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Feb 26, 2014

Oscars pit gravitas of ‘Slave’ against pull of ‘Gravity’

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – To historian Brenda Stevenson, a scholar on American slavery, “12 Years a Slave” is a masterful cinematic work that achieves more than any other film on slavery, so worthy that she plans to screen it in classes at her university, UCLA.

It’s the kind of validation “12 Years a Slave” has been earning from experts, critics, audiences and the film industry for six months now. Even so, the acclaimed drama may falter in the final test, losing out on the most coveted of movie prizes, the Academy Award for best picture.

Feb 25, 2014

Oscar producers bank on ‘funny, very kind’ host Ellen DeGeneres

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Now they know how big the show is and how much people care, but the producers of the Oscars aren’t making any apologies for their maiden effort running Hollywood’s biggest show last year or the provocative humor of its host, Seth MacFarlane.

Despite some harsh reviews from TV critics, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron pulled in the largest U.S. audience in three years, a ratings bump in the 18-49 demographic coveted by TV networks and, perhaps most importantly for them, a second chance to show what they could do.

Feb 23, 2014

Actors Kevin Hart, Forest Whitaker are big winners at NAACP awards

, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Comedian and actor
Kevin Hart won the coveted Entertainer of the Year at the NAACP
Image Awards on Saturday, while Oscar-winning actor Forest
Whitaker was honored with awards for both his career and his
latest role as a White House butler.

One week before the Academy Awards, one of the frontrunners
for best picture “12 Years a Slave” won the best motion picture
award for the real-life story of an American slave, while
newcomer Lupita Nyong’o won best supporting actress for her
first film role in the brutal drama.

Feb 20, 2014

Movie academy’s 1st black chief sees films building diversity

, Feb 20 (Reuters) – When Cheryl Boone
Isaacs presides over the Oscars on March 2, her mere presence
will convey a statement on diversity in Hollywood as the first
African-American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences and its third woman in its 86 years.

But as the head of a body that takes knocks every year at
Oscar voting time for a 6,000-plus membership that is
overwhelmingly white, mostly male and older, Boone Isaacs
offers no quick fixes for diversifying the academy or the
industry.

Feb 16, 2014

Top techs behind moviemaking get their star turn from Academy

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) – From the inventors of the pneumatic car flipper to the software developers who replaced clay modeling with digital sculpture, dozens of behind-the-scenes cinematic innovators turned out on Saturday to receive recognition from the film industry.

Two weeks before the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out its Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards for the visual effects behind groundbreaking films such as “Avatar”, “Life of Pi” and “Gravity”.

Feb 11, 2014

Oscar nominees hobnob three weeks ahead of Hollywood’s big night

, Feb 10 (Reuters) – This year’s Oscar
nominees gathered for the ultimate Hollywood power lunch on
Monday in a celebration of the old adage “it’s an honor just to
be nominated” three weeks before the film industry’s biggest
night.

The annual Oscars nominees luncheon convened more than 200
contenders pursuing an Academy Award on March 2 – from 18-time
nominee Meryl Streep for best actress in “August: Osage County”
to Lupita Nyong’o, who won a best supporting actress nod for her
first film role ever in “12 Years a Slave.”

Feb 4, 2014

For ‘Monuments Men,’ George Clooney gets surprise German gift

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – For the most ambitious of his five films as director, George Clooney assembled a top-shelf cast of fellow actors to play art experts tasked with retrieving artistic treasure stolen by the Germans during World War Two.

There is one person, though, who is not a Hollywood A-lister, not listed in the credits and who may play a big role in the box-office success of “The Monuments Men”: an elderly German recluse who hoarded more than 1,400 artworks stolen by the Nazis and valued at 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

Jan 29, 2014

For World Cup, the beautiful game plays out on museum walls

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Petra Cortright played soccer for 14 years so she was very adept at making a video of herself wearing a pink glowing bathing suit and juggling a ball, or rather an IKEA soccer pillow, which was what she had on hand when inspiration struck.

Now the 27-year-old Los Angeles artist finds herself and that webcam video in the company of Andy Warhol and his 1978 portrait of Pele and 50 other works of art by 30 artists celebrating the so-called “beautiful game” in this year of the World Cup in Brazil.

Jan 29, 2014

Soccer-For World Cup, the beautiful game plays out on museum walls

LOS ANGELES, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Petra Cortright played
soccer for 14 years so she was very adept at making a video of
herself wearing a pink glowing bathing suit and juggling a ball,
or rather an IKEA soccer pillow, which was what she had on hand
when inspiration struck.

Now the 27-year-old Los Angeles artist finds herself and
that webcam video in the company of Andy Warhol and his 1978
portrait of Pele and 50 other works of art by 30 artists
celebrating the so-called “beautiful game” in this year of the
World Cup in Brazil.

Jan 27, 2014

French DJ duo Daft Punk, teenage Lorde take top Grammys

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – French electronic music DJs Daft Punk and New Zealand teen Lorde took home the top Grammy awards on Sunday in a night that rewarded robots and newcomers, and recognized marriage equality.

In a first for the Grammys or any big U.S. awards show, thirty-three couples, both same-sex and straight, were married by singer Queen Latifah, to the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis gay rights anthem, “Same Love.” Madonna emerged in a white suit and cowboy hat to conclude the singing ceremony with “Open Your Heart.”

    • About Mary

      "Mary Milliken is Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor for the Americas since July 2013, based in Los Angeles. In 15 years with Reuters, she been bureau chief in Washington DC, the West Coast and South America and has organized news teams covering everything from presidential elections to economic crises to natural disasters. She speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese."
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