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Sonia Pantiss

Sonia is the heart and the artist of the team. She loves art and all that it implies. As Sonia says, good music, a well directed movie, or attending a music or film festival melts people’s heart and make them better. She is great at painting and photography. Working on scrapbooks is her favorite activity.

Janet Hubert, who left the show in 1993 halfway through its six year run, has blamed Will Smith for her departure since, claiming she was dismissed because she refused to bow to his ego

Will Smith has revealed who will play him in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot.

Jabari Banks will take on the role of Will in the upcoming reboot of the hit TV sitcom.

The character catapulted Will Smith, now 52, to stardom in the early 1990s.

“It is an absolute pleasure to meet you, to be on with you, and from the deepest parts of my heart I want to say congratulations to you,” he told Jabari Banks in a video call.

“You have the role of Will on Bel-Air.”

“I’m ready, I’m so ready,” replied Jabari Banks, who revealed his father had suggested he try out for the part after reading an article about it.

“This is a dream come true,” he added.

Jabari Banks said the show had a huge impact on his life, adding that he once got his friends to join him in dressing up as characters from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air while he was at high school.

The reboot, which will appear on NBC streaming service Peacock, was inspired by a 2019 viral fan video by Morgan Cooper, who re-imagined the comedy as a modern-day drama.

Morgan Cooper was snapped up to work on the new project, produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith Westbrook Studios and Universal Television, where he will now be joined by Jabari Banks.

The original Will told the new one: “You’ve got a fantastic road ahead of you, and I’m looking forward to being an asset for you in this process as you build out your life and build out your career.”

Janet Hubert still blames Will Smith for her departure from The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air cast

Will Smith’s Focus tops North American box office with $19 million

According to Deadline, this will be Jabari Banks’ first TV role.

A resident of west Philadelphia, which is also where the titular character was famously “born and raised”, Jabari Banks graduated from the city’s University of the Arts in 2020.

Jabari Banks is also an accomplished singer-songwriter, rapper, and basketball player.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran for six seasons from 1990 to 1996, starred Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at the age of 80.

Charlie Watts helped the Rolling Stones become one of the greatest bands in rock ‘n’ roll.

A statement from the band’s publicist announced his death: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts.”

The statement said Charlie Watts was “a cherished husband, father and grandfather” and “one of the greatest drummers of his generation”.

Tributes have come from stars including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Elton John.

Paul McCartney described Charlie Watts as “a lovely guy” and “a fantastic drummer” who was “steady as a rock”.

Elton John tweeted: “A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company.”

L’Wren Scott death: Rolling Stones call off Australia and New Zealand tour

Rolling Stones open 50 and Counting tour in LA after being forced to slash ticket prices to ensure full houses

The news came weeks after it was announced that Charlie Watts would miss the band’s US tour dates to recover from an unspecified medical procedure. Charlie Watts was previously treated for throat cancer in 2004.

Charlie Watts had been a member of the Stones since January 1963, when he joined Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones in their fledgling group.

He helped them become, with The Beatles, one of the bands who took rock ‘n’ roll to the masses in the 60s with classics like (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Get Off My Cloud and Sympathy for the Devil.

The statement from the Rolling Stones’ publicist said: “He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today [August 24] surrounded by his family.

“We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.”

In 2016, Charlie Watts was ranked 12th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest drummers of all time.

The drummer is survived by his wife Shirley, daughter Seraphina and granddaughter Charlotte.


Here is the full list of the winners of the 93rd Academy Awards held on April 25th at Union Station:

Best picture

  • Winner: Nomadland
  • The Father
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Mank
  • Minari
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Sound of Metal
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best actress

  • Winner: Frances McDormand – Nomadland
  • Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Andra Day – The United States vs Billie Holiday
  • Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
  • Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best actor

  • Winner: Anthony Hopkins – The Father
  • Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
  • Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Gary Oldman – Mank
  • Steven Yeun – Minari

Best supporting actress

  • Winner: Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari
  • Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
  • Olivia Colman – The Father
  • Amanda Seyfried – Mank

Best supporting actor

  • Winner: Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Leslie Odom Jr – One Night in Miami
  • Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
  • Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah

Best director

  • Winner: Nomadland – Chloe Zhao
  • Another Round – Thomas Vinterberg
  • Mank – David Fincher
  • Minari – Lee Isaac Chung
  • Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell

Best original screenplay

  • Winner: Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
  • Judas and the Black Messiah – Will Berson, Shaka King, Will Berson, Kenny Lucas and Keith Lucas
  • Minari – Lee Isaac Chung
  • Sound of Metal – Darius Marder, Abraham Marder, Derek Cianfrance
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin

Best adapted screenplay

  • Winner: The Father – Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller
  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman and Lee Kern
  • Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
  • One Night in Miami – Kemp Powers
  • The White Tiger – Ramin Bahrani

Best animated feature

  • Winner: Soul
  • Onward
  • Over the Moon
  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
  • Wolfwalkers

Best documentary feature

  • Winner: My Octopus Teacher – Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster
  • Collective – Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana
  • Crip Camp – Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder
  • The Mole Agent – Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez
  • Time – Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn

Best international feature

  • Winner: Another Round (Denmark)
  • Better Days (Hong Kong)
  • Collective (Romania)
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia)
  • Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Best original song

  • Winner: Fight For You – Judas and the Black Messiah (H.E.R., Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas)
  • Hear my Voice – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite)
  • Husavik – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson)
  • Io Si (Seen) – The Life Ahead [La Vita Davanti a Se] (Diane Warren and Laura Pausini)
  • Speak Now – One Night in Miami… (Leslie Odom, Jr and Sam Ashworth)

Best original score

  • Winner: Soul – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste
  • Da 5 Bloods – Terence Blanchard
  • Mank – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
  • Minari – Emile Mosseri
  • News of the World – James Newton Howard

Best cinematography

  • Winner: Mank – Erik Messerschmidt
  • Judas and the Black Messiah – Sean Bobbitt
  • News of the World – Dariusz Wolski
  • Nomadland – Joshua James Richards
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Phedon Papamichael

Best visual effects

  • Winner: Tenet – Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher
  • Love and Monsters – Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox
  • The Midnight Sky – Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
  • Mulan – Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram
  • The One and Only Ivan – Santiago Colomo Martinez, Nick Davis, Greg Fisher

Best film editing

  • Winner: Sound of Metal – Mikkel EG Nielsen
  • The Father – Yorgos Lamprinos
  • Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
  • Promising Young Woman – Frédéric Thoraval
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Alan Baumgarten

Best costume design

  • Winner: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ann Roth
  • Emma – Alexandra Byrne
  • Mank – Trish Summerville
  • Mulan – Bina Daigeler
  • Pinocchio – Massimo Cantini Parrini

Best sound

  • Winner: Sound of Metal – Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh
  • Greyhound – Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman
  • Mank – Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin
  • News of the World – Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett
  • Soul – Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker

Best production design

  • Winner: Mank – Donald Graham Burt and Jan Pascale
  • The Father – Peter Francis and Cathy Featherstone
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Mark Ricker, Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton
  • News of the World – David Crank and Elizabeth Keenan
  • Tenet – Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas

Best make-up and hairstyling

  • Winner: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson
  • Emma – Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze
  • Hillbilly Elegy – Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney
  • Mank – Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri and Colleen LaBaff
  • Pinocchio – Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti

Best live action short

  • Winner: Two Distant Strangers – Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe
  • Feeling Through – Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski
  • The Letter Room – Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan
  • The Present – Farah Nabulsi
  • White Eye – Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman

Best animated short

  • Winner: If Anything Happens I Love You – Will McCormack and Michael Govier
  • Burrow – Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat
  • Genius Loci – Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise
  • Opera – Erick Oh
  • Yes-People – Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson

Best documentary short

  • Winner: Colette – Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard
  • A Concerto is a Conversation – Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers
  • Do Not Split – Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook
  • Hunger Ward – Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman
  • A Love Song for Latasha – Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan


Nomadland has scooped three Oscars including best picture, while Anthony Hopkins and Daniel Kaluuya have won acting awards.

Nomadland’s Chloe Zhao made history as the first woman of color and second woman to win best director.

Anthony Hopkins, 83, is the oldest winner of best actor, while Daniel Kaluuya is the first black British actor to win an Oscar – for the best supporting award.

