Every year, United Talent Agency holds an Academy Awards party in Los Angeles to celebrate its clients’ and the industry’s successes. That changed this year, when the UTA announced that, in light of the political moment we are in, they would instead hold a rally and fundraiser for the ACLU and other charities. That moment arrived tonight, and the event was awash in celebrities, including Jodie Foster, Keegan-Michael Key, and Michael J. Fox, as well as political figures like California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. Unsurprisingly, a vein of anti-Trump talk was threaded through the various speeches of the day; however, most of the speakers focused on the positivity inherent in events like a rally in the first place. As Jodie Foster put it, “It’s time to show up.” And show up they did. Here are the best bits from the day’s speeches.
After airing just two episodes in its premiere season, it looks like CBS’s legal drama Doubt is no more. The long-gestating series, starring Katherine Heigl, has been pulled from the schedule and its timeslot variously taken up over the next month or so by a rerun of Bull, a Criminal Minds spinoff, and Survivor’s extended premiere, respectively. Deadline is calling the schedule shift a cancellation, stating that “per tradition” CBS hasn’t used the c-word just yet but that is in fact what this means. However, it is still possible that the show, which debuted to lower ratings (particularly for a ratings behemoth like CBS), may return at a later date. Notably, Doubt is the first primetime drama to feature a transgender main character played by a transgender actress – Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox. Time will tell if we’ll get to see this TV history-making moment play out any further.
Zachary Quinto isn’t wild about the Trump Administration’s recent rescinding of transgender bathroom protections in public schools – in fact, he’s adamantly opposed to it. And as he revealed while accepting an award named for the famed Irish writer Oscar Wilde, it was the 19th Century author’s own struggles with his sexuality that inspired the Star Trek actor, openly gay himself, to speak out on behalf of the rights of those deemed to be different.
Among Moonlight’s many and sundry virtues, including its gorgeous cinematography, glorious acting, and restrained, nuanced script, there is one virtue that has been largely under-discussed: its soundtrack. Well here’s our chance, because as we wait to see which of eight potential Academy Awards Barry Jenkins’ beautiful film will net on Sunday, we can check out a chopped and screwed remix of the soundtrack. Like any good remix, Purple Moonlight by OG Ron C and the Chopstars, not only gives these songs a different spin, it also helps you appreciate the original tracks, too. “Chopped and screwed” is a remix technique first pioneered in the Houston hip hop scene of the early 1990s. Its style, also sometimes called “codeine effect,” favors slowed down beats, moments of “stopped time,” and beat skipping. Check out the remixes below – including takes on Aretha Franklin and Goodie Mob – and cross your fingers for some Moonlight Oscar magic come Sunday.
When Get Out opens tomorrow it’s going to introduce American audiences to Daniel Kaluuya in a big way. (Yes, Sicario was great, but it was also a fairly low key project.) The movie has a near perfect critical consensus so far and is on track for a strong opening at the box office, and just to sweeten Kaluuya’s weekend a little more, Variety is now reporting that he will join Steve McQueen’s next film Widows. The movie is an adaptation of a 1983 British mini-series of the same name about a trio of widows who come together to finish the armed robbery each of their husbands died carrying out, and it’s got a fantastic growing cast. Kaluuya joins Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, André Holland, and Cynthia Erivo, who will be working off a script from Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn. In 2018, Kaluuya will also be appearing in Marvel’s Black Panther. So, things are going pretty damn well.
The Oscar Nominated Directors for Best Foreign Language Film Decry ‘Fanaticism and Nationalism’ Ahead of TelecastBy Kaitlin Fontana
On the eve of the Academy Awards weekend, each of the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film joined together to condemn a surging culture of nationalism that’s taken hold in the United States and across the globe. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who in January stated he would boycott the Oscars ceremony because of President Trump’s executive order banning residents from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, was joined by his four fellow nominees in co-authoring a statement about the need for inclusivity. “On behalf of all nominees, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries,” the statement begins, and it goes on to shout down fear of difference, and praise those who are fighting for greater unity and understanding:
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been hazed pretty hard since taking over the role in Donald Trump’s administration. His combative, impatient behavior with the media makes him seem prone to tantrums, which resulted in the damning send up of him on Saturday Night Live by Melissa McCarthy, and as of today he’s got a book publisher relentlessly trolling him on Twitter, too. Earlier this afternoon, the account for Melville House tweeted at Spicer asking, “the fuck is the matter with you,” and from there things have escalated into the absurd. Here is a selection of them.
Jim Parsons’s burgeoning film career has been tipping towards socially conscious projects for a few years now. He has recently appeared in Hidden Figures and the HBO AIDS crisis drama The Normal Heart, but he has yet to play a leading man. Variety announced today, however, that Parsons has signed on to produce and star in the feature A Kid Like Jake. The film, written by Daniel Pearle, is centered around the parents of a transgender four-year-old, and is based on Pearle’s play of the same name that ran at New York’s Lincoln Center Theater in 2013. Claire Danes is attached to play the wife of Parsons’s character, with Silas Howard (Transparent), one of only a few transgender directors in Hollywood, set to direct.
You won’t have to look far to discover the significance of At the Drive-In’s “Incurably Innocent,” the new cut from the band’s upcoming album Inter Alia, released on Wednesday. As lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala explained to NME, the track is “a song about sexual abuse and being able to finally speak out.” It’s a striking statement, but not quite for the reasons listeners ignorant of the post-hardcore quintet’s history might think.
