Turner,” the latest effort by British film auteur Mike Leigh, whom I usually admire, bored me to tears.Timothy Spall as Mr. Turner is a very talented British actor, whom I’ve always also admired greatly. But here he lost me completely in this, his Cannes Best Actor-winning role. He won’t repeat this feat at the Oscars, you can bet. I was sooo disappointed in his performance and this film in general.

He’s also up against two thirty something Brits in biopics. Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything” and Benedict Cumberbatch in “Imitation Game.”

Spall, who is one of Leigh’s devoted regulars, in “Mr. Turner” is at his absolute boring worst. He oinks his way through the entire film. Yes, oinks as in what a pig would do. He snorts and grunts and oinks and makes as many barnyard noises as he can think of to show his general disdain for humanity. This usually fine actor is afforded no wiggle room in terms of range. And yes, he’s immensely over-weight to boot. So I guess this film is saying, “Yes, he was a pig” to all who knew him or cared about him, but that’s the way he is at the beginning of the film, and that’s exactly the same way he is on his death bed. No character growth or change. Why should we like this odious man?

Well, he’s considered the greatest British painter, certainly of the 19th Century, and yes, I’ve always enjoyed looking at his remarkable renderings of sun-sets.

But there are no luscious sunsets in this rather grim picture. It’s a shame, because literally we are spending our time with this movie WATCHING PAINT DRY. Literally. And that’s no fun.

Filmmaker Leigh clearly despises his subject and does not give us any reasons to like this awful man. So we don’t. The only nominations this film could get are costumes, set, and maybe, cinematography. Because there are lush vistas – IN THE BACKGROUND.

In the foreground we have the terribly sketched-out private life of the man, who was a beast to all who knew him. Especially the women. He mistreats a devoted female servant played by Dorothy Atkinson, who will ALSO not get an acting nomination for this. He also has a wife, and two daughters, whom he does not want anything to do with either.

It’s a shame. “Topsy Turvy” is one of my all time favorite films. It was Leigh’s exploration of Gilbert and Sullivan. But there despite, once again, an odious central character, W. S. Gilbert (James Broadbent), you always also loved him. AND he was funny. And Leigh had the wonderful Gilbert and Sullivan scores to fall back on, when his own dialogue lagged. And Spall played, and sang, and sang very well, the part of the “Mikado” which is the particular musical piece the film concerns itself with. That film still sends me.

“Mr. Turner” sent me running, for the Exit.

Leigh has his own unique way of working with the actors he uses over and over again. He books them for various amounts of time, and they sign on not knowing what it is they are going to be improvising over the period of several months, or weeks, depending on the size of the role Leigh has in mind.

And here the results, the assembled-from-improv screenplay that Leigh concocts at the end of this elaborate process, is sorely lacking.

And I don’t think the Academy is going to sit still for this one. Especially not the Actor’s branch, as I’ve said.

A couple of seasons ago, I went to mat for the wonderful, poignant performance the great British actress Leslie Manville gave in “Another Year”. I wrote and campaigned and wrote and campaigned, as did many others. Manville didn’t even get nominated. And she should have.

It was then I began to realize that Mike Leigh and his actors were no longer front and center on the Academy’s radar. And “Another Year” was a much, much better film that “Mr. Turner” which is a snore-fest.

Timothy Spall is seen as Mr. Turner walking by endless amounts of butcher shops with pig’s heads in the windows. Ok Ok. We get it. This man is a big fat porker….AND…there is no “And” here. That is all we get. For nearly three hours. The nerve of him to bore us for so long with so little. “Mr. Turner” is a missed opportunity. What a shame! Don’t ever waste my time again like that, Mike Leigh! My patience with you and your grand experiments is wearing thin.

Cannes Film Festival Award Winners 2014, “Foxcatcher” Most Likely Oscar Candidate

Julianne Moore 1Foxcatcher 1

The Cannes Film Festival was never to my mind a great Oscar predictor. But nevertheless there are those that think it has become more relevant of late. I don’t think any of the below named winners are gonna repeat at the Oscar nominations when they are announced in January. EXCEPT for Bennett Miller, who was named Best Director for “Foxcatcher”, the one American film from Cannes that seemed to emerge by all accounts as a legitimate Oscar contender.