British actress-turned-writer/director Emerald Fennell won a screenplay award.

She won best original screenplay for Promising Young Woman, which she also directed.

Frances McDormand won best actress for her role in Nomadland, while veteran South Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn won best supporting actress for Minari.

The awards were handed out in one of the grand halls at Los Angeles’s stylish Union Station to allow for a Covid-safe ceremony, while many UK-based nominees were at a venue in London – although Anthony Hopkins was at neither.

Anthony Hopkins won best actor for his masterful performance as a man suffering with dementia in The Father, 29 years after he won his first Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs.

The actor’s victory was the biggest surprise of the night. The award had been tipped to go to the late Chadwick Boseman, who died at the age of 43 last August, for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

It was perhaps a surprise to Sir Anthony himself, who was neither in LA nor at the British Film Institute in London, the ceremony’s UK venue.

Anthony Hopkins was thought to be in his native Wales, and there was not an option to appear via Zoom, meaning he did not appear on screen or in person.

The Father also won best adapted screenplay for Sir Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, who called Sir Anthony “the greatest living actor”.

Golden Globes 2021: Full List of Winners

Nomadland, the slow-burning drama about a woman living in her van in the American West after the financial crash, won the top prize for best film, plus best director and best actress.

Frances McDormand, who now has three best actress Oscars, is one of the only professional performers in the film. Most of the rest of the cast is made up of real people playing fictionalized versions of themselves.

In her acceptance speech, Chloe Zhao thanked the real-life nomads “for teaching us the power of resilience and hope”.

Before Chloe Zhao, the only woman to have won the directing prize in the Oscars’ 92-year history was Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010.

Meanwhile, black-and-white film Mank, which led the nominations with 10, picked up two awards, as did Sound of Metal, Judas and the Black Messiah, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Soul.

Oscars 2021 big winners:

  • Nomadland – 3
  • The Father – 2
  • Judas and the Black Messiah – 2
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – 2
  • Mank – 2
  • Soul – 2
  • Sound of Metal – 2


The winners of the 63rd Grammy Awards have been announced at a star-studded hybrid in-person and online event in Los Angeles.

Here are the winners and nominees in the key categories.

Album of the year

  • WINNER: Folklore – Taylor Swift
  • Chilombo – Jhené Aiko
  • Black Pumas – Black Pumas
  • Everyday Life – Coldplay
  • Djesse vol. 3 – Jacob Collier
  • Women in Music Pt. III – Haim
  • Future Nostalgia – Dua Lipa
  • Hollywood’s Bleeding – Post Malone

Record of the year

  • WINNER: Everything I Wanted – Billie Eilish
  • Black Parade – Beyoncé
  • Colors – Black Pumas
  • Rockstar – DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch
  • Say So – Doja Cat
  • Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa
  • Circles – Post Malone
  • Savage (Remix) – Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé

Song of the year

  • WINNER: I Can’t Breathe – H.E.R
  • Black Parade – Beyoncé
  • The Box – Roddy Ricch
  • Cardigan – Taylor Swift
  • Circles – Post Malone
  • Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa
  • Everything I Want – Billie Eilish
  • If the World Was Ending – JP Saxe and Julia Michaels

Best new artist

  • Winner: Megan Thee Stallion
  • Ingrid Andress
  • Phoebe Bridgers
  • Chika
  • Noah Cyrus
  • D Smoke
  • Doja Cat
  • Kaytranada

Best pop solo performance

  • WINNER: Watermelon Sugar – Harry Styles
  • Yummy – Justin Bieber
  • Say So – Doja Cat
  • Everything I Wanted – Billie Eilish
  • Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa
  • Cardigan – Taylor Swift

Best pop duo/group performance

  • WINNER: Rain on Me – Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande
  • Un Dia (One Day) – J Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny and Tainy
  • Intentions -Justin Bieber featuring Quavo
  • Dynamite – BTS
  • Exile – Taylor Swift featuring Bon Iver

Best pop vocal album

  • WINNER: Future Nostalgia – Dua Lipa
  • Changes – Justin Bieber
  • Chromatica – Lady Gaga
  • Fine Line – Harry Styles
  • Folklore – Taylor Swift

Best progressive R&B album

  • WINNER: It Is What It Is – Thundercat
  • Chilombo – Jhene Aiko
  • Ungodly Hour – Chloe X Halle
  • Free Nationals – Free Nationals
  • F*** Your Feelings – Robert Glasper

Best rap song

  • WINNER: Savage (Remix) – Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé
  • The Bigger Picture – Lil Baby
  • The Box – Roddy Ricch
  • Laugh Now Cry Later – Drake featuring Lil Durk
  • Rockstar – Da Baby featuring Roddy Ricch

Best rap album

  • WINNER: King’s Disease – Nas
  • Black Habits – D Smoke
  • Alfredo – Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist
  • A Written Testimony – Jay Electronica
  • The Allegory – Royce da 5’9

Best melodic rap performance

  • WINNER: Lockdown – Anderson .Paak
  • Rockstar – Dababy featuring Roddy Ricch
  • Laugh Now Cry Later – Drake featuring Lil Dur
  • The Box – Roddy Ricch
  • Highest in the Room – Travis Scott

Best dance recording

  • WINNER: 10% – Kaytranada featuring Kali Uchis
  • On My Mind – Diplo and Sidepiece
  • My High – Disclosure featuring Amine and Slowthai
  • The Difference – Flume featuring Toro y Moi
  • Both of Us – Jayda G

Best dance/electronic album

  • WINNER: Bubba – Kaytranada
  • Kick I – Arca
  • Planet’s Mad – Baauer
  • Energy – Disclosure
  • Food Faith – Madeon

Best rock performance

  • WINNER: Shameika – Fiona Apple
  • Not – Big Thief
  • Kyoto – Phoebe Bridgers
  • The Steps – Haim
  • Stay High – Brittany Howard
  • Daylight – Grace Potter

Best metal performance

  • WINNER: Bodycount – Bum Rush
  • Code Orange – Underneath
  • The In-between – In This Moment
  • Bloodmoney – Poppy
  • Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe) – Live by Power Trip

Best rock album

  • WINNER: The New Abnormal – The Strokes
  • A Hero’s Death – Fontaines DC
  • Kiwanuka – Michael Kiwanuka
  • Daylight – Grace Potter
  • Sound & Fury – Sturgill Simpson

Best alternative album

  • WINNER: Fetch the Bolt Cutters – Fiona Apple
  • Hyperspace – Beck
  • Punisher – Phoebe Bridgers
  • Jaime – Brittany Howard
  • The Slow Rush – Tame Impala

Best R&B performance

  • WINNER: Black Parade – Beyoncé
  • Lightning and Thunder – Jhené Aiko featuring John Legend
  • All I Need – Jacob Collier featuring Mahalia and Ty Dolla $ign
  • Goat Head – Brittany Howard
  • See Me – Emily King

Best country album

  • WINNER: Wildcard – Miranda Lambert
  • Lady Like – Ingrid Andress
  • Your LIfe is a Record – Brandy Clark
  • Nightfall – Little Big Town
  • Never Will – Ashley McBryde

Best Country Solo Performance

  • WINNER: When My Army Prays – Vince Gill
  • Stick That in Your Country Song – Eric Church
  • Who You Thought I Was – Brandy Clark
  • Black Like Me – Mickey Guyton
  • Bluebird – Miranda Lambert

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

  • WINNER: 10,000 Hours – Dan + Shay & Justin Bieber
  • All Night – Brothers Osborne
  • Ocean – Lady A
  • Sugar Coat – Little Big Town
  • Some People Do – Old Dominion

Best musical theatre album

  • WINNER: Jagged Little Pill
  • Amelie
  • American Utopia on Broadway
  • The Prince of Egypt
  • Soft Power
  • Little Shop of Horrors

Producer of the year, non-classical

  • WINNER: Andrew Watt
  • Jack Antonoff
  • Dan Auerbach
  • Dave Cobb
  • Flying Lotus

Best music video

  • WINNER: Brown Skin Girl – Beyoncé ft Blue Ivy and Wizkid
  • Life is Good – Future Featuring Drake
  • Lockdown – Anderson .Paak
  • Adore You – Harry Styles
  • Goliath – Woodkid


The best film and TV shows of 2020 were celebrated at the Golden Globe Awards held on February 28, 2021.

