Witness Infection [Film]

“Witness Infection tells the story of two rival mob families who are transferred from the Witness Protection Program to the same city by mistake. Life has always been pretty protected for Carlo Serrelli. But his past is about to come back and bite him. Carlo’s father has kept him out of the deadly mob business by giving him a job at the family dog groomers, while his younger brother, Dominic, has always done the dirty work. All that is coming to an end as Carlo’s father has to force him into an arranged marriage with the daughter of the rival Miola family boss. Carlo’s two best friends, Gina and Vince, vow to help him get out of this predicament, but they all get in way over their heads when a serious infection starts eating the town. The good news is that Carlo may not have to get married after all — but the bad news is that everyone might die.” – Justin Cook PR

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Folks, while the world seems to be returning to normal, albeit slowly, it is still a time of much stress for many people. So you know what? Take some time out for a good laugh. And that is exactly what you are sure to do if you all do the right thing and watch Witness Infection. It’s just an absolute delight of a film that has the ability to simply take you out of the continuing hellscape for 80 minutes, while you watch a fictional and ultimately more hilarious hellscape occur.

If Witness Infection sounds familiar to you regular readers, you may remember reading about it when we had the fortunate experience to share some words with the legend himself, Carlos Alazraqui, who co-wrote, co-produced, and starred brilliantly in the film. He promised us that it would be a lot of fun, and he certainly did not let us down. The entire cast as a whole is absolutely incredible and very funny. Legendary voice performer Tara Strong is there, showing that she is a brilliant performer in front of the camera as well.

So, Folks, I implore you all to check out this film ASAP. It’s a fun light-hearted romp that is sure to leave you in stitches! Enjoy!

Witness Infection is available now wherever you purchase fine media.

Kelly Walker [Interview]

Hello Folks! I am so very excited about this one! If you are a regular reader here, or simply returning from yesterday, you know how much I loved the film My Fiona, which we featured yesterday. Well, now we are so fortunate to be able to have the film’s brilliant writer & director here to grace our digital pages today! It’s Kelly Walker, Everyone!

I was completely unaware that My Fiona is actually Walker’s feature film directorial debut. It’s actually quite insane that it is, because it is so damn good! Kelly is also a performer, editor, all of the things! I dare say that Kelly Walker is the future of film and television. I’m not even kidding. Everyone NEEDS to see My Fiona. Read this interview, read what we talked about previously, and then just get it done. You will be thanking me later.

So, I am going to relinquish and further babbling, and let you all get to some wonderful words from the great Kelly Walker! Enjoy!

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

Growing up in Australia, my Mom loved sharing films with me as I was growing up. I was probably too young to see the films I did (Gypsy and Flashdance at six years old? Questionable). I think that’s what got me into filmmaking at such a young age. I started making feature-length films with my best friend when we were 12 years old. These films were terrible, but our hearts were all in! We would write, direct, act, produce and edit one feature a year and then force everyone we knew to watch them. I think it was inevitable that I would go on to pursue filmmaking. Also, my aunt lived in Los Angeles and is a sitcom writer. So I think having that connection to the industry made it feel doable and not just a fantasy. I moved to Los Angeles when I was seventeen and the rest is history! 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?

Good question! I didn’t have many money-making skills outside of filmmaking. I had worked at Subway for a hot minute in high school, but it didn’t last long because I was a slow sandwich maker. (Their words, not mine!) When I landed in LA, I jumped right into freelance video editing. I think it taught me to be super-efficient with my time since I was creating my own schedule. All those years of editing made me feel confident to jump into directing. The film lives and dies in the editing room and I think my biggest strength as a director is being able to reverse engineer the process. 

I absolutely LOVED your film My Fiona. It’s seriously one of the best films I have seen this year, by a long shot. Could you tell our readers a bit about this project? What made you want to bring this story to the world?

Thank you!!! The story is based on experiences from life. When I was 12 years old, my babysitter passed away from suicide. It left a real impact on my life and I developed a fear of people I love dying. And with each loved one’s death I’ve experienced, it’s made me realize that no grief is alike, and the journey is navigated at your own pace. I really wanted to liberate the stigma around grief and look at it from a judge-free perspective. 

Another aspect of the film is the exploration of sexual identity. I identify as bisexual, but it wasn’t until I was happily married to my husband that I started talking about it openly. Actually, it was through writing My Fiona that I really took ownership of this part of myself. I wanted to explore the idea that love can be circumstantial; it can be forever or for just a moment, and more importantly, it can be with anyone. Jane’s story showed me that the only identity that matters is the one we give ourselves, and we should celebrate our ownership over our identity. 

Lastly, My Fiona is a love letter to female friendships. The women in my life have been magical soul mates and also the source of intense heartbreak. Sometimes your friends know you more than you know yourself, and our identities can be wrapped up in those relationships. I think friendship is less explored on film, and I wanted to honor my ladies and my incredible love for them. 

I have several of my own takeaways from the film that I formulated in my own mind. But, I am curious to know what you believe viewers of My Fiona should (hopefully) take away from this incredibly emotional journey? Without spoiling too much, what should our readers be on the lookout for? And should tissues be readily available?

Grief is unwritten, and there’s no right or wrong way to experience loss. Don’t judge yourself, don’t judge others. You are never cured of grief, you learn to live alongside it. That may sound depressing, but I actually find it liberating. Humans are resilient, and we can survive just about anything. There’s nothing better in life than surprising yourself. 

I also raise questions about the problematic doctor/patient relationship regarding mental health in our country. I hope if the audience is interested in this aspect of the film, they’ll do their own research. Who knows, maybe when they or a loved one needs help, they’ll have a more informed perspective that in turn could save a life.

If you were handed the opportunity to create the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Woah! You wanna hear something wild?! The two scripts I’m working on right now are Bio Pics!!! I have a feature about Audrey Hepburn and her marriage to Mel Ferrer. I am a HUGE Audrey fan, and I think there are elements of her story that haven’t been told, and I would love to put a voice to her experience. I am also developing a limited series called Vice Versa. It’s based on the hidden life of Edythe Eyde, a naive secretary in the 1940s. She covertly created the first-ever magazine for lesbians during a time of suspicion, communism and vice raids in America. I randomly stumbled upon Edythe’s story last year and have fallen completely in love with her writing, outlook on life, and what she did for the queer community. Her story is relatively unknown, and I feel this sense of responsibility to get her message out there! 

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

Hehe. I think I just did above 🙂 You can follow me @girldownunda on Instagram or check out www.kellywalker.tv to stay up to date with all things filmmaking. 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The little things in life fill me up with so much joy. My dogs’ tails wagging when I walk in the door. My husband squeezing my shoulder as he passes me in the hallway. The plants in my office, the crystals all over the house. Texts from friends that simply say – I love you. It’s been a rough year for all of us, and I think we need to make it a priority to look for the little wins and little joys. That’s what life is all about. 

Bryce Wagoner [Interview]

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all. Bryce Wagoner is an actor, writer, filmmaker, just about everything! On screen you may recognize him from roles in projects like Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust. Behind the camera he created the captivating documentary, After Porn Ends, which would then spawn two further additions. And, as if that weren’t enough, he was kind enough to let me know about his 2017 documentary, Parrot Heads, which is intriguing as hell! I have an unabashed love for Jimmy Buffett, so a look beyond those proverbial curtains was an absolute delight.

Wagoner answers a few of standard questions below, and gives us some wonderful insight into the world of filmmaking. We are honored to have Bryce with us today, and I think you are going to love what we have for you today. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Bryce Wagoner!

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

Phil Hartman’s performance in So I Married An Axe Murderer and the DVD extras from Seven were the two biggest things that inspired me to accept the calling of working in entertainment. My fraternity brothers would endlessly quote Phil’s Alcatraz speech and it would bring such joy to us all, that it got the wheels turning to the point where I said to myself, “Hey I would like to create something that would do the same for some other group of idiot friends.” Then, when Seven came out on DVD, I was enthralled with not only Fincher’s approach to story and world building, but the process of how the movie was cast, shot, and the studio script process. The curtain had been pulled, and I was hooked!

