a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Montreal Film Festival’

A Montreal Film Festival 2012 Moment & My Debut on Italian TV!

A Montreal 2012 Memory via Roman TV! Thank you Mariangiola Castrovilli! Who also happens to be a regular on my show for years and years! She got me in Montreal, but we missed each other in Toronto 2012!

And the name of the director I was mis-remembering was Dheeraj Akolkar, and this is his first film! And it’s also being shown in the upcoming New York Film Festival!

A GRRRReat Day for “The Artist”! Bad day for George Clooney…

So Super Tuesday of the Awards Season has come and gone and the faster-than-they’ve ever been, the Speedy Alkaselzters of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle named “The Artist” Best Picture and its’ unknown-in-America director Michel Hazanaviscius, Best Director! Yay! But what does this alll MEAN?

Sasha Stone at www.awardsdaily.com and Tom O’Neil, the guy who started all this Oscar madness, at www.goldderby.com both point out that only five times in the past 20 years have the Oscars and the New York Film Critics agreed.

But it must be a VERY happy day over at the Weinstein Company! And at chez Hazanaviscius! The champagne corks must be popping! I mean, not only is this bon-bon of a movie in BLACK and WHITE, it’s also SILENT! And FRENCH! Or French made! And I can NOT name a French movie that has gotten THIS close to Oscar before.

So it’s unprecedented and unbelievable, but not by Sasha and I who called it as soon as we saw it. She, in Cannes, and I, in Montreal! At the Montreal Film Festival! What a beautiful moment that was!

And I described earlier how exciting the NY Press junket was. In this blog, just a little while back, I said that I felt Oscar’s presence in that room. Or rather suite of many rooms. Everyone was just so happy that day! But there was the little(or not so little, really) golden guy’s overwhelming presence in the air!

I knew I was surrounded by winners but the alllll knew it too. It was a nonpareil feeling, vraiment! Bien sur!

And since this is the first announced major award of the season, it may have more impact than any other NYFCC’s awarding has ever had before.

Famously the NYFCC moved up its date to be BEFORE the National Board of Review which is set to announce on Thursday. Will they rubber stamp the NYFCC? Or will they differ? Well, they may choose a different Best Actress than Meryl Streep. They could choose Michelle Williams’ wonderful Marilyn. But their choice of La Streep shows that yes, indeed, she is the front-runner in that category and NOT Viola Davis. Also, strangely, it’s a movie that hasn’t even opened yet and won’t for a couple of more weeks.

Oh, and not so strangely, “The Iron Lady” is ANOTHER Weinstein opus. I mean, it’s just incredible!

Also incredible is that David Fincher’s American re-make of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” got NO-THING from the NYFCC. And this is the movie that made them move their date YET AGAIN to accommodate seeing this just-finished film.

Also everyone and his blogging brother was saying it was  a war between “The Descendants” and “The Artist” and now…”The Descendants” lost big time all over the place. It got NO-THING from the NYFCC and also George Clooney did not get a Best Actor Nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards. Yes, THEY were announced today, too, and Sasha has all of them over at www.awardsdaily.com And her take on what all this means.

I think, personally it means nominations for all these winners. It REALLY helps Albert Brooks who got Best Supporting Actor for “Drive”. And “Drive” which I liked immensely seemed to be slipping off the pundit-o-sphere. But Albert’s back and I think IN. And yes, he WAS really scarey in that movie! He was playing a gansta. No, I’m not kiddin’! He really was! People forget what a good, solid actor is underneath the rest of his many talents, but the NYFCC with this award has reminded everyone.

This is not necessarily the case for the lovely Jessica Chastain who wins for THREE movies. But which of these three “The Tree of Life”, “The Help”, and “Take Shelter” is the Academy(and the Globes and SAG, etc. etc) going to choose to rally behind as THE ONE. The Academy only allows for one film per nomination.

Like for instance, the National Board of Review can give Jessica the same Supporting Actress award for all those movies, too.

But the Oscars have to pick just one. It seems like “The Tree of Life” is the one with the most life in it. It tied the Gotham Awards last night for Best Picture with “Beginners” Yay! For Mike Mills! And for Christopher Plummer! “Beginners” also got Best Ensemble at the Gothams! And “The Descendants” AGAIN got nothing.

