a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Rachel Weisz’

Golden Globes Nominations Out! “Boy, Erased” Gets Two! Lucas Hedges Best Actor. Drama!


This year’s Golden Globes Nominations have just been announced. And they seem to be earlier than ever. The LA Film Critics haven’t even announced yet! So here they are. And for a complete list go to http://www.awardsdaily.com. I’m just over the moon that my #1 film of the year was remembered twice. The incredible Lucas Hedges got nominated in Best Actor, Drama for “Boy, Erased.” It also got nommed for Best Song.

This is what Lucas had to say about this,

“I honestly didn’t expect this and am completely thrilled. Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press for this incredible nomination. I loved playing Marlo, so this is a real honor.”

The 21-year-old phenom is currently on Broadway in Kenneth Lonergan’s “The Waverly Gallery” and so he can’t do the usual glad-handing and campaigning that has become an inevitable, and necessary, component of this Awards’ race.

No stranger to the Golden Globes and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who give them out, Lucas was up two years ago in Supporting for “Manchester by the Sea,” also by the superb author/director Kenneth Lonergan.

It should also be noted that the HFPA nominated both gay characters in “Can You Ever Forgive Me” played by Melissa McCarthy (Lead actress) and Richard E. Grant (Supporting). as well as all three lesbian characters in “The Favourite” played by Olivia Coleman(Lead) and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz(supporting.)

The Golden Globes become more and more important every year and this year they seem more on point than ever. And they certainly are a hoot and half to watch. And they very often are extremely predictive of the Oscars. Academy voters use the Golden Globe lists as a cheat sheet. Their inclusion on this list will mean the films will be watched and discussed. And in the case of “Boy, Erased,” which is about the heinous practice of gay conversion therapy, which is still legal in over thirty states, it is IMPORTANT and timely.

Post-script: the other Masterpiece that’s out there this year, “Roma” was nominated for Best Foreign Film, because it’s in Spanish. Alfonso Cuaron was nominated as Best Director and  Best Screenplay. And if there was an award for Best Cinematography, he’d be nominated for that, too,  for the stunning Black and White footage that he shot entirely himself!

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.

I See “Hitchcock” for the THIRD Time! Helen Mirren for Best Actress!

Seeing the wonderful “Hitchcock” again for the THIRD time, in light of the recent Golden Globe & SAG nominations, where Dame Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, Hitchcock’s late unsung wife, delighted me once again, and in ways I didn’t expect.

The Sat.nite NYC audience was very appreciative and laughed more than at the other two very packed press screenings I saw it at previously. And THIS time it also again got applause at the end! And this from the paying public!?

Something really good is going on here that maybe most critics have overlooked. It PLEASES  audiences, just as Hitchcock’s films did. The audience was always in the fore-front of Hitchcock’s mind.

I was enchanted all over again and was more impressed than ever with Helen Mirren’s marvelously layered, intelligent portrayal as Hitchcock’s real life wife, who was his greatest and until now unknown collaborator. Editor, writer, wife, critic, she gave Hitchcock her all and never asked for any credit and “didn’t want any” to quote director Sascha Gervasi.

You can see my interview with him lower in this blog, and also at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow bien sur.

Mirren really dominated the film tonight in a way I hadn’t noticed her doing before. Before it had seem like a balanced duet between these two great actors. But tonight it struck me for the first time as Alma’s film. She seems the dominant one in the relationship, oddly, and not him. At home, he seems if not hen-pecked, then strangely passive, or submissive, next to Mirren’s fiery red-headed Alma.

Also since I saw “Hitchcock” last I read the Steve Rubello book it’s based on “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Pyscho.” And interestingly, there’s one, whole chapter on Ed Gein, the opening chapter of the book. And not ONE on Alma! Director Gervasi and his screenwriter really did take it upon themselves to make this Alma’s story, Her Time To Shine, since even Rubello dismisses or overlooks her in his book. Just as she always has been heretofore.

And seeing it tonight with a paying audience of civilian movie-goers, I came away more sure than ever that Dame Helen Mirren was going to get yet ANOTHER Oscar nomination for playing Alma Hitchcock. And the Golden Globes and the SAGs agree with me.

Also in Mirren’s favor is that fact that she is playing a REAL PERSON. A woman, who, historically, has been sinfully overlooked. And so not only is Mirren delivering a powerhouse performance on all levels and looking fabulous at nearly 70 and often in a bathing suit, doing so,she is reclaiming this lost woman’s story, and it’s a great and important one, for the ages. And what an original screen female character Alma Reville Hitchcock is!

Hitchock complains on the imaginary psychiatirist couch to his evil angel, the ghost of Mass Murderer Ed Gein, that he never got an Oscar, and well, I think this year the Academy is going to correct that by giving his smart, stylish, unheralded wife an Oscar nomination. A posthumous recognition, but recognition still.

Helen Mirren also has the advantage in that Alma Reville Hitchcock is a totally unknown personality to us. We know she had a posh British accent, but we don’t know how she walked, talked or “used her hands” as Dame Helen put it in an interview. So Mirren was free to create this most original character of this most original woman out of whole cloth. And we accept and applaud the authority and precision with which she protrays her.

