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Posts tagged ‘Richard Linklater’

Oscar Afterglow A Week Later

CaptureYes, dear readers, dear cineastes, it’s only a little less than a week ago that we were all going cra-zee with anticipation of the March of the Li’l Golden Guys into the hands of this year’s winners.

And so what has happened since? Eddie Redmayne has emerged as a major international superstar with his win for Best Actor in “The Theory of Everything.” And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

This triumph at age 33 makes him one of the youngest winners for Best Actor ever. And the two mature ladies who won Patricia Arquette and Julianne Moore, who are in their 40s and early 50s respectively struck a blow for actresses of an “age certaine” as the French say. This year Eddie was the ingenue!

Arquette used her acceptance speech to create a new image for herself as a firebrand, a feminist activist, with her rabble-rousing call-to-arms for equal pay for women everywhere. Moore revealed something we did not know. That Richard Glatzer one of the two gay directors of “Still Alice” did NOT have early-on-set Alzheimers like she’d been saying all season, but ALS the debilitating syndrome that astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is afflicted with. And that neither he nor his partner Wash Westmoreland could attend that night “because Richard was so ill.”

It seems like if you played someone with a ravaging disease like Moore and Redmayne both did so flawlessly this year, you WILL win a Oscar.

Lady Gaga completely re-invented HER career by singing what I initially thought was a completely unnecessary tribute to the 50th Anniversary of “The Sound of Music.” Revealing stunning legit vocal chops that who knew she had? She brought down the house and opened up a new career. Gaga on  Broadway, anyone? It could happen.

Neil Patrick Harris, I’m sorry to say, ENDED his career as an Oscar host. But he looked great in his underpants, and certainly was the only Oscar host to ever do THAT. But the complaints were many that he just wasn’t funny enough. He had dreadful, unfunny writers.

Neil showed that he had what it takes as a serious dramatic actor in “Gone Girl” a worthy film the Academy completely ignored in every single category.  Well, Neil you’ve always got the Tonys…

And “Birdman” won four Oscars. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography, which will lead me forever into head-scratching land, with the eternal,unanswerable question, WHY?

And  so now poor little “Boyhood” goes into the history books as one of the most unfortunate Oscar pass-overs ever. Only Patricia Arquette won for that movie.

Looking back to my initial review, when I saw it first this summer, I accurately predicted this would happen. I’ll have to re-post it. I was right. But it was better than “Birdman” which I thought was un-reviewable. So I didn’t. Review it, I mean.

And now less than a week, later comes the exciting news that Eddie Redmayne flew back to London to start shooting “The Danish Girl” were he plays the first transgender, Lili Elbe in 1930’s Denmark under the direction of “The King’s Speech” Oscar winner Tom Hooper. Picture below `Eddie LiliI’ve posted this shot before, but I’m posting it again, because there is something absolutely HYPNOTIC about Eddie’s eyes. And that’s an incredible, perfectly styled wig.  He lost three Stone, which is something like 36 lbs. And yes, I think this means he’ll be back at the Dolby again NEXT February with another nomination for a transformative role.This picture just nails it.

It about a Danish husband and wife, both painters, who one day when the wife’s(Alicia Vikander, also in a star-making role) asks her husband (Redmayne) if he would mind posing in her model’s female clothing, one day when her painting subject doesn’t turn up. And he finds he just can’t stop the music…

Vikander was the beautiful young, blonde ingenue in “Anna Karenina” with Keira Knightley. And in those days, the late-20s, early 1930s, sex change operations were unheard of and very, very dangerous, bordering on butchery.And what were female hormones like in those days? The journey was fraught with peril.

And today we have Bianca Jenner, who just seems to be flying through it all with nary a care in the world. Bianca was formerly Bruce Jenner, the step-father, and now mother on “Keeping Up With the Kardassians.”

“The Danish Girl” I think will show every single step of this process that we now call “transitioning” or “Sexual Re-assignment Surgery.” The part of Lili Elbe requires ANOTHER tour-de-force, bravura turn from Redmayne, and we all know now that he’s totally capable of it.Budapest Occar Wins 1

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” won FOUR Oscars for Production Design, Best Costumes, Best Hair and Make-Up and Best Score. Alexander Desplat FINALLY taking home an Oscar and Wes Anderson FINALLY being recognized big time by the Academy after being ignored(except in Screenplay nominations) for the bulk of his long career.

