a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Selma’

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.

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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.

 

Post Golden Globes ~ Big Winners, Big Losers, What Next?

Golden Eddie 2Tilda GrandPost Golden Globes, what’s the story? Some films won big. There were two major surprises in the top categories, and some films really went down in flames. What does it mean in terms of the Oscars? Well, actors are able to debut or audition, if you will, their winning personalities and speeches. The biggest surprise of the night, but not for me, or anyone reading this blog, is that Eddie Redmayne triumphed in Best Actor Drama for his stupendous performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” He’s playing a real person. Check. He’s playing disabled. Check. He’s British. Check. Yep, he could win Best Actor at the Oscars. His next test is  at SAG, which is coming up soon.

But next, tomorrow, in fact, is the DGA announcements of their five nominees for Best Director and if James Marsh, the director of “The Theory of Everything”, who has already won an Oscar in the past for his directing of the doc “Man on the Wire”, if James Marsh turns up as a surprise nominee among the five honorees, it will cement the momentum of “Theory”.

Also, the other surprise win of the night(But again, not to me or to you, dear readers, dear cineastes) was the grand “Grand Budapest Hotel” winning Best Comedy/Musical over “Birdman.” If “Budapest”s director, Wes Anderson’s name comes up there, as I expect it certainly will, it, too, will confirm the momentum that “Budapest” seems to be enjoying. This is after 11 BAFTA nominations last week.

The biggest losers of the night were “Imitation Game” which went home empty-handed. I wonder now if Benedict Cumberbatch even gets nominated. Eddie may have just knocked him out of contention. Just saying…

Also batting zero was “Foxcatcher” which is now in its’ death throws in terms of the Awards race. The much maligned “Selma” only managed Best Song, which is pretty embarrassing, for such a great, important film. And also “Gone Girl” got nothing. Ditto “Into the Woods.”

And what’s next after the DGA? On Thursday morning, bright and early, the Oscar Nominations themselves will be announced.

Can’t wait!

 

What Happened to “Selma”? “Nightcrawler” continues to rise…

Nightcrawler 3Selma Poster 1WHAT HAPPENED TO “SELMA”?!?! This is the question the blogosphere and Oscarologists in particular are asking across the online universe this day of the Producer’s Guild Annoucement of its’ ten Nominations for Best Picture. The list is below in the last post.

There’s a one word answer “Screeners.” Paramount, the major film company, did the incredibly lamentable thing in not sending screeners to this group. Or any of the guild groups. Which explains in a tweet, why this wonderful, timely film that I just loved, is being ignored every where.

Well,they did evidently send the All-Important-These-Days Screeners of “Selma” to the Academy members. Which is 6,000 or so right there. But if they wanted to build momentum for “Selma” (and also by the way for “Interstellar”) they SHOULD’VE sent out the screeners! It’s 2015 now ladies and gentlemen, and that’s how you win an Oscar. You’ve GOT to send out screeners to the guilds as well as  to the aged Academy membership, who just simply DON’T get out to see all the movies they SHOULD, in a theater, but who SEEM to watch them at home. On their DVD players. Which is usually how and where they make their Oh-So-Important Decisions. In the comfort, and privacy, of their Bellair/Aspen/etc. homes.

I can’t believe this egregious oversight on Paramount’s part. It’s not as though it’s an INDIE after all. I mean, Paramount is a major studio, for cripe’s sake. It’s like they want their films to fail this year.

Or they think they don’t have a chance anyway. But it damages “Selma” particularly in that a film that SEEMED to be on its’ way to making history with the nomination of the first African-American female director, is now probably NOT going to happen for Ava DuVernay. And this makes David Oyelewo, the rising Black British star who plays Dr. Martin Luther King, also extremely vulnerable in the over-crowded Best Actor race, and leave room for Jake Gyllenhaal of “Nightcrawler” to creep in. Once you lose the Zeitgeist, it’s very hard to put the lightning back in the bottle.

“Nightcrawler” surprised everyone, in a good way today. It’s good news for Indie distributor Open Road films and for Jake Gyllenhaal and maybe also for Renee Russo in the Best Supporting Actress race. Perception is everything. If a film is PERCEIVED to have awards heat, as “Nightcrawler” and also Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” which seems to be killing it at the box-office, too, well then everyone involved in those films prospers. What is the phrase “A high tide raises all boats”?

