a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘The Fighter’

DGA & BAFTA Upsom Downs ~ Who’s In, Who’s Out as Oscar Nom Balloting Closes

The Phase I of Oscar Season, as it’s called closed today with the due date of the nomination ballots this afternoon at 3pm.

So it’s done. It’s over. And while everything seems like it’s set in Stone(as in Sasha Stone), is it really? There’s always surprises. Like for instance “Dallas Buyer’s Club” and its’ performers being totally shut out from BAFTA. Ditto Meryl Streep for “Best OverActressing” for “August: Osage County.” And Robert Redford for “Best Non-Actoring” in “All Is Lost.”

I remember soooo well my thinking that the notorious Melissa Leo was dead-in-the-Oscar-water, when SHE wasn’t nominated for a BAFTA for “The Fighter,” but guess what? She WON! So those rules don’t necessarily apply. However, someone like Jonah Hill’s being nominated NOwhere, means that’s where he’ll probably stay.

And it forecasts not very easy waters ahead for veterans Streep or Redford. Today it feels like someone. Probably Leonardo Di Caprio is going to take Redford’s place in THE FIVE.(in the tighttightight Best Actor race.)

The DGA nominated the directors of “12 Years a Slave”(Steve McQueen), “Capt.Phillips” (Paul Greengrass), “Wolf of Wall Street”(Martin Scorsese), “Gravity” Alfonso Cuaron and “American Hustle” (David O. Russell). I think we can safely say that all those five films WILL be nominated for Best Picture Oscar, when the nominations are handed out Tuesday morning. 8:45AM EST.

But what about the actors in those films? Well, they’ll all have an easier ride than those that aren’t in a DGA film.

So that’s good news for Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’O, and Michael Fassbender, Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, Leo, but not Jonah Hill, Sandra Bullock, and only perhaps Jennifer Lawrence from “American Hustle.”

Everyone else, except the winning frontrunner Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine” is in doubt. Not serious doubt, but doubt nonetheless. I wonder if this hurts Bruce Dern’s chances, although he surely will get a nomination for “Nebraska” and also I wonder now about June Squibb…

And then in another universe entirely are the Weinstein films, all orbiting around their own sun, Harvey, who knows better than anyone in any world, how to bend the Academy to his will and the will of his FIVE films, or six, if you count “Ten Feet From Stardom.” I loved that movie and I bet that’s his big winner this year. It’s the wing-ding of a doc about back-up singers.

But he’s also got “Philomena”, “August:Osage County”, “Lee Daniel’s The Butler”, “Long Walk to Freedom” and “Fruitvale Station.” A workaholic (and who isn’t in the Oscar race?)Dame Judi Dench is probably in like flint for the grieving mother in “Philomena” and didn’t Harvey surprise us all by getting JACKIE WEAVER nominated for Best Supporting Actress for a non-performance of epic non-magnitude in “Silver Linings Playbook”? NOOOOOObody expected THAT.

And why, when she certainly didn’t deserve it, did she get nominated? Well, the Voters SAW her, when they went to look at “Silver Linings Playbook”. There she was playing Bradley Cooper’s mom and Robert De Niro’s wife, and lazy voters that they are, they wrote her name down(probably at Harvey’s suggestion) and a clearly not-winning performance, it was nevertheless a nominated one.

Who of those movies is no one talking about at all, esp. in Supporting, always a flibbertijibet of categories? Well, there’s Naomi Harris who is just terrific as Winnie Mandela, in what is clearly a leading role, in “Long Walk to Freedom.” But will enough people have watched that? There’s Margo Martindale, whose role in “August:Osage…” has been all but eviscerated but she has made an impact and is on many radars. And an obvious choice previous Supporting Actress winner Octavia Spenser for “Fruitvale Station” who was just awarded her Best Supporting Actress trophy tonight by the National Board of Review. So she’s not exactly obscure. Melonie Diaz for “Fruitvale” would be a VERY big surprise. She was just as good as the grieving girl-friend of the slain lead character…

And poor “Inside Llewyn Davis” left out in the cold…just like it’s leading character…and the break-out star of this year, Oscar Isaac…I think it could very well get a Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography and maybe Best Score and Song”Please Mr. Kennedy” or another song from “Llewyn.”

