Oscars 2018: Which films are worth watching before the ceremony?

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This year’s Oscars are nearly here, and chances are you haven’t had time to watch all the nominated films. Yet.

And let’s be honest, you won’t catch up in the next 10 days. But don’t worry – we’ve spoken to a man who has.

Ali Plumb, Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s film critic, has given us his tips on what you should spend your time on between now and next Sunday’s awards.

And his first piece of advice is pretty simple: “Watch Get Out. It was my number one movie of 2017.”

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This is at the stage of the film where Daniel’s character has no idea what he’s got himself into

Jordan Peele’s horror, starring recent Bafta winner Daniel Kaluuya, is about a black man who enters a white community which isn’t all that it seems.

Ali says it was a bit of a surprise entry in the best picture category.

“If you’ve already seen Get Out, there’s Lady Bird, which is in cinemas now, and The Shape of Water,” he tells Newsbeat.

But there’s one film, according to Ali, you should have caught in the cinemas when it came out last summer.

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This is well worth seeing on a massive screen, says Ali

“If you’ve not already seen it, find the biggest telly you can, find the most high-res quality you can, and watch Dunkirk.”

Luckily, a lot of cinemas show Oscar-nominated films again around the awards.

But Ali doesn’t think Christopher Nolan’s WW2 epic will win because it was a summer blockbuster.

“I know this sounds silly, but Dunkirk came out a while ago.

“Oscar voters have very short memories – and that’s not just because some people think they’re older than most voters.”

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Frances McDormand is Ali’s tip for best actress for her performance in Three Billboards

Two awards season films – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Shape of Water – are Ali’s tips for big wins.

“Recently, the best picture prize has gone to more socially conscious films.

“Moonlight and Spotlight have won best film in the past two years, and La La Land and The Revenant have won best director.”

Three Billboards is about a woman who fights against her local police department for not properly investigating the rape and murder of her daughter.

Meanwhile, The Shape of Water is a visually rich love story between a woman and a mythical amphibious creature.

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Saoirse Ronan stars as the eponymous 17-year-old American teen in Lady Bird

A perk of Ali’s job as a film critic is that he gets to chat to the stars of all the biggest films – so who does he want to win the best actor/actress prizes?

“On a personal level, for best actress, probably Saoirse Ronan,” he says.

“She’s just 23 years old and she is so charming and such a talented actor that she will eventually win an Oscar.”

Her nomination for her role in American coming of age film Lady Bird is already the Irish actress’s third Oscar nod, although she’s yet to win.

“She’s so much fun. I love that she’s not jaded yet – she’s just having a laugh and having the time of her life.”

But Ali says he thinks the award will actually go to Frances McDormand for her role in Three Billboards.

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An unrecognisable Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill

And for best Actor?

“If it’s not Gary Oldman, I will eat my proverbial hat,” says Ali.

“He is typically a villain. Here he is playing Winston Churchill and he’s almost unrecognisable.

“Darkest Hour is very Oscars – it’s about a real life story, it’s about a larger-than-life historical figure and it’s an actor who has been perennially good.

“I think the train is just going at such a speed it would be incredible if Gary Oldman didn’t win best actor.”

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – if you miss us you can listen back here

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-43133872

Christopher Eccleston: Northern accent "held me back"

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Christopher Eccleston is starring as Macbeth in a new Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation

Christopher Eccleston, says his Northern accent “held him back” when trying to secure Shakespearean roles on stage.

The actor star says there is a perception in the industry that “people like me can’t be classical”.

Eccleston was born into a working class family on a council estate in Salford in Lancashire in 1964.

He will appear as Macbeth in a new production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford Upon Avon, but he had to ask for the role.

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Eccleston says more needs to be done to get women in Shakespeare plays

“I’m never offered Shakespeare,” he says. “I went after this. Nobody offered it me. I went after it.”

He wrote “an old fashioned letter” to the Artistic Director of the RSC, Gregory Doran.

