Review: ‘Lisa Frankenstein,’ starring Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, Liza Soberano, Henry Eikenberry, Joe Chrest and Carla Gugino

February 12, 2024

by Carla Hay

Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse in “Lisa Frankenstein” (Photo by Michele K. Short/Focus Features)

“Lisa Frankenstein”

Directed by Zelda Williams

Culture Representation: Taking place in 1989, in an unnamed U.S. city, the comedy film “Lisa Frankenstein” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans, Latin people and Asians) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: An 18-year-old social outcast resurrects an 1800s man from his grave, and they become a serial-killing duo. 

Culture Audience: “Lisa Frankenstein” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and quirky comedies that blend the mediocre with the macabre.

Liza Soberano and Kathryn Newton in “Lisa Frankenstein” (Photo by Michele K. Short/Focus Features)

“Lisa Frankenstein” makes futile attempts to be an edgy comedy about the antics of a teenage loner and a resurrected corpse, but this often-dull misfire has gruesome and ill-conceived jokes that are as inert as a corpse. The movie’s concept isn’t terrible, but it is badly mishandled in the writing, directing, and uneven performances from the cast members.

Directed by Zelda Williams and written by Diablo Cody, “Lisa Frankenstein” takes place in 1989, in an unnamed U.S. city. Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin Williams) makes her feature-film directorial debut with “Lisa Frankenstein.” Cody won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the 2007 comedy “Juno” (which is still Cody’s best movie), and she is a producer of “Lisa Frankenstein,” which will get inevitable comparisons to Cody’s 2009 horror comedy “Jennifer’s Body,” another movie about a social-misfit teenager whose closest friend has been supernaturally transformed into being a serial killer.

In “Lisa Frankenstein,” Lisa Swallows (played by Kathryn Newton) is an 18-year-old student in high school. She’s a mopey loner who likes to spend her time listening to angsty rock bands such as The Cure and Bauhaus and visiting Bachelors Cemetery Grove. She has become fixated on the grave of a pianist who died in his 20s in the 19th century. The man, who is only given the name The Creature (played by Cole Sprouse) in the movie’s end credits, committed suicide after he was rejected by a woman he was courting.

Lisa’s fantasies are preoccupied with thinking about what it would be like to be in a romance with this tragic person. She also has a crush on someone who is alive: Michael Trent (played by Henry Eikenberry), the good-looking editor-in-chief of their high school newspaper. Michael has already noticed Lisa because he has published some of her gloomy poems in the newspaper and has complimented her about her writing talent. Lisa gets nervous and shy whenever Trent talks to her.

Lisa feels like an outsider in her own home. As explained in an exposition dump in the movie, Lisa’s mother (played by Jennifer Pierce Mathus) was murdered by a home-invading axe murderer (played by Luke Sexton), which is shown in a brief flashback. (“Lisa Frankenstein” is so poorly written, it never bothers to mention if the murderer was ever caught.)

Just a few months after the murder, Lisa’s father Dale (played by Joe Chrest) married a psychiatric-facility nurse named Janet (played by Carla Gugino), who is a stereotypical mean-spirited stepmother to Lisa. Lisa and Dale have moved to Janet’s home because of Dale and Janet’s marriage, and Lisa has enrolled in a new school for her last year in high school. There are some not-funny-at-all and tedious scenes of Janet accusing Lisa of breaking things in the house. Dale is oblivious to things that are going on in the household.

From a previous marriage, Janet has a teenage daughter named Taffy (played by Liza Soberano), a perky, not-very-smart cheerleader, who is about the same age as Lisa and who goes to the same school, which is called Brookfield High School. Taffy is also a nosy gossip who has a posse of three close friends—Lori (played by Jenna Davis), Tricia (played by Trina LaFargue) and Misty (played by Paola Andino)—who are nothing but sounding boards for Taffy’s babblings. Taffy repeatedly tries to make Lisa more sociable, even though it’s obvious that Lisa doesn’t care about being popular or making friends at the school.

Another student who interacts with Lisa is her nerdy lab partner Doug (played by Bryce Romero), who is not the “nice guy” he might appear to be, as Lisa finds out at a party where Doug initiates some sexual touching on Lisa without her consent. When Lisa tells Doug to stop because she’s not interested, Doug confirms that he’s a sleaze when he responds by saying that Lisa should finish what she started and adds, “It’s not nice to lead people on.” There seems to be no point for the movie to unrealistically make every teenage guy who’s in contact with Lisa to be either (a) unacceptable or (b) unattainable, other to make Lisa look like she has no boyfriend prospects except for the dead guy she resurrected.

Lisa works part-time as a seamstress for a local tailor: a rude creep named Wayne (played by Charlie Talbert), who makes sexist remarks to Lisa about the way she looks and her lack of a social life. It’s an example of a subplot that is thrown into the movie and goes nowhere. Curiously, after Lisa undergoes a makeover, she spends about half the movie trying to look like Madonna in the 1985 comedy film “Desperately Seeking Susan,” which would make Lisa’s fashion choices about four years too late for this story.

One day, Lisa is having fantasies about the dead pianist when she says out loud: “I wish I was with you.” It isn’t long before he is inexplicably resurrected and shows up at her house as a filthy walking cadaver, who is mute for nearly the entire movie. Lisa spends most of the story trying to hide The Creature so she can keep him a secret all to her herself. The expected “corpse makeover” happens, some of it in a tanning bed—as if a rotting zombie in a tanning bed is supposed to automatically be funny. The rest of the movie shows Lisa and The Creature engaging in various shenanigans (including mutilation of body parts and murder) while falling in love with each other.

What could have been hilarious fodder for very dark comedy is instead an erratically paced movie filled with stale jokes. Newton and Sprouse do not have convincing chemistry together as a would-be couple in a morbid romance. The movie’s direction is mishandled because the cast members performances range from over-acting to being very listless and unimpressive. Simply put, although “Lisa Frankenstein” might manage to get a few chuckles out of some viewers, this is a disappointing dud that should have stayed dead and buried.

Focus Features released “Lisa Frankenstein” in U.S. cinemas on February 9, 2024.

Review: ‘Out of Darkness’ (2024), starring Safia Oakley-Green, Kit Young, Chuku Modu, Iola Evans, Arno Lüning and Luna Mwezi

February 11, 2024

by Carla Hay

Safia Oakley-Green in “Out of Darkness” (Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street)

“Out of Darkness” (2024)

Directed by Andrew Cumming

Spoken in the fictional Tola language with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed part of Earth in ancient times (45,000 years ago), the horror film “Out of Darkness” features a racially diverse cast of characters who are cave dwellers.

Culture Clash: A group of six nomadic people seeking food and shelter encounter terror in a remote wooded area. 

Culture Audience: “Out of Darkness” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching a horror movie set in ancient times.

Chuku Modu and Kit Young in “Out of Darkness” (Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street)

Inspired by William Golding’s 1955 novel “The Inheritors,” the slow-burn thriller “Out of Darkness” is set in ancient, cave-dwelling times. It’s a cautionary tale about how people who fear monsters sometimes fail to see the biggest threats can come from within themselves. The movie excels in creating a foreboding atmosphere, but some viewers might lose interest because of the sluggish pacing in the first half of the film.

Directed by Andrew Cumming and written by Ruth Greenberg, “Out of Darkness” has a relatively small cast in telling this uncomplicated story, which takes place 45,000 years ago in an unnamed part of Earth. (“Out of Darkness” was actually filmed on location in Scotland.) There are six main characters, who are all part of a tribe, and they speak the fictional language of Tola. These tribe members are seeking food and shelter. They are:

  • Adem (played by Chuku Modu), the over-confident tribe leader, who is a man in his late 20s.
  • Ave (played by Iola Evans), Adem’s pregnant partner.
  • Heron (played by Luna Mwezi), Adem and Ave’s son, who’s about 11 or 12 years old.
  • Geirr (played by Kit Young), Adem’s trusting younger brother.
  • Odal (played by Arno Lüning), an elder advisor.
  • Beyah (played by Safia Oakley-Green), a feisty, independent-minded “stray” person who has been “adopted” by this tribe.

In the beginning of the movie, it’s revealed through a story that Odal tells that these six people split off from other members of their tribe because Adem insisted that they go somewhere new to hunt, after their usual place was found to be barren. (People familiar with Judeo-Christian teachings will notice the names of Adem and Ave as being symbolic.) Adem made this decision against the advice of the elders in their tribe. The place near the sea where these six people are also appears to be barren, until they find the remains of animals.

And there’s something else: A mysterious being in the woods seems to be stalking them. The vast majority of “Out of Darkness” shows what happens in these woods. And not everyone makes it out alive. The acting in the movie is very good, but the biggest strength of “Out of Darkness” is its story and how it’s told. It’s a story of survival but it’s also a story of what happens when “the most dangerous animal of all” does in desperate attempts to survive.

Bleecker Street released “Out of Darkness” in U.S. cinemas on October 9, 2024.

Review: ‘The Taste of Things,’ starring Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel

February 10, 2024

by Carla Hay

Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel in “The Taste of Things” (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)

“The Taste of Things”

Directed by Trân Anh Hùng

French with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in France, in 1889, the dramatic film “The Taste of Things” has an all-white cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A renowned chef and his longtime live-in cook are lovers, but she resists his attempts for them to have a more committed relationship.

Culture Audience: “The Taste of Things” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of stars Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel and movies about people who love to cook.

Juliette Binoche Benoît Magimel and Galatéa Bellugi in “The Taste of Things” (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)

The slow-paced drama “The Taste of Things” isn’t for everyone, but it’s a mature story of what can happen when a famous chef tries to get his longtime personal cook to marry him. There’s plenty to like in this movie for romance fans and cuisine enthusiasts. The movie spends almost much as much time detailing the preparation of food as it does on showing how these two people live and love together.

Written and directed by Trân Anh Hùng, “The Taste of Things” is based on Marcel Rouff’s 1924 novel “La Vie et la Passion de Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet,” which is French for “The Life and the Passion of Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet.” “The Taste of Things” had its world premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, where Trân won the prize for Best Director. “The Tatse of Things” then made the rounds at several other film festivals in 2023, including the New York Film Festival, the BFI London Film Festival and AFI Fest. “The Taste of Things” was France’s official selection for the category of Best International Feature Film for the 2024 Academy Awards, but the movie didn’t get any Oscar nominations.

In “The Taste of Things” (which takes place in 1889, in France), Dodin Bouffant (played by Benoît Magimel) is a renowned chef and a middle-aged, never-married bachelor with no children. He has been in a sexual relationship with his live-in cook Eugénie Chatagne (played by Juliette Binoche), who is also middle-aged, never-married, and has no children. Eugénie has been Dodin’s live-in cook at his manor for the past 20 years.

Dodin and Eugénie love each other, but she doesn’t want to commit to marrying him. She tells Dodin that she’s happy with the way their relationship is. Eugénie has turned down Dodin’s marriage proposals multiple times.

Will persistent Dodin get Eugénie to change her mind? That’s the question that lingers for most of “The Taste of Things,” as the movie fills up its time with scenes of preparations and servings of elaborate multi-course meals. Dodin decides he’s going to cook for Eugénie as a way to show his love.

Dodin is also seen with a group of five affluent male friends in many social situations, including when he and these friends get invited to dine with the prince of Eurasia (played by Mhamed Arezki), who originally invited just Dodin, but Dodin insisted that his friends get invited too. Dodin’s five closest friends are Grimaud (played by Patrick d’Assumçao), Magot (played by Jan Hammenecker), Beaubois (played by Frédéric Fisbach), Augustin (played by Jean-Marc Roulot) and Rabaz (played by Emmanuel Salinger). Rabaz is the one who stands out the most because he is a compassionate and very busy doctor.

Eugénie has an assistant cook named Violette (played by Galatéa Bellugi), who’s in her 20s and is a very loyal employee. Near the beginning of the movie, Violette’s niece Pauline (played by Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire), who’s about 11 or 12 years old, is at Dodin’s manor to visit and is introduced to Eugénie and Dodin. It isn’t long before Eugénie notices that Pauline is a prodigy in culinary arts, with extraordinary senses of taste and smell. Eugénie wants to formally teach Pauline how to be a chef but first must get permission from her parents.

“The Taste of Things” is not a movie that makes any grand or provocative statements about life. The story also holds very little surprises. A few scenes of Eugénie fainting and clutching her abdomen in pain are foreshadowings of what happens to her in the last third of the movie, which won’t be a shock to anyone who’s read “La Vie et la Passion de Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet.”

The reliably engaging performances by Binoche and Magimel are worth watching in how they portray this bittersweet romance. Binoche and Magimel have easy chemistry with each other, since they were partners from 1998 to 2003 and have a daughter together named Hana, who was born in 1999. Magimel and Binoche also co-starred in the 1999 drama “Children of the Century.” The tone of “The Taste of Things” is quietly sensual, which is best appreciated by viewers who know that not all movies about romance have to be about messy breakups and predictable makeups.

IFC Films released “The Taste of Things” in select U.S. cinemas on February 9, 2024, with an expansion to more U.S. cinemas on February 14, 2024. The movie was released in France under the title “La Passion de Dodin Bouffant” on November 8, 2023.

2024 Grammy Awards: Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA among the big winners

February 4, 2024

by Carla Hay

Taylor Swift at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California on February 4, 2024 (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA were among the big winners at the 66th annual Grammy Awards, which were presented at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024. Trevor Noah hosted the Grammy Awards for the fourth consecutive year. CBS had the live U.S. telecast of the ceremony, which was livestreamed on Paramount+ With Showtime. Several of the Grammy categories were presented in a pre-telecast ceremony that was livestreamed on Grammy.com.

