What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:24 AM 12/11/2017

by Ray Rahman

Big Little Lies Still 3 - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of HBO

What's news: The Golden Globe nominations have arrived. Plus: Mario Batali is hit with sexual misconduct allegations, The Walking Dead shocks viewers, Verizon strikes a new NFL deal, Star Wars reactions pour in and Chris Evans comforts the bullied child who went viral. — Ray Rahman

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  • Golden Globes Extravaganza

    Nominations for the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards (happening on NBC Jan. 7 with host Seth Meyers) were announced Monday morning, with The Shape of Water leading the film nominees with seven, followed by The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with six apiece. On the TV side, Big Little Lies topped with six noms, followed by Feud: Bette and Joan with a total of four. 

    You can see the full list here.

    ? Early film analysis: The Shape of Water rises to the top. “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association swooned over The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s imaginative fantasy romance about a mute woman who falls in love with a strange sea creature,” writes Gregg Kilday. “In addition to securing a nomination as best drama and a directing nom for del Toro, the film amassed nominations for its leading lady Sally Hawkins, supporting players Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins, its screenplay by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor and its score by Alexandre Desplat.” Read more.

    + ...and the snubs. Among the missing: Get Out's Jordan Peele in the screenplay and directing categories; Lady Bird's Greta Gerwig in directing (in fact, all female directors were shut out of the category); The Big Sick in every single category; The Florida Project from everything besides Willem Dafoe's supporting category nomination ... and that's just the start. Read more.

    ? Early TV analysis: Two shows beset by scandal, House of Cards and Transparent, had zero presence. For HoC, not even Robin Wright was nominated. Also missing: Veep, The Americans, Mindhunter and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Read more.

    + The full by-the-numbers breakdown of all the networks, film studios, movies and TV shows nominated.

  • 'I want to see a female Darth Vader'

    A trio of top writers (from left: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Amanda Silver and Lindsey Beer), whose credits include big-budget movies like the Tomb Raider reboot, Planet of the Apes, and Transformers talk to Mia Galuppo about biased notes, creating great heroines and why Judi Dench should be an action star.

    GENEVA ROBERTSON-DWORET I got really frustrated with a male director because he kept saying, "I just want her to be a normal girl." Male executives and filmmakers are still scared to give women warts — to give a woman the same specificity they'd give a male character.

    LINDSEY BEER With female char­acters, I always get the note that they need to be "likable." They will say she seems like a … well, they won't say the B-word, but they imply the B-word. A female character can't have a chip on her shoulder the way a man can. We have so many lovable male protagonists that are the grumpy antihero, but that character as a woman is hard to push through.

    AMANDA SILVER I was in a room, and there was this guy, and I don't think he was a jerk or he was even aware of what he was doing, but every time I started to say something, he would cut me off. So the next time he interrupted me, I called him out on it, immediately. It's like the bully at school: You've got to punch him in the nose. Read more.

    + Creepy agents, shady managers and the plight of Hollywood's non-famous actresses. "Actors tolerate workplace harassment before we even have a chance to interview for the job," writes Lela Edgar as she opens up about her own encounters with sexual predation as a struggling actress. Full story.

    In other news... 

    ? Celebrity chef Mario Batali has taken a leave of absence after being hit with sexual misconduct allegations, Eater reports. 

    ? New Dustin Hoffman accuser claims harassment on Broadway. Kathryn Rossetter details her experiences with the actor while performing Death of a Salesman in her guest column.

    ? Jeff Herman, Hollywood's go-to lawyer for sex abuse claims, was once accused of rape. Herman, currently in the news for suing Bryan Singer (again), has escaped prosecution despite what the police recommended. He denies the allegations.

    Elsewhere in film...

    ? Weekend box office: Coco dominated at No. 1 again during the sleepy pre-Star Wars weekend, while The Disaster Artist thrived in the specialty category. Meanwhile, Just Getting Started, starring Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones, bombed nationwide. 

