Zachary Ray Sherman [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We have another wonderful interview for you all on this beautiful Wednesday! Well, it’s looking pretty good around these parts, and I hope it is well for you all. Today we have some wonderful words from a brilliant actor, writer, producer, and director. It’s Zachary Ray Sherman, Everyone!

Sherman may be most recognizable for his work on the brilliant Netflix Original Series, Everything Sucks! And while we may not be seeing more of this incredible series, I was a huge fan of what we got to see. And our lovely guest was absolutely amazing on the program. Zachary has had an incredibly entertaining career beyond this one series, and has some pretty amazing projects in the works that will be coming to you in the near future, which we will discuss below.

Zachary Ray Sherman is a brilliant person who couldn’t have given us any more nicer of responses to our queries, and we are so excited to have him on the site today. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the truly brilliant human being, the great Zachary Ray Sherman. Enjoy!

You happen to hail from a region that we here at TWS consider to be the best in the land, which is the Great Pacific Northwest. Specifically the wonderful city of Portland, Oregon. Did you begin your career in the city of Roses? And did the city have any sort of influence on you?

I’m with you, I love Portland and the PCNW too. All my family is up there, I’m lucky to visit many times a year. And yup, I began my career in Portland. I discovered acting pretty young through a class. A neighbor girl asked my sister to go with her to this acting class downtown, my sister asked me to come along. I ended up going along and really fell in love. Portland actress Sharonlee Mclean taught that class and opened my eyes to what acting was and could be. I recently asked Sharonlee act in my most recent feature which was shot in Portland, she’s the best.

I’m sure the city had an influence on me. When I first moved away, I noticed the people being different. I moved south to LA when I was twenty-one but was always in Portland til then, it’s all I knew. I acted in plenty of short films and art projects for aspiring Portland filmmakers, I TA’d and attended a really great acting class which primed me for upcoming work in LA. But yeah, I’m sure the people, weather, and region had a large influence on who I am. 

What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this first experience that you still keep in your acting arsenal to this day?

After the acting class with Sharonlee, this was the mid 90’s, I continued exploring acting in some classes around town and finding an agent. Soon after I was cast in a cable MOW (movie of the week) on the Lifetime channel playing Kirsten Dunst’s little brother. The role was written for an older teen, but for whatever reason they went with me. From day one, I was in awe of production. Trucks lining the block, crew everywhere, houses being taken over for the set, it was amazing. I knew this is what I wanted to do. The director and I hit it off, he’d made one of the Free Willy movies prior and was the sweetest guy from New Zealand. He had an ease while helming the show that was (and still is) impressive. I focused on playing my part in this family. I was surrounded by great actors and it sort of felt like being thrown in a pool to learn to swim. You just do it and I was sidelines enough where it easy enough to figure it out. It was a story about teen pregnancy (Fifteen and Pregnant) and how it affects the girls and her life. Production was this amazing process, I think I must have been like, ‘holy crap, this is was what making movies is…’ Everything about that job appealed to my fourteen year old self, still does. I was lucky that it showed me what I wanted to do, I’ve never really looked back.

 

 

Last year you had a reoccurring role on the hit Netflix Original series, Everything Sucks!, which I have found to be a whole lot of fun, especially as a former child in the 90’s. So, I am curious to know how your experience has been working on this project? Is it as enjoyable to work on as it is for us to watch?

Glad to hear you liked it. I did too. I’ve been friends with Ben Jones, one of the creators of the show for over a decade. We were enrolled in the same film school before I dropped out. He asked if I wanted to read for the part, I loved the material and they liked what I was doing. It was great to be able to come home to work on the show. Ben and Mike (Mohan, co-creator and director of ES!) did such a tremendous job with the series. As did Ry Russo, a great director who helmed a handful of the episodes. It’s a shame the series wasn’t renewed but I’m grateful to have been a part of it. 

Every role is different … whether ‘it’s as much fun to watch as it is to work on’ … and it’s probably more fun to watch then to work on. That said, I’m still in the love with sets and acting on them and making movies as I was on day one… It can just be grueling. And acting is never easy. With ES! I was in a unique position as the character I played is the absent-dad, who’s been gone for years. As the show goes on, Luke (my character’s son) learns more and more about his father though these VHS tapes left behind in the garage, which were essentially video diaries, years before the selfie or vlogging. 

The majority of my material was those moments on the VHS tapes. The way it worked was that I filmed all those ‘VHS tape segments’ in one sitting. I started work on day 00 as they call it. The day before everyone comes to work and officially begins. For day 00 they had a skeleton crew for this garage shoot along with knocking off a few other moments with the some of kids at the same location. So I shot the majority of six or seven episodes in one day.  It was a little uphill as the material we shot was longer than what made the show. Lots to memorize. Leroy rants and rants in his garage, the writers did a beautiful job exploring this guy and what he thinks about and says to his camera alone in his garage, it was great stuff. It was a good amount of dialogue. Luckily I was prepping for a play in LA, Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain which essentially is two actors who never leave the stage for 90 minutes and just talk. 8 page monologues talk. So my retaining-dialogue-muscle had been working out and I was able to come at the Leroy work with some momentum. 

Mike, Ben and team made a fantastic show. People should check it out if they haven’t yet.

I am very intrigued by a project you wrote, directed, and produced, as well as starred in, entitled Barbie’s Kenny. Can you tell us a bit about this project? How did you come up with this incredibly unique sounding story?

First off, I didn’t star in it, I’m listed online as an actor but it’s really just an off camera voice. That was a clear decision I made at from the beginning. I decided that my first time directing, I’d better not complicate it and I’m very glad we did it this way. Just directing was a great choice. I may try out doing both someday, we’ll see. 

My lead actors, all the actors were terrific. I wrote it with many of them in mind. I’m a very acting-forward director, it’s hard not to be with my experience and that’s how we begin… with rehearsing. 

This project came out of me wanting to quit thinking about directing and making a movie and actually do it. So I self financed it (savings, loans and credit) and shot it very quickly as people were working for free or next to nothing. I was elevated by my talented peers who came on and donated their time, skill and energy to the project. My director of photography (Martim Vian) is brilliant and he was an amazing catch. I didn’t think he’d be available to do it, but he read the script and he liked it and generously came on board. It was a lot of work, but I thrive on the prep, the planning, deciding what’s going to be the best for the making of the movie. I wrote, produced and directed and we shot it in ten days. The story is loosely based off of my girlfriend and her dad. A couple years ago he came to live with us and I got to know him. I dramatized the seed of the inspiration (you can equate it to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet in that he took this story that took place over months, in some times years in previous versions and he ratcheted up the tension by placing the drama within days) and came up with the script by taking a microbudget online film course led by a great guy Shawn Whitney. The script came together really quickly and after shooting Everything Sucks! I began planning how to go and make my first feature and was shooting a few months later. 

If you were given the opportunity write, direct, and or/star in a biopic about any well known individual in American history, who would you choose?

There’s two. Houdini and Bukowski. 

Houdini was the first celebrity here, I’ve always thought there’s something there. He’s this great symbol of the American reinventing itself. I’ve been interested in telling a story with him and his wife Bessie at the middle. And Bukowski is someone I’ve always joked to my sister and girlfriend about but would seriously love to do later in life if the opportunity came to be. I love his fervor and think there are endless paths to explore. 

 

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to share with our readers?

My sister (Sarah Sherman) and I work together and are in the edit on our first feature together. We shot it in Portland in fall of 2018. It’s a love story of sorts, exploring the first love experience. Quinn Liebling, Tyler from Everything Sucks!, plays a sophomore in high school and Anjini Taneja Azhar plays a freshman who lives across the street from each other in Portland. We’re really lucky and the film is being executive produced by the Duplass Brothers. We’re excited to share it. Anjini and Quinn are terrific and I think people will really connect with them. 

Another project to note is a film I acted in last year. We actually began shooting one year to the day … or maybe give or take three, but it was literally a year ago. It’s a very memorable and heavy project, in many ways. 

The film is called Cuck a character study observing an isolated young man who doesn’t feel heard or seen. And has a pretty traumatic past. It’s a look into a problem our nation is plagued with (unlike the rest of the world) these mass shootings that occur daily and which we’re numb to. I’m getting soapbox and bubbled and that should be separate from this explanation because the movie we made is simply about this guy (and the state of America) and I think it could really pack of punch, we’ll see. We put everything into the work and I’m eager to see what Rob (director Rob Lambert) did with the film. I’ll be seeing it in a week or so for the first time. It was a first for me in that I approached the character in a new way: gained nearly 45lbs for the part. The script was very heavy and dark and I found that as a way in to exploring this character which isn’t unlike the young racist white men we saw in Charlottesville. This racist bigot flare up the country is witnessing that’s been stoked by the Trump’s bullshit is front and center in this movie. 