Swift’s “Midnights” won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. She now holds the records as the person who has won Album of the Year the most times (four.) at the Grammy Awards. There was no artist at the show who dominated by winning more than three awards. Miley Cyrus won Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Flowers.” Billie Eilish and her brother/songwriting partner Finneas O’Connell won Song of the Year and Best Song Written for Visual Media for “What Was I Made For?” from the “Barbie” soundtrack.

SZA (whose real name is Solána Rowe) had the most nominations (nine) going into the ceremony. She won three Grammys at the show: Best Progressive R&B Album, for “SOS”; Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, for her “Ghost in the Machine” collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers; and Best R&B Song, for “Snooze.” SZA performed “Snooze” and “Kill Bill” at the show. Victoria Monét, who had seven nominations going into the ceremony, also won three Grammys: Best R&B Album (for “Jaguar II”), Best New Artist, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical (for “Jaguar II”).

Jay-Z received the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, which was first given in 2023 to Dr. Dre. The Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective gives this noncompetitive prize to influential people in black music. During his acceptance speech, Jay-Z (whose real name is Shawn Carter) was joined on stage by his and wife Beyoncé’s eldest child, 12-year-old daughter Blue Ivy Carter, while Beyoncé watched at their table.

In his memorable speech, Jay-Z talked about being one of the hip-hop artists who boycotted the Grammys for overlooking hip-hop, such as the Grammys not putting the rap categories on television (which happened again this year) or not nominating certain rap artists in the years that they had successful albums. Jay-Z also gave some criticism for Beyoncé not winning a Grammy for Album of the Year, even though she holds the record for being the person who’s won the most Grammys (32), which was a record that she attained in 2023.

Jay-Z added when commenting about who gets awarded (or not) at the Grammys: “ “I’m saying, we want you to get it right. At least close to getting it right. Obviously, it’s subjective. It’s music, and it’s opinion-based … Some of you will go home tonight and will feel like you’ve been robbed. Some of you may get robbed. Some of you don’t belong in the category.” After hearing a mixture of booing and laughter at that last remark, he said, “When I get nervous, I tell the truth.”

He concluded his speech by saying, “Outside of that, we’ve got to keep showing up. Forget the Grammys for a second—just in life … you’ve got to keep showing up … until they give you all those accolades you feel you deserve, until they call you chairman, until they call you genius, until they call you the greatest of all time.”

Artists who performed at the show included Dua Lipa, Cyrus and Olivia Rodrigo. U2 performed remotely from the Sphere in Paradise, Nevada. On-stage collaborations included Luke Combs with Tracy Chapman; Travis Scott with Playboi Carti; and Burna Boy with 21 Savage and Brandy.

Joni Mitchell performed at the Grammys for the first time. She sang “Both Sides Now” and was joined on stage for the performance by Brandi Carlile, SistaStrings, Blake Mills, Lucius, Allison Russell and Jacob Collier.

Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Jon Batiste and Fantasia Barrino did separate performances for the “In Memoriam” segment that paid tribute to notable people in the music industry who died since the previous Grammy ceremony. Billy Joel performed “Turn the Lights Back On,” his first new song in 30 years, and closed out the show with his 1980 hit “You May Be Right.”

Celine Dion made a surprise appearance to present the award for Album of the Year. Other presenters at the show were Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, Mark Ronson, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Lionel Richie, U2, Lizzo, Christina Aguilera, Maluma, Samara Joy, Brandi Carlile and Kacey Musgraves.

Here is the complete list of nominees and winners for the 2024 Grammy Awards:

*=winner

General Field

1. Record Of The Year

Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) and mastering engineer(s), if other than the artist.

Worship
Jon Batiste
Jon Batiste, Jon Bellion, Pete Nappi & Tenroc, producers; Serban Ghenea & Pete Nappi, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer

Not Strong Enough
boygenius
boygenius & Catherine Marks, producers; Owen Lantz, Catherine Marks, Mike Mogis, Bobby Mota, Kaushlesh “Garry” Purohit & Sarah Tudzin, engineers/mixers; Pat Sullivan, mastering engineer

Flowers*
Miley Cyrus
Kid Harpoon & Tyler Johnson, producers; Michael Pollack, Brian Rajaratnam & Mark “Spike” Stent, engineers/mixers; Joe LaPorta, mastering engineer

What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”]
Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish & FINNEAS, producers; Billie Eilish, Rob Kinelski & FINNEAS, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer

On My Mama
Victoria Monét
Deputy, Dernst Emile II & Jeff Gitelman, producers; Patrizio Pigliapoco & Todd Robinson, engineers/mixers; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer

Vampire
Olivia Rodrigo
Dan Nigro, producer; Serban Ghenea, Michael Harris, Chris Kasych, Daniel Nigro & Dan Viafore, engineers/mixers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer

Anti-Hero
Taylor Swift
Jack Antonoff & Taylor Swift, producers; Jack Antonoff, Serban Ghenea, Laura Sisk & Lorenzo Wolff, engineers/mixers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer

Kill Bill
SZA
Rob Bisel & Carter Lang, producers; Rob Bisel, engineer/mixer; Dale Becker, mastering engineer

2. Album Of The Year

Award to Artist(s) and to Featured Artist(s), Songwriter(s) of new material, Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s), Mixer(s) and Mastering Engineer(s) credited with 20% or more playing time of the album.

World Music Radio
Jon Batiste
Jon Batiste, Jon Bellion, Nick Cooper, Pete Nappi & Tenroc, producers; Jon Batiste, Pete Nappi, Kaleb Rollins, Laura Sisk & Marc Whitmore, engineers/mixers; Jon Batiste, Jon Bellion, Jason Cornet & Pete Nappi, songwriters; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer

the record
boygenius
boygenius & Catherine Marks, producers; Owen Lantz, Will Maclellan, Catherine Marks, Mike Mogis, Bobby Mota, Kaushlesh “Garry” Purohit & Sarah Tudzin, engineers/mixers; Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers & Lucy Dacus, songwriters; Pat Sullivan, mastering engineer

Endless Summer Vacation
Miley Cyrus
Kid Harpoon, Tyler Johnson & Mike Will Made-It, producers; Pièce Eatah, Craig Frank, Paul David Hager, Stacy Jones, Brian Rajaratnam & Mark “Spike” Stent, engineers/mixers; Miley Cyrus, Gregory Aldae Hein, Thomas Hull, Tyler Johnson, Michael Len Williams II & Michael Pollack, songwriters; Joe LaPorta, mastering engineer

Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd
Lana Del Rey
Jack Antonoff, Zach Dawes, Lana Del Rey & Drew Erickson, producers; Jack Antonoff, Michael Harris, Dean Reid & Laura Sisk, engineers/mixers; Jack Antonoff, Lana Del Rey & Mike Hermosa, songwriters; Ruairi O’Flaherty, mastering engineer

The Age Of Pleasure
Janelle Monáe
Sensei Bueno, Nate “Rocket” Wonder & Nana Kwabena, producers; Mick Guzauski, Nate “Rocket” Wonder, Jayda Love, Janelle Monáe & Yáng Tan, engineers/mixers; Jarrett Goodly, Nathaniel Irvin III, Janelle Monáe Robinson & Nana Kwabena Tuffuor, songwriters; Dave Kutch, mastering engineer

GUTS
Olivia Rodrigo
Daniel Nigro, producer; Serban Ghenea, Sterling Laws, Mitch McCarthy, Daniel Nigro, Dave Schiffman, Mark “Spike” Stent, Sam Stewart & Dan Viafore, engineers/mixers; Daniel Nigro & Olivia Rodrigo, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer

Midnights*
Taylor Swift
Jack Antonoff & Taylor Swift, producers; Jack Antonoff, Zem Audu, Serban Ghenea, David Hart, Mikey Freedom Hart, Sean Hutchinson, Ken Lewis, Michael Riddleberger, Laura Sisk & Evan Smith, engineers/mixers; Jack Antonoff & Taylor Swift, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer

SOS
SZA
Rob Bisel, ThankGod4Cody & Carter Lang, producers; Rob Bisel, engineer/mixer; Rob Bisel, Cody Fayne, Carter Lang & Solána Rowe, songwriters; Dale Becker, mastering engineer

3. Song Of The Year

A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

A&W
Jack Antonoff, Lana Del Rey & Sam Dew, songwriters (Lana Del Rey)

Anti-Hero
Jack Antonoff & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)

Butterfly
Jon Batiste & Dan Wilson, songwriters (Jon Batiste)

Dance The Night (From Barbie The Album)
Caroline Ailin, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Dua Lipa)

Flowers
Miley Cyrus, Gregory Aldae Hein & Michael Pollack, songwriters (Miley Cyrus)

Kill Bill
Rob Bisel, Carter Lang & Solána Rowe, songwriters (SZA)

Vampire
Daniel Nigro & Olivia Rodrigo, songwriters (Olivia Rodrigo)

What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”]*
Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)

4. Best New Artist

This category recognizes an artist whose eligibility-year release(s) achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and notably impacted the musical landscape.

Gracie Abrams
Fred again..
Ice Spice
Jelly Roll
Coco Jones
Noah Kahan
Victoria Monét*
The War And Treaty

5. Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical

A Producer’s Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses.)

Jack Antonoff*

      • Being Funny In A Foreign Language (The 1975) (A)

      • Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd (Lana Del Rey) (A)

      • Midnights (Taylor Swift) (A)

Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II

      • JAGUAR II (Victoria Monét) (A)

Hit-Boy

      • Bus Stop (Don Toliver Featuring Brent Faiyaz) (T)

      • Just Face It (Dreamville With Blxst) (T)

      • Kings Disease III (Nas) (A)

      • Magic 3 (Nas) (A)

      • Magic 2 (Nas) (A)

      • Slipping Into Darkness (Hit-Boy & The Alchemist) (S)

      • Surf Or Drown Vol. 1 (Hit-Boy) (A)

      • Surf Or Drown Vol. 2 (Hit-Boy) (A)

      • Victims & Villains (Musiq Soulchild & Hit-Boy) (A)

• Metro Boomin

      • Am I Dreaming (Metro Boomin Featuring Roisee & A$AP Rocky) (S)

      • Calling (Metro Boomin Featuring NAV, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie & Swae Lee) (S)

      • Creepin’ (Metro Boomin Featuring 21 Savage & The Weeknd) (S)

      • More M’s (Drake & 21 Savage) (S)

      • Oh U Went (Young Thug Featuring Drake) (S)

      • Superhero (Heroes & Villains) (Metro Boomin, Future & Chris Brown) (S)

      • Til Further Notice (Travis Scott Featuring James Blake & 21 Savage) (S)

      • Trance (Metro Boomin Featuring Travis Scott & Young Thug) (S)

      • War Bout It (Lil Durk Featuring 21 Savage) (S)

• Daniel Nigro

      • Casual (Chappell Roan) (S)

      • Divide (Dermot Kennedy) (S)

      • Guts (Olivia Rodrigo) (A)

      • Hot To Go! (Chappell Roan) (S)

      • Kaleidoscope (Chappell Roan) (S)

      • Red Wine Supernova (Chappell Roan) (S)

      • Welcome To My Island (Caroline Polachek) (S)

6. Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical

A Songwriter’s Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses.)

Edgar Barrera

      • Cuestion De Tiempo (Don Omar) (T)

      • Falsa Alarma (En Vivo) (Grupo Firme) (T)

      • Gucci Los Paños (Karol G) (T)

      • La Despedida (Christian Nodal) (T)

      • Mi Ex Tenía Razón (Karol G) (T)

      • Que Vuelvas (Various Artists) (T)

      • Un Cumbión Dolido (Christian Nodal) (T)

      • un x100to (Grupo Frontera & Bad Bunny) (T)

      • Yo Pr1mero (Rels B) (S)

Jessie Jo Dillon

      • Buried (Brandy Clark) (T)

      • Girl In The Mirror (Megan Moroney) (T)

      • Halfway To Hell (Jelly Roll) (T)

      • I Just Killed A Man (Catie Offerman) (S)

      • Memory Lane (Old Dominion) (S)

      • Neon Cowgirl (Dan + Shay) (T)

      • screen (HARDY) (T)

      • The Town In Your Heart (Lori McKenna) (T)

      • Up Above The Clouds (Cecilia’s Song) (Brandy Clark) (T)

Shane McAnally

      • Come Back To Me (Brandy Clark) (S)

      • Good With Me (Walker Hayes) (S)

      • He’s Never Gunna Change (Lauren Daigle) (S)

      • I Should Have Married You (Old Dominion) (S)

      • Independently Owned (Alex Newell & Original Broadway Cast of Shucked) (S)

      • Never Grow Up (Niall Horan) (S)

      • Start Nowhere (Sam Hunt) (S)

      • Walmart (Sam Hunt) (S)

      • We Don’t Fight Anymore (Carly Pearce & Chris Stapleton) (S)

Theron Thomas*

      • All My Life (Lil Durk Featuring J. Cole) (S)

      • Been Thinking (Tyla) (S)

      • Cheatback (Chlöe & Future) (T)

      • How We Roll (Ciara & Chris Brown) (S)

      • Make Up Your Mind (Cordae) (S)

      • Pretty Girls Walk (Big Boss Vette) (S)

      • Seven (Jung Kook & Latto) (S)

      • Told Ya (Chlöe & Missy Elliot) (T)

      • You And I (Sekou) (T)

Justin Tranter

      • Gemini Moon (Reneé Rapp) (T)

      • Honey! (Are U Coming?) (Måneskin) (S)

      • I Want More (Marisa Davila & Cast Of Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies) (S)

      • Jersey (Baby Tate) (S)

      • A Little Bit Happy (TALK) (S)

      • Pretty Girls (Reneé Rapp) (S)

      • River (Miley Cyrus) (S)

Field 1: Pop & Dance/Electronic Music

7. Best Pop Solo Performance

For new vocal or instrumental pop recordings. Singles or Tracks only.

