2019 Puppy Bowl: See photos and videos

January 30, 2019

Puppy Bowl XV
Puppy Bowl XV (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)

The following is a press release from Animal Planet:

Ready, Set, Pup! Television’s fuzziest sports competition and original adoption extravaganza is back and celebrating its 15th year, the biggest to date, as the world’s cutest sporting event returns to Animal Planet for PUPPY BOWL XV on Sunday, February 3 at 3PM ET/12PM PT. In years past, 100% of the puppies and kittens that have participated in PUPPY BOWL have been adopted to loving families. Animal Planet continues this tradition this year with a new set of adorable animals that are ready to tumble and fumble into their new homes across the nation. Tune in for this special two-hour event to experience all the fuzzy puppy faces from #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff who go nose to nose to win the CHEWY.COM “Lombarky” trophy at GEICO stadium. While we will be sure to keep score of touchdowns and puppy penalties, these pups playing the game are sure to go big and go home – with their new loving forever adoptive families!

This year, Animal Planet worked with over 50 dedicated animal shelters and rescue organizations from over 20 states and territories in the U.S. and made an international stop to Costa Rica, to get these puppies set for the big game. With a bigger game in store for viewers, audiences will be sure to find their favorite elements returning to the fluffiest game of the year including a front row seat to the pre-game rituals of these special pups via the locker room camera. Viewers will also get an up close and personal look at the game through the famous water bowl cam, the fan favorite kiss cam, aerial shots of the field from the TEMPTATIONS™ Sky Box, and a look at the touchdowns through the SPRINT cameras in the end zones. This year we go beyond fur-deep to find out what these adorable puppies are really made of, with a WISDOM PANEL™ Canine DNA Test. What genetic traits are giving them those advantages on the field? We tested them all to find out! The tail-gating starts with the PUPPY BOWL Pre-Game Show at 2PM ET/11AM PT, featuring aww-nalysis and cuddly commentary from sports correspondents, including the infamous Rodt Weiler with James Hound and Sheena Inu serving as pre-game show analysts. The first half of PUPPY BOWL XV is sponsored by STXfilms’ Ugly Dolls, with the second half sponsored by Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 from UNIVERSAL PICTURES.

This year’s PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup presents puppies who are also competing for the individual BISSELL® MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) by scoring the most touchdowns with dog-approved toys by CHEWY.COM. We’ll see familiar faces including America’s favorite “Rufferee,” Dan Schachner, who returns for the eighth year in a row to call the puppy penalties, furry fumbles and terrier touchdowns, along with award-winning animal advocate and television correspondent Jill Rappaport, who introduces the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Pup Close and Personal segments that highlight some of the heartwarming stories of the adorable athletes.

This year’s Pup Close and Personal highlights include profiles of Olympic silver medalist and longtime animal advocate, Gus Kenworthy, who has teamed up with Muddy Paws Rescue to prep Sierra, a Staffordshire Terrier mix, to the right headspace before the big game; Violet Vanderpump, a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix rescued by Lisa Vanderpump’s very own rescue, Vanderpump Dogs; and our very own Ref, Dan Schachner, who joined The Sato Project on a visit to Puerto Rico’s Dead Dog Beach, where they rescued and rehabilitated numerous puppies and prepped for travel to the U.S. on ‘Flight of Freedom’ plane with at least 100 of Dan’s closest furry friends. Other in-depth profiles include Melody, a Chihuahua/Shih Tzu Mix from Memphis Humane who takes a visit to Graceland, home of Elvis Presley; Flo, a Maltese/Chihuahua mix who goes on an exciting adventure to her first trip to Del Mar Dog Beach in San Diego, CA thanks to the Helen Woodward Animal Center; and a special visit to Territorio de Zaguates or ‘Land of the Strays’ in Costa Rica, a dog sanctuary on acres of open land famous for the hikes that staff and would-be adopters would take with hundreds of dogs in tow!

Accompanying Dan on the sideline is his trusty rufferee assistant, Shirley, the rescue sloth who is keen to show off the slow-motion action throughout the game. We’ll also meet Shirley’s biggest & enthusiastic fan club – a group of loveable baby sloths from Costa Rica’s Toucan Rescue Ranch sanctuary. Viewers will additionally meet each of the team’s designated mascots – TEAM RUFF will be energized by an adorable trio of baby porcupines, while TEAM FLUFF has a charming capybara on their side for moral support. And don’t forget to check out the spectacular group of baby kangaroo cheerleaders who root for their favorite team from the sidelines! PUPPY BOWL XV will also feature three fuzzball special needs players that are looking forward to finding their forever home; including Pippi, a blind Jack Russel Mix; Bumble, a blind and hearing-impaired Australian Shepherd Mix; and Will, a three-legged Doodle Mix.

Midway through the exciting game, get ready for a purr-fect surprise with the ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW. Audiences will experience a show like no other as we celebrate the 15th anniversary in style with a giant pop-up cake, performances by Adam Feline of Purrr-oon 5, a fearless performance by the Atlanta Acro-Cats, and a spectacular domino display finale!

Fans will have the chance to watch an early premiere of the PUPPY BOWL XV Pregame Show on January 27 on Animal Planet GO. Broadcast of the event will also be available on GO in conjunction with the 3:00pm ET/ 12:00pm PT start time and unlocked at 5:00pm ET/ 3:00pm PT. Viewers will also be able to experience several mid-form pieces on GO including the GEICO “Kitty Tailgate,” a go-to guide for all things PUPPY BOWL XV; the ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ “Road to the Kitty Halftime Show,” a behind-the-scenes parody video series where we will meet the choreographer, costume designer and the musical directors of Kitty Halftime Show; and the GEICO “Around the Bowl & Spot Center,” where a veteran dog host and his clueless rookie co-host commentate on all the latest PUPPY BOWL action. Crowds can flock to the Animal Planet and PUPPY BOWL Facebook pages while also following the action from players in real time on Twitter and Instagram. Audiences can also check out the PEDIGREE® “Puppy Bowl XV: Training Camp,” an exciting VR experience available on Facebook and YouTube where audiences will find themselves up close and personal inside the famous GEICO Stadium during training camp with these awesome pups!

Fans can also head to Facebook and YouTube for original social content like Dan the Ref explaining the rules of refereeing to his rufferee assistant, Shirley; UNIVERSAL PICTURES’ video of kids trying to convince their parents to get them a dog by discussing the benefits of pets, and another sweet video of kids explaining why adoption is the best way to get a dog. Viewers can watch the team mascots – TEAM FLUFF’s dashing capybara and TEAM RUFF’s adorable baby porcupines – as well as the assistant rufferee Shirley predict the winners of the AFC, the NFC championship games, and even the Super Bowl. Additionally, for the first time ever, Puppy Bowl will be featured on Snapchat’s Discover page where audiences can keep up with the day’s best moments with the “Puppy Bowl Highlights” Show, as well as ‘Our Story’ coverage of the PUPPY BOWL XV, featuring behind-the-scenes cuteness and more! A fan favorite feature this year is the PEDIGREE® PUPPY BOWL Trading Cards, where you can upload your pet’s own photo, pick 1 of 10 specialized frames, and add creative stats including “Favorite TV Show,” “Naughtiest Habit,” and more. Digital audiences are also invited to vote on Twitter, in real time, for the winner of the Most Valuable Puppy award at twitter.com/animalplanet and results will be revealed during the epic program.

A year ago, Animal Planet’s PUPPY BOWL XIV broke ratings records and was the highest rated Puppy Bowl ever with a 1.46 rating among Adults 25-54 in L+SD on Sunday, Feb. 4 from 3-5PM/ET (12-2PM/PT), up a whopping +32% from PUPPY BOWL XIII (1.11) on Feb. 5, 2017. More so, PUPPY BOWL XIV was the #1 social non-sports program on cable with more than 1.2 million interactions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and earned trending topics on Twitter and Facebook.

Official PUPPY BOWL XV sponsors include TEMPTATIONS™, CHEWY.COM, PEDIGREE®, SPRINT, BISSELL®, STXfilms, UNIVERSAL PICTURES, GEICO, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC., ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™, and WISDOM PANEL™ Canine DNA Test.

Returning for the second year to Animal Planet is Puppy Bowl Presents: The Dog Bowl, the paw-tastic football competition for adult and senior dogs living in rescues and shelters, hosted by award-winning animal advocate Jill Rappaport. These fuzzballs are oftentimes overlooked by younger pups, but here at The Dog Bowl audiences can see these 63 dapper dogs and the amazing spirit they can bring to any loving family. Similar to PUPPY BOWL, The Dog Bowl works hand in hand with shelter and rescue partners (31) to create two amazing team rosters – Team Goldies and Team Oldies – as they matchup for their own furry football competition to score hard-won touchdowns in the ALLSTATE® nets to win the CHEWY.com Lombarky trophy. Additionally, 100% of the dogs that have participated in The Dog Bowl have been adopted to loving families. For Dog Bowl, PURINA presents the Starting Lineup for these special dogs who are also competing for the individual MILK-BONE MVP (Most Valuable Pooch) Award. Similar to PUPPY BOWL, these experienced pooches will also get a chance to find out what they’re made out of with the help of the WISDOM PANEL™ Canine DNA Test. Ancestry, disease screening and more! Audiences will also be able to enjoy the support of the featured tail-gaters of Dog Bowl II and winners of Season 7 of America’s Got Talent, The Olate Dogs, as they root for their favorite players. Get ready for an amazing match with these dogs who are eager to showcase that even though they might not be puppies, they are puppies at heart on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8PM.