The full list of winners:

Best motion picture – drama

  • The Father
  • Mank
  • WINNER: Nomadland
  • Promising Young Woman
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best actress in a motion picture – drama

  • Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • WINNER: Andra Day, The United States vs Billie Holiday
  • Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
  • Frances McDormand, Nomadland
  • Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best actor in a motion picture – drama

  • Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
  • WINNER: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Father
  • Gary Oldman, Mank
  • Tahar Rahim, The Mauritanian

Best motion picture – musical or comedy

  • WINNER: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Hamilton
  • Music
  • Palm Springs
  • The Prom

Best actress in a motion picture – musical or comedy

  • Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Kate Hudson, Music
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit
  • WINNER: Rosamund Pike, I Care A Lot
  • Anya Taylor-Joy, Emma

Best actor in a motion picture – musical or comedy

  • WINNER: Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • James Corden, The Prom
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
  • Dev Patel, The Personal History of David Copperfield
  • Andy Samberg, Palm Springs

Best supporting actress in any motion picture

  • Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
  • Olivia Colman, The Father
  • WINNER: Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian
  • Amanda Seyfried, Mank
  • Helena Zengel, News of the World

Best supporting actor in any motion picture

  • Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • WINNER: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Jared Leto, The Little Things
  • Bill Murray, On the Rocks
  • Leslie Odom Jr, One Night in Miami

Best director – motion picture

  • David Fincher, Mank
  • Regina King, One Night in Miami
  • Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • WINNER: Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
  • Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Best screenplay – motion picture

  • Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, The Father
  • Jack Fincher, Mank
  • Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
  • Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
  • WINNER: Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Gérard Depardieu has been formally placed under investigation over accusations that he raped an actress at his home in 2018.

The woman accuses the French actor of raping and assaulting her in Paris in August 2018.

Gérard Depardieu’s lawyer told AFP that the actor “totally dispute[d]” the allegation, and the investigation should not have been made public.

The arts world in France has been shaken by a series of accusations of abuse against leading figures.

Gérard Depardieu, 73, is one of France’s most famous actors, known for films including Jean de Florette, Green Card and Cyrano.

An initial investigation into the rape allegations was dropped in 2019, with prosecutors citing insufficient evidence, but was reopened last summer. Prosecutors formally placed Gérard Depardieu under investigation in December 2020.

The actor is free but under judicial supervision.

The woman’s lawyer, Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, told AFP she hoped her client’s “private sphere” would be respected as the case unfolded.

Stalin’s Sofa: Gerard Depardieu to Play Joseph Stalin in New Movie

Welcome to New-York: Gerard Depardieu plays Dominique Strauss-Kahn in new film depicting former IMF chief

Able to combine bearish physicality with emotional delicacy on screen, Gérard Depardieu has appeared in some 170 films, getting his big break in 1973 with Les Valseuses (Going Places).

He won the best actor award for Cyrano at Cannes in 1990, and was nominated for an Oscar for the same role.

Green Card, an English-language comedy made the same year, brought him further acclaim outside the French-speaking world.

Off-screen, the actor made headlines in recent years for attacking French tax laws, moving to Belgium in protest.

In 2013, Gérard Depardieu took Russian citizenship, with his decree of naturalization signed personally by President Vladimir Putin.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Actor Dustin Diamond, who played Screech in the popular sitcom Saved by the Bell, has died from cancer at the age of 44, his representative has said.

Dustin Diamond had recently completed a first round of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with lung cancer last month.

The actor’s condition had deteriorated fast in the last week, said agent Roger Paul.

“Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful,” he said on February 1.

Saved by the Bell, a sitcom about a high school friends and their headmaster, ran for four seasons from 1989 to 1993 and was a global hit series. Dustin Diamond played Samuel “Screech” Powers.

Screech Jailed: Dustin Diamond Sentenced to Four Months in Jail over Bar Fight

Dustin Diamond arrested: Screech from Saved By The Bell charged with stabbing a man in bar fight

Co-stars have been paying tribute.

Mario Lopez, who played AC Slater in the sitcom, said: “Dustin, you will be missed, my man. The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on.”

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, known to fans of the show as Zack Morris, tweeted that Dustin Diamond was “a true comedic genius” and said he “will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce”.

Dustin Diamond reprised his role in follow-up series Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. But he did not appear in the recent revival series.

He was also a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother in 2013.

Dustin Diamond served three months in jail after he stabbed a man during an altercation at a bar in Wisconsin in 2014.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Talk show legend Larry King has died at the age of 87.

The giant of US broadcasting, who achieved worldwide fame for interviewing political leaders and celebrities, conducted an estimated 50,000 interviews in his six-decade career, which included 25 years as host of the popular CNN talk show Larry King Live.

Larry King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA, according to Ora Media, a production company he co-founded.

Earlier this month, the veteran talk show host was treated in hospital for Covid-19.

Larry King had faced several health problems in recent years, including heart attacks.

Katie Couric admits to dating Larry King on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Ora Media said in a statement: “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.”

Larry King rose to fame in the 1970s with his radio program The Larry King Show, on the commercial network Mutual Broadcasting System.

He was then the host of Larry King Live on CNN, between 1985 and 2010, carrying out interviews with a host of guests.

Larry King also wrote a column for the USA Today for over 20 years.

Most recently, he hosted another program, Larry King Now, broadcast on Hulu and RT, Russia’s state-controlled international broadcaster.

Image source Wikimedia

Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez are to perform at the inauguration ceremony for President Joe Biden.

It is well-known that Lady Gaga campaigned for Joe Biden during the election, appearing with him on the eve of the presidential election last November.

Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem at the ceremony on January 20. Jennifer Lopez, who also endorsed Joe Biden last year, will give a separate musical performance.

After the ceremony, Tom Hanks will host a star-studded TV special.

Titled Celebrating America, the 90-minute prime-time program will also feature musicians Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons, and will be broadcast live by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC.

Joe Biden’s inaugural committee said it would “celebrate the beginning of a new national journey toward an America united” and “showcase the American people’s resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild”.

FBI Warns of Possible Armed Protests Before Joe Biden’s Inauguration

Trump Inauguration: More than 50 House Democrats Boycott Ceremony

When Joe Biden is inaugurated, Washington DC will still be under a state of emergency after a mob stormed the Capitol on January 6. More than 10,000 National Guard troops will be in the city, with about 5,000 more on standby.

Otherwise, the ceremony’s attendance will be “extremely limited” in line with social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Biden team, which has urged Americans to avoid travelling to the capital.

Donald Trump announced last week that he will avoid the ceremony after disputing the election result, becoming the first president to skip the inauguration of his successor since 1869.

When President Donald Trump was inaugurated four years ago, 16-year-old former American Idol contestant Jackie Evancho sang the national anthem, while country stars Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood, and rock band 3 Doors Down were among the attractions at a special concert the night before.


This year’s Grammy Awards has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns, the organizers have announced.

The ceremony, one of the music industry’s biggest awards, was due to take place on January 31.

The 2021Grammy Awards will now take place on March 14, due to rising infection numbers in Los Angeles and the state of California.

Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa led the nominations for this year’s awards, which were announced in November.

A statement from the Recording Academy, which runs the Grammys, said: “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show.”

It is unclear whether comedian Trevor Noah, who was set to host the show, will still take part in this year’s ceremony.

Grammys 2020: Full List of Winners

The Grammys’ new date clashes with the previously-announced Screen Actors’ Guild awards. The actors union said it was “extremely disappointed” by the scheduling conflict.

“We announced the same date for the SAG Awards last July with the intent to give the greatest possible scheduling consideration for other awards shows,” it said in a statement.

“We expect the same consideration from sister organizations throughout the industry.”

It said it was in conversation with the Recording Academy in an attempt to resolve the situation.

This year’s Grammys were already due to be a virtual event, in line with other recent award shows, such as the MTV VMAs and the Billboard Awards.

Other major ceremonies, including the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Brit Awards have already been postponed.


The Girl Scouts are in a “highly damaging” recruitment war with the Boy Scouts after the latter opened its core services to girls.

