February 09, 2020
The race for Oscar glory just kicked into high gear. "The Irishman," "Joker," "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" and "1917" dominated the list of nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards announced early Monday, with each scoring best picture nods. But as always, some of the major headlines revolve around the movies and stars left out of the running. Here's a look at the key takeaways.
2020 Oscars: 5 takeaways from this years crop of nominees
'Joker' isn't done conquering the culture
Todd Phillips' stark, gloomy take on Gotham City, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the DC Comics supervillain, stirred up sociopolitical debate like few Hollywood blockbusters in recent memory. The major critics were divided over the movie's rough-edged violence and lurid depiction of mental illness, with some accusing Phillips of exploiting cultural anxieties around incels, short for so-called involuntary celibates, and mass shooters.
But film academy voters, perhaps in a bid to draw viewers who turned "Joker" into a global box-office phenomenon, lavished it with 11 nominations — more than any other movie in the field. The hand-wringing, hot takes and Twitter feuds that accompanied the release of "Joker" in October could make a reprisal ahead of the ceremony Feb. 9.

No female directing nominees — once again
Greta Gerwig ("Little Women"), Marielle Heller ("A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood") and Kasi Lemmons ("Harriet") earned glowing reviews last fall for their thoughtful dramas. But all three filmmakers were shut out of the best director category as voters, following a familiar script, recognized five men: Bong Joon Ho ("Parasite"), Sam Mendes ("1917"), Phillips ("Joker"), Martin Scorsese ("The Irishman") and Quentin Tarantino ("Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood").
2020 Oscars: 5 takeaways from this years crop of nominees
The film academy has nominated a woman for the directing honor only five times in its history (including Gerwig two years ago for her debut, "Lady Bird"), and only one — Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") — ultimately triumphed. Issa Rae, who co-hosted the nominations announcement event, alluded to gender inequity. "Congratulations to those men," Rae pointedly said.
Rebecca Goldman, chief operating officer for the Time's Up group, addressed the lack of female directing nominees in a statement: "This is why Time's Up exists — to ensure women in entertainment and across industries get the opportunities and recognition they deserve."

#OscarsSoWhite just barely averted
The lack of diversity in the four acting categories has roiled Oscar telecasts in recent years, fueling the #OscarsSoWhite social media hashtag and inspiring a wider cultural conversation around racial representation in Hollywood. Oscar voters avoided another year of all-white acting nominees, though far from decisively: Cynthia Erivo, who is British Nigerian, earned a nod for her acclaimed lead performance in the biopic "Harriet." (She was also nominated for best original song.)
Jennifer Lopez, who drew some of the finest reviews of her career for her energetic turn in "Hustlers," was among the notable snubs in the best supporting actress category — an omission some linked to the academy's issues with diversity. The same could be said of the exclusion of "The Farewell" star Awkwafina as well as several movies anchored by people of color, including the Eddie Murphy vehicle "Dolemite Is My Name," the criminal justice drama "Just Mercy" and Jordan Peele's comedic horror flick "Us."

'Parasite' rides a wave of buzz to make history
Bong Joon Ho's gleefully genre-bending tale of class warfare and economic inequality scooped up a respectable six nominations, including best picture and best director — highlighting the popularity of the sleeper hit film. "Parasite," which centers on a poor family that infiltrates the life of a bourgeois clan, also made history, becoming the first feature to be nominated in the international film category and only the 11th to notch a best picture nod.
In a best picture race that many pundits seem to think is evenly split among "The Irishman," "Once Upon a Time" and "1917," Bong's celebrated satire could score an upset in the top category on the sheer strength of audience enthusiasm.

Netflix leads among studios, but ...
The streaming giant racked up a robust 24 nominations, including best picture nods for "The Irishman" and Noah Baumbach's divorce drama "Marriage Story." But for the folks at Netflix, the Oscars could be a replay of the Golden Globes, where the company stormed into the night with a commanding 34 nominations across all categories but walked away with only two wins, for Laura Dern ("Marriage Story") and Olivia Colman's performance in "The Crown."
The traditional studios that Netflix has worked hard to outmuscle — Sony ("Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood"), Universal ("1917") and Warner Bros. ("Joker") — might be hard to topple at this year's ceremony.
The 92nd Academy Awards will take place Feb. 9 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and air live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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