But there is a glimmer of hope in that the PGA nom list has in the recent past NOT MATCHED perfectly with the Academy’s list of Ten. Or more accurately, nine. There’s usually one film different. At least.

So I’m hoping the Academy does the right thing, as Spike Lee once opined, and votes in “Selma” for Best Picture. I wonder if though the Director’s Branch and the DGA will include Du Vernay after this. The DGA, BTW, ALSO did not get sent screeners of “Selma” so probably not.

Sad for DuVernay’s chances. The Director’s Guild and the Director’s Branch are VERY quirky and idionsyncratic. VERY hard to predict. Like for instance, I think Damien Chazelle’s the VERY young director of “Whiplash” could pull at Behn Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”s 20-something director) and get an Oscar nod. And Ava DuVernay doesn’t. Oprah, you’re the producer of “Selma”, weren’t you paying ATTENTION?!?

David Poland thinks its btwn. “Boyhood”, “Theory of Everything” and “Imitation Game”

Boyhood 2Theory2David Poland, the great Oscar prognosticator, of “Movie City News”, who was one of the ones who practically founded today’s Oscar race online, has just posted his “Settling” analysis of this year’s race. Something I always look forward to. Previously, he has called it “The Great Settling” and this year however he calls it “The Soft Settling.”

David, full disclosure, was once my boss. Yes, I was once a Guru o’ Gold, and then a Guru 2.0. Well, anyway, I digress…

David has his ear closer to the ground and hears more from more people who are actually Academy voters, and to sum up, he calls it “The Soft Settling”, because he thinks the race is still wide open. I wonder about that.

He interestingly has of course, this year’s de rigueur choice, “Boyhood” in #1, but thinks it’s between that film and the two “Brit pics” “Theory of Everything” And “The Imitation Game.” Which he feels are going to cancel each other out.

But he doesn’t think “Birdman” has an outside chance, though he thinks it will get nominated. He is hearing that the Academy types are resisting it as “too weird” and “too out there”. I think he’s right. But we soon shall see and tomorrow TA DA! The Producers Guild announce their top ten, or IOW their ten nominees which is really, really important. But he does think that the four movies I’ve mentioned above plus “Selma” will all be in. The other five are what’s up in the air still. Can’t wait til tomorrow when we find out!

Check out David’s great piece at the link below ~

http://moviecitynews.com/2015/01/20-weeks-to-oscar-the-soft-settling/

A.C.E. announce! The Importance of Editing to Oscar

Nightcrawler 2The A.C.E. or the Eddies, the Editing organization that the public may not know about, but the industry sure does, just announced their nominees and this year in their two film categories there were 11(!) nominations.  Six in Drama and Five in Musical/Comedy, like the Golden Globes. There was a tie in the Drama category, but they’re not saying who or which film. Including “Nightcrawler”, they were “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood”, “Imitation Game” and “Whiplash.” And the also surprising last minute, late comer to the race,  Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”

The importance of editing as the central or key aspect in film-making today and in the awards season race, can not be underestimated. And also, no Best Picture has won without at least an Eddie nomination, Which is bad news for “Selma”.

If I had it to do over again, I’d study film-editing myself. Sometimes you feel like you’ve missed your calling and I think about trying to start to learn how to edit everyday. But I digress…

The guilds are the first REAL sample of how the industry is feeling this year about the Oscars. All the other awards so far are mainly voted on by CRITICS! And there are NO critics or press in the Academy.

There ARE press agents, but they only are allowed to nominate five pictures for Best Film, as one small for instance. When the nominations are announced they THEN get to vote in all the categories, but this is Phase I, the nomination phase. In fact, Academy members are nominating right now as we speak.

And next to the VAST Actor’s Branch, the second branch that really has a say, I think, is the Editor’s Branch. Not all the members of A.C.E. are IN the editors branch, by the way, but it’s a pretty good indicator.

And what’s surprising about today’s announcements, is what was left in that wasn’t expected, like for instance “Nightcrawler” (on my year’s 10 Best List for sure) and also the late opening Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper.

