Reviews

Black Widow (PG-13) ★★★½

There’s no denying that Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) character’s past, is mysterious—now we are privy to her former life as well as the revenge that motivates her. Black Widow’s intrigue is blown full open, as we not only view the harsh Soviet’s “Red Room” transformation and brain-washing techniques of grooming girls to become ‘killing machines—we view her fake family moments living undercover in Ohio, 1995.

English actress Florence Pugh (Yelena Bolova), new to the series, is cast as Natasha’s fake sister; although growing up together, the duo thought they were indeed biological sisters. The sisters were both trained in the Black Widow program and did try to out-muscle each other at times. Their mother is Rachel Weisz, and their father is the breakout star from “Stranger Things,” David Harbor, and yes, they are Russian spies.

What separates the excellent character-driven “Black Widow” from the rest of the Marvel movies is the dynamic of the false undercover family experience and its lasting effects on the siblings’ younger emotional development. You’ve got a pretty incredible back story that sets the stage for future endeavors when you mix that with the teen intense’ Red Room’ training. “Black Widow” excellent script is developed to the point that we really do care for the so-called sisters and their families. Accolades to the filmmakers in focusing on this angle. I’m so entrenched now the next film can’t come soon enough.

To refresh or give newcomers to the series the timeline, the events in Marvel’s “Black Widow” take place between “Captain America Civil War” and “Infinity War.” Iron Man and Captain America’s fallout from their warfare has caused Natasha to live off the grid in Europe as a fugitive from General Ross (William Hurt) when she’s forced to confront her past as a Russian spy. Natasha sees plenty of action as she’s being hunted, similar to the Jason Bourne hand-to-hand combat. The fight scenes are choreographed to perfection, with the actors hitting their marks and shocking us with their finesse and precision.


Director Cate Shortland has taken care to simulate Natasha’s moniker moves that can be traced back to her training as a Russian Widow. The non-super human fighting action creates high-energy action along with humorous situations. I found the scenes refreshing and powerful. The sisterly tension between Natasha and Yelena is definitely at the heart of the movie—it’s a consistent theme woven throughout to tell their family story.

My complaint is that this movie should have been made at least ten years ago. It’s very sad to watch a film when you know the character has already been killed off. Stay for the bittersweet credits as the next Black Widow movie will focus on Yelena and her future. I hope the writers continue the duo’s story as together they are dynamite.

Sarah Knight Adamson© July 1, 2021

74th Cannes Film Festival, an Accredited Press Member’s Preview

The 74th Festival de Cannes will soon begin with a star-studded lineup—starting on July 6, 2021, and closing on July 17, with the awards list announced by President of the Jury, Spike Lee. As an accredited press member, I’ll update you on the special events, film talent, and films. At this writing, I plan to attend in person to provide an up-close and personal view. As a former traveler to the South of France, I’ll also highlight my favorite sight-seeing adventures during my nine-day stay in Cannes.

Jodie Foster is the special guest of the Opening Ceremony and is the Honorary Palme d’Or’s recipient and will present opening remarks.

July 6, 2021, the opening film “Annette” will premiere, starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, a musical film directed by Leos Carax, with a screenplay by Ron Mael and Russel Mael both members of the pop/rock duo band Sparks. The original story, music, and score are a collaboration with the writers and the band.

The intriguing tale is of a confrontational stand-up comedian (Adam Driver) and his wife, a world-famous soprano (Marion Cotillard). Upon the birth of their daughter Annette, who’s born with a special gift, their life is forever changed.

Notable directors and their films include Wes Anderson, “The French Dispatch,” Sean Baker “Red Rocket,” Asghar Farhadi “A Hero,” Sean Penn “Flag Day” and Paul Verhoeven, “Benedetta” along with past Palme d’Or winners Jacques Audiard “Les Olympiades” and Apichatpong Weerasethakul “Memoria.”

Additional seasoned filmmakers slated include; Oliver Stone’s new documentary “JFK: Through the Looking Glass,” Tom McCarthy will debut his Matt Damon thriller “Stillwater” out of competition, while Todd Haynes is set to screen; his new documentary “The Velvet Underground.”

Most notable are the increasing women representation during the festival; Charlotte Gainsbourg debuts a personal documentary of her mother, Jane Birkin, “Jane by Charlotte,” Andrea Arnold’s “Cow” “Women Do Cry” is directed by two, Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova), “The Year of the Everlasting Storm” features sections directed by Laura Poitras and Dominga Sotomayor. Eva Husson shows with her “Mothering Sunday.”

CANNES 2021 OFFICIAL SELECTION

COMPETITION
Annette, dir: Leos Carax (opening night film)
Flag Day, dir: Sean Penn
Tout S’est Bien Passé, dir: François Ozon
A Hero, dir: Asghar Farhadi
Tre Piani, dir: Nanni Moretti
Titane, dir: Julia Ducournau
The French Dispatch, dir: Wes Anderson
Red Rocket, dir: Sean Baker
Petrov’s Flu, dir: Kirill Serebrennikov
France, dir: Bruno Dumont
Nitram, dir: Justin Kurzel
Memoria, dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Les Olympiades, dir: Jacques Audiard
Benedetta, dir: Paul Verhoeven
La Fracture, dir: Catherine Corsini
The Restless, dir: Joachim Lafosse
Lingui, dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
The Worst Person In The World, dir: Joachim Trier
Bergman Island, dir: Mia Hansen-Love
Drive My Car, dir: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Ahed’s Knee, dir: Nadav Lapid
Casablanca Beats, dir: Nabil Ayouch
Compartment No. 6, dir: Juho Kuosmanen
The Story Of My Wife, dir: Ildiko Enyedi

OUT OF COMPETITION
De Son Vivant, dir: Emmanuelle Bercot
Stillwater, dir: Tom McCarthy
The Velvet Underground, dir: Todd Haynes
Bac Nord, dir: Cédric Jiminez
Aline, dir: Valérie Lemercier
Emergency Declaration, dir: Han Jae-Rim

MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS
Bloody Oranges, dir: Jean-Christophe Meurisse

CANNES PREMIERES
Evolution, dir: Kornel Mundruczo
Cow, dir: Andrea Arnold
Mothering Sunday, dir: Eva Husson
Love Songs For Tough Guys, dir: Samuel Benchetrit
In Front Of Your Face, dir: Hong Sang-soo
Hold Me Tight, dir: Mathieu Amalric
Deception, dir: Arnaud Desplechin
Val, dirs: Ting Poo, Leo Scott
JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass, dir: Oliver Stone
*Jane By Charlotte, dir: Charlotte Gainsbourg

SPECIAL SCREENINGS
*H6, dir: Yi Yi
Black Notebooks, dir: Shlomi Elkabetz
Mariner Of The Mountains, dir: Karim Ainouz
Babi Yar. Context, dir: Sergei Loznitsa
The Year Of The Everlasting Storm; dirs: Jafar Panahi, Anthony Chen, Malik Vitthal, Laura Poitras, Dominga Sotomayor, David Lowery, Apichatpong Weerasethakul

UN CERTAIN REGARD
The Innocents, dir: Eskil Vogt
After Yang, dir: Kogonada
Delo, dir: Alexey German Jr
Bonne Mere, dir: Hafsia Herzi
Noche De Fuego, dir: Tatiana Huezo
*Lamb, dir: Vladimar Johansson
*Un Monde, dir: Laura Wandel
*Freda, dir: Gessica Généus
*Moneyboys, dir: CB Yi
Blue Bayou, dir: Justin Chon
Commitment Hasan, dir: Hasan Semih Kaplanoglu
Rehana Maryam Noor, dir: Abdullah Mohammad Saad
Let There Be Morning, dir: Eran Kolirin
Unclenching The Fists, dir: Kira Kovalenko
*La Civil, dir: Ana Mihai
Women Do Cry, dirs: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova

*First film, eligible for the Camera d’Or award.

**Bella Hadid at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival (photo: Getty Images) featured photo.

Stay tuned for updates on Hollywood 360 Radio Network, and Sarah’s Backstage Pass.

Sarah Knight Adamson© June 28, 2021

F9: The Fast Saga (PG-13) ★★★

F9, the Fast and Furious Saga continues

“F9: The Fast Saga” is the 9th installment of the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise—this year celebrating its 20th anniversary. If you’re a fan of the series, you won’t be disappointed, with plenty of action, and the best avenue the writers could take is bringing back a character from the past. Sung Kang, the captivating actor, plays Han, who was presumed dead. His reappearance is like a breath of fresh air, as he’s always been one of my favorites. For location eye-candy, Tokyo, Edinburgh, and London are captured beautifully.

Vin Diesel stars again as Dom Toretto, the leader of a gang of do-gooders that are again out to fight crime on their own terms. Super-charged cars, trucks, tanks, planes, space vehicles, or any new transport the writers dream up are the norm. New to the series is Dom’s rejected brother, Jakob, played by an angry John Cena; we also see flashbacks to Dom and Jakob as teenagers.

Beginning in a secluded location, Dom is living a quiet life with Letty, and his young son, Brian.
The cast includes Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson and Nathalie Emmanuel. The director is Justin Lin.

Stars of the past series, celebrates 20 years.

In an attempt to please fans, Han, played by the charismatic Sung Kang, who is presumed dead in the past series, makes a welcome reappearance. He indeed raises the bar in the intrigue department adding mystery as well.

The Bottom Line, I’m in three stars out of four; I’ve seen all of the ‘Fast and Furious’ films and truly enjoy them for their over-the-top stunts, family themes, outrageous storylines, jaw-dropping action sequences, and humor. Be sure to watch “F9” in the theater or IMAX as it genuinely is a popcorn-munching, nonstop action-packed great time. The outer space scenes are hilarious!

The Hollywood 360 Podcast will post after the show has aired this Saturday evening.

Sarah Knight Adamson June 25, 2021

Luca (PG) ★★★½

The animated Disney-Pixar movie “Luca” is streaming now on Disney+ and tells the story of a small fictional town of Portorrossa in the Italian Rivera during the 1950s. Luca, a young boy, voiced by Jacob Trembly, has a delightful summer eating gelato ice cream and mouth-watering past—he also enjoys the hyper-speed Vespa rides with his new best friend, Alberto.

The boys possess a big secret; they are actually sea monsters from another world that live just below the sea. When they are on land, they magically transform into boys—although any type of water will change them into sea monsters.
The film is directed by Academy Award® nominee Enrico Casarosa and stars Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan.

Tyler William Adamson 2021 viewing “Luca”

The Bottom-line: I’m in, three and a half stars out of four. I screened “Luca” with a 5-year-old, Calvin, and a 7-year-old, Tyler; we all liked the movie so much we watched it twice. The film has messages of accepting others’ differences and breaking down barriers. We also loved all the humor, the magical and brightly colored scenes, and the energetic musical score.

Tyler William Adamson 2021 viewing “Luca”

On the negative side, the script by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones could use further depth—we see a dad who has lost an arm, although it’s glossed over in a joke. Showing the adaptations that dad needed to learn to have a working life as a fisherman would resonate with kids. I applaud the decision to cast characters with disabilities, yet further visual and verbal explanation is needed for kids to understand the situation and challenges fully.

Thanks for listening in tonight to the review of Luca; this is your TV and Movie critic, Sarah Knight Adamson; check out my website at Sarah’s Backstage Pass.com, and I’ll see you next week.

Sarah Knight Adamson© June 26, 2021

Check out my podcast on Hollywood 360 Radio Network: https://www.hollywood360radio.com/luca-pg-%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85/

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It ★★★½ H360 Podcast

“Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” is a documentary rated PG-13 and has the luxury of Rita Moreno’s candid offerings. Boasting a 70+ year acting career, Rita Moreno has won every major entertainment award possible— yes, she has an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and a Tony. She was born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm; her family immigrated to New York City when she was five years old; by age 16, she was the family’s main breadwinner.

Moreno was the first Latinx actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961). Certainly, a memorable movie, as in 2010, I hosted a Q&A to a sold-out screening of the film in which Rita appeared on stage with fellow actors Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris. She talked about the hard work during rehearsals to perfect the dance and accompanying songs. She also relayed stories about Natalie Wood, who played Maria.

Mariem Pérez Riera directs a documentary that enlightens us on Moreno’s career and the movie studios that cast her in many stereotypical ethnic roles. She’s a true role model for all who have dreams and spend the time and effort to make them happen.

The Bottomline: I’m way in, three and a half stars out of four. The documentary touches on her romantic yet toxic relationship with Marlon Brando and later her marriage to a very controlling person, all while giving us a snapshot of her remarkable roles. She’s a very talented actress who has made a legendary career for herself. I enjoyed viewing this excellent documentary, meeting her daughter, Fernanda Luisa Gordon, and learning many new details of her life.


Thanks for listening in tonight this is your Movie and TV critic, Sarah Knight Adamson, check out my website at Sarah’s Backstage Pass.com, and I’ll see you next week.

Here’s the Hollywood 360 Radio Podcast: https://www.hollywood360radio.com/rita-moreno-just-a-girl-who-decided-to-go-for-it-%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%c2%bd/

Sarah Knight Adamson© June 19, 2021

In the Heights (PG-13) ★★★★ Hollywood 360 Radio Podcast

“In the Heights” is a musical rated PG-13; it is the collaboration between “Hamilton’s” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music and director Jon M. Chu of Crazy Rich Asians’ storytelling. Together the duo plunge into the tale of the “Washington Heights” New York neighborhood.

The screenplay by Quiara Alegría Hudes is based on her book of the same name and New York’s multiple Tony-Award-winning musical stage play. The neighborhood begins at 155th street in northern Manhattan and encompasses almost 40 blocks.

Musical describes the film’s genre that paints a portrait of a community full of lively numbers with a diverse cast. The songs and dances cover a variety of styles—from hip-hop to Latin to pop and musical theater—all representing the everchanging Washington Heights.

