Rami Malek, Emily Blunt, ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ win at SAG Awards

Rami Malek poses with the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role for "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the press room at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP/Invision/Jordan Strauss)
Updated 28 January 2019
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Rami Malek, Emily Blunt, ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ win at SAG Awards

  • Malek dedicated the award for his performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Mercury, as he did at the Golden Globes
  • Tom Hanks presented the lifetime achievement award to Alan Alda, who in July revealed that he had been living with Parkinson’s disease for more than three years

NEW YORK: Rami Malek won best actor for his Freddie Mercury, Emily Blunt was the upset winner for her supporting role in the horror thriller “A Quiet Place” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” swept comedy series honors at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.
Malek dedicated the award for his performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Mercury, as he did at the Golden Globes.
“I get some power from him that’s about stepping up and living your best life, being exactly who you want to be and accomplishing everything you so desire,” said Malek.
Blunt’s win was a shocker, particularly for the actress, herself. Blunt, also nominated by the guild for her lead performance in “Mary Poppins Returns,” was visibly surprised. She wasn’t among Tuesday’s Oscars nominees for either film.
“Guys. That truly has blown my slicked hair back,” said Blunt, who praised her husband and “A Quiet Place” director John Krasinski as a “stunning filmmaker.” “Thank you for giving me the part. You would have been in major trouble if you hadn’t.”
Best supporting actor in a film went more as expected. Mahershala Ali, who won two years ago for “Moonlight,” won for his performance in Peter Farrelly’s interracial road trip “Green Book.” Ali thanked his co-star, Viggo Mortensen, and Farrelly.
The Amazon series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won the first three awards handed out Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. It won best ensemble in a comedy series, as well as individual honors Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub, whose win was a surprise in a category that included Bill Hader (“Barry“) and Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method“).
“We cannot thank you enough,” said Shalhoub, speaking for the cast. “Stay with us.”
Tom Hanks presented the lifetime achievement award to Alan Alda, who in July revealed that he had been living with Parkinson’s disease for more than three years. The 83-year-old actor took the stage to a standing ovation while the theme to “M.A.S.H.” played. He said the award came at a reflective moment for him.
“And I see more than ever now how proud I am to be a part of our brotherhood and sisterhood of actors,” said Alda. “It may never have been more urgent to see the world through another person’s eyes. When a culture is divided so sharply, actors can help — a least a little — just by doing what we do. And the nice part is it’s fun to do it. So my wish for all of us is: Let’s stay playful.”
For the second time, the cast of “This Is Us” won best ensemble in a drama series. Other TV winners included Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve“), Darren Criss for “Assassination of Gianni Versace,” Jason Bateman (“Ozark“) and Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora“). Arquette thanked Special Counsel investigator Robert Mueller “and everyone working to make sure we have sovereignty for the United States of America.”
The SAG Awards have one thing the Oscars don’t: a host. Emcee Megan Mullally kicked off the awards by tweaking their role among the many honors leading up to next month’s Oscars. She called the SAGs “the greatest honor an actor can receive this weekend.”
Among the attendees Sunday was Geoffrey Owens, the “Cosby Show” actor who caused a stir when he was photographed working at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s. He was among the performers who began the show with the SAG Awards’ typical “I am an actor” testimony. Reunited as presenters were “Fatal Attraction” stars Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.
“Black Panther” and “BlacKkKlansman” were among the films vying for SAG’s top prize, best ensemble. Ryan Coogler’s superhero hit started with a win for best ensemble of stunt performers one that “GLOW,” the Netflix series about professional women wrestlers, won on the television side.
The SAG Awards are one of the most reliable bellwethers of the Academy Awards, but several of this year’s top Oscar contenders failed to land a best ensemble nomination.
The two leading Oscar nominees — “Roma” and “The Favourite” — were bypassed by the actors guild for a field that also includes “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born,” which led all films with four nominations. “The Favourite” still earned nods for its three lead actresses — Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz — but “Roma” was shut out entirely. Both films landed 10 Oscar nods Tuesday.
The best picture winner at the Academy Awards has always first been nominated for best ensemble by the SAG Awards except in 1996, when “Braveheart” won best picture, and last year, when Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” overcame the SAG omission to win best picture. The actors guild instead awarded “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” its top prize.
Actors make up the largest percentage of the academy, so their preferences can have an especially large impact on the Oscar race. In the last decade the SAG ensemble winner has gone on to win best picture at the Academy Awards half of the time.


Amid security worries, gun sales thrive in Iraq’s Mosul

Updated 21 April 2019
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Amid security worries, gun sales thrive in Iraq’s Mosul

  • Gun ownership was expected to increase since Iraq altered legislation in 2018 allowing civilians to purchase pistols and semi-automatic weapons, after they had only been allowed to buy hunting guns

MOSUL, Iraq: Hunting rifles, pistols and towers of ammunition magazines: new gun shops are popping up in Iraq’s Mosul, where residents are keen to own personal firearms in the unpredictable aftermath of Daesh rule.
The Daesh group reigned over the city for three years before being ousted by Iraqi forces in mid-2017.
But with militants sleeper cells still active across the broader province, the new half-dozen licensed gun traders in Mosul are seeing impressive sales.
“We’ve got a lot of customers,” said one shop owner in his 40s, who was granted a weapon-trading license from Iraq’s interior ministry a few months ago.
All his customers have gun permits, and “many also carried membership cards in the armed forces,” he told AFP.
His most popular item? Hunting rifles, said the trader. “They make up 70 percent of all my sales,” he said proudly.
Iraq has one of the highest rates of civilian gun ownership in the world, according to the Small Arms Survey, which estimated about 20 guns per 100 Iraqi civilians last year.
Gun ownership was expected to increase since Iraq altered legislation in 2018 allowing civilians to purchase pistols and semi-automatic weapons, after they had only been allowed to buy hunting guns.
In Mosul, newly-licensed shops are the latest addition to the roughly 130 gun shops across the rest of Iraq.
They offer a wide spectrum of weaponry to Mosul’s residents, from machine guns and hunting rifles to US, Chinese or Croatian pistols.
They range from $50 to $5,000, a hefty purchase in a country where the average monthly income is $500.

“We sell to civilians, but also to members of the military,” said another gun shop owner in Mosul, who also preferred to speak anonymously.
The civilians included recreational hunters but also “businessmen and journalists” who felt they may be targeted for their profession, he said.
One of them is Abu Nizar, a Mosul resident who keeps a pistol on his belt and a Kalashnikov assault rifle in his exchange office.
“A number of money-changing offices and other traders were attacked,” the 45-year-old told AFP, so he requested a gun license to keep himself and his business safe.
But it’s not just civilians who are determined to be armed.
Hamed Hassan, a 21-year-old member of Iraq’s security forces, carries a weapon while on duty but has to turn it in when he goes home.
“The security situation is still fragile,” he told AFP while weaving his way between glass cases of rifles and ammunition stockpiles in a Mosul storefront.
“I need a weapon for my personal protection.”
Hundreds of militants are believed to be hiding in the rugged mountains and open plains around Mosul, with deadly hit-and-run attacks reported every few days against military installations or government offices.
After the US-led invasion of 2003, Mosul became a stronghold of the anti-American insurrection, with Al-Qaeda seizing control of parts of the city.
The group’s terrorist progeny Daesh overran Mosul in 2014, capturing stockpiles of arms, ammunition and tanks from Iraqi forces, much of which had originated as military aid from the US.

Across Iraq, many communities rose up to defend themselves against Daesh, sometimes using personal weapons and in other cases with direct backing from the state.
Now that fighting has died down, parts of those stockpiles are being illicitly bought and sold across the country.
“Light arms of all types are still feeding the black market,” a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“Some were stolen, others recuperated after Daesh fled and still others were smuggled” across northern Iraq, which borders Turkey and war-ravaged Syria.
But some Mosul residents fear even the legal trade in weapons could have negative repercussions on their city, deeply scarred by years of violence.
When Daesh held Mosul, it forced teenage boys to fight and enrolled them in military training and religious classes, meting out violent punishments — including beheadings — against those who defied its rules.
“Mosul was recently recaptured — there are still clandestine terrorist cells there that could exploit” gun sales, said sociologist Ali Zeidan, who is from Mosul.
“Crime could go up if someone got their hands on weapons this way. There should be very tough restrictions,” the 35-year-old told AFP.
Amer Al-Bek, a political analyst in the city, said authorities should reconsider awarding gun sale licenses.
“The situation in Mosul is not as stable as officials would have you believe,” Bek told AFP.
“Selling such arms to civilians will have a negative effect on security now and in the future.”