All in Entertainment

Kanye West Calls Slavery "A Choice" in TMZ Interview

In a “TMZ Live” interview Tuesday, Kanye West caused another stir, calling American slavery “a choice.” After the comment, he went on to ask the employees in the room whether they thought he was thinking and feeling free. TMZ’s Van Lathan responded quickly, telling Kanye he didn’t think Kanye was “thinking anything.” After the comments, an “anti-West chorus” ensued on Twitter, led by CNN contributor Symone D. Sanders. Kanye has also been sharing his love of Donald Trump over Twitter.

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Snapchat's Struggles Continue

As Snap continues to make adjustments within its Snapchat app, its stock continues to take a nosedive. Snap (SNAP) stock closed down 7% yesterday, putting it more than 15% below the price when it went public last year. These recent adjustments have drawn criticism from different celebrities as well, including Kylie Jenner and Rihanna. Investors have doubts that Snapchat will ever reach Instagram's user count, especially with Instagram continuing to roll out many similar features of Snapchat. However, Snapchat isn’t the only social media platform drawing skepticism from investors, as Twitter stock fell yesterday despite the company reporting revenue and profit that topped projections.

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Meek Mill Released from Prison

Rapper Meek Mill, who spent nearly five months in prison for violating probation on a 2008 gun and drug case, was released Tuesday. After being arrested twice in 2017, Mill received a two-to-four year prison sentence last November. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office recommended a new trial for Mill, but a judge denied him bail. The case made it to the Philadelphia Supreme Court who ultimately ordered an immediate release for Mill on unsecured bail. The case is currently being appealed. Mill tweeted his gratitude to his supporters and stated he was looking forward to being with his family and resuming his music career.

 

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A Quiet Place Takes No. 1 Box Office Spot

For another weekend, Paramount’s almost dialogue-free horror movie A Quiet Place is number 1 in the box office, beating Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty and Dwayne Johnson’s Rampage. A Quiet Place is the story of a family who has to live in silence to protect themselves from aliens who hunt their prey by sound. The production budget was $17 million but the movie has grossed $132.4 million from North American theaters and $74.8 million overseas. The film is Paramount’s highest-grossing domestic release in almost two years.

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Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize

Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his album “DAMN.”, making history as the first non-classical/jazz artist to win the award in this category. The Pulitzer board said his album “is a virtuosic song collection that captures the modern African-American life.” Since emerging on the scene in 2011, Lamar has won 12 Grammy awards and has earned critical acclaim for all his albums. In 2018, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler selected Lamar to curate and produce the soundtrack for the film. Included in the Pulitzer honor is a $15,000 prize.

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NCAA Approves Rule Change for 2018 Football Season

With player safety continuing to be a concern at all levels of football, a new rule change was approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel and will take effect this upcoming season.  The new rule will apply to kickoffs which often result in the most violent plays in the sport; in 2010, Rutgers player Eric LeGrand was paralyzed on a kickoff.  The new rule is meant to limit the number of kickoff returns in a game.  It will have any fair catch inside the 25-yard-line on a kickoff result in a touchback, which places the ball at the 25-yardline.  Previously, touchbacks only occurred when the ball traveled into the end zone. 

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Life Coach Apologizes for Comments About #MeToo

Life coach Tony Robbins has apologized for comments he made about the #MeToo movement during one of his events where he said that some women “use it to gain significance by playing the victim.” The comments were made during a March 15th “Unleash the Power Within” event where he argued with a woman named Nanine McCool about the movement. McCool uploaded the argument on YouTube and Robbins has since faced backlash. The video went viral after it was picked up by an entertainment news outlet. It was revealed that Tarana Burke, creator of the #MeToo movement, was made aware of the video by Robbins’ representatives who wanted to “do damage control.” Burke tweeted, “They wanted to ‘give me context’ apparently. I don’t need any. I have eyes.” Burke was also included in the apology Robbins issued Sunday.

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Opening Statements in Cosby Trial Set

The opening statements have been set in the upcoming Bill Cosby trial. Accusers are to make the case that “America’s Dad” was living a double life, and was actually one of Hollywood’s biggest predators, while Cosby’s lawyer is set to attack Andrea Constand, his first accuser, as a liar, and the subsequent women who have testified, as “bandwagon” accusers. Cosby’s first trial, which occurred last spring, ended with the jurors unable to make a unanimous decision in the case. Cosby, who is now 80 years old, faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Each count faces up to 10 years in prison.

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ESPN Set to Launch Streaming Service

One week from today, ESPN will launch its first direct-to-consumer TV service, named ESPN+.  The app will offer access for fans to stream hundreds of different events from a variety of different sports including MLB, NHL, MLS, boxing, golf, tennis, and several college sports. This aggressive expansion in coverage comes during troubling times for the sports and entertainment giant over the years, having laid off hundreds of employees in the past year.  Another streaming service for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm content is in the works, and is expected to launch in some time in 2019.

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Stormy Daniels Gives the Details

The anticipated interview of adult-film actress Stormy Daniels aired on CBS’s 60 Minutes yesterday evening.  Daniels discussed her full history with Donald Trump, dating all the way back to a golf tournament in 2006, during which she doubled down on her claim of her affair with Donald Trump.  Daniels and her attorney Michael Avenatti also discussed their pending litigation against the Trump camp to void the non-disclosure agreement Daniels agreed to just days before the 2016 election that involved a $130,000 payment from Trump attorney Michael Cohen.  Daniels is currently one of two women suing to discontinue non-disclosure agreements related to President Trump.

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UMBC Wins in Biggest Upset Ever in NCAA Tournament

The University of Maryland- Baltimore County basketball team defeated Virginia on Friday, a feat which marks the biggest upset ever in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  UMBC was seeded 16th in the South region and was slated to play the number one overall seed in the tournament, Virginia, when the bracket was unveiled last week.  Very few predicted they would win, and they were a 20.5 point underdog to the Cavaliers going into the game.  However, UMBC went out to an early lead and won 74-54, busting millions of brackets.  In doing so, UMBC became the first ever 16 seed to defeat a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

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Obama and Netflix In Talks to Create Shows

It appears that 44 may be getting his own show. Former President Barack Obama and Michelle are currently in “advanced” talks regarding the creation of a series of shows produced by the former president. Early reports suggest that the show would be more centered around storytelling, rather than a show dedicated to combating President Trump or conservatives. Executives from Apple and Amazon have also expressed their interest in courting Obama’s talents. Widely considered as one of the most charismatic political figures in modern history, Obama having his own show would entertain many.

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Michael B. Jordan’s Company Will Adopt Inclusion Riders

On Wednesday Michael B. Jordan announced that his production company, Outlier Society, will be adopting inclusion riders, which are contract addendums that require studios to hire diverse casts and crews on their projects. The term was popularized by Frances McDormand when she introduced the idea in her Oscars acceptance speech. Jordan announced the riders on an Instagram post, stating that he’s “been privileged to work with powerful women and persons of color throughout my career, and it is Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward.” Endeavor Content, another production company, has already adopted the contract addendum and several Hollywood analysts are optimistic about its future.

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And The Oscar Goes To...

The 90th Academy Awards were held on Sunday and here were some of the night’s top moments:

The Shape of Water took home four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Guillermo del Toro, Best Original Score and Best Production Design. Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell won in the acting categories (Best Actress, Actor, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor, respectively). James Ivory became the oldest Oscar winner at age 89 for his Best Adapted Screenplay of Call Me by Your Name, and Jordan Peele became the first African American to win Best Original Screenplay for Get Out. Also making history was Roger Deakins, legendary cinematographer who won his first Oscar after 14 nominations for his work on Blade Runner 2049. Some highlights of the night included host Jimmy Kimmel’s jet ski competition for shortest speech, Frances McDormand inviting all female nominees in all categories to stand with her, Kobe Bryant winning for his Best Animated Short Dear Basketball, the creators of Coco declaring that representation matters upon winning Best Animated Feature, Daniela Vega becoming the first transgender presenter,and making sure Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway didn't repeat envelopegate.

For a complete list of winners, click here. To watch all acceptance speeches, click here.  

Oscar Spotlight: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri tells the story of Mildred, a woman who challenges local authorities as she seeks justice for the murder of her daughter. Both Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell are nominated in acting categories (Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively) and have each taken home the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG awards, making them the likely candidates to win this Sunday. The film is also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Woody Harrelson, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

 

For general stats and info, click here. For an extensive review, read The Hollywood Reporter’s critique here.

Oscar Spotlight: The Shape of Water

The only fantasy film nominated tells the story of Elisa, a mute janitor who falls in love with an amphibious creature being held in a research facility in the 1960s. This film is in the lead with 13 nominations, and director Guillermo del Toro has received high praise for his work, making him the likely candidate to win in the directing category. Other nominations include Best Actress for Sally Hawkins, Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer, Best Supporting Actor for Richard Jenkins, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and Best Production Design.  

 

For general stats and info, click here. For an extensive review, read The Hollywood Reporter’s critique here.

Spotify Steps into the Financial Spotlight

The music streaming service we all know and love is finally going public!  Spotify recently filed the necessary paperwork to list shares on the New York Stock Exchange, marking a major milestone for the company.  The streaming giant has decided to initiate a direct initial public offering, meaning that Spotify will bypass the typical process where banks are hired to find buyers for the shares.  Spotify is currently on top of Apple as the largest music streaming service with 71 million paid subscribers in just its tenth year of existence.  Going public will not only give Spotify more publicity but will also help raise more capital in hopes of long-term growth.

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Oscar Spotlight: The Post

Steven Spielberg’s latest film is a historical drama set in the early 1970s, where Katherine Graham, owner and publisher of The Washington Post, played by Meryl Streep, and Ben Bradlee, editor of the newspaper, played by Tom Hanks, must decide whether to publish the Pentagon Papers, a set of classified documents that described the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. This film is the least nominated of the nine; besides Best Picture, Meryl Streep has earned her 21st acting nomination, making her the most nominated performer in Oscar history.

 

For general stats and info, click here. For an extensive review, read The Hollywood Reporter’s critique here.

Oscar Spotlight: Phantom Thread

Daniel Day-Lewis’ last acting credit is set in the fashion world of 1950’s London, where his character, Reynolds Woodcock, a famous dressmaker, meets a young woman named Alma who becomes his muse and lover. Day-Lewis and director Paul Thomas Anderson had previously collaborated on There Will Be Blood, where Day-Lewis won his second Oscar for Best Actor. Besides Best Picture, the film has earned five other nominations including Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Lesley Manville, Best Original Score for Jonny Greenwood, Best Costume Design, and Best Director for Paul Thomas Anderson.

For general stats and info, click here. For an extensive review, read The Hollywood Reporter’s critique here.

Oscar Spotlight: Lady Bird

The second coming-of-age story on the list, Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a dramedy that tells the story of a seventeen-year-old and her chaotic relationship with her mother. The film has been categorized as somewhat autobiographical and stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, and Beanie Feldstein. With a Best Director nom, Gerwig becomes the fifth woman ever to be nominated in the category, and the first woman nominated in eight years. Gerwig is also nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Saoirse Ronan earned a Best Actress nominated, and Laurie Metcalf has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

For general stats and info, click here. For an extensive review, read The Hollywood Reporter’s critique here.