Takeaways from the Emmys, and scenes from a film festival in virtual reality. Also magic. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
What Happened This Weekend Besides the Emmys? Our friends at StudioFest held a wildly ambitious VR film festival, using Oculus Quest 2 headsets that enabled guests to enjoy the shared illusion that they were watching the films in a lavish theater, then mixing it up in majestically appointed rooms with stunning views of pretend cities. The films weren’t VR — the screenings and hangouts were. It was mind-blowing. Congratulations to the winner, Courtney Hope Thérond, who now gets to make a film with StudioFest. Here are a couple scenes of how it looked once you put on your headset:
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StudioFest: You can learn more about everything they do from their series Demystified, presented by MovieMaker.
The Crown Rules The Emmys: Congratulations to the brilliant and completely engrossing The Crown, which won best drama at the 73rd Emmy Awards last night. Josh O’Connor (who plays Prince Charles), Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher) and Tobias Menzies (Prince Philip) also won Emmys for their roles. The Crown is one of the most sweepingly cinematic shows in the history of television, which feels notable after a year in which the in-theater theatrical experience largely disappeared. The Netflix series won seven Emmys in all for this season, which was its fourth.
Ted Lasso, Too: The buoyant Apple TV+ show won for best comedy, Jason Sudeikis won for best actor in a comedy, and his castmates Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham won in their supporting categories. There are a couple of themes emerging here: Streaming services doing very well, and shows set in the UK doing very well. Ted Lasso won four Emmys in all.
Can We Skip All This and Just See the Full List of Emmy Winners? Yep.
The Queen… Also Rules: Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, the Anya Taylor-Joy chess drama from Scott Frank, won for best limited series. Remember that point in the pandemic when you couldn’t buy chess boards?
Wow, Who Didn’t Win? Variety considers the most-snubbed show to be WandaVision, which won nothing despite 23 nominations.
Also: The Hollywood Reporter summed it up with the headline, #EmmysSoWhite: White Actors Sweep the 2021 Emmy Awards. It’s kind of hard to believe this has happened again at another awards ceremony… but I suppose it’s more likely when the big winner of the night is a show about British royalty, who are not known for their diversity.
Anything Else? In March 2020, when SXSW had just been cancelled and the world was starting to feel rather grim, I talked with filmmaker Alexis Manya Spraic about her terrific SXSW doc M for Magic, about L.A.’s intoxicatingly wonderful Magic Castle, where people dress up to watch magicians charm their way through performances both grand and personal. It seemed like exactly the kind of crowded, up-close performance venue that could be doomed by COVID. And so it was with a huge sense of relief, gratitude and joy that I joined Team MovieMaker last night for a trip to the Magic Castle, and found that it was still going very strong, and that sometimes dire situations do get better. I left with the sense that magic still exists in the world, or at least in an old mansion on a small hilltop in Los Angeles.
Main image: Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in The Crown, roller skating through Buckingham Palace.