Acclaimed drama Boyhood scored four awards including the Best Picture prize from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LACFA) on Sunday (07Dec14). The coming-of-age film was the clear favourite from the California critics group, earning not only the top prize, but Best Director for filmmaker Richard Linklater, Best Actress for Patricia Arquette and Best Editing.
The multiple wins came the same day Boyhood scooped Best Picture from the Boston Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Online organisations, as well as the Best International Independent Film at the British Independent Film Awards in London, where Linklater was on hand to receive the accolade.
Tying for two awards apiece was Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, which won Best Screenplay and Best Production Design, and Polish film Ida, which nabbed Best Foreign Language Film and Best Supporting Actress for its star Agata Kulesza.
Tom Hardy was honoured for his role in British drama Locke with the Best Actor trophy, while J.K. Simmons earned Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash.
Radiohead rocker Jonny Greenwood was recognised for his third musical collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson for his film Inherent Vice, tying for the Best Music Score with Mica Levi (Under the Skin), while Birdman, which is a top Oscar contender, took home the award for Best Cinematography.
Meanwhile, Best Animation went to Japan's Tale of the Princess Kaguya, and Citizenfour, which chronicles infamous U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, landed the Best Documentary award.
Winners will formally receive their prizes during the LAFCA awards dinner in Los Angeles, when veteran actress Gena Rowlands and American film critic Leonard Maltin will receive special lifetime achievement honours.
Canadian choreographer/director Brian Macdonald has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 86. He passed away at his home in Stratford, Ontario on 29 November (14), according to the New York Times.
Throughout his career, Macdonald worked with dance companies including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet and New York's Harkness Ballet and Joffrey Ballet.
He also worked on Broadway theatre productions such as Maggie Flynn in 1968 and 1987's The Mikado, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Choreography and Best Direction of a Musical.
In 1967, Macdonald was named an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 2001.
He was also feted with the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2008.
Veteran actress Vanessa Redgrave received a lifetime achievement honour for her illustrious career at the Women in Film and TV Awards in London on Friday (05Dec14). The Oscar winner was feted by judges for her five decades in Hollywood, which has included six Academy Award nominations, two Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actress, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and numerous honours for her theatre work, including a Tony Award.
Rosamund Pike received the performance award for her role in hit thriller Gone Girl, and the trophy for best producer went to Katie Swinden for TV series Luther and Peaky Blinders.
The honour for project management went to locations expert Sue Quinn, who set up a Tom Cruise stunt in Edge of Tomorrow and has worked on the Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises.
Other women honoured at the annual ceremony included screenwriter Lucy Kirkwood and costume designer Consolata Boyle.
Awards boss Kate Kinninmont says, "Year after year these awards celebrate the talented women in film and television, and this year's winners are a superb group of creative and outstanding women."
Lady Antebellum dedicated a performance of Luke Bryan's Drink A Beer to the singer on Tuesday (02Dec14) after a death in the family forced him to bow out of an appearance at the Country Music Television Artists of the Year concert. Bryan's brother-in-law, Ben Lee Cheshire, passed away in Georgia on Saturday (29Nov14) at the age of 46, seven years after his wife Kelly - the star's only sister - died unexpectedly, aged 39.
He scrapped all of his live commitments for this week (begs01Dec14) to spend time with his relatives, but he was firmly in his peers' thoughts as they celebrated his career as one of the honourees at the CMT Artists of the Year show.
Lady Antebellum and singer/songwriter Chris Stapleton treated the audience at the Nashville, Tennessee bash to an acoustic cover of Drink A Beer, which honours Bryan's late brother and sister, after band member Charles Kelley dedicated the tune to their absent pal.
He said, "Tonight, if you're watching back home, Luke, this one's for you and your family."
The touching moment was not lost on Bryan, who subsequently tweeted, "That was amazing. Truly. Thank you Charles, Dave, Hillary and Chris! Beautiful!!! Thank you fans for your love."
Other performance highlights at the CMT prizegiving came from another honouree Jason Aldean, who teamed up with rocker Chris Cornell to open the show, while Eric Church, Ashley Monroe and T Bone Burnett joined forces for a rendition of Artist of a Lifetime recipient Merle Haggard's hit Workin' Man Blues.