According to lawyers, the “infringement” meant many parents mistakenly signed their daughters up for Boy Scouts, thinking it was Girl Scouts.

In response, the Boy Scouts accused the Girl Scouts of starting a “ground war”.

The BSA dropped the word “boy” from its recruitment program, and opened up to female members, in 2018.

It said at the time that it was renaming the Boy Scouts program Scouts BSA as it prepared to allow girls to join.

But the Girl Scouts said the change would erode their brand, calling the move “uniquely damaging” to them, filing an initial lawsuit in November 2018 against trademark infringement.

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Last month, lawyers acting on behalf of the Boy Scouts asked a judge to throw out the lawsuit, which suggested it could not use “scouts” or “scouting” in its recruitment material for girls.

In the latest filing at the Manhattan federal court on Christmas Eve, the Girl Scouts described the new recruitment program as “highly damaging” to its organization, having caused an “explosion of confusion” among parents.

“As a result of Boy Scouts’ infringement… [there have been] rampant instances of confusion and mistaken instances of association between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts,” the papers stated, adding that the organization could provide proof of such instances.

In a statement released on December 26, the Boy Scouts said this was “not only inaccurate – with no legally admissible instance of this offered to date in the case – but it is also dismissive of the decisions of more than 120,000 girls and young women who have joined Cub Scouts or Scouts BSA”.

In October 2017, the Boy Scouts’ board of directors voted unanimously to open the century-old club to all children.

The move triggered a fierce backlash online, with the Girl Scouts accusing the group of initiating a “covert campaign” to recruit girls into an organization that had a “well-documented” declining membership.

The Boy Scouts reportedly has close to 2.3 million members in the US, down by about a third since 2000, compared with about 1.7 million members for the Girl Scouts – excluding adult volunteers.

Image source: Getty Images

Actor Eddie Hassell has died at the age of 30 after being shot in North Texas on November 1.

Eddie Hassell was best known for his roles in the 2010 Oscar-nominated film The Kids Are All Right, and the NBC TV show Surface.

The star’s representatives confirmed the news of his death to Variety.

Eddie Hassell was killed in what appeared to be a carjacking, although the incident was still being investigated.

According to The New York Times, Eddie Hassell was shot outside his girlfriend’s apartment in a suburb of Dallas just before 2AM on November 1 and died in hospital soon after.

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In 2010, the Texas-born actor showcased his skills to the world in the comedy drama film The Kids Are All Right, which was one of the first mainstream movies to show a same-sex couple raising two teenagers.

It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including best picture.

In it, Eddie Hassell played Clay – a friend of Laser (Josh Hutcherson), whose parents (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) believe Hassell’s character is unstable.

Earlier in his career, Eddie Hassell portrayed Phil Nance – the best friend of schoolboy Miles Barnett – In the science fiction TV series Surface.

He appeared in 10 episodes, acting opposite the likes of Leighton Meester and Lake Bell, before NBC announced in 2006 that the series had been canceled after one season.

In 2013, Eddie Hassell played the young Chris Espinosa in Jobs – a biographical film about Apple founder Steve Jobs, alongside Ashton Kutcher.

Sean Connery joins the long list of celebrities who have been victimized by internet death hoax

Movie icon Sean Connery has died at the age of 90, his family has announced.

The Scottish actor was best known for his portrayal of James Bond, being the first to bring the role to the big screen and appearing in seven of the spy thrillers.

Sean Connery died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas, having been “unwell for some time”, his son, Jason, said.

His acting career spanned five decades and he won an Oscar in 1988 for his role in The Untouchables.

Sir Sean Connery’s other movies included The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.

Jason Connery said his father “had many of his family who could be in the Bahamas around him” when he died overnight in Nassau. Much of Bond film Thunderball had been filmed there.

He said: “We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

Sean Connery’s publicist Nancy Seltzer said: “There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended.”

The actor leaves wife Micheline and sons Jason and Stephane.

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Daniel Craig, the current James Bond, said Sean Connery was “one of the true greats of cinema”.

He said: “Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more.

“He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.

“He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

Sean Connery, from Fountainbridge in Edinburgh, had his first major film appearance in 1957 British gangster film No Road Back.

He first played James Bond in Dr No in 1962 and went on to appear in five other official films – and the unofficial Never Say Never Again in 1983.

He was largely regarded as being the best actor to have played 007 in the long-running franchise, often being named as such in polls.

Sean Connery made the character of James Bond his own, blending ruthlessness with sardonic wit.

Many critics didn’t like it and some of the reviews were scathing. But the public did not agree.

Sean Connery was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Holyrood Palace in 2000. In August, he celebrated his 90th birthday.

Image source: Wikimedia

Robert Redford’s son, James, an activist and filmmaker, has died at the age of 58.

James Redford died on October 16 after being diagnosed with liver cancer, his wife Kyle confirmed via Twitter.

Robert Redford’s publicist, Cindi Berger, said: “The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child.”

“Jamie [James] was a loving son, husband and father,” added Berger, who asked for privacy for the Redford family “during this difficult time”.

“His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking and devoted passion to conservation and the environment.”

James Redford made documentary films, including The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia.

His latest film Playing Keeps, which explored the importance of play and downtime in our lives, was given a virtual premiere online at this month’s Mill Valley Film Festival in California.

His wife of 32 years, Kyle, shared the news of his death online, alongside pictures of the couple and their two children.

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Kyle Redford tweeted: “Jamie died today. We’re heartbroken. He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many. He will be deeply missed. As his wife of 32 yrs, I’m most grateful for the two spectacular children we raised together. I don’t know what we would’ve done w/o them over the past 2yrs.”

James Redford’s wife told the Salt Lake Tribune that he had discovered the cancer diagnosis late last year while awaiting a liver transplant.

His liver disease had returned two years ago, she added.

Robert Redford, 84, has three other children, including the actress Amy Redford.

Image source Flickr

Schitt’s Creek, Watchmen and Succession were the big winners at the 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which were held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s ceremony, held on September 20, 2020, was presented from an eerily empty Staples Center in Los Angeles by Jimmy Kimmel, with only a few guest presenters joining him in the studio.

It was a significantly lower-key event this year, with most winners dialing in to make their acceptance speeches from home.

Schitt’s Creek won nine prizes – breaking the Emmys record for most wins in a single season for a comedy.

It was a glowing send-off for the Canadian series, which broadcast its sixth and final season this year.

Succession took home the night’s top prize, best drama series, as well as best actor for Jeremy Strong.

The HBO series also won prizes in the drama categories for best writing and best directing during the virtual ceremony.

The show’s British creator Jesse Armstrong listed a number of “un-thank yous” during his acceptance speech, criticizing President Donald Trump and UK’s PM Boris Johnson for their respective responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

Another HBO series, Watchmen, won best limited series, as well as acting gongs for its stars Regina King and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

Twenty-four-year-old Zendaya became the youngest ever winner of best drama actress for her performance in Euphoria, a teen drama which follows a group high school students as they grapple with issues of love, drugs and identity. Zendaya beat stiff competition from the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Laura Linney and Olivia Colman in her category.

Emmys 2020: Full List of Winners and Nominees

Schitt’s Creek won the best comedy series prize, with the show’s creators, father and son Eugene and Daniel Levy, picking up best comedy actor and best supporting comedy actor respectively.

Catherine O’Hara was named best comedy actress, with Annie Murphy winning best supporting actress in a comedy series.

The show follows the wealthy Rose family, who is forced to move to a motel in a small town after losing their fortune.

Schitt’s Creek launched on CBC in 2015 but developed a strong fan following around the world after later being added to Netflix.

Its wins also included outstanding directing for a comedy series for Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy, with the latter also winning outstanding writing for the finale episode Happy Ending.

Regina King was named best actress in a limited series for her performance in Watchmen.

In her acceptance speech, she paid tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious RBG, who died over the weekend, and encouraged viewers to register vote in the forthcoming presidential election.

Regina King wore a T-shirt bearing the image of Breonna Taylor, a black woman shot and killed by police in Kentucky in March.

Uzo Aduba, who won best supporting actress in a limited series for Mrs. America, also wore a shirt displaying Breonna Taylor’s name during her speech.

Regina King’s co-star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was also named best supporting actor for his performance in the show.