Throughout the program, audiences will see the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. “Dogs Life” in-depth profiles that shed light on a few of the amazing organizations and dogs as they prep for their road to Dog Bowl II. We’ll see profiles on Ronnie Stanley, an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, who is working with Maryland’s largest animal shelter, The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), to hold a ‘Dog Bowl Combine Day’ tryout with three prospective dog players at the shelter to see who will make the cut to play in Dog Bowl II; Cadence from Nowzad, Afghanistan’s only official animal sanctuary founded by Former British Marine Pen Farthing; Iggy, who took a special flight to Dog Bowl II thanks to Pilots N Paws; and Marnie, the world’s most famous rescue dog with 2.1 million followers on Instagram known for her signature head tilt and hanging tongue, who is working paw in paw with California-based Paw Works to select which of their senior dogs will be playing in Dog Bowl II.

This year’s Dog Bowl halftime show is epic to say the least, with a special look at DC Humane Alliance’s ‘Barktoberfest’ featuring senior wiener dog races and Jill Rappaport reporting on amazing dog adoption stories. The Dog Bowl also features several social media senior celebrity dogs who made their presence known during the game including Mervin the Chihuahua (@mervinthechihuahua), Marnie the Dog (@marniethedog), Kimchi Kardoggian (@the_kardoggians), and Ella Bean (@ellabeanthedog). Dog Bowl II also includes several special needs dogs including Sutty a (three-legged Pomeranian / Border Collie mix), Anneliese (a three-legged Beagle mix), Wilma (a partially blind Chihuahua), Captain Will (a one-eyed Chihuahua / Shih Tzu mix), Mr. Bojangles (a Poodle/Shih Tzu mic who is also our first wheelchair player!), Elijah (a straight-legged German Shepherd), Gizmo (a partially blind Papillon mix), and Audrey (a deaf Australian Shepherd / Border Collie mix). These special dogs and more are all up to duke it out to win a touchdown and the hearts of viewers. Dog Bowl sponsors include MILK-BONE, WISDOM PANEL™ Canine DNA Test, ALLSTATE®, PURINA, CHEWY.COM and SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC.

For more information about the shelters, rescues and organizations that participated in PUPPY BOWL XV, Animal Planet audiences can visit https://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppybowl/.

PUPPY BOWL XV is produced for Animal Planet by Discovery Studios where Simon Morris is executive producer and showrunner and Cindy Kain is vice president of current production. For Animal Planet, Dawn Sinsel serves as senior executive producer and Pat Dempsey is supervising producer.

2019 iHeartCountry Festival: Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Dan + Shay among performers

January 29, 2019

The following is a press release from iHeartMedia:

iHeartMedia, the leading audio company in America which also has a greater reach in the U.S. than any other media outlet, announced today the return of the iHeartCountry Festival on Saturday, May 4, 2019. For the sixth straight year, Country music’s biggest superstars will perform at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas in a live celebration of all things Country.

The 2019 iHeartCountry Festival lineup will feature Country music’s hottest artists including Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Dan + Shay, Luke Combs, Little Big Town, Lauren Alaina, Old Dominion, Chris Janson, Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots and Tenille Townes. The festival will also feature a special live performance music collaboration featuring today’s emerging Women of iHeartCountry. In addition, one of iHeartMedia’s nationally-syndicated top on air personalities, Bobby Bones, will return as the official host of the iHeartCountry Festival main stage.

“I look forward to the iHeartCountry Festival every year,” said Bobby Bones, Vice President, Creative Director of iHeartCountry and Executive Producer and Host of iHeartMedia’s The Bobby Bones Show. “It’s always special to have so much of the Country music community together in one place, including some really talented new artists we have been supporting on Women of iHeartCountry.”

iHeartCountry has more than 150 Country stations across the U.S. reaching more than 110 million Country music listeners per month on broadcast alone, making it the largest Country broadcast radio group in America. The iHeartCountry Festival is part of iHeartMedia’s roster of nationally-recognized events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the nationwide iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Concert Tour Presented by Capital One®, iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, iHeartRadio ALTer Ego, iHeartRadio Wango Tango and the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards.

The iHeartCountry Festival is an iHeartMedia Production. Proud partners of this year’s event include Delta Dental and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, with more to be announced. For more information visit iHeartRadio.com/countryfestival.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, February 8 at 12:00pm CT via TexasBoxOffice.com. iHeartMedia’s Country music radio stations will broadcast the event live in their local markets and at iHeartRadio.com.

About the Frank Erwin Center:

Located in the heart of downtown Austin, the Frank Erwin Center has served Central Texans with the best in live entertainment, including concerts, theatrical performances, family shows and sporting events since 1977. The multi-purpose facility, which celebrated its 40th Anniversary in November 2017, is owned and operated by The University of Texas at Austin and serves as thehome court for the Texas Longhorns Men’s and Women’s basketball teams.

 

About iHeartMedia

iHeartMedia is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month – and with its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. The company’s leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms including 850 live broadcast stations; streaming music, radio and on demand via its iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices including smart speakers, digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables, smartphones, virtual assistants, TVs and gaming consoles; through its influencers; social; branded iconic live music events; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher globally. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics and attribution technology for its marketing partners, using data from its massive consumer base. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK: IHRTQ). Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.

2019 Juno Awards: Shawn Mendes has the most nominations; Sarah McLachlan is the host

January 29, 2019

by Carla Hay

Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on September 22, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

With six nominations, Shawn Mendes is the leading contender for the 2019 Juno Awards, which will be presented on March 17 at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario. CBC will have the Canadian telecast of the show, which will be hosted by multiple Juno winner Sarah McLachlan. Corey Hart will be inducted in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the ceremony. Hart,  bülow and Loud Luxury are the artists announced so far who will be performing.

Mendes is up for Artist of the Year, Juno Fan Choice Award, Songwriter of the Year, Single of the Year (“In My Blood”), while his “Shawn Mendes” album is nominated for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year. Following close behind with five nominations is The Weeknd, who is also nominated for Artist of the Year and Juno Fan Choice Award, while his “Pray for Me” collaboration with Kendrick Lamar is up for Single of the Year, and his “My Dear Melancholy” album is nominated for Album of the Year and R&B/Soul Recording of the Year.

Eligible artists for the non-international categories are Canadian-born or Canadian-based artists who released music in 2018. Artists eligible for the international categories are artists who were not born in Canada or are not currently based in Canada.

For the second year in a row, Canadian rapper Drake did not submit his name for awards consideration at the Junos, which is why he’s not on the nominees list this year. Drake and the music from his 2018 album “Scorpion” would have been eligible for multiple Juno nominations.

Here is the complete list of nominees for the 2019 Juno Awards:

Artist of the Year
Alessia Cara
Michael Bublé
Shawn Mendes
The Weeknd
Tory Lanez

Single of the Year
Alessia Cara – “Growing Pains”
bülow – “Not A Love Song”
Loud Luxury – “Body”
Shawn Mendes – “In My Blood”
The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar – “Pray For Me”

Album of the Year
Hubert Lenoir – Darlène
Jann Arden – These Are The Days
Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes
The Weeknd – My Dear Melancholy
Three Days Grace – Outsider

International Album of the Year
Camila Cabello – Camila
Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
Maroon 5 – Red Pill Blues
Post Malone – beerbongs & bentleys
Travis Scott – ASTROWORLD

Juno Fan Choice Award
Alessia Cara
Avril Lavigne
bülow
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
KILLY Secret Sound Club
Loud Luxury
NAV
Shawn Mendes
The Weeknd
Tory Lanez

Group of the Year
Arkells
Chromeo
Metric
The Sheepdogs
Three Days Grace

Breakthrough Artist of the Year
bülow
grandson
Johnny Orlando
KILLY
Meghan Patrick

Breakthrough Group of the Year
88GLAM
Dizzy
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
Loud Luxury
The Washboard Union

Songwriter of the Year
Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas – Earthtones; “No Wrong,” “Way with Words,” “Any Place”)
Donovan Woods (Donovan Woods – Both Ways; “Our Friend Bobby,” “Truck Full of Money,” “Next Year”)
Frank Dukes (Cardi B, “Be Careful”; Post Malone, “Better Now”; The Weeknd, “Call Out My Name”)
Jessie Reyez (Sam Smith and Calvin Harris, “Promises”; Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris, “One Kiss”; Jessie Reyes, “Apple Juice”)
Shawn Mendes (Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes; “Lost In Japan,” “Youth,” “In My Blood”)

Country Album of the Year
Brett Kissel – We Were That Song
Jess Moskaluke – A Small Town Christmas
Meghan Patrick – Country Music Made Me Do It
The Reklaws – Feels Like That
Tim Hicks – New Tattoo

Adult Alternative Album of the Year
Bahamas – Earthtones
Dan Mangan – More or Less
Gabrielle Shonk – Gabrielle Shonk
Rhye – Blood
The Barr Brothers – Queens of the Breakers

Alternative Album of the Year
Destroyer – Ken
Dizzy – Baby Teeth
Fucked Up – Dose Your Dreams
Tokyo Police Club – TPC
U.S. Girls – In A Poem Unlimited

Pop Album of the Year
bülow – Damaged
Chromeo – Head Over Heels
Hubert Lenoir – Darlène
Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes
Tyler Shaw – Intuition

Rock Album of the Year
Arkells – Rally Cry
Monster Truck – True Rockers
The Sheepdogs – Changing Colours
The Trews – Civilianaires
Three Days Grace – Outsider

Electronic Album of the Year
Ekali – Crystal Eyes
Felix Cartal – Next Season
iamhill – Give It a Rest
Milk & Bone – Deception Bay
REZZ – Certain Kind of Magic

Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year
Beyond Creation – Algorythm
Cancer Bats – The Spark That Moves
KEN Mode – Loved
Kobra And The Lotus – Prevail II
Voivod – The Wake

Adult Contemporary Album of the Year
Jann Arden – These Are The Days
Michael Bublé – Love
Molly Johnson – Meaning to Tell Ya
Nuela Charles – Distant Danger
Whitehorse – A Whitehorse Winter Classic

