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Posts tagged ‘Timothy Spall’

Nat’l Soc. of Film Critics Vote Marion Best Actress, Timothy Spall Best Actor

The Immigrant 1The very contrarian, very esoteric National Society of Film Critics, which is based in New York and always votes AFTER all the other critics’ groups have chimed in, went the astonishing way of naming Jean-Luc Godard’s 3-D, but art house flick “Good-bye to Language” as Best Picture. But then duplicated the New York Film Critics almost exactly by naming Marion Cotillard Best Actress for both of her acclaimed, but little-seen films, “The Immigrant” (pictured above^) and “Two Days, One Night” and Timothy Spall as the titular “Mr. Turner” as Best Actor.

Best Supporting Actor was J. K. Simmons, of course, who can stop him for “Whiplash”? And Best Supporting Actress was “Boyhood”s Patricia Arquette, both continuing their seemingly  unbreakable sprints to  Oscar gold in those categories.

It’s also interesting to note that “Farewell…” won by only one vote over “Boyhood.”

If you remember last year the National Society was the only group to award “Inside Llewyn Davis” anything! It gave it best picture and best actor for the stalwart Oscar Isaac.

A complete breakdown by the great Anne Thompson at Indiewire is here ~


The Great Timothy Spall on “Mr. Turner” & “Pierrepont”

The great British actor Timothy Spall, who just won Best Actor from the New York Film Critics on Monday, talks to me via satellite an hour before he won! What a thrill!

“Boyhood” Wins Big at Both Gotham Awards & NY Film Critics

Boyhood 2It’s December 1, and the awards have started raining down on Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.” This afternoon it won Best Picture(and Best Director and Best Supporting Actress) from the prestigious New York Film Critics, and this evening it continued its’ winning streak with the Gotham Audience Award where it again won Best Picture.”Birdman” however won Best Feature.

This, in these categories, may be repeated and repeated endlessly for the rest of Awards Season, which is now totally upon us.It will be interesting to see what the L.A. Film Critics vote for next week.

At the Gothams, Michael Keaton for “Birdman” snatched his mojo for Best Actor back from British giant Timothy Spall, who usurped his place this afternoon by winning Best Actor in a delightful surprise for “Mr. Turner.” Julianne Moore did the same by triumphing at the Gothams for “Still Alice” whereas Marion Cotillard won this morning for Best Actress at the NYFCC for “The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night,” the later a Belgian film in French.

Gregory Ellwood has a very funny blog on the Gothams at http://www.hitfix.com along with a list of all the happenings and all the rest of the winners.

And the Academy, who doles out the Oscars, may not wish to participate in rubber-stamping “Boyhood,” a film it may not relate to(as I myself didn’t). But it sure looks and feels like an awards juggernaut starting today.

And tomorrow the National Board of Review chimes in.

Fasten your seatbelts!

Timothy Spall Wins Best Actor for “Mr. Turner” from NY Critics!

Timothy Spall 1In a totally surprising move, British actor Timothy Spall has just won Best Actor for “Mr. Turner” at the New York Film Critics Circle!

And I just had the great honor and privilege of interviewing him myself this morning for “The Stephen Holt Show”! I’m thrilled! He’s a great natural story-teller, and we both shared a common Cockney background. He’s a real one. I LIVED in London’s East End for years back in my salad days when I was struggling to be a playwright and an actor, and supporting myself by being a char. (a house-cleaner) No. Really! It’s true. If any one experience in my life made me tough, it was that. Being a house-cleaner in a foreign country for over three years. It was one of the formative phases of my youth.

Other New York Film Critics winners are : Best Cinematography:”The Immigrant” & Best Original Screenplay “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Timothy Spall won Best Actor at Cannes this year. I congratulated him at the start of my interview with him and he said, “Nobody was more surprised than me!”

This historic interview will be on-line shortly.


“Mr. Turner” Will Get No Acting Nominations

Mr. Turner 1

“Mr. Turner,” the latest effort by British film auteur Mike Leigh, whom I usually admire, bored me to tears.Timothy Spall as Mr. Turner is a very talented British actor, whom I’ve always also admired greatly. But here he lost me completely in this, his Cannes Best Actor-winning role. He won’t repeat this feat at the Oscars, you can bet. I was sooo disappointed in his performance and this film in general.

He’s also up against two thirty something Brits in biopics. Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything” and Benedict Cumberbatch in “Imitation Game.”

Spall, who is one of Leigh’s devoted regulars, in “Mr. Turner” is at his absolute boring worst. He oinks his way through the entire film. Yes, oinks as in what a pig would do. He snorts and grunts and oinks and makes as many barnyard noises as he can think of to show his general disdain for humanity. This usually fine actor is afforded no wiggle room in terms of range. And yes, he’s immensely over-weight to boot. So I guess this film is saying, “Yes, he was a pig” to all who knew him or cared about him, but that’s the way he is at the beginning of the film, and that’s exactly the same way he is on his death bed. No character growth or change. Why should we like this odious man?

Well, he’s considered the greatest British painter, certainly of the 19th Century, and yes, I’ve always enjoyed looking at his remarkable renderings of sun-sets.

But there are no luscious sunsets in this rather grim picture. It’s a shame, because literally we are spending our time with this movie WATCHING PAINT DRY. Literally. And that’s no fun.