Nobody expected either of them to make it and that means they may make it into the Best Picture race at the Oscars. Left out was “Selma”. Which is kind of shocking, with all the supposed momentum that is building for it. But maybe it’s not. Also left out, I’m sorry to say was my fave “The Theory of Everything.” Watch for the Oscar nominations to correct that in two weeks.

But Jake Gyllenhaal has started really picking up nomination speed with nods from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Broadcast Film Critics. And now this.”Nightcrawler” has LEGS! As many legs as a centipede, it seems.

http://www.hitfix.com has the rest with spirited analysis by their great Kris Tapley and Gregory Ellwood. The complete list is there.

And on Monday, the Producer’s Guild is set to announced its’ list of ten nominees for Best Picture. The PGA as it’s called was the first group to vote for “The King’s Speech,” when they voted for their winner that year when everyone else up to that point was going “The Social Network,” a film that I STILL intensely dislike. I still think of it as “The Joy of Typing.”

The PGA even more than the A.C.E. Eddies are ALLLL mostly Academy Members. They have ten slots and use a preferential ballot, like the Oscars do.

So films that are on the edge of the Oscar bubble, like for instance “Gone Girl,” “Nightcrawler”, “American Sniper,” “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods”, “A Most Violent Year” or “Whiplash” will find their hopes either raised or dashed on Monday.

I think frontrunners like “Boyhood”, “Birdman”, “Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” will all be on the Producer’s List. And “Selma”, too, even though it was left off the A.C.E. Eddie’s today.

Never underestimate the importance of film editors. They silently run the show, and year after year do great unsung work that is respected and admired by the industry. These are the first voters we’ve heard from who REALLY count.

So who do these Eddie Nods help? For sure, Jake Gyllenhaal’s bid to get in to the extremely tight Best Actor Oscar race. It could help give “Nightcrawler” Best Picture cred, too. And don’t forget the wonderful 60-year-old-but-still-glamourous Rene Russo, who could get swept into the Supporting Actress race. Why not? She certainly deserves it.

And what of Bradley Cooper and “American Sniper”? Well, we shall see what we shall see.

 

 

 

SAG Award Nominations Announced! Aniston & Jake G. in, Oyelowo Out. No “Selma” or “Unbroken” anywhere.

Into the Woods 1Julianne Moore 2Nightcrawler 2Well, the SAG Awards nominations are out, and I’m so happy to sey that Eddie Redmayne was nominated for Best Actor and so was Jake Gyllenhaal for “The Theory of Everything” and “Nightcrawler” respectively. Patricia Arquette was put BACK in the Supporting Actress category after being bumped up to lead for “Boyhood.” And Marion Cotillard was left out completely for “Two Days, One Night.”

So it’s bittersweet. I’m sooo glad for Eddie and Felicity Jones for “Theory” which was also nominated for Best Ensemble, which is the SAG equivalent award for Best Picture. Also left out were David Oyelowo for “Selma.” In fact “Selma” was not mentioned anywhere!

Jennifer Aniston FINALLY got some serious acting  cred for the first time in her career this morning, from THE ACTORS of SAG, who nominated her for Best Actress in the little-seen indie “Cake’, landing her in that fifth hotly contested slot, bumping out Maid Marion and Hilary Swank, who  was up for “The Homesman.” The others in Best Actress, besides Aniston and Jones were Julianne Moore for “Still Alice”, natch, Rosamund Pike for “Gone Girl” and Reese Witherspoon for “Wild.”

And the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress did NOT help Jessica Chastain with the actors of SAG. She did NOT receive a nomination here. Perhaps her THREE films, “The Disappeance of Eleanor Rigby”, “Interstellar” and “The Most Violent Year” cancelled each other out and allowed for the REALLY OFF THE WALL out of NOwhere nomination for Naomi Watts as  a Russian prostitute in “St. Vincent” to get in. Other nominees in Supp. Actress besides Arquette and Watts were the deserving Keira Knightley for “Imitation Game,” Emma Stone for “Birdman,” and of course, Meryl Streep for “Into the Woods.”

The Oscar Nominations,which aren’t due til January, are hopefully going to include Marion Cotillard and probably Jessica Chastain, too.

This is a whiter than white list of nominations. Perhaps the Golden Globe nominations tomorrow will color correct this. For a complete list of the nominees check out http://www.awardsdaily.com

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