Magazine article Variety

Field of Dreams and Nightmares

Magazine article Variety

Field of Dreams and Nightmares

Article excerpt

The nominees in the TV movie and limited series categories couldn't be more diverse. The former field ranges from the long-established Hercule Poirot vehicle for actor David Suchet ("Poirot's Last Case") to David Oyelowo's one-man acting clinic, "Nightingale." The latter grouping juxtaposes the contemporary social strata examination "American Crime" with period Machiavellian drama, "Wolf Hall." Regardless of the time frame or milieu, all of these offerings reflect modern society's fears, hopes and dreams, and reveal that much more about the human condition.

MANNIE HOLMES, SETH KELLEY, REECE RISTAU

TELEVISION MOVIE

AGATHA CHRISTIE'S POIROT: CURTAIN, POIROT'S LAST CASE (1)

(Acorn TV)

For the past 25 years, David Suchet has played Agatha Christie's beloved detective Hercule Poirot in the British series "Agatha Christie's Poirot." The final installment, "Poirot's Last Case," is the fifth of five TV movies in the show's 13th season. "I wasn't going to be the comic, entertaining figure that maybe the audience wanted to see," Suchet said during a Q&A at the Paley Center last August. "I wanted to be Agatha Christie's Poirot."

BESSIE (2)

(HBO)

Bessie Smith, dubbed "The Empress of Blues," was a controversial figure given the conventions of her time. A bisexual who played the field, an alcoholic and sometimes physically violent. Smith used her fearlessness to thrive in a time of severe racial polarization. "Bessie doesn't go around things; she goes straight through. She's always coming right at the camera," says director Dee Rees on filming Queen Latifah as the title character.

GRACE OF MONACO (3)

(Lifetime)

Following its tumultuous history from opening the Cannes Film Festival to being dropped by Weinstein Co. straight to Lifetime for its premiere, "Grace of Monaco" is seeking Emmy redemption. Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth star in the Grace Kelly biopic that finds the leading lady pondering a return to Hollywood. "She is in between" director Olivier Dahan told the Guardian. "She is not yet the real princess she is going to become later, but she is not an actress any more. She is In no man's land."

HELLO LADIES: THE MOVIE (4)

(HBO)

The final chapter of the one-and-done HBO series continued the tale of socially awkward Stuart, played by writer-creator Stephen Merchant, who traveled across the pond to Los Angeles in hope of finding love. During his romantic quest, the stick-thin Web designer continued his fixation on women of the gorgeous model variety. Stuart's antics fail him in the Hollywood social scene and later at home - after a discomforting sexual encounter with his roommate, Jessica.

KILLING JESUS (S)

(National Geographic Channel)

Based on the 2013 Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard book "Killing Jesus: A History," the film chronicles the life of Jesus and the sequence of political events that led to his eventual death. "We wanted to go for a muscular Jesus," director Chris Menaul told the Christian Post in March, "someone who was in a way a sort of a rock star in his time." Executive produced by Ridley Scott, the ratings hit starred Haaz Sleiman as Jesus and Kelsey GrammerasKing Herod.

NIGHTINGALE (6)

(HBO)

Variety called David Oyelowo's performance as a defiant war veteran who loses his hold on reality "electric." The thesp, who played Martin Luther King Jr. in "Selma," holds the one-man, 80-minute film together. The story required a different approach, director Elliott Lester told Decider. …

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