There’s a teaser trailer online if you search in Vimeo or Youtube for Cuck, film, Zachary Ray Sherman, or Rob Lambert. Hope people will check out the movie when it’s released. They can stay tuned by following on Twitter or Instagram.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Getting to the end of this interview 🙂  Thanks for your time and interest Ron. Have a good one.

 

Check out the previously mentioned teaser for the film Cuck featuring Zachary himself:

Philip Williams [Interview]

 

Hello Folks, and happy Friday! It’s been a busy week here at Trainwreck’d Society, with our first ever Book Club segment, dropping our 2019 Oscar Contest, and getting presidential with our old friend Mr. Beat. So, it is nice to wrap up the week with a good old traditional interview, and wouldn’t you know it…we have another damn fine actor to share a few words from today! It’s Philip Williams, Everyone!

Philip is a seasoned veteran in the world of performance, both on screen and in the world of voice over work. He has appeared in a plethora of films and televisions series in very diverse genres. Everything from our beloved world of horror in the the 11th installment of the Friday the 13th series, Jason X, to the comedy classic Tommy Boy, or voice over work on children’s series like Babar and Clifford, and right around to appearances on hit television series such as Fargo, and most recently as a regular cast member in the Netflix Original Series Anne with an “E”. Of course, I knew him best for his hilarious appearance in one of my favorite films of all time, which would be Good Will Hunting, which we will discuss in detail below.

It was a true honor to have Philip grace our digital pages, and we are so excited to share with you all what he had to say. So without further babbling, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Philip Williams! Enjoy!

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When did you first discover your passion for the world of performance? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do? Or did you just happen to find yourself in this life one day?

Iv’e heard it said that this is a profession that you don’t look for, but rather one that finds you. I dabbled in it from a young age, mostly on the voice side of things. I also sang with the school choirs, and did the odd school play, but my main focus growing up was always sports, which in a way is performance of some nature. In the 70’s a director saw me dressed as Groucho Marx for Halloween in the washroom of a club, and asked if I wanted to read for a play about the Marx brothers. I said sure, what the heck, and ended up getting the role. So I suppose it found me. That was 40 years ago.

What was your very first paid gig as an actor? And do remember learning anything from that specific job that taught you something that you still incorporate into your work to this day?

My first paid gig was on the original De Grassi Street, which was non union back in those days. I think they produced about 8 shorts before they became the big show they are today. I probably made somewhere between 25 and 75 dollars. My first professional job was a radio ad for the drug Naprosen when it first appeared on the scene. I don’t remember anything specific that I learned and incorporate in my work today other than it takes a lot of people working together to bring a finished product to fruition.

While you have had so many memorable roles in the past, I have to admit that it was you brilliantly calling Stellan Skarsgaard an asshole in one of my favorite films of all time, Good Will Hunting. With that, how was your experience in working on this set? Was there anything memorable about working in this film that you can think of that really stands out?

I can recall that whole scene like yesterday.  We actually shot that scene in Toronto not far from where I shop..lol. The garage where the set was, doesn’t exist anymore. For some reason the dialogue wasn’t making a whole lot of sense so I approached Stellan (don’t know where I got the gall from) and said “if you say this, then I say this, then you  say this, it’ll connect everything” and he says sure. There was some ad lib stuff in there as well, from me introducing the background performer as a professor to the final line of me calling Stellan an asshole. I thought it was a hoot and why not use everyone there right? Gus Van Sant approved, and all was good.

 

You have proven yourself to be a very versatile human being when it comes to moving in and out of different genres. From comedy to horror and beyond you can do it all! But, I am interested to know if you happened to have a preference? What genre brings you the most joy to work in?

It’s funny. I love doing comedy. For me it’s natural and a lot easier, however, I find I don’t get a lot of comic related projects. Don’t get me wrong I love working in all genres and get a lot of satisfaction from all of them. One thing I do though is look to see if there is a comic element in the characters I play. Humour is the one thing that ran through my whole family, and there was always a way of finding the lightness in some of the darker places.

And while technically it could be a “genre”, the world of animation is really just a whole other ballgame. And you have had some great success in this game, even earning an Emmy Award nomination for your work. With that in mind, what do you enjoy about working in the world of voice over work? What is your process of bringing life to a character using only your voice?

I love doing voice work. I use to fool around with voices and impressions as far back as grade six (dang, I’m old) I was a child of the 60’s cartoons, and was mesmerized and entertained on Saturday mornings. Mel Blanc was a hero. To be able to be a part of this genre today is such a blessing. Usually you’re provided with  a character description and possibly a picture of what they look like.This gives me ideas where I’d like to go vocally. The dialogue will tell you what they do. Of course the voice director will have his own thoughts, so theres a whole process to a finished product. Much the same as creating a real life character at times with so many different styles.

 

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Hopefully the future holds many more work days. It’s like being a gypsy in a  sense. I get to travel all around to different camps and learn all kinds of new things from new people and new stories. I’ve just started voicing season 12 (crazy huh?) of a cartoon called Cyberchase. I’m also working on a Television show called Anne With an E which I believe is on Netflix, and have completed my first ever Motion Capture character for a video game. I”m afraid I can’t tell you anything about it though or they’d kill me.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I’m pretty easy going, so I tend to smile and laugh a lot, but today is a special day. It’s poker night!! We play for, like 10 dollars. A group of actors that have been doing this for some 30 odd years. Always broadens the smile THINKING I’m going to make out like a bandit.

TWS Book Club: Kanye West Owes Me $300 & Other True Stories From A White Rapper Who Almost Made It Big by Jensen Karp

Cover design by Christopher Brand

On the back (paperback edition): 

When 12-year old Jensen Karp got his first taste of rapping for crowds at his friend’s bar mitzvah in 1991, little did he know that he was taking his first step on a crazy journey—one that would end with a failed million-dollar recording and publishing deal with Interscope Records when he was only 19. Now, in Kanye West Owes Me $300, Karp finally tells the true story of his wild ride as “Hot Karl,” the most famous white rapper you’ve never heard of.

Full of rollicking stories from his close brush with fame, Karp’s hilarious memoir is the ultimate fish-out-of-water story about a guy who follows an unlikely passion—trying to crack the rap game—despite what everyone else says. It’s 30 Rock for the rap set; 8 Mile for the suburbs; and quite the journey for a white kid from the valley.

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I have to say that I have been wanting to read this book for quite a while. Hell, I’ve wanted to read ANY book for quite a while. It’s sort of the reason I started this whole damn Book Club thing, really. But, Jensen Karp’s book has been on my mental “must read” since before it was even officially released.

I first came to know about Jensen via a couple of podcasts that I enjoy. I have caught him on a podcast with Kevin Smith (Hollywood Babble-On?), an episode of the short-lived Julian Loves Music, and a truly hilarious appearance on my favorite podcast of all time, All Fantasy Everything (featuring our dear friends Sean Jordan and David Gborie). I always find him to be charming as hell, and extremely witty. And as our beloved Kevin Smith would say, he is an amazing Twitter follow. He is spot on with this description. I’ve also spent countless hours avoiding actual work by falling down the YouTube rabbit hole of his show Drop The Mic, which is an absolute delight.

So, with knowing what sort of comedic sensibilities that Jensen would bring, I was excited to dive into the history of the greatest hip hop artist who barely was, Hot Karl. And what a damn tale of very early highs and even earlier lows. Karp’s experience as a young white rapper who was essentially being shelved by a record company to continue the already forged path for another well known white rapper who shall remain nameless throughout the rest of this conversation. Okay, it’s Powder P from that “Ghetto Cowboy” video (it’s not). But despite the odds, Jensen managed to have quite an experience, that even though almost ended in a drug overdose in a Jamaican hotel room, he still manages to tell in such a fun manner that it is very easy to locked into his story.

 

 

It becomes complex in nature whilst reading the book, if you already know that Jensen Karp has managed to find success beyond a career that ultimately failed him. You’re rooting for Hot Karl throughout the entire story, but knowing full well that it simply isn’t going to work out. Yet, he would still move on and be just fine. As a matter of fact, he would go on to achieve a feat that just about every teenage boy growing up in the 90’s would have killed to do: locking down Topanga from Boy Meets World and aiding her with the seed of life. I’m kidding (I’m not). As mentioned before, Jensen has had a tremendous career in television and radio and beyond and should be very proud of all his accomplishments. But god damn, if there aren’t a couple of million 30 somethings who are jealous as shit right now, haha.

