TheWrapSteve Pond – TheWrap https://www.thewrap.com Covering Hollywood Sat, 18 Nov 2017 07:02:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 ‘Mudbound’ Review: Dee Rees’ Movie About Southern Race Relations Bogs Down in Melodrama https://www.thewrap.com/mudbound-sundance-review-movie-southern-race-relations-bogs-melodrama/ https://www.thewrap.com/mudbound-sundance-review-movie-southern-race-relations-bogs-melodrama/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:10:01 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1455589 This review was first published after the Sundance Film Festival premiere of “Mudbound” in January 2017.

A year ago at Sundance, a film that detailed the brutality visited upon blacks in the American South got a thunderous reception in the festival’s Eccles Theatre, prompted an immediate bidding war and briefly became an Oscar front runner, until time and publicity spectacularly derailed its chances.

And 12 months after that debut for Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation,” another film came to the Eccles to graphically detail violence on African Americans, this time in post-World War II Mississippi rather than the slavery era.

But it’s hard to imagine Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” getting the kind of Sundance embrace that greeted “Birth of a Nation.” Rees’ film is a sweeping saga of two poor families, one black and one white, in Jim Cro- era Mississippi, but its powerful moments are too often swamped by melodrama that undercuts the director’s skills as a storyteller.

Her last Sundance film was “Pariah,” a small and intimate drama about a black teen discovering her sexuality. A precursor of sorts to Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight,” it showed Rees as a deft chronicler of lives in the margins. Her canvas got bigger in the HBO miniseries “Bessie,” and it gets bigger still with “Mudbound” — which, as Rees said in a post-screening Q&A, juxtaposes the war in Europe with the war back home.

Jason Clarke and Carey Mulligan play a couple who think they’ve bought a farm, only to find that they’ve been swindled and must live in a small house and work the land to survive; grandpa (Jonathan Banks) is a racist and can’t abide the fact that they’ve been placed in close proximity to a black sharecropping family headed by Rob Morgan and Mary J. Blige.

Both families have members fighting in the war, with Garrett Hedlund playing Clarke’s brother, a PTSD-afflicted bomber pilot, and Jason Mitchell playing Morgan and Blige’s son, who’s returned from being a liberator in Europe to find himself “just another n—– pushing a plow.”

The heart of the film lies in the friendship that develops between those two men, with some if the best sequences consisting simply of conversations between unexpected compadres who find themselves missing wartime even as it haunts them.

Elsewhere, Rees manages to mix everything from muscular battle scenes to sly flirtations between Mulligan and Hedlund. But for almost two hours, the ills mount: miscarriage, murder and lots of mud, along with a catalog of indignities visited upon those who commit the crime of not being born with white skin.

And as things get worse for the families, “Mudbound” slowly slides into melodrama, and then into a full-blown Southern Gothic horror show, with a midnight KKK rampage that is shocking and brutal but would be more effective if the film hadn’t been slogging toward overdone dramaturgy for quite a while.

One could argue that with the film premiering one day after the incoming Donald Trump administration deleted a web page devoted to civil rights from the official White House website, these stories are more crucial and essential than ever.

But even with the Eccles crowd giving “Mudbound” a rousing ovation, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Rees is a better and more nuanced storyteller than this.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Charlize Theron, John Legend and Scene at Sundance Women's March (Photos)

Sundance Scene: Kristen Stewart, Judd Apatow, Elizabeth Olsen (Updating Photos)

'Ingrid Goes West' Sundance Review: Aubrey Plaza Is a Social-Media Stalker to Relish

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/mudbound-sundance-review-movie-southern-race-relations-bogs-melodrama/feed/ 0
Oscars’ Governors Awards Party in the Shadow of Hollywood’s Dark Times https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-governors-awards-party-agnes-varda-donald-sutherland-inarritu/ https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-governors-awards-party-agnes-varda-donald-sutherland-inarritu/#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 11:07:02 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1739229 The Academy’s 9th annual Governors Awards, which took place on Saturday night at the Ray Dolby Ballroom, was a Hollywood event that managed not to be overshadowed by Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and the other entertainment figures whose transgressions have dominated the news lately.

Instead, the focus was largely on two hours of warm and sometimes touching tributes to directors Agnes Varda and Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman, actor Donald Sutherland and Alejandro G. Inarritu’s VR installation “Carne y Arena,” with a side helping of Oscar campaigning from a room full of contenders.

In a way, this year’s ceremony served as a moment of truth of sorts for 2017’s awards season. The event always does double duty as a celebration of career accomplishments and a supercharged campaign stop, with tables full of contenders from all the hot new movies mingling with Oscar voters and press during a crucial period early in the season.

But with new names of transgressors and new lists of disgraceful behavior surfacing almost every day, can we feel good about the endless round of parties and kudos-fests that bestow shiny trophies on the work of an industry whose culture allowed predators to flourish for years?

If the culture of Hollywood is broken, is it unseemly to be celebrating its products?

“Yes,” said one top actress in attendance succinctly. “Unless we’re celebrating work that points the way to the future.”

But the Governors Awards focuses on the past, which meant that most people in the room wanted to pay tribute to Varda, Roizman, Burnett, Sutherland and Inarritu. And it’s hard to look askance at a night that saluted one of the greatest international female directors in cinema; the cinematographer of “The French Connection” and “Network”; a pioneer in African-American filmmaking; an actor whose career includes “M*A*S*H” and “Don’t Look Back”; and a VR work that asks viewers to walk in the footsteps of immigrants trying to cross the desert into America.

Sure, talk during the lengthy cocktail hour often drifted to Weinstein, long a fixture at these events; to Spacey, who most likely would have been in attendance on behalf of “All the Money in the World” had his scandal not caused Ridley Scott to hastily cut his performance from the film; and to the looming shadow of additional names to come.

A person with ties to the currently-shooting Freddie Mercury biopic worried about whether audiences could shun that film because its director, Bryan Singer, has been accused of sexual misconduct; on the other side of the room, a past Oscar winner was buttonholing people and asking, “Who’s going to be next? What have you heard?”

But that was largely undercurrent, a tacit acknowledgment that this is an odd awards season. It wasn’t a real distraction from the main business of saluting the honorees, or the secondary business of seeing and being seen.

So as guests arrived on the top floor of the Hollywood & Highland center, mutual admiration societies sprung up everywhere. Steven Spielberg huddled with Laurie Metcalf, “Blade Runner” director Denis Villeneuve chased down “Lady Bird” actress Saoirse Ronan, Guillermo del Toro chatted with Andy Serkis and everybody grinned as the 7-year-old star of “The Florida Project,” Brooklynn Prince, bounced up the steps in a bright red party dress.

“I think she was born for this,” said Prince’s director, Sean Baker.

On the big screens inside the ballroom, the first words to appear were a statement of purpose: “This is not the Oscars. No nominees, no rules, no envelopes.”

First-term Academy president John Bailey opened not by talking about the code of conduct that the AMPAS board has been asked to create, or by promising more diversity the way his predecessor, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, has done at the last two Governors Awards, but by simply praising the winners – whose films, he said, “have set a high bar for us to emulate.”

After a schmooze-filled dinner, Steven Spielberg opened the proceedings, and then other Academy governors kicked off each of the individual presentations: Daryn Okada for fellow cinematographer Roizman, Kimberley Peirce and Kate Amend for Varda, Gregory Nava for Inarritu, Reginald Hudlin for Burnett and Whoopi Goldberg for Sutherland.

Other presenters included Dustin Hoffman for Roizman, Jessica Chastain and Angelina Jolie for Varda, Sean Baker and Ava DuVernay for Burnett and Colin Farrell and Jennifer Lawrence for Sutherland.

Roizman was the most emotional winner and Sutherland the most eloquent, with Burnett wielding the best punchline: After talking about his junior high teacher, Mr. Baker, who in front of class told him he’d never amount to anything, he added, “I don’t know if that teacher is still around. But if he is, I hope he reads the trades.”

But the award to Varda, a pioneer in the French New Wave whose career contains more than 60 years of adventurous narrative features and documentaries, was in many ways the high point of the evening. Peirce kicked off the presentation with a lengthy description of how influential Varda’s unapologetic female characters were, interweaving a story about her own battles with the MPAA ratings board over a female orgasm depicted in Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Varda looked a little baffled by the comparison, but Peirce brought the house down – as did Documentary Branch governor Kate Amend who began her own remarks by noting, “Well, sadly, we don’t have a lot of orgasms in documentaries.”

Chastain then lauded Varda for her credo that “rebelliousness is part of being a woman,” and Jolie added, “To be around Agnes is to feel more oxygen come into the room.”

The 89-year-old filmmaker tried to brush off the praise, but her eyes welled up and it was clear she was touched. Her own speech was playful and impish, beginning by noting that all her presenters were female – “Are there no men in the room who love me?” – and ending in a little onstage dance with Jolie.

Inarritu’s speech, though, was the most passionate. He received a rare special Oscar for “Carne y Arena,” a VR installation that ran at the Cannes Film Festival and is now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and one that immerses an audience – one viewer at a time – in the world of immigrants trying to come from Mexico to the United States.

Before receiving the award, Inarritu told TheWrap that he made the film with absolutely no thought of “this awards stuff.” But director and Academy governor Michael Mann pushed for the special award, saying that “Carne y Arena” “is to virtual reality what Eisenstein’s ‘Battleship Potemkin’ was to film.”

“There is no better prize in life than the one you win without competing,” Inarritu said when he took the stage. After a round of thank-yous, his speech turned into a charged denunciation of the ideologies and words that have been used to demonize and stereotype people.

“Only ideologies have f—ed up the world,” he said. ” … When the word ‘rapist’ or ‘illegal alien’ is fired, the reality of a certain human life or community is reduced to an idea, and whoever believes or possesses and fires that idea ends up impoverishing, misleading and degrading their perception of reality.”

He concluded, “I dedicate and receive this beautiful recognition on behalf of all the immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Asia, Africa and all corners of the world whose reality has been ignored and held hostage by ideologies and definitions, denying them the possibility of being understood and loved.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Pixar's 'Coco,' 2 Lego Movies Top List of 26 Oscars Animation Contenders

Petition Launched to Boot Casey Affleck From Next Year's Oscars Over Past Harassment Accusations

170 Films Enter Oscars Documentary Category, Setting New Record

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-governors-awards-party-agnes-varda-donald-sutherland-inarritu/feed/ 0
Pixar’s ‘Coco,’ 2 Lego Movies Top List of 26 Oscars Animation Contenders https://www.thewrap.com/pixars-coco-2-lego-movies-26-oscars-animation-contenders/ https://www.thewrap.com/pixars-coco-2-lego-movies-26-oscars-animation-contenders/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 18:33:19 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1738657 Twenty-six films have been entered in the Oscars race for Best Animated Feature, more than enough to give the category a full slate of five nominees.

The films include Pixar’s “Coco,” which must be considered the closest thing to a front runner at this point; two Lego movies, “The Lego Batman Movie” and “The Lego Ninjago Movie;” DreamWorks Animation’s “The Boss Baby” and “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie;” the sequels “Despicable Me 3,” “Cars 3” and “Smurfs: The Lost Village;” and a large number of indie productions, including “The Breadwinner,” “In This Corner of the World,” “Loving Vincent” and “The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales.”

If fewer than 16 films had been submitted, the category could have been downsized to three or four nominees.

For the first time, nomination voting in the category will be open to all Academy members rather than a select group made up largely of animators, provided they see most of the qualifying films.

In the past, the nominating members were thought to be enamored of hand-drawn animation and resistant to CG work, leading to the nomination of a large number of small European and Japanese films.

This year’s vote will be a test of whether opening the vote to the entire membership will tip the scales in favor of big-studio animated fare, though this is not a year in which the major animation studios have produced a particularly strong slate.

Not all of the films have completed their Oscar-qualifying runs, and the Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation Branch has yet to complete its vetting of all the submitted films. But disqualifications at this stage are unlikely.

Oscars nominations will be announced on January 23.

The list of films:

“The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales”
“Birdboy: The Forgotten Children”
“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie”
“Cars 3”
“Cinderella the Cat”
“Coco”
“Despicable Me 3”
“The Emoji Movie”
“Ethel & Ernest”
“Ferdinand”
“The Girl without Hands”
“In This Corner of the World”
“The Lego Batman Movie”
“The Lego Ninjago Movie”
“Loving Vincent”
“Mary and the Witch’s Flower”
“Moomins and the Winter Wonderland”
“My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea”
“Napping Princess”
“A Silent Voice”
“Smurfs: The Lost Village”
“The Star”
“Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale”
“Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Loving Vincent' Review: Van Gogh Biopic Made Entirely of Animated Oil Paintings

'The Breadwinner' Toronto Review: Vibrant Animated Movie May Force Oscar Attention

30 Highest Grossing Animated Movies of All Time Worldwide

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/pixars-coco-2-lego-movies-26-oscars-animation-contenders/feed/ 0
‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Movie Review: Frances McDormand Is Bloody Funny https://www.thewrap.com/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-review-frances-mcdormand-dark-bloody-funny/ https://www.thewrap.com/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-review-frances-mcdormand-dark-bloody-funny/#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 18:00:20 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1701744 Irish playwright and director Martin McDonagh may be the maestro of black humor, but he sets himself a nearly impossible task with his new film, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The fact that he pretty much pulls it off is a tribute not only to McDonagh’s skills as a dramatist, but also to a cast headed by the indomitable Frances McDormand and including Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell.

This is classic McDonagh: very funny, very violent and surprisingly moving.

At first, “Three Billboards,” which premiered on Monday at the Venice International Film Festival, seems quieter and more sober than McDonagh’s first two features, the wickedly dark “In Bruges” and the thoroughly depraved “Seven Psychopaths.” The lead characters in those films were a pair of hitmen on the run and a screenwriter summoning up a passel of, well, psychopaths, and there was a glee and relish to the violence — as there was to the carnage he put onstage in raw and exhilarating plays like “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” and “A Beheading in Spokane.”

But the lead character in “Three Billboards” is neither a psychopath nor inclined toward bloodletting, at least not at first. McDormand’s Mildred Hayes is simply a mother consumed by grief and anger — because nine months before the film begins, her teenage daughter was found raped and murdered, burned to death on a remote road where three empty, tattered billboards stood.

Desperate to shame the police into restarting a stalled investigation, Mildred pays $5,000 to have messages put on the billboards: “RAPED WHILE DYING” on the first, “AND STILL NO ARRESTS?” on the second and “HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?” on the third.

Chief Willoughby, understandably, doesn’t like the billboards, though, as played by Woody Harrelson, he’s a man of considerably more nuance than you might expect. You might not initially say the same about Sam Rockwell’s Jason Dixon, an oafish officer whose solution to most problems starts with bluster and ends with a beating.

READ MORE

See Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri's latest POWER MOVE.

PowerRank:

1820

The billboards set in motion a sequence of events that changes the town dramatically — and as you might expect from the deliciously twisted mind of McDonagh, those events include a lot of bloodshed and just as much humor.

But that’s the impossible task here: How do you begin a movie with the specter of a teenage girl who’s been raped and murdered, and then convince an audience that it’s OK to laugh?

If you’re smart, you start with Frances McDormand, whose character is as rough and worn as the billboards she rents and as blunt as the message she puts on them. Her Mildred is a force of nature, a relentless advocate for justice who finds a kind of gallows humor in her bottomless well of hurt and despair. She has nothing to lose and no concern for whomever she might take down with her, and there is a grim power and, yes, real humor in her quest.

There are times in “Three Billboards” when the themes and events are so dark and ugly that the humor is stopped dead in tracks and the laughs get caught in your throat. And after an unexpected twist halfway through the film, the pacing slackens and McDonagh struggles to keep the story on track as the violence escalates to ludicrous levels, as it almost always does in one of his works.

But McDonagh, who won an Oscar in 2006 for his first film, the short “Six Shooter,” knows how to set and maintain a mood, aided by Carter Burwell’s score and by the judicious use of evocative songs like the traditional tunes “Last Rose of Summer” “Streets of Laredo” and Townes Van Zandt’s “Blackish Stallion Blues.”

Filling the town with the likes of John Hawkes, Lucas Hedges and a priceless Peter Dinklage doesn’t hurt, either.

And by the end, as Mildred and Jason find themselves in an uneasy alliance and Rockwell shows us a richer character than we’d imagined, this becomes the story of ravaged, wounded, entirely human and very funny people working to tamp down their rage and accommodate their failings. At points, “Three Billboards” probably becomes the closest thing McDonagh has put on film to his greatest plays, where often as not we find characters seeking the tiniest bits of redemption and healing amidst over-the-top carnage and wreckage largely of their own making.

Those plays found a place where transgressive violence and the blackest of humor could coexist in a way that carried real poignancy. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” does the same.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Victoria & Abdul' Review: Judi Dench's Queen Victoria Keeps This Smarm-ada Afloat

'Hostiles' Review: Christian Bale Drives a Great American Western

'Battle of the Sexes' Review: In a Hard Year for Women, Emma Stone Provides Reason to Cheer

'Darkest Hour' Review: Gary Oldman Is Brilliant in Vibrant, Timely Winston Churchill Drama

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-review-frances-mcdormand-dark-bloody-funny/feed/ 0
‘City of Ghosts,’ ‘Strong Island’ Lead Cinema Eye Honors Nominations https://www.thewrap.com/city-of-ghosts-strong-island-lead-cinema-eye-honors-nominations/ https://www.thewrap.com/city-of-ghosts-strong-island-lead-cinema-eye-honors-nominations/#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 01:00:34 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1735456 Matthew Heineman’s Syrian documentary “City of Ghosts” and Yance Ford’s investigation of her brother’s murder, “Strong Island,” were among the movies singled out as the best nonfiction films of 2018 by the Cinema Eye Honors, which announced nominations on Friday in San Francisco.

Those two films and Viktor Jakovleski’s “Brimstone & Glory” led the field with four nominations each.

In the top category, Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking, “City of Ghosts” and “Strong Island” were nominated along with Frederick Wiseman’s “Ex Libris: The New York Public Library,” Agnes Varda and JR’s “Faces Places,” Feras Fayyad’s “Last Men in Aleppo” and Jonathan Olshefski’s “Quest.”

“Quest” was one of five films to receive three nominations,along with “The Challenge,” “Chasing Coral,” “Faces Places” and “Jane.”

The nominations were announced in San Francisco at a reception for SFFILM’s Doc Stories showcase.

Of the six films nominated for best nonfiction feature, three – “City of Ghosts,” “Faces Places” and “Strong Island” – were also nominated by the International Documentary Association’s IDA Awards, which announced its nominees on Wednesday.

The Cinema Eye Honors feature-film nominations are voted on by committees made up largely of documentary programmers from film festivals around the world. Television nominations were made after a first round of voting by festival programmers, and a second round by film critics and writers.

Winners will be announced at the Cinema Eye Honors ceremony on January 11, 2018 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Director Steve James will host.

The Cinema Eye Honors nominations:

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking
“City of Ghosts”
“Ex Libris: The New York Public Library”
“Faces Places”
“Last Men in Aleppo”
“Quest”
“Strong Island”

Outstanding Achievement in Direction
Kitty Green, “Casting JonBenet”
Matthew Heineman, “City of Ghosts”
Yuri Ancarani, “The Challenge”
Frederick Wiseman, “Ex Libris: The New York Public Library”
Agnès Varda and JR, “Faces Places”
Yance Ford, “Strong Island”

Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Dawson City: Frozen Time”
“Jane”
“LA92”
“Long Strange Trip”
“Quest”
“The Reagan Show”

Outstanding Achievement in Production
Brimstone and Glory”
“City of Ghosts”
“Human Flow”
“Last Men in Aleppo”
“Risk”

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Brimstone and Glory”
“The Challenge”
“Chasing Coral”
“Human Flow”
“Machines”

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score
“Brimstone and Glory”
“The Challenge”
“Dawson City: Frozen Time”
“Jane”
“Rat Film”
“Strong Island”

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation
“78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene”
“Chasing Coral”
“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City”
“Let There Be Light”
“Long Strange Trip”

Audience Choice Prize
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“City of Ghosts”
“Chasing Coral”
“Faces Places”
“Jane”
“Kedi”
“Quest”
“Step”
“Whose Streets?”
“The Work”

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
Brimstone and Glory”
“Communion”
“Machines”
“Rat Film”
“Strong Island”

Outstanding Achievement in Broadcast Nonfiction Filmmaking
“13th”
“Abortion: Stories Women Tell”
“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”
“Five Came Back”
“The Keepers”
“Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison”

Spotlight Award
Donkeyote”
“An Insignificant Man”
“Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle”
“Plastic China”
“Stranger in Paradise”
“Taste of Cement”

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking
Edith+Eddie”
“Heroin(e)”
“Little Potato”
“Polonaise”
“The Rabbit Hunt”
“Ten Meter Tower”

The Unforgettables | Non-competitive Honor
The year’s most notable and significant nonfiction film subjects

Chanterelle Sung, Hwei Lin Sung, Jill Sung, Thomas Sung & Vera Sung, “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
Bobbi Jene Smith, “Bobbi Jene”
Abdalaziz Alhamza, Hamoud Almousa and Mohamad Almusari, “City of Ghosts”
Ola Kaczanowska, “Communion”
Dolores Huerta, “Dolores”
Dina Buno and Scott Levin, “Dina”
Agnès Varda, “Faces Places”
Daje Shelton, “For Ahkeem”
Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, “Icarus”
Dr. Jane Goodall, “Jane”
Jim Carrey, “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond”
Christine’a Rainey, Christopher “Quest” Rainey, PJ Rainey and William Withers, “Quest”
Yance Ford, “Strong Island”
Jennifer Brea, “Unrest”
Brian, Charles, Chris, Dark Cloud, Kiki and Vegas, “The Work”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Jane' Wins Top Prize at Critics' Choice Documentary Awards

'Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold' Review: Incisive Writer Gets Equally Perceptive Documentary

'Hunting Ground' Filmmakers to Make Hollywood Sexual Assault Documentary

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/city-of-ghosts-strong-island-lead-cinema-eye-honors-nominations/feed/ 0
‘It Happened in LA’ Review: Here’s a Different Look at La La Land https://www.thewrap.com/l-a-it-happened-in-la-michelle-morgan-sundance-review/ https://www.thewrap.com/l-a-it-happened-in-la-michelle-morgan-sundance-review/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 14:00:40 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1454848 The best place to see “L.A. Times” is unquestionably L.A. — more to the point, probably the Los Feliz or the Vista theaters over by the hipster enclaves of Silver Lake and vicinity. But it’s safe to say that a very good second option would be the Sundance Film Festival, where writer-director-actor Michelle Morgan’s comedy had its world premiere on Friday night.