Flowers*
Miley Cyrus

Paint The Town Red
Doja Cat

What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”]
Billie Eilish

Vampire
Olivia Rodrigo

Anti-Hero
Taylor Swift

8. Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

For new vocal or instrumental duo/group or collaborative pop recordings. Singles or Tracks only.

Thousand Miles
Miley Cyrus Featuring Brandi Carlile

Candy Necklace
Lana Del Rey Featuring Jon Batiste

Never Felt So Alone
Labrinth Featuring Billie Eilish

Karma
Taylor Swift Featuring Ice Spice

Ghost In The Machine*
SZA Featuring Phoebe Bridgers

9. Best Pop Vocal Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new pop vocal recordings.

Chemistry
Kelly Clarkson

Endless Summer Vacation
Miley Cyrus

GUTS
Olivia Rodrigo

– (Subtract)
Ed Sheeran

Midnights*
Taylor Swift

10. Best Dance/Electronic Recording

For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances. Vocal or Instrumental. Singles or tracks only.

Blackbox Life Recorder 21F
Aphex Twin
Richard D James, producer; Richard D James, mixer

Loading
James Blake
James Blake & Dom Maker, producers; James Blake, mixer

Higher Than Ever Before
Disclosure
Cirkut, Guy Lawrence & Howard Lawrence, producers; Guy Lawrence, mixer

Strong
Romy & Fred again..
Fred again.., Stuart Price & Romy, producers; Fred again.. & Stuart Price, mixers

Rumble*
Skrillex, Fred again.. & Flowdan
Fred again.. & Skrillex, producers; Skrillex, mixer

11. Best Pop Dance Recording

For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances. Vocal or Instrumental. Singles or tracks only.

Baby Don’t Hurt Me
David Guetta, Anne-Marie & Coi Leray
Johnny Goldstein, Toby Green, David Guetta & Mike Hawkins, producers; Serban    Ghenea, mixer

Miracle
Calvin Harris Featuring Ellie Goulding
Burns & Calvin Harris, producers; Calvin Harris, mixer

Padam Padam*
Kylie Minogue
Lostboy, producer; Guy Massey, mixer

One In A Million
Bebe Rexha & David Guetta
Burns & David Guetta, producers; Serban Ghenea, mixer

Rush
Troye Sivan
Styalz Fuego, Novodor & Zhone, producers; Alex Ghenea, mixer

12. Best Dance/Electronic Music Album

For vocal or instrumental albums. Albums only.

Playing Robots Into Heaven
James Blake

For That Beautiful Feeling
The Chemical Brothers

Actual Life 3 (January 1 – September 9 2022)*
Fred again..

Kx5
Kx5

Quest For Fire
Skrillex

Field 2: Rock, Metal & Alternative Music

13. Best Rock Performance

For new vocal or instrumental solo, duo/group or collaborative rock recordings.

Sculptures Of Anything Goes
Arctic Monkeys

More Than A Love Song
Black Pumas

Not Strong Enough*
Boygenius

Rescued
Foo Fighters

Lux Æterna
Metallica

14. Best Metal Performance

For new vocal or instrumental solo, duo/group or collaborative metal recordings.

Bad Man
Disturbed

Phantom Of The Opera
Ghost

72 Seasons*
Metallica

Hive Mind
Slipknot

Jaded
Spiritbox

15. Best Rock Song

A Songwriter(s) Award. Includes Rock, Hard Rock and Metal songs. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

Angry
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Andrew Watt, songwriters (The Rolling Stones)

Ballad Of A Homeschooled Girl
Daniel Nigro & Olivia Rodrigo, songwriters (Olivia Rodrigo)

Emotion Sickness
Dean Fertita, Joshua Homme, Michael Shuman, Jon Theodore & Troy Van Leeuwen, songwriters (Queens Of The Stone Age)

Not Strong Enough*
Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers & Lucy Dacus, songwriters (boygenius)

Rescued
Dave Grohl, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett & Pat Smear, songwriters (Foo Fighters)

16. Best Rock Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new rock, hard rock or metal recordings.

But Here We Are
Foo Fighters

Starcatcher
Greta Van Fleet

72 Seasons
Metallica

This Is Why*
Paramore

In Times New Roman…
Queens Of The Stone Age

17. Best Alternative Music Performance

For new vocal or instrumental solo, duo/group or collaborative Alternative music recordings.

Belinda Says
Alvvays

Body Paint
Arctic Monkeys

Cool About It
boygenius

A&W
Lana Del Rey

This Is Why*
Paramore

18. Best Alternative Music Album

Vocal or Instrumental.

The Car
Arctic Monkeys

The Record*
boygenius

Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd
Lana Del Rey

Cracker Island
Gorillaz

I Inside The Old Year Dying
PJ Harvey

Field 3: R&B, Rap & Spoken Word Poetry

19. Best R&B Performance

For new vocal or instrumental R&B recordings.

Summer Too Hot
Chris Brown

Back To Love
Robert Glasper Featuring SiR & Alex Isley

ICU*
Coco Jones

How Does It Make You Feel
Victoria Monét

Kill Bill
SZA

20. Best Traditional R&B Performance

For new vocal or instrumental traditional R&B recordings.

Simple
Babyface Featuring Coco Jones

Lucky
Kenyon Dixon

Hollywood
Victoria Monét Featuring Earth, Wind & Fire & Hazel Monét

Good Morning*
PJ Morton Featuring Susan Carol

Love Language
SZA

21. Best R&B Song

A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

Angel
Halle Bailey, Theron Feemster & Coleridge Tillman, songwriters (Halle)

Back To Love
Darryl Andrew Farris, Robert Glasper & Alexandra Isley, songwriters (Robert Glasper Featuring SiR & Alex Isley)

ICU
Darhyl Camper Jr., Courtney Jones, Raymond Komba & Roy Keisha Rockette, songwriters (Coco Jones)

On My Mama
Dernst Emile II, Jeff Gitelman, Victoria Monét, Kyla Moscovich, Jamil Pierre & Charles Williams, songwriters (Victoria Monét)

Snooze*
Kenny B. Edmonds, Blair Ferguson, Khris Riddick-Tynes, Solána Rowe & Leon Thomas, songwriters (SZA)

22. Best Progressive R&B Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of newly recorded progressive vocal tracks derivative of R&B.

Since I Have A Lover
6LACK

The Love Album: Off The Grid
Diddy

Nova
Terrace Martin And James Fauntleroy

The Age Of Pleasure
Janelle Monáe

SOS*
SZA

23. Best R&B Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new R&B recordings.

Girls Night Out
Babyface

What I Didn’t Tell You (Deluxe)
Coco Jones

Special Occasion
Emily King

JAGUAR II*
Victoria Monét

CLEAR 2: SOFT LIFE EP
Summer Walker

24. Best Rap Performance

For a Rap performance. Singles or Tracks only.

The Hillbillies
Baby Keem Featuring Kendrick Lamar

Love Letter
Black Thought

Rich Flex
Drake & 21 Savage

SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS*
Killer Mike Featuring André 3000, Future And Eryn Allen Kane

Players
Coi Leray

25. Best Melodic Rap Performance

For a solo or collaborative performance containing both elements of R&B melodies and Rap.

Sittin’ On Top Of The World
Burna Boy Featuring 21 Savage

Attention
Doja Cat

Spin Bout U
Drake & 21 Savage

All My Life*
Lil Durk Featuring J. Cole

Low
SZA

26. Best Rap Song

A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

Attention
Rogét Chahayed, Amala Zandile Dlamini & Ari Starace, songwriters (Doja Cat)

Barbie World [From Barbie The Album]
Isis Naija Gaston, Ephrem Louis Lopez Jr. & Onika Maraj, songwriters (Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice Featuring Aqua)

Just Wanna Rock
Mohamad Camara, Symere Woods & Javier Mercado, songwriters (Lil Uzi Vert)

Rich Flex
Brytavious Chambers, Isaac “Zac” De Boni, Aubrey Graham, J. Gwin, Anderson Hernandez, Michael “Finatik” Mule & Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, songwriters (Drake & 21 Savage)

SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS*
Andre Benjamin, Paul Beauregard, James Blake, Michael Render, Tim Moore & Dion Wilson, songwriters (Killer Mike Featuring André 3000, Future And Eryn Allen Kane)

27. Best Rap Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new rap recordings.

Her Loss
Drake & 21 Savage

MICHAEL*
Killer Mike

HEROES & VILLIANS
Metro Boomin

King’s Disease III
Nas

UTOPIA
Travis Scott

28. Best Spoken Word Poetry Album

For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new spoken word poetry recordings.

A-You’re Not Wrong B-They’re Not Either: The Fukc-It Pill Revisited
Queen Sheba

For Your Consideration’24 -The Album
Prentice Powell and Shawn William

Grocery Shopping With My Mother
Kevin Powell

The Light Inside*
J. Ivy

When The Poems Do What They Do
Aja Monet

Field 4: Jazz, Traditional Pop, Contemporary Instrumental & Musical Theater

29. Best Jazz Performance

For new vocal or instrumental solo, duo/group or collaborative jazz recordings.

Movement 18′ (Heroes)
Jon Batiste

Basquiat
Lakecia Benjamin

Vulnerable (Live)
Adam Blackstone Featuring The Baylor Project & Russell Ferranté

But Not For Me
Fred Hersch & Esperanza Spalding

Tight*
Samara Joy

30. Best Jazz Vocal Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new vocal jazz recordings.

For Ella 2
Patti Austin Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band

Alive At The Village Vanguard
Fred Hersch & Esperanza Spalding

Lean In
Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke

Mélusine
Cécile McLorin Salvant

How Love Begins*
Nicole Zuraitis

31. Best Jazz Instrumental Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new instrumental jazz recordings.

The Source
Kenny Barron

Phoenix
Lakecia Benjamin

Legacy: The Instrumental Jawn*
Adam Blackstone

The Winds Of Change*
Billy Childs

Dream Box
Pat Metheny

32. Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new ensemble jazz recordings.

The Chick Corea Symphony Tribute – Ritmo
ADDA Simfònica, Josep Vicent, Emilio Solla

Dynamic Maximum Tension
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society

Basie Swings The Blues*
The Count Basie Orchestra Directed By Scotty Barnhart

Olympians
Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orkest

The Charles Mingus Centennial Sessions
Mingus Big Band

33. Best Latin Jazz Album

For vocal or instrumental albums containing greater than 75% playing time of newly recorded material. The intent of this category is to recognize recordings that represent the blending of jazz with Latin, Iberian-American, Brazilian, and Argentinian tango music.

Quietude
Eliane Elias

My Heart Speaks
Ivan Lins With The Tblisi Symphony Orchestra

Vox Humana
Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band

Cometa
Luciana Souza & Trio Corrente

El Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2*
Miguel Zenón & Luis Perdomo

34. Best Alternative Jazz Album

For vocal or instrumental albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new Alternative jazz recordings.

Love In Exile
Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily

Quality Over Opinion
Louis Cole

SuperBlue: The Iridescent Spree
Kurt Elling, Charlie Hunter, SuperBlue

Live At The Piano
Cory Henry

The Omnichord Real Book*
Meshell Ndegeocello

35. Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new traditional pop recordings.

To Steve With Love: Liz Callaway Celebrates Sondheim
Liz Callaway

Pieces Of Treasure
Rickie Lee Jones

Bewitched*
Laufey

Holidays Around The World
Pentatonix

Only The Strong Survive
Bruce Springsteen

Sondheim Unplugged (The NYC Sessions), Vol. 3
(Various Artists)

36. Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new contemporary instrumental recordings.

As We Speak*
Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, Featuring Rakesh Chaurasia

On Becoming
House Of Waters

Jazz Hands
Bob James

The Layers
Julian Lage

All One
Ben Wendel

37. Best Musical Theater Album

For albums containing greater than 51% playing time of new recordings. Award to the principal vocalist(s), and the album producer(s) of 50% or more playing time of the album. The lyricist(s) and composer(s) of 50 % or more of a score of a new recording are eligible for an Award if any previous recording of said score has not been nominated in this category.

Kimberly Akimbo
John Clancy, David Stone & Jeanine Tesori, producers; Jeanine Tesori, composer; David Lindsay-Abaire, lyricist (Original Broadway Cast)

Parade
Micaela Diamond, Alex Joseph Grayson, Jake Pedersen & Ben Platt, principal vocalists; Jason Robert Brown & Jeffrey Lesser, producers; Jason Robert Brown, composer & lyricist (2023 Broadway Cast)

Shucked
Brandy Clark, Jason Howland, Shane McAnally & Billy Jay Stein, producers; Brandy Clark & Shane McAnally, composers/lyricists (Original Broadway Cast)

Some Like It Hot*
Christian Borle, J. Harrison Ghee, Adrianna Hicks & NaTasha Yvette Williams, principal vocalists; Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Bryan Carter, Scott M. Riesett, Charlie Rosen & Marc Shaiman, producers; Scott Wittman, lyricist; Marc Shaiman, composer & lyricist (Original Broadway Cast)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Annaleigh Ashford & Josh Groban, principal vocalists; Thomas Kail & Alex Lacamoire, producers (Stephen Sondheim, composer & lyricist) (2023 Broadway Cast)

Field 5: Country & American Roots Music

38. Best Country Solo Performance

For new vocal or instrumental solo country recordings.

In Your Love
Tyler Childers

Buried
Brandy Clark

Fast Car
Luke Combs

The Last Thing On My Mind
Dolly Parton

White Horse*
Chris Stapleton

39. Best Country Duo/Group Performance

For new vocal or instrumental duo/group or collaborative country recordings.

