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Entries in Audra McDonald (16)

Friday
Sep162016

Emmy Spotlight - Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

by Eric Blume

We love our actresses, and the Emmy race for Best Actress, Limited Series or Movie on Sunday night is filled with very good ones.  Let’s take a look at who’s in the running and who the winner might be.

Kirsten Dunst nabbed her first Emmy nomination in her freshman foray into television for her role as a deluded hairdresser in season two of Fargo.  Unlike Nathaniel, I’m not a huge fan of Dunst, but her work here is probably the best thing she’s ever done outside of Melancholia.  What she pulls off here is a very tricky blend of naturalism and heightened comedy, a dangerous high-wire act that could have fallen flat quite easily...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep152016

Audra McDonald, Mel Brooks, Philip Glass Amongst National Medal of Arts Recipients

In his last few months as Commander-in-Chief and, more pertinently here, commander of the National Medal of Arts selecting committee, President Barack Obama has once again demonstrated discerning taste in awarding the annual honors for excellence in the American arts. With the inimitable (and once again Emmy-nominated) Audra McDonald leading the list, you won’t hear any veto threats coming from this side of the aisle. Comedy legend Mel Brooks, actor/voiceover artist Morgan Freeman, and brilliant composer Philip Glass make up the other predominant names from the world of film and television, but mentions for Motown founder Berry Gordon and The Laramie Project playwright Moises Kaufman deserve a tip of the hat in their own rights.

It’s always fun to parse the recipients of the National Medal of Arts against the sitting president that awarded them; you can drive yourself crazy wondering how the Academy votes but this decision ultimately belongs to a one-person committee and you know exactly how he feels publicly on a whole host of issues. And when it comes to doling out gold totems, President Obama knows when to give Ricki and the Flash co-star Meryl Streep another one. Conversely, does he regret slapping the necklace onto Clint Eastwood in his first year of office instead of waiting to hear the Hollywood legend's strongly held opinions on empty chairs? Other awardees under Obama’s watch include Elaine May, Tony Kushner, Albert Maysles, Sally Field, Rita Moreno, and John Williams. While I’d love to have seen Bill Clinton fete Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, nothing for me beats the image of Twyla Tharp getting the phone call that George W. Bush wanted to host her at the White House. Had he just seen Movin' Out?

Wednesday
Jun082016

Tony Awards Presenters & Broadway Carpool

The Tony Awards hit this weekend with James Corden, former Tony winner and current star of The Late Late Show,  hosting. Sundays ceremony will feature performances from the following musicals: Bright Star, The Color Purple (adapted from the film), Fiddler on the Roof, Hamilton, On Your Feet (the Gloria Estefan musical) School of Rock (adapted from the film), She Loves Me, Shuffle Along, Spring Awakening, and Waitress (adapted from the film).

But which stars of stage and screen will be presenting and which actually belong there?  Since the Tony Awards are televised they tend to give TV & film stars the honors of presenting even though they really ought to pair them with stage giants to make the festivities more attuned to the actual honors being handed out. That minor quibble aside at least the stars chosen to present generally have some sort of Broadway connection.

This year's presenters in the order of how much Broadway stage cred they have after the jump... but first the utter delights of "Broadway Carpool" with James Corden & Lin-Manuel Miranda. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Audra McDonald and Jane Krakowski absolutely kill it with the singing and comedy in the back seat once they get to Les Miz...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug222015

What's the best scene from summer movie season?

Team Experience will be sharing highlights of their summer viewing in a week but until then, out of curiousity... What would you name the best single scene of the summer movie season? Here are a bakers dozen of candidates that thrilled yours truly...

• Chez Andie. Magic Mike XXL 
The Opera House. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (and where the hell has this Rebecca Ferguson woman been all our lives?)
The Dream. Inside Out
• A Dangerous Dance. Tom at the Farm 
Furiosa vs. Max. Mad Max: Fury Road - That chained throwdown with Immortan Joe's harem as audience
Saving the Barn. Far From the Madding Crowd. Schoenaerts to the rescue!
Karaoke Night. I'll See You In My Dreams 
Birth of The Vision. Avengers: Age of Ultron. Damn but it's good to see Paul Bettany floating, mysterious, forehead bejewelled, and airbrushed red 
Laced Drink. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Elizabeth Debicki is everything, in OR out of focus
Nested Flashback. Ant-Man. Starring Michael Peña 
Commercial on Loop. The D Train Jack Black's James Marsden obsession begins
Stepmom Stakes ClaimRicki and the Flash. It's always special and too rare to see an actress challenge Meryl Streep to a duel in a face off scene. Go Audra!
Visiting an Old Friend. Grandma. It's been a good summer for Sam Elliott. See also: I'll See You In My Dreams

I wanted to list something from A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence but since the whole thing is brilliant short vignettes, it would take up half the list.

Please do share your favorites! 

Friday
Aug072015

Review: Ricki and The Flash

The review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with their permission.

 How does one act a hoarse voice? Short of screaming all night into your pillow before a key scene, as I’ve heard some actors do to simulate it, it’s not something that’s all that fakeable. This kept coming to mind watching Meryl Streep in Ricki and The Flash. Ricki Randazzo, her new aging rocker alter ego, sings/screams her lungs out all night with the house band of her local dive bar and works a demeaning low wage job all day. She doesn’t take care of herself. Ricki’s voice is hoarse for the entire movie. After admiring Streep’s dedication to nailing a character you might want to say a silent prayer or offer a symbolic lozenge for her vocal chords if they did in fact receive torturous screaming abuse behind the scenes in order to sound just this way. What did they ever do to deserve this?

Whatever it was, the sacrifice was worth it, having given us Ricki...

Click to read more ...