Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Binge-Watching 'Roseanne'

The cast of Roseanne
Cable networks are discovering the benefits of the binge-viewing craze. Since Netflix and Amazon started making every episode of their original series like House of Cards available at once and people have been watching all of them in a weekend, other outlets found that viewers have no problem gobbling up multiple episodes of their favorite childhood sitcoms for hours. A prime example is provided by WE and Logo which are running repeats of Roseanne and Will and Grace in four-hour blocks. I didn't watch these shows as a kid. I was in my 20s and 30s when they first aired and I did not follow them like I did The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, and The Bob Newhart Show when I was in high school (when I wasn't in a play, I had nothing better to do at night). So it's fun to catch up with these shows.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bruce Dern, the SAG Awards, and GG/NYFCC Aftershocks

Bruce Dern in Nebraska
Saw Nebraska last night. Touching little movie. Don't think Bruce Dern has a chance for the Oscar, since it's not a very showy role. But he might get the SAG tonight because the actors' union sometimes votes for those older performers such as Gloria Stuart in Titanic and Ruby Dee in American Gangster. Likewise James Gandolfini could be a surprise posthumous winner for Supporting Actor for Enough Said but Jared Leto will probably continue his winning ways for Dallas Buyers Club.

Speaking of Leto, he caught some heat for not being sufficiently supportive of the transgender and HIV community in his Golden Globes acceptance speech as did Matthew McConaughey. Likewise, Cate Blanchett was blasted for making a Judy Garland joke, Julia Louis Dreyfuss for making electronic cigarette smoking appear glamorous in a comedy bit with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Woody Allen was dissed by Mia and Ronan Farrow on Twitter. That's why the GGs are becoming more and more popular than the Oscars. The stars get drunk and you never know what they're going to say.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oscar Noms: Snubs Are the Big News

Snubbed: Robert Redford in All Is Lost
The big news with this morning's Oscar noms is who wasn't on the list: Robert Redford, Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, and Oprah Winfrey. It turns out Redford didn't want to push for a nomination and so did no campaigning and there were no industry screenings or Q&As with the star, so it's not so surprising that Christian Bale got his slot. That Best Actor race looks to be the most interesting with Redford out of the picture and not as much enthuiasm for the other sentimental favorite Bruce Dern, that leaves Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Matthew McConaughey. DiCaprio and McConaughey won at the GGs (the Hollywood Foreign Press Assoc. splits their leading categories between comedy and drama) and Ejiofor seems to be losing steam. The Academy will probably honor 12 Years a Slave with the Best Picture Award. It might actually be DiCaprio since he's grown into such a solid actor (particularly in Revolutionary Road and The Aviator). In Wolf of Wall Street, he does all kinds of crazy stuff and has those long monologues which are great for clips. Jared Leto will definitely win for Dallas Buyers Club, so voters may feel they don;t need to vote for McConaughey (drag beats losing weight). Cate Blanchett is also a lock for Best Actress.

B'way Update: Radcliffe and 'Titanic' Return to B'way

Pat Shortt and Daniel Radcliffe in the London production
of The Cripple of Inishmaan.
Credit: Johann Persson
This is a busy afternoon for Broadway with news that Daniel Radcliffe and Titanic are returning and lots more . First came the announcement that Roundabout Theatre Company will be presenting the NY premiere of Tom Stoppard's India Ink in their Off-Broadway Laura Pels space and a Broadway revival of the riotous farce Noises Off, both next season. Then we heard that Titanic will be sailing back to New York after a run in Toronto (this is a small-scale production which was a big hit in London last year). Just as I was ready to call it a day, another press release popped in my email proclaiming Daniel Radcliffe will star in a revival of Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan at the Cort, opening on April 20--the same night as Violet at the American Airlines--just in time for the Tonys. (Cripple has been staged Off-Broadway in 1998 and 2009.) This production was seen in London last June with the Harry Potter star who will be repeating his performance along with the British cast. But that leads me to speculate, where will The Realistic Joneses go now? The Will Eno comedy-drama with four stars has announced its opening date (April 6) but not the theater.  Here's an updated list of the season:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Awards Season Update: GGs, BAFTA noms, NSFC

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler once again prove
they should be the hosts of everything
American Hustle gained more zeitgest/street cred last night at the Golden Globes by winning Best Picture (Comedy or Musical), Actress in a Comedy, and Supporting Actress. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association split the difference with the other awards by giving 12 Years a Slave Best Picture (Drama), Gravity Best Director, and Her Best Screenplay. Once again Tina Fey and Amy Poehler proved they should be the hosts of everything. BTW, I started watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix and it's a really funny show. I'm glad Poehler won her category.

