Stars, royals gather for British Academy Film Awards

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Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, February 10, 2019. (Reuters)
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Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, February 10, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 11 February 2019
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Stars, royals gather for British Academy Film Awards

LONDON: Hollywood stars and British royalty were gathering Sunday in London for the British Academy Film Awards, where “The Favourite” is living up to its name and leading the race for trophies.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ royal tragicomedy has 12 nominations, including best picture, for the UK equivalent of the Oscars. Olivia Colman already won a Golden Globe for her performance as Queen Anne in “The Favourite” and is favored to take the best-actress prize
The 18th-century queen’s distant relative, Prince William, and his wife, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, were joining Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis and other stars for a black-tie ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall. “Absolutely Fabulous” star Joanna Lumley is the host.
Front-runners for the prizes include the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” lunar drama “First Man,” autobiographical Mexican story “Roma” and musical melodrama “A Star Is Born.” Each film has seven nominations.
The awards, known as BAFTAs , will be scoured for clues to who might triumph at Hollywood’s Academy Awards on Feb. 24, in what’s shaping up as an unpredictable awards season.
Colman is up against Glenn Close, who took Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards for “The Wife.” The other best-actress nominees are Lady Gaga for “A Star is Born,” Viola Davis for “Widows” and Melissa McCarthy for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?“
“I feel like I’m in a fever dream,” said McCarthy of recognition for the offbeat film, based on the story of a real literary forger.
Her “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” co-star Richard E. Grant has secured both BAFTA and Oscar nominations for his performance as an affable rogue.
“I’ve been working for 40 years, I’ve never won anything,” said Grant, who called this awards season “the ride of my lifetime.”
Best-actor contenders are Bradley Cooper for “A Star is Born,” Christian Bale for “Vice,” Rami Malek for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Viggo Mortensen for “Green Book” and Steve Coogan for “Stan and Ollie.”
Best-picture nominees are “The Favourite,” Roma,” “A Star is Born” and two very different movies about racism in America: “Green Book” and “BlacKkKlansman.”
Nominees for best British film — a separate category — are Channel Islands thriller “Beast,” “The Favourite,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” fashion documentary “McQueen,” Laurel and Hardy biopic “Stan and Ollie” and crime thriller “You Were Never Really Here.”
British academy voters have all but ignored superhero blockbuster “Black Panther,” which is up for best picture at the Oscars and took top prize at the SAG awards last month. It has a single BAFTA nomination, for visual effects.
The red carpet glamor is unfolding against a backdrop of soul-searching and scandal about abuses in the entertainment industry.
Last week, the British academy suspended director Bryan Singer’s nomination as part of the team behind “Bohemian Rhapsody” after four men accused him of sexually assaulting them when they were minors.
BAFTA said the alleged abuse was “completely unacceptable” and incompatible with its values. Singer, who was fired while “Bohemian Rhapsody” was in mid-production in 2017, denies the allegations. The film itself is still nominated.
At last year’s BAFTAs ceremony, many women wore black as a symbol of opposition to harassment, abuse and inequality in the wake of allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
A British wing of the “Times’s Up” campaign founded last year is vowing to keep the campaign going and to double the number of women in film, on and off screen.
The number of female nominees is up this year, but there has been criticism of the academy’s failure to nominate any female filmmakers in the best-director category. Only one woman has ever won the directing prize, Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010.
BAFTA chairwoman Pippa Harris said only 10 percent of films entered for the awards were directed by women.
“It needs to be 50 percent,” said Harris, who called the gender imbalance an industry-wide problem.
“There has been a traditional problem with getting females to be noticed in terms of their TV work and then get picked up to make feature films,” she said. “Men seem to find that transition much easier.”


‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

Updated 19 April 2019
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‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

  • National Museum in Riyadh hosts digital show that tells the story of Mosul, Palmyra, Aleppo and Leptis Magna

JEDDAH: An exhibition that uses digital technology to revive the region’s ancient sites and civilizations that have been destroyed or are under threat due to conflict and terrorism opened at the National Museum in Riyadh on April 18.

“Age-Old Cities” tells the story of four historically significant cities that have been devastated by violence: Mosul in Iraq, Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria, and Leptis Magna in Libya. 

Using stunning giant-screen projections, virtual reality, archival documents and images, and video testimonials from inhabitants of the affected sites, the immersive exhibition transports visitors back in time and presents the cities as they were in their prime. 

It charts their journey from the origins of their ancient civilizations to their modern-day state, and presents plans for their restoration and repair. 

The exhibition has been organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Riyadh is the first stop outside the French capital on the exhibition’s global tour. 

The exhibition follows last month’s unveiling of the Kingdom’s new cultural vision, which included the announcement of several initiatives, including a new residency scheme for international artists to practice in the Kingdom and the establishment of the Red Sea International Film Festival. 

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture, said: “I am delighted to welcome the ‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition to Riyadh. 

“It highlights the importance of heritage preservation, particularly here in the Middle East, and the vulnerability of some of our historic sites. 

“It must be the responsibility of governments to put an end to this damage and neglect, and to put heritage at the heart of action, investment, and policy.

“I will be encouraging my fellow members of government to attend this eye-opening exhibition in our National Museum, and hope to work in the future with partners, governments and experts to do what we can to secure our region’s heritage.”

The exhibition carries a significant message about the importance of preserving and protecting these precious but fragile sites — one which resonates strongly in the week when one of the world’s most-famous heritage sites, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, went up in flames.