And I can’t even begin to imagine how bummed and depressed director/writer Richard Linklater of “Boyhood” must feel. And no Oscar for Michael Keaton for losing to Redmayne for Best Actor. The “Birdman” film flew into the history with the caveat, oh, but it lost Best Actor for Michael Keaton…

Why did Keaton lose?

Was he away too long from film? And when he came back he was playing basically a very apt version of himself, a situation he would never acknowledge in interviews.

Tom O’Neil, the grand-daddy of all of us Oscarologists, said that also Keaton was known in the industry as “difficult” and did not do the huge full-court(ing)  and charming of the press that Redmayne did. Actually, Redmayne took a leaf from the glorious Marion Cotillard’s “How to Win an Oscar” book, and basically camped out in L.A. for a month between the announcement of the nominations up to right before the win, when he had to return to London to start rehearsing and shooting “The Danish Girl.” And he won.

As Tom O’Neil said over in one of his video “slug-fests” at http://www.goldderby.com, “You’ve got to kiss babies.”

And the beat goes on…

Oscar’s Worst Bad Dream. It’s Raining in L.A.

The weather in NYC was a balmy 45 degrees today. A total and pleasant surprise considering the deep polar freeze we’ve been experiencing here. But meanwhile, it’s started to RAIN in Hollywood! Total chaos! All those floor-length gowns and trains! The trains of the gowns I mean. Not Amtrak.

If you’ve never been in Hollywood when it’s raining, you really haven’t lived. I couldn’t believe it the year I lived out there in LA-LA Land when my play on AIDS was being done “Fever of Unknown Origin”. I was out there for a year and it was just INSANE how crazy Los Angelenos went from just a little down-pour. It was like the world was ending! Sheesh! It’s just RAIN, people!

But for the Oscars, it’s a mini-diaster.

People are still talking about the Eddie Redmayne/Michael Keaton Best Actor bout. Also of course, the Birdman/Boyhood back and forth and back and forth. And last night at the Spirits, as I predicted, there was a split. But it was Richard Linklater who won Best Director for “Boyhood”, but “Birdman” won Best Picture.

Anyway, dear readers, dear cineastes, we won’t know the outcome of those three battles until at the EARLIEST three and a half hours from now.

They are going to save them, the only real battles that the public at large are interested in til the 10:30 pm EST mark.

It’s going to be a LONNNNNG night.Capture

 

Richard Linklater Wins Best Director at Indie Spirits!

Linklater 1Richard Linklater won for Best Director for “Boyhood” at the Indie Spirits and wasn’t there to except. Perhaps he knew that “Birdman” was going to win Best Picture, which it did. In a split vote that I predicted, except it was backwards. I saw “Boyhood” winning Best Picture and Alejandro G. Inarritu winning Best Director! Topsy Turvy-dom, as G. S. Gilbert would say.

And Michael Keaton won for Best Lead Male Actor with Eddie Redmayne not in this competition. Probably because “The Theory of Everything” was made for more money than the Indie Spirits low cut-off point. But then of course, what was “Imitation Game” doing there? That certainly LOOKED as though it had a higher budget than “Theory.”

But I’ll have you note that “Imitation Game” won NOTHING. Which is what I think is going to happen on Oscar night, which believe it or not, is tomorrow.

“Nightcrawler” won Best Screenplay and Best First Feature.

And OF COURSE, Julianne Moore won for Best Female Lead Actor. Or Best Actress. She is soooo locked down.

The Indie Spirits are NOT that predictive of the Oscars, but this year, um, perhaps they will be more than ever, because this year’s slate of Oscar nominees is soooo Indie. It’s really unbelievable. And great.

“Boyhood” Wins Best Picture at BAFTA! Julianne Moore Wins Best Actress!

Linklater 1It’s all over! The BAFTAS, I mean. And “Boyhood” pulled out a much-needed victory for Best Picture as well as noted earlier, Best Director for Richard Linklater and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette.

