1. “PGA (Barely) Adds Mystery to Best Picture Race.” Reporting for The Film Experience, Glenn Dunks weighs in on the PGA nominations, hailing the inclusion of Blue Jasmine while rightly fearing for the shut-out Weinstein Company’s Oscar hopes.
“The Weinsteins are in big trouble. August: Osage County and Philomena weren’t expected to show up [here], but Fruitvale Station and Lee Daniels’ The Butler seem like natural fits for the producers to acknowledge, what with one being a breakout film with real world political heft, and the other a surprise box office smash that took A LOT of producer wrangling to get financed and made. Did having 41 credited producers hurt it? The latter still has a chance what with those three SAG nominations, but I’d guess the other three are all but done as Best Picture contenders.”
2. “Alleged Arson at Seattle Gay Bar Reveals Better Media Coverage of LBGTQ Community.” Seattle’s iconic queer nightclub Neighbors suffered a New Year’s fire, and the local media reported the story with inclusive sensitivity.
“Media coverage of the event has included a heartening feature amid an otherwise upsetting—though thankfully not tragic—story: Aleksa Manila, a 10-year veteran drag performer at Neighbors, has been widely quoted on the importance of the space to the community. So kudos to the reporters who sought out Manila for comment, and a special commendation to King 5 reporter Alison Morrow for correctly referring to Manila as ’she’ in her story. That kind of sensitivity to queer people and culture can go a long way toward making painful stories like these a little more bearable.”
3. ”Inside Llewyn Davis Review.” For Cinema Scope, Adam Nayman offers a gorgeous essay on the Coen Brothers’ latest, covering Judaism, pseudonyms, J. Hoberman, paternal anxiety, and, of course, “that darn cat.”
“Reviewing Inside Llewyn Davis for the Jewish publication Tablet, J. Hoberman assures us that ’Llewyn is of indeterminate ethnicity but definitely gentile—if only because he is far too appealing to be a Jew in Coenville.’ Perhaps the only thing as consistent as the brothers’ 30-year run of immaculate black comedies is Hoberman’s treatment of them as his own personal black sheep boys. In review after review, Hoberman has met what he perceives as the pair’s contempt for their characters with plenty of his own. And he isn’t afraid to get personal, either. ’Although a robust disdain for their creatures is a given, it is when the Coens deploy explicitly Jewish characters that their glee turns hostile,’ Hoberman insists elsewhere in the review, which in its roving, effortless command of film, musical, literary, and cultural history establishes the author as every bit his quarry’s equal.”
4. “At Work, de Blasio Finds Full Plate of Headaches.” In a hectic first full day as New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio introduced himself to a wary police force, navigated unfamiliar hallways with a skeletal staff, and confronted an imminent winter storm.
“If Mr. de Blasio sounded confident as he defended his inauguration, he was in unfamiliar territory as he checked off the scores of snowplows and salt spreaders mustered against the approaching winter weather, an operation far larger than the tiny political offices he has previously managed. At one point, he confided, ’I’ll be a lot calmer when the storm system flows out to sea, I’ll tell you that much.’ There were signs aplenty that the mayor was still becoming accustomed to the trappings and traditions of his new role.”
5. “Charlotte Gainsbourg Says She Thought Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Was Just a Joke At First.” Continuing its epic tease of the carnal two-parter, the Nymphomaniac team releases its first interview, with star and von Trier muse Gainsbourg.
“’The first time I heard anything, was [Lars] talking in Cannes, and I thought he was making a joke…and it was quite funny,” Gainsbourg said. “And then, much later on, I read the script. I just thought it was a joke, and that it was a provocation. And I didn’t want to hope too much that he was asking me to do a third film. I didn’t want to think about it too much in case it wasn’t true.’ Well it turned out to be true, with much of the talk around the film centering on its explicit, hardcore sex, and much of [the sex] performed by porno body doubles. For Gainsbourg, that was crucial. ’I was very, very nervous at first. I needed it to be very clear that actors were not going to perform sex. As long as that was clear, I was fine.’”
Video of the Day: Ever the smug nadir of interviewers, Matt Lauer tells Brian Boitano he “wasn’t shocked” when the gold medalist recently, officially came out:
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