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Posts tagged ‘The Iron Lady’

“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 Race” EW Cover w/Clooney & Viola Davis. Controversial? Accurate? Embarrassing?

I really wonder if the venerable Entertainment Weekly has jumped the shark this week with its’ “Inside the Oscar Race” cover prematurely, I think, showing George Clooney in a tux (nothing new), but at his side,, resplendent in a white ball gown, is Viola Davis! THIS is new! And the cover states “Front-runners George Clooney (The Descendants) and Viola Davis (The Help).” WHAT???

I thought Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams were the two heavyweights for Best Actress! But the usually reliable Oscar God David Karger is plunking his two cents down (and EW is presumably totally backing these choices), and inside we see V.D. depicted holding what looks like an award, or a Golden Globe, or SOMEthing, when on closer look it is seen to be a hand mirror. A bejeweled one, but a HAND MIRROR!

This is the kind of thing that INFURIATES Academy Voters, who are voting or rather nominating, right now as you read this. Many of them perhaps have not even sent their ballots in yet or filled them out, and here is EW acting like IT’S ALL OVER! BAD MOVE, EW!

I would be OK with this if it was a year where this was TRUE, but George is fighting for his life in Best Actor, (He’s got one already and “The Descendants” is depressing.) against his BFF Brad Pitt, who, BTW, just won Best Actor from the prestigious National Society of Film Critics. Take THAT, EW! They seem to be saying. And the Best Actress race is all over the place, between those three ladies. Williams, Streep & Davis.

And Viola Davis, as talented as she is, has not yet won ONE major award yet for “The Help”! A cover like this and a lay-out and an interview like that, may infuriate Academy types into NOT voting for her, when the time comes. And it IS a Supporting Performance in most peoples’ books…including mine.

But to photograph her looking so RADIANT and BEAUTIFUL and AIR-BRUSHED to death, well, we’ve never seen her like this before. And acting like she’s already won! But she hasn’t!

I fear this cover is going to make AMPAS voters feel like “Wait a minute! Don’t tell US who’s won!” or who to vote for. MISTAKE! This is what the Board of Governors was actually warning people about this year.  See Scott Feinberg’s excellent analysis of this at www.hollywoodreporter.com where Scott now is writing “The Race.”

And Jean Dujardin of “The Artist” is the one who most Oscar experts are picking for Best Actor. But not to EW.

I totally agree with Dave Karger with his choice that “The Artist” has already won Best Picture and is waaay out in front in that category. He’s right about that. But I would not be a very good Oscarologist myself, if I didn’t feel it incumbent on me to say “WAIT A MINUTE! Hold your (War) horses, EW!”

What they are doing is championing or campaigning for Clooney/Davis with this glossy cover and the even glossier interview inside. Acting like it’s a done deal. That is SOOOO BAD in Oscar campaigning terms.

And I know Dave Karger is familiar with Oscar 101.

I’ve NEVER seen EW so blatantly Up a Duo from two different films, yet, who may not be pictured together ever again this awards season. How embarrassing! But EW is nothing if not BOLD.

However, their first Oscar cover of the season isn’t a NEWS issue. It never is.

Didn’t they depict “Finding Neverland” once upon a time? Oy vay.

And there was once an Oscar issue like this with three actresses shown. I think it was Jennifer Connelly and Nicole Kidman and somebody else. And that third lady did not get nominated. I can’t even remember who she was. How embarrassing was that for her? And presumably for the magazine. But guess not, cuz they’re doing it again!

But some of you will remind me who that third gal was, who didn’t get nominated.

And even though Michelle Williams is splattered all over the INSIDE of the magazine in their for real predictions section on who’s going to be nominated…that story/interview on George ‘n’ Viola’s friendship was a little grating and self-serving. And yes, both of them are acting like they’ve ALREADY WON! NO! They haven’t!

THIS IS A HUGE OSCAR “No!NO!”

George has picked up a couple of critics awards, but Viola has gotten none, separately, herself, for Best Actress. Though “The Help” has gotten kudo-ed for Ensemble in several places.

This is the kind of cover that could de-rail a campaign. SERIOUSLY. Dave, what were you thinking? Well, obviously, he thinks he’s right.

