a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Oscarologist’

Is “Birdman” Surging or Is It Oscar Hooey?

Birdman 1Is “Birdman” really experiencing a last-minute surge or is it all just Oscar hooey? Put out mainly by the hugest “Birdman” supporter of all, Jeff Wells at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com. If you read him, and I do, daily, he’s a terrific writer, even if I don’t agree with him half the time, you’d think it’s “Birdman,Birdman,Birdman” all the way. But I wonder…

He and the greatest, most obsessed Oscar prognosticator of  them all Tom O’Neil at http://www.goldderby.com  have a very interesting phone chat they’d turned into a pod-cast, and it’s worth listening to.

Especially when JW reluctantly agrees that it’s Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor and not Michael Keaton. TON feels it’s now “Birdman”s to lose. Both Oscarologists function from deep in the heart of Hollywood as presumably they are hearing more than I do here on the East Coast. But here, I hear, it’s still “Boyhood.”

Their podcast is very interesting to hear the dynamic between the two men. They both are very respectful of each other. Tom more so than with any one else he’s podcasted with. And Jeffrey is much more tentative, nicer, in person, as I know him to be. He’s been a guest on my show. And Tom I’ve met many times at Oscar parties here in NYC.

Jeff’s writings on Hwd are fierce, fiery, bracing blasts of vitriol. And they’re so well written, you find yourself just agreeing with him, even when you don’t, because of the power of his angry missives.

But Tom, especially, I thought was less secure in his predicting “Birdman.” I was surprised. He even admits as much in the conversation.  So it STILL could be “Boyhood” despite “Birdman”s winning the PGA, DGA and SAG. But it LOST the Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical to “Grand Budapest Hotel” and it lost the BAFTA to “Boyhood.” Stats not to be trifled with. And it didn’t get nominated for Best Film Editing, which it seems you HAVE to have to win.

It’s been “Boyhood” for so long, that people think that’s it’s won already. The voting for the Oscars of 2015 closes FINALLY tomorrow. This has seemed like a particularly long year.

Well, “Whiplash” opened at Sundance last year last January and so did “Boyhood.” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” opened right around NOW last year, too. So we’ve been living with these films for a LONG time. “Oscar Island” as Sasha Stone calls it.

Even SHE is thinking that’s it’s both “Birdman” for Best Picture and also it’s director Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu for Best Director. And that if that’s the case “Boyhood” just gets Best Supporting Actress, for Patricia Arquette.

I can’t wait til this whole things draws to a close. I can’t believe I’m saying that I’m tired of Oscar season. But this year I really am.

But I’ll be live-blogging it anyway. As far as I know. Stay tuned.

“Oscar Race” EW Cover w/Clooney & Viola Davis. Controversial? Accurate? Embarrassing?

I really wonder if the venerable Entertainment Weekly has jumped the shark this week with its’ “Inside the Oscar Race” cover prematurely, I think, showing George Clooney in a tux (nothing new), but at his side,, resplendent in a white ball gown, is Viola Davis! THIS is new! And the cover states “Front-runners George Clooney (The Descendants) and Viola Davis (The Help).” WHAT???

I thought Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams were the two heavyweights for Best Actress! But the usually reliable Oscar God David Karger is plunking his two cents down (and EW is presumably totally backing these choices), and inside we see V.D. depicted holding what looks like an award, or a Golden Globe, or SOMEthing, when on closer look it is seen to be a hand mirror. A bejeweled one, but a HAND MIRROR!

This is the kind of thing that INFURIATES Academy Voters, who are voting or rather nominating, right now as you read this. Many of them perhaps have not even sent their ballots in yet or filled them out, and here is EW acting like IT’S ALL OVER! BAD MOVE, EW!

I would be OK with this if it was a year where this was TRUE, but George is fighting for his life in Best Actor, (He’s got one already and “The Descendants” is depressing.) against his BFF Brad Pitt, who, BTW, just won Best Actor from the prestigious National Society of Film Critics. Take THAT, EW! They seem to be saying. And the Best Actress race is all over the place, between those three ladies. Williams, Streep & Davis.