I loved Scarlett Johansson’s magnificent voice work in “Her” but aren’t there Academy rules against parts that are just voice-work? Maybe there are and maybe there aren’t. She’s never been nominated so THAT would be the surprise of surprises…And of course, Joaquin Phoenix would be a total surprise if he broke in Best Actor. But he did just that last year for “The Master” when everyone was counting him out(including me). So would the aforementioned Oscar Isaac and/or Michael B. Jordan for “Fruitvale” in Best Actor…And don’t forget Sally Field as Cate Blanchett’s lovable sis in “Blue Jasmine.” The Golden Globes included her in, and not Oprah. Could happen again.

We’ll just have to wait and see! But I can’t wait any longer!!!! I WANT TO KNOW NOW!!!

Oscar Maxims of Harvey Weinstein, Advice Taken and Not Taken

How dull would the Awards season be, that is now going full-throttle, well, at least the publicists are, during the holidays this year( more like Holidaze) because of the ridiculously truncated Oscar nomination voting period? How dull would it be withOUT OscarMeister Harvey Weinstein to continually spice things up?

Harvey has a couple of Oscar rules, I’ve gleaned over the years, more like Maxims, really. Words to the wise (if anyone’s really listening, and I know the Oscar strategists are, AND Scott Feinberg (*waves* to Scott) 1) The picture that is seen LAST has the most impact. And 2) Only one nominee(from the Weinstein Co.) in each category.

He certainly seems to have applied Maxim 1) to “Django Unchained” opening as it did strangely on Christmas Day, but the box-office and critical accolades seem to bear out Harvey’s wisdom in this case. I beg to differ on this one, but the Golden Globes nominated it all over the place. Though the SAGs did not get their screeners for “Django” in time, it is said. So no SAG nominations.

Started reading Liz Smith’s “diary” i.e., blog, i.e., column in the http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com and she says about the Hollywood Foreign Press something to the effect that “Who are these people? Nobody you’d ever know, except that once a year the come together to get everyone’s attention.”(I’m paraphrasing) i.e. the Golden Globe Awards.

And Harvey plays the HFPA like a symphony. So, of COURSE, they are going to award his “Django” with a Best Picture, Best Director(Quentin Tarantino), and two Best Supporting Actor noms(Christophe Waltz AND Leonardo DiCaprio). Leo and Christophe may cancel each other out. And THEN who would win? Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”? Jones does seem ahead at the moment. His main competition, “The Master”s Phillip Seymour Hoffman is slipping every day. And NOT because of Hoffman’s stupendous performance. And “The Master” is ALSO a Harvey film. So he has THREE in this category! Which probably means that Jones does get it, because the THREE Weinsteins, may be just way too many nominees.

But right there in this past paragraph you can see that Harvey just contradicted himself big time. So while Maxim1 worked for “Django” with the Globes and at the Box-Office, Maxim 2 got him THREE nominees in the SAME category, something he  always says he wants to avoid. Some may call it an embarassment of riches, but Leo and Waltz and Hoffman could cancel each other out.

It seems HIGHLY unlikely to me that the Academy is going to embrace “Django” on any level. It’s just toooo bloody. One of the most violent films I’ve ever seen in the Oscar race. AND director Quentin Tarantno isn’t due.

The Golden Globes are really not a good indicator of anything anymore, except trouble. THEY are the main reasons for this shortened voting period. AMPAS wants to get the Oscar nominations out FIRST, BEFORE the Golden Globes are held. Which they will be doing, effectively trumping the GGs from having ANY influence on the Oscar nominations themselves, which are announced on Tues. Jan.10 this year. Sooooo early. The earliest ever. And making voters jam all their holidaze with viewing screeners.

There is said to have been more Oscar-oriented parties in L.A. this year than ever. I don’t know. I’m not there. I’m only reporting. In New York, it’s been more or less status quo, as far as that’s concerned, as far as I can see.

But this shortened voting period means the over-burdened Oscar voters have LESS time to see everything they have to see. So what do they do? They choose to see The BIG Must-Sees like probably “Les Miserables”, “Lincoln”, “Argo”, “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Life of Pi” and maybe even “Django” too. Others, like the suddenly on the cusp(and yes, it’s a Harvey film, too) “Silver Linings Playbook” and on down the line-up, may get seen less. Simply because there’s less time.

