2020 Golden Globe Nominations Announced

The full list of nominations for the 2020 Golden Globes has been released, and much like every other year, the reaction from the general public has been a mix of excitement and disappointment.

The nominees for best dramatic film include Marriage Story, which clinched a whopping six nominations overall. Other nominations for Noah Baumbach‘s story of a couple in the midst of divorce proceedings include best screenplay, best original score (Randy Newman), best supporting actress (Laura Dern), best actor (Adam Driver), and best actress (Scarlett Johansson).

Adam Driver & Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story; Photo from Screen Rant

Other cinematic heavyweights include Martin Scorsese‘s three-and-a-half-hour epic The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, which each received five nominations.

The Irishman tells the story of a truck driver who becomes involved with a Pennsylvania crime family, becomes a mob hitman, and eventually becomes entangled with Jimmy Hoffa. The movie is nominated for best drama, best director, best screenplay (Steve Zaillian), and best supporting actor for both Joe Pesci and Al Pacino. The lack of a best actor nomination for Robert De Niro, however, was one of the most shocking snubs on the list.

Meanwhile, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood explores the efforts of a has-been TV actor and his stunt double to find fame in the 1969 Los Angeles film industry, set against a backdrop that includes the Manson Family murders. Tarantino picked up nods for best director and best screenplay, while Brad Pitt was nominated for best supporting actor, Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for best actor, and the film itself was nominated for best musical or comedy.

Leonardo DiCaprio & Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood; Photo from Screen Rant

As for the television side of things, HBO’s Chernobyl (four nominations), Netflix’s The Crown (four nominations) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s Fleabag (three nominations) were all popular with the voters, but it appears that the final season of Game of Thrones was just as disappointing to the Globes as it was to fans of the show. Kit Harington was the recipient of the show’s only nod.

Besides De Niro, another notable snub was Greta Gerwig‘s absence from the best director category, which makes it the fifth consecutive year without a female director nominee. In fact, despite Little Women‘s rave reviews and 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was left out of the best drama category as well. Florence Pugh, who received praise for her role as Amy March, failed to clinch a nomination for best supporting actress.

Will you be tuning into the Golden Globes this year? Which nominations and snubs were you most surprised by?

Disney+ Launches Amid Glitches

After months of heavy advertising, Disney has entered the streaming sphere today with the official launch of Disney+ today. However, not everything was smooth sailing for the entertainment giant. In the early hours of the launch, there were a number of reports and a storm of Twitter complaints citing technical glitches. Users said they were having difficulty logging into and streaming content on the platform. The East Coast appeared to have borne the brunt of most of the technical difficulties, many of which were reported between 7:00 and 8:00 Eastern Time.

Photo from Deadline

Now that things are up and running, though, it will be interesting to see how this new platform from such an imposing brand as Disney will affect the business of its competitors, such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video. Will customers decide to take on the additional cost of yet another streaming platform while continuing to pay for others, or will they choose to make Disney+ their one and only?

Streaming services were initially introduced and marketed as an improved alternative to cable, but consumers have increasingly complained that it’s impossible to keep up with the sheer growing number of services. If one were to pay for all the existing streaming platforms, the cost would equal or exceed the cost of a cable package. Over the next couple years, I think we’re going to watch customers decide to either return to cable or to stick with just the one or two streaming services that best align with their entertainment preferences.

Dinsey Plus
Photo from Deadline

As for the content on Disney+, the most highly-anticipated show has to be The Mandalorian,Star Wars spinoff about “the travels of a lone bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.” In particular, been atwitter with buzz over the adorable (and highly meme-able) Baby Yoda.

In addition to original content, Disney+ will obviously also feature Disney’s massive nostalgic catalog that will no doubt serve to entice young and old alike. There are sure to be plenty of diehard Marvel fans binging the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, which is another major draw for the platform.

Disney has an undeniably tight grip on the film, TV and entertainment industry. Today’s step will almost certainly improve that prowess, but how will the multitudes of other streaming services stand to compete against a company with so much intellectual property? Only time will tell.

Disney Teams with Geena Davis To Check Scripts for Bias Using AI

Last week, at New Zealand’s Power of Inclusion Summit, Oscar-winner Geena Davis announced her Institute on Gender in Media will partner with Disney to use a new AI tool to help “spell check” its scripts for potential bias. The tool, called GD-IQ: Spell Check for Bias, helps identify opportunities for filmmakers to increase representation by women and girls as well as other underrepresented groups in movie scripts. (GD-IQ stands for Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient, if you’re wondering.) 

In the closing keynote of the summit, Davis said, “I’m very proud to announce we have a brand new partnership with Walt Disney Studios using Spell Check for Bias. They are our pilot partners and we’re going to collaborate with Disney over the next year using this tool to help their decision-making, identify opportunities to increase diversity and inclusion in the manuscripts that they receive. We’re very excited about the possibilities with this new technology and we encourage everybody to get in touch with us and give it a try.”

The Spell Check for Bias tool uses technology developed at the University of Southern California to scan scripts and identify opportunities for inclusion. The tool can determine how the characters’ gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, and other characteristics that are underrepresented on film stack up to real-world population metrics. It can also provide data on how many speaking lines each group has, the sophistication of the language each uses, and social hierarchy of the characters.

Geena Davis poses with Minnie Mouse in front of Cinderella’s castle; Photo from Screen Rant

Davis made it clear that her goal is not to “shame and blame” well-meaning screenwriters, but rather to uncover potential opportunities to increase audience exposure to underrepresented groups. Davis has been an ardent advocate for inclusivity in film, specifically for female representation. In 2004, she started the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. The institute’s mission is to work with the entertainment industry to “engage, educate and influence the creation of gender balanced onscreen portrayals, reducing harmful stereotypes and creating an abundance of unique and intersectional female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under.”  

In her keynote, Davis went on to say, “There’s one category of gross gender inequality where the underrepresentation of women can be fixed absolutely overnight — and it’s onscreen. The very next project somebody makes — the next movie, TV show — can be gender-balanced. We can make this change happen very fast. In the time it takes to create a new show or a new film, we can present a whole new vision of the future. Yes, there are woefully few female CEOs in the world, but half of them can be female onscreen immediately. How are we possibly going to get the number of women and girls interested in STEM careers that we need for science, technology, engineering and math? There can be droves of women in STEM careers now on TV and in movies, and then it will happen in real life.”