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?

In 1999 I made $97 as an extra for two days on Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal, a TV movie that shot in Richmond, VA; starring Sam Neil and Mario Van Peebles.

I learned that the days on set would be long, but worth it, and that positivity is a huge factor in pulling anything off. We were doing this big protest scene and the AD says “Now really get into it and sell your anger so you can make it into the shot.” Sam was right there with us and he says “They ALL deserve to be in the shot.” And gives us this warm look of acceptance as equals. I will NEVER forget that moment and it’s why I am so grateful to anyone that agrees to be in front of a camera that I’m directing.

I thoroughly enjoyed your highly original 2012 documentary, After Porn Ends, which would then spawn two additional films. The subject matter is one that I think a lot of people actually think about a lot, but don’t like to think about it too often, I would imagine. With that, what was it that made you want to bring this story to the world?

It started as a simple question when I was doing some motion capture work for the WWE, where some of the guys on set were aghast at a website one of them did cyber security for that involved sex with vegetables. I was running my lines and suddenly this guy named Alby says “HOLY $h!t, HOW IN THE F&@K DO YOU DO ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE AFTER DOING…THAT?!?!?”

Something clicked, and I asked myself “what does happen after you leave the XXX business?” Did some research and saw mostly one sided/negative stories that courted sensationalism, and I wanted to give these folks a fair say into their life stories. Not just cautionary tales that took no regard for them as human beings. 

Note to aspiring documentary film makers: It’s NOT hard to humanize people if you let them tell their own story without an agenda. 

Can you tell us a bit about your 2017 documentary Parrot Heads? What made you want to document this insanely loyal fan base? And how was your experience bringing this project to life? Do you have any significant memories that still make you smile when you think about them?

I’m an insanely loyal fan, and I knew there was a deeper story there than what most people see at the tailgates. 

Bringing the project to life started with a rum-induced phone call to my longtime ECU cohort Vance Daniels with the idea, three years of pitching said idea, to me working a door at the Bar Marmont and lamenting to a regular that no one in Hollywood gets Jimmy Buffett, leading him to say “I get Jimmy Buffett, how much do you need?”

Then as a result of doing it in earnest, we were able to get it to Frank Marshall (Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, etc), who loved it and advised Jimmy to be a part of it, to which he agreed to not only take part, but to become our distributor as well. 

That is one of the literal hundreds of memories that make me smile throughout the life of this movie, but the one that means the most to me is when I first showed it to my dad and he leans into me after the first 10 minutes and says “This movie is just too much fu@$ing fun!”

In front of the camera, you appeared in one of the most hilarious comedy horror franchises of all time, and one of the greatest sequel titles of all time, which would be Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust, which also happens to feature our dear friend and past guest Junie Hoang. So, I am curious to know what drew you to this project? What made you want to dig into the world of the killer cookie?

When I was an actor I’d actually auditioned for the producer (William Butler) on other projects and we became friends. So Billy emails me one day and says “Wanna come play for a few weeks?” And knowing his sense of humor and my penchant for the absurd, I accepted without hesitation. Junie was lovely, as was the incomparable Michelle Bauer, and the now TV famous Parker Young. But of course I gravitated to hang with the creative/technical guys all doing Billy a favor, like Greg Nicotero, Mike Deak, and the late John Vulich/John Carl Buechler.  Talk about getting some free film school cookies in!

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If you were handed the opportunity to create the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Legends are created by campfire stories, authors, filmmakers, the media, and the occasional viral video. Which is why my producing partner (Cara Kidwell) and I are trying to make a film about a certain woman who SHOULD be a legend, and most certainly will be when it’s all said and done.  

But in the meantime, if a studio called me and said “Here’s a pile of money, now go make this biopic of Chuck Yeager.” I’d break my wrist from signing that contract so fast! 

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

As a writer, I’ve had three scripts optioned but not made, so hopefully the future allows me to get one (or all) of them on screen. But until that time avails itself; I’m currently producing a nature documentary in the Outer Banks of North Carolina that I can’t say much about, other than it’s been another great experience and opportunity for creative growth that we all feel has a noble purpose and is appealing to just about anyone.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Hugging my big sister a few hours ago for the first time in over a year.

Everyone please get vaccinated so we can can ALL do the same (and have cocktails afterwards). Cheers!

My Fiona [Film]

“My Fiona tells the poignant story of grief and loss, while exploring sexual identity in today’s reality. In the wake of an unexpected suicide, Jane finds herself overwhelmed by the loss of her best friend, Fiona. As she begins helping Fiona’s widow Gemma care for their seven-year old son, the relationship helps them cope but threatens their ability to heal.”

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Holy buckets, Folks. Prepare to experience them feels! My Fiona has a premise that seems pretty direct able, but it certainly is not. It’s a complex and emotional journey, and it is told absolutely wonderfully! Writer and Director Kelly Walker  has created an absolute masterpiece, if I am being blunt. And the stars seemed to have aligned beautifully, as the film centers around two incredibly interesting characters who both happened to be portrayed wonderfully by two amazing performers.

What got me the hardest about My Fiona is the relatability that I wasn’t expecting to have with the character of Jane. Sure, there are wildly specific differences, but ultimately, the film is about grief. Plain and simple (well, not that simple, but you get it). And we as humans experience grief differently, but it is a commonplace emotion for all of us, and sometimes we have to allow ourselves to heal. And for some of us, that can be harder than it seems.

The dynamic and tension displayed between Corbin Reid and Jeanette Maus is absolutely phenomenal. Clearly it’s well written, but there is a chemistry between Reid and Maus that is simply undeniable. It’s an absolute pain to know that Jeanette Maus recently passed away following an eight month long battle with colon cancer, and that the world will be deprived of her brilliance. 

So Folks, I implore you all to check out this incredible film. I’m saying it now, although I know it’s only April, My Fiona is one of the best films of 2021, if not the best thus far. And with the world being as insane as it is now, it’s actually quite possible that you don’t have to wait too long to see it!

You can check it out virtually at the Outshine LGBTQ Film Festival, available April 28th to May 2nd.

The 2021 Trainwreck’d Society Academy Awards [Exclusive]

I have to start this off with an apology. I had every intention of having this up the morning prior to the Oscars that premiered last night. But, as it always seems to be these days…COVID fucked that up. My wife got her second dose, and it completely wrecked her shit, to say the least. Therefore, I got busy taking care of her and then replacing her for volunteer swim duties the day of the my daughters’ swim meet. So, I guess we are going to make this a day after event, should it continue to go on. With that in mind, let’s begin….

So, I got a wild proverbial hair up my ass and decided that I would like to know what a different sort of Oscar outcome would look like. The Oscars are often criticized. I believe the hashtag this year was #OscarsSoLame. In previous years, it was #OscarsSoWhite. The latter was very appropriate. And it still kind of is, but strides are being taken. Look, I’m not here to defend or debunk the Academy. They vote how they want, and that is just fine. But, I would be lying to myself and all of you fine people if I said that if Oscar nominated films were a genre in themselves, it wouldn’t be my favorite. I’ve always loved the majority of the films that win the big, and small, awards. In will always remember the 1998 Oscars fondly. I fucking hated Titanic. It took 11 Oscars that year. But, like 8 of them they deserved, because it was for technical stuff. But, the performance and writing awards went to films I absolutely loved. As Good As It Gets and Good Will Hunting got exactly what they deserved at a minimum. Although, hindsight showed me that Elliot Smith should have overpowered Celine Dion, but that I wouldn’t have been my thought that at 13, as I was far too chipper of a boy to listen to Elliot Smith, and the internet was new, and I only knew what was on MTV. Elliot was not. Basically what I mean is that with some exceptions, Oscar winning films tend to be some of my favorite films. From Annie Hall to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, to Hustle and Flow and South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut. Many of the films I love and treasure have been at least nominated. Many have not. Sure, the outcomes sometimes suck (Looking at you Green Book), but overall, Oscar movies tend to bring me joy. I enjoy a good old fashion blockbuster as much as the next bruv, but this is where my wheelhouse rests.

