a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Scott Feinberg’

Oscar Voting Closes ~ Sasha Stone Says 9 Out of 10 for “The Artist”!

So as of yesterday, the Oscar Voting for the Best of 2011, closed at 5pm PST. Now what happens? Well, we all just sort of COUNT THE HOURS til Sunday night’s BIG SHOW. And try to figure out what went wrong, or right, depending. Me, I’m just over-the-moon delighted with how incredible an Oscar response the beautiful French bon-bon received. “The Artist” is poised, thinks Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone, who lives and breathes this stuff even more than I do, she thinks “The Artist” is going to take home NINE out of its’ ten nominations!

That would be divine, as far as I’m concerned. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Score, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Costumes is what I thought would happen. And then Scott Feinberg, STILL the only Oscarologist who’s linked to this site.Thank you, Scott.

Scott ALSO predicted the same number 7, and he even wrote a comment on the previous blog post here, saying so. And no, I didn’t read Scott’s “The Hollywood Reporter” til AFTER I had written and posted mine. And I was kind of shocked that we agreed so completely.

This after last year’s Melissa Leo debacle.

Well, you can look that one up for yourselves. But every time I mentioned the words “Melissa Leo” last year, the hits SOARED! This year, not so much. But any way, Scott and I are now copacetic this Oscar year. And so much so we were predicting the same seven wins for “The Artist!” INCROYABLE! Scott’s at www.thehollywoodreporter.com

Then Sasha said “Nine” at www.awardsdaily.com and I nearly fainted! But she who knows all,(She lives in Hwood, too, so she’s right in the middle of it) thought that additionally Michel Hazanaviscius would trounce Woody Allen for Best Original Screenplay!!!! And she hasn’t been the only one saying that lately.

And that “The Artist”s production designer, who had to work in Black and White, mind you, only, that he would win over Dante Ferretti’s 3D and color work on “Hugo.”

Well, who am I to  disagree with Sasha at a final moment of the season like this?

I’m just over-the-moon about Jean Dujardin’s pulling ahead of G. Clooney with the SAG and BAFTA wins for Best Actor!

The only hold-out for George still seems to be Anne Thompson, who is parsing the possibilities over at www.indiewire.com Anne says that it’s the only interesting race left. The Jean v. George smack-down. Speaking of Tom O’Neill’s favorite word “smack-down, over at www.goldderby.com he has one of his editors Aussie Matt Noble do a very funny video about George Clooney being told that he wasn’t going to win Best Actor. Check it out. It’s hilariously done.  And yes, as Tom states, George will never forgive Matt Noble for this. But the voting’s closed. So it can’t influence voters one way or the other.

That was all done three weeks ago or more when the nominations went out.

And evidently they FLOODED back in, so says Pete Hammond at www.deadline.com

which I have been mistyped as www.deadlinehollywood.com all season. Sorry Pete. Sorry Nikki(Finke). But I’m sure you avid Oscar readers have been all over Pete Hammond’s great pieces all season long. And it IS a season. From Toronto til now, it just doesn’t stop.

And to think that Harvey Weinstein could be TRIUMPHING for a second year in a row, it’s just mind-boggling! Where would “The Artist” be without his excellent producing skills? And his drive? And his uncanny ability to read the Academy voters and play them like violins.

Although I must say, when I saw “The Artist” I DID think “The Academy is going to LOVE this! It’s all about THEM!”

But without Harvey “The Artist” would just be a small tres charmant French film, playing the Festivals and the art house circuit and not the PHENOMENON he turned it into! Bravo! Once again, all of Hollywood owes you bigtime for making the Oscars so exciting again!

And Jean! As I told Jean and Berenice Bejo when I interviewed them back in November in NYC at “The Artist”s press junket, they were going to become VERY famous in America and that they would win the Oscars! And once again, the Oscar Messenger’s message came true. Just like I told Colin Firth and Tom Hooper of “The King’s Speech” their great Oscar news a year ago last September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

You can see me telling them the good news if you search for Jean DuJardin -Stephen Holt show on You Tube. Or just go to my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and search for it there. It’s gone viral with over 45,000 hits at this point. Ditto Colin Firth from last year who is now up to 92,ooo hits!

And TWC also sent me over the moon with two terrific satellite interviews with Penelope Ann Miller and James Cromwell, also of “The Artist.” They played George Valentin’s neglected, unhappy wife and his loyal Butler/Chauffeur respectively.

And Best Actress???? Well, that’s another topic ENTIRELY! I’ll get into that next!

Oscar God Dave Karger of EW speaks out!

Well, my own personal choice for Oscar God, Dave Karger, is speaking out all over the place. He’s turning up on www.goldderby.com chatting with Tom O’Neil about Best Picture and Director and he’s on a podcast at the Hollywood Reporter talking about A LOT of things Oscar with Scott Feinberg www.thehollywoodreporter.com

Thx to poster Sia for sending me their podcast which was very interesting. Until it kept disconnecting itself. Grrr…but I got most of it. It was fascinating.