“I said, since I was 17 I’ve always wanted to play Macbeth at the Royal Shakespeare Company. So can I do it?”

But the 54-year old resents having to ask for roles.

“I should have been offered more but I didn’t go the right university or the public schools. It needs to change,” he adds.

He has played one other Shakespeare role on stage – Hamlet at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002.

But nothing since. And he is convinced his background is to blame.

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He starred alongside Billie Piper in Doctor Who when it was brought back in 2005

“I think the people who run some of the big established theatres, particularly in London, they associate Shakespeare with white, middle class men.

“It’s discrimination and I loathe it.”

And for fans of his work on television, including Cracker and Our Friends in the North, and on film in Shallow Grave and 28 Days later, Christopher Eccleston has a surprising confession.

“I became a television actor and a film actor by default. But if I’d been offered the big classic roles which I wanted to do, I’d have done them.

“I’ve had a passionate love of Shakespeare since I was 17, but in a way, it’s like the love that dare not mention its name.”

Nonetheless, despite the fact “it makes me very angry”, Christopher Eccleston says he is “fortunate” because he is white and male.

“It’s a lot more difficult for women.”

And for that reason he thinks gender blind casting is “the greatest thing to happen to British theatre since William Shakespeare wrote his plays.

“The fact that there are women who will one day play Macbeth and play Hamlet, with no second thought, is the most wonderful thing.

“But women still struggle”, he adds. “The roles are not there. There is still a long, long way to go.”

Christopher Eccleston played the ninth incarnation of Doctor Who and brought the show back to BBC One after 16 years.

He welcomes the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor Who.

“She will be the best Doctor. I mean why did they have to wait so long?”

He says the role has been played by “too many skinny white men like me,” before adding: ” I absolutely loved playing the character and I’m so glad it’s being reinvented.”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43139805

Black Panther smashes box office predictions

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Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o star in Black Panther

Black Panther has more than doubled the amount of money it was predicted to take in its opening weekend.

The US and Canada box office takings of more than $242m (£173m) put it miles ahead of the $120m (£86m) it had been estimated to make.

It makes the film the largest four-day President’s Day weekend opening ever.

The movie is now the second highest-grossing four day opening of all time – behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which earned $288m (£206m).

Black Panther also scored the biggest Monday in history with $40.2m (£28.8m), just besting the Force Awakens’ $40.1m.

On Tuesday, the film’s director, Ryan Coogler, wrote a touching letter thanking fans for the support.

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Director Ryan Coogler with one of the film’s stars Lupita Nyong’o at the Seoul premiere

“I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment,” he wrote.

“Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong.

“Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.”

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Mrs Obama sent “congrat[ulation]s to the entire #blackpanther team”

Meanwhile, Michelle Obama sent congratulations to the makers of the superhero movie after a weekend of blockbuster box-office takings.

I loved this movie,” wrote the former First Lady on Monday.

“Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen,” she said.

Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins joined Mrs Obama in celebrating the film’s achievement calling it an “incredibly meaningful success”.

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So why has the film been such a hit?

Based on the Marvel comic book character, Black Panther revolves around the ruler of a fictional central African nation who moonlights as a costumed crime-fighter.

The film has drawn praise for having a black director – Creed’s Ryan Coogler – and a predominantly black cast, the majority of whom speak with African accents.

According to Fortune, Black Panther’s success is “dispelling industry concerns that a superhero movie revolving almost entirely around black characters [can] resonate with a general audience”.

“No studio can say again, ‘Oh, black movies don’t travel, overseas interest will be minimal,” box-office analyst Jeff Bock told the publication last week.

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Ryan Reynolds played the title role in 2016′s Deadpool

February is not generally used as a launching pad for “tentpole” blockbusters, which tend to be held back until after the Oscars and the end of “awards season”.

Recent years, however, have shown there is an appetite at this time of year for other kinds of material.

