Alfonso Cuarón Details ‘Roma’ Cinematography With ‘Gravity’ DP Emmanuel Lubezki

As part of an overall push to bring Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” to awards season voters, Netflix’s “‘Roma’ Experience’” played host to guild and Academy members Sunday in Hollywood. The all-day event featured…

As part of an overall push to bring Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” to awards season voters, Netflix’s “‘Roma’ Experience'” played host to guild and Academy members Sunday in Hollywood. The all-day event featured panels focused on the film’s crafts and an audio-visual installation akin to the streamer’s FYSee initiative for Emmy contenders, featuring costumes and art […]

‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Leads Limited Openers, ‘Amazing Grace’ Wows New York

You don’t have to be a well-reviewed awards contender to pull audiences. Two top movie stars can do the trick.

The studios offered no new films this prime post-Golden Globes nominations weekend, so the specialty companies rushed to take advantage with openers, expansions and re-releases. Three companies with a track record for getting attention during the late year period opened important films.

Mary, Queen of Scots” (Focus) starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie performed the best by some distance; it should play well with specialty crowds even if it isn’t a well-reviewed awards player. “Vox Lux” (Neon) starring Natalie Portman follows “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” as dramas about troubled performers. While not on the same scale, it also found initial interest. Roadside Attractions’ “Ben Is Black” starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges mustered just enough interest to warrant holiday expansion.

The sleeper this weekend is “Amazing Grace” (Neon), which in an awards qualifying run in New York is sold out its entire week. It will return next year, and looks like it could join other recent documentaries and perhaps reach $10 million or better.

Opening

Mary, Queen of Scots (Focus) – Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: AFI 2018

$200,180 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $50,045

Focus’ prime holiday release boasted an impressive showing in its initial four-big city dates, outdistancing the other newbies by a mile, and did so with middling reviews, and no name director (rookie Josie Rourke is a theater import), awards traction or personal appearances.

Full credit goes to its two 2017 Oscar nominee leads Ronan and Robbie, as well as the appeal of this story of rival queen cousins Mary and Elizabeth. That the film opened this well suggests interest that could sustain a major expansion over Christmas.

What comes next: Top ten markets open this Friday, with 500 or more dates the following weekend.

"Vox Lux"

“Vox Lux”

Venice Film Festival

Vox Lux (Neon) – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: Venice, Toronto 2018

$162,252 in 6 theaters; PTA: $27,042

Neon acquired at Toronto this Natalie Portman film about a young pop star who matures into a major icon with substance abuse issues. Neon pushed out the movie for late-year release, with three cities (San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles) opening before a national release this Friday. The result is positive — the film topped the grosses in most of its theaters, including some heavyweights. Los Angeles enjoyed a major boost from multiple appearances by Portman at some evening shows.

What comes next: Neon will add hundreds of dates this Friday, taking advantage of the pre-Christmas lull.

Ben Is Back (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 65; Festivals include: Toronto, Miami, Mill Valley 2018

$80,972 in 4 theaters; PTA: $20,243

Lucas Hedges stars in his second specialty film after “Boy Erased” and the second fall movie about a young adult drug user forcing his family to deal with his issues after “Beautiful Boy.” With less stellar reviews and a more competitive pre-holiday period, “Ben is Back” opened lower than both films in top New York/Los Angeles theaters. It showed signs of a second day uptick, which could bode well for its expansion ahead.

What comes next: This jumps to 30 theaters in new big city markets, with a wider limited expansion over Christmas.

“Divide and Conquer: The Roger Ailes Story”

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: Toronto, New York 2018; also streaming

$(est.) 17,500 in 14 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 1,250

The main action for this documentary on the legendary and influential head of Fox News is on streaming. But its theatrical date landed the film more attention and positioning for possible Oscar consideration.

What comes next: Home viewing will be its main availability.

“Amazing Grace”

Neon

Week Two

Amazing Grace (Neon)

$(est.) 43,000 in 1 theaters (-1); PTA: $(est.) 43,000; Cumulative: $(est.) 67,000

Most awards-qualifying runs like this don’t report grosses. Neon, which acquired this long-awaited documentary about Aretha Franklin’s church recording sessions for her career-topping 1972 gospel album, tipped us off to the sell out performance of the one week date at New York’s Film Forum. It will be sold out for the full week — had more seats been available, the gross might have been double or more.

Anna and the Apocalypse (Orion)

$142,000 in 46 theaters (+41); PTA: $3,087; Cumulative: $215,000

This Scottish Christmas carolers versus zombies tale expanded well on its second weekend, particularly for this time of year. There might not be a lot of room to expand, but these numbers were enough to sustain some holds in current theaters and add more ahead.

Mirai (GKids)

$199,076 in 15 theaters (Fri/Sun), 742 (Sat); Cumulative: $671,908

This Japanese animated feature has the best prospects of all the indies to make it into the final five of the Oscars. The film came back with more special event shows on Saturday combined with a few full-show schedule dates. If these dates continue, or a nomination does occur, this has a shot at being the third GKids release to hit $1 million.

L to R: Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali in GREEN BOOK

“Green Book”

Universal Pictures

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

Green Book (Universal) Week 4

$3,941,000 in 1,181 theaters (+116); Cumulative: $19,980,000

The mediocre platform openings are a vague memory now as Universal’s strategy (backed by significant spending) of building word of mouth for their top awards’ contender is starting to pay off. With a minor increase in theaters, the gross remained about the same as last weekend. The individual theater numbers vary, and many of these dates will be interrupted by new films. But the film should play through to build up steam and a credible enough performance overall to help its strong award chances.

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) Week 3

$1,430,000 in 91 theaters (+57); Cumulative: $3,469,000

Yorgos Lanthimos’ female power struggle royal period comedy had another strong weekend. The performance at this point is comparable to Searchlight’s “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” last year. That’s impressive. This was not as surefire a success as those more contemporary American-set films. This is perfectly set to find key theaters and the higher grosses ahead from holiday play.

Roma (Netflix) Week 3

$(est.) 500,000 in (est.) 100 theaters (+83); Cumulative: $(est.) 900,000

How close is this figure to the truth? Nobody really knows, because it isn’t certain that even Netflix is collecting these figures. Counting key theaters (particularly those from Landmark, which opened this movie in multiple top theaters in new cities, with many sellouts) it appears this figure could be low. But capacity issues — particularly in New York and Los Angeles — reduce the gross. With more theaters opening this Friday (for a total of 600 worldwide) parallel to its streaming release, it does look like it could end up with at least a $2 million gross.

Boy Erased (Focus) Week 4

$420,000 in 622 theaters (-38); Cumulative: $6,330,000

“At Eternity’s Gate”

CBS Films

At Eternity’s Edge (CBS) Week 4

$310,000 in 172 theaters (+124); Cumulative: $1,071,000

Free Solo (National Geographic) Week 11

$252,641 in 182 theaters (+24); Cumulative: $10,511,000

The saga of a daring El Capital climb continues to show interest after nearly three months in theaters.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) Week 8

$245,000 in 265 theaters (-7); Cumulative: $6,978,000

Another contender for acting awards, this small-scale turn by Melissa McCarthy as a writer turned document scam artist continues adding to its total, with ongoing play possibly heading to $8 million.

‘The Wife”

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 17; also streaming

$222,547 in 421 theaters (+415); Cumulative: $8,012,000

A return run after home media release and Glenn Close’s Golden Globe nomination pushed this marital drama over the $8 million mark. That’s one of the top numbers so far among fall releases.

Beautiful Boy (Amazon) Week 9

$108,495 in 196 theaters (-11); Cumulative: $7,432,000

Another film hanging on to screens at the end of its run, with Timothee Chalamet’s performance and possible awards interest the reasons for lingering interest.

Shoplifters (Magnolia) Week 3    14-286

$(est.) 105,000 in 32 theaters (+18); Cumulative: $(est.) 335,000

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest and most acclaimed Golden=Globe nominee is expanding at a level ahead of most recent foreign-language releases. It’s in for the long haul, with the holidays ahead and strong word of mouth developing.

Maria By Callas (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6

$102,313 in 149 theaters (+80); Cumulative: $1,040,000

One of the better performances of late for the always popular documentary sub-genre of creative icons. The per-theater take is small, but with this total of theaters the numbers add up.

The Front Runner (Sony) Week 5

$(est.) 100,000 in 409 theaters (-398); Cumulative: $(est.) 1,904,000

Sony has given significant support to Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Gary Hart. But Jason Reitman’s film in over a month’s play will only gross around $2 million.

The Old Man & the Gun (Fox Searchlight) Week 11

$85,000 in 136 theaters (+22); Cumulative: $11,050,000

Nearing the end of its theatrical run, and with a Golden Globe nomination for Robert Redford, this has quietly amassed one of the best specialized totals this year.

Border (Neon) Week 7

$52,262 in 73 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $668,797

Sweden’s Oscar submission is not your standard Scandinavian crowdpleaser. This inventive thriller features surprises within its genre formula; it hasn’t broken out but is likely to linger as it enters other venues.

Also noted:

Suspiria (Amazon)  – $26,450 in 33 theaters; Cumulative: $2,422,000

A Private War (Aviron)  – $24,000 in 35 theaters; Cumulative: $1,569,000

Wildlife (IFC)  – $20,482 in theaters; Cumulative: $989,633

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Notes On The Season: Who’s Hosting Oscar Now?; Campaigning At The Museum; Everyone Goes For The Gold

A column chronicling events and conversations on the awards circuit.
Another big week on the circuit, but as we approached the end of it the expected talk of the just- released Golden Globe nominations, as well as anticipation for Critics’ Choice…

A column chronicling events and conversations on the awards circuit. Another big week on the circuit, but as we approached the end of it the expected talk of the just- released Golden Globe nominations, as well as anticipation for Critics’ Choice and SAG lists next week was hijacked by Oscar who just had to swoop in and suck the air out of the room – and headlines – with the Kevin Hart debacle. Was that the quickest reign ever for any Oscar host? Methinks yes. Deadline…

Netflix Expanding Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ to 600 Locations

Netflix will expand Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” to more than 100 theaters in the United States and will open the awards contender in more than 500 theaters internationally in over 40 countries. Netflix will start streaming the awards cont…

Netflix will expand Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” to more than 100 theaters in the United States and will open the awards contender in more than 500 theaters internationally in over 40 countries. Netflix will start streaming the awards contender on Dec. 14. Its announcement of the specifics of the expansion Friday indicates that the company wants […]

Alfonso Cuarón on Golden Globes Nominees: ‘Diversity Broke the Door Down’

Three years after #OscarsSoWhite, the 2019 Golden Globes nominees are the most diverse Hollywood has ever seen. Three films by African-American directors were nominated for Best Picture, Sandra Oh’s “Killing Eve” performance and “Crazy Rich Asians” are breaking droughts for Asian-American films and actors, and Mexico’s cinematic titan, Alfonso Cuarón, has three nominations for his acclaimed drama “Roma.”

