‘Marriage Story’ wins big at 2019 Gotham Awards

Wilson Webb(NEW YORK) — Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach’s relationship drama, has been generating a lot of Oscar buzz, and it took a step closer at Monday’s Gotham Independent Film Awards, grabbing all four awards for which it was nominated, including best feature film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, which stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a divorcing couple negotiating custody of their son, also won best screenplay for Baumbach and best actor for Driver.

Best Actress honors went to Awkwafina for her role in The Farewell.

On the TV side, When They See Us won in the breakthrough series longform category, and PEN15 in the shortform category.

Previously announced tribute award recipients included actors Laura Dern and Sam Rockwell, and director Ava DuVernay.

Gotham Award nominees are selected by committees of film critics, journalists, festival programmers and film curators. Separate juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, editors and others directly involved in making films determine the final award recipients, according to THR.

Here’s the complete winners list:

BEST FEATURE
Marriage Story (Netflix)

BEST ACTOR
Adam Driver — Marriage Story (Netflix)

BEST ACTRESS
Awkwafina — The Farewell (A24)

BEST DOCUMENTARY
American Factory (Netflix)

BEST SCREENPLAY
Marriage Story

BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR
Taylor Russell — Waves 

AUDIENCE AWARD
Marriage Story (Netflix)

BINGHAM RAY BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR AWARD
Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre — The Mustang 

BREAKTHROUGH SERIES – SHORT FORM
PEN15 (Hulu)

BREAKTHROUGH SERIES – LONG FORM
When They See Us (Netflix)

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Posted On 03 Dec 2019
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‘The Voice’ recap: The top 10 artists compete for a spot in the semifinals

Trae Patton/NBC(NEW YORK) — The Voice live rounds continued on Monday, with the top 10 artists competing for America’s votes, and a spot in the semifinals. Along the way, they were advised by their coaches Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend.

Here are the highlights of Monday night’s show:

Upon her mom’s advice, Rose Short, representing Team Gwen, delivered her take on “God’s Country,” by Blake Shelton.  She explained that, as a “military brat,” she ended up in Texas where she heard a lot of country music.  Gwen, of course, was happy with the choice, because — aside from the obvious — it combined country, rap, pop, soul.  Blake thought Rose “killed it,” and Gwen agreed.

Soul singer Shane Q, from Team Kelly, belted out Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen,” a favorite of his dad, who was flown out to Los Angeles just to catch the performance.  Kelly praised the normally shy singer for coming out of his shell at just the right time and finally “doing physically what you can do vocally.”

Team Kelly’s Jake Hoot picked Rhett Akins’ “That Ain’t My Truck,” in honor of his cousin, a Marine who was killed while serving in Afghanistan.  Gwen declared it was his best performance in the competition so far, adding that he sounded like a “true country singer.”  The performance had Blake swallowing his pride and admitting that Kelly was “doing an incredible job” with him.  A stunned Clarkson declared “Hell has frozen over.”

Team Gwen’s Joana Martinez tackled “Impossible,” a song written by former Voice coach Alicia Keys and popularized by another, Christina Aguilera.  Stefani advised the 16-year-old that the song was about “vocal Olympics,” but encouraged her to be “strategic about the dynamics.”  Gwen praised the performance, declaring that Martinez “manhandled the stage.”

Team Legend’s powerhouse singer Katie Kadan put her spin on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”  She brought all four coaches to their feet as Kelly wiped away tears.  Blake joked that she had him “starting to create conspiracy theories” in his head, explaining, “No way somebody is this good who hasn’t already made it in the music industry.”  Legend added that everywhere he goes, everyone asks him about Katie.

Hello Sunday, the pair of 14-year-olds representing Team Kelly, delivered an emotional performance of Demi Lovato’s “Stone Cold,” a song about overcoming struggles.  It’s a message to which the girls can relate, since Myla has dealt with juvenile diabetes since she was three, and Chelsea had been close with her through much of that time.  The performance brought the girls to tears and had Kelly struggling to keep it together as well.

