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2019 Oscar nominations: ‘A Star Is Born’ and ‘Roma’ to vie for best film

The Oscar nominations were announced today in Hollywood, with blockbusters like "A Star of Born" and "Black Panther" up for a swag of major awards. But "Roma" and "The Favourite" topped the nominations with 10 each. Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for films in 24 categories, nominations for the 91st Oscars saw Ryan Coogler's superhero epic "Black Panther:; Alfonso Cuaron's Mexican drama "Roma", English period comedy drama "The Favourite", Deep South drama "Green Book" and musical "Bohemian Rhapsody" all joining "A Star is Born" as multiple award contenders. "Roma" and "The Favourite" were nominated for 10 awards each. Netflix received its first best picture nomination with "Roma," which was released exclusively through the streaming service. All in all there were eight nominees for best picture, the others including "A Star Is Born," "Green Book," "The Favourite," "Black Panther," "BlacKkKlansman," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Vice," which won eight nominations. German film "Never Look Away," inspired by the life of artist Gerhard Richter, was nominated for best foreign language film and best cinematography. Star power While award season kicked off with controversy when the host chosen initially for the 2019 ceremonies, Kevin Hart, was forced to withdraw due to previous homophobic tweets — a replacement is yet to be announced — the Academy is celebrating a host of fan and critic favorites. Hot Oscar tip "A Star Is Born," which has already taken in $400 million (€352 million) worldwide at the box office, garnered nine nominations despite faring poorly at the Golden Globes, where it only won best song. Stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper are both up for best acting awards on February 24 and the pop star drama will also be a frontrunner for best picture. The film is likewise in contention for best song and best screenplay adaptation. Meanwhile, blockbuster Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody," a film that has been panned by critics, is also up for best film after it reigned at the Golden Globes — where it won best film and best actor for Rami Malek. Spike Lee was nominated for best director for the first time since 1989 for "BlacKkKlansman" — which is also contending for best film. Other best director nominees include Alfonso Cuaron for "Roma" (also in the running for best original screenplay), Poland's Pawel Pawlikowski for "Cold War," Adam McKay for political drama "Vice" and Yorgos Lanthimos for "The Favourite." No women were on the list in 2019 after Greta Gerwig last year became only the fifth female nominated for best director. Marvelous breakthrough Other films in the running for film's most prestigious prize include Ryan Coogler's superhero epic "Black Panther." While comic book adaptations are generally shunned by the Academy, the Marvel comics work was both a massive box office hit and was also praised by critics. "Black Panther's" seven nominations also included best production and best song. Another comic book adaptation, "Avengers: Infinity War", which was the highest grossing film of 2018, was also nominated for best visual effects. Meanwhile, Wes Anderson favorite "Isle of Dogs" was nominated for best animated feature. The Oscars award ceremony will be held on February 24, 2019 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

The Oscar nominations were announced today in Hollywood, with blockbusters like “A Star of Born” and “Black Panther” up for a swag of major awards. But “Roma” and “The Favourite” topped the nominations with 10 each. Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for films in 24 categories, nominations for the 91st Oscars saw Ryan Coogler’s superhero ... Read More »

