If you measure your interest in the Oscars by how much they reinforce your sense of Texas pride, then I’m sad to report that you will be but one of the many groups going underrepresented at this year’s awards. That’s not to say that the state doesn’t have a few players in the game: Katy’s own Renée Zellweger is heavily tipped to take home the Best Actress prize for her work in Judy, continuing a streak that began with the Golden Globes and continued through last weekend’s Critics’ Choice Awards—and offering her yet another opportunity to bewilder the world with her natural accent. There’s also Best Supporting Actress nominee Kathy Bates, whom we can lay at least partial claim to, thanks to her time at Southern Methodist University. And on the Best Picture front, there’s Ford v. Ferrari, in which Matt Damon stars as the Dallas-bred racing legend Carroll Shelby, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which revolves around Dallas’s own Sharon Tate. But of course, most of these are some real stretches; as far as the Oscars are concerned, it just wasn’t Texas’s year. Hopefully this night of glamorous, well-dressed celebrities commingling for a live broadcast can find some other way to entice you.
Richard Linklater Turns To Reality Shows
Of course, in Oscar years past, Texas has often been able to rely on Richard Linklater to carry the flag, but unfortunately the academy seems to agree with the lackluster response to Where’d You Go, Bernadette. There’s always the promising Oscar bait of his Bill Hicks biopic, whenever that comes to fruition, or his Stephen Sondheim adaptation, Merrily We Roll Along—provided we’re still handing out Oscar statues twenty years from now. In the meantime, Linklater’s turned his attention to saving even needier groups than jilted Texas film nerds: he’s just sold a docuseries to CBS All Access about animal rescue, a subject that’s of genuine personal meaning to the longtime People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals spokesman. Linklater will executive produce the as-yet-untitled ten-episode series alongside the also Texas-bred Dr. Phil McGraw, and filming will take place in Austin, where the locals are no doubt already vying to become the breakout “Matthew McConaughey of veterinarians.”
The First Look at Tye Sheridan in The Night Clerk
Tye Sheridan’s work in films like Joe and Mud suggested that an Oscar nomination wouldn’t be unthinkable at some point in his future—even if he’s since largely settled into a career of popcorn fare. Judging by its just-released trailer, however, it probably won’t be for The Night Clerk. The Elkhart actor’s big lead role finds him playing a socially awkward guy who’s manning the front desk at a hotel when a mysterious young woman (Knives Out’s Ana de Armas) winds up murdered. Sheridan’s character then becomes the prime suspect, subjecting him to the merciless interrogation tactics of a particularly hammy John Leguizamo. Loaded with shots of grainy security cam footage and Armas’s vamping it up, The Night Clerk has the gauzy aura of one of those soft-core erotic thrillers that once littered late-night cable. Check it out now, before you click right past it on Netflix.
Chip and Joanna Gaines Are Fixing Up Their Very Own Network
They’ve already renovated countless Central Texas homes, the entire city of Waco, and the nation’s general attitude toward “farmhouse chic.” Now shiplap despots Chip and Joanna Gaines are preparing to completely gut Discovery’s DIY network—open up some walls, bring in some clawfoot bathtubs, and rename the whole thing Magnolia, after their increasingly sprawling home and lifestyle brand. Magnolia launches October 4, according to a recent announcement at the Television Critics Association press tour, and the Gaineses will serve as chief creative officers of the network devoted to “community, home, garden, food, wellness, entrepreneurialism, and design,” plus whatever other aspects of human existence the couple can manage to monopolize in the future. (Rustic wood-stained robots, perhaps.) You’ll find Magnolia on your cable package next to Discovery’s existing family of channels, and it would look amazing surrounded by some potted dried herbs.
Meat Loaf v. Dallas
Since leaving way back in 1967, it seems like Meat Loaf has had an uneasy relationship with his hometown of Dallas. The singer has lived in Austin since 2012, but as he told The Dallas Morning News in 2015, he’s rarely found reason to go back to North Texas, making the occasional exception for funerals or for ceremonial appearances at his old high school. It’s even more awkward now that Loaf, born Michael Lee Aday, is suing Dallas’s Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Texas Frightmare Weekend horror convention, claiming that a spill he took there during a May 2019 appearance has effectively ended his career. As captured on amateur video, the 72-year-old Aday was participating in a Q&A when he fell through a curtain at the back of the stage, breaking his collarbone and sustaining injuries to his neck and shoulders. According to the lawsuit, it’s left him unable to perform since.
On Meat Loaf’s Facebook page, where he remains a candid and unusually prolific poster, the singer wrote that he’s spent the past several years in physical therapy, enduring a total of four back surgeries. In addition to not being able to perform in concert, he says he’s also been forced to turn down five films. Nevertheless, he’s still booking convention appearances—including another, as-yet-unspecified one set for March in Dallas. Hopefully the city will look after him this time.
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
Last week, Matthew McConaughey introduced us to his credo for 2020, “It’s a Lot Cooler ‘Cuz We Do.” It’s an epigram which he is definitely already living up to, depending on how the hell you choose to interpret that. Certainly we can agree that McConaughey is doing. With the U.S. premiere of The Gentlemen now just a week away, he’s been ramping up the promo appearances—most prominently a special screening at an Alamo Drafthouse in New York, where he and fellow cast members Hugh Grant, Michelle Dockery, Henry Golding, and Charlie Hunnam participated in a Q&A, then posed for a snap in front of the bar. During that same trip, McConaughey was spotted strolling the streets of Manhattan wearing one of the fuzzy bathrobe-esque coats he’s become so fond of lately, this one a distinctly Grover-esque blue.
He also participated in a pizza review video for Barstool Sports, where he explained to Barstool’s president Dave Portnoy why he never answers to “Matt” (“I got my first ass-whupping for answering to ‘Matt’”) and says he prefers to be addressed as “McConaughey” (“rhymes with, ‘What would Madonna say?’ he adds helpfully). You can keep watching for McConaughey’s thoughts on the perfect slice of pizza, as well as his general ambivalence toward the “Horns Down” sign, if you’ve got eleven minutes to spend watching guys jaw about college sports on a Brooklyn street corner.
Although we can probably expect McConaughey’s press tour to hit the West Coast next week, Los Angeles Magazine got an early jump with this interview, in which we learn a few details about McConaughey’s first big, Doors-soundtracked move to Hollywood in the wake of Dazed and Confused. He also talked about how he still goes drinking with his Dazed costars Rory Cochrane and Cole Hauser whenever he’s in town, his equally heartwarming FaceTime relationship with Snoop Dogg, and the rather dim prospect of Texas ever legalizing marijuana in his lifetime. And with all this going on, McConaughey’s been understandably a little too occupied to spend much time on social media, although he did offer his endorsements of both Austin’s recent ranking as the No. 1 college town and country singer Jessi Alexander, captioning a photo of a billboard that he presumably snapped on the way to the airport with “This lady is the real deal.” Finally, McConaughey offered his congratulations to newly coronated national champions LSU, sagely tweeting, “Excellence every game, all season. That’s what it takes.” Granted, on the scale of zen poetry, it’s no “It’s Cooler ‘Cuz We Do,” but let’s give the guy a break. He’s busy.