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Posts tagged ‘True Grit’

Best Supporting Actress- Pre-Festivals, Pre-TIFF

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 2012 -Pre-TIFF

This category was ceded by many, months ago, to Anne Hathaway’s heartbreaking, shattering performance in the trailer of “Les Miserables.” I have never seen a trailer to have such an impact on the Oscar Race, and so EARLY! Back in June. Or May even…And the film doesn’t come out til Christmas!

“The Dream Lives,” the trailer ends with these titles “This Christmas.” Well, I for one can hardly wait!

Why was Universal releasing this so early?

Well, it was superbly done, brilliantly edited, and plaintively sung by Hathaway. It contains the song “I Dreamed A Dream,” which is arguably one of the most famous songs from “Les Miz” that always pulls heart-strings, if it’s done right.

This is the song that made Susan Boyle an over-night sensation on “Britain’s Got Talent” a few years back. And Musical Comedys are NOT at all a sure-fire, can’t-miss genre these days. No matter how well they may be done. They released this that early to build buzz. And it has succeeded in that respect. And Anne Hathaway also scored as Catwoman in TDKR, too, this year.

Oscar Winner for Best Director for “The King’s Speech” is back again with “Les Miz” and he directs period pieces soooo well…just check out the Multi-Emmy-Award Winning TV series “John Adams.” That was one of the greatest TV series I’ve ever seen, and it could have been as dry as dust, instead it was riveting. And it won its two leads Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney Best Actor and Best Actress Emmys, too. As John and Abigail Adams respectively.

And Laura is back in the Best Actress hunt again this year. Her FOURTH nomination, if she gets one for “Hyde Park on the Hudson” which I already discussed in the previous post just below this one.

Which is to say that Hooper’s actors win awards, see Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech.”

Anne Hathaway’s part in “Les Miz” is the doomed prostitute Fantine, which also won Patti LuPone an Olivier Award, when she played that part in the original London production. So it’s an awards-magnet role. And Hathaway totally aces it in the trailer’s Oscar-y moment par excellence when she, sobbing and dirty, gets all her real hair cut off.  It’s a horrifying, but award-worthy moment. The song is MUCH longer than that,too And there is much more to her role in “Les Miz” although she does die early on.  But who’s to say if they might run her as Best Actress instead of Supporting?

They might. But then again the Academy’s Actor’s Branch voters are the ones who ultimately decide which category an actress, or an actor, is going to be in. The Studios and distributors can campaign all they want…but it’s Hathaway’s peers who will decide where to put her.

The many For Your Consideration ads are run by the Studios as a means of clue-ing the Actor’s Branch especially for who goes where.  They decided for instance that Kate Winslet should be considered for Best Actress for “The Reader” when no less an Oscar personage than Harvey Weinstein was running her as Supporting for that film. Which she did eventually win a Golden Globe for. And also, for Best Actress that year for “Revolutionary Road.” Her “I got TWO!” picture with a Golden Globe in each hand, flashed around the world.

I think this instance shows that the Academy doesn’t ALWAYS do as Harvey tells them.Or suggests to them, I should say.

Opposite Hathaway, it’s looking like Harvey’s main gal this season is going to be Amy Adams for “The Master”, but evidently some already say the part is too small, only three scenes.

Will Qu’venzhane Wallis the 8 year old in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”  get run in Supporting, instead of lead, where she belongs? However, the Academy is notoriously not partial to putting child actors in the lead category. Look what they did with that girl with the braids from “True Grit.” She ended up in Supporting, though she arguably, also had the lead female role in the Coen Bros. western. What was her name anyway? I’ve completely forgotten! Hallie something? That nomination was the beginning and end of her career.

There’s also the great female Brits in the runaway smash of the Indies this year “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” It boasts THREE great performances, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton. Again Dame Judi is the lead here, but again, Fox Searchlight has got her down for Supporting, where she really shouldn’t be. The Academy could put her in lead, if they so deem fit…As I said in the last post, Best Actress is once again Back Up For Grabs this year…

Fox Searchlight has its’ hands full this year! Should Judi Dench go lead? Should Qu’venszhane? Decisions! Decisions!

And then there’s Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Won’t Back Down”, another Indie. But who is lead and who is Supporting? I don’t think that film is even at Toronto. Which says something.

And though after last year’s debacle with Davis predicted to win all over the place, she lost to Meryl Streep. The Academy was again accused of racism. And it is. Although they did give the Best Supporting Actress Oscar to Octavia Spenser for the controversial “The Help.” Could they try to make it up to her with ANOTHER nomination? If they did, she would then be the first African-American actress to get the most Oscar nominations ever. A total of three.