And speaking of “Silver Linings Playbook” I think it will win Jennifer Lawrence Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for the Globes. But in the Best Director category, SLP’s director David O. Russell got knocked out by – wait for it! Quentin Tarantino!!! So yes, that Maxim #2 really is something to go by.

Will O. Russell get Oscar nominated, like he was just a couple of years back for “The Fighter”?

I’m thinking not. And we don’t have any DGAs to guide us, as in previous years, because yes, they, too, won’t announce their five ALL IMPORTANT nominees til, yes, that’s right, AFTER the Oscar nominations are announced on the 10th.

Speaking of the 10th. if I were in L.A. and covering the nominations, they occur there at 5:30AM( here, EST, it’s at 8:30AM on the morning news shows) then THAT NIGHT there are the BFCA, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards which are USUALLY the most predictive of the Oscar race. That is ONE long day for all the nominees and everyone else involved. Phew!

More “Amour” & “Beasts”

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone is back in Hwood and she and Jeffrey Wells just put up their podcast Oscar Poker, now looking back on Cannes. And mostly “Amour.”

Sasha of http://www.awardsdaily.com loves it. And Jeff begrudgingly now has to say he “admires ” it, but says the film that just won the Palme d”Or in Cannes, made him want to commit suicide.

Ok, it’s about Death, he says, and Sasha says it’s about Love, with a capital “L.” Jean-Louis Trintignant is taking care of his dying wife of over 40 years, who does not want to go to a hospital and so he has to do everything for her that a hospital staff would. And he wants to. He doesn’t want to let her go. She looses her appetite. She has two strokes. And it won the Palme d’Or.

Sasha proclaims the film a classic. Jeff can barely bring himself to talk about it. But he does. With Sasha’s prodding. He’s in Prague on his way back to the States, and she’s in L.A.

She talks about her grandmother’s death, and how her father did not want to let her go, and…well, take a listen. Jeff and Sasha both go “there”  It’s very heavy. And profound, and reveals a lot about both bloggers.

Sasha also again avers her affection for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and that with Fox Searchlight’s help, she thinks it’s going to get Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay nods. Jeff thought they’d put the little child in Best Supporting Actress since she’s only 6 years old in the film. Sasha thinks that that rule about putting child actors in  Supporting doesn’t apply anymore since the little girl in “Whale Rider” got a Best Actress nom.

But I say, look at the Coen Bros. next to last film, “True Grit” and remember where Haillee Stoddard ended up. In Supporting. And she lost there. To Melissa Leo for “The Fighter” a few years back. Leo made a big point of doing practically everything wrong on her road to the Oscar, but win it she did. But Haillee Stoddard has just vanished…so much for fame….and Hollywood’s 15 minutes rule…

Sasha also points out the way to be a success on the Internet is to constantly put up new material EVERY DAY. And more than once again, so that “The people reading your  site will go back and back, several times a day, like I do with Jeff’s site. I check it three times a day.” And so, I have to admit, do I. I go back to Awardsdaily multiple times a day. I check it almost as much as I do my own You Tube channel, and more than I do this blog.

But Sasha’s advice is to post CONSTANTLY. I haven’t been doing that. And I didn’t have a sympatico, working computer from March til May. I dropped my Toshiba and more or less broke it and now I have a new, nice, working Sony. I HOPE it stays so…

Jeff uses a Toshiba also, the top of the line one, and carries it with him everywhere and posts from everywhere. I don’t do that. Sasha seems to only post from her home/office. Except on the rare occasions that she travels to a film festival. Like to Cannes.

Me? I just do what I can. Who can do more? And thank to all my readers, cineastes all, who keep reading me now matter what, or how infrequently I post. Compared to Jeffrey and Sasha, I’m really a slug-a-bed.

I was GOING to try to go to “The Avengers” this AM, but both Sasha and Jeffrey were dumping on it so bad, I really wonder if I’ll get there…No Oscar chances anywhere on that film, they both agreed (And so does everyone else.) Me? I only do Oscar-seeking movies, and “The Avengers” is just all about money, the gigantic amount of money it has made. Doesn’t mean it’s going to get propelled into the Oscar race, both Jeff and Sasha agreed, so why bother? I’m talking myself out of going…

2011 in review- 13,000 Thanks!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Melissa “F-Bomb” Leo Apologizes Like Crazy on “The View”

Yes, I watch “The View.” I love Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg, and I used to call in to Joy Behar when she was on radio doing a morning call-in show here in NYC, back in the early ’90s, before her “View” fame, when I was in Beauty School. Joy and I used to talk about hair, of course, and movies movies movies.

