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Entries in Audra McDonald (16)


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 ...


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?


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 ...


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! 


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 ...


White-Tailed Link

The Guardian features a new short story from Rupert Everett, writing about his altar ego movie star Keiran O'Nightley
Playbill reviews special features on the Blu-ray for Into the Woods
/Film Batman getting another animated film, this time in style of the 60s TVshow
Instagram Hugh Jackman is still threatening to quit Wolverine. I'll believe that when I see it. I'm not as gullible as the rest of the internet. It's the man who cried wolfverine.

Variety YouTube gets slammed for placing age restrictions on The Fosters' sweet gay kiss between high school friends Connor & Jude (actors Gavin Macintosh and Hayden Byerly who are 16 and 14 respectively) in an historic storyline
Playbill talks to Richard LaGravenese about Barbra Streisand's Gypsy project and the (gulp) Lady Gaga rumors
Boy Culture Madonna performs "Ghosttown" her best single in ages with... Taylor Swift?
Empire Broadway legend Audra McDonald will play the wardrobe in Beauty & The Beast extending its all star singing cast. But the wardrobe doesn't have any solos. Grrrrr
The Matinee why don't contemporary films produce iconic film cars any more 
Variety NBC will next mount The Wiz for a live music event. That actually might be an inspired choice. We'll see.
Coming Soon I could've sworn this was old news but maybe it only feels like old news since everything is being remade / recycled but Disney's Mulan will get a live-action redo
/Film talks to Elizabeth Olsen about The Scarlet Witch 
Salon fills you in on 'everything you need to know about' Trevor Noah, the young comic who is taking over The Daily Show when Jon Stewart leaves
AV Club Jon Hamm could have starred in Gone Girl? Huh.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson IS Bambi... in this well deserved SNL spoof of Disney's live action remake obsession of their animated canon

The Rock also starred in a...uh... 'suck the poison out of me' sketch. Haha.



Bag O' Links: Pitt, Cruella, Annie, Viola, Lisi, Potter, Etc...

We haven't done a link roundup in so long this one is super-duper-quadrupled size. Please to enjoy these articles or catch up with this news...

NYT, BBCVariety remembers the great Italian actress Virna Lisi who has died at 78 years of age. Best known stateside for the Jack Lemmon comedy How To Murder Your Wife (1965), and maybe that iconic Esquire cover by George Lois (left) which has been homaged ever since, this baby cinephile right here writing to you first fell for her in the French film Queen Margot (1994). She was brilliant as the most ruthless of royals. She won the Cannes prize for Best Actress for her supporting role which probably didn't make Margot herself Isabelle Adjani too happy but they were at odds in the film, too. 

Guardian doesn't like the new Annie but what makes that little orphan so durable in pop culture? 
Comics Alliance a fresh way to illustrate "superhero fatigue" -- by spending a day with fatigued Joss Whedon on the set of Age of Ultron
Coming Soon walks you through Jon Favreau walking fans through the making of The Jungle Book. All I'm here for is the cute photo of ScarJo recording the voice of Kaa.  
Grantland has a piece people like a lot on The Babadook. People aren't done talking about that
Playbill The Exorcist (1973) will be moving to the stage. Not a musicalized version.  Well, it does all take place in one house so you don't have to worry about that part of stage transitions.
Pride Source adorably frank interview with Russell Tovey from Looking (and other shows) on his sex scenes with Jonathan Groff and what he wants for the show's drama

Playbill Audra McDonald will recreate her Tony winning "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" for HBO. Here comes her Emmy!
Comics Alliance Viola Davis rumored to be joining the cast of the supervillain film Suicide Squad as Amanda Waller. FWIW this is the role that Angela Bassett was utterly wasted in in that piece of poo Green Lantern movie
Grantland Ugh. I can't believe i missed this oral history of Boogie Nights when it was first published 

/Film Andy Serkis responds to speculation about his Star Wars: The Force Awakens role. 
CHUD wonders what Star Wars fans will have to left to complain about when the original trilogy is released without all the fussy changes that messed with its purity on Blu-Ray 
Nathaniel R and I sneak-peaked on Twitter that when I interviewed Oscar Isaac (coming soon) he assumed that's what I wanted to talk about. Haha 
Pajiba believe it or not, the Star Wars trailer is NOT the most viewed trailer of 2014
The Film Stage the character names from the new film 

Remember yesterday how I said I couldn't feel that outraged about this week's topic o' outrage (The Interview) but here are two topics that usually push my button but good and often enrage me.

1. Towleroad has a piece on author J.K. Rowlings recent admission that there were gay students at Hogwarts in her Harry Potter books.

If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should live in a closet.”

I know how Harry Potter fans are and they'll applaud their icon for this but real talk: Saying after the fact that characters were gay in your mammoth culture-dominating best-sellers in which you could have gotten away with virtually any storytelling flourish is cheap lip service. It's wanting the gays to worship you without actually having supported them in any way other than in easy 'nothing to lose now' sound bites.  It's also insulting to use the closet metaphor since that's where all of her supposed gay characters were!

2. Variety has an article on five things we learned about moviegoing this year. I agree with #2 about Women in Hollywood but I'm so sad that the writer ruins his point by again bringing up the foolish 'there aren't 5 worthy women for Best Actress' business. Dear reader, I don't know how to stop this internet wide self-perpetuating sexism epidemic. And, yes, I believe it's completely sexist to ignore the existing actual contributions of women in order to complain about sexism and the lack of contributions of women. The only thing I feel I can do is keep pointing at the lie and hopefully shaming a few writers here and there with "God, did you only see the marketed to teen boys movies this year or what?'

And if you're going to bitch that we need more female themed movies you're going to have to support the ones we have now by, you know, ADMITTING THAT THEY EXIST. 


Ayn Rand, that hard right conservative icon, reviews children's movies! A hilarious article from the New Yorker's Mallory Ortberg. Since it's impossible to pick a favorite I'm just picking two random ones to share but you must read the whole thing!

“101 Dalmatians”
A wealthy woman attempts to do her impoverished school friend Anita a favor by purchasing some of her many dogs and putting them to sensible use. Her generosity is repulsed at every turn, and Anita foolishly and irresponsibly begins acquiring even more animals, none of which are used to make a practical winter coat. Altruism is pointless. So are dogs. A cat is a far more sensible pet. A cat is objectively valuable. —No stars.

“Toy Story”
At last, a full-length feature about the inherent value of possessions. —Four stars.


Towleroad "80 Most Powerful Coming Outs of the Year" I love that they do this list annually and that the number of coming outs mentioned keeps growing. It used to be a big deal every time someone came out. it's like *yep, another one*.
Pajiba "10 Most Forgettable Movies of 2014" Ouch
Film School Rejects best movie music of year 
Out "10 best TV gay scenes of the year" 
Slate "10 best books of the year" 
The Atlantic "Best TV episodes of the year" from Joe Reid and team 
The Dissolve "Best Films of the year that made under $100,000" 



Our beloved Brad Pitt (he was so good in Fury, wasn't he?) was recently released from Jury Duty in Los Angeles because jurors and lawyers would find him too distracting! In related news look at this unintentionally awesome paparazzi shot (above) from an Unbroken premiere. "Unbro" teehee