And you know the Oscars, they’ve got to have a Dame somewhere at the Oscars. And Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench are also in the mix. But of the three Dame Heleln’s is the most vivid performance.

But strangely, Sir Anthony Hopkins, however, was left out of both the important precursor nominations the GG and the SAGS. What to make of that? Well, it’s a very crowded Best Actor race this year. But his performance is so touching and multi-faceted,acting under what looks like MOUNTAINS of latex make-up and the fattest of fat suits, that the Academy may reward him, too, with a nomination.

The Best Actress race is wide open, still, with Naomi Watts perhaps muddying the waters with “The Impossible.” Keira Knightley’s nomination should be called the Impossible, which is a shame. For the controversial, deconstructed “Anna Karenina.”

The only locks are still the $400 million dollar girl Jennifer Lawrence who has the “Hunger Games” in her favor, although it is the “Silver Linings Playbook” that she is likely to be nominated for, and Jessica Chastain for her stoic CIA operative in “Zero Dark Thirty”. Marion Cotillard is looking pretty solid, still, as I’ve said all along since I saw at TIFF ’12, her marvelous, miraculous performances as double amputee in “Rust and Bone” and then there’s Rachel Weisz, coming up on the outside in a small British Indie “Deep Blue Sea,” which I saw at TIFF’11.

Weisz already has an Oscar (For “The Constant Gardener”), and so do Cotillard and Mirren, for “La Vie En Rose” and “The Queen” respectively. But I think it’s now ~

1. Jennifer Lawrence

2. Jessica Chastain

3. Marion Cotillard

4. Helen Mirren

5. Rachel Weisz

“The Impossible” is not doing well in this, its’ Opening Weekend, and if that continues, poor Naomi Watts will be a wash as well, in this suddenly contentious category.

Rachel Weisz Wins Best Actress in Surprise Vote from the NYFCC!

There were several BIG surprises when the New York Film Critics Circle, after five reportedly contentious hours of voting, announced their winners.

Biggest among them was the shockeroo of Matthew McConaughey winning Best Supporting Actor for “Bernie” and “Magic Mike”!?!

When I saw that stat come up I could NOT take the rest of their voting seriously. First of all, both films are comedies, and second MMcC. was not THAT good in either.

I saw “Bernie” recently on a DVD screener I was sent and his performance as the Sheriff of the town in question barely registered with me. It was adequate. Just barely. And speaking of barely!

“Magic Mike”!?!? Are they kidding?!?!

That film was barely watchable and NOT because it was about male strippers…I think they did the subject a disservice. If that’s even possible.

They were all gorgeous to look at, natch, but boy! When they started to ACT!?! And that includes YOU Mr.McC! Oy vay! Bad acting at that magnitude = boredom. This film that I really thought I was the target audience for,  put me to sleep.

And it wasn’t the stripping. It was the rest of the film. And, oh yeah, male strippers are all straight. I don’t think so.

Dull, dull, duh….

However Rachel Weisz beating out the touted “front-runners” Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook” and Jessica Chastain of “Zero Dark Thirty.” I REALLY thought that they were either of them going to take this, but o no, they dinn’t. So much for punditry. I don’t think J. Law is going to get ANY of these critics prizes coming up. I don’t think she’ll get the LA Film Critics and don’t think the National Board of Review will go with her, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marion Cotillard or Emmnuelle Riva turned up in either race.

And Rachel Weisz’ performance was superb. I loved that movie “The Deep Blue Sea” and I loved her in it. I saw it at Toronto TWO years ago! And interviewed rising co-star Tom Hiddleston, and the wonderful director Terence Davies. I even got to connect with Terence AGAIN in NYC. But neither time I did I to talk to the magnificent Rachel Weisz.

I really look forward to connecting with this super-smart Oscar winner for “The Constant Gardener” some day.  I know it seems to you all that I’ve interviewed EVERYBODY in show business at this point, as my TV show nears its’ 25th year…Yes, it’s true…I can’t believe it myself…*sigh*

But I wonder if this will catapult her into the actual Oscar Bactress race itself, though…The Hollywood Reporter wisely included her in their Best Actress Roundtable, and Scott Feinberg had her in his “A Few Minutes with Feinberg” in the Race section of http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com. He also had Matthew McC. come to think of it…

I can’t believe I’m writing about Rachel Weisz and Matthew McConaughey in the same sentence!

Next up the National Board of Review. They’re choices are always….well, gay-er than springtime, as is their membership. So I look forward to that. If Matthew McConaughey wins THERE, TOO! Uh-OH!

Matthew McConaughey over Phillip Seymour Hoffman?!? I just don’t believe it.

ANOTHER surprise was their awarding Katherine Bigelow best director for “Zero Dark Thirty.” Which won the Top Honor, Best Picture, and also Best Cinematography, too. I see that in two days. I see “Les Miserables” FINALLY tomorrow! Can’t wait!

“Bourne Legacy” I Go Back Into a Movie House.