Or is “Don’t Back Down” even Oscar worthy? We don’t know yet. But its lack of Festival presence says something, I think.

To go back to “Hyde Park on Hudson” there are two British Olivias in Supporting roles. Olivia Williams as Eleanor Rossevelt and Olivia Coleman as the Queen of England, who is visiting the Roosevelts at Hyde Park, with her husband the stuttering King Edward VII.

AND there’s the Oscar perennial Bridesmaid multiple-timed nominee, Annette Bening playing against type as a gambling-obsessed Mom of Kristen Wiig in “Imogene.”  You can never count Bening out.

But judging by the competition she’s up against, IMHO, this category is Anne Hathaway’s to lose.

More “Amour” & “Beasts”

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone is back in Hwood and she and Jeffrey Wells just put up their podcast Oscar Poker, now looking back on Cannes. And mostly “Amour.”

Sasha of http://www.awardsdaily.com loves it. And Jeff begrudgingly now has to say he “admires ” it, but says the film that just won the Palme d”Or in Cannes, made him want to commit suicide.

Ok, it’s about Death, he says, and Sasha says it’s about Love, with a capital “L.” Jean-Louis Trintignant is taking care of his dying wife of over 40 years, who does not want to go to a hospital and so he has to do everything for her that a hospital staff would. And he wants to. He doesn’t want to let her go. She looses her appetite. She has two strokes. And it won the Palme d’Or.

Sasha proclaims the film a classic. Jeff can barely bring himself to talk about it. But he does. With Sasha’s prodding. He’s in Prague on his way back to the States, and she’s in L.A.

She talks about her grandmother’s death, and how her father did not want to let her go, and…well, take a listen. Jeff and Sasha both go “there”  It’s very heavy. And profound, and reveals a lot about both bloggers.

Sasha also again avers her affection for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and that with Fox Searchlight’s help, she thinks it’s going to get Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay nods. Jeff thought they’d put the little child in Best Supporting Actress since she’s only 6 years old in the film. Sasha thinks that that rule about putting child actors in  Supporting doesn’t apply anymore since the little girl in “Whale Rider” got a Best Actress nom.

But I say, look at the Coen Bros. next to last film, “True Grit” and remember where Haillee Stoddard ended up. In Supporting. And she lost there. To Melissa Leo for “The Fighter” a few years back. Leo made a big point of doing practically everything wrong on her road to the Oscar, but win it she did. But Haillee Stoddard has just vanished…so much for fame….and Hollywood’s 15 minutes rule…

Sasha also points out the way to be a success on the Internet is to constantly put up new material EVERY DAY. And more than once again, so that “The people reading your  site will go back and back, several times a day, like I do with Jeff’s site. I check it three times a day.” And so, I have to admit, do I. I go back to Awardsdaily multiple times a day. I check it almost as much as I do my own You Tube channel, and more than I do this blog.

But Sasha’s advice is to post CONSTANTLY. I haven’t been doing that. And I didn’t have a sympatico, working computer from March til May. I dropped my Toshiba and more or less broke it and now I have a new, nice, working Sony. I HOPE it stays so…

Jeff uses a Toshiba also, the top of the line one, and carries it with him everywhere and posts from everywhere. I don’t do that. Sasha seems to only post from her home/office. Except on the rare occasions that she travels to a film festival. Like to Cannes.

Me? I just do what I can. Who can do more? And thank to all my readers, cineastes all, who keep reading me now matter what, or how infrequently I post. Compared to Jeffrey and Sasha, I’m really a slug-a-bed.

I was GOING to try to go to “The Avengers” this AM, but both Sasha and Jeffrey were dumping on it so bad, I really wonder if I’ll get there…No Oscar chances anywhere on that film, they both agreed (And so does everyone else.) Me? I only do Oscar-seeking movies, and “The Avengers” is just all about money, the gigantic amount of money it has made. Doesn’t mean it’s going to get propelled into the Oscar race, both Jeff and Sasha agreed, so why bother? I’m talking myself out of going…

Gurus o’ Gold change in one chaaaangeable category!

As the Gurus o’ Gold( I used to be one, once! Yes! It’s true!) put up their near-to-final picks for Oscar, there’s ONLY one change ini ONE major category. “The King’s Speech”, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman and Christian Bale are all the same #1’s they were before, but HAILEE STEINFELD of “True Grit” has move up to # 1 in the Best Supporting Actress category! That race, I swear, is going to be decided by one vote!

