a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Tom Hooper’

Oscar Winner “Danish Girl” now on DVD & It’s Glorious!

The Danish Girl 1My Number One Film of the Year “The Danish Girl” is now out on  DVD & Blu-Ray and it’s glorious! Its’ sumptuous, heart-breaking love story maintains all its’ lush simplicity on the small screen, making it even a more intimate yet stupendous experience as it relates the star-crossed story of two Danish painters Einar and Gerde Vegener in the 1920s in Copenhagen & Paris. Eddie Redmayne got an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor for playing Einar, who transitions into Lili Elbe, one of the first known transgendered male-to-females.

And I’m so happy that the luminous Swedish actress Alicia Vikander won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her tour-de-force as Gerde, his stalwart, beloved wife. Who encourages her husband to start cross-dressing as a lark, then begins to turn into something deadly serious, which confounds and confuses her as much as it does him.Alicia & Oscar 1

As Redmayne changes into Lili, every beat, every heart beat is beautifully rendered by director Tom Hooper, and matched in heartbreak, confusion and love by Vikander’s superb performance.

The story, in case you haven’t heard, has a tragic, heart-stopping ending. It’s no walk in the park. The pain and suffering of both leading characters’ true story has echoed down the ages. A transgendered tale such as this has never been translated into a major feature film and with such delicacy and respect. And with such magnificence and splendor by Production Designer Eve Stewart and costume designer Paco Delgado, who both also got Oscar nominations.Danish Girl Duo

Danny Cohen is the genius cinematographer, who captures all the various lights and colors of both early 20th century Copenhagen and the demimonde of Paris art salons with breathtaking accuracy. His camera just PUTS you there, and enthralls as vibrantly as the two leading players.

And I think it’s a crime that Hair and Make-Up Designer Jan Sewell did not get an Oscar Nomination for her transformative styling of Eddie Redmayne, turning him from a man into a woman, and all the stages in between with the utmost believability and subtlety. Sewell is also responsible for turning the dark-haired, olive-skinned Vikander into a pale Danish blonde.The Danish Girl 2

I also want to mention Ben Whishaw’s charmingly quiet and touching performance as Henrik,  the gay artist in Copenhagen, who is the first male to fall for Lili at an Artists’ Ball that serves as her coming out into public for her first nervous appearance as the shy country cousin of Einar’s.The Danish Girl 3

Whishaw and Redmayne’s first kiss, and indeed all their subsequent ones made the ground quake and the earth shake as they both don’t quite know what is happening between them. And of course, Vikander as Gerde sees this tryst. And her character goes through as many transitions and changes as Redmayne’s Lili, as she tries to understand and adjust to this cataclysmic situation the husband she loves has put himself, and HER into.Alicia 8

“The Danish Girl” moved me beyond tears as it did when I first saw it in Toronto. I’m so glad the Academy embraced Alicia Vikander and made her a star. And if Eddie Redmayne hadn’t won the Oscar last year for “The Theory of Everything,” he would have certainly won Best Actor for his beautiful “Danish Girl.”Alicia Oscar 1

 

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On Seeing Eddie Redmayne’s Brilliant “The Danish Girl” a Second Time

Danish Eddie 1It was such a thrill to see “The Danish Girl” again last night after being totally enraptured and blown away by it in Toronto. And like in Toronto, at TIFF, in September, there was the same spellbound reaction from the tony audience.

You could hear a pin-drop. And at the end of this AMPAS-included screening, there was rousing applause. And cheering. And Bravos.

And I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to reprint my TIFF review in its entirety, so you won’t have to go hunting for it in the archives of this Blog.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Danish Eddie2

I’m devastated. I’m in tears writing this. “The Danish Girl” is a masterpiece, so moving, so profoundly important and brilliantly acted and directed, it will win Eddie Redmayne his second Oscar in a row for this heart-wrenching performance as first transgender Lili Elbe.  It has its’ slow patches, but once it gets going “The Danish Girl” is so powerful, so engaging, so beautiful, its’ ending, which I won’t reveal here, will absolutely crush you. And Eddie Redmayne is catapulted once again to the head of the Oscar race for Best Actor. As extraordinary as that sounds, it’s true.

