A&E Roundup: ‘Minari’ wins top honors from NC critics

IMMIGRANT STORY: From left, Alan S. Kim, Steven Yeun, Noel Cho and Yeri Han star in Minari. Lee Isaac Chung's drama won four awards from the N.C. Film Critics Association, including best narrative film. Photo by David Bornfriend, courtesy of A24

The N.C. Film Critics Association has named Minari the best narrative film of 2020. Lee Isaac Chung’s ’80s-set drama about a Korean family attempting to start a farm in Arkansas also earned the best original screenplay award for Chung and best supporting actress for Youn Yuh-jung. In addition, co-star Will Patton, who attended the N.C. School of the Arts, received the Ken Hanke Memorial Tar Heel Award. The prize is named in honor of the late Xpress film critic and recognizes a film or performer with a special connection to North Carolina.

The remaining three awards for performing went to Frances McDormand (Nomadland) for best actress, Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods) for best actor and Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7) for best supporting actor. Other winners include Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) for best director and best adapted screenplay; Joshua James Richards (Nomadland) for best cinematography; Tenet for best special effects; Soul for best animated film and best music; Another Round for best foreign language film; and Dick Johnson Is Dead for best documentary film. The 4K Blu-ray release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy was awarded the inaugural best restoration prize. ncfilmcritics.org

All-age stage

Flat Rock Playhouse’s Studio 52 is offering an array of virtual classes this winter. Courses are designed for artists ages 5 and older, and will be taught by theater professionals and playhouse alums, aka Vagabonds.

Elementary-age artists can explore improvisation, characterization, costume design and musical theater; middle school and high school students can take acting, musical theater, Broadway dance, audition preparation and acting for the camera classes; and adults can join Playhouse scenic designer Dennis C. Maulden to learn the process of designing a show or study acting basics with Bill Muñoz. The semester begins the week of Monday, Jan. 25, and runs for nine weeks. frpstudio52.org

The singing journalist

Asheville-based musician/reporter Jonathan Ammons releases American Splendor on Friday, Jan. 15. The former Xpress contributor spent the last year and a half writing and recording the album, on which he plays every instrument used in the 10 genre-bending songs, with an assist from area violinist Olivia Springer.

“It is largely a record of stories based on conversations I have had through interviews for local publications, radio shows or podcasts,” Ammons says. “All everyday stories from everyday Americans struggling to achieve that American dream.” jonathanammons.bandcamp.com

Sandburg slam

In honor of Carl Sandburg’s Jan. 6 birthday, the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock invites storytellers to submit a five-minute video of them reading a true story. Works should reflect the theme of “seasons,” such as nature’s change of seasons, a story from a favorite season or the seasons of life. A panel of judges will award a $100 first prize, $75 second prize and $50 third prize, and all storytellers will receive a small thank-you gift for participating. Submissions are due by Friday, Jan. 22. Videos will be posted on the Sandburg Home’s Facebook page Wednesday, Jan. 27-Friday, Jan. 29, and the winners will be announced on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 10 a.m. nps.gov/carl/planyourvisit/slam.htm

Smoky Mountain arts stroll

Artists with studios in Haywood County are invited to participate in the annual Haywood County Studio Tour. Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 5, and the free, self-guided tours will take place Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27.

Studio artists may choose to open their workspaces to the public or join with another studio host. The Haywood County Arts Council will act as a liaison between artists needing a host site and studios that have space for additional artists. haywoodarts.org


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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One thought on “A&E Roundup: ‘Minari’ wins top honors from NC critics

  1. Mary O. Burnette

    New Shiloh was the last settlement known to my maternal grandparents, George and Frances Payne, born in the 1800s. Grandpa Payne was one of the earliest blacksmiths employed on the Vanderbilt Estate. He and my grandmother are buried in the old churchyard in New Shiloh. Some of their twelve children and grandchildren are buried there. Other Paynes moved away where more work was available. One son, blacksmith William Thosmas Payne, maintained a home at 965 West Chapel Road. He and his widow have passed and that homestead has been purchased by newcomers.
    It sets my teeth on edge to see such demographic changes in old African American communities referred to as “gentrfication.” There was nothing wrong with the old Black community. It did not need refinement. Things do change with time. “We can’t stop the river,” they say. But with the washing away of familiar and beloved landmarks, what’s left behind is—however affluent the site,—sorrowful for us who have lived long enough to see our childhood neighborhoods disappear. And they are vanishing throughout the South.
    One thing we can do is to avoid euphemizing the process of demographic change, so painful for us who are left with our memories of yesteryear. Change is what it is. This kind of change is not gentrification. Neither the old nor the New Shiloh was a crime-ridden ghetto.
    Mary O. Burnette

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