Conan on Greenland Special’s Politics: ‘I Don’t Really Want to Get Down Into the Muck’ With Trump (Video)
Conan O’Brien waded into some potentially political waters with his new travel special, “Conan Without Borders: Greenland.” But as he explained in an audience Q&A session, he’s not actually looking to start a beef with Donald Trump.
The special is inspired by the recent diplomatic weirdness after news that Trump wants the U.S. to buy Greenland from Denmark, an idea Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called “absurd,” The joke behind the special is that O’Brien thinks buying Denmark is a good idea, so he traveled there to scope it out.
However, asked by an audience member if he hopes for some kind of reaction from Trump on Twitter, O’Brien said, “I kinda don’t.”
O’Brien explained that he and his staff have wanted to do another travel show, that Greenland had long been a possible destination, and the Trump connection gave them a good excuse. “It’s not that I don’t have strong political feelings, ’cause I do. But I don’t really want to get down into the muck of the political yelling back-and-forth.”
O’Brien emphasized that he has no problem with his “really good friends” on other talk shows who do talk about Trump directly, but added, “that’s not my passion, that’s not my skill set.”
O’Brien joked he also doesn’t want to “distract” Trump, adding, “every day he wakes up like an angry old circus bear that’s been jabbed repeatedly and he’s like grrrrrrr.”
“I want to make comedy that’s gonna be funny to people maybe 15 years from now, long after this era is forgotten,” he concluded.
Watch the whole clip above.
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Phillip Youmans’ “Burning Cane” took home the Founders Award for best narrative feature at the 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday, with star Wendell Pierce earning Best Actor. Youmans is the first African-American director to win the Founders Award and the youngest director to have a feature in Tribeca – he wrote, directed and shot the film at age 17.
Korean director Bora Kim’s “House of Hummingbird” won for best international narrative feature, and Ji-hu Park won best international actress.
In addition, Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin won for their documentary feature “Scheme Birds.”
Here’s the complete list of winners.
U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2019 U.S. Narrative Competition were Lucy Alibar, Jonathan Ames, Cory Hardrict, Dana Harris, and Jenny Lumet.
Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – “Burning Cane,” directed by Phillip Youmans. The winner receives $20,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “Bloom” by Fred Tomaselli.
Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Haley Bennett in “Swallow”
Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Wendell Pierce in “Burning Cane”
Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Phillip Youmans for “Burning Cane.”
Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy for “Blow the Man Down.” The winner receives $2,500. Special jury mention: “To a story of a woman finding her biological family and her logical family on the highway, Ani Simon-Kennedy for “The Short History of the Long Road.”
INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2019 International Narrative Competition were Gbenga Akinnagbe, Angela Bassett, Baltasar Kormákur, Rebecca Miller, and Steve Zaillian.
Best International Narrative Feature – “House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae)” (South Korea, USA) directed and written by Bora Kim. The winner receives $20,000 and the art award “Easter” by Eddie Kang. J
Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film – Ji-hu Park in “House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae)” (South Korea, USA).
Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film – Ali Atay in “Noah Land.”
Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Kang Gook-hyun for “House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae)” (South Korea, USA) directed by Bora Kim.
Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film – “Noah Land (Nuh Tepesi)” written by Cenk Ertürk (Germany, Turkey, USA). The winner receives $2,500.
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2019 Documentary Competition were Drake Doremus, Robert Greene, Julie Goldman, Andrew LaVallee, and Cheryl McDonough.
Best Documentary Feature – “Scheme Birds “(Scotland, Sweden) directed and written by Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin. The winner receives $20,000, and the art award “Oil Lotus Woman” by Shepard Fairey. J
Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film – Cinematography by Yang Sun, “Shuang Liang for Our Time Machine” (China) directed by Yang Sun, S. Leo Chiang. The winner receives $2,500.
Best Editing in a Documentary Film – Editing by Jennifer Tiexiera for “17 Blocks” (USA) directed by Davy Rothbart. The winner receives $2,500. Special Jury mention: “This brave film uses editing to reveal narrative layers that weren’t immediately apparent, challenging and surprising viewers along the way. The special jury mention goes to ‘Rewind.'”
BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
The jurors for the 2019 Best New Narrative Director Competition were Stephen Kay, Bill Keith, Justin Long, Piper Perabo, and Mélita Toscan du Plantier.
Best New Narrative Director – “The Gasoline Thieves (Huachicolero)” (Mexico, Spain, UK, USA) directed by Edgar Nito. The winner receives $10,000, and the art award “Love Trap” by Walter Robinson.
BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
The jurors for the 2019 Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award were David Cross, Orlando von Einsiedel, and Kathrine Narducci.
Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award – “Scheme Birds” (Scotland, Sweden) directed by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin. The winner receives $10,000 sponsored by CNN Films, and the art award “Indigo Rocket Over Tribeca” by Stephen Hannock.
THE NORA EPHRON AWARD
The jurors for the 2019 Nora Ephron Award, presented by CHANEL, were Debra Messing, Chloë Sevigny, and DeWanda Wise.
The Nora Ephron Award – Rania Attieh for “Initials S.G. (Iniciales S.G.)” (Argentina, Lebanon, USA) directed by Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia. Rania receives $25,000, sponsored by CHANEL, and the art award “Alison the Lacemaker” by Swoon.
SHORT FILM COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
The jurors for the 2019 Narrative Short Competition and Animated sections were Maureen Dowd, Topher Grace, Rosalind Lichter, Hamish Linklater, Lily Rabe, Phoebe Robinson, and Jeff Scher.
Best Narrative Short – “Maja” (Denmark) directed by Marijana Jankovic. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “Amy Sillman” by Amy Sillman.
Special Jury Mention: “The Dishwasher “directed and written by Nick Hartanto, Sam Roden.
Shorts Animation Award – “My Mother’s Eyes” (UK) directed and written by Jenny Wright. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “Balloon Dog, Magneta” by Jeff Koons.
The jurors for the 2019 Short Documentary and Student Visionary Competitions were Dr. Kevin Cahill, David Krumholtz, Kathy Najimy, Sheila Nevins, Agunda Okeyo, Aaron Rodgers, and Buster Scher.
Best Documentary Short – “Learning To Skateboard In a Warzone (If You’re A Girl)” (UK) directed by Carol Dysinger. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “28 Millimeters, Portrait of a Generation” by JR. Special Jury Mention: “An unflinching and delicate portrait of a loving father with a haunted past who bravely decides to stand up to the powers that be in Ferguson, Missouri in St. Louis Superman.”
Student Visionary Award – “Jebel Banat” (Egypt) directed and written by Sharine Atif. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “Chrysler Building” by Jane Dickson.
The 2019 Storyscapes Award, presented by AT&T, which recognizes groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology, jurors were Lisa Osborne, Paul Smalera, and Adaora Udoji.
Storyscapes Award – “The Key” (USA, Iraq), created by Celine Tricart. The winner receives $10,000, presented by AT&T.
TRIBECA X AWARD
Previously awarded last week were the 2019 Tribeca X Awards, sponsored by PwC. Tribeca X recognizes excellence in storytelling at the intersection of advertising and entertainment. The jurors were Nabil Elderkin, Kim Gehrig, Jason Kreher, Kinjil Mathur, Patrick Milling-Smith, and John Osborn.
The winner of the Best Feature Film was awarded to “Almost Human” for The Carlsberg Foundation. Directed by Jeppe Rønde.
The winner of the Best Short Film was awarded to “The Face of Distracted Driving” for AT&T. Directed by Errol Morris for BBDO New York.
The winner of the Best Episodic Film was awarded to “History of Memory” for HP. Directed by Sarah Klein and Tom Mason for Redglass Pictures, The Garage by HP.
The winner of the Best VR Film was awarded to “The 100%” by Stand Up to Cancer, HP and Intel. Directed by Hernan Barangan for Springbok Entertainment.
