Ava DuVernay Opposes Steven Spielberg’s Effort to Keep Netflix Out of the Oscars

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ava DuVernay opposes a reported plan by Steven Spielberg to keep Netflix films out of the Oscars race, and says she hopes the Academy’s Board of Governors will considers viewers like hers at a meeting next month.

IndieWire reported Thursday that Spielberg wants to propose changes to Oscar eligibility rules to exclude films that debut on a streaming service or get a short theatrical release just for the sake of qualifying.

DuVernay has an upcoming limited series about the Central Park Five, “When They See Us,” coming out on the streaming service in May.

Also Read: Ava DuVernay’s ‘Central Park Five’ Netflix Series Gets New Title – Watch First Teaser Here (Video)

“This is a Board of Governors meeting. And regular branch members can’t be there,” DuVernay said in a tweet addressed to the Academy. “But I hope if this is true, that you’ll have filmmakers in the room or read statements from directors like me who feel differently.”

Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List, said that Netflix has boosted filmmakers — including women and people of color — who have struggled to get their films picked up by traditional Hollywood studios.

“I think we can all agree that the theatrical experience is worth protecting. I, for one, do,” Leonard tweeted. “I also think we can all agree that it is more difficult for films by and about women, people of color, and myriad other communities to access the resources necessary to secure an exclusive four week theatrical window.”

“Limiting Academy eligibility to films with a four-week exclusive theatrical window is effectively limiting eligibility to films that the folks who control distribution believe have a viable financial model released that way,” he said.

Though Netflix’s “Roma” missed out on Best Picture this year, it has high 2020 hopes for “The Irishman,” Martin Scorsese’s crime film starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel. The film is set for release in the fall and received a teaser announcement during the Oscars broadcast.

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Ava DuVernay’s ‘Central Park Five’ Netflix Series Gets New Title – Watch First Teaser Here (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ava DuVernay’s upcoming Netflix limited series, “The Central Park Five,” has gotten a new title, a premiere date, and its first teaser.

On Friday, the streamer released the date announcement video for the four-part show, now titled, “When They See Us,” which will premiere on May 31.

DuVernay had the honor of dropping the short clip herself, tweeting along with it, “Not thugs. Not wilding. Not criminals. Not even the Central Park Five. They are Korey, Antron, Raymond, Yusef, Kevin. They are millions of young people of color who are blamed, judged and accused on sight. May 31. A film in four parts about who they really are. WHEN THEY SEE US.”

Not thugs. Not wilding. Not criminals. Not even the Central Park Five. They are Korey, Antron, Raymond, Yusef, Kevin. They are millions of young people of color who are blamed, judged and accused on sight. May 31. A film in four parts about who they really are. WHEN THEY SEE US. pic.twitter.com/QQBVqo4TYM

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 1, 2019

“In 1989, five black and brown teen boys were wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit and branded The Central Park Five, a moniker that has followed them since that time,” she said in a statement. “In 2019, our series gives the five men a platform to finally raise their voices and tell their full stories. In doing so, Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell the story of many young people of color unjustly ensnared in the criminal justice system. We wanted to reflect this perspective in our title, embracing the humanity of the men and not their politicized moniker.”

Also Read: Ava DuVernay’s ‘Central Park Five’ Finishes Casting Its Central Park Five

Per Netflix, “based on a true story that gripped the country, ‘When They See Us’ will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. The four part limited series will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. Beginning in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers were first questioned about the incident, the series will span 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.”

“When They See Us” stars Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Christopher Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, William Sadler, Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Storm Reid, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Marquis Rodriguez and Asante Blackk.

The series was created by DuVernay, who also co-wrote and directed the four parts. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey from Harpo Films, and Jane Rosenthal, Berry Welsh and Robert De Niro from Tribeca Productions executive produce, alongside DuVernay under her Forward Movement banner. In addition to DuVernay, Attica Locke, Robin Swicord, and Michael Starrbury also serve as writers on the limited series.

Watch the teaser above.

“When They See Us” drops May 31 on Netflix.

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Ava DuVernay’s ‘Central Park Five’ Gets Netflix Debut Date, New Name + Teaser

Read on: Deadline.