I beg to differ.

And inside, though, his predictions themselves, were pretty spot-on for who was going to be nominated for Best Picture, Actor and Actress, though he’s got Michael Fassbender in there, and I think it’s Demian Bichir. Although Demian DOES receive a cute consolation prize, a “For Your Consideration” box.

But his supporting picks were all over the place, especially in Supporting Actress.

I was shocked at how wobbly his Supporting predictions were and yes, the Supp. Actress category is historically the hardest to predict. He’s got Berenice  Bejo (yes, she’s nominated for a BFCA, Golden Globe and a SAG) Ditto Octavia Spenser. He’s got Janet McTeer pictured, and I think that’s right. And Jessica Chastain for “The Help” which seems to be what she’s inevitably nominated for, though, it’s the least of her EIGHT performances this season! And then he has Melissa McCarthy, who EW just had on another of their covers recently as “The Queen of Comedy”. This would be for the gross-out “Bridesmaids.”

He doesn’t mention Vanessa Redgrave AT ALL. NOWHERE. And I think she WILL TURN UP here. Especially after being snubbed by BAFTA!!! Can you believe it?

I’m sure it’s the ghost of her earlier-in-life, extreme left-wing policies from the ’60s still haunting her. But if the Academy, Anglophile Lefties all, (well, the majority anyway) will over look Redgrave’s policy and put her in where she belongs and she could win this for her ASTOUNDING performance in “Coriolanus.”

Karger also gives Carey Mulligan from “Shame” a “For Your Consideration” box. And that is valid. She was great, if not greater, than Michael Fassbender in “Shame.”

We all know Christopher Plummer is going to win his career award in Supp. for “Beginners” and Dave Karger duly notes this. The other nominees, in this category, though, except for Kenneth Branagh are all up in the air. ESPECIALLY, his pick of Max Von Sydow for “Extremely Late and Incredibly Distasteful”! I don’t think so.

He’s got Jonah Hill and Albert Brooks in there but they were overlooked by SAG, and Nick Nolte and Armie Hammer WERE SAG-nominated, which he notes, but doesn’t see them getting in.

Who could pop up here, unexpectedly, is Corey Stoll for his finely etched portrait of Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris.”

And Kathy Bates and/or Marion Cotillard could be two last-minute  pop-ups from “Midnight in Paris.” They both just were named on the BAFTA long list…So they’ve been noted there.

Oh, and that BAFTA long list!…well, let’s just say it’s TOO LONG to even bother with at this point. But as always you can check out www.awardsdaily.com for a much closer look at that ENDLESS list, on which nearly everybody who made a film this year, is on. Wait for the BAFTA nominations themselves. But Beth Stevens, at Awardsdaily does a really good job at parsing them, especially in the comment section.

“Iron Lady” unleashes a tsunami of Bulk Bile from critics!

Now, I can say it. Now that’s it’s officially “opened” and the BAD reviews are piling up, “Iron Lady” is one of the worst films of the year. And certainly the worst film Meryl Streep has ever been in.

SHE’S great in it, however. But as Stephanie Zacharek at www.movieline.com puts it in her very insightful, angry review, “To what end?”

Great technique, but the movie SUCKS!

Directed by the same director Phyllida Lloyd who directed “Mama Mia” (which, BTW, I LOVED!) It’s like “Mama Mia” without the music.

Stu Vanairsdale’s Oscar Index, which is also at www.movieline.com (I keep writing about him and it! I can’t help it! It’s essential Oscarology!) I predict Stu will change his chart VERY much under the weight of this sea of BILE that “The Iron Lady” has just unleashed. His current Index, which comes out about 8pm on Wed. nights EST, does not figure in this tsumani of rage-filled reviews, which are coming out right about NOW.

“The Iron Lady” totally white-washes Margaret Thatcher, whose ruled I lived under whilst I was in England struggling to be an actor/playwright. Nobody I knew liked her. NO.BODY. How she ever got elected to three straight terms as Prime Minister there was totally beyond me then, and now.

