Movies on Demand: March 2017

MOVIES ON DEMAND

MARCH 2017

PREMIERE SCHEDULE

All information listed is for movies available on demand on cable and satellite TV systems in the United States. Check with your service provider for channels that offer video on demand and any costs.

March 3, 2017: “The Assignment” (One month before theatrical release), Rated R.

Director Walter Hill (“The Warriors”) gives the revenge film a modern neo-noir twist with this electrifying thriller. Hitman Frank Kitchen (played by Michelle Rodriguez) is given a lethal assignment, but after being double-crossed, he discovers he’s not the man he thought he was-he’s been surgically altered and now has the body of a woman. Seeking vengeance, Frank heads for a showdown with the person (played by Sigourney Weaver) who transformed him, a brilliant surgeon with a chilling agenda of her own.

March 3, 2017: “The Institute” (Same day as theatrical release), Rated R.

A grief-stricken woman voluntarily checks into a mental facility in the 19th century, but is soon desperate to escape after the doctors begin torturing her with cruel experiments.  Starring James Franco (who co-directed the film), Allie Gallerani, Josh Duhamel, Lori Singer, Tim Blake Nelson, Eric Roberts and Pamela Anderson.

March 3, 2017: “Catfight” (Same day as theatrical release), Rated R.

One-time college pals Veronica (played Sandra Oh) and Ashley (played by Anne Heche) run into each other at a party. The women, now in their 40s and having not seen each other since school, find that their lives have taken radically different paths. Ashley is barely scraping by as a painter of politically charged canvases, while Veronica is married to a wealthy businessman who’s about to profit hugely off yet another US-led war in the Middle East. Within minutes of their reunion, a rivalry is revived, old wounds are torn open, and a Manhattan stairwell becomes home to a woman-on-woman brawl the likes of which are seldom seen outside of martial-arts epics. And now the gloves are off. The new feature from writer/director Onur Tukel takes a set-up that in most films would lead to a heartwarming story of female friendship—and uses it instead as the springboard for an outrageously madcap black comedy.

March 3, 2017: “Don’t Kill It” (Same day as theatrical release)

An ancient evil is unleashed in a small Mississippi town leaving a trail of death and destruction as it passes from host to host. The only hope of survival lies with a grizzled demon hunter (played by Dolph Lundgren) who has faced this terror before. Together with a reluctant FBI agent (played by Kristina Klebe) he has to figure out how to destroy a demon with the ability to possess its killer.

March 3, 2017: “Wolves” (Same day as theatrical release), Rated R.

From the famous courts of West Fourth Street, to the tenements over looking the bridges of the lower east side, “Wolves” paints an original, diverse, and emotional portrait of a boy becoming a man in New York City. Eighteen-year-old Anthony Keller is a high-school basketball star. Now in his senior year he is being recruited by Cornell University, a dream come true.  Called “Saint” by everyone at his school (St. Anthony’s), he does his best to live up to his name.  He is captain of his team, a good student, has a long time girlfriend and some good friends.  But the ease with which he moves through his life is a facade. At home, Anthony struggles with his troubled father, Lee Keller, (played by Michael Shannon) and his gambling addiction. Anthony’s mother, Jenny (played by Carla Gugino), has made it her mission to keep the family afloat but has done so only with great emotional and financial sacrifice. As Anthony approaches the end of his senior year and the city finals, he is faced with adversity from all sides, and the stakes are high.  He must find his own definition of what it means to be a man, both on and off the court, and in doing so he is confronted with the decision of a lifetime.

March 7, 2017: “Jackie” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

“Jackie” is a searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (played by Natalie Portman). “Jackie” places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that they created and loved so well.

March 7, 2017: “Moana” (Same day as DVD release), Rated PG.

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

March 7, 2017: “Incarnate” – two versions (Same day as DVD release), Rated PG-13 or TV-MA (Unrated)

Aaron Eckhart stars as Dr. Seth Ember, an unconventional exorcist who uses science instead of religion to tap into the minds of the possessed to remove the demon from their subconscious. When an 11-year-old boy becomes possessed by a creature of unspeakable evil, Ember enters the mind of the boy to attack the vengeful demon, but he finds himself facing the battle of his life and horrors of his own past.

March 7, 2017: “Man Down” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

When U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer (played by  Shia LaBeouf) returns home from his tour in Afghanistan, he finds that the place he once called home is no better than the battlefields he fought on overseas. Accompanied by his best friend Devin Roberts (played by Jai Courtney), a hardnosed Marine whose natural instinct is to shoot first and ask questions later, he searches desperately for the whereabouts of his estranged son, Johnathan (played by Charlie Shotwell), and wife, Natalie (played by Kate Mara). In their search, the two intercept Charles (played by Clifton Collins Jr.), a man carrying vital information about the whereabouts of Gabriel’s family.

March 7, 2017: “The Legend of Chupacabras” (Same day as DVD release)

Uncover the truth behind one of the most popular Latin American folktales. “The Legend of Chupacabras” is an adventure that unfolds when a group of magical friends embark on a journey to discover what lies beyond the mysteries of the mythical Chupacabra. Will the secrets of the fabled monster be revealed in this family-friendly exploration? The film is also available in its original Spanish-language version, “La Leyenda del Chupacabra.”

March 10, 2017: “Brimstone” (Same day as theatrical release), Rated R.

Wrongly accused of a crime she didn’t commit, a frontier woman turned fugitive is hunted by a vengeful preacher in the menacing inferno of the old American West. Starring Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Carice van Houten and Kit Harington.

March 10, 2017: “The Other Half” (Same day as theatrical release), Rated TV-14.

Written and directed by Joey Klein, “The Other Half” follows a grief-stricken man and a bipolar woman who fall in love and attempt to forge a simple life together. The film stars Tom Cullen and Tatiana Maslany.

March 14, 2017: “Passengers” (Same day as DVD release), Rated PG-13. Also available: “Passengers: Plus On Set With Chris Pratt Featurette” (Rated TV-MA)

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are two passengers onboard a spaceship transporting them to a new life on another planet. The trip takes a deadly turn when their hibernation pods mysteriously wake them 90 years before they reach their destination. As Jim and Aurora try to unravel the mystery behind the malfunction, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction … only to be threatened by the imminent collapse of the ship and the discovery of the truth behind why they woke up.

March 14, 2017: “Fences” (Same day as DVD release), Rated PG-13.

“Fences” is directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson, adapted from Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The film stars Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, and Saniyya Sydney.

March 14, 2017: “Collateral Beauty” (Same day as DVD release), Rated PG-13.

When a successful New York advertising executive suffers a great tragedy he retreats from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. But it’s not until his notes bring unexpected personal responses that he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived, and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty. Starring Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren and Naomie Harris.

March 14, 2017: “Elle” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

Michèle (played by Isabelle Huppert) seems indestructible. Head of a leading video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michèle’s life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game—a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control. In French with English subtitles.

March 17, 2017 “Mean Dreams” (Same day as theatrical release), Rated TV-MA.

Bill Paxton and Colm Feore join rising stars Sophie Nélisse and Josh Wiggins in the suspense thriller “Mean Dreams,” which follows courageous local farm boy Jonas (played by Wiggins) and the new girl next door, Casey (played by Nélisse), as they embark on a journey that will change their lives forever. As young love blossoms between the two 15-year-olds, Jonas also discovers that Casey’s abusive home life has reached a new level of danger, and Jonas takes the lead in their escape

March 17, 2017: “Uncertain” (Eight days after theatrical release)

Winner of Tribeca Film Festival’s Albert Maysles Documentary Director Award, “Uncertain” is a visually stunning and disarmingly funny portrait of the literal and figurative troubled waters of Uncertain, Texas. In a 94-resident town so tucked away “you’ve got to be lost to find it”, three Uncertain men make their own bids for survival looking to find a more certain future.  An ex-convict obsessed with Mr. Ed, a gigantic boar he hunts in order to stay on the straight and narrow. A young idealist with big plans but few prospects looking for a bigger life. And an aging fisherman learning to let go of his youthful ways, and making peace with a fateful moment thirty years ago. All the while Uncertain’s vast, swampy lake is being choked by an aquatic weed, upsetting the natural balance and the town’s only source of livelihood. From directors Ewan McNicol and Anna Sandilands, “Uncertain” is an outstanding feature debut capturing a vivid cast of characters as compelling as any fiction.

March 21, 2017: “Sing” (Same day as DVD release), Rated PG.

Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly star in an animated musical comedy about finding the shining star that lives inside all of us. Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, “Sing” stars Buster Moon (voiced by McConaughey), a dapper Koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal optimist—okay, maybe a bit of a scoundrel—who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

March 21, 2017: “Live by Night” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

Oscar winner Ben Affleck is the director and star of the dramatic crime thriller “Live by Night.” Affleck also wrote the screenplay based on the award-winning best-seller by Dennis Lehane, marking the second collaboration for the fellow Boston natives, following the acclaimed drama “Gone Baby Gone.” “Live by Night” is set in the roaring `20s when Prohibition hasn’t stopped the flow of booze in an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies. The opportunity to gain power and money is there for any man with enough ambition and nerve and Joe Coughlin, the son of the Boston Police Superintendent, long ago turned his back on his strict upbringing for the spoils of being an outlaw. But even among criminals there are rules and Joe breaks a big one: crossing a powerful mob boss by stealing his money and his moll. The fiery affair ends in tragedy, setting Joe on a path of revenge, ambition, romance and betrayal that propels him out of Boston and up the ladder of Tampa’s steamy rum-running underworld. “Live by Night” also stars Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Cooper.

March 21, 2017: “Assassin’s Creed” (Same day as DVD release), Rated PG-13.

Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (played by Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day. Also starring Marion Cotillard.

March 21, 2017: “Miss Sloane” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (played by Jessica Chastain) is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. Known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds that winning may come at too high a price.

March 21, 2017: “Julieta” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

Julieta lives in Madrid with her daughter Antía. They both suffer in silence over the loss of Xoan, Antía’s father and Julieta’s husband. But at times grief doesn’t bring people closer, it drives them apart. Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Adriana Ugarte and Emma Suárez.

March 21, 2017: “London Road” (Same day as DVD release), Rated TV-14.

“London Road” tells a moving story of ordinary people coming together during the darkest of experiences. It documents true events that occurred in 2006, when the town of Ipswich was shattered by the discovery of the bodies of five women. The residents of London Road had struggled for years with frequent soliciting and curb-crawling on their street. When a local resident was charged, and then convicted, of the murders, the community grappled with what it meant to be at the epicenter of this tragedy. Using their own words set to an innovative musical score. Starring Olivia Colman, Tom Hardy, Anita Dobson and Kate Fleetwood.

March 24, 2017: “All Nighter” (One week after theatrical release), Rated R.

Martin (played by Emile Hirsch) is a struggling L.A. musician nervously meeting his girlfriend Ginnie’s intimidating father, Mr. Gallo (played by J.K. Simmons), for the first time. Gallo is a tough-minded, no-nonsense international businessman who never has enough time for Ginnie. At dinner together, Gallo is resolutely unimpressed by Martin, Martin grows increasingly uncomfortable, and the meal is a disaster.   Six months later, Martin’s broken-hearted over being dumped by Ginnie, who has “moved on,” when Gallo shows up at his door looking for his daughter. Her cellphone is off and she has not responded to any texts or emails. Although it’s the last thing he wants to do, Martin is “persuaded” by Gallo to take him to where Martin believes Ginnie is living. Ginnie isn’t there either, and Martin and Mr. Gallo are forced to spend the rest of the day and night together, searching for her all over town. As they attempt to solve the puzzle of what is going on in Ginnie’s life, they encounter her crazy friends and get into increasingly desperate jams of their own making. Some property is destroyed, some laws are broken, but an uneasy friendship between Martin and Gallo is born…. as they discover that they, rather than Ginnie, are the ones who are truly lost.

March 24, 2017: “Dig Two Graves” (Same day as theatrical release)

March 24, 2017: “Dig Two Graves” (Same day as theatrical release)

A supernatural thriller about the generational violence that plagues a small, backwoods town, set in the 1970s, “Dig Two Graves” asks, “How far would you go to save those you love?” After 13-year-old Jacqueline Mather (played by Samantha Isler) loses her brother in a mysterious drowning accident she is soon visited by three moonshiners who offer to bring her brother back to life but at a grim cost. As the dark history of her grandfather, Sheriff Waterhouse (played by Ted Levine) is unearthed the true intentions of the moonshiners come to light.

March 24, 2017: “House on Willow Street” (Same day as theatrical release), Rated TV-MA.

A kidnapped girl with a demonic secret turns the tables on her captors in this claustrophobic thriller. Starring Carlyn Burchell, Gustav Gerdener, Zino Ventura, Sharni Vinson and Steven John Ward

March 28, 2017: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (Same day as DVD release), Rated PG-13.

The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. Starring Eddie Redmayne, Dan Folger, Katherine Waterston, Emily Morton, Colin Farrell and Ezra Miller.

March 28, 2017: “Why Him?” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

Over the holidays, Ned (played by Bryan Cranston), an overprotective but loving dad and his family visit his daughter (played by Zoey Deutch) at Stanford, where he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward Silicon Valley billionaire boyfriend, Laird (played by James Franco). A rivalry develops, and Ned’s panic level goes through the roof when he finds himself lost in this glamorous high-tech world and learns that Laird is about to pop the question.

March 28, 2017: “Patriots Day” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

An account of the Boston Marathon bombing, “Patriots Day” is the powerful story of a community’s courage in the face of terror. In the aftermath of an unspeakable attack, Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders (played by Mark Wahlberg) joins courageous survivors, first responders and investigators in a race against the clock to hunt down the bombers before they strike again. Weaving together the stories of Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (played by Kevin Bacon), Police Commissioner Ed Davis (played by John Goodman), Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (played by J.K. Simmons) and nurse Carol Saunders (played by Michelle Monaghan) this visceral and unflinching chronicle captures the suspense of one of the most sophisticated manhunts in law enforcement history and celebrates the strength of the people of Boston.

March 28, 2017: “A Monster Calls” (Same day as DVD release), Rated PG-13.

