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Posts tagged ‘tragedy’

Why Casey Affleck Will Win Best Actor Oscar.

If I was an AMPAS voter, I think it’s just between my two favorite movies (alas, not “Jackie” evidently..sadly…)”La La Land”casey-affleck-adand “Manchester by the Sea”. Initiallly, if I were a voter, I would’ve just said “Yes!” to La Land’s bounce and bouyancy all the way, but now that I’ve had time to mull it over, if I were an Academy member, I might put down “Manchester by the Sea”as my #1 film, because it has gravitas. “La La Land” doesn’t. Not really.

And Casey Affleck’s incredible performance! Imagine how different that film would be if Matt Damon, the originally intended lead, did indeed do it. I don’t think I could ever imagine Sunny Matt as a Hot Mess. And Casey Affleck plays the conflicted male loser so believably…I mean, he really puts you in the mindset of someone who’s killed, accidentally, but I mean, I’m not going to spoil it any further… The unfathomable despair of those deaths…. It’s almost unbearable. It’s unthinkable. BUT HE BEARS IT. He survives the unimaginable, which is the point of the whole film I think,manchester-art-direction

And Kenneth Lonergan, the filmmaker, is a great under-sung America playwright, has done just that. Put the unthinkable on screen and says “Here. This is what life is about. Multiple losses. Deal with it.” And the audience and Affleck’s character, in fact, the whole of New England village Manchester itself is still grappling with the ramifications of what he did. “Manchester” is a movie that ABOUT something. It’s profound. But it’s also profoundly, unexpectedly funny, but that is its’ genius.

Surviving something you thought you’d never be able to survive. Like this past election….And still having a battered, but intact sense of humor and decency. He’s still alive. He struggles, but he goes on living. As Beckett said in “Waiting for Godot”, “I can’t go on….I go on.”

Affleck is playing one of the most original characters ever written for the screen, in that sense. And he’s won over 30 acting awards already! He’ll win BAFTA in a walk. The Brits go for the serious, the heavy(see “Hamlet”) and if he wins SAG, too! Bob’s your uncle, as the Cockneys say.manchester-by-the-sea-8

I did not like Denzel Washington, over-acting in “Fences,” is his only credible competition in the Best Actor category, but Washington did not get nominated for a BAFTA either as director or actor.  Another big snub. And he lost the Golden Globe to Affleck. And he wasn’t named as one of the five directors in the DGA.

Both, though, will get nominations on Jan.24. The next big test will be at SAG. If Affleck wins that, the game is over.

#Casey Affleck

# Best Actor Oscar

#Manchester by the Sea

# Kenneth Lonergan

  • [This article was originally  a post in the comments section of http://www.awardsdaily.com, but I thought it was too good not to reprint (and re-write it) here. Thanks as always to Awardsdaily.]
  • NYU Grad Acting Class of 2015 in Building Next to Blast

    East Village 3East Village FireI’ve enjoyed heartily the annual trek I make to the East Village’s Second Avenue, to see the graduating class of NYU Grad Acting perform their “Actors Presentations” or “Leagues” or scene nights. This year was a little more complicated in getting there because of the bomb blasted setting and building collapse, which occured literally NEXT door to the NYU building. Pictured above on the left, it’s the white building.

    And yes, it almost went, too. “The building shook” I was told by Brian Bock, one of the talented graduating actors. Before the evening’s presentation, Chair of the Acting Dept. Mark Wing-Davey introduced it by describing it this way. “This class is very special to me because we were all in this building getting ready to open our production of ‘The Three Sisters’ and the explosion happened.”

    He told me later that they didn’t know if the Actors Presentations(as spectacular and electrifying as ever) were going to take place in that building on Second Avenue and he referred me to an article in the New Yorker, which vividly details what went on.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/13/show-goes-on

    I applaud all involved.

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    Phillip Seymour Hoffman & I

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman & I

    It’s soooo difficult to write about the tragic passing of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, because I looked so much like him & was mistaken for him almost constantly.

    Especially when he played Truman Capote and won an Oscar for it. Then didn’t acknowledge the real person whom he was portraying so memorably. I got very angry about that more than once, especially at the National Board of Review awards that year when he didn’t even mention Truman or that he was playing a gay character. Nothing. Zip. In that acceptance speech that night or when he went on to win every award in the world that year for “Capote” culminating in the Oscar.And it was the year of “Brokeback Mountain”, too. The Year of the Queer, if ever there was one.

    Contrast these acceptance speeches to what Jared Leto, who keeps winning and winning for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” has been criticized for, which is leaving out People with AIDS He’s corrected that.

    Phillip never did. He didn’t think it was appropriate, at that time. 2006 which seems like 100 years ago in gay life.

