A Tight Contest for La La Land, Moonlight,

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Manchester By the Sea

Vanessa Obioha

With the release of the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globes Awards nomination lists over the week, it is clear that La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea are in for a keenly contested battle. They’ve all received vast reception since their premiere in cinemas. This obviously is a clear indicator that they are the frontrunners in the upcoming Academy Awards.

Manchester by the Sea leads the pack in SAG awards with four nods including ‘Outstanding Performance by a Cast in Motion Picture’. It is closely followed by Moonlight which scooped three nods and La La Land, two.
But in Golden Globes, La La Land dominates with seven nominations which include Best Original Score; Best Picture, Comedy or Musical; Best Actor Comedy and Best Actress Comedy.

The three movies are up against one another in the categories for Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Barry Jenkins who directed Moonlight was once a carpenter before he finally embraced film-making. He produced the widely acclaimed ‘Medicine for Melancholy’. He was also a nominee of the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Director for Moonlight.

The youngest of all, Damien Chazelle on the other hand is a failed musician who became successful in film directing and screenwriting. His breakthrough came in 2014 when he wrote and directed his second feature film Whiplash. Whiplash scooped numerous nominations including five in Academy Awards. Chazelle also co-wrote the movie ‘10 Cloverfield Lane’. La La Land is his second musical and so far is praised for the leading stars as well as the riveting storyline.

Kenneth Lonergan is no stranger in the film industry. The 54 year-old playwright and director has recorded huge successes notably his 2000 film ‘You can Count on Me’. Lonergan is greatly lauded for his intriguing plot in Manchester by the Sea.
SAG Awards and Golden Globes will hold on Jan 29, 2017, and Jan 8, 2017 respectively.

U.N. ENDS WONDER WOMAN CAMPAIGN
A series of backlash and protests threatened the relationship between UN and Wonder Woman. The campaign which kicked off two months ago amidst great fanfare featured the female superhero as an inspiration to women and girls all over the world. The campaign was geared to promote gender equity worldwide as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

But the animated representation was greatly opposed by many who felt the character was an inappropriate choice to represent female empowerment.
About 45,000 women signed the petition kicking against the choice.
However, the UN disputed the fact that their decision to terminate the contract was due to avalanche of protests. It cited the ‘Red’ character in ‘Angry Birds’ who only spent a day in May as an honorary ambassador for climate issues.

BAFTA TILTS TOWARDS DIVERSITY
Learning from the Oscars so White controversy this year, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced a number of changes designed to boost diversity in its membership.

The new rules stipulates that from 2019, only films that conform to the 2014 BFI’s Diversity Standards will be eligible to contest in two of its award categories: Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer.

“To qualify for award nomination, film-makers will have to show they have worked to increase the representation of under-represented groups in areas including onscreen representation and industry access and opportunities,” the Academy says in a statement.

In addition, it recently added 375 new members following a survey to understand the diversity group in its membership group. Some of the new members include actors Idris Elba, Emily Blunt, Sophie Okonedo and David Oyelowo, directors Andrew Haigh, Paul King and Lone Scherfig, and writers Phyllis Nagy and Jonathan Nolan.
It also removed the requirement for a proposer and seconder to apply for membership from 2017.

LUPE FIASCO QUITS MUSIC FOR THE SECOND TIME
The first time the rapper made the announcement was in 2012 but came back to announce the release of three albums this year. These too, will not see daylight as the rapper again in a series of tweets declared that he is cancelling his album and leaving music for good.

His decision came in the wake of social media critics who accused him for his anti-semitism lyrics in his freestyle single N.E.R.D.
A line from the rap suggested that Jewish executives rob artistes of their monies because they think that it is alms from the covenant.
Social media as usual came for the Chicago rapper. Despite the rapper’s defense that the lyrics are innocuous, his song was removed from Soundcloud.
This apparently led to the announcement on Twitter that the albums are cancelled and he is quitting music. However, he let his fans know that he is gearing up to tell the truth.

NEW RUSSIAN REALITY TV SHOW ALLOWS CRIMES…BUT WITH A CAVEAT
An unusual reality TV show is set to hit Russia’s TV screens next year.
Called Game 2: Winter, the show will allow all manner of crimes like rape, alcohol and murder. But contestants will have to sign a waiver acknowledging that they may not survive the nine-month wilderness challenge, and if crimes are committed, they will be arrested.

The deadly challenge will feature 30 contestants who will stay in the wintry weather of Siberian wilderness for nine months with the surviving winner receiving a $1.6m prize. The show will stream 24/7 online.
The Guardian UK reports that an advert of the reality show reads:
“Each contestant gives consent that they could be maimed, even killed. 2000 cameras, 900 hectares and 30 lives. Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.

“You must understand that the police will come and take you away. “We are on the territory of Russia, and obey the laws of the Russian Federation.”
A brainchild of entrepreneur Yevgeny Pyatkovsky, contestants will be allowed to carry knives but prohibited from carrying guns since they will be placed in a landscape where bears and wolves are likely to be living. No crew will be on site but rather 2,000 cameras dotted around the area. Each contestant will also have their own personal recording device. Willing participants need to be 18 and “mentally sane” to compete.
Pyatkovsky expressed optimism that the show will go international because Five countries have already expressed the desire to broadcast it for their audiences. He also claims that 60 people have already applied, including one American. However, he refused to be held responsible for any crime committed to any of the participants in the show.

NBCUNIVERSAL LAUNCHES OLYMPIC
CHANNEL
The network announced its plans to launch a new cable network recently that focus on the Olympics, but with more emphasis on American athletes.
Called the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, the channel will feature Olympic sporting events and programming from around the world. There will also be Olympics-related programs commissioned for the channel, along with archival footage and films from the libraries of NBC Sports and the IOC. However, Olympic Channel will not program any Olympic coverage during the the weeks the Games are held.

The channel is a partnership between the network, International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee. Its main objective is to promote and build interest in the Games and the athletes in the two years between each Olympics.
It will only be available to cable TV subscribers and will be launched in the second half of 2017.

JULIA ROBERTS HEADS TO THE SMALL SCREEN
The ‘Pretty Woman’ star is taking the role of a messy woman who wakes up expecting to live the best day of her life on the miniseries based on Maria Semple’s book: “Today Will Be Different”
The TV series is a comeback for Julia Roberts who plays Eleanor Flood. Her fantasies to live the best of her life is cut short when she finds a strange, new future unfolding.
Roberts will produce the series through her Red Om Films banner. No network is attached to the project yet.

STEVE HARVEY GETS A SECOND CHANCE AT MISS UNIVERSE 2016
After his blunder of announcing the wrong winner at the 2015 Miss Universe, the talk show host will return to the pageant next month.
Early this year, Steve Harvey suffered a major slip-up when he mistakenly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner of the contest. She had received the crown, sash and flowers before Harvey returned to the stage to tell the audience that he read his cue card wrong.

Gutierrez watched in disbelief as the crown was removed from her head and placed on Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach’s.
Harvey was publicly ridiculed andreceived death threats for his blunder.
The 2016 Miss Universe pageant will take place in the Philippines on January 29, 2017.