A visually spectacular drama from acclaimed director Juan Antonio Bayona, based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel. Twelve-year-old Conor (played by Lewis MacDougall) attempts to deal with the illness of his mother (played by Felicity Jones) and the bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales that explore courage, loss and faith.

March 28, 2017: “Silence” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” tells the story of two Christian missionaries (played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (played by Liam Neeson) at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden.

March 28, 2017: “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

A deeply atmospheric and terrifying horror film, “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” centers on Kat (played by Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (played by Lucy Boynton), two girls who are left alone at their prep school Bramford over winter break when their parents mysteriously fail to pick them up. While the girls experience increasingly strange and creepy occurrences at the isolated school, we cross cut to another story—that of Joan (played by Emma Roberts), a troubled young woman on the road, who, for unknown reasons, is determined to get to Bramford as fast as she can. As Joan gets closer to the school, Kat becomes plagued by progressively intense and horrifying visions, with Rose doing her best to help her new friend as she slips further and further into the grasp of an unseen evil force. The movie suspensfully builds to the moment when the two stories will finally intersect, setting the stage for a shocking and unforgettable climax.

March 28, 2017: “Arianna,” Rated TV-MA.

Arianna (played by Ondina Quadri) is 19 years old and still has not had her first menstrual cycle. Despite the fact that her breasts have become slightly enlarged, which causes her some discomfort, the hormones her gynecologist prescribed for her do not seem to be helping with her maturation. One summer her parents decide to take her back to the lake house in Bolsena where they all used to go on vacation. Arianna has not been back there since she was 3 years old. While staying in the house, old memories start to come back to Arianna and like pieces of a puzzle, start to slowly fall into place. When her parents tell her it is time to return to the city for a few days, Arianna wants to stay behind to study for her exams. Her father accepts, but for some reason the idea makes her mother extremely uncomfortable. In Italian with English subtitles.

March 28, 2017: “20th Century Women” (Same day as DVD release), Rated R.

With “20th Century Women,” acclaimed filmmaker Mike Mills brings us a richly multilayered, funny, heart-stirring celebration of the complexities of women, family, time, and the connections we search for our whole lives. Set in Santa Barbara, the film follows Dorothea Fields (played by Annette Bening), a determined single mother in her mid-50s who is raising her adolescent  son, Jamie (played by Lucas Jade Zumann) at a moment brimming with cultural change and rebellion.  Dorothea enlists the help of two younger women in Jamie’s upbringing, via Abbie (played by Greta Gerwig), a free-spirited punk artist living as a boarder in the Fields’ home, and Julie (played by Elle Fanning), a savvy and provocative teenage neighbor. “20th Century Women” is a poignant love letter to the people who raise us and the times that form us, as this makeshift family forges fragile connections that will mystify and inspire them through their lives.

March 28, 2017: “Junction 48″ (Same day as DVD release), Rated TV-14.

Palestinian rapper Kareem and his singer girlfriend Manar struggle, love, and make music in their crime-ridden ghetto and Tel Aviv’s hip-hop club scene. Screenplay by real-life rapper Tamar Nafar (who stars as Kareem) and Oren Moverman. In Hebrew with English subtitles.

March 31, 2017: “Despite the Falling Snow” (Same day as theatrical release), Rated PG-13.

In Cold War Moscow, a female spy steals secrets from an idealistic politician—and falls in love with him. Moscow, 1959: Katya (played by Rebecca Ferguson) is young, beautiful—and a spy for the Americans. When she begins spying on Alexander (played by Sam Reid), an idealistic Communist politician, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with him. Her choice between love and duty leads to a nail-biting conclusion that Alexander can only unravel decades later in 1990s New York. His journey back to the snowbound streets of Moscow uncovers a love triangle and betrayals from those he trusted most. Based on Shamim Sarif’s highly acclaimed novel by the same name.

Barry Jenkins and the ‘Moonlight’ team backstage at the 2017 Academy Awards

February 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 89th Annual Academy Awards took place on February, 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

“MOONLIGHT”

Oscar wins:

Best Picture (for producers Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner)

Best Adapted Screenplay (for Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney)

Best Supporting Actor (for Mahershala Ali)

Here is what these Oscar winners said backstage in the Academy Awards press room.

Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski and Barry Jenkins at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski and Barry Jenkins at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mike Baker/©A.M.P.A.S.)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

What went through your head when “La La Land” was announced the winner of Best Picture, and then just a couple of minutes later it was “Moonlight”?

Barry Jenkins (writer/director): I think all the movies that were nominated were worthy, so I accepted the results. I applauded like everyone else. I noticed the commotion that was happening, and I thought something strange had occurred.  And then I’m sure everybody saw my face. But I was speechless when the result … that was awkward, because I’ve watched the Academy Awards, and I’ve never seen that happen before. And so it made a very special feeling even more special, but not in the way I expected.

“Moonlight” feels a bit life‑changing because it’s such an experience of filmmaking for us as audience members. For you guys, being so involved in the project, what will you remember the most about this life‑changing experience for you?

Jenkins: The last 20 minutes of my life have been insane. I don’t think my life could be changed any more dramatically than what happened in the last 20 or 30 minutes. But I also think, too, working on this film with everyone here, all the cast that is somewhere drinking champagne, I’m sure, it’s just been otherworldly, I will say.

And I never expected so many people to see the film, but even a step further, so many people see themselves in the film. I was in Germany, and this guy stood up and said, “I’m from rural Germany, you know, and 20 minutes into this film, I didn’t see Alex Hibbert. I saw myself.” And that was how I felt in working on it. I had one idea of what I was doing, and then I realized that everyone else was bringing this other thing that was much more beautiful than my idea could ever be. So, yeah, beyond life‑changing.

Given the impact that “Moonlight” has had, do you think that this will help break down barriers for more stories about LGBT people of color?

Tarell Alvin McCraney (writer): The hope that we have today about telling stories is that those people, the ones who we are leaning on to make those stories, were watching and found the platform that they saw they could stand on.  I remember sitting back somewhere watching Dustin Lance Black accept for “Milk,” and thinking, “Maybe one day … me.” And here I am. So if that’s any indication, I hope we are moving in that vein.  I hope the storytellers up here and their proud journey here can imprint on someone out there watching, that they too can stand here too, and also tell their stories as daringly, as intimately as possible.

Jeremy Kleiner (producer): I might just add … because I didn’t get a chance to thank ‑‑ we didn’t get a chance to thank our courageous distributor, A24. This project didn’t really have a lot of comps. It was kind of outside of, like, the modeling of what, you know, a movie should be in terms of return on investment and that. And I think that this outcome for “Moonlight,” independently of tonight, but just the effect it’s had domestically around the world hopefully creates some incentives to make stories like this in all different forms.  So that ‑‑ and that was not far from our minds as well.

This question is for Barry Jenkins. What explanation were you given for the mixup tonight?

Jenkins: No explanation. Things just happen, you know? But I will say I saw two cards.  And so things just happen, you know? I wanted to see the card to see the card. And Warren [Beatty] refused to show the card to anybody before he showed it to me. And so he did. He came upstairs, and he walked over to me, and he showed the card.