OGDave, ever polite, to both Feinberg and O’Neil and always measured in his responses, has to, in the back of everything, justify that OUTrageous gaffe of a cover Oscar Race issue of EW, a couple of weeks back, with George Clooney and Viola Davis looking and acting like they already won! What nerve! And how precipitous if not downright presumptive of them both, and of  course, EW, too. And of course, comes the Globes this past Sunday and Meryl Streep wins! George does, too, but ouch! For Viola losing, and making that cover invalid! Just, OUCH!

I think neither of them are going to win. George already has an Oscar and even O’Neil in ANOTHER Skype-like podcast(yes, with pictures) admits that he thought Le Clooney’s speech was more like Le Clown-ey. “Missed opportunities! Missed opportunities!” O’Neil said that also about presumptive Supp. Actress winner Octavia Spencer. “It was a list! It was just a LIST” bemoaned Our Tom. And of course, he’s right.

Tom thinks like I do that Michelle Williams is the upset winner and Dave Karger, in his podcast with Scott Feinberg even admitted that “in the case of a close vote, there can be a split, and a third party gets through.” He was saying this to Feinberg in relation to Viola Davis winning the BFCA and Meryl winning, the much more highly viewed Golden Globes, on NBC.

Our Dave was sweating a little there, I thought. And it’s all very interesting, because these men, live and breathe Oscar, well, just like you and me, dear readers, dear cineastes.

Tom O’Neil created this whole Internet Oscar game we are all now so invested in. And Dave Karger is certainly one of the best. Dave and I and also, possibly, Anne Thompson www.indiewire.com

last year were the only ones standing by “The King’s Speech” and our conviction that is was going to win and win BIG was not the popular choice at this time last year.

Tom, and Scott both ask Dave if he thinks that “The Artist” is still way out in front, and Dave says “Yes, it is.” End of story. It’s a “Slumdog Millionaire” slam dunk. But Dave hedges to both Tom and Scott that he doesn’t think it’s going to “sweep the guilds like ‘The King’s Speech’ did last year, where it won everything.”

He’s talking about the upcoming PGA, which is when SUDDENLY TKS started winning everything. That was such an exciting day for me!The PGA is the Producer’s Guild and they announce this Sunday, I think.

I was fortunate enough to have gotten to Colin Firth AND Tom Hooper FIRST at the Toronto Film Festival  Sept. 2010, and told them the Oscar news as I saw it,  which is when Tom named me “The Oscar Messenger,” and the name, as you all know stuck, and I was right! He won! And so did “The King’s Speech!”

And yes, I agree with Dave that “The Artist” is going to win Best Picture, and he doesn’t really see anything stopping it, unless “Tate Taylor(“The Help”) gets a Best Director nomination,” which would be coming from the VERY exclusive Director’s Branch of the Academy. I don’t see that happening.

Tom brings up the chance that Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” could upset everything, and Dave literally pooh-poohs that onscreen, in the politest way possible, of course. Dave is nothing if not a gentleman.

When pressed by Scott Feinberg about Supporting Actor, he gets Dave to admit “it’s all over the map,” (except for Christopher Plummer winning) which is what I posted yesterday. Were they reading my blog? I hope so. Let it also be said that despite our violent dispute over Melissa Leo last year, Scott was an always agreeable and friendly presence on the awards circuit. And so far he’s the only one who has been nice enough to link to this blog. Again, thank you, Scott, for that.

But now with his new job at The Hollywood Reporter as THEIR Oscar guy with “The Race” and “Feinberg and Friends,” which is where the podcast I’m speaking of was located, he’s like a steam roller in his enthusiasm and energy and STATISTICS about the Oscar race. He’s very young, not long out of college, if truth be told, and so last year OF COURSE he was going to side with “The Joy of Typing.” It was about the Internet! Of course, it was going to win!

And I always countered with the fact that a large portion of Academy are barely online. Hence their WTF reaction to it.

The stuttering King of England, now THAT they could understand!

Tom keeps Dave and his conversation limited to Best Picture and Best Director and will probably cover the other categories before the Nomination Morning of Tues. Jan. 24.  But I thought one of the most interesting observations of Dave’s was to Tom, about Best Director, that Martin Scorcese won too recently (for “The Departed”) to win again for “Hugo” as he did on Sunday at the Globes.

And Dave does emphasize that the Broadcast Film Critics AND the Globes’ HFPA have NOTHING to do with the Academy, as I’ve been saying all along. They are PRESS. And NONE of those people are Academy Members.

Compassionate Dave seems to listen to all  the members of the Academy that he can. Whereas I think Scott, because he’s so young himself, listens to people his own age. Most of whom are NOT members of AMPAS, and if they are they are in the minority.

I myself here in NYC do not sense any kind of overwhelming love for “The Help” which Scott and Dave(that cover again) and to a lesser extent Tom said they feel ~ out in L.A. It’s a different world out there, granted. But here, if I had to say anything could surprise “The Artist”, it’s “Midnight in Paris.” I keep hearing how much everyone LOVES it here. And I hear that LOVE expressed about “The Artist,” too.