Deadpool, the last superhero film to open in North America over the President’s Day weekend, notched up an impressive $152m (£108m) when it debuted in 2016.

Black Panther, though, surely received an additional boost from positive buzz, rave reviews – it currently has a 97% rating on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes – and huge social media awareness.

Last week, Variety reported that the film had become the most tweeted-about movie of the year so far, having amassed more than five million tweets on the social platform.

“I haven’t ever worked on a film where people were this excited about it before we even rolled a camera,” Coogler told the BBC earlier this month.

Media captionBlack Panther: Why this film is a moment

Other factors in the film’s success may include a crowd-funding initiative to raise funds to buy cinema tickets for children.

According to the GoFundMe website, the #BlackPantherChallenge has so far raised more than $400,000 (£285,000) to enable children to see the film in a movie theatre.

Actress Brie Larson, star of forthcoming Marvel release Captain Marvel, is among many to champion the scheme.

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Black Panther’s stars, meanwhile, have their own theories on why the film has struck such a chord with audiences.

In a post on Instagram, actress Lupita Nyong’o paid tribute to her co-star Chadwick Boseman and his “quiet, confident, regal nature”.

“We celebrate BREAKING BOX OFFICE RECORDS with @blackpanther for many reasons, but chief among them is because we had you as our king,” she went on.

Britain’s Daniel Kaluuya, meanwhile, has suggested the film’s success lies in audiences seeing it in cinemas rather than using illegal means to access it.

“If you complain a lot about visibility and representation you have to pay, you have to support it when we do it,” he told 1Xtra presenter Dotty earlier this month.

“You have to support whatever you want to see. Ryan Coogler and us lot, we’ve been given support and we need the support back.”

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Busan’s Diamond Bridge features prominently in one action sequence

Black Panther’s success extends beyond America’s borders. The film took $25.3m (£18m) in South Korean cinemas during its opening week – more than anywhere outside the US.

The fact a key action sequences was filmed in the Korean city of Busan is understood to have driven its popularity.

Closer to home, meanwhile, Black Panther has recorded the biggest February opening at the UK and Ireland box office.

Since arriving in British cinemas a week ago, the film has made £17.7m – which, according to The Guardian’s Charles Gant, is more than such previous Marvel releases as Thor and Ant-Man made over their entire UK runs.

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Fergie apologises for NBA national anthem performance

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Fergie gives it her all at the Staples Center

It’s fair to say Fergie’s jazzy, slowed-down version of the Star-Spangled Banner at Sunday’s NBA All-Star game wasn’t a hit with everyone.

And now the US singer has apologised for her performance.

The singer told TMZ: “I’ve always been honoured and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA.

“I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone.”

She added: “I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

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Star-mangled banner?

Social media went into meltdown as people reacted to the former Black-Eyed Peas singer’s unusual version.

ESPN journalist Jemele Hill tweeted a clip from TNT’s coverage of the event in Los Angeles, pointing out even NBA player Draymond Green could not keep a straight face.

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Memes were soon circulating, comparisons to previous singers were abound and #Fergie was trending on Twitter.

Some thought she was copying the breathy style used by Marilyn Monroe when she famously sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy.

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Another joked it would take some time to recover.

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It’s not the first time Fergie has sung the US national anthem in public.

She performed the Star-Spangled Banner in front of the Obamas in 2009 at the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll.

Suffice to say, it was a much more traditional rendition and attracted far less attention.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43125698

Little Mix singer criticised for wearing dreads

Jesy Nelson

Some social media users are demanding Little Mix member Jesy Nelson delete an Instagram post of herself wearing her hair in dreadlocks.

The 26-year-old singer unveiled her new hairstyle on Monday evening, but some followers on the platform suggested the picture was offensive to black people.

Nelson was accused of “cultural appropriation” and there were calls for her to apologise.