“L.A. Times” is an indie rom-com for the 21st century, steeped in the trends and foibles of trendy Millennials who work in or around the entertainment industry. It’s a film made for audiences with personal experience negotiating Santa Monica Blvd. with or without Waze, finding the food truck of the week and living in a place where everybody you know is working on a script, or at least on an idea that might turn into a script someday, maybe, with financing from that rich Brazilian guy that their friend knows.

The Sundance audience at the Library Theatre on Friday contained a hefty helping of those people, but beyond that it was an indie-film audience for sure. And the audience relished tossed off lines like “we met at Bonaroo,” “my Uber driver and I have never been to Glassell Park,” and this exchange:

“I thought it was movie night. I thought we were going to watch ‘Tokyo Story.'”

Again?”

Although there’s a hint of a Woody Allen homage in the opening credits, “L.A. Times” is made by and for the opposite coast from Woody’s urban tales. It’s an L.A. story, but for a generation that doesn’t automatically read its title as a newspaper reference. (For the record, the paper had nothing to do with this movie and isn’t even mentioned in it.)

“I wrote this movie because I love L.A., and I also hate it,” Morgan said at a post-screening Q&A. “The characters were inspired by real-life people, but the situations were kind of made up.”

The romantic comedy shifting between people in a large group of offbeat friends is of course a time-honored genre, and Morgan certainly isn’t out to subvert it or overhaul it. This is a gentle, genial update, consistently amusing and always likable; it may not break new ground, but it finds enough of new jokes, and Morgan’s obvious love of language gives it an extra charge.

(I mean, one of her characters unself-consciously uses the word eschew in the first few minutes of the movie, and gets away with it.)

The story centers on Annette and Elliott (Morgan and Jorma Taccone), a couple of writers; she’s mostly given up on writing, but he’s on a successful (if obviously schlocky) TV series full of mighty sword-wielding warriors glorying in their disembowelments. We follow Annette and Elliott through a breakup, while also dropping in on the lives of their friends: the girlfriend who sleeps with men too quickly (Dree Hemingway), the guy in love with his cousin (Kentucker Audley) and the TV star looking for women who aren’t too demanding (Adam Shapiro), among many others.

All the jokes at L.A.’s expense are pretty mild, but Morgan makes for a delightfully annoying leading lady (her character’s boyfriend says he fell for her after watching her complain at a restaurant). And she’s also a quirky enough director to not make the familiar tropes feel like rehashes.

She likes to shoot dialogue in single shots rather than using coverage, and she loves odd framing: putting characters in the corner of the frame, or shooting them to cut off their bodies and show lots of open space above them, or in one instance filming a phone conversation with the lead character’s face out of the shot, visible only in reflection on a glass coffee table.

These idiosyncrasies come across less as grand cinematic statements than as Morgan trying to have a little fun. But that makes perfect sense, because having fun is kind of the point here, and the Sundance audience did just that.

Now, they just need to hope that audiences out of Park City and west of the San Andreas Fault get the jokes.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Dina' Review: Doc Explores Love, Marriage and Autism

'Incredible Jessica James' Review: Jessica Williams Reveals New Levels of Charm

'I Don't Feel at Home' Review: Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood Kick Butt

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/l-a-it-happened-in-la-michelle-morgan-sundance-review/feed/ 0
‘Jane’ Wins Top Prize at Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards https://www.thewrap.com/jane-wins-top-prize-at-critics-choice-documentary-awards/ https://www.thewrap.com/jane-wins-top-prize-at-critics-choice-documentary-awards/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:37:05 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1734869 Brett Morgen’s Jane Goodall documentary “Jane” was named the best nonfiction film of 2017 at the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, which were held on Thursday evening at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York.

Ten different films were given awards by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association, with no film receiving more than one honor.

The Best Director category was a tie between Evgeny Afineevsky for “Cries From Syria” and Frederick Wiseman for “Ex Libris: The New York Public Library.”

Ceyda Torun’s film about cats in Istanbul, “Kedi,” was named Best First Documentary, while the Most Innovative Documentary category resulted in another tie, this one between “Dawson City: Frozen in Time” and “Last Men in Aleppo.”

The awards for the best political, sports and music documentaries went to “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “Icarus” and “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” respectively.

The song “Jump” from the documentary “Step” won the award for the best song from a nonfiction film.

Because of the blurred lines between film and television documentaries, Critics’ Choice organizers made a last-minute decision to combine the nominees from both media in most categories. Two categories for television series remained, with Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” winning for Best Documentary Series and the long-running “American Masters” winning for Best Ongoing Documentary Series.

Penn Gillette hosted the ceremony, which also presented honorary awards to Joe Berlinger and Errol Morris.

The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards winners:

Best Documentary: “Jane”
Best Director (TIE): Evgeny Afineevsky, “Cries from Syria” and Frederick Wiseman,
“Ex Libris: The New York Public Library”
Best First Documentary: “Kedi”
Best Political Documentary: “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
Best Sports Documentary: “Icarus”
Best Music Documentary: “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives”
Best Song in a Documentary:”Jump” from “Step,” written by Raphael Saadiq, Taura Stinson and Laura Karpman, performed by Cynthia Erivo
Best Documentary Series: “The Vietnam War”
Best Ongoing Documentary Series: “American Masters”
Most Innovative Documentary (TIE): “Dawson City: Frozen Time” and “Last Men in Aleppo”
Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award: Errol Morris
Critics’ Choice Impact Award: Joe Berlinger

Related stories from TheWrap:

13 Best Documentaries to Watch on Netflix (Photos)

New Oscars Rules Knock Out Multi-Part Documentaries Like 'OJ: Made in America'

Cat Movie 'Kedi' Leads Critics' Choice Documentary Award Nominees

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/jane-wins-top-prize-at-critics-choice-documentary-awards/feed/ 0
‘Lady Macbeth,’ ‘Three Billboards’ Land British Independent Film Nominations https://www.thewrap.com/lady-macbeth-three-billboards-land-british-independent-film-nominations/ https://www.thewrap.com/lady-macbeth-three-billboards-land-british-independent-film-nominations/#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 17:54:58 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1733780 William Oldroyd’s fierce period drama “Lady Macbeth” led all films in nominations for the British Independent Film Awards, which were announced on Wednesday in London.

The film, which stars Frances Pugh as a young wife in 19th-century England who rebels after being sold into an arranged marriage, set a new BIFA record with 15 nominations, though several were in newly created craft categories.

Other films with double-digit nominations were Armando Iannucci’s political satire “The Death of Stalin” and Rungano Nyoni’s African-set “I Am Not a Witch” with 13 each, Martin McDonagh’s blackly comic “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” with 11 and Frances Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain”-style drama “God’s Own Country,” also with 11.

“The Florida Project” and “Get Out” were among the films nominated for Best International Independent Film, along with Oscar foreign-language hopefuls “The Square” and “Loveless.”

The British Independent Film Awards will take place on December 10 in London.

The nominees:

Best British Independent Film
“The Death of Stalin”
“God’s Own Country”
“I Am Not a Witch”
“Lady Macbeth”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best International Independent Film
“The Florida Project”
“Get Out”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Loveless”
“The Square”

Best Director
Armando Iannucci, “The Death of Stalin”
Francis Lee, “God’s Own Country”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Rungano Nyoni, “I Am Not a Witch”
William Oldroyd, “Lady Macbeth”

Best Screenplay
Alice Birch, “Lady Macbeth”
Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, “The Death of Stalin”
Francis Lee, “God’s Own Country”
Martin McDonagh,”Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Rungano Nyoni, “I Am Not a Witch”

Best Actress
Emily Beecham, “Daphne”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margaret Mulubwa, “I Am Not a Witch”
Florence Pugh, “Lady Macbeth”
Ruth Wilson, “Dark River”

Best Actor
Jamie Bell, “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”
Paddy Considine, “Journeyman”
Johnny Harris, “Jawbone”
Josh O’Connor, “God’s Own Country”
Alec Secareanu, “God’s Own Country”

Best Supporting Actress
Naomi Ackie, “Lady Macbeth”
Patricia Clarkson, “The Party”
Kelly MacDonald, “Goodbye Christopher Robin”
Andrea Riseborough, “The Death of Stalin”
Julie Walters, “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”

Best Supporting Actor
Simon Russell Beale, “The Death of Stalin”
Steve Buscemi, “The Death of Stalin”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Ian Hart, “God’s Own Country”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Most Promising Newcomer
Naomi Ackie, “Lady Macbeth”
Harry Gilby, “Just Charlie”
Cosmo Jarvis, “Lady Macbeth”
Harry Michell, “Chubby Funny”
Lily Newmark, “Pin Cushion”

The Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director)
Deborah Haywood, “Pin Cushion”
Francis Lee, “God’s Own Country”
Thomas Napper, “Jawbone”
Rungani Nyoni, “I Am Not a Witch”
William Oldroyd, “Lady Macbeth”

Debut Screenwriter
Alice Birch, “Lady Macbeth”
Gaby Chiappe, “Their Finest”
Johnny Harris, “Jawbone”
Francis Lee, “God’s Own Country”
Rungani Nyoni, “I Am Not a Witch”

Breakthrough Producer
Gavin Humphries, “Pin Cushion”
Emily Morgan, “I Am Not a Witch”
Brendan Mullin, Katy Jackson, “Bad Day For The Cut”
Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, “Lady Macbeth”
Jack Tarling, Manon Ardisson, “God’s Own Country”

The Discovery Award
“Even When I Fall”
“Halfway”
“In Another Life”
“Isolani R”
“My Pure Land”

Best Documentary
“Almost Heaven”
“Half Way”
“Kingdom Of Us”
“Uncle Howard”
“Williams”

Best British Short Film
“1745”
“Fish Story”
“The Entertainer”
“Work”
“Wren Boys”

Best Cinematography
Ben Davis, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
David Gallego, “I Am Not a Witch”
Tat Radcliffe, “Jawbone”
Thomas Riedelsheimer, “Leaning Into the Wind”
Ari Wegner, “Lady Macbeth”

Best Casting
“Lady Macbeth”
“God’s Own Country”
“The Death of Stalin”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”

Best Costume Design
“My Cousin Rachel”
“The Death of Stalin”
“How to Talk to Girls at Parties”
“I Am Not a Witch”
“Lady Macbeth”

Best Editing
“Williams”
“Jawbone”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“The Death of Stalin”
“Us And Them”

Best Effects
“The Ritual”
“Journeyman”
“The Death of Stalin”
“Double Date”
“Their Finest”

Best Make Up & Hair Design
“I Am Not a Witch”
“Breathe”
“Journeyman”
“The Death of Stalin”
“Lady Macbeth”

Best Music
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“Leaning Into The Wind”
“I Am Not a Witch”
“Jawbone”
“The Death of Stalin”

Best Production Design
“Lady Macbeth”
“The Death of Stalin”
“Final Portrait”
“I Am Not a Witch”
“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”

Best Sound
“God’s Own Country”
“I Am Not a Witch”
“Jawbone”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
“Breathe”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Wins Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival

'Lady Macbeth' Review: Lusty Period Drama Becomes Muddled and Mean-Spirited

'The Death of Stalin' Review: Is This 1950s Russia, or Today's Washington?

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/lady-macbeth-three-billboards-land-british-independent-film-nominations/feed/ 0
Syria, LA Riots in the Spotlight With IDA Awards Nominations https://www.thewrap.com/syria-la-riots-in-the-spotlight-with-ida-awards-nominations/ https://www.thewrap.com/syria-la-riots-in-the-spotlight-with-ida-awards-nominations/#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 17:23:14 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1733765 Agnes Varda and JR’s wry French travelogue “Faces Places,” Matthew Heineman’s Syrian conflict documentary “City of Ghosts” and Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin’s L.A. riots chronicle “LA 92” are among the nominees as the year’s top nonfiction films at the International Documentary Association’s 2017 IDA Documentary Awards, the IDA announced on Wednesday.

Also nominated for the IDA Awards’ top honor: “Dina,” Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ film about a romance between two people on the autism spectrum, and “Strong Island,” Yance Ford’s look at the killing of her brother.

Last year, four of the five Oscar doc nominees, including the winning “O.J.: Made in America,” were first nominated for IDA Awards. Over the previous five years, 10 of the 26 IDA feature nominees went on to receive Oscar nominations, and two, “Searching for Sugar Man” and “Citizenfour,” won both awards.

The 33rd Annual IDA Awards will take place on Saturday, December 9, at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

Nominations for the other main award handed out to honor nonfiction filmmaking, the Cinema Eye Honors, will be announced on Friday.

The nominees:

Best Feature
“City of Ghosts,” Matthew Heineman
“Dina,” Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles
“Faces Places,” Agnès Varda and JR
“LA 92,” Dan Lindsay and T. J. Martin
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford

Best Short
“Edith + Eddie,” Laura Checkoway
“The Fight,” Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw
“Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Long Shot,” Jacob LaMendola
“Mr. Connolly Has ALS,” Dan Habib
“The Rabbit Hunt,” Patrick Bresnan

ABC News VideoSource Award
“Blood on the Mountain”
“Elian”
“Icarus”
“LA 92”
“Obit.”

Best Curated Series
“American Experience”
“Independent Lens”
“POV”
“Dokumania”
“Reel South”

Best Limited Series
“Daughters of Destiny”
“The Defiant Ones”
“The Keepers”
“TIME: The Kalief Browder Story”
“The Vietnam War”

Best Episodic Series
“Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown”
“Chef’s Table”
“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”
“MARS”
“Planet Earth II”

Best Short Form Series
“Field of Vision”
“The Guardian Documentaries”
“The Secret Life of Muslims”
“Shorts on Time”
“The New York Times Op-Docs”

Creative Recognition Award Winners
Best Cinematography: Rodrigo Trejo Villanueva, “Machines”
Best Editing: Bill Morrison, “Dawson City: Frozen Time”
Best Music: Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, “Brimstone & Glory”
Best Writing: Chico Pereira, Manuel Pereira, and Gabriel Molera, “Donkeyote”

Pare Lorentz Award: “Watani: My Homeland,” Marcel Mettelsiefen
Special Mention: “Intent to Destroy,” Joe Berlinger

Courage Under Fire Award:
“City of Ghosts,” “Cries From Syria,” “Hell on Earth” and “Last Men in Aleppo”

Career Achievement Award: Lourdes Portillo
Amicus Award: Abigail Disney
Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award: Yance Ford

Related stories from TheWrap:

New Oscars Rules Knock Out Multi-Part Documentaries Like 'OJ: Made in America'

170 Films Enter Oscars Documentary Category, Setting New Record

'Hunting Ground' Filmmakers to Make Hollywood Sexual Assault Documentary

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/syria-la-riots-in-the-spotlight-with-ida-awards-nominations/feed/ 0
170 Films Enter Oscars Documentary Category, Setting New Record https://www.thewrap.com/170-films-qualify-oscars-documentary-category-setting-new-record/ https://www.thewrap.com/170-films-qualify-oscars-documentary-category-setting-new-record/#respond Fri, 27 Oct 2017 21:28:42 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1729753 A record 170 documentary feature films have been submitted for the 2017 Academy Awards, shattering the previous record of 151 set in 2013.

The list of submitted films was released by the Academy on Friday, confirming TheWrap’s reporting on October 4 that the number of films was going to set a new record in the Best Documentary Feature category.

All members of the Documentary Branch can screen the eligible films on a secure members’ website. Each member has been assigned specific films as required viewing, but members are also free to see as many other films as they desire. The initial round of voting ends on Nov. 30 and will produce a 15-film shortlist, with a second round narrowing that list down to the five nominees.

Not every one of the 170 films has completed its qualifying runs in Los Angeles and New York, making it possible that some may end up not qualifying. But except in the rarest of cases, docs that are announced by the Academy and made available to voters for streaming qualify for the Oscars.

Last year, 145 films qualified. Earlier this month, the Academy announced the list of 92 films that were eligible in the Best Foreign Language Film category, which was also a record.

In recent years, the branch has regularly tweaked and modified its rules, often with the intention of cutting down on the number of films, particularly made-for-television docs, that qualified by renting theaters (or “four-walling”) for the minimum required run. But as the market for nonfiction filmmaking has grown, particularly on platforms like Netflix, the number of Oscar submissions has remained high.

Nonfiction films that have done well in the precursor awards – Gotham Awards nominations, DOCNYC’s short list, the Cinema Eye Honors’ Unforgettables list, and Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards nominations -include “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “Chasing Coral,” “City of Ghosts,” “Dina,” “Dolores,” “Ex Libris – The New York Public Library,” “Faces Places,” “Icarus,” “Jane,” “Kedi,” “One of Us,” “Strong Island” and “The Work.”

Here is the list of qualifying films:

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Aida’s Secrets”
“Al Di Qua”
“All the Rage”
“All These Sleepless Nights”
“AlphaGo”
“The American Media and the Second Assassination of President John F. Kennedy”
“And the Winner Isn’t”
“Angels Within”
“Architects of Denial”
“Arthur Miller: Writer”
“Atomic Homefront”
“The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography”
“Bang! The Bert Berns Story”
“Bending the Arc”
“Big Sonia”
“Bill Nye: Science Guy”
“Birthright: A War Story”
“Bobbi Jene”
“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
“Born in China”
“Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story”
“Boston”
“Brimstone & Glory”
“Bronx Gothic”
“Burden”
“California Typewriter”
“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story”
“Casting JonBenet”
“Chasing Coral”
“Chasing Trane”
“Chavela”
“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City”
“City of Ghosts”
“Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives”
“Cries from Syria”
“Cruel & Unusual”
“Cuba and the Cameraman”
“Dawson City: Frozen Time”
“Dealt”
“The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”
“Destination Unknown”
“Dina”
“Dolores”
“Dream Big: Engineering Our World”
“A Dying King: The Shah of Iran”
“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”
“Earth: One Amazing Day”
“11/8/16”
“Elian”
“Embargo”
“Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars”
“Escapes”
“Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray”
“Ex Libris – The New York Public Library”
“Extraordinary Ordinary People”
“Faces Places”
“The Farthest”
“The Final Year”
“Finding Oscar”
“500 Years”
“Food Evolution”
“For Ahkeem”
“The Force”
“The Freedom to Marry”
“From the Ashes”
“Gaga: Five Foot Two”
“A German Life”
“Get Me Roger Stone”
“Gilbert”
“God Knows Where I Am”
“Good Fortune”
“A Gray State”
“Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami Who Started It All”
“Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story”
“Hearing Is Believing”
“Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS”
“Human Flow”
“I Am Another You”
“I Am Evidence”
“I Am Jane Doe”
“I Called Him Morgan”
“Icarus”
“If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast”
“The Incomparable Rose Hartman”
“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”
“Intent to Destroy”
“Jane”
“Jeremiah Tower The Last Magnificent”
“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton”
“Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold”
“Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower”
“Karl Marx City”
“Kedi”
“Keep Quiet”
“Kiki”
“LA 92”
“The Last Dalai Lama?”
“The Last Laugh”
“Last Men in Aleppo”
“Legion of Brothers”
“Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982 – 1992”
“Let’s Play Two”
“Letters from Baghdad”
“Long Strange Trip”
“Look & See”
“Machines”
“Man in Red Bandana”
“Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance”
“Motherland”
“Mully”
“My Scientology Movie”
“Naples ’44”
“Neary’s – The Dream at the End of the Rainbow”
“Night School”
“No Greater Love”
“No Stone Unturned”
“Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press”
“Nowhere to Hide”
“Obit”
“Oklahoma City”
“One of Us”
“The Paris Opera”
“The Pathological Optimist”
“Prosperity”
“The Pulitzer at 100”
“Quest”
“Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman”
“The Rape of Recy Taylor”
“The Reagan Show”
“Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan”
“Risk”
“A River Below”
“Rocky Ros Muc”
“Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World”
“Santoalla”
“School Life”
“Score: A Film Music Documentary”
“Served Like a Girl”
“The Settlers”
“78/52”
“Shadowman”
“Shot! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra of Rock”
“Sidemen: Long Road to Glory”
“The Skyjacker’s Tale”
“Sled Dogs”
“Soufra”
“Spettacolo”
“Step”
“Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex-Trafficking”
“Strong Island”
“Surviving Peace”
“Swim Team”
“Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton”
“Take My Nose… Please!”
“They Call Us Monsters”
“32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide”
“This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous”
“Tickling Giants”
“Trophy”
“Twenty Two”
“Unrest”
“Vince Giordano – There’s a Future in the Past”
“Voyeur”
“Wait for Your Laugh”
“Wasted! The Story of Food Waste”
“Water & Power: A California Heist”
“Whitney. “Can I Be Me””
“Whose Streets?”
“The Work”

Related stories from TheWrap:

New Oscars Rules Knock Out Multi-Part Documentaries Like 'OJ: Made in America'

'Hunting Ground' Filmmakers to Make Hollywood Sexual Assault Documentary

Cat Movie 'Kedi' Leads Critics' Choice Documentary Award Nominees

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/170-films-qualify-oscars-documentary-category-setting-new-record/feed/ 0
‘Bruce Springsteen on Broadway’ Review: The Boss Delivers an Intimate Musical Autobiography https://www.thewrap.com/bruce-springsteen-broadway-review-boss-intimate-musical-autobiography/ https://www.thewrap.com/bruce-springsteen-broadway-review-boss-intimate-musical-autobiography/#respond Sun, 22 Oct 2017 16:05:37 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1728287 There was a startling moment early in the second hour of “Springsteen on Broadway” at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City on Saturday night: Bruce Springsteen sat down at the piano, pounded out the opening notes of his barn-burner “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and then looked quizzically at the audience, which had been quietly enraptured for most of his remarkable show.