However, none of its’ three leads, Steve Carrell (yes, STEVE CARRELL, giving his first serious acting performance) as the murderous wrestling obsessed millionaire Henry DuPont, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, who received great praise from press and critics alike were not awarded. But don’t worry. Placed firmly in the middle of the Oscar surge season, opening stateside on Nov.17, it is SURELY the one film that is going to be heavy figured into the Oscar conversation. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing it, and they could have done so last year. But the Best Actor race was so crowded they decided to wait til this year, which may have been a wise move. A dark tale of obsession, murder, money and wrestling, it seems like Academy catnip to me.

Best Actress went to Julianne Moore, for David Cronenberg’s Hollywood tale “Maps to the Stars” which is opening very soon in the U.S. Moore plays an aging Hollywood actress, who is on the verge of losing it. Moore is an Academy fave being nominated numerous times, but has never won. You can never count her out. She is well-liked by all in the industry.

Best Actor is British thesp Timothy Spall, who plays the title role of Brit painted extraordinaire J.M.V.Turner In Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner” Spall is a well-respected veteran actor who has never been nominated or won. I’m looking forward to seeing this film, too, when it opens in the fall. It will probably also play Toronto as will “Foxcatcher” most likely. So I’ll see them there.

I was burned very badly in the past when I enthusiastically supported other Mike Leigh performers. Leslie Manville in particular for the last Mike Leigh joint “Another Year” in 2010. She didn’t even get nominated. But Spall is better known here, might have a better shot. We’ll see. 

And ma Cherie Marion Cotillard, once again got nothing. I always feel Cannes doesn’t appreciate her, unbelievably, though I of course do. Marion’s film in contention was “Two Days, One Night” by the Dardennes brothers.

Here’s the winners~

Palme d’Or: “Winter Sleep,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Grand Prix: “La Meraviglie,” Alice Rohrwacher
Prix du Jury: (tie) “Mommy,” Xavier Dolan; “Goodbye to Language,” Jean-Luc Godard
Best Director: Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Best Screenplay: Andrey Zvyaginstsev and Oleg Negin, “Leviathan”
Camera d’Or (Best First Feature): “Party Girl,” Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis
Best Actor: Timothy Spall, “Mr. Turner”
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, “Maps to the Stars”
Palme d’Or, Short Film: “Leidi,” Simon Mesa Soto
Short Film Special Mention: “Aissa,” Clement Trehin-Lalanne; “Ja Vielsker,” Halivar Witzo

 

 

Oscar’s Worst Disease ~ Category Confusion! It can kill a career!

What, I ask myself at this time of year with Hallowe’en fast approaching, is the worst, scariest thing that could possibly happen to an Oscar seeker? The answer is plain, simple and deadly ~ Category Confusion! It’s what happened to the wonderful Leslie Manville in “Another Year” last year. Leslie who? Well, Sony Pictures Classics whom I ADORE really messed up on that one. How? They ran her in Leading Actress. When clearly there were many who thought she was Supporting. Like BAFTA. That’s where they put her. And she lost there. Poor Leslie. Poor, poor Leslie. Category confusion. It’s Oscar’s most deadly disease. And this year, it’s back and seems to be infecting several prominent nominees. ALREADY.

The National Board of Review gave Leslie Manville BEST ACTRESS, and that seemed to be the way to go for her…I guess…but then she turned up…NOWHERE. EVER. AGAIN. And it was a stunning performance. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I wrote about it on this blog over and over and you can go back and check. I loved her lost, sad, mad Mary. A suburban singleton of un age certain who was desperate to get married before it was too late. So desperate for any kind of human contact whatsoever she permanently attached herself to her friendly married couple. And they put up with it. To a point.

Mike Leigh at his surprising best. Torturing a full length film out of such an unlikely topic. Single adults and their happily married friends…”Another Year” Catch it on DVD if you can.