And Viola Davis, as talented as she is, has not yet won ONE major award yet for “The Help”! A cover like this and a lay-out and an interview like that, may infuriate Academy types into NOT voting for her, when the time comes. And it IS a Supporting Performance in most peoples’ books…including mine.

But to photograph her looking so RADIANT and BEAUTIFUL and AIR-BRUSHED to death, well, we’ve never seen her like this before. And acting like she’s already won! But she hasn’t!

I fear this cover is going to make AMPAS voters feel like “Wait a minute! Don’t tell US who’s won!” or who to vote for. MISTAKE! This is what the Board of Governors was actually warning people about this year.  See Scott Feinberg’s excellent analysis of this at www.hollywoodreporter.com where Scott now is writing “The Race.”

And Jean Dujardin of “The Artist” is the one who most Oscar experts are picking for Best Actor. But not to EW.

I totally agree with Dave Karger with his choice that “The Artist” has already won Best Picture and is waaay out in front in that category. He’s right about that. But I would not be a very good Oscarologist myself, if I didn’t feel it incumbent on me to say “WAIT A MINUTE! Hold your (War) horses, EW!”

What they are doing is championing or campaigning for Clooney/Davis with this glossy cover and the even glossier interview inside. Acting like it’s a done deal. That is SOOOO BAD in Oscar campaigning terms.

And I know Dave Karger is familiar with Oscar 101.

I’ve NEVER seen EW so blatantly Up a Duo from two different films, yet, who may not be pictured together ever again this awards season. How embarrassing! But EW is nothing if not BOLD.

However, their first Oscar cover of the season isn’t a NEWS issue. It never is.

Didn’t they depict “Finding Neverland” once upon a time? Oy vay.

And there was once an Oscar issue like this with three actresses shown. I think it was Jennifer Connelly and Nicole Kidman and somebody else. And that third lady did not get nominated. I can’t even remember who she was. How embarrassing was that for her? And presumably for the magazine. But guess not, cuz they’re doing it again!

But some of you will remind me who that third gal was, who didn’t get nominated.

And even though Michelle Williams is splattered all over the INSIDE of the magazine in their for real predictions section on who’s going to be nominated…that story/interview on George ‘n’ Viola’s friendship was a little grating and self-serving. And yes, both of them are acting like they’ve ALREADY WON! NO! They haven’t!

THIS IS A HUGE OSCAR “No!NO!”

George has picked up a couple of critics awards, but Viola has gotten none, separately, herself, for Best Actress. Though “The Help” has gotten kudo-ed for Ensemble in several places.

This is the kind of cover that could de-rail a campaign. SERIOUSLY. Dave, what were you thinking? Well, obviously, he thinks he’s right.

I beg to differ.

And inside, though, his predictions themselves, were pretty spot-on for who was going to be nominated for Best Picture, Actor and Actress, though he’s got Michael Fassbender in there, and I think it’s Demian Bichir. Although Demian DOES receive a cute consolation prize, a “For Your Consideration” box.

But his supporting picks were all over the place, especially in Supporting Actress.

I was shocked at how wobbly his Supporting predictions were and yes, the Supp. Actress category is historically the hardest to predict. He’s got Berenice  Bejo (yes, she’s nominated for a BFCA, Golden Globe and a SAG) Ditto Octavia Spenser. He’s got Janet McTeer pictured, and I think that’s right. And Jessica Chastain for “The Help” which seems to be what she’s inevitably nominated for, though, it’s the least of her EIGHT performances this season! And then he has Melissa McCarthy, who EW just had on another of their covers recently as “The Queen of Comedy”. This would be for the gross-out “Bridesmaids.”

He doesn’t mention Vanessa Redgrave AT ALL. NOWHERE. And I think she WILL TURN UP here. Especially after being snubbed by BAFTA!!! Can you believe it?

