Crownless queens: the greatest drag race snubs of all time

I’ve been a fan of Drag Race for a while now. But the pain of being made to watch some of my favorite contestants prematurely sashay away hasn’t been dulled by time. If anything, it’s intensified. I suppose that’s an occupational hazard of loving reality competition television, which I have now for the vast majority of my life, since I first became obsessed by season one of Survivor, way back in the year 2000 when I was nine years old (still haven’t missed an episode in 19 years).

Sometimes, though, I will admit I take eliminations very personally because sometimes they’re just not fair, and blatant injustice pains me like little else in the world. Suffice to say I’m still reeling from the most recent episode of All Stars 4, in which one of the finest contestants ever to walk the mainstage of RPDR was shamefully ejected in flagrant, callous display of gamesmanship. To put it mildly,

Image result for i'm pissed gif

It’s an especially difficult pill for me to swallow because Drag Race, when its at its best, is a show that rewards talent rather than gameplay (which, of course, I love in other contexts, but somehow contravenes the spirit of what this particular show is supposed to be about).

So in honor of that, I’m listing my choices for the best RPDR queens of all time who’ve never won. For clarity, I’m not insinuating that any of my selections here actually should have won their respective seasons over the queens who beat them (in fact, with the exceptions of Tyra and Trixie, I believe the right contestant has won each season of Drag Race, though in some cases it’s a very close call and could easily have gone a different way). That said, of all the queens the crown has eluded*, these are the ones I think most deserve it.

10. Thorgy Thor

9. Courtney Act

8. Shea Couleé

7. Katya

6. Ginger Minj

5. Detox

4. Raven

3. Shangela

2. Manila Luzon

1. Bendelacreme

*Note that if, by some sick twist of fate Trinity Taylor doesn’t now win All Stars 4, she’ll also be deemed included on this list.

At least we’re lucky enough to be living in a time when the crown…

Image result for the crown must win gif

…no longer makes the queen.

Image result for lindsay lohan crown gif

xx

J.V.

Best Picture! / Best Picture…?

Because we are living in what D.H. Lawrence would surely deem a tragic age, in a world in which Bohemian motherfucking Rhapsody is a Best Picture nominee at the Academy Awards, and because making lists soothes me, I’m taking a jaunt through recent Best Picture history and selecting my twenty-five favorite BP nominees since 2000, and my twenty-five least favorite. My greatest takeaway from this exercise has been that, though a lot of films I love have been egregiously snubbed in this category, I do like the vast majority of Best Picture nominees quite a lot. Good movies! It was certainly difficult for me to narrow down my list of favorites to only twenty-five, but it was also surprisingly difficult to come up with twenty-five I don’t think are deserving. In fact, most of the films I’ve included in my bottom twenty-five are not ones I consider bad (though some I definitely do), but merely ones that didn’t work for me and that I don’t think merit a spot in the Best Picture category. That said, I think it’s pretty clear I have a certain…sensibility when it comes to films, and am definitely predisposed to like certain types and dislike others. But, I’m not apologizing for that. I like what I like! I hate what I hate! Objectivity is overrated.

Here are my choices, for better or worse:

Best of the Best:

A Star Is Born

An Education

Arrival

Atonement

Brooklyn

Call Me By Your Name

Chicago

Chocolat

Gosford Park

Her

In The Bedroom

Juno

La La Land

Lady Bird

Milk

Moonlight

Moulin Rouge!

Philomena 

Silver Linings Playbook

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Favourite

The Help

The Hours

The Kids Are Alright

The Reader

Worst of the Best:

127 Hours

American Sniper

Birdman

Black Panther

Black Swan

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bridge of Spies

Crash

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Hacksaw Ridge

Letters from Iwo Jima

Lost in Translation

Manchester By The Sea

Michael Clayton

Nebraska

No Country For Old Men

The Big Short

The Hurt Locker

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Martian

The Revenant

The Tree of Life

There Will Be Blood

Cheers to trying to focus on the positives, in movies and in life, this awards season and beyond.

xx

J.V.