As you’ve probably heard, Lin-Manuel Miranda could EGOT on Sunday. Of all this year’s Academy Award nominees, Miranda is the only one who’s won the other three components of the trophy grand slam — he’s got the Grammy and Tony for Hamilton, and the Emmy for writing for the Tonys telecast — and still needs that pesky Oscar. Vulture’s official prediction is that he won’t scoop up the Best Original Song trophy for Moana (surely the win will go to a La La Land song, right?), but there are plenty of other nominees who could get closer to joining the immortal club with a win Sunday night. Here’s this year’s pre-Oscars EGOT watch:
I’m not a big believer in conspiracy theories. Is Trump’s latest Twitter salvo meant to be a distraction from his administration’s agenda? Did Beyoncé stage her first pregnancy? My usual line on this sort of thing is “Nah.” Conspiracies take so much work, and most people are either lazy or inept. The simplest answer is usually the truest.
Hayao Miyazaki, the writer and director behind Oscar-nominated animated films Howl’s Moving Castle and The Wind Rises and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away (oh, and the winner in everyone’s heart, My Neighbor Totoro), had announced in 2013 that he was retiring. “This time is for real,” Miyazaki said. But now, his longtime producer Toshio Suzuki at Studio Ghibli confirmed during a pre-Oscars interview for the studio’s short, The Red Turtle, that Miyazaki is once again working on a feature film. According to Kotaku, “After initially stepping away from directing features, Miyazaki began learning how to animate on a computer and was working on a CG short called Kemushi no Boro.”
Neal Brennan is a white comedian who often works with comedians of color. It’s a fact that shouldn’t be noteworthy, but since such working relationships continue to be a rarity, it is. Brennan found that lane by trying to work with the funniest comics he knew – and while some people might assume that such a career would be filled with awkwardness — when Brennan discusses using the N-word in a joke, for example – he says there has been none.
The Academy has engaged in so much relieved celebrating this year over Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Fences — three films with mostly nonwhite casts have never competed for Best Picture at the same time, a boon after last year’s #OscarsSoWhite fiasco — that voters may not have noticed something else noteworthy about this year’s race.
On Thursday, the Taschen bookstore in Beverly Hills hosted a Mad Men reunion. The cast — including Jon Hamm, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Paré, Kevin Rahm, and Ben Feldman — along with writers and designers came out to fete the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, for the launch of the commemorative, two-volume Mad Men book set. As Hamm joked, “Both of my wives are here, so it’s a little awkward for me.”
When I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year, the accolade made a lot of sense. While the film was the directorial debut for actor Macon Blair, he’d had success in Park City before, having played the lead role in Jeremy Saulnier’s 2014 standout Blue Ruin. And it had premiered to a rapturous reception on the festival’s opening night, quickly becoming one of the most talked-about movies at Sundance — not only for its quality, but also because it seemed to engage with a feeling that many people were tangling with during the presidential inauguration that same weekend. (A common joke: that its title was oddly prescient.)
After a winning an Oscar last year, Leonardo DiCaprio has to go back to the Oscars this year and not win. (He isn’t nominated, and will only be there to give an Oscar to Emma Stone, probably, but that’s not the point.) But before he heads to L.A., Leo is off in Thailand, enjoying some R&R in an oversize white V-neck and sunglasses. Like your dad during an ill-fated trip to Legoland where one of your siblings gets lost and the other smears ice cream on a stranger’s cell phone, Leo is also wearing a fanny pack. What could be in that fanny pack? Well, what is 13-and-a-half-inches tall and more important to Leonardo DiCaprio than life itself?
Foo Fighters Aren’t Breaking Up, and the Proof Is in a Surprise Livestreamed Concert and a Glastonbury Do-OverBy Dee Lockett
When any band goes on an indefinite hiatus, it’s usually code for “we are never ever getting back together.” But Foo Fighters are here to prove the naysayers wrong by officially ending their two-year hiatus in grand fashion. They’re going to finally headline Glastonbury — as will Radiohead — after Dave Grohl’s broken leg forced them out of the job in 2015. Now back to being spry, Grohl is ready for a do over. And for their warm-up, Foo Fighters have reunited for an impromptu intimate show in England that’s being livestreamed right now. Like, right this second. Double surprise! We’d tell them to break a leg, but, uh …
We are gathered here today to ask the last big important question of the Obama era: Why, mere days before he handed over the White House to Donald Trump, did a powerful and intelligent man named Barack Hussein Obama II ask to watch the unholy abomination called Monster Trucks? Anonymous sources dished to The Hollywood Reporter that the Obama White House’s final screener requests included the movie that’s literally about a monster who lives in (and operates) a truck. Could it be that Obama — unlike everyone else in America, including the people who made it — saw something promising in the idea of an animal-pickup hybrid? Obama is a cool dad. He knows better than to presume to know the movie habits of his cool family. Is it that he’s a big fan of Lucas Till and his symmetrical jaw? Maybe Obama is simply an optimist. Or maybe it wasn’t Barack at all who requested the movie, but another one of Joe Biden’s little pranks.
In Manchester by the Sea, a family fishing boat becomes a dramatic point of contention between the movie’s subjects, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) and his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), who are both reckoning with the loss of a family member. The teen is determined to keep it, while his uncle insists on selling it. In real life, the commercial lobster boat is named for a Manchester-by-the-Sea family’s deceased daughter. “The name of the boat, the Claudia Marie, that’s a real family that has gone through a tragedy, so the fact they used this boat named after this little girl who passed away… this whole town embraced that,” Paul Barclay, a Manchester local, told the Boston Globe. When Manchester residents Ed and Julie Smith agreed to let their boat be used in the film, they had no idea it would be an important plot point. Julie said she froze when she saw the boat, named after the couple’s 13-month-old daughter who died in 2001, in the movie’s opening scene. “We had no idea the boat would be so instrumental in the movie,” she told the Globe. “We were blown away by that.”
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