Thursday, January 27, 2022

Notes On The Season: Awards Weekend Blues; Why Ariana DeBose Can Make Oscar History And How Sidney Poitier Already Did

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A column chronicling occasions and conversations on the awards circuit.

Deadline

It was to be a wild and maybe key weekend on the awards circuit, however as an alternative all we’ve got is a bizarre Golden Globes. This week I additionally inform Ariana DeBose how she may make Oscar historical past, and we additionally bear in mind how Sidney Poitier so memorably already did 58 years in the past.

NOT SO GOLDEN GLOBES

The greatest laid plans. This weekend was going to be a lot completely different for these of us on the awards season beat. The Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala scheduled for Thursday night time clearly didn’t occur as deliberate and due, to Covid’s rising temperature was canceled for the second 12 months in a row. Save these Oscar-rehearsal speeches for an additional time Nicole, Kristen, Penelope, Jane and the remainder of you planning to be within the Desert. There may also be no glad handing on the normally wall to wall packed BAFTA tea this weekend on the Four Seasons. That fell sufferer to Omicron fears as properly. And that all-important AFI awards lunch on the identical Beverly Hills resort set for at this time can be postponed looking for a brand new later date, so no schmoozing and appearances there in a room stuffed with Oscar voters, masked or not. Contenders don’t get to make speeches at that one, however after all they do historically on the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes and each have been attempting to do one thing on the identical date, Sunday January 9. The Critics Choice with a glitzy star-studded ceremony on the new Fairmont Century Plaza and televised on two tv networks this time (The CW and TBS) felt it was greatest to postpone for a still-unnamed date later within the season as a result of deliriously contagious state of the Omicron variant.

However, irony of ironies, the never-say-die Hollywood Foreign Press, besieged with scandal and boycotts, and knee deep in reforming itself is certain and decided to go forward and current their awards anyway in the identical Beverly Hilton ballroom they at all times have on Sunday at 6pm PT. The hiccup is there shall be no crimson carpet, no meals, no MOET champagne, no identify presenters, no nominees or winners current, no NBC broadcast, not even dwell streaming, and actually NO stars for what’s normally one of many city’s starriest occasions. They have determined as an alternative to collect a “socially distanced” group of members (together with apparently the 20 or so new diversified members admitted) to observe a “show” touting the philanthropic facet of the HFPA (they usually at all times have been nice in handing out cash to deserving entities) with supposedly invited representatives of these grantees within the room and on stage as awards presenters. No media shall be current however I’ve realized a number of pleasant publicists (not that 100+ who started a PR boycott I presume) acquired invitations, however the 4 I undoubtedly know who obtained these invitations for the 90 minute ceremony adopted by a “reception” at 7:30pm haven’t any plans to attend, at the least one citing Covid fears. Those who did obtain the invite to the 79th annual Globes can also deliver a visitor. The invite states it’s Black Tie and is a “celebration” not solely of the Golden Globe Awards but additionally “the HFPA’s 2021-2022 grantees making a difference around the world”. Vaccination, booster, and a unfavorable PCR check are required with the invite stating these particulars shall be forthcoming.

Golden Globes 2021

Golden Globe/dcp

Although no one requested me, I feel that with each different awards occasion canceling or suspending for this month (together with the deliberate January 15 Governors Awards, a serious Oscar schmoozing occasion along with handing out honorary statuettes) that it might need been smarter as an alternative for the Globes to observe swimsuit. Some of the not-so-helpful publicity this occasion is getting, resembling an enormous Good Morning America piece on Wednesday that simply rehashed all their issues and acknowledged not a single star would present up, may have been averted if they simply lay low and waited to make a comeback subsequent 12 months hopefully with NBC again within the fold. Their Globes model is glitz and glamour and all issues Hollywood. It doesn’t assist when a serious shopper nationwide morning present factors out Tom Cruise gave again his three Golden Globes. Just sayin’. I do hope issues flip round. Covid and different elements are killing custom and we may use a bit of that senseless Hollywood glamour (and sure, that features the Globes which have been at all times enjoyable) once more. We actually received’t get it this weekend. I ain’t as busy as I believed I is likely to be, of us.

