a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘The Help’

Qu’venzhane’s Best Actress Oscar Upset?

The one thing NOBODY is taking in to consideration in the now very competitive Best Actress Oscar race is the fact that NOBODY in that category has yet to compete against its’ youngest ever nominee, the now 9-year-old dynamo that is Qu’venzhane Wallis.

As my Oscar Idol Tom O’Neil keeps saying over at http://www.goldderby.com and I quote “Oscar likes Little Girls.” And historically, he’s right. Patti Duke? Tatum O’Neal?Anna Pacquin? Anyone? But they all won in Supporting. If Qu’venzhane was in Supporting, she just might win. But the Academy wisely nominated her in lead Actress which is where her astonishing performance belongs. A six-year-old carrying this entire movie? It was astounding! I’ve never seen a better performance by a child actor, or actress. She was unforgettable.

But she’s not gone up against the other ladies ANYwhere. So there’s no telling what havoc she might wreck. Jennifer Lawrence is the presumed front-runner for “Silver Linings Playbook.” But just this Sunday she showed surprising weakness at the BAFTAS in London when she lost to 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour.” But Qu’venzhane was not nominated for a BAFTA.

In fact, the Academy Award is the first serious Best Actress race she has competed in, against these women.

Well, yes, she did win Best Young Actor(or Actress) from the Broadcast Film Critics. I think she got Best Breakthrough Actress from the National Board of Review. And she won something similar from the Hollywood Film Awards.

And she’s charmed EVERYONE with her acceptance speeches. She irresistible. And Oscar likes to SURPRISE. And this would be a surprise!

It’s so boring that we all know “Argo” is going to win Best Picture(but deserving), and especially boring that Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln” and Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables” (who deserves it) are going to continue their march to the podium.

Jennifer Lawrence is also very young, 22, but Qu’venzhane is 9, and she did “Beasts of the Southern Wild” when she was six.

Exhibit A for Qu’venzhane ~ Everybody now pronounces her name correctly.
And Exhibit B – They also have learned to SPELL it correctly.

Tom O’Neil and Pete Hammond of http://www.deadline.com joked about her name in many early podcasts, but they are not laughing now. Calling her Miss Unpronounceable. They are NOT saying that anymore. In fact, BOTH have learned to say her name correcly, and say it with respect.

Exhibit C – The Academy liked “Beasts of the Southern Wild” enough to nominate it for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenply.

Benh Zeitlin has just turned 30 and he ALSO ranks as one of the youngest directors to ever be nominated, too, btw.

Some people feel a child that young’s performance is not an acting performance, it’s a manipulation of the child by the director. Hence Zeitlin’s wonderful, surprising nom.

Best Director is really the most up-in-the-air category of any of the Oscars this year. Since Ben Affleck was snubbed famously for “Argo.” We know he’s not winning? But who is? Zeitlin?

And I have this really strong suspicion that, well, a certainty, really, as an Oscarologist of LONNNNNNNG standing…that “Beasts” is going to win something big. It could be Zeitlin. It could be Qu’venzhane Wallis.

Jennifer Lawrence has her youth, her beauty, TWO multi-million dollar franchises “The Hunger Games” and “X-Men” behind her AND she’s got Harvey Weinstein and his super-effective TWC publicity machine behind her. They got surprisingly THREE BAFTAS in places that weren’t expected. Christopher Waltz for Supporting Actor for “Django Unchained” and Quentin Tarantino for Original Screenplay. QT could repeat that feat at the Oscars, since he also was snubbed for Best Director along with Affleck, Tom Hooper and Kathryn Bigelow.

AND he also got David O.Russell Best Adapted Screenplay for “Silver Linings Playbook” at the BAFTAS which nobody expected either.

Of those three wins, I think Tarantino is most likely to score at the Oscars. Mainly because Harvey is pushing Robert De Niro like CRA-ZEE here in the States for the sympathetic Italian father in “Silver Linings.” It’s been DECADES since De Niro won his last Oscar for “Raging Bull.” So I think he’ll score this VERY competitive race for Best Supporting Actor.