Watchmen, an innovative reimagining of a superhero graphic novel that tackled racism in America, scored the most nominations this year.

The show won a loyal following and critical acclaim last year during its nine-episode run.

Elsewhere, Ozark‘s Julia Garner won best supporting drama actress while Billy Crudup won in the male category for his portrayal of a conniving network executive in Apple TV’s The Morning Show.

Succession‘s creator Jesse Armstrong also won best writing for a drama, while Andrij Parekh won best directing.

Several winners used their acceptance speeches to encourage Americans to register to vote in November’s election, including Mark Ruffalo, who won best actor in a limited series for I Know This Much Is True.

The in memoriam section honored stars including Chadwick Boseman, Naya Rivera, Caroll Spinney, Kirk Douglas, Sir Ian Holm and Dame Diana Rigg.

The Creative Arts Emmys took place earlier this week, with winners announced in categories such as casting, hair, make-up, lighting and sound design.

More than 25,000 members of the Television Academy vote for the awards, which were first presented in 1949.

The name Emmy derives from an early piece of TV equipment called the image orthicon camera tube – or the Immy.

This year marked Jimmy Kimmel’s third time hosting the Emmys, after he fronted the ceremony in 2012 and 2016.

Image source Flickr

The 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards took place on September 20, 2020.

This year’s ceremony was presented from an eerily empty Staples Center in Los Angeles by Jimmy Kimmel, with only a few guest presenters joining him in the studio.

Here are the major winners and nominees:

Outstanding comedy series

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Dead to Me
  • The Good Place
  • Insecure
  • The Kominsky Method
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • WINNER: Schitt’s Creek
  • What We Do in the Shadows

Outstanding drama series

  • Better Call Saul
  • The Crown
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Killing Eve
  • The Mandalorian
  • Ozark
  • Stranger Things
  • WINNER: Succession

Outstanding limited series

  • Little Fires Everywhere
  • Mrs. America
  • Unbelievable
  • Unorthodox
  • WINNER: Watchmen

Lead actor in a comedy series

  • Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
  • Don Cheadle, Black Monday
  • Ted Danson, The Good Place
  • Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
  • WINNER: Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
  • Ramy Youssef, Ramy

Lead actress in a comedy series

  • Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
  • Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Linda Cardellini, Dead to Me
  • WINNER: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
  • Issa Rae, Insecure
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Supporting actor in a comedy series

  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • William Jackson Harper, The Good Place
  • Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
  • Sterling K. Brown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Mahershala Ali, Ramy
  • Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
  • WINNER: Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Supporting actress in a comedy series

  • Betty Gilpin, GLOW
  • D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
  • Yvonne Orji, Insecure
  • Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
  • Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live
  • WINNER: Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek

Lead actor in a drama series

  • Jason Bateman, Ozark
  • Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
  • Steve Carell, The Morning Show
  • Brian Cox, Succession
  • Billy Porter, Pose
  • WINNER: Jeremy Strong, Succession

Lead actress in a drama series

  • Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
  • Olivia Colman, The Crown
  • Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
  • Laura Linney, Ozark
  • Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
  • WINNER: Zendaya, Euphoria

Supporting actor in a drama series

  • Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
  • Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • WINNER: Billy Crudup, The Morning Show
  • Mark Duplass, The Morning Show
  • Nicholas Braun, Succession
  • Kieran Culkin, Succession
  • Matthew Macfadyen, Succession
  • Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

Supporting actress in a drama series

  • Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
  • Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
  • Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Fiona Shaw , Killing Eve
  • WINNER: Julia Garner, Ozark
  • Sarah Snook, Succession
  • Thandie Newton, Westworld

Lead actor in a limited series or movie

  • Jeremy Irons, Watchmen
  • Hugh Jackman, Bad Education
  • Paul Mescal, Normal People
  • Jeremy Pope, Hollywood
  • WINNER: Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True

Lead actress in a limited series or movie

  • Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America
  • Shira Haas, Unorthodox
  • WINNER: Regina King, Watchmen
  • Octavia Spencer, Self Made
  • Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere

Supporting actor in a limited series or movie

  • Dylan McDermott, Hollywood
  • Jim Parsons, Hollywood
  • Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend
  • WINNER: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen
  • Jovan Adepo, Watchmen
  • Louis Gossett Jr, Watchmen

Supporting actress in a limited series or movie

  • Holland Taylor, Hollywood
  • WINNER: Uzo Aduba, Mrs. America
  • Margo Martindale, Mrs. America
  • Tracey Ullman, Mrs. America
  • Toni Collette, Unbelievable
  • Jean Smart, Watchmen

Outstanding reality competition series

  • The Masked Singer
  • Nailed It
  • WINNER: RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice

Outstanding variety talk series

  • Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • WINNER: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Outstanding variety sketch series

  • A Black Lady Sketch Show
  • Drunk History
  • WINNER: Saturday Night Live

Outstanding television movie

  • American Son
  • WINNER: Bad Education
  • Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: These Old Bones
  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend

Writing for a comedy series

  • WINNER: Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
  • David West Read, Schitt’s Creek
  • Michael Schur, The Good Place
  • Tony McNamara, The Great
  • Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil, What We Do In The Shadows
  • Paul Simms, What We Do In The Shadows
  • Stefani Robinson, What We Do In The Shadows

Writing for a drama series

  • Thomas Schnauz, Better Call Saul
  • Thomas Schnauz,
  • Gordon Smith, Better Call Saul
  • Peter Morgan, The Crown
  • Chris Mundy, Ozark
  • John Shiban, Ozark
  • Miki Johnso, Ozark
  • WINNING: Jesse Armstrong, Succession

Writing for a limited series, movie or drama

  • Tanya Barfield, Mrs. America
  • Sally Rooney and Alice Birch, Normal People
  • Susannah Grant, Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon, Unbelievable
  • Anna Winger, Unorthodox
  • WINNER: Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, Watchmen

Director for a comedy series

  • Matt Shakman, The Great
  • Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Daniel Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Gail Mancuso, Modern Family • Finale Part 2
  • Ramy Youssef, Ramy
  • WINNER: Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
  • James Burrows, Will & Grace

Directing for a drama series

  • Benjamin Caron, The Crown
  • Jessica Hobbs, The Crown
  • Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland
  • Mimi Leder, The Morning Show Mimi Leder,
  • Alik Sakharov, Ozark
  • Ben Semanoff, Ozark
  • WINNER: Andrij Parekh, Succession
  • Mark Mylod, Succession

Directing for a limited series

  • Lynn Shelton, Little Fires Everywhere
  • Lenny Abrahamson, Normal People
  • WINNER: Maria Schrader, Unorthodox
  • Nicole Kassell, Watchmen
  • Steph Green, Watchmen
  • Stephen Williams, Watchmen

Image source: Wikipedia

Chadwick Boseman, best known for playing Black Panther in the hit Marvel superhero franchise, has died of cancer aged 43.

The actor died at home in Los Angeles with his wife and family by his side, a statement posted on social media said.

Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago but had not made the information public.

The news has left fans and the film world stunned. Get Out director Jordan Peele, said it was “a crushing blow”.

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said in the statement.

“From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more – all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”

Chadwick Boseman came to prominence playing real-life figures – baseball great Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42, and soul singer James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up.

However, it will be as the titular Black Panther in the blockbuster 2018 film he will be best remembered.

Chadwick Boseman stars as the ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with the most advanced technology on earth.

As well as winning critical praise and taking more than $1.3 billion at cinemas worldwide, the film was widely seen as a cultural milestone for having a largely black cast and a black director, Ryan Coogler.

In 2019, Chadwick Boseman said the film had changed what it means to be “young, gifted and black”.

Black Panther was the first superhero film to get a nomination for best picture at the Oscars.

Chadwick Boseman also played the same role in other Marvel films Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

A sequel was in the works and due to come out in 2022, with Boseman set to return.

The news of his death came as a shock to many as Chadwick Boseman never discussed his diagnosis publicly.

However, fans started raising concerns over the actor’s health this year due to noticeable weight loss.

Image source: Wikipedia

In 1995, Janet Urban stumbled on a film set while traveling in Kenya, and decided she wanted to work on nature documentaries. Today, she is an accomplished sound mixer who has won an Emmy for the National Geographic series Sea Monsters, worked with big-name Hollywood directors like Darren Aronofsky and Damien Chazelle, and worked on film sets around the world. Having broken into the industry without the benefit of film school or family connections, she now teaches aspiring filmmakers how to do the same.

