a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Quentin Tarantino’

Who Will Harvey Pick? He’s Got THREE Best Supp. Actors

It’s raining/sleeting/snowing in NYC, but to continue with my train of thought since the last post… Who will Harvey Weinstein pick of his threesome of Best Supporting Actors to push, push, push to Oscar gold?

I guess it was noticed that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was MIA to pick up, or even show up, for the Awards shows this past week. I think he’s rather furious that he’s been relegated to Supporting Actor, for what clearly was a co-lead in the flop “The Master.” So he’s not being super-co-operative. Or PSH is seeing the handwriting on the wall and it’s not spelling HIS name.

I think it’s spelling Robert Deniro’s. Yes, for the audience-friendly “Silver Linings Playbook,” which is only now going wide.The box-office for “SLP” has not being overwhelming to say the least. It’s a difficult, quirky comedy. Or dramedy. And it’s a small, domestic-arguement kind of film. It doesn’t have the range or scope of the epics of this year, “Les Miserables”, or “Argo” or “Zero Dark Thirty” or “Lincoln.”

The “Lincoln” camp is quaking in their boots. Getting “Hilary Clinton’s husband,”to quote the super sharp Amy Poehler, the evening’s resoundingly successful co-host (along with Tina Fey), to introduce the “Lincoln” clip was the act of a desperate group of people. In this case, Disney. They NEVER have run a successful Oscar campaign. Look at how they botched “The Help” last year.

Their sledge-hammer approach cost Viola Davis her Oscar bid last year. They got Best Supporting Actress for “The Help”s Octavia Spenser, but Best Supp. ANYthing is always considered by the Academy as a consolation prize. It’s just not as important as Best ACTOR and Best ACTRESS and now, this year, Best Director.

Liked Anne Hathaway’s seeming slam-dunk lock for “Les Miserables” That category is effectively closed. Give it up, Sally Field.

But back to Harvey. HE KNOWS how to run an Oscar campaign, and he’s relentless in its’ pursuit. Only this year’s ponies, as my idol Tom O’Neil would say over at http://www.goldderby.com, are not the thoroughbreds he was pushing in the past two historic years when he had “The Artist” and “The King’s Speech.” “SLP” is just NOT as good a film as the two recent Oscar winners, who were both Weinstein Co. productions.

Personally, I think he’s going to go after “Silver Linings Playbook” anyway for the win. Or as many wins as he can get for it. Main among them, Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress. She already just won Best Actress Comedy at the Globes, but that was ALLLL “SLP” won, no matter how hard Harvey & Co. were campaigning for it. Next up, the SAG Awards, for which Robert Deniro IS nominated, in Supp.

And that means the twice-Oscared, but never SAGed DeNiro could be looking at HIS third Oscar and HE’S campaigning! Something he NEVER does.IOW, he’s co-operating with Harvey’s Oscar vision for “SLP”.

HW COULD prevail for DeNiro, who, let’s face it is a bona fide Oscar legend, and we’ll just see who out of the current Weinstein Co. stable DOES win Best Supporting Actor.

The co-operative Christophe Waltz won his second Golden Globe in two years, thanks to Harvey, for “Django Unchained.” And who gives the Best Performance out of Hoffman, DeNiro and Waltz. I’d say it was Waltz. And that may happen at the Oscars, too. He may duplicate his win as will, I think Quentin Tarantino in Best Original Screenplay.

Harvey Weinstein KNOWS how to run an Oscar campaign. Disney does not. And Neither does Fox, who has “Life of Pi” and also neither does Universal, who has “Les Miserables” which SHOULD be the winner IMHO. But alllll these majors, the studios, just aren’t USED to winning Oscars anymore. It’s like they were all born yesterday and only Harvey and the Weinstein Co. know what they are doing….And that’s just the way it is this year, ladies and gente-persons, dear readers, dear cineastes.

Except for the fly in the ointment, “Argo”.

You can’t have TWO Davids v. one Goliath. Like “SLP” AND “Argo” v. Goliath “Lincoln.” So which of “Argo” and “SLP” is the “Little Film That Could”? The Oscar question of the morning.

DGA Nominations! Most Important Predictor Nominations of All!

Here there are – Thanks to Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com

Ben Affleck – “Argo”
Tom Hooper – “Les Miserables”
Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”
Ang Li – “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg – “Lincoln”

The Director’s Guild are the most accurate and also most important of all the precursor awards nominations. They match up with the Oscar nominations usually five for five, or at the very least four for five.