Clip: “It’s the story of a block that was disappearing.”

The cast features Anthony Ramos, a coffee shop owner who dreams of a better life, along with Jimmy Smits, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, and Rita Moreno.

Clip: “I just wanna see the whole world through our eyes.”

The Bottomline: I’m way in 4 stars out of 4, “In the Heights” streaming on HBO Max and in theaters is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. The musical numbers are powerful, reflecting the hopes and dreams of the neighborhood. The acting, singing, and dancing are over-the-top excitement from start to finish.
Thanks for listening in tonight; this is Sarah Knight Adamson for Sarah’s Backstage Pass.com. I’ll see you next week.

Sarah Knight Adamson© June 11, 2021

Hollywood 360 Radio Podcast: https://www.hollywood360radio.com/in-the-heights-pg-13-%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85/

A Quiet Place: Part II ★★½

“A Quiet Place Part 2” is rated R and is the next chapter in Emily Blunt and Jon Krasinski’s horror movie franchise. The film begins over a year before all the events of the first movie, “A Quiet Place.” We see the Abbott family, Mom, (Emily Blunt), Dad, (Jon Krasinski) all attending a Little League baseball game. Marcus, played by Noah Jupe, is up to bat.

Millicent Simmonds plays their teenage daughter Regan, who is deaf. Black smoke and fire stream across the sky, followed by ginormous creatures who begin attacking and killing people. The creatures are blind and use their amplified hearing to “see.”

John Krasinski is again the writer and director; his only scene is at the beginning of the movie, while Cillian Murphy stars as Emmet, who serves as a surrogate father figure to the Abbott family.

The Bottomline: I’m out, two and ½ stars, in the first “A Quiet Place” film, the youngest Abbott child and father both die, and in this film, son Marcus is severely injured, complete with screams of agony and the threat of death if he doesn’t receive medical attention. Noah Jupe is excellent in his portrayal, yet why even have a child suffer? I realize the film is rated R, but I didn’t appreciate viewing a child in agony then actual torture by dosing vodka on a wound. Poor and irresponsible choices were made here in writing. Extreme violence is okay for adults in a horror film, but not okay for a child, nope, never okay.

Daughter Regan’s role has been expanded, and she carries most of the movie; she’s also excellent in her role; as she is deaf in real life. There are too many unanswered questions about the aliens, the sound is excruciatingly loud, the story is full of unnecessary jump scares, and the content is lacking.

*Note, the IMAX screening was the first time I’ve been in a movie theater in 14 months; I was thrilled to be back!

Sarah Knight Adamson© June 1, 2021

Hollywood 360 Podcast:

 

Cruella (PG-13) ★★★½ Hollywood 360 Radio Network Podcast

Hi Carl, and hi everyone, tonight I’m going to review the film “Cruella” rated PG-13 is streaming now on Disney+ and in theaters. Emma Stone and Academy Award winner Emma (“La La Land”) stars as Cruella, telling the story of her early days in 1970s London as a fashion designer. The backstory is of a young girl, Estella, who transforms into Cruella. She’s determined to make a name for herself in the fashion world.

The film live-action also stars Emma Thompson, a two-time Oscar winner (“Howards End,” “Sense & Sensibility”), as Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who plays by her own rules.
The director is Craig Gillespie, known for his hit film, “I Tonya.”

The Bottom-line? I’m way in, Three and a half stars out of four. Disney has redefined Cruella as an anti-hero; her backstory is heartbreaking as we see her mother’s death early on. The 2-hour revenge-driven film plays like the “Joker” meets “The Devil Wears Prada.” The age group is teens and adults. I appreciated seeing Estella’s creativity shine and her bravery in facing hardship.

Thanks so much for listening in tonight. This is Sarah Knight Adamson for Sarah’s Backstage Pass.com, where you can check out my written review of Amazon’s excellent 10-Part Series, “The Underground Railroad,” and be sure to check out Disney’s “Cruella.” And I’ll see you next week.

Sarah Knight Adamson© May 29, 2021

Check out my Hollywood 360 Radio Network Podcast:http://bit.ly/cruellaH360

Crime of the Century ★★★★ Hollywood 360 Radio Network Podcast

Hi Carl and hi everyone, tonight I’m going to talk about the heartbreaking movie that explains the evils of opioids in our country. “The Crime of the Century” is a two-part film that is streaming now on HBO MAX. It’s a documentary by Academy Award winning filmmaker Alex Gibney.

Part 1 tells the story of the three Slaker brother’s history in Brooklyn, New York. The brothers use fraud to promote their pain-killing products and blamed the users for overdoses. Frequently pain centers prescribed multiple drugs against the family’s consent.

Part 2 summarizes the many arrests and court trials that ensued as the victim’s families sue to recover damages.

We find out that the goals of the pharisaical companies included prescribing higher doses and making sure the drugs were approved for any type of pain, not just end of life.

The Bottomline: I’m in, four stars out of four. Here’s my take, I respect Alex Gibney as a filmmaker as he extensively researches his projects. You’ll see the Opioids crisis as you’ve never seen it before. Be prepared to be angry, vindicated, and relieved. I highly recommend that you view both parts as the information you’ll gain is noteworthy.

Thanks so much for listening in tonight to hear about HBO Max’s “Crime of the Century” You can check out my past interviews with Alex Gibney on my website Sarahsbackstagepass.com, and I’ll see you next week.

Check out the Hollywood 360 Radio Network Podcast: http://bit.ly/CrimeOfTheCenturyH360

Sarah Knight Adamson© May 23, 2021

The Underground Railroad TV Series (R) ★★★★

The apprehension of viewing a feature film, let alone a 10-part Episodic series on the topic of slavery in America’s antebellum south for most people can be compared to a non-swimmer jumping into a deep pool of water. Most know the horrific narrative due to home or school viewing of the award-winning 1977 TV series “Roots” based on Alex Haley’s novel “Roots: The Saga of the American Family,” LeVar Burton was 19 years old when he joined the cast as the leading role. My recollection of sitting in a Toronto grand movie theater during the Toronto International Film festival in 2019, waiting to view the film “Harriet,” still brings chills. “Amistad,” “Birth of a Nation,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Antebellum,” and “Django Unchained” are all worth a view—one may ask, what’s new to learn? Here’s encouraging news –you can rely on trustworthy film and TV critics—they test the conditions by informing you if it’s worth jumping into the deep end. As a 14-year critic, my suggestion is yes, absolutely take the plunge into Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins’s excellent Amazon series “The Underground Railroad,” as the series is unlike anything I’ve seen thus far on the topic—although I caution you to tread lightly.

The Underground Railroad Credit: Kyle Kaplan Copyright: Amazon Studios Description: Pictured: Thuso Mbedu (Cora Randall) Air Date: May 14, 2021

Jenkins adapted his screenplay from Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2016 novel of the same name that begins in antebellum Georgia in 1850, eleven years before the start of the Civil War in 1861. South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana are also featured states. In reading Barry Jenkins’s journey towards making the series, his personal goals included writing and filming a feature on slavery depicting the ‘Underground Railroad,’ just as he had imagined it as a child, an actual train that carried passengers to freedom. Whitehead’s novel is a perfect fit as the fantasy underground tracks, stations, conductors in uniforms are visually recreated dreamily. Jenkins wrestled with hesitations concerning writing his script, although he thought if he didn’t, who would and when. How does one change the slave narrative along with the ‘gaze’ we’ve become accustomed to all these years?

The Underground Railroad Credit: Kyle Kaplan Copyright: Amazon Studios Description: Pictured (L-R): Aaron Pierre (Caesar/Christian), Thuso Mbedu (Cora Randall) Air Date: May 14, 2021

After viewing all episodes, my reaction is that it’s about time we have a historical look at slavery that breathes life, hope, and dreams into the humans that suffered through the wretchedness. The focus is now shifted to re-humanizing people so that we can all see clearly their plight, which as humans, is ‘our’ plight. Children are woven throughout the series to drive home the point of family. What do you do in these conditions to shelter, protect, and nurture your family? Jenkins makes sure we see glimpses of a hopeful father sewing a toy, a guiding mother teaching her child, a loving grandmother giving advice. Even more profound are the visuals of a slave reading “Gulliver Travels” aloud, a slave child writing in her diary, or Cora, the main star of the series questioning whether teaching slave children to simply recite long passages with large words is as important as teaching those children the meaning of those words and their implications.

The series is both absorbingly beautiful and disturbingly violent, yet most of the horrific violence is in the first Episode. Jenkins doesn’t sugar-coat these events described in the book source material, yet, I can assure all, we are spared some of the extraneous details, as I’ve read the book. The main characters are mesmerizing while believable. Cora, Thuso Mbedu, a South African actress, has the central storyline throughout the series. Caesar, Aaron Pierre, a slave from Virginia, can read; he’s Cora’s friend who guides her to flee Georgia as they ride the fantasy railroad to freedom. Ridgeway, Joel Edgerton is the bounty hunter who never gives up trying to find Cora—as her mother, Mabel, is the only slave he didn’t bring back. Homer, Chase W. Dillon is an 11-year-old boy, Ridgeway’s companion, and sidekick.

The Underground Railroad Credit: Atsushi Nishijima Copyright: Amazon Studios Description: Pictured: Chase W. Dillon (Homer)

Do not try and binge-watch, as the series is too heavy for that; take your time to learn and reflect. You may want to follow Oprah’s lead as she posted to her Instagram account; after viewing an episode, she takes a break, has a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and rocks in her rocking chair to unwind.

SXSW-March-2021-Barry Jenkins, Nicholas Britell; and Hannah Giorgis-Sarah-Knight-Adamson

There are so many elements to champion in the series, although I’d be remiss if the musical score collaboration between Barry Jenkins and composer Nicholas Britell weren’t addressed, especially after attending their SXSW seminar on March 16, 2021. They chatted about their past musical work together while focusing on creating the score for “The Underground Railroad.”

Their inspirations came from day-to-day interactions with sounds; a drill, in particular, became the source. “They started up their drill, and this is like 300 yards away, but I could feel the vibration through the earth, and it felt like a rhythm,” Jenkins said.
Britell said, “I was like ‘OK, this is awesome. Because right away I took that drilling and I started experimenting with this idea of the ground and going downward.”

“It’s like on ‘Beale Street,’ the concept of ‘How do you create the feeling of injustice?’ It’s by harming that feeling of love and doing that with music. On ‘Underground Railroad,’ there were a lot of moments where we took it even a step further. I feel like on each project; we learn something,” Britell said.

The duo’s concept for “The Underground Railroad” is reversing pieces that appear earlier in the show. A piano piece called “Floating” that appears in the introduction of Cora, for example, is reversed in another moment of the show.

“Cora is manifesting these states, and she’s evolving throughout the journey. So when she gets to South Carolina, it looks and feels completely different from Georgia, then when she gets to North Carolina, it looks completely different from South Carolina,” Jenkins said. “As opposed to us scoring one show, it felt like we were scoring six shows. We needed six completely distinct soundscapes.”

The Underground Railroad Credit: Atsushi Nishijima Copyright: Amazon Studios Description: Pictured (L-R): Zsane Jhe (Lovey), Thuso Mbedu (Cora Randall), and Aubriana Davis (Rose)

The memorable cast steps up, providing credible performances. Jackson Harper plays Royal, a railroad officer, and a cowboy who’s smitten with Cora. Their romance is a breath of fresh air, offering tenderness and love that Cora has never felt. We’ve been with her on her journey—we see the change in her willingness to open up, bringing hope that she’ll find joy in life. Jenkins brilliantly paces their scenes gingerly, providing time for us to revel in the beauty of their passion.

The Underground Railroad Credit: Kyle Kaplan Copyright: Amazon Studios Description: Pictured: Joel Edgerton (Ridgeway) Air Date: May 14, 2021

Nearly three Episodes are devoted to Edgerton’s backstory, the cold-hearted slave catcher. Jenkins shows us his young adult scenes with his unyielding father and a household-favored slave, played excellently by IronE Singleton. The flashbacks are telling as Ridgeway is driven by jealousy and his own self-worth to succeed as a slave-catcher, as in his mind, he never measured up to his father’s expectations. A note on the multi-talented Australian actor, writer, director Joel Edgerton’s performance, one word, riveting.

The Underground Railroad Credit: Atsushi Nishijima Copyright: Amazon Studios Description: Pictured: Damon Herriman (Martin)

An observation regarding Cora’s Episode filmed mainly in an attic parallels Anne Frank’s hiding during the Holocaust and depicts the psychological effects of enslavement. According to the Smithsonian May 2021 article, in the attic Cora is free from violence and chains, yet she lives in a space where she can barely stand with no fresh air, no running through the grasses, no warmth of sunshine. Jenkins portrays the psychological toll of slavery instead of only depicting the physical abuse endured by enslavement. She’s sheltered by an abolitionist who risked his life and that of his family to support the cause. Slave history includes white and black people who believed in the cause of freedom for all, so much so they sheltered slaves, gave them food and clothing, and were the conductors of the underground railroad.

Personal photo, Sarah Knight Adamson, Frank A. Pettis, Drummer Boy Civil War, Union Army, 1862.

My personal reaction to the series was immediate, as I’m a direct descendent of a drummer boy who volunteered to serve in the Civil War from Wisconsin for the Union Army. My relative, Frank Pettis enlisted at 11-years of age with his father, who played the fife, along with his 5th-grade teacher in 1862—they served three years until the war ended in 1865. Can you imagine your children being asked at school to raise their hand if they’d like to travel to the front lines of the war with their teacher? Can you imagine a child in America being forbidden to read and write, nonetheless, the countless atrocities that occurred in our American slave history?

Frank A. Pettis, Reedsburg, Wisconsin, Union Army, Civil War Drummer Boy-Sarah Knight Adamson relative.