ARIANA DEBOSE IN RARE AIR

One these Golden Globe nominees who received’t be going to the Golden Globes (that means all of them) is Best Supporting Actress nominee Ariana DeBose who performs Anita in Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of not solely the 1961 movie but additionally the Broadway play. She just lately was additionally named Best Supporting Actress by the LA Film Critics, and is a Critics Choice Awards nominee in addition to different awards she is racking up within the position.

Ariana DeBose

Rob Klassen

There is clearly heavy Oscar buzz too so after I hopped on the telephone along with her just lately I requested her if she knew simply what sort of Oscar historical past she might be making if issues go the suitable means for her on March twenty seventh on the Dolby Theatre which after all she didn’t as a result of I prefer to deliver up obscure potential details. So right here’s one: Should she win she can be part of solely thrice the place an actor received an Oscar for taking part in the identical character {that a} completely different actor additionally received for. Marlon Brando received (and famously refused) the 1972 Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather because the older Don Corleone whereas Robert De Niro received the 1974 Best Supporting Actor Oscar enjoying the youthful Don in The Godfather Part II. And Heath Ledger received Best Supporting Actor in 2008’s The Dark Knight enjoying Joker, the identical position that introduced Joaquin Phoenix the 2019 Best Actor Oscar for Joker. Of course that is of curiosity as a result of Rita Moreno turned the primary Latina to win Best Supporting Actress for the ’61 West Side Story through which she performed Anita. Will historical past repeat itself 60 years later? DeBose was appreciative of even being talked about in the identical firm. “I think it’s just really cool to be in any sort of conversation in regards to anything in this realm because I’ll be honest with you, it’s something I dreamed about as a kid, but you never really think it’s going to happen, and then suddenly you find yourself in a moment like this,” she advised me.

Rita Moreno
Disney

DeBose, who was simply introduced as host of SNL on January 15 when the present returns, brings her personal model and interpretation to the position however it needed to be a bit daunting figuring out that Moreno was additionally proper there enjoying a brand new position within the movie as Valentina, the widow of Doc who ran the drug retailer. Is this type of like enjoying Hamlet after which realizing one of many biggest actors who performed the position is standing backstage watching? “I would say it’s probably rare,” she laughed. “It is not the scenario I thought I was going to walk into. In fact, this portion of the journey was what I was so afraid of, or part of what I was so afraid of, because many aspects of this job scared me when I said yes, but I didn’t clock that I was really going to have to do it with her sitting right there, and I know, it was like true naivety on my part. True naivety, but she has been so gracious with me, and to be perfectly frank, I didn’t expect her to be. It has not been my experience generationally to have found grace in this type of dynamic, so I was very nervous about meeting her and potentially working with her, and she proved me wrong.”

Actually Moreno is nominated reverse DeBose for that Critics Choice award. “Right. And I love that. I think Rita’s work in our film is some of the best she’s ever done. I really do. I think she’s just a revelation in this film and a beautiful matriarch,” she stated.

Disney

I beforehand had executed a few interviews with DeBose a 12 months in the past for The Prom when that got here out, however truly she had already shot West Side Story earlier than that, however due to Covid the movie’s launch was delayed a full 12 months. Frustrating? “I knew what that experience had been, and how different the two roles were, so I felt like I was kind of sitting on a little bit of a secret and while I’m so proud of my work in The Prom, it was West Side Story, in regards to the role, that gave me a lot more to showcase. So, while I have been waiting a while, I always knew that, when the time did come, whenever that was, that at least the world would be able to get to see me do something that is even deeper and embellishes on my skillset.”

Let me say it’s an understatement to say the world has now seen that with out query.

