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There’ll be no host with the mostest on Sunday’s live telecast of the 91st annual Oscars from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre – that is, unless rumors of Whoopi Goldberg being a surprise host are true. Variety has listed her as appearing, which means she must be recovered from a very serious bout of pneumonia. The plan in place is to have a totally disorganized extravaganza with literally a zillion presenters from the ranks of celebs and near celebs.
The awards have a worldwide audience in over 225 countries. It officially, and not a moment too soon, ends the exhaustive 2018 movie season. The fun gets underway at 8 P.M./Eastern, but not before the glittering red carpeat arrivals of bejeweled fashionistas with plunging necklines and designer loaners an hour before.
Presenters gilding the statue include: Awkwafina, Javier Bardem, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Dana Carvey, Emilia Clarke, Daniel Craig, Laura Dern, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Keaton, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam Lambert, Brie Larson, Queen Latifah, Congressman John Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, James McAvoy, Melissa McCarthy, Frances McDormand, Helen Mirren, John Mulaney, Mike Myers, Trevor Noah, Gary Oldman, Sarah Paulson, Tyler Perry, Amy Poehler, Sam Rockwell, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, Charlize Theron, Pharrell Williams, Michelle Yeoh, Serena Williams, and Constance Wu.
Many of the non-cinema names will introduce and share their reflections on the Best Picture nominees. “Movies connect us all,” Oscar producers Donna Gigliotti and multiple Emmy winner Glenn Weiss [longtime producer of the Tony Awards and Oscars] said in a joint statement. “They move us, and they create moments and memories that unite us. We’re thrilled to assemble such an array of film lovers to the telecast.”
An attempt by ABC to tighten the show to two hours by having some technical and craft awards presented during commercials and later briefly presented failed. The idea was sort of akin to what the Tony Awards do in the first untelecast hour. It was met with dismay by the unions and viewers like you. The deluge of letters included comments such as: “I’m shocked and disheartened to learn of your decision not to include cinematography, editing, live action short, and makeup/hair”; “Are you nuts? Editing is the heart of filmmaking -- second only to writing and directing”; “The Academy has had its dark days, but this is one of the darkest!”; “I’m disheartened and appalled! It’s hurtful to those who work in the industry and sends a terrible message to the public that these elements of filmmaking are not interesting”; “What are you thinking? You must be on glue or something!”; “Don't ruin the tradition of 91 years of Academy Awards! Cinematography, Editing, Live action short, and Makeup/Hair are just as important as Best Picture, Actor, Actress, etc. It’s just disrespectful!”
There’s no way to add more commercials, as there wouldn’t be time for handing out awards.
Among the Best Picture nominees, The Favourite and Roma scored 10 nods each. Many are of the opinion Roma, which was shot in Mexico City and save for a sentence of English is spoken in Spanish should have been in the Foreign Film category (and it also is). No foreign language film has yet won Best Picture. Nine have been nominees. These include Grand Illusion (France), Z (France/Algeria), Cries and Whispers (Sweden), Il Postino (Italy), Life Is Beautiful (Italy), and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan/China).
Best Picture candidates represent the highest-grossing group in nearly a decade. The eight films earned a combined $1.35-billion at the domestic box office alone — and are still raking it in.
Glenn Close picked up her seventh nod for Best Actress. Lady Gaga nabbed her first Best Actress nomination for her impressive screen debut. After several comedic flops, Melissa McCarthy decided to go dramatic and, lo and behold, is nominated for Best Actress. Yalitza Aparicio, in her film debut after getting a degree in childhood education, is the first Indigenous and the second Mexican – following Salma Hayek in 2002's Frida, to receive a Best Actress nod.
Sam Elliott, with a career spanning 40 years, receives his first nomination. Dick Cheney is certainly rooting for Christian Bale in the Best Actor category, as every dentist in America must be for Rami Malek as iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Spike Lee has finally been recognized in the Directing category.
The nominating committees chose to blatantly ignore Robert Redford, in what he said will be his final film in front of the camera, The Old Man and the Gun, and his co-star Sissy Spacek. It would appear, with a snub to Bradley Cooper, that A Star Is Born directed itself. Diversity, diversity, diversity, but one of the most diverse films, and a whopping box office champ worldwide ($239-million), Crazy Rich Asians, received zero recognition.
The honorary Governors Awards have been received by actress Cicely Tyson, composer Lalo Schifrin, and publicist Marvin Levy. The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award was presented to producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall (Spielberg films, Star Wars franchise).
The production designer for the 91st Oscars is Tony nominee David Korins (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Beetlejuice). Seven-time Emmy winner Rickey Minor (formerly, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) is music director. Writers are Mike Reiss, Matt Roberts, and Beth Sherman.
Have you voted?
