The following content is generally available worldwide, except where otherwise noted. All TV shows listed are for networks and streaming services based in the United States. All movies listed are those released in U.S. cinemas. This schedule is for content and events premiering this week and does not include content that has already been made available.
January 24 – January 30, 2022
All times listed are Eastern Time/Pacific Time, unless otherwise noted.
ABC’s TV special “Truth and Lies: The Last Gangster” premiereson Thursday, January 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Monday, January 24
“A Homicidal Haze” (Episode 1201) **Season Premiere** Monday, January 24, 10 p.m., TV One
Culture Representation: Taking place from 1981 to 1997, the documentary “The Princess” features a predominantly white group of people (with a few black people and Asians) representing the working-class, middle-class, wealthy and royalty discussing the life of Diana, the Princess of Wales, who died in a car accident in 1997, at the age of 36.
Culture Clash: Diana was plagued by a troubled marriage to Prince Charles; issues with depression and bulimia; and ongoing battles with the media over her privacy.
Culture Audience: “The Princess” will appeal primarily to people who can’t get enough of watching Princess Diana documentaries, but this all-archival documentary reveals nothing new and has nothing interesting to say.
In the never-ending cottage industry of Princess Diana biographies and Princess Diana exploitation, the sloppily made documentary “The Princess” is completely unnecessary and leaves out a lot of information. The Wikipedia page for Princess Diana has more information than this cynical cash grab of a movie. The ending of “The Princess” is extremely off-putting by concluding abruptly with an image of Diana’s burial casket being driven off during the funeral. The movie irresponsibly doesn’t even mention that in Princess Diana’s fatal car accident, the driver of the car was drunk.
Directed by Ed Perkins, “The Princess” had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary consists entirely of archival footage from 1981 to 1997—the years that the woman born as Diana Spencer lived in the public eye. Most of the footage is from British television. There is absolutely nothing new in this documentary that hasn’t already been seen elsewhere, except for some random home videos of people reacting to Diana’s untimely death. (She died in Paris on August 31, 1997.)
Watching this movie is exactly like watching a video version of a Wikipedia page, but less so because the movie gives no information about the investigation into Diana’s death. The filmmakers also seem to have an agenda by leaving out the drunk-driver information and instead showing repetitive footage of people blaming the paparazzi for Diana’s death. The documentary ignores the reality that the investigation into the car accident, the news coverage about it and the facts uncovered were extremely important to Diana’s tragic story.
“The Princess” is just a chronological telling of basic facts of her life that people already know, with some tabloid headlines thrown in the mix. People already know about the courtship and doomed marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. (The former spouses separated in 1992, and officially divorced in 1996.) People already know about the conflicts in the British Royal Family. People already know about the tabloid scandals, Diana’s charity work, and how much she adored her sons William and Harry.
There are amateur YouTube videos about Princess Diana that are more interesting than this lazy documentary. The film has voiceover soundbites, but the people talking in these voiceovers are never identified, and neither are the media sources for these soundbites, or the year that these comments were made. The only people who might think “The Princess” is interesting are people who don’t know much about Princess Diana, or obsessive fans who can’t get enough of anything to do with her, no matter tacky it is.
HBO will premiere “The Princess” on a date to be announced.
Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed city on the East Coast of the U.S., the comedy film “Emergency” features a cast of African American and white characters (with a few Latinos) representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: After planning a night of partying on their college campus, two African American best friends and their Latino roommate have their plans go awry when they find an extremely intoxicated and barely conscious young white female in their house, and the pals have conflicts over what do about this problem.
Culture Audience: “Emergency” will appeal mainly to people who are interested in movies about misadventures of college partiers, but with themes of racial tension and how it affects people’s perspectives of dealing with law enforcement.
“Emergency” repeats a familiar comedy formula of male partiers getting into a big mess on one wild night, but there’s a Black Lives Matter spin on all the shenanigans. The movie’s heavy emotional turn toward the end makes it better than the average comedy about partiers caught up in a big problem, but some movie clichés still remain. Directed by Carey Williams and written by KD Davila, “Emergency” is likely to find an enthusiastic audience of supporters because the movie centers on characters who rarely get to be the lead characters in movies: black male college students. “Emergency” had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
“Emergency” opens with the introduction of the two best friends whose partying plans go haywire over fears that they’ll be wrongfully accused of a crime because they are African American. The two pals are undergraduate students in their last year at the fictional Buchanan University, which is in an unnamed city on the East Coast of the U.S. (“Emergency” was actually filmed in New York state.) Kunle, pronounced “kun-lay” (played by Donald Elise Watkins), is a straight-laced, straight-A student majoring in biology and has plans to go to graduate school at Princeton University. Sean (played by RJ Cyler) is a rebellious stoner with a vaping habit and no plans after he graduates. Sean’s college major is not mentioned in the movie.
Kunle and Sean are ready to party one weekend night in the spring, and they want to make it legendary. The university’s Black Student Union headquarters has a “hall of fame” wall displaying commemorative portrait plaques of black students at the school who were the first to achieve something at the university. For example, there are plaques for the first black student to be the school’s newspaper editor, or the first black student to be student government president. “Emergency” pokes fun of this “first black student” tribute wall by also having plaques for trivial things, such as the first black student to use 3-D printing.
Sean and Kunle want to get on the “hall of fame” wall as the first black students to do the Legendary Tour. What is the Legendary Tour? It’s a tour of seven major campus parties happening on the same night, for one night of the year. The parties are invitation-only with distributed passes, and it’s extremely difficult for anyone to score passes for all seven parties.
Not surprisingly, party-loving Sean is the one who’s more caught up than Kunle is in reaching this Legendary Tour goal. Sean is the one who goes to the trouble of getting all the passes that he and Kunle need to complete the Legendary Tour. Kunle goes along with these plans, but he has other things on his mind. He has to complete a very important scientific lab project as part of his thesis required for graduation. The lab project includes meticulous examination and storage of bacteria cultures.
On the day of the Legendary Tour, Sean and Kunle talk about their upcoming party plans and their love lives. Sean has an ex-girlfriend named Asa (played by Summer Madison), another Buchanan University student, who’s done with Sean, but he might not be completely over his feelings for her. Kunle is romantically unattached too, but he has a crush on another student named Bianca (played by Gillian Rabin), who’s in at least one class with Sean and Kunle. Sean, who can be rude and crude, says in typical Sean speak when he and Kunle talk about Bianca: “She wants your dick, bro.”
The movie has only one classroom scene, near the beginning of the film. It appears to be a sociology class, where a British instructor named Professor Clarke (played by Nadine Lewington) says that the topic of the day is hate speech. Sean, Kunle and Bianca are among the students in the class. Not surprisingly, the first word that Professor Clarke wants to discuss is the “n” word, which she says repeatedly, as if she enjoys saying it out loud and knows she’s allowed to say it in this academic context. “What makes this word so powerful?” Professor Clarke asks the students.
Even though the professor reminded the students that this topic of hate speech comes with a trigger warning, and the students signed forms acknowledging that they might hear offensive words during this hate speech topic, Sean whispers to Kunle during the class that he’s still offended. Sean gripes to Kunle: “Why is she teaching a class that she knows nothing about?” Professor Clarke then sees Sean and Kunle talking, and she singles them out to answer questions about the “n” word, which makes Sean even more offended. However, he doesn’t voice his concerns to the professor.
Outside, after the class ends, Sean continues to rant about how Professor Clarke said the “n” word many times in class. Kunle understands both sides of the issue, but he’s also annoyed that Sean is complaining about it to him, not the professor. Kunle reminds Sean that he could’ve said something to the professor about being offended, but Sean didn’t.
Sean’s response is to say: “We got one rule that we ask for white people to respect: ‘Thou shalt not say that one word.’ But they don’t like for us to tell them what to do, so they find loopholes.”
Kunle is more willing to give Professor Clarke the benefit of the doubt by saying she probably didn’t mean any offense. It’s the first sign in the movie that Sean and Kunle have different views of race relations between black people and white people in America. Those differing opinions cause conflicts later on in the movie, which eventually shows if any opinions of the two friends change after their crazy night.
“Emergency” doesn’t go into details over how Sean and Kunle met or how long they’ve been friends, but they’ve been friends since at least their first year at Buchanan University. Conversations in the movie drop some details indicating that Kunle and Sean come from very different family backgrounds. Viewers can see these contrasting backgrounds also shape Sean’s and Kunle’s different perspectives of life as an African American man.
Kunle (who appears to be an only child, since he doesn’t mention any siblings) has parents who are doctors and African immigrants. Kunle is also somewhat of a mama’s boy, since there’s a scene where he talks to his overprotective mother (voiced by Ebbe Bassey) on the phone. There’s a scene later in the movie where Kunle and Sean have a big argument, and Kunle implies that he’s smarter than Sean and has a brighter future because Kunle had a “better” upbringing than Sean.
Sean doesn’t mention his parents, but he comes from a less privileged background where members of his family have had entanglements with police. At one point in the movie, Sean mentions an unarmed cousin who was shot in the rear end by a cop. And there’s another scene in the movie that takes place in the home of Sean’s older brother Terence (played by Robert Hamilton III), who doesn’t want to get involved in Sean’s problems because Terence is on parole for an unnamed reason. It’s hinted in this conversation that Sean has also gotten into trouble with the law in the past, but the movie doesn’t go into any details.
Sean and Kunle live together in an on-campus house with a third student, who’s also in his last year at Buchanan. His name is Carlos (played by Sebastian Chacon), and he’s a nerdy pothead who desperately wants to be accepted by Sean and Kunle to be their close friend. Carlos, who’s an aspiring mechanical aerospace engineer, spends a lot of time by himself smoking marijuana and playing video games. Kunle is more tolerant of Carlos than Sean, who thinks Carlos is very corny, immature and weird. Carlos wears a fanny pack and likes to offer granola bars to people as a way to try to make friends.
This friendship dynamic is a formula that’s been used in other several comedy films about male buddies who go out for a night of partying: Two best friends—one who’s mild-mannered and polite, the other who is cocky and foul-mouthed—end up with a “third wheel” pal/acquaintance who’s an eccentric misfit. Examples include 2007’s “Superbad,” 2009’s “The Hangover” and Hulu’s 2020 silly stoner comedy “The Binge.” You can also go all the way back to “Three Stooges” movies to find this formula. “Emergency” stands out because all three of the men happen to be people of color.
Sean has meticulously mapped out his and Kunle’s plans for the Legendary Tour, including the order in which they’ll go to each party and what they’ll be doing at each party. Even though Carlos wants to party with Sean and Kunle, Sean doesn’t want Carlos tagging along because he thinks Carlos is too much of a dork. Sean and Kunle plan to take Sean’s car for their night of debauchery. Kunle drinks alcohol but doesn’t do drugs, while Sean gives the impression that he’s up for doing any kind of drug that comes his way. Sean is drunk and stoned throughout most of the movie.
Things start to go wrong on the night of the Legendary Tour when Sean and Kunle are all set to go to the first stop on tour, and Kunle remembers that he accidentally forgot to properly refrigerate his lab bacteria cultures. In a panic, he tells Sean that if the cultures are ruined, his thesis will be ruined too, and he won’t be able to graduate. Kunle is also worried that messing up this assignment will hurt his chances of going to Princeton.
Sean doesn’t want to go to the parties without Kunle, so he agrees to go with Kunle to take care of this problem. It’s a detour that will delay their partying for about 15 to 20 minutes, so Sean is slightly annoyed but willing to go along with this change of plans. Before they go to the lab, Sean and Kunle have to stop off at their house to get the lab keys. And that’s when things get crazy.
Soon after arriving in the house, Sean and Kunle notice that the front door is unlocked. And on the living room floor is a teenage girl, dressed in a pink mini-skirt outfit and barely conscious. She’s so intoxicated that she can barely talk, so getting any information from her is useless. The teenager has no purse or ID on her either. And then she starts vomiting, for the first of several times in the movie.
A panicked Sean and Kunle go in Carlos’ room to find out what’s going on and who this mystery girl is, but Carlos has locked himself in his room, getting stoned and playing video games. Carlos doesn’t know who the teenager is and how she got into the house. Carlos is blamed for not knowing how this teenage girl got into the house when he was home, so he’s pressured into helping fix this problem.
Kunle’s first thought is to call 911, but Sean adamantly refuses because he’s certain that because they’re three young men of color in a house with an unconscious white female, they will automatically be blamed for a crime. There’s some back-and-forth arguing over what to do. Kunle hates Sean’s idea to secretly drop the teenager off at a nearby party, but Kunle agrees to the idea that they should anonymously bring her to a hospital.
Of course, there would be no “Emergency” movie if things went according to these friends’ plans. Sean, Kunle and Carlos put the mystery girl in the back of Sean’s car, as they drive to the nearest hospital. What they don’t know yet but the audience finds out early on is that her name is Emma (played by Maddie Nichols), and she’s the younger sister of a Buchanan student named Maddy (played by Sabrina Carpenter), who now knows that Emma is missing and is frantically looking for her.