Well, poor brilliant Leslie’s career state-side was not launched. Lost is more the word.

And this could happen again this year with a couple of very notable actresses. For some reason, it doesn’t infect male actors as easily as it does female. They are more fragile at Oscar time, and Awards season which is upon us, whether you know it or not, it’s particularly contagious.

And this year both Viola Davis of “The Help” may catch it. Is she lead? Or is she supporting? And so may Jeffrey Well’s crusade du jour unknown, middle-aged British actress Olivia Coleman in “Tyrannosaur” may also succumb, long shot though she is. I haven’t seen “Tyrannosaur”  yet. Not many people have, but most have liked it, like Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of www.awardsdaily.com And you can read about Jeffrey’s latest crusade(s) at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

And the Chicago Film Festival critics who gave Olivia Coleman Best Actress.

But some who have seen it have felt she was Supporting in “Tyrannosaur” and therefore should be campaigned in that category. Uh-oh! Here we go again! Leslie Manville-time! And she also has a supporting role in Meryl Streep’s “The Iron Lady” as Margaret Thatcher’s daughter. Confused?

You see the Academy who gives out the Oscars can place actors, on a written ballot, in any category they see fit.

They are supposedly GUIDED by the “For Your Consideration” Campaigns that the various studios and distributors put out, at great expense.  But other organizations like the Golden Globes or the BFCA (Broadcast Film Critics) ARE guided by the studios in category placement. The leading critics groups, not so much. They follow their own whims and wisdoms.

I just hope Disney or Dreamworks or whoever is watching over “The Help” sticks to its’ Viola Davis as Lead campaign. And Davis as brilliant as she is, may not be the leading character. The lead is clearly the Emma Stone character. BUT if they put Viola in lead she may lose there to a younger actress, specifically Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn.”

And all my fellow Oscarologists are keeping Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in the still unseen “Iron Lady” as their Numero Uno Belle of the Ball.

If Viola Davis is put into Supporting, she would surely win that  still kind of wide open category. But in that category ALREADY ARE possibly TWO other cast-mates from “The Help” Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. No one has ever won an Oscar when THREE people from the same movie are all in the same category. Vis a vis “On the Waterfront”, neither Rod Steiger, Karl Malden or that other guy won. They all cancelled each other out. As did the three Supporting Dames in “Tom Jones”, leaving another Brit darling, Dame Margaret Rutherford to triumph that year for “The V.I.P.s”

So it’s in Viola’s best interest to be put – where? In Best Actress where she may not win? Or Best Supporting Actress, possibly knocking out one of her presumed nominee cast-mates?

Is a puzzlement. To quote Yul Brynner in “The King and I’

OR a disease. Look what happened to Leslie Manville! Category Confusion! AND IT KILLED HER!

And also the same can be said, BTW, about Julianne Moore last year. She was campaigned in lead for “The Kids Are All Right,” and if Focus Features had put her more firmly in Supporting,(they didn’t) she too, like Leslie Manville was  shut out completely. At the Oscars. At the Globes. At the Broadcast Film Critics. Everywhere.

How can this happen, you say? Well, it’s vote-splitting, is what it is. These two actresses specifically Manville and Moore, and just last year, both split their own vote and ended up sitting at home on Oscar night. And watching Melissa Leo say “f**king” and generally lower the level of the Awards forever. A case can be made that either Manville or certainly Moore would have won over the little-known Leo. But Melissa Leo did win. And she did it HER way. But it was always clear WHAT category she was in. She was always Supporting and Natalie Portman was always lead and they both won.

Viola Davis’ performance in “The Help” is a towering achievement. But neither she nor any one I feel is going to topple the beauteous young Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe.  Nobody is confused as to what category Williams as Marilyn is supposed to be in. She’s like Natalie Portman in “The Black Swan” last year. Unstoppable. So it does make some sense to put Viola Davis in Supporting.

