Academy to expand Best Picture Oscar category as part of diversity plans

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced plans to increase the Best Picture Oscar category to 10 nominees as part of its drive to improve diversity. AMPAS officials announced a raft of new changes to help the Oscars become a more…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced plans to increase the Best Picture Oscar category to 10 nominees as part of its drive to improve diversity.

AMPAS officials announced a raft of new changes to help the Oscars become a more inclusive and diverse competition on Friday, including the news that the Best Picture category will be set at 10 nominees, instead of the number changing every year, starting with the 94th Academy Awards for 2021 films.

“While the Academy has made strides, we know there is much more work to be done in order to ensure equitable opportunities across the board,” Academy chief executive officer Dawn Hudson said in a statement, according to Variety. “The need to address this issue is urgent. To that end, we will amend- and continue to examine – our rules and procedures to ensure that all voices are heard and celebrated.”

To help them make further strides towards more diverse representation at the Oscars, the Academy and the Producers Guild of America (PGA) are creating a task force of industry leaders “to develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility by July 31, 2020”.

Academy officials will also set up a quarterly viewing process through the Academy Screening Room, the streaming site for Academy members, also starting with the 94th Academy Awards.

“By making it possible for members to view films released year-round, the Academy will broaden each film’s exposure, level the playing field, and ensure all eligible films can be seen by voting members,” they explained in a press release.

They also announced changes to the Board of Governors and unveiled plans for a series of panel discussions called Academy Dialogue: It Starts With Us. These will focus on the topics of race, ethnicity, history, opportunity, and the art of filmmaking, with the initiative to include a conversation hosted by governor Whoopi Goldberg.

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Ava DuVernay elected to Academy’s board of governors

Ava DuVernay has been elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors.The Selma filmmaker is among six people who have landed a place on the board, which oversees the Oscars, for the first time, and she was nominated to h…

Ava DuVernay has been elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors.

The Selma filmmaker is among six people who have landed a place on the board, which oversees the Oscars, for the first time, and she was nominated to head the directors branch.

“Thank you to the members of the Directors Branch of @TheAcademy. Life is a funny, fascinating thing. You never know what’s around the corner,” Ava wrote in a post on Twitter.

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker has been speaking out about racial injustice and inequality following the death of George Floyd, and recently made her Netflix documentary 13th available to watch on YouTube in an effort to educate those on systemic racism in the U.S.

Also elected to the board of governors for the first time are casting director Debra Zane, producer Lynette Howell Taylor, editor Stephen Rivkin, make-up artist Linda Flowers, and Rob Bredow for visuals effects.

Whoopi Goldberg, who won an Oscar for her role in Ghost back in 1991, was among those re-elected to the board of governors and will serve another three-year term as a governor of the actors branch.

The election results mean the number of female board members has increased from 25 to 26 and people of colour from 11 to 12.

The Academy’s board is also expected to meet on Thursday, via video conference call, to discuss the possibility of postponing the 2021 Oscars in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Deadline, it is expected that the current date of 28 February will be pushed into March or even April due to the industry-wide shutdown.

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Kendall Jenner helps Kenneth Cole launch The Mental Health Coalition

Kendall Jenner has teamed up with designer Kenneth Cole to help launch The Mental Health Coalition initiative. To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the designer and social activist has unveiled The Mental Health Coalition, the first c…

Kendall Jenner has teamed up with designer Kenneth Cole to help launch The Mental Health Coalition initiative.

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the designer and social activist has unveiled The Mental Health Coalition, the first collaborative effort of this scale which will unite members of leading U.S. mental health organisations, creative and media platforms, passionate advocates, as well as celebrities, with the aim of working together to destigmatise mental health conditions.

To help promote the drive, Kendall, who has been open about her battle with anxiety, made a video call appearance on Good Morning America.

“When he came to me (with the idea), it was so perfect… You know, I struggle with my own mental health issues sometimes myself so I was very excited, I was so ready to get involved,” she explained. “What I hope to accomplish is for people not to feel as alone.

“I was really, really young and feeling like I couldn’t breathe and running to my mom… She, of course, took me to a bunch of doctors, just to make sure I was all OK physically… No one ever told me I had anxiety,” the model confessed. “Maybe three, four years ago it came back completely full-on and I would have crazy panic attacks, (and I) finally kind of got the information I needed about it.”

