a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Thelma Adams’

“Lincoln” is Boring Tweet Clarification

So, is it a Tempest-in-a-Teapot that was? Or was it the real deal? Super Critic Thelma Adams picked up my Tweet Delete story and confronted Lou Lumenick of the NYPost about it. on Facebook. Thelma, full disclosure, used to be one of the New York Posts film critics herself.

This is all regarding an article in the NY Post about a New Jersey viewer stumbling into a sneak peek preview of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-seeking “Lincoln” which doesn’t open for another 7 weeks or so.

The viewer was incensed that it was so BOR-ING.

And Lou told Thelma, on Facebook, that yes, the story was up, and yes, the story went down, along with the rest of the New York Post yesterday, eividently and now, this morning his story, tweet and all are back up and readable at www.nypost.com  And no, DreamworksDisney did not make him do it. He has heard nothing from them he claimed.

Technical glitches do happen of course, even to major newspapers.

Jeffrey Wells was suspicious, nonetheless, and you can read his version of things at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

I believe the film goer. A congressional procedural movie on the passing of a bill, however important, can be VERY dull to watch as politicians drone on and on…I get it. That IS dull. And if that is what the film is mainly about…well, it sounds like a history LECTURE, rather than a film. A MOVIE. It should MOVE.

According to this disgruntled film-goer it’s just dull, dull, dull.

Well, the trailer is dull, too.

The positive note that this viewer struck was the appreciation of Daniel Day-Lewis’s Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones and Hal Holbrook’s performances, too. Sally Field, as I reported, was roundly dissed as “mis-cast.”

And there you have it. That’s the story, folks. Read Jeff Wells. Read Thelma Adams. Read Lou Lumenick of the NYPost and you can make up your own minds about this.

Oscar Races Explode at TIFF! Dame Maggie, Keira, Marion,Laura Linney square off!

As TIFF winds down, I’m back already in NYC, and finally at a stationary  location, where I can tell you all about it! Came back on Amtrak yesterday and ran into Super Critic Thelma Adams (of all people!) on the train, too,  who had a LOT to say about the goings on in the Best Actress race at TIFF. I’ll let the great Thelma speak for herself. Check her out on www.yahoo.com these days. Or at her own website.

My take? Well, Dame Maggie Smith came out of TIFF on Sunday night smelling like an Oscar rose with the triumphant reception of the Weinstein Co.’s “Quartet.” Dame Maggie, who is an unbelievably vital 80(!) wowed the crowd, I understand. I saw director Dustin Hoffman(of all people) equally receive bravos and the most heartfelt, loudest and longest ovation, I’ve ever heard or seen at TIFF ~ BEFORE A MOVIE! Yes, he introduced it and Dame Maggie and co-star Pauline Collins, had already returned to the UK, I guess, but Billy Connolly and Tom Courtenay were there to receive the huzzahs at the screening I caught on Monday, the day before I left.

However, it’s Dame Maggie’s film all the way. And as for Oscar? By George, I think she’s got it. Playing a VERY temperamental and disliked retired Opera Diva being sent into a retirement home that looks like Downton Abbey, Dame Maggie pulls out all the stops and shows why she is STILL one of our greatest leading actresses.

With two previous Oscar wins, could she possibly snag a third a la Meryl Streep last year? And like last year, she has the greatest secret weapon of Best Actress upset winners, HARVEY WEINSTEIN(!?!) behind her! How can she lose?

Well, Fox Searchlight as I’ve said earlier is positioning Dame Judi Dench(they’re VERY close friends IRL) opposite her in Best Actress from “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and if they both make it into the nominations’ circle, the Dames could cancel each other out. Dame Judi has an Oscar already, too. For “Shakespeare in Love” In Supporting. For eight minutes onscreen. But stil…

AND Dame Maggie has ANOTHER campaign on her behalf going for her. “Best Exotic Marigold”s Fox Searchlight is going for a Supporting Actress nomination for that film where she is playing a crotchety Cockney retiree. So she may get TWO Oscar nominations this year! PLUS the beloved “Downton Abbey” mojo, and Dame Maggie has Oscar buzz galore.

However, if the two Dames DO cancel each other out, who else is there? Well, suddenly after TIFF, there’s a LOT. Most especially Keira Knightley’s magnificent, unforgettable “Anna Karenina” which may also garner nominations in every single category available, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay(Tom Stoppard), Best Supporting Actor(Jude Law) Best Costumes(a cinch), Best Sets(natch) Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score. Best Everything, basically.

