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Being Black and Watching “Get Out”

CJ

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**Mild Spoilers Ahead**

“What would happen if black people starred in horror films?” 

That question has been parodied and pondered for quite a while. Luckily for us, Jordan Peele decided to offer up his own answer, in the form of Get Out. In some cases, it has already happened…but a film of this caliber has not. 

First, let me preface this by saying that this is how I watched the film:

Basically like this…

While it’s true that I invited the people I sat next to, the color scheme essentially matched this picture. Two black friends of mine also came…but we had to “reserve” separate seats. Altogether that made for quite an interesting experience.

Ever since the film’s trailer was released, Get Out has been on my mind. And I was so excited to see it last week that I even got a whole group to come with me. I am not necessarily a fan of horror films—frankly a lot of clichéd formulas only convinced me to see a minimal amount of the newer films to avoid becoming bored by the ending. But Get Out is something different. It’s realistic horror, based on the Night Doctors and Sundown Towns of old Black America. Peele also brought up some practices back to life that sent a chill up my spine: hypnosis, human auction, etc. I’ll try not to spoil too much but there are some parts where I just cannot resist.

As someone who has often been the token, only, or first black woman (or person)  in many of my ventures, I found that Peele’s direction spoke to most of my entire existence. Of course, my results were nowhere near as terrifying.

Although Chris (our protagonist, played by Daniel Kaluuya) was thrust into the lion’s den, it was the audience that got to experience the discomfort that just led to unrest- especially me. Peele covered multiple layers of a fear that many black and brown people face in America. I felt the paranoia that people are watching you for all of the wrong reasons.

I pinpointed the puns and micro-aggressions, tacked onto backhanded compliments. The fetishized comments just freaked me out entirely. Conversations that began with “I would’ve voted for Obama for a 3rd term” were sprinkled into the film, and are reflected from real life. It is a feeling that is entirely personal, but profound each time. Peele disguised it cleverly too—in a world where political correctness is scoffed at, that whole “is it just me” paranoia often featured in horror is even more insidious here because it was actually happening but shoved to the side by the majority. Chris was intentionally outnumbered and outmatched. The ultimate grossness of racial relations gone awry slowly escalated the further Chris went away from the city.

Get Out was made even better by the Armitage’s ally-ship with Chris. Surprise…it’s fake. But Peele gave us a very nice bait and switch in the form of Rose (played by Allison Williams). While I never expected the Armitage parents to be totally versed in current social platitudes, it was Rose who I had the most hope for and ultimately betrayed me (and everyone else, according to some very vocal audience members). This is unfortunately a very true reality for many disadvantaged peoples- realizing that your friend or partner may not truly ride or die for you. One misplaced word, one odd gesture- and all of a sudden that partner is a stranger. In this case, it was all on purpose, but Rose pointing out the cop’s behavior after the wreck or calling out her family’s passive aggressive attitude made her a prime wolf in sheep’s clothing.

And while Chris went down the rabbit hole, his friend Rod offered a fantastic antithesis. He was the embodiment of the memes that joke about black people being realistic in a horror setting, and the tension release that was much needed.


But then he was also the embodiment of brotherhood, and ultimately Chris’ savior from a revolting fate.

While we’re here, I have to say how much I loved the third act. It subverted a lot of the classic archetypes you see in many a horror film.  Once you see it, you’ll understand what I mean. I think it’s very much Peele’s version of “cut the bullshit” and kill the stereotype, in more ways than one. Instead of suspense, there was racial tension. Slow kills in other films became three kills in three minutes in Get Out, and at least some of the black men live. I could not have been happier to see Rod in that (oddly apprehended) police car, coming to save Chris.

Because what kind of terrible irony would it have been to have a real cop step out of that car and pin that bloodbath on Chris? Well, I guess our reality…

In the end, the scars are deep for our protagonist, but (mostly) psychological. He may still have a particular trigger for the rest of his life too. If that isn’t a euphemism for the psychological terrors that marginalized people endure on a daily basis, I don’t know what is.

As far as horror goes, I think Peele has given us a “social horror” that is similar to Black Mirror on some levels. Apparently, there may be even more to come. If I had to describe my experience of it quickly, I would say Get Out was a display of the most extreme form of cultural appropriation/marginalization, so prepare for some discourse afterwards. The performances by the entire cast and ensemble were fantastic, so if you like horror in general I would definitely advise seeing this movie. Maybe with some of your more woke friends, so you can enjoy the memes later.