“I wouldn’t say the doors have opened for diversity. I’d say diversity broke the door down,” Cuarón told TheWrap shortly after the nominations were announced.

Also Read: Constance Wu: It’s ‘Overdue’ for Sandra Oh to Host the Golden Globes

For his whole career, Cuarón  has had one foot in Hollywood and the other in the Mexican filmmaking community. He’s made blockbusters like “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Gravity” — the latter won him an Oscar — but he’s also made films deeply rooted in his heritage like “Y Tu Mama Tambien.” “Roma” is a film that belongs at the top of the second category, inspired by the director’s childhood and by the caretaker who looked after him and who inspires the film’s protagonist, Cleo.

Though on its face it doesn’t seem to be similar to “Crazy Rich Asians” or “Black Panther,” all three have been embraced by audiences who are now seeing themselves represented on screen at a rate that has been unprecedented in mainstream culture. For Cuarón, making “Roma” was all about introspection, examining specific elements of his childhood from an adult perspective.

But as the film made the festival circuit and goes through its limited theatrical run before hitting Netflix next week, Cuarón says he’s been surprised by how many people have told him that they have had someone like Cleo in their lives.

Also Read: Golden Globes Nominations Analysis: ‘Vice’ and ‘Green Book’ Emerge as Curious Front Runners

“It hasn’t just been Mexicans who’ve told me this. I’ve had people from many different countries and backgrounds tell me how Cleo reminds them of somebody that wasn’t in their family but took care of them as a child,” he said. “It speaks to the universality of the human experience in ways I never expected.”

Click here for TheWrap’s Oscar issue cover story on how Cuarón and lead star Yalitza Aparicio came together to film one of the most acclaimed movies of 2018. “Roma” is now playing in select theaters and will stream on Netflix on December 14.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Constance Wu: It’s ‘Overdue’ for Sandra Oh to Host the Golden Globes

Golden Globes: ‘Vice’ Director Adam McKay on Competing With ‘Mary Poppins Returns’: ‘We Ain’t No Musical’

Golden Globes: Marvel Scores First Best Picture Drama Nod for ‘Black Panther’

Three years after #OscarsSoWhite, the 2019 Golden Globes nominees are the most diverse Hollywood has ever seen. Three films by African-American directors were nominated for Best Picture, Sandra Oh’s “Killing Eve” performance and “Crazy Rich Asians” are breaking droughts for Asian-American films and actors, and Mexico’s cinematic titan, Alfonso Cuarón, has three nominations for his acclaimed drama “Roma.”

“I wouldn’t say the doors have opened for diversity. I’d say diversity broke the door down,” Cuarón told TheWrap shortly after the nominations were announced.

For his whole career, Cuarón  has had one foot in Hollywood and the other in the Mexican filmmaking community. He’s made blockbusters like “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Gravity” — the latter won him an Oscar — but he’s also made films deeply rooted in his heritage like “Y Tu Mama Tambien.” “Roma” is a film that belongs at the top of the second category, inspired by the director’s childhood and by the caretaker who looked after him and who inspires the film’s protagonist, Cleo.

Though on its face it doesn’t seem to be similar to “Crazy Rich Asians” or “Black Panther,” all three have been embraced by audiences who are now seeing themselves represented on screen at a rate that has been unprecedented in mainstream culture. For Cuarón, making “Roma” was all about introspection, examining specific elements of his childhood from an adult perspective.

But as the film made the festival circuit and goes through its limited theatrical run before hitting Netflix next week, Cuarón says he’s been surprised by how many people have told him that they have had someone like Cleo in their lives.

“It hasn’t just been Mexicans who’ve told me this. I’ve had people from many different countries and backgrounds tell me how Cleo reminds them of somebody that wasn’t in their family but took care of them as a child,” he said. “It speaks to the universality of the human experience in ways I never expected.”

Click here for TheWrap’s Oscar issue cover story on how Cuarón and lead star Yalitza Aparicio came together to film one of the most acclaimed movies of 2018. “Roma” is now playing in select theaters and will stream on Netflix on December 14.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Constance Wu: It's 'Overdue' for Sandra Oh to Host the Golden Globes

Golden Globes: 'Vice' Director Adam McKay on Competing With 'Mary Poppins Returns': 'We Ain't No Musical'

Golden Globes: Marvel Scores First Best Picture Drama Nod for 'Black Panther'

How Alfonso Cuarón Brought His Memories to Life in ‘Roma’

This story about Yalitza Aparicio, Alfonso Cuarón and “Roma” first appeared in the Race Begins issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

Alfonso Cuarón looked around a room full of furniture, toys, art and music from the early 1970s. “These are fragments of my memory,” the 56-year-old director said of the room in Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox, where sets and props from his new film “Roma” were lovingly curated in a special display.

“Each object carries so much story. Almost, you could do a whole film based on each object.”

But “Roma” is about all these objects and much, much more. A loving, meticulously rendered black-and-white trip back in time, it brings to life the large and small moments that the director remembers from growing up in a Mexico City suburb. “Roma” moves slowly and deliberately — at the speed of life, you could say — as it tells the story of a middle-class family and the two domestic workers, one a young woman named Cleo, who came to work for them.

“And then she became the family,” said Cuarón. “Not part of the family, but, like, the family. She glued everything together.”

Also Read: ‘Roma’ Film Review: Alfonso Cuarón’s Intimate Epic Proves Less Is More

Above all else, “Roma” is a love letter to Cleo, and by extension to Libo, the real-life woman on whom the character is based. To play the film’s central character, Cuarón’s casting search took him throughout Mexico — including to the small Oaxacan town of Tlaxiaco, where an aspiring teacher named Yalitza Aparicio was dragged to the audition by her sister despite the fact that she’d never acted before.

“Never, never in my life did I have it in my mind to become an actress or be part of a film,” Aparicio said through a translator. In fact, at the time she auditioned she’d never even heard of Cuarón, much less seen any of his films.

“I didn’t know anything about his work or the films that he has directed before,” she said, laughing. “He asked me if I had seen any of the films that he directed, and I said no, and he said, ‘No problem, that’s even better. I don’t want you to see any of them right now because I want your mind fresh. I don’t want anything about me in it. You will have the time afterwards to see all of them if you want.’”

(When the movie wrapped, she watched “Children of Men,” “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Gravity.”)

For Cuarón, getting to the point where he could actually make “Roma” had taken a long time. He began thinking about it more than a decade ago, at one point even announcing that it would be his next film, then changing his mind. (“For whatever reasons — life, et cetera — it didn’t happen,” he said.)

Also Read: ‘Roma’: Watch Trailer for Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar Contender (Video)

But during the arduous, CG-heavy making of “Gravity,” somebody asked him what his next project would be, and he flippantly said, “One in which the character walks, not floats, and their feet are very grounded on the earth.”

Thinking back to that offhand comment, he laughed. “Maybe that was bringing me back to this,” he said. And while the film began to take shape as he explored his own memories, he took it a step further and sat down with Libo to flesh out the story from her perspective. “I wanted to know every single detail,” he said.

Also Read: ‘Roma,’ ‘Cold War’ Lead Academy’s List of 87 Films in the Oscars Foreign Language Race

Aparicio had her own opportunity to meet with Libo before production began — but she was only allowed to know a portion of the woman’s life experience. “She told me her story, but only up to the point where the movie starts,” she said. “Same thing with Alfonso. He told me about the relationship he had with Libo, and how she got to his house.

“They both gave me an introduction, and then when we started shooting was how I started to discover little by little more about it.”

Keeping his lead actress in the dark was part of Cuarón’s master plan on “Roma,” but she wasn’t the only one who was flying blind. “This was a process where nobody had the screenplay,” the director said. “Nobody on the crew, none of the actors. It was only me who knew. And I shot in absolute sequence, so everybody was learning as we were going.”

Added Aparicio, “From the very beginning, he told me I was not going to have the script, and he wanted us to go through the story and live it as if it was our own life. At first I thought it was maybe a strategy that every director had, or some of them, and it was normal. But after a while, I realized that it was not common at all to do it this way.”

Asked if she ever found herself yearning to know what was going to happen next, she laughed. “In fact, that happened every single day,” she said. “I felt this curiosity and I was anxious to know what my character was going to find and go through next. My friend Nancy and I, every afternoon we used to talk about what happened that day and try to guess what was going to happen next.”

And how often did she guess right?

“Never,” she said. “It was always different from what I was expecting.”

Also Read: Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ Wins Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival

Cuarón knew what was coming because he had lived most of it, but he was also determined to bring his memories to life in just the right way. “This had to be not only about memory, but also about the person who is remembering — me – right now. This narrow understanding of life, looking into that past.

“That’s the thing of memory. You cannot see memory except from the standpoint of the present. For that reason, the black-and-white cinematography is not nostalgic. It is digital, 65mm black-and-white cinematography — pristine, not grainy. It’s the opposite of nostalgic. This is contemporary filmmaking looking to the past.”

The director had originally planned to use his longtime cinematographer, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, to shoot “Roma.” The two men worked out the feel of the film together — Lubezki is the one who insisted on 65mm — and Cuarón’s goal all along, he said, was, “I don’t want Chivo to have any limitations.”

But when the preproduction and production schedules stretched out too long, Lubezki had to drop out. “That was scary,” Cuarón said. “This was two and a half, maybe three weeks before we started shooting. Immediately I started talking with cinematographers I admired, but I realized that with these particular cinematographers, my conversation on the set was going to be in English. And the whole reason of going to Mexico was to do a film in my mother tongue–not only the actors but my creative process.

“I was going around in circles, and Chivo was the one who said, ‘You know what? Just do it yourself. You have to do it.’”

So he did it, while maintaining an obsession with making sure that every item on screen was accurate to what he remembered. (During a party scene where somebody is playing the original “Jesus Christ Superstar” album, the needle on the turntable is in exactly the right place for the song we’re hearing.)

Also Read: Oscars: Guillermo del Toro Gets Fourth Mexican-Born Best Director Win in 5 Years

“Every single object in the place had to be right,” Cuarón said. “We had to fill up the drawers with stuff — even the drawers that were never going to be opened had to have the things that would have been in them. It needed to have the energy of that.”

And did anybody say to him, “Alfonso, you’re nuts to be this meticulous”?

“Pretty much, there were a lot of comments: ‘It doesn’t matter,’” he said. “‘You’re never going to open the drawer, what’s the difference?’ But it was a big difference.

“I have read the process of [Carl Theodor] Dreyer, for instance, in “The Passion of Joan of Arc.” It is a silent film, so there is no sound. Nevertheless, he had the actors talking, and what they say, even if there are no titles, is an exact transcription from the original trial. Or [Luchino] Visconti in “Ludwig,” making people bake a cake using the recipe that Ludwig, the man at the time, would have used. And sure, people said, ‘Oh, come on, you’re just going to photograph it, nobody is going to know how the cake was made.’ No, but there is something about the process of trying to portray the real. Not reality, not just trying to be realistic, but trying to get to the essence of the real.”

