2021 Primetime Emmy Awards: ‘The Crown,’ ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ are the top winners

September 19, 2021

by Carla Hay

Pennie Downey, Marion Bailey, Josh O’Connor, Charles Dance, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Erin Doherty, Michael Thomas and Pennie Downie in “The Crown” (Photo by Des Willie/Netflix)

Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Queen’s Gambit” (Photo by Phil Bray/Netflix)

With 11 prizes each, Netflix’s drama series “The Crown” and the Netflix limited drama series “The Queen’s Gambit” were the top winners at the 73rd annual Emmy Awards, which were presented at The Event Deck at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on September 19, 2021, in a ceremony hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. CBS had the U.S. telecast, with Paramount+ making live streaming of the ceremony available. Going into the ceremony, “The Crown” and the Disney+’s sci-fi drama series “The Mandalorian” were the leading contenders, with 24 nominations each.

The Emmy Awards won by “The Crown” were for Outstanding Drama Series; Best Actress in a Drama Series (for Olivia Colman); Best Actor in a Drama Series (for Josh O’Connor); Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (for Gillian Anderson); Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (for Tobias Menzies); Best Writing for a Drama Series; Best Directing for a Drama Series; Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (for Claire Foy); Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series; Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (one hour); and Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series.

“The Queen’s Gambit” was the top winner in categories for Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie, including Outstanding Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie. “The Queen’s Gambit” also ruled in limited series, anthology series or movie categories for directing; writing; cinematography; single-camera picture editing; sound mixing; production design; casting; period and/or character makeup (non-prosthetic); and music composition (original dramatic score).

Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” was also a big winner, with seven prizes: Outstanding Comedy Series; Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (for Jason Sudeikis); Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (for Brett Goldstein); and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (for Hannah Waddingham). The other three Emmys won by the show were for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series; Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama series (half-hour) and Animation; and Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series.

“Saturday Night Live” won eight Emmys this year, including Outstanding Variety Series. “The Mandalorian” received seven Emmys, all in technical categories. “Mare of Easttown” picked up four Emmys, including three in the field of Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie: Outstanding Actress (for Kate Winslet); Best Supporting Actor (for Evan Peters); and Best Supporting Actress (for Julianne Nicholson). “Mare of Easttown” also won an Emmy for Outstanding Production Design for Narrative Contemporary Program. As previously announced, Debbie Allen received the noncompetitive Governors Award for career achievement.

Presenters and surprise guests included Uzo Aduba, Paulina Alexis, Anthony Anderson, Annaleigh Ashford, Awkwafina, Angela Bassett, Adrien Brody, Aidy Bryant, Sophia Bush, Stephen Colbert, Jennifer Coolidge, Misty Copeland, Kaley Cuoco, Michael Douglas, Ava DuVernay, Lane Factor, Beanie Feldstein, Allyson Felix, America Ferrera, Sterlin Harjo, Taraji P. Henson, Gayle King, LL Cool J, Devery Jacobs, Ken Jeong, Mindy Kaling, Daniel Dae Kim, Vanessa Lachey, Dan Levy, Eugene Levy, Jessica Long, Annie Murphy, Catherine O’Hara, Dolly Parton, Sarah Paulson, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Amy Poehler, Ellen Pompeo, Billy Porter, Michaela Jaé (Mj) Rodriguez, Seth Rogen, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Patrick Stewart, Wilmer Valderrama, Kerry Washington, Rita Wilson, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Bowen Yang and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP tallied the votes for the Primetime Emmy Awards, which are voted on by branches of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, with some special jury awards. The executive producers of 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards telecast were Reginald Hudlin and Done and Dusted.

The 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards were handed out in a three-part ceremony on September 11 and September 12 that was webcast on Emmys.com. Highlights of the ceremony were televised on September 18 on FXX. A complete list of winners for the 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards can be found here.

Here is the list of nominees and winners for the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards:

*=winner

Outstanding Drama Series

“The Boys” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Bridgerton” (Netflix)
“The Crown” (Netflix)*
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
“The Mandalorian” (Disney+)
“Pose” (FX)
“This Is Us” (NBC)

Outstanding Comedy Series

“Black-ish” (ABC)
“Cobra Kai” (Netflix)
“Emily in Paris” (Netflix)
“Hacks” (HBO Max)
“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max)
“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
“Pen15” (Hulu)
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV +)*