Images courtesy of Blumhouse Productions

CJ

Actress, Singer, Writer, and aspiring Jack of all trades. Surviving the insanity that is Florida for 20-something years. Cute but dangerous.

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The Fandomentals 2018 SAG Awards Primer

Dan

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In the past few months, we’ve seen the opinions of everyone from the Television Academy to the Hollywood Foreign Press to the nation’s biggest critics. But have you ever wondered what actors in Hollywood think of each other? Well the SAG’s, the babiest brother of the major film awards shows, will answer that very question.

The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (you see why we abbreviate) has been putting on their own awards show since the ancient and far-off year of 1995. Despite its youth compared to most other awards shows, the nods it gives (voted on by members of the union) are sometimes the best indicators for success when the Academy Award nominations come up. As such, we at the Fandomentals want to make sure you are kept abreast of the nominations for this year, as well as give our own take on who should, shouldn’t, and will win this year. As with the Golden Globes, the Fandomentals Head Film Critic Jeremiah Sherman will weigh in on the movie end of things, while I will be picking up the slack on the television end. This year will also be the first year that the SAG’s will have a host, the wonderful Kristen Bell.

Film

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Image Courtesy Perfect World Pictures

Timothée Chalamet – Call Me by Your Name as Elio Perlman

James Franco – The Disaster Artist as Tommy Wiseau

Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out as Chris Washington

Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour as Winston Churchill

Denzel Washington – Roman J. Israel, Esq. as Roman J. Israel

Who Will Win: Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour. Jeremiah: Oldman all but disappears in his performance of Winston Churchill. It’s not just the makeup it’s the overall fact that when you look at Oldman’s Churchill, you’re hard pressed to find any trace of the Oldman we know. It’s the type of performance actors adore; disappearing into the character.

Dan: He was our preferred pick at the Globes, where he took home the trophy. So far he has swept nearly every award that has this category, and I doubt that this will change for the SAG’s.

Who Should win: Honestly, Oldman should win. Of the actors nominated his performance is actually the best out of all of them. It should be made clear the remarkableness of Oldman’s performance is not just its chameleon-like aspect but in its ability to make us believe it. It’s a stunning piece of craftsmanship that should be rewarded.

Who Got Snubbed: Jeremy Renner for Wind River. I don’t know if I think his Corey Lambert should win, but it is hands down the best performance I’ve ever seen Renner give. The haunted, stoic, and angry character is typical of Renner; but here he fills Lambert with longing, sadness, and confusion. Renner’s Lambert feels like the first real performance he’s ever given. That alone deserves at least a nomination.

Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Lead Role:

Image Courtesy Fox Searchlight

Judi Dench – Victoria & Abdul as Queen Victoria

Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water as Elisa Esposito

Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Mildred Hayes

Margot Robbie – I, Tonya as Tonya Harding

Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson

Who Will Win:

Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Jeremiah: McDormand gives a gutwrenchingly honest portrayal of a grief-stricken and hell-bent matriarch in a small, fictional Midwestern town. It’s a potent performance and will most likely be lauded by her fellow actors, especially since they adore her. It helps that she’s won a Golden Globe for this role and has been putting in a strong showing on the awards circuit. Rightfully so, as she’s consistently one of the best yet somehow underappreciated actress working today.

Who Should Win: Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water. One of the more subtly daring performances. With almost no words, outside a lovely musical number, Hawkins conveyed to us a complete and fleshed out character. The relationship between Elisa and the Creature works in large part because of Hawkins’ deft handling of the material.

Who Got Snubbed: I know you’re expecting me to say Kristen Stewart for Personal Shopper and rightfully so. Even though she totally got snubbed, so did Danielle MacDonald for Patti Cake$. Her Patricia Dombrowski was a fierce and optimistic dream chaser. Patti’s obstacles are not end-of-the-world roadblocks, they are, everyday minor setbacks. Through it all, MacDonald gives us a performance that has us clapping our hands and stomping our feet when she takes the stage.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Image Courtesy Fox Searchlight

Steve Carell – Battle of the Sexes as Bobby Riggs

Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project as Bobby Hicks

Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Sheriff Bill Willoughby

Richard Jenkins – The Shape of Water as Giles

Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Officer Jason Dixon

Who Will Win: Steve Carell for Battle of the Sexes. It’s not based on anything except Carell’s Bobby Riggs was wonderfully layered. A man beset by his lesser angels while also being, shockingly, one most keen cultural observers, and a seemingly inexhaustible daring self-promoter. Battle of the Sexes was never as good as it should have been but it wasn’t awful, and that’s due in large part to Carell’s Bobby Riggs.