We’ll never know of course, because Oscar NEVER prints totals, but it’s gonna be close! A photo finish! I’m still saying “The King’s Speech” will sweep, however.

The Gurus can be found at David Poland’s www.moviecitynews.com

The BAFTAS predict the Oscars quite often lately

Last night the BAFTAS pretty much accurately predicted who’s going to win what in the Best Picture and Actors categories.

Before I go further, let me once again, explain that the BAFTAs voting procedures are different from the Oscars in that EVERYone, every member, votes on the categories of Best Picture and all four acting categories.

HOWEVER, the British Guilds vote for each of the other categories, like Best Director. And they gave it to David Fincher for “The Joy of Typing” and not home boy Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech.” THAT was probably the most shocking event of the evening, as “The King” ruled over seven categories! Taking home the most BAFTAS of any film, seven, including Best Picture, Best British Picture, Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay and Best Score.

I bring up the directing statistic as an example of how the Brits don’t necessarily honor their own. As for instance, Anthony Minghella (“The English Patient”) and Sam Menzies(“American Beauty”) were dissed in Limey, losing in their own country, but winning the Oscar for Best Director,when Push came to SHOW!

Since Tom Hooper has already won the DGA for “The King’s Speech”. Since the Queen of England AND Andy Rooney (just yesterday, this Sunday on 60 Minutes) both endorsed TKS, I think he’s got that in the bag too.

As well as fellow “King”sters Colin (of course) Firth and Geoffrey Rush and FINALLY my fave Helena Bonham-Carter.

Rush winning over Brit bad boy Christian Bale is particularly significant, since Rush is ostentatiously Australian.

I had the pleasure last night of attending an event in his honor last night at the DGA where Rush got multiple ovations, some of them standing, but more about that later.

I have always maintained that the BAFTAs help make up undecided minds in the Academy. If AMPAS voters wait to see what the Brits do at the BAFTAS…especially in the top Acting Categories.

Had Annette Bening upset Natalie Portman(who didn’t even show up) in Best Actress, for instance, it would indicate that their was an undercurrent surging for Annette. No such luck. Natalie’s got it, as they say, locked up. And Colin(of course) Firth does, too.  No contest in either of those two categories. The same can also be applied to David Seidler, the real stutterer who penned “King’s Speech” from his heart and who won Best Original Screenplay.

I’m willing to concede (FINALLY) that Aaron Soreking will win Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Joy of Typing.” Even his constant comparing himself to Shakespeare didn’t put off the Brits, so yes, the Academy will follow suit and this may be the only award “Typing” wins at the Oscars…You heard it here first!

And Geoffrey and Helena!

Well, the category of Supporting Actress for those of you who have been following the story (and you wouldn’t be reading THIS if you weren’t) know how badly former front-runner Melissa Leo stumbled at the last yard and basically handed the award to yes, Helena Bonham-Carter!

Best Supporting Actress is a category like none other. And these year, to me, resembles the year, a few back, when it was a five-way horse race, and at the last possible minute, Tilda Swinton was anointed at the BAFTAs for “Michael Clayton” and then surprised everyone, but me, at the Oscars ten or so days later.

This year Best Supp. Actress is all over the place with two actresses both from the fighter, Leo, who wasn’t nominated by the BAFTAs AT ALL, and Amy Adams, who was. Only Amy and Helena B-C found approval from the BAFTAs and of course, she won, and gave a wacky, rambling, memorable and moving speech just as I foretold she would.

She wore a black Vivienne Westwood. And looked less bizarre than she did at the BFCA or was it the SAGs or was it the Golden Globes, when she wore two different colored shoes? It’s all starting to blur on me. And if I’M getting a bit blurry, imagine the Awards-circuit fatigue the average viewer is going through?!?

But the Oscars are STILL the Gold Standard(pardon the pun) and I really do think Helena aced this topsy-turvy category with her BAFTA win.

Geoffrey on the other hand, really has his hands full trumping Christian Bale in “The Fighter.” As good as Bale is in this popular film( I even liked it), he lost on his home turf,(yes, he IS British, too) to Rush’s supreme, stately, magnificent Speech Therapist Lionel Logue.

Rush has got his previous Oscar win in Best Actor for “Shine” and Bale is a first-time nominee.

But Rush now has the BAFTA as well as Sasha Stone www.awardsdaily.com predicting him now. And I’ve ALWAYS been predicting him. And Helena, too.

