a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Thompson on Hollywood’

“Oscar Talk” Indiewire/Hitfix ESSENTIAL listening!

I don’t think I’ve ever been able to emphasize how really ESSENTIAL and marvelously entertaining the just-returned weekly podcast “Oscar Talk” is. Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood at www.indiewire.com and Kris Tapley once of In Contention but now of www.hitfix.com really do lay it down each week with gusto, comraderie and wildly divergent generational and gender-wise and yet respectful points of view. It’s the best two-critic mana a mano chemistry I’ve seen since it was Siskel v. Ebert every week. How I miss them both!

TV has just dumbed down its’ movie coverage soooo badly in the intervening decades, and for those of you who miss “At the Movies” as much as I do, “Oscar Talk” is the next best thing. But it’s only a podcast AT THE MOMENT. But for Oscar followers like I know you all are who read this on a daily basis(and check back to see if I’m posting or not posting) “Oscar Talk” can’t be highly enough recommended.

This week, Kris was in a car accident, and hasn’t made it to NYC yet, where he, now married, is going to be for a year. So he has not seen some films that Anne was raving about like “End of Watch” the stunning cop drama with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena that is the best work of both of their careers to date. Anne wonders if they could even be part of the awards conversation this year and I vehemently say “YES! PLEASE!”

Best Actor(for Jake) is a jammed-to-the-gills category. Michael Pena might have more luck with the less jammed Supporting Actor round-up.

And talk about jammed! Both Anne and Kris were musing about the newly arrived avoirdupois of Sir Anthony Hopkins’ “Hitchcock” being jammed into the race at the last-minute by Fox Searchlight. It MUST be about Hopkins’ leading performance, that has caused the wiley Oscar Foxes’ at Fox Searchlight to go for this Leading Actor kind of gold.

They did this with Jeff Bridges and “Crazy Heart” three years ago. Another last-minute entry and HE WON! So…perhaps they feel they can do it again. Also, Anne Thompson posited that Dame Helen Mirren as Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville would be a Best Actress contender and that Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh would be Supporting.

Anne also noted that the other actresses In Contention(the name of Kris’ prior Oscar blog) “are not happy about this.” Which could mean that not only is Sir Anthony’s Sir Alfred but also Dame Helen’s Lady Hitchcock and Johansson’s Janet (Shower scene)Leigh also good enough to be nomination-worthy.

And Anne added that “Hitchcock’s relation, his love story with his wife, is a story we haven’t been told.” And this version is reverential evidently, whereas the HBO flick “The Girl” about his predatory relationship with actress Tippi Hedren is the exact opposite.

In any case, this is quickly become a MUCH more interesting season to write about with all these new developments cropping up every other minute. But if you listen to “Oscar Talk” every Friday (it pops up around 12:45pm EST) you’ll feel VERY on top of things. As Anne and Kris are.

It’s like being there! I love it!

In other news, I’ve started attending the New York Film Festival and I’ll get to that in a minute. Two films I saw already are outstanding “Casting By” a doc by Tom Donahue who did “Guest of Cindy Sherman” and “Beyond the Hills” the Roumanian nun/exorcism/lesbian movie that won its’ two unknown student leading actresses a double Best Actress Award at Cannes, beating out Marion Cotillard for “Of Rust and Bone.” I recommend both highly.

Looking forward to “Amour” coming up, and skeptical about “Life of Pi” and “Flight” the Opening and Closing Films at the NYFF. We shall see.

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Police Presence at AMC 34th St. Lines down the block

On my way home last night, I bumped into a policewoman who was on a dinner break, it seemed, and I asked her what is on everyone’s mind i.e. TDKR and she said “There’s a lot of policeman at 34th St.(The AMC W.34th St. in Manhattan) A LOT.”

I thought it would be more likely the AMC at Times Square and she said “No.34th St.” And sure enough as I passed by there on the way home there were many police cars lined up in front of the theater. And also a considerable line of movie goers stretching half way down the block…

And sure enough, at the AMC on Times Sq. I did not see any police cars.