High Note
Dierks Bentley Featuring Billy Strings

Nobody’s Nobody
Brothers Osborne

I Remember Everything*
Zach Bryan Featuring Kacey Musgraves

Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold)
Vince Gill & Paul Franklin

Save Me
Jelly Roll With Lainey Wilson

We Don’t Fight Anymore
Carly Pearce Featuring Chris Stapleton

40. Best Country Song

A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

Buried
Brandy Clark & Jessie Jo Dillon, songwriters (Brandy Clark)

I Remember Everything
Zach Bryan & Kacey Musgraves, songwriters (Zach Bryan Featuring Kacey Musgraves)

In Your Love
Tyler Childers & Geno Seale, songwriters (Tyler Childers)

Last Night
John Byron, Ashley Gorley, Jacob Kasher Hindlin & Ryan Vojtesak, songwriters (Morgan Wallen)

White Horse*
Chris Stapleton & Dan Wilson, songwriters (Chris Stapleton)

41. Best Country Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new country recordings.

Rolling Up The Welcome Mat
Kelsea Ballerini

Brothers Osborne
Brothers Osborne

Zach Bryan
Zach Bryan

Rustin’ In The Rain
Tyler Childers

Bell Bottom Country*
Lainey Wilson

42. Best American Roots Performance

For new vocal or instrumental American Roots recordings.  This is for performances in the style of any of the subgenres encompassed in the American Roots Music field including bluegrass, blues, folk or regional roots. Award to the artist(s).

Butterfly
Jon Batiste

Heaven Help Us All
The Blind Boys Of Alabama

Inventing The Wheel
Madison Cunningham

You Louisiana Man
Rhiannon Giddens

Eve Was Black*
Allison Russell

43. Best Americana Performance

For new vocal or instrumental Americana performance. Award to the artist(s).

Friendship
The Blind Boys Of Alabama

Help Me Make It Through The Night
Tyler Childers

Dear Insecurity*
Brandy Clark Featuring Brandi Carlile

King Of Oklahoma
Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit

The Returner
Allison Russell

44. Best American Roots Song

A Songwriter(s) Award. Includes Americana, bluegrass, traditional blues, contemporary blues, folk or regional roots songs. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

Blank Page
Michael Trotter Jr. & Tanya Trotter, songwriters (The War And Treaty)

California Sober
Aaron Allen, William Apostol & Jon Weisberger, songwriters (Billy Strings Featuring Willie Nelson)

Cast Iron Skillet*
Jason Isbell, songwriter (Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit)

Dear Insecurity
Brandy Clark & Michael Pollack, songwriters (Brandy Clark Featuring Brandi Carlile)

The Returner
Drew Lindsay, JT Nero & Allison Russell, songwriters (Allison Russell)

45. Best Americana Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new vocal or instrumental Americana recordings.

Brandy Clark
Brandy Clark

The Chicago Sessions
Rodney Crowell

You’re The One
Rhiannon Giddens

Weathervanes*
Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit

The Returner
Allison Russell

46. Best Bluegrass Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new vocal or instrumental bluegrass recordings.

Radio John: Songs of John Hartford
Sam Bush

Lovin’ Of The Game
Michael Cleveland

Mighty Poplar
Mighty Poplar

Bluegrass
Willie Nelson

Me/And/Dad
Billy Strings

City Of Gold*
Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway

47. Best Traditional Blues Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new vocal or instrumental traditional blues recordings.

Ridin’
Eric Bibb

The Soul Side Of Sipp
Mr. Sipp

Life Don’t Miss Nobody
Tracy Nelson

Teardrops For Magic Slim Live At Rosa’s Lounge
John Primer

All My Love For You*
Bobby Rush

48. Best Contemporary Blues Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new vocal or instrumental contemporary blues recordings.

Death Wish Blues
Samantha Fish And Jesse Dayton

Healing Time
Ruthie Foster

Live In London
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Blood Harmony*
Larkin Poe

LaVette!
Bettye LaVette

49. Best Folk Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new vocal or instrumental folk recordings.

Traveling Wildfire
Dom Flemons

I Only See The Moon
The Milk Carton Kids

Joni Mitchell At Newport [Live]*
Joni Mitchell

Celebrants
Nickel Creek

Jubilee
Old Crow Medicine Show

Seven Psalms
Paul Simon

Folkocracy
Rufus Wainwright

50. Best Regional Roots Music Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new vocal or instrumental regional roots music recordings.

New Beginnings* (tie)
Buckwheat Zydeco Jr. & The Legendary Ils Sont Partis Band

Live At The 2023 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers

Live: Orpheum Theater Nola
Lost Bayou Ramblers & Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Made In New Orleans
New Breed Brass Band

Too Much To Hold
New Orleans Nightcrawlers

Live At The Maple Leaf* (tie)
The Rumble Featuring Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr.

Field 6: Gospel & Contemporary Christian Music

51. Best Gospel Performance/Song

This award is given to the artist(s) and songwriter(s) (for new compositions) for the best traditional Christian, roots gospel or contemporary gospel single or track.

God Is Good
Stanley Brown Featuring Hezekiah Walker, Kierra Sheard & Karen Clark Sheard; Stanley Brown, Karen V Clark Sheard, Kaylah Jiavanni Harvey, Rodney Jerkins, Elyse Victoria Johnson, J Drew Sheard II, Kierra Valencia Sheard & Hezekiah Walker, songwriters

Feel Alright (Blessed)
Erica Campbell; Erica Campbell, Warryn Campbell, William Weatherspoon, Juan Winans & Marvin L. Winans, songwriters

Lord Do It For Me (Live)
Zacardi Cortez; Marcus Calyen, Zacardi Cortez & Kerry Douglas, songwriters

God Is
Melvin Crispell III

All Things*
Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, songwriter

52. Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

This award is given to the artist(s) and songwriter(s) (for new compositions) for the best contemporary Christian music single or track, (including pop, rap/hip-hop, Latin, or rock.)

Believe
Blessing Offor; Hank Bentley & Blessing Offor, songwriters

Firm Foundation (He Won’t) [Live]
Cody Carnes

Thank God I Do
Lauren Daigle; Lauren Daigle & Jason Ingram, songwriters

Love Me Like I Am
for KING & COUNTRY Featuring Jordin Sparks

Your Power*
Lecrae & Tasha Cobbs Leonard

God Problems
Maverick City Music, Chandler Moore & Naomi Raine; Daniel Bashta, Chris Davenport, Ryan Ellis & Naomi Raine, songwriters

53. Best Gospel Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of newly recorded, vocal, traditional or contemporary/R&B gospel music recordings.

I Love You
Erica Campbell

Hymns (Live)
Tasha Cobbs Leonard

The Maverick Way
Maverick City Music

My Truth
Jonathan McReynolds

All Things New: Live In Orlando*
Tye Tribbett

54. Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of newly recorded, vocal, contemporary Christian music, including pop, rap/hip hop, Latin, or rock recordings.

My Tribe
Blessing Offor

Emanuel
Da’ T.R.U.T.H.

Lauren Daigle
Lauren Daigle

Church Clothes 4*
Lecrae

I Believe
Phil Wickham

55. Best Roots Gospel Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of newly recorded, vocal, traditional/roots gospel music, including country, Southern gospel, bluegrass, and Americana recordings.

Tribute To The King
The Blackwood Brothers Quartet

Echoes Of The South*
Blind Boys Of Alabama

Songs That Pulled Me Through The Tough Times
Becky Isaacs Bowman

Meet Me At The Cross
Brian Free & Assurance

Shine: The Darker The Night The Brighter The Light
Gaither Vocal Band

Field 7: Latin, Global, Reggae & New Age, Ambient, or Chant

56. Best Latin Pop Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new Latin pop recordings.

La Cuarta Hoja
Pablo Alborán

Beautiful Humans, Vol. 1
AleMor

A Ciegas
Paula Arenas

La Neta
Pedro Capó

Don Juan
Maluma

X Mí (Vol. 1)*
Gaby Moreno

57. Best Música Urbana Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new Música Urbana recordings.

SATURNO
Rauw Alejandro

MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO*
Karol G

DATA
Tainy

58. Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new Latin rock or alternative recordings.

MARTÍNEZ
Cabra

Leche De Tigre
Diamante Eléctrico

Vida Cotidiana* (tie)
Juanes

De Todas Las Flores* (tie)
Natalia Lafourcade

EADDA9223
Fito Paez

59. Best Música Mexicana Album (Including Tejano)

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new regional Mexican (banda, norteño, corridos, gruperos, mariachi, ranchera and Tejano) recordings.

Bordado A Mano
Ana Bárbara

La Sánchez
Lila Downs

Motherflower
Flor De Toloache

Amor Como En Las Películas De Antes
Lupita Infante

GÉNESIS*
Peso Pluma

60. Best Tropical Latin Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new tropical Latin recordings.

Siembra: 45º Aniversario (En Vivo en el Coliseo de Puerto Rico, 14 de Mayo 2022)*
Rubén Blades Con Roberto Delgado & Orquesta

Voy A Ti
Luis Figueroa

Niche Sinfónico
Grupo Niche Y Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia

VIDA
Omara Portuondo

MIMY & TONY
Tony Succar, Mimy Succar

Escalona Nunca Se Había Grabado Así
Carlos Vives

61. Best Global Music Performance

For new vocal or instrumental Global music recordings.

Shadow Forces
Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer & Shahzad Ismaily

Alone
Burna Boy

FEEL
Davido

Milagro Y Disastre
Silvana Estrada

Abundance In Millets
Falu & Gaurav Shah (Featuring PM Narendra Modi)

Pashto*
Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain Featuring Rakesh Chaurasia

Todo Colores
Ibrahim Maalouf Featuring Cimafunk & Tank And The Bangas

62. Best African Music Performance

Amapiano
ASAKE & Olamide

City Boys
Burna Boy

UNAVAILABLE
Davido Featuring Musa Keys

Rush
Ayra Starr

Water*
Tyla

63. Best Global Music Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new vocal or instrumental Global Music recordings.

Epifanías
Susana Baca

History
Bokanté

I Told Them…
Burna Boy

Timeless
Davido

This Moment*
Shakti

64. Best Reggae Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new reggae recordings.

Born For Greatness
Buju Banton

Simma
Beenie Man

Cali Roots Riddim 2023
Collie Buddz

No Destroyer
Burning Spear

Colors Of Royal*
Julian Marley & Antaeus

65. Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new vocal or instrumental new age recordings.

Aquamarine
Kirsten Agresta-Copely

Moments Of Beauty
Omar Akram

Some Kind Of Peace (Piano Reworks)
Ólafur Arnalds

Ocean Dreaming Ocean
David Darling & Hans Christian

So She Howls*
Carla Patullo Featuring Tonality And The Scorchio Quartet

Field 8: Children’s, Comedy, Audio Books, Visual Media & Music Video/Film

66. Best Children’s Music Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new musical or spoken word recordings that are created and intended specifically for children.

Ahhhhh!
Andrew & Polly

Ancestars
Pierce Freelon & Nnenna Freelon

Hip Hope For Kids!
DJ Willy Wow!

Taste The Sky
Uncle Jumbo

We Grow Together Preschool Songs*
123 Andrés

67. Best Comedy Album

For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new recordings.

I Wish You Would
Trevor Noah

I’m An Entertainer
Wanda Sykes

Selective Outrage
Chris Rock

Someone You Love
Sarah Silverman

What’s In A Name?*
Dave Chappelle

68. Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording

Big Tree
Meryl Streep

Boldly Go: Reflections On A Life Of Awe And Wonder
William Shatner

The Creative Act: A Way Of Being
Rick Rubin

It’s Ok To Be Angry About Capitalism
Senator Bernie Sanders

The Light We Carry: Overcoming In Uncertain Times*
Michelle Obama

69. Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media

Award to the principal artist(s) and/or ‘in studio’ producer(s) of a majority of the tracks on the album.  In the absence of both, award to the one or two individuals proactively responsible for the concept and musical direction of the album and for the selection of artists, songs and producers, as applicable. Award also goes to appropriately credited music supervisor(s).

AURORA
(Daisy Jones & The Six)

Barbie The Album*
(Various Artists)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From And Inspired By
(Various Artists)

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3: Awesome Mix, Vol. 3
(Various Artists)

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Weird Al Yankovic

70. Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media (Includes Film And Television)

Award to Composer(s) for an original score created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current legitimate motion picture, television show or series, or other visual media.

Barbie
Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt, composers

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever*
Ludwig Göransson, composer

The Fabelmans
John Williams, composer

Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny
John Williams, composer

Oppenheimer
Ludwig Göransson, composer

71.  Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media

Award to Composer(s) for an original score created specifically for, or as a companion to, video games and other interactive media.

Call Of Duty®: Modern Warfare II
Sarah Schachner, composer

God Of War Ragnarök
Bear McCreary, composer

Hogwarts Legacy
Peter Murray, J Scott Rakozy & Chuck E. Myers “Sea”, composers

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor*
Stephen Barton & Gordy Haab, composers

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical
Jess Serro, Tripod & Austin Wintory, composers

72. Best Song Written For Visual Media

A Songwriter(s) award. For a song (melody & lyrics) written specifically for a motion picture, television, video games or other visual media, and released for the first time during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.)

Barbie World [From “Barbie The Album”]
Naija Gaston, Ephrem Louis Lopez Jr. & Onika Maraj, songwriters (Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice Featuring Aqua)

Dance The Night [From “Barbie The Album”]
Caroline Ailin, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Dua Lipa)

I’m Just Ken [From “Barbie The Album”]
Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Ryan Gosling)

Lift Me Up [From “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Music From And Inspired By”]
Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson, Robyn Fenty & Temilade Openiyi, songwriters (Rihanna)

What Was I Made For? [From “Barbie The Album”]*
Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)

73. Best Music Video

Award to the artist, video director, and video producer.

I’m Only Sleeping*
(The Beatles)
Em Cooper, video director; Jonathan Clyde, Sophie Hilton, Sue Loughlin & Laura Thomas, video producers

In Your Love
Tyler Childers
Bryan Schlam, video director; Kacie Barton, Silas House, Nicholas Robespierre, Ian Thornton & Whitney Wolanin, video producers

What Was I Made For
Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish, video director; Michelle An, Chelsea Dodson & David Moore, video producers

Count Me Out
Kendrick Lamar
Dave Free & Kendrick Lamar, video directors; Jason Baum & Jamie Rabineau, video producers

Rush
Troye Sivan
Gordon Von Steiner, video director; Kelly McGee, video producer

74. Best Music Film

For concert/performance films or music documentaries. Award to the artist, video director, and video producer.

