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FOR THE WEEK OF FEB. 18, 2019

Academy Awards telecast Sunday night will show an industry trying to be more diverse

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Open a list of best picture nominees. Did you see any? Which do you want to catch?
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Read an Oscars preview article and share something you learn.
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Find coverage of another leisure activity, indoors or outside, and tell whether you do it.

A diverse array of celebrity presenters will hand out Oscar statuettes this coming Sunday night during the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, televised from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. on ABC. In a break from most past versions, no comedian or other host will serve as master of ceremonies.

In an effort to keep the show from exceeding three hours, winners in four categories will be announced off-camera during commercial breaks. Unseen awards will be for cinematography, makeup and hairstyling, film editing and live action shorts. "We cannot quietly condone this decision without protest," the head of a cinematographers' group said after the sidelining was disclosed last week. "This decision . . . is minimizing our fundamental creative contributions." (Cinematographers direct a film's visual look through camera placement and movement, composition, focus and lighting.)

Eight nominees for best picture, the top honor, include "A Star Is Born" with Lady Gaga and "Black Panther," the first superhero movie to make it into the category. Lady Gaga also could win an Oscar for best actress for her singing role in a love story directed by and co-starring Bradley Cooper. (They'll sing "Shallow" from the film during this weekend's telecast.) Though the group behind the awards, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, has worked to diversify its member base, all five best director choices are men – including first-time nominee Spike Lee for "BlackkKlansman."

Film reviewer says: "Its paradigm-shattering successes in any number of areas mean that 'Black Panther' is the picture of the year." – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Costume designer says: "It is unfortunate that the Oscar ceremony has chosen to relegate four of the 'craft' winners to commercial breaks. It diminishes the work of these worthy nominees and winners." -- Rachael Stanley, executive director of the Costume Designers Guild

Entertainment writer says: "We're still talking about an organization that overall skews toward the safe and the familiar." – David Fear, Rolling Stone senior editor

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2019
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