Thank you, Barry Jenkins, for humanizing the gaze of slavery and for reminding us of the people who did help, who put their family in harms way in order to devote their lives to this cause. In my mind, your four-and-a-half-year project is nothing short of a masterpiece.

The Underground Railroad Credit: Kyle Kaplan Copyright: Amazon Studios Description: Pictured: Barry Jenkins (Showrunner, Executive Producer, Writer, Director)

Cast:

Thuso Mbedu as Cora

Aaron Pierre as Caesar

Joel Edgerton as Ridgeway

Chase Dillon as Homer

William Jackson Harper as Royal

Peter Mullan as Ridgeway Senior

Lilly Rabe as Ethel

Damon Herriman as Martin

Shelia Atim as Mabel

Sarah Knight Adamson© May 17, 2021

Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm ★★★ Hollywood 360 Radio Podcast

Hi Carl and hello everyone out there! Tonight, I’m going to talk about the documentary film “Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm” rated R.

In 1963 two brothers living in the countryside of Wales, Kingsley and Charles Ward, set out to convert their parents’ farmhouse into a recording studio, and the rest is history. Ozzie Osbourne, Queen, Oasis, and Coldplay are a few of the bands featured in the film.

Clip: Rockfield became one of the best residential recording studios.
The director by Hannah Berryman

Clip: It’s about being something bigger than yourself.

The Bottomline: I’m in three stars out of four. Here’s what’s great, you’ll see the owners still working the farm and talking on camera about the bands that recorded at the farm, along with all the shenanigans.
One band Stone Roses, liked the place so much they stayed for 14 months. I especially enjoyed hearing Chris Martin talk about the writing of Coldplay’s hit song “Yellow.”

Thanks for listening in tonight; this is Sarah Knight Adamson for Sarah’s Backstage Pass. com. Be sure to check out my interview with filmmaker Gia Coppola for her movie “Mainstream,” it’s a cautionary tale centering on social media.
See you next week.

Sarah Knight Adamson© May 16, 2021

Check out the Hollywood 360 Podcast: http://bit.ly/StudioOnTheFarmH360

Gia Coppola Interview and Mainstream Film Review (R) ★★★½

I interviewed Gia Coppola on May 4, 2021, via Zoom for her second film, “Mainstream,” starring Andrew Garfield and Maya Hawke. “Mainstream” is a cautionary tale regarding social media and it’s effects on our lives.

Gia Coppola – Director Headshot

Sarah Knight Adamson: Hi Gia, I’d like to congratulate you on your film “Mainstream.” Your creativity shines in the film, can you talk about the opening scene, as when I first saw it, I kept thinking of Edward Manet’s painting ‘The Bar at Foleese-Bergère which I’ve seen in London’s Courtland Gallery, were you making a reference to this painting? The look on Maya’s face is so similar.

Edward Manet’s painting ‘The Bar at Foleese-Bergère

Gia Coppola: That actually is the inspiration. I’m glad you picked up on that. The image always stayed with me, and it is a popular classical painting. I’ve always loved that painting and wanted to find a way to recreate it.

MAINSTREAM Still 2

SKA: Can you please talk about what Maya Hawke, the daughter of Uma and Ethan, brings to your film?

GC: Yes, it was very instantaneous when I first saw her in character as Frankie; she really came alive for me.  I met her during a photo shoot when I was photographing her, and we really hit it off, and we are really in sync. It was a fun collaboration to have with her as she’s super talented. It’s also a tough character to play because it’s very minimalistic.

SKA: Andrew Garfield, what a fabulous actor, “Hacksaw Ridge” is one of my favorite films, what was it like to work with him?

MAINSTREAM Still 8

GC: To work with that level of talent is extremely exciting; he was a great collaborator. We workshopped several scenes to flush out the character; he’s fun and exciting, he’s a great dancer, and he’s super talented.

SKA: What was your favorite scene to film with Andrew Garfield?

GC: Him running naked down Hollywood Blvd. I couldn’t believe we were able to pull that off.

SKA: Yes, I couldn’t either, and I could tell it was not 4:00 am in the morning as when those scenes are usually scheduled.

GC: Actually, we were supposed to film early in the morning, and it got pushed to the middle of the afternoon.

SKA: Whenever I see that Jason Schwartzman in a film, I’m already sold. I have interviewed him and appreciated his film knowledge. Did he offer any suggestions for his role?

MAINSTREAM Still 7

Jason is a brilliant actor, and you never know what you’re going to get from him as he’s hilarious when he comes on stage. He was a little nervous as he doesn’t use social media much. I told him not to worry about that, and he just improvised and ran with it; he is amazing. He’s so great at improv.

SKA: What do you see as the message of your film?

GC: There are a lot of messages that I’d like people to take away, and I’d like them to decide, although one thing I can say is ‘all that glitters is not always gold.’

SKA: Thank you so much for speaking with me today; I wanted to tell you to please offer more wine tastings with your dad, Francis Ford Coppola, as that was fabulous, and best of luck with the film!

Mainstream Review

Frankie, Maya Hawke is a disenchanted young bartender in a comedy club who works together with an aspiring writer and singer Jake, Nat Wolff. He serves as her best friend and a moral compass, although he hopes for a romance between them.

Frankie’s hobby is shooting photographs and videos throughout L.A., as she’s looking for material to upload to her undersubscribed YouTube channel. She begins watching a man, Andrew Garfield, Link dressed in a mouse costume, and decides he is a suitable candidate for her channel. It turns out that Link has a mysterious past, has no cell phone, and acts like a ranting self-proclaimed philosopher-prophet. Together, Maya and Link hatch a plan to create more videos changing Maya’s boring life into one of excitement, purpose, and hope.

In need of the manager, they team up with Mark, Jason Schwartzman, who guides them into the world of virtual fame. We see numerous examples of creativity in the film, even vomiting thumbs up emojis’ and other creative use of graphics.

Coppola’s sharp lens takes us through the colorful world of social media along with all of its trappings. It’s a cautionary tale, one which has a shocking ending that isn’t far from today’s headlines. I enjoyed the film, as it kept me guessing while engaged. I can recommend all seeing it over 17, as it is clearly rated R. Despite our frustration with social media, the fact remains that it is powerful, and it can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

Sarah Knight Adamson© May 14, 2021

SEE MORE REVIEWS

Interviews

Gia Coppola Interview and Mainstream Film Review (R) ★★★½

I interviewed Gia Coppola on May 4, 2021, via Zoom for her second film, “Mainstream,” starring Andrew Garfield and Maya Hawke. “Mainstream” is a cautionary tale regarding social media and it’s effects on our lives.

Gia Coppola – Director Headshot

Sarah Knight Adamson: Hi Gia, I’d like to congratulate you on your film “Mainstream.” Your creativity shines in the film, can you talk about the opening scene, as when I first saw it, I kept thinking of Edward Manet’s painting ‘The Bar at Foleese-Bergère which I’ve seen in London’s Courtland Gallery, were you making a reference to this painting? The look on Maya’s face is so similar.

Edward Manet’s painting ‘The Bar at Foleese-Bergère

Gia Coppola: That actually is the inspiration. I’m glad you picked up on that. The image always stayed with me, and it is a popular classical painting. I’ve always loved that painting and wanted to find a way to recreate it.

MAINSTREAM Still 2

SKA: Can you please talk about what Maya Hawke, the daughter of Uma and Ethan, brings to your film?

GC: Yes, it was very instantaneous when I first saw her in character as Frankie; she really came alive for me.  I met her during a photo shoot when I was photographing her, and we really hit it off, and we are really in sync. It was a fun collaboration to have with her as she’s super talented. It’s also a tough character to play because it’s very minimalistic.

SKA: Andrew Garfield, what a fabulous actor, “Hacksaw Ridge” is one of my favorite films, what was it like to work with him?

MAINSTREAM Still 8

GC: To work with that level of talent is extremely exciting; he was a great collaborator. We workshopped several scenes to flush out the character; he’s fun and exciting, he’s a great dancer, and he’s super talented.

SKA: What was your favorite scene to film with Andrew Garfield?

GC: Him running naked down Hollywood Blvd. I couldn’t believe we were able to pull that off.

SKA: Yes, I couldn’t either, and I could tell it was not 4:00 am in the morning as when those scenes are usually scheduled.

GC: Actually, we were supposed to film early in the morning, and it got pushed to the middle of the afternoon.

SKA: Whenever I see that Jason Schwartzman in a film, I’m already sold. I have interviewed him and appreciated his film knowledge. Did he offer any suggestions for his role?

MAINSTREAM Still 7

Jason is a brilliant actor, and you never know what you’re going to get from him as he’s hilarious when he comes on stage. He was a little nervous as he doesn’t use social media much. I told him not to worry about that, and he just improvised and ran with it; he is amazing. He’s so great at improv.

SKA: What do you see as the message of your film?

GC: There are a lot of messages that I’d like people to take away, and I’d like them to decide, although one thing I can say is ‘all that glitters is not always gold.’

SKA: Thank you so much for speaking with me today; I wanted to tell you to please offer more wine tastings with your dad, Francis Ford Coppola, as that was fabulous, and best of luck with the film!

Mainstream Review

Frankie, Maya Hawke is a disenchanted young bartender in a comedy club who works together with an aspiring writer and singer Jake, Nat Wolff. He serves as her best friend and a moral compass, although he hopes for a romance between them.

Frankie’s hobby is shooting photographs and videos throughout L.A., as she’s looking for material to upload to her undersubscribed YouTube channel. She begins watching a man, Andrew Garfield, Link dressed in a mouse costume, and decides he is a suitable candidate for her channel. It turns out that Link has a mysterious past, has no cell phone, and acts like a ranting self-proclaimed philosopher-prophet. Together, Maya and Link hatch a plan to create more videos changing Maya’s boring life into one of excitement, purpose, and hope.

In need of the manager, they team up with Mark, Jason Schwartzman, who guides them into the world of virtual fame. We see numerous examples of creativity in the film, even vomiting thumbs up emojis’ and other creative use of graphics.

Coppola’s sharp lens takes us through the colorful world of social media along with all of its trappings. It’s a cautionary tale, one which has a shocking ending that isn’t far from today’s headlines. I enjoyed the film, as it kept me guessing while engaged. I can recommend all seeing it over 17, as it is clearly rated R. Despite our frustration with social media, the fact remains that it is powerful, and it can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

Sarah Knight Adamson© May 14, 2021

93rd Academy Awards 2021, a View From the Virtual Oscar Press Office

Oscars 2021-Reporting for Hollywood 360 Radio Network

Sunday, April 25, 2021, the day of the Academy Awards, began with a familiarity of anticipation that I have come to expect over the years—except this year was different, I was accepted to be a virtual member of the Oscars press. My day in New Buffalo, Michigan began by searching for a halo light to improve my Zoom video quality, and luck was on my side as I purchased one locally. The night before was spent rearranging furniture to prepare a suitable backdrop and workspace for an 8-hour stretch that encompassed viewing Red Carpet arrivals, Oscar-nominated song performances, interviewing winners, all while downloading photos, videos, and transcripts. By far, the most challenging job was toggling back and forth between the live Oscar show and the Oscar media room. All and all, the experience is one I will treasure, and I look forward to the day I will be able to report in Hollywood, California.

New Buffalo, Michigan–Lake Michigan sunset view, Saturday, April 24, 2021. Sarah Knight Adamson Photo Credit
Settling into the press room involved being on top of the situation and listening to instructions; we were guided like a well-oiled machine. I prepared questions for all 25 winners and delighted in hearing their answers as they spoke to the press. To experience their visual elation just moments after an Oscar win and to listen to their profound gratitude heightened my experience of viewing the Oscars all the years, as I’ve watched the show since I was ten years old while living in Los Angeles. Truly, this reporter felt a full-circle moment in my career, and I am grateful to be accepted among such esteemed journalists.
Sarah Knight Adamson, April 25, 2021

Protocol consisted of viewing a title card that announced who was stepping into the virtual press room, headphones were suggested as they reduced the chance of feedback. In terms of stepping, this is an accurate account as talent walked in front of an Oscar designed backdrop holding their Oscars and spoke to talent as they watched a large screen. The backdrop served two purposes, one for photos and speaking with press. Talent was announced, hands were raised, questions were asked. No follow-up questions were allowed, if your hand was raised and you were cued, and you were expected to ready to speak—while most importantly be in front of your camera and ready to go.

The winners have been announced for some time now. My Hollywood 360 Radio Network segment this Saturday night will cover a snapshot of my reporting, snippets of transcribed Oscar acceptance speeches, Oscar press room questions, and answers, along with standout highlights of the Oscar show and the backstage interviews.

Daniel Kaluuya, Best Supporting Actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah

Daniel Kaluuya won early in the evening, taking home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah.” He gave a heartfelt acceptance speech thanking God, his mom, and his family. Here is a segment of his speech that focuses on the film:

“Chairman Fred Junior and Mama Akua, thank you so much for allowing us into your life and into your story. Thank you for trusting us with your truth. I appreciate you deeply, and it’s an honor to partner up and stand side by side with you. And to Chairman Fred Hampton. Bro, man. Man, what a man. He was on this earth for 21 years, and he found a way to feed kids breakfast, educate kids, give free medical care, against all the odds. He showed me, he taught me him. Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, the Black Panther Party. They showed me how to love myself. And with that love, they overflowed into the black community and into other communities. And they showed us that the power of union, the power of unity, that when they play divide and conquer, we say unite and ascend.

Thank you so much for showing me myself. And yeah, man, there’s so much work to do guys, and that’s on everyone in this room, this ain’t no single man job. I look at this room, and I look at everyone, every single one of you, you got work to do, you know what I’m saying.”