Ava DuVernay’s upcoming Netflix limited series on the brutal crime and false prosecutions that shocked NYC and the nation 30 years ago now has a launch date and a new title.
The four-part series formerly known as Central Park Five will be called When T…

Why the ‘Green Book’ Oscar Victory Has Divided Hollywood

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Inside the Governors Ball on Sunday, where the Oscar-shaped smoked salmon canapes were passed in abundance, it didn’t take long for Spike Lee’s tantrum over “Green Book” winning Best Picture to make the rounds.

Oscar-goers and winners were aghast that Spike turned his back in the theater when “Green Book” was announced for the final award, and then made his displeasure even more clear in the press room when he said, “The ref made a bad call.”

But more than gossip about Spike’s bad manners, the question was why did “Green Book” seem to rub some people — including a leading director of color — the wrong way? Especially on a night when an historic number of nonwhite talent won gold statues?

Also Read: Spike Lee Gets ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ Deja Vu From ‘Green Book’ Win: ‘Ref Made a Bad Call’

“It was great to see Spike Lee hold an Oscar,” actor David Oyelowo said at the Governor’s Ball, echoing the sentiments of many, and emphasizing the positive.

But the backstage drama suggested a clash between Hollywood’s old and new waves, as when Ava DuVernay showed up, queenlike, at the much-dissed Vanity Fair post-Oscar party in support of the new-generation editor Radhika Jones.

En route to that party that some folks wonder might lose its luster! LOL. @VanityFair#OSCARS pic.twitter.com/Zb9c43klf1

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 25, 2019

Also Read: Oscars Make History With Record 7 Black Winners

This year’s Oscars seemed suspended between what the Academy aspires to be — progressive, inclusive and actually diverse — and where it traditionally has been, which is politically progressive as seen through the eyes of privileged white folks, almost exclusively men.

“Green Book” fell squarely in the latter category, the latest iteration of well-intentioned storytelling about American race relations told by white people who continue to hold most of the power. Spike Lee, ever the barn-burner, seemed to rebel against that convention even when the Academy chose to honor him with his first-ever competitive Oscar for his own dark comedy about…. that’s right, race.

Understandably, the makers of “Green Book” found no comfort in the backlash. Producer Jim Burke seemed wounded when asked at the Governors Ball about Lee’s criticism. “It’s a Spike issue,” he said, adding, “It’s never been made clear” what specific issues the “BlackKklansman” director has with the movie.

Also Read: Oscars: ‘Green Book’ Win Gives an Old-Fashioned Ending to a Diverse, Forward-Looking Show

But truth be told, Spike wasn’t the only one questioning the “Green Book” victory —  he was just the only one invited to the party who threw a stink bomb.

Twitter immediately was afire with critics who found the choice artistically offensive. Many noted that director Peter Farrelly’s acceptance speech omitted mention of Don Shirley, the African American concert pianist who was the subject of the film (played by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali).

Others, like past Oscar nominee James L. Brooks, detected an odd note in Ali’s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor. “The director earnestly thanked for never coming near the actors, ‘giving us space’ ..letting us work it out on our own,” he tweeted. “Must have been one edgy set.”

Literally still laughing at last night’s thank you speech 4 best supporting actor. The director earnestly thanked for never coming near the actors, “giving us space” ..letting us work it out on our own” and confining himself to an occasional “tweak”..Must have been one edgy set.

— james l. brooks (@canyonjim) February 25, 2019

Also Read: Oscars 2019: ‘Green Book’ Best Picture Speech Omits Don Shirley, But Carrie Fisher Gets a Shoutout

Almost immediately, the “Green Book” win divided people along political and cultural lines.

On the racial politics of telling another story about racism in the 1960s South through the point of view of a white man, Burke tried to explain: “It’s about the black-and-white experience. It’s about differences in race and class, but we are all, every one of us, very proud of this film. If you have a problem with that — it’s confusing.”

I asked whether he thought some of the criticism came from the fact that the film had a white director, white writers and five white male producers (although, to be fair, Octavia Spencer also co-produced).

