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Entries in Downton Abbey (23)

Thursday
Jun092016

Emmy FYC: Ten Nominees?

Emmy nomination voting begins Monday. For the next week or two we'll be sharing FYCs of some kind. Here's Daniel...

If you haven’t had a chance yet to read Debra Birnbaum’s shake-up Emmys proposal in Variety, I highly recommend you do. Her argument seems tailor made for feedback from passionate awards watchers (i.e. TFE readers) who have cultivated reams of opinions for how various awards bodies do business, nomination-wise, in an ever-changing marketplace of taste and broader appeal. Living in this age of television where high quality programs are on an infinity loop, she wonders whether the Emmys should consider expanding their Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series categories to ten nominees.

Sound familiar?

While there’s a certain integrity in maintaining a tradition of exclusive acclaim – after all, not every deserving piece of art can statistically make the cut – one wonders how a taboo-busting, conversation-elevating, and surprising comedy like the aptly named Broad City can so consistently take bong hits off the zeitgeist without seeing a few gold men women along the way. That aren’t hallucinations, mind you. Same goes for The Americans, which has been uniformly accepted by critics as one of the all-time greats and yet fails time and time again to nudge out a longstanding favorite like Downton Abbey. The Emmys notoriously pick their favorites and bitterly cling to them so could this be an inclusive measure to better reflect populist and critical tastes?

On the flipside, for every District 9 or A Serious Man, there’s a Blind Side amongst expanded groups. On the movie side, AMPAS has struggled to find clarity on this issue – abandoning the hard ten for a jostle between seven and nine. That's made some yearn for a time when five was fine. There's no guarantee that bigger sized envelopes equal 'pushing the envelope' in awards selections. After expanding their roster to seven nominees last year, perhaps the Emmys are better served to wait and see how their fresh shuffle deals in the long game. As Birnbaum touches upon, mainstays like Mad Men and Nurse Jackie have ended their runs and opened up space for new nominees. And, yet, the juggernaut that is Modern Family journeys on unchecked, save a Veep.

Should the Emmys take a page from the 2009-2010 Oscar playbook and expand their nominations in hopes of new players? Or will their fresh groceries go stale? How do you adjust an influx of quality with such limited quantity? 

Thursday
Mar032016

A "Spotlight" on Sexual Assault 

The Oscars last Sunday threw a somewhat unexpected spotlight on the issue of sexual assault. Best Picture Spotlight is famously the true story of journalists covering the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Room is about a girl who is raped and imprisoned and ultimately escapes with her son. A Girl in the River, winner for best documentary short, is about honor killings—something that is intimately tied to the sexual control of women. And Lady Gaga’s much discussed performance was of a song about surviving rape, featured in a movie about campus rape, The Hunting Ground

In general, when awards shows and sexual assault go together, there’s a kind of gawky, almost porny pandering. Pat ourselves on the back for giving an acting award to the rape victim—yes, I’m looking at Joanne Froggatt, who has done very fine work on Downton Abbey, but who won her Golden Globe for getting raped on the show. 

But that’s not what we saw Sunday night. What we saw was respect for survivors, and the will to change. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep212015

Link Catch-Up, Oscar Warm-Up

Some of these links are a smidge old since I've been away for two weeks in Toronto, others brand new.

Get Peanutized the Peanuts Movie is advertising like Straight Outta Somewhere... by going for an internet meme. You can make yourself into a character. The options are a bit limited so this the best i could do at approximating me. I really wanted to be holding a coffee cup or a laptop
Boy Culture Novelist Jackie Collins, sister of Joan, dies at 77. My favorite memory of her will always be Sandra Bernhard reading a passage from "Rock Star" on David Letterman and then tossing the book aside after "wanna pick a flower you lucky man?"
Dark Horizons Brie Larson to play tennis legend Billie Jean King. Good luck Brie because tennis movies never get good reviews!
The Daily Beast interviews Tom Hardy about Legend, The Revenant, dogs, and that sexuality question that keeps popping up
The Telegraph their excellent film critics rank all Woody Allen movies ranked. Good read/insights even if you quibble with order
NYT "Hooray for Hollywood... No Really" a must-read conversation between the smarty New York Times film critics 
i09 Johnny Depp's six most inexplicable career decisions
MNPP Quote of the Day Paul Bettany vs. Jason Statham. Meowwww

MNPP Do Dump or Marry: The X-Twinks - Ben Hardy, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Tye Sheridan
NYT Jack Larson, aka Jimmy Olsen from TV's original Superman, dies at 87 
Towleroad are these the top ten coming out scenes from TV history?
Empire Amanda Seyfried joining the cast of Twin Peaks Season 3 in a new role
/Film Pulp Fiction original cast wish list? This is so weird to consider 
Film Stage Charlie Kaufman discusses Anomalisa 

You Know Awards Season's Coming When...
The arguments get more heated. THR published a negative piece on Truth and Awards Daily thinks it's a hit job from the Right (with more to come from The Left). And Vulture's already declaring the winner which puts a big target on its back. My goodness. We're starting early this year, huh?! ICYMI I also pitted Truth and Spotlight against each other (for fun... I don't actually think they're after the same thing at all). And finally these two pieces framing this year's Oscar Best Actress race as "Under 30 Contest" and "Women of All Ages" just goes to show you how much framing by the media can count when it comes to narrative / awards shows. 

Yes yes. I'm going to start updating the Oscar charts to reflect Festival Madness. Probably tomorrow.

Today's Watch


Downton Wars Episode 1 Bates & Thomas draw lightsabers on each other... for a good cause. Rob James-Collier, tv's most delicious evil gay butler, filmed this for charity, in the downtime on set. Mashing up Star Wars and Downton is not quite as wonderful as it sounds but both episodes have a few good chuckles.
Downton Wars Episode 2 This one is better if way too slow. The asides to the Downton actors sending up their own characters are wonderful - particularly Daisy, Mrs Patmore, and Lady Mary. Bonus Points: Dowager Countess Jedi... Dame Maggie Smith 4evah ! 

Tuesday
Sep012015

Linker in the Rye

WTF w/ Marc Maron talks to Peter Bogdanovich
Yahoo! has the first image of Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed but don't get too excited because it could be anyone, given that the character loves those face covering hoods
EW everything Mads Mikkelsen wore on Hannibal thanks to costume designer Christopher Hargadon. So much fine suitage!
Awards Daily Nicolas Hoult to play JD Salinger in a biopic Rebel in the Rye. Danny Strong is on writer/director duties
Variety Penny Dreadful S3 adds Wes Studi (remember how good he was in Last of the Mohicans), Shazad Latif, Jessica Barden, and Patti LuPone (!) as a regular now, albeit in a new role since her witch died last season


Deep Dish [nsfw] celebrates 66 factoids about Richard Gere for his recent birthday - I didn't know a lot of the off-movie stuff
Tracking Board Michael J Fox is voicing a robotic canine for a new film called A.R.C.H.I.E. as befits an 80s sounding high concept comedy
Empire Sam Worthington and Ruth Wilson to headline a new sci-fi picture called The Titan about a military family participating in an experiment in space
Empire French filmmaker Pascal Chaumeil (Heartbreaker) dies at 54 
Film School Rejects has a bathe with A Room With a View... such a great movie 

We ♥ to Watch
Gizmodo Amazon Prime now first subscription service to offer download / watch offline
Cinematically Insane looks at the changes at TCM and what that might mean down the road. I'm so wary of this because even if they rebrand to be less about "old" movies then agreed upon "greats" how will we see the really old movies that are harder and harder to find with the death of DVD? I know I'm not alone among cinephiles in the desire to see less-than-great films regularly so as to get context for a career (director or actor) or timeframe at the movies 
/Films warns you about all the films leaving Netflix in September. (I'm so glad i never gave up my dvds since the range of their streaming options get grosser and grosser beyond their original content)

For LOLz
The Toast A League of Their Own inspired thinkpieces. Inspired silliness.
MNPP Michel Huisman strutting around New Orleans 
Back of the Cereal Box discovers an old Meryl Streep joke that still holds up 

Off Screen
Boy Culture a-ha's "Hunting High and Low" to receive 30 year anniversary rerelease. Such an amazing album - pity that people only think of "Take On Me"
Playbill Jim Broadbent returns to the West End toplay Scrooge in A Christmas Carol this season
Towleroad author Oliver Sacks who wrote Awakenings (which became an Oscar nominated movie) recently died (RIP)

Finally
The trailer to the final season of Downton Abbey. So many big shows wrapping up lately.

Saturday
Mar282015

Superheroes, Shakespeares, Stonewalls, and Series Endings

Lukewarm off the presses: Here's a collection of things we didn't get around to talking and/or linking to for your enjoyment or conversation prompting. We always hope for both. And I'm always hoping to empty out my "things to write about immediately" desktop folder... which is never emptied out.

• Terrence Malick's new movie (the one right after Knight of Cups) will be called Weightless (no cracks about how skinny Portman, Blanchett, Fassbender, and Rooney Mara, who star, are) but it's about music and its set in Austin. Apparently there's Madonna, Bob Dylan and Arcade Fire songs or something? Who knows. In truth I don't know why I'm sharing this info. Fact: Malick movies are only interesting in the watching of them, not in the hearing about their development since that's always totally vague.

• Glenn Kenny wrote a lovely piece about his mother's love of Alfred Hitchcock movies (she recently died) and he brings up an interesting point about how older audiences of either gender remember and loved his work. Do you know what your parents favorite Hitchcock's were?

• Look! It's Jeremy Irvine in action director Roland Emmerich's first gay drama Stonewall (2015) -- that and plenty of other things are after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar052015

Downton Abbey is The New Gateway to Disney Stardom!

Have you been following the casting announcements for Disney's live-action adaptation of their Best Picture nominated classic Beauty & The Beast (1991)? First came the collective girlfriend of millennials Emma Watson as Belle. But she's not the only Beauty in the cast. Former Downton Abbey star "Cousin Matthew" himself Dan Stevens, who slimmed down and muscled up since that show and immediately shifted perceptions with an about face turn in The Guest, signed on as the cursed romantic Beast. 

Given that Lady Rose (Lily James) and Daisy from the Downton kitchen (Sophie McShera) are playing Cinderella and her stepsister this coming weekend at the movies one has to wonder which Downton Abbey star is next for which big Disney property? Maggie Smith's schedule just opened up Mouse House. Jump on that before someone else grabs her!

But in all seriousness... Downton Abbey has a deep bench of valuable players some of whom made their names in the movies (Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern chief among them), some of whom will probably be content to stay well employed in British television, and a few of which are already trying their hand at transferring to film. But how much longer can that series keep telling its repetitive story? (Don't misunderstand: I love Downton -- even when its at its weakest -- but the writers room is definitely on loop)

If I were a casting director I'd have the whole cast (so many rich character talents) under surveillance for restlessness and would definitely be trying to lure the ice cold beauty Michelle Dockery away. She's hitting movie screens this summer in Tarsem Singh's next movie Self/less. which happens to co-star her new love interest on Downton film/tv regular and handsomest man on earth Matthew Goode.

But back to BEAUTY & THE BEAST for a wrap-up
It looks like Luke Evans will be Gaston to Emma Watson's Beauty in the forthcoming live action adaptation of the musical. No word yet on whether he'll put on more muscle or if 'ev'ry last inch of him's covered in hair' but he can definitely sing!  

 

Do you think he harmonizes with Jon Kartajarena at home

 

Monday
Jan202014

Linking

The Stir Laura Linney had a baby despite none of us knowing she was pregnant
The Wire Joe Reid plans to see all 58 Oscar nominated movies from 2013 
LA Times George Clooney pretends to be pissed about Tina Fey's Golden Globes joke 
Gawker loves the idea of Detroit getting a bronze Robocop statue. It needs a hero! 


Film School Rejects
as I predicted Margot Robbie is wracking up the roles in the wake of Wolf of Wall St
Interview Magazine Kanye West interviewed by Steve McQueen. Expect quotables 

tv
/Film what's going on with Nicolas Winding Refn's Barbarella TV series? 
previouslytv "your crotch is not that interesting" on HBO's Looking 
Vulture on the new and improved Lady Edith on Downton Abbey 
Coming Soon Jason Isaacs is joining the Rosemary's Baby tv miniseries as Roman Castavet (good part!) ... and word is that Zoe Saldana may get the famous pixie cut for it

Looking premiered and I missed it. But more when i catch up with it

a chain reaction
NY Times has a piece about why it might be better for the cinema if there were less movies each year. It's an interesting article that I mostly agree with though I wholeheartedly wish that Manohla hadn't felt the need to diss Iron Man 3 which is hardly the best example of junk blockbusters out there -- at least it was trying something vaguely new, making a Tony Stark movie rather than an Iron Man movie essentially. But let's not get distracted. Her piece was provocative asking for curation over consumption for programmers and money people. 
The New Yorker disagrees, arguing that we only get the great discoveries because so many indie films are made. You can't predict which new artists will actually deliver. 
The Front Row takes this as an opportunity to talk about what the purpose of film criticism is in the internet era and then
Mark Harris comments, too
...all of which gives us plenty to think about.