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Links for the Day: SXSW Jury Award Winners, A Special Episode of Reverse Shot, Nathan Lee on Interior. Leather Bar, Neil Patrick Harris’s Metamorphosis, & More

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Links for the Day: SXSW Jury Award Winners, A Special Episode of Reverse Shot, Nathan Lee on Interior. Leather Bar, Neil Patrick Harris’s Metamorphosis, & More

1. “SXSW Unveils Jury Award Winners. A comedy about two young women having a really difficult time getting to the beach won the Grand Jury prize for features at SXSW.

Fort Tilden is directed and written by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers and stars Bridey Elliott and Clare McNulty. The Great Invisible, director Margaret Brown’s look at the oil industry’s secretive world in the wake of the Gulf Coast disaster, took the top prize for documentary features. The awards were hosted for the second year by comedian Jerrod Carmichael at the Paramount Theatre in Austin. The Audience Awards will be announced Saturday, and the festival wraps Sunday.”

2. “Home Theater.” A Very Special Episode of Reverse Shot.

“Through this symposium, we hoped to come to a better definition of what cinema is and what television is. Perhaps the problem with the ’cinema vs. TV’ debate is that the terms being pitted against each other refer to tools for viewing or modes of storytelling as opposed to the content fitted to them. The results from our writers were, expectedly, diverse and thoughtful. Reading these articles, which we’ll unroll over the coming weeks, you won’t find an answer to the debate; the takes are far too varied. Each television series and each movie constitutes its own case. And with such a range of topics covered—character development, morality, ideology, filmic technique, auteurism—there could never be just one point of view. Which is kind of why the whole question of which is ’better’ is itself an impossible, and false, one.”

3. “Metamorphosis.” From Doogie to Barney to Hedwig, the shapeshifting career of Neil Patrick Harris is immune to typecasting.

“The first time Neil Patrick Harris went to Los Angeles, he found himself at the circus. It was 1987 and he was 14, visiting with his mom for his first paying gig as an actor, a small spot on a TV show. They were wandering along the Santa Monica pier, as tourists do, when they spied a tent, yellow and blue and shimmering on the shore. The tent belonged to Cirque du Soleil, establishing a foothold in California with Le Cirque Réinventé, a show that would eventually launch the troupe around the world. Oblivious to all this, young Harris took his seat anticipating elephants and tigers and sad-faced clowns. But the animals were conspicuously absent, replaced by athletic men and women who leapt and pirouetted through the air—first four, then six, then nine of them on a single bicycle, riding around the ring in formation. The show was like nothing he’d ever experienced. And like all magic, much of it seemed to defy either logic or physics.”

4. “The Punks of Disney Land.” Crissy Van Meter finds the Neverlanders Social Club.

“There are more than 30 Neverlanders moving toward me as a pack, cutting a path through the crowd. They’re wearing handmade mouse ears and hats, and many of them are covered in tattoos—they look like one of the minor gangs from The Warriors, or some cult in a postapocalyptic wasteland where Mickey Mouse is worshiped as a deity. Each member has a patch of a character that represents his or her personality—the 30-something couple who founded the club, Angel and Cindy Mendoza, are Donald and Daisy Duck. Everyone is staring as I walk with them to It’s a Small World, a boat ride at the tip of Fantasyland. As we round the Matterhorn Bobsleds, ’regular’ park-goers snap photos of the Neverlanders as if they’re celebrities. People point; parents tell their children to take note; jaws drop. Angel says with a shrug that they’re used to this commotion by now. When you’re the biggest Disneyland fans in the world and wear that love on your sleeve—literally—you’re bound to get some odd looks.”

5. “Review: Interior. Leather Bar.” Nathan Lee on James Franco and Travis Mathews’s film.

“Does James Franco suck dick? I mean, does he literally put dicks in his mouth and suck on them? A lot of people could care less, or claim to care less, for various reasons. Because celebrity sex lives are boring. Because James Franco is boring. Because we live in a fabulously enlightened post-gay wonderland (exemplified by James Franco). Because we know people whose dicks have actually been sucked by James Franco. Whatever the case, let’s not pretend the question doesn’t exert a certain grip on the imagination, among other organs. Our investment in the problem of Famous People Who May Or May Not Be Gay may well be irritating, a kind of stubborn cultural chlamydia, but what’s at stake in that investment is real. Franco knows this, and has turned it into a constituent aspect of his celebrity. Thus do we arrive at an even more annoying question: what does it mean that James Franco is playing with the fact that we know that he knows that we want to know whether or not he sucks dick?”

Video of the Day: Jonathan Glazer’s advertisement for Flake chocolate bars, starring Denis Lavant as the devil:

Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to ed@slantmagazine.com and to converse in the comments section.

