“Game of Thrones” and Netflix are tipped by TV industry watchers to dominate Tuesday’s Emmy nominations as Hollywood gears up for awards season.
The Television Academy’s 24,000 members sifted through a record number of entries for this year’s Emmys, the small-screen equivalent of the Oscars.
After nominations are announced final-round voting will begin to pick winners who will be revealed at a glitzy Los Angeles show on September 22.
Here are five things to look out for:
‘Game of Thrones’
“Game of Thrones” enraged fans with its final season, but experts still expect the HBO fantasy epic to reign over Emmy nominations one last time.
“Thrones” is the most decorated fictional show in the awards’ seven-decade history, with 128 nominations and 47 wins.
The last six episodes dominated water-cooler chat and settled the question of who would sit on the Iron Throne — sort of — but the flood of social media anguish over its unsatisfying conclusion almost broke the internet.
Still, voters could pick the show out of “nostalgia” and because “they want to pay respect for the impact it’s had on TV overall,” said Indiewire TV critic Ben Travers.
“But it also could be a lack of options,” he added.
The Emmys only recognize shows that were on in the 12 months to May 31.
That means several big hitters are absent from main categories this year, including Hulu’s former drama series winner “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
“Big Little Lies” and “Stranger Things” also just missed the cut-off — something which may not be accidental.
“Some of the more prominent shows got out of the way fearing ‘Game of Thrones’ just dominating everything, and not wanting to go head to head with it,” said Travers.
Pundits say the comedy and limited series categories are vastly stronger this year.
In comedy, White House satire “Veep” — another departing HBO awards juggernaut — faces stiff competition from last year’s winner “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amazon’s story of a 1950s housewife-turned-stand up comic.
Dark hitman comedy “Barry” is also expected to challenge its HBO stablemate.
In limited series, Showtime has vigorously promoted Ben Stiller’s “Escape at Dannemora,” in which two real-life convicts escape a New York prison by seducing a female employee.
“When They See Us,” Netflix’s true story of five men wrongly accused of raping a Central Park jogger, is also likely to line up, alongside acclaimed HBO drama “Chernobyl.”
Netflix v HBO
The two giants are set to renew their battle for overall Emmy supremacy, after Netflix overtook HBO last year in the nomination count to end its rival’s 17-year reign.
Web streamer Netflix secured a whopping 112 nods last time around, edging out HBO’s 108.
“The sheer amount of programming that Netflix submits at the Emmys is daunting,” said Travers. “They have so much more than anybody else to put on the ballot.”
While Netflix also benefits from the exposure that comes with its huge subscriber base, HBO has vast experience mounting campaigns for its prestige offerings — and could ultimately garner more wins.
As movie stars continue to switch to TV, A-listers will be plentiful.
Amazon is eyeing a strong year with its Julia Roberts-powered thriller “Homecoming,” in addition to “Maisel” and irreverent British comedy “Fleabag.”
“Catch-22” leads Hulu’s charge thanks to George Clooney, while in comedy Jim Carrey (“Kidding”) and Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”) are tipped for acting nods.
R. Kelly has been arrested on child pornography and other charges, the New York Times reported, in the latest criminal investigation into the R&B superstar dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct.
The 52-year-old, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, was taken into custody by federal agents in Chicago late Thursday, the newspaper said.
Federal prosecutors have issued a 13-count indictment against the singer, which also includes enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice charges, assistant US attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick told the Times.
Kelly has a decades-long history of abuse allegations, especially of underage girls, and was acquitted in a child porn trial over a decade ago.
US pop singer-turned-actress Selena Gomez warned Wednesday that social media had been “terrible” for her generation but said she tried to set a good example for her 150 million followers on Instagram.
Speaking after her politically-charged zombie flick, Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die”, opened the Cannes film festival, Gomez said the platforms that helped make her famous were destructive in the wrong hands.
“I think that our world is going through a lot obviously. What Jim (Jarmusch) gestured to in the film is that social media has really been terrible for my generation,” Gomez, 26, told a news conference.
Her comments came as a Malaysian teenager took her own life after posting an Instagram poll asking if she should live or die.
The 16-year-old from Kuching in eastern Sarawak state died after posting the poll Monday on the Facebook-owned platform.
Gomez, who has been mobbed by autograph hunters in Cannes and dominated photo spreads from opening night on Tuesday, also warned about the fake news rampant on social media.
“I understand that it’s amazing to use your platform but it does scare me when you see how exposed these young girls and young boys are,” she said.
“They are not aware of the news. I think it’s dangerous for sure if people aren’t getting the right information sometimes.”
‘It scares me’
Gomez said pervasive internet bullying “scares” her and left many young people “devastated”.
In light of her own massive social media presence, Gomez was asked what celebrities and tech industry giants could do to make the online world less toxic.
She set out a bleak picture.
“I think it’s pretty impossible to make it safe at this point. There’s no blocking anything, they’re exposed to it immediately,” she said at the news conference with her co-stars Bill Murray, Chloe Sevigny and Tilda Swinton.
Gomez said she was “grateful” to “have a platform” and tried to use it to “share things that I’m really passionate about”.
“I also don’t do a lot of pointless pictures. I like to be intentional with it,” she said.
On her own internet use, Gomez said less was more.
“It can be great in moments but I would just be careful and allow yourself some time limits when you use it and when you shouldn’t.”
Jarmusch’s film, a tribute to the George Romero monster movies of the 1960s and 70s, depicts a small town in Trump-era America facing an infestation of flesh-eating zombies, including one played by Jarmusch’s friend Iggy Pop.
The siege is triggered by polar fracking which scientists say has “knocked the Earth off its axis”, even as the government’s energy secretary and large gas corporations insist it’s safe.
Gomez plays a “big city hipster” visiting the town who falls victim to an ambush of zombies, who moan for the creature comforts they craved in life like wifi, Xanax and chardonnay wine.
Jarmusch, 66, is a Cannes favourite who has premiered hits such as “Broken Flowers”, “Only Lovers Left Alive” and “Paterson” at the festival.
He said he was using the zombie metaphor in his new movie to take aim at “the whole culture of commodity fetishism” as well as climate change denial.
“Watching nature decline at unprecedented rates in history is for me terrifying and concerning,” Jarmusch said.
He said despite the film’s grim message, the fervour of young climate activists gave him grounds for hope.
“We do have people that are concerned with it and are making it their focus, mostly younger people — there is optimism for sure but it’s just the timeframe is speeding up very quickly,” he said.
Murray, 68, waxed philosophical about movie acting as the seas rise and the planet overheats.
“When I’m not working, I’m lazy…. I’m a better person when I’m working on a film,” he said.
“This is my little ice floe that I stand on and I hope it doesn’t melt.”
Disney and Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” has stormed into a historic territory, earning $2.19 billion worldwide in less than two weeks to become the No. 2 film of all time, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
That exalted number, which includes the film’s estimated take of $145.8 million this three-day weekend in North America, pushes the superhero blockbuster past “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which netted $2.07 billion, and even “Titanic” ($2.18 billion).
Only “Avatar” ($2.79 billion) has done better. Yet “Avengers” hit its record total in just 11 days, taking in a stunning $575.8 million in China alone.
Hollywood analysts predict a long run for “Avengers,” which drew a rare 96 per cent rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website and features a star-studded cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper and Josh Brolin.
Trailing “Avengers” by several light years, rival studios still managed to place new films in the next three box-office spots.
Sony’s psychological thriller “The Intruder” came in second, at $11 million. Michael Ealy and Meagan Good star as a young couple who buy a dream home in California’s Napa Valley unaware that its previous owner (Dennis Quaid) plans to take it back — at all costs.
In third was Lionsgate’s romantic comedy “Long Shot,” at $10 million. Seth Rogen plays Fred Flarsky, an out-of-work journalist who has a romantic interest in his former babysitter (Charlize Theron) who — now a candidate for the US presidency — might seem a bit out of his reach.
STX Films’ animated film “UglyDolls” placed fourth, at $8.5 million. The plot? A bunch of misfit dolls with pointy ears and bad teeth — residents of Uglyville — face a harsh world but finally discover their inner beauty. The voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Wanda Sykes and Janelle Monae are featured.
In fifth place, hanging strong in its ninth week out, was Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” at $4.3 million. Brie Larson stars as a former fighter pilot who gains superpowers.
Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance on the Grammys stage Sunday to deliver a message about music and women’s empowerment alongside superstars Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, host Alicia Keys and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith.
“Music shows us that all of it matters — every story within every voice, every note within every song,” said the former first lady, looking glam in a sparkling gunmetal pantsuit with a 1970s-esque wrap jacket.
“Is that right, ladies?” she said to resounding applause.
The Recording Academy behind the awards gala has faced a barrage of criticism for not embracing diversity within its ranks, after nearly muting women nominees at the show last year.
This year, five of the eight nominees for Album of the Year are women: rapper Cardi B, folk-rock singer Brandi Carlile, pop futurist Janelle Monae, R&B prodigy H.E.R. and country star Kacey Musgraves.
At the start of the segment, Lady Gaga — a triple winner so far on the night — said: “They told me I was weird… And music told me not to listen to them.”
Three-time Grammy Award-winning band Maroon 5 was named Sunday as the headline act of next month’s Super Bowl 53 half-time show, a performance that has aroused controversy and protest petitions.
