Wednesday, December 13, 2017

And the Nominations Go To...

It's the time of year for early bird awarders like the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild to release their nominations, beginning the speculation on who (and what) among their choices will score Oscar nominations down the road. Emmy nominations, too, but those come so much later in the year that it's really all about the movies at this point. Still, both SAG and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the tiny group behind the Golden Globes) do celebrate television shows and performers, and that mix of TV and the movies is what sets them apart.


Without further ado, here are the Screen Actors Guild nominations. They're less frivolous and more indicative of later awards since their voters are the union of actors who will be nominating for those awards, too. First up, the film side of the aisle:

Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture
Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird 

Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Cast in a Motion Picture
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
Mudbound
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Baby Driver
Dunkirk
Logan
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman

And in television categories:

Female Actor in a Drama Series
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Claire Foy, The Crown
Laura Linney, Ozark
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Alison Brie, Glow
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
William H. Macy, Shameless
Marc Maron, Glow

Female Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Male Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective
Jeff Daniels, Godless
Robert DeNiro, The Wizard of Lies
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
Alexander Skarsgård, Big Little Lies

Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid's Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us

Ensemble in a Comedy Series
black-ish
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Glow
Orange Is the New Black
Veep

Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
Game of Thrones
Glow
Homeland
Stranger Things
The Walking Dead

Life Achievement Award
Morgan Freeman

The 2018 SAG Awards will feature an all-female list of presenters, with Kristen Bell as host of the ceremony. Look for the SAG Awards on January 21, 2018, at 8 pm Eastern/7 pm Central time, airing live on both TNT and TBS.


And now for the always freewheeling Golden Globe nominations:

Drama Motion Picture
Call Me by Your Name
Dunkirk
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Musical or Comedy Motion Picture
The Disaster Artist
Get Out
The Greatest Showman
I, Tonya
Lady Bird

Actress in a Drama Motion Picture
Jessica Chastain, Molly's Game
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep, The Post
Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Actor in a Drama Motion Picture
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Tom Hanks, The Post
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture
Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes
Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker

Actor in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Director of a Motion Picture
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Ridley Scott, All The Money in the World
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Screenplay of a Motion Picture
The Shape of Water
Lady Bird
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Molly's Game

Foreign Language Motion Picture
A Fantastic Woman
First They Killed My Father
In the Fade
Loveless
The Square

Animated Film
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Ferdinand
Coco
Loving Vincent

Original Song
"Home" from Ferdinand
"Mighty River" from Mudbound
"Remember Me" from Coco
"The Star" from The Star
"This is Me" from The Greatest Showman

Original Score
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

And for television:

Drama TV series
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid's Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us

Actress in a Drama TV series
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Crown
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce
Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale

Actor in a Drama TV Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This is Us
Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Musical or Comedy TV series
black-ish
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Master of None
SMILF
Will & Grace

Actress in a Musical or Comedy TV series
Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Alison Brie, Glow
Issa Rae, Insecure
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Actor in a Musical or Comedy TV series
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Kevin Bacon, I Love Dick
William H. Macy, Shameless
Eric McCormack, Will and Grace

Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Big Little Lies
Fargo
Feud: Bette and Joan
The Sinner
Top of the Lake: China Girl

Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Jessica Biel, The Sinner
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Jude Law, The Young Pope
Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius

Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale
Chrissy Metz, This is Us
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alfred Molina, Feud
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
 David Thewlis, Fargo
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Seth Myers will host the Golden Globes ceremony on January 7, 2018, at 8 pm Eastern/7 pm Central on NBC.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My Favorite Movie! HOLIDAY Tonight and Saturday at the Normal Theater

When the Normal Theater asked Bloomington-Normal folks what holiday movies they might like to see, I piped up immediately with Holiday, the 1938 film based on a Philip Barry play, starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. I was definitely filled with holiday spirit when I saw that the Normal Theater had heard me and actually scheduled my beloved Holiday for two showings. It will be screened tonight at 7 pm and also Saturday the 16th at 1 pm. You can do one or both, but you can't go wrong as long as you get to see Holiday on the big screen.

You see, Holiday is one of my favorite movies of all time. Maybe THE favorite. Here's what I said about it the last time it came up on my blog:

I've been asked more than once why I like Holiday so well or why I like it better than The Philadelphia Story or Bringing Up Baby, better-known Grant/Hepburn collaborations. The answer is partly grounded in the fact that I got attached to Holiday when I was ten or eleven, and you really don't know why you like things at that age. You just do. But there's more to it than that.

I like Cary Grant, of course. He's at his most fetching here, as Johnny Case, man of the people, who came from nothing and worked really hard at some vague financial job that has made him a nice amount of money, so now he wants nothing more than to take his money and take a holiday around the world. It's sort of an anti-capitalist philosophy. Or maybe "capitalism that knows when enough is enough and then wants to have some fun." I like that refreshing attitude. Cary is also not terribly serious in this movie; he does acrobatic tricks, he messes up his hair, and he lets himself get kicked in the bootie to show he hasn't turned stuffy or puffed-up. But he still looks really good in a tux.

