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Azerbaijan: Authorities Detain Peaceful Activists on International Women’s Day...
1 month ago
Azerbaijan: Authorities Detain Peaceful Activists on International Women’s Day rosen Mon, 03/08/2021 - 15:26 Type Press release Countries Azerbaijan Issues Equality & Human Rights Freedom of Assembly Page blocks In response to the detention of at least 20 peaceful protesters during a march on International Women’s Day in Baku, Freedom House issued the following statement: “For the third year in a row, the Azerbaijani authorities have cracked down on the International Women’s Day march, rejecting organizers’ permit application, detaining activists, and shutting down public transportation in a brazen violation of the freedom of assembly,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “The voices of women must be heard in Azerbaijan, where domestic violence, femicides, and other grave forms of gender-based violence are commonplace, and where female activists and journalists are harassed and ignored, with no effective national policy response from the government.” Background: On March 8, Azerbaijani law enforcement officers forcibly disrupted an International Women’s Day march in Baku that was organized by peaceful women’s rights activists to protest gender-based violence, including femicides, and to call on the government to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women. Organizers’ application for a permit was rejected by the authorities on March 4. Before the event began, police raided a café and detained two activists involved with the women’s rights group that organized the march. Officers ultimately detained at least 20 demonstrators, with a report of police violence against at least one participant. The authorities also shut down Baku’s public transportation, citing coronavirus restrictions, even though such shutdowns had not occurred during any previous holiday during the pandemic. The police had also interfered with the International Women’s Day gathering in previous years. In 2020, for example, officers violently detained dozens of people and then dropped them in remote areas outside Baku. The latest crackdown occurred amid a surge in reporting on suicides by women, notably the case of Sevil Atakishiyeva, which sparked a social media campaign blaming feminism for her death. Commenters on the television network ATV directly blamed an Azerbaijani feminist activist, Gulnara Mehdiyeva, for Atakishiyeva’s death. Furthermore, recordings of private conversations between Mehdiyeva and a friend were leaked on social media to smear the activist. The hacking of Mehdiyeva’s online accounts was allegedly traced to a state-sponsored individual who had previously leaked compromising information about human rights defenders and independent journalists. Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2021 and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2020, and is categorized as a Consolidated Authoritarian Regime in Nations in Transit 2020. Related Content Azerbaijan: Authorities Detain Peaceful Activists on International Women’s Day Press release March 8, 2021 Azerbaijan: Authorities Detain Peaceful Activists on International Women’s Day Press release March 8, 2021 Azerbaijan: Opposition Leader Sentenced to Years in Prison On Politically Motivated Charges Press release September 3, 2020 Display image Off The regime has repeatedly suppressed calls to address the widespread abuse of women’s rights. Hide from generated lists Off......
A Journal of the Weirdest Awards Season Ever, From Streams to Vaccines and Everything in Between...
3 hours ago
Illustrated by Chris Morris A version of this story first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine. The Oscars have been delayed and disrupted before, but there has never been an awards season like the one that will end on April 25 at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Starting soon after last year’s Oscars on Feb. 9, 2020, the world changed, first with a global pandemic and then with a long-delayed reckoning with institutional racism. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and 2021 caused the deaths of more than 500,000 people in the United States and close to 3 million around the world and led to significant cultural and economic turmoil. It also had a profound impact on the entertainment industry and the business of awards — changing the way films are distributed, hastening a move from theaters to streaming, and forcing awards groups to redefine what constitutes a motion picture and reconsider how to hand out awards without bringing people together. It turned this year’s awards season into the strangest, most tumultuous one ever and left us with huge questions about when Hollywood would return to normal if it ever really would. Here’s how it played out. Illustration by Chris Morris 2020 JANUARY By the time the Sundance Film Festival begins on January 23, many people have heard about a virus that is spreading in China, with the first confirmation of a case in the U.S. coming two days before the festival begins. But the crowds in Park City aren’t particularly concerned. “Minari” and “Promising Young Woman” premiere to good notices — but with only seven Sundance films going on to Best Picture nominations over the past decade, nobody is thinking that far ahead. Adele Haenel leaves the Cesar Awards / Getty Images FEBRUARY The Academy Awards go on as scheduled on February 9 and draw the lowest ratings in history. In-person shows continue to take place and theaters remain open. At the end of the month, a stormy Cesar Awards in Paris ends with “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” director Céline Sciamma and actor Adèle Haenel leaving the theater when Roman Polanski wins the best-director award, with Haenel shouting “Bravo, pedophilia!” on her way through the lobby. MARCH The virus slams into Hollywood. On March 6, the South by Southwest festival is canceled on orders from the city of Austin, Texas. Before theaters close, Pixar’s “Onward” scores the final big opening weekend of the year with $40 million. But the release of the James Bond movie “No Time to Die” is delayed from April to November over coronavirus concerns, and Sony Pictures closes its offices in London, Paris and Gdynia, Poland out of what it says is “an abundance of caution.” On March 11, things get real: Tom Hanks, who is filming in Australia, announces that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, have contracted the virus. In short order, sporting events are suspended, theme parks close, Broadway theaters go dark and TV networks cancel their upfront presentations. The Tribeca Film Festival is