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January 23, 2019

SPIKE LEE - OSCARS

NEW YORK (AP) — In the history of the Oscars, no black filmmaker has ever won the award for best director. But Spike Lee says, “one day, one of us has got to break through.” That “one day” may turn out to be Feb. 24 — when Lee finds out if he will win the director’s Oscar for his movie “BlacKkKlansman.” It’s the first time in his four-decade span of making movies that he has picked up a nomination for best director. Lee notes that, saying “thirty years is a long time, isn’t it.” Lee is 61. And he says his movie “is the dark horse — pun intended.” He says that’s fitting because he feels he has “always been an underdog” — and that he kind of likes it that way.

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049141-w-338:88-(Oscar Wells Gabriel, AP entertainment editor, with movie audio)-“I’m Oscar Wells Gabriel”-Spike Lee likes his Oscar odds with ‘BlackKkKlansman’ (23 Jan 2019)

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049142-c-90:00-(Oscar Wells Gabriel, AP entertainment editor)-“to break through”-Spike Lee likes his Oscar odds with ‘BlackKkKlansman’ (23 Jan 2019)

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SPIKE LEE - DONALD TRUMP

NEW YORK (AP) — Spike Lee says make no mistake — it was the rise to power of President Donald Trump that helped spark the movie that has him in position to win an Oscar for best director next month. He says the movie “BlacKkKlansman” is in response to Trump’s policies, especially when it comes to racial issues. After the film made its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, Lee blasted Trump for his response to the Charlottesville protests, where white nationalists held a rally that resulted in a woman being killed when she was run over by a car driven by one of the pro-white demonstrators. And Lee released the film in August — exactly a year to the day after the Charlottesville incident. He says his film “speaks directly to the Looney Tunes world we live in” under Trump — and “people get it right away.”

OSCARS - “BLACK PANTHER”

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan Coogler was not among those nominated for best director at the Oscars — despite having helmed a movie that earned $700 million in north America during its run in theaters. But it was one of the few categories of awards that “Black Panther” didn’t pick up. It is the first comic book-based film to earn a best picture nod. It has six other nods, including one for Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s (SIH’-zahz) song, “All the Stars.” Other nods are for production design for Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart. Ruth E. Carter is nominated for costume design — and the movie was nominated for its sound editing, sound mixing and original score.

NETFLIX JOINS MPAA AFTER GETTING BEST-PICTURE OSCAR NOD

NEW YORK (AP) — Yesterday, Netflix scored its first-ever Oscar nomination for best picture. And to mark the occasion, it signed on to become part of the Motion Picture Association of America. The MPAA announced yesterday that Netflix will join its ranks, becoming the first streaming service to join forces with the movie lobbying group. The only other members of the MPAA are the six major studios. The move makes sense for Netflix, and not just because it’s now competing for movie awards. One of the MPAA’s chief goals is to combat piracy. And that’s a concern for Netflix as it continues to expand overseas. Netflix yesterday got 15 Academy Awards nominations, including best picture for “Roma.”

OSCARS - MUSIC NOMINEES

NEW YORK (AP) — Last year, SZA (SIH’-zah) had the most nominations of any performer at the Grammys — but went home empty handed. This year she has the opportunity to turn things around — big time. She is up for four Grammys this year — and can cap that off with an Oscar win, to boot. She and Kendrick are nominated for best original song for “All the Stars” — from “Black Panther,” which she co-wrote with Mark Spears and Anthony Tiffith. Among those she’s competing with is Mark Ronson, who co-produced the Lady Gaga hit “Shallow” from “A Star is Born.” Ronson calls the nomination “insane” and “wonderful.” If Lamar ends up winning an Oscar, he will join Eminem, Common and Three 6 Mafia as rappers who won best original song at the Oscars.

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048989-w-346:56-(Margie Szaroleta (zar-oh-LEH’- tah), AP music correspondent, with music)-“I’m Margie Szaroleta”-Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, SZA score Oscar music nods (22 Jan 2019)

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SAG AWARDS-ALAN ALDA

NEW YORK (AP) — When Alan Alda receives his Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild on Sunday, it will celebrate a career lasting nearly seven decades. And one that continues to thrive, despite a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The 82-year old Alda still practices his craft, describing the idea of retirement as “a living hell.” Best known for the television sitcom, “M.AS.H,” Alda’s resume also includes movies like “Same Time, Next Year” and “The Aviator,” for which he received an Oscar nomination. But it’s his work with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York that he hopes endures. The center helps to bridge the gap between scientists and the public, using acting techniques, such as improvisational theater exercises to make their message more relatable.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards air Sunday on TNT and TBS. Presenters will include Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper and Rami Malek.

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049190-a-130:08-(Alan Alda, actor)-“cope with it”-SAG honoree Alan Alda keeps using acting to make an impact (23 Jan 2019)

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049192-a-123:12-(Alan Alda, actor)-“to other people”-SAG honoree Alan Alda keeps using acting to make an impact (23 Jan 2019)

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049193-a-182:40-(Alan Alda, actor)-“benefit from it”-SAG honoree Alan Alda keeps using acting to make an impact (23 Jan 2019)

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049189-w-305:28-(Margie Szaroleta (zar-oh-LEH’-tah), AP entertainment correspondent, with Alan Alda, actor)-“I’m Margie Szaroleta”-SAG honoree Alan Alda keeps using acting to make an impact (23 Jan 2019)

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R. KELLY - STUDIO LIMITS

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago judge is putting limits how R. Kelly uses a studio he rents. The Chicago Sun-Times reports a judge in Cook County has told the R&B singer he can only use the facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. — and use it only as a recording studio. The judge also ruled the studio’s second floor is off limits — this after building inspectors found faulty stairs. The building inspection turned up evidence that the industrial space was used as living space. Kelly has come under all kinds of scrutiny after Lifetime aired the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.” The series detailed old and new sexual misconduct claims against the singer — allegations Kelly has denied.

CHRIS BROWN FREED AFTER RAPE COMPLAINT FILED

PARIS (AP) — Chris Brown has been given the green light to leave France — while a rape investigation continues. The announcement comes after a woman filed a rape complaint against the singer and two other people. Prosecutors didn’t say Brown was cleared in the probe, which could result in aggravated rape and drug infractions. But Brown says he’s innocent. In an Instagram post yesterday, Brown declared the allegations are “FALSE,” that the claim is disrespectful to his family and that the rape claim goes against his “CHARACTER AND MORALS!!!!” It’s unclear what Brown was doing in Paris. His record label wouldn’t say — and his U.S. attorney has yet to respond to requests for comment.

PRESIDENT TRUMP SAYS NO MORE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFINGS

NEW YORK (AP) — The last time there was a briefing for the White House press corps was Dec. 18. And it appears there won’t be another for a while. President Donald Trump says he told Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders not to even bother with the traditional daily briefing of reporters. In a tweet yesterday, Trump griped that most reporters “will never cover” him fairly — and boasted that the word about his administration “gets out anyway.” The White House Correspondents Association calls the decision a retreat from transparency and accountability. And it says that sets a terrible precedent.

AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST RUSSELL BAKER DIES

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) — Author and humorist Russell Baker has died. He was 93. He won Pulitzer Prizes for his humorous columns in The New York Times and for a moving autobiography of his impoverished Baltimore childhood. He later moved to television as host of “Masterpiece Theatre.” He wrote a second autobiography, “The Good Times,” to follow “Growing Up.” The first focused on his childhood, the second on his early journalistic career. Baker would eventually write, edit or contribute to more than 15 other books, collections and assorted works — including a musical play and children’s book. Baker died at his Leesburg, Virginia, home on Monday. His son Allen Baker told The Associated Press that the cause of his father’s death was complications from a fall.

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049186-a-111:36-(Writer Russell Baker, introducing ’The Best Intentions” on PBS’s “Masterpiece Theater”)-“as we suffered”-Russell Baker, author and NY Times columnist is dead at 93 (23 Jan 2019)

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049181-w-359:04-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent, with columnist Russell Baker)-“Warren Levinson, New York”-Russell Baker, author and NY Times columnist is dead at 93 (23 Jan 2019)

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BRET BAIER RETURNS TO AIR AFTER SERIOUS WRECK

NEW YORK (AP) — “I had to be here today to show you I’m OK.” Those were the world Bret Baier used to describe why he returned to his TV show so soon after escaping a serious car wreck in Montana. He was back on “Special Report” last night — describing the accident that occurred after a weekend of skiing in Montana. He says his SUV hit a patch of ice — and slid into an intersection, where it collided with a pickup truck. Baier’s vehicle flipped onto its side — and he, his wife and two sons were pulled out “banged up but alive.” Baier had tears in his eyes as he thanked his audience for its thoughts and prayers — and reminded them to count their blessings.

ENTER SANDMAN - INTO THE HALL OF FAME

NEW YORK (AP) — Mariano Rivera has become baseball’s first unanimous Hall of Fame selection. The former closer for the New York Yankees got all 425 votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting released yesterday. He goes in to the Hall with Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina and the late Roy Halladay. Among those voted by the Today’s Game Era Committee are Harold Baines and Lee Smith. The new Hall of Famers will be officially inducted July 21.

by Oscar Wells Gabriel II

Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2

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