a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Paramount’

Oscar News ~ “American Sniper” Breaks Records at the Box-Office

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Once again, Sasha Stone proves she has her finger on the pulse of Hollywood. ANOTHER wonderful piece on the ASTOUNDING, RECORD-SHATTERED Box-Office Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” is having. It may pass $100 million VERY soon.  And surprised by these developments, this is how I responded to all this sudden brou-haha in http://www.awardsdaily.com’s comment section.

“Well, this is news. Records-breaking over what I thought was just going to be a routine shoot’em up, rah-rah war picture. And to think this debuted the same day as “Selma” at the AFI fest in LA, and “Selma” got all the excitement and standing Os! And “American Sniper” was regarded with…well…a sort “Meh” response.

And now look what’s happened! What was the difference? Well, “Sniper” was a finished film and Warner Bros., who know what they’re doing with an Oscar campaign, IMMEDIATELY started getting those screeners out to all and sundry. Paramount who helmed “Selma”s sorry lot,  couldn’t, because the film wasn’t “finished” yet. So sad, so sad.

And they both debuted the same day!

WHAT a difference!And as far as Bradley Cooper is concerned, I was frankly SHOCKED, SHOCKED by his nomination. He chose to do a Mo’nique and do zero campaigning, because he is in New York starring on Broadway, in the VERY unusual part, for him, as the Elephant Man himself.

And he’s superb in it He very well may get a Tony.But Cooper has chosen to go the class-y way this year. No campaigning and BOOM! He gets nominated anyway. Could he upset Keaton/Redmayne? I wonder….I can’t believe he’s better in “AS” than he is in “Elephant Man.”

So it’s “Kudos To Cooper Year” everywhere you look. This is his third nomination in THREE years! VERY rare. I guess they like him, they really like him.

What Happened to “Selma”? “Nightcrawler” continues to rise…

Nightcrawler 3Selma Poster 1WHAT HAPPENED TO “SELMA”?!?! This is the question the blogosphere and Oscarologists in particular are asking across the online universe this day of the Producer’s Guild Annoucement of its’ ten Nominations for Best Picture. The list is below in the last post.

There’s a one word answer “Screeners.” Paramount, the major film company, did the incredibly lamentable thing in not sending screeners to this group. Or any of the guild groups. Which explains in a tweet, why this wonderful, timely film that I just loved, is being ignored every where.

Well,they did evidently send the All-Important-These-Days Screeners of “Selma” to the Academy members. Which is 6,000 or so right there. But if they wanted to build momentum for “Selma” (and also by the way for “Interstellar”) they SHOULD’VE sent out the screeners! It’s 2015 now ladies and gentlemen, and that’s how you win an Oscar. You’ve GOT to send out screeners to the guilds as well as  to the aged Academy membership, who just simply DON’T get out to see all the movies they SHOULD, in a theater, but who SEEM to watch them at home. On their DVD players. Which is usually how and where they make their Oh-So-Important Decisions. In the comfort, and privacy, of their Bellair/Aspen/etc. homes.

I can’t believe this egregious oversight on Paramount’s part. It’s not as though it’s an INDIE after all. I mean, Paramount is a major studio, for cripe’s sake. It’s like they want their films to fail this year.

Or they think they don’t have a chance anyway. But it damages “Selma” particularly in that a film that SEEMED to be on its’ way to making history with the nomination of the first African-American female director, is now probably NOT going to happen for Ava DuVernay. And this makes David Oyelewo, the rising Black British star who plays Dr. Martin Luther King, also extremely vulnerable in the over-crowded Best Actor race, and leave room for Jake Gyllenhaal of “Nightcrawler” to creep in. Once you lose the Zeitgeist, it’s very hard to put the lightning back in the bottle.

“Nightcrawler” surprised everyone, in a good way today. It’s good news for Indie distributor Open Road films and for Jake Gyllenhaal and maybe also for Renee Russo in the Best Supporting Actress race. Perception is everything. If a film is PERCEIVED to have awards heat, as “Nightcrawler” and also Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” which seems to be killing it at the box-office, too, well then everyone involved in those films prospers. What is the phrase “A high tide raises all boats”?

But there is a glimmer of hope in that the PGA nom list has in the recent past NOT MATCHED perfectly with the Academy’s list of Ten. Or more accurately, nine. There’s usually one film different. At least.

So I’m hoping the Academy does the right thing, as Spike Lee once opined, and votes in “Selma” for Best Picture. I wonder if though the Director’s Branch and the DGA will include Du Vernay after this. The DGA, BTW, ALSO did not get sent screeners of “Selma” so probably not.