postponed, then the Cannes Film Festival. In mid-March, the mayors of Los Angeles and New York City announce that all theaters in those cities must close. AMC and Regal become the first cinema chains to shut down their theaters nationwide. U.S. box-office figures fall to their lowest level in more than 20 years. Film Independent announces that films selected by SXSW, Tribeca and other festivals will still qualify for Spirit Awards even though those festivals aren’t taking place. The Golden Globes allow films that have lost their theatrical releases to still qualify. The Television Academy delays Emmy voting and bans all in-person “for your consideration” events. The Tony Awards are delayed indefinitely. Universal makes “Trolls World Tour” available for digital rental on the day of its theatrical release, March 20, while Disney+ drops “Frozen 2” onto the service three months ahead of schedule. Studios and exhibitors lay off or furlough thousands of workers, and production essentially stops. Nielsen reports a major spike in television viewing. The Netflix series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” becomes the first pandemic sensation. “Artemis Fowl” / Disney APRIL One by one, virtually all spring and early summer films are delayed. Disney pulls “Artemis Fowl” off its release schedule and schedules a Disney+ premiere instead. Universal decides to skip theaters and take Judd Apatow’s “The King of Staten Island” straight to VOD, and Warner Bros. does the same with its animated film “Scoob!” WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey says the company is “rethinking our theatrical model.” At the end of the month, the Motion Picture Academy bows to the inevitable and changes Oscar rules to allow films that premiere on streaming or VOD to qualify for Oscars for this year only. Michael B. Jordan at #BlackLivesMatter protest / Getty Images MAY Following the decision to allow streaming premieres to qualify for the Oscars, the Television Academy issues a reminder that any Oscar-nominated streaming films will be disqualified from Emmy consideration. More films, including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” and the Tom Hanks movie “Greyhound,” move from theatrical to digital releases. Cannes admits a physical festival is impossible but says it’ll release a list of “Cannes 2020” films that it would have shown if it could. The Oscars put Cannes on a list of festivals that can be used to qualify documentaries, even if those festivals don’t happen; the new rules instantly qualify more than 90 nonfiction films. The Producers Guild and Directors Guild also change their rules to allow streaming releases to qualify for film awards. On May 25, George Floyd is killed when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneels on his neck for more than eight minutes after a store clerk claims that Floyd passed a counterfeit $20 bill. #BlackLivesMatter protests consume the U.S. and spread around the world, while increased scrutiny turns to Black representation in Hollywood. AMPAS JUNE The Academy postpones the 93rd Oscars from Feb. 28 to April 25, 2021, the latest date the show has been held since a November show in 1932. It also extends the eligibility period from Dec. 31, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021, giving the 2020 Oscars a 14-month year. BAFTA and the Spirit Awards immediately adjust their own dates, and in subsequent weeks so do all other awards shows. The Academy also invites more than 800 new members, meeting the goals it set during the #OscarsSoWhite protests in 2016 to double the number of female and nonwhite members by 2020. At the same time, a task force headed by producer DeVon Franklin works on what it says will be “new representation and inclusion standards for Oscar eligibility.” After holding onto its July 17 release date for months, Warner Bros. finally bumps the release of “Tenet,” the Christopher Nolan movie that some have envisioned as the blockbuster that will restart the theatrical experience, to July 31. A couple of weeks later, it moves the film to August 12. The Toronto International Film Festival unveils a smaller lineup of films than usual and says the festival will involve a combination of drive-in, virtual and socially distanced screenings and events in its usual early-September time slot. California film production, which fell by 97% in the second quarter, rises to about one-third of normal over the summer under strict new guidelines. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” / Netflix JULY Netflix picks up Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” from Paramount, which could not guarantee that it would be able to give a theatrical release before the November U.S. presidential election to the drama about anti-government protests in 1968. The Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York film festivals announce that they will work together to showcase films rather than competing with each other for premieres. Less than a week later, Telluride cancels its festival but says it will release the list of films it would have shown. Netflix sets a new record with 160 Emmy nominations. “Tenet” is delayed again. AUGUST A federal judge throws out rules that have prevented film studios from owning theater chains for the past 71 years. Given the precarious state of theatrical exhibition, no studios rush to buy theaters. The Emmys decide to present awards in five separate, virtual Creative Arts ceremonies, followed by the Primetime Emmys telecast. “Tenet” opens overseas, earns $53 million in its first weekend and leaves most reviewers puzzled. Back in the USA, theaters begin to reopen and the brutal Russell Crowe thriller “Unhinged” becomes the first big(ish)-budget release, opening to a paltry $5 million and eventually earning $20 million. Less than three months after appearing in “Da 5 Bloods” and two months before the release of his starring role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Chadwick Boseman dies of colon cancer after keeping his diagnosis secret. By the end of the month, about half the theaters in the U.S. have reopened. Frances McDormand at the drive-in premiere of “Nomadland” / Getty Images SEPTEMBER The pandemic drags on, but on Sept. 4, “Tenet” becomes the first mega-budget, major-studio film to open theatrically. The film opens to just $9.3 million, and goes on to gross $57 million in the U.S. (a fraction of Nolan’s usual business). The same day, “Mulan” is made available on Disney+ for an extra charge of $30 on top of the subscription price. The Venice and Toronto Film Festivals take place in scaled-down versions, with Venice happening in person and Toronto mixing outdoor and distanced indoor screenings with a virtual screening room for the industry and press. Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” premieres at both festivals simultaneously, as well as in a Los Angeles drive-in screening sponsored by Telluride. It then wins the jury prize in Venice and the audience award in Toronto, becoming the default Oscar front runner. “One Night in Miami,” “The Father” and “Pieces of a Woman” are among the other festival premieres, although Netflix opts to keep its entire slate — “Chicago 7,” “Mank,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and several others — off the festival circuit. The Academy announces new inclusion and diversity standards for Best Picture eligibility. Patterned after standards used by BAFTA and the British Film Institute, they will require films to submit demographic data and to meet certain standards in two of four different areas: onscreen representation, themes and narratives; creative leadership and project team; industry access and opportunities; and audience development. Some people criticize the standards for being too stringent, while others say they’re not strict enough. On Sept. 20, the Emmys take place in a largely virtual format, with messengers in hazmat suits delivering awards to the winners. For the first time ever, the majority of acting winners are Black. The show is the lowest-rated Emmys ever. BAFTA changes its voting rules to increase the diversity of its nominations. The Spirit Awards add television categories. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” premieres on Netflix to favorable reviews around the same time that Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake is pushed into 2021. The New York Film Festival takes place largely virtually, though with drive-in showings in New York’s five boroughs, and draws a record 70,000 viewers. “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” / Amazon Studios OCTOBER The James Bond movie “No Time to Die” is pushed from November to 2021. After the announcement is made, Regal Cinemas says that it will close 543 theaters in the U.S. that had previously reopened, citing the lack of major releases. The Academy’s Board of Governors loosens the rules for Oscar eligibility again, and recognizes drive-ins as commercial theaters for the purposes of Oscar qualifying. The AFI Fest takes place virtually and showcases far fewer Oscar-contending films than usual for the Hollywood crowd. AMC begins offering private movie theater rentals starting at $99 for up to 20 people. “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” one of many movies that pushed to finish before the U.S. presidential election, premieres on Amazon Prime on Oct. 23. Most of the attention goes to a scene in which young Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, playing the daughter of Sacha Baron Cohen’s character, finds herself in a room with Rudy Giuliani, who flirts with her and then sticks his hands down his pants (or tucks in his shirt, depending on whom you believe). The following week, David Fincher’s “Mank” has its first virtual screenings, and immediately leaps near the top of many Oscar prediction lists, particularly in the below-the-line categories. Joe Biden election celebration in West Hollywood / Getty Images NOVEMBER Joe Biden is declared winner of the U.S. presidential election over Donald Trump. Hollywood, for the most part, rejoices. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” screens and results in huge Oscar buzz for Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis. By the middle of the month, more than 80 films have paid $12,500 to be in the Academy Screening Room, meaning that online showcase for Best Picture contenders has earned the Academy more than $1 million. Theatrical distribution on any kind of large scale remains almost impossible. After months of saying that she will not accept a streaming premiere for her film “Wonder Woman 1984,” director Patty Jenkins goes along with Warner Bros.’ plan to debut the film on HBO Max on Christmas Day. “At some point you have to choose to share any love and joy you have to give, over everything else,” she says. “News of the World” / Universal Pictures DECEMBER With coronavirus cases surging and the lame-duck president showing little interest in taking steps to stop it, more theaters close. Sundance Film Festival announces that its 2021 edition will be largely virtual but will also include drive-in or socially distanced events in cities around the country. Warner Bros. reveals plans to release its entire 2021 slate of films — 17 movies, including “The Suicide Squad” and “Matrix 4” — simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. Christopher Nolan says he is in “disbelief” over the hugely controversial move. Theatrical movies “are being used as a loss leader for the streaming service…without any consultation,” he says. Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh are named producers of the 93rd Academy Awards. In a statement, they describe themselves as “thrilled and terrified in equal measure.” “Another Round” sweeps the European Film Awards, which take place in a largely virtual format. On December 18, the New York Film Critics Circle, who’ve declined to stretch the eligibility year into 2021 the way most awards bodies did, names Kelly Reichardt’s austere indie “First Cow” the year’s best movie. Two days later, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association says that 2020’s best film is Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe,” which is actually five different made-for-television movies that are running on Amazon and BBC and have been entered for awards consideration as a limited series, not movies. Universal opens Paul Greengrass’s “News of the World” in theaters on Christmas Day. “There’s a cost to that — creatively to me, financially to the studio,” Greengrass says of releasing the film when many theaters aren’t open. “But as an expression of faith in our business, faith in the healing power of the movies, I think that what we gain is beyond measure.” The film grosses just $12.6 million, though it does receive four Oscar nominations. “Wonder Woman 1984” also opens in select theaters in addition to its HBOMax release, earning $16.7 million in the largest opening weekend since the pandemic began. Almost $2 million of that total comes from fans booking private screenings for themselves and their friends. Sundance Film Festival drive-in screening in Nashville / Getty Image 2021 JANUARY The Recording Academy moves the Grammy Awards, which were scheduled to take place in late January, to March 14. This does not please SAG-AFTRA, since the Screen Actors Guild Awards have been scheduled for March 14 for months. SAG moves its