Julianne Moore won Best Actress, as she has won all Awards season-long for “Still Alice” an immaculate, moving performance as a brilliant Columbia University prof who is experiencing early on-set Alzhemeimers disease.

“The Theory of Everything” tied with “Boyhood” for number of wins. Three. Best Actor, Eddie Redmayne, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best British Film, as noted earlier.

And the most wins was “The Grand Budapest Hotel” with five. Including Best Screenplay, Best Costumes, Best Production Design, Best Score and Best Hair and Make-Up.

“Birdman” which won big last night at the DGA Awards(Directors Guild) only got one, Best Cinematography, which is kind of shocking, but not to me. I thought “Birdman” was going to turn out to be this year’s “American Hustle.” And it certainly suddenly looks that way. At least at the BAFTAs.

This is the last big awards before the actual Oscars themselves on Feb.22. Can’t wait!

 

Eddie Redmayne Wins Best Actor BAFTA! Richard Linklater Wins Best Director!

Theory 1So it happened. It was inevitable. The wonderful, powerful actor Eddie Redmayne has just won the Best Actor Award at BAFTA for “The Theory of Everything.” He’s won the Golden Globe, the SAG award and now this. There’s nothing stopping him now on his road to Oscar in only two weeks!

Richard Linklater also just won Best Director for “Boyhood.” After “Birdman”s DGA win last night for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, it looked like everything was shifting “Birdman”s way after the SAG Ensemble and PGA wins. Guess not.And I have to ad, Richard Linklater is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in this business. Who’s a director/writer I mean. I’ve met plenty o’ wonderful actors. Like Eddie!

It’s definitely a two horse race. Only Best Actress and Best Picture left to be announced!

“Grand Budapest”, “Boyhood” Win A.C.E.Eddies. “Birdman”s momentum stopped

Gustav H. & ZeroThis is certainly the bumpiest road to Oscar I have ever seen. The Race has taken ANOTHER severe, right-angle turn, with “Boyhood” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” winning the A.C.E. Eddie awards last night. Effectively stopping “Birdman”s new- found momentum from last weekend’s the PGA and the SAG Award in its’ tracks.

Why? The Film Editors are considered the most important voting group after the MASSIVE Actors Branch and Guild (who dominate and who gave out its’ SAG awards last Sunday) and for “Boyhood” it was a very, very important turn-around in fortune, and for “Grand Budapest Hotel” too.

A.C.E. is the organization that represents the Editors Guild. Which has a lot of members as opposed to the Academy’s Editors branch, which is smaller and more elite. And the Eddie is the name they call their award.

It broke down like this ~ Best Edited Feature Film, Dramatic, “Boyhood” Sandra Adair.

And Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy or Musical), “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling.

This means that “Boyhood” is still very much in the race, with “Grand Budapest” nipping at its’ heels. “Grand Budapest,” you may remember got an equal amount of Oscar nominations (nine) to “Birdman.”

“Birdman,” of course, has those long(some would say ENDLESS) tracking, stedicam shots, which makes the film look like it isn’t edited, but of course, it is. It wasn’t shot in one, long, continuous take. But it was meant to look like it was… which is kind of an anti-editing stance, if you think about it.

And “Boyhood” shot over 12 years…can you IMAGINE the Degree of Difficulty of editing THAT much footage into something watchable? Of course, some could say that didn’t happen. That it’s a mess rather than a melange.

And “Grand Budapest” has all those nifty, changing aspect ratios. Of these three films, “Grand Budapest” is still far and away my favorite. But a shift of momentum, for “Boyhood” to “Birdman” is now NOT officially happening. At least according to the all-important editors.

Next stop, BAFTA! Where “The Theory of Everything” will probably sweep.

Eddie Redmayne Wins Best Actor Drama at Golden Globes! “Grand Budapest Hotel” wins Best Comedy/Musical!

Golden Eddie 1Golden Globe 2Budapest with TildaThe Golden Globes were really Golden tonight as they hit many high notes I predicted they would! Congratulations to Eddie Redmayne for winning the most competitive battle of the night. For Best Actor Drama. For his searing, unforgettable portrayal of the multiply disabled astrophysicist Stephen Hawking in the great “Theory of Everything” which also won best score tonight.

