“Oscars: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Truth About Why Producers Tried To Cut Alejandro Iñárritu’s Historic Speech”

“Alejandro G. Iñárritu made Oscar history in a couple of ways Sunday night becoming the first director to win back to back Oscars in 66 years, and only the third ever to do it after Joseph L. Mankiewicz and John Ford. He also became the third Mexican director in a row to win (his victory last year for Birdman, and Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity), a true statement of diversity in a broadcast that basically pummeled the industry audience with jabs at the mostly white nature of the nominees at the Dolby for much of its three hour and 36 minute running time.

But this key winning moment became a complete embarrassment for the Academy as the show’s producers, who already had exhibited quite a trigger-happy finger on cueing the orchestra to cut off winners at 45 seconds, incredibly began to play Iñárritu off just as he was trying to make a key poignant point about his own path to this moment and the need to ignore questions of color and ethnicity in giving opportunities. Iñárritu would not let this happen and he fought against the rising strains of “Flight Of The Valkyries” to get just the kind of heartfelt moment into the show the producers, Reginald Hudlin and David Hill, had encouraged winners to make.

This was a real miss in an otherwise entertaining, at times even inspiring, Oscars broadcast that had some genuine suspense and surprises in the mix for a change. But that doesn’t excuse the shabby treatment of now four-time Oscar winner Iñárritu, and he was well aware of it when I caught up with him just as he entered the Governors Ball after the show. “I hadn’t even used all my time when they started to play me off,” he told me, growing a little agitated as we discussed the matter.

He said he was determined to have his say and was clearly peeved that all the talk of diversity only seemed to be about African-Americans, with no mention from Rock or anyone else about Asians, Latinos and other minorities looking for help to follow their talent and dreams. He used the word “racism” to describe the tone of that aspect of the show.

Former Academy President Hawk Koch told me he too was angry about the treatment Iñárritu received, while a current Governor also agreed it was something they needed to review…”



“Young Justice Showrunner Still Interested in Another Season”


Young Justice was a spiritual successor of sorts to the popular Teen Titans animated series, following the adventures of Robin and other sidekicks as they struggled to work together outside of the shadow of the Justice League. The show ran for two seasons before it was canceled by Cartoon Network.

Speculation has begun recently that the show might make a comeback, however. Netflix may consider reviving the show for at least one more season — and that sounds like good news to Brandon Vietti, the show’s former showrunner.

Speaking with ComicBook.com, Vietti explained he didn’t know if there was any hope for season 3. He followed the answer up by saying he’d be happy to do another season if it was renewed, however, saying that it was “absolutely” a drop-everything kind of project. Not only that, but other members of the show’s creative staff would be on board as well…”




“Hollywood Studios Barely Promoted Non-White Actors And Films”

“There are many theories to explain the absence of non-white acting nominees for this year’s Academy Awards: maybe the Academy members are racist; maybe they aren’t racist but are simply too white overall; maybe there just weren’t enough non-white performers this year. The debate goes on and on.

But what if it wasn’t just the biases of the anonymous membership? What if studios got exactly what they paid for?

The studios, after all, invest heavily in advertising and promotional campaigns for their films and actors, hoping to influence the Academy members who vote on Oscar nominations and wins. They buy splashy ads in the industry press, give out free tickets and DVDs to voting members and throw parties with famous people. And those efforts create narratives. Face it — nobody left “Creed” muttering, “My god, Sylvester Stallone is truly America’s best supporting actor.” And most people who talk about how much Leonardo DiCaprio deserves an Oscar this year probably1 didn’t see “The Revenant.”

I wanted to figure out how to quantify those nomination campaigns, and since there’s no way I’m getting into an Oscar party or a studio screening, I went to a library2 and inventoried every “For Your Consideration” advertisement3 appearing in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the Oscar nomination voting deadline. I went through each issue released from November through Jan. 8, when nominations voting closed, found 363 “For Your Consideration” ads, wrote down the size and page of each ad, and photographed it. (You can download all this data at the bottom of this piece.)

As you can see in the table below,4 a strong promotional campaign is no guarantee of a desired nomination, but it’s pretty clear there’s a relationship between advertising and success. For this analysis, I looked at nominations for awards that recognize acting, directing and films as a whole.5 Of the top 10 advertised English-language films, six scored at least one nomination in those categories.6 Compare that with the 21st through 30th most advertised English-language films, of which only three got a nomination...”


“Riverdale pilot casts Camila Mendes as Veronica”

Riverdale now has a Veronica to compete with Betty for Archie’s affection.

The CW has cast newcomer Camila Mendes to play Veronica Lodge in its pilot based on Archie Comics. The character is described as an intelligent, confident, silver-tongued high school sophomore. Veronica returns to Riverdale from New York, eager to reinvent herself after a scandal involving her father.

The pilot, which takes the classic comic series in a surprising and subversive direction, has fleshed out its cast in a big way this weekRiverdale added actors to play Archie (K.J. Apa), his dad Fred Matthews (Luke Perry), Josie (Ashleigh Murray), and Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch).

Lili Reinhart (Surviving Jack) has been tapped to play Veronica’s rival Betty, while Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody) will play Archie’s slacker friend Jughead Jones.

Arrow’s Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter serve as executive producers on the pilot, as does Jon Goldwater from Archie Comics. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (SupergirlGlee) will write and executive produce.”


