Cynthia Erivo praises Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘brave’ BAFTAs speech

Cynthia Erivo has thanked Joaquin Phoenix for making a “brave” speech about systemic racism in Hollywood at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs).While accepting the Best Actor award at the ceremony in London last week, the Joker star took the oppor…

Cynthia Erivo has thanked Joaquin Phoenix for making a “brave” speech about systemic racism in Hollywood at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs).

While accepting the Best Actor award at the ceremony in London last week, the Joker star took the opportunity to call out the lack of diversity in this year’s awards season nominees, and urged his fellow actors to tackle the problem head-on.

In light of Phoenix’s speech, Erivo, who is the only black nominee in the acting categories at the upcoming Oscars, has praised the 45-year-old for speaking out about the issue and expressed her hope that it will force change within the industry.

“It meant that someone like him was listening and seeing what is going on and has gotten to the point where he can pretend it’s not happening anymore,” the British actress told Variety.

Erivo, who is nominated at the Academy Awards on Sunday for her portrayal of Harriet Tubman in the biopic Harriet, added that it “meant a lot” to her that Phoenix made the important speech while in her home city.

“I hope we didn’t fall on deaf ears. We never know,” she shared. “But I think it was time for someone like him to say it, because people like me, the black girls of the world, the black men of the world, are saying it consistently, but we’re not always being heard.

“So maybe it might have taken that to change something.”

Erivo, 33, previously showed her support for Phoenix’s blistering speech at the BAFTAs by posting a clip of it to Instagram on Monday.

“Joaquin Phoenix giving a word on institutional racism. Much respect,” she wrote in the caption.

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Cynthia Erivo ‘saddened’ by lack of diversity at 2020 Oscars

Cynthia Erivo finds it “saddening” that she’s the only actor of colour nominated for the 2020 Academy Awards.The 33-year-old is up for both Best Actress and Best Original Song for Harriet, in which she portrays famed abolitionist and political activist…

Cynthia Erivo finds it “saddening” that she’s the only actor of colour nominated for the 2020 Academy Awards.

The 33-year-old is up for both Best Actress and Best Original Song for Harriet, in which she portrays famed abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman, and is the only person of colour out of the 20 acting nominees.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the star confessed the nods are “a moment for celebration”, but also reflected on the wider implications of the lack of diversity in the shortlist.

“It can’t just be me alone. There’s just such good work going on and this may sound fatalistic, but I would hate for people’s work to have gone by and then for us to have looked back and go, ‘Oh, I wish we would’ve given roses,’ when people aren’t there to actually receive them,” she said. “I don’t want us to do that.

“To be in a room and not being able to see other actors (of colour) who are nominated, to not be able to share that with another black actress is saddening. I would love to share this moment with someone else.”

Erivo recently vowed to fight for change in “the way they (entertainment industry) cast things, change the way they line up producers and directors and writers”, adding that diverse voices “reflect the world that we live in,” while addressing on the issue during a Television Critics Association panel for her new HBO show, The Outsider.

The Academy Awards take place on 9 February.

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Cynthia Erivo and Elton John to perform at 2020 Oscars

Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, and Idina Menzel will perform at the 2020 Academy Awards. Oscars show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain announced on Thursday that all of the tracks nominated for Best Original Song will be performed durin…

Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, and Idina Menzel will perform at the 2020 Academy Awards.

Oscars show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain announced on Thursday that all of the tracks nominated for Best Original Song will be performed during the ceremony on 9 February at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

They revealed that Erivo, who is also nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Harriet, will perform Stand Up, a song she co-wrote with Joshuah Brian Campbell for the Harriet Tubman biopic. Her fellow performers include John, who will sing (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again, which recently won the Golden Globe, from his biopic Rocketman, and Menzel, who will take to the stage with Norwegian singer AURORA to perform Into the Unknown, which her character Elsa sang in animated sequel Frozen II. The song was written by songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who have previously won the Best Original Song Oscar for Let It Go from the original Frozen and Remember Me from Pixar animation Coco.

In addition, This Is Us actress Chrissy Metz will sing I’m Standing With You, which was written by Diane Warren, from her movie Breakthrough, and composer Randy Newman will perform I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away from Pixar animation Toy Story 4. Newman is also nominated in the Best Original Score category for his work on Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.

Metz took to Instagram to express her excitement about the news and wrote, “When I tell you I don’t know what to say, I mean it! Honoured and elated to sing @warren_diane’s beautiful and timely song at the 92nd Oscars! See you all Sunday, February 9th!”

The ceremony will also feature a special appearance by Questlove and a guest-conducted segment by Eímear Noone, who will become the first woman to conduct during an Oscars telecast.

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Jennifer Aniston wows in white at 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards

Jennifer Aniston pulled out all of the stops at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on Sunday night.The 50-year-old, who won the prize for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for her role in The Morning Show, stood out in …

Jennifer Aniston pulled out all of the stops at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on Sunday night.