“I can’t change the fact that I’m white. If the question is: Can white people have or not have a point of view on racial inequality?…” He trailed off, without an answer and finally just said: “It’s been a rough campaign season.”

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Oscars: ‘Green Book’ Win Gives an Old-Fashioned Ending to a Diverse, Forward-Looking Show

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Top Critics Vent as ‘Green Book’ Tops Oscars; LA Times Critic Calls It Worst Best Picture Winner Since ‘Crash’

Oscar Week Party Report: Glenn Close, Allison Janney, LaKeith Stanfield and More Hit the Scene (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Current Academy Awards nominees, past Oscar winners and everyone who’s anyone has been hitting parties all over town as the countdown to Oscars 2019 is in full tilt.

(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Cadillac)

Cadillac threw its annual bash at Chateau Marmont on Thursday night, where Oscar winners including Allison Janney, Christoph Waltz and Hilary Swank literally rubbed shoulders in the packed garden with Liev Schreiber, Tiffany Haddish and Zoe Saldana. Word is that two-time winner Swank had some good advice for anyone navigating Oscar night: “Eat before you go.”

Also in the crush were Stephan James, Zachary Quinto, Kyle MacLachlan and Allen Leech, who had bounced across town from the Oscar Wilde Awards held earlier at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot studio in Santa Monica.

Also Read: Spirit Awards: For a Change, They’re Not Trying to Be the Oscars’ Baby Brother

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for US-Ireland Alliance)

At that annual Oscar Wilde bash that reminds the world of the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, Irishman Leech (who’s on a roll with “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Downton Abbey” turning him into a household face) presented his fellow countryman Aidan Gillen with a special award.

Current best actress nominees Glenn Close and Melissa McCarthy made Oscar Wilde the place where they proved they’re not really in competition, as McCarthy presented Close with her Irish award — a Hawke + Axel hand-blown eternal flame crystal prize.

Chris O’Dowd got one, too, and Abrams played a congenial host to other current nominees Ed Guiney, Robbie Ryan and Peter Devlin as well as a gaggle of celebs including John Cho, Kathy Griffin, Nicole Holofcener and Paula Malcolmson.

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Dolby Laboratories/AP Images

Back in Hollywood at new hotspot h club, the Dolby Laboratories reminded the Academy that cinematographers, sound editors and sound mixers deserve as much love as actors and directors, with a big party honoring the nominees in those categories.

The sound was turned up to 11 as Karasene (the live band) got everyone rockin’, including nominees Tom Ozanich and Dean Zupancic for “A Star Is Born,” Tim Cavagin, John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone from “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Mary H. Ellis, Mildred Iatrou Morgan and Ai-Ling Lee for “First Man” and Sergio Diaz from “Roma,” who all enjoyed the above-the-line limelight for a night.

(Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for RCGD)

Meanwhile, up in the Beverly Hills, environmental advocate, actor and author Suzy Amis Cameron hosted her annual Red Carpet Green Dress (RCGD) Pre-Oscars Celebration, putting the focus once again on sustainable and environmentally friendly and ethical clothing. (James Cameron, Danielle Macdonald, Suzy Amis Cameron, Samata Pattinson, LaKeith Stanfield, Fiona Xie and Laura Harrier all turned out.)

This year, Danielle Macdonald (“Dumplin’”) and Laura Harrier (“BlacKkKlansman”) will represent RCGD at the Academy Awards.

Others who made the trek up into the chilly hills to the Albright Fashion Library included LaKeith Stanfield (who wore a RCGD design last year), James Cameron, Michelle Rodriguez and Fiona Xie.

Also Read: Oscar Parties 2019: All the A-List Events Happening in Hollywood

(Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Essence)

Earlier that afternoon, a crowd of women descended on the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel ballroom for a completely different ladies-who-lunch extravaganza (very different indeed from the typical wizened Beverly Hills set).

This power-player group joined Essence Magazine for their annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards luncheon, all celebrating “black excellence” in Hollywood.