Outstanding Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie
“I May Destroy You” (HBO)
“Mare of Easttown” (HBO)
“The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix)*
“The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime Video)
“WandaVision” (Disney+)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Jonathan Majors (“Lovecraft Country”)
Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”)*
Regé-Jean Page (“Bridgerton”)
Billy Porter (“Pose”)
Matthew Rhys (“Perry Mason”)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Uzo Aduba (“In Treatment”)
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)*
Emma Corrin (“The Crown”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Mj Rodriguez (“Pose”)
Jurnee Smollett (“Lovecraft Country”)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)
Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”)
William H. Macy (“Shameless”)
Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”)*
Kenan Thompson (“Kenan”)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant (“Shrill”)
Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”)
Allison Janney (“Mom”)
Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”)
Jean Smart (“Hacks”)*

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie

Paul Bettany (“WandaVision”)
Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”)
Ewan McGregor (“Halston”)*
Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”)
Leslie Odom Jr. (“Hamilton”)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie

Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You”)
Cynthia Erivo (“Genius: Aretha”)
Elizabeth Olsen (“WandaVision”)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Kate Winslet (“Mare of Easttown”)*

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

“Conan”
“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”*
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”

Outstanding Competition Program

“The Amazing Race”
“Nailed It!”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race”*
“Top Chef”
“The Voice”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito (“The Mandalorian”)
O-T Fagbenle (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
John Lithgow (“Perry Mason”)
Tobias Menzies (“The Crown”)*
Max Minghella (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Chris Sullivan (“This Is Us”)
Bradley Whitford (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Michael K. Williams (“Lovecraft Country”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”)*
Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”)
Madeline Brewer (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Aunjanue Ellis (“Lovecraft Country”)
Emerald Fennell (“The Crown”)
Yvonne Strahovski (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series*

Carl Clemons-Hopkins (“Hacks”)
Brett Goldstein (“Ted Lasso”)*
Brendan Hunt (“Ted Lasso”)
Nick Mohammed (“Ted Lasso”)
Paul Reiser (“The Kominsky Method”)
Jeremy Swift (“Ted Lasso”)
Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”)
Bowen Yang (“Saturday Night Live”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant (“Saturday Night Live”)
Hannah Einbinder (“Hacks”)
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Rosie Perez (“The Flight Attendant”)
Cecily Strong (“Saturday Night Live”)
Juno Temple (“Ted Lasso”)
Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”)*

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie

Thomas Brodie Sangster (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”)
Paapa Essiedu (“I May Destroy You”)
Jonathan Groff (“Hamilton”)
Evan Peters (“Mare of Easttown”)*
Anthony Ramos (“Hamilton”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie

Renée Elise Goldsberry (“Hamilton”)
Kathryn Hahn (“WandaVision”)
Moses Ingram (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Julianne Nicholson (“Mare of Easttown”)*
Jean Smart (“Mare of Easttown”)
Phillipa Soo (“Hamilton”)

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

“A Black Lady Sketch Show”
“Saturday Night Live”*

Outstanding Variety Special (Live)

Celebrating America – An Inauguration Night Special (Multiple Platforms)
The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards (CBS)
The Oscars (ABC)
The Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show Starring The Weeknd (CBS)
Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 (Showtime)*

Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

Bo Burnham: Inside (Netflix)
David Byrne’s American Utopia (HBO)
8:46 – Dave Chappelle (Netflix)
Friends: The Reunion (HBO Max)
Hamilton (Disney+)*
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote (HBO Max)

2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards: ‘WandaVision’ is the top winner

May 17, 2021

Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen in “WandaVision” (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios)

With four prizes, including Best Show, the Disney+ superhero series “WandaVision” was the top winner at the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards. The hybrid live/virtual ceremony, hosted by Leslie Jones, took place over two nights. On May 16, the winners of the scripted categories were annnounced from the Palladium in Los Angeles. On May 17, the winners of the unscripted categories were announced.

“WandaVision” went into the ceremony with the most nominations (five), while VH1’s drag-queen reality series “RuPaul’s Drag Race” had four nominations. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” won three awards: Best Competition Series, Best Reality Cast and Best Reality Host, a prize given to RuPaul. The awards in the competitive categories were voted for by the public at MTV.com.