I think she was the one who said to me ~ on the air ~ “Stephen, a little bit of you goes a long way” …

WHATever…I do enjoy her on “The View.”

Well, this season’s Oscar nemesis Melissa Leo who famously not only won, but dropped the F-Bomb doing it, was more or less apologizing  for it. Like crazy. Sort of. It seemed to be all they could talk about. Or all they kept asking her about. It’s never ending. Evidently.

Whoopi exclaimed “It was the best Oscar acceptance speech ever!” and Barbara sort of mumbled something that seemed like foregiveness…

I must say Miss F-Bomb Leo seemed more poised and gracious than she’s ever seemed before. They even showed a clip of her from her “All My Children”days when  I was first aware of her. She was outstanding on that show. She called it “All My Rest in Peace Children.”(I feel soooo awful about it’s going off the air. It’s like a death in the family.” But that’s another article.)

She said she hasn’t yet talked to Kate Winslet about saying what looked like the hugest insult in Oscar history when she blurted out “Kate Winslet made it looked so fucking easy” in her, Leo’s, Oscar acceptance speech this year. This in reference to  Winslet’s Oscar speech a few years prior

 She also mentioned sort of grudingly, I thought, that “I was there then. When I had to watch her speech the night she won. I was nominated that year for ‘Frozen River.'” Sheesh.

She just won’t let go of that Kate Winslet envy. And she even did an imitation of her saying “She’s British, you know.” As if that was something terrrrrrible.

Still, I wish she hadn’t said it. I still feel that moment demeaned the Oscars and demeaned her whole profession.

She’s a talented actress. Did she need to do that?

Well, she’s got her Oscar now, and as I predicted, she will be apologizing for that awful moment for the rest of her life. As she was doing this morning on “The View.” It will define her forever.

Oscar Voting Closes;Massive “King’s Speech” Landslide Coming Soon!

Well, it’s alllllmost over! One of the longest Oscar races in history. Although actually it isn’t. Last year had the Olympics to make it two to three weeks longer.

But the reality of The Race is that I personally feel (and this feeling is shared by NEARLY everybody) that The Race ended at Toronto at the VERY FIRST PRESS SCREENING of the Festival. TIFF started and so did the Oscar race with the BANG! of the first unspooling of “The King’s Speech.”

I realized as I sat there with the stunned audience of hardened TIFF-goers that we had seen the Best Film Of the Year. ALREADY! BANG! right out of the gate. It was like a cinematic miracle had occurred. People were crying, and laughing, in all the right places and critics sat frozen watching the end credits roll ALL THE WAY THROUGH. And then there was applause.

There’s always applause at the end of “The King’s Speech.”

Having seen a rather OK BBC version of this same story with James Wilby, who was perfectly fine as the stuttering King, but he didn’t break your heart the way Colin Firth does, and did. Over and over. Throughout this whole movie. The pain. The silences. And fright that man experiences.

A king is a terrible thing to be, is the movie’s motto, I guess. When you don’t want it. And feel you can’t do it…His wife believes in him. And I believe the Academy voters believe in her, too. The most beloved historical figure England produced in the 20th century. The Queen Mum. Who STAYED IN LONDON DURING THE BLITZ!!!!!!!!

People still talk of that courageous act, today. As the Queen Mum is always shown in newsreel footage of WWII tip-toeing gingerly through the rubble of the East End with the King following behind her.

Aw, “The King’s Speech” is going to win everything.! The question is HOW MANY?!? 12? It’s nominated for 12. And I just think the Academy is on a mission this year. They want to send a message to the world loud and clear. WE LIKE MOVIES LIKE THIS ONE! And we want to make more movies like this! Inspirational, moving, unforgettable. I think it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen or will ever likely see.

