OSCAR NOMINATIONS DUE OUT TODAY
NEW YORK (AP) – The Oscars may not have a host. But come this morning, they will have nominees. The motion picture academy will announce its nominations for the 91st Oscars (at 8:20 a.m. eastern) from the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. The nominations will be announced by Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross – and will be live-streamed globally at Oscars.com and Oscars.org. You can also find it on the academy’s digital platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The run-up to the nominations announcement has been treacherous for the academy. It had named Kevin Hart as host. But he withdrew amid renewed controversy over old tweets and jokes about homosexuality. It appears the academy is now going to opt to go host-less, rotating stars into the mix to move the show along.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Some big mysteries about this year’s Oscar nominations will be resolved soon. One, whether Netflix can earn an Oscar nod. The streaming service is home to “Roma,” considered an academy favorite. In 2017, “Manchester by the Sea” got an Oscar nod for Amazon. Last year, Netflix bent its own rules to coax a nod from the academy, releasing “Roma” in select theaters before streaming it. Another mystery: how will “Black Panther” fare? The academy seems to have trouble giving props to Hollywood blockbusters – and Ryan Coogler’s superhero movie is that. It took in $700 million in box office receipts, most of any film in North America last year. Meanwhile, Spike Lee wonders if he’ll ever get on Oscar’s good side as a director. He has two nods for best picture, but none for best director. “BlacKkKlansman” is expected to get him over the top in that category.
RAZZIES NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
NEW YORK (AP) – While some Hollywood types slept in anticipation of today’s Oscar nominations, others tossed and turned over being picked for the Razzies. Four movies tied for most nods with six. They are John Travolta’s John Gotti biopic “Gotti,” Will Ferrell’s comedy “Holmes & Watson,” “Dinesh D’Souza’s “Death of a Nation” and the R-rated puppet comedy “Happytime Murders.” Also getting nods: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump. The Razzies say president and his “pettiness” are up for worst screen combo and Melania Trump is up as worst supporting actress.
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – DOCUMENTARIES
LOS ANGELES (AP) – It’s called the Sundance Film Festival. But for those who do reality films, it could just as well be the Sundance Documentary Festival. The event begins Thursday in Park City, Utah. And so far, many non-fiction movies are getting the early buzz. There will be pieces on fallen titans like Harvey Weinstein, one about two people who accuse Michael Jackson of sexual abuse and others about the Apollo moon landing, journalist Mike Wallace, author Toni Morrison and sex-expert Dr. Ruth.
CIA OPS OFFICER PORTRAYED IN “ARGO” DIES
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) – The former CIA technical operations officer portrayed by Ben Affleck in the Oscar-winning movie “Argo” has died. Antonio “Tony” Mendez died Saturday at an assisted living center in Maryland. He was 78 and his family says he had Parkinson’s disease. Mendez drew up a plan to spirit six U.S. diplomats out of Iran by having them pose as a Canadian film crew – smack dab in the middle of the 1979-80 hostage crisis. In a statement on Twitter, Affleck says Mendez was “a true American hero” who was also “a man of extraordinary grace, decency, humility and kindness.”
LADY GAGA BLASTS PRESIDENT TRUMP AND V.P. PENCE
LAS VEGAS (AP) – If Lady Gaga wanted to get a rise out of President Donald Trump or Vice President Pence with her rant during a performance over the weekend – it didn’t work. Neither has responded to Gaga’s taking them to task during her show Saturday night in Las Vegas. Gaga demanded that Trump reopen the federal government – using a cuss word to describe him – so people who live from paycheck to paycheck can get relief. And Gaga ripped Pence because his wife took a job at a school that bars LGBTQ students, parents or teachers – or employees who support them.
ST. LOUIS-AREA NEWSCASTER UNDER FIRE FOR RACIAL SLUR ABOUT MLK
ST. LOUIS (AP) – The NAACP says even if a St. Louis-area newscaster used a racial slur accidentally while doing a story about Martin Luther King Jr. – he should be fired. Chapter president John Gaskin says even if people believe the newscaster used the slur by accident, some mistakes are grounds for termination. KTVI newscaster Kevin Steincross was discussing a tribute to King when he referred to him as “coon” instead of King. He apologized hours later. The station owner says it believes Steincross made a mistake – and doesn’t plan to discipline him.
UNDATED (AP) – Good football makes for good audiences. That was the case for the two Sunday overtime games that settled this year’s Super Bowl matchup. The game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs was the second-most watched AFC championship game in 42 years. Nielsen reports the CBS broadcast averaged 53.9 million viewers, just shy of the 54.8 million that saw Pittsburgh beat the New York Jets in 2011. The Fox airing of the NFC title game between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints averaged 44.2 million viewers, up 14 percent over last year. Both title games posted 13-percent rating increases over last year.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2