Sad for DuVernay’s chances. The Director’s Guild and the Director’s Branch are VERY quirky and idionsyncratic. VERY hard to predict. Like for instance, I think Damien Chazelle’s the VERY young director of “Whiplash” could pull at Behn Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”s 20-something director) and get an Oscar nod. And Ava DuVernay doesn’t. Oprah, you’re the producer of “Selma”, weren’t you paying ATTENTION?!?

Melissa-gate gets worse. Paramount cuts her out of TV ads.

I feel so awful for Melissa Leo. This situation just keeps getting worse and worse and at the worse time possible, right in the middle of the Oscar campaign season, i. e. the voting itself. Which is going on right now.

It’s one thing to take out personal ads. A move, it must be said that has won NO ONE an Oscar doing it.

It’s gotten people nominations, but it’s never gotten anyone an Oscar win.

Sally Kirkland’s name keeps being brought up, and yes, there is a resemblance. Sally’s own self-financed Oscar ads for “Anna” a great film, that was a teeny tiny indie that started at the Montreal Film Festival in 1987 did lead to her getting a nomination for the Best Actress Oscar, then the Golden Globe, which she one for Best Actress, Drama. But she lost the Oscar to Cher. Sally was roughly Melissa’s age, and “Anna” was her only Oscar chance. She never had a shot like that again. And I know Sally. She never got over this loss.

Melissa Leo was in a completely different position this year being the front runner in the Best Supporting Actress category. And having won the Broadcast Film Critics, then the Golden Globe, then the SAG awards all in that category. She seemes unstoppable until she took out those self-bought ads.

People think they’re tacky. But Melissa is even more beautiful than those ads. They were a bit “Dynasty”-esque…but the point is Who told her to do this? Where was her management? Did she have a personal publicist who TOLD her to do this? If so, WHO WAS THIS IDIOT!?!

But I maintain that it wasn’t just the ads, it’s what she then started saying to of all people Nicki Finke’s www.deadlinehollywood.com via Pete Hammond. That article really did her in. Why? Because the ads and this Hammond/Finke rant blindsided Paramount, who is the distributor of “The Fighter.”

And then she says it all over again to The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Appello. www.hollywoodreporter.com

Read it and weep.

I totally sympathesize with her personally. She’s 50. The same age, BTW as Best Actor Frontrunner, Colin Firth(the King of “King’s Speech”) and she can’t get a magazine cover. In fact, she’s not even PICTURED or MENTIONED in Vanity Fair’s must-buy Hollywood Issue.

Hailee Steinfeld gets a paired color PAGE, paired with Elle Fanning, under the headline “The Old Souls”. Helena Bonham-Carter gets a whole page to herself, looking quite bananas, but then that’s her thing these days evidently. But she can get away with it. She’s British. She’s eccentric.

But the most shocking reaction to this is the speed with which Paramount yanked their “Fighter” ads, which DID feature Melissa as heavily as they featured Christian Bale, who, sorry to say, is the frontrunner in Best Supporting Actor.

Christian is no walk-in-the-park in terms of his relationship with the press. But at this moment Melissa-gate is making him look like Bambi.

So then last night, the ads made a sudden re-appearance, withOUT Melissa!?!?! But WITH Christian!!! IOW, Paramount cut her out of their own pictures promotion!!!

Paramount, meanwhile, to those not paying attention to this sort of thing, Paramount has THREE of the Best Supporting Actress nominees out of five this year. Hailee Steinfeld from “True Grit” and ALSO Amy Adams from “The Fighter.” The other two nominees are Helena Bonham-Carter for “The King’s Speech” and Jackie Weaver from “The Animal Kingdom.”

Melissa Leo’s Self-Bought Oscar Ads=Career Suicide?

Oh, no, she didn’t!

Yes, she did.

Supporting Actress frontrunner Melissa Leo has just taken out a considerable amount of personal ads for herself in Hollywood Trade Papers and on movie news sites like “Deadline:Hollywood” where she talked to their Pete Hammond and basically blindsided Paramount, then slammed them(specifically studio execs and publicists) to Hammond for her not landing on magazine covers at this crucial time of the year.

You can read the entire run-down and blow-by-blow history of what Melissa just did to her almost assured Oscar win (she won the Golden Globe, the Broadcast Film Critics and the Screen Actors Guild Award)at www.deadlinehollywood.com and the article is entitled “Melissa Leo Goes Rogue with her own Oscar ad campaign.)

Pete Hammond in a very well researched piece runs down the history of actors who have done this and upon re-reading it, I noticed that not one of these results in an Oscar win. Nominations, yes. But not a win.

But Melissa already HAD the nomination.