And “Quartet” won’t have that across the categories support…It’s corny as hell. But Dame Maggie and also Pauline Collins are super superb.

And there’s Marion Cotillard’s bone-crushing, heart-breaking “Rust and Bone” and back to the spring 9-year-old Qu’venzhane Wallis seems a shoo-in. Yes, even Thelma thought so. I guess I can reveal that.

Also well received is Jennifer Lawrence(yes, HER again) in “Silver Linings Playbook” which is something I haven’t seen. The only one actually, of all the best actress contenders…But since Marion Cotillard is without make-up, without hair-styling, and without legs in “Rust and Bone” I think SHE’S got the heart-breaking edge, over any comic performance.

And lastly, I have to mention the beloved Laura Linney’s understated, muted turn in “Hyde Park on the Hudson” underplaying a “little grey wren” to perfection against Bill Murray’s larger than life FDR. But does the Academy ever go for subtle and quite as Scott Feinberg posited in his Oscar review from Telluride at http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com ? They all LOVE Laura, so it’s possible.

And Dame Maggie has TWO Oscars ~ so far. But if I know Harvey Weinstein, she could can a third! But it’s a level playing field between these great ladies, and Qu’venzhane Wallis, too. They should ALL win!

OSCAR gets nearer.Roger Ebert & Sasha Stone predict a “King’s Speech” Sweepie!

The anticipation and excitement are building to a fever pitch. Oscar is coming! Oscar is coming!One if land! Twelve if by sea! Sez who? Sez me!

I have done a TV show on this topic, Oscar predictions for over 20 years, but this year I have this wonderful blog, and so I am choosing to do it in this forum, rather than on TV.

Also, with a TV show you’re locked into the time, your choices are frozen, as it were, to when you actually taped the show. Your predictions are frozen,too, and that’s that. And you always tape ahead, usually WAY ahead of the air date. You always have to allow time, sometimes a LOT of time for the editing process.

But this year the race has been SOOOO fluid. Not locked down at all. So this blog can reflect the daily Oscar race changes. AND DOES!

Ah! But you say, it’s the most locked-down of all!

 Weelllll, two and half weeks ago it was “The Joy of Typing” all the way and now…Well, of course, it’s going to be a “King’s Speech” sweep! Even Roger Ebert agrees with me! And so do Oscar God and Goddess David Karger and Sasha Stone. Dave’s at www.ew.com and Sasha, of course, reigns at www.awardsdaily.com.

Dave,  who I actually met for the first time in Toronto in the sweltering TIFF hallway, waiting to get in to see Geoffrey Rush, Tom Hooper and finally Colin Firth, the King himself, has,  Dave, like myself, been predicting “The King’s Speech” all the ways since September. Anne Thompson, too.

And so, if you haven’t been reading closely, I am OF COURSE, sticking with that Best Picture pic, and Colin, and also predicting a sweep.

Tom Hooper, Roger Ebert now agrees with me, is going to be anointed Best Director. And Sasha Stone although she has always deeply loved “The Joy of Typing” now admits to a King Speech sweep. She’s even coined a new word to define it “Sweepie”. Oh, that Sahsa!

So how much of a sweepie?

Sasha and I and now Roger Ebert, too, think that Geoffrey Rush is going to trounce Christian Bale, and NOW WOULDN’T THAT BE A SURPRISE to most! David Karger still has Christian winning. And oh, let’s throw those colorful charts at Movieline in, too. www.movieline.com.

They have Christian as Numero Uno. And Colin and King’s Speech. But I’m going to go with Geoffrey.

I don’t think “The Fighter” is going to get anything. For reasons I’ve explained in the past few posts. And I’m sure Scott Feinberg www.scottfeinberg.com does not want me to re-iterate them again here.

But Roger going for Rush over Bale? That’s huge! And Roger wasn’t a big TKS fan. He was always with TJOT until it went through some kind of Oscar menopause and The King emerged triumphant.

Dave, Roger and I are all still behind Natalie Portman in Best Actress. Could there be a surprise there? Annette Bening, I mean. Anne Thompson and Sasha think this could happen. I say, look to the BAFTAs on Sundey. If Annette upsets there….WATCH OUT! If it’s not Natalie as usual…

Both Roger and Annette have appeared on my  TV show BTW. As Thelma Adams would say “Full Disclosure.” More about Thelma in a minute…

But what then to make of the tempestuous Best Supporting Actress category? I’m still in the Helena Bonham-Carter camp. The BAFTAS are this Sunday and pay close attention to what happens in THAT category…As well as Best Actress…and Geoffrey Rush is probalby going to win there, too…

BUT, Roger Ebert, David Karger and Movieline all have Hailee Steinfeld as winning!