So, with that in mind, I decided it would be fun to put together my own Academy. I reached out to many people who have been either featured on TWS, or are associated in some way. Many people didn’t care to opt in, and I get it. It’s not for everyone. But, I did manage to pull together a very respectable and amazing crew of folks who wanted to pitch in. I made a poll, and let the new Trainwreck’d Society Academy of Motion Pictures and Science decide who they thought was the best. And, I have to say, with the actual Oscars event over with, it wasn’t that far off. And I also have to say, we actually did better.

So, before we get into the list, I wanted to let you all know, and pay my thanks, to the TWS Academy. These brave folks took the time out of their busy schedules to become a part of a historic effort on my part, that sort of bombed, but hey, we had fun. So, here is your Academy:

Bill Briles (filmmaker/actor, A Private Dancer in Mom’s Kitchen)
Aimee Lynn Chadwick (actress, Return of the Living Dead 2: Rave to the Grave)
Zed Cutsinger (podcaster, Views From the Vista)
Chris Eaves (filmmaker/writer/bearded hero, Trainwreck’d Society)
Elsa Faith (musician, Soul Distraction)
David Joyner (actor, Barney & Friends)
Myq Kaplan (comedian)
Laura Madsen (publicist/actress, Shooting Clerks)
Kelly Masterson (writer, Snowpiercer)
Honor Nezzo (musician/podcaster, Views From The Vista)
Chad Opitz (comedian)
Bob Saenz (writer, Extracurricular Activities)
Anna Shields (actress/writer, Monstrous)
Jacob Stafford (USAF vet, midwest fashion icon)
Timothy Tanner (actor, At the House of Madness)
Gabriel Theis (filmmaker, The Curse of Professor Zardonicus)
Ron Trembath (duh?)
Craig B. Warmsley (actor, Unchained)
Frank Whaley (actor, Pulp Fiction)
Austin Whiting (USAF vet, Barenaked Ladies enthusiast)

So here they are Folks! A damn good group, if I do say so myself. Hopefully they will return next year, and we will add some folks, should this continue. And again, I apologize for my tardiness. Maybe next year I will include some photos. But, for now, I hope you enjoy what we have for you all. Take care!

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES

RIZ AHMED

Sound of Metal

CHADWICK BOSEMAN – WINNER

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

ANTHONY HOPKINS

The Father

GARY OLDMAN

Mank

STEVEN YEUN

Minari

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES

SACHA BARON COHEN

The Trial of the Chicago 7

DANIEL KALUUYA – WINNER

Judas and the Black Messiah

LESLIE ODOM, JR.

One Night in Miami…

PAUL RACI

Sound of Metal

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Judas and the Black Messiah

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES

VIOLA DAVIS

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

ANDRA DAY

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

VANESSA KIRBY

Pieces of a Woman

FRANCES MCDORMAND

Nomadland

CAREY MULLIGAN – WINNER

Promising Young Woman

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES

MARIA BAKALOVA – WINNER

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

GLENN CLOSE

Hillbilly Elegy

OLIVIA COLMAN

The Father

AMANDA SEYFRIED

Mank

YUH-JUNG YOUN

Minari

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

NOMINEES

ONWARD

Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae

OVER THE MOON

Glen Keane, Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou

A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON

Richard Phelan, Will Becher and Paul Kewley

SOUL – WINNER

Pete Docter and Dana Murray

WOLFWALKERS

Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young and Stéphan Roelants

CINEMATOGRAPHY

NOMINEES

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – WINNER

Sean Bobbitt

MANK

Erik Messerschmidt

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Dariusz Wolski

NOMADLAND

Joshua James Richards

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Phedon Papamichael

COSTUME DESIGN

NOMINEES

EMMA

Alexandra Byrne

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

  • WINNER

Ann Roth

MANK

Trish Summerville

MULAN

Bina Daigeler

PINOCCHIO

Massimo Cantini Parrini

DIRECTING

NOMINEES

ANOTHER ROUND

Thomas Vinterberg

MANK

David Fincher

MINARI

Lee Isaac Chung

NOMADLAND

Chloé Zhao

  • WINNER

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Emerald Fennell

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

NOMINEES

COLLECTIVE

Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana

CRIP CAMP

Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder

THE MOLE AGENT

Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez

MY OCTOPUS TEACHER

Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster

  • WINNER

TIME

Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

NOMINEES

COLETTE

Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard

A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION

Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers

  • WINNER

DO NOT SPLIT

Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook

HUNGER WARD

Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman

A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA

Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

FILM EDITING

NOMINEES

THE FATHER

Yorgos Lamprinos

NOMADLAND

Chloé Zhao

  • WINNER

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Frédéric Thoraval

SOUND OF METAL

Mikkel E. G. Nielsen

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Alan Baumgarten

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

NOMINEES

ANOTHER ROUND

Denmark

  • WINNER

BETTER DAYS

Hong Kong

COLLECTIVE

Romania

THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN

Tunisia

QUO VADIS, AIDA?

Bosnia and Herzegovina

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

NOMINEES

EMMA

Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze

HILLBILLY ELEGY

Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson

  • WINNER

MANK

Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri and Colleen LaBaff

PINOCCHIO

Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

NOMINEES

DA 5 BLOODS

Terence Blanchard

MANK

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

MINARI

Emile Mosseri

NEWS OF THE WORLD

James Newton Howard

SOUL

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste

  • WINNER

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

NOMINEES

FIGHT FOR YOU

from Judas and the Black Messiah; Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas

HEAR MY VOICE

from The Trial of the Chicago 7; Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite

HUSAVIK

from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga; Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson

IO SÌ (SEEN)

from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se); Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini

SPEAK NOW

from One Night in Miami…; Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

  • WINNER

BEST PICTURE

NOMINEES

THE FATHER

David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers

  • WINNER

MANK

Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers

MINARI

Christina Oh, Producer

NOMADLAND

Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers

SOUND OF METAL

Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers

PRODUCTION DESIGN

NOMINEES

THE FATHER

Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton

MANK

Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan

TENET

Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

  • WINNER

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

NOMINEES

BURROW

Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat

GENIUS LOCI

Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise

IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU

Will McCormack and Michael Govier

  • WINNER* (actually forgot to include this one, so the Academy can have the final say)

OPERA

Erick Oh

YES-PEOPLE

Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

NOMINEES

FEELING THROUGH

Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski

THE LETTER ROOM

Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan

THE PRESENT

Farah Nabulsi and Ossama Bawardi

TWO DISTANT STRANGERS

Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe

  • WINNER

WHITE EYE

Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman

SOUND

NOMINEES

GREYHOUND

Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman

MANK

Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett

SOUL

Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker

SOUND OF METAL

Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michellee Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh

  • WINNER

VISUAL EFFECTS

NOMINEES

LOVE AND MONSTERS

Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox

THE MIDNIGHT SKY

Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins

MULAN

Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez

TENET

Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher

  • WINNER

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: DELIVERY OF PRODIGIOUS BRIBE TO AMERICAN REGIME FOR MAKE BENEFIT ONCE GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN

Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad

  • WINNER

THE FATHER

Screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller

NOMADLAND

Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI…

Screenplay by Kemp Powers

THE WHITE TIGER

Written for the screen by Ramin Bahrani

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas

  • WINNER

MINARI

Written by Lee Isaac Chung

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Written by Emerald Fennell

SOUND OF METAL

Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Written by Aaron Sorkin

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

2021 Oscar Preview with Chris & Ron [Exclusive]

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, FOLKS! HEAD ON OVER TO OUR FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE AND CAST YOUR VOTE FOR WHO YOU BELIEVE HAD THE BEST PREDICTIONS FOR THE CHANCE TO WIN SOME EXTREMELY AVERAGE PRIZES! ENJOY!