The 50-year-old, who won the prize for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for her role in The Morning Show, stood out in a vintage white silk dress designed by John Galliano back when he was creative director of Christian Dior between 1996 and 2011.

Speaking about her outfit during an interview with Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet, Jennifer explained that she actually owns the gown.

“This is John Galliano for Christian Dior, this is a vintage dress that I sort of gave to myself as a present,” she said. “This is an investment. These are designers that are working for particular houses – I only have a couple.”

Jennifer completed her ensemble with jewellery from Fred Leighton.

But she wasn’t the only star to opt for white at the SAG Awards – Riverdale star Lili Reinhart looked elegant in a two-tone Miu Miu ballgown, The Handmaid’s Tale actress Yvonne Strahovski rocked a simple white gown from Khyeli and Christian Louboutin heels, while Millie Bobby Brown sported a Louis Vuitton outfit.

Other celebrities to make the best-dressed list included Zoe Kravitz, who matched her peach Oscar de la Renta column gown with white gloves and Tiffany & Co. bling, Cynthia Erivo, who stunned in a fuchsia and orange number from Schiaparelli, and Lupita Nyong’o, who dazzled in a strapless Louis Vuitton gown with silver sequin design.

Elsewhere, Renee Zellweger, who collected the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for her film Judy, rocked a midnight blue dress from Maison Margiela with Jimmy Choo stilettos, and Scarlett Johansson made a splash in a teal blue Armani dress with plunging neckline.

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Steve McQueen slams BAFTA over lack of diversity

Director Steve McQueen has slammed BAFTA chiefs after black actors and filmmakers were snubbed in the nominations for this year’s awards.British Academy of Film and Television Arts bosses were left embarrassed last week after their members failed to no…

Director Steve McQueen has slammed BAFTA chiefs after black actors and filmmakers were snubbed in the nominations for this year’s awards.

British Academy of Film and Television Arts bosses were left embarrassed last week after their members failed to nominate any black or ethnic minority stars for awards at next month’s ceremony.

Now, McQueen has criticised the lack of diversity at the event, rejecting organisers’ claims that the lack of diversity is down to wider issues with representation in the film industry.

“After a while, you get a bit fed up with it. Because if the BAFTAs are not supporting British talent, if you’re not supporting the people who are making headway in the industry, then I don’t understand what you are there for. Unless the BAFTAs wants to be like the Grammys, which is of no interest to anyone, and has no credibility at all, then they should continue on this path,” he fired in an interview with The Guardian, referencing the criticism of the annual U.S. music awards for snubbing black talent. “If not then they have to change. Fact.”

McQueen, who has an Oscar and two BAFTAs, went on to cite a number of British stars and filmmakers who he thinks should have received recognition, including Cynthia Erivo for Harriet – who has also condemned BAFTA for the lack of diversity – and Daniel Kaluuya for his performance in Queen & Slim. He also shared his disappointment at Lupita Nyong’o not being nominated for Jordan Peele’s Us.

“But not even just British talent, it’s talent in general. It’s crazy,” the 50-year-old added.

The 12 Years a Slave filmmaker went on to insist that if the BAFTAs failed on diversity, they would experience a talent drain as stars and creatives move to Hollywood to find success.

“If (filmmakers) are not recognised visually in our culture, well what’s the b**ody point? It becomes irrelevant, redundant and of no interest or importance. End of,” he concluded.

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Joker leads 2020 Oscar nominations

Joker has led the nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards with a total of 11 nods.The box office hit, which focuses on the origin story of the DC Comics villain, landed nominations on Tuesday for categories including Best Picture, Best Actor for…

Joker has led the nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards with a total of 11 nods.

The box office hit, which focuses on the origin story of the DC Comics villain, landed nominations on Tuesday for categories including Best Picture, Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix, Best Director for Todd Phillips, and Best Adapted Screenplay, plus a host of technical categories such as Best Cinematography.

The Irishman, 1917, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood each follows with 10 nods, and will face-off against Ford v Ferrari/Le Mans ’66, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Marriage Story, and Parasite for Best Picture.

Leonardo DiCaprio scored a Best Actor nomination for his performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, with co-star Brad Pitt recognised in the Best Supporting Actor list and director Quentin Tarantino honoured with a Best Director nod.

The Irishman stars Al Pacino and Joe Pesci each landed a Best Supporting Actor nomination, with Martin Scorsese also appearing in the Best Director category.

Elsewhere, Harriet’s Cynthia Erivo, Marriage Story’s Scarlett Johansson, Little Women’s Saoirse Ronan, Bombshell’s Charlize Theron, and Judy’s Renee Zellweger make up the Best Actress category.

