Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two mentions of "Master Class" from playwright Terrence McNally

Over the past week, two separate interviews with playwright Terrence McNally have suggested that Meryl is still attached to portray Maria Callas in the screen version of Master Class.  As everyone knows, the late Mike Nichols was to be the director for the HBO project, but his unfortunate passing in November has left a big question mark about whether this will ultimately move forward.  As early news of this story broke last summer, it was suggested that production was to begin in "early 2015."  Obviously that could be any time now.

The first interview was posted on Crain's New York Business website last week.  In it, there is a section where they list McNally's "dream actors" and he states "I thought I'd made my peace about not working with Meryl Streep.  But she's doing the movie of Master Class."  The writer of this article was kind enough to respond to an email I sent and assured me the interview took place about three weeks ago.  I refuse to believe that McNally is somehow unaware of the passing of Mike Nichols.  I also find it hard to believe that he would say something like this if he didn't believe or perhaps even "know" that the project was still going forward.

The second article is even better.  McNally was evidently in Mexico around January 16th to commemorate a 100-show run of Master Class, and he appeared on a radio program to discuss it.  In the interview (which is in Spanish of course) he again states that Meryl will be filming a screen version of the play.  In case your browser does not automatically prompt you to translate the interview, McNally commented on his excitement about Streep's participation:

The writer Terrence McNally said he is pleased that the play "Master Class" will be filmed and even more that will star Oscar winner Meryl Streep, whom he admires, it was reported in the area of "Javier Poza in Formula ". "I think Meryl Streep is a goddess, what I can say, I always wanted to work with her, I'm very excited, no disrespect to any of the other great actresses who have played the role, I think she will be able to achieve to a wider audience. "Simply because it will be in cinema format, because if people want to see Diana Bracho theater has to travel to Mexico City or you prefer to see Patti LuPone would have to go to Broadway, so this is a great opportunity, I think Meryl is magnificent, I have no doubt, but in the end will be another interpretation of the role, "he said.

I mean, come on!  Again, why would he say this if, like the rest of us, he doesn't really know the fate of this project?  If he were unsure about whether filming will actually take place, wouldn't it be more likely that he'd say something (if anything at all about it) like "Streep was set to star in the screen version, but with the passing of Mike Nichols, it's been put on hold."?

A publicist at HBO (whose email I acquired with the help of my beloved, Joe) responded to my request about production dates by simply saying "there is no additional info."  Perhaps I've already uncovered the info they're waiting to officially reveal...that the project is going forward with a new director at the helm.

Even if filming didn't start until mid to late February, it's absolutely reasonable that it could wrap in about six weeks, which would give Meryl plenty of time before principle photography is set to begin on Stephen Frears' Florence Foster Jenkins sometime in May.  Incidentally, I came across a podcast interview Streep did with Empire Magazine where she discusses, among other things, the upcoming Frears film.  The interview begins around 7:22.

My optimism for the life of Master Class has increased by a speck.  


Sunday, January 25, 2015

My SAG predictions

The Screen Actors Guild will present its awards tonight for best performances in television and cinema.  Meryl as we know is nominated in the Supporting Actress category for her performance in Into the Woods.  My predictions in the film categories are as follows:

Cast
1. Birdman
2. Boyhood
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. The Imitation Game
5. The Theory of Everything

I'm predicting Boyhood for Best Picture at the Oscars, but I have a feeling Birdman will take this one, and in fact, The Grand Budapest has a chance here as well.

Male Actor in Leading Role
1. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
2. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
3. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
4. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
5. Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

Redmayne has a shot, but I'd be surprised if Keaton didn't take this.

Female Actor in a Leading Role
1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
2. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
3. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
4. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
5. Jennifer Aniston (Cake)

Moore all the way.

Male Actor in a Supporting Role
1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
2. Edward Norton (Birdman)
3. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcather)
4. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
5. Robert Duvall (The Judge)

Simmons only.

Female Actor in a Supporting Role
1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
2. Emma Stone (Birdman)
3. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
4. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
5. Naomi Watts (St. Vincent)

I'd be absolutely shocked if Arquette were not the winner.  If by some miracle Meryl took this it would be exciting, and since Arquette has won everything in sight up to this point and will likely win the Oscar, this wouldn't seem that undeserved.

Tune in tonight on either TNT or TBS at 7:00 pm CT.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mention of "Master Class"

I know I'm boring everyone with my obsession of whether or not HBO will still make Master Class. However, until we're through February with no word, I'm going to hold out hope that it may happen as planned.  Today an article suggested that a newly greenlit biopic on Montgomery Clift starring Matt Bomer may be taking the slot that Master Class was to hold.  The suggestion in this article is simply that...a suggestion, but it certainly made it seem like a foregone conclusion that the Master Class was a no-go, therefore providing an opening for this new project.  Sigh.  You guys, should I just give it up already?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Another Sondheim musical in the works for Streep & Marshall?

