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Links for the Day: Peter Lanza Searches for Answers, John Ridley Sets Record Straight on Steve McQueen, Seven Things That True Detective Was About, & More

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Links for the Day: Peter Lanza Searches for Answers, John Ridley Sets Record Straight on Steve McQueen, Seven Things That True Detective Was About, & More

1. “The Reckoning.” The father of the Sandy Hook killer searches for answers.

“’Adam was not open to therapy,’ Peter told me. ’He did not want to talk about problems and didn’t even admit he had Asperger’s.’ Peter and Nancy were confident enough in the Asperger’s diagnosis that they didn’t look for other explanations for Adam’s behavior. In that sense, Asperger’s may have distracted them from whatever else was amiss. ’If he had been a totally normal adolescent and he was well adjusted and then all of a sudden went into isolation, alarms would go off,’ Peter told me. ’But let’s keep in mind that you expect Adam to be weird.’ Still, Peter and Nancy sought professional support repeatedly, and none of the doctors they saw detected troubling violence in Adam’s disposition. According to the state’s attorney’s report, ’Those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.’ Peter said, ’Here we are near New York, one of the best locations for mental-health care, and nobody saw this.’”

2. “Ridley Sets Record Straight on McQueen 12 Years Rift, Talks Jimi: All Is By My Side.” So what is the rift between Ridley and McQueen about?

“Directors want to share screenplay credit with writers all the time, which is why the Writers Guild of America exacts such a high standard. The director is the ultimate arbiter/creator/visionary on any movie. But they aren’t all writers. So what ordinarily happens in this situation is a WGA arbitration—the contributions of the anonymous writers are objectively assessed—after which everyone abides by the decision. (It can have an impact on what the writer gets paid, as well.) So why not let the WGA decide? Ridley was fine with that, he says. But McQueen listened to his advisors and wisely opted not to pursue credit for a film with a good chance of an impending Oscar campaign. He was nominated as director and won as producer.”

3. “Seitz: The 7 Things That True Detective Was About.” In reverse order, because linearity is an abstract concept, man, all right all right all right.

“Pizzolato is on record owning up to True Detective’s clichés (or ’tropes,’ as they are called by creative writing majors), and the mismatched buddy-cop duo is one that’s dear to his heart. The partnership between Cohle and Hart is your classic Lethal Weapon–type partnership teaming a brilliant but unstable wild card and a more settled family man who just wants to do his job and go home, though the longer you live with it and stare at it, the more allegiance it seems to owe to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (Rust has a touch of Holmesian alienation and intellectual smugness, and he lives a spartan life). The bromance aspect really takes over in the last two episodes, which show Marty and Rust, who were burrs in one another’s saddles for two decades, finally putting aside their differences and learning to be true friends, true partners, and true detectives. The eighth episode is one long buddy-cop mind meld, capped by the gory confrontation with Errol that ramps down with the bloodied Rust and Marty crawling toward each other like the doomed lovers at the end of Duel in the Sun, and resolving in the hospital with Marty wheeling Rust around like an elderly husband pushing his beloved wife through a nursing home and even presenting a gift-wrapped pack of cigarettes. ’If we were getting engaged, I’d have gotten a nicer ribbon,’ Marty jokes.”

4. “Mr. Manners” Nick Pinkerton on The Grand Budapest Hotel.

“I’ve long been taken with a quote attributed to another Viennese writer, Karl Kraus, whose particular specialty was the art of the paradox. While the news of the bombing of Shanghai was on everyone’s lips, a friend encountered Kraus sitting in some coffeehouse and quibbling over matters of grammar. ’I know that everything is in vain when the house is burning,’ Kraus said, ’But I have to do this as long as it is at all possible; for if those who are obliged to look after commas had made sure they are always at the right place, then Shanghai would not be burning.’ In this fussy credo we can see something of M. Gustave. Civilization might be saved with the right floral arrangement or shade of nail polish, and if everything is looked after just so, maybe Europe wouldn’t become a slaughterhouse.”

5. “I’m Trying to Love Wes Anderson, That Miniaturist Puppet-Master.” Stephanie Zacharek can’t breathe while watching the filmmaker’s movies.

“Some people may feel cozy and coddled while they’re watching a Wes Anderson movie, but I always feel that I’ve entered the airless interior of a panorama egg, and someone has closed the latch from the outside. That’s especially true of The Grand Budapest Hotel, its visual splendor notwithstanding. One of the chief characters, a junior hotel employee played by a young actor named Tony Revolori, wears a cap embroidered with the words ’LOBBY BOY’ in slightly wonky letters. It’s the slight wobbliness of the stitching that’s so annoying, a homespun touch that was clearly intentional, an adorable little curlicue of self-conscious Andersonian quaintness. That character’s love interest, a baker played by Saoirse Ronan, bears a birthmark in the shape of Mexico on her cheek. There’s no hidden meaning there—that purplish splotch is just a cute, random shape, a bit of whimsy designed to make us say, ’Aha!’ or perhaps ’Oho!’ Anderson fans may find that degree of calculation delightful. The rest of us are left whacking our palms against our foreheads, wondering how on Earth he gets away with it.”

Video of the Day: HBO’s teaser for The Normal Heart:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DywxmQQBk0s
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Awards

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.

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Roma
Photo: Netflix

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

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Awards

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.

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Green Book
Photo: Universal Pictures

“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

Could Win: Roma or BlacKkKlansman

Should Win: BlacKkKlansman

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Awards

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.

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BlacKkKlansman
Photo: Focus Features

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

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