Red Carpet arrivals Oscars 2021 Chole Zhao writer/directer Nomadland and Joshua James Richards, Cinematographer: Nomadland.

“Nomadland” the big winner of the evening, taking home the Best Picture, Best Director, and the Best Actress Oscars. Writer/director/producer Chole Zhao, appeared in the press room numerous times.

Here is a question that was asked after she won Best Director:

Q. Talk to me about all of this history coming your way all at once. How does it feel? I mean, you have literally smashed this glass ceiling that we often talk about. Tell me about what’s coursing through your veins right now.

A. Well, you know, I feel I’m very lucky I have parents who have always told me that who you are is enough, you know, and who I who you are is your art, you know? So I always try to stay true to myself and be surrounded by really great, supportive, talented people, so I really share this moment with them.

“Minari” Yuh-Jung Young, Best Supporting Actress winner. Director Lee Isaac Chung Credit: Courtesy of A24

Yuh-Jung Youn, the feisty grandmother in Minari, captured not only her grandson’s heart in the film she went home with an Oscar for her Best Supporting Actress role. Brad Pitt presented her the award as he was a producer of the film. Youn said in her acceptance speech that she does not believe in competition; she does not believe that her performance is better than Glen Close or the other nominees. Here are a few questions she answered in the press room.

Brad Pitt, right, poses with Yuh-Jung Youn, winner of the award for best actress in a supporting role for “Minari,” in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)

Q. Congratulations on such a historic win. You created the Oscar-winning grandma. What was the biggest challenge you faced in your acting career, and what did you get from (inaudible)?

A. Well, it’s not happened right at the moment because I had a long career. I’m trying to do my career, you know, step by step. And just sometimes it’s happy, very happy, when you get it. But for me, myself, I don’t believe in competition, especially in our field, because we are comparing a different movie. I’m just lucky tonight, just luckier than the other nominees, luckier than them. And maybe, who knows, it’s American hospitality for the Korean actor, I think.

Q. Congratulations on your win tonight. Brad Pitt was a producer on Minari, and you just met him for the first time. What was that like, and if you could do a movie with him, what genre would you choose?

A. That will never happen with my English and age, you know. I don’t think so, no.

Makeup and Hairstyling won the Oscar for the film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, that consisted of fitting actress Viola Davis with a full set of gold teeth. Mia Neal’s acceptance speech spoke to people of color and their representation in the future.

Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson are the first Black women to win in the Hair and Makeup category. Makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera also won.

MIA NEAL:
“I was raised by my grandfather, James Holland. He was an original Tuskegee Airman. He represented the U.S. in the first Pan Am Games. He went to Argentina. He met Evita. He graduated from Northwestern University at the time that they did not allow Blacks to stay on campus, so he stayed at the YMCA. And after all of his accomplishments, he went back to his hometown in hopes of becoming a teacher. But they did not hire Blacks in the school system. So I want to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, were denied but never gave up.

And I also stand here as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling with so much excitement for the future. Because I can picture Black trans women standing up here and Asian sisters and our Latino sisters and indigenous women. And I know that one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking; it will just be normal. Thank you to the Academy, to Netflix, to Denzel Washington, to George C. Wolfe, to Ann Roth, to Miss Viola Davis, to Matiki Anoff, to Andrea Resnick, to the spirit of Ma Rainey. Thank you.”

Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman” wins Best Original Screenplay

The Best Original Screenplay Oscar went to Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman” she started by saying, “I didn’t think I was going to win, so I don’t have a speech prepared, and I’m going to be in trouble with Steven Soderbergh [Oscar Producer]. I’m so sorry; I don’t want him to be cross with me.”

She continued, “This film was made by the most incredible people in the world, who made it in 23 days. They brought their complete genius and love and humor to it. And I have so many people to thank. I feel mortified that I’m here by myself when it’s not just my job at all. I want to thank Carey Mulligan for being not only the most talented person in the world but the kindest and funniest. I want to thank the producers for standing behind this film always and, you know, never giving up, and Lucky Chap, Focus, FilmNation. The cast and the crew, the greatest in the world, the kindest in the world. They just made me look good, and again, I’m just so grateful. And finally: my family, Mom, Dad, Coco, my husband Chris and our son.

Fennell’s Press Room Question:

Q. Congratulations. I am just so happy for you and proud of you. And you described this film as a “poison popcorn film.” Can you explain what that means exactly? And will you continue to make these “poison popcorn” movies?

A. I don’t know. I think I always hoped to make something that people would want to go and see that even if it’s about something difficult and troubling, that it would still be a movie that you would go and watch with your friends, with your boyfriend, and you would talk about it afterward. And so, part of it was that felt kind of glossy and feminine and poppy and that, yeah, but it was disgusting, some very difficult and dark subject matter. I think probably that is something I will do in the future a little bit.

Tyler Perry, 2021 recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

In perhaps the evening’s highlight, the Academy recognized Tyler Perry’s work by honoring him with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The honor is given out periodically to an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” An outstanding video explained his cause and documented his wonderful work.
Viola Davis, who collaborated with Perry on the 2009 film “Madea Goes to Jail,” presented the award.

In his stirring speech, Perry recalled a story about helping a woman in need buy a pair of shoes and how it served as a lesson in withholding judgment. “I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle,” he concluded, “… because that’s where healing happens, that’s where conversation happens, that’s where change happens. It happens in the middle. So anyone who wants to meet me in the middle, to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment, and help lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one’s for you, too.”

Press Room Questions:

Q. Congratulations. Your speech was just incredible. It was maybe the most moving moment of the night. You mentioned your mother a lot in that speech and what she taught you. Did you sense, as you were talking up there, that maybe she’s shined down, smiling down on you as you were able to deliver that message that she first gave you?

A. You know, I could feel her in the moment. I could feel her. Any time I’m up there, I’m carrying her with me in all she went through and all we went through together. You are absolutely right about that.

Q. I wanted to ask you what inspired you to share such a personal story?

A. Just where we are in the country and the world, and everybody is grabbing a corner and a color, and they are all nobody wants to come to the middle to have a conversation. Everybody is polarized, and it’s in the middle where things change. So I’m hoping that that inspires people to meet us in the middle so that we can get back to some semblance of normal. As this pandemic is over, we can get to a place where we are showing love and kindness to each other again.

Olivia Coleman and Anthony Hopkins “The Father” Sony USA

Anthony Hopkins was the last award of the night presented for Best Actor, and he was over the pond in Wales, at that moment although he posted to his Instagram account a heartfelt thank you the following day:

“At 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award; I really didn’t,” said Hopkins in the Instagram video, standing in the beautiful Welsh countryside. He thanked the Academy and “paid tribute” to the late Chadwick Boseman, who “was taken from us far too early.” He also thanked the director and screenwriter of “The Father,” Florian Zeller, who, earlier in the evening, for Best Adapted screenplay. His thanks continued with Sony Pictures Classics, UTA, his team, his wife, Stella Arroyave, and his family. He ended by saying, “Again, thank you all very much. I really did not expect this, so I feel very privileged and honored. Thank you.”

Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” Searchlight Pictures

Frances McDormand won the Best Actress award, playing a nomad who hits the road after her small-town plant closes in the film “Nomadland.” Her third win; she ties Meryl Streep and Ingrid Bergman, who have three each, with the current record-holder, Katharine Hepburn, who has four. She quoted the Shakespeare play “Macbeth,” saying, “I have no words: my voice is in my sword. We know the sword is our work, and I like work. Thank you for knowing that, and thanks for this.” She then began to raise her head to the ceiling and howl, paying tribute to the “Nomandland” production sound mixer Michael Snyder, who died March of this year.

Scottsbluff, Nebraska is a filming location in the film “Nomadland” Scotts Bluff Monument sunset through Mitchell Pass. NPS Photo / Poffenberger

 

Sarah Knight Adamson, 16 years, Scottsbluff High School, Sweet 16 Pom Squad, Scottsbluff, Nebraska

For a 16-year-old living at the time in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, with dreams of attending the Academy Awards, fast-forward to 2021, I can say my Oscar press experience was not far off the mark, the behind the scenes press room allowed me to learn the mechanics of the show, along with tapping into the emotions of the victors. I am grateful for the opportunity.

What a fortuitous circumstance that my High School city of Scottsbluff, Nebraska (Go Bearcats!) was a key location in the filming of the Best Picture, “Nomadland.” We lived 12 miles outside of the city in the country; our large front bay window view was of the stunning Scotts Bluff Monument. Our home was surrounded by beet and corn fields that, at times, were swarming with farmworkers hand-picking the crops and tending the fields. Yes, I can relate to the term ‘nomad’ as I witnessed first-hand the families that came and left from our city and schools over my five years there. In fact, I overheard after a climb (800 feet above the North Platte River) up the Bluff (as locals refer to the Scotts Bluff Monument), during a High School reunion one of my classmates showing his wife where he and his family worked, he said while pointing down, “See that farm over there to the left, yep, that’s God’s country.”

My question to director Chole Zhao would have started with a thank you for capturing the Nebraska plains so beautifully, and I would have asked her what she enjoyed most about her visit to the picturesque area.

Sarah Knight Adamson© April 29, 2021

 

 

List of the 93rd Academy Award Nominees and Winners

Best Picture

The Father

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank

Minari

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Actor

 Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

 Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

 Anthony Hopkins, The Father

 Gary Oldman, Mank

 Steven Yeun, Minari

 

Best Actress

 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

 

Best Director

 Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

 Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

 David Fincher, Mank

 Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

 Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

 

Best Supporting Actress

 Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

 Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

 Olivia Colman, The Father

 Amanda Seyfried, Mank

 Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

 

Best Supporting Actor

 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

 

Best International Feature

 Another Round

 Better Days

 Collective 

 The Man Who Sold His Skin

 Quo Vadis, Aida?

 

Best Animated Feature

 Onward

 Over the Moon

 Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon 

 Soul

 Wolfwalkers

 

Best Documentary Feature

 Collective

 Crip Camp

 The Mole Agent

 My Octopus Teacher

 Time

 

Best Original Score

 Da 5 Bloods

 Mank

 Minari

 News of the World

 Soul

 

Best Original Song

 “Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah

 “Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

 “Husavik,” Eurovision Song Contest

 “Io Si (Seen),” The Life Ahead

 “Speak Now,” One Night in Miami

 

Best Original Screenplay

 Judas and the Black Messiah

 Minari

 Promising Young Woman

 Sound of Metal

 The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

 Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

 The Father

 Nomadland

 One Night in Miami

 The White Tiger

 

Best Cinematography

 Judas and the Black Messiah

 Mank

 News of the World

 Nomadland

 The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

 Emma

 Hillbilly Elegy

 Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

 Mank

 Pinocchio

 

Best Costume Design

 Emma

 Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

 Mank

 Mulan

 Pinocchio

 

Best Film Editing

 The Father

 Nomadland

 Promising Young Woman

 Sound of Metal

 The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Sound

 Greyhound

 Mank

 News of the World

 Soul

 Sound of Metal

 

Best Live-Action Short

 Feeling Through

 The Letter Room

 The Present

Two Distant Strangers

 White Eye

 

Best Animated Short

 Burrow

 Genius Loci

 If Anything Happens I Love You

 Opera

 Yes-People

 

Best Documentary Short

 Colette

 A Concerto is a Conversation

 Do Not Split

 Hunger Ward

 A Love Song for Latasha

 

Best Visual Effects

 Love and Monsters

 The Midnight Sky

 Mulan

 The One and Only Ivan

 Tenet

 

Best Production Design

 The Father 

 Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

 Mank

 News of the World

 Tenet

 

Christo Brock Interview “Brewmance”

Christo Brock Writer/Director “Brewmance” Sarah Knight Adamson-Interview-2021

I interviewed Christo Brock, the writer and director of the documentary film “Brewmance” on April 6, 2021, via Zoom. I enjoyed the film “Brewmance” as I learned so much about not only craft beers, I learned about the culture. It’s a hands-on, roll-up your sleeves culture—one that requires hard work, camaraderie, and a love of the process. Living in Long Beach, California, Brock became inspired to write a documentary film after attending meetings of the Long Beach Homebrewers. He met two homebrewers who are the main subjects of his film and followed them from start to finish to complete their dream of operating a brewery. Former “Reel Big Fish” trombonist Dan Regan of Liberation Brewing Co, 3630 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA, and Jesse Sundstrom and his father Dan, co-owner of Ten Mile Brewing, 1136 E Willow St, Signal Hill, CA, show us the process of transitioning homebrew to a large-scale operation.

Sarah Knight Adamson:

It’s so wonderful to meet you. Congratulations on your documentary film “Brewmance.” You not only teach us the history of craft brews, you actually teach us how to brew our own beer. My question for you, could you please explain to our audience and our listeners what exactly is craft beer?

Christo Brock:

Good question. Well, first off, craft beer is a beer that has not been brewed by a corporation. Now I’ve got to tread lightly on this, but the Craft Brewers Association has a strict definition about this, and usually, something has to be brewed from all malt, all natural ingredients, and it has to be independently owned,  in other words, people who just decided, “You know what, I like making beer and I’m going to start a little business” and really that’s kind of the heart and soul of craft brewers.

SKA:

Well, thank you for that answer. The title “Brewmance,” I love the title, by the way. Can you tell me how that came about?

CB:

Well, coming up with a title for a film is super important because you want to be unique, you want it to stand out, but the whole idea of “Brewmance “plays off the idea of romance and bromance. “Brewmance” is very encompassing where it also includes women because there’s a lot of wonderful women in the world of craft beer. But I think people who make beers love the process; they love making new tastes. There’s a love affair that goes on with something they’ve just created and that they’re going to share with people. Some people love the idea of exploring and coming up with new flavors.

SKA:

I saw a connection with the word bromance. Director John Hamburg’s film “I Love You Man,” 2009, with Jason Siegel and Paul Rudd, is the first time I heard of the word. I interviewed Hamburg and asked him about the term, and he said, “You know when we were making this movie, we didn’t even think of that or know of that term,” but now the term bromance is synonymous with “I Love You Man.”

I thought that’s pretty cool. What are your hopes for your film and your idea of this brewmance?

CB: I do hope that people will get to see this and get to experience a little bit of the world of craft beer and the values of it, because I really do think it’s about community, it’s about treating your competitor as your friend. That’s one of the things that struck me most about the world of craft beer is that there’s just this very strange cooperation and collaboration from people who are competing against each other.

SKA:

Yes, that’s really cool. By the way, I added the word brewmance to my Microsoft word program. I believe that there are now over 7,000 craft breweries in the United States. Can you talk about perhaps which states have the largest concentration of craft beer breweries? I know that our family lake place in Michigan has two brand new ones, and it’s just like they’re popping up more and more.

CB:

I can’t really speak to the concentrations but what I can speak to is that they are everywhere. I mean, this is one of the great things about beer and craft beer, so when you’re a big multinational beer manufacturer, you make your beer in St. Louis, and then you ship it around the country. And one of the reasons that we used to have just lagers is because they would travel well. All the little craft beers, they don’t last very long. So the great thing is now that we have all these little breweries in every little sort of corner of this country and in other countries, is that the beer is local, it’s responsive to the people drinking it, and it’s fresh and you usually can see the person who made it. I think that makes a big difference. You can be like, “Oh, that’s the brewer. Oh, cool.” And then it just gives the craft beer a whole different experience. It’s like there’s a story in the bottle or the glass.

SKA:

I really loved the music in your film. Did you know about the band “Reel Big Fish” before you met Dan Regan, the trombone player?

CB:

I’ll say I did not. I grew up on the East Coast, but all my friends from out in California were like “Reel Big Fish, yeah I grew up with them,” but I was a little bit like, “Oh cool, they’re great.”

SKA:

I really appreciated hearing the craft beer legend story. And it was great watching the film just to hear Fritz Maytag, and I’m like Anchor Steam that was my first craft beer.

CB: That was a lot of people’s first craft beer, right?  When I moved to San Francisco in 1989, just a month before the big earthquake, and then I started working at a bar, a jazz bar, and the big thing was the owners were like, and we serve Anchor Steam, and I was like, “What’s that?” But it was a big thing. It was like, “Oh, we have Anchor Steam on tap,” and people loved it.

SKA:

Yes, thank you for that; I appreciated all of Fritz Maytag’s stories. My final question, what was your favorite scene to film?

CB:

Well, this is a little perverse because I don’t think that I did a very good job of it, but without giving too much away, there’s a scene with Liberation [Brewery] towards the end of the film that gets a little tense.

When you’re a filmmaker filming something that’s delicate, there’s a very fine line between making sure you record the action but not being part of it because that’ll change what’s happening.

SKA:

So you try to be the fly on the wall.

CB:

Yes, and that’s when you really see like, “Oh wow, I’m capturing something real.” When they stop noticing you and life just goes on. I really like that.

SKA: I believe you accomplished that for sure. Thanks so much for speaking with me, and best of luck with the film.

*All photos property of “Brewmance” film

Sarah Knight Adamson© April 6, 2021

Emily Cohen Ibanez “Fruits of Labor SXSW Interview

Portrait of 4th World Indigenous Media Lab fellows, Ashley Solis Pavon (seated) and Emily Cohen Ibañez. Photographed at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in 2020.

The insightful film “Fruits of Labor” focuses on California Central Coast’s rich soil, the beautiful nature of the area, and the laborers that work the fields. Ashley, an energetic, vibrant teen, works in those fields to help provide for the family. Providing empathy for child and teen Farm Laborers, this beautiful film gives us a true picture of the situation.

Filmmaker Emily Cohen Ibanez met her when she was 15 years old—two years later, she filmed her senior year of High School, documenting her struggles of balancing school and her farm work. The film premiered at the SXSW 2021 Film Festival. I spoke with director Emily Cohen Ibanez shortly after the festival.

I interviewed Emily Cohen Ibanez for the Alliance of Women Film Journalists to read the entire article, click here: https://bit.ly/EmilyCohenIbanez-Interview

Find out below how you can help support the cause of child farm labor and organizations that are helping to make a difference.

SKA: Can you tell me when you met Ashley and her family?

ECI:
I met Ashley when she was 15. I was doing arts development work, creating a video collective in her town with communities from farm working families and college students. And Ashley just really stood out. She’s a sensitive young woman, she’s engaged, she’s an advocate for her community. She also had a wonderful eye and was teaching the young people camera, and she just had an enormous amount of curiosity. I was really drawn to her and wanting to continue her development as a young person and then got to know her family. Two years after meeting her and her family, I asked her if I could film her in her last year of high school.

SKA:
What can people support agencies that are working for better Farm Labor conditions? Also, are there local groups in the California Central Coast area?

ECI:
There are wonderful organizations like The United Farm Workers with a long history in organizing, especially for strawberry workers. There’s a Dolores Huerta Foundation that supports, especially young girls, Latina girls in farm working communities with their higher education.

The organization we worked really close with, and actually my sister is the executive director, and they started this group, Youth Growing Justice. They help the local community fight to reclaim city lands for community gardens. It’s called Community Agroecology Network. They do a lot of very specific work with youth. Ashley got to travel to Nicaragua and meet farmers there. We also work in Mexico. We do all these different exchanges between Mexico and Nicaragua, and California around food security.

Sarah Knight Adamson© March 31, 2021

 

 

 

http://bit.ly/EmilyCohenIbanez-Interview

Women Take Top Prizes at Critics Choice Awards (RogerEbert.com)

26th Critics Choice Awards

Women took home top honors at the 26th Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, March 7th, 2021. Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” not only won Best Picture, but she was also awarded Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Emerald Fennell‘s “Promising Young Woman” took home the Best Original Screenplay award as well as Best Actress for Carey Mulligan. At the same time, Ann Roth was the winner of Best Costume Design for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” In the television awards, “The Queen’s Gambit” won in the Best Limited Series category, as did its star, Anya Taylor-Joy.

Yes, the show did go on. Hollywood’s finest in film and TV were honored at the 26th Critics Choice Awards show in Los Angeles, California, via an in-person/virtual hybrid format. Taye Diggshosted for the third year and began the evening by joking about the stars wearing formal on the top and comfy on the bottom due to Zoom’s headshot format. All acceptance speeches were conveyed in this format worldwide—from private living rooms, home offices, and hotel suites.

The highlight for me was meeting Anya Taylor-Joy, in the winners press room, the Best Actress Award winner. Taylor-Joy plays Beth Harmon in “The Queen’s Gambit,” which follows her life in an orphanage in the mid-1950s as a burgeoning chess prodigy and continues into the 1960s, following her drug and alcohol addiction through to her recovery. Based on the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis of the same name, the seven-episode series was written and directed by Scott Frank, who created it along with Allan Scott.

MARCH 7: In this screengrab, Anja Taylor Joy, winner of Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television Award, arrives at the press room at the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards on March 07, 2021. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association)
Anya Taylor-Joy appeared wearing lovely deep red sheer gloves that matched the striking color of her strappy, floor-length gown. She answered the first question by a critic who said, “Many people feel that Beth Harmon’s story isn’t over, are there plans to continue?” She answered by saying that she appreciates that people want to spend more time with a character that she also loves, yet the series was always intended to be limited. She ended with a glimmer of hope, replying, “Never say never.”In speaking with her next, I praised her for her wonderful performance while informing her that I taught chess to my students as a former teacher. She said, with a look of surprise followed by a big smile, “Really?” I asked her, “What has chess taught you about the world?” She replied, “Oh goodness, it’s such a beautiful metaphor, you can have a plan that you will be able to adapt, you have to be able to pivot and to think on your feet, it’s important to know when to attack and when to defend, and you have to learn when to do both. You also know that you need all of the pieces on the board; it’s not just the Queen running around. You need every single one of them. I would say those are a couple of things that I learned from chess.”

If this were a typical show, I would have followed up by talking about the implications her female character has had on the game of chess for girls and women of the world. As most know, chess competitions have a history of boys and men leading the sport. The series reflects men’s unwillingness to treat females with respect in the game of chess and beyond. Her smart, hard-working character presents a bird’s-eye view of female perseverance, realizing individual rewards and breaking barriers.

As a side note, my father, Richard Knight, taught me to play chess in high school as I believe he wanted someone to play with, although it afforded me quality time with him as I was the oldest of five siblings. He bought me books by chess masters, we worked on openings, various pre-set boards, strategies, etc. I’ll never forget the day I finally won a match—I ran through the house cheering in jubilation. Years later, I taught gifted children and utilized chess to teach life lessons and critical thinking skills. I do thank my father for teaching me the game and miss him dearly.

Sarah Knight Adamson© March 7, 2021

 

 

Film Fest 919 Is Happening! They Built it, and They Came

Film Fest 919 In Chapel Hill North Carolina met the pandemic challenge by following a storyline of the Best Picture Academy Award Nominated movie “Field of Dreams. Yes, “If you build it, they will come” became a reality for Film Fest 919 Founder/Executive Director Randi Emerman as she and Co-Founder and Co-Director Carol Marshall rolled up their sleeves and tackled their inside theater problem head-on. Astonishingly, they built a new Drive-In theater with their partners at Northwood Ravin in Carraway Village in only 30 days.

New Carraway Drive-in Courtesy of Film Fest 919

Opening October 14 with director Regina King’s “One Night in Miami,” and closing October 31 with the 45th Anniversary of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”  The festival featured 14 of the year’s most talked-about films. The Audience Favorite Award was a tie: “Nomadland” and “Fatman.”

“Nomadland” director, writer, and editor Chloé Zhao was also recognized with the Distinguished Screenwriter Award. “Fatman” co-writer and co-director Ian and Eshom Nelms were given the Spotlight Award.

I asked Randi Emerman to talk about some of the challenges of organizing and actually executing a film festival during a pandemic. She replied, “Our first decision had to be what the festival would look like. Carol & I talked and pivoted so many times, but we knew, in the end, our festival films needed to be seen in a theatrical environment.

Randi Emerman all smiles Opening Night…Courtesy of Film Fest 919

With theaters shut down, the drive-in experience was the answer.  A million decisions had to be made right away, ranging from finding the perfect location, actually building the giant screen, acquiring DCI compliant equipment, and financing the operation, not to mention programming and getting buy-in from studios and distributors. With perseverance and determination, we received the “go” just 45 days out from the development team of Northwood Ravin, and we flew into action to make it happen.

Now we were faced with our biggest challenge, how to finance the operation. Since March, we had applied for over 23 grants only to be turned down, while simultaneously approaching donors and sponsors. With so many canceled events, many of which did not offer refunds, we were simply unable to raise capital.  But together, we forged ahead, just the two of us with a handful of very dedicated volunteers, and pulled it off. Personally, the toughest experience for me,— Carol was unable to make the trip and not be here to see that beautiful picture up on that amazing giant screen.”

I asked Carol Marshall what she was most pleased about upon the conclusion of Film Fest 919? She answered, “My experience was quite different as I couldn’t travel to North Carolina due to the pandemic. Although I was able to handle many technical aspects from working with studios to managing things virtually while Randi dealt with everything on site.”

And what was the most gratifying part of the 2020 festival? “The fact that we were able to pull it all together in a very short period of time, a month and a half, is unheard of in the festival world. I was also really happy with the films we programmed, especially in a year where most films were pushed back theatrically to 2021. I was pleased that people came and were very supportive.”

Carol continued, “Opening night was my favorite moment as everyone who was helping got together for a photo; I’m in the photo via Facetime, that made it real for me.

Co-Founder Carol Marshall (pictured on the phone via FaceTime), Claire Harris, Lori Doherty, Co-Founder Randi Emerman, Maia Swan, Julia Glass. (Courtesy of FF 919)

For Randi not knowing 100% if the Film Festival was going to come together in time she became a little choked up during opening night as she was raised in a family of theater owners, and was filled with pride.

It does appear remarkable that the festival was actually going to happen in leu of so many others simply canceling. As a member of the Film Fest 919 Honorary Advisory Board, personally, I was amazed when we began discussing film programming in September—as I was wondering how in the world these plans were going to come to fruition.

Well, it did happen, but not without countless hours of planning, creative strategizing, execution, and sacrifice. The pro-active duo made it happen the way filmmakers wanted their films to be seen. They faced unbelievable obstacles along the way—two hurricanes, a tornado, an imploding server, and zero funding. They made their dream come true, and the community was the benefactor of a film festival the directors are proud of by focusing on their vision and the festival’s mission.

Here’s more great news, in early 2021, the Drive-in will have one-night showings during awards season for Film Fest 919. It looks like the adage, “If you build it, they will come,” played out for real in North Carolina—this journalist just got goosebumps. For me, my regret is the missed opportunity of not being able to attend and the chance that I may have heard someone say, “Is this heaven, while Randi or the 919 Film Festival team answered, No, it’s North Carolina.”

Sarah Knight Adamson© December 13, 2020

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Film Festivals and Events

74th Cannes Film Festival, an Accredited Press Member’s Preview

The 74th Festival de Cannes will soon begin with a star-studded lineup—starting on July 6, 2021, and closing on July 17, with the awards list announced by President of the Jury, Spike Lee. As an accredited press member, I’ll update you on the special events, film talent, and films. At this writing, I plan to attend in person to provide an up-close and personal view. As a former traveler to the South of France, I’ll also highlight my favorite sight-seeing adventures during my nine-day stay in Cannes.

Jodie Foster is the special guest of the Opening Ceremony and is the Honorary Palme d’Or’s recipient and will present opening remarks.

July 6, 2021, the opening film “Annette” will premiere, starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, a musical film directed by Leos Carax, with a screenplay by Ron Mael and Russel Mael both members of the pop/rock duo band Sparks. The original story, music, and score are a collaboration with the writers and the band.

The intriguing tale is of a confrontational stand-up comedian (Adam Driver) and his wife, a world-famous soprano (Marion Cotillard). Upon the birth of their daughter Annette, who’s born with a special gift, their life is forever changed.

Notable directors and their films include Wes Anderson, “The French Dispatch,” Sean Baker “Red Rocket,” Asghar Farhadi “A Hero,” Sean Penn “Flag Day” and Paul Verhoeven, “Benedetta” along with past Palme d’Or winners Jacques Audiard “Les Olympiades” and Apichatpong Weerasethakul “Memoria.”

Additional seasoned filmmakers slated include; Oliver Stone’s new documentary “JFK: Through the Looking Glass,” Tom McCarthy will debut his Matt Damon thriller “Stillwater” out of competition, while Todd Haynes is set to screen; his new documentary “The Velvet Underground.”

Most notable are the increasing women representation during the festival; Charlotte Gainsbourg debuts a personal documentary of her mother, Jane Birkin, “Jane by Charlotte,” Andrea Arnold’s “Cow” “Women Do Cry” is directed by two, Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova), “The Year of the Everlasting Storm” features sections directed by Laura Poitras and Dominga Sotomayor. Eva Husson shows with her “Mothering Sunday.”

CANNES 2021 OFFICIAL SELECTION

COMPETITION
Annette, dir: Leos Carax (opening night film)
Flag Day, dir: Sean Penn
Tout S’est Bien Passé, dir: François Ozon
A Hero, dir: Asghar Farhadi
Tre Piani, dir: Nanni Moretti
Titane, dir: Julia Ducournau
The French Dispatch, dir: Wes Anderson
Red Rocket, dir: Sean Baker
Petrov’s Flu, dir: Kirill Serebrennikov
France, dir: Bruno Dumont
Nitram, dir: Justin Kurzel
Memoria, dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Les Olympiades, dir: Jacques Audiard
Benedetta, dir: Paul Verhoeven
La Fracture, dir: Catherine Corsini
The Restless, dir: Joachim Lafosse
Lingui, dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
The Worst Person In The World, dir: Joachim Trier
Bergman Island, dir: Mia Hansen-Love
Drive My Car, dir: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Ahed’s Knee, dir: Nadav Lapid
Casablanca Beats, dir: Nabil Ayouch
Compartment No. 6, dir: Juho Kuosmanen
The Story Of My Wife, dir: Ildiko Enyedi

OUT OF COMPETITION
De Son Vivant, dir: Emmanuelle Bercot
Stillwater, dir: Tom McCarthy
The Velvet Underground, dir: Todd Haynes
Bac Nord, dir: Cédric Jiminez
Aline, dir: Valérie Lemercier
Emergency Declaration, dir: Han Jae-Rim

MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS
Bloody Oranges, dir: Jean-Christophe Meurisse

CANNES PREMIERES
Evolution, dir: Kornel Mundruczo
Cow, dir: Andrea Arnold
Mothering Sunday, dir: Eva Husson
Love Songs For Tough Guys, dir: Samuel Benchetrit
In Front Of Your Face, dir: Hong Sang-soo
Hold Me Tight, dir: Mathieu Amalric
Deception, dir: Arnaud Desplechin
Val, dirs: Ting Poo, Leo Scott
JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass, dir: Oliver Stone
*Jane By Charlotte, dir: Charlotte Gainsbourg

SPECIAL SCREENINGS
*H6, dir: Yi Yi
Black Notebooks, dir: Shlomi Elkabetz
Mariner Of The Mountains, dir: Karim Ainouz
Babi Yar. Context, dir: Sergei Loznitsa
The Year Of The Everlasting Storm; dirs: Jafar Panahi, Anthony Chen, Malik Vitthal, Laura Poitras, Dominga Sotomayor, David Lowery, Apichatpong Weerasethakul

UN CERTAIN REGARD
The Innocents, dir: Eskil Vogt
After Yang, dir: Kogonada
Delo, dir: Alexey German Jr
Bonne Mere, dir: Hafsia Herzi
Noche De Fuego, dir: Tatiana Huezo
*Lamb, dir: Vladimar Johansson
*Un Monde, dir: Laura Wandel
*Freda, dir: Gessica Généus
*Moneyboys, dir: CB Yi
Blue Bayou, dir: Justin Chon
Commitment Hasan, dir: Hasan Semih Kaplanoglu
Rehana Maryam Noor, dir: Abdullah Mohammad Saad
Let There Be Morning, dir: Eran Kolirin
Unclenching The Fists, dir: Kira Kovalenko
*La Civil, dir: Ana Mihai
Women Do Cry, dirs: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova

*First film, eligible for the Camera d’Or award.

**Bella Hadid at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival (photo: Getty Images) featured photo.

Stay tuned for updates on Hollywood 360 Radio Network, and Sarah’s Backstage Pass.

Sarah Knight Adamson© June 28, 2021

93rd Academy Awards 2021, a View From the Virtual Oscar Press Office

Oscars 2021-Reporting for Hollywood 360 Radio Network

Sunday, April 25, 2021, the day of the Academy Awards, began with a familiarity of anticipation that I have come to expect over the years—except this year was different, I was accepted to be a virtual member of the Oscars press. My day in New Buffalo, Michigan began by searching for a halo light to improve my Zoom video quality, and luck was on my side as I purchased one locally. The night before was spent rearranging furniture to prepare a suitable backdrop and workspace for an 8-hour stretch that encompassed viewing Red Carpet arrivals, Oscar-nominated song performances, interviewing winners, all while downloading photos, videos, and transcripts. By far, the most challenging job was toggling back and forth between the live Oscar show and the Oscar media room. All and all, the experience is one I will treasure, and I look forward to the day I will be able to report in Hollywood, California.

New Buffalo, Michigan–Lake Michigan sunset view, Saturday, April 24, 2021. Sarah Knight Adamson Photo Credit
Settling into the press room involved being on top of the situation and listening to instructions; we were guided like a well-oiled machine. I prepared questions for all 25 winners and delighted in hearing their answers as they spoke to the press. To experience their visual elation just moments after an Oscar win and to listen to their profound gratitude heightened my experience of viewing the Oscars all the years, as I’ve watched the show since I was ten years old while living in Los Angeles. Truly, this reporter felt a full-circle moment in my career, and I am grateful to be accepted among such esteemed journalists.
Sarah Knight Adamson, April 25, 2021

Protocol consisted of viewing a title card that announced who was stepping into the virtual press room, headphones were suggested as they reduced the chance of feedback. In terms of stepping, this is an accurate account as talent walked in front of an Oscar designed backdrop holding their Oscars and spoke to talent as they watched a large screen. The backdrop served two purposes, one for photos and speaking with press. Talent was announced, hands were raised, questions were asked. No follow-up questions were allowed, if your hand was raised and you were cued, and you were expected to ready to speak—while most importantly be in front of your camera and ready to go.

The winners have been announced for some time now. My Hollywood 360 Radio Network segment this Saturday night will cover a snapshot of my reporting, snippets of transcribed Oscar acceptance speeches, Oscar press room questions, and answers, along with standout highlights of the Oscar show and the backstage interviews.

Daniel Kaluuya, Best Supporting Actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah

Daniel Kaluuya won early in the evening, taking home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah.” He gave a heartfelt acceptance speech thanking God, his mom, and his family. Here is a segment of his speech that focuses on the film:

“Chairman Fred Junior and Mama Akua, thank you so much for allowing us into your life and into your story. Thank you for trusting us with your truth. I appreciate you deeply, and it’s an honor to partner up and stand side by side with you. And to Chairman Fred Hampton. Bro, man. Man, what a man. He was on this earth for 21 years, and he found a way to feed kids breakfast, educate kids, give free medical care, against all the odds. He showed me, he taught me him. Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, the Black Panther Party. They showed me how to love myself. And with that love, they overflowed into the black community and into other communities. And they showed us that the power of union, the power of unity, that when they play divide and conquer, we say unite and ascend.

Thank you so much for showing me myself. And yeah, man, there’s so much work to do guys, and that’s on everyone in this room, this ain’t no single man job. I look at this room, and I look at everyone, every single one of you, you got work to do, you know what I’m saying.”

Red Carpet arrivals Oscars 2021 Chole Zhao writer/directer Nomadland and Joshua James Richards, Cinematographer: Nomadland.

“Nomadland” the big winner of the evening, taking home the Best Picture, Best Director, and the Best Actress Oscars. Writer/director/producer Chole Zhao, appeared in the press room numerous times.

Here is a question that was asked after she won Best Director:

Q. Talk to me about all of this history coming your way all at once. How does it feel? I mean, you have literally smashed this glass ceiling that we often talk about. Tell me about what’s coursing through your veins right now.

A. Well, you know, I feel I’m very lucky I have parents who have always told me that who you are is enough, you know, and who I who you are is your art, you know? So I always try to stay true to myself and be surrounded by really great, supportive, talented people, so I really share this moment with them.

“Minari” Yuh-Jung Young, Best Supporting Actress winner. Director Lee Isaac Chung Credit: Courtesy of A24

Yuh-Jung Youn, the feisty grandmother in Minari, captured not only her grandson’s heart in the film she went home with an Oscar for her Best Supporting Actress role. Brad Pitt presented her the award as he was a producer of the film. Youn said in her acceptance speech that she does not believe in competition; she does not believe that her performance is better than Glen Close or the other nominees. Here are a few questions she answered in the press room.

Brad Pitt, right, poses with Yuh-Jung Youn, winner of the award for best actress in a supporting role for “Minari,” in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)

Q. Congratulations on such a historic win. You created the Oscar-winning grandma. What was the biggest challenge you faced in your acting career, and what did you get from (inaudible)?

A. Well, it’s not happened right at the moment because I had a long career. I’m trying to do my career, you know, step by step. And just sometimes it’s happy, very happy, when you get it. But for me, myself, I don’t believe in competition, especially in our field, because we are comparing a different movie. I’m just lucky tonight, just luckier than the other nominees, luckier than them. And maybe, who knows, it’s American hospitality for the Korean actor, I think.

Q. Congratulations on your win tonight. Brad Pitt was a producer on Minari, and you just met him for the first time. What was that like, and if you could do a movie with him, what genre would you choose?

A. That will never happen with my English and age, you know. I don’t think so, no.

Makeup and Hairstyling won the Oscar for the film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, that consisted of fitting actress Viola Davis with a full set of gold teeth. Mia Neal’s acceptance speech spoke to people of color and their representation in the future.

Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson are the first Black women to win in the Hair and Makeup category. Makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera also won.

MIA NEAL:
“I was raised by my grandfather, James Holland. He was an original Tuskegee Airman. He represented the U.S. in the first Pan Am Games. He went to Argentina. He met Evita. He graduated from Northwestern University at the time that they did not allow Blacks to stay on campus, so he stayed at the YMCA. And after all of his accomplishments, he went back to his hometown in hopes of becoming a teacher. But they did not hire Blacks in the school system. So I want to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, were denied but never gave up.

And I also stand here as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling with so much excitement for the future. Because I can picture Black trans women standing up here and Asian sisters and our Latino sisters and indigenous women. And I know that one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking; it will just be normal. Thank you to the Academy, to Netflix, to Denzel Washington, to George C. Wolfe, to Ann Roth, to Miss Viola Davis, to Matiki Anoff, to Andrea Resnick, to the spirit of Ma Rainey. Thank you.”

Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman” wins Best Original Screenplay

The Best Original Screenplay Oscar went to Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman” she started by saying, “I didn’t think I was going to win, so I don’t have a speech prepared, and I’m going to be in trouble with Steven Soderbergh [Oscar Producer]. I’m so sorry; I don’t want him to be cross with me.”

She continued, “This film was made by the most incredible people in the world, who made it in 23 days. They brought their complete genius and love and humor to it. And I have so many people to thank. I feel mortified that I’m here by myself when it’s not just my job at all. I want to thank Carey Mulligan for being not only the most talented person in the world but the kindest and funniest. I want to thank the producers for standing behind this film always and, you know, never giving up, and Lucky Chap, Focus, FilmNation. The cast and the crew, the greatest in the world, the kindest in the world. They just made me look good, and again, I’m just so grateful. And finally: my family, Mom, Dad, Coco, my husband Chris and our son.

Fennell’s Press Room Question:

Q. Congratulations. I am just so happy for you and proud of you. And you described this film as a “poison popcorn film.” Can you explain what that means exactly? And will you continue to make these “poison popcorn” movies?

A. I don’t know. I think I always hoped to make something that people would want to go and see that even if it’s about something difficult and troubling, that it would still be a movie that you would go and watch with your friends, with your boyfriend, and you would talk about it afterward. And so, part of it was that felt kind of glossy and feminine and poppy and that, yeah, but it was disgusting, some very difficult and dark subject matter. I think probably that is something I will do in the future a little bit.

Tyler Perry, 2021 recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

In perhaps the evening’s highlight, the Academy recognized Tyler Perry’s work by honoring him with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The honor is given out periodically to an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” An outstanding video explained his cause and documented his wonderful work.
Viola Davis, who collaborated with Perry on the 2009 film “Madea Goes to Jail,” presented the award.

In his stirring speech, Perry recalled a story about helping a woman in need buy a pair of shoes and how it served as a lesson in withholding judgment. “I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle,” he concluded, “… because that’s where healing happens, that’s where conversation happens, that’s where change happens. It happens in the middle. So anyone who wants to meet me in the middle, to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment, and help lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one’s for you, too.”

Press Room Questions:

Q. Congratulations. Your speech was just incredible. It was maybe the most moving moment of the night. You mentioned your mother a lot in that speech and what she taught you. Did you sense, as you were talking up there, that maybe she’s shined down, smiling down on you as you were able to deliver that message that she first gave you?

A. You know, I could feel her in the moment. I could feel her. Any time I’m up there, I’m carrying her with me in all she went through and all we went through together. You are absolutely right about that.

Q. I wanted to ask you what inspired you to share such a personal story?

A. Just where we are in the country and the world, and everybody is grabbing a corner and a color, and they are all nobody wants to come to the middle to have a conversation. Everybody is polarized, and it’s in the middle where things change. So I’m hoping that that inspires people to meet us in the middle so that we can get back to some semblance of normal. As this pandemic is over, we can get to a place where we are showing love and kindness to each other again.

Olivia Coleman and Anthony Hopkins “The Father” Sony USA

Anthony Hopkins was the last award of the night presented for Best Actor, and he was over the pond in Wales, at that moment although he posted to his Instagram account a heartfelt thank you the following day:

“At 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award; I really didn’t,” said Hopkins in the Instagram video, standing in the beautiful Welsh countryside. He thanked the Academy and “paid tribute” to the late Chadwick Boseman, who “was taken from us far too early.” He also thanked the director and screenwriter of “The Father,” Florian Zeller, who, earlier in the evening, for Best Adapted screenplay. His thanks continued with Sony Pictures Classics, UTA, his team, his wife, Stella Arroyave, and his family. He ended by saying, “Again, thank you all very much. I really did not expect this, so I feel very privileged and honored. Thank you.”

Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” Searchlight Pictures

Frances McDormand won the Best Actress award, playing a nomad who hits the road after her small-town plant closes in the film “Nomadland.” Her third win; she ties Meryl Streep and Ingrid Bergman, who have three each, with the current record-holder, Katharine Hepburn, who has four. She quoted the Shakespeare play “Macbeth,” saying, “I have no words: my voice is in my sword. We know the sword is our work, and I like work. Thank you for knowing that, and thanks for this.” She then began to raise her head to the ceiling and howl, paying tribute to the “Nomandland” production sound mixer Michael Snyder, who died March of this year.

Scottsbluff, Nebraska is a filming location in the film “Nomadland” Scotts Bluff Monument sunset through Mitchell Pass. NPS Photo / Poffenberger

 

Sarah Knight Adamson, 16 years, Scottsbluff High School, Sweet 16 Pom Squad, Scottsbluff, Nebraska

For a 16-year-old living at the time in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, with dreams of attending the Academy Awards, fast-forward to 2021, I can say my Oscar press experience was not far off the mark, the behind the scenes press room allowed me to learn the mechanics of the show, along with tapping into the emotions of the victors. I am grateful for the opportunity.

What a fortuitous circumstance that my High School city of Scottsbluff, Nebraska (Go Bearcats!) was a key location in the filming of the Best Picture, “Nomadland.” We lived 12 miles outside of the city in the country; our large front bay window view was of the stunning Scotts Bluff Monument. Our home was surrounded by beet and corn fields that, at times, were swarming with farmworkers hand-picking the crops and tending the fields. Yes, I can relate to the term ‘nomad’ as I witnessed first-hand the families that came and left from our city and schools over my five years there. In fact, I overheard after a climb (800 feet above the North Platte River) up the Bluff (as locals refer to the Scotts Bluff Monument), during a High School reunion one of my classmates showing his wife where he and his family worked, he said while pointing down, “See that farm over there to the left, yep, that’s God’s country.”

My question to director Chole Zhao would have started with a thank you for capturing the Nebraska plains so beautifully, and I would have asked her what she enjoyed most about her visit to the picturesque area.

Sarah Knight Adamson© April 29, 2021

 

 

List of the 93rd Academy Award Nominees and Winners

Best Picture

The Father

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank

Minari

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Actor

 Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

 Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

 Anthony Hopkins, The Father

 Gary Oldman, Mank

 Steven Yeun, Minari

 

Best Actress

 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

 

Best Director

 Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

 Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

 David Fincher, Mank

 Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

 Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

 

Best Supporting Actress

 Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

 Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

 Olivia Colman, The Father

 Amanda Seyfried, Mank

 Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

 

Best Supporting Actor

 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

 

Best International Feature

 Another Round

 Better Days

 Collective 

 The Man Who Sold His Skin

 Quo Vadis, Aida?

 

Best Animated Feature

 Onward

 Over the Moon

 Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon 

 Soul

 Wolfwalkers

 

Best Documentary Feature

 Collective

 Crip Camp

 The Mole Agent

 My Octopus Teacher

 Time

 

Best Original Score

 Da 5 Bloods

 Mank

 Minari

 News of the World

 Soul

 

Best Original Song

 “Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah

 “Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

 “Husavik,” Eurovision Song Contest

 “Io Si (Seen),” The Life Ahead

 “Speak Now,” One Night in Miami

 

Best Original Screenplay

 Judas and the Black Messiah

 Minari

 Promising Young Woman

 Sound of Metal

 The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

 Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

 The Father

 Nomadland

 One Night in Miami

 The White Tiger

 

Best Cinematography

 Judas and the Black Messiah

 Mank

 News of the World

 Nomadland

 The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

 Emma

 Hillbilly Elegy

 Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

 Mank

 Pinocchio

 

Best Costume Design

 Emma

 Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

 Mank

 Mulan

 Pinocchio

 

Best Film Editing

 The Father

 Nomadland

 Promising Young Woman

 Sound of Metal

 The Trial of the Chicago 7

 

Best Sound

 Greyhound

 Mank

 News of the World

 Soul

 Sound of Metal

 

Best Live-Action Short

 Feeling Through

 The Letter Room

 The Present

Two Distant Strangers

 White Eye

 

Best Animated Short

 Burrow

 Genius Loci

 If Anything Happens I Love You

 Opera

 Yes-People

 

Best Documentary Short

 Colette

 A Concerto is a Conversation

 Do Not Split

 Hunger Ward

 A Love Song for Latasha

 

Best Visual Effects

 Love and Monsters

 The Midnight Sky

 Mulan

 The One and Only Ivan

 Tenet

 

Best Production Design

 The Father 

 Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

 Mank

 News of the World

 Tenet

 

93rd Oscar Press Member Pre-Report”Together Together” H360 Film Review

Hi Carl, and hello to all of our listeners. This is Sarah Knight Adamson, and I have some exciting news; on Sunday tomorrow, April 25, I have been accepted to cover the 93rd Oscars and will be in the Virtual Pressroom during the Academy Awards.

The winners will appear in the Oscar Press Room by way of Zoom, and we will be able to ask questions.

Some of the presenters are Angela Bassett, Riz Ahmed, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Rita Moreno, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, and Renée Zellweger.

The Oscar presentation locations will be Union Station, Los Angeles, The Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and International locations via Satellite.

Tune in at 7:00PM Central time, on ABC, and I’ll have Oscar updates right here next week.

Now, for tonight’s film review, “Together, Together” (R) stars Ed Helms, a single man in his 40s who’s lonely and decides that raising a child will change his life. He hires Anna, played by Patti Harrison, to be a surrogate mother.

Clip: “Why are you doing this alone? Because I am alone. I’m actually incredibly hopeful.

The film is written & directed by: Nicole Beckwith.

The Bottom-line, I’m in 3 stars out of 4; here’s a unique look at fatherhood from a single male’s point of view. Themes of friendship are explored, while boundaries need to be set. I liked this quirky little film, and it’s definitely for adults; Helms carries the role from start to finish.

Thanks so much for listening in tonight, and be sure to listen in next week as I give you an update on my Oscar coverage. Again this is Sarah Knight Adamson, your film and TV critic for Sarah’s Backstage Pass.com.

Sarah Knight Adamson© April 25, 2021

93rd Academy Awards, A View from an Accredited Oscar Press Member

THE OSCARS¨ – Key Art. (ABC) Artwork by Magnus Voll Mathiassen.

On the eve before the 93rd Oscars, I’ve been contemplating my years with the awards show and my love affair with it as it’s been a monumental part of my life since I was a child growing up in Los Angeles. As a ten-year-old, I have vivid memories of watching the show with my mother and savoring the jewels and gowns worn by the stars. Yet, the heartfelt emotional speeches bring back the most riveting moments of the show, along with the films’ music and movie clips. For a film enthusiast, which I’ve been all of my life, the Academy Awards is a magical occasion.

2018 Academy Awards Event, Variety the Children’s Charity IL Host Sarah Knight Adamson with , L-R Lindsey Valiulis Fleischhauer, Dr. Alicia McCareins, Sarah K. Adamson, Emily Danielson, Jessica DeLong

Over the years, I’ve held Oscar parties in my home, whereas for ten years, 2009-2019, I was asked to host the live telecast of the show benefiting Variety the Children’s Charity of IL ; I was also a member of the executive board. The garnered funds helped raise money for children’s adapted bicycles and wheelchairs. The Oscar event was held in various movie theaters in the Chicago suburbs. The tenth and last event I hosted took place in a beautiful venue, a gala affair to be exact, complete with a gourmet plated dinner and jaw-dropping decorations. In 2020, I applied for Oscar press credentials and was informed that their quota had been met for that year, and I was advised to summit again in 2021. I applied this year and am pleased to say I have been granted acceptance into the Oscar virtual press room. For me, this is a dream realized.

As a member of the Oscar press, the winners will enter the Oscar media center, and the press will be called on to ask questions. We will also be able to take screengrabs and photos. I can tell you that I am ready with my questions and am looking forward to the experience of covering the Oscars up close and personal. Check back as I will write another piece covering Sunday’s Oscars.

My predictions for the 93rd Oscars are listed below; they are chosen by whom I predict will wIn and who I want to win. I’ve seen all of the films, and of course, have my favorites.

I am rooting for Carey Mulligan, “A Promising Young Women” as her performance is outstanding, and the film is an important call to action. Yes, I did appreciate Viola Davis’s transformation in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and will be thrilled if she wins. I graduated from Scottsbluff High School; therefore, “Nomandland” struck a chord with me. Chloe Zhao captured the Nebraska plains beautifully, and I applaud her work. I’m also rooting for Diane Warren to win Best Original Song as I love the song “lo Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)” staring the amazing Sophia Loren.

BEST PICTURE

“The Father”

“Judas and the Black Messiah”

“Mank”

“Minari”

“Nomadland”✓

“Promising Young Woman”

“Sound of Metal”

“The Trial of the Chicago 7″

DIRECTOR

Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round”

David Fincher, “Mank”

Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”

Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”✓

Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”

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”✓ 

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”

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”

Olivia Colman, “The Father”

Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”

Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari”✓

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”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“Borat Subsequent MovieFilm”

“The Father”

“Nomadland”✓

“One Night in Miami”

“The White Tiger”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Judas and the Black Messiah”

“Minari”

“Promising Young Woman”✓

“Sound of Metal”

“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Sean Bobbitt, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Erik Messerschmidt, “Mank”✓

Dariusz Wolski, “News of the World”

Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland”

Phedon Papamichael , “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

COSTUME DESIGN

“Emma”

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”✓

“Mank”

“Mulan”

“Pinocchio”

FILM EDITING

“The Father”

“Nomadland”

“Promising Young Woman”

“Sound of Metal”✓

“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Emma”

“Hillbilly Elegy”

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”✓

“Mank”

“Pinocchio”

PRODUCTION DESIGN

“The Father”

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

“Mank”✓

“News of the World”

“Tenet”

SCORE

“Da 5 Bloods”

“Mank”

“Minari”

“News of the World”

“Soul” ✓

 ORIGINAL SONG

“Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”

“Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

“Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”

“lo Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)” ✓

“Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami…”

 ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND

“Greyhound”

“Mank”

“News of the World”

“Soul”

“Sound of Metal”✓

 VISUAL EFFECTS

“Love and Monsters”

“The Midnight Sky”

“Mulan”

“The One and Only Ivan”

“Tenet”✓

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

“Onward”

“Over the Moon”

“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”

“Soul”✓

“Wolfwalkers”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“Collective”

“Crip Camp”

“The Mole Agent”

“My Octopus Teacher”✓

“Time”

 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

 ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“Burrow”

“Genius Loci”

“If Anything Happens I Love You”✓

“Opera”

“Yes-People”

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

“Colette”

“A Concerto Is a Conversation”

“Do Not Split”

“Hunger Ward”

“A Love Song For Latasha”✓ 

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

“Feeling Through”

“The Letter Room”

“The Present”

“Two Distant Strangers”✓

“White Eye”

Oscar Ballot Download: https://assets.cdn.watchdisneyfe.com/delta/assets/oscars/Oscars_Ballot_2021.pdf

Sarah Knight Adamson©April 24, 2021

SXSW-2021 Part 3 Film Favorites, The Fabulous Filipino Brothers, See You Then, Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free, Language Lessons, Potato Dreams of America

The South by Southwest (SXSW) 2021 virtual/online Film Festival March 16-20, wrapped, with a five-days of offerings. The Austin, Texas venue included their typical program of keynote speakers, film offerings, interview opportunities, networking sessions, Q&A discussions, and music festival showcasing.

All of these opportunities made for a great experience with many choices, in an easy-to-follow format that provided a safe environment for all during the pandemic.

Below is a list of the 20 films I screened listed in order of preference with capsule reviews, here are reviews for 11-15.

11. “The Fabulous Filipino Brothers”

The four real-life Filipino Brothers, Dante, Derek, Dionysio, and Darion Basco, grew up in Pittsburg, California, during the 60s and 70s. Their movie has charm, family-based themes, and the struggles of growing up in a large extended family. It’s also about their joy, love, admiration for each other. Dante Basco, the writer, and the director, is no stranger to show business. He’s made a name for himself in Hollywood, especially in voice overwork.