And “Silver Linings Playbook” is being advertised to death on TV and all the players, all four of the leads are nominated in all four acting categories and have been omnipresent on your and my TVs.

Qu’venzhane, well, she’s been around, but she’s also in school, and her responsible family wants to keep her there as long as 4th grade is in session.Or is it third?

Also, Jennifer Lawrence SHOULD have won in London. Harvey was working his magic, as I said, but the Weinsteining only went so far. It didn’t stop “Argo” Awards march and Jennifer Lawrence lost to Emmanuelle Riva.

Emmanuelle Riva is beyond brilliant and totally memorable in “Amour,” but I keep hearing that Academy members can’t watcn it on their DVDs. It’s about Octogenarians coping with death, basically, and it’s just too much, too depressing for many.

But they’ve all watched “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and Oscar likes to do something that not everybody else has done in terms of a winner, and Qu’venzhane would certainly be that. She’d make history, too, as the youngest ever Best Actress Oscar winner and also as only the second African-American winner in that category EVER.

As Tom O’Neil is constantly saying “It’s which one is not like the other ones. It’s the Apple in a bag of Oranges.” And Qu’venzhane fits THAT description to a “T”

Last week she was one of the covers of Entertainment Weekly’s Oscar issue and she’s also on Vanity Fair’s Oscar cover banging away on a set of drums!

The Academy is constantly being accused of racism, especially after Viola Davis’s loss to Meryl Streep last year. That was Harvey at work, yet again. I think there’s a verb now. I’ll call it Weinsteining if anybody else hasn’t already.

And Oscar likes little girls.

And they like “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

And y’know something else? Everyone is underestimating her. But any time any one says her name on TV now, or anywhere, they SMILE.

If I was voting this year, she’s the one I’d vote for.

Emmanuelle Riva is frail and didn’t make it to the BAFTAS and is even now using a walker and may not be able to make that lonnnnng flight to LA. So there’s the fear of a no-show.

Qu’venzhane Wallis will make the MOST adorable speech ever.

You can see me interviewing her this past June when she was 8 on my You Tube Channel http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow and I ask her about the Oscars and you can see her charming response. She didn’t know what an Oscar was, BTW.

Last time I saw Qu’venzhane was at the Gotham Awards. It was outside at night, as I was leaving and she was SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS! To a bunch of screaming fans! Her mother Qu’lendrea was there and I noted to her that Qu’venzhane had gotten quite tall, since I had seen her last in June. She shooting up fast. And I said to her Mom, “Is she all right?” And she said, “Yes,” and I said “How is she taking all this?” And she said “She’s fine.”

Then she tapped Qu’venzhane firmly on the shoulder and pointed to me. Qu’venzhane remembered me! And smiled and curtsied to me.

I would vote for HER.

Maybe the all-too-serious actor’s branch of AMPAS wouldn’t. But the REST of the 4,500 membership, the infamous all male “steak-eaters” as Anne Thompson calls them just might.I call them the “SWORM”, the straight white old rich men, who are the majority of the Academy. Yeah, I can see THEM voting for Qu’venzhane.

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SAG Nominations Shock! Nicole Kidman IN, Ann Dowd Out!

Dear Readers, dear cineastes, so shocked this morning and saddened with the announcement of the SAG nominations! The supposedly venerable Screen Actors’ Guild chose to nominate Nicole Kidman in her rather dirty and low down turn as a Southern-Fried bimbo, in the worse than worst “The Paperboy.” Instead of the great Ann Dowd for “Compliance”!

This, after Time Magazine said, “The Dowd vote is the cool vote” in this week’s Oscar projections!

Nicole Kidman is many things, but cool, right now, is like not one of them. She performs a umnentionable and disgusting act upon Zac Efron, and it’s something that the Academy in all its’ snobbish glory will NOT reward. A similar unbelievably gross moment occurred with Michael Fassbender faced upstage and let it, er, flow. I KNOW that’s what knocked him out of Oscar contention, which shocked many, but not ME! Nicole will follow down that, er, drain.