Her coaching program, Friends in Film, combines working on professional film sets with weekend mentoring retreats across the US, London, Toronto, Vancouver, and Sydney. Urban has helped her mentees find freelance film work and enter fields such as acting, cinematography, sound, art, stunts, editing, writing, and voice over work. Friends in Film alumni have worked on such shows as GothamThe Blacklist, Pose, The Bachelor, NBC Nighttime TV, and BBC Studios, and feature films including the Greatest Showman and The Irishman.

I had a chance to catch up with Janet and get some insight from her about the entertainment industry and things aspiring filmmakers should be aware of.

Q: What are the routes available to aspiring filmmakers nowadays? Do you think film school is the best option?

When I talk to aspiring filmmakers, I tell them that they don’t need to go to film school to become a director, writer, or director of photography (DP). A degree in filmmaking is nice to have, but it’s not necessary, and I don’t think students realize how much debt they will take on.

In the film industry, productions hire so quickly that there is no time to look at resumes. Instead, they ask around the production office. The way to get hired is by being referred by someone who has worked with you. No one is going to ask if you have a degree—they’ll recommend you based on your energy, your work ethic, and the choices you make on set.

I tell my students to get themselves onto professional sets and in production offices where they can watch top directors at work. Don’t learn from just one professor; learn from many different directors with a variety of styles. By being around professional directors, you’ll learn how they develop ideas and concepts and how they sell ideas to clients on conference calls to win their next directing job.

Another wonderful thing about learning on set and in person is the connections you make and the relationships you build. These directors and producers will want to see you succeed and will refer you to small directing jobs so you can build a reel much better than anything you can do in the artificial environment of film school.

Q: Can you work in the film industry with no degree, classes, or certifications?

Yes, yes you can. The film industry is unlike other industries where you need some kind of certification or degree. The film industry is not a Monday-to-Friday job that you land; it’s individual film projects where the crew is hired for their specific expertise. It’s more of a gig-based business, so people are not making a decision on who to hire from reviewing resumes, but by looking at prior call sheets and deciding whether to invite that person to work on the next project or not.

Film schools teach you theory and how to do these jobs (how to direct, how to light, how to produce) as best as they can in a classroom setting. It used to be that the only way you could get access to equipment was through film school. But today, you can shoot and edit on your iPhone.

Millions of people are amazing at writing, acting, and directing. Talent is everywhere. But only a handful of people are being paid to do it professionally. Turning your passion into a career is another ballgame that requires a different mentality: Not of chasing gigs, but methodically self-managing your career by building a track record and seeking out the right professionals and production companies to work with.

When I talk to a director or DP who has a degree in film, they always tell me, “Film school was a nice experience because I made close friends, but I’m still paying off my student loans. What made me successful, I learned on set, not at film school.”

Even if you have a degree in screenwriting, directing, or cinematography, you’re still going to start in the most entry-level job: production assistant. You’re not going to start as a director or writer or DP. You have to learn the craft by working on hundreds of shoots, scene after scene, day after day, to understand how to do that job smoothly at the professional level.

Most film professionals don’t have a degree in film. They had creativity and a strong work ethic. They started working in entry level jobs as production assistant, director’s assistant, producer’s assistant, casting director assistant, art director’s assistant, or production designer assistant. These jobs range in pay from $200 to $350 per day. And these jobs are where everyone, regardless of whether they have a degree in film or not, start learning their craft and making relationships that turn into more work and bigger opportunities down the road. That’s what I did: I learned by doing while working on professional film sets. The only degree I have is in business, which I got before I knew I wanted to work in film.

Bottom line, you don’t need a degree to break into film. Production is making decisions about who to hire based on either directly working with you, or getting referred to you. They’re not making hiring decisions based on resumes. So you should spend time working on set, not in class. You’ll learn more by watching professionals who have the job you want.

Q: What would you recommend for someone who would like to enter the industry but lives far from the central film markets (LA, NY, etc?)

There are opportunities to gain experience even in the smallest cities: There is local news, documentaries, corporate video, events, and conferences. If you live in a small market, it’s very smart to use these small shoots to gain experience and a track record before moving into a larger market.

That’s what I did. I realized I wanted to work in film when I was traveling in Kenya and saw a film crew. I decided then that I wanted to work for National Geographic. But I needed experience. I went to the nearest major market for filming: South Africa.

In South Africa, I worked as a production assistant on documentaries like the Elephant Relocation Project. On that shoot, I assisted the camera department. I helped with sound and dressing the scene. I took notes on the scenes as we were shooting them.

Later, I worked as a runner for WTN and ABC News, helping arrange interviews, scout locations, and set up equipment for shoots.

By the time I moved to Los Angeles, I had a resume of professional work. I could talk about the projects, the different departments I worked in, and the specific experience I got from these shoots.

Many cities have more opportunities than you may think. The major American film markets used to be New York and LA. But because of a series of writer and actor strikes, production stretched out into new markets. Now major film markets have been established in Toronto, Vancouver, Atlanta, Chicago, Albuquerque, and New Orleans.

The film industry is a business, and productions go wherever they can to get the job done at a lower cost. Even a big-budget production might cut down costs by shooting additional scenes on a stage in Albuquerque, using non-SAG actors in Dallas, or adding special effects in Vancouver.

Q: The film industry is made up of so many professions. How do you find the right one for yourself?

There’s a job for every background and personality type in film. The nice thing about the production assistant job is you get to help out other departments. This allows you to see what each department does, so you can understand what job you want to make your career in.

On a film set, there’s a job for every interest. If you have a finance, managerial, or logistic background, you may like producing. If you are visual and artistic, you may be a great director, director of photography, or production designer.

There are food jobs like craft service and catering, beauty jobs like hair and makeup, creative fashion type jobs like costume design, and technical jobs like special effects.

While an extrovert might gravitate toward acting, producing, or directing jobs that involve interfacing with people all day, an introvert might prefer working outside the limelight as an editor, sound mixer, digital image technician (DIT), or gaffer.

Each of these jobs also provides a different lifestyle depending on the sector. For instance, the lifestyle provided by feature films is different than that of working on TV shows or commercials.

If you work on a TV show, you could work on a soundstage Monday through Friday for up to six months. It’s steady work, and the film set becomes like a family.

If you work on a feature film, you could spend an intense month travelling to multiple locations with the rest of the crew, and regularly find yourself in snow boots, shooting a night scene in Pittsburgh, or even across the world at a famous temple in India.

If you work on documentaries, you’ll travel around the world with small crews. You’ll go backstage with famous bands, spend time with celebrities at their homes, or learn about cutting edge research from top scientists.

Commercials offer a wonderful lifestyle because they are well organized and have generous budgets. Music videos are no longer big budget or consistent work, but are a good place for newcomers to start.

Q: How important is it for aspiring filmmakers to get involved in a union?

The TV shows with the biggest budgets and highest-level work are union, which means you’ll need to be part of your department’s union to work on them. For actors, it’s SAG (Screen Actors Guild). For directors, writers, or assistant directors, it’s the DGA (Directors Guild of America). Almost all other specialties fall under IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees). Each department has its own local union. The only exception is for production assistants. There is no union for production assistants, so you can work as a PA on union shoots.

You can’t just contact the union and ask to join. The unions require that you have experience and qualifications, and the requirements vary by region.

For instance, if you live in Atlanta, you can contact the union in Atlanta to ask about the requirements. In most cases, it takes around two years of work to gain enough experience to join.

It’s not essential to join a union, though. Around 80 percent of shoots are non-union, and some unions are restrictive about their members working on non-union shows. It’s not a good idea to join a union until you have enough connections to work enough days on union shows to maintain your minimum hours.

Many young filmmakers have a misconception that joining the union means you’ve “made it.” But being part of the union doesn’t guarantee you work. You’re still responsible for your career and finding work.

Q: Many young filmmakers struggle with networking. Do you have any advice on making connections?

I struggled with this as well, because you need relationships to get hired, but you don’t want to establish a relationship just so that you can get something in return.