Rap Recording of the Year
88GLAM – 88GLAM Reloaded
Belly – Immigrant
KILLY – Surrender Your Soul
NAV – Reckless
Tory Lanez – Love Me Now

Dance Recording of the Year
AZARI – “Gotasoul”
Dzeko & Tiësto – “Jackie Chan (ft. Preme & Post Malone) ”
Jacques Greene – “Avatar Beach”
Keys N Krates – “CURA”
Loud Luxury – “Body”

R&B/Soul Recording of the Year
Anders – Twos
Black Atlass -Pain & Pleasure
Charlotte Day Wilson – Stone Woman
Jessie Reyez – Being Human in Public
The Weeknd – My Dear Melancholy

Reggae Recording of the Year
Blessed – Money Don’t Grow Pon Trees
Chelsea Stewart – Genesis
Dubmatix – Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix – Overdubbed
Exco Levi – Narrative
Kafinal ft. Queen Ifrica – Talk Or No Talk

Indigenous Album of the Year
Elisapie – The Ballad of the Runaway Girl
Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa
Leonard Sumner – Standing in the Light
Brothers and Sister – Nitisanak
Snotty Nose Rez Kids – The Average Savage

Contemporary Roots Album of the Year
AHI – In Our Time
Donovan Woods – Both Ways
Kaia Kater – Grenades
Megan Nash – Seeker
The Deep Dark Woods – Yarrow

Blues Album of the Year
Colin James – Miles to Go
Jack de Keyzer – Checkmate
Myles Goodwyn – Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – Run to Me
Sue Foley – The Ice Queen

Vocal Jazz Album of the Year
Diana Krall & Tony Bennett – Love Is Here to Stay
Diana Panton – Solstice/Equinox
Holly Cole – Holly
Jodi Proznick ft. Laila Biali – Sun Songs
Laila Biali – Laila Biali

Jazz Album of the Year: Solo
Alexis Baro – Sandstorm
Alison Young – So Here We Are
Larnell Lewis – In the Moment
Renee Rosnes – Beloved of the Sky
Robi Botos – Old Soul

Jazz Album of the Year: Group
Allison Au Quartet – Wander Wonder
Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble – Atwood Suites
Andy Milne & Dapp Theory – The Seasons of Being
Liebman/Murley Quartet – Live at U of T
Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux – Path of Totality

Instrumental Album of the Year
Aerialists – Group Manoeuvre
Gordon Grdina – China Cloud
Kevin Breit – Johnny Goldtooth and The Chevy Casanovas
The Fretless – Live from the Art Farm
Toninato / Thiessen – The Space Between Us

Francophone Album of the Year
Cœur de pirate – En cas de tempête, ce jardin sera fermé
Hubert Lenoir – Darlène
Loud – Une année record
Philippe Brach – Le silence des troupeaux
Tire le coyote – Désherbage

Children’s Album of the Year
Beppie – Let’s Go Bananas
Ginalina – It Takes a Village
Raffi – Dog on the Floor
Sonshine and Broccoli – It’s Cool to Be Kind
Splash’N Boots – You, Me and the Sea

Comedy Album of the Year
Chanty Marostica – The Chanty Show
Dave Merheje – Good Friend Bad Grammar
Debra DiGiovanni – Lady Jazz
Mayce Galoni – Awkwarder
Pat Thornton – Chicken!

Classical Album of the Year: Solo of Chamber
Andrew Wan & Charles Richard-Hamelin – Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Nos. 6, 7 & 8
Angela Hewitt – Scarlatti: Sonatas Vol.2
Blake Pouliot with Hsin-I Huang – Ravel & Debussy: Sonates
Gryphon Trio – The End of Flowers: Works by Clarke & Ravel
Marc-André Hamelin – Schubert: Piano Sonata in B Flat Major D.960; Four Impromptus D.935

Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble
Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra/Orchestre du Centre National Des Arts du Canada conducted by Alexander Shelley – New Worlds/Nouveaux Mondes
James Ehnes with Seattle Symphony and Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Newton Howard & Kernis: Violin Concertos; Tovey: Stream of Limelight
Louis Lortie with BBC Philharmonic – Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2 and 4
Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra conducted by Arthur Post with Gryphon Trio – Into the Wonder
Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Oundjian featuring Louis Lortie, Sarah Jeffrey, & Teng Li – Vaughan Williams

Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral
Barbara Hannigan with Reinbert De Leeuw – Vienna: Fin de siècle
Choeur de l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Conducted by Kent Nagano with Guest Soloists – Bernstein: A Quiet Place
Elmer Iseler Singers featuring Patricia O’Callaghan – David Braid: Corona Divinae Misericordiae
Joyce El-Khoury – Écho
Miriam Khalil – Ayre: Live

Classical Composition of the Year
Ana Sokolović – Golden Slumbers Kiss your Eyes
Bekah Simms – Granitic
Cassandra Miller – About Bach
Nicole Lizée – Katana of Choice
Vincent Ho – Arctic Symphony

Contemporary Christian/gospel Album of the Year
Brian Doerksen – Grateful
LOVECOLLIDE – Tired Of Basic
Manic Drive – Into the Wild
Tim Neufeld & The Glory Boys – The Buffalo Roadshow
Dean Flandez – Speak Warren

World Music Album of the Year
Ayrad – Zoubida
Boogát – San Cristóbal Baile Inn
Emmanuel Jal and Nyaruach – Naath
Telmary y Habana Sana – Fuerza Arara
Wesli – Rapadou Kreyol

Jack Richardson Producer of the Year
Michael Bublé and David Foster
(“My Funny Valentine,” “Where or When” from Michael Bublé’s album “Love,” co-producer Jochem van der Saag)

Eric Ratz
(“People’s Champ”, “Relentless” from Arkells’ album “Rally Cry”)

Greg Wells
(“Waving Through a Window” from “Dear Evan Hansen” Original Broadway Recording; “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Mike Wise
(“Not A Love Song”, “Two Punks In Love” from bülow’s album “Damaged”)

Thomas D’Arcy
(“I’ve Got A Hole Where My Heart Should Be” from The Sheepdogs’ album “Changing Colours”; “Love The Way You Are” from Yukon Blonde’s album “Critical Hit,” co-producers James Younger, Jeffrey Innes)

Recording Engineer of the Year
Ben Kaplan
(“Get Up”, “It’s Alright” from Mother Mother’s album “Dance and Cry”)

Jason Dufour
(“Truck Full Of Money” from Donovan Woods’ album “Both Ways”; “When My Body Breaks” from Kandle’s album “Holy Smoke”)

Robbie Lackritz
(“No Wrong”, “Way With Words” from Bahamas’ album “Earthones” Bahamas)

Shawn Everett
(“Slow Burn,” “Space Cowboy” from the Kasey Musgraves’ album “Golden Hour”)

Steve Bays
(“Flashes” PHASES – Dear Rouge, “UnAmerican” from Said the Whales’ album “Unamerican”)

Album Artwork of the Year
Gareth Auden-Hole (Art Director), Emil Mateja (Illustrator) for Jack Pine and The Fire’s album “Left to Your Own Devices”
Geordan Moore (Art Director, Designer, & Illustrator) for Joshua Van Tassel’s album “Crossworlds”
Michael DeAngelis (Art Director & Designer), Matt Barnes & Jess Baumung (Photographers) for Akrells’ “Rally Cry”
Mike Milosh (Art Director, Designer, Illustrator, & Photographer) from Rhye’s album “Blood”
Simon Dupuis (Art Director, Designer, Illustrator, & Photographer) from Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire L-A be (Let artists)’ album “Viens Avec Moi”

Video of the Year
“No Depression – Ali Eisner (Bahamas)
“Places” – Andrew De Zen (Alaskan Tapes)
“Powerless” – Andrew Hines (Classified)
“Hang Ups” – Ben Knechtel (Scott Helman)
“Have A Nice Day” – Peter Huang (SonReal)

2019 American Rescue Dog Show: Hallmark Channel expands show to two nights; see photos and videos

January 28, 2019

American Rescue Dog Show
“American Rescue Dog Show” host Rebecca Romijn (Photo by Kim Nunneley/Alexx Henry Studios, LLC)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel’s second annual “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” presented by Pedigree premieres as an expanded, two-night event, Sunday, February 17 and Monday, February 18 (8 p.m. ET/PT) on Hallmark Channel. The special focuses the spotlight on various breeds adopted from shelters and rescue organizations across the country vying for top dog in the world’s most adorable categories. The “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” is hosted by Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell, who are joined by co-hosts Ross Mathews and Larissa Wohl as they cover all the action ringside and backstage. Guest judges are pet rescue advocates Bill Berloni, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, Mike Rowe and Lisa Vanderpump.

The “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” will once again highlight the heartfelt traits and benefits of mixed breeds and rescued purebreds, including Afghan Hounds, Corgis, Golden Retrievers, Huskies and many more. Categories include Best in Couch Potato, Best in Wiggle Butt, Best in Underbite, Best in Talking, Best in Snoring, Best in Senior, Best in Short ‘n Sweet, Best in Special Needs, Best in Smiling and Best in Belly Rubs. The top 10 dogs will face off in the finals where one proud pooch will be crowned Best in Rescue. In addition to the competition ring, the show will highlight the importance of fostering homeless dogs and adopting from local animal organizations.

The mission of the “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” is to celebrate rescue dogs in a personality-driven competition. The goal of the show is to shine a light on these incredible pets and inspire viewers to adopt their next dog from their local shelter or rescue organization. Whether already in homes or waiting to be adopted, these dogs are all heart and full of personality.