In the non-competitive categories, the honorees were Sacha Baron Cohen for the Comedic Genius Award; Scarlett Johansson for the MTV Generation Award; and “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” for the MTV Reality Royalty Lifetime Achievement Award.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominees:

*=winner

SCRIPTED

BEST MOVIE
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Judas and the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Soul
To All the Boys: Always and Forever*

BEST SHOW
Bridgerton
Cobra Kai
Emily in Paris
The Boys
WandaVision*

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A MOVIE
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom*
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Zendaya – Malcolm & Marie

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A SHOW
Anya Taylor-Joy – The Queen’s Gambit
Elizabeth Olsen – WandaVision*
Elliot Page – The Umbrella Academy
Emma Corrin – The Crown
Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You

BEST HERO
Anthony Mackie – The Falcon and the Winter Soldier*
Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman 1984
Jack Quaid – The Boys
Pedro Pascal – The Mandalorian
Teyonah Parris – WandaVision

BEST KISS
Chase Stokes & Madelyn Cline – Outer Banks*
Jodie Comer & Sandra Oh – Killing Eve
Lily Collins & Lucas Bravo – Emily in Paris
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan & Jaren Lewison – Never Have I Ever
Regé-Jean Page & Phoebe Dynevor – Bridgerton

BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE
Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek
Eric Andre – Bad Trip
Issa Rae – Insecure
Jason Sudeikis – Ted Lasso
Leslie Jones – Coming 2 America*

BEST VILLAIN
Aya Cash – The Boys
Ewan McGregor – Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Giancarlo Esposito – The Mandalorian
Kathryn Hahn – WandaVision*
Nicholas Hoult – The Great

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
Antonia Gentry – Ginny & Georgia
Ashley Park – Emily in Paris
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Paul Mescal – Normal People
Regé-Jean Page – Bridgerton*

BEST FIGHT
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) – Final Funhouse Fight
Cobra Kai – Finale House Fight
The Boys – Starlight, Queen Maeve, Kimiko vs. Stormfront
WandaVision – Wanda vs. Agatha*
Zack Snyder’s Justice League – Final Fight vs. Steppenwolf

MOST FRIGHTENED PERFORMANCE
Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man
Jurnee Smollett – Lovecraft Country
Simona Brown – Behind Her Eyes
Victoria Pedretti – The Haunting of Bly Manor*
Vince Vaughn – Freaky

BEST DUO
Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar – Star (Kristen Wiig) & Barb (Annie Mumolo)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Falcon (Anthony Mackie) & Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)*
The Mandalorian – Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) & Grogu
Emily in Paris – Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) & Mindy Chen (Ashley Park)
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) & Tutar Sagdiyev (Maria Bakalova)

UNSCRIPTED

BEST DOCU-REALITY SHOW
Below Deck Mediterranean
Black Ink Crew New York
Bling Empire
Jersey Shore Family Vacation*
Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta

BEST DATING SHOW
90 Day Fiancé
Ex On The Beach
Love Is Blind
Ready to Love
The Bachelorette*

BEST REALITY CAST
90 Day Fiancé
Jersey Shore Family Vacation
Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta
RuPaul’s Drag Race*
The Real Housewives of Atlanta

BEST COMPETITION SERIES
Legendary
RuPaul’s Drag Race*
The Challenge
The Circle
The Masked Singer

BEST LIFESTYLE SHOW
Deliciousness
Fixer Upper: Welcome Home
Making The Cut
Nailed It!*
Queer Eye

BEST NEW UNSCRIPTED SERIES 
Bling Empire
Cardi Tries
Selena + Chef*
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
VH1 Family Reunion: Love & Hip Hop Edition

BEST TALK / TOPICAL SHOW
A Little Late with Lilly Singh
Red Table Talk
The Breakfast Club
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah*
Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen

BEST COMEDY / GAME SHOW
Floor Is Lava
Impractical Jokers*
Kids Say the Darndest Things
Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out
Ridiculousness

BEST HOST
Nicole Byer – Nailed It!
Rob Dyrdek – Ridiculousness
RuPaul – RuPaul’s Drag Race*
T.J. Lavin – The Challenge
Tiffany Haddish – Kids Say the Darndest Things

BREAKTHROUGH SOCIAL STAR
Addison Rae
Bretman Rock*
Charli D’Amelio
Jalaiah Harmon
Rickey Thompson

BEST REAL-LIFE MYSTERY OR CRIME SERIES
Catfish: The TV Show*
Evil Lives Here
Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
Unsolved Mysteries

BEST FIGHT
Selling Sunset – Chrishell Stause vs. Christine Quinn
The Real Housewives of New Jersey – Jackie Goldschneider vs. Teresa Giudice
Untucked: RuPaul’s Drag Race – Kandy Muse vs. Tamisha Iman
Keeping Up With The Kardashians – Kourtney Kardashian vs. Kim Kardashian West*
Legendary – Law Roach vs. Guest Judge Dominique Jackson

BEST INTERNATIONAL REALITY SERIES
Acapulco Shore
Geordie Shore
Love Island (ITV)*
¡Nailed it! México
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Wig’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Nelson Sullivan in “Wig” (Photo courtesy of HBO)

“Wig”

Directed by Chris Moukarbel

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on May 4, 2019.

