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Alfonso Cuarón on Academy’s ‘Inevitable’ Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further.

“Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night at the Writers Guild Awards in New York City. “By calling them ‘technical’ and ‘below-the-line,’ there’s already kind of an invisible wall that creates a very false perception. They’re all artists.”

WGA ceremony, host Roy Wood Jr., it’s vital that writers keep holding powerful figures to account in 2019. “We’re approaching a point in political satire where all you have to do is copy and paste Trump’s transcripts from speeches. He went on a ramble about dogs during a rally about a wall!” he told Variety before the event. “So, at the end of the day, I think it’s important to let people know they’re not alone in feeling the way they feel – but more importantly, if there’s something bullshit, you’ve gotta call bullshit, no matter what other people are saying, no matter if people are tired of hearing about it, because the other side’s doing that as well.”

Cuaron wasn’t the only bold-faced name at the WGA ceremony talking about the future of Hollywood.

“I’m excited to see what Awkwafina does with Comedy Central, because she hired an all-women writers’ room for her sit-com,” host Roy Wood Jr. told Variety. “And Robin Thede, with ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ for HBO, where it’s all black women writers and all black women cast — can’t wait. Can’t wait!”

Wood’s fellow presenter Mj Rodriguez, who stars in Best New Series nominee “Pose,” was similarly optimistic about what comes next for the industry. “I think ‘Pose’ has really set the standard, so now it’s just gonna keep growing,” she told Variety. The FX drama deliberately included trans people on screen, behind the camera, and in the writers’ room, which Rodriguez says “makes a huge difference. I’d love to see more of us on a broader scale within motion pictures, more women in the writers’ room — the list goes on!”

 

Mj Rodriguez71st Annual Writers Guild Awards, Inside, New York, USA - 17 Feb 2019
CREDIT: Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

She also has a few dream projects of her own. “I would love to be in a Marvel movie, and maybe even a romantic comedy. Just to see us in movies where we don’t have to be ‘the trans actress’ or ‘the trans actor’ in the story, but it’s just a simple love story, or a strong character who just happens to be trans — or who isn’t trans at all,” she said.

For Rodriguez, being at the vanguard for representation is energizing rather than intimidating: “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I just want to make sure I’m leading in the best way possible.”

Cuarón emphasized the importance of the “conversation between disciplines” – a theme that recurred throughout the night. But as Amy Sherman-Palladino observed during her Best Comedy acceptance speech, everyone in attendance was there for one reason: “It all starts with a script.”

A Writers Guild Awards ceremony in Los Angeles was held simultaneously on Sunday at the Beverly Hilton.

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