I’m sure it’s the ghost of her earlier-in-life, extreme left-wing policies from the ’60s still haunting her. But if the Academy, Anglophile Lefties all, (well, the majority anyway) will over look Redgrave’s policy and put her in where she belongs and she could win this for her ASTOUNDING performance in “Coriolanus.”

Karger also gives Carey Mulligan from “Shame” a “For Your Consideration” box. And that is valid. She was great, if not greater, than Michael Fassbender in “Shame.”

We all know Christopher Plummer is going to win his career award in Supp. for “Beginners” and Dave Karger duly notes this. The other nominees, in this category, though, except for Kenneth Branagh are all up in the air. ESPECIALLY, his pick of Max Von Sydow for “Extremely Late and Incredibly Distasteful”! I don’t think so.

He’s got Jonah Hill and Albert Brooks in there but they were overlooked by SAG, and Nick Nolte and Armie Hammer WERE SAG-nominated, which he notes, but doesn’t see them getting in.

Who could pop up here, unexpectedly, is Corey Stoll for his finely etched portrait of Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris.”

And Kathy Bates and/or Marion Cotillard could be two last-minute  pop-ups from “Midnight in Paris.” They both just were named on the BAFTA long list…So they’ve been noted there.

Oh, and that BAFTA long list!…well, let’s just say it’s TOO LONG to even bother with at this point. But as always you can check out www.awardsdaily.com for a much closer look at that ENDLESS list, on which nearly everybody who made a film this year, is on. Wait for the BAFTA nominations themselves. But Beth Stevens, at Awardsdaily does a really good job at parsing them, especially in the comment section.

I Make the Big Time! USA Today quotes me on Oscar & “The King’s Speech”!!!

Just when I thought there was no more Oscar news to report, SUDDENLY I’m being quoted as an Oscar expert in USA Today by Susan Wloszcyna. It’s pronounced Woz -zeen- ya, I think. She’s their hard working film critic, and she written a pretty definitive piece on this year’s race and she starts it off by quoting ME! Yikes! Great day in the morning! Read it! NOW!

http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/movieawards/oscars/2011-02-25-1Aoscar25_CV_N.htm

An Unexpected Midnight Missive about Melissa-Gate!

I’ve always considered Scott Feinberg a nice, well-meaning young guy. He’s linked to this blog, before anybody else did, which I was very grateful for, so thank you, Scott. It’s started the ball rolling. This is a blog with no advertising, no publicty. It’s just a WordPress blog. Now you’ve helped it grow by leaps and bounds. Again, thank you.

But this REAALLLY upset email you sent me about Melissa-Gate, and all the apparent controversy that has been stirred up about her taking out her own ill-advised Oscar ads…well…I’ve been trying to think what was the nicest way of responding.

She’s a great actress. I’ve said this over and over again. And I would love to work with her some day. But she did something REALLLLY self-destructive and VERY unfortunate, and knowing her slightly and admiring her work tremendously, I just couldn’t believe she did something quite so, well…it’s almost beyond words how much damage she has caused her own frontrunner status. And maybe her entire career as well.

And Scott points out that he did not “admit that she has blown it” as I said in the previous post. He said EXACTLY “she COULD have…” check out the rest of his defense of Melissa in www.scottfeinberg.com

So OK. He didn’t say “she’s blown it”…Scott uses the more carefully worded “could have…”

Well, that statement, coming from Scott in the midst of his defense of her really shocked me. Scott does NOT make Oscar predictions statements like that lightly. So, I WAS BLOWN away, by his admitting this as even a remote possibility.

Melissa should’ve just sat tight and won the Oscar she was on her way to, and THEN spoken out publicly on all the topics she feels she must, and this is so, so, well ill-timed.

This is a BIG Oscar story. It’s overwhelmed “The King’s Speech” v. “The Social Network.” It’s NEWS. It’s hot news. On the Internet anyway. Everybody is talking about it everywhere. It just hasn’t seeped into TV yet…but it very well may. And I hope for Melissa’s sake it doesn’t.

Scott, this is PUBLICITY, which is what you and I deal with on a day-to-day basis. It’s what we do. I’m primarily a celebrity interviewer, as you are, and a Oscarologist since before you were born, but you’re doing much  than more than that now with your blog. I’m also a film and theater critic. So all this “reporting” is new to me. I think of it more as commenting, observation, and Melissa-gate is the biggest Oscar story going right now. It’s overwhelming the rest of this locked down race.

As now that I’ve just STARTED this blog, only in Sept., so I guess now I am a Oscar blogger. But I do not consider myself a journalist. This is a personal blog, about what I see, what I feel. And right now, I truly am upset that Melissa Leo seems to have hurt her Oscar frontrunner status. www.movieline.com does NOT have in the Number One spot on their Oscar graphs anymore because of this and they say so. Who’s in it Hailee Steinfeld!

Melissa Leo, a marvelously talented, well-regarded member of “jobbing actors” which is a good phrase, has now that she’s been nominated for an Oscar TWICE in the past two-three years, is put in the position of being a star. A movie star.

Those ads should’ve been MUCH more glamourous. She was so beautiful when she was young! She was strikingly beautiful, a fiery red-head. She was so photogenic she was a SOAP star, for goodness sakes.

She was on “All My Children” FOR YEARS, which is when I first became aware of her. And she played a “bad girl” as was ALWAYS terrific in that part. And I wondered what had happened to her, and why her talent had not been recognized in the wider world beyond soaps.

Now in her middle years she’s finally getting what it seems she always wanted. “Frozen River” was a GREAT performance, better than “The Fighter” IMHO because she was chewing the scenery a tad too much, for my tastes…but that was the part…

NOBODY understands ageism in Hollywood as well as I do, and have written about older actresses’ situation over and over again. And as a playwright/director and a member of the playwright/director’s unit at the Actor’s Studio, which is where I encountered Melissa again, when I auditioned with an aspirant to be one of the their members. I wasn’t trying to become an ACTING member of the studio. My scene partner was. We did a scene from “A Taste of Honey”. I played the gay character, of course.It was an incredible experience acting on that stage(yes, I’m an actor, too) and auditioning for Melissa. Who is held in the highest of high regard there, as you would expect.

She’s treated with tremendous respect there. Deference. As well she should be. And she seemed VERY at home there in that Method Acting atmosphere. And coming from a New York stage background Hollywood is just not a situation, and the Oscars, especially, is not a situation that she seems comfortable with AT ALL.

I am just honestly bewildered and perplexed that she did something so unfortunate as what she just did and that she was not told or stopped by her management at ICM.  Her manager, Jason Weinberg, her friend film critic Thelma Adams. I was ESPECIALLY surprised to see Thelma turn up in her photo shoot video!

Thelma, of ALL people, who writes for all manner of Show Biz publications, should’ve known the consequences of something like this.

AND I’m asked about Melissa EVERYwhere I go! And people know that I know her, and I am writing about her, to the extent that I have because it’s THE STORY of this year’s Oscars, and I am bewildered and SHOCKED, not by the reaction this has engendered, but WHY an artist of her caliber could’ve damaged something so badly, that did not did not NEED be damaged. At the very least, Melissa did not need publicity LIKE THIS.

I’m posing questions to her in my writing and to her friends and her management, looking for answers. Scott, if YOU are such a good friend of hers, why didn’t YOU stop her? You’re an Oscarologist. You cover the Oscars obsessively, as I do.

I guess the answer is you didn’t know about this. Why didn’t THELMA stop her? Or Jason? OR ICM? I guess because they COULDN’T.

But in the end the Oscars aren’t about merit, if they ever were, they are about HOOPLA. Which is what Melissa is getting now, and tons of it. On the Internet. But it’s not what she bargained for. I’m sure she didn’t expect THIS to happen and that it would be a backlash to the extent that it has. And the story just keeps getting BIGGER.

I just sincerely wish she hadn’t done this. She’s just HANDED Hailee Steinfeld, who doesn’t deserve it, or Helena Bonham-Carter, who does, an Oscar.

Somewhere Hailee Steinfeld is giggling.

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