Emma Stone backstage at the 2017 Academy Awards

February 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 89th Annual Academy Awards took place on February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.


Oscar win:

Best Actress

(“La La Land”)

Here is what this Oscar winner said backstage in the Academy Awards press room.

Emma Emma Stone at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles
Emma Stone at the 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Tyler Golden/ABC)


How will you celebrate tonight, and who will you call first after the show?

My mom, for sure. And I’m going to go out with a bunch of my friends and dance and drink champagne. That’s pretty much the only plan.

What does it mean to you as one of the ones who dreamed to have won this award for playing this role that mimics what so many people in this city go through to get to the point of where you are standing right now?

Well, I guess surreal is probably the only way to describe it. I mean, to play this woman, I knew this. I’ve lived here for 13 years. I moved when I was 15 to start auditioning, and I knew what it felt like to go on audition after audition. So I mean anything like this was pretty inconceivable in a realistic context.

I had a really creepy little moment backstage—not to change the subject—but I was just like looking down at it, like it was my newborn child. This is a statue of a naked man. Very creepy staring at it. So hopefully, I will look at a newborn child differently. But I mean it’s, yeah, it’s incredibly surreal. I don’t have the benefit of hindsight yet. Sorry if that’s a terrible answer. Turned it into a naked man story.

You know it’s a dream to get an Oscar. Did you ever dream like that? And what is the dream when they announced “La La Land” as the Best Picture, and it didn’t win?

Okay. So yes, of course. I’m an actor. I’ve always dreamt of this kind of thing, but again, not in a realistic context. And for that, I fucking love “Moonlight.” God, I love “Moonlight” so much! I was so excited for “Moonlight.” And of course, you know, it was an amazing thing to hear “La La Land.” I think we all would have loved to win Best Picture, but we are so excited for “Moonlight.”

I think it’s one of the best films of all time. So I was pretty beside myself. I also was holding my Best Actress in a Leading Role card that entire time. So, whatever story—I don’t mean to start stuff, but whatever story that was, I had that card. So I’m not sure what happened. And I really wanted to talk to you guys first. Congratulations, “Moonlight.” Hell, yeah.

Could you just speak a little bit to what the atmosphere was like after that nightmare? The atmosphere in here was crazy.

I think everyone’s in a state of confusion still. Excitement, but confusion. I don’t really have a gauge of the atmosphere quite yet. I need to, you know, check in. But I think everyone is just so excited, so excited for “Moonlight.” It’s such an incredible film.

How much does an Oscar cost in terms of sacrifice and discipline?

Oh, my God. Is that measurable? I don’t know. I guess it depends on the Oscar. In my life, I have been beyond lucky with the people around me, with the friends and family that I have and the people that have lifted me up throughout my life. So in terms of sacrifice, those people are all sitting back in a room right now and I get to go celebrate with them, and it’s felt like the most joyous thing. So, I mean, being a creative person does not feel like a sacrifice to me. It’s the great joy of my life. And so, I mean, I don’t know if that’s a good answer to that question, but I’ve been very lucky in terms of that.

As someone who’s been in Hollywood, you’ve experienced many things before. Are you able to give us sort of a word picture of what it was like? It was two minutes and 30 seconds that “La La Land” was named Best Picture of the year. What was it like on stage when you first thought it won, and then it didn’t win?

Again, I don’t know if this is a measurable question. Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time? Cool! We made history tonight. Craziest moment. And again, I don’t even know what to say. I think I’m still on such a buzzy train backstage that I was, you know, on another planet already. So this has all just felt like another planet. But again, God I love “Moonlight” I’m so excited. I think it’s an incredible outcome, but a very strange happening for Oscar history.

Do you feel like owing Emma Watson a drink or dinner to thank her for turning down the role you got in “La La Land”?

Oh, my God, you know what? She’s doing great. She’s the coolest. She’s Belle [in “Beauty and the Beast”]. I think it’s all right. It’s all good. I think she’s amazing.

Being on the top of the world right now, does it humble you?

Well, we had a nice little jarring moment that’s just … like real life, but everything kind of feels like real life. Like this is an incredible, incredible honor and in many ways game-changing for me, personally, but it’s also just still me. And again, back to the people that I love, nothing changes when I go home. Nothing is going to change at all. So I don’t know that there’s a humbling moment. It’s just already like feels ridiculous, in the best way.

2017 Academy Awards: ‘Moonlight’ wins Best Picture; ‘La La Land’ wins 6 Oscars

January 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

For the first time in Oscar history, a colossal mistake was made in announcing the winner for Best Picture. The mishap occurred at the 89th Annual Academy Awards, which were presented at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 26, 2017.  In a stunning turn of events, the drama “Moonlight” won the prize, but only after presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced that “La La Land” was the winner and after the producers of “La La Land” gave their acceptance speeches. A visibly embarrassed Beatty explained that he had been given the wrong envelope, and that he was reading from a card that announced “La La Land” star Emma Stone as Best Actress, an award she had won earlier in the evening.