And then there’s Fox Seachlight’s cock-eyed attempt to campaign Brad Pitt as Supporting for “Tree of Life,” when he’s CLEARLY the lead in that mixed-up muddle of a movie. But what that may do is take votes away from his lead campaign in his career-best performance as Baseball manager Billy Beane in “Moneyball.”

Academy Members of their Acting Branch get confused soooo easily. But they got it absolutely RIGHT a couple of years back when they put Kate Winslet stunning performance as Hannah Schmidt, an illiterate Concentration Camp guard, into lead, when she was being campaigned as Supporting for “The Reader.”

They did absolutely the right thing then. And Winslet won! And made the cover of Time Magazine, BTW.

What will they do this year? Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

Melissa Leo’s BAFTA snub? A death blow to her Oscar campaign?

When BAFTA announced yesterday morn that they were putting “The King’s Speech” on top of THEIR Oscar pile (The BAFTAs are considered the British Oscars) and that Movie About Typing at the Bottom with only 6 nominations, which it may not win.

Everybody took notice.

Why? Well, yes, the traditional age-old Snob Effect on the Academy of anything limey. Well, not ANYthing. They seemed to have kicked “Another Year” to the curb, sadly. WHERE IS LESLIE MANVILLE?!? Probably in Oscar limbo forever.

Category confusion is Oscar’s most deadly disease.

After winning Best Actress from the National Board of Review, Manville turned up NOwhere in the U.S. lists,or anywhere else, until she appeared in Supporting Actress at the BAFTA awards. Surprise! There she was at last. Back in her own country, not as Best Actress, but as Best Supporting Actress.

But the BIGGEST surprise of the BAFTAS that landed with a WALLOP was the omission of Golden Globe and BFCA winner for Best Supporting Actress( I tell ya, that race is a doozy this year) MELISSA LEO?!?

HOW is this possible? Well, I guess the Brits didn’t like the “Fighter” THAT much. They didn’t nominate it for Best Picture,and though they grudingly nominated Christian Bale and Amy Adams in Supporting,  they RRRREALLLY didn’t like Melissa’s Grand Guignol Monster Mom from Massachusetts.

Shocking it was that she was riding high SUNDAY NIGHT and now Monday morning they shot her down! She’s in stark jeopardy!

Oh, she’ll be nominated all right. The nominations had to be in to be counted by Friday. But can she win without the prestige of a BAFTA nom NOT on her CV?

In such a constantly changing category as this year’s Best Supporting Actress,(and Best Actress, too, come to think of it, but more on that later) Melissa Leo can be now counted as NOT A SURE THING. But don’t worry Melissa Leo fans, she WILL be nominated! But winning, I wonder…

I think she’s a great unsung American actress, who is now being sung.

But her low-class harpie mom-ster, Alice Eklund, may not be the right tune for the snobby Academy, though Melissa herself seems to know every single member personally and everybody LOVES her.

I think she can play anything. You give her a difficult role and boy! Will she go to town with it. Like she did last year with “Frozen River,” last year’s “Winter’s Bone”, a teeny tiny Indie directed by a woman about a woman (last year Leo, this year Jennifer Lawrence) who stands up to injustice and protects her brood at all costs in a rural setting.

Oscar goddess Sasha Stone’s unremitting advocating for Melissa Leo’s out-of-left field nomination for Best Actress actually contributed to making that nomination happen, IMHO.

She’s doing the same kind of tub-thumping this year for Jennifer Lawrence, who I can’t get behind, and whose nomination, I think, is shakier than people realize she is. And Melissa Leo is becoming a kind of feminist heroine.

She’s the older actress who has mucho chops, who is still fighting her way BACK to the Oscars, now two years in a row, it seems. Melissa Leo is an actress’ actress. She kinda sorta eschews glamour, like wearing her “old tux” to the BFCA awards when she won. And then an OK gown, that was so unremarkable her picture in it appeared NOWHERE in the MANY pictures of the Golden Globe’s red carpet, and the bejeweled, be-gowned actresses upon them. And where was Melissa? Nowhere to be found. And she won! And Natalie Portman the other big winner was EVERYwhere!