“Billy Elliot,” which is still running on Broadway, depicted the reality of Thatcher’s impact on the country and its’ devastating Miner’s Strike, which, of course, Thatcher opposed causing countless hardships with her union-busting stance. She seemed to be at war with the poor. She called them “the enemy within.” But that’s not in the movie.

And the Falklands “War”!?! Don’t get me started! But Stephenie Z. at www.movieline.com lays it out in much more historically accurate perspective than I can tonight.

And she’s not the only one! St. Anne Thompson over at www.indiewire.com goes even further lining, up the pans as they pile up, one on top of the other on top of the other. INCLUDING A.O.Scott in the NYTimes!.

She, too, sounds as riled up as Stephenie! And they’re both women! Reviewing what is supposedly a feminist movie. But of course, it’s not. It’s trying to be, but the actuality of Thatcher’s extreme right-wing, arch-conservative politics keep tripping up Streep’s believability as a figure of reverence and  turning it in to a joke. An unfunny joke, which is causing anger and resentment. Especially among Academy members. Oh, yes. I’m hearing how angry they are about this, too. AMPAS is historically left-leaning. And that’s not a secret.

They’re mad as hell, and they aren’t going to take it anymore! And I would not be surprised if Meryl was out and Rooney Mara was in. Things are suddenly heating up in the Best Actress race!

STOP.STREEP.NOW! I can see all the headlines beginning to scream.

And oh, I guess, yes, I am screaming them, too.

But if you don’t believe me just READ those reviews!?! I’ve never seen anything like this! In any Oscar seeking movie.

“Extremely Loud…” was extremely bad. But “The Iron Lady” is WORSE. A third Oscar for THIS?!? That would be like giving Sarah Palin an Oscar this year. Or the Republican Nomination. AINT.GONNA.HAPPEN. Like Palin, Streep should recuse herself now.

Half of the film show Streep as the aged-dementia-ridden Alzheimer’s patient that she is today. Streep plays this sublimely. But as the film goes on, and on, on. We see far too much of her doddering and drooling. Director Lloyd alternates this with scenes of Thatcher in her Prime Minister prime. Switching back and forth between her imaginary conversations with her dead husband Dennis(Jim Broadbent and he’s great! He won an Oscar for playing an Alzheimer’s care-giver in “Iris.” Here, he’s not giving care. He’s an out-and-out ghost! Boo!) and Thatcher giving yet ANOTHER rousing speech to parliament. So either she’s cuckoo or she’s giving speeches. It’s a template for boredom, if nothing else.

But this critical shellacking is OK with Harvey W., this film’s ubiquitous producer, since this moves the brilliant, lovable Marilyn Monroe, of Michelle Williams right into FRONT RUNNER for Best Actress. And oh yes, “My Weekend with Marilyn” is one of Mr. Weinstein’s Oscar movies, too. It’s a win-win situation for him. Oh, and he’s got “The Artist”, too!

SAG Nominations Out! No “War Horse”, Oldman, Brooks, Woodley or REDGRAVE!

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes, I’m back. Having major Internet issues…but I just HAVE to respond to the all-important SAG nominations which are just out this AM! For a complete list, see www.awardsdaily.com

Mainly I’m SHOCKED that “War Horse” is completely left out! This is for the SAG Ensemble Award, which is their corresponding award to “Best Picture.” Having just seen it last night at a (mainly) AMPAS screening, the audience, and myself, too, reacted VERY favorably. But the horse is the star. And the actors performances are all strangely flat. Though great actors and actresses abound. Like Emily Watson, Eddie Marsden, Peter Mullan, etc. etc.

Left IN however, is “Midnight in Paris”!!! For Best Ensemble. But also left OUT are the two main contenders from “Shame” Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan(for Supporting Actress). I think it’s because of their nudity. Period. Well, and the over abundant sex scenes.

The Actors don’t want to be turned into cartoons or stop motion characters, nor do they want to be seen naked and having sex on the screen. It’s retro thinking all around. I’m just responding to the way it is.

And no love whatsoever for “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”! AND “Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close” !!! Both those films with the latest possible release dates. And the strict embargoes, and I’m guessing just too late for most of the SAG nominators to see them. Too bad. I’m still waiting on MY invites to them. BTW!!!