Despite being tipped for Oscar success, Jennifer Lopez missed out on a nod in the Best Supporting Actress list for her acclaimed performance as stripper Ramona in Hustlers.

Instead, Richard Jewell’s Kathy Bates, Marriage Story’s Laura Dern, Jojo Rabbit’s Johansson, Little Women’s Florence Pugh, and Bombshell’s Margot Robbie will be competing for the prize.

Tom Hanks landed his first Oscar nod in almost 20 years in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as children’s TV favourite Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, with The Two Popes’ Anthony Hopkins completing the category.

The 92nd Academy Awards will take place on 9 February at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The full list of nominees is as follows:

Best Picture:

1917

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Ford v Ferrari

Best Director:

Bong Joon Ho – Parasite

Sam Mendes – 1917

Martin Scorsese – The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Todd Phillips – Joker

Leading Actress:

Cynthia Erivo – Harriet

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

Charlize Theron – Bombshell

Renee Zellweger – Judy

Leading Actor:

Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Adam Driver – Marriage Story

Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes

Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Supporting Actress:

Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell

Laura Dern – Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit

Florence Pugh – Little Women

Margot Robbie – Bombshell

Supporting Actor:

Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Al Pacino – The Irishman

Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes

Joe Pesci – The Irishman

Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Adapted Screenplay:

The Irishman – Steven Zaillian

Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi

Joker – Todd Phillips and Scott Silver

Little Women – Greta Gerwig

The Two Popes – Anthony McCarten

Original Screenplay:

Knives Out – Rian Johnson

Marriage Story – Noah Baumbach

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino

Parasite – Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won

1917 – Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns

International Feature:

Corpus Christi

Les Miserables

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Honeyland

Documentary Feature:

American Factory

The Cave

For Sama

Honeyland

The Edge of Democracy

Animated Feature:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Missing Link

Klaus

Toy Story 4

Original Score:

1917 – Thomas Newman

Joker – Hildur Gudnadottir

Little Women – Alexandre Desplat

Marriage Story – Randy Newman

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – John Williams

Original Song:

I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away – Toy Story 4

I’m Standing With You – Breakthrough

(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again – Rocketman

Into the Unknown – Frozen 2

Stand Up – Harriet

Cinematography:

1917 – Roger Deakins

The Irishman – Rodrigo Prieto

Joker – Lawrence Sher

The Lighthouse – Jarin Blaschke

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Robert Richardson

Film Editing:

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Parasite

Production Design:

1917

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Costume Design:

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Makeup and Hairstyling

Bombshell

Joker

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Judy

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Sound Editing:

1917

Ford v Ferrari

Joker

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Sound Mixing:

Ad Astra

Ford v Ferrari

Joker

1917

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Visual Effects:

1917

Avengers: Endgame

The Irishman

The Lion King

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Animated Short:

Dcera (Daughter)

Hair Love

Kitbull

Memorable

Sister

Documentary short:

In the Absence

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

Life Overtakes Me

St. Louis Superman

Walk Run Cha-Cha

Live Action Short:

Saria

A Sister

Brotherhood

Nefta Football Club

The Neighbors’ Window

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Cynthia Erivo ‘disappointed’ by all-white BAFTA acting nominees

Cynthia Erivo was left “disappointed” after learning that all the acting nominees for this year’s British Academy Film Awards were white.The 33-year-old British star had been tipped to land a BAFTA nomination for her role in biopic Harriet, about forme…

Cynthia Erivo was left “disappointed” after learning that all the acting nominees for this year’s British Academy Film Awards were white.

The 33-year-old British star had been tipped to land a BAFTA nomination for her role in biopic Harriet, about former slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, but missed out on a nod for Best Actress, with the nominees including Scarlett Johansson, Renee Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Saoirse Ronan, and Charlize Theron.

In fact, there were no actors of colour in any of the acting categories – something Cynthia believes isn’t representative of the state of the movie industry today.

“It’s disappointing to see that we’ve got to this point in time and we’ve had such wonderful advancement in inclusion and diversity, and the films this year were beautiful, such wonderful stories told, and to not have that represented in an awards show like the BAFTAs is just disappointing really,” she told Variety when asked about the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees.

Following the widespread backlash, BAFTA officials issued a statement in which they admitted they were also disappointed, and subsequently announced they were launching a “careful and detailed review” of the voting process.

Responding to that news, Cynthia added, “Let’s see how (the review) does, whether it affects next year or the year after who knows, but I definitely think it’s time for change, we can’t overlook it any more.”

It was also reported that the Widows actress had turned down the chance to perform at the awards ceremony in London on 2 February – which the star confirmed in her interview with Variety.

“The reason I didn’t perform is because I don’t think it’s proper representation, as a woman of colour, of people of colour in this industry,” she said.

