Like the New York Film Critics and the Oscars, the London Critics influence the BAFTAs.
The London Film Critics Circle are to the BAFTAs as the New York Film Critics Circle are to the Oscars — more influential than predictive. And the BAFTAs, which will announce nominations March 9 (their longlists are here), are quite predictive of the Oscars, which reveal their nominations six days later.
Clearly the LFCC, a group of 160 critics, adores smart horror flick “Saint Maud,” which won Breakthrough British or Irish Filmmaker for Rose Glass, and Best British or Irish Actress for Morfydd Clark (who beat Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman”). But the London critics gave three top awards to American road movie “Nomadland,” which won Best Film and Screenplay for Chloé Zhao, and Actress for Frances McDormand.
Accepting Best Director for his Emmy-eligible “Small Axe” series from Amazon Studios, Steve McQueen said: “I’m trying to find out who we are, who we want to be, and who we could be. ‘Small Axe’ was a love letter to Black London and Black Britain.”
Best British or Irish Actor Riz Ahmed won for two independent films, “Sound of Metal” and “Mogul Mowgli.” “They are both stories about someone going through a health crisis who lands in purgatory and is forced to reassess what really matters,” he said, “which is what we are all going through right now.”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” star Colman Domingo accepted Best Actor for his costar, the late Chadwick Boseman, saying: “Working with him, I saw him put every ounce of love and joy, interrogation, spirit, and fight into Levee. He cherished every single moment and you see it in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.’ He gave you his heart and soul; he gave it everything he got.”
Romanian director Alexander Nanau’s “Collective,” nominated in three categories, won Best Documentary. “We’re living in a world,” he said, “where we have to be become more aware of the need for an independent press.”
Folk act Lankum have won the RTÉ Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year for The Livelong Day.
The winning album was announced at a ceremony in Dublin’s Vicar Street on Thursday.
Lankum are on tour in the US, so the award was accepted on their behalf by their manager, Cian Lawless.
“They have put so much effort into this, despite the financial hardship, despite the personal hardship,” he told the crowd.
Lankum receive a cheque for €10,000 – a prize which has been provided by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) – and a specially-commissioned award.
Previous Album of the Year winners, as chosen by a judging panel of journalists, broadcasters and other experts in the field, include Julie Feeney, The Divine Comedy, Jape, Delorentos, Villagers and SOAK.
The morning after Ricky Gervais let loose on his celebrity audience at the Golden Globes was bound to be a stormy one on social media—not to mention the DM’s of Apple, Amazon, and Hollywood Foreign Press executives. Predictably, many chatterers accused the comic of spreading right-wing talking points, of being just plain unfunny, and, for good measure, of transphobia. To my mind, the most striking response came from the Los Angeles Times’s television critic, Lorraine Ali, in a charge repeated by the New York Times: “Forget the escapist magic of Hollywood,” Ali wrote. “Nihilism was the name of the game.”
Talk about missing the point. Gervais was doing something comics have done through the ages: reminding us that the glamorous emperors might be naked, and the loudest singers in church the most corrupt. “Apple roared into the TV game with The Morning Show, a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China,” he said in one particularly spit-out-your-coffee zinger.
Gervais’s politics are not easy to pigeonhole. He hates Trump, disdains climate-change deniers, and ridicules religion, calling himself a “godless ape” in his Twitter bio. Clearly, he has no love for corporate America. But he also finds elite identity politics and celebrity self-regard absurd. His heterodoxy means he is bound to offend some of his audience whenever he steps on stage. And so he did on Sunday night: “No one cares about movies anymore,” he riffed in his opening monologue to the assembled notables. “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you’ve spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.
”Finding this funny—and millions of us did—requires thinking your average Hollywood bigshot is no more knowledgeable or interesting on the great issues of our time than my great aunt Gladys, even though they genuinely think they are. It also requires believing that Hollywood machers have considerable power and money, which means that their opinions, unlike my great aunt’s, have the potential to matter. Like all self-inflated hypocrites, they need debunking.Let’s admit that punching up, Gervais-style, usually comes with a whiff of envy. That’s especially true when it comes to Hollywood’s powerful, who have the added advantage of beauty, world fame, and wealth. Celebrities are to us as Olympian gods were to the ancients; the public wants to pore over details about their clothes, Los Angeles mansions, Aspen chalets, Cabo vacays, love affairs, yoga teachers, facialists, and plastic surgeons. We normal folks can only press our noses against the glass of dazzling parties like the Golden Globes—the name itself carries mythical undertones—with flowers flown in from Ecuador and Italy and a 100 percent plant-based meal, knowing that we will never be allowed in. It’s not fair.
