a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Silent Movie’

Oscar, a palpable presence at “The Artist” junket NYC!

Yes, I felt Oscar IN THE ROOM! There was a presence that I could really, really feel today at “The Artist”s press junket in NYC and I’ve come to the conclusion that I felt Oscar him/itself there. Everyone was sooo happy! I’ve never seen this before! EVAH! And for a comedy???

Well, Woody Allen never does press things like this. Or not much.

He did subject himself to a print media only press conference last year for “You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger” and I did meet him there. He’s wonderful. What can you say? He’s Woody. And I’ve just seen “Midnight in Paris” EIGHT TIMES!

Well, it’s gonna be a very French year at the Oscars, I predict. Between “Midnight…” and “The Artist”s charming French stars and director…I really do think it’s between the two of these light-as-air Gallic breezes of up-beat comedies for Best Picture this year.

The biggest difference? Well, let’s say DIALOGUE. “The Artist” is a silent film. And also color. “The Artist” is in Black and White. No I’m not kidding. It really IS.

What was one of Alice’s tasks in “Through the Looking Glass”? Trying to imagine eight impossible things before breakfast?

Well, you can count the improbable, but very palpable rise of “The Artist” as at least two or maybe three or maybe FOUR of those impossible things.

1) It’s in Black and White

2) It’s Silent

3) It’s French. And a French film, made by French people has never won the Oscar

4) It’s a comedy

5) It’s star Jean DuJardin as very likely a Best Actor nominee(and he may WIN. See below..)

6)It’s comely leading lady, French actress Berenice Bejos will probably be nominated for Best Supporting Actress

Oh, well, that’s SIX impossible things right there.

That this small, short(100 mins.) black and white silent film just continues like Alice herself to just rise and rise and rise ~ all the way to the Oscars…probably. Well, it’s “most improbable” is most probably what Alice would say.

There was something in the air this morning. An elan. A delightful sparkle. Something had happened to alllll those present. And I do think it was that Oscar had announced himself to all and sundry that yes, they were all going to go to the Kodak Pavillion come February.

And they ALL knew it. And all were smiling, smiling, smiling…

When I said something to this effect to Berenice Bejos, the winsome Peppy Miller, the ingenue who charlestons her way into our hearts AND the heart of “The Artist” himself, Jean Valentin, (DuJardin) this morning she said “That’s what everyone keeps telling us.” And I really did believe that everyone, and not just me, was saying this to Mlle. Bejos.

And this time it wasn’t just me (or someone like Hollywood-Elsewhere’s Jeff Wells, at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com who went off on a supportive spree for this low-budget indie “Tyrannosaur” hosting three screenings in L.A. There were only TWO in NYC, and I couldn’t make either of them.) it wasn’t just me, or Jeff, going off and on about falling in love with a movie. This time “The Artist” was a movie EVERYONE had already fallen in love with. HARD .There wasn’t a cynical smirk in the room.

And I, Oscarologist that I am, really DO feel it’s going to win something. And win something BIG like “Best Picture” or Best Actor for Jean DuJardin or maybe BOTH!

It will certainly get nominated for everything under the sun, the Hollywood sun, because yes, this satire and loving tribute to silent films, was actually made and shot in Hollywood employing many below the line technical people in L.A. where the verisimilitude of making Old Hollywood movies, really never has gone far from where it all started.

And authentic “The Artist” certainly seems to be. Except that it’s made by French people. The director the almost unpronounceable Michel(pronounced like “Michelle” as in “Michelle Williams”) wait for it. Hazanavicius. Which is pronounced like the words “Hosannah!” as it “Yippee!” andvis-e-use, as only the French can pronounce that last syllable like is “ooze.” Or “Yoose”

And it’s two out-of-ballpark charming French stars Jean DuJardin and the aforementioned Mlle. Bejos( pronounced like Bay-Jo, with a hard “j”) who is the director, M. Hazanavicius’ wife IRL.

And of course, the unseen star, Harvey Weinstein,  the canny producer who bought this French bon-bon (Tom O’Neil’s descriptive word for “The Artist” and he’s right. Read his classic Oscar site www.goldderby.com for MORE on The Race) at Cannes, mais oui, in all its’ black and white gorgeousness and Harvey, the Oscar Whisperer (as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone calls him at www.awardsdaily.com ) is VERY effective at these improbable Oscar feats. Like perhaps grabbing an Oscar win in Best Picture for a BLACK AND WHITE film with NO DIALOGUE at all, and perhaps more likely, an Oscar for Best Actor for Jean Dujardin.

