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Spike Lee to Head Cannes Film Festival Jury

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Spike Lee, the acclaimed director of “Do The Right Thing” and “BlacKkKlansman,” will lead this year’s Cannes Film Festival jury, the festival said on Tuesday.

Lee will be the first person of African heritage to lead the jury in the festival’s 73-year history. Last year’s president was Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican director of “Birdman.”

In a statement released by the festival, Lee said he “was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time.”

“In this life I have lived, my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected,” he added.

Lee’s relationship with Cannes started in 1986, when “She’s Gotta Have It,” his debut feature about a young black woman and her relationships with three men, won the festival’s Youth Prize for best young director.

Reporting from that festival for The Times, Larry Rohter said the film was received so warmly “that some enthusiastic French critics have already begun talking about Mr. Lee as a ‘black Woody Allen,’ perhaps because of his sense of humor and his loving treatment of New York City.”

“Do The Right Thing” appeared in the festival’s main competition in 1989, and many critics felt it should have won the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize. (In 2017, Lee told the audience at a charity gala in Cannes that he had been “robbed” when the prize was given instead to Steven Soderbergh for “Sex, Lies and Videotape.”)

Lee has returned to Cannes many times since then, but he has never won the Palme d’Or. He came closest in 2018, when his film “BlacKkKlansman” — based on the real story of a black detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s — won the Grand Prix, the festival’s second-highest honor.

“BlacKkKlansman” was widely seen as a comeback for Lee. The director made headlines at the festival not just for the movie, but for a furious, expletive-filled news conference in which he criticized President Trump and accused him of stoking racial tensions in the United States.

“To me the Cannes Film Festival (besides being the most important film festival in the world — no disrespect to anybody) has had a great impact on my film career,” Lee said in his statement. “You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema.”

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‘Saturday Night Live’ Spoofs Trump’s Impeachment Trial

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It’s been almost 22 years since “Saturday Night Live” last found itself satirizing a presidential impeachment proceeding, but as the show turned its attention to President Trump’s trial in the Senate, it quickly reverted to its tried-and-true formula: a smidgen of factual detail, a dollop of celebrity cameos and a whole bunch of cultural references that may or may not be germane to the topic.

This weekend’s broadcast, hosted by Adam Driver and featuring the musical guest Halsey, began with a sketch set on Capitol Hill, where Susan Collins (played by Cecily Strong) and Mitch McConnell (Beck Bennett) reflected on the trial to date.

“We all know this impeachment proceeding is a sham and a hoax,” Bennett said. “Republicans are simply requesting a fair trial — no witnesses, no evidence. That way we can acquit President Trump and focus on the real criminals in this country: teenagers who try marijuana.”

Strong said, “The evidence against Trump is pretty damning so I’m still on the fence,” then made an exaggerated wink.

Jost:

The impeachment trial started this week, and am I crazy or was Adam Schiff on my TV for 100 hours straight? Even when I turned the TV off, there was still an outline of him burned into the screen. What happened was, Democrats spent three days laying out in great detail how they believe President Trump has been the most egregious abuser of power in American history. And then Republicans laid out their defense, the shrug emoji. Mitch McConnell, seen here calmly watching an orphanage burn, defended his plan for the trial, saying, “The country is waiting to see if we can rise to the occasion.” I would maybe say you’re not rising to the occasion, considering one senator fell asleep, Rand Paul was doing a crossword puzzle and some Republican senators even brought fidget spinners to play with. I assume this symbolized how the Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves.

Che:

You’re better than me, Colin. I didn’t watch one minute of that trial. It was like a four-day long PowerPoint. This is supposed to be Trump’s punishment, not mine. This whole impeachment is like a bad episode of “Maury.” There’s all this evidence that Trump clearly cheated and Republicans are still like, “But Maury, he loves me.” Trump is so confident he’s going to win, he’s using Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyer to represent him. Talk about credibility — who’s his character witness, R. Kelly?

Melissa Villaseñor appeared as herself in a segment where she sang a series of songs about this year’s crop of Academy Award nominees. Each tune was set to the same bouncy bossa nova beat, like this catchy ditty about “The Irishman”:

This movie has a lot to offer

Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa

Gangster life gets kinda messy

Robert De Niro and lil’ Joe Pesci

It’s three hours long

They’re old and they’re young

And it’s white male rage

White male rage

White male rage

If you listen to Villaseñor’s other songs, which also address “Joker,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “1917” and Greta Gerwig’s snub for directing “Little Women,” we think you’ll see a pattern emerge! (Hint: It’s white male rage.)

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Directors Guild Picks Sam Mendes, Handing ‘1917’ Another Big Win

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The Oscars won’t be held for another two weeks, but it looks increasingly likely that “1917” has won the war for best picture.

The World War I drama picked up yet another major prize Saturday night in Los Angeles when the Directors Guild of America gave Sam Mendes its top prize for direction of a feature film. Shot and stitched together to appear as though it were filmed in just two long takes, the technically audacious “1917” has come on strong this month, also claiming top honors from the Producers Guild of America as well as the drama and director trophies at the Golden Globes.

Mendes faced strong competition for the DGA Award, edging out Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”), Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”) and Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”).

Do any of those films still stand a chance against “1917” at the Academy Awards? Yes, though it’s a slim one. Only twice over the last decade has a film won the best-picture Oscar without first taking either the DGA or PGA prizes: In 2015, when the Oscars favored “Spotlight” over the DGA winner “The Revenant” and PGA winner “The Big Short,” and in 2016, when “La La Land” won both major guild prizes but still fell to “Moonlight” at the Oscars.

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What’s on TV Sunday: ‘The L Word: Generation Q’ and the Grammys

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THE L WORD: GENERATION Q 10 p.m. on Showtime. This reboot of the “The L Word,” the pioneering series about lesbian life in Los Angeles, wraps up its first season. The mayoral candidate Bette (Jennifer Beals) is on the edge of her seat, waiting for the results on election night. While Shane (Katherine Moennig) and Quiara (Lex Scott Davis) face another bump in the road, Alice (Leisha Hailey) takes a risk with her show after a devastating drop in ratings. In her review for The New York Times, Elisabeth Vincentelli wrote that while “The L Word” “now better reflects Los Angeles’s ethnic and gender diversity,” it still needs some fine tuning. The original series “always stood on shaky, uncritical ground when it came to money and class, and ‘Generation Q’ offers little progress in that regard.” Fans who welcomed this sequel can breathe a sigh of relief: Showtime recently renewed it for a second season.

THE 62ND ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS 8 p.m. on CBS. A dark cloud hangs over Sunday night’s ceremony: Deborah Dugan, the suspended chief executive of the Recording Academy, was recently placed on leave over accusations of bullying behavior and a request for a multimillion-dollar payout. Dugan has denied the charges and responded with her own allegations, saying the academy was punishing her for unveiling misconduct. As the intense showdown plays out behind-the-scenes, several of this year’s nominees will take the stage for performances. Among them are Lizzo (with eight nominations), Billie Eilish (six) and Lil Nas X (also six).

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