A controversial SeaWorld expose and a film chronicling the downfall of cycling champion Lance Armstrong are among the 15 movies who will compete for next year's (14) Best Documentary Oscar. Blackfish and The Armstrong Lie are up against The Crash Reel, Dirty Wars, God Loves Uganda, Life According to Sam and Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, among other nominees.
The list will be shortened when the official nominees are announced in January and the Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on 2 March (14).
British pop star Oritse Williams is urging fans to get behind Comic Relief's Common Ground Initiative after a visit to Uganda. The JLS star first visited the African nation with his band in 2011 and returned with girlfriend AJ Azari to observe the charity's work with HIV sufferers.
Williams had spent two years at school in Nigeria between the ages of 16 and 18 and he is adamant he and Azari feel a special bond with Africa.
During his latest trip this summer (13), the pop star and Azari visited the Kadama Widows Association, which was set up by Ugandans living in the U.K. eager to fight the devastation caused by Aids in the East African nation, and Williams is now urging others to support the charity.
He tells British magazine Hello!, "Meeting the women here has been a humbling experience and made us think differently about what really matters."
Since returning to the U.K., Azari has been sending clothes and shoes to Ugandan women and the couple is planning to visit the project again.
Legendary nature broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has asked fans for donations in a bid to save mountain gorillas. The wildlife expert has launched his first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com, and wants to raise $160,000 (£100,000) to support Fauna & Flora International's campaign to protect the primates from poaching and habitat loss in Africa.
Launching the drive on Wednesday (30Oct13), his mission statement reads, "If we are to ensure the survival of mountain gorillas, it is vital that the global community supports our efforts.
"By supporting this campaign and promoting it through your networks, you will not only be helping to secure a future for mountain gorillas, but also the tens of thousands of Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese people who have come to depend upon them for their livelihoods and wellbeing."
Attenborough is hoping the campaign will reach its target by 11 December (13). Fans had already donated almost $3,000 (£2,00) by Friday (01Nov13).
The money will go towards paying for rangers to secure the gorillas' habits, drinking tanks for the animals and to boost breeding programs.
Attenborough made headlines around the world in 1979 when he was filmed interacting up-close with gorillas in Rwanda as part of his groundbreaking Life on Earth TV documentary series.
Who couldn’t fall in love with television’s not-so-sweet sweetheart? Torrey DeVitto tells Hollywood.com about playing the sometimes nice, sometimes bat s**t crazy characters on TV’s most popular shows. She has left her mark on pop culture portraying Melissa Hastings on Pretty Little Liars, Dr. Meredith Fell on The Vampire Diaries and the unforgettable Nanny Carrie on One Tree Hill – and somehow she still finds the time to try to save the world.
Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, Army Wives? How did you manage being on three of television’s most popular shows?
I felt really fortunate being able to work on 3 really popular shows these last couple of years. Luckily for the most part, none of the shows filmed at the same time. I have realized sometimes I do better working under a crazy schedule. It gives me less time to over think things and forces me to be present.
Do you find it strange that your characters seem to have a bit of a tick to them? They seem one way and then turn out completely surprising the audience.
I do find that a bit strange! I was worried for a while that it was some sort of reflection of me that all I seemed to be getting were these characters that were a tad bit loony. But I love it. Those are the most fun characters to play! It gave me the opportunity to really do something rather than just show up, say my lines and then leave.
Are you ever surprised by the roles your characters tend to take?
Not anymore. I've gotten pretty used to it - as has my family. It used to really surprise my poor grandmother that in one way or another I would end up psycho or evil, but now even she's used to it.
When will we see you again on Pretty Little Liars?
I go back into filming next week!
You recently went to Africa to film a documentary with hospice. Can you tell us about it?
