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AP Emmy pundits call a win for ‘Succession,’ split on comedy

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AP Emmy pundits call a win for ‘Succession,’ split on comedy

So many TV shows, so few nominees who will end up clutching trophies at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

A total of 25 awards will be presented during the Sept. 12 ceremony, including in the glamour categories of acting and best comedy, drama and limited series. Past winners Jean Smart (“Hacks”) and Bill Hader (“Barry”) are among the contenders.

The overall field is highly competitive, with an unprecedented twist: Netflix’s South Korean phenomenon “Squid Game” is the first non–English language drama to be nominated for an Emmy.

While predicting victors this year is like one of those daunting “Squid Game” contests, Associated Press Television Writer Lynn Elber and AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy foolishly soldier on.

DRAMA SERIES

Nominees: “Better Call Saul”; “Euphoria”; “Ozark”; “Severance”; “Squid Game”; “Stranger Things”; “Succession”; “Yellowjackets.”

KENNEDY:

Should win: “Severance,” the vicious satire of office culture could not have asked for better timing, just as many white-collar workers were making their first tentative steps back — and questioning why. It is just brilliant, unpredictable and haunting.

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Will win: Although both my innie and my outie think it should be “Severance,” the winner will be “Succession.” Not a bad step, just an easy one.

ELBER:

Should win: “Severance” captures the zeitgeist of worker discontent, but let’s consider “Squid Game” and its take on soul-destroying poverty. It’s wholly original and, yes, gruesome. That didn’t hurt four-time winner “Game of Thrones.”

Will win: “Succession” won the last time it competed, in 2020, and the antics of the rich and scheming Roy family are as engrossing a peep show as ever.

COMEDY SERIES

Nominees: “Abbott Elementary”; “Barry”; “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; “Hacks”; “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; “Only Murders in the Building”; “Ted Lasso”; “What We Do in the Shadows.”

KENNEDY:

Should win: The mockumentary “Abbott Elementary,″ a true workplace comedy in the vein of “The Office” or “Superstore.” How it is so specific to a group of underfunded teachers in Philadelphia and yet universal is the magic.

Will win: “Only Murders in the Building,” an uncontroversial and uninspired choice, as safe as an Upper West Side doorman building. Who can look at Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez and tell them they get no Emmy?

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ELBER:

Should win: Raise your hand if you know the answer. “Abbott Elementary” is the rare sitcom that clicked from the start, with its characters, stories and heart all in the right place.

Will win: “Abbott Elementary,” despite the odds against an old-school network entry winning against flashier cable and streaming rivals. It hasn’t happened since “Modern Family” won in 2014.

ACTRESS, DRAMA

Nominees: Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”; Laura Linney, “Ozark”; Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets”; Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”; Reese Witherspoon, “The Morning Show”; Zendaya, “Euphoria.”

KENNEDY:

Should win: Linney hasn’t won for “Ozark” and she deserves it for going from dutiful wife to a cunning mastermind over the four seasons.

Will win: Oh, who richly deserves her first Emmy after four years of “Killing Eve.” Comer and Zendaya have their statuettes; TV academy voters will bid Oh goodbye with one, too.

ELBER:

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Should win and will win: Versatile, long-admired actor Lynskey gets her first Emmy for her role as Shauna, who has umm, meaty secrets. Zendaya’s second win for her gutsy work in “Euphoria” is deserved, but voters favor change in this category.

ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES

Nominees: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”; Brian Cox, “Succession”; Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game”; Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”; Adam Scott, “Severance”; Jeremy Strong, “Succession.”

KENNEDY:

Should win: Scott for playing two roles on “Severance,” a worker bee and a grieving widow. The former “Parks and Recreation” star is here an everyman, just sputtering through his day, with damage lurking beneath the suit and tie.

Will win: Odenkirk, never nominated for “Breaking Bad,” should have at least one Emmy at home for “Better Call Saul.” Or Cox, who had a rip-roaring season on “Succession.”

ELBER:

Should win and will win: A category of heavyweights for sure, with all the above worthy. But Cox triumphs as the wily magnate scrabbling to control his empire and out-maneuver his equally venal brood.

ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES

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Nominees: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Quinta Brunson, “Abbott Elementary”; Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”; Elle Fanning, “The Great”; Issa Rae, “Insecure”; Jean Smart, “Hacks.”

ELBER:

Should win: Brunson’s idealistic young schoolteacher is endearing and, as she begins to learn how to survive bureaucracy, growing before our eyes. Plus, teachers deserve respect.

Will win: Smart. Back-to-back wins have become rare in the age of peak TV (read: unending stream of shows), but her portrayal of a veteran comedian refusing to say uncle reached new levels of vulnerability and grit.

KENNEDY:

Should win and will win: Smart, her character vicious in anger, driven in her career, but this season also sowing a maternal and soft side. Besides, her other Emmy for “Hacks” is lonely.

ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES

Nominees: Donald Glover, “Atlanta”; Bill Hader, “Barry”; Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”; Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”; Steve Martin, “Only Murders in the Building”; Martin Short, “Only Murders in the Building.”

ELBER:

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Should win: Can we get a twofer for Martin and Short, whose chemistry and playfulness makes the series? (With a nod to co-star Selena Gomez; her droll tolerance of the pair adds the perfect note.)

Will win: Hader’s portrayal of a hitman-turned-actor who can’t escape his past is the core of a viciously satirical, addictive brew. A third Emmy is his reward.

KENNEDY:

Should win: Hoult, playing a vain, unpredictable, glass-breaking, headbutting and unethical Peter III of Russia in “The Great,” sucking the oxygen from every scene. It’s a frat-boy role but hard to nail like Hoult. “Let us hope my seed has found purchase,” he says after an encounter with the queen, and I agree.

Will win: Hader. Everyone loves Hader.

LIMITED SERIES

Nominees: “Dopesick”; “The Dropout”; “Inventing Anna”; “The White Lotus”; “Pam & Tommy.”

ELBER:

Should win: “Dopesick” is a granular dissection of the roots of America’s devastating opioid crisis focused on both its victims and villains. Television at its relevant best.

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Will win: “The Dropout.” Let’s face it: Seeing a Silicon Valley’s high-flier brought down a peg or further is a guilty pleasure, and the story of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ spectacular fall is punchily told.

KENNEDY:

Should win: “The Dropout,” agreed, a rise and fall — as well as a trip back to her teenage years — so well told that viewers could almost feel sorry for Holmes, or at least understand how her fraud could happen.

Will win: “The White Lotus,” a satire of wealth, entitlement and privilege was this cycle’s lite “Big Little Lies,” and it was the splashiest show about rich white people being horrible, which weirdly all the nominees this time had elements of.

ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES

Nominees: Colin Firth, “The Staircase”; Andrew Garfield, “Under the Banner of Heaven”; Oscar Isaac, “Scenes from a Marriage”; Michael Keaton, “Dopesick”; Himesh Patel, “Station Eleven”; Sebastian Stan, “Pam & Tommy.”

ELBER:

Should win and will win: Michael Keaton, for his restrained portrayal of a small-town doctor who’s ensnared by opioids at incalculable cost, to him and his patients. The Oscar-winning star is a gift to the small screen.

KENNEDY:

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Should win: Isaac, who in “Scenes from a Marriage” whipsaws from being tightly controlled to impulsive, a little befuddled, liable to snap and always human as his heart broke.

Will win: Keaton, who always it seems is an underestimated talent, shining in a role perfectly suited to him: a sweet local doctor gradually understanding the horror he has helped create. A little too perfect, but, hey.

ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES

Nominees: Toni Collette, “The Staircase”; Julia Garner, “Inventing Anna”; Lily James, “Pam & Tommy”; Sarah Paulson, “Impeachment: American Crime Story”; Margaret Qualley, “Maid”; Amanda Seyfried, “The Dropout.”

ELBER:

Should win: Qualley did justice to a rarely seen screen character — a struggling, blue-collar single mom — with a nuanced, breakout performance in “Maid.”

Will win: Seyfried, whose portrayal of an ill-fated Silicon Valley whiz kid in “The Dropout” was a pull-out-the-stops barn burner.

KENNEDY:

Should win and will win: We’ll no doubt see all these actors again at the Emmys, but this year it is all about Seyfried, who played a fraudster with a Yoda-loving, Mandarin-speaking, munching-on-a-scorpion and dancing poorly essence.