TO VOTE, SIMPLY LEAVE A COMMENT ON THE EVENT PAGE STATING WHO YOU BELIEVE PICKED THE BEST.

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Introduction from Mr. Eaves:

I will always remember the night the State Lock Down announcements began. It was March 11th, 2020 and I was at the Rose Garden (Moda Center) in Portland, Oregon. My friend Brice had gifted me a ticket to see Tool with him – a band I have loved since Jr. High but had never found an opportunity to see perform live. An exceedingly kind gesture and one I will always treasure. The show was a mesmerizing spectacle of sound and sight collectively experienced by 20,000 people. A soul shocking juxtaposition slamming right into the coming uncertainty and isolation of the developing pandemic. What would ultimately become a Marathon without mile markers.

The first people to feel the pains of the Lock Down were those who operated our favorite neighborhood establishments. The places we seek out, to hang out, with our friends and family, build comradery and share experiences with each other. Our favorite restaurant, the Friday night movie theater and the local music venue all shuttered their doors. Somethings’ importance is not easily recognized until it is no longer around. How important these neighborhood institutions are to our culture and fueling our humanity.

The first few weeks of the pandemic carried a sense of optimism as we worked to flatten the infection curve. Although, weeks turned into months and waves 2 and 3 began hammering our cities. What we had thought and naively hoped for early on was a quick return to the old world, instead, missed the stealthily acceleration of convenience into our homes. And as the world stayed at home the streaming of content presented an opportunity for most to find moments of escapist entertainment.

We all learned about Tiger King and how Nicolas Cage would star in the film adaptation. Disney+ returned us to a past, and frankly quaint, approach to television, with their crazy notion of releasing a single episode each week. Disney+ dominated the pop culture conversation for weeks on end with The Mandalorian, WandaVision and The Falcon & the Winter Soldier. Warner Brothers decided to release all their Feature Films onto HBO Max at only 14.99 a month without informing their movie creators. And “The Snyder Cut” was finally released digitally after only a small additional 70-million-dollar investment and three years of Twitter outrage. Streaming became the race to acquire new Subscribers at all costs via fracturing content into hundreds of new Fill-In-The-Blank + apps.

Everything is so convenient now. Restaurant food delivered right to your front door. Groceries delivered right to your front door. Pencils and pressure washers delivered right to your front door. A new car delivered and parked right in your driveway. I just refinanced my home via signing all my documents with an E-Signature. And this is such a sorrowful notation for me. In person interactions create empathy. Human contact builds empathy just like a bench press builds muscular strength. Empathy requires practice and work, or it will wither away. Convenience has its cost. And this is coming from an introvert who conceals his anxiety.

If you have made it this far you are probably wondering why I am rambling on like this for an Academy Award Ballet Prediction write up. The Movies are cultural markers. They shine a light on our accomplishments as well as our tragedies. The Movies make us laugh and they make us weep. Movies are wonderful empathy machines. And the medium of theaters is an institution for building empathy through collective experience. A comedy is never as funny as when you watch it with a group of people fueling each other’s enjoyment.

The Theater Experience is like a restaurant or a music hall or a museum or an air show or a dozen other similar places. A place for us to share experience with one another and to experience the humanity within each other’s unique perspectives. These places are our cultural watering holes. While 2020 delivered an overabundance of collective pain and hardships, it also isolated us from one another and allowed for are more devilish instincts to bubble to the surface.

Late showing summer movies are my favorite experience. When the theater house lights come up and everyone starts looking around the auditorium, reading each other’s experiences across their faces. Some people clapping and others laughing. People slowly start to rustle their way towards the lobby. Small groups form up to talk about what they just witnessed. And my absolute favorite feeling – the rush of warm summer air upon my face as we step out of the air-conditioned lobby, the last bits of orange twilight shining above the horizon line. The conversations of the lobby have continued out under the Marquee and then meander their way out into the parking lot. All our social institutions have these similar kinds of experiences.

The theater experience will not be snuffed out by 2020 but it will forever be changed. The prerequisite for an OSCAR qualification is a theatrical release. The 2021 Academy Awards have made the exception for streaming nominations if the film had a planned theatrical release prior to the Lock Down. And as Subscription continues to dominate and watching from home continues to grow, the weight of Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Max’s consolidation of power over the Theatrical Exhibitionists of AMC, Regal, Cinemark and NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) will undoubtedly lead to more changes in how the Academy will operate. The theater will not die but the power of the theater has greatly diminished like an old bulb of a projector.

My goal was not to be a downer on the subject. Chloé Zhao and Nomadland deserve to win big this year! Zhao captures the complexities of humanity without judgment. Chadwick Boseman will win posthumously. Judas and the Black Messiah is a positive kick to the soul and should also win big. Delroy Lindo’s snub for Best Actor is nothing less than outrageous and a front to his craft. A few of the nominated films received limited releases but most found their way onto Premium Streaming VOD Platforms to which like most years most people still did not watch.

Cinema is a medium of storytelling. At one point Movie Palaces sold out 5,000 seat auditoriums each night before television found its way into every home. But what makes the act of Cinema so powerful was the experience of witnessing the spectacle of sight and sound collectively. Without the human interaction, a movie struggles to be more than just flickering light. Of course, a film will still affect you at home, but the reinforcement of the experience will solidify it as part of you. Just like that kind gesture of my friend Brice to see Tool with him. Just like the time Ron, I, Adam, Mike and Tyler all saw the Midnight showing of Inglourious Basterds (2009) at Cinetopia and Mike yelled out “Oh Fuck” after Hitler got blow away (because that is always the correct response after that scene). Or the first date I had with my wife to see The Hangover (2009). Or the time I saw the unforgivable trash heap that was Independence Day 2 (2016) with Adam, Cody, Brett, and Zac. Sharing the misery of that bullshit with those Sirs brought me so much joy. If I had watched Resurgence at home, it would have just been another forgotten memory.

The world is changing. We have been on this path for a while and 2020 simply accelerated its pace. Please keep watching movies. It is okay to watch movies at home. But remember why we watch movies. We watch to experience these emotions with other people. We still want to connect with people. And if the opportunity arises, please support your local theater. I hope to see you in the lobby and want to hear all about what you experienced. Until then – safe journey.

Introduction from Mr. Trembath:

Fuck COVID. Let’s all go the movies (soon?). Also Trial of the Chicago 7 was absolute trash. I recommend the 3 part podcast episode that our friends at The Dollop about Abbie Hoffman. And get vaccinated. NOW.

