Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to forget about work? Imagine you could shut out all of the struggles and hardships that come with commuting, date input, and awkward water cooler conversations as soon as you leave the building. If you could separate your work persona from your personal life, would you? After watching the (fictional) show, Severance, splitting up one’s memories is not as appealing as it sounds.
Severance follows Mark S (Adam Scott), an employee who works for Lumin Industries in the Macrodata Refinement division. Mark and his coworkers – Dylan (Zach Cherry), Helly R (Britt Lower), and Irving (John Turturro) – are all in the severance program, meaning work memories are completely separate from personal ones. Thanks to a computer chip implanted in their brains, severed employees have two different personas – innies (inside Lumin) and outies (outside Lumin). As soon as employees get into the elevator to enter or leave the office, the computer chip activates one’s innie or outie.
After watching last night’s brilliant season finale, this drama from Apple TV+ is now one of the best television shows in 2022. The show is equal parts sci-fi mystery and workplace comedy. It’s a true slow burn, but not one that wastes entire episodes on explaining exposition with little character development. Every episode peels back a layer of the show’s onion as the employees (and audience) try to figure out the underlying question of the season. What does Lumin do?
The four severed employees start as coworkers, but as the season progresses, they slowly become a family as they band together to figure out their purpose at Lumin. Unlike a lot of workplace dramas and comedies, Severance smartly focuses on the thoughts and feelings of its employees rather than those in charge. That doesn’t mean the higher-ups like Harmony Cobel (Patricia Arquette) and Mr. Milchick (Tramell Tillman), who both give terrific performances (“Defiant Jazz” is an Emmy worthy submission for Tillman), are neglected along the way. They’re just as clueless about Lumin’s powers and capabilities as the Macrodata Refinement division.
Somehow, the show made cubicles and long hallways visually appealing, and that’s a credit to the show’s creator, Dan Erickson, and primary director* and producer, Ben Stiller. When the employees begin to venture outside of their department and walk the halls that resemble a labyrinth, the music becomes more ominous, and the lighting incorporates more colors to symbolize curiosity and rebellion. Severance takes uneventful tasks such as inputting numbers into a computer and spits out a thrilling adventure about human interaction and responsibility.
*Of the nine episodes, Ben Still directed six while Aoife McArdle directed three.
At the core of the ensemble is Mark, who became a severed employee after the death of his wife. Instead of grieving, he chooses to forget about her for eight hours a day. Mark’s journey from a depressed outie and conservative innie to a curious outie and rebellious innie is the heart of the show. Mark and the rest of the employees want to combine their two halves and become whole again. It’s this idea that the show successfully develops sympathy and understanding as to how people deal with loss and grief.
This brings me to the real reason I’m writing this post, the season finale. It’s one of the tensest and most thrilling 40+ minutes of television I’ve witnessed in the last ten years. Without spoling the plot, every stylistic decision made by Erickson and Stiller is perfect. The fluid camerawork from each character’s innie and outie felt like one continuous movement. The eerie music increasing as the suspense picks up made me want to take a Xanax. Each character’s climactic moment brought me off the couch like I just witnessed a buzzer-beater at Madison Square Garden. (Let’s fix the Knicks, Ben.) The finale is a triumphant victory in how to build suspense and pay it off while still leaving enough on the table to explain in subsequent episodes.
So please, go watch Severance. Season 2 hopefully arrives in 2023. Join this weird world with me and the rest of Lumin Industries.
If you have seen the show, leave your thoughts on the finale in the comments below or tweet me, @Danny_giro.
Kate and Toby’s marriage on This Is Us is sinking faster than the Titanic. Not good, folks!
This Is Us Season 6 Episode 11 Recap: “Saturday in the Park”
The Barbeque From Hell
The entire family flocks to Kate’s house for a barbeque to celebrate Rebecca and Miguel’s tenth anniversary. Kate and Toby are already on edge after the San Francisco trip, and their constant arguing starts to affect Jack. Despite a happy day at the park with the family, Kate and Toby cannot stop bickering, and it bleeds over to the party. When Randall and Beth arrive, Kate breaks down and cries on her brother’s shoulder. Kate remains hopeful that their marriage will turn around, but I’m not sure if she believes the words coming out of her mouth.
Things go from bad to worse when the ceiling starts leaking water from a plumbing issue. While yelling at each other, both Toby and Kate make careless mistakes. Toby does not lock the gate to Jack’s room and Kate fails to lock the door after letting the plumber in. Jack, who earlier tells Rebecca about his parents’ fighting, takes advantage of the situation, leaves the house, and walks to the park.