    Phillip saw the resemblance between us, too. I remember sitting in the front row of a press conference at the NYFF, can’t remember the name of the film, but he played yet ANOTHER gay part, this time a drag queen named Rusty. And he REALLY looked like me, when I lived in drag in the early ’70s. And he kept turning to look at me in the audience and was clearly disconcerted by the resemblance as I always was.

    But for a straight man with a family and children, he played many, many gay parts both before and after Capote. He looked so much like me in some films especially “Boogie Nights” where he heartbreakingly played a young, long-haired P.A. who had a crush on Dirk Diggler. That part was an enactment of me in the ’70s, friends commented to me. It was unnerving. But of course I appreciated the intelligence and the power that went into that characterization.

    We came officially face-to-face in the interview for “When the Devil Knows You’re Dead” which I posted in the previous piece here on my blog. And he was as uneasy about the striking resemblance as I was. It was uncanny sometimes. He was a blond. I was a redhead. But my god, it was an unusual similarity. Too close for comfort, and as you can see in the interview, Phillip is strangely scratching himself throughout. It was weird.

    I met him many, many times at press events and junkets after this interview, and he always acknowledged me with respect. He played soooo many gay characters, and there I was the living embodiment of the roles he always claimed were “very difficult” for him. Esp. Capote.

    He was one of the greatest actors of our time, or any time. He made 50 movies. He was excellent in all of them.

    From the Tod Solendz film “Happiness” where he played a creepy telephone stalker that broke him open to a wider recognition. To his last final great role of Willy Loman on stage live in “Death of a Salesman.” It was a great privilege to have seen him onstage in that iconic role. He was clearly too young for it, but there was a desperation about a forty-something man playing someone who was supposed to be twenty years older. And at the end of his life. And as the title says, it was about “Death”. Willy Loman kills himself at the end of the play. It was oddly prescient like Phillip KNEW something.

    There was a tremendous rough, urgency to his performance. Like he had to do that part, and he had to do it NOW. Like he knew there was no time left. And it turned out, there wasn’t.

    He had played the part in High School, too, according to published reports. He was kind of obsessed with it. Willy Loman is certainly one of the great roles in one of the great plays of American Theater.

    And for the record, in all my encounters with him over the many years I was covering him as a critic and entertainment journalist, I never saw or even THOUGHT of anything drug related in reference to him.

    He won the Oscar the year of “Brokeback Mountain” when many said that Heath Ledger should’ve won it. And then Heath died in an equally tragic way in similar circumstances.

    I wonder if that bothered him. It bothered me.

    And then he went on to play even MORE gay roles…Guilt over “Brokeback” and Heath not winning? Who can say?

    But the point is he played them all brilliantly, and with a range that we have almost never seen in an American actor.

    His agent, whom I mention in the interview, Sarah Fargo “found” Phillip right as he was graduating from NYU UNDERgrad it should be noted. And not their illustrious Graduate Acting Program.

    And it was Sarah, who became one of his life-long friends, who jump- started his career by getting him seen and into roles and projects where someone who looked like him would normally not have been seen and seen so quickly. He was a character actor, not a leading man, and I think he always saw himself that way.

    He always gave himself 200% to any part. And EVERY part. How different was he in “Boogie Nights” and as the baseball manager in the baseball movie, whose name escapes me at the moment? ETA: “Moneyball”

    Or in the indelible preppy monster/alcoholic Freddie that Matt Damon dispatches so abruptly in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”? Or the creepazoid/charismatic cult leader Lancaster Dodd in “The Master”?

    And now that I think back on it the role that he was only moderately effective in was perhaps the role that was closest to him in real life as events have shown,the alcoholic Jamie Tyrone, in the incredible revival of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” Starring Vanessa Redgrave as the tornado/virago of a drug-addicted mother who terrorized her hapless family, she blew on to the stage with hurricane force and pretty much stayed at that unbelievable level of performance throughout the plays three acts.

    She was like a demon unleashed and she frightened the wits out of her family and CHANGED THE BLOCKING every night, though not the lines, which I could hear with crystal-clear clarity even sitting in the rear of the orchestra. Phillip shrank from her as his character was supposed to. And she throttled the living daylights out of Robert Sean Leonard every night, but you never knew WHEN she was going to attack him. I saw it twice. I’ll never forget it.

    Phillip’s untimely death is such a shock and an incalculable loss to American film and American theater. Maybe leaving us soon so was his way of saying “I’m done now. I’ve nothing more to give. I’ve said what I had to say.” And now he’s gone. In the most lurid way possible. With a needle in his arm.

    That small detail will haunt all of us who knew him, and the many millions who knew him through his work. But to know him that way or any way was to love him.

    His great, hungry spirit will always be with us. Our hearts go out to his surviving family and friends.

    That he will be missed is an underestimate.