I found it helpful to remind myself that the people hiring for shoots were a lot like me—they’re also doing the job they love and want to work with great people. So networking is more about finding people and teams whose energy and vibe matches your own. If you remember that, you can focus on doing your best work, being a great listener, and asking questions.

By helping others do great work and helping them make progress in their career, you will naturally network.

Q: Do you have a personal favorite project from your career?

I got into the film industry because I wanted to see the world through being on a film shoot. I wanted to get up and close to the coolest things in the world. And that’s exactly what I experienced during the weeks I spent capturing the sound of the elusive Andean condor in Patagonia. They are one of the largest birds on earth, with a wingspan of 10 feet.

I had flown in to record the sounds of penguins, glaciers, and foxes for a nature series called Living Edens. I had just recorded the sound of orcas beaching themselves to hunt baby elephant seals—a phenomenon that only happens on one beach in the entire world, for two months each year.

What made recording the condors so difficult was that they are extremely smart and cautious. They’re a type of vulture, and before they dive down to feast on a kill, they watch for a specific series of events: First caracara birds show up. Then foxes arrive to feed on the carcass. And only then do the condors make an appearance.

I was staying on a sheep farm inside Torres del Paine, a national park whose famous peaks are the symbol of Patagonia. Every night, a puma would prowl the fields, attack a sheep, eat the heart, and leave the carcass. So every morning we’d find the kill, throw it in the back of a pickup truck, and drive to a blind we constructed out of bushes around a tree. From there, I would hide my microphones in the bushes around the carcass.

From 5 a.m. to noon each day, I waited in the blind, cradling $40,000 of sound equipment. But for weeks, the condors never showed up. The condors would circle the kill but they would not land.

We realized there was a problem with the blind, and it took us several weeks to come up with a blind that didn’t spook the condors. By Week 3, I was crawling into a crack in the ground before sunrise and pulling the bushes over my head.

On Day 30, the caracaras showed up, and then the foxes. It was finally happening! The condors circled and then swung in, in all their glory, hissing and spitting and growling. I was lucky. There was very little wind, and the sound of condors hissing, snorting, and jabbing their beaks into the carcass was crystal clear.

Mission accomplished! I flew back to Los Angeles knowing I had experienced a rare event that few people ever get to witness.

Q: Say someone wants to win an Emmy award by the time they’re 30. Are there any shortcuts they can take?

If you want to win an Emmy by the time you’re 30, that’s actually quite possible. Unlike the Oscars, the Emmys are more predictable, because the same productions submit their shows for Emmy consideration every year. There are Emmy awards for every craft, so if you work on those shows, the odds are good that you’ll win an Emmy.

That’s what happened to me. Since National Geographic submits all their TV specials to the Emmy awards, and I worked on many of them, I ended up winning an Emmy for Sea Monsters. Soon after, I was nominated for Return of the Wolf.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about working in the entertainment industry?

I love starting with just an idea and turning it into something that impacts the world and will be seen by millions. The industry attracts creative, interesting, well-read people, and it’s incredible to work with a team of people who can turn a street into Chinatown in a few hours, transform an ordinary guy into a caveman, or write lines that make everyone burst into laughter. I just can’t wait to get up each morning and head to a film set.

Since the industry is freelance, everyone on set is handpicked. Working in film gives you the opportunity to master a skill, become known for it, and even travel across the world to do it. We typically work 12-hour days for 15 days per month. Because we have a high day rate, those 15 days are equivalent to most people’s 40-hour work week. So entertainment is the highest paying part-time job you can find!

If you find that the film industry is for you, you will likely find that no other job can give you that combination of teamwork, excitement, and variety. The field attracts people from all backgrounds who have done amazing things: There are doctors and lawyers; there are musicians and surfers who spend three months each year as free spirits in Nicaragua. I love that we’re all brought together by our love for this kind of work.

The film industry has all the attributes of a high-paying career, but feels like play.


Italian film composer Ennio Morricone has died in Rome at the age of 91.

He was renowned for composing film scores for popular Spaghetti Westerns that made Clint Eastwood a star.

According to this family, Ennio Morricone died in a clinic after complications from a fall. His femur was fractured in a fall some days ago, Italian news agency reported.

The prolific composer also wrote music for Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso.

Having received an honorary Oscar in 2007, Ennio Morricone went on to win one in 2016 for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

Ennio Morricone, who was simply known as “Maestro” in his home town of Rome, scored more than 500 films over seven decades.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Ennio Morricone cancels New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City concerts due to back injury

Yet he remains best known for the haunting melodies he wrote for the trilogy of 1960s westerns Sergio Leone made with the then little-known Clint Eastwood.

A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly centered around Clint Eastwood’s taciturn gunslinger, known as “The Man With No Name”.

Sergio Leone called Ennio Morricone’s contributions “indispensable” and would have him write the score before shooting so he could design his shots around Morricone’s contributions.

Clint Eastwood went on to direct Westerns himself, including the Oscar-winning Unforgiven, but Ennio Morricone did not write music for them out of loyalty to Sergio Leone.

Before his win for The Hateful Eight, Ennio Morricone received Oscar nominations for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy and Malena.


Architecture is a beautiful and creative art form. Though we might imagine architects spending nights bent over their blueprints to create masterpieces like the London Eye, there is more to the picture. Crafting magnificent and practical buildings takes a team of creatives to make it happen. 

Behind every great architect is a team of contractors ready to put in the hours of physical construction. These professionals go through dedicated programs at places like the contractor training center to become masters in their field. While architects get most of the credit, contractors deserve recognition for the amazing infrastructure we use every day.

Let’s highlight some gorgeous buildings that wouldn’t be around without contractors. 

1. Gardens by the Bay – Singapore

Singapore has a plethora of beautiful buildings throughout the country. Among these, the Gardens by the Bay in the Marina Bay district takes the cake for most breathtaking.

The process of constructing the park began in 2006, with an international master plan design competition. The contractors entered the picture in 2007 after a select vote by jury and public took place in late 2006.

During this time, the team began to work on the Bay East Gardens and Flower Dome. The contracting company finished their work in 2011, leading to the amazing Gardens we enjoy today. 

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

2. The Shard – England

Another city full of gorgeous architectural structures is London. Irvine Sellar, the developer of the Shard, began the process in 1998, but it wasn’t until 2008 with funding from Qatar that construction began. 

The contracting team worked until 2012 when the building was ready to be opened. The unique design and well-built structure helped push the Shard onto the list of London landmarks along with Big Ben and the Tower Bridge. 

Image source: Wikipedia

3. Sendai Mediatheque – Japan

The Sendai Mediatheque is a multipurpose cultural center located in Sendai, Japan. Toyo Ito designed the project after floating seaweed with a completely open 7-story floor plan. The construction began in 1997 with a lot of the creative building freedom going to the contracting team. 

The building utilized steel pipe tubes, glass, and aluminum mesh, and everything has an alternative function. Some pipes doubled as stairs and elevators, for example. The construction ended in 2000, but the Mediatheque opened to the public in 2001. 

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Seattle Central Public Library – United States

The United States houses several intricately designed public spaces, focusing a dedicated effort on making beautiful libraries. The modern Seattle Public Library is no exception. The central public library cleared in 1998 as part of a city-wide effort to double the square footage of neighborhood libraries. 

After OMA and Joshua Prince-Ramus completed drafts for the library in 1999, the contracting team at Hoffman Construction Company began working. The workers dedicated six years to ensure that the eleven-floor library looked stunning and met all building safety codes. In 2004, the public gained full access to the Central Public Library.

Image source: Wikipedia

5. Heydar Aliyeva Center – Azerbaijan 

The Heydar Aliyeva Center, located in Baku, Azerbaijan, is a flowing and curved building that boasts a beautiful aura. The center’s design had both the natural desert topography and the multifunctional purpose of the building in mind. The architect, Zaha Hadid, drafted his plan in 2007 after winning a design competition. 

The contracting company completed the eight-story project in 2012. Included in the construction was a 1000-seat auditorium, exhibition spaces for local artists, and a museum, among other things. 

Image source: Wikipedia

Without Contractor Teams, None of These Would Be Possible

The list here is just the tip of the iceberg. Without dedicated teams to do the groundwork, the magnificent buildings and structures we enjoy every day wouldn’t exist. 

