1. “Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta Dead at 82.” He dressed some of the most famous women in the world and recently designed Amal Clooney’s wedding dress.
“Oscar de la Renta, the legendary Dominican-American fashion designer, has died at age 82, ABC News has confirmed. De la Renta had been battling cancer. His work became the preferred wear for such first ladies as Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush, and he designed the dress worn by Amal Alamuddin at her wedding in September to George Clooney. Movie stars such as Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz and Kristen Stewart also were great fans of the designer. De la Renta was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to a Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father. At 18, he moved to Spain to study painting but then switched over to fashion, landing an apprenticeship with Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristobal Balenciaga. “Soon I found that I was more interested in fashion design than I was in continuing as an illustrator,’ he once told the Toronto Star. ’I think that any experience you have; anything you pay attention to is part of what I call the ’baggage’ you carry with you all your life. My early involvement with painting, even the fact that I come from a tropical country, are part of who and what I am today.’”
2. “Of Gamers, Gates, and Disco Demolition: The Roots of Reactionary Rage.” How are YouTube videos criticizing sexist video games important enough to threaten a school shooting? Read the #GamerGate tag and realize that underneath the anger is fear.
“What exactly made so many people—let’s not be coy here, so many young white men—hate disco so much? An aversion to a steady dance backbeat? A dislike of orchestral instrumentation? What? Did it really have nothing to do with the fact that disco was popularized as ’black’ music? (Rock music was originally ’black’ music too, of course, but in a post-Elvis era it sure didn’t look that way, Jimi Hendrix aside. And Hendrix was nine years dead in 1979.) Did it have nothing to do with the embrace of disco by the gay community? Was it a coincidence that whenever anyone wanted to make disco artists the butt of a nasty joke their go-to example was The Village People and ’YMCA’? Did it have nothing to do with the fact that disco icons were frequently black women like Gloria Gaynor and Diana Ross, who sang anthems of empowerment like ’I Will Survive’ and ’I’m Coming Out’ and seemed like the polar opposite of the aggressively macho white frontmen rock fans idolized?”
3. “Surviving Desire.” Glenn Heath Jr. on the cinema of David Mackenzie
“Hold me. Thrill me. Kiss me. Kill me. The films of David Mackenzie envision life as a never-ending whirlwind of experience, a cyclone of emotion constantly spinning out of control. These feelings are heightened and externalized through melodrama, yet they can also simmer under the surface like hidden secrets waiting to explode. While his exhausted characters never fit into one social class—pop stars, artisan chefs and thuggish bruisers all take center stage—each sees the world in a similarly warped way. They are confused by inadequacy, defined by repression, purposefully solitary, and bordering on self-destruction. But most importantly they are also eager to transcend this unhappiness, especially after finding inspiration in another equally tormented individual. One must simply desire the opportunity to grow, to live, to survive.”
4. “Sarah Paulson Interview.” The American Horror Story star sits down for a chat with Julianne Moore.
“I like the time that you get. When I look at my career, the bulk of it has been television, and I love working in television, especially right now. But there’s a speed at which you do it. You’re doing seven to ten pages a day on a series, and it’s hard to feel like you’re doing the detail-oriented work that I like to do. Sometimes the speed helps you get out of your head and just go—you act on impulse and instinct, which can sometimes be better. You’re always working on something new, whereas if it’s a film or a piece of theater, you’re working on the same story. And I like the ritual. I’m addicted to routine. I don’t know if that’s because I moved around so much as child—by the time I was 12 years old, I had lived in about 10 different places. But I like going to the theater at a certain time. I like the ritual of putting on my makeup, putting on my costume, doing my warm-ups. I eat the same dinner every night before I go on stage. I like having something that I can count on, something that feels stabilizing for me.”
5. “L.M. Kit Carson, 1941 – 2014.” Co-writer and star of the landmark critique of cinéma vérité, David Holzman’s Diary.
“Word is going around among his friends that actor, producer, screenwriter and director L.M. Kit Carson has passed away at the age of 73. Sam Adams interviewed Carson for the A.V. Club in 2011, noting that he’d ’left his mark on some of the most important films of the last half-century. As the co-writer and star of 1967’s David Holzman’s Diary, he and director Jim McBride crafted a potent and funny critique of cinéma vérité’s claim to truth that doubles as a pre-emptive strike against the culture of YouTube confessionals. He watched the ‘60s counterculture’s romance with Hollywood go down in flames on the set of Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie, filming the proceedings for the fascinating documentary The American Dreamer, and later filled in for an absent Sam Shepard by completing the script to Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas. A Dallas native,’ Carson would also help out ’a trio of local unknowns turn a handful of film scraps into a short, and then a feature, called Bottle Rocket, launching the careers of Wes Anderson and Owen and Luke Wilson.’”
Video of the Day: Over at Grantland, Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald go crazy for The Knick and talk Fury, Doctor Strange, and more.
Oscars 2019: Who Will Win? Who Should Win? Our Final Predictions
No one is okay with the Academy Awards the way they are, and everyone seems sure that they know how to fix them.