show to Easter Sunday, April 4. The National Society of Film Critics, who like other influential critics’ groups have stuck to the calendar-year eligibility, name “Nomadland” the best film of 2020. Three days later, that film also wins the Gotham Award. A remarkable 238 films qualify in the Oscars Best Documentary Feature category, shattering the previous record of 170 and showing just how dramatically the new qualifying rules expanded the doc field. The Oscars’ Best International Feature Film race sets a record of its own with 93 contenders. Because of concerns about the security of Zoom meetings, the Academy eliminates the executive committee “saves” and expands the shortlist from 10 to 15 films. On Jan. 20, Joe Biden is inaugurated and vows to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office. MGM nonetheless moves “No Time to Die” again, changing its release date from April to October over fears that vaccinations will not happen quickly enough. Other studios follow suit with their spring releases. Cannes is postponed until July, though a subsequent European surge makes even that date seem questionable. The Sundance Film Festival takes place as a largely virtual event. Because of the extended Oscar eligibility date, a handful of films use Sundance as a launching pad for awards campaigns, foremost among them Shaka King’s “Judas and the Black Messiah.” By the end of the month, more than 200 movies are in the Academy Screening room, which means the Academy has made $2.5 million on the platform. “Tenet” is not one of those movies. Golden Globes protest / Getty Images FEBRUARY It starts to finally feel like awards season as Golden Globe and SAG nominations are announced on Feb. 3 and 4, respectively. While the Globes slate includes some landmarks, including three women in the Best Director category for the first time ever, it almost completely ignores Black-led films in the best-picture categories. Netflix completely dominates, with 35% of the nominations. SAG, meanwhile, gives a little boost to “Minari” by nominating it for the ensemble award, bypassing “Nomadland” (a film with mostly nonprofessional actors) in that category. The Oscars announce shortlists in nine categories. Most of them go as expected, though the international category includes a couple of surprises, Tunisia’s “The Man Who Sold His Skin” and Hong Kong’s “Better Days.” The Academy also announces that 366 films have qualified for Best Picture, the largest number in 50 years. “Mank” and “Minari” lead the Critics Choice Awards nominations while “The Trial of the Chicago 7” leads the BAFTA longlists. But the stream of nominations feels half-hearted, and Golden Globes weekend at the end of the month is missing its usual stream of events: No AFI Awards lunch, no Spirit Awards Nominees Brunch, no BAFTA tea party. Throw in no in-person screenings with Q&As and receptions, no junkets at the Four Seasons and opportunities for voters to chat and lobby for their favorites, and it’s an awards season without a real means for generating buzz. On Feb. 28, the Golden Globes hold a ceremony with in-person presenters but virtual acceptance speeches. The widely derided show is the lowest-rated Globes ever, though the ratings and the winners (“Nomadland” and “Borat”) are overshadowed by an L.A. Times story detailing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s ethical lapses and its lack of a single Black member. Getty Images MARCH “Nomadland” wins the Critics Choice Awards and the Scripter Award. AMC Theatres announces that it lost $4.6 billion in 2020 and then says its theaters will reopen in Los Angeles on March 19. New York is also cleared to reopen. Oscar nominations are announced on March 15, with a record number of nonwhite acting nominees and the first-ever Best Director lineup that contains more than one woman. The Academy cancels the Oscar Nominees Luncheon and the Governors Ball and says the Oscars will take place at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, with only nominees, presenters and one guest each in attendance. Later that same day, 104 top Hollywood PR agencies sign a letter saying they will withhold their clients from HFPA press conferences and events until the organization makes significant changes. The HFPA promises it will, beginning by admitting at least 13 Black members to bring the total membership to above 100. Later in the week, the Oscar show producers send an email to all the nominees promising a safe, in-person show. They also insist that nominees who chose not to attend will not be able to participate via Zoom or video links. Less than a week later, they add European hubs for nominees who can’t travel. The Writers Guild Awards take place on March 21 and the Producers Guild Awards on March 24; “Borat” and “Promising Young Woman” win at the former show, “Nomadland” at the latter. Both ceremonies are virtual, with all the nominees pre-taping acceptance speeches in case they win. Those speeches are understandably short on excitement or giddiness, though the shows are a lot more streamlined and quicker than usual. “Tenet” finally shows up in the Academy Screening Room. Pamela Chelin for TheWrap APRIL The pre-taped SAG Awards give their film awards to Chadwick Boseman, Carey Mulligan, Daniel Kaluuya, Yuh-Jung Youn and the cast of “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” That last film gets a little boost at a time when everybody’s trying to figure out if anything can rally to beat “Nomadland” by the time this loooong season ends. A week after the SAG Awards, the Directors Guild Awards and BAFTA’s EE British Academy Film Awards take place, both staged in in-person/virtual hybrids. “Nomadland” quickly seizes back any momentum it may have lost at SAG, winning the top prize at both shows. More movie theaters open… but just as Los Angeles is approved to increase the attendance in its theaters to 50%, Pacific Theatres announces that it will not reopen its ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres locations. The news that the showcase Hollywood ArcLight location would close prompted an outpouring of cinephile anguish on Twitter from Barry Jenkins, John Chu, Adam McKay, Rian Johnson, Lulu Wang and others. More awards shows take place virtually. The Oscars continue to try to figure out what they can do safely. And everybody wonders if Emmy season, which will be well underway by the time the Oscars take place, will look more normal. Read more from the Down to the Wire issue here. ......
Chloé Zhao Becomes Second Woman to Win Top Directors Guild Award...
3 days ago
The “Nomadland” filmmaker is the first woman of color to take the feature-film directing prize. She’s now the prohibitive front-runner for the Oscar.......