The SAGs are really getting knocked around this morning with all the media outlets leading with Nicole Kidman and “The Paperboy” story.  It’s everywhere. I don’t think the Academy will follow suit. And Nicole SHAME ON YOU, AN ACADEMY AWARD WINNER doing something like this! That movie was bad enough, but you’ll never live that unmentionable act down. Way to ruin a career, girl.

Also IN was Dame Maggie Smith for “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” in Supporting. Rounding out that category were the expecteds ~ Anne Hathaway in “Les Mis”, Helen Hunt in “The Sessions” and Sally Field in “Lincoln.” Of the four ladies nominated, Smith(2 Oscars), Hunt(One), Field, (two Oscars) and Kidman(One). Only Anne Hathaway does not have an Oscar yet. But she probably will soon.

“Les Miserables”, “Lincoln’. “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Argo” were all chosen as Best Ensemble, which is SAGs way of saying “Best Picture.”

They are NOT wildly accurate Oscar predictors. Esp. not last year when Best Ensemble went to “The Help” and Best Actress for Viola Davis.

They were WAAAAAY off. But they do indicate trends.

Like the absence of “Life of Pi” and also “Zero Dark Thirty” is significant, I think. So that means that “Les Miz”, “Lincoln”, “Argo” and “Silver Linings Playbook” (say THAT fast, three times!) are really the presumptive and eventual Best Picture winners.”Best Exotic…” may very well be nominated for Best Picture, too. But it won’t get Best Director. BTW, there are no Best Director awards from SAG. It’s the Screen ACTORS Guild and as far as Actors are concerned…well, this is one night that’s THEIRS and they get to leave the directors home.

While both NY critics groups, the NYFCC and the NBR went with “Zero Dark Thirty” and the LA Film Critics went with “Amour” NEITHER of these films cracked the top five and ZDT had only one mention Jessica Chastain as Best Actress.

And as I predicted there was also no Emmanuelle Riva nomination for “Amour” and Qu’venshane Wallis was deemed ineligible as was Dwight Henry for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. So Best Actress included Chastain, supposedly front-runner Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook”, Helen Mirren for “Hitchcock”(YAY!) and Naomi Watts for “The Impossible” a tsunami movie where she has virtually no dialogue and just grunts and groans and screams for the whole movie. And my lovely Marion Cotillard got in for ANOTHER French language film of “Rust and Bone” and Marion, bonne pour vous!

Bradley Cooper surprised me by landing a Best Actor nomination for SLP, knocking Joaquim Phoenix out of the mix, as I well thought he would be. People haven’t forgotten those remarks he made. As well they shouldn’t. And Sir Anthony Hopkins, who also dissed the Awards Circuit as “disgusting” was also notably left out for “Hitchcock” though Dame Helen Mirren got in. YAY!

I’m reading Steve Rebello’s excellent account of “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Pysho'” right now. It’s a real page turner! Love it! Sooo glad for Dame Helen.

The rest of the Best Actor category contained Daniel Day Lewis for “Lincoln”, Denzel Washington for “Flight”, Jon Hawkes for “The Sessions” and the magnificent Hugh Jackman for the magnificent “Les Miserables.”

No Supp. Actor nominees from “Les Miz” but they were Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the ONLY nominee for “The Master”, Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”, Alan Arkin for “Argo”, Robert De Niro for “Silver Linings Playbook” and Javier Bardem for “Skyfall” ALLLLL of whom already HAVE at least one Oscar(DeNiro has two). I don’t think there’s ever been a playing field with ONLY previous winners. If Eddie Redmayne knocks out Bardem, Redmayne is soooo stunning in “Les Miz”, then he’d be the newbie but as it stands, it’s all oldies but goodies in this category.

Left out completely were end of year openers “Django Unchained” and “The Hobbit”. Either their late openings did them in or they just simply weren’t liked.

 

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone Parses the Oscars! In June!

Well, Tom O’Neil’s Oscar throw-down at http://www.goldderby.com has certainly stirred the waters! Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone at http://www.awardsdaily.com parses even further with “Is It Too Early To Predict the Oscars?” And yes, it is. The Silly Season, as it was so named by David Kehr of the NY Times when he pounded the Red Carpet beat with his historic Carpetbagger column, IS far away.