Maddy invited Emma to hang out with her for some campus partying but lost track of Emma. Maddy doesn’t want to call the police to report Emma missing because Maddy is drunk and doesn’t want to get in trouble for underage drinking. And so, Maddy enlists the help of her level-headed friend Alice (played by Madison Thompson) and Alice’s love interest Rafael (played by Diego Abraham) to find Emma. Luckily, Emma has a Find My app on her phone, so that Maddy, Alice and Rafael can track the general area of where she is.
This phone tracking is crucial to a lot of the twists and turns in “Emergency,” but there are still a few plot holes where viewers have to suspend some disbelief. The biggest plot hole is that Maddy didn’t call Emma’s phone while looking for Emma. Maddy sends texts instead. If Maddy had called the phone, then Sean, Kunle and Carlos would’ve heard the phone ringing and found out right away that Emma had a phone, and none of this mess would’ve happened. And where exactly was Emma’s phone? Why were Sean, Kunle and Carlos not able to see it? Those questions are answered in the last third of the movie.
“Emergency” has a few contrivances to ramp up the comedy, such as Maddy, Alice and Raphael only having a bicycle and a skateboard to get around for transportation. A running joke in the film is that Maddy (who’s too drunk to operate anything that moves) has to be stuck on the back of the bike, while whoever is operating the bike has to work extra hard to pedal the bike because of the extra weight. The movie makes a point of depicting Maddy as a very quick-tempered, bossy and entitled person.
If Maddy is afraid of getting busted by police for underage drinking, Sean is afraid of getting killed by police, just for being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sean repeatedly warns Kunle that it could happen to them. And so, there’s a scene where they try to find white or Asian friends who can call 911 for them. Even though this scene is supposed to be hilarious, there’s some biting truth in how the scene comments on racial disparities between how law enforcement treats black people compared to other races.
“Emergency” also pokes fun at the hypocrisy of white people who claim to support the Black Lives Matter movement but are quick to assume that black people are criminals. This happens in a scene in a quiet suburban neighborhood where Emma has to be taken into some shrubbery so that she can urinate. A suspicious white couple (played by Melanie Jeffcoat and James Healy Jr.) in a nearby house see Sean sitting in his car alone on the street outside the house while this is going on. You can easily guess what happens from there, because the movie makes the point that if Sean had been white, this suspicious couple might have had a very different reaction. Ironically, there’s a Black Lives Matter sign on this couple’s lawn.
“Emergency” has a lot to say about race relations, racism and how they are affected by people’s perceptions and interactions with law enforcement. Even though it’s a fictional movie, it brings up many uncomfortable truths about how people are treated and see the world differently because of racial inequalities. Some viewers might laugh at how “paranoid” Sean acts throughout the entire movie. But sadly, his outlook is the reality of many people.
As a comedy, the movie has some slapstick ridiculousness and it tends to over-rely on gross-out vomit gags, but all of it doesn’t undermine the movie’s message. Cyler and Watkins are a dynamic duo in how they portray this realistic friendship. Their emotional moments that come later in the movie are well-acted and have a resonance that goes deeper than a typical comedy film. Chacon is quite good in his role as a sweet-natured misfit, while Carpenter plays her “entitled princess” role to the hilt.
Is “Emergency” a perfect movie? No. For a movie that’s supposed to be about life from an African American perspective, “Emergency” gives very little screen time or importance to African American women. Sean’s ex-girlfriend Asa is the movie’s only black female character who has more than one scene, but she’s in the movie for less than 10 minutes. In one of her brief appearances, Asa says to Sean about Kunle: “Don’t go dragging him into your bullshit. That boy is Black Excellence.”
“Emergency” is so focused on the pain and pressure that black men get from racism, it fails to mention or show that black women share this burden too. In fact, the Black Lives Matter movement was started by African American women. Filmmakers need to be more mindful of how black women are depicted in movies like “Emergency,” because these filmmakers can be guilty of the same sidelining of black women that happens in so-called “racially insensitive” and “racist” movies.
Despite these flaws in the movie, “Emergency” skillfully blends comedy with some of the serious issues presented in the film. The cast members also elevate the material, which could have been mishandled if the cast members weren’t talented. Sean is the flashiest character in “Emergency,” but the movie wants audiences to pay the most attention to Kunle’s perspective and how Kunle is affected by what he goes through in this story.
Amazon Studios will release “Emergency” in select U.S. cinemas and on Prime Video on dates to be announced.
Culture Representation: Taking place in Shiraz, Iran, the dramatic film “A Hero” features an all-Middle-Eastern cast of characters representing the middle-class and working-class.
Culture Clash: While on a brief leave of absence from his prison sentence, a man with a history of being a chronic liar returns a lost purse filled with valuable coins, and he’s praised as a hero, but then he finds himself involved in a web of lies and mistrust.
Culture Audience: “A Hero” will appeal mainly to people who are fans of writer/director Asghar Farhadi and movies that have incisive commentaries on how media and public opinions can play influential roles in people’s images and reputations.
Can someone with a reputation of being unreliable and dishonest be redeemed by doing a single act of kindness? That’s a question posed throughout the suspenseful drama “A Hero,” which has very realistic depictions of themes exploring how media and public opinions can shape how someone in the public eye can be perceived. Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, the movie takes place in Shiraz, Iran, in a culture that places an extremely high value on honor that individuals can bring to themselves and their families. That’s why the stakes are so high for the troubled protagonist who finds his attempt to clean up his reputation go awry after he does what he thinks is a good dead that will redeem him.
“A Hero” had its world premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix Prize. The movie was selected as Iran’s entry for the Best International Feature Film category for the 2022 Academy Awards. “A Hero,” which clocks in at 127 minutes, starts off a little slowly, but then it picks up its pace and becomes more intriguing about 45 minutes into the movie. It goes from being a drama about a prisoner in a family feud into a mystery thriller involving several members of the community.
The movie’s protagonist is Rahim Soltani (played by Amir Jadidi), a divorced father who’s been sentenced to prison for an unpaid debt of 150,000 tomans, which would be about $17,000 in U.S. dollars in the early 2020s, when this story takes place. Rahim owes the money to a businessman named Bahram (played by Mohsen Tanabandeh), who happens to be the brother-in-law of Rahim’s ex-wife. The ex-wife is never seen in the movie, and her name is never mentioned, although she is occasionally talked about by the people in the story.
Rahim, who has lived in Shiraz his entire life, has a prison sentence that allows him to leave the facility for a few days at a time, as long as he reports back to the prison to complete his sentence. The movie opens with Rahim going on an authorized two-day leave from the prison. What happens during those two days causes a chain of events that creates even more chaos in his life.
At first, Rahim seems to be in good spirits when he leaves the prison. He carries himself with the air of a good-looking charmer, who’s quick to dazzle people with his friendly ways and charismatic smile. But as time goes on, there are signs that Rahim has a dark side that’s he’s been trying to leave behind—or at least make people think he’s turned his life around into being a responsible and honest person.
The first person whom Rahim visits during this prison leave is Hossein (played by Alireza Jahandideh), Rahim’s friendly brother-in-law, who is married to Rahim’s sister Malileh (played by Maryam Shahdaei), a nurturing homemaker who has some health problems, such as neck pain and arthritis. Hossein works at a construction site that is renovating the Tomb of Xerxes. Rahim has enlisted Hossein’s help in trying to work out a payment plan with Bahram to erase the debt.
Rahim’s occupation before he went to prison and why he owes 150,000 tomans aren’t revealed until nearly halfway through the movie. He used to be a sign painter and a calligrapher, but business in those areas declined with the rise of do-it-yourself online graphic design. Rahim borrowed the money from Bahram to start his own business.
Rahim confidently tells Hossein how he can start paying off the debt, “I can have 75,000 tomans. Someone will give it to me. It’s not a loan.” Rahim will only say that he’s getting the money from “a friend,” but he won’t say who that friend is.
That’s where Rahim’s very loyal girlfriend Farkhondeh (played by Sahar Goldoust) comes into the picture. After leaving the construction site, Rahim goes to pick up Farkhondeh in his truck. Farkhondeh, who is elated to see Rahim, has a black purse containing some gold coins, which she and Rahim try to sell at a pawn shop. However, the shop dealer makes a calculation offer that Rahim and Farkhondeh know is too low for the types of coins that they have, so they leave the shop without making a sale.
Before Rahim and Hossein discuss this possible payment plan with Bahram, they stop off at the home of Hossein and Malileh, where Rahim will be staying before he goes back to prison. Malileh and Hossein live in the home with their two children—daughter Negar (who’s about 10 or 11 years old) and son Nima (who’s about 7 or 8 years old)—and Rahim’s son Siavesh (played by Saleh Karimaei), who’s about 12 or 13 years old. The movie doesn’t clearly explain the custody arrangement that Rahim has with his ex-wife for Siavesh, who is Rahim’s only child. However, the the movie implies that the ex-wife still has contact with Siavesh, because he told Negar that his mother recently accepted a marriage proposal.
In the beginning of the movie, Rahim’s relationship with Siavesh is strained and distant. Siavesh is the only one in the household who doesn’t seems happy to see Rahim during this brief visit. Siavesh has a speech impediment that causes him to stutter and makes it difficult for him to articulate words. It’s also mentioned that Siavesh has recently gotten into a fight at school. It’s easy to speculate that Siavesh, who is quiet and emotionally withdrawn, could be bullied at school because of his speech impediment.
The lack of good communication between Rahim and Siavesh isn’t really about Siavesh’s speech impediment. It has more to do with Siavesh’s lack of trust in Rahim. Through various conversations, it’s revealed that Rahim has constantly let down the people who are closest to him. Later in the movie, when Rahim is asked about why he got divorced, he’s purposely vague and says that he and his ex-wife just didn’t get along with each other. However, Rahim’s unpaid debt to Bahram certainly didn’t help matters, since it’s caused bad blood between Rahim and his ex-wife’s side of the family.
Rahim says he’s trying to make things right by paying off the debt, which is why he wants to work out a payment plan with Bahram, who was the one who pressed charges to have Rahim arrested for non-payment of the debt. Bahram owns a copy/print shop in the area that is managed by his bachelorette daughter Nazanin (played by Sarina Farhadi), who doesn’t look pleased to see Rahim and Hossein when they show up unannounced to try to talk to Bahram. At one point in the movie, Bahram bitterly says that he had to use Nazanin’s dowry to cover the money he lost in the loan to Rahim.
Bahram isn’t at the shop, so Hossein (who acts as a mediator) insists that Nazanin get Bahram on the phone. During this phone conversation, Hossein tells Bahram that Rahim is willing to immediately pay 70,000 tomans as down payment for the debt. Bahram is extremely skeptical that Rahim has the money. “The jerk is lying,” Bahram angrily says. “Why should you expect me to trust him? He let down his family. He deserves no favor.”
After some arguing back and forth, Bahram reluctantly agrees to a tentative payment plan where Hossein will give Bahram bond checks, and Rahim will then play 7,500 tomans a month until the debt is paid off. Rahim insists he really can get about 70,000 tomans in cash. Where is he going to get the money?
It’s eventually revealed that Farkhondeh doesn’t actually own the purse with the gold coins. Farkhondeh found the purse and coins on the street, she told Rahim about this discovery, and Rahim concocted a plan to sell the coins to get some easy cash to start paying off his debt. Farkhondeh and Rahim are very much in love, and he plans to marry her someday. But for now, Rahim will be unemployed and without his own place to live when he gets out of prison. He seems to want to turn his life around and prove that he can be a responsible provider before he commits to another marriage.
With a failed attempt to sell the coins and time running out before he has to report back to prison, Rahim then comes up with the idea to come forward and report that the purse was found, with the hope that the owner will offer a reward. He goes to the bank that is near where Farkhondeh found the purse, to ask if anyone was looking for the purse at the bank. However, the bank officials say that no one inquired about the purse, but they suggest they he make flyers advertising the found purse.
The bank officials let Rahim use their copy supplies to make the flyers, which he posts in various locations around the area. Rahim doesn’t have his own cell phone. Instead of putting his sister’s phone number on the flyers, he puts the phone number of the prison. It’s a choice that he will later regret.
When his leave time ends, Rahim reports back to prison, where he and some other prisoners are given the task of wallpapering a room. His supervisor on the job is Mrs. Marvasti (played by Parisa Khajehdehi), who gets a call from a woman claiming to be the owner of the purse, and the woman asks to speak to Rahim. Rahim explains to Mrs. Marvasti what happened and that he put the prison phone number on the flyers. Mrs. Marvasti is very annoyed and tells him never to give out the prison phone number to anyone again.
Rahim is allowed to take the call from the mystery woman, who correctly answers his questions about the contents of the purse. Rahim explains that he’s in prison but that he left the purse and its contents with his sister and brother-in-law. He gives the woman the address and his sister’s phone number.
The woman (played by Fatemeh Tavakoli) who shows up to claim the purse and coins is tearful and expresses gratitude that her purse was found and that all its contents returned to her. Her visit is during the day, when Malileh and Siavesh are the only ones at home. (It’s implied that Siavesh isn’t in school because of his recent fight.)
The woman explains that she found out she lost the purse in between bus stops, and that she doesn’t want her husband to know that she lost the coins. The woman insists on giving a small cash reward for the return of the purse and coins. Malileh repeatedly declines the offer and finally accepts it when the woman says she’s giving the reward money to Siavesh.
The prison officials find out from Mrs. Marvasti about Rahim’s act of kindness in having the purse and gold coins returned to the woman who came forward and claimed these items. They ask Rahim for more information, and it’s enough for them to want to take the story to the media. Two prison officials in particular—prison warden Mr. Salehpoor (played by Mohammad Aghebati) and prison chief of cultural activities Salehi Taheri (played by Farrokh Nourbakht)—immediately arrange for a newspaper and a national TV network to interview Rahim.
Salehi has a closer relationship to Rahim than Mr. Salehpoor does, so Rahim confides in Salehi that he didn’t actually find the purse and coins but his girlfriend did. Rahim also says that, for personal reasons, he would rather not reveal his girlfriend’s identity because some people in his family don’t know yet that he’s dating her. Salehi says it doesn’t matter who found the purse and coins because Rahim was the one who distributed the flyers and arranged for purse and coins to be returned to the rightful owner. Salehi tells Rahim that it will be okay for Rahim to take all the credit without mentioning his girlfriend.
It isn’t long before Rahim becomes a local celebrity because of the media coverage. He’s praised for being a hero and treated like a hero by many people, ranging from his immediate family to complete strangers. In his interviews, he admits that he originally planned to sell the coins, but he changed his mind when he prayed about it. He says that the botched sale attempt was a sign from God that selling the coins wasn’t the right thing to do.
A local woman named Mrs. Radmehr (played by Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy) heads the Mehrpooyan Charity Association, a religious group that helps prisoners in need. She arranges a ceremony where Rahim is honored and where she announces that a local council has offered Rahim a job in its administration when his prison sentence ends. In addition, the charity launches a fundraising initiative to help Rahim pay off his debt. The fundraising immediately gets about 30,000 tomans in donations, with more money pouring in from the public.
Not everyone is impressed with Rahim’s new “hero” status. A hostile prisoner (played by Amir Amiri) outright accuses Rahim of colluding with prison officials to fabricate the story, so that the prison could get some good publicity after the recent scandal of a prisoner committing suicide. Rahim denies that the story is a lie, and he refuses the other prisoner’s challenge to get in a physical fight over it. However, the prison is so pleased with all the good PR that the story has generated, Rahim is allowed another prison leave so that he can arrange to pay off his debt with the money that was raised for him, as well as interview for the job that was offered to him.
Bahram is very skeptical that Rahim’s story is true, and he openly expresses his doubt in a meeting with Rahim, Hossein, Mrs. Radmehr and other charity officials, who try to get Bahram to accept the fundraising money to pay off Rahim’s debt. Bahram tells everyone who will listen that Rahim is a habitual liar. Bahram thinks that Rahim doesn’t deserve the charity money that was raised for Rahim because Bahram says that Rahim shouldn’t be rewarded with money for doing what any decent human being would do.
But the biggest stumbling block for Rahim in his road to redemption is when he goes to interview for the job at the local council. The human resources director Mr. Nadeali (played by Ehsan Goodarzi) says the job won’t be offered until Rahim’s story checks out as true. He asks Rahim to have the woman who claimed the purse and coins to come to the office to verify that she’s the rightful owner. The problem is that Rahim doesn’t know her name, and neither does Malileh or Siavish, who didn’t ask for the woman’s name or contact information when she went to the home.
Meanwhile, rumors are being spread on social media that Rahim made up the entire story. The rest of the movie is a rollercoaster ride as Rahim tries to find the mystery woman and prove that he’s not involved in a con game. Rahim ends up having to be his own private investigator in a race against time before has to spend his last few days in prison. He gets some help from Farkhondeh, his family members and other members of the community, but will that be enough? Not all of the questions posed in the movie are answered.
Although “A Hero” has plenty of tension and very good acting performances, the movie does suffer a bit from some plot holes. First, with all the media coverage of Rahim’s story, it’s highly unlikely that journalists wouldn’t first try to find the woman who claimed to be the owner of the purse and coins, before making Rahim into a hero. Most journalists covering the story would at least need her name, in order for the story to check out and be reported accurately. In other words, the movie kind of gets it wrong about the fact checking needed before a story like this could be reported as real by legitimate media.
Second, during his investigation, Rahim is able to obtain a surveillance camera photo of the mystery woman, but he doesn’t use any media coverage (on social media or traditional media) to try and find her. He just shows the picture to some people in the area, who say they don’t recognize her. It’s a pretty big plot hole, considering that media coverage is a major part of the movie, in terms of how Rahim’s reputation is being handled.
Third, everyone puts the burden and blame on Rahim for not getting this woman’s name, when he wasn’t the one who gave the items back to her, and he wasn’t the one who sought media attention for this good deed. The media failed to do due diligence in checking out the story, and so did the prison officials who eagerly took the story to the media. The pile-on of shame that Rahim gets in the movie seems overly contrived for the sake of drama, when any viewer can see he didn’t plan the media coverage that he ended up getting.
Still, there are some aspects about the story that make the movie very compelling to watch. Because of the clues that Rahim uncovers, he starts to believe that this mystery woman was involved in some kind of set-ap against Rahim, and she doesn’t want to be found. For example, there was no ID in the purse, and she purposely used strangers’ cell phones to make her calls about the purse.
The movie drops some big hints over who could have been behind this set-up. But does this conspiracy theory turn out to be true, and does anyone get caught for it? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out. “A Hero” doesn’t portray Rahim as a totally innocent victim, because he makes decisions that are foolish, dishonest and self-destructive. Even though he has a charming side, Rahim also has a nasty temper that can turn violent.
One of the things that’s very noticeable about “A Hero” is that this “hero” actually needs rescuing more than a few times by his girlfriend. Without going into too many details, it’s enough to say that Farkhondeh does whatever it takes to help Rahim, whom she describes as the love of her life and the only person who makes her happy. And exactly who is Farkhondeh?
The movie gives some context over why Farkhondeh, who is 37, is willing to risk everything in her life for Rahim. In a patriarchal nation where a never-married, 37-year-old woman with no kids is considered a hopeless “old maid,” Farkhondeh is living with this societal stigma. She doesn’t have a home of her own. If she has a job, it’s never mentioned in the movie. The only times that Farkhondeh is shown in the movie is in the context of her relationship with Rahim.
Farkhondeh lives with her very domineering brother Morteza (played by Mohammad Jamalledini) and his wife. Farkhondeh has to ask for his permission for Rahim to meet Morteza, who doesn’t approve of Rahim being a divorced, unemployed father with a prison record. Morteza changes his mind about Rahim being a loser when he sees the media coverage of Rahim’s “good deed.”
Still, Morteza warns Farkhondeh not to come crying to him when Rahim breaks her heart. And when Rahim’s credibility about the “good deed” begins to be publicly doubted, Morteza begins to think that his first thoughts about Rahim being a con artist just might be true. Despite getting a lot of criticism from Morteza about her choice in Rahim as a partner, Farkhondeh has a feisty streak that doesn’t put up with any insults that Morteza throws her way.
Another interesting aspect of “A Hero” is how the relationship evolves between Rahim and his son Siavesh. In the beginning of the movie, Rahim almost treats Saivesh like an embarrassment to the family, while Siavesh treats Rahim like a deadbeat dad. When Rahim becomes a public “hero,” Siavesh begins to respect Rahim, and they become closer.
But the true test of their relationship is when Rahim gets some public backlash after his story is doubted. That’s when Rahim begins to understand what Siavesh must feel like to be treated like a misunderstood outsider. In the last third of the movie, there’s a very powerful scene where Rahim’s protective side as a father comes out when he sees how Siavesh is being mistreated by someone.
The relationships that Rahim has with Siavesh and with Farkhondeh are the emotional centers of the movie. And that’s why, as riveting as Jadidi’s performance is as Rahim, it’s made all the more poignant because of the convincing performances of Karimaei as Siavesh and Goldoust as Farkhondeh. Without them, Rahim’s motives would appear to be entirely selfish in fighting for his integrity and reputation.
“A Hero” also has some nuanced storytelling about society’s tendency to make people sudden stars and then want to tear them down just as quickly. There’s a level of unrealistic “perfection” that many people in the public eye are expected to have. Any signs of flaws or mistakes made as a “celebrity” can result in public shaming and attempts to “cancel” the person and relegate that person back to obscurity.
The movie leaves open-ended questions for audiences to ponder, such as: “Who is worthy of this type of accelerated vaulting into ‘hero’ status? How should they be vetted? And what types of mistakes or misdeeds of these public heroes should be forgiven and when?” Despite some flaws in the plot of “A Hero,” writer/director Farhadi skillfully weaves these questions into the story in a way that will have audiences thinking about these questions long after the movie is over.
Amazon Studios released “A Hero” in select U.S. cinemas on January 7, 2022. Prime Video will premiere the movie on January 21, 2022.
[Editor’s note: Netflix’s Western action film “The Harder They Fall” is the leading contender, with 12 nominations.]
The following is a press release from the NAACP:
Today, the full list of nominees for the “53rd NAACP Image Awards” were announced in a special virtual event on NAACP’s Instagram channel hosted by actress and musician Kyla Pratt, “Black-ish” actor Marcus Scribner and singer-songwriter Tinashe. The winners will be revealed during the two-hour LIVE TV special, which will be hosted by seven-time NAACP Image Awards Winner Anthony Anderson, airing Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on BET.
BET and the NAACP place the health and safety of attendees, staff, vendors, and partners first. Due to the ever-changing developments with COVID-19 and variants, the powerful night in Black excellence will continue to move forward without an in-person audience in a not-to-be-missed event.
Netflix leads nominations across motion picture and television + streaming categories. Insecure received the most nominations in the television + streaming categories. H.E.R. received the most nominations in the music recording categories. RCA Records received the most nominations across record labels. Amistad leads nominations across literary categories.
“We are thrilled to recognize this year’s nominees, who have all brought dynamic, entertaining, and thought provoking content to our attention through their incredible work in film, television, music and more,” said Chairman, Image Awards Committee, Karen Boykin-Towns.
“The BET team is immensely proud to continue our partnership with the NAACP and the annual Image Awards, underpinning our longstanding legacy of celebrating Black Excellence,” said Scott Mills, BET President, and CEO. “It is an extraordinary privilege to provide our unparalleled platforms to recognize the vast contributions of Black creators, in a way that only BET, and NAACP can.”
Recognized as the nation’s preeminent multicultural awards show from an African-American perspective, the “53rd NAACP Image Awards” celebrates the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color across more than 80 competitive categories spanning film, television + streaming, music, literature, and podcasts. The “53rd NAACP Image Awards” will also include four new podcast categories: Outstanding News and Information Podcast; Outstanding Lifestyle / Self-Help Podcast; Outstanding Society and Culture Podcast; and Outstanding Arts and Entertainment Podcast. The “53rd NAACP Image Awards” are presented by Wells Fargo and sponsored by AT&T, Google, T-Mobile, Bank of America, General Mills, FedEx, and Airbnb.
One of the most iconic annual celebrations of Black excellence, the NAACP Image Awards draws the biggest and brightest stars in Hollywood. Previous years’ attendees and winners include Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Lizzo, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Michael B. Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx, Chloe x Halle, Regé-Jean Page, Michaela Coel, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Blair Underwood, Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Taraji P. Henson, Marsai Martin, Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Anthony Anderson, Sterling K. Brown, Loni Love, Sheryl Underwood, Mandy Moore, Halle Berry, Common, Dwayne Johnson, Audra Day, John Legend, Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross, David Oyelowo, Laverne Cox, Octavia Spencer, Issa Rae, Trevor Noah, Regina King, Yara Shahidi, Danai Gurira, Jacob Latimore, Jill Scott, H.E.R., Jay Pharoah, Jemele Hill, Josh Gad, Loretta Devine, Tracy Morgan, Sylvester Stallone, Meta Golding, Michael Smith, Tyler James Williams, Ava DuVernay, the late Chadwick Boseman, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Lin-Mnuel Miranda, Stephen Curry, Stacey Abrams, Mary J. Blige, Andra Day, Arsenio Hall, Leslie Jones, Susan Kelechi Watson, Madalen Mills and many more.
Voting is now open to the public to determine the winners of the “53rd NAACP Image Awards” by visiting www.naacpimageawards.net – Voting closes on February 5, 2022. Winners will be revealed during the “53rd NAACP Image Awards” telecast on February 26, 2022, on BET. NAACP will also recognize winners in non-televised Image Awards categories February 21-25, which will stream on www.naacpimageawards.net. For all information and the latest news, please follow NAACP Image Awards on Instagram @NAACPImageAwards.
Internationally, the show will air on BET Africa at 20:00 CAT on February 27, followed by BET France on March 2 at 8:45 pm CEST. The show will also be available to watch on My5 and Sky On-Demand in the UK beginning March 1.