And in a way, Aparicio thinks that meticulousness extended to the characters as well. “When I talked to Libo after she was able to see the film, she mentioned that when she was watching the film, it was like seeing her own self in the movie,” she said. “All my movements, every gesture I made reminded her of herself, like she was looking at herself from a little bit far away.”

“Roma” has been rapturously received by critics and film festival audiences since it premiered in Venice, and it enters the Oscar race with a good chance of becoming the sixth film to be nominated both for Best Foreign Language Film (it’s Mexico’s entry) and Best Picture. The question, though, is how it will connect with mainstream audiences.

And sitting in a room surrounded by the artifacts of his childhood, Cuarón admitted that he was never sure that such a personal project would be embraced by people who had none of his memories.

Also Read: How Peter Bogdanovich, Frank Marshall and Netflix’s Money Saved Orson Welles’ Final Movie

“You don’t choose projects, they choose you,” he said. “It becomes a need, and you go for it. But I remember saying to people close to me, ‘Look, I have the opportunity of doing this now. I’m not going to question it, but I doubt that this is really going to connect in any way.’”

He shrugged. “And it has been a very pleasant surprise to see the amazing reaction to the film. Yes, critics have been fantastic, but the emotional audiences at film festivals and screenings–when you see people from different cultures, people that come out crying, they feel so connected.

“Because even if the story is about, yes, my own family in the 1970s in a specific city in a specific country, it’s families. It just proves that the human experience is one and the same.”

To read more of TheWrap’s Race Begins issue, click here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Oscars Give More Power in Foreign Language Voting to LA Members (Exclusive)

Emmys 2018: Oscars Director Glenn Weiss Pops the Question to Girlfriend Jan Svendsen on Live TV

Oscars Foreign Language Race 2018: Complete List of Submissions

This story about Yalitza Aparicio, Alfonso Cuarón and “Roma” first appeared in the Race Begins issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

Alfonso Cuarón looked around a room full of furniture, toys, art and music from the early 1970s. “These are fragments of my memory,” the 56-year-old director said of the room in Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox, where sets and props from his new film “Roma” were lovingly curated in a special display.

“Each object carries so much story. Almost, you could do a whole film based on each object.”

But “Roma” is about all these objects and much, much more. A loving, meticulously rendered black-and-white trip back in time, it brings to life the large and small moments that the director remembers from growing up in a Mexico City suburb. “Roma” moves slowly and deliberately — at the speed of life, you could say — as it tells the story of a middle-class family and the two domestic workers, one a young woman named Cleo, who came to work for them.

“And then she became the family,” said Cuarón. “Not part of the family, but, like, the family. She glued everything together.”

Above all else, “Roma” is a love letter to Cleo, and by extension to Libo, the real-life woman on whom the character is based. To play the film’s central character, Cuarón’s casting search took him throughout Mexico — including to the small Oaxacan town of Tlaxiaco, where an aspiring teacher named Yalitza Aparicio was dragged to the audition by her sister despite the fact that she’d never acted before.

“Never, never in my life did I have it in my mind to become an actress or be part of a film,” Aparicio said through a translator. In fact, at the time she auditioned she’d never even heard of Cuarón, much less seen any of his films.

“I didn’t know anything about his work or the films that he has directed before,” she said, laughing. “He asked me if I had seen any of the films that he directed, and I said no, and he said, ‘No problem, that’s even better. I don’t want you to see any of them right now because I want your mind fresh. I don’t want anything about me in it. You will have the time afterwards to see all of them if you want.'”

(When the movie wrapped, she watched “Children of Men,” “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Gravity.”)

For Cuarón, getting to the point where he could actually make “Roma” had taken a long time. He began thinking about it more than a decade ago, at one point even announcing that it would be his next film, then changing his mind. (“For whatever reasons — life, et cetera — it didn’t happen,” he said.)

But during the arduous, CG-heavy making of “Gravity,” somebody asked him what his next project would be, and he flippantly said, “One in which the character walks, not floats, and their feet are very grounded on the earth.”

Thinking back to that offhand comment, he laughed. “Maybe that was bringing me back to this,” he said. And while the film began to take shape as he explored his own memories, he took it a step further and sat down with Libo to flesh out the story from her perspective. “I wanted to know every single detail,” he said.

Aparicio had her own opportunity to meet with Libo before production began — but she was only allowed to know a portion of the woman’s life experience. “She told me her story, but only up to the point where the movie starts,” she said. “Same thing with Alfonso. He told me about the relationship he had with Libo, and how she got to his house.

“They both gave me an introduction, and then when we started shooting was how I started to discover little by little more about it.”

Keeping his lead actress in the dark was part of Cuarón’s master plan on “Roma,” but she wasn’t the only one who was flying blind. “This was a process where nobody had the screenplay,” the director said. “Nobody on the crew, none of the actors. It was only me who knew. And I shot in absolute sequence, so everybody was learning as we were going.”

Added Aparicio, “From the very beginning, he told me I was not going to have the script, and he wanted us to go through the story and live it as if it was our own life. At first I thought it was maybe a strategy that every director had, or some of them, and it was normal. But after a while, I realized that it was not common at all to do it this way.”

Asked if she ever found herself yearning to know what was going to happen next, she laughed. “In fact, that happened every single day,” she said. “I felt this curiosity and I was anxious to know what my character was going to find and go through next. My friend Nancy and I, every afternoon we used to talk about what happened that day and try to guess what was going to happen next.”

And how often did she guess right?

“Never,” she said. “It was always different from what I was expecting.”

Cuarón knew what was coming because he had lived most of it, but he was also determined to bring his memories to life in just the right way. “This had to be not only about memory, but also about the person who is remembering — me – right now. This narrow understanding of life, looking into that past.

“That’s the thing of memory. You cannot see memory except from the standpoint of the present. For that reason, the black-and-white cinematography is not nostalgic. It is digital, 65mm black-and-white cinematography — pristine, not grainy. It’s the opposite of nostalgic. This is contemporary filmmaking looking to the past.”

The director had originally planned to use his longtime cinematographer, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, to shoot “Roma.” The two men worked out the feel of the film together — Lubezki is the one who insisted on 65mm — and Cuarón’s goal all along, he said, was, “I don’t want Chivo to have any limitations.”

But when the preproduction and production schedules stretched out too long, Lubezki had to drop out. “That was scary,” Cuarón said. “This was two and a half, maybe three weeks before we started shooting. Immediately I started talking with cinematographers I admired, but I realized that with these particular cinematographers, my conversation on the set was going to be in English. And the whole reason of going to Mexico was to do a film in my mother tongue–not only the actors but my creative process.

“I was going around in circles, and Chivo was the one who said, ‘You know what? Just do it yourself. You have to do it.'”

So he did it, while maintaining an obsession with making sure that every item on screen was accurate to what he remembered. (During a party scene where somebody is playing the original “Jesus Christ Superstar” album, the needle on the turntable is in exactly the right place for the song we’re hearing.)

“Every single object in the place had to be right,” Cuarón said. “We had to fill up the drawers with stuff — even the drawers that were never going to be opened had to have the things that would have been in them. It needed to have the energy of that.”

And did anybody say to him, “Alfonso, you’re nuts to be this meticulous”?

“Pretty much, there were a lot of comments: ‘It doesn’t matter,'” he said. “‘You’re never going to open the drawer, what’s the difference?’ But it was a big difference.

“I have read the process of [Carl Theodor] Dreyer, for instance, in “The Passion of Joan of Arc.” It is a silent film, so there is no sound. Nevertheless, he had the actors talking, and what they say, even if there are no titles, is an exact transcription from the original trial. Or [Luchino] Visconti in “Ludwig,” making people bake a cake using the recipe that Ludwig, the man at the time, would have used. And sure, people said, ‘Oh, come on, you’re just going to photograph it, nobody is going to know how the cake was made.’ No, but there is something about the process of trying to portray the real. Not reality, not just trying to be realistic, but trying to get to the essence of the real.”

And in a way, Aparicio thinks that meticulousness extended to the characters as well. “When I talked to Libo after she was able to see the film, she mentioned that when she was watching the film, it was like seeing her own self in the movie,” she said. “All my movements, every gesture I made reminded her of herself, like she was looking at herself from a little bit far away.”

“Roma” has been rapturously received by critics and film festival audiences since it premiered in Venice, and it enters the Oscar race with a good chance of becoming the sixth film to be nominated both for Best Foreign Language Film (it’s Mexico’s entry) and Best Picture. The question, though, is how it will connect with mainstream audiences.

And sitting in a room surrounded by the artifacts of his childhood, Cuarón admitted that he was never sure that such a personal project would be embraced by people who had none of his memories.

“You don’t choose projects, they choose you,” he said. “It becomes a need, and you go for it. But I remember saying to people close to me, ‘Look, I have the opportunity of doing this now. I’m not going to question it, but I doubt that this is really going to connect in any way.'”

He shrugged. “And it has been a very pleasant surprise to see the amazing reaction to the film. Yes, critics have been fantastic, but the emotional audiences at film festivals and screenings–when you see people from different cultures, people that come out crying, they feel so connected.

“Because even if the story is about, yes, my own family in the 1970s in a specific city in a specific country, it’s families. It just proves that the human experience is one and the same.”

To read more of TheWrap’s Race Begins issue, click here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Oscars Give More Power in Foreign Language Voting to LA Members (Exclusive)

Emmys 2018: Oscars Director Glenn Weiss Pops the Question to Girlfriend Jan Svendsen on Live TV

Oscars Foreign Language Race 2018: Complete List of Submissions

Spider-Man, Aquaman, Dick Cheney: It’s a month of heroes and villains at the multiplex

So many movies, so little time. Every week brings a new crop of them, opening in multiplexes and arthouse theaters across the nation, and arriving in increasingly high volumes on streaming platforms like Netflix. How’s a voracious moviegoer to keep up?…

So many movies, so little time. Every week brings a new crop of them, opening in multiplexes and arthouse theaters across the nation, and arriving in increasingly high volumes on streaming platforms like Netflix. How’s a voracious moviegoer to keep up? That’s where The A.V. Club comes in. The first week of every

Read more...

How the Globe Noms Affect the Oscars: ‘A Star Is Born’ Shines, But Will ‘Vice’ Follow ‘The Post’?

Don’t worry. Sam Elliott still has a shot.

Remember, it’s the Hollywood Foreign Press. This always-idiosyncratic group of 90 Hollywood correspondents from around the world are wined and wooed by studios and celebrities all year round. Sometimes, the HFPA gets it right: last year, Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” nabbed seven Golden Globe nominations and went on to win the Best Picture Oscar. And sometimes, Globes voters fall in love with their favorites: last year Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” walked away with six nominations — and barely notched two mentions at the Oscars for Picture and Meryl Streep. Will Adam McKay’s late-breaking comedy “Vice” meet a similar fate?