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For more on this year’s Emmy Awards, visit: www.apnews.com/EmmyAwards

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Lawyers for the US tell a UK court why WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange should face spying charges

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Lawyers for the US tell a UK court why WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange should face spying charges

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange won’t find out until next month at the earliest whether he can challenge extradition to the U.S. on spying charges, or if his long legal battle in Britain has run out of road.

Two High Court judges said Wednesday they would take time to consider their verdict after a two-day hearing in which Assange’s lawyers argued sending him to the United States would risk a “flagrant denial of justice.”

Attorneys for the U.S., where Assange has been indicted on espionage charges, said he put innocent lives at risk and went beyond journalism in his bid to solicit, steal and indiscriminately publish classified U.S. government documents.

Assange’s lawyers asked the High Court to grant him a new appeal — his last roll of the legal dice in the saga that has kept him in a British high-security prison for the past five years.

The judges overseeing the case reserved their decision, and a ruling on Assange’s future is not expected until March at the earliest.

If judges Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson rule against Assange, he can ask the European Court of Human Rights to block his extradition — though supporters worry he could be put on a plane to the U.S. before that happens, because the British government has already signed an extradition order.

The 52-year-old Australian has been indicted on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse over his website’s publication of a trove of classified U.S. documents almost 15 years ago. American prosecutors allege Assange encouraged and helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks published, putting lives at risk.

Lawyer Clair Dobbin, representing the U.S. government, said Wednesday that Assange damaged U.S. security and intelligence services and “created a grave and imminent risk” by releasing the hundreds of thousands of documents — risks that could harm and lead to the arbitrary detention of innocent people, many of whom lived in war zones or under repressive regimes.

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Dobbin added that in encouraging Manning and others to hack into government computers and steal from them, Assange was “going a very considerable way beyond” a journalist gathering information.

Assange was “not someone who has just set up an online box to which people can provide classified information,” she said. “The allegations are that he sought to encourage theft and hacking that would benefit WikiLeaks.”

Assange’s supporters maintain he is a secrecy-busting journalist who exposed U.S. military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have long argued that the prosecution is politically motivated and he won’t get a fair trial in the U.S.

Assange’s lawyers argued on the first day of the hearing on Tuesday that American authorities are seeking to punish him for WikiLeaks’ “exposure of criminality on the part of the U.S. government on an unprecedented scale,” including torture and killings.

Lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said there is “a real risk he may suffer a flagrant denial of justice” if he is sent to the U.S.

Dobbin said the prosecution is based on law and evidence, and has remained consistent despite the changes of government in the U.S. during the legal battle.

She added that the First Amendment does not confer immunity on journalists who break the law. Media outlets that went through the process of redacting the documents before publishing them are not being prosecuted, she said.

Assange’s lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted, though American authorities have said the sentence is likely to be much shorter.

Assange was absent from court on both days because he is unwell, WikiLeaks said. Stella Assange, his wife, said he had wanted to attend, but was “not in good condition.”

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Assange’s family and supporters say his physical and mental health have suffered during more than a decade of legal battles, including seven years in self-exile in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

“Julian is a political prisoner and he has to be released,” said Stella Assange, who married the WikiLeaks founder in prison in 2022.

“They’re putting Julian into the hands of the country and of the people who plotted his assassination,” she added, referring to unproven claims by Assange’s lawyers that he was a target of a CIA plot to kidnap or kill him while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Supporters holding “Free Julian Assange” signs and chanting “there is only one decision — no extradition” protested outside the High Court building for a second day.

Assange’s legal troubles began in 2010, when he was arrested in London at the request of Sweden, which wanted to question him about allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two women. In 2012, Assange jumped bail and sought refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy.

The relationship between Assange and his hosts eventually soured, and he was evicted from the embassy in April 2019. British police immediately arrested and imprisoned him for breaching bail in 2012. Sweden dropped the sex crimes investigations in November 2019 because so much time had elapsed.

A U.K. district court judge rejected the U.S. extradition request in 2021 on the grounds that Assange was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions. Higher courts overturned that decision after getting assurances from the U.S. about his treatment. The British government signed an extradition order in June 2022.

Meanwhile, the Australian parliament last week called for Assange to be allowed to return to his homeland.

