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2024 Oscars: The Year Of ‘Barbenheimer’ Comes To An End

This Sunday’s Academy Awards bring to a close a long journey that began on July 21, 2023. That was the day that Oppenheimer and Barbie were released in the United States, setting in motion a cultural phenomenon known as Barbenheimer. Seven months later, it’s clear the Mattel doll movie won the box office battle, grossing $1.45 billion worldwide. On the other hand, the film about the creator of the atomic bomb, is tipped to be crowned Best Picture at the movie industry’s big night, after its triumphant wins at the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Awards and the BAFTAs.

The 96th edition of the Oscars appears to be focused on big productions. The biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer, which is nominated in 13 categories, reduces to three hours an ambitious biography that took 25 years of research and 50,000 documents. Thanks to the vision of its director, Christopher Nolan — who could win his first Oscar for Best Director — the film became a near billion-dollar phenomenon at the box office.

Some 19 million Americans tuned in last year to watch the Academy Awards, as it took a leap forward, and awarded seven prizes to Everything Everywhere All at Once, an independent film that connected with young moviegoers. Oscars producers want to continue the honeymoon with viewers. The ceremony, hosted again by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel at the Dolby Theatre, will start an hour earlier than usual this year, at 4 p.m. local time.

People pose for a picture in front of an Oscar statue near the red carpet arrivals area along Hollywood Blvd as preparations continue for the 96th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, March 8, 2024. People pose for a picture in front of an Oscar statue near the red carpet arrivals area along Hollywood Blvd as preparations continue for the 96th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, March 8, 2024. Sarah Meyssonnier (REUTERS/)

The new time will make it easier for Spanish viewers to follow the ceremony. Spanish director J.A. Bayona’s Society of the Snow is nominated for Best International Feature Film and Makeup and Hairstyling, while Pablo Berger is in the running for Best Animated Feature Film for Robot Dreams.

In France, there are also high expectations. The French movie Anatomy of a Fall — which became a cinema phenomenon a thanks to its canine actor Messi, a border collie who also stole the show at the Oscar nominees luncheon — is nominated in fave categories, including Best Picture. The movie’s director, Justine Triet, could become the fourth woman to win the Oscar for Best Director.

The Oscars will also be closely watched in Latin America. Rodrigo Prieto is hoping to become the fourth Mexican to win an Oscar for Cinematography (joining Guillermo Navarro, Emmanuel Lubezki and Alfonso Cuarón) for his work on Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which is nominated in 10 categories. The Eternal Memory by Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi is in the running for Best Documentary Feature Film, a category where all the nominees are foreign films, including the favorite to win, 20 Days in Mariupol.

Diversity at the Oscars

This is the first edition of the Academy Awards that follows new rules to encourage diversity. These rules were adopted in 2020 after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of 2015 and 2016, when all 20 nominees in the acting category were white. The films nominated for Best Picture had to meet at least two of the four standards.

For Standard A, a film must meet one of the following criteria: at least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group; at least 30% of supporting actors are played by women, actors from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, members of the LGTBQ+ collective or are people with cognitive or physical disability; or the main storyline is about one of these groups.

For Standard B, the movie had to meet one of two criteria: at least two creative leadership positions are fulfilled by underrepresented groups, or at least six other crew and technical positions are from these groups.

For Standard C, the film had to provide training opportunities and paid apprenticeships to people from underrepresented groups; and for Standard D, the movie had to include minority groups in executive positions in marketing, publicity and distribution.

But activists say it is too easy to meet these guidelines. The found that 265 films out of 321 that were submitted to the Academy Awards were eligible for the Best Picture category.

Many believe that Hollywood’s diversity problem will not be corrected until studio executives come from more diverse backgrounds. However, the 96th edition of the Academy Awards may see Lily Gladstone become the first Native American to win the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Killers of the Flower Moon. Gladstone is leading a new generation of diverse actors: seven of the 20 actors nominated for an acting award are not white. Another favorite is Da’vine Joy Randolph, for her role in Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers.

Preparations continue along Hollywood Blvd for the 96th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, March 8, 2024.  Preparations continue along Hollywood Blvd for the 96th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, March 8, 2024. Mike Blake (REUTERS)

It is clear that Barbie meets the Academy Awards’ new diversity standards, despite the fact that Greta Gerwig missed on a nomination for Best Director —a snub that outraged many in the industry. As does American Fiction, which is also nominated for Best Picture. This movie, starring Jeffrey Wright, is about a Black writer who writes a book to satiate American cultural institutions’ appetite for diversity (a more than ironic nod to this year’s Oscars). Fellow nominee Past Lives, a love story starring a Korean American, also meets the standards. But local media have been recently wondering whether Oppenheimer complies with this set of new rules.


Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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