The Academy looks at that and sniffs, “Well, she’s not a star.” And she isn’t. The public doesn’t know her like those in the business do. Melissa who? But she’s a constantly working, supremely talented ACTRESS. Did you recognize her THIS year in another Oscar baity film “Convinction” as the evil policewoman who wrecks Sam Rockwell’s life? YES, that dried-up, prune-faced, lying cop was Melissa Leo, too!

All of these things should ad up to Melissa Leo winning a Supporting Actress Oscar, since she’s the type of actress this category and these awards were created for in the first place…but…she was SNUBBED by BAFTA!

But the thing about BAFTA is for the first time this year, people are noticing that we have a voting body that actually OVERLAPS the American Academy it is said to the tune of 1000 members out of 6000 AMPAS voters. And each year the Academy(and the press AND the blogosphere) is paying more attention than ever. It just keeps growing and growing . In coverage. In importance. And the more coverage the BAFTAs get, the more important. And influential, they become.

So who would be the BAFTA front-runner in that tumultous BSA category? I think it’s Helen Bonham-Carter as the slam-dunk.

My esteemed colleague David Karger at Entertainment Weekly takes this Oscar business VERY seriously. I always had the ultimate respect for his opinions, insights and conclusions. And Dave, like me, is still staunchly insisting that “The King’s Speech” is the front-runner to win Best Picture, and this avalanche of BAFTA nominations seem to prove us right.

ALLLL That Typing Movie’s awards were from the press. Who, let’s face it, spend all day typing.

BAFTA is the first time we’ve heard from a large group of industry professionals. And attention must by paid.

As I said earlier today at www.Awardsdaily.com , in the section of Comments on The BAFTAS!

I think where the BAFTAS have the most impact (on Oscar) is where there is a very close race, like this year’s Supporting Actress and certainly Best Picture.

When the BAFTAS finally do their thing, and announce their winners, it’s timed astutely to be RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OSCAR VOTING PERIOD.

Personally, I think most Academy Members who are actually voting, mail their ballots (by Snail Mail, yes, that’s how they do it) immediately that they receive them.

But sometimes the BAFTAS have an impact in recent years that sways Oscar’s contests…like for instance, when it was Mickey Rourke v. Sean Penn a couple of years back for ANOTHER Pugilistic Movie “The Wrestler” v.Sean Penn’s assassinated Gay Rights leader Harvey Milk in “Milk.”

Actually, Rourke WON the BAFTA, then got up and made a truly embarassing acceptance speech dropping the F-bomb so may times on the stunned Limeys, it seemed like the Blitz was back on.

And I knew, I just knew, if there was any doubt in any Academy voters mind who STILL hadn’t mailed in their ballots, Rourke just lost it big time there. With that speech and the Academy was NOT going to let itself be embarassed by awarding him in the same way. The Snob Effect. See.

So Sean Penn won and he should’ve for his great portrayal of a complicated, but sweet crusader…who died SUCH a tragic death.

I could go on.

And I will.

Also, take the instance of Marion Cotillard’s surprise win at the Oscars the year before that. She trounced Brit legend Julie Christie in the politically correct Alzheimer’s movie “Away From Her.”

How did THAT happen? Marion a UNKNOWN foreign actress acting in her own language (French) WON for playing Edith Piaf, gave a beautiful, totally shocked, moving acceptance speech at the BAFTAs for “La Vie En Rose” and then WON at the Oscars.

It also didn’t hurt that night that at the BAFTAS that Best Actor winner Daniel Day Lewis said in HIS acceptance speech that “Marion Cotillard is acting on a different level than all of us.” And I think that sealed Marion’s deal.

Marion also MOVED to L.A. during this crucial voting period and went to EVERY Hollywood party and charmed and enchanted all her met her, as did my other unknown(at the time) actress friend Marcia Gay Harden, who appeared out of nowhere to be nominated with no precursor awards. In 2000. But “The Stephen Holt Show” had her.

And SHE won. Best Supporting Actress for “Pollock”.