If you’ve ever dreamed of being a contractor, there’s nothing stopping you from going out into the world and contributing to the next masterpiece.


You may have heard that Netflix is losing shows because every corporation needs a streaming platform nowadays. At the same time, it’s also gaining new favorites and reception of Netflix Originals has been positive so far.

Unfortunately, you can’t always access all the Netflix shows in your area. Not that US residents get to, either – but they definitely have a wider selection to choose from. No matter where you’re located, there’s an easy way to gain access to the full catalog. Click here to see how to watch Netflix US on a smart TV, for the full cinematic experience.

Or, read below to see how to watch Netflix US on any device, anywhere in the world.

How to Watch Netflix US from Abroad

If you don’t have a smart TV, you can still use a VPN to access the Netflix US catalog. All you need to do is connect to a server in the US, and a US IP address will be assigned to your device. This works for any other country your VPN provider has obfuscated servers in – great for those of you interested in foreign cinema or documentaries.

How exactly does that work? Well, IP addresses are how Netflix and other streaming platforms check your location. That’s how they know which shows to assign to you. It’s an outdated mindset to have in the digital era, but the licensing legislation is too convoluted to get into.

Does Any VPN Work with Netflix US?

You could try one of the many free VPNs out there to see if they work with Netflix. But chances are they’ve been blocked, since the providers lack the funding for fresh new IPs. Yes, Netflix are aware that people use VPNs to bypass geo-restrictions, and do everything possible to block them.

Subscription-based VPNs can afford to get new servers for streaming, or implement new obfuscation techniques that hide the fact you’re using a VPN. Moreover, this practice isn’t illegal either. After all, it’s not like you’re pirating anything.

You’ve paid for your Netflix subscription, so why shouldn’t you be able to watch the shows you want just because some out of touch executives didn’t get the memo about how the Internet works? Get a free VPN trial from a decent provider, grab some popcorn and start watching.

Here are some shows you should check out. First, a classic that’s leaving Netflix soon:

The Office

No introductions are necessary for this fan favorite. Netflix has said its goodbyes to the series already, though you can still catch it on the platform until January 2021. So better get to it while you still can, unless you plan to subscribe to NBC’s “Peacock” streaming service to watch it. With a name like that, who wouldn’t?

Jokes aside, their current selection of shows just doesn’t seem worth yet another subscription. Although they’ve taken The Office hostage, long-time fans of the show have expressed their disinterest in the comments on Netflix’s original Twitter post.

Parks and Rec

Yet another beloved sitcom that’s leaving Netflix US for NBC’s streaming service in October 2020. The show ended in 2015, but the cast have recently reunited for a one-time reunion special. It received a warm welcome from excited fans that just needed something good to happen in an otherwise dreary year.

The wholesome comedy that defined the series is still there – even if the lovable goofs of Pawnee were social distancing like everybody else. It isn’t available on Netflix like the rest of the series, though you can watch it for free on NBC’s YouTube channel. You still need a VPN to access it, though – as it appears to be a US-exclusive.

The Midnight Gospel

Let’s talk about something fresh for a change. Don’t let its colorful visuals trick you into believing it’s a kids’ show – The Midnight Gospel is some trippy stuff. If you grew up watching Adventure Time in the 2010s, you’ll be happy to know series creator Pendleton Ward handles this one too.

Even if you haven’t, fans of the show have described it as a trippier Rick and Morty. Now, while The Midnight Gospel does inter-dimensional travels on alien worlds, the show is very much its own thing. And the concept of it is fascinating.

Clancy visits worlds that are on the verge of dying by using his “universe simulator.” He then holds interviews (called “spacecasts”) with the creatures he meets. The philosophical topics they cover are varied, but we’ll let you discover the magic for yourself.

Since it’s a Netflix Original, you can basically watch it anywhere without a VPN. We all look forward to when we can watch whatever we want without jumping through hoops to do so. Until then, using a VPN is your best chance to see The Office or Parks and Rec before they depart. These two shows are classics in their own right – but if they’re not to your taste, rest assured the US Netflix library has a ton to choose from.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Country music legend Kenny Rogers has died at the age of 81.

He “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes”, a family representative said.

Kenny Rogers topped pop and country charts during the 1970s and 1980s, and won three Grammy awards.

Known for his husky voice and ballads including Lucille, The Gambler, and Coward Of The County, his career spanned more than six decades.

Kenny Rogers once summed up his popularity by explaining that he believed his songs “say what every man wants to say and that every woman wants to hear”.

After growing up in poverty on a federal housing estate in Houston, Texas, Kenny Rogers began recording with a string of bands before launching his solo career in 1976.

Kenny Rogers was never a favorite of music critics, but became one of the most successful pop-country crossover acts of all time, and the 10th best-selling male artist in US history in terms of album sales.

The musician collaborated with other country music legends during his career, including Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.

Country Star Don Williams Dies Aged 78

In 2007, Kenny Rogers unexpectedly found himself back in the limelight in the UK when The Gambler became the unofficial World Cup anthem of England’s Rugby Team.

That same year, Kenny Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association.

A keen businessman, the singer led several ventures over the years, mainly in property and the restaurant sector.

Kenny Rogers also acted in several movies and TV shows, including starring as a race car driver in the 1982 movie Six Pack.

The country music legend was married five times and had five children.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The entire cast of Friends is to reunite for a one-off special on the HBO Max streaming service, more than 15 years since the show ended.

The unscripted episode will be launched in May. A date is yet to be announced.

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer will all appear.

Matthew Perry posted on Instagram: “It’s happening.”

The actor posted the text along with a photo of the cast from the 1990s. The rest of the cast then started sharing the same post.

Friends aired from 1994 until 2004. The final show was watched by 52.5 million viewers in the US, making it the most watched TV episode of the 2000s.

The show has since picked up legions of younger fans through Netflix.

Rumors of a reunion intensified after Jennifer Aniston posted a photo of the cast together on Instagram in October.

HBO Max has now secured rights to the show’s back catalogue for $425 million.

Kevin Reilly, chief content officer for HBO Max said the reunion special will capture the spirit of a time when “friends – and audiences – gathered together in real time”.

The cast will be involved in producing the episode.

According to Variety, each actor is expected to receive $2.5 million for taking part in the special, which will be available when HBO Max – a new subscription streaming service – launches.

Photo AFP/Getty Images

The entire board of the French Oscars, the César Academy, has resigned following backlash over nominations for a film by Roman Polanski and demands for reform.

Roman Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy swept the nomination list for the César awards, sparking calls for a boycott.

The director has been wanted in the US for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl since the 1970s.

Hundreds of actors, producers and directors have also called for change.

In an open letter this week, they denounced “dysfunction” at the César Academy and opacity in its management.

Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby Expelled from Motion Picture Academy

Roman Polanski Extradition Rejected by Poland Court

In a statement on February 13, the César Academy said the board had “unanimously decided to resign” to “honor those men and women who made cinema happen in 2019, to find calm and ensure that the festival of film remains just that, a festival”.

The statement added: “This collective decision will allow complete renewal of the board.”

A general meeting is set to be held after this month’s ceremony to elect a new board, which will look at implementing reforms and modernizing the academy.

France’s Culture Minister Franck Riester said the academy must operate democratically, in the spirit of “openness, transparency, parity and diversity”.

The César Academy has faced controversy in recent months.

Many called for a boycott when Roman Polanski’s film An Officer and a Spy, or J’accuse in French, received 12 award nominations. The director fled the US after his rape conviction in the 1970s, and has since faced other accusations of assault.

France’s equality minister and film critics also condemned the decision to nominate the Polish-French director’s film.

However, the Césars defended the nominations, arguing that the body “should not take moral positions” in giving awards.

In an open letter this week, hundreds of film professionals, including actors and directors, called for “profound reform” at the academy.

They complained of a lack of democracy in the institution and said the founding statutes of the Césars had not changed “for a very long time”.

In response, the board said it would ask for a mediator to be appointed by a culture ministry agency to oversee reforms of its statutes and governance.

It is not the first time the Césars have faced controversy over Roman Polanski. In 2017, the director was picked to head the award’s jury, but stepped down after the move sparked outrage.