What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:23 AM 3/3/2018

by Ray Rahman

Oscars 2018 General Pre-Ceremony 2 - Getty - H 2018
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

The Weekender: A guide to Oscars weekend for people who weren't nominated for an Oscar. Plus: Nick Kroll previews the Spirit Awards, E! is in hot water again, Emoji Movie runs away at the Razzies and THR drops its first-ever Oscars crossword puzzle. — Ray Rahman

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  • Oscar Party Etiquette

    Your weekend read: Inside the etiquette of leaving industry events early. When can you Irish exit, and when must you stay just a little longer? Ramona Saviss writes:

    Original song nominee Diane Warren admits she skips out of events ahead of time to avoid valet gridlock: “I always leave early, so it’s efficient for me.”

    It’s often hard, though, to know when is the appropriate time to leave without being rude. “Charity events are important — if you’ve paid to be there or are a guest of someone who has purchased a table, you stay until the end,” says Event Eleven party producer Tony Schubert.

    At luncheons like the BAFTA Tea at the Four Seasons L.A., he urges staying until it’s over: “There’s no sneaking out in the daylight.” As a rule, Schubert notes, “The smaller the event, the longer you stay.” 

    Screenwriter Kay Cannon, who tries to leave events by 10 p.m., makes clear, “I have a daughter and I have to work in the morning,” while Terry Crews says, “I work out at 4 a.m., so I’m always the first one to leave.” Read more. 

    The valet game: Is it worth playing? At a lot of parties, it can seem like you have no choice. But not everyone agrees:

    When parties and awards shows take over L.A.'s top hotels in the run-up to the Oscars, valet parking can become an endurance contest. Most stars avoid the wait, like Kevin Hart, who says: "I don't drive! I have a guy that's in the car who nine times out of 10 just pulls up." Others opt for alter­natives.

    "We always find street parking," says Rebecca Romijn, referring to herself and husband Jerry O'Connell. Others just may not bother, like awards consultant Fredell Pogodin (who repped 2017 best foreign-language film The Salesman). "There's always a traffic jam when you pull into the Marmont and the Sunset Tower," she says, "so sometimes I skip events there." Read more.

    Hollywood tipping rules: How much cash should you part with when you hand over your car? It can vary:

    Etiquette expert Lisa Gache, founder of Beverly Hills Manners, says that standard tips these days should range “between $2 and $5.” Adds Ari Hodosh, a valet veteran and former owner of C&A Valet, “If you spend $700 on a meal at Spago and you tip the valet $2, there’s something that’s not right there.”

    Fox Sports executive vp content Charlie Dixon says: “I always pre-tip. You get much better service.” While this move doesn’t guarantee that your car will be left up front, it likely will be nearby for easy retrieval when you depart.

    Tip less than usual, Gache adds, only if “the attendant is less than polite.” Stars and recognizable execs should definitely think twice before stiffing an attendant. “In the digital age,” she says, “a lousy tip can go viral.” Read more.

  • Spirit Awards Preview

    Spirited away: Nick Kroll will once again host today's Spirit Awards (airing live on IFC at 2 p.m. PT) alongside John Mulaney. But first, he talks to Michael O'Connell: 

    THR: This is your second time teaming up with John to host the Spirit Awards. How do you describe your comedic partnership?

    KROLL: I would say it's a hate-hate relationship. No, it's the best. John is so deeply funny and smart. Even though he's a stand-up, he's incredibly collaborative. People don't realize how collaborative the comedy world is. We just hear the same laughs. We know what works and what doesn't. Hosting these kinds of shows is a weird job, especially when you do it alone. It's just more fun being onstage with someone. And, for me at least, it's a lot less scary.

    Knowing that the fallout from Harvey Weinstein is still the dominant subject in Hollywood, are you excited or intimidated by having to address the topic?

    We're navigating what is funny to us. It's such an important part of the last year, in filmmaking, the entertainment industry and the larger culture, I think we're just trying to figure it out. Hopefully we'll do something that is funny and acknowledges everything that's happening. Full Q&A.

    Bad timing? This really might not be the best time to release Death Wish, writes Simon Abrams:

    The very existence of Death Wish, director Eli Roth and screenwriter Joe Carnahan's remake of the icky but fascinating 1974 urban vigilante thriller, is puzzling. This type of exploitation film is very much out of step with its time, especially since it's being released three weeks after the Parkland school shooting. You could also argue that Roth and Carnahan's update was made last year, and originally planned to be released this past November.

    Still, the film's release was staggered until now because of its proximity to the Las Vegas shooting. So at some point, somebody who helped make this film realized: maybe we don't need another Death Wish right now? Read more.

    In other film news...

    ? And the Razzie Awards winner is... The Emoji Movie, which earned four prizes, including worst picture, worst screenplay, worst screen combo and worst director. Fifty Shades Darker was close behind with two wins.

    ? Mark Wahlberg's Six Billion Dollar Man gets a date: The (somewhat adjusted for inflation) adaptation of the 1970s TV series will hit theaters on May 31, 2019, Warner Bros. announced.

    + Other announced dates: The Sun Is Also a Star, May 17, 2019, and The Kitchen, Sept. 20, 2019.

    ? Jason Momoa's The Crow also gets a release date: Sony announced that the remake will open Oct. 11, 2019. Corin Hardy, who has the horror film The Nun out later this year, will direct.

    ? The new Logan's Run finds its writer: In a fitting move, Peter Craig — screenwriter of the Logan's Run-esque The Hunger Games — will write the Warner Bros. remake. X-Men vet Simon Kinberg is still attached to direct. 

    ? Netflix lands a new superhero movie ... and maybe Keanu Reeves: The streamer has picked up a vigilante superhero project titled Past Midnight that'll be directed by Dope filmmaker Rick Famuyiwa and produced by Marvel Cinematic Universe vets Joe and Anthony Russo. Reeves is the choice for the lead but sources say negotiations have not begun.

    ? Vera Farmiga joins neo-Nazi drama: She'll star alongside Jamie Bell and Patti Cake$ breakout Danielle Macdonald in Skin, which will have Farmiga playing the maternal leader of a violent skinhead gang.

    Cesar Awards: Robin Campillo's 120 BPM led the tally at the French film awards, taking home six awards, including the top prize for best film as well as best original screenplay and best new actor. But there were also other victors as well — see the full winners list.

  • Baldwin's ABC Debut

    Smart Alec: Tomorrow, Sundays With Alec Baldwin will premiere after the Academy Awards — but if you're impatient, here's what you'll see:

    In the first episode, Alec Baldwin speaks to Jerry Seinfeld and Kate McKinnon, who both discussed pivotal moments in their careers.

    “I feel very bad for people who have had enormous success and don’t seem to have ingested any nutrition from it,” Seinfeld explains to Baldwin as they discuss the comedian’s serene demeanor despite achieving massive success.

    Meanwhile, McKinnon discussed her Hillary Clinton impression on SNL with Baldwin and explained her commitment to never disclosing her political opinions, for she doesn’t want to “alienate anybody.” “I like to make people laugh and I like to connect with everybody,” she said. Watch.

    Fight night: The Good Fight returns with its second season premiere Sunday night on CBS All Access. Co-creators Michelle and Robert King tell all:

    You've said the season tackles "Trump fatigue." Do you ever suffer from that while making a show that takes so many cues from current events?

    Robert: The only thing that's difficult is to stay current. The news cycle is packed with so many more stories than it used to be. Especially on All Access, we're even further behind the ball in a way. The news is coming so much faster, and you don't want to be the last one in line to comment on something.

    Any specific stories you've decided to nix for that reason?

    Michelle: I would say that we haven't abandoned ideas, but we're very aware of trying to hit them from the side and not the front. One example is sexual harassment. You don't want to do a Harvey Weinstein type story, because you know that it's going to move ahead.

    Robert: The first season, we were doing a Nate Parker story. We thought it would still be current around the Academy Awards, because that's when the episode would have shown, but then it became very clear that Birth of a Nation was falling out of favor.

    In other TV news...

    ? E! firing: Producer Aileen Gram-Moreno says she was axed for failing to censor remarks about Catt Sadler.

    Backstory: When Eva Longoria faced Ryan Seacrest at the Golden Globes red carpet, she voiced her support for Sadler, the E! veteran who left the network due to claims of massive gender pay disparity. But Longoria's comments were never meant to air, and Gram-Moreno says E! fired her because of it.

    E!'s response: "After the Golden Globes, she was asked not to return due to job performance issues. Following an attempt to force E! to pay for her silence Ms. Moreno is now spreading misleading and inaccurate information."