One obvious curiosity that will arise from reading this book will obviously be to check out the sound of Hot Karl that Karp describes. And thanks to the advancements in streaming music, you can actually just go right out and do that! Hell, you can even accidentally download both The Great Escape and I Like to Read and have continue to randomly pop up on your phone at very awkward times. And as a decade long music blogger who has had a weird divinity towards white rappers (for reasons I probably know, but don’t really know how to explain) I will say this….it’s not bad! It’s some truly original shit, that had it been released 10-15 years later, closer to present day, it might have taken off. And in hindsight, it was completely unique in comparison to the other very famous white rapper who will remain nameless (Powder P from the “Ghetto Cowboy” video), and was worthy of its own place in hip hop history. So, go and check them out after reading the lyrics and inspiration that Karp describes in great detail throughout Kanye West Owes Me $300.

In the end, what we have here is an absolutely brilliant memoir about a very specific time in history that we will never have again. The old door of the music business was closing, yet the new door was barely visible. And Jensen Karp managed to find himself smack dab in the middle of it, which would earn him a $1 million record contract that would go nowhere. But, it did leave him with an incredible story to tell, and for that, we are very excited. Of course, it is much easier to enjoy a tragic story when you know in the end, he turns out fine. Sort of like The Basketball Diaries, but with less heroin-based train station blow jobs, and more sexually transmitted eye diseases. I think that sums it up.

 

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I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the the TWS Book Club. Hot shit, I know I did. And I am very excited about our next installment. We’re going to do a little bit of fiction for next month.

The next installment of the TWS Book Club will be take place on March 21st, 2019. We will be discussing A Cat, A Man, and Two Women by Junichiro Tanizaki.

 

 

On the inside cover (paperback edition):

Considering all I have sacrificed, is it too much to ask for one little in return?

Shinako hs been ousted from her marriage by her husband Shozo and his younger lover Fukuko. She’s lost everything: her home, status, and respectability. Yet, the only thing that she longs for is Lily, the elegant tortoiseshell cat she shared with her husband. As Shinako pleads for Lily’s return, Shozo’s reluctance to part with the cat reveals his true affections, and the lengths he’ll go to hold onto the one he loves most.

A small masterpiece, A Cat a Man, and Two Women is a novel about loneliness, love, and companionship of the most unexpected kind. In this story of Japanese society and manners, Tanizaki, gives us a perfectly-formed oddball comedy, and a love triangle in which the only real rival is feline.

Selected praise for the book:

“Even his lighter-hearted fictions… make us hold our breath, and the endings don’t let us quite exhale” – John Updike

“The outstanding Japanese novelist of the century” – Edmund White, New York Times Book Review

“Can you move this stupid thing out of my way, so I can sit really close to your face, you stupid fucking asshole” – My cat, Gatsby, whilst reading this book (probably)

About the author:

Junichiro Tanzaki (1886-1965) was born in Tokyo and is the author of many works of fiction including Quicksand, Some Prefer Nettles, and the Makioka Sisters, as well as the celebrated essay on Japanese aesthetics, In Praise of Shadows. He is widely considered to be the greatest Japanese writer of the 20th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We shall see you all again next month! Cheers and such!

 

 

2019 Oscar Preview with Chris & Ron [Exclusive – Presented by The Listening Tree]

 

On February 24th the 91st Academy Awards Ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), will broadcast out from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood to an estimated 35 million viewers in the United States. The first Academy Awards were a private event hosted by Douglas Fairbanks and William C. deMille on May 16th, 1929 which lasted fifteen-minute to an audience of around 270 guests. William A. Wellman’s film “Wings” (1928) won the Academy’s first Best Picture award. By 1929, filmmaking had become an established industry and a profitable artform. Although, this was not the case initially. Film has existed for 122 years so far and will still exist for years beyond. Nearly every aspect of the film business has changed over those 122 years apart from one entrenched traditional element – the voting members of the industry’s most “prestigious” award ceremonies.

The brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiere held the world’s first screening of projected motion on December 28th, 1895 in Paris, France. This event included the brother’s first film “Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory” (1895), a 50 second micro documentary of, workers leaving the Lumiere Factory. Fascinating, I know, but revolutionary for its time. While this video would be lucky to receive 100 views on YouTube today, that screening represents a paradigm shift in art for the 20th century. Early on film was considered radical by established artists. It would take many years for film to be recognized, let alone legitimized by a critical body. The Academy Awards remain the oldest film award ceremony beginning 34 years after the brothers Lumiere’s first screening.

The technology used by 1895 filmmakers would not be recognizable by modern creators. The use of sound, the standardization of film rate, the use of widescreen in amazing Cinemascope, the addition of Technicolor, 3D, intercutting, the 180-degree rule, etcetera. All these advancements in technology pushed the boundaries of what film could be, a limitless possibility of imaginative storytelling.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has just over 6,000 voting members. Twenty-two percent of those voters are held by actors. Additionally, 91 percent of the members are white and 76 percent male. The average age of a voting member is 63 years of age. To simplify, the Academy voters who decided the “best” in a year’s film releases are old white guys. This is the problem of the Oscars.

Art is a living entity and reflection of the current generation. Art should push boundaries and brake established models. Artists should be recognized for experimentation and advancements in their craft.

– Sir Christopher Eaves

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So here is what you do folks: Head on over to our FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE from the Trainwreck’d Society Facebook page, and leave a simple reply anywhere stating that you are on “Team Chris” or “Team Ron” when you have decided who you believe made the best choice. The pointing system works as follows:

Correct “Want to Win” = 0.5 points

Correct “Going to Win” = 1.0 points

So tell us what you think, and if you choose the winner, you are entered into a pool to win an exceptionally mediocre prize of the finest Korean bootlegs from 2012-2013 (and before), a copy of Children of Mercy: Tales and Teachings From the World of Independent Music, and more!

And after you have picked your team, who do you know if you have personally won? Well, this  the most exciting part, Folks! Our dear friends at brilliant podcast known as The Listening Tree have agreed to take part in the pageantry of The Oscars (whether they all appreciate it or not) and will announce the actual winner of the contest on their upcoming episode. The announcement will be made by none other than Mr. Chris Eaves himself, rather than whichever random kid of mine happens to be awake in the European morning shortly after the Oscars have concluded.

The Listening Tree is an absolutely brilliant podcast, and you can find it anywhere. Most of you will want to probably navigate your wonderful selves to iTunes to check it out, but if I am able to give an unpaid advertisement to a company I truly believe in, I would recommend you find them on Laughable. It’s a truly amazing app all things hilarious.

So, look out for Episode 10 of The Listening Tree podcast, where Chris Eaves himself will announce the winner of the absolutely incredibly mediocre prizes that you could possible win for yourselves!

So let’s have some fun!

Here is that FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE one more time!

 

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BEST PICTURE


A Star Is Born

BlacKkKlansman

Green Book

Roma

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Vice

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Roma –

Roma is a Netflix film and by association in a unique position to provide a large audience and financing for an auteur filmmaker. In this case, a black and white Spanish language story about a nanny and her 1970s middle-class Mexican family. A mastery of production Roma’s writer, director, producer, co-editor, and cinematographer, Alfonso Cuarón, has crafted a tender and authentic portrait of humanity. While Roma’s narrative is simple, it deals with immensely deep emotions and complex character relationships. Although the irony of Roma is the medium of Netflix being counterintuitive to the production level of Roma. Viewing Roma on Netflix is the cinematic equivalent of seeing Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel through photographs. Televisions are not capable of reproducing the production level of this film with it’s clarity, depth, and scale. Roma is the best film of the year. Roma is a cinematic masterpiece.

The majority of the 2018 Best Film Nominees will swiftly be forgotten by the zeitgeist. Cinema is a reflection of society. Timeless films seep deep into our hearts, souls and minds; they speak to the larger human condition in some way. Bohemian Rhapsody is a film fueled by a nostalgic love for Queen rather then its cinematic qualities. Green Book is a feel good watch which quickly loses its impact. A Star is Born is fine. Black Panther is one of the most important films of the 21st Century whose third act falls apart. But like Roma, The Favourite, and BlacKkKlansman will all still be a part of the conversation six months after the Academy Awards.

Cinema is unique in its experience and demanding in its need. A place where a group of people can share an experience removed from all the distractions of the world. But, here we are – the best picture of the year, the most cinematic experience of the year, has mostly been watched through a streaming service, at home, while checking Twitter. The paradigm shift is upon us.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:  Roma.