And to Wes Anderson, the red-headed, long-haired wizard for winning another hotly contested category Best Comedy/Musical and then gave a hilarious acceptance speech that matched the great humor in his movie. Anderson thanked many, many members of the Hollywood Foreign Press by FIRST NAMES! Hysterical! And almost unpronounceable.

And of course, as all and sundry predicted Julianne Moore, the classiest of classy dames won Best Actress Drama for her heart-breaking, excruciatingly detailed portrait of an early onset Alzheimer’s victim in “Still Alice.” She’ll go on to win the Oscar, too. As will J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood.”

“Boyhood” also as expected won Best Picture and as I reported, earlier in the night, also won Best Director for Richard Linklater. Moore, Linklater, “Boyhood”, Arquette and Simmons will also now go on to win their Oscars.

The only race that is REALLY up in the air after tonight is Best Actor. It’s clearly between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton, who also gave a helluva speech. He won for Best Actor Comedy/Musical for “Birdman.”

So the big win of the night was “Boyhood” with three wins. For Best Picture, Linklater and Arquette. Tied with two each are “Theory of Everything” Eddie Redmayne and Best Score. And “Birdman” also got two awards for Best Actor, Keaton, and Best Screenplay.

Now, come Eddie! Let’s go on to the Oscars and let’s win there, too!!

Joanna Froggatt “Downtown” Classiest Winner Golden Globes, J.K. Simmon & Patricia Arquette also triumph

Joanna Frogatt“Downtown Abbey”s very own Joanna Froggatt, who played the rape victim Anna won in her TV category( Supporting Actress TV/mini-series) and gave tonight’s classiest acceptance so far. Claiming that she hopes she was able to give a voice to similarly affected women everywhere. J. K. Simmons also won as expected for his sadistic/funny/frightening/enlightening music-teacher-from-hell in the great “Whiplash”. Huge, thunderous applause for him. And also for Patricia Arquette who also marched to her expected win for “Boyhood” as the Mom of Moms. Both gave perfectly poised speeches that will probably ensure that they will give MANY, MANY more & similar speeches on their way to their inevitable Oscar wins in a month and a half.

Out-of-the-blue winner so far(it’s still going on) was Amy Adams for “Big Eyes.” She also won last year at the Globes for “American Hustle” in the same category. Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. She looked depressed and sad on the Red Carpet. No longer. She’s fine. But probably won’t get an Oscar nomination for “Big Eyes” which is perceived as a flop.

Chalk this one up to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s wanting to give Harvey(Weinstein) SOMEthing. May means his other films won’t win tonight. That measn YOU “Imitation Game.”

Best Screenplay went, inexplicably, to “Birdman.”

Best Score went to “Theory of Everything.”

And Richard Linklater, whose a helluva nice guy, one of the nicest film directors I’ve ever interviewed, won, of course, for “Boyhood.”  Probably signaling “Boyhood” will win Best Picture.

They’ve saved the BIG awards, in film, for the last 45 minutes.

“Boyhood” Wins Big at Both Gotham Awards & NY Film Critics

Boyhood 2It’s December 1, and the awards have started raining down on Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.” This afternoon it won Best Picture(and Best Director and Best Supporting Actress) from the prestigious New York Film Critics, and this evening it continued its’ winning streak with the Gotham Audience Award where it again won Best Picture.”Birdman” however won Best Feature.

This, in these categories, may be repeated and repeated endlessly for the rest of Awards Season, which is now totally upon us.It will be interesting to see what the L.A. Film Critics vote for next week.

At the Gothams, Michael Keaton for “Birdman” snatched his mojo for Best Actor back from British giant Timothy Spall, who usurped his place this afternoon by winning Best Actor in a delightful surprise for “Mr. Turner.” Julianne Moore did the same by triumphing at the Gothams for “Still Alice” whereas Marion Cotillard won this morning for Best Actress at the NYFCC for “The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night,” the later a Belgian film in French.

Gregory Ellwood has a very funny blog on the Gothams at http://www.hitfix.com along with a list of all the happenings and all the rest of the winners.

And the Academy, who doles out the Oscars, may not wish to participate in rubber-stamping “Boyhood,” a film it may not relate to(as I myself didn’t). But it sure looks and feels like an awards juggernaut starting today.