And so I’m predicting it will win everything it’s nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor(Geoffrey Rush) Best Supporting Actress(Helena Bonham Carter), Best Director Tom Hooper, Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler), Best Score(Alexander Desplat), Best Costumes(Jenny Beaven) and on and on and on.

Oh, and in Best Actress…It’s still Natalie Portman.

Last minute heebie -jeebies in this category are not going to unseat the beautiful young girl who gives the performance of her lifetime in “Black Swan” that is the very pregnant Miss Portman.

She didn’t make it across the Pond in her heightened state to receive her BAFTA win, but she did win it over Annette, who’s a lovely lady…but Natalie, there’s no stopping Natalie, and it’s the only win Fox Searchlight may get with that film. But it’s a big one.

So them’s my predictions pard’ner, and I’m sticking to ’em.

Fun fact: Since the BAFTAs moved their date forward to precede Oscar, the category that has matched Oscars 80% of the time is, you guessed, that hard to define, always mettlesome, Best Supporting Actress.

Oh, and Stu Van Airsdale has a FAAAAABulous summation of his Movieline graphs at www.movieline.com

And yes, “The King’s Speech” was filmed (in part) on a gay porno set. It’s been confirmed. WHO CARES?! That would be Lionel Logue’s offices, the one’s with the mottled, decaying, unmistakable backdrop. Makes me like it even more! This is just been revealed TODAY! And watch it wins Best Set Design!

Helena Bonham Carter “The Anti-Pimp” sez Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter seems to have picked up on what Anne Thompson of Indiewire’s Thompson on Hollywood www.indiewire.com  and I (who have been saying this for ages) that Helena Bonham Carter’s chances for an upset are growing by the day in Hollyweird.

Here’s what they have to say, calling her “The Anti-Pimp” ~

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/race/why-anti-pimp-helena-bonham-100373

This is, of course, in reference to Melissa Leo’s unfortunate phraseology of ” The Oscars are pimping yourself out” This phrase has now entered the Oscar Hall of Shame(or Fame, depending on if she wins or loses) But Helena Bonham Carter is definitely given her a run for her self-bought ad money.

And while we’re on the subject of the ever-more-boisterous Best Supporting Actress category 2011, just HOW many Supporting Actress Oscars has Harvey Weinstein won for his fillies in contention?

Let’s see there was Judi Dench, “Shakespeare in Love”, Juliette Binoche,”The English Patient”, Katherine Zeta Jones “Chicago” and Renee Zellweger “Cold Mountain.” That’s a HUGE number in that ever-unpredictable category.

So Helena’s got a kind of history behind her. Just saying….

Geoffrey Rush’s Master Class @ the DGA in NYC

I was absolutely delighted to be invited to attend a very special evening with  Academy Award Nominee Geoffrey Rush this past week.

It was held at the DGA theater and it was PACKED!  The lines were around the block and I think they turned over 300 people away! I didn’t know Geoffrey Rush was so popular.

This event was made even more exciting because  hours before in Blighty, Geoffrey Rush had just beaten Christian Bale to win the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor for “The King’s Speech.” And here he was spending the night talking Acting with us. That’s Acting with a very Capital A.

 Taking a break on his off night from his play “Diary of a Madman” which is now playing at BAM, Rush held the crowd in the absolute palm of his hand for nearly two hours as he proved himself a master speaker on the Art of Acting as well as a Master Actor himself. It was a Master Class indeed.

Rush’s biggest obstacle to winning his second Oscar this year for “The King’s Speech” for Best Supporting Actor is his own previous Oscar win for playing Australian pianist David Helfgott in “Shine.” 

Another obstacle is the immensely popular and impressive performance of Christian Bale, also nominated in the same category for “The Fighter.”

Ah! But Geoffrey has the best film of the year “The King’s Speech” as the wind billowing beneath his sails, blowing him steadily towards Oscar for the Second Time. He also has the Oscar Legend himself, Harvey Weinstein tirelessly trying to help him bring home the gold. Rush has had four Oscar nominations including this one and has the unique honor of being of the few, the very few to have won an Oscar, an Emmy AND a Tony!

If Rush WERE to win a Second Oscar it would be the first time in Oscar history that an Australian actor won a second Oscar, both times playing Australians. And Geoffrey Rush is very, very proud of this.

