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La La Land - er, Moonlight

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"This is not a joke."

Those were the words to the audience as awkward confusion simmered on stage at Sunday night's Oscars after "La La Land" was named Best Picture – only for the realization to surface that, in fact, "Moonlight" was the winner.

Cheers could be heard here and there, but it was clear nobody could tell what was happening until proof came in the form of a card, held up for the cameras to see, naming Moonlight as the winner.

You might call it a Steve Harvey moment, after the time he called the wrong winner of the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant. 

"Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this," host Jimmy Kimmel said of the gaffe. "This is very unfortunate, what happened."

After the realization came that Moonlight had, in fact, won the Oscar for Best Picture, it was an outpouring of support, both from the audience and from the stage.

It appears the presenter of the award Warren Beatty was given the wrong card for the wrong award, leading to the wrong call.

"I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land," Warren Beatty said. "That's why I took such a long look at Faye (Dunaway), and at you. I wasn't trying to be funny."

The gaffe has brought some ridicule and wonderment on social media, with some Photoshopping other film titles on the winners card.

"By the way, I'm never getting over this. I'll be 100 years old and telling my grandkids, "Let me tell you children about the 89th #Oscars .."" wrote Twitter user @MrFilmkritik.

Others made note of the gracious handling of the incident from the La La Land crowd, while others, still, invoked Harvey's 2015 gaffe.

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Plea for empathy at Oscars

A political context larger than that of films themselves swept Iran's "The Salesman" into the limelight and effectively solidified its win in the best foreign language category at the Oscars on Sunday. Iranian astronaut Anousheh Ansari accepted the award on behalf of director Asghar Farhadi, who was absent from the ceremony in protest of Donald Trump's travel ban.

"I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight," Ansari read in a statement. "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S."

Firouz Naderi, a former NASA director, and an Iranian, stood beside Ansari as she read Farhadi's words.

It's the second Oscar for director Farhadi, and Iran, who previously won in the same category for "A Separation" in 2012, but the context surrounding this win is stunningly different.

Farhadi's film, about a couple performing Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," was barely even in the conversation a few months ago, overshadowed by Maren Ade's popular German comedy "Toni Erdmann," but became a rallying cry for immigrant rights after President Donald Trump's seven country travel ban.

The ban not only led to Farhadi announcing that he would not attend the awards in protest of the ban, targeted toward predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, but also to an unprecedented show of solidary between the six nominated directors in the foreign language category. Two days before the Oscars, the six directors issued a joint statement decrying the climate of "fanaticism" in the United States. They said that no matter who won, the award would be dedicated to people working to foster "unity and understanding."

"Dividing the world into 'us' and 'enemies' categories creates fear," Ansari continued in Farhadi's statement, which concluded with a passionate defence of the power of film to create empathy "between us and others, an empathy that we need today."

"The Salesman" won over the early favourite, "Toni Erdmann," which is already in the early stages of development for an English language remake starring Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wii, Sweden's "A Man Called Ove," Denmark's "Land of Mine," and Australia's "Tanna."



With Oscars come dresses

Along with the Oscars, each year come the dresses on the red carpet and a chance for fashion fans to check out what the top actresses are wearing.

We picked some of our favourites from this year's Academy Awards, from the feathery frills on Octavia Spencer to the oceanic flows on Auli'i Cravalno.

Check out our gallery above for some of the stars who walked the red carpet Sunday evening.





Get Out gets big

Great reviews and buzz propelled comedian Jordan Peele's directorial debut, the micro-budget thriller "Get Out," to a chart-topping opening weekend with $30.5 million according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Blumhouse-produced and Universal Pictures-distributed film cost an estimated $4.5 million to make. While it was expected to perform well against its budget, few people foresaw a debut this big — especially with a relatively unknown star in Daniel Kaluuya leading the film.

Part of the reason is positive reviews. "Get Out" has a 100 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is extremely rare for a thriller and only added to the excitement going into the weekend, said Universal President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution Nick Carpou.

"Jordan Peele is an absolute talent," he said. "As we got closer and closer to opening, it's amazing how many people were rooting for it."

Peele, who most audiences know for his sketch comedy work on the series "Key & Peele," wrote and directed the film about a black man who travels upstate to meet his white girlfriend's family.