Practically Perfect, Totally Snubbed: Reactions to one crazy set of oscar noms

Pouring one out for my darling Ms. Blunt this morning, who is consistently bright and brilliant in everything she does, and who gave two incredible performances this year, only to go unrecognized by the Academy once again. For shame. She was the snub I was most fearing, but also most expecting. While I don’t necessarily think either of her performances was the “best” of the year, there is no one working today who is more overdue for a nomination, and more persistently, unfairly ignored. As Emily Charlton would say, it’s so unfair.

Related image

What does she have to do, Academy? What?!

For the record, other snubs I’m not happy about:

Shirkers, Timothée Chalamet, Bo Burnham, Burning, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Claire Foy

Meanwhile, “Five Time Acadamy Award Nominee Bohemian Rhapsody.” What a world. We can do better than that. And we must.

But congrats to all of the other very deserving nominees for their spectacular work this season! There were some really thrilling names announced this morning, and I’m simultaneously extremely ready for this awards season to be over and waiting with baited breath to see how things shake out. If Glenn finally snatches that trophy, it will definitely all have been worth it. But she’s facing some very stiff competition (if it were literally any other year, I would be ALL IN on Olivia)–and you know what that means.

Image result for glenn close gif

Can’t wait to see who comes out on top.

xx

J.V.

Best of 2018, Vol. V: Biggest Celebrity Crushes

One final end-of-year list to celebrate what a fine (in every sense of the word) year last year was. Fifteen of the stars I swooned hardest over in 2018, plus a few I (quite shamefully) enjoyed more than I should have. Enjoy!

15. Jamie Dornan, Death and Nightingales / A Private War / Robin Hood

14. Matthew Goode, The Crown / The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / Ordeal by Innocence

13. Chris Pine, The Outlaw King / A Wrinkle in Time

12. Jude Law, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald / Vox Lux

11. Ben Barnes, Westworld

10. Pierre Deladonchamps / Vincent Lacoste, Sorry Angel

9. Richard Madden, Bodyguard

8. Raul Castillo, Unsane / We The Animals

7. Matthew Rhys, The Americans / Death and Nightingales / Mowgli

6. Tomasz Kot, Cold War

5. Jake Gyllenhaal, The Sisters Brothers / Wildlife

4. Henry Golding, Crazy Rich Asians / A Simple Favor

3. Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek

2. Corey Stoll, First Man / The Romanoffs / The Seagull

1. Michiel Huisman, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / The Haunting of Hill House / Irreplaceable You

Guilty pleasures: Luke Benward (Dumplin’ / Life of the Party), Taron Egerton (Billionaire Boys Club / Robin Hood), James Franco (The Deuce), Chris Hemsworth (Bad Times at the El Royale), Chris Lowell (GLOW), Billy Magnussen (Game Night), Glen Powell (Set It Up), Paul Rudd (Ideal Home)

Favorites I didn’t see enough of in 2018: Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac, James McAvoy, Ewan McGregor, Clive Owen, Mark Ruffalo

xx

J.V.

BEST OF 2018, VOL. IV: Film

At long last! It’s been a labor of love compiling this list, and a joy to celebrate another incredible year of watching movies. As 2019 kicks off, here are my choices for the best film performances of 2018.