Hey, I know it sounds crazy, but he’s done this before with a foreign film actor, the Italian comedian Roberto Benigni. Yes, he DID win Best Actor. For “Life Is Beautiful” I know it sounds impossible, but this is absolutely TRUE!

So Harvey and the Academy have been down this road before. But yet, have they? I mean, this is a film that yes, is made by and stars French actors, but it’s SILENT!

Harvey is going to argue in the coming months that Jean DuJardin has had the hardest (read “degree of difficulty) role in that he has to make everyone enjoy themselves WITHOUT SAYING A WORD! Now, that’s hard!

And Best Actor is shaping up to be a smack-down(Tom O’Neil’s word again) between three very successful actors, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. All incredible handsome, RICH, and very well established stars. Knocking each other out of competition, or it seems to me, this morning, cancelling each other out….Nothing the Academy hates more than rewarding RICH, GOOD LOOKING guys. OK, GREAT looking guys.  Yeah, it’s true. Just as they LOVE rewarding beautiful young girls, like this year’s Michelle Williams. Who is beyond-belief sexy and fetching as hell, as Marilyn Monroe….The Academy is nothing if not predictable.

And I thought earlier last week(which now seems like LAST YEAR in Oscar-time) that it was going to be Leo as “J.Edgar”, but I was not prepared for the critical drubbing the film got. Homophobia pure and simple, if you ask me, but still there it was landing a low-ball and way-out-side on Rotten Tomatoes. www.rottentomatoes.com And although Leo was praised for his performance…

I think that unexpectedly harsh reception (unexpected by me, I must emphasize) has knocked him down a few pegs and you can see this reflected in Stu Van Airsdale’s Oscar Index where now Jean Dujardin sits right below George Clooney on Stu’s Oscar Index this week. www.movieline.com.

And the Gurus o’ Gold, as I said, have ONLY ONE VOTE separating “The Descendants” and “The Artist.”  ONE VOTE.

And watch what happens next week when BOTH “My Week with Marilyn”‘ AND “The Artist” open ON THE SAME DAY!

Methinks Harvey W. has done it AGAIN!

And you can see my interviews with allllll these wonderful, talented people coming soon to my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Excellent “Oscar Index” at Movieline asks “Is it February yet?” Lol…

Do I love that Oscar Index, penned by the redoubtable Stu Van Airsdale over at the increasingly necessary www.movieline.com ? Yes! I do! I highly recommend it for its’ humor is as good as anything in the New Yorker. Yes, I have now mentioned the words “Oscar” and “The New Yorker” in the same sentence! I admit it!

I have no ads. So I can say anything. And I do. On my blog. On my TV show.

And Stu’s Oscar Index constantly surprises me! Like for instance the major surprise this week was French actress Berenice Bejos, who I just ADORED in “The Artist,” and was always championing since I saw the movie in Montreal- well, Berenice has now bounced right into the center of the Oscar Index’ Best Supporting Actress chart! And fittingly enough, she’s pictured as a Black and White bobble-head, and like the film, she’s not in color.

“The Artist” won the Hamptons Film Festival Audience choice award this past week, so Harvey W. is once again, a happy Hamptons-goer. Last year, “The King’s Speech” won this award.

Besides the Toronto Film Festival audience award, it was the only other award it won on its’ surprising Oscar journey. “The King’s Speech” I mean. Last year, it didn’t start its’ OSCAR winning streak til that famous night at the PGA awards in Hollywood where it won, unexpectedly. Not unexpected by me, though.

But whether it’s “The Artist” or “My Week with Marilyn” the Oscar this year also seems to have Harvey’s name on it. Just like last year. Will the Academy become sick of his dominance? No. I don’t think so. They LOVE it! It’s a throw back to the days of the REAL Old Time Hollywood mogols of yore. Louis B. Mayer, David O. Selznick. Daryl Zanack. Sam Goldwyn, etc. etc. etc.

It’s a Weinstein world and we just live in it! I guess you could replace that noun with George Clooney and you’d be equally right.

Every where I turn in New York right now, George Clooney is coming at me. Off billboards, off BUS ADS, and this is just for “The Ides of March”! Which is sinking link a stone according to Oscar Index,  but is maintaining a low watt Box-Office, but holding steady. The upcoming “The Descendants” is the one who will win George his second Oscar this year. If he is to win it for anything.

And then, on that momentous day at the end of November, “The Descendants,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “The Artist,” and “Hugo” ALLLLL OPEN ON THE SAME DAY! I still can’t get over that confluence of circumstances! And release dates!

