a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘screen actors guild’

Live-Blogging SAG(Screen Actors Guild) Awards tonite.

SAG 1The Screen Actors Guild Awards are tonight, and I’m going to be live-blogging them, dear readers, dear cineastes.  In NYC, they are on the TBS or TNT channels at 8pm EST. Check your local listings.

There should be MANY surprises tonight. We’ll see if the #Oscarssowhite controversy is going to impact the awards.

Black British Actor Idris Elba is the man of the hour tonight. He’s nominated for Best Supporting Actor on the film side for “Beasts of No Nation.” And on the TV side he’s nominated for “Luther”. He’s against Mark Rylance in both categories and I feel he is going to take home at least ONE “actor” as they call their awards. If “Beasts of No Nation” wins Best Ensemble, then Elba might be taking home three!

Mark Rylance 1
Rylance, a stage legend in Britain and multiple Tony winner on Broadway, is his main competition tonight for “Bridge of Spies” for Best Supporting Actor Film, and for “Wolf Hall” TV series.

Unfortunately, Elba was NOT nominated for an Oscar. (He’s a magnificent actor. He should have been.) None of this awful Oscarssowhite scandal would’ve happened if he had been nomminated. It’s rumored that he may be the first Black James Bond.

Here’s an interview I did with Idris a few years back at the Toronto Film Festival.

As for Best Picture Film, it’s back and forth and forth and back between “Spotlight” and late riser “The Big Short.” Which is what it was like last year with “Birdman” and “Boyhood.” Up til the last second. And then “Birdman” won by a beak at the Oscars. I still can’t believe that happened.

Me? I’d vote for “Spotlight” if I was a voting member of SAG. But I’m not, so we’ll see. Unlike the Academy, SAG voters DO have a sense of humor. So “The Big Short”s cutting edge wit would not be held against it tonight. We’ll see.

And if Leonardo wins Best Actor here tonight, he’ll win the Oscar, too. Ditto Brie Larson.

But if it’s Bryan Cranston for “Trumbo” LOOK OUT! All bets are off. And Leo could kiss his Oscar good-bye. At least for “The Revenant”Revenant 3

And I think Alicia Vikander will triumph here in Supporting Actress for “The Danish Girl.”Alicia 6

 

 

 

 

 

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Could “Wolf Hall Pts 1 & 2” Win All the Tonys???

Could the astoundingly popular British six-hour smash hit “Wolf Hall Pts. 1 & 2” win all the Tonys it’s sure to be nominated for in less than two weeks? It certainly could. It’s massive length, and its massive cast of nearly two dozen imported Royal Shakespearean actors is based on the equally massively successful and acclaimed novels by Dame Hilary Mantel.Wolf Hall 1 TONY 2015 1“Wolf Hall” and its’ successor “Bring In the Bodies” BOTH won the prestigious Mann Booker awards in Britain. And though you would think the six-hour long marathon length would daunt theater-goers, it was a success in Stratford-Upon-Avon, where it appropriately started, then in the West End, when it transferred, and now on Broadway,

Anglophiles seem to be coming out of the wood-work lapping it up as a day well-spent time-travelling to the uttterly corrupt court of King Henry VIII. It has already been adapted into a critically acclaimed hit by Mike Poulton at London’s Royal Shakespeare Company, and its current Broadway transfer has grossed almost $2 million in previews since March 20; it opened April 9. And the novels themselves have sold over three million copies world-wide

It’s also currently airing on PBS starring Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, here the protagonist. With overwhelming stats like these, I think it’s going to get nominated for every Tony Award in the book. Including and especially  Best New Play, Best Actor (Ben Miles ~ Thomas Cromwell), Best Supporting Actress (Lydia Leonard ~ Anne Boleyn) and Best Supporting Actor (Nathaniel Parker ~ King Henry VIII) and you can throw in Best Director, and all the technical awards, too.