100. Liv Hill, The Little Stranger

99. Ben Mendelsohn, The Land Of Steady Habits

98. Edwin Thomas, The Happy Prince

97. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, A Wrinkle In Time

96. Ewan McGregor / Hayley Atwell, Christopher Robin

95. Bel Powley, Mary Shelley

94. Kiersey Clemons, Hearts Beat Loud

93. Dania Gurira / Lupita Nyong’o, Black Panther

92. Jennifer Ehle, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post / Vox Lux

91. Leslie Mann, Blockers

90. Hilary Swank, What They Had

89. Sharon Horgan / Jesse Plemons, Game Night

88. Mia Goth / Dakota Johnson / Tilda Swinton / Angela Winkler, Suspiria

87. Tessa Thompson, Annihilation / Furlough / Sorry To Bother You

86. Candice Bergen, Book Club

85. Alba Caterina Rohrwacher, Happy As Lazzaro / Ismael’s Ghosts

84. Mila Kunis / Kate McKinnon, The Spy Who Dumped Me

83. Molly Ephraim / Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner

82. Julianne Nicholson / Emma Roberts, Who We Are Now

81. Yalitza Aparicio/ Marina De Tavira, ROMA

80. Ashlie Atkinson / John David Washington, BlackKlansman

79. Vera Farmiga, Boundaries / The Front Runner

78. Jessica Chastain, Woman Walks Ahead

77. Emma Thompson, The Children Act

76. Brady Jandreau, The Rider

75. Kristen Scott Thomas, The Party

74. Lily Rabe, Golden Exits / VICE

73. Gina Rodriguez, Annihilation

72. Jasmine Cephas Jones / Janina Gavanker, Blindspotting

71. Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker / Winchester

70. Imelda Staunton, Finding Your Feet

69. Charlie Plummer, Lean On Pete

68. Anne Hathaway, Ocean’s 8

67. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, All About Nina

66. Mary-Louise Parker, Golden Exits / Red Sparrow

65. Hugh Grant, Paddington 2

64. Michelle Williams, I Feel Pretty

63. Emily Mortimer, The Bookshop / The Party / Mary Poppins Returns

62. Sarah Adler / Tim Kalkhoff, The Cakemaker

61. Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy / Hot Summer Nights

60. Lily James, The Guernesy Literary And Potato Peel Society / Mamma Mia 2

59. Nora Hamzawi, Non-Fiction

58. Ben Whishaw, Mary Poppins Returns / Paddington 2

57. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman

56. Millicent Simmonds, A Quiet Place

55. Rupert Friend / Andrea Risborough, The Death Of Stalin

54. Charlize Theron, Tully

53. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite

52. Awkwafina, Crazy Rich Asians / Ocean’s 8

51. Rose Byrne, Instant Family / Juliet, Naked / Peter Rabbit

50. Raul Castillo, Unsane / We The Animals

49. Chloë Sevingy, Lean On Pete / Lizzie

48. Elsie Fisher / Josh Hamilton, Eighth Grade

47. Cynthia Erivo, Bad Times At The El Royale / Widows

46. Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen Of Scots / On Chesil Beach / The Seagull

45. Natalie Portman, Annihilation / Vox Lux

44. Juliette Binoche, High Life / Let The Sunshine In / Non-Fiction

43. Rachel McAdams, Disobedience / Game Night

42. Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back

41. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen Of Scots

40. Robert Pattinson, Damsel / High Life

39. Jake Gyllenhaal, The Sisters Brothers / Wildlife

38. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased / Destroyer / How To Talk To Girls At Parties