His performance is beyond anything we’ve ever seen onscreen before. Never has this subject, transgender-ism, if there is such a word, been treated in this depth, and with such respect, and love. It’s a great love story. And not only Redmayne will be back at the top of everyone’s lists, director Tom Hooper, already an Oscar winner for “The King’s Speech”, will probably be up for every award in the book, for his sensitive, deft, beautifully handled helming of this tragic love story.Danish Eddie 3

And Alicia Vikander, who has been edging towards stardom, with every role she’s essayed, since she first came to global attention with “Anna Karenina”, as the blonde, sweet ingenue to Keira Knightley’s dark, tormented Anna, Alicia Vikander will for sure be nominated, perhaps as Best Actress even, but certainly as Best Supporting, for her astounding turn as Gerda Wegener, the devoted, confounded artist wife, whose husband, Einar is transitioning right before her confused, but compassionate eyes into Lili Elbe.(“Elbe, like the River” at one point Einar/Lili clarifies)

Einar and Gerde Wegener are a happily married couple at the start of “The Danish Girl” in 1920s Copenhagen. Both are artists, and there seems to be no clouds on their sunny, loving horizons. That begins to gradually change when one day, Gerde asks Einar to try on some ballerina attire of a model who has not shown up for her posing session. He obligingly does so, and the feelings of a woman’s stockings and shoes begin to arouse something deep-seated in him.

So begins Einar’s(Redmayne’s ) journey into what today is known as “transitioning.” We see this today in the person of Caitlyn Jenner, who used to be Bruce. Like it or not, Jenner has made this topic extremely relevant and the timing is just right for “The Danish Girl”s Oscar chances. Perfect, in fact.Eddie & Oscar 2

Redmayne’s Lili is a much more delicate, fragile creature than Caitlyn Jenner, needless to say. Redmayne gives her an ephemeral otherworldy quality. And he sensitively inhabits  her every single stage of her transformation. And makes clear what drives Lili  into emerging and totally obliterating Einar.

I did not know the shattered ending of this important, historic movie and I was totally enraptured, then horrified as “The Danish Girl” headed to its’ inexorable, tragic conclusion.

And Eddie Redmayne steps wholly and completely into screen history with this beyond magnificent portrayal. Another Oscar for Mr. Redmayne, please.

TIFF ~ Weather and Trolleys

TIFF logo 1It seems sometimes like the entire city of Toronto is completely disrupted by having TIFF here. But of course, in a good way. The public is jubilant about it, even if the entire “Festival Village” is now closed to traffic AND trolleys.

This morning there was huge orange balls all over what was formerly a couple of blocks of King St.

And I mean HUGE!

I guess Orange is the official color of TIFF and it’s my favourite color. Always brightens a room, or a wardrobe…

And the weather? It’s been unseasonably hot here in Canada. Especially during the Montreal Film Festival which was last week. This week it’s been cooling down A LITTLE. Today was really quite balmy walking here through all those gigantic balls to the TIFF Bell Light-box. But Global TV’s Morning Show keeps forecasting rain. I don’t ever remember it raining THAT heavily during the Film Festival.

I went to bed at 9:30pm last night! I have to get used to getting up early for the next two days, especially. Tomorrow is the HUGE first press and industry screening for “The Danish Girl” starring Eddie Redmayne, directed by Tom Hooper and aimed and timed EXACTLY as “The King’s Speech” was several years ago, aimed right at OSCAR!

Nobody here believes Donald Trump will be President. In fact, he’s not on TV here at all! Can you believe it?

I now have to head up to the Scotiabank building a couple of blocks north to stand in line to see my darling Saorise Ronan in HER Oscar bid this year “Brooklyn.” It starts unspooling at 11:45 AM. Am I late? Rush, rush, rush.

Oscars 2016 ~ Is Cate Blanchett Turning Into Meryl Streep?

Stepmother 1At first when I saw “Cinderella,” which I just loved, btw, I wondered whether the superb performances by the two leading ladies, Lily James(“Downton Abbey”s Rose) and Cate Blanchett as the not-so-Wicked-but-merely-troubled-and-lonely Stepmother, would even be considered for this year’s Oscar race. I now think that two-time Oscar Winner Blanchett for Best Supporting Actress is definitely a possibilty for a nomination. I think she’s becoming the New Meryl Streep, and will get nominated for her usually outstanding work in almost anything she does, even Disney fairy tale extravaganzas. So the precedent has been set. At least in the Supporting Actress category.

