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Mamma Mia! ‘Rhapsody’ upsets ‘Star Is Born’ at Globes

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  • NEW YORK — Thunder bolt and lightning rocked the 76th Golden Globes where a string of upsets culminated with the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” winning best picture, drama, over another movie about musicians: Bradley Cooper’s much more heavily favoured “A Star Is Born.”

    “A Star Is Born” came into Sunday’s ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, as the presumed heavyweight and Oscar favourite. But Cooper’s remake went home with just one award, for the song “Shallow.” Instead, the night’s final two awards went to “Bohemian Rhapsody” — the popular but poorly reviewed drama about Queen’s frontman, a movie that wrapped after jettisoning its director, Bryan Singer — and best actor-winner Rami Malek for his full-bodied, prosthetic teeth-aided performance as Mercury.

    “Thank you to Freddie Mercury for giving me the joy of a lifetime,” said Malek. “This is for you, gorgeous.”

    Few nominees were considered more of a sure thing than Lady Gaga as best actress in a drama. But Glenn Close pulled off the shocker in that category, too, for her performance in “The Wife,” as the spouse of a Nobel Prize-winning author. Met with a standing ovation, Close said she was thinking of her mother, “who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life.”

    “We have to find personal fulfilment. We have to follow our dreams,” said Close, drawing still louder cheers from women in the crowd. “We have to say I can do that and I should be allowed to do that.”

    It’s Close’s second Globe in 14 nods. She’s never won an Oscar.

    A year after Oprah Winfrey’s fiery anti-Donald Trump speech at the Globes, politics were largely absent from the ceremony before Christian Bale took the stage for winning best actor in a musical or comedy for his lead performance in Adam McKay’s “Vice.” He thanked the antichrist.

    “What do you think? Mitch McConnell next?” joked the Welsh-born actor, referring to the Senate’s majority leader. “Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration for this role.”

    Co-hosts Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg opened the Globes, put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, on a note of congeniality, including a mock roast of attendees and a string of jokes that playfully critiqued Hollywood. Oh performed an impression of a sexist caveman film executive who casts like the title of Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong drama: “First … man!”

    Noting the success of “Crazy Rich Asians,” Oh alluded to films with white stars in Asian roles like “Ghost in the Shell” and “Aloha,” the latter of which prompted Emma Stone, who starred in “Aloha,” to shout out “I’m sorry!” from the crowd.

    But Ottawa-born Oh, who later also won for her performance on the BBC America drama series “Killing Eve,” closed their opening monologue on a serious note explaining why she was hosting.

    “I wanted to be here to look out at this audience and witness this moment of change,” said Oh, tearing up and gazing at minority nominees in attendance. “Right now, this moment is real. Trust me, this is real. Because I see you. And I see you. All of these faces of change. And now, so will everyone else.”

    Some of those faces Oh alluded to won. Mahershala Ali, whom the foreign press association overlooked for his Oscar-winning performance in “Moonlight,” won best supporting actor for “Green Book.” While the Globes, decided by 88 voting members of the HFPA, have little relation to the Academy Awards, they can supply some awards-season momentum when it matters most. Oscar nomination voting begins Monday.

    Arguably the biggest boost went to “Green Book,” Peter Farrelly’s interracial road trip through the early ’60s Deep South, which has struggled to catch on at the box office while coming under harsh criticism for relying on racial tropes. It won best film, comedy or musical, and best screenplay. “If Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga can find common ground, we all can,” said Farrelly, the director best known for broader comedies like “There’s Something About Mary.”

    The year’s biggest domestic box-office hit, “Black Panther,” went unrewarded, though presenters Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira took a moment, in unison, for a shout of “Wakanda Forever!”

    As expected, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt won best song for the signature tune from “A Star Is Born.” At the time, it seemed like just the first of a handful of awards for “A Star Is Born.”

    “Can I just say that as a woman in music, it’s really hard to be taken seriously as a musician and as songwriter and these three incredible men, they lifted me up,” Gaga said.

    Though the Globes are put on by foreign journalists, they don’t including foreign language films in their two best picture categories (for drama and musical/comedy). That left Netflix’s Oscar hopeful, Alfonso Cuaron’s memory-drenched masterwork “Roma” out of the top category. Cuaron still won best director and the Mexican-born filmmaker’s movie won best foreign language film.