Everybody was asking, Can I see the card? And he’s like, “No, Barry Jenkins has to see the card.  I need him to know.” And he showed it to me, and I felt better about what had happened. I will say to all you people, please write this down: The folks from “La La Land” were so gracious. We spent a lot of time together over the last six months, and I can’t imagine being in their position and having to do that. I wasn’t speechless because we won. I was speechless because it was so gracious of them to do that.

What did the card say?

Jenkins: The card said, “Best Picture: ‘Moonlight.’ Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski.” But there were two cards.

Did you all have speeches prepared for Best Picture?  And if so, what were you going to say?

Adele Romanski (producer): Yeah, we might have had a couple ideas. But I think the way that what went down, we kind of had to roll with it.  I feel good about what was said.  But I have to admit it was a bit of a fugue state, and I don’t know that I remember it. We didn’t thank people that we probably should have thanked.

Jenkins: Yeah, I absolutely wanted to thank A24 a thousand times because when I first set out to make this film with Adele, there was a budget that we had, and you guys know what the budget is now. It’s 1.5 [million dollars]. The budget we were offered before that was much, much smaller. And without us asking, they increased that budget because they believed in the project. They never told us to alter anything in that process.

So my whole acceptance speech was going to be in thanks to them, because it’s amazing to be Barry Jenkins right now, but it was not a year and a half ago for a guy who made a movie for $13,000 and hadn’t made a movie in seven years at that point. So I was going to give as much love to them as I possibly could with my time on the mic. And it’s unfortunate that things happened the way they did. But hot damn, we won Best Picture.

Barry, for you this has been a long time coming, and it’s been a long journey for you.  Ironically, the stories or the themes told in “La La Land” could apply to you as well. What are your feelings toward Los Angeles and this city and the people in it?

Jenkins: I love L.A.!  How could I not right now? You know, I’ll speak about “La La Land.” When I saw Justin [Horowitz, one of the producers of “La La Land”] at Telluride, I told him that I hadn’t been home in about two months. And I can see my apartment in the background of the opening shot of that film, and I was nostalgic for L.A., which is a crazy feeling for a guy from Miami who’s always had a hard time in L.A.

But you’re right. This is a fulfillment of a lot of things. And I also would have thanked Darnell Martin who gave me my first job in this city. Yeah, she took Chiron and said, Hey, come be my assistant and learn everything I have to teach you. So a lot of things have come full circle right now. This circle was much bigger than I ever could have imagined for myself or for this film.

But it feels good, man, you know. And I guess anything’s possible because most of the voters who voted us Best Picture, they reside here in Los Angeles, and yet they voted a film about a marginalized character from a marginalized community told in a very unorthodox way into Best Picture. And so, God bless L.A.

First off, why do you think that “Moonlight” resonated so deeply with audiences? And secondly, how do you think that winning this Oscar is going to change your life or your career?

Jenkins: I mean, my career, that part’s pretty clear. You know, I write an e‑mail, somebody’s going to reply at this point. Or I make a phone call, somebody is going to call back. So that part is cool.

But why this film? You know, I can’t say. I kind of took it off the table when we came to making this. I mean, Tarell put so much truth in what he wrote in the piece “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” I try to take truth and manifest it on screen. And the only thing I can speak to is that whatever authenticity, whatever fire this guy had in his belly, people saw it, and they reflected the same fire in their belly.

McCraney: Barry does this often where he deflects the fact that, you know, sure, I may have brought my truth to the table in the original script. However, what Barry continued to do when he rewrote the script and when he started shooting, when he started casting, when he was working with those actors, was continue to see himself in those moments, those intimate moments. And everybody can relate to that, because we all know that moment that we felt awkward, because Barry found the moment he was awkward, and he put it on screen.

And so for me, that’s the lightning rod that keeps bringing people back.  We’re putting our true feelings, our true selves there.  And this man did it, you know, in 25 days with a cast and crew who was in and out in Miami in the dreaded heat, but we did that with love and compassion and fullness.  I think that’s what keeps bringing people back to the cinema.

Casey Affleck backstage at the 2017 Academy Awards

February 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 89th Annual Academy Awards took place on February, 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

CASEY AFFLECK

Oscar win:

Best Actor

(“Manchester by the Sea”)

KENNETH LONERGAN

Oscar win:

Best Original Screenplay

(“Manchester by the Sea”)

Here is what these Oscar winners said backstage in the Academy Awards press room.

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

Casey Affleck at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Casey Affleck at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mike Baker/©A.M.P.A.S.)

What did you like about making this movie in Boston?

Casey Affleck (actor): Well, I like to work there because I know it so well and it still feels like home, so that’s sort of a bonus of getting to work on a movie that is in Boston.  There’s also a certain familiarity that helps the work, I think. But, you know, Kenny [Lonergan] writes with such incredible authenticity and specificity that it really was on the page, the whole feel of the place and the characters and everything.  So I could have been from anywhere else and I think I would have got it.

What do you think of the looming Writers Guild America talks? What are your thoughts? What are your wants? Do you think they should strike? 

Kenneth Lonergan (writer/director): Do I think they should strike? Well, I don’t think they should strike now because that would be premature. You know, obviously, I want to get as much as we can for ourselves without screwing anybody else. That’s a strange attitude to take in Hollywood, but that is the attitude I think that the union should take.

I would like to see someday in these negotiations some negotiations for more creative control for screenwriters working in the studio system. There’s a lot of complicated ancillary rights issues, especially nowadays, but the creative control issue is still pretty much the bottom rank could be for a working screenwriter in a studio system, and it would be nice if someday that was able to change.

Casey, you said something along the lines of you wished you had something meaningful to say. You said something fairly meaningful yesterday at the Independent Spirit Awards, but we were led to believe that this was going to be a very political Oscars, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. So why do you think that was?

Affleck: Why was it that there weren’t that many people who made remarks that were political? I think there were quite a few people who said some things that were sort of about their current global political situation and they’re also about … but were from a point of view of artists and they spoke about the importance of arts and so forth. I don’t know why more people didn’t.

It doesn’t entirely seem like an inappropriate place given the state of things. It seems like this is just as fine a platform as any to make some remarks so long they are respectful and positive. Personally, I didn’t say anything because my head was completely blank, the shock of winning the award, and the terror of having a microphone in front of you, and all of those faces staring at you.

So if I said I wish I had something meaningful to say, that was my inside voice coming out.  I wasn’t even aware that I actually said that out loud. I didn’t thank my children, which is something that I’ll probably never ever live down. About three seconds after I made it backstage, my phone rang and my son said, “You didn’t even mention us!”  And my heart just sank. So, you know, that probably would have been the most meaningful thing I could have said and I failed.

Lonergan: My daughter who is 15 was extremely irritated that I mentioned her at all, so you can’t really win.

Casey, during your speech they took a shot of your brother, Ben, in the front and it looked like he was having tears. What was it was like accepting the award in front of him and a group of your loved ones?

Affleck: It was very moving, and I include Kenny in that group of loved ones. And, obviously, my brother, to have him there, yeah, it was a nice moment. I saw those tears and I thought maybe I’m just not making a good speech, and he was really disappointed.  But I think he was probably touched, and I think that we are—not to brag or anything, but I think we’re the only two brothers to win Academy Awards, ever. [NOTE: Filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen actually won Oscars for directing, producing and writing the adapted screenplay for the 2007 dram “No Country for Old Men.”]

