Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson has contributed to AWFJ's AWARDS INTELLIGENCER blog.

 

Articles by Quendrith Johnson

 

AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Rooney Mara Revered by Cate Blanchett and Todd Haynes – Quendrith Johnson reports

rooney maraTo hear fellow Oscar-nom, two-time winner Cate Blanchett, gush about her Best Supporting Actress and Carol consort Rooney Mara, is almost as shocking as when Blanchett uses the word “startling” to describe Mara’s acting chops. Next “The Great Cate” cobbles together some descriptive sentences worthy of a literary titan. It’s more of a love letter than an endorsement, in keeping with the forbidden 1950′s women-in-love angle in Carol. Read more on AWARDS INTELLIGENCER

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Why Stallone Might Win the Oscar – Quendrith Johnson comments

CreedJordanSly16The deep rooted bond between Hollywood icon Sylvester Stallone and tinseltown’s phenom director Ryan Coogler comes from shared experience: they were both homeless and from that position of deprivation fought their way to the movie major leagues. Stallone, in Santa Barbara to accept the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Montecito Award, credits Coogler with creating greatness in Creed and talks about finding common ground with the young filmmaker who lived in his car while attending film school. Read more in AWARDS INTELLIGENCER

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Sacha Pfeiffer talks SPOTLIGHT, Journalism and Subtext — Quendrith Johnson Interviews

RacheSachaOne thing is certain, in Oscar Best Film contender Spotlight, Rachel McAdams is well-cast as Boston Globe investigative reporter Sacha Pfeiffer, who proves to be an intensely interesting character in her own right. A key member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that cracked open the priest sex-abuse scandal that’s plumbed in the film, and dethroned Boston’s Catholic powerbroker Cardinal Law, Pfeiffer packed a impactful editorial punch. She still does when it comes to social and political issues. But when you meet her, she tilts her head to one side, leans back a bit and welcome you into her zone. Read more in AWARDS INTELLIGENCER...

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Johnny Depp Nabs Leonard Maltin’s Golden Statuette — Quendrith Johnson reports

JohnnyDeppHand-300x168Leonard Maltin just tells it like it is, but with such heart and insight for viewers. So much so that the elder statesman of cinema had a life achievement award renamed after him at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) in 2015: The Maltin Modern Master Award. Last night his legacy was cemented as A-List actor Johnny Depp, or “Jonathan Christopher Depp,” as Maltin called him, came to Santa Barbara International Film Festival to accept The Other Golden Statuette. Read more on AWARDS INTELLIGENCER

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Frontrunner SPOTLIGHT, #OscarsSoWhite, The Contentious Award Season – Quendrith Johnson comments

If Oscar-winner Sean Penn can go interview El Chapo, then the state of journalism really is in trouble — oh, never mind, this is just indicative of how movie people perceive and interpret the craft of journalistic writing and reporting. A cocky Penn goes on Charlie Rose to call out those who ‘don’t think I’m a real journalist,’ while having committed a de facto ethical violation of the profession by grandstanding for Rolling Stone with a fugitive, mass-murdering, drug Lord. But, if turnabout is fair play, most journalists would happily take a shot at starring in his next straight-to-video motion picture. But what are we really discussing here, writing, reporting, The Death of The Media, The Rise of The Internet? Nope. This inelegant segue leads directly to our Oscar front runner for Best Picture, Spotlight. Read more in AWARDS INTELLIGENCER

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Golden Globes Wake Up – Quendrith Johnson comments

GoldenGlobeLogoWhat’s cool about the Golden Globes is that celebrities can do things there that they wouldn’t dream of doing at other award shows. Can you imagine Jodie Foster coming out during an Oscar speech? But that’s exactly what she did at the Golden Globes, albeit years after everyone in Hollywood had known and forgotten about her sexual preference. Foster knew there would be no theme music rushing her off stage, nor any censorship, so in 2013 she accepted herself while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award from The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Even the word “Foreign” in their name is slightly strange and outdated, almost anachronistic. Read more in AWARDS INTELLIGENCER…

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Praise for CHI-RAQ – Quendrith Johnson Comments

ChiRaqOS“Has the world gone crazy?” This is the refrain coming from the San Bernardino, Calif., and the Paris mass shootings; but it also echoes in filmmaker Spike Lee’s new movie Chi-Raq. While the film is ostensibly a high-art adaptation of Aristophanes’ Greek satirical classic Lysistrata set in the inner city, it is a call-to-action on the shock topic of gun-related violence worldwide. Read more in AWARDS INTELLIGENCER…

