Only 5 women have ever been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director — and only one of those nominations happened in the past decade.
So this year, Natalie Portman decided to make a point. She wore a Dior-designed cape to the award show that was embroidered with the names of the women who were snubbed for Best Director nominations, including Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers); Greta Gerwig (Little Women); Lulu Wang (The Farewell); Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim); Alma Har'el (Honey Boy); and Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire).
As Portman explained to the Los Angeles Times, "I wanted to recognize the women who were not recognized for their incredible work this year in my subtle way."
— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) February 10, 2020
I don't normally pay much attention to the Oscars, in part because I know that it's always going to be a disappointing Old Boys Club showing of the exact same kinds of movies every time. And, well, that's exactly what Portman's pointing out here. There are plenty of cynical things I could say about celebrity gossip and performative protest and all. But right now, I think it's just important: fuck yeah Natalie. Good on you. Here's hoping that it makes even a little bit of difference.
Black Panther, on the heels of its SAG win and seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture, will play for free at 250 movie theaters for a week starting tomorrow (February 1). As part of the Black Panther celebrations, Walt Disney Company is also granting $1.5 million to the United Negro College Fund.
“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers," T'Challa said. "We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”
Even if you don't win an Oscar (the golden statuette itself is only worth $1), if you're an Academy Award nominee you walk away with a gift bag filled with some seriously lavish schwag.
Town & Country reports that each one is stuffed with promotional gifts valued at $120K:
...the swag bag includes a variety of luxury items, from spa-grade cosmetics, to the advanced Quip electric toothbrush, a year-supply of fresh California oranges, an experience with a personal trainer, and 6-12-day travel packages to Tanzania, Greece, and Hawaii.
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Each bag is big enough to fit a number of human bodies and heavy enough to risk back injury if you tried to lift it with poor form...
It’s difficult to behold the collection of gifts without contemplating class war. This year’s offerings include a slate of skin-care, weight-loss and anti-aging products designed to fend off the inevitable progression of human life, as well as something called “Chao Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation.” The bag features fancy chocolates from Chocolatines in flavors unknown to the proletariat such as “Champagne Diamond” and “Ginger Sake Pearl.” We sampled the “Pomegranate Balsamic Ruby” but couldn’t taste the ruby.
This year’s most expensive offering is a $40,000 luxury trip to Tanzania from International Expeditions...
Some of the bag’s gifts make strange bedfellows.
Soon after Frances McDormand received her Oscar for Best Actress for her brilliant performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the statuette was stolen. After searching high and low for it, McDormand "was spotted crying emotionally outside the [Governor's] ball after giving up the search for the statuette on the premises and departing with her husband, filmmaker Joel Coen," according to USA Today.
And then it was found.
A man named Terry Bryant was arrested for grand theft for taking the statue. In the video above we see him prancing around, bragging to party-goers about the award that he won. No one noticed McDormand's name, which was already engraved on the statue.
"Who wants to tell me congratulations!" he says in a state of exuberance. And, in Hollywood fashion, everyone around him congratulates him, acting like they knew who he was and what he won the Oscar for.
According to USA Today:
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While the Oscar was still missing in action, McDormand was spotted crying emotionally outside the ball after giving up the search for the statuette on the premises and departing with her husband, filmmaker Joel Coen.
Security was then dispersed to look for the Oscar which, conveniently, already had McDormand's name engraved on it. (Oscars are engraved at the Governors Ball.)
Hours later, McDormand's representative Simon Halls confirmed to USA TODAY that the trophy and the Oscar winner were back together. No further details about the temporary separation were given, but The New York Times' Cara Buckley tweeted that a man took off with the statue, but was stopped by a photographer for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.
It’s been a year since the infamous Oscars broadcast in which La La Land was briefly crowned Best Picture before it was revealed that Moonlight was actually the real winner. The Hollywood Reporter has put together a really fascinating oral history of the entire night, which includes some great details, like how Warren Beatty literally held the envelopes hostage to ensure he wasn’t incorrectly blamed for the snafu. Here’s an excerpt:
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LISA TABACK, Awards consultant, worked on both La La Land and Moonlight campaigns I went backstage, and I see a security guard with Warren Beatty. Warren is really tall, and he was holding his arm up as high as he could—which must be about seven and a half feet off the ground—because in his hand was the envelopes. He was saying into the phone, I believe to his wife, “I’m not giving it up to anybody!” It was dead quiet.