Filmmaker Leigh clearly despises his subject and does not give us any reasons to like this awful man. So we don’t. The only nominations this film could get are costumes, set, and maybe, cinematography. Because there are lush vistas – IN THE BACKGROUND.

In the foreground we have the terribly sketched-out private life of the man, who was a beast to all who knew him. Especially the women. He mistreats a devoted female servant played by Dorothy Atkinson, who will ALSO not get an acting nomination for this. He also has a wife, and two daughters, whom he does not want anything to do with either.

It’s a shame. “Topsy Turvy” is one of my all time favorite films. It was Leigh’s exploration of Gilbert and Sullivan. But there despite, once again, an odious central character, W. S. Gilbert (James Broadbent), you always also loved him. AND he was funny. And Leigh had the wonderful Gilbert and Sullivan scores to fall back on, when his own dialogue lagged. And Spall played, and sang, and sang very well, the part of the “Mikado” which is the particular musical piece the film concerns itself with. That film still sends me.

“Mr. Turner” sent me running, for the Exit.

Leigh has his own unique way of working with the actors he uses over and over again. He books them for various amounts of time, and they sign on not knowing what it is they are going to be improvising over the period of several months, or weeks, depending on the size of the role Leigh has in mind.

And here the results, the assembled-from-improv screenplay that Leigh concocts at the end of this elaborate process, is sorely lacking.

And I don’t think the Academy is going to sit still for this one. Especially not the Actor’s branch, as I’ve said.

A couple of seasons ago, I went to mat for the wonderful, poignant performance the great British actress Leslie Manville gave in “Another Year”. I wrote and campaigned and wrote and campaigned, as did many others. Manville didn’t even get nominated. And she should have.

It was then I began to realize that Mike Leigh and his actors were no longer front and center on the Academy’s radar. And “Another Year” was a much, much better film that “Mr. Turner” which is a snore-fest.

Timothy Spall is seen as Mr. Turner walking by endless amounts of butcher shops with pig’s heads in the windows. Ok Ok. We get it. This man is a big fat porker….AND…there is no “And” here. That is all we get. For nearly three hours. The nerve of him to bore us for so long with so little. “Mr. Turner” is a missed opportunity. What a shame! Don’t ever waste my time again like that, Mike Leigh! My patience with you and your grand experiments is wearing thin.

Cannes Film Festival Award Winners 2014, “Foxcatcher” Most Likely Oscar Candidate

Julianne Moore 1Foxcatcher 1

The Cannes Film Festival was never to my mind a great Oscar predictor. But nevertheless there are those that think it has become more relevant of late. I don’t think any of the below named winners are gonna repeat at the Oscar nominations when they are announced in January. EXCEPT for Bennett Miller, who was named Best Director for “Foxcatcher”, the one American film from Cannes that seemed to emerge by all accounts as a legitimate Oscar contender.

However, none of its’ three leads, Steve Carrell (yes, STEVE CARRELL, giving his first serious acting performance) as the murderous wrestling obsessed millionaire Henry DuPont, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, who received great praise from press and critics alike were not awarded. But don’t worry. Placed firmly in the middle of the Oscar surge season, opening stateside on Nov.17, it is SURELY the one film that is going to be heavy figured into the Oscar conversation. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing it, and they could have done so last year. But the Best Actor race was so crowded they decided to wait til this year, which may have been a wise move. A dark tale of obsession, murder, money and wrestling, it seems like Academy catnip to me.

Best Actress went to Julianne Moore, for David Cronenberg’s Hollywood tale “Maps to the Stars” which is opening very soon in the U.S. Moore plays an aging Hollywood actress, who is on the verge of losing it. Moore is an Academy fave being nominated numerous times, but has never won. You can never count her out. She is well-liked by all in the industry.

Best Actor is British thesp Timothy Spall, who plays the title role of Brit painted extraordinaire J.M.V.Turner In Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner” Spall is a well-respected veteran actor who has never been nominated or won. I’m looking forward to seeing this film, too, when it opens in the fall. It will probably also play Toronto as will “Foxcatcher” most likely. So I’ll see them there.

I was burned very badly in the past when I enthusiastically supported other Mike Leigh performers. Leslie Manville in particular for the last Mike Leigh joint “Another Year” in 2010. She didn’t even get nominated. But Spall is better known here, might have a better shot. We’ll see. 

And ma Cherie Marion Cotillard, once again got nothing. I always feel Cannes doesn’t appreciate her, unbelievably, though I of course do. Marion’s film in contention was “Two Days, One Night” by the Dardennes brothers.

Here’s the winners~

Palme d’Or: “Winter Sleep,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Grand Prix: “La Meraviglie,” Alice Rohrwacher
Prix du Jury: (tie) “Mommy,” Xavier Dolan; “Goodbye to Language,” Jean-Luc Godard
Best Director: Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Best Screenplay: Andrey Zvyaginstsev and Oleg Negin, “Leviathan”
Camera d’Or (Best First Feature): “Party Girl,” Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis
Best Actor: Timothy Spall, “Mr. Turner”
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, “Maps to the Stars”
Palme d’Or, Short Film: “Leidi,” Simon Mesa Soto
Short Film Special Mention: “Aissa,” Clement Trehin-Lalanne; “Ja Vielsker,” Halivar Witzo



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