“It’s OK to get excited,” Springsteen said with a grin, prompting a roar and a hefty amount of “Broooooce”ing.

His comment gave the show a jolt, but since when does the audience at a Bruce Springsteen show need permission to get rowdy? If the greatest live performer of his generation has to tell his audience it’s all right to make noise and have fun, doesn’t that mean something’s wrong?

Nope. In the case of “Springsteen on Broadway,” it means something is very, very right. If the audience on Saturday night needed a cue to snap out of their rapt silence, it’s because Springsteen had created a air of intimacy so all-encompassing that his fans didn’t even cheer for the opening notes of old favorites like “Thunder Road” and “The Promised Land” lest they break a mood of unparalleled delicacy.

That is perhaps the most surprising thing about the show, which opened on October 12 and is booked through February. Nearly 50 years after he came out of New Jersey with a batch of wordy songs and a drive that would make him an icon, Springsteen is doing something that feels wholly new.

As a fan for virtually his entire career, I wasn’t sure that was possible. I’ve seen him in smaller places than the Walter Kerr Theater, which only seats 970; I’ve seen him play acoustically nine times over the years; and I’ve seen plenty of Springsteen shows full of stories about his growing up, which he told regularly in his early days.

But “Springsteen on Broadway,” which draws partly from his song catalog and partly from his recent autobiography, “Born to Run,” manages to be revelatory not only to casual fans — “wow,” the man behind me said after almost every song in the first half of the show — but also to diehards.

It does so by forging a new approach for Springsteen, by using the songs to back up and illustrate the stories he’s telling, and mixing them into a seamless tapestry that brought many audience members to tears.

He spends the first few moments onstage talking to us, not singing to us — and when he moves into his early song “Growin’ Up,” the youthful bravado and brazen mythmaking are set off by the introspection and confession (“I come from a boardwalk town where almost everything is tinged with a bit of fraud. So am I”) that preceded it.

Where Springsteen sometimes races through that song in his E Street Band concerts, he sinks into it and caresses it in “Springsteen on Broadway.” He does that with the other material, too, using a heartfelt “My Hometown” to punctuate stories about his childhood home, a haunted “My Father’s House” to detail his conflicted feelings about his dad, a rapturous “The Wish” to pay loving tribute to his mother, a gentle “Thunder Road” to capture the glorious sense of escape he had when he first left his hometown.

The songs are not chosen because they’re hits — some are, some aren’t — but because they’re key to the story he’s telling. If Springsteen’s shows have always had elements of autobiography, they’ve really been about the people around him — but this show is about the person inside him first and foremost, and then by extension about the rest of us.

Much of what he says comes from his book, but it’s been rearranged and tailored to fit this form in a way that turns the neat trick of being both eloquent and conversational. After the opening half hour, it gets more thematic and less chronological; it’s an evocative and moving portrait, but not a complete picture by any means. You don’t get the full measure of his conflicts with his father, and he says nothing about the crippling depression that has affected him throughout his career.

In his book, he wrote this about his celebrated concerts: “The show provided me the illusion of intimacy without risk or consequences. During the show, as good as it is, as real as the emotions called upon are, as physically moving and as hopefully inspirational as I work to make it, it’s fiction, theater, a creation; it isn’t reality.”

“Springsteen on Broadway” isn’t reality, either, and it’s clearly theater. But you cannot watch the show without feeling that Springsteen is sharing something profound about his life and his art, and is doing so in a bold and fresh form that everyone in the theater is privileged to experience. (It won’t be the same, but he needs to film one of these shows.)

Sure, there was some of the old Bruce on the stage of the Walter Kerr, particularly after things loosened up with “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and he was joined by his wife, Patti Scialfa, for a pair of tender duets. In the homestretch, “Long Walk Home” was a sobering rejoinder to today’s divisive politics, “Dancing in the Dark” a nod to his arena-rock days and “Land of Hope and Dreams,” as always, a glorious way to bring it all back home.

At the end of the night, Springsteen described driving back to the town where he grew up, and finding that the huge beech tree he often took refuge in as a child had been cut down. But then, he said, he realized that the tree was still there, in the same way that his family and his lost friends were, too: “We remain in the air, the empty space, in the dusty roots and deep earth, in the echo and stories, the songs of the time and place we have inhabited.”

It was a breathtaking moment, which led into a tender recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (once a Catholic, always a Catholic), and then into his signature song, “Born to Run.” In 1988, when Springsteen performed acoustic versions of this rock anthem on his “Tunnel of Love” tour, the solo arrangement was muted; the song was an elegy, a ghost of itself.

But the “Springsteen on Broadway” version of “Born to Run” has a drive and lift to it. Just as he found his old neighborhood rife with the spirits of those who have gone, the acoustic bones of this “Born to Run” are alive with our memories of the ringing electric guitar riffs, the charging drums, the sax solo — hell, the glockenspiel is in there, too.

There’s a life, a journey, a community, an entire history in this “Born to Run.” And then Springsteen brings it all down to a tender, intimate coda: One man standing alone, strumming and tapping on a guitar, telling his story — our story — in a way he’s never done before.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Tom Petty Appreciation: He Was Rocking to the End

Springsteen Fans Furious With Ticketmaster Over Broadway Complication: 'Ridiculous'

Stranded Bruce Springsteen Hitches a Ride With Fellow Bikers

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/bruce-springsteen-broadway-review-boss-intimate-musical-autobiography/feed/ 0
Oscars to Invite More Voters for Foreign Language Nominees, Allow International Streaming (Exclusive) https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-foreign-language-more-voters-international-streaming/ https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-foreign-language-more-voters-international-streaming/#respond Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:32:21 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1726929 A few weeks after announcing changes designed to increase the number of members who can vote in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars, the Academy has made even bigger changes to the way nominees are chosen.

The Phase 2 committees that narrow the nine-film shortlist to five nominees will be opened up to far more members than ever before, with a particular emphasis on allowing international members to participate. In addition, for the first time ever some voters will be allowed to stream competing films on the Academy’s members’ website.

Academy President John Bailey and Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee chair Mark Johnson told members about the changes this week, the first week of Los Angeles screenings for the voters who make up the general committee that will pick six of the nine films for the shortlist.

The Academy has not publicly announced the changes, but Bailey shared details with TheWrap on Wednesday.

“It has the potential to not only engage hundreds more Academy members to weigh in in the second phase of voting, but it also support their desire to be more involved with this award, especially internationally,” Bailey told TheWrap. “Because international members rightfully consider this to be their Oscar.”

The changes do not affect the first round of Oscars foreign-language voting, in which L.A.-based volunteers from all branches of the Academy watch and give a number score to the record 92 eligible films at screenings in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn and Linwood Dunn theaters in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, respectively.

Their scores determine the top six films that will go on a shortlist. Then the executive committee members will meet and choose three more films to fill out that list, which will be announced in mid-December.

In the past, the nine shortlisted films were then screened over three days in January for Phase 2 committees in Los Angeles, New York and London.

Those committee members — 10 randomly chosen from the general committee and 30 recruited by Johnson in consultation with the executive committee and the Academy — would watch three films on Friday, three on Saturday and three on Sunday before casting ballots that would determine the five nominees.

The Los Angeles Phase 2 committee will continue to work in the same way, but the other committees have been drastically overhauled. In San Francisco, New York and London, all Academy members are now invited to participate in the Phase 2 voting, so long as they commit to seeing all nine shortlisted films. (If they’ve already seen a film theatrically at a screening or film festival, they do not need to see it again at the Academy shortlist screening.)

And members who do not live in the U.S. or the United Kingdom can participate in the Phase 2 voting by streaming the nine shortlisted films on the secure members’ website. This is the first time streaming has been allowed in the foreign-language category, although the format will only be available to international members.

Those members make up an increasingly large percentage of the Academy after two consecutive years that included hundreds of new-member invitations to international filmmakers.

Bailey said the Academy now contains “almost 1,200 international members,” all of whom will eligible to view the films at any time during the Oscars’ nominations voting period, which begins on January 5 and ends on January 12.

The Academy, added Bailey, will be able to “completely monitor” that the international members have seen all the shortlisted films in their entirety before voting, which must be completed by 5 p.m. on January 12.

The changes have the potential to fundamentally change Phase 2 voting, which in the past has been the province of only 40 voters, three-fourths of them hand-picked by Academy leadership.

In previous years, the Phase 2 committee was clearly closer in sensibility to the executive committee, which was thought to be responsible for the most adventurous choices, than it was to the general committee, which is usually assumed to support more mainstream films.

(The Academy never reveals which shortlisted films are chosen by the general committee and which are executive committee “saves,” but that doesn’t stop the guessing games every year.)

With the Phase 2 committees now open to every New York, San Francisco and London-based member who wants to participate, the number of voters could increase dramatically, potentially helping the crowd-pleasing films that were chosen by the general committee.

But the new rules also have the potential to add an even bigger body of international voters, who could skew the results in an entirely different direction.

“We’re going to be aided this year by the fact that we’re going to have so many more people looking at the shortlist and weighing in on the five nominees,” Bailey said. “The idea is to be as inclusive as we can.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Seth MacFarlane Says His Harvey Weinstein Oscars Jab Came From 'a Place of Loathing and Anger'

Oscars Documentary Race Breaks a Record: Here's the List of All 159 Entries

The Oscars Race After the Festivals: Are We Still Just Waiting for Spielberg?

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-foreign-language-more-voters-international-streaming/feed/ 0
Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ Leads Gotham Awards Nominations https://www.thewrap.com/get-out-leads-gotham-awards-nominations/ https://www.thewrap.com/get-out-leads-gotham-awards-nominations/#respond Thu, 19 Oct 2017 14:10:07 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1726932 Jordan Peele’s hit horror film “Get Out” led all films in nominations for the 27th annual IFP Gotham Awards, the Independent Filmmaker Project announced on Thursday.

“Get Out” received four nominations, including Best Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya and the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award.

Other movies nominated for Best Feature at the awards, which are designed to celebrate independent film, are Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name,” Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project,” Josh and Bennie Safdie’s “Good Time” and Craig Gillespie’s “I, Tonya.”

Acting nominees include a couple of likely Oscar contenders (Willem Dafoe in “The Florida Project,” Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird”) along with Kaluuya, James Franco in “The Disaster Artist,” Robert Pattinson in “Good Time,” Adam Sandler in “The Meyerowitz Stories,” Melanie Lynskey in “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,” Haley Lu Richardson in “Columbus,” Margot Robbie in “I, Tonya” and Lois Smith in “Marjorie Prime.”

The late Harry Dean Stanton was nominated for his final film, “Lucky.”

TV nominations went to “Atlanta,” “Better Things,” “Dear White People,” “Fleabag” and “Search Party.”

Previously announced tributes will go to director Sofia Coppola, actors Dustin Hoffman and Nicole Kidman, producer Jason Blum, cinematographer Ed Lachman and humanitarian and climate-change activist Al Gore.

The New York-based Gotham Awards are one of the two major honors for independent film, and will be presented early in awards season, on November 27 at Cipriani Wall Street.

The other major indie awards show, the Film Independent Spirit Awards, takes place in Los Angeles at the end of the season, the day before the Oscars.

Gotham nominees are selected by a number of different juries consisting largely of film critics. Films must meet a variety of fairly nebulous requirements, including being “filmmaking with a point of view” that is “made with an economy of means” and is directed and/or produced by a filmmaker born or based in the United States.

In the last six years, nominees in the top Gotham category have ranged from a high of three Oscar Best Picture nominees (in 2010 and 2014) to a low of none (in 2012). Last year, Gotham and Oscar winner “Moonlight” was joined in the category by Oscar nominee “Manchester by the Sea” and by the smaller indies “Certain Women,” “Paterson” and “Everybody Wants Some!!”

Over the 13 years since the Gotham Awards introduced the Best Feature category, the winner has subsequently won the Oscar only four times — but those four have all come in the last eight years, including the last three years in a row with “Birdman” in 2014, “Spotlight” in 2015 and “Moonlight” last year.

The Gotham Awards nominees:

Best Feature

“Call Me by Your Name”
Luca Guadagnino, director; Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Rodrigo Teixeira, Marco Morabito, James Ivory, Howard Rosenman, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

“The Florida Project”
Sean Baker, director; Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, Kevin Chinoy, Andrew Duncan, Alex Saks, Francesca Silvestri, Shih-Ching Tsou, producers (A24)

“Get Out”
Jordan Peele, director; Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm, Jr., Jordan Peele, producers (Universal Pictures)

“Good Time”
Josh and Benny Sadie, directors; Paris Kasidokostas-Latsis, Terry Dougas, Sebastian Bear-McClard, Oscar Boyson, producers (A24)

“I, Tonya”
Craig Gillespie, director; Bryan Unkeless, Steven Rogers, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, producers (NEON)

Best Documentary

“Ex Libris – The New York Public Library”
Frederick Wiseman, director and producer (Zipporah Films)

“Rat Film”
Theo Anthony, director; Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo, producers (MEMORY and Cinema Guild)

“Strong Island”
Yance Ford, director; Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes, producers (Netflix)

“Whose Streets?”
Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis, directors; Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis, Jennifer MacArthur, Flannery Miller, producers (Magnolia Pictures)

“The Work”
Jairus McLeary, director; Alice Henty, Eon McLeary, Jairus McLeary, Miles McLeary, producers (The Orchard and First Look Media)

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Maggie Betts for “Novitiate” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” (A24)
Kogonada for “Columbus” (Superlative Films/Depth of Field)
Jordan Peele for “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)
Joshua Z Weinstein for “Menashe” (A24)

Best Screenplay

“The Big Sick”, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (Amazon Studios)
“Brad’s Status,” Mike White (Amazon Studios)
“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory (Sony Pictures Classics)
“Columbus,” Kogonada (Superlative Films/Depth of Field)
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele (Universal Pictures)
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig (A24)

Best Actor
Willem Dafoe in “The Florida Project” (A24)
James Franco in “The Disaster Artist” (A24)
Daniel Kaluuya in “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)
Robert Pattinson in “Good Time” (A24)
Adam Sandler in “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” (Netflix)
Harry Dean Stanton in “Lucky” (Magnolia Pictures)

Best Actress
Melanie Lynskey in “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” (Netflix)
Haley Lu Richardson in “Columbus” (Superlative Films/Depth of Field)
Margot Robbie in “I, Tonya” (NEON)
Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird” (A24)
Lois Smith in “Marjorie Prime” (FilmRise)

Breakthrough Actor
Mary J. Blige in “Mudbound” (Netflix)
Timothée Chalamet in “Call Me by Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Harris Dickinson in “Beach Rats” (NEON)
Kelvin Harrison, Jr. in “It Comes at Night” (A24)
Brooklynn Prince in “The Florida Project” (A24)

Special Gotham Jury Award for ensemble performance
“Mudbound,” Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks.

Breakthrough Series – Long Form

“Atlanta,” Donald Glover, creator; Donald Glover, Dianne McGunigle, Paul Simms, executive producers (FX Networks)

“Better Things,” Pamela Adlon, Louis C.K., creators; Dave Becky, M. Blair Breard, Louis C.K., Pamela Adlon, executive producers (FX Networks)

“Dear White People,” Justin Simien, creator; Yvette Bowser, Justin Simien, Stephanie Allain, Julia Lebedev, executive producers (Netflix)

“Fleabag,” Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator; Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Harry Williams, Jack Williams, executive producers (Amazon)

“Search Party,” Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Michael Showalter, creators; Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Michael Showalter, Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, executive producers (TBS)

Breakthrough Series – Short Form

“555,” Kate Berlant, Andrew DeYoung and John Early, creators (Vimeo)
“Inconceivable,” Joel Ashton McCarthy, creator (YouTube)
“Junior,” Zoe Cassavetes, creator (Blackpills and VICE)
“Let Me Die a Nun,” Sarah Salovaara, creator (Vimeo)
“The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes,” Nancy Andrews, creator (YouTube)

(Additional credits to be determined.)

Related stories from TheWrap:

NYU, Berkeley, Ringling College Win Top Student Academy Awards

Bruno Mars Leads American Music Awards With 8 Nominations

Eminem Calls Out Donald Trump During BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher (Video)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/get-out-leads-gotham-awards-nominations/feed/ 0
Los Angeles Film Festival Moves to September Next Year https://www.thewrap.com/los-angeles-film-festival-moving-september-2018/ https://www.thewrap.com/los-angeles-film-festival-moving-september-2018/#respond Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:49:27 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1726531 The Los Angeles Film Festival is moving from the summer to late September, Film Independent announced on Wednesday.

The move will place the festival in the thick of awards season, and will also put it in direct competition with the AFI Fest, which takes place in Hollywood in November, and the New York Film Festival, which runs from late September to mid-October in New York City.

“Film Independent is so proud of the work we’ve done in showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives, but the fact is that summer is a challenging time for artist driven films, and fall is where we clearly belong,” said LA Film Festival Director Jennifer Cochis in a statement.

LAFF struggled to attract high-profile films and attract an audience in June, where it was sandwiched between the Cannes Film Festival in May and the fall festivals like Venice, Telluride and Toronto in late August and September. The move to late September will place it immediately after that trio of fests and around the same time as the New York Film Festival.

That places it in a hugely competitive time of the year for film festivals that are looking to premiere new films, but also a time when studios want to showcase their awards contenders in front of industry audiences.

The move will begin in 2018, with the festival entering a multi-year partnership with ArcLight Cinemas.

Submissions for the festival will be accepted beginning in January on Withoutabox.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Wins Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival

Guillermo del Toro's 'The Shape of Water' Brings Tears, F-Bombs to Toronto

Jessica Chastain Brings Poker Princess Molly Bloom Into Sharp Focus at Toronto

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/los-angeles-film-festival-moving-september-2018/feed/ 0
Motion Picture Academy Expels Harvey Weinstein https://www.thewrap.com/motion-picture-academy-expels-harvey-weinstein/ https://www.thewrap.com/motion-picture-academy-expels-harvey-weinstein/#respond Sat, 14 Oct 2017 20:13:47 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1724786 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has expelled Harvey Weinstein in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment and rape.

The decision was made by the Academy Board of Governors, which held a special meeting on Saturday morning to consider the disgraced mogul’s future in the organization.

The vote to expel Weinstein was “well in excess” of the required two-thirds majority from the 54-member board, according to an Academy statement.

Weinstein was stripped of his membership, the statement added, “not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over. What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society.”

Although as a matter of policy the Academy does not publicly reveal disciplinary actions against members in most cases, this is believed to be the first expulsion for activity not directly related to AMPAS membership.

Actor Carmine Caridi was expelled from the organization in 2004 for screener piracy, and other members have been kicked out for selling their Oscar tickets.

While the Weinstein decision sets a precedent that may well have been uncomfortable to some members of the board, the Academy was under enormous pressure to act against the mogul whose actions, detailed in New York Times and New Yorker stories, have drawn universal condemnation.

The Academy statement suggested that the organization was now comfortable with moving into a realm of ethics oversight that it previously avoided. “The Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify,” read its final sentence.

A change.org petition calling for Weinstein’s ouster had drawn more than 135,000 signatures as of Saturday morning, while the president of CBS Films, Terry Press, threatened to resign from AMPAS if it didn’t expel Weinstein.

Academy bylaws allow the board to expel or suspend members “for cause” with a two-thirds vote.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) suspended Weinstein’s membership on Wednesday. The Producers Guild of America called its own Saturday board meeting to discuss Weinstein’s future in that organization, but then delayed the meeting until Monday.

Weinstein has been a longtime member of the Academy, and received Oscar nominations as a producer of Best Picture nominees “Gangs of New York” and “Shakespeare in Love.” He won an Oscar for the latter film.

He also revolutionized Oscar campaigning in the 1990s and 2000s with a more aggressive and expensive style of campaigning that often pushed against the edge of Academy campaign regulations. In addition to “Shakespeare in Love,” his Oscar-winning films over the years, both at Miramax and at the Weinstein Company, included “My Left Foot,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” “Chicago,” “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.”

The Academy statement:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors met today to discuss the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and has voted well in excess of the required two-thirds majority to immediately expel him from the Academy. We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over. What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society. The Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify.

Related stories from TheWrap:

4 Women Corroborate Fabrizio Lombardo Procured Women for Harvey Weinstein

Bob Weinstein Says Weinstein Co. Is Here to Stay

'Morning Joe' Guest Compares Donald Trump to Harvey Weinstein: 'There Are a Lot of Parallels' (Video)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/motion-picture-academy-expels-harvey-weinstein/feed/ 0
What Will It Take for the Academy to Expel Harvey Weinstein? https://www.thewrap.com/what-will-it-take-for-the-academy-to-expel-harvey-weinstein/ https://www.thewrap.com/what-will-it-take-for-the-academy-to-expel-harvey-weinstein/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 20:04:25 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1724489 On Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors will hold a special meeting to consider one issue: Should Harvey Weinstein lose his AMPAS membership in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment and abuse?

Already, more than 100,000 people have signed a change.org petition calling for Weinstein’s expulsion, but the decision will be made solely by the 54 members of the Academy board. They alone have the authority to expel or suspend members, which they can do “for cause.”

The process is spelled out in Article 10, Section 3 of the Academy bylaws:

“Any member of the Academy may be suspended or expelled for cause by the Board of Governors. Expulsion or suspension as herein provided for shall require the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all the Governors. No Governor, nor the Academy, nor any member thereof, shall be liable to any member or former member by reason of any action taken hereunder. The procedure for hearing or investigation shall be as determined by the Board of Governors.”

If every member of the board attends the meeting on Saturday, the requirement for a two-thirds majority would mean that 36 of them will have to vote to suspend or revoke Weinstein’s membership.

In doing so, they would be setting a new precedent at an organization that has never before expelled a member for actions unrelated to the Academy itself.

Actors Branch member Carmine Caridi was expelled in 2004 after DVD screeners sent to him were pirated. Other members have been expelled for selling their tickets to the Oscar ceremony, though their names have not been made public.

The pressure on the board to take a stand against Weinstein will be enormous, and a unanimous vote in favor of expulsion would not come as a surprise. (The last time the board faced pressure to make a big change, it voted unanimously for a series of drastic steps to increase membership diversity in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in early 2016.)

