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'On Body And Soul' hopes to continue Hungary's Oscar streak

With two Oscars in the past two years, Hungary's film industry has been on a winning streak. Now the creators behind the movie "On Body And Soul," a surreal love story, are hoping to score a third Academy Award.

Ildiko Enyedi's first film in nearly two decades comes on the heels of "Son of Saul," which won the 2016 Oscar for best foreign language film, and "Sing," which won best live action short last year.

Enyedi is the only female director in the foreign language category this year, and her film is about two people working at a slaughterhouse whose relationship begins in shared dreams but who have trouble connecting in daily life.

The movie has been gathering awards from Sydney to Mumbai, and won the top prize at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival.

Producer Monika Mecs said a key to the film's success was in creating an empathetic relationship with viewers.

"This is a wonderful love story, a film of love about two people very distant from each other and about them finding each other," Mecs said. "In a slightly clumsy way, it's very hard for them to communicate, they misunderstand each other, but in the end their love is fulfilled. I believe that then viewers recognize themselves in these characters."

Alexandra Borbely, who was named best actress at December's European Film Awards for her role as Maria, a mildly autistic slaughterhouse technician, highlighted the film's timelessness.

"It's not influenced by social or political events or what the current social problems are," Borbely said. "I can imagine that if they watch it 10 years from now, it will have the same effect on people."

While Borbely has had some small roles in a few films, the Slovak-born Hungarian is better known in Hungary for her theater work. "On Body And Soul" was her first leading role and her European acting award has been a real confidence booster.

"I decidedly feel that I'm acting in a much more courageous manner ... that I can think more creatively about a role," Borbely said.

The film's approach to a love story comes with a twist, as Maria and Endre, played by amateur actor Geza Morcsanyi, discover by chance that they are having the same dreams — both dreamt they were deer in a forest.

"Since this was Maria's first encounter with love in her life, for me it was also like reliving that process," Borbely said. "I was really able to experience how it was when it happened to me for the first time."

Mecs said the subject matter was "eternal" and universal.

"Love itself has engaged many for centuries. It's timeless and it's understood everywhere around the world," Mecs said.

Hungarian cinema has been enjoying an upsurge, winning numerous awards at film festivals across the world as well as the Oscars. The industry has benefited from ample state support, skilled technical crews and fresh ideas from directors and scriptwriters.

"A new, fresh golden era or golden age has arrived," Mecs said. "The Oscar glut is part of this very exciting and surprising process."

Enyedi is already at work on an adaptation of "The Story of My Wife," a 1942 novel by Hungarian writer and poet Milan Fust.

Mecs said they hope to start filming next year and that the picture will have an international cast and will be filmed in English. Thanks to the success of "On Body And Soul," the project has garnered interest from producers across Europe.

"To be at the doors of an Oscar is a very big achievement from every point of view," Mecs said. "It absolutely influences the film's future as well as the filmmakers' plans for their next film. These successes are really a huge boost."

Rock Pioneers Fanny Return With a New Album and a New Name

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The History of Rockers With Muppets

Throughout its five-season run, 'The Muppet Show' brought in some of the world's best-loved entertainers as guest stars, including musicians from rock, pop and country.

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Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'

Former first lady Michelle Obama tweeted a shoutout Monday to the new Marvel superhero film, “Black Panther.”

>> See the tweet here

“Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team!” she tweeted. “Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories.”

>> ‘Black Panther’ raking in the dough; here’s the records the blockbuster has smashed

The film has earned rave reviews from fans and critics alike, receiving a 97 percent "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregate site.

>> On Rare.us: After the Obamas’ official portraits were unveiled, people had a lot to say

The movie grossed $201 million at the box office over the weekend, according to The Washington Post.

>> Read more trending news 

Other high-profile Democrats to send shoutouts to the film include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who both posted tweets about the movie.

>> On Rare.us: Barack Obama issues statement on Florida school shooting: 'We are not powerless'

“Outside City of Refuge with @HollywoodLadyj from the film 'Black Panther'! Congratulations Janeshia!” Waters posted along with a picture of herself and the film’s stuntwoman, Janeshia Adams-Ginyard.

>> See the tweet here

Warren posted a picture of her and her family attending the film, captioning it, “#BlackPanther Rocks!”

