The Möbius Strip- ‘Upside’ a surprise winner, BAFTA nominations

The Upside doubled its box office expectations last weekend, earning $20.4 million for a surprise No. 1 finish. Aquaman sunk to no. 2 for the first time with a strong $17.4 million in its fourth weekend and, somewhat astonishingly, becoming the first DCEU movie to cross the $1 billion mark worldwide. The weekend’s second major newcomer, A Dog’s Way Home, was the only other show to hit eight digits with $11.3 million- Box Office Mojo

The Upside overcame extraordinary odds on its path to No. 1, overcoming the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017 and the much more recent controversy surrounding star Kevin Hart- The Hollywood Reporter

Historically speaking, the Weinstein scandal is what really should have sunk things – here’s a small graveyard of recent films that had their release dates janked around because the attached studios couldn’t hold it together- Variety

Another controversy faced by The Upside is its casting of Bryan Cranston as a quadriplegic instead of finding a real disabled person. Critic Robert Kojder, who was born with muscular dystrophy, writes about the film from a disabled person’s perspective- Slash Film

Still without a host for the 2019 Oscars ceremony since Hart dropped out a mere day after being announced in December, the Academy is reportedly trying to assemble the Avengers in a desperate scramble to keep the ceremony relevant- The Hollywood Reporter

A year and change after the Weinstein scandal dropped, 34 percent of respondents in a national poll don’t think the #metoo movement has changed things- The Hollywood Reporter

Speaking of Weinstein, his lead defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, is reportedly trying to ditch the case. Weinstein stands accused of some degree of sexual impropriety, up to and including rape, by more than 80 women in the film industry, with allegations spanning a period of at least 30 years. He is currently facing trial in New York for two alleged sexual assaults with the date set for May 6, but that may be pushed back if his attorney steps away. Weinstein is currently free on a $1 million bail- NBC News

Critic’s Choice Awards for 2018 were announced Sunday. Roma cleaned house with Best Picture and Best Foreign-Language Film, with Alfonso Cuarón specifically coming away with Best Director and Best Cinematography awards. The Favourite lead with 14 nominations, but only won acting ensemble awards and Best Actress in a Comedy for Olivia Colman- Indiewire

As expected, The Favourite dominated the British Academy of Film and Television Awards nominations with 12 – four films, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, Roma and A Star is Born, are tied for second place with only seven each- The Hollywood Reporter

Of those seven nominations for Roma and A Star is Born, five each were for directors Cuarón and Bradley Cooper, making BAFTA history – they are the first two people ever to be nominated for BAFTAs across five different categories in the same year- The Hollywood Reporter

Meanwhile, Widows became British director Steve McQueen’s first film not to receive a BAFTA nomination- The Hollywood Reporter

Director’s Guild of America’s top feature nominees are Roma, A Star is Born, Spike Lee’s Black Klansman, Adam McKay’s Vice and Peter Farrally’s Green Book- Variety

The nominations provide major clarity for the Oscar race- Variety

Finally, Costume Designers Guild Award nominees were announced last week- The Hollywood Reporter

As well as the Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards- The Hollywood Reporter

As the gap between critics and audiences grows wider seemingly by the weekend, two critically derided films in Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody are now major Oscar contenders. How audience support overrode critical reception- Indiewire

NBA and opinion writing legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar weighs in on the Green Book controversy- The Hollywood Reporter

While part of the criticism of these films has been the extreme liberties they take with the lives of real people, First Man writer Josh Singer wants nothing more than for someone to talk about how accurate his movie is- Indiwire

In 2006, Simon Kinberg adopted the massively influential Dark Phoenix Saga to the big screen in X-Men: The Last Stand, a film that missed several marks for several different reasons. Now, 13 years wiser and serving as both writer and director to an entirely new cast, he’s getting a second crack at the material- Film School Rejects

There’s been a lot of cynicism surrounding Netflix’ cancellation of its Marvel series, especially in light of Disney building its own streaming service in the near future. But the fact is these series were building to a team-up crossover, and that crossover bombed hard- Screen Rant

Elsewhere in the streaming world, film legend Al Pacino is nearing a deal to star as a ‘70s Nazi hunter for upcoming Amazon Studios series The Hunt. If he signs, it will be Pacino’s first television role- Variety

Writer/director Barry Jenkins and cinematographer James Laxton go over their process for establishing the visual language of their absolutely gorgeous Oscar favorite, If Beale Street Could Talk- Indiewire

Beloved Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has broken down his love for Roma into an itemized list- Indiewire

Death of Stalin writer/director Armando Iannucci talks about his future projects- The Hollywood Reporter

Rising star Lucas Hedges talks about how he chooses his projects- The Hollywood Reporter

And finally, here’s a list of actors whose directorial debuts are on the slate for 2019- Film School Rejects

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