Category Archives: Entertainment

History of the Academy Awards

Far from the eagerly anticipated and globally televised event it is today, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place out of the public eye during an Academy banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Two hundred seventy people attended the May 16, 1929 dinner in the hotel’s Blossom Room; guest tickets cost $5. It was a long affair filled with speeches, but Academy President Douglas Fairbanks made quick work of handing out the statuettes.

No Surprises

There was little suspense when the awards were presented that night: the recipients had already been announced three months earlier. That all changed the following year, however, when the Academy decided to keep the results secret until the ceremony but gave a list in advance to newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. on the night of the Awards. This policy continued until 1940 when, much to the Academy’s consternation, the Los Angeles Times broke the embargo and published the names of the winners in its evening edition – which was readily available to guests arriving for the ceremony. That prompted the Academy in 1941 to adopt the sealed-envelope system still in use today.

Fifteen statuettes were awarded at the first ceremony for cinematic achievements in 1927 and 1928. The first Best Actor winner was acclaimed German tragedian Emil Jannings, who had to return to Europe before the ceremony. The Academy granted his request to receive the trophy early, making his statuette the very first Academy Award ever presented.

Public Interest Grows Quickly

The first presentation was the only one to escape a media audience; by the second year, enthusiasm for the Awards was such that a Los Angeles radio station produced a live one-hour broadcast of the event. The ceremony has been broadcast ever since.

The Academy continued to hand out the awards at banquets – held at the Ambassador and Biltmore hotels – until 1942, when increased attendance made these dinner ceremonies impractical. Starting with the 16th Oscar ceremony, which was held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, the event has always been held at a theater.

In 1953, the first televised Oscar ceremony enabled millions throughout the United States and Canada to watch the proceedings. Broadcasting in color began in 1966, affording home viewers a chance to fully experience the dazzling allure of the event. Since 1969, the Oscar show has been broadcast internationally, now reaching movie fans in over 200 countries.

More Academy Awards Milestones

  • 1st Awards – Recognizing the need to honor achievements that didn’t fit into fixed categories, the Academy presented two special awards at the very first ceremony in 1929: one to Warner Bros. for producing the pioneering talking picture “The Jazz Singer,” and one to Charles Chaplin for producing, directing, writing and starring in “The Circus.”
  • 2nd Awards – The number of categories was reduced from 12 to seven: two for acting and one each for Outstanding Picture, Directing, Writing, Cinematography and Art Direction. Since then, the number of awards has slowly increased.
  • 7th Awards – Film Editing, Music Scoring, and Song were added to the categories honoring films released in 1934. The year also brought the first write-in campaign, seeking to nominate Bette Davis for her performance in “Of Human Bondage.” (Academy rules now prohibit write-ins on the final ballot.) Also that year, the Academy retained the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse to tabulate the ballots and ensure the secrecy of the results. The firm, now called PricewaterhouseCoopers, continues to tabulate the voting to this day.
  • 9th Awards – The first Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress Academy Awards are presented, for performances in films of 1936. The honors went to Walter Brennan for “Come and Get it” and Gale Sondergaard for “Anthony Adverse.”
  • 10th Awards – The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award was presented for the first time at the ceremony held in 1938. The honor went to Darryl F. Zanuck.
  • 12th Awards – Fred Sersen and E. H. Hansen of 20th Century Fox were the first winners of the Academy Award for Special Effects. They were honored for their work in the 1939 film “The Rains Came.”
  • 14th Awards – In 1941, a documentary category appeared on the ballot for the first time.
  • 20th Awards – The first special award to honor a foreign language motion picture was given in 1947 to the Italian film “Shoe-Sine.” Seven more special awards were presented before Foreign Language Film became an annual category in 1956.
  • 21st Awards – Costume Design was added to the ballots for 1948.
  • 25th Awards – For the first time, the Oscar presentation was televised. The NBC-TV and radio network carried the ceremony, honoring the films of 1952, live from Hollywood with Bob Hope as master of ceremonies, and from the NBC International Theatre in New York with Conrad Nagel as host.
  • 29th Awards – The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was established and Y. Frank Freeman was its first recipient.
  • 36th Awards – The Special Effects Award was divided into Sound Effects and Special Visual Effects beginning with the honors for films released in 1963.
  • 38th Awards – The Oscar ceremony in 1966 was the first to be televised in color.
  • 41st Awards – The April 14, 1969, Oscar ceremony was the first major event held at the new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles County Music Center.
  • 54th Awards – Makeup became an annual category, with Rick Baker winning for his work on the 1981 movie “An American Werewolf in London.” The Gordon E. Sawyer Award, recognizing technological contributions to the industry, was established.
  • 74th Awards – The Animated Feature Film Award is added, with “Shrek” winning for 2001.