>> See the tweet here

Watch Journey's Neal Schon and Def Leppard's Joe Elliott Quickly Plan a Massive Summer Tour

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Queen Elizabeth surrounded by fashion royalty at her first London runway show

This year’s London Fashion Week ended with the biggest name in fashion meeting the biggest name in London.

>> Read more trending news 

Queen Elizabeth II made quite the splash Tuesday as she sat next to Vogue’s infamous editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in the queen’s historic appearance at a fashion show.

Her Majesty came dressed to impress in a pastel blue coat and jacket designed by Angela Kelly — her personal assistant and designer — and accessorizing with crisp black gloves, pearl earrings and a matching broach.

The Queen, 91, made the shocking appearance — her first-ever at the event in 65 years on the throne — to bestow the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design upon designer Richard Quinn. In the speech she gave while presenting the award to the designer who’s runway show she’d come to watch, she described the award as “a tribute to the industry and my legacy and all those who have contributed to British fashion.”

>> Related: Internet shows no mercy when Duchess Catherine stepped out wearing this over the weekend

The British Fashion Council helped choose Quinn, who started his own label only in 2016, for the prize — also designed by Angela Kelly. The show was full of bright and bold looks that obviously drew the eye of the fashion elite, regardless of their eccentricity.

Spry as ever even at 91, she took a tour around several showrooms at the event before addressing the audience about Britain’s fashion history.

“From the tweed of the Hebrides to Nottingham lace, and of course Carnaby Street, our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting edge, practical designs,” she said.

Since this was the queen’s first time at London Fashion Week, social media swooned at her appearance.

>> Related: Prince William rides a motorcycle and melts a million hearts

Considering this is the first year the award is being presented, it stands to reason that the Queen may make another return next year. Only time will tell!

The Queen’s fashionable showing comes just days after her Duchess Catherine’s fashion choices were criticized by the public. Attendees of the BAFTA awards — equivalent to the Oscars — were encouraged to wear all black in support of the #MeToo and #TimesUp initiatives at this year’s BAFTAs, but the pregnant royal’s choice of a green cap-sleeved gown rubbed people the wrong way.

The Sun reports that people on the red carpet were just as disgruntled about the Duchess’s fashion statement as social media users.

“She shouldn’t have bothered turning up if she couldn’t wear black,” one guest said, according to the paper.

Another reportedly added, “How is supporting equality for women political?”

>> Related: Photos: Kate Middleton wears dark green, not black at BAFTAs

Being a member of the royal family, Catherine is supposed to stay away from making any public political statements, which may have been one reason she opted for another color.

These are the records 'Black Panther' has smashed so far

“Black Panther” has taken theaters by storm, breaking box office goals. 

Over the Presidents Day weekend, the Marvel flick made a whopping $242 million, much more than the $150 million predicted

>> Read more trending news 

That wasn’t the only success the film saw. It also made history for Marvel, on social media and beyond.

Here’s a list of records the flick has broken. 

Biggest February opening weekend

“Deadpool” previously held the record, raking in $132 million over a Friday to Sunday weekend, according to The Numbers, a site that keeps data on films. “Black Panther” scored a $202-million weekend for its Friday-Sunday opening.

>> Related: ‘Black Panther’: Five things to know about the movie’s ties to metro Atlanta

Biggest long holiday opening weekend

“Black Panther” brought in $242 million over the four-day weekend. That’s ahead of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which made $200 million during it’s Wednesday to Sunday debut, the Numbers said. It also surpasses “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Spider-Man 2,” which both had $180 million six-day Independence Day weekend premieres.

Biggest domestic opening for a black director

This is Ryan Coogler’s third film, behind “Creed” and “Fruitvale Station.” He’s inching closer to F. Gary Gray top selling film “Fate of the Furious,” which earned more than $1 billion worldwideThe Numbers recorded. 

“Black Panther” is also the biggest global debut for a predominantly black cast. “Straight Outta Compton” previously held the record with $66.3 million, according to BuzzFeed.

