Talking About the 2024 Oscars with Don Rosen

Posted on March 11, 2024 at 9:58 pm

It was a lot of fun to talk about last night’s Oscars with radio star Don Rosen!

HO_03095 (l-r.) Dominic Sessa stars as Angus Tully, Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb and Paul Giamatti as Paul Hunham in director Alexander Payne’s THE HOLDOVERS, a Focus Features release. Credit: Seacia Pavao / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLC
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Awards

Oscars 2021: The Good, The Nutty, The Surprises, The Gowns

Posted on April 26, 2021 at 10:47 am

Copyright APMAS 2021

Well, that was different. And for reasons that go beyond the pandemic. Last night’s Oscar broadcast merited adjectives never applied to the television-era Academy Awards before. It was small, it was intimate, and because it felt like it was organized for the industry, not the audience, it had the enticing air of eavesdropping on something more authentic. No splashy musical numbers. No dumb jokes by presenters, no “playing off” the awardees if they went over their allotted three minutes. The Academy’s efforts to expand its membership to lower the average age and include more diverse filmmakers, combined with many of the usual “awards-bait” films being postponed due to the pandemic, let to recognition for smaller independent films, made with more passion than money.

The bad news — the audience will likely shrink again. The good news — the people who watch because they really care about film and had seen most of the nominees were likely to find it far more satisfying.

What worked:

Instead of silly scripted banter, most of the presenters told us telling details about the backgrounds and influences of the nominees. Harrison Ford hilariously (and grumpily) read aloud the “notes” and complaints from early viewers of “Blade Runner.” Many of the acceptances speeches were more than recitations of names. Thomas Vinterberg’s dedication of his foreign language award for “Another Round” to his daughter who was killed in a car accident was vulnerable and touching. The intimacy of the setting, including Questlove as DJ instead of a full orchestra, made the three hours-plus seem less of a slog. And, even though it was clearly a set-up, Glenn Close’s detailed response to “Da Butt,” including a demonstration of the dance, was a delight.

I also enjoyed the commercials! Lots of reflections of the broadcast’s focus on diversity, some very intriguing looks at upcoming films, including the musicals “In the Heights” and “West Side Story.” Putting the nominated songs in the pre-show allowed for lovely, very professional performances, beautifully filmed. I was rooting for “Husavik, My Home,” performed last night in Husavick, with the children who live there. The pre-show questions focused on the films, not on the dress designers.

And it was wonderful, as always, to see the international filmmakers who come together to create the nominated films, especially the below-the-line people who do costumes, make-up, special effects, production design, and sound. The awards for the short narrative film, “Two Different Strangers” and “Collette” will bring more recognition to the problem of racially-motivated police violence and the heroism of those who stand up to the greatest evil and oppression. This was the most diverse group of nominees ever, and that made the awards for Daniel Kaluuya (Best Supporting Actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah, also the first-ever Best Picture nominee with all-Black filmmakers), Chloé Zhao (Best Director, Best Picture, the second woman and first Asian woman to win the directing Oscar), and Yuh-Jung Youn (Best Supporting Actress for “Minari” and winner of my most charming acceptance speech award) especially welcome.

Surprises:

Copyright 2021 Film 4

The Screenwriting and Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins) awards for “The Father” were probably the biggest surprises. followed by the shut-out for “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” The decision to end with the Best Actress and Best Actor awards instead of Best Picture, reportedly in expectation of a posthumous award for Chadwick Boseman, was not a good idea. One thing the movie industry should understand is how to build to a climax. This was not it.

But of course there were gowns to admire! Viola Davis was stunning in a white, lacy dress, Halle Berry in a lilac fantasia, the midriff-baring lovelies of Carrey Mulligan, Zendaya, Andra Day, and Angela Bassett’s stunning silhouette. And I loved seeing “Nomadland’s” Oscar-winning Zhao and McDormand apparently appearing without make-up, Zhao in sneakers! They didn’t look disrespectful; they looked real, very much in keeping with the tone of the evening.

Best Picture

“Nomadland”

Best Director

Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Best Supporting Actress

Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”

Original Screenplay

Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”

Adapted Screenplay

Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, “The Father”

Animated Feature

“Soul”

Production Design

“Mank”

Costume Design

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Cinematography

Erik Messerschmidt, “Mank”

Editing

“Sound of Metal”

Makeup and Hairstyling

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Sound

“Sound of Metal”

Visual Effects

“Tenet”

Score

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste, “Soul”

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Awards

Comments on the Oscar Nominations

Posted on March 15, 2021 at 6:03 pm

I’m quoted in an NBC story about today’s Oscar nominations. While, as always, some of my favorites were overlooked, I am delighted by seeing so many deserving filmmakers recognized.