Christian Bale, "Vice"

Christian Bale, “Vice”

Greig Fraser/Annapurna Pictures

The Globes can add momentum: “Vice” (Annapurna) does get a lift with six nominations, along with “Green Book” (Universal) and “The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight) with five. On the drama side, “A Star Is Born” (Warner Bros.), which also boasted five, already had wind in its sails. And an HFPA snub is not the end of the world: “A Star Is Born” star Sam Elliott is unlikely to be left out of Best Supporting Actor by SAG or the Oscars. (Last year’s Globe and Oscar-winner, “Vice” star Sam Rockwell, is less likely to make the final Oscar cut.)

Roma

Photo by Carlos Somonte

Participant Media had a good day as the producer of both foreign-language “Roma” (Netflix) and “Green Book,” while Universal and its subsidiary Focus Features led the field with seven nominations each for a total of 14 (“Green Book,” “First Man,” “Blackkklansman,” “Boy Erased”)  and financially frazzled new distributor Annapurna racked up 10 nominations (“Vice,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Destroyer”) along with awards maestro Fox Searchlight (“The Favourite,” “Isle of Dogs,” “The Old Man & the Gun,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), while Disney boasted nine (“Black Panther,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Incredibles 2,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet”).

“BlacKkKlansman”

This year, the HFPA doubled down on diversity: Landing at least three nominations were “Green Book” (5), “BlacKkKlansman” (4), “Black Panther” (3), “If Beale Street Could Talk” (3) and “Roma” (3). While Alfonso Cuaron was nominated for Foreign-Language Film (Mexico), Director, and Screenplay, Yalitza Aparicio did not land Best Actress. With the HFPA, being an unknown is a disadvantage. The HFPA also skipped over rising stars KiKi Layne and Stephan James of “If Beale Street Could Talk” (while nominating James for his work in Amazon series “Homecoming”), as well as Amandla Stenberg and Russell Hornsby of “The Hate U Give.” But they did go for Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali of “Green Book” and Emmy-winner Regina King of “If Beale Street Could Talk,” as well as Denzel Washington scion John David Washington, who played the title role in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman.”

While director Spike Lee and Supporting Actor Adam Driver also landed nods, the screenplay and score did not. “Ron Stallworth, you’re a hero,” said Washington. “Thank you for allowing me to tell your story on screen. This is a surreal moment, wow.”

Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” also landed slots for Best Drama and Screenplay, but not Best Director or Score. While the HFPA rewarded Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” for Best Drama, Original Song, and Score, they did not include the Screenplay or any of the cast.

Steve McQueen’s not-so-commercial thriller “Widows” is officially out of the awards race, because if the Golden Globes didn’t nominate their beloved Viola Davis, nobody else will. It’s just the wrong movie at the wrong time.

Lucas Hedges'Boy Erased' film premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Oct 2018

Lucas Hedges

AFF-USA/REX/Shutterstock

Even with extra comedy and drama categories, the HFPA made some strange omissions Thursday morning. They included box-office hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Metascore: 49) in Best Drama and Best Actor (Rami Malek) at the expense of Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” (Metascore: 84) and star Ryan Gosling. “The Crown” Globe-winner Claire Foy made the cut in Supporting Actress for “First Man,” and “La La Land” composer Justin Hurwitz was recognized for his soaring score.

In the Best Actor race, a surprise entry was Lucas Hedges of “Boy Erased,” while critics’ darling Ethan Hawke was left out for “First Reformed,” along with writer-director Paul Schrader. Steady as they go are Best Actor Drama nominees Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”) and “At Eternity’s Gate” star Willem Dafoe.

“At Eternity’s Gate”

CBS Films

On the comedy side, the HFPA was impressed with the year’s most extraordinary shapeshifters: Christian Bale and Viggo Mortensen each gained more than 40 pounds to play Vice President Dick Cheney in “Vice” and bouncer Tony Lip in “Green Book,” respectively, while John C. Reilly moves up the ranks for channeling comedian Oliver Hardy in Sony Pictures Classics’ “Stan & Ollie.” Robert Redford gets a lift for “The Old Man & the Gun,” along with Lin-Manuel Miranda in “Mary Poppins Returns.”

“Green Book”

Universal Pictures

The Best Actress Drama race was the most surprising, as HFPA favorite and “Destroyer” star Nicole Kidman and Rosamund Pike landed slots (“A Private War” also landed a Best Original Song nod for Annie Lennox). Both actresses will get a needed push as more voters check out their films. Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”), Glenn Close (“The Wife”) and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) are looking good — along with McCarthy’s co-star, Supporting Actor Richard E. Grant.

Jack (lin-Manuel Miranda), Annabel (Pixie Davies), Georgie (Joel Dawson), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) in Disney's original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

“Mary Poppins Returns”

Jay Maidment

On the Musical/Comedy side, the HFPA went for movie stars Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”) and Charlize Theron (“Tully”) as well as TV star Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians”) over emerging star Kathryn Hahn of “Private Life.” They did include young newcomer Elsie Fisher of “Eighth Grade,” marking A24’s solo Globes nomination.

Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in the film THE FAVOURITE. Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in the film “The Favourite”

Yorgos Lanthimos

“The Favourite” landed nods for Comedy and Screenplay as well as its actress trio, Olivia Colman as Best Actress Comedy and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as Supporting Actress, respectively, but not Director Yorgos Lanthimos. Adam McKay, on the other hand, scored Comedy, Screenplay, Director, Comedy Actor Bale, Comedy Supporting Actor Sam Rockwell, and Comedy Supporting Actress Amy Adams — who also notched a nod for “Sharp Objects” on the TV side.

Those who harbored hopes for “Paddington 2” star Hugh Grant can let them go; the Globes were his best chance at a mention. Ditto Natalie Portman in “Vox Lux.”

The 76th annual Golden Globe Awards air Sunday, January 6 on NBC at 8pm ET. The ceremony will be hosted by “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor Andy Samberg and “Killing Eve” star Sandra Oh.

Check out the full nominations for the film categories, here.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
“Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“A Star Is Born”

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Vice”

Best Director – Motion Picture
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Peter Farrelly, “Green Book”
Adam McKay, “Vice”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Lucas Hedges, “Boy Erased”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
John David Washington, “BlacKkKlansman”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Nicole Kidman, “Destroyer”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Rosamund Pike, “A Private War”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Mary Poppins Returns”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
Robert Redford, “The Old Man and the Gun”
John C. Reilly, “Stan and Ollie”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Elsie Fisher, “Eighth Grade”
Charlize Theron, “Tully”
Constance Wu, “Crazy Rich Asians”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Timothee Chalamet,” Beautiful Boy”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Claire Foy, “First Man”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron
“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
“Vice,” Adam McKay
“Green Book,” Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
“A Quiet Place,” Marco Beltrami
“Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat
“Black Panther,” Ludwig Göransson
“First Man,” Justin Hurwitz
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron
“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
“Vice,” Adam McKay
“Green Book,” Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

“All The Stars” (“Black Panther”)
“Girl in the Movies” (“Dumplin”)
“Requiem for a Private War” (“A Private War”)
“Revelation” (“Boy Erased”)
“Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”)

Best Animated Feature Film
“Incredibles 2″
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mirai”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Best Foreign-Language Film
“Capernaum”
“Girl”
“Never Look Away”
“Roma”
“Shoplifters”

Golden Globes Movies: ‘Vice’ Is The Wild Card As HFPA Signals Battle Royale In Wide-Open Race All The Way To Oscars

With this morning’s Golden Globe nominations, along with the prestigious AFI Top 10 list earlier in the week, the field going forward in the Oscar race has been narrowed a bit, but only a bit. The two groups, which can be Oscar-predictive, agreed…

With this morning’s Golden Globe nominations, along with the prestigious AFI Top 10 list earlier in the week, the field going forward in the Oscar race has been narrowed a bit, but only a bit. The two groups, which can be Oscar-predictive, agreed on seven films in their top picture categories, with Netflix’s Roma additionally scoring significant nods despite being ineligible for the main lists at both the Globes (it is in Foreign Film only there) and AFI (a special…

Golden Globes Nominations Analysis: ‘Vice’ and ‘Green Book’ Emerge as Curious Front Runners

Well, that didn’t bring much clarity to the awards race. Thanks, Golden Globes.

In a year whose awards contenders come in all shapes and sizes, Globes voters took a few blockbusters, a bunch of midlevel indies and not much in the way of the small films that have enlivened some early critics’ awards.

So lots of “A Star Is Born” and “Black Panther” but no “First Reformed” or “The Rider,” not that we ever really expected the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to embrace those edgy little dramas.

Also Read: Golden Globes 2019: The Complete List of Nominees

The nominations were a little messy and sort of scattered, and they left us with a couple of curious frontrunners in Adam McKay’s “Vice” and Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book,” the only two films to be nominated in one of the Globes’ two best picture categories as well as for director, screenplay and acting.

And although “Vice” got six nominations to five for “Green Book,” the difference between the two is negligible: The former film landed the most noms on the strength of three acting nominations rather than two, which you can’t hold against “Green Book” since it’s essentially a two-hander between Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, both of whom were nominated.

Nobody else hit the picture/directing/screenwriting/acting grand slam: “A Star Is Born” and “BlacKkKlansman” didn’t get screenplay nominations, “The Favourite” was left out of the directing category and “Roma” didn’t get an acting nom and wasn’t eligible in the Motion Picture – Drama category because it’s in a foreign language.

(It did land a nomination in the Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language category, where it should win handily in the absence of the film that was thought to be its main competitor, “Cold War.”)

Also Read: Golden Globes Nominations by the Numbers

The results made “A Star Is Born” the de facto frontrunner in the drama category, which everybody figured it was before the nominations were announced. And they turned the comedy/musical race into a tight one between “Vice,” “Green Book,” “The Favourite” and maybe even “Mary Poppins Returns.”

They also showed what the National Board of Review and AFI Top 10 lists already suggested – that Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong story, “First Man,” which opened to rave reviews and seemed like a ready-made awards contender at the Venice Film Festival, just isn’t registering with awards voters.

And they’re not good news for Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule,” the last movie to screen for the HFPA and one that got shut out despite Eastwood’s star power and status as a Globes favorite.

Also missing in action: “Mary Queen of Scots” and “Widows,” the makers of which can join Damien, Clint, Sam Elliott, Yorgos Lanthimos and a few others in counting on the fact that the 7,000-plus Oscar voters never completely agree with the eight dozen Globes voters.

Since the Academy expanded its Best Picture category beyond five nominees in 2009, the Globes have never predicted all of their nominees. The closest came in 2013, when eight of the nine Best Picture nominees were first singled out by the Globes; the furthest away was in 2009, when only five of the 10 Oscar noms went to Globe nominees. (This year, expect them to get six to eight, depending on what the Academy thinks about “Vice” and “Mary Poppins.”)

Also Read: ‘Vice,’ ‘Assassination of Gianni Versace’ Lead 2019 Golden Globes Nominations

Of course we can complain about some of the Globes’ choices and point out that the likes and dislikes of 90-odd foreign journalists don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, but what’s the point? These days, every awards show, definitely including the Academy Awards, is scrambling for ratings and star power — and if they have to sacrifice a little credibility in the process, so be it.

So it seems churlish to gripe about the respectability of the Globes after a year in which the Academy announced (and then withdrew) a new Oscar for “popular films,” and voted to move what will likely be a number of the below-the-line categories off the air. (Granted, the Globes moved those categories so far off the air that they don’t even give them out, but at this point that seems more like a matter of degree than a difference in philosophy.)

Is “Bohemian Rhapsody” a better dramatic film than, say, “First Reformed” or “First Man” or “22 July” or “Wildlife” or “Leave No Trace” or “The Front Runner” or “The Rider?” Is anything on the list a better comedy than the Coen brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs?” I would say no, but it doesn’t matter what I say because I’m not a voter.

Also Read: Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh to Host 2019 Golden Globes

And I’m sure that when the Critics’ Choice Awards nominations (in which I am a voter) are announced next Monday, I’ll disagree with some of those just as strongly, and then again when Oscar nominations are announced a little less than seven weeks from now.

Different groups of people, different tastes, different priorities. And as the Academy scrambles to attract viewers and stave off irrelevancy, maybe they’re making a pretty good case that one award isn’t purer or holier than another – maybe they’re all just a matter of those tastes and those priorities, and we shouldn’t get so worked up about what they mean or the ways in which they fail to live up to our own particular tastes and priorities.

So there you go, HFPA: Good job showing us what you like. We don’t always agree, but we’ll see you on Jan. 6.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Golden Globes Announce New Honorary Award for TV

Golden Globes’ 9 Most Ludicrous Comedy or Musical Picks, From ‘The Martian’ to ‘Get Out’ (Photos)

Golden Globes Unveil New Supersize Statuette for 2019 Ceremony

Well, that didn’t bring much clarity to the awards race. Thanks, Golden Globes.

In a year whose awards contenders come in all shapes and sizes, Globes voters took a few blockbusters, a bunch of midlevel indies and not much in the way of the small films that have enlivened some early critics’ awards.

So lots of “A Star Is Born” and “Black Panther” but no “First Reformed” or “The Rider,” not that we ever really expected the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to embrace those edgy little dramas.

The nominations were a little messy and sort of scattered, and they left us with a couple of curious frontrunners in Adam McKay’s “Vice” and Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book,” the only two films to be nominated in one of the Globes’ two best picture categories as well as for director, screenplay and acting.

And although “Vice” got six nominations to five for “Green Book,” the difference between the two is negligible: The former film landed the most noms on the strength of three acting nominations rather than two, which you can’t hold against “Green Book” since it’s essentially a two-hander between Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, both of whom were nominated.

Nobody else hit the picture/directing/screenwriting/acting grand slam: “A Star Is Born” and “BlacKkKlansman” didn’t get screenplay nominations, “The Favourite” was left out of the directing category and “Roma” didn’t get an acting nom and wasn’t eligible in the Motion Picture – Drama category because it’s in a foreign language.

(It did land a nomination in the Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language category, where it should win handily in the absence of the film that was thought to be its main competitor, “Cold War.”)

The results made “A Star Is Born” the de facto frontrunner in the drama category, which everybody figured it was before the nominations were announced. And they turned the comedy/musical race into a tight one between “Vice,” “Green Book,” “The Favourite” and maybe even “Mary Poppins Returns.”

They also showed what the National Board of Review and AFI Top 10 lists already suggested – that Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong story, “First Man,” which opened to rave reviews and seemed like a ready-made awards contender at the Venice Film Festival, just isn’t registering with awards voters.

And they’re not good news for Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule,” the last movie to screen for the HFPA and one that got shut out despite Eastwood’s star power and status as a Globes favorite.

Also missing in action: “Mary Queen of Scots” and “Widows,” the makers of which can join Damien, Clint, Sam Elliott, Yorgos Lanthimos and a few others in counting on the fact that the 7,000-plus Oscar voters never completely agree with the eight dozen Globes voters.

Since the Academy expanded its Best Picture category beyond five nominees in 2009, the Globes have never predicted all of their nominees. The closest came in 2013, when eight of the nine Best Picture nominees were first singled out by the Globes; the furthest away was in 2009, when only five of the 10 Oscar noms went to Globe nominees. (This year, expect them to get six to eight, depending on what the Academy thinks about “Vice” and “Mary Poppins.”)

Of course we can complain about some of the Globes’ choices and point out that the likes and dislikes of 90-odd foreign journalists don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, but what’s the point? These days, every awards show, definitely including the Academy Awards, is scrambling for ratings and star power — and if they have to sacrifice a little credibility in the process, so be it.

So it seems churlish to gripe about the respectability of the Globes after a year in which the Academy announced (and then withdrew) a new Oscar for “popular films,” and voted to move what will likely be a number of the below-the-line categories off the air. (Granted, the Globes moved those categories so far off the air that they don’t even give them out, but at this point that seems more like a matter of degree than a difference in philosophy.)

Is “Bohemian Rhapsody” a better dramatic film than, say, “First Reformed” or “First Man” or “22 July” or “Wildlife” or “Leave No Trace” or “The Front Runner” or “The Rider?” Is anything on the list a better comedy than the Coen brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs?” I would say no, but it doesn’t matter what I say because I’m not a voter.

And I’m sure that when the Critics’ Choice Awards nominations (in which I am a voter) are announced next Monday, I’ll disagree with some of those just as strongly, and then again when Oscar nominations are announced a little less than seven weeks from now.

Different groups of people, different tastes, different priorities. And as the Academy scrambles to attract viewers and stave off irrelevancy, maybe they’re making a pretty good case that one award isn’t purer or holier than another – maybe they’re all just a matter of those tastes and those priorities, and we shouldn’t get so worked up about what they mean or the ways in which they fail to live up to our own particular tastes and priorities.

So there you go, HFPA: Good job showing us what you like. We don’t always agree, but we’ll see you on Jan. 6.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Golden Globes Announce New Honorary Award for TV

Golden Globes' 9 Most Ludicrous Comedy or Musical Picks, From 'The Martian' to 'Get Out' (Photos)

Golden Globes Unveil New Supersize Statuette for 2019 Ceremony

The Best Cast Films of 2018, According to Casting Directors

Hollywood’s top casting directors explain why “Black Panther,” “Roma,” and “Eighth Grade” are among the best-cast films of the year.

Casting directors have a strange distinction in the awards world: It’s a guild with an Academy branch, but without its own Oscar category. Imagine for a moment that there was one. What are the best-cast films of 2018? IndieWire reached out to a number of the film industry’s top casting directors to ask them to nominate one outstanding work this year.

What follows is another lens through which to see our favorite movies of the year. Many of us are quick to highlight beautiful cinematography, expressive production design, visceral editing, a narrative-driving score, or an individual standout performance. However, casting directors play a vital role in interpreting the visions of today’s best directors.

Many casting directors noted that there were still many films this year they hadn’t yet seen. One other restriction, which was imposed as responses came in: IndieWire capped the number of entries at two for “Black Panther,” “Eighth Grade,” and “Roma,” which were the most popular picks amongst the group of casting directors polled for this article.

The nominations appear in alphabetical order by film title.

“Black Panther” Casting By Sarah Finn

"Black Panther"

“Black Panther”

Marvel

Cindy Tolan (“If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Straight Outta Compton”): To tell a story that is at the same time historic and futuristic, both classic and otherworldly, is one of the most challenging tasks a casting director can have. Add to that, that the film will be part of the Marvel [Cinematic Universe] and you’ve got a highly demanding albeit exciting task ahead of you.

Casting director Sarah Finn and director Ryan Coogler had to assemble a cast that could capture both the familiar superhero genre and the completely new black superhero idiom. Each actor had to be larger than life, uniquely individual, and yet be part of a whole greater than themselves.

Finn accomplished this by creating a unique ensemble comprised of dynamic actors all from different worlds; she truly did create a new universe. From Sterling K. Brown and Danai Gurira, both professionally trained at NYU MFA acting program, to Bambadjan Bamba, an undocumented immigrant actor from the Ivory Coast, to Letitia Wright, a Guyanese-born British actress, to Isaach De Bankole, a veteran of Jim Jarmusch films, and to Academy Award nominee, Angela Bassett, Finn built a single cohesive whole without losing each actor’s own individual voice. Not easy. Well done, Sarah Finn and Ryan Coogler.

Jennifer Euston (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”): Despite the very realistic projects I cast, I am and always have been a nerdy fangirl. Fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and superhero films and television are what I’ve thrived on since childhood. I’ve always thought these genres, most especially superhero films, never received enough credit for their casting—even before the Marvel Universe exploded on the scene over the last 10 years. In 1978, legendary casting director, Lynn Stalmaster cast “Superman” with Juilliard grad Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, and even Marlon Brando! No one’s been able to replicate that hero’s story ensemble although they try and try (sorry, DC Universe –but I love “Wonder Woman” and “The Dark Knight,” of course).

Similarly, no one will ever be able to recreate “Black Panther” with a better, more groundbreaking cast of actors from the smallest of roles to Chadwick Boseman, T’Challa himself. With the keys to Wakanda, Ryan Coogler was able to create a comic-book world that was still grounded and told a personal, family story with history and rivalry, love and hate. Sarah Finn was able to help him accomplish this by casting great black and African-American actors, established and up-and-coming, as well as character actors of all ages and types. From Sterling K. Brown’s emotional opening of the film (that would have not made such an impact with a lesser actor) to Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and other strong female lead characters portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and breakout Letitia Wright. Ms. Finn cast each and every role memorable and specific. It was so exciting to watch every fresh face working alongside familiar actors we’ve had in our lives for years.

Sarah Finn has populated the MCU over the past 10 years with actors who have become iconic, household names. As a fellow casting director, I know this kind of casting is not easy. She needs to find women and men who can transform into literal heroes and villains who audiences believe in and care about so much they want to see more and more of them. No pressure! Sarah succeeded, and we all saw what happens when you cast the right actors in right the roles, rather than aiming for star power. “Black Panther” broke box-office records and made over a billion dollars. It is proof to closed-minded studios and producers that a black and African-American cast is as valuable as other superhero blockbusters — not only monetarily, but creatively as well.

“BlacKkKlansman,” Casting By Kim Coleman

"Blackkklansman"

“Blackkklansman”

Focus

Ellen Chenoweth (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “No Country for Old Men”): Kim Coleman assembled such a great cast on “BlacKkKlansman”. There seems to be an understanding between her and Spike Lee, which is so important in producing the best casts. When we’re fortunate enough to have these collaborations, we all do our best work. I love the way Kim spiced the cast up between relative newcomers like John David Washington and Laura Harrier (both so good) and veterans like Michael Buscemi, Adam Driver, Ryan Eggold, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Topher Grace, perfectly embodying the banality of evil as KKK head David Duke. Add to this three of my favorite actors: Ashlie Atkinson, Paul Walter Hauser, and Corey Hawkins. What a wild story, brought alive and elevated to another level by Kim’s work.

