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Posts tagged ‘National Board of Review’

Oscar Chances of Casey Affleck,”Manchester by the Sea” Boosted by Early Critics Awards

Well, the first critics awards of the season have come rollin’ in, and the Big Winner so far is Casey Affleck, who has just racked up Best Actor from the Gotham Awards and the National Board of Review. Right behind him is his beautiful film “Manchester by the Sea” and I couldn’t be happier or prouder of this fierce little Indie’s overcoming all the studio behemoths to reap these much-deserved rewards.

“Manchester by the Sea” also was just named Best Picture of the Year by the National Board of Review. It landed in its’ top Ten Films and Lucas Hedges as Affleck’s truculent but funny nephew got Best Breakthrough Performer also for “Manchester.”manchester-by-the-sea-5

It’s such a good film. And its’ filmmaker, playwright/director Kenneth Lonergan is one of the best talents we have working today. “Manchester” is a film that grows in the memory. It lasts. It stays with you, as all great films do. It’s a comedy that contains its’ characters going from one funeral after the other.

To reveal more of the plot is to spoil it, so I’ll stop here and say that Casey Affleck’s performance of the grief-stricken Boston janitor certainly deserves these accolades and I’m sure he’s got more on the way. No more “Ben’s little Brother” fleck really comes into his own in “Manchester.”Such a searing portrait of grief, I don’t think we’ve ever seen on the screen quite so indelibly.

Also gaining some surprising and much needed traction from these early awards is “Moonlight”s Naomie Harris, who I’ve been mentioning over and over in previous Oscar blogs as the crack addicted mother of the central character.

naomie-harris-1

Also rollin’ in to the National Board of Review is Jeff Bridges’ nominated for his crusty, West Texas retiree lawmaker in “Hell or Highwater” for Best Supporting Actor. hell-or-high-water-5The Independent Spirits nominated Ben Foster also from “Hell” in this same slot, but not Bridges. And as previously stated the entire ensemble of “Moonlight”s actors received a special award for excellence at the Gothams.

“Moonlight” was also the Big Winner at the Gothams last night with four awards. It’s Out Gay writer/director Barry Jenkins scoring in both categories.

It’s also interesting to note that neither of the millennial actresses who are considered front-runners Emma Stone for “La La Land” and Natalie Portman for “Jackie” won in this busy past 24 hours. French actress Isabelle Huppert triumphed for “Elle” at the Gothams and six-time Oscar loser Amy Adams won the NBR Best Actress Award for “Arrival.” Could this FINALLY be her year?arrival-1

For a list of all Gotham Award Winners and the National Board of Review’s, too, go to http://www.awardsdaily.com.

#Casey Affleck

#Oscars

#Manchester by the Sea

#Lucas Hedges

#Naomie Harris

 

National Board of Review Awards?!? WTF….

Mad Max1OK, so “Mad Max: Fury Road” was awarded Best Picture of 2015 by the National Board of Review. A real-head (and knee) slapper, if you ask me. However, TOMORROW we have the New York Film Critics announcing their winners, and I am so sure that “Mad Max:Fury Road” is going to be NOWHERE on their list of winners.

Who will win? Probably “Spotlight” OR maybe the powerful Hungarian film on the Holocaust “Son of Saul.”

The NYFCC realizes, fully, its’ position of the first SERIOUS awards that are being given each year. And this kind-of-up-in-the-air year where there seemed to be a very open field, may suddenly be limited to the coronation of “Spotlight,” a fine film, by a fine director Tom McCarthy and a stellar ensemble cast including last year’s Oscar snubbee Michael Keaton, ably supported by Marc Ruffalo, who has got the best,most emotional part, Rachel McAdams, ‘Mad Men’s John Slattery and Bway’s Brian D’Arcy James.

I liked it A LOT. But for some reason, I didn’t love it. It’s cold. It’s cerebral. It’s about investigative journalism, the type of which has almost gone out the window in this age of Internet Everything.It’s nostalgic for the age when Newspapers ran the world.