‘Spotlight’ wins best picture at Academy Awards, DiCaprio takes home first Oscar

Amid the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, journalism drama "Spotlight" has won the Oscar for best picture. First-time winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson took home top acting honors. Hollywood's biggest night was an evening of surprises and long-awaited wins, as five-time nominee Leonardo DiCaprio finally snagged a golden statuette for his role in the snowbound survival epic "The Revenant." DiCaprio's win for best actor earned the 41-year-old a standing ovation, and he used his acceptance speech to talk about climate change, recalling how the cast and crew of "The Revenant" had to travel to South America to find snow. "Climate change is real," said DiCaprio. "It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species," he said. "Let us not take our planet for granted," he said. "I do not take tonight for granted." Joining DiCaprio in the acting honors was first-time nominee Brie Larson, for the hostage drama "Room." In one of the night's few surprises, British stage actor Mark Rylance beat out sentimental favorite Sylvester Stallone for the best supporting actor nod, winning for his role in Steven Spielberg's Cold War-era drama "Bridge of Spies." And Sweden's Alicia Vikander took home the award for best supporting actress for her role as the wife of a transgender artist in "The Danish Girl." Big winners: 'Spotlight,' 'The Revenant,' 'Mad Max' Winning the Oscar for best picture was the journalism drama "Spotlight," Tom McCarthy's film about the "Boston Globe" and its investigative reporting on sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. It beat out other top contenders "The Revenant," "The Big Short" and "Mad Max: Fury Road," though the latter still managed to grab six awards in the technical categories, making it the night's most awarded film. Despite its loss in the best picture category, "The Revenant" did earn its director Alejandro G. Inarritu a win for best director, a year after his statue for the dark comedy "Birdman." "What a great opportunity for our generation to really liberate ourselves from all prejudice and this tribal thinking and to make sure for once and forever that the color of our skin becomes as irrelevant as the length of our hair," said Inarritu on accepting his award, touching on one of the night's recurring topics. Inarritu's win marked the third time that a director has won back-to-back Oscars, after John Ford for "The Grapes of Wrath" and "How Green Was My Valley" in the early 1940s and Joseph L. Mankiewicz for "A Letter to Three Wives" and "All About Eve" in the 1950s. It was also the third straight win for a Mexican filmmaker in the best director category. #OscarsSoWhite Black comedian and actor Chris Rock, back to host the awards for a second time, started off with a biting monologue that referenced the #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign that has dogged the Academy since an all-white group of actors was nominated in January, the second straight year. Earlier in the evening, civil rights leader Al Sharpton led a protest outside the awards venue, calling for a boycott of the ceremony. Rock set the tone early on, welcoming the audience to the "white people's choice awards" and referencing racial politics and representation in Hollywood throughout the evening. At one point, he introduced a bit that, with the help of a green screen and black actors Whoopi Goldberg, Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan, attempted to add some diversity to last year's movies. Later on, he did a taped bit outside a theater interviewing black moviegoers who said they'd never heard of nominated films like "Spotlight," ''Brooklyn," ''Trumbo" or "Bridge of Spies." Social consciousness continued with an appearance by US Vice President Joe Biden, who urged a stronger stand against sexual violence on college campuses as he introduced an energetic Lady Gaga, who performed the nominated song "Till It Happens to You" - her song about sexual abuse on college campuses from the documentary "The Hunting Ground." Full list of 2016 Oscar winners Best Picture: "Spotlight" Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, "The Revenant" Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant" Best Actress: Brie Larson, "Room" Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, "Bridge of Spies" Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, "The Danish Girl" Best Original Screenplay: "Spotlight"" Best Adapted Screenplay: "The Big Short" Best Foreign Film: "Son of Saul" (Hungary) Best Documentary Feature: "Amy" Best Animated Feature: "Inside Out" Best Film Editing: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Best Song: "Writing's On The Wall," Sam Smith, "Spectre" Best Original Score: "The Hateful Eight" Best Visual Effects: "Ex Machina" Best Cinematography: "The Revenant" Best Costume Design: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Best Makeup and Hairstyling: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Best Production Design: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Best Sound Editing: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Best Sound Mixing: "Mad Max: Fury Road" Best Live Action Short Film: "Stutterer" Best Short Film, Animated: "Bear Story" Best Documentary Short Subject: "A Girl in the River"

Amid the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, journalism drama “Spotlight” has won the Oscar for best picture. First-time winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson took home top acting honors. Hollywood’s biggest night was an evening of surprises and long-awaited wins, as five-time nominee Leonardo DiCaprio finally snagged a golden statuette for his role in the snowbound survival epic “The Revenant.” DiCaprio’s win for ... Read More »

#OscarsSoWhite: Is Hollywood part of a much bigger problem?

