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Oscars 2022: How Hollywood fell in love with Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz | Culture

The first movie that Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz starred in together was Jamón Jamón, a very Spanish film where they spoke about tortilla de patatas and flirted in the shade of one of Spain’s iconic Osborne bulls – a large bull silhouette erected as roadside advertising by the Osborne sherry company. But after that 1992 film, both began to find work far from home. It’s been some time since the days when they only starred in Spanish films. And while they have appeared in movies across the world, Hollywood likes to think of itself as something like their second home.

The mecca of the US movie industry has adopted the couple, giving them the complete star treatment: the actors are hired whenever possible, invited to parties and talk shows, and more importantly, nominated for awards. This year, both Bardem and Cruz are in the running for an Oscar, Bardem for Best Actor in Being the Ricardos, and Cruz for Best Actress in Parallel Mothers. It is their fourth nomination, but the first time they have received one in the same year. The Spanish stars will attend the Academy Awards ceremony on March 27, not just as a couple, but as two nominees – a moment that symbolizes their life as leading man and lady.

“For Penélope and I to be nominated at the same time is magical,” said Bardem at a press conference following the announcement of the Oscar nominations. Few would doubt that both are deserving. They must be running out of room at home to fit all their awards – Baftas, César Awards, prizes from the Venice and Cannes film festivals. Bardem has won five Goya Awards – Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars – out of 12 nominations. Cruz has 13 Goya nominations, but has ‘only’ won three times. Both received their first nomination for Jamón Jamón. Both, of course, are up for another Goya on Saturday: Cruz for Parallel Mothers by Pedro Almodóvar and Bardem for The Good Boss by Fernando León de Aranoa.

At this stage of the game, they have a lot in common: two children and a marriage for starters. But looking back, they also took off internationally at the same time. In 2000, when he got his first Oscar nomination for Before Night Falls by Julian Schnabel, she was starring in one of her first Hollywood films, All the Pretty Horses, directed by Billy Bob Thornton. From there, Cruz went on to star in films such as Blow by Ted Demme and Vanilla Sky by Cameron Crowe. Meanwhile Bardem landed roles in Collateral by Michael Mann and The Dancer Upstairs by John Malkovich. In three years, their lives and their careers changed forever. They found one another again and made Spanish cinema history. First separately, and soon after, together.

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem with director Woody Allen in 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona.'
Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem with director Woody Allen in ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona.’

In 2007, Cruz was nominated for her first Oscar for Volver by Almodóvar. In 2008, Bardem won an Academy Award for No Country for Old Men by the Coen brothers. In 2009, she won a statuette for Vicky Cristina Barcelona by Woody Allen. A person today might think this is normal. But this was a milestone at the time – in both their cases. Never before had a Spanish actor achieved such acclaim, much less what was still to come.

While the world was watching the actors on screen, they were looking at one another. Right at this moment, the first rumors of their romance began to emerge, perhaps fueled by their fiery scenes together in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. There were photos, suspicions and finally, confirmation. In 2010, while accepting the award for Best Actor for Biutiful by Alejandro González Iñárritu at the Cannes film festival, Bardem said: “I love you very much, Penélope.” With Biutiful, Bardem also received his third Oscar nomination. That same year, the two got married.

Their great success also put them in the eye of the paparazzi, but both strongly defended their privacy, a position they maintain today. Large productions also came calling, and in this case, the door was open. It’s said that big studios carefully choose the actors that will star in their big-budget features – they have to be “active,” names that will attract viewers and reduce the risk of financial failure. In this area too, the actors have triumphed – another sign of their great impact. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise picked both of them: first Cruz in 2011 (On Stranger Tides), then Bardem (Dead Men Tell no Tales) in 2017. Cruz meanwhile, received her third Oscar nomination for Nine by Rob Marshall, while Bardem became one of the best Bond nemeses in recent history in Skyfall by Sam Mendes.

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem in 'Loving Pablo' by Fernando León de Aranoa.
Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem in ‘Loving Pablo’ by Fernando León de Aranoa.

Appearing so often on screen, they ended up co-starring in more films. The two starred together in Ridley Scott’s The Counselor in 2013, and again 2017, in the Spanish film Loving Pablo by León de Aranoa, where they were in many scenes together, including a violent fight scene. In 2018 they also co-starred in Asghar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows. When asked about working together at a press conference for the premiere of that film, Cruz replied: “We have done it lots of times and we don’t take our characters home at the end of the day because we have the same vision of work. We will do it every now and again, when we think it’s a good idea, but not all the time.” Since Everybody Knows, they have not worked in the same movie.

But they have attended many award events together. At the Venice film festival last September, it was Cruz who thanked Bardem in the audience after winning the Copa Volpi for Best Actress. And both will attend the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on March 27. But unlike other Hollywood couples, both are in the running for an Oscar – an unprecedented feat even for them.

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Here’s when your favorite show may return as writers strike is on the verge of ending | Culture

A tentative agreement between striking screenwriters and Hollywood studios offers some hope that the industry’s dual walkouts may soon be over. But when will your favorite shows return?

Well, it’s complicated. First, the agreement needs to pass two key votes, and certain paused productions such as Deadpool 3 and Yellowjackets will still have to wait on actors to reach a deal with studios.

When is ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ coming back?

Once the contract is approved, work will resume more quickly for some writers than others. Late-night talk shows were the first to be affected when the strike began, and they may be among the first to return to air now. NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on CBS could come back within days.

Saturday Night Live might be able to return for its 49th season, though some actors may not be able to appear. The actors strike limits promotional appearances that are the lifeblood of the late-night shows.

Shows that return while actors are still picketing could prove controversial, as happened with the planned resumptions of daytime shows including The Drew Barrymore Show and The Talk. Those plans were later abandoned.

One show that’s likely to make a speedy return? Real Time with Bill Maher. The host plotted a return without writers but ended up postponing once last week’s negotiations were set.

What about ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Superman’?

Writers rooms for scripted shows that shut down at the strike’s onset, including Netflix’s Stranger Things, Severance on Apple TV+ and Abbott Elementary on ABC are also likely to reactivate quickly. But with no performers to act out the scripts, long delays between page and screen will be inevitable.

Film writers will also get back to work on their slower timeline, though those working on scripts or late revisions for already scheduled movies — including “Deadpool 3″ and “Superman: Legacy” — will certainly be hustling to avoid further release-date delays.

When are Drew Barrymore and other daytime shows coming back?

Barrymore’s planned return to her daytime television show became a rallying point for picketers earlier this month, prompting her to cancel her plans. The Talk and The Jennifer Hudson Show, which also employ some screenwriters, also called off plans to return.

Barrymore and the other shows have not announced their plans for returning. However, the Writers Guild of America has made it clear: Guild members cannot start working again on projects until the tentative contract is ratified.

That vote has not yet been scheduled.

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Milan fashion celebrated diversity and inclusion with refrain: Make more space for color and curves | Culture

More curvy models than ever showed up on Milan runways this season, due mostly to a single show by Brazilian designer Karoline Vitto, while designers of color showcased their work at collateral events meant to promote their visibility — along with diversity — in the backrooms of Italian fashion.

Wherever diversity and inclusion were being celebrated during Milan Fashion Week, which ended Sunday, there was one underlying refrain: Make more space.

Curvy models get outing at Karoline Vitto

“We made history! It was incredible,’’ world-renown curvy model Ashley Graham gushed as she embraced London-based Vitto after Sunday’s show. Graham is often the only curvy model on major fashion runways, but for this show she led a cast of models ranging in size from UK 10 to UK 24 (US 6 to US 20).

By comparison, some Milan brands typically size up to 48 Italian (US size 12), while some, notably Dolce & Gabbana which sponsored Vitto, has extended some looks up to an Italian size 52 (US 16).

Graham wore an edgy black ripped corset and long sheer skirt, while other models wore form-hugging jersey dresses fitted with S-shaped metallic fixtures that sculpted their curves. She used the same technique for bathing suits.

“It feels normal,’’ Graham said, calling on more designers to get more curves on the runway. “If I feel normal on the runway with this many girls, that means that there is something that doesn’t feel normal when I am on the runway with everybody else.”

Diversifying small brand profiles

After working in fashion for decades, Deborah Latouche launched her own brand after converting to Islam and realizing how hard it was to find clothes that were “luxury, high-end and modest.”

Latouche brand, Sabirah, was highlighted along with US brand BruceGlen at the Milan Fashion Hub for new and emerging designers, sponsored by Blanc Magazine’s Teneshia Carr and the Italian National Fashion Chamber. The Hub offered space to meet buyers and other people interested in new brands.

“Something like this is really important because small brands such as myself can get really overlooked,’’ said Latouche, who has shown her brand in London, where she is based. “We put a lot of work in but we don’t necessarily get a lot of recognition.

Being invited to Milan “is an amazing platform that gives us the potential to elevate and that is really important,’’ she said.