I wasn’t sure about this  TONY sweep happening, although all my critical colleagues were throwing their hats very high into the air with the best reviews of the season, until I saw a 90 minute Q&A at the New School’s auditorium in Greenwich Village.

Hosted by the jovial and expert Richard Ridge, Parker, Miles and Ms. Leonard utterly charmed and beguiled me, as they participated in this, one of the best symposiums I’ve ever attended. Hosted by SAG and Broadwayworld.com, the Tudor trio & Ridge created what was one of the most delightful afternoons chats I’ve ever been witness to.

Also invited were Drama Desk members, and all were thrilled by what they were hearing as Parker, Miles and Ms. Leonard regalled us with a totally complete picture of just how “Wolf Hall” transformed into  two stage plays from those very thick British novels.

And all three were unstinting in their generosity in their replies to Ridge’s apt questions. They were three actors talking from their hearts to an audience full of actors(The Screen Actors Guild) and they couldn’t’ve been more charming, intelligent, completely forthcoming and utterly winning.

Ben Miles, Lydia Leonard and Nathaniel Parker may have arrived here as virtual strangers on our shores, but they are going to leave nominated for every acting award they’ll be eligible for. The Drama Desk and the Tonys all announce their choices within the next two weeks. I can’t wait!

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.”

“Grand Budapest Hotel” To Be Re-Released! YAY!

Tilda and RalphFOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES RE-RELEASES GOLDEN GLOBE® BEST PICTURE WINNER “THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL”

FOR SPECIAL RETURN ENGAGEMENTS

 

Film to be Re-Released in Select Cities January 16
Nominated for 9 Academy Awards® including Best Picture and

Nominated for Screen Actors Guild® Awards Best Ensemble

Golden Globe® Winner for Best Picture

Los Angeles, CA January 16, 2015 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company will re-release director Wes Anderson’s Oscar- nominated and Golden Globe Award- winning film THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL in select cities for special return engagements on Friday, January 16.

 

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL earned 9 Academy Award nominations announced today and has already garnered over 20 major nominations from The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (nominated for 4 Golden Globes and winning Best Picture), The Broadcast Film Critics Association (nominated for 11 Critics Choice Awards including Best Picture), The Screen Actors Guild (SAG Awards nomination for Best Ensemble), The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominated for 11 awards. The film has earned numerous major Guild nominations and Critics Groups accolades, as well as being on over 185 Top Ten Lists.  After premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL opened in the U.S on March 7 and has grossed over $59 million domestically; making it Wes Anderson’s most successful film and the highest grossing English-language specialty platform release of the year, as well as the highest grossing Best Picture nominee.

 

The film will re-release on Friday, January 16th in over 17 cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Washington DC, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Houston, Seattle, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

 

“We are honored and humbled that the film community, critics and audiences around the world have warmly embraced the film. Not only is the film impeccably crafted, but it is also a moving tribute to the golden age of Hollywood masters,” said Utley and Gilula.

 

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars; and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting; a raging battle for an enormous family fortune; a desperate chase on motorcycles, trains, sleds, and skis; and the sweetest confection of a love affair — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

 

The film is directed and written by Wes Anderson and story by Anderson & Hugo Guinness.  The film stars Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori,  F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson.  The creative team includes producers Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, executive producers Molly Cooper, Charlie Woebcken, Christoph Fisser and Henning Molfenter, co-producer Jane Frazer, director of photography Robert Yeoman, A.S.C., production designer Adam Stockhausen, editor Barney Pilling, music supervisor Randall Poster, original music by Alexandre Desplat, costume designer Milena Canonero, associate producer Octavia Peissel and co-producer for Scott Rudin Productions Eli Bush.

 

Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of 20th Century Fox Film.

 

Oscar Thinking and Re-Thinking About Ann Dowd

I guess any of you who have been following my blog and my web-series, never mind my TV series, know that this particular Oscar season I was more involved than I ever was in my whole Oscar-obsessed life.

True, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. Basically since I could write.