    “This film would not have been possible without the specific colours that made me who I am,” said Cuaron. “Gracias, familia. Gracias, Mexico.”

    Netflix also won numerous awards for the series “The Kominsky Method,” which won both best actor in a comedy series for Michael Douglas (he dedicated the honour to this 102-year-old father, Kirk Douglas) and for best comedy series over favoured nominees like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (whose star, Rachel Brosnahan still won) and “Barry.”

    “Netflix, Netflix, Netflix,” said series creator Chuck Lorre.

    Olivia Colman, expected to be Lady Gaga’s stiffest competition when the two presumably go head-to-head at the Oscars — though Close may now make it a three-way race — won best actress in a comedy/musical for her Queen Anne in the royal romp “The Favourite.” ”I ate constantly throughout the film,” said Colman. “It was brilliant.”

    Best supporting actress in a motion picture went to the Oscar front-runner Regina King for her matriarch of Barry Jenkins’ James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk.” In her acceptance speech, King spoke about the Time’s Up movement and vowed that the movie crews of everything she produces in the next two years will be half women. She challenged others to do likewise.

    “Stand with us in solidarity and do the same,” said King, who was also nominated for the TV series “Seven Seconds.”

    A year after the Globes were awash in a sea of black and #MeToo discussion replaced fashion chatter, the red carpet largely returned to more typical colours and conversation. Some attendees wore ribbons that read TIMESUPx2, to highlight the second year of the gender equality campaign that last year organized the Globes black-clad demonstration. Alyssa Milano, the actress who was integral in making #MeToo go viral, said on the red carpet that in the past year a “really wonderful sisterhood has formed.”

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” won for best animated film. Ryan Murphy’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” won for both best limited series and Darren Criss’ lead performance.

    For its sixth and final season, FX’s “The Americans” took best drama series over shows like Amazon’s conspiracy thriller “Homecoming” and Oh’s own “Killing Eve.” Richard Madden, the breakout star of the terrorism suspense series “Bodyguard,” won best actor in a drama series. Ben Wishaw took best supporting actor in a limited series for “A Very English Scandal.”

    The press association typically likes having first crack at series that weren’t eligible for the prior Emmys. They did this year with not just “The Kominsky Method” and “Bodyguard” but also the Showtime prison drama “Escape at Dannemora.” Its star, Patricia Arquette, won for best actress in a limited series.

    Last year’s show, like a lot of recent awards shows, saw ratings decline. Some 19 million tuned in to the Seth Meyers-hosted broadcast, an 11-per cent decline in viewership. This year, Globes broadcaster NBC has one thing in its favour: an NFL lead in. NBC aired the late afternoon nail-biter between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles, likely delivering the network a huge audience.

    Jeff Bridges received the Globes’ honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award. In remarks about everything from Michael Cimino to Buckminster Fuller and, of course, to his “Big Lebowski” character the Dude, Bridges compared his life to a great game of tag. “We’ve all been tagged,” said Bridges. “We’re alive.” He ended by “tagging” everyone watching. “We can turn this ship in the way we want to go, man,” said Bridges.

    A similar television achievement award was also launched this year, dubbed the Carol Burnett Award. Its first honoree was Burnett, herself.

    “I’m kind of really gob-smacked by this,” said Burnett. “Does this mean that I get to accept it every year?”

    ___

    Kristin M. Hall in Nashville and Lindsey Bahr in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

    ___

    For complete coverage of the Golden Globes visit: www.apnews.com/GoldenGlobeAwards

    Jake Coyle, The Associated Press



















































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    R. Kelly due in Chicago court to face sex abuse charges

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  • CHICAGO — R. Kelly, the R&B star who has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves, is due in court Saturday after being charged with aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17.

    In a brief appearance before reporters, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Friday announced the 10 counts against the 52-year-old Grammy winner, whose real name is Robert Kelly. She said the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. She did not comment on the charges or take questions.

    Kelly was driven to a Chicago police station in a dark colored van with heavily tinted rear windows around 8:15 p.m. Friday. He did not respond to questions from gathered reporters as he walked inside the building.

    Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted a short time later that Kelly was under arrest. He was expected to be held overnight before an appearance Saturday in bond court.

    Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told reporters following the singer’s arrest that one of the charges he faces appears to be tied to a decade-old child pornography case.

    “Double jeopardy should bar that case,” Greenberg said. “He won that case.”

    Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

    Greenberg said he thinks prosecutors rushed to judgment Friday in charging Kelly, calling the singer “an innocent man.”

    “Mr. Kelly is strong,” Greenberg added. “He’s got a lot of support and he’s going to be vindicated on all these charges.”

    The arrest sets the stage for another #MeToo-era celebrity trial. Bill Cosby went to prison last year, and former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial.

    Best known for hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly was charged a week after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he gave prosecutors new video evidence of the singer with an underage girl.

    At a news conference earlier Friday in Chicago, Avenatti said a 14-year-old girl seen with R. Kelly on the video is among four victims mentioned in the indictment. He said the footage shows two separate scenes on two separate days at Kelly’s residence in the late 1990s.

    During the video, both the victim and Kelly refer to her age 10 times, he said.

    Avenatti said he represents six clients, including two victims, two parents and two people he describes as “knowing R. Kelly and being within his inner circle for the better part of 25 years.”

    “I don’t know what the tape is,” Greenberg said of the video Avenatti gave prosecutors. “We haven’t seen it. No one’s showed us the tape.”

    The new charges marked “a watershed moment,” Avenatti said, adding that he believes more than 10 other people associated with Kelly should be charged as “enablers” for helping with the assaults, transporting minors and covering up evidence.

    The video surfaced during a 10-month investigation by Avenatti’s office. He told the AP that the person who provided the VHS tape knew both Kelly and the female in the video.

    The jury in 2008 acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges that arose from a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and the young woman allegedly seen with him denied they were in the 27-minute video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand. Kelly could have gotten 15 years in prison.

    Charging Kelly now for actions that occurred in the same time frame as the allegations from the 2008 trial suggests the accusers are co-operating this time and willing to testify.

    Because the alleged victim 10 years ago denied that she was on the video and did not testify, the state’s attorney office had little recourse except to charge the lesser offence under Illinois law, child pornography, which required a lower standard of evidence.

    Each count of the new charges carries up to seven years in prison. If Kelly is convicted on all 10 counts, a judge could decide that the sentences run one after the other — making it possible for him to receive up to 70 years behind bars. Probation is also an option under the statute.

    Greenberg said he offered to sit down with prosecutors before charges were filed to discuss why the allegations were “baseless.” But they refused, he said.

    “Unfortunately, they have succumbed to the court of public opinion, who’ve convicted him,” he said.

    Legally and professionally, the walls began closing in on Kelly after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and the multipart Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired last month. Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”

    #MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly’s music and promoters not to book any more concerts. Protesters demonstrated outside Kelly’s Chicago studio.

    As recently as Thursday, two women held a news conference in New York to describe how Kelly picked them out of a crowd at a Baltimore after-party in the mid-1990s when they were underage. They said Kelly had sex with one of the teens when she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and could not consent.

    Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington were joined by lawyer Gloria Allred when they told their story publicly for the first time.

    In the indictment, the prosecution addressed the question of the statute of limitations, saying that even abuse that happened more than two decades ago falls within the charging window allowed under Illinois law. Victims typically have 20 years to report abuse, beginning when they turn 18.

    The singer and songwriter, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side and has retained a sizable following. He has written numerous hits for himself and other artists, including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. His collaborators have included Jay-Z and Usher.

    Kelly broke into the R&B scene in 1993 with his first solo album, “12 Play,” which produced such popular sex-themed songs as “Bump N’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin’.”

    Months after those successes, the then-27-year-old Kelly faced allegations he married 15-year-old Aaliyah, the R&B star who later died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. Kelly was the lead songwriter and producer of Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album.

    Kelly and Aaliyah never confirmed the marriage, though Vibe magazine published a copy of the purported marriage license. Court documents later obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times showed Aaliyah admitted lying about her age on the license.

    Jim DeRogatis, a longtime music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, played a key role in drawing the attention of law enforcement to Kelly. In 2002, he received the sex tape in the mail that was central to Kelly’s 2008 trial. He turned it over to prosecutors. In 2017, DeRogatis wrote a story for BuzzFeed about the allegations Kelly was holding women against their will in Georgia.

    ___

    Associated Press Writer Amanda Seitz contributed to this report.