Andrew Wilkie, an Australian lawmaker who attended the hearing, said he hoped that sent a strong message to the U.K. and U.S. governments to end the legal fight. “This has gone on long enough,” he said.

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Associated Press video journalists Kwiyeon Ha and Jo Kearney contributed to this report.

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Biden to create cybersecurity standards for nation’s ports as concerns grow over vulnerabilities

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Biden to create cybersecurity standards for nation’s ports as concerns grow over vulnerabilities

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order and created a federal rule aimed at better securing the nation’s ports from potential cyberattacks.

The administration is outlining a set of cybersecurity regulations that port operators must comply with across the country, not unlike standardized safety regulations that seek to prevent injury or damage to people and infrastructure.

“We want to ensure there are similar requirements for cyber, when a cyberattack can cause just as much if not more damage than a storm or another physical threat,” said Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser at the White House.

Nationwide, ports employ roughly 31 million people and contribute $5.4 trillion to the economy, and could be left vulnerable to a ransomware or other brand of cyberattack, Neuberger said. The standardized set of requirements is designed to help protect against that.

The new requirements are part of the federal government’s focus on modernizing how critical infrastructure like power grids, ports and pipelines are protected as they are increasingly managed and controlled online, often remotely. There is no set of nationwide standards that govern how operators should protect against potential attacks online.

The threat continues to grow. Hostile activity in cyberspace — from spying to the planting of malware to infect and disrupt a country’s infrastructure — has become a hallmark of modern geopolitical rivalry.

For example, in 2021, the operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline had to temporarily halt operations after it fell victim to a ransomware attack in which hackers hold a victim’s data or device hostage in exchange for money. The company, Colonial Pipeline, paid $4.4 million to a Russia-based hacker group, though Justice Department officials later recovered much of the money.

Ports, too, are vulnerable. In Australia last year, a cyber incident forced one of the country’s largest port operators to suspend operations for three days.

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In the U.S., roughly 80% of the giant cranes used to lift and haul cargo off ships onto U.S. docks come from China, and are controlled remotely, said Admiral John Vann, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard’s cyber command. That leaves them vulnerable to attack, he said.

Late last month, U.S. officials said they had disrupted a state-backed Chinese effort to plant malware that could be used to damage civilian infrastructure. Vann said this type of potential attack was a concern as officials pushed for new standards, but they are also worried about the possibility for criminal activity.

The new standards, which will be subject to a public comment period, will be required for any port operator and there will be enforcement actions for failing to comply with the standards, though the officials did not outline them. They require port operators to notify authorities when they have been victimized by a cyberattack. The actions also give the Coast Guard, which regulates the nation’s ports, the ability to respond to cyberattacks.

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Jill Biden is announcing $100 million in funding for research and development into women’s health

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Jill Biden is announcing $100 million in funding for research and development into women’s health

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden on Wednesday announced $100 million in federal funding for research and development into women’s health as part of a new White House initiative that she is heading up.

The money is the first major deliverable of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, which was announced late last year. The money comes from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, which is under the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

The first lady announced the ARPA-H Sprint for Women’s Health during an appearance in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Biden has said women don’t know enough about their health because the research historically has been underfunded and lacking. The White House initiative aims to change the approach to and increase funding for women’s health research.

The $100 million will be used to invest early in “life-changing” work being done by women’s health researchers and startup companies that cannot get private support, Biden said.

“We will build a health care system that puts women and their lived experiences at its center,” she said. “Where no woman or girl has to hear that ‘it’s all in your head,’ or, ‘it’s just stress.’” Where women aren’t just an after-thought, but a first-thought. Where women don’t just survive with chronic conditions, but lead long and healthy lives.”

President Joe Biden created the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health in 2022 to work on advancing solutions to health issues. The agency is part of what he called his “ unity agenda.”

In the coming weeks, the agency will solicit ideas for groundbreaking research and development to address women’s health, according to the White House.

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The first lady said last year when the White House initiative was announced in November that it grew out of meeting she had had with Maria Shriver, a women’s health advocate and former California first lady. Shriver, Biden said, spoke of the need for a public-private effort to close the gaps in women’s health research. Shriver also participated in Wednesday’s announcement in Massachusetts.

The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research is led by Jill Biden and the White House Gender Policy Council.

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