The documentary “Wig” is a joyous and sassy love letter to Wigstock (the annual drag festival in New York City) and New York City’s drag culture. The movie comes 24 years after the 1995 documentary “Wigstock: The Movie,” which chronicled the 1994 Wigstock event. Unlike “Wigstock: The Movie,” which was essentially a concert film, “Wig” takes a deeper dive into the history of Wigstock and its underrated impact on pop culture.

Wigstock was launched in 1984 by Lady Bunny, and its first incarnation ran until 2001. The festival was revived in 2018 by Lady Bunny and Neil Patrick Harris. (Harris and his husband, David Burtka, are two of the producers of “Wig,” which had its world premiere as part of the Tribeca Film Festival’s inaugural Tribeca Celebrates Pride, an entire day of LGBTQ-themed programming. Lady Bunny performed after the film’s premiere.)

A lot has changed since Wigstock went on hiatus in 2001. RuPaul, who was one of Wigstock’s original stars, has become an entertainment mogul, as the host/showrunner of the Emmy-winning drag contest “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and the founder of RuPaul’s DragCon event, which currently has annual editions in Los Angeles and New York City. The rise of RuPaul and drag culture is a direct result of LGBTQ culture overall becoming much more visible in the 21st century, with more LGBTQ characters and reality stars on screen; the launch of LGBTQ TV networks, such as Logo and Here; and more LGBTQ celebrities living their lives openly. That visibility and growing public support for LGBTQ rights also had an impact on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision to make marriage equality legal for same-sex couples.

In its own unique way, Wigstock has been part of this movement. It’s important to bring up this historical context because “Wig” would have been a very different movie if it had been made in the 1990s. “Wig” director Chris Moukarbel (who directed Lady Gaga’s 2017 Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two”) skillfully rises to the challenge of presenting the history of Wigstock in a cohesive, entertaining style that a wide variety of people can relate to and enjoy.

“Wig” includes some prophetic archival footage from the early 1990s showing RuPaul having a bathroom conversation with British filmmaker Fenton Bailey, who asks RuPaul if drag queens will be popular in America. Fast forward decades later, and Bailey’s World of Wonder production company (which he co-founded in 1991 with fellow filmmaker Randy Barbato) is producing the “Drag Race” franchise, drag queen Big Freedia’s self-titled reality series and numerous other film, TV and digital projects. RuPaul is seen frequently throughout the “Wig” movie, including RuPaul’s early club days at New York City’s Pyramid Club (which was a vital part of the city’s drag scene that birthed Wigstock), to directing an impromptu home photo session with fellow drag queen Nelson Sullivan in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, to on-stage appearances at Wigstock throughout the years.

In “Wig,” many of the drag queens comment on the mainstreaming of drag culture, compared to the early years of Wigstock. Although many of the queens appreciate that drag culture has become more accepted and has become a more viable way to make a living, some of the queens express some wistful nostalgia for the days when the community was much smaller and more tight-knit.

Drag queen Linda Simpson says that “’Drag Race’ was groundbreaking,” but the flip side is that drag culture was “more fun” when it was less mainstream. Simpson adds, “Now, drag is all about de-mystifying drag. It takes away from the insider-y feel that we had before.”

Flotilla DeBarge comments, “There are too many people right now who want to be drag queens, but they don’t know what it’s about,” adding that doing drag should be about passion, not money. “Anybody can do drag, but what kind of drag queen do you want to be?” As drag queen Naomi Smalls puts it: “RuPaul paved the way for me, but who the fuck paved the way for Ru? I love that drag is being normalized.”

For many drag queens, validation outside the drag community is the ultimate sign of success. Willam Belli, also known as drag queen Willam (a former “Drag Race” contestant who landed a cameo in the 2018 remake of “A Star Is Born”), hilariously tells a story about surprising a male intruder who had broken into Willam’s home, and the intruder backed away and called her “ma’am.” Willam laughs when remembering how the intruder acknowledged her as a woman: “I passed!”

Some of the Wigstock devotees also talk about their early influences. Charlene Incarnate says that most of her gay role models were closeted dads in her church. Harris said that drag culture appeals to him as a magician. As drag queen Tabboo! says in the film, “Wigstock was revolutionary because it kickstarted the ‘Come out, come out, wherever you are.’”