Casey, from almost the first major showing of “Manchester by the Sea,” you were predicted to win this award, and I’m sure that that whole ride has been kind of crazy. But how has it changed your expectation for what you can do as an artist? How has it fed your future thoughts for where you’re going?

Affleck: It’s only just reinforced the idea that I had going into it which was if you want to have a good performance or do good work, really, then you’d better work with good directors and good material because, let’s face it, that’s really what a good performance is, 90 percent of it. And this man is the best.

We really enjoyed that brotherly moment between you and Ben, the great hug. What did he say to you before you took the stage or did he give you any advice before coming into this evening?

Affleck: No, he didn’t. He didn’t actually say anything. He just hugged me. A lot of people have been giving me some grief for not thanking him in the past, but in a friendly way. He may have said, “Have fun” or something. It was really insightful, it was. “Be yourself.”

You know, what is there really to say? I’ve learned a lot from him because he’s been through a lot in this business and ups and downs and been under‑appreciated. I don’t know, and then it’s been proven how great he is. It’s been an advantage to be able to watch someone you love and you know so well go try to navigate the very tricky, rocky, sometimes hateful waters of being famous. And so I have learned a lot from him. But in that moment, I don’t think he said anything at all.

Mahershala Ali backstage at the 2017 Academy Awards

February 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 89th Annual Academy Awards took place on February, 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

MAHERSHALA ALI

Oscar win:

Best Supporting Actor

(“Moonlight”)

Here is what this Oscar winner said backstage in the Academy Awards press room.

Mahershala Ali at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles
Mahershala Ali at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mike Baker/©A.M.P.A.S.)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

You are one of the few Muslim actors to win an Oscar. This says a lot at this particular time in our history. Could you speak to that, please? 

Well, regardless of one’s theology or however you see life or relate to worshipping God, as an artist my job is the same, and it’s to tell the truth, and try to connect with these characters and these people as honestly and as deeply as possible. And so one’s spiritual practice, I don’t necessarily feel like it’s as relevant unless it gives you a way into having more empathy for these people that you have to advocate for. I’m proud to own that. I embrace that. But, again, I’m just an artist who feels blessed to have had the opportunities that I have had and try to do the most with every opportunity that’s come my way.

The material in “Moonlight” is so personal to Tarell Alvin McCraney and Barry Jenkins, who both wrote the script. How much pressure did you feel to get it right?

I think I always want to walk away from any project feeling like the writer, director was pleased with what I had to offer. And considering the personal nature of this project, I think that … there was a need that felt a little heightened to me to get it truthful where they could walk away and feel like I really contributed to their film and didn’t screw it up considering that, you know, I was playing someone who had an extraordinary impact on Tarell’s life, and I’m actually glad I didn’t know ‘til later more the details of that, of Blue or Juan’s contribution to Tarell’s life, but it did. It added a layer of pressure.

First off, what went through your head when you read the script to begin with because it was such a beautiful film?  And what can you say about the Best Picture announcement mistake and kind of what went through your head hearing “La La Land” and then hearing “Moonlight” won after all?

Well, I sincerely say that when I read the script … Look, I don’t get to read everything, because there’s things that I’m just not remotely right for. Ryan Gosling and I read different scripts. It’s just what it is, right? As far as the scripts that I’ve read in my 17 years of doing it professionally, “Moonlight” was the best thing that has ever come across my desk.

And that character for the time that he was on the page really spoke to my heart, and I felt like I could hear him, I could sort of envision his presence. I had a real sense of who that person was, enough to start the journey. And I really wanted to be a part of that project, and I’m just so fortunate that Idris [Elba] and David Oyelowo left me a job.  You know, very, very kind of them.

So yeah, and then the second part of your question, “La La Land” has done so well and it’s resonated with so many people, especially in this time when people need a sense of buoyancy in their life and need some hope and light. So that film has really impacted people … in a very different way than “Moonlight.” And so when their name was read, I wasn’t surprised.  And I am really happy for them. It’s a group of some extraordinary people in front of the camera and behind the camera. So I was really happy for them.

And then when I did see security or people coming out on stage and their moment was being disrupted in some way, I got really worried. And then when they said Jordan Horowitz said, “”Moonlight,’ you guys have won,” it just threw me a bit because it threw me more than a bit, but, I didn’t want to go up there and take anything from somebody, and it’s very hard to feel joy in a moment like that. So, but I feel very fortunate … for all of us to have walked away with the Best Picture award. It’s pretty remarkable.

You used to be on “House of Cards.” What you think your fictional former “House f Cards” boss, Frank Underwood, would have to say about your win tonight and about the way the whole thing ended this evening?

“Bah humbug.” No. Kevin [Spacey], he’s been really supportive.  I think it’s a film that he really loved, and he’s told me. “House of Cards” is the reason I’m here. I’ve been working to that point 12 years, very steady employment for the most part, and then was finally able to be on something that really resonated with people in a way that honestly was a real shift in the culture. “House of Cards” was the first binge‑watched show that was ever binge watched, and so to be a part of that and that being something that feels really authentic for our culture and a real option in how we view and absorb and embrace content, that was that show. And so that’s the reason I’ve been able to put certain things together and even have this moment because of the four years I spent on “House of Cards.”

You seem to have very eclectic taste when it comes to picking your roles. Are you working on a project that you could share with us?

Well, there’s a project called “Alita: Battle Angel: that Robert Rodriguez is directing and James Cameron did in Austin. And I’m really excited about that. I actually play two parts in that film. That was a blast, and I literally wrapped that maybe two weeks ago. But then after that, I’m going to start something in a couple of months, and just honestly excited to read scripts and to have meetings and hopefully work with some more extraordinarily talented people like Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, and this wonderful cast and crew of “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures.” So I just feel very, very blessed to have had this award season and this experience.

What would you like to tell your newborn daughter right now in this world, that fatherly advice?

Just pray to be guided to your excellence. That’s it.

And winning an Oscar, that’s a journey that many actors want to be on, and it is a dream, and when they reach that dream, what’s next? So what is next for you?  And also, who are some of your role models that you have idolized?

So as far as what’s next, I think I’m going to try this way. I’m going to just look for material that I am inspired by and that I respond to and just try to do my best work, you know, and keep it about the work, working with great directors and writers and other extraordinary talented actors, because you want to be around people who are better than you and who can lift you up where you have raise your game. And I want to be inspired and just improve and do work that makes me uncomfortable, that scares me because anytime you get into the unknown, you get into that fearful space, that’s when you’re in new territory and you have the greatest opportunity to grow and improve as a talent or as an actor, an artist, and as a human being.

It’s very difficult to separate them for me, you know? So that’s how I would like to approach moving forward. And I think you asked me about who inspired me? Well, look, you know, we could talk about it till I’m some version of blue in the face, but the diversity topic, it’s very real in that when I was growing up—I’m 43 years old; I was born in 1974—and there weren’t a lot of [African-American] people on TV and films. When Billy Dee Williams was in “Star Wars,” like that was a big deal in my house and in my family, and it was somebody who was in the story that I could kind of attach to and say, Oh, wow, we’re present as well.