Dan: As much as I loved Carrell, I have a sneaking suspicion that Hollywood’s need to reward shitty white dude characters will help continue Sam Rockwell’s dominance in this category. Even though Woody Harrelson puts in a better performance, Rockwell’s “redemption” arc seems to be resonating with the film world.

Who Should Win: Willem Dafoe’s Bobby from The Florida Project pulled off one of the most infamously difficult aspects of acting: he doesn’t appear to be acting. Of course, he’s acting, but his Bobby is free of any theatrical artifice or mannerisms. Even though there’s no noticeable difference between Bobby or Dafoe, the actor himself is nowhere to be seen.

Who Got Snubbed: Patrick Stewart for Charles Xavier in Logan. Logan was far and away the single best departure from the ho-humness that plagues the superhero genre. Stewart as Professor X gives a blistering and honest performance as a man in the final stages of his life. Unusually for a genre that is normally cavalier in its treatment of death, the tragedy of mental deterioration and death is made uncomfortably real by Stewart’s portrayal.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Image Courtesy A24

Mary J. Blige – Mudbound as Florence Jackson

Hong Chau – Downsizing as Ngoc Lan Tran

Holly Hunter – The Big Sick as Beth Gardner

Allison Janney – I, Tonya as LaVona Golden

Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird as Marion McPherson

Who Will Win: Laurie Metcalf for Ladybird, if for no other reason than because I think the Guild feels a kinship with Metcalf. She’s a working actress getting a second wind in her career. I think the Guild will want to reward her for what is one of the best performances of the year.

Who Should Win: Mary J. Blige for Mudbound. A film that was all but buried by Netflix. It could have died a quiet death if not for Blige’s scathing turn as Florence Jackson. Blige conveys strength and vulnerability even from behind a pair of dark sunglasses. A wife and mother who sees her family fortunes crumble before her only to see them rise from the ashes is a tour de force for any actor. But for a first-time actor? It is astounding.

Who Got Snubbed: Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip. A comedic force-of-nature, Haddish’s Dina was a vulgar loudmouth who was still more human than caricature. Much has been said about the grapefruit scene, but little is said about the scene after. Dina takes her friends into her room, kneels, and leads them in prayer. An act of simple faith that isn’t part of a larger message. Haddish’s Dina is such an astounding comedic creation because she is a complete creation, with beliefs and ideas, and not just comedic foibles.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Image Courtesy Fox Searchlight

The Big Sick – Adeel Akhtar, Holly Hunter, Zoe Kazan, Anupam Kher, Kumail Nanjiani, Ray Romano and Zenobia Shroff

Get Out – Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Bradley Whitford and Allison Williams

Lady Bird – Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Laurie Metcalf, Jordan Rodrigues, Saoirse Ronan, Odeya Rush, Marielle Scott and Lois Smith

Mudbound – Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan and Carey Mulligan

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, Woody Harrelson, John Hawkes, Lucas Hedges, Željko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Frances McDormand, Clarke Peters, Sam Rockwell and Samara Weaving

Who Will Win: Lord help me I think it may be Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri. Deeply flawed but incredibly acted, it tries in vain to wrestle with the human complexity and the notion of justice. It’s burdened by the whiteness of its cast, and it’s narrative cowardice when dealing with racial issues. It has four women characters, but only one of them is given anything interesting to do or say. The others are merely decorative assets for their male counterparts. Needless to say, I’m betting SAG will just love all the great performances in this movie and overlook the inherent narrative flaws.

Who Should Win: The Big Sick is a movie I didn’t love, but it is a movie I liked a lot. I will say that it has a fantastic cast and it serves the movie well. Michael Showalter has nothing to say visually, but he is smart enough to stack his cast with heavy hitters. Kumail Nanjiani, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Zoe Kazan, Anupam Kher, and Zenobia Shroff make The Big Sick as powerful and poignant as it is. The script by Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon gives the whole cast grade A meat to sink their teeth into. Heartwarming and touching The Big Sick works as well as it does because of its cast.