And that’s exactly why Hollywood royalty should stay humble and respect their place in the cultural ecosystem. They are not politicians or Middle East scholars or historians or even ordinary people with an ordinary set of beliefs. They have uncommon power as a result of skills or gifts for which they have been celebrated and handsomely rewarded. They have every right—some might say, every obligation—to spread those rewards to the less fortunate: to fight the fires in Australia and help earthquake victims in Haiti and orphans in Darfur. But to use their position to lecture us about issues that they in all likelihood know about only from what they’ve heard on a friend’s podcast while running on the treadmill is something close to an abuse of power.As if to illustrate Gervais’s point, several actresses took the stage to spread their wisdom to their captive audience of more than 18 million. Patricia Arquette descended into an incoherent rant: “In the history books we will see a country on the brink of war. The United States of America, a President tweeting out a threat of 52 bombs including cultural sites. Young people risking their lives traveling across the world. People not knowing if bombs are going to drop on their kids heads and the continent of Australia on fire. I beg of us all to give them a better world. For our kids and their kids, we have to vote in 2020 and we have to get—beg and plead for everyone we know to vote in 2020.”Michelle Williams, a talented actress, decided that her gift endowed her with the perception to speak for America’s nearly 160 million women. Referring to the need to protect abortion rights, she urged women to vote in their “own self-interest.” “It’s what men have been doing for years, which is why the world looks so much like them.” Reese Witherspoon tweeted to her compatriot: “Thank you for being a champion of women, you are an inspiration!” Note to Reese and Michelle: you are “championing” barely a half of American women. The rest are ambivalent or in firm disagreement with you. In politicized times like these, there’s an in
Dundee-born actor Brian Cox has won his first Golden Globe, with his hometown playing a part in securing the prestigious award. Cox won the best actor award for his role as media company mogul Logan Roy in the HBO series Succession
Brian Cox, actor who stars in HBO’s “Succession” as Logan Roy, the aging patriarch of a global media conglomerate. He also stars as President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Broadway play “The Great Society,” which opens Oct. 1.
Vox: “The rise of Succession, TV’s new must-watch show” — “Things have gone from bad to worse to worse to worse for Kendall Roy, the would-be tycoon and formerly most trusted son of Logan Roy, the media titan whose family sits at the center of HBO’s marvelous Succession.
“Kendall’s efforts to oust his dad from the CEO chair unraveled multiple times. He started using again, feeding a drug addiction that became a tabloid scandal when he last was consumed by it. His former marriage is now completely broken, and his kids seem to barely know him. And just when he thought he might be able to stand up to his domineering father, tragic circumstance conspired to draw him ever closer to the family he longed to shed like an ill-fitting skin.
“And that was just in season one. The moment that crystallizes how far Kendall has fallen comes halfway through season two. After a night of genuine connection with another person with addiction, he wakes up to find the sheets of his bed caked in his own shit. As a visual metaphor, it’s perhaps a bit too cheeky — Kendall shits the bed again! But the way he simply sighs and gets on with his life is telling.”
Slate: “Being Laughable Doesn’t Make Succession’s Characters Any Less Dangerous” — “With only one win for creator Jesse Armstrong’s writing, HBO’s Succession was a relatively minor presence at this past Sunday’s Emmy Awards. That likely won’t be the case next year. With its 2019 season opening to record ratings, laudatory reviews, and a greater presence in social media conversations, Succession has clearly come into its own in its sophomore year and is all but certain to be a leading contender in most drama categories at the 2020 Emmys. At which point an old argument is likely to resume: Should Succession be competing as a drama at all? Isn’t it actually a comedy?
“Succession’s proper categorization has been the subject of much discussion since its debut last year. The story of the Roy family, the primary owners of the corporate empire Waystar Royco (which comprises a Fox News–like media network as well as amusement park and luxury cruise divisions), seems at first glance to be a prestige-drama staple: the King Lear–style power struggle. Four adult children—shrewd-but-broken Kendall (Jeremy Strong), even-more-shrewd-but-self-sabotaging Shiv (Sarah Snook), miserably-self-aware jackass Roman (Kieran Culkin), and irrelevant doofus Connor (Alan Ruck)—vie against one another over which will succeed their powerful-but-fading father, Logan (Brian Cox), as the head of the kingdom-corporation. Blue-chip prestige helmers like Mark Mylod direct scenes in multiple gorgeously art-directed locations, and the storylines delve into family trauma and power brokering in smoke-filled rooms. All of that seems to add up to a show that belongs in the drama category.
“At the same time, though … it’s hilarious. The Roy children are constantly equivocating their way through situations where they’re clearly out of their depth. Audience-favorite supporting characters Tom Wambsgans (Shiv’s husband, played by Matthew Macfadyen) and Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) are already a bickering double act for the ages. Recapping sites and podcasts are spoiled for choice of withering put-downs to celebrate. More than one viewer has pointed out that Succession often plays like a bizarrely somber take on Arrested Development, with an analogous version of nearly every character from that celebrated sitcom. Considered on a macro episode-by-episode level, Succession is a dark tragedy about the abuses of the super-rich and the legacies of family dysfunction. But the minute-to-minute experience of watching it isn’t that different from Veep or Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
New York Times: “‘The Great Society,’ About L.B.J., Is Coming to Broadway” — “As soon as the Tony-winning ‘All the Way’ closed on Broadway, the playwright, Robert Schenkkan, turned his attention to the sequel.
“Five years, endless rewrites and several productions later, that new play, ‘The Great Society,’ is coming to Broadway.
“The producer Jeffrey Richards announced on Thursday that he would present a 12-week run of the play, starting Sept. 6, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater (which, although located at Lincoln Center, is considered a Broadway house).
“The play will star Brian Cox (“Succession”) as President Johnson, and the production will be directed by Bill Rauch, who also directed ‘All the Way.’ “