a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Sasha Stone’

David Carr Dead at 58 at the NY Times. A Great Man Gone too soon.

David Carr, who I had the privilege of knowing, was one of the greats, and he dropped dead in the offices of the New York Times, the paper where he worked, and which he loved.

He was like a character out of Damon Runyon. So his Times Square Media beat fit him perfectly. With his raspy voice, and that penetrating gaze, and his odd-ball looks, he could very well have stepped from the pages of “Guys and Dolls” accept he worked for the NYTimes.So he wasn’t a gansta. He was a SUCCESSFUL Damon Runyon character. But he did have the great compassion for the down-and-outers of the world, having been, unbelievably, a former drug addict himself.

He got himself clean more than a decade ago and wrote a book about it, too. “The Night of the Gun.”

I got to him know when he was creating the Oscar beat at the NYTimes, which was something completely new to them, at the time. A regular blog on the Oscars? And he called it “The Carpetbagger” as in Red Carpet, and he felt like he was a carpetbagger, that ole Civil War term, because he felt like an interloper at these ceremonies. And he had a side-kick, too. My friend Paula Schwartz, whom he called “the Baguette.”

He wrote about the Oscar race incredibly well, not giving quarter to any one or any film. And he did love films. I think he was the one who coined the phrase “the silly season” to describe what we are now in. Which is less than two weeks from Oscar.

He always was encouraging, supportive of any one who was doing what he was doing, trying to make sense, and news, out of the Oscars. He liked me because of my Oscar obsession and my friendships with other Oscarologists. I think I was a Guru o’ Gold for Movie City News at the time.

He loved Sasha Stone and David Poland. And he wrote about them in his column as they had never been covered before, especially Sasha. She wrote ANOTHER incredible piece on her relationship with David, and the shock of his passing at http://www.awardsdaily.com It’s a must read. Every time he was out in L.A., Sashino was his date of choice. Yes, Sashino was Sasha, as Paula was the Baguette. He gave nick-names to people he really liked.

I remember him storming into a press meet-and-great for the film “Milk,” practically shouting at the top of his lungs about a film he’d just had to sit through, “‘Australia’ is a piece of shit!” It was an epic about that continent and he was so vehement about the 2 or 3 hours that were stolen out of his life by this film (which got no Oscar consideration whatsoever, as it turned out), I chose to skip it myself.

He was always very nattily dressed at these events, with the trademark grey scarf that you see him pictured with here.

I knew I was in the presence of a great man, a great writer, a great reporter, one of the giants of our time, and I am so sorry he’s gone. I wish I knew him better.David Carr

Back and Forth on the Eddie R. Smear Campaign. Why It Won’t Work.

Golden Eddie 2Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com just wrote a piece on Kris Tapley’s piece at http://www.hitfix.com and I responded. Here’s what I wrote ~

“I too actually LIKED “Jupiter Ascending”. And wrote about it at length on my blog. Click on my name above^ and you’ll get there. I was F.U.N. And Eddie R. brilliant actor that he is, was really quite scarily terrific as the evil queen of the universe. And yes, he was playing camp to the max, but he did it SO WELL. I mean at one moment with the REAL queen(in this movie) of the universe, Mila Kunis, he got actually, totally demonic.

And yes, the script required that he scream at the top of his lungs, and vocal range, so he did.And the audience roared. It was a joke, OK? It’s comic. They were SUPPOSEDLY to laugh.

There’s good camp and there’s bad camp. I admittedly decided to check my brain at the door, as I say, on my blog. And I did. And I enjoyed it for its’-so-bad-it-good unbelievable factor, and the visuals are stunning. And Channing Tatum? In Imax and 3D? What’s not to like?
All this Eddie R smear stuff, by Jeffrey Wells at http://www.Hollywood-elsewhere.com, particularly, is people just grabbing ,as they say, a meme and riding it for all the hits they can get. JW in particular this Oscar season has been complaining how boring it is, because Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette are soooo locked.

