Cinema Chat: Oscar Ceremony Changes, 'Generation Wealth,' 'Dog Days,' And More

Aug 9, 2018

The State Theatre in Ann Arbor
Credit Brandon C /

The dust from the August primary election has settled, so let's unwind at the movie theater.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's Patrick Campion sits down with Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins to talk about Hollywood news and the latest films hitting the big screen this weekend.

Oscars To Speed Up Academy Awards Show, Add Popular Movie Category, Won’t Air All Awards Live

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’s Board of Governors approved several changes to the annual Oscars show:

  • The broadcast will be shortened by eliminating many below the line categories (audio effects, audio editing, production design, special effects awards, etc.).
  • A Oscar for what is essentially the Most Popular Movie – a blockbuster award, as it were (outstanding achievement in popular cinema).
  • The length of its annual awards show to three hours (last Oscarcast clocked in at four hours).

The most controversial move was elimination of the “below the line” awards during the broadcast, but it was celebrated by everyone except the below the line guilds.  These awards will be bestowed during commercial breaks of the Oscar ceremony, with an edited version of that presentation to air later in the broadcast. Those categories have yet to be determined.

Ironically, despite the ferocious resistance, the Academy will look like it had a great idea here next Oscarcast. But let’s remember that a lot of next Oscarcast’s ratings bump will be if the billion-dollar ceiling-shattering zeitgeist Marvel movie "Black Panther" gets nominations, especially if the film is in the mix for Best Picture. Could it win both Best Picture and Most Outstanding Blockbuster?

The next Oscar Award Ceremony, the 91st Academy Awards is Sunday, February 24, 2019.

The Academy’s board also voted to move the 2020 Oscars, the 92nd edition, from February 23 to February 9, 2020.


"Generation Wealth"

At the Michigan: In this film, acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield ("The Queen of Versailles") puts the pieces of her life's work together for in an incendiary investigation into the pathologies that have created the richest society the world has ever seen.  Spanning consumerism, beauty, gender, body commodification, aging and more, Greenfield has created a comprehensive cautionary tale about a culture heading straight for the cliff's edge.  This visual history of the growing obsession with wealth uses first-person interviews around the world to bear witness to the global boom-and-bust economy and document its complicated consequences.


At the State: From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero.  It's the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington) is the first black detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department.  Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan.  The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (played by Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime.  Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.


"The Thomas Crown Affair"

SavCo Hospitality Summer Classic Film Series continues this month by celebrating films from the year 1968!  Starting out will be the heist film, which will play Sunday, August 12 at 1:30 PM and Tuesday, August 14 at 7:00 PM.  A debonair, adventuresome bank executive believes he has pulled off the perfect multi-million-dollar heist, only to match wits with a sexy insurance investigator who will do anything to get her man.

"Fight Club"

This Saturday’s Midnight at the State feature will be the 90’s classic,, where an insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soap maker form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.  Midnights are also only $8 screenings!


"Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot"

Ends August 14th at the State: In Gus Van Sant's film, John Callahan (played by Joaquin Phoenix) ends in a catastrophic car accident after an all-night drinking bender, but the last thing he intends to do is give up drinking.  However, when he reluctantly enters treatment with encouragement from his girlfriend and a charismatic sponsor (played by Jonah Hill), Callahan discovers a gift for drawing edgy, irreverent newspaper cartoons that develop an international following and grant him a new lease on life. 

"Eighth Grade"

This year’s Cinetopia Film Festival opening night film follows thirteen-year-old Kayla who endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school, the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year before she begins high school.


At the State: This film stars Daveed Diggs as Collin, who must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning.  He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (played by Rafael Casal), work as movers, and when Collin witnesses a police shooting, the two men's friendship is tested as they grapple with identity and their changed realities in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood they grew up in.

"Sorry to Bother You"

The film takes place in a dystopian, not-too-distant future Oakland, California, where black telemarketer Cassius Green (played by Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success.  This key propels him into a macabre universe of “powercalling” that leads to material glory. 

"Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

At the Michigan: This film takes an intimate look at America's favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers.  A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.


An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women.

"Three Identical Strangers"

Three strangers are reunited by astonishing coincidence after being born identical triplets, separated at birth, and adopted by three different families.  Their jaw-dropping, feel-good story instantly becomes a global sensation complete with fame and celebrity, however, the fairy-tale reunion sets in motion a series of events that unearth an unimaginable secret -- a secret with radical repercussions for us all. 


"Dog Days"

This is a hilarious and heartfelt ensemble comedy that follows the lives of multiple dog owners and their beloved fluffy pals around sunny Los Angeles.  When these human and canines paths start to intertwine, their lives begin changing in ways they never expected.  Stars Finn Wolfhard, Eva Longoria, Thomas Lennon, and Vanessa Hudgens and opens in theaters today!

And "BlacKkKlansman" opens nationwide!

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— Patrick Campion is the WEMU Program Director.  You can contact Patrick at 734.487.3363, on twitter @WEMUPC, or email him at