a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘My Week with Marilyn’

Oscar Front-runner Eddie Redmayne~Three Years Ago

Oscar front-runner Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything” in  a chat with me a mere three years ago for “My Week with Marilyn”. Part One.

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Oscar’s Surprise Nominee from “Les Miz” ~ Eddie Redmayne!

Of all the awards huzzahs coming out of the NYC screenings of “Les Miserables” yesterday, none could be more of a pleasant surprise than the startling agreement among all who attended that the Best Supporting Actor from “Les Miz” is not neccasarily Russell Crowe as the villain Javert, but Eddie Redmayne in the usually thankless role of the young hero Marius! Raves for Eddie and his untofore unheard beautiful ringing tenor voice moved the audience to tears! And Cheers! Here he is last year discussing “Marilyn” via Satellite from London!

“Hitchcock” biopic moved into heat of Oscar Race! Fox Searchlight nervous about “Beasts”?”Sessions”?”Marigold”?

Alfred Hitchcock is back from the dead in a big way. He’s always been my Numero Uno Cinema hero since Forever, and now Fox Searchlight has startlingly announced that they are opening their biopic on Hitch on Nov.23! Right in the middle of the Awards Race and nearly right on top of “Silver Linings Playbook!”

This is a very bold, last-minute move on the part of Fox S. And I’m sensing it had to do with a perceived weakness in some of its’ own entrants. Which are “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, “The Sessions” and most importantly “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

In the Gold Derby podcast I mentioned a few days back, Tom O’ Neil and Pete Hammond really dug into the Oscar season so far in a substantive way. And particularly the tough, no-nonsense Pete Hammond. This is at http://www.goldderby.com

He announced at the start of his convo that “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, a critical favorite, was not going to play so well with the Academy, in his opinion. And while Tom O. was quite enthusiastic, he was also shocked by Pete’s rather stubborn insistence that “Beasts” wasn’t going to fly. Neither he nor Tom O. could pronounce Qu’venzhane Wallis’s name. Not a good sign. And they made a joke out of it calling her “Miss Unpronounceable”.

I’m sure Hammond’s podcast didn’t cause Fox Jr. to throw the over large corpse of “Hitchcock” into the ring. Or did it? Or was Hammond sensing what Fox 2.0 had already known for a while?

And Dame Judi Dench’s Best Actress campaign for “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” doesn’t seem to be catching on. And Miss Upronounceable Wallis may also be seen as a non-starter. I mean, she’s only six years old(when the film was shot). Hammond said flatly, “These are ACTORS voting.They are going to see a performance by a child THAT young as a manipulated one by the director.” Uh-oh. He may be right about that.

Fox-Searchlight also did something strange with “The Sessions,”  a film which I personally was very moved by. The story of a man in an iron lung for life and his desire to have sex with a surrogate may not have been playing as well as they hoped.

Purporting to have a full-on press junket in NYC next week, they now are not. And only junketing in LA! There’s a press DAY in NY, but that’s a much smaller, less expensive deal. Basically it means they are cancelling the A&B camera crews, and just doing print, wherein the journos come equipped with their own tape recorders…Cheap. For a Film they are supposedly campaigning for in all the categories possible, including Best Picture. John Hawkes is a slam-dunk for a Best Actor nomination, but now they are putting Helen Hunt in Supporting, as I said last week from TIFF.

A big come down. And this also paves the way for them spending more money on “Hitchcock” This is also their way of trying to draw the helium out of the “Silver Linings Playbook” balloon, since “Hitchcock” is also supposed to be a love story like SLP is. But Hitch and his wife Alma, played most likely quite wonderfully by Anthony Hopkins and Dame Helen Mirren, is also a love story, it now turns out. And not just about the making of “Psycho.”

I think this move busts the whole race wide open again. Jeff Wells was saying in HIS podcast over at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com that he was suddenly feeling “trapped” by the “Silver Linings Playbook” s sudden ascension to front-runner as Best Picture and Best Actress and Best Director.

I’m sure he feels trapped no more.