“I let out a little yelp when I saw the nominees,” said Nell Minow, a film critic and corporate governance expert, pointing to strong showings by low-key, thoughtful dramas such as Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari” and Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland.”

“We’re seeing a lot more diversity partly because the normative, white male blockbusters had to step aside last year,” Minow said, referring to the various movies that were postponed amid the pandemic.

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Awards Media Appearances

Oscar Nominations 2021

Posted on March 15, 2021 at 7:58 am

Copyright Netflix 2020

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) 

Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) 

Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) 

Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”) 

Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)

Best Supporting Actress 

Maria Bakalova (‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) 

Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”) 

Olivia Colman (“The Father”) 

Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”) 

Youn Yuh-jung (“Minari”) 

Best Costume Design

“Emma,” Alexandra Byrne 

“Mank,” Trish Summerville 

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Ann Roth 

“Mulan,” Bina Daigeler 

“Pinocchio”

Best Original Score

“Da 5 Bloods,” Terence Blanchard 

“Mank,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross 

“Minari,” Emile Mosseri 

“News of the World,” James Newton Howard 

“Soul,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste 

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow” (Disney Plus/Pixar)

“Genius Loci” (Kazak Productions) 

“If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix) 

“Opera” (Beasts and Natives Alike) 

“Yes-People” (CAOZ hf. Hólamói) 

Best Live Action Short Film

“Feeling Through” 

“The Letter Room” 

“The Present” 

“Two Distant Strangers” 

“White Eye” 

Best Sound

“Greyhound,” Odin Benitez, Jason King, Christian P. Minkler, Michael Minkler, Jeff Sawyer 

“Mank,” Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance, Drew Kunin 

“News of the World,” John Pritchett, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller, Oliver Tarney, Michael Fentum 

“Soul,” Coya Elliott, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Vince Caro 

“Sound of Metal,” Phillip Bladh, Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés, Carolina Santana 

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” Peter Baynham, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jena Friedman, Anthony Hines, Lee Kern, Dan Mazer, Nina Pedrad, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Swimer 

“The Father,” Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller 

Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 

“One Night in Miami,” Kemp Powers 

“The White Tiger,” Ramin Bahrani 

Copyright Amazon 2020

Best Original Screenplay

“Judas and the Black Messiah,” Will Berson, Shaka King, Keith Lucas, Kenneth Lucas 

“Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung 

“Promising Young Woman,” Emerald Fennell 

“Sound of Metal,” Abraham Marder, Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Aaron Sorkin 

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) 

Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) 

Gary Oldman (“Mank”) 

Steven Yeun (“Minari”) 

Copyright 2020 Searchlight

Best Actress

Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Andra Day (“The United States v. Billie Holiday”) 

Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) 

Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) 

Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) 

Best Animated Feature Film

“Onward” (Pixar) 

“Over the Moon” (Netflix) 

“Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix) 

Copyright Pixar 2020

“Soul” (Pixar) 

Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV Plus/GKIDS) 

Best Cinematography

“Judas and the Black Messiah,” Sean Bobbitt 

“Mank,” Erik Messerschmidt 

“News of the World,” Dariusz Wolski 

Nomadland,” Joshua James Richards 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Phedon Papamichael 

Best Director

Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)

David Fincher (“Mank”) 

Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”) 

Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”) 

Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) 

Best Documentary Feature

“Collective” (Magnolia Pictures and Participant) 

“Crip Camp” (Netflix) 

“The Mole Agent” (Gravitas Ventures) 

“My Octopus Teacher” (Netflix) 

“Time” (Amazon Studios) 

Best Documentary Short Subject

“Colette” (Time Travel Unlimited) 

“A Concerto Is a Conversation” (Breakwater Studios) 

“Do Not Split” (Field of Vision) 

“Hunger Ward” (MTV Documentary Films)

“A Love Song for Latasha” (Netflix) 

Best Film Editing

“The Father,” Yorgos Lamprinos

Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 

“Promising Young Woman,” Frédéric Thoraval 

“Sound of Metal,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Alan Baumgarten 

Best International Feature Film

“Another Round” (Denmark) 

“Better Days” (Hong Kong)

“Collective” (Romania) 

“The Man Who Sold His Skin” (Tunisia)

“Quo Vadis, Aida?”(Bosnia and Herzegovina) 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Emma,” Marese Langan 

“Hillbilly Elegy,” Eryn Krueger Mekash, Patricia Dehaney, Matthew Mungle 

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Matiki Anoff, Mia Neal, Larry M. Cherry 

“Mank,” Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams 

“Pinocchio,” Dalia Colli, Anna Kieber, Sebastian Lochmann, Stephen Murphy 

Best Original Song

“Fight for You,” (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) 

“Hear My Voice,” (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) 

Húsavík,” (“Eurovision Song Contest”) 

“Io Si (Seen),” (“The Life Ahead”) 

“Speak Now,” (“One Night in Miami”) 

Best Picture

“The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) 

“Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.) 