Lady Bunny adds, “We were putting something special out there in New York because this was the time of AIDS.” The AIDS crisis and its impact on the LGBTQ community is given a respectful amount of acknowledgement in “Wig,” which includes some heartbreaking testimonials of people who have lost friends and loved ones to the deadly disease.

Hate crimes against drag queens and others in the LGBTQ community are also mentioned in “Wig.” Jeremy Extravagance talks about his longtime friendship with singer/drag queen Kevin Aviance, who was the survivor of a vicious beating in 2006, outside of a gay bar in Manhattan. Aviance, who is interviewed and has some of the movie’s best scenes, describes his attack as, “I never felt so much hate in my life from someone I never met.” He says of being a hate-crime survivor: “Drag is my silver lining.”

As one commentator puts it: “Drag is hyper-femininity in response to aggressive masculinity.” If that’s the case, then Wigstock is the ultimate on-stage clapback. The heart of the movie is still about the thrill and the spectacle of performing at Wigstock, with Lady Bunny as the event’s founding mother. Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry, a previous Wigstock performer, says cheekily of Lady Bunny: “The thing that annoys me about Bunny is that she flirts like crazy…and nothing happened [between us].”

If there’s any one person who’s portrayed as a chief villain in “Wig,” it’s Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City from 1993 to 2001. (He is not interviewed in the movie.) Giuliani’s crackdown of the city’s nightclubs resulted in numerous closures that directly affected gay nightlife and drag culture. It’s perhaps no coincidence that Wigstock went out of business when Giuliani was in office.

The movie culminates with a dazzling array of footage from Wigstock’s spectacular comeback in 2018, including appearances from Lady Bunny, Bianca Del Rio, Aviance, Ladies of Lips, Amanda Lepore and Harris in full costume from his Tony-winning “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” drag role. If people still don’t understand what drag culture is about, one “Wig” commentator says it best in the movie: “Drag is about putting on the outside what you feel on the inside.”

HBO will premiere “Wig” on June 18, 2019.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts’

April 26, 2019

by Carla Hay

Trixie Mattel in “Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts” (Photo by Nick Zeig-Owens)

“Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts”

Directed by Nick Zeig-Owens

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 25, 2019.

Brian Michael Firkus, also known as drag queen Trixie Mattel, is best known for winning Season 3 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” the spin-off show to VH1’s Emmy-winning drag-queen competition series “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” This documentary examines Trixie’s rise to fame, her budding career as a singer/comedian and her personal behind-the-scenes struggles. For all of her flamboyant and sassy prancing and preening that she does on stage, the documentary reveals that off-stage, Trixie is quite grounded and humble. Even when chaos is are happening around her, she remains fairly level-headed.

It should be noted that “Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts” is produced by World of Wonder, the same production company for the “Drag Race” series. That might explain why parts of the documentary look more like a publicist-approved electronic press kit than a revealing biography. Trixie/Brian’s love life is not seen or discussed at all in the film. It’s unclear if Trixie/Brian (who is openly gay) wanted that subject matter to be off-limits in the movie, or if director Nick Zeig-Owens made that decision all on his own.

Most of the movie was filmed in the period of time after Trixie’s first stint on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” where she came in sixth place on Season 7. Trixie then parlayed that fame into a stint co-hosting two talk shows with fellow “Drag Race” alum Katya Zamolodchikova: “UNHhhh” on World of Wonder’s YouTube channel and then later “The Trixie & Katya Show” on Viceland. As fans already know, “The Trixie & Katya Show” was canceled after Katya took a leave of absence to deal with personal issues.

The documentary brings some insight into what really went on behind the scenes. While in a dressing room getting ready for a show, Katya (whose real name is Brian Cook) openly discusses her anxiety issues and doing meth to cope with her problems. She talks about having a “psychotic break” and even loudly declares, “I should be in rehab.” Not long after that outburst, on another day, Katya has a meltdown and refuses to do the show. Shortly afterward, Katya is in rehab, and the show scrambles to do reshoots and find a replacement guest host.

Meanwhile, Trixie/Brian admits to feeling mixed emotions about Katya’s abrupt leave of absence—anger that Katya has jeopardized Trixie’s career; guilt that the resentment he feels toward Katya is a selfish emotion; and relief that Katya is getting the help that she needs. Trixie tries to be a supportive pal, but to her surprise, Katya ends their friendship. In one scene, Trixie reads aloud a vicious email from Katya in which she calls Trixie “arrogant” and “boring” on the show, and ends the email by saying, “Do what I did, bitch. Fail.” (Fans of Trixie and Katya already know if their friendship was mended, but for those who don’t know, the answer to that question is covered in the documentary.)