Entertainer of the Year Jennifer Hudson Lil Nas X Megan Thee Stallion Regina King Tiffany Haddish
Outstanding Motion Picture “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures) “King Richard” (Warner Bros. Pictures) “Respect” (Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/United Artists Releasing) “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Hulu)
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Denzel Washington – “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple TV+ / A24) Jonathan Majors – “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) LaKeith Stanfield – “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures) Mahershala Ali – “Swan Song” (Apple TV+) Will Smith – “King Richard” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Andra Day – “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Hulu) Halle Berry – “Bruised” (Netflix) Jennifer Hudson – “Respect” (Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/United Artists Releasing) Tessa Thompson – “Passing” (Netflix) Zendaya – “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Algee Smith – “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures) Daniel Kaluuya – “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures) Delroy Lindo – “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) Idris Elba – “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) LaKeith Stanfield – “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Aunjanue Ellis – “King Richard” (Warner Bros. Pictures) Audra McDonald – “Respect” (Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/United Artists Releasing) Danielle Deadwyler – “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) Dominique Fishback – “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures) Regina King – “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix)
Outstanding International Motion Picture “7 Prisoners” (Netflix) “African America” (Netflix) “Eyimofe (This is My Desire)” (Janus Films) “Flee” (Neon / Participant) “The Gravedigger’s Wife” (Orange Studio)
Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture Ariana DeBose – “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios) Danny Boyd, Jr. – “Bruised” (Netflix) Jalon Christian – “A Journal for Jordan” (Columbia Pictures) Lonnie Chavis – “The Water Man” (RLJE Films) Sheila Atim – “Bruised” (Netflix)
Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture “Coming 2 America” (Paramount Releasing/Amazon Studios) “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures) “King Richard” (Warner Bros. Pictures) “Respect” (Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/United Artists Releasing) “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix)
Outstanding Animated Motion Picture “Encanto” (Walt Disney Studios) “Luca” (Walt Disney Studios) “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Walt Disney Studios) “Sing 2” (Universal Pictures) “Vivo” (Netflix)
Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance – Motion Picture Andre Braugher – “Spirit Untamed” (Universal Pictures) Awkwafina – “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Walt Disney Studios) Brian Tyree Henry – “Vivo” (Netflix) Eric André – “Sing 2” (Universal Pictures) Letitia Wright – “Sing 2” (Universal Pictures)
Outstanding Short-Form (Live Action) “Aurinko in Adagio” (Universal Pictures) “Blackout” (Netflix) “The Ice Cream Stop” (Walt Disney Studios) “These Final Hours” (Universal Pictures) “When The Sun Sets (Lakutshon’ Ilanga)” (Universal Pictures)
Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture) Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson – “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (Searchlight Pictures / Hulu) Jamila Wignot – “Ailey” (Neon) Jeymes Samuel – “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) Liesl Tommy – “Respect” (Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/United Artists Releasing) Rebecca Hall – “Passing” (Netflix)
Outstanding Comedy Series “black-ish” (ABC) “Harlem” (Amazon Studios) “Insecure” (HBO) “Run the World” (Starz) “The Upshaws” (Netflix)
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Anthony Anderson – “black-ish” (ABC) Cedric the Entertainer – “The Neighborhood” (CBS) Don Cheadle – “Black Monday” (Showtime) Elisha ‘EJ’ Williams – “The Wonder Years” (ABC) Jay Ellis – “Insecure” (HBO)
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Issa Rae – “Insecure” (HBO) Loretta Devine – “Family Reunion” (Netflix) Regina Hall – “Black Monday” (Showtime) Tracee Ellis Ross – “black-ish” (ABC) Yvonne Orji – “Insecure” (HBO)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Andre Braugher – “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) Deon Cole – “black-ish” (ABC) Kenan Thompson – “Saturday Night Live” (NBC) Kendrick Sampson – “Insecure” (HBO) Laurence Fishburne – “black-ish” (ABC)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Amanda Seales – “Insecure” (HBO) Jenifer Lewis – “black-ish” (ABC) Marsai Martin – “black-ish” (ABC) Natasha Rothwell – “Insecure” (HBO) Wanda Sykes – “The Upshaws” (Netflix)
Outstanding Drama Series “9-1-1” (FOX) “All American” (The CW) “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX) “Pose” (FX Network) “Queen Sugar” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Billy Porter – “Pose” (FX Network) Damson Idris – “Snowfall” (FX Network) Forest Whitaker – “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX) Kofi Siriboe – “Queen Sugar” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network) Sterling K. Brown – “This is Us” (NBC)
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Angela Bassett – “9-1-1” (FOX) Dawn-Lyen Gardner – “Queen Sugar” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network) Octavia Spencer – “Truth Be Told” (Apple TV+) Queen Latifah – “The Equalizer” (CBS) Rutina Wesley – “Queen Sugar” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Alex R. Hibbert – “The Chi” (Showtime) Cliff “Method Man” Smith – “Power Book II: Ghost” (Starz) Daniel Ezra – “All American” (The CW) Giancarlo Esposito – “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX) Joe Morton – “Our Kind of People” (FOX)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Alfre Woodard – “SEE” (Apple TV+) Bianca Lawson – “Queen Sugar” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network) Chandra Wilson – “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) Mary J. Blige – “Power Book II: Ghost” (Starz) Susan Kelechi Watson – “This is Us” (NBC)
Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special “Colin in Black & White” – (Netflix) “Genius: Aretha” – (National Geographic) “Love Life” – (HBO Max) “Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia” – (Lifetime) “The Underground Railroad” – (Amazon Studios)
Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Anthony Mackie – “Solos” (Amazon Studios) Jaden Michael – “Colin in Black & White” (Netflix) Kevin Hart – “True Story” (Netflix) Wesley Snipes – “True Story” (Netflix) William Jackson Harper – “Love Life” (HBO Max)
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Betty Gabriel – “Clickbait” (Netflix) Cynthia Erivo – “Genius: Aretha” (National Geographic) Danielle Brooks – “Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia” (Lifetime) Jodie Turner-Smith – “Anne Boleyn” (AMC+) Taraji P. Henson – “Annie Live!” (NBC)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Courtney B. Vance – “Genius: Aretha” (National Geographic) Keith David – “Black as Night” (Amazon Studios) Tituss Burgess – “Annie Live!” (NBC) Will Catlett – “True Story” (Netflix) William Jackson Harper – “The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Studios)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Anika Noni Rose – “Maid” (Netflix) Natasha Rothwell – “The White Lotus” (HBO) Pauletta Washington – “Genius: Aretha” (National Geographic) Regina Hall – “Nine Perfect Strangers” (Hulu) Sheila Atim – “The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Studios)
Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special) “Blood on Black Wall Street: The Legacy of the Tulsa Massacre” (NBC) “NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt” (NBC) “Soul of a Nation” (ABC) “The Reidout” (MSNBC) “Unsung” (TV One)
Outstanding Talk Series “Desus & Mero” (Showtime) “Hart to Heart” (Peacock) “Red Table Talk” (Facebook Watch) “Tamron Hall” (Syndicated) “The Real” (Syndicated)
Outstanding Reality Program, Reality Competition or Game Show (Series) “Celebrity Family Feud” (ABC) “Iyanla: Fix My Life” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network) “Sweet Life: Los Angeles” (HBO Max) “The Voice” (NBC) “Wild ‘n Out” (VH1)
Outstanding Variety Show (Series or Special) “A Black Lady Sketch Show” (HBO) “BET Awards 2021” (BET) “Dave Chappelle: The Closer” (Netflix) “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3” (Amazon Studios) “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited-Series) Alayah “Lay Lay” High – “That Girl Lay Lay” (Nickelodeon) Celina Smith – “Annie Live!” (NBC) Elisha ‘EJ’ Williams – “The Wonder Years” (ABC) Eris Baker – “This Is Us” (NBC) Miles Brown – “black-ish” (ABC)
Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble Joy Reid – “The Reidout” (MSNBC) Daniel “Desus Nice” Baker, Joel “The Kid Mero” Martinez – “Desus & Mero” (Showtime) Garcelle Beauvais, Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai Jenkins – “The Real” (Syndicated) Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Willow Smith – “Red Table Talk” (Facebook Watch) LeBron James – “The Shop: Uninterrupted” (HBO)
Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show or Variety (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble Alfonso Ribeiro – “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (ABC) Amber Ruffin – “The Amber Ruffin Show” (Peacock) Cedric the Entertainer – “73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” (CBS) Iyanla Vanzant – “Iyanla: Fix My Life” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network) Trevor Noah – “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
Outstanding Guest Performance Alani “La La” Anthony – “The Chi” (Showtime) Christina Elmore – “Insecure” (HBO) Daniel Kaluuya – “Saturday Night Live” (NBC) Erika Alexander – “Run the World” (Starz) Maya Rudolph – “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Outstanding Animated Series “Big Mouth” (Netflix) “Peanut Headz: Black History Toonz” (Kweli TV) “Super Sema” (YouTube Originals) “We The People” (Netflix) “Yasuke” (Netflix)
Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television) Angela Bassett – “Malika: The Lion Queen” (FOX) Billy Porter – “Fairfax” (Amazon Studios) Chris “Ludacris” Bridges – “Karma’s World” (Netflix) Cree Summer – “Rugrats” (Nickelodeon) Keke Palmer – “Big Mouth” (Netflix)
Outstanding Short Form Series – Comedy or Drama “Between the Scenes – The Daily Show” (Comedy Central) “Dark Humor” (Comedy Central / YouTube) “Della Mae (AspireTV) “The Disney Launchpad: Shorts Incubator” (Disney+) “Two Sides: Unfaithful” (Snapchat)
Outstanding Short Form Series or Special – Reality/Nonfiction “Life By The Horns” (Snapchat) “Memory Builds The Monument” (Fifth Ward CRC) “Widen the Screen: 8:46 Films” (BET) “Through Our Eyes: Shelter” (HBO Max) “Lynching Postcards: Token of a Great Day” (Paramount+)
Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Television) Angel Kristi Williams – “Colin in Black & White” (Netflix) Cierra Glaude – “Queen Sugar” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network) Deborah Riley Draper – “The Legacy of Black Wall Street” (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network) Halcyon Person – “Karma’s World” (Netflix) Quyen Tran – “Maid” (Netflix)
Outstanding New Artist Cynthia Erivo – “Ch. 1 Vs. 1” (Verve Records / UMG Recordings) Jimmie Allen – “Bettie James Gold Edition” (BBR Music Group) Saweetie – “Best Friend featuring Doja Cat” (ICY / Warner Records) Tems – “If Orange Was A Place” (RCA Records / Since ’93) Zoe Wees – “Girls Like Us” (Capitol Records)
Outstanding Male Artist Anthony Hamilton – “Love Is The New Black” (My Music Box LLC / BMG) Drake – “Way 2 Sexy” (Republic Records) Givēon – “Heartbreak Anniversary” (Epic Records) J. Cole – “The Off-Season” (Dreamville / Roc Nation) Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” (Columbia Records)
Outstanding Female Artist H.E.R. – “Back of My Mind” (RCA Records / MBK Entertainment) Ari Lennox – “Pressure” (Dreamville / Interscope Records) Beyoncé – “Be Alive” (Columbia Records / Parkwood) Chlöe – “Have Mercy” (Columbia Records / Parkwood) Jazmine Sullivan – “Heaux Tales” (RCA Records)
Outstanding Gospel/Christian Album “Anthems & Glory” – Todd Dulaney (MNRK Music Group) “Believe For It” – CeCe Winans (Pure Springs Gospel / Fair Trade Services / Red Alliance Media) “Jonny x Mali: Live in L.A.” – Jonathan McReynolds and Mali Music (Life Room Label LLC / K Approved Enterprises. Inc.) “Overcomer” – Tamela Mann (Tillymann Music Group) “Power” – Jason McGee & The Choir (My Block, Inc.)
