a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Oscar nominatiion’

TIFF on Tuesday

It’s Tuesday morning at TIFF, and this is the day the Toronto International Film Festivals really changes. It’s the day all the Americans leave and basically turn the Festival back over to the Canadians. It’s so quiet in the TIFF Bell Lightbox this morning. The lobby looked deserted. Tumbleweeds could be rolling through it. It’s really scary, in the sense that, why am I still here?

Well, in the first place, you just don’t want TIFF to end, ever. And the atmosphere once it starts rolling is intoxicating. I’ve been here over a week now. And I still love it.

The first weekend is craziness personified. And yes, Brad and Angelina were here. That was for “Moneyball.” Hardly an Oscar movie it seems and if you don’t like baseball, which I DON’T, you won’t like this movie, so I’m told. Then Saturday seemed to be George Clooney day. I did see him from the Media Lounge’s TV screen. Almost a movie screen, it’s so big. But then it’s TIFF where everything is a movie screen let’s face it. Including the walls, the interior walls of the lobby.

Images are being projected everywhere. It’s trippyy, and delightful. But it is something akin to sensory overload. But again, I like it.

They used to have a 24-hour TV channel here in Toronto that just broadcast festival news for the entire length of TIFF, and before. Heaven! But they don’t have it any more. So all I can really check on my TV now is the weather, which every day is predicted to rain and the sunshine is dazzling. THANK GOODNESS!

I’m dressed for summer! I never want this lovely warm weather  to end! But it’s Canada, and last year about this time there was suddenly a cold snap, and BOY, did it get chilly! FAST! And I wasn’t dressed for that.

But even though it’s TIFF Blue Tuesday, there’s still PLENTY to do.

With George Clooney having two movies here, he certainly was a presence, even though I only saw him on the screen in the media lounge, as I said. People STILL love him and I tried to catch his “Descendants” movie this morning at 9AM(!?! I HATE those early screenings!) but I missed it.

So here I am talking to YOU.

And I’ll just have to catch up with “Descendants” at the New York Film Festival.

The Weinstein Co. is having a quiet festival, which is odd. Oh, except for Madonna. Who was walking the Red Carpet yesterday for “W.E.” which is the film she directed. And yes, I didn’t see that one either.

I have a lot to catch up on.

There is no one film that has a glorious, uproarious, across the board consensus. Like “The King’s Speech,” “Slumdog Millionaire”, and “No Country for Old Men” did in previous TIFFs all of whom went on to win the Best Picture Oscar.

So that means, well, that we’re going to an actual race, with many contenders, or that simply The Big One, the eventual Best Picture winner is simply not here, and will open later this year.

My favourite is still “Machine Gun Preacher.”

And now I have to go watch this year’s “Pitch This” which this year, Anthony Del Col of last year’s winner “Kill Shakespeare” which you all are now VERY familiar with who read this blog and watch my show, Anthony is coaching TWO hopefuls, and afterwards we’re interviewing everyone in sight. Including Anthony, again, and Mariangiola Castrovilli, the red-headed Italian Zsa Zsa Gabor.

So there’s PLENTY to do. Even if I missed George’s BIG Oscar movie, which is the “Descendants” everybody here seems to think and NOT “The Ides of March.” Which seems to have disappointed  every one who’s seen it.

When two SUPPORTING Actresses are Nominated for the same movie….

Following on yesterday’s thoughts, even though Yes, Shirley MacLaine DID trounce Debra Winger, both nominated for “Terms of Endearment” as BEST ACTRESS.

While this was an anomaly in the Best Actress category, this never to my knowledge, has NEVER happened in the Best Supporting Actress category.The two Supporting Actresses from “Babel” one in the Japanese sequence Rinko Kikuchi and one in the Mexican sequence both lost. And I was rooting and tooting heavily for La Senora, but no dice.

 So Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are now that they are so surely in play, each others worst Oscar enemies. So the title of their film “The Fighter” really applies.