After the cancellation of the talk shows with Katya, Trixie forges ahead to launch a singing career in country music, with aspirations to be a drag-queen alternative to Dolly Parton. (Trixie tours on a regular basis, and has released two albums so far: 2017’s “Two Birds” and 2018’s “One Stone.” She also did a performance at the world premiere of “Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts” at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.) As for Trixie’s singing talent, she’s no Dolly Parton, but she’s not terrible either. She’s fully aware that she has to do her drag act as a country singer because audiences come to see Trixie, not Brian, on stage. (Although the documentary does show Brian doing soundchecks and rehearsals while not in drag.)

The estrangement from Katya has tested Trixie’s confidence, and she wonders aloud how much fans will accept her as a comedian without being part of a duo with Katya. There are many scenes in the documentary of Trixie on tour, meeting fans, getting dolled up, showing viewers her wardrobe, and going to “Drag Race” viewing parties. The movie also features appearances by drag queens such as RuPaul, Morgan McMichaels, Bob the Drag Queen, BenDeLaCreme and Kennedy Davenport.

Trixie mentions that there were two different endings filmed for her “Drag Race All Stars” finale, presumably to avoid spoilers from leaking out to the public. In one ending, Trixie was named the winner. In the other ending, finalists Trixie and Shangela were named the winners in a tie. She found out the real outcome at the same time as everyone else who watched the finale at the viewing party

A lot of people might think that a documentary about a drag queen would have a lot of histrionics from the star of the movie. But Trixie does not fall into the stereotype of being a hysterical drama queen. In fact, even when Trixie wins “Drag Race All-Stars,” she’s happy, but she she’s not jumping up and down, and she’s not crying uncontrollably. Even when she goes through some tough times emotionally, particularly during her period of estrangement from close friend Katya, Trixie doesn’t really cry on screen.

Brian/Trixie uses humor to deflect a lot of emotional pain, and it’s clear that he/she prefers to compartmentalize and hide away the pain rather than to let it all hang out—at least not in front of these documentary cameras. Brian briefly opens up about his unhappy childhood that included an abusive, alcoholic stepfather who Brian says often beat him. According to Brian, the last time his stepfather (who is now deceased) abused him was when he pointed a gun at Brian’s head and said he was going to kill him. Fortunately, Brian has a healthy and loving relationship with his mother, who is shown in the documentary when he goes to his hometown of Milwaukee while on tour.

Even though Brian says in the documentary that he grew up thinking it was normal to feel like wanting to die, he doesn’t consider himself to be a depressed person now. He admits that many people, including Trixie’s fans, assume that Brian/Trixie has issues with anxiety and/or depression. There are a few scenes in the movie when he gets emotionally touched when fans write to him or tell him in person how much Trixie has helped them with their confidence and/or mental-health issues.

Underneath the big hair and big personality, Trixie says she’s a songwriter at heart. When she confesses her life goals, she says it in a way that is very Trixie Mattel: “I would love to write songs for other people…just sit in the woods…and jerk off.” She also explains why mainstream audiences have embraced drag queens more than ever before: “They’re there to see this delusional confidence.”

UPDATE: World of Wonder will release “Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts” on several VOD platforms (including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Microsoft Movies) on December 3, 2019.

2017 RuPaul’s DragCon NYC: dates, location ticket availability announced

June 7, 2017

RuPaul's DragCon NYC 2017

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants (Photo courtesy of VH1)

The following is a press release from RuPaul’s DragCon:

Presented by RuPaul and World of Wonder Productions, the inaugural RuPaul’s DragCon NYC will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on September 9-10, 2017. Tickets will go on sale Thursday, June 8, 2017, at Noon EST/9am PST at RuPaulsDragCon.com.

The two-day convention, a homecoming for RuPaul and World of Wonder Productions, will welcome fans from around the globe to the first DragCon held in the Big Apple. RuPaul’s DragCon NYC was announced after a record breaking 40,000+ fans attended the third annual DragCon held in Los Angeles earlier this year.

RuPaul’s DragCon NYC will feature vendors and exhibitors, exclusive merchandise, panel and Q&A sessions, autograph and photo opportunities with drag stars—including many from the Emmy award-winning series “RuPaul’s Drag Race”—with more to be announced!