As the presenting sponsor, Pedigree is closely aligned to the show’s mission. The Pedigree  brand has worked tirelessly to help support the transformation of shelter dogs into pets with loving, forever homes by donating good food for the cause, and millions of dollars through the Pedigree Foundation to shelters and rescues across the country. To that end, Pedigree Foundation will provide a total of $100,000 in grants to the winners’ shelters or rescues.

Serving as the show’s official mascot is the network’s own rescued and adopted pet, Happy the Dog. In addition to starring in movies and specials, Happy the Dog is a certified therapy dog and emotional support animal.

“2019 American Rescue Dog Show” is produced by Michael Levitt Productions. Executive Producers Michael Levitt and Jennifer Schulz are both animal advocates and rescuers whose lives are dedicated to increasing awareness of pet adoption. Levitt, an accomplished TV producer, and Schulz, a communications professional for pet brands and organizations, joined forces to create a show that is both entertaining and heart-warming. Their goal is to celebrate rescue dogs with the hope of inspiring Hallmark Channel viewers to adopt their next pet. Throughout the show, Adopt-a-Pet.com will be showcased as a great resource for viewers to find their next pet.

About the Pedigree Brand

The Pedigree Brand is the number one brand of dog food and treats in the world, feeding more dogs than any other brand. The Pedigree Brand offers a wide variety of products and formats for dogs at every life stage. The Pedigree brand is built on an unwavering glove for all dogs and a commitment to dog adoption. For more information, please visit www.Pedigree.com.

About Pedigree Foundation

Formed in 2008 by Mars Petcare, the makers of Pedigree food for dogs, Pedigree Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to help end pet homelessness. Through no fault of their own, nearly 3.5 million dogs end up in shelters and rescue organizations every year, and nearly half of them never find a home. Pedigree Foundation helps increase dog adoption rates with grants and best practices that support the good work of shelters and dog rescue organizations throughout the United States. Its vision is a day when all dogs are safe, secure, cared for, fed well and loved. For more information on how you can support the foundation, visit www.PEDIGREEFoundation.org

About Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After

Working in collaboration with the country’s leading animal rescue and welfare organizations, activists, distribution and advertising partners, and celebrity influencers, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After aims to dismantle common misconceptions about shelter animals, provide resources, inspire the public to adopt, and ultimately create a future where every pet has a loving home. The initiative shines a spotlight on the countless lovable pets in our nations shelters through annual on-air programming specials like Kitten Bowl, Hero Dog Awards, and The American Rescue Dog Show, as well as strategic partnerships, consumer marketing campaigns, public service announcements, and grassroots efforts.

2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards: ‘Black Panther,’ ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ win top prizes

January 27, 2019

by Carla Hay

Scree Actors Guild Awards

 

With three prizes, the comedy series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was the top winner at the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which were presented at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 27, 2019. TNT and TBS had the U.S. telecast of the show, which was hosted by Megan Mullally. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” received the SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, while Rachel Brosnahan was award the prize for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, and Tony Shalhoub won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.

Meanwhile, the superhero movie “Black Panther” won two SAG Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture.

Rami Malek of “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, while Glenn Close of “The Wife” received the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. Malek and Close also won Golden Globes for their leading performances in these dramatic films.

Several of the other actors who won prizes at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards repeated their wins at the 2019 SAG Awards. They included Mahershala Ali of “Green Book” (Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role); Sandra Oh of “Killing Eve” (Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series); Darren Criss of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries); and Patricia Arquette of “Escape at Dannemora” (Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries).

For the second year in a row, “This Is Us” won the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Drama Series. Emily Blunt of the horror movie “A Quiet Place” received the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.

“A Star Is Born,” which went into the ceremony with the most nominations (four) out of all the nominated movies, was ultimately shut out and didn’t win any SAG Awards. Also passed over in the movie categories, despite having multiple nominations, were “BlacKkKlansman,” “The Favourite” and “Vice.” Shutouts in the TV category were “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Kominsky Method,” “Barry,””Grace and Frankie” and “Sharp Objects,” which each had multiple nominations at the 2019 SAG Awards.

Eligible movies were those that were newly released in U.S. theaters in 2018, while eligible TV shows were those which had new episodes that were televised in prime-time on U.S. networks in 2018. The Screen Actors Guild votes for the awards. Emmy-winning actor Alan Alda received the SAG Life Achievement Award at the 2019 ceremony.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominees for the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards:

*=winner

MOVIES

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
“A Star Is Born”
“Black Panther”*
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“Crazy Rich Asians”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”*
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
John David Washington, “BlacKkKlansman”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Emily Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”*
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”*
Timothée Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Emily Blunt, “A Quiet Place”*
Margot Robbie, “Mary Queen of Scots”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“Ant-Man and the Wasp”
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
“Black Panther”*
“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”

TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“The Americans”
“Better Call Saul”
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
“Ozark”
“This Is Us”*

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”*
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Joseph Fiennes, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
John Krasinski, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Julia Garner, “Ozark”
Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”*
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Atlanta”
“Barry”
“GLOW”
“The Kominsky Method”
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”*

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”
Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
Bill Hader, “Barry”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”*
Henry Winkler, “Barry”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Alison Brie, “GLOW”
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”*
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”
Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”*
Hugh Grant, “A Very English Scandal”
Anthony Hopkins, “King Lear”
Bill Pullman, “The Sinner” 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Amy Adams, “Sharp Objects”
Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”*
Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
Penélope Cruz, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Emma Stone, “Maniac”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“GLOW”*

“Marvel’s Daredevil”
“Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”
“The Walking Dead”
“Westworld”

Food Network debuts ‘Family Food Showdown’ with host Valerie Bertinelli

January 24, 2019

Valerie Bertinelli
Valerie Bertinelli (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a pres release from Food Network:

Families that cook together stay together, and those that do it well have the chance to win $10,000 on new Food Network series Family Food Showdown. Valerie Bertinelli hosts as families face off in a fast-paced, action-packed culinary competition beginning on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 8pm ET/PT. In each episode, two families are pitted against each other in three rounds of challenges designed to test their cooking skills, recipes and family dynamics. The teams must blow away a rotating panel of culinary experts including Kardea Brown, Clinton Kelly, Antonia Lofaso, Daphne Oz, Jamika Pessoa, Christian Petroni, Courtney Rada, Jake and Jazz Smollet, Tori Spelling, Jet Tila, Isaac Toups, Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, Molly Yeh and more, to keep their family pride and take home the grand prize!

“Family Food Showdown has all the ingredients to captivate audiences with tension and unpredictable twists, mixed with family heritage and tradition, and even some comedic relief, as the families cook together on the clock in a high-stakes showdown,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network. “Host Valerie Bertinelli adds in her signature charisma and charm to this relatable family-centric culinary competition.”

The action unfolds as two families, comprised of three family members, endure three rounds of cooking challenges with surprising curveballs as they vie for advantages along the way. Throughout 13 hourlong episodes, the competing teams tackle challenges from Sunday suppers and delicious leftover dinners, to taco fiestas, and over-the-top breakfasts in their bid for the grand prize.

During the first round, the families must work together to create a dish that represents who they are as a family. As the competition progresses to round two, family recipes and dynamics are put to the test when Valerie announces that each family must eliminate one member of their own team. Strategy ups the ante in the last round of the contest, as each team must eliminate someone from the other team, putting the weight of the competition on the shoulders of one final family member for each. Only one family in each episode will earn $10,000 grand prize and keep their family pride.

Fans can get to know the families before every episode on Food Network’s app as they take on a series of digital-only challenges and can catch Valerie and the judges play a series of Beat the Heat games on Food Network’s Instagram Stories. Also viewers can go behind the scenes of the competition with insider photos and top video moments at FoodNetwork.com/FamilyFoodShowdown, and join the conversation anytime by using #FamilyFoodShowdown.

# # #
FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Discovery, Inc., a global leader in real life entertainment spanning 220 countries and territories; the portfolio also includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, Investigation Discovery, and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Stan Lee ‘Excelsior’ tribute in Los Angeles will feature Kevin Smith, Mark Hamill, RZA and other celebrities

January 24, 2019

Stan Lee
Stan Lee (Photo courtesy of Tinseltown Shutterstock)

The following is a press release from Legion M:

Excelsior! A Celebration of the Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible & Uncanny Life of Stan Lee,” will be attended by Mark Hamill, RZA, Clark Gregg, Felicia Day, Bill Duke, cast members from Marvel’s “The Runaways,” cast members from FX’s “Legion,” and Fox’s “The Gifted,” among many other luminaries from the entertainment world.

Fans wishing to attend “Excelsior! A Stan Lee Celebration” can get a limited number of tickets at legionm.com/stantribute. All net proceeds from the event’s ticket sales will go to the non-profit organization The Hero Initiative, a charity supporting comic book creators, artists and writers in need.

The tribute event on Wednesday, January 30, will begin at 4 p.m. PT with a section of the TCL Chinese Theatre forecourt transformed into a fan experience of Stan Lee’s life and career. There will be a memorial centered around his cement imprint which will be displayed next to the speaker’s podium. Ticketed fans will be allowed to leave flowers, candles and sign a book of condolences.

Photos, artwork, Stan’s classic comic books and memorabilia will be on exhibit in the forecourt along with a special preview of pop-culture artist Rob Prior’s upcoming gallery show “The Legacy Collection of Stan Lee.” Prior will do a live painting in the forecourt during the opening portion of the tribute. Artist Jennifer Contini will also have her series “This Love Lives On” featuring images of Stan Lee on display. The White Castle Crave Mobile will be serving sliders, one of Stan’s favorite snacks, for all the fans.

Producers of the event, Legion M’s David Baxter and Terri Lubaroff, Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment’s Bob Sabouni and Agents of Mayhem Darren Passarello will greet fans and introduce several public speakers before Kevin Smith arrives and assembles an honor guard of world class cosplayers representing many of Stan’s co-creations, including Avengers, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and more to pay their respects and lead the crowd in a final salute to this legendary pop culture icon accompanied by a police band of pipes and drums.