Who Got Snubbed: Before you get your pitchforks and torches ready hear me out, Justice League. Justice League is by no means a masterpiece by any definition of the word, nor is it worthy of any actual awards. BUT the cast made that movie work it’s weird, herky-jerky magic. Collectively they made a series of disjointed scenes and overly produced action sequences work because when they were together the movie was actually kind of fun. Whether it was Aquaman sitting on Diana’s lasso of truth or Batman’s look of gushing love when Superman joins in the fight against whatever the bad guy’s name was, they sold the scene. I’m not saying they deserve the award but they sure as hell deserve a nomination more than Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri.

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Image Courtesy Warner Bros.

Baby Driver, ST-C Robert Nagle

Dunkirk, ST-C Tom Struthers

Logan, ST-C’s Nuo Sun, Gary Hymes, Garret Warren

War for the Planet of the Apes ST-C’s Isaac Hamon, Terry Notary, John Stoneham Jr., Danny Virtue

Wonder Woman ST-C’a Tim Rigby, Marcus Shakesheff, Lee Sheward

Who Will Win: Wonder Woman. While the other films in this category did a great job with their stunts, Wonder Woman not only had a fantastic stunt cast, they also let the stunt actors BE characters. A good chunk of the best stunts in the film were by the Amazons, who were played by an extremely talented and athletic group of women. Rather than let the stunt women stay in the background, Patty Jenkins let them feature in front of the camera and for that, I think the Guild will reward.

Who Should Win: Wonder Woman, again. The beach scene alone is amazing, but it also had some fantastic work during the war scenes as well.

Who Got Snubbed: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It’s sort of the norm for the SAG’s to snub December release films, but this snub in this category is more surprising. It’s hard to beat Star Wars when it comes to stunts, and Praetorian Guard fight on Snoke’s Ship was as standout a feat of action as any other in 2017.

Television

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

Image Courtesy HBO

Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: The Lying Detective as Sherlock Holmes

Jeff Daniels – Godless as Frank Griffin

Robert De Niro – The Wizard of Lies as Bernard Madoff

Geoffrey Rush – Genius as Albert Einstein

Alexander Skarsgård – Big Little Lies as Perry Wright

Who Will Win: Alexander Skarsgård. Already a success at multiple shows, and considering the tongue bath that the awards shows have been giving Big Little Lies, this seems like a gimme.

Who Should Win: Sadly, this category isn’t nearly as competitive as most of the others. The closest to Skarsgård in critical acclaim is maybe De Niro, but that’s probably just the built-in bias people have for the man.

Who Got Snubbed: Charlie Cox in The Defenders. A snub that can largely be chalked up to genre bias, Cox had perhaps the strongest storyline in a show stuffed to the brim with them. While Cox wouldn’t win, he’s at least as worthy as Blueberry Pumpkinpatch

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

Image Courtesy HBO

Laura Dern – Big Little Lies as Renata Klein

Nicole Kidman – Big Little Lies as Celeste Wright

Jessica Lange – Feud: Bette and Joan as Joan Crawford

Susan Sarandon – Feud: Bette and Joan as Bette Davis

Reese Witherspoon – Big Little Lies as Madeline MacKenzie

Who Will Win: The real question is which actress in Big Little Lies will win. Considering there’s no supporting vs. main actress delineation, it could be any of the three. The best bet is Nicole Kidman, who can be counted on to give a flowery speech about female empowerment as she accepts her award.

Who Should Win: Susan Sarandon. While she’s gotten very little love, thanks largely to the sheer dominance of Big Little Lies, I still think Sarandon did a great job in making sure her Bette Davis transcends a simple impression.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Image Courtesy NBC

Jason Bateman – Ozark as Martin “Marty” Byrde

Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us as Randall Pearson

Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones as Tyrion Lannister

David Harbour – Stranger Things as Jim Hopper

Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman

Who Will Win: Sterling K. Brown has been killing it at the awards this year, and his performance justifies that success. And in a category largely filled by more ensemble shows, he seems an easy choice for the Guild’s committees.