I tell you as well made as I felt “The Descendants” was it was ultimately extremely depressing.
So we can almost write “The Descendants” off our lists. And it seems Brad Pitt is now the movie star to beat for Best Actor, since he won here for “Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life”(yup, there it is again!) As I wrote earlier in the Comments Section of Awardsdaily tonight, I REALLY DON’T WANT TO KEEP TALKING ABOUT “TREE OF LIFE” but it seems I have, too.

People keep bringing it up, primordial ooze, dinosaurs and all. RIDICULOUS film! But Brad Pitt’s and Jessica Chastain’s ’50 Texas husband and wife WERE lovely. I’m just surprised to find people remember them and remember them so strongly.

So now it’s Brad Pitt v. Jean Dujardin with George Clooney running on the sidelines, huffing and puffing, like he does so memorably, in his Mad Dash scene in “The Descendants”…trying to keep up.

Well, we’ll see what the National Board of Review does. They, too, may pick “The Artist” but I’m betting Best Actor, Actress and Supporting will be different. But Jessica Chastain may score again with them because she’s got those multiple movies. Seven I think, behind her this year.

But congratulations to all these winners, and let me do a final shout out to winner of the Breakthrough Director Award Dee Rees for “Pariah” and also to Adepero Oduye who received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for “Pariah” Both were my guests at TIFF this year.

And you can see them and ALLLL “The Artist”s on my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Trips Begin Before They Start

John Steinbeck wrote in his last book “My Travels With Charlie” which was about abandoning life as he knew it and just randomly driving across country in a mobile home with his beloved dog Charlie.

Steinbeck wrote “Trips Begin Before They Start and End Before They’re Over.” The capitalizations are mine. And I have found this to really hold true.

Today, as I was taking a bus, a very nice commuter bus,  that went over the Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island. That view from the bridge is just spectacular of New York Harbor which was busier today and looking more beautiful than I had ever remembered it, and I realized that I had already left mentally for my Great Annual Trek North to the great Canadian Film Festivals. Montreal and Toronto. And yes, they don’t start for a while yet, but mentally I’m already there. Though my body is still in New York.

Trips, or planning to go on them, takes a tremendous amount of  detailing, scheduling, planning, no matter whether you’re filming a television and web series as I am, or just going on vacation. And though this is the thirteenth year I’ll be doing this great global cinematic trek, it still surprises me.

You get to a point where you realize that yes, the trip is taking over your life and you just have to give yourself up to it and enjoy.

And true, I was just traveling to Staten Island, but yes, I was already in motion. Or wanting to be in motion, constantly.

I love trains. I love buses. Planes less so…

But I just realized this afternoon with still more than a real-time week to go, that actually there is nothing left of my life now, except PLANNING EVERYTHING TO GO.

And I always forget something.

I’m sure every one does.

You’ve got to cross all the “i”s and dot all the “t”s. No wait. That’s backwards. You see, it’s happening already.

You’re mind going to ~ What about this? Did I take care of that? What am I forgetting? What is it that I have to do TODAY? Before I go…Did I make all the phone calls I had to? Did I send all the emails?

And it was almost exactly a year ago, while not quite yet, but soon, that I wrote my first ever blog entry! And look! A year later and I’m still doing it!

Oh and there many, many things, and many days to do them in but like, for instance, I’m stopping seeing any plays or movies before I go. I have to keep my head clear to think of the mind-numbing numbers of films I’m going to have to see starting very, very soon, and really they ARE the most important films of the year.

Last year, at Toronto, for all of you who read my blog and watch my television show, you know how important Toronto was for me, and how crucially right it was for me to get up at 6AM that first Friday and get to the 9AM “King’s Speech” first press screening and then run up town in the VERY hot TO. heat to make it to the un-air-conditioned hallways outside the rooms where Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Tom Hooper were giving their FIRST press interviews and colliding with me, who Tom Hooper named “The Oscar messenger.” And how that began to change everything for me.

I ONLY do films now that I think are Oscar worthy. Doesn’t mean that they’ll be nominated, but they’re being BUZZED. Which means they MIGHT be. Which means they’ll be part of the Oscar Conversation that is going to go on for the next nearly six months straight. And Toronto REALLY started it last year.