In short, I’m choosing this film for somewhat the same reasons Chris would. But, the main reason is that it is actually the only film in the category that I have seen. This is of course because I embraced the streaming element, of the film, and felt actual guilt for doing so. Roma is a true cinematic experience. It’s a cinefile’s wet dream, really. Orson Welles would have approved, so much. This was such a beautiful film to look at, but the story was honestly boring as shit, in my opinion. The timeline of events are all over the place, and much of the story is hidden in the details. That being said, I am actually in love with the fact that this is a Netflix Original. Even if a theater experience is the obvious way to go, if people are willing to give even a couple minutes of glances between Instagram scrolling, at least pure cinematic bliss and brilliant filmmaking is being appreciated. This was a wonderful film to sit and fold a bunch of children’s socks to.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Roma –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Roma

SEE ABOVE. Also see below, because Roma is going to DOMINATE.


 

 

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Christian Bale for Vice

Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody

Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born

Viggo Mortensen for Green Book

Willem Dafoe for At Eternity’s Gate

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born –

Christian Bale or Bradley Cooper? As Cheney the character emerges, Bale the actor is lost. Cooper radiates emotional complexity, pain, and vulnerability in his portrait of a fading rock star. Rami elevates a mediocre nostalgic fueled Queen movie. Cooper’s performance is so much about his eyes. His emotions fill the screen while his character strives to remain distance. All of these nominations are deserving of an OSCAR for their work, but Cooper’s performance is next level.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Christian Bale for Vice

When it comes to politics in Oscar related films, the two have always worked will together. While the Oscar judges are known to be crusty old white dudes, and may have a problem taking down one of their own, I truly believe that Bale’s performances as Dick Cheney should/will thrive if not only to continue the discussion of just how fucking EVIL this man was, along with his puppet of a President. As time moves on, and we liberals think back fondly on the Obama years, it seems that we are more concerned about ole Dubya’s paintings of cats in bathtubs that the truly horrific shit that him and his puppet master did during their reign. Therefore, I want Bale to nab this one, if for nothing else but a “fuck you” to this former administration. Also too Oliver Stone. His dumpster-fire and opportunistic W. just about fucked up our chances of a good story being told of this era, but thankfully the man behind Step Brothers was able to save us.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Christian Bale for Vice –

Bale’s performance is entrancing – supported by an outstanding makeup team. Bale is lost inside his performance. The mannerisms and cadence of Cheney are perfectly mimicked. This is not to take anything away from Bale, but he has a lot of support of a real individual to imitate his cues from as well as the OSCAR worthy makeup team. I won’t be disappointed by Bale’s win. A Cheney portrayal is more of an OSCAR winning performance.

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Christian Bale for Vice –

SEE ABOVE. Also, I commend you Chris, for going with your heart on the first choice. I know, that you know, Bradley Cooper has zero chance of winning. Fake Sam Elliott easily falls behind Freddy Mercury and The Political Penguin in the hierarchy of who could win here. You’re a good man, Chris.

 

 

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Mahershala Ali for Green Book

Adam Driver for BlacKkKlansman

Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Sam Elliott for A Star Is Born

Sam Rockwell for Vice


WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me? –

Grant plays an asshole with charisma which I absolutely loved. His performance has been vastly under talked about this award season. Grant does what a best supporting role should – he elevates the film’s main conflict and the point of view of the film’s protagonist – Melissa McCarthy. To the point that Grant almost steals the movie.  

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me? –

On description alone, and not having actually seen the film, I truly believe that this will probably be my favorite film of the year when I do finally (maybe) get around to checking it out. And also by description alone, Richard E. Grant deserves this one as he is almost literally a supporting element of a film that is almost entirely about one singular individual. His character is one that goes beyond just “not being in it alot”. Also c’mon, Grant is a truly traditional actor. This is a man who has given the same amount of passion to the movie Spice World as he would (and did) give to a Robert Altman or Francis Ford Coppola project. He is an actor’s actor, a man of the theater. I’d love for him to be the victor here.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Mahershala Ali for Green Book –

Mahershala Ali is one of the best actors – period. His performance elevated an, “it’s fine” film. His role is not supporting though. He is a co-lead. Green Book is told in part from Ali’s point of view. Although, I could see a Sam Elliott upset here. Green Book is a feel good watch and the film’s performances are absolutely the heart of Green Book.

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Sam Elliott for A Star Is Born

To mimic Chris a bit, I believe that Sam will come in with the upset here. Legends of yesteryear are fading away, and I believe that giving Elliot an Oscar for even a simple role is simply an homage. The man has been giving us gold for 50 years and this is first nomination. Also how fucking excited are we about The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot?!

 

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Glenn Close for The Wife

Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born

Olivia Colman for The Favourite

Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Yalitza Aparicio for Roma


WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Olivia Colman for The Favourite –

The Favourite has no character who is inherently a villain, although every character has flaws. Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz elevate each other’s performances resulting in one of the best ensembles of 2018. Colman’s performance lands the changing tones, nuances, and emotions of Queen Anne: her fears, pain, and jealous loneliness.

 

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me? –

Echoing the sentiment I had for Richard Grant, I think I would really love this film. Although I am certain that the Academy is not going to give a known comedic actress an actual trophy. With the exception of Adam McKay, the brilliance of comedy writers and performers has always had a “bridesmaid, never the bride” vibe. See: Jonah Hill, Steve Carell, etc. But, McCarthy is an true gem of an actress, no matter what she does. In fact, while I absolutely despised Mike & Molly, her all of 4 ½ minutes in This is 40 is some of the most hilarious work I have ever seen. So yeah, I have to go with my heart here, even if I think there is about as much of a chance for her to win as there is of me beating out Chris this year. Almost zero chance, really.

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Glenn Close for The Wife –

Nominated seven times with no wins. Here is your OSCAR, although still deserving. Martin Scorsese received his for The Departed instead of any of his other works. What’s important is this fantastic actress should receive one of these statues. Her third act performance is a standout of the year!

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Glenn Close for The Wife –

Sometimes Chris and I can actually agree entirely! Of course, the reason he is a wiser man than I is that he sees films and their nominations for the cinematic quality, with the occasional political aspect sneaking in there. I on the other hand, believe it is all politics the majority of the time. Although I believe Roma is still going to be a victor for it’s cinematic quality. But it’s also a Netflix Original, so there is something political to consider. Anyway, same sentiment as Sam Elliott. The most beautiful woman to ever be named Glenn will finally get her trophy.

 

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE


Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk

Amy Adams for Vice

Emma Stone for The Favourite

Marina de Tavira for Roma

Rachel Weisz for The Favourite

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk –

Best Actress in a Supporting Role is the the most competitive category this year. With the exception of Amy Adams, who was “fine” in Vice, any one of these women deserve the OSCAR. My love for the Favourite leads me to Emma Stone and her wonderfulness, but she is a leading role along with Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman. The Favourite is an ensemble damn it! Regina King brings so much power to her performance. She, like Richard E. Grant, elevates the narrative. Her screen time is short, but she has one of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever seen in a film.

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk –

The amount of times each year that I think about the interaction between Regina King and Jennifer Connelly when they first meet in Higher Learning probably averages at least 4-5 times a quarter. Also when she calls Ice Cube a “super-duper Senior”. I love it.  I have been in love with Regina King for so long. And watching her progress from the 40 o.z. guzzling Shalika in Boyz N The Hood to the wonderful mother in Daddy Day Care, to being an Academy Awarding nominated (winning?) actress has been a real joy ride.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk –

Again, it’s all political. The Academy needs some diversity in their recognitions, and black women have been ignored for far too long. But political or not, Regina is a goddess and I will be so happy to know that she is clutching an Oscar trophy, almost 30 years after she ran the possibility of clutching a 40 o.z. bottle in every thing she does. Hell yeah, Regina! You did it!