And Stu has the brilliant Viola Davis in second place this week. And he drops Michelle Williams down to third, for “The Help” and “My Weekend with Marilyn” respectively.

Now my main prob with Viola Davis is where EXACTLY Disney is gonna place her. In lead? Or Supporting? If she’s in Supporting, she’s a slam dunk. If she’s in lead, it’s iffy. And Category Confusion could lead her to end up where the equally brilliant Lesley Manville ended up last year for “Another Year.”Which is NOWHERE. It COULD happen.

Note to Disney/Dreamworks – MAKE VIOLA’S CATEGORY CRYSTAL CLEAR or else it’s Lesley Manville time…again.*sound of crickets chripping*

Oscar Index still has Meryl Streep’s unseen “Iron Lady” at No. 1 And Gorgeous George is STILL topping Best Actor, naturally. For “The Descendants” which I agree with.

But Meryl? Still? As Margaret Thatcher? One of the most unsympathetic female figures of our times? And rumored to be about her at the end of her life as an Alzheimer’s patient? Didn’t we see this movie before? With Judi Dench? And it was called “Iris”? And James Broadbent was playing her understanding care-giver of a husband? And he won a Supporting Actor Oscar for it? And isn’t James Broadbent playing that same role in “The Iron Lady”? And isn’t it directed by the woman who directed “Mamma Mia”?(which I LOVED by the way.) But the “Iron Lady” doesn’t sound like a light-hearted musical frolic. At least not on paper. Nobody’s seen it, so nobody knows. Yet Oscar Index AND the Gurus o’ Gold are putting Meryl on top of their lists. Me. I’ll wait to see it.

And yes, that’s Harvey’s movie, too…

Just to make everything even more confusing, for us. Never mind him or the entire staff of the Weinstein Co. Who are TOTALLY ready for this challenge of challenges by the way. They can handle anything. Including multiple Oscar campaigns.

Which some people, like Strand Releasing’s Marcus Hu, doesn’t seem to be able to do. At least not according to Jeffrey Wells, the untamed blogger extraordinaire who has now fallen so hard for low-budget, British Indie “Tyrannosaur” that he’s starting to try to raise money through his website www.hollywood-elsewhere.com for Olivia Colman’s lead performance.

Not having seen it, I haven’t a clue how misguided or guided this latest scream of a scheme Jeffrey, an Internet legend to put it mildly, has come up with. You can follow this critic-takes-on-the-role-of-press-agent-to-the-Oscars story blow by hilarious blow at Hollywood-Elsewhere.

It sounds just nuts. Jeffrey thinks his readers will contribute to HIS pay pal account to fund this $2000 evening screening in Hollywood. That’s what it costs, evidently per very nice screening room in L.A. Who knew?

And then, suppose he raises it? Does that mean anyone will come to the screening? First rank critics? AMPAS members? Suppose no one comes? Suppose this rash and unprecedented action turns off more Academy Members than it turns on? To “Tyrannosaur”? To Olivia Coleman? An unknown middle-aged British actress playing an abused wife in a council flat somewhere in Northern England?

I think this is all because Jeffrey was unable to switch his flight back to L.A. from NYC when the NYFF switched the press screening of “My Weekend with Marilyn” to a week ago Sunday. Causing Jeff to miss it completely. On both coasts. If he had seen it, he wouldn’t be going off the deep end like this, I can assure you. Over Olivia Coleman? Really?

Seems he doesn’t like the screenings in L.A. Strand Releasing is (not) setting up for “Tyrannosaur.” What next? And I didn’t know Jeffrey was SUCH an Anglo-phile.

Bottom line, he’s getting a lot of attention(read hits, read Internet traffic) for this. And is this helping Olivia Coleman? And her teeny tiny distributor Strand? I’ve admired Strand for years, but it’s no secret that they don’t have the big bucks. And Oscar campaigns cost MONEY. Maybe you didn’t know that, but now you do.

Is Jeffrey hurting more than he’s helping? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, enjoy Oscar Index at Movieline. THAT’S on the money.

New York Film Festival begins! I run into Nina Arianda & Hugh Dancy!

The New York Film Festival, my home town film festival begins before it starts with crack-of-dawn press screenings, just like in Toronto. And although I’ve seen “The Artist”, as you all know, and loved it in Montreal, I’m surprised and happy to say that “The Artist” is also on the bill here at the NYFF. So it debuted at Cannes, was at Telluride, Montreal, and Toronto and now New York! Support keeps building for this very unusual, but beautiful film, in Black and White and SILENT!