Team Legend’s final artist, Will Breman closed out the show with a high-energy performance of “My Body” by Young the Giant.  After whipping the studio audience into a frenzy, Kelly joked that Will made it seem like it was his show, and the other artists were his opening act.  Legend called it a “masterful” performance.

Other artists performing on Monday included Team Legend’s Marybeth Byrd covering Selena Gomez’s “Lose You to Love Me”; along with Team Blake’s 18-year-old indie-pop singer, Kat Hammock, and Ricky Duran, tackling Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One”; and Albert King’s blues classic “Born Under a Bad Sign,” respectively.

The evening also included country star Kane Brown performing “Homesick,” off his latest album Experiment.

The Voice returns Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Posted On 03 Dec 2019
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“I’m done running from my past”: Marvel Studios surprises with teaser to Black Widow film

Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) — In an operation worthy of the spies on which it centers, Marvel Studios just dropped the eagerly anticipated teaser trailer to Black Widow, the standalone adventure of Scarlett Johansson’s super spy-turned Avenger.

Spoiler alert: Her character sacrificed her life to help save half of humanity during Avengers: Endgame, but Black Widow takes place years before, between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, when The Avengers were fractured and some of them on the run — including ex-KGB agent Natasha Romanoff.  She apparently reunited with some of her former comrades, fellow assassins from the “Black Widow program” that spawned an army of highly trained agents like her.

Among this “family” to which Natasha returns are Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova and Rachel Weisz’ Melina Vostokoff. “What brings you home?” Pugh asks her “sister” after the pair get reacquainted at gun- and knife-point.

“We have unfinished business,” Nat replies.

The family reunion also includes David Harbour’s Alexei Shostakov/The Red Guardian, the one-time USSR equivalent of Captain America, but now somewhat worse for wear. It looks like the Stranger Things star had a blast playing him.

“AH! Still fits!” Shoshtakov boasts about his snug superhero gear.

“You got fat,” Weisz’ character fires back.

The team tackles an army of baddies, and apparently the villain Taskmaster, who has the ability to mimic any fighting style he observes.

“One thing’s for sure — it’s gonna be a hell of a reunion,” Romanoff promises.

Harbour couldn’t praise “phenomenal and funny” Aussie director Cate Shortland enough to ABC Audio, and calls the cast “phenomenal” as well, declaring, “I feel like I’m very very lucky to be a part of it.” 

Black Widow opens May 1, 2020 from Marvel and Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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Posted On 03 Dec 2019
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Lena Waithe says she believes Queen & Slim has the potential to become a classic film

L-R – Daniel Kaluuya, Matsoukas, Waithe/Photo – Eric Charbonneau(NEW YORK) — With a strong opening weekend for Lena Waithe’s feature film debut Queen & Slim, the Emmy winner tells ABC Audio that she believes fans have the ability to make her new romantic action-drama a classic. 

“To me what you take away from it is what you bring to it,” Waithe says. “I think that to me is my mission as an artist. I never want to tell people how to feel. I never want to be in control over how people receive my art.”

She continues, “The rest really up to people… and they really make it what it is, you know. To me, Do the Right ThingBoyz n the HoodLove Jones. Those movies are classics. Not just because the artists, but because of what the people have said. And the people have kept those movies alive and the people keep revisiting those films. Even more so, I will say, than critics.”

Waithe’s film, which she wrote and executive-produced, stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith as a new couple who go on the run after a minor traffic infraction turns deadly. 

Waithe hopes her film follows in the footsteps of films she grew up on that later became classics.

“Black people are the reason why Love Jones is so talked about… is the reason why The Five Heartbeats is so phenomenal,” she explains. “Because… I love that story.”

So far, Waithe’s dream seems to be coming true. Thanks to the support of fans and celebrity friends like Snoop Dogg, Kelly Rowland, Big Sean, and Lil Rel, who decided to buy-out screenings of the film, Queen & Slim brought in an estimated $11.7 million for the three-day weekend and $15.8 over the five-day weekend.

Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas, is in theaters.

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Posted On 03 Dec 2019
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Anna Faris “feeling very fortunate” after family carbon monoxide scare

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEVADA) — Anna Faris has added the men and women of the North Tahoe Fire Department to the list of people she’s grateful for this holiday season.

In a tweet last week that’s just now making the wider rounds, the Mom actress, whose family rented a house in the North Tahoe area on the California-Nevada border for Thanksgiving, shared that first responders saved her family from a carbon monoxide incident.

The North Tahoe Fire Department retweeted her message Tuesday and encouraged others to check their carbon monoxide detectors when they travel.

“I’m not quite sure how to express gratitude to the north Lake Tahoe fire department — we were saved from carbon monoxide,” Faris wrote. “It’s a stupidly dramatic story but I’m feeling very fortunate.”

Two family members felt ill “shortly after arrival” and, mistakenly thinking they had altitude sickness, left the celebration to get checked out at a local hospital. Instead, they were diagnosed with CO poisoning, the Fire Department noted, adding “two additional patients” were also hospitalized, and nine other patients were “treated at the scene.” 

A representative from North Tahoe Fire also reported that the home’s CO level was subsequently discovered to be as high as 55 parts per million — even with the windows open — and that the home did not have carbon monoxide alarms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the long-term CO exposure indoors should be limited to less than 15 ppm.

Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous because it’s an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal, may include a dull headache, weakness, dizziness and nausea, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Posted On 03 Dec 2019
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Jonathan Van Ness becomes ‘Cosmopolitan UK’ mag’s first non-female cover star in 35 years

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) — Jonathan Van Ness has become Cosmopolitan UK magazine’s first non-female cover star in 35 years.  Boy George, the last man to grace the cover, appeared in 1984.

“Thanks for having me,” Van Ness wrote in a tweet revealing the new cover. “@CosmopolitanUK showing more variations of beauty for young LGBTQ+ people YAS QUEEN.”

The Queer Eye star wore an eye-catching Christian Siriano ruffled orange dress paired with striped socks and sneakers.

One of the headlines on the magazine read, “Yep. We did it. You’re totally welcome,” referring to their cover star.

Since posting, Van Ness’ announcement has gained more than 27,000 likes and over 2,000 retweets.

“I just adore everything about this and honestly makes me feel like I can just do anything, thank you for blessing me with this,” one tweeter said.

Another chimed in saying, “How is it even possible to look this good? This cover is stunning.”

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Posted On 03 Dec 2019
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‘Feud’ sparked New Orleans shooting that injured 10, person of interest released

Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(NEW ORLEANS) — New Orleans police have released a person of interest they detained following the shooting after the Bayou Classic football game that injured 10 people.

The shooting occurred Sunday around 3:25 a.m., in the 700 block of Canal Street in New Orleans, according to the New Orleans Police Department. Investigators later determined that the individual detained after the shooting “had no involvement,” New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson told reporters in a news conference Monday.

Police believe the shooting stemmed from a “feud” between multiple individuals who are not from the New Orleans metropolitan area, Ferguson said. The feud was not related to either school that participated in the game.

One weapon was recovered on the scene.

“We will be holding these individuals accountable, and they will not be free to walk these streets,” Ferguson said.

Officers who were already in place for the football game immediately responded after initially thinking they were being fired upon, police said. More than 300 police officers, 50 state troopers and agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assigned to cover the game, Ferguson said.

Six officers, including their supervisor, were assigned to the block where the shooting occurred, Ferguson said.

Video evidence indicates that at least one shooter was involved, Ferguson said.

Those responsible “chose to disregard the law enforcement presence” and “decided to fire upon a crowd of innocent people,” he added.

The victims included five males and five females, Ferguson said. One victim was 16 years old, and the rest were between the ages of 21 and 36.

One patient did need to go to the operating room, but the surgery was successful, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services Director Dr. Emily Nichols told reporters. The other nine victims are in stable condition.

“This could have been very different if not for the involvement of law enforcement in keeping the scene safe,” Nichols said, adding that officers helped to apply tourniquets on the scene.

Investigators are trying to determine whether any of the victims were connected to the initial feud, Ferguson said.

Crimestoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Ferguson asked anyone who may have information or video from the scene to contact police.

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Posted On 03 Dec 2019
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Aniah Blanchard died from gunshot wound, authorities say

Auburn Police Department(NEW YORK) — Investigators have determined that Aniah Blanchard, the 19-year-old stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight fighter Walt Harris who disappeared in October, died of a gunshot wound.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes did not elaborate on where Blanchard was shot but told reporters in a news conference Monday that her manner of death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.

Blanchard was last seen at a convenience store in Auburn, Alabama, on Oct. 23. Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, has been charged with capital murder in Blanchard’s death, Hughes said, adding that the state plans to seek the death penalty.

Yazeed was seen on surveillance video inside the convenience store at the same time as Blanchard, and a witness outside the store saw him force Blanchard into her black 2017 Honda CRV, according to charging documents.

He was arrested on Nov. 7 in Escambia County, Florida, and was initially charged with kidnapping in the first degree, a designation that includes the intent to inflict physical injury.

Blanchard’s remains were found in a wooded area in Macon County, Alabama, about 40 miles east of the convenience store, on Nov. 25. Her car, which had blood evidence “indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury,” was found abandoned at an apartment complex in Montgomery, Alabama, about 50 miles away from the convenience store. The blood was later determined to be Blanchard’s.

Two other people have been arrested in Blanchard’s disappearance.

Antwain “Squirmy” Fisher, 35, was arrested on Nov. 22 and charged with first-degree kidnapping. He is accused of “providing transportation to Yazeed, and disposing of evidence,” according to a charging affidavit.

David Johnson Jr. was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, on Nov. 25 and charged with hindering the prosecution in Blanchard’s disappearance. Yazeed was allegedly at Johnson Jr.’s home Nov. 7 before he left for Florida, ABC Birmingham affiliate WBMA-TV reported, citing court documents. Authorities allege that Johnson Jr. knew that Yazeed was wanted by police at the time.

Yazeed is the “lone person” responsible in Blanchard’s murder, Hughes said, promising that while justice for Blanchard would “not be swift,” it would “be thorough.”

“This case has absolutely shaken this community to its core, he said.

Harris took to Instagram last week to describe the “unbearable” pain he felt after losing his stepdaughter.

“Right now nothing makes sense and I’m so lost,” Harris wrote. “I just want you back.”

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Posted On 03 Dec 2019
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Decapitated body found in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park

carlballou/iStock(LOS ANGELES) — Police have opened a homicide investigation after dismembered human remains were discovered in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park.

A hiker stumbled across part of a decapitated body near the intersection of Griffith Park Drive and Camp Road around 9 a.m. on Monday and alerted authorities.

Police say they also found an encampment in the area and that it was possible that there was no foul play involved. An officer speculated that a homeless person may have died and been dismembered by an animal.

“We’re not in the belief that there was a crime. It may have been just an individual that was staying up in the park,” LAPD Lt. Ryan Rabbett told ABC affiliate KABC-TV.

Officers said they were investigating at two different scenes, one where the body was discovered and one where the head was discovered, and that recent rains had impacted their search for evidence.

The victim was identified as a male, either white or Hispanic in his 40s or 50s, and law enforcement believe him to have been dead for two to three days when he was discovered. His name has not been released.

Despite not suspecting foul play in the death, officers opened a homicide investigation as a matter of protocol. Police say they are investigating all possibilities.

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Posted On 03 Dec 2019
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