But for me, that person has always been Denzel Washington because, one, he’s just so damn talented. But, then, two, to see someone who comes from your tribe, so to speak, play at the level of all the other great ones and do it so well and be able to articulate his voice and his talent in a way that was on par with the very best, and he looks like you, too. You know what I mean, in that like, “Wow, there’s somebody who could be an uncle of mine.” Like, those are things that play in your mind as you move forward.

And also what I love about Denzel is not that he’s a great black actor, he’s a great actor. I’ve never looked at myself as a black actor. I’m an actor who happens to be African American, but I just want an opportunity to respond to material and bring whatever I bring to it in some unique fashion, and that’s it. But basically short story long, Denzel.

Viola Davis backstage at the 2017 Academy Awards

February 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 89th Annual Academy Awards took place on February, 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

VIOLA DAVIS

Oscar win:

Best Supporting Actress

(“Fences”)

Here is what this Oscar winner said backstage in the Academy Awards press room.

Viola Davis at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Viola Davis at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mike Baker/©A.M.P.A.S.)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

You talked about how much your parents have supported you. Is there anything that they said to you when you were growing up that you kept with you and that you pass onto others?

That they loved me.  And my mom always said, “I knew the difference between an accountant and an actor,” but she was always okay with it. You know, someone told me years ago, they said, “You have the best parents.”  I said, “I do?” And they said, “Yeah, because they’re okay with just letting you fly. They’re not stage parents.” And I think that’s the biggest gift my parents gave to me is to kind of allow me to live my own life.  They weren’t living their dreams through me.

How did playing your “Fences” character Rose challenge you?

Everything about Rose challenged me. Rose just kind of seemingly just being sometimes at peace with being in the background was hard to play. Rose getting to a place of forgiveness was hard to play. That last scene when I did 114 performances on stage, I didn’t understand the last speech when she said, “I gave up my life to make him bigger.”  I didn’t get that.

But what Rose has taught me is a lot of what my mom has taught me: That my mom has lived a really hard life, but she still has an abundance of love. That’s the thing about life.  You go through it, and terrible things happen to you, beautiful things happen to you, and then you try to just stand up every day, but that’s not the point. The point is feeling all those things but still connecting to people, still being able to love people. And that was the best thing about playing Rose because I’m not there yet. Even at 51, sometimes I just kind of live in my anger.

What would your TV alter ego Annalise Keating from “How to Get Away With Murder” say about your Oscar win?

Oh, she would most definitely say, “I deserve this.” And then she would have some vodka. And in that, we are very similar.

Viola, what are you feeling right now?  What is going through your head right now?  What is your experience?

It’s easier to ask the alter ego.  I feel good. You know, it’s not my style to just kind of wake up and go, “Oh, I’m an Oscar winner. Oh, my gosh, let me go for a run.” You know. I’m good with it. I’ll have some mac and cheese, and I’ll go back to washing my daughter’s hair tomorrow night. But this is the first time in my life that I’ve stepped back—and I’m going to try not to cry now. All of a sudden. Be cheesy. And I can’t believe my life.

My sister is here somewhere, and I grew up in poverty. I grew up in apartments that were condemned and rat‑infested, and I just always sort of wanted to be somebody. And I just wanted to be good at something. And so this is sort of like the miracle of God, of dreaming big and just hoping that it sticks and it lands, and it did. Who knew? So I’m overwhelmed. Yeah.

What moment was it during those “Fences” performances on stage when you started back in 2010 that you and Denzel said, “Maybe we should make a film out of this. Maybe we could do that.”?

There was no moment, one moment on the stage. It’s the whole, every moment on the stage. The thing that I love about August Wilson is that he let’s people of color speak, and a lot of times I’m offered narratives where people will say a whole lot of things are happening in this scene, but it’s just not on the page.

There’s no words. There’s no journey. There’s no full realization of who we are. There’s no boldness. There’s no taking risks for being anything different.  I love every moment of this film is about the beauty of just living and breathing and being human. And not didactic, not being a walking social message. They do that with us a lot, as people of color.

Audiences love us when we represent something. I just want to represent me, living, breathing, failing, getting up in the morning, dying, forgiveness. August was the inspiration. You know, and Denzel decided he was going to do the movie from the moment he was given the script. He just said, “Let me do the play first.” So that’s it.

What do you love about being a black woman?

Everything. I love my history. I love the fact I can go back and look at so many different stories of women that have gone before me who seemingly should not have survived, and they did. And I love my skin. I love my voice. I love my history. Sometimes I don’t love being the spokesperson all the time, but so be it. That’s the way that goes, right?  But at 51, I’m sort of loving me.

What makes a great story?

What makes a great story?  What makes a great story most definitely is fully realized characters, great writing, definitely, where a character is introduced to you from the very beginning and they go on a journey that’s unexpected, and then they arrive someplace completely different from where they started. What makes a great story is the element of surprise. And what makes a great story absolutely is if it has a central event that helps people connect to a part of themselves.

And in that, “Fences” had it all. Because that’s what it’s about, right? You want to connect. I mean, sometimes you want to eat the buttered popcorn and the Milk Duds and the Sour Patch Kids. I do that a lot too, and Diet Coke. But more often, you want to be shifted in some way in your thinking in your feeling about who you are in the world,.  That would be a great story.

The Time backstage at the 2017 Grammy Awards

February 12, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place on February 12, 2017, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

THE TIME

Here is what this Grammy performer said backstage in the Grammy Awards press room.

The Time lead singer Morris Day at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
The Time lead singer Morris Day at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How did it feel to do the Grammy tribute to Prince?

Morris Day: It was double-edged for me. I kind of hate the reason why we’re here, but I think it’s fitting that we are here. And I’m glad to be here. It was fitting.

How important was Prince’s legacy is to music?

Day: He was one of the best ever. His legacy will go on forever. He was just one of the best musicians who ever lived.

What was your relationship with Prince toward the end of his life?

Day: It wasn’t like when we were kids and saw each other all the time. When we saw each other, it was all love. We had the opportunity to go to Minneapolis and do a show for him about two months before he passed away, so it was cool.

What did you think of Bruno Mars’ tribute to Prince?

Day: He ripped it up. He did it perfectly. I don’t think there’s another artist who could have pulled it off as perfectly with us as Bruno did.

Jimmy Jam: But we still kicked his ass!

Would The Time consider being the opening act on Bruno Mars’ tour this year?

Day: Well, if he calls us and presents the right dollar amount, we’ll consider it.

Tom Hiddleston backstage at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards

January 9, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 74th annual Golden Globe Awards took place on January 8, 2017, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

TOM HIDDLESTON

Golden Globe win:

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Film

(“The Night Manager”)

Here is what this Golden Globe winner said backstage in the Golden Globe Awards press room.

Tom Hiddleston at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017.
Tom Hiddleston at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

You filmed “The Night Manager” and “Thor: Ragnarok” in Australia. Do you pinch yourself knowing that you have these very different acting roles?

I do. I feel very lucky. When I became an actor, I wanted to move between genres and characters and never repeat myself or play the same thing twice. I have played Loki four times, but the idea that I’m allowed to play both Jonathan Pine and Loki and my character in “Kong: Skull Island,” which I was also in Australia for is truly everything I’ve always wished for is an actor, so I feel immensely fortunate.