And the only movement at all is in the Best Actor race, and JW is VERY afraid that “Birdman” is going to lose everything. Like “American Hustle” did last year. And I think that may be what’s happening.
As exalted a source as Harvey Weinstein himself said that Richard Linklater is going to win the DGA tonight. And JW will have a very entertaining meltdown-to-end-all-meltdowns. And his hits will stay high, which is really all he cares about anyway. In case there was some doubt.

There’s just been nothing else to write about this week, so he and those like him have to come up with SOMEthing. Bravo, to Kris Tapley by the way.”

This is just some posters, some Oscar “pundits”, looking to resurrect Eddie Murphy’s Oscar loss as a “Norbit” moment. This was for his role in “Dreamgirls”, which seems like light years ago. Everybody thought it was going to get nominated for Best Picture, then it didn’t. Jennifer Hudson won for Supporting Actress that year, in what was once again category fraud. She was playing the lead, Effie White.

And Eddie Murphy had the TRULY supporting role as James “Thunder” Early, and while he was very good in what he had to do, I always felt he was just missing ONE crucial scene that could’ve locked in his Oscar chances. He lost, famously, to Allan Arkin for “Little Miss Sunshine.” And at the time of the Oscar voting, which is NOW  btw, his “Norbit” film opened with him plastered all over Hollywood and creation as a very, very fat black woman.

And this was supposed to have lost him his Oscar, and Eddie M. ran screaming from the ceremony. Talk about screaming queens. He immediately left when Alan Arkin won. I wish we had pictures of his more-than-hasty exit.

But Eddie Redmayne is a serious actor giving a serious, actually iconic, performance as Stephen Hawking in “A Theory of Everything.” And this smear moment is Jeffrey Wells and others attempts to stop Eddie R.’s momentum going into the Best Actor race, which started yesterday. Jeff you see is all-in on “Birdman”. I hate to think what is going to happen, as I said, in my “Awardsdaily” comment, if “Birdman” loses EVERYthing to “Boyhood” (and to “Grand Budapest Hotel”) and ends up with a goose egg on Oscar night which is two and a half weeks away.

Wells actually refers to Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair as “a gimmick”!

Mary Dugan, PLEASE!

Why “Birdman” Will Have a Lot of Trouble at the Oscars

Birdman 1Despite the apparent benefice of its’ upsets this past weekend, “Birdman” is not the Oscar slam-dunk it appears to be. Not by a mile.

You see, it unexpectedly won the Producers Guild very important precursor award, on Saturday night, then also won Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards on Sunday night.

HOWEVER!

It didn’t win Best Actor. The Birdman himself lost to Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything”, and that was a VERY big loss for Michael Keaton.

Especially coming from the SCREEN ACTORS, the guild that you would think would be behind his Riggan Whathisname’s character, that of a veteran actor trying to make a comeback.

That spoke volumes to the effect that support of “Birdman” wasn’t THAT deep.

Keaton won THREE Critics Choice Awards at BFCA a couple of weeks ago and now, this defeat.

It’s bad for Keaton and bad for “Birdman”s supposed late groundswell.

Also, let me point out that it does NOT have the all-important Film Editing Nomination, without which no film has won Best Picture since “Ordinary People” 30 years ago.

So with the Editors against it, and also, apparently the Actors, Keaton is NOT winning Best Actor, nor does “Birdman” have a cake-walk to Best Film.

Also between now and Oscar Night Feb. 22, Sunday, on ABC-TV, the BAFTA awards will happen in London and Eddie Redmayne is sure to win Best Actor there. And it’s possible that “The Theory of Everything” will sweep its’ six categories, Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Felicity Jones, Best Screenplay, Best Director, James March and Best Score for Johan Johansson.

On top of which it is a Fantasy Film, a Magical Realism film, if you will, which the super-serious Academy does not go for historically at all, except for “Lord of the Ring: Return of the King.”

It’s quirky. It’s divisive, and I personally was put off by its’ sort of “holier-than-thou” attitude to the theater, which supposedly it was celebrating, but I felt its’ attitude disdainful.