“La La Land” had widely been predicted to win Best Picture since it went into the ceremony with a record 14 nominations. The contemporary musical “La La Land” tied the record previously held by 1950’s “All About Eve” and 1997’s “Titanic,” which each had 14 Oscar nominations. In the end, “La La Land” won six Oscars, including Best Actress for Stone and Best Director for Damien Chazelle, who at 32 years old became the youngest person to win in that category.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony, which was telecast in the U.S. on ABC. He jokingly chastised Beatty for the mistake by saying, “Warren, what did you do?” Some of the antics that Kimmel did during the telecast included taking an unsuspecting group of tourists on a front-row journey through the theater; poking fun at his friend Matt Damon in their ongoing mock feud; and making snacks wrapped in lacy packages that  rain down on the audience.

Only two other movies received more than one Oscar at the ceremony: “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Manchester by the Sea,”  which won two awards each.

Mahershala Ali, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Casey Affleck at the 89th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 26, 2017. (Photo by Tyler Golden/ABC)

The 89th Academy Awards also set a record for the most nominations for African-Americans and other people of color. For the first time in Academy Awards history, people of color were nominated in all of the major categories in the same year: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. The ethnic diversity in the nominees came after the Academy changed its membership policies in 2016 to include more women and people of color, following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that slammed the Oscars for not having any African-American nominees in the actor/actress categories for the 2016 and 2015 ceremonies. In the end, African-Americans won in three major categories at the 2017 Academy Awards: Viola Davis of “Fences” won for Best Supporting Actress, while “Moonlight” star Mahershala Ali won for Best Supporting Actor and “Moonlight” writer/director Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney won for Best Adapted Screenplay. (The award for Best Picture is given to the film’s producers. Jenkins was not a producer of “Moonlight.”)

The nominations for the 2017 Oscars were also noteworthy for the strides made by streaming services. “Manchester by the Sea” because the first movie from a streaming service (Amazon) not a traditional film studio, to get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. “Manchester by the Sea” ultimately won two Oscars: Best Actor (for Casey Affleck) and Best Original Screenplay (for Kenneth Lonergan).

The documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” which was an ESPN miniseries totaling more than seven hours, qualified for the Academy Awards because “O.J.: Made in America” had a limited run in U.S. theaters. “O.J.: Made in America” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, making it the longest movie to win in that category.

Here is the complete list of winners for the 79th Annual Academy Awards:

***= winner

Best Picture
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”***
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”***
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”***
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, “Fences”***
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”***
Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Arrival,” Eric Heisserer
“Fences,” August Wilson
“Hidden Figures,” Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
“Lion,” Luke Davies
“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney***

Best Original Screenplay
“20th Century Women,” Mike Mills
“Hell or High Water,” Taylor Sheridan
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan***

Best Cinematography
“Arrival,” Bradford Young
“La La Land,” Linus Sandgren***
“Lion,” Greig Fraser
“Moonlight,” James Laxton
“Silence,” Rodrigo Prieto

Best Documentary Feature
“13th,” Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish
“Fire at Sea,” Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo
“I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck, Remi Grellety and Hebert Peck
“Life, Animated,” Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman
“O.J.: Made in America,” Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow***

Best Documentary Short Subject
“4.1 Miles,” Daphne Matziaraki
“Extremis,” Dan Krauss
“Joe’s Violin,” Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen
“Watani: My Homeland,” Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis
“The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara***

Best Foreign Language Film
“Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet (Denmark)
“A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm (Sweden)
“The Salesman,” Asghar Farhadi (Iran)***
“Tanna,” Martin Butler and Bentley Dean (Australia)
“Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade (Germany)

Best Animated Feature
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner
“Moana,” John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer
“My Life as a Zucchini,” Claude Barras and Max Karli
“The Red Turtle,” Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki
“Zootopia,” Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer***

Best Animated Short
“Blind Vaysha,” Theodore Ushev
“Borrowed Time,” Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Robert Valley and Cara Speller
“Pearl,” Patrick Osborne
“Piper,” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer***

Best Live Action Short Film
“Ennemis Interieurs,” Selim Azzazi
“La Femme et le TGV,” Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff
“Silent Nights,” Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson
“Sing,” Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy***
“Timecode,” Juanjo Gimenez

Best Original Score
“Jackie,” Mica Levi
“La La Land,” Justin Hurwitz***
“Lion,” Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
“Moonlight,” Nicholas Britell
“Passengers,” Thomas Newman

Best Original Song
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul*
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls” — Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
“City of Stars” from “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul***
“The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story” — Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
“How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” — Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best Production Design
“Arrival,” Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
“Hail, Caesar!,” Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
“La La Land,” David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco***
“Passengers,” Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena

Best Makeup and Hair
“A Man Called Ove,” Eva von Bahr and Love Larson
“Star Trek Beyond,” Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
“Suicide Squad,” Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson***

Best Costume Design
“Allied,” Joanna Johnston
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Colleen Atwood***
“Florence Foster Jenkins,” Consolata Boyle
“Jackie,” Madeline Fontaine
“La La Land,” Mary Zophres

Best Film Editing
“Arrival,” Joe Walker
“Hacksaw Ridge,” John Gilbert***
“Hell or High Water,” Jake Roberts
“La La Land,” Tom Cross
“Moonlight,” Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Best Sound Editing
“Arrival,” Sylvain Bellemare***
“Deepwater Horizon,” Wylie Stateman and Renee Tondelli
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright
“La La Land,” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“Sully,” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Best Sound Mixing
“Arrival,” Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace***
“La La Land,” Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