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Britney Spears Says Working With Lady GaGa Is ‘Possible’

Although she is dethroned by Lady GaGa  as the most-followed celebrity in Twitter and left early when attending the “Poker Face” singer’s concert at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, Britney Spears assures fans she has no hard feeling toward GaGa. In fact, she is a fan and would love to make a collaboration.
  

“I’m a big fan of hers,” Britney told U.K.’s Pop magazine which has her channeling her inner manga character for the publication’s cover shoot. When proposed with idea of making a duet with GaGa, the 28-year-old pop singer said, “Anything’s possible!”

Indeed, a duet seems to be possible as the two artists are currently hard at work on their new albums. Britney Spears  is in the middle of recording the follow-up to her 2008 “Circus”, while Lady GaGa already started writing songs for her third effort while touring across the country for Monster Ball.

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Taylor Swift Admits ‘Mine’ Is About One of Her Old Flames

 

After taking inspiration from her old crushes like a guy named Drew in “Teardrops on My Guitar” and Joe Jonas in “Forever & Always”, Taylor Swift continues to bare her past love story in her song. This time around, she admitted that her new single “Mine” also talks about one of the guys she used to like.

“I was reflecting back on a boy I liked at a certain time,” the 20-year-old  singer told Rolling Stone. Without naming the guy, she continued her statement, “The song is about what it would be like if I actually let my guard down.”

“Mine” is the lead single from her  new album “Speak Now” which is slated for October 25 U.S. release. The song was leaked days before the release date, making it pushed forward for early release. Despite the premature arrival, it performed and sold well and she thanked fans for that.

“[My manager] said, ‘I don’t want you to panic.’ And I said, ‘The song leaked, didn’t it?’ ” she recalled “I turned on my phone and there were texts saying, ‘Congratulations.’ A leak is so out of my comfort zone, but it ended up good in the end. It made me so emotional that I started crying.”

The music video is co-directed by Swift and Roman White and will be premiered on August 27. Starring Toby Hemingway, it will see her getting proposed by “The Covenant” actor and walking down the aisle with him.
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Are Some Chimp ‘Cultural’ Behaviors Actually in the Genes?

Thirty-five years ago, researchers studying chimpanzees in the wild noticed that neighboring communities had distinct grooming behaviors that could not be explained by differences in their environments. They contended that these behavioral idiosyncrasies were learned, or “cultural,” and other scientists soon began noting group-specific tool uses and courting behaviors that also didn’t appear to be environmental. But in a new study, researchers say some of these behaviors may be genetic after all.

Before that 1975 revelation, few researchers had observed different communities of wild chimpanzees, and no one had even recognized that these behavioral differences existed. Investigators have been arguing about whether chimps truly have culture ever since. Proponents of culture published a landmark Nature paper in 1999 documenting 39 behaviors that were frequently observed in some communities and never seen in others. In the article’s wake, a flood of reports began to appear about culture in other species, and the debates roiled on, with endless discussions about the meaning of the word itself.

The new study, published online tomorrow in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, examines partial sequences of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from wild chimpanzees in nine different groups. This DNA is handy because it’s inherited only from mothers, and only chimp females typically move to new communities. Team members examined the links between the groups and 38 of the 39 supposed cultural variants documented in the earlier report. The study does not link behaviors to specific genes or even conclude that there is a genetic explanation. Rather, it assesses whether genetic differences can be excluded as an explanation for each behavior; it finds that they cannot more than half the time.

This distinction may seem subtle, but the idea of animal culture turns on the requirement of first excluding ecological forces as an explanation for behaviors. The study now adds yet another hurdle to clear before making bold claims about culture. “I have no horse in this race,” says lead author Kevin Langergraber, a molecular ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. “I saw some studies that claimed they were settling this question, and I had gathered data that spoke to quite a different explanation.”

The findings, as might be expected in this controversial field, are receiving a mixed reaction. The first author of the 1999 Nature study, evolutionary psychologist Andrew Whiten of the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom—who did not contribute to the new study—says Langergraber and colleagues have done “a very careful and rigorous job.” But Whiten contends that they have given too much weight to the “the relationships between behavioral and genetic differences they found.” Specifically, he contends that the sequencing of small regions of mtDNA as well as the relatively few documented behavioral differences are “very crude overall measures” of the true genetic and behavioral differences. He further singles out several experiments that he and others have conducted with unrelated captive chimpanzees that clearly demonstrate sophisticated social learning skills, especially for tool use. “Given all we know about chimpanzee social and individual learning, it seems unlikely that there are any chimpanzees that, because of their genetic constitution, cannot observationally learn all the kinds of tool use seen in Africa.”

Ethologist Frans de Waal of Emory University in Atlanta has a more generous take on the new work. In 1999 de Waal wrote an accompanying editorial in Nature that said Whiten and colleagues had provided a “record so impressive that it will be hard to keep these apes out of the cultural domain.” The new work, de Waal contends, “is not dismissive of the culture concept, but adds a complication to the picture.”