 

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Brad Bird for Incredibles 2

Wes Anderson for Isle of Dogs

Mamoru Hosoda for Mirai

 

Rich Moore & Phil Johnston for Ralph Breaks the Internet

Bob Pesichetti, Peter Ramsey, & Rodney Rothman for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Bob Pesichetti, Peter Ramsey, & Rodney Rothman for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse –

The film is beautiful pop art with character motivations that are deeply emotional with real narrative weight. None of the fun jokes are ever at the cost of the storytelling feeling organic and character driven. The comedy is consistent and balances some very dramatic, and at times, deeply sorrowful moments. Into the Spider-Verse incorporates levels of creative, meta, self-aware storytelling and is a very special film for both its storytelling and unique visual approach.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Bob Pesichetti, Peter Ramsey, & Rodney Rothman for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse –

Normally I would take every opportunity to put some stake in Wes Anderson and give him my support. Unfortunately, I had zero interest in his cultural appropriation stop motion nonsense that he came at us with this year. No thanks. And while I don’t entirely have much interest in Spider-Man as well, I kind of want this one to win for some of my friends. A lot of people invested in the world of comics and just plain wonderful cinema in general seem to have invested very emotionally into this film (shoutout the Super Geeky Play Date & Blue Tiger!), and for them, I may actually watch it, and because I respect their opinions on the matter, I am pulling for them and the man who would be a spider.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Bob Pesichetti, Peter Ramsey, & Rodney Rothman for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Bob Pesichetti, Peter Ramsey, & Rodney Rothman for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse –

SEE ABOVE. Take a year off Disney proper, let your newly acquired company take this one, haha.

 

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Lukas Zal for Cold War

Robbie Ryan for The Favourite

Caleb Deschanel for Never Look Away

Alfonso Cuarón for Roma

Matthew Libatique for A Star Is Born

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma –

Each one of these films is art. For weeks I have been going back and forth between Roma and Cold War. Both films are shot in black and white. While Roma is a pristine 65mm widescreen digital presentation, Cold War is a gritty 35mm classic square box experience harking back to independent filmmaking. Each film is beautiful in its own way. Quickly, I do want to acknowledge The Favourite’s use of natural lighting and wide lenses. I think Roma’s mastery of production is what will give it the win.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma –

I won’t pretend to know the specifics here about the visual fascination of this film. That’s more of Chris’s lane. I just know that I was absolutely fascinated watching Cuarón’s take on washing dog shit off a driveway.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma –

Death. Taxes. The Academy’s thick and swelling hard on for Alfonso Cuarón. These are the only guarantees in life.

 

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Mary Zophres for Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ruth E. Carter for Black Panther

Sandy Powell for The Favourite

Sandy Powell for Mary Poppins Returns

Alexandra Byrne for Mary Queen of Scots


WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Ruth E. Carter for Black Panther –

 

Black Panther has a very cool and memberabale costume design. This team has created a flushed out society which feels familiar but still futuristic. Mary Queen of Scots, Mary Poppins Returns, The Favourite, Ballad of Buster Scruggs are all traditional period pieces. Black Panther created something new.

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Mary Zophres for Ballad of Buster Scruggs –

It can’t be the Oscars with some sort of Coen Brothers nomination, right? While I’m not certain that the costume design of Buster Scruggs really mattered much as it was really just an ascetic to the production design, I will again admit that I feel as though I have to choose this one, as I actually watched it. If you haven’t figured it out, I have indeed only watched the films that were available on Netflix. And if you have actually read this far and are still undecided on what team you will choose, what the hell is wrong with you?

 

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Ruth E. Carter for Black Panther –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Sandy Powell for The Favourite –

I have pretty much been ignoring The Favourite as a whole, even though I do feel like this might be a period piece I would actually enjoy. That being said, British period pieces absolutely dominate this category. I think. Or maybe I am just making assumptions. No, I think I’m right. Not going to look it up though. So, The Favourite.

 

 

BEST DIRECTING

Alfonso Cuarón for Roma

Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman

Adam McKay for Vice

Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite

Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War


WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma –

Cuarón is the definition of the auteur theory. As the film’s writer, director, producer, co-editor, and cinematographer, Alfonso Cuarón is in full control of his vision. Each element works in harmony elevating the whole of the production. This is Cuarón film.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma –

I used to really, really love Spike Lee, and I started to believe that I would throw him some love here. I haven’t seen BlacKkKlansman, but I will say that it is one of the first feature films he has done in a lot of years that I actually thought I’d try to get around to. But in the end, I have to metaphorically suck the fat D of Alfonso as I am sure that the Academy will do here, as they have done in the past. The man does EVERYTHING whilst making a film. In so many ways, the dude directs himself 5 times over. He definitely deserves the recognition, even if the film was ultimately a snooze fest set in what could have been an interesting time in which to tell a story. But, I digress.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Alfonso Cuarón for Roma –

SEE ABOVE. Seriously, a bound to explode at any second, erection for Alfonso is had by the Academy.

 

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi for Free Solo

RaMell Ross for County This Morning, This Evening

Bing Liu for Minding the Gap

Talal Derki for Of Fathers and Sons

Betsy West & Julie Cohen for RBG


WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi for Free Solo –

Where is Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Where is Three Identical Strangers? These are easily the biggest snubs of these OSCARS. Documentaries just don’t make 23 million dollars at the U.S. Box Office. Free Solo explores the reasons why somebody would want to be the first person to free climb the face of El Capitan without any safety gear. This is a feat of documentary filmmaking. These camera operators had to climb alongside Alex Honnold knowing he could fall to his death at any point. Free Solo is about much more than climbing a mountain.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Betsy West & Julie Cohen for RBG –

I simply cannot believe that Won’t You Be My Neighbor? wasn’t on this list. Absolute horseshit. Of course, I didn’t actually see the film, but I never heard one single negative thing about it. Anyway, Ole Ruth is a pretty bad ass old lady. I’d like to see this get the trophy. Maybe she will show up? Probably not, but that could be fun. She showed up to work recently, which she probably shouldn’t have, but as well a know, she can’t quite retire yet. We need her to live just a bit longer.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Betsy West & Julie Cohen for RBG –

RBG is fine. RBG is informative. The documentary uses a this happened, then this happened, then this happened approach. Cinema is reflection of society and in the current political climate RBG is getting this statute. Although Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a wonderful flood of happiness needed in a very frustrating time of history.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Betsy West & Julie Cohen for RBG –

Seems pretty cut and dry here, Folks. It’s a documentary about a female in government, and is also one that actually appears in another category this year. I can see no other way for this to go.

 

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

Ed Perkins & Jonathan Chinn for Black Sheep

Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman for End Game

Sky Fitzgerald & Bryn Mooser  for Lifeboat

Marshall Curry for A Night at the Garden

Rayka Zehtabchi & Melissa Burton for Period. End of Sentence


WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Sky Fitzgerald & Bryn Mooser  for Lifeboat – Count it!

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman for End Game –

The only one I saw. Available on Netflix. So, yeah, this one I guess.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Sky Fitzgerald & Bryn Mooser  for Lifeboat – SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman for End Game –

SEE ABOVE

 

 

BEST FILM EDITING

Barry Alexander Brown for BlacKkKlansman

John Warhurst for Bohemian Rhapsody

Yorgos Mavropsaridis for The Favourite

Patrick J. Don Vito for Green Book

Hank Corwin for Vice

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Barry Alexander Brown for BlacKkKlansman –

Spike Lee uses crosscutting to juxtaposing different sequences against one another while simultaneously elevating their larger connecting themes. BlacKkKlansman is an important film for our times. Spike Lee’s direction, the acting, and cinematography all elevate this film, but the piece that makes all of these elements work with such cinematic punch is the editing – balancing wonderful dark humor against the very tragic real world.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Barry Alexander Brown for BlacKkKlansman –

I guess this is my shot to show some love to a Spike Lee joint. Editing has become a very singular category lately, i.e. last year’s Baby Driver win. This used to be a throw away category. And I also can’t help but notice the fact that there are no women nominated this year? Somethings seems suspicious.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Barry Alexander Brown for BlacKkKlansman –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Barry Alexander Brown for BlacKkKlansman –

SEE ABOVE

 

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Cold War (Poland)

Roma (Mexico)

Shoplifters (Japan)

Capernaum (Lebanon)

Never Look Away (Germany)

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Cold War (Poland) –

This, again, is a very difficult category – Roma or Cold War? Cold War must get some love. If Roma is going to win the best picture, it is very possible Cold War will receive this award. They are so different but so similar.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Cold War (Poland) –

I have expressed my opinion on Roma enough, I believe. It would be a rarity for a Best Picture winner that is foreign in nature to not win this category as well. But, I sincerely believe that is what is going to happen here. And since I really don’t have a dog in the fight here, Cold War is the second of the category that I am even remotely interested in watching.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Cold War (Poland) –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Cold War (Poland) –

I can’t believe I’m going with it, but alas, here we are!