But clearly people are still going to the movies.

Warner Bros. is not releasing the $ totals til tomorrow, but judging by what I could see, there were more people going to see this movie, than well, since “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2” when I also witnessed lines down the block…

Warner Bros. is keeping the totals quiet, I think, because it may have made an obscene amount of money this weekend.

And BTW, nothing happened at any of these theaters I chanced by. But for the looks of it at W.34th St. the police THOUGHT something might happen there. But it didn’t. Thank god.

I think the U.S. is still reeling from this tragedy, which gets more heart-breaking as the details of the victims come to light. And there’s still all those people in the hospital in trauma centers and ICUs. And that little six-year-old girl who died…

Meanwhile, Anne Thompson, who I find to be very reliable in these situations tweeted yesterday that she didn’t think it was going to get ANY Oscar nominations “Just the technicals” tweeted Anne. Which is exactly what I thought when this happened. The Academy is going to try to distance itself as much as possible from this tragedy. Not honor it.

Further Oscar Parsing and Predix at Gold Derby by Tom O’Neill

Taking a look at www.Goldderby.com  Tom O’Neil’s never-quiet-for-a-moment Oscar site, I realized that I hadn’t gone ALLLL the way with the other categories he and his pals were predicting beyond saying “Lincoln” was going to win Best Picture. I wrote about that a few days back, and I looked at it again, and realized I hadn’t discussed his OTHER predix BEYOND “Lincoln.”

Did I mention I didn’t think Daniel Day-Lewis is all set up to win a THIRD Oscar for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln himself? Well Tom does. And for Best Actress, he’s got as Laura Linney as Number One for “Hyde Park on the Hudson,” which would be wonderful if that happened. And it could. Laura’s been nominated three times and never won. And she ages decades in it as F.D.R.’s secret-until-now mistress.

For Best Supporting Actor he’s got Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master“, Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film (due later this year) This could also happen. Phoenix has been nominated twice and never won. And this is one of Harvey Weinstein’s year-end Oscar hopeful films. It’s about Scientology and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the lead, playing, I guess L.Ron Hubbard.

This sounds more like a strong possibility to me. Just based on HARVEY’s recent track record with Meryl Streep,”The Artist,”Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanviscius, “The King’s Speech”, Colin Firth & Tom Hooper, a nomination for Phonenix, if he cuts the Oscar mustard,  is for sure likely. But a win? He’s up-against another Harvey contender, Leonardo di Caprio, of all people, as the villain in “Django Unchained.” Quentin Tarantino’s latest, which is still shooting, making Anne Thompson of Indiewire’s Thompson-on-Hollywood wonder if it will even be finished on time for its’ Christmas Day release.

And Tom, last but not least, has Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress for “Les Miserables” and this is the MOST likely prediction to come true, solidly. As the trailer of “Les Miz” Universal released caused SUCH a, well, universal ripple throughout the blogosphere, and the song “I Dreamed a Dream” which is the only one performed, yes, by Ms. Hathaway, and she totally magnificently nails it.

It’s too early to predict all these things anyway. But it doesn’t stop Tom O. Check all his other race-track odds on literally hundreds of potential nominees, (he’s leaving NO ONE out. No turn un-stoned) He’s not missing a trick. But of course, it’s Tom O’Neil, so he very well may be right.

But like for instance if say “Lincoln” does win Best Picture, Steven Spielberg would win Best Director. Not Paul Thomas Anderson.

I would say all bets are off until after the Toronto International Film Festival unfurls its’ Oscary wares in Sept.

Noomi v. Rooney ~ The Dragon Tattoo Battle begins!

With the release of an unusually long trailer for the upcoming American re-make of Steig Larsson’s great “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” various sites on the web have started REVIEWING it AS IT WERE THE WHOLE NEW MOVIE. So I will, too.

You can see it at www.awardsdaily.com It’s on the first page now, but in a very short while it will be page two.

And there was also another “teaser trailer” released(or was it pirated? Or both?) a while back. And that’s somewhere on Awardsdaily, too.

