3 items from 2017
Premiering at Tiff 2017, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major film documentary to examine Davis’ vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.
Today Sammy Davis is seen primarily as part of The Rat Pack. That quartet of bad boys who sing and joke around is very much a part of time when Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were the kings of the Las Vegas scene.
But Sammy Davis Jr. was much more than that and merely by lending his black face to that group makes The Rat Pack seem like a liberal if slightly dissolute, but a filled-with-fun group. In truth, his position with Sinatra, Martin, Peter Lawford was not all that comfortable and the path Davis had already trod before landing there was not a simple or easy one.
- Sydney Levine
Ending an 87-year drought, the Academy finally nominated its first African-American cinematographer, Bradford Young, for his dark, richly textured work on Denis Villeneuve’s science-fiction hit “Arrival.” Young had already picked awards twice at Sundance for his lensing on Dee Rees’ “Pariah” and shooting Andrew Dosunmu’s “Mother of George” and David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” the same year, and he served as Ava DuVernay’s cinematographer on “Middle of Nowhere” and “Selma.” With Oscar in sight, Young spoke with Variety from London, where he is currently filming a little project unofficially known as “Han Solo,” a new chapter in the “Star Wars” franchise.
Personally and historically, what does this nomination mean to you?
It’s a tough question that I’ve been thinking about a lot. It’s always an honor when your peers recognize the hard work you put into the films that we make, »
- Scott Tobias
At first, they look like any other subway ad for a certain low-level New York lawyer: A middle-aged man, a cheesy font, a name — John Stone. Unless you noticed the HBO logo in the corner, you wouldn’t know it was promoting HBO’s limited series “The Night Of,” starring John Turturro as one of those low-level New York lawyers who takes on the case of a Pakistani-American college kid from Queens accused of murder (played by Riz Ahmed).
“The lady who works at our house, she was on the subway and saw it, and went to take a picture of it,” Turturro, who lives in Brooklyn, tells Variety. “A guy saw her and said, ‘Do you know that guy?’ She said, ‘Yeah, I work for him,’ and he said, ‘Is he a good lawyer?'”
John Stone was a good enough lawyer, though his client suffered possibly irreparable psychic damage from his time on Rikers Island »
- Oriana Schwindt
3 items from 2017
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