a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Steve McQueen’

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“12 Years” Triumphs at Indie Spirit Awards w/5 wins!!!

1.Best Picture

2.Best Director ~ Steve McQueen

3.Best Supporting Actress ~ Lupita Nyong’o

4.Best Adapted Screenplay~ John Ridley

5.Best Cinematography ~ Sean Bobbit

I hope it’s like this tomorrow night at the Oscars! For complete list see
http://www.awardsdaily.com

E.T.A. Pardon my mistake. Matthew McConaughey won.:(

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She’s Everywhere! Lupita and I

She's Everywhere! Lupita and I

I sat down to have a coffee in a favorite, unprepossessing coffee shop thinking about the Oscar Race this year. When am I ever thinking about anything else as Oscar Day grows closer and closer? Next Sunday, March 2 is the Awards themselves. Tuesday at 5pm the AMPAS voting closes. FINALLY! Has this been the longest Oscar year ever or what?

Well, it’s still the same two movies battling it out til the end, “12 Years a Slave” vs. “Gravity”. It’s been like this since TIFF’13.

Exactly like this, with a little “American Hustle” thrown in.

And as I sat there sipping my excellent cup of non-starbucks coffee, I glanced up, and there she was again! Lupita Nyong’o!!!! On ANOTHER cover! This time the theatrical newspaper Backstage! She’s everywhere!

She’s on the cover this week of EW, also New York Magazine, also Vanity Fair. I can’t keep up with it all.

She is extraordinarily photogenic. The camera loves her.

In reality, she’s tiny. So she’s always looking up at you with those big, dark soulful eyes.

I’ve met her twice. Once when she finished doing her “Leagues” or actor’s “Scene Night” or “The Actor’s Presentations” with her graduating class of the Yale School of Drama less than two years ago this past May.

She had an incredibly talented class, BTW. Michael Place being the actor who jumped out at me, but there were QUITE a few others, Fisher Neal, William DeMerritt. And of course Lupita herself.

We spoke briefly after it was over and she’s was polite and poised and I asked her to send me a picture and resume and she did, with a charming hand-written note, thanking me, which I still have. Her penmanship BTW was perfect. She charmed me instantly.

Then again we met at the Toronto Film Festival this past September, where “12 Years a Slave” was making a tumulutous debut, after she held what was to be the first of many, many press conferences that were to come her way this Awards Season.

She seemed overwhelmed. And most of her castmates and director Steve McQueen did all of the talking. I asked him about Lupita’s audition. And I believe he said, “It was like a dream walking into the room” or “My dream walked into the room” or something like that. “And there she was. I knew immediately, it was her.”

After the press conference was over, I got to talk to her again VERY briefly and I’m sure she remembered me from the post-Yale audition, and I complimented her profusely.
Telling her performance was “beyond words” and “Lupita,I’m known as the Oscar Messenger and I’m here to tell you that you are going to the win the Oscar and beat Oprah” Well, it’s true so far. Oprah wasn’t even nominated.

And Lupita’s response? She just giggled!

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Who gets Most Oscar Help from BAFTAS? Chiwetel Ejiofor, that’s who!

Who gets Most Oscar Help from BAFTAS? Chiwetel Ejiofor, that's who!

It certainly looks like “12 Years a Slave” is going to win Best Picture and Alfonso Cuaron is going to win Best Director if you judge by tonight’s BAFTA Awards in London. But we knew that already going in.

Who is helped the most in the top categories? It for sure is British Black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor who had his first win tonight for “12 Years a Slave” and his magnificent performance in it.

Leo DiCaprio was there. And he looked pretty pissed in the cut-away shots they showed of him. Just like George Clooney looked in the year he ALMOST, but not quite, had the BAFTA Best Actor in his grasp for “The Descendants” only to see French heartthrob Jean Dujardin win for “The Artist.” And Dujardin went on to win the Oscar, too..

Chiwetel could upset Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar apple-cart, that’s for damn sure.Leo is now oficically out. “Wolf of Wall Street” was shut out completely by the Brits tonight. And “Dallas Buyer’s Club”s two front-running(supposedly) stars McConaughey and Jared Leto were not even nominated in Bligthy. So they couldn’t compete here.