The league and pop music band announced they will perform in the National Football League championship spectacle on February 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
They will be joined by Atlanta native Big Boi and Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott.
Maroon 5 had been long rumoured to be playing the feature slot on one of the most watched US television shows of any year.
But it comes after more than 75,000 people signed an online petition for the band not to play the Super Bowl to support Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who started kneeling protests during pre-game US anthem performances as a way to protest racial and social injustice and police brutality.
Kaepernick, a former star for the San Francisco 49ers, has not played in the league since 2016. He filed a grievance against the NFL and club owners last year, claiming they have conspired not to hire him.
US President Donald Trump made the kneeling protest a major issue, calling anyone who did it a “son of a bitch” and saying they should be fired.
Other artists reportedly turned down the halftime show in support of Kaepernick.
Billboard reported Sunday, citing unnamed sources, that Scott signed on to perform only after the NFL agreed to join him in donating to a social justice cause.
Past Super Bowl performers have included Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, U2 and Michael Jackson.
Every year comes with its fair share of good, bad and wild moments and 2018 brought nothing short of that in entertainment.
From Davido giving us Assurance to Amaka disappointing us and Wizkid and Tiwa, giving us Fever and eventually some hard goodbyes we had to say, here are some of the top moments that shaped the year.
Black Panther and the tale of Wakanda (February 16)
The movie which tells the tale of a fictitious African country, Wakanda, from the perspective of affluence, light age development and technology was one of the many that had viewers enthralled.
The film particularly appealed to people of colour because they felt it was a shift from the regular plots which always portray Africa as an underdeveloped, forsaken continent.
More exciting for some fans was the fact that Nigerians were among the cast.
Acrimony (March 30)
The psychological thriller starring Taraji P. Henson, tells the story of a loyal wife who decides to take revenge on her ex-husband after he becomes successful, following years of their struggle together.
He remarries and lavishes his new wife with everything he had promised his ex-wife – a situation which infuriates her and makes her hell-bent on revenging.
The movie left most of its viewers in utter shock and in a state of introspection such that months after its release, the debate over who was right or wrong lingered.
It was produced, written, and directed by Tyler Perry.
Davido Gave Chioma ‘Assurance’ (May 1)
2018 was the year singer, Davido, gave his girlfriend ‘Assurance’, proclaiming his undying love for her.
In the music video for the hit single, his girlfriend Chioma Avril Rowland, made a cameo appearance and the artist was seen professing his love for her, crowning it all by gifting a Porshe Car which was said to be between 45 to 50 million Naira.
The song had most people falling in love and seeking similar ‘assurance’.
Consequently, the lovebirds continued to trend for weeks on end.
While fans continued to show them love, some critics, however, called out the DMW crooner for flaunting his relationship despite having several ‘baby mamas’.
Meghan and Prince Harry’s Royal Wedding (May 19)
The Royal wedding had the whole world talking for weeks leading up the event and weeks after.
The new Duke and Duchess of Sussex exchanged vows at the altar in St. George’s Chapel in an emotional event that brought the bi-racial US TV star into the heart of the British monarchy.
Falz’ This Is Nigeria (May 25)
A cover for US Rapper, Childish Gambino’s This Is America, Falz’ This Is Nigeria, became one of the hot topics of the year as it highlighted major issues around the nation’s politics, security and economy.
The video sparked conversations and immediately gained up to 15 million views in the past seven months.
World Mourns ‘Queen Of Soul’ Aretha Franklin (August 16)
Raised on gospel, bathed in rhythm and blues and fluent in jazz and pop, Aretha Franklin came to be known as the “Queen of Soul” through seven decades of electrifying performances.
Lee rose through the ranks to become a comics writer, making millions of superhero fans dream of his fantastic universes and humans with extraordinary powers, and eventually led the Marvel empire for decades as its publisher.
He died in Los Angeles after suffering a number of illnesses in recent years.
Farewell to the ‘voice of Lagos’ Tosyn Bucknor (November 19)
Nigerians bade farewell to on-air-personality, Tosyn Bucknor, popularly known as the ‘voice of Lagos’ on November 20.
She died at the age of 37, following complications from the sickle-cell disease.
Bucknor was reportedly found dead by her husband, Aurelien Boyer, when he returned home from work.
Known and loved by many, the OAP was buried amid tears and tributes.
Ras Kimono: Rub A Dub King Bows Out Under Pressure
Part of the loved ones we lost in 2018 is the Rub A Dub King, Ras Kimono who died of a heart attack in Lagos. Sadly, before we could come to terms with the legendary musician’s demise, we heard the announcement that his wife, Efemena Okedi, had passed on also.
She died just three months after he was laid to rest.