Should I switch to Hailee (whose performance doesn’t really deserve it) and hale her as a large majority of people, all of them STRAIGHT MEN in the Academy are doing? I don’t know where Sasha is on this.

But if the Sweepie continues…and she wins BAFTA this weekend…I’d say Helena will have a better shot than it seems she may right now. Helena has been wowing the press in L.A. She’s got a great sense of humor. When asked what she’s going to be wearing to the Oscars, she said, “I don’t know, but whatever it will be, will be a diaster!”Lolol…

Harvey Weinstein has handled the King’s Speech campaign majestically. He even had ANOTHER Peggy Siegel party honoring Geoffrey Rush earlier this week. IN NEW YORK! This following Rush’s being honored at the Santa Barbara Film Festival last week. And Jeffrey Wells, who’s been hating on “The King’s Speech” since FOREVER at his www.hollywood-elsewhere.com blog was UPSET that he didn’t get invited! After all those awful things that Jeff has been writing allllll year-long about “The King’s Speech” is he really SURPRISED that he wasn’t invited to this?!? REALLY, Jeff?!?

Meanwhile, the other Geoffrey, Rush, that is,  also opening tonight at BAM in “Diary of a Madman” and will undoubtedly be reigned, er, rained upon with kudos. I may even trek out to Brooklyn myself to see this. Stay tuned. Next week starts the “Rendezvous with French Cinema”  a sort of mini-French Film Festival in NYC(think Cannes withOUT the Rivieria) and I may be tackling that Festival for the first time this year. It’s at Lincoln Center.

And Thelma Adams? She turns out to be in Melissa Leo’s controversial video of her  equally controversial self-bought ad campaign’s photo shoot. And Thelma also turns out to be Melissa’s BFF! Who knew? But she’s written a marvelous, pointed Q&A with her best friend, and Thelma does ask her the hard questions, like –

Thelma(as MC, which is Mari-Claire, the magazine where this story will run): You were the front-runner. Why did you feel it was necessary to do this?

Melissa Leo: I didn’t know I was the front-runner. Nobody said that I was…

Well, d’oh. Melissa you WERE. Everybody that I read everywhere said you were. I guess you just didn’t get the Memo *sigh*

And she goes on www.mariclaire.com to again complain about ageism in Hollywood. And yes, I agree it’s there. In spades. And it shouldn’t be.

But to turn your Oscar campaign head-over-heels and end with, everybody thinks, a 13-year-old winning what should have been YOUR Oscar? Well, the irony is getting a little heavy in here.

An Unexpected Midnight Missive about Melissa-Gate!

I’ve always considered Scott Feinberg a nice, well-meaning young guy. He’s linked to this blog, before anybody else did, which I was very grateful for, so thank you, Scott. It’s started the ball rolling. This is a blog with no advertising, no publicty. It’s just a WordPress blog. Now you’ve helped it grow by leaps and bounds. Again, thank you.

But this REAALLLY upset email you sent me about Melissa-Gate, and all the apparent controversy that has been stirred up about her taking out her own ill-advised Oscar ads…well…I’ve been trying to think what was the nicest way of responding.

She’s a great actress. I’ve said this over and over again. And I would love to work with her some day. But she did something REALLLLY self-destructive and VERY unfortunate, and knowing her slightly and admiring her work tremendously, I just couldn’t believe she did something quite so, well…it’s almost beyond words how much damage she has caused her own frontrunner status. And maybe her entire career as well.

And Scott points out that he did not “admit that she has blown it” as I said in the previous post. He said EXACTLY “she COULD have…” check out the rest of his defense of Melissa in www.scottfeinberg.com

So OK. He didn’t say “she’s blown it”…Scott uses the more carefully worded “could have…”

Well, that statement, coming from Scott in the midst of his defense of her really shocked me. Scott does NOT make Oscar predictions statements like that lightly. So, I WAS BLOWN away, by his admitting this as even a remote possibility.

Melissa should’ve just sat tight and won the Oscar she was on her way to, and THEN spoken out publicly on all the topics she feels she must, and this is so, so, well ill-timed.