Will it go all the way to the Oscars? As the French say, “Pourquoi Pas?” Why not?

AND it’s got the Weinstein Company behind it. So as they say “Voila!” But will it win? THAT remains to be seen, but people keep loving it.

I think it’s paving the way, not necessarily for its’ own win, but for ANOTHER French-themed film Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and THAT could be the winner. It’s still hanging in there in theaters. Up to $54 million made so far…for Sony Pictures Classics…and Woody…

And I just bumped into, on the street, one of its’ stars, Nina Arianda! She plays Michael Sheen’s malapropping American wife, in the present sections of the film, who falls victim to “a bad oyster” at one part.

She and her dashing co-star”Venus in Furs”s Hugh Dancy both ran right into me on Broadway! I’m sure on their way to a rehearsal of “Venus in Furs” Nina’s Off-Broadway triumph that I never saw. And always felt awful that I missed, because it DID make her a star.

I know Nina from NYU Grad Acting where I saw here in many, many plays there and always thought so highly of her work. And even then she had that great comic sense that has served her so well in her Tony nominated turn in “Born Yesterday” on Broadway this past season. And also, of course, in Woody Allen’s triumph which I’ve seen now EIGHT times!

She and co-star Dancy, who is one of the finest young actors working on-screen, or stage, today, both looked very happy and startled to see me right in their path. They were crossing 8th Avenue so they couldn’t avoid me. And we exchanged “Hellos” and I congratulated Nina on her INCREDIBLE year.

Which will probably get even MORE incredible if “Venus in Furs” becomes the hit I think it’s going to be ON Broadway.

You just never know who you’re going to run into on the Rialto!

TIFF ’11 Begins! And the Oscar Race is ON!

Just a quick HALLO from Toronto! Yes! I’m at TIFF 11 my 13th consecutive year here and I always have the time of my life at the Toronto International Film Festival.  You just NEVER know what magic can happen here! And it always does in one way or the other.

VERY hard to top getting Colin Firth and Tom Hooper BANG right out of the box for “The King’s Speech” ON THE VERY FIRST DAY last year! And then having Tom Hooper naming me “The Oscar Messenger!” Hard to surpass that…but there’s lots of buzz on the ground level, particularly surrounding the great Glenn Close for her performances AS A MAN in “Albert Nobbs”! Yes! And as improbable as that sounds, people who have already seen it have responded very enthusiastically. And don’t forget that Hilary Swank WON the first of her two Oscars for playing a cross-dressing man in “Boys Don’t Cry.” Which also started its’ Oscar career here in Toronto, and THAT was deemed REALLY improbable. I’m seeing it “Albert Nobbs” shortly.

I interviewed Glenn, and I’m not making this up, about her WIGS when she was on Broadway a while back(Seems like a lifetime  ago) for the New York Times’ Arts and Leisure section. Yes, I did! I was in Beauty School at the time. YES! I was! And I liked her tremendously. So here we are once again on a collision course. With me do to interview her in New York closer to the opening of the film around Thanksgiving. Just so it’s FRESH in Oscar voters movie-filled mine.

“Albert Nobbs” is set in Ireland, so here, in English Canada, which is Ontario, which is where Toronto is, it’s BOUND to have a good, strong reaction.

Check out Oscar Goddess’ Sasha Stones great posts from Telluride’s Film Festival! She saw it there and loved it. And BOY did she love Telluride and wrote very strongly and movingly about it. http://www.awardsdaily.com  She went there with Jeff Well’s who blogs his brains out on a daily basis at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

So that’s TWO views on Telluride that actually differ wildly on the films they both saw.

Another film that was there, and also in Montreal, and is now here, too is the fantabulous French film “The Artist” which I wrote about at awards daily . It’s the B&W silent movie that I think the Academy is going to fall madly in love with.

It’s ABOUT them. Hollywood in  ’20s.

And I’m looking forward to talking about a things Oscar with Anthony Del Col of http://www.killshakespeare.com

Yes, he’s going to be on my show and on my You Tube Channel, too. And of course, you can see MUCH MORE of the Montreal Film Festival at http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Skies are gray today in TO. But nothing like the wild rain predicted. Not even drizzling. Ooops! Just looked out the window! Yes, it IS raining! Torrential downpour in NYC as I flew out of Newark. THAT was scary! BUT I’M HERE! And TIFF ’11 begins! I always feel like it’s a miracle!

Yes, I do. But it’s real!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: