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Cinema Chat: Golden Globes Winners, 'On The Basis Of Sex,' 'If Beale Street Could Talk,' And More

Jan 10, 2019

The Michigan Theater
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

A new year has begun, and, in the movie world, awards season is already in full swing!  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair talks to Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins about all of the new films coming to theaters this weekend.  Plus, they talk about the results of this year's Golden Globes ceremony.


GOLDEN GLOBES 2019: WHAT THE WINNERS MEAN FOR THE OSCAR RACE

Always full of surprises, the Golden Globes give winners Rami Malek, Christian Bale, Olivia Colman, and Glenn Close a big Oscar boost.

At this year's Golden Globes, the love was spread around several movies, with no frontrunner emerging for the Oscar race.  Blockbuster “A Star Is Born” (Warner Bros., $390 million worldwide), with five nominations, was expected to dominate the night, but delivered only one win, inevitable Best Song (“Shallow”), accepted by a tearful Lady Gaga, dragging her enormous blue dress behind her, as well as songwriter Mark Ronson, who thanked Bradley Cooper for giving the song “emotional resonance” by weaving the lyrics into the film.

Cooper lost Best Director to Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma” and Best Actor to Rami Malek for his shape-shifting transformation into Freddie Mercury in the other musical in the drama category, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which took home Best Drama.

Heading into the Oscar nomination voting period (January 7 to 14), PGA nominee “Bohemian Rhapsody” is looking like a stronger Oscar contender than most movies with a Metascore of 49 have any right to be. (That’s the same score as “Escape Room.”) But Malek and his makeup team will be strong competitors for Oscar nods.

Unusually, the comedy category boasted three formidable Oscar contenders.  Crowd-pleaser Peter Farrelly’s ’60s road trip “Green Book” (Participant/Universal) whizzed past controversy with three wins, the most of the night, for Best Comedy and Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali, who thanked virtuosic Don Shirley as well as costar Viggo Mortensen for being “an extraordinary scene partner, no days off,” and Best Screenplay. Writers Farrelly, Brian Curry and Nick Vallelonga beat the formidable “The Favourite,” its main Oscar competitor in that category.

Royal court comedy “The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight) should still make a formidable Oscar competitor, as it landed an expected Best Actress in a Comedy win for British actress Olivia Colman, beating out Emily Blunt of “Mary Poppins Returns.” Colman thanked her “bitches,” Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. Those three will all land Oscar nods.

Comedy contender “Vice,” which led the Globes with six nominations, wound up with just one win, for Christian Bale, who gained over 40 pounds to play the “charisma-free” vice president Dick Cheney over five decades. (But so did Viggo Mortensen, who took a big swing playing the Bronx bouncer in “Green Book.”)  This will give Bale a head of steam heading into the SAG Awards, where both he and Amy Adams are expected to win.

Getting a needed boost from the Globes was another Plan B/Annapurna release, Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” whose star Regina King beat out “Vice” star, two-time Globe-winner Amy Adams for Supporting Actress.  King is beloved by the Globes, who nominated her on the TV side for “American Crime” (2015) and “Seven Seconds” (2018), and King’s heading for a likely Oscar nomination — even without a SAG nod.

As expected, Mexican Oscar entry “Roma” won Director and Best Foreign Film; Alfonso Cuarón said, “Cinema is at its best when it builds bridges between cultures. We are beginning to understand just how much we have in common…In reality this film was directed by Libo, my mother and my family, by this complex lab that shaped and created me, so muchas gracias Mexico!”

In truth, the 8,200 voters in the Academy are often easier to gauge than the 90 idiosyncratic Globes voters, who always pull a shocker or two.

Surprise wins include Glenn Close over Lady Gaga for Best Dramatic Actress.  ‘The Wife’ was probably in development for 14 years because it was called ‘The Wife,'” said the tearful actress, who seemed as surprised as everyone else.

Late-breaking animated feature smash “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” overtook Pixar frontrunner “Incredibles 2” to win Best Animated Feature.  “We’re in an alternate universe where we win this,” said writer-producer Phil Lord, who with partner Chris Miller is back on top after being kicked off the ill-fated “Solo: A Star Wars Story” movie.

“Mary Poppins Returns” came up empty-handed, as it lost its best hope for a win, Best Score, to “La La Land” Globe and Oscar-winner Justin Hurwitz, for his complex score for Damien Chazelle’s “First Man,” which should also land an Oscar nomination.  Other films shut out include “Crazy Rich Asians,” “BlacKkKlansman,” and “Black Panther."

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"On the Basis of Sex"

At the Michigan: Celebrate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 25th anniversary on the Supreme Court!  This film is inspired by the true story of a young Ginsburg (played by Felicity Jones) – then a struggling attorney and new mother – who faces adversity and numerous obstacles in her fight for equal rights throughout her career.  When Ruth takes on a groundbreaking tax case with her husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg (played by Armie Hammer), she knows it could change the direction of her career and the way the courts view gender discrimination.  The film also chronicles the storybook-like romance between Ruth and Marty, a partnership that succeeded both personally and professionally.  Also stars Justin Theroux, Kathy Bates, and Sam Waterston.  

