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Entries in Lady Gaga (41)

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 ...

Tuesday
Mar012016

Tuesday Top Ten: Oscar Fashion 

Jose here, reporting for red carpet duty, and wishing I was half as cool as perennial nominee Sandy Powell (pictured left).

Full disclosure: I did not watch the Oscars on Sunday. I know, I know (I will be banished from TFE soon or burned at the stake later this week and you know what my last words will be) --  so all my red carpet knowledge is coming from pictures. If there was a fabulous dress that made an appearance during the ceremony I missed it, but expect you all to fill me in in the comments. Perhaps it was my general boredom with this particular awards season, or people taking less fashion risks than usual, but it was a lackluster affair when it came to most red carpets, and the Oscars were no different. Seriously, off the top of your head, can you come up with three or five iconic looks that people will be talking about for years to come, from this season? 

Without further ado, the ten best looks on Oscar night...


 

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Monday
Feb292016

...About Those Oscar Musical Numbers.

Dancin' Dan here to talk about what used to be my favorite part of the Oscar ceremony.

Remember those giganticoften-confounding production numbers set to the nominees for Best Original Song? They were crazy, ambitious, and compulsively watchable, bring levity to the alternately serious and teary acceptance speeches that usually dominate Oscar ceremonies. Even the times they just had a person stand there and sing, those moments seemed chosen because the songs were sung by a superstar who could easily fill the whole room with just their presence and incredible voice*. Unfortunately, those kinds of performances seem to have fallen out of vogue. Barring the odd actressexual dance party and Lego-fest, the days of crazy musical extravaganzas on the Oscars are long-gone. And I would argue the show as a whole is a less joyous, celebratory affair without them. For proof, look at this year's performances.

Set aside for now the fact that two of the best nominees didn't even get a performance slot, and let's take this year's performances on their merits. They were, for the most part, DULL.  Herewith, a few thoughts on each...

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Wednesday
Feb102016

Trivia Break: Best Original Song

Glenn here bringing you some more trivia from this year’s best original song category. Obviously, I could be mistaken about some of these, but, well, in which case la la la, not listening, move along. 

Trivia #1 – 2016 marks the first time in Oscar history that two documentaries have ever been nominated in a category outside of the non-fiction categories. While documentaries have been nominated in the original song category in the past – Mondo Cane in ’62 being the first, I believe – and Hoop Dreams scored a best editing nomination in 1995, this year both The Hunting Ground’s “Til It Happens to You” and Racing Extinction’s “Manta Ray” make for a first that two have been cited.

Trivia #2 – This year’s nomination for “Manta Ray” is the third nomination for an enviro-doc in this category in the last decade. While Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need to Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth was a guaranteed nominee and winner (albeit, not a particularly good one), both Racing Extinction this year and Chasing Ice in 2013 were completely unexpected (and both written by J. Ralph). Are the music branch the most environmentally conscious voters in the Academy? Were they secretly hoping The Cove had a Bono theme song they could have nominated? Because they love him, too.

Trivia #3 - Lady Gaga is the fourth Oscar nominee(/winner) to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl following Diana Ross in 1982, Cher in 1999 and Jennifer Hudson in 2009. Gaga is, however, the first to do so in the same year as her nomination. Good work on whoever it was in her management that got "Academy Award nominee" listed before "Six-time Grammy winner" in her SB50 performance earlier this week.

Trivia #4 - Diane Warren and J. Ralph are the only nominees not on their first nomination. Warren now has eight nominations to Ralph's two. Ralph is a documentary good luck charm lately, however, with an additional five best documentary nominees to his credit (including Man on Wire and The Cove, which won). 

Trivia #5 - David Lang, nominated for "Simple Song #3", could become only the third Oscar winning composer in history to have won a Pulitzer Prize prior to his Oscar. He received the Pulitzer in 2008 for his composition "The Little Match Girl Passion". The first was Richard Rodgers* and the second was Stephen Sondheim**. Several other Oscar winning composers including Marvin Hamlisch (best original song, score, and adapted song score for The Way We Were and The Sting respectively), John Corigliano (best original score, The Red Violin) and Bob Dylan (best original song, The Wonder Boys) did, however, win a Pulitzer Prize after their Oscar.