For those who follow my dear Sasha’s great site www.awardsdaily.com (and if you don’t, you should!) will know that this year the drums starting beating extra early in Cannes, where Sasha went with her little daughter Emma Stone(no. Not THAT one.) with the Opening of Cannes with Woody Allen’s masterpiece “Midnight in Paris” which I have now seen SEVEN times!

And yes, that film is gonna be around when the nominations come out. It’s made more money than any film of Woody’s EVAH! And I NEVER see a film THAT many times! GLACK! What kind of hold does this film have on me? And others, too, obviously, by the box-office we know this to be true and people are going back and back and back to see it more than once.

The film is dense with cultural references, and it’s like a subplot trying to unravel all of them. Or ANOTHER movie in and of itself. It exists in two worlds as does its’ hapless hero Gil Pender….Owen Wilson becomes the new Cary Grant in this movie. No. I’m not kidding….

And oh yes, there were other films that unspooled at Cannes that Sasha wrote about so marvelously at Awardsdaily. “The Tree of Life” being another that has opened and has played well, despite its’ esoterica, and is still playing. Like “Midnight in Paris.”

And many Cannes faves are coming up at Toronto. TIFF is just loaded with them.

The first one that I’m going to be seeing is “Drive” starring Ryan Gosling, who I like, I really like, and whose director won the Best Director Award and well, Ryan’s performance is being buzzed, as he always is, when he’s got something that looks even remotely bait-y.

We shall see…

And then there’s Madonna, the new reborn directutrix of “W.E.” which I hear is “beautiful” and has Harvey Weinstein producing it! AND it’s about Wallis Simpson! The woman who set the plot of “The King’s Speech” in motion, lest me forget, last year. And you know where that ended up! AT THE KODAK! “Best Picture of the Year” “Best Actor” “Best Director” “Best Screenplay”!!!

And no, Harvey would NOT be risking the comparison of having “W.E.” be an also-ran to his last year’s Toronto Filly. So I’m betting that HW knows EXACTLY how good this film must be.

If he DIDN’T think it was THAT good, Oscar good, you can bet he wouldn’t be bringing a hot tamale like Madonna’s directing debut up to TIFF, NOR BTW would TIFF have ACCEPTED IT. They have very, very good taste, too, in these things. They are known as an Oscar launch pad, and they have a reputation to live up to,too.

Maybe this is HW’s strongest Oscar bet this year. He is certainly leading with his trump card. He’s got Meryl’s “Iron Lady” and Michelle Williams “My Week with Marilyn” coming up to. That’s Meryl as Margaret Thatcher, and Michelle as MM…those two films already scream BEST ACTRESS PERFORMANCES at me, and not BEST FILM. So with the “W.E.” placement at TIFF as a GALA…Well…

As John Steinbeck said “Trips Being Before They Start.”

And I can’t WAIT!

TONY CURTIS R.I.P.

I had the great and rather unbelievable(to me anyway) privelege of interviewing the late, legendary Hollywood star Tony Curtis, who just passed away of a heart-attack at 85. Jeffrey Wells has a great piece on him on his site www.hollywood-elsewhere.com He puts so much up there, I think now you have to scroll down a bit.

I had the chance to catch him at a press conference in Montreal, and actually get a good ten minute interview with him, accompanied by his wife, Jill. They were both there because Tony was being honored for his work and he had a new doc about him and his wife and their efforts at horse-rescuing at their ranch outside Las Vegas…

He did say some remarkable things. Like discussing his relationship, an affair, with Marilyn Monroe early in their respective careers. Very early. And also admitting to me that he did think his daughter  actress, Jamie Lee Curtis, did look like him in drag! As he so memorably was in “Some Like It Hot.”

“Some Like It Hot” ranks as one of my all-time favorite movies as I’m sure it is for many of you dear readers, dear cineastes.

Tony was from the Bronx, as am I. And we shared the same accent. He was from an area that was very, very poor, and he got out. I can understand why.

He was in a wheel chair in Montreal, with this HUGE white 10 (or rather 20!) gallon Texas cowboy hat. And completely bald. And absolutely REVELING in the attention and applause he was getting from Les Montrealais.

I think he had that fear of being forgotten…But in Montreal, he certainly wasn’t.

I was so overwhelmed meeting him! I couldn’t believe it! I suppose he was one of my idols growing up seeing movies at the Palace Theater in the Bronx(no longer there). I don’t remember seeking out his films. I wasn’t obsessed with him. But I certainly saw “Some Like It Hot” when it first came out , more than once, if I remember correctly. And of course, I have it on DVD today.