This gave Chiwetel a chance to give a beautiful, moving speech, which he did. So Matthew “Awright, Awright, Awright” McC. you better watch out!

But Jared Leto, you’re OK. They are not going to give the Oscar to first time actor Barkhad Abdi for “Capt. Phillips” who surprisingly won the BAFTA over Irish actor Michael Fassbender for “12 Years”. Leto looks set to continue his march to the Dolby, as does Cate Blanchett in Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine.” Who was pure class in her acceptance speech, not even mentioning Woody Allen, but instead dedicating her award to her late friend, Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

And what to make of Jennifer Lawrence WHO WASN”T EVEN THERE to accept her also surprising Best Supporting Actress win over favorite, the beautiful, brilliant Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years.”?

Well, JLaw was snubbed last year for Best Actress by BAFTA who awarded Emmanuel Riva for “Amour” instead. JLaw was memorably filmed looking awfully embarassed as she was there to win, but stayed in her seat. So I think the BAFTA membership was making up for last year’s no-show. But Lawrence not wanting to repeat that awful faux pas. Didn’t even come. And she won.And she didn’t even BOTHER to come.

JLaw doesn’t have the momentum this year that the lovely Lupita does. And the Academy here is NOT going to give Lawrence ANOTHER Oscar when she got one last year. “She already won!” is what everyone is saying about JLaw’s skilled comic performance in “American Hustle.” So I think Lupita,, Vogue magazine’s “It” Girl, should be just FINE.

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And the Oscar Goes to…

And the Oscar Goes to...

Well, it’s a little premature to say that but that indeed is the name of the marvelous documentary by Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein that was commissioned by TCM, Turner Classic Movie, for this marvelous month they have every year entitled ’30 days of Oscar.”

It started airing tonight and its essential viewing for all you Oscarologists out there. glamorous, gorgeous, sumptuous, moving, extremely well-costumed and all the adjectives in between “And the Oscar Goes to…” delights for its’ nearly two-hour length.

New to me, the fact that the Academy used to hand out its’ list of winners to the press BEFOREHAND until in 1940, the L.A. Times really jumped the gun and published that year’s information WAY too soon. Henceforth, AMPAS turned its’ tabulations over to Price, Waterhouse, now Price, Waterhouse, Cooper, the accounting firm that has kept the Oscars honest(and top secret) to this day.

Having an awards show without suspense is a rather dreary prospect, and since those days suspense has been an important ingredient in the Oscar season. VERY important. Who’s going to win? Is the big question that is on my mind and Sasha Stone’s mind, and Tom O’Neill’s mind, and David Poland’s mind all year long. And on Harvey Weinstein’s, too, I daresay.

So as we await the Writer’s Guild winners tonight, I can breathlessly say that yes, even mighty http://www.goldderby.com has changed its’ collective mind over what’s going to win Best Picture. Tom O’Neil agrees with Tariq Khan in one of their entertaining podcasts that they both think that “12 Years a Slave” is now going to win Best Picture. Which is what I’ve been saying ever since I saw it in Toronto.

Nothing is going to upset Cate Blanchett’s continuing March of Triumph to Best Actress. UNLESS something shocking happens at the BAFTAS in two weeks. Dame Judi Dench could upset there as the incredibly sympathetic “Philomena”. In fact, the BAFTAS could throw a monkey wrench into a LOT of Oscar campaigns. Like for instance, if Chiwetel Ejiafor wins there, and as a highly regarded British actor, he probably will for his historic portrayal of Solomon Northup, the black man who was kidnapped and spent “12 Years a Slave” prior to the Civil War.

Mathew McConaughey, and also front-runner in Best Supporting Actor Jared Leto, both Oscar nominated for their tremendous work in “Dallas Buyers’ Club” are not even nominated AT ALL for the BAFTAS, so neither can win. And if Ejiofor makes the Speech of Speeches which I think he will…look out, Matthew McConaughey!…

And Michael Fassbender could do the same thing, since he’s nominated,for Best Supporting Actor, and Jared Leto isn’t. Fassbender, of course, plays the evil slave owner Epps. And I’m just betting that the BAFTAS could turn the Oscar race upside own.

And Britisher Steve McQueen will probably win there as Best Director and not Alphonso Cuaron, who won the DGA award for directing “Gravity.” All three of these astoundingly talented men could win and probably will win at the BAFTAS.

