2017 Super Bowl: Watch Lady Gaga videos of her Super Bowl LI press conference, preparations and performance

February 5, 2017

Grammy-winning singer Lady Gaga is the headliner for Super Bowl LI’s halftime show, which is set to take place at NRG Stadium in Houston on February 5, 2017.  Fox will have the U.S. telecast.

Lady Gaga performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl L in 2016. Although there has been speculation that Beyoncé (a former Super Bowl halftime performer and a Houston native) will make a surprise appearance during Lady Gaga’s performance, it’s very unlikely that Beyoncé will perform at the Super Bowl this year, since she is pregnant with twins.

Here are videos related to Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl LI’s halftime performance:

2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ gets the most nominations

February 2, 2017

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

With eight nods, the superhero movie “Captain America: Civil War” leads the list of nominees for Nickelodeon’s 30th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards (KCAs), which will take place March 11, 2017, at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” followed closely behind with seven nominations. Kevin Hart received six nominations, while “Ghostbusters” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” garnered five nods each. Hosted by WWE Superstar John Cena, Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards airs on at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. Cena has previously hosted Australia’s Kids’ Choice Awards in 2008, as well as undergoing a sliming at the first U.K. Kids’ Choice Awards in 2007.

Kids cast their votes for the awards at Nick.com and the Nick app on iPad, iPhone, Kindle and Android devices. Voting for this year’s show opened on February 2. Users will also be able to vote through Twitter and Facebook using special KCA hashtags and the hashtag of their favorite nominee.

This year’s show features nine new categories, including Favorite Frenemies, Most Wanted Pet, Favorite Viral Music Artist, Favorite Global Music Star and  #Squad.

Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards is produced by Nickelodeon Productions.  Elizabeth Kelly, Michael Dempsey, Shelly Sumpter Gillyard and Jay Schmalholz are executive producers. Sponsors of Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards include Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Crest, Hot Wheels, Nintendo, Skechers, Toyota and Walmart.

Here is the list of nominees and categories for Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards:

* =new categories:

TELEVISION:

Favorite TV Show – Kids’ Show
“Game Shakers”
“Girl Meets World”
“Henry Danger”
“Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn”
“The Thundermans”

Favorite TV Show – Family Show
“Big Bang Theory”
“Black-ish”
“Fuller House”
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Supergirl”
“The Flash”

Favorite Reality Show
“America’s Funniest Home Videos”
“America’s Got Talent”
“American Ninja Warrior”
“Paradise Run”
“Shark Tank”
“The Voice”

Favorite Cartoon
“ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks”
“SpongeBob SquarePants”
“Teen Titans Go!”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
“The Amazing World of Gumball”
“The Loud House”

Favorite Male TV Star
Benjamin Flores Jr. (Triple G, “Game Shakers”)
Aidan Gallagher (Nicky, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn)
Jack Griffo (Max, The Thundermans)
Jace Norman (Henry, Henry Danger)
Casey Simpson (Ricky, “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn”)
Tyrel Jackson Williams (Leo, “Lab Rats”)

Favorite Female TV Star
Rowan Blanchard (Riley, “Girl Meets World”)
Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie, “Liv and Maddie”)
Lizzy Greene (Dawn, “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn”)
Kira Kosarin (Phoebe, “The Thundermans”)
Breanna Yde (Tomika, “School of Rock”)
Zendaya (K.C., “K.C. Undercover”)

FILM:

Favorite Movie
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”
“Captain America: Civil War”
“Ghostbusters”
“Pete’s Dragon”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”

Favorite Movie Actor
Ben Affleck (Batman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Will Arnett (Vernon, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”)
Henry Cavill (Superman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, “Captain America: Civil War”)
Chris Evans (Captain America, “Captain America: Civil War”)
Chris Hemsworth (Kevin, “Ghostbusters”)

Favorite Movie Actress
Amy Adams (Lois, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Megan Fox (April, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”)
Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow, “Captain America: Civil War”)
Felicity Jones (Jyn, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”)
Melissa McCarthy (Abby, “Ghostbusters”)
Kristen Wiig (Erin, “Ghostbusters”)

Favorite Animated Movie
“Finding Dory”
“Moana”
“Sing”
“The Secret Life of Pets”
“Trolls”
“Zootopia”

Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie
Ellen DeGeneres (Dory, “Finding Dory”)
Kevin Hart (Snowball, “The Secret Life of Pets”)
Dwayne Johnson (Maui, “Moana”)
Anna Kendrick (Poppy, “Trolls”)
Justin Timberlake (Branch, “Trolls”)
Reese Witherspoon (Rosita, “Sing”)