Best Visual Effects
“Deepwater Horizon,” Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton
“Doctor Strange,” Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould
“The Jungle Book,” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon***
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould

2017 Academy Awards

See the complete list of winners for the 2017 Academy Awards

Mahershala Ali, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Casey Affleck at the 79th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, on February 26, 2017. (Photo by Tyler Golden/ABC)

Watch the biggest mistake in Oscar history

Find out why the Oscar mistake wasn’t a hoax

Jimmy Kimmel and Warren Beatty
Jimmy Kimmel and Warren Beatty at the 79th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, on February 26, 2017. (Photo by Eddy Chen/ABC)

Check out what celebrities wore on the red carpet

Janelle Monae arrives at 2017 Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Janelle Monáe at the 79th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, on February 26, 2017. (Photo by Mike Baker/©A.M.P.A.S.)

See what the winners said backstage

“Moonlight” filmmakers Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski and Barry Jenkins at the 89th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 26, 2017. (Photo by Mike Baker/©A.M.P.A.S.)

2017 Brit Awards: David Bowie, Rag’n’Bone Man are the top winners

February 22, 2017

Rag'n'Bone Man
Rag’n’Bone Man at the 37th Annual Brit Awards in London on February 22, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

With two prizes each, David Bowie and Rag’n’Bone Man were the top winners at the annual 37th Annual Brit Awards, which were presented at London’s O2 Arena on February 22, 2017. Dermot O’Leary and Emma Willis hosted the ceremony, which was televised in the U.K. on ITV. The awards are from the British Phonographic Industry. Bowie (who died in 2016 of cancer) was awarded British Album of the Year (for “Blackstar”) and British Male Solo Artist. Rag’n’Bone Man won the prizes for British Breakthrough Act and Critics’ Choice Award.

Performers at the event included Bruno Mars; Little Mix; Emeli Sandé; Katy Perry with Skip Marley; Chris Martin; the Chainsmokers with Coldplay; Skepta; Ed Sheeran with Stormzy; and Robbie Williams.

Award presenters included Noel Gallagher, Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, Laura Jackson, Zane Lowe, Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby, Naomi Campbell, Jonathan Ross, Take That, Maisie Williams, Romesh Ranganathan, David Tennant, Nick Grimshaw, Rita Ora and Emeli Sandé.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominations for the 2018 Brit Awards.


British Male Solo Artist

David Bowie*
Craig David
Michael Kiwanuka

British Female Solo Artist

Ellie Goulding
Lianne La Havas
Emeli Sandé*

British Group

The 1975*
Biffy Clyro
Little Mix

British Breakthrough Act

Rag’n’Bone Man*

British Single of the Year

Alan Walker – “Faded”
Calum Scott – “Dancing On My Own”
Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”
Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – “Rockabye”
Coldplay – “Hymn for the Weekend”
James Arthur – “Say You Won’t Let Go”
Jonas Blue featuring Dakota – “Fast Car”
Little Mix – “Shout Out to My Ex”*
Tinie Tempah featuring Zara Larsson – “Girls Like”
Zayn – “Pillowtalk”

British Album of the Year

The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It
David Bowie – Blackstar*
Kano – Made in the Manor
Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
Skepta – Konnichiwa

British Artist Video of the Year

Coldplay – “Hymn for the Weekend”
James Arthur – “Say You Won’t Let Go”
Little Mix featuring Sean Paul – “Hair”
Zayn – “Pillowtalk”
Adele – “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”
Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”
Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – “Rockabye”
Jonas Blue featuring Dakota – “Fast Car”
One Direction – “History”*
Tinie Tempah featuring Zara Larsson – “Girls Like”

International Male Solo Artist

Bon Iver
Bruno Mars
Leonard Cohen
The Weeknd

International Female Solo Artist

Christine and the Queens

International Group

A Tribe Called Quest*
Drake and Future
Kings of Leon
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Twenty One Pilots

Critics’ Choice

Dua Lipa
Rag’n’Bone Man*

Brits Global Success Award


Icon Award

Robbie Williams*

2017 BookExpo: Stephen King to make his first appearance at the event

February 17, 2017

Stephen King
Stephen King (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC)

The following is a press release from BookExpo:

One of the most sought-after events at ReedPOP’s BookExpo each year, the 2017 Adult Book & Author Breakfast is shaping up to be the forum’s most exciting yet with the first-ever BookExpo appearance by best-selling novelist Stephen King (“Misery,” “11/22/63,” “On Writing”). Joined by Owen King, his son and co-author of the upcoming novel “Sleeping Beauties,” the pair will offer a special introduction to the breakfast, “Prologue by Stephen King & Owen King.” Following their introduction, comedian and actress Whitney Cummings (Whitney, 2 Broke Girls co-creator) will take the BookExpo stage to host the event and discuss her upcoming memoir, “I’m Fine… And Other Lies. She will be joined by Captain Scott Kelly” (“Endurance: My Year in Space”), Kenya Barris (“This is Basic Sh*t”), Jesmyn Ward (“Sing, Unburied, Sing”) and Claire Messud (“The Burning Girl: A Novel”), all of whom will speak about their upcoming releases and the inspiration behind their writing.

Taking place Thursday, June 1, at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, the Adult Book & Author Breakfast is one of the many events at BookExpo highlighting the hundreds of authors who participate in the show. This year’s breakfast will bring together some of the industry’s leading voices in adult literature from a diverse group of backgrounds for an insightful and lively discussion. The event’s host, Whitney Cummings, is an acclaimed comedian and actress best known for starring in and creating the sitcom Whitney and co-creating the hit TV series “2 Broke Girls,” which is currently airing its 6th season on CBS. She most recently starred in the stand-up comedy special “I’m Your Girlfriend” on HBO.

She will play host to some of the most anticipated authors of the day. Celebrated astronaut Scott Kelly, a veteran of four space flights and the world record holder for the number of consecutive days spent in space, will discuss his upcoming memoir, “Endurance: My Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery.”

Kenya Barris, debuting his personal collection of humorous essays, “This is Basic Sh*t,” is a writer, producer and creator of numerous television series including ABC’s “Black-ish,” a sitcom that has been lauded for its ability to address some of today’s most controversial issues in an intelligent, thoughtful and humorous way.

“Sing, Unburied, Sing” author Jesmyn Ward, the winner of the National Book Award and the Strauss Livings Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University, has received much praise for her previous works, “Salvage the Bones” and “Where the Line Bleeds.”

Claire Messud, an acclaimed novelist whose books include the best seller “The Emperor’s Children” (2006), will debut her latest work, “The Burning Girl: A Novel.” Her many honors include Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and she currently teaches fiction writing at Harvard University. Past breakfast speakers have included Faith Salie, Chelsea Handler, Sebastian Junger and Brandon Stanton.

A master of horror and suspense, Stephen King is the author of more than 50 books, most of them worldwide bestsellers. His son, Owen King, is following in his father’s footsteps as author of the novel “Double Feature” and “We’re All in This Together: A Novella and Stories,” and the co-author of the graphic novel “Intro to Alien Invasion. Sleeping Beauties” is the first father/son collaboration for the Kings.

This year’s breakfast will also feature an updated, more interactive format that will showcase more authors than ever before, giving the audience a unique experience to hear the speakers engage with one another and field questions from the audience. Thursday’s Adult Book & Author Breakfast will be followed by the highly-anticipated Children’s Book & Author Breakfast on Friday morning.

“Our Adult Book & Author Breakfast is always a highlight of the show, drawing over a thousand attendees interested in discovering new books and engaging with some of the most prominent authors in literature today. It will be a truly memorable morning,” said Brien McDonald, Event Director for BookExpo. “This event is just one of many at BookExpo this year that furthers our mission to use books as a unifying platform and a place where all voices can be heard. We are working to showcase throughout BookExpo a diverse range of authors who can each offer a unique perspective on both literature and the world around us.”

Full program information can be found below:


The Thursday morning breakfast will feature Scott Kelly author of Endurance: My Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery (Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House); Kenya Barris, author of This is Basic Sh*t (Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group); Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner); and Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl: A Novel (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.). Actress and Comedian Whitney Cummings, author of I’m Fine…And Other Lies (Putnam / Penguin Random House), will host. The breakfast will open with a Prologue from Stephen and Owen King, co-authors of Sleeping Beauties (Scribner).

BookExpo, North America’s largest gathering of book industry professionals from around the globe, and BookCon, the consumer extension of the show, combine to make the ultimate event destination for the publishing industry and booklovers worldwide. BookExpo is widely known as the leading business event for publishers, booksellers, librarians, digital content creators, traditional and self-published authors, media, bloggers, rights professionals and movie and television executives who attend to discover new voices, learn about trends shaping the book industry and network with those who have a passion for books and reading. BookCon is the ultimate fan event where storytelling and pop culture collide – offering fans unprecedented access to authors, publishers, celebrities and creators of content that influence everything we read, hear and see.

To register or for more information, please visit www.bookexpoamerica.com.

2017 ACM Awards: Keith Urban leads with seven nominations

February 16, 2017

ACM Awards

With seven nominations, Keith Urban is the leading contender at the 52nd Annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, which will be held April 2, 2017, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley will host the ACM Awards for the second year in a row. CBS will have the live U.S. telecast of the show, which is produced by Dick Clark Productions and ACM. The ACM’s professional membership selects the nominees and winners of the ACM Awards.

Other multiple nominees for this year’s ACM Awards include Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris, who received six nominations each; Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line, who have five nominations each; and Bentley, Thomas Rhett and Chris Stapleton, who received three nominations each.