Outstanding International Song “Essence” – Wizkid featuring Tems and Justin Bieber (RCA Records / Starboy / Sony Music International) “Peru” – Fireboy DML (YBNL Nation / Empire) “Somebody’s Son” – Tiwa Savage featuring Brandy (Motown) “Touch It” – KiDi (Lynx Entertainment / MadeInENY / Empire) “Understand” – Omah Lay (The KeyQaad / Sire Records)
Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album “Best Friend” – Saweetie featuring Doja Cat (ICY / Warner Records) “Essence” – Wizkid featuring Tems (RCA Records / Starboy / Sony Music International) “Fye Fye” – Tobe Nwigwe featuring Fat Nwigwe (Tobe Nwigwe, LLC) “Have Mercy” – Chlöe (Columbia Records / Parkwood) “Leave The Door Open” – Silk Sonic (Atlantic / Aftermath)
Outstanding Album “An Evening With Silk Sonic” – Silk Sonic (Atlantic / Aftermath) “Back of My Mind” – H.E.R. (RCA Records / MBK Entertainment) “Certified Lover Boy” – Drake (Republic Records) “Heaux Tales” – Jazmine Sullivan (RCA Records) “When It’s All Said and Done… Take Time” – Givēon (Epic Records)
Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album “Coming 2 America (Amazon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – Eddie Murphy, Craig Brewer, Kevin Misher, Randy Spendlove, Jeff Harleston, Brittney Ramsdell (Def Jam Recordings) “Judas and the Black Messiah (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – Mark Isham and Craig Harris (WaterTower Music) “Respect (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – Jason Michael Webb and Stephen Bray (Epic Records) “The Harder They Fall (The Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – JAY-Z and Jeymes Samuel (Geneva Club / Roc Nation Records, LLC) “The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Music from the Motion Picture)” – Salaam Remi, Andra Day, Raphael Saadiq, Warren “E” Felder, Downtown Trevor Brown (Warner Records)
Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song “Believe For It” – CeCe Winans (Pure Springs Gospel / Fair Trade Services / Red Alliance Media) “Help Me” – Tamela Mann featuring The Fellas (Tillymann Music Group) “Hold Us Together (Hope Mix)” – H.E.R. and Tauren Wells (RCA Records / Sony Music) “Overcome 2021” – Kirk Franklin (Fo Yo Soul / RCA Records ) “Time for Reparations” – Sounds of Blackness (Sounds of Blackness / Atomic K Records)
Outstanding Jazz Album – Instrumental “Forever…Jaz” – Jazmin Ghent (Independent Artist) “Love Languages” – Nathan Mitchell (ENM Music Group) “Somewhere Different” – Brandee Younger (Impulse! Records) “Sounds from the Ancestors” – Kenny Garrett (Mack Avenue Music Group) “The Magic of Now” – Orrin Evans (Smoke Sessions Records)
Outstanding Jazz Album – Vocal “Dear Love” – Jazzmeia Horn and Her Noble Force (Empress Legacy Records) “Generations” – The Baylor Project (Be A Light) “Ledisi Sings Nina” – Ledisi (Listen Back Entertainment / BMG) “Let There Be Love” – Freda Payne (Alain Franke Records) “SALSWING!” – Rubén Blades y Roberto Delgado & Orquesta (Rubén Blades Productions)
Outstanding Soul/R&B Song “Damage” – H.E.R. (RCA Records / MBK Entertainment) “Be Alive” – Beyoncé (Columbia Records / Parkwood) “Have Mercy” – Chlöe (Columbia Records / Parkwood) “Leave The Door Open” – Silk Sonic (Atlantic / Aftermath) “Pick Up Your Feelings” – Jazmine Sullivan (RCA Records)
Outstanding Hip Hop/Rap Song “Best Friend” – Saweetie featuring Doja Cat (ICY / Warner Records) “Fye Fye” – Tobe Nwigwe featuring Fat Nwigwe (Tobe Nwigwe, LLC) “Industry Baby” – Lil Nas X featuring Jack Harlow (Columbia Records) “My Life (with 21 Savage and Morray)” – J. Cole (Dreamville / Roc Nation) “Way 2 Sexy” – Drake (Republic Records)
Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Traditional) Anthony Hamilton featuring Jennifer Hudson – “Superstar” (My Music Box LLC / BMG) Chlöe x Halle – “Georgia on My Mind” (Columbia Records / Parkwood) Jazmine Sullivan featuring H.E.R. – “Girl Like Me” (RCA Records) Leela James featuring Anthony Hamilton – “Complicated (Remix)” (SheSangz Music, Inc. / BMG) Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open” (Atlantic / Aftermath)
Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Contemporary) Chris Brown featuring Young Thug, Future, Lil Durk and Latto – “Go Crazy (Remix)” (RCA Records) Doja Cat featuring SZA – “Kiss Me More” (RCA Records / Kemosabe Records) Drake featuring Future & Young Thug – “Way 2 Sexy” (Republic Records) H.E.R. featuring Chris Brown – “Come Through” (RCA Records / MBK Entertainment) Tobe Nwigwe featuring Fat Nwigwe – “Fye Fye” (Tobe Nwigwe, LLC)
Outstanding Documentary (Film) “Attica” (Showtime) “Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power” (Greenwich Entertainment) “My Name Is Pauli Murray” (Amazon Studios) “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (Searchlight Pictures / Hulu) “Tina” (HBO Documentary Films)
Outstanding Documentary (Television) “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything” (Apple TV+) “American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free” (PBS) “Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali” (Netflix) “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” (Netflix) “Insecure” Documentary (HBO)
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Ashley Nicole Black – “Ted Lasso” – “Do the Right-est Thing” (Apple TV+) Issa Rae – “Insecure” -“Everything’s Gonna Be, Okay?!” (HBO) Leann Bowen – “Ted Lasso” – “Lavender” (Apple TV+) Maya Erskine – “Pen15” – “Blue in Green” (Hulu) Temi Wilkey – “Sex Education” – “Episode #3.6” (Netflix)
Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series Aurin Squire – “Evil” – “C Is For Cop” (Paramount+) Davita Scarlett – “The Good Fight” – “And the Firm Had Two Partners…” (Paramount+) Malcolm Spellman – “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” – “New World Order” (Disney+) Nkechi Okoro Carroll – “All American” – “Homecoming” (The CW) Steven Canals, Janet Mock, Our Lady J, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy – “Pose” – “Series Finale” (FX Network)
Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie or Special Abdul Williams – “Salt-N-Pepa” (Lifetime Movie Network) Mario Miscione, Marcella Ochoa – “Madres” (Amazon Studios) Monique N. Matthew – “A Holiday in Harlem” (Hallmark Channel) Sameer Gardezi – “Hot Mess Holiday” (Comedy Central) Sherman Payne – “Black as Night” (Amazon Studios)
Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture Janicza Bravo, Jeremy O. Harris – “Zola” (A24) Jeymes Samuel, Boaz Yakin – “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) Shaka King, Will Berson, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas – “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures) Virgil Williams – “A Journal for Jordan” (Columbia Pictures) Win Rosenfeld, Nia DaCosta, Jordan Peele – “Candyman” (Universal Pictures)
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series Bashir Salahuddin, Diallo Riddle – “South Side” – “Tornado” (HBO Max) Melina Matsoukas – “Insecure” – “Reunited, Okay?!” (HBO) Neema Barnette – “Harlem – “Once Upon a Time in Harlem” (Amazon Studios) Prentice Penny – “Insecure” – “Everything’s Gonna Be, Okay?!” (HBO) Tiffany Johnson – “Black Monday” – “Eight!” (Showtime)
Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series Anthony Hemingway – “Genius: Aretha” – “Respect” (National Geographic) Barry Jenkins – “The Underground Railroad” – “Indiana Winter” (Amazon Studios) Carl Seaton – “Snowfall” – “Fight or Flight” (FX Network) Carl Seaton – “Godfather of Harlem” – “The Bonanno Split” (EPIX) Hanelle Culpepper – “True Story” – “Like Cain Did Abel” (Netflix)
Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie or Special Jaffar Mahmood – “Hot Mess Holiday” (Comedy Central) Kenny Leon – “Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia” (Lifetime) Mario Van Peebles – “Salt-N-Pepa” (Lifetime) Maritte Lee Go – “Black as Night” (Amazon Studios) Veronica Rodriguez – “Let’s Get Merried” (VH1)
Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture Denzel Washington – “A Journal for Jordan” (Columbia Pictures) Jeymes Samuel – “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) Lin-Manuel Miranda – “tick tick…BOOM!” (Netflix) Reinaldo Marcus Green – “King Richard” (Warner Bros. Pictures) Shaka King – “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Outstanding Directing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture) Andre Gaines – “The One and Only Dick Gregory” (Showtime) Dawn Porter – “Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer” (National Geographic) Sam Pollard – “MLK/FBI” (IFC Films) Samantha Knowles, Yoruba Richen, Geeta Gandbhir, Nadia Hallgren – “Black and Missing” (HBO) Spike Lee – “NYC Epicenters 9/11➔2021½” (HBO Max)
Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction “Harlem Shuffle” – Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House) “Libertie” – Kaitlyn Greenidge (Algonquin Books) “Long Division” – Kiese Laymon (Simon & Schuster) “The Man Who Lived Underground” – Richard Wright (Library of America) “The Perishing” – Natashia Deón (Counterpoint Press)
Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction “Dance Theatre of Harlem” – Judy Tyrus, Paul Novosel (Kensington) “Just As I Am” – Cicely Tyson (Amistad) “My Remarkable Journey” – Katherine Johnson (Amistad) “Renegades: Born in the USA” – Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen (Penguin Random House) “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” – Nikole Hannah-Jones (Penguin Random House)
Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author “Just As I Am” – Cicely Tyson (Amistad) “My Remarkable Journey” – Katherine Johnson (Amistad) “Other Black Girl: A Novel” – Zakiya Dalila Harris (Simon & Schuster) “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois” – Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (HarperCollins Publishers) “Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts” – Rebecca Hall (Simon & Schuster)
Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography “Just As I Am” – Cicely Tyson (Amistad) “Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement” – Tarana Burke (Macmillan / Flatiron Books) “Unprotected: A Memoir” – Billy Porter (Abrams Press) “Until I Am Free” – Keisha Blain (Beacon Press) “Will” – Will Smith (Penguin Random House)
Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional “Diversity Is Not Enough: A Roadmap to Recruit, Develop and Promote Black Leaders in America” – Keith Wyche (Kandelle Publishing) “Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business)” – Tabitha Brown (HarperCollins Publishers) “Permission to Dream” – Chris Gardner (Amistad) “Teaching Black History to White People” – Leonard N. Moore (University of Texas Press) “The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations” – Robert Livingston (Penguin Random House)
Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry “Perfect Black” – Crystal Wilkinson (University Press of Kentucky) “Playlist for the Apocalypse” – Rita Dove (W. W. Norton & Company) “Such Color: New and Selected Poems” – Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf Press) “The Wild Fox of Yemen” – Threa Almontaser (Graywolf Press) “What Water Knows: Poems” – Jacqueline Jones LaMon (Northwestern University Press)
Outstanding Literary Work – Children “Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy” – Misty Copeland (Aladdin) “Change Sings” – Amanda Gorman, Loren Long (Penguin Young Readers) “Stacey’s Extraordinary Words” – Stacey Abrams, Kitt Thomas (HarperCollins) “Time for Bed, Old House” – Janet Costa Bates, A.G. Ford (Candlewick Press) “When Langston Dances” – Kaija Langley, Keith Mallett (S&S Books for Young Readers)
Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens “Ace of Spades” – Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan) “Happily Ever Afters” – Elise Bryant (HarperCollins) “The Cost of Knowing” – Brittney Morris (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers) “When You Look Like Us” – Pamela N. Harris (HarperCollins) “Wings of Ebony” – J. Elle (S&S Books for Young Readers)
Outstanding News and Information Podcast “#SundayCivics” “After the Uprising: The Death of Danyé Dion Jones” “Blindspot: Tulsa Burning” “Into America” “Un(re)solved”
Outstanding Lifestyle/Self-Help Podcast “Checking In With Michelle Williams” “The Homecoming Podcast With Dr. Thema” “The SonRise Project Podcast” “Two Funny Mamas: Sherri Shepherd & Kym Whitley” “Under Construction w/ Tamar Braxton”
Outstanding Society and Culture Podcast “Beyond the Scenes – The Daily Show” “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered” “Professional Troublemaker” “Questlove Supreme” “Super Soul Podcast”
Outstanding Arts and Entertainment Podcast “Club Shay Shay Podcast With Shannon Sharpe” “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered” “Questlove Supreme” “Reasonably Shady” “The History of Sketch Comedy With Keegan-Michael Key”
Social Media Personality of the Year Nominees @Euniquejg – Eunique Jones GIbson @KevOnStage – Kevin Fredericks @Laronhinesofficial – Laron Hines @_Lyneezy – Lanae Vanee @Terrellgrice – Terrell Grice
Culture Representation: Taking place in Transylvania and South America, the animated film “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with one African American and two Latinos) depicting monsters and humans.
Culture Clash: Count Dracula is ready to retire and pass Hotel Transylvania along to his daughter Mavis, but a mishap with Van Helsing’s invention changes Mavis’ human husband Johnny into a monster and Dracula and his monster friends into humans.
Culture Audience: Aside from obviously appealing to “Hotel Transylvania” movie series fans, “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” will appeal mainly to people who are interested in lightweight animated films with cliché-ridden and predictable plots.
It’s never really a good sign when a movie studio takes a sequel film from one of its most popular franchise series and sells it to a streaming service. It usually means that the movie is considered not commercially appealing enough for the studio to release the film. It’s also not a good sign when two of franchise’s biggest stars decide not to be part of this sequel.
That’s what happened when Sony Pictures Animation dumped “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” (the fourth movie in the “Hotel Transylvania” hotel series) by selling it to Amazon, which is releasing it on Prime Video. (China is the only country where Sony will release the film in theaters.) It’s easy to see why Sony thought this movie was substandard. It’s also easy to see why original “Hotel Transylvania” franchise stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James took a hard pass on being involved in this movie, whether it was because they weren’t going to paid what they wanted and/or legal issues. (Sandler and James both have lucrative movie deals with Netflix.)
Genndy Tartakovsky—who directed the first three “Hotel Transylvania” movies and co-wrote 2018’s “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”—co-wrote “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” with Amos Vernon and Nunzio Randazzo. The first two movies in the series are 2012’s “Hotel Transylvania” and 2015’s “Hotel Transylvania 2.” Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluskais directed “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” which is not a completely terrible movie. But in terms of its story, the movie is lazy and not very interesting.