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Awards

Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

This season, Hollywood is invested in celebrating the films they love while dodging the cultural bullets coming at them from every angle.

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Green Book
Photo: Universal Pictures

You know, if it weren’t for the show’s producers effectively and repeatedly saying everything about the Academy Awards is terrible and needs to be changed, and the year’s top-tier contenders inadvertently confirming their claims, this would’ve been a comparatively fun and suspenseful Oscar season. None of us who follow the Academy Awards expect great films to win; we just hope the marathon of precursors don’t turn into a Groundhog Day-style rinse and repeat for the same film, ad nauseam.

On that score, mission accomplished. The guilds have been handing their awards out this season as though they met beforehand and assigned each voting body a different title from Oscar’s best picture list so as not to tip the Oscar race too clearly toward any one film. SAG? Black Panther. PGA? Green Book. DGA? Roma. ASC? Cold War. ACE? Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Even awards-season kryptonite A Star Is Born got an award for contemporary makeup from the MUAHS. (That’s the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild, not the sound Lady Gaga fans have been making ever since A Star Is Born’s teaser trailer dropped last year.)

Not to be outdone, the Writers Guild of America announced their winners last weekend, and not only did presumed adapted screenplay frontrunner BlacKkKlansman wind up stymied by Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but the original screenplay prize went to Eighth Grade, which wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. Bo Burnham twisted the knife into AMPAS during his acceptance speech: “To the other nominees in the category, have fun at the Oscars, losers!” In both his sarcasm and his surprise, it’s safe to say he speaks on behalf of us all.

As is always the case, WGA’s narrow eligibility rules kept a presumed favorite, The Favourite, out of this crucial trial heat. But as the balloting period comes to a close, the question remains just how much enthusiasm or affection voters have for either of the two films with the most nominations (Roma being the other). As a recent “can’t we all just get along” appeal by Time’s Stephanie Zacharek illustrates, the thing Hollywood is most invested in this season involves bending over backward, Matrix-style, to celebrate the films they love and still dodge the cultural bullets coming at them from every angle.

Maybe it’s just tunnel vision from the cultural vacuum Oscar voters all-too-understandably would prefer to live in this year, but doesn’t it seem like The Favourite’s tastefully ribald peppering of posh-accented C-words would be no match for the steady litany of neo-Archie Bunkerisms spewing from Viggo Mortensen’s crooked mouth? Especially with First Reformed’s Paul Schrader siphoning votes from among the academy’s presumably more vanguard new recruits? We’ll fold our words in half and eat them whole if we’re wrong, but Oscar’s old guard, unlike John Wayne, is still alive and, well, pissed.

Will Win: Green Book

Could Win: The Favourite

Should Win: First Reformed

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Watch: Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Starring Honor Swinton Byrne and Tilda Swinton, Gets First Trailer

Joanna Hogg has been flying under the radar for some time, but that’s poised to change in a big way.

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A24
Photo: A24

British film director and screenwriter Joanna Hogg, whose impeccably crafted 2013 film Exhibition we praised on these pages for its “disarming mixture of the remarkable and the banal,” has been flying under the radar for the better part of her career. But that’s poised to change in a big way with the release of her latest film, The Souvenir, which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Prior to the film’s world premiere at the festival, A24 and Curzon Artificial Eye acquired its U.S. and U.K. distribution rights, respectively. Below is the official description of the film:

A shy but ambitious film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man (Tom Burke). She defies her protective mother (Tilda Swinton) and concerned friends as she slips deeper and deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams.

And below is the film’s first trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9Al2nC0vzY

A24 will release The Souvenir on May 17.

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Awards

Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

For appealing to voters’ nostalgia for drunken karaoke nights of yore, one film has the upper hand here.

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20th Century Fox
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Given what Eric wrote about the sound editing category yesterday, it now behooves me to not beat around the bush here. Also, it’s my birthday, and there are better things for me to do today than count all the ways that Eric and I talk ourselves out of correct guesses in the two sound categories, as well as step on each other’s toes throughout the entirety of our Oscar-prediction cycle. In short, it’s very noisy. Which is how Oscar likes it when it comes to sound, though maybe not as much the case with sound mixing, where the spoils quite often go to best picture nominees that also happen to be musicals (Les Misérables) or musical-adjacent (Whiplash). Only two films fit that bill this year, and since 2019 is already making a concerted effort to top 2018 as the worst year ever, there’s no reason to believe that the scarcely fat-bottomed mixing of Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody will take this in a walk, for appealing to voters’ nostalgia for drunken karaoke nights of yore.

Will Win: Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody

Could Win: A Star Is Born

Should Win: First Man

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