Best Picture: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice
Actor: Christian Bale, Vice; Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born; Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate; Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody; Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Actress: Yalitza Aparicio, Roma; Glenn Close, The Wife; Olivia Colman, The Favourite; Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born; Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book; Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman; Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born; Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Sam Rockwell, Vice
Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Vice; Marina de Tavira, Roma [in case you’re wondering, she portrays the mother Sofia]; Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk; Emma Stone, The Favourite; Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Director: Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman; Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War; Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite; Alfonso Cuarón, Roma; Adam McKay, Vice
Animated Feature: Incredibles 2, Brad Bird; Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson; Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda; Ralph Breaks the Internet, Rich Moore; Phil Johnston; Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Original Screenplay: The Favourite, Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, First Reformed, Paul Schrader; Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly; Roma, Alfonso Cuarón; Vice, Adam McKay
Adapted Screenplay: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee; Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty; If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins; A Star Is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters
Best Foreign Language Film: Capernaum (Lebanon), Cold War (Poland), Never Look Away (Germany), Roma (Mexico), Shoplifters (Japan)
Original Score: BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard; Black Panther, Ludwig Goransson; If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell; Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat; Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
Original Song: “All the Stars,” Black Panther, Kendrick Lamar, SZA; “I’ll Fight,” RBG, Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson; The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman;
“Shallow,” A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt, Benjamin Rice; “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
Migrations: The Making of America is Carnegie Hall’s citywide festival that links the history of America to the large-scale movements of people who helped build this country. With events starting in New York on February 28, and events at Carnegie Hall starting March 9, Migrations encompases dance, music, storytelling, exhibitions, and events at more than 75 cultural and academic institutions across New York City and beyond through May 2019.
At Carnegie Hall, festival concerts will examine the musical legacies of three migrations: the crossings from Scotland and Ireland during the 18th and 19th centuries; the immigration of Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe between 1881 and the National Origins Act of 1924; and the Great Migration—the exodus of African Americans from the South to the industrialized cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1917 into the 1970s. Migrations concerts by leading artists at Carnegie Hall include performances of bluegrass, old-time, klezmer, Yiddish musical theater, the Great American Songbook, blues, jazz, and more.
To learn more, go to: https://www.carnegiehall.org/Migrations: The Making of AmericaFebruary 28 - May, 2019
The downtown supper club Pangea (178 2nd Ave., NY, NY) will be holding its second annual Winter Alt-Fest this January 4 to 9. Covering music, comedy, theatre, dance, and more, the festival takes the night club style performance and elevates it to new heights.
Performers include Zachary Clause who reprises his “Hey Girl!” a musical paean to women. Raquel Cion’s cabaret tribute to David Bowie: “Me and Mr. Jones: My Intimate Relationship with David Bowie.” Improvisational singer-satirist David Nagler (with special guests Tammy Faye Starlite and Xavier) performing original and topical songs. Downtown legend Flotilla DeBarge talks trash in “Under Destruction!” And folk-rock Vicki Kristina Barcelona (consisting of Rachelle Garniez, Amanda Homi, and Terry Radigan) covers the songs of Tom Waits with their own three-part harmonies to give it a unique twist.
To learn more, go to: https://www.pangeanyc.com
Pangea 2nd Annual Winter Alt-FestJanuary 4 - 9, 2019
Pangea178 2nd Ave.New York, NY 10003
To celebrate the American premiere on October 19th at the Metropolitan Opera of Nico Muhly’s adaptation of the classic Winston Graham novel, Marnie, the Film Society of Lincoln Center—on the evening of Thursday, September 21st—screened Alfred Hitchcock’s astonishing film version of the same work, at the Walter Reade Theater, preceded by a panel discussion with the opera’s director, Michael Mayer, and its librettist, Nicholas Wright, moderated by the company’s dramaturge, Paul Cremo.
Mayer explained the genesis of the opera lay in his re-seeing the film on television, which prompted him to read the novel, after which he proposed the idea of commissioning an adaptation to the company’s director, Peter Gelb, with the suggestion that Muhly compose the score—a few years before he had composed a previous commission, the excellent and acclaimed Two Boys. With Muhly’s acceptance, Wright—who had coincidentally just read the novel himself— was approached to write the libretto as was the superb and gorgeous mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, who agreed to play the lead. Wright commented on how the Metropolitan Opera has a superb chorus whose potentialities it would have been foolish not to exploit, thus allowing him to communicate crucial elements of the story with resources unavailable either to film or to narrative prose. Mayer added that the opera is narratively closer to the novel, if visually closer to the movie.
Mayer and Wright both see Hitchcock’s version as flawed if powerful but auteurists have long recognized this as the director’s final masterwork and it was glorious to have an opportunity to revisit it on the large screen in a 35mm print. One hopes that Muhly’s eagerly anticipated adaptation will contribute to the movie’s growing esteem.
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