And he touched my forearm and hand. He grasped it and held it, and I remember being slightly shocked about how cold his hands were and how tiny. He had bird-like hands. Delicate.

And of course, I did hate him for all the homophobic remarks he made about “Brokeback Mountain,” that probably caused it to lose the Oscar as Jeffrey Wells points out in his piece. So I didn’t know HOW I could possibly interview this man who I had felt such hostility towards as a gay adult, but whom I had worshipped as a great Hollywood star as a child.

But he was so fragile in person and more than a bit forgetful. And the wheel-chair shocked me. And he was so delightfully warm in person and so grateful and glad for all the attention he was getting in Montreal that all those hurt “Brokeback”  feelings just melted away. I had them, still, in the back of my mind, but I could tell if I brought them up he would’ve terminated the interview immediately. Or his wife Jill would. She was watching over him like a hawk.

She was certainly in dutiful attendance upon him and so he would’ve certainly been well-taken-care-of up to the end…So in the last years of his life, he was happily married. Finally.

And I didn’t know until afterwards that he and his daughter Jamie Lee were estranged.  And THAT could’ve almost ended the interview, but didn’t. He said some very interesting things about her, too…”She’s successful, but she’s not happy” and he went on.

It was thrilling  to have seen that little slice of Old Hollywood in person…

And you can see my interaction with him and Jill on my You Tube site. www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Just type “Tony Curtis” into my search box. There were two parts…And I’ll put him in the Main Frame later today.

I interviewed Christian Science Monitor Film Critic Peter Rainer about him at Montreal and Peter said he was happy to see Tony being honored and that he was very underrated as an actor.

Tony never won an Oscar….and wasn’t even nominated for “Some Like It Hot”, though Jack Lemmon was…I think that hurt.

R.I.P. Tony C. (real name Bernie Schwartz) Your fans will never forget you.

Well, hi! My first ever blog post!

I never thought I’d ever be doing this. Blogging. But then I never thought I’d ever go on Facebook

but I did. All this has happened sooo fast !

My head is literally spinning! I suppose you could say that I’ve been blogging for years at Awardsdaily.com .

Which before that was Oscarwatch.com.

That’s a long time ago now. To some. To me it seems like yesterday. But then my dear friend Sasha Stone who got me into all this suggested I do this YEARS ago.

And I resisted. But blam! Voila! I’m doing it. And it feels as natural as breathing. I’m a writer. My life is set up like a writer’s. But I do a talk show. A weekly cable television talk show in NYC – now in its 22nd year! Oh, and I’m on YouTube, too.

But the Internet Wizardress/Poet who set his all up for me, was astonished today when I told her I actually did

have a weekly television show She couldn’t believer it.

But she lives in Manhattan so she should be able to see it. People can seem me instantly on YouTube on every computer in the world and now everyone has one and is glued to it. Everywhere. Everywhere I look. It’s kind of  disconcerting, is the word I was trying to type.

Everywhere people are staring at screens and not talking to each other. It scares me, sometimes. How disconnected.

That’s disconnected. I was trying to type disconnected.  everybody is becoming from everyone else. This is not news.

Before people called it alienation…Now…I guess it’s technology that’s really separating us more and more even though it’s supposed to be connecting. And it isn’t. But yet it is. Ah! The Eternal Paradox!

Me? I like the Internet and I suppose it’s really saving me life and my work….but that’s another story…

Another blog post…Tonight I have to pack, still. To leave for three weeks and go to the great Canadian Film Festivals up north. Montreal and Toronto. I HOPE it’s cooler there. It was  95 degrees again today. Awful. And my air-conditioner is barely working…but just enough so I don’t pass out completely here…

I have to get a bus or buses at the crack of dawn . or the crack of doom. Or the crackle dawn in Internet speak. To go to La Guardia airport. A journey I’ve made for eleven years in a row, now. To go to Montreal.  I do love it there.  BUT I’m not packing. I’m blogging. I don’t  know if I am going to have much computer access in Montreal. But in Toronto I will have much more and be blogging regularly about films. And the incredible excitement that Toronto always generates.

Must fly. Or as the British used to say “Ta-Ta for now” and an old friend used to add “Must Bip!”

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