a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘The Theory of Everything’

Final Oscar Predictions ~ A Week Away from The Big Day

Well, dear readers, dear cineastes,  it’s almost over. Last week I was really beginning to feel Oscar burn-out as opposed to Oscar fever. And really since TIFF, which was now nearly six months ago, we Oscarologists, or Oscar Ninnys as the late lamented David Carr called us, have been writing over and over again about the same small group of films.”Oscar Island,” Sasha Stone calls it. And it gets smaller and smaller and also more crowded every year, and it’s not because of Global Warming.

With the FINAL three guild societies weighing in over the week, Sound, Hair and Make-Up and the Writers Guild, I think, we have to pause and note that “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won in all three races. That really says something. I think that “Grand Budapest” is going to be, astonishingly, the film that wins the most Oscars next Sunday night. It’s not a blockbuster sci-fi film with a lot of explosions and special effects, but it’s going to sweep I think all the below-the-line categories.

The outstanding group of artists and artisans that idiosyncratic filmmaker Wes Anderson assembled to create this uber-charming town (really Goerlitz Germany) will all be following each other, one right after the other, to the Dolby podium, to accept their golden statuettes.Oscar & tiles Now as to my main predictions, I think it’s pretty clear that Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette are all locked down, signed sealed and delivered for the categories of Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress for respectively “Still Alice”, “Whiplash” and “Boyhood.”

I think Golden Boy Eddie Redmayne is going to get a l’il golden guy of his own for his extraordinary, heart-wrenching portrayal of Stephen Hawkings in “The Theory of Everything.”Theory 6The main, brain-teasing question is what is going to win Best Picture and Best Director, and this year has been so close and so crazy that I’m predicting a split between the two supposed front-runners “Boyhood” and “Birdman.” And that one will win Best Director and the other Best Picture.

True I didn’t really LOVE either film, but I think it’s going to be “Boyhood” for Best Picture, simply because as Sasha Stone says “The heart wants what it wants” and the Best Director award will go to Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu for “Birdman.”

One of the three Mexican directors known as the Three Amigos, Innaritu saw his fellow countryman Alphonse Cuaron win Best Director last year for “Gravity.”

I think it’s going to break down this way because the Academy has been so stung this year by accusations of racism for not nominating Ava DuVernay or David Oyelowo as Best Director and Best Actor for “Selma.” So by giving the Best Director award to ANOTHER minority director, Innaritu, who is Hispanic, that particular accusation can be quelled. Somewhat.

But Oscar always brings a surprise or two along. Although this year has been so over-analyzed and yes, even over-covered, that will probably be nothing new to us Oscar Ninnys that follow all this. Except that. Except that. “Grand Budapest Hotel” which has been quietly picking up award after award in the third place position (it also just won Best Screenplay at the BAFTAs, and Best Original Screenplay last night at the WGA) could surprise and cancel out the two battling competitors. It’s true. It could happen.

Tilda GrandOscar I love it when you surprise!

Marion Cotillard Gets Surprise Best Actress Nomination! Eddie Redmayne Nominated for Best Actor!

Two Days 2Eddie & GlobeOscar Nomination Day! And the biggest most delightful surprise, for me, was my darling Marion Cotillard getting nominated for Best Actress for “Two Days, One Night” the powerful Dardennes Brothers movie from Belgian. Acting superbly in French, Marion once again breaks your heart and getting a nomination that effectively knocked out Jennifer Aniston for “Cake” is no mean feat. Bravo Marion! Felicitations! Marion of course also won an Oscar in this category already for “La Vie En Rose” in 2007.

Also, I’m so happy that Eddie Redmayne did also score a Best Actor bid in a super crowded field. One of the most jammed categories ever, competition-wise! Congratulations too to him and to all from “The Theory of Everything” that also got nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress Felicity Jones, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Score for Iceland’s Johan Johansson. He also won a Golden Globe on Sunday as did Eddie.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” tied for the most nomination with “Birdman” and this year the Academy only decided to nominate eight films not nine or ten as in year’s past.

“Nightcrawler” was left out completely except for a screenplay nomination. And the controversial “Selma” only got two nominations, Best Picture and Best Song, which it won at the Golden Globes.

For a complete list see http://www.awardsdaily.com

I got all eight Best Picture nominees right. Only I thought it would be nine, adding in “Nightcrawler.” Neither Renee Russo nor Jake Gyllenhaal made it in.

And I saw Jake G. last night being great on Broadway in “Constellations”. More on that soon!Oscar & tiles

Post Golden Globes ~ Big Winners, Big Losers, What Next?

Golden Eddie 2Tilda GrandPost Golden Globes, what’s the story? Some films won big. There were two major surprises in the top categories, and some films really went down in flames. What does it mean in terms of the Oscars? Well, actors are able to debut or audition, if you will, their winning personalities and speeches. The biggest surprise of the night, but not for me, or anyone reading this blog, is that Eddie Redmayne triumphed in Best Actor Drama for his stupendous performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” He’s playing a real person. Check. He’s playing disabled. Check. He’s British. Check. Yep, he could win Best Actor at the Oscars. His next test is  at SAG, which is coming up soon.

But next, tomorrow, in fact, is the DGA announcements of their five nominees for Best Director and if James Marsh, the director of “The Theory of Everything”, who has already won an Oscar in the past for his directing of the doc “Man on the Wire”, if James Marsh turns up as a surprise nominee among the five honorees, it will cement the momentum of “Theory”.

Also, the other surprise win of the night(But again, not to me or to you, dear readers, dear cineastes) was the grand “Grand Budapest Hotel” winning Best Comedy/Musical over “Birdman.” If “Budapest”s director, Wes Anderson’s name comes up there, as I expect it certainly will, it, too, will confirm the momentum that “Budapest” seems to be enjoying. This is after 11 BAFTA nominations last week.

The biggest losers of the night were “Imitation Game” which went home empty-handed. I wonder now if Benedict Cumberbatch even gets nominated. Eddie may have just knocked him out of contention. Just saying…

Also batting zero was “Foxcatcher” which is now in its’ death throws in terms of the Awards race. The much maligned “Selma” only managed Best Song, which is pretty embarrassing, for such a great, important film. And also “Gone Girl” got nothing. Ditto “Into the Woods.”

And what’s next after the DGA? On Thursday morning, bright and early, the Oscar Nominations themselves will be announced.

Can’t wait!

 

David Poland thinks its btwn. “Boyhood”, “Theory of Everything” and “Imitation Game”

Boyhood 2Theory2David Poland, the great Oscar prognosticator, of “Movie City News”, who was one of the ones who practically founded today’s Oscar race online, has just posted his “Settling” analysis of this year’s race. Something I always look forward to. Previously, he has called it “The Great Settling” and this year however he calls it “The Soft Settling.”

David, full disclosure, was once my boss. Yes, I was once a Guru o’ Gold, and then a Guru 2.0. Well, anyway, I digress…

David has his ear closer to the ground and hears more from more people who are actually Academy voters, and to sum up, he calls it “The Soft Settling”, because he thinks the race is still wide open. I wonder about that.

He interestingly has of course, this year’s de rigueur choice, “Boyhood” in #1, but thinks it’s between that film and the two “Brit pics” “Theory of Everything” And “The Imitation Game.” Which he feels are going to cancel each other out.

But he doesn’t think “Birdman” has an outside chance, though he thinks it will get nominated. He is hearing that the Academy types are resisting it as “too weird” and “too out there”. I think he’s right. But we soon shall see and tomorrow TA DA! The Producers Guild announce their top ten, or IOW their ten nominees which is really, really important. But he does think that the four movies I’ve mentioned above plus “Selma” will all be in. The other five are what’s up in the air still. Can’t wait til tomorrow when we find out!

Check out David’s great piece at the link below ~

http://moviecitynews.com/2015/01/20-weeks-to-oscar-the-soft-settling/

A.C.E. announce! The Importance of Editing to Oscar

Nightcrawler 2The A.C.E. or the Eddies, the Editing organization that the public may not know about, but the industry sure does, just announced their nominees and this year in their two film categories there were 11(!) nominations.  Six in Drama and Five in Musical/Comedy, like the Golden Globes. There was a tie in the Drama category, but they’re not saying who or which film. Including “Nightcrawler”, they were “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood”, “Imitation Game” and “Whiplash.” And the also surprising last minute, late comer to the race,  Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”

The importance of editing as the central or key aspect in film-making today and in the awards season race, can not be underestimated. And also, no Best Picture has won without at least an Eddie nomination, Which is bad news for “Selma”.

If I had it to do over again, I’d study film-editing myself. Sometimes you feel like you’ve missed your calling and I think about trying to start to learn how to edit everyday. But I digress…

The guilds are the first REAL sample of how the industry is feeling this year about the Oscars. All the other awards so far are mainly voted on by CRITICS! And there are NO critics or press in the Academy.

There ARE press agents, but they only are allowed to nominate five pictures for Best Film, as one small for instance. When the nominations are announced they THEN get to vote in all the categories, but this is Phase I, the nomination phase. In fact, Academy members are nominating right now as we speak.

And next to the VAST Actor’s Branch, the second branch that really has a say, I think, is the Editor’s Branch. Not all the members of A.C.E. are IN the editors branch, by the way, but it’s a pretty good indicator.

And what’s surprising about today’s announcements, is what was left in that wasn’t expected, like for instance “Nightcrawler” (on my year’s 10 Best List for sure) and also the late opening Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper.

Nobody expected either of them to make it and that means they may make it into the Best Picture race at the Oscars. Left out was “Selma”. Which is kind of shocking, with all the supposed momentum that is building for it. But maybe it’s not. Also left out, I’m sorry to say was my fave “The Theory of Everything.” Watch for the Oscar nominations to correct that in two weeks.

But Jake Gyllenhaal has started really picking up nomination speed with nods from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Broadcast Film Critics. And now this.”Nightcrawler” has LEGS! As many legs as a centipede, it seems.

http://www.hitfix.com has the rest with spirited analysis by their great Kris Tapley and Gregory Ellwood. The complete list is there.

And on Monday, the Producer’s Guild is set to announced its’ list of ten nominees for Best Picture. The PGA as it’s called was the first group to vote for “The King’s Speech,” when they voted for their winner that year when everyone else up to that point was going “The Social Network,” a film that I STILL intensely dislike. I still think of it as “The Joy of Typing.”

The PGA even more than the A.C.E. Eddies are ALLLL mostly Academy Members. They have ten slots and use a preferential ballot, like the Oscars do.

So films that are on the edge of the Oscar bubble, like for instance “Gone Girl,” “Nightcrawler”, “American Sniper,” “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods”, “A Most Violent Year” or “Whiplash” will find their hopes either raised or dashed on Monday.

I think frontrunners like “Boyhood”, “Birdman”, “Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” will all be on the Producer’s List. And “Selma”, too, even though it was left off the A.C.E. Eddie’s today.

Never underestimate the importance of film editors. They silently run the show, and year after year do great unsung work that is respected and admired by the industry. These are the first voters we’ve heard from who REALLY count.

So who do these Eddie Nods help? For sure, Jake Gyllenhaal’s bid to get in to the extremely tight Best Actor Oscar race. It could help give “Nightcrawler” Best Picture cred, too. And don’t forget the wonderful 60-year-old-but-still-glamourous Rene Russo, who could get swept into the Supporting Actress race. Why not? She certainly deserves it.

And what of Bradley Cooper and “American Sniper”? Well, we shall see what we shall see.

 

 

 

Jeff Wells Admits Eddie Redmayne Could Beat Michael Keaton

Theory2Theory 1

Well, it had to happen. Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere, arguably the biggest supporter of “Birdman” now admits that yes, as I said all along since I saw it in Toronto, that Eddie Redmayne could very well topple Michael Keaton’s front-runner status for the Best Actor Oscar!

I couldn’t believe I was reading this because Jeffrey has been such a staunch admirer of Keaton, but all along I’ve been on Team Eddie!

What he has to do in “The Theory of Everything” as the severely crippled British genius Stephen Hawking in terms of the great Oscar determinator “Degree of Difficult” is off the charts amazing.

Disabilities, when they are as well and as feelingly portrayed as they are in “Theory of Everything,” are catnip to Academy voters and especially the dominant Actor’s Branch. But this will appeal across all branches.This film has Triumph of the Human Spirit written all over it.

It’s exhilarating. Inspirational to the max. When I think there’s something I can’t do these days, I just think of what that OTHER Stephen has had to go through all this life, and well, it just encourages me to struggle on.

And Jeff Wells writes about this feelingly in his latest posting, quoting David Denby’s elegiac, rapturous review of Redmayne’s performance in this week New Yorker.

Check out what Jeff had to say here at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

I never thought he’d admit it in print, but realist that Jeff is, he did.

I think the recently reconstituted Focus Features is doing this just right for Redmayne and “Theory,” just as I hoped they would.

There was a lovely piece on Redmayne and Felicity Jones, who plays his devoted wife, Jane,and who may also be in line for an Oscar Nomination of her own, in the New York Times, at just the right moment that it should be this past week.

This film is also an amazing love story on top of everything else. Based on Jane’s memoir, it is the story of both their battles, and her dedication to her husband in spite of EVERYTHING. Or because of EVERYTHING is just awe-inspiring. As is this film.

It’s hands down the Best Film of the Year, and I am so glad I saw it at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

If you put Stephen Hawking on the one hand and try to balance it on the other hand with a portrait of a self-absorbed asshole of an actor (Birdman) well, guess which way the awards’ scales tip?

Oscar Whisperings

Oscars 2Sometimes I hear things, Oscar-wise I mean. And I try to talk to as many members of the Academy that will speak to me about this.

So here’s the skinny. Whether I wanted to hear it or not. “Boyhood,” a film I frankly didn’t like, is WAAAAAAAAAAY out in front. So this is as an objective opinion as you’re gonna hear on this blog. I hoped this wouldn’t be true, wouldn’t be the case. But it seems it is. Despite IFC(the distributor)’s notorious lack of experience in landing an Oscar winner, “Boyhood”, like the film itself is out- lasting everything else so far.

And another funny thing. Patricia Arquette’s performance as the mother of the boy in question is the one female acting performance that is being discussed. She STILL could end up in the Best Actress category, not Supporting, if the Academy voters write her name down in that, the leading spot.

But it’s early days still.”Still Alice” and others have yet to hit the Academy’s radar, which always gets things LAST.The Academy has its’ own screenings for these films, remember.

“The Theory of Everything”, “Imitation Game”, and many many others have not really landed, as they say, yet.Same can be said of “Foxcatcher” and certainly, the other later entries still to come.Including the Big Musical “Into the Woods.”

And reviews count for a lot. And box-office for even more. If a film that is open and out in the world already isn’t really doing all that well, like for instance, “Whiplash”, it hurts its’ Oscar chances. Which in the Supporting Actor category, is its’ J.K.Simmons. All the acclaim means a nomination but not necessarily a win. More likely so far, as I’ve already noted is Edward Norton’s flamboyant turn in “Birdman,” but what happens if it, too, disappoints or flops, as it goes wide?

But I’m betting it doesn’t go wide til after the nominations are announced, which is January…

However, they WANT to give Michael Keaton an Oscar, no matter how many reservations this quirky film has with voters.It’s very negatory of big blockbuster films and LURVS the theater and New York, New York. Hwood isn’t a theater town.IT’s where they MAKE block-buster, comic-book hero films. Those people could be insulted or maybe not. They may think “Birdman” is dead on.

However, it’s insular quirkiness could lead to box-office falling off(A friend reported seeing it in a theater that only contained 12 audience members)could let Eddie Redmayne take the prize. He’s constantly being compared to Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot” and look what happened with that small British film!

“Instellar” has gotten trashed by the very critics whose support it needed stateside, but in the U.K. they loved it. But the U.K. isn’t where most Academy voters live. It’s here. And particularly in Los Angeles.

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