“Can You Ever Forgive Me,” Casting By Jennifer Euston

Melissa McCarthy as "Lee Israel" and Richard E. Grant as "Jack Hock" in the film CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? Photo by Mary Cybulski. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Photo by Mary Cybulski

Allison Jones (“Eighth Grade,” “Lady Bird”): The shrewd casting for “Can You Ever Forgive Me“ was crucial to its impact on me. Melissa McCarthy made the character of Lee Israel fascinating – not necessarily likable, but riveting. Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells, and Stephen Spinella all created the NY literary world so believably – from Dolly’s careful articulation and Richard’s bohemian, sad but daring character, to Spinella’s intelligent specificity as a rare book dealer. Every character made me feel like this world was as competitive, challenging, and inscrutable as Lee Israel must have been.

This would not have worked as well with any other actors, thanks to Jen Euston’s understanding of putting the qualities of the role first, and the chemistry between actor and writing. A perfect cast.

Kim Coleman (“BlacKkKlansman,” “Dear White People”): There are a lot of great movies out this year, but one that stood out to me from an acting/casting standpoint is “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” directed by Marielle Heller with casting by Jennifer Euston.

In this movie, Melissa McCarthy tackled a more serious role than I’m used to seeing her play, portraying a real-life author desperate to remain relevant at any cost. I found her performance to be engaging, believable, and relatable as a damaged artist who just wanted the world to hear her voice. Although she was guilty of the crimes she committed, I found it easy to sympathize with her plight. Melissa dug deep to make us root for her character despite her untruthfulness. Her interpretation of Lee Israel provoked a sense of sadness and hope as she struggled to regain a life she once had.

Another stand out to me was Richard E. Grant. He took on the role of Jack Hock, a down-on-his-luck man who failed to live up to the expectations he set for himself despite his charm and appeal, and now must do whatever he needs to survive. Grant made compelling choices and provided the perfect balance with McCarthy. I was completely immersed in their world as they faced the consequences of the decisions they made along the way.

Kudos to Jennifer Euston, whom I adore and has an incredible eye for talent. She rounded out the cast with an outstanding supporting group including Jane Curtin, Dolly Wells, Anna Deavere Smith and Stephen Spinella — brilliant performers who enhanced the world of the story through their subtle yet impactful performances.

“Cold War,” Casting By Magdalena Szwarcbart

“Cold War”

Amazon Studios

Lucy Bevan (“Christopher Robin,” “Ready Player One”): From the opening scenes of “Cold War,” the audience is transported into a bleak time in history as if it were real time. The brilliant and detailed casting of all the people in the villages transports you further than any computer-generated imagery could. Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot give memorable and heartbreaking lead performances, supported by Agata Kulesza (great to see her again after her fine work in Pawlikowski’s “Ida”), Borys Szyc, Jeanne Balibar and lots of other fine Polish actors. From the bureaucrats in Poland to the party people in the smoky bars of Paris, each scene is filled with great actors all of whom feel completely authentic and of the time and place. Magdalena Szwarcbart, you did an amazing job!

“Crazy Rich Asians,” Casting By Terri Taylor

“Crazy Rich Asians”

Sarah Finn (“Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War”): There are so many exciting options to choose from in celebrating the best cast film of the year, but the first one that comes to mind is Terri Taylor’s genius ensemble in “Crazy Rich Asians.” Although awards season tends to favor dramatic and serious works, when you’re looking at the craft of casting, the work is no less significant or valuable in a romantic comedy (or any other genre, for that matter.) The breadth and scope of this cast, including breakout new stars as well as veteran actors, is without a doubt part of the film’s magic and success. Indeed much of the enjoyment and discussion of the film revolves around the freshness and uniqueness of its all-Asian cast.

Terri Taylor brilliantly combined legendary heavyweights like Michelle Yeoh with newly discovered talent like romantic lead Henry Golding and breakout stars like Awkwafina. In Constance Wu’s casting, she chose an actress known already on television who burst onto the big screen with tremendous appeal, range and charisma. She searched literally around the globe, with the help of regional casting directors, to round out each role with a perfectly chosen actor bringing more spark and dimension to the film.  And she took chances mixing comedians with dramatic actors to stunning effect. In creating a balanced, witty, and immensely entertaining cast, she broke the mold yet again and surely contributed to the film’s enormous impact.

AFI Awards: Top 10 Films and TV of 2018, Plus Special Award for ‘Roma’

This year’s juries went diverse with their picks, which were dominated by male creators.

The American Film Institute’s annual list highlighting the top 10 movies of the year includes multiple awards frontrunners. Given its foreign-language status, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” landed a Special Award from the American Film Institute film jury. Otherwise two juries — which are a mix of critics, academics, and film professionals — celebrate the best of American cinema and television. This year’s crop is diverse, with films from veterans Spike Lee, Paul Schrader, Peter Farrelly, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Rob Marshall alongside relative newcomers Barry Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, and Bo Burnham, as well as actor-directors John Krasinski and Bradley Cooper.

All ten films were directed by men. On the TV side, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” at least was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino.

Among the films that were left out of the Film Top 10 are “First Man,” “Vice,” “Widows,” “The Front Runner” and among films directed by women, “Leave No Trace,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” and “On the Basis of Sex.”

AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR

“BlackKklansman”

“Black Panther”

“Eighth Grade”

“If Beale Street Could Talk”

“The Favourite”

“First Reformed”

“Green Book”

“Mary Poppins Returns”

“A Quiet Place”

“A Star Is Born”

AFI TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR

“The Americans”

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”

“Atlanta”

“Barry”

“Better Call Saul”

“The Kominsky Method”

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

“Pose”

“Succession”

“This Is Us”

AFI SPECIAL AWARD

“Roma”

As usual, this year’s juries — one for film and one for television — were chaired by AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chairs Tom Pollock (former Vice Chairman of MCA, Chairman of Universal Pictures) for film and Richard Frank (former Chairman of Walt Disney Television, President of Walt Disney Studios, President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) for television. The juries included David Benioff, Joan Chen, Courtney B. Vance, Alfre Woodard, and Leonard Maltin, among others.

The annual AFI Awards luncheon (January 4) is a lovely untelevised gathering that brings the film and television industries together to celebrate the best of the year.

AFI’s Top 10 List Ranges From ‘Black Panther’ and ‘A Star Is Born’ to ‘First Reformed’ and ‘Eighth Grade’

Ryan Coogler’s blockbuster “Black Panther,” Bradley Cooper’s hit musical “A Star Is Born” and Peter Farrelly’s period dramedy “Green Book” have made the American Film Institute’s list of the top 10 films of 2018, as part of a wide-ranging selection that also includes the independent films “First Reformed” by Paul Schrader and “Eighth Grade” by Bo Burnham.

Also on the list: Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite,” Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” Rob Marshall’s “Mary Poppins Returns” and John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place.”

Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” and Adam McKay’s “Vice” were both missing from the list, as they were from the National Board of Review’s recent list of the year’s best films.

Also Read: ‘Green Book’ Named 2018’s Top Film by National Board of Review

Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” which was ineligible for the AFI list because it’s not an American-made film, was voted a special award.

The list gives an additional boost to “First Reformed” and “Eighth Grade,” which have fared well so far this awards season. It also gives respect to the horror film “A Quiet Place,” provides the first awards recognition to “Mary Poppins Returns” and keeps the momentum going for awards favorites “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “The Favourite” and “Green Book.”

This marks the second time that an awards group has accepted “The Favourite,” shot in England by a Greek director but released by the U.S. company Fox Searchlight, as an American film. The Gotham Awards did the same, while the Film Independent Spirit Awards classified it as a foreign film and the British Independent Film Awards designated it a British film.

The AFI’s list of the top television programs of the year included “The Americans,” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” “Atlanta,” “Barry,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Kominsky Method,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Pose,” “Succession” and “This Is Us.”

Since the Academy expanded its Best Picture category from five to 10 in 2009, and to a variable number of nominees two years later, the AFI Top 10 list has been a fairly reliable indicator that a film is likely to land an Oscar nomination. But the two lists have never matched exactly, with the AFI more prone to salute mainstream blockbusters (“Wonder Woman,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Bridesmaids”) and animated films (“Zootopia,” “Inside Out”) than the Academy.

Also Read: New York Film Critics Circle Winners: ‘Roma’ Named 2018’s Best Picture

The AFI list also honors American films only, which means that Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning films like “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist” and “Amour” were ineligible in past years.

In an average year, three films on the AFI list fail to make the cut with Oscar Best Picture voters, and two films not on AFI’s honor roll end up singled out by the Academy.

The AFI lists are chosen by juries made up of film and television artists, critics, scholars and AFI Trustees. The awards will be presented at a luncheon in Los Angeles on Jan. 4, 2019.

The AFI Top 10 lists:

AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR
BLACKKKLANSMAN
BLACK PANTHER
EIGHTH GRADE
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
THE FAVOURITE
FIRST REFORMED
GREEN BOOK
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
A QUIET PLACE
A STAR IS BORN

AFI TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR
THE AMERICANS
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
ATLANTA
BARRY
BETTER CALL SAUL
THE KOMINSKY METHOD
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
POSE
SUCCESSION
THIS IS US

AFI SPECIAL AWARD
ROMA

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Incredibles 2,’ ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Are Top Toons in Annie Awards Nominations

‘The Favourite’ Dominates the British Independent Film Awards

‘The Rider’ Wins Top Prize at 2018 Gotham Awards (Complete List of Winners)

Ryan Coogler’s blockbuster “Black Panther,” Bradley Cooper’s hit musical “A Star Is Born” and Peter Farrelly’s period dramedy “Green Book” have made the American Film Institute’s list of the top 10 films of 2018, as part of a wide-ranging selection that also includes the independent films “First Reformed” by Paul Schrader and “Eighth Grade” by Bo Burnham.

Also on the list: Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite,” Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” Rob Marshall’s “Mary Poppins Returns” and John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place.”

Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” and Adam McKay’s “Vice” were both missing from the list, as they were from the National Board of Review’s recent list of the year’s best films.

Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” which was ineligible for the AFI list because it’s not an American-made film, was voted a special award.

The list gives an additional boost to “First Reformed” and “Eighth Grade,” which have fared well so far this awards season. It also gives respect to the horror film “A Quiet Place,” provides the first awards recognition to “Mary Poppins Returns” and keeps the momentum going for awards favorites “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “The Favourite” and “Green Book.”

This marks the second time that an awards group has accepted “The Favourite,” shot in England by a Greek director but released by the U.S. company Fox Searchlight, as an American film. The Gotham Awards did the same, while the Film Independent Spirit Awards classified it as a foreign film and the British Independent Film Awards designated it a British film.

The AFI’s list of the top television programs of the year included “The Americans,” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” “Atlanta,” “Barry,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Kominsky Method,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Pose,” “Succession” and “This Is Us.”

Since the Academy expanded its Best Picture category from five to 10 in 2009, and to a variable number of nominees two years later, the AFI Top 10 list has been a fairly reliable indicator that a film is likely to land an Oscar nomination. But the two lists have never matched exactly, with the AFI more prone to salute mainstream blockbusters (“Wonder Woman,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Bridesmaids”) and animated films (“Zootopia,” “Inside Out”) than the Academy.

