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‘Birdman,’ ‘Budapest’ Top Oscar Nominations with 9 Each

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In this image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, Michael Keaton portrays Riggan in a scene from "Birdman." Keaton was nominated for an Oscar Award for best actor on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, for his role in the film. The 87th Annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Atsushi Nishijima)

In this image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, Michael Keaton portrays Riggan in a scene from “Birdman.” Keaton was nominated for an Oscar Award for best actor on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, for his role in the film. The 87th Annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Atsushi Nishijima)

JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer

Two extravagant comedies, “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” dominated nominations for the 87th annual Academy Awards with nine nods each, while “Boyhood” remained the widely acknowledged front-runner.

The three films were nominated for best picture on Thursday along with “Whiplash,” ”The Theory of Everything,” ”The Imitation Game,” ”American Sniper” and “Selma.” The eight films, mostly more modestly sized movies dwarfed by Hollywood’s stampede of bigger blockbusters at the box office, gave the Oscars a classy if not particularly high-wattage batch of nominees.

In Hollywood’s ever-expanding industrial complex of awards season, the year’s front-runners — Richard Linklater’s coming of age epic “Boyhood” (six noms) and Alejandro Gonazalez Inarritu’s elegantly shot backstage romp “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” — haven’t been dislodged from their lofty perch, steadily accumulating hardware.

“This is what everyone waits for. This is the last one, unless there’s another one that I don’t know about,” said Michael Keaton, who was rewarded with a best-actor nod for his performance as a washed-up star trying to mount a serious Broadway play in “Birdman.” He added: “I don’t care how much people tell you: ‘It’s gonna happen.’ When it happens, you’re thrilled.”

The uniquely time-elapse “Boyhood” earned Linklater nominations for best director and screenplay, as well as supporting nods Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke. The film, 12 years in the making, landed the latest in a string of awards Sunday at the Golden Globes, taking best drama.

But there were other films — “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” ”American Sniper” and “The Imitation Game” — that came away big winners Thursday, just as others such as “Selma” failed to breakthrough.

World War II code-breaker thriller “The Imitation Game,” about pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), captured eight nominations, including best actor for Cumberbatch. The film’s distributor, the Weinstein Co., has previously shepherded prestige British period films (“The King’s Speech”) all the way to best picture.

“I am knocked for six by this,” said Cumberbatch of his first Oscar nod. “To ring my parents who are both actors and tell them that their only son has been nominated for an Oscar is one of the proudest moments of my life.”

Wes Anderson’s old Europe caper “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which also won best comedy or musical at the Globes, has emerged as the most unexpected awards heavyweight. It managed nine nominations without a single acting nod and was instead repeatedly cited for Anderson’s meticulous craft in directing, production design, makeup and screenplay.

With $59.1 million at the North American box office (opening all the way back in March), “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is also the most money-making best-picture entry.

That, however, is likely to change soon after “American Sniper” expands nationwide this weekend. Clint Eastwood’s Navy SEAL drama — one of the season’s last entries — did especially well Thursday, landing six nods including best actor for Bradley Cooper.

Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) rounded out the best actor category. Redmayne, the freckled British actor who stars as Stephen Hawking in the film, said by phone from Los Angeles that he was woken with the news.

“I was in a deep, dark sleep,” said Redmayne. “I was in a dazed state. I was half undressed and stumbled to the door. I found my manager there brandishing a phone with a lot of screams coming out of it.”

David Oyelowo, who stars as Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma,” was surprisingly left out of best actor. Ava DuVernay’s civil rights drama, at one point considered a major contender, faded even after its late debut. “Selma,” which has been nagged by criticism over its portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson, managed just two nominations. (The second was for best song.)

The poor showing of “Selma” (and on King’s birthday no less) was striking because it followed an Academy Awards led by best-picture winner “12 Years a Slave” and much chest-thumping about Hollywood’s thawing close-mindedness.

On Twitter, DuVernay called the nominations “an Oscar gift” to King on his birthday, but referenced Oyelowo’s oversight, calling him “our miracle.”

