Awkwafina makes history at Golden Globe Awards

Sunday night, Awkwafina became the first Asian American actress to win a Golden Globe in the Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy category, for her tragicomic role in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell (2019), according to Deadline. Wang’s semiautobiographical film is about a Chinese American woman returning to China to say goodbye to her terminally ill grandmother; Awkwafina thanked Zhao Shuzhen, her onscreen grandmother, as well as the real-life grandmother who raised her, during her acceptance speech. Backstage, Awkwafina said of the history-making win, “I actually heard that fact and it was pretty mind-blowing. It feels incredible… but you want there to be more. I hope this is only the beginning.”

Prince William narrates sixty-second mental health film for millions of soccer fans

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Prince William says British people, men especially, stigmatize mental illness; according to Public Health England, there are more than fifteen million soccer fans in the United Kingdom, sixty-nine percent of whom are men. (Image Courtesy: CNN).

Prince William is the narrator for a one-minute film, Take a Minute – starring many soccer stars – from Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters, the English Football Association (of which he is president), as well as Heads Together’s Heads Up campaign, according to CNN. Kickoff times for all thirty-two fixtures of the third round of the English FA Cup will be delayed by sixty seconds Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, so the mental illness public service announcement can be shown at stadiums in front of millions of fans. William and his brother, Prince Harry, have advocated for a number of mental health causes since the traumatic death of their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997.

New leadership announcements from MGM

MGM Motion Picture Group president Jonathan Glickman is stepping down to be a producer for the studio after chairman and CEO Gary Barber was fired in 2018, according to Deadline. Meanwhile, former New Line-DreamWorks-Sony executive as well as Fifty Shades of Grey producer Michael De Luca will become chairman of the MGM Film Group as late as March, making him the equivalent to MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett. De Luca previously declined the opportunity to run Paramount for Jim Gianopulos, and Glickman has been working with MGM since 2011, outlasting both Barber and Roger Birnbaum from Spyglass Entertainment, who arrived with him.

Greta Gerwig’s metatextual adaptation of “Little Women”

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The Atlantic contributor John Matteson writes that Little Women asks its audience how someone can act selflessly without destroying themselves. (Image Courtesy: The Atlantic).

The final scenes of Greta Gerwig’s Little Women (2019) have been a source of contention among purists for their reinterpretation of the ending to the 1860s novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott, but it makes a postmodern statement about love, according to The Atlantic. Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) suggests the protagonist of her manuscript, Little Women, marry Friedrich Bhaer (Louis Garrel), when her surviving sisters, Meg (Emma Watson) and Amy (Florence Pugh), offer much of the film’s love as they encourage her to go after the professor. Alcott, who died a childless, unmarried virgin, still sacrificed out of love to an altruistic amount for her own family, caretaking for her aging parents, providing for her widowed older sister’s sons, as well as raising her youngest sister’s baby after she died in childbirth.

The twelve 2019 films that will predict 2020 box office and industry trends, according to “IndieWire”

In an effort to combat arbitrary year-end lists and myopic annual box office summaries, IndieWire cited eight studio releases as well as four films from specialized companies for what they mean to future productions. Non-franchise auteur projects are making a comeback. The twelve movies are: Jon Favreau’s The Lion King (2019); James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari (2019); Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019); Jordan Peele’s Us (2019); David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! (2019); Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell (2019); Jon Watts’s Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019); Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers (2019); Michael Engler’s Downton Abbey (2019); Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems (2019); Christian Petzold’s Transit (2018); and Nisha Ganatra’s Late Night (2019).

Barack Obama circulates his yearly list of favorite films

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Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s American Factory (2019) comes from Obama’s own production company, Higher Ground. (Image Courtesy: The Guardian).

Not long after releasing a list of his favorite literary works from 2019, former president Barack Obama has posted a list of his favorite films from the past year to his Twitter as well as his Instagram, according to The Guardian. The list stokes the critical debate over television’s place in the cinematic conversation, for Obama includes three TV series he considers “as powerful as” the gritty dramas and awards season contenders comprising more than half the list. Obama first began publishing such lists in 2015, starting with books, and he aims to spotlight lesser-known artists alongside their higher-profile counterparts.

Behind the score for “Uncut Gems”

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Adam Sandler stars as Howard Ratner, a New York jeweler and gambler. (Image Courtesy: NPR).

Daniel Lopatin, an electronic musician who also records under the name Oneohtrix Point Never, scored Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems (2019), having collaborated with the brothers previously for Good Time (2017), according to NPR. Using an eclectic cocktail of old-school synthesizers, Mellotron flutes, saxophone solos, as well as an eight-person choir, the inspiration behind the cosmic, New Age soundtrack was Vangelis, the Greek synthesizer conductor. Lopatin says while film is expected to be more realistic, music is expected to be more fantastical, which is why such a meditative score of analog synthesizers is juxtaposed against such a chaotic movie.