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BEST PICTURE

THE FATHER – David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers

MANK – Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers

MINARI – Christina Oh, Producer

NOMADLAND – Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN – Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers

SOUND OF METAL – Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 – Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

NOMADLAND

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: 

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

NOMADLAND

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: 

NOMADLAND

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

RIZ AHMED – Sound of Metal

CHADWICK BOSEMAN – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

ANTHONY HOPKINS – The Father

GARY OLDMAN – Mank

STEVEN YEUN – Minari

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

DELROY LINDO – Da 5 Bloods (Write In)

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: 

CHADWICK BOSEMAN – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

CHADWICK BOSEMAN – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: 

CHADWICK BOSEMAN – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

SACHA BARON COHEN – The Trial of the Chicago 7

DANIEL KALUUYA – Judas and the Black Messiah

LESLIE ODOM, JR. – One Night in Miami…

PAUL RACI – Sound of Metal

LAKEITH STANFIELD – Judas and the Black Messiah

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

DANIEL KALUUYA – Judas and the Black Messiah

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

DANIEL KALUUYA – Judas and the Black Messiah

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

DANIEL KALUUYA – Judas and the Black Messiah

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

DANIEL KALUUYA – Judas and the Black Messiah

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

VIOLA DAVIS – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

ANDRA DAY – The United States vs. Billie Holiday

VANESSA KIRBY – Pieces of a Woman

FRANCES MCDORMAND – Nomadland

CAREY MULLIGAN – Promising Young Woman

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

ANDRA DAY – The United States vs. Billie Holiday

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

VIOLA DAVIS – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

FRANCES MCDORMAND – Nomadland

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

FRANCES MCDORMAND – Nomadland

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

MARIA BAKALOVA – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

GLENN CLOSE – Hillbilly Elegy

OLIVIA COLMAN – The Father

AMANDA SEYFRIED – Mank

YUH-JUNG YOUN – Minari

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

MARIA BAKALOVA – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

MARIA BAKALOVA – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

AMANDA SEYFRIED – Mank

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

MARIA BAKALOVA – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

ONWARD – Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae

OVER THE MOON – Glen Keane, Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou

A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON – Richard Phelan, Will Becher and Paul Kewley

SOUL – Pete Docter and Dana Murray

WOLFWALKERS – Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young and Stéphan Roelants

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

SOUL – Pete Docter and Dana Murray

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

SOUL – Pete Docter and Dana Murray

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

SOUL – Pete Docter and Dana Murray

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

SOUL – Pete Docter and Dana Murray

CINEMATOGRAPHY

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Sean Bobbitt

MANK – Erik Messerschmidt

NEWS OF THE WORLD – Dariusz Wolski

NOMADLAND – Joshua James Richards

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 – Phedon Papamichael

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

MANK – Erik Messerschmidt

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Sean Bobbitt

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

MANK – Erik Messerschmidt

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

NOMADLAND – Joshua James Richards

COSTUME DESIGN

EMMA – Alexandra Byrne

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – Ann Roth

MANK – Trish Summerville

MULAN – Bina Daigeler

PINOCCHIO – Massimo Cantini Parrini

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

MANK – Trish Summerville

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – Ann Roth

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

MANK – Trish Summerville

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – Ann Roth

DIRECTING

ANOTHER ROUND – Thomas Vinterberg

MANK – David Fincher

MINARI – Lee Isaac Chung

NOMADLAND – Chloé Zhao

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN – Emerald Fennell

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

NOMADLAND – Chloé Zhao

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN – Emerald Fennell

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

NOMADLAND – Chloé Zhao

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

NOMADLAND – Chloé Zhao

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

COLLECTIVE – Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana

CRIP CAMP – Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder

THE MOLE AGENT – Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez

MY OCTOPUS TEACHER – Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster

TIME – Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

MY OCTOPUS TEACHER – Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

CRIP CAMP – Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

MY OCTOPUS TEACHER – Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

MY OCTOPUS TEACHER – Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

COLETTE – Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard

A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION – Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers

DO NOT SPLIT – Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook

HUNGER WARD – Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman

A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA – Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA – Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA – Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA – Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION – Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers

FILM EDITING

THE FATHER – Yorgos Lamprinos

NOMADLAND – Chloé Zhao

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN – Frédéric Thoraval

SOUND OF METAL – Mikkel E. G. Nielsen

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 – Alan Baumgarten

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

SOUND OF METAL – Mikkel E. G. Nielsen

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

SOUND OF METAL – Mikkel E. G. Nielsen

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

SOUND OF METAL – Mikkel E. G. Nielsen

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

NOMADLAND – Chloé Zhao

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

ANOTHER ROUND – Denmark

BETTER DAYS – Hong Kong

COLLECTIVE – Romania

THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN – Tunisia

QUO VADIS, AIDA? – Bosnia and Herzegovina

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

ANOTHER ROUND – Denmark

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

ANOTHER ROUND – Denmark

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

ANOTHER ROUND – Denmark

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

ANOTHER ROUND – Denmark

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

EMMA – Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze

HILLBILLY ELEGY – Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson

MANK – Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri and Colleen LaBaff

PINOCCHIO – Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

MANK – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

MANK – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

DA 5 BLOODS – Terence Blanchard

MANK – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

MINARI – Emile Mosseri

NEWS OF THE WORLD – James Newton Howard

SOUL – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

SOUL – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

DA 5 BLOODS – Terence Blanchard

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

SOUL – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

SOUL – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

FIGHT FOR YOU – from Judas and the Black Messiah; Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas

HEAR MY VOICE – from The Trial of the Chicago 7; Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite

HUSAVIK – from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga; Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson

IO SÌ (SEEN) – from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se); Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini

SPEAK NOW – from One Night in Miami…; Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

SPEAK NOW – from One Night in Miami…; Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

FIGHT FOR YOU – from Judas and the Black Messiah; Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

SPEAK NOW – from One Night in Miami…; Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

SPEAK NOW – from One Night in Miami…; Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

PRODUCTION DESIGN

THE FATHER – Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton

MANK – Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale

NEWS OF THE WORLD – Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan

TENET – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

TENET – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

TENET – Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

MANK – Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

BURROW – Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat

GENIUS LOCI – Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise

IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU – Will McCormack and Michael Govier

OPERA – Erick Oh

YES-PEOPLE – Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

GENIUS LOCI – Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU – Will McCormack and Michael Govier

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

GENIUS LOCI – Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

GENIUS LOCI – Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

FEELING THROUGH – Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski

THE LETTER ROOM – Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan

THE PRESENT – Farah Nabulsi and Ossama Bawardi

TWO DISTANT STRANGERS – Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe

WHITE EYE – Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

WHITE EYE – Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

FEELING THROUGH – Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

WHITE EYE – Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

FEELING THROUGH – Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski

SOUND

GREYHOUND – Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman

MANK – Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin

NEWS OF THE WORLD – Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett

SOUL – Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker

SOUND OF METAL – Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michellee Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

SOUND OF METAL – Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michellee Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

SOUND OF METAL – Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michellee Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

GREYHOUND – Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

SOUND OF METAL – Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michellee Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh

VISUAL EFFECTS

LOVE AND MONSTERS – Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox

THE MIDNIGHT SKY – Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins

MULAN – Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN – Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez

TENET – Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

TENET – Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

THE MIDNIGHT SKY – Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

TENET – Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

TENET – Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: DELIVERY OF PRODIGIOUS BRIBE TO AMERICAN REGIME FOR MAKE BENEFIT ONCE GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN – Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad

THE FATHER – Screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller

NOMADLAND – Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… – Screenplay by Kemp Powers

THE WHITE TIGER – Written for the screen by Ramin Bahrani

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… – Screenplay by Kemp Powers

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… – Screenplay by Kemp Powers

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… – Screenplay by Kemp Powers

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

NOMADLAND – Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas

MINARI – Written by Lee Isaac Chung

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN – Written by Emerald Fennell

SOUND OF METAL – Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 – Written by Aaron Sorkin

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN:

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN – Written by Emerald Fennell

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 – Written by Aaron Sorkin

Annette Arnold [Interview]

Hello Folks! We have another absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all. We have a brilliant and legendary performer of the screen and stage, it’s Annette Arnold, Everyone! Annette jumped into the public eye when she performed in Tamara Jenkin’s Sundance Special Jury award winning film Family Remains, alongside fellow greats like Kevin Corrigan and Donna Mitchell. She was amazing in it, and has been taking on some amazing projects ever since. In fact, two of those projects were the original reason I initially reached out to receive the honor of having Annette grace our digital pages, and we will discuss them below. Suffice to say that they are two of my Top Ten films of all time, and whenever we have a cast member, or anyone who was involved with the project on the site, we simply HAVE to ask about it. Today will be no exception. 

So, Folks, please enjoy some brilliant words from the even more brilliant performer, Annette Arnold!

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 What inspired you to get into the world of performance? Was it something you had wanted to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?


