Oscars race kicks into high gear with nominations reveal

In this Feb. 21, 2015, file photo, an Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre for the 87th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards are announced on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)
Updated 22 January 2019
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Oscars race kicks into high gear with nominations reveal

  • “Roma” would be the first Netflix film to vie for glory in major Oscar categories
  • Last year, the awards season was marked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the birth of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements

LOS ANGELES: Will “Black Panther” get a best picture nod? Will “Roma” be Netflix’s first contender for the Academy’s top prizes? Will “A Star Is Born” rebound from a thumping at the Golden Globes?
All will be revealed on Tuesday morning before dawn in Los Angeles, when the nominations for the Oscars — Hollywood’s most coveted awards — are unveiled, just over a month before they are distributed.
So far, the awards season has been a bit surprising, with prizes sprayed among a variety of films. So Tuesday’s announcement should give the race to the Academy Awards on February 24 a bit more clarity.
One of the most buzzed-about films is “Roma” from Alfonso Cuaron — a black and white ode to his childhood in 1970s Mexico City that took home two Golden Globes, including best director.
The film was produced by streaming giant Netflix, which has come under criticism from its more traditional rivals for its strategy of massive online distribution of original content — and screenings in only a few cinemas.
“Roma” would be the first Netflix film to vie for glory in major Oscar categories.
Also atop the list is “A Star Is Born,” the latest iteration of the classic musical romance led by the powerhouse duo of actor-director Bradley Cooper and pop diva Lady Gaga.
It disappointed at the Globes with only a win for best original song, but Gaga’s best actress win (in a tie with Glenn Close in “The Wife“) at the Critics’ Choice Awards gave the film a bit more momentum.
Civil rights dramedy and surprise three-time Globes winner “Green Book” moved up in the conversation over the weekend when it won best film at the Producers Guild of America awards.
Twenty times out of 29, the PGA award winner has gone on to take the best picture Oscar, including “The Shape of Water” last year.
Also in the mix are a wide variety of films including offbeat royal romp “The Favourite,” Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” and superhero blockbuster “Black Panther.”
For many pundits, the thousands of voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are at a crossroads: do they go with Cuaron’s auteur masterpiece, or a quality crowd-pleaser that raked in oodles of money?
“The Oscars have a choice now. Two choices, actually. Adapt or die,” said long-time Oscar watcher Sasha Stone, who runs Awards Daily.
“That adaptation can take them in one direction or it can take them in another direction,” she predicted.
“’Black Panther’ offers a choice. It ticks off enough boxes to make people feel okay about themselves supporting it,” she said, referring to the Marvel film’s mainly black cast, black director and boffo box-office numbers.
“The other path is pure cinema: to reward the artistic achievement of Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’... It says that they’re now saying okay to the hybrid cinema future of streaming + theatrical.”
Last year, the awards season was marked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the birth of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual misconduct and harassment in the workplace.
This year, multiple controversies are plaguing the Oscars — none of them related to last year’s bombshell.
In August, the Academy — under fire for being too elitist — announced it would add a “best popular film” award. But many saw the new category as a booby prize for blockbusters like “Black Panther” that would keep them out of contention for top honors.
The plan was scrapped a month later.
Then actor-comedian Kevin Hart had perhaps the briefest tenure ever as Oscars host — a few days. He withdrew after homophobic tweets he had written years ago sparked a crippling backlash on social media.
By all accounts, with many stars reportedly unwilling to grasp the poisoned chalice, the Academy has opted to go forward without a host.
Of course, on Oscars night, the focus will revert to the nominees, and the red carpet glamor.
In the best actor category, Christian Bale looks to be the frontrunner for his uncanny portrayal of Cheney in “Vice.”
But Rami Malek’s Golden Globe win for his work as Freddie Mercury in Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” put him into the conversation. Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book“) and Cooper (“Star“) are also contenders.
For best actress, Close’s momentum is soaring after her twin Globe and Critics’ Choice wins for “The Wife,” in which she plays a woman author whose marriage boils over when her writer husband wins the Nobel Prize.
But Gaga and Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Anne in “The Favourite,” are expected to give her a fight.
The nominations will be announced on Tuesday starting at 5:20 am Pacific time (1320 GMT). Actors Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani will do the honors.


Exhibit highlights Wellington’s formative Indian years

A handout photograph recieved in London on March 25, 2019, shows the Deccan Dinner Service, a vast silver gilt service bought by Wellington's fellow officers in the Deccan region of India as a mark of their appreciation. (AFP)
Updated 26 March 2019
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Exhibit highlights Wellington’s formative Indian years

  • The “Young Wellington in India” exhibition runs from Saturday until November 3 at Apsley House, which remains the Wellesley family’s London home, on the edge of Hyde Park

LONDON: An exhibition on the Duke of Wellington’s time in India opens in London Saturday, shedding light on formative years before he defeated French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo.
Between 1796 and 1804, as the young Arthur Wellesley, he helped overthrow the Tipu Sultan and masterminded victory in the Battle of Assaye.
A decade later he defeated Napoleon, paving the way for a century of relative peace in Europe and a time of vast British imperial expansion.
The collection includes a dinner service commemorating his leadership in India that was later supplemented with cutlery taken from Napoleon’s carriage.
It also includes books from the 200-volume traveling library that, aged 27, he took with him for the six-month voyage to India in a bid to broaden his education, having finished his studies early.
It included books on India’s history, politics and economics, Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” and philosophical works.
The “Young Wellington in India” exhibition runs from Saturday until November 3 at Apsley House, which remains the Wellesley family’s London home, on the edge of Hyde Park.
Charles Wellesley, 73, the ninth and current Duke of Wellington, said his great-great-great grandfather’s time in India set the stage for defeating Napoleon.
“It was very, very formative... There is no doubt that he learnt a great deal in India,” he said on Monday.
“Napoleon underestimated Wellington and the reason for this exhibition is to show how important in Wellington’s life was his period in India.”
The exhibition features swords, paintings and the Deccan Dinner Service, a vast silver gilt service bought by Wellington’s fellow officers in the Deccan region of India as a mark of their appreciation.
The cutlery for the service was taken from Napoleon after Waterloo and carries his imperial crest.
The service is still used by the family.
Josephine Oxley, keeper of the Wellington Collection, said the India years were “a time when he learned to meld the military and the political, and became skilled at negotiations with the locals.
“It’s a really interesting period of his life.”