Upon realizing their blind son is missing, Kate, Toby, and the rest of the party begin to yell Jack’s name throughout every square inch of the house. Because of his missing rain boots, Rebecca realizes Jack went to the park, and sprints to catch up with him. However, the damage is done when Rebecca finds Jack on the ground with a cut on his head that requires stitches.
Tangent: Does anyone for a second believe that Jack could have made it to the park without being stopped by ONE person? There is no chance in hell that the kid makes it 20-feet down the sidewalk alone.
After returning from the hospital, Kate and Toby have their worst argument to date on the front lawn. It’s ugly, to say the least. Kate accuses Toby of only seeing Jack for his limitations while Toby counters by saying Kate is irresponsible for not admitting his deficiencies. Kate believes she’s the only parent in the family, and Toby says that’s the way Kate wants it to be.
As Toby starts to raise his voice, both Kevin and Randall intervene as they form the “Flying-V,” ready to take on their brother-in-law. An upset Toby laughs and infers that Kate has always put the Big Three over her marriage. This is a callback to a flashback in the episode when the Big Three defend each other from a babysitter who they feel was mean to Kate. Back to the fight, is Toby wrong? For Kate, it’s always been Kevin, Randall, and Toby in that order so he has grounds to be upset. The San Franciso debacle is Toby’s fault, but how would you feel if your significant other always sided with siblings instead of you? I, for one, would be quite upset!
At the end of the episode, Kevin and Randall console Kate after the argument with Toby. However, this blowup feels like the climax, not an early entry, to a rocky relationship. Even Kate doesn’t think the marriage will work. Unfortunately, her instincts will be proven correct.
Kevin Accepts The Truth
Meanwhile, Kevin heads to Madison’s house to visit the twins to escape the craziness at Kate’s house. While walking into her bedroom, Kevin catches Elijah with a ring sizer, meaning a proposal is on the horizon. This rocks Kevin to his core, who still holds out hope that he can rekindle his relationship with Madison.
Later that night, Kevin tells Madison that he’s removing her as an emergency contact aka he knows about the proposal and needs a way to break the ice. Funny enough, Madison admits she’s excited about her impending engagement to Elijah. Seeing her reaction is the “a-ha” moment that Kevin needs to finally move on and accept his co-parenting relationship with Madison.
I’m expecting Kevin to call Sophie in a future episode.
Next week marks the end of Katoby. Wear black and bring the tissues.
What are your thoughts on this episode of This Is Us? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.
And with that, the final Big Three trilogy has come to an end on This Is Us. We’re onto the last eight episodes, but first, Randall gets his moment in the spotlight.
This Is Us Season 6 Episode 10 Recap: “Every Version Of You”
The Good Son
Since the day he joined the family, Randall Pearson’s number one job involves protecting his mother, Rebecca. He is a good son, which is not a reference to the 1993 horror movie of the same name. When Deja leaves the cabin to visit Malik, Rebecca supports Randall and accompanies him on the car ride to Boston.
Using her motherly charm, Rebecca convinces Randall to spend some quality time with her in order to calm down and take his mind off Deja. The plan works as the two bond over lunch and a glass of red wine. While spending the night together at a hotel, Randall shares news of a potential senate run to replace the retiring incumbent. Despite encouragement from his mother, Randall tempers his expectations as he cites family drama as a reason to pass up this opportunity.
The next day, Rebecca explains to Randall why she did not pick him to be her executor when her health deteriorates. Rebecca knows Randall will drop heaven and earth to take care of her even if that means sacrificing his own needs in the process. Rebecca won’t let that happen, which is why she chose Kate. Randall has always been the “man of the house” ever since Jack died. In a flashback, Randall talked down a police officer from arresting the Big Three for trespassing at the pool. As a young kid, Randall successfully persuaded the entire family to join him in the pool.
The mother-son duo eventually reach Boston, where they’re greeted by Malik and Deja. Malik informs Randall of their breakup due to the distance and stress it put on their lives. Randall respects Malik’s heart and lets him know that if their relationship is meant to be, it will work out when the time is right. Deja later apologizes to Randall, and the two reconcile.
Big Three Plans
The episode ends by spotlighting each member of the Big Three.
Randall is going to meet with the senator to talk about a succession plan.
Kevin returns home to Madison with a smile on his face as he finally realizes he can be a good father.
Kate asks Philip to consider her for the teaching job, and tells Toby she can’t move to San Francisco.
Next week could be the day when everything changes for Kate and Toby. See you then.
What are your thoughts on this episode of This Is Us? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.
Did you happen to watch the Oscars? Well if you didn’t, they gave out some awards, edited some speeches, and oh yeah, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock across the face.
Like anyone who has been on the Internet for over a decade, I thought this was fake.
I was wrong.
This was as real as it gets.
This moment is heading full-speed into the Take Cycle. I’m expecting think pieces with the following themes to dominate the Internet:
Will Smith is going through a mental breakdown.
Chris Rock needs to be canceled.
It was just a joke.
Talk shit, get hit.
You never know the battles someone is going through.
It was a cheap shot joke.
You can’t hit someone like that.
Whatever your take might be, tonight is why I “lace ’em up.” This is why I spend hundreds of hours watching movies, writing about the Oscars, and reading every piece of journalism I can get my hands on about actors and actresses. I will NEVER forget this moment.
I’m going to be a dweeb here, but I want to celebrate CODA running a fantastic campaign, capping it off with a win for Best Picture. I’ll let Twitter settle the Smith/Rock debate for me.
After the long and winding road, awards season has reached the end of its journey with the 2022 Oscars.
Remember when Belfast was the frontrunner for Best Picture and House of Gucci was going to dominate the acting categories? That was Fall 2021, which feels like 10 years ago.
Things have drastically changed the last few weeks as new contenders have emerged. I won’t waste anymore more time. Below are my predictions for every category.
P.S. Please move the Oscars back to February 2023.
Belfast CODA Don’t Look Up Drive My Car Dune King Richard Licorice Pizza Nightmare Alley The Power of the Dog West Side Story
This is a two-horse race between The Power of the Dog and CODA. The Power of the Dog dominated critics’ circles and picked up huge wins at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Critics’ Choice Awards. On the other hand, CODA is the sentimental favorite and surged to wins at the SAGs and PGAs.
Best Picture is a preferential ballot, which means voters rank the nominees from most favorite to least favorite (1-10). If a film gets 50% of the first-place votes on the first try, it’s over. That’s not going to happen. The film that receives the least number of votes is eliminated. For the ballots that were eliminated, the Academy then takes their number two selections and applies those votes to ballots with that film at number one. This process happens with selections three and four until one film receives 50% of the vote. Here’s a quick diagram to explain.
Voter A: 1) The Power of the Dog 2) CODA 3) Don’t Look Up Voter B: 1) Nightmare Alley 2) CODA 3) The Power of the Dog Voter C: 1) CODA 2) West Side Story 3) Dune
Let’s say Nightmare Alley comes in at 10th place after round one so it’s eliminated. Go to Voter B’s number two selection, which is CODA. Essentially, CODA becomes Voter B’s new number one so it’s redistributed to ballots with CODA at one (like Voter C) and adds to CODA‘s first-place tally. The elimination process will occur until a film receives 50% of the vote.
Because of this balloting system, Best Picture is an award given to the film that voters liked the most, or close to it. Don’t think about which film is number one on ballots, but think about which film will fall at numbers two and three. This is why CODA has a legit shot at winning because it will probably fall within the top 3 on many ballots. Can the same be said for The Power of the Dog?
My heart says Coda, and after thinking it over, so does my head. From Sundance to the Oscars, what a run for this heartwarming film.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win: CODA
Kenneth Branagh, Belfast Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog Stephen Spielberg, West Side Story
This is Jane Campion’s award to lose. The Power of the Dog is not my favorite movie, but I can’t deny Campion’s expertise and execution. Plus, she’s virtually won every directing award on the circuit. My vote would be for Denis Villeneuve and Dune… oh wait, he was completely snubbed. You deserve better, Denis.
Who Should Win: Denis Villeneuve, Dune (not nominated) Who Will Win: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom! Will Smith, King Richard Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
The kid from West Philadelphia should give the speech of the night. I can’t wait.
Who Should Win: Will Smith, King Richard Who Will Win: Will Smith, King Richard
Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos Kristen Stewart, Spencer
Do you want chaos? Then this is the category for you! Jessica Chastain is the favorite, and as much as I love Chastain, Olivia Colman is tied with Frances McDormand as the best working actress in Hollywood. Colman is a master of her craft. I like all of these actresses so I won’t be upset with whoever wins. I’ll go with Colman in a slight upset because the Academy loves her.
Who Should Win: Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter Who Will Win: Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ciarán Hinds, Belfast Troy Kostur, CODA Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
Troy’s Oscar moment.
Who Should Win: Troy Kostur, CODA Who Will Win: Troy Kostur, CODA
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter Ariana DeBose, West Side Story Judi Dench, Belfast Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Ariana is the lock of the century.
Who Should Win: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story Who Will Win: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Belfast, Kenneth Branagh Don’t Look Up, Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay & David Sirota King Richard, Zach Baylin Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson The Worst Person in the World, Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier
The screenplay categories are the hardest of the night. Is this the spot where the Academy rewards Belfast? Does Don’t Look Up have enough momentum following its win at the WGAs? I’m predicting the Academy rewards the man who has been knocking at the door for over two decades, looking for his first Oscar win. That man is Mr. Paul Thomas Anderson.
Who Should Win:Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson Who Will Win: Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
CODA, Sian Heder Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe Dune, Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth The Lost Daughter, Maggie Gyllenhaal The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion
If Coda or The Power of the Dog wins this category, then they become the favorite for Best Picture. CODA picked up a huge win at the WGAs, but The Power of the Dog was ineligible. Campion previously won an Oscar for screenplay, and she’s a lock for Best Director. Does the Academy spread the wealth and reward Sian Heder of Maggie Gyllenhaal? I think they share the love so my pick is Heder.
Who Should Win:Dune, Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth Who Will Win: CODA, Sian Heder
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Encanto Flee Luca The Mitchells vs. The Machines Raya and the Last Dragon
The Encanto momentum is real.
Who Should Win:The Mitchells vs. The Machines Who Will Win: Encanto
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Drive My Car, Japan Flee, Denmark The Hand of God, Italy Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Bhutan The Worst Person in the World, Norway
Had Drive My Car not been nominated for Best Picture, this would go to The Worst Person in the World. Both films are worthy of this win.
Who Should Win:Drive My Car, Japan and The Worst Person in the World, Norway (tie) Who Will Win: Drive My Car, Japan
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Ascension Attica Flee Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) Writing with Fire
Will Questlove be drumming on Fallon the next night after his win? That is the million-dollar question.
Who Should Win:Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) Who Will Win: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Don’t Look Up, Nicholas Britell Dune, Hans Zimmer Encanto, Germaine Franco Parallel Mothers, Alberto Iglesias The Power of the Dog, Jonny Greenwood
Who Should Win:Dune, Hans Zimmer Who Will Win: Dune, Hans Zimmer
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Be Alive, King Richard, Music and Lyric by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter Dos Oruguitas, Encanto, Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda Down To Joy, Belfast, Music and Lyric by Van Morrison No Time To Die, No Time To Die, Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell Somehow You Do, Four Good Days, Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
Why Encanto submitted this song over “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is something I’ll never understand. This comes down to who the Academy wants to give an Oscar to, Lin-Manuel or Billie & Finneas? I think not submitting“Bruno” will come back to haunt Encanto. James Bond wins the Oscar.
Who Should Win: No Time To Die, No Time To Die, Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell Who Will Win: No Time To Die, No Time To Die, Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell
Dune, Greig Fraser Nightmare Alley, Dan Laustsen The Power of the Dog, Ari Wegner The Tragedy of Macbeth, Ari Wegner West Side Story, Janusz Kaminski
Let me just say that all five of these films look spectacular. But Dune is on another level, and its dominance in the technical categories continues.
Who Should Win:Dune, Greig Fraser Who Will Win: Dune, Greig Fraser
Belfast Dune No Time To Die The Power of the Dog West Side Story
I’m running out of ways to explain how Dune is a stunning technical achievement.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win: Dune
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Dune Nightmare Alley The Power of the Dog The Tragedy of Macbeth West Side Story
One word: Arrakis.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win:Dune
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Coming 2 America Cruella Dune The Eyes of Tammy Faye House of Gucci
With Jessica Chastain the favorite to win Best Actress because of her big transformation,it makes sense to reward the people behind her makeup and hairstyling.
Who Should Win:Cruella Who Will Win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Cruella Cyrano Dune Nightmare Alley West Side Story
Who Should Win:West Side Story Who Will Win: Cruella
BEST FILM EDITING
Don’t Look Up Dune King Richard The Power of the Dog Tick, Tick… Boom!
King Richard picked up a surprising victory at the ACE Eddies. However, Dune avenges its loss and wins yet another Oscar.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win: Dune
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Dune Free Guy No Time To Die Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Spider-Man: No Way Home
In 10 years, we are going to look back and question why Dune won so many technical awards, but not Best Director nor Best Picture.
