One of this Fall’s most anticipated cinematic events is Marvel Studios’ETERNALS. The star-studded Superhero flick is directed and co-written by Academy Award-winning Filmmaker Chloé Zhao. ETERNALS centers on an alien race of immortals who re-surface after thousands of years to protect earth and its inhabitants from the evil Deviants.
We were incredibly-fortunate to sit-in on the global press conference for Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS and it was a star-studded affair with guests including:
Bryan Tyree Henry
In this epic panel, its stars and Creators shared a common sentiment – their great respect for Zhao in helping them find a truth about themselves in their respective characters. One interesting thing about this Film is that these Superheroes don’t look like your typical kind because in order for them to reflect humanity, they should look like humanity.
Producer Kevin Feige talks about this bold new step in direction for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Feige: “Post-Infinity Saga, we wanted to take a bold new step and say we don’t know everything about the universe, yet. And there are these ten spectacular superheroes you haven’t met who’ve been here the whole time.”.
Director/Writer ChloéZhao is asked about her first meetings with Feige and what they looked like.
Zhao: “It started with me showing him a Macro Photo of sand and quoting a Poem from William Blake and in that Poem, Blake is trying to convey that you can see the endless beauty of the cosmos, even within the smallest things you can find on earth. The vision of the Film was to set-out to capture that scale. Something as large as the creation of the sun to the whispers of lovers. Going on location and doing this kind of an immersive shoot together with the support of this amazing Cast is how we got here today.”.
Thena is the Goddess of War, played by Angelina Jolie. She is asked how she finds strength and survival in her own survivor story, in addition to what attracted her to the role?
Jolie: “I was attracted to this project for many reasons. I am a fan of the MCU, was a big fan of Chloé, and when they first talked to me about the story, it really was the Cast and the idea of what this family would be. I really just wanted to be a part of this family even before I know who I was I was going to play.”.
“Chloé‘s known for bringing-in reality to film, to somebody’s true self. So a lot of us were cast to bring out something from our own lives, something that we weren’t even aware of and then let it live and grow within the Film. She’s maybe the most fantastic thing I’ve ever played in a superhero, and yet my children thought she was the most like me they’ve ever seen. It’s hard to talk about her but her vulnerability – which she’s trying to balance -and being able to be the same woman who’s also considered very strong.. and yet she’s able to holds both, which most people do.
Sersi is played by Gemma Chan,who learns her places and embraces her strengths as the story progresses.
Chan: “Sersi is a superhero, but her powers aren’t the most obvious and flashiest. She might not be the best fighter, but what she does have is empathy and a real affinity for humankind. She’s a free spirit. I love that. That’s one of the most enjoyable things about thing Film going on this journey with the character. She learns to trust herself and grow into her own power really. That’s a really interesting thing to explore.”.
Richard Madden plays Ikaris, one of the most powerful Eternals, who is in a conflict of love (with Sersi) vs. loyalty in the Film.
Madden: “I’m used to playing lovers often. But to play someone who’s such a soldier, completely driven by love, is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. He’s actually wrestling with two characters who are very full of love and it comes out he’s actually the opposite of that. He’s trying to bury that love because it gets in the way of his duties. He’s constantly wrestling with it and that made it interesting for me.”.
Salma Hayek talks (hilariously) about finding success as a superhero at an unconventional stage in life.She plays spiritual leader, Ajak.
Hayek: “This was really humbling. I dream big. And in my big dreams I wanted to be a superhero, work with the best Directors in the world, make big Blockbuster movies and movies that are Art from a very big place. But it didn’t happen for me. You fight for it in your 20s, 30s and 40s and you go, ‘Screw them! They don’t get it! They missed out! I would’ve been a great superhero! Screw them! I’m gonna go do something out, like have a baby!’. (laughs) And then you give up! It’s very humbling when you’re in your 50s, a brilliant Director gives you the opportunity to do both! I was wrong. Everything is possible.”.
KumailNanjiani brings a ‘Bollywood Swagger’ to his role of Kingo and even does a musical number. He talks about the challenges of going outside his comfort zone.
Nanjiani: “I can’t put Chloé on the spot, and I can’t swear, so put-in a swear word here! Chloé lied to me. When we first talked about the Movie, she said there was a Bollywood dance scene and I said ‘I don’t think I can do that.’, She said ‘Okay, we’ll make it a Bollywood action scene and as soon as I got to London hehehe.. it’s a dance scene! And I was like, ‘Get me a dance teacher alright?’. And they were wonderful teaching me the Choreography, working with me for months and months because I was so outside my comfort zone.”.
