In & Out is W‘s guide to what’s hot and what’s not each week. Subscribe here and stay up to date by getting the newsletter delivered early to your inbox each week.
“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”—Charles Bowden
The EGOT (that’s winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) may seem like the pinnacle of show business achievement, but honestly there are some stars so iconic that actually chasing it seems beside the point. Still, Beyoncé very much seems like she wants an Oscar (she did perform all five nominated songs during one Oscars ceremony, after all). Sure, she may have tried with Dreamgirls, but the glory that year went to her costar Jennifer Hudson. Beyoncé was snubbed in the acting category, and didn’t get to share the nomination for “Listen,” as she didn’t write it. Well, while her role as Nala in The Lion King isn’t going to win her any acting awards, she’s coming strong for that Original Song category with “Spirit,” the sole new addition to the classic soundtrack. It’s a rousing ballad with African influences, that, yes, Mrs. Carter-Knowles did both cowrite and coproduce. It’s far too early to even begin parsing the category in earnest (no one knows if there’ll be any original songs in Cats, though another Beyoncé vs. Taylor Swift awards show moment would be quite something). But we have to figure Queen B is now the undisputed front-runner. She certainly looked deserving, stepping out to the film’s premiere in matching Alexander McQueen with her daughter Blue Ivy.
People critique Gen Zers and Millennials for viewing too much of the world through a lens (as in, an actual camera lens), which may be true, but at least they like to mix up the type of lens from time to time. Indeed, everyone seems a little bored with their iPhone camera (despite the fact that it comes with tons of filters), and the hot new trend seems to be film…although that film ends up being digitally scanned and uploaded online anyway. Everyone from Gigi Hadid to Joe Jonas has started secondary Instagrams to show off their skills behind an actual film camera, even if that camera is simply a disposable one or a Polaroid (Hadid’s is, of course, dubbed @Gisposable. Is this just the latest iteration of the seemingly ever-present ’90s nostalgia…or the next frontier in Internet clout seekers’ limitless quest for authenticity (no one would assume you’d attempt to FaceTune an actual photograph)? Perhaps it’s just a status flex. Not everyone has the disposable income and time to spend on actual film and developing these days, when we each have a perfectly good digital camera in our pocket at all times. Whatever the case, it doesn’t seem like the trend is ending anytime soon.
Awkwafina has come a long way in a short time, from YouTube rapper to Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett costar, and it doesn’t seem like her trajectory is peaking anytime soon. Indeed, there’s buzz that, come next January, she could add Oscar nominee to her résumé thanks to her performance in this weekend’s The Farewell. Written and directed by Lulu Wang (who, along with her boyfriend, Barry Jenkins, is Hollywood’s hottest director-director couple since Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze), the film finds Awkwafina’s character traveling back to China to say goodbye to her dying grandmother (who is the only person not aware that she’s dying). “The Farewell is wonderfully specific toward the culture depicted, but there’s a universality to its issues regarding family,” writes Film Threat in its review. “Just about everyone will be able to take something away from The Farewell.” Of course, there’s still a long, long way to go before those Oscars (no one is even sure if Renée Zellweger’s Judy Garland movie is supposed to be good or not), but watch out for Awkwafina. And while this film is only in limited release, it’s not like there’s much else to see this weekend.
Over in wide-release land there’s Stuber, perhaps the world’s first Uber-themed movie (considering how many taxi-related movies there’ve been, it was inevitable). Kumail Nanjiani stars as a driver who picks up Dave Bautista’s character, who, of course, just so happens to be a detective hot on the heels of a terrorist. Then there’s Crawl, which is a weird name for a horror film that could have been aptly titled A Random Thursday in Florida. It’s about a father and daughter on the run from what the official Paramount Pictures description terms “marauding alligators” during a hurricane. Yeah, anyway, go see that Awkwafina film if it’s playing in your town.
Pop (the channel still best known for Schitt’s Creek) brings us a series that also could be aptly called A Random Thursday in Florida, but was given the more succinct title Florida Girls. It premiered last night, and follows four friends who decide to better their lives after their former fifth wheel leaves the state. It’s unclear if marauding alligators are involved, but the reviews indicate it’s not afraid to get a bit vulgar. Otherwise, television is not that promising. So you could use your time to catch up on all those previous shows you missed, or, you know, you could just fall into the black hole that is CBS’s remake of the hit British reality show Love Island, which is basically hot people in swimsuits sitting around a pool. It’s airing five nights a week through the summer.
“I knew as much as everyone else knew about the part at the time,” Francesca Reale tells W about her experience booking a key character in Stranger Things. “She was a lifeguard who worked at the community pool, and that was it. A week before I flew out, they gave me the whole shebang.” Find out more about the actress behind the breakout character, here.