So Oscar LOOK OUT!

And as everyone seems to be picking up on Lupita Nyong’O’s star continues to rise and rise in Best Supporting Actress.There’s nothing that can stop her. And I predict she’s a slam dunk for the BAFTAS, too.

So in this quiet period before the BAFTAS happen in London, treat yourself to “30 Days of Oscar” on TCM and don’t miss “And the Oscar Goes to…” Check out the full schedule at http://www.tcm.com

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“Gravity”s Cuaron wins DGA

I hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it did.Alphonso Cuaron, the director of “Gravity,” won the very important DGA award last night in Hollywood. Over Steve McQueen’s greater achievement IMHO “12 Years a Slave.” Usually that means a lot but in this split, competitive Year of Years, it may mean that the effects-laden Sci Fi thriller MAY win best director at the Oscars, more than a month away in March. But still not win Best Picture, which would go to “12 Years a Slave.” I have to note that these two titans of filmdom have been duking it out since Toronto, which I find ironic. It’s like if you don’t open at TIFF, fawgedabawdit. And that’s also where I first saw the both of them, in unforgettable screenings at TIFF’13.

Those are five VERY long weeks from now, and the ballots don’t go out to the AMPAS voters for quite a while yet, in Oscar terms, that’s dog years away. And it gives the Academy time to THINK. No. It really does. There’s no impulse, knee-jerk voting going to happen this year, with the Sochi Olympics taking up more TV time than ever. Between this last big gasp from the Industry’s usually all-important guilds, and the receiving of their ballots in the mail and now online, too around President’s Day Weekend. That’s a long, cold Oscar March until March when the Awards are actually handed out.

Now granted “Gravity” is an astounding technical feat, and will probably win all the technical awards, maybe even as many as seven from the below-the-line categories. But maybe it won’t. And instead of rewarding the one woman in this astounding visual tour-de-force, Sandra Bullock, award after award has been going to the amiable Mexican director Cuaron. And now this.

That’s a lot of Oscars right there. But not one for Sandra it seems. Best Actress is going to Cate Blanchett who is the lock of locks in that category for Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.”

So even if Cuaron DOES win Best Director, voters may feel that “Gravity” has had enough already and give the top prize to “12 Years a Slave.” So there’s that SPLIT again. Which certainly looks like it could happen.

It happened at the Golden Globes where “12 YAS” won Best Picture and “Gravity” got Best Director. Ditto the Broadcast Film Critics awards. Then the TIE vote from the usually authoritative PGA, the Producer’s Guild, between “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave.”

But “Gravity” for all it’s technical wonders is an actors nightmare. If this is the future, “Gravity” shows them that there is only ONE actor in it.

Huge epic blockbusters may get close, but they don’t usually win. See “E.T.” v “Gandhi” back in the day. I was always plunking for “Gandhi” even then.(Yes, I’ve been doing Oscar prognosticating THAT long!) or more recently the tiny “Hurt Locker” defeating the huge mega-millions jackpot that was “Avatar” although “THL” won Best Director AND Best Film, for the first time ever woman director winner Kathryn Bigelow over her big bully of an ex, who nobody liked anyway, James Cameron.

This year, I’m still betting that this proLONGed break between now and the voting gives people time to think “Which is REALLY the more important film?” which is in their parlance “An Academy film?” And you’ve got to admit, “Gravity has NO gravitas.

But “12 Years a Slave” does, in spades. Serious social history writ large, taking on the most challenging issue in American history, race, in terms of the worst atrocity Americans have ever perpetuated on other Americans = slavery. And doing it brilliantly on every level.

And oh yes, BAFTA happens in the middle of this prolonged Month of Oscar Silence, where, I predict “12 Years” will win EVERYTHING it’s nominated for, including Best Director, Steve McQueen, whom we must not forget is British.

And a respected fine artist there in the U.K. before he turned into a master film-maker.

Also, nominated there are Chiwetel Ejiofor for Best Actor and Michael Fassbender for Best Supporting Actor, and last but not least, Lupita Nyong’O who is now the front-runner for Best Supporting Actress.

So basically my take is the “Gravity”s Big Win is not going to change things much at all. In the end.