*Rodgers won a special Pulitzer for "Oklahoma!", but won his official Pulitzer Drama Prize in 1950 after he won an Oscar for State Fair's "It Might As Well Be Spring"
**Sondheim's Pulitzer for Sunday in the Park with George is curiously in "Drama" rather than "Music", He later won the Oscar for Dick Tracy's "Sooner or Later"

Any more notes of trivia we should know about?

Tuesday
Feb022016

Sweet 16 Links: Colette, Noni, Gaga, and a Lynch Reunion

Variety Keira Knightley in talks to star in the biopic about the French writer Colette. Crossing my fingers about this one. Colette is fascinating (she wrote Cheri!)
Comics Alliance on Marvel, politics, and why corporations are not your friend
Towleroad TitanMen has offered disgraced Congressman Aaron Schock (the one with abs and a Downton Abbey fetish) $1 million to star in a porn film. LOL
Variety Clive Owen, Alba Rohrwacher, and more join Meryl Streep's competition jury at Berlinale

Kenneth in the (212) Shirtless Russell Tovey reportedly causes a Broadway audience member to faint. Ha!
Pajiba checks in w/ the Trainspotting cast, 20 years on 
i09 Naomi Watts reunites with Lynch for Twin Peaks S3
i09 Noomi Rapace not returning for the Prometheus sequel
IndieWire thinks "The Chickening," a short film remix of The Shining is insane and genius. Definitely the first part. As for the second... 
Towleroad a first for ESPN, actor Matthew Wilkas (Gayby, You're Killing Me) labelled "Gus Kenworthy's Boyfriend" during the X Games 
Coming Soon Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford (we  her) has joined the cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show the next TV musical (though this one won't be "live") 
Salon "Where are all the women in American Film?" a SAG-AFTRA member reviews her screeners

I had seen four films, 75 percent of which completely leave women out of the story. But maybe women really don’t feature in West African war zones. Or in the history of NWA. Or in finance.

But of course we feature. It just depends what story you want to tell.

TODAY'S WATCH
Lady Gaga performering her and Diane Warren's Best Original Song nominee "Til It Happens To You" at the PGA Awards

 

LEFTOVER SUNDANCE BUZZ
Variety 19 breakthrough performances from the festival
Film School Rejects talks to the cast and filmmaker of the LGBT Korean-American drama Spa Night
The Guardian Oscar buzz from the fest including Manchester by the Sea, Ira Sach's Little Men and Rebecca Hall as Christine 

TODAY'S MUST (LONG) READ
"Winona Forever" by Soraya Roberts for Hazlitt. It's a great history of the star's youth and her sudden generational iconhood. And how we've trapped her adolescence ever since. 

Winona Ryder arrived at the perfect time. Film scholar Timothy Shary characterizes the teen genre as “cyclical.” Ryder’s first film, Lucas, was released at the end of the hyper-hormonal Porky’s era (AIDS and teen pregnancy ruined it for everyone), five years before the release of Boyz N the Hood. In the period between 1986 and 1990, during her teen career, there were about 250 American films about adolescents, the most memorable being nostalgic thefts of innocence such as Dirty Dancing (1987), Hairspray (1988) and Dead Poets Society (1989). Three of Ryder’s films—Great Balls of Fire, 1969, Mermaids—adhered to this theme. She was in a sweet spot: post sex-crazed, pre-violence crazed—the ideal landing pad for a wide-eyed alien.

“You’d be hard pressed to say who was an average girl in teen movies after the mid-80s,” says Shary. The Brats had moved on, and so had John Hughes (his last teen film, Some Kind of Wonderful, came out in 1987), though no one forgot about them. “[Hughes] showed that you could make sensitive teen films that didn’t have nudity that didn’t pander to the supposed teen sex urge,” Shary says. He thinks this was “a contributing factor in helping set up an actress like Winona Ryder who could come along in the later ‘80s and be taken seriously as a teen actress.” While Hughes muse Molly Ringwald pined for the rich guy, Ryder merely pined for herself...

It's a delicious read and for those of you who didn't live through the Depp/Winona years, a fine encapsulation of the generational fascination with their relationship.

Saturday
Jan232016

Links: Dolls, Dancers, Disney, and Agent Scully

Some links as we hole watching movies and writing future articles during the blizzard...

John August on torrenting the Oscars
MNPP remembers 5 great experiences at New York City's historic Ziegfeld Theater (about to close). Oh the memories
Boy Culture a documentary about the dancers from Madonna's classic Truth or Dare film / Blonde Ambition tour to premiere at Berlinale
Deadline new projects for JC Chandor (A Most Violent Year) including a remake of that extremely tense Austrian film The Robber - good luck topping the adrenaline of the original

Awards Daily Lady Gaga will perform "Til It Happens to You" at the Producers Guild gala
Pajiba Charlie Cox has not yet been invited to Marvel's Infinity Wars. He is waiting impatiently
Fandor breaks down the Best Actor race
Salon talks up Tori Amos's "Boys for Pele" (my favorite of her records) on its 20th anniversary
Interview Magazine talks to the "unusually busy" Gillian Anderson about her recent roles
Vanity Fair on Gillian Anderson fighting for wage equality on X-Files reunion
• Deadline a list of hot actors everyone wants for pilot season. Whenever I read about pilot season I realize how little I understand about the strange flickering alien world of television. Where people can even have whole careers without anyone seeing their work (with the amount of pilots that don't make it to series) How can the same actors be wanted for every drama? No actor is right for every role.

Disney & Girls
• Bloomberg Business how Hasbro snatched Disney's all powerful Princess line of dolls away from Mattel. They also got facial adjustments. Terrifyingly Hasbro promises to make the Disney Princesses even more ubiquitous than they already are. This article even has the story reenacted by dolls (with Avengers cameos naturally) in a video
• Sweatpants and Coffee Ooh i knew Disney was throwing up smokescreensto distract us. Turns out toymakers were 'specifically directed' to exclude Rey from toylines due to her gender! It wasn't from "secrecy" as they tried to peddle earlier. #WheresRey
Comics Alliance ...but Black Widow will be part of the toyline from Captain America: Civil War (with a new costume)
i09 has an interesting piece on the story work behind Zootopia and how the secondary female character, a bunny named Judy Hopps, took over the leading role from the male fox who was originally its protagonist.

Friday
Jan222016

Ranking All 80 Winners of Best Original Song (Plus Where This Year's Contenders Would Place)

Glenn here with a look at everybody’s favourite category – best original song! Okay, so, sure, even if this year’s roster for best original song doesn’t look like a vintage one for the category, there’s actually some fun to be had when you consider who will win.

  • Will Diane Warren finally win an Oscar on her eighth nomination? And how strange will it be to see her win for a song from a documentary about sexual abuse alongside Lady Gaga rather than one of the chart-busting hit-singles that her first six nominations were for (lest we forget, Beyond the Lights’ “Grateful” didn’t chart because, well, Rita Ora).
  • Will an opera tune win for the first time? No work of opera has ever been nominated if my research is correct, which is kinda neat even though I think the song is dirge (albeit appropriately so for the film).
  • Will all the talk of diversity in cinema this year give us a winner that is either black (The Weeknd), transgender (Antony Hegarty), or gay (Sam Smith)?
  • It’s been 18 years since the last occurrence of a movie winning both a Razzie and an Oscar. Plenty of films have been nominated for both of the awards, but neither has won an award from each since Wall Street in 1988. Could Fifty Shades of Grey break a very unique drought?

Now, naturally because we all love lists so I thought it would be fun to rank every winner of Oscar’s best original song category and see where this year’s contenders would fit in when they take home that golden statue. What could possible go wrong with a completely subjective ranking of over 80 songs?!? Oh dear. You’ve been warned, I guess. Two things to note: I have not included "The Last Time I Saw Paris" from Lady Be Good since even the writer of that 1941 song was angry it was given an award when it wasn't written for the movie (it was subsequently the impetus for the category's rule change). Secondly, I have tried to rank as close to original film versions as possible so some songs that were improved upon in later recordings (like Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa”) may not rank as high. And, yes, before you ask, I am the person that hates Mary Poppins and who has never seen much of the appeal of the overtly twee “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”.

Go over the rainbow after the jump...

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