But it’s NOT for those behind-the-scenes folks, the industry peeps who are assembling all this for our delectation. This is stuff is planned YEARS sometimes in advance. And carefully planned, too. Yes, there are people called Oscar Consultants, who are a whole breed of PR people unique unto themselves. And behind the scenes they are working like dogs chasing a bone. Already. Yes, already.

Sasha and others like her have revealed how much it is the Oscar campaigns behind the actual voting that really does sway, yes, the actual voting.

At this time last year, who woulda thunk “The Artist” was gonna win Best Picture? And Jean Dujardin Best Actor? And certainly, Meryl Streep winning her THIRD Oscar was unexpected and a shock to all Oscarologists. Who could’ve predicted it? Well, actually, Tom O’Neill sorta did.

That’s why one has to give credence to his prognostications. If you followed closely at Gold Derby, VERY closely, who could feel the tide shifting at the last minute AWAY from George Clooney and towards Jean Dujardin. A lot of people saw that coming. But Streep? Only O’Neil. But not his staff of Ditto-heads(I refuse to call them Butt-heads, though my spell check changed it to that…lol…) all kept saying Viola Davis.

That’s why, for instance, I give Tom more credence than say, Anne Thompson at Indiewire and Thompson on Hollywood last year. She stubbornly clung on to George Clooney ~ AND Viola Davis til the very last.  And she was wrong.

Just to show that the Oscars still have some life in them.

I knew the Weinstein wizards were working like crazy last year behind the scenes and subtlety as is their wont. But I read the tea-leaves wrong and thought it was Michelle Williams, not Meryl, who would reap the rewards.

Viola Davis, ably abetted by that egregrious Entertianment Weekly issue and cover which pictured her and George Clooney, dressed to the nines,  getting out of a limo, like they had actually won already!. That proved to be BOTH their ondoings. An Academy Voter upon seeing that cover and then reading the embarassing self-congratulatory interviews with BOTH of them “WELL! The Nerve! They haven’t won YET! “would be an Academy members thinking, I thought at the time and still do. Or “Don’t tell US who to vote for!?!“…Viola Davis was doing herself NO GOOD, but the obvious heavy-handedness of all her talk show appearances. I mean, she was on “The View” FOUR TIMES!?!? If that wasn’t overkill…I don’t know what is…

I know. I know. Disney owns ABC, which “The View” is on, and Disney had “The Help.” But in the end as I said at the time, Disney does not know how to run an Oscar campaign.

Whereas Harvey Weinstein does. Of course. But he has to have the goods. I don’t know if “Django Unchained” ANOTHER bloody shoot’em by Quentin Tarantino, is gonna fly all the way with Oscar voters, who historically have avoided blood-shed. IF THEY CAN HELP IT. You can of course point to “The Departed” winning recently and also “No Country For Old Men” But as Sasha has pointed out there were other stories going on in those years i.e. Marty Scorcese never won & ditto, the Coens for “NCFOM”.

I wonder if Universal who has “Les Misearables” is going to be able to do the trick this year.

Paraphrasing Sasha, she feels that Tom O’Neil in listing “War Horse”. oops! I mean “Lincoln,” as the Frontrunner NOW, is putting an albatross, around “Lincoln”s neck.  Or as I’m calling it handing Spielberg “The Golden Albatross” award, this far ahead. Sasha is saying basically that Frontrunners never win. Which is a very interesting observation. Especially lately.

Some people feel that that “Les Miz” trailer with Anne Hathaway is “pre-mature” but I don’t think so. It’s established Hathaway as the one to beat in Best Supporting Actress, and the Best Supporting Actress race is run by a whole different set of rules. I mean, look. That’s where “The Help” won. And the year before that that’s where Melissa Leo, totally off her own bat, won. So different rules apply.All of Disney’s heaving breathing and heavy lifting on “The Help” reaped them ONLY a Best Supporting Actress win. Personally that’s my own favorite category, but still…

Also, Universal is trying to establish a fan-base with a genre that the fanboys of today just don’t flock to. Musicals.  Just from that point alone, I think “Les Miz” has an uphill battle. But the general public is not the Academy.

