Friday, February 23, 2018

Coming Full Circle with Call Me By Your Name

Timothée Chalamet at Arclight Sherman Oaks CMBYN Final Q&A

Way back on November 24, 2017, I drove to the Arclight Sherman Oaks for my first screening of Call Me By Your Name, and a Q&A with Luca, Armie, Michael, and Timothée (read about it here). I was so immediately moved by this film and by the Q&A, that I became a 'just add water' Insta-Stan! Now, a full 3 months later, and post-Oscar nominations, on February 22, 2018, I went to the Arclight at Sherman Oaks to watch my 6th and final theater private screening of CMBYN, and I witnessed Best Actor Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet's FINAL Q&A discussion about a coming of age love story that has changed his life as an actor forever.

In Timmy's talk with LA Times entertainment writer Justin Chang, he didn't reveal anything new that I haven't heard before, but he did impress upon us just how moved, humbled, and amazing this CMBYN journey has been in the past 4-5 years for him. He was offered the role of Elio when he was 17; it took several years for funding to get settled for the film; then they filmed it in 2016; and then they went to Sundance Film Festival in January 2017 where they realized they had something special, and it's just been a beautiful experience being a part of an important film that has changed the lives of a lot of people who watched it. Timmy mentioned that he would like to stay on the same track of filming these types of films, small but important and meaningful movies that will resonate with an audience, teach them something and help himself as an actor grow, but also allow the audience to experience something new and wonderful too. So it sounds like Timothée has a comfort zone with the Indie film experience, but he is open to being a part of a larger film project, but in measured doses. So just as I had hoped, looks like Timmy will be an Indie King.

And speaking of Indies, the Spirit Awards are just a week away, and if Timothée is ever going to go up on a stage this awards season, it's this stage. I'll be there in a volunteer capacity, so I look forward to seeing Timothée earn a Lead Actor award as he should have at least once already this award season. I'm happy to see Sony Pictures Classic bump up their FYC ads in the trades, and with Timothée featured on several magazines this month, surely he is being noticed by those people who are voting in the Best Actor category for the Oscar.

Here are some images of Timothée from last night's final CMBYN Q&A at Arclight:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Award Season 2017 - The Screwing Over of Timothée Chalamet (Updated)

Twice nominated BAFTA actor, Timothée Chalamet
Update 2.19.18: Based on the great views my article has received, I just wanted to provide some information about myself regarding my interest in the Oscars. I have been an avid Oscar watcher and fan since the early 90s, so I have a history of watching awards campaigns for over 25 years. This year in particular, due to my interest in the success of Call Me By Your Name, I have made note of the industry awards season in relation to this film and its lead actor. The theories I share below are educated assessments based on what I have observed over the years. I am an active voting member of the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

I admit, I'm a bit more emotionally raw and invested in this awards season due to one particular performance: Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name (CMBYN). Since mid-November, I have been blown away by the subtle but astonishing performance of Timmy in this film, which I have seen it five times in the theater, the fifth and final time just last night. I have never seen a film more than twice at the theater, let alone five times. And the primary reason why I have enjoyed CMBYN so much is because of Timothée Chalamet. According to his wikipedia page, which keeps great tracking of his critics/guild award wins/nominations, Timothée has won 23+ honors for Best Actor and Breakthrough Performer, and most notably by the LA Film Critics, New York Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics, London Film Critics, and Gotham Awards. Timothée won some of these awards very early on in the awards season which should have put him on the radar of the guilds. However, I have several theories as to why the critical wins did not translate to guild wins for this amazing actor.

1. The Golden Globes started off the awards season by giving Gary Oldman, an actor who has rabidly criticized the organization, and with this win, they sanctioned to the other guilds that Gary was going to be the designated Best Actor winner of 2017. Regardless of Gary's unfortunate comments about how Jews run Hollywood, apparently, to those very people who are a huge part of the voting block, all is forgiven. Even Gary was gobsmacked that he won. So to ensure a steamrolling path, Gary subsequently went on a talk show to even apologize for past assholish behavior, a much needed PR move orchestrated by his PR team and Focus Features, the studio behind his Darkest Hour film. The Golden Globes are a joke, but a fun and key awards joke that is great to win because it helps get the ball rolling for most winners. And in this case for Gary, beating Timothée off the bat like that in January, pretty much sealed the deal in the awards season in his favor. Even Timmy looked stunned that he didn't win as he was still high off the fumes of winning so many prestigious critics group wins. But alas, the guilds industry has another actor in mind. Additionally, with the suppression of news about Timmy's latest critical wins in the trades, it was obvious since mid-December that the trades were on Gary's side. Why promote the wins of the kid the industry doesn't want to win?