ANNETTE BENING, Actress, wife of Warren Beatty My impulse was to call him right away. And I did. And he picked up the phone. And I said, “Oh my God. You did a great job, but what happened?!” And he said, “I have the envelopes, and I’m not giving them to anyone!”
MARA BUXBAUM, Publicist, guest of Casey Affleck I was backstage with Casey and there was a logjam by the elevator. I don’t know if it was the [PricewaterhouseCoopers the accounting firm] people, but they were trying to get the envelopes from Warren, and he was like, “No, I need to make sure that everybody knows what this envelope says.”
The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik considers whether the bizarre ending of the Oscars could have been another of many recent (ahem) glitches in the simulation we're living in. From The New Yorker:
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This wasn’t just a minor kerfuffle. This was a major malfunction. Trump cannot be President—forgetting all the bounds of ideology, no one vaguely like him has ever existed in the long list of Presidents, good, bad, and indifferent, no one remotely as oafish or as crude or as obviously unfit. People don’t say “Grab ’em by the pussy” and get elected President. Can’t happen. In the same way, while there have been Oscar controversies before—tie votes and rejected trophies—never before has there been an occasion when the entirely wrong movie was given the award, the speeches delivered, and then another movie put in its place. That doesn’t happen. Ever.
And so both of these bizarre events put one in mind of a simple but arresting thesis: that we are living in the Matrix, and something has gone wrong with the controllers. This idea was, I’m told, put forward first and most forcibly by the N.Y.U. philosopher David Chalmers: what is happening lately, he says, is support for the hypothesis that we are living in a computer simulation and that something has recently gone haywire within it. The people or machines or aliens who are supposed to be running our lives are having some kind of breakdown. There’s a glitch, and we are in it.
Once this insight is offered, it must be said, everything else begins to fall in order.
This remarkable vine shows various famous Hollywoodites apparently refusing to applaud Jenny Beavan, the costume designer from Mad Max: Fury Road, who won an Oscar for her work last night. One suggestion is that it's because she wore a leather jacket, in keeping with the movie's fashion vibe—but how would they know until she was already walking past them?
"I've seen subtler reactions from a cartoon wolf," writes Nate Jones.
Update: @anyabike points to a longer clip that shows more nuanced and positive reactions, with clapstainers commencing clapping after the point the vine ends.
That vine that supposedly shows people sneering at Jenny Beavan? Here’s a longer clip. https://t.co/NyTonyyLdD They all laugh in the end
— anya (@anyabike) February 29, 2016
Some suggest they realized they were on camera, but to my mind this is needlessly outraged? Maybe they're all just tired after hours of Oscaring and have already starting hitting the "golf claps when people hit the stage" point. If nothing else, Cartoon Wolf Iñárritu laughing at her jacket design suggests he isn't the stick in the mud the vine depicts. Read the rest
I don't know if things have changed much in 20 years, but this behind-the-scenes glimpse of the guy in charge of live editing the Oscars in 1996 is fascinating. I'd rather watch him than the stars. Read the rest
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tried experimenting with electronic voting this year, to disastrous results (e.g., getting logged out if your password isn't strong enough, then waiting for the mail to deliver a new one -- after a phone call to customer service). Considering how the Oscars can barely get its act together to find out who they want to nominate (let alone win), just imagine how effective e-voting would be for a political election, a national one, that determined who runs the country. Hint: Not at all effective. In any way. At all. Let's never speak of this again. (via Moviefone) Read the rest
While it's probably a long shot, a four-minute Simpsons short is currently included on the list of ten (narrowed down from 56) animated shorts that are eligible for an Oscar this year. Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare" was shown (in 3D) before Ice Age: Continental Drift this past summer and featured a fierce battle between the youngest Simpson and Baby Gerald. Written by James L. Brooks and Matt Groening, The Longest Daycare's possible nod could be sweet, sweet payback for The Simpsons Movie being shut out for Best Animated Feature back in 2008. But, as I said, it might be a long-shot; other nominees include Disney's Paperman (currently being shown before Wreck-It-Ralph), Minkyu Lee's Adam and Dog, PES' Fresh Guacamole, and Raul Garcia's The Fall of the House of Usher, which is narrated by Sir Christopher Lee. The Wrap has the complete list of the ten final contenders, and the nominees will be announced January 10. (via Splitsider) Read the rest