Lena Waithe Says “The Things That Make Me Different Are Also A Commodity”

Read on: Deadline.

In an interview discussing how her own coming out story became fodder for the Emmy Award-winning episode of Netflix’s Master of None, Lena Waithe talked about proudly entering into a room knowing she would make people uncomfortable.
Waithe was as…

Independent Spirit Awards: The Complete Winners List (Updating Live)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Get Out” emerged as the big winner of the 2018 Independent Spirit Awards, held Saturday on the beach in Santa Monica, Ca.

Jordan Peele’s racially charged thriller — which captivated the country and became an unlikely indie blockbuster — took Best Feature at the annual show put up by Film Independent. Peele also took Best Director.

Top acting prizes went to Frances McDormand for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and Timothee Chalamet for “Call Me by Your Name.” Best Supporting Male went to Sam Rockwell for “Three Billboards,” and Best Supporting Female went to Allison Janney of “I, Tonya.” That makes it a virtual clean sweep for the latter two actors on the eve of the Academy Awards.

Also Read: Kroll and Mulaney Roast Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Kevin Spacey in Spirit Awards Monologue

Greta Gerwig won Best Screenplay for her coming-of-age darling “Lady Bird,” while Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani took Best First Screenplay for their autobiographical comedy “The Big Sick.”

Notable below-the-line prizes went to Tatiana S. Riegel, who took Best Editing for
“I, Tonya.”  Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, director of photography on “Call Me by Your Name,” won Best Cinematography.

Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney (“Big Mouth,” “Oh, Hello”) returned to host the ceremony, an annual splashy gathering of Hollywood stars and indie film luminaries willing to brave the natural lighting of  a rare daytime awards show.

Also Read: Independent Spirit Awards: In a Stormy Year, It’s Up to Jordan Peele to Keep the Streak Alive

The complete winners list:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“The Florida Project”
“Get Out” *WINNER
“Lady Bird”
“The Rider”

“Ingrid Goes West,” Director Matt Spicer *WINNER 
“Oh Lucy!”
“Patti Cake$”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. (Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)
“A Ghost Story”
“Life and nothing more” *WINNER
“Most Beautiful Island”
“The Transfiguration”

Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Jonas Carpignano, “A Ciambra”
Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me by Your Name”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out” *WINNER
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, “Good Time”
Chloé Zhao, “The Rider”

Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird” *WINNER
Azazel Jacobs, “The Lovers”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Mike White, “Beatriz at Dinner”

Kris Avedisian, Kyle Espeleta, Jesse Wakeman, “Donald Cried”
Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, “The Big Sick” *WINNER
Ingrid Jungermann, “Women Who Kill”
Kogonada, “Columbus”
David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer, “Ingrid Goes West”

Thimios Bakatakis, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Elisha Christian, “Columbus”
Hélène Louvart, “Beach Rats”
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, “Call Me by Your Name” *WINNER
Joshua James Richards, “The Rider”

Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, “Good Time”
Walter Fasano, “Call Me by Your Name”
Alex O’Flinn, “The Rider”
Gregory Plotkin, “Get Out”
Tatiana S. Riegel, “I, Tonya” *WINNER

Salma Hayek, “Beatriz at Dinner”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *WINNER
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Shinobu Terajima, “Oh Lucy!”
Regina Williams, “Life and nothing more”

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name” *WINNER
Harris Dickinson, “Beach Rats”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”

Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” *WINNER
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Lois Smith, “Marjorie Prime”
Taliah Lennice Webster, “Good Time”

Nnamdi Asomugha, “Crown Heights”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Barry Keoghan, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *WINNER
Benny Safdie, “Good Time”

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast

Director: Dee Rees
Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Ashley Ingram
Ensemble Cast: Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan

“The Departure”
“Faces Places” *WINNER
“Last Men in Aleppo”

“BPM (Beats Per Minute)”
“A Fantastic Woman” *WINNER
“I Am Not a Witch”
“Lady Macbeth”

Chloé Zhao *WINNER


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Nnamdi Asomugha on ‘Crown Heights’: ‘I Could Be a Voice for Something I Had Been Through’

Read on: Variety.

When Nnamdi Asomugha was growing up in Los Angeles, he briefly hoped for a career playing for the Lakers. “But that dream ended when I was like 10 and I realized I couldn’t compete with the other guys at that level,” Asomugha tells Variety. Instead, the self-professed “curious” guy listened to those around him when they… Read more »

Inside the Spirit Awards 2017: 13 Things You Didn’t See on TV, From Matt Damon to Jon Hamm

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Moonlight” was the big winner Saturday at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney hosting the most casual awards shows on the calendar in a beachfront tent in Santa Monica.

Although the show was telecast on IFC, those watching missed some action that only those attending the ceremony were privy to. Lucky for you, TheWrap was there for the fun.