2. When it comes to the Best Actor award, the industry is set up to favor veteran actors, white males over 45. The voting base of these voting bodies are overwhelmingly straight white males over 55. They like to vote for men who are like them. Make of that what you will. Timothée Chalamet is not one of them. A huge strike #1 against him. Although Timmy came out the gates a winner with the critics, the awards machine went into full Gary mode and did what they do best in ensuring that their guy wins the guilds. With such a blemished personal record history on file about Gary, it is amazing, utterly spellbinding that he has sailed through this awards season like Teflon Don - nothing from his crazy past is coming back to haunt him during this critical awards giving time. Nothing!

3. A vote for Gary Oldman is not necessarily a vote FOR Gary Oldman, as it is a vote NOT going to Timothée Chalamet. This is a case of vote for the devil you know. The powers that be know that Gary has a crummy reputation, but he's a great character actor who has a wonderful 30+ years film career that is due to be rewarded. I now must admit defeat in acknowledging that there is no way in hell, the previously mentioned majority voting body of the guilds, is going to let a slight, just turned 22 year old pretty boy actor from New York, win their major awards. I held out 'idealist' hope that talent would trump politics, but I'm the fool in thinking this old establishment would suddenly change their ways, fuck transparency and blatant favortism for actors who are over 45. Regardless of how beautiful some of us think Timothée is, he's not a woman, and thus, not fuckable in the eyes of the straight white males (even in this #MeToo period) who hold the majority power in swaying votes towards a particular actor. Strike #2 against Timmy.

4. Timmy starred in a low-budget beautiful Indie film. This is strike #3. The Oscars aren't fond of awarding itty bitty independent films made with less than $4 million. That doesn't impress them. Recently, and by design of a certain film studio hell bent on having their actor win the Oscar, is the sponsoring of articles that feature so-called Oscar voters to discuss who they plan to vote for. One of these silly voters actually claimed that CMBYN is 'too indie' and therefore they will not vote for it. Gee, what a great way to taint the voting process you fucking idiot! This is yet another example of the bias, and the blatant, shameful practice of manipulating the voting process in support of particular actors. Oscar voters need big productions, loud sounds, A-list stars, particularly, A-List cool older dudes. Oscar voters aren't too impressed or comfortable with gay films. Oscar voters are uncomfortable with a gay film featuring a young man who really does look 16 falling in love with a man who looks closer to 30. Oscar voters don't like newcomers too much, especially actors under 30. They'll nominate them and call that their reward until they put in the time to prove themselves in ways that their female counterparts don't have to. Also, with Moonlight and its Supporting Actor winning last year for political reasons, there was no way that the Oscars was going to permit a lead actor in a gay film, let alone permit said gay themed film win Best Picture two years in a row. A political organization using politics to pre-determine winners is no coincidence!

Timothée in London
Amazingly, Timothée Chalamet has lost every single televised guild award this season to Gary Oldman. Again, this is all by design. Timothée Chalamet wants to win, he wanted to win the awards he was nominated for. To say that he did not is foolish. This is a young man who confessed in his recent interviews that he doesn't know what else to do other than be an actor. He left Columbia to pursue his acting career because he couldn't study and go on casting calls at the same time. His mother pleaded with him to finish his degree as a back up plan, but Timmy knew what he wanted to do with his life. Columbia is one of the top universities in the world, and he gave that up to be a full time actor! And to be so awarded in his first lead role does wonders for one's self confidence and ego, and convinces one that they are indeed on the right career track of being an actor. But yet, to lose time and time again, and so publicly has to hurt, it has to be a kick in the gut. And I think that final kick happened today in London at the BAFTAs where Timmy couldn't even win in the Rising Star Award, an award voted for by the British public. The key is British Public Vote. The British vote for their own. Timothée Chalamet was well known enough to be nominated in the first place, but for him to lose out really shocked me and was the main reason for this blog post. Timmy was nominated in two categories, Best Actor and Rising Star and he lost both out to British guys. This was cruel and embarrassing, especially since they had the audacity to place him in the front row of the BAFTAs where he sat there and looked straight up at the two guys who beat him.