Even without Peele in the film, audiences turned out in droves to experience the high concept horror pic. According to exit polls, African Americans comprised an estimated 39 per cent of the opening weekend audiences, while Caucasians made up 36 per cent, and a whopping 49 per cent were under the age of 25.

ComScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian predicts the film will also have staying power in the marketplace. "Social media is going to keep this movie front and centre," Dergarabedian said.

"Get Out" effectively pushed "The Lego Batman Movie" into second place. The animated family picture added $19 million this weekend and is now up to $133 million after only three weeks in theatres.

"John Wick: Chapter Two" took third place with $9 million, while the Matt Damon-starrer "The Great Wall" took fourth with $8.7 million — down 53 per cent from its opening last week.

"Fifty Shades Darker" rounded out the top five with $7.7 million, pushing the erotic drama over the $100 million mark in its third weekend.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Get Out," $30.5 million.

2."The Lego Batman Movie," $19 million ($12.9 million international).

3."John Wick: Chapter Two," $9 million ($13.1 million international).

4."The Great Wall," $8.7 million ($14.6 million international).

5."Fifty Shades Darker," $7.7 million ($19.8 million international).

6."Fist Fight," $6.4 million ($1.3 million international).

7."Hidden Figures," $5.9 million ($5.7 million international).

8."La La Land," $4.6 million ($14.4 million international).

9."Split," $4.1 million ($17.3 million international).

10."Lion," $3.8 million ($6.8 million international).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theatres (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter," $97 million.

2. "Fifty Shades Darker," $19.8 million.

3. "Split" and "Assassin's Creed," $17.3 million.

4. "The Great Wall," $14.6 million.

5. "La La Land," $14.4 million.

6. "John Wick: Chapter Two," $13.1 million.

7. "The Lego Batman Movie," $12.9 million.

8. "Sing," $12.5 million.

9. "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage," $8.6 million.

10. "Lion," $6.8 million.



Oscars day today

Will the 89th Academy Awards be a parade of political speeches or landslide for "La La Land"? Probably both.

Sunday night's Oscars are shaping up to be one of the most turbulent and politically charged ceremonies in recent memory. The telecast, which begins at 5:30 p.m. on ABC, is expected to resemble one very glitzy protest against President Donald Trump, whom award-winners — like Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes — have railed against throughout Hollywood's awards season.

An unusually tense atmosphere has coalesced before the Dolby Theatre ceremony, with protests, rallies and boycotts swirling around this year's Oscars. Even the normally sunny California weather has been stormy.

Yet most expect another day of sun for Damien Chazelle's celebrated musical "La La Land," up for a record-tying 14 nominations.



Bill Paxton dead at 61

Bill Paxton, a prolific and charismatic actor who had memorable roles in such blockbusters as "Apollo 13" and "Titanic" while also cherishing his work in "One False Move" and other low-budget movies and in the HBO series "Big Love," has died from complications due to surgery. He was 61.

A family representative issued a statement Sunday on the death but provided no further details.

Paxton, a Fort Worth, Texas, native, appeared in dozens of movies and television shows and seemed to be around when history was made both on and off screen. As a boy, he was in the crowd that welcomed President John F. Kennedy in Texas on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, hours before Kennedy was killed in Dallas. As a young man, he worked in the art department for "B'' movie king Roger Corman, who helped launch the careers of numerous actors and filmmakers.

Paxton's movie credits included some of the signature works of the past 40 years, from "Titanic" and "Apollo 13" to "The Terminator and "Aliens." Television fans knew him for his role as a polygamist, with three wives who expected the best from him, in the HBO series "Big Love," for which he received three Golden Globe nominations.

"Bill Paxton was a big-hearted, thoughtful and honourable person," his "Big Love" co-star Chloe Sevigny said in a statement. "He always had a smile on his face and could entertain any room with his wonderful stories of his many amazing years in Hollywood."

Paxton was currently starring in the CBS drama "Training Day," which premiered Feb. 2. The network has not yet announced whether it will continue to air the completed episodes.

Paxton is survived by his wife of 30 years, Louise Newbury, and their two children. His first marriage, to Kelly Rowan, ended in divorce.