So who could surprise? Who could win THIS year? Well, it looks like it’s Natalie Portman, an American princess to be sure for “Black Swan.” BAFTA, yes, has nominated her for Best Actress.

But wait! Who else popped out of nowhere at BAFTA?!? NOOOOOMI RAPACE!??

And “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” the last of the Steig Larsson Millenium Trilogy, picked up three nominations at BAFTA including Noomi’s Best Actress.

And wait, she’s foreign. But hardly unknown in London, where she has moved to escape the paparazzi-fest  that her incredible portrait of  Lisbeth Salander turned  her life into in her native Sweden.

She’s embraced London and British society totally. And they her. And I just have this feeling that the Brits feel this immense sense of injustice being done to Noomi, who endured A YEAR AND A HALF of CONSTANT filming of the three Larsson movies, all shot one right after the other after the other, since Noomi has been replaced by an unknown American girl Rooney Mara. And that these beloved, hugely successful movies are being now remade IN ENGLISH by David Fincher….He who directed The Typing Movie…

Well, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear Noomi Rapace’s name called on BAFTA night.

And how will that impact the Oscar race for Best Actress? Well, if she’s not nominated, not a bit.

But I think people in England are enraged by these remakes by the presumptous Americans who have the NERVE to redo those beautiful Swedish movies! And watch they give their best director to home town boy Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech.” NOT to David Fincher, who has the temerity to remake these Larsson/Salander movies! The NERVE of him!

 This would really set those Yankees back a few steps, if it was then to be recorded by all the journos in the world press, who are bound to write about these great Swedish films V. the trashy American re-makes. Well, the Swedish movies starred the BAFTA AWARD WINNING BEST ACTRESS NOOMI RAPACE. Then every time someone wrote about these new American versions,they’d HAVE to mention BAFTA. Not that Noomi could upset Natalie in the U.S. ,but in Britain she certainly could.

And Noomi would give a beautiful, charming,moving acceptance speech. You know she would.

And also, now that I think of it Noomi’s Lisbeth GETS A GUNSHOT WOUND TO THE BRAIN AT POINT BLANK RANGE !!! AND SURVIVES!!! There’s also that political parallel to be raised…so I’m raising it. Gaby Giffords is a heroine, but so is Lisbeth. Especially to Europeans. She’s a fictional character, but who can forget her first entrance in “Hornet’s Nest” where they are cutting open her skull, and are showing REMOVING A BULLET from her brain! And she SURVIVES!

And oh, Melissa Leo…back to her…

What has the BAFTA done to HER Oscar race? Well, I think it’s stopped it dead in its’ tracks, I’m sorry to say.

I think she and co-star Amy Adams will BOTH be nominated and cancel each other out and Helena Bonham-Carter will sweep in and win as she certainly will the BAFTAS for “The King’s Speech.”

However, what does Dave Karger think this does? Check out his updated lists at www.ew.com

But I’ll tell you who Dave has picked to win Best Supporting Actress now. AMY ADAMS!?!?

It could happen. She’s been nominated twice before. They know her. They love her. And she’s still young and beautiful and she’s wonderful in “The Fighter” too. Playing something she’s never played before. A tough, working class chick, a bartender no less.

So THAT’S what the BAFTAs have done with their snubbing of Melissa Leo, they’ve HELPED Amy Adams BIG TIME!

#9~”Another Year” And the continuing magnificence of Leslie Manville’s Mad Mary

And now going up the Ladder of my Year’s Ten Best, #9 is the delightful, lovely, bittersweet Mike Leigh masterwork “Another Year” which I saw at the Toronto Film Festival and just madly enjoyed.

And I wrote about it there and I’ll write about it again here. And I have not as yet re-seen it, as I often do with films I love, but what has stayed with me so powerfully all these months is the magnificent performance of Leslie Manville as the essence of the word lonely. Her portrayal of a turning -50  London single woman, whose name is the most common in the English language, Mary, is still haunting me to this day

Every scene that Manville played was like she was pouring  burning acid from the screen. That’s how indelibly  her portrait of a wretched, distraught,  jauntily-covering-it, but not, modern urban woman, who is no longer young is etched into my mind. And evidently the minds of the National Board of Review, who gave her their best actress award.

