Oscar buzz in August? Really?
As awards obsessives are always happy to remind us, late summer has been a valid launchpad for awards buzz for years— on Little Gold Men we like to call it “the Help slot,” an early August release date for a crowdpleaser with just enough prestige gloss to go all the way. It worked for Julie & Julia and even Hell or High Water; you really never know just how far a summer movie can go.
To be clear, that’s probably not what’s happening this summer, with all due respect to The Suicide Squad as well as the group of movies discussed on this week’s podcast, primarily The Green Knight and Annette. But just as in 2020, when the pandemic upended all expectations for what an “Oscar movie” could be, it’s probably worth keeping an open mind. After all, Annette opened the Cannes Film Festival and features a colossal performance from Adam Driver, who ought to be a ubiquitous presence this season with both The Last Duel and House of Gucci on the way. And The Green Knight doesn’t just have a winning and ambitious central performance from Dev Patel, but the kind of music, production design, costumes, and cinematography that makes film lovers swoon, even if they can’t make heads or tails of the film’s plot. (If you want some help on that, though, we’ve got you covered.)
On this week’s Little Gold Men podcast, Rebecca Ford joins Richard Lawson and Katey Rich to discuss the awards possibilities for both summertime arthouse films, as well as the strange situation surrounding Stillwater star Matt Damon, the apparent attempts for some Hollywood Foreign Press members to save their reputations, the thrilling trailer for House of Gucci, Scarlett Johansson’s bombshell lawsuit against Disney, and much more. At the end of the episode, Joanna Robinson sits down with The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke, whose show received a surprising best drama series nomination at this year’s Emmys and continues to be a major hit for Amazon Studios— and maybe one of the more provocative shows to deal with the legacy of the Trump era.
Listen to the episode below, and below that, find a partial transcript of the Eric Kripke interview. And be sure to join us next week for our 2001 Oscar flashback, revisiting the year that A Beautiful Mind won best picture. You can also sign up to receive texts from us at Subtext— we’d love to hear from you!
Obviously if you look at the Emmys last year, we could say maybe that Watchmen loosened a little bit, on this idea of comic book television, as Emmy worthy. You’ve been doing genre television for so long. What does it mean to you for the television academy to be like, yes, we’re ready to talk about this?
I think it’s really gratifying. I mean, look, nobody gets into genre, for the awards. That’s definitely not the reason we’re here. But the fact that we’re being recognized by our peers for the work we’re doing, is very nice. I mean, people have asked me the question of, is this a golden age of genre? And my response is, it’s always been this good. Always. It’s been this good from Rod Serling, through Gene Roddenberry, through Buffy The Vampire Slayer, X-Files, good genre comments on our world, and holds a mirror up to it. Good genre is way more subversive and rebellious, and revolutionary than I think, what mainstream entertainment can do, and we rarely get recognized for it. I mean, Watchmen for sure. I would also, it’s hard to forget Game of Thrones.
To your point, something that both Watchmen and The Boys, especially season two, do so well, is that mirroring that you were talking about. I think there’s something to be said for holding up a mirror to some of the hardest truths of our current society, but through the lens of genre, it gives audiences some comfortable distance. But then, what that means is that, you’re making some of the most urgent political television that’s out there, and I think that’s wild. What do you think about that?
Yeah, no, thank you for saying that, because we work really hard at it. I mean, look, the madness of the show is the spoon full of sugar, and it’s also the thing that can be noisy, and gets asses in the seats. And we always say that the crazy gonzo moments, are basically just what’s on the front of the cereal box. But what we’re really interested in is, late stage capitalism, and white supremacy cloaked in social media, and systemic racism. And then also character, and really understanding the humanity of people, and how the real heroes are the last to stand in front of everyone and say, I’m going to save you. Real heroes just quietly get along, without any praise of getting the work done.
And you should be extremely skeptical and suspicious of anyone who stands in front of you and says, I am your hero, and I’m here to save you. That person is selling you something, they are not an actual hero. That’s not what heroes do. So being able to discuss all of that, I think, is really important. We were very lucky that our show happened to be, because, comic has been around for well over a decade. But we stumbled into, that this world happens to explain the exact second we’re living in. And once we realized that, we said, well, let’s run with that as far as we can.
Tthe show feels so Trump era to those of us watching at home. And I’m wondering, some of the things you talked about, like social media, what specific additions to the show beyond what’s existed in the comics, do you feel like you’ve added to make it feel even more of now?
I mean, I think Garth Ennis who for my money, is the best comic book writer out there, period. This is from somebody who reads a lot of that stuff. I think he was just incredibly prescient, in terms of predicting this intersection of politics and celebrity. So I actually find that it’s not so much, we’re inventing things out of whole cloth, because he predicted a lot of it. It’s just more like, we’re hitting certain things, harder to reflect what’s happening in our world. He always had authoritarians pose as celebrities, that was the gimmick. And it’s just, we happened to live in a world where one of them was our president. And so, looking for, for example, the Trump metaphors. In a weird way, it was just low-hanging fruit. Because it’s all just there and it, and it all fits with what we were doing anyway.
So you would just layer it on top of the scenes and the conflicts that were already there. The white supremacy thing, I mean, that character Stormfront, was in his books. I mean, it was a man, and it was phrased in a different way, but it was about how corporations and capitalism will allow white supremacy into its ranks, as long as it’s profitable. And all we did was say, well, does white supremacy look like these days, versus 10 years ago? And it doesn’t take long to land at, well, it’s social media. It fronts as, quote unquote, independent thinking. There’s a lot of very attractive people selling that shit.
And it’s a very ugly, old idea, packaged in this, new bouncy way. And we wanted to present that. So it’s just presenting a lot of Garth’s ideas just in a way that feels accurate to the current world we’re living in.
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