Chinese-British actress, Kunjue Li was honored on Wednesday night by established UK-based charity, Arts for India (AFI), with the ‘Young Icon Award’ for her contributions in Film, Television and Theatre at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, in London.
The Annual Golden Gala star-studded evening, hosted by Bollywood actress, Amy Jackson, consisted of a champagne reception, dinner, auction and awards ceremony, with all proceeds going on to help young students with the education they deserve.
Presented by esteemed award-winning director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth), Kunjue Li is best known for her roles in the BBC drama TV series’ of ‘Ripper Street’, ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘One Child’.
“It is such an honor to receive the Young Icon Award from Arts for India,” commented Kunjue Li. “I am dedicated to supporting opportunities for women and minority ethnic backgrounds with such a worthy cause.”
During the evening, attended by Bollywood, Hollywood and British personalities, veteran British actress Vanessa Redgrave CBE was awarded with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for her outstanding contribution to the film industry.
Previous Arts for India awardees include Lord Richard Attenborough, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Colin Firth, Goldie Hawn and Dame Joan Collins among others.
The Golden Gala for Arts for India, is a prestigious philanthropic event bringing together fiscally responsible organizations, resources, celebrities, people of influence and synchronistic brands to have a transformative global impact on the Arts.
Downsizing Dominates Awards Talk in Venice
If every Oscar nominated director was ranked by fame and notoriety, Alexander Payne would surely feature near the bottom. The 46 year old hardly has the box office bankability of Speilberg, Tarantino or Scorsese, but as another awards season heats up you may just want to remember his name.
Payne most recently took his black and white comedy Nebraska to the Oscars, picking up a nomination for directing, two years after his previous nomination for The Descendants – a film for which he won his second screenplay Oscar. To date the writer/director/producer has a total of two wins and five nominations with a slate that includes Sideways, Election and About Schmidt.
That he can draw A-listers including Jack Nicholson and George Clooney to indie/prestige projects at the height of their fame indicates the respect he garners from his peers.
It therefore goes without saying that when Alexander Payne makes a movie, Hollywood pays attention and, by default, the six thousand or so Academy members add another contender to their list. However, with reputation comes expectation, so when Downsizing was confirmed to open the Venice Film Festival it was arguably a make or break moment for his Oscar campaign.
Venice is generally regarded as one of the early trend-setters on the road to the Oscars. A good response here and Toronto sets the bar, from which the awards favourites become abundantly clear, so did Downsizing deliver the goods?
Early reactions from festival-goers has been strong but not overwhelming for the sci-fi comedy drama. Scott Foundas describes it as “miraculous – a deeply philosophical, laugh-out-loud comedy”, while Awards Daily’s Sasha Stone hails it a potential Oscar contender.
Darkest Hour, Battle of the Sexes, Hostiles, Downsizing, Shape of Water all incredible films that could shape Oscar race.
— Sasha Stone (@AwardsDaily) September 3, 2017
The personal non-commitment from Sasha Stone is echoed by many others, as general opinion lauds the comedy but falls short of hailing the film as a success in entirety. It is, as one Tweeter commented, a “love-it-or-hate-it Oscar contender”.
Telluride: ‘Downsizing’, kicking off the fest, looks like love-it-or-hate-it Oscar contender https://t.co/tQ8Aye9c8J
— Sara D’Ignoti (@Saruppa) September 4, 2017
If the Oscar goes to the most divisive film, then Downsizing will certainly be a frontrunner. However, considering it offers a film that straddles typically Oscar-repellent genres, the very fact it features in awards dialogue this season suggests this is a film that may buck trends, even if it doesn’t dominate the honours roll.
Film festivals often reflect a knee-jerk reaction from critics and press who are in the midst of festival season and caught up in the atmosphere and swept into the gossip tornado. Often the immediate perspective is refined in time and films treated with immediate ambivalence win support with early success.
Following its largely well-received debut at Venice, Downsizing received a much cooler reaction at Telluride which certainly doesn’t bode well for Payne, but the real test will come in Toronto.
One thing’s for sure – Payne needs to call in all of his favours this year and get the PR machine rolling sooner rather than later if he wants another nomination this year.