And also true, I started doing this the minute I got my own TV show 25 years ago. I had another expert and myself and it was a dialogue.

Then sometime in the early 00’s I connected with Oscarwatch.com and Sasha Stone. And I guess the rest, as they say, is Herstory.

But of course, I had to get even closer, didn’t I? And so this year when I was approached by the great Indie and stage actress Ann Dowd to help her with her very own, self-funded Oscar campaign for “Compliance” I did.

And it was a real education for the both of us, I can tell you.

Sasha at http://www.awardsdaily.com which is what Oscarwatch.com is called now has written, once again, as she invariably does on a staggering, daily basis, about NEXT year’s upcoming Oscar season. And this one is barely done.

But as Sasha so expertly lays it out, it’s pretty clear what’s coming our way, and “Monuments Men” seems to already be the front-runner, just straight out of the Gate.

It’s George Clooney v. the Nazis and he wrote, directed, produced and stars in this one. George is super hot again after the “Argo” win, so since this film hasn’t even begun to shoot yet, I won’t rain on anybody’s parade. Yet. But it does seem like a front-runner already.

And as Sasha always says, you know what happens to front-runners…

But back to Ann Dowd, what Sasha did point out in her astute, austere assessment of THIS year’s race was that no nominee was not backed up by an ace publicist. And a campaign.

And what does that mean? Lots and lots of money.

Poor Ann Dowd spent $16,000 or so of her own money to send screeners of “Compliance” to all the Voting Members of the Academy and also the nominating committee of the Screen Actors Guild. And she didn’t get a nomination from either voting body. Which is awful. But if you do Sasha’s math, it makes perfect sense.

You need to spend even MORE money than Ann did. You need to take out ads and have parties thrown for you. Parties go on all the time in L.A. before Oscars Phase I & also Phase II, and you need to be attending all those parties, especially if you are new to they, them, the Academy.

The AMPAS members are all too happy to meet new, talented faces, so its’ not their faults. It’s getting IN TO those parties. And that’s no mean feat.

But you have to go to a party EVERY DAY sometimes three times a day as Marion Cotillard did the first year she was nominated and won for “La Vie En Rose.” Acting in French, a complete unknown, she taught herself English by day, and networked like cra-zee at night, and she charmed all who met her, and she won.

And PS. her brilliant performance certainly deserved it. BUT SO DID ANN DOWD’S!

Let me quickly add that she did get nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress and also WON the National Board of Review award for that same category.

So she did receive accolades and the Santa Barbara Film Festival honored her as a Virtuoso. So Ann’s been flying back and forth between both coasts for months now, it seems.

IF ONLY she had received that elusive nomination! But it went to Jackie Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Which was a film all these people, all these voters saw. Evidently, they didn’t watch the screeners Ann sent them.Or worse. they didn’t like “Compliance.”

But the moral of the story is ~ if you don’t have a Cyntha Swartz, or a Michele Robinson or a Tony Angelotti behind you to start with. You’re not going to get an Academy Award nomination.

It’s like Hollywood is a closed shop. But we knew that, didn’t we? How naive can I be?

SAG Awards and PGA this weekend! Predictions!

It’s a big weekend in the Awards Calendar as Oscar draws ever nearer… The PGA (The Producers Guild of America) announces who they picked as Best Picture of 2012 on Sat. And as if that weren’t enough excitement on Sunday, we have the always exciting, always misleading SAG Awards. The Screen Actors Guild.

Some of the members of these guilds are in the Academy. A lot of them. But more importantly the producers have a list of ten. The Oscar only nominated nine. And while the producers picked “Skyfall”, the Academy didn’t and dropped “Moonrise Kingdom” but picked up “Amour.” But even MORE importantly they use a preferential ballot, which is what the Oscars do with Best Picture. But ONLY Best Picture.

Every other Oscar category is by a simple majority. IOW, whoever gets the most votes wins.