The scene was led by Regina Hall (“Support the Girls”) — seen above with Sean “Diddy” Combs, KiKi Layne, Amandla Stenberg, Sanaa Lathan, and Elaine Welteroth — as Essence honored Hall, Jenifer Lewis, Stenberg and Layne. Amber Riley performed as Ava Duvernay, Angela Bassett and Sheryl Lee Ralph looked on.

And there were even a few men in the packed place, including Sean “Diddy” Combs and “BlacKkKlansman” nominees Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard.

That afternoon was also devoted to collecting a bit of swag, as Doris Bergman once again hosted her 11th Annual Valentine Romance Oscar Style Lounge and Party at the Fig & Olive in WeHo, which saw a revolving door of stars.

Oscar nominee Bruce Dern (above) turned up, as did Christopher MacDonald, Esai Morales, Deidre Hall and a slew of others; everything stopped as a downpour turned into sleet and snow for a moment, causing everyone to run to see that strange climate change phenomenon in action.

Also Read: Spike Lee to Host Brooklyn Block Party for ‘Do the Right Thing’ 30th Anniversary

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Speaking of climate change and freezing SoCal weather, Wednesday night’s Global Green 25th Anniversary Gala actually started things off during Oscar week, as the Four Seasons Beverly Hills was transformed into a grazing party filled with locally produced, sustainable foods, wines, beers and other products, all designed to get the stars thinking about protecting the planet.

With a goal to fight climate change, the organization easily drew a collection of like-minded stars to its pre-Oscar gala. Everyone from Ed O’Neill to Fran Dresher, Amy Smart, Ed Begley Jr. and Tia Carrere (above), who all enjoyed a performance by Robin Thicke after bidding on loads of ecology themed live auction items.

“This event is so important, I never miss it,” Carrere said, echoing the sentiment that rolled throughout the party.

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Jussie Smollett Arrest Stuns Hollywood Into Silence and Sorrow

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Stunned silence would be one way to describe how Hollywood is processing the arrest of Jussie Smollett after authorities say he made up a racist and homophobic attack.

The normally active Twitter feeds of leading artist-activists such as Ava DuVernay, Judd Apatow and Matthew Cherry were quiet in the hours after Smollett’s Thursday arrest in Chicago on a felony charge of filing a false police report.

Don Lemon — the outspoken CNN anchor who like Smollett is both gay and African-American — grasped for words on his newscast on Wednesday night. “It’s … terrible,” he managed to say.

Also Read: Cops: ‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett Staged Attack Because He Was ‘Dissatisfied With His Salary’

There’s some cognitive dissonance going on: Smollett, that beautiful, sweet young man who comes from a warm, sprawling family with sibling actors, who started out in “The Mighty Ducks” in 1992 and rose to prominence on the edgy Fox show “Empire” — that Jussie is accused of mounting a racist, homophobic attack on himself?

Insiders with whom I’ve spoken were frustrated and saddened. One said that she had already had a difficult conversation with her children about the attack when it was first reported, and now wasn’t sure what to tell them.

The Chicago police chief said on Thursday that Smollett staged the attack because he wanted a pay raise — but that didn’t add up to observers in the business.

I will here pause to point out that we don’t know the truth at this point. Smollett has been charged and arrested, but maintains his innocence. Maybe he is. The evidence we’ve seen — like those two brothers buying a rope and other paraphernalia — doesn’t look good.

For weeks, Fox has been standing behind its star, vouching for his good character, hiring a PR specialist, denying rumors that he was going to be written out of the show. Within hours of his arrest, the studio pivoted from its previous blanket support for its star to say: “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

Also Read: Fox Says It Is ‘Considering Our Options’ After Jussie Smollett Arrest

In the last few days, defenders like DuVernay insisted on reserving judgment even as the police said they were moving toward the conclusion that Smollett had written himself a threatening letter, hired two brothers to throw a noose around his neck and fling bleach at him and claim a MAGA connection.

The sight of a visibly indignant Chicago police chief, decrying a waste of precious public resources on the case, does not help matters for Smollett.

Update: According to Chicago police officials, Jussie Smollett wrote a fake letter and paid for the staged attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.” https://t.co/MyPbjMeUKh

— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) February 21, 2019

It’s an awkward moment for Hollywood at a time when this liberal industry is busy decrying the divisive politics of our time both on public platforms like Twitter and in the films and TV shows — including Smollett’s own show “Empire,” which was created by Lee Daniels, another artist who happens to be gay and African American.