And somebody else will win. Mila Kunis, no. That Haillee Blingatude creature. NO. And that leaves…Helena Bonham-Carter. For the regal royal, the beloved Queen Mother of the present Queen in “The King’s Speech.”

We shall see if these ladies all make it in to the final round, starting this weekend. OMG, the Broadcast Film Critics are two days away!

Update: I was corrected by Brian Scott Mednick on Facebook. Yes, an old friend who I had on my show back in the ’80s or early ’90s when he was an NYU Film Student and was the creater of the short film “Confessions of a Male Prostitute.”

Brian pointed out that as recently as “Chicago” TWO Supporting Actresses were nominated against each other. Queen Latifah and Catherine Zeta-Jones and of course Catherine Zeta won.

Now that “True Grit” has been snubbed AGAIN~

Welllllll, even if “True Grit” is killing at the Box-Office despite that dreadful child actress’ performance ruining most of it. Yes, I’m talking about YOU Hailee Steinfeld. It was MUCH better in the second half with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon taking over from the brat-in-Judy-braids. And then there’s that MAAAAHHHVelously grotesque Coen ending with the survivors…

ANYwaaaaaaaaaaay!

Will AMPAS feels it had to right a wrong and nominate the Coen’s for Best Director? ANYWaaaaaay…

Well, there’s two schools of thought. Either they think that YES, they do have to right this egregious wrong, or no they don’t.

The Director’s Branch of the Academy always has me scratching my head. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!?! Is my usual reaction when the nominations are announced.

You all know who are reading this that it’s Oscar 101 that the Director’s Branch nominate directors. AND they get to vote for the Ten Best Pictures.

Each branch does this and the Actor’s Branch, the largest dominates.

OK, perhaps you don’t know this about me, but I was trained as an actor and spent most of the early part of my life as an actor, and then, I switched to directing. In theater, and also of course, on a weekly basis, my TV show for the past 23 years.

But even after all this life experience, I STILL think like an actor. Can’t help it. Acting is the central CORE of well, everything in the Spoken Word Arts. And Actors think a certain way.

And director’s, especially if they haven’t been actors themselves, don’t. And Especially the Director’s Branch doesn’t.

So they may think, and probably they do, that since the Coens won so recently with “No Country for Old Men”, their masterpiece, that they don’t need to be rewarded again and so soon. They may think that since the movie is making MORE MONEY THAN ANY COEN BROTHERS MOVIE EVER MADE, and that includes ALL OF THEM put together, that they should take note and reward them.

But I don’t think they will.  It WILL be nominated in the Ten Best Movies. I mean, the NOMINATED “A Serious Man” last year, even. Oy.

So no, the Coen’s don’t need it, they’ll think.

Whereas David O. Russell, who’s never been nominated before, and who is the one out of Hooper, Fincher, Aronosky and Nolan, who is probably the shakiest DGA nominee(he burst out crying when told) is either going to be thought of as a)just a hired hand brought in at the last-minute, when it was clearly a job nobody wanted OR

B) He made a very difficult situation that he did not create(producer/star Mark Wahlberg did) WORK, and WORK very, very well. They, the Director’s Branch may admire that making a lemon out of lemonade situation.

The supposedly personally disliked O.Russell is now “IN”. It’s OK to like him, according to the DGA.

Sasha Stone at www.awardsdaily.com has pointed out that the two director’s groups DON’T always match 100 %, although they OFTEN do and more often than not. And I’m sure Sasha is readying a chart, or put one up already, that illustrates this.

And how does this effect the films’ acting chances? Well, since the Golden Globes ALREADY left “True Grit” out COMPLETELY, I think all of its’ chances are shaky. Matt Damon is being completely disregarded, it seems. And the Hot-Tween-of-the Moment Hailee Steinfeld is said to be so beloved that she’s splitting her vote – between being nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. That she may split her own vast popularity and end up with NO-THING.