This is also, I think, in response, to the rather weak reception the much heralded trailer of “Lincoln” got. Really quite tepid all ’round. Fox Searchlight saw this as a major new HOLE in the season, and they’ve run to plug it with Alfred Hitchcock’s huge self.

Directed by a documentary filmmaker, “Hitchcock” is his first feature. So I’m not seeing “Hitchock” as a Best Picture contender, but Anthony Hopkins could very well be. And on the weaker, constantly changing distaff side we now have Dame Helen’s Alma Hitchcock and also Scarlett Johansson’s Janet Leigh to figure out(which category we should put them in.)

It’s sounding more and more like “My Week with Marilyn”. Which was my #1 film of last year. Of course it didn’t get nominated for Best Picture, but Michelle Williams sure did as Best Actress. And Kenneth Branagh as Best Supporting Actor for his hilarious spot-on Sir Laurence Olivier.

To quote Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone on this hot topic “I can’t wait”!

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone Parses the Oscars! In June!

Well, Tom O’Neil’s Oscar throw-down at http://www.goldderby.com has certainly stirred the waters! Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com parses even further with “Is It Too Early To Predict the Oscars?” And yes, it is. The Silly Season, as it was so named by David Kehr of the NY Times when he pounded the Red Carpet beat with his historic Carpetbagger column, IS far away.

But it’s NOT for those behind-the-scenes folks, the industry peeps who are assembling all this for our delectation. This is stuff is planned YEARS sometimes in advance. And carefully planned, too. Yes, there are people called Oscar Consultants, who are a whole breed of PR people unique unto themselves. And behind the scenes they are working like dogs chasing a bone. Already. Yes, already.

Sasha and others like her have revealed how much it is the Oscar campaigns behind the actual voting that really does sway, yes, the actual voting.

At this time last year, who woulda thunk “The Artist” was gonna win Best Picture? And Jean Dujardin Best Actor? And certainly, Meryl Streep winning her THIRD Oscar was unexpected and a shock to all Oscarologists. Who could’ve predicted it? Well, actually, Tom O’Neill sorta did.

That’s why one has to give credence to his prognostications. If you followed closely at Gold Derby, VERY closely, who could feel the tide shifting at the last minute AWAY from George Clooney and towards Jean Dujardin. A lot of people saw that coming. But Streep? Only O’Neil. But not his staff of Ditto-heads(I refuse to call them Butt-heads, though my spell check changed it to that…lol…) all kept saying Viola Davis.

That’s why, for instance, I give Tom more credence than say, Anne Thompson at Indiewire and Thompson on Hollywood last year. She stubbornly clung on to George Clooney ~ AND Viola Davis til the very last.  And she was wrong.

Just to show that the Oscars still have some life in them.

I knew the Weinstein wizards were working like crazy last year behind the scenes and subtlety as is their wont. But I read the tea-leaves wrong and thought it was Michelle Williams, not Meryl, who would reap the rewards.

Viola Davis, ably abetted by that egregrious Entertianment Weekly issue and cover which pictured her and George Clooney, dressed to the nines,  getting out of a limo, like they had actually won already!. That proved to be BOTH their ondoings. An Academy Voter upon seeing that cover and then reading the embarassing self-congratulatory interviews with BOTH of them “WELL! The Nerve! They haven’t won YET! “would be an Academy members thinking, I thought at the time and still do. Or “Don’t tell US who to vote for!?!“…Viola Davis was doing herself NO GOOD, but the obvious heavy-handedness of all her talk show appearances. I mean, she was on “The View” FOUR TIMES!?!? If that wasn’t overkill…I don’t know what is…

I know. I know. Disney owns ABC, which “The View” is on, and Disney had “The Help.” But in the end as I said at the time, Disney does not know how to run an Oscar campaign.