As the fourth movie in the series, “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” had the potential to go on an original adventure with the franchise’s well-established characters. Instead, the movie is filled with over-used clichés that have already been in other films. “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” is essentially a not-very-funny comedy with this not-very-original concept: Two characters with opposite personalities are forced to travel together and find out how much they have to rely on each other in order to reach a shared goal. Relationships and characters that could have been developed are ignored or shoved to the margins of the story. The ending of the movie is also kind of weak and abrupt.
“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” is also one of those sequels that doesn’t adequately explain some of the backstories of some of the main characters. If people need to watch one movie to prepare for “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” it should be “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.” That’s the movie that introduced monster hunters Van Helsing (voiced by Jim Gaffigan) and his sassy great-granddaughter Ericka (voiced by Kathryn Hahn), who started off as enemies to the “Hotel Transylvania” protagonists and ended up becoming their friends. And in Ericka’s case, more than friends, because she and widower Count Dracula fell in love with each other.
The voice of Count Dracula was originated by Sandler in the first three “Hotel Transylvania” movies. In “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” Dracula (voiced by Brian Hull) and Ericka (who is a human) are now happily married, but it’s barely explained in this sequel how they got together. The prejudice between monsters and humans, which fueled much of the conflicts in the previous “Hotel Transylvania” movies, is only used as a flimsy plot device in “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania.” Dracula’s vampire daughter Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez) is married to a human named Jonathan, nicknamed Johnny (voiced by Andy Samberg), who’s had a hard time getting reluctant acceptance from Dracula, who thinks Johnny is too goofy for practical-minded Mavis.
But now that Dracula is married to a human, “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” does not do anything to explore this new aspect of Dracula’s life. Instead, the movie’s story goes back to Dracula disapproving of Johnny, which was the basis of the first “Hotel Transylvania” movie, when Johnny and Mavis began dating and fell in love with each other. In “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” Johnny and Mavis have been married for several years and have a son named Dennis (voiced by Asher Blinkoff), who is about 8 or 9 years old and who has very little screen time in the movie.
In “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” Dracula still owns and operates Hotel Transylvania (a hotel for monsters), but he wants to retire so that he can have more time to spend with Ericka. Dracula has decided that he is going to give ownership of the hotel to Mavis and Johnny. Mavis, who has hearing superpowers, overhears Dracula telling Ericka about his retirement plans, which he says he’s going to announce at the hotel’s 125th anniversary celebration.
Mavis is excited to find out that she and Johnny will be taking over ownership of the hotel. She tells Johnny, who’s also elated. Johnny immediately comes up with ideas of how he’s going to change the hotel.
When Johnny enthusiastically shares these ideas with Dracula, his father-in-law is so turned off, he changes his mind about wanting Johnny to co-own the hotel. Instead of telling the truth about why he changed his mind, Dracula lies to Johnny by telling him that there’s an ancient law that says hotels for monsters can only be owned by monsters. At the hotel’s 125th anniversary party, Dracula lies to everyone and says his big announcement is that the hotel will get a new restroom in the lobby.
A dismayed Johnny then asks for help from Van Helsing, who has been living as a retired eccentric who tinkers with inventions. Van Helsing has an invention called a Monsterfication Ray, which can turn humans into random monsters. The device looks like a long ray gun with a giant crystal as its source of power. Van Helsing uses the Monsterfication Ray on Johnny, who is turned into a giant green monster resembling a dragon. Even though his physical appearance has drastically changed, Johnny has the same personality, and he can still talk like a human.
Dracula is furious about Johnny’s transformation into a monster because he still doesn’t want to give Johnny ownership of the hotel. And so, Dracula angrily goes over to Van Helsing’s place to take the Monsterfication Ray and use it to turn Johnny back into a human. But the plan backfires when Dracula shoots the Monsterfication Ray at Johnny, the lasers on the ray ricochet off walls, and the rays accidentally hit Dracula, who turns into a human being as a result. Much to Dracula’s horror, he is now looks and feels like an old man, with a balding head, a stomach paunch and weaker physical strength.
Dracula’s four closest monster friends—good-natured Frankenstein (voiced by Brad Abrell, replacing James in the role), worrisome werewolf Wayne (voiced by Steve Buscemi), fun-loving mummy Murray (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and sarcastic invisible man Griffin (voiced by David Spade)—have all witnessed this debacle. Dracula is terrified about Mavis finding out about him turning into a human and Johnny into a monster. Dracula orders his friends not to tell Mavis.
Somehow, when Dracula used the Monsterfication Ray, the device got broken, and the crystal no longer works. Van Helsing says that the crystals used for the Monsterfication Ray are extremely rare. Through a tracking device, Van Helsing finds out that the nearest crystal is in South America. Guess where Dracula and Johnny are going for most of the movie?
Meanwhile, a poorly written part of the movie has Frankenstein, Wayne, Murray and Griffin turning into humans too. It’s shown in an awkward scene where the hotel’s DJ—a green blob called Blobby (voiced by Tartakovsky)—gives the four pals a drink that has something in it which automatically turns them into humans. Blobby consumes the drink too, but he’s just turn to a green gelatin mold.
Frankenstein changes into a vain “hunk” with a tall and muscular body, Wayne transforms into a very hairy man, and Murray becomes an old man with rolls of body flab. Griffin is exposed as someone who only wore eyeglasses, so he’s naked the entire time that he’s human. Griffin’s nakedness is used for some dimwitted comedy in the movie.
Just like Dracula and Murray, Griffin is horrified that he looks old and out-of-shape as a human. This movie has not-so-subtle and problematic messages that looking like an elderly human being is a terrible fate that should be avoided at all costs. It’s the closest reason to explain why Frankenstein suddenly becomes an egotistical jerk over how he looks as a young and virile human being. This drastic personality change still comes across as too phony, and it doesn’t serve the story very well.
Mavis, Ericka, Frankenstein’s shrewish wife Eunice (voiced by Fran Drescher) and Wayne’s loving wife Wanda (voiced by Molly Shannon) find out that Dracula and Johnny have gone to South America. And so, Mavis, Ericka, Eunice, Wanda, Frankenstein, Wayne, Murray, Griffin and several of Wayne and Wanda’s werewolf kids go to South America to find Johnny and Dracula. It’s never really explained why some but not all of the werewolf kids (Wayne and Wanda have dozens of children) are along for the ride or why these kids even need to be there in the first place.
Meanwhile, much of “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” shows repetitive mishaps that Dracula and Johnny go through as they wander around Amazon River areas in South America in search of the crystal. Dracula has a hard time adjusting to life as a human. He no longer has to fear being in the sunlight, but he’s frustrated that he gets tired, thirsty and sweaty on this grueling trip. When he jumps into a waterfall that Johnny warns could be dangerous, Dracula gets bitten by several piranhas and is shocked that he can’t recover quickly from these injuries.
Johnny is the same cheerful goofball, but he still gets on Dracula’s nerves. Dracula is also jealous that Johnny now has more physical strength than Dracula does. It goes on and on like this for too long in the movie. As an example of how “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” stretches out the banality, there’s a scene with Johnny singing a Spanish version of Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” during a bus ride that Johnny and Dracula take with some local people. It’s intended to be hilarious, but it just comes across as dull and cringeworthy.
Visually, “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” does nothing special, although the movie makes good use of vibrant hues in the outdoor South America scenes. The cast members’ performances are adequate. Thankfully, movie clocks in at just 98 minutes, but the story is filled with too many recycled tropes of two opposite personalities stuck together on a road trip; the hunt for a treasured item; and the central characters being chased by people who want to find them.
“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” doesn’t have much use for the adult female characters, who basically just worry about and react to what their husbands are doing. And because Dracula is separated from his four closest monster pals for most of the movie, that friendship rapport is largely missing from “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania.” This rapport was one of the highlights of previous “Hotel Transylvania” movies.
The movie shows almost nothing about what Dracula is like as a grandfather to Dennis. Wayne and Wanda have a daughter named Winnie (voiced by Zoe Berri, replacing Sadie Sandler in the role), who is Dennis’ best friend/love interest, but that relationship is also essentially ignored in the movie. Instead, some the werewolf children, who do not have names or individual personalities, get unnecessary screen time when they tag along during the trip to South America.
Some people might enjoy “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” if they want to see another “Hotel Transylvania” movie about Dracula and Johnny trying to navigate their tension-filled relationship. “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” is being marketed as the final movie in the “Hotel Transylvania” series. If that’s true, then the “Hotel Transylvania” movie series is going out with a toothless whimper, not a bang.
Prime Video premiered “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” on January 14, 2022.
Editor’s note: The HBO drama series “Succession” and the Apple TV+ comedy series “Ted Lasso” lead all contenders, with five nominations each.
The following is a press release from the Screen Actors Guild:
Nominees for the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® honoring outstanding individual, cast and ensemble performances for the past year were announced this morning by Rosario Dawson (Dopesick, Go-Big Show) and Vanessa Hudgens (tick, tick…BOOM!, The Princess Switch) via Instagram Live. The nominees for outstanding action performances by film and television stunt ensembles were announced by SAG Awards Committee Members Jason George and Elizabeth McLaughlin with an introduction by SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher. A replay of today’s announcement is available for viewing on instagram.com/sagawards.
The 28th SAG Awards® will be nationally simulcast LIVE on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT from The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.
One of awards season’s premier events, the SAG Awards annually celebrates the outstanding motion picture and television performances from the previous calendar year (SAG Awards Eligibility Period: March 1 – December 31, 2021). Of the top industry honors presented to actors, only the SAG Awards are selected entirely by performers’ peers in SAG-AFTRA with 124,000 eligible voters. The SAG Awards was the first televised awards show to acknowledge the work of union members and the first to present awards to motion picture casts and television ensembles.
About the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® The 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®, presented by SAG-AFTRA with Screen Actors Guild Awards, LLC will be produced by Avalon Harbor Entertainment, Inc. and will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, February 27, 2022, at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. For the latest updates, follow the SAG Awards® on social (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok), online at sagawards.org, and join the conversation by using the official hashtag #sagawards.