I mean, look, if Meryl Streep can get nominated for playing a Witch in “Into the Woods”, her astounding 19th nomination! Then Blanchett certainly could for another fairy tale character.

Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com says her most-looked-forward-to film of 2016 is the upcoming Todd Haynes “Carol” which is the lesbian love drama based on Patricia Highsmith’s “The Price of Salt.” And yes, Blanchett is the lead in “Carol.” So theoretically, she could get TWO nominations this year. Bringing her net total so far to six, with two wins.

And considering, as Sasha points out, this is another bleak year ahead for roles for actresses, Cate Blanchett very well pull off this double-nominated hat-trick.

And on the male side, I personally think it’s Eddie Redmayne by a mile for Tom Hopper’s “The Danish Girl” opening now Nov.26, right in the heat and heart of the Oscar season.

Eddie LiliCould Eddie Redmayne do a Tom Hanks(as they say) and pull off two Best Actor wins in a row? He sure could.

Could he beat out Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”? And get two Oscars while Leo wasn’t won one yet? Yup.

As Oscar Grand-daddy Tom O’Neil is always pointing out in his Slugfests “They sometimes like to give you two.” O’Neill, of course, is at http://www.goldderby.com

Witness Luise Rainer, Spencer Tracy, Olivia de Havilland, Hanks, Kevin Spacey and Sally Fields…and more. Streep has three. Jack Nicholson has three…

Sometimes what is going to happen at the Oscars is SOOO clear. Even at this distance…

 

It’s Official! “Danish Girl” Into Oscar Race starring Eddie Redmayne

Eddie LiliEddie & Oscar 2It’s official! Focus Features and Universal have sent out the word! And the word is GOOD! If not GREAT! “The Danish Girl” starring Eddie Redmayne will open on November 27 right in the middle of the Oscar Race. It’s started!

Dear readers, dear cineastes, here’s the real-deal press release. I wonder if it’ll be ready in time for Toronto or New York? The rushes must be giving these producers a RUSH indeed.

ACADEMY AWARD WINNER TOM HOOPER DIRECTS THE DANISH GIRL,

STARRING ACADEMY AWARD WINNER EDDIE REDMAYNE;

FOCUS FEATURES TO RELEASE WORKING TITLE PRODUCTION DOMESTICALLY IN NOVEMBER 2015, UNIVERSAL PICTURES INTERNATIONAL TO RELEASE OVERSEAS

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

UNITED KINGDOM and SANTA MONICA, March 4th, 2015 – Working Title Films’ The Danish Girl, directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables) and starring Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, Les Misérables) and Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina), will be released domestically by Focus Features in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles beginning Friday, November 27th, 2015, and by Universal Pictures International overseas. Focus CEO Peter Schlessel made the announcement today.

 

The Danish Girl is the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Einar and Gerda Wegener (being portrayed, respectively, by Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander), whose marriage and work are cast into the unknown when Einar begins a groundbreaking journey to become one of the world’s first transgender women, Lili Elbe. The Danish Girl has been adapted into a screenplay by BAFTA Award nominee Lucinda Coxon, based on the novel of the same name by David Ebershoff. The film’s cast also includes Matthias Schoenaerts (The Drop), Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), and Amber Heard (The Rum Diary). The film’s producers are Gail Mutrux (Kinsey) through her Pretty Pictures production company, Anne Harrison (Two Family House) through her Harrison Productions, Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Tom Hooper. Linda Reisman is executive-producing The Danish Girl with Ulf Israel of Senator Global Productions.

 

Mr. Schlessel commented, “In the tradition of Focus’ history of epic and moving love stories, The Danish Girl promises to be unforgettable. Tom Hooper is an extraordinary storyteller who always elicits beautiful performances from his actors. We are so pleased to be working with Eddie Redmayne again after our shared success with Working Title on The Theory of Everything.”

 

Working Title’s The Theory of Everything, for which Mr. Redmayne last month won the Best Actor Academy Award and which last month won three BAFTA Awards including Best Actor, was released by Focus domestically in November 2014 and subsequently by Universal Pictures International overseas. The movie was nominated for four additional Academy Awards including Best Picture, and has grossed over $100 million worldwide.