    Star Wars reactions: The Last Jedi premiere was Saturday night, and Twitter was soon flooded with reactions — mostly positive ones. Sampling: 

    + “#TheLastJedi is incredibly satisfying and hands down Mark Hamill's best performance as Luke Skywalker.” — Aaron Couch, THR

    + “#TheLastJedi will shatter you - and then make you whole again.” — Anthony BreznicanEW

    + “Adam Driver in THE LAST JEDI obligingly serves the most STAR WARS beefcake since Luke went sleeveless on Dagobah.” Kyle Buchanan, VultureRead more.

    ? Mark Hamill, Chris Evans comfort a bullied child. It all began with a viral video made by the mother of a bullied Tennessee boy named Keaton Jones. Next thing you know, Hollywood stars are weighing in, and Captain America himself is inviting the young Jones to the Avengers premiere. Full story.

    ^Phantom Thread’s Vicky Krieps on playing Daniel Day-Lewis' last leading lady. The actress makes her way from Luxembourg to the world stage in Paul Thomas Anderson's dark comedy, writes Ashley Lee:

    Krieps never dreamed of becoming an actress. But she and her friends often acted out their theatrical poems and tried to be extras in period movies just to wear the elaborate costumes. An early onscreen performance came in high school, when she reluctantly covered herself in pig’s blood because her director friend Govinda Van Maele couldn’t convince his crush to take that leading role. That movie, titled Sweet Dreams From the Slaughterhouse, was never edited. Full story.

    ? Critics' picks: Year-end film awards continue to be doled out, with Phantom Thread and Florida Project earning plenty of kudos. Florida was named best film by San Francisco's and Toronto's film critics groups, while Phantom won over Boston's

    + Over in France, the Lumiere Awards nominations were released, with BPM (Beats Per Minute) leading the pack with six nominations. 

    ? Saudi Arabia lifts ban on cinemas. Another one of the seismic changes from new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: Movie theaters are expected to open in 2018 for the first time in 35 years.

    + But in China... 'Hollywood film fatigue' is impacting China as a glut of sequels begin to bore the country's moviegoers. 

    ? Ready Player One: Steven Spielberg's other hotly anticipated movie (a.k.a. the one not starring Meryl Streep) released a new trailer over the weekend, and its nostalgia index is very high. Watch it here.

    Rep Sheet Roundup: APA comedy head Mike Berkowitz has left to lead the comedy department at WME (Jackie Knobbe and Max Burgos have been named his replacements at APA). … Kings of Leon, Train and Dead & Company have left CAA for WME following a trio of music agent moves in the past three weeks. … Mel B has signed with WME. … Tyra Banks has left WME for UTA. … Paradigm has moved to larger offices in downtown Nashville. … ICM has promoted Di Glazer to co-head of theater. More here.

  • AT&T's Play

    Why AT&T might sell Turner networks or DirecTV instead of CNN: The telecom's promise to not let Time? Warner's Turner networks go "dark" could blunt the DOJ's case for blocking the $85.4?billion merger (unless Trump politics intervene), write Georg Szalai and Paul Bond:

    With a few words in a legal filing, AT&T may have saved its $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner. If so, the timing couldn't be better, as Wall Street has been taking bets on which draconian concessions the companies would make to placate the U.S. Department of Justice.

    The DOJ, citing antitrust concerns, wants either Time Warner to jettison Turner Broadcasting or AT&T to sell DirecTV before blessing the marriage, which the government sued Nov. 20 to block. And since AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has insisted he won't sell CNN, many were speculating that a compromise could see Time Warner off-loading other chunks of Turner.

    But the telecom giant threw a curveball. Read more.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    ? Verizon's new NFL deal: Verizon will start streaming NFL playoff games in January as it kicks off a new multiyear deal that will also include regular season games, postseason contests and at least one Super Bowl over the course of several years. 

    ? The president's TV diet: A meaty New York Times profile of Donald Trump's first year in office offers in great detail how the commander-in-chief consumes television.

    + Snippet: "Around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to Fox & Friends for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s Morning Joe because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day." Full story.