Weinstein has already been fired from his position at the Weinstein Company, which he and his brother founded, and suspended from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which announced its decision on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the Academy announced that it would consider action against Weinstein at the Saturday meeting, and said in a statement, “The Academy finds the conduct described in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein to be repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy and the creative community it represents.”

The Academy meeting will come on the same day as another at the Producers Guild of America, which will also consider Weinstein’s future in that organization.

It will take place on a top floor of the Academy building in Beverly Hills at the same time that the Academy is holding its annual Careers in Film Summit in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater downstairs. The day-long event will consist of a number of panels at which Academy members and film professionals will discuss various aspects of filmmaking.

Weinstein has attended nearly every Academy Awards show for decades, and won an Oscar as one of the producers of 1998 Best Picture winner “Shakespeare in Love.” He was also nominated for producing “Gangs of New York.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Joe Biden Calls for Legal 'Consequences' for Harvey Weinstein: 'Deserves More Than Losing His Company' (Video)

'Morning Joe' Guest Compares Donald Trump to Harvey Weinstein: 'There Are a Lot of Parallels' (Video)

Oliver Stone's Defense of Harvey Weinstein Sparks Anger, Accusations

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/what-will-it-take-for-the-academy-to-expel-harvey-weinstein/feed/ 0
NYU, Berkeley, Ringling College Win Top Student Academy Awards https://www.thewrap.com/nyu-berkeley-ringling-college-win-top-student-academy-awards/ https://www.thewrap.com/nyu-berkeley-ringling-college-win-top-student-academy-awards/#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 04:00:12 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1724068 Students from NYU, Berkeley and Ringling College of Art and Design have won gold medals at the 2017 Student Academy Awards, which were handed out on Thursday night at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in the Academy’s Beverly Hills headquarters.

NYU’s Max R. A. Fedore won gold in the alternative category for “Opera of Cruelty,” while the school’s Kevin Wilson, Jr. won gold in the narrative category for “My Nephew Emmett.” Berkeley’s Brad Bailey took the documentary gold for “Hale,” while Ringing’s Beth David and Esteban Bravo received the top award in animation for “In a Heartbeat.”

In the three international categories, the top winners were Katja Benrath from Hamburg Media School for “Watu Wote,” Chenglin Xie from China Central Academy of Fine Arts for “Life Smartphone” and Johannes Preuss from Filmakademi Baden-Wurttemberg for “Galamsey.”

The award for “Life Smartphone” marked the first time that China Central Academy of Fine Arts had ever been recognized at the Student Oscars, and was due to a rule change that made it easier for international students to enter.

Actor-director Andy Serkis, actor Alexis Bledel, producer DeVon Franklin and director Jennifer Yuh Nelson presented the awards. The winners were chosen by a record 468 members of the Academy who reviewed and voted on 1,587 films had been submitted by 356 film schools.

NYU won two additional bronze medals, while USC won two silvers. Other US winners were Columbia University and the School of Visual Arts. Additional international winners came from Zurich University of the Arts and Netherlands Film Academy.

Even among the winners from American schools, the prizes went to a group of students that were very diverse in race, sex and nationality.

In addition to prizes of $5,000 for gold, $3,000 for silver and $2,000 for bronze, all the winning films are now eligible in the short-film categories at the 2017 Academy Awards.

The winning students now join a roster of past Student Academy Awards winners that includes John Lasseter, Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, Pete Docter and Trey Parker.

The winning films were announced several weeks ago; each student filmmaker knew they had won an award, but the medal placements of gold, silver and bronze were not revealed until the ceremony, which was streamed on the Oscars website.

The awards presentation was the culmination of the winners’ week in Los Angeles, which included several days of meetings, workshops, tours and other events. Many of the winners mentioned the week in their remarks, with gold medal winner Brad Bailey (“Hale”) saying it was nice to get to know the Academy. “You’re surprisingly down to earth in a way I didn’t expect,” he said. “But you’re cool.”

The medal placement:

Alternative (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: “Opera of Cruelty,” Max R. A. Fedore, New York University

Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: “In a Heartbeat,” Beth David and Esteban Bravo, Ringling College of Art and Design
Silver: “Cradle,” Devon Manney, University of Southern California
Bronze: “E-delivery,” Young Gul Cho, School of Visual Arts

Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: “Hale,” Brad Bailey, University of California, Berkeley
Silver: “On Pointe,” Priscilla Thompson and Joy Jihyun Jeong, Columbia University
Bronze: “One Way Home,” Qingzi Fan, New York University

Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: “My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr., New York University
Silver: “Mammoth,” Ariel Heller, University of Southern California
Bronze: “Who’s Who in Mycology,” Marie Dvorakova, New York University

Narrative (International Film Schools)
Gold: “Watu Wote,” Katja Benrath, Hamburg Media School (Germany)
Silver: “Facing Mecca,” Jan-Eric Mack, Zurich University of the Arts (Switzerland)
Bronze: “When Grey is a Colour,” Marit Weerheijm, Netherlands Film Academy (Netherlands)

Animation (International Film Schools)
Gold: “Life Smartphone,” Chenglin Xie, China Central Academy of Fine Arts (China)

Documentary (International Film Schools)
Gold: “Galamsey,” Johannes Preuss, Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)

Related stories from TheWrap:

Motion Picture Academy to Discuss Harvey Weinstein's 'Repugnant' Actions at Special Meeting

Academy President John Bailey Vows to Finish the Museum – and Get Along With Dawn Hudson

Duffer Brothers on Their Journey From Film-School Rejection to 'Stranger Things' (Exclusive Video)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/nyu-berkeley-ringling-college-win-top-student-academy-awards/feed/ 0
Cat Movie ‘Kedi’ Leads Critics’ Choice Documentary Award Nominees https://www.thewrap.com/cat-movie-kedi-leads-critics-choice-documentary-award-nominees/ https://www.thewrap.com/cat-movie-kedi-leads-critics-choice-documentary-award-nominees/#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2017 16:00:50 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1721491 A documentary about Turkish cats led all films in nominations for the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, with docs about Syria, the environment, typewriters and buried silent films following close behind.

Ceyda Torun’s “Kedi,” a playful examination of the many cats that run free in Istanbul, landed four nominations, including Best Documentary and Best Director. In addition, its feline subjects were one of seven winners in the Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary category. (The others were all human.)

Films that received three nominations were Doug Nichol’s “California Typewriter,” Jeff Orlowski’s “Chasing Coral,” Matthew Heineman’s “City of Ghosts,” Evgeny Afineevsky’s “Cries From Syria” and Bill Morrison’s “Dawson City: Frozen Time.”

All were nominated in the Best Documentary category, which also included Steve James’ “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Frederick Wiseman’s “Ex Libris: New York Public Library,” Agnes Varda and JR’s “Faces Places,” Brett Morgen’s “Jane” and Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s “One of Us.”

Also in the category: Irene Taylor Brodsky’s “Beward the Slenderman,” Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens’ “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” Colin Hanks’ “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis,” Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen’s “Spettacolo” and Yance Ford’s “Strong Island.”

Because of the increasingly blurry lines in nonfiction filmmaking, the CCDA combined what had been separate categories for film and television docs into single categories, which resulted in the top category sporting a supersized 16 nominees.

Nominations were also made for directing, as well as for political docs, sports docs, music docs, songs in docs and both limited and ongoing documentary series on television.

The nominations were made by nominating committees made up of members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association. (Full disclosure: I was a member of two of those committees.)

The second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards will be held on November 2 at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York, and will be hosted for the second year by comedian and magician Penn Teller.

At that ceremony, director Joe Berlinger will be given the Critics’ Choice Impact Award.

The Critics’ Choice Awards for non-documentary film and television work will take place on December 10 in Santa Monica, California.

The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards nominees:

Best Documentary
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Beware the Slenderman”
“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”
“California Typewriter”
“Chasing Coral”
“City of Ghosts”
“Cries From Syria”
“Dawson City: Frozen in Time”
“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis”
“Ex Libris: New York Public Library”
“Faces Places”
“Jane”
“Kedi”
“One of Us”
“Spettacolo”
“Strong Island”

Best Director
Evgeny Afineevsky, “Cries From Syria”
Amir Bar-Lev, “Long Strange Trip”
Matthew Heineman, “City of Ghosts”
Bill Morrison, “Dawson City: Frozen in Time”
Doug Nichol, “California Typewriter”
Jeff Orlowski, “Chasing Coral”
Irene Taylor Brodsky, “Beware the Slenderman”
Ceyda Torun, “Kedi”
Agnes Varda & JR, “Faces, Places”
Frederick Wiseman, “Ex Libris”

Best First Documentary
“California Typewriter”
“Kedi”
“Nowhere to Hide”
“Step”
“Strong Island”
“Whose Streets”

Best Political Documentary
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“City of Ghosts”
“Dolores”
“11/8/16”
“An Inconvenient Sequel”
“The Reagan Show”

Best Sports Documentary
“AlphaGo”
“Disgraced”
“Icarus”
“Speed Sisters”
“Take Every Wave”
“Trophy”

Best Music Documentary
“Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives”
“Contemporary Color”
“Eagles of Death Metal”
“I Called Him Morgan”
“Long Strange Trip”
“Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World”

Most Innovative Documentary
“Casting JonBenet”
“Dawson City: Frozen Time”
“Karl Marx City”
“Kedi”
“Last Men in Aleppo”
“78/52”

Best Song in a Documentary
“Tell Me How Long” from “Chasing Coral”
“Prayers for This World” from “Cries From Syria”
“Best I Can” from “Dina”
“Truth to Power” from “An Inconvenient Sequel”
“Dancing Through the Wreckage” from “Served Like a Girl”
“Jump” from “Step”

Best Limited Documentary Series (TV/Streaming)
“The Defiant Ones”
“Five Came Back”
“The Keepers”
“The Nineties”
“Planet Earth II”
“The Vietnam War”

Best Ongoing Documentary Series (TV/Streaming)
“American Masters”
“Frontline”
“Independent Lens”
“POV”
“30 for 30”
“VICE”

Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary
The cats of Istanbul, “Kedi”
Etty, “One of Us”
Al Gore, “An Inconvenient Sequel”
Laird Hamilton, “Take Every Wave”
Dolores Huerta, “Dolores”
Gigi Lazzarato, “This is Everything”
The Sung Family, “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”

Related stories from TheWrap:

IFP Gotham Awards: Dustin Hoffman and Sofia Coppola to Get Actor, Director Tributes

Nicole Kidman, Ed Lachman to Receive Tributes at the Gotham Awards

Donald Sutherland, Charles Burnett Lead Honorary 2017 Governors Awards

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/cat-movie-kedi-leads-critics-choice-documentary-award-nominees/feed/ 0
Harvey Weinstein and the Oscar Race: He’s Gone But Not Forgotten https://www.thewrap.com/harvey-weinstein-and-the-oscar-race-hell-be-gone-but-not-forgotten/ https://www.thewrap.com/harvey-weinstein-and-the-oscar-race-hell-be-gone-but-not-forgotten/#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2017 13:26:19 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1721486 There have been times when the departure of Harvey Weinstein in October would have had a big impact on the Oscar race.

2017 is not one of those times.

The co-founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company, who was fired by his TWC board on Sunday after multiple allegations of past sexual misconduct, has arguably had a bigger influence on Oscar campaigning than any other person over the last three decades.

But this year, he had neither the films nor the resources to be a formidable presence in the race — although, to be sure, the things he did in the past to transform Oscar campaigning, both at TWC and its predecessor, Miramax, will still have an enormous impact on how the game plays out over the next four months.

Asked if Weinstein’s absence would have any effect on this year’s race, one rival campaigner was succinct: “No.”

Added another (who, in a sign that even now people don’t want to annoy Harvey, also requested anonymity), “He wasn’t going to be a player this year. Now he never will be again.”

Coming into this year’s fall festivals, TWC had two films thought to have a chance at Oscar glory. Neil Burger’s “The Upside,” a remake of the French hit “The Intouchables” starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, was always considered more of a commercial play, and the lukewarm reception to its Toronto debut sealed the deal; it will likely be released in 2018 without an awards-qualifying run this year.

The other TWC film, “The Current War,” was considered a more serious contender. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who won praise for “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” the period drama starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon, both past Oscar nominees, as inventor Thomas Edison and industrialist George Westinghouse.

The film had a prime premiere slot in Toronto, but reaction was at best muted for a drama that mixed art-house touches with a straightforward awards-bait story. With a 31 percent positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes (20 percent among “top critics”), it came out of TIFF with no real awards momentum.

That leaves writer-director Taylor Sheridan’s “Wind River,” an intense drama starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, as the company’s likeliest awards contender.

When the film made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Weinstein told TheWrap that he thought Renner would land a Best Actor nomination, and the actor’s quietly wrenching performance is certainly one of his strongest since “The Hurt Locker.”

But despite strong reviews and good box-office returns in its August release, “Wind River” remains a long shot, with Renner a dark horse for Best Actor and Sheridan the same for his screenplay.

With Weinstein out of the picture, TWC has not changed its campaign: On Saturday morning it screened the film for guild members twice, followed by Q&As with Sheridan at the Directors Guild and Sheridan, Renner, Olsen, actors Gil Birmingham, Martin Sensmeier and Tokala Clifford, cinematographer Ben Richardson and producer Matthew George at the Aero.

The push for “Wind River” will continue without Weinstein. And if the campaign seems more muted, the reason may less be Weinstein’s absence than the cash-flow problems that in recent years have made it impossible for TWC to carry out the kind of scorched-earth campaigns for which he was once known.

The company has been more cautious with its campaigns in recent years, by financial necessity. After the back-to-back wins by 2010’s “The King’s Speech” and 2011’s “The Artist” and two 2013 Best Picture nominees in “Django Unchained” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” the company managed to get “Philomena” a nom in 2013 and “The Imitation Game” one in 2014, but then failed to land a best-pic nominee for the first time in seven years.

Last year it was back with “Lion,” with landed six nominations but didn’t win anything.

The Weinstein touch has been fading in recent years, but campaigns run by a number of publicists who used to work for him have done well. And as their presence in the race suggests, Weinstein’s style of campaigning — or at least the savviness and zeal with which he went about it at his best — has essentially defined the modern awards campaign.

Beginning in the late 1980s with Miramax, when he pushed “My Left Foot” to awards and then continued in the ’90s with “The Crying Game,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” “Good Will Hunting” and “Shakespeare in Love,” Weinstein brought an aggressiveness to the game that no independent company had displayed.

In addition to the ability to identify angles that would play well to voters, his tactics included expenditures on a level never seen from an indie, ads and film clips carefully designed to play up specific aspects of the films (even if that meant distorting the films), meet-and-greet events with talent, screenings anywhere a stray Academy member might be lurking, special screenings and appearances from Washington to Vatican City to tie his films to current events, whisper campaigns against rivals, phone banks to call (and lobby) voters at home, ads featuring endorsements by other Academy members, parties where voters could mingle with stars and the use of a publication’s mailing list to send an appeal that would otherwise be illegal.

None of those were necessarily illegal at the time he did them, though at least the last four were explicitly banned by the Academy soon afterwards. And to be fair, Weinstein was clearly blamed for some whisper campaigns he didn’t actually launch.

But maybe that’s the point — he changed campaigning for everybody. Weinstein and his company campaigned “in a way that just hadn’t been seen before,” the Academy’s longtime executive director, Bruce Davis, once said. “They see it as a competitive sport, and look for every edge, every angle. And they’re not the only ones responsible, because the others have felt the need to step up and match them.”

So that’s the bottom line. Harvey Weinstein won’t physically be a part of the awards race, not in 2017 and probably never again. But his fingerprints will be all over it.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Harvey Weinstein Firing Celebrated by Rose McGowan, James Gunn: 'Good F–king Riddance'

Trump Is 'Not at All Surprised' by Harvey Weinstein Sexual Harassment Allegations (Video)

Harvey Weinstein Has No Case Against the New York Times, Legal Experts Say

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/harvey-weinstein-and-the-oscar-race-hell-be-gone-but-not-forgotten/feed/ 0
Oscars Foreign Language Chief Hints at ‘Dramatic Changes’ in the Works https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-foreign-language-chief-hints-of-dramatic-changes-in-the-works/ https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-foreign-language-chief-hints-of-dramatic-changes-in-the-works/#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2017 00:14:37 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1720288 The Academy’s Best Foreign Language Film category has always had one hard-and-fast rule: To vote for a film in the nominations round of voting, you have to see it in a theater.

And despite recent rule changes designed to make it easier for voters to participate in the category, the longtime chairman of the Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, Mark Johnson, told TheWrap on Thursday that the theaters-only rule remains in place.

For this year.

Maybe.

In an interview in which he clarified some of the new rules, Johnson said that the prohibition on voting for films after viewing them on screeners or screening links remains in place. But, he added, “Without being able to be specific, I think that we can anticipate in the very near future some changes in terms of whether or not you have to see a film theatrically.

“What we’re trying to do is to encourage as many members to be involved in the selection process as possible, and as many foreign-based members to be involved as well. Obviously, if you’re in Madrid, you can’t go to an official Academy screening. So I think we’re on the verge of making some dramatic changes.”

But could those changes affect this year’s race, in which members screenings of all 92 eligible films will begin a week from Monday? “Maybe,” he said. “I can promise that we have some very healthy discussions going on.”

For now, though, members who wish to vote in the category will need to see the eligible films at AMPAS screenings, which will take place at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn and Linwood Dunn theaters from mid October through early December, or at outside screenings of the films, including TheWrap’s Foreign Language Screening Series.

In the past, voters have been separated into different color-coded groups, each of which is asked to attend a series of specific screenings (typically double features). Those committees have been eliminated, with each member instead assigned a specific group of films to see.

But Johnson said that members who can’t make it to every film on the “required viewing list” will be able to make up for it by seeing other films. “You’ll need to see a minimum of about 15 for your vote to count,” he said. “What I keep telling everybody is to see as many as you can – and if you don’t see enough to qualify, you’ve still seen some great movies from around the world.”

The goal of the new rules, he said, is to make it more flexible for members to choose the films they see and the screenings they attend. And because the voters give each film a number grade on the scale of 6 to 10, the results are based on average grades and won’t be skewed if some films are seen by far more viewers than others.

“We’re doing whatever we can to increase the number of members who can participate,” he said. “We’re desperately eager to do that, and so far we’ve had more early interest than we’ve ever had.” Part of that, he said, comes from the fact that new Academy president John Bailey is an avid fan of foreign-language films who has personally encouraged members to vote in the category.

Another recent change did away with the conflict-of-interest rule that prevented members who had worked on or promoted one of the contenders from voting. Johnson said he expects that change to “slightly expand” the number of participating members, as well as bringing the category in line with the rest of the Oscar categories.

“I love the tradition of this category, but as times changes so do our rules need to,” he said. “I think maybe it was my mistake, and we should have proposed getting rid of the conflict-of-interest rule long ago.

“Listen, there’s no secret that I’ll probably vote for ‘Downsizing’ for Best Picture,” added Johnson, who produced that Alexander Payne movie. “Why shouldn’t that be able to happen here too?”

Phase 2 of the foreign-language nominating process, in which hand-picked committees view the nine shortlisted films and vote for the five nominees, will also undergo a change this year, Johnson said. In addition to the usual committees in Los Angeles, New York and London, a fourth committee will be added in San Francisco. In addition, he said, there’s been talk of expanding the number of Phase 2 committee members, which is currently set at 20 in L.A. and 10 in New York and London.

Of course, all of these tweaks won’t change the fact that foreign-language voters are facing a truly daunting task this year, with the 92 eligible films setting a new record for contenders in the category. (The old record, set last year, was 85.)

“It’s an astonishing number,” Johnson said. “On one hand it’s great that international filmmaking is so vibrant, that countries are making films and deeming them worthy of this competition. On the other hand, it’s a huge challenge for us.

“Some of us on the executive committee went to a screening of [the Lebanese entry] ‘The Insult’ the other day. And as we were leaving, one of them turned me me and said, ‘One down, 91 to go.'”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Oscars Documentary Race Breaks a Record: Here's the List of All 159 Entries

The Oscars Race After the Festivals: Are We Still Just Waiting for Spielberg?

Halle Berry Recalls Her Adrien Brody Oscars Kiss: 'What the F—'s Happening?!' (Video)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-foreign-language-chief-hints-of-dramatic-changes-in-the-works/feed/ 0
‘Abundant Acreage Available’ Review: Amy Ryan Owns This Quiet Family Drama https://www.thewrap.com/abundant-acreage-available-review-amy-ryan-tribeca/ https://www.thewrap.com/abundant-acreage-available-review-amy-ryan-tribeca/#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 22:30:21 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1613706 The presence of Martin Scorsese as an executive producer no doubt drew some of the crowd to Thursday night’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere of “Abundant Acreage Available,” but the ties between Angus MacLachlan’s family drama and Scorsese’s work were not in areas (violence, Italians, “Gimme Shelter”) usually associated with the legendary director.

Instead, it was the little areas where you could see a connection: a serious examination of religious faith, a look at family dynamics and a vividly drawn sense of place — in this case not Little Italy, but a modest family farm somewhere in North Carolina.

And the audience didn’t leave “Abundant Acreage Available” thinking about Scorsese — because this movie belongs to actress Amy Ryan, who gives a haunting, quietly commanding performance as a fortysomething woman who lives with her brother (Terry Kinney) on a small tobacco farm.

Ryan and Kinney’s characters have only recently buried their father, who died after a long illness, when three brothers (Max Gail, Francis Guinan and Steve Coulter) show up and pitch a tent on their property. The men furnish a suspicious story about car trouble and show no great hurry to move on.

“Abundant Acreage Available,” a movie looking for a distribution deal at Tribeca, is all about quiet, stillness, grief and faith. And the movie itself is quiet and still, set in the dead of winter when little seems to be growing and we rarely even see the birds that fly overhead. For long stretches, there is no score, just the sound of wind; when music creeps in, it does so softly and then goes away again.

Voices are raised and there’s even some violence, but it’s understated; the three mysterious brothers are a soft, enigmatic threat, not an overt one.

