a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘The Ides of March’

George Clooney’s TWO BIG Oscar movies…

So now I’ve finally seen BOTH of George Clooney’s TWO BIG Oscar seeking movies, and it’s a lot of George to take in. I mean, it’s overwhelming. And what will the Academy think? The most important question. I wonder, I really do.

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone always says that Frontrunner is a difficult position to be in. And that’s EXACTLY where George Clooney finds himself as a Best Actor, on the Gurus o’ Gold chart, and also the great Movieline.com Oscar Index. He’s at the top of both for
“The Descendants.” Not for “Ides of March” his other equally dark film that is out now currently playing in theaters near you, to OK. business. But not a block-buster by any means.

FINALLY getting to see it, I found myself actually liking it much better than I thought I was. Guy Lodge of Incontention (which is now been absorbed by HitFix) famously said, after seeing it in Venice at the Film Festival there, that is was “good, but not great” and that term has stuck.

BTW, before this article gets too long here are the links www.hitfix.com www.movieline.com

(for the Oscar Index) and www.moviecitynews.com for the Gurus o’ Gold.

The Gurus had the still unseen “War Horse” at #1, that is, until the poster came out, which looked somewhat like “National Velvet”. A boy and his horse love story. Which of course is what it is. But set during World War I, and still packing them in as a play on both sides of the Atlantic.

So then collectively, the Gurus went for “The Descendants” as best film last time out. And “War Horse” is now #2, but still Numero Uno on Stu Van Airsdale’s Oscar Index. (That bobble-head pic of the Horse itself, still cracks me up!)

So let’s just say “The Descendants” is the frontrunner for Best Picture and George for Best Actor.

I liked “The Descendants” it’s a very well done film about DEATH and comas AND DEATH and hospitals and DEATH. And yes, it’s depressing.

I also heard that in some quarters now that it’s being shown some people also are finding it a downer.

And George is just great in this as a beleaguered father and cuckold, as it were. His dying wife cheated on him and he only finds this out after the boating accident that puts her in a non-reversible coma. And it’s his teenage daughter, Shailene Woodley, a probable Oscar nominee herself, who tells him this.

And here I am talking about “The Descendants” all the time, and I meant this to be about “Ides of March.” I guess I liked it. But I didn’t LOVE it. Will it get a Best Picture nod? Possibly. This is the old-fashioned kind of movie about “Politics is a dirty business” which, d’oh, we already know.

It didn’t enthrall me THAT MUCH. But you do admire the Supporting Performances. George is REALLLLY good as the asshole who’s running for President. No likeability factor here. And Phillip Seymour Hoffman has what is probably the only slam dunk Oscar nomination here, in Supporting, as George campaign manager. He’s evenly matched by the wonderful Paul Giamatti, but his part is smaller and less rangey, than Hoffman’s.

Ryan Gosling, I’m sad to say, disappointed me in the leading role. He’s supposed to be this wide-eyed eager naive media consultant. And you know from the beginning he’s not. And then when he ends up where he ends up in this movie that is really HIS story, not George’s, well,  it seems like he barely went from A to B. More like A to A. A as in asshole.

Am I giving something away? He’s a brilliant actor and he was great in “Drive.” A MUCH better performance. But I don’t think he’ll get nominated for that film that’s got such an Indie vibe going for it that the Academy may just overlook.

I don’t think Ryan gets nominated any where this year. George will. But will he win? It’s the foregone conclusion. He wrote, directed and PRODUCED “Ides of March.” He’s everywhere, as I’ve noted before, but is a second Oscar within his grasp?

After finally seeing “The Ides of March”, I’m now not so sure that it is. Somebody or something may come along and knock him out of the winning spot. Most likely something we haven’t seen yet.

If “The Descendants” which is now opening the same fateful day in late November that “My Week with Marilyn”, and “The Artist” AND “Hugo” are all opening, too. Will it get lost in the shuffle?

