No one’s carping about that as an abuse of committee power now. When I was reporting that story about the process at the beginning of 2017, part of the whispering against the system at the time was that it allowed a no-name like Anderson .Paak to pick up an inordinate amount of nominations. And the committees have been prescient in their time.
That murky haze is being replaced by the clear air of “transparency,” and not a moment or voting year too soon. RIP to “the room where it happens” — the Grammys’ blue-ribbon committees, which are officially being laid to rest this year after being an essential part of the nominating process in most categories since the 1990s. Never again will non-insiders have to play the role of Aaron Burr, wondering if there was actually smoke filling those rooms, and if so, what kind.
But at least if the whole process goes to hell as a result of leaving it to the entire bloc of voters, at least we’ll know which 11,000 people to blame. Maybe we shouldn’t trust the general membership to get the Grammy nominations right. Maybe it’ll get a little harder to tell the Grammys from the AMAs, without as many seemingly pulled-out-of-nowhere nominations and bold advocacy picks.
When I first reported on the committee system for Billboard in 2017, trying to demystify what was then a far less publicized process, I talked to committee members and trustees as well as official reps about why the Recording Academy would stick by something so easily seen as elitist. Those who were supportive of it (at that point, still a majority) made a collectively good case for why leaving the final nominating in the hands of a select few was the lesser of all possible evils. Could the foremost awards for popular music really be OK with something so non-populist?
And with this frustrating a lack of translucence about how seriously or cavalierly these matters were undertaken behind closed doors, we were all Aaron Burr… sir.
When I sit in those meetings, I come back to thinking this really is the best way to do it. It’s an imperfect system trying to be as perfect as it can.” A trustee told me, “Ultimately, I don’t know if there’s any other way to do it [besides the blue-ribbon committees].
Kudos to interim chief Harvey Mason, Jr. for apparently helping push it over the finish line. But we come here to bury the committee system, not to praise it. Some of the committee’s “what were they thinking” choices have turned out to be far more defensible than others, but the fact that every single amateur or professional Grammys observer asks it every single year was evidence of a long-overdue change. It shouldn’t have taken Dugan raising it in her legal actions against the Academy (at which point everyone was shocked, shocked, to learn that there was gambling going on in this establishment) or the Weeknd being a publicly and probably justifiably sore loser to put this on the front burner of the trustees.
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Sometimes throwing out a baby with the bathwater is a risk worth taking. In the end, some of the Academy’s (or their committees’) best oddball nominees may be worth sacrificing if it means no longer having music’s most prestigious kudos come off as at least half-arbitrary.
The blue-ribbon panel that decided the nominations for record and album of the year has seemed for many years to be operating under this assumption: If you nominate either an established veteran or an uber-popular mainstream smash, the general membership will go for either of those  Therefore, neither Ed Sheeran having one of the undeniable mainstream pop songs of the century nor Bob Dylan having his most acclaimed album in a quarter-century could dare be allowed a nomination, because either would be obvious Grammy bait for rank-and-file members… and a win for a pop superstar without much critical cred, or an oldster whose cred dated back to the ‘60s, would be bad for the image of an Academy that wants to be seen as honoring the vanguard.
But, there's no denying it — there were a lot of good WTF choices mixed in with the more unadulterated WTF-iness. We already had an American Music Awards, the reasoning went — there didn’t need to be two of them, one of them bearing the music industry’s imprimatur instead of the hoi polloi’s. But with that being said, some things will inevitably be lost when the next set of Grammy nominations is winnowed down by the entire 11,000-plus membership rather than a small group of imagined or real experts in each category. With the onset of committees, the lineup of nominees in each category typically worked out to about half popularity contest, half WTF. The curatorial approach that took over in the ‘90s was instituted for a reason: to make sure that, with such a vast membership, the Grammys would not become a pure popularity contest.
… ‘Elitist’ is a very charged word, these days in particular. And there are other awards for music that are based on popularity. Ultimately (nominations) come down to a group of people sitting in a room, but that group of people has gone through a rather rigorous vetting process—through our chapter system, through our national board of trustees, through other members of that genre community,” all in the service of being able to elevate the less likely choice that “sometimes has maybe not done quite so well in the marketplace.” “They’re not secret. “I get very tired of reading in some publications about our 'secret committees' and that sort of thing,” Bill Freimuth, the Recording Academy’s senior VP of awards, told me then. We try to be pretty transparent about this. You have to look at the antonym, which is populist.
In that same album of the year category, Santana beat TLC; Steely Dan bested Eminem; Ray Charles conquered Kanye West; Herbie Hancock beat Amy Winehouse (and also Kanye… that was a running theme for quite a while). And so then entered the age of committee overcorrection. And yet the Grammys were still seen as a bastion of old-guard sentiment, at least into the mid-2000s.
But what will be lost in the service of transparency? Slim. Or that Brandi Carlile’s “By the Way, I Forgive You” snuck in two years before — setting up a performance on the telecast that effectively made her a household name? Fun and/or deserving quirks. What are the odds that either of these would have made it onto the final ballot without the curatorial power of the committee? How great was it that an album as terrific as Haim’s “Women in Music Pt. III” got nominated for album of the year in this latest round?
“Maybe it’s time to advocate for majority decision-making in the Grammys,” I wrote. At the end of 2019, I wrote a Variety column titled “Why the Grammys’ Committee Voting System Needs an Overhaul,” arguing that then-new Academy CEO Deborah Dugan ought to look at eliminating the secret rooms, after some unexpectedly weird shutouts of front-running candidates ranging from Taylor Swift to Tyler, the Creator. While those repeat choices were undoubtedly the choices of a committee that wasn’t experiencing a lot of turnover from year to year, it’s hard to argue that those were un-prescient picks, given that every Taylor Swift fan is now a Bon Iver fan, and that H.E.R. just won an Oscar, still without having released a full album or having a major hit yet. “At least we’d be spared wondering if somebody with the loudest voice in a conference room owed a gambling debt.” Yet looking back at some of the things that were raising eyebrows at that particular time, I note that among them were the huge Grammy looks, year after year, for commercial also-rans like Bon Iver and H.E.R.
It’s fair to say that the community of musicians, the general public and most Recording Academy members will take a “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” attitude to the nominating committees seeing themselves out. What was recently seen as not working for the Weeknd was really a long-simmering issue that had seen the Recording Academy taking fire for a long time. Letting the popular vote prevail is a notion that’s very popular in 2021 across the board, unless you’re in an empty but still federally well-represented state like North Dakota, or unless you’re one of the more obscure artists who benefitted from having a very persuasive advocate on a Grammy committee. What happened this week simply had to happen, even if it’s still kind of shocking that the trustees gave up the committee system without it having to be pried out of their cold, dead hands.
The org has been on a mission for years to broaden and diversify its membership and weed out those who don’t have an active and ongoing participation in the music business. To hold onto the blue-ribbon process was effectively saying: Yes, we’ve made great strides in representation… but we still can’t trust those people. Most significantly, the Recording Academy’s vote to abolish the committees is a vote in favor of believing in the reform it’s already undertaken.
Maybe Sheeran’s “Shape of You” or Abel Tesfaye’s “Blinding Lights” or, on the other end of things, Dylan’s critically gushed over “Rough and Rowdy Ways” didn’t even make the top 20 choices the general membership handed over to the committee to hack down to a final field of eight. Now, maybe those kind of exclusions — or the Weeknd’s tipping-point shutout — didn’t come down to deliberate choices on the part of committee members. Or maybe those choices were handed to them, and the committee didn’t take the optics of the organization into account, but just really did think Jacob Collier made a better album than Dylan, or that Black Pumas’ moderately successful “Colors” was clearly a superior record to the monster that was “Blinding Lights.” But the fact was that, barring a leak of the discussions between those two dozen or so deciders, we would never know whether Ed or Bob or anyone else even came up in the room.
(Apologies to hearts, San Francisco, etc.) Bennett was out, and Beck was in… huzzah! But when you looked at the slate of nominees from year to year, you could see the committees whipsawing from not being cool enough to being too cool. Originally, especially when it came to the top all-genre categories, the committees were seen as a corrective to, say, Tony Bennett’s “MTV Unplugged” winning for album of the year — with the general feeling being that at least he won over the “Three Tenors” album that was also up at the time.

Describing Ray's films as "textbooks," Mitra says the "Indian market and mindset towards good arthouse cinema is still primitive, nothing has changed since the days of Ray, still Bollywood-centric. He's still the lighthouse to us, who dare to dream differently."
Chatterjee is the subject of Overdose Films' documentary "Talking Head," directed by Spandan Banerjee, and bound for the festival circuit. Ray also introduced actor Dhritiman Chatterjee in "Pratidwandi" (1970) and they worked together again on "Ganashatru" (1989) and "Agantuk" (1991).
"This film is our humble tribute to the master filmmaker himself on his centennial birthday besides the evergreen actor, Soumitra Chatterjee, who resides in our hearts as the quintessential Apu." Producer Gaurang Jalan obtained the necessary permissions from Bandyopadhyay's estate. "The film has been shot at 68 locations to retain the rich aesthetic flavor that compliments its backdrop of 1940s India," Jalan tells Variety.
Gaurang Films, Bhandarkar Entertainment and NCKS Explorations have produced Subhrajit Mitra's "The Wanderlust of Apu" (Avijatrik), which concludes the Apu Trilogy. Filmmakers are paying homage, both directly and indirectly, to Ray. The film, currently on the festival circuit, is based on the last part of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay's novel "Aparajito," picking up from where the film "Apur Sansar" ends and continuing the journey of Apu and his son Kajal.
"What must be noted that Dhritiman is not a ‘Satyajit Ray actor’, not like Soumitra Chatterjee was," Banerjee tells Variety. "The narrative of his work with Ray is a kind of a subtext that runs through my film 'Talking Head,' but it is about the actor’s journey."
"In a way the actors try to evolve from that identity and yet it is not easy to unlearn the experience of working with certain directors." "It is of course about resisting the only identity often posited to actors who work with famous directors," Banerjee adds.
Ray debuted with "Pather Panchali" (1955) the first part of the magisterial Apu Trilogy, which won best human document at Cannes. The Trilogy includes "Aparajito" (1956) and "Apur Sansar" (1959). Berlin was a particularly happy venue for him and he won top awards at the festival numerous times, for "Pather Panchali," "Aparajito," "Mahanagar" (1963), "Charulata" (1964), "Nayak" (1966) and "Ashani Sanket" (1973).
"We have to wait now and if the situation improves we will definitely go ahead," Ray told Variety." Sandip Ray describes his father's stories as "magnificent" and reveals that there are plans for a retrospective, a memorial lecture and physical exhibitions focusing on each facet of the master's craft.
"When you have such a colossal figure in a culture, you tend to stop deconstructing him and you tend to only view him as a perennial bank of nostalgia, which you can keep borrowing from for time immemorial, but I personally do not subscribe to that point of view," says Parambrata Chatterjee. "That is also an approach we could do with a little more," he says. While Chatterjee cherishes and celebrates Ray's oeuvre, he says it is also important to learn how to deconstruct his work.
He also won a British Institute Fellowship in 1983 to go with the London Film Festival's Sutherland Trophy for "Apur Sansar." In 1987, the government of France made Ray a Commander of the Legion of Honor. At Venice he won for "Aparajito" and "Seemabaddha" (1971), culminating in a career Golden Lion in 1982.
Now, he is prepping an anthology film that combines the Feluda and Shonku franchises in separate stories, produced by leading studio SVF Entertainment, which will commence in July and release by Christmas. Ray was a true renaissance man, equally felicitous as a writer, composer and a graphic designer, as he was as a filmmaker. His son Sandip Ray, a filmmaker of note himself, has been assiduously bringing his father's literary works to the screen, particularly the investigative stories featuring the detective Feluda and science fiction tales with the Professor Shonku character.
The late actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who collaborated with Ray in 14 films, beginning with his debut "Apur Sansar," is the subject of actor and filmmaker Parambrata Chatterjee's biopic "Abhijaan." The film, produced by Ratanshree Nirman and Roadshow Films, is currently in post-production. It was one of his last projects before he succumbed to coronavirus in 2020. Soumitra Chatterjee plays himself.
India is celebrating the birth centenary of one of her greatest sons, Satyajit Ray, in a variety of ways.
Meanwhile, filmmaker Ananth Narayan Mahadevan's pandemic-paused "The Storyteller," based on Ray's story "Galpoboliye Tarini Khuro," and starring Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Revathi and Tannishtha Chatterjee, will start in the second half of 2021.
In India, Ray's films won 36 times at India's National Film Awards and he was also accorded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest film and civilian awards respectively.
My major concern was the body language and I worked a lot on that." In 2017, Q had been cast as Ray in a film about the making of "Pather Panchali." He had researched the part extensively and been in character for months, but the film never took off. "As is fairly well known, I am not his biggest admirer. "I had always been ready to play Ray," Q tells Variety. However, that really helps to get perspective as an actor.
The Indian government has newly instituted a Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Cinema, and the country's various film bodies are organizing year-long centenary celebrations, necessarily virtual-physical hybrids because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Ray was a towering figure in Soumitra Chatterjee's life and career, and Parambrata highlights that aspect, without the filmmaker overpowering the narrative. "It is a Toshiro Mifune-Akira Kurosawa like relationship, so one can't deny that, but the film is about Soumitra Chatterjee, not just about his career as an actor, and also his worldview in general, that had to be kept in mind," Parambrata Chatterjee tells Variety.
SVF's streamer Hoichoi, Amazon Prime Video, the Criterion Channel, MUBI, ZEE5, Eros Now and Disney Plus Hotstar are some of the platforms where Ray films are available to watch currently.” />
"The lasting legacy as far as I am concerned is one of being a heavyweight," says Q. Q differs. "Weighing down generations of filmmakers from Bengal – instead of being that amazing light that shows you something wonderful and sets you free."
"He was successful in so many fields," says Sandip Ray. "As a filmmaker, as a writer, as a musician and as a graphic artist, I think that will live on forever."
"I think Ray’s legacy is the semblance of simplicity he gives his narratives, be it cinema, stories or design," says Banerjee. "He makes the craft of cinema simple, which, in reality, is the result of his tremendous hard work and talent." As an artist, Ray left behind a vast body of work across media and cast a long shadow.
So when Sandip Ray suggested he can combine both in a film we found that exciting and immediately agreed to produce '2 in 1' Ray stories," SVF director Mahendra Soni tells Variety. "Due to the pandemic, the Feluda franchise got delayed and it would be further pushed if we would have done only Professor Shonku this year.
Sunday (May 2, 2021), marks the centenary of Ray, the Indian master who won an honorary Oscar in 1992, shortly before his death, and remains the country's best known filmmaker internationally.
I interpreted the remaining part of the novel with my signature and visual style." "When I read the book, I was intrigued by the fact that the last one third part of the story was not filmed, where the journey of Apu continues further and the curve completes as the wanderlust is passed on to the next generation," Mitra tells Variety. "I was fascinated, inspired, intrigued by the work of the masters, but never been intimidated by it, or had fear about being judged.
To portray Ray, Chatterjee cast iconoclastic filmmaker Q ("Garbage"). "Q has been cast mainly because of the incredible amount of physical resemblance that he has that he shares with the master," says Chatterjee. "I wouldn't have probably dared to cast somebody just for the sake of a physical resemblance, but Q is a very acclaimed filmmaker, and he's somebody who knows films, so that is the reason why he has been cast."

It’s interesting for a while to try and figure out where all this is heading. But by the time Aria’s elevator ride reaches its cosmic conclusion.
Assisted by Frank Flick’s crisp widescreen photography, striking production design by Fiona Donovan and special effects that are terrific on a modest budget, director Furlong displays plenty of visual flair and imagination in what’s largely a one-room film. Sound design is overcooked, with layers of unintelligible whispering and discordant sounds only adding to the confusion.” />
It appears that young Aria (Tahlia Sturzaker) and her twin sister Zara (Karelina Clarke) have “special abilities” that are somehow related to controlling plant life and foreseeing a future where bizarre body transformations and environmental devastation are part of the dystopian landscape. Relying far too heavily on Aria’s phone for plot twists and information that’s frequently implausible and illogical, “Rising Wolf” employs flashbacks to a childhood Aria seems to have at least partially or perhaps even completely forgotten.
A standard-issue snarling sicko with an obligatory team of hulking goons at his disposal, Yaroslav has kidnapped Aria’s father, Richard (Jonny Pasvolsky), and is live-streaming his torture on the elevator’s video screens. For many viewers, the enduring image of “Rising Wolf” will likely be that of 20-something Aria Wolf (Best) being tossed around like a rag doll in an elevator traveling at lightning speed between 120 floors of a half-completed Shanghai skyscraper. With almost no memory of the recent past or any idea how she arrived in this predicament, Aria is at the mercy of freelance Russian operative Yaroslav (Alex Menglet).
Her résumé continues to grow impressively long after she arrived on TV as a talented juvenile in “Home and Away,” the long-running soap opera that’s served as a launch pad for dozens of renowned Aussie actors. What’s not in doubt is the convincing and charismatic performance of Best (“A Name Without a Place,” “An American in Texas”).
It comes as no surprise to discover Richard has a secret past with CIA connections, and the only way Aria can save his life is by revealing the identity of someone known as “The Engineer.” With no idea who this person might be, Aria depends on a voice message from her mother, Barbara (Susan Prior), and subsequent cell phone conversations with Uncle Jack, a trusted family friend or relative (it’s not clear which) whose face is never seen and whose real identity is easy to guess almost immediately.
The elements hold plenty of initial promise, but the mix of brutal and bloody torture with dreamy flashbacks and nightmarish future visions fails to adequately explain itself and creates bewilderment where wonder and excitement ought to reign. The screenplay by first-time feature director Antaine Furlong and co-writer Kieron Holland brings together a straightforward hostage story with a YA-style sci-fi scenario about a heroine slowly realizing she has extraordinary abilities.
Centered on a terrified young woman trapped in a Shanghai skyscraper elevator by a nasty Russian villain, this muddled attempt at an elevated genre film involving time travel, psychic powers and environmental doom can’t be rescued by strong visuals or a fine central performance by Charlotte Best. Promising ideas turn out to be mostly empty thought bubbles in “Rising Wolf,” a confusing and derivative Aussie combo of hostage thriller and sci-fi fantasy. cinemas on July 16. A box-office disappointment when released locally on 165 screens on April 8 under the title “Ascendant,” “Rising Wolf” has been acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films and is reportedly set to open in U.S.

Those receipts are notable because the Warner Bros. release is playing simultaneously on HBO Max. "Mortal Kombat," a martial arts-inspired adaptation of the popular video game, has grossed $34 million in two weeks. The studio's entire 2021 slate, including "In the Heights" and "The Suicide Squad," is following a similar rollout pattern.
box office charts. After narrowly losing first place in its opening weekend, "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train" has surged ahead of "Mortal Kombat" on U.S.
“It should come as no surprise that as the theatrical marketplace finds its footing, the box office will naturally move in fits and starts,” says Paul Dergarabedian, a senior box office analyst with Comscore. He notes that 57% of North American theaters are currently in operation.
The Focus Features comedic drama "Limbo" also opened this weekend, grossing $90,000 from 208 theaters for a weak $434 per-screen average. The well-reviewed movie takes place on a fictional remote Scottish island and centers on a group of new arrivals as their await the results of their asylum claims.” />
The drama, starring Glenn Close as a mother who attempts to help her heroin-addicted daughter (Mila Kunis) pursue sobriety, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews. Among specialty releases, "Four Good Days" debuted in 298 venues and earned $303,000 over the weekend, averaging $1,017 per location.
It added another $3 million this weekend for a total haul of $32.8 million. Worldwide, "Mortal Kombat" has passed $66 million in ticket sales. Internationally, where HBO Max has yet to launch, "Mortal Kombat" hasn't been well embraced by audiences.
In normal times, those figures would have been somewhat disappointing for nationwide releases but during a pandemic, it's not a terrible result. Still, it leaves lingering questions about when moviegoing will return in earnest — and if upcoming potential blockbusters like "A Quiet Place Part II," Marvel's "Black Widow" and "Fast and Furious" sequel "F9" will premiere as expected this summer.
The film, from Funimation and Aniplex, has surpassed "Dragon Ball: Super Broly" ($30 million) to become the third-highest grossing anime title in North America. "Demon Slayer," which is playing in 1,915 North American venues, has earned an impressive $34.1 million in the U.S. and Canada to date.
Overseas, the latest "Demon Slayer" has already set several box office records. In Japan, it has become the highest-grossing movie ever with ticket sales surpassing $368 million. It's also the highest-grossing anime film ever with $423 million globally.
The monster mashup has become a hit overseas, where it has grossed $325 million, pushing its global bounty to $415 million. That brings its domestic total to $90 million. Kong," a Warner Bros. and Legendary film, collected $2.7 million from 2,753 screens. In third place, "Godzilla vs.
Both films debuted last weekend and dipped roughly 70% from their initial outings. The anime action adventure "Demon Slayer" is expected to end the weekend with $6.4 million in ticket sales, while "Mortal Kombat" trails closely behind with $6.2 million between Friday and Sunday.
Horror movie "Separation" opened in forth, pulling in $1.8 million from 1,751 venues. The Open Road and Briarcliff release got terrible reviews, with Variety's critic Nick Schager calling the supernatural thriller about a creepy doll that haunts a widower and his daughter a "dull and misogynistic affair." On Rotten Tomatoes, it averaged a dismal 11%.
The movie is currently available to rent on demand for $20 due to an agreement between Universal and movie theater chains like AMC and Cinemark, which allows the studio to debut its films on digital rental services early. In total, the Bob Odenkirk-led film has made $23 million. Universal's action thriller "Nobody" rounded out the top five, amassing $1.2 million in its sixth weekend of release.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing up, recent pandemic-era box office hits like "Godzilla vs. Kong," "Mortal Kombat" and "Demon Slayer" have proven that audiences are excited to return to movie theaters. The gradual reopening of movie theaters is a promising sign for the film industry, which delayed many blockbuster releases repeatedly throughout 2020 in hopes of debuting them on the big screen.
and Legendary's "Godzilla vs. Kong" has grossed a domestic total of $325 million, making it the largest debut since before COVID-19. In addition, "Mortal Kombat" and "Demon Slayer" have been locked in a fierce box office battle for the past two weekends, a phenomenon that bodes well for the return of moviegoing. Warner Bros.


The theater's official Twitter account posted a photo on May 1 of their marquee, which reads: "Re-opening June 1, 2021 because we love showing movies." No other information was given on the reopening.
The capacity was first set at 25% (maximum 100 people) and now has been cleared to expand to 50% (maximum 200 people) as L.A. With vaccination rates rising and COVID-19 infections slowing down, L.A. movie theaters have been allowed to reopen at limited capacity. moves into California's orange tier.
Though "Mortal Kombat" topped the box office last weekend, "Demon Slayer" triumphed over the video game adaptation this weekend, pulling in an expected $64 million.” />
Los Angeles' New Beverly Cinema is set to reopen on June 1 after being closed for over a year due to COVID-19.
The historic New Beverly Cinema has been owned by director Quentin Tarantino since 2007, when he bought the building that houses the theater to save it from redevelopment. It seats 300 and is known for its double features shown on 35mm film, particularly of Tarantino's movies.