Thanks to Ruck Cohlchez, scb0212 and CM Crockford for contributing this week. Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods at gmail, post articles from the past week below for discussion, and Have a Happy Friday!
The Hollywood Reporter runs down the Oscar nominations announced this week, the snubs and the surprises:
The fact that few outside of the Academy’s acting branch had heard of or were offered the chance to see To Leslie didn’t matter. (Gotham, Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards are decided by journalists, so those constituencies weren’t courted, whereas acting Oscar noms are decided solely by the members of the actors branch of the Academy, so they were.) And this sort of top-down campaign, aimed solely at actors branch members, resulted in Riseborough’s performance getting seen and beating out the likes of Till’s Danielle Deadwyler, Empire of Light’s Olivia Colman, The Woman King’s Viola Davis and others whose films and performances had much higher profiles and better-funded campaigns. It’s all rather remarkable — and, I suppose, inspiring. Many Oscar contenders have famous friends and allies, but Riseborough’s went the extra mile for her and her big performance in a little film that would have otherwise gotten lost.
At Vulture, Hershal Pandya talks to the cast and crew of the new, unusual docudrama Paul T. Goldman:
For any one aspect to stand out as especially weird in a show as formally inventive and tonally adventurous as Paul T. Goldman is an achievement. Directed by Borat Subsequent Moviefilm director Jason Woliner and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the six-episode limited series features an inscrutable blend of true crime and true-crime satire, documentary storytelling, and dramatized reenactments of Finkelman’s life written by and starring Finkelman (under his adopted pseudonym Paul T. Goldman). At the center of this tangled web lies Finkelman, a middle-age man whose offbeat demeanor and peculiar mannerisms make him feel like a foreigner from a country that does not exist.
Further down the rabbit hole, The AVClub’s Matt Schimkowitz interviews the director of the project about its ten-year gestation as its themes of true crime and conspiracy only got more popular:
There are a lot of things that are specific to Paul, but also there are very universal things about him and his story. He was on the hunt for something that could make his life make sense. He suddenly realized his life was not what it seemed and was desperate to find a version of reality that made sense. He took this evidence that he found in the trash and that he subpoenaed in the divorce trial, and he built a functional reality that worked. He was able to find a framework for reality that made sense. But, ultimately, it was built on the flimsiest of evidence.
Lifehacker’s Stephen Johnson observes that TikTok is full of secret porn for fetishists:
Back in 1964, when Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart had to describe obscenity, he famously said, “I know it when I see it.” That same rule applies to hidden fetish videos on TikTok. These videos are often not obviously sexual, but the cheesed-out porn soundtracks and a leering style of camerawork scream “porn,” even if the thing being leered at is food or slime. Check out this video from 5 Minute Crafts to see what I mean. On one hand, it’s innocent images of a woman buttering some corn, showing you how to make a new kind of hot dog, and biting into a cow’s tongue, but come on. It’s straight-up hardcore porn for people into this sort of thing.
For The New Republic, Scott Bradfield looks into Chekov’s work as short story writer and doctor:
It wasn’t as if literature beckoned him so much as he slipped in through the back door. Chekhov’s early short comic pieces and stories appeared pseudonymously in poorly paying literary magazines such as the Petersburg-based Fragments, usually under the self-mocking byline of Antosha Checkhonte. And yet quite quickly he established an audience even while, as a doctor, he treated some of the poorest and most desperate people in Moscow.