On the red carpet, a group of veterans from Veterans in Media & Entertainment and The American Legion of Hollywood Post 43 will honor Stan for his service during World War II, and Chief Paul Cell, President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, will recognize Stan’s contributions for his work supporting law enforcement and creating safer communities.

Family from the other co-creators of the Marvel Universe will attend to pay their respects and join in the celebration, including Tracy and Jeremy Kirby, grandchildren of Jack Kirby, Mark and Stephen Ditko, nephews of Steve Ditko, and Jenna Parker, daughter of Sol Brodsky, all of whom were part of the original Marvel Bullpen.

After red-carpet arrivals, the tribute will commence in the TCL Chinese IMAX Theatre where Kevin Smith will moderate conversations with celebrity speakers from the entertainment industry including Mark Hamill, Rob Liefeld (Co-Creator of Deadpool), Michael Uslan (Executive Producer, “The Dark Knight”), RZA, and Tom DeSanto (Executive Producer, “X-Men”).

The evening will also include discussions with stars from the comics world and Stan’s personal friends, including Marv Wolfman (Blade creator), Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and Executive VP, Head of Television Jeph Loeb, artist Bill Sienkiewicz (Elektra: Assassin), and Stan’s business partner at Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, Gill Champion.

Members of the creative team behind the Academy Award®-nominated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” including writer/producer Phil Lord and producers Chris Miller, Avi Arad and Amy Pascal will also be on stage to honor Stan. Producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Derek Hoffman round off the evening’s panels as they speak to and celebrate the modern impact of Stan’s characters through two decades of X-Men in film and television.

The evening will be complete with video tributes from stars who are unable to attend as well as live celebrity performances of Stan’s favorite music and poetry.

The tribute event is being produced by fan-owned entertainment company Legion M, which is revolutionizing the way entertainment is made in Hollywood by uniting a growing fan community of 50,000+ members, including more than 10,000 fan-owners. In addition to producing film and television projects, Legion M organized Stan Lee’s hand and foot imprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in 2017. Legion M is producing the tribute with the production and consulting company Agents of Mayhem whose founder Darren Passarello worked for Stan for several years.

Both companies are working with Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, the multimedia company founded in 2001 by Stan with his friend and business partner Gill Champion, its president. Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment is the sole owner of the Stan Lee name and all new original content he created since 2001.

Under the leadership of CEO Scott D. Williams and Gill Champion, the company has been and will continue to be the guardian of Stan Lee’s legacy and is excited to roll out new projects and new adventures Stan had been working on. On behalf of Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, Chief Marketing Officer Bob Sabouni will be overseeing and guiding the tribute day alongside the other event partners.Producers of the tribute event will continue to announce additional details for the event via social media feeds. Details of specific speakers, performers and other activities will be shared on the social channels for Kevin Smith, Legion M, Agents of Mayhem, and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment. (@TheRealStanLee, @ThatKevinSmith, @LegionMOfficial, @AgentsofMayhem).

___________________

About Kevin Smith

Starting with CLERKS, Kevin Smith has been making movies, TV, live shows and podcasts for 25 years now. He almost died recently but it was only a passing thing.

About Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment

POW! Entertainment Inc. is a multimedia company founded in 2001 by the iconic comic book creator Stan Lee  with his friend and business partner Gill Champion, who is the President today, to create and license intellectual properties for entertainment media, including: feature length films, television, merchandising, branded content and other related ancillary markets as well as exclusively maintain and protect the ownership of his name, likeness, voice, trademarks and publicity rights throughout the world. POW! Entertainment was acquired by Hong Kong-based Camsing International Holding Limited, one of China’s leading brand licensing, entertainment, marketing and promotion companies, in 2017. Under new leadership, another original founder and industry veterans from Marvel and MGM, POW! is working with top writers, artists, animators, filmmakers and actors to extend the legacy of the greatest storyteller of our time.

About Legion M

Legion M is the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company that is revolutionizing the way entertainment is made in Hollywood by uniting a growing fan community of 50,000+ members, including more than 10,000 fan-owners.  Through its Fan-Owned business model, Legion M invests in a diverse slate of original projects in various stages of development, including the feature film and comic book “Girl With No Name”; multiple original television series including “Evermor,” “Airship Cowboys,” and “Malice;” as well as interactive and VR-based projects, including “ICONS: Face to Face” starring Stan Lee and Kevin Smith.  Legion M also invests in partner productions, including the critically acclaimed Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, the cult hit “Mandy” starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Panos Cosmatos, and “Bad Samaritan” starring David Tennant and directed and produced by Dean Devlin.  Legion M and its fan community has produced high-profile events honoring some of the industry’s biggest names, including the Stan Lee hand and footprint ceremony at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre in 2017.  To learn more about Legion M and become a member of the Legion for free, visit www.legionm.com.

About Agents of Mayhem™

A production and consulting company founded by a dynamic force within the entertainment industry with over 16+ years’ experience working with the world’s biggest brands. A.O.M’s mission is to create exceptional and original content, through its creative studio arm New Yorkie Studios™ which serves as an incubator for content, by showcasing talent, skills, and passion of celebrity and non-celebrity creators. A.O.M focuses on development, content strategy, creative consulting, and distribution. (www.AgentsofMayhem.com)

About The Hero Initiative

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterday’s creators who may

emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.

Since its inception, The Hero Initiative has had the good fortune to grant over $1 million to the comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today. For more information, visit www.heroinitiative.org or call 626-676-6354.

2019 Academy Awards: Where to watch the Oscar-nominated movies in theaters and on video

January 23, 2019

by Carla Hay

Oscars

Now that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced the nominees for the 91st annual Academy Awards, people might be wondering where to see the nominated films before the winners are announced. The Oscar ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 24, 2019. ABC will have the live telecast of the show in the United States. Here is where the nominated films can be seen in theaters and on video before the Oscar ceremony. (This information applies to U.S. theaters only, and remains current until February 24, 2019.)

NOTE: “Home video” means available for rent or purchase in various formats on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, etc.

BEST PICTURE

“BlacKkKlansman”

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Director (Spike Lee)
Best Supporting Actor (Adam Driver)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Original Score

Where to watch:
Home video
Limited re-release in select theaters on January 25, 2019
Regal Best Picture Film Festival (February 15-24, 2019)
AMC Best Picture Marathon (February 23, 2019)

 

“Black Panther”

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Costume Design
Best Production Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Original Score
Best Original Song (“All the Stars”)

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Streaming on Netflix.
Free screenings at select AMC Theaters (February 1-7, 2019)
Regal Best Picture Film Festival (February 15-24, 2019)
AMC Best Picture Marathon (February 16 and February 23, 2019)

 

“Bohemian Rhapsody” 

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Actor (Rami Malek)
Best Film Editing
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing

Where to watch:
Playing in theaters nationwide.
Available on digital video. Home video release in all other formats: February 12, 2019.
Regal Best Picture Film Festival (February 15-24, 2019)
AMC Best Picture Marathon (February 23, 2019)

“The Favourite”

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Director (Yorgos Lanthimos)
Best Actress (Olivia Colman)
Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone)
Best Supporting Actress (Rachel Weisz)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Production Design
Best Costume Design

Where to watch:
Playing in theaters nationwide.
Regal Best Picture Film Festival (February 15-24, 2019)
AMC Best Picture Marathon (February 23, 2019)

“Green Book” 

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Actor (Viggo Mortensen)
Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Film Editing

Where to watch:
Playing in theaters nationwide.
Regal Best Picture Film Festival (February 15-24, 2019)
AMC Best Picture Marathon (February 23, 2019)

 

“Roma” 

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón)
Best Actress (Yalitza Aparicio)
Best Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Cinematography
Best Production Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing

Where to watch:
Playing in select independent theaters.
Streaming on Netflix.

“A Star Is Born”

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Actor (Bradley Cooper)
Best Actress (Lady Gaga)
Best Supporting Actor (Sam Elliott)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Sound Mixing
Best Original Song (“Shallow”)

Where to watch:
Playing in theaters nationwide.
Available on digital video. Home video release in all other formats: February 19, 2019.
Regal Best Picture Film Festival (February 15-24, 2019)
AMC Best Picture Marathon (February 23, 2019)

“Vice”

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Director (Adam McKay)
Best Actor (Christian Bale)
Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell)
Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Where to watch:
Playing in theaters nationwide.
Regal Best Picture Film Festival (February 15-24, 2019)
AMC Best Picture Marathon (February 23, 2019)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“Free Solo”

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters.
Digital video release: February 5, 2019. Home video release in all other formats: February 19, 2019.

“Hale County This Morning, This Evening” 

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters.
PBS’s “Independent Lens” will have the TV premiere on February 11, 2019 — check local listings.

“Minding the Gap” 

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters.
Streaming on Hulu.
PBS’s “POV” will have the TV premiere on February 18, 2019 — check local listings.
Streaming on POV.org on February 18, 2019.

“Of Fathers and Sons” 

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters for limited engagements.
Streaming on Kanopy. (Free with a valid library card from participating libraries.)

“RBG” 

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Streaming on Hulu.
CNN will re-air “RBG” on February 16, 2019, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

 

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM

“Capernaum” (Lebanon) 

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters.

“Cold War” (Poland)

Nominated for:
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Director (Paweł Pawlikowski)
Best Cinematography

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters.

“Never Look Away” (Germany)

Nominated for:
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Cinematography

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters.

“Roma” (Mexico)

Nominated for:
Best Picture
Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón)
Best Actress (Yalitza Aparicio)
Best Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Cinematography
Best Production Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing

Where to watch:
Playing in select independent theaters.
Streaming on Netflix.