One positive thing I will say about Timothée is how he has managed to remain so professional, friendly, sweet, happy, and mature during this awards season. I think he has been coached by his management team on how to deal with the disappointment of these award ceremonies, and he has been prepped on what to expect as the season rolls out and not winning the acclamation he deserves. Yet, he dresses up in the finest designer suits, and looks absolutely handsome at each award show as he is now coming to understand that the industry has already selected this year's Best Actor winner.

I will not be watching the Oscars because I already know who is going to win, and none of the actors/actresses who are going to win are compelling enough for me to tune in and watch them be GIVEN their Oscars. As I tweeted the other day, if the current line up of industry favorites win, their ages of the four people are between 49-60. If these thespians win, this will be the most mature Oscar winners photo op in recent memory. This is not the time for hot millennial guys - they still need to wait until they grow up and prove themselves per Hollywood expectations. For people to say that Timmy will win an Oscar in the future... well, when will that happen exactly? No human being knows when they are going to die, so what comfort shall Timmy take in thinking he'll get it at 25, 35 or 45 when waking up tomorrow is not guaranteed for any human being? Recall how AMPAS toyed with Leonardo DiCaprio for all those years, just because they could? They screwed him over to the point where the man reached the age of 40 (the 'ok, it's safe to give the manboy his Oscar now' age ), paid $10 million to charities (double his usual charitable contributions), and he sought the blessing of the Pope weeks before Oscar voting in 2016. Just Google pictures of him with the Pope!That's how desperate and thirsty Leo got, and I'm sorry he had to wait 10 years over his due to get his Oscar. I don't want this to happen to Timothée!

It's my hopes that Timothée wins his Best Actor Oscar much, much sooner than later because if he's showing this potential at 20-22, he's on track to getting it within the next 6 years, and he'll still be on track to be the youngest man to win the Best Actor Oscar, a piece of gold plated metal that we cinephiles place too much damn value on.

All bets are now on the Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 3 which are awards designed to award Indie performances just like Timothée's as the Oscar is designed for Oscar bait thirsty career performances like Gary's. But as things played out today, I will wait with bated breath until Timothée's name is called as Best Actor for the Spirit Award. If he wins that, this award will make up for all the bullshit politics he tolerated since January 14th. However this award season ends, Hollywood now knows Timothée Chalamet, and perhaps one day in the future, they'll feel comfortable awarding him the highest honor in the industry.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My First Industry Voting Experience (updated)

UPDATE 2/12/18: I just received notification that I have been selected to volunteer all day at the Spirit Awards! I will see the program live, and see all the celebrities in attendance. I'm very happy to be a part of a production that is the Oscars of the Indie film world.

I became a member of Film Independent a few months ago so that I could establish myself as an 'industry peer' when it comes to reviewing films, attending special screenings, and actually voting for the Independent Spirit Awards. Over the past several weeks, I have been watching films that have been nominated for the upcoming awards, and I have been volunteering at the screening series as well. So I have been busy with these new responsibilities and enjoying this experience as well. I'm happy to report that I participated in my first voting duties for Film Independent, and it was seamless and fun. Now, if luck is on my side, which it has been as of late, I will be selected to help volunteer at the Spirit Awards on March 3rd. Part of my volunteer work at the recent Spirit Awards screening series at the Arclight in Culver City is a prerequisite before being selected to help at the awards show. Since I did three separate volunteer shifts, and another volunteer stint next week at the Director's Close Up 2018 talks, I think I'll make the cut. And in doing so, I will have met and exceeded some personal goals I have in being a part, even a small part, of the entertainment industry.