And one of the most interesting things Dave says about “The Bridesmaid” topic(it keeps turning up like the proverbial bad penny) is that he thinks Kristen Wiig is going to get a screenplay nomination and that “If anyone can upset Octavia Spencer in Supporting Actress, it’s Melissa McCarthy”!!!! From “Bridesmaids”!!!

I don’t think, and Stu Van Airsdale of www.movieline.com thinks that she’s even going to get nominated.

And on another note, Glenn Close had an hour-long interview about her career on PBS. And when they showed a clip of her as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard”, it just took my breathe away at how wonderful she was in was probably her finest hour. Now if only they’d make THAT into a movie! She won the Tony for that too, in a walk, and she deserved it.

“Oscar Race” EW Cover w/Clooney & Viola Davis. Controversial? Accurate? Embarrassing?

I really wonder if the venerable Entertainment Weekly has jumped the shark this week with its’ “Inside the Oscar Race” cover prematurely, I think, showing George Clooney in a tux (nothing new), but at his side,, resplendent in a white ball gown, is Viola Davis! THIS is new! And the cover states “Front-runners George Clooney (The Descendants) and Viola Davis (The Help).” WHAT???

I thought Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams were the two heavyweights for Best Actress! But the usually reliable Oscar God David Karger is plunking his two cents down (and EW is presumably totally backing these choices), and inside we see V.D. depicted holding what looks like an award, or a Golden Globe, or SOMEthing, when on closer look it is seen to be a hand mirror. A bejeweled one, but a HAND MIRROR!

This is the kind of thing that INFURIATES Academy Voters, who are voting or rather nominating, right now as you read this. Many of them perhaps have not even sent their ballots in yet or filled them out, and here is EW acting like IT’S ALL OVER! BAD MOVE, EW!

I would be OK with this if it was a year where this was TRUE, but George is fighting for his life in Best Actor, (He’s got one already and “The Descendants” is depressing.) against his BFF Brad Pitt, who, BTW, just won Best Actor from the prestigious National Society of Film Critics. Take THAT, EW! They seem to be saying. And the Best Actress race is all over the place, between those three ladies. Williams, Streep & Davis.

And Viola Davis, as talented as she is, has not yet won ONE major award yet for “The Help”! A cover like this and a lay-out and an interview like that, may infuriate Academy types into NOT voting for her, when the time comes. And it IS a Supporting Performance in most peoples’ books…including mine.

But to photograph her looking so RADIANT and BEAUTIFUL and AIR-BRUSHED to death, well, we’ve never seen her like this before. And acting like she’s already won! But she hasn’t!

I fear this cover is going to make AMPAS voters feel like “Wait a minute! Don’t tell US who’s won!” or who to vote for. MISTAKE! This is what the Board of Governors was actually warning people about this year.  See Scott Feinberg’s excellent analysis of this at www.hollywoodreporter.com where Scott now is writing “The Race.”

And Jean Dujardin of “The Artist” is the one who most Oscar experts are picking for Best Actor. But not to EW.

I totally agree with Dave Karger with his choice that “The Artist” has already won Best Picture and is waaay out in front in that category. He’s right about that. But I would not be a very good Oscarologist myself, if I didn’t feel it incumbent on me to say “WAIT A MINUTE! Hold your (War) horses, EW!”

What they are doing is championing or campaigning for Clooney/Davis with this glossy cover and the even glossier interview inside. Acting like it’s a done deal. That is SOOOO BAD in Oscar campaigning terms.

And I know Dave Karger is familiar with Oscar 101.

I’ve NEVER seen EW so blatantly Up a Duo from two different films, yet, who may not be pictured together ever again this awards season. How embarrassing! But EW is nothing if not BOLD.

However, their first Oscar cover of the season isn’t a NEWS issue. It never is.

Didn’t they depict “Finding Neverland” once upon a time? Oy vay.

And there was once an Oscar issue like this with three actresses shown. I think it was Jennifer Connelly and Nicole Kidman and somebody else. And that third lady did not get nominated. I can’t even remember who she was. How embarrassing was that for her? And presumably for the magazine. But guess not, cuz they’re doing it again!

But some of you will remind me who that third gal was, who didn’t get nominated.

And even though Michelle Williams is splattered all over the INSIDE of the magazine in their for real predictions section on who’s going to be nominated…that story/interview on George ‘n’ Viola’s friendship was a little grating and self-serving. And yes, both of them are acting like they’ve ALREADY WON! NO! They haven’t!

THIS IS A HUGE OSCAR “No!NO!”

George has picked up a couple of critics awards, but Viola has gotten none, separately, herself, for Best Actress. Though “The Help” has gotten kudo-ed for Ensemble in several places.

This is the kind of cover that could de-rail a campaign. SERIOUSLY. Dave, what were you thinking? Well, obviously, he thinks he’s right.