“Shoplifters” (Japan)

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters.

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

“Incredibles 2”

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Streaming on Netflix begins on January 30, 2019.

“Isle of Dogs”

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Available on HBO.

“Mirai” 

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters for limited engagements.

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” 

Where to watch:
Playing in theaters nationwide.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” 

Where to watch:
Playing in theaters nationwide.

BEST SHORT FILMS (ANIMATED, LIVE-ACTION & DOCUMENTARY)

Every year, select AMC Theaters have special screenings of the Oscar-nominated short films. The screenings of the Oscar-nominated short films begin on February 8, 2019. More information can be found here.

Select independent theaters will also have special screenings of the Oscar-nominated short films. Check local listings. In addition, most cable and satellite TV companies will have the Oscar-nominated short films available as a VOD package for subscribers.

Some of the short films are currently available for viewing on the Internet:

“Bao” 
Nominated for:
Best Animated Short

Where to watch:
Available in digital format on iTunes and Amazon.

“Late Afternoon”
Nominated for:
Best Animated Short

Where to watch:
Streaming on Vimeo (free).

“One Small Step”
Nominated for:
Best Animated Short

Where to watch:
Streaming on Vimeo (free).

“Fauve”
Nominated for:
Best Live-Action Short

Where to watch:
Streaming on Vimeo (free).

“Black Sheep” 
Nominated for:
Best Documentary Short

Where to watch:
Streaming on Vimeo or YouTube (free).

“End Game” 
Nominated for:
Best Documentary  Short

Where to watch:
Streaming on Netflix.

“Lifeboat” 
Nominated for:
Best Documentary Short

Where to watch:
Streaming on YouTube (free).

“A Night at the Garden
Nominated for:
Best Documentary Short

Where to watch:
Streaming on the movie’s websiteYouTube and Vimeo (free).

“Period. End of Sentence.” 
Nominated for:
Best Documentary Short

Where to watch:
Streaming on Netflix as of Feb. 12, 2019.

 

OTHER OSCAR-NOMINATED FEATURE FILMS

“At Eternity’s Gate” 

Nominated for:
Best Actor (Willem Dafoe)

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters.
Home video release: February 12, 2019.

“Avengers: Infinity War” 

Nominated for:
Best Visual Effects

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Streaming on Netflix.

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

Nominated for:
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Costume Design
Best Original Song (“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings”)

Where to watch:
Streaming on Netflix.

“Border” 

Nominated for:
Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters.

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Nominated for:
Best Actress (Melissa McCarthy)
Best Supporting Actor (Richard E. Grant)
Best Adapted Screenplay

Where to watch:
Playing in select theaters. Home video release: February 19, 2019.

“Christopher Robin” 

Nominated for:
Best Visual Effects

Where to watch:
Available on home video.

“First Man” 

Nominated for:
Best Production Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Visual Effects

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Playing in select theaters for a limited re-release on January 25, 2019.

“First Reformed” 

Nominated for:
Best Original Screenplay

Where to watch:
Available on home video
Streaming on Amazon.
Streaming on Kanopy. (Free with a valid library card from participating libraries.)

“If Beale Street Could Talk” 

Nominated for:
Best Supporting Actress (Regina King)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Original Score

Where to watch:
Playing in theaters nationwide.

“Mary Poppins Returns”

Nominated for:
Best Production Design
Best Costume Design
Best Original Score
Best Original Song (“The Place Where Lost Things Go”)

Where to watch:
Playing in theaters nationwide.

“Mary Queen of Scots” 

Nominated for:
Best Costume Design
Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Where to watch:
Playing theaters nationwide.

“A Quiet Place” 

Nominated for:
Best Sound Editing

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Available on Epix.

“Ready Player One” 

Nominated for:
Best Visual Effects

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Available on HBO.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” 

Nominated for:
Best Visual Effects

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Streaming on Netflix.

“The Wife” 

Nominated for:
Best Actress (Glenn Close)

Where to watch:
Available on home video.
Playing in select theaters.

2019 Academy Awards: ‘Roma’ and ‘The Favourite’ are the top nominees

January 22, 2019

by Carla Hay

Yalitza Aparicio in "Roma"
Yalitza Aparicio in “Roma” (Photo by Alfonso Cuarón)
Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in “The Favourite” (Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos)

With 10 nominations each, including Best Picture, the Spanish-language drama “Roma” and the British dark comedy “The Favourite” are the leading nominees for the 91st Academy Awards, which will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 24, 2019. There is no host for the show, following the controversy over Kevin Hart quitting the job over his past homophobic remarks, as well as disagreements over his public apologies for those remarks. ABC will have the U.S. telecast of the Academy Awards ceremony, which is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Actor/screenwriter Kumail Nanjiani and actress Tracee Ellis Ross announced the nominations on January 22 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California. Netflix’s “Roma” is inspired by filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón’s childhood in early 1970s Mexico, as seen through the perspective of his family’s nanny/housekeeper. Fox Searchlight’s “The Favourite,” set in the early 1700s, tells the story of Great Britain’s Queen Anne and two women who compete for her affections.

As of 2010, the Academy can nominate up to 10 movies for Best Picture. This year, there are only eight movies that made the list: In addition to “Roma” and “The Favourite,” the other Best Picture contenders are “BlacKkKlansman,” “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Green Book,” “A Star Is Born” and “Vice.” Of those contenders, “A Star is Born” and “Vice” have eight nominations each; “Black Panther” scored seven nods; “BlacKkKlansman” has six nominations; and “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” received five nods each.

In the categories for actors, actresses and directors, most of the contenders are those who have been the same nominees or winners at other award shows leading up to the Oscars. However, there were some nominations that were not widely predicted.

Snubs and Surprises

Bradley Cooper (pictured at left) on the set of “A Star Is Born” (Photo by Clay Enos)

The Oscars can always be counted on to have some nominations that are very different from the other major movie awards. The biggest snub was Bradley Cooper of “A Star Is Born” being shut out of the Best Director category, even though he was nominated for that prize at just about every other award show where movies from major studios are eligible. (Cooper’s 2018 remake of “A Star Is Born” was released by Warner Bros. Pictures.) Cooper, who made his directorial debut with “A Star Is Born,” still received three Oscar nominations for the movie: Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. (He’s also one of the movie’s producers and screenwriters.)

The biggest surprises were the nominations for the two main actresses from “Roma”: Yalitza Aparicio (for Best Actress) and Marina de Tavira (for Best Supporting Actress). Aparicio, who made her film debut in “Roma,” got very little recognition on the awards circuit leading up to the Oscars: She picked up a Critics’ Choice nomination and won a Hollywood Film Award for her role in the movie, but she was passed over for nominations at just about all the other movie award shows. Meanwhile, de Tavira was completely shut out of being nominated at all other major U.S.-based movie award shows until the Oscars.

Another big surprise was Paweł Pawlikowski getting a Best Director nomination for his Polish-language “Cold War,” which is, just like “Roma,” a period movie filmed in black-and-white in a non-English language and distributed by a streaming service. (Amazon is distributing “Cold War.”) Pawlikowski’s nomination for Best Director was also unusual because it’s rare for someone to get an Oscar nomination for Best Director for a movie that is not nominated for Best Picture. In addition to Pawlikowski, the other Best Director nominees are Spike Lee for “BlacKkKlansman”; Yorgos Lanthimos for “The Favourite”; Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma”; and Adam McKay for “Vice.” “Cold War” had been widely predicted to get Oscar nominations for Best Foreign-Language Film and Best Cinematography, and the movie did get those nods, but it’s got stiff competition from “Roma” in all of those categories.

Amazon Studios’ robust awards campaign for Timothée Chalamet and his supporting role in the drug-addiction drama “Beautiful Boy” seemed to be paying off, since he was getting nominated at several award shows, but Chalamet and “Beautiful Boy” were ultimately shut out of the Oscar race. And so was another buzzworthy “based on a true story” drama about a troubled teenage son: Focus Features’ “Boy Erased,” starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe as a family affected by the controversial practices of gay-conversion therapy.

Ethan Hawke in “First Reformed” (Photo courtesy of A24)

Ethan Hawke won the majority of critics’ awards for Best Actor for his role in A24’s “First Reformed,” but he was shut out of the Oscar race for the movie. Although he was a critics’ darling, Hawke did very little awards campaigning for the movie, which probably hurt his chances of being nominated for an Oscar. (He was also snubbed this year by the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globe Awards.) Instead, the only Oscar nomination for writer/director Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” was Best Original Screenplay.

Horror movies are typically overlooked by the Academy Awards (2017’s “Get Out” was one of the few exceptions), and this year continued that snubbing pattern, with critically acclaimed “A Quiet Place”from Paramount Pictures getting just one nomination (Best Sound Editing) and A24’s “Hereditary” (which had its share of passionate fans and detractors) getting completely shut out of the race.

It hasn’t been a good Oscar year for independent film distributor A24, which previously scored Oscar gold for 2016’s “Moonlight,” winner of the prizes for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. A24 lost some of its Oscar momentum for its movies released in 2017: “Lady Bird” received five Oscar nominations but no Oscar wins, while the Oscar campaign for “The Disaster Artist” imploded when the movie’s star/director James Franco was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women during the final week of Oscar nomination voting. Franco was snubbed by the Academy for “The Disaster Artist,” and the movie ended up with only one Oscar nomination:  Best Adapted Screenplay, for writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. This year, A24’s “Hereditary” and the critically acclaimed teen comedy “Eighth Grade” were completely shut out for Oscar nominations, while A24’s only Oscar nod for a 2018 movie was for the previously mentioned Best Original Screenplay nomination for “First Reformed.”

As streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu continue to increase their clout in the movie industry, traditional independent studios are struggling to keep up with getting hit movies and major awards. A24 isn’t the only independent studio whose awards influence has faded for movies released in 2018. Neon hit a home run in its first year in business with 2017’s “I, Tonya,” which scooped up several major awards (including an Oscar) for Allison Janney’s supporting performance. However, Neon’s 2018 movies have mostly been passed over for winning awards: The Natalie Portman music-oriented drama “Vox Lux” and the documentary “Three Identical Strangers” were Neon’s biggest awards hopefuls of the year, but those two films have been completely shut out of Oscar nominations. Neon’s only Oscar nod for a 2018 film is Best Makeup and Hairstyling for the troll movie “Border,” which has tough competition with category frontrunner “Vice.”

Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns” (Photo by Jay Maidment/Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

Disney’s musical sequel “Mary Poppins Returns” didn’t get Oscar nominations for Best Picture, lead actress Emily Blunt and supporting actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, but the movie got expected nominations for Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score and Best Original Song.

Universal Pictures’ “First Man,” which depicts astronaut Neil Armstrong’s journey to being the first man on the moon, started out strong after getting rave reviews at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, but Oscar buzz for “First Man” (starring Ryan Gosling as Armstrong) considerably faded after the movie fizzled at the box office and got snubbed in most of the major categories at several award shows. Best Original Score was the only category for which “First Man” was winning the most awards leading up to the Oscars. The prizes for “First Man” composer Justin Hurwitz included a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award. Therefore, it was surprising that he didn’t get an Oscar nomination in this category. “First Man” did receive four Oscar nods, but only in technical categories: Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects. “First Man” was director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to his award-winning hit “La La Land” (which won six Oscars, including Best Director), so “First Man” getting snubbed in the biggest Oscar categories is a big step down for Chazelle.

Focus Features’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” the Fred Rogers biography directed by Morgan Neville, was widely predicted as the frontrunner for Best Documentary Feature because the movie had been winning most of the documentary awards up until this point, but the movie failed to get an Oscar nomination. Instead, “Of Fathers and Sons,” a movie about a radical Islamist family, received a surprise Oscar nomination, after being passed over for nominations at every other major award show that gives prizes to documentary feature films. So why the Oscar snub for “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” The Academy tends to reward documentaries that have a great deal of original footage (in other words, not relying too heavily on archived footage), and the Academy voters prefer investigative documentaries that uncover a lot of information that was not widely known to the general public. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” was undoubtedly a feel-good popular movie, but perhaps Academy voters considered it to be too much of a safe and conventional documentary where the filmmakers didn’t challenge themselves enough, beyond collecting archived footage and getting authorized interviews with Rogers’ family and colleagues.

Despite all the hoopla over the romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” the movie was completely shut out of the Oscar race. Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Crazy Rich Asians,” which was a big international hit, was the first major Hollywood studio movie to have an all-Asian cast since 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club.” “Crazy Rich Asians” got mostly positive reviews from critics, but the movie’s formulaic plot with over-used clichés seem to have severely hurt its chances of being taken seriously by Oscar voters.

In other categories, surprises included the German film “Never Look Away” (distributed in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics) getting nominations for Best Foreign-Language Film and Best Cinematography after being passed over for those nominations at almost all of the other movie award shows. The Academy rewarded “Never Look Away” with Oscar nominations, but snubbed South Korea’s “Burning” for Best Foreign-Language Film and “Black Panther” for Best Cinematography, even though “Burning” and “Black Panther” scored those nominations at several other award shows.

Diversity Issues

Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman and Danai Gurira in “Black Panther” (Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios)

Ever since the #OscarsSoWhite backlash of 2015 and 2016, the Academy has been under intense scrutiny over diversity issues when it comes to race and gender. (Most of the Academy members and Oscar nominees are white males.) The Academy has made public efforts to invite more women and people of color into its membership in recent years. There has been a little more diversity, in terms of who gets nominated for Oscars, but there is still a long way to go for most of the behind-the-scenes technical categories, such as editing, visual effects, original score and cinematography. The good news for Oscar diversity in 2019 is that there is at least one person of color nominated in each of the four acting categories. In addition, several women and people of color are nominated in the category of Best Picture, an award that goes to a film’s producer(s). They are Jordan Peele and Spike Lee (African-American males) for “BlacKkKlansman”; and Ceci Dempsey and Lee Magiday (white females) for “The Favourite”; Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón (Latinos) for “Roma”; Lynette Howell Taylor (white female) for “A Star Is Born”; and Dede Gardner (white female) for “Vice.”

In other gender-neutral Oscar categories, women did not make much progress, compared to the 2018 Academy Awards. In 2019, there were no women nominated in the Oscar categories of Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score. (In 2018, the categories of Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing each had one female nominee, while Best Original Score continued to have only male nominees.) And in the categories of Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay, only one woman was nominated in each category in 2019, and they share the nomination with a man.

The categories for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling have traditionally been dominated by women. All of this year’s nominees for Best Costume Design are female, while women are 62.5 percent of this year’s Best Makeup and Hairstyling nominees. The gender-neutral categories that have the most gender parity this year are Best Production Design, Best Original Song and Best Documentary Feature, where women are almost half of the nominees in each category.

Hannah Beachler of “Black Panther” became the first African-American to get an Oscar nomination for Best Production Design. African-Americans earned other rare nominations in categories that are typically dominated by white/Caucasian filmmakers: “BlacKkKlansman” had the most nominations this year for black filmmakers: Spike Lee earned three nods as a director, producer and screenwriter, while producer Jordan Peele, screenwriter Kevin Willmott and composer Terence Blanchard were also nominated for the movie. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” co-director Peter Ramsey is among the nominees for Best Animated Feature; costume designer Ruth E. Carter is a contender for “Black Panther”; and Barry Jenkins of “If Beale Street Could Talk” is up for Best Adapted Screenplay, an Oscar that he won for 2016’s “Moonlight,” making him only the third black person to win an Oscar in that category. Other black Oscar nominees this year are Kendrick Lamar, Solana Rowe (also known as SZA), Mark Spears and Anthony Tiffith, who all co-wrote Best Original Song nominee “All the Stars” from “Black Panther.”

“Roma” was the movie that gave Latinos the most representation at this year’s Academy Awards, and “Roma” is expected to win multiple Oscars. In addition to Cuarón and actresses Aparicio and de Tavira, other “Roma” Oscar nominees are producer Gabriela Rodríguez (Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film); Sergio Diaz (Best Sound Editing); José Antonio García (Best Sound Mixing);and Eugenio Caballero and Bárbara Enríquez (Best Production Design), It’s also worth noting that three Mexican directors (Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro) have won several of the Best Director awards in the 2010s decade. Cuarón, who is the frontrunner to win for “Roma,” previously won the Best Director prize for 2013’s “Gravity”; Iñárritu won for 2014’s “Birdman” and 2015’s “The Revenant”‘; and del Toro won for 2017’s “The Shape of Water.”

Even though “Crazy Rich Asians” didn’t get any Oscar nominations, that doesn’t mean that Asians were completely snubbed by the Academy this year. Asians who received Oscar nominations include cinematographer Matthew Libatique for “A Star Is Born”; director Mamoru Hosoda and producer Yuichiro Saito for the animated film “Mirai”; director Hirokazu Kore-eda, who scored a Best Foreign-Language Film nod for Japan’s “Shoplifters”; and director Bobby Pontillas, who earned a Best Animated Short nomination for  co-directing “One Small Step.” The category of Best Documentary Feature had the highest Asian representation, with directors/producers Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi for “Free Solo”; director/producer Bing Liu and producer Diane Quon for “Minding the Gap”; director Talal Derki (who is of Syrian/Middle Eastern descent) for “Of Fathers and Sons”; and producer Su Kim for “Hale County This Morning, This Evening.”

Notable Milestones

Alfonso Cuarón and Yalitza Aparicio on the set of “Roma” (Photo by Carlos Somonte/Netflix)

The 2019 Oscar race has several milestones. “Roma” is the first Netflix movie to get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, although it’s not the first streaming service to score a nomination in that category. That milestone was achieved by Amazon’s 2016 drama “Manchester by the Sea,” which went on to win Best Actor (for Casey Affleck) and Best Original Screenplay (for Kenneth Lonergan).  Netflix won its first Oscar for the 2017 documentary feature film “Icarus.” However, with “Roma’s” frontrunner status, it has the best shot of being not only the first movie from a streaming service to win Best Picture but also the first non-English-language movie to win the prize.

As widely predicted, Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” was nominated for Best Picture, making it the first superhero movie to be nominated in this Oscar category. However, with no Oscar nominations in the categories for acting, directing or screenplay, “Black Panther” is a long shot to win Best Picture. The other Oscar nominations for “Black Panther” are for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score and Best Original Song.

“BlacKkKlansman” filmmaker Spike Lee, who has been making critically acclaimed movies since the 1980s, received his first Oscar nomination for Best Director, after being passed over in that category for decades. Lee, who is one of the producers and screenwriters of Focus Features’ “BlacKkKlansman,” also picked up nominations for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, which are also his first Oscar nominations in those categories. He was previously nominated for Best Original Screenplay for 1989’s “Do the Right Thing” and Best Documentary Feature for 1997’s “4 Little Girls.” Lee  also received an honorary Oscar (a non-competitive prize) in 2015.