    New York After Sandy ~ A City Broken in Two

    New York City is broken. Hurricane Sandy broke it in two. There are now two parts to my beloved city, the Light and the Dark. The Light is virtually untouched by the tragedy of the disaster.  The electricity and power are ON. And now even the subways are running.

    But south of 30th Street on the West Side and 40th Street on the East is “The Dark.” There is no power at all. No light. No heat and in many high rises no water! The street lights are out. There are patrol men and women in uniforms directing traffic. Oh, and the buses and subways are free.

    In the daytime there have been soooo many buses, more than I’ve ever seen in my life, and yesterday the subways started running again but only to midtown. Queens travelers I think are fine. And the Bronx, where I am from, is totally AOK.

    I have not been able to replace my lost remote, so my TV remains dark, and the only news I get is from the Internet and most importantly from what my friends tell me. Or people on the buses I ride tell me.

    I was always a huge bus-rider and it’s now like 9/11 here AGAIN where people are all turning to total strangers that they are sitting/standing next to and talking about The Conversation, the Catastrophe. Just like 9/11 when the notoriously rude New Yorkers all of a sudden WEREN’T. They became instantly friendly, concerned.

    The people downtown, the Village, Lower Manhattan even Chelsea, are all looking like refugees from some war-torn country. Evacuation is the what they all should have done and many have, but many people can’t leave their cold, dark apartments. And in the skyscrapers downtown there is also of course no elevator service.

    People are literally trapped as the weather turns ever colder in the high rises.

    When I lived in London in the ’70s, I was always surprised when I saw and heard the British and especially the Cockney disdain for living way above the ground. Now it seems wise.

    Me? I’ve got heat, light, and water. My internet is working. And so are the elevators. But when I had to venture out to 23rd Street on Wed. it turned into a really harrowing ordeal. Going downtown the bus was as jam-packed as the subway at rush hour and I was checking on my storage room downtown, where all my playwriting and past TV shows are stored, and while my floor was OK, the basement was flooded and everybody who had anything stored there lost everything.

    There are still no lights downtown. Block after block as far as the eye could see, not one light on in ANY buildings.

    And no subways at all in the lower part of Manhattan.  It’s frightening. It’s shocking. It’s sad. It’s terrible.

    Meanwhile, uptown the party that is New York goes on. Everybody in the “Light” area seems almost universally giddy, upbeat, rushing to the next Broadway show or movie.

    And yes, the movie houses are now open as of yesterday, I think.

    I went to see a screening of the upcoming “Lincoln” and went uptown on a bus(which was free)to the suddenly appropriately named Lincoln Square.

    On the way up there was this terrible traffic snarl. Why? Well, there was this crane dangling over W.57th street, which is closed off for blocks. It took a long time, but we got there. And coming back, we got a subway (also free) I can’t tell you how happy I was to hear the rumble of the always noisy subway for the first time in days!

    There weren’t a lot of people on it. But every body who was on it was in a good mood, because they were riding on it and it was going. Just down to W.34th Street. But it was going. And it was bright and warm. And everybody was happy to be on it. THIS is a New York first, too. Smiles all ’round on a subway!

    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.

    The Ghost of Heath Ledger Stalks the Earth

    Poor late Heath Ledger. He challenged the gods, if there are any, with his iconic performances in “The Dark Knight” and in “Brokeback Mountain.” We all hoped he could rest in peace, but it seems that is not to be.

    The horror that unfolded Thursday night in Colorado, just miles from where the Columbine tragic shooting occurred, was ignited by Heath’s indelible, but deeply disturbing performance of the Joker in TDK. He then died himself not long after. I often thought that that performance killed him. It made him go to a place so dark, he couldn’t come back. He went over the edge, and it was all captured on screen. And made millions and it killed him.

    He was shockingly young, as were most of the victims of BOTH Colorado shootings. He was too young to die. His great talent wasted. Drugs were to blame. A lethal concoction of either prescription or illegal substances. We’ll never know. There was a 20-30 min. delay in reporting his death, wherein one presumes, the Tribecca Loft he died in was cleaned up of anything incriminating. But in any case, poor Heath was dead.

    But he lives on, especially in those two classic film performances. As Ennis del Mar in “Brokeback” and as the Joker in TDK.

    And now this homicidal maniac in Aurora ,Colorado told the police calmly when they came to arrest him, waiting for them casually,  in the Parking Lot of the megaplex where he had just killed a dozen people and injured dozens more, some critically, he told them HE was “The Joker.”

    He died his hair orange. However, the Joker’s hair was green. And only red when he wore a red wig in drag with a nurse’s uniform.  The Joker set booby traps as the killer seems to have done in his apartment.