 

 

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Goran Lundstrom & Pamela Goldammer for Border

Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher, & Jessica Brooks for Mary Queen of Scots

Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, & Patricia DeHaney for Vice

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, & Patricia DeHaney for Vice –

Bale is lost inside this absolutely perfect makeup work. Bale’s performance is elevated because of this amazing work. I cannot imagine how much time each morning Bale had to sit in the chair so this team could create this character.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, & Patricia DeHaney for Vice –

There isn’t a chance in sweet sweet hell that Vice doesn’t win this award. I’d bet my favorite child on it.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, & Patricia DeHaney for Vice –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, & Patricia DeHaney for Vice –

SEE ABOVE

 

 

BEST MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

Ludwig Goransson for Black Panther

Terence Blanchard for BlacKkKlansman

Nicholas Britell for If Beale Street Could Talk

Alexandre Desplat for Isle of Dogs

Scott Wittman for Mary Poppins Returns

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Nicholas Britell for If Beale Street Could Talk –

If Beale Street Could Talk is a beautiful tragedy to which Nicholas Britell’s score adds the emotional punch to the face. If Beale Street Could Talk is such a stylized film which quietly lingers on beautiful moments of pure honest human emotions and connection. Whimsical and very melancholy, Britell score lets the audience know things are not going to end well but still manages to leave some sense of hope in the world. If Beale Street Could Talk would be a different movie without Britell’s music and of lesser quality for its absences.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Terence Blanchard for BlacKkKlansman –

This is just me going with heart for a film that I haven’t seen. Again, I love Spike Lee, but it’s the people that he surrounds himself that do the best work. Maybe you shouldn’t have talked so much shit about Quentin, eh Spike? I honestly don’t believe this will go my way, but I have to be honest.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Nicholas Britell for If Beale Street Could Talk –

SEE ABOVE.

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Ludwig Goransson for Black Panther –

Even the snootiest of film goers have to admit that Marvel films have some tremendous original scores. Maybe they aren’t always “original” by some means, but they are very good. And Black Panther is the only other Best Picture nominee to be in this category, so I think I will just hedge my bets here a bit.

 

 

BEST MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

Kendrick Lamar, Anthony Tiffith, & Solana Rowe for “All the Stars” from Black Panther

Diane Warren & Jennifer Hudson for “I’ll Fight” from RBG

Marc Shairman & Scott Wittman for “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns

Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt, & Benjamin Rice for “Shallow” from A Star Is Born

David Rawlings & Gilian Welch for “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt, & Benjamin Rice for “Shallow” from A Star Is Born –

A great song from one of the best Pop Music Artists. This song would have been a hit regardless of being in the movie or on her next album.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Kendrick Lamar, Anthony Tiffith, & Solana Rowe for “All the Stars” from Black Panther –

I am certain that this will not win, but again, I have to go with my heart. I fucking love Kendrick Lamar, and will be perfectly happy to know that he can be considered a Pulitzer Prize Winning, Oscar nominated artist. Hip Hop is getting the love it deserves! Of course, Lady Gaga is going to outshine it in the moment, but alas, I take some solace in Kendrick being amongst the nominees.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt, & Benjamin Rice for “Shallow” from A Star Is Born –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt, & Benjamin Rice for “Shallow” from A Star Is Born –

Whatever. Long live Kendrick.

 

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Hannah Beachler & Jay Hart for Black Panther

Fiona Crombie & Alice Felton for The Favourite

Nathan Crowley & Kathy Lucas for First Man

John Myhre & Gordon Sim for Mary Poppins Returns

Eugenio Caballero & Barbara Enriquez for Roma

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Eugenio Caballero & Barbara Enriquez for Roma –

This is a competitive category. Black Panther, The Favourite, and Roma are the standouts. Roma and The Favourite are so tied to their worlds. For Roma, every little detail is accounted for on screen. The Favourite recreates the eighteenth century with a whimsical modern twist. Black Panther built a new world.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Eugenio Caballero & Barbara Enriquez for Roma –

Seriously, dog shit never looked so elegant.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Fiona Crombie & Alice Felton for The Favourite –

This is more of a political prediction. The Academy in general terms wants to give this movie a few awards.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Eugenio Caballero & Barbara Enriquez for Roma –

A steaming. pile. of. shit.

 

 

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

Alison Snowden & David Fine for Animal Behaviour

Domee Shi & Becky Neiman-Cobb for Bao

Louise Bagnall & Nuria Gonzalez Blanco for Late Afternoon

Andrew Chesworth & Bobby Pontillas for One Small Step

Trevor Jimenez for Weekends

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Domee Shi & Becky Neiman-Cobb for Bao –

Sadly, like most people, I was only able to see Bao. The power of Pixar and placing their short films at the beginning of their feature films – Incredibles 2. Bao is a wonderful short film on its own narrative weight. That Pixar playfulness with a mix of hard emotional impact.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Domee Shi & Becky Neiman-Cobb for Bao –

Pixar is going to continue to be a dominating presence in this small category. And to be honest, I could truly care less. They can have it.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Domee Shi & Becky Neiman-Cobb for Bao –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Domee Shi & Becky Neiman-Cobb for Bao –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

 

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)


Vincent Lambe & Darren Maho for Detainment

Jeremy Cornte & Maria Gracia Turgeon for Fauve

Rodrigo Sorogoyen & Maria del Puy Alvarado for Mother

Marianne Farley & Marie-Helen Panisset for Marguerite

Guy Nattiv & Jaime Ray Newman for Skin

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Jeremy Cornte & Maria Gracia Turgeon for Fauve –

In general terms all of these films are very depressing. That is not to say they are bad, quite the opposite for most of them, but they do not give an audience any sense of hope upon their conclusion. Frauve worked the best for me as a short film with characters who are set up, deal with a conflict, and have a conclusion. Although again depressing.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Guy Nattiv & Jaime Ray Newman for Skin –

This is the one I heard of in the slightest. That’s usually a good sign for me in this category.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Jeremy Cornte & Maria Gracia Turgeon for Fauve –

SEE ABOVE.  

 

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Guy Nattiv & Jaime Ray Newman for Skin –

SEE ABOVE

 

 

BEST SOUND EDITING

Benjamin A. Burtt & Steve Boeddeker for Black Panther

John Warhurst & Nina Hartstone for Bohemian Rhapsody

Ai-Ling Lee & Mildren Iatrou Morgan for First Man

Ethan Van der Ryn & Erik Aadahl for A Quiet Place

Sergio Diaz & Skip Lievsay for Roma


WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Sergio Diaz & Skip Lievsay for Roma –

Roma is rich in sound from the more intimate moments inside the home to all the details of the surrounding city. Cuaron will begin a scene off camera though sound allowing it to play for a few moments before panning the camera into the already progressing action. The sound and camera work in unison as the piece de resistance. There is no little detail in sound that is over look with every piece reminding the audience of this larger world of Roma. First Man did much the same for me in regards to the spaceship sequences. Although, First Man fell from the general conversation very quickly and although still deserving, Roma’s whole film is about how sound plays.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Sergio Diaz & Skip Lievsay for Roma –

Technically speaking, Roma was pretty perfect. Only lacking in a good story. But, looked and sounded fantastic!

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Sergio Diaz & Skip Lievsay for Roma –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Sergio Diaz & Skip Lievsay for Roma –

SEE ABOVE

 

 

BEST SOUND MIXING

Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor, & Peter Devlin for Black Panther

Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin, & John Casali for Bohemian Rhapsody

Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Ai-Ling Lee, & Mary H. Ellis for First Man

Skip Kuevsay, Craig, Henighan, & Jose Antonio Garcia for Roma

Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder, & Steve Morrow for A Star Is Born

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Skip Kuevsay, Craig, Henighan, & Jose Antonio Garcia for Roma –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Skip Kuevsay, Craig, Henighan, & Jose Antonio Garcia for Roma –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Skip Kuevsay, Craig, Henighan, & Jose Antonio Garcia for Roma –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Skip Kuevsay, Craig, Henighan, & Jose Antonio Garcia for Roma –

SEE ABOVE. (Because I honestly don’t know what the difference is, I’ll admit it)

 

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, & Dan Sudick for Avengers: Infinity War

Christopher Lawrence, Michael Earnes, Theo Jones, & Chris Corbould for Christopher Robin

Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles, & J.D. Schwalm for First Man

Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler, & David Shirk for Ready Player One

Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, & Dominic Tuohy by Solo: A Star Wars Story

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, & Dan Sudick for Avengers: Infinity War –

SOLO was a very dark rendered film and Ready Player One felt very flat in its CGI. Big CGI is not exciting anymore. Every film has big CGI. Infinity War itself has very similar big CGI. What makes Infinity War special is Thanos being a complex understandable villain created through motion capture. Like Ceaser from The Planet of the Apes films – complex motion captured characters continue to fascinate me as they are created in a very symbiotic way in the actores performance and the artist who render the character. Thanos is another step forward towards escaping the uncanny valley. Also, where is that damn Paddington Bear at?!

