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Film academy reviewing Oscar campaigns after surprise nomination

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Film academy reviewing Oscar campaigns after surprise nomination

Hollywood’s film academy said on Friday it was reviewing this year’s campaigns for Oscar nominations, a day after a media report raised questions about the surprise nod for British actress Andrea Riseborough.

On Tuesday, Riseborough was nominated for best actress for playing an alcoholic single mother in little-seen film “To Leslie,” a shock to awards pundits who had not expected her to be in the mix.

Media newsletter Puck reported on Thursday that the unexpected nomination had sparked questions about whether an aggressive campaign for Riseborough had violated lobbying rules set by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The academy issued a statement on Friday that said the organization was “conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees, to ensure that no guidelines were violated.” The statement did not name Riseborough.

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The review also aims “to inform us whether changes to the guidelines may be needed in a new era of social media and digital communication,” the statement said.

The academy limits how studios can reach out to voters, how often and what they can say in any communications as part of their Oscars campaigns.

Puck reported that the wife of the film director, actress Mary McCormack, and friends had “emailed and called tons of members of the Academy’s actors branch, begging them to see the little-watched alcoholic drama and post online about Riseborough’s searing performance.”

Dozens of A-list stars then “sang her praises and helped win her the coveted nomination,” Puck said.

Representatives for McCormack and Riseborough did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“To Leslie” has collected $27,000 at movie box offices since its release in October, according to Box Office Mojo.

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“We have confidence in the integrity of our nomination and voting procedures, and support genuine grassroots campaigns for outstanding performances,” the academy statement said.

Winners of the Academy Awards will be announced on March 12.

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Entertainment

Roger Whittaker: Durham Town folk singer dies at 87

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Roger Whittaker: Durham Town folk singer dies at 87

Folk singer Roger Whittaker, famous for his 1969 hit song Durham Town and expert whistling, has died at the age of 87.

His other hits included The Last Farewell and New World in the Morning, and he sold nearly 50 million records around the world, his website said.

After starting in folk clubs, he went on to success with the Skye Boat Song, a duet with Des O’Connor in 1986.

He was also able to sing in several languages.

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They included German and French, allowing him to appeal to a wide audience, especially in Germany, where he was particularly popular.

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1936, his parents were from Staffordshire, England.

Whittaker studied medicine after doing national service in Kenya.

While studying for his degree, he sang in local clubs and wrote his own songs.

But he left his medical course after 18 months and went in to teaching, moving to the University of Bangor in Wales in 1959 to get a teaching qualification.

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While there, he composed some songs to sing during university Rag Week, and sent a demo track to a music publisher.

“Before he knew it, Roger was back in the studio recording his first single, The Charge of the Light Brigade,” his biography said.

His next release, Steel Men, picked up airplay while he was still a student, and his career began to progress, with TV work following.

He retired with his wife Natalie in France in 2012.

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Katy Perry sells rights to five albums including ‘Teenage Dream’ to Litmus Music

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Katy Perry sells rights to five albums including 'Teenage Dream' to Litmus Music

 Singer Katy Perry has signed a deal to sell rights to five of her studio albums released between 2008 and 2020 including “Teenage Dream” to Carlyle-backed Litmus Music, the music rights company said on Monday.

“One of the Boys,” “PRISM,” “Witness” and “Smile” are the other four studio albums that are part of the deal.

Billboard reported the deal was valued at $225 million, citing sources. Private equity firm Carlyle declined to comment on the deal value.
The five studio albums were released under Perry’s contract with Capitol Records, whose former president Dan McCarroll is the co-founder of Litmus Music.

Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs and other investment firms have in recent years scooped up music catalogs of artists including Justin Bieber and Bob Dylan as the rise of streaming turns their songs into a reliable source of revenue.

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With Perry, Litmus Music gets access to an artist who shot to fame in July 2008 with the track “I Kissed A Girl” and has earned 13 Grammy nominations and five MTV Video Music Awards.

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YouTube cuts off Russell Brand’s ad revenues: Sky News

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YouTube cuts off Russell Brand's ad revenues: Sky News

 YouTube has suspended adverts on Russell Brand’s online videos, Sky News said on Tuesday, after accusations of sexual assaults involving the British actor and comedian.

Brand, once one of the country’s most high-profile comedians and broadcasters, has over 6 million subscribers to his YouTube channel.

London police said on Monday they had received an allegation of a sexual assault dating back 20 years following media reports about comedian and actor Russell Brand.

Brand, 48, said on Saturday he had never had non-consensual sex when the Sunday Times newspaper and Channel 4 TV’s documentary show “Dispatches” reported that four women had accused him of sexual assaults, including a rape, between 2006 and 2013.

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Police said since those allegations were published and broadcast they had received a report of an assault alleged to have taken place in Soho, central London, in 2003.

“Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support,” the Metropolitan Police statement said.

“We first spoke with The Sunday Times on Saturday, 16 September and have since made further approaches to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure that anyone who believes they have been the victim of a sexual offence is aware of how to report this to the police.”

There was no immediate comment from Brand’s representatives following the police statement.

Brand, the former husband of US singer Katy Perry, issued a video message on social media to deny the “very serious criminal allegations” hours before they published on Saturday.

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“These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies. And as I’ve written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous,” Brand said.

“Now, during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual,” added the comedian, known for his flamboyant style and appearance who has starred in a number of films such as “Get Him to the Greek”.

The Times and Dispatches said one woman had made an allegation of rape, while another said Brand assaulted her when she was 16 and still at school. Two of the accusers had reported the incidents occurred in Los Angeles.

The reports of the allegations about Brand, once one of the country’s most high-profile comedians and broadcasters, has dominated British media since they appeared.

He was in the middle of a stand-up tour and was due to perform at the Theatre Royal Windsor on Tuesday, but this has now been cancelled.

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“We are postponing these few remaining addiction charity fundraiser shows, we don’t like doing it – but we know you’ll understand,” said a statement from his tour promoters, shared by the theatre.

The BBC, on whose radio programmes he worked between 2006 and 2008, said it was urgently looking into issues raised by the allegations and Banijay UK, the production company behind a television show once hosted by Brand, said it had too launched an urgent internal investigation.

“These are very serious and concerning allegations, and you will know the Met Police has asked anyone who believes they have been victim of a sexual assault to come forward and speak to officers,” a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters.
 

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