I have been volunteering with hospice for about 6 years now. Going to Africa was being able to take my volunteering and my passion for hospice one step further. The documentary we were filming is called 'The Road to Hope'. It's a sort of follow up to the last documentary they did called 'Okuyamba'. It follows child caregivers. These children take care of their moms and/or dads while they are dying and then once they are gone have nowhere to go and no money. No one willing to take care of them. The title 'road to hope' comes from an actual organization that was started by the National Hospice Foundation and PCAU (palliative care association of Uganda). Road to Hope is an organization that helps get those kids back in to school and helps find them a place to live. Doing these interviews and meeting these children was not just heart breaking, it was inspiring. It really puts life into perspective and makes you want to better yourself. I met some of the most amazing people during this trip. It's a time in my life I will never forget.
For more info go to: roadtohopefilm.org
Who has been your favorite role?
Funnily enough, nanny Carrie (One Tree Hill) is still one of my top favorite roles. I just had so much fun, and I felt like it was the first time that someone really gave me something to sink my teeth into and take risks with.
I hear you have one of the most recognizable Chihuahuas on Twitter.
I do have the most adorable little Chihuahua mix. I adopted him about 3 1/2 years ago from Much Love pet adoption, and he has been the love of my life ever since. His name is Beau, or as my sister and I like to call him ' mushy mush' because he truly is just a pile of loving mush that just melts in your arms.
What’s next for Torrey DeVitto?
Next up is I'll be going back to Pretty Little Liars for a bit, and you can still check out a movie I did called Evidence with Stephen Moyer OnDemand.
British singer Kimberley Walsh has travelled to Uganda to meet a victim of domestic violence whose life was turned around following a charity project by the star. The former Girls Aloud singer raised money for Comic Relief in 2009 by trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro, and she has headed back to Africa to see how the cash is spent.
She visited a primary school in the village of Mifumi before meeting a woman, identified only as Betty, who managed to escape a life of violence at the hands of her husband and launch a second hand clothing business with the help of Comic Relief.
Walsh tells Hello! magazine, "This has brought such a change to the community and shown them that they can escape violence... Domestic violence happens everywhere. I know of people who have experienced it, and it is tough whatever your circumstances, but if it happens in the U.K., we are aware of how to get help."
The singer also took to her Twitter.com page to post a photograph of her and Betty, with the caption, "Betty and I in Uganda - her story touched me the most."
Actress Anna Friel is heading to Africa to shoot a documentary about the plight of mountain gorillas. The Pushing Daisies star will join a film crew in Uganda next week (beg05Aug13) to highlight growing fears the remaining 700-strong band of primates is heading for extinction.
She tells Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper, "We are going to make a documentary about saving the remaining 700 mountain gorillas. I wouldn't say I am like (famed zoologist) Dian Fossey, but I suppose I am treading where she trod."
For an episode called "The Genoa Tip," there wasn't much mention of the top-secret operation that gets the whole newsroom in trouble. But there was still plenty of drama to go around, which was all wrapped up by a solemn country song.
This wasn't a good week for Maggie, but then again, it almost never is. She decides to creepily track down Erica, the girl who posted her Sex and the City-fueled tirade online, by finding her on Foursquare. Maggie and Sloan confront Erica in a laundromat in Queens, which is not weird or stalkery at all. Erica is understandably freaked out, but then gets excited as she recognizes Maggie from her video and starts asking her questions. Sloan offers to tweet about Erica's SATC fanfiction if she takes the video down.
Despite the tweet, Erica does not take the video down, and instead decides to blog about the laundromat showdown. Lisa finally sees Maggie's recorded outburst, and subjects her to the scariest hug of all time. Calm but noticeably upset, Lisa accuses Maggie of setting her up with Jim because she knew things would never get serious between them.
After losing her boyfriend and her best friend, Maggie sets her sights on Africa. She gets the go-ahead from Mac to travel to Uganda for a story, but we already know that doesn't end up going too well. Poor Maggie.
Feeling Under the Weather
We got a little more of Will McAvoy's backstory in this episode. This is a man who took the anchor desk for the first time on 9/11 and promised his audience that he wasn't going anywhere. Ten years later, he has to watch two other people cover the anniversary of that day and read the words that he wrote for them. The audience no longer trusts him like they used to, and he craves their approval. He's so ashamed that he tells the staff that he took himself off the 9/11 coverage, just to save face (although no one believes him).
When it's reported that an American was targeted and killed by a drone strike in Yemen, Mac and Charlie want Will to go on air and demand that the administration release the memorandum authorizing the strike. Will doesn't want to alienate his audience even more by looking like he's defending a terrorist, but the argument is interrupted by a phone call from Neal. He attended an Occupy Wall Street rally and was arrested. Will goes to bail Neal out of jail and basically throws a little hissy fit at a police officer. The officer asks him "Are you feeling alright?" like any sane person would, and Will replies "Yeah, I just had the flu for a while."
Swing Votes and Lobbyists
Don has been following the case of Troy Davis, a black man who was convicted of killing a white cop in Georgia. Davis has been in prison for 20 years and is soon to be executed unless he receives clemency. Don believes there is reasonable doubt in his case and wants Will to cover the story, but Will refuses.
Don gets more desperate as he hears from a source that the Georgia parole board has been lobbied and the swing vote is now voting against clemency. He wants to report on the development but doesn't have his source on the record. He briefly considers threatening to reveal his source's name, but knows that's going too far. That night, Don receives a report that Davis was executed.
Like the Headsail on a Boat
Jerry gives Mac the full details of Operation Genoa that he heard from Cyrus. Two soldiers were held in a village in Pakistan, and the Marines sent in to rescue them used sarin gas on civilians. Mac thinks the story is ridiculous and couldn't possibly be true, but Jerry spends the rest of the episode trying to contact Gunnery Sergeant Eric Sweeney. Once he finally gets him on the phone, Eric confirms to Jerry and Mac that Genoa was real and that American troops did indeed use sarin gas on civilians. Mac and Jerry look at each other in shock, and then Willie Nelson finally stops singing (seriously, that song went on forever).
Jim finally gets on the Romney campaign bus, courtesy of a reporter named Hallie. Fun fact: that's Meryl Streep's daughter! He also receives a breakup email from Lisa and ignores Maggie's call about Africa.
Why is Sorkin under the impression that all women love Sex and the City?
Will reads online hate about himself during his own broadcast. Pull yourself together, man.
Follow Mary Oates on Twitter @mary_oates | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
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The Newsroom Season 2 premiere didn't waste any time getting down to business. After a shiny new opening, we immediately find out that Will McAvoy and the rest of the News Night crew are being sued for making allegations that the U.S. military used nerve gas as a weapon, which is a war crime. When the story turned out to be wrong, they had to retract it, and anyone who helped to broadcast the story could lose their job. Whoa, s**t just got real incredibly fast.
Lawyer Rebecca Halliday is trying to get the full details of the situation out of Will (which isn’t going very well) when we're hit with another shocker. Maggie has ditched her long blonde hair for a short, auburn 'do. What happened? According to Will, she went to Uganda for a story and saw some terrible things, and "came back a little messed up." But how did we get here? (Here being October 2012, 14 months after the Season 1 finale.) Well, as Will says, it all started around the time Reese Lansing got kicked out of the Capitol Building, back in August 2011.
Chips are Falling
Reese, the president of AWM, wasn’t allowed into House Judiciary Committee hearing concerning SOPA, an anti-piracy bill. This was just one week after Will had gone on-air and called the Tea Party the "American Taliban," and apparently some members of the Tea Party hadn’t taken it too well. Given the controversy of Will's statements, Charlie told him that he was taking him off the 10-year anniversary coverage of 9/11. Will says he's fine with it, but come on, you know that had to put a dent in his giant ego.
Is This Brutally Awkward?
A reporter named Ben who was on the Romney campaign bus stupidly jumped off the second floor of a hotel and missed the pool, breaking his ankle. Mac tells Jim to find a replacement for him, but all Jim does is stare pathetically over at Maggie and Don. Maggie tries to smooth things over with Jim, wanting to go back to the way things were before she confessed her feelings for him. But Jim, still hurt that Maggie choose Don over him, blows her off, and then begs Mac to let him go to New Hampshire to cover the campaign in Ben's place. But he isn't actually able to get on the bus because, you know, that whole "American Taliban" thing.
Period. Period. Period.
Mac gets Jerry Dantana from Washington D.C. to cover for Jim, and he's just as obsessed with drone strikes as Sloan. He suggests holding an on-air panel about drones, and wants to use a military analyst named Cyrus West instead of Jim's usual contact. Cyrus is an adamant drone supporter and keeps saying "period" like he's trying to make it his catchphrase or something. Will lets Cyrus be an obnoxious douche instead of speaking up, despite Mac urging him to jump in. Looks like someone was bothered about being pulled from the 9/11 coverage after all.
After the broadcast, Cyrus tells Jerry that he has some intel about a black op named Genoa (not Geneva), and that it’s the kind of story "that makes careers and ends presidencies." Hmmm, something tells me that we'll be getting back to that….
The YouTube Video Strikes Back
Maggie's crazy cousin sends Don a YouTube video of Maggie freaking out in front of the Sex and the City tour bus. He tries to pack his things and go to a hotel while Maggie's sleeping, but he wakes her up. He shows her the video (titled "Another New Yorker Loses It") and basically laughs in her face. He tells her that he thought he was the bad guy for not being in love with her, when actually she was in love with Jim. Oh give me a break Don, stop being so self-righteous. You said yourself that you've only tried to be a good boyfriend for like 2 weeks, so don’t guilt trip Maggie for having feelings for someone else, especially when she gave you another chance.
Soooo….if Ben hadn't broken his ankle, if Jim hadn't gone to New Hampshire and Jerry hadn't filled in for him, and if Cyrus hadn't been on the drone panel, then News Night wouldn't be facing this lawsuit? Pretty much. So basically, this is all Ben's fault. Way to go, buddy.
The flashback device that the premiere introduced was pretty effective. It got me interested in seeing how the characters will get from Point A to Point B throughout the season.
Not that I'm surprised, but the show is just as smug as ever.
The beginning and end of the episode were quite Social Network-esque. Sorkin sure loves those deposition scenes.
Blast from the past: Will singing Rebecca Black's classic hit, “Friday.”
Sloan's crush on Don was briefly addressed, but now that Don and Maggie are broken up, we'll probably see more of that relationship.
Neal decides to investigate Occupy Wall Street in its early stages. Looks like you might be on to something there, kid!
Follow Mary Oates on Twitter @mary_oates | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
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Director Mira Nair has been honoured for her work to eradicate homelessness in her native India. The Monsoon Wedding moviemaker recently returned to New Delhi to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her first feature film Salaam Bombay!, about a young boy's struggle to survive on the streets, and during the trip she was recognised by local officials for using her earnings to set up a trust fund for needy children.
Overcome with emotion, she tells Elle magazine, "The most important celebration is for the trust. It's thriving. We reach 5,000 kids with 17 centres, 168 social workers, and five shelters."
As well as helping to put food on the table, the organisation provides literacy and learning programmes for kids, something Nair feels strongly about - the 55 year old currently spends half the year teaching at New York City's Columbia University and the other half educating students at her film school in Uganda.
The actor hit the road with his pal Charlie Boorman for a motorcycle trek across 18 countries, from his native Scotland to the final destination of Cape Town, South Africa, as part of his documentary Long Way Down.
During his adventure, he went to Gulu in Northern Uganda, where he met children who had been forced to join rebel fighters, the Lords Resistance Army, and he admits their horrific tales still play on his mind years later.
In a column for Britain's The Independent, he writes, "Over four years have gone by since that meeting. A lot has happened since then, but these memories remain absolutely vivid in my mind. Even now, it's difficult for me to accept or to get into my head what those children told me - because even after four years it's almost too awful to comprehend.
"These children were raped, brainwashed and forced to maim, torture and kill... For a child to be in any military situation is wrong. I think about my own children. Then I think about these children and as a father I imagine what it's like for their parents; suddenly their child disappears, they've no idea where they are and they're lucky if they see them alive again. They're just left to imagine the horrors that they might be going through."
McGregor is urging fans to donate to Unicef, which provides aid for thousands of children and Ugandans displaced by fighting.