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‘American Fiction’ review: Satire done right (or Wright)

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A man wearing a suit and glasses with a closely cropped beard and bald head walks through a field of tall grass with a young woman as both smile.
Amazon Studios | MGM

Every week, Kristopher Pollard from Milwaukee Film and Radio Milwaukee’s Dori Zori talk about movies — because that’s what you do when you’re Cinebuds.

Can you feel it? That golden, sword-holding presence looming over the cinematic world right now? It’s Oscar. And he is coming.

In a lot of ways, the Academy Awards dictate the movie calendar. It’s why studios save all their “prestige” releases for the end of the year, so they’re fresh in the minds of the academy’s voting members. It’s also why the first few months of every year feel like a dumping ground for films that are very much not “prestige” (see: Madame Web).

With a little more than two weeks before the Oscars get handed out and commented on their surprising heaviness, our Cinebuds get into the spirit with a chat about American Fiction. The film wound up with five nominations this year: Best Picture, Best Actor for Jeffrey Wright, Best Supporting Actor for Sterling K. Brown, Best Original Score for Laura Karpman and Best Adapted Screenplay for first-time director Cord Jefferson.

There’s a lot of Jeffrey Wright in the conversation, and rightfully so. The man is an absolute gem of American cinema, and the fact that this is his first Academy Award nomination is one of those “that can’t be right” situations. Kpolly in particular is a great appreciator of Wright’s work, and you’ll hear him wax rhapsodic about the central performance of the film.

This one is packed with great performances — from Brown to Tracee Ellis Ross to Issa Rae to Keith David and on and on. But do they add up to a great movie? Find out by hitting that “Listen” button at the top of the page or finding the episode wherever you get your podcasts.