However, the SAG nominators DID get Damien Bechir’s film EARLY. And they saw it and liked it and nominated the Mexican actor in the Best Actor category. Effectively knocking out Michael Fassbender and Gary Oldman.

Oldman, with the large British voting block in AMPAS, may get back in when the Oscar nominations are FINALLY announced next month! Yes, we’ve still got a month to wait!

But what they did get right was the Best Actress category with Meryl Streep, Glenn Glose, Michelle Williams, Viola Davis and TILDA SWINTON! Well…great for TILDA! With the help of master Oscar strategist, Cynthia Swartz, behind “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin” Tilda, I think is very secure in reaching their mutual goal of snagging an Oscar nomination for this dark, difficult, challenging film, too. But I want to go on record as saying I THINK SAG Has now nailed the five Best Actress candidates down. I think all five of these ladies will duplicate their SAG noms on Oscar Nomination Morning. And Glenn Close breaks her losing streak with inclusion here by the Actors.

But Cynthia Swartz also is famously backing “Tattoo” and Rooney Mara and got NO-Thing…

“The Help” got the most noms with Best Ensemble and Best Actress(Davis) and TWO Best Supporting Actresses in Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. So this effectively keeps “The Help” in the race and also FINALLY narrows it down to which of Chastain’s 6 or 7 or 8 performances that the Academy will also probably nominate. So it’s Chastain for “The Help” is she’s in it at all.

The Big Winner of course is Harvey Weinstein. With his nominations for Best Ensemble for “The Artist”, Best Actor, Jean Dujardin, Best Supporting Actress, Berenice Bejo, Best Actresses Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams for “The Iron Lady” and “My Week with Marilyn” and Best Supporting Actor Kenneth Branagh also for “My Week with Marilyn.”

Both Supporting categories are the ones that are going to change the  most when Oscar is announced.  They are kind of all over the place. With wildcards Melissa McCarthy “Bridesmaids” and Armie Hammer “J. Edgar” getting in. I don’t think McCarthy is going to get in for this category with Oscar. She’s a TV actress and the “Bridesmaids” as successful as it was, is still A COMEDY.

Shailene Woodley not getting in for “The Descendants” was a shocker. Another fore-gone conclusion, well, gone. And ditto Albert Brooks in “Drive.” He could replace the execrable Jonah Hill for “Moneyball.” And if Woodley doesn’t score here, who is the BABE in this category? Well, Berenice Bejo!

Yes, my friends “The Artist” continues to sweep as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” seem not to be registering at all.

Somewhere Harvey Weinstein is laughing.

A GRRRReat Day for “The Artist”! Bad day for George Clooney…

So Super Tuesday of the Awards Season has come and gone and the faster-than-they’ve ever been, the Speedy Alkaselzters of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle named “The Artist” Best Picture and its’ unknown-in-America director Michel Hazanaviscius, Best Director! Yay! But what does this alll MEAN?

Sasha Stone at www.awardsdaily.com and Tom O’Neil, the guy who started all this Oscar madness, at www.goldderby.com both point out that only five times in the past 20 years have the Oscars and the New York Film Critics agreed.

But it must be a VERY happy day over at the Weinstein Company! And at chez Hazanaviscius! The champagne corks must be popping! I mean, not only is this bon-bon of a movie in BLACK and WHITE, it’s also SILENT! And FRENCH! Or French made! And I can NOT name a French movie that has gotten THIS close to Oscar before.

So it’s unprecedented and unbelievable, but not by Sasha and I who called it as soon as we saw it. She, in Cannes, and I, in Montreal! At the Montreal Film Festival! What a beautiful moment that was!

And I described earlier how exciting the NY Press junket was. In this blog, just a little while back, I said that I felt Oscar’s presence in that room. Or rather suite of many rooms. Everyone was just so happy that day! But there was the little(or not so little, really) golden guy’s overwhelming presence in the air!

I knew I was surrounded by winners but the alllll knew it too. It was a nonpareil feeling, vraiment! Bien sur!

And since this is the first announced major award of the season, it may have more impact than any other NYFCC’s awarding has ever had before.

