a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Wash Westmoreland’

Gay Filmmaker Richard Glatzer Passes at 63 from ALS

The great filmmaker Richard Glatzer has passed from the crippling disease ALS. He was 63. He and his partner Wash Westmoreland, who does most of the talking in this interview, was by his side for the past 20 years.

This interview takes place on the steps of the Courthouse in Newport, Rhode Island, where their break-through film “Quincenara” was the Opening Night sensation in the summer of 2005.

As in most small festivals, you end up hanging out with the friendliest face and that for sure was Richard.

Unbelievably, he developed ALS, the same disease that struck Stephen Hawking, and that Eddie Redmayne just won an Oscar for portraying a few weeks back. And even more poignantly, neither Richard nor Wash could attend the Oscars, seeing Julianne Moore win for their film “Still Alice.”

Moore had been saying that Richard was effected also by early on-set Alzheimer’s, which was what the movie was about, but in her final Oscar acceptance speech, she admitted, at last, it was ALS. And unlike Stephen Hawking who is still alive and vital today in his ’70s, Richard’s disease progressed extremely rapidly.

He was a talented, genial spirit, a fellow native New Yorker. It’s a great loss to the independent film community, to the gay community and to the world.

R.I.P. Richard.

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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 Site Gold Derby Now Decides Category Placement!

Oscar HeadlessJust where do I think everything is today as the end of October, always a crucial month for Oscar, is less than two weeks away.

I have a lot of questions and there are some clear answers.

Both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories are all but sewn up at the moment. The winner, I mean, or the Front-Runner, always a deadly term, especially in the Best Picture category. Best Actor or Actress and especially in Supporting don’t suffer the fate the leader of the pack in Best Picture does. Different rules apply.

Julianne Moore for “Still Alice” and Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood” seem to have locked down their Oscars already.

There was a lot of category shifting, a few weeks back(when I didn’t have Internet access to comment more swiftly on it) for the wonderful, under-appreciated Arquette. She could’ve been in Best Actress, but, and this is another thing that has changed this year, methinks, GoldDerby.com and its’ experts(Tom O, why O why am I not one?) decided that Supporting was where Patricia dominated their charts, and so IFC, the distributor of “Boyhood”, dutifully put Arquette in the lesser race. Why? Because Gold Derby said so! A few weeks back.

Now, this IS a change. Tom O’Neil’s http://www.goldderby.com has always been exhaustively covering the Oscars. But never, before, I think, EVER (and people will remind me if this isn’t so) NEVER have they LED the race so clearly as they have with placing Patricia Arquette in Supporting Actress for “Boyhood”. And whatever I thought of the movie(too long, couldn’t relate to the kid) I LOVED Arquette’s soulful 12 year journey as the Boy in questions mother. The good Mom, always an Academy favorite.The Earth Mother, who’s trying her best to do her best.

And I think that’s the biggest award “Boyhood” is going to get from the Academy. MAYbe Original screenplay. But not a lot else. More nominations for sure. Like Ethan Hawke also in Supporting for his best-ever turn as the deadbeat-dad-with-a-heart-of-gold.

But I don’t think Gold Derby is really deciding the other races, but its’ putting Arquette where she is for sure now going to land, is a first, I think. Making Gold Derby essential reading. The other categories there are all not so clear at all. Take a look. They’re confused and confusing. Up and down. In and Out. Well, Tom styles it as a horse race, a derby, and he’s right. That’s exactly what the Oscar Race, which he always calls “the Derby” is, when you boil it all down.

A lot is still up in the air. Although they have got Julianne Moore in their #1 spot, and I think that’s right. Right now anyway. Until Harvey Weinstein potentially dynamites J-Moo’s rock-solid position for “Still Alice,” which I truly loved BTW with his Amy Adams starrer “Big Eyes,” which opens in late December.Is that going to be too late now that the deserving Julianne has gotten so strong? Perhaps. Maybe Harvey will move the Opening of “Big Eyes” up. If he does, watch out!

I thought Julianne wouldn’t have a prayer after I saw “Maps to the Stars” deflate right in front of my eyes at the Toronto Film Festival. In that she plays a VERY unsympathetic, aging actress, and the film is pretty much a mess. But SHE’S great! And she won Best Actress at Cannes.

But “Still Alice” is a lovely,searing film about an important issue, early on-set Alzheimer’s, and Moore is simply astounding as she goes through every startling, debilitating change of the disease. From A to Z and back again. Moore’s work in “Still Alice” makes Julie Christie’s a few years back on a similar topic in “Away From Her” look like a doodle. A mere sketch. Marion Cotillard won that year for her tour-de-force as Edith Piaf in “La Vie En Rose”.

And though there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, hence no requisite happy ending,  it’s a supremely graceful film, and the ending is appropriately in tune with the serious subject matter. And you have to applaud the filmmakers Wash Westmoreland and his partner Richard Glatzer for telling this difficult story right. They’ve even gotten Alec Baldwn to be sympathetic, too, as the do-the-right-thing hubby. Alec Baldwin warm and fuzzy? Will wonders never since?!?. Kristen Stewart shines, too, in a change of pace role for her as Moore’s quarrelsome actress daughter.

I thought, as you know, Rosamund Pike, was a category leader in Best Actress for my immensely liked “Gone Girl”, but then I saw Moore seal the deal in “Still Alice”. She’s admitting to being 50 and she soars. And this performance,plus her challenging, all -out vain-to-the-max actress in “Maps to the Stars” and her Cannes win, all add up to Oscar in my book, and I think the Academy’s, too.

While others are rushing to judgment, I personally feel the other categories, Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor are all over the place right now, and the rest of the remaining unseen films need to be seen. They may figure heavily this year. Especially in Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor. I don’t think we’ve seen the winners there yet. But it’s vague, to me, for sure.There’s a lot of variables and a lot of bloody contests to be fought still. And it’s only OCTOBER! Wait til November when the Oscar combatants’ gloves REALLY come off. And oh yes, “The Theory of Everything” finally opens!

But I guess what I’m trying to say is, Gold Derby has now become more important than ever this year . So go there and enjoy the podcasts and predictions and videos. I do. And I think Academy members and for sure the films’ publicists do,too.

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