No one is okay with the Academy Awards the way they are, and everyone seems sure that they know how to fix them. Cut out the montages, bring back honorary award presentations, give stunt performers their own category, let ranked-choice voting determine every category and not just best picture, overhaul the membership ranks, hold the event before the guilds spoil the surprise, find a host with the magic demographic-spanning mojo necessary to double the show’s recent audience pools, nominate bigger hits, nominate only hits. Across the last 24 days, Ed Gonzalez and I have mulled over the academy’s existential crisis and how it’s polluted this year’s Oscar race so thoroughly that it feels eerily similar to the 2016 election cycle all over again. We’re spent, and while we don’t know if we have it in us to do this next year, we just might give it another go if Oscar proves us wrong on Sunday in more than just one category.
Below are our final Oscar predictions. Want more? Click on the individual articles for our justifications and more, including who we think should win in all 24 categories.
Picture: Green Book
Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Actor: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Actress: Glenn Close, The Wife
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Original Screenplay: Green Book
Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman
Foreign Language: Roma
Documentary Feature: RBG
Animated Feature Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Documentary Short: Period. End of Sentence
Animated Short: Weekends
Live Action Short: Skin
Film Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Production Design: The Favourite
Cinematography: Cold War
Costume Design: The Favourite
Makeup and Hairstyling: Vice
Score: If Beale Street Could Talk
Song: “Shallow,” A Star Is Born
Sound Editing: First Man
Sound Mixing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Visual Effects: First Man
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Picture
The industry’s existential crisis has polluted this race so thoroughly that it feels eerily similar to the 2016 election cycle all over again.
“I’m hyperventilating a little. If I fall over pick me up because I’ve got something to say,” deadpanned Frances McDormand upon winning her best actress Oscar last year. From her lips to Hollywood’s ears. No one is okay with the Academy Awards the way they are, and everyone seems sure that they know how to fix them. Cut out the montages, bring back honorary award presentations, give stunt performers their own category, let ranked-choice voting determine every category and not just best picture, overhaul the membership ranks, hold the event before the guilds spoil the surprise, find a host with the magic demographic-spanning mojo necessary to double the show’s recent audience pools, nominate bigger hits, nominate only hits.
But first, as McDormand herself called for during her speech, “a moment of perspective.” A crop of articles have popped up over the last two weeks looking back at the brutal showdown between Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare In Love at the 1999 Academy Awards, when Harvey Weinstein was at the height of his nefarious powers. Every retrospective piece accepts as common wisdom that it was probably the most obnoxious awards season in history, one that indeed set the stage for every grinding assault we’ve paid witness to ever since. But did anyone two decades ago have to endure dozens of weekly Oscar podcasters and hundreds of underpaid web writers musing, “What do the Academy Awards want to be moving forward, exactly? Who should voters represent in this fractured media environment, exactly?” How much whiskey we can safely use to wash down our Lexapro, exactly?
Amid the fox-in-a-henhouse milieu of ceaseless moral outrage serving as this awards season’s backdrop, and amid the self-obsessed entertainers now wrestling with the idea that they now have to be “content providers,” all anyone seems concerned about is what an Oscar means in the future, and whether next year’s versions of Black Panther and Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody have a seat at the table. What everyone’s forgetting is what the Oscars have always been. In other words, the industry’s existential crisis has polluted this race so thoroughly that it feels eerily similar to the 2016 election cycle all over again, and Oscar’s clearly splintered voting blocs may become ground zero for a Make the Academy Great Again watershed.
In 1956, the Oscars took a turn toward small, quotidian, neo-realish movies, awarding Marty the top prize. The correction was swift and sure the following year, with a full slate of elephantine epics underlining the movie industry’s intimidation at the new threat of television. Moonlight’s shocking triumph two years ago was similarly answered by the safe, whimsical The Shape of Water, a choice that reaffirmed the academy’s commitment to politically innocuous liberalism in artistically conservative digs. Call us cynical, but we know which of the last couple go-arounds feels like the real academy. Which is why so many are banking on the formally dazzling humanism of Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and so few on the vital, merciless fury of Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.
And even if we give the benefit of the doubt to the academy’s new members, there’s that righteous, reactionary fervor in the air against those attempting to “cancel” Green Book. Those attacking the film from every conceivable angle have also ignored the one that matters to most people: the pleasure principle. Can anyone blame Hollywood for getting its back up on behalf of a laughably old-fashioned but seamlessly mounted road movie-cum-buddy pic that reassures people that the world they’re leaving is better than the one they found? That’s, as they say, the future that liberals and Oscar want.
Will Win: Green Book
Should Win: BlacKkKlansman
Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay
After walking back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing here.
Eric and I have done a good job this year of only selectively stealing each other’s behind-the-scenes jokes. We have, though, not been polite about stepping on each other’s toes in other ways. Okay, maybe just Eric, who in his impeccable take on the original screenplay free-for-all detailed how the guilds this year have almost willfully gone out of their way to “not tip the Oscar race too clearly toward any one film.” Case in point: Can You Ever Forgive Me? winning the WGA’s adapted screenplay trophy over presumed Oscar frontrunner BlacKkKlansman. A glitch in the matrix? We think so. Eric and I are still in agreement that the race for best picture this year is pretty wide open, though maybe a little less so in the wake of what seemed like an easy win for the Spike Lee joint. Nevertheless, we all know that there’s no Oscar narrative more powerful than “it’s about goddamn time,” and it was so powerful this year that even the diversity-challenged BAFTAs got the memo, giving their adapted screenplay prize to Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott. To bamboozle Lee at this point would, admittedly, be so very 2019, but given that it’s walked back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing.
Will Win: BlacKkKlansman
Could Win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Should Win: BlacKkKlansman