The first trailer was very quick and had a definite throbbing pace and was scored to excite and provoke interest as early as this past summer. It ended with the tags of  “The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas” and “She’s Back” and showed virtually NOTHING of the unknown Rooney Mara’s performance as Lisbeth Salander, one of the greatest female fictional characters ever created.

I’ve read all the books as you dear readers, dear cineastes know. And reviewed them all here in this blog. And even got to have a fantastic interview with Noomi Rapace herself, which is still up on my channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I loved the movies and the books and was overwhelmed and thrilled with Noomi Rapace’s great performance as Lisbeth.

But now comes the American re-make of it. Produced by Sony and directed by David Fincher, who brought you that bummer of a non-movie about the Internet & Facebook, who I still can only refer to as “The Joy of Typing.”

Don’t get me wrong I don’t totally HATE David Fincher, but I did HATE that movie. I really did like his “Zodiac” I saw it twice. And also enjoyed “se7en” quite a few years ago.

And yes, he does seem the right “fit” as a director for this dark crime novel. But the question is – WHY REMAKE IT AT ALL????? Answer – Money.

Noomi Rapace’s performance is an astounding screen performance. And I certainly didn’t think it could be duplicated or surpassed.

And the long-ish, just released trailer just confirms this to me. Rooney Mara’s interpretation of Lisbeth, as it is revealed in this trailer (and yes, it’s JUST  a trailer) was very disappointing to me. She plays Lisbeth as a Swedish accented recalcitrant lesbian. Yes, she’s very, very dyke-like in this trailer.

And Noomi Rapace always exhibited a kind of glamour and sex-appeal despite her outlandish hairstyles and outre garments. And she seemed tough, for sure. But never simply a lesbian.

NOT that I have anything against lesbians! I LOVE THEM! Some of my best friends are. And as I gay man, an out gay man, I am very sensitive to these issues.

And this is going to be one of the big ones come Christmas.

Does Rooney Mara’s interpretation(which is Fincher’s direction all the way) justify or carry a big movie like this one certainly seems to be shaping up as?

Steig Larsson’s millennium Trilogy is an astounding successful literary phenomenon. And the movies were beautiful, haunting. And Noomi was sensational, unforgettable as Lisbeth.

This trailer, which astoundingly gives away A LOT of the movie’s plot, shows her in a very bad light, I feel. She looks anorexic, and while Noomi’s multiple piercings made her look sexy, Rooney’s in the nose, eye-brow and lip make her grotesque, and difficult to watch. And she’s SUCH a dyke that it seems impossible that she is going to be believable in the heterosexual section of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” What they’re left with here, then, is a BIG GAY MOVIE. Which is great. We can’t have enough of them. But I don’t think they realize that’s what they’ve got here. And more importantly I don’t think that’s what the late Stieg Larsson meant.

BUT thank goodness! The plot thickens with the news that Music Box, the original trilogy’s distributors, are going to put out a boxed set of the original Swedish films, PLUS something like two hours of unseen footage. Just in time for Christmas! So we’ll be able to see and own all of those beautiful Swedish movies and see what was cut. You can read all about it at www.indiewire.com in Anne Thompson’s Thompson on Hollywood section.

Noomi evidently has the female lead in the sequel to the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes actioner. Also out around Christmas. So she’s employed.

And don’t tell me her not getting cast in the American remake as the role she made world-famous, Lisbeth Salander, didn’t break her heart. Because I think it did.

But if Rooney Mara’s performance is as weak and enervated and mannish as it seems in the trailer, well, Noomi Rapace may have the last laugh if the film tanks. It looks like it’s going to make money, but is it going to be an Oscar favorite? Judging by this trailer, I don’t think so.

But of course a trailer is not an entire film. We have to wait and see. But since everybody and his brother is reviewing this spoiler-filled trailer as if it WERE the movie, then I just HAD to tell my readers what I thought of it which was…not much.