I don’t come from a family of performing artists, but, my father was always a great storyteller. I learned early on the power to move, excite, anger or captivate people through storytelling. I began putting on ‘backyard plays’ at a very young age. When you’re eight, and you create a living breathing character in front of your neighbors, then stand back and observe the very unique and different ways in which each of them reacts to or responds to it, well, let’s just say, that is very powerful and I’ve been enthralled ever since.  

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work to date?

My very first paid gig in the entertainment world was the Sundance Jury Prize winning film Family Remains. I was honored to be directed by the very brilliant Tamara Jenkins for my debut film. It was also the very first time I stepped foot on a set. Tamara taught me so much then, about both film and artistic integrity. Tamara and Gabor (our cinematographer) would set up each and every shot, step back, call me over, and then have me look through the lens. Tamara allowed me to view each shot, assess my parameters, and understand and actually see what the camera was seeing. When does that ever happen to an actor?? Ummm…NEVER (and never has it happened again). The opportunity to learn about space, angles, close ups, to see the difference between a two shot, master, medium, and experience the importance of lighting, taught me lessons that still inform my work today. No matter what my approach to a role is, my goal is always a truthful performance. But, film is a medium and that lens is there for a reason. There is a world to view through/inside of it. I learned to know what it is, then forget it is there. It was the ultimate MASTER CLASS! I am so lucky to have worked with Tamara several more times after that. I’m not sure she would even remember those moments, but, I hope she knows how grateful I am. 

You have done some amazing work on both big and silver screens, the stage, & beyond. With that in mind, what would you consider to be your most beloved type of performance?


Well…my most beloved role is yet to come! Having said that, at this stage in my life and creativity, I feel the most uninhibited, unencumbered and inspired, than I have ever been. I have a lifetime of stories, humor, love, anger, and unbridled rage to share. And, no walls. Maybe that came with age? I don’t know, but, I am able to access parts of me I didn’t know existed or didn’t want to, and it’s unpredictable and exciting. So my most beloved types of performances have been ones that both challenge me and are just that, unpredictable. I recently played a housewife who dreams of being a stand up comedienne. In the last minutes of [a particular] play, my character finally takes the stage and delivers her first crack at stand up. Although the play and that final routine was written by the wonderful Alyssa Haddad, just like real stand up, it could and would change every evening depending on the audience response. I often had to improvise or change things up, based off of their reactions, comments or even heckling. It was both terrifying and exhilarating! 

In back to back years, you worked on two of my absolute favorite films of all time. The first would be the seminal indie classic film Trees Lounge, which also features our old friend Michael Buscemi. So, I am curious to know what drew you to this project? And how was your experience working on this project?

TREES LOUNGE!! One of my favorites too! I remain a huge fan of both Steve and Michael Buscemi. Steve drew me to this project. He had seen me in Family Remains (at Sundance I believe) and called me at home! Now remember, there was no internet, no email. Just an answering machine. My boyfriend Chris Wilson (now my husband) and I, came home to a message on the answering machine from Steve. Steve Buscemi!! My husband and I kept replaying the message and screaming…’Mr. Pink’!! I think we did that about 15 times before we actually listened to it. Steve invited me to be a part of a reading he was having at Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Again, because it was the old days, we met at a coffee shop so he could hand me the script (or else he would have had to send it snail mail, remember that?). The reading went extremely well and not surprisingly, the script was incredibly well received. It was about a year later I received a call offering me the role of Sandy. Not only did I get to work with an enormously talented cast that included Steve and Michael Buscemi, but Kevin Corrigan, Michael Imperioli, Seymour Cassel and Chloe Sevigny, but, I earned my SAG card!! I will never forget it. 

The next year, you worked on another classic film, in my opinion, Deconstructing Harry, which features another dear friend of ours, Hazelle Goodman. So, same question basically, what drew you to the project, and how was your experience?

It seems like all roads lead back to Family Remains, so I guess, this is no different. Casting director Laura Rosenthal, who cast Family Remains, worked out of Juliet Taylor’s Casting office at the time. Juliet Taylor was the casting director on most, if not all, of Woody Allen’s films back then. A few years after Family Remains was released, Juliet Taylor called me in to audition for Deconstructing Harry. I read for her and was asked if I was available to meet with Woody Allen the very next day. I not only read for him, I read with him! I guess it went well because I was offered the role that evening. My experience was fantastic. You’ve seen the film, so you know, there are so many famous faces in it. For an actor in their early career, it can often be intimidating, but, every actoron set (famous or not) seemed equally nervous/terrified and excited to just be in a Woody Allen film. 

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?


Carol Burnett. The very first woman ever to host a variety sketch show (and the most awarded tv shows of all time). She’s groundbreaking. She is fierce, fearless, and a superior physical comedian. Throughout her devastating personal tragedies, she revealed herself through her comedy. As a young girl I was always attracted to dark material: films, poetry, etc, art that revealed the darkest depths of the soul. Yet, every evening when I heard the musical opening of The Carol Burnett show, I knocked over whomever was in my way at the time and would sit directly in front of the television…it was transcendent. Like some of my favorite confessional poets, her humor always revealed her humanity. I NEVER felt like she was wearing a mask. She is one of the most influential women (and people) in television history.

What does the future hold for you? Anything our readers should be on the lookout for?


With an actor/singer/filmmaker daughter and writer husband, we have many performing opportunities/collaborations on the horizon. However, these quarantine and pandemic times had me writing! I wrote a short film and a series pilot titled Apartment 3RN. Without giving too much away, I took the age old advice ‘write what you know’. It’s about a family of artists living in Hell’s Kitchen. They encounter a series of racial, fantastical and even violent missteps, all while seemingly never leaving their sofa.    

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My daughter, Zoe Wilson, as I mentioned, is also a professional actor, just booked a great role. No matter how long you’ve been doing this, or even who got the gig, that feeling, that excitement, never gets old. 

Todd Robert Anderson [Interview]

 

 

Hello Folks! Today we have an incredible interview that is well overdue. Mainly due to my very own inability to focus on multiple tasks during a move across the world, as you have all heard me whine about since it began. Anyway, today we have an absolute gem of a human being gracing our digital pages. It’s the amazing actor, Todd Robert Anderson!

Todd has been working both on and off the screen for over 20 years, and has worked on a plethora of the TV shows you know and love. A personal highlight, and probably for a lot of you as well, is his reoccurring role on the brilliant FXX series You’re The Worst. Some of you may remember that we have actually featured some pretty great folks who have appeared and re-appeared on this absolutely incredible show, such as Allen Maldonado, Robin Riker, and Johnny Pemberton. But, Todd was a fucking presence on this program, and was an absolute highlight of each and every episode he was on.

And another bit of inside baseball fun that we have for you all….we have another Becker siting! Yes, Todd is yet another of the insanely talented man who appeared, even if just for one episode, on the series we love and adore the most. So, of course we had to ask him about that as well.

So Folks, please enjoy some amazing words from our new friend and absolutely amazing actor, Todd Robert Anderson!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of performance? Was it something you had wanted to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?


It was a plan I had since junior high, to be an actor. A teacher encouraged me to do a play, The Butler Did It, and when I got all the attention and laughs, it got me past my shyness and social awkwardness. And created a bit of an addiction for performance. 
    

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work to date?

My first paid gig was a commercial for Pacific Bell, in which we extolled the virtues of “three-way calling.” Yes, I’m ancient. My first theatrical gig was in Blast from the Past.
    

Much like our dear friends Allen Maldonado, Robin Riker & Johnny Pemberton, you were absolutely incredible on the equally incredible series You’re The Worst. I am curious to know what drew you to this project? And how was your experience working on such a funny and enlightening series? 

Show creator Stephen Falk is one of my best friends, I’ve known him since college. He had a small, two-line part called “The Groom” that needed to be filled for the pilot. I went in and auditioned, ad-libbed a third line for the fun of it, and they cast me. The network liked me enough to flesh out the character and bring him on for more episodes. So, to answer your question, what drew me to it was my old friend and what draws me to most of the work I do: they were willing to pay me.
  