Whereas Harvey Weinstein does. Of course. But he has to have the goods. I don’t know if “Django Unchained” ANOTHER bloody shoot’em by Quentin Tarantino, is gonna fly all the way with Oscar voters, who historically have avoided blood-shed. IF THEY CAN HELP IT. You can of course point to “The Departed” winning recently and also “No Country For Old Men” But as Sasha has pointed out there were other stories going on in those years i.e. Marty Scorcese never won & ditto, the Coens for “NCFOM”.

I wonder if Universal who has “Les Misearables” is going to be able to do the trick this year.

Paraphrasing Sasha, she feels that Tom O’Neil in listing “War Horse”. oops! I mean “Lincoln,” as the Frontrunner NOW, is putting an albatross, around “Lincoln”s neck.  Or as I’m calling it handing Spielberg “The Golden Albatross” award, this far ahead. Sasha is saying basically that Frontrunners never win. Which is a very interesting observation. Especially lately.

Some people feel that that “Les Miz” trailer with Anne Hathaway is “pre-mature” but I don’t think so. It’s established Hathaway as the one to beat in Best Supporting Actress, and the Best Supporting Actress race is run by a whole different set of rules. I mean, look. That’s where “The Help” won. And the year before that that’s where Melissa Leo, totally off her own bat, won. So different rules apply.All of Disney’s heaving breathing and heavy lifting on “The Help” reaped them ONLY a Best Supporting Actress win. Personally that’s my own favorite category, but still…

Also, Universal is trying to establish a fan-base with a genre that the fanboys of today just don’t flock to. Musicals.  Just from that point alone, I think “Les Miz” has an uphill battle. But the general public is not the Academy.

I mean, just look at this year’s big grossers “Hunger Games” and “Avengers” both of which are films I just can’t bring myself to see….at least not yet…will the Academy award box-office over quality? They certainly haven’t been looking at the bottom line with films like “The Artist” or “The King’s Speech”….Who do they listen to? Well, Harvey Weinstein. But “Django Unchained”? Quentin Tarantino??? I don’t know about that. This sounds like it’s gonna be “Inglorious Basterds” all over again with that film.

And in conclusion, no it’s never to early to predict the Oscars. That’s what we do.

Oscar Index at Movieline Keeps the Quality(& Enjoyment) Level at 100%!

All season long, Oscar season, I mean, of COURSE, I look forward every Wednesday evening to Stu Van Airsdale’s erudite, witty analysis of the preceding weeks Oscar madness on his unfailingly fun Oscar Index at www.movieline.com  It’s ACCURATE, too. Even if he doesn’t agree with MY thoughts on The Race. But that’s OK, because he is always persuasive, showing me the error of my Oscar-y ways.

And yes, he’s right on the money again with the idea that it’s “The Artist” but also, “The Help” that is on everyone’s minds. Whether I like to admit it or not.

Me? Moi? You KNOW I love “The Artist” and its’ nominated stars. And I TOLD Jean Dujardin that he was going to win The Oscar and he laughed and smiled and CHARMED his way into the 38,000 (and counting) You Tube viewers who’s enjoyed me, the Oscar Messenger, giving Jean and Berenice Bejo and Michel Hazanaviscius the Oscar News here at ~ www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I haven’t been able to top that highpoint yet all season, so I’m leaving it in the main frame. The two of them, Jean and Berenice were an utterly winning couple, just as they are in the film, and no, not in real life. The beautiful Berenice is married to Michel Hazanaviscius. So her real name is Berenice Hazanaviscius. Glad she kept the Bejo. And yes, she, too was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, as I foretold her she would be.

So, non, it’s not “The Artist” I have issues with I just love it to pieces. And so I agree with Stu V.A. who has “The Artist”, Jean, and Michel all in their number one slots in their respective categories. It’s that I just couldn’t wrap my head around all this “Help” love.

To give Oscars to African-American women for playing MAIDS, I just think is the highest form of racial ineptitude. I think  with a black President, it’s just downright insulting, but Stu V.A. has had Octavia Spencer in his #1 position as Best Supporting Actress all season long. And I just couldn’t buy it. But now with Spencer’s wins at the BFCA, the Globes AND SAG, she seems almost a DONE deal.