It’s set in the past, and it depicts it accurately. Boston in the 1980s. It’s got it down. And the writing, as you’d expect from a film about journalists and journalism, is very, very good. It’s subject is the uncovering, by these dedicated, dogged journos, of a wide-spread cover-up of child abuse within the Catholic Church. So it’s also a shocking film, too.

Neither the Gotham Awards NOR the National Board of Review are made up of press. But of course, the New York Film Critics ARE press, and so a film about journalisms’ finest hour, I think will carry the day tomorrow. Not the ridiculous “Mad Max:Fury Road.” No. That won’t happen again. Even with the Golden Globes, I don’t think so. Even THEY aren’t that silly.

The National Board of Review’s acting winners are another matter entirely. Brie Larson for Best Actress for “Room.” Yes! And I think that will be seconded by the NYFCC tomorrow. This tiny, little, Canadian/Irish, but utterly brilliant film NEEDS their stamp of approval, and I think it will get it here, honoring Larson. She looks like a winner that can’t be stopped. I certainly hope so. She deserves it. Brie Larson 2That role in “Room”of a kidnapped-and-raped-for-seven-years while she was held captive by the rapist, mom, was one of the most difficult an actress ever had to essay. It was a killer.
Matt Damon 1Matt Damon won Best Actor for “The Martian” and I think he will be nominated for the Oscar, too. And since the Golden Globes have put “The Martian” in their Musical/Comedy section, they will have to put Damon in that,too. And he could win that.

So good for Matt, and for Ridley Scott, who won Best Director for “The Martian” and I think the 77 year old Scott is going to be for sure nominated for the Oscar for his direction and his being Oscar-less so far in his long career, I think the Academy is going to award him there, too. He directed “The Gladiator” which won Best Picture, back in the day, but HE didn’t win Best Director. It went to Stephen Soderberg for “Traffic.” “The Martian” was the big winner with three awards. Or four, if you count it’s being listed in the NBR’s Top Ten List.

Who will win Best Actor from the NYFCC tomorrow? Well, there’s a little hint in the National Board’s completely ignoring “The Revenant”. The NYFCC may do the same, and I think they may give it to the astonishing, almost solo performance of Geza Rohrig as Saul in “The Son of Saul.” “Saul” might also get best director for the first time helmer Hungarian Laszlo Nemes. Although, wait a tic.

The NYFCC has a category for “Best First Film” or “Best Debut Director” and that could be Nemes.

Also Best Actor is where Eddie Redmayne could turn up for his transformative, ground-breaking performance as  “The Danish Girl.”

As for Supporting the National Board of Review’s naming of Sylvester Stallone for Best Supp. Actor for “Creed” really does help Stallone get even further into the Oscar conversation in that category for his portrayal of the aging, ailing Rocky Balboa. I think this really means he will get an Oscar nomination. And a Golden Globe nomination, too.

“Creed” is a runaway, unexpected success, and every one wants to get back on to the Rocky nostalgia train, so yes, there’s room in this category and I could certainly see Stallone’s legendary Rocky role muscling his way in. That also won Best Picture way back when, but Stallone as an actor, went un-awarded on the Big Night.

Supporting Actress for Jennifer Jason Leigh for the as yet unseen “Hateful Eight” is an unknown. This could help her. “Hateful Eight” also got a Best Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino, and this means that this Weinstein film, that the NBR saw LAST, is probably better than it looks in trailers. Another snow-bound Western? Really? I mean on top of “The Revenant”?

Well, they left “The Revenant” off their top ten list. “Spotlight” was there, but nowhere else, and also nowhere to be seen, again, was Weinsteins’ other Oscar seeker “Carol.” Which the Gothams also did not award. Though they nominated it, and gave its’ director Todd Haynes a career award.

