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Posts tagged ‘whiplash’

“La La Land” Sweeps Oscar Off His Feet. Emma Stone Will Win Best Actress!

la-la-land-1I must say, I resisted “La La Land” for the longest time imaginable. I, a musical comedy queen par excellence, just did not believe the hype, that this small scale musical(seems like there’s only two people in it) couldn’t with one fell swoop bring Musicals back to the movies? And go on to win Every Single Critics Best Picture Award in the book? And have a real shot at winning the Best Picture Oscar, too? And a singing and dancing Emma Stone was going to waltz her way to the Dobly Pavillion and dance off with her own Best Actress Oscar, too? Well, that’s exactly what happened. To this film with the ridiculous title. It’s winning everything.

And I finally saw it and I fell in love with it.

Hard.la-la-land-2

Starring two of the most beautiful people in the world, the aforementioned Emma Stone and the dazzlingly handsome Ryan Gosling, they not only sing their way into your heart, they dance there, too! And Ryan Gosling turns out to be an ace jazz piano player, and plays all the film’s musical numbers himself. Yes! With his own real hands! Brilliant 32- year- old director, a Hollywood wunderkind, if ever there was one. Damien Chazelle might be dancing with more than one Oscar in his hands come Awards Night.

He’s done the impossible. He’s single=handedly brought musicals back to the movies, and he did it last year, too, with the astounding debut film “Whiplash.”

la-la-land-3Which, for all its’ dramatics, was really a musical too. About Jazz, again. And both films are going to go down in Hollywood history as will Stone, Gosling, and Mandy Moore the brilliant choreographer. And yes, there is a third part in this film, too, J.T. Simmons, the sadist drum-teacher of “Whiplash,” which won him an Oscar last year. Here he’s a uber-nasty manager of the nightclub of sorts that our Hero Sebastian, (Gosling) has been reduced to playing Christmas ditties in.

“La La Land” is the perfect film. For this year. It’s total escapism, and that’s what we all need right now. It just seems impossibly wonderful and harks back to all the great Movie Musicals of the 1930 through ’50s.

Being a song and dance man myself (I’ve also written MANY musicals myself, way back when, and an opera, too), I know what Seb (as she calls Gosling) and Mia(Stone) are going through. And it’s total rejection almost all the time. That’s Show Biz. And that’s particularly LA, where I lived for one year, and wondered how the dreams were manufactured that got me there.

“La La Land” is a love poem to LA. And I have never seen it look so gorgeous. The cinematography is candy coated and Ms. Stone wears bold, single colored costumes. After a particularly brutal audition experience, she walks sadly down pinkish Hollywood streets in a royal  blue dress. She later wears a solid yellow. Redheads are NEVER supposed to wear yellow, but Stone does, and she’s forever going to be associated with the “little yellow dress” that she’s seen dancing with Gosling as he falls in love with her.la-la-land-4 la-la-land-5

Oh yes, Stone is playing the ultimate Aspiring LA Actress. She’s so frustrated, she starts writing her own play, a one woman show for herself. I can related. I’ve done that, too. And she doubles her despair by becoming a playwright/actress.

And she doesn’t understand or “get” jazz. So. of course, she’s at cross-purposes with Seb, because he’s the ultimate jazz aficionado, who wants to own his own jazz club some day. She wants to be a star. And somehow, through the magic of movies, they find each other and fall predictably in love, but not toooo predictably.la-la-land-6

“La La Land” starts with a massive traffic jam on a highway(some things never change. I hate cars. I hate smog. And I hated LA until I saw this lovely picture.) The entire stalled group of honking horns and frustrated drivers then inexplicably burst into song and dance. “Another Day of Sun,” which I found a bit much. Seb and Mia don’t sing and dance here. He honks his horn at her. She gives him the finger, and drives off. This I could relate to.la-la-land-7

But “La La Land” is a slow burn. It’s takes it’s time getting to where it wants to go, but boy, oh boy, when it gets there, it just KILLS you. I just couldn’t stop the tears. And in this last part of the movie, Emma Stone goes from being just Emma Stone, who we’ve now seen for years, the almost garden variety movie ingenue doing almost the same raspy-voiced, big-eyed schtick, suddenly transforms into the great Screen Goddess we all hoped she would be, and she turns into an actress of such unexpected depth and poignancy, as well as beauty, that glows like uranium, or more accurately Oscar gold.