"If Beale Street Could Talk"

At the State: Nominated for 3 Golden Globes® and winner of Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Regina King)!  Directed by Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight").  Set in early-1970s Harlem, this film is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the Black family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (played by screen newcomer KiKi Layne).  A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect, and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (played by Stephan James).  Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together, but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

"The Greatest Showman Sing-Along"

This film plays Friday, January 11 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan Theater.  Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum and with music composed by Oscar, Grammy, Tony, and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, who also graduated from U of M!  This is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.  Stars Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, Zac Efron, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya.

COMING SUNDAY, JANUARY 20: “FROZEN sing-along”– With on-screen lyrics, goody bags, and more! 

"Fight Club"

This film plays Friday, January 11 at 9:30 PM at the State Theatre as a part of Late Nights at the State.  A depressed man (played by Edward Norton) suffering from insomnia meets a strange soap salesman named Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) and soon finds himself living in his squalid house after his perfect apartment is destroyed.  The two bored men form an underground club with strict rules and fight other men who are fed up with their mundane lives.  Their perfect partnership frays when Marla (played by Helena Bonham Carter), a fellow support group crasher, attracts Tyler's attention.

"The Big Lebowski"

This film plays Saturday, January 12 at 11:59 PM at the State Theatre as a part of Late Nights at the State.  Jeff `The Dude' Leboswki (played by Jeff Bridges - who took home the annual Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes this year) is mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, who is The Big Lebowski--which explains why he's roughed up and has his precious rug peed on.  In search of recompense, The Dude tracks down his namesake, who offers him a job.  His wife has been kidnapped, and he needs a reliable bagman.  Aided and hindered by his pals Walter Sobchak (played by John Goodman), a Vietnam vet, and Donny (played by Steve Buscemi), master of stupidity.

Other Late Night weekend screenings coming soon:

"Singin' in the Rain"

This film plays Monday, January 14 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan Theater as a part of Musical Mondays.  A spoof of the turmoil that afflicted the movie industry in the late 1920s when movies went from silent to sound.  When two silent movie stars', Don Lockwood (played by Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (played by Jean Hagen), latest movie is made into a musical a chorus girl (played by Debbie Reynolds) is brought in to dub Lina’s speaking and singing.  Also stars Donald O’Connor.

Other Monday Musical screenings coming soon:

"Perfect Blue"

This film plays Wednesday, January 16 at 7:00 PM at the State Theater as a part of the Icons of Anime film series, which will celebrate Japanese animation by screening quintessential examples of the style through multiple decades and genres from cyberpunk to fantasy.  Mima was a pop idol, worshipped by the masses until fashion dictated otherwise.  In order to salvage her career, she is advised to drop music and pursue acting, however, her reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past.

Other Anime films coming soon:

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

"Mary Queen of Scots"

This film explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan).  Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie).  Each young Queen beholds her "sister" in fear and fascination.  Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence.  

"Roma"

Nominated for 3 Golden Globes® and winner of Best Director and Best Foreign Language Picture!  This film ends its theatrical run today at the Michigan Theater.  The most personal project to date from Academy Award-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón ("Gravity," "Children of Men," "Y Tu Mama Tambien"), this film follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City.  Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s.

"Vice"

At the State: Nominated for 6 Golden Globes® and winner of Best Actor (Christian Bale)!   This film explores the epic story about how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world as Vice-President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.  Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, Tyler Perry as Colin Powell, Justin Kirk as Scooter Libby, Bill Camp as Gerald Ford. 

"The Favourite"

Nominated for 4 Golden Globes® including Best Picture and Best Actress!  This film akes place in the early 18th century, while England is at war with the French.   A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper.  When a new servant Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.  Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots.  As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen's companion.  Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics, or rabbit stand in her way.

"At Eternity's Gate"

Golden Globe® nominated for Best Actor!  Academy Award® Nominee Julian Schnabel's film is a journey inside the world and mind of a person who, despite skepticism, ridicule and illness, created some of the world's most beloved and stunning works of art.  This biographical drama film about the final years of painter Vincent van Gogh’s life, starring Willem Dafoe, who won Best Actor at The Venice Film Festival for his portrayal, is based on letters, common agreement about events in his life that present as facts, hearsay, and moments that are just plain invented.  Also starring Oscar IsaacMads Mikkelsen, and Rupert Friend.

"Green Book"

Nominated for 5 Golden Globes® and winner of Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Mahershala Ali), and Best Screenplay!  In this film, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on "The Green Book" to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans.  Confronted with racism, danger-as well as unexpected humanity and humor-they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime. 

"Free Solo"

From award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin comes this National Geographic Documentary Film, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world's most famous rock... the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park... without a rope.

OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX

"Replicas"

This sci-fi thriller opens in theaters nationwide Friday, January 11.  In this film, neuro-scientist William Foster (played by Keanu Reeves) is on the verge of successfully transferring human consciousness into a computer when his family is tragically killed in a car crash.  Desperate to resurrect them, William recruits fellow scientist Ed Whittle (played by Thomas Middleditch) to help him secretly clone their bodies and create replicas.  But he soon faces a “Sophie’s choice” when it turns out that they can only bring three of the four family members back to life.

"The Upside"

Starring Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, and Nicole Kidman, a remake of the 2011 French film "The Intouchables," opens Friday, January 11.  Phillip is a wealthy quadriplegic, who needs a caretaker to help him with his day-to-day routine in his New York penthouse.  He decides to hire Dell, a struggling parolee who's trying to reconnect with his ex and his young son.  Despite coming from two different worlds, an unlikely friendship starts to blossom as fun-loving Dell shows curmudgeonly Phillip that life is worth living.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu