Ava DuVernay to Receive GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award (Exclusive)

Ava DuVernay will be honored with the Excellence in Media Award at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York, TheWrap has learned exclusively.
The Excellence in Media Award is presented to media professionals who have made a difference in promotin…

Ava DuVernay will be honored with the Excellence in Media Award at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York, TheWrap has learned exclusively.

The Excellence in Media Award is presented to media professionals who have made a difference in promoting equality for the LGBTQ community. Previous honorees include Robert de Niro, Kelly Ripa, Debra Messing, Tyra Banks, Julianne Moore, Glenn Close, Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer.

DuVernay is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker who is helping to move the needle towards inclusion in the industry. She has supported careers of LGBTQ talent behind as well as in front of the camera, including on her own drama “Queen Sugar.” She is also the inspiration for the “DuVernay test,” which requires “African Americans and other minorities [to] have fully realized lives rather than serve as scenery in white stories.”

“We’re black. We’re brown. We are native. We are Asian. We are Muslim. We are queer. We are many things that deserve safe spaces and protection,” DuVernay said at a Women in Hollywood event last fall, supporting LGBTQ equality and acceptance. She also supported GLAAD’s Spirit Day by going purple on social media to speak out against bullying.

Also at the awards show, as previously announced, Alexis Bledel will present Samira Wiley with the Vito Russo Award for her LGBTQ advocacy. Vito Russo was a founder of GLAAD and is also a celebrated ACT UP activist.

Special guests at the awards ceremony will include Halsey, Laverne Cox, Lea Michele, Tituss Burgess, Nyle DiMarco, Wrabel, Blair Imani, and Asia Kate Dillon.

The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair and inclusive representation of LGBTQ people and issues, and they also fund GLAAD’s work to accelerate the acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

The GLAAD Media Awards will be held on May 5, 2018.

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2019 Oscars: Best Picture Predictions

At this early stage, Marvel’s “Black Panther” is poised to continue to make history.

Last year, Petty Jenkins’ DC comic-book movie “Wonder Woman” far exceeded expectations of quality, critical acclaim, and box office, but was shut out of the Oscar race. That won’t happen with Marvel’s “Black Panther,” which should ride the swells of worldwide acclaim and blockbuster status to become a Best Picture Oscar contender. But it will be a challenge for Disney to push this Marvel superhero success beyond the technical categories. They will need to convince critics, guilds, and Oscar voters that Ryan Coogler’s achievement rises to the level of art.

Comic-book epics rarely yield major Oscar nominations.Heath Ledger’s posthumously win as Supporting Actor for Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” entry “The Dark Knight” in 2008 was an anomaly; if superhero movies are in the running, it’s usually for VFX and technical nods. They even win some, especially with the original iteration, before it’s a full-fledged franchise (See: the original Dick Donner “Superman,” Tim Burton’s first “Batman,” “Dick Tracy,” “Men in Black,” and “Spider-Man 2”).

At the 2018 Oscars, for example, Fox scored the first-ever Adapted Screenplay nod for a comic-book movie (X-Men spinoff “Logan”) as well as the expected VFX recognition for the latest “Planet of the Apes” installment (Weta Digital). Scoring only technical nods were Lucasfilm (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”), Disney (live-action remake “Beauty and the Beast”), and Marvel (blockbusters “Thor Ragnarok” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2″).

“Black Panther” earned top reviews (Metascore: 87) and like “Wonder Woman,” it was the first of its kind, with huge pent-up demand across the globe. Adjusted for inflation, “Black Panther” sold more tickets in North America than the first iterations of “Spider-Man,” “Batman” and “Wonder Woman.” So far the movie has grossed $1.3 billion worldwide, heading for the top 30 of all time (with adjusted grosses).

Among likely technical nods for “Black Panther” are this year’s historic Oscar nominee, cinematographer Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”), two-time Best Costume Design Oscar nominee Ruth E. Carter (“Amistad,” “Malcolm X”), production designer Hannah Beachler, as well as hair and makeup and visual effects.

Landing major nominations requires a perception of gravitas. “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” writer-director Coogler’s thoughtful screenplay, adapted from the comics with Joe Robert Cole (“American Crime Story”), does just that, rising well beyond the usual Marvel superhero mythology. “Black Panther” raises many questions about the role and responsibility of a rich nation in the world, as well as the ultimate consequences of neglecting and abandoning the less fortunate among us. “Black Panther” is widely considered to be the best Marvel movie ever made.

If actors support this movie, offering a deserved SAG Ensemble nomination, then a Best Actor Oscar nod could follow for Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, as well as his supporting players, Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station,” “Creed”) as his complex, angry, dangerous, and yet empathetic nemesis Eric Kilmonger, and Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”).

And Coogler, who is only 31, could rise to the level of perceived auteur, even if he’s adapting an established comic-book title. Who else could have pulled this off? Of course, people said the same thing about Jenkins. But what she delivered was perfectly calibrated mainstream entertainment. “Black Panther” is something more: It’s historic, crashing Hollywood barriers that should have been shattered decades ago.

Another valid comparison is not to “Wonder Woman,” but to Jordan Peele’s low-budget phenomenon “Get Out” (Blumhouse/Universal), which launched at Sundance 2017 and racked up $255 million worldwide, breaking out of its horror-thriller genre limitations to wind up with four Oscar nominations including Picture, Director, Original Screenplay (which won), and Actor (Daniel Kaluuya). With its $200-million tentpole scale and scope, “Black Panther” has the potential to notch a lot more.

What will it go up against? Well, distributor Annapurna and Oscar-perennial Plan B (“12 Years a Slave,” “The Big Short”) are partnering on the return of two writer-directors, Barry Jenkins (from “Moonlight” to James Baldwin story “If Beale Street Could Talk”), Adam McKay (from “The Big Short” to Dick Cheney biopic “Backseat”), while Annapurna backed “Boyhood” director Richard Linklater’s missing-mom drama “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” and Jacques Audiard’s English-language film “The Sisters Brothers.”

“A Star is Born”

Warner Bros.

Studio contenders include four from the Universal family: “La La Land” Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle reunites with Ryan Gosling as Lance Armstrong on the Apollo 11 space mission in “First Man,” Robert Zemeckis’ “The Women of Marwen,” starring Steve Carell, and two from Focus Features, Joel Edgerton’s “Boy Erased” starring Lucas Hedges, and Spike Lee’s Cannes entry “BlacKkKlansman” (Focus Features). And Warner Bros. will promote Bradley Cooper’s remake of backstage musical “A Star is Born,” starring himself and Lady Gaga.

Fox is releasing “Widows” (Film4 and See Saw), directed by “12 Years a Slave” winner Steve McQueen and starring Viola Davis, while Fox Searchlight has Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite,” starring Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, and Benh Zeitlin’s long-awaited “Wendy.”

Netflix is waiting to see when Martin Scorsese locks picture on $140-million gangster epic “The Irishman,” starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel. They also picked up two movies that were invited, but opted not go, to Cannes: “Gravity” Best Director-winner Alfonso Cuaron’s return to Mexico, black-and-white drama “Roma,” and Paul Greengrass real-life terrorism drama “Norway,” directing a local cast.

Barry Jenkins, by Daniel Bergeron. Indiewire 2016. No PR/No Release on file.

Barry Jenkins

Daniel Remi Bergeron

Indie contenders will rely on film festivals from Cannes through the fall to determine their fate, including a bunch directed by women. Veteran Mimi Leder helmed “On the Basis of Sex” (Focus Features) starring Felicity Jones as young attorney Ruth Bader Ginsberg; Marielle Heller follows up “Diary of a Teenage Girl” with New York comedy “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Fox Searchlight), adapted by Nicole Holofcener from Lee Israel’s memoir and starring Melissa McCarthy as a sad-sack author-turned-con artist. And Donmar Warehouse director Josie Rourke makes her feature film debut with Working Title’s “Mary Queen of Scots” (Focus Features), starring Saoirse Ronan in the title role and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I.

 Frontrunner:

“Black Panther” (Ryan Coogler)

Contenders:

“Backseat” (Adam McKay)
“BlacKkKlansman” (Spike Lee)
“First Man” (Damien Chazelle)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Barry Jenkins)
“Mary Queen of Scots” (Josie Rourke)
“On the Basis of Sex” (Mimi Leder)
“A Star is Born” (Bradley Cooper)
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” (Richard Linklater)
“Widows” (Steve McQueen)

Long Shots:

“Beautiful Boy” (Felix Von Groeningen)
“Boy Erased” (Joel Edgerton)
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Marielle Heller)
“The Favourite” (Yorgos Lanthimos)
“The Front Runner” (Jason Reitman)
“The Old Man and the Gun” (David Lowery)
“Peterloo” (Mike Leigh)
“Roma” (Alfonso Cuaron)
“The Sisters Brothers” (Jacques Audiard)

‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Gets Early December Release From Focus Features

Focus Features announced Wednesday that it is giving Josie Rourke’s Elizabethan biopic “Mary Queen of Scots” a December 7 release, right in the middle of awards season.

The film stars two of this year’s Best Actress Oscar nominees, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, who will respectively play Mary Stuart and her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. It follows Mary after her husband, the French monarch Francis II, dies when she is 18. Defying demands that she remarry, she returns to her native Scotland to become Queen there, only to find that it has fallen under Elizabeth’s rule. In a world dominated by men, the two cousins vie for control of England’s throne, setting off a chain reaction of rebellion and conspiracy.

Also Read: Margot Robbie, ABC Team Up for Anthology Series With Female Spin on Shakespearean Plays

Theater director Josie Rourke makes her feature film directorial debut with this film, with Beau Willimon writing a screenplay adapted from John Guy’s biography “My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots.” David Tennant and Guy Pearce also star with Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Debra Hayward producing.

With two acclaimed stars in lead roles and a below-the-line crew that includes several Oscar winners such as costume designer Alexandra Byrne and “Slumdog Millionaire” editor Chris Dickens, “Mary Queen of Scots could be a potential awards contender next winter. Last December, Focus released Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread,” steering it to six Oscar nominations including Best Picture.

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Focus Features announced Wednesday that it is giving Josie Rourke’s Elizabethan biopic “Mary Queen of Scots” a December 7 release, right in the middle of awards season.

The film stars two of this year’s Best Actress Oscar nominees, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, who will respectively play Mary Stuart and her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. It follows Mary after her husband, the French monarch Francis II, dies when she is 18. Defying demands that she remarry, she returns to her native Scotland to become Queen there, only to find that it has fallen under Elizabeth’s rule. In a world dominated by men, the two cousins vie for control of England’s throne, setting off a chain reaction of rebellion and conspiracy.

Theater director Josie Rourke makes her feature film directorial debut with this film, with Beau Willimon writing a screenplay adapted from John Guy’s biography “My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots.” David Tennant and Guy Pearce also star with Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Debra Hayward producing.

With two acclaimed stars in lead roles and a below-the-line crew that includes several Oscar winners such as costume designer Alexandra Byrne and “Slumdog Millionaire” editor Chris Dickens, “Mary Queen of Scots could be a potential awards contender next winter. Last December, Focus released Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread,” steering it to six Oscar nominations including Best Picture.

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Daniel Fellman to Replace Bill Mechanic on Academy Board of Governors

Dan Fellman, a veteran Warner Bros. executive, has been named to the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following the resignation of Bill Mechanic. Mechanic stepped down on April 12, citing a variety of concerns about the Oscar broadcast, the Academy’s diversity and sexual harassment initiatives, and the leadership of CEO […]

Dan Fellman, a veteran Warner Bros. executive, has been named to the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following the resignation of Bill Mechanic. Mechanic stepped down on April 12, citing a variety of concerns about the Oscar broadcast, the Academy’s diversity and sexual harassment initiatives, and the leadership of CEO […]

Sara Bareilles, Josh Groban to Host 2018 Tony Awards

The Tony Awards have tapped Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban to host the theater industry’s biggest awards ceremony. With longstanding roots in the music industry, Bareilles and Groban may initially seem unexpectedly choices for a theater awards show. But both have become headline talent on Broadway lately: Bareilles wrote the score for the musical “Waitress,” […]

The Tony Awards have tapped Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban to host the theater industry’s biggest awards ceremony. With longstanding roots in the music industry, Bareilles and Groban may initially seem unexpectedly choices for a theater awards show. But both have become headline talent on Broadway lately: Bareilles wrote the score for the musical “Waitress,” […]

‘Westworld’ Creators Respond to Reddit Rickroll Prank, as Ed Harris Actually Reveals Something About Season 2

At the Season 2 FYC event, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, more cast members and the creators talked Rick Astley and character arcs.

Westworld” has been dominating headlines leading up to its Season 2 premiere, but nothing done by HBO has caused the stir of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s Reddit prank: the now (in)famous, “Westworld” rickroll.

So when the cast and creators sat down for their FYC panel Tuesday night, it came as no surprise to anyone in the Arclight Hollywood’s jam-packed auditorium that the first question wasn’t about the premiere episode they just saw. Moderator Paul Scheer started off by asking how that idea came up.

Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy shared a brief look, but she nodded toward him to answer. “This is me? This is my fault now?” Nolan said, earning a smattering of laughs.

“We love Reddit and we wanted to celebrate Reddit in exactly the way they like to be celebrated: a sadomasochistic relationship where we over-promise and under-deliver,” Nolan said. “Though I think we actually over-delivered because Evan [Rachel Wood] singing and Angela [Sarafyan] playing piano, you can’t beat it.”

Westworld Season 2 Thandie Newton

Scheer then asked if it was ever frustrating to see fans put so much focus on examining minute details in order to build broad theories.

“I don’t think it’s the point of the show,” Joy said “It’s fine that we have [that element]. It’s a testament to how detail-oriented our entire crew and all of our actors are, that there is such continuity and such meticulous attention to those things, but the spirit of the show is one that’s all heart. It’s the story of rebellion; of finding yourself; of finding love; of finding yourself changing and renegotiating that love. I think it deals with these kind of timeless themes, but wrapped up in a rickroll-y package.”

Joining the creators on the panel were Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, and Ed Harris. Working his way through each cast member (and vowing not to spoil anything), Scheer later asked them to summarize their characters’ Season 2 journeys with one word each.

While some kept it vague (Marsden said “choice” while Wood said “rise”) and others dealt out inside jokes (Newton said “lasagna”), one cowboy was ready to share.

“Can I have two words?” Harris asked. Scheer acquiesced, and the man behind The Man in Black said, “Make amends.”

That’s a rather big reversal for a character who caused a whole lot of trouble in Season 1. Many considered him an outright villain, but Harris doesn’t see him that way.

“I see him as a protagonist actually, yes,” Harris said. “Particularly this season. The maze is […] history. He’s on a whole other track this year, and I think the track that he’s on definitely makes him a protagonist. I’m worried about Season 3, to tell you the truth.”

Later, Harris said his character “becomes less mysterious” than he seemed in Season 1. “We learn more about him,” he said.

“Westworld” is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the birth of a new form of life on Earth. Season 1 earned 22 Emmy nominations — more than any other drama series — after it premiered in late 2016.

“Westworld” Season 2 premieres Sunday, April 22 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

Kelly Clarkson Will Host the 2018 Billboard Music Awards

Kelly Clarkson is hosting the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 20, NBC announced Tuesday. This is the first year the award ceremony will air on NBC.

“Kelly Clarkson has long been a Billboard chart phenomenon and has a first-hand understanding of what matters most in music today,” said president of Alternative and Reality Group at NBC Entertainment Paul Telegdy said. “Her enthusiasm for all genres of music and her innate sense of humor will make for a truly memorable night.”

“To prepare for hosting the ‘Billboard Music Awards,’ I already have 20 costume changes planned,” Clarkson said.

Also Read: Kelly Clarkson Fact-Checks Gay ‘Voice’ Contestant Who Called Her ‘Small Minded’

“I will be flying in like my girl P!nk, and calling Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman for jokes,” the pop star added. “Well, or I’m just gonna show up and celebrate my favorite artists and get to know a few more. Yeah, maybe I’ll go with that plan.”

Clarkson is currently a coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” and released a new album, “Meaning of Life,” last fall.

The three-hour live telecast of the 2018 Billboard Music Awards will take place Sunday, May 20, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The ceremony is produced by dick clark productions, and executive producers include Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco, Barry Adelman and Robert Deaton.

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Kelly Clarkson is hosting the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 20, NBC announced Tuesday. This is the first year the award ceremony will air on NBC.

“Kelly Clarkson has long been a Billboard chart phenomenon and has a first-hand understanding of what matters most in music today,” said president of Alternative and Reality Group at NBC Entertainment Paul Telegdy said. “Her enthusiasm for all genres of music and her innate sense of humor will make for a truly memorable night.”

“To prepare for hosting the ‘Billboard Music Awards,’ I already have 20 costume changes planned,” Clarkson said.

“I will be flying in like my girl P!nk, and calling Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman for jokes,” the pop star added. “Well, or I’m just gonna show up and celebrate my favorite artists and get to know a few more. Yeah, maybe I’ll go with that plan.”

Clarkson is currently a coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” and released a new album, “Meaning of Life,” last fall.

The three-hour live telecast of the 2018 Billboard Music Awards will take place Sunday, May 20, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The ceremony is produced by dick clark productions, and executive producers include Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco, Barry Adelman and Robert Deaton.

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Kelly Clarkson Fact-Checks Gay 'Voice' Contestant Who Called Her 'Small Minded'

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Why Kelly Clarkson Chose 'The Voice' Over 'American Idol'

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