“12 Years a Slave” & “Gravity” historic TIE at PGA!!!

Sh Christmas

In an historic moment, “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” TIED for Best Picture at the PGA moments ago! It’s being held in LA and is not televised, but thanks to the ever-wonderful Sasha Stone, at http://www.Awardsdaily.com we all got the news like a bolt of lightning, striking down from the skies!

NEVER BEFORE have films directed by a Hispanic and a Black man, Alphonso Cuaron and Steve McQueen ever had films that won Best Picture at the PGA, the Producer’s Guild, considered the most important of Oscar bellwethers. Or is it this year, we’ve got TWO WINNERS?!?!?

This effectively knocks “American Hustle” out of the picture race and into a cocked hat, which is where it should be. Kicked to the curb with the rest of the garbage.

But I can say that “Gravity” is an astounding technical achievement. Best use of 3-D EVAH! But “12 Years a Slave” is a masterpiece of classic story telling. And the next big awards avalanche comes at BAFTA, where “12 Years a Slave” will sweep, the leading talents being all Brits director Steve McQueen, and leading actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, as well as Irishman Michael Fassbender in Supporting and Kenyan beauty Lupita Nyong’o, who has been winning right along this past weekend.

This is incredible news for Fox Searchlight and  “12 Years a Slave”. Even if it ties on Oscar night, it still wins!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lupita wins at the SAG awards! Again!!!!

Lupita wins at the SAG awards! Again!!!!

Last night, I had a double-header, double-booked, my mistake and I chose to go to Broadway to see the “Carol King Musical” which is called “Beautiful” and it WAS beautiful. But more beautiful still was coming home to see Lupita Nyong’Os smiling face plastered all over the internet! The hot news being from the SAG Awards that she in ANOTHER surprise upset had won Best Supporting Actress for her heart-rending performance as the tradgic Patsie in “12 Years a Slave.” I also have finally figured out how to post pictures here! Yay!

It’s taken long enough dead readers, dear cineastes, but I’m tech-tarded, as you know and totally Old School in these new techo matters. But at last I think I’ve figured it out.I’m embarrassed to admit it but it’s true. The Internet is an EFFORT for me.

And also I have to be frank I just couldn’t bare to spend ANOTHER night in where “American Hustle” and Jennifer Lawrence were going to be applauded, and I was right. They were. She wasn’t. But Broadway beckoned and boyoboyo am I glad I went!

A+++ for “Beautiful”. The music! The performance by Jessie Mueller, a recent guest on my show for her Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” in which she played an Indian princess named Lawless,Jessie was pitch perfect in both, and may very well win the Tony this year. She also played her own piano music! As Carole King did! Yes! She did!

They are portraying Carol King as the ultimate hausfrau schlep I’m sure she wasn’t in real life. But here the Ugly-Duckling-who-becomes-a-swan narrative worked liked gangbusters for the typical Broadway crowd,

Lupita is also living out that Ugly Duckling scenario in real life, it just occurs to me. Could her unwashed, scarred and scared Queen of the Fields, be further removed from Vogue’s “It” Girl which she has just morphed into. Her acceptance speeches are touching, beautiful, thoughtful and eloquent as she is. She looks SOOOO happy in this picture!

And for those who must know, this is a VERY strong step closer to Oscar. Next for Lupita is the BAFTA awards in London, and I’m sure she’ll win there, too.

Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto also repeated their Broadcast Film Critics wins. Seemingly all three locked for Oscar now. But HOLT ON!

Neither McConaughey nor Leto will win at the BAFTAS because neither were nominated nor was their film”Dallas Buyers Club”, although all were eligible. Which paves the way, and leaves the door wide open for “12 Years a Slave” to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor(He’s Britsh, and so’s McQueen) , Michael Fassbender for Supporting Actor (he’s Irish) and of course Lupita who’s lovely Kenyan accent sounds British and African and American all at the same time. And for ALLLL of them to make speeches that may thrill Oscar voters right in the middle of the critical voting period. Cate Blanchett will also win at the BAFTA. As expected.

I chose to go to “Beautiful” because I just couldn’t face “AH” that tiny, weasly, little comedy win “Best Ensemble” which it did. But it’s awards glory may stop there. Remember “The Help” winning two years ago? Well….

This year it really ain’t over til it’s over.

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