I beg to differ.

And inside, though, his predictions themselves, were pretty spot-on for who was going to be nominated for Best Picture, Actor and Actress, though he’s got Michael Fassbender in there, and I think it’s Demian Bichir. Although Demian DOES receive a cute consolation prize, a “For Your Consideration” box.

But his supporting picks were all over the place, especially in Supporting Actress.

I was shocked at how wobbly his Supporting predictions were and yes, the Supp. Actress category is historically the hardest to predict. He’s got Berenice  Bejo (yes, she’s nominated for a BFCA, Golden Globe and a SAG) Ditto Octavia Spenser. He’s got Janet McTeer pictured, and I think that’s right. And Jessica Chastain for “The Help” which seems to be what she’s inevitably nominated for, though, it’s the least of her EIGHT performances this season! And then he has Melissa McCarthy, who EW just had on another of their covers recently as “The Queen of Comedy”. This would be for the gross-out “Bridesmaids.”

He doesn’t mention Vanessa Redgrave AT ALL. NOWHERE. And I think she WILL TURN UP here. Especially after being snubbed by BAFTA!!! Can you believe it?

I’m sure it’s the ghost of her earlier-in-life, extreme left-wing policies from the ’60s still haunting her. But if the Academy, Anglophile Lefties all, (well, the majority anyway) will over look Redgrave’s policy and put her in where she belongs and she could win this for her ASTOUNDING performance in “Coriolanus.”

Karger also gives Carey Mulligan from “Shame” a “For Your Consideration” box. And that is valid. She was great, if not greater, than Michael Fassbender in “Shame.”

We all know Christopher Plummer is going to win his career award in Supp. for “Beginners” and Dave Karger duly notes this. The other nominees, in this category, though, except for Kenneth Branagh are all up in the air. ESPECIALLY, his pick of Max Von Sydow for “Extremely Late and Incredibly Distasteful”! I don’t think so.

He’s got Jonah Hill and Albert Brooks in there but they were overlooked by SAG, and Nick Nolte and Armie Hammer WERE SAG-nominated, which he notes, but doesn’t see them getting in.

Who could pop up here, unexpectedly, is Corey Stoll for his finely etched portrait of Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris.”

And Kathy Bates and/or Marion Cotillard could be two last-minute  pop-ups from “Midnight in Paris.” They both just were named on the BAFTA long list…So they’ve been noted there.

Oh, and that BAFTA long list!…well, let’s just say it’s TOO LONG to even bother with at this point. But as always you can check out www.awardsdaily.com for a much closer look at that ENDLESS list, on which nearly everybody who made a film this year, is on. Wait for the BAFTA nominations themselves. But Beth Stevens, at Awardsdaily does a really good job at parsing them, especially in the comment section.

OSCAR gets nearer.Roger Ebert & Sasha Stone predict a “King’s Speech” Sweepie!

The anticipation and excitement are building to a fever pitch. Oscar is coming! Oscar is coming!One if land! Twelve if by sea! Sez who? Sez me!

I have done a TV show on this topic, Oscar predictions for over 20 years, but this year I have this wonderful blog, and so I am choosing to do it in this forum, rather than on TV.

Also, with a TV show you’re locked into the time, your choices are frozen, as it were, to when you actually taped the show. Your predictions are frozen,too, and that’s that. And you always tape ahead, usually WAY ahead of the air date. You always have to allow time, sometimes a LOT of time for the editing process.

But this year the race has been SOOOO fluid. Not locked down at all. So this blog can reflect the daily Oscar race changes. AND DOES!

Ah! But you say, it’s the most locked-down of all!

 Weelllll, two and half weeks ago it was “The Joy of Typing” all the way and now…Well, of course, it’s going to be a “King’s Speech” sweep! Even Roger Ebert agrees with me! And so do Oscar God and Goddess David Karger and Sasha Stone. Dave’s at www.ew.com and Sasha, of course, reigns at www.awardsdaily.com.

Dave,  who I actually met for the first time in Toronto in the sweltering TIFF hallway, waiting to get in to see Geoffrey Rush, Tom Hooper and finally Colin Firth, the King himself, has,  Dave, like myself, been predicting “The King’s Speech” all the ways since September. Anne Thompson, too.

And so, if you haven’t been reading closely, I am OF COURSE, sticking with that Best Picture pic, and Colin, and also predicting a sweep.

Tom Hooper, Roger Ebert now agrees with me, is going to be anointed Best Director. And Sasha Stone although she has always deeply loved “The Joy of Typing” now admits to a King Speech sweep. She’s even coined a new word to define it “Sweepie”. Oh, that Sahsa!

So how much of a sweepie?

Sasha and I and now Roger Ebert, too, think that Geoffrey Rush is going to trounce Christian Bale, and NOW WOULDN’T THAT BE A SURPRISE to most! David Karger still has Christian winning. And oh, let’s throw those colorful charts at Movieline in, too. www.movieline.com.