Chloe Zhao Wins Directors Guild Award for ‘Nomadland’ – Complete List of Winners...
3 days ago
Chloé Zhao was named the best director of 2020 at the 73rd annual Directors Guild Awards, which were presented on Saturday in a virtual ceremony. Zhao’s win for her quiet road film “Nomadland” makes her the second woman to win the DGA Award for feature film, after Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010. Only 10 women have ever been nominated in the category, with this year marking the first time that two female directors were nominated in the category in one year. (The other was Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.”) The win for Zhao comes two weeks after “Nomaldland” also won the Producers Guild Award, making it the only film to win more than one prize from the four major guilds. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” won the Screen Actors Guild’s ensemble award, while “Promising Young Woman” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” won Writers Guild Awards. The combination of DGA and PGA honors cements the position that “Nomadland” holds as the Oscar frontrunner for Best Picture, though it’s hard to place too much faith in precedent in this strangest of all awards years. Also Read: Why Making 'Nomadland' Left Chloe Zhao 'Emotionally Drained' The Directors Guild Award for feature film has usually been one of the most reliable Oscar predictors, with the winner going on to win the Best Director Oscar 64 times in 72 years. Still, the disagreements between Oscar and DGA voters have happened more often since 2000 than they did in previous years: After differing only four times in the DGA’s first 52 years, the groups have diverged four more times in the last 20 years. One of those occurred last year, when Sam Mendes won the Directors Guild Award for “1917” while Bong Joon Ho took the Oscar for “Parasite.” The DGA’s record at predicting the Oscar Best Picture winner is also strong, with the film that wins with the guild also taking the top Oscar more than 75% of the time. But over the past decade, as Oscar splits between the director and picture categories have become more common, the DGA has predicted the Oscar best-pic winner five times and failed to do so the other five. Also Read: 'Nomadland' Takes Top Prize at Producers Guild Awards: Complete List of Winners Darius Marder won the award for a first-time film director for “Sound of Metal,” in a category whose other nominees were Regina King for “One Night in Miami,” Florian Zeller for “The Father,” Radha Blank for “The Forty-Year-Old Version” and Fernando Frías de la Parra for “I’m No Longer Here.” The documentary award went to Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw for “The Truffle Hunters.” In the television categories, the award for directing in a drama series went to Lesli Linka Glatter for the series finale of “Homeland,” Susanna Fogel won the award for comedy-series directing for “The Flight Attendant” and Scott Frank won the limited series or television movie award for “The Queen’s Gambit.” Thomas Schlamme, who currently serves as president of the DGA, won the variety-special award for “A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote” and spoke out against voter suppression laws around the country. The variety-series award went to Don Roy King for “Saturday Night Live”; it was his seventh win for “SNL,” and his sixth consecutive win in the category. Also Read: SAG Awards 2021: 'The Trial of the Chicago 7' Wins Film Ensemble Award (Complete Winners List) A number of lifetime achievement and service awards were also handed out at the show. Paris Barclay received the Life Membership Award, Betty Thomas the Robert B. Alrich Service Award, Brian E. Frankish the Frank Capra Achievement Award and Joyce Thomas the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award. Here is the list of DGA nominees. Winners are indicated with *WINNER. FEATURE FILM Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” David Fincher, “Mank” Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” *WINNER FIRST-TIME FEATURE FILM DIRECTOR Radha Blank, “The Forty-Year-Old Version” Fernando Frías de la Parra, “I’m No Longer Here” Regina King, “One Night in Miami” Darius Marder, “Sound of Metal” *WINNER Florian Zeller, “The Father” DOCUMENTARY Michael Dweck & Gregory Kershaw, “The Truffle Hunters” *WINNER Pippa Erhlich & James Reed, “My Octopus Teacher” David France, “Welcome to Chechnya” Amanda McBaine & Jesse Moss, “Boys State” Benjamin Ree, “The Painter and the Thief” DRAMATIC SERIES Jason Bateman, “Ozark”: “Wartime” Jon Favreau, “The Mandalorian”: “Chapter 9: The Marshal” Vince Gilligan, “Better Call Saul”: “Bagman” Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland”: “Prisoners of War” *WINNER Julie Anne Robinson, “Bridgerton”: “Diamond of the First Water” COMEDY SERIES Zach Braff, “Ted Lasso”: “Biscuits” MJ Delaney, “Ted Lasso”: “The Hope that Kills You” Susanna Fogel, “The Flight Attendant”: “In Case of Emergency” *WINNER Erin O’Malley, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”: “The Surprise Party” Jeff Schaffer, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”: “The Spite Store” MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND LIMITED SERIES Susanne Bier, “The Undoing” Scott Frank, “The Queen’s Gambit” *WINNER Thomas Kail, “Hamilton” Matt Shakman, “WandaVision” Lynn Shelton, “Little Fires Everywhere”: “Find a Way” VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING Paul G. Casey, “Real Time With Bill Maher”: Episode 1835 Jim Hoskinson, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: “#1025 Live Show Following Capitol Insurrection” Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live”: “Dave Chappelle; Foo Fighters” *WINNER David Paul Meyer, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”: “President Obama: Inspiring Future Leaders & ‘A Promised Land'” Christopher Werner, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”: “Trump & Election Results” VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – SPECIALS Stacey Angeles, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Presents Remembering RBG: A Nation Ugly Cried with Desi Lydic” Marielle Heller, “What the Constitution Means to Me” Jim Hoskinson, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: “Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020” Spike Lee, “American Utopia” Thomas Schlamme, “A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote” *WINNER REALITY PROGRAMS David Charles, “Eco Challenge”: “3,2,1…Go!” Jon Favreau, “The Chef Show”: “Tartine” Ken Fuchs, “Shark Tank”: 1211 Joseph Guidry, “Full Bloom”: “Petal to the Metal” *WINNER Rich Kim, “Lego Masters”: “Mega City Block” CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS Kabir Akhtar, “High School Musical: The Musical – The Series”: “Opening Night” Larissa Bills, “On Pointe”: “Showtime!” Dean Israelite, “The Astronauts”: “Countdown” Richie Keen, “The Healing Powers of Dude”: “Second Step: Homeroom” Amy Schatz, “We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest” *WINNER COMMERCIALS Steve Ayson, “The Great Chase,” Nike Nisha Ganatra,” #wombstories,” Bodyform/Libresse Niclas Larsson, “See the Unseen,” VW Touareg; The Parents, Volvo XC60 Melina Matsoukas, “You Love Me,” Beats by Dr. Dre *WINNER Takia Waititi, “The Letter,” Coca-Cola Related stories from TheWrap:What Can Directors Guild and BAFTA Awards Tell Us About the Oscars?Oscars Plan European Hubs for International Nominees Unable to Travel to USWhy Would China Censor Oscars Over a Short Doc Nominee? 'They Are Obviously Afraid,' Director Says......