Favorite Villain
Helena Bonham Carter (The Red Queen, “Alice Through the Looking Glass”)
Idris Elba (Krall, “Star Trek Beyond”)
Will Ferrell (Mugatu, “Zoolander 2”)
Kevin Hart (Snowball, “The Secret Life of Pets”)
Charlize Theron (Ravenna, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”)
Spencer Wilding (Darth Vader, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)

Favorite Butt-Kicker
Ben Affleck (Batman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Henry Cavill (Superman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Chris Evans (Captain America, “Captain America: Civil War”)
Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”)
Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow, “Captain America: Civil War”)
Felicity Jones (Jyn, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”)
Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique, “X-Men: Apocalypse”)
Zoe Saldana (Lieutenant Uhura, “Star Trek Beyond”)

BFF’s (Best Friends Forever)*
Ruby Barnhill & Mark Rylance (Sophie/BFG, “The BFG”)
Kevin Hart & Dwayne Johnson (Bob/Calvin, “Central Intelligence”)
Kevin Hart & Ice Cube (Ben/James, “Ride Along 2”)
Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto (Captain Kirk/Spock, “Star Trek Beyond”)
Neel Sethi & Bill Murray (Mowgli/ Baloo, “Jungle Book”)
Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson (Derek/Hansel, “Zoolander 2”)

Favorite Frenemies*
Anna Kendrick & Justin Timberlake (Poppy/Branch, “Trolls”)
Ben Affleck & Henry Cavill (Batman/Superman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Chris Evans & Robert Downey Jr. (“Captain America/Iron Man, Captain America: Civil War”)
Ginnifer Goodwin & Jason Bateman (Judy/Nick, “Zootopia”)
Dwayne Johnson & Auli’I Cravalho (Moana/Maui, “Moana”)
Charlize Theron & Emily Blunt (Ravenna/Freya, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”)

Most Wanted Pet*
Baloo from “The Jungle Book” (Bill Murray)
Dory from “Finding Dory” (Ellen DeGeneres)
Po from “Kung Fu Panda 3” (Jack Black)
Red from “The Angry Birds Movie” (Jason Sudeikis)
Rosita from “Sing” (Reese Witherspoon)
Snowball from “The Secret Life of Pets” (Kevin Hart)

#Squad*
“Captain America: Civil War”Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman

“Finding Dory”Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Willem Dafoe, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy

“Ghostbusters” Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” – Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson

“X-Men: Apocalypse”James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, Ben Hardy, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn

MUSIC:

Favorite Music Group
The Chainsmokers
Fifth Harmony
Maroon 5
OneRepublic
Pentatonix
Twenty One Pilots

Favorite Male Singer
Drake
Justin Bieber
Bruno Mars
Shawn Mendes
Justin Timberlake
The Weeknd

Favorite Female Singer
Adele
Beyoncé
Ariana Grande
Selena Gomez
Rihanna
Meghan Trainor

Favorite Song
“24K Magic”Bruno Mars
“Can’t Stop the Feeling!”Justin Timberlake
“Heathens”Twenty One Pilots
“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”Adele
“Side to Side”Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj
“Work from Home”Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Favorite New Artist
Kelsea Ballerini
The Chainsmokers
Daya
Lukas Graham
Solange
Rae Sremmurd
Hailee Steinfeld
Twenty One Pilots

Favorite Music Video*
“24K Magic”Bruno Mars
Can’t Stop The Feeling! – Justin Timberlake
“Formation”Beyoncé
“Juju on That Beat”Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall
“Me Too”Meghan Trainor
“Stressed Out”Twenty One Pilots

Favorite DJ/EDM Artist*
Martin Garrix
Calvin Harris
Major Lazer
Skrillex
DJ Snake
Zedd

Favorite Soundtrack*
“Hamilton”
“Me Before You”
“Moana”
“Sing”
“Suicide Squad”
“Trolls”

Favorite Viral Music Artist*
Tiffany Alvord
Matty B
Carson Lueders
Johnny Orlando
Jacob Sartorius
JoJo Siwa

Favorite Global Music Star*
5 Seconds of Summer (Australia/New Zealand)
BIGBANG (Asia)
Bruno Mars (North America)
Little Mix (UK)
Shakira (South America)
Zara Larsson (Europe)

OTHER CATEGORIES:

Favorite Video Game
“Just Dance 2017”
“Lego Marvel’s Avengers”
“Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“Minecraft: Story Mode”
“Paper Mario: Color Splash”
“Pokémon Moon”

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and ‘Hidden Figures’ team backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

“HIDDEN FIGURES”

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Here is what these SAG Award winners said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

The cast of "Hidden Figures" backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.
The cast of “Hidden Figures” backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

What is the role of the artist when it comes to helping society navigate change?

Taraji P. Henson: I think the major role of an artist is to use the art that God gave you to touch and change lives because he put us here. We all look different for reason because we’re here to get along and we have to figure it out so we better damn well figure it out because no one group is better than the other. We’re all humans here to get along and make this big world go around.

Our talents may be in the arts; there may be another talent in journalism. You have a voice. There are doctors that have a voice and have power, and that’s what we’re here to do. So I think that’s what this film represents, and there’s a reason why it was made now and not two years ago, not five years ago, not 10 years ago—because the universe needed it now.

Octavia Spencer: I would footnote that and only to say sometimes we need to provide a little escapism from the realities that we are currently existing in. And this movie, I was feeling a certain kind of way, and I realized that as an actress in this film representing people who were largely under represented that we could make a difference in a way. And I think the fact that we are that the movie is resonating at the box office is saying that people are hearing the message, and they’re feeling the message

Janelle Monáe: I copy and paste everything that the incredible Taraji and Octavia said. And I’m so honored and I feel so thankful to be a part of this cast. I think the colors of us, the nuances of us that all make us unique represent a shared humanity.

And I think this film reminds us that we’ve been through harder times, we’ve been through more difficult times and we got through it back then during the segregation era, and we can get through it now. We just have to remember, in the great words of Kevin Costner, “We all pee the same color.” We really do. We’re not that damn different.

Spencer: Well, if you eat a lot of beets …

Monáe: Right and I think that’s the great thing about America. We get to come here and be our authentically unique selves, and I think that if we continue to embrace the things that make us unique even if it makes others uncomfortable, we will continue to represent those who are oftentimes un-celebrated. And these women are finally hidden no more. So I dedicate my award to Ms. Mary Jackson, the first African-American female engineer at NASA.

Jim Parsons, you’ve got four Emmys and you’ve got a Golden Globe. This is your first-ever SAG Award. What does that mean to you?

Jim Parsons: Oh, this was really, really exciting. I teared up as soon as this happened. I think people can tell when they watch the movie this was an exceptional experience to be a part of in making this, and it was exceptional be on set with everybody. It’s been even exceptional doing press with everybody. Everyone came for the right reasons, and not that you don’t on most projects, but on something about this project in particular, the focus and dedication to telling this story the best and most honest way it could be told was a reverberating through everybody and it feels that same way when we’re together tonight months and months and months after we finished it. This was just exceptionally exciting. I’ll say that.

Octavia, is your Oscar a hidden figure in your house or is it out for everyone to see it?

Spencer: Oscar and the Hasty Pudding and all the wonderful awards that I’ve been given are all out for me to see. I don’t have a lot of people at my house and very seldom home. But I think what we’re going to do is we’re going have a pot luck. Everybody’s going to bring their Oscars, I mean their SAGS, and we’re just going to we’re go celebrate tonight. This is the best award to get the ensemble award because every person was integral to the filmmaking process. I think I want to pass this off to Kirsten Dunst since she hasn’t said anything

Kirsten Dunst: I’m so jet-lagged.

Henson: She’s jet-lagged, but she has things to say.

Dunst: Do I, guys? I don’t know. Does anyone have a question? Anybody? Anybody?

Your character in “Hidden Figures” had to say things that had to be almost embarrassing for you.

Dunst: [She says jokingly] I just pretended my character was very frustrated because she was in love with Octavia so I turned it on its head so but yes, it is very uncomfortable and Octavia was just like, “Just do it just do it, baby. Just do it.” I was, “I love you.”

Henson: We laughed a lot in between takes because you know the subject matter was so like whoa. And so it required us to when Ted [Melfi, director of “Hidden Figures”] yelled “cut” we went into jokes because you have to laugh to keep from crying. I don’t understand what it is to live in times like that you know we have agencies there was women we can say what’s on our minds we can snap our fingers or roll our neck.

But you know, back then, these women didn’t have these voices and what I admire most about them and it makes me think about me in the industry do not focus on the problems. Focus on the solutions. Wallowing in muck and talking about what the problem is not moving us anywhere, what are we going to do to get past this?

Then I think that’s why this film is so timely because we find ourselves—wow, interestingly enough, 1962 again almost, right? But the beautiful thing about where we are today in 2017 is the majority of humanity is on the right side of history, so we have to celebrate that. And fear not, because if you have faith, fear and faith cannot co-exist. You’ve got to choose your side pick your battles. I choose faith.

 

Denzel Washington backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

(“Fences”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Denzel Washington at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Denzel Washington backstage at the 2017 Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

Having been involved in this project throughout its Broadway incarnation to today does that make this an extra special moment for you to win this award?

Yeah, I guess so. Seven years ago, [producer] Scott Rudin came to me with the screenplay, and I realized I hadn’t read the play. I read the play. So I called him, and said, “I want to do the play,” and that’s what we did. And we had tremendous success with it. It definitely led me to believe that we could be successful making a film.

You’re playing somebody who had in some way different kinds of challenges. How did you leap from you to him?

You don’t know my past. You don’t know my past. We’re actors. You know you don’t have to kill somebody to play a murderer. So we’re actors. You try to tap into what you can relate to be yourself or someone you love or know. And in the case of August Wilson, it’s all in a play. He’s one of the most brilliant playwrights of our time, of any time, so it’s all there. All the clues are there for you if you if you dig deep.

And because we did it first as a play, it was scary. You don’t know if it’s going to work. you don’t know if you’re going to work in it. But about the third week of rehearsal, and because I had a big part in the play, I’m working with all the actors. About the third week, Viola [Davis] showed us where she was going in that big scene. And I was like, “Oh wait a minute. Okay, I better concentrate on my stuff with her because she delivers.”

What do you think about the huge fence our president wants to build with the Hispanic world, and how many fences did you have to go through to win this award?

This is what I think: I think we as Americans better learn to unite. I think we as Americans need to put our elected officials feet to the fire and demand that they work together or they won’t get back in office. You know, this age we live in, this accelerated Information Age, we’re getting further and further apart. We’re not getting together; we’re getting further and further and further apart.

Everybody can’t be right, but I think this is an opportunity, actually. You see how people are being energized and protesting and all that but I think this is an opportunity for us to look at ourselves as a country as they are we together really and are we holding our elected officials accountable to making sure that they’re working together, not just hey you’re on your side. I win what I win. You win what you win, because this is what is happening. And God only knows where it’s going. And “Fences” was a good movie too.

Only six actors and actresses have won an Oscar three times. What would it mean to you  to join that group?

You know, this was really a surprise tonight for me. I wrote some stuff down in case we were picked for Best Ensemble. I just assumed that wasn’t getting [this award]. I’ve been at this a long time so I prepare myself for rejection early on. I was just calm, so I really was surprised and unprepared, to be honest with you. But to be chosen by your fellow actors really is an honor.

We were all the same—some of this little more famous or more money or whatever, but we all basically try to interpret roles. So yes, to be in that company … I’m somebody told me also I think there’s only six actors who had Supporting and Best Actor [Oscars], and I think I’m one of the six. So, obviously, to be in that company would be amazing.

During your speech you were emotional as you spoke about  different actors. What was it about the “Fences” cast that really touched you that made you emotional?

When I turned 60, I realized this is not the dress rehearsal. You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. You can’t take it with you. The Egyptians tried. All they got was robbed. So what are you going to do with what you have? And everybody has something different to give—some money sometimes some patience, some love, some kindness. I get more joy of giving to others.

I’m here to support Viola and all the rest of them and August [Wilson]. I’m good. I’ve won everything that you can win. Man gives the award. God gives the reward. My mother taught me that years ago. And it’s taken me a long time to understand it, but that’s where I’m at I get more joy of seeing others do well.

 

Emma Stone backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

EMMA STONE

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

(“La La Land”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Emma Stone at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Emma Stone at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

You were cut off at the end of your speech. Can you finish any thoughts you had?

That’s a really good point. They just escorted me into a Porta-Potty after that literally was like, “Ooh, what just happened?” Basically, my intention was to express that what I didn’t say was that sometimes in insecure times, I go into my head and think that what I do maybe doesn’t count for anything in the world—like it’s not enough, and I’m not saving lives. And then I was thinking about the art this year, and that in a time like this for so many horrific things are happening it is so special to be part of a group of people who want to reflect what’s happening back to the world and to make people happy.

I’m paraphrasing what I said on stage and I hope it will maybe change perspectives or help people feel less alone.  And it’s giving me a lot of a lot of happiness thinking about getting to be just even one person in the cog of all of these actors and an artist that care. And obviously, we’re also citizens of this planet and of this country or not of this country, and either way it doesn’t matter. We have to speak up against injustice and we have to kick some ass. So yeah, that’s not very eloquent here either, but yeah, that general idea.