We can only hope.

I don’t know what everybody is going so crazy over her lousy, unbelievable, embarrassing performance for. She should stick to commercials extolling “Blingatude” Now, she was REALLY authentically believable in that.

And the only one of “True Grit”(I feel like calling it “True Shit”)’s actor who may be impervious to these winds of changes is Jeff Bridges in Best Actor. The Dude Abides.

Nicolle Kidman’s great “Rabbit Hole”

I saw “Rabbit Hole” on Broadway as a voting member of the Drama Desk right before it closed, and was totally blown away by it. Cynthia Nixon played the lead, the central part that Nicolle Kidman is essaying so brilliantly in the movie of the same name. Heading for the Oscars? Yes, I think so.

That central part of the mother of a dead child is a stunning turn, if it is done right. I am not a big Cynthia Nixon fan, and yet, I was sooo taken with her searing portrayal of a seemingly unending, unbearable grief  at the Biltmore on Broadway, under the auspices of the Manhattan Theater Club, I VOTED for her for Best Actress when the Drama Desk Awards came up later that season. And she won! Tyne Daly also was nominated I think for her memorable turn as the grandmother of the dead child. I remember her very vividly.

So I was surprised at how wishy-washy the great Dianne Wiest is in the part in the movie that has just opened this week. Wiest is dressed down and is underplaying it like crazy. No make-up. Strange choices. Tyne Daily was a powerhouse in that role. However, wishy-washy Nicolle Kidman is not. She really is going to get an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for this. And she deserves it.

In a less competitive year, she could’ve won. But with Natalie Portman’s screama ballerina in play for “Black Swan.” And Annette Bening dyking it up to a fare-thee-well in “The Kids Are All Right.” I do not think Nicolle’s “Rabbit Hole” Mama is going to top either of them. But she’ll give them a run for their money.

And I think Nicolle is IN. Like the veritable Flint. However, she also HAS an Oscar and therefore, will unlikely be given one again so soon. She won not too long ago for “The Hours” playing the suicidal British author Virginia Woolf. And here again, the role that is going to take her back to the Kodak is a part dealing with death. I’ve never seen a film that deals so directly with DEATH and the grieving process as “Rabbit Hole.”

Aaron Eckhardt is also marvelous as her equally grief-stricken, but considerably more upbeat husband. But Kidman has the flashier, rangier, more surprising role. One is astonished at how well she does this. She goes to all the necessary dark places. One forgets what a good actress she really is.

Onstage, the power of David Lindsay-Abaire’s drama was overwhelming. And it won the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony AND the Drama Desk Award that year.

Transferring it to film, although it is still powerful and not at all talky, it loses some of that power. But is effective none-the-less. Choosing an extremely understated, naturalistic tone for “Rabbit Hole” the movie, director John Cameron-Mitchell has done an excellent job in what is for him, probably, a career-changer. I mean that in the best possible sense, in that “Rabbit Hole” the film shows him to have a very impressive, serious dramatic range that his other two previous films “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “Shortbus” only hinted at.

So except for the under-achieving Dianne Weist, “Rabbit Hole” scores a “A” all ’round.

Best Supporting Actor~ChristianBale, Mark Ruffalo & Sam Rockwell

I have always seen Christian Bale, Mark Ruffalo and Sam Rockwell as a sort of trio, worthy lord knows, and veterans now of how many movies? And leads in movies? But never, ever close enough to Oscar to get even a nomination.

Yes, believe it or not, dear readers, dear cineastes, neither of those three extremely talented actors have ever gotten in Oscars door, but goodness knows, at least they’ve been knocking on it, year in and year out. And this year all three might get in.

Christian Bale is purported by many to be the front-runner for Best Supporting Actor for his wacked out portrayal of drug-addled Dickie Ekland in the increasingly popular “The Fighter.”  It’s not as though we haven’t seen a crack-wack-head portrayed on screen before, but never before has a portrayal like that made it to the cover of Sports Illustrated! See www.scottfeinberg.com for the great graphic.