Who Should Win: David Harbour. It can be hard to stand out in an ensemble cast, especially when that cast is in a genre show. But Harbour has gotten a good deal of well-earned love for his performance. Transitioning from burned out sheriff to surrogate father finding his feet, Harbour helped Hopper maintain his position as the stable rock amidst the chaos around Hawkins.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Image Courtesy Hulu

Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things as Eleven

Claire Foy – The Crown as Elizabeth II

Laura Linney – Ozark as Wendy Byrde

Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale as June Osborne/Offred

Robin Wright – House of Cards as Claire Underwood

Who Will Win: Elizabeth Moss. Another obvious choice, but this is a great place for the Guild to reward The Handmaid’s Tale for its work and topical importance.

Who Should Win: Claire Foy. She’s been great in both seasons of The Crown, and with the show moving past her it’s now or never to reward her acting.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Image Courtesy Netflix

Anthony Anderson – Black-ish as Andre “Dre” Johnson

Aziz Ansari – Master of None as Dev Shah

Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm as Himself

Sean Hayes – Will & Grace as Jack McFarland

William H. Macy – Shameless as Frank Gallagher

Marc Maron – GLOW as Sam Sylvia

Who Will Win: Aziz Ansari. Despite his recent controversies, Aziz has gotten nothing but love for his turn in season 2 of Master of None.

Who Should Win: Anthony Anderson. Not only is he fantastic in his comedic moments, but he also does a good job during Black-ish’s frequent serious discussions of race in America.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Image Courtesy HBO

Uzo Aduba – Orange Is the New Black as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren

Alison Brie – GLOW as Ruth “Zoya the Destroya” Wilder

Jane Fonda – Grace and Frankie as Grace Hanson

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep as Selina Meyer

Lily Tomlin – Grace and Frankie as Frankie Bergstein

Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Thanks to the scary parallels between Veep and some modern-day politics, the character of Selina Meyer has gotten even more accolades than she did in earlier seasons.

Who Should Win:  For this category, the inevitable choice is probably the correct one.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Image Courtesy Hulu

The Crown – Claire Foy, Victoria Hamilton, Vanessa Kirby, Anton Lesser and Matt Smith

Game of Thrones – Alfie Allen, Jacob Anderson, Pilou Asbæk, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, John Bradley West, Jim Broadbent, Gwendoline Christie, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Liam Cunningham, Peter Dinklage, Richard Dormer, Nathalie Emmanuel, James Faulkner, Jerome Flynn, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Conleth Hill, Kristofer Hivju, Tom Hopper, Anton Lesser, Rory McCann, Staz Nair, Richard Rycroft, Sophie Turner, Rupert Vansittart and Maisie Williams

The Handmaid’s Tale – Madeline Brewer, Amanda Brugel, Ann Dowd, O. T. Fagbenle, Joseph Fiennes, Tattiawna Jones, Max Minghella, Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski and Samira Wiley

Stranger Things – Sean Astin, Millie Bobby Brown, Cara Buono, Joe Chrest, Catherine Curtin, Natalia Dyer, David Harbour, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Dacre Montgomery, Paul Reiser, Winona Ryder, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink and Finn Wolfhard

This Is Us – Eris Baker, Alexandra Breckenridge, Sterling K. Brown, Lonnie Chavis, Justin Hartley, Faithe Herman, Ron Cephas Jones, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Moore, Chris Sullivan, Milo Ventimiglia, Susan Kelechi Watson and Hannah Zeile

Who Will Win: This is the closest thing the SAG’s have to a “Best Series” award, and it’s a tough race. Game of Thrones is always a contender, as are relative newcomers The Crown and This Is Us. But the most likely winner is The Handmaid’s Tale. Picking up the win at the Emmy’s and the Globes is always a good sign, and it’s doubtful that the chord that the series struck with audiences didn’t also reach the acting community.

Who Should Win: Stranger Things. Out of all of the series nominated, Stranger Things is the series that best represents a truly great ensemble. With this past season featuring great work from the adults (Sean Astin, Winona Ryder, and David Harbour) and the kids (Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, et al.), the series deserves a win. Sadly, it’s probably bogged down by the fact that it IS largely a child cast and good old genre snobbery.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Image Via HBO

Black-ish – Anthony Anderson, Miles Brown, Deon Cole, Laurence Fishburne, Jenifer Lewis, Peter Mackenzie, Marsai Martin, Jeff Meacham, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marcus Scribner and Yara Shahidi

Curb Your Enthusiasm – Ted Danson, Larry David, Susie Essman, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines and J. B. Smoove