So as I predicted the NBR, not a press organization, did not prominently award “Spotlight” whereas the Gothams gave it three awards, including Best Picture. So tomorrow with NYFCC, I am fearlessly predicting that “Spotlight,” a very, very good film that holds up journalists as its’ heroes, will shine all over the place.Spotlight2

Here are a lot of what the National Board of Review chose as their winners today.

Best Film:  Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Director:  Ridley Scott – The Martian
Best Actor:  Matt Damon – The Martian
Best Actress: Brie Larson – Room
Best Supporting Actor:  Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Best Supporting Actress:  Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Best Original Screenplay:  Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
Best Adapted Screenplay:  Drew Goddard – The Martian
Best Animated Feature:  Inside Out
Breakthrough Performance:  Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation & Jacob Tremblay – Room
Best Directorial Debut:  Jonas Carpignano – Mediterranea
Best Foreign Language Film:  Son of Saul
Best Documentary:  Amy
William K. Everson Film History Award:  Cecilia De Mille Presley
Best Ensemble:  The Big Short
Spotlight Award:  Sicario, for Outstanding Collaborative Vision
NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Beasts of No Nation & Mustang

Top Films
Bridge of Spies
Creed
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
Spotlight
The Martian
Room
Sicario
Straight Outta Compton

N’tional B’d of Review Announces. Who does it help? Jessica Chastain, that’s who!

Most Violent Year 1The National Board of Review announced its’ award-winners today, and they had some shocking results. Namely that “A Most Violent Year” was named Best Picture. and Oscar Isaac was named Best Actor (in a tie with Michael Keaton for “Birdman”) and “AMVY” also won Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain.

Julianne Moore won again(as she did last night at the Gothams) Best Actress for “Still Alice,” and that makes both actress winners red-heads, which delights me, being a ginger myself.

You can read the entire list below, but it does make you gasp. They really are an all-over-the-place kind of honor. And a lot is also based on making sure they have every distributor on the planet, or the Oscar Planet as Sasha Stone so aptly puts it, represented somehow so THEY CAN SELL THEM A TABLE at their shindig in early Jan.

The only place that these wacky awards really matter this year in terms of influence, I think, is in the very weak field, Best Supporting Actress for  Jessica Chastain, who also has “Interstellar” in the mix, but oddly, the NBR didn’t mention that film ANYWHERE. Not even including it in Chastain’s work for this year.

I do think this does send her to H’wood AGAIN this year for her third nomination, where she will undoubtedly lose to Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood.” But a nomination I think now is in the bag for the always- worthy JC.

I can’t say the same for Oscar Isaac, whom I greatly admire. He really got suckered last year with the lack of response to his great work in “Inside Llewyn Davis.” And with the Oscar gridlock in the Best Actor category looking like rush-hour on a LA free-way. I hope he can break in. But I doubt it.

But it’s interesting that the one main category that is more than slightly fluid is Best Actor! Michael Keaton you’re on shaky ground! Where on Monday, Timothy Spall won the New York Film Critics for “Mr. Turner,” and then last night, only yesterday, Keaton did win Best Actor at the Gothams for “Birdman.” And now, today, Tuesday, he has to share it with young Oscar Isaac, which can’t make the Birdman happy.

Happy today would be former Juilliard class-mates Chastain and Isaac. It’s like a dream come true for them, I’m so sure.

See the complete list of the NBR annual mess at AwardsDaily.com, Sasha’s great Oscar site.

http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/2014/12/national-board-of-review-names-xxx-best-film-of-2014/

 

 

NY Film Critics Now Voting~ J.K. Simmons & Patricia Arquette Win!

Boyhood 1JK SimmonsAs I type this, the New York Film Critics Circle are announcing their winners. They are the first major awards body to do this. Tomorrow, it’s the National Board of Review.

They’re moving pretty fast. That means they’re in agreement. They vote in rounds. So I think that means that the following five awards were pretty much voted unanimously.

They are: “Lego Movie” Best Animated Film

Best Foreign Film: “Ida”

Best Documentary/Non-fiction film: “Citizen Four”

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons “Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette “Boyhood”

We may be in for a very boring Awards season in those two categories I feel. Since Simmons and Arquette may now go on to win EVERYTHING on the LONNNNG road to the Oscars in February.