And tomorrow the National Board of Review chimes in.

Fasten your seatbelts!

Oscar Disappointment “Boyhood” WAAAAY tooo long at 3 hours!

After the incredible reviews for “Boyhood”, I had my expectations high. Higher perhaps than they should’ve been. I was expecting to see The Second Coming.

At three hours, it was waaaay toooo long. I couldn’t wait for him to graduate high school and get the hell out of the house!  And then, set in Houston, it seemed we were going to be dragged through college with him (the University of Texas is a backdrop) as well.”Oh no!” I thought.

I was unfortunately feeling that sinking feeling of when is this going to be over???

The non-actor playing the central character Mason was OK in the child hood scenes where all he had to do was be a kid. But he was constantly being upstaged by his precocious and obnoxious older sister,Samantha, who turns out to be director Linklater’s daughter Lorelei! Who btw doesn’t look like either of her biological parents, who are played to the hilt,  and then some, by the more-remarkable-than- she’s=ever-been Patricia Arquette, in the role of her career, as Mason’s patient, loving mom, and Ethan Hawke, who holds his own, too, as Mason’s dead-beat dad.

The thing that astounded me throughout the film, however, was not simply the fact that everyone in it was really aging as they would in real life, but the incredible 12 year long dedication of Arquette and Hawke and all involved to director/writer Richard Linklater. This is his second time-lapse, if you will film. The other also with Hawke was the “Sunrise” trilogy, of which I only saw the last film, and was underwhelmed by that one, also. Of his recent films, I liked “Bernie” better.

I guess you had to see the other two first. I felt when I saw it that it would get no Oscar action. And it didn’t. The Gotham Awards and the Indie Spirits are where this film will clean up. As its’ doing at the box-office.

But Oscar, I don’t think so. It’s not a Best Picture picture. It’s more of simply a film stunt. And Ellar Coltrane as Mason is more of an absence than a presence, but I guess that’s what the director intended. As we SLOOOOWLY procede to Mason’s adolescence and his interest in photography grows and grows, we see something of the young filmmaker Linklater merging with the character. I would’ve liked to have seen more of that. It’s a film of tiny, small moments. I would’ve liked more substance.

Most successful is the painful portrait it paints of a dysfunctional single mother (Arquette) who is constantly drawn to drunken, abusive men. She drags her two children through three horrible marriages, and while accurate, paints a very bleak, bleak picture of American married life today.

As the daughter, Samantha bemoans the fact “that we have to move AGAIN!” every time one of Arquette’s marriages break up.

I found it depressing and disturbing rather than enlightening. And bourgeois beyond belief.

Oh well! On to the next Oscar front-runner that going to sink from over praise.

Linklater might get a Best Director nod, and perhaps win. And Patricia Arquette’s is the best written part. And she plays it wonderfully with warmth and intelligence and makes you realize this talented actress has been underestimated and under-utilized her entire career. Until now. She is so good she could be nominated in either category. Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress. But if she’s in Supporting she’ll be up against the likes of Dame Maggie Smith for “My Old Lady.”

She’s so good and is the performance that really stays with you, as she ages from cute-as-can-be hippie Mom, to a matronly, committed Psychology professor single mom with a degree, who is something like 15 pounds heavier. You  root for her all the way. And she gets the big Summing Up Scene at the end.

So while “Boyhood” like in real life has its joys, it is also something I couldn’t wait to get out of.

And as I was leaving this public showing of the film, I heard people with puzzled expressions on their faces saying “It was three hours!” and “It’s so ordinary.” That about says it all. Don’t believe the reviews. It’s a critics darling, clearly, but Oscar? I don’t think so.BOYHOOD 1But it might get SOMEthing big. Like Arquette winning Best Actress. Or even Linklater winning Best Direcot or Best Original Screenplay. I don’t think he’s ever won an Oscar before, so this clearly is his year. And every body likes him and Arquette, is very popular in Hollywood. They’ll get nominated. But Best Picture? No. It will go to a much bigger studio film. But Linklater could finally win Best Screenplay. He’s been nominated in that category before.

The childhood references  it revels in are going to be lost on the aged Academy members. this childhood wasn’t their childhoods. Harry Potter any one?

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