GLOW – Britt Baron, Alison Brie, Kimmy Gatewood, Betty Gilpin, Rebekka Johnson, Chris Lowell, Sunita Mani, Marc Maron, Kate Nash, Sydelle Noel, Marianna Palka, Gayle Rankin, Bashir Salahuddin, Rich Sommer, Kia Stevens, Jackie Tohn, Ellen Wong and Britney Young

Orange Is the New Black – Uzo Aduba, Emily Althaus, Danielle Brooks, Rosal Colon, Jackie Cruz, Francesca Curran, Daniella De Jesus, Lea DeLaria, Nick Dillenburg, Asia Kate Dillon, Beth Dover, Kimiko Glenn, Annie Golden, Laura Gómez, Diane Guerrero, Evan Arthur Hall, Michael J. Harney, Brad William Henke, Mike Houston, Vicky Jeudy, Kelly Karbacz, Julie Lake, Selenis Leyva, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, Adrienne C. Moore, Miriam Morales, Kate Mulgrew, Emma Myles, John Palladino, Matt Peters, Jessica Pimentel, Dascha Polanco, Laura Prepon, Jolene Purdy, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Nick Sandow, Abigail Savage, Taylor Schilling, Constance Shulman, Dale Soules, Yael Stone, Emily Tarver, Michael Torpey and Lin Tucci

Veep – Dan Bakkedahl, Anna Chlumsky, Gary Cole, Margaret Colin, Kevin Dunn, Clea Duvall, Nelson Franklin, Tony Hale, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sam Richardson, Paul Scheer, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Sarah Sutherland and Matt Walsh

Who Will Win: Veep. Most of my reasoning is mentioned in my justification for Julia-Louise Dreyfus’s win prediction, but there’s no doubt her work wouldn’t be nearly as good without the team surrounding her.

Who Should Win: GLOW. A great show that seemed to fly under some people’s radar, it took a much different approach to the 2017’s theme of female empowerment. Mixing funny and emotional as deftly as any Jenji Kohan program, the show had its ensemble pulling double duty as actors and as wrestlers. Sadly, if there’s one thing with less respect than genre, it’s professional wrestling.

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series

Image Courtesy HBO

Game of Thrones ST-C Rowley Irlam

GLOW ST-CS Shauna Duggins

Homeland ST-C’s Brian Smyj, Mark Fichera

Stranger Things ST-C Lonnie R. Smith Jr.

The Walking Dead ST-C Monty L. Simons

Who Will Win: Game of Thrones cleans up in technical categories, and have won this six years running. With each season getting bigger and sillier, so have the stunts gotten more impressive to match.

Who Should Win: GLOW. While losing best ensemble would be expected, losing Best Stunt Ensemble will be a bigger disappointment. Unlike other shows, GLOW is almost centered around stunts. It did a great job in having the wrestling look as real as real wrestling, while also capturing some of the painful qualities of it. As well, the cast was trained in professional wrestling, and pro wrestlers like Carlito put in some good work throughout the series.

The 24th Annual Screen Actor’s Guild Awards will be hosted by Kristen Bell, and presented on January 21, 2018, on both TNT and TBS, 8:00 p.m. EST / 5:00 p.m. PST

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Dear White WLW, Your Concern is Unnecessary

Shahar

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Black Lightning, Anissa, and Jennifer with the phrase Get Lit

WLW fandom, I have a bone to pick with you. Not all of you, but a very large chunk of you. Can y’all explain to me why it’s acceptable to put a warning about Black Lightning not being good LGBT representation because it’s on the CW?

Some of you will say it’s because of Lexa on The 100 and the 2016 Spring Slaughter (not only LGBT characters), or because of Sanvers’ break up on Supergirl. See this is hilarious to me because the writers coded Lexa as non-white, but a white actress portrayed her. Maggie’s role originally written for a Latina had a white actress too!

That’s racist!

I’ll pause here for a second and say I’m using them as examples because they’re the two that self-identified white lesbians have used as examples for their fear about Black Lightning being on the CW which “kills all of its gays.” (False statement, thanks.)

Even funnier are the people saying this who didn’t even know that BL has Anissa. The lead’s daughter, a Black, dark-skinned lesbian with superpowers. (Who in the comics is practically BULLETPROOF!?) Or that it will introduce a queer (identified as such by the actress) Black woman with her own love interest, Chenoa, as well as Grace, Anissa’s love interest, an Asian-Amazonian woman!