Back in New York, it’s freeeezing! TIFF is just about over, but the Oscar race is just beginning!

I’m back in New York from the increasingly chilly weather of Toronto, and I hate to leave TIFF, as always. It’s like the circus is packing up and all the excitement is dying down…til next year…OR til the New York Film Festival starts, which is Monday! The press screenings I mean.

Which like TIFF, in some kind of weird film festival tradition are almost always held at ridiculous hours of the morning!

But I digress! I come back to find that while my own personal TIFF is now done, the Oscar race is only just beginning! But you all knew that already!

Jeff Wells of www.hollywood-elsewhere.com is still there, blogging his brains out. And having a completely different perspective on the race than I do. And that goes for Oscar goddess Sasha Stone of www.awardsdaily.com

who is comfy and warm in sunshine-y L.A….

Sasha has a particularly interesting take on the Best Actor race. As does Jeff. But both of them leave out Gerard Butler and his career-changing performance in “Machine Gun Preacher” completely! I beg to differ.

The night I left I was delighted to see ET Canada do a whole segment on Gerard and his Oscar chances. And the films’ too!

And I also have to beg to differ about Brad Pitt and “Moneyball.”

“Moneyball”? REALLY? A baseball movie? I mean, they DO like to keep nominating him for the star-power he brings to things…but if he’s going to be nominated this year for anything it’s Terence Malick’s “A Tree of Life”…which is serious, and pretentious enough for the Academy.

Or maybe in  this case, toooo pretentious. I predict that first 45 mins. of primordial ooze is something that is NOT going to keep those “Tree of Life” screeners from being ejected from Academy voters’ DVD players…

However Sasha and Jeff ARE right about George the Clooney being everywhere and charming everyone and everything in sight. I didn’t get to see EITHER of his two TIFF movies “The Ides of March” and “The Descendants” which everyone says is the better of the two.

But I don’t personally think that David Cronenberg’s TIFF bomb “A Serious Judgement” is going to get any serious Oscar consideration whatsoever. And that neither of its’ leading men, Viggo Mortensen or Michael Fassbender are going to be nominated for Best Actor or ANYthing for this film.

Anthony Del Col, and also Critic of Critics Thelma Adams join me at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

for some VERY spirited Oscar buzz talk from TIFF. Thank you Anthony! Thank you Thelma!

Thelma’s segment is not up yet, but stop-the-presses Anthony is! And it’s great! Take a look as we try to parse Tilda Swinton’s Oscar chances for “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin.”

It was Anthony’s idea to sit-in with me for a running Oscar commentary at TIFF. This is Anthony Del Col of “Kill Shakespeare” fame and he’s VERY good at this!

As he is at everything! We taped two complete episodes which equals something like six videos in You Tube time and I can’t WAIT for you to see them all!

I also have to point out that “The Ides of March” was underwhelming everyone I spoke to. Especially Anthony and Thelma, as you’ll see. I don’t think “Ides” is an Oscar slam-dunk by any means, though Oscar god Dave Karger says so.

If the TIFF tea leaves are being read right by me & co., it’s “The Descendants” all the way. Which means also if Ryan Gosling is nominated for anything, or more accurately for any of the two of his films that are out now, it’s going to be “Drive” that drives up people’s (and Oscar voters) temperatures and not “Ides.”

When you’ve got two films in Oscar play at a place like TIFF, one is usually going to eclipse the other, and I think that’s what happening with “Ides” and “Descendants” and “Drive.” The two “D”(entitled) movies are faring better on the TIFF buzz circuit, I would say.

But it WAS interesting in that there was no clear front-runner AT ALL. Not like “The King’s Speech” was last year and others like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “No Country for Old Men” were in other years’ at TIFF.

So I’m back, dear readers, dear cineastes, dear theatre-lovers of literature, and tomorrow night the BROADWAY season starts with a revival of “Follies” one of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest, so when the autumn breeze starts freezing the trees, I feel like TIFF’s warmth was one big fever dream!

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