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WARNING: Contains major spoilers for “The Favourite” Do not read unless you’ve seen the movie.
Historical accuracy isn’t exactly what Yorgos Lanthimos is going for in his latest film, “The Favourite.” Much like Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin,” Lanthimos is bending the facts of his period piece in the service of a gripping narrative with a dark moral… namely the corrupting nature of power.
But while the details of the rivalry between Sarah Churchill and Abigail Masham for the affections of Queen Anne — like Sarah being poisoned — might have been creative license by Lanthimos and screenwriters Tony McNamara and Deborah Davis, the subject of whether Queen Anne had a secret romance with either of those two women was one that influenced her reign.
According to the biography “Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion” by Anne Somerset, the Queen, contrary to the portrayal of her in “The Favourite,” was a reserved, almost stoic figure even as she became physically frail in her old age. While those displeased with her in court might have agreed with Lanthimos’ take on her as a timid monarch afraid of rocking the boat and choosing a side between the Whigs and Tories in Parliament, historians tend to view her unwillingness to commit to one side as a refusal to allow anyone to sway her decisions.
But that didn’t stop Sarah Churchill. Somerset and other historians agree that the Duchess had a very deep and personal relationship with Queen Anne, and that she tried to use that relationship for political ends, as seen in “The Favourite.” Somerset describes Sarah as someone who was able to influence Anne in a way almost no one else could. Whether or not that relationship — and the Queen’s later relationship with Abigail — was romantic is something that isn’t made clear in Anne’s letters, and was the subject of court gossip.
Somerset writes in her book that homosexuality was, of course, frowned upon in 18th century England, but was usually seen as something practiced in more sinful countries like France, where “young ladies are that way debauched in their nunnery education.” On the other hand, impassioned, seemingly romantic letters like the ones shared between Sarah and Anne were simply seen among the English patriarchy as the sort of emotional interactions women shared with each other. So it would be possible for women to hide their romance in plain sight… unless you were the Queen of England.
In Anne’s case, she was the target of rumors spread by those displeased with her decisions that she was swayed easily by her “favourites,” and that she was emotionally and even sexually dependent on them. As Abigail Masham began to rise in Anne’s favor, Sarah tried to regain her former position by threatening to fan the flames of those rumors.
Yes, the scene in “The Favourite” where Sarah blackmails Anne with the threat of publishing her personal letters really did happen. Somerset, who believes that Anne and Sarah’s relationship wasn’t sexual, also notes that Sarah spread rumors that Anne and Abigail were sharing a bed.
When Anne heard that these rumors were going around, Sarah wrote a letter to her suggesting that she quash the rumors by kicking Abigail out of court. As in the movie, this ended up backfiring, as Anne sent Sarah packing, accusing her of “saying shocking things” about her both in their personal exchanges and to the gossipmongers at court.
Whether her repulsion at these “shocking things” was out of a fear of being outed as a lesbian or because she was truly repulsed at such false accusations is open to interpretation. Somerset sided with the latter view, noting that Anne cared deeply for her husband, Prince George of Denmark — whom isn’t in “The Favourite” at all — and that Anne herself viewed homosexuality as a “disgusting vice.”
But whether or not Queen Anne really was caught in a heated lesbian love triangle, history shows that the core theme of “The Favourite” still rings true: Truth can easily be twisted and weaponized by those who seek power, and those who are disgruntled with the way of government can be open to having their political defeats be explained by salacious rumors and character smears.
But as the Sarah Churchill of real life and the Abigail Masham played by Emma Stone in “The Favourite” learned, there is such a thing as too much deception. Try to work your lies and manipulations at the wrong time or in the wrong way to the wrong person, and you could be branded as someone who is never to be trusted again.
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The Politics of Denmark takes place in a framework of a parliamentary, representative democratic, constitutional monarchy, in which the Prime Minister is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. The Monarch is the head of state and plays a largely ceremonial role with reserve powers. Executive power is exercised by the government, with the prime minister acting as primus inter pares. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Danish Parliament, Folketinget.