She can be very proud that as an Afro Latina she acquired the chance to play what she calls one of many biggest roles ever written for a lady in musical theatre saying it was very uncommon that darker girls of shade acquired to tackle the position for no matter motive (she factors to Debbie Allen and Valerie Pettiford as exceptions). “I’m inclined to say that it’s because the industry didn’t necessarily recognize Afro Latinas as Latinas, but I mean, it’s thrilling to be able to do it in this way, to offer the Afro Lat perspective on it,” she stated. “It’s also totally scary because at the end of the day Rita Moreno is the gold standard, and when you’re offering up a new interpretation, it’s tough to get people to open their hearts and minds, I think, but I’m very grateful that it seems like they have, and that people are finding nuance within the character, and I really credit a lot of that to Tony Kushner’s screen play because he really went further with the development of these characters and gave me more to play with. So, I’m very grateful to him in that respect.”

And that thanks additionally goes to Spielberg. “I feel a little spoiled if I’m honest because it was my first studio movie I have made, and I got to do it in the grandest way possible, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now. I’ve gone on to work on many other things, but I can tell you what. Making a movie on the Steven Spielberg set is a special, special thing.”

REMEMBERING SIDNEY POITIER

Finally, what a tragic couple of days. Yesterday phrase got here of the demise of the nice Peter Bogdanovich, and early this morning of Sidney Poitier. What are you able to say? Actually there was a connection between the 2. Bogdanovich directed Poitier within the 1996 TV film sequel To Sir, With Love II. In speaking in regards to the risk that DeBose may change into a part of Oscar historical past, maybe nobody within the 93 years of Academy Awards made historical past in the way in which Poitier did when he received Best Actor for 1963’s Lilies of the Field. 

I used to be on BBC World News earlier at this time speaking about Poitier and the primary line of their 5 minute information piece was that he was the primary Black Actor to win an Oscar, a reality repeated all day at this time in all places. It was fairly the second on the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on that April night time in 1964 when he strode fortunately to the stage upon listening to his identify known as by Anne Bancroft and stated, “Because it has been a long journey to this moment….” Long certainly as the one Black performer to beforehand win was Hattie McDaniel in 1939’s Gone With The Wind for which she obtained a Supporting Actress plaque. Then in 2002 The Academy voted him an Honorary Oscar, a uncommon prevalence for somebody who had already beforehand received competitively. Poitier was given an enormous standing ovation as you may count on and his speech was eloquent on an evening that later would truly see Denzel Washington and Halle Berry take the lead appearing Oscars.

Here is the speech Poitier gave that night time:

“I arrived in Hollywood on the age of twenty-two in a time completely different than at this time’s, a time through which the chances in opposition to my standing right here tonight 53 years later wouldn’t have fallen in my favor. Back then, no route had been established for the place I hoped to go, no pathway left in proof for me to hint, no customized for me to observe.

“Yet, right here I’m this night on the finish of a journey that in 1949 would have been thought of nearly unimaginable and actually may by no means have been set in movement have been there not an untold variety of brave, unselfish decisions made by a handful of visionary American film-makers, administrators, writers and producers; every with a robust sense of citizenship accountability to the instances through which they lived; every unafraid to allow their artwork to replicate their views and values, moral and ethical, and furthermore, acknowledge them as their very own.

“They knew the chances that stood in opposition to them and their efforts have been overwhelming and certain may have confirmed too excessive to beat. Still these film-makers persevered, talking via their artwork to one of the best in all of us. And I’ve benefited from their effort. The trade benefited from their effort. America benefited from their effort. And in methods giant and small the world has additionally benefited from their effort.

“Therefore, with respect, I share this nice honor with the late Joe Mankiewicz, the late Richard Brooks, the late Ralph Nelson, the late Darryl Zanuck, the late Stanley Kramer, the Mirisch brothers – particularly Walter whose friendship lies on the very coronary heart of this second – Guy Green, Norman Jewison, and all others who’ve had a hand in altering the chances for me and for others.

“Without them this most memorable moment would not have come to pass and the many excellent young actors who have followed in admirable fashion might not have come as they have to enrich the tradition of American film-making as they have. I accept this award in memory of all the African-American actors and actresses who went before me in the difficult years, on whose shoulders I was privileged to stand to see where I might go.”

Enjoy the following a part of that “journey” you talked about at each Oscar events Sir Sidney Poitier. We are past grateful to have shared this journey with one of many greats in movie historical past.

 





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