Who Should Win:Dune Who Will Win: Dune
***Full disclosure – I haven’t seen any nominees in the final three categories. I’m using my best judgment as well as gambling odds to determine winners.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Audible Lead Me Home The Queen of Basketball Three Songs for Benazir When We Were Bullies
Who Should Win:The Queen of Basketball Who Will Win: The Queen of Basketball
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Ala Kachuu – Take and Run The Dress The Long Goodbye On My Mind Please Hold
Who Should Win:The Long Goodbye Who Will Win: The Long Goodbye
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Aairs of the Art Bestia Boxballet Robin Robin The Windshield Wiper
Who Should Win:Robin Robin Who Will Win: Robin Robin
Thank you for reading my discussions about the Oscars all year. I really appreciate it. Follow me on Twitter, @danny_giro.
If you wanted a devasting fight about a marriage on the rocks, then this episode of This Is Us will be right up your alley!
This Is Us Season 6 Episode 9 Recap – “The Hill“
If You’re Going To San Francisco
Next up in the Big Three trilogy is Kate. To save her f̶a̶i̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ marriage, Kate heads to San Francisco for a weekend with Toby. Right off the bat, problems arise when Toby can’t pick her up from the airport due to a work call. As someone who has to take inopportune work calls, I sympathize with you, Toby.
After the two adults have sex, Toby once again hops on a work call as Kate is left hanging in the bedroom. That’s strike two for Toby. Kate begins to imagine the old Toby, the one who made her laugh and more importantly, the man she fell in love with. I just want to say that the current version of Toby is so much better looking than old Toby. It had to be said. The bald and bearded version dunks on the Hawaiian shirt and horrible haircut.
Things are off to a “hilly” start, but “KaToby” made the most of their day in San Francisco and act like a happily married couple for the first time all season. That would end rather quickly when Toby brings Kate to a house he plans on buying for the family. As an outsider in this relationship, Kate has every right to be upset. That’s a major life decision, and for Toby to go behind her back and start getting preapproved for loans is ridiculous.
Trust me, things get worse. Before heading to a party, Kate suggests they walk, but it’s an uphill walk, and Toby pretty much implies Kate can’t handle it. At the party, Kate mingles with Toby’s coworkers, who all seem to love him. Then, Toby’s boss drops a nuke on the night when he tells Kate about her husband turning down a job offer in L.A. What a night from hell!
Back at the apartment, the globes come off, and Kate and Toby have a gutwrenching fight. Kate explains how she misses the old Toby, the man she fell in love with. In his defense, Toby tells Kate that his younger self suffered from depression and poor health and might not be here had he not changed his life. Kate wants to keep the kids in a familiar area because of Jack’s blindness, but Toby knows that Jack will need special schooling and teaching, which costs money. Both Kate and Toby admit that they are living happy lives outside of their marriage.
This was brutal, but an honest view into a dissolving marriage. This was my favorite scene from Kate and Toby in a long time. I couldn’t invest in all of the half-fights and backhanded comments. When all the cards were on the table, I was moved by the truthfulness from both parties. Toby and Kate are right about the happiness in their lives, and that’s what’s wrong with their marriage.
The next day, Toby apologizes, but still insists Kate and the kids need to move to San Francisco. In response, Kate walks up the hill, calls Philip, and applies for the teaching position at the school.
I’m not going to spend too much time on little Kate. She’s afraid to drown and uses Jack as a float in her life. When he died, she lost her life raft. Teenage Kate realizes that at the pool when she comments on her lack of a future. Fortunately, things will get better, but when Kate can’t climb the fence to escape the pool, she gives up.
Hang in there, Kate.
Next week, the trilogy will close with Randall. Here comes the drama!
What are your thoughts on this episode of This Is Us? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, at @danny_giro.
The final Big Three trilogy on This Is Us is underway. First up is the oldest member of the trio, Kevin.
This Is Us Season 6 Episode 8 Recap – “The Guitar Man“
Stars Are Just Like Us
Kevin might be a successful actor, his true mission is to become a good father just like Jack. He decides to fly cross country with twins and take them to the cabin. Plus, he does it all… wait for it… without a many. See, stars are just like us! The flight is a disaster as both twins cry and poop the entire way there.
Cassidy And The Cabin
Upon arrival, Kevin and Nicky head up to the construction site to check on the progress. Kevin is greeted by Cassidy, who reveals that veterans are the ones working on the cabin project. Much to his dismay, Kevin learns from Cassidy that there has been a setback, which will push back the finish date. Due to his stress from the twins, Kevin lashes out at Cassidy. More on the fallout later.
Speaking of tables, Edie, Nicky, Cassidy’s son, Matty, Cassidy, Kevin, and the twins spend a fun evening together that includes dinner and Monopoly. Kevin apologizes to Cassidy for his outburst, and the duo is on good terms the rest of the night. They even share a few promising looks toward one another as they watch Nicky and Edie dance while Matty tries to play the guitar. Have we found love in a hopeless place?
The happy moment ends when Kevin receives devasting news about Cassidy, who injured herself in a car accident. At the hospital, Kevin is relieved when the doctor says she’ll be alright and they can visit her in the morning. But, Nicky knows that Cassidy is not ok both physically and emotionally. Nicky explains to Kevin how veterans like Cassidy never let you know when they’re not ok. War brings out the worst emotions in people, and those memories are never forgotten. Nicky suggests for Kevin to stay at the hospital, and just “be there” for his friend. No grand gestures are necessary.
While in the waiting room, Kevin begins to doubt his purpose in life, and questions if he will become a man who does the right thing. Kevin’s soliloquy ends when the doctor allows him to visit Cassidy, who is covered in bruises from the accident. Taking Nicky’s advice to heart, Kevin approaches Cassidy with a calming presence and says he’s here to be with her, not to ask her questions. Feeling comfortable to open up about the accident, Cassidy explains how she goes on drives late at night to calm her down. After a great night with Kevin in the cabin, she worried the happy feelings will go away so she stays up all night to avoid ending the day. Nicky, who understands exactly what Cassidy’s going through, arrives and consoles her.
Back at the cabin, Kevin starts to daydream about Jack and his father’s dream of starting Big Three Homes. Kevin runs the idea by Cassidy and Nicky and states his intentions to hire more veterans to build the house. As we know from the flash-forward, Big Three Homes and Kevin the Contractor will come to fruition.
The Deep End
In the past, an ambitious Kevin begs to swim in the deep end, but Jack says he must first learn how to swim before he can go off the diving board. In 1999, teenage Kevin heads to the same pool, which is shutting down, to drink a few beers and sulk over Sophie. Kate and Randall try to cheer him up, and Kevin foreshadows his future as a contractor by saying he doesn’t have a “foundation” and aspires to be like Jack who put a “roof over their head.” Who doesn’t love a good foreshadowing reference?
Also, my mom taught me how to swim at age 3. I was swimming in the deep end by age 4. I just wanted that on the record.
Next week is all about Kate. Maybe something good will happen in her marriage with Toby.
I doubt it.
What are your thoughts on last night’s episode of This Is Us? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, at @danny_giro.
We’re almost there, everyone. The Oscars are just over two weeks away, but there’s still work left to be done with the BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards. In a strange move, both the BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice will air on Sunday, Mar. 13, which means we’ll have twice the amount of answers to apply to our Oscar predcitions.
The Double Up
As an avid fan of sports gambling, my friends and I have a term where you bet on one team – spread and moneyline – in the same game and win both. We call it “The Double Fuck.” For the kids reading at home, let’s call it “The Double Up.”
The BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards are the two biggest remaining barometers for predicting the Oscars. Final voting does not even begin until March 17 so these results have the potential to sway voters. If a film or actor can pull off the Double Up on Sunday, then it will be a lock to win the Oscar.
In the major categories, these are the films and entertainers with the best chances of winning twice on Sunday.
Best Film/Picture – The Power of the Dog
Best Director – Jane Campion
Actor – Will Smith
Supporting Actress – Ariana DeBose
Supporting Actor – Troy Kotsur/Kodi Smit-McPhee
Original Screenplay – Paul Thomas Anderson
If The Power of the Dog wins both the BAFTA and Critics’ Choice, it’s pretty much a wrap on Best Picture. Belfast at the BAFTAs and CODA at the Critics’ Choice are the biggest threats to the Dog’s Double Up potential. Selfishly, I would love for CODA, a movie I thoroughly enjoyed more than The Power of the Dog, to win the Critics’ Choice to make the Oscar race more interesting. Before Nomadland in 2021, the last film to win Best Picture at the Critics’ Choice, BAFTAs, and Oscars was 12 Years a Slave.
The acting categories can get a little weirder. The only true locks at both ceremonies are Ariana DeBose and Jane Campion, who will use both ceremonies to practice their acceptance speeches. The Kotsur/Smit-McPhee matchup is mirroring the Slyvester Stallone/Mark Rylance battle for supporting actor in 2015. Kostsur/Stallone is the acclaimed, feel-good performance while Smit-McPhee/Rylance seems to be the critics’ guild choice.
