| August 3, 2020
I support women directors and the fight to push the industry to embrace them moving forward. I have argued for years that seeding the industry with at least two films a year directed by a woman at every major, as well as pushing for more women in crews. This seems to be taking place this year and it continues in the upcoming year. Progress, albeit slow progress.
That said, the only female director who ever had a legit shot at Globes/Academy this season is Greta Gerwig.
When Claudia Eller presents 7 strong pieces of direction and argues, “you can’t tell me that not one of those films rose to the level of a nomination,” it’s a fake argument. The work rising to the level and getting the actual award nominations are quite different standards. For everyone. Every season.
We need a reality check.
Does anyone really argue that any of these directorial efforts by female directors this year should be expected to displace Scorsese, Tarantino, Bong or Mendes?
So let’s discuss slot 5. Gerwig is right there with Phillips, Waititi, Almodovar, Mangold, Meirelles and Baumbach. Seven movies discussed as Best Picture candidates.
And what of the other 6 female directors on Eller’s List?
A lot of great work. But none of the films are legit candidates for Best Picture. Marielle Heller and A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood is closest, but the film just hasn’t connected that way. Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers has become all about J-Lo. Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart was falsely tagged as being a flop this summer… in no small part by Eller-edited Variety. Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy is a beautiful piece of art… but it just doesn’t have the traction (or critics awards) that it needs to rise to awards nights. Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, which is deeply loved by many critics and had a high-profile summer run via A24, only got to $18 million domestic, which doesn’t disqualify it, but does speak to its limitations. And Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet did pretty strong business, but 66 on Metacritic puts it around the same place as Judy.
Make no mistake, I prefer some of these films and filmmakers to the seven that I am suggesting are more likely candidates for Slot 5. And all seven of these women are professionals at a very high level.
And that really gets to the point. Awards are lovely. But the fight is about work. And all of these directors must work. If for no other reason, because I, and so many others, are looking forward to what every one of them does next.
Careers are complex. Lemmons has put her flag down firmly in TV and Wilde has a thriving acting career. But if any of these 7 haven’t made their next feature film by 2022, I will be shocked and disappointed.
I told people back in the summer that this would be an issue come awards time… that we had all better hope that Little Women was worthwhile, as there would be no other serious option.
Likewise, I was one of the first to note the lack of color being positioned for the award race this season. Just Mercy pushed into the season late. Netflix pushed their Dee Rees film (which seems more commercial than awards-y) into 2020. I knew the road back for Nate Parker was not going to be as easy as backers of his new film hoped. No Denzel, no Forrest, not much chance of Will Smith being in the game for his Ang Lee effort.
But here is the thing… these are not really award problems, even with a soft lean to racism and sexism amongst some older voters. It is an industry problem.
This thing where there are a half-dozen candidates in a specific category — like women directors or actors of color in dramas — going up against 40-plus films that are white-dominant, in front of and behind the camera, and you are working against mathematical odds every time.
Even if it was as few as 20 films by or led by women or people of color going into to the season with intent, going up against the 40 white-dominant films, the odds of a couple of these films NOT getting into the Top 9 flip and become positive.
Awards season is a reflection of the year in the industry. That is just the fact. And without profoundly changing the idea of what these awards are, that will never change.
The answer is to embrace more voices in the choices of what is made and who makes these films.
And if it means that we need to listen to people scream and kick with every award season “snub,” so be it. Not my favorite. Often hypocritical. But… whatever works for the good fight.
| August 3, 2020
| July 23, 2020
| July 14, 2020
August 11, 2020
James Mangold on Copland: "It’s what’s going on in our country in general, which is that as you deny resources and opportunities to people, they end up pitted against each other for what little remains. At that time, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it seemed like it was only getting worse. My movie was about a community of cops and the point of view that emanated from it. My own point of view is more sympathetic toward the communities of color that are besieged. But, in the context of what we’re talking about, it seems to me that we’re never going to unlock the white pathology that participates in this cycle if we don’t unpack what’s underneath this anger. I don’t mean to excuse it but to understand how people end up way out there in a cultish anger, where a uniform and a badge unites them with other like souls, and they start to develop a mercenary and deeply cynical attitude about the people they’re actually there to protect."
| August 10, 2020
"Amid massive layoffs at Warner Bros, I'm getting word of an absolute bloodbath at DC Comics. Bob Harras is apparently gone; so are editors Mark Doyle, Brian Cunningham and Andy Khouri. Jim Lee still with the company, but no longer publisher. DC Collectibles gone entirely."
"These are just the names I’ve heard multiple times. Many other longterm – I’m talking VERY longterm – DC employees have also been let go.Those who had large titles and big salaries are gone. This is a huge and significant downsizing of DC’s publishing operations that will have huge ripple effects across the entire scarred comics industry landscape. It’s impossible to see this as anything but a huge sign of disinterest in the comics publishing business by AT&T, WarnerMedia and the Global Brands division. While other WB divisions faced severe layoffs, losing such a huge swath of the executive leadership at DC is a lot more than just more layoffs."
| August 10, 2020
| December 13, 2019
| December 4, 2019
| December 4, 2019