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Christopher Lawrence, Michael Earnes, Theo Jones, & Chris Corbould for Christopher Robin –

I actually saw this one, Guys! Not sure if that is really a good enough reason to pick it, but it is the one I am going to give. So, eat your heart out Winnie the Pooh, you beautiful lady! Don’t let that toxic male Paddington take away your shine, gurl!

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, & Dan Sudick for Avengers: Infinity War – SEE ABOVE.

 

 

SEE ABOVE.

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles, & J.D. Schwalm for First Man –

Space movies always win this shit. Let’s not revisit that Gravity conundrum here. God I hated that movie.

 

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Joel Cohen & Ethan Cohen for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, & Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman

Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty for Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk

Cradley Booper & Will Fetters for A Star Is Born

 

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk –

If Beale Street Could Talk is a beautiful tragedy of black love which has sparsley been featured in Hollywood. Each character is incredibly complex and realized. The structure crosscuts the present conflict while informing the audience of the loving backstory. There is no wasted moment as every piece of the story informes the greater themes. This is the power of this screenplay, in feeling so intimate while simultaneously being a part of a much larger issue.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty for Can You Ever Forgive Me? –

The story behind Can You Ever Forgive Me? Simply screams Oscar contender. There has been a trend over the last few years of quirky dramas excelling in the Screenplay categories. Of course, I wouldn’t be upset if Barry Jenkins took it too, even if it means losing here.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty for Can You Ever Forgive Me? –

SEE ABOVE

 

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara for The Favourite

Paul Schrader for First Reformed

Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, & Peter Farrelly for Green Book

Alfonso Cuarón for Roma

Adam McKay for Vice

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara for The Favourite –

The Favourite is, in the best possible way, a unique, weird and bizarre film elevated through the use of contemporary dialogue within a period drama – full of wit and humor playing out as a drama-comedy. Modern elements are sprinkled throughout the production playing out in unique, hilarious, and fascinating ways. As a dark comedy, the jokes land, and as character driven drama the story is intriguing and interesting. The Favourite is refreshing with great rewatchability.

 

 

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Adam McKay for Vice –

Seriously the dude behind Step Brothers could possibly have two Oscars? Although it is weird that a biopic is making an Original Screenplay category. I guess it is possible though. There was indeed an actual Green Book out there as well. So, I’m not quite sure how to call this one. It’s my favorite category of the entire ceremony, but I’ve never been so uncertain before. I will say that it is fucking appalling to me that this is Paul Schrader’s first nomination! How did that shit slip by me? The dude who brought Scorsese’s best work to life is only now getting a nod. And worse of, he’s a shoe-in to lose! Breaks my god damned heart, I tell you.

 

 

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara for The Favourite –

SEE ABOVE.

 

 

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, & Peter Farrelly for Green Book –

I’m betting on the idea that all the early Oscar love that Green Book received is going to simply be boiled down to this one single win. A respectable one of course, but I have heard nothing but terrible things about this film, and would really like to be wrong here. But, a “White Guy Savior” film doesn’t seem like too far of a stretch for the Academy. But get this: Academy Award winning writer/director of Dumb & Dumber, Peter Farrelly. Yes, the dude who once wrote cum into a woman’s hair…getting an Oscar. What a world we live in.

 

 

President’s Day with Mr. Beat [Feature]

Happy President’s Day, Everyone! Yeah, very happy. It’s the day off school that we just sort of take and quickly move on, as we all know that there are far too many asterisks involved with this particular holiday. Take that last sentence and substitute the words “Columbus Day”, and see how that just fits right in there. But, being enthusiastic about history is a concept that we can truly get behind. Even if we don’t believe that an entire day is needed to “celebrate” our founding fathers, history can be an exciting and interesting topic for sure!

Some of you long time readers may recognize the name Mr. Beat, right from the jump. It’s been about 7 years since we covered his wonderful albums about the, you guessed it, the Presidents of the United States of America. Check out President’s Day…the Indie Way! Mr. Beat has also appeared as a beloved Guest Wrecker in the past, and we even featured one of his earlier YouTube videos during the early days of its existence. He has been a dear friend of Trainwreck’d Society back when we simply called him Mr. Electric Needle Room. Oh, and how can we forget about his wonderful contribution to the now long forgotten Children of Mercy. Thanks again for that, Matt!

I was recently very pleased to notice that the Mr. Beat YouTube page has been blowing up! He has reached close to 13.5 million views and has reached audiences from across the globe. The production value of each video only continues to strengthen, and the best part of it all….people are LEARNING! Learning in a very fun way! I know we have thrown quite a bit of the proverbial shade at “YouTubers” in the past, but I am here to say that I fully respect and recommend the work of our dear friend, Mr. Beat. He has several different segments covering different subjects. From “Supreme Court Briefs” to his “Compared” series, they are all wonderful!

So, I thought it would be an appropriate President’s Day “celebration” to share with you all a few of my favorite Mr. Beat videos. Be sure to subscribe to the Mr. Beat YouTube channel, and leave some nice comments his way. It is possible to leave nice comments on YouTube, right? Anyway, tell him we sent you and, well, you won’t get anything for it. But all parties would be very appreciative! Also, if you find Mr. Beat to be truly compelling (as you should), why not sign up for the Mr. Beat Patreon?

 

“Washington and Oregon Compared”

 

 

 

Supreme Court Briefs: “Can Religion Get You Out of School? Wisconsin v. Yoder”

 

 

“The American Presidential Election of 1796”

 

 

Story Time with Mr. Beat: “The Lost Generation Writers Explained”

 

 

 

“The Dust Bowl (Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” parody) feat. @MrBettsClass

 

 

“Why Do People Hate Jews”

 

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Rocking the Couch [Film]

 

“Hollywood titans, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, have been brought to their knees by the #MeToo movement. But they did not invent Casting Couch. The term casting couch has existed for decades. But in 1992, a case against talent agent, Wallace Kaye, was brought to court by 12 unknown actresses, who braved the loss of their careers, their privacy, and their Hollywood dreams. They stepped forward, despite the advice of their union, and brought the case to the police. Against all odds, they won, and no one listened.” – October Coast PR

In short: this movie made me fucking sick. Not because of the actual filmmaking, obviously. This is a perfectly fine documentary about a perfectly horrific subject matter. So, I guess it truly did its job in being disgusting. And what would disgust me the most? The fact that this shit is NEVER talked about! 27 years ago, there could have been a standard set to prevent shitty people from doing shitty things. But, much like every male-dominated industry out there, we just let it go. And while I should say that I am grateful that with the eyes of the world shifting to a digital space, and movements like #metoo and #timesup are making strides in changing the atmosphere…I find it very hard to be entirely optimistic. Will the idea of change simply fade into obscurity once again? Will the popularity of change become just a footnote of history when discussing our current decade to future generations? Will we forget about the whole situation until the day that Bill Cosby finally dies alone in prison like he deserves?

Again, I want to believe in the possibility of change, but I’m not holding my breath. But again, that is one reason I am grateful for a doc like Rocking The Couch. This is the conversation that needs to be had. More people need to realize that sexual assault and harassment in the world of entertainment is definitely not a new concept. Think about the fact that the events surrounding this documentary happened almost 30 years ago, and who the fuck knows how long before then. Well, actually, the filmmakers do. They kind of get into just that.

This doc also features the first time one of our dear friends popped up on screen, and I was simply fucking mortified! When our dear friend Sadie Katz appeared on screen, I simply wanted to scream. Not that I wasn’t moved (and again, disgusted by) the testimonials of the other brave women in the film, but Sadie is a very special person to the TWS world, and it really hurt. But, I am very proud of her for being her usual badass self and telling her story in Rocking the Couch. In fact, every single woman who appears in this film to tell their tale are commendable, and deserve the highest of praise.

Rocking the Couch is available now on Amazon U.S. and UK.

 

Michal Sinnott [Interview]

 

Photo by Braden Moran

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely brilliant interview for you fine folks today. We have some wonderful words from a person who is not only a gifted actress, but has recently added the credits of writer and producer to her list of talents with an very exciting project in which we shall discuss below. It’s Michal Sinnott, Everyone!