The initiative brings together mental health resources and service providers in one place – an online platform and digital hub where people can seek help or guidance and open up about their problems.

Cole, founder and chairman of the initiative, added in a statement that the coronavirus crisis has created an “unprecedented urgency to address” mental health.

“We are aligned with the goal of ending the related devastating stigma. I believe that together we can end the stigma, but only together,” he said.

In addition to Kendall, other stars joining the initiative include Stanley Tucci, Whoopi Goldberg, Kesha, among others, who will post confessional videos on social media in which they answer the question: “How are you, really?”

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Whoopi Goldberg unfazed by criticism of outfit choices on The View

Whoopi Goldberg is unfazed by the criticism she has received for re-wearing the same jacket while hosting The View.The 64-year-old and her fellow panellists, including actress Joy Behar, journalist Sunny Hostin, columnist Meghan McCain, and political c…

Whoopi Goldberg is unfazed by the criticism she has received for re-wearing the same jacket while hosting The View.

The 64-year-old and her fellow panellists, including actress Joy Behar, journalist Sunny Hostin, columnist Meghan McCain, and political commentator Ana Navarro have been continuing to host the show remotely from their respective homes due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

But after some viewers took to social media to poke fun at Whoopi for wearing the same plaid jacket repeatedly, the Oscar-winning star decided to open Tuesday’s episode of the talk show with a message for her critics.

“People are kvetching at me about the fact that I still am wearing this red and black check thing,” she said, pointing to the jacket. “People say I wear it too much. Look at me: do I care? No. ‘Cause I’m comfortable in this bad boy!”

Whoopi, who has co-hosted The View since 2007, has worn the jacket several times over the years while filming the daytime programme in the ABC studio.

The Ghost actress launched her debut size-inclusive clothing line, DUBGEE, in May last year, which she was inspired to make after finding it difficult to buy comfortable clothes.

The collection, comprised of sweatshirts, trousers, dresses, and T-shirts, is priced from $89 – $390 (£73 – £318).

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Naomi Campbell instantly dazzled by Adut Akech’s star quality

Naomi Campbell has recalled how she instantly knew Adut Akech had the power to become a fashion star.The British supermodel invited the South Sudanese-Australian model, whom she refers to as her “daughter”, for a live chat on her YouTube channel on Wed…

Naomi Campbell has recalled how she instantly knew Adut Akech had the power to become a fashion star.

The British supermodel invited the South Sudanese-Australian model, whom she refers to as her “daughter”, for a live chat on her YouTube channel on Wednesday. Reflecting on the time she first met Adut, Naomi shared that it was at Tim Walker’s Alice in Wonderland-themed photoshoot, also starring Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Whoopi Goldberg, and Lupita Nyong’o.

“(Diddy) and I were getting ready in hair and make-up… and Adut walks in,” she remembered. “And we both look up in the mirror and we’re both just like, ‘Boom!’ It just hit us… we were like, ‘Did you just see what I just saw? Oh my goodness, she is incredible, special, a star.’ Knew it right away.”

Naomi then noted that she wanted to spend more time getting to know Adut follow the shoot, but couldn’t as the model had to study for her final school exams. Yet, the meeting left a lasting impression on the 20-year-old.

“They didn’t tell me you were there until I saw you so, you can imagine how much I would be in shock. But I was trying to keep it together, I was trying to keep my cool,” she smiled. “I was shocked overall that I as even there!”

Elsewhere in the chat, Adut also thanked Naomi for reaching out to her via text message after her first appearance on the runway at a Saint Laurent show in Paris.

“I went home that night and I cried. It was my first Paris Fashion Week, I’d just finished school, I’d just left my family and I was moving to New York. It was so overwhelming for me. I was like, ‘Wow, I feel like I’ve just found my first family member,” she added.

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Marc Jacobs releases Girl, Interrupted-inspired line in support of LGBTQ charity

Marc Jacobs has unveiled a capsule collection inspired by the movie Girl, Interrupted to help raise funds for an LGBTQ charity.To mark the 20th anniversary of the 1999 psychological drama starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, based on Susanna Kayse…

Marc Jacobs has unveiled a capsule collection inspired by the movie Girl, Interrupted to help raise funds for an LGBTQ charity.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the 1999 psychological drama starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, based on Susanna Kaysen’s 1993 memoir, the fashion designer has released three limited-edition items featuring graphics and iconography from the film.