You mentioned in your speech a little something about feeling insecure sometimes, which is not something we hear actors admit to much but they succumb to it more than we think. Would that be a fair comment?

Well, I don’t want to speak for anyone outside of myself. I think that would be unfair. I’m sure there are many actors that that don’t feel insecure a lot of the time I am not necessarily one of them. But I don’t know what that has to do with being an actor or just someone that you know kind of has a little bit of neurotic wiring. And I really care very much about being better and getting better—and I don’t even mean that as an actor. I mean that as a person. So I don’t know. I can’t speak for them, but I just maybe think a little bit too much.

People are torn sometimes when they’re at an award show to talk about what’s going on in the world at the same time. You can do it in a respectful way too. Do you think it’s important when you have a forum like this and you feel the issue is important enough to talk at least somewhat about what’s going on in the world in this case?

I think that right now is an unprecedented time, so I don’t know if I would say forever yes. But I think if we’re human beings and we see injustice we have to speak up because staying silent, as they say, only really helps the oppressor. It never helps the victim.

So I think that, yes, right now I would hope that everyone that’s seeing things being done that are absolutely unconstitutional and inhumane would say something in any venue, whether it’s at school or at an award show or in their offices or online. I would hope that people would fight for what’s right and what’s fucking human. This is a time unlike any other, so it’s amazing to see people speaking up and taking action—more than anything else—taking action.

 

 

Viola Davis backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

VIOLA DAVIS

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

(“Fences”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Viola Davis at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Viola Davis backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

The Academy Award nominations are not so white anymore this year, such as having three black nominees in the Supporting Actress category. Do you think it had anything to do with the complaints from last year? Have you ever had any fences of discrimination?

Yeah. Everybody has had fences in this business. There is a lot of typecasting: age, sex, color, dark skin, light skin. In response to “OscarsSoWhite”? No. I think that every nominee, from Naomie Harris to Octavia Spencer to “Hidden Figures” to “Fences” to “Moonlight” to Marhershala Ali are there because they deserve to be there. They’re not there because of the color of their skin. They put in the work. So the answer to that is “no.”

You know my response from here on out? I always use the three words like February 26 [the day of the Oscar ceremony this year] is going to come and now what? Is it just going to be a trend to talk about inclusion and I’d rather say inclusion and diversity? Or is it going to be a norm that we understand that we’re all part of the narrative, that all our stories deserve to be told? And that art indeed has to reflect life in our culture, and people are going to demand it. That’s where we’re at.

We’re not “The Brady Bunch” anymore. We are “Blackish.” We are “Fresh Off the Boat.” We are “Jane the Virgin.”  We’re “Stranger Things,” with a hodgepodge of cultures and races.

You don’t mask your blackness, and often in the entertainment industry, black people are encouraged to do that. Is it intentional for you that you make it known: “I’m a black woman and I’m representing that sexuality and all those many complexities that we have”?

Well, it’s sort of both. Sometimes I feel like I’m forced to just remind people that I look different because I don’t want to sound ‘Kumbaya,’ but I just always feel that you have to look at your life like a relay race, and what your life is about when it is about running your leg of the race. So what is your leg of the race? What is your legacy going to be?

And I saw absence of women who look like me on TV as of even eight years ago. And to tell you the truth, was still sort of absent in leading roles especially when you’re darker than a paper bag. So I do intentionally say that at times because I do want to wake people up. I want to wake people up and know that it becomes a knee-jerk response to write narratives sometimes and just to have a homogenized group of people.

You know, it’s like being invited to the best party in the world and not thinking about who hasn’t been invited to the party. And I want to tell people that we in the past have not been invited to the party. So it is an intentional but when I do say it, I’m not saying it to put myself on the outside. It’s not to be ultra-political. It’s just to raise my hand and say, “Are you aware that I’m here? And I’m sexual and I have my own beauty and I have a story that deserves to be told.” That’s it.

Can you talk about what it meant for you to win this for a project that both you and Denzel Washington are very passionate about?

See, I have witnessed his hard work and I understand what is what is necessary to fulfill that role of Troy Maxon. I think at one point he had a 13-page monologue. I mean, those monologues are Shakespeare; they’re “King Lear.” Even though Troy is a garbage man, he is a giant in his life; he is the center of his universe. So I knew the sheer scope and magnitude of talent that it takes to play Troy: a big man and unapologetic man, a man of his time.

And I just thought Denzel did a tremendous job and you just always want an actor does a tremendous job to be recognized. And then it can’t so much about this project. I always say the thing that I love about Denzel is he didn’t think the leaf or the sky or shooting the ground was more important than shooting the face of the actors. That’s rare.

So I think I blew his eardrum out, but hopefully you’ll forgive me. And for me, August Wilson gave me my Equity card. I become a professional actress in 1989 doing “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at Trinity Rep in Providence. Israel Hicks directed it, and I thought I had made it. And that was the beginning of my career. So now I feel it’s very apropos. It’s come full circle.

 

 

 

‘Orange Is the New Black’ team backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

“ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK”

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Here is what these SAG Award winners said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

The cast of "Orange Is the New Black" at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.
The cast of “Orange Is the New Black” at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How do you all stay connected without getting into feuds?

Samira Wiley: You’re asking us that most of us are women. I think a lot of us in the very first year of this show, most of us were did not have any fame or anything like that. And we really went through this journey together, figuring out how to navigate press, how to navigate being in this industry. And I think that that really fostered a camaraderie.

Kimiko Glenn: I feel like there’s a lot of respect between all of us. I know every time the show comes out, I’m like blown away. I’m texting everyone, like, “Wow that’s amazing.” I feel like it and everyone are so wonderful and sweet, and everyone is just doing their thing so well.

Emily Althaus: It’s also work. We’re going to work, and so we have the benefit of becoming great friends after working maybe such long hours or whatever but it still works, so we’re professional adults.

Glenn: It’s pretty chill.

Annie Golden: We’re professional adults who have been totally blessed. So there it is. It’s gratitude and you’re happy to be there with each other.

James McMenamin: The cast is wonderful and talented. The women are talented and strong and impassioned. And I’m just proud to be part of it.

Samira, can you tell a little about when you found out the arc of your character in this season that was so emotional? How was the process well until the end?

Wiley: Sure. Absolutely. I knew about what was going to happen to my character over a year before it got released. The real story is I knew about six to nine months before the rest of my cast knew, so the entire time we were shooting Season 4, I had a dirty little secret. I remember when that when that script first came out and everyone else you know found out just by reading it and getting to the end, I got a lot of texts a lot of calls that day. But you know, we all got through it together, just like we’ve all gotten through everything together this entire journey.

You had a case of the giggles during your acceptance speech. Was it just because you’re still a winner or was there a particular mood or a particular meaning to tonight?

Abigail Savage: We were surprised. I didn’t expect it.

Wiley: Okay, the way they work these seats, the last time we were sort of upfront, and another time we were sort of upfront, but this time, we were in the back, so we didn’t think we were going to win.

Golden: We’ve never had Taylor Schilling with us. She’s always been working when we have this award. So the fact that Taylor had to step up. And then the mood on the red carpet was so politically heavy we were like, “How’s our girl going to going to pull it out?” And she pulled it out. It’s like we were giddy.

What does it mean to all of you to be on a show as diverse as inclusive as “Orange Is the New Black” during these times that are quite divisive right now?

Lori Petty: I think we reflect reality and that all of the separations are man-made. We live on Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot, and we’ve always been one, will always be one, and they just want to cut us up. And love will conquer all this. So if they’re going to lock up a Muslim, they’re going to lock up us.

“Orange Is the New Black” is on a winning streak. What does that reflect in your personal life the success of the show?

Selenis Leyva: I think that we’re also honored to just be working with each other, to be telling real stories, diverse stories, stories that reflect our world. We’re just really blessed. And I think that it just the audience really accepts it because they can relate to it, you know what I mean? And that’s really important especially during these times. Art is going to be very important during the next four years. We’re just so blessed. Thank you.

You all bring a good vibe to this event. What is it about your show that brings such goodness here?

Jessica Pimentel: We’re all drunk!

Danielle Brooks: No, we’re not.

Dale Soules: We’re all family, and it all starts with [“Orange Is the New Black” executive producer/creator] Jenji Kohan setting the bar for all of us to be ego-free. We work together as a family, and we really love each other.

Elizabeth Rodriguez: We love and respect each other and are really thrilled to be here.

Dascha Polanco: It’s also the true representation of what the world is. I know diversity is a trend now, but this is what it really is and the stories that are being told that we’ve been working on have connected not only in America but throughout the world so this is what is. This is what the world is, and we’re very proud to be here to represent all of us.

Brooks: And I also want to say we’re very grateful for this moment.

 

‘Stranger Things’ team backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

“STRANGER THINGS”

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Here is what these SAG Award winners said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, and Caleb McLaughlin at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.
“Stranger Things” cast members Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp and Caleb McLaughlin at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How strange is it to have this award?