The Prefentials Ballot is Sooooo complicated I will defer to Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone at the superior and ever-essential http://www.awardsdaily.com to let her and the great Steve Pond of http://www.thewrap.com explain THAT particular kettles of thorns.

I’m mixing metaphors, but I don’t mince words.

So IOW the Producer’s Guild with its large voting body is more of an approximate cross-section of the Academy’s. So whoever they choose as their winner on Sat. may very well tell the tale of who or what is going to win Best Picture.

And I think, like the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Broadcast Film Critics that they are going to go with “Argo.” Ben Affleck who was notoriously snubbed by the Academy for Best Director, as was Katheryn Bigelow, is riding high right now on a wave of monumental sympathy for this snub. And the PGA may very well correct this.

The SAGs, being a mass of many thousands of actors, is a little harder to predict correctly. They follow their own star. I would like to think that my personal favorite “Les Miserables” may pull a surprise upset here and win their Best Ensemble award. Best Ensemble is the SAGs way of saying Best Picture. And “Les Mis” certainly had a great ensemble, in my book.

I would love to see Hugh Jackman win for “Les Miserables” and best Daniel Day-Lewis for his boring performance in the bore-to-end-all-bores “Lincoln.” “Lincoln” has the most nominations across all these awards bodies and consistently lost. To “Argo”!

All the controversy that is still swirling around “Zero Dark Thirty” is going to make it very hard to win ANYTHING I think. Coupled with the fact that I don’t think Sony sent out that screener to the voting membership of SAG. Sony is also losing its’ headquarter building in Manhattan. 550 Madison. The beautiful Phillip Johnson-designed stunner that once-upon-a-time was the AT&T building. They’ve got bigger problems, obviously, then sorting out ZDT’s Awards’ chances.

Which I think is going to leave Jessica Chastain out in the cold.

Losing to most likely Jennifer Lawrence in”Silver Linings Playbook”, if Harvey Weinstein has his way. Or to Naomi Watts, if he doesn’t.

I think HW WILL prevail in the Best Supporting Actor category with Robert DeNiro, who has never won a SAG award, believe it or not.(His best work pre-dates SAGs Awards) And that would be also for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Are we seeing a pattern form here?

And lastly Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress for “Les Miserabales” is as locked as Christopher Plummer was last year for HIS first ever Oscar win at age 82 for “Beginners.”

Best Ensemble ~ I HOPE it’s “Les Mis” but it just might be “Argo” like the BFCA and the Golden Globes, or it could be “Silver Linings Playbook.” THAT one’s a real toss-up.

More predictive is the PGA on Sat.

Will I live-blog the SAGs on Sunday? Probably. Do check in.

Jean Dujardin Wins Best Actor at SAG Awards!!!

Well, the SAG awards was pretty darn dull until the last half hour when French star Jean Dujardin triumphed over George Clooney to win Best Actor tonight! Suprising? Non. Pas moi! I predicted as much on this blog the post before last. George Clooney has never won a SAG award and I quipped “There’s probably a reason for that.”

George, I guess they just don’t like you THAT much! They like you. But they don’t REALLY like you. And for this extremely American-centric, Xenophobic Screen Actor’s Guild to award their BIG Award BEST ACTOR to a Frenchman! Mon dieu! C’est incroyable! C’est presque impossible! Mais C’EST VRAI!

And Jean gave the most adorable acceptance speech, funny, and moving…
I’m sure it will be all over You Tube in a matter of seconds, but you can see MOI interviewing Jean and his glamorous Argentinian/French co-star Berenice Bejo at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Predicting right to they themselves that they’d be going to the Kodak Pavillion in February! And it’s almost February!

So Best Actor was the one big Weinstein Co. win tonight. The Screen Actors Guild only gives out five awards. Best Ensemble AND Best Actress AND Best Supporting Actress all went shockingly to “The Help.”

It was an upset after “The Artist”s director Michel Hazanaviscius won Best Director at the DGA last night.