    ? Jessica Alba joins NBC's Bad Boys spinoff: In one of the biggest castings of the season, Alba has signed on as the co-lead in the Peacock's high-profile TV reboot, which already stars Gabrielle Union. The two actresses will play partners.

    ? Stranger Things 3 gets new faces: Well, one is already familiar — Priah Ferguson, who plays Erica Sinclair, Lucas' younger sister, will go from guest star to recurring star in season three. Joining her is Maya Thurman-Hawke, who'll play a brand-new character: Robin, an "alternative girl who is equal parts sharp and playful."

    ? ABC's new stars: Taran Killam, Leighton Meester and Brad Garrett. All three of them are set to headline the network's Single Parents, a single-camera comedy pilot from New Girl team J.J. Philbin and Liz Meriweather. 

    ? Demian Bichir teams up with Eva Longoria: The Bridge alum nabs his first network TV role as the male lead opposite Roselyn Sanchez in ABC's drama pilot Grand Hotel, exec produced by Longoria.  

    ? Jennifer Lopez's Bye Bye Birdie delayed (again): The live musical event is getting pushed back yet again — it'll now air in 2019. It had been slated for December 2018, which was the new date after the original December 2017 plan. Third time's a charm?

    Kim Kardashian does Facebook: Lionsgate has stuck a deal with Facebook on the reality series You Kiddin' Me, a 10-episode comedy prank show executive produced by Kardashian.


  • Watching the Oscars

    Trophy life: Not nominated? Elton John's AIDS fundraiser, private Oscar parties and, yes, your own cozy couch are all options for entertainment pros to catch the show:

    For those Hollywood lights not stepping onto the carpet on the Dolby on Sunday, there are myriad events and viewing parties where they can catch the honors with an industry crowd. “I’ll be at Elton’s, I’m always at Elton’s,” says Heidi Klum of the Elton John-hosted viewing party and AIDS fundraiser at West Hollywood Park. Aisha Tyler plans to head to IMDb’s viewing party, then hit afterparties, “until my feet decide it’s time to go home and go to bed,” she adds.

    Gabrielle Union, whose husband Dwayne Wade will be wrapping up the NBA season, will also be at her usual hangout on Oscar night: “I will be at the Vanity Fair party with one of my girlfriends — probably Sanaa Lathan because she’s my usual date to Vanity Fair. That’s a hot day.”  Read more.

    + A Hollywood gossip queen reminisces: Rona Barrett, the pint-sized columnist who ruled Hollywood in the '70s and '80s, reflects on her long career, her so-called feud with Barbara Walters, and Hollywood’s biggest night of the year. Full story.

    + Oscars crossword puzzle! Winners past, present and at least a few future populate the THR inaugural awards puzzle. Can you solve it without cheating? Download it here.

    What else we're reading...

    — "Sky without limits: The battle for the broadcasting powerhouse." Matthew Garrahan writes: "Sky has grown from a risky bet that nearly went bust in its first year of operation into a pan-European media powerhouse at the centre of a bidding war and of an industry facing an identity crisis." [Financial Times]

    — "'Success' on YouTube still means a life of poverty." Chris Stokel-Walker writes: "96.5 percent of all of those trying to become YouTubers won’t make enough money off of advertising to crack the U.S. poverty line." [Bloomberg]

    — Confused by sound mixing vs. sound editing? We've got you." Sopan Deb explains the actually-quite-different categories that've tripped up many a Oscar ballot. [New York Times]

    — "How 'I'm king of the world!' happened: Inside Titanic's historic Oscar haul." Rebecca Keegan writes: "Director James Cameron’s now-infamous exclamation might have seemed like a foregone conclusion, but, on closer examination, Titanic’s record Academy Awards night 20 years ago was far from certain." [Vanity Fair]

    — "Denzel Washington quietly gave one of the most tremendous Oscar-nominated performances this year." Angelica Jade Bastien makes the case. [Vulture]

    — "The otherworldly concept alubs of Janelle Monae." Doreen St. Felix writes: "The thirty-two-year-old artist Janelle Monáe has taken the concept album to complex heights; by now, the most surprising thing she could do would be to perform as herself." [New Yorker]

    Today's Birthdays: Jessica Biel, 36, Katherine Waterston, 38, Charlie Brooker, 47, Julie Bowen, 48, Ira Glass, 59, George Miller, 74.