Wed, 19 October 2016
INTERVIEW: Barry Jenkins on being an active ally, who he's influenced by and the ensemble of MOONLIGHT
I recently sat down for a conversation with writer/director Barry Jenkins to talk about his extraordinary new film Moonlight. The film tells the story of a largely under-represented section of society - queer African-American males. In this interview, we discuss the film, what it means to be an active ally, his cinematic influences, and his incredible ensemble cast.
Moonlight played the Telluride, Toronto, New York, BFI London and Mill Valley Film Festivals this fall, earning an Audience Award from MVFF this week. It currently sits at 97 on Metacritic and 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film stars Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Andre Holland, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex Hibbert and was based on a story by Tarell McCraney.
A24 will open Moonlight in New York and Los Angeles this Friday, October 21st, and then expands in the coming weeks. Check out where the Gold Rush Gang thinks Moonlight is in the Oscar race right here.
Sun, 4 September 2016
Oscar Podcast #42: Fall Festivals Kick Off Oscar Season with La La Land, Moonlight, Arrival, Nocturnal Animals
The Venice and Telluride Film Festivals have kicked off the beginning of Oscar season (even though we've been at it for months!), giving us a first look at some major fall players like La La Land, Moonlight, Arrival and Nocturnal Animals.
With my guest, Gold Rush Gang member Bryan Bonefede, we discuss how these films and their mostly stellar reviews have boosted their Oscar profiles among the Gold Rush Gang and how mixed to bad responses of Bleed for This and Wakefield have basically sunk theirs. We also talk about Sully and if this 'meat & potatoes' film will be a Best Picture contender or not.
The second half of the podcast we cover the impact of Nate Parker's rape controversy on his film, The Birth of a Nation, and how the GRG responded in terms of Oscar predictions.
Finally, I had to get out a beef from this week of the rumor going around that Paramount is planning on running Viola Davis in supporting for Fences. I don't agree and think that floating the 'rumor' as fact or information isn't the best way to have an Oscar conversation. Although the role in the original version of the Broadway play won the Tony for a Featured Actress for Mary Alice, Davis won the Tony in 2010 in LEAD and has spoken up about her role being even bigger in the film than in the revival of the play.
Tell me what you think about that and all of these subjects in the comments section or in the AwardsWatch forums.
The opening music is "City of Stars" from La La Land (Summit/Lionsgate) and the closing music is "New York City by Day" by Thomas Newman from the film Desperately Seeking Susan.
This podcast runs about 1h 45m.
Sun, 21 August 2016
On this 41st podcast our commentary is restricted to a single issue - the explosive week information regarding Nate Parker, the writer, star and director of Fox Searchlight's The Birth of a Nation, and the 1999 rape case he and his Birth co-writer, Jean Celestin, were involved in.
There have been think pieces upon think pieces this week that began with a very careful and concerted effort by Parker and Fox Searchlight to get ahead of the controversy by having him interview for Deadline. With that followed Fox Searchlight's immediate statement of support for Parker but very soon after came the revelation that the acquitted Parker and convicted Celestin's victim had committed suicide in 2012.
On the podcast we try and examine the case as honestly and as factually as possible and hopefully did so with respect and integrity. We cover the media's response, the nature of Hollywood to turn the other cheek, our personal opinions and what it now means for the film's financial and awards success. I encourage this to be an ongoing conversation and you can comment here on the story as well as our podcast and in the forums of AwardsWatch.
This podcast runs just over one hour with intro and outro.
Fri, 29 July 2016
In our 40th Oscar podcast, I am joined by Gold Rush Gang members Richard Anthony and, new this season, Bryan Bonafede.
With the announcements this week of the Toronto and Venice film festival lineups, that gives us lots to talk about in terms of who rises (La La Land, Arrival) and who falls (Loving, Moonlight) in our Oscar predictions. The upcoming Telluride announcement will be even more telling and we talk about some of the films expected there as well.
We detail updated predictions in Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress and wonder is Ruth Negga (Loving) is as locked as some of us (meaning I) think she is and how we build our predictions. How many performances from a single film will get Oscar nominated? Is Best Actor skewing too young and is there room for a newcomer in Best Actress? Why are Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress so bleak right now and are Liam Neeson (Silence) and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) going to be runaway winners?
All this and much more on this podcast that runs just about two hours.
Fri, 15 July 2016
The 2016 Emmy Nominations were yesterday and on this 16th Emmy Podcast, Chris and I break down the good, the bad and the ugly in what was, overall, a pretty good set of nominees. We talk about the breakthrough for The Americans and Mr. Robot, why Horace and Pete failed and how the Television Academy treated the final seasons of The Good Wife and Downton Abbey. We also talk about the diversity of nominees in terms of people of color, a bit of trivia and what our favorite nominations of the day were.
Don't worry, this isn't a 2 hour listen, it's only about 45 minutes.
Sat, 9 July 2016
As promised, part two of our final Emmy predictions find their way into Emmy Podcast #15 (check out Emmy Podcast #14 here) where we talk exclusively about the incredibly competitive Limited Series acting categories, most especially just how many acting nominations can The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story get and will Fargo and/or American Crime be left in its wake? Plus, will Hotel be the nail in American Horror Story's nomination coffin or will Lady Gaga nudge her way in? American Crime, which earned 10 nominations last year, could find itself on the outside of the behemoth of The People v. O.J. Simpson this year, or we could see it reap nominations in multiple acting categories. Same with Fargo; a strong second season could see a good fight and it appears Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie is going to be ground zero for that battle.
Next we tackle the Guest categories in Drama and Comedy and wonder if The Good Wife's final salvo will see a boatload of nominations here. It seems like these categories could see a lot of previous winner name-checking (Allison Janney, Margo Martindale) but there's also a lot of room for some surprises (like Octavia Spencer or Vanessa Williams).
Finally, Chris, Jonathan and myself all give up our Emmy wishes for nomination morning that include BoJack Horseman, Rectify, You're the Worst, Allison Wright (The Americans), Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby (UnREAL), T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley), Connor Jessup and Joey Pollari (American Crime) and more.
Wed, 6 July 2016
In part one of two final Emmy prediction podcasts before the nominations are announced on July 14th, I am joined by AwardsWatch Emmy Experts Chris and Jonathan to go over Drama and Comedy Series and their respective Lead and Supporting categories as well as Limited Series, TV Movie, Variety Talk, Variety Sketch, Variety Special and Special Class Program. With so many categories and Limited Series alone being one of the best and most competitive in decades, we're going to save that (and the Writing, Directing and Guest predictions) for the next one.
We delve deep into why I think The Americans will break big this year with multiple acting nominations as well as the big one, Drama Series. Also, is Homeland still back on track and can anything upset Game of Thrones from repeating?
In Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jonathan offers his reasons for predicting Rachel Bloom from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to score the CW's first major nomination, while I think Ilana Glazer has a good shot for Broad City and Chris makes the case for the return of Lena Dunham (Girls).
We discuss the 3rd season of Orange is the New Black being lighter in tone and can it still make it into Drama Series or will it just be Uzo Aduba repeating? Horace and Pete, Billions, Better Call Saul and Mr. Robot all find their way into the discussion and Jonathan and I defend dropping Modern Family in Comedy Series in favor of Mom. We wonder if black-ish will be the breakout we think it's going to be (hint, it totally is) hope that Samantha Bee can break the boys club of Variety Talk Series with Full Frontal.
This podcast runs 2h 15m (without intro/outro music) so get a snack. Or maybe a drink.
Sun, 19 June 2016
The submission ballots for the 2016 Emmys are in and voting has begun. This podcast I have brought back Vox.com culture editor Todd VanDerWerff and AwardsWatch Emmy Experts Jonathan Boehle to break down some of the submission list, concentrating on the Guest, Writing and Directing categories since those give us actual episodes before the nominations are announced.
We also talk a bit about how/if the new rules enacted this (and last) year will affect the upcoming batch of nominees and dig a bit deeper into categories like Lead Actor in a Drama Series as well as venture into the issue of race and awards. After two years of #OscarsSoWhite, are the Emmys much farther ahead on this? Will the Emmy success of black-ish, Roots and The People vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story be the story of the day come nominations next month?
All this and much more on this issue of the AwardsWatch Emmy Podcast.
Mon, 23 May 2016
In this 39th Oscar podcast, Gold Rush Gang member Júlia Albuquerque and I break down the winners and losers at this year's Cannes Film Festival awards ceremony where sometimes it was hard to tell the two apart.
We talk extensively about the role of "armchair" criticism of the festival and the jury's awards choices and how Cannes l'enfant terrible Xavier Dolan was able to walk away with his biggest prize yet for his worst reviewed film. Júlia also reminds us how before the festival started, jury member Arnaud Desplechin remarked that he wants to find this year's Mad Max and Son of Saul yet ended up picking Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake for the top prize. To that effect, we talk about the post-ceremony jury press conference where they defend their choices, with Donald Sutherland and jury president George Miller doing most of the heavy lifting.
Obviously we look at what films are the most likely to make it through the year to Oscar season success (hint: there's really only one).
Of course, actress talk dominates much of the podcast with Sonia Braga and Isabelle Huppert holding court there as the two biggest predicted Actress potentials that both lost to Jaclyn Jose.
We end with what, if any, of the foreign language films might end up being Oscar submissions for individual countries.
Sat, 21 May 2016
In our last Emmy Podcast, Vox.com's Todd VanDerWerff and I broke down the TV Movie and Limited Series predictions and got a little bit into the Drama and Comedy but here, on this 12th Emmy Podcast I am joined by fellow Emmy Expert Federico Artico for a deeper dive.
We discuss how open the Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category is with three of last year's nominees out of the running, the rise of black-ish and possibly Mom in Comedy Series and if Silicon Valley can break through in the acting categories. Plus, can anyone possibly beat Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus?
In drama we talk about if Mr. Robot can really get nominated or if it will end up like Orphan Black and we discuss who we think is winning Drama Series this year. Will Game of Thrones continue to reign or will this election year see one (or possibly two) White House-based shows win the top prize.
Plus, The Americans. Always, The Americans.