 

Universal and Working Title’s Les Misérables, for which Mr. Hooper was a Directors Guild of America Award nominee and in which Mr. Redmayne costarred, won three Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway) and was nominated for five more including Best Picture. Mr. Hooper won the DGA Award and the Academy Award as Best Director for The King’s Speech, which won three more Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor (Colin Firth), and was nominated for eight additional Academy Awards.

Working Title Films, co-chaired by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner since 1992, is one of the world’s leading film production companies. Founded in 1983, Working Title has made over 100 films that have grossed more than $6 billion worldwide. Its films have won 11 Academy Awards, 38 BAFTA Awards, and prizes at the Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals.

Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) makes, acquires, and releases movies from rising and established talent and filmmakers. The company is moving forward with a diverse slate of wide releases appealing to a range of moviegoers. Staying true to the company’s roots, the slate will also include several specialty films each year.

 

 

Oscar Afterglow A Week Later

CaptureYes, dear readers, dear cineastes, it’s only a little less than a week ago that we were all going cra-zee with anticipation of the March of the Li’l Golden Guys into the hands of this year’s winners.

And so what has happened since? Eddie Redmayne has emerged as a major international superstar with his win for Best Actor in “The Theory of Everything.” And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

This triumph at age 33 makes him one of the youngest winners for Best Actor ever. And the two mature ladies who won Patricia Arquette and Julianne Moore, who are in their 40s and early 50s respectively struck a blow for actresses of an “age certaine” as the French say. This year Eddie was the ingenue!

Arquette used her acceptance speech to create a new image for herself as a firebrand, a feminist activist, with her rabble-rousing call-to-arms for equal pay for women everywhere. Moore revealed something we did not know. That Richard Glatzer one of the two gay directors of “Still Alice” did NOT have early-on-set Alzheimers like she’d been saying all season, but ALS the debilitating syndrome that astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is afflicted with. And that neither he nor his partner Wash Westmoreland could attend that night “because Richard was so ill.”

It seems like if you played someone with a ravaging disease like Moore and Redmayne both did so flawlessly this year, you WILL win a Oscar.

Lady Gaga completely re-invented HER career by singing what I initially thought was a completely unnecessary tribute to the 50th Anniversary of “The Sound of Music.” Revealing stunning legit vocal chops that who knew she had? She brought down the house and opened up a new career. Gaga on  Broadway, anyone? It could happen.

Neil Patrick Harris, I’m sorry to say, ENDED his career as an Oscar host. But he looked great in his underpants, and certainly was the only Oscar host to ever do THAT. But the complaints were many that he just wasn’t funny enough. He had dreadful, unfunny writers.

Neil showed that he had what it takes as a serious dramatic actor in “Gone Girl” a worthy film the Academy completely ignored in every single category.  Well, Neil you’ve always got the Tonys…

And “Birdman” won four Oscars. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography, which will lead me forever into head-scratching land, with the eternal,unanswerable question, WHY?

And  so now poor little “Boyhood” goes into the history books as one of the most unfortunate Oscar pass-overs ever. Only Patricia Arquette won for that movie.

Looking back to my initial review, when I saw it first this summer, I accurately predicted this would happen. I’ll have to re-post it. I was right. But it was better than “Birdman” which I thought was un-reviewable. So I didn’t. Review it, I mean.

And now less than a week, later comes the exciting news that Eddie Redmayne flew back to London to start shooting “The Danish Girl” were he plays the first transgender, Lili Elbe in 1930’s Denmark under the direction of “The King’s Speech” Oscar winner Tom Hooper. Picture below `Eddie LiliI’ve posted this shot before, but I’m posting it again, because there is something absolutely HYPNOTIC about Eddie’s eyes. And that’s an incredible, perfectly styled wig.  He lost three Stone, which is something like 36 lbs. And yes, I think this means he’ll be back at the Dolby again NEXT February with another nomination for a transformative role.This picture just nails it.

It about a Danish husband and wife, both painters, who one day when the wife’s(Alicia Vikander, also in a star-making role) asks her husband (Redmayne) if he would mind posing in her model’s female clothing, one day when her painting subject doesn’t turn up. And he finds he just can’t stop the music…

Vikander was the beautiful young, blonde ingenue in “Anna Karenina” with Keira Knightley. And in those days, the late-20s, early 1930s, sex change operations were unheard of and very, very dangerous, bordering on butchery.And what were female hormones like in those days? The journey was fraught with peril.

And today we have Bianca Jenner, who just seems to be flying through it all with nary a care in the world. Bianca was formerly Bruce Jenner, the step-father, and now mother on “Keeping Up With the Kardassians.”

“The Danish Girl” I think will show every single step of this process that we now call “transitioning” or “Sexual Re-assignment Surgery.” The part of Lili Elbe requires ANOTHER tour-de-force, bravura turn from Redmayne, and we all know now that he’s totally capable of it.Budapest Occar Wins 1

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” won FOUR Oscars for Production Design, Best Costumes, Best Hair and Make-Up and Best Score. Alexander Desplat FINALLY taking home an Oscar and Wes Anderson FINALLY being recognized big time by the Academy after being ignored(except in Screenplay nominations) for the bulk of his long career.

And I can’t even begin to imagine how bummed and depressed director/writer Richard Linklater of “Boyhood” must feel. And no Oscar for Michael Keaton for losing to Redmayne for Best Actor. The “Birdman” film flew into the history with the caveat, oh, but it lost Best Actor for Michael Keaton…

Why did Keaton lose?

Was he away too long from film? And when he came back he was playing basically a very apt version of himself, a situation he would never acknowledge in interviews.

Tom O’Neil, the grand-daddy of all of us Oscarologists, said that also Keaton was known in the industry as “difficult” and did not do the huge full-court(ing)  and charming of the press that Redmayne did. Actually, Redmayne took a leaf from the glorious Marion Cotillard’s “How to Win an Oscar” book, and basically camped out in L.A. for a month between the announcement of the nominations up to right before the win, when he had to return to London to start rehearsing and shooting “The Danish Girl.” And he won.

As Tom O’Neil said over in one of his video “slug-fests” at http://www.goldderby.com, “You’ve got to kiss babies.”

And the beat goes on…

Oscar Winner Eddie Redmayne to Next Play Transgender

Eddie Oscar 1Eddie & Oscar 2Brand-new Oscar Winner Eddie Redmayne hurried right back to London after his Best Actor win on Sunday night to continue rehearsals for his new British film called “The Danish Girl.” And guess what? He’s playing the title role! Yes!

Directed by his ole pal and the man who named me “The Oscar Messenger” Tom Hooper, I can tell you from personal knowledge that Hooper is as dazzled by the Little Golden Guy and his army of Oscars as well say Harvey Weinstein. And me, too, of course. And now, Eddie, who also seems to have captured the Oscar Buzz Bug.

Lili Elbe, who Eddie is playing in “The Danish Girl” was the first ever male-to-female transgender person in 1930. Talk about transformative roles! Eddie is making a career of this. But if ever there was a role that “ticks all the boxes” as Colin Firth said to me when I told him HE was going to win the Oscar for “The King’s Speech.”(And he DID!) It’s Lile Elbe.

And Eddie is trying to lose a massive amount of weight, three stone, which is like 36 pounds to play Lile. That ticks another Oscar box right there.

And Tom Hooper, check (he always has his bar set Oscar-high). British, check. True Life story, check. Period (1930), check. Transformative performance, check.

And Eddie Redmayne, check. Hollywood’s new Golden Boy is going to be transforming himself into a Golden Girl, and guess what, I’m so sure he’s going to be back at the Oscars again next year. Or the year after that with “The Danish Girl.” And if Harvey Weinstein,who is the producer, check. He’s the Oscar Grandmaster, picks this one up, Eddie will be on his way to Oscar Number Two! You heard it here first! He’s the new Daniel Day Lewis! So I see multiple Oscars on his horizon. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer, more down-to-earth guy.

He was so surprised when Cate Blanchett announced his name, I’m sure he thought Michael Keaton or Bradley Cooper was going to win.He won’t be THAT surprised next time around.

You’re the King of the World, Eddie! And he’s also expecting his first child. When straight actors play gay(or transgender) they win. William Hurt, “Kiss of the Spider Woman”, anyone? Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “Capote”, anyone?  Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in “MIlk”….

The precedent is set and the list goes on! Go, Eddie!

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