Geoffrey Rush is nothing if not a national spokesperson for the Australian acting community. He makes a point at the beginning of the evening that he was the first Australian to ever win an Oscar. And that Cate, Nicole and Russell Crowe were all following in his footsteps, and he admitted to being hurt when the press neglects to mention this fact, which to him is a matter of great personal, as well as national, pride.

“The King’s Speech” continues that strain of nationalism, by finding Rush once again playing an Australian, a historical figure that actually did exist~ Lionel Logue, who, it can be said, may have single-handedly saved the monarchy.

Logue, a rather controversial and at the same time little known speech therapist, was sought out by the Duchess of York, superbly embodied by Helena Bonham Carter, in the multi-Oscar nominated film, which has made over $100 million at the box-office, and is expected to sweep the Oscars a week from tomorrow on Sunday, Feb.27.

“The King’s Speech” has cast a very bright light on what was heretofore a deep, dark Royal secret that the eventual King George VI needed the help, the almost constant help of this Australian speech therapist to get over his crippling stammer and effectively lead his country and the free world during World War II.

It’s an heartfelt, moving story, magnificently told and Rush is as unforgettable as Lionel Logue as Colin Firth is as the stuttering King. It’s an acting feast for the ages to see these two great actors go toe to toe in a stunning double tour-de-force.

And Rush is very proud of this film and here he was on his off night from “Diary of a Madman” doing his best to KEEP “The King’s Speech” front and center in every actor in New York’s mind. Also, this great film would not have existed without him. He is also the executive producer.

How was he doing this? Well, this was an absolute joy to him. And his zeal for his country and its’ artists was as great as his love of his art. The event was co-sponsored by the Actor’s Studio, a place where there are many Academy voters concentrated and also many acting students from Pace University in Lower Manhattan, with which the Studio is affiliated. And they were there in force.

It was a splendid evening which began with Rush getting a standing ovation for just mounting the stage from the audience. Rush is currently sporting a shaved-bald head for “Mad Man” and he was wearing what looked like a golfing cap.

Geoffrey Rush is very much a man of the people and he gave fully of himself in this overwhelming two-hour event  celebrating his long career in films.

He started by pointing out that he had nearly 20 years or more as an Australian stage actor under his belt before he got his “big break” in “Shine” in 1996 at age 46. “Shine” catapulted him an unknown Australian character actor to international stardom and a Best Actor Oscar. And a film career that has never stopped and a stage career that he continues because he loves acting in front of a live audience.

He kept emphasizing how improbable his road to film stardom was and how even now he is humbled and more or less astounded by the staggering amount and the wide variety of films he has made since “Shine.”

Rush just received the Montecito Award at the Santa Barbara film festival a few weeks back, and the stunning montage of clips that began the evening were being shown in New York, courtesy of the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The festival was also responsible for assembling the wide variety of clips from Rush’s staggering number of films, many of which were new to me.

Rush kept referring to this series of clips, as did the moderater from the New York Daily News. And  one of the reasons for his incredible sang froid and energy propelling the evening forward was that basically he was re-enacting what was pretty much the same questions and anecdotes that he had recounted at Santa Barbara, but to his New York audience it was all incredible acting catnip. They ate him up with a spoon and applauded and laughed  and cheered rather constantly.

It was QUITE a celebration! And the clips of the many, many films he has done showed his incredible range very, very completely. I was actually stunned by much of the footage, a lot of it new to me and never once did Rush seem to duplicate a performance or repeat himself. I could have listened to him all night. He is an indelible original and a great, great actor.

When they finally got around to “The King’s Speech,” which ended the evening, Rush was even more passionate and eloquent than he had been all throughout this great presentation.

What had working with Colin Firth in his now legendary performance of the challenged King taught him? Rush was asked.

And he said, “The Silences. His greatest acting was in the silences as he struggled to get out whatever words he was trying to say.”

“I knew that acting was all about listening,” Rush said, “but he made me REALLY listen. I went from acting-listening, to REALLY listening. That’s why the dynamic is so great between us.”

And those painful silences as Firth struggles heartbreakingly to speak even the simplest sentences, took my breath away once again when I saw “The King’s Speech” again yesterday for the second time, but this time with a real honest-to-goodness audience of paying customers in New York. And they were as spell-bound as I was. You could hear a pin drop. And they, just an average New York movie-going audience applauded at the end. This was in a MULTI-PLEX! This NEVER happens! I think the Academy is going to throw every award its got at “The King’s Speech.”