The AFI list also honors American films only, which means that Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning films like “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist” and “Amour” were ineligible in past years.

In an average year, three films on the AFI list fail to make the cut with Oscar Best Picture voters, and two films not on AFI’s honor roll end up singled out by the Academy.

The AFI lists are chosen by juries made up of film and television artists, critics, scholars and AFI Trustees. The awards will be presented at a luncheon in Los Angeles on Jan. 4, 2019.

The AFI Top 10 lists:

AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR
BLACKKKLANSMAN
BLACK PANTHER
EIGHTH GRADE
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
THE FAVOURITE
FIRST REFORMED
GREEN BOOK
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
A QUIET PLACE
A STAR IS BORN

AFI TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR
THE AMERICANS
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
ATLANTA
BARRY
BETTER CALL SAUL
THE KOMINSKY METHOD
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
POSE
SUCCESSION
THIS IS US

AFI SPECIAL AWARD
ROMA

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Incredibles 2,' 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' Are Top Toons in Annie Awards Nominations

'The Favourite' Dominates the British Independent Film Awards

'The Rider' Wins Top Prize at 2018 Gotham Awards (Complete List of Winners)

Ted Sarandos: Theatrical Windows are ‘Disconnecting People from Movies,’ Not Netflix

Theatrical windows have prevented films like “Roma” from opening in theaters around the world.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos doesn’t believe the streaming company and movie theaters are mutually exclusive properties. Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communication Conference in New York (via Deadline), Sarandos said Netflix is not disrupting the industry as much as theater exhibitors are for being stringent about preserving theatrical windows.

“They’ve disconnected people from movies in a way,” Sarandos said of theatrical windows, which mandate a certain amount of time separate a film from debuting in theaters and hitting VOD and streaming services. “I don’t think it’s very consumer-friendly that consumers who don’t happen to live near a theater are waiting six months, eight months to see a movie.”

Theatrical windows have been making releases complicated for Netflix around the world. Most recently, Mexico’s biggest theater chain Cinepolis announced it would not be showing Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” because it requires films to have a 90-day theatrical window before they become available for streaming online or on VOD platforms. Netflix is launching “Roma” globally via streaming on December 14, which doesn’t comply with Cinepolis’ theatrical window rule. The theater chain hoped Netflix might push “Roma’s” streaming launch to February so that it exhibit “Roma,” but that request did not pan out.

Ted SarandosBAFTA Tea Party, Los Angeles, USA - 06 Jan 2018

Ted Sarandos

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Netflix and Cannes’ much-publicized fight earlier this year was also the result of the theatrical window debate. Cannes banned movies without French theatrical distribution from competing for the Palme d’Or, eliminating Netflix originals like “Roma” from being entered into the Competition section. The reason Netflix refuses to open films in French theaters is because the country’s theatrical window is three years. If “Roma” played Cannes and got a theatrical release in France, it wouldn’t be able to stream on Netflix until 2021, which goes against the company’s business model.

“I don’t disagree that going to the theater to see a movie is a great experience,” Sarandos said, observing that Netflix and cinemas can co-exist. “I don’t think emotionally it’s a different experience than seeing a movie on Netflix. It is a different physical experience for sure.”

Netflix started giving select films pre-stremaing theatrical releases in the U.S. this year, starting with Joel and Ethan Coen’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” “Roma” opened in select theaters at the end of November, a full three weeks before it becomes available for streaming. Sarandos estimated “probably 80% of people in the theaters are also Netflix subscribers,” again driving home his point that Netflix and theaters are not mutually exclusive.

When talent asks for their films to play in theaters, Sarandos said, “I think that’s a way of saying, ‘I want my film to be in the culture. I want people to talk about my movie on line at Starbucks.’”

With major releases from Martin Scorsese set for 2019 (“The Irishman”), expect the debate about Netflix and theatrical windows to continue. “Roma” is now playing in select theaters and will expand once again December 7 before its December 14 streaming date.

SaveSave

Pedro Almodovar on ‘Roma’: ‘The Best Film of the Year’ (EXCLUSIVE)

MADRID — Pedro Almodóvar made an appearance last night in Madrid to present “Roma” to industry members and friends at a private screening held by Netflix. “It’s the best film of the year,” Almodóvar said calling “Roma”  “two hours from a master t…

MADRID — Pedro Almodóvar made an appearance last night in Madrid to present “Roma” to industry members and friends at a private screening held by Netflix. “It’s the best film of the year,” Almodóvar said calling “Roma”  “two hours from a master that sweep spectators away.” Almodovar joins an early crescendo of support for Alfonso […]

‘Roma’: Childhood Memories Flowed Like Water in Alfonso Cuarón’s Black-and-White Masterpiece

In editing his NYFCC Best Film winner, Cuarón got into the flow of the opening credit scene.

Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white childhood remembrance of things past, opens with a mesmerizing four-minute credit sequence: the mopping of a courtyard. The flow of foamy water establishes a rhythm as well as a cleansing metaphor about life and memory.

“And that flow started to dictate the other stuff,” said Cuarón, who served as editor with co-editor Adam Gough. “We went from one thing to the other, sculpting as we were going, moment by moment, following the flow.

“Roma”

Netflix

Read More:‘Roma’ Needed Those NYFCC Wins, But They Don’t Always Predict Oscars

“But I had to be discriminating because I have such long heads and such long tails, and I’m talking sometimes two minutes longer than what you see in the film. It was the dance of how far I take this versus how early or late I start these things.”

Cuarón meticulously recreated his childhood through recollections of his family, his house, and his neighborhood in Mexico City during the turbulence of 1970 and ’71. Yet he chose to follow Cleo (played by Best Actress contender Yalitza Aparicio), with his roving camera. Her affectionate devotion to the family during its marital crisis overlaps with her own personal problems and social unrest in the city.

“The personal and social go hand in hand,” added Cuarón. “And also the comment on two different emotional scars: the one that the family is going through and the scar that we share as a society.”

“Roma”

Netflix

The director wrote the script as a stream of consciousness experience and then shot his movie in continuity in a further improvisational manner. Only a handful of people were privy to reading the script. Cuarón allowed whatever came to mind to enter the drama. “But when I finished the whole thing, I trusted that the narrative muscle that I have built throughout my career would take care of it,” he said.

“I allowed each scene to be as long as what felt right. Usually I’m very strict about page count and timings. Here I didn’t care about that because we were dealing with so much randomness. I never gave instructions to the actors as a group but separately, and most of those indications were contradictory. I wanted accidents. I would not cut, I just let it roll.”

Still, the four-hour cut had to be trimmed, and Gough, who wasn’t allowed to read the script until after it was shot, offered a uniquely fresh perspective, helping bring the final version to a more acceptable 135 minutes.

(L to R) Marco Graf as Pepe, Daniela Demesa as Sofi, Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marina De Tavira as Sofia, Diego Cortina Autrey as Toño, Carlos Peralta Jacobson as Paco in Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Photo by Carlos Somonte

“Roma”

Photo by Carlos Somonte

“For me, it was an interesting experience not knowing what was happening in the story until the third time I was reviewing the footage,” Gough said. “So I struggled to analyze it and had to re-watch it. I just fell into the flow of this movie and let the emotions roll over me.

“There were times when the dailies would come in and I was just sitting at my Avid in tears, going through all the characters in emotional bunches sometimes. So I would have to take breaks and come back to the footage. But I came out of it with this complete emotional response to the footage.”

Read More:Alfonso Cuarón’s Black-and-White ‘Roma’ Was a Cinematic Master Stroke

A difficult scene editorially was the one where Cleo reveals that she might be pregnant to employer Sofia (Marina de Tavira). “Ultimately, it was just having such good quality footage,” said Gough. “There were 60 takes of that shot and four hours of coverage just for the master shot. From take to take, we had strong possibilities, but there were subtle options. It was just refining to get the most honest moment.”

“Roma”

SPOILER ALERT

Cleo’s frenzied hospital delivery scene, in which she loses her baby, was done as a single shot and they got it in one take. Cuarón staged the run through with the professional doctors, nurses, and administrators to get the procedure right, but used a double for Aparicio. And when the actress shot the scene, she had no idea how it was going to end. “We kept the tail running with doctors and nurses talking about stuff, and she was crying and crying, and it broke my heart seeing her crying,” Cuarón said. “And I yelled, ‘Cut,’ and I went to hold her. We were capturing her real reaction to that moment.”

“We’re not trying to make comments, we’re trying to keep the emotions flowing for the audience to be on this journey,” added Gough. “And without any score, there is nothing to prompt you.”

Emotional prompting aside, what about the presence of Cuarón as the implied narrator? After all, young Pepe (Marco Graf), who serves as his alter-ego, is saved from drowning by Cleo. That would tie together the flowing water in the opening with the heroic rescue from the strong ocean current at the end.

“Memory is the implied narrator,” argued the director.

Oscars 2019: Best Sound Editing Predictions

Immersion in a complex aural soundscape defines this year’s top Oscar contenders.

In the competitive Best Sound Editing race, complex Dolby Atmos technology is a factor in creating immersive soundscapes.

Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” recreates laconic Neil Armstrong’s (Ryan Gosling) journey to the historic moon landing in 1969, from teeth-rattling and dangerous supersonic test flights and documentary-like Houston home life to rocket blasts into space. “La La Land” carryovers — editor Tom Cross, composer Justin Hurwitz, and supervising sound editors Mildred Iatrou and Ai-Ling Lee — achieve a tactile, visceral impact, along with an otherworldliness.

A Quiet Place” offers a unique soundscape that drives the propulsive narrative. Indeed, filmmaker and star John Krasinski’s horror hit is all about sound and makes brilliant use of silence as a storytelling device. And all the better in Dolby Atmos, in which we become totally immersed in the sonic terror. Make a loud noise and the creatures will pounce and kill you. So it’s not surprising that much of the movie’s success is wrapped around the brilliant sound design in concert with Marco Beltrami’s menacing score.

Krasinski recommended that supervising sound editors Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn (“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”) create sonic points of view — or “envelopes” — for each member of the Abbott family as well as for the creatures, which are blind yet communicate through clicking sounds and navigate with bio sonar similar to dolphins and bats. Different and often annoying levels of feedback became an important part of the sonic signature. The sound team created sounds of trees, wind, and rustling clothes. The creatures have different sonic predatory modes (searching, idling, attack, and pain): as they get agitated, the intensity of their vocals get amped up.

Roma

Netflix

Set in 1971, Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white childhood memoir, “Roma,” follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in Mexico City’s middle-class Roma neighborhood. He makes us aware of the world outside the frame via Dolby Atmos sound design that creates a soundtrack of neighborhood bells, whistles, cars, vendors, dogs, birds and sloshing water.

