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Friday
Dec142018

This & That: SAG fallout, Beale St agnosticism, Kidman's AACTA win

December is a bear, isn't it? It just keeps on coming at you and more intense as it goes, too. We're so far behind, we're just going to do this with no structure and no editing. Here is a list of lots of news-items or curiousities that are probably worthy of their own articles  but they aren't going to get them! We need a big staff (now seeking volunteers!) Okay, here we go...

• Sasha at Awards Daily has a good piece on what the SAG noms tell us and why they're so populist. Sasha and I disagree quite a lot when it comes to Oscar's schedule.  She always deems the move from March or April to February a terrible thing but I personally love it. Listen, all changes have bright and shadow sides. The shadow side IS, as she states, that voters have less time to change course which makes coming up from behind more difficult. The bright side is that there is far less qualifying-release or barely released in the calendar year shenanigans than there used to be and I'll personally take that trade off every time. I love that more people can see contenders from October through December instead of January through March like they used to. Statistically non December releases are doing much better than they used to in the days of the March/April shows. If that means Beale Street or The Post last year have more trouble than expected, so be it. Nobody is making movies choose these late December bows -- they're doing it to themselves!

• The team at Balder & Dash (at RobertEbert.com) have compiled a group top ten list with the obligatory auteur worship included (The Coen Bros, Alfonso Cuarón) as well as some of this year's ballsiest efforts (BlacKkKlansman, Sorry to Bother You, First Reformed). You know, the usual... but lots of good writeups, including a beautiful ode to If Beale Street Could Talk.  I've had to chalk this film up as 'the one that got away' this year. I've tried twice and I'm heartbroken about it but I just don't feel anything about the central couple so the movie is, for me, a gorgeous failure. I agree (because I have eyes) that James & Layne are impossibly beautiful but the romance is a blank. I need more chemistry, the kind which struggles to emerge from repetitive adoring stares. Love everything that surrounds the couple though. The supporting cast and the craft displayed are wondrous! 

• Also in Top Ten land the New York Times critics, Manolha Dargis and A.O. Scott have released their top ten lists. Manohla's top five are all foreign films and both lists share several titles (which is common among coworkers as we've noticed with top ten lists at various sites) 

© Michael Kovacs

• Chris Pratt recently hosted an evening in honor of A Quiet Place. The Film Experience is headquartered in NYC so we dont get to many LA events (still looking for more LA team members) but it seems like there have been quite a few of these. Paramount is really trying so I suspect A Quiet Place might end up with a nomination or four. Though I do not think we'll see it in supporting actress as with SAG. My hope is that enough people scoff at that ridiculous category placement to make a fifth slot surprise just a bridge too far. 

• We forgot to mention the AACTA Awards, Australia's cinematic and TV arts awards.  They're now in their 8th year. Sweet Country won Best Film and several other prizes and Jirga won Best Indie Film. Boy Erased, was also a favourite with multiple nominations and won two major prizes: Best Supporting Actress for our beloved Nicole Kidman and Best Adapted Screenplay for Joel Edgerton (who was also nominated for directing). On the TV side of things the miniseries/telefilm favorites were programs called Mystery Road (starring Judy Davis!), Riot, and Picnic at Hanging Rock. And another one with an international profile: Hannah Gadsby won Best Comedic Performance for her concert film Nanette.

• While Netflix doesn't release their shows ratings or the movies box office results (on the rare occassion that they four wall a movie theater for them) they do still find ways to brag about their successes. Pictured above are the series that had the longest average viewing time in one sitting. This does not neccessarily mean that they were the most watched shows but of everything released this past year people found these ones addictive. I was wondering why Orange is the New Black was still on -- I haven't heard anyone in real life talk about that show for about 2 years now -- and here's why. People are still watching it in private even if it's no longer a "buzzy" public obsession.  (I am, in theory, very against binge-watching because I've found I don't enjoy TV very much if I sit with the same show for more than 2 episodes at a time but I'll admit that I contributed to the numbers for Bodyguard! I watched it all in 3 nights which is a LOT for me.) As for movies, their most rewatched originals were The Kissing Booth and To All the Boys I've Loved Before. They don't release figures or any info at all about their non-originals because then they would presumably have to pay more for their contracts to other content providers if something was doing really well. 

• Jordan Peele has been busy. The Oscar winning Get Out writer/director not only has that mysterious Us movie coming out in March -- the new poster is above though plot details are still virtually non-existent  -- but he's also behind a new Nazi hunting TV series called The Hunt that will star Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) whose name we haven't heart in a minute so that's exciting as he's a good young actor. So basically Peele likes titles that are impossible to google search because they seem so generic even if the work isn't generic at all in actuality.

• Finally there are two history pieces worth a look out there that I haven't made all the way through yet but I love this sort of thing. The AV Club dives deep into how the Captain America movies came to be and how miraculous they turned out given the hokier aspects of the character and The Hollywood Reporter has an oral history of another unlikely success, 1988's romcom classic Working Girl

• Oh and Downton Abbey has a teaser now. My friend and I chortled that instead of star names at the end it lists character names. Lady Mary! Lord Grantham! Mrs Hughes! etcetera. 

 

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Reader Comments (17)

A Quiet Place's biggest placement would probably be Screenplay (though I'm not counting on it). They're getting in for Sound Mixing if not Sound Editing. I could also see it surprising in Production Design because it is so well designed and sets everything up early on (the sand and lights are especially effective) or Editing because it's just so well paced and has great action sequences. Blunt getting in for Supporting Actress is probably not happening, though SAG giving her two noms pretty much guarantees that Lead Actress nomination for Mary Poppins.

I'm not going to lie. I really thought the awards would rally around Hereditary over A Quiet Place but I guess the former is a bit too grotesque to really crossover.

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

I totally noted the same thing with the Downton Abbey teaser. But then again for most of those actors those characters ARE what they are more famously known as. One actress was on Doctor Who last week and I kept referring to her as Mrs. Hughes.

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I fear BEALE STREET is getting left behind. My showing yesterday was moved from the Cinerama Dome to a smaller screen due to “business levels” even with a Q&A attached. The film itself didn’t move me all that much, and Barry Jenkins’ direction left me rather cold, but I did think Regina King was just wonderful, and I hope she’s able to hold off Amy Adams for the big award.

I’ve just emerged from THE MULE, which is a bit clunky in the Eastwood way, but Dianne Wiest is just understatedly devastating, and I wish she were factoring more into the Best Supporting Actress conversation (along with Sissy Spacek in a somewhat similar role in OLD MAN & THE GUN). I don’t understand their lack of traction; Meryl can’t even be blamed this year...

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Crowe

Is Bodyguard the only non-Netflix Original show included on that list? I’m certainly not surprised that it proved a popular binge-watch!

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterben1283

I know I have banged on about this, but many of the UK critics are not being too kind to Mary Poppins Returns and Emily Blunt. The film will be a hit in the UK but I'd wager Blunt is not getting a BAFTA nomination (at least not for MP).

From the official BBC review of all things!

"I say this as a huge fan of her work, and as someone who had been looking forward to her taking on the role. She's not awful by any means, but her version of the magical nanny is not quite the effervescent, optimistic, can-do cinematic tour-de-force embodied by Julie Andrews.

Blunt's Mary Poppins is a more clipped and angular character, albeit with a winning twinkle in her eye. Her tone is a touch too headmistressy, her knowingness a little too obvious. As for her accent, well that really is something else altogether. It is so ridiculously posh it makes the Queen sound like a member of the EastEnders' cast."

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvangelina

I know I have banged on about this, but many of the UK critics are not being too kind to Mary Poppins Returns and Emily Blunt. The film will be a hit in the UK but I'd wager Blunt is not getting a BAFTA nomination (at least not for MP).

From the official BBC review of all things!

"I say this as a huge fan of her work, and as someone who had been looking forward to her taking on the role. She's not awful by any means, but her version of the magical nanny is not quite the effervescent, optimistic, can-do cinematic tour-de-force embodied by Julie Andrews.

Blunt's Mary Poppins is a more clipped and angular character, albeit with a winning twinkle in her eye. Her tone is a touch too headmistressy, her knowingness a little too obvious. As for her accent, well that really is something else altogether. It is so ridiculously posh it makes the Queen sound like a member of the EastEnders' cast."

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvangelina

Yes true The Guardian and The Telegraph in particular pointed out the accent being off and understandbly the JA comparissons.

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Do you think, as do I, that it will dent her chances in the UK at least? I can totally see her getting in Lead Actress for A Quiet Place at BAFTA in MP's place.

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvangelina

Everyone -- my feeling is that anyone who is concentrating on the accents in MY FAIR LADY just isn't the right audience for it. It's part of the whole essence of the original - bad accents! -- Dick Van Dyke's cockney anyone? It's like complaining that Jurassic Park has dinosaurs.

December 15, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I get what you're saying, Nathaniel, but I am a HUGE Mary Poppins and Emily Blunt fan and my position is everybody else can have a bad accent but not MP - she's the centrepiece and has to keep decorum in the proceedings. She is not supposed to seem ridiculous. To be clear, EVERYONE in the UK is the right audience for a Mary Poppins film. It's entirely ingrained in our culture and childhoods.

If it were a few dissenting voices that would be one thing, but to have so many regarded UK publications calling it out indicates that opinions on both sides of the Atlantic are very different in this matter. Considering BAFTA's importance and the heavy UK contingent in Oscar voters, it at least has a chance of impacting the race, surely, and shouldn't be dismissed as trivial MP hating?

Having said that, ill try to reserve my actual judgement until I have actually seen it. And I shan't say told ya so when Blunt gets snubbed ;) ..

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

Evangelina -- fair enough. i just am confused why anyone wants realism from this. strange.

December 15, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I thought Boy Erased was a mess.. Kidman had a minute clip here and there. Her role was very pedestrian. Do not see Oscar nom.

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

the poster for 'us' is clever. looks like it's giving us lots of clues (one driving glove?), but still doesn't reveal anything. look closely at the top of the scissors, where the metal meets the finger holes. looks like horns, or some distinctive design, revealing something about the plot. even the typography, two typefaces laid over each other... very well done.

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPHIL

The top of the scissors on the US poster gave me skull eyes.

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

The scissors at the top form the eyes of a skull

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

P.L. Travers once said MP should never be a cartoon and Evangeliene I think I get what your saying with the voice,JA was real in MP and Blunt plays her too cartoonish.

December 15, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Do think Boy Erased is a mess, tho not awful. But I think it's firmly a thumbs down. The three star performances are terrific, and I think Edgerton is very good in his role, but his direction is not very good at all.

Never thought of Eastwood as clunky in any way, but I haven't yet seen this film. Agree Spacek is terrific in The Old Man and the Gun, but I think Affleck gives the best performance in the film, easily.

December 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMe

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