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‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ‘Versace’ and other LGBT Golden Globes wins

Lady Gaga, Ben Whishaw and more take home the gold

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Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Screenshot via YouTube)

The 76th annual Golden Globes, hosted by Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, recognized the best in film and television at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday with some prominent awards handed to LGBT projects.

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Queen biopic starring Rami Malek as queer frontman Freddie Mercury, won Best Motion Picture Drama. Malek’s portrayal of Mercury was also honored with the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama. Before raking in the accolades, the film was already a box office hit becoming the biggest-selling music biopic in history.

Malek notably didn’t thank director Bryan Singer during his acceptance speech. Singer was fired from the film after being “unexpectedly unavailable” during filming. Rumors have also swirled that Singer and Malek clashed while filming. After his speech, Malek explained why he chose to omit recogizning Singer.

“There’s only one thing we needed to do and that was to celebrate Freddie Mercury in this film. He is a marvel. There is only one Freddie Mercury and nothing would compromise us giving him the love, celebration and adulation he deserves,” Malek said per People.

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace” won for Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Executive producer Brad Simpson noted in his speech that although the story is historical, set in ’90s Miami, it is not dated.

“This was the era of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ It was the Defense of Marriage Act era. Those forces of hate are still here with us. They tell us we should be scared of people who are different than us. They tell us we should put walls around ourselves. As artists we must fight back by representing those who are not represented by providing a space for people with new voices to tell stories that haven’t been told. As human beings, we can resist in the streets, resist at the ballot box. and practice love and empathy in our everyday lives. Our show is a period piece, but those forces are not historical. They are here, they are with us, and we must resist,” Simpson said.

Darren Criss, who played spree killer Andrew Cunanan, also won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

“This has been a marvelous year for representation in Hollywood, and I am so enormously proud to be a teeny tiny part of that as the son of a firecracker Filipino woman from Cebu that dreamed of coming into this country and getting to be invited to cool parties like this. Mom, I know you’re watching this,” Criss told the crowd.“I love you dearly. I dedicate this to you. This is totally awesome.”

Lady Gaga won Best Original Song in a Motion Picture for “Shallow” although both she and her “A Star is Born” co-star Bradley Cooper didn’t bring home awards for Best Actress, Best Actor or Best Director.

Out actor Ben Whishaw also won for his role as Norman Scott in “A Very English Scandal.”

“He took on the establishment with courage and a defiance that I find completely inspiring. He’s a true queer hero and icon. And Norman, this is for you,” Whishaw told the crowd as he accepted his award.

Check out the complete list of winners below.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
“Black Panther”
“BlackKklansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“A Star Is Born”

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“The Favourite”
Green Book”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Vice”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Glenn Close-“The Wife”
Lady Gaga-“A Star Is Born”
Nicole Kidman-“Destroyer”
Melissa McCarthy- “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Rosamund Pike-“A Private War”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bradley Cooper-“A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe-“At Eternity’s Gate”
Lucas Hedges-“Boy Erased”
Rami Malek-“Bohemian Rhapsody”
John David Washington-“BlackKklansman”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt-“Mary Poppins Returns”
Olivia Colman-“The Favourite”
Elsie Fisher- “Eighth Grade”
Charlize Theron-“Tully”
Constance Wu-“Crazy Rich Asians”

Best Director
Bradley Cooper-“A Star Is Born”
Alfonso Cuaron-“Roma”
Peter Farrelly-“Green Book”
Spike Lee (“BlackKklansman”)
Adam McKay (“Vice”)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale-“Vice”
Lin-Manuel Miranda-“Mary Poppins Returns”
Viggo Mortensen-“Green Book”
Robert Redford-“The Old Man and the Gun”
John C. Reilly-“Stan and Ollie”

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams-“Vice”
Claire Foy-“First Man”
Regina King-“If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone-“The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz-“The Favourite”

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali-“Green Book”
Timothée Chalamet-“Beautiful Boy”
Adam Driver-“BlackKklansman”
Richard E. Grant-“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell-“Vice

Best Original Score in a Motion Picture
Marco Beltrami-“A Quiet Place”
Alexandre Desplat-“Isle of Dogs”
Ludwig Göransson-“Black Panther”
Justin Hurwitz-“First Man”
Marc Shaiman (“Mary Poppins Returns”)

Best Original Song in a Motion Picture
“All the Stars”-“Black Panther”
“Girl in the Movies”-“Dumplin'”
“Requiem for a Private War”-“A Private War”
“Revelation”-“Boy Erased”
“Shallow”-“A Star Is Born”

Best Screenplay in a Motion Picture
Barry Jenkins-“If Beale Street Could Talk”
Adam McKay-“Vice”
Alfonso Cuaron-“Roma”
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara-“The Favourite”
Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie-“Green Book”

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
“Capernaum”
“Girl”
“Never Look Away”
“Roma”
“Shoplifters”

Best Animated Film
“Incredibles 2”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mirai”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Best TV series – Drama
“The Americans”
“Bodyguard”
“Homecoming”
“Killing Eve”
“Pose”

Best performance by Actress in a TV series – Drama
Caitriona Balfe-“Outlander”
Elisabeth Moss-“The Handmaid’s Tale”
Sandra Oh-“Killing Eve”
Julia Roberts-“Homecoming”
Keri Russell-“The Americans”

Best performance by an Actor in a TV Series – Drama
Jason Bateman-“Ozark”
Stephan James-“Homecoming”
Richard Madden-“Bodyguard”
Billy Porter-“Pose”
Matthew Rhys-“The Americans”

Best TV series – Musical or Comedy
“Barry”
“The Good Place”
“Kidding”
“The Kominsky Method”
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV series – Musical or Comedy
Sasha Baron Cohen-“Who Is America?”
Jim Carrey-“Kidding”
Michael Douglas-“The Kominsky Method”
Donald Glover-“Atlanta”
Bill Hader-“Barry”

Best Performance by an Actress in a TV series – Musical or Comedy
Kristen Bell-“The Good Place”
Candice Bergen-“Murphy Brown”
Alison Brie-“GLOW”
Rachel Brosnahan-“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Debra Messing-“Will & Grace”

Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
“The Alienist”
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
“Dirty John”
“Escape at Dannemora”
“Sharp Objects”
“A Very English Scandal”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Antonio Banderas-“Genius: Picasso”
Daniel Bruhl-“The Alienist”
Darren Criss-“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Benedict Cumberbatch-“Patrick Melrose”
Hugh Grant-“A Very English Scandal”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Amy Adams-“Sharp Objects”
Patricia Arquette-“Escape at Dannemora”
Connie Britton-“Dirty John”
Laura Dern-“The Tale”
Regina King-“Seven Seconds”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alan Arkin-“The Kominsky Method”
Kieran Culkin-“Succession

Edgar Ramirez- “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Ben Whishaw-“A Very English Scandal”
Henry Winkler-“Barry”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alex Borstein-“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Patricia Clarkson-“Sharp Objects”
Penélope Cruz-“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)
Yvonne Strahovski (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

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Books

New book goes behind the scenes of ‘A League of Their Own’

‘No Crying in Baseball’ offers tears, laughs, and more

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(Book cover image courtesy of Hachette Books)

‘No Crying in Baseball: The Inside Story of ‘A League of Their Own’
By Erin Carlson
c.2023, Hachette Books
$29/320 pages

You don’t usually think of Madonna as complaining of being “dirty all day” from playing baseball. But that’s what the legendary diva did during the shooting of “A League of Their Own,” the 1992 movie, beloved by queers.

“No Crying in Baseball,” the fascinating story behind “A League of Their Own,” has arrived in time for the World Series. Nothing could be more welcome after Amazon has cancelled season 2 of its reboot (with the same name) of this classic film.

In this era, people don’t agree on much. Yet, “A League of Their Own” is loved by everyone from eight-year-old kids to 80-year-old grandparents.

The movie has strikes, home runs and outs for sports fans; period ambience for history buffs; and tears, laughs and a washed-up, drunk, but lovable coach for dramady fans.

The same is true for “No Crying in Baseball.” This “making of” story will appeal to history, sports and Hollywood aficionados. Like “All About Eve” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “A League of Their Own” is Holy queer Writ.

Carlson, a culture and entertainment journalist who lives in San Francisco, is skilled at distilling Hollywood history into an informative, compelling narrative. As with her previous books, “I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy” and “Queen Meryl: The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds, and Legendary Life of Meryl Streep,” “No Crying in Baseball,” isn’t too “educational.” It’s filled with gossip to enliven coffee dates and cocktail parties.

“A League of Their Own” is based on the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). From 1943 to 1954, more than 600 women played in the league in the Midwest. The league’s players were all white because the racism of the time prohibited Black women from playing. In the film, the characters are fictional. But the team the main characters play for – the Rockford Peaches – was real.

While many male Major and Minor League Baseball players were fighting in World War II, chewing gum magnate Philip K. Wrigley, who owned the Chicago Cubs, founded the league. He started the AAGPBL, “To keep spectators in the bleachers,” Carlson reports, “and a storied American sport–more important: his business afloat.” 

In 1943, the Office of War Information warned that the baseball season could be “scrapped” “due to a lack of men,” Carlson adds.

“A League of Their Own” was an ensemble of women’s performances (including Rosie O’Donnell as Doris, Megan Cavanagh as Marla, Madonna as Mae, Lori Petty as Kit and Geena Davis as Dottie) that would become legendary.

Girls and women  still dress up as Rockford Peaches on Halloween.

Tom Hanks’s indelible portrayal of coach Jimmy Dugan, Gary Marshall’s depiction of (fictional) league owner Walter Harvey and Jon Lovitz’s portrayal of Ernie have also become part of film history.

Filming “A League of Their Own,” Carlson vividly makes clear, was a gargantuan effort.  There were “actresses who can’t play baseball” and “baseball players who can’t act,” Penny Marshall said.

The stadium in Evansville, Ind., was rebuilt to look like it was in the 1940s “when the players and extras were in costume,” Carlson writes, “it was easy to lose track of what year it was.”

“No Crying in Baseball” isn’t written for a queer audience. But, Carlson doesn’t pull any punches. 

Many of the real-life AAGPBL players who O’Donnell met had same-sex partners, O’Donnell told Carlson.

“When Penny, angling for a broad box-office hit chose to ignore the AAGPGL’s queer history,” Carlson writes, “she perpetuated a cycle of silence that muzzled athletes and actresses alike from coming out on the wider stage.”

“It was, as they say, a different time,” she adds.

Fortunately, Carlson’s book isn’t preachy. Marshall nicknames O’Donnell and Madonna (who become buddies) “Ro” and “Mo.” Kodak is so grateful for the one million feet of film that Marshall shot that it brings in a high school marching band. Along with a lobster lunch. One day, an assistant director “streaked the set to lighten the mood,” Carlson writes.

“No Crying in Baseball,” is slow-going at first. Marshall, who died in 2018, became famous as Laverne in “Laverne & Shirley.” It’s interesting to read about her. But Carlson devotes so much time to Marshall’s bio that you wonder when she’ll get to “A League of Their Own.”

Thankfully, after a couple of innings, the intriguing story of one of the best movies ever is told.

You’ll turn the pages of “No Crying in Baseball” even if you don’t know a center fielder from a short stop.

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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Theater

Rupert Murdoch’s powers on full display in ‘Ink’

Media baron helped pave the way for Brexit, Prime Minister Thatcher

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Cody Nickell (Larry Lamb) and Andrew Rein (Rupert Murdoch) in ‘Ink’ at Round House Theatre. (Photo by Margot Schulman Photography)

‘Ink’
Through Sept. 24
Round House Theatre
4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814
$46-$94
Roundhousetheatre.org

Yes, Rupert Murdoch’s loathsome traits are many, but his skills to succeed are undeniably numerous. 

In the first scenes of John Graham’s West End and Broadway hit drama “Ink,” an exciting year-long detail from the life of a burgeoning media baron, Murdoch’s powers of persuasion are on full display.

It’s 1969 London. Over dinner with editor Larry Lamb, a young Murdoch shares his plan to buy the Sun and rebrand the dying broadsheet, replacing the Daily Mirror as Britain’s best-selling tabloid. What’s more, he wants to do it in just one year with Lamb at the helm. 

Initially reluctant, Lamb becomes seduced by the idea of running a paper, something that’s always eluded him throughout his career, and something Murdoch, the outsider Australian, understands. Murdoch taunts him, “Not you. Not Larry Lamb, the Yorkshire-born son of a blacksmith, not the guy who didn’t get a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, who didn’t get a degree from anywhere. Not you.”

Still, Lamb, played convincingly by Cody Nickell in Round House Theatre’s stellar season-opener, a co-production with Olney Theatre Center, remains unsure. But Murdoch (a delightfully brash Andrew Rein) is undeterred, and seals the deal with a generous salary. 

Superbly staged by director Jason Loweth, “Ink” is riveting. Its exchanges between Lamb and Murdoch are a strikingly intimate glimpse into ambition involving an ostensibly average editor and a striving money man who doesn’t like people.  

Once on board, Lamb is trolling Fleet Street in search of his launch team, played marvelously by some mostly familiar actors. He makes his most important hire — news editor Brian McConnell (Maboud Ebrahimzadeh) — in a steam bath. The remainder of the Sun’s new masthead falls handily into place: Joyce Hopkirk (Kate Eastwood Norris) the women’s page editor whose forward thinking is marred by her casual racism; Zion Jang plays Beverley Goodway, an awkwardly amusing young photographer; persnickety deputy editor Bernard Shrimsley (Michael Glenn) who learns to love ugly things; and an old school sports editor who proves surprisingly versatile, played by Ryan Rillette, Round House’s artistic director. 

At Lamb’s suggestion, the team brainstorms about what interests Sun readers. They decide on celebrities, pets, sports, free stuff, and —rather revolutionarily for the time —TV.  Murdoch is happy to let readers’ taste dictate content and the “Why” of the sacred “five Ws” of journalism is out the window. 

Murdoch is portrayed as a not wholly unlikable misanthrope. He dislikes his editors and pressman alike. He particularly hates unions. His advice to Lamb is not to get too chummy with his subordinates. Regarding the competition, Murdoch doesn’t just want to outperform them, he wants to grind them to dust. 

Loewith leads an inspired design team. Scenic designer Tony Cisek’s imposing, inky grey edifice made from modular walls is ideally suited for Mike Tutaj’s projections of headlines, printed pages, and Rein’s outsized face as Murdoch. Sound designer and composer Matthew M. Nielson ably supplies bar noises and the nonstop, pre-digital newspaper clatter of presses, linotypes, and typewriters.

From a convenient second tiered balcony, the Daily Mirror’s establishment power trio Hugh Cudlipp (Craig Wallace), Chris Lee Howard (Chris Geneback) and Sir Percy (Walter Riddle) overlook all that lies below, discussing new tactics and (mostly failed) strategies to remain on top.   

Increasingly comfortable in the role of ruthless, sleazy editor, Lamb is unstoppable.

Obsessed with overtaking the Daily Mirror’s circulation, he opts for some sketchy reportage surrounding the kidnapping and presumed murder of Muriel McKay, the wife of Murdoch’s deputy Sir Alick (Todd Scofield). The kidnappers mistook Muriel for Murdoch’s then-wife Anna (Sophia Early). Next, in a move beyond the pale, Lamb introduces “Page 3,” a feature spotlighting a topless female model. Awesta Zarif plays Stephanie, a smart young model. She asks Lamb if he would run a semi-nude pic of his similarly aged daughter? His reaction is uncomfortable but undaunted. 

For Murdoch’s purposes, history proves he chose well in Lamb. By year’s end, the Sun is Britain’s most widely read tabloid. Together they give the people what they didn’t know they wanted, proving the pro-Labour Daily Mirror’s hold on the working class is baseless and paving the way for things like Brexit and a Prime Minister Thatcher. 

“Ink” at Round House closes soon. See it if you can.

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Out & About

CAMP Rehoboth’s final concert of the season is almost here

Chorus performs ‘Music of the Night’

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CAMP Rehoboth Chorus is ready to close out another season.

CAMP Rehoboth Chorus will perform “Music of the Night” on Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. at Epworth United Methodist Church. 

The chorus will sing more than 36 song selections, including “Fly Me to the Moon,” “I Could’ve Danced All Night” and “In the Still of the Nite.”

Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased on CAMP Rehoboth’s website.

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