His death adds a sad note to Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremonies. Paxton was never nominated but appeared in several Oscar-winning movies and was beloved and respected throughout Hollywood and beyond.

"On this Oscar Sunday, watch 'One False Move' or 'A Simple Plan' to see this lovely leading man, at his finest," Paxton's friend Rob Lowe tweeted.

Paxton brought a reliably human dimension to big-budget action adventures and science fiction. He was, sci-fi fans like to point out, the only actor killed by a Predator, a Terminator and an Alien. But Paxton, famously genial and approachable, defined his career less by his marquee status than as a character actor whose regular Joes appeared across the likes of "One False Move," ''A Simple Plan" and "Nightcrawler."

"''I'm a frustrated romantic actor," he told The Associated Press in 2006. "I wanted to play the Bud part in 'Splendor in the Grass,' I wanted to play Romeo — the great, unrequited, tragic love stories. I've gotten to mix it up a bit with the ladies but the romance has been a subplot, running from the tornado or whatever."

"I feel like I'm a regionalist and a populist who's never fit in among the intellectuals," he added. "I think there's where the heart of American art is. My greatest roles have been in regional films, whether it was 'One False Move' or 'Frailty' or 'Simple Plan' or 'Traveller.'"

Paxton often spoke warmly of his upbringing, and how his father exposed him early to movies and the stage. His father, John Paxton, also shared his son's knack for being around famous people. A childhood neighbour was the artist Thomas Hart Benton. John Paxton later belonged to the same golfing club as the great Ben Hogan, whom Bill Paxton got to know growing up.

One of the industry's busiest actors, Paxton once said the hardest part of his career wasn't the work itself, but the time in between.

"You know all the time I've been in this business which is a long, long time now, I go from having incredible days like shooting the part of Sam Houston and then all of a sudden I'm home and I'm out of work and it's two o'clock in the afternoon, I'm in my boxer shorts watching Turner Classic Movies," he told the AP in 2015. "And all I can tell you is, thank God for Turner Classic Movies and Robert Osborne."



Song, dance, and politics

The 89th Academy Awards should be a schizophrenic affair: equal parts pomp and politics.

The only thing expected to take the stage more often than the frothy front-runner "La La Land" at Sunday's ceremony is protest (and probably some punchlines) over the policies of President Donald Trump. For largely liberal Hollywood, his election has proven a rallying cause-celebre throughout an awards season that has otherwise been a parade of honours for Damien Chazelle's celebrated musical.

Just how political things are going to get at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles may be the biggest question of Sunday night's show, to be broadcast by ABC beginning at 8:30 p.m. EST, with red carpet coverage starting earlier. The current forecast for Sunday is only a slight chance of rain, though the inside of the Dolby Theatre is expected to be far stormier.

Even the usually glitzy lead-up to Sunday's show has taken on the form of a gathering tempest. On Friday, the United Talent Agency, forgoing its usual Oscar party, instead held a rally over immigration. 

More strikingly, the six directors of the foreign film nominees on Friday released a joint statement condemning "the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians."

And sure to stoke the rhetoric at Sunday's Oscars is news this weekend that U.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on the documentary short nominee "The White Helmets," about the nation's civil war.

Meanwhile, some Trump supporters are calling for a boycott of the broadcast, expecting more speeches like Meryl Streep's fiery remarks at the Globes — which prompted Trump to call her "overrated." 

Host Jimmy Kimmel will have a delicate balance on his hands. Play it too light and he'll appear out of sync with the mood. Hammer too hard and he'll alienate viewers already inundated by politics.

A lot of the suspense has been deflated by the juggernaut of "La La Land," the Golden Globe winner and favourite to win best picture. It's up for 14 awards, tying it with "Titanic" and "All About Eve" for the record.

For the first time, an actor of colour is nominated in each acting category. A record six black actors are nominated. Four of the five films nominated for best documentary were made by black filmmakers. Bradford Young ("Arrival") is the second black cinematographer ever nominated. Kimberly Steward, the financer of "Manchester by the Sea," is the second black female producer nominated for best picture.



Immersive installations

A new exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery entitled Fabrications features work by four women artists who are from different regions of Canada, but all of whom work in installation. A common thread among them is the physically demanding and labour-intensive processes each artist undertakes to construct their pieces.
 
Viewers will no doubt feel immersed in the enveloping quality of these installations, each one of which reflects a completely different sensibility. For example, Laura Vickerson’s installation entitled Air, invites visitors to remove their footwear and lie below a sea of cream-coloured semi-transparent articles of used clothing that have been sewn together and suspended nearly 10 feet above the Gallery’s floor. Libby Hague’s installation entitled Habitatmay give viewers the impression of a wall-sized graphic novel. One portion of Hague’s installation appears to offer a glimpse at the messy lives, thoughts, and feelings of the inhabitants of an apartment complex. Gisele Amantea’s work entitled Remember the Ladies uses the medium of flocking, which results in a rich velvety surface for her enormous text piece that wraps around three 14-feet-high walls. Yael Brotman’s installation entitled Mountains dance like rams includes intriguing geometrically-shaped sculptures, some of which stand on tall spindly-looking tables that were custom made, while others are clustered together to form a mountain in one corner.
 
These four senior artists have created distinctive spaces for visitors to explore and discover.
 
A fully illustrated, 48-page catalogue, which includes an essay by curator, Liz Wylie, and a text by guest essayist, independent curator and writer Diana Sherlock, from Calgary, has been produced to coincide with the exhibition.
 
Fabrications is on view until April 16, 2017.
 
The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water Street in downtown Kelowna. For more information about current exhibitions, public programming or special events, please visit the Kelowna Art Gallery online at www.kelownaartgallery.com or call 250-762-2226.



Ron Sexsmith performing

Ron Sexsmith is an artist whose music never fails to draw out raw emotions and his newest album, The Last Rider, is the most intimate and welcoming album in his catalogue.  A music download comes with each ticket purchased to his live performance at the Winfield Memorial Hall in Lake Country on May 13th. Tickets go on sale at 10:00am Saturday, February 25th (www.creeksidetheatre.com)
 
“It’s been written that ‘Ron Sexsmith maps the human heart with surgical skill and great compassion,’” said Ryan Donn, Cultural Development Coordinator.  “As an amazing song writer and performer, his music shares pieces of wisdom set to strong yet gentle melodies with emotional eloquence and genuine soul. Ron is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter that has earned immense respect from his peers, critics and a devoted international audience.”
 
Like one of his main inspirations, Ray Davies, Sexsmith is a rare songwriter able to extract profound meaning from even the most mundane aspects of life, while simultaneously lamenting what remains of our simpler past. On his 12 albums, Sexsmith has worked with some of music’s most celebrated producers—Daniel Lanois, Mitchell Froom, Tchad Blake, Ray Kennedy, Martin Terefe, Bob Rock and Jim Scott. 
 
“I think my sound has always been a combination of the folk singers and British Invasion artists I’ve always admired,” he says. “At this point, it’s just second nature for me to write short, melodic songs that say everything you want to say. But having my band totally involved on this album maybe brought out more in the songs than on other recent albums. It felt special, anyway.”
 
Although Ron Sexsmith has more music to come that is sure to inspire us, for now The Last Rider is the latest addition to a body of work as impressive as any produced in the past quarter-century. Through truth and simplicity, Sexsmith’s songs help us get closer to the things that make us better people.  His live performance in Lake Country will not fail to entertain and inspire all that are fortunate enough to attend May 13th at Winfield Memorial Hall.  
 
Tickets are available online at www.creeksidetheatre.com. 



Ricky Gervais health scare

Ricky Gervais left the stage during his stand-up comedy show on Wednesday because he feared he was suffering a heart attack.

The comedian was performing at Colston Hall in Bristol, England on the second night of his Humanity stand-up tour when he was forced to leave the stage and take a break because he felt unwell. After 10 minutes, he reportedly returned to finish the routine and jokingly told the audience he "wasn't dead".

After the show, he revealed on Twitter he had a serious health scare, writing, "Thanks to the amazing audience in Bristol tonight. They even laughed when I thought I was having a heart attack. #Humanity."

He assured fans it wasn't part of the show and he was "absolutely fine", proving the fact by taking a picture of himself holding a drink and pulling a funny face with the caption, "Not dead."

Ricky also retweeted a number of messages from audience members, with one user writing, "When you initially think 'No, it's part of the gig' but then worry @rickygervais has died ten minutes into the set..." and another, who posted, "@rickygervais Was brilliant at Colston Hall tonight. Even managed 10 minutes of great bonus content when he thought he was dying."

When he woke up on Thursday, Ricky shared another funny faced selfie from bed and revealed he wasn't feeling his best.

"I don't think I died, but I'm not a doctor," he joked. "Think I've got a little bug of some sort. Blocked up, bit hot, sore stomach. Also I'm foaming at the mouth and terrified of water. Weird."

He then took a topless selfie from below his stomach, which emphasised his belly, and joked, "Could be morning sickness." Later in the day, he shared another humorous snap and assured fans that night's gig would go ahead as he had slept and taken flu medication.

The 55-year-old's Humanity World Tour, his first stand-up trek in seven years, is next scheduled to stop in York, England on Tuesday.



Amber Rose buys strip club

Amber Rose is now the owner of Los Angeles strip club Ace of Diamonds.

The 33-year-old began stripping herself at the age of 15, under the pseudonym Paris, to provide for her family after her parents' divorce, and fell so in love with the art of exotic dancing that she recently labelled it "the best f***ing time of my life".

Now Amber is hoping to help other wannabe strippers get their start in the industry, as she recently purchased her favorite strip club.

As she accepted the Vanguard Award at the All Def Movie Awards ceremony on Wednesday, Amber told the crowd: "I was a dancer, I was an exotic dancer, I was stripper for a very long time. Best time of my life, by the way. I had the time of my life,

"But do y'all know Ace of Diamonds? Well, I bought it. So this is to every girl out there, every stripper, ya'll can one day be on stage with Russell Simmons, receiving an award," reported E! Online.

Amber has a long history with Ace of Diamonds, and often frequents the club on big occasions, such as when she and ex-husband Wiz Khalifa attended together to celebrate their divorce back in June.

She has also hosted various evenings at the club, and used the opportunity in November, 2015, to share her valuable stripping advice with the women at the venue.

Amber has previously revealed her aim is to help other keen strippers find their place in the industry without having to resort to seedy venues and sexual acts.

"A lot of men will offer you a lot of money to do a lot of things: don't do it. Nothing is sexual," she reportedly told a fan when asked for advice about getting into the industry during an interview on Loveline. "Look at every single face in there as dollar signs. Go in there, make your money, go home, pay your bills.'

"Don't do anything after, before or during, sexually. It does become very tempting for a lot of girls because when money is involved, a lot of people will be willing to do a lot of things that they wouldn't usually do."

She concluded: "If you keep your head up, stay off drugs, go in there, you make your money, it's an honest living, it truly is. If you're comfortable with your body, I highly suggest it if you do it the right way."



Jay Z: 'a win for all of us'

Jay Z insists his historic induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame is a "win" for all rappers because the genre was once considered a passing trend.

The Empire State of Mind star, real name Shawn Carter, made history as the first MC nominated for the honor in October, during his first year of eligibility, and now he will cement his legacy as part of the Class of 2017.

He will be inducted alongside singer/producer Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Swedish hitmaker Max Martin, and Chicago stars Robert Lamm, James Pankow, and Peter Cetera at a ceremony in New York City on 15 June.

The notoriously private rapper has finally opened up about the achievement, insisting hip-hop now officially has a place in songwriting history.

"By the way, this is a win for US," he wrote on Twitter. "I remember when rap was said to be a fad. We are now alongside some of the greatest writers in history."

The Songwriters Hall of Fame, which honors the masters behind the music industry's biggest hits, was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. Nominees are considered for induction if they have been writing hits for at least 20 years.

Previous induction ceremonies saluted the likes of James Brown, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, and Lionel Richie, while Nile Rodgers, Marvin Gaye, Tom Petty, and Elvis Costello were among the Class of 2016.

The nominated artists who missed out on the Songwriters Hall of Fame accolade this year include Madonna, George Michael, Gloria Estefan, Bryan Adams, Kool & the Gang, Cat Stevens, Sly Stone, and Vince Gill.



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