And the ending! He shoots off his nose, ends up in a hospital and jumps out the window. Did Birdman finally fly away or was it a suicide? Will the Academy vote Best Picture to a film that is saying, insidiously, that all Riggan’s efforts lead to this? Self-annihilation? Or pursuing a career in the theater equals death?

I just don’t see this film winning Best Picture for all these reasons.

What will win? Something else. But not this sanctimonious mess.

ETA: Sasha Stone herself commented on this article on FB by saying to me: “Another thing to note, it didn’t win Best Comedy at the Globes…”

That was, of course, won by the GRAND “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

“American Sniper” Sound & Fury Signifying It Will Win Both Sound Oscars

Here I go again, cut and pasting a reply to yet ANOTHER tumultuous, magnificently written piece on “American Sniper”s chances now that it’s become Ben-Hur. Read, by all means, what Sasha Stone has to say at http://www.awardsdaily.com. She’s been doing this day after day. I don’t know how she does it, but she does it. She’s one of our great writers. She sets the bar so high, and then keeps raising it!Younger EddieBradley Cooper 2

And here is what I said in my reply to this hot button topic ~(PS: I was in a bus crash today, which I wrote about but didn’t get posted in this section. Don’t know how to move it to here. Tech-tarded still. After all these years.)

“ANOTHER brilliant, impassioned piece of writing from Sasha, analyzing this past weekend’s rather astounding events at the box-office.

Sasha hasn’t dragged politics in to this year’s Oscar race, the movies themselves have, like it or not.

Tom O’Neill was raving about “American Sniper” on Entertainment Tonight for “livening up the Oscar race.” It DID look pretty boring and predictable, more so than ever, with Moore, Arquette and Simmons having all their categories, Best Actress and the two Supporting categories laid down in Grauman’s Chinese cement already.

But now comes “American Sniper” and SUDDENLY there’s actually something to DEBATE about. Something to write about for the blogosphere. But they are not Academy voters.

The Academy still has many members who DON’T EVEN HAVE A COMPUTER!?!? But are too ashamed to admit it, and the average age is 80 or 85. Not 62. As they are saying. Just attend an actual academy screening and the number of walkers and wheelchairs lined up at the back is staggering.

That said, “AS” doesn’t have a chance with the Left-leaning Academy. R U kidding me? It will never win Best Picture. They will think. “It’s gotten the $. It doesn’t need the awards” but it just might get something. Like the two sound awards! Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

Now, as far as Best Actor, if the sudden attention being paid to Bradley Cooper, translates into actual votes(and I wonder about that), it’s Michael Keaton who gets hurt by this. And the people who were going to vote for Eddie Redmayne are still going to vote for Eddie Redmayne.

He’s playing a heroic, triumphant character, a real person, a genius, Stephen Hawking, who’s ALIVE. IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING.And he’s playing a CHARACTER. Not himself, or a version of himself as Michael Keaton is doing in “Birdman.”

Bradley Cooper may win an Oscar some day, but no GG, SAG, etc. percursor love, kills his chances but allows him to take “steak eater” votes away from Keaton. Everybody knows he’s going to get a Tony for Best Actor this year for “Elephant Man” on Broadway, and every other award, too. They’ll let that be enough for him for this year. And vote for Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything.”

And watch out for “Grand Budapest”! It could win the SAG Ensemble this Sunday and then everything will be up for grabs! Topsy-Turvy!”

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

Bradley 1

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.

Oscar Thoughts ~More on the “Selma” Mess. They Should Have Waited.

Selma Poster 1I wrote the following in Awardsdaily.com’s comment section And I’m cutting and pasting(and polishing) it up here.

It makes me soooo angry, as it does Sasha Stone, the great writer and editor of http://www.awardsdaily.com

So here’s what I said (spelling and typos corrected) (I HOPE!) I get so angry about things like this. As does Sasha, as does everyone.

“The reason all this debacle that happened to “Selma” was that it wasn’t finished or “fixed” in its’ final edit til too late for screeners to be made, which evidently is a much longer and complicated process than people realize.