Caleb McLaughlin: Oh my gosh, it’s a blessing. I was sitting there. I was waiting for “The Crown,” “Game of Thrones,” all of the great competition that we had. And then I just heard, “Oh my gosh.” I just heard the “s,” and I knew it was us, and I just started jumping.

Finn Wolfhard: I’ll say something very quickly. I looked to Natalia, I looked to Millie. I was like, “Guys, I’m going to sleep. See you later.” And I laid my head on the rest. And then they were, like, “Stranger Things” …

Millie Bobby Brown: And it was actually funny because the Duffers, the [“Stranger Things”] directors, we thought we had no chance. It is so incredible to be in such an incredible category with so many talented, incredible shows that have worked so hard. I really want to thank everyone I didn’t get to say on stage because David Harbour just rocked it, but I just want to say thank you so much to every single nominee in that category.

Noah Schnapp: Mr. [Matthew] Modine actually told me that it’s like it’s already like winning when you get nominated, and then being able to win after being nominated is just the feeling, the rush; it’s just such a blessing.

Gaten Matarazzo: Yeah, it really is just a great opportunity to be here, and the great thing about it is that we’re in our first season. We are in our first season of this show, and we just won this award. And it’s the whole cast, and they called our name, and I’m like, “How the hell? Like what? You’re kidding me!” And Dave’s speech was just amazing, and I could listen to that a hundred times. It was just a phenomenal job. Thank you to just everyone and David Harbour. It’s exciting.

You’re all so young. What would you say to kids who aspire to be actors?

McLaughlin: I would say just keep striving for your dreams and never give up. Don’t believe anyone that puts you down. Just keep going because you’re your own person, and you have to just keep doing it. Just keep going.

Wolfhard: My answer to that would be keep trying. Every actor has been in the position, well not every actor. Some actors like us got lucky with this, but some actors don’t get lucky, and they work their whole lives to be on a show like this. I’ve only been acting for five years, four years. Some actors have been acting their entire life, because we’re not old. That sounded awful. Sorry. Not all on the older side. We’ve only been on this planet for 14 years. I would just say keep trying; keep auditioning for stuff.

Brown: I’ve always thought just go into an audition room thinking you haven’t got the job, and that’s really bad advice but to me that really works. And when I went into “Stranger Things,” I thought, “I really am not going to get this. I mean, there’s so many talented … 306 girls, I think, auditioned for Eleven.” And I’m just like, “It’s to be going the same audition as them,” so I just thought, “I’m going to get this.”

Schnapp: So my answer would be … everyone says this but it’s really true: Just never give up and stay motivated keep trying. One day you’re going to get it if you love it. Just go after it, because if you love it, put your heart into it and your passion. One day it’ll come.

Matarazzo: So mine is to say that tonight really proves that kids can be good actors too, because there are a lot of things that a lot of people give a lot of stereotypes saying kids aren’t good actors because they don’t have experience. But it’s not about experience. It’s about your will to do what you love, and it’s about your passion for it. It is about how much you really want to do this, because you can really just do amazing things, no matter how long you’ve been on this planet.

So if any kid out there that says they aren’t as good as someone because they’re older, they are wrong because age does not matter no matter how old you are. You can be a hundred years old in there [he points to his head] even if you’re 9 years old. That’s what I have to say. Any kid can do amazing things.

David, you got very emotional in your speech. How long did you take for you prepare it?

David Harbour: I didn’t expect us to win at all, actually, because we’re the newcomers, and there’s a lot of kids in the show, and it’s a strange show to give an acting award. I think I’m so proud of this cast, and I think it’s well-deserved. I think the work that these guys are doing is so extraordinary, but I did not think we were going to win. I did know that if we did win, I’m very bad at improvisation, as the rest of the cast can tell you. So I did not want to go up there with nothing to say, so I did write this speech.

And it’s gone through many iterations. I’ve had a lot of feelings and thoughts this last week, and I wanted to express it in some way that dealt with what we do through our art and also the craft of acting. And I feel like in our society now, it’s important to remember that acting is a craft, and that this is a guild, and it is something worthy of study, and it’s something worthy of hard work and dedication. It’s not about how popular you are; it’s not about how many “likes” you get on things. I see some trends in our society going a certain way, and I think acting is, at least for my life, has been a very important component about self-expression that is very worthy of a guild. And so I wanted the speech really to be about that.

Had you run the speech by your castmates? It looked Winona Ryder was hearing it for the first time.

Harbour: I didn’t see her reaction. Actually we were at dinner the other night, and it was Cara [Buono] and the teens and myself. And I was like, “Guys, I want to say this kind of crazy speech. Can I run it by you? And Charlie [Heaton] was like, “No, no you’ll ruin it. You’ll jinx it.” But finally we beat him into submission. And I did do it for them.