Ras Kimono brought us the Rhumba style and for this, he and his lovely wife will always live on in our memories.
Funke Akindele Welcomes Twins (December 22)
It was a joyful year for actress, Funke Akindele, popularly known as Jenifa as she welcomed a set of twins with her husband, Abdulrasheed Bello, popularly known as JJC Skills.
The news went viral on social media after the actress shared some posts expressing gratitude to God.
Nollywood actor and rapper, Jimmy Odukoya, says entertainers and celebrities are most times judged unfairly and often misunderstood by society.
Jimmy, who is also a pastor and the son of renowned Nigerian pastors Taiwo and the late Bimbo Odukoya, admitted that while there are bad eggs in the industry, there are also many others who are truly dedicated to their craft.
In a recent interview with Channels Television, he shared his thoughts about the industry from the viewpoint of a Christian.
He said “People have ideologies of what they think it is. I have heard people say that all actresses sleep around and all musicians are drug addicts but I think they are all preconceived notions. There are some people who dabble in these things but it’s unfair to categorize a whole industry of people”.
He also said that rather than condemn those who engage in such vices, they should be shown some measure of love and understanding.
Speaking further, Pastor J, as he is fondly called, praised entertainers who have real passion for their job and have made it to the spotlight through genuine means and hard work.
“I have met a lot of hardworking and dedicated people who have followed their passion and put their lives on the line just to achieve their dreams. Some people come from different states for auditions and don’t even get picked.
“There are a lot of hardworking people that are trying to follow their dreams in a country that says you have to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer to have a career,” he said.
At a time when Nigeria is witnessing some economic and security challenges, comedian, Julius Agwu, has advised Nigerians to embrace comedy.
In an interview with Channels Television’s Entertainment News on Friday, he explained that Nigerian music and comedy have come a long way, with many artistes and comedians making their mark both locally and internationally.
He, however, said that there is now more need for comedy as the nation goes through some tough times.
“The fact is that considering the circumstances Nigeria is facing now, the only thing that can help anybody who is a Nigerian and not just only Nigerians, is comedy.
“When you think of all the bad things, just go and laugh. Laugh it out,” he said.
Agwu who was away due to health reasons, says he is back, bigger and better.
The 13th edition of his annual ‘Crack Ya Ribs‘ comedy show, took place in London on Sunday.
Founder of Industry Night, Matthew Ohio, has advised artistes to release meaningful music which he says will keep them relevant in the industry.
In a recent interview with Channels Television, he explained that while a lot of musicians go with the trend, those who are more intentional about their music tend to outshine the others.
“There are artistes who released songs 10 years ago and their songs still get played.
“You need to be able to release ever-green music. A lot of musicians go with the trends,” he said.
“Going with the trend sometimes pays off but doesn’t ensure longevity, but when you come out with organic material, that kind of keeps you relevant,” he added.
A graduate of Mass-Communication from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ohio noted that though he had always been a music enthusiast, he never considered being a musician because according to him, “that space is saturated”.
Rather, he preferred to explore other opportunities within the industry, which he believes one can earn much more money from – hence the emergence of the talent exhibition platform.
Now in its 10th year, Industry Night has seen many artistes rise from their humble beginnings into stardom.
“Industry Night has always been something belonging to the industry from the beginning, it’s an artiste showcase platform, it is a free show.
“Most of the artistes who are popular currently, came through us while they were struggling, and they give back to us by coming back to the platform,” Ohio said. Furthermore, he explained that for any artiste to succeed in other states, they must first have a good fan base in Lagos.
He, however, emphasized the need for more artistes in other states to be brought to the limelight.
“The Truth about it is that it is the commercial capital of Nigeria. There are other vibrant towns too and they all have their own little industries coming up there.
“What we want to do is to have more regular industry nights there because currently they are more in need of the platform, than people in Lagos.
“Lagos alone cannot sustain the industry,” he said.
Actress and singer Vanessa Paradis has married French director Samuel Benchetrit, according to a report by magazine Le Parisien.
Wearing a cream-coloured ruffle dress with flowers in her blonde hair, Paradis married Benchetrit at the town hall in Saint-Simeon, east of Paris, the report said.
Photographs on the website of Le Parisien showed a smiling Paradis leaving the town hall arm-in-arm with Benchetrit, wearing a navy suit, as wedding guests threw confetti over the couple.
The small ceremony was attended by a few dozen guests, including Paradis’ 19-year-old daughter Lily-Rose Depp, born during her 14-year relationship with American actor Johnny Depp which ended in 2012, the report said.
Paradis and Benchetrit, both 45, made their relationship official in August 2017.
The French singer and actress began her career as a model before becoming a huge film and music star in France.
Paradis has two children with Depp, Lily-Rose and son Jack, but the couple never married.