By Susan Hornik

Lee’s Ambition
The Oscars 2021 may be months away, but there’s already ample buzz surrounding a potential frontrunner –  Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, which premiered on Netflix June 12. The fascinating film, Lee’s 25th, tells the tale of four African-American veterans battling the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam, seeking the remains of their fallen Squad Leader, plus the gold fortune he helped them hide.

Though the film has garnered mass acclaim, Lee explained at a recent press event that the project almost didn’t happen. He said: “We barely got this film made. We had gone to every studio, and they all turned it down. I’ve had many, many projects turned down, and in my history, they don’t say they hate it, they just say, ‘No, it’s just not for us.’ I’m in this game a long time. So when someone doesn’t want to do it, I’m not going to say, ‘But why? Why don’t you want to make this film?’ I just say, ‘Thank you.’ And keep stepping. Like Jay-Z. On to the next one.”

Hayek Teams Up with HBO Max
Salma Hayek has been one busy gal. When she is not working on her upcoming film projects, such as Marvel’s The Eternals, Lionsgate’s The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, and Amazon’s Bliss, the Academy Award-winning actress, executive producer, and director is flexing her production muscles on the small screen.

Ventanarosa, Hayek’s production company, just signed a two year first-look deal with HBO Max, the network’s recently launched streaming service. She will storyboard projects for potential development with producing partners Jose Tamez, Ventanarosa’s president, and Siobhan Flynn, head of production and development.

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“We are thrilled to be joining HBOMAX and Warner Media,” enthused Hayek. “Their team of passionate, talented, and open-minded executives are a great support in our mission to make high quality global television that explores and celebrates diversity and inclusivity.”

The BFFs are Back
With all the changes 2020 has brought, film and television fans will need to adjust to a completely different awards season. For starters, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that the annual Golden Globes ceremony will now take place on February 28, 2021 (typically the trophies are distributed the first weekend in January). The star-studded event, hosted at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, is always a joy to watch, and next year, Golden Globe and Emmy winners Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will return to host the gala for the fourth time.

NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy broke the news in January. “NBC has long been the home to two of the funniest people on the planet — Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — and we didn’t want to wait any longer to share the great news that they’ll be hosting the Globes once again,” he said at the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this year.

The Kid Moves to Netflix
Cobra Kai is giving the karate chop to YouTube Premium, joining Netflix for its third season. The series will continue its compelling story, with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their renowned roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, respectively.

It is hard to believe it’s been 36 years since the premiere of the first Karate Kid film, which grossed over $90 million at the box office when it debuted in theatres. The beloved Pat Morita earned an Oscar nomination for his brilliant portrayal of Mr. Miyagi. The franchise went on to produce three additional sequels, an animated series, and a 2010 film reboot starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.

Don’t worry if you haven’t got a glimpse of the first two seasons, as Netflix will be airing them later this year. Bring on the nostalgia.

Harris joins a Galactic Quest
Science fiction fans, rejoice! Apple TV’s upcoming series Foundation is based on Isaac Asimov’s iconic book series of the same name (the first was published in 1951). The series profiles a band of exiles on their incredible journey to save humanity and rebuild civilization during the fall of the Galactic Empire. It also features a star-studded cast, including Jared Harris as Hari Seldon, the mathematical genius who predicts the fall of the empire, and Lee Pace as Brother Day, the galaxy’s emperor. Lou Llobell, Leah Harvey, Laura Birn, Terrence Mann, and Cassian Bilton also star. Production was halted in March due to the Pandemic, and Apple announced the series will be released sometime in 2021. In the meantime, fans have a spellbinding first trailer, where showrunner and executive producer David S. Goyer takes audiences behind the scenes, illustrating what it took to make a film of this magnitude.