AwardsWatch Oscar and Emmy Podcasts
Podcasts from AwardsWatch on the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG and more.

There are some major changes coming to the very next Oscars ceremony...and they're not good.

Yesterday, the Academy, in a bombshell announcement, revealed that they would be creating a new category: Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. 

After yet another year of dropping ratings, this attempt to secure viewership from audiences that have shelled out their money to the year’s blockbusters like Black PantherMission: Impossible Fallout and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, can be assured that ‘popular’ will now equal ‘best.’ 

The Board of Governors have also committed to a 3-hour telecast. Even though ad rates for the Oscars are still among the highest in television, the length of the Academy Awards has always been the butt of jokes, often by the host themselves. One of the ways the show intends to shorten the running time won’t be asking winners to make quicker speeches but to move some categories to commercial breaks. Other awards shows implement this already, like the Tonys or the the MTV Movie Awards, and it’s likely that categories such as Live Action Short (and its kind) will be moved there. 

The third big change won’t involve next year’s Oscars but the 92nd Academy Awards. They’re moving up from their previously announced date of February 23rd to February 9th. That is going to result in a seismic shift in every other awards show, nomination date and give pause for every studio in how they dole out their fall and winter releases. 

In this podcast, I am joined by returning guest Daniel Joyaux, freelance film writer (The Verge, Vanity Fair, Moviemaker magazine and more) and publications editor for the Sundance Film Festival.

We discuss in enraged detail each of these changes (and the real reason behind them), whether they'll be able to withstand the barrage of hate they received on social media and I posit a way that maybe, just maybe this new category nonsense might actually work the way they want it to. 

This podcast runs 1h 29m

Direct download: Oscar_Podcast_67.mp3
Category:Oscars -- posted at: 10:00am PST

Bill Groom is no stranger to the Emmys, he's a four-time winner for HBO's Boardwalk Empire. With its expansive sets and designs of Atlantic City, both the boardwalk and interiors, Groom was more than ready to take on the mid-century look of New York City for Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which earned 14 Emmy nominations for its freshman season, including one for Groom's meticulously detailed production design. 

In my interview with Groom we discuss his incredible body of work which includes HBO's Vinyl, ABC's miniseries When We Rise and the feature films Eat Pray Love and Milk, the process of location vs sets and the leg work involved in recreating the period with accuracy and detail. 

Bill Groom is nominated in Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More) for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel episode "Ya Shivu v Bolshom Dome Na Kholme."

The next season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will hit Amazon in late 2018 or early 2019.

This interview runs 34m with opening and closing music.

Opening music: "Egh-choh-choh" by The Barry Sisters

Closing song: "Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie

The Emmy voting period ends August 27th at 10pm PST.

The Creative Arts Emmys will be a two-night affair on Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will be Monday, September 17th.

Direct download: Bill_Groom_Emmy_interview_Marvelous_Mrs_Maisel.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 9:40am PST

Cort L. Hessler, with his 2014 Emmy for Stunt Coordination on 'The Blacklist'

Cort L. Hessler lll, with his 2014 Emmy for Stunt Coordination on 'The Blacklist'

Emmy-winning stunt coordinator Cort L. Hessler lll got his start in Florida, where he grew up, at Disney when the theme park came to his high school scouting for talent. He water skied, did live shows, anything and everything that was available to him.

When Universal Studios opened in 1990 he auditioned for, and got, a Miami Vice-style show in the park's lagoon and that kicked off his film and television stunt career. With live shows and film and television being shot for onlookers and tourists to see, Hessler jumped in head first, filming stunts in the park. That led his first big break, the NBC primetime show SeaQuest 2032 starring Roy Scheider and Jonathan Brandis. Hessler doubled for Brandis and he became a go-to for water and underwater stunt work.

On The Blacklist, a job he got over Facebook while working on Blue Bloods, Hessler is proud of the level of practical stunts he employs (including more than one character on fire, CGI-free) and the safety he demands on his set.