Actor Billy Bob Thornton was also on hand to pay tribute to Haggard, comparing him to writers like John Steinbeck and Tennessee Williams, saying, "He's truly a storyteller. And that's something that has been lost."
Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban were also among the musicians saluted at the CMT gathering.
The Young And The Restless star Kristoff St. John's son has committed suicide at the age of 24. Julian St. John passed away on 23 November (14) after a life-long battle with mental illness.
A message on his mother Mia St. John's Twitter.com page reads, "On November 23rd Kristoff St John and I lost our beautiful son, Julian St John. Our son was the light of our lives, an artist with a beautiful mind and spirit.
"He fought long and hard against an illness for which there is no cure. Unfortunately the pain became too great for him and I dare not say he lost the battle - he simply chose to set himself free. My fight for mental health will continue. They may not find a cure in my lifetime, but we can try and prevent the loss of another beautiful soul."
Julian will be laid to rest on Friday (05Dec14).
Have you started watching Broad City yet? The Comedy Central series was created by two besties – Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer – who star on the show as versions of themselves. These New York City broads get into all kinds of outrageous shenanigans, but at the show’s core, it’s a story about real female friendship. It’s been compared to Girls, but if you like Girls, we think you’ll like Broad City even better. It returns for season two in January! Here’s what Abbi and Ilana have taught us so far about friendship:
1. Celebrating your birthdays together - while looking fab - is a must.
2. When you need money for a girls' night out (or a Lil Wayne concert), stealing office supplies is sometimes necessary.
3. A Bed, Bath & Beyond bestie shopping trip is always in order. Because the coupons NEVER expire.
4. If your bestie doesn’t hear from you, she’ll immediately think you’ve been SVU’d.
5. Double dating doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.
6. Getting drunk together is always more fun.
7. Be comfortable enough around each other to make ugly faces.
8. Getting maced can be a bonding experience.
9. Have hobbies you can share together.
10. Encourage expensive purchases (you can always return them later).
11. Ogling guys on the basketball court is always an acceptable pastime.
12. Sometimes you need to just call it a night so you can go home and watch Netflix.
13. Support each other's financial successes. (Preferably with a sweet rap video fantasy.)
14. Always figure out who is the Bey and who is the Jay of the relationship.
15. Be a supportive wingwoman while your friend is trying to flirt.
16. Help each other stay sane while apartment hunting.
17. Always be prepared to literally lift each other up.
There you have it! A friendship to last a lifetime.
R&B star Chris Brown led the way at the 2014 Soul Train Awards on Sunday (30Nov14) by taking home three prizes thanks to his hit song Loyal. The embattled singer had a night to remember by winning Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year, Best Dance Performance, and Best Collaboration for his track with Lil Wayne and Tyga.
Brown even kicked off his big night with a medley of some of his greatest hits, including Yo (Excuse Me Miss), Poppin' Take You Down, New Flame, and award-winning Loyal.
Behind Brown with two awards each were Beyonce, who was feted with the Best R&B/Soul Female Artist accolade and Album of the Year for her acclaimed self-titled album, and Pharrell Williams, whose hit Happy was named Song of the Year and Video of the Year.
Other winners included Trey Songz (Best R&B/Soul Male Artist), John Legend (Record of the Year/The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award for All of Me), and Nico & Vinz (Best New Artist).
Meanwhile, disco band Kool & the Gang were honoured with the Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award, and artists such as Doug E. Fresh, Elle Varner, MC Lyte, Tamar Braxton, Joe, and Mase took to the stage to perform songs from the group's catalogue spanning 50 years in the business.
However, the highlights of the night came from R&B group Jodeci, who reunited for the first time since 2006 and sang a medley of their hit songs, while Lil Kim, Missy Elliot and Da Brat closed out the ceremony with their 1997 track Not Tonight, with a special segment devoted their late collaborator Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes.
The TLC star, who died in 2002, was featured in a video performing her part in the song which was projected onto a big screen during the rendition.
U.S. talk show host Wendy Williams hosted the event at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The awards were handed out on 7 November (14), but televised on Sunday.
Singer Ed Sheeran surprised a young fan during a TV show in Ireland by unexpectedly joining her to sing a duet of one of his hit songs on Friday (28Nov14). Teenager Aimee Keogh was a guest on The Late Late Toy Show, an annual programme in which kids show off the holiday season's most popular toys.
Keogh was demonstrating how a karaoke app works by singing Sheeran's track Lego House, and the fan was taken aback when the pop star showed up on the stage alongside her.
Sheeran, who flew in after a gig in England just to surprise Keogh, then offered to sing the song with her, but she was still shocked at meeting her idol, exclaiming, "I'm hysterical, oh my God!"
Not only did Keogh have the duet of a lifetime, but Sheeran told her he will pay for her and her family to see him perform in London next July (15), and presented the emotional fan with Christmas gifts, including a signed copy of his new album, X, and a 'Ted Sheeran' teddy bear.
Stevie Nicks gushed over sibling rockers Haim during a concert in California on Saturday (29Nov14), calling them a "major force in rock and roll". Fleetwood Mac brought its On With the Show tour, complete with keyboardist Christine McVie, to Los Angeles' The Forum venue and among those in the audience were sisters Alana, Este and Danielle Haim.
Singer Nicks told the audience, "Maybe twice in my lifetime I have met a group of other singers, artists, songwriters that I have thought were going to be a major force in rock and roll. And tonight the ladies Haim are here - Alana, Este and Danielle. And I have to say, because I love sharing stuff with the audience about other people that I love - we've been on the road for 27 shows and I play their record every day; I love it...
"It gives me answers, it gives me advice, it wraps its wings around me and it tells me everything will be okay, and I have such respect for them, and I have such respect for who they are and how they play music and how they put their music together, and it just blows my mind.
"So, girls, never stop. Don't stop thinking about tomorrow. Don't stop. Keep doing what you're doing because you're important to this world."
In October (14), Nicks invited Haim to her house for an interview with the New York Times' T Magazine, where they performed an impromptu rendition of Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon, and the legendary singer presented each sister with matching gold necklaces with moon pendants and declared them fellow "sisters of the moon".
Following Saturday's concert, Haim took to Twitter.com to share a video of Nicks' dedication to them at the gig, and added the caption, "Was reunited with the original sister of the moon last night (we cried)."
Bollywood actress Veena Malik has been sentenced to 26 years behind bars for blasphemy over her appearance in a mock TV wedding scene. In May (14), the Pakistani star and her husband Asad Bashir Khan Khattak recreated their nuptials on a daytime programme, to the tune of what was deemed "contemptuous" qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music.
Many viewers complained the act was blasphemous, and several police complaints were filed against Malik, Khattak, show host Shaista Wahidi, and the owner of the network that aired the show, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
On Tuesday (25Nov14), a judge from an anti-terrorism court in Gilgit-Baltistan charged all four with blasphemy, with each receiving a sentence of 26 years in jail. They were also fined 1.3 million Pakistani rupees ($19,200/£12,000), according to the Times of India newspaper.
However, Malik may be able to avoid jail time due to a legal loophole - the court order will only be enforced in the city of Gilgit, which is controlled by both Pakistan and the India-claimed Kashmir region. Because it is not considered a proper province of Pakistan, any verdicts delivered by the city's courts do not apply to the rest of the country.
Malik, who currently lives in Dubai, is planning to return to Pakistan in the coming weeks to challenge the court order.
She reportedly told a local newspaper of the verdict, "Twenty six years! Come on. Twenty six years is a lifetime... But I have faith in higher courts in Pakistan. When the final verdict comes, it will do justice to me. Nothing bad is going to happen.
"I have faced highs and lows in my life. But I am sure I haven't done anything wrong."
This is not the first time Malik has courted controversy - in 2011, she sparked outrage by appearing nude on the cover of the Indian version of men's magazine FHM.
With her arms and legs strategically placed to cover her private parts, Malik donned a faux tattoo on her arm which read, "ISI", the anagram for Pakistan's spy organisation, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.