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ArcLight Women Summit: Gretchen McCourt, Geena Davis, Cathy Schulman & More – Quendrith Johnson reports

Gretchen McCourt

Gretchen McCourt

With the disparity in representation of women in the director’s chair and actor compensation, as Jennifer Lawrence penned in a recent letter, it’s no surprise that ArcLight Cinemas just presented an “Inaugural Women in Entertainment Summit” (WIE). Host Gretchen McCourt, Executive Vice President of ArcLight, can be said to be a driving force here, complete with a hashtag #arclightwomen. Read more in AWARDS INTELLIGENCER…

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Hollywood Insider Katherine Kramer on Trending Feminism and the 2016 Oscars – Quendrith Johnson reports

katkramercroppedHollywood insider Katherine Kramer (Stanley’s daughter) discusses the feminist movie trend and its possible 2016 Oscars impact. Making women’s issue movies got a huge boost with Patricia Arquette’s impassioned 2015 Equal Pay Oscar acceptance speech, leading to a proliferation of 2016 Oscar-worthy femme-centric projects, legislation for equal rights and even a federal investigation of Hollywood’s disparate salaries, based on numbers leaked in the Sony hack. Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and other A-listers have joined a chorus actresses clamoring for equal representation for women behind and in front of the cameras. Katherine Kramer’s take on feminist trending is smartly insightful and fascinating. Read more in AWARDS INTELIGENCER.

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EAST LA INTERCHANGE: “If This Film Could Vote” With Director Betsy Kalin – Quendrith Johnson comments

XaviMorenoNo one disputes that there are a lot of LA’s, from the ancient Los Angeles of Pueblo and Missions, to Hollywood and LA Film Noir, to the Watts Towers, to Dog Town Surf Culture, to CGI pioneers and Silicon Beach. But director Betsy Kalin’s new documentary East LA Interchange is likely one of the few to explore the neighborhood known as Boyle Heights. This film will open tomorrow at The Hollywood Film Festival with narrator Danny Trejo (Machete) piecing together the topical patchwork of different ethnic communities that make up this oft-overlooked backbone of Los Angeles culture. There are Mexican-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Anglo-Americans, African-Americans, everything in between and a thriving Jewish community here. Read more>>

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Playwright Donald Margulies On Writing THE END OF THE TOUR

Donald Margulies

Donald Margulies

There’s really only one thing you need to know about Donald Margulies, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his play “Dinner With Friends” (1998) — he will field any question graciously. This generosity is the defining characteristic of someone at the top of their craft. So when The End of The Tour (starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg) opens in theaters on July 31, Margulies, as the screenwriter who adapted the David Lipsky memoir about David Foster Wallace, will be discovered by a whole new generation of film audiences. Read more>>

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Top Ten Road Movies, Hers vs His

amber heard award drive angrySummer is when a lot of us hit the highway, so rounding up best road movies is timely fuel for fun. But how does you the road trip genre fare in terms of gender equality? Most frequently the highway has been presented as men’s terrain, with buddy buddy bonding mapped out within thriller, comedy, sci-fi, horror and other story lines. But we’ve found some fabulous women-driven road movies. Let’s compare lists…

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MANGLEHORN: David Gordon Green, Al Pacino and Relevance – Quendrith Johnson comments

manglehornYou could say director David Gordon Green’s late-career Al Pacino-starrer Manglehorn is about the violence of everyday conversations, the hurt we inflict in the routine course of ordinary discussions, and how these wounds last a lifetime. But, just as easily, Manglehorn could be considered a snow globe souvenir of the emotional lifespan and extraordinary range of screen legend Pacino.  Fortunately director David Gordon Green, to his credit, simplifies the hero worship. Read on…

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The Bogdanovich Story: Antonia and Peter – Quendrith Johnson reports

AntoniaBogdanovich-211x300Two-on-one interviews are never easy, especially if you inexplicably fluff a plot-point on a movie. Writer-director Antonia Bogdanovich, on the phone with her father Peter Bogdanovich, who executive produces on her debut feature film Phantom Halo, graciously corrects the error with: “The (other) guy shot the father. Not the son.” And with that Freudian flourish, you solider on somehow, mostly because the Bogdanovich’s are so gracious. Read on…

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Top Five Cinema Female Psyche Distortions and the ‘Isotta Fraschini’ Syndrome – Quendrith Johnson comments