Highlights included Jacqueline Bisset taking forever to get to the stage and Emma Thompson tossing her high heels away to rip open the Screenplay envelope. (Aside from the HBO ones, does anybody watch these cable TV-movies like the one Bisset won for? I don't even know when they're on.)

Here's the updated list of film award nominees and winners including GG winners, BAFTA nominees, and the National Society of Film Critics Awards. The NSFC always goes their own way and chose Inside Llewyn Davis for Picture, Actor and Director. The Coen Brothers usually charm the critics, but not Oscar voters unless there is a lot of violence (FargoNo Country for Old Men).

12 Years a Slave (AAFCA, AFI, bafta, BOS, CFCA, GG, is, NYFO, pga, WAFCA)
All Is Lost (is)
American Hustle (AFI, bafta, cc, GG, NYFCC, pga)
Blue Jasmine (pga)
Captain Phillips (AFI, bafta, cc, gg, pga)
Dallas Buyers Club (cc, pga)
Frances Ha (is)
Fruitvale Station (AFI)
Gravity (AFI, bafta, cc, gg, LAFCA--tie, pga)
Her (AFI, cc, DET, gg, LAFCA--tie, NBR, pga, SD)
Inside Llewyn Davis (AFI, cc, gg, GOTH, is, NSFC)
Nebraska (AFI, cc, gg, is, pga)
Philomena (bafta, gg)
Rush (gg)
Saving Mr. Banks (AFI, cc, pga)
The Wolf of Wall Street (AFI, cc, gg,pga)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Golden Globe Predictions

For whatever it's worth, here are my Golden Globe predictions for tonight:

Picture Drama: 12 Years a Slave

Picture Comedy: American Hustle

Actor Drama: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Actress Drama: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Actor Comedy: Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Actress Comedy: Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Screenplay: American Hustle

Foreign Language: Blue Is the Warmest Color

Animated Film: Frozen

TV Series, Drama: Breaking Bad

TV Series Comedy: Girls

TV Movie or Mini Series: Behind the Candelabra

Actor, TV Drama Series: Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Actress, TV Drama Series: Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

Actor, TV Comedy: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Actress, TV Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Actor, TV Movie: Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra

Actress: TV Movie: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven

Supporting Actor, TV Series or Movie: Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Supporting Actress, TV Series or Movie: Hayden Panettierre, Nashville

Friday, January 3, 2014

Award Season Update

The cast of American Hustle
Updates for the film awards season tally include the nominees for the Critics Choice (cc) and the Producers Guild Awards (pga), and the winners of the Chicago Film Critics Association awards (CFCA). On the zeitgeist, American Hustle is gaining ground over 12 Years a Slave and Gravity and could be a surprise winner. The Golden Globes are next Sun, Jan. 12, followed by the Critics Choice and the Oscar nominations on Jan. 16 and the SAG Awards on Jan. 18. 

12 Years a Slave (AAFCA, AFI, BOS, CFCA, gg, is, NYFO, pga, WAFCA)
All Is Lost (is)
American Hustle (AFI, cc, gg, NYFCC, pga)
Blue Jasmine (pga)
Captain Phillips (AFI, cc, gg, pga)
Dallas Buyers Club (cc, pga)
Frances Ha (is)
Fruitvale Station (AFI)
Gravity (AFI, cc, gg, LAFCA--tie, pga)
Her (AFI, cc, DET, gg, LAFCA--tie, NBR, pga, SD)
Inside Llewyn Davis (AFI, cc, gg, GOTH, is)
Nebraska (AFI, cc, gg, is, pga)
Philomena (gg)
Rush (gg)
Saving Mr. Banks (AFI, cc, pga)
The Wolf of Wall Street (AFI, cc, gg,pga)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Notable Passings, 2013, S-Z