    A Ph.d graduate student in neuroscience, it seems he booby-trapped his door and left it unlocked, so that presumably anybody could get blown up, too, if they entered it unknowingly. One woman, a neighbor, disturbed by loud “techno-music” blaring exactly at midnight, as the killer was set to begin his rampage at the movie theater, this woman unknowingly nearly did. But something told her not to try to go in, so she didn’t. And thus saved her own life.

    And it’s not just an accident that it was THIS movie that he chose to kill at. There have been big blockbusters all summer long. “The Avengers”, “The Amazing Spiderman” etc. etc. but no. He chose this one. He had been planning this for months, starting to buy guns, legally, it seems, in Colorado, in May as he died his hair orange and began to drop out of school.

    We don’t know what made his Phi Beta Kappa mind snap. But snap it did. We may never know.

    But he seems obsessed, deathly obsessed with the Batman trilogy, and of course, the Joker in particular. The Joker was the embodiment of evil in a way that perhaps was never depicted on screen before.

    How horrible, I kept thinking, for Michelle Williams and also Anne Hathaway, who stars in this film TDKR, which is now going to be linked in the publics’ mind forever with this horrible horrible tragedy.

    Michelle has a beautiful little daughter by Heath, the now six-year-old Matilda, who looks EXACTLY like her late father. And Anne Hathaway knew Heath, too, from “Brokeback.” It’s soooo ironic that SHE, of all people, should be the star of this movie. I worry about them all, and my heartfelt best wishes and concern goes out to them.

    And the families of the victims who are still identifying the dead.

    Marshall Fine, the critic, who received death threats just last week when he wrote the first negative review of TDKR to appear on Rotten Tomatoes, had his website crash and caused Rotten Tomatoes to close their comment section on TDKR, the emails were so heinous, threatening violence. And we can be sure that this avalanche of hatred directed at Fine and Rotten Tomatoes did NOT come from one lone gunman in Colorado. What is going on here???

    It’s SOMEthing about this movie that his driving all these people over the edge of sanity. Just like it did poor Heath.

    What is it?

    I wasn’t wildly a fan of TDK, but I LOVED Heath’s  towering, unforgettable, frightening performance. Filmed during the break-up of his relationship with Michelle Williams, his Joker seemed beyond description. Someone who was totally out of his mind. He was a nightmare come to life. Scary is a way that no other Hollywood villain has ever been. And in a movie based on a comic-book yet.

    And hence the Colorado gunman’s identification with the Joker. He has doing in his mind only what the Joker did, I’m sure he thought. And in doing so he would become as famous as the Joker, as famous as Heath Ledger. And unfortunately, he has.

    And now 12 people are dead and countless lives maimed or destroyed by this one madman’s two-minute shooting spree, which movie goers all thought was part of the movie.

    Until they saw people dying in the seats next to them.

    I don’t know that I’ll ever see this movie now.

    But anyone who does is not going to be able to shrik the horrible reality of what happened in Aurora, Colorado.

    They are all haunted by the Ghost of Heath Ledger, who does not lie quiet in his grave.

    Tragedy in Colorado = No Oscar chances for TDKR

    The terrible tragedy that just occurred in Colorado is heinous in the extreme. And this film which I will now only refer to by its’ initials TDKR is now tarred forever with this horrible event.

    And this is NOT going to play well with the Academy. A film like this positioned as it is as a main Oscar contender come Awards season is NOT going to recover from this. Its’ box-office will take a hit, for sure. Theaters better started including metal detectors. The lawsuits! Warner Brothers, and maybe even Christopher Nolan himself and perhaps the stars of the film all could be subjects of litigation . Running into MILLIONS. And of course, the theater in Colorado will be sued into the ground. I mean, it was their fault, certainly their security’s fault, if they even had any, that this madman got into the building.

    And is it the movie itself?

    Well, we can only assume that the shooter did not even SEE it, but what he did see was the hype. The massive hype that was surrounding this picture.

    Warner Brothers had better back off now. They’ve achieved their goal. The film is on everyone’s lips, but for all the wrong reasons.

    And the Academy? Well, let me tell you one thing. They not only shy away from this kind of publicity, they RUN from it.
    I have not seen the film, and now I’m so turned off I don’t want to. But I have seen the hype. Who could miss it? And the hype is what got this madman to the theater at that time and on that day!

    Best Picture may have just flown out the wind for sure. But I think Christopher Nolan’s possible nod for Best Director is gone for good. The Director’s Branch, which already does not like him. They’ve never nominated him. And now…

    I don’t think, as I said, any of the actors will get nominations, not even Anne Hathaway. She’ll be nominated for “Les Miz” MUCH more of an Academy-friendly movie.

    I hope this is not the beginning of other copycat crimes, but I can see the public staying away in DROVES, fearing for their own safety.

    And I hope Marshall Fine has hired security.

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