I mean, just look at this year’s big grossers “Hunger Games” and “Avengers” both of which are films I just can’t bring myself to see….at least not yet…will the Academy award box-office over quality? They certainly haven’t been looking at the bottom line with films like “The Artist” or “The King’s Speech”….Who do they listen to? Well, Harvey Weinstein. But “Django Unchained”? Quentin Tarantino??? I don’t know about that. This sounds like it’s gonna be “Inglorious Basterds” all over again with that film.

And in conclusion, no it’s never to early to predict the Oscars. That’s what we do.

“Artist” wins 7 BAFTAS! Meryl Streep wins Best Actress!!

O frabjus day! Gal-loo, ga-lay! As the Jobberwok once said! (Read your Lewis Carroll!) “The Artist” just won SEVEN BAFTA awards over in London a few minutes ago! Best Picture, Best ACTOR JEAN DUJARDIN!!! Best Director and Best Screenplay(both by Michel Hazanaviscius!! So he won TWO, plus Best Picture makes three, I guess…) Best Score Ludovic Bource and also Best Cinematography, Best Costumes! And Meryl Streep won Best Actress for “The Iron Lady” besting both Viola Davis and my favorite, Michelle Williams.

Predictably, Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer continue their winning streaks unbroken in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories, too.

But this really is incredible!

The English HISTORICALLY hate the French. Didn’t they fight something like the Hundred Year War? + other conflicts since the dawn of time…Just like at how they STILL don’t get along in Canada! But that’s another story!

So when they give ALLLLLLL their major awards to the French, like they just did a few minutes ago with “The Artist”s seven times triumph! WELL! Mon dieu! La Guerre Est Finis! I hope that “The Artist” wins THAT many Oscars! It could win MORE!

One wonders if Berenice Bejo weren’t in lead, which she is here at the BAFTAs, if she would’ve won in Supporting, since that’s where she is in the US. Interestingly, it didn’t win Editing, which went to “Senna”(?)

But this signals the complete nailing of the Clooney coffin for Best Actor as the Academy’s “undecideds” will all pencil in Jean Dujardin now, and not George.

So I was right in that EW cover issue entitled “Oscar Race” DID more harm than good.

It pictured George and Viola Davis getting out of an unseen limo as if they had already won. And I knew something was wrong with that picture. I THOUGHT it was Viola. But no, it’s George.  Hope EW doesn’t make a gaffe like that again.

But they PROBABLY will.

Meanhwhile, back at Best Actress, this REALLY helps Meryl Streep in her battle with Viola Davis of “The Help.” For the BRITISH to award an American actress for playing THEIR prime minister means, it’s good. It’s REALLY good.

And in a very close race, this just may be what Meryl needs to FINALLY win her her third Oscar after 29 years of waiting!

And I have to point out that “The Artist” and “The Iron Lady” are BOTH Weinstein Co. films! Sooo…you have to congratulate Harvey Weinstein once again for working his magic with ALLLLL the top categories, BP, Best Actor AND Actress and Best Director ALLLL going to his films!

There must be SOME celebration going on over in London with the Weinstein Co. winners! WOW!

Sooooo happy for Jean Dujardin!

He was on Saturday Night LIVE last night in NYC. He must’ve just hopped on a plane immediately after and sped to the airport, for there he was in London!

Now I really have to get real and abandon all my Michelle Williams hopes and dreams…although there’s STILL the chance that the male dominated Academy here may make the Babe Factor rule once more, as it did last year with Natalie Portman.

Clearly the Brits weren’t THAT crazy about “The Help.” Octavia Spencer is their consolation prize here. At the BAFTAs I mean. Maybe the Oscars too.

Unless Meryl Streep gives a speech saying that “Viola Davis should have won.”

Now Best Actress becomes the most up-in-the-air contest its’ been for YEARS! And will probably be THE LAST award before Best Picture, that’s handed out on Oscar night.

Oscar Index at Movieline Keeps the Quality(& Enjoyment) Level at 100%!