If you don’t get why I and so many women of color are pissed, I’ll spell it out.

Using ships treated poorly by white showrunners as a barometer for a show run by Black writers with an almost entirely Black cast for Black people (and all of America) is incredibly offensive and ridiculous.

It’s racist!

If a show has an ounce of white LGBT rep, all of us are told we need to support it. Yet, when we have three canonical LBQ women of color, you’re warning viewers? (And don’t act like there haven’t been other issues around WoC ships, but that is for another non-Black Lightning discussion.)

Look, I’ll be the first to say that The CW sucks at positive, sustained rep for LGBT characters. I even wrote an article about it. However, unlike those shows run by white people; a Black Muslim couple, Mara Brock and Salim Akil, are in charge of Black Lightning. They haven’t baited us, unlike Rothenberg or the last guy at Supergirl…you know, the one who got fired.

Every single pilot preview has mentioned Anissa is a lesbian, the actress is incredibly excited to portray her, and the Akils have stated more than once that they want to portray a real LGBT couple as real people, not just a cause of the week.

Black Lightning’s treatment of Anissa, Chenoa, and Grace might suck. (I highly doubt it will when the writers are committed to doing it right. Plus, they had LGB characters on past shows, like Being Mary Jane.) If it does suck, I  will be the first to call the showrunners out on their crap.

But the show hasn’t premiered yet. So can y’all stop and think about what you’re saying, just once? Don’t stop others from watching the first show with a dark-skinned, Black, lesbian soon-to-be-superhero!

And for people saying that the CW executives don’t have anything to do with representation so we should only blame the showrunners and writers, well I get what you’re saying. But that’s not completely accurate.

While showrunners and writers introduce the plot points for major character moments, the network execs will still have a say on major character deaths, rebirths, pregnancies, weddings, time jumps, etc. (Though I’m sure some showrunners are exempt once they’ve reached a certain point in their careers, like Shonda Rhimes). This especially matters for the events airing during ratings grabs. (Come back in February for a longer explanation of this.)

As someone who writes about media representation, I am the first to be wary about new characters on broadcast television. But I’m also not going to assume the worst of people who are using canon and have stated multiple times that they want to do this right.

So check out Kori’s awesome primer on the show, watch the show, and come back Wednesday the 17th for my review of the premiere.


Image courtesy of The CW

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Culture

Golden Globes Featured Oprah Speech, Some Awards

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The whole of Hollywood is enveloped by a cloud of suspicion and on fire with rebellion. Once powerful men and fixtures of these awards shows have been brought low by their own rampant immorality. The women (and men) who took them down, who finally said NO MORE and kicked down the doors of the halls of power and dragged Weinstein and Spacey out, kicking and screaming; they won’t go back to normalcy. The women at the Beverly Hilton, dressed in all black out of solidarity, were not at the Golden Globes to fritter their time away with champagne and idle chatter. They had something to say. And they said it loud.

Glitz and Glamor Goes Political

For E! and NBC, the Golden Globes ceremony is a harmless fantasy to peddle to Middle America. The beautiful people, all dressed in clothes more expensive than a car, mingling and telling jokes. The companies wanted nothing more than to have us stay in that absorbed state, to let the Globes stay harmless. As a result, the red carpet was a sloppy mess of usual trite banter, movie promotion, and discussions of endemic oppression. E! wanted so much to track up and down the bodies of the actresses, lingering on the curves and exposed skin, ignoring the women activists right next to them or the “Times Up” pin on their lapel.

The hosts tried to stay on brand with the men, discussing their films or the ceremony with them. The women bore the brunt of explaining themselves, explaining the meaning of the movement and its importance to everyone outside of Hollywood. To their credit, the actresses all maintained their solidarity with each other, even as the situation kept being re-centered around men.

Seth Tries

Seth Myers was in a tough, tough spot this year. All eyes are on the men of Hollywood, and he was forced to walk the fine line between comedy and insensitivity, to keep punching up. And, to his credit, he did a good job. From an initial joke referencing the “remaining” men of Hollywood to a rather funny exchange with ex-Weekend Update co-host Amy Poehler on “mansplaining” humor, Seth kept his comedy running as fast as he could. He evaded nothing, taking shots at Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and the still Teflon-coated Woody Allen. Unlike the past, when the camera would cut to awkward reactions or troubled chuckling, these jokes solicited cathartic laughs from the women and (some) men in the audience.