 

YOU’RE THE WORST — “The Heart is a Dumb Dumb” — Episode 213 (Airs Wednesday, December 9, 10:30 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Janet Varney as Becca, Todd Robert Anderson as Vernon. CR: Byron Cohen/FX

 

You also appeared in an episode of my absolute favorite sitcom of all time, which I am always obligated to ask our guests about, even if it was only a brief gig. And that series is the one and only series Becker. You played “Pete” in the episode “One Wong Move”, which is honestly one of the most memorable episodes for me, & written by our friend Russ Woody. Anyway, I am curious to know how your experience was working this legendary (at least to me!) sitcom? 

Doing Becker was very exciting for me because I was a Cheers fanatic and working with Ted Danson was a dream come true. He is genuinely a great guy as well as being a great actor, so meeting one of my heroes turned out to be a great thing. On taping night I got a very hard lesson when the biggest scene in the episode, with a lot of moving parts, got zero reaction from the studio audience. We were there until two in the morning trying to figure it out. I just assumed studio audiences would laugh at anything, but apparently they have minds of their own. 
I also got to meet Octavia Spencer who was working on the show, and she was a blast. 
   

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Steve Martin, because I grew up dreaming about being him, and this would be the absolute closest I could get.
   

What does the future hold for you? Anything our readers should be on the lookout for?  

I’ll turn up on this season of Good Girls here and there. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. I wait for the auditions, and when they come, I get bookings. I never know too far in advance what I’ll be doing.

What was the last thing that made you smile?  

My son was singing along to Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning”, and he got the lyrics wrong: “Just call me angel of the morning, angel. Just pull my teeth before you leave me, baby.” I laughed for an hour after that.

Ted Russell Kamp [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! And welcome back to another beautiful Wednesday here at Trainwreck’d Society. While I am usually always so excited to share interviews with you fine folks, today I am particularly excited for a somewhat singular reason. Not only is our guest today and amazing and talented human being, but we have a musician back in the house, Folks! It’s the wonderful Grammy award winning musician Ted Russell Kamp, Everyone! For those not in the know, TWS was essentially just a music blog. That was where I laid my original roots and will always be proud of the fact. But, the main reason I started this site was to move into other categories. Now here we are, close to 700 interviews later, and musicians just don’t show up as much as they used to. I guess we are starting to change that, right now!

Ted Russell Kamp is a long time bass player, songwriter, guitarist, just about everything you could imagine. Regular readers of the site will remember that Ted appeared on our 2020 year end lists for both a song as well as his amazing album, Down in the Den, which landed at #40, as well as our favorite track from the album “Home Sweet Hollywood” landing at #45 on our Top 100 Songs list. And Folks, while it is very early on, it is damn near safe to say that we will be seeing more from Mr. Kamp at the end of 2021. Our man has a new record coming out on May 7th that I was fortunate enough to get an early listening to and, Folks, he’s only getting better. Being his 13th album is proof that Ted is in no way aging out and continues to put out fresh shit on an extremely fast pace.

So Folks, be on the lookout for his album, Solitaire, available everywhere on May 7th (we will be talking about the album more in the future, I guarantee it), and please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Ted Russell Kamp!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of music? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I started playing trumpet in the 4th grade in the school band. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City and at the time it was New York state law that every student had to join the choir or start and instrument. At the time I was deathly afraid of singing, so I started with an instrument. My dad actually played in some big bands when he was in college so I asked him if I could just use his old trumpet. And that’s still the trumpet I play on a lot of my recordings.

When I got to High School, I got a bass guitar and started playing in rock bands and the high school jazz band. I was hooked for life.

What was your first paid gig in the world of music? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

I had been playing bass for a year or two, so I must have been a Sophomore or Junior in High School. A Senior bass player who I really looked up to, asked if I would sub for him and play a gig with a band he worked with. They were mostly guys in college and they had a small-town festival in a field a few towns over from where I lived. They were a New Wave band and I remember learning Duran Duran, the Cure and Howard Jones covers. I had heard some of that music but was not a fan. I was a classic rock guy and mostly avoided music with too many synths. I really did my homework but was so nervous I could barely deal with it. They were older than me, cooler than me and I think I got paid $25 or $50. It was a huge deal and it was the first time I played in a band with people I didn’t know.

Back when you were able to tour the land doing shows all over the place, what were some of the more off the path types of cities and venues that you performed in that most people may not realize are wonderful towns for live music?

I love traveling and trying to get to know the people and heart of every city I go to. Some of my favorites are the small cities you don’t hear about until you get to them. Tuscaloosa Alabama is great. Norco California. Amal Sweden is another. Nokia, Finland. Some of the best gigs are when you go to a small town or city where they don’t get much live music so your arrival is a big deal you become the big show in town. You really feel the heart of the people and the deep appreciation that you don’t often get in big cities.

You have a new album coming out in May that is already shaping up to be one of my favorites of 2021. I’ve enjoyed your work for years, but Solitaire feels special for some reason. Can you tell us how this record came to light? What made you want to put these tales out into the world?

Solitaire is my 13th record as an artist and front man. I played and recorded it by myself, almost entirely in my home studio, The Den, during the last half of 2020 in the COVID quarantine. This is record deals with the isolation me and many of us have felt this last year so there are more than a few sadder and more introspective acoustic songs on it. Overall, I’m an optimistic type of person so I also wanted to have some songs of hope and inspiration on the record because we are all trying to find ways to stay sane and pull through. I have definitely had ballads on my records before but this album as a whole shows a moodier and more introspective side to my writing and playing. It’s as much of a classic folk and singer songwriter record as I have ever made and it really shows my folk influences like early Dylan, Guy Clark and Nick Drake.

 

 

One track from Solitaire that has really hit me hard on a very personal level is “Birds That Sing at Dawn”. For reasons that I don’t really care to get into, this one hits me, Man. I’m curious to know what it is like to deal with this scenario. When people personalize your already very personal lyrics to themselves, how does that make you feel? Is it a good thing in your opinion? Why or why not?

I wrote this one with Brad Raisin, who is an artist i have played bass on a bunch of his records over the years. He actually loved my record Flying Solo and started to learn one of the songs on that album so he could start playing it. It’s “The Way Love Burns”. So, his messing around with that evolved into this song. Then he sent me a recording and i tweaked it a little more to get it to what you hear on this version. I love this one. A relationship has fallen apart and the narrator is left reliving the memories and trying to start again. He’s up all night thinking and drinking and wondering what’s next. That’s someplace we have all been.

I’m honored that you relate to it and that this song stands out to you. One of the things I try to do with certain songs is to give a lot of detail and feeling but keep it vague enough that listeners can see themselves in a song. We’ve all had lonely times like that and worried about what we did wrong and missed a better time. I hope this one helps you through those memories.

You received a well-deserved Grammy last year for working with the legendary Tanya Tucker on her wonderful album, While I’m Living’. We always like to ask our statue holding friends this one question: Where do you physically keep your Grammy? And does its location have any sort of symbolic significance?

That was a truly amazing and inspiring record to be a part of. Not just working with Tanya Tucker, who is a legend, but also being in the room with Brandi Carlile, Shooter and the rest of the team. It felt magical from beginning to end.

I didn’t know this, but when it’s an artist and not a band, not everyone gets an actual Grammy statue. I believe the producers, engineers and artists get a statue. The musicians get a pretty awesome commemorative certificate. My wife framed it for me as a gift and it’s hanging in our living room.

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

This record comes out on May 7. I won’t be doing any touring of course but I’m excited to get this music out into the world.

As of now I am booking a tour in Europe for February of 2022 and then I hope to do some traveling and playing with Shooter Jennings next year as well on my own.

I also have a few records that I will be producing and we are figuring out the best way to start them while in quarantine.