The post has also received over 191,000 likes and many positive comments.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43126568

Channel 4 documentary accuses Harvey Weinstein of physical assault

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Weinstein denies all of the allegations

The producer of Golden Globe-winning film My Week With Marilyn has accused embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of physically attacking him.

David Parfitt said Weinstein was “in a fury” about a test screening of the film doing so well with the audience as he wasn’t happy with the final cut.

“He pinned me up against a Coke machine and threatened all sorts of stuff,” Parfitt told a Channel 4 documentary.

“It was very scary. He was just furious the film in our version worked.”

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Parfitt also worked with Weinstein on Shakespeare in Love

Parfitt said Weinstein “had decided there wasn’t enough of Marilyn in the film and that he wanted more Marilyn”.

The film won Michelle Williams a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the Hollywood legend opposite Eddie Redmayne.

A spokesman for Weinstein said: “Mr Parfitt and Mr Weinstein had creative differences on the film, any conflict between them was solely over their different visions for the film… while Mr Weinstein has apologised for boorish behaviour in certain situations in the past, Mr Weinstein unequivocally denies he ever engaged in criminal misconduct of any kind.”

Channel 4′s Working with Weinstein is the first documentary about the film producer to be aired since allegations against him first surfaced in October.

It looks at UK-based claims of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein over the past 30 years.

Weinstein says all the allegations in the documentary are untrue.

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Michelle Williams starred in My Week With Marilyn

Other alleged revelations in Tuesday night’s one-hour film include:

  • A former Miramax employee describes how, as a young woman – and during what was her first meeting with Weinstein to discuss a further job opportunity – Weinstein requested a massage. When she did not agree, she says he pressured her to remove her clothes so that he could massage her whilst he masturbated himself. Weinstein then pressured her to take a shower with him.
  • Former employees allege that non-disclosure agreements within The Weinstein Company became widespread and allowed Weinstein to continue to behave badly with impunity. One describes her discomfort at being expected to escort women to Weinstein’s hotel room and having to collect a prescription for erectile dysfunction injections.
  • Other employee accounts revealed that a ‘code’ existed among assistants where they encouraged one another to avoid Weinstein’s advances by wearing big jackets, staying in pairs or groups in his presence and by not sitting next to him on a sofa.

‘So fearful’

Lawyer Jill Greenfield, who is representing several women in a UK civil court action, says in the film: “You’ve got an awful lot of women who have been afraid for many years and are still very afraid, but these women now have an awful lot of other women and people around them who are really not afraid and are prepared to go all the way on this.

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“He may be or may have been a powerful man, but it doesn’t matter. He’s not above the law. He’s just a man.”

Weinstein told the programme: “The use of non-disclosure agreements with employees in both entertainment and media companies is… standard in the industry.”

A spokesperson for Weinstein has previously said that any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied.

Working with Weinstein airs on Tuesday 20 February at 2200 GMT on Channel 4.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43127969


A tiger

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Tigers will be the focus of one of the series’ instalments

Lions and tigers AND chimps, oh my! All will play a part in Dynasty, Sir David Attenborough‘s next nature documentary.

Set to air on BBC One later this year, the five-part series will follow the fortunes of different animals at critical times in their lives.

Hunting dogs and emperor penguins will also be scrutinised in the programme, which has taken four years to make.

It follows the success of Sir David’s underwater documentary Blue Planet II, the most-watched TV show of 2017.

  • Blue Planet II tops 2017 TV ratings
  • The secrets behind Blue Planet II

“The wonderful David Attenborough will inspire audiences once again when he brings the natural world to life,” said Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s director of content.

She said the show would capture “extraordinary family dynamics and behaviour” in a series of “intimate animal dramas”.

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Sir David Attenborough will present the five-part programme

Dynasty is a product of BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit and is co-produced with BBC America and France Televisions.

The show was one of several unveiled this week at BBC Worldwide’s 2018 Showcase, a four-day event in Liverpool for international TV buyers.