But I digress…

Back to Colin Firth…and his performance of a life-time.

Firth made them listen the way he made Rush listen. I’ll never forget it. I’m getting chills just thinking about the magnificence of Firth and Rush’s and also Bonham Carter’s and director Tom Hooper’s great cinematic achievement.

It’s a masterpiece of a film and Geoffrey Rush is a Master Actor. How lucky we all were to be present at this great historic event. Who knows? There may have even been enough Academy voters present to tip the scales in this tightest of Oscar races between Rush and Bale.

Gentlemen, the envelope, please!

Why Lauren Bacall thinks she lost her Oscar to Juliette Binoche

An interesting Oscar fact, prompted by Lauren Bacall’s large Vanity Fair interview and profile, in their Hollywood Issue (a must-have, must-read) abutting in the same issue an equally large and in depth piece on Harvey Weinstein.

Now, what has this got to do with this year’s Oscar race? More than you might think.

Lauren Bacall in her memoir goes on and on about how Harvey Weinstein cost her last chance at a legitimate Oscar when she was nominated in 1996 for Best Supporting Actress for “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” directed by Barbra Streisand, who also starred. Bacall played her mother. Bacall just received a career Oscar this past year, but it’s not the same thing. Nice, but no cigar.

That was the year that Juliette Binoche upset everyone’s Oscar predictions, including mine. There weren’t so many Oscarologists as there are today, but I WAS doing it on my TV show even way back then.  Tom O’Neill’s Gold Derby was racing, but not many others….

You see  Bacall, the great Hollywood legend, WON the Golden Globe and then the SAG Award, and seemed absolutely unstoppable, and she, shockingly,  LOST to Juliette Binoche, in the “English Patient.”

Why is this suddenly sounding VERY familiar? Well, Melissa Leo won both those awards also(There was no BFCA in those days.) and now she’s up against, in the same category, an actress in a British film. That would be Helen Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech.” And yes, that’s Harvey’s film, too.

“The English Patient” swept the awards as “The King’s Speech” is expected to.  And it could very well sweep Helena B-C, in too…Harvey has a unique way with that category, Best Supporting Actress. I think he’s gotten more actresses that particular award than any other producer in recent memory. Besides Binoche, he got Renee Zellweger her only Oscar in that category for “Cold Mountain” in 2004 and also Catherine Zeta-Jones in that category for “Chicago” in 2003! Why do I feel Harvey W. rules this category?

As Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone always muses…Just, saying….

The BAFTAS predict the Oscars quite often lately

Last night the BAFTAS pretty much accurately predicted who’s going to win what in the Best Picture and Actors categories.

Before I go further, let me once again, explain that the BAFTAs voting procedures are different from the Oscars in that EVERYone, every member, votes on the categories of Best Picture and all four acting categories.

HOWEVER, the British Guilds vote for each of the other categories, like Best Director. And they gave it to David Fincher for “The Joy of Typing” and not home boy Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech.” THAT was probably the most shocking event of the evening, as “The King” ruled over seven categories! Taking home the most BAFTAS of any film, seven, including Best Picture, Best British Picture, Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay and Best Score.

I bring up the directing statistic as an example of how the Brits don’t necessarily honor their own. As for instance, Anthony Minghella (“The English Patient”) and Sam Menzies(“American Beauty”) were dissed in Limey, losing in their own country, but winning the Oscar for Best Director,when Push came to SHOW!

Since Tom Hooper has already won the DGA for “The King’s Speech”. Since the Queen of England AND Andy Rooney (just yesterday, this Sunday on 60 Minutes) both endorsed TKS, I think he’s got that in the bag too.

As well as fellow “King”sters Colin (of course) Firth and Geoffrey Rush and FINALLY my fave Helena Bonham-Carter.

Rush winning over Brit bad boy Christian Bale is particularly significant, since Rush is ostentatiously Australian.

I had the pleasure last night of attending an event in his honor last night at the DGA where Rush got multiple ovations, some of them standing, but more about that later.

I have always maintained that the BAFTAs help make up undecided minds in the Academy. If AMPAS voters wait to see what the Brits do at the BAFTAS…especially in the top Acting Categories.