MaggieGyllenhaal-234x300Ever since Maggie Gyllenhaal went public with the fact that she lost a role, at 37, as a love interest for a 55-year-old leading male because she was “too old,” the internet lit up with shock. But why should we be surprised? Disparity in casting leading men and women has been around since the Silent Era. So has a distorted view of the female psyche on film. Not only a distortion as to who and what women represent, but how the props, set dressing, costumes, conspire with the script, even the director, to really hammer the point home. Read on…

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Honoring Agnès Varda at Cannes 2015 – Quendrith Johnson comments

agnes vardaFrench New Wave Director Agnès Varda is the first female filmmaker to receive the Cannes Film Festival’s coveted Palme d’Or in the festival’s 68 year history. Varda, who turns 87 on May 30, has made a vital and lasting personal stamp on the international world of cinema and its aesthetics, and has guided many burgeoning filmmakers to self expression and successful careers. Varda’s cinema theories and practice are challenging in the best ways. Her concept of ‘cinecriture’ distinguishes the art of writing for film from from other forms of literature, and she defines filmmaking as the art of making decisions that embrace the unquantifiable factors of faith and chance. Read more>>

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GOOD KILL, Drone Strikes and Voltage Pictures’ Nicholas Chartier – Quendrith Johnson comments

good killWhen Voltage Pictures President Nicolas Chartier got a wrist-slap for openly appealing to Academy voters on behalf of his project The Hurt Locker (2010), he may have been “uninvited” to the Oscars, but he certainly proved himself to be the rare creative executive who really speaks his mind. Ironically, Chartier’s thesis holds up today. To paraphrase: ‘no actor studies Shakespeare to end up in The Avengers.’ Read more>>

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Filmmaker Lindsay MacKay on Transforming a Short into A Feature – Quendrith Johnson interviews

LindsayMacKayLindsay MacKay, a little known Canadian filmmaker, is escalating successful festival screenings of and awards for her well-crafted live action short, titled Clear Blue, into a full length feature. Riffing off the pool theme of the prize-winning short, her debut feature is called Wet Bum. MacKay speaks candidly with Quendrith Johnson about how she’s working the system. Read on…

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: Does Oscar Gold Translate into Bank or Fleece?

arquetteoscars406This year’s Oscar wins have now turned into ad campaigns, as the studios scurry to make bank on their films’ golden statuettes. But there’s more to the story, and it involves selling strategies. For example, because Boyhood did’t sweep the Oscars, IFC Films will underplay Patricia Arquette’s Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress, and sell the movie’s three Golden Globe Awards. Even though Arquette’s Oscar win and acceptance speech were massively popular with audiences. Read on…

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Kristen Stewart’s César Reboots Her Career – Quendrith Johnson reports

kstewcesarcroppedsmallKristen Stewart is the first American in 30 years to be nominated, let alone score a César, or “French Oscar,” for Clouds of Sils Maria. But this historic first-ever win for an American, technically in a Supporting Role, merely scratches the surface of how Stewart ascended from the massively popular Twilight franchise to become this year’s actress most beloved by the notoriously insular French Academy. Read on..

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OSCAR CALCULUS: Why Best Actor is a Two-Way Race Between Keaton and Redmayne — Quendrith Johnson reports

redmayneand hawkingkeatonandinirrityAn informal red carpet survey may not be the most accurate way to gauge the Best Actor race for 2015, but this year the buzz confirms prevailing Hollywood insider sentiment that predicts a two-way tug between veteran Michael Keaton and newcomer Eddie Redmayne, leaving Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch on the sidelines. To understand voter calculus, let’s take a measure of the golden profiles of the Best Actor nominees, see what they bring to the gate, and reflect on what voters have said about their chances. Read on…

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American Sniping: Backlash Against Celebrity Takes A Left Turn — Quendrith Johnson comments

There have been backlashes against celebrity before, from Ingrid Bergman and Rita Hayworth being pilloried in Congress in 1949-1950, for Roberto Rossellini and Aly Khan, respectively, to Liz Taylor getting a media shellacking for her multiples in marriage. But these fits of pique have usually come from outside Hollywood. That all changed this past November, when the backlash against celebrity was revealed to come from inside the dream factory, specifically as a result of the Sony Hack. Read more>>

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CITIZENFOUR: Laura Poitras and Reframing Edward Snowden – Quendrith Johnson comments

laurapoitras190

Just as the biggest breaking story drops in her lap, filmmaker Laura Poitras is thinking ‘why did he choose me?’ The ‘he’ in question is then 29-year-old Edward Joseph Snowden, an outsourced infrastructure analyst working for a subcontractor to the NSA. And the rest is history. Encrypted emails came out of the blue to Poitras almost exactly two years ago, January, 2013. The implications for average netizens were astounding. Read more>>

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