Can Substack Live Up to $650 Million Valuation?...
5 days ago
The newsletter company that’s drawn in high-profile writers and journalists like Patti Smith, Roxane Gay, Anne Helen Peterson and Casey Newton is going big with a new round of venture capital funding, but can Substack successfully live up to its new $650 million valuation? Last week, the newsletter company announced it had agreed to a $65 million Series B funding round led by Andreesen Horowitz’s Andrew Chen, placing Substack at a roughly $650 million valuation. Andreesen Horowitz also, notably, led a $100 million Series B funding round earlier this year for the live audio app Clubhouse, which is in talks for another round of funding at a $4 billion valuation, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. “I imagine the Substack execs won’t be sleeping that much in the near future,” Gabriel Kahn, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, told TheWrap in an email. Also Read: Substack Seeks to Raise $65 Million in New Fundraising Round Substack, in a recent blog post, said it would use the new funding in the following ways: Expand the Substack Pro program, which pays writers during their first year on the platform in exchange for a larger cut of their earnings. Create more fellowships, grants, mentorship programs, educational resources and events to help “a new generation of writers excel with the subscription publishing model.” Invest in local news and reporting initiatives. Expand support for independent writers, such as programs focused on legal support, health care, editing, design and taxes. Build “increasingly powerful subscription-publishing tools to help more writers go independent and run their own media empires.” Build out Substack’s staff. But with the extra backing from Andreessen Horowitz, known for its early investments into companies like Airbnb, Facebook and Slack, industry observers who spoke with TheWrap said they aren’t convinced Substack’s growth can sustain or scale at this level. Also Read: Understanding the Substack Boom and What It Means for Media “I just don’t know how they hang on to this market position when the product itself is not that complicated,” Kahn said. “Now, with the additional investment, they have to keep the VC folks happy, and they are always hungry for a lucrative exit. That puts some real-time pressure on Substack. So they are caught between wanting to hang on to their top talent, which drives the vast majority of their revenues, and trying to get lots of smaller players to sign up immediately. If they try to squeeze their top performers (where all the money is), those guys will bolt to other platforms.” Unlike other platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Substack — at this point — does not “lock in” users by holding on to their audiences or communities if they choose to leave, David Cohn, a senior director at Advance Digital, told TheWrap. Whereas someone with a large Twitter following would lose all their followers if they decided to quit the platform, Substack writers can easily export their mailing lists and retain their readers. The question for Substack, then, is whether they can make the appeal of staying on their platform — or the cost of leaving — high enough so that their top talent doesn’t leave. “It’s got to be a product solution, and it’s got to be something that no other email providers can provide,” Cohn said. Also Read: Clubhouse Users Can Now Pay Their Favorite Creators Directly An acquisition at this stage wouldn’t make much sense, another industry analyst said, since the writing talent that drives the money behind Substack isn’t guaranteed to stay. “You’re buying the engineering talent but you’re not buying the writing talent if you were to acquire Substack,” Jeremy Gilbert, a professor at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and The Washington Post’s former director of strategic initiatives, told TheWrap. Gilbert said, if anything, Substack may be looking to acquire other technologies to help round out its offerings to boost its appeal to writers, which could “ironically” make it go from email newsletter platform to a “more holistic media publisher.” But as the company figures out its next steps, tech giants like Facebook and Twitter will be narrowing in with their own competing newsletter services. “Facebook, Twitter are two giant elephants in the room. And as much as Substack has grown, it’s still not at the scale of Facebook or Twitter,” Cohn said. “But it’s also hugely validating. I mean, who is stepping into whose territory? In terms of size, yes, Substack is stepping into their territory. But in terms of product, that’s actually Facebook and Twitter stepping into Substack territory.” Also Read: Spotify Takes Aim at Clubhouse With Acquisition of Sports-Focused Live Audio App And with pressure coming from all sides, time is of the essence for Substack. “Substack has an opportunity right now, but they don’t have long to take advantage of it,” Gilbert said. “This isn’t a slow-burning mystery. I think, relatively soon, you’ll either see competition or explosive growth out of Substack, and then we’ll know the answer to the story. But I don’t think we’re going to be waiting long.” Related stories from TheWrap:Substack Seeks to Raise $65 Million in New Fundraising RoundUnderstanding the Substack Boom and What It Means for Media10 Must-Read Media and Entertainment Newsletters......