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BAFTA officials ‘disappointed’ by lack of diversity in nominations

BAFTA officials have admitted they are “disappointed” by the lack of diversity in the nominations for the 2020 British Academy Film Awards. The nominations for the 2020 ceremony were unveiled on Tuesday morning, revealing that Todd Phillips’s Joker ca…

BAFTA officials have admitted they are “disappointed” by the lack of diversity in the nominations for the 2020 British Academy Film Awards.

The nominations for the 2020 ceremony were unveiled on Tuesday morning, revealing that Todd Phillips’s Joker came top with 11 nods, closely followed by Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic The Irishman with 10.

Social media users swiftly went online to express their outrage at the all-white acting nominees, with them using the hashtag #BAFTASSoWhite. They blasted BAFTA voters for snubbing the likes of Awkwafina, Jennifer Lopez, Antonio Banderas, and Cynthia Erivo and opting to give Margot Robbie and Scarlett Johansson two nods each.

BAFTA executives have now admitted they are also disappointed about the all-white shortlist.

“Being totally honest, we are disappointed and that is not to take anything away from the people who have been nominated,” said BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry, according to Press Association. She added that although no female filmmaker made the Best Director shortlist, they were recognised across other categories and this “gives me joy and hope”.

“But we are going to do more, we are not going to stop pushing,” she insisted.

While Marc Samuelson, chairman of BAFTA’s film committee, commented: “Clearly everybody knows that everybody in the four acting groups of nominees are white, it’s infuriating, we can’t make the industry do something, all we can do is encourage and push and inspire and try to help people coming in at the bottom end.”

Samuelson also noted that diversity is improving in other ways, as the percentage of female nominees has risen. However, he did concede, “It doesn’t take anything away from the issue in the acting categories but, nonetheless, it’s something and things are moving.”

The 2020 British Academy Film Awards will be hosted by Graham Norton at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 2 February.

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Cynthia Erivo felt Harriet Tubman was ‘around’ while she filmed biopic

Cynthia Erivo felt like former slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman was “around” while she played her in the biopic Harriet.In the drama, the Widows actress portrays the famed slave liberator, who passed away in 1913, as she escapes from slaver…

Cynthia Erivo felt like former slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman was “around” while she played her in the biopic Harriet.

In the drama, the Widows actress portrays the famed slave liberator, who passed away in 1913, as she escapes from slavery and travels 100 miles on her own to safety in Philadelphia. However, she cannot find peace knowing her family and friends are still enslaved so she journeys back and forth to free them all, plus hundreds of others.

Tubman regularly speaks to God to ask for guidance and Erivo, who describes himself as a person of faith, prayed before going on set, where she felt the activist’s presence.

“(I prayed) to make the space safe and open for her because I feel as if Harriet is complicit in this storytelling. I feel that she’s around. It’s comforting to be able to reach into your faith to tell the story of somebody who has faith,” she told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

The production was physically demanding, with the British actress having to sprint through forests, jump off bridges and wade through rivers, but she kept it all in perspective by thinking of what Tubman went through in real-life.

“While we were on set, if anything got difficult there was a saying: ‘HTH’, which was ‘Harriet Tubman hard’. So, if it wasn’t Harriet Tubman hard, it was fine, we were going to get through it. And nothing was Harriet Tubman hard, so we always got through it,” the 32-year-old stated.

Harriet marks the third film role for Erivo, who is earning Oscars buzz for her performance.

The biopic, which also stars Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monae, and Joe Alwyn, is in cinemas now.

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Screenwriter claims studio boss wanted Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman

Harriet screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard has revealed a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts play Harriet Tubman in the biopic.The film, starring British actress Cynthia Erivo as the African-American political activist and abolitionist Harrie…

Harriet screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard has revealed a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts play Harriet Tubman in the biopic.

The film, starring British actress Cynthia Erivo as the African-American political activist and abolitionist Harriet Tubman, has been in the works for over a decade – with the premise first pitched in the early 1990s.

And as bosses debated which actresses should be in line for the titular role during a meeting in 1994, one unnamed “studio head” had a surprising suggestion.

“When I got in the business, I wanted to tell these historical stories by turning them into entertainment,” Howard said in a Q&A for Focus Features. “I didn’t want to give history lessons. I wanted to turn Harriet Tubman’s life, which I’d studied in college, into an action-adventure movie. The climate in Hollywood, however, was very different back then. I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman.’ When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'”

Erivo is already being tipped for awards season success for her role in the movie, which Howard said was only made following the release of films 12 Years a Slave and Black Panther.

“Two films really changed the climate in Hollywood to allow Harriet to be made,” he continued. “When 12 Years a Slave became a hit and did a couple hundred million dollars worldwide, I told my agent, ‘You can’t say this kind of story won’t make money now.’ Then Black Panther really blew the doors open.”

Roberts has yet to respond to Howard’s claim.

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