News Reel & Blog

Written by Flora Kimberley on 25th February 2019

A night full of diversity, celebrations and surprises. All nicely symbolized by Spike Lee’s wrapped hug around Samuel L Jackson. Yet, as always the Oscars did have a couple of shock snubs which has critics and industry personnel split in opinion.

One of the biggest surprises was Olivia Colman (The Favourite) victory over Glenn Close (The Wife) in the Best Actress category. Glenn Close is now the most nominated non-winner actor in the history of the awards with seven nominations. It was stated in the press previous to the awards, that Close deserved the award for her whole body of work; rather than just her recent performance. Colman herself stated in her acceptance speech “Glenn Close you’ve been my idol for so long and this is not how I wanted it to be”.

However, the Academy this year really diversified their awards winners, with Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Mahershala Ali (Green Book) taking big wins in the Supporting Actors categories. This is only the second time that two people of colour have won both Actor/Actress awards since 2002, when Halle Berry and Denzel Washington took home both acting Oscars. This continued with Ruth E. Carter becoming the first African American woman to ever win Best Costume Design for Black Panther where she said “other people can come on in and win as Oscar, just like I did”. Minutes after, her co-worker Hannah Beachler won the Production Design Oscar, the first time a woman of colour had ever been nominated in that space. These are some historic wins, as an African-American woman hasn’t won an non-acting Oscar in thirty years.

Alfonso Cuaron’s black and white epic Roma snapped up three awards for Director, Cinematography and Foreign Language film. The success of Roma shows a shift in paradigm away from the stereotypical Oscar films, as it was distributed via Netflix and depicts the lives of immigrant woman (who normally aren’t depicted in mainstream cinema).

Overall, the most heart warming moment of the whole evening was Spike Lee accepting his (long overdue) first Oscar win for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman. The overjoyed Spike Lee ran up to the stage, embracing Samuel L Jackson, unfolding multiple A4 sheets of paper. He opened the speech by saying “don’t you dare start the mother--- clock” before delivering a riveting, political and emotional speech which had Jordan Peele (Get Out) in tears. Later in the Evening when Best Picture Green Book was announced, Lee got out of his seat and tried to leave the auditorium in frustration due to the surprising win. Lee later stated in an interview that “every time someone’s driving somebody, I lose”. This was in reference to when his cult classic Do the Right Thing was snubbed for best picture when Driving Miss Daisy won.

As the Oscars comes to a close after a turbulent year the Academy have successfully delivered some memorable moments and wins. They have also taken a real step towards a full inclusive and diverse awards show with all races, genders and sexualities being represented. In the words of a now Oscar winner Rami Malek said in his acceptance speech: “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself” and hopefully there will be many more to come.

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 18th February 2019

In a world where we are surrounded by streaming content, adult cartoons are continuously gaining popularity. Ever since the fading quality of The Simpsons in the early 00’s shows like Family Guy and South Park appeared filling the void with crass jokes and dark humour.

Then Adult Swim was created.

Adult Swim aired after 9pm when Cartoon Network started to feature new adult cartoons. They took a new stance on adult humour creating intellectual and situation themed jokes with dark emotional twists. These cartoons included Moral Orel which was cancelled in 2008 after three series for “becoming too depressing” for most viewers. The Stop Motion Show followed a 1950’s sitcom narrative with a young boy who has an alcoholic abusive father (a trope which seems to repeat across adult cartoons). After the cancellation of this show, Adult Swim started creating more adult cartoons and now Netflix have started creating their own originals too.

The most popular adult cartoon in recent years (and probably of all time) is Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty. The show follows the escapades of an alcoholic scientist grandfather and nervous grandson as they travel across multiple dimensions. Ever since its first season it has become acclaimed with fans and critics due to it’s devilishly witty writing. The free form cartoon takes a lucid stance on regular cartoon structure. It allows the voice actor, Justin Roiland, to improvise speech; this causes him to create a realistic identity of the two lead characters. However, the show also manages to forego stereotypes and examines the character’s flaws as though they live and breathe. For instance, Rick often merges between the hero and villain tropes as his intelligence is both a blessing and a curse. Rick becomes relatable to us as we both sympathise with him but also judge him, much like we do to others.

Netflix rivals Adult Swim’s stand out success with its original cartoon: Bojack Horsemen. The comedy starring Will Arnett is about a depressed, alcoholic, former 90’s sitcom star Bojack trying to reignite his career. From the outset Bojack Horsemen discusses controversial issues brazenly. Every season discusses addiction, gender, fame, the industry, parental abuse and relationships. However, poignantly in season five they discussed adoption for a single woman. Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) decides to adopt a baby after many attempts of having her own, it follows the real effect and hardship of this experience for a single women (versus a couple.)

Adult cartoons are most definitely a hit in the modern world. Clearly the older we get the more we need something to express our views in a not strictly realistic way. As Morty says, “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. We're all going to die. Come watch TV”

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 11th February 2019

The popularity of reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race has catapulted drag to the forefront of the media industry. The heart-warming and hilarious show has captured the hearts of millions of people; highlighting the plight of the LGBTQ community and a different form of artist expression.

The pilot series started in February 2009 where ten queens competed against each other in a series of challenges to win one hundred thousand dollars. Fast forward ten years, it may have the same premise, but it has evolved into something much more than a reality show. Drag Race is a cultural phenomenon, one of the most quotable shows on television and a merchandise empire.

The influence of Drag Race has filtered into the mainstream television and film industries. Gone are the tired “it’s a man in a wig” jokes! Drag performers are being given more complex and gritty roles to really show their real talent. A recent example is through Drag Race alumni Shangela Laquifa Wadley and Willam who are featured in the Oscar nominated A Star is Born. The bar scenes are predominantly based at a Gay Bar where Shangela is the owner and MC. According to sources, most of the dialogue between the drag queens is completely improvised as Bradley Cooper (Director) wanted to really capture the community’s essence. Cooper also let the queens create their own looks for the film to really express their personalities.

This drag acceptance is coming through on other productions as well. Valentina (also Drag Race alumni) has recently been cast in FOX’s version of Rent. It shows that these production houses are really allowing drag to have a presence in the industry and celebrate the artists that use it as their expression.

As RuPaul states in his hit song Naked (available on iTunes) “We are all born naked and the rest is drag!”

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 5th February 2019

Friends is everyone’s favourite sitcom from its portrayal of career progression through to its depiction of young life where your friends are closer to you then your family. It is one of the most quotable shows ever to grace our television screens having us yell along “we were on a break!”

Incredibly, even though it finished almost fifteen years ago, Friends is still at the top of streaming site Netflix most viewed. It is quite unbelievable that the show still has so much magnitude after so much time. Especially in the crowded market of scripted television content.

The show is loved by all, old and young. However, it seems to be particularly popular in the five to sixteen age demographic, which is particularly interesting as most of these viewers wouldn’t have been alive when Friends ended in 2004!

In recent years the world has become a lot more varied and accepting than in the 90’s, so the shows continued success has surprised some, especially as there is some controversy surrounding the show. Many people have labelled the show as sexist and homophobic with the character Ross being at the heart of the issues. For example, it is important to highlight the episode where Ross and Rachel hire a male nanny. This episode shows how uncomfortable Ross is when a man evades the stereotypical masculine norm, which ends with them dismissing the male nanny as Ross cannot handle it. Ross often displays his discomfort surrounding issues where his masculinity is tested, like when he refused to admit he is wearing a pink shirt and repeatedly calls it “salmon”.

But despite the critics, the success continues. As a wise man once said it’s “like a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter. It's moo.”

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