Had Annette Bening upset Natalie Portman(who didn’t even show up) in Best Actress, for instance, it would indicate that their was an undercurrent surging for Annette. No such luck. Natalie’s got it, as they say, locked up. And Colin(of course) Firth does, too.  No contest in either of those two categories. The same can also be applied to David Seidler, the real stutterer who penned “King’s Speech” from his heart and who won Best Original Screenplay.

I’m willing to concede (FINALLY) that Aaron Soreking will win Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Joy of Typing.” Even his constant comparing himself to Shakespeare didn’t put off the Brits, so yes, the Academy will follow suit and this may be the only award “Typing” wins at the Oscars…You heard it here first!

And Geoffrey and Helena!

Well, the category of Supporting Actress for those of you who have been following the story (and you wouldn’t be reading THIS if you weren’t) know how badly former front-runner Melissa Leo stumbled at the last yard and basically handed the award to yes, Helena Bonham-Carter!

Best Supporting Actress is a category like none other. And these year, to me, resembles the year, a few back, when it was a five-way horse race, and at the last possible minute, Tilda Swinton was anointed at the BAFTAs for “Michael Clayton” and then surprised everyone, but me, at the Oscars ten or so days later.

This year Best Supp. Actress is all over the place with two actresses both from the fighter, Leo, who wasn’t nominated by the BAFTAs AT ALL, and Amy Adams, who was. Only Amy and Helena B-C found approval from the BAFTAs and of course, she won, and gave a wacky, rambling, memorable and moving speech just as I foretold she would.

She wore a black Vivienne Westwood. And looked less bizarre than she did at the BFCA or was it the SAGs or was it the Golden Globes, when she wore two different colored shoes? It’s all starting to blur on me. And if I’M getting a bit blurry, imagine the Awards-circuit fatigue the average viewer is going through?!?

But the Oscars are STILL the Gold Standard(pardon the pun) and I really do think Helena aced this topsy-turvy category with her BAFTA win.

Geoffrey on the other hand, really has his hands full trumping Christian Bale in “The Fighter.” As good as Bale is in this popular film( I even liked it), he lost on his home turf,(yes, he IS British, too) to Rush’s supreme, stately, magnificent Speech Therapist Lionel Logue.

Rush has got his previous Oscar win in Best Actor for “Shine” and Bale is a first-time nominee.

But Rush now has the BAFTA as well as Sasha Stone www.awardsdaily.com predicting him now. And I’ve ALWAYS been predicting him. And Helena, too.

Helena’s competition is much less intense as what Rush has to contend with in Bale’s…but…

I think the BAFTAS have spoken. Last year, it was only the Supporting Categories that matched. No Bullock, no Bridges, but Christoph Waltz and Mo’Nique won BAFTAs as well as Oscars. The year previous Mickey Rourke won, over Sean Penn. But then Mr. Rourke got up and made a really crude F=== this and F=== that acceptance speech, and pretty much handed the award to Penn with that embarrassing, graceless moment.

But in the two years previous, BAFTA was four for four with the Oscar actors.

This year, well, don’t be surprised by “The King’s Speech” being the sweep of sweeps.

And one more thing, I’d like to point out. In CONCLUSION, Academy voters in ALLLLL disciplines and branches get to vote on all the awards (except Foreign Film, Documentaries, and Shorts, where you have to sign in and actually ATTEND those screenings to vote in those categories.) So the Academy Voting Ballot is something you can go, check, check, check and TICK ALL THE BOXES, as Colin and Geoffrey are both wont to say. And just vote “The King’s Speech” ticket for everything!

And not to be outdone by the Brits, I also predict that even though “The King’s Speech” won SEVEN awards, the Oscar vote count will be higher, much higher, maybe even historic. The Oscar ballot is designed for sweeps, since in the below the line categories, the technicians are listed by their names and their films are not even listed! A lot of cross-checking has to be done filling out the AMPAS ballot to vote-split. It’s easier to just look at the “For You Consideration” screener of your favorite film and just go, tick, tick, BOOM from there. And I think most do.

Harvey Weinstein is probably fuming about the seven BAFTAS his “King” didn’t win. But not me! I’m thrilled with all the events happening around this beautiful, beautiful film!

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