And it’s distracting on the eve of an Oscars ceremony that finally has recognized a critical mass of diverse talent and movie themes in its top categories, from “Roma” to “Black Panther” to “Black KKKlansmen” to “Green Book.”

Also Read: Oscars Endgame: What Are ‘Roma,’ ‘Black Panther’ and Other Campaign Ads Really Trying to Say?

It’s a setback for those who want to champion equality and diversity, which is pretty much everyone in Hollywood, let’s be honest. It hands a potent weapon to critics of “Hollywood liberals” that will be wielded for years.

Like the Tawana Brawley case of the 1980s which left a lasting stain on activists like Al Sharpton, it will haunt Smollett and those who chose to ardently defend him.

I will stipulate again that I don’t know what happened in this case. But it’s an important reminder that no one has a monopoly on idiocy, cynicism and egoism. And that we should pay close attention before we judge.

Ava DuVernay, Civil Rights Activists React To New Turns In Jussie Smollett Attack Case

Read on: Deadline.

Ava DuVernay has spoken out about the latest developments in the Jussie Smollett case, saying she wants more details before rushing to judgement.
“Despite the inconsistencies, I can’t blindly believe Chicago PD. The department that covered up sho…

Ava DuVernay Won’t Rush to Judgement on Jussie Smollett: ‘I Can’t Blindly Believe Chicago PD’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Director Ava DuVernay says she is withholding her judgment about Jussie Smollett following reports that Chicago police believe the “Empire” star paid two men to orchestrate a hate assault on him.

“Despite the inconsistencies, I can’t blindly believe Chicago PD,” DuVernay, who voiced support for Smollett after the attack, said on Twitter. “The department that covered up shooting Laquan McDonald over a dozen times? That operated an off-site torture facility? That one? I’ll wait. Whatever the outcome, this won’t stop me from believing others. It can’t.”

DuVernay is referring to the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014. Initially, Chicago PD reported that McDonald was carrying a folding knife and walking erratically at the time he was shot, and ruled that the shooting was justified. But dash cam footage released a year later showed Van Dyke shooting McDonald while he was walking away, leading to the officer being charged with murder.

Also Read: Jussie Smollett’s Attorneys Deny Attack Was a Hoax: ‘He Has Now Been Further Victimized’

A federal civil rights investigation conducted by the Department of Justice found that Chicago PD fostered a culture of “excessive violence” against people of color and “poor supervision” of officers.

On Jan. 29, Smollett told Chicago police that he was assaulted by two men outside a Loews hotel, and that the two men called him “‘Empire’ f—t” and “‘Empire’ n—er’” while beating him, wrapping a rope around his neck, and covering him in bleach.

But this weekend, CNN reported that new evidence suggests that Smollett paid two bodybuilder brothers to orchestrate the attack. Smollett’s attorneys have denied such claims.

Also Read: Two Suspects in Jussie Smollett Case Under Arrest, Chicago Police Say

“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” read the statement. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

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Jussie Smollett’s Attorneys Deny Attack Was a Hoax: ‘He Has Now Been Further Victimized’

Jussie Smollett Case: Arrested Men Released Without Charges ‘Due to New Evidence’

Fox Says Jussie Smollett Staying on ‘Empire’; Chicago PD Rejects Hoax Reports

Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Acquires Surreal Drama ‘The Burial Of Kojo’, Sets Netflix Premiere Date

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EXCLUSIVE: Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing continues to give shine to underrepresented voices and stories by people of color and women with their latest acquisition, The Burial of Kojo from musical artist and filmmaker Samuel “Blitz” B…

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Ava DuVernay Boycotting Super Bowl Over NFL’s “Racist Treatment Of Colin Kaepernick”

Read on: Deadline.

The biggest TV event of the year is losing at least one of Hollywood’s most high profile directors as a viewer today.
Ava DuVernay tweeted that she will not be “a spectator, viewer or supporter” of Super Bowl LIII due to what she call…