Already a little hyper at best, the speed of the show did mean that Seth sometimes felt on fast forward. Seth won’t beat Amy and Tina from three years ago, but he was a marked improvement over the past few years of Fallon and Gervais.

Despite Feminist Focus, A Male-Dominated Field

Outside of the gender-specific acting awards, the big film awards went to men. The blatant snubbing of Patty Jenkins and Greta Gerwig meant that Best Director could only go to man, even if we got the best outcome in Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water. While some of the big wins of the night for women came from stories driven by women (as the awards were apt to mention), the people writing and directing most of them were still men. Martin McDonagh won Best Screenplay for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,  and he accepted the eventual Best Drama award for the film as well, a film which got Frances McDormand her first Globe for Best Actress in a Drama.

Only Lady Bird seemed to have an authentic female presence across the board, with Greta Gerwig accepting the award for Best Comedy/Musical after Saoirse Ronan got a Best Actress Comedy/Musical nod. In an environment that scrutinized gender disparity,  the on-camera/off-camera balance issues were more obvious than ever.

Women Will Not Be Silenced

To the delight of many, the women giving out awards and receiving them were not shy about sharing their feelings. Natalie Portman may have had the line of the night with a joke about following Oprah’s impassioned speech (which we’ll get to) with a list of all male directors.

Acceptance speeches were in rare form. Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and Reese Witherspoon, whose TV series Big Little Lies got what Kori described as a tongue bath with four wins tonight, brought out the same speeches on supporting women that they used at the Emmy’s. Rachel Brosnahan got a good speech in on the importance of women’s stories when she won for best TV Actress Comedy/Musical. And then, of course, there was Oprah’s speech.

Oprah 2020

Reese Witherspoon introduced Oprah for the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement in Film Award, and she and the HFP did a good job putting Oprah in context of both cinema and American culture as a whole. But when Oprah got on stage to accept her award, after the requisite hug from Reese, she launched into one of the best speeches ever given at an awards show.

She spoke of herself at first, of seeing Sidney Poitier win an Oscar and inspire generations. Of the celebration of blackness that was wholly alien to her at the time. She thanked who she needed to thank. She praised the women protesting at the awards. But then she went further. With each word, Oprah’s voice grew stronger. The emotions behind her eyes moved from joy to sadness to righteous fury. In her hand, the Golden Globe was not a trophy but a scepter, a cudgel against Hollywood’s predators. She not only spoke truth to power, she demanded that her fellow women do the same and be allowed to do the same. The women of the awards shows, yes, but the women across the world, the domestic workers, soldiers, and waitresses.  She gazed forward to a day when the fight that overwhelmed the Golden Globes will lead to a world where nobody will need to say #MeToo.

Her speech set the world on fire. The crowd was in tears; Twitter was exploding. The power of her words was such that you felt her projecting not just her anger at those who do wrong, but also her hope. Oprah stood on stage and clutched an award, an award previously held by men like Jack Warner, Woody Allen, and John Wayne— and gave a speech that not only captured the emotions of the night, but that may define the #MeToo movement for years to come. Watch it below:

Other Thoughts

  • Three Billboards winning Best Drama was a bit of an upset, with most money on either Del Toro’s The Shape of Water or Nolan’s Dunkirk getting the trophy. Nolan came away with nothing tonight, with even the reliable Hans Zimmer not winning for Best Score.
  • The Fandomentals went 5/11 this year, with our predictions whiffing on nearly all of the drama awards. However, we are not unhappy. Multiple awards went to our first choices, like McDormand and Oldman for acting and Del Toro for directing.  So while we may be batting under .500, we still feel good. (I hope I got that right, I don’t watch baseball!)
  • Sterling K. Brown gave an amazing speech that I fear will be buried, on the limitations of “color-blind” casting as an be all, end all to solving diversity problems. While the biggest issue tonight was one of gender, Brown and Oprah did a great job making sure the status of the less white were not forgotten.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel creator Amy Sherman-Palladino ran off after accepting her award for Best Comedy/Musical TV Series to find cheese. Some say she is still searching to this day.

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Image Courtesy NBCUniversal/Paul Drinkwater

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