But it even changed last night, based on the protests that are going on at the airports and all this stuff that’s going down. I started to change it some more, but they did help me, and they did reassure me that it was an okay thing to say and that it wasn’t pretentious,  and that I could say it. So I was very appreciative of their feedback.

 

 

Bryan Cranston backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

BRYAN CRANSTON

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

(“All the Way”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Bryan Cranston at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Bryan Cranston at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

What can you say about a sequel project to “All the Way” covering the rest of Lyndon Johnson’s career as president?

“The Great Society” is actually a play that has already been written and is actually being produced in Austin, Texas, right now. I’m not doing it. I’m here tonight. It was a big temptation to be to do it and to follow through, but after having lived with it for a couple years—doing the play in Boston first, and then New York, and then doing the movie for HBO, I felt I examined it, and I felt like I needed to move on and do something else. But thanks. It’s good. It’s a good play.

There’s a lot going on in the world right now that might make it hard to celebrate at award shows like this. Do you think it’s a challenge?

Is that a challenge? Yeah, there’s a lot of strife in the world and in our country, but I think it’s important to embrace the good things that we have as well. And the collective of creative people coming together and talking about the issues which you’ve seen tonight, it’s alive. And this is what artists do best is we take it take the anguish anxiety or fear and put it back into work and hopefully that creates a groundswell of understanding and acceptance and compassion. And I don’t feel that it’s you know the wrong thing to do to celebrate good work that has nothing to do with other things. It’s important to mark occasions.

When Meryl Streep gave her speech at this year’s Golden Globes, a lot of viewers were complaining on social networks that the show became too political and should be entertaining. And tonight, a lot of the actors gave political speeches. What do you say about to this people who think that this is only entertainment?

Well you know, we’re human beings and citizens before we ever became actors and activists or artists of any kind. If something is important to you. If something appears before you and in a way that that feels oppression, it’s up to the citizenry to speak out.

Not everybody agrees, but that’s part of the democracy is that were allowed to do that. In so many countries around the world, you’re not even allowed to voice objections or any dissent, but our country was founded on that so we shouldn’t be afraid of it should embrace everything so that the voices are all heard. And then people make up their own minds as to how they want to you know continue with it.

William H. Macy backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

WILLIAM H. MACY

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

(“Shameless”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

William H. Macy at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
William H. Macy at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

In “Shameless,” there’s no limit to what you do. Are you more fearless about what you can do?

What a great question. I certainly have done things I never thought I would do. I grew up in western Maryland. I’m Lutheran, for God’s sake, so I read the scripts with this same horror that the audience has in watching it. Yeah, I think it’s made me bolder. Perhaps it’s my age, but I think Frank Gallagher has something to do with the fact that I feel freer to say what I really think. I don’t need your pity

You thanked your wife, Felicity Huffman, in your speech. How does she you support you, and what does that means you?

It’s a fairytale. We both love acting. We met in the theater when we were one of us was very young, and the other was a little bit older. And it’s all we’ve ever done. It’s the language that we have. Felicity’s about to start a new series. She’s about to do a pilot. We read each other scripts to each other. We work together. Don’t try this at home, but it’s what we do, and it seems to work. And I’m blessed. I am blessed. We have a blast. That’s it.

Do you have different closets for your awards?

I’ll admit to having a number of trophies and our house. We have a balcony and we put them up there thinking it would be discreet. And then I was going to direct a film, and I they said, “Where you want to do the first reading?” And I had all these young actors come to our house. And I said, “We’ll sit around that table in the balcony.” And I realized halfway through the first rehearsal that they were there were all these awards to William H. Macy behind them. And I realized this wasn’t the best place to do it after all. I think it may be have to be an actor to understand.

You’ve done versatile roles and characters. Is there a particular character or personality that you haven’t done that you want to do?

That’s a lovely question. The bad guy, but more than bad—the truly evil guy, which is tough because I don’t like violence. I don’t like going to movies that have a lot of violence. It upsets me, and I find it’s stupid sometimes. I’d like to play the bad guy, you know maybe it’s because I played Frank Gallagher. I’d like to play the unplayable roles: the Nazi, the racist, the Ku Klux Klan guy. I’d like to give a shot at those roles.

I love comedy. I have a tendency myself to only go to films that make me laugh. I’d rather laugh than anything else. I’m growing into my age. I can’t wait to play the older guy, whatever that is. The president, the senior lawyer.