How were you challenged in your “Night Manager” role? Did you feel you were challenged differently from your past roles?

Certainly. If you read the novel by John le Carré, it’s such a rich resource. And quite apart from being a master storyteller of espionage thrillers, John le Carré is it is a very curious student of British identity. And I think through Jonathan Pine, he’s trying to get underneath the skin of what it means to be English, how Englishness changes when were abroad, how it changes when we fight for our country, because Jonathan Pine is a former soldier, and also how it manifests in the character of Richard Roper who is an arms dealer to whom people are very drawn because Richard Roper is attractive and charismatic in and you like him, but he is deeply cynical. And I think that le Carré’s anger is that a man like Roper is an inheritor of the freedoms of British democracy but has chosen to the worst things imaginable.

With Pine, the challenge is he’s a spy. And spies dissemble and conceal and they have to be believable as they lie. And the nature of acting is always exploring identity but Pine is four different people he has to be believable in all his different guises. And that was fascinating for me to play different people with different names were different passports. So very different very new and very exciting.

At the beginning of the series, Pine is a night manager. How did “The Night Manager” director Susanne Bier talk to you about that character when we meet him at first?

Susanne and I talked a lot about uniform. Pine is a former soldier in our adaptation of the second Iraq War in 2003. And he has for reasons, perhaps known only to himself, hidden behind another uniform. He’s someone who feels comfortable behind the anonymity of service he was in military service now he’s in hotel service immensely capable, practical and resourceful.

And I think in the first episode he commits he put his heart on the line and he’s broken-hearted. And that is the thing that challenges him to do something to come out behind the uniform and stand up for something more. And I had a fascinating time. I did a night as a night manager at the Rosewood Hotel in London. And it’s all theater.

Staying in hotels since then has been a different experience because everything is immaculately managed to make the guests feel welcome. Of course, if you’re doing it well, they don’t see the work, which is very like acting. But yeah that we talked about service and putting other people before yourself because that’s what the uniform demands.

You’re so good at playing the bad guy now. When you read the script do you ever feel bad? How is it to be the bad guy?

I haven’t played the bad guy for a while. I just finished “Thor Ragnarok” in which I’m Loki again, but mercifully the bad boy pants who passed on to Cate Blanchett this time around who’s playing the goddess of death, which is significantly more bad than the god of mischief, I think in the bad-boy stakes. I do think about what the film is transmitting about people and about character and recently I’ve played people who might be construed as protagonist, as opposed to antagonists.

But with Loki, specifically, who’s the most out-and-out villain I’ve played, it always try to see to be compassionate to his point of view, and that’s how I think you get an honest performance. But I understand that at the end of Avengers he has to get Hulk-Smashed, and he has to go down.

There is a photo of you and Carrie Fisher at the White House Correspondents Dinner. How did you feel when she passed away?

Carrie Fisher was such a fighter, and I spent one evening with her in Washington last summer at the White House Correspondents Dinner as a guest of The Guardian newspaper. And she had this indomitable spirit that was bigger than the occasion. She was such a force for life and I think if we could take anything a lesson from there it’s just it’s to live as fully as we can, to embrace our weaknesses and that very act makes them become strengths.

And she was so funny. She insisted that when we were there she was looking after her dog Gary, and I was looking after Gary’s rubber duck which was a rubber duck of Princess Leia. So I felt in the presence of the outgoing president of the United States, it was only appropriate that they have a Princess Leia rubber duck in train because of Carrie’s contribution.

 

2017 Academy Awards: Red Carpet Photos

Check out what these celebrities were wearing on the red carpet and who some of them brought as their dates.

 

 

Emma Stone backstage at the 2017 Academy Awards

February 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 89th Annual Academy Awards took place on February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

EMMA STONE

Oscar win:

Best Actress

(“La La Land”)

Here is what this Oscar winner said backstage in the Academy Awards press room.

Emma Emma Stone at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles
Emma Stone at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Tyler Golden/ABC)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How will you celebrate tonight, and who will you call first after the show?

My mom, for sure. And I’m going to go out with a bunch of my friends and dance and drink champagne. That’s pretty much the only plan.

What does it mean to you as one of the ones who dreamed to have won this award for playing this role that mimics what so many people in this city go through to get to the point of where you are standing right now?

Well, I guess surreal is probably the only way to describe it. I mean, to play this woman, I knew this. I’ve lived here for 13 years. I moved when I was 15 to start auditioning, and I knew what it felt like to go on audition after audition. So I mean anything like this was pretty inconceivable in a realistic context.

I had a really creepy little moment backstage—not to change the subject—but I was just like looking down at it, like it was my newborn child. This is a statue of a naked man. Very creepy staring at it. So hopefully, I will look at a newborn child differently. But I mean it’s, yeah, it’s incredibly surreal. I don’t have the benefit of hindsight yet. Sorry if that’s a terrible answer. Turned it into a naked man story.

You know it’s a dream to get an Oscar. Did you ever dream like that? And what is the dream when they announced “La La Land” as the Best Picture, and it didn’t win?

Okay. So yes, of course. I’m an actor. I’ve always dreamt of this kind of thing, but again, not in a realistic context. And for that, I fucking love “Moonlight.” God, I love “Moonlight” so much! I was so excited for “Moonlight.” And of course, you know, it was an amazing thing to hear “La La Land.” I think we all would have loved to win Best Picture, but we are so excited for “Moonlight.”

I think it’s one of the best films of all time. So I was pretty beside myself. I also was holding my Best Actress in a Leading Role card that entire time. So, whatever story—I don’t mean to start stuff, but whatever story that was, I had that card. So I’m not sure what happened. And I really wanted to talk to you guys first. Congratulations, “Moonlight.” Hell, yeah.

Could you just speak a little bit to what the atmosphere was like after that nightmare? The atmosphere in here was crazy.

I think everyone’s in a state of confusion still. Excitement, but confusion. I don’t really have a gauge of the atmosphere quite yet. I need to, you know, check in. But I think everyone is just so excited, so excited for “Moonlight.” It’s such an incredible film.

How much does an Oscar cost in terms of sacrifice and discipline?

Oh, my God. Is that measurable? I don’t know. I guess it depends on the Oscar. In my life, I have been beyond lucky with the people around me, with the friends and family that I have and the people that have lifted me up throughout my life. So in terms of sacrifice, those people are all sitting back in a room right now and I get to go celebrate with them, and it’s felt like the most joyous thing. So, I mean, being a creative person does not feel like a sacrifice to me. It’s the great joy of my life. And so, I mean, I don’t know if that’s a good answer to that question, but I’ve been very lucky in terms of that.

As someone who’s been in Hollywood, you’ve experienced many things before. Are you able to give us sort of a word picture of what it was like? It was two minutes and 30 seconds that “La La Land” was named Best Picture of the year. What was it like on stage when you first thought it won, and then it didn’t win?

Again, I don’t know if this is a measurable question. Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time? Cool! We made history tonight. Craziest moment. And again, I don’t even know what to say. I think I’m still on such a buzzy train backstage that I was, you know, on another planet already. So this has all just felt like another planet. But again, God I love “Moonlight” I’m so excited. I think it’s an incredible outcome, but a very strange happening for Oscar history.