Spike Lee and Adam Driver on the set of “BlacKkKlansman” (Photo by David Lee/ Focus Features)

Here is the complete list of nominations for the 2019 Academy Awards:

Best Picture
“Black Panther”
(Producer: Kevin Feige)

“BlacKkKlansman”
(Producers: Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee)

“Bohemian Rhapsody”
(Producer: Graham King)

“The Favourite”
(Producers: Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos)

“Green Book”
(Producers: Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga)

“Roma”
(Producers: Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón)

“A Star Is Born”
(Producers: Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor)

“Vice”
(Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick)

Best Actor
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Best Actress
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Best Director
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Paweł Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”

Best Animated Feature
“Incredibles 2,” directed by Brad Bird; produced by John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle

“Isle of Dogs,” directed and produced by Wes Anderson; produced by Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson

“Mirai,” directed by Mamoru Hosoda; produced by Yuichiro Saito

“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston; produced by Clark Spencer

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman; produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Best Animated Short
“Animal Behaviour,” directed and produced by Alison Snowden and David Fine
“Bao,” directed by Domee Shi; produced by Becky Neiman-Cobb
“Late Afternoon,” directed by Louise Bagnall; produced by Nuria González Blanco
“One Small Step,” directed by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas
“Weekends,” directed and produced by Trevor Jimenez

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
“BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
“A Star Is Born,” Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters

Best Original Screenplay
“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
“First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
“Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice,” Adam McKay

Best Cinematography
“Cold War,” Łukasz Żal
“The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan
“Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique

Best Documentary Feature
“Free Solo,” directed and produced by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyil; produced by Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill

“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” directed and produced by RaMell Ross; produced by Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim

“Minding the Gap,” directed and produced by Bing Liu; produced by Diane Quon

“Of Fathers and Sons,” directed by Talal Derki; produced by Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme and Tobias N. Siebert

“RBG,” directed and produced by Betsy West and Julie Cohen

Best Documentary Short Subject
“Black Sheep,” directed by Ed Perkins; produced by Jonathan Chinn
“End Game,” directed and produced by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
“Lifeboat,” directed and produced by Skye Fitzgerald
“A Night at the Garden,” directed and produced by Marshall Curry
“Period. End of Sentence.,” directed and produced by Rayka Zehtabchi

Best Live Action Short Film
“Detainment,” directed and produced by Vincent Lambe; produced by Darren Mahon
“Fauve,” directed by Jeremy Comte; produced by Maria Gracia Turgeon
“Marguerite,” directed by Marianne Farley; produced by Marie-Hélène Panisset
“Mother,” directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen; produced by María del Puy Alvarado
“Skin,” directed and produced by Guy Nattiv; produced by Jaime Ray Newman

Best Foreign Language Film
“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
“Roma” (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)

Best Film Editing
“BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman
“Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito
“The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
“Vice,” Hank Corwin

Best Sound Editing
“Black Panther,” Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst
“First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“A Quiet Place,” Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
“Roma,” Sergio Diaz and Skip Lievsay

Best Sound Mixing
“Black Panther,” Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Peter Devlin
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali
“First Man,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis
“Roma,” Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio García
“A Star Is Born,” Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow

Best Production Design
“Black Panther”
Production Design: Hannah Beachler; Set Decoration: Jay Hart

“The Favourite”
Production Design: Fiona Crombie; Set Decoration: Alice Felton

“First Man”
Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

“Mary Poppins Returns”
Production Design: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim

“Roma”
Production Design: Eugenio Caballero; Set Decoration: Bárbara Enríquez

Best Original Score
“BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard
“Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell
“Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman

Best Original Song
“All the Stars” from “Black Panther,” song written by Kendrick Lamar, Solana Rowe (SZA), Mark Spears and Anthony Tiffith

“I’ll Fight” from “RBG,” song written by Diane Warren

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns,” song written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” song written by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” song written by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Border,” Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer
“Mary Queen of Scots,” Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks
“Vice,” Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney

Best Costume Design
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
“Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter
“The Favourite,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne

Best Visual Effects
“Avengers: Infinity War,” Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick

“Christopher Robin,” Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Corbould

“First Man,” Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm

“Ready Player One,” Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk

“Solo: A Star Wars Story,” Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy

R. Kelly dropped by Sony Music; his ex-manager arrested for making terroristic threats

January 18, 2019

by Colleen McGregor

After facing immense public backlash, Sony Music has dropped Grammy-winning R&B singer R. Kelly, who has been accused of committing sexual abuse against women and underage girls as far back as the 1990s but has not yet been convicted of any such crimes. Kelly has repeatedly denied all allegations against him. According to Variety, Sony Music had been trying to sever ties with Kelly for several weeks, and made it official on January 18, 2019, when the company removed Kelly from its website. Sony has not yet issued a statement about dropping Kelly or the controversy over Kelly. Sony Music is the parent company of RCA Records, Kelly’s longtime record company. Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was previously signed to Jive Records, which Sony shuttered in 2011. Jive’s former artists transferred to RCA. Although Kelly will not be releasing new music with RCA/Sony, his back catalog will remain with the record company. His last album with RCA/Sony was “12 Nights of Christmas,” which was released in 2016.

Meanwhile, Henry James Mason, a former manager of R. Kelly, turned himself into authorities on January 18 in Henry County, Georgia, for charges of threatening to kill Timothy Savage, the father of one of Kelly’s alleged victims, as well as threatening to harm members of the Savage family. Mason, who had a warrant out of his arrest since July 2018, has been released on $10,000 bail, according to Variety.

Timothy and JonJelyn Savage in "Surviving R. Kelly"
Timothy and JonJelyn Savage in “Surviving R. Kelly” (Photo courtesy of Lifetime)

Over the years, Kelly, who is 52, has been the subject of numerous stories of abuse against females, particularly underage girls. In 2008, he was acquitted of child pornography charges in which he was accused of videotaping himself having sex with and urinating on a then-14-year-old girl in 2001. Kelly was arrested for the crime in 2002, after the video was leaked to the public and widely bootlegged. The girl who was identified in the video refused to testify in the trial and denied that she was in the video. Complicating matters, the girl’s father worked for R. Kelly as a guitarist in his band before and after the trial. There were several people who knew the girl who testified at the trial, and most of them said that she was the girl in the video. (Her parents did not testify at the trial.) According to what a few of the jurors later told the media after the trial, the lack of testimony from the alleged victim was the main reason why they came to a “not guilty” verdict.

In 1994, Kelly had an illegal marriage to singer Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time they eloped, but who allegedly lied about her age (saying she was 18) at the time of the marriage ceremony. The marriage, which is on public record, was later annulled in 1995.

Sparkle, a former R. Kelly protégée, in “Surviving R. Kelly.” She says her niece was the underage girl in R. Kelly’s notorious sex video that got him arrested for child pornography in 2002. (Photo courtesy of Lifetime)

In 2017, BuzzFeed reported allegations from numerous people who said that Kelly had brainwashed women into becoming his sex slaves and is controlling them like a cult leader. Later that year, when the #MeToo movement became a major social force, a #MuteRKelly activist group was formed to urge cancellations and boycotting of all things related to R. Kelly. #MuteRKelly has been successful in getting several R. Kelly concerts cancelled. The #MuteRKelly movement led to the BBC Three network in the United Kingdom to do two news investigative specials on R. Kelly in 2018. The parents of the alleged victims who are still living with Kelly, as well as women who used to be sexually involved with Kelly, have also given numerous other media interviews.

However, the most influential tipping point in getting Sony Music to drop R. Kelly seems to be the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired from January 3 to January 5, 2019, and included harrowing interviews with numerous women, such as his ex-wife Andrea, who say that R. Kelly physically, sexually and emotionally abused them. Most of the women were under the age of 18 when they began their sexual relationships with R. Kelly, and many of them were also interviewed in the BBC Three specials. The women who lived with Kelly said that he was so abusive that he would often starve them, beat them, and force them to engage in degrading sexual acts. Almost all of the women who were in long-term sexual relationships with Kelly said that he would isolate them from their family and friends, and they were afraid to leave him because he threatened their lives. They also said that he had so much control over them that he dictated when they could eat, use the bathroom, and talk to other people.

“Surviving R. Kelly” also included interviews with R. Kelly’s brothers Carey (who spoke out against him) and Bruce Kelly (who is supporting of R. Kelly and is currently in prison for theft and other charges) and R. Kelly’s former protégée Sparkle, whose says her underage niece was in the infamous R. Kelly sex video. Other people who were interviewed included several former business associates (who all confirmed that R. Kelly had sexual relationships with underage girls) and some of the parents who claim that their daughters have been Kelly’s sex slaves. The parents say that because their daughters are adults and have apparently been forced to deny that Kelly abused them, it has been difficult to get authorities to intervene and rescue their daughters. However, “Surviving R. Kelly” did document how Michelle Kramer, one of the mothers of the alleged victims, was able to successfully get her daughter out of R. Kelly’s life.

According to Lifetime, “Surviving R. Kelly” had 1.9 million total viewers, making it Lifetime’s highest-rated new show in two years and highest-rated new unscripted show in three years. “Surviving R. Kelly” was executive produced by dream hampton, Tamara Simmons, Joel Karlsberg and Jesse Daniels for Kreativ Inc. which has a production deal with Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP), and Brie Miranda Bryant from Lifetime.

R. Kelly Accusers in “Surviving R. Kelly”

In the wake of “Surviving R. Kelly” and the public outcry for justice to be served, artists such as Lady Gaga and Chance the Rapper removed their collaborations with R. Kelly from streaming and online retail sites, made public apologies for associating with R. Kelly, and voiced their support for the survivors. In addition to having numerous hits as a solo artist (including “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Bump ‘N Grind”), Kelly wrote and/or produced hits for several major stars, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Jay-Z. Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001, started out as one of Kelly’s protégées, but parted ways with him after her first album and their marriage debacle.

The pressure against RCA/Sony to drop R. Kelly began increase on January 11, when women’s group UltraViolet hired a plane flying to fly an anti-R. Kelly banner over Sony’s offices in Culver City, California. The banner read “RCA/Sony: Drop Sexual Predator R. Kelly.” Then on January 16, multiple advocacy groups organized a protest outside of Sony Music’s New York City headquarters and delivered a petition reportedly signed by more than 217,000 people to get the record company to sever ties with Kelly.