Thirty per cent of sales from the hoodie, T-shirt, and gym pant will go directly to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organisation dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth.

Taking to Instagram, Jacobs re-posted a note penned by writer and photographer Ava Nirui about the initiative.

“20 YEARS OF GIRL, INTERRUPTED by MARC JACOBS merch pieces to commemorate the iconic Winona and Angelina film from 1999 are available now on marcjacobs.com,” she wrote. “Thank you to everyone who helped make it happen, especially @themarcjacobs. This project is dear to me – this movie changed the way I viewed mental health at a very young age, which was massively beneficial to me as I was in the process of growing up under the guidance of a close family member with clinical depression. It really helped me become more accepting of her and others impacted by mental illness. I’m happy to have done this project with such an important organisation.”

At the end of the post, the designer added: “THANK YOU AVA @avanope I’m so proud of this. GRATEFUL to you for giving life to this project. Love, Marc.”

For the accompanying campaign, model Adut Akech was photographed by Tina Tyrell and styled by Andrew Sauceda.

Items in the collection are priced from $95 to $165 (£72 – £125).

Girl, Interrupted, directed by James Mangold, also starred Brittany Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Moss, and Vanessa Redgrave.

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Tyler Perry dedicates new studio soundstage to one-time critic Spike Lee

Tyler Perry has dedicated a soundstage at his new Atlanta, Georgia film complex to former critic Spike Lee after revealing the two moviemakers have patched up their differences.Lee, who once accused Perry of promoting black stereotypes in his Madea mov…

Tyler Perry has dedicated a soundstage at his new Atlanta, Georgia film complex to former critic Spike Lee after revealing the two moviemakers have patched up their differences.

Lee, who once accused Perry of promoting black stereotypes in his Madea movies, has been honoured alongside Whoopi Goldberg, Denzel Washington, and Oprah Winfrey with his own soundstage at the Tyler Perry Film Studios.

But in spite of his rocky history with Lee, Perry has now told TMZ Live that he had to include the director because of what he has done to advance African-American cinema.

“You cannot deny what he has done in the film industry and how he has been at the forefront to help me and everybody else get to the place where we are… I just wanted to honour him for what he has done,” Perry commented, revealing he and Lee once thrashed out their differences during a face-to-face meeting. “He came to my house and we sat down and we had a great conversation… This moment for me and Spike was a huge moment.”

Perry opened his new studio complex over the weekend and welcomed Beyonce, JAY-Z, Winfrey, Goldberg, and Samuel L. Jackson, among others, to the new site, which features the first full-scale replica of the White House.

During a discussion in 2009 with Ed Gordon on Our World with Black Enterprise, the Do the Right Thing director equated Perry’s work to minstrel shows.

Lee argued popularising characters like Madea is a disparaging action that spreads the idea of “buffoonery” in relation to black culture.

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Whoopi Goldberg launches upscale clothing collection

Whoopi Goldberg has launched an upscale spin-off of her debut clothing collection, Dubgee by Whoopi.The actress, TV host and comedian is expanding her clothing line with the addition of Dubgee Forum by Whoopi, with prices ranging from $65 to $175 (£53…

Whoopi Goldberg has launched an upscale spin-off of her debut clothing collection, Dubgee by Whoopi.

The actress, TV host and comedian is expanding her clothing line with the addition of Dubgee Forum by Whoopi, with prices ranging from $65 to $175 (£53 to £144).

The size-inclusive line, which she designed with Julie Haus Alkire, ranges from small to 3X and includes easy-fit dresses, oversize tunics and shirts.

“It’s really wearable, it’s comfortable,” Whoopi told WWD. “That’s really what I’m looking for. I really just want to be comfortable, and kind of fashionable, but in my own way. What’s been really interesting for me in the last year is discovering there are a lot of women like me, who want something interesting that doesn’t look like everybody else’s and they have embraced me.”

And the Oscar-winning actress revealed that she is also thinking about designing a men’s line, which she’d like to introduce next year.

“It’ll be comfortable, really great sweaters and great peg pants. I’m having a lot of fun looking at things from the Forties, like wide men’s pants and wide men’s jacket,” she continued.

And the Ghost star, who launched Dubgee by Whoopi in May, is thoroughly enjoying people dressing in the clothes she has designed.

“I don’t want anything in your closet to p**s you off. I think there are many things in the world that can p**s you off. None of them should be in your closet. I want people to go into their closets, and say, ‘Whatever’s in here, I know I’m going to love putting on,'” the 63-year-old added.

The new collection is available to purchase now from stores in the U.S. including Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s. More items will be launched in January.

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Whoopi Goldberg calls on Disney bosses to make Sister Act sequel

Whoopi Goldberg is urging Disney bosses to seriously consider making a third Sister Act movie after popstar Lizzo paid homage to the hit franchise at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards. The singer took the stage at the California ceremony on Saturday to b…

Whoopi Goldberg is urging Disney bosses to seriously consider making a third Sister Act movie after popstar Lizzo paid homage to the hit franchise at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards.

The singer took the stage at the California ceremony on Saturday to belt out her hit song Juice while wearing a purple choir robe with a pink stole, appearing to channel Lauryn Hill’s character in the finale of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, in which she began the group’s set as a soloist.

The camera then cut to a group of Lizzo’s dancers waiting backstage, who had been dressed in the same attire, as an assistant told them, “Lizzo says take off your robes,” mimicking the scene at the end of the 1993 comedy.

Lizzo and her crew all ended up stripping off their robes to reveal their real costumes underneath as they launched into the uptempo performance, while they also incorporated a few signature dance moves from the film into the awards show gig.

The Sister Act tribute earned the musician high praise from Whoopi online after tuning into the MTV broadcast on Monday, and during an appearance on her daytime talk show The View on Wednesday, the veteran actress took the opportunity to call on movie officials at Disney to grant the surviving members of the cast their wish to turn the series into a trilogy.

“I want to point out to anyone who’s not sure if Sister Act still works, just saying (sic)!” Whoopi remarked. “It was part of folks’ (childhoods) growing up. Lizzo was five when Sister Act 2 came out; she’s 31 now…”

She went on to reveal fans are always asking about a potential sequel, but the decision is ultimately not up to her.

“The question that I get all the time is, ‘How come y’all haven’t done it again (made another Sister Act movie)? Everybody else has done it (remakes/sequels),'” Whoopi explained. Then, looking directly into the camera, she pointedly added, “Hey, Disney…!”

The star, who portrayed Sister Mary Clarence, previously reunited with her Sister Act co-stars Kathy Najimy, Wendy Makkena, and Harvey Keitel, and the film’s music supervisor Marc Shaiman, in September 2017 to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and admitted she would love to reprise the role once more – as long as studio bosses came up with a good script and kept Marc onboard.

Disney chiefs have yet to respond to Whoopi’s wish, although in 2015, they unveiled plans to reboot the original movie, about a Las Vegas lounge singer who enters the witness protection programme under the guise of a nun at a church.

In addition to spawning a 1993 sequel, Sister Act was also turned into a hit stage musical, debuting on Broadway in 2011.

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Whoopi Goldberg launches size-inclusive clothing collection

Whoopi Goldberg has joined the movement to promote more inclusive clothing size offerings by launching her own clothing line, DUBGEE. The actress and talk show host was determined to create a collection that she herself would be a fan of and wear, and…

Whoopi Goldberg has joined the movement to promote more inclusive clothing size offerings by launching her own clothing line, DUBGEE.

The actress and talk show host was determined to create a collection that she herself would be a fan of and wear, and insists she’s thrilled with what fans can now buy.

“You’re going to see me in my clothes,” she tells People magazine. “Because if I’m not wearing them, then you’re not going to believe what I tell you about them. You’re going to want to wear these clothes because they’re comfortable and that they’re made for your shape, regardless of what your shape is.”

The capsule, which includes a wide range of pieces that cater to a variety of body types was a challenge for the Ghost star initially.

“It was an experience I wasn’t really familiar with because I’ve always been able to find things that were comfortable and felt fine,” she shares, explaining the name of her new label was inspired by her initials: “‘W’ and ‘G’ – DUBGEE,” she adds.

The 63 year old set out to make sure that all of the items on offer were comfortable and easy to create casual looks with.

“The last thing you should ever worry about is what’s in your closet,” she shares. “My attitude is to make comfortable stuff that becomes a staple in your closet and you can style it however you want to.”

She also drew from her own frequently-changing weight and offers products that will make everyone feel good about themselves.

“My weight fluctuates, and if it goes however it goes, I want to feel good about everything I put on,” Goldberg says. “There are so many people that think they can’t be fashionable, but not with DUBGEE. You can be whatever you want.”

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