Twins Bruce and Glen Proctor have been working on their brand for 17 years, and relished the time in Milan showing their creations to a new audience while they also connect with their true creative intentions.

“For a longtime we did black and white, based on what we thought the industry wanted,” Bruce Glen said. Now they are doing what comes naturally, “Colors, prints and fur.’’

Carr said presentations where people can touch the wares are a great way to connect people with a new product, without the huge expense of a runway show.

“The fashion system isn’t working for anyone but the 1 percent. I am all for trying to make new systems where everyone gets paid and people get clothes that make them feel better,’’ she said.

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Hollywood Studios Reach Tentative Agreement With Screenwriters To End The Strike

The picket line of writers and actors outside Netflix offices in Los Angeles.

The picket line of writers and actors outside Netflix offices in Los Angeles.

A happy ending in Hollywood. The studios and the writers’ union have reached a tentative agreement to end the screenwriters’ strike that has brought the world of film and television in the United States to a halt for nearly five months.

After four days of negotiations, Hollywood studios and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) managed to set down the bases of a new collective agreement. The deal announced Sunday unblocks one of the longest labor conflicts in the industry, with the strike now at 146 days.

“We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional, with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership” the WGA stated in a press release. The leadership of the screenwriters’ organization must ratify the pact on Tuesday by a vote. The studios must now focus on resolving the conflict with the actors’ union, which is still on strike, so that productions can resume operations.

The studios and the WGA resumed negotiations on Wednesday after months of tension and a failed attempt to reach an agreement in mid-August. This time, there was a greater sense of urgency from both sides, who were concerned that further disagreement could have stretched the strike to 2024.

The main executives of the four studios attended the meetings with this in mind to show their willingness to negotiate. The parties set the goal of drafting the new contract before the Yom Kippur holidays, which began Sunday afternoon.

The negotiations were attended by Bob Iger, from Disney; David Zaslav from Warner Bros. Discovery; Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley. The studio heads were present for three days at the meetings, which were held at the offices of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

Over the weekend, the studios were able to finalize the remaining details of the deal with the WGA. California Governor Gavin Newsom was also involved to ensure that both sides remained at the negotiating table. The strike has cost the state about $3 billion, according to a conservative estimate by California State University Northridge.

SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers rally during their ongoing strike, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 13, 2023.

SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers rally during their ongoing strike, in Los Angeles, California, U.S.

In the press release to announce the tentative agreement, the WGA made it clear that the strike is not over yet: “No one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then.” The WGA’s 11,500 members must vote on the agreement.

This will happen after Tuesday, when the Negotiating Committee ratifies the deal once the final version of the text is ready. The deal is likely to be overwhelmingly approved by screenwriters, who have expressed their satisfaction for the resolution. Union members have also recognized the work of the Negotiating Committee, headed by Ellen Stutzaman.

While the strike continues until the deal is voted on, the WGA has brought an end to the picket lines at the gates of major studios in Los Angeles and New York, which have been in place since May 2.

If the strike had reached September 30, it would have become the longest in the history of the WGA, surpassing the 153 days of the 1988 strike. Actors, in the meantime, remain on strike, until they reach a deal with the studios.

According to the writers, the agreement was made possible after the studios agreed to reformulate the scope that artificial intelligence will have in the writing of content, and to set minimum rules for writers’ rooms.

During the strike, screenwriters complained that studios were abusing so-called mini rooms, a more compact version of a writers’ room. These mini rooms were used to develop more content for streaming platforms in less time and with fewer hands, which made the work more precarious. The new agreement establishes a minimum number of people who must write a television series.

One of the most insistent demands by the WGA was a review of the residual payment model. Residuals are compensation paid for the reuse of a credited writer’s work. The union argued that the previous scheme worked in the times of broadcast TV, but that adjustments needed to be made for the era of streaming. In the digital age, writers, producers and actors receive see hardly any compensation for shows that become hits on platforms.

The studios agreed to change the model to increase compensation depending on a show’s audience figures. This issue is also key to resolving the conflict with the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 members, and has been on strike for 72 days.

After the failed negotiations in August, the pickets at the doors of the studios became larger in September. The writers flexed their muscles when Drew Barrymore announced she would return to filming her CBS talk show. This provoked the anger of the scriptwriters, who argued that the popular actress was violating the strike. Barrymore defended herself by stating that many members of the production were suffering financial hardship after months without work. But she came under a lot of pressure.

After a week, Barrymore tearfully apologized in a video posted on social media and announced that she would not resume filming. Other television productions followed, reporting that they would not return until the strike was resolved.

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