Australian soap star Elaine Lee has died at the age of 75. The actress, who was born in South Africa but emigrated to Australia in 1970, passed away on Friday (19Sep14). No more details were available as WENN went to press.
Lee is best known for playing fashion designer Vera Collins in long-running Australian soap Number 96, a role she landed shortly after moving to the country.
She stayed with the show for nearly five years, but plans to launch her character in a spin-off series later flopped.
Lee went on to appear in shows such as A Country Practice, Heartbreak High, All Saints, and Home and Away. She was also a regular on the stage, even appearing opposite Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall in an Australian production of Tennessee Williams' play Sweet Bird of Youth.
The producer of Pharrell Williams' YouTube show ARTST TLK is suing the Happy hitmaker for abandoning the project to become a judge on The Voice. The first season of the show, which featured interviews with Usher and Spike Lee, proved to be a big hit and the unnamed co-creator was hoping for more.
But when Pharrell joined The Voice earlier this year (14), he allegedly made it clear that his exclusive deal with the talent contest's producers would veto his YouTube interviews.
But the producer claims he invested $1 million (GBP588,000) in the project - and he wants his former partner to cover his costs.
Williams' representative tells TMZ.com, "This is complete nonsense. It's unfortunate when you try to help a friend and they wind up trying to take advantage of you."
Actor Jamie Foxx partied with politicians on Saturday night (16Aug14) by inviting former presidential candidate John Mccain and New Jersey governor Chris Christie to join him onstage for a dance at a star-studded fundraiser. The Ray star was a guest at the annual Apollo in the Hamptons bash and he made an extra special effort to get the party swinging.
He took to the stage and invited Christie to join him for a dance, before Senator McCain got up to join in, swiftly followed by Sir Paul McCartney and director Spike Lee.
After the stunt, Foxx told New York Post gossip column Page Six, "Its always the ones you don't expect. Republicans love to dance - in the Hamptons."
Other guests at the event, organised by business magnate Ron Perelman, included Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Barbra Streisand, Roger Waters, Anjelica Huston, and Don Johnson.
The audience enjoyed performances by Pharrell Williams, Sting, Gladys Knight, and Jon Bon Jovi at the fundraiser, which netted $4 million (£2.4 million) for development projects at New York's famous Apollo Theatre.
At the close of the evening, Nicholson told Page Six, "That was one hell of a night. Christie really held his own. I told him, as he walked back to his seat, 'Governor, you can't let New Jersey down.'"
Cabaret performer and songwriter Michael Brown has died at the age of 93. The musician lost his battle with lymphoma at his New York home on 11 June (14).
Brown began his entertainment career in the late 1940s after landing a gig at legendary Big Apple cabaret mogul Julius Monk's Le Ruban Bleu venue and penned songs for all of the guru's revues, including Four Below in 1956, Dressed to the Nines in 1960 and Dime a Dozen in 1962.
He also worked on Broadway, writing tunes like Lizzie Borden for Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952, which was later adapted into a film directed by Harry Horner, and Indoor Girl, which was performed by singer/actress Pearl Bailey in a 1954 production of Harold Arlen and Truman Capote's House of Flowers.
Lizzie Borden was later recorded by the Chad Mitchell Trio vocal group, which also popularised another of Brown's songs, The John Birch Society.
Brown's success allowed him and his wife, Joy Williams Brown, to support author pal Harper Lee financially for a whole year while she completed work on her literary classic To Kill a Mockingbird in 1956. They broke the news to the writer with a Christmas note which read: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas."
To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee's only published book, was released in 1960 and earned her the Pulitzer Prize.
Pharrell Williams surprised fans at Harlem's Apollo Theater in New York on Tuesday night (03Jun14) by bringing out rapper pal T.I. to perform his verse in the hit track Blurred Lines. Williams' live-streamed concert was part of the American Express Unstaged series, and was directed by Spike Lee.