>> Related: Atlanta airport nonstop flights to Wakanda from Black Panther

5th biggest Friday to Sunday opening weekend of all time

Here’s a quick overview of the top five, according to The Numbers:

  1. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” - $284 million 
  2. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” - $220 million
  3. “Jurassic World” - $208 million
  4. “The Avengers” - $207 million
  5. “Black Panther” - $202 million

Most tweeted about film in 2018

It’s garnered more than five million tweets, according to Variety, and inspired several hashtags, including #BlackPantherChallenge#WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe and #WakandaForever. And if you type “#BlackPanther” a Black Panther mask appears. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” took second and third place. 

Ursula K. Le Guin wins posthumous prize for essay writing

The late Ursula K. Le Guin was among the recipients of literary honors presented Tuesday night by PEN America.

The science fiction/fantasy author's "No Time to Spare" won a $10,000 prize for best essay writing. Le Guin died last month at age 88 and her award was announced during a New York ceremony hosted by PEN, the literary and human rights organization.

Poet Layli Long Soldier's debut collection "Whereas" won a $75,000 award for the year's best book. Jenny Zhang's story collection "Sour Heart" received a $25,000 prize for best debut fiction and Alexis Okeowo's "A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa" won a $5,000 award given to outstanding works by "authors of color."

"This year's awardees represent the near and far corners of the literary landscape, including writers who have shattered barriers of race, class, ethnicity, geography, gender and sexual orientation to bring stories to new audiences, unlock empathy and take places of distinction within our collective canon," PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. "In times of challenge great literature offers a desperately needed window onto other possibilities."

Lifetime achievement awards had been previously announced and were given to Edmund White, who won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for American fiction, and Edna O'Brien, winner of the PEN/Nabokov Award for international literature.

California law that blocked posting actors' ages struck down

A California law that sought to prevent age discrimination in the entertainment industry by blocking a popular Hollywood website from posting the ages of actors was struck down Tuesday as unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said the law passed in 2016 violated the First Amendment rights of IMDb.com by preventing it from publishing factual information on its website that provides information about movies, television shows and their casts and crews.

The law was a "direct restriction on speech" and was flawed because it was not narrowly tailored and was "underinclusive" by targeting IMDb, Chhabria said.

The ruling comes as sexual misconduct scandals that erupted in Hollywood last fall and spread more broadly have also brought new attention to pay disparity and other gender-related discrimination in the entertainment industry. Without referencing the #MeToo movement, the judge said the law was misguided because it sought to prevent discrimination of actors who couldn't get parts because of age bias when a bigger problem was sex discrimination.

Materials supporting the law referred to the practice of casting younger women against much older men and also to the lack of women in leading roles and as directors, the judge said.

"This is not so much because the entertainment industry has a problem with older people per se," Chhabria wrote. "Rather, it's a manifestation of the industry's insistence on objectifying women, overvaluing their looks while devaluing everything else."

Supporters of AB 1687 said it was necessary because existing laws were not enough to eliminate age discrimination and older actors were concerned that they would be shut out roles. The law was defended by the state attorney general and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

SAG-AFTRA had argued it was OK to ban publishing the ages of actors and other entertainment professionals because those facts facilitated age discrimination. Chhabria noted that was "an argument that, if successful, would enable states to forbid publication of virtually any fact."

The union said it was extremely disappointed with the ruling and would appeal.

"The court unfortunately fails to understand or recognize the massive impact gender and age discrimination has on all working performers," said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, general counsel of SAG-AFTRA. "That discrimination is facilitated by IMDb's insistence on publishing performers' age information without their consent."

Chhabria had temporarily halted the law from taking effect last year while he heard further arguments in the case.

IMDb, also known as the Internet Movie Database, had argued it shared the goal of preventing age discrimination, but the law would fail to achieve that and instead would "chill free speech and undermine public access to factual information."

Representatives of the lawmaker who authored the bill, the attorney general who defended it or the entertainment website that challenged the law did not immediately provide comment requested by The Associated Press.

Seattle launches season-ticket campaign for new NHL team

Fans longing for a professional hockey team in Seattle will soon be able to put down some money for season tickets.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Oak View Group, which is trying to bring an NHL team to the city, announced Tuesday that people can make refundable deposits for season tickets at NHLSeattle.com beginning March 1.

The deposits run $500 per ticket for season tickets or $1,000 per ticket for club season tickets, which are center ice, lower-level tickets.

Billionaire David Bonderman and filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer are leading the effort to bring a team to Seattle. The group submitted its expansion application with the National Hockey League last week.

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