Famously the NYFCC moved up its date to be BEFORE the National Board of Review which is set to announce on Thursday. Will they rubber stamp the NYFCC? Or will they differ? Well, they may choose a different Best Actress than Meryl Streep. They could choose Michelle Williams’ wonderful Marilyn. But their choice of La Streep shows that yes, indeed, she is the front-runner in that category and NOT Viola Davis. Also, strangely, it’s a movie that hasn’t even opened yet and won’t for a couple of more weeks.

Oh, and not so strangely, “The Iron Lady” is ANOTHER Weinstein opus. I mean, it’s just incredible!

Also incredible is that David Fincher’s American re-make of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” got NO-THING from the NYFCC. And this is the movie that made them move their date YET AGAIN to accommodate seeing this just-finished film.

Also everyone and his blogging brother was saying it was  a war between “The Descendants” and “The Artist” and now…”The Descendants” lost big time all over the place. It got NO-THING from the NYFCC and also George Clooney did not get a Best Actor Nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards. Yes, THEY were announced today, too, and Sasha has all of them over at www.awardsdaily.com And her take on what all this means.

I think, personally it means nominations for all these winners. It REALLY helps Albert Brooks who got Best Supporting Actor for “Drive”. And “Drive” which I liked immensely seemed to be slipping off the pundit-o-sphere. But Albert’s back and I think IN. And yes, he WAS really scarey in that movie! He was playing a gansta. No, I’m not kiddin’! He really was! People forget what a good, solid actor is underneath the rest of his many talents, but the NYFCC with this award has reminded everyone.

This is not necessarily the case for the lovely Jessica Chastain who wins for THREE movies. But which of these three “The Tree of Life”, “The Help”, and “Take Shelter” is the Academy(and the Globes and SAG, etc. etc) going to choose to rally behind as THE ONE. The Academy only allows for one film per nomination.

Like for instance, the National Board of Review can give Jessica the same Supporting Actress award for all those movies, too.

But the Oscars have to pick just one. It seems like “The Tree of Life” is the one with the most life in it. It tied the Gotham Awards last night for Best Picture with “Beginners” Yay! For Mike Mills! And for Christopher Plummer! “Beginners” also got Best Ensemble at the Gothams! And “The Descendants” AGAIN got nothing.

I tell you as well made as I felt “The Descendants” was it was ultimately extremely depressing.
So we can almost write “The Descendants” off our lists. And it seems Brad Pitt is now the movie star to beat for Best Actor, since he won here for “Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life”(yup, there it is again!) As I wrote earlier in the Comments Section of Awardsdaily tonight, I REALLY DON’T WANT TO KEEP TALKING ABOUT “TREE OF LIFE” but it seems I have, too.

People keep bringing it up, primordial ooze, dinosaurs and all. RIDICULOUS film! But Brad Pitt’s and Jessica Chastain’s ’50 Texas husband and wife WERE lovely. I’m just surprised to find people remember them and remember them so strongly.

So now it’s Brad Pitt v. Jean Dujardin with George Clooney running on the sidelines, huffing and puffing, like he does so memorably, in his Mad Dash scene in “The Descendants”…trying to keep up.

Well, we’ll see what the National Board of Review does. They, too, may pick “The Artist” but I’m betting Best Actor, Actress and Supporting will be different. But Jessica Chastain may score again with them because she’s got those multiple movies. Seven I think, behind her this year.

But congratulations to all these winners, and let me do a final shout out to winner of the Breakthrough Director Award Dee Rees for “Pariah” and also to Adepero Oduye who received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for “Pariah” Both were my guests at TIFF this year.

And you can see them and ALLLL “The Artist”s on my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Oscar’s Thanksgiving Wishes for Michelle’s Marilyn Pour In!

A Happy, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, my dear readers, dear cineastes! And on this Thanksgiving Day I have one great big movie movie to be Thankful for, which is, you guessed it, you who have been reading this humble blog since Day One, it’s Michelle Williams and all the rest of the wonderful cast in the Best Film of the Year, “My Week with Marilyn.”