Everybody else in Leigh’s flawless ensemble is perfect, but they are all merely supportive window-dressing to the central story which is Mary’s. Watching her unravel and descend into an all-too-relatable private hell is something that I bet the Academy AND the Golden Globes will remember.

And don’t forget that the Hollywood Foreign Press put Leigh’s last work into their category of Comedy/Musical and Manville’s tragic performance could be nominated THERE for Best Actress and win there like Sally Hawkins’ won two years ago for her equally unforgettable Poppy, the eternal optimist in “Happy Go Lucky.”

People critcized the unique Hawkins’ Poppy as being like nails-on-a-blackboard, she was so endlessly, exhaustingly cheery. Poppy always found the bright side in every situation that life threw her into. It really was a crying shame that she was not nominated for an Oscar.

And Manville may benefit from that. But her Mary is not optimistic at all, though she plays at being that way. But life is hitting her much too hard with the finality that her youth no matter how hard she tries to hang on to it at last in this “Another Year” is gone with the wind.

Stephen Holt Show’s 2010 Year’s Ten Best List

I’ll elaborate further later,when I have more time, but for now, here is my 2010 Year’s Ten Best List –

1. The King’s Speech

2. A Film Unfinished

3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

4. Nowhere Boy

5. Black Swan

6. 127 Hours

7. Mesrine, Pts. 1 & 2

8. Blue Valentine

9. Another Year

10.I Love You, Phillip Morris

I have this feeling that Leslie Manville is going to win all the Critics’ Awards for Best Actress..

Call me psychic. Call me “The Oscar Messenger” but by all means CALL ME!

No, but seriously dear readers, dear cineastes, dear Awards-obsessives, I do have this feeling that taking their cue from the National Board of Review this week that all the major Film Critics associations. Of which I’m only seriously counting TWO. Or there’s only TWO that seriously count, the New York Film Critics and the L.A. Film Critics groups, who are voting this coming week end I think. They don’t nominate. They just announce. Like the National Board of Review…And I think they are all going to think that the brilliant, unknown, but incredibly deserving Leslie Manville of “Another Year” is going to be who they both pick.

This also may be in reaction to her LOSING the BIFA(British Independent Film Critics Award) where she was nominated in Supporting to Helena Bonham-Carter. For “The King’s Speech”. Maybe this is what Michael Barker of Sony Pictures Classics was thinking all the time. That AT LEAST if she gets a lead actress nomination, that’s a distinction that will always be with her.

Leslie Manville…who? I know, I know. She’s nearly as obscure as Jackie Weaver. So I should at least take the time to explain that Manville, 50, is the mad Mary character in Mike Leigh’s BEAUTIFUL “Another Year.” I loved this film and saw it at Toronto and wrote about it, here, in this blog, at the time.  So search back to September and you’ll find it.

Leslie has been the Mike Leigh stalwart for 12 films. That’s nearly all of them. And the Academy ALWAYS watchs a Mike Leigh screener, and they’re especially going to love the bittersweet mid-life crisis joys and sorrows of “Another Year.” And Manville’s Mary is hovering between lead and supporting. And she just won lead actress at the NBR, but lost at the BIFA, in her OWN country! So that can be put down to category confusion.

Something that the NYFCC and the LAFC are going to feel bound and determined to correct.

We’ll see soon enough as the awards and nominations start flying at us like frisbees in the coming weeks.

If you REALLY want to get a taste of Leslie’s loveliness Paula Schwartz, the Baugette of the Carpetbagger Oscar Column at the New York Times www.nytimes.com

wrote an equally lovely “Introduction to Leslie” kind-of-piece. The Carpetbagger is the Times answer to all us Oscar Bloggers. Now they have their own, too.

Mylena Rysik and Paula are the main Carpetbaggers this season. I hope that link works!

Nope. It doesn’t.:( I’m STILL so tech-tarded, I can’t believe it!

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