Here are some things seen and heard:

While the pre-show action is outside the tent, the early faces inside are “Hell or High Water” writer Taylor Sheridan, the Fox Searchlight team, IMDb founder Col Needham, producer Lauren Selig and Kenneth Lonergan. Places are set at front row tables for Freida Pinto, Orlando Bloom, Colin Hanks and “Fargo” lovebirds Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst, who have yet to arrive.

1:16 p.m.
Table 227 is “Loving.” It’s buzzing. Director Jeff Nichols and producer Colin Firth are engaged in an animated conversation, as Ruth Negga is approached by a constant stream of greeters. She’s also up for an Oscar on Sunday.

The wild girls from “American Honey” – Sasha Lane and Riley Keough – earn their stripes in Perrier-Jouët’s secret champagne garden adjacent to the cocktail area. TheWrap spotted Fox Searchlight co-President Nancy Utley in here too. (Randy Shropshire/Getty Images)

1:25 p.m.
In her trademark black and white, Janelle Monae is the first to arrive at the “Moonlight” table. Kerry Washington glides in to find her spot at the table next door. As more of the “Moonlight” ensemble arrive, it’s seflie time with the “Scandal” star. Film Independent President Josh Welsh is a table-neighbor to both.

Also Read: Every Oscar-Nominated Movie You Can Watch at Home Right Now (Photos)

1:36 p.m.
The doors are closing soon. Annette Bening and Warren Beatty arrive, both in leather jackets. “How old is your baby?” Bening asks Washington and husband Nnamdi Asomugha.

Matt Damon

1:41 p.m.
Matt Damon and his “Manchester by the Sea” producer Chris Moore are holding court in the middle of the room. They are pals going all the way back to the HBO version of “Project Greenlight” in 2002.

1:45 p.m.
The show is starting in the tent even though it does not air live until 2 p.m. Colin Hanks walks out on stage to present the first off-air award — editing. “Moonlight” wins. Of all the nominees, “Moonlight” received the biggest cheer in the package. Even before the show starts, the win for Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders got a standing ovation. The room is hot for “Moonlight.” The benefit of the early off-air win is that they can give long acceptance speeches.

Also Read: Oscars 2017: Our Predictions in All 24 Categories (Photos)

1:53 p.m.
Josh Welsh thanks the press for being here at a time when they’ve been called “the enemy of the American people.” It gets a loud applause. Welsh reveals that he called the ACLU to recruit their help to make sure that foreign filmmakers could attend because of the “travel ban.”

2:06 p.m.
During John Mulaney and Nick Kroll’s monologue riffing on celebrity cutaways, intended target Samuel L Jackson is not here. Exec Producer Joel Gallen interjects on the house PA — blaring into the room during the show and over their monologue as the voice of God — to say “not here.” As you saw on TV, Jackson would show up later.

Ruth Negga pops in on happy couple Ben Foster, his spirit award, and Laura Prepon. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Film Independent)


2:17 p.m.
After Ben Foster’s win for “Hell or High Water,” he walks off stage back to his table. Laura Prepon repeatedly grabs and kisses him. As a press staffer comes to wrangle him out of his seat moments later, he stands up, cracks open the bottle of Bulleit Bourbon that’s on his table, and pours himself a glass — neat, no ice — as a “roadie” for his trip backstage.

Also Read: 13 Oscar Records That Could Be Broken Sunday, From ‘La La Land’ to Denzel

NOW: Superstar! Molly Shannon freaking out after winning #SpiritAward. @KateBeckinsale jumps in abt 10 secs pic.twitter.com/RRGt7NqyL8

– @CelebSightings (@CelebSightings) February 25, 2017

3:37 p.m.
Molly Shannon dissolves in raw manic emotion, as she wins for Best Supporting Actress for “Other People” and speaks about cancer. We hope Josh Welsh will forgive her for breaking the “no paper list of thank you’s.” As the show goes to commercial she gets a standing O and runs back into the crowd. Kate Beckinsale runs over to join her.

3:50 p.m.
Nick Kroll takes the stage during a break. “It’s a commercial break, but we are going to present an award so… *singing*… Shut the f–k up!” The crowd is loose now. They love the candor.

4:26 p.m.
Gary Clark Jr. continues to play after the show ends. A small crowd stands around watching the free bonus concert.

Barry Jenkins and Jon Hamm sign autographs after the show in the windy 59 degree less-than-ideal beach day. (Mikey Glazer)

4:46 p.m.
Although the night is chilly — for southern California — Jon Hamm and Barry Jenkins were still signing autographs outside long after the show ended.

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‘Crown Heights’ Filmmakers Sad Story of Wrongly-Arrested Black Man Is Still Relevant (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

When Matt Ruskin was location scouting for his film “Crown Heights,” he would tell the true story of Colin Warner and Carl King. People would say they knew the story, and that they lived right down the block from them.