The performances are strong: Kinney as a man looking desperately to religion as a way to forgive himself for a tragedy; Gail as a curious spokesperson for the trio of squatters; and especially Coulter as the quietest of the brothers, whose rectitude has those around him deciding that they know what’s best for him (and for Ryan’s character).

His scenes with Ryan are among the film’s richest and most satisfying, but the actress holds the screen no matter what she’s doing and who she’s with. There is no vanity in her portrayal of a woman who looks beaten down but has chosen the life she’s leading, and who is roused to protect her lifestyle when it suddenly seems threatened for reasons that make little sense to her.

MacLachlan is best known for his script to the 2005 drama “Junebug,” which brought another Amy — in that case, Adams — her first Oscar nomination. He knows how to sketch small-town lives keenly and sensitively, even if his tone of somber ambiguity does not always lead to wholly satisfying drama.

But for an audience willing to be patient and drift along with the quiet drama — which is to say, most of the audience at Tribeca’s Cinepolis Chelsea on Thursday night — “Abundant Acreage Available” is a slow ride worth taking.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Tribeca Film Festival to Present Springsteen, Kobe, TV … and Oh Yeah, Movies

Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Kobe Bryant to Join Tribeca Film Festival Talks

'Flower' Review: Zoey Deutch Stars in a Toxic 'Juno' Knock-Off

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/abundant-acreage-available-review-amy-ryan-tribeca/feed/ 0
‘Mountain Between Us’ Review: Idris Elba and Kate Winslet Plane Crash Drama Falls Short https://www.thewrap.com/mountain-between-us-kate-winslet-idris-elba-toronto-review/ https://www.thewrap.com/mountain-between-us-kate-winslet-idris-elba-toronto-review/#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 22:15:08 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1705895 With “Paradise Now” and “Omar,” a pair of standout dramas nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad proved himself adept at finding the human stories in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

In “The Mountain Between Us,” Abu-Assad’s first large-scale English language film, he plays romance against an epic story of survival. But, in this case, the approach shortchanges the character’s quest for life by reducing it to the prelude to a game of “will they or won’t they stay together?”

That’s a shame, because Abu-Assad is a director who could bring a fresh perspective to Hollywood films like this. (“The Mountain Between Us,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is being released by 20th Century Fox.)

The film, based on the novel by Charles Martin, stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as Ben and Alex, strangers who charter a small plane when their flights are cancelled due to storm. On the way to Denver, their pilot suffers a stroke and the plane crashes high in the mountains, leading them on an excruciating trek back to civilization.

The director shot his film in the Canadian Rockies and didn’t use green screen except in the crash scene, and he doesn’t try to pump up the drama — not that he has to, given the stakes and the difficulty of what the characters are trying to accomplish. But the journey was a slow, painstaking one, and it comes across that way on screen.

We learn that Ben has a wife and Alex is missing her own wedding, but somewhere along the way, the crisis forges a connection that turns to romance. It seems understandable for the attraction to develop — or, at least, Winslet and Elba are accomplished enough performers to sell it.

But when the survival story comes to an end and you might expect the movie to do the same, it simply keeps going and keeps alive the question of whether a romance kindled in the snow can survive in the city.

This feels like padding, and it also cheapens the grand survival story. Winslet, Elba and Abu-Assad make us care for the characters’ survival, but they can’t make us care if they stay together afterwards.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Kate Winslet, Idris Elba Fight for Their Lives in 'The Mountain Between Us' Trailer (Video)

'Chappaquiddick' Toronto Review: A Morality Tale About Ted Kennedy

'mother!' Review: Jennifer Lawrence Horror Flick in All Its Glorious Insanity

'Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood' Review: Sex Abounded in Hollywood's Golden Age

'Mary Shelley' Toronto Review: Elle Fanning Biopic Gets Monstrously Silly

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/mountain-between-us-kate-winslet-idris-elba-toronto-review/feed/ 0
Oscars Break Another Record With 92 Foreign Language Contenders https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-break-another-record-92-foreign-language-contenders/ https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-break-another-record-92-foreign-language-contenders/#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 17:03:16 +0000 Steve Pond http://www.thewrap.com/?p=1719481 For the fifth time in the last six years, the Oscars race for Best Foreign Language Film has a record number of submissions, with 92 countries eligible to win the award.

Top contenders include Sweden’s Palme d’Or winner “The Square,” Israel’s “Foxtrot,” Russia’s “Loveless,” France’s “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” Germany’s “In the Fade” and Cambodia’s “First They Killed My Father,” which was directed by Angelina Jolie.

The number of eligible films breaks the previous record of 85, which was set last year. Since 2012, when the race had a record 71 entries, the size of the field has increased every year and set a record every year except 2015.

Six countries — Haiti, Honduras, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal and Syria — are entering the race for the first time.

The Academy released the list of qualifying films on Thursday, one day after TheWrap revealed that the Oscars documentary race was also on track to set a new record, with 159 entries to date.

“First They Killed My Father” was one of several films that required a judgment call from the Oscars’ Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee. AMPAS rules require that creative control of a submitted film must be “largely in the hands of citizens or residents” of the submitting country, and co-writer and director Jolie was of course born and raised in the United States. But she was granted Cambodian citizenship a decade ago because of her humanitarian work in that country, and the film’s co-writer, producer and cast were Cambodian.

Volunteers from all branches of the Academy will now watch the films, which will be screened at AMPAS theaters in Beverly Hills and Hollywood for two months, beginning next week and ending in December. Their votes will determine the top six contenders, to which a smaller executive committee will add three more films to make up a nine-film shortlist.

Three special committees, made up of 20 people in Los Angeles and 10 each in New York and London, will then watch the nine shortlisted films over three days, and vote to select the five nominees.

This year, rules were changed to potentially open up the nominations voting to more members. The Academy killed the conflict-of-interest rule that prevented members who worked on or promoted a contending film from voting, a rule that did not exist in any other Oscars category. It also did away with the old practice of dividing voters into color-coded committees, and requiring them to see at least 65 percent of the films assigned to their committee.

Now, members will be given a “required viewing list” of films they must see, but will be encouraged to see as many films as possible not on that list.

TheWrap has compiled a full list of the eligible films, with descriptions and links to trailers, here.

The list:

Afghanistan, “A Letter to the President,” Roya Sadat, director
Albania, “Daybreak,” Gentian Koçi, director
Algeria, “Road to Istanbul,” Rachid Bouchareb, director
Argentina, “Zama,” Lucrecia Martel, director
Armenia, “Yeva,” Anahit Abad, director
Australia, “The Space Between,” Ruth Borgobello, director
Austria, “Happy End,” Michael Haneke, director
Azerbaijan, “Pomegranate Orchard,” Ilgar Najaf, director
Bangladesh, “The Cage,” Akram Khan, director
Belgium, “Racer and the Jailbird,” Michaël R. Roskam, director
Bolivia, “Dark Skull,” Kiro Russo, director
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Men Don’t Cry,” Alen Drljević, director
Brazil, “Bingo – The King of the Mornings,” Daniel Rezende, director
Bulgaria, “Glory,” Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva, directors
Cambodia, “First They Killed My Father,” Angelina Jolie, director
Canada, “Hochelaga, Land of Souls,” François Girard, director
Chile, “A Fantastic Woman,” Sebastián Lelio, director
China, “Wolf Warrior 2,” Wu Jing, director
Colombia, “Guilty Men,” Iván D. Gaona, director
Costa Rica, “The Sound of Things,” Ariel Escalante, director
Croatia, “Quit Staring at My Plate,” Hana Jušić, director
Czech Republic, “Ice Mother,” Bohdan Sláma, director
Denmark, “You Disappear,” Peter Schønau Fog, director
Dominican Republic, “Woodpeckers,” Jose Maria Cabral, director
Ecuador, “Alba,” Ana Cristina Barragán, director
Egypt, “Sheikh Jackson,” Amr Salama, director
Estonia, “November,” Rainer Sarnet, director
Finland, “Tom of Finland,” Dome Karukoski, director
France, “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” Robin Campillo, director
Georgia, “Scary Mother,” Ana Urushadze, director
Germany, “In the Fade,” Fatih Akin, director
Greece, “Amerika Square,” Yannis Sakaridis, director
Haiti, “Ayiti Mon Amour,” Guetty Felin, director
Honduras, “Morazán,” Hispano Durón, director
Hong Kong, “Mad World,” Wong Chun, director
Hungary, “On Body and Soul,” Ildikó Enyedi, director
Iceland, “Under the Tree,” Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, director
India, “Newton,” Amit V Masurkar, director
Indonesia, “Turah,” Wicaksono Wisnu Legowo, director
Iran, “Breath,” Narges Abyar, director
Iraq, “Reseba – The Dark Wind,” Hussein Hassan, director
Ireland, “Song of Granite,” Pat Collins, director
Israel, “Foxtrot,” Samuel Maoz, director
Italy, “A Ciambra,” Jonas Carpignano, director
Japan, “Her Love Boils Bathwater,” Ryota Nakano, director
Kazakhstan, “The Road to Mother,” Akhan Satayev, director
Kenya, “Kati Kati,” Mbithi Masya, director
Kosovo, “Unwanted,” Edon Rizvanolli, director
Kyrgyzstan, “Centaur,” Aktan Arym Kubat, director
Lao People’s Democratic Republic, “Dearest Sister,” Mattie Do, director
Latvia, “The Chronicles of Melanie,” Viestur Kairish, director
Lebanon, “The Insult,” Ziad Doueiri, director
Lithuania, “Frost,” Sharunas Bartas, director
Luxembourg, “Barrage,” Laura Schroeder, director
Mexico, “Tempestad,” Tatiana Huezo, director
Mongolia, “The Children of Genghis,” Zolbayar Dorj, director
Morocco, “Razzia,” Nabil Ayouch, director
Mozambique, “The Train of Salt and Sugar,” Licinio Azevedo, director
Nepal, “White Sun,” Deepak Rauniyar, director
Netherlands, “Layla M.,” Mijke de Jong, director
New Zealand, “One Thousand Ropes,” Tusi Tamasese, director
Norway, “Thelma,” Joachim Trier, director
Pakistan, “Saawan,” Farhan Alam, director
Palestine, “Wajib,” Annemarie Jacir, director
Panama, “Beyond Brotherhood,” Arianne Benedetti, director
Paraguay, “Los Buscadores,” Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schembori, directors
Peru, “Rosa Chumbe,” Jonatan Relayze, director
Philippines, “Birdshot,” Mikhail Red, director
Poland, “Spoor,” Agnieszka Holland, Kasia Adamik, directors
Portugal, “Saint George,” Marco Martins, director
Romania, “Fixeur,” Adrian Sitaru, director
Russia, “Loveless,” Andrey Zvyagintsev, director
Senegal, “Félicité,” Alain Gomis, director
Serbia, “Requiem for Mrs. J.,” Bojan Vuletic, director
Singapore, “Pop Aye,” Kirsten Tan, director
Slovakia, “The Line,” Peter Bebjak, director
Slovenia, “The Miner,” Hanna A. W. Slak, director
South Africa, “The Wound,” John Trengove, director
South Korea, “A Taxi Driver,” Jang Hoon, director
Spain, “Summer 1993,” Carla Simón, director
Sweden, “The Square,” Ruben ?-stlund, director
Switzerland, “The Divine Order,” Petra Volpe, director
Syria, “Little Gandhi,” Sam Kadi, director
Taiwan, “Small Talk,” Hui-Chen Huang, director
Thailand, “By the Time It Gets Dark,” Anocha Suwichakornpong, director
Tunisia, “The Last of Us,” Ala Eddine Slim, director
Turkey, “Ayla: The Daughter of War,” Can Ulkay, director
Ukraine, “Black Level,” Valentyn Vasyanovych, director
United Kingdom, “My Pure Land,” Sarmad Masud, director
Uruguay, “Another Story of the World,” Guillermo Casanova, director
Venezuela, “El Inca,” Ignacio Castillo Cottin, director
Vietnam, “Father and Son,” Luong Dinh Dung, director

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Square' Cannes Review: Swedish Satire Goes Ape, in the Best Way

'First They Killed My Father' Review: Angelina Jolie Balances Poetry and Horror in Cambodian Saga

'Loveless' Cannes Review: Gripping Russian Drama Delivers Gut Punch to Launch Competition

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-break-another-record-92-foreign-language-contenders/feed/ 0
Oscars Documentary Race Breaks a Record: Here’s the List of All 159 Entries https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-documentary-race-breaks-record-heres-list-159-entries/ https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-documentary-race-breaks-record-heres-list-159-entries/#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 02:19:56 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1719677 More films will be competing in the Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature this year than ever before, according to a list of submitted films obtained by TheWrap.

The Academy has yet to release the official roster of films that have qualified in the category, because the final determination has yet to be made before that late-October release. But all members of the Documentary Branch receive lists of films and viewing assignments throughout the year, and can view the documentaries on a secure AMPAS website.

This week, 80 new docs were added to the screener site, in addition to the 79 feature links that were already available there.

That puts the field at 159 films so far, breaking the previous record of 151 qualifying films in 2013. Last year, 145 qualified.

In recent years, the branch has regularly tweaked and modified its rules. Often, that has been with the intention of cutting down on the number of films, particularly made-for-television docs, that qualified by renting theaters (or “four-walling”) for the minimum required run. But as the market for nonfiction filmmaking has grown, particularly on platforms like Netflix, the number of Oscar submissions has remained high.

This year’s films include several docs about Syria (“City of Ghosts,” “Cries From Syria,” “Last Men in Aleppo,” “Hell on Earth”), two about the Los Angeles riots of 1992 (“LA 92,” “Let It Fall”), more than a dozen about music (including “Bang! The Bert Berns Story,” “Chasing Trane,” “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis,” “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” “I Called Him Morgan,” “Long Strange Trip” and “Whitney: Can I Be Me?”) and quite a few from celebrated documentarians: Frederick Wiseman’s “Ex Libris,” Agnes Varda’s “Faces, Place” (co-directed by JR), Steve James’ “Abacus” and the artist Ai Weiwei (“Human Flow”).

Recent nominees with films in the running this year include Evgeny Afineevsky (“Cries From Syria”), David France (“The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”), Matthew Heineman (“City of Ghosts”), Sebastian Junger (“Hell on Earth”), Scott Hamilton Kennedy (“Food Evolution”), Rory Kennedy (“Take Every Wave”) and Oscar winners TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay (“LA 92”) and Laura Poitras (“Risk”).

To ensure that every eligible film is viewed by voters, members of the branch are assigned specific films that they must watch. They are then free to see and vote for any other film in contention.

Ballots are due on Nov. 30, with a shortlist of 15 films to be announced in December. A second round of voting will then produce the final five nominees.

Here is the list of films currently available for members to stream:

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Aida’s Secret”
“Al Di Qua”
“All the Rage”
“All These Sleepless Nights”
“AlphaGo”
“American Media & the Second Assassination of John F. Kennedy”
“Architects of Denial”
“Arthur Miller: Writer”
“Atomic Homefront”
“Augie”
“Bang! The Bert Berns Story”
“Bending the Arc”
“Big Sonia”
“Bill Nye: Science Guy”
“Birthright: A War Story”
“Bobbi Jene”
“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
“Born in China”
“Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story”
“Boston”
“Brimstone & Glory”
“Bronx Gothic”
“Burden”
“California Typewriter”
“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story”
“Casting JonBenet”
“Chasing Coral”
“Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary”
“Chavela”
“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City”
“City of Ghosts”
“Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives”
“Cries From Syria”
“Cruel and Unusual”
“Dawson City: Frozen Time”
“Dealt”
“The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”
“Destination Unknown”
“Dina”
“Dolores”
“Dream Big: Engineering Our World”
“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis”
“Earth: One Amazing Day”
“11/8/16”
“Elian”
“Embargo”
“Escapes”
“Everybody Knows … Elizabeth Murry”
“Ex Libris: New York Public Library”
“Extraordinary Ordinary People”
“Faces Places”
“The Farthest”
“The Final Year”
“Finding Oscar”
“500 Years”
“Food Evolution”
“For Akheem”
“The Force”
“The Freedom to Marry”
“From the Ashes”
“Gaga: Five Foot Two”
“A German Life”
“Get Me Roger Stone”
“Gilbert”
“God Knows Where I Am”
“Good Fortune”
“A Gray State”
“Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami Who Started It All”
“Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story”
“Hearing Is Believing”
“Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS”
“Human Flow”
“I Am Another You”
“I Am Evidence”
“I Am Jane Doe”
“I Called Him Morgan”
“Icarus”
“If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast”
“The Incomparable Rose Hartman”
“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”
“Intent to Destroy”
“Jane”
“Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent”
“Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold”
“Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower”
“Karl Marx City”
“Kedi”
“Keep Quiet”
“Kiki”
“LA 92”
“The Last Dalai Lama?”
“The Last Laugh”
“Last Men in Aleppo”
“Legion of Brothers”
“Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992”
“Let’s Play Two”
“Letters From Baghdad”
“Long Strange Trip”
“Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry”
“Machines”
“Man in Red Bandana”
“Motherland”
“Mr. Gaga”
“Mully”
“My Scientology Movie”
“Naples ’44”
“Neary’s: The Dream at the End of the Rainbow”
“Night School”
“No Stone Unturned”
“Nobody Speak”
“Nowhere to Hide”
“Obit.”
“Oklahoma City”
“One of Us”
“The Paris Opera”
“The Pathological Optimist”
“Prosperity”
“The Pulitzer at 100”
“Quest”
“Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman”
“The Reagan Show”
“Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan”
“Risk”
“A River Below”
“Rocky Ros Muc”
“Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World”
“Santoalla”
“School Life”
“Score: A Film Music Documentary”
“Served Like a Girl”
“The Settlers”
“78/52”
“Shadowman”
“Shot! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra of Rock”
“Sidemen: Long Road to Glory”
“The Skyjacker’s Tale”
“Sled Dogs”
“Spettacolo”
“Step”
“Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking”
“Strong Island”‘
“Surviving Peace”
“Swim Team”
“Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton”
“Take My Nose … Please!”
“They Call Us Monsters”
“32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide”
“This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous”
“Tickling Giants”
“Trophy”
“Twenty Two”
“Unrest”
“Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past!”
“Wasted! The Story of Food Waste”
“Water & Power: A California Heist”
“Whitney: Can I Be Me?”
“Whose Streets?”
“The Work”

Related stories from TheWrap:

PBS and Independent Lens Launch New Documentary-Driven YouTube Channel (Exclusive)

Every Errol Morris Documentary Ranked, From 'Gates of Heaven' to 'The B-Side' (Photos)

Oscar Foreign Language Film Race 2017: Complete List of Contenders

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-documentary-race-breaks-record-heres-list-159-entries/feed/ 0
Here’s What Tom Petty Wrote as His Epitaph https://www.thewrap.com/when-tom-petty-wrote-his-own-epitaph-he-really-liked-rock-n-roll/ https://www.thewrap.com/when-tom-petty-wrote-his-own-epitaph-he-really-liked-rock-n-roll/#respond Wed, 04 Oct 2017 17:14:09 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1719174 “I used to have these soul searching nights where I’d lie awake and think, ‘When it’s all over, all you’re gonna leave behind is the records,'” said Tom Petty. “That’s all the f— you’re doing.”

That’s not a recent quote from Petty, who died on Monday at the age of 66 only a week after performing his final show with his band the Heartbreakers. Instead, it came from a reflective 30-year-old Petty in the spring of 1981, as he was preparing to release his fourth album, “Hard Promises.”

During a series of interviews he and I conducted for a cover story in Rolling Stone magazine, Petty grew pensive as he talked about making music that would last. “You can talk about money or fame or whatever gets you off, but all that’s left is the records,” he repeated. “You’ve been given that chance, and if you don’t do what you want, then you’re a real fool, no matter how they sell or what people say.”

At the time he said this, Petty had already released several of the songs that would last and become his signature hits, “Refugee,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Breakdown” and “American Girl” among them. He was on the verge of releasing another big hit, “The Waiting,” but had yet to come up with “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “Free Fallin,'” “I Won’t Back Down,” “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and others.

Between the hits, he’d had a couple of fights with the record company, declaring bankruptcy at one point as a tactic to prevent his contract from being transferred without his permission from a now-defunct small record label to the giant MCA label, and then waging a fight to prevent his upcoming album from being sold for the then-exorbitant price of $9.98.

“Fighting the record industry — that ain’t romantic, man,” he said during the interview. “That’s survival … And it may look romantic, but I really ain’t Robin Hood, man. I hope we’re not remembered as the band that fought the record company.”

Maybe the fights put him in a reflective mood and got him thinking about his legacy even at that early period in his career. During the time I spent with Petty on that story, he was usually lighter and more casual – but during one afternoon on a soundstage where he and the Heartbreakers were rehearsing for their upcoming tour, he began musing about the big picture, and about the end.

I didn’t remember this conversation when Petty died, and when I wrote my initial appreciation for TheWrap. But a Twitter user, @annie_zak, dug it up and jogged my memory – including the fact that Petty tried to come up with his own epitaph, and decided he could only settle on one: “He really liked rock ‘n’ roll.”

 

Related stories from TheWrap:

Tom Petty's Death Leads to Coroner Inquiry

Bruce Springsteen's Tom Petty Tribute Just Might Make You Cry

Watch Coldplay, Sheryl Crow, Little Steven Pay Tribute to Tom Petty in Concert (Videos)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/when-tom-petty-wrote-his-own-epitaph-he-really-liked-rock-n-roll/feed/ 0
Tom Petty Appreciation: He Was Rocking to the End https://www.thewrap.com/tom-petty-appreciation/ https://www.thewrap.com/tom-petty-appreciation/#respond Tue, 03 Oct 2017 04:31:08 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1717895 Less than a week before he died at the age of 66, Tom Petty stood on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl, looked out at 18,000 screaming fans, spread his arms wide and flashed a look of pure gratitude.

Petty hadn’t even played his first song at the concert, the last of three at the Bowl, but he wanted to take it all in. He was in the town he’d called home for more than four decades. He was on the stage of one of its most historic venues. He was fronting a band of musicians that in many cases he’d known since he was a teenager in Gainesville, Florida.