They have Christian as Numero Uno. And Colin and King’s Speech. But I’m going to go with Geoffrey.

I don’t think “The Fighter” is going to get anything. For reasons I’ve explained in the past few posts. And I’m sure Scott Feinberg www.scottfeinberg.com does not want me to re-iterate them again here.

But Roger going for Rush over Bale? That’s huge! And Roger wasn’t a big TKS fan. He was always with TJOT until it went through some kind of Oscar menopause and The King emerged triumphant.

Dave, Roger and I are all still behind Natalie Portman in Best Actress. Could there be a surprise there? Annette Bening, I mean. Anne Thompson and Sasha think this could happen. I say, look to the BAFTAs on Sundey. If Annette upsets there….WATCH OUT! If it’s not Natalie as usual…

Both Roger and Annette have appeared on my  TV show BTW. As Thelma Adams would say “Full Disclosure.” More about Thelma in a minute…

But what then to make of the tempestuous Best Supporting Actress category? I’m still in the Helena Bonham-Carter camp. The BAFTAS are this Sunday and pay close attention to what happens in THAT category…As well as Best Actress…and Geoffrey Rush is probalby going to win there, too…

BUT, Roger Ebert, David Karger and Movieline all have Hailee Steinfeld as winning!

Should I switch to Hailee (whose performance doesn’t really deserve it) and hale her as a large majority of people, all of them STRAIGHT MEN in the Academy are doing? I don’t know where Sasha is on this.

But if the Sweepie continues…and she wins BAFTA this weekend…I’d say Helena will have a better shot than it seems she may right now. Helena has been wowing the press in L.A. She’s got a great sense of humor. When asked what she’s going to be wearing to the Oscars, she said, “I don’t know, but whatever it will be, will be a diaster!”Lolol…

Harvey Weinstein has handled the King’s Speech campaign majestically. He even had ANOTHER Peggy Siegel party honoring Geoffrey Rush earlier this week. IN NEW YORK! This following Rush’s being honored at the Santa Barbara Film Festival last week. And Jeffrey Wells, who’s been hating on “The King’s Speech” since FOREVER at his www.hollywood-elsewhere.com blog was UPSET that he didn’t get invited! After all those awful things that Jeff has been writing allllll year-long about “The King’s Speech” is he really SURPRISED that he wasn’t invited to this?!? REALLY, Jeff?!?

Meanwhile, the other Geoffrey, Rush, that is,  also opening tonight at BAM in “Diary of a Madman” and will undoubtedly be reigned, er, rained upon with kudos. I may even trek out to Brooklyn myself to see this. Stay tuned. Next week starts the “Rendezvous with French Cinema”  a sort of mini-French Film Festival in NYC(think Cannes withOUT the Rivieria) and I may be tackling that Festival for the first time this year. It’s at Lincoln Center.

And Thelma Adams? She turns out to be in Melissa Leo’s controversial video of her  equally controversial self-bought ad campaign’s photo shoot. And Thelma also turns out to be Melissa’s BFF! Who knew? But she’s written a marvelous, pointed Q&A with her best friend, and Thelma does ask her the hard questions, like –

Thelma(as MC, which is Mari-Claire, the magazine where this story will run): You were the front-runner. Why did you feel it was necessary to do this?

Melissa Leo: I didn’t know I was the front-runner. Nobody said that I was…

Well, d’oh. Melissa you WERE. Everybody that I read everywhere said you were. I guess you just didn’t get the Memo *sigh*

And she goes on www.mariclaire.com to again complain about ageism in Hollywood. And yes, I agree it’s there. In spades. And it shouldn’t be.

But to turn your Oscar campaign head-over-heels and end with, everybody thinks, a 13-year-old winning what should have been YOUR Oscar? Well, the irony is getting a little heavy in here.

An Unexpected Midnight Missive about Melissa-Gate!

I’ve always considered Scott Feinberg a nice, well-meaning young guy. He’s linked to this blog, before anybody else did, which I was very grateful for, so thank you, Scott. It’s started the ball rolling. This is a blog with no advertising, no publicty. It’s just a WordPress blog. Now you’ve helped it grow by leaps and bounds. Again, thank you.

But this REAALLLY upset email you sent me about Melissa-Gate, and all the apparent controversy that has been stirred up about her taking out her own ill-advised Oscar ads…well…I’ve been trying to think what was the nicest way of responding.

She’s a great actress. I’ve said this over and over again. And I would love to work with her some day. But she did something REALLLLY self-destructive and VERY unfortunate, and knowing her slightly and admiring her work tremendously, I just couldn’t believe she did something quite so, well…it’s almost beyond words how much damage she has caused her own frontrunner status. And maybe her entire career as well.

And Scott points out that he did not “admit that she has blown it” as I said in the previous post. He said EXACTLY “she COULD have…” check out the rest of his defense of Melissa in www.scottfeinberg.com

So OK. He didn’t say “she’s blown it”…Scott uses the more carefully worded “could have…”

Well, that statement, coming from Scott in the midst of his defense of her really shocked me. Scott does NOT make Oscar predictions statements like that lightly. So, I WAS BLOWN away, by his admitting this as even a remote possibility.

