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Daily Reads: Who Picks the Golden Globes, How the ‘Selma’ Backlash Misses the Point and More

Daily Reads: Who Picks the Golden Globes, How the 'Selma' Backlash Misses the Point and More

Criticwire’s Daily Reads brings today’s essential
news stories and critical pieces to you.

1. Who Picks the Golden GlobesThe Golden Globes are one of the biggest precursors to the Oscars (their drunk cousin, so to speak), but no major Hollywood players actually vote. Vulture’s Adam K. Raymond dug up exactly who the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are, from journalists and critics to this guy:

Alexander Nevsky (Russia). Easily our favorite member of the HFPA, Nevsky’s real name isn’t actually the same as the title of that Eisenstein movie. It’s Sasha Kuritsyn, and he’s a bodybuilder who moved to Hollywood, starred in B-movies, and somehow found himself in the HFPARead more.

2. Seeing “Inherent Vice” Twice. “Inherent Vice’s” plot and odd rhythm has a lot of critics saying that they feel they need to see it a second time to get a full grip on what it’s up to. Jordan Hoffman of Vanity Fair spoke to a number of them.

The Dissolve’s Scott Tobias plans to see “Inherent Vice” a second time, something a working film critic rarely gets to do. As he puts it, “on first viewing that I felt I was watching about four Chinatowns layered on top of each other. What I failed to fully appreciate was the melancholic soul of the film, which mourns the passing of a specific time and place—and which also mourns a certain era in filmmaking and perhaps the death of celluloid itself. These resonances flickered for me on first viewing more than shined, and I expect that once I can hack my way out of the storytelling thicket, I’ll like the film quite a bit more.” Read more.

3. The Future of the Short Film. Short films are being made in increasing numbers even as they’re not making any money for the filmmakers. Sophie Monks Kaufman of Little White Lies investigates.

Instead of seeing negativity in pithiness, McNally embraces the freedom to experiment. Mounting a feature brings with it heavier logistics, economic frameworks, expectations and — unless you’re an established indie director — an increased likelihood that producers will pressure you to fit into a certain proven template or genre. The relationship between creativity and commerce has always been a battleground. Many of us are seduced by the notion of a feature but, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, is it more valuable to make a long piece of money-making crap or a short, personally endorsed artwork? Read more.

4. Robert Crumb on the Massacre in Paris. The assassinations at Charlie Hedbo have many shaken up, but it shouldn’t silence satirists around the world. The great cartoonist Robert Crumb responded by drawing a crude cartoon of his own, and he spoke with the New York Observer’s Celia Farber.

But there was never a moment when you thought about not doing it?

No. I thought, I gotta do it. They asked me. I gotta do it…Otherwise, everybody’s going to think: “Where’s Crumb? Why doesn’t he come forward? What the hell’s the matter with him?”  Then I would get calls saying, “How come you didn’t do a cartoon about this?” Every other cartoonist in the country has done something about it. What are you, scared? What’s the matter with you? You’re too, like, comfortable in your, you know…your success and your blah blah blah…” So, I thought, I gotta do it. You know? [Laughs.] And I didn’t want to do anything glib or, sorrow for the dead heroes and all that.  Everybody else has got that covered. Read more.

5. TV’s Revolution for Transgender and Disabled People. The Oscars are prone to giving actors awards for pretending to be disabled or transgender, marginalizing disabled and transgender actors. Rolling Stone’s Kenny Herzog, though, sees things getting brighter on television.

Transparent” creator/executive producer Jill Soloway, who hired transgender cast members, consultants and crew in addition to Tambor, is also unsure meritocracy “can be trusted.” Her skepticism, however, has less to do with how decision makers level the playing field than a more deeply embedded big-picture patriarchy. “Who is saying ‘best’?” Soloway asks of the casting process. “It’s probably a straight, white guy. We do all these in-house, DIY transformative action things [on “Transparent”] that are not only leveling the playing field for trans people, but radically welcoming them into every aspect of the show, understanding the civil rights movement and trying to go way beyond, ‘We’re willing to see transgender people for the role.'” Read more.

6. “Selma” Backlash Misses the Point. “Selma” might take some liberties with history, but historian Peniel Joseph, writing for NPR, argues that the backlash against the film misses the point.

Taken together these critiques are part of a larger debate about who owns American history, especially the portions of that history that were led, organized, and shaped in large part by African-Americans. White supporters and fellow travelers of the movement have had the license to dramatize both historical events (“Mississippi Burning,” which inaccurately cast the FBI as the heroes of Freedom Summer) and fictional accounts (“The Help”) of the era. But DuVernay’s film — alongside Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” and Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” – is one of the few black-directed efforts to ever grace the big screen…”Selma” is unapologetic in depicting the movement as one that was primarily led by black women and men. Black women stand out on this score with subtle and nuanced depictions of Coretta Scott King, Annie Lee Cooper, Diane Nash, and Amelia Boynton definitively illustrating black women’s fierce activist commitment and leadership in civil rights struggles. Read more.

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