I  blame the producers for jumping the gun on this, an unfinished film, of tremendous import, culturally, racially, artistically.

But it missed it’s Oscar Nomination deadlines.

People in the guilds, for instance, are MIFFED when they don’t get sent their screeners. The Academy did get theirs and the DID nominate “Selma” for Best Picture. But if the producers had WAITED TIL NEXT YEAR(It’s already 2015), and released it THIS year coming up, they would I think would’ve won everything under the sun.

There are certain rules to play this game, and it is a game. It’s a business, and it’s a game. But if you have a great work of art, a great film like “Selma” you don’t RUSH IT INTO THE MARKETPLACE BEFORE IT’S TIME!!!!!!

This year is so great because you’ve got a film that was released in MARCH “The Grand Budapest Hotel” doing so well(9 nominations for a Wes Anderson film!)

If they had only waited on “Selma,”and treated it, with the respect and care it deserves, they would’ve gotten EVERYTHING under the Awards’ sun. Because it deserves everything.

And Oprah, you just jumped the shark with this one. So sad, so sad.

And I bet there’s a HUGE slate of diverse acting nominees NEXT year..

You can bet on it.

And one thing you can say for the Hollywood Foreign Press, they’re PRESS, so they see ALLLLLL the movies, all year-long. The Academy members don’t. But they all had PLENTY O’Time to see, “Grand Budapest Hotel.” And just FYI, the HFPA are as diverse as diverse can be. All 80 of them. They’re as diverse as the Academy is not. Clearly.

Maybe now they’ll stop the insane pattern releasing everything on Christmas Day nonsense. It’s counter-productive. Awards-wise, anyway. But then they don’t care about awards anyway. They just care about money. Paramount you REALLY messed up.

And Warner Bros. who are releasing “American Sniper” are laughing all the way to the bank.

 

Why Marion Cotillard’s Nomination Is So Incredible, Also Important

Marion 2 I find that whenever I post something on Sasha Stone’s wonderful Oscar site http://www.awardsdaily.com, I show a slightly different side of myself as a film critic/Oscar blogger than I do here, even.

Sasha is REALLY pissed off about the way the Oscar nominations came down, and wrote, as she always does, a magnificent piece about her anger and what’s wrong with the Academy.

I countered with the following post ~

Whoa! We all have to hold on a minute and turn once again to the wonderful Marion Cotillard for hope and guidance. Her nomination is a triumph of the human spirit. And of the Actor’s Branch of the Academy, who nominated her. And no, it wasn’t just Europeans nominating her.
I think it was the entire New York membership of said branch. That’s what happened with Marcia Gay Harden, too. Everyone in New York voted as a block. I think. Of course, I can’t prove this statistically, but everywhere I’ve gone in the past several weeks of the voting period, people were talking about Marion Cotillard’s superb, heroic performance in “Two Days, One Night” NO ONE IN NYC were talking about Jennifer Aniston. That was totally a LA thing and a total Lisa Taback-hype thing.
Everyone who has seen Marion’s performance in a French-speaking film, no less, loved it and raved about it, and it was THAT the quality of her performance that got her nominated. MERIT! She got nominated on MERIT. And I’ll tell you something else extraordinary. I don’t think, to my knowledge, that they sent out SCREENERS! That’s right, no screeners. But they did have an abundance of SCREENINGS here in NYC. It was screened almost constantly. And Marion herself said that “We have no money, so there will be no nomination.” Of course, bien sur, she was WRONG! And it’s the best performance of the year and she should win. Et oui, she has an Oscar already, why not have two? She deserves it. And y’know, who also helped her get this nomination, the critics. Specifically the New York film critics. They gave her their Best Actress award and everyone then had to pay attention.
I hope Academy voters get sent screeners now. But just looking at how motivated people were to SEE THIS FILM IN A THEATER(well, all right a screening room) shows that voters CAN do the right thing. Not always, but sometimes. It gives me hope for the Oscars and for the future. She’s surprised before. She could surprise again.

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