Moonage Daydream*
(David Bowie)
Brett Morgen, video director; Brett Morgen, video producer

How I’m Feeling Now
Lewis Capaldi
Joe Pearlman, video director; Sam Bridger, Isabel Davis & Alice Rhodes, video producers

Live From Paris, The Big Steppers Tour
Kendrick Lamar
Mike Carson, Dave Free & Mark Ritchie, video directors; Cornell Brown, Debra Davis, Jared Heinke & Jamie Rabineau, video producers

I Am Everything
(Little Richard)
Lisa Cortés, video director; Caryn Capotosto, Lisa Cortés, Robert Friedman & Liz Yale Marsh, video producers

Dear Mama
(Tupac Shakur)
Allen Hughes, video director; Joshua Garcia, Loren Gomez, James Jenkins & Stef Smith, video producers

Field 9: Package, Notes & Historical

75. Best Recording Package

The Art Of Forgetting
Caroline Rose, art director (Caroline Rose)

Cadenza 21′
Hsing-Hui Cheng, art director (Ensemble Cadenza 21′)

Electrophonic Chronic
Perry Shall, art director (The Arcs)

Gravity Falls
Iam8bit, art director (Brad Breeck)

Migration
Yu Wei, art director (Leaf Yeh)

Stumpwork*
Luke Brooks & James Theseus Buck, art directors (Dry Cleaning)

76. Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package

The Collected Works Of Neutral Milk Hotel
Jeff Mangum, Daniel Murphy & Mark Ohe, art directors (Neutral Milk Hotel)

For The Birds: The Birdsong Project*
Jeri Heiden & John Heiden, art directors (Various Artists)

Gieo
Duy Dao, art director (Ngot)

Inside: Deluxe Box Set
Bo Burnham & Daniel Calderwood, art directors (Bo Burnham)

Words & Music, May 1965 – Deluxe Edition
Masaki Koike, art director (Lou Reed)

77. Best Album Notes

Evenings At The Village Gate: John Coltrane With Eric Dolphy (Live)
Ashley Kahn, album notes writer (John Coltrane & Eric Dolphy)

I Can Almost See Houston: The Complete Howdy Glenn
Scott B. Bomar, album notes writer (Howdy Glenn)

Mogadishu’s Finest: The Al Uruba Sessions
Vik Sohonie, album notes writer (Iftin Band)

Playing For The Man At The Door: Field Recordings From The Collection Of Mack McCormick, 1958–1971
Jeff Place & John Troutman, album notes writers (Various Artists)

Written In Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos*
Robert Gordon & Deanie Parker, album notes writers (Various Artists)

78. Best Historical Album

Fragments – Time Out Of Mind Sessions (1996-1997): The Bootleg Series, Vol. 17
Steve Berkowitz & Jeff Rosen, compilation producers; Steve Addabbo, Greg Calbi, Steve Fallone, Chris Shaw & Mark Wilder, mastering engineers (Bob Dylan)

The Moaninest Moan Of Them All: The Jazz Saxophone of Loren McMurray, 1920-1922 Colin Hancock, Meagan Hennessey & Richard Martin, compilation producers; Richard Martin, mastering engineer; Richard Martin, restoration engineer (Various Artists)

Playing For The Man At The Door: Field Recordings From The Collection Of Mack McCormick, 1958–1971
Jeff Place & John Troutman, compilation producers; Randy LeRoy & Charlie Pilzer, mastering engineers; Mike Petillo & Charlie Pilzer, restoration engineers (Various Artists)

Words & Music, May 1965 – Deluxe Edition
Laurie Anderson, Don Fleming, Jason Stern, Matt Sulllivan & Hal Willner, compilation producers; John Baldwin, mastering engineer; John Baldwin, restoration engineer (Lou Reed)

Written In Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos*
Robert Gordon, Deanie Parker, Cheryl Pawelski, Michele Smith & Mason Williams, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer; Michael Graves, restoration engineer (Various Artists)

Field 10: Production, Engineering, Composition & Arrangement

79. Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

An Engineer’s Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses.)

Desire, I Want To Turn Into You
Macks Faulkron, Daniel Harle, Caroline Polachek & Geoff Swan, engineers; Mike Bozzi & Chris Gehringer, mastering engineers (Caroline Polachek)

History
Nic Hard, engineer; Dave McNair, mastering engineer (Bokanté)

JAGUAR II*
John Kercy, Kyle Mann, Victoria Monét, Patrizio “Teezio” Pigliapoco, Neal H Pogue & Todd Robinson, engineers; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer (Victoria Monét)

Multitudes
Michael Harris, Robbie Lackritz, Joseph Lorge & Blake Mills, engineers (Feist)

The Record
Owen Lantz, Will Maclellan, Catherine Marks, Mike Mogis, Bobby Mota, Kaushlesh “Garry” Purohit & Sarah Tudzin, engineers; Pat Sullivan, mastering engineer (boygenius)

80. Best Engineered Album, Classical

An Engineer’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.)

The Blue Hour
Patrick Dillett, Mitchell Graham, Jesse Lewis, Kyle Pyke, Andrew Scheps & John Weston, engineers; Helge Sten, mastering engineer (Shara Nova & A Far Cry)

Contemporary American Composers*
David Frost & Charlie Post, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Riccardo Muti & Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Fandango
Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, engineers; Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, mastering engineers (Gustavo Dudamel, Anne Akiko Meyers, Gustavo Castillo & Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Sanlikol: A Gentleman Of Istanbul – Symphony For Strings, Percussion, Piano, Oud, Ney & Tenor
Christopher Moretti & John Weston, engineers; Shauna Barravecchio & Jesse Lewis, mastering engineers (Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, George Lernis & A Far Cry)

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 & Schulhoff: Five Pieces
Mark Donahue, engineer; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)

Field 10: Production, Engineering, Composition & Arrangement

81. Producer Of The Year, Classical

A Producer’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.)

David Frost
The American Project (Yuja Wang, Teddy Abrams, Louisville Orchestra) (A)
Arc II – Ravel, Brahms, Shostakovich (Orion Weiss) (A)
Blanchard: Champion (Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Latonia Moore, Ryan Speedo Green, Eric Owens, Stephanie Blythe, Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra) (A)
Contemporary American Composers (Riccardo Muti & Chicago Symphony Orchestra) (A)
The Guitar Player (Mattias Schulstad) (A)
Mysterium (Anne Akiko Meyers, Grant Gershon & Los Angeles Master Chorale) (A)
Verdi: Rigoletto (Daniele Rustioni, Piotr Beczala, Quinn Kelsey, Rosa Feola, Varduhi Abrahamyan, Andrea Mastroni, The Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra) (A)

Morten Lindberg
An Old Hall Ladymass (Catalina Vicens & Trio Mediæval) (A)
Thoresen: Lyden Av Arktis – La Terra Meravigliosa (Christian Kluxen & Arktisk Filharmoni) (A)
The Trondheim Concertos (Sigurd Imsen & Baroque Ensemble Of The Trondheim Symphony Orchestra) (A)
Yggdrasil (Tove Ramlo-Ystad & Cantus) (A)

Dmitriy Lipay
Adès: Dante (Gustavo Dudamel & Los Angeles Philharmonic) (A) Fandango (Gustavo Dudamel, Anne Akiko Meyers & Los Angeles Philharmonic) (A)
Price: Symphony No. 4; Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony (Yannick Nézet-Séguin & Philadelphia Orchestra) (A)
Rachmaninoff: The Piano Concertos & Paganini Rhapsody (Yuja Wang, Gustavo Dudamel & Los Angeles Philharmonic) (A)
Walker: Lyric For Strings; Folksongs For Orchestra; Lilacs For Voice & Orchestra; Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony (Asher Fisch & Seattle Symphony) (A)

Elaine Martone*
Ascenso (Santiago Cañón-Valencia) (A)
Berg: Three Pieces From Lyric Suite; Strauss: Suite From Der Rosenkavalier (Franz Welser-Möst & The Cleveland Orchestra) (A)
Between Breaths (Third Coast Percussion) (A)
Difficult Grace (Seth Parker Woods) (A)
Man Up / Man Down (Constellation Men’s Ensemble) (A)
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 (Franz Welser-Möst & The Cleveland Orchestra) (A)
Rachmaninoff & Gershwin: Transcriptions By Earl Wild (John Wilson) (A)
Sirventés – Music From The Iranian Female Composers Association (Brian Thornton, Katherine Bormann, Alicia Koelz, Eleisha Nelson, Amahl Arulanadam & Nathan Petipas) (A)
Walker: Antifonys; Lilacs; Sinfonias Nos. 4 & 5 (Franz Welser-Möst & The Cleveland Orchestra) (A)

Brian Pidgeon
Fuchs: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 (John Wilson & Sinfonia Of London) (A)
Music For Strings (John Wilson & Sinfonia Of London) (A)
Nielsen: Violin Concerto; Symphony No. 4 (James Ehnes, Edward Gardner & Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra) (A)
Pierre Sancan – A Musical Tribute (Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Yan Pascal Tortelier & BBC Philharmonic) (A)
Poulenc: Orchestral Works (Bramwell Tovey & BBC Concert Orchestra) (A)
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3; Voclaise; The Isle Of The Dead (John Wilson & Sinfonia Of London) (A)
Schubert: Symphonies, Vol. 3 (Edward Gardner & City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) (A)
Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 12 & 15 (John Storgårds & BBC Philharmonic) (A)
Tchaikovsky: Orchestral Works (Alpesh Chauhan & BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra) (A)

82. Best Remixed Recording

(A Remixer’s Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses for identification.) Singles or Tracks only.)

Alien Love Call
BADBADNOTGOOD, remixers (Turnstile & BADBADNOTGOOD Featuring Blood Orange)

New Gold (Dom Dolla Remix)
Dom Dolla, remixer (Gorillaz Featuring Tame Impala & Bootie Brown)

Reviver (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Remix)
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, remixer (Lane 8)

Wagging Tongue (Wet Leg Remix)*
Wet Leg, remixers (Depeche Mode)

Workin’ Hard (Terry Hunter Remix)
Terry Hunter, remixer (Mariah Carey)

83. Best Immersive Audio Album

For vocal or instrumental albums in any genre.  Must be commercially released for physical sale or on an eligible streaming or download service and must provide a new immersive mix of four or more channels.  Award to the immersive mix engineer, immersive producer (if any) and immersive mastering engineer (if any).

Act 3 (Immersive Edition)
Ryan Ulyate, immersive mix engineer; Michael Romanowski, immersive mastering engineer; Ryan Ulyate, immersive producer (Ryan Ulyate)

Blue Clear Sky
Chuck Ainlay, immersive mix engineer; Michael Romanowski, immersive mastering engineer; Chuck Ainlay, immersive producer (George Strait)

The Diary Of Alicia Keys*
George Massenburg & Eric Schilling, immersive mix engineers; Michael Romanowski, immersive mastering engineer; Alicia Keys & Ann Mincieli, immersive producers (Alicia Keys)

God Of War Ragnarök (Original Soundtrack)
Eric Schilling, immersive mix engineer; Michael Romanowski, immersive mastering engineer; Kellogg Boynton, Peter Scaturro & Herbert Waltl, immersive producers (Bear McCreary)

Silence Between Songs
Aaron Short, immersive mastering engineer (Madison Beer)

84. Best Instrumental Composition

A Composer’s Award for an original composition (not an adaptation) first released during the Eligibility Year. Singles or Tracks only.

Amerikkan Skin
Lakecia Benjamin, composer (Lakecia Benjamin Featuring Angela Davis)

Can You Hear The Music
Ludwig Göransson, composer (Ludwig Göransson)

Cutey And The Dragon
Gordon Goodwin & Raymond Scott, composers (Quartet San Francisco Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band)

Helena’s Theme*
John Williams, composer (John Williams)

Motion
Edgar Meyer, composer (Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain Featuring Rakesh Chaurasia)

85. Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella

An Arranger’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

Angels We Have Heard On High
Nkosilathi Emmanuel Sibanda, arranger (Just 6)

Can You Hear The Music
Ludwig Göransson, arranger (Ludwig Göransson)

Folsom Prison Blues*
John Carter Cash, Tommy Emmanuel, Markus Illko, Janet Robin & Roberto Luis Rodriguez, arrangers (The String Revolution Featuring Tommy Emmanuel)

I Remember Mingus
Hilario Duran, arranger (Hilario Duran And His Latin Jazz Big Band Featuring Paquito D’Rivera)

Paint It Black
Esin Aydingoz, Chris Bacon & Alana Da Fonseca, arrangers (Wednesday Addams)

86. Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals

An Arranger’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

April In Paris
Gordon Goodwin, arranger (Patti Austin Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band)

Com Que Voz (Live)
John Beasley & Maria Mendes, arrangers (Maria Mendes Featuring John Beasley & Metropole Orkest)

Fenestra
Godwin Louis, arranger (Cécile McLorin Salvant)

In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning*
Erin Bentlage, Jacob Collier, Sara Gazarek, Johnaye Kendrick & Amanda Taylor, arrangers (säje Featuring Jacob Collier)

Lush Life
Kendric McCallister, arranger (Samara Joy)

Field 11: Classical

87. Best Orchestral Performance

Award to the Conductor and to the Orchestra.

