When Teyonah Parris stopped in Philadelphia recently to talk about her role in Spike Lee's "Chi-Raq," she also talked about best bud Tessa Thompson.
"I just texted her! She's amazing. So pretty, so smart and so talented," said Parris, speaking of the "Creed" star, using words that many would apply to Parris.
Parris hit town the same week the Hollywood Reporter published a cover story on female Oscar contenders. Parris wondered why an actress like Thompson (they starred together in "Dear White People"), who's winning raves for her performance in a popular movie, didn't rate consideration as a contender.
Parris was too humble to say so, but she had to be wondering why she was not considered for the magazine's annual bull session with Oscar-worthy talent. This year, all were white. Alicia Vikander, Charlotte Rampling, Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Carey Mulligan.
Has kind of a Claude Rains, round-up-the-usual-suspects vibe, doesn't it?
The magazine anticipated the problematic optics of its cover and ran a disclaimer insisting there were no qualified African Americans "in genuine contention" this year.
The HR might want to check with its own critic, who said that Parris is "all spunk, sass and drive" in "Chi-Raq," playing the female lead in Lee's ambitious adaptation of the ancient Greek play "Lysistrata."
Variety said Parris "projects intelligence and charisma as the inspired voice of reason" in the film, playing a Chicago woman who leads a sex strike aimed at ending gang violence and murder.
The New York Times described Parris' performance as "magnificent."
That the young woman can act is already well-known. Parris is a Juilliard grad who starred as Dawn Chambers in "Mad Men" and in the Starz series "Survivor's Remorse."
So you understand why, after getting the lead in a Spike Lee movie and giving her all to a complex role, she was a bit peeved when she saw the cover.
"Were there really no actresses of color in contention? And if not, what does that say when you're making a bunch of movies without people of color? So, we can't be in contention?"
Or transgendered people of color. Like Mya Taylor, who just won the San Francisco Critics Best Supporting Actress Award for "Tangerine," a movie currently polling about 98 percent of rottentomatoes.com.
Next 'Fargo' is far away
Bad news, "Fargo" fans: There'll likely be no freshly blood-spattered snow coming to FX until spring 2017.
That's the word from Noah Hawley, the writer whose TV adaptations of the Coen brothers' movie have topped many critics' best-of lists for two seasons now.
Part of it's logistics: Hawley's only written one episode so far in the season that will take place in 2010, and "Fargo" "is a winter show, for better or worse," and it's almost winter now.
Hawley also prefers the world of "event" programming, and "I think the minute you're hitting the same airdate every year, you're just making a television show," he told Daily News TV critic Ellen Gray and other reporters in a post-finale conference call yesterday.
You can find more on what Hawley had to say about this installment - he talked UFOs and the emergence of Hanzee Dent (Zahn McClarnon's breakout character) - and the next at ellengray.tv.