And then there's Kate. The plot of Holiday treats her far better than The Philadelphia Story where everybody keeps telling her that she's too perfect, she's an ice queen, she's judgmental, she needs to change while the male philanderers (her father) and alcoholics (her ex) are just fine the way they are. That always struck me as sexist and unpleasant and not very nice. Here, she's trying to do the right thing and find her own way, stuck in a pretentious, wealthy family she doesn't like much and at the same time desperately attracted to the man her sister has brought home as a fiance. As Linda Seton, Ms. Hepburn is as lively and vivacious as ever, plus she's warm and funny and nobody is blaming her for anything.

I also like the supporting cast, with Edward Everett Horton and Jean Dixon as an amusing pair of Johnny's friends who like Linda far better than her prissy sister and Lew Ayres as Linda's unhappy brother. Plus Binnie Barnes and Henry Daniell are hilarious as snooty relatives that Linda calls the Witch and Dopey.

There are serious issues here, and yet it's all treated lightly and sweetly, with enough romance ("Happy New Year, Johnny" and the almost kiss is my favorite) and funny stuff (with everybody doing gymnastic stunts and Punch and Judy in the old playroom) to keep the story moving. George Cukor's direction is dandy, with the emphasis on just how attractive Grant and Hepburn are. It's also really cool to see what the privileged set lived like in 1938. Special ties, special church, special parties... And that Manhattan mansion is pretty swell.

I should also note that the title Holiday does not refer to Christmas or New Year's, but to Johnny's plan to take a long holiday, a vacation, now that he's made the money he wants.

When it's Cary Grant playing Johnny, it's hard not to support his holiday. It's hard not to try to book a cabin on that ship and go right along with him. As Linda says, "If he wants to dream for a while, he can dream for a while, and if he wants to come back and sell peanuts, oh, how I'll believe in those peanuts!"

Right there with you, sister.

And I'll be right there at the Normal Theater, siding with Linda, rooting for Johnny, and sharing all the hijinks and high spirits.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Opening Tonight: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY at the Station Theatre


Last month, The New Yorker called Lauren Gunderson the most popular playwright you've never heard of. With an Steinberg/ATCA Award for I and You, the 2016 Lanford Wilson Award from the Dramatists Guild and the 2016 Otis Gurnsey Award, and nominations for the Susan Smith Blackburn and John Gassner Awards, Gunderson has emerged as a major force in American theater, so major that American Theatre recognized her as the most-produced playwright in the United States this year, ahead of people like Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams and August Wilson.

A big part of Gunderson's popularity this year is Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, which she co-wrote with her friend Margot Melcon. This look at Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice characters and how they might spend their holidays has struck a chord with theaters looking for a warm and witty option for their December schedules.

Urbana's Station Theatre will open their production of Christmas at Pemberley tonight, with performances running through December 16. As they put it, "As the holidays approach, revisit your favorite Pride and Prejudice characters as they gather at Pemberley, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. Middle sister Mary Bennet has come into her own as a confident woman full of curiosity and wit. But will her story end happily ever after? A true holiday delight, full of wit, warmth, and romance."

Joi Hoffsommer directs this Christmas at Pemberley, with a cast that includes Dominique Allen as Mary Bennet, Tyler Cook as Charles Bingley, Ashton Goodly as Arthur de Bourgh, Jenna Kohn as Lydia Wickham, Misty Martin as Anne de Bourgh, Aaron Miller as Fitzwilliam Darcy, Celia Mueller as Elizabeth Darcy, and Uche Nwansi as Jane Bingley.

You can make a reservation at the Station site or by calling 217-384-4000. Performances begin at 8 pm on weeknights and Saturdays from December 7 to 9 and 13 to 16, with a 3 pm matinee on Sunday the 10th.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tomorrow: PSYCH: THE MOVIE on USA

If you shed a tear when Psych took its final bow on the USA Network back in 2014, take heart. It wasn't that final after all.  

Psych stars James Roday and Dulé Hill, along with familiar supporting players Corbin Bernsen (Henry), Maggie Lawson (Juliet), Kirsten Nelson (Chief Vick) and Timothy Omundson (Detective Lassiter) are all back on USA for a Psych movie. We will be clued in on what's happened to Sean, the goofy sleuth pretending to have psychic powers to solve crimes, and his more sensible best friend, Gus, three years after we left them. They're now in San Francisco instead of the familiar San Diego, but the wacky tone and general craziness we came to expect from the original series is firmly in place. Series creator Steve Franks and Roday wrote the script.