In our chat we talk about his directorial debut on the show last season (he'll have another one next season), his favorite types of stunts, his favorite sequences from this last season, his advice for those interested in this (sometimes literally) backbreaking work, and if the Oscars will catch up to the Emmys and Screen Actors Guild in recognizing stunt work.

Season 6 of The Blacklist will return this September on NBC.

The Emmy voting period ends August 27th at 10pm PST.

The Creative Arts Emmys will be a two-night affair on Saturday, September 8th (where Hessler’s category is slotted) and Sunday, September 9th.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will be Monday, September 17th.

Direct download: Cort_Hessler_The_Blacklist_interview.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 12:10pm PST

For Ben Kutchins, his love of film and filmmaking started out the way it did for a lot of kids; finding an old 35mm camera in a parent's drawer, dusting it off and giving it a go. Looking at life through a lens became a hobby, then a passion and during college he interned, as many people who are interested in film and live in Northern California do, at Lucasfilm. That internship turned into a job but he saw the tides turning from film to digital and that he was on track to a working at a desk, which he didn't want.

Pushing back, he left a job offer from Lucasfilm and entered NYU's film program. It was everything he wanted; shooting over 60 short films, learning the language of film and learning from and with Reed Morano (Emmy-winning director of The Handmaid's Tale) and Rachel Morrison (Mudbound, and the first ever female director of photography nominated for the Cinematography Oscar).

Throughout his career Kutchins has been inspired by cinematographers like Oscar-winner Emmanuel Lubezki ("He moves the camera in the most naturalistic way that I've seen of any modern cinematographer"), Roger Deakins ("The best lighting cameraman I've ever seen), Gordon Willis ("He knows how to give each location its own beating heart") and more.

For his work on Netflix's Ozark, Kutchins earned the first Emmy nomination of his career in the category of Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour). But he'll tell you he didn't get there alone ("I take every day as a gift, I don't take that lightly"). He had been the cinematographer on a film starring Jason Bateman (The Longest Week) and that relationship earned him a spot on Bateman's team for the Emmy-nominated Netflix hit ("We get excited about the same things, we're real film nerds"). Working with Stephani Lewis (costume designer) and Derek Hill (production designer, who's also Emmy-nominated) on finding the look of Ozark, Kutchins calls it a "melding of minds" and "gearing towards the same aesthetic."

Ozark returns to Netflix for its second season on August 31st. You can watch the trailer here.

The Emmy voting period ends August 27th at 10pm PST.

The Creative Arts Emmys will be a two-night affair on Saturday, September 8th (where Kutchin's category is slotted) and Sunday, September 9th.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will be Monday, September 17th.

Direct download: Ben_Kutchins_Ozark_interview.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 8:22am PST

This week gave us the lineups of two of the fall's biggest festivals, Venice and Toronto

On this 66th Oscar podcast, I am joined by freelance film writer (you can find his work at Vanity Fair, Moviemaker magazine and more) and publications editor for the Sundance Film Festival, Daniel Joyaux

While these festival announcements always give us great intel on how studios are positioning their fall and winter awards releases, it's often the films that are missing that give us even bigger clues. Where are Bohemian RhapsodyBoy Erased, Destroyer and Mary Queen of Scots? Some may show up at Telluride, others may be added to Toronto's lineup next month (there are still three Gala spots and 30 Special Presentation slots open).

Venice will give us premieres of Damien Chazelle's First Man, while Toronto will world premiere Steve McQueen's Widows and If Beale Street Could Talk from Barry Jenkins. Alfonso Cuarón's Roma looks set to hit every major festival - Venice, Toronto, NYFF and Telluride. All eyes will be on the follow-ups of these Oscar-winning directors.

The Cannes/Netflix kerfuffle earlier this summer proved to be the gain of both Venice and Toronto as each festival is flush with debuts from the streaming service. The Coen brothers' anthology series (which will apparently compete as a feature film for the Oscars) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Paul Greengrass's 22 July and the final film from Orson Welles, The Other Side of the Wind are all set to kick off at Venice.

I will be at the Toronto International Film Festival this year for the first time. Keep your eyes and ears open for more podcasts leading up to, at, and after TIFF.

