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Will Spielberg win another Oscar?

A man and woman, with a young boy between them, watch a movie on the big screen in a scene from  movie “The Fabelmans.”
Paul Dano, Mateo Zoryan Francis-DeFord and Michelle Williams in Steven Spielberg’s movie “The Fabelmans.”
(Merie Weismiller Wallace / Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment)

I’ve been navigating our map to L.A.'s essential Mexican restaurants, which probably means I’ll be firing up the blender for a batch of margaritas as soon as I’m finished writing this. Not sure how Don Cuco in Burbank didn’t make the list, but maybe that sentiment is fueled by the years I’ve spent going there after seeing movies across the street at Warner Bros. They make a margarita potent enough to erase the memory of a headache brought on by even a lump of coal like “Four Christmases.” Though I think for that movie, I ordered a pitcher.

I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of the Envelope’s Friday newsletter and the guy politely declining that side of sour cream when offered. Let’s look at this week’s news.

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Spielberg’s ‘Fabelmans’ connects at Toronto

Times film critic Justin Chang comes from heartier stock than I, so he had no problem leaving the Telluride Film Festival and pretty much heading straight to Toronto for another batch of anticipated premieres. He wrote a marvelous piece about a dream double-feature — Steven Spielberg’s melancholy cinematic memoir, “The Fabelmans,” and Rian Johnson’s immensely entertaining “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” the sequel to (what else?), his 2019 hit “Knives Out.”

“From the moment they were announced,” Justin writes, “these were the festival’s two hottest tickets, and unveiling them back-to-back felt like both a boast and a promise: After a few years of COVID-19 pandemic disruption, Toronto was back in full force, baby, and so perhaps were the movies themselves and their power to captivate hundreds — nay, thousands — of strangers clustered together in the dark.”

“The Fabelmans” will arrive in theaters on Nov. 11, while Netflix’s “Glass Onion” will hit the streaming platform on Dec. 23. But ... “Glass Onion” will also have a theatrical run prior to landing on Netflix. Justin’s note should be heeded: “A movie this good deserves the beauty of a big screen and the energy of a packed house.”

A group of people sit around a large table in a scene from "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery."
Edward Norton, Madelyn Cline, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monáe and Daniel Craig in the movie “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”
(TIFF)

Best Emmy speech ever?

The Emmys were handed out Monday night, with “Squid Game” making history and favorites like “Ted Lasso,” “Succession” and “The White Lotus” winning a ton of prizes. The night’s best moment came near the beginning when Sheryl Lee Ralph won an Emmy for her supporting turn on the ABC comedy “Abbott Elementary” and sang jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves’ 1994 song “Endangered Species” from the podium.

Times television writer Yvonne Villarreal spoke to Ralph and Reeves, who, it turns out, have a 33-year history together. Reeves didn’t know Ralph had sung “Endangered Species” — she was grocery shopping in Denver when it happened — but discovered soon enough.

“I rushed home” Reeves told Yvonne. “It had already happened, so I said, ‘Let me go to Twitter.’ I typed my name in and bam, bam, bam — it was just there. People were just posting like crazy. And that’s how I saw it. And I just kept looking at it over and over and just cried. What a moment. What an incredible moment.”

A woman holding an emmy breaks out in song
“Abbott Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph breaks into song after winning an Emmy.
(ABC)

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‘Women Talking’ has moviegoers talking at festivals

Frances McDormand, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley and other actors in the ensemble of Sarah Polley’s extraordinary drama “Women Talking” were walking into Telluride’s Werner Herzog Theatre for a post-screening Q&A just as a few members of the audience were leaving the venue. A friend of Buckley’s spied the actor near the entrance and embraced her, sobbing. They clung to each other for nearly a minute.

“Never had that happen before, nope,” Buckley said later, still feeling the moment deeply.

It’s likely to occur again, given the film’s thoughtful, moving examination of faith and forgiveness, of women coming to terms with trauma and debating how to move past it — if that’s even possible. Adapted from Miriam Toews’ 2018 novel, “Women Talking” centers on the women in an isolated, fictional Mennonite sect who have been drugged and sexually assaulted. The women and girls must decide whether to stay and forgive the men — the only way, they’re told, that they can enter the kingdom of heaven — or stand and fight the men. Or pack up and leave the only home they’ve ever known.

Polley, who adapted and directed the film, describes the story as “bewilderingly hopeful,” which sounds like a bit of salesmanship — except it’s true. (“I’ve shown it to some teenagers,” producer Dede Gardner says by phone, “and they literally vibrate. It seems it’s almost anthemic to them.”) The conversations these women have in a hayloft — they must make a decision in 48 hours before the men are bailed out of jail — are thrilling in their clear, empathetic and nuanced understanding of the validity of differing viewpoints and, ultimately, the power of community.

In a tented area outside the Herzog Theatre, the women of “Women Talking” — Foy, McDormand (who has a small, key role and is a producer), Buckley, Michelle McLeod, Sheila McCarthy, newcomers Kate Hallett and Liv McNeil and, of course, Polley — shared a joyful camaraderie and respect. Rooney Mara, another standout, sent her regrets, as she was putting her child down for a nap. Judith Ivey and Gardner had left for home earlier in the day. But this movie, which will also screen at the Toronto, New York and London film festivals ahead of a Dec. 2 theatrical release, has a deep bench and our conversation could have gone on for hours. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Five women dressed casually stand outside with mountains in the background at the Telluride Film Festival
“Women Talking” stars Sheila McCarthy, from left, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Michelle McLeod and Rooney Mara with writer-director Sarah Polley at the 2022 Telluride Film Festival.
(Paul Best / Getty Images)

Feedback?

I’d love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.


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