Melissa should’ve just sat tight and won the Oscar she was on her way to, and THEN spoken out publicly on all the topics she feels she must, and this is so, so, well ill-timed.

This is a BIG Oscar story. It’s overwhelmed “The King’s Speech” v. “The Social Network.” It’s NEWS. It’s hot news. On the Internet anyway. Everybody is talking about it everywhere. It just hasn’t seeped into TV yet…but it very well may. And I hope for Melissa’s sake it doesn’t.

Scott, this is PUBLICITY, which is what you and I deal with on a day-to-day basis. It’s what we do. I’m primarily a celebrity interviewer, as you are, and a Oscarologist since before you were born, but you’re doing much  than more than that now with your blog. I’m also a film and theater critic. So all this “reporting” is new to me. I think of it more as commenting, observation, and Melissa-gate is the biggest Oscar story going right now. It’s overwhelming the rest of this locked down race.

As now that I’ve just STARTED this blog, only in Sept., so I guess now I am a Oscar blogger. But I do not consider myself a journalist. This is a personal blog, about what I see, what I feel. And right now, I truly am upset that Melissa Leo seems to have hurt her Oscar frontrunner status. www.movieline.com does NOT have in the Number One spot on their Oscar graphs anymore because of this and they say so. Who’s in it Hailee Steinfeld!

Melissa Leo, a marvelously talented, well-regarded member of “jobbing actors” which is a good phrase, has now that she’s been nominated for an Oscar TWICE in the past two-three years, is put in the position of being a star. A movie star.

Those ads should’ve been MUCH more glamourous. She was so beautiful when she was young! She was strikingly beautiful, a fiery red-head. She was so photogenic she was a SOAP star, for goodness sakes.

She was on “All My Children” FOR YEARS, which is when I first became aware of her. And she played a “bad girl” as was ALWAYS terrific in that part. And I wondered what had happened to her, and why her talent had not been recognized in the wider world beyond soaps.

Now in her middle years she’s finally getting what it seems she always wanted. “Frozen River” was a GREAT performance, better than “The Fighter” IMHO because she was chewing the scenery a tad too much, for my tastes…but that was the part…

NOBODY understands ageism in Hollywood as well as I do, and have written about older actresses’ situation over and over again. And as a playwright/director and a member of the playwright/director’s unit at the Actor’s Studio, which is where I encountered Melissa again, when I auditioned with an aspirant to be one of the their members. I wasn’t trying to become an ACTING member of the studio. My scene partner was. We did a scene from “A Taste of Honey”. I played the gay character, of course.It was an incredible experience acting on that stage(yes, I’m an actor, too) and auditioning for Melissa. Who is held in the highest of high regard there, as you would expect.

She’s treated with tremendous respect there. Deference. As well she should be. And she seemed VERY at home there in that Method Acting atmosphere. And coming from a New York stage background Hollywood is just not a situation, and the Oscars, especially, is not a situation that she seems comfortable with AT ALL.

I am just honestly bewildered and perplexed that she did something so unfortunate as what she just did and that she was not told or stopped by her management at ICM.  Her manager, Jason Weinberg, her friend film critic Thelma Adams. I was ESPECIALLY surprised to see Thelma turn up in her photo shoot video!

Thelma, of ALL people, who writes for all manner of Show Biz publications, should’ve known the consequences of something like this.

AND I’m asked about Melissa EVERYwhere I go! And people know that I know her, and I am writing about her, to the extent that I have because it’s THE STORY of this year’s Oscars, and I am bewildered and SHOCKED, not by the reaction this has engendered, but WHY an artist of her caliber could’ve damaged something so badly, that did not did not NEED be damaged. At the very least, Melissa did not need publicity LIKE THIS.

I’m posing questions to her in my writing and to her friends and her management, looking for answers. Scott, if YOU are such a good friend of hers, why didn’t YOU stop her? You’re an Oscarologist. You cover the Oscars obsessively, as I do.

I guess the answer is you didn’t know about this. Why didn’t THELMA stop her? Or Jason? OR ICM? I guess because they COULDN’T.

But in the end the Oscars aren’t about merit, if they ever were, they are about HOOPLA. Which is what Melissa is getting now, and tons of it. On the Internet. But it’s not what she bargained for. I’m sure she didn’t expect THIS to happen and that it would be a backlash to the extent that it has. And the story just keeps getting BIGGER.

I just sincerely wish she hadn’t done this. She’s just HANDED Hailee Steinfeld, who doesn’t deserve it, or Helena Bonham-Carter, who does, an Oscar.

Somewhere Hailee Steinfeld is giggling.

Oscar Goddess Switches Her “King’s Speech” picks on Gold Derby!