I appreciated the efforts to capture each brother’s story, as the differences in depositions and personalities are vast. Near the beginning, one character says with pride that Filipinos actually have “jungle Asian” roots, followed up with examples to back up the statement. In the same vein, Dante Basco reminds us that even with all of our differences, in many ways, we are the same. It’s a true celebration of Filipino-American culture, enlightening all to inside humor and banter.

I can recommend the film to all as the family events and themes are great for all of us to learn life lessons and basically go-with-the-flow. Be sure to stay for the end credits, as the home movies of the four brothers are well worth viewing.

12. “See You Then”

A magnificent study in the reconnection of two people who have a love history together that didn’t end well. Writer/director Mari Walker’s film, explores living through a trans woman’s experience with her former ex-girlfriend. Taking place over one night, the two revisit their old college campus and locations that open the flood gates of their memories.

Naomi (Lynn Chen) is a disenchanted art professor who agrees to meet her ex-boyfriend Kris (Pooya Mohseni). Their small-talk at first is cordial and somewhat congenial, although as the conversation turns toward heavier issues, the two become tense and uncomfortable. Kris relieves her transitioning to female while Naomi listens intently yet voices her frustrations in not knowing what Kris was going through as she was ghosted by her. Kris, on the defense throughout most of the film, attempts an explanation, yet Naomi remains emotionally wounded.

Walker juggles many themes while the characters’ lives unfold before us. It’s a fine line that requires a tight script, which is evident here. What’s truly remarkable is the incredible acting and discourse between the two women. Some of the dialogue is funny, while some are heavy-hitting, offering empathy for both.

13. “Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free”

The documentary by director Mary Wharton has 16mm studio footage from 1994 and new interviews with Petty’s daughter Adria Petty, LP producer Rick Rubin, and Heartbreakers Mike Campbell, Steve Ferrone Benmont Tench. It gives fans and viewers insights into Petty’s musical genius and the making of his favorite album “Wildflowers.” We learn that Petty was on the brink of divorce, a soon-to-be record label switch and a change in the Heartbreakers’ lineup. Considered a Petty solo album, he explains why, “I wanted to be free of the democratic process,” he says in an interview during the making of the album.

Petty did make a switch from MCA to Warner Bros. to create “Wildflowers,” but in order to run out his MCA contract, he needed to deliver two new tracks for one final album, the 1993’s ‘Greatest Hits.’ “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” was recorded during a break away from “Wildflowers” in a different studio. Despite being a song that he needed to create to fulfill his obligations to MCA, the song became one of his most famous hits.

In writing the Wildflower title track, Petty says, “That one just came to me,” he continued explaining that in a single sitting. “I played the full song, from the top to the end, with all the music and all the lyric, in one go. I stopped the tape and played it back, and I was confused. I kept playing it again and again: ‘What do we work on? What do we change?’ And then I thought, ‘I’m not going to change it, I’m going to leave it exactly stream of consciousness.'” He commented in another section of the film that “The best ones come quick. They just fall out.”

The “Wildflowers” sessions produced 25 songs, of which Petty initially wanted to release a double album. At the time, with CDs popularity, it would have been very expensive to purchase. Petty decided to simply take off 10 songs. In 2020 all 25 songs were released as “Wildflowers & All the Rest.” The documentary provides commentary by Petty’s family, and viewers learn of his desires in creating music and the choices he made in the people he works with. Being a Tom Petty fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

14. “Language Lessons”

Natalie Morales directs Mark Duplass and herself in this two-person film, taking place mostly on Zoom. The script is written by both Morales and Duplass, presents a wealthy guy, Adam (Duplass), who is given 100 hours of lessons on the Spanish language by his teacher Cariño (Morales), who’s Costa Rica-based. Though their first meeting begins uncomfortably, the two ultimately warm up to each other, especially after Adam opens up about his life, his relationship with Will, and Will’s death.
“Language Lessons” poses the question, how are we to process our grief during a pandemic? And also asks the question, is it possible to find romance during Zoom meetings. One would think the constant Zoom sessions would become boring to watch. However, to the contrary, the film keeps you engaged as we understand just a little more about each during the different sessions and actually begin to ‘care’ about each participant. When it’s later revealed that Cariño is also currently experiencing something arduous, we immediately are drawn in—wondering if she will open up to Will as he has to her.
Cleverly written with precision timing between the actors, the film is a joy to view. The film shows us human connection in its purest form, and I look forward to more collaborative films between Morales and Duplass. Don’t miss this sweet, heartwarming, uplifting tale.

15. “Potato Dreams of America”

Here’s a different kind of genre film, one that I enjoyed immensely, based on a Russian gay teen’s life and his new life in America. What makes this story even more interesting is that it hinges on a true story. Writer-director Wes Hurley’s childhood in Russia is a tale of woe—as it’s not easy being gay in Russia. He’s nicknamed “Potato” by his adoring mother, Vasili (Hersh Powers), and he doesn’t fare well in the ‘mean streets of the USSR. Hoping for a life in America, his dream is finally realized as mom decides to apply to be a mail-order bride.

As my suspicions were confirmed, the new husband was a bruting, bad-tempered right-wing idiot. The sensitive Potato doesn’t adapt to new dad John (Dan Lauria), as the situation becomes heated when Potato’s sexual orientation is revealed. The film is cleverly written as we know Potato’s inner thoughts, and there are many insightful ones. We root for him as he navigates these new situations as feelings.

My only concerns are the choices to show gratuitous sex scenes in the last part of the film, and I felt that up until this point, youngsters could benefit from filmmaker Hurley’s experiences with not only being gay but adjusting to life in America with a challenging father figure. The scenes referred to are not appropriate for under 17 years of age, as the film should be rated R. All and all, as an adult, those scenes didn’t bother me, although they were repetitive and overdone.

The Best Films SXSW-2021

  1. “Lily Topples the World”: 
  2. “Violet”
  3. “Fruits of Labor”
  4. ‘Under the Volcano’
  5. “Women Is Losers”
  6. “Hysterical”
  7. “Swan Song”
  8. “The Fallout”
  9. “Alien on Stage”
  10. “I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking)”
  11. “The Fabulous Filipino Brothers”
  12. “See You Then”
  13. “Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free”
  14. “Language Lessons”
  15. “Potato Dreams of America”
  16. “Witch Hunt”
  17. “Here Before”
  18. In the Same Breath
  19. “Not Going Quietly”
  20. “Inbetween Girl”

Sarah Knight Adamson April 9, 2021

 

Emily Cohen Ibanez “Fruits of Labor SXSW Interview

Portrait of 4th World Indigenous Media Lab fellows, Ashley Solis Pavon (seated) and Emily Cohen Ibañez. Photographed at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in 2020.

The insightful film “Fruits of Labor” focuses on California Central Coast’s rich soil, the beautiful nature of the area, and the laborers that work the fields. Ashley, an energetic, vibrant teen, works in those fields to help provide for the family. Providing empathy for child and teen Farm Laborers, this beautiful film gives us a true picture of the situation.

Filmmaker Emily Cohen Ibanez met her when she was 15 years old—two years later, she filmed her senior year of High School, documenting her struggles of balancing school and her farm work. The film premiered at the SXSW 2021 Film Festival. I spoke with director Emily Cohen Ibanez shortly after the festival.

I interviewed Emily Cohen Ibanez for the Alliance of Women Film Journalists to read the entire article, click here: https://bit.ly/EmilyCohenIbanez-Interview

Find out below how you can help support the cause of child farm labor and organizations that are helping to make a difference.

SKA: Can you tell me when you met Ashley and her family?

ECI:
I met Ashley when she was 15. I was doing arts development work, creating a video collective in her town with communities from farm working families and college students. And Ashley just really stood out. She’s a sensitive young woman, she’s engaged, she’s an advocate for her community. She also had a wonderful eye and was teaching the young people camera, and she just had an enormous amount of curiosity. I was really drawn to her and wanting to continue her development as a young person and then got to know her family. Two years after meeting her and her family, I asked her if I could film her in her last year of high school.

SKA:
What can people support agencies that are working for better Farm Labor conditions? Also, are there local groups in the California Central Coast area?

ECI:
There are wonderful organizations like The United Farm Workers with a long history in organizing, especially for strawberry workers. There’s a Dolores Huerta Foundation that supports, especially young girls, Latina girls in farm working communities with their higher education.

The organization we worked really close with, and actually my sister is the executive director, and they started this group, Youth Growing Justice. They help the local community fight to reclaim city lands for community gardens. It’s called Community Agroecology Network. They do a lot of very specific work with youth. Ashley got to travel to Nicaragua and meet farmers there. We also work in Mexico. We do all these different exchanges between Mexico and Nicaragua, and California around food security.

Sarah Knight Adamson© March 31, 2021

 

 

 

http://bit.ly/EmilyCohenIbanez-Interview

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F9, the Fast and Furious Saga continues

“F9: The Fast Saga” is the 9th installment of the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise—this year celebrating its 20th anniversary. If you’re a fan of the series, you won’t be disappointed, with plenty of action, and the best avenue the writers could take is bringing back a character from the past. Sung Kang, the captivating actor, plays Han, who was presumed dead. His reappearance is like a breath of fresh air, as he’s always been one of my favorites. For location eye-candy, Tokyo, Edinburgh, and London are captured beautifully.

Vin Diesel stars again as Dom Toretto, the leader of a gang of do-gooders that are again out to fight crime on their own terms. Super-charged cars, trucks, tanks, planes, space vehicles, or any new transport the writers dream up are the norm. New to the series is Dom’s rejected brother, Jakob, played by an angry John Cena; we also see flashbacks to Dom and Jakob as teenagers.

Beginning in a secluded location, Dom is living a quiet life with Letty, and his young son, Brian.
The cast includes Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson and Nathalie Emmanuel. The director is Justin Lin.

Stars of the past series, celebrates 20 years.

In an attempt to please fans, Han, played by the charismatic Sung Kang, who is presumed dead in the past series, makes a welcome reappearance. He indeed raises the bar in the intrigue department adding mystery as well.

The Bottom Line, I’m in three stars out of four; I’ve seen all of the ‘Fast and Furious’ films and truly enjoy them for their over-the-top stunts, family themes, outrageous storylines, jaw-dropping action sequences, and humor. Be sure to watch “F9” in the theater or IMAX as it genuinely is a popcorn-munching, nonstop action-packed great time. The outer space scenes are hilarious!

The Hollywood 360 Podcast will post after the show has aired this Saturday evening.

Sarah Knight Adamson June 25, 2021

Luca (PG) ★★★½

The animated Disney-Pixar movie “Luca” is streaming now on Disney+ and tells the story of a small fictional town of Portorrossa in the Italian Rivera during the 1950s. Luca, a young boy, voiced by Jacob Trembly, has a delightful summer eating gelato ice cream and mouth-watering past—he also enjoys the hyper-speed Vespa rides with his new best friend, Alberto.

The boys possess a big secret; they are actually sea monsters from another world that live just below the sea. When they are on land, they magically transform into boys—although any type of water will change them into sea monsters.
The film is directed by Academy Award® nominee Enrico Casarosa and stars Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan.

Tyler William Adamson 2021 viewing “Luca”

The Bottom-line: I’m in, three and a half stars out of four. I screened “Luca” with a 5-year-old, Calvin, and a 7-year-old, Tyler; we all liked the movie so much we watched it twice. The film has messages of accepting others’ differences and breaking down barriers. We also loved all the humor, the magical and brightly colored scenes, and the energetic musical score.

Tyler William Adamson 2021 viewing “Luca”

On the negative side, the script by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones could use further depth—we see a dad who has lost an arm, although it’s glossed over in a joke. Showing the adaptations that dad needed to learn to have a working life as a fisherman would resonate with kids. I applaud the decision to cast characters with disabilities, yet further visual and verbal explanation is needed for kids to understand the situation and challenges fully.

Thanks for listening in tonight to the review of Luca; this is your TV and Movie critic, Sarah Knight Adamson; check out my website at Sarah’s Backstage Pass.com, and I’ll see you next week.

Sarah Knight Adamson© June 26, 2021

Check out my podcast on Hollywood 360 Radio Network: https://www.hollywood360radio.com/luca-pg-%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85/

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It ★★★½ H360 Podcast

“Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” is a documentary rated PG-13 and has the luxury of Rita Moreno’s candid offerings. Boasting a 70+ year acting career, Rita Moreno has won every major entertainment award possible— yes, she has an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and a Tony. She was born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm; her family immigrated to New York City when she was five years old; by age 16, she was the family’s main breadwinner.

Moreno was the first Latinx actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961). Certainly, a memorable movie, as in 2010, I hosted a Q&A to a sold-out screening of the film in which Rita appeared on stage with fellow actors Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris. She talked about the hard work during rehearsals to perfect the dance and accompanying songs. She also relayed stories about Natalie Wood, who played Maria.

Mariem Pérez Riera directs a documentary that enlightens us on Moreno’s career and the movie studios that cast her in many stereotypical ethnic roles. She’s a true role model for all who have dreams and spend the time and effort to make them happen.

The Bottomline: I’m way in, three and a half stars out of four. The documentary touches on her romantic yet toxic relationship with Marlon Brando and later her marriage to a very controlling person, all while giving us a snapshot of her remarkable roles. She’s a very talented actress who has made a legendary career for herself. I enjoyed viewing this excellent documentary, meeting her daughter, Fernanda Luisa Gordon, and learning many new details of her life.


Thanks for listening in tonight this is your Movie and TV critic, Sarah Knight Adamson, check out my website at Sarah’s Backstage Pass.com, and I’ll see you next week.

Here’s the Hollywood 360 Radio Podcast: https://www.hollywood360radio.com/rita-moreno-just-a-girl-who-decided-to-go-for-it-%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%c2%bd/

Sarah Knight Adamson© June 19, 2021

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Sarah Knight Adamson

Sarah Knight Adamson

Entertainment Journalist