I just don’t think she was THAT good in the movie. That it was not an “Academy performance” but evidently everybody except Kris Tapley, disagrees with me.

I mean, give the “Help” ONE SAG award, but not ALL THREE!!! However, that’s what’s going down.

And Viola Davis, who IS a great actress, certainly gives great speeches, too. And if there ever was one single article that may win an actress a Best Actress Oscar, it’s the poetic, persuasive, insightful, almost panegyric piece that Mark Harris just wrote in www.grantland.com this week, in his Oscarmetric section.

Viola Davis should thank HIM, because he makes the case that there was no SUBTEXT in this year’s Oscar race and that “The Help” and especially, the performance of Viola Davis COUPLED with her great speechs have created a narrative that the Academy, guilt-ridden white people all, may just indeed buy.

And it’s NOT a great picture. It’s good, at best. And yes, “The Artist” is much better…

But TWO Best Actress (lead and supporting) wins for “The Help”??? I was not convinced, but now I’m beginning to think so.

Though I still hope Michelle Williams upsets this at the BAFTAs….

Viola Davis is a great actress and she deserves all the acclaim she’s getting. But I still think it’s a Supporting performance and that Michelle Williams is better in a more difficult role in a better movie.

We’ll see what the BAFTAS have to say…

P.S. I turned on my television set this AM and who should be onscreen at “The View” but Viola Davis!!?! I thought I was seeing things. I think she’s been on “The View” AT LEAST three times previously this season! Or maybe FOUR! Somebody’s pushing this to the max. That would be Disney/Dreamworks. Also means they are REALLY sweating Harvey Weinstein’s campaigns for Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady” and Michelle Williams for “My Week with Marilyn.”

Does this mean V. Davis is being OVER-exposed? And god forbid, pushy? I am the first to say that she’s a great American actress and deserves her time in the sun, and she certainly seemed to be enjoying it. What did she have to say? Well, I just caught my major role model Barbara Walters saying “It’s always great to have you here on the ‘The View’, Viola.” And then they signed out!

I think this cuts both ways. It’s good to keep her in the public(and the Academy’s) eye. And yes, I’m sure they watch “The View” or at least the female members do. Which means that Disney/Dreamworks is targeting the female Academy voters. Of whom, as you all know, there aren’t very many! So they are fighting over the Streep-aged demographic. But this shows they are really sweating a Streep win? But who are THE MEN, the bulk of the Academy membership voting for?? That’s what I’d like to know. And again, my guess is the beauteous Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. The Babe Factor still rules Hollywood, I’m so sure. Will the Academy’s left-y social conscience trump the Beautiful Young Nude Girl syndrome. We shall see.

Only the Actor’s Branch overlaps with the SAGS. And that by not much. It’s two different groups of people. SAG and AMPAS. One is female-filled. That would be SAG and one is male dominated and that would be AMPAS.

EW’s Oscar Issue ~ SO Three Weeks ago!

Parsing EW’s formerly reliable Oscar issue, which just hit the stands…It’s “frontrunners” are sooo three weeks ago. Which is about the time their Oscar Race issue came out, with, prematurely, VERY prematurely George Clooney & Viola Davis pictured as though they were getting out of a limo, both looking as though they both have already won.

Now it’s a couple of issues later, or more, and they are STILL sticking by their three weeks previous frontrunners. George Clooney and Viola Davis, and The Artist and Michel Hazanaviscius, for picture and director, which I think is right, whereas Clooney has been replaced by the SAG win of Jean Dujardin.

Clooney’s stock is sinking like a stone, and so is “The Descendants” a helluva depressing movie, BTW. But of course, EW, having had to “go to bed”, as it is still called in the print media, (yeah, remember THEM?) has its’ Oscar choices frozen as it were in time. And once again, they have to stand by their “Oscar Race” issue cover stars Clooney and Davis. I knew AT LEAST one of them wasn’t going to win.

