As anyone might have predicted, the Gold Derby-ites (a.k.a., the Goldies) have tumbled for Les Miserables, pushing it ahead of Argo and Silver Linings to lead the Best Picture Oscar race. I had Les Miz at the top back in mid-October but Pete Hammond and Peter Travers, among others, have now ditched Argo for Tom Hooper‘s period operetta. Argo is now the proverbial ex-girlfriend — hurt, abandoned.
A friend’s wife has said that Les Miz ranks at the top of her personal weep-o-meter, and that’s often the name of the game when it comes to calibrating Best Picture winners. And then this HuffPost rave by longtime producer Jay Weston…it’s obvious what’s happening. It’s probably a lock to win.
But there’s a small cabal of Les Miz dissers out there, and I’ve just spoken to one. He’s a seasoned producer who tends toward generosity and has been around the block and loved, incidentally, Alan Parker‘s Evita — the last mainstream Hollywood translation of a musical and the last to deliver, in Hooper’s words, a musical in “through-sung” form.
“I don’t care what people are saying — this is an almost objectively dreadful movie,” the producer told me a few minutes ago. “And I know there’s a major effort underway but I don’t think it has a chance of winning the Best Picture Oscar. Anne Hathaway is fucking terrific and guaranteed to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but the early screenings have been stacked with fans of the stage musical version and it was a little embarassing at times, I thought, when somebody would start applauding after a song and nobody would join in.
“On stage Les Miserables seemed large because you’re using your imagination, but the film feels very small in a way,” he continuted. “Perhaps the biggest problem is the singing is apart from Hathaway…Hugh Jackman is mezzo mezzo and Russell Crowe is awful…he looks the part but it just doesn’t fly. And the early CG looks like a cartoon.”
An assessment of the here-and-now by TheWrap‘s Steve Pond contains elements of what I’m describing and reporting.