Rookie filmmaker Bradley Cooper’s intimate, naturalistic remake of “A Star is Born” stars Cooper and Lady Gaga as gifted singer songwriters who fall in love. They not only filmed their performances live at Coachella, the Stagecoach Music Festival, and larger venues in L.A., but also from a back-to-center stage perspective. Sound was integral in keeping us contained inside the world of Jackson and Ally, and sound designer-mixer Steve Morrow provided seamless transitions without audible breaks, and achieved a propulsive soundscape that also benefits from the immersion of Atmos.

"A Star Is Born"

“A Star Is Born”

Warner Bros.

Frontrunners:
“First Man”
“A Star Is Born”
“A Quiet Place”
“Mary Poppins Returns”

Contenders:
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Black Panther”
“The Favourite”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”

‘The Favourite’ and ‘Roma’ Continue to Pull Arthouse Audiences

Oscar-contender “The Favourite” is the best specialized grosser of the season; Netflix’s “Roma” is the best-grossing subtitled art film.

More significant titles than usual opened this week, but many of them did not report their box office. The post-Thanksgiving date is always risky for new specialty entries as maintaining momentum through Christmas is a challenge.

Steady as they go are last week’s top openers, all well-reviewed Oscar contenders. “The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight), “Roma” (Netflix), and “Shoplifters” (Magnolia) all had strong second-week expansions.

Many films at this time of year open for one week for awards qualification, then widen early next year. (As normal, their grosses aren’t reported.) This year includes two films by previous Oscar winners — Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s “Never Look  Away” (Sony Pictures Classics) and Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows” (Focus). Also debuting with no grosses revealed were the documentary “Bathtubs Over Broadway” (Focus) as well as two new Netflix titles, Andy Serkis’ “Mowgli” and the Cannes prize-winner “Happy As Lazzaro.”

And Warner Bros. got as strong a theater placement as possible for German actor Til Schweiger’s “Head Full of Honey,” an English-language remake of his popular local story about Alzheimers. Nick Nolte stars. The reviews and initial turn out were not promising.

Opening

Anna and the Apocalypse (Orion) – Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Fantastic Fest 2017, Edinburgh 2018

$$51,000 in 5 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $10,200

Orion scored major New York/Los Angeles theaters (plus another in Austin) for this comedy about fighting zombies in a small Scottish town during the Christmas season, complete with carolers. It did well enough of to give it a shot at word of mouth for at least building cult interest.

What comes next: With the holiday coming, an expansion starts this Friday.

“Mirai”

Mirai (GKids) – Metacritic: 81; Festivals include: Cannes 2018

$62,497 in 68 theaters; Cumulative: $272,758

Late every year, GKids opens a strong foreign animated film. This Japanese effort, with high end reviews, played initially as a Fathom event on Thursday (the bulk of the gross) and then in fewer theaters over the weekend in a varying combination of playdates (making a per-theater average impossible for the weekend). This is a decent result for their efforts so far.

What comes next: This will continue as a limited specialized release in upcoming weeks, with the hopes that GKids scores another Oscar nomination.

Olivia Colman, "The Favourite"

“The Favourite”

Fox Searchlight

Week Two

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)

$1,105,000 in 34 theaters (+30); PTA: $32,500; Cumulative: $1,679,000

Yorgos Lanthimos’ strongly received period comedy continues to hit the right marks in its second weekend. Its performance ranks around the level of the second weekend expansion of two of the biggest pre-holiday expanding films last year, “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” This weekend’s gross includes some earlier week previews, which somewhat enhances the average. In any case, the film is the best specialized grosser of the season. With certain Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Oscar nominations ahead, and clear signs of positive audience reaction, this has performed about as well so far as Searchlight might hope.

Roma (Netflix)

$(est.) 110,000 in 4 theaters; PTA: (est.) $27,250, + unknown in 13 addition theaters in 17 theaters (+14); Cumulative: (est). $280,000 in 4 theaters; additional unknown

With further expansion ahead this Friday in more cities, and outreach to over 50 by December 14 (when it debuts on Netflix), Alfonso Cuaron’s film continues to sell out shows in top theaters. Again, the streaming giant refuses to release figures, but checking sales at theaters which have seating charts available shows it had multiple sell outs — many quite in advance — with a gross that looks to only have decreased 10 percent at the three locations it played last weekend. San Francisco was a new city (where it looks on a 100 seat screen to have grossed around $20,000, below its potential had it had more seats), with outlying locations in New York and Los Angeles added this week with no reports of grosses so far.

This looks like it will easily be the best grossing subtitled film from the specialize world this year, despite its streaming. Its acclaim — it won three awards, including Best Film from the New York Films Critics Thursday – and Cuaron’s position as one of the best known and popular directors today are helping. So perhaps is the expectation that seeing this on screen will not be easy after it plays on Netflix. Whatever the reasons, this is clearly a phenomenon and whatever Netflix’s desires or intentions, a success in theaters.

 

“Shoplifters”

Shoplifters (Magnolia)   5-132

$106,000 in 14 theaters (+9); PTA: $7,571; Cumulative: $238,260

By standards of all specialized subtitled films not named “Roma” this is a decent gross for the initial major city expansion of this acclaimed Japanese film. It currently stands tied with Cuaron’s film as the best reviewed film of 2018 at Metacritic (both at 95), won Best Foreign Language Film from the New York Film Critics and most importantly seems to be getting terrific word of mouth so far.

The World Before Our Feet (Greenwich)

$15,655 in 7 theaters (+5); PTA: $2,609; Cumulative: $54,630

A man whose multi-year quest to walk all the streets of New York City is chronicled is portrayed in this documentary which expanded into Los Angeles and elsewhere this weekend to adequate results.

Becoming Astrid (Music Box)

$18,934 in 15 theaters (+12); PTA: $1,262; Cumulative: $26,955

This biopic about the writer of the Pippi Longstocking novels found a home in top cities across the country week two. But the interest continues to be minimal.

 

“Green Book”

Universal Pictures

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

Green Book (Universal) Week 3

$3,900,000 in 1,065 theaters (+2); Cumulative: $14,016,000

Universal’s aggressive early push for this awards contender is bearing some fruit with this weekend down only 29 per cent from the holiday. It’s good enough so that even though there will be significant attrition as Christmas approaches, it should sustain enough presence to benefit from upcoming nominations and a potential later expansion in January.

Boy Erased (Focus) Week 5

$590,000 in 660 theaters (-12); Cumulative: $5,582,000

This well-reviewed gay conversion drama remains on a wide number of national screens. The marketplace is getting crowded, so expect a drop-off ahead but still a presence in most major cities through the holidays.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) Week 7

$350,000 in 272 theaters (-154); Cumulative: $6,591,000

Melissa McCarthy’s turn as a biographer turned scam artist has gotten her acclaim. The film continues to stay in view and has earned one of the better grosses among fall specialized releases.

Free Solo (Greenwich) – Week 10

$305,294 in 172 theaters (+26); Cumulative: $10,133,000

Defying gravity with an increase in theaters in its tenth week, National Geographic’s very successful documentary looks like it could continue to play in some locations even into the holidays and add to its terrific totals

'The Front Runner"

‘The Front Runner”

Columbia Pictures/YouTube

The Front Runner (Sony) Week 3

$(est.) 270,000 in 807 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $(est.) 1,627,000

Jason Reitman’s latest, with Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart, managed to hold on for some shows at all of its theaters. But the results were minimal despite Sony’s significant support.

The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox) – Week 9

$210,000 in 250 theaters (-10); Cumulative: $29,226,000

Fox’s successful handling of George Tillman Jr.’s strong drama about the impact of a police shooting continues to stay on a significant number of screens in now its third month of play.

At Eternity’s Gate (CBS) – Week 3

$180,000 in 48 theaters (+17); Cumulative: $670,000

In a very crowded field, Julian Schnabel’s latest film about fellow painter Vincent Van Gogh is finding a positive response. With Willem Dafoe in the running for awards consideration, this interest could boost his chances.

Steve Carell, Maura Tierney, TimothŽe Chalamet, Oakley Bull, and Christian Convery star in BEAUTIFUL BOY

“Beautiful Boy”

Francois Duhamel

Beautiful Boy (Amazon) – Week 8

$160,042 in 207 theaters (-47); Cumulative: $7,248,000

Amazon has built this acclaimed drama about a father and son dealing with meth and other addiction to a respectable total as it reaches the latter stages of its run.

Maria By Callas (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 5

$116,803 in 69 theaters (+14); Cumulative: $873,836

Core fans continue to turn out for this documentary with recently discovered material about the opera diva.

The Old Man and the Gun (Fox Searchlight) – Week 10

$78,000 in 114 theaters (+23); Cumulative: $10,920,000

Robert Redford’s late career star turn will end up ahead of many of the later season awards-oriented films.

Border (Neon) – Week 6

$76,920 in 73 theaters (+36); Cumulative: $569,337

This Swedish thriller is getting good big market placement by Neon, with a shot still at reaching a level above most subtitled films this year.

Wildlife (IFC) – Week 7

$55,487 in 66 theaters (-7); Cumulative: $931,937

Even with Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan in tow as parents in turmoil, this is struggling to reach the $1 million mark.

A Private War (Aviron) – Week 5

$50,000 in 66 theaters (-160); Cumulative: $1,518,000

This timely, well reviewed drama about a war journalist Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike) is near the end of its run with Aviron at least showing it could take a smaller film and get significant play across the country.

Also noted:

Suspiria (Amazon) – $27,123 in 33 theaters; Cumulative: $2,393,000

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Notes On The Season: New York Contenders Come Out; Branagh Sneaks Shakespeare Into Race; Bertolucci’s Memorable Oscar Night

A column chronicling conversations and events on the awards circuit.
The Big Apple, where I am this week, has put itself at the center of the awardsverse in the past few days as three early groups try to put their mark on the race and act as influencer…

A column chronicling conversations and events on the awards circuit. The Big Apple, where I am this week, has put itself at the center of the awardsverse in the past few days as three early groups try to put their mark on the race and act as influencers. But for Deadline the really big event is happening all day Saturday as we launch the first ever Deadline’s The Contenders New York at the DGA Theatre, where an impressive group of stars and filmmakers will gather to…

Oscars: Can Promising Outliers Sneak Into The Category Of Best Foreign Language Film?

There are 87 titles vying for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award this year, in what continues to be a robust lineup of talent, with rich tales to tell from faraway lands. With a number of previous winners and nominees returning for another go…

There are 87 titles vying for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award this year, in what continues to be a robust lineup of talent, with rich tales to tell from faraway lands. With a number of previous winners and nominees returning for another go-round, and some movies with a strong shot at nominations in other races, this has shaped up to be one of the richest rosters of Oscar contenders in recent memory. At this early stage, there appear to be some clear…

What’s Coming to Netflix in December 2018

With the holiday season in full swing, Netflix is beefing up its cache of classic films to watch from the comfort of your couch this December. Kicking off the start of the month is a much-needed visit from The Dude in “The Big Lebowski” alo…

With the holiday season in full swing, Netflix is beefing up its cache of classic films to watch from the comfort of your couch this December. Kicking off the start of the month is a much-needed visit from The Dude in “The Big Lebowski” alongside classics “Friday” (get ready to say farewell to Felicia all […]