And he was there on the final night of a tour that was designed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his first album, “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,” which launched a career that earned him sales of more than 80 million albums and a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Throughout those three shows at the Bowl, Petty seemed determined to savor the moment. He was relaxed and playful but driven, with a Southern drawl that seemed only to have gotten deeper over his decades in Southern California and a shaggy mountain-man look that was a far cry from the lithe, feral young rocker he’d been the first time he took the stage of the Whisky-a-Go-Go way back when.

At the Bowl, he was a man with nothing left to prove but a career’s worth of hits and memories to live up to – which he did, suitably kicking things off with the first song on that first album, with its appropriate chorus, “I can’t stop thinking about how I dig rockin’ around with you.”

The song is a trifle, of course, but Petty knew it and nobody cared, particularly when it led into rousing tunes like “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin’,” “Learning to Fly,” “Refugee” and “American Girl.”

Watching Petty at the Bowl, I knew it might be the last tour for Petty and the Heartbreakers. But he was a guy who loved being on that stage and seemed truly satisfied, not a guy who was ready to pack it in – so it never would have occurred to me that this could be the last of the one or two dozen times I’d see him live, from the Whisky to the Bowl with lots of stops in between.

Over those years, he often played with a chip on his shoulder, pushing hard to be recognized and getting ticked off at the record industry when it tried to tell him what to do (or how much to charge for his music). The key line from his breakthrough hit “Refugee” was “somewhere somehow somebody must have kicked you around some,” and it wasn’t hard to figure out he was singing as much to himself as to anybody else.

From “Damn the Torpedoes,” the album that contained “Refugee,” to the “Southern Accents” concept album, when he got so frustrated he broke his hand punching the wall in the recording studio, to later albums like “Echo” and “The Last DJ,” dark works which drew on his drug addiction and commercial frustration, respectively, Petty’s music often turned tough times into triumph.

But in other ways, Petty was the most casual of stars. In person he could be cantankerous, but he rarely put on celebrity airs; he was just a regular guy with the juice to make things happen the way he wanted. And for the most part, he left it to colleagues and friends like Bruce Springsteen to make the big statements; apart from”Southern Accents,” he preferred small stories that hit home (“She’s a good girl, loves her mama/Loves Jesus and America too”) over state-of-the-union addresses.

And with his mixture of Heartbreakers albums and occasional solo albums, he had lots of hits without ever really seeming to be chasing the charts. This grew more pronounced later in his career, when he took a couple of detours to reform and record with Mudcrutch, the Florida band he’d first joined as a teenager. Their two albums were loose and spirited and nowhere near as popular as Petty’s own work, and to all appearances he didn’t care.

And you know, maybe he’d warned us back in 1977 with his first single, “Breakdown,” which began with the lines “It’s all right if you love me/It’s all right if you don’t.”

We did. We still do. Last week, on a local sports talk radio station, a commentator casually dropped in a particularly vivid quote from “Free Fallin’,” knowing that even on a music-free station he didn’t need to identify where it came from or who wrote it: “All the vampires walking through the Valley/Move west down Ventura Boulevard.” The Florida boy, it seems, is now part of the Los Angeles landscape.

He died far too early and far too abruptly, but I suppose you can find some satisfaction in the fact that the end came so soon after that emotional homecoming at the Hollywood Bowl, those nights when he seemed so appreciative and so happy to be standing in front of his home crowd singing 40 years of great music.

It’s hard – actually, impossible – to think of that as satisfying on this terrible day that began with the news in Las Vegas. But there are worse ways to say goodbye to the stage than with the resounding version of the glorious “American Girl” which which he ended his 40th anniversary shows.

So I’ll cling to that – and, maybe, to a song he did earlier in the show, “Wildflowers,” which ends this way:

“You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in somewhere close to me
Far away from your troubles and worry
You belong somewhere you feel free”

But you know what? Petty would probably say that’s too maudlin a way to end. So let’s go back to that silly little song with which he kicked off his final show, and just say that we dug rockin’ around with him.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Elvis Costello, Tom Petty to Be Inducted Into Songwriters Hall of Fame

Tom Petty Regrets 'Downright Stupid' Use of Confederate Flag

Tom Petty Calls Sam Smith's 'Stay With Me' a 'Musical Accident': 'These Things Can Happen'

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/tom-petty-appreciation/feed/ 0
‘Faces Places,’ ‘Abacus,’ ‘Risk’ Get Oscar Boost From DOC NYC’s Short List https://www.thewrap.com/faces-places-abacus-risk-get-oscar-boost-from-doc-nycs-short-list/ https://www.thewrap.com/faces-places-abacus-risk-get-oscar-boost-from-doc-nycs-short-list/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 16:00:30 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1715907 Agnes Varda, Errol Morris, Steve James and Laura Poitras are among the documentary filmmakers who have placed films on DOC NYC’s 2017 Short List of the year’s most awards-worthy nonfiction films, an annual list that typically serves as an accurate predictor of docs that will receive Oscar attention.

The list includes Varda and JR’s wry travelogue, “Faces Places”; Morris’ look at portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman, “The B-Side”; James’ chronicle of a small family firm that became the only bank prosecuted in the aftermath of the financial meltdown, “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”; and Poitras’ film about Julian Assange, “Risk.”

Other films singled out by DOC NYC include Matthew Heineman’s “City of Ghosts,” Bryan Fogel’s “Icarus,” Brett Morgen’s “Jane,” Ceyda Torun’s “Kedi,” Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s “One of Us” and Yance Ford’s “Strong Island.”

The list also includes Greg Barker’s “The Final Year,” a look at key members of Barack Obama’s foreign-policy team during the president’s last year in office. That film will also serve as the opening-night attraction at the DOC NYC festival, which will run from November 9-16 in New York City.

The filmmakers from most of the shortlisted films will attend DOC NYC on Friday, November 10, and will participate in four thematic panels.

Five of the films – “The B-Side,” “Chasing Coral,” “Icarus,” “One of Us” and “Strong Island” – are Netflix documentaries.

Notable 2017 documentaries that didn’t make the list include “An Inconvenient Sequel,” “Human Flow,” “Bobbi Jene,” “California Typewriter,” “Cries From Syria” and “Ex Libris.”

This is the fourth year that DOC NYC has compiled a 15-film Short List. Last year’s Short List included nine of the 15 films that ended up on the Oscar doc shortlist, while the 2015 list included 10 of the 15 and the 2014 list had nine of the 15. Over those three years, only one eventual Oscar nominee in the documentary-feature category, 2014’s “Virunga,” didn’t first appear on the DOC NYC Short List.

Smaller Short Lists in 2011, 2012 and 2013 predicted nine of the 15 Oscar nominees over those years.

DOC NYC Artistic Director Thom Powers told TheWrap that the organization “started with a long list of around 30 films that feel like worthy  contenders for the Oscar short list based on festival accolades, reviews, box office. Then we made hard choices to arrive at 15, factoring not only our personal choice, but also evaluating what titles appear to have momentum. We informally sought opinions of other tastemakers, tried to represent a range of styles, voices and content and ultimately fell back on our own curatorial instincts.”

Powers, however, warned that he thinks this year’s Oscar race is more open and unpredictable than usual, making it harder to identify which films will register with the Academy.

“This is the first year doing this when I don’t think there are clear front runners,” he said. “For people who like an awards race with surprises, this year should be full of them.”

Also at the DOC NYC festival, special awards will go to filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady and to the Ford Foundation’s Cara Mertes, who formerly worked at the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and at POV.

The 2017 DOC NYC Short List:

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James
“The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography,” Errol Morris
“Chasing Coral,” Jeff Orlowski
“City of Ghosts,” Matthew Heineman
“Dina,” Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles
“Faces Places,” Agnes Varda and JR
“The Final Year,” Greg Barker
“The Force,” Pete Nicks
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel
“Jane,” Brett Morgen
“Kedi,” Ceyda Torun
“One of Us,” Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
“Risk,” Laura Poitras
“Step,” Amanda Lipitz
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/faces-places-abacus-risk-get-oscar-boost-from-doc-nycs-short-list/feed/ 0
Oscars Overhaul and Open Up Foreign Language Voting Process https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-overhaul-open-up-foreign-language-voting-process/ https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-overhaul-open-up-foreign-language-voting-process/#respond Sat, 23 Sep 2017 01:02:49 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1713467 In advance of what is expected to be a record year for entries in the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category, the Academy has made significant changes in the voting process used to select nominees.

In a Thursday afternoon email to all Southern California-based members of the Academy, the organization used the subject line “Come see the world with us!” and invited the members to “help us choose the next foreign language film award nominees,” also linking to a page that described the new voting system.

In the biggest change, the color-coded screening groups have been eliminated. In the past, Oscar voters who volunteered to vote in the category were separated into three or four different groups, named for colors; screenings of the eligible films were divided among the groups, and voters had to see at least 65 percent of the films in their group to be eligible to vote.

They were free to see films outside their group — but in an attempt to spread out the viewing evenly, every three films seen outside the group only counted as two films to satisfy the 65 percent requirement.

Under the new system, by contrast, all the films will be screened at the Academy’s theaters in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, tentatively beginning on Oct. 16 and running through Dec. 9. But these will not be “blue group,” “white group” and “red group” screenings. Instead, voters will be free to attend whatever screenings they desire.

Each member will, however, be given a “Required Viewing List” of films he or she must see in order to qualify to vote. (The Academy says that members must see each of the films “in full or in part,” which apparently opens the possibility of only watching a portion of the film.)

Voters are also encouraged to see as many films not on their list as possible.

The Academy has also eliminated the conflict-of-interest rule that in the past has barred members from voting if they are involved in the production or promotion of a film in competition.

The voting changes have the potential of increasing the number of voters in the category. They also raise many additional questions, including how many films will be assigned to each voter, whether screeners or links will now be allowed (or provided) and whether the process will accommodate the increasingly large number of Academy members who live outside the United States.

The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AMPAS president John Bailey, who has taken a particular interest in the process, or from longtime Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee head Mark Johnson.

The link from the Academy email said only, “More information will be available after the October 2nd film submission deadline.”

Nearly 70 countries have already announced their entries in the Oscars race, putting the category on pace to break its record of 85 submissions two years ago.

Top contenders so far include Sweden’s Palme d’Or winner, “The Square,” Germany’s “In the Fade,” France’s “120 Beats Per Minute,” Austria’s “Happy End,” Russia’s “Loveless,” Israel’s “Foxtrot” and Cambodia’s “First They Killed My Father,” directed by Angelina Jolie.

TheWrap has a complete list of submitted films, with links to trailers, here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

The Oscars Race After the Festivals: Are We Still Just Waiting for Spielberg?

Halle Berry Recalls Her Adrien Brody Oscars Kiss: 'What the F—'s Happening?!' (Video)

Oscars Hit Goal of Doubling Non-White Members Three Years Early

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/oscars-overhaul-open-up-foreign-language-voting-process/feed/ 0
Judi Dench to Receive Kirk Douglas Award From Santa Barbara Film Festival https://www.thewrap.com/judi-dench-kirk-douglas-award-santa-barbara-film-festival/ https://www.thewrap.com/judi-dench-kirk-douglas-award-santa-barbara-film-festival/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:30:32 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1711678 Judi Dench has been named recipient of the 2017 Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced on Wednesday.

The award is given out annually at a black-tie fundraising dinner for the festival. This year’s dinner will take place on November 30 at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, with the film festival itself running from January 31 through February 10, 2018.

Dench is expected to be a strong Best Actress contender this year for her performance as Queen Victoria in Stephen Frears’ “Victoria & Adbul,” which will be released by Focus Features on September 22.

The Kirk Douglas Award has been handed out by the festival since 2006, when the first award went to Douglas himself. Subsequent recipients have included Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino and Douglas’ son Michael.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival hands out a number of honorary awards during the run of the festival, with nightly tributes to actors and directors who are then in the thick of the Oscar race.

But those awards are designed to honor work in specific films, while the Kirk Douglas Award is a larger career-achievement prize presented outside the run of the festival.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Victoria and Abdul' Star Eddie Izzard on Secret History of 'Love Across a Great Divide' (Video)

'Victoria & Abdul' Review: Judi Dench's Queen Victoria Keeps This Smarm-ada Afloat

'Drop the Mic': James Corden Reveals Dream Rap Battle – and It's Judi Dench Vs Maggie Smith

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/judi-dench-kirk-douglas-award-santa-barbara-film-festival/feed/ 0
The Oscars Race After the Festivals: Are We Still Just Waiting for Spielberg? https://www.thewrap.com/the-oscar-race-after-the-festivals-are-we-just-waiting-for-spielberg/ https://www.thewrap.com/the-oscar-race-after-the-festivals-are-we-just-waiting-for-spielberg/#respond Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:17:53 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1711229 The first three fall film festivals have come and gone, with hundreds of films and dozens of Oscars contenders unveiling for movie fans in Venice, Telluride and Toronto. And after all those screenings over 19 days from late August through mid September, who got the biggest Oscar-season boost?

Would you believe Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg?

Mind you, neither Nolan nor Spielberg debuted a film in Venice, Telluride or Toronto. Nolan’s “Dunkirk” opened in late July, and while he screened “Dunkirk” in Toronto as part of a tribute to the 50th anniversary of IMAX, the movie was a known quantity long before the festivals began.

As for Spielberg, he’s still working on his Pentagon Papers drama “The Post,” starring Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Kay Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee. It wasn’t ready to screen at any of the festivals, and doesn’t open until December.

And yet both of those films got a boost from the festivals, because no slam-dunk Oscars frontrunners came out of the trio of fests – no major discoveries like “Moonlight” last year or “Spotlight” the year before, no instant awards favorite like “The King’s Speech” in 2010 or “12 Years a Slave” in 2013

That’s good news for “Dunkirk,” the top Best Picture contender to emerge from the first eight months of the year, and for “The Papers,” the likeliest of a yet-to-be-seen crop of films that also includes Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049,” Michael Gracey’s “The Greatest Showman,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled fashion drama with Daniel Day-Lewis and maybe Clint Eastwood’s “The 15:17 to Paris.”

Still, history suggests that half or more of the latecomers won’t be real awards contenders. So if the festivals didn’t provide an immediate leader in the clubhouse, they must have given us a few strong contenders, right? After all, the last time an Oscar Best Picture winner hasn’t played the fall festival circuit was “The Departed,” back in 2006.

(One semi-exception: The 2009 Best Picture winner, “The Hurt Locker,” played the festivals in 2008, the same as that year’s winner, “Slumdog Millionaire”; “Hurt Locker” wasn’t released until the following year, when it won over all the ’09 festival features.)

And yes, Venice and Telluride and Toronto gave us a handful of likely nominees. Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy “The Shape of Water” is foremost among them, winning the jury prize in Venice and transporting audiences in Telluride and Toronto.

Another Fox Searchlight film, Irish playwright-director Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” was the surprise audience winner at Toronto, an award that has gone to an Oscar Best Picture nominee five years in a row, and eight of the last nine years.

Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour,” with Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, and Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” with Saoirse Ronan as a disaffected Sacramento teen, also won raves on the festival circuit and seem likely to be awards players – “Darkest Hour” perhaps among the traditional Oscar voters who prefer old-fashioned dramas, “Lady Bird” among the growing contingent ready to embrace indies.

Paramount’s three big festival movies, on the other hand, emerged from the festivals in trickier positions. Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” was the talk of the festivals and now it’s the talk of Hollywood, but it’s so bold and so divisive that its real awards chances seem slim (though you shouldn’t underestimate the value of the passion vote in the first round of best-pic balloting). Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing” did well in Venice but wasn’t embraced as eagerly in Telluride or Toronto; it has plenty of fans, but it’s on the bubble. And George Clooney’s “Suburbicon,” a Coen brothers-style black comedy (based on a Coens’ script) overlaid with a story of racial violence, was a non-starter at the festivals.

Three known quantities from earlier festivals – Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name,” Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” and Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” – held their own and could rally voters over the course of the season.

And a number of other films at least laid the groundwork for their awards runs. Those include “Battle of the Sexes,” “Victoria & Abdul,” “Molly’s Game,” “Stronger,” “Breathe” and “Hostiles,” if Scott Cooper’s audacious western gets a distributor and a 2017 release.

But is there a winner among the festival films? That was the question in late August, heading into Venice, and it’s still the question in late September, heading out of Toronto. The field looks wide open, the race unsettled.

It’s your move, Mr. Spielberg.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Toronto So Far: Women Rule But Oscar Race Still Up in Air

'Stronger' Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Hangs Tough in Boston Marathon Bombing Drama

'The Shape of Water' Review: Guillermo del Toro's Glorious Romance Blends Horror and Delight

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/the-oscar-race-after-the-festivals-are-we-just-waiting-for-spielberg/feed/ 0
Angelina Jolie Joins Oscar Foreign-Language Race as Entries Near 50 https://www.thewrap.com/angelina-jolie-joins-oscar-foreign-language-race-as-entries-near-50/ https://www.thewrap.com/angelina-jolie-joins-oscar-foreign-language-race-as-entries-near-50/#respond Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:52:01 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1710237 Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father” has been officially submitted by Cambodia to the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category, where the dark Netflix drama has become the latest of almost 50 films to enter the race.

Jolie’s film was made in Cambodia with an all-Cambodian cast, and contains virtually no English dialogue. It is based on the memoir by Loung Ung, who was a child when the brutal Khmer Rouge regime took control of her country. She and her family were driven from their comfortable home in the city and moved to a work camp in the country.

The film played at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals before a theatrical run that coincided with its September 15 Netflix debut. It is the highest-profile entry to date in this year’s Oscar foreign-language race, but its acceptance by the Academy is not guaranteed.

Oscar rules specify that for a film to qualify in the category, “creative control” of the film must be “largely in the hands of citizens or residents of that country.” Jolie was granted Cambodian citizenship by royal decree in 2005 because of her humanitarian work in the country, and her film was co-written by Ung and produced by Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh, whose “The Missing Picture” was an Oscar nominee in the foreign-language category in 2014.

“First They Killed My Father” joins a growing list of foreign-language submissions that is expected to be near the 83 entries that qualified last year. Among the other films in the running are several from past nominees: the dark satire “Happy End,” from “Amour” director Michael Haneke, is Austria’s submission; Belgium chose “Racer and the Jailbird” from Michael R. Roskam, who directed the 2012 nominee “Bullhead”; and Poland submitted “Spoor,” from director Agnieszka Holland, whose “In Darkness” was a nominee in 2012.

Other notable entries include Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman,” from Sebastian Lelio; Egypt’s comedy “Sheikh Jackson,” from Amr Salama; Estonia’s “November,” from Rainer Sarnet; Finland’s “Tom of Finland,” from Dome Karukosi; Lebanon’s “The Insult,” from Ziad Doueiri; Morocco’s “Razzia,” from Nabil Ayouch; the Netherlands’ “Layla M.,” from Mijke de Jong; Norway’s “Thelma,” from Joachim Trier; Palestine’s “Wajib,” from Annemarie Jacir; and Mexico’s documentary “Tempestad,” from Tatiana Huezo.

Previously announced films include Ruben Ostlund’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner, “The Square,” and Germany’s “In the Fade,” starring Diane Kruger and directed by Fatih Akin.

TheWrap has a complete listing of submitted films, with links to trailers, here. The list will be updated as more countries submit films.

The Academy will announce its official list of qualifying films in early October, and will begin screening those films for voters later that month.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'First They Killed My Father' Review: Angelina Jolie Balances Poetry and Horror in Cambodian Saga

Angelina Jolie's Netflix Movie 'First They Killed My Father' to Get Theatrical Release

Angelina Jolie's New Movie Could Be an Oscar Contender – in Foreign Language Category

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/angelina-jolie-joins-oscar-foreign-language-race-as-entries-near-50/feed/ 0
Trump Rebuked: These Emmys Were for You, Mr. President https://www.thewrap.com/these-emmy-awards-were-for-you-mr-president/ https://www.thewrap.com/these-emmy-awards-were-for-you-mr-president/#respond Mon, 18 Sep 2017 04:20:36 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1710183 When Alec Baldwin won the Emmy on Sunday night for portraying Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” this season, he used his speech to take notice of the president’s fruitless quest to ever win an Emmy for his show “The Apprentice.”

“At long last, here, Mr. President, is your Emmy,” Baldwin said.

But in truth, Mr. President, most of Sunday night’s Emmy show was for you.

After all, this might well have been the most political Emmys show ever, with win after win going to shows dealing explicitly or implicitly with politics — racial politics, sexual politics, every kind of politics.

The Outstanding Drama Series victory for “The Handmaid’s Tale?” The show is a potent allegory about a dystopian future where religious conservatives hold power and women are brutally subjugated — and when the first trailers dropped for the show months ago, they were met with immediate criticisms from conservatives who thought it was taking shots at Trump. (Author Margaret Atwood pointed out that she wrote the novel in the 1980s, to little avail.)

The comedy-series win for “Veep,” and the sixth consecutive win for its leading lady Julia Louis-Dreyfus? How could a story about rampant ineptitude in Washington not be timely?

The four awards won by “Saturday Night Live,” including its first series award since 1993? Those never would have happened if this hadn’t been the season that “SNL” spent leading up to, and then reacting to, the presidential election.

The two awards for Donald Glover? The star, creator and director of the offbeat but politicized comedy “Atlanta” said it himself: “I want to thank Trump for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list. He’s the reason I’m probably up here.”

The two awards for “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver?” Chalk it up to to his political acuity, though in fairness he was competing against a bunch of people — Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher — who were equally outspoken.

Even the other award-winning shows could be seen to strike a blow for tolerance and acceptance: “Big Little Lies” was a rare show dominated by women and dealing in part with abuse; “Black Mirror” used its “Twlight Zone”-style approach to tell an LGBT story; “The Night Of” dealt with Islamaphobia and incarceration; “Master of None” won the first comedy writing Emmy that ever went to an African-American woman.

If you were looking for an Emmy that had nothing to do with politics, I suppose you could point to the reality-show victory of “The Voice” over “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” or John Lithgow’s win for “The Crown.”

But overall, this Emmys show was aimed squarely at the occupant of the White House, from host Stephen Colbert’s opening shots to “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” final victory three hours later.