Aside from that, I just hope to keep making music for a living whether that’s playing live or in the studio.

And you know I’m going to keep writing songs and putting out records.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My wife is a high school teacher and is just starting her own podcast about education and critical thinking. It’s called Think or Thwim and the first episode just got put on Spotify a few weeks ago so she is really excited about it. I have been working in the studio recording and editing her first few shows and I even wrote a theme song for it. We laugh a lot while we are working together. Since our professional lives are usually completely different, it’s great that I can use my musical and studio skills to help her.

 

Gabriel Theis [Interview]

 

Hello, Folks! I hope you all had a nice spring break. We took a little time off to move our headquarters to Anchorage, as we previously discussed. And if I’m being honest, I truly needed a break. But, we shall show you that the wait was worth the….well, wait. So here we go!

Today we have a wonderful interview with a bright young filmmaker that we are so excited to have on the site. It’s Gabriel Theis, Everyone! Gabriel has been working in the world of film and television in several different capacities over the last few years, and has made great strides to becoming one of the greats. His latest project is one that was brought to my attention by our dear friend, cinematographer Brad Rushing, and we are so happy he did. This project is known as The Curse of Professor Zardonicus, a film about a young man who recruits a film student to help him prove the existence of an urban legend. It is a truly intriguing story that I am so excited to check out, and possibly share with you all here.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the newly beloved filmmaker, Gabriel Theis! Enjoy!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of film? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

 My father was a film critic, so cinema was ubiquitous in our household. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been hooked on movies, classic and new, arthouse and blockbuster, really good and really bad (my list of guilty-pleasures is insane).

So because of that, I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker, even when I was too young to really understand what that meant.  I had no idea how films were constructed, all the nuances that go behind a successful production. If I’d had any appreciation for how difficult filmmaking could be, or how much failure I would experience in that quest, I might have been discouraged.

But, too late now. It’s the only thing I could imagine for myself, which has been an absolutely essential mindset. If I had the ability to really consider another career choice, I might have given up by now and gone on to become, I don’t know, a doctor? Accountant? Something more financially reliable as a career path. But filmmaking is too ingrained in my identity now, so I’ve never considered trying something else, even if that might have seemed like the more logical move. 

What was your first paid gig in the world of film? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

My first gig was being a Production Assistant on the “Sicko Mode” music video. I was a sophomore in college, and got the gig through one of my film professors (appreciate it, Professor Houk).

It was a 16-hour shoot day, and was the first set I had been on where the camera wasn’t something that anyone could get at a Best Buy. I went from making amateur short films to being on set for a music video featuring two of the most high-profile artists of my generation.

So it was both exciting and overwhelming at the same time, for exactly the reasons you’d expect. I got some extremely helpful pointers on being a production assistant, though, and the crew was very patient with me, knowing how green I was. 

The number of things I learned on that shoot was so long, I couldn’t possibly list them all here. It ranged from learning what a line producer was, to what Travis Scott’s favorite flavor of Fanta was. But the lessons I carried with me were all about work ethic and maintaining the rhythm of a functioning set.

While I’ve never produced a project of my own at that scale, the principles remain the same, of always being alert and prepared for a problem to arise, of staying in your lane and never interfering with someone else’s responsibilities.

So shout out to Drake and Travis Scott, my old bosses. And especially a huge thanks to Travis Scott, who was part of the reason why the music video was being filmed in Houston.

 

 

Can you tell us a bit about your exciting new project, The Curse of Professor Zardonicus? What made you want to bring this story into the world, and what can people expect to see?

The Curse of Professor Zardonicus is… honestly, I still have a hard time explaining exactly what it is. And that’s part of what I loved about making it.

Simply put, it’s a mockumentary dark-comedy about an eccentric young man who recruits a film student to help him prove the existence of an urban legend named, you guessed, “Professor Zardonicus.” It was shot with my colleagues, Alec White and Lucio Vasquez. While there are people to thank, including the rest of the cast, and many people who helped with production, most of the film was shot with just the three of us. Lucio was the Director of Photography and Editor, Alec played the lead character, as well as serving other services such as being a casting director. Without either of them, there simply wouldn’t be a movie. And without the enthusiasm to overcome all of the challenges to produce a film with such limited resources, I don’t know how we could have gotten it done.

Dating back to my freshman year, I had known that Zardonicus would be my debut feature film. Since it’s a mockumentary told from the perspective of a college student, it had the perfect framing device for my limited resources. It was also a chance to satirize the found-footage genre, and “monster-hunting” shows.

It was going to be a comedy, through and through. But then, as I started writing the screenplay, other themes started to creep in, ones about mental illness and conspiracy theories. The screenplay was written long before Qanon became a household name, I can’t imagine a more appropriate sociopolitical context for the film to be released.

We were never sure how audiences would respond, and that anticipation was the most suspenseful aspect of production, at least for myself. With such an off-beat sense of humor, frankly weird lead character, and bizarre title, I knew we had limited our audience. But John Lennon once said “being yourself may not get you a lot of friends, but it’ll get you the right ones,” and the same philosophy applies to creative endeavors and their audience. While Zardonicus has had a polarizing response, the people who have enjoyed it seemed to have had a unique experience watching it, and formed a very personal relationship with the film, it’s themes and characters. And that alone makes it worth it, even with the endless amount of frustration and disappointment that can ensue when you’re producing a film.

If you were greenlit & received an unlimited budget to create the biopic (series, film, etc.) of any famous figure from American history, who would it be?

I think the best biopics cover specific events of the subject’s life, rather than try to condense their entire life story into a single film. With that being said, there’s always been a specific moment in Charles Manson’s life I would love to cover, and that would be his relationship with Beach Boys’ drummer, Dennis Wilson.

It seems that most people are aware that Charles Manson was associated with the Beach Boys in some vague fashion, but his relationship with Dennis Wilson was so much deeper than many people realize. They didn’t just do drugs together, they lived together, they worked on music together. Charles Manson is actually a co-writer on a Beach Boys song, “Never Learn Not To Love.”

But, most disturbing of all, Charles Manson’s relationship with Dennis Wilson was the catalyst for a key turning point in his life, one that would set him on the path to really becoming “Charles Manson.”

So, that Beach Boys song? Manson didn’t realize that Wilson would rewrite his lyrics. And when he learned that, he… didn’t take it well.

He literally handed Dennis Wilson a bullet, and said: “Every time you look at it, I want you to think how nice it is your kids are still safe.” And then… Dennis Wilson beat the shit out of him.

Then, later on, Manson would order his followers to go to a house and murder a record producer who turned him down. Except, that producer had moved out. And the new resident was… Sharon Tate.

The more research I did into their relationship, the more of a narrative I could see. These two infamous figures, representing two very different cultural movements of the ‘60s. Dennis Wilson, one of the Beach Boys, was a key figure in the development of Charles Manson, who would change the cultural perception surrounding the “Free Love” movement forever. 

 

 

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

Currently, I’m helping to develop a science-fiction screenplay with cinematographer Brad Rushing and director Shaun Paul Piccinino. I’m also in post on a horror short-film, The Face You Took Away, which we expect to be releasing around late April, early May.

If you’d like more updates, you can follow me on social media. When I’m not developing my own projects, I’m working on others, and I’m honestly just grateful to be working on sets after the misery of 2020.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Last night was the Golden Globes ceremony. While I’m not typically impressed with awards shows, there was an amusing bit where a bunch of kids are asked about movies, and give these very cute, silly answers.

But then the interviewer asked them, “who is Chadwick Boseman?” And every single kid shouted Black Panther!

It was such a moving way to honor Chadwick Boseman. It also took me back to when I was their age, seeing Tobey Maguire as Spiderman, or Christian Bale as Batman. It was a beautiful moment to remind us of just how much value cinema has in our lives, and how much they can inspire the imagination.