It should be just a pictorial of central character Mark Wahlberg “The Fighter”‘ himself.But there is Bale pushing his head into the shot and onto the cover!

But Hollywood and all the critical masses seem to be lining up behind giving Christian Bale his first ever Oscar nomination. He just got a Golden Globe AND a SAG nom in less than a week! Can Oscar finally be opening the door to the Dark Knight himself? I think so.

But is he well-liked enough to win? His bad boy rantings were recorded and published all over the Internet when he went off on that poor techie, and he also was said to have assaulted his own mother and sister, but they dropped the charges…So…Were they true? Well, something about this scenario must be…but…Is Hollywood going to forgive Bad Boy Bale, a grown up child actor? Or are they going to think him too young to win and give it to Geoffrey Rush, who is his biggest competition, for a career-capping performance as the wacky, but not wacked out Australian Speech teacher to Colin Firth’s sure-to-win stuttering King in “The King’s Speech” ?Aye, that is the question….

Then there are the place-holders…the category-filler-outers…which is where Mark Ruffalo may get in despite his Golden Golbe snub. Ah! But then he rallied at the SAG nods and got one for Best Supporting Actor, his first, like Bale, for “The Kid’s Are All Right.”  Though it opened in the spring, this lesbian-marriage comedy has stayed the course and just did VERY well at the New York Film Critics Awards, netting its’ writer Lisa Cholodenko, who also directed it, the win for Best Screenplay over Aaron Sorkin for The Film That I Will Not Name…Yikes! No  one saw that coming! Could happen at the Oscars too BTW…but that’s another column…

Ruffalo’s performance in “Kids”? Well, as the title says, it’s All Right.

 But not great.

Not really Oscar nomination worthy, though certainly Ruffalo has given many, many performances in the past that could have been nominated, but weren’t. But this time his Only Straight Guy In a Lesbian Movie turn may be the right place at the right time. N0t his greatest work, by any means, and NOT the greatest performance in “The Kids.” But  I guess his heterosexual male presence, and he IS sexy, may assauge the SWORM to nominate him. Oh, and women like him, too. So he may get his first Oscar nomination but he certainly isn’t going to win. Not with Bale and Rush in the category.

And there there’s poor Sam Rockwell! He’s also never been nominated and just missed BOTH the SAG and the Golden Globe nominations he should’ve gotten this week for his superb turn as another difficult, jailed brother in ANOTHER  Masschusetts jail in”Conviction.”

He’s playing true-life character(as Bale and Rush are co-incidentally) Kenny Waters who spends 18 years of his life in a New England jail until he’s freed by this crusading, devoted sister played Betty Ann by Hilary Swank. And SHE just got a surprise nomination from the SAGS! She who has already won two Best Actress Oscars, is obviously more of an actor-favorite than anybody imagined, and her performance is damned-good, too.e

I just caught up with “Convinction” at a screening two DAYS ago, and I was shocked at how much I liked it.

So Hilary Swank popped up unexpectedly in Best Actress and knocked out presumed (and Golden Globe nominee) Michelle Williams. Will Swank prevail at the Oscars in another surprise win? Or will it be the equally  worthy Williams, who though nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005, has never been nominated in the main slot. Ah! But this time she’s gotten Oscar stealth weapon Harvey Weinstein behind her!…

I personally think that Sam Rockwell may be the one from “Conviction” to surprise, not Swank. Fox Searchlight is campaigning hard for “Conviction” even though it was a box-office flop….But they are getting the screeners into the Academy’s hands and/or getting the Academy’s asses to their screenings…of “Conviction.” So will Sam Rockwell pop up? Will he be the Oscar surprise? Heaven knows he’s worthy enough, but don’t be surprised, because you heard it here first!

Stay tuned!

#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

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