Here is the complete list of nominations for the 52nd Annual ACM Awards:

Entertainer of the Year
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Florida Georgia Line
Carrie Underwood
Keith Urban

Male Vocalist of the Year
Jason Aldean
Dierks Bentley
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton
Keith Urban

Female Vocalist of the Year
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Maren Morris
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood

Vocal Duo of the Year
Big & Rich
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

Vocal Group of the Year
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Old Dominion
Rascal Flatts

New Male Vocalist of the Year Presented by T-Mobile
Kane Brown
Chris Janson
Chris Lane
Jon Pardi
Brett Young

New Female Vocalist of the Year Presented by T-Mobile
Lauren Alaina
Brandy Clark
Maren Morris
* four nominees only

New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year Presented by T-Mobile
A Thousand Horses
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae

Album of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
“Black” – Dierks Bentley (Producers: Ross Copperman, Arturo Buenahora Jr.; Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville)

“Dig Your Roots” – Florida Georgia Line (Producer: Joey Moi; Record Label: Big Machine Label Group)

“Hero” – Maren Morris (Producers: busbee, Brad Hill, Maren Morris; Record Label: Columbia Nashville)

“Ripcord” – Keith Urban (Producers: Jeff Bhasker, busbee, Nathan Chapman, Nitzan Kaikov, Dann Huff, Tyler Johnson, Johnny Price, Nile Rodgers, Keith Urban, Greg Wells; Record Label: Hit Red Records, Capitol Records Nashville)

“The Weight of These Wings” – Miranda Lambert (Producers: Frank Liddell, Eric Masse, Glenn Worf; Record Label: RCA Nashville, Vanner Records)

Single Record of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Keith Urban (Producers: Dann Huff, Keith Urban; Record Labels: Hit Red Records, Capitol Records Nashville)

“H.O.L.Y.” – Florida Georgia Line (Producer: Joey Moi; Record Label: Big Machine Label Group)

“Humble and Kind” – Tim McGraw (Producers: Byron Gallimore, Tim McGraw; Record Label: McGraw Music, Big Machine Records)

“My Church” – Maren Morris (Producers: busbee, Maren Morris; Record Label: Columbia Nashville)

“Vice” – Miranda Lambert (Producers: Frank Liddell, Eric Masse, Glenn Worf; Record Label: RCA Nashville, Vanner Records)

Song of the Year [Awarded to Songwriter(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s)]
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Keith Urban (Songwriters: Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, Steven Lee Olsen; Publishers: WB Music Corp (ASCAP), Music Of The Corn (ASCAP), HillarodyRathbone Music (ASCAP), BMG Gold Songs (ASCAP), House of Sea Gayle Music (ASCAP), Spirit Catalog Holdings (S.a.r.l.), Spirit Two Nashville (ASCAP))

“Die a Happy Man” – Thomas Rhett (Songwriters: Thomas Rhett, Sean Douglas, Joe Spargur; Publishers: EMI Blackwood Music Inc (BMI), Cricket On The Line (BMI), Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp (BMI), Eastman Pond Publishing (BMI), Music of Big Deal (BMI), Nice Life (BMI), Frederic And Reid Music (BMI), BMG Platinum Songs (BMI), Brodsky Spensive Publishing (BMI))

“Humble and Kind” – Tim McGraw (Songwriter: Lori McKenna; Publishers: Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI))

“Kill a Word” – Eric Church Featuring Rhiannon Giddens (Songwriters: Eric Church, Luke Dick, Jeff Hyde; Publishers: Emileon Songs (BMI), Little Louder Songs (BMI), Longer And Louder Music (BMI), Mammaw’s Fried Okra Music (BMI), Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI))

“Tennessee Whiskey” – Chris Stapleton (Songwriters: Dean Dillon, Linda Hargrove; Publishers: Universal-Songs Of PolyGram International (BMI), EMI Algee (BMI))

“Vice” – Miranda Lambert (Songwriters: Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne; Publishers: Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI), Pink Dog Publishing (BMI), Smack Hits (GMR), Kobalt Music Group, Ltd. (GMR), Anderson Fork In The Road Music (ASCAP), Kobalt Music Publishing America, Inc. (ASCAP), Smackville Music (ASCAP))

Video of the Year Presented by Xfinity [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)]
“Fire Away” – Chris Stapleton (Director: Tim Mattia; Producer: Jennifer Rothlein)

“Forever Country” – Artists of Then, Now & Forever (Director: Joseph Kahn; Producers: Nathan de la Rionda, Jil Hardin, Charleen Manca, Joanna Carter, Chandra LaPlume, Sarah Trahern, Damon Whiteside)

“Humble and Kind” – Tim McGraw (Director: Wes Edwards; Producer: Jennifer Rothlein)
Peter Pan – Kelsea Ballerini (Director: Kristin Barlowe; Producer: Michelle Abnet)

“Vice” – Miranda Lambert (Director: Trey Fanjoy; Producer: Ashley Bergeron Ford)

Vocal Event of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
“Different for Girls” – Dierks Bentley Featuring Elle King (Producers: Ross Copperman, Arturo Buenahora Jr.; Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville

“Forever Country” – Artists of Then, Now & Forever (Producer: Shane McAnally; Record Label: MCA Nashville)

“May We All” – Florida Georgia Line Featuring Tim McGraw (Producer: Joey Moi; Record Label: Big Machine Label Group)

“Setting the World on Fire” – Kenny Chesney featuring P!nk (Producers: Buddy Cannon, Kenny Chesney; Record Labels: Blue Chair Records, Columbia Nashville)

“Think of You” – Chris Young featuring Cassadee Pope (Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young; Record Labels: RCA Nashville, RCA Records)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Awards counts for artists reflect categories in which they have been recognized as individuals or as part of their duo or group. In some cases, an artist may receive more than one nomination which factors into their official count. For example, Keith Urban received two nominations in the Album of the Year category—one each as artist and producer—because that category recognizes both.