Yet Thursday’s nominees, in which all 20 nominated actors are white, was not a diverse bunch. Like DuVernay, Angelina Jolie also failed to crack the historical male category of best director. Her WWII survival tale “Unbroken” landed three nods, including a 12th nomination for cinematographer Roger Deakins.

Marion Cotillard for the French-language “Two Days, One Night” was the surprise nominee for best actress. She was joined by Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”), Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”), Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) and Reese Witherspoon (“Wild”). Those picks left Jennifer Aniston’s pained and grieving performance in “Cake” on the outside.

The eight best-picture nominees left out two wild cards that might have added a dose of darkness to the category: the creepy Jake Gyllenhaal thriller “Nightcrawler” and the tragic wrestling drama “Foxcatcher.” In the three previous years since the category was expanded (anywhere between five and 10 film may be nominated), there were nine movies contending for best picture.

Big box-office hits were also scarce. Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic “Interstellar” was restricted to five nominations in technical categories: visual effects, sound mixing, sound editing, score and production design. David Fincher’s popular and well-reviewed “Gone Girl” managed only Pike’s nomination.

“Foxcatcher” helmer Bennett Miller (previously nominated for “Capote”) squeaked into best director. Also nominated were Inarritu (“Birdman”) and Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”).

One of the most notable snubs came in best animation, usually a particularly staid category. Despite critical love and major box office, “The Lego Movie” failed to join nominees “Big Hero 6,” ”The Boxtrolls,” ”How to Train Your Dragon 2,” ”Song of the Sea” and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.”

“Lego” co-director Phil Lord tweeted a photo of a Lego-built Oscar, writing: “It’s okay. Made my own!”

Some nominees came with the reliability of clockwork. Meryl Streep landed her 19th nomination (a record) for her supporting performance as a witch in Disney’s Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods.” Along with Arquette, the other nominees were Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”), Emma Stone (“Birdman”) and Laura Dern (“Wild”).

Aside from Hawke, supporting actor nominations went to Robert Duvall (“The Judge”), Edward Norton (“Birdman”), Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”) and J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”).

The nominees for best foreign language film are: “Ida” (Poland), “Leviathan” (Russia), “Tangerines” (Estonia), “Timbuktu” (Mauritania) and “Wild Tales” (Argentina). The acclaimed black-and-white “Ida” also surprised with a nod for cinematography.

Best documentary nods went to “CitizenFour,” ”Finding Vivian Maier,” ”Last Days in Vietnam,” ”The Salt of the Earth” and “Virunga.” The last gave Netflix its second Oscar nomination. (It last year released the nominated documentary “The Square.”) Left out was the Roger Ebert documentary “Life Itself.”

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will hope this year’s coterie of stars will be enough to maintain the recent upswing in ratings for the Oscars. Last year’s ceremony, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, drew 43 million viewers, making it the most-watched entertainment telecast in a decade.

This year’s show on Feb. 22 will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, a veteran of the Tony Awards.

___

Associated Press writers Lindsey Bahr and Derrik J. Lang in Beverly Hills contributed to this report

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Black History

COMMENTARY: New Las Vegas Raiders President is Female, Black, AND Asian

We have never been comfortable with mixed-race kids and what to call them. But since 2010, the multiracial population has grown from 9 million to 33.8 million people, a 276% increase according to the 2020 Census.

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Sandra Douglass Morgan is the new president of the Las Vegas Raiders. Twitter photo.
Sandra Douglass Morgan is the new president of the Las Vegas Raiders. Twitter photo.

By Emil Guillermo

I confess to being a Raiders fan from a very early age.

Even though I was born and raised in San Francisco, as a young boy I cheered Clem Daniels at Frank Youell Field. Old School. Then Daryl Lamonica. Then Kenny Stabler. Warren Wells. Gene Upshaw. Hewritt Dixon. George Atkinson. George Blanda. I loved them all. When they left Oakland the first time, they broke my heart. When they came back, I bought season tickets and broke my bank. And then they left again and broke my heart for good.

I started rooting for the 49ers. I know, blasphemy.

But I always keep an eye on the Las Vegas Raiders. And on July 7, 2022, when they announced a new president, I took a double take.

She looked like a Filipina. To me, she clearly had some Asian blood.

But then they announced her, Sandra Douglas Morgan, and all the stories had some variation of this line: “Morgan becomes the first Black woman in NFL history to ascend to the title of team president.”

Almost every story I found heralded her Blackness. Hooray.

Only it was partially true. From what I found, only NBC News with California homeboy Lester Holt had the story with all the facts.

Morgan was Black. But as my Asian radar suggested, she was also Asian. Not Filipino, but Korean. NBC showed a picture of her mother.

We’ve been here before.

When something great happens to a mixed-race person, why do we ignore the mix?

The Raiders in Las Vegas are trying so hard to be modern and “progressive” (for the NFL). You’ll recall the team gave Colin Kaepernick a tryout.

So why doesn’t a forward-thinking team in Las Vegas, one of the most diverse cities in the nation, just come out and announce that Morgan is both Black and Asian?

Is it because we don’t want to see the Asian parts? Is it the wrong suit in a game where Black trumps?

As I’ve said, we’ve been here before. Kamala Harris is from the East Bay. Her Black father was mostly absent from her life, and her mother, an Asian-Indian UC cancer researcher, was dominant in her upbringing. Still, Harris publicly identified as Black most of her life.

Through her time as a politico in San Francisco, to her rise as attorney general for the state, to her announcement in Oakland seeking the nomination for president, Harris was always Black first. I always noticed. And wrote about it in the Asian American media.

When did things change? When she was selected as the vice-presidential running mate of Joe Biden. And then, of course, when they won and were inaugurated.

How many times did you see the phrase, “First African American, first Asian American, first woman to be vice president of the United States.”

It was American diversity history. Reporters stumbled over how to get it right.

And now, because human nature is what it is, most people have stumbled back to convention. Kamala? Oh, she’s Black.

But it’s not just Kamala. Tiger Woods has always had this problem. When he came on the scene with his first Masters victory in 1997, stories hailed him as the “Black man in a green jacket,” or “the Black man in a white man’s game.”

The column I wrote, published later in my book “Amok,” pointed out calling Tiger “Black” is once again, just half right. His mom is from Thailand. Tiger described his mix as “Cablanasian.” That made people smile but never stuck.

And now as he slumps back from missing the cut at the British Open, Tiger is back to Black.

Why is this all important? There’s accuracy of course, but it shows we have never been comfortable with mixed-race kids and what to call them. But since 2010, the multiracial population has grown from 9 million to 33.8 million people, a 276% increase according to the 2020 Census.

I know mixed-race kids. I made a few of them. I prefer they say they are Asian because they are. But their mom is white. But that doesn’t show. They get passed over and face both subtle and not so subtle discrimination all the time.

The Jewish faith offers a guide. It believes that what defines you passes by way of your mother. Hence Kamala, Tiger, and yes Saundra Douglas Morgan would be Asian.

But in America, the Census uses a “you are what you say you are” basis. Is it just easier to say Black and leave it at that? And ignore Asian? Maybe until someone points it out.

Here’s a vote for being accurate and fair. When Saundra Douglas Morgan made history, we all should honor our diverse America where we can be Black and Asian and anything else. Proudly.

Especially when we make history together.

Emil Guillermo is a veteran journalist and commentator. His work is on www.amok.com

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Advice

A Wedding and Evening Sail on the Matthew Turner

This mock wedding shows “how sometimes we are so caught up in the celebration, and full of elation that we don’t make sure this partnership will contribute to our elevation,” said Gregory. The event heightened “the awareness of the right-Ship, relation-Ship, and friend-Ships so you won’t be emotionally Ship-wrecked and can sail together to your destination of purpose.”

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By Godfrey Lee

Sharika Gregory hosted an evening program on July 9, 2022, encouraging adults to develop healthy relationships. The program took place on the tall ship Matthew Turner owned and operated by Call of the Sea, the nonprofit that also contributed to the cost of the event.

Sailing on the ship becomes an analogy of how a husband and wife can make a marriage work. The captain and his first mate on a ship are like a husband and his wife in a marriage, Gregory said.

The single man and woman need to know if they are the best fit for each other before they get married. The couple will also need to know how a marriage works, like how the captain, his mate, (and the crew) need to know how the ship works in order to safely sail it. The married couple needs to trust each other, like the captain and the mate need to trust each other in order to sail their ship.

Top: Sharika Gregory, Neferttiti and Bronchè (Photo by Sierre Salin); Neferttiti and Bronchè arguing; Kee-Beez, Sierre Salin, Diamond, Chase Banks, Aleta Toure, Chris Ragland. Oshalla Diana Marcus, Johnetta Newton, Trevor Palacio, Raul Cedeno III. Bottom: The Matthew Turner ship (From modelshipworld.com).

Top: Sharika Gregory, Neferttiti and Bronchè (Photo by Sierre Salin); Neferttiti and Bronchè arguing; Kee-Beez, Sierre Salin, Diamond, Chase Banks, Aleta Toure, Chris Ragland. Oshalla Diana Marcus, Johnetta Newton, Trevor Palacio, Raul Cedeno III. Bottom: The Matthew Turner ship (From modelshipworld.com.

The event started in front of the Bay Model Visitor Center with a mock wedding between Nefertiti and Bronchè Steward, where Bronchè suddenly realized that he needs to be committed to his wife. The second half of the program began on the ship with Nefertiti and Bronchè arguing, and Nefertiti runs away to the front of the ship.

This mock wedding shows “how sometimes we are so caught up in the celebration, and full of elation that we don’t make sure this partnership will contribute to our elevation,” said Gregory. The event heightened “the awareness of the right-Ship, relation-Ship, and friend-Ships so you won’t be emotionally Ship-wrecked and can sail together to your destination of purpose.”

Around 40 people attended and enjoyed the event, which offered food and drinks donated by the Strawberry Village Safeway. The ship sailed to the middle of the Bay with its engines and then the crew hauled up two of the sails. But there was not enough wind to sail the ship.

The Matthew Turner, a brigantine, is a tall ship owned and operated by the Call of the Seas. She will be used to help the crew on her sister ship, the Seaward, teach sailing and marine environmental programs to adults and middle school-aged youth. The Matthew Turner was designed after the ship Galilee, which was built in the late 1800s by the ship designer and builder Matthew Turner. The length of her deck is 100 feet long, and has a total of 7,200 square feet of sails. She is docked at the Bay Model Visitor Center’s Pier in Sausalito.

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Bay Area

County Fair Sees Over 25 Percent Jump in Revenues Compared to Last Year Pre-Pandemic

The fair wasn’t entirely back to “normal” in that competitions usually held in the exhibit hall were done remotely, which meant no food was judged, but hobbies, crafts, creative writing and art were all judged and given ribbons.

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The Marin County Fair Sees Over 25 Percent Jump in Revenues Compared to Last Year Pre-Pandemic
The Marin County Fair Sees Over 25 Percent Jump in Revenues Compared to Last Year Pre-Pandemic

By Bay City News

The results are in: People in Marin County were ready to have fun at the fair after taking a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. Revenues for this year’s Marin County Fair increased by over 25% over 2019’s numbers, according to the county.

The fair, which ran from Thursday, June 30 through Monday, July 4, generated nearly $1.9 million compared to 2019’s numbers of $1.5 million.

This year’s theme was “So Happy Together,” with live performances from Pablo Cruise, Sheila E., Sons of Champlin, and Digable Planets.

The fair wasn’t entirely back to “normal” in that competitions usually held in the exhibit hall were done remotely, which meant no food was judged, but hobbies, crafts, creative writing and art were all judged and given ribbons.

It wouldn’t be a county fair without amateur entertainment, and the county noted that four drag queens, 18 folklorico dancers, 22 ukulele players and 34 bagpipers performed on the community stage.

Proof of COVID-19 and masking were not required. If the event shows an increase in infections, the numbers could show up in Marin’s case data, which is released every Tuesday and Friday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has rated Marin County as “high” for community COVID-19 levels, according to a June 30 report.

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