Since the ballots voting for the Oscars were all due in on Friday, and nothing received late after the cut-off date will be considered, and since this is the first year that the voting closed BEFORE the DGA noms were announced, we have a unique situation. But maybe not THAT unique, since it is pretty assured that the Oscar noms are gonna go to these guys.

David O. Russell’s controversial hot-head reputation is still following him, I think. And this means “Silver Linings Playbook” a comedy, is not going to win Best Picture.

Also this is the first time in at least three years or more, even, that the Weinstein Co. does not have a pony in this derby as Tom O’Neil would say.I’m sure Tom O. has A LOT to say about this at http://www.goldderby.com

And since O.Russell did also NOT get a Golden Globe nomination he’s pretty much out on his ass.

Also, replacing Quentin Tarantino for “Django Unchained” is “Les Miserables” wunderkind Tom Hooper. I thought the uber-violent “Django” wouldn’t resonate with Academy types, but since this is NOT the Academy, but a separate voting body, the Director’s Guild, you can bet that if THEY with their much larger membership didn’t like it, the Academy won’t either.

This snub might hurt the three purported Best Supporting Actors from “Django” Leonardo DiCaprio, Christophe Waltz(who has an Oscar already) and Samuel L.Jackson.

This also reduces “Silver Linings Playbook” in other categories, too, perhaps. Only Jennifer Lawrence is a lock. In Best Actress.

This also bodes well, very well for “Les Miserables”. The DGA a small, very snobby group, to be sure, like, REALLY likes what recent DGA winner Tom Hooper did with the radical re-thinking of the musical numbers in “Les Miz.” Me? I’ve seen it FOUR times! And maybe means that for instance, in the Supporting Actor category, Eddie Redmayne may get in and the “Django” guyz remaine chained.

Quentin Tarantino supposed respect in Hwood, does not extend to the Director’s Guild. Wait a minute! Does he even belong to it

And all the controversy surrounding “Zero Dark Thirty” did not hurt Ms. Bigelow one bit. Whereas the “Django” controversy did.

And congrats to Tom Hooper! He named me the Oscar Messenger after all! This is a big step forward for “Les Miz”! Yay!

Oscar Maxims of Harvey Weinstein, Advice Taken and Not Taken

How dull would the Awards season be, that is now going full-throttle, well, at least the publicists are, during the holidays this year( more like Holidaze) because of the ridiculously truncated Oscar nomination voting period? How dull would it be withOUT OscarMeister Harvey Weinstein to continually spice things up?

Harvey has a couple of Oscar rules, I’ve gleaned over the years, more like Maxims, really. Words to the wise (if anyone’s really listening, and I know the Oscar strategists are, AND Scott Feinberg (*waves* to Scott) 1) The picture that is seen LAST has the most impact. And 2) Only one nominee(from the Weinstein Co.) in each category.

He certainly seems to have applied Maxim 1) to “Django Unchained” opening as it did strangely on Christmas Day, but the box-office and critical accolades seem to bear out Harvey’s wisdom in this case. I beg to differ on this one, but the Golden Globes nominated it all over the place. Though the SAGs did not get their screeners for “Django” in time, it is said. So no SAG nominations.

Started reading Liz Smith’s “diary” i.e., blog, i.e., column in the http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com and she says about the Hollywood Foreign Press something to the effect that “Who are these people? Nobody you’d ever know, except that once a year the come together to get everyone’s attention.”(I’m paraphrasing) i.e. the Golden Globe Awards.

And Harvey plays the HFPA like a symphony. So, of COURSE, they are going to award his “Django” with a Best Picture, Best Director(Quentin Tarantino), and two Best Supporting Actor noms(Christophe Waltz AND Leonardo DiCaprio). Leo and Christophe may cancel each other out. And THEN who would win? Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”? Jones does seem ahead at the moment. His main competition, “The Master”s Phillip Seymour Hoffman is slipping every day. And NOT because of Hoffman’s stupendous performance. And “The Master” is ALSO a Harvey film. So he has THREE in this category! Which probably means that Jones does get it, because the THREE Weinsteins, may be just way too many nominees.

But right there in this past paragraph you can see that Harvey just contradicted himself big time. So while Maxim1 worked for “Django” with the Globes and at the Box-Office, Maxim 2 got him THREE nominees in the SAME category, something he  always says he wants to avoid. Some may call it an embarassment of riches, but Leo and Waltz and Hoffman could cancel each other out.

It seems HIGHLY unlikely to me that the Academy is going to embrace “Django” on any level. It’s just toooo bloody. One of the most violent films I’ve ever seen in the Oscar race. AND director Quentin Tarantno isn’t due.