“Trevor Noah Blasts Ben Carson for Claiming President Obama Was ‘Raised White’”


“Believe it or not, Ben Carson is still running for president. And this week, he made some news by claiming in an interview that President Obama was “raised white” and therefore can’t identify with the “experience of black Americans.”

Trevor Noah isn’t having it. ”Like a glitched character on a video game, Ben Carson is just off facing the wrong direction,” The Daily Show host said Wednesday night. “Yeah, he is not attacking Trump or the other Republicans, but rather he’s chosen to attack President Obama. And it’s not for his policies and it’s not for his record.

It’s for not being black enough…”


“The Outrage over Marvel’s Iron Fist Casting, Explained”

“On Thursday, I was accused of being racist against white people. (The man who called me racist has since deleted the six tweets accusing me of it.)

Some of my best friends are white people. I work with white people. I’ve totally dated a white person, and I went to a predominantly white college. I listen to Taylor Swift and enjoyed The Notebook. I like meatloaf, and I read comic books. I will vouch for The Corrections. I fucking love SoulCycle.

But this comment didn’t come as a surprise to me.

The reason I was called an anti-white racist was that I tried to explain why Asian-American comic book fans were upset that Marvel’s Iron Fist is going to be a white man. I also made a Macklemore joke.

On Thursday, the Hollywood Reporter and EWreported and confirmed that the role of Iron Fist, Marvel’s next Netflix hero, will be played by Finn Jones, a.k.a. Ser Loras Tyrell on Game Of Thrones.

 Marvel’s decision upholds 40-something years of comic book canon, but it’s also a disappointing shock to some comic book fans — particularly Asian-American comic book fans who hoped that Marvel might take the opportunity to cast an Asian or Asian-American actor as Iron Fist. Their disappointment has been met with some sniping from comic book purists who believed their beloved source material was under threat and now feel vindicated.

The response to Marvel’s casting exhibited an ugly, unyielding side of comic book fandom, and the comic book community displayed, once again, why people refuse to take it seriously.

If someone announced tomorrow that the X-Woman known as Storm, a.k.a. Ororo Munroe, was going to be an Asian-American woman, I would be livid. Such a change would be a disgrace to the comic book character. It would also betray years and years of comic book canon, and thousands of pages of hard work from writer Chris Claremont.

So I understand the protectiveness that fans feel over comic books. Comics are powerful pieces of art and fiction that have shaped childhoods and realities for the people who read them. And there’s an expectation that showrunners, directors, producers, writers, actors, and actresses will be loyal to these precious things.

What’s a little more difficult to understand, and what I’m still figuring out, is that when those folks tweak or change the race or sex of an established character — like a black Human Torch or a female Thor or Jeri Hogarth from Jessica Jones — sometimes the only argument being made against their decision is that the original version of the character “is canon.”

It’s not that canon isn’t important. With characters like Storm and Luke Cage, who are both black, the color of their skin is essential to their characters. Cage’s indestructible skin is a powerful allegory of racial injustice that still resonates today, decades after the character was debuted in 1972. There’s a similar resonance with Storm. Writer Greg Pak and artist Victor Ibanez’s 2014 solo series showed the juxtaposition of being considered the queen of Wakanda (a fictional African country) and a goddess with being considered a black, mutant criminal in America.

And honoring canon isn’t just paramount with respect to characters of color, either. Magneto’s background as a Holocaust survivor is essential to his worldview…”


“In this Town, It’s as if Hollywood Tries Not to Cast Latinos”

“In Hollywood, there is no Magical Latino.

That honey-tongued Mexican American dude who can help the white guy with his golf game while, more important, imparting life lessons before disappearing over the horizon? He doesn’t exist. That Salvadoran woman wisely guiding the “Chosen One” — another white guy — through an alternate-reality maze to his appointed destiny? You won’t find her.

A Latino playing God as he gives up control of planet Earth to help a funny white TV reporter having a bad day at the office? Get out of here.

Since the Academy Award nominations were announced, much of the #OscarsSoWhite conversation has focused on black actors. But consider Latinos, the nation’s largest minority group, even if Hollywood very often doesn’t.

Social media erupted recently with “whitewashing” accusations after the film“American Drug Lord” gave the starring role of Mexican American cartel kingpin Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez to the British actor Charlie Hunnam.

But that dust-up distracts from a problem that reaches deeper into the casting process. Latinos have a particularly hard time getting even the kinds of cliched supporting roles that have become commonplace for black actors — the wise or wisecracking, sometimes magical guides for white protagonists.

“The industry thinks we’re foreign,” said musician and veteran actor Rubén Blades, who after many years in the entertainment business has a coveted regular role in the AMC series “Fear the Walking Dead.” “We are culturally excluded.”

And yet, according to several studies, no group buys more movie tickets when compared with their proportion of the U.S. population than Latinos. In the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s 2014 Theatrical Market Statistics report for U.S. and Canadian moviegoers, Latinos were 17% of the population but “oversampled” at 25% of North American frequent moviegoers.

As this year’s Oscars host, Chris Rock wrote in a 2014 essay for the Hollywood Reporter, “Forget whether Hollywood is black enough. A better question is: Is Hollywood Mexican enough? You’re in L.A., you’ve got to try not to hire Mexicans.”

How many times has Hollywood cast a white actor as a Latino protagonist? Long before Hunnam, there was Marlon Brando in “Viva Zapata!” and that famous Mexican thespian Charlton Heston in “Touch of Evil.” But we’re not even talking about getting starring roles here. If you can’t get the supporting roles, it stands to reason you won’t graduate to bigger roles…”