“Mank” (Netflix) 

“Minari” (A24) 

Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) 

“Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) 

“Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios) 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) 

Copyright 2020 Sony Pictures Classics

Best Production Design

“The Father,” Peter Francis, Cathy Featherstone 

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Mark Ricker, Karen O’Hara, Diana Stoughton 

“Mank,” Donald Graham Burt, Jan Pascale 

“News of the World,” David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan 

“Tenet,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas 

Best Visual Effects

“Love and Monsters 

“The Midnight Sky,” Matt Kasmir, Chris Lawrence, Dave Watkins, Max Solomon 

“Mulan,” Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury, Steve Ingram 

“The One and Only Ivan,” Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones, Santiago Colomo Martinez 

“Tenet,” Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley, Scott R. Fisher, Mike Chambers 

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Awards

New Oscar Diversity Qualifications Announced

Posted on September 8, 2020 at 8:28 pm

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced new diversity requirements for films that want to be eligible for Oscar awards.

Oscar hopefuls will have to meet a new set of inclusive hiring standards in order to qualify for Best Picture, an effort the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hopes will lead to greater diversity and representation both onscreen and behind the scenes.

It’s part of the Academy Awards’ ongoing response to criticism over its lingering lack of diverse nominees. The outcry became particularly intense five years ago when the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite forced a reckoning within the organization. Since that time, leadership of the Academy has tried to improve diversity within its voting body and encourage positive discussions within the industry, but this new set of guidelines is aimed at making it mandatory for contenders to be more inclusive of those who have traditionally been marginalized in Hollywood.

The policies will only become mandatory for the 96th Academy Awards in 2024, which will give would-be contenders three years to make sure they meet at least two of the four categories below that are designated A, B, C, and D.

STANDARD A: ON-SCREEN REPRESENTATION, THEMES AND NARRATIVES
To achieve Standard A, the film must meet one of the following criteria:

A1. Lead or significant supporting actors — At least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.

• Asian
• Hispanic/Latinx
• Black/African American
• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native
• Middle Eastern/North African
• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

A2. General ensemble cast — At least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from at least two of the following underrepresented groups:

• Women
• Racial or ethnic group
• LGBTQ+
• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

A3. Main storyline/subject matter — The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group(s).

• Women
• Racial or ethnic group
• LGBTQ+
• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

STANDARD B: CREATIVE LEADERSHIP AND PROJECT TEAM
To achieve Standard B, the film must meet one of the criteria below:

B1. Creative leadership and department heads — At least two of the following creative leadership positions and department heads—Casting Director, Cinematographer, Composer, Costume Designer, Director, Editor, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Producer, Production Designer, Set Decorator, Sound, VFX Supervisor, Writer—are from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women
• Racial or ethnic group
• LGBTQ+
• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

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At least one of those positions must belong to the following underrepresented racial or ethnic group:

• Asian
• Hispanic/Latinx
• Black/African American
• Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native
• Middle Eastern/North African
• Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
• Other underrepresented race or ethnicity

B2. Other key roles — At least six other crew/team and technical positions (excluding Production Assistants) are from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. These positions include but are not limited to First AD, Gaffer, Script Supervisor, etc.

B3. Overall crew composition — At least 30% of the film’s crew is from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women
• Racial or ethnic group
• LGBTQ+
• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

STANDARD C: INDUSTRY ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITIES
To achieve Standard C, the film must meet both criteria below:

C1. Paid apprenticeship and internship opportunities — The film’s distribution or financing company has paid apprenticeships or internships that are from the following underrepresented groups and satisfy the criteria below:

• Women
• Racial or ethnic group
• LGBTQ+
• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

The major studios/distributors are required to have substantive, ongoing paid apprenticeships/internships inclusive of underrepresented groups (must also include racial or ethnic groups) in most of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

The mini-major or independent studios/distributors must have a minimum of two apprentices/interns from the above underrepresented groups (at least one from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group) in at least one of the following departments: production/development, physical production, post-production, music, VFX, acquisitions, business affairs, distribution, marketing and publicity.

C2. Training opportunities and skills development (crew) — The film’s production, distribution and/or financing company offers training and/or work opportunities for below-the-line skill development to people from the following underrepresented groups:

• Women
• Racial or ethnic group
• LGBTQ+
• People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

STANDARD D: AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT
To achieve Standard D, the film must meet the criterion below:

D1. Representation in marketing, publicity, and distribution

The studio and/or film company has multiple in-house senior executives from among the following underrepresented groups (must include individuals from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups) on their marketing, publicity, and/or distribution teams.

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Awards Disabilities and Different Abilities Gender and Diversity Race and Diversity
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