But even Tom O’Neil at www.goldderby.com had to admit that Jean Dujardin is taking over the lead.  And EW’s Oscar God Dave Karger admitted to Tom in a video on Gold Derby, or was it in a podcast with Scott Feinberg of www.hollywoodreporter.com

that he was “almost ready to switch” to Jean Dujardin.

There’s also an HI-larious nearly hour-long four-way video, where Editor O’Neil literally falls asleep in the middle of his own broadcast. Lolol…I’m not kidding.

He’s got two young reporters broadcasting it seems from Australia, one Rob Licuria is a father,with an enfant constantly trying to grab his attention, and who is also a lawyer down under. One, Chris Beecham, who seems to be a radio guy from Mississippi, and the third a “moderator,” also a young Australian running things. And Tom, in Hwood, presumably, falling asleep at the wheel, half way through. I couldn’t believe he’d let that go public. Maybe it’s gone now. He should take that down.

As Tom is the only one of the four operating out of Hwood, and he, being the grand-daddy of all Oscarologists, you’d THINK he could’ve at least managed to stay awake through his own SHOW. Embarassing. And it makes you wonder. If this year’s final lap around the Oscar Derby Racetrack, is making its’ creator snooze, what is it doing to the public?

Well, I guess the consensus is that Best Picture, Best Director and the two Supporting categories…Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer, are all locked up for good. It only remains volatile in the Best Actor and Actress races.

And volatile = interesting.

And in the number #2 slot in the EW issue, there is a HUGE more-than-a- page lay-out and I mean lay-out of Michelle Williams in her Marilyn mode. Stunning, sumptuous color photo and stuck WAAAY on the side of Michelle, in, I guess, EW’s version of 3rd Place, is Meryl Streep! Hmmm….that’s interesting. So EW now thinks it’s Davis, Williams and Streep in that order….Hmmm…

It’s a very tight race between those three women and upsets in tight races do occur. I still have hopes for Michelle winning the BAFTA next weekend and then bringing her win stateside to triumph at the Oscars. If it’s Viola Davis, or Meryl, I’ll have to admit that that woman now has the late-day advantage that BAFTA sometimes bestows on a tight race. Like the year when the unknown French actress Marion Cotillard triumped of Brit icon Julie Christie.

And Best Actor? Well, in the #2 spot EW has Jean Dujardin jumping for joy, in a very funny pic, that also, like Michelle’s, takes up a page and a half. And Gawgeous George is in #1.

EW and Oscar God Dave Karger take note. I think you should’ve switched those two. But ah! It’s tooo late now. The issue is already on the stands but it’s always a little off, historically.

And so it is again this year. For Jean Dujardin to win at the SAGS is just phenomenal. And if he also wins at the BAFTAS, like Marion did for “La Vie En Rose” fawgeddabowdit!

How do you say that in French? Voila, c’est fini!

Jean Dujardin Wins Best Actor at SAG Awards!!!

Well, the SAG awards was pretty darn dull until the last half hour when French star Jean Dujardin triumphed over George Clooney to win Best Actor tonight! Suprising? Non. Pas moi! I predicted as much on this blog the post before last. George Clooney has never won a SAG award and I quipped “There’s probably a reason for that.”

George, I guess they just don’t like you THAT much! They like you. But they don’t REALLY like you. And for this extremely American-centric, Xenophobic Screen Actor’s Guild to award their BIG Award BEST ACTOR to a Frenchman! Mon dieu! C’est incroyable! C’est presque impossible! Mais C’EST VRAI!

And Jean gave the most adorable acceptance speech, funny, and moving…
I’m sure it will be all over You Tube in a matter of seconds, but you can see MOI interviewing Jean and his glamorous Argentinian/French co-star Berenice Bejo at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Predicting right to they themselves that they’d be going to the Kodak Pavillion in February! And it’s almost February!

So Best Actor was the one big Weinstein Co. win tonight. The Screen Actors Guild only gives out five awards. Best Ensemble AND Best Actress AND Best Supporting Actress all went shockingly to “The Help.”

It was an upset after “The Artist”s director Michel Hazanaviscius won Best Director at the DGA last night.