With music this podcast runs 1h 27m.

Opening song: "Sulk" by TR/ST

Closing song: "New York City by Day" by Thomas Newman from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of Desperately Seeking Susan

Direct download: Oscar_Podcast_66.mp3
Category:Film Festivals -- posted at: 11:14am PST

From left: Melissa Sweeney, Ted Sarandos, Sean Callery (photo: Image24 PR)

From left: 'Jessica Jones' creator Melissa Rosenberg, Netflix's Ted Sarandos with Sean Callery with Emmy win for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for Netflix's Jessica Jones (photo: Image24 PR)

It doesn't get more Emmy-tastic in the Music Composition categories than Sean Callery.

Callery has received 17 Emmy nominations and 4 wins, making him one of the most nominated composers of all time. 10 of his Emmy nominations are for the hit Fox drama 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland, where Callery composed all nine seasons and is the only composer to have been nominated every year for a series that ran more than three seasons. Altogether, Callery won three Emmys for Outstanding Music Composition for his work on 24

His fourth, and most recent win, came in 2016 for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for Netflix's Jessica Jones, starring Krysten Ritter.

He also composes the music for hit series such as Showtime’s Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama Homeland, starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, ABC’s Designated Survivor, starring Kiefer Sutherland, and CBS’s Sherlock Holmes-inspired drama series Elementary, starring Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller.

I had the pleasure to chat with Sean about his prolific composing career, the intricacies of being a Television Academy judge in the Limited Series music sections, and how music is a primal form of human communication.

In our conversation, Sean talks about his first major moviegoing experiences that helped shape his own likes and inspirations with composing, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Jaws

Describing creating the Emmy-winning theme for Jessica Jones, Sean found the voice of Jones through film noir but with an original spin, playing with the playful and hardened elements of the character.  

Sean also reveals the golden piece of advice that every composer wants to hear before creating a score. 

Sean resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Debbie.

This interview opens with his Emmy-winning main title theme from Jessica Jones and closes with music from Homeland's 7th season and sixth episode, "Species Jump."

Direct download: Sean_Callery_interview_Jul_26_2018.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 1:11pm PST

Composer Nathan Barr has received critical acclaim for his unmatched versatility, incorporating eclectic instruments from musical cultures across the world. Nathan recently completed construction on his new 8,000 square foot personal studio in Tarzana, California that can house 50-60 musicians. The studio, Bandrika (named after the fictional country in Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes, which I had forgotten!), houses the original Wurlitzer pipe organ that was installed at Fox studios in 1928 that recently went through a four-year restoration. With 1,500 pipes, able to mirror hundreds of different instruments ("It's like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for music," he says.), its music can be heard in iconic films including Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Sound of Music, and Patton. Barr and his team are currently compiling a list of composers that have used the organ including Oscar winners John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Herrmann.

I chatted with the two-time Emmy-nominated composer about his work on The Americans, how his pianist mother and banjo-playing father introduced him to music in Japan at five years of age and becoming a collector of rare and unusual instruments from around the world such as a human bone trumpet from Tibet, dismantled pianos, a rare Glass Armonica, gourd cellos, many of which you can hear on any number of his original compositions. We also talk about some of his favorite composers and film scores including The Third Man and its classic zither.

Since the end of The Americans, Nathan scored the dystopian action thriller, The Domestics, starring Kate Bosworth and Tyler Hoechlin, which hit theaters June 29th and is currently scoring season two of AMC’s multi-generational western epic, The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan. He's also putting the finishing touches on his next collaboration with director Eli Roth, the upcoming adventure film The House with a Clock in Its Walls (see trailer below) starring Jack Black and two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.  The film's release on September 21 will mark the Wurlitzer's 21st-century debut for movie audiences. 2019 will find Nathan scoring Amazon’s upcoming fantasy, period drama, Carnival Row, starring Orlando Bloom and produced by Guillermo del Toro.

Nathan Barr currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Direct download: Nathan_Barr_interview.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 7:48pm PST

Before earning an Emmy nomination last week for her work on the series finale of Once Upon a Time, Cindy O'Connor began her career as a musical theater composer...well, actually it goes back further than that. Her parents love to regale their friends with stories of Cindy composing at the age of 5, writing song on her keyboard called "The Aku-Aku Foot Disease" while her family was living in Japan. It all began there. Flash forward to 1993, writing the music for All That He Was in collaboration with Larry Todd Johnson where she won the National Playwright Award and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for New Play. The darkly comic musical, about one man’s struggle with AIDS where the deceased functions as host and narrator, invisible among the friends and family assemble to pay him final respects, has since been produced in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and several theaters across the US.

O'Connor worked from the ground up in television and film, with Emmy-winning Oscar-nominated composer Mark Isham taking her under his wing. The two have collaborated for over a decade and share that 2018 Emmy nomination with Michael D. Simon. Throughout her musical career she's worked on the Oscar-winning film Crash, Blade, The Conjuring 2The Black Dahlia and as the composer for shows like The Black Donnellys and the television adaptation of Crash

I chatted with Cindy about her first Emmy nomination (and being the only female nominated in the Music Composition categories), jamming with Pat Benatar and the importance of advocacy for women composers and in the film and television industry. She's also a member of the Alliance of Female Composers. On September 4th she'll be a part of KCRW Presents The Future is Female: A Concert Celebrating Female Composers at The Wiltern in Los Angeles that will also include Tamar Kali (Mudbound) and Ronit Kirchman (The Sinner), both featured in 5 Female Composer You Should Know. Tickets are available here

Here is my interview with Emmy nominee Cindy O'Connor. 

Direct download: Cindy_OConnor_-_Once_Upon_a_Time_-_Interview.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 2:30pm PST

Buckle in, kids, this is a doozy. 

On this FINAL Emmy nominations prediction podcast, I am joined by Awardsdaily TV's Joey Moser. The shade will be deep and the tea is steeped.

Starting off with the Drama categories, working our way up from Guest to Lead to Supporting and Drama Series itself, Joey and I debate if Westworld can hold its own against the return of Game of Thrones and how both will do in the face of The Handmaid's Tale's second season after a first season domination at last year's Emmys. 

Comedy gets into how the absence of Veep could find its replacement with up to three freshman shows (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, GLOW and Barry) looking for a spot in Comedy Series against the reboot of Will & Grace, Silicon Valley and frontrunner Atlanta

Limited Series and TV Movie closes the podcast and, as is often the case, we find it the most difficult to predict. 

Watch for my full list of final Emmy predictions today.

This epic podcast run 2h and 30m with music and is worth every moment. 

Opening music: Theme from Black Mirror

Closing music: Theme from Will & Grace

Direct download: Emmy_Podcast_23.mp3
Category:Emmys -- posted at: 9:23am PST

It's Emmy season and in podcast #22 I am joined by GoldDerby contributing editor and Emmy super sleuth Riley Chow.

The Emmy nominating ballots were revealed yesterday and Riley and I begin the podcast by discussing any anomalies in the submission list and the Guest vs Supporting categories and new(ish) 50% rule.

Westworld and The Handmaid's Tale will likely make up a large portion of guest and supporting acting nominations and Riley and reveal our thoughts on where we think each show will land now that they both will face Game of Thrones

We venture into the writing and directing categories of drama, talking at length about The Americans, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid's Tale, The Crown, Stranger Things and This Is Us. I also try and make the case for Killing Eve.

In comedy we focus on Atlanta, GLOW, Barry, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Silicon Valley and how the absence of Veep and Master of None opens the door for an interesting lineup. 

We close on the Limited Series and TV Movie categories, as bleak as they are this year, finding similar predictions with The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, The Tale, Twin Peaks: The Return and Godless and more. 

Stay tuned for more podcasts before the July 12th announcement of the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards and check in with my 2018 Emmy write-ups here.

This podcast runs 1h 14m with music.

Opening: Theme to Mindhunter

Closing: Theme to Twin Peaks: The Return

 

Direct download: Emmy_Podcast_22.mp3
Category:Emmys -- posted at: 12:21pm PST