Every critical pundit and their mother are using the Chadwick Boseman/Anthony Hopkins analogy from last year to compare this year’s Best Actor race between Will Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch. To refresh your memory, Boseman was the heavy favorite throughout the awards season. However, Hopkins’ win at the BAFTAs propelled him to pull off the upset at the Oscars over Boseman. If Cumberbatch can win the BAFTA, then the analogy will gain even more traction. Plus, the BAFTAs like to take care of their own and Cumberbatch is an English man so you do the math.
I don’t care what happens to PTA this weekend as long as he wins the Oscar. To quote Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight, “It’s time.”
The First Streamer To Win Best Picture Will Be…
Though the winner is still up in the air, I can confidently say that Best Picture will go to a streaming service for the first time ever. Barring a last minute surge for West Side Story or Belfast, Best Picture will most likely come down to Netflix’s The Power of Dog and Apple TV+’s CODA. Netflix has been at the door the past few years, trying to get into the Best Picture club. Roma was the favorite going into the 2019 Oscars, but the Academy had other plans in Green Book. This year, The Power of the Dog is the clear favorite to win, and if it doesn’t take home the top prize, I’ll be shocked. If Netflix can’t win Best Picture this year, I truthfully don’t know if it will ever happen.
On the flip side, Apple TV+ started just over two years ago, and they’ve cracked the Best Picture category with CODA. The service has been steamrolling the competition at other awards’ shows thanks to Ted Lasso. If CODA does the unthinkable and wins Best Picture, expect a lot of changes to occur at Netflix in regards to their handling of prestige dramas.
Three words: Beth was right. On last night’s episode of This Is Us, Beth correctly predicted that a Pearson Thanksgiving would include a lot of drama and tears. For her next trick, Beth will correctly predict the winning lottery numbers.
This Is Us Season 6 Episode 7 Recap – “Taboo”
Thanksgiving brings people together, but it doesn’t always provide a good result. In a flashback, Rebecca and Jack host Rebecca’s parents, Janet and Dave, for Thanksgiving. Despite her hard work, Janet critiques the entire meal, specifically, the sugar pie because Rebecca made it without the secret ingredient. After Rebecca lashes out at her mother, SuperMan aka Jack comes to the rescue and calms both parties down. Jack tells Janet about how hard Rebecca worked on the meal. Janet reveals that she and Dave will be moving to Connecticut, and fears Rebecca will never visit her, which explains the backhanded remarks.
When Jack attempts to calm Rebecca down, he slips in the piece about the move, something Rebecca had no prior knowledge of. Jack’s gamble pays off as Rebecca and Janet apologize for their actions. Plus, Janet whispers something in Rebecca’s ear, which by all accounts, is the secret ingredient to the sugar pie.
In another flashback, the Big Three are teenagers on Thanksgiving day. A drunk Kevin is depressed over the fallout from cheating on Sophie. Kate cannot stop her unhealthy eating habits as she puts on more weight due to her depression and insecurities. At least Randall is happy with Beth so there’s that.
In another edition of “will they or won’t they,” Rebecca invites Matt to dinner while Miguel brings Marguerite. Both Rebecca and Miguel try to undermine each other’s dates with half-ass compliments. Adding further fuel to the potential relationship is a spirited game of Taboo, where a spirited Rebecca gives Miguel personal clues for each word, much to the dismay of Matt, Marguerite, and the entire room. Rebecca and Miguel have a connection, but the entire room now questions if it’s friendship or romance.
After the game, Kevin tells Miguel about how Jack would be so disappointed in him to learn of his infidelity to Sophie. Kebin then turns the tables on Miguel, saying how his father would feel the same way if his best friend made a move on his wife. Inside the kitchen, Kate’s struggle with overeating is at an all-time high. However, the song “Kiss Me” from She’s All That calms her down, and she throws away the pie.
Rebecca and Miguel will eventually get together, but it won’t be today as Miguel tearfully shares the news to Rebecca that he’s moving to Houston for a new job and to be closer to his kids. They confess their feelings about each other, but Miguel tells her it’s time to move on, Rebecca retreats to her room and cries uncontrollably as Kate comforts her mother.
Mandy Moore’s Emmy Clip
In the present, the Pearson tribe heads to the cabin for Thanksgiving. With everyone under one roof, what could go wrong?
