Monday, January 10, 2011

Made-in-Mass. movies are the toast of Tinseltown:

‘The Fighter’ contender in Oscar ring?

   Photo by Paramount Pictures

By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa with Megan Johnson
January 10, 2011

 “The Social Network” is a front-runner for Best Picture, but two other made-in-Mass. movies, “The Town” and “The Fighter,” will have to be honored just to be nominated, according to Oscar historian and Turner Classic Movie host Robert Osborne .
“‘The Social Network’” will get a lot of nominations and could very well win picture of the year,” Osborne told the Track. “But ‘The King’s Speech’ also has a lot of support. That one is the kind of movie people fall in love with.”
Osborne said Christian Bale, who plays washed-up Lowell crackhead Dicky Ecklund, an ex-boxer who returns to the ring to coach his half-bro Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, is his bet to walk off with the Best Supporting Actor trophy for “The Fighter.” But Ben Affleck, who directed and starred in the made-in-Charlestown bank robbery flick “The Town,” isn’t on anyone’s short list.
“Since there will be 10 Best Picture nominations, ‘The Town’ could get in,” Osborne said. ‘If there were only five, I would doubt it. It was well-made and got a good reception, but there are a lot of movies that fall into that category this year.”
Osborne said he doesn’t foresee Ben gettting a Best Director nom, but if his film is in this year’s Top 10, he should be grateful.
“His career hadn’t been going that great, and he didn’t get nominated for ‘Gone Baby Gone,’ which was the other good movie he directed,” he said. “If this one is nominated, it’s recognition that he’s on the right track as a director and doing good work.”
Osborne also had praise for Wahlberg, who toiled for nearly five years to bring Ward’s story to the big screen.
“His performance was very good,” he said. “And coming from his background, it’s a surprise that he’s such a good actor and such a savvy producer and filmmaker. But Christian Bale really walks off with that film.”
Osborne, official biographer of the Academy Awards and the awards’ red-carpet greeter, is hosting “31 Days of Oscar” on TCM .
Beginning Feb. 1. the cable movie channel will feature more than 340 Academy Award- nominated and Oscar-winning movies, with a Best Picture every night at 10 p.m.
“It is the biggest compilation of Award-winning and Award-nominated films ever put together,” he said. “Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, nothing but award-winning movies. What you really have is a history of the movie industry.”
Academy Award nominations are announced Jan. 25 and the Oscars are handed out Feb. 27.
We’re not jazzed!
And while made-in-Mass. movies are the toast of Tinseltown, the drought of new Hollywood biz continues in the Bay State.
“Cogan’s Trade,” a thriller based on a crime novel by the late George V. Higgins and starring Brad Pitt, will be filmed in New Orleans — even though the story is set in Boston.
Higgins, of “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” fame, was dubbed “The Balzac of the Boston Underworld” by New Yorker maggie, but apparently Pitt’s need to be near his N’Awlins home trumps that title.
Anyway, Cambridge homey Casey Affleck is also rumored to be joining the “Cogan’s” cast. The film, about a mob enforcer who is trying to track down the thieves who robbed a connected high-stakes poker game, is scheduled to start shooting late next month.