If Hollywood Elsewhere had Roger Durling‘s job as director of the Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival, right now I’d be doing everything I could to add Andrea Riseborough to the SBIFF Virtuosos panel. She has to be included…no debate!
The current Virtuosos lineup includes Austin Butler (Elvis), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Danielle Deadwyler (Till), Nina Hoss (Tár), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All At Once), Jeremy Pope (The Inspection), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All At Once), and Jeremy Strong (Armageddon Time).
The Academy’s statement, by the way, is merely about straddling the gulf between (a) ass-covering and (b) placating the conversation.
Read Pete Hammond’s excellent “Much Ado About Nothing” assessment.
The only February '23 releases I'm vaguely looking forward to are M. Night Shyamalan's Knock at the Cabin (2.3), Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike's Last Dance (2,10) and Elizabeth Banks' Cocaine Bear (2.24), although the premise of the latter seems repulsive -- deriving laughs and thrills from the accidental torture murder of an innocent bear, which actually happened in the '80s.
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We’ve all been touched by that haunting Citizen Kane moment when the elderly Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane) recalls glimpsing a beautiful young lass in a white dress on the Staten Island ferry. No conversation or eye contact — just a glancing whatever when Bernstein saw her and melted, and then the ferry pulled out and that was it…”I only saw her for one second and she didn’t see me at all, but I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl.”
Being the impressionable type and certainly a lot more impressionable than Bernstein, I’ve experienced several such moments over the decades. Probably dozens. But there was one in particular…oh, man. Early Clinton era, ’93 or ’94…yours truly inside West Hollywood’s Monkey Bar (8225 Beverly Blvd.), a highly magnetized, hard-to-get-into joint that had opened in October ’92 with a general understanding that Jack Nicholson liked to drop by now and then…probably the hottest place in California or maybe even the world that night. How do you calculate this stuff?
And suddenly my gaze fell upon actress Joan Severance, a total smoke show and a reasonably decent actress who was known for Red Shoe Diaries and Lake Consequence…around 35 at the time. Severance had risen from her seat at a well-located table and was staring at something or someone across the room, and my first thought was “she’s standing there because she knows everyone is looking at her and she loves the attention, and who can blame her?”
But my God, the beauty…those eyes, the cheekbones and that mouth, that exquisite jawline and the perfect hair and tanned skin…nothing happened and she certainly didn’t notice my marginal journalistic ass, standing at the bar some 30 or 40 feet away. But here we are 30 years later and this moment is a memory tattoo.
As I’ve said two or three times, I didn’t feel a great deal of affection for or emotional alignment with Andrea Riseborough’s performance as an all-but-incorrigible drunk in ToLeslie, which relatively few have seen. Released by Momentum Pictures on 10.7.22, the film has earnedabitmorethan$27K so far.
ToLeslie is, however, being re-released this weekend in the wake of Riseborough landing a Best Actress nomination, which was totally surprising and seat-of-the-pants. But there’s an odd (do I mean oddlyhysterical?) side angle to this.
Hold onto your hats, but certain industry voices and at least one industry analyst are viewing the Riseborough insurgency with a degree of SJW alarm, suggesting that there was something (no invention or exaggeration) bluntlyracist about it. “Racially-tinged cronyism”! A grass-roots campaign fortified by “a network of powerful (and, let’s be honest, white) friends in the Academy”!
If you have any sporting blood you have to at least half-admire the fact that Team Riseborough (led by actress Mary McCormack, wife of ToLeslie director Michael Morris, with vigorous assistance from Frances Fisher) managed to land Riseborough a Best Actress nomination. They basically mounted a grass-roots social-network campaign, but one that may have been “illegal,” according to Belloni.
If the general consensus was, in an alternate universe, that the Riseborough campaign had elbowed aside a couple of deserving paleface actresses instead of Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler, does anyone think that Belloni or anyone else would be talking about illegality?
Renegade Oscar campaigns go all the way back to TheAlamo’s Chill Wills. It’s sometimes a rough and tumble game, and there are always questions and quibbles about tactics and line-crossings. But from this moment on, Andrea Riseborough is a name, a star, even a legend.