“The Help” COULD perhaps be perceived as perhaps making this year’s Oscar race a two-way race now between “The Help” and “The Artist” and a case COULD be made for that point of view. Except for the fact that “The Help” did not receive a Best Director nomination, nor did it receive any screenwriting or below-the-line technical nominations. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress and two Supporting Actress nominations and that was it. It didn’t even get Best Song from Mary J.Blige.

Now, I’ve often said how the Academy has had a lot of personal resentment for Meryl Streep in the past. But now that she’s 62 and she’s playing quite aged most of the time in “The Iron Lady” there’s a sympathy for her that I have never felt before, since, well, the earliest days of her Oscar career, like around the time of “Sophie’s Choice” which is arguably one of the greatest performances by an actress on-screen of all time.

So now we know, as I’ve heard over and over again from FEMALE members of SAG, of “She’s gotten everything, including all the parts, why should we give her ANOTHER Oscar?” She’s got two, one for Best Actress for “Sophie’s Choice” and one for Supporting Actress for “Kramer vs.Kramer.” in the 80s!

And she wasn’t helping herself with the extremely dowdy brown drape dress she was wearing. Literally. The curtains. It looked like she was wearing the curtains, Miss Scarlett.

And Clooney. I told you how I noticed how rattled I thought he was and tired at the Golden Globes in his acceptance speech. And I knew why. He had just had to follow Jean Dujardin’s incredibly funny and moving win for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical.

This year everyone has been noting that POWER of SAG seems to have grown. So it makes a very good case for Jean Dujardin winning again at the Oscars, and not George. “The Descendants” got NO-thing.

And he’ll probably win at the BAFTAS, too, later this week. And be as equally as funny and charming as he was tonight AND at the Golden Globes.

Jean Dujardin reminds me of a cross between Clark Gable and Gene Kelly and Maurice Chevalier(when he was young.) He’s irresistible.

And so he’ll continue his march to the Oscars. As will the wonderful Christopher Plummer who won tonight as Best Supporting Actor. And his speech was better tonight. So was Octavia Spencer’s speech. She looked wonderful and really READY to win and be the star that everybody, inexplicably, wants her to be.

But the Screen Actor’s Guild isn’t THE ACADEMY. There’s an overlap, but not all that much. There’s 300,000 members of SAG and only 1,500 members of the Academy’s Actors Branch. And most members of AMPAS don’t even BOTHER to vote in the SAGs. The Academy is nothing if not tres exclusif, bien sur.

And “The Artist” got TEN nominations, “across the branches” as Anne Thompson is wont to say on www.indiewire.com

Stu Van Airsdale, the Oscar’s Wizard of Wit, with his great, carefully calibrated Oscar Index, which week-in, week-out, is a delight to read AND to look forward to. You can see it every Wed. PM at www.movieline.com  Stu, or as he likes to style himself lately, STV, had it both ways with Meryl AND Viola tied for first place and also Jean Dujardin and George Clooney tied for first place. So STV REALLY had it all right this week. Except he didn’t have “The Help” anywhere near the top.

But then it’s the OSCAR Index, not the SAG index.

So now, we, like Harvey Weinstein & Co., is doing, turn our attention to the BAFTAS. Where Best Actress is really still up for grabs. Michelle is nominated there, too. I really felt sorry for her when she didn’t win. But if the Brits give Best Actress to her, when she’s up against Viola and Meryl and also Berenice Bejo, who they put in lead there….she could be a surprise win. “My Week with Marilyn” is a British film, after all.

And I don’t want to sound delusional, but I think Jean Dujardin did a sort kinda Stephen Holt Shout Out-imitation, when he kept exclaiming “Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! OH MY GOD!” in ever-ascending levels of shrillness, that I’ve been noticed to do, in the past, and even recently in my very own interview with Jean and Berenice.

Jean, I’m honored by your, er, quoting of me. Merci, merci beaucoup. Et alors, maintenant Les Baftas et apres-la l’Oscars! And lets hope “The Artist” wins there, too.

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