All season long, Oscar season, I mean, of COURSE, I look forward every Wednesday evening to Stu Van Airsdale’s erudite, witty analysis of the preceding weeks Oscar madness on his unfailingly fun Oscar Index at www.movieline.com  It’s ACCURATE, too. Even if he doesn’t agree with MY thoughts on The Race. But that’s OK, because he is always persuasive, showing me the error of my Oscar-y ways.

And yes, he’s right on the money again with the idea that it’s “The Artist” but also, “The Help” that is on everyone’s minds. Whether I like to admit it or not.

Me? Moi? You KNOW I love “The Artist” and its’ nominated stars. And I TOLD Jean Dujardin that he was going to win The Oscar and he laughed and smiled and CHARMED his way into the 38,000 (and counting) You Tube viewers who’s enjoyed me, the Oscar Messenger, giving Jean and Berenice Bejo and Michel Hazanaviscius the Oscar News here at ~ www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I haven’t been able to top that highpoint yet all season, so I’m leaving it in the main frame. The two of them, Jean and Berenice were an utterly winning couple, just as they are in the film, and no, not in real life. The beautiful Berenice is married to Michel Hazanaviscius. So her real name is Berenice Hazanaviscius. Glad she kept the Bejo. And yes, she, too was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, as I foretold her she would be.

So, non, it’s not “The Artist” I have issues with I just love it to pieces. And so I agree with Stu V.A. who has “The Artist”, Jean, and Michel all in their number one slots in their respective categories. It’s that I just couldn’t wrap my head around all this “Help” love.

To give Oscars to African-American women for playing MAIDS, I just think is the highest form of racial ineptitude. I think  with a black President, it’s just downright insulting, but Stu V.A. has had Octavia Spencer in his #1 position as Best Supporting Actress all season long. And I just couldn’t buy it. But now with Spencer’s wins at the BFCA, the Globes AND SAG, she seems almost a DONE deal.

I just don’t think she was THAT good in the movie. That it was not an “Academy performance” but evidently everybody except Kris Tapley, disagrees with me.

I mean, give the “Help” ONE SAG award, but not ALL THREE!!! However, that’s what’s going down.

And Viola Davis, who IS a great actress, certainly gives great speeches, too. And if there ever was one single article that may win an actress a Best Actress Oscar, it’s the poetic, persuasive, insightful, almost panegyric piece that Mark Harris just wrote in www.grantland.com this week, in his Oscarmetric section.

Viola Davis should thank HIM, because he makes the case that there was no SUBTEXT in this year’s Oscar race and that “The Help” and especially, the performance of Viola Davis COUPLED with her great speechs have created a narrative that the Academy, guilt-ridden white people all, may just indeed buy.

And it’s NOT a great picture. It’s good, at best. And yes, “The Artist” is much better…

But TWO Best Actress (lead and supporting) wins for “The Help”??? I was not convinced, but now I’m beginning to think so.

Though I still hope Michelle Williams upsets this at the BAFTAs….

Viola Davis is a great actress and she deserves all the acclaim she’s getting. But I still think it’s a Supporting performance and that Michelle Williams is better in a more difficult role in a better movie.

We’ll see what the BAFTAS have to say…

P.S. I turned on my television set this AM and who should be onscreen at “The View” but Viola Davis!!?! I thought I was seeing things. I think she’s been on “The View” AT LEAST three times previously this season! Or maybe FOUR! Somebody’s pushing this to the max. That would be Disney/Dreamworks. Also means they are REALLY sweating Harvey Weinstein’s campaigns for Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady” and Michelle Williams for “My Week with Marilyn.”

Does this mean V. Davis is being OVER-exposed? And god forbid, pushy? I am the first to say that she’s a great American actress and deserves her time in the sun, and she certainly seemed to be enjoying it. What did she have to say? Well, I just caught my major role model Barbara Walters saying “It’s always great to have you here on the ‘The View’, Viola.” And then they signed out!

I think this cuts both ways. It’s good to keep her in the public(and the Academy’s) eye. And yes, I’m sure they watch “The View” or at least the female members do. Which means that Disney/Dreamworks is targeting the female Academy voters. Of whom, as you all know, there aren’t very many! So they are fighting over the Streep-aged demographic. But this shows they are really sweating a Streep win? But who are THE MEN, the bulk of the Academy membership voting for?? That’s what I’d like to know. And again, my guess is the beauteous Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. The Babe Factor still rules Hollywood, I’m so sure. Will the Academy’s left-y social conscience trump the Beautiful Young Nude Girl syndrome. We shall see.

