Selma
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  • Women and Film Roundup: Disney Announces Latina Princess; Soloway and DuVernay Get New Shows

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    Disney princess Elena of Avalor

    Elena of Avalor

    A big day of news for women in Hollywood as two female directors who had massive 2014’s land new shows while Disney announced the roll-out of their first-ever Latina princess.

    Starting with Disney, they recently announced that they will be introducing a Latina “princess” into their world of female protagonists with the creation of Elena of Avalor. However, unlike her fellow minority princesses such as Mulan, Pocahantas, and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, right now Princess Elena will stay confined to the small screen as she will first appear on the immensely popular series Sofia the First before receiving her own show on the Disney Junior channel.

    With Latinos still drastically underrepresented on both film and television—while they make up 16% of the US population, they only account for less than 5% of speaking characters on screen— this is certainly a step in a better direction.

    Jill Soloway

    Jill Soloway

    Meanwhile, Transparent creator Jill Soloway, who recently won a Golden Globe for the show, is reported to be developing a new feminist-themed buddy comedy starring Ashley Skidmore and Lyle Friedman as two women who seek to save womankind after being struck by lightning. Both Skidmore and Friedman will also write for and executive produce the show.

    In the case of Selma director Ava DuVernay, who also just announced plans to direct a film about Hurricane Katrina, she is also now writing, directing, and executive producing an original series for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. The show is based on Natalie Baszile’s novel Queen Sugar about a woman who uproots her teen daughter from their posh L.A. community to an 800-acre sugar cane farm in Louisiana. Production on the show is slated to begin later this year.

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    February 3, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4217

  • Obama to Screen Selma at the White House

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    David Oyelowo and Ava Duvernay on the Selma set

    David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay on the set of Selma. Photo: Paramount Pictures

    While Thursday did not go as largely expected for the cast and crew of Selma, who despite winning nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Song, did not receive nominations for its director Ava DuVernay and lead actor David Oyelowo, one additional accolade the film received yesterday was being picked by President Obama for a special screening at the Executive Mansion tonight, January 16. DuVernay and her cast were all invited, with Oyelowo, Common, and John Legend all slated to attend.

    The screening was announced late Thursday afternoon, hours after the nominations came through from LA and following growing rage on both social media and amongst activists who decried the total lack of performers of color from the Oscar nominations, with the Reverend Al Sharpton calling the nominations “appallingly insulting.”

    However, DuVernay sought to keep the mood positive, tweeting earlier in the day, “Happy Birthday, Dr. King. An Oscar gift for you. To SELMA cast + crew led by our miracle David Oyelowo. To Common + Legend! Kudos! March on!” Rapper Common and singer John Legend were nominated for their song “Glory” which picked up a Best Original Song award at Sunday’s Golden Globes and Common also shared his joy over his joint nomination on Twitter.

    This continues a tradition of Obama holding Hollywood screenings at the White House, with past screenings including Lincoln and Mandela: Long Walk Of Freedom. Furthermore, black business leaders across the country have joined together to sponsor free screenings of the civil rights film that chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to over 90,000 middle school and high school students across the country.

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    January 16, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4524

  • And This Year’s Oscar Nominations Are…

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    A collage of the 2015 Oscar Best Picture Nominees

    The 2015 Best Picture Oscar nominees, clockwise from left: The Theory of Everything, Boyhood, The Imitation Game, Selma, Whiplash, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, American Sniper

    The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced Thursday, Jan 15 with all of the nominees being announced live for the first time, with directors J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón announcing the first batch and actor Chris Pine and Academy Cheryl Boone Isaacs announcing the second group of nominees. And while this year had predictors preparing for a by-the-numbers slate of nominees, the Academy threw more than a few curveballs our way, with Selma getting largely snubbed and Boyhood and Birdman cementing their likely domination come Oscar night with The Grand Budapest making a surprisingly strong showing with nine nominations, tying with Birdman for most nominations.

    Starting at the top, the nominees for Best Picture dropped to eight candidates from nine in the previous years with American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash competing for the main prize. While this category largely came down as expected, one can’t help but wonder if Foxcatcher was dropped to make it an even eight, not to mention the surprise that both Whiplash and The Grand Budapest Hotel maintained momentum throughout the year despite early releases and buzz (the Academy tends to favor films released during the Fall).

    In the Best Actor category, the five nominees had all been favorites throughout awards season, though Bradley Cooper’s turn in American Sniper seemed to take out late-season favorites David Oyelowo in Selma and Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. The full list of nominees are Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, Bradley Cooper in American Sniper, Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, Michael Keaton in Birdman, and Steve Carell in Foxcatcher.

    Competing for best actress, the nominees, similar to their male counterparts, were mostly favorites throughout the season though one can’t help but imagine how Marion Cotillard managed to squeeze out Cake’s Jennifer Anniston for her turn in the Belgian film Two Days, One Night. One thing is for sure, both actresses gave incredible performances and as there can only be five, someone is always going to get the short stick. The nominees are Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, Julianne Moore in Still Alice, Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night, Reese Witherspoon in Wild, and Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl.

    However, the big shocker came in the Achievement in Directing category as Selma’s Ava DuVernay was snubbed, seemingly in favor of relative newcomer Morten Tyldum and his The Imitation Game. Also, for American Sniper making such a surprisingly strong showing, one can’t help but wonder if Bennett Miller and Foxcatcher pushed out Clint Eastwood. The nominees are Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman, Bennet Miller for Foxcatcher, Morton Tyldum for The Imitation Game, Richard Linklater for Boyhood, and Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

    One of the bigger surprises came in the form of Robert Duvall for his turn in The Judge, a role that had seemingly zero Oscar buzz going into the nominations. J.K. Simmons was of course nominated for Whiplash, where he continues to be the front-runner, with Edward Norton in Birdman, Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, and Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher rounding out the category.

    Finally, in the Best Supporting Actress category, the nominees were largely as expected, though Laura Dern’s flashback-heavy role in Wild edged out other late contenders like Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year and Rene Russo in Nightcrawler. Dern will be competing against Emma Stone in Birdman, Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game, Meryl Steep in Into the Woods, and Patricia Arquette in Boyood.

    A few of the other big surprises coming out of LA this morning was The Lego Movie not even being included in the Best Animated Feature category, which was long considered to take the award. On the bright side, the fantastic “Everything is Awesome” was included in the Best Song category. Furthermore, while Rosamund Pike did score a Best Actress nom for Gone Girl, this early awards season heavyweight joined Selma in the snubbed category. Finally, in the Best Documentary category, the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, also considered to be a lock for the award, failed to even score a nomination.

    All in all, Oscar night just got a lot more interested and we hope you’ll join us when we Live Tweet the ceremony on February 22nd.

    Click Read More to see the full list of nominees below.

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    January 15, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 6940