“For me, ultimately it came down to trust… usually my instinct is to have a moment of and fear, but in meeting her, I realized she’s not going to let me suck in this thing so if she wants me to do something, I’m gonna do it!”.
“She had this whole Movie, this whole universe inside her head. I didn’t understand it until I watched the Movie. I felt, ‘This isn’t something I would do, but if Chloé says do it, let’s do it!'”.
Brian Tyree Henry plays Phastos, an intelligent inventor. He talks about finding the humanity in his character, who experiences his share of despair.
Henry: “I think it really came down to trust and I really wholeheartedly trusted Chloé, to piggyback off of Kumail. What attracted me to this part was I think of all the black men out there and how we are portrayed. What I love most about Phastos is that he is an Ancestor. All of us are Ancestors, technically. So Phastos predates everything and goes through all these things which actually makes him lose faith in humanity very quickly. And I remember coming into this project, I lost faith in humanity and just looking at all the things we’ve been through and looking at images of how black men were portrayed and how power was taken away from us, the lack of power. What I love about Phastos is that him being an Eternal, knowing that he can never die, he still chose love and still decides to have a family even though he may have to watch them perish. And try to bring heart and love into everything he did. It just really resonated with me.”.
“I remember the first time they approached me to be a superhero and I asked, ‘How much weight do you want me to lose?’, and Chloé said ‘What are you talking about? We want you exactly as you are.’. And to be a black man and have someone say they want you exactly the way you are is unlike anything I’ve ever felt.”.
Kit Harrington plays Sersi’s human boyfriend Dane, who seems to handle all sorts a catastrophe with a calm cool.
Harrington: “He’s a nice guy. I felt from the beginning I had to represent something that was worth saving. I hope that Dane comes-off a nice, stand-up guy and one thing I respect about him is that a man flies out of the sky shoots lasers out of his eyes and steals his girlfriend, and he’s kinda cool with it!”.
“I come in at the start and in some ways intro the Movie, and then it goes its own wonderful direction, so I felt a bit separate, but I do think the advantage is that you do have a glimpse of the humans at the start and it tells you who these guys truly are trying to save.”.
Some Snaps from the Junket:
Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS arrives in theatres November 5, 2021.
*Please exercise caution in observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre*.
Searchlight Pictures x Mr. Will are thrilled to give Readers a chance to win a free Digital Download of Academy Award Best Picture winner, NOMADLAND.
Following the economic collapse of a town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and explores an unconventional life in the vast landscape of the American West. Along the way, she forms unbreakable bonds with other nomads in this powerfully moving story of hope and resilience from director Chloé Zhao, based on the book by Jessica Bruder, also starring David Strathairn.
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The 93rd annual Academy Awards took place tonight at Union Station in Los Angeles, as Hollywood continues to navigate the Pandemic. The ceremony was preceded by a reduced Red Carpet and attendance was limited and socially-distanced within the venue, a departure from the usual Kodak Theatre, which still was used this year, but for a segment leading to the Humanitarian Award, which was awarded to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.
Without a formal host this year, the broadcast also adopted a number of new changes including no interruption of winner’s speeches under Musical Director Questlove. Presenters and winners drew their attention to anti-racism, including Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient Tyler Perry, stating in his speech, “It is my hope that all of us will teach our kids: refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody.”.
The evening’s big winner was NOMADLAND, taking Best Picture. The Film directed by ChloéZhao, made history as she became the first ever Asian woman to win in the Directing category, following Korean Director Bong Joon-Ho‘s win for Parasite last year. Just last September, the Film had won the People’s Choice Award here in Toronto at TIFF. Frances McDormand went on to win her fourth Oscar, taking Best Actress for her work in the Film.
An absent Sir Anthony Hopkins took home his second Oscar for Best Actor for his work in THE FATHER, which also took Adapted Screenplay earlier in the ceremony. He won previous for 1992’s Silence of the Lambs. Chadwick Boseman who posthumously was sweeping much of Awards Season was seen as the favourite to win, for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
History also was made as MINARI star Youn Yuh-Jung became the first ever South Korean Actress ever to be nominated and win an Oscar. The veteran accepted her Award from MINARI Producer Brad Pitt, starstruck and asking him where he was during production for the Film. Jokingly, she also forgave everyone for mispronouncing her name, questioning whether the Award was simply “American hospitality”.