The Golden Globes are really not a good indicator of anything anymore, except trouble. THEY are the main reasons for this shortened voting period. AMPAS wants to get the Oscar nominations out FIRST, BEFORE the Golden Globes are held. Which they will be doing, effectively trumping the GGs from having ANY influence on the Oscar nominations themselves, which are announced on Tues. Jan.10 this year. Sooooo early. The earliest ever. And making voters jam all their holidaze with viewing screeners.

There is said to have been more Oscar-oriented parties in L.A. this year than ever. I don’t know. I’m not there. I’m only reporting. In New York, it’s been more or less status quo, as far as that’s concerned, as far as I can see.

But this shortened voting period means the over-burdened Oscar voters have LESS time to see everything they have to see. So what do they do? They choose to see The BIG Must-Sees like probably “Les Miserables”, “Lincoln”, “Argo”, “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Life of Pi” and maybe even “Django” too. Others, like the suddenly on the cusp(and yes, it’s a Harvey film, too) “Silver Linings Playbook” and on down the line-up, may get seen less. Simply because there’s less time.

And speaking of “Silver Linings Playbook” I think it will win Jennifer Lawrence Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for the Globes. But in the Best Director category, SLP’s director David O. Russell got knocked out by – wait for it! Quentin Tarantino!!! So yes, that Maxim #2 really is something to go by.

Will O. Russell get Oscar nominated, like he was just a couple of years back for “The Fighter”?

I’m thinking not. And we don’t have any DGAs to guide us, as in previous years, because yes, they, too, won’t announce their five ALL IMPORTANT nominees til, yes, that’s right, AFTER the Oscar nominations are announced on the 10th.

Speaking of the 10th. if I were in L.A. and covering the nominations, they occur there at 5:30AM( here, EST, it’s at 8:30AM on the morning news shows) then THAT NIGHT there are the BFCA, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards which are USUALLY the most predictive of the Oscar race. That is ONE long day for all the nominees and everyone else involved. Phew!

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 Campaign for Christopher Plummer Begins With “Beginners”!

Is too soon to talk about Oscar races? Not if you ask Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone over at Awardsdaily, OR if you ask anyone at Focus. Focus Features has gotten VERY savvy about how to turn indie Oscar seekers’ hopes into Academy reality, esp.with Gay-themed features. Like last year’s unlikely Best Picture Nominee~ “The Kids Are All Right.” And now timed just right, for Gay Pride month a beautiful, sweet film “Beginners” just may WIN Christopher Plummer his first Oscar! At age 80-something!

Hale, hearty and handsome, and happy to be being interviewed by the likes of gay ole me, Plummer admitted to me this morning at the Waldorf Astoria that I was much gayer than the character he plays in “Beginners”!

Mike Mills, who directed “Thumbsuckers” another Indie with our mutual love goddess Tilda Swinton as one of its’ many stars, (It also included Keanu Reeves and Benjamin Bratt), has done a lovely job of creating a sweet memory piece about his father. This is a true story. Plummer plays Dad. And Ewan MacGregor plays his startled, but VERY understanding and patient grown son, Mill’s stand-in. Melanie Laurent, the beauteous French actress, who burnt down the house with her incendiary performance in Quentin Tarentino’s “Inglourious Basterds” a couple of seasons back, is MacGregor’s love interest.

And Melanie told me in her beautiful French accent(she had a translator present just in case) that “If we save one life from this film, that shows that homosexuality can be accepted as part of life, then we’ll have done something good.”

And this film is so touchingly, achingly beautiful, and meaningful, I think “Beginners” will go on to do just that. And hopefully win Christopher Plummer his first Oscar for his role of the 75-year-old Out and Proud Gay Dad. He also gets to die in this film of Stage Four Cancer. Oscar likes death scenes, too.

And since Focus is so wisely putting him in Supporting this year, a category he COULD prevail in, well, I just think he will.

Christopher Plummer is a great stage and screen actor whose career spans over 50 years. “The Sound of Music” another Oscar winner for Best Picture, back in the day, was his first wide-screen success back in the ’60s.

He was nominated the year before last for his ferocious Leo Tolstoy in “The Last Station.” Helen Mirren was, too. As his over-the-top wife. And I asked him if he thought she was Too OTT as the flamboyant Russian countess and he said, “No. I thought she was restrained. She could have done so much more.”

Which if you have seen “The Last Station” is a very funny comment indeed.

And “Beginners” also resonates because it’s the first film to really deal with gays in their ’70s. Judging by Christopher Plummer’s vibrant Mel, we can all look forward to a rollicking good time!

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