As most of you regular readers already know, we have a deep-rooted love for the world of gaming. And while the Fallout world may be where we occupy most of our time in the realm of video games as an art form, the insane world that is the Grand Theft Auto franchise is another beloved universe we love around here. And Michal Sinnott happened to play a major role in the latest installment of the GTA world, as Tracey De Santa in Grand Theft Auto 5. Michal is actually the third interview subject from this singularly brilliant game that we have had on the site (alongside our old friends Danny Tamberelli and Matthew Maher), but we actually spoke with them long before we learned about the beauty of this game. So, we are very excited that Michal was able to tell us a bit about what it was like to work her magic into this legendary release.

And as it usually tends to, we discovered that Michal has done just a plethora of amazing work in her time that we so excited to share with you all today. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the incredibly talented Michal Sinnott! Enjoy!

 

******

 

I understand you started acting quite early, and even grew up with a mother who was also an actress. While I understand you may have had an obvious influence around, but what was it that drew you personally into the world of acting?

I was very shy as a small child. When I did my first commercial with my mom when I was seven, I instantly loved it. Honestly, I think it was exciting and safe to be someone else. There was a lot of unrest and chaos in my early childhood. The opportunity to play someone else in a different set of circumstances from my own was exhilarating. I loved everything about it – wearing different clothes, taking on emotions that weren’t my own or else having a safe space for emotions I shared with the character, having this space to take a break from my own life and embody someone else. And I was praised for it. I was good at it. So I’m sure that fed my love for it as well. I loved the safe space in which to play without consequence. Acting has always been the biggest breath of fresh air for me. Even the difficult characters are a joy because it’s just wonderful and peaceful to take a break from being Michal!

I love my life now and I love who I’ve become but it was a long road to get inner peace in my own life and acting provided a sanctuary from anxiety and a lot of complex circumstances that I didn’t entirely understand before doing a lot of self work as an adult. Acting is still an escape for me but now I don’t cling quite as tight. The present is pretty great too these days, so it’s a joy to be someone else because it allows me to think and feel in ways I might not experience otherwise, but life as me is pretty wonderful, too.

We have spoken with quite a few folks who have worked in the world of video game voice over acting. We actually featured both Danny Tamberelli and Matthew Maher on the site, but unfortunately it was prior to being aware of the beauty of Grand Theft Auto V. And now here you are! So I am curious to know what it is like to be a part of such a legendary franchise? Do you get the “your voice sounds familiar’ statement a lot?

Oh I love Danny. I loved working with him. It was incredible to be a part of something so big and iconic. And a lot of people don’t know this, but it’s actually far beyond voice acting. My voice is just one part of it. It’s performance capture, meaning we performed the scenes on a sound stage with 36 cameras that corresponded to our movement. We wore the suits with the balls so the movement of the characters is our movement and then they recorded our faces at the same time with a pin hole camera attached to a helmet we wore so you got our facial gestures and then those gestures were digitized by a team of animators who pixilated our faces for years. They did a body scan of us before we shot and then used that for the acting which became data for the animators. It was kind of like a mix of theatre, soap acting, and green screen work but entirely it’s own.

When I met some of the animators at The Game Awards when we won Game Of the Year, they stared at and chatted with me in the most intense way. Their job had been to animate my face for 3 years! It was surreal for all of us and made me feel both weird and so strangely honored. When I was a kid, I always dreamed about doing a part that resulted in being made into an action figure. In a lot of ways I got my wish. Tracey is like a cartoon version of me – but with a very different sense of style, thank God, and all my body parts blinged out a bit, too! Ha. I’m always tickled when I get sweet fan mail for Tracey. And it’s so fun when people learn that I played Tracey, especially if they’re gamers.

On a super rare occasion with a die hard gamer, they might say my voice sounds familiar, but for the most part I go around with my secret identity. I spoke in a nasal register for her, so I don’t sound quite as annoying as her, thank goodness! But it’s fun to go into her voice with a fan. People get a big kick out of it and I do too.

We have also spoken with a lot of folks who have worked in the world of Soap Operas. And you are no stranger to the breakneck world of acting within the world of Soaps. So I am curious to know what you thought about working in that world? How much did it differ from other types of sets you have worked on?

I loved having a recurrent on One Life to Live. I’m afraid I was a bit of a snob when I graduated from drama school, and I thought I was somehow above being in a soap in the midst of all that Shakespeare and Chekhov training. But you get out there in the real world and start slinging drinks at night as a waitress or bartender while you hit the pavement in the day for acting work and you quickly realize how lucky you are to book anything. And kudos to soap actors for memorizing so much copy every day. When I was on the show, we’d shoot 6 one hour long episodes in 5 days! Think about that. Grand Theft Auto V took 3 years to shoot. One episode of Law and Order takes 2 weeks to shoot and we’re shooting more than one episode of OLTL in less than a day! That’s insane. You have to be so on your A game. You get one take and if you flub a line, they just cut it. There’s no take 2. Soap actors get a bad wrap, but honestly I think they’re incredible. You have to be so good to move that fast. I was in awe of how quickly the machine moved along. I was just a small part of it, but the big soap stars who have all that dialogue and emotion going on, it’s a real feat to watch.

I am very intrigued by your upcoming project Born That Way. It’s such a unique story that I am hoping we will get to see soon? Can you tell us a bit about this project? What inspired you to write this tale?

Thanks for asking about Born That Way! It’s been a passion project of mine for some time now. We’re in late Development with it now, meaning we’ve raised some of the funds and had a successful shoot of aerial and land footage in Tanzania, where the film opens. We are in the process of attaching name actors for the other lead roles and once we do that, we’ll be able to raise the rest of funds to shoot the rest of the film in New York City, where it largely takes place.

The film is about a lot of things but at it’s core, I think it’s about our lost connection to each other, and to the Earth, to something beyond the tangible, be it soul or otherwise. I call it A Magical Realist Present Day Fable for the People.

These are dangerous days. Born That Way is a film that speaks to many of the social justice issues of our time. It is a film that subtly challenges the status quo in all sorts of ways. It’s a small story between 5 people — but with the use of music & cinematography, it should feel epic in form. It touches on everything from the rights of the undocumented, to animals as sentient beings, to the displacement of indigenous people, to police brutality. It challenges our notions of gender & sexuality & what it means to love regardless of the physical form you arrive in to this world. It is in fact a protest of sorts. But it’s choosing love and forgiveness as the ultimate radical act. ‘For the people’ comes from the Constitution & reverberates in the Gettysburg address. It’s a call to our consciousness & our rights to freedom for all. Born That Way is a story about freedom from self & the cages we create for our spirits. It’s about judgment and all the ways that we judge ourselves and each other. It’s about our connectedness. I am you & you are me.

 

Photo by Meera Michelle

And in our selfie obsessed world, it feels like the kind of story I want to tell right now, the kind of story that I want to see. There’s still so much nihilism out there in cinema. And look, I get it. The world is really messed up and we’re in a hell of a pickle. But what are we gonna do about it? Stop naming it and start declaring that it’s not gonna go down like that! What we need is a blackhole. But what we’re capable of, is all the light in the universe. I want to see stories that look at what’s happening and offer solutions to make it better. That’s what I’m interested in.

About a 10th of the film is in animation. It lives in the world of Run Lola Run, or Amelie, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with a nod to Moonlight or Beasts of the Southern Wild. It’s about a bunch of adults who never grew up, and now they have to.

You can watch our proof of concept that’s received over half a million views on FB on our website, bornthatwaythemovie.com

We hope to go into full production this year.

If you were given the opportunity to portray any historical figure in American history, who would you want to portray?

I just saw a documentary on Jane Fonda which really made me admire her so much. I didn’t know much about her. She made mistakes in front of the world for which she was vilified, but she also was so courageous and such an outspoken activist. I really identified with that devotion towards both film and political activism. She was a fearless trailblazer towards both the anti-war movement and second wave feminism, in the midst of contending with a very confusing and painful childhood. She was born into privilege but she really worked to make her own way. She had nine lives. It would be incredible to play her.

What else does the future hold for your? Anything else you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m co-directing my first feature in a few months with a wonderful friend, Alexandra Clayton. We’re organizing a very DIY shoot abroad with a group of friends. It’s a female driven ensemble comedy. I’m a co-writer with Alexandra and my husband Joseph Schollaert, and I’ll also be acting in it. So there’s a lot of hats at play! If it fails, we’ll still get a fun vacation out of it, so nothing lost no matter what! But I expect that we’ll create something really special together. It’s exciting to dive in and do something now because Born That Way is such a long term baby.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My nephew just turned one year old the other day. I FaceTime with my little brother Isaac a lot with him. He’s always all smiles. It’s wild to see your brother’s face in his little boy. I love it. I love being an Auntie. I love watching his enthusiasm for the world. And I love watching my brother’s love for his little boy. It’s all a ton of joy to witness.