Movie News After Dark
The day’s top headlines in bite-size portions.
The rules for what fits into which Oscar category can be as confounding as the plot to a David Lynch movie, and this year’s race now boasts a few contested classifications as in recent days both the Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score categories have opted to exclude some pretty big names.
First up, both Barry Jenkins’ script for Moonlight and Jeff Nichols’ for Loving have been ruled as ineligible for Best Original Screenplay, shifting instead to the Best Adapted category. In the case of the former, Jenkins’ film took its inspiration from the stage play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, which was written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, while in the case of the latter, Nichols’ script has been determined as based on the 2011 HBO documentary The Loving Story. Both production studios behind the films, A24 and Focus Features, respectively, had been lobbying for Best Original Screenplay designations, citing how the Writers Guild had previously classified them, but the Academy found enough commonality between the scripts and these other sources to move them over to the other category. No word on Nichols’ reaction, but based on previous statements in which Jenkins’ has called McCraney’s voice “crucial” to Moonlight, he likely isn’t too peeved about sharing credit.
In the case of the Best Original Score category, Johan Johansson’s music for Arrival, Leslie Barber’s for Manchester by the Sea, and Kim Allen Kluge and Kathryn Kluge’s for Silence have all been disqualified. Johansson is out because he incorporated samples from Max Richter’s track “On the Nature of Daylight,” which has been used so often it’s the Oscar-bait equivalent of that “Oh Yeah” song from the 80s, while both the other scores were taken out of consideration for sampling various existing pieces of classical music.
For a while now we’ve known that Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn were making some kind of mother-daughter comedy about a vacation below the equator that goes hilariously awry, but other than that, the production has been pretty tight-lipped. Until today, that is, when a new Twitter account revealed the film’s first stills, the release date, the title, and indirectly as a result of that last tidbit, a hint as to the plot.
The film is called Snatched ‐ get it? ‐ which leads me to believe the trouble the ladies encounter on vacay is a kidnapping/abduction. Check out the stills:
Before kidnapping on the left, after kidnapping on the right, I suppose, so that makes Goldie the one who gets snatched, which makes since as there’s only so much comedy Schumer could make in captivity. Mother’s Day weekend 2017 is the release date, which bullseyes the comedian’s target audience and could lead to a record-breaking opening.
Between the success of Trainwreck and her recent casting as the lead in Mattel’s Barbie movie, Schumer is one of the most important and empowered women in Hollywood right now. Furthermore, as the primary author of her own material, she has the potential to alter the male-oriented landscape of cinematic comedy (especially R-rated comedy) in a way really no one else has been able to, though her contemporary forebears like Tina Fey, Melissa McCarthy, and Kristen Wiig have certainly cleared and paved the path. If Snatched is like every other project Schumer gets her hands on, it’s going to be both a financial triumph and a significant stride forward, not to mention riotously funny. Follow the Twitter account for updates.
In “TV is the new film” news, Variety has reported that Academy-Award Winner and A-List definition Julia Roberts has signed to do a limited series. The project is called Today Will Be Different and is based on the novel of the same name by Maria Semple, who is also penning the eight-episode event.
Roberts will be playing Eleanor Flood, a frazzled woman who over the course of a single day tries to tackle all the little things life has gotten in the way of. Naturally, life gets in the way a little more. The words “hilarious” and “heart-filled” were used to describe the story, both of which are pretty synonymous to “Julia Roberts project.”
In another first, the series is being produced by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, making Today Will Be Different their inaugural TV outing. There’s no director attached yet, nor is there a network set to air the series, but expect a lot of cash to get thrown at this once they start shopping it around.
A-listers are jumping from the big screen to small left and right these days. Besides Roberts, Westworld stole Ed Harris and Sir Anthony Hopkins, Oscar-winners Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will join Shailene Woodley in the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies early next year, Oscar-winners Robert DeNiro and Julianne Moore are currently in production on a series from David O. Russell and Amazon, Oscar-winner Meryl Streep stars in The Nix from J.J. Abrams which is looking for a home now, and Oscar-nominees Jonah Hill and Emma Stone are re-teaming for a Netflix series.
Want to be a movie star? It would seem now’s the perfect time, because apparently there are a lot of vacancies in Hollywood.
Die-hard film fans know that the 15th of every month is like a little holiday, because that’s the day the fine folks over at The Criterion Collection name their newest additions. A trio of titles in this month’s lineup make it one of the best ever: Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up. Hal Ashby’s Being There, and John Water’s Multiple Maniacs.
Blow-Up, from 1967, is a quintessential mod thriller about a photographer (David Hemmings) who finds something more than he bargained for in snapshots he took of a beautiful woman (Vanessa Redgrave). The film was nominated for a pair of Oscars, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Being There from 1979 is the finest work Peter Sellers ever committed to celluloid, as well as being one of the most touching and endearing satires of all-time. Sellers was up for an Oscar but lost to Dustin Hoffman (for Kramer v Kramer, the Best Picture winner), however acting legend Melvyn Douglas (Hud, I Never Sang for My Father) did claim gold for his supporting role.
Multiple Maniacs was John Waters’ second feature, released in 1970, and solidified the devilishly-absurd young director as a major new voice in independent cinema. Divine is the star, naturally, and the supporting roles are filled by the Dreamlanders, Waters’ infamous cast of regulars including Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, George Figgs, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, and Cookie Mueller.
Other titles announced include Felipe Cazals’ politically-charged Canoa: A Shameful Memory and Andrew Haigh’s beautiful and brilliant 45 Years with Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay from 2015. All titles will release on DVD/Blu-Ray combos in March. Start saving now.
That’s all for tonight. Go see Rogue One.