    ___

    More of The Associated Press’ coverage of the investigations into R. Kelly can be found at: https://www.apnews.com/RKelly .

    Sara Burnett And Michael Tarm, The Associated Press

















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    Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player Peter Tork dead at 77

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  • LOS ANGELES — Peter Tork, a talented singer-songwriter and instrumentalist whose musical skills were often overshadowed by his role as the goofy, lovable bass guitarist in the made-for-television rock band The Monkees, has died at age 77.

    Tork’s son Ivan Iannoli told The Associated Press his father died Thursday at the family home in Connecticut of complications from adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands. He had battled the disease since 2009.

    “Peter’s energy, intelligence, silliness, and curiosity were traits that for decades brought laughter and enjoyment to millions, including those of us closest to him,” his son said in a statement. “Those traits also equipped him well to take on cancer, a condition he met like everything else in his life, with unwavering humour and courage.”

    Tork, who was often hailed as the band’s best musician, had studied music since childhood. He was accomplished on guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, banjo and other instruments, and Michael Nesmith, the Monkees’ lead guitarist, said Tork was actually the better of the two.

    He had been playing in small clubs in Los Angeles when a friend and fellow musician, Stephen Stills, told him TV casting directors were looking for “four insane boys” to play members of a struggling rock band.

    Stills, a member of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, reportedly told Tork he had been rejected because his teeth were ugly. He thought the handsome Tork might fare better.

    When “The Monkees” debuted in September 1966, Tork and fellow Monkees Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones became overnight teen idols.

    Producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider modeled the show after the Beatles’ popular musical comedies “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!,” seeking to create a band that would mirror them in cheekiness if not musical talent.

    In the Monkees iteration, Nesmith was the serious one, Jones the cute one and Dolenz the zany one.

    Tork said he adopted his “dummy” persona from the way he’d get audiences to engage with him at Greenwich Village folk clubs in the early 1960s.

    He knew only one member of the Monkees before the show’s debut, Nesmith who had been running “Hoot Nights” at the Troubadour nightclub, where Tork would occasionally perform after moving to L.A.

    “As I write this my tears are awash, and my heart is broken,” Nesmith posted on his Facebook page Thursday. “PT will be a part of me forever.”

    During its two-year run “The Monkees” would win an Emmy for outstanding comedy series and the group would land seven songs in Billboard’s Top 10. “I’m a Believer,” ”Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville,” would reach No. 1.

    Initially, the Monkees was a band whose members didn’t play their instruments or write many of their songs, something that infuriated both Tork and Nesmith.

    Tork would tell of going to an early recording session, only to be told dismissively that session musicians were laying down the musical tracks and all the Monkees had to do was sing.

    “I was a hired hand, and I didn’t quite know that, and I didn’t quite get it,” he told The Associated Press in 2000. “I had fantasies of being more important than it turns out I was.”

    Eventually he and Nesmith wrested control of the band’s musical fate from Don Kirshner, who had been brought in as the show’s music producer. By the group’s third album, “Headquarters,” the Monkees were playing their instruments and even performed live in Hawaii.

    After the show concluded in 1968 the band went on a lengthy concert tour that at one point included Jimi Hendrix as the opening act. But music critics had turned on them. They were dismissed as the PreFab Four, a mocking comparison to the Beatles.

    That and creative differences led Tork to leave soon after the group’s 1968 movie and album “Head.”

    For several years he struggled financially and creatively, working for a time as a waiter and a schoolteacher.

    By the mid-1980s, thanks to TV reruns and album reissues, the Monkees gained a new, younger following, and Tork rejoined the others for reunion tours. All four produced a new album, “Justus,” in 1996 featuring them on all of the instrumentals and including songs they had written.

    In the 1990s Tork also formed the group Shoe Suede Blues and toured and recorded frequently.

    Later albums included the solo work “Stranger Things Have Happened” and the Shoe Suede Blues albums “Cambria Hotel,” ”Step By Step” and Relax Your Mind.”

    Tork begged off a Monkees reunion tour with Nesmith and Dolenz just last year to finish “Relax Your Mind.” Jones died in 2012.

    ___

    This story has corrected the spelling of Stephen Stills, and adenoid cystic carcinoma.

    ___

    Associated Press Writer Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Connecticut contributed to this story.

    John Rogers, The Associated Press






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