More soon as the other winners are announced.

L. A.Film Critics also ignore “12 Years” but Award Lupita Nyong’O Best Supp.Actress

Once again. “12 Years A Slave” has been dealt a body blow in this awards’ season. The VERY influential Los Angeles Film Critics only awarded the brilliant Lupita Nyong’O, which is great news for Hollywood’s newest star, but bad news for “12 Years a Slave.” I am shocked, SHOCKED that the usually cutting-edge LA Film Crix went for “Gravity” and “Her”! In a tie! Yes! A tie!. In fact, there were three ties!

Best Picture – “Gravity” tied with “Her”.

Best Actress – Cate Blanchett tied with Adele Exarchopoulos of “Blue is the Warmest Color”

And Best Supporting actor tied :Jared Leto and James Franco for “Spring Breakers”!!!

A motley crew.

But this is a very important win for Lupita Nyong’O and congratulations to her.

But very bad news for “12 Years A Slave.” It is now officially NOT the front-runner for Best Picture anymore. I’d say “Gravity” is, if anything.

The Boston Film Critics and the New York Online Film Critics both awarded “12 Years” heavily in many categories…

Though strangely Michael Fassbender is ending up NOwhere. That’s not a good sign. And though the NYFCO and the BFC are nice to have and all that, it’s the LA Film Critics that are a one-two punch of “12 Years”, I’m sorry to say.

But looking at the all these critics awards you can see that this year’s Oscars are all over the place. Literally.

Also not turning up is Martin Scorcese’s just finished three hour “Wolf of Wall Street”. It’s still so new Jeff Wells is reporting at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com that many in Boston did not get a screener in time. Or couldn’t make a very last minute screening.

I feel just awful for “12 Years…” It’s a masterpiece and I can’t believe that it’s anything but racism animating its” exclusion. If that’s the case and even CRITICS are shying away from advocating for it. Then the award it’s likely to win is indeed Best Supporting Actress for Lupito Nyong’O. As I’ve said before, it’s the Booby Prize of the Oscars. They look at the Best Supporting Actress award rightly or wrongly as a throw away. As a less than important category and if they are not giving “12YAS” anything else, they KNOW they have to give it something and Best Supp. Actress is a place where they will feel most comfortable awarding it.

An equivalent situation occured two years, when African-American-themed box-office winner “The Help” won ONLY Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spenser.

So I do think the LA Film Critics is indicative in that case.

They also importantly gave Best Director to Alphonso Cuaron for “Gravity.” Steve McQueen, thank god, won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Director, but that was it.

Also notably absent from all of this was Tom Hanks and “Captain Phillips”. Nowhere to be seen. Sunk without a trace. Leaving that fifth Best Actor slot now open for maybe Oscar Isaac in “Inside Llewyn Davis” or Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station” or most likely Leonard DiCaprio for “Wolf of Wall Street.” I can’t believe I’m typing these words, but I am. “Llewyn Davis” has opened this week to doing tremendous box-office and Leo has never won an Oscar, unbelivably.

If you read Jeff Wells and Tom O’Neil over at http://www.goldderby.com , they BOTH LOVED “Wolf of Wall Street”to the max.

Cate Blanchett seems to be storming across all awards-giving bodies in Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine.” And also not registering anywhere is “Saving Mr. Banks” which I’m seeing tomorrow night.

I suffered through “Out of the Furnace” because it SEEMED Christian Bale might turn in a possibly nominatable perforrmance. But he didn’t. I didn’t see much hope for any awards for this hard-scrabble violent film.

But Emma Thompson WAS nominated for Best Actress for “Saving Mr. Banks” by the National Board of Review.

Both the NBOR AND the LA film critics gave Best Actor to Bruce Dern! For “Nebraska” And the NYFCC gave that other spry 77-year-old in the race, Robert Redford Best Actor for “All Is Lost.”