With the holiday comes drama, and the Big Three are back on their BS. Randall channels his TMZ photographer and captures every second of the meetup to cope with the fact that it could be the last Thanksgiving with a healthy-ish Rebecca. Kevin woefully plays the guitar to counteract his sadness about the twins’ absence, and later hurls an insult towards Miguel about the new cabin’s addition. Kate and Toby’s marriage continues to dissolve as they bicker over Jack’s food. Toby does not want Jack to gain an excess amount of weight like his parents while Kate never wants her son to feel ashamed about food the way she felt as a teenager. We’re one step closer to a divorce.
Eventually, the Big Three and Miguel are summoned to the table by Rebecca, which I’m calling “Mandy Moore’s Emmy Clip.” If Moore is nominated for an Emmy, look for this clip to be shown at the ceremony. Rebecca explains how her health will eventually deteriorate and that if she can’t make her own health decisions, Miguel is first to make the call followed by Kate. Rebecca then tearfully urges the Big Three to take big risks and live a full life instead of putting their mother’s health at the forefront of their decision-making.
Since she has been known to fight with her mother, Kate asks Rebecca why she picked her to make decisions about her health. With a smile on her face, Rebecca tells Kate that she is her best friend. In Rebecca’s mind, it was always Kate. Just like her mother did many Thanksgivings ago, Rebecca whispers something into Kate’s ear, which turns out to be the secret ingredient to the sugar pie.
One of the most important checkpoints on the road to the Oscars is the SAG Awards, which aired on Feb. 27. Before the ceremony, I tweeted out one prediction.
As The Office’s Kevin Malone once said, “It’s just nice to win one.”
Can Coda Win Best Picture?
The movie that best represents the “little engine that could” this awards season is Apple TV+’s Coda, the story of Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones), a teenage CODA (child of deaf adults) who grapples between pursuing her musical dreams or staying at home to support her family’s business. After winning the top prize at Sundance and finding itself on many “top 10” lists, the feel-good story added another chapter to its Cinderella run with a triumphant victory for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards.
Coda seemingly checks off a new “first” with every nomination and win. Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin, and Daniel Durant, who play Ruby’s father, mother, and brother respectively, became the first deaf/non-hearing actors to be nominated and win a SAG. Kotsur also won Outstanding Supporting Actor earlier in the night. For the Oscars, not only is it the first film to be nominated with the majority of the starring roles played by deaf actors, but Coda will be Apple’s first film in Best Picture.
According to Goldderby, both the cast of Coda and Kotsur had the second-best odds of winning in their respective categories behind Belfast and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog. With the huge win at the SAGs, can Coda pull off the unthinkable and win Best Picture at the Oscars?
Coda‘s win at the SAGs completely shook up the race for Best Picture. While The Power of the Dog remains the favorite due to its 12 Oscar nominations, Coda now slides itself into second place ahead of Belfast, which lost a ton of momentum with its SAG loss.
There are a couple of things in Coda‘s favor. SAG winners for Outstanding Performance by a Cast went on to win Best Picture in three of the last seven Oscars. Two of those winners – Parasite and Spotlight – were considered upsets, and many cite the SAG win as the springboard it needed to win over voters. Kotsur’s Oscar nomination for supporting acting helps its cause because only three films (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Slumdog Millionaire, and Parasite) in the 21st century won Best Picture without an acting nominee.
From a worldly perspective, things aren’t so great in the world. Between a pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many are looking for signs of hope and happiness. Coda is a delightful, feel-good story that should play well with the Academy’s preferential ballot.
Two important ceremonies to circle: The Critics’ Choice Awards on March 13 and the Producers Guild of America Awards on March 19. Three of the last six best picture winners at the Critic’s Choice and Producers Guild went on to win Best Picture. If Coda can win the top prize at least one of these awards, it has a legitimate shot to pull off the upset at the Oscars.
Unpredictable Best Actress Race
Good luck predicting who wins Best Actress.
In things I did not expect to see, Jessica Chastain winning the SAG for Outstanding Leading Actress ranks at the top of the list. Chastain won for her role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye as the titular character. I will admit that I have not seen this film nor do I know anyone who saw it. However, Chastain is a well-respected actress who transformed into an unrecognizable person due to makeup and prosthetics, which is something that major guilds like SAG and the Oscars typically reward.
If you asked me three months ago who will win Best Actress, my pick would have been Kristen Stewart. Two months ago and I would have said Olivia Colman. One week ago and Nicole Kidman would be the selection. Now, is it Chastain? At this point, don’t count out Penelope Cruz as well.
With none of these films competing for Best Picture, this category is on an island. Your guess is as good as mine. As of March 1, my guess is Colman.