March 14, 2017 UPDATE: These winners have been announced, and they will be performing at the 2017 ACM Awards:

  • Brothers Osborne – New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year presented by T-Mobile
  • Maren Morris (previously announced performer) – New Female Vocalist of the Year presented by T-Mobile
  • Jon Pardi – New Male Vocalist of the Year presented by T-Mobile

2017 Coachella Festival: Lucky Blue Smith’s band The Atomics star in H&M Loves Coachella campaign

February 16, 20172017 Coachella Festival

The Atomics star in the 2017 H&M Loves Coachella campaign.
The Atomics star in the 2017 H&M Loves Coachella campaign. (Photo courtesy of H&M)

The 2017 H&M Loves Coachella campaign will star the pop/rock band The Atomics, which consists of model Lucky Blue Smith and his sisters Pyper America, Starlie and Daisy Clementine. To celebrate the launch of the collection, The Atomics will also be performing live from the H&M Store in New York City’s Times Square on March 16, 2017. In a promotional video for H&M Loves Coachella, the Atomics perform a cover version of the Grass Roots’ “Live for Today.”

According to a press release from H&M, the collection is about capturing that festival spirit whether you’re lucky enough to be in the Californian desert, or sharing the Coachella feeling around the world. H&M Loves Coachella will be available in the U.S. beginning March 23 and globally from March 30in select H&M stores, as well as online.

Key pieces in this year’s collection include the sheer black lace spaghetti-strap dress, worn with a faux suede studded choker and pink heart sunglasses. There is also the floral-embroidered denim jacket, which can be paired with a metallic bodysuit made from recycled polyester. For men, there are tie-dye T-shirts with matching tie-dye drawstring shorts.

The annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival, the world’s largest-grossing music festival, takes place at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. This year’s Coachella wil take place April 14 to April 16, 2017 and April 21 to April 23, 2017.

H&M is having a sweepstakes in which people who unwanted clothing in any condition, from any brand to any H&M location for H&M’s garment recycling program and receive 15 percent off their entire purchase and the chance to win two three-day passes to Coachella.

Legoland debuts The Lego Batman Movie Days in 2017

February 14, 2017

The Lego Batman Movie Days
(Photo courtesy of Merlin Entertainments)

“The LEGO Batman Movie,” from Warner Bros. Pictures and LEGO System A/S, LEGOLAND Parks and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers around the world will celebrate the Caped Crusader with an exclusive new event—The LEGO Batman Movie Days—taking place on select dates in 2017. The event, developed with The LEGO Group and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will take place on select dates at LEGOLAND locations worldwide in early 2017. For a list of planned activities, attraction hours and ticket prices at each site, visit www.LEGOLAND.com.

The Lego Batman Movie Days
(Photo courtesy of Merlin Entertainments)

The LEGO Batman Movie Days Schedule


  • LEGOLAND California Resort (Carlsbad, Calif.): Feb. 18-19, 25-26
  • LEGOLAND Florida Resort (Winter Haven, Fla.): March 4-5, 11-12
  • LEGOLAND Windsor Resort (outside London): March 10-April 16
  • LEGOLAND Deutschland Resort (near Günzburg, Germany): Early April
  • LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort (Johor, Malaysia): Feb. 17-March 31

U.S. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dates

  • Arizona: Feb. 11-March 26
  • Atlanta: Feb. 18-19, 25-26
  • Boston: Weekends in March
  • Chicago: Feb. 18-20, 25-26
  • Dallas: Jan. 1-Mar 2
  • Kansas City: Feb. 18-26
  • Michigan: Feb. 18-20, 25-26
  • Philadelphia: June 24-25
  • Westchester (Yonkers, N.Y.): Feb. 10-19

International LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dates

  • Manchester (U.K.): Jan. 9-March 31
  • Toronto: Feb. 25-26, March 4-5
  • Berlin: Jan. 28-March 5
  • Oberhausen (Germany): Feb. 10-March 5
  • Istanbul: Jan. 1-March 31
  • Osaka: April 1-30
  • Tokyo: April 1-30
  • Shanghai: Feb. 10-March 5

Adele backstage at the 2017 Grammy Awards

February 13, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place on February 12, 2017, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.


Grammy wins:

  • Album of the Year (“25”)
  • Record of the Year (“Hello”)
  • Song of the Year (“Hello”)
  • Best Pop Vocal Album (“25”)
  • Best Pop Solo Performance (“Hello”)

Here is what this Grammy winner said backstage in the Grammy Awards press room.

Adele at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Adele at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Phil McCarten/CBS)


You’ve become the first artist in history to sweep the top three Grammy awards—Record, Song and Album of the Year—in two separate years. An amazing achievement. Can you talk about what it means to you to accomplish something historic and just what it means to you to win these awards tonight from your peers?

The Grammys mean a lot to me. Obviously, it’s the award show. I’m very, very humbled by this accomplishment I feel very lucky to have achieved. And like I said in my speech, for me, my album of the year is “Lemonade,” and so a piece of me died inside as a Beyoncé stan, I’m not going to lie, because I was completely rooting for her. And I voted for her. But I’m incredibly humbled, especially being from the U.K.

It’s an amazing feat to have achieved. I am incredibly humbled by it. And America have always been very kind to me, and I don’t even know why you’re honest I don’t get it but I’m but I feel amazing about it, of course. It’s an amazing thing to show my son, I’m raising him to respect women, and he knows I’m a powerful force. He feels it at home, let alone when he comes to work with me. And he comes everywhere.

What does it means to have such large public acceptance of your song “Hello”? It’s become like a worldwide anthem.

It was hard work writing this album. You know, it was daunting following “21” up … I felt the pressure writing “25” very much. And for very long time during that process I didn’t really find my voice. And I don’t know if I did find it, even towards the end. But the reception to “Hello … “Hello” actually started when I was writing it with the lyric “hello, misery,” so I’m sure you can imagine the mood that I was in when I was writing that: fucking miserable! But Greg Kurstin, who I wrote it with, was like, “I’m not sure about that line, about ‘hello misery.’” He turned it into “hello it’s me.”

I was gone for so long. I had my baby, and I raised him through the toddler years and then I sort of slowly edged my way back into work. And I didn’t think anyone would care. I thought the commercial that we had in England, and also shortly followed after, I thought no one would know it was me. But thank God they did or that would have been a really expensive disaster. Of course, I am always, always an appreciative and of all of the love that I’m shown.

What did it mean to you pay tribute to George Michael tonight? And what were some of your early memories of him?

Well, we could be here while. First of all, I was devastated by that [George Michael’s death] and my rehearsal great. I had a bit of a shaky rehearsal today but I mean I’ve been working really hard on this tribute for months usually every day. I did it with Hans Zimmer, and I was in his studio even when he couldn’t see me just sitting there waiting for him to give me some time, which he did, very graciously.

And my earliest memory of me being a lone fan out of my family was “Fastlove.” It was when the video came out for that, and I was blown away with how fucking hot he was. It’s actually quite exceptional how good-looking he was. I was young, like I was about 10. And I heard the vulnerability in that zone and especially in the middle eight, where it goes from being about one-night stands and being a little bit sleazy to saying in the absence of security I made my way into the night, and I lost my way basically, and I recognize that. I didn’t relate to it when I was 10. That would be weird.

That song, I was very, very adamant. I was devastated on Christmas Day [2016, the day Michael died]. I had to go for a walk on my own and breathe for a while and on Boxing Day, which is [December] 26th for us. I said to Simon [Konecki], my partner, “I have to do that tribute!”

And they didn’t want a tribute at first, his family and camp and stuff like that. And they came back and were very specific that it would be me. And I was like, “Great! I’ve got something in the pipeline. If you want me to do it I’ll do it.” I found him to be one of the truest icons, because a lot of time with people that are that globally known and famous, there tends to be—not fakeness in a bad way—but they put on a massive bravado and alter ego to protect themselves—and rightly so, and I completely understand and appreciate that—but for him, it didn’t always seem to be solely based on a look or about an assumption.

And also, he was very British no matter where his career or his love life took, he always remained true to Britain and they gave him a hard fucking time a lot of the time. It can be. The British press, I love you. I don’t know if I mean that but they really gave my whole time and he still stayed loyal to the very, very end. And that no matter our how much I trying to escape Britain sometimes, my roots are there, so I relate to that. And I also took great comfort in him and the bigger my career got in trying to remain myself so. It was an honor to do it tonight.

Your songs don’t sound overproduced. They’re almost like demos that sound like you’re in someone’s living room ….

They’re all demos.

How involved do you get in the way those records sound?

Yeah, I am anal. I’m a control freak, and I get really anal about things. Actually, there’s a whole other version of “21,” which I have spoken about before. Nothing beats a demo for any artist, in my opinion. Whenever I’ve heard the originals of their songs, there’s a passion and an urgency in demos which can never seem to be reenacted, especially in my case. I sit there like a backseat driver.

I don’t know how to work a computer. I can’t even work anything you’re on. Some of them are Dells and some of them are Apples. I do have an Apple. It hasn’t been on for about year. And I sit behind and say, “What’s that bit? What’s that bit? Let’s do this bit.”

And I reference other records and sounds I’ve heard from the past or current hits. I like to think of myself as very involved. I definitely wrote a lot less in this record than I did in “21,” and that was because I had a bad drinking habit on “21,” so I couldn’t quite get inspiration this time around.

“Hello” became a standard almost immediately, which is so unusual in our culture. Can you talk more about how it all emerged? Greg said he playing moody chords. Did the words all come out at once? And can you talk about “The Other Side”?

Sure. He was playing moody chords. That’s all everyone ever plays for me whenever we get in the studio and because that’s the kind of mood I’m in. It started out, like I said, the original line, we were just fucking around, and then the line “Hello misery” came out, so he pulled me up on that immediately. He was like, “Maybe you should go meditate” or something like that. So I tried to be like zen. And then I came back. We wrote the first two verses really quickly, actually, which tends to be the case with my biggest songs.