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone has compiled a list of wonderful rave reviews from the likes of Rex Reed to David Denby of the “New Yorker” to Roger Ebert. You can read them all at www.awardsdaily.com

Add to them Stephanie Zacharek at www.movieline.com as well as Oscar, the Grouch Jeff Wells at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com and yes, by George it’s a consensus! Jeff saved his review until today. Wild. But I’m happy it’s at last there.

Only it’s not a race between Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady” and Michelle’s Marilyn.

I don’t think Meryl stands a ghost of a chance with the Academy. She will no doubt get a 17th Oscar nomination, which is PHENOMENAL, record-breaking and an award in itself. I don’t think the Academy will ever give her a third Oscar. She already has two.

And yes, they were earned at the beginning of her career a LONNNNNG time ago. And I really doubt that her Margaret Thatcher turn(I haven’t seen it yet. But soon, I hope) will melt the Academy’s icy heart.

Why? Well, she’s got, well, too much. She’s rich. She’s happily married for over 20 years or more actually. She has four happy and healthy children, two of them, Mamie and Grace are also actresses, and her son Hank is a musician.

No discernible tragedy in her life. Just success, success, success and more money.

Oscar? Well, lately his eye has been on the young’uns in the Best Actress category. Last year’s match between Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” and Annette Bening in “The Kid’s Are All Right” I think is going to be indicative of what happens again this year. The young, cute, NAKED girl wins! And Michelle is pretty nude, pretty often in “Marilyn.” It’s a very sexy performance.

One that turns on every male who sees it and many of the women, too. Like Zacharek and also Claudia Puig in USA Today. And on and on…Not however Manola Dargis in the NYTimes…

If the Nominees turn out to be Meryl, Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”, Williams, Tilda Swinton(or Charlize Theron) both of whom have Oscars already, and Viola Davis….I see only Viola Davis as perhaps Williams’ competition. For “The Help”.

But with stellar, glittering reviews like Michelle is getting most of the time…I don’t think she can be beat.

Harvey Weinstein HIMSELF is even doing a Satellite Interview Tour – ON BEHALF OF “MARILYN”. This is unprecedented! And I’m guessing he’s going the whole nine yards on behalf of this beautiful, sexy, lovely, funny, moving movie movie because he thinks it has a shot at a Best Picture nomination, too. As well as the obvious nominations of Michelle and Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier.

And I think he’s right.

Oscar’s Worst Disease ~ Category Confusion! It can kill a career!

What, I ask myself at this time of year with Hallowe’en fast approaching, is the worst, scariest thing that could possibly happen to an Oscar seeker? The answer is plain, simple and deadly ~ Category Confusion! It’s what happened to the wonderful Leslie Manville in “Another Year” last year. Leslie who? Well, Sony Pictures Classics whom I ADORE really messed up on that one. How? They ran her in Leading Actress. When clearly there were many who thought she was Supporting. Like BAFTA. That’s where they put her. And she lost there. Poor Leslie. Poor, poor Leslie. Category confusion. It’s Oscar’s most deadly disease. And this year, it’s back and seems to be infecting several prominent nominees. ALREADY.

The National Board of Review gave Leslie Manville BEST ACTRESS, and that seemed to be the way to go for her…I guess…but then she turned up…NOWHERE. EVER. AGAIN. And it was a stunning performance. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I wrote about it on this blog over and over and you can go back and check. I loved her lost, sad, mad Mary. A suburban singleton of un age certain who was desperate to get married before it was too late. So desperate for any kind of human contact whatsoever she permanently attached herself to her friendly married couple. And they put up with it. To a point.

Mike Leigh at his surprising best. Torturing a full length film out of such an unlikely topic. Single adults and their happily married friends…”Another Year” Catch it on DVD if you can.

Well, poor brilliant Leslie’s career state-side was not launched. Lost is more the word.

And this could happen again this year with a couple of very notable actresses. For some reason, it doesn’t infect male actors as easily as it does female. They are more fragile at Oscar time, and Awards season which is upon us, whether you know it or not, it’s particularly contagious.

And this year both Viola Davis of “The Help” may catch it. Is she lead? Or is she supporting? And so may Jeffrey Well’s crusade du jour unknown, middle-aged British actress Olivia Coleman in “Tyrannosaur” may also succumb, long shot though she is. I haven’t seen “Tyrannosaur”  yet. Not many people have, but most have liked it, like Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of www.awardsdaily.com And you can read about Jeffrey’s latest crusade(s) at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

And the Chicago Film Festival critics who gave Olivia Coleman Best Actress.

But some who have seen it have felt she was Supporting in “Tyrannosaur” and therefore should be campaigned in that category. Uh-oh! Here we go again! Leslie Manville-time! And she also has a supporting role in Meryl Streep’s “The Iron Lady” as Margaret Thatcher’s daughter. Confused?

You see the Academy who gives out the Oscars can place actors, on a written ballot, in any category they see fit.

They are supposedly GUIDED by the “For Your Consideration” Campaigns that the various studios and distributors put out, at great expense.  But other organizations like the Golden Globes or the BFCA (Broadcast Film Critics) ARE guided by the studios in category placement. The leading critics groups, not so much. They follow their own whims and wisdoms.

I just hope Disney or Dreamworks or whoever is watching over “The Help” sticks to its’ Viola Davis as Lead campaign. And Davis as brilliant as she is, may not be the leading character. The lead is clearly the Emma Stone character. BUT if they put Viola in lead she may lose there to a younger actress, specifically Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn.”

And all my fellow Oscarologists are keeping Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in the still unseen “Iron Lady” as their Numero Uno Belle of the Ball.

If Viola Davis is put into Supporting, she would surely win that  still kind of wide open category. But in that category ALREADY ARE possibly TWO other cast-mates from “The Help” Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. No one has ever won an Oscar when THREE people from the same movie are all in the same category. Vis a vis “On the Waterfront”, neither Rod Steiger, Karl Malden or that other guy won. They all cancelled each other out. As did the three Supporting Dames in “Tom Jones”, leaving another Brit darling, Dame Margaret Rutherford to triumph that year for “The V.I.P.s”

So it’s in Viola’s best interest to be put – where? In Best Actress where she may not win? Or Best Supporting Actress, possibly knocking out one of her presumed nominee cast-mates?

Is a puzzlement. To quote Yul Brynner in “The King and I’

OR a disease. Look what happened to Leslie Manville! Category Confusion! AND IT KILLED HER!

And also the same can be said, BTW, about Julianne Moore last year. She was campaigned in lead for “The Kids Are All Right,” and if Focus Features had put her more firmly in Supporting,(they didn’t) she too, like Leslie Manville was  shut out completely. At the Oscars. At the Globes. At the Broadcast Film Critics. Everywhere.

How can this happen, you say? Well, it’s vote-splitting, is what it is. These two actresses specifically Manville and Moore, and just last year, both split their own vote and ended up sitting at home on Oscar night. And watching Melissa Leo say “f**king” and generally lower the level of the Awards forever. A case can be made that either Manville or certainly Moore would have won over the little-known Leo. But Melissa Leo did win. And she did it HER way. But it was always clear WHAT category she was in. She was always Supporting and Natalie Portman was always lead and they both won.

Viola Davis’ performance in “The Help” is a towering achievement. But neither she nor any one I feel is going to topple the beauteous young Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe.  Nobody is confused as to what category Williams as Marilyn is supposed to be in. She’s like Natalie Portman in “The Black Swan” last year. Unstoppable. So it does make some sense to put Viola Davis in Supporting.

And then there’s Fox Seachlight’s cock-eyed attempt to campaign Brad Pitt as Supporting for “Tree of Life,” when he’s CLEARLY the lead in that mixed-up muddle of a movie. But what that may do is take votes away from his lead campaign in his career-best performance as Baseball manager Billy Beane in “Moneyball.”

Academy Members of their Acting Branch get confused soooo easily. But they got it absolutely RIGHT a couple of years back when they put Kate Winslet stunning performance as Hannah Schmidt, an illiterate Concentration Camp guard, into lead, when she was being campaigned as Supporting for “The Reader.”

They did absolutely the right thing then. And Winslet won! And made the cover of Time Magazine, BTW.

What will they do this year? Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

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