Adès: Dante*
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Bartók: Concerto For Orchestra; Four Pieces
Karina Canellakis, conductor (Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra)

Price: Symphony No. 4; Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor (The Philadelphia Orchestra)

Scriabin: Symphony No. 2; The Poem Of Ecstasy
JoAnn Falletta, conductor (Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra)

Stravinsky: The Rite Of Spring
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor (San Francisco Symphony)

88. Best Opera Recording

Award to the Conductor, Album Producer(s) and Principal Soloists, and to the Composer and Librettist (if applicable) of a world premiere Opera recording only.

Blanchard: Champion*
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Ryan Speedo Green, Latonia Moore & Eric Owens; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)

Corigliano: The Lord Of Cries
Gil Rose, conductor; Anthony Roth Costanzo, Kathryn Henry, Jarrett Ott & David Portillo; Gil Rose, producer (Boston Modern Orchestra Project & Odyssey Opera Chorus)

Little: Black Lodge
Timur; Andrew McKenna Lee & David T. Little, producers (The Dime Museum; Isaura String Quartet)

89. Best Choral Performance

Award to the Conductor, and to the Choral Director and/or Chorus Master where applicable and to the Choral Organization/Ensemble.

Carols After A Plague
Donald Nally, conductor (The Crossing)

The House Of Belonging
Craig Hella Johnson, conductor (Miró Quartet; Conspirare)

Ligeti: Lux Aeterna
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor (San Francisco Symphony Chorus)

Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil
Steven Fox, conductor (The Clarion Choir)

Saariaho: Reconnaissance*
Nils Schweckendiek, conductor (Uusinta Ensemble; Helsinki Chamber Choir)

90. Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

For new recordings of works with chamber or small ensemble (twenty-four or fewer members, not including the conductor). One Award to the ensemble and one Award to the conductor, if applicable.

American Stories
Anthony McGill & Pacifica Quartet

Beethoven For Three: Symphony No. 6, ‘Pastorale’ And Op. 1, No. 3
Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax & Leonidas Kavakos

Between Breaths
Third Coast Percussion

Rough Magic*
Roomful Of Teeth

Uncovered, Vol. 3: Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, William Grant Still & George Walker
Catalyst Quartet

Field 11: Classical

91. Best Classical Instrumental Solo

Award to the Instrumental Soloist(s) and to the Conductor when applicable.

Adams, John Luther: Darkness And Scattered Light
Robert Black

Akiho: Cylinders
Andy Akiho

The American Project*
Yuja Wang; Teddy Abrams, conductor (Louisville Orchestra)

Difficult Grace
Seth Parker Woods

Of Love
Curtis Stewart

92. Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

Award to: Vocalist(s), Collaborative Artist(s) (Ex: pianists, conductors, chamber groups) Producer(s), Recording Engineers/Mixers with greater than 50% playing time of new material.

Because
Reginald Mobley, soloist; Baptiste Trotignon, pianist

Broken Branches
Karim Sulayman, soloist; Sean Shibe, accompanist

40@40
Laura Strickling, soloist; Daniel Schlosberg, pianist

Rising
Lawrence Brownlee, soloist; Kevin J. Miller, pianist

Walking In The Dark*
Julia Bullock, soloist; Christian Reif, conductor (Philharmonia Orchestra)

93. Best Classical Compendium

Award to the Artist(s) and to the Album Producer(s) and Engineer(s) of over 50% playing time of the album, and to the Composer and Librettist (if applicable) with over 50% playing time of a world premiere recording only.

Fandango
Anne Akiko Meyers; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor; Dmitriy Lipay, producer

Julius Eastman, Vol. 3: If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?
Christopher Rountree, conductor; Lewis Pesacov, producer

Mazzoli: Dark With Excessive Bright
Peter Herresthal; Tim Weiss, conductor; Hans Kipfer, producer

Passion For Bach And Coltrane*
Alex Brown, Harlem Quartet, Imani Winds, Edward Perez, Neal Smith & A.B. Spellman; Silas Brown & Mark Dover, producers

Sardinia
Chick Corea; Chick Corea & Bernie Kirsh, producers

Sculptures
Andy Akiho; Andy Akiho & Sean Dixon, producers

Zodiac Suite
Aaron Diehl Trio & The Knights; Eric Jacobsen, conductor; Aaron Diehl & Eric Jacobsen, producers

94. Best Contemporary Classical Composition

A Composer’s Award. (For a contemporary classical composition composed within the last 25 years, and released for the first time during the Eligibility Year.) Award to the librettist, if applicable.

Adès: Dante
Thomas Adès, composer (Gustavo Dudamel & Los Angeles Philharmonic)

Akiho: In That Space, At That Time
Andy Akiho, composer (Andy Akiho, Ankush Kumar Bahl & Omaha Symphony)

Brittelle: Psychedelics
William Brittelle, composer (Roomful Of Teeth)

Mazzoli: Dark With Excessive Bright
Missy Mazzoli, composer (Peter Herresthal, James Gaffigan & Bergen Philharmonic)

Montgomery: Rounds*
Jessie Montgomery, composer (Awadagin Pratt, A Far Cry & Roomful Of Teeth)

Review: ‘Hanu-Man,’ starring Teja Sajja, Amritha Aiyer, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Samuthirakani, Vinay Rai and Vennela Kishore

February 4, 2024

by Carla Hay

Teja Sajja in “Hanu-Man” (Photo courtesy of PrimeShow Entertainment)

“Hanu-Man”

Directed by Prasanth Varma

Telugu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in India, the sci-fi/fantasy/action film “Hanu-Man” features an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A petty thief becomes an unlikely superhero who battles with a supervillain over a gem that give the hero his superpowers.

Culture Audience: “Hanu-Man” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of superhero movies and don’t mind watching a movie that’s more than two-and-a-half hours long.

Vinay Rai in “Hanu-Man” (Photo courtesy of PrimeShow Entertainment)

“Hanu-Man” is an epic superhero film whose minor flaws are outshone by an engaging story and some stunning visuals. The movie has plot developments that are more unexpected than others. It’s a crowd-pleasing movie that’s obviously conceived as a franchise.

Written and directed by Prasanth Varma, “Hanu-Man” (which takes place in India) begins where most superhero movies usually don’t begin: by showing the origin story of the movie’s chief villain. The opening scene takes place in the Saurashtra region in 1998. A boy named Michael and his best fried Siri, who are both about 11 or 12 years old, are role-playing as a superhero on the roof of a building.

Michael, who is wearing a cape, jumps off of the building and injures himself. Later, when Michael is recovering from his injuries at home, his father yells at Michael for being reckless and for having an obsession with superheroes and comic books. (Michael’s bedroom wall is plastered with superhero artwork and posters.) Michael’s father punishes him with some physical abuse and forbids Michael from reading any more comic books.

Later, Michael and Siri have a private conversation where Michael mentions that all of the most famous superheroes—such as Superman, Batman and Spider-Man—have parents who died when the superheroes were children. The next scene shows Michael secretly killing his parents by setting their house on fire while the parents are trapped inside.

The movie then fast-forwards to Michael (played by Vinay Rai) in his 30s. He has become a superhero vigilante called Mega Man. Michael and Siri (who is now an accomplished scientist) are still best friends. Siri is Michael’s sidekick and does whatever Michael tells him to do. Siri knows about Michael’s secret superhero alter ego because Siri is the one who came up with the inventions that helped Michael become a superhero. Just like Batman, Michael is a human being who doesn’t have superpowers but he has a powerful superhero suit and an arsenal of high-tech gadgets and weapons that he uses for his vigilante activities.

Meanwhile, in the fictional hamlet of Anjanadri, a petty thief named Hanumanthu (played by Teja Sajja) has a best friend named Kasi (played by Getup Srinu), who is sometimes his partner in crime. Hanumanthu’s older sister Anjamma (played by Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) worries about Hanumanthu and wishes that he would turn his life around and become a respectable citizen. Anjamma is engaged to be married. Ner wedding becomes a pivotal point in the story.

Hanumanthu has a crush on an attractive and outspoken doctor named Meenakshi (played by Amritha Aiyer), who has vivid memories of a superhero being her rescuer/protector when she was a child. Meeakshi frequently clashes with Anjanadri’s leader Gajapathi (played by Raj Deepak Shetty), who rules Anjanadri like a dictator. Meeakshi wants the village to be more of a democracy.

The feud between Meeakshi and Gajapathi escalates to a point where Gajapathi sends a gang of masked thieves to rob and attack Meeakshi. Hanumanthu comes to Meeakshi’s rescue during the attack but he’s seriously wounded and falls into a sea nearby. He finds a glowing gem in the sea and is able to go back home.

During his recovery, Hanumanthu finds out that the gem has given him superpowers (such as extraordinary strength and agility), but only when he is in possession of the gem and when the gem is exposed to sunlight. It isn’t long before Hanumanthu and Gajapathi face off in a fight, where Hanumanthu’s new superpowers come in handy. Because Hanumanthu doesn’t want people to know that his superpowers come from this gem, he hides the gem in a mask that he wears in public when he’s using the superpowers.

And what about Michael? He’s been injured in a fight, so his Mega Man activities have been halted until he can fully recover. However, through a viral video that he sees on social media, Michael finds out about Hanumanthu’s exceptional strength and decides he has to find out what is the source of Hanumanthu’s strength. It doesn’t take long for Michael and Siri to arrive in Anjanadri.

“Hanu-Man” has a lot of thrilling acting scenes with mostly convincing visuals. When the visuals don’t look believable, it’s only a temporary distraction. Overall, the cinematography is very effective at immersing viewers into this world. The acting performances are adequate and not as good as the actual story.

Even though Michael is the movie’s chief villain, “Hanu-Man” has a lot to say about resisting political oppression in the conflicts with Gajapathi. Can this power-hungry tyrant be reedeemed? Michael also represents the corruption that can happen when people pursue power at any cost. It’s a tried-and-true theme for superhero stories, but “Hanu-Man” handles it with style and crowd-pleasing entertainment.

PrimeShow Entertainment released “Hanu-Man” in select U.S. cinemas on January 12, 2024, the same day the movie was released in India.

Review: ‘Ayalaan,’ starring Sivakarthikeyan, Rakul Preet Singh, Sharad Kelkar and Isha Koppikar

February 3, 2024

by Carla Hay

Tattoo and Sivakarthikeyan in “Ayalaan” (Photo courtesy of KJR Studios)

“Ayalaan”

Directed by R. Ravikumar

Tamil with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in India’s Tamil Nadu state, the sci-fi film “Fighter” features a predominantly Indian cast of characters (with a few white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A villager and his two friends discover and protect an outer-space alien that a corrupt scientist wants to capture because of the alien’s access to deadly mineral that the scientist want to use to make weapons of mass destruction.

Culture Audience: “Ayalaan” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of stories about aliens from outer space, no matter how stupid and long-winded the stories are.

Karunakaran, Kothandam, Tattoo, Yogi Babu and Sivakarthikeyan in “Ayalaan” (Photo courtesy of KJR Studios)

“Ayalaan” is a sloppy ripoff of the 1982 classic sci-fi film E.T., but with the outer-space alien befriending adults instead of children, as the movie’s ‘heroes’ try to prevent the alien from being captured. This misguided film is just time-wasting idiocy. “Ayalaan” has a very thin and flimsy plot that is dragged and stretched out to extremely irritating levels during the movie’s 155 minutes.

Written and directed by R. Ravikumar, “Ayalaan” (which means “alien” in Tamil) exposes itself very early in the movie to be a cinematic abomination of horrible dialogue, tacky visual effects, and bad acting. It would be slightly inaccurate to say that “Ayalaan” wears out its welcome because this type of torturous drivel isn’t welcome in the first place, if viewers are expecting anything that’s reasonably entertaining. There is almost no imagination in this extremely derivative and annoying movie.

The main protagonist in “Ayalaan” (which takes place in the India’s Tamil Nadu state) is a cheerful but dimwitted man in his late 30s named Tamizh (played by Sivakarthikeyan), who lives in a rural village, where he loves and respects the environment. Tamizh sells mineral water to people in the village. Tamizh’s social circle includes his two best friends—buffoonish Tyson (played by Yogi Babu) and neurotic Sugirtharaja (played by Karunakaran)—as well as Tamizh’s middle-aged, mute roommate (played by Kothandam), who doesn’t have a name in the movie.

A corrupt scientist/business mogul named Aryan (played by Sharad Kelkar), who is based in the city of Chennai, owns Aryan Industries, which looks like a combination of a corporation and a scientific research center. Aryan is obsessed with finding a rare mineral called Sparc (which looks like a glowing blue rock), which Aryan believes has the most powerful energy source in the world. Predictably, Aryan wants to get possession of Sparc to extract the energy source so that he can use it to make weapons of mass destruction. Aryan’s most loyal and most ruthless cohort is Eliza (played by Isha Koppikara), who’s supposed to be a scientist but who acts more like a combat criminal.

Meanwhile, a child-sized green alien, who has the voice of adult male human (voiced by Siddharth), arrives by spaceship from outer space to put a stop to Aryan’s plan. Before he left, the alien was warned by his look-alike girlfriend not to eat the the junk food on Earth. “Ayalaan” mentions that this is the alien’s 324th secret visit to Earth. The alien has the ability to make itself invisible whenever it wants.

The alien is captured by Aryan’s accomplices and is brought to a secret lab at Ayran Industries. The alien is kept in a giant glass cylinder. Why does Ayran want to keep this alien imprisoned? Somehow, Aryan finds out that this alien knows where to find Sparc, so Aryan want to force the alien to tell him where Sparc is.

But that doesn’t happen in this scene. Instead, when Aryan puts his hands on the cylinder, his hands get stuck. The alien uses it as an opportunity to emit a green gas that fills the cylinder before breaking the glass and escaping. The green gas floats out of the cylinder. Whatever is in the gas causes Aryan, Eliza and the others to lose consciousnesses.

Meanwhile, Tamizh finds himself at a science expo for middle schoolers. He has a crush on a science teacher named Tara (played by Rakul Preet Singh), so he is thrilled to see her there. One of the first exhibts that catches Tamizh’s attention is called “Alien World,” from a boy who’s dressed as a green alien. Tamizh starts a casual conversation with the boy, who says his name is Tattoo.

A certain mishap at the expo causes a big fire, where the alien shows up and catches Tara before she falls to the ground. (Don’t ask. It won’t be the last you’ll see of Tara, because she’s the obvious love interest of Tamizh.) Most of the people in the building evacuate in time, but Tamizh is stuck in the building. He sees the alien trapped underneath a fallen display case and rescues it. Tamizh and the alien manage to escape before the fire can kill them.

Tamizh thinks the alien is the boy Tattoo whom Tamizh met earlier. While he is driving the alien to a hospital, Tamizh keeps thinking that a human boy named Tattoo is in his truck with him, even though the alien is obviously not a human. This foolishness goes on for several minutes until Tamizh sees the alien become invisible. It’s only then that Tamizh understands that he has a non-human creature with him in the truck. He continues to call this creature Tattoo after he brings it home and introduces the alien to his friends.

The rest of “Ayalaan” has an increasingly ridiculous series of events. Just when the movie looks like it could have ended one way, there are insipid plot twists that prolong this appallingly jumbled and vapid movie. The alien is neither fun nor interesting, while all the human characters are either generic or very irritating, with performances from the cast members to match. Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” composer A.R. Rahman wrote the music for this junkpile movie, which just goes to show that having an Oscar does not make someone immune to working on low-quality dreck.

As an example of the shoddy filmmaking, there’s a subplot about an American named Dexter Williams (played by David Broughton-Davies), a UFO enthusiast who saw the alien during one of the alien’s previous visits to Earth. Dexter speaks Tamil in the film, but it’s obviously an overdubbed voice because the actor spoke English while filming his scenes. (People who can read lips while someone is talking can easily spot this discrepancy.)

Dexter has a hard time convincing people that his alien sightings are real. He’s determined to find the alien again and then track it down. Somehow, Aryan finds out that Dexter knows that alien has landed on Earth again. And so, Aryan summons Dexter to India, where Dexter is enlisted to help find the alien. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds.

And did we mention that Tattoo has the ability to heal human injuries and diseases, just by placing his hands on the affected areas? The movie takes a detour into a vapid subplot about how Tattoo becomes invisible and does these healings when he’s with Tamizh. And it isn’t long before Tamizh gets credit for these healings and people think he has superpowers.

During all of these messy subplots, there are chase scenes, emotional meltdowns, and the usual mindless shenanigans that you would expect to find in a substandard “alien on the loose on Earth” movie, where the “heroes” try to help the alien find its way back to its home planet. There are also some out-of-place musical numbers that act as filler for this already bloated movie. In “Ayalaan,” everything is so dialed up to the most asinine levels, if any outer-space aliens saw this garbage film, then they’d want to fly far away on a spaceship and go home too.

KJR Studios released “Ayalaan” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on January 12, 2024.

Review: ‘They Night They Came Home,’ starring Brian Austin Green, Tim Abell and Danny Trejo

February 2, 2024

by Carla Hay

Peter Sherayko, Sam Bearpaw and Tim Abell in “The Night They Came Home” (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

“The Night They Came Home”

Directed by Paul G. Volk

Culture Representation: Taking place in 1895 and 1896, in Arkansas and in Oklahoma, the Western action film “The Night They Came Home” (based very loosely on true events) features a racially diverse cast of characters (white, African American and Native American) representing the working-class, middle-class and the criminal underground.

Culture Clash: A marshal and his deputy go on the hunt for the Rufus Buck Gang, a group of ruthless biracial criminals who are committing racist hate crimes against white people.

Culture Audience: “The Night They Came Home” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and Western movies, but this movie is more nonsensical than historically accurate.

Charlie N. Townsend in “The Night They Came Home” (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate)

“The Night They Came Home” is an endurance test to see how long viewers are willing to watch an excruciatingly bad movie. Everything about this shoddily made Western reeks of amateurish filmmaking. It’s also a terrible depiction of a half-Black/half-Native American gang on a racist rampage against white people, with horribly acted scenes pretending to be historically true.

Directed by Paul G. Volk and written by John A. Russo (with additional writing by James O’Brien), “The Night Came Home” is very loosely based on true events of the real-life Rufus Buck Gang. This group of biracial marauders went on a killing spree specifically targeting white people out of “revenge” for the racism they and their ancestors experienced by other white people. The gang members are angry about enslavement of black people and the near-genocide of Native Americans, so these thugs are taking out their anger on anyone who is white.

“The Night They Came Home” is not supposed to be a “revenge fantasy,” such as filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 fictional movie “Django Unchained,” which is about an enslaved man who gets revenge on his captors. “The Night They Came Home” is supposed to be based on real history and is just a pathetic excuse to make a “reverse racism” Western. All the acting, dialogue and technical aspects of the movie look as phony as a $3 bill. Very few people in the film look convincing as being from the late 1890s.

“The Night They Came Home” begins on July 1, 1896, by showing gang leader Rufus Buck (played by Charlie N. Townsend) in Fort Smith Jail in Arkansas. Rufus is awaiting his execution. For viewers who don’t know the story of the Rufus Buck Gang, there goes any suspense about what’s going to happen to the gang leader, since the movie reveals right from the start that he was captured and executed.

Rufus, who seems to have some mental health problems, looks unusually cheerful for someone who knows he’s about to die. As the sun shines into his jail cell, Rufus smiles and says out loud, “Hello, sun. My last time getting to see your rise.” He also mentions that he’s separated from his “brothers, though I know we shall reunite when we leave this earth.”

A flashback then shows a younger Rufus being physically hit by a white priest, who snarls: “We will kill the Indian in you, Rufus Buck, to save the man.” The “man” is supposed to refer to the white race, but somehow in this 1890s lingo, these character in the movie are talking about “the man” as if they’re stuck in a 1960s counterculture movie.

It gets worse. “The Night They Came Home” has an added narrative layer of a gravedigger named Digger (played by Danny Trejo), who’s sitting in a bar when he meets a stranger with no name (played by Martin Kove) to tell the story of the Rufus Buck Gang and the law enforcement people who went on the hunt for the gang. Digger says that the end of the Wild, Wild West was on July 1, 1896, when the “last outlaw gang was hanged.”

The stranger has a nameless “lady of the night” (played by Carson Lee Bradshaw) by his side as his companion. She’s basically a prop who doesn’t say much of anything. The stranger and his companion sit down at Digger’s table to listen to Digger’s tale. Most of the movie then flashes back to 1895, the year of the Rufus Buck Gang’s biggest reign of terror.

In addition to Rufus, the other gang members are Sam Sampson (played by Hugh McCrae Jr.), Mamoa July (played by Ivan Villanueva) and brothers Lucky Davis (played by Phillip Andre Botello) and Lewis Davis (played by Nicholas Rising), who all have indistinctive personalities. Someone who later joins the gang is Rufus’ cousin Charles “Charlie” Buck (played by Chase Stephens), who is portrayed as someone who was recruited by Rufus and gets corrupted by these criminals. During the gang’s crime spree, Rufus impersonates a sheriff to gain the trust of his victims, who are usually viciously tortured and killed.

The Palmer family in Choctaw Nation, about 20 miles outside of Fort Smith, will be among those who have the misfortune of encountering the Rufus Buck Gang. The ranch-dwelling Palmer family consists of married parents Chuck Palmer (played by Brian Austin Green) and his wife, whose name and actress are not listed in the movie’s credits; their teenage children Tommy Palmer (played by Kassius Marcil-Green) and Jolene Palmer (played by Kelsey Reinhardt); and Chuck’s parents Jake Palmer (played by Bobby Reed) and another unnamed and uncredited female character.

There’s a home invasion of the Palmer family’s ranch that leaves one person dead in the house and another person kidnapped. The gang also goes after two other members of the family in a separate place outdoors, and only one of the two will make it out alive. Let’s just say that even though Green gets top billing in “The Night They Came Home,” he’s in the movie for no more than 15 minutes.

The law enforcement officials who go after the gang are marshal Heck Thomas (played by Tim Abell) and his deputy marshal George Maledon (played by Peter Sherayko), who are both from Fort Smith. Heck and George barely do any interviews in their investigation. Their main informant is Peter Nocono (played by Jayd Swendseid), who conveniently gives them the crucial information they need to know which way the gang is headed. They also enlist the help of locals such as Sam Sixkiller (played by Sam Bearpaw) and Paden Tolbert (played by Tommy Wolfe).

One of the most cringeworthy scenes in the movie shows what deputy marshal George says to a surviving Palmer family member who has found out that most of the other family members have been murdered: “We all die. It was their turn. Relax.” And he’s supposed to be one of the good guys?

There are also some random-looking cameos. Weston Cage (Nicolas Cage’s eldest child, also known as Weston Cage Coppola) plays a silent bartender named Bob in the bar where Digger tells his story. The bartender looks more like he’s in a heavy metal band from the 1980s, not a bartender from the 1890s. Robert Carradine has a very brief appearance as a bootlegger character named Bart, whose fate is exactly what you think it will be.

“The Night They Came Home” is a complete failure of trying to show anything except senseless killings, chase scenes, and occasional interruptions to remind people that Trejo (doing his usual “gruff and rough character” schtick) is in this movie as the “storyteller.” Townsend portrays the sadist Buck as someone who’s constantly smirking, but it comes across as more clownish than villainous. At least he puts effort into his character having something memorable about his character. Everyone else’s performances in the movie are just dull or sometimes painful to watch. For a movie that’s about murder and mayhem in the Wild West, “The Night They Came Home” is actually limp and listless, and the only real assaults are on viewers’ intelligence, patience and time.

Lionsgate released “The Night They Came Home” in select U.S. cinemas, digital and VOD on January 12, 2024. The movie will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 27, 2024.

Review: ‘The Storm’ (2024), an animated adventure from China about a wayward man and boy affected by a mysterious black ship

February 1, 2024

by Carla Hay

Daguzi/Biggie and Manou/Bun in “The Storm” (Image courtesy of CMC Pictures)

“The Storm” (2024)

Directed by Yang Zhigang (also known as Busifan)

Mandarin with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unspecified ancient time in China, the animated film “The Storm” features an all-Chinese cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A wayward man becomes a father figure to a boy he found floating in a river, and the two of them experience danger on a mysterious black ship.

Culture Audience: “The Storm” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching adventurous and visually captivating anime with several emotional moments.

A scene from “The Storm” (Image courtesy of CMC Pictures)

The animated adventure film “The Storm” gets a little repetitive, but the visuals are well-done, and the story takes an unexpected turn. The ending is a bold risk that not every viewer will like, but it stands out from other movies of this genre. “The Storm” might get some comparisons to filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning 2001 film “Spirited Away.” There are a few similarities, but each movie stands on its own as an original story.

Written and directed by Yang Zhigang (also known as Busifan), “The Storm” (which takes place in an unspecified ancient time in China) tells the story of a poor and wayward man named Daguzi, who finds a boy named Mantou, who’s about 8 or 9 years old, when he sees Mantou floating down a river stream. Mantou doesn’t seem to have any family members, so Daguzi decides to take care of Mantou and becomes a father figure to him.

Daguzi and Mantou have nicknames for each other. Mantou has given Daguzi the nickname Biggie. Daguz has given Mantou the nickname Bun. They become very close and develop an emotional bond that is like a father and a son.

Out of financial desperation, Daguzi/Biggie does something illegal to get money. He becomes a fugtive of the law and takes Mantou/Bun with him to go into hiding. Daguzi/Biggie and Mantou/Bun end up in Great Dragon Bay.

On the bay is a mysterious black ship that has a sinister reputation: People who go on the ship often disappear. Daguzi/Biggie and Mantou/Bun go on the ship and find out that there are white jellyfish-like creatures named jellieels that can turn people into jellieelsters after a certain period of time.

As already revealed in the trailer for “The Storm,” Daguzi/Biggie gets bitten by a jellieel. A distraught Mantou/Bun then goes through a race against time to find a turquoise magic mushroom to prevent Daguzi/Biggie from turning into a jellieelster. Along the way, he enlists the help of an army leader named Commander Liu (also known as Miss) and her relative called Uncle Big Hat.

One of the best things about “The Storm” is how it creates a fantastical world that is often stunning to look at and which offers both beauty and danger. The movie’s plot gets a little clunky when it shows the military preoccupations of Commander Liu and her troops. However, the story excels when it’s about the relationship between Daguzi/Biggie and Mantou/Bun. The movie requires a viewer’s full attention in order to appreciate it, because some of the plot zips around, as the two main characters don’t stay in one place for very long.

“The Storm” has overt as well as underlying messages about facing fears and what it means for children to make big decisions without parental guidance. The movie also shows how family members—whether they are biological or chosen—can inspire loyalty and love like no other type of relationships. It’s not a perfect animated film, but there’s a lot to like about it.

There’s plenty of action and suspense, but “The Storm” really succeeds in making viewers care about the characters, especially vulnerable but brave and determined Mantou/Bun. Most viewers will not be prepared for the movie’s ending. Stick around for the movie’s epilogue, which adds to the poignancy of this film’s conclusion.

CMC Pictures released “The Storm” in select U.S. cinemas on January 26, 2024. The movie was released in China on January 12, 2024.

Review: ‘Argylle,’ starring Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, Dua Lipa Ariana DeBose, John Cena and Samuel L. Jackson

January 31, 2024

by Carla Hay

Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell in “Argylle” (Photo by Peter Mountain/Universal Pictures/Apple Original Films)

“Argylle”

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Culture Representation: Taking place in the United States, Europe, and Asia, the action film “Argylle” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans, Latinos, Asians and one multiracial person) representing the working-class, middle-class, wealthy and the criminal underground.

Culture Clash: A famous American book author, who has written a series of novels about a British spy named Argylle, goes on the run with a real spy, who has told her that she’s the target of a criminal spy group.

Culture Audience: “Argylle” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners, filmmaker Matthew Vaughn, and action movies that have more style than substance.

Bryan Cranston in “Argylle” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures/Apple Original Films)

“Argylle” is an incoherent, bloated mess filled with stupid plot twists, awful dialogue, and a gimmicky cat that looks fake for most of the movie. Henry Cavill is not the main star, even though he gets top billing. “Argylle” is mostly Sam Rockwell acting smug and Bryce Dallas Howard acting terrified. The trailers for “Argylle” are grossly misleading, in terms of certain characters being misrepresented as being more important and having more screen time than what’s actually in the movie.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn and written by Jason Fuchs, “Argylle” is yet another big-budget, globe-trotting spy movie with a flimsy plot that’s just an excuse for filmmakers to overspend on visual effects, lavish locations, and salaries for celebrity stunt casting for cast members who are barely in the movie. “Argylle” has so much idiocy and the worst spy adventure clichés, it’s like the filmmakers took the trash ideas from other spy movies and threw them into the junkpile that is “Argylle.” And with an overly long total running time of 139 minutes (which drags the movie down even further into irritating depths), “Argylle” is like garbage with stench that lingers and gets worse the longer it sticks around.

The central characters of “Argylle” are reclusive novelist Elly Conway (played by Howard) and sarcastic spy Aidan Wild (played by Rockwell), who go on the run from a criminal group of spies called The Division. The opening scenes from “Argylle” are mostly revealed in the movie’s trailers. Elly has a best-selling book series about a dashing and handsome British spy named Argylle (played by Cavill), who is obviously a ripoff of James Bond. Elly has an active imagination where she sometimes envisions Argylle and her other book characters coming to life in front of her.

Argylle’s spy colleagues are his muscular best friend/right-hand man Wyatt (played by John Cena), who does a lot of the work requiring the most physical strength; androgynous field tech Keira (played by Ariana DeBose), an expert strategist who’s often needed to get Argylle and Wyatt out of trouble; and Fowler (played by Richard E. Grant), a senior member of Argylle’s Washington, D.C.-based spy group. Argylle’s chief nemesis is a spy named Lagrange (played by Dua Lipa), who uses seduction and charm to get what she wants. All of these characters from Elly’s “Argylle” novels are not in the movie as much as viewers might think, based on the way the “Argylle” movie was marketed. Lipa’s screen time is barely 10 minutes, with her entire character arc show already shown in the “Argylle” trailers. Grant gets even less screen time.

Elly has just finished her fifth “Argylle” book, which ends on a cliffhanger. (It has something to do with Argylle going to London and whether or not he gets a secret file.) Elly’s meddling and opinionated mother Ruth (played by Catherine O’Hara) reads Elly’s manuscripts and is quick to give criticism. Ruth says that the book should not end on a cliffhanger and tells Elly that the book needs a better, more definitive ending.

Elly, who is very insecure and sensitive, has these doubts swirling in her head when she goes to a personal appearance at a bookstore in Denver, where she answers questions from the audience. She denies speculation that she is a spy in real life, just like spy novelists Ian Fleming or John le Carré actually had experiences working in espionage. When a young man in the audience asks Elly out on a date, she lies and says she already has a date.

Elly’s “date” is really spending time at home with her beloved cat Alfie, a gray-and-white Scottish Fold, who is her constant companion. (In real life, the cat that plays Alfie is named Chip, and he is owned by Claudia Vaughn, Matthew Vaughn’s wife, who is better known by her previous name and profession: supermodel Claudia Schiffer.) Elly is a stereotypical “cat lady” bachelorette, who would rather spend time with her cat than with other people. Elly lives in seclusion in a remote house in an unnamed city in the United States.

Elly has a fear of flying in planes, so she takes other transportation for long-distance trips. On a train ride home after her book appearance, a scruffy-looking and talkative stranger sits in the seat facing her. Elly doesn’t really want him to sit near her, but he ignores her attempt to get him to sit somewhere else. He happens to be reading Elly’s latest “Argylle” book, which he says he’s enjoying. It isn’t long before the stranger, who later introduces himself as Aidan Wild (played by Rockwell), tells Elly that he has noticed that she is the famous author Elly Conway. She tries to deny it, but Aidan isn’t fooled.

As already shown in the “Argylle” trailer, Aidan knew who Elly was all along, because he had been tracking her. And he isn’t the only one who knows that Elly is on the train. About 10 spies from The Division are also on the train. They are on a mission to kidnap Elly, but Aidan fights them all off, with Elly intermittently hallucinating that Aidan is really Argylle during the entire melee. Aidan and Elly then escape from the train by a parachute that Aidan happens to have.

Aidan tells Elly that he’s a spy and that her latest “Argylle” book has strangely predicted real-life spy activities. He tells her about The Division, which Aidan says wants to abduct Elly to force her to write the next chapter of the book so The Division can know in advance what will happen in real life. (Yes, this movie’s plot is as moronic as it sounds.) The fugitive duo’s travels take them to Greece, Colorado, London, France, Hong Kong, and the Arabian Peninsula. Most of “Argylle” was filmed in the United Kingdom.

The Division (which sells spy secrets to the highest bidders) is led by a conniving director named Mr. Ritter (played by Bryan Cranston), who comes across more like a grouchy professor instead of the head of a ruthless crime syndicate. Ritter has a shotgun named Clementine, which he says he inherited from his mother. As soon as Ritter shows ths shotgun and talks about the sentimental value that it has for him, you just know he’s going to use this gun in one of the showdown fight scenes.

Ritter’s chief henchman is Carlos Valdez (played by Tomás Paredes), who is completely generic. Carlos was undercover as an audience member at Elly’s Denver speaking appearance. He was the person who asked her if she’s a real spy. The rest of The Division thugs and fighters are mostly nameless and have no real personalities or storylines.

There’s a poorly written subplot about Aidan looking for an elusive young computer hacker named Bakunin (played by Stanley Morgan), who betrayed Aidan because Aidan overpaid Bakunin for data that Bakunin failed to deliver. Bakunin has now mysteriously disappeared. This subplot is nearly forgotten for a great deal of the movie, until it’s shoved in as an afterthought during the movie’s end credits, which hint that there could be an “Argylle” sequel or spinoff. (Please don’t put more of this “Argylle” nonsense into the world.)

Much of the so-called “comedy” in “Argylle” comes from Elly insisting on bringing Alfie with her everywhere she goes. The cat is kept in Elly’s argyle-pattered, backpack-styled carrying case, which has holes on the side so the cat can breathe. It should come as no surprise that Aidan is allergic to cats. The cat is obviously a computer-generated image (CGI) in most of its scenes. This phoniness takes away a lot of the impact that these comedic scenes would’ve had if the cat looked real.

The Beatles’ “Now and Then” is played several times throughout the movie (the song’s significance to certain characters is eventually revealed), and it’s played often enough that it’s clear that a sizeable chunk of the movie’s budget was spent to license the song. Far superior to the movie’s story is the “Argylle” soundtrack, including the end-credits dance song “Electric Energy,” performed by DeBose, Boy George and Nile Rodgers. The “Argylle” music from composer Lorne Balfe invigorates the movie’s over-the-top action scenes but can’t save the film when the movie drags on with frustrating banality during the dialogue scenes, especially during the long final stretch.

In the production notes for “Argylle,” director Matthew Vaughn (who is also one of the movie’s producers) says one of the main influences for “Argylle” is the 1984 action film “Romancing the Stone,” starring Michael Douglas as a cocky mercenary, and Kathleen Turner as an uptight romance novelist, who go on a misadventure when she enlists him to help her find her kidnapped sister in Colombia. “Argylle” tries desperately and fails to have the winning formula of “Romancing the Stone” and other entertaining movies where two people of the opposite sex are thrown together under dangerous circumstances, as they both argue and pretend that they’re not attracted to each other. Rockwell and Howard (as Aidan and Elly) seem to be doing their best, but they just don’t have the right chemistry together.

Elly should’ve been called Nervous Nellie, because that’s how she is for most of this repetitive movie. Elly constantly has to be rescued and reassured by Aidan, who is supposed to look like an average guy but has almost superhuman combat skills. Aidan and Elly get into tiresome and boring arguments because Aidan wants Elly to take risks that she’s afraid to take. Elly is portrayed as an unfortunate “damsel in distress” stereotype that “Argylle” unconvincingly tries to correct in the last third of the movie, when “Argylle” really falls off the rails into an irredeemable wasteland of cinematic muck.

And the question must be asked: Why is Samuel L. Jackson in this movie? Is he in some kind of personal contest to see how many sidekick characters he can play in big-budget films where he’s usually a loudmouth, know-it-all “elder statesman,” who gets sidelined because the main stars get most of the action? That’s essentially what Jackson is in “Argylle,” where he plays Alfred Solomon, a former deputy director of the CIA, who now lives in exile at a vineyard in France.

Predictably, Elly and Aidan end up visiting Alfred at this vineyard, which has a control room with giant video monitors that can see a lot of the action going on in the movie. It’s just a way to have scenes of Alfred reacting to whatever shenanigans that Elly and Aidan are up to in their globetrotting, as these mismatched runaways try to evade getting captured by The Division. Sofia Boutella has a small and thankless role as Saba Al-Badr, a mysterious person described as “The Keeper of Secrets,” who lives in a palace on the Arabian Peninsula.

“Argylle” could have been much more entertaining if it had a story that was engaging, instead of trying too hard to look “daring” with garishly filmed fight scenes that look distractingly artificial. (A fight scene involving ice skating on an oil-covered floor is an example of this egregiousness.) Elly’s fantasy visions about the world of Argylle are awkwardly placed in the movie. The acting performances are adequate, but the co-star chemistry is very forced and unconvincing. Just like the CGI cat in the movie, “Argylle” is as fake and fluffy as it looks, but the end result is not as cute.

Universal Pictures will release “Argylle” in U.S. cinemas on February 2, 2024.

Review: ‘The Painter’ (2024), starring Charlie Weber, Madison Bailey and Jon Voight

January 30, 2024

by Carla Hay

Charlie Weber in “The Painter” (Photo courtesy of Paramount Global Content Distribution)

“The Painter” (2024)

Directed by Kimani Ray Smith

Culture Representation: Taking place in the United States, in 2006 and in 2023, the action film “The Painter” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans and Asians) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A former CIA operative, who has changed his identity to become a reclusive painter, is being hunted by various people and has his past come back to haunt him when he gets a visitor who says she’s the daughter of his ex-wife.

Culture Audience: “The Painter” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and don’t mind watching mindless action movies.

Madison Bailey in “The Painter” (Photo courtesy of Paramount Global Content Distribution)

“The Painter” is such inept garbage, this forgettable action flick about CIA agents doesn’t have any international CIA activities in its main plot. What you’ll see is a lot of bad acting and supporting actor Jon Voight in some laughable disguises. This is one of those time-wasting movies that just has a bunch of chase scenes and fight scenes around a messy, nonsensical plot until the movie reaches a very predictable ending.

Directed by Kimani Ray Smith and written by Brian Buccellato, “The Painter” (which takes place in the United States but was filmed in British Columbia, Canada) begins in 2006, by showing a botched undercover CIA mission. CIA operative Peter Barrett (played by Charlie Weber) is married to another CIA operative named Elena Maran (played by Rryla McIntosh), and they are each working on an undercover case that they have kept secret from each other.

Peter is the adopted son of a single father named Henry Byrne (played by Jon Voight), a retired CIA operative who now works for the CIA as a consultant. The only times that Henry seems to show up in the movie is when he’s wearing these cheap-looking disguises and tries to fool Peter into thinking that Henry is someone else. Flashbacks show that when Peter was about 11 or 12 years old, he was adopted from an unnamed European country by Henry, after Peter’s parents were killed in a terrorist attack. The attack bizarrely left Peter with hyper-sensitive hearing, almost like a superhero.

In 2006, Peter is in the midst of busting the leader of a crime ring. When it comes time to eliminate Peter’s chief target (played by Doug Chapman) in a dark parking garage somewhere in the U.S., Peter finds out that Elena (who shows up in the same parking garage with her team) has been looking for the same target, but she has opposite motives. Peter has been ordered to kill his target, while Elena says that the target needs to be arrested and kept alive because he’s a key witness for her case.

A shootout ensues. Elena, who is about eight or nine months pregnant, is shot by the target and ends up in a hospital. She is told that her baby did not survive, and she had an emergency operation that has now prevented her from ever getting pregnant again. This traumatic experience eventually ends the marriage of Peter and Elena.

The movie then fast-forwards to 2023. Peter (who still looks the same 17 years later) is now a reclusive painter in an unnamed U.S. city, where he lives in a remote wooded area. He has changed his name and identity to Mark Nicholson. A 17-year-old girl named Sophia (played by Madison Bailey) suddenly shows up at the dive bar where Peter/Mark sells some of his paintings. Sophia, who says she is Elena’s daughter, seems to know who Peter really is, but he denies knowing who Peter Barrett is and insists that his name is Mark Nicholson.

Peter soon finds out that several other people are looking for him because they think he has classified data that he stole when he was a CIA operative. They include a smirking assassin named Ghost (played by Max Montesi), tough-talking CIA section chief Naomi Piasecki (played by Marie Avgeropoulos) and special CIA special agent Kim (played Luisa d’Oliveira), who is very subservient to Naomi. It all leads to chase scenes and shootouts, with Peter’s super-sensitive hearing being a ridiculous and ultimately unnecessary part of the story. “The Painter” is just an embarrassment for everyone involved.

Paramount Global Content Distribution released “The Painter” in select U.S. cinemas on January 5, 2024. The movie was released on digital and VOD on January 9, 2024.

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