Broadway World is reporting that director Rob Marshall is hoping to acquire the rights to the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies, and wants Meryl for one of the female leads.  Considering Marshall doesn't even have the rights to the film yet, this is probably a long way off, but still an interesting prospect.  Maybe another chance to team with Glenn Close?

So much for that break you were hoping for, huh Meryl?  More news of this is sure to develop in the coming days.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Streep receives 19th Academy Award nomination

Congratulations to Meryl for again breaking her own record and receiving her 19th Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in Into the Woods.  The film also garnered nominations in Costume Design and Production Design.

I think I did fairly well in my predictions in the acting categories.  I counted 16 out of 20 that I predicted correctly.  Glad to see that Steve Carell got in.  A little disappointed that Jennifer Aniston didn't make it, as Marion Cotillard was a bit of a surprise for her performance in Two Days One Night.  Laura Dern in Wild!  Good for her!  Supporting actor went five-for-five in predictability.  The full list of nominees can be seen here.

Meryl has now been nominated in the supporting category for the fourth time overall, and the first time since 2002's Adaptation.  It's also the 7th time she's been nominated in back to back years.  I don't see this train slowing down anytime soon.  Her full list of Oscar nominations now reads as follows, with wins in bold.

1978--The Deer Hunter (Actress in a Supporting Role)
1979--Kramer vs Kramer (Actress in a Supporting Role)
 1981--The French Lieutenant's Woman (Actress in a Leading Role)
1982--Sophie's Choice (Actress in a Leading Role)
1983--Silkwood (Actress in a Leading Role)
1985--Out of Africa (Actress in a Leading Role)
1987--Ironweed (Actress in a Leading Role)
1988--A Cry in the Dark (Actress in a Leading Role)
1990--Postcards from the Edge (Actress in a Leading Role)
1995--The Bridges of Madison County (Actress in a Leading Role)
1998--One True Thing (Actress in a Leading Role)
1999--Music of the Heart (Actress in a Leading Role)
2002--Adaptation (Actress in a Supporting Role)
2006--The Devil Wears Prada (Actress in a Leading Role)
2008--Doubt (Actress in a Leading Role)
2009--Julie & Julia (Actress in a Leading Role)
2011--The Iron Lady (Actress in a Leading Role)
2013--August: Osage County (Actress in a Leading Role)
2014--Into the Woods (Actress in a Supporting Role)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Oscar predictions

Tomorrow is the big day!  The Academy Award nominations announcement will begin at 7:30 CT with the tech-y noms first, and then approximately eight minutes later the big ones will be revealed.  I've decided to list my predictions for the acting nominations with those I feel most likely to be nominated listed first.  Some of the categories, particularly Best Actor, are going to be tough.  Here we go!

Best Actor in a Leading Role
1. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
2. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
3. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
4. David Oyelowo (Selma)
5. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

*Bradley Cooper (America Sniper)
*Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
*Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

I'm really only confident in the first three.  Honestly, any of the alternates wouldn't surprise me, but I would love to see Steve Carell recognized.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
2. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
3. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
4. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
5. Amy Adams (Big Eyes)

*Jennifer Aniston (Cake)

My hope is that Aniston replaces either Adams or Jones.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
2. Edward Norton (Birdman)
3. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
4. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
5. Robert Duvall (The Judge)

*Tom Wilkinson (Selma)

Simmons is taking this so everyone else is basically going to be an also-ran anyway.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
2. Emma Stone (Birdman)
3. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
4. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
5. Renee Russo (Nightcrawler)

*Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)

Again, I'm confident in the top three, and I do think Meryl will get in, but she's not locked.  I wouldn't mind if Chastain made it in, but I just have a feeling the Academy likes Nightcrawler, Russo would be a first time nominee and she did just get a BAFTA nod last week.  A surprise nom for Carmen Ejogo in Selma, Laura Dern in Wild or even Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer would not be completely out of  left field.  Do I even dare bring up Naomi Watts in St. Vincent?.  This and Best Actor will be the most fun categories to watch.

The live telecast can be streamed online here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Globes aftermath

Well, as expected, Patricia Arquette took home the trophy last night at the Golden Globe Awards in Meryl's category.  Despite the loss, Meryl looked amazing and created quite the Twitter buzz when Margaret Cho, dressed as a North Korean army general, posed for a picture with her during the telecast.



Nice little attempt at photobombing by Ben Cumberbatch.  Oscar nominations will be announced Thursday!