And she says she “discussed it with my management” and I can’t imagine her manager, Jason Weinberg, who is considered one of the best in the business, letting her do this. But perhaps he couldn’t stop the determined fire-brand.

I knew Melissa when she was young and a great beauty, and a fiery red-head and ALREADY, I thought, a great actress. And she still is. She’s just grown and grown. But she’s 50 now and quite brilliant, but over-the-top in “The Fighter” as Alice Ecklund, the monstrous manager mom with an innumerable brood of bruising offspring, including fighters Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.

It’s considered, FYI, by the Academy, who is sometimes very prim and proper about these delicate issues of acting nominees advertising themselves, it’s considered bad form.

It’s not illegal, according to their rules, but it’s just- well- not done.

And I don’t think it’s EVER been done by someone who already has a stash of precursor awards already on her shelf.

Why why why did she do this? And THEN knock Paramount, who has taken out TV ads, very expensively,  which highlight her performance and Christian Bale’s?

And blind side them, and then knock Paramount and Relativity Media and their publicists to NICKI FINKE?????

I guess, as I re-read the article that her management just couldn’t stop her or thought that it wouldn’t matter. But she just lost ALLLLL of Paramount’s substantial studio support in terms of their AMPAS members voting for her and that ESPECIALLY includes their publicists, who are probably FURIOUS about this, to them, seeming betrayal. And all these people are probably voting members of the Academy.

Not smart.

And perhaps fatal.

A few votes in a four way Oscar category that is now blown wide open by this, a few votes this way or that  could go to her OTHER Paramount Supporting Actress nominees, Amy Adams, also for “The Fighter” and Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit.”

At Movieline, with their funny, interesting Oscar graphs, www.movieline.com

I was surprised to find Melissa and Hailee Steinfeld listed as a TIE!?!

Everyone thought she was a front-runner, except Melissa herself.

I noticed she wasn’t on the cover of Entertainment Weekly’s Oscar Issue. It had a banner across the top which contained YES! Amy Adams AND Hailee Steinfeld AND Natalie Portman, but no Melissa!!!!

THEN, on the cover of Vanity Fair’s always much-hyped and extremely popular Hollywood(read Oscar issue) once again, Melissa is no where to be found. But visible, past the first fold, is an unrecognizable Jennifer Lawrence, who is nominated for(but doesn’t deserve it)”Winter’s Bone” as Best Actress, then also-rans Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde and then on the third fold, Rashida Jones(WHO????) and finally right on the edge and about to fall off Noomi Rapace in a dazzling purple gown, when everyone else is wearing black and white.

But no Melissa.

Also on the inside I couldn’t easily find her, although there were plenty o’ Oscar nominees VERY beautifully photographed. Colin Firth, for instance, driving a car, in a beautiful color-desatureated  Cary Grant close-up, with the caption “The King of Pain” There’s full-page, distinguished-looking CU, too of a bearded but cleaned-up Christian Bale called “The Shape Shifter” and a full-color close-up shot of an embracing HAILEE STEINFELD and Elle Fanning entitled “The Old Souls”, and entire article on Mark Walhberg with pictures. many pictures, but NO MELISSA ANYWHERE!

That, coupled with this weekend’s coming BAFTA awards in London, where Melissa was famously snubbed, but Amy Adams and Hailee Steinfeld made it in, probably sent Melissa over the edge and into her “rogue”(Nicki Finke’s word) mentality, to do this…

Amy Adams, in must be said, is also not pictured, in VF. That I could easily find. And it is Amy Adams who gets the first layout and two page color spread in “Entertainment Weekly” in the Best Supporting Actress section of their Oscar issue.

These exclusions and magazine placements send coded messages to the Academy like “THESE are the stars.” and these other are not…

And David Karger of EW, who if Sasha Stone is my Oscar Goddess, then Dave is my Oscar God, has switched his Best Supporting Actress pick from Melissa to Hailee Steinfeld!

Uh, oh…

And at the BAFTA Helena Bonham-Carter will win in the Best Supporting Actress category for “The King’s Speech”(it;s expected to sweep all 16 categories that it’s nominated in) and she WILL make a moving, funny, quirky acceptance speech( a la Tilda Swinto) that will be televised and You Tube-ed round the world. Helena is the one to beat in this category, IMHO. Not Hailee, Not Amy. And Melissa isn’t even nominated. (and how many times have I typed Hailee Steinfeld, in the article, and I CAN’T STAND HER. What’s happening to me?)

And I just wish Melissa had not done this. She didn’t need to.

But with three strong competitors in Supporting Actress, Amy Adams in her own movie, Hailee Steinfeld and Helena Bonham-Carter, Melissa has done herself a great disservice.

Oh, Melissa, what have you done? You don’t bite the hand that hypes you.