Some of the evening’s most memorable looks:
Carey Mulligan has arrived. Promising Young Woman star in Valentino. If this isn’t a testament to believing in herself… ✨ pic.twitter.com/4iZpE6te3q
NOMADLAND continues its early Awards Season dominance, being named Best Picture today by the Toronto Film Critics Association. In addition to being named People’s Choice Award winner at TIFF ’20, the Film by Chloé Zhao has been a winner among Critic Circles around the continent, scoring in San Diego, Chicago, Boston, New York, Los Angeles and more. It also won the Golden Lion in Venice, and was named Best Feature at the Gotham Awards.
The TFCA Gala took place this evening virtually with a livestream on YouTube, hosted by Elaine “Lainey” Lui and Kathleen Newman-Bremang and winners giving their speeches on video.
The evening’s biggest prize, the $100k Rogers Best Canadian Film Award was awarded to ANNE AT 13,000 FT directed by Kazik Radwanski. Radwanski stated “It’s meant so much for the Film to still have a life, to connect, and be written about. It’s a huge honour coming from the TFCA.”.
Other winners include:
Best Picture: NOMADLAND
Best Director: Chloé Zhao, NOMADLAND Runners-up, Best Director: Kelly Reichardt – FIRST COW; Lee Isaac Chung – MINARI
Best Screenplay: MINARI Runners-up, Best Screenplay: NOMADLAND, SOUND OF METAL
Best Actor: Riz Ahmed, SOUND OF METAL Runners-up for Best Actor: Chadwick Boseman, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM; Mads Mikkelsen, ANOTHER ROUND
Best Actress: Frances McDormand, NOMADLAND Runners-up, Best Actress: Viola Davis, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM; Sidney Flanigan, NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah Runners-up, Best Actor: Paul Raci, Sound of Metal; Leslie Odom, Jr. One Night in Miami
Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm Runners-up, Best Supporting Actress: Yuh-jung Youn, Minari; Olivia Colman, The Father
Best First Feature: THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION Runners-up, Best First Feature: THE FATHER, PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
Best Animated Feature: WOLFWALKERS Runners-up, Best Animated Feature: SOUL and THE WILLOUGHBYS
Allan King Documentary Award: COLLECTIVE Runners-up: CRIP CAMP, DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA and TIME
Best Foreign Language Film: BACURAU Runners-up, Best Foreign Language Film: ANOTHER ROUND, BEANPOLE
Cineplex Emerging Critic Award: Mark Hanson (In the Seats) and Rose-Coloured Ray-Bans
Clyde Gilmour Award: Jason Ryle
Jay Scott Prize for Emerging Artist: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall
$100k Rogers Best Canadian Film Award Finalists: AND THE BIRDS RAINED DOWN, ANNE AT 13,000 FT and WHITE LIE
The 78th annual Golden Globe Awards took place tonight and for the first time ever, the Awards were bi-coastal, with many presenters and nominees opting to attend virtually. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted a fourth time this year and did not hold back in their opening speech addressing some of the Awards’ controversies this year including a lack of black members on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who decide Golden Globe Award winners. Fey stated, “Look, we all know award shows are stupid. But the point is… inclusivity is important and there are no Black members of the Hollywood Foreign Press“. She also proceeded to call-out Emily in Paris’ nominations mentioning that “French Exit (for which Michelle Pfeiffer is nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical) is what I did after I watched the first episode.”. The lighthearted Series starring Lily Collins drew a bit of controversy with many questioning its deservingness of recognition.
Leading the way was Netflix‘s THE CROWN sweeping all categories for which it was nominated: Best Television Series – Drama, Best Actor – Television Series Drama (Josh O’Connor), Best Actress – Television Series Drama (Emma Corrin), Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (Gillian Anderson).
Netflix also saw its well-received THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT score for Limited TV Series and Actress in a Limited TV Series (Anya Taylor-Joy).
With three female Directors being nominated for Director in a Motion Picture, Chloé Zhao has the distinction of being the first woman of Asian descent (and second woman ever) to win a Golden Globe in the category for NOMADLAND. The Film also won for Motion Picture Drama and it is one of the favourites to take Best Picture at the Oscars. Another Asian-American Filmmaker, Lee Isaac Chung, also was recognized for his Film MINARI for Foreign Language Film.
BORAT Subsequent Moviefilm also was a big winner this evening taking Motion Picture Comedy or Musical and Sacha Baron Cohen taking Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. He revealed he almost got shot twice making this Film, thanking his Bodyguard who went unnamed.
Canada shined bright on the global stage with SCHITT’S CREEK winning for TV Musical or Comedy Series. Stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara won also for Actor and Actress in a TV Comedy Series.
Posthumously, Chadwick Boseman was awarded Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. His surviving wife Taylor Simone Ledward accepted tearfully on his behalf saying “He would thank God, his parents and ancestors for their guidance and sacrifices… He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside us that tells us you can.”.
Winners tonight included:
Best Motion Picture, Drama – “Nomadland”
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy – “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Best Director, Motion Picture – Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama – Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy – Rosamund Pike, “I Care a Lot”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture – Jodie Foster, “The Mauritanian”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama – Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy – Sacha Baron Cohen, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture -Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Best Screenplay, Motion Picture – Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Best Original Score, Motion Picture – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste, “Soul”
Best Original Song, Motion Picture – “Io Sì (Seen),” “The Life Ahead”
Best Motion Picture, Animated – “Soul”
Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language – “Minari”
Best Television Series, Drama – “The Crown”
Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy – “Schitt’s Creek”
Best Limited Series, Anthology Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television – “The Queen’s Gambit”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Drama – Emma Corrin, “The Crown”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy – Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television – Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Queen’s Gambit”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Supporting Role – Gillian Anderson, “The Crown”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Drama – Josh O’Connor, “The Crown”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy – Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television – Mark Ruffalo, “I Know This Much Is True”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Supporting Role – John Boyega, “Small Axe”
Carol Burnett Award – Norman Lear
Cecil B. DeMille Award – Jane Fonda
One of the evening’s most relatable moments was a technical glitch experienced as Daniel Kaluuya was named winner for Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for Judas and the Black Messiah. While his audio could not be heard, leading Presenter Laura Dern to try to move on, he rebutted, “You guys did me dirty!” after almost losing his change to give his speech. He then was able to carry-on.
The 2020 TIFF TRIBUTE AWARDS, now in its second year, took place tonight virtually and were aired on CTV. Hosted by eTalk’s newest addition Co-Anchor Tyrone Edwards and Chloe Wilde, the Awards in the absence of an in-person gala this year, were comprised of taped introductions and speeches from recipients in five categories.
Recipients tonight included Director Mira Nair at TIFF ’20 with A SUITABLE BOY; Terence Blanchard who scored Regina King‘s acclaimed TIFF ’20 selection ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI; Tracey Deer who directs this year’s BEANS; Sir Anthony Hopkins who stars in THE FATHER at the Festival; Director Chloé Zhao, at the Festival with NOMADLAND; and Kate Winslet who stars in very buzzed AMMONITE.
Presenters and speakers on the broadcast included: Regina King, Martin Scorsese, Delroy Lindo, Colin Farrell, Rosamund Pike, Ava DuVernay, Jodi Foster, Olivia Colman, Brie Larson, Jason Reitman and more.
Performing Stevie Wonder‘s Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today“, Toronto’s Shawn Mendes appeared on the broadcast announcing that his Shawn Mendes Foundation will launch an annual Changemaker Award for Filmmakers making film with a social message.
Frontline workers from Toronto area hospitals also have been invited to attend special screenings of some of the Festival’s marquee Films like CONCRETE COWBOY as a special gesture of thanks for their hard work amidst these challenging times.
Those honoured tonight and some memorable quotes:
TIFF IMPACT AWARD – MIRA NAIR
Nair: “When I work, it feels like fun. Thanks TIFF for an award to have my fun and the extraordinary privilege to make Cinema. To know my fun and art have made change which is a beautiful feeling. If we don’t tell our stories nobody will, but more so in this, I’ve learned the great power of listening and being porous.”.
TIFF VARIETY ARTISAN AWARD – TERENCE BLANCHARD
Blanchard: “I’m humbled by this entire experience. My life in Film has been one of growth and expansion for decades. I originally set-out to be Jazz performer but being in this realm has expanded my creative ability beyond my belief. I love Toronto and have been coming many years. To get award from place I love so much, warms my heart.”.
TIFF EMERGING TALENT AWARD – TRACEY DEER
Deer: “I’ve wanted be Filmmaker since I was 12 and now I’m living my dream come true. Thank you my community… and the biggest thanks to my mother who told me when I was a girl that I can do whatever I want and not let anyone get in my way. My mother is always right and this is something indigenous kids need to hear. Their voices are important and we need to create an environment they can feel safe in and I put out a challenge to do all we can to make it better for them.”.
TIFF TRIBUTE ACTORS AWARD – SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS
Hopkins: “I’m astonished I’m still in work at my age. I want to thank front-line workers and first responders around the world. This award is yours. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Have a great day, have a great life.”.
TIFF EBERT DIRECTOR AWARD – CHLOÉ ZHAO
Zhao: “I’m so amazed by the hard work TIFF has done putting a festival together, to help us take a break from all the craziness this year. It’s incredible what you have done. One most important takeaway I have from my four films is that when I entered the industry I felt it was competitive and didn’t know anyone. If I fail or make mistakes, I carry this with me for a long time. I feel lucky people I work with are there when I succeed and when I fail. Would like to share this with them.”.
TIFF TRIBUTE ACTOR AWARD – KATE WINSLET
Winslet: “It does feel odd to get an award in a time like this. Since I am able to say few words., I’d like to offer my deepest sympathies to families and individuals whose lives forever have been altered over the past six months. I commend TIFF for keeping the poignancy of storytelling alive. Even more so as we piece together this world and everything happening in it. However minor my thoughts might be, my feelings are heartfelt that we can return to a healthier reality with kindness and respect regardless of race, gender, beliefs or sexual orientation.”.
All eyes are on Chloé Zhao who debuted at TIFF ’17 with The Rider, topping several best-of lists that year. While her work on Marvel’s The Eternals is on its way to us, sophomore effort NOMADLAND comes with high hopes and she does not disappoint.
The Film centers on Fern (Frances McDormand), a widow whom after the economic crash in 2008, loses her home and lives a content life free to roam as a nomad. Not yet able to retire, she lives out of her sometimes reliable van, taking-on odd jobs as a means of survival. Once a supply teacher, she now takes on temporary work at the Amazon warehouse for a bit. She works as a host at an RV park for a while, among other one-off gigs. She is our eyes and ears into this little-known about world travelling place to place with no destination, meeting several fascinating people along the way, who also live the nomadic life and through Fern, we learn their stories as well. These characters, played by non-actors give the Film an earthiness and soul that feels so authentic and Fern blends right into the world.
The story we want to know most about though is why she chooses this way of life with no benefits to take care of her should she fall ill and not knowing if she has enough money to cover repairs on her van. While at times appearing uncomfortable, she never once complains about the life. And at once when offered a choice to settle down and live comfortably a few times throughout the Film, she never takes them. If anything, she appears even more like a fish-out-of-water dwelling in the world of others. She is enigmatic and McDormand effortlessly draws us into Fern‘s way of life, which is comprised of constant moving parts.
Zhao not only directs, but adapts Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century and the Film feels very much like a Documentary and we are just a fly on the wall. The Rider Cinematographer Joshua James Richards teams-up with Zhao once again, capturing breathtaking landscapes and Fern as part of them, so exquisitely. Visually, Nomadland has an understated sense of style yet a comforting familiarity to it.
Ludovico Einaudi‘s piano-driven Score is soothing and complements the imagery perfectly.
The Film is about surviving and living one’s own truth and while very much a quiet piece, it is a thought-provoking one.
NOMADLAND screens at TIFF ’20 as follows:
Fri, Sep 11 RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place
Chinese-born and L.A.-based Filmmaker Chloé Zhao won accolades with 2017’s The Rider and since then has signed-on to direct Marvel’s The Eternals. Coming next is her Film, NOMADLAND starring and produced by Frances McDormand which will be doing the Festival rounds at at the New York, Venice and Toronto International Film Festival. The latter two will premiere on September 11, 2020.Telluride also will be hosting a special Drive-In Screening in lieu of their Festival being cancelled this year.
NOMADLAND marks the first project between Zhao and Searchlight and the fifth between McDormand and Searchlight. McDormand won an Oscar for her performance in Martin McDonagh’s film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which Searchlight released globally in 2017. Zhao adapted NOMADLAND from journalist Jessica Bruder’s 2017 non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century following McDormand and producer Peter Spears’ acquisition of the literary adaptation rights shortly after publication. The film follows Fern (McDormand), a woman who, after the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The film features real nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.