Dynasty, currently a working title, was also the name of a 1980s soap opera famous for its catfights and shoulder pads.

The show, which originally starred Dame Joan Collins and the late John Forsythe, was revived last year by the CW Television Network.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43113391

7 memorable moments from the Baftas

Media captionBaftas 2018: The winners

Three Billboards was the big winner at the Baftas on Sunday evening.

It picked up some of the night’s top prizes – including best film, best British film and best actress (for Frances McDormand).

Meanwhile, stars showed their support for the Time’s Up campaign by wearing black on the carpet and pin badges highlighting the cause.

Sam Rockwell, McDormand and Lee Unkrich used their winner’s speeches to highlight issues of diversity and equality in the industry.

Here are seven memorable moments from the Bafta Film Awards 2018.

1. It was Daniel Kaluuya’s night

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There’s only one thing we all really want to know about the Baftas: what would that trophy look like if you dipped it in some bright blue hair dye?

Fortunately, the EE Rising Star prize means we no longer have to imagine.

Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya was the winner of the prize this year – the only Bafta to be voted for by the public – and he looked genuinely surprised.

“My mum is the reason why I started, the reason why I’m here and the reason why I keep going,” he said as he accepted the award.

He went blank at one point during his speech, but speaking backstage also remembered to thank Top Boy’s Ashley Walters.

“I want to say to Ashley thanks for leading and inspiring me, he has made it all possible,” he said.

Kaluuya was inspired by seeing Walters on screen as he had come from a similar background.

He also said “levels” about 20 times during his speech, giving the Baftas a much-needed dose of London slang.

2. Frances McDormand refusing to comply

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In a fairly non-eventful ceremony, we’re going to go ahead and say that Frances McDormand’s speech certainly stood out.

“Thank you British film people,” the actress said as she took to the stage to accept the prize for leading actress.

The star of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was one of the very few stars who didn’t wear black on the red carpet, unlike many others who did so in support of the #MeToo movement.

“As Martin [McDonagh] said, I have a little trouble with compliance,” she said, pointing to her dress.

“But I want you to know I stand in full solidarity with my sisters tonight in black. I also want to say that I appreciate a well-organised act of civil disobedience.”

She then referred to the way political campaigners had taken the concept of the film and used it to help their causes – such as this week’s stunt where three billboards demanding justice following the Grenfell Tower fire were driven through London.

“I’m thrilled that activists all over the world have been inspired by the set decoration of Three Billboards in Martin’s film and have taken to the streets and let it be a part of the positive public discourse that’s happening,” McDormand said.

3. The general brilliance of Salma Hayek

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You’re always in for a fun night when Salma Hayek is around – as anyone who’s ever seen one of her memorable appearances on Graham Norton will know.

“In this very important and historical year for women, I am here on this legendary stage to celebrate men,” the actress said to laughs and cheers from the audience as she introduced the best actor category.

But she wasn’t done being playful.

She introduced the nominees – Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Kaluuya, Jamie Bell, Timothee Chalamet and the eventual winner Gary Oldman.

But, as she opened the envelope, she said: “And the winner is… Frances McDormand,” in an utterly brilliant reference to last year’s best picture mishap at the Oscars.

After the initial gasp from the audience, she said “Nahh, just kidding! The Bafta goes to Gary Oldman.”

4. Timothee Chalamet wins (more) hearts…

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Timothee Chalamet added another million to his fanbase by showing his gallantry when he helped James Ivory onstage to accept his award.

The heart-warming moment happened when Ivory – who is 89 – won the best adapted screenplay for Call Me By Your Name, starring Chalamet.

The filmmaker – best known for his work with Merchant Ivory – had never been nominated for a writing Bafta before, having largely focused on directing throughout his career with films such as Howard’s End, The Remains of the Day and Room with a View.

5. Once, twice, three times a Lumley

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In awards shows, the host’s opening monologue can often be more interesting and juicy than the awards themselves.