Only the Actor’s Branch overlaps with the SAGS. And that by not much. It’s two different groups of people. SAG and AMPAS. One is female-filled. That would be SAG and one is male dominated and that would be AMPAS.

Jean Dujardin Wins Best Actor at SAG Awards!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oscar Nomination Predictions 2011

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants

Midnight in Paris

Hugo

The Help

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Moneyball

My Week With Marilyn

In a year where there could be as little as five and as many as 10 Best Pictures, I’m going to split the difference and say 8.

Best Actor

JEAN DU JARDIN “The Artist”

GEORGE CLOONEY “The Descendants”

BRAD PITT “Moneyball”

LEONARDO DI CAPRIO “J.Edgar”

DAMIAN BECHIR “A Better Life”

I think the S.W.O.R.M. the Straight White Old Rich Men who are let’s face it, the majority of the AMPAS voters are not gonna be OK with Michael Fassbender’s full frontal EXTENSIVE nudity through “Shame”, but WILL be OK with Mexican actor Damien Bichir’s heart-wrenching portryal of a good father/gardener working in the Palm Trees of L.A.

Best Actress

MICHELLE WILLIAMS “My Week With Marilyn”

MERYL STREEP “The Iron Lady”

GLENN CLOSE “Albert Nobbs”

VIOLA DAVIS “The Help”

ROONEY MARA “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

I think that late opener “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” which is nearing the $100 million mark domestic is going to be on a lot of voters’ minds. And this will be a kind of pay back to David Fincher & crew for NOT winning last year and the biggest beneficiary of this will be leading actress Rooney Mara, for her bravura turn as Lisbeth Salander. And the person she’ll knock out is not the revered Glenn Close, who has been struggling to get “Albert Nobbs” made for over 20 years, or more, but Tilda Swinton, who HAS an Oscar already.

Best Suporting Actor

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER “Beginners”

KENNETH BRANAGH “My Week with Marilyn”

ARMIE HAMMER “J.Edgar”

COREY STOLL “Midnight in Paris”

JONAH HILL “Moneyball”

This is the hardest category to predict this year with the prospective nominees jumping all over the place, like Mexican Jumping Beans throughout the precursor awards. And no, Damien Bichir is NOT in this category. I think SAG nominee Armie Hammer will pop up here as he did in SAG, and knock out Albert Brooks who was snubbed by SAG AND BAFTA. And also they’re going to nominate SOMEBODY from “Midnight in Paris” besides Woody and Corey Stoll’s Ernest Hemingway made the strongest impression in that gigantic ensemble.

I hate to say it, but I’m putting Jonah Hill in because he was in the movie, “Moneyball” that the most voters will probably have seen and because by the same token they WON’T have watched Nick Nolte in “Warriors.”

Best Supporting Actress

VANESSA REDGRAVE “Coriolanus”

OCTAVIA SPENCER “The Help”

JESSICA CHASTAIN “The Help”

BERENICE BEJO “The Artist”

JANET McTEER “Albert Nobbs”

I think Vanessa Redgrave’s towering performance in “Coriolanus” will FINALLY turn up here, as it hasn’t so far anywhere else. The Harvey factor is in play here and yes, it’s a Weinstein Co. movie. As is “The Artist” as is “The Iron Lady” as is “My Week with Marilyn.”

Best Director

Michel Hazanaviscius “The Artist”

Alexander Payne “The Descendants”

Martin Scorcese “Hugo”

Woody Allen “Midnight in Paris”

David Fincher “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

I think this will match the DGA nominees(the Directors’ Guild) five for five.

And on Tuesday morning we’ll see. I predict the steamroller of “The Artist” will continue with its’ getting the most nominations of any other film. And for a 90 min. Black and White SILENT film made for only $12million, it’s a phenomenal run that is STILL just getting started!

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