Yes, yes, I finally am conquering my fears of being in a big ole movie house and I returned to the cinema, AMC’s Lincoln Square, the one of the biggest movie complexes in NYC and I saw, much to my great surprise, “The Bourne Legacy” and even more surprising, I liked it!

I have been resisting the impulse to return to a public movie house since the tragedy in Colorado. ANOTHER one….And yes, for a while, a short while to some, but not to a film critic, I overcame my fear, and returned. And yes, things have changed.

Two policemen next to the press desk. Burly body-guard types checking bags more thoroughly, it seemed, than before. Taking people’s cell phones. But this was an all media screening, and except for the policemen, it was usual procedure.

Not having a cell phone, I just breezed on through and got an aisle seat. But I found myself checking the emergency exits as I sat there and waited and waited for the film to begin. And when it finally DID begin, I actually enjoyed it!

“The Bourne Legacy” was not my cup of tea, but I came out really quite thrilled and was totally engrossed in this terrific, highly paced, very well done actioner, starring Jeremy Renner now as Aaron Cross. No Matt Damon. He’s referred to obliquely, but not seen, except in passport file photos. And the stupendous Rachel Weisz, proves she’s just as much an action hero as her husband James Bond, Daniel Craig, of course. This film reveals that the duo have more in common than I ever imagined.

You can totally see them kicking ass together and foiling arch-villains in their future in tandem. And I was enjoying it so much, it took me totally by surprise, that I forgot whatever fears had kept me away from seeing anything in the past few weeks.

I love movies. I still love movies, and I am still capable of having them overwhelm me and absorb me, and RELAX me, in the most unexpected ways. “Bourne Legacy” really has it all, and Jeremy Renner, whom I’ve interviewed really comes through, once again, as simply somebody you care about. He brings to the “Bourne” franchise the same relatability that he brought to “The Hurt Locker.” He involves you. He’s not the handsomest movie star ever, but boy can those huge baby blue eyes pull you in. And Rachel Weisz! She kicks ass and karate chops and runs like a demon with the best of them. And the two of them together! POWERHOUSE! A new screen POWER COUPLE! And they rocked and owned “The Bourne Legacy” totally.
And I was very glad they did.

TIFF ’11 Lists, Best, Worst, Couldn’t Get In To See, etc.

So, in short form,(I hope) some TIFF lists ~

Best Film – Machine Gun Preacher

Runner-Up- The Artist, Drive, The Skin I Live In, Coriolanus

Best Actor – Gerard Butler in “Machine Gun Preacher”

Runner-ups- Ryan Gosling “Drive,” Ralph Fiennes in “Coriolanus”, Jean Dujardin “The Artist”

Best Actress – Elena Anaya “The Skin I Live In” (Pedro Almodovar’s hot new film)

Runner-Up- Tilda Swinton “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin,; Rachel Weisz “The Deep Blue Sea”

Best Supporting Actor- Gerard Butler “Coriolanus”

Runner-Up – Tom Hiddleston & Simon Russell Beale in “Deep Blue Sea”, that adorable  little dog in “The Artist”

Best Supporting Actress- Vanessa Redgrave “Coriolanus”

Runner-Ups – Marisa Peredes in “The Skin I Live In”, Tammy Blanchard in “Union Square,” Berenice Bejos “The Artist”

Worst TIFF “Rendition”-like Bomb (It died in one TIFF screening) – “A Dangerous Method”

Films I Tried to See, But Couldn’t – “Shame”, “Descendants”, “Albert Nobbs”

Hoping to See Soon – “The Ides of March”

Couldn’t Care Less About Seeing – “Moneyball”

“Deep Blue Sea” at TIFF with Rachel Weisz, deeply moving & beautiful British film

One of my favourite directors, Liverpudlian Terence Davies has made what is probably going to be his most accessible film ever, “The Deep Blue Sea.” A “classic” British play by Terence Rattigan from the ’40s, Davies has photographed and cinematized it to a fare thee well.

Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz is just heaven as the conflicted heroine, a Lady, who goes by the name Mrs. Page,  who is having an extramarital affair and who has left her Lordship, her husband for a hot young British army guy, Tom Huddleston. And at the time and place, London during the Blitz, this is something that is just not done. She is caught therefore between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. And Weisz contributes yet again another indelible performance. Along with her “Whistleblower” earlier this year; she is an actress who enchants and can play virtually any role, any emotion. She’s one of the great ones and is a pleasure to watch on-screen, always.

The film starts with her character turning on the gas fire and trying to commit suicide a la Sylvia Plath and we see her life flash before her in a  confused non-linear series of brief memory segments that one eventually realizes is her life troubled life. She lives for love, and her portly upper class lawyer husband, her lord-ship cannot satisfy is beautiful, young bride in any way except financially, so she turns to the first RAF pilot that makes a pass at her, (Huddleston) and as they say, drama ensues.

Davies tells the story totally from Weisz’ character’s point of view and it is totally, legitimately feminine and Weisz illuminates every scene she’s in.

I would say this is one of the great female performances of the year.  IF this film gets distributed and seen, and it’s so mesmeric and powerful and literate, I certainly hope that it does.

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