|TAYLOR SWIFTTHIS WEEKAMERICA|
Music is a growing presence at film's biggest night, and this year seems to have a larger piece of the broadcast than ever before.
Beyond the Academy Awards’ traditional Best Original Song presentations, this year's Oscars have a few “special” performances, highlighted by Billie Eilish, fresh off her Grammy majors sweep. What she'll sing is hush-hush, but there's speculation that it may be the title song from the upcoming James Bond film, No Time To Die.
The awards air at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC.
This week in music:
OSCARS SO MUSICAL: Eilish is just one music highlight at the Oscars. Idina Menzel will perform Into The Unknown, joined by nine women around the world who played Frozen's Elsa in various translated versions. Also on tap is Elton John, who will do I'm Gonna Love Me Again from Rocketman in the program, although sans Taron Egerton. Cynthia Erivo has a double shot at the audience. She'll perform Stand Up from her film Harriet during the broadcast, and appear in a NatGeo trailer preview featuring her forthcoming performance in Genius: Aretha, a series bowing in May that spotlight’s the Detroit great.
Also doing an unknown song is Janelle Monae, who has been involved in such Oscar-nominated films as Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Harriet.Randy Newman will do his Best Original Song nomination, I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4. Another surprise is This Is Us actress Chrissy Metz, who will perform the Breakthrough ballad I'm Standing With You.
The nominations for Best Song include Diane Warren's I'm Standing With You, Newman's I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away, Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Campbell's Stand Up, Elton John and Bernie Taupin's I'm Gonna Love Me Again, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez's Into the Unknown.
The Best Score nominees include Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, 1917, Joker, Little Women, and Marriage Story.
WARNER MUSIC GROUP IPO: Len Blavatnik's $3.3. billion bet on WMG is looking better and better. Now, WMG plans to go public. It said in a regulatory filing unveiled this week that it will hold an initial public offering, although no date has been set. The most recent quarterly results saw the company set a new quarterly record for revenues as a standalone company. In the final quarter of 2019 WMG's fiscal Q1 its total revenues grew by 4.4% year-on-year to $1.26bn, including a 12.6% increase in digital revenue to $706m. WMG's net profit jumped from $86m a year ago to $122m last quarter.
TAYLOR SWIFT PUB DEAL: Her recorded music with former label Big Machine may be a sore spot, but Taylor Swift has her publishing locked. She has announced an exclusive global publishing agreement...
EXCLUSIVE: Grace and Frankie may have suspended production on its seventh and final season because of the coronavirus crisis, but the Emmy nominated Netflix comedy is back this week with a special live treat for fans and a spotlight on seniors in need during these troubled times.
The Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin-led series will be having an online table read this Thursday to help Meals On Wheels COVID-19 relief program, I've learned – though you can make donations right now via the link here.
While other shows have taken a similar digital approach in recent weeks, the long running Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris showrun series is adding some originality. The April 9 presentation will feature an episode from the yet unaired seventh season, as well as a live Q&A afterwards moderated by Kauffman.
Along with Oscar winner Fonda and Oscar nominee Tomlin, fellow G&F cast members Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker, Baron Vaughn and Ethan Embry will be participating in the reading of the Kauffman and Morris-penned “The Fallout” episode on Thursday.
Starting at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET, the whole shindig can be seen live and direct on the Netflix is a Joke YouTube page LINK HERE on April 9.
“While we’re sitting here afraid, unsure and isolated, we wanted to come together and do some good,” Kauffman told me of the decision to take the show online in a new form and with a peek into the future.”
“All we’ve got is time on our hands and technology at our fingertips,” the Friends co-creator added as production on Season 7 was temporarily suspended late on March 12 as restrictions on large gatherings tighten in the City of Angels. “So we decided to use both of those assets to raise money for Meals on Wheels, which brings food to food-insecure and isolated seniors. They are among our most vulnerable right now and need our help.”
“Our cast is all in and super excited,” Okay Goodnight founder Kauffman also says of her superstar packed team. “And Netflix and Skydance have been particularly supportive. As far as giving the fans a peek into Season 7, we figured more people would tune in to new content and it would, hopefully, be a draw for fans of Grace and Frankie. The hope is: more eyes, more money raised for Meals on Wheels.”
Produced by Skydance Television, which launched in 2013, Grace And Frankie was one of the first original series for Netflix. Though in a pause period right now, like everyone else in Tinseltown the seventh and final season is still set to premiere next year, which will make the series the longest running comedy in the streamer's history.
As of last night, there are 6360 confirmed case of the coronavirus in L.A. County and 147 deaths....
Though “The Plot Against America” took its time to get going, it’s full steam ahead for David Simon’s Philip Roth adaptation by Episode 4 — but to what end? With just two episodes to go, the drama has certainly flared up: The Levin familial bonds are being pushed to the brink as Sandy falls increasingly under Lindbergh’s spell, with the help of Aunt Evelyn and her new boyfriend Rabbi Bengelsdorf. The lines have been drawn, and it’s not looking good for either side. While this was by far the most exciting episode so far, it still feels as though Simon is obligingly following Roth’s outline rather than forging his own path.
In both the novel and the series “The Plot Against America,” there’s an unmentioned but implicit rhetorical question reaching out from beyond the page and screen. To borrow from the musical “Cabaret,” one of the only pieces of pop culture to artfully grapple with this unthinkable dilemma: What would you do? If a fascist were elected president of your country, if your sister started dating one of his shills, if your son was secretly sketching his visage by flashlight — how would you behave? Would you flee to Canada, organize the resistance, or stick your head in the sand and hope for the best?
The fourth episode hones in on these questions with laser-like precision, enjoying the fruits of the preceding three episodes that felt, both in retrospect and in real time, mostly like set-up. Having returned from his “Just Folks” adventure in Kentucky, a Hitler Youth-esque recruiting tool of Rabbi Bengelsdorf’s John Turturro design, Sandy has quite literally become the poster child for assimilationist Jews. Evelyn Winona Ryder proudly features him in a brochure for the program, against Bess’ Zoe Kazan wishes.
Sandy’s transformation has been building since the pilot episode, which ended with him surreptitiously sketching Charles Lindbergh from of a newspaper clipping. Having planted the seeds deliberately, the show earns its most uncomfortable moment so far when Sandy spits at his parents, calling them “ghetto Jews — narrow-minded ghetto Jews.” His transformation is complete. When Bess slaps him across the face, it’s hard not to let out a silent cheer. Your Jewish firstborn becoming a Nazi sympathizer may be the rare instance when a kid deserves a good wallop.
Less effective is a Shabbas dinner argument between Herman Morgan Spector and Bengelsdorf, where Herman puts aside any last shred of civility to tell the Rabbi what he really thinks of his man Lindbergh. Maybe it’s the fact that only the men are talking while the women make sidelong glances of...