It celebrated minority voices in a way that the Emmys have been doing in recent years, gave numerous awards to shows fronted by and giving voice to powerful women, and offered a racially, sexually and culturally diverse view of America that could be seen as a direct affront to today’s political climate in the guise of an awards show.

Granted, Emmy voters have never particularly liked Trump, even when he was on television himself, stewing (and tweeting) over the fact that “The Apprentice” was regularly beaten out by “The Amazing Race” in the reality-competition category.

But they really haven’t liked him since he became president — and if that puts them at odds with some of the viewers they’re hoping to lure to their TV shows, so be it.

You could say that the tone for this television season was set by election coverage and then by “Saturday Night Live,” late-night shows from Colbert, John Oliver, Bill Maher and others and fictional shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Atlanta” – and that’s certainly what this Emmy show suggested.

“Stranger Things” might have been one of the season’s hot shows, but it wasn’t the message Emmy voters were looking to send. “Westworld” may have been dazzling, but it wasn’t timely. “Feud: Bette and Joan” may have been entertaining, but what did it tell us about today?

It wasn’t a surprise, really, that Emmy voters went this way. “The Handmaid’s Tale” wasn’t a complete surprise by any means: It went into the show in what was thought to be a neck-and-neck battle with “This Is Us” and “Stranger Things” to become only the fourth first-year show in 20 years to win the big prize.

And for most of the night, the winners were pre-show favorites: Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon from “SNL,” Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern from “Big Little Lies,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus and “Veep.”

It wasn’t until 85 minutes and 11 awards into the show before the first result that could be considered an upset, when Ann Dowd won the supporting-drama award for “The Handmaid’s Tale” over Chrissy Metz for “This Is Us” and Millie Bobby Brown for “Stranger Things.”

And with that, voters made it clear: They were sending a message.

Were you listening, Mr. President?

And more to the point, will you have something to say about this tomorrow morning on Twitter?

Related stories from TheWrap:

Emmys Backstage: Laura Dern on Her Amazing Year and 'Great Good Fortune'

Emmys 'In Memoriam' Omits Dick Gregory, Harry Dean Stanton, Charlie Murphy

Emmys: 'Master of None' Star Lena Waithe Is First Black Woman to Win for Comedy Writing (Video)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/these-emmy-awards-were-for-you-mr-president/feed/ 0
‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Wins Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival https://www.thewrap.com/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-wins-audience-award-toronto-film-festival/ https://www.thewrap.com/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-wins-audience-award-toronto-film-festival/#respond Sun, 17 Sep 2017 17:28:53 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1709648

Martin McDonagh’s black comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missiori,” starring Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell, has won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF organizers announced at an awards ceremony on Sunday.

The ceremony came on the final day of the 42nd annual festival, which began on Sept. 7.

Runners-up for the top award were Craig Gillespie’s “I, Tonya” and Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name.”

The People’s Choice Documentary Award went to Agnes Varda and JR’s “Faces Places,” with runner-up awards given to Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken” and Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier’s “Long Time Running.”

The People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award was won by Joseph Kahn’s rap-battle movie “Bodied,” with James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” finishing as first runner-up and Craig Zahler’s “Brawl in Cell Block 99” landing the second runner-up prize.

In the Platform section, whose 12 selections included Mike White’s “Brad’s Status,” Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” and Nabil Ayouch’s “Razzia,” the winner of a jury prize was Warwick Thornton’s “Sweet Country.” Clio Barnard’s “Dark River” won the honorable mention award.

The award for the best Canadian film in the festival went to Robin Aubert’s “Les Affames,” while the best Canadian first feature award was given to “Luk’Luk’I” by Wayne Wapeemukwa.

The Toronto People’s Choice Award is open to each one of the 255 features that played Toronto, including Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” George Clooney’s “Suburbicon,” Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour,” Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ “Battle of the Sexes,” Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” and Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!”

Three TIFF audience winners have gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture over the last 10 years: “12 Years a Slave” in 2013, “The King’s Speech” in 2010 and “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008. Two others won before that: “American Beauty” in 1999 and “Chariots of Fire” in 1981. Other recent Toronto winners include “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Imitation Game,” “Room” and last year’s choice, “La La Land,” which was thought to be the Oscar frontrunner until “Moonlight” scored an unexpected victory.

The more than 470,000 audience members cast ballots by depositing their ticket stubs as they leave the theater or by voting online using the TIFF app. The winners are the films that received the largest percentage of votes from the total audience that saw the film at its public screenings in Toronto.

The winners:

Grolsch People’s Choice Award: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
Runners-up: “I, Tonya,” Craig Gillespie; “Call Me by Your Name,” Luca Guadagnino
People’s Choice Documentary Award: “Faces Places,” Agnes Varda and JR
Runners-up: “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken,” Morgan Spurlock; “Long Time Running,” Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas De Pencier
People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award: “Bodied,” Joseph Kahn
Runners-up: “The Disaster Artist,” James Franco; “Brawl in Cell Block 99,” S. Craig Zahler

Platform Prize: “Sweet Country,” Warwick Thornton
Honorable Mention: “Dark River,” Clio Barnard

Best Canadian Feature Film: “Les Affames,” Robin Aubert
Honorable Mention: “The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches,” Simon Lavoie
Best Canadian First Feature: “Luk’Luk’I,” Wayne Wapeemukwa
Honorable Mention: “Ava,” Sadaf Foroughi

International Critic (FIPRESCI) Prize for Special Presentations: “The Motive,” Manuel Martin Cuenca
International Critic (FIPRESCI) Prize for Discovery Program: “Ava,” Sadaf Foroughi

NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film: “The Great Buddha+,” Huang Hsin-Yao

Short Cuts Award for International Short Film: “The Burden,” Niki Lindroth von Bahr
Honorable Mention: “A Gentle Night,” Qiu Yang
Short Cuts Award for Canadian Short Film: “Pre-Drink,” Marc-Antoine Lemire
Honorable Mention: “The Tesla World Light,” Matthew Rankin

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Cancels Fantastic Fest Screening

'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Movie Review: Frances McDormand Is Bloody Funny

Frances McDormand May Just Swear Her Way to Oscar – Watch NSFW 'Three Billboards' Trailer (Video)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-wins-audience-award-toronto-film-festival/feed/ 0
In Appreciation of Harry Dean Stanton, the Coolest Guy in Any Room https://www.thewrap.com/harry-dean-stanton-the-coolest-guy-in-any-room/ https://www.thewrap.com/harry-dean-stanton-the-coolest-guy-in-any-room/#respond Sat, 16 Sep 2017 15:15:18 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1709320

There’s no question which line from Harry Dean Stanton’s long movie career I’ve quoted most often over the last few decades. He said it in Alex Cox’s black comedy “Repo Man” in 1984, looking across a parking lot and pointing to a group of laughing young men. “Ordinary f—ing people,” he said. “I hate ‘em.”

But when I think of Stanton, who died this week at the age of 91, I’ll think first of another, longer speech. It started, “I knew these people. These two people,” and then it went on for more than 10 transfixing minutes in Wim Wenders’ wrenching masterpiece “Paris, Texas,” in which Stanton played a taciturn, wounded man struggling to pull himself out of personal wreckage of his own making.

Talking on a phone in a cheap peephouse, with his ex wife Jane (played by Nastassia Kinski) on the other side of one-way glass, he told her their story, as it slowly dawned on her just who the customer on the other end of the phone was. The tale was one of love turned to a ruinous obsession, of a guilt so bottomless that it had driven Stanton’s character to nullify his own existence – and the performance, most of which he delivered with his back to the window through which Kinski was visible, was profoundly quiet and utterly devastating.

“He ran until the sun came up and he couldn’t run any further,” he said, describing his own escape from a burning trailer. “And when the sun went down, he ran again. For five days he ran like this, until every sign of man had disappeared.”

“Paris, Texas” was written by Sam Shepard, another great artist who died recently, and another man who, like, Stanton, embodied a particular strain of American individualism, restlessness and heart. There are a handful of men like this, masters of offhand brilliance who seem most at home on the road and on the move: Stanton, Shepard, Dennis Hopper, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson among them.

In fact, it was a song of Kristofferson’s, “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33,” that provided the title for Sophie Huber’s 2013 documentary, “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.” The film was casual and meandering, and I suppose it was maddening if you wanted answers — but it was completely true to its proudly elusive subject, who lived inside the lines from which Huber got her title:

“He’s a poet, he’s a picker, he’s a prophet, he’s a pusher
He’s a pilgrim and a preacher and a problem when he’s stoned
He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction
Takin’ every wrong direction on his lonely way back home”

Stanton was a ragged poet onscreen in movies from “Cool Hand Luke” to “Alien,” “Pretty in Pink” to “Wild at Heart,” “The Straight Story” to “Straight Time” and yes, “Paris, Texas” to “Repo Man,” a 1984 one-two punch that turned a damn good character actor into something far more than that.

But he never seemed to be working on his career; instead, he went with the flow, did interesting work and then hung out in clubs and played the music he loved. There was nothing smooth or professional about his voice; it was fragile and ragged, a proudly broken instrument that made up in nerve what it lacked in polish, whether he was singing country laments like “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” or the Mexican songs he loved like “Volver, Volver.”

But like his acting, it was true. Any time Harry Dean Stanton walked into a room, he was the coolest guy in that room, but that coolness was never for show. It was who he was.

In one scene from “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction,” Stanton sat with David Lynch, who peppered him with questions that were mostly deflected. At one point, Lynch asked, “How would you like to be remembered?” Stanton’s answer came quickly: “Doesn’t matter.”

So we’ll remember him for some movies, for some music, for his unassailable air of rough-hewn cool, for the modesty and fragility of a great American artist. I’ll remember that astounding “Paris, Texas” monologue. And then I’ll think of “Repo Man,” and I’ll know this: Harry Dean Stanton was no ordinary f—ing person.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Harry Dean Stanton, Enduring 'Repo Man,' 'Alien,' 'Twin Peaks' Actor, Dies at 91

Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch Reteam for 'Lucky'

Grant Hart, Drummer of Influential Rock Band Hüsker Dü, Dies at 56

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/harry-dean-stanton-the-coolest-guy-in-any-room/feed/ 0
‘mother!’ Review: Jennifer Lawrence Horror Flick in All Its Glorious Insanity https://www.thewrap.com/mother-toronto-review-jennifer-lawrence-darren-aronofsky-glorious-insanity/ https://www.thewrap.com/mother-toronto-review-jennifer-lawrence-darren-aronofsky-glorious-insanity/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:50:08 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1705677 Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” arrived at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday on a massive wave of hysteria from its Venice debut. There, the thriller had been acclaimed as the most extreme, deranged, over-the-top film of the director’s career, an act of provocation so deliciously excessive that it seemed all but guaranteed to also become the talk of TIFF.

Eager viewers lined up along Richmond Street an hour ahead of the film’s 9 a.m. start time for its first press and industry screening. And two hours later, they staggered out of the Scotiabank into the harsh light, blinking and wondering, “Why didn’t they warn us?”

They did warn us, of course. But nothing really prepares you to experience “mother!” Aronofsky, who has built his films to gloriously excessive finales in the past — think of the horrifying montage of abuse and degradation in “Requiem for a Dream” or the bloody balletic fever dream of “Black Swan” — plays a personal game of “can you top this?” with “mother!” And holy hell does he do it, in an extended sequence that reimagines “Stardust Memories” as “Night of the Living Dead.”

The setup is straightforward: Jennifer Lawrence plays a young woman married to a celebrated poet, who is played by Javier Bardem. He has a bad case of writer’s block, she’s fixing up their remote house in the country, and things seem fine until Ed Harris shows up at the door, followed by Michelle Pfeiffer, followed by lots of other people.

The opening stretch of the movie reinforces a lot of the time-honored horror-movie axioms: “Don’t go in the basement,” “Don’t bother trying to scrub away that bloodstain” and one new one, “If a sketchy guy shows up at your door, don’t invite him to spend the night — and if you do invite him to stay, and then his wife shows up and then his kids show up and there’s a big fight and somebody dies and then he wants to invite a few more friends and family over, for God’s sake say no!”

The first half of the film is creepy and disturbing, but the second half cranks the whole crazy thing into overdrive, conjuring up a blood-and-fire drenched hallucination set in motion by the instant success of the poet’s new book. (It seems the craziness of the first half jarred him out of his writer’s block.)

Part of the message is that fame turns people into beasts and the need for approval can be a deadly disease, but Aronofsky also designed the film as an allegory of how we destroy our own Mother Earth. But you won’t be absorbing the metaphors as much as you’ll be astounded by the film’s wholehearted commitment to a world in which an impromptu book-signing can escalate into a scene from Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.”

But this is really Aronofsky’s singular vision, executed with spine-tingling commitment by Jennifer Lawrence, who is the center of almost every shot.

“mother!” is not necessarily the stuff for awards, with more than a few Academy voters likely recoiling from the extremity of Aronofsky’s work. Still, you don’t make a movie about the dangers of adulation because you want to win shiny trophies. For its combination of ambition and audacity, this is a glorious piece of cinematic insanity.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Current War' Toronto Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Sparks Quirky Historical Drama

'Kodachrome': Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis Make Grown Men Cry in Toronto

'The Breadwinner' Toronto Review: Vibrant Animated Movie May Force Oscar Attention

Oscar Season Hits Toronto: 25 TIFF Movies With a Lot to Prove

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/mother-toronto-review-jennifer-lawrence-darren-aronofsky-glorious-insanity/feed/ 0
Here’s All the Emmys We Think ‘SNL’ Will Win Sunday https://www.thewrap.com/heres-all-the-emmys-we-think-snl-will-win-sunday/ https://www.thewrap.com/heres-all-the-emmys-we-think-snl-will-win-sunday/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:41:04 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1708627 Sunday could be a very live night for “Saturday Night Live.”

“SNL” went into this Emmy season as the most-honored show in Emmy history, with 209 nominations and 50 wins. It added 22 nominations, the most it had ever received in its 42 seasons on the air. And at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys, it picked up five more wins, putting it one shy of the “SNL” record for wins in a single year going into Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards.

Lorne Michaels’ show has been on a roll with Emmy voters in recent years, with 39 of its 55 wins coming in the last 11 years, after it took 31 years to land its first 16 Emmys.

And this year, with the show enjoying a resurgence in popularity as it has taken aims at President Trump at every opportunity, “SNL” has a chance to add five more wins to its record-breaking total. (We predict it will win four and lose one.)

Here’s what “Saturday Night Live” has already won in 2017, and what it could win on Sunday:

ALREADY WON: Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Three of the six nominees were “SNL” hosts, with Dave Chappelle, the first post-election host, winning over turns from Tom Hanks and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

ALREADY WON: Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Melissa McCarthy beat one other “SNL” host, Kristen Wiig, no doubt aided by her viral impersonation of Sean Spicer.

ALREADY WON: Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic)
“SNL” beat the likes of “Hairspray Live!” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for the episode hosted by Alec Baldwin.

ALREADY WON: Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-Competition Series
Again, the Alec Baldwin episode won, this time over “Drunk History” and “Portlandia,” among others.

ALREADY WON: Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Series
This time, it was the Jimmy Fallon-hosted episode that won.

WILL WIN: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, a two-time winner for “30 Rock,” is nominated in a field that also includes Tony Hale, Ty Burrell and Louie Anderson, who between them have won five of the last six awards in this category; Hale and Burrell have won twice each and Anderson was the surprise victor last year. But Baldwin’s “Saturday Night Live” appearances as Donald Trump were among the most viral moments of an enormously politicized television season. After sweeping the Creative Arts Emmys guest-acting categories, “SNL” seems poised to do the same with the supporting-comedy awards.

WILL WIN: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Vanessa Bayer, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon are all nominated in this category, but McKinnon is the prohibitive favorite. Even the impact of Baldwin’s appearances as Trump were dwarfed by one moment on the first post-election “SNL”: McKinnon as Hillary Clinton sitting at the piano and singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as an elegy to the recently-deceased Cohen and to her political career.

It wasn’t a particularly comic moment, but it was a devastating one – and it’s hard to imagine that it won’t win her a second consecutive Emmy, great work from Judith Light, Anna Chlumsky and Kathryn Hahn notwithstanding.

WILL WIN: Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
From 2010 to 2015, Don Roy King won five consecutive Emmys for directing “SNL.” In the show’s Emmyest year ever, it figures he’ll win another.

MIGHT WIN: Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
In the acting categories in which it has multiple nominees, “SNL” will lose to itself. But this is the Primetime Emmy Awards category where it has the best chance of going home empty-handed. It faces a tough battle from reigning champ “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” as well as from “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.”

WILL WIN: Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
In the Year of Trump, can anything beat “SNL” in this category? Probably not. “SNL” can thank Donald Trump for all its Emmy momentum – and this should be the topper on the show’s best Emmy year ever.

Related stories from TheWrap:

When Does the Next Season of 'SNL' Start in the Fall?

'SNL' Writer Suspended for Barron Trump Tweet Back at Work

Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on 'SNL': Watch Every Sketch (Videos)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/heres-all-the-emmys-we-think-snl-will-win-sunday/feed/ 0
Emmys Predictions: Forget Dragons, This Year Is About Newcomers and Politics https://www.thewrap.com/emmys-predictions/ https://www.thewrap.com/emmys-predictions/#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 19:12:59 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1708249 Julia Louis-Dreyfus will set records. “Saturday Night Live” will break its own mark for the most Emmy wins by any television series ever. Politics will not only figure into host Stephen Colbert’s monologue, but also drive many voters’ choices. And “Game of Thrones” won’t win a damn thing.

Those are among the things we expect to see Sunday at the Microsoft Theatre, where Stephen Colbert will host the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards — and “Thrones,” to the relief of its competitors, won’t eligible for anything, because it didn’t air during the nomination period.

While we would never abdicate our responsibility as prognosticators, it’s worth pointing out that predicting the Emmys can be maddening and fruitless. Almost every year, someone wins who no one saw coming — like last year’s supporting actor winner for “Baskets,” Louie Anderson.

Here are our predictions in the 27 categories that will be announced Sunday.

DRAMA SERIES CATEGORIES

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Nominees:
“Better Call Saul”
“The Crown”
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
“House of Cards”
“Stranger Things”
“This Is Us”
“Westworld”

It’s rare for a first-year drama series to win this award — but unless “Better Call Saul” or “House of Cards” can pull off an upset, one of the record five rookie nominees will join “Homeland,” “Mad Men,” “Lost” and “The West Wing” as the only new shows to turn the trick in the last 20 years.

“Stranger Things,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “This Is Us,” “The Crown” and “Westworld” all have a legitimate shot at taking the top prize. “This Is Us” would be a triumph for the broadcast networks, which haven’t even been nominated in the category for years, while “The Handmaid’s Tale” could ride a wave of politically conscious voting. The race could be very close between those two and “Stranger Things,” which may have captured the zeitgeist in a way that the other shows didn’t quite manage. “Stranger Things” also landed five Creative Arts Emmys last weekend, so we know it has strength with voters.

Predicted winner: “Stranger Things”

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees:
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us”
Anthony Hopkins, “Westworld”

The first four in that list are returning nominees, while the last three hail from first-year shows. Bob Odenkirk could have a shot at winning his first acting Emmy (to go with the writing ones he’s won for “Saturday Night Live” and “The Ben Stiller Show”), and some voters might figure it’s time for Kevin Spacey to finally win for “House of Cards,” for which he’s been nominated every year.

But they’ll face strong competition from Anthony Hopkins and especially Sterling K. Brown, who won Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie last year for “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” If Brown’s “This Is Us” castmate Milo Ventimiglia doesn’t siphon votes away, Brown should do it again.

Predicted winner: Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees:
Keri Russell, “The Americans”
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”
Viola Davis, “How to Get Away With Murder”
Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”

Jon Hamm had to wait until the final year of “Mad Men” to finally win an Emmy for acting, but that show’s co-star Elisabeth Moss had to wait even longer — after going 0-for-6 in Emmy nominations for that show, she’s poised to finally win in her first season on “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Claire Foy is Moss’ biggest competitor for “The Crown,” followed perhaps by Evan Rachel Wood for “Westworld,” but this appears to be one of the easier acting races to call.

Predicted winner: Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees:
Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
John Lithgow, “The Crown”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Ron Cephas Jones, “This Is Us”
Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”

If John Lithgow wins for his performance as Winston Churchill in “The Crown,” he’d become the third actor in 16 years to win for playing the British statesman, after Albert Finney in 2002 and Brendan Gleeson in 2009. And in an unprecedented twist, Gary Oldman is currently considered the current Oscar frontrunner for his role as Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”

Ron Cephas Jones, David Harbour and Jeffrey Wright will stand in his way, but Lithgow’s Critics’ Choice and SAG Awards suggest that there’s something irresistible to voters about a fine actor portraying Churchill.

Predicted winner: John Lithgow, “The Crown”

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees:
Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black”
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”

While I’m tempted to predict an upset winner in this category, the smart money says it will come down to two of the year’s unlikeliest breakout stars, Chrissy Metz for “This Is Us” and Millie Bobby Brown for “Stranger Things.” Metz is considered the favorite, but Brown is the offbeat heart of a singular show, and at 13 she’d become the youngest acting winner in Emmy history.

But watch out for Ann Dowd, unforgettably fearsome in “The Handmaid’s Tale” and perhaps poised to sneak in here.

Predicted winner: Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees:
Vince Gilligan, “Better Call Saul”: “Witness” episode
Stephen Daldry, “The Crown”: “Hyde Park Corner” episode
Reed Morano, “The Handmaid’s Tale”: “Offred” (pilot) episode
Kate Dennis, “The Handmaid’s Tale”: “The Bridge” episode
Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland”: “America First” episode
The Duffer Brothers, “Stranger Things”: “Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers” episode
Jonathan Nolan, “Westworld”: “The Bicameral Mind” episode

The Outstanding Drama Series winner has also taken the prize in the directing category the last two years, but before that the categories had different winners for seven consecutive years. If “Stranger Things” wins drama series, his could easily go to “Westworld” for its scale, or “The Handmaid’s Tale” for its scope. But it may well be irresistible to honor the Duffer brothers for creating the mood and the world of “Stranger Things” in its first episode.