Jerry Scott, 67, Manhattan-based singer-pianist and cabaret entertainer, won several MAC and Bistro Awards.
Alan Sharp, 79, screenwriter of dark thrillers such as “The Last Run,” “Night Moves,” and “The Osterman Weekend” and the historic drama “Rob Roy.”
Ashton Springer, 82, one of Broadway’s first major African-American producers, his credits include “Eubie,” “Bubbling Brown Sugar,” “A Lesson from Aloes,” “No Place to Be Somebody,” and the 1976 all-black revival of “Guys and Dolls.”
Jean Stapleton, 90, beloved portrayer of Edith Bunker on the groundbreaking sitcom “All in the Family,” appeared on Broadway in “Damn Yankees,” “Bells Are Ringing,” “Funny Girl,” and “Arsenic and Old Lace,” won an Obie Award for her performances in Harold Pinter’s “Mountain Language” and “The Birthday Party,” other Off-Broadway credits include John Osborne’s “The Entertainer” and Horton Foote’s “The Roads to Home” and “The Carpetbagger’s Children,” appeared in many productions at the Totem Pole Playhouse in her native Pennsylvania, played the nervous school receptionist in “Up the Down Staircase” (“Disregard all bells”) and the nasty secretary in “Klute” (“Mr. Goldfarb!”).
Sally Starr, whose Philadelphia kiddie TV show
 I watched on many afternoons after school
Sally Starr, 90, Philadelphia-area TV cowgirl and kiddie show hostess during the 1950s and ‘60s, introduced Popeye, the Three Stooges, and Clutch Cargo to generations of children.
Rise Stevens, 99, silver-voiced soprano who reached the height of her fame at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1940s and ‘50s, Carmen was her signature role, others included “Der Rosenkavelier,” “Die Fledermaus,” “Samson et Delia,” and “The Marriage of Figaro,” also appeared in the Hollywood films “The Chocolate Soldier” and “Going My Way,” starred in “The King and I” at Lincoln Center in 1964, voiced Glinda the Good Witch in the animated film “Journey Back to Oz,” a frequent guest on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Tonight Show.”
Maxine Stuart, 94, had a recurring role on the long-running daytime drama “The Edge of Night,” and appeared on “The Twilight Zone,” “Perry Mason,” “Doctor Kildare,” “Chicago Hope,” and “The Wonder Years” as Kevin’s piano teacher for which she received an Emmy nomination, her exploits as a struggling actress were chronicled in her friend Helene Hanff’s books “84 Charing Cross Road” and “Underfoot in Show Business.”
Maria Tallchief, 88, ballerina, star of the Ballets Ruse de Monte Carlo and City Ballet, muse for and third wife of George Balanchine, who created roles for her in his stagings of  “The Firebird,” “Swan Lake,” “Orpheus,” and many others, she also appeared in the film “Million Dollar Mermaid” as fellow ballerina Anna Pavlova.
Richard S. Thomas, 87, founder of the New York School of Ballet with his wife, Barbara Fallis, mentor to dancers such as Eliot Feld, father of the actor Richard Thomas.
Malachi Throne, 84, character actor with a recurring role as Robert Wagner’s boss on “It Takes a Thief,” also appeared on “Batman” as False Face (receiving no screen credit to conceal the identity of the actor in order to mystify and confuse viewers) and “Star Trek” as Commodore Mendez on the two-part “The Menagerie” episode. Other credits include “Kojak,” “Ryan’s Hope,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “The Time Tunnel,” “Lost in Space,” and “Ben Casey.”
Paul Walker, 40, star of the “Fast and Furious” franchise.
Marcia Wallace on "The Bob Newhart Show"
Marcia Wallace, 70, comic actress best known as Carol the receptionist on “The Bob Newhart Show” and the voice of Bart’s teacher Mrs. Krapabble on “The Simpsons,” frequent panelist on “The Match Game,” other TV credits include “The Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island,” “Taxi,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Bewitched,” and many others.
Christopher Evan Welch, 48, busy actor principally in Off-Broadway roles, Obie winner for his Mitch in Ivo van Hove’s unconventional staging of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” his other numerous stage credits include “London Assurance,” “Festen,” and “The Crucible” on Broadway,  van Hove’s staging of “The Little Foxes” at New York Theater Workshop, “Our House” and “The Pain and the Itch” at Playwrights Horizons, “The Madrid” at Manhattan Theater Club, “Romeo and Juliet,” “Othello,” and “Measure for Measure” at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, films include “Lincoln,” “The Master,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Whatever Works,” and “Synechdoche, New York.”  
Ned Wertimer, 89, played Ralph the doorman on “The Jeffersons” and was a fixture on network TV from “Ironside” and “That Girl” to “Mork and Mindy” and “Simon and Simon.”
Esther Williams, 91, America’s Mermaid, appeared in numerous MGM films, swimming through eleaborate aquatic production numbers in between romances and songs, including “Dangerous When Wet,” “Million Dollar Mermaid,” “Easy to Love,” and “Neptune’s Daughter,” among her non-swimming films were “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and “Jupiter’s Darling.”
Snoo Wilson, 64, British playwright, his dark edgy works included “The Pleasure Principal,” “The Soul of the White Ant,” “Vampire,” “The Glad Hand,” “Darwin’s Flood,” and “Revelations.”
Jonathan Winters, 87, wildly imaginative comedian with hundreds of TV guest shots and voice-overs to his credit, created his own crew of zany characters including the demented granny Maude Frickert, headlined his own TV series and was a regular on “Mork and Mindy,” films include “The Loved One,” “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
Miller Wright, 56, theater and nightclub publicist, his clients included Feinstein’s at the Regency, John Pizzarelli, Andrea Marcovicci, and Ann Hampton Callaway.
Lee Thompson Young, 29, former chld star who gained fame on The Disney Channel’s “The Famous Jett Jackson,” starred on TNT’s “Rizzoli and Isles.”