The only across the board unity seems to be Cate Blanchett in Best Actress and also, surprisingly Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club” for Best Supporting Transvestite.

And Sandra Bullock has floated into outer space with nary a mention.

Racist NY Film Critics Ignore “12 Years a Slave” Well, almost

Black director Steve McQueen won Best Director from the New York Film Critics, but otherwise “12 Years a Slave” a masterpiece IMHO was ignored by the NYFCC, the Gotham Awards and the National Board of Review. It’s official. There’s a “12 Years a Slave” racist backlash in full swing. And it makes me very angry.

The beneficiaries of this most racist slate of awards voting I’ve ever seen in my adult life of covering entertainment are strangely( but good for them), Ryan Coogler and the actors of “Fruitvale Station”. “Fruitvale Station” is goodness knows about racism and its tragic effects and I’m the first one to cheer for Octavia Spenser, Melonie Diaz and Michael B.Jordan. Coogler scored with all three critics groups, much to his astonishment as I described in the previous post.

If you were handicapping the Oscars (Like Tom O’Neil does on http://www.goldderby.com), you’d have to take note that young Coogler has scored ACROSS THE BOARD.

And the lacerating “12 Years a Slave” did not. “12 Years a Slave” has the disadvantage of being the early front-runner, which as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone says historically is the worst place any deserving film can be. http://www.awardsdaily.com And unfortunately, she’s absolutely right. A pushback, a take-down seemed impossible. But three days of dealing with this VERY bad news for “12YAS” it now seems inevitable.

So word got out that “12 Years a Slave” was a difficult sit. It’s challenging, frightening, electrifying and horribly historically accurate. Which is what makes it great. And I’m ashamed that these cowardly critics turned their faces away from the reality of slavery depicted in this majestic movie. Sasha had a feeling this was going to happen, but I thought if it happened at all it would be in insular L.A. not knowledgeable New York. DISGRACE!

Steve McQueen getting Best Director from the NYFCC is to be applauded of course, but it almost seems like a boobie prize when Best Actor goes to Robert Redford for “All’s in the Wash” And the brilliant, painful performance of Chiwetel Ejiafor is left out!?!? REALLY, New York Film Critics!?!? REALLLLLY?!?!?

And the searing supporting performance of Lupita Nyong’o is ignored by them in favor JENNIFER LAWRENCE?!?!? This is for “American Hustle” the David O. Russell film which I haven’t seen yet. I’m sure she’s fine. But REALLY, New York Film Critics?!?!? Really?!?! For SHAME!!!! A BIMBO over an abused slave?!?!? And to ad insult to injury, they named “American Hustle” best picture!?!??!?

And while Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere has a source that says voting for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress were THAT CLOSE. I mean, Michael Fassbender’s choice to go film in New Zealand and ignore the whole thing seems a wise one.

I thought we lived in an enlightened age. But I guess not, Chiwetel and Lupita losing to TWO BLONDS?!? Robert Redford and Jennifer Lawrence is just unconscionable.

I protest!

Down to the Wire! Best Actress Predictions!

Tomorrow morning it will all be over, but the shouting. Yes,dear readers, dear cineastes, tomorrow at the crack of dawn in L.A. and at 8:30pm EST, the Oscar Nominations for 2012 will be announced and all will be revealed and Phase One, as it’s known of the Oscar Campaign will be over.

This has been my busiest Oscar season ever with helping Ann Dowd’s campaign as much as I have been able. Culminating last night in her win for Best Supporting Actress at the National Board of Review Awards ceremony. More, I’m sure, on that later.

But now on to what has become the thorniest category ever this year ~ Best Actress.

To echo all and sundry, there are two locks ~ Vanity Fair cover girl Jennifer Lawrence for the manic-depressive comedy “Silver Linings Playbook” and Jessica Chastain for the taut,controversial Osama Bin Laden hunt-thriller “Zero Dark Thirty.”

In the past two days, the lovely Jessica has received her first, major, best actress award from the New York Critics Circle on Monday night, then last night she got her National Board of Review Award.

Both those awards are announced beforehand and handed out at the aforementioned ceremonies. No nominees at either. Just winners. Plane and simple.

Now, the OTHER three slots for Best Actress are really fraught with possible suprises and booby traps. (Pun) Like for instance, WILL they REALLY nominate a six-year- old? I don’t think so.

So Qu’venshane Wallis is not showing up here, as charming and disarming as she is in person and on-screen in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

As I’ve been saying all along, as much as I love French culture and everything French, I don’t think the Academy is going to nominate TWO French actresses for Acting in their own language!

That would be Marion Cotillard in “Rust and Bone,” and 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour.” I think, to be brutally honest, that the young, cute one, Marion, gets in. And Emmanuelle Riva, who faces death in the most devastating screen portrayal, perhaps ever, will not.

I’m hearing that Academy types just aren’t watching “Amour”, and don’t like it when they see it. It’s a critics darling to be sure, but since the Academy is all about the same age as the two characters depicted in this film, I don’t think they are going to watch OR nominate it. They’ll leave it to the Foreign Language Committee to determine whether this Austrian/French co-production is in, or more likely out. No matter how much critical accolades it has won. One has to keep repeating the mantra ~”There are NO CRITICS in the Academy!” And it’s true. Nary a one.

So now we have three beauties, Jennifer, Jessica and Marion. So who are the other two? I’m thinking Helen Mirren, who got a SAG nod as well as just landing a BAFTA nomination,too this morning for her rousing, bracing portrayal of a real life Hollywood icon Lady Alma Hitchcock, Sir Alfred’s uber-talented wife, in “Hitchcock”, is going to get in. And of course, she’s a former winner, too, for Best Actress, for “The Queen.” But then so is Marion! For “La Vie En Rose.”

And the last place is a toss-up I feel between two talented ladies in films that might not have been seen much yet. Naomi Watts, in the tsunami horror film “The Impossible” and Rachel Weisz for the British drama “The Deep Blue Sea.”

I’m going to plunk for Rachel, since although she really already has an Oscar,like both Helen Mirren AND Maid Marion, they like her, they really like her.And the Oscars are nothing if not repetivive and clannish in their thinking and awarding. Or re-rewarding.

But Rachel IS extraordinary in “Deep Blue Sea.”

And Naomi, poor thing,is an Australia, and is someone who gets overlooked over and over, time and time again. And the same thing may happen this year.

And some of the snobby Actor’s Branch may feel that her portrait of a mother lost and injured by the tsunami that hit the beaches of Southeast Asia a few years back, is more screaming and stunt work, than a performance.

Whereas Rachel, who BEGINS “Deep Blue Sea”in classic Oscar fashion,by trying to kill herself via a gas heater, right after WWII, is more typically, the Academy’s cup of British Tea. And also, though Naomi got overlooked by the BAFTAs today.
So did Rachel, so it’s a toss up. But I’m picking Rachel, thinking that the BAFTA membership now is circling about 300 members of the Academy, too.

Also, Rachel, like fellow Nominee Jennifer Lawrence who raked in over $600 million dollars for “The Hunger Games” this year, Rachel showed her action heroine chops for real in the hit “The Bourne Legacy.” Anne Hathaway scored this double whammy too, this year with the blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises,” as well as cornering what looks like a sure win for Best Supp. Actress with “Les Miserables.” The Academy seems to be going for gals who can act, but also kick butt.And rake in millions at the Box-Office.

And in conclusion, It could also shock of shocks be the forgotten Keira Knightley in devisive masterpiece “Anna Karenina.”

So dear readers, dear cineastes, I see ~

Jennifer Lawrence
Jessica Chastain
Marion Cotillard
Helen Mirren
Rachel Weisz

We’ll know VERY soon, won’t we? And it will all look very, very different, won’t it?
Phase Two is NOT the same thing as Phase one.

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