BIFA Broadens Scope with 9 New Craft Awards
The British Independent Film Awards have been steadily growing in reputation, credibility and influence over the years. The brainchild of the team behind Raindance, BIFA shamelessly celebrates British cinema with the same enthusiasm as BAFTA but perhaps with more critical gravitas; unlike BAFTA it still carries the perception of being a truly independent awards.
It then seems natural that they would announce a hefty expansion of their remit this year by introducing the following 9 craft categories:
- Best Casting
- Best Cinematography
- Best Costume Design
- Best Editing
- Best Effects
- Best Make-Up & Hair Design
- Best Music
- Best Production Design
- Best Sound
With effect from this year, a ‘specially-convened ‘Craft’ subgroup of BIFA voters’ will be formed to determine the nominees in conjunction with other filmmakers, voters and craftspeople. This slightly unorthodox process, reminiscent of the niche category nomination process adopted by the Academy, may come under scrutiny depending on the outcome so watch this space.
Following the announcement, BIFA published this statement on their website:
we believe that we are much better-placed to recognize the wealth of exceptional British talent behind the camera, and many more craftspeople will benefit from the boost that a BIFA nomination or win can give to their career.
No doubt BIFA is now only second to BAFTA in significance.
The British Independent Film Awards will be announced on 10 December 2017.
Jimmy Kimmel to Host 2018 Oscars
For a second consecutive year, late-night talk show favorite Jimmy Kimmel will return to host the Oscars® telecast and Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd will produce, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced today. The 90th Academy Awards® will air live on the ABC Television Network and broadcast outlets worldwide on Oscar® Sunday, March 4, 2018.
“Jimmy, Mike and Jennifer are truly an Oscar Dream Team,” said Boone Isaacs. “Mike and Jennifer produced a beautiful show that was visually stunning. And Jimmy proved, from his opening monologue all the way through a finale we could never have imagined, that he is one our finest hosts in Oscar history.”
“Hosting the Oscars was a highlight of my career and I am grateful to Cheryl, Dawn and the Academy for asking me to return to work with two of my favorite people, Mike De Luca and Jennifer Todd,” said Kimmel. “If you think we screwed up the ending this year, wait until you see what we have planned for the 90th anniversary show!”
“It’s not often you get two chances to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience and even more rare to be handed the keys to a party 90 years in the making,” said De Luca and Todd. “We always thought the idea that anything can happen on the Oscars was a cliché until we lived it.”
“Our Oscars team this year delivered a show that hit every high note,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “Jimmy brought back the essence and light touch of the greatest hosts of Oscars’ past. Mike and Jennifer’s love of movies is infectious and touched every aspect of the show. This is the perfect team to lead us into the ninth decade.”
“After just one year, we can’t imagine anyone else hosting The Oscars. Jimmy’s skillful command of the stage is invaluable on a night when anything can happen – and does,” said Channing Dungey, President, ABC Entertainment. “With Mike and Jennifer at the helm, we’re ready for another unforgettable show that will dazzle, delight and, most importantly, honor 90 years of Hollywood’s most prestigious award.”
Kimmel serves as host and executive producer of the Emmy®-winning “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” ABC’s late-night talk show. Now in its 15th season, “JKL” has earned six Emmy nominations in the Outstanding Variety Series Talk category, the Writing for a Variety Series category, and the Variety, Music or Comedy Series category.
De Luca earned Best Picture Oscar nominations for producing “Captai” Phillips,” “Moneyball” and “The Social Network.” He is credited on more than 60 films, including the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, “Blow,” “Magnolia,” “American History X” and “Boogie Nights.” He is a former president of production at Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks and New Line Cinema.
Todd is currently president of Pearl Street Films, the production company founded by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, where she produced “Live by Night” and executive produced last year’s “Jason Bourne.” Her other credits include such films as “Alice through the Looking Glass,” “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Across the Universe,” “Prime,” “Memento,” “Boiler Room” and the “Austin Powers” films. Todd earned an Emmy nomination for her work on the HBO television movie “If These Walls Could Talk 2.”
The 90th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
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