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Links for the Day: Rape of Thrones, George R. R. Martin Distances Himself from Scene, Julia Roberts Interview, Brian Williams Raps “Gin and Juice,” & More

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Links for the Day: Rape of Thrones, George R. R. Martin Distances Himself from Scene, Julia Roberts Interview, Brian Williams Raps “Gin and Juice,” & More

1. “Rape of Thrones.” Why are the Game of Thrones showrunners rewriting the books into misogyny?

“It seems more likely that Game of Thrones is falling into the same trap that so much television does—exploitation for shock value. And, in particular, the exploitation of women’s bodies. This is a show that inspired the term ’sexposition,’ and a show that may have created a character who is a prostitute so as to set as many scenes as possible in brothels. And though it has done both those things with surprising grace, it’s still making a play for male viewers who want skin. Because unlike Ginia Bellafante, in her infamous pre-air review of the series in The New York Times, I don’t think the sex is there to ’patronizingly’ draw in female viewers—I think it’s there to reel in the all-important male demographic.”

2. “George R. R. Martin Distances Himself from Game of Thrones Rape Scene.” The author posts his response to the scene on his LiveJournal.

“If the show had retained some of Cersei’s dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression—but that dialogue was very much shaped by the circumstances of the books, delivered by a woman who is seeing her lover again for the first time after a long while apart during which she feared he was dead. I am not sure it would have worked with the new timeline. That’s really all I can say on this issue. The scene was always intended to be disturbing…but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons.”

3. “Julia Roberts on Her Family and Fame.” The Academy Award winning actress, thankful for the life she shares out of the spotlight with her family, brings her star power to the small screen in HBO’s film adaptation of The Normal Heart.

“Roberts is nostalgic for the Hollywood of her early career, where having arrived meant a dinner invitation to agent Sue Mengers’s house and ’there seemed to be a method to it,’ she says. ’You had your job and you got paid $1, and you got your next job and got paid $2. It made sense to me.’ Today, when the only surefire hits are star-packed blockbusters like The Avengers or tent-pole franchises starring relatively unknown actors, it’s unclear who can reliably open a movie anymore. (It’s telling that both Roberts’s current film and her most recent one, August: Osage County, were adapted from plays that have a more narrow, focused appeal. Meanwhile, Pretty Woman is currently being transformed into a splashy Broadway musical.) ’It used to be that you could build from weekend to weekend and people talked,’ says Roberts, who also has a production company. ’Now, if there have been two showtimes and it hasn’t sold 10 bazillion tickets, you’re dead in the water.’”

4. “The Agony and the Honesty of Lindsay.” Rich Juzwiak on Lindsay Lohan’s reality show.

“I don’t know whether she did or not, and I don’t even think there’s much to derive from her stoicism during this brief reveal—her miscarriage is hers to feel however she does about it. I did, though, think back to her telling Ellen Degeneres in March that they were done filming ’for now,’ which I interpreted as signaling hope for another season. I also thought back to the letter that Courtney Love wrote to Lohan a few years ago, when Lohan started cultivating her former-child-star/current-bad-girl image. Referring to Lynn Hirschberg’s Vanity Fair profile, in which it was alleged (in what Love called a misquoting) that Love had shot heroin when she was pregnant with Frances Bean Cobain, Love wrote to Lohan, ’I thought the world had split open and was going to swallow me whole. All I wanted to do was kill that woman. I realize now that as hardcore as it was, it made me a lot more interesting and somehow employable.’”

5. “A Couple of Heirs of Travis Bickle.” J. Hoberman on The King of Comedy and Ms. 45 and how they explore pathologies.

“Nearly every scene starts as a potential Pupkin fantasy and yet, stocked with celebrities and noncelebrities playing themselves, The King of Comedy comes close to documentary fiction—not least in its extended use of improvisation, particularly in the scenes where Pupkin and his date (Mr. De Niro’s wife at the time, Diahnne Abbott) invade Langford’s Long Island weekend house, or the one in which Ms. Bernhardt’s high-strung and unpredictable Masha holds Langford captive.”

Video of the Day: Brian Williams Raps “Gin and Juice”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlGLhYFrv6w
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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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