If I’m counting right, anyone who follows all this Oscar nonsense (like I do) so avidly that they are going from Oscar site to Oscar site trying to take the temperature of the Little Golden Guy, may be a bit surprised to go to www.goldderby.com and see that Tom O’Neil has rounded up a whole passle o’pundits and asked them what they think…NOW…RIGHT NOW. This week. This moment. When MOST Oscar ballots get received and filled out and returned, post-haste.

And frankly, the group is too unwieldy to really get a sense of…unless you’re following one particular pundit, and of course, I’m noting Sasha Stone’s rather startlingly changed Oscar position. A woman definitely had the prerogative of changing her mind, but this is a little confusing.

Oscar goddess Sasha, who I feel knows more than anyone about what’s going on, has gone on Gold Derby from saying at www.awardsdaily.com, her own great site, that “The King’s Speech” is going to take everything in its’ path. And I think that’s right. To now saying to Tom O’Neil Gold Derby that the only Oscars she’s now predicting “The King’s Speech” to win, are THREE! If I’m counting correctly, and I’m slightly dyslexic with numbers…So we’ve gone from 12 to 3 in Sasha’s King Speak. Which would be Best Actor – Colin Firth. Of course, EVERYBODY and EVERY pundit polled predicted him and this has been the case since Toronto…

To just predicting Colin and David Seidler for Best Original Screenplay, to, her only controversial choice, Geoffrey Rush for Best Supporting Actor.

She’s the only one who is predicting him. But of course, I am, too…but Tom didn’t ASK ME!

I think out of loyalty to her season-long advocation of “The Joy of Typing,” she’s switched back to saying it will win Best Picture, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score, as well as Best Director for David Fincher…

I don’t think any of these wins are happening. But yes, to her Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and David Seidler picks, of course.

I think that it’s Tom Hooper and “The King’s Speech” for Best Picture All the Way. And if judging by the FIRST EVER bloggers panel at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, which you can watch at Awardsdaily, and see, at a distance, and very out of focus, from left to right, Jeffrey Wells www.hollywood-elsewhere.com, Scott Feinberg www.scottfeinberg.com , Pete Hammond www.deadlinehollywood.com, Steve Pond www.thewrap.com, Sasha herself, and Anne Thompson www.indiewire.com  being moderated by my frequent guest Peter Rainer of the Christian Science Monitor, who really is a critic and not a blogger.

It was a fascinating moment. This was right after Tom Hooper’s surprise win at the DGA and right BEFORE the SAG awards started, where “The King’s Speech” won – AGAIN.

This bloggers panel is on page two of www.Awardsdaily.com now, but it really is worth checking out.

It’s in Six parts, and there’s nary a close-up, but the sound quality is good, even if the picture is beyond blurry.

But what I was surprised at was how totally “The King’s Speech” dominated the conversation of the panel. They just couldn’t stop talking about it.  I think that means something.

And Sasha, Jeff and Scott Feinberg, were the main proponents of “The Joy of Typing” before the Big Switch happened at the DGA two weeks ago when the whole Oscar race turned upside down to put “The King’s Speech” on top and “Typing” somewhere near the bottom. But at least it was discussed avidly.

“True Grit” and “The Fighter” were barely mentioned. It was like there was no other movies in the race, except TKS and TJOT.

Peter Rainer, turns out, is a big TKS fan. He gave it an “A- minus” he said. I’d give it A++++. I think it’s one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen. And Anne Thompson and Steve Pond were positive about it, too.

Although Steve Pond barely said anything.

So there were two competing teams on this panel. King Team and Team Typing.

And went to Secretarial School. More than once! And I can tell you. There is very little Joy in Typing.

But I digress…

I guess the whole point of this is that “The King’s Speech” seems to have obliterated everything else. And Jeff Wells kept knocking it because “it was a feel good movie.” And return to Old Hollywood values. Among many other things, it is, yes, a World War II movie. It’s certainly Anti-Hitler. And you just LOVE Colin Firth’s great kindly king valiantly getting through the climatic Speech of “The King’s Speech.”

And at one point, a member of the audience asked, referring to who was voting on Best Foreign Film, “Are they elderly?” and Scott Feinberg had to admit that yes, they were. I don’t know how that question landed on him, but he answered it.

But I do think, going back to Sasha’s Gold Derby picks again, that she’s on to something with Geoffrey Rush over Christian Bale.

I do think the Supporting categories are much shakier than generally thought, and Christian Bale, as good as he is in “The Fighter” is not well liked. AND he’s young. He’ll have other chances.

And Geoffrey Rush has won a bunch of precursor awards. And Sasha when said that “The King’s Speech” was going to be “coming back for everything.” Meaning an across the board sweep…thinks that the King’s broom will sweep the King’s Speech Therapist in, too.

I’ve always thought that and said that. And told Geoffrey Rush that himself, when I famously interviewed him and Colin and Geoffrey at the Toronto International Film Festival which is where this blog began, after all.