Helena’s competition is much less intense as what Rush has to contend with in Bale’s…but…

I think the BAFTAS have spoken. Last year, it was only the Supporting Categories that matched. No Bullock, no Bridges, but Christoph Waltz and Mo’Nique won BAFTAs as well as Oscars. The year previous Mickey Rourke won, over Sean Penn. But then Mr. Rourke got up and made a really crude F=== this and F=== that acceptance speech, and pretty much handed the award to Penn with that embarrassing, graceless moment.

But in the two years previous, BAFTA was four for four with the Oscar actors.

This year, well, don’t be surprised by “The King’s Speech” being the sweep of sweeps.

And one more thing, I’d like to point out. In CONCLUSION, Academy voters in ALLLLL disciplines and branches get to vote on all the awards (except Foreign Film, Documentaries, and Shorts, where you have to sign in and actually ATTEND those screenings to vote in those categories.) So the Academy Voting Ballot is something you can go, check, check, check and TICK ALL THE BOXES, as Colin and Geoffrey are both wont to say. And just vote “The King’s Speech” ticket for everything!

And not to be outdone by the Brits, I also predict that even though “The King’s Speech” won SEVEN awards, the Oscar vote count will be higher, much higher, maybe even historic. The Oscar ballot is designed for sweeps, since in the below the line categories, the technicians are listed by their names and their films are not even listed! A lot of cross-checking has to be done filling out the AMPAS ballot to vote-split. It’s easier to just look at the “For You Consideration” screener of your favorite film and just go, tick, tick, BOOM from there. And I think most do.

Harvey Weinstein is probably fuming about the seven BAFTAS his “King” didn’t win. But not me! I’m thrilled with all the events happening around this beautiful, beautiful film!

Whoever Wins the BAFTAs Will Win the Oscar, too!

I’m making yet ANOTHER one of my bold predictions(that’s what I do) but I’m going out on ANOTHER limb, having a blog, as opposed to a TV show, which is weekly, I can predict the Oscar race on a daily basis.

And I do…

So, here goes…

Whoever wins the BAFTAS Sunday night will also win the Oscars on Feb.27! I’m talking about the top six categories. BP, BD, and the four top acting awards.

But as I’m sizing this up…I just noticed that all the probable top six BAFTA winners and very likely going to be Oscars, too! This may be the first time that this ever happened in Oscar/BAFTA history.

We all know, of course, that the marvelous, the magnificent “The King’s Speech” will sweep, and it has certainly got Best Picture in the bag. And that goes for its’ young director, too.Tom Hooper.

HOWEVER, if he, the  rising star of British directing stars, doesn’t win here…and David Fincher, for “The Joy of Typing” does…well…then Fincher may very well win the Oscar, too. Fincher’s American. And if they chose an American over a Brit…uh oh…but I think Tom Hooper will win this, the way he won the DGA. AND he’s got Roger Ebert backing him now. And Sasha Stone. AND me…HOW CAN HE LOSE?!?!

Colin Firth is THEE King of Kings. No contest at all in this category. No discussion either.

BUT if Annette Bening upsets as some are expecting that she might, if she upsets in Best Actress and wins OVER Natalie Portman…LOOOOK OUT! She’ll get the Oscar too.

Her late-campaign charging has been noted by all…maybe too little too late. BUT if it’s effective and she WINS! Goodbye “Black Swan” Hello “The Kid’s…” who’ll RRREALLLY be ALL RIGHT!

Now the same thing I sense to be true in the Supporting Categories BOTH of them. If Geoffrey Rush wins here and gives a tremendous speech as we all know he will, he’ll win the Oscar by winning the BAFTA. And if Christian Bale doesn’t win here…he’s done…However, if Bale DOES triumph and doesn’t embarass himself AGAIN, as he is wont to do, then Bale will be unstoppable at the Oscars…

Bale, it may astonish you to know is British. Yes, he is. Welsh. But he apes an American accent and the Brits don’t like that.

Ditto Helena Bonham-Carter for the Queen in “The King’s Speech”. She’s BOUND to win here. Amy Adams is her only also Oscar-nominated competitor here Brit-side. Hailee Steinfeld is nominated for BEST ACTRESS here(she won’t win, but…if she WERE…well that’s a whole ‘another column) and Melissa Leo is not nominated here for “The Fighter.”

Sooo…with the evergrowing momentum of “The King’s Speech” turning into a British Lion’s ROAR!!! I think the BAFTAS will be a “Sweepie” as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone put it.

One of Sasha’s favorite performances, Judi Dench winning her Oscar for playing Elizabeth I in “Shakespeare in Love.”

All Ways Here Are the Queen’s Way!

Who said that? Oh, Helena Bonham-Carter in “Alice in Wonderland.”

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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