    ? TV's top men are being replaced by ... more men. The industry touts female empowerment, but a slew of new hirings proves there's a long way to go before women share control. Full report.

    ^Walking Dead shocker: Watch last night's season finale? Still can't believe what happened? Here's your spoiler-filled guide to what you saw last night — and what's next for the AMC series:

    + Walking Dead star explains the show's biggest exit yet. 

    + Andrew Lincoln talks. Q&A.

    + Series boss cements iconic character's fate: "That is a one-way ticket." 

    + Is the stage set for Rick's death?

    + 11 questions for the second half of season 8 (and beyond). 

    ? The Crown: The show's stars on the season 2 finale and saying farewell to the royal drama. Stars Matt Smith and Vanessa Kirby reflect on the final episode of the Netflix drama's second season and their recasting for season 3. Q&A.

    ? Outlander finale: Stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan break down that huge finale reset. Plus: Wata teaser for Starz drama's fourth season. Full story.

  • A Bigger Footprint

    Why is Hollywood shopping for international TV channels? Recent deals, from Australia to Argentina, point to an increased appetite for foreign acquisitions as U.S. networks look abroad for growth opportunities. Georg Szalai and Scott Roxborough write:

    For U.S. entertainment giants, it seems, tis' the season to be doing deals.

    For M&A watchers, Fox and Time Warner are the big-ticket items, the equivalent of that shiny new bike under the tree Christmas morning. But scattered about, outside the U.S., are boutique buying opportunities: foreign TV channels that have been snapped up or are generating major interest from Hollywood giants.

    “When broadcasters expand internationally they enlarge their revenue potential as it is a new market. And it increases their distribution footprint,” says one analyst. “Size counts.” Full story.

    What else we're reading...

    — "Disney deal for Fox would end era of the 'big six' studios." Ben Fritz writes: "For years, many in Hollywood thought it was only a matter of time until the six major movie studios that have dominated the industry for decades would shrink to five or even four. Few, however, thought the first to go would be Twentieth Century Fox." [Wall Street Journal]

    — "Alexander Payne's small wonder." Boris Kachka writes: "With his new film, Downsizing, the celebrated director mines the comedy of being tiny — while supersizing his own ambitions." [Vulture

    — "Judd Apatow on getting back to his stand-up roots." Josh Rottenberg writes: "For someone who was a comedy nerd before there was a name for that kind of thing, Apatow’s special represents the fulfillment of his original show business dream. More than that, it’s a chance to re-write the ending of a chapter that didn’t turn out the way he planned the first time around." [L.A. Times]

    — "Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest specialize in small talk and big ratings." John Koblin writes: "The homey Live With Kelly and Ryan sticks to light banter even as its NBC rival, Megyn Kelly, takes on weightier matters." [New York Times]

    — "How to be a sex symbol in 2017." Allison P. Davis writes: "R&B singer Miguel explores life beyond hook-up anthems. [The Cut

    — "Cat Person." Kristen Roupenian's short story has the internet in a tizzy, and it's currently the top article on The New Yorker 's site. [The New Yorker]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Filmmaker John Ridley on the L.A. riots' forgotten history." [I Think You're Interesting / Vox

    + "Susan Orlean on the trail of Tonya Harding." [The New Yorker Radio Hour]

    + "Judd Apatow: Interview." [WTF With Marc Maron]

    What's ahead this week...

    Tuesday: Pitch Perfect 3 holds its premiere in L.A. ... Judd Apatow: The Return debuts on Netflix.

    Wednesday: Bright holds its premiere in L.A. ... Molly's Game holds its premiere in New York.

    Thursday: The Post holds its premiere in Washington, D.C. 

    Friday: Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Ferdinand hit theaters in wide release ... Jean-Claude Van Johnson debuts on Netflix.

    Today's Birthdays: Hailee Steinfeld, 21, Condola Rashad, 31, Rider Strong, 38, Jon Brion, 54, John Kerry, 74, Rita Moreno, 86.