“Different guy, same story,” Ruskin would tell them. Warner was wrongly arrested for a murder he had nothing to do with, and King was a friend who devoted his life to proving Warner’s innocence. Sadly, the actors feel this true story still rings too true today.

“You just keep seeing it over and over again. Unfortunately, it’s still timely,” actor Nnamdi Asomugha told TheWrap’s Matt Donnelly.

Also Read: ‘Crown Heights’ Sundance Review: True Story of Injustice Lacks Dramatic Power

“Crown Heights” was one of the more hotly anticipated titles at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a scripted, dramatic feature that treads the ground of equally hard-hitting documentaries.

Lakeith Stanfield, who plays Warner in the film, said making the movie felt especially real because Ruskin provided the cast with full transcripts from actual hearings involved in Warner’s case. And the actors eventually met the people they were to portray.

“What hooked me were the people at the heart of this story,” Ruskin said. “With a scripted feature, you can really go deep into who those people are.”

“Crown Heights” was acquired by Amazon. Watch the full interview above.

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‘Crown Heights’ Nets Sundance U.S. Dramatic Audience Award – Sundance Studio

Read on: Deadline.

Matt Ruskin’s Crown Heights became this year’s claimant of the Sundance U.S. Dramatic Audience Award tonight, after a powerful festival debut for the story – inspired by an episode of the This American Life podcast – about a man, wrongfully imprisoned for over 20 years for a murder he didn’t commit, and the people who worked to set him free.
“Colin Warner got caught up in this situation where a murder had occurred and he ultimately had to take the blame and the fall for…

Sundance Film Review: ‘Crown Heights’

Read on: Variety.

In case anyone needs a reminder, the fight against unjust policing in black communities long predates the cases that have dominated headlines in recent years, and Matt Ruskin’s film “Crown Heights” shines a spotlight on one particularly egregious injustice that stretched from the dawn of the 1980s all the way to the start of the… Read more »

‘Crown Heights’ Sundance Review: True Story of Injustice Lacks Dramatic Power

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A gripping true story can be a great starting point for a narrative feature, but a starting point isn’t a whole movie. There’s no denying that the tale of Colin Warner, a man who spent decades behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, is a powerful one, but writer-director Matt Ruskin doesn’t give us anything here that a documentary couldn’t do better.

The non-fiction route is one we’ve already experienced, both directly and indirectly. The Warner case was the basis of a “This American Life” episode, on which “Crown Heights” is directly based, but it also touches upon many of the themes of Ava DuVernay’s “13th,” an examination of the justice system and the inequities it visits upon people of color, and there are no moments in this film that prompt anger or sorrow as effectively as DuVernay does in her broader overview.

We meet Colin (played here by Keith Stanfield of “Atlanta” and “Short Term 12”) in 1980. The film never portrays him as a saint — since we see him steal a car in the first few minutes — but it also establishes his innocence in the murder case for which he’s arrested. It’s clear that the racist NYPD cops involved want to force a confession out of him; failing that, they’ll convince a stooge who’s being threatened with extradition to place Colin at the scene of the crime.

See Video: Watch Barbara Kopple, Marti Noxon Talk Digital-Age Indies on Facebook Live

Colin’s legal aid lawyer fails to get him acquitted, and the longer he stays behind bars, the tougher the parole system gets with prisoners found guilty for committing violent crimes. As Colin contends with (and commits) violence behind bars, his best friend on the outside — Nnamdi Asomugha (“Hello, My Name Is Doris”) as Carl King — fights and fund-raises tirelessly to prove Colin’s innocence.

Like many docudramas, “Crown Heights” must contend with the fact that we all know how this is going to end; even if you walk into the theater completely unaware of the Colin Warner case, the fact that the movie immediately establishes his innocence means that eventually he’s going to get out of prison, or there’d be no story. Ruskin’s script, unfortunately, never gives us enough to go on; we don’t really know much about these characters besides their role in moving the plot forward.

Also Read: New York Times Op-Docs Make Presence Felt at Oscars, Sundance

Stanfield is an exceedingly talented young actor, but he gets little to play here besides “wet-eyed martyr,” and there are only so many variations on that theme he can explore over the course of his character’s years in prison. (There’s a subplot about Colin’s courtship of and jailhouse marriage to Antoinette, played by Natalie Paul of “Show Me a Hero,” but the couple leaps from flirtation to everlasting devotion so quickly that we never get a clear picture of what brings them together in these trying circumstances.)

Also Read: Sundance So Far: Never Mind the Movies, Let’s Talk About Politics and Weather

For every effective idea “Crown Heights” has — Colin’s reveries that end with the stark realization that he is still inside a cell, for example — there are plenty of bad ones, like the resemblance between the actor playing one of the racist cops and the actor playing the lawyer who will eventually vindicate Colin. There’s no faulting the film for cultural relevance, but it never effectively channels legitimate outrage into effective drama.

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