Predicted winner: The Duffer Brothers, “Stranger Things”

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Nominees:
Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, “The Americans”: “The Soviet Division” episode
Gordon Smith, “Better Call Saul”: “Chicanery” episode
Peter Morgan, “The Crown”: “Assassins” episode
Bruce Miller, “The Handmaid’s Tale”: “Offred” (pilot) episode
The Duffer Brothers, “Stranger Things”: “Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers” episode
Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, “Westworld”: “The Bicameral Mind” episode

In contrast with the directing category, the writing winner has matched the drama-series champ in eight of the last 10 years. That presumably makes “Stranger Things” the favorite here, unless you think something else will win drama series. But I think it’ll be a split, with writing honors going to the literary adaptation.

Predicted winner: Bruce Miller, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

COMEDY SERIES CATEGORIES

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Nominees:
“Atlanta”
“black-ish”
“Master of None”
“Modern Family”
“Silicon Valley”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
“Veep”

In a category that loves repeat winners, “Veep” has taken this award for the last two years running. “Atlanta” is the hot newcomer, but the last one of those to win was “Modern Family” in 2010, the first of its five consecutive awards – and the only other freshman shows to in in the last 20 years were “30 Rock” in 2007 and “Arrested Development” in 2004.

Among the other contenders, “Silicon Valley” has more heat that it has in a while, while “black-ish” is increasingly timely and “Master of None” will get the adventurous vote. But “Veep” still feels fresh and funny, which means that it should keep winning this particular election.

Predicted winner: “Veep”

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees:
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Zach Galifianakis, “Baskets”
Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

With nominations for acting, writing, directing and producing, Donald Glover will almost certainly win something for “Atlanta.” This category is one of his best bets for an Emmy, but Jeffrey Tambor has two consecutive wins for “Transparent,” and remains formidable. Remember, this is the category where voters embarrassed Jim Parsons by giving him the award for “The Big Bang Theory” year after year despite fresher, hotter competitors.

Predicted winner: Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees:
Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

You almost feel sorry for Tracee Ellis Ross, the heart of a hit show, or Lily Tomlin, every inch an icon, or Pamela Adlon, a surprise nominee who fully deserved the recognition. They all have the misfortune to be competing against Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who makes great comic acting look easy.

She can break the Emmy record for consecutive acting wins for the same show, with her sixth. That would also be a record for the most Emmys won for one role, and it would tie her with Cloris Leachman with the most acting wins ever, with eight. (She also won once for “Seinfeld” and once for “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”) It’s hard to imagine that she won’t do all those things.

Predicted winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees:
Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Matt Walsh, “Veep”

Tony Hale, Ty Burrell and Louie Anderson have won five of the last six awards in this category, with Hale and Burrell winning twice each and Anderson being the surprise victor last year. But Alec Baldwin was a two-time winner for “30 Rock,” and his “Saturday Night Live” appearances as Donald Trump were among the most viral moments of an enormously politicized television season.

“SNL” already swept the Creative Arts Emmys guest-acting categories; now it’ll probably do the same with the supporting-comedy awards.

Predicted winner: Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live”

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees:
Vanessa Bayer, “Saturday Night Live”
Leslie Jones, “Saturday Night Live”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
Kathryn Hahn, “Transparent”
Judith Light, “Transparent”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump may have provided a plethora of viral moments, but its impact was arguably dwarfed by one moment on the first post-election episode of “SNL”: Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton sitting at the piano and singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as an elegy to the recently-deceased Cohen and to her political career. It wasn’t a particularly comic moment, but it was a devastating one – and it’s hard to imagine that it won’t win her a second consecutive Emmy, great work from Judith Light, Anna Chlumsky and Kathryn Hahn notwithstanding.

Predicted winner: Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees:
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”: “B.A.N.” episode
Jamie Babbit, “Silicon Valley”: “Intellectual Property” episode
Mike Judge, “Silicon Valley”: “Server Error” episode
Morgan Sackett, “Veep”: “Blurb” episode
David Mandel, “Veep”: “Groundbreaking” episode
Dale Stern, “Veep”: “Justice” episode

In the last 20 years, “Modern Family” and “Arrested Development” have been the only shows to take directing awards and Outstanding Comedy Series awards in the same year. And “Veep,” which has never won for directing, has the potential of splitting the vote, with three of the category’s six nominations. That should open the door for Donald Glover and “Atlanta,” the only nominee that doesn’t have to worry about vote-splitting.

Predicted winner: Donald Glover, “Atlanta”

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
Nominees:
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”: “B.A.N.” episode
Stephen Glover, “Atlanta”: “Streets on Lock” episode
Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, “Master of None”: “Thanksgiving” episode
Alec Berg, “Silicon Valley”: “Success Failure” episode
Billy Kimball, “Veep”: “Georgia” episode
David Mandel, “Veep”: “Groundbreaking” episode

This is the category that in the past has recognized the edgy likes of “Louie,” “Arrested Development” and last year’s winner, “Master of None.” While “Veep” and “Silicon Valley” have strong episodes in contention, the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None” will probably make that show a repeat winner here.

Predicted winner: Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, “Master of None”

MOVIE AND LIMITED SERIES CATEGORIES

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES
Nominees:
“Big Little Lies”
“Fargo”
“FEUD: Bette and Joan”
“Genius”
“The Night Of”

At the Creative Arts Emmys, “The Night Of” edged out “Big Little Lies” and “Feud” for the most awards. It could also score an upset in this category, but it’s hard to bet against the stylish, star-powered “Big Little Lies,” which seemed to be more universally embraced than its competition.

Predicted winner: “Big Little Lies”

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE
Nominees:
“Black Mirror: San Junipero”
“Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love”
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
“Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
“The Wizard of Lies”

The less competitive side of the movies/minis divide is probably a battle between the British imports “Black Mirror” and “Sherlock” and the Bernie Madoff movie “The Wizard of Lies.” Last year’s “Sherlock” film, “The Abominable Bride,” won in this category, while “The Wizard of Lies” has the advantage of being on HBO, which usually wins here.

But “Black Mirror” is the hottest and trendiest nominee by a long shot, and the series’ “San Junipero” episode was particularly moving. (Emmy rules allowed the creepy anthology series to submit individual standalone episodes as made-for-television movies.)

Predicted winner: “Black Mirror: San Junipero”

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Nominees:
Ewan McGregor, “Fargo”
Geoffrey Rush, “Genius”
Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies”

Benedict Cumberbatch won for playing Sherlock three years ago, while Geoffrey Rush is an Oscar winner, Ewan McGregor is a movie star playing two roles and Robert De Niro is, well, Robert De Niro. But if voters feel real affection for the dark and dramatic “The Night Of,” which the Creative Arts Emmys results suggest they do, it could well be manifested in an Emmy for Riz Ahmed and his transformative performance at the heart of that miniseries.

Predicted winner: Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Nominees:
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”
Carrie Coon, “Fargo”
Jessica Lange, “FEUD: Bette and Joan”
Susan Sarandon, “FEUD: Bette and Joan”

Bow your head in shame, all you other Emmy categories. This one has four Oscar winners (Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon) and one Oscar nominee and Emmy winner (Felicity Huffman), along with “Fargo” star Carrie Coon, who if truth be told has a real chance to knock off all those big stars and take home the trophy.

Barring that, the race should come down to Kidman v. Lange, who have emerged as the top contenders from “Big Little Lies” and “Feud,” respectively. Lange delivers a delicious performance as the aging, desperate movie queen Joan Crawford, but Kidman’s role delves into hot-button issues like domestic abuse and might feel tougher and timelier.

Predicted winner: Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Nominees:
Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies”
David Thewlis, “Fargo”
Alfred Molina, “FEUD: Bette and Joan”
Stanley Tucci, “FEUD: Bette and Joan”
Bill Camp, “The Night Of”
Michael Kenneth Williams, “The Night Of”

Alfred Molina might have a slight edge over his fellow “Feud” nominee, Stanley Tucci; the two nominees from “The Night Of,” Bill Camp and Michael Kenneth Williams, are more evenly matched, which could hurt them. But Alexander Skarsgard, the one male acting nominee from the women-driven “Big Little Lies,” has a crucial part that really stands out – and no, we’re not talking about that prosthetic penis he flashes in one episode.

Predicted winner: Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies”

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Nominees:
Regina King, “American Crime”
Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”
Shailene Woodley, “Big Little Lies”
Judy Davis, “FEUD: Bette and Joan”
Jackie Hoffman, “FEUD: Bette and Joan”
Michelle Pfeiffer, “The Wizard of Lies”

This race is probably between Regina King, the best chance for voters to support the final year of John Ridley’s “American Crime”; Laura Dern, a memorable antagonist in “Big Little Lies”; and Judy Davis, the venal gossip queen Hedda Hopper in “Feud.” The rest of Dern’s remarkable year, which also includes “Twin Peaks” and the films “Wilson,” “Downsizing” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” might help tip the scales.

Predicted winner: Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Nominees:
Jean-Marc Vallee, “Big Little Lies”
Noah Hawley, “Fargo”:”The Law of Vacant Places” episode
Ryan Murphy, “FEUD: Bette and Joan”: “And the Winner Is … (The Oscars of 1963)” episode
Ron Howard, “Genius”: “Einstein: Chapter One” episode
James Marsh, “The Night Of”: “The Art of War” episode
Steven Zaillian, “The Night Of”: “The Beach” episode

Is it fair to compare Jean-Marc Vallee’s direction of the entire season of “Big Little Lies” to the single episodes for which the other contenders were nominated? Maybe not, but that’s how it worked out. Steven Zaillian and Ryan Murphy have a shot, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s been six years since a director nominated for a single episode beat one nominated for an entire miniseries.

Predicted winner: Jean-Marc Vallee, “Big Little Lies”

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Nominees:
David E. Kelley, “Big Little Lies”
Charlie Brooker, “Black Mirror: San Junipero”
Noah Hawley, “Fargo”: “The Law of Vacant Places” episode
Ryan Murphy, “FEUD: Bette and Joan”: “And the Winner Is … (The Oscars of 1963” episode
Jaffee Cohen, Michael Zam and Ryan Murphy, “FEUD: Bette and Joan”: pilot episode
Richard Price and Steven Zaillian, “The Night Of”: “The Call of the Wild” episode

In the movie/mini writing category, on the other hand, movies or single episodes have beaten entire miniseries twice in the last three years. Given that, and the unlikelihood of a complete sweep for “Big Little Lies,” you have to figure that “The Night of,” the Oscar-night episode of “Feud” or the “San Junipero” episode of “Black Mirror” all have more than a fighting chance.

Predicted winner: Charlie Brooker, “Black Mirror: San Junipero”

VARIETY AND REALITY CATEGORIES

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
Nominees:
“Billy on the Street”
“Documentary Now!”
“Drunk History”
“Portlandia”
“Saturday Night Live”
“Tracey Ullman’s Show”

In the Year of Trump, can anything beat “Saturday Night Live?” Probably not: For the first time in the show’s 42-season history, it tied (with “Westworld”) for the most nominations of any show this year, and at the Creative Arts Emmys it tied (with “Westworld” and “Stranger Things”) as the big winner.

Maybe it’s foolish to rule out the consistently funny and increasingly political “Billy on the Street,” but “SNL” can thank Donald Trump for more Emmy momentum than it’s ever had.

Predicted winner: “Saturday Night Live”

OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES
Nominees:
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
“The Late Late Show With James Corden”
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”
“Real Time With Bill Maher”

Speaking of Trump-related Emmy momentum, that’s the story of the variety-talk category. Trump’s cheery hair-musser, Jimmy Fallon, failed to get a nomination for the first time, while Stephen Colbert’s post-election ratings surge was matched by an Emmy surge.

The smart money is still on HBO’s acerbic “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” which is also tough on the president, but we think voters who gave “The Colbert Report” 10 nominations and two wins will want to welcome him back. Plus Colbert is hosting this year’s Emmy show, which ought to give him some kind of home-court advantage.

Predicted winner: “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
Nominees:
Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner, “Drunk History”: “Hamilton”
Andy Fisher, “Jimmy Kimmel Live”: “The (RED) Show”
Paul Pennolino, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”: “Multi-Level Marketing”
Jim Hoskinson, “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”: “Episode 0179”
Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live”: Host: Jimmy Fallon

From 2010 to 2015, Don Roy King won five consecutive Emmys for directing “Saturday Night Live.” In the show’s Emmyest year ever, it figures he’ll win another.

Predicted winner: Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live”

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
Nominees:
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
“Late Night With Seth Meyers”
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”
“Saturday Night Live”

Maybe it’s that British accent, but John Oliver seems really smart. That should help him (and his writers) win in this category, though Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee seem pretty smart too.

Predicted winner: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”

OUTSTANDING REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM
Nominees:
“The Amazing Race”
“American Ninja Warrior”
“Project Runway”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race”
“Top Chef”
“The Voice”

“The Amazing Race” used to always win. Then “Top Chef” won once and “The Voice” won three of the last four. “Race” and “Voice” are definitely still in the mix – but after the Creative Arts show, where its three wins included the second consecutive one for its host, it feels as if the time is right for “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which offers an entertaining message of tolerance at a time when it’s badly needed.

Predicted winner: “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Emmy Nominations 2017: The Complete List

Emmy Nominations by the Numbers: HBO Rules Again, But Netflix's Growth Is Stunning

Emmy Nominations 2017: Snubs and Surprises, From 'Transparent' to 'The Americans' (Photos)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/emmys-predictions/feed/ 0
‘Kings’ Review: Halle Berry Drama Gives a Female Perspective to LA Riots https://www.thewrap.com/kings-review-halle-berry-movie-gives-female-perspective-l-riots/ https://www.thewrap.com/kings-review-halle-berry-movie-gives-female-perspective-l-riots/#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 00:30:07 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1702048 Now that “Kings” has premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, Kathryn Bigelow is no longer the only female, non-African-American director to make a 2017 movie about a major black uprising in an inner city.

Bigelow and “Detroit” have been joined by Turkish-French director Deniz Gamze Erguven, whose film deals with the 1992 Los Angeles riots that began when four LAPD officers were acquitted in the videotaped beating of Rodney King.

Like “Detroit,” “Kings” drops us in the middle of a conflagration caused by years of harsh treatment and growing anger – and like “Detroit,” it mixes in news footage from the time to tell the story of bystanders swept up into a maelstrom of violence.

But Erguven, whose film “Mustang” landed an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film two years ago, is not after the kind of visceral filmmaking in which Bigelow specializes. The story she is telling is the story of a family: Millie, played by Halle Berry, and the large group of kids and foster kids that she struggles to feed and clothe in her modest South Central house.

“Mustang,” which told the story of young Turkish sisters whose innocent play with neighborhood boys leads to their strict grandmother and uncle essentially locking them in the house until they’re ready for arranged marriages, showcased Erguven’s skill at bringing a light touch to heavy material. What rang true in “Mustang” was the relationship between the girls, a vibrant playfulness that shone through the restrictions and allowed the audience to accept and rejoice in what was essentially a fairy-tale ending.

In “Kings,” Erguven once again is at her best in sketching the bonds that tie a spirited, screeching, often joyous household together. We don’t quite know how Millie manages to wrangle this brood, but we see the love that allows her to do so – and when Ollie (Daniel Craig), a reclusive neighbor and the only white man in the ‘hood, quickly turns from a shotgun-toting crank to a kindly protector, we almost see why he does it.

It’s tricky, though, to maintain that light touch and to glory in this rambunctious household when the kids’ outings include a giddy shoplifting spree at the local market and then, when the riots hit, an even giddier foray to loot the local megastore. The older kids, meanwhile, find themselves in even darker situations, as the first night of rioting turns nightmarish on many different levels.

Still, it’s not so nightmarish that Millie and Ollie don’t find time to sneak a kiss while trying to escape from being handcuffed around a light pole, in a moment that that vies with Millie’s sex dream as the film’s least convincing.

Erguven remains skilled at portraying the joyous messiness of family ties, and an almost-de-glammed Berry is a heroine to root for. But while “Mustang” hit a sweet spot for the director, “Kings” feels like a stretch for the director, appealing at times and disappointing at others.

Although Erguven had the film in the works before she even made her last film, the subject of the L.A. riots is a tough nut to crack. That may be particularly true in this 25th anniversary year, which has already seen more than half a dozen impressive documentaries about the event.

“Kings” has a new take on the much-documented event, but it simply doesn’t feel as fresh or as essential as it should.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Gook' Review: Indie Drama Offers Korean American POV of LA Riots

'Detroit' Review: Kathryn Bigelow Powerfully Connects Historic Riots to Modern Discord

Watch Table Read of Steve Bannon's Bizarre Rap Musical About the LA Riots (Video)

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/kings-review-halle-berry-movie-gives-female-perspective-l-riots/feed/ 0
NYU, USC Lead Student Academy Award Winners https://www.thewrap.com/nyu-usc-lead-student-academy-award-winners/ https://www.thewrap.com/nyu-usc-lead-student-academy-award-winners/#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 20:51:19 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1707741 New York University scored four winning films in the 2017 Student Academy Awards, the Academy announced on Wednesday. The University of Southern California had two winners and was the only other school with more than one winning film.

Other U.S. schools that won Student Oscars are the School of Visual Arts, the Ringing College of Art and Design, the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University.

Foreign films from schools in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and China won in the Student Oscars’ foreign categories.

All the winning films are now eligible in the short-film categories for the 2017 Oscars.

The films were chosen from among 1,587 submissions by 356 film schools around the world.

Past Student Academy Award winners include Spike Lee, John Lasseter, Robert Zemeckis, Trey Parker, Pete Docter and Cary Fukunaga.

While the Academy announcement names the winning films, it does not reveal the level of prize each wins. The gold, silver and bronze level winners will be announced on Thursday, October 12 at the Student Academy Awards ceremony at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The ceremony will cap a week-long series of events for the student filmmakers.

The winners:

Alternative (Domestic Film Schools)
“Opera of Cruelty,” Max R. A. Fedore, New York University

Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
“Cradle,” Devon Manney, University of Southern California
“E-delivery,” Young Gul Cho, School of Visual Arts
“In a Heartbeat,” Beth David and Esteban Bravo, Ringling College of Art and Design

Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
“Hale,” Brad Bailey, University of California, Berkeley
“On Pointe,” Priscilla Thompson and Joy Jihyun Jeong, Columbia University
“One Way Home,” Qingzi Fan, New York University

Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
“Mammoth,” Ariel Heller, University of Southern California
“My Newphew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr., New York University
“Who’s Who in Mycology,” Marie Dvorakova, New York University

Narrative (International Film Schools)
“Facing Mecca,” Jan-Eric Mack, Zurich University of the Arts (Switzerland)
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Hamburg Media School (Germany)
“When Grey is a Colour,” Marit Weerheijm, Netherlands Film Academy (Netherlands)

Animation (International Film Schools)
“Life Smartphone,” Chenglin Xie, China Central Academy of Fine Arts (China)

Documentary (International Film Schools)
“Galamsey,” Johannes Preuss, Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)

Related stories from TheWrap:

ShortList 2017: How Making a Short Can Kickstart a Young Filmmaker's Career Video)

'The Silence,' 'American Paradise' Take Top Prizes at TheWrap's Shortlist Film Festival 2017

Robert De Niro Tells NYU Grads: 'You're F–cked'

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/nyu-usc-lead-student-academy-award-winners/feed/ 0
Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ Brings Tears, F-Bombs to Toronto https://www.thewrap.com/the-shape-of-water-brings-tears-f-bombs-toronto/ https://www.thewrap.com/the-shape-of-water-brings-tears-f-bombs-toronto/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 06:00:44 +0000 Steve Pond https://www.thewrap.com/?p=1706728 Two days after winning the top jury prize at the Venice Film Festival, Guillermo del Toro’s deliriously romantic creature feature “The Shape of Water” had its first public showing at the Toronto International Film Festival. And once again, the film enraptured an audience with its unlikely but spectacular love story between a lonely, mute woman and an aquatic creature that looks like a marginally friendlier version of the Creature From the Black Lagoon.

On a ridiculously overcrowded night that also saw the TIFF public premieres of Andy Serkis’ “Breathe,” Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour,” Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father,” Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles” and Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “The Shape of Water” still felt like something of an event.

That’s partly because it screened in the Elgin Theatre, where scenes from the movie were filmed; when the lavish interior of the theater first appeared on screen, the Elgin audience erupted into applause.

But that was nothing compared to the applause at the end of the film, when del Toro and his crew and actors were met with an extended standing ovation. As Alonso Duralde wrote for TheWrap when the film premiered in Venice, del Toro’s work here “transcends mere pastiche to craft a work that feels like the product of our collective film-going subconscious.”

In a raucous post-midnight Q&A that followed the screening, del Toro talked about the particular challenges of this film — “we crammed a $60 million movie into $19.5 million” — but mostly about how he wanted real, flawed characters in his fantastic world.

“There’s art and beauty and power in the primal images of fantasy,” he said. “But I wanted to show somebody real. [Hawkins’ character] masturbates in the bathtub – she’s not a Disney f—ing princess. And the creature might be a god, but he eats the f—ing cat.”

When an audience member with an autistic child spoke of how the relationship between the characters played by Hawkins and Octavia Spencer had moved her and given her hope, both actresses fought to compose themselves. But the mood quickly lightened — because even when del Toro was talking politics, he managed to make it brashly entertaining.

“I set the movie in 1962 because when people say, ‘Let’s make America great again,’ they’re thinking of that era,” he said of the film’s Cold War setting, which includes casually depicted racism and homophobia. “Yeah, it was great if you were a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant. If not, you were f—ed.”

He stopped. “I’m sorry for cursing,” he said. “I know it’s not very Canadian.”

But, of course, he wasn’t really sorry, because he returned to that well for a line that served as a pretty good statement of purpose for the magical experience he’s created.

“It’s important that we choose love over fear,” he said. “As silly as it may sound, it’s the f—ing answer to everything.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Toronto So Far: Women Rule But Oscar Race Still Up in Air

'Chappaquiddick' Toronto Review: A Morality Tale About Ted Kennedy

'mother!' Review: Jennifer Lawrence Horror Flick in All Its Glorious Insanity

]]>
https://www.thewrap.com/the-shape-of-water-brings-tears-f-bombs-toronto/feed/ 0