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Will Smith sends Georgia a message
And meet the Oscars 'cast'
What to know
This is a big deal. Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua’s slave drama Emancipation is leaving Georgia for Louisiana in protest of GA’s new voter restrictions. The Georgia-Louisiana switch is said to be costing Apple $15 million. Deadline insists this won’t lead to a Hollywood exodus from the Peach State because this was a special case due to the movie’s subject matter. We’ll see.
Is blockbuster nonsense the new normal? | Variety
Film critic Owen Gleiberman argues that while Godzilla vs Kong delivers on its premise, the actual human-led movie before the big fight is dreadful nonsense. He’s asking for blockbusters to make sense and that audiences to not accept it when they don’t. Hard to disagree with that. He also takes shots at the Star Wars sequels to argue that the studios’ desperation for “everything to connect” is making for bad, incoherent movies. Yeah, it turns out not everyone can be Marvel.
Zhao continues to clean up, becoming the first woman of color and 2nd woman ever to win the BAFTA and DGA. An Oscar win for directing feels inevitable and THR awards expert Scott Feinberg believes Nomadland will win Best Picture too. Feinberg says Minari's Yuh-Jung Youn is now the favorite in Best Supporting Actress, while Frances McDormand’s BAFTA Best Actress win could predict the Oscar, but it’s still very competitive.
The Oscars are allegedly a movie this year, so instead of a host and presenters it has a “cast:” Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon, Don Cheadle, Renee Zellweger, Regina King, Joaquin Phoenix, Rita Moreno, Laura Dern, Zendaya, Angela Bassett, Bryan Cranston, Marlee Matlin, and Bong Joon Ho. That’s a pretty solid collection of people who weren’t busy on April 25.
Deadline also says this year’s nominated songs will be performed on a pre-show. While exiling the song performances could make for a shorter show, they’re often a highlight of the broadcast. I’m glad they didn’t nix ‘em completely.
When Joe Rogan signed a $100 million exclusive Spotify deal, he claimed he’d still maintain creative control — and yet as many as 42 episodes of his show have been pulled from the platform. It’s hard to blame Spotify for taking down episodes with right-wing extremists like Milo Yiannopoulos and Gavin McInnes as well as 4 episodes featuring accused sexual predator Chris D’Elia. Interestingly, Rogan’s 2020 interview with Alex Jones remains and Rogan insists he’s fine with all this.
Horror movie producer working on scary ‘live-action, real-time video game’ … whatever that means 🔪
Carrie-Ann Moss was offered a grandma role on her 40th birthday … happy birthday, here’s some sexism and ageism 😡
Kevin James to play New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton in Sandler-produced Netflix movie … I don’t see the resemblance 🏈
Michael Cera joins Amy Schumer’s Hulu comedy series … cleverly called Life & Beth 👍
What to watch
We are living in a golden age of unique perspectives on television. Be it Atlanta, I May Destroy You, Better Things, Ramy, or Nora From Queens, there is a beautiful surplus of diverse voices showing us life experiences heretofore never seen on the small screen. HBO’s little-known comedy series Betty fits neatly in that category, bringing us deep into the skateboarding subculture of NYC and the young women who have found each other among a boys club.
You could draw comparisons to Girls and Broad City, but it would undermine the rawness and free spirit on display here from creator Crystal Moselle and writer Leslie Arfin (who wrote on Girls). Moselle wisely casts a collection of newcomers who absolutely pop on screen and bring multiple dimensions to their roles. (And for the most part, they can skate.) The plotting is loose but the characterizations and comedy come naturally. Likewise, Betty’s representation of women of color and LGBTQ+ experiences feels holistic to its world and never forced.
It would be cliché to call NYC the sixth lead on Betty, but it’s remarkable how Moselle and Arfin showcase a New York many New Yorkers might not even recognize. It’s one of highway underpasses, obscure parks, double-parked vans, dingy bars and bodegas. This New York City might as well be on another planet when compared to the glitzy NYC of Sex and the City or the glass-and-brownstone NYC of Billions. That underdog vibe permeates the show and is exactly what makes Betty special.
New notables this week:
Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! (Apr 14) — Netflix Jamie Foxx sitcom | No RT yet
Big Shot ep 1 (Apr 16) — Disney+ John Stamos b-ball dramedy | No RT yet
Nobody (Apr 16) — Bob Odenkirk action movie now on demand | 81% RT
Mare of Easttown ep 1 (Apr 18) — HBO Kate Winslet drama | 92% RT
Before you go… God bless Bowen Yang
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About the author: Alex Rabinowitz has led the way on social media and story packaging at media outlets big and small. With his acclaimed Tumblr site PopCultureBrain.com, Alex became a leading figure in emerging social networks and entertainment news. Sourced by many top destinations, including New York Magazine, BuzzFeed, and Videogum, Pop Culture Brain was featured by BuzzFeed and TIME as the best pop culture blog on Tumblr. Alex's writing has appeared on The Huffington Post, GQ.com, Mic, and Time Warner Cable.