After an onslaught of criticism from Hollywood stars and film fans over lack of diversity at the Oscars, the Academy promised to reform itself. But critics say the changes don't go far enough in addressing racism. "Enough is enough," said Frederic Kendrick, communications professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. "We've had it up to here." That once again black actors are missing from the nomination rosters at the 88th annual Academy Awards is, for Kendrick, just the tip of the iceberg. "The US has a lot of problems when it comes to race and culture." That's a sentiment many have shared over the last six weeks, ever since the nominations were announced. The Oscars, scheduled to be awarded on February 28, unleashed fury towards Hollywood's Academy - a group of 6,261 prominent members of the film industry - and comprised, for the most part, of older white men. #OscarsSoWhite The hashtag #Oscarssowhite started by editor and public speaker April Reign first began appearing just hours after the nominations were announced in mid-January. A glance at social media platforms shows that the outrage hasn't cooled since then. "If a white man were to play Michael Jackson, he'd be guaranteed an Oscar," according to numerous sarcastic tweets in response to Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in "Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon." The short British comedy sees the King of Pop joining Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando on a road trip together in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York. The protest, which counts director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith as two of the most vocal early adopters, has also been taken up by the "New York Times," which claims that Hollywood has a "race problem." In a statement, President Barack Obama went one step further, asking whether the discrimination against black actors is part of a larger problem. "Are we doing everything to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance?" he asked rhetorically. The good old (white) boys club For many blacks and other minorities in the US, the answer to that question is no. Despite the election of a black president, not much has changed for the better. For some, Hollywood plays a role in this discriminatory system. Author Earl Ofari Hutchinson told DW that he sees Hollywood as a "skewed and deeply-rooted, party of white boys," whose only role in life is to defend privilege. "Hollywood has repeatedly seen to it that white talent not be excluded," says Hutchinson, whose widely-acclaimed books include, "A Colored Man's Journey Through 20th-Century Segregated America." Just how great a disparity between roles for white and black actors exists is something that media students at Howard University wanted to know. That's the impetus behind "Truth Be Told," a fact-checking project aimed at uncovering whether those criticisms against Hollywood and the Academy are fair. At first glance, the numbers don't look good: In the 87-year history of the Oscars, just 32 of the winners were black. A discriminatory dynamic With two Oscars, Denzel Washington is the exception to the rule. "Blacks weren't envisaged when Hollywood was founded," said Kendrick, the professor who started the project. He refers specifically to the silent film "Birth of a Nation," which was produced in 1915 by one of Hollywood's founding fathers. In it, blacks are portrayed in a negative light and practices of the white-supremacy group Ku Klux Klan are glorified. Many Americans believe their country has already arrived in a "post-race era," but they are getting ahead of themselves, says Kendrick. The "Hollywood dynamic" is evidence of the opposite. In the eyes of the critics, last year should have been a banner year for blacks with several very good films produced featuring black actors in the lead. As examples, they cite the roles played by Will Smith in "Focus" and Michael B. Jordan in "Creed." Despite being considered as top-notch quality and successes at the box office, neither of the films gained nominations. Reforms in the wings In the meantime, the uproar has led the Academy to promise that the number of minority members in its midst be incrementally increased in order to promote diversity. It's too little, too late, however, says Earl Ofari Hutchinson. "That's not a dramatic shift," added the author, whose role as president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtables has him lobbying for filmmakers. In his statements, one hears a bit of a warning: If the Academy stays so stubborn, the changing tide will roll over their heads. Their glitzy exterior and influence could soon be history. Robert Redford, who was awarded an Oscar for his life's work, has not paid the critics much mind. He's interested, he says, "only in the work" and the on-screen results. "The elite good old boys, who want to secure their position of power," criticizes Hutchinson. An online protest for diversity And so the discussion about Hollywood's race problem carries on. Is it, as Frederic Kendrick of Howard University has said, just one element in a larger debate? Either way, protestors have already declared a massive anti-Oscar campaign on social media for Sunday night. It may just be that these online activists steal the spotlight from the stars on the red carpet.

After an onslaught of criticism from Hollywood stars and film fans over lack of diversity at the Oscars, the Academy promised to reform itself. But critics say the changes don’t go far enough in addressing racism. “Enough is enough,” said Frederic Kendrick, communications professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. “We’ve had it up to here.” That once again black ... Read More »

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