Think of the cutting speeches of Seth Meyers, Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey and Amy Poelher at the Golden Globes, or Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel’s recent hosting of the Oscars.

This was Lumley’s first year as host of the Baftas – she took over from Stephen Fry, who has fronted the ceremony 12 times in total.

Some of her high points:

  • “Quite how Hugh Grant managed to portray a vain and egotistical actor in Paddington 2 is beyond me, it was remarkable stuff.”
  • “In some of Get Out’s most memorable moments, Daniel Kaluuya is controlled by other people and trapped in a chair powerless to move. A skill that will come in handy tonight because I’m afraid to say no-one gets a comfort break until we’re done here.”
  • “Oh dear, they’ve left the envelope. We don’t want any mix-ups later. Could somebody come and take this please?”
  • “In one sense, you’re all winners tonight. But in another sense, if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.”

6. Allison Janney is going to need a bigger trophy cabinet

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Allison Janney won best supporting actress for her role as LaVona Golden in I, Tonya – having already picked up the same prize at the Golden Globes last month.

She played Tonya Harding’s mother in the film – a role she felt well-suited to as she did figure skating growing up.

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Janney is much loved for playing CJ in The West Wing, but equally has enjoyed her time on the silver screen too.

Speaking in the press room, she commented on her versatility as an actress and said she approaches whatever role, whether film or TV, in the same way:

“I think of every role as neither comedy or drama, I look for the truth in the imaginary circumstances and the messier the role the better!”

7. What the winners might mean for the Oscars

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So with the Golden Globes and the Baftas out the way for another year, awards season is now firmly rattling awards the Oscars next month – the biggest night in the Hollywood calendar.

There were no big surprises at this year’s Baftas and the bookies were pretty much spot on with the odds that saw Three Billboards take five awards and The Shape of Water three.

Whilst its now even more likely that Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney will walk away with the supporting gongs and Frances McDormand and Gary Oldman for lead, it could be a different story for the big one – best film.

Three Billboards’ British background may have helped influence the decision for it to receive the big prize at the Baftas, so could it be pipped to the post at the Oscars?

Its lack of a nomination in the best director category at the Oscars dented some of the momentum the film had been picking up – and it also faces tough competition from Get Out and The Shape of Water, which have been huge hits at the US box office.

This year’s Oscars take place on 4 March, so we don’t have long until we find out.

We’ll see you then.

Read more:

  • Three Billboards wins big at the Baftas
  • Stars (almost) unite in black at Baftas
  • Bafta Film Awards 2018: All the winners

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43108455

Jennifer Lawrence quits acting for activism

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Lawrence won an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O Russell

She’s an Oscar winner and one of the world’s highest-paid actresses but now Jennifer Lawrence is turning her back on Hollywood – for a year, anyway.

The Hunger Games star is taking 12 months off acting to get more “young people engaged politically”.

Lawrence is already on the board of Represent.Us. alongside frequent collaborator, director David O Russell.

The non-profit organisation campaigns to stop political bribery and pass anti-corruption laws.

Lawrence was speaking to ET about her upcoming film Red Sparrow – her last before she takes a sabbatical.

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Several celebrities joined the Los Angeles Women’s March last month

“I’m going to take the next year off,” Lawrence told ET.

“I’m going to be working with this organisation as a part of Represent. Us … trying to get young people engaged politically on a local level. It doesn’t have anything to do with partisan (politics).

“It’s just anti-corruption and stuff trying to pass state-by-state laws that can help prevent corruption, fix our democracy.”

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Spy film Red Sparrow also stars Joel Edgerton, Charlotte Rampling, Jeremy Irons and Joely Richardson.

Lawrence is already known for her political activism. She was one of the first major actresses to discuss the Hollywood wage gap back in 2015.

She also joined forces with Cameron Diaz and Adele last month at the 2018 Women’s March in Los Angeles, which called for women’s rights and equality.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43110469

Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum on the #MeToo campaign

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43085611