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‘The Midnight Sky,’ ‘Soul’ Win Top Awards From Visual Effects Society...
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“The Midnight Sky” and “Soul” were the big film winners at the 19th annual VES Awards, which were presented on Tuesday night by the Visual Effects Society. George Clooney’s cautionary sci-fi drama “The Midnight Sky” won two awards, including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature, the VES category that most closely corresponds to the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Winners in the category have gone on to win the Oscar 10 times in the past 18 years, but the last film to do so was “The Jungle Book” in 2017. The Pixar film “Soul,” which was shortlisted but not nominated for the VFX Oscar, won five awards, the most of any film or television program. In addition to Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature, it won for its animated character, created environment, effects simulation and virtual cinematography. Also Read: How 'The Midnight Sky' Visual Effects Team Pulled Together That Bloody Space Scene “Project Power” also won two awards, while additional film prizes went to “Mank,” “The One and Only Ivan” and “Mulan.” In the television categories, “The Mandalorian” won three awards, while “Lovecraft Country” won two. Also during the show, Sacha Baron Cohen presented the VES Award for Creative Excellence to visual-effects supervisor and cinematographer Robert Legato, while Cate Blanchett presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to director Peter Jackson after a tribute whose participants included Naomi Watts and “Lord of the Rings” stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis, who also appeared as the “LOTR” character Gollum in doctored clips alongside director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau. The awards were presented in a virtual ceremony hosted by a typically acerbic Patton Oswalt, whose first line was, “How bored do you have to be to watch the VES Awards at home on your computer?” The show gave each presenter a different exotic backdrop, and greeted each nominee with yet another snippet from a seemingly inexhaustible collection of classic-rock songs. Also Read: 'The Mandalorian' Boots Netflix From No. 1 Spot on Nielsen Top 10 Streaming Programs for First Time The winners: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature “The Midnight Sky” Matt Kasmir, Greg Baxter, Chris Lawrence, Max Solomon, David Watkins Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature “Mank” Wei Zheng, Peter Mavromates, Simon Carr, James Pastorius Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature “Soul” Pete Docter, Dana Murray, Michael Fong, Bill Watral Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode “The Mandalorian”: “The Marshal” Joe Bauer, Abbigail Keller, Hal Hickel, Richard Bluff, Roy Cancino Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode “The Crown”: “Gold Stick” Ben Turner, Reece Ewing, Andrew Scrase, Jonathan Wood Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project “Ghost of Tsushima” Jason Connell, Matt Vainio, Jasmin Patry, Joanna Wang Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial Walmart; Famous Visitors Chris “Badger” Knight, Lori Talley, Yarin Manes, Matt Fuller Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project “The Bourne Stuntacular” Salvador Zalvidea, Tracey Gibbons, George Allan, Matthías Bjarnason, Scott Smith Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature “The One and Only Ivan”: Ivan Valentina Rosselli, Thomas Huizer, Andrea De Martis, William Bell Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature “Soul”: Terry Jonathan Hoffman, Jonathan Page, Peter Tieryas, Ron Zorman Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project “The Mandalorian”: “The Jedi”: The Child John Rosengrant, Peter Clarke, Scott Patton, Hal Hickel Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial Arm & Hammer; Once Upon a Time; Tuxedo Tom Shiny Rajan, Silvia Bartoli, Matías Heker, Tiago Dias Mota Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature “Mulan”: Imperial City Jeremy Fort, Matt Fitzgerald, Ben Walker, Adrian Vercoe Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature “Soul”; You Seminar Hosuk Chang, Sungyeon Joh, Peter Roe, Frank Tai Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project “The Mandalorian”: “The Believer”: Morak Jungle Enrico Damm, Johanes Kurnia, Phi Tran, Tong Tran Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project “Soul” Matt Aspbury, Ian Megibben Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project “The Midnight Sky”: Aether Michael Balthazart, Jonathan Opgenhaffen, John-Peter Li, Simon Aluze Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature “Project Power” Yin Lai Jimmy Leung, Jonathan Edward Lyddon-Towl, Pierpaolo Navarini, Michelle Lee Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature “Soul” Alexis Angelidis, Keith Daniel Klohn, Aimei Kutt, Melissa Tseng Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project “Lovecraft Country”; “Strange Case; Chrysalis” Federica Foresti, Johan Gabrielsson, Hugo Medda, Andreas Krieg Outstanding Compositing in a Feature “Project Power” Russell Horth, Matthew Patience, Julien Rousseau Outstanding Compositing in an Episode “Lovecraft Country”: “Strange Case; Chrysalis” Viktor Andersson, Linus Lindblom, Mattias Sandelius, Crawford Reilly Outstanding Compositing in a Commercial Burberry: Festive Alex Lovejoy, Mithun Alex, David Filipe, Amresh Kumar Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal or Animated Project “Fear the Walking Dead: Bury Her Next to Jasper’s Leg” Frank Iudica, Scott Roark, Daniel J. Yates Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project “Migrants” Antoine Dupriez, Hugo Caby, Lucas Lermytte, Zoé Devise......