Best Supporting Actress~Unknown Aussie Jackie Weaver’s Uphill Fight

I have to say thank you to Sony who IMMEDIATELY sent me a screener of “Animal Kingdom” Right as soon as I mentioned that I hadn’t seen it ~ in the previous post yet!

And I couldn’t believe it! But the power of This Humble Blog grows and grows! And I IMMEDIATELY set everything aside to watch it! And it sucked…

I’m sorry to say. And David Poland of www.moviecitynews.com was right when he said  in his Hot Blog that Jackie Weaver has no chance at an Oscar nomination. The film is not very good at all. In fact, it’s downright bad. And Ms. Weaver is better than everybody else, but that isn’t saying much.

And her character whom someone refers to early in the film as “Grandma Smurf” is pretty much exactly that. She’s quirky, odd. Very eccentric looking and she’s does POP as it were against her dreary, murky Australian underworld/suburban background. And she’s the only one you remember vs. her many Aussie gangster sons. I could barely understand what any of them were saying, their accents were so thick, the film really could’ve used sub-titles.

And it was a good idea of Sony Pictures Classics to send out the DVD so early in the awards season to the various members of the various voting bodies. Because, that, and nothing else really landed Jackie Weaver this odd-ball win. But apart from a few big scenes at the end of this ENDLESS film, she really doesn’t get to grandstand until nearly all her sons are dead…and then, well, not so much…but you do remember her. But  voters are going to have to wade through most of a very tedious, confusing(which son just got shot?)schlog before they’re rewarded(sort of) with Weaver’s good scenes at the very end of the film.

But it isn’t “an Academy performance.” And I don’t think she’ll be nominated. Not in a film that’s as bad as “Animal Kingdom,” A box-office dud,  from early in the year, AND it’s unintelligible. Those ACCENTS!

Not when you have two terrific performances in “The Fighter” that could go into this category, always the weirdest, but I personally have always loved it. Best Supporting Actress that is. That would be Amy Adams and Melissa Leo also doing heavy accents. This time hailing from the slums of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Melissa Leo’s monstrous mother Alice Ward in ” The Fighter” is similar to Jackie Weaver’s Australian Ma Barker, but Leo is better. And so is Amy Adams. And so is the wonderful Helena Bonham-Carter in “The King’s Speech.”

Helena BC also has great turns in “Alice” AND “Harry Potter” as I’ve said previously. AND she’s been nominated before. As Melissa Leo was last year for “Frozen River” and Amy Adamas – twice for Supporting in “Junebug” and “Doubt.” Helena also was nominated for “Howard’s End” a long time ago. And now that she’s married to Hollyweird’s own Tim Burton, she’s definitely on the Academy’s “to do” list. In the sense that she’s never won.

Also always a bridesmaid and not yet a bride is Kristen Scott Thomas for “Nowhere Boy,” a biopic about the young life of a pre-Beatles John Lennon.

Scott is unrecognizable as Lennon’s prim and proper aunt Mimi. And Anne-Marie Duff is just as good as Lennon’s crazy biological mother, Julia. Both were nominated for the BAFTAS last year. either won. Mo’nique did….And Scott-Thomas was nominated for Best Actress for “The English Patient.” Which won every award in the book a few years back, when Harvey Weinstein really WAS the King of the World.

And let us not forget the beauteous Marion Cotillard in the mind-blowing “Inception.”

There’s also Miranda Richardson for “Made in Dagenham.” A film which I loved, personally, but seems to be fading with the public….Too British….IF a film can ever be said to be “too British.”

And Leslie Manville’s WIN for Best Actress from the National Board of Review is pretty much going to guarantee that Sony Pictures Classics, who has SOOOOO many of these marvelous women in their wheelhouse this year, is PROBABLY going to just go on campaigning for her in the Leading Actress category.

Maybe Natalie Portman and Annette Bening will cancel each other out and Manville will win the Oscar, too….But probably given the SWORM’s propensity for voting for cute young women to win Best Actress…Manville’s memorable Mary is probably too much like they would be voting for their wives. If you know what I mean.

And then there’s Naomi Watts sooooo wonderful in”Mother and Child”. And now comes Hailee Stanfield, the girl with the pigtails, in “True Grit” which I haven’t seen yet. People are talking her up for Supporting. But she’s a complete unknown…and they’ve held the film back for soooo long…Sometimes that strategy backfires…

Like I haven’t seen it yet. It’s the last one of the majors. And now it’s time for me to yell at Paramount! Hey Paramount! I have to do my Year’s Ten Best List VERY soon and you haven’t let me see your “True Grit!”

Let’s see if I get a response to THIS scream!

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