Helena Bonham Carter “The Anti-Pimp” sez Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter seems to have picked up on what Anne Thompson of Indiewire’s Thompson on Hollywood www.indiewire.com  and I (who have been saying this for ages) that Helena Bonham Carter’s chances for an upset are growing by the day in Hollyweird.

Here’s what they have to say, calling her “The Anti-Pimp” ~

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/race/why-anti-pimp-helena-bonham-100373

This is, of course, in reference to Melissa Leo’s unfortunate phraseology of ” The Oscars are pimping yourself out” This phrase has now entered the Oscar Hall of Shame(or Fame, depending on if she wins or loses) But Helena Bonham Carter is definitely given her a run for her self-bought ad money.

And while we’re on the subject of the ever-more-boisterous Best Supporting Actress category 2011, just HOW many Supporting Actress Oscars has Harvey Weinstein won for his fillies in contention?

Let’s see there was Judi Dench, “Shakespeare in Love”, Juliette Binoche,”The English Patient”, Katherine Zeta Jones “Chicago” and Renee Zellweger “Cold Mountain.” That’s a HUGE number in that ever-unpredictable category.

So Helena’s got a kind of history behind her. Just saying….

“Helena Bonham-Carter could win Oscar!” sez Anne Thompson

Anne Thompson, the sharp, astute, objective observer of all things Oscar, is at Indiewire these days, with her own blog, that is really a site in-and-of-itself. Always even-keeled and balanced in the coverage of Oscar subjects ~ I’m jumping for joy over Anne  (sometimes I call her St. Anne, well, because…she is…In Oscarland  terms, anyway) just having written a HUGE piece on “Helena Bonham-Carter Could Win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress” on http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/

CHECK IT OUT IMMEDIATELY!

And the reason I’m doing cartwheels, is because Even Anne does NOT make pronouncements like this lightly. Being a crack journalist as well as a keen Oscar observer, she WAS backing Hailee Steinfeld, last time I checked, but has JUST switched to HRH HBC because of, you guessed it, the BAFTAS! Which as you know Helena just won on Sunday. And I’ve been predicted this since the beginning! SWEEP!

And to top it all off, Anne had compiled a DELICIOUS series of video clips that really show off Helena in MAHvelous ways, darling! You’ve GOT to watch each and every one!

It’s been an uphill battle for Helena, as I said early on, because her performance is UNDERSTATED, sophisticated and subtle. Something Oscar doesn’t usually go for. She is chewing NO scenery here. Nope. Just tea and crumpets, though she DOES seem to be munching all the way through this brilliant movie. Yes, she overeats, and gets plumber and plumber as the films goes on, to where at the end, she is clearly wearing a fat suit! Yes, she is! And she’s ADORABLE in it!

 And she’s playing, lest we forget, the role Oscar LOVESLOVESLOVES to award in this category, the supportive wife! “The King’s Speech” makes it clear that King George VI could NOT have overcome his stutter without his wonderful, devoted wife who is the one who FINDS Lionel Logue(Geoffrey Rush) in the movie in the first place.

Jenny Beavan is the brilliant British costume designer, who is also up for an Oscar (again) this year for “The King’s Speech”s marvelous pastel-perfect period finery. Jenny has been costuming Helena since her Merchant-Ivory days. And Anne Thompson lays this all out in judicious, delicious clip after clip.

I’d do it myself, but I’m too tech-tarded, as you know….someday I’ll figure out the visuals…but right now just run on over to Indiewire and Thompson on Hollywood and see why I’m particularly thrilled with Anne’s great piece, predicting Helena’s win!

Yes, the “King’s Speech” has coattails, white tie and tails, probably, and Helena and Jenny Beaven and Geoffrey Rush and many others may be riding them all the way to OSCAR the Sunday after next! Coattails is another word for SWEEP!

There’s also a marvelous clip of HBC as HRH The Red Queen in “Alice in Wonderland.” interogating frog footmen, one of whom stole her tarts! “Off with his head!” she exclaims.

Helena Bonham-Carter! How do I love thee? I’ll let Anne Thompson count the ways!

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.

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