Pharrell Williams prepared for his live-streamed concert at Harlem's Apollo Theater in New York on Tuesday night (03Jun14) by holding a special ritual backstage. Minutes before the Happy hitmaker kicked off the show, which was directed by Spike Lee, he gathered his dancers and singers and insisted they touch the venue's 'tree of life' - a fixed stump he insisted had been touched by all the great performers who had graced the stage.
He then thanked the dancers for being part of his journey.
Williams warmed up for the show, which was part of the American Express Unstaged series, by performing opening slots for Bruno Mars at the Hollywood Bowl over the weekend (31May-01Jun14).
Fox Searchlight via Everett Collection
Ever since the rumors started swirling several months ago, the Internet has been waiting impatiently for a Star Wars VII casting announcement that included Oscar winner and instant style icon Lupita Nyong'o. They finally got that wish on Monday morning, when StarWars.com revealed that she would be joining the cast along with Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie. The pair join an impressive cast for the latest installment of the franchise, with acclaimed actors like Oscar Isaac, Max Von Sydow and John Boyega all playing significant roles. However, when it comes to buzz, they all pale in comparison to Nyong'o, who has won over both critics and fans since her breakout performance last year in 12 Years a Slave.
Casting an Academy Award winner is a big deal for a major blockbuster like Episode VII, but Nyong'o is far from the first winner to journey to a galaxy far, far away. Since the first film was released in 1977, the Star Wars franchise has featured several Oscar winners and nominees on both sides of the camera, and seen several of its alum take home the award later on. In honor of Nyong'o's casting, we've rounded up all of the actors, writers, directors and editors who fall in the middle of the Venn Diagram of "Oscar winners and nominees" and "involved in the Star Wars universe."
Academy Award Wins
PRE-STAR WARS: -Nyong'o, who won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in 12 Years a Slave at this year's awards, is the third actor who has taken home an Oscar before starring in one of the Star Wars films, and the fifth team member to hold the distinction. -Alec Guinness won Best Actor in 1957 for his work in The Bridge on the River Kwai, before he played everyone's favorite Jedi Master and mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi. He later earned an Oscar nomination for the part. -Composer John Williams, who has been nominated for a total of 49 Oscars, won his first for Best Scoring Adaptation and Original Score Song in 1971 for Fiddler on the Roof. Since then, he's won four more, including Best Original Score in 1977 for Star Wars. -Ben Burtt had established himself as a talented editor with two Best Sound Editing Oscars in 1982 and 1989 before he edited The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
POST-STAR WARS: -James Earl Jones, who provided the iconic voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films received an Honorary Oscar in 2011.-Natalie Portman won Best Actress for playing Nina Sayers in Black Swan in 2010, five years after her final installment of the trilogy was released. -Director Sofia Coppola played one of Queen Amidala's handmaidens in The Phantom Menace, and then went on to win Best Original Screenplay in 2003 for her film Lost in Translation. She was also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture that year.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Academy Award Nominations
PRE-STAR WARS: -Before he created the franchise that eventually became Star Wars, George Lucas made American Graffitti, and was nominated for Best Director and Best original Screenplay in 1972 for his hard work. Five years later, he was nominated in those same categories for the first installment in the series. -Terence Stamp was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1962 for his work in the film Billy Budd, 30 years before he played Supreme Chancellor Valorum in The Phantom Menace. -His co-star in that film, Samuel L. Jackson, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1994 for his performances as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, a first of many iconic characters. -Marcia Lucas received an Oscar nomination in 1974 for Best Editing alongside Verna Fields for American Graffiti, before winning the same award three years later for Star Wars, with Richard Chew and Paul Hirsch. -Liam Neeson was nominated for Best Actor in 1993 for his heartbreaking performance in Schindler's List before stepping into the role of Obi Wan's mentor, Qui Gon Jinn in 1999.
POST-STAR WARS: -After he played Han Solo, Harrison Ford was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the 1985 film Witness. -Keira Knightley, who played one of Amidala's handmaidens in one of her first film roles, was nominated for Best Actress in 2005 for her turn as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice. -Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with Lucas, was nominated for Best Original Screenplay in 1984 and 1992 for The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, respectively, and Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture in 1989 for The Accidental Tourist.
Other Awards Of Note
-Three of the key supporting characters in Attack of the Clones were played by actors who were nominated or have won AFI and AACTA awards, the Australian equivalent of the Oscars and the BAFTAs. They are: Rose Byrne, Joel Edgerton, and Jack Thompson. -Ford has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and C3PO, R2D2, and Darth Vader have their "footprints" outside of the TCL Chinese Theater. -Christopher Lee, who played Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith has never been nominated for an Oscar, but he has been knighted, made a Commander of Order of the British Empire and a Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John, been awarded both the BAFTA and BFI Fellowships, and is a French Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. He was also a war hero, serving as part of the RAF Intelligence and Special Forces during World War II, and was attached to the SAS for a time during his service. He also once climbed Mt. Vesuvius right before it erupted and fronts several heavy metal bands, because he's cooler than the rest of us could ever hope to be.
The live stream of Pharrell Williams' upcoming show in New York is set to be directed by Spike Lee. The Happy hitmaker will perform his first solo show at the Apollo Theatre on 3 June (14) as part of the American Express Unstaged concert series and the show will be live streamed simultaneously on amexunstaged.com.
This isn't the first time Lee has directed a webcast for a musical act - in 2010, he headed the live stream for The Roots and John Legend's Unstaged performance, according to AllHipHop.com.
Superstar couple Beyonce and Jay Z are set for a big night at the 2014 BET Awards with four nominations apiece. The Crazy in Love hitmakers will compete against each other in the Best Collaboration category, in which Beyonce's song Drunk in Love, which features her husband, will battle Jay Z and Justin Timberlake's Holy Grail. Drake and Majid Jordan's Hold On (We're Going Home), Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams' Blurred Lines, YG's My Hitta collaboration with Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan and I Luv This by August Alsina and Trinidad Jame$ are also up for the prize.
Meanwhile, rivals Jay Z and Drake will go toe to toe in the Best Male Hip Hop Artist category, alongside Future, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, while Beyonce will battle Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna and Tamar Braxton for the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist title. Jay Z and Beyonce will also vie for the coveted Video of the Year award with the videos for Drunk in Love and Partition, respectively. Pharrell Williams' Happy, Chris Brown's Fine China and Drake's Worst Behavior are also nominated.
In the movie categories, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Lupita Nyong'o and Oprah Winfrey will fight for the Best Actress prize, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Forest Whitaker, Idris Elba, Kevin Hart and Michael B. Jordan are up for the Best Actor trophy. The Best Movie nominees are: 12 Years a Slave, The Best Man Holiday, Fruitvale Station, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Lee Daniels' The Butler.
The 2014 BET Awards will be handed out at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on 29 June (14).
The full list of nominees are:
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: Beyonce, Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna, Tamar Braxton
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: August Alsina, Chris Brown, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams
Best Group A$AP Mob Daft Punk Macklemore & Ryan Lewis TGT Young Money
Best Collaboration August Alsina featuring Trinidad Jame$ - I Luv This Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Drake featuring Majid Jordan - Hold On (We're Going Home) Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake - Holy Grail Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharell Williams - Blurred Lines YG featuring Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan - My Hitta
Best Male Hip Hop Artist Drake Future J. Cole Jay Z Kendrick Lamar
Best Female Hip Hop Artist Angel Haze Charli Baltimore Eve Iggy Azalea Nicki Minaj Video of the Year Beyonce - Partition Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Chris Brown - Fine China Drake - Worst Behavior Pharrell Williams - Happy
Video Director of the Year Benny Boom Chris Brown Colin Tiley Director X Hype Williams
Best New Artist Ariana Grande August Alsina Mack Wilds Rich Homie Quan ScHoolboy Q
Best Gospel Artist Donnie McClurkin Erica Campbell Hezekiah Walker Tamela Mann Tye Tribbett
Best Actress Angela Bassett Gabrielle Union Kerry Washington Lupita Nyong'o Oprah Winfrey
Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor Forest Whitaker Idris Elba Kevin Hart Michael B. Jordan
YoungStars Award Gabrielle Douglas Jacob Latimore Jaden Smith KeKe Palmer Zendaya
Best Movie 12 Years a Slave The Best Man Holiday Fruitvale Station Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Lee Daniels' The Butler
Subway Sportswoman of the Year Brittney Griner Lolo Jones Serena Williams Skylar Diggins Venus Williams
Subway Sportsman of the Year Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Floyd Mayweather Jr. Kevin Durant LeBron James
Centric Award Aloe Blacc - The Man Jennifer Hudson featuring T.I. - I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)" Jhene Aiko - The Worst LiV Warfield - Why Do You Lie? Wale featuring Sam Dew - LoveHate Thing
Best International Act: Africa Davido (Nigeria) Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) Mafikizolo (South Africa) Sarkodie (Ghana) Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) Toofan (Togo)
Best International Act: UK Dizzee Rascal Ghetts Krept & Konan Laura Mvula Rita Ora Tinie Tempah
Few filmmakers come out of the gate swinging with an epic two-hour feature film debut that goes on to achieve huge box office success. Most of them start small with commercials, shorts, and low-budget indie flicks. And some of the most renowned filmmakers started out creating visuals for the music world, eventually working their way up to narrative features. Here are just a few movie directors who have also made great contributions to the world of music video.
This year he took home his first Oscar for Her, winning the award Best Original Screenplay. But back in the '90s he brought us the video to one of the most infectiously delightful songs ever, Fatboy Slim's "Praise You." As you can see, his sense of whimsy hasn't changed over the years.
Even if Belly wasn't the greatest cinematic achievement of all time (although, if you were a huge DMX fan back in the day, it probably was), it was exciting to see hip-hop video director extraordinaire Hype Williams create a feature film. Did it play a lot like a really long rap video at times? Yes. But that unforgettable scene with DMX watching Gummo was so amazing, it really didn't matter. Hype's love for cinema can also be seen in his "California Love" video for Tupac and Dr. Dre, which was partly inspired by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. F. Gary Gray and Antoine Fuqua are two other acclaimed directors known for making waves on the hip hop music video scene.
Michael D. Ratner
This is a name you'll want to commit to memory. Ratner's work with New York's Hot 97, the leading voice in hip-hop radio, has resulted in some brilliant, satirical videos that went viral over the last couple of years. This year he and his crew at One Big Ball pictures (gotta love that name) made their Tribeca Film Festival debut with Ratner's hilarious short film The 30 Year Old Bris. Although he's continuing his work in music (he produced the upcoming Diddy/Meek Mill video for "I Want The Love"), Ratner also has more romantic comedies in the works. We suspect that good things are bound to come from a fella who's been hanging out with everyone from Spike Lee to 50 Cent and the great Jim Jones.
The director of Scarlett Johansson's most recent feature Under the Skin is also known for having made some powerful music videos in the '90s and early '00s. He worked with artists like Jamiroquai and Massive Attack before making his directorial debut with Sexy Beast (for which Ben Kingsley received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role). One of Glazer's most compelling works was the "Karma Police" video for Radiohead. Although he himself was critical of the finished product, it earned him the MTV Director of the Year award in 1997.
Fincher may be the best example of a director whose talent in music videos translated into brilliance in feature films. He went from being the director of many iconic and acclaimed videos (Paula Abdul's "Straight Up," Michael Jackson's "Who Is It," Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie") to being the Oscar-nominated director behind Fight Club, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, House of Cards, and the upcoming Gone Girl.
Best known for films like Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees, Prince-Bythewood has a good collection of throwback R&B and hip-hop videos under her belt as well. This year she's returning to the big screen with the highly-anticipated Blackbird, starring Minnie Driver, Danny Glover, and Nate Parker, but it's fun to look back at her days with Fat Joe and Tony Sunshine.
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