In this new chapter of their adventures, we can expect to see those two "ambitious friends -- along with some returning fan-favorite characters -- come together during the holidays after a mystery assailant targets one of their own. A comedic thrill-ride follows, as the wild and unpredictable Psych team pursues the bad guys, justice … and, of course, food!" They'll be joined by the police (Juliet, Lassiter and Vick) and parents (Henry, who used to be a cop) who've always surrounded them, along with guest stars like Zachary Levi, Ralph Macchio and Jimmi Simpson. There is no Cary Elwes, who played Pierre Despereaux, the best frenemy they had, which is a disappointment, but we're told maybe he may appear in future reunion pics. We can only hope.

Cue the pineapples: Psych: The Movie premieres on USA on Thursday, December 7 at 7 pm Central time.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Nutcrackers, Nutcrackers Everywhere!

When Tchaikovsky wrote the music for The Nutcracker ballet, he could never have envisioned that it would become a holiday classic in the United States, with myriad performances in big cities and small towns everywhere. It seems to be especially popular around here. There are too many productions in Central Illinois to hit them all, but here are a few of your options:

The Littlest Nutcracker at the Normal Theater
December 1 at 6 pm, and December 2 at 2 and 6 pm
A local adaptation of Peter Tchaikovsky’s holiday favorite, featuring over 200 local dancers from Uptown Dance. "Take a trip to the Land of the Sweets with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, onscreen and onstage in the second year of this new annual tradition at the Normal Theater."

Champaign Urbana Ballet at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
December 1 through 10
Performed by the Champaign Urbana Ballet with Tchaikovsky's score performed live by the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra. "Join Clara, her Nutcracker Prince, and the talented young cast of the Champaign Urbana Ballet on a magical journey to a shimmering land of confectionary fairies, glittering global flair, and Tchaikovsky’s beloved score performed live by the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra." Recommended for ages 5 and up. Guests are invited to being new or gently used children's coats, mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, and ear muffs for Krannert Center's clothing drive. There is a special need this year for large and extra-large coats for middle school boys. All collected items will go to the Champaign Unit 4 School District and Urbana School District 116. Donation boxes will be available in the lobby near Intermezzo cafe.

Twin Cities School of Dance at Braden Auditorium
December 1, 2 and 3
The student company from the Bloomington-Normal dance school presents its 36th Annual production of the classic ballet. You can see their poster at the top of this post. For tickets, contact Braden Auditorium at 309-438-5444.

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker/New York City Ballet On-Screen
December 2, 3 and 5 at Bloomington's New Vision Ovation Cinema Grill
December 3 at Wehrenberg Bloomington Galaxy 14
Although many companies use portions of George Balanchine's famous choreography for The Nutcracker, it is still a treat to see the New York City Ballet's iconic production of Balanchine's "stunningly successful achievement." "Experience the wonder of New York City Ballet’s iconic holiday classic on the big screen. In George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker Tchaikovsky’s beloved melodies transport the young and young at heart to a magical world where mischievous mice besiege a battalion of toy soldiers, and an onstage blizzard leads to an enchanted Land of Sweets. Balanchine’s stunning choreography shines amidst awe-inspiring set pieces, ornate costumes, and grand one-of-a-kind visual effects, like the one-ton Christmas tree that grows to an astonishing 40 feet." You can see a video preview here.

USA Ballet Academy Nutcracker at Bloomington Masonic Temple
Tea: December 2 at 3:30 pm at the Vrooman Mansion
Performance: December 10 at 3 pm
The dance academy offers a special tea in addition to their performance. About the tea: "All guests will enjoy a tea party where they dine with the characters, get a sneak peak of the ballet with a mini-performance, listen to the telling of the Nutcracker story, have a sing-a-long, make a craft, have their photo taken with the characters, and leave with a surprise gift. All of the female guests will also receive a tiara and a corsage. It really is a great way to make memories, and the price also includes a ticket for the performance of The Nutcracker on December 10th performed by USA Ballet Youth Ensemble." And about the performance: "Our rendition of the holiday classic is very family friendly and suitable for all ages. Enjoying The Nutcracker is a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit."

Fathom Event: Bolshoi Ballet On-Screen
December 17 at 12: 55 pm
You'll have to drive to Springfield to find a movie theater with this Fathom Event, but it is, after all, the Bolshoi Ballet. "As the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll comes to life and transforms into a prince! Soon joined by her other toys that have also come to life, Marie and her prince embark on a dreamy unforgettable adventure. A holiday tradition for the whole family, The Nutcracker enchants the Bolshoi stage for two hours of enchantment and magic. Along with Tchaikovsky’s cherished score and some of the Bolshoi’s greatest artists, The Nutcracker remains a treasure not to be missed!" Choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich, with a libretto by Yuri Grigorovich (after E.T.A. Hoffmann and Marius Petipa).

Chicago Festival Ballet at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
December 28 at 7:30 pm
Renowned dancer and choreographer Kenneth von Heidecke brings his Chicago Festival Ballet to the BCPA. His Nutcracker promises, "powerful jumps, endless turns and beautiful costumes and sets. Dancing mice, toy soldiers and twirling sugarplums are sure to add magic to your holiday season!"

For more information about any of these events, click the link under the bolded heading.