Sasha also joined forces to predict something else equally startling, to me, Hailee Steinfeld as Best Supporting Actress over Melissa Leo!?! She is joined on Gold Derby by the redoubtable combination of Anne Thompson, Kris Tapley AND David Karger alllll saying the same thing!

And on Movieline, where they have those fabu graphs, THEY’VE got Hailee Steinfeld and Melissa Leo in a TIE!?!

So watch out, Oscarwatchers, and fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be bumpy three weeks

Best Supporting Actor~ChristianBale, Mark Ruffalo & Sam Rockwell

I have always seen Christian Bale, Mark Ruffalo and Sam Rockwell as a sort of trio, worthy lord knows, and veterans now of how many movies? And leads in movies? But never, ever close enough to Oscar to get even a nomination.

Yes, believe it or not, dear readers, dear cineastes, neither of those three extremely talented actors have ever gotten in Oscars door, but goodness knows, at least they’ve been knocking on it, year in and year out. And this year all three might get in.

Christian Bale is purported by many to be the front-runner for Best Supporting Actor for his wacked out portrayal of drug-addled Dickie Ekland in the increasingly popular “The Fighter.”  It’s not as though we haven’t seen a crack-wack-head portrayed on screen before, but never before has a portrayal like that made it to the cover of Sports Illustrated! See www.scottfeinberg.com for the great graphic.

It should be just a pictorial of central character Mark Wahlberg “The Fighter”‘ himself.But there is Bale pushing his head into the shot and onto the cover!

But Hollywood and all the critical masses seem to be lining up behind giving Christian Bale his first ever Oscar nomination. He just got a Golden Globe AND a SAG nom in less than a week! Can Oscar finally be opening the door to the Dark Knight himself? I think so.

But is he well-liked enough to win? His bad boy rantings were recorded and published all over the Internet when he went off on that poor techie, and he also was said to have assaulted his own mother and sister, but they dropped the charges…So…Were they true? Well, something about this scenario must be…but…Is Hollywood going to forgive Bad Boy Bale, a grown up child actor? Or are they going to think him too young to win and give it to Geoffrey Rush, who is his biggest competition, for a career-capping performance as the wacky, but not wacked out Australian Speech teacher to Colin Firth’s sure-to-win stuttering King in “The King’s Speech” ?Aye, that is the question….

Then there are the place-holders…the category-filler-outers…which is where Mark Ruffalo may get in despite his Golden Golbe snub. Ah! But then he rallied at the SAG nods and got one for Best Supporting Actor, his first, like Bale, for “The Kid’s Are All Right.”  Though it opened in the spring, this lesbian-marriage comedy has stayed the course and just did VERY well at the New York Film Critics Awards, netting its’ writer Lisa Cholodenko, who also directed it, the win for Best Screenplay over Aaron Sorkin for The Film That I Will Not Name…Yikes! No  one saw that coming! Could happen at the Oscars too BTW…but that’s another column…

Ruffalo’s performance in “Kids”? Well, as the title says, it’s All Right.

 But not great.

Not really Oscar nomination worthy, though certainly Ruffalo has given many, many performances in the past that could have been nominated, but weren’t. But this time his Only Straight Guy In a Lesbian Movie turn may be the right place at the right time. N0t his greatest work, by any means, and NOT the greatest performance in “The Kids.” But  I guess his heterosexual male presence, and he IS sexy, may assauge the SWORM to nominate him. Oh, and women like him, too. So he may get his first Oscar nomination but he certainly isn’t going to win. Not with Bale and Rush in the category.

And there there’s poor Sam Rockwell! He’s also never been nominated and just missed BOTH the SAG and the Golden Globe nominations he should’ve gotten this week for his superb turn as another difficult, jailed brother in ANOTHER  Masschusetts jail in”Conviction.”

He’s playing true-life character(as Bale and Rush are co-incidentally) Kenny Waters who spends 18 years of his life in a New England jail until he’s freed by this crusading, devoted sister played Betty Ann by Hilary Swank. And SHE just got a surprise nomination from the SAGS! She who has already won two Best Actress Oscars, is obviously more of an actor-favorite than anybody imagined, and her performance is damned-good, too.e

I just caught up with “Convinction” at a screening two DAYS ago, and I was shocked at how much I liked it.

So Hilary Swank popped up unexpectedly in Best Actress and knocked out presumed (and Golden Globe nominee) Michelle Williams. Will Swank prevail at the Oscars in another surprise win? Or will it be the equally  worthy Williams, who though nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005, has never been nominated in the main slot. Ah! But this time she’s gotten Oscar stealth weapon Harvey Weinstein behind her!…

I personally think that Sam Rockwell may be the one from “Conviction” to surprise, not Swank. Fox Searchlight is campaigning hard for “Conviction” even though it was a box-office flop….But they are getting the screeners into the Academy’s hands and/or getting the Academy’s asses to their screenings…of “Conviction.” So will Sam Rockwell pop up? Will he be the Oscar surprise? Heaven knows he’s worthy enough, but don’t be surprised, because you heard it here first!

Stay tuned!

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