But the chorus, we had three different courses for “Hello,” actually. And there was one that was a very country vibe. I’m hugely inspired by country music. And I was a bit concerned about the chorus that you all know because it obviously goes quite high. I didn’t know if I could replicate it. I was going on the tour as well that she booked before I got pregnant, and then I got pregnant, and I was like, “Peace out!”

So I knew I’d have to hit that note every night. Obviously, it would be an opener once the verse was written because its hello. So we changed it a few times, and we settled on that chorus. “The other side” is the other side of being a grown-up, is the other side of my relationship with my all friends and my ex-boyfriends and death.

My grandfather, he’s a huge part of my life, even though you’ve been gone for 18 years. So it’s kind of the other side of the other side of not knowing. I don’t know if I lost touch with a lot of my friends because of how famous I got all or because you grow up. A lot of my friends tell me they lost touch with other people as well, with the way that life changes whether it’s my circumstance or different one.

You praised Beyoncé a lot in your acceptance speeches. Did you get a chance to speak to her tonight?

We did speak. I spoke to her before, just to let her know how honored and privileged I feel to be nominated alongside her. And then we spoke afterward as well. She was very gracious and humble as always, as you can expect from her. And the reason I felt the need to say something was my album of the year is “Lemonade.” She is my icon of my whole life.

I was 11 years old. And I was at school … and I was with some girlfriends, and we were practicing a song for an assembly with our friends with all our family and stuff. And I think, obviously, for my recommendation, it was a Spice Girls song. And they were like, “Have you heard [the Destiny’s Child song] “No, No, No”? I was like, no, no, no, I haven’t heard ‘No, No, No.’” And they played it to me.

And I remember it so clearly how I felt hearing her voice, hearing all their voices, but hers specifically. And then I got home you know we kind of just started getting the Internet. Luckily, my mom’s boyfriend at the time built websites. He managed to find me some photographs of her. And I fell in love immediately with her. And that was when I was 11. And I’m 28 now.

And the way that I felt when I first heard “No, No, No” was exactly the same as how I felt when I heard “Lemonade” last year. The other people who make me feel like that are all dead. So I’m living off of music that they made when they were alive. Whereas for her to be making such relevant music for that long of a period and still affect all of us—it’s not just me—there are friendships I have that are completely defined by us being complete Beyoncé stans.

I don’t take any fucking shit when it comes to anyone not liking Beyoncé. You can’t be my life you know. You simply can’t. So I felt the need to do it. I also simply felt like it was her time to win. My view is kind of like, “What the fuck does she have to do to win Album of the Year?” That’s also how I feel.

And I felt this album, like I said earlier, was another side to her that we haven’t seen and I felt blessed to be brought into that situation. Obviously, the visual is very new, and the Grammys are very traditional, but I just thought this year would be the year that they would kind of go with the tides. And I am, of course, very, very grateful having won it, and but I felt the need because I love her because I felt like she was more than worthy, and that’s pretty much it, really. Hang your blessings. You’ll never hear from me again!

Solange backstage at the 2017 Grammy Awards

February 13, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place on February 12, 2017, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.


Grammy win:

Best R&B Performance (“Cranes in the Sky”)

Here is what this Grammy winner said backstage in the Grammy Awards press room.

Solange Knowles at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 12, 2017.
Solange at the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Phil McCarten/CBS)


What does winning this award mean to you?

I think I’m most excited about the fact that I wrote “Cranes in the Sky” in a period of kind of desperation and weariness. And the fact that is resonated in the way that it has now eight years later, a song that kind of got pushed to the side a lot. I knew that this was the right time. And this is such a beautiful honor and I’m so humbled by it, but I honestly felt like I won far before this because of all of the connectivity that the record has had, especially with black women, and the stories that I hear on the street, so it’s a wonderful, wonderful night. And yeah, I just feel gratitude.

Your mother always gives you the same amount of credit that she does your sister Beyoncé. How important is that for you?

Well, she’s my mother. I think that just our love and support for both of us has been completely a beautiful love story. And we continue to honor her and all that she has shown us by example of womanhood and womanism. And it just feels like such a joy to have had her be a part of the album to kind of pay that forward.

You’ve become such a fashion icon as well, and it really has enhanced the music. How important is the fashion part of your music?

I think that visual art and all aspects are super-important to me, whether it be through the creation of my videos on my album artwork creating strong visual representation of not only myself but again black women and getting to see us as avant-garde beings in a world that sometimes puts us in a box is really important to me, so thank you for recognizing that.

What artists influence you, especially at a time when artists are speaking out about political issues?

I look to Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye and the artists of our times that have really pushed political messages through their music and their artistry. I think that all that we can do as artists and especially of songwriters is write about what’s true to us. And I think that the music that is out right now that is really connecting and thriving reflects that. And I’m really grateful to those artists for paying it through, because it’s not easy. It’s scary putting yourself on the line when you’re making political and social statements with your work.

So I just honor the greats. I look to Nina Simone, who did that during a time where it’s interesting to protect the trajectory of her career now. She’s being so celebrated and revered, but she was really shut up during that time; she was really told to just sing. And so those are the artists who paved the way for us to do what we’re doing now. We’re not doing nothing new.

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