‘Birds of Prey,’ ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ Win Top Awards from Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild...
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DO NOT POST UNTIL THE SHOW ENDS ON SATURDAY NIGHT “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Birds of Prey” each won two film awards at the 8th annual Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards, which took place in a hybrid virtual gala on Saturday evening. “Ma Rainey” won in the Best Period and/or Character Make-Up and Best Period Hair Styling and/or Character Hair Styling categories, while “Birds of Prey” took awards in the Best Contemporary Make-Up and Best Contemporary Hair Styling categories. “Pinocchio” won the final MUAHS feature-film award, Best Special Make-Up Effects. “Ma Rainey” and “Pinocchio” are also nominated for the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, but “Birds of Prey” is not. Since the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild relaunched its awards after a 10-year gap in 2013, every Oscar makeup winner has previously been a MUAHS winner, most frequently in the period/character make-up category (six times in seven years) and the special make-up effects category (four times). This year, “Ma Rainey” won the former of those awards, and “Pinocchio” the latter. Also Read: 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' Hair and Makeup: How Viola Davis Was Inspired by Bette Davis's Classic 'Baby Jane' In the television series or limited series categories, the awards were spread out among five different programs: “Westworld,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” “The Mandalorian,” “Schitt’s Creek” and “Bridgerton.” “Saturday Night Live” won two awards in the television special categories, “The Kelly Clarkson Show” won two in the daytime television categories and “All That” won two in the childrens and teen TV categories. Also at the ceremony, Eddie Murphy received the Distinguished Artisan Award and Matthew Mungle and Terry Baliel were given Lifetime Achievement Awards. Also Read: How 'Pinocchio' Makeup Artists Turned an Actor Into a Tuna Fish - Yes, a Tuna Fish Anthony Anderson hosted the show. The winners: FEATURE-LENGTH MOTION PICTURE Best Contemporary Make-Up: “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” Deborah Lamia Denaver, Sabrina Wilson, Miho Suzuki, Cale Thomas Best Period and/or Character Make-Up: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom ,” Matiki Anoff, Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Carl Fullerton, Debi Young Best Special Make-Up Effects: “Pinocchio,” Mark Coulier Best Contemporary Hair Styling: “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” Adruitha Lee, Cassie Russek, Margarita Pidgeon, Nikki Nelms Best Period Hair Styling and/or Character Hair Styling: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Mia Neal, Larry Cherry, Leah Loukas, Tywan Williams TELEVISION SERIES, TELEVISION LIMITED OR MINISERIES OR TELEVISION NEW MEDIA SERIES Best Contemporary Make-Up: “Westworld,” Elisa Marsh, John Damiani, Jennifer Aspinall, Rachel Hoke Best Period and/or Character Make-Up: “The Queen’s Gambit,” Daniel Parker Best Special Make-Up Effects: “The Mandalorian,” Brian Sipe, Alexei Dmitriew, Samantha Ward, Scott Stoddard Best Contemporary Hair Styling: “Schitt’s Creek,” Annastasia Cucullo, Ana Sorys Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling: “Bridgerton,” Marc Pilcher, Lynda J. Pearce, Adam James Phillips, Tania Couper TELEVISION SPECIAL, ONE HOUR OR MORE LIVE PROGRAMS SERIES, OR MOVIE FOR TELEVISION Best Contemporary Make-Up: “Saturday Night Live,” Louie Zakarian, Amy Tagliamonti, Jason Milani, Joanna Pisani Best Period and/or Character Make-Up: “Saturday Night Live,” Louie Zakarian, Amy Tagliamonti, Jason Milani, Rachel Pagani Best Contemporary Hair Styling: “Dancing with the Stars,” Kimi Messina, Jani Kleinbard, Regina Rodriquez, Roma Goddard Best Period Hair Styling and/or Character Hair Styling: “Hamilton,” Frederick Waggoner DAYTIME TELEVISION Best Make-Up: “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” Jason McGlothin, Gloria Elias-Foeillet, Chanty LaGrana, Josh Foster Best Hair Styling: “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” Roberto Ramos, Tara Copeland CHILDREN AND TEEN TELEVISION PROGRAMMING Best Make-Up: “All That,” Michael Johnston, Melanie Mills, Tyson Fountaine, Nadege Schoenfeld Best Hair Styling: “All That,” Joe Matke, Dwayne Ross, Theresa Broadnax COMMERCIALS & MUSIC VIDEOS Best Make-Up: Lady Gaga “911,” Sarah Tanno, Mike Mekash, Eryn Krueger Mekash Best Hair Styling: Workout/State Farm “Chris Paul and Alfonso Ribeiro,” Stacey Morris THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS (Live Stage) Best Hair Styling: “Hamilton (And Peggy Company),” Marcelo Donari, Robert Mrazik Related stories from TheWrap:40 Actors Made Unrecognizable in Prosthetic Makeup: From Eddie Murphy to Colin Farrell (Photos)Meghan McCain Defends Her 'Experiment With Hair and Makeup': 'Let a Bitch Live'Why Post-Pandemic Awards Campaigns Will Still Be Digital First (and Often Virtual) | Pro Insight......