37. Claire Foy, First Man / The Girl In The Spider’s Web / Unsane

36. Alessandro Nivola, Disobedience

35. Kathryn Hahn / Kayli Carter, Private Life

34. Toni Collette / Nat Wolff, Hereditary

33. Bill Heck / Tyne Daly / Zoe Kazan, The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

32. Viggo Mortenson, Green Book

31. Mia Wasikowska, Damsel

30. Steven Yeun, Burning / Sorry To Bother You

29. Anna Kendrick / Blake Lively, A Simple Favor

28. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

27. Pierre Deladonchamps / Vincent Lacoste, Sorry Angel

26. Laura Dern, The Tale

25. Florence Pugh, King Lear / The Outlaw King

24. Ben Foster / Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Leave No Trace

23. Joanna Kulig, Cold War

22. Ryan Gosling, First Man

21. Kelly MacDonald, Puzzle

20. Jason Clarke, Chappaquiddick / First Man / Winchester

19. Keira Knightley, Colette / The Nutcracker And The Four Realms

18. Elizabeth Debicki, The Tale / Widows

17. Olivia Cooke / Anya Taylor-Joy, Thoroughbreds

16. Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell / The Seagull

15. Melissa McCarthy / Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

14. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns / A Quiet Place

13. Viola Davis, Widows

12. Regina Hall / Haley Lu Richardson, Support The Girls

11. Amy Adams / Christian Bale, VICE

10. Emma Stone, The Favourite

9. Rachel Weisz, Disobedience / The Favourite

8. Bradley Cooper / Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

7. Zhao Tao, Ash Is Purest White

6. Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Kindergarten Teacher

5. Rosamund Pike, A Private War

4. Carey Mulligan, Wildlife

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite

2. Sakura Ando, Shoplifters

1. Glenn Close, The Wife

xx

J.V.

Best of 2018, Vol. III: TV

I will admit that I simply didn’t have time to watch all of the television I wanted to this year (it’s shocking how oppressive and time-consuming having a full-time job and trying to be a productive member of society is), but I did still watch a LOT, and thankfully managed to cram in quite a bit over the holidays. There were, as always, a lot of great performances this year–here are my personal favorites, along with a couple of my favorite scene-stealing performances, and some of the (I’m sure very good) performances I would like to have watched but just didn’t have the bandwidth to fit in.

40. Catalina Sandino Moreno / Maura Tierney, The Affair

39. Emmy Rossum, Shameless

38. Full Cast, Will & Grace

37. Lucy Punch, A Series Of Unfortunate Events

36. Robin Wright, House Of Cards

35. Daniel Brühl / Dakota Fanning, The Alienist

34. Kate Siegel, The Haunting Of Hill House

33. Caitriona Balfe, Outlander

32. Hong Chau, Forever / Homecoming

31. Kieran Culkin / Matthew Macfadyen / Sarah Snook, Succession

30. Richard Madden, Bodyguard

29. Michelle Dockery / Meritt Wever, Godless

28. Alex Lawther, The End Of The Fucking World / Howard’s End

27. Bill Hader / Sarah Goldberg, Barry

26. Thandie Newton, Westworld

25. Edgar Ramirez, American Crime Story: Versace

24. Christine Baranski / Cush Jumbo, The Good Fight

23. Jason Bateman / Laura Linney, Ozark

22. Stephan James / Julia Roberts, Homecoming

21. Andrea Riseborough, Black Mirror: Crocodile

20. Hugh Grant / Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal

19. Amy Adams / Patricia Clarkson / Eliza Scanlen, Sharp Objects

18. Olivia Colman, Flowers

17. Betty Gilpin, GLOW

16. Dan Levy / Annie Murphy / Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

15. Jessica Brown Findlay / Lesley Manville / Samantha Morton, Harlots

14. Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose

13. Hayley Atwell, Howard’s End

12. Claire Foy / Vanessa Kirby, The Crown

11. Toni Collette / Sophie Okonedo, Wanderlust

10. Full Cast, The Romanoffs

9. Julia Garner, Dirty John / Maniac / Ozark

8. Carey Mulligan, Collateral

7. Emma Stone, Maniac

6. Kate McKinnon, SNL

5. Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce

4. Florence Pugh, The Little Drummer Girl

3. Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

2. Patricia Arquette, Escape At Dannemora

1. Matthew Rhys / Keri Russell / Noah Emmerich / Holly Taylor, The Americans

Favorite Scene Stealers: Caroline Aaron, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; Aidy Bryant, SNL; J. Smith-Cameron, Succession; Anna Chancellor, Ordeal By Innocence; Glenn Close, Crooked House; Beth Dover, Orange Is The New Black; Bonnie Hunt, Escape At Dannemora; Angela Lansbury, Little Women; Alex Moffat, SNL; Indya Moore, POSE; Paula Newsome, Barry; Rufus Sewell, Victoria; Molly Shannon, Divorce; Cecily Strong, SNL

Didn’t Watch: American Horror Story: Apocalypse; Atlanta; Better Call Saul; One Day At A Time; Sorry For Your Loss; The Good Place; The Handmaid’s Tale; The Sinner; Trust

xx

J.V.