The Motion Picture Nominees are:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role JAVIER BARDEM / Desi Arnaz – “BEING THE RICARDOS” BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH / Phil Burbank – “THE POWER OF THE DOG” ANDREW GARFIELD / Jon – “TICK, TICK…BOOM!” WILL SMITH / Richard Williams – “KING RICHARD” DENZEL WASHINGTON / Macbeth – “THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role JESSICA CHASTAIN / Tammy Faye Bakker – “THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE” OLIVIA COLMAN / Leda – “THE LOST DAUGHTER” LADY GAGA / Patrizia Reggiani – “HOUSE OF GUCCI” JENNIFER HUDSON / Aretha Franklin – “RESPECT” NICOLE KIDMAN / Lucille Ball – “BEING THE RICARDOS”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role BEN AFFLECK / Uncle Charlie – “THE TENDER BAR” BRADLEY COOPER / Jon Peters – “LICORICE PIZZA” TROY KOTSUR / Frank Rossi – “CODA” JARED LETO / Paolo Gucci – “HOUSE OF GUCCI” KODI SMIT-McPHEE / Peter Gordon – “THE POWER OF THE DOG”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role CAITRÍONA BALFE / Ma – “BELFAST” CATE BLANCHETT / Dr. Lilith Ritter – “NIGHTMARE ALLEY” ARIANA DeBOSE / Anita – “WEST SIDE STORY” KIRSTEN DUNST / Rose Gordon – “THE POWER OF THE DOG” RUTH NEGGA / Clare – “PASSING”
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture BELFAST CAITRÍONA BALFE / Ma JUDI DENCH / Granny JAMIE DORNAN / Pa JUDE HILL / Buddy CIARÁN HINDS / Pop COLIN MORGAN / Billy Clanton
CODA EUGENIO DERBEZ / Bernardo Villalobos DANIEL DURANT / Leo Rossi EMILIA JONES / Ruby Rossi TROY KOTSUR / Frank Rossi MARLEE MATLIN / Jackie Rossi FERDIA WALSH-PEELO / Miles
DON’T LOOK UP CATE BLANCHETT / Brie Evantee TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET / Yule LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / Dr. Randall Mindy ARIANA GRANDE / Riley Bina JONAH HILL / Jason Orlean JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Kate Dibiasky MELANIE LYNSKEY / June Mindy SCOTT MESCUDI / DJ Chello ROB MORGAN / Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe HIMESH PATEL / Phillip RON PERLMAN / Benedict Drask TYLER PERRY / Jack Bremmer MARK RYLANCE / Peter Isherwell MERYL STREEP / President Orlean
HOUSE OF GUCCI ADAM DRIVER / Maurizio Gucci LADY GAGA / Patrizia Reggiani SALMA HAYEK / Pina Auriemma JACK HUSTON / Domenico De Sole JEREMY IRONS / Rodolfo Gucci JARED LETO / Paolo Gucci AL PACINO / Aldo Gucci
KING RICHARD JON BERNTHAL / Rick Macci AUNJANUE ELLIS / Oracene “Brandi” Williams TONY GOLDWYN / Paul Cohen SANIYYA SIDNEY / Venus Williams DEMI SINGLETON / Serena Williams WILL SMITH / Richard Williams
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture BLACK WIDOW DUNE THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS NO TIME TO DIE SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS
The Television Program Nominees are:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series MURRAY BARTLETT / Armond – “THE WHITE LOTUS” OSCAR ISAAC / Jonathan – “SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE” MICHAEL KEATON / Dr. Samuel Finnix – “DOPESICK” EWAN McGREGOR / Halston – “HALSTON” EVAN PETERS / Det. Colin Zabel – “MARE OF EASTTOWN”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series JENNIFER COOLIDGE / Tanya – “THE WHITE LOTUS” CYNTHIA ERIVO / Aretha Franklin – “GENIUS: ARETHA” MARGARET QUALLEY / Alex – “MAID” JEAN SMART / Helen Fahey – “MARE OF EASTTOWN” KATE WINSLET / Mare Sheehan – “MARE OF EASTTOWN”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series BRIAN COX / Logan Roy – “SUCCESSION” BILLY CRUDUP / Cory Ellison – “THE MORNING SHOW” KIERAN CULKIN / Roman Roy – “SUCCESSION” LEE JUNG-JAE / Seong Gi-hun – “SQUID GAME” JEREMY STRONG / Kendall Roy – “SUCCESSION”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series JENNIFER ANISTON / Alex Levy – “THE MORNING SHOW” JUNG HO-YEON / Kang Sae-byeok – “SQUID GAME” ELISABETH MOSS / June Osborne/Offred – “THE HANDMAID’S TALE” SARAH SNOOK / Shiv Roy – “SUCCESSION” REESE WITHERSPOON / Bradley Jackson – “THE MORNING SHOW”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series MICHAEL DOUGLAS / Sandy Kominsky – “THE KOMINSKY METHOD” BRETT GOLDSTEIN / Roy Kent – “TED LASSO” STEVE MARTIN / Charles-Haden Savage – “ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING” MARTIN SHORT / Oliver Putnam – “ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING” JASON SUDEIKIS / Ted Lasso – “TED LASSO”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series ELLE FANNING / Catherine – “THE GREAT” SANDRA OH / Ji-Yoon Kim – “THE CHAIR” JEAN SMART / Deborah Vance – “HACKS” JUNO TEMPLE / Keeley Jones – “TED LASSO” HANNAH WADDINGHAM / Rebecca Welton – “TED LASSO”
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series THE HANDMAID’S TALE ALEXIS BLEDEL / Emily Malek MADELINE BREWER / Janine Lindo AMANDA BRUGEL / Rita Blue ANN DOWD / Aunt Lydia Clements O-T FAGBENLE / Luke Bankole JOSEPH FIENNES / Commander Fred Waterford SAM JAEGER / Mark Tuello MAX MINGHELLA / Commander Nick Blaine ELISABETH MOSS / June Osborne/Offred YVONNE STRAHOVSKI / Serena Joy Waterford BRADLEY WHITFORD / Commander Joseph Lawrence SAMIRA WILEY / Moira Strand
THE MORNING SHOW JENNIFER ANISTON / Alex Levy SHARI BELAFONTE / Julia ELI BILDNER / Joel Rapkin NESTOR CARBONELL / Yanko Flores STEVE CARELL / Mitch Kessler BILLY CRUDUP / Cory Ellison MARK DUPLASS / Charlie “Chip” Black AMBER FRIENDLY / Layla Bell JANINA GAVANKAR / Alison Namazi VALERIA GOLINO / Paola Lambruschini TARA KARSIAN / Gayle Berman HANNAH LEDER / Isabella GRETA LEE / Stella Bak JULIANNA MARGULIES / Laura Peterson JOE MARINELLI / Donny Spagnoli MICHELLE MEREDITH / Lindsey Sherman RUAIRI O’CONNOR / Ty Fitzgerald JOE PACHECO / Bart Daley KAREN PITTMAN / Mia Jordan VICTORIA TATE / Rena Robinson DESEAN K. TERRY / Daniel Henderson REESE WITHERSPOON / Bradley Jackson
SQUID GAME HEO SUNG-TAE / Deok-su JUN YOUNG-SOO / Game Operator Voice JUNG HO-YEON / Kang Sae-byeok KIM JOO-RYOUNG / Mi-nyeo LEE BYUNG-HUN / Front Man LEE JUNG-JAE / Seong Gi-hun OH YOUNG-SOO / Oh Il-nam PARK HAE-SOO / Cho Sang-woo ANUPAM TRIPATHI / Ali WI HA-JUN / Hwang Jun-ho
SUCCESSION NICHOLAS BRAUN / Greg Hirsch JULIANA CANFIELD / Jess Jordan BRIAN COX / Logan Roy KIERAN CULKIN / Roman Roy DAGMARA DOMINCZYK / Karolina Novotney PETER FRIEDMAN / Frank Vernon JIHAE / Berry Schneider JUSTINE LUPE / Willa MATTHEW MACFADYEN / Tom Wambsgans DASHA NEKRASOVA / Comfrey Pellits SCOTT NICHOLSON / Colin DAVID RASCHE / Karl Muller ALAN RUCK / Connor Roy J. SMITH-CAMERON / Gerri Kellman SARAH SNOOK / Shiv Roy FISHER STEVENS / Hugo Baker JEREMY STRONG / Kendall Roy ZOË WINTERS / Kerry Castellabate
YELLOWSTONE KELSEY ASBILLE / Monica Dutton WES BENTLEY / Jamie Dutton RYAN BINGHAM / Walker GIL BIRMINGHAM / Thomas Rainwater IAN BOHEN / Ryan EDEN BROLIN / Mia KEVIN COSTNER / John Dutton HUGH DILLON / Sheriff Donnie Haskell LUKE GRIMES / Kayce Dutton HASSIE HARRISON / Laramie COLE HAUSER / Rip Wheeler JEN LANDON / Teeter FINN LITTLE / Carter BRECKEN MERRILL / Tate Dutton WILL PATTON / Garrett Randle PIPER PERABO / Summer Higgins KELLY REILLY / Beth Dutton DENIM RICHARDS / Colby TAYLOR SHERIDAN / Travis FORRIE J. SMITH / Lloyd JEFFERSON WHITE / Jimmy Hurdstrom
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series THE GREAT JULIAN BARRATT / Dr. Vinodel BELINDA BROMILOW / Aunt Elizabeth SACHA DHAWAN / Orlo ELLE FANNING / Catherine PHOEBE FOX / Marial BAYO GBADAMOSI / Arkady ADAM GODLEY / Archbishop DOUGLAS HODGE / Velementov NICHOLAS HOULT / Peter FLORENCE KEITH-ROACH / Tatyana GWILYM LEE / Grigor Dymov CHARITY WAKEFIELD / Georgina
HACKS ROSE ABDOO / Josefina CARL CLEMONS-HOPKINS / Marcus Vaughan PAUL W. DOWNS / Jimmy Lusaque, Jr. HANNAH EINBINDER / Ava Daniels MARK INDELICATO / Damien POPPY LIU / Kiki CHRIS McDONALD / Marty Ghilain JEAN SMART / Deborah Vance MEGAN STALTER / Kayla Schaeffer
THE KOMINSKY METHOD JENNA LYNG ADAMS / Darshani SARAH BAKER / Mindy Kominsky CASEY THOMAS BROWN / Lane MICHAEL DOUGLAS / Sandy Kominsky LISA EDELSTEIN / Phoebe ASHLEIGH LaTHROP / Breana EMILY OSMENT / Theresa HALEY JOEL OSMENT / Robbie PAUL REISER / Martin GRAHAM ROGERS / Jude MELISSA TANG / Margaret KATHLEEN TURNER / Roz
ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING AARON DOMINGUEZ / Oscar SELENA GOMEZ / Mabel Mora JACKIE HOFFMAN / Uma Heller JAYNE HOUDYSHELL / Bunny STEVE MARTIN / Charles-Haden Savage AMY RYAN / Jan MARTIN SHORT / Oliver Putnam
TED LASSO ANNETTE BADLAND / Mae KOLA BOKINNI / Isaac McAdoo PHIL DUNSTER / Jamie Tartt CRISTO FERNÁNDEZ / Dani Rojas BRETT GOLDSTEIN / Roy Kent BRENDAN HUNT / Coach Beard TOHEEB JIMOH / Sam Obisanya NICK MOHAMMED / Nathan Shelley SARAH NILES / Dr. Sharon Fieldstone JASON SUDEIKIS / Ted Lasso JEREMY SWIFT / Leslie Higgins JUNO TEMPLE / Keeley Jones HANNAH WADDINGHAM / Rebecca Welton
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series COBRA KAI THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER LOKI MARE OF EASTTOWN SQUID GAME
The following is a press release from Discovery+ and Animal Planet:
Everyone’s favorite other game is back in action for the ultimate woof-a-thon. The original call-to-adoption television event and cutest sports competition, PUPPY BOWL, returns for its 18th year, highlighting more shelters, more incredible stories, and the most puppies ever featured in PUPPY BOWL history. Get ready to cheer on the adoptable puppy players of TEAM RUFF and TEAM FLUFF as they give it their all to catch air-speed and take home this year’s CHEWY “Lombarky” trophy. Catch all the action in the GEICO ‘stadium within a stadium’ that takes this game to the next level. Between ear pulls, tail tugs, sloppy kisses, incredible interceptions, puppy penalties and hard-won touchdowns, this is the game you don’t want to miss! Tune in to PUPPY BOWL XVIII, the 3-hour spectacular event that can be streamed on discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service, and Animal Planet on Sunday, February 13 at 2 PM ET/11 AM PT.
PUPPY BOWL celebrates adoptable pups in all their cuteness and showcases the incredible shelters and rescues, as well as their staffers, who dedicate their lives to helping animals find their fur-ever loving homes. This year an astounding 67 shelters and rescues from 33 states bring 118 incredible adoptable puppy players out to sport their TEAM RUFF ‘Tail Mary Tangerine’ and TEAM FLUFF ‘Bark Blue’ bandana colors. Each pup player is coming to strut their paws and show off their uniqueness, and with the help of the Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test, we’ll find out what’s beyond those bandanas and luscious fur, and how each dog’s breed mix might give them a leg-up on the field. And on top of these hidden traits which may be revealed, these players will give it their all to chase, fetch, guard, heel, and sprint to the CHEWY end zone pylons for the ultimate touchdowns and score game catching field goals on THE HOME DEPOT goal posts.
Thanks to our returning and notoriously entertaining slo-mo cam, fans will get to see these canines’ devotion to the game as they put their tricks to the test to score a touchdown and a possible chase of the tail. While showing off their tricks and shakes, audiences will get the pawesome views from the water bowl cam which will catch our furry friends in a PEDIGREE® timeout to re-energize their quirky selves and quench their thirst. For the ultimate top-notch aerial view, the TEMPTATIONS™ Kitty Sky Box will also be featured throughout the game so fans can feel as if they’re in the center of all the puppy madness.
The PUPPY BOWL XVIII Pre-Game Show begins exclusively on discovery+ and Animal Planet at 1PM ET/ 10AM PT where fan-favorite PUPPY BOWL sportscasters Rodt Weiler, Sheena Inu, James Hound, and field reports Mini Pinscher and Greta Dane provide the inside scoop on this year’s Puppy Bowl Draft ahead of the big game. The pre-game show spotlights exclusive interviews with coaches and players, a look at the adorable pups warming up and running their favorite routes during CHEWY’s ‘Play of the Day.’ In addition, audiences will get a first-look tease at the purr-fect halftime show through the ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ Kitty Halftime Report. We’ll also get puppy DNA analysis from Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test Players Report and catch up with several special puppy players past and present including Chunky Monkey, who won the hearts of many during Puppy Bowl XVII and Marshall, who was declared victorious as the winner of the Puppy Bowl XVII ‘Pupularity Playoff”. Those who tune-in will meet Biscuit, the Washington Capitals service pup who is training with America’s VetDogs and see a special look at the BISSELL Pet FoundationTM and their rescue efforts of transporting cats and dogs out of the Hurricane Ida danger zone to safety at Animal Welfare League in Alexandria, VA.
To kick off the game, special guests Elmo & Tango are traveling all the way from Sesame Street to gather the PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup players in the center of the field for the PUPPY BOWL XVIII coin toss to who from Team Fluff or Team Ruff will be the first to wag their tails! In addition, Elmo & Tango will be featured throughout the game as they cheer on one unforgettable pup, Wasabi, a Chihuahua/Cocker Spaniel mix from The Sato Project, from the sidelines throughout the game. As the game progresses, we will see which pup has what it takes for the one and only BISSELL Pet FoundationTM MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) award by scoring the most touchdowns. This pup will join a league of past MVP champions, and through TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE®, audiences will catch up with a previous Puppy Bowl MVP now in his loving, forever home and living his best life “on Tropic Time”. Be sure to tune in to find out which lucky pup will also take home the coveted SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Underdog Award!
And of course, Dan Schachner, PUPPY BOWL’s official and favorite Ruff-eree is returning for his 11th year of calling the puppy penalties, ruffs stumbles & tumbles, and awesome touchdowns for a game unlike any other. Dan is ready for the ultimate puppy showdown and fans will hear all these calls and more from returning commentators Steve Levy and Taylor Rooks as they give us the play-by-play coverage of the rambunctious pups of Team Fluff and Team Ruff as they frolic, jump, dive, and occasionally snooze their way to victory. In addition to seeing these puppy players on the field, audiences will also see the return of the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Pup Close and Personal segments that shine a light on adorable star athletes including one special Senior Spotlight story which showcases that age is just a number and senior dogs are ultimately puppies at heart. This year’s Pup Close and Personal features various segments including:
A special profile on Orange Twins Rescue, started by Ariana Grande and her choreographers and creative directors’, twins Scott & Brian, who accompany a pair of bonded Siberian Husky/ Chihuahua mix puppy sisters, Bimini & Tayce to Farm Animal Refuge in San Diego where they meet baby goats and cows
Kirby, a very special Labrador retriever who is the Houston Texans’ service pup in-training in partnership with America’s Vet Dogs, who visits NRG Stadium for a service practice session with Texans player Justin Reid
Hoku, a American Staffordshire Terrier/ Catahoula Leopard Mix; and Puppy Bowl’s first ever Hawaiian pup, from Maui Humane Society, who as a participant of the rescue’s ‘Buddies’ program, embarks on a special field trip to a hike in Maui’s National Parks where we learn about the legend of the ‘Poi’ dogs of ancient Polynesian culture
Birch, a Chihuahua / Toy Fox Terrier mix who is cared for by a special foster under Ninna’s Road to Rescue foster program and is coached for the big game by Puppy Bowl XVI alum, Darcy
Benny, a special needs Labradoodle, who is living his best life with a foster from Bosley’s Place where he spends his days practicing laps on the lush property with his fellow dog companions
A special look at The Dogist (Elias Weiss Friedman) who teams up with Pilots to the Rescue, to bring one incredible Dalmatian puppy, Pongo, on a flight from a Virginia shelter to New York City for PUPPY BOWL XVIII
In addition to these incredible Pup Close stories, PUPPY BOWL XVIII will also feature an unforgettable senior spotlight story featuring Mr. Lee Asher from the upcoming discovery+ series, My Pack Life, as he hosts Sharkey, a Greyhound Mix from Family Dogs New Life shelter at his own rural sanctuary, The Asher House, in Oregon where Sharkey will not have a day full of adventure but will have a chance of finding a forever home.
During the game, audiences will also meet nine fuzzball special needs players that are looking forward to finding their forever home; including Benny, a wheelchair bound Labradoodle featured in one of this year’s Pup Close stories; Forrest, a one-eyed Neapolitan Mastiff/Cane Corso Mix; Rocket, a deaf Chihuahua/Dachshund: Pongo, a deaf Dalmatian; Ridley, a deaf and vision impaired Border Collie; Bunny, a deaf American Staffordshire Terrier/Labrador Retriever Mix; Moby, a French Bulldog with a cleft palate; Bimini, a vision impaired Siberian Husky/Chihuahua Mix; and Irwin, a three-legged American Pit Bull Terrier/Chihuahua Mix. This year’s big game will feature the return of two special PUPPY BOWL moments. First, TEAM RUFF and TEAM FLUFF players will be cheered by adorable, adoptable puppy cheerleaders who will root and howl for their favorite players from the sidelines. This year, the new cheer squad will bring-it from their own special sideline setup to shake their pom poms, run a few cheer-formations, and amp up the volume with an overload of cuteness as PUPPY BOWL XVIII players make their way down the field. Next, audiences will again see Puppy Bowl’s ‘Adoptable Pup’ segments, hosted by Dan Schachner and sponsored by CHEWY. Sprinkled throughout the program, 11 shelters from around the country will feature one of their puppies (and 3 shelters with kittens during KITTY HALF-TIME) that are all up for adoption during the game!
In addition to these unforgettable moments, put your paws together midway through the game for the ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW for these adoptable kittens at their practically purr-fect beach party. At this ocean-side getaway, audiences will experience the beach-tastic party with these felines having some fun in the sun and learning about their heartwarming adoption stories in their loving new fur-ever home.
Fans can also access even more furry fun and exclusive content by downloading discovery+. Leading up to PUPPY BOWL XVIII, discovery+ and Animal Planet GO users will find exclusive in-app original programming, including the PUPPY BOWL mid-form series “Pupclose & Personal” featuring Ariana Grande’s best friends and choreographers, Scott and Brian Nicholson, who founded Orange Twins Rescue, a non-profit organization that rehabilitates and rescue animals in need. Plus, we’ll also see Dan the Ref take us down memory lane, highlighting the very best and firsts of Puppy Bowl’s 17-year history. Additionally, fans are also invited to Tweet along with game day commentator Meep the Bird and vote in real time, for the winner of the Most Valuable Puppy award. Results will be revealed during the epic program.
For the first time in Puppy Bowl history, there will be 23 exclusive Puppy Bowl NFTs released leading up to and on the day of the game hosted by Chronicle, an NFT studio and marketplace. Each drop will feature unique and pawsitively adorable trading cards varying in price and rarity, and a portion of the proceeds from all the sales will benefit Orange Twins Rescue, an animal rescue organization founded by brothers Scott and Brian Nicholson, and Ariana Grande. For the latest on when the NFTs are releasing, follow along on Animal Planet’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
Additionally, fans can look forward to the following exclusive digital content: Elmo will be taking over Discovery’s Instagram Story to tell his own puppy adoption story; Kirby, the Houston Texans’ service pup in-training, will be hosting a Discovery Instagram Story takeover as he prepares to play in the Puppy Bowl; and the cutest pregame puppy scrimmage will stream live on Animal Planet TikTok the day of the game.
Fans can also show off their puppy fandom by using the special custom GIF sticker pack available by searching “Puppy Bowl” in the GIF section on social platforms or by visiting the Puppy Bowl GIPHY page.
Official PUPPY BOWL XVIII sponsors include ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™, BISSELL Pet FoundationTM, CHEWY, GEICO, THE HOME DEPOT, the PEDIGREE® brand, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC., TEMPTATIONS™, TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE®, and Wisdom Panel™ pet DNA test.
For more information about the shelters, rescues and organizations that participated in PUPPY BOWL XVIII, Animal Planet audiences can visit Puppybowl.com/Adopt.
PUPPY BOWL XVIII is produced for discovery+ and Animal Planet by Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company. Simon Morris is executive producer and showrunner with Suzanne Rauscher and Sandy Varo Jarrell also serving as executive producers. For Animal Planet, Erin Wanner is executive producer, Pat Dempsey is supervising producer, and Marissa Donovan is production coordinator.
With three awards each, the Netflix drama “The Power of the Dog,” 20th Century Studios’ musical remake “West Side Story” and HBO’s drama series “Succession” won the most prizes at the 79th annual Golden Globe Awards. The private ceremony—which took place in Los Angeles on January 9, 2022—was not televised or webcast, and the news media were not invited to cover the event. Instead, winners were announced on the official Golden Globes Twitter account.
“The Power of the Dog” took the prizes for Best Motion Picture – Drama; Best Director (for Jane Campion); and Best Supporting Actor (for Kodi Smit-McPhee). The Golden Globe Awards for “West Side Story” were Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy; Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (for Rachel Zegler); and Best Supporting Actress (for Ariana DeBose).
“Succession” won Golden Globes for Best Television Series – Drama; Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama (for Jeremy Strong); and Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (for Sarah Snook).
“The Power of the Dog” and Focus Features’ drama “Belfast” led the nominations with seven nods each. “Belfast” ended up winning just one Golden Globe Award: Best Screenplay. In the TV categories, “Succession” was the top TV nominee, with five nods, including Best Drama Series.
The non-profit Hollywood Foreign Press Association votes for the Golden Globe nominations and awards. As previously reported, NBC dropped the Golden Globe Awards telecast in 2022, because of controversies over the HFPA’s lack of racial diversity and because of how the HFPA handles funds and gifting that its members receive for HPFA-related things. Up until August 2021, the HFPA did not have a black person as a member for 20 years.
The HFPA (which currently has about 100 members) has also come under fire for questionable spending and for its members accepting lavish gifts from studios that wanted to get HFPA members to vote for whatever the studios were pitching. The HFPA has since changed its leadership, modified its gifting/funding policies, and added more people of color to its membership, including a few black people. However, it remains to be seen if the HFPA and the Golden Globe Awards can fully recover from their very tarnished reputation.
Here is the complete list of winners and nominees for the 2022 Golden Globe Awards:
Best Motion Picture – Drama “Belfast” (Focus Features) “CODA” (Apple TV+) “Dune” (Warner Bros. Pictures) “King Richard” (Warner Bros. Pictures) “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)*
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy “Cyrano” (MGM) “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix) “Licorice Pizza” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) “Tick, Tick … Boom!” (Netflix) “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)*
Best Director Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”) Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)* Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”) Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”) Denis Villeneuve (“Dune”)
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Mahershala Ali (“Swan Song”) Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”) Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”) Will Smith (“King Richard”)* Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Leonardo DiCaprio (“Don’t Look Up”) Peter Dinklage (“Cyrano”) Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick … Boom!”)* Cooper Hoffman (“Licorice Pizza”) Anthony Ramos (“In the Heights”)
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”) Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”) Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”)* Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”) Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”)
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Marion Cotillard (“Annette”) Alana Haim (“Licorice Pizza”) Jennifer Lawrence (“Don’t Look Up”) Emma Stone (“Cruella”) Rachel Zegler (“West Side Story”)*
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Ben Affleck (“The Tender Bar”) Jamie Dornan (“Belfast”) Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”) Troy Kotsur (“CODA”) Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”)*
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Caitríona Balfe (“Belfast”) Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”)* Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”) Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”) Ruth Negga (“Passing”)
Best Screenplay Paul Thomas Anderson, “Licorice Pizza” Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast”* Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” Adam McKay, “Don’t Look Up” Aaron Sorkin, “Being the Ricardos”
Best Original Score Alexandre Desplat, “The French Dispatch” Germaine Franco, “Encanto” Jonny Greenwood, “The Power of the Dog” Alberto Iglesias, “Parallel Mothers” Hans Zimmer, “Dune”*
Best Original Song “Be Alive” from “King Richard,” written by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Dixson “Dos Orugitas” from “Encanto,” written by Lin-Manuel Miranda “No Time to Die” from “No Time to Die,” written by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell* “Down to Joy” from “Belfast,” written by Van Morrison “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” from “Respect,” written by Jamie Alexander Hartman, Jennifer Hudson and Carole King
Best Animated Film “Encanto” (Walt Disney Pictures)* “Flee” (Neon) “Luca” (Pixar) “My Sunny Maad” (Aerofilms) “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Walt Disney Pictures)
Best Foreign Language Film “Compartment No. 6” (Sony Pictures Classics) “Drive My Car” (Janus Films)* “The Hand of God” (Netflix) “A Hero” (Amazon Studios) “Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Best Television Series – Drama “Lupin” (Netflix) “The Morning Show” (Apple TV+) “Pose” (FX) “Squid Game” (Netflix) “Succession” (HBO)*
Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy “The Great” (Hulu) “Hacks” (HBO Max)* “Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu) “Reservation Dogs” (FX on Hulu) “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)
Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama Brian Cox, “Succession” Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game” Billy Porter, “Pose” Jeremy Strong, “Succession”* Omar Sy, “Lupin”
Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama Uzo Aduba, “In Treatment” Jennifer Aniston, “The Morning Show” Christine Baranski, “The Good Fight” Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale” Mj Rodriguez, “Pose”*
Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish” Nicholas Hoult, “The Great” Steve Martin, “Only Murders in the Building” Martin Short, “Only Murders in the Building” Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”*
Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Hannah Einbinder, “Hacks” Elle Fanning, “The Great” Issa Rae, “Insecure” Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish” Jean Smart, “Hacks”*
Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television “Dopesick” (Hulu) “Impeachment: American Crime Story” (FX) “Maid” (Netflix) “Mare of Easttown” (HBO) “The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime Video)*
Best Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television Paul Bettany, “WandaVision” Oscar Isaac, “Scenes From a Marriage” Michael Keaton, “Dopesick”* Ewan McGregor, “Halston” Tahar Rahim, “The Serpent”
Best Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television Jessica Chastain, “Scenes From a Marriage” Cynthia Erivo, “Genius: Aretha” Elizabeth Olsen, “WandaVision” Margaret Qualley, “Maid” Kate Winslet, “Mare of Easttown”*
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television Kieran Culkin, “Succession” Billy Crudup, “The Morning Show” Mark Duplass, “The Morning Show” Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso” Oh Yeong-su, “Squid Game”*
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television Jennifer Coolidge, “White Lotus” Kaitlyn Dever, “Dopesick” Andie MacDowell, “Maid” Sarah Snook, “Succession”* Hannah Waddingham, “Ted Lasso”