This is a BIG Oscar story. It’s overwhelmed “The King’s Speech” v. “The Social Network.” It’s NEWS. It’s hot news. On the Internet anyway. Everybody is talking about it everywhere. It just hasn’t seeped into TV yet…but it very well may. And I hope for Melissa’s sake it doesn’t.

Scott, this is PUBLICITY, which is what you and I deal with on a day-to-day basis. It’s what we do. I’m primarily a celebrity interviewer, as you are, and a Oscarologist since before you were born, but you’re doing much  than more than that now with your blog. I’m also a film and theater critic. So all this “reporting” is new to me. I think of it more as commenting, observation, and Melissa-gate is the biggest Oscar story going right now. It’s overwhelming the rest of this locked down race.

As now that I’ve just STARTED this blog, only in Sept., so I guess now I am a Oscar blogger. But I do not consider myself a journalist. This is a personal blog, about what I see, what I feel. And right now, I truly am upset that Melissa Leo seems to have hurt her Oscar frontrunner status. www.movieline.com does NOT have in the Number One spot on their Oscar graphs anymore because of this and they say so. Who’s in it Hailee Steinfeld!

Melissa Leo, a marvelously talented, well-regarded member of “jobbing actors” which is a good phrase, has now that she’s been nominated for an Oscar TWICE in the past two-three years, is put in the position of being a star. A movie star.

Those ads should’ve been MUCH more glamourous. She was so beautiful when she was young! She was strikingly beautiful, a fiery red-head. She was so photogenic she was a SOAP star, for goodness sakes.

She was on “All My Children” FOR YEARS, which is when I first became aware of her. And she played a “bad girl” as was ALWAYS terrific in that part. And I wondered what had happened to her, and why her talent had not been recognized in the wider world beyond soaps.

Now in her middle years she’s finally getting what it seems she always wanted. “Frozen River” was a GREAT performance, better than “The Fighter” IMHO because she was chewing the scenery a tad too much, for my tastes…but that was the part…

NOBODY understands ageism in Hollywood as well as I do, and have written about older actresses’ situation over and over again. And as a playwright/director and a member of the playwright/director’s unit at the Actor’s Studio, which is where I encountered Melissa again, when I auditioned with an aspirant to be one of the their members. I wasn’t trying to become an ACTING member of the studio. My scene partner was. We did a scene from “A Taste of Honey”. I played the gay character, of course.It was an incredible experience acting on that stage(yes, I’m an actor, too) and auditioning for Melissa. Who is held in the highest of high regard there, as you would expect.

She’s treated with tremendous respect there. Deference. As well she should be. And she seemed VERY at home there in that Method Acting atmosphere. And coming from a New York stage background Hollywood is just not a situation, and the Oscars, especially, is not a situation that she seems comfortable with AT ALL.

I am just honestly bewildered and perplexed that she did something so unfortunate as what she just did and that she was not told or stopped by her management at ICM.  Her manager, Jason Weinberg, her friend film critic Thelma Adams. I was ESPECIALLY surprised to see Thelma turn up in her photo shoot video!

Thelma, of ALL people, who writes for all manner of Show Biz publications, should’ve known the consequences of something like this.

AND I’m asked about Melissa EVERYwhere I go! And people know that I know her, and I am writing about her, to the extent that I have because it’s THE STORY of this year’s Oscars, and I am bewildered and SHOCKED, not by the reaction this has engendered, but WHY an artist of her caliber could’ve damaged something so badly, that did not did not NEED be damaged. At the very least, Melissa did not need publicity LIKE THIS.

I’m posing questions to her in my writing and to her friends and her management, looking for answers. Scott, if YOU are such a good friend of hers, why didn’t YOU stop her? You’re an Oscarologist. You cover the Oscars obsessively, as I do.

I guess the answer is you didn’t know about this. Why didn’t THELMA stop her? Or Jason? OR ICM? I guess because they COULDN’T.

But in the end the Oscars aren’t about merit, if they ever were, they are about HOOPLA. Which is what Melissa is getting now, and tons of it. On the Internet. But it’s not what she bargained for. I’m sure she didn’t expect THIS to happen and that it would be a backlash to the extent that it has. And the story just keeps getting BIGGER.

I just sincerely wish she hadn’t done this. She’s just HANDED Hailee Steinfeld, who doesn’t deserve it, or Helena Bonham-Carter, who does, an Oscar.

Somewhere Hailee Steinfeld is giggling.

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