“The Help” COULD perhaps be perceived as perhaps making this year’s Oscar race a two-way race now between “The Help” and “The Artist” and a case COULD be made for that point of view. Except for the fact that “The Help” did not receive a Best Director nomination, nor did it receive any screenwriting or below-the-line technical nominations. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress and two Supporting Actress nominations and that was it. It didn’t even get Best Song from Mary J.Blige.

Now, I’ve often said how the Academy has had a lot of personal resentment for Meryl Streep in the past. But now that she’s 62 and she’s playing quite aged most of the time in “The Iron Lady” there’s a sympathy for her that I have never felt before, since, well, the earliest days of her Oscar career, like around the time of “Sophie’s Choice” which is arguably one of the greatest performances by an actress on-screen of all time.

So now we know, as I’ve heard over and over again from FEMALE members of SAG, of “She’s gotten everything, including all the parts, why should we give her ANOTHER Oscar?” She’s got two, one for Best Actress for “Sophie’s Choice” and one for Supporting Actress for “Kramer vs.Kramer.” in the 80s!

And she wasn’t helping herself with the extremely dowdy brown drape dress she was wearing. Literally. The curtains. It looked like she was wearing the curtains, Miss Scarlett.

And Clooney. I told you how I noticed how rattled I thought he was and tired at the Golden Globes in his acceptance speech. And I knew why. He had just had to follow Jean Dujardin’s incredibly funny and moving win for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical.

This year everyone has been noting that POWER of SAG seems to have grown. So it makes a very good case for Jean Dujardin winning again at the Oscars, and not George. “The Descendants” got NO-thing.

And he’ll probably win at the BAFTAS, too, later this week. And be as equally as funny and charming as he was tonight AND at the Golden Globes.

Jean Dujardin reminds me of a cross between Clark Gable and Gene Kelly and Maurice Chevalier(when he was young.) He’s irresistible.

And so he’ll continue his march to the Oscars. As will the wonderful Christopher Plummer who won tonight as Best Supporting Actor. And his speech was better tonight. So was Octavia Spencer’s speech. She looked wonderful and really READY to win and be the star that everybody, inexplicably, wants her to be.

But the Screen Actor’s Guild isn’t THE ACADEMY. There’s an overlap, but not all that much. There’s 300,000 members of SAG and only 1,500 members of the Academy’s Actors Branch. And most members of AMPAS don’t even BOTHER to vote in the SAGs. The Academy is nothing if not tres exclusif, bien sur.

And “The Artist” got TEN nominations, “across the branches” as Anne Thompson is wont to say on www.indiewire.com

Stu Van Airsdale, the Oscar’s Wizard of Wit, with his great, carefully calibrated Oscar Index, which week-in, week-out, is a delight to read AND to look forward to. You can see it every Wed. PM at www.movieline.com  Stu, or as he likes to style himself lately, STV, had it both ways with Meryl AND Viola tied for first place and also Jean Dujardin and George Clooney tied for first place. So STV REALLY had it all right this week. Except he didn’t have “The Help” anywhere near the top.

But then it’s the OSCAR Index, not the SAG index.

So now, we, like Harvey Weinstein & Co., is doing, turn our attention to the BAFTAS. Where Best Actress is really still up for grabs. Michelle is nominated there, too. I really felt sorry for her when she didn’t win. But if the Brits give Best Actress to her, when she’s up against Viola and Meryl and also Berenice Bejo, who they put in lead there….she could be a surprise win. “My Week with Marilyn” is a British film, after all.

And I don’t want to sound delusional, but I think Jean Dujardin did a sort kinda Stephen Holt Shout Out-imitation, when he kept exclaiming “Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! OH MY GOD!” in ever-ascending levels of shrillness, that I’ve been noticed to do, in the past, and even recently in my very own interview with Jean and Berenice.

Jean, I’m honored by your, er, quoting of me. Merci, merci beaucoup. Et alors, maintenant Les Baftas et apres-la l’Oscars! And lets hope “The Artist” wins there, too.

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