Do you feel like owing Emma Watson a drink or dinner to thank her for turning down the role you got in “La La Land”?

Oh, my God, you know what? She’s doing great. She’s the coolest. She’s Belle [in “Beauty and the Beast”]. I think it’s all right. It’s all good. I think she’s amazing.

Being on the top of the world right now, does it humble you?

Well, we had a nice little jarring moment that’s just … like real life, but everything kind of feels like real life. Like this is an incredible, incredible honor and in many ways game-changing for me, personally, but it’s also just still me. And again, back to the people that I love, nothing changes when I go home. Nothing is going to change at all. So I don’t know that there’s a humbling moment. It’s just already like feels ridiculous, in the best way.

2017 Academy Awards: ‘Moonlight’ wins Best Picture; ‘La La Land’ wins 6 Oscars

January 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

For the first time in Oscar history, a colossal mistake was made in announcing the winner for Best Picture. The mishap occurred at the 89th Annual Academy Awards, which were presented at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 26, 2017.  In a stunning turn of events, the drama “Moonlight” won the prize, but only after presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced that “La La Land” was the winner and after the producers of “La La Land” gave their acceptance speeches. A visibly embarrassed Beatty explained that he had been given the wrong envelope, and that he was reading from a card that announced “La La Land” star Emma Stone as Best Actress, an award she had won earlier in the evening.

“La La Land” had widely been predicted to win Best Picture since it went into the ceremony with a record 14 nominations. The contemporary musical “La La Land” tied the record previously held by 1950’s “All About Eve” and 1997’s “Titanic,” which each had 14 Oscar nominations. In the end, “La La Land” won six Oscars, including Best Actress for Stone and Best Director for Damien Chazelle, who at 32 years old became the youngest person to win in that category.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony, which was telecast in the U.S. on ABC. He jokingly chastised Beatty for the mistake by saying, “Warren, what did you do?” Some of the antics that Kimmel did during the telecast included taking an unsuspecting group of tourists on a front-row journey through the theater; poking fun at his friend Matt Damon in their ongoing mock feud; and making snacks wrapped in lacy packages that  rain down on the audience.

Only two other movies received more than one Oscar at the ceremony: “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Manchester by the Sea,”  which won two awards each.

Mahershala Ali, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Casey Affleck at the 89th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 26, 2017. (Photo by Tyler Golden/ABC)

The 89th Academy Awards also set a record for the most nominations for African-Americans and other people of color. For the first time in Academy Awards history, people of color were nominated in all of the major categories in the same year: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. The ethnic diversity in the nominees came after the Academy changed its membership policies in 2016 to include more women and people of color, following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that slammed the Oscars for not having any African-American nominees in the actor/actress categories for the 2016 and 2015 ceremonies. In the end, African-Americans won in three major categories at the 2017 Academy Awards: Viola Davis of “Fences” won for Best Supporting Actress, while “Moonlight” star Mahershala Ali won for Best Supporting Actor and “Moonlight” writer/director Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney won for Best Adapted Screenplay. (The award for Best Picture is given to the film’s producers. Jenkins was not a producer of “Moonlight.”)

The nominations for the 2017 Oscars were also noteworthy for the strides made by streaming services. “Manchester by the Sea” because the first movie from a streaming service (Amazon) not a traditional film studio, to get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. “Manchester by the Sea” ultimately won two Oscars: Best Actor (for Casey Affleck) and Best Original Screenplay (for Kenneth Lonergan).

The documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” which was an ESPN miniseries totaling more than seven hours, qualified for the Academy Awards because “O.J.: Made in America” had a limited run in U.S. theaters. “O.J.: Made in America” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, making it the longest movie to win in that category.

Here is the complete list of winners for the 79th Annual Academy Awards:

***= winner

Best Picture
“Arrival”
“Fences”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
“Lion”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”***

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”***
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”***
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”***
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, “Fences”***
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”***
Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Arrival,” Eric Heisserer
“Fences,” August Wilson
“Hidden Figures,” Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
“Lion,” Luke Davies
“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney***

Best Original Screenplay
“20th Century Women,” Mike Mills
“Hell or High Water,” Taylor Sheridan
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan***

Best Cinematography
“Arrival,” Bradford Young
“La La Land,” Linus Sandgren***
“Lion,” Greig Fraser
“Moonlight,” James Laxton
“Silence,” Rodrigo Prieto

Best Documentary Feature
“13th,” Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish
“Fire at Sea,” Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo
“I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck, Remi Grellety and Hebert Peck
“Life, Animated,” Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman
“O.J.: Made in America,” Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow***

Best Documentary Short Subject
“4.1 Miles,” Daphne Matziaraki
“Extremis,” Dan Krauss
“Joe’s Violin,” Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen
“Watani: My Homeland,” Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis
“The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara***

Best Foreign Language Film
“Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet (Denmark)
“A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm (Sweden)
“The Salesman,” Asghar Farhadi (Iran)***
“Tanna,” Martin Butler and Bentley Dean (Australia)
“Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade (Germany)

Best Animated Feature
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner
“Moana,” John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer
“My Life as a Zucchini,” Claude Barras and Max Karli
“The Red Turtle,” Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki
“Zootopia,” Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer***

Best Animated Short
“Blind Vaysha,” Theodore Ushev
“Borrowed Time,” Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Robert Valley and Cara Speller
“Pearl,” Patrick Osborne
“Piper,” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer***

Best Live Action Short Film
“Ennemis Interieurs,” Selim Azzazi
“La Femme et le TGV,” Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff
“Silent Nights,” Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson
“Sing,” Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy***
“Timecode,” Juanjo Gimenez

Best Original Score
“Jackie,” Mica Levi
“La La Land,” Justin Hurwitz***
“Lion,” Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
“Moonlight,” Nicholas Britell
“Passengers,” Thomas Newman

Best Original Song
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul*
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls” — Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
“City of Stars” from “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul***
“The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story” — Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
“How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” — Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best Production Design
“Arrival,” Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
“Hail, Caesar!,” Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
“La La Land,” David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco***
“Passengers,” Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena

Best Makeup and Hair
“A Man Called Ove,” Eva von Bahr and Love Larson
“Star Trek Beyond,” Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
“Suicide Squad,” Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson***

Best Costume Design
“Allied,” Joanna Johnston
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Colleen Atwood***
“Florence Foster Jenkins,” Consolata Boyle
“Jackie,” Madeline Fontaine
“La La Land,” Mary Zophres

Best Film Editing
“Arrival,” Joe Walker
“Hacksaw Ridge,” John Gilbert***
“Hell or High Water,” Jake Roberts
“La La Land,” Tom Cross
“Moonlight,” Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Best Sound Editing
“Arrival,” Sylvain Bellemare***
“Deepwater Horizon,” Wylie Stateman and Renee Tondelli
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright
“La La Land,” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“Sully,” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Best Sound Mixing
“Arrival,” Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace***
“La La Land,” Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

Best Visual Effects
“Deepwater Horizon,” Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton
“Doctor Strange,” Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould
“The Jungle Book,” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon***
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould