Idris Elba & a plundered treasure

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Awards Quartet, Pedro Pascal’s giddy win, Jeffrey Wright takes on Muhammad Ali, Paramount goes negative and a plundered treasure.

Let’s go!


SAG/SPIRITS/CÉSAR

In the lead-up to the Academy Awards (Sunday, March 10th), this weekend saw a flurry of awards ceremonies.

The US had the SAG Awards and the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Internationally, we had the Berlin Film Festival awards ceremony and the César Awards, the French equivalent of the Academy Awards.

Here are a shortlist of the winners:

SAG AWARDS:

Film

Outstanding Cast

  • Oppenheimer

Actor in a Lead Role

  • Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer)

Actress in a Lead Role

  • Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)

Actor in a Supporting Role

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers)

TV

Actor in a Drama Series

  • Pedro Pascal (The Last of Us)

Actress in a Drama Series

  • Elizabeth Debicki (The Crown)

Notable Moments:

  • Idris Elba’s story about how he snuck into Robert De Niro’s office when he was 19 (clip)
  • Pedro Pascal’s sublime giddy drunkenness (watch his face light up as they announce his win clip)

A full list of winners can be found here.

INDIE SPIRIT AWARDS:

The budget cap for qualifying projects is $30M.

Best Feature, Best Director

  • Past Lives, Celine Song

Best First Feature

Best Lead Performance (gender-neutral category)

  • Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction)

Best Supporting Performance

  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers)

Notable Moment:

  • Jeffrey Wright on Muhammad Ali and a pirate flag (clip)

A full list of winners can be found here.

CESAR AWARDS:

Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay

  • Anatomy of a Fall
    • Dir: Justine Triet
    • Actress: Sandra Hüller
    • Supporting Actor: Swann Arlaud
    • Screenplay: Justine Triet, Arthur Harari

Anatomy of a Fall also won Best International Film at the Indie Spirit Awards.

Best Actor

Best Supporting Actress

Female Revelation

Male Revelation

Notable Moment:

  • Juliette Binoche’s searing precision as she compliments each of the best actress nominees (clip).

A full list of winners can be found here.


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Warner Bros. Discovery earnings call for Q4 2023. Here are the gains and losses:

  • ↓ $400 M net loss
    • Down from $2.1 bn in 2022
    • ↑ $103 M streaming profit
  • $10.28 bn revenue
    • ↓ 6.6% from Q4 2022
  • ↑ 1.8 M subs
    • 97.7 M total
    • 54.6 M domestic
  • ↓ 13% share price

CEO David Zaslav said:

“This business is not without its challenges. Among them we continue to face the impacts of ongoing disruption in the pay TV ecosystem and a dislocated linear advertising ecosystem… Bottom line, the studio has really been underperforming, including the end of the year where we had some real struggle.”

Warner Bros. struggled with their end of the year releases:

  • $68 M gross (The Color Purple)
    • $100 M budget
  • $433 M gross (Aquaman 2)
    • $1 bn gross for Aquaman 1

Zaslav remained optimistic, though, citing Warner Bros.’s big up-and-coming projects:

  • Tom Cruise partnership
    • Cruise in talks to star in an Alejandro Iñárritu film
  • Dune: Part Two
    • Release date: March 1, 2024
  • Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

They are also in talks with J.K. Rowling about a Harry Potter TV series.

Paramount Global goes negative. As the company struggles to adapt from traditional TV to streaming, it was downgraded to “negative watch” by Credit Ratings Agency, S&P.

S&P’s assessment:

“The ongoing deterioration of the linear television ecosystem and the shift toward a lower margin direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming model.”

Despite this being a universal issue for media companies, S&P singled out Paramount Global:

“Its cash flow declines have been worse than its industry peers because of its smaller scale, less business diversification, and slower DTC ramp up.”

Paramount’s free cash flow for 2022 was -$139 M.

An earnings report this week will shed light on their current cash flow for 2023, but it is expected to be “minimal.”

Sony wins Cola wars. Sony bought a pitch from Jason Shuman (creator/writer, Apple TV+’s Acapulco) and Ben Queen (Writer: Cars 2, The Addams Family 2) centering on the fierce 1980s Coke vs Pepsi saga. Sony was reported to have paid upwards of $1 M.

For a fun look into how Pepsi vied to win the Cola wars, check out the absurdly fun Netflix documentary Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? about how one kid challenged Pepsi to win a military fighter jet (trailer).


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Lars Eidinger is a savage. Eidinger’s most recent role is as a generous junior conductor who must bear the weight of his suicidal boss and his drunkard sister in The Berlinale Film Festival’s Dying (trailer).

Eidinger has done great work in Noah Baumbach’s White Noise (2022) as the raving lunatic, philosopher, and drug dealer who plays across Adam Driver. Eidinger’s Richard III was the stuff of nightmares (trailer).

Kal Penn plays another doctor. In Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, a new biopic about Anna Nicole Smith, Penn is set to star as the doctor who prescribed Smith a flight of dubious drugs, which may have led to her death.

Here’s the synopsis of the book on which the film is based:

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor’s tranquil life unravels when celebrity Anna Nicole Smith dies under his care, turning his private journals into public evidence and thrusting him into a media frenzy.

Penn previously played a doctor for two seasons of House (2007-2012), often taking the moral high ground against Hugh Laurie’s iconic character.


FESTIVALS/INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Berlin Film Festival Winners:

Golden Bear (top prize):

Synopsis:

The journey of 26 plundered royal treasures from the Kingdom of Dahomey exhibited in Paris, now being returned to Benin.

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize:

Synopsis:

A French woman drinks makgeolli in Korea after losing her means of income, then teaches French to two Korean women.

Silver Bear for Best Lead Performance:

Synopsis:

It tells the story of Edward. After undergoing a facial reconstructive surgery, he becomes fixated on an actor in a stage production based on his former life.

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay:


TECH SECTION

For your consideration, Best Makeup & Hairstyling. The Makeup in Maestro is a masterpiece. Makeup artist Kazu Hiro (Darkest Hour, Bombshell, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) spent three years with Bradley Cooper developing the looks.

Hiro stated:

“The youngest look took about 2 hours and 15 minutes and the last stage was about 5 hours. It was completely covered with including arm and body suits and everything because we had to also change the posture of the body too.”

Go Behind-the-Scenes of the Academy Award Nominated Film.

The German Run Lola Run director has launched a three-project slate. Gold Rush Pictures (Mia Wasikowska’s Club Zero) has partnered with X Filme Creative Pool (Tar, Cloud Atlas) to finance and co-produce director Tom Tykwer’s next three projects, including films and TV series.

Tykwer has created a strong resume of cinema from the furiously paced, bold, fractured narrative of Run Lola Run (trailer) to the slightly less well-received:

  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)
  • The International (2009)
  • Cloud Atlas (2012, directed w/ the Wachowski’s)
  • A Hologram for the King (2016)

While there’s not a consistent throughline throughout his films, Tykwer often meditates on new facets of technology, be that 18th-century perfume, modern-day holograms, or futuristic genetic engineering, all culminating in films that employ radically stylized narrative structures.

Tyker just wrapped up production on his latest project, The Light, which features a family disrupted by a mysterious housekeeper with a dark past.

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) introduces La Academia, its first Spanish-language series filmed in Spain for Prime Video and 3Cat.

Here’s the official synopsis:

At the Spanish training academy of professional club Apolo F.C., talented boys and girls from diverse backgrounds vie for a shared dream – earning a spot on the prestigious first team.

Filmed in Barcelona, it explores the tumultuous journey of young athletes.

Matthew Justice, EVP, head of U.K. and Europe, Sony Pictures Television, said:

La Academia is a true milestone for Sony Pictures Television, our first Spanish-language drama series filmed on the ground in Spain, and we look forward to developing further projects through our local team.”

Sony’s first foray into international TV hopes to win a large audience share by taking on the world’s most popular sport: soccer.


ON THIS DAY

1920. German silent horror film classic The Cabinet of Dr Caligari starring Werner Krauss is released.


See you tomorrow!


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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