She’s Hollywood’s new Princess. The envelope, please.la-la-land-8

E.T.A. “La La Land” just led the pack with SEVEN Golden Globe nominations! More on this later.

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“La La Land” Wins People’s Choice Award at Toronto

la-la-land-1“La La Land” is proving to be the People’s Choice. It was just won that award, considered very important by all Oscarologists at the Toronto Film Festival. I haven’t seen it yet, but it seems everybody loves it. So this surely pushes it squarely into the Oscar nomination category for Best Picture, as well as many other nominations in many other categories. It looks luscious. I can’t wait to see it!

Pundits from Sasha Stone http://www.awardsdaily.com to Tom O’Neil at Gold Derby have placed it at #1. In fact, for a complete list of TIFF winners check out awardsdaily.

“Queen of Katwe” with Lupita Nyong’o placed second. And “Lion” a Weinstein film with Dev Patel came in third. Lupita, people say, is looking at another Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Katwe.”Lupita 2016And Emma Stone is the front-runner now in the Best Actress category.

“La La” is directed by Damien Chazelle who directed the great “Whiplash” last year and won an Oscar for Supporting Actor for J.T. Simmons.

#TIFF # Oscars # La La Land # Emma Stone

Lupita Nyong’o Presents Best Supp. Actor to J.K.Simmons

Lupita Oscars 15The lovely Lupita Nyong’o, last year’s winner for Best Supporting Actress, just presented Best Supporting Actor to J.K.Simmons, who won of course, as all and sundry predicted for the much-loved “Whiplash.”

Lupita looks more classier and majestic than ever in a white-gown that seemed to be made up entirely of pearls! She looked like a huge necklace. A subtle shout-out through-the-ages to the late Josephine Baker. Hmmm? I wonder if Lupita might play that role in a film someday.

The always start off the show with Best Supporting Actor, and it starts it off with a bang. Of course, the wonderful Neil Patrick Harris knocked it out of the ball-park, too, with his salute to “Hollywood’s best and the WHITEST!”

The Eva Duvernay and David Oyelowo snubs have turned into one of the biggest events of Oscars 2015. Possibly, because the rest of The Race seemed soooo predictable. Although, they’ve rumored “surprises.” One hopes so, as I’ve said.

But isn’t everyone getting a little sick of J.K.Simmons at this point? But then he totally redeemed himself with a very touching tribute to his wife and his children. And to parents every where.

He told everyone to call their mother or father, “if they are still on this planet.” Mine aren’t. I ended up being very moved. I could see Lupita, in a side shot, was crying.

Motherhood, fatherhood, parents, children. Is this going to be the theme of the night? Is J.K. trying to tell us something? Well, clearly he is. I mean about the Best Picture winner tonight…?

Oscar Nomination Predictions~ The Supporting Actors & Actresses

Oscars 2015It’s really much harder predicting the Oscar NOMINATIONS which are coming out tomorrow morning before the dawn breaks over Hollywood 5AM PST. They are announcing ALLLL 25 categories tomorrow so they may start even earlier. But right now I’m going to predict the way that the four Acting categories are going to go.

Believe it or not, my feeling for biggest surprise may be from Renee Russo, who, due to the ever-increasing popularity of “Nightcrawler” may just snatch that fifth slot in Best Supporting Actress away from Jessica Chastain, who may have unfortunately split her own vote three ways by having three exemplary examples of her stellar work in “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”, “The Most Violent Year,” and “Interstellar.”

The other more or less agreed upon four ladies, front-runner Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”), Emma Stone (“Birdman”), Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods”) and Keira Knightley (“Imitation Game”).

Supporting Actor has five men who have dominated this category since the beginning, but again, that pesky fifth slot I think is going to contain a surprise. Like for instance Steve Carrell(“Foxcatcher”) being dropped down to from Best Actor, as he was by the BAFTAS.

The 84-year-old Robert Duvall is the shakiest IMHO, because his film “The Judge” was not as much seen by audiences, i.e,  it was NOT perceived as successful. So if there were one too many screeners to see in an extremely limited amount of time “The Judge”, even though it opened the Toronto Film Festival, may very well be the one they skip.

Edward Norton was  terrific as the most over-acting actor of all time in “Birdman” and is a sure slam-dunk. Also many are gathering around Mark Ruffalo’s character in “Foxcatcher.” He’s playing a family man, and he gets tragic come-uppance which he doesn’t deserve. IOW, people are finding him the only sympathetic character in this dark, jerky movie.

Ruling the roost of The FIVE is J. K. Simmons for his blistering portrayal of a seemingly sadistic teacher, who then has also a tragic arc of sorts in the terrific “Whiplash”, a film I feel will get nominated, too, for Best Picture. But more about that category later!

Also, the Academy all did get the controversial “Selma” screeners, so they all got a chance to watch how good it is, and you just might find Tom Wilkinson’s portrait of LBJ turning up here. He’s got the only other significant, sizeable part, and Wilkinson has had two previous nominations, so they all know him and respect him.

All this “Selma” back-and-forth-ing may pay off in this category. But perhaps not with the directors branch.

If there is indeed an attempt to rally ’round “Selma” by the Actor’s Branch Carmen Ejogo who plays Coretta Scott King so beautifully might surprise here, too, and knock out – wait for it – Meryl Streep!

They may not want to give her her 19th(!) nomination. Then, again, they always nominate her for just about getting up in the morning. And she always turns up, and smiles, and laughs. But will Meryl be laughing on Oscar Nomination morning? Her terrific performance as the Witch was aided by many, many dazzling special effects…the Actor’s Branch doesn’t like special effects. They like ACTING! With a capital “A”, which Meryl WAS doing and singing as well.

Keira Knightley has the Weinstein Co. behind her. So she’s in. They still wield a mighty awards sword, despite their weak showing Sunday night with the Golden Globes. Only Amy Adams won, from TWC’s film slate. Best Actress for “Big Eyes” a nomination that is probably NOT going to be repeated on Thursday morning. But more on that category later!

Emma Stone is the Girl-Of-The-Year in “Birdman” as Michael Keaton’s mouthy teenaged daughter. She was very good in this, as she wasn’t in Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight,” but she got acclaimed for even THAT weak portrayal but not by me.

So in conclusion I think we have for Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette, Emma Stone, Keira Knightley, Renee Russo and MAYbe Meryl Streep. MAYbe.

And for Supp. Actor ~ J.K. Simmons, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo,

Ethan Hawke(for “Boyhood”) and the surprise ~ Tom Wilkinson for “Selma.”

The Academy does not shy away from the kind of press that “Selma” has been getting of late, which, as I said, may hurt its’ chances in the Best Director category but not Best Picture, and perhaps not here.

Wilkinson is a controversial LBJ? What the H! Let’s nominate to show how tough we really are, and he’s very good in the film.

We shall see.

Joanna Froggatt “Downtown” Classiest Winner Golden Globes, J.K. Simmon & Patricia Arquette also triumph

Joanna Frogatt“Downtown Abbey”s very own Joanna Froggatt, who played the rape victim Anna won in her TV category( Supporting Actress TV/mini-series) and gave tonight’s classiest acceptance so far. Claiming that she hopes she was able to give a voice to similarly affected women everywhere. J. K. Simmons also won as expected for his sadistic/funny/frightening/enlightening music-teacher-from-hell in the great “Whiplash”. Huge, thunderous applause for him. And also for Patricia Arquette who also marched to her expected win for “Boyhood” as the Mom of Moms. Both gave perfectly poised speeches that will probably ensure that they will give MANY, MANY more & similar speeches on their way to their inevitable Oscar wins in a month and a half.

Out-of-the-blue winner so far(it’s still going on) was Amy Adams for “Big Eyes.” She also won last year at the Globes for “American Hustle” in the same category. Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. She looked depressed and sad on the Red Carpet. No longer. She’s fine. But probably won’t get an Oscar nomination for “Big Eyes” which is perceived as a flop.

Chalk this one up to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s wanting to give Harvey(Weinstein) SOMEthing. May means his other films won’t win tonight. That measn YOU “Imitation Game.”

Best Screenplay went, inexplicably, to “Birdman.”

Best Score went to “Theory of Everything.”

And Richard Linklater, whose a helluva nice guy, one of the nicest film directors I’ve ever interviewed, won, of course, for “Boyhood.”  Probably signaling “Boyhood” will win Best Picture.

They’ve saved the BIG awards, in film, for the last 45 minutes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/the-national-society-of-film-critics-love-language-20150103?utm_source=tohDaily_newsletter&utm_medium=sailthru_

A.C.E. announce! The Importance of Editing to Oscar

Nightcrawler 2The A.C.E. or the Eddies, the Editing organization that the public may not know about, but the industry sure does, just announced their nominees and this year in their two film categories there were 11(!) nominations.  Six in Drama and Five in Musical/Comedy, like the Golden Globes. There was a tie in the Drama category, but they’re not saying who or which film. Including “Nightcrawler”, they were “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood”, “Imitation Game” and “Whiplash.” And the also surprising last minute, late comer to the race,  Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”

The importance of editing as the central or key aspect in film-making today and in the awards season race, can not be underestimated. And also, no Best Picture has won without at least an Eddie nomination, Which is bad news for “Selma”.

If I had it to do over again, I’d study film-editing myself. Sometimes you feel like you’ve missed your calling and I think about trying to start to learn how to edit everyday. But I digress…

The guilds are the first REAL sample of how the industry is feeling this year about the Oscars. All the other awards so far are mainly voted on by CRITICS! And there are NO critics or press in the Academy.

There ARE press agents, but they only are allowed to nominate five pictures for Best Film, as one small for instance. When the nominations are announced they THEN get to vote in all the categories, but this is Phase I, the nomination phase. In fact, Academy members are nominating right now as we speak.

And next to the VAST Actor’s Branch, the second branch that really has a say, I think, is the Editor’s Branch. Not all the members of A.C.E. are IN the editors branch, by the way, but it’s a pretty good indicator.

And what’s surprising about today’s announcements, is what was left in that wasn’t expected, like for instance “Nightcrawler” (on my year’s 10 Best List for sure) and also the late opening Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper.

Nobody expected either of them to make it and that means they may make it into the Best Picture race at the Oscars. Left out was “Selma”. Which is kind of shocking, with all the supposed momentum that is building for it. But maybe it’s not. Also left out, I’m sorry to say was my fave “The Theory of Everything.” Watch for the Oscar nominations to correct that in two weeks.

But Jake Gyllenhaal has started really picking up nomination speed with nods from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Broadcast Film Critics. And now this.”Nightcrawler” has LEGS! As many legs as a centipede, it seems.

http://www.hitfix.com has the rest with spirited analysis by their great Kris Tapley and Gregory Ellwood. The complete list is there.

And on Monday, the Producer’s Guild is set to announced its’ list of ten nominees for Best Picture. The PGA as it’s called was the first group to vote for “The King’s Speech,” when they voted for their winner that year when everyone else up to that point was going “The Social Network,” a film that I STILL intensely dislike. I still think of it as “The Joy of Typing.”

The PGA even more than the A.C.E. Eddies are ALLLL mostly Academy Members. They have ten slots and use a preferential ballot, like the Oscars do.

So films that are on the edge of the Oscar bubble, like for instance “Gone Girl,” “Nightcrawler”, “American Sniper,” “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods”, “A Most Violent Year” or “Whiplash” will find their hopes either raised or dashed on Monday.

I think frontrunners like “Boyhood”, “Birdman”, “Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” will all be on the Producer’s List. And “Selma”, too, even though it was left off the A.C.E. Eddie’s today.

Never underestimate the importance of film editors. They silently run the show, and year after year do great unsung work that is respected and admired by the industry. These are the first voters we’ve heard from who REALLY count.

So who do these Eddie Nods help? For sure, Jake Gyllenhaal’s bid to get in to the extremely tight Best Actor Oscar race. It could help give “Nightcrawler” Best Picture cred, too. And don’t forget the wonderful 60-year-old-but-still-glamourous Rene Russo, who could get swept into the Supporting Actress race. Why not? She certainly deserves it.

And what of Bradley Cooper and “American Sniper”? Well, we shall see what we shall see.

 

 

 

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