De Waal notes that individuals of a species often have similar behaviors that are not controlled by genes. “No one would assume a gene for ant fishing in the chimpanzee in the same way that no one would assume that some humans have a knife-and-fork gene and others a chopstick gene,” says de Waal. Still, he says the new findings likely will make the nature vs. nurture discussion more interesting. “If we simply accept that chimpanzees have cultural habits that spread by means of social learning and then add this genetic picture to it, we get in fact a view closer to what we know about humans, and a broader debate that we have hardly had before,” says de Waal.

Langergraber, who studies the evolution of cooperation and social relationships in wild chimpanzees, notes that there’s compelling evidence in finches, crows, and gorillas that some behaviors—like learning to use tools or eat nettles that will sting unless they are handled just so—have genetic underpinnings. And the same is true of humans, he notes. “Some things you’d never think are genetically determined are highly inheritable. Genes, for example, appear to play a role in whether a person is an extrovert who wears loud clothing or an introvert who dresses for comfort.

But he stresses that in wild chimpanzees, especially since females often migrate to different communities, it will be particularly difficult to sort the genetic from the cultural. “They’re not moving only their genes, but it could be behavior as well,” says Langergraber. “So you could get a positive correlation between genetic and behavioral similarity even if it were 100% cultural.” Langergraber says he’d make a more conservative point, “You can’t rule out that it’s genetic.”

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Strange Rocks May Preserve Some of Earth’s First Animals

Some very old rocks and a nifty imaging technique have yielded what could be the oldest known animal fossils—spongelike organisms that lived on ocean reefs on what is now South Australia. Princeton University geologist Adam Maloof wasn’t looking for fossils. He was wandering the mountains of South Australia with graduate student Catherine Rose, looking at rocks from just before a major glaciation, about 635 million years ago, which may have covered much of the planet in ice. While poking around, they kept seeing rocks with the same shapes—anvils, rings, wishbones, and others—tucked among the fossils of stromatolite reefs, which are formed by bacteria. “They looked like fossils, but we weren’t expecting fossils, so we ignored them,” says Maloof. “Eventually, they became too common and repetitive to ignore.” Maloof and Rose thought they might have found specimens of Namacalathus, a hard-bodied organism with a long stalk that lived about 550 million years ago, but they needed a better look. Back in the lab, the researchers ground down the first couple of centimeters of the strange-shaped rocks 50 microns at a time, taking a picture of each newly revealed surface. The team then used computers to put together a three-dimensional image of the animal. “We learned pretty quickly that they looked nothing like Namacalathus,” he says. Instead of a stalk, the researchers found elliptical, asymmetric blobs. They were able to model two complete fossils and fragments of several others. Back in time. This animation shows 3D images of fossils, possibly spongelike animals, emerging from a piece of rock as it is ground down. Credit: Situ StudioEach fossil was about a centimeter across and shot through with 1-millimeter-diameter tunnels. After eliminating several possibilities, the duo concluded that the organism most closely resembled sponges, which have internal canal systems. That would make these fossils fart older than the oldesanimal fossil currently known, a 555-million-year-old snail-like creature known as Kimberella.

There are reasons to think that sponges were around this early. Scientists have used evidence on the rate of evolution—known as molecular clocks—to date the origin of sponges back to 600 million or 700 million years ago. Others have also found lipids that are thought to be made by sponges in rocks of about that age. Maloof says the finding is exciting because it means that animals may have been around before a planetwide glaciation and probably survived it. The team reports its findings online today in Nature Geoscience.

Still, experts are skeptical about whether the fossils represent ancient animals. “They’re just, at present, really tantalizing fossils for which a really cool argument has been made,” says geologist Whitey Hagadorn of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado. “I wish we had some DNA in these suckers to figure it out for sure.” The good news, he says, is that lots of other scientists will see this article and start poking around for animal fossils in similar-aged rock. “I can’t wait to see if someone finds a better-preserved deposit from somewhere else.”

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‘The African Queen’ – Bogart, Hepburn and the Little Boat That Could

The only movie matchup of screen legends Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen is a classic adventure movie and a grown-up love story, with a little bit of travelogue and a dollop of wartime propaganda.

Hepburn is a prim spinster with a spine of steel, and Bogart  is the unkempt captain of a little supply boat, the African Queen, when World War I reaches the remote villages of colonial Africa. Watching this unlikely pair survive a treacherous river trip, attempt a daring wartime attack and fall into a charming, late-life love affair makes for a splendid movie.

The Plot

Rose Sayer (Hepburn) and her clergyman brother are missionaries along the Ulanga-Bora River in German East Africa in 1914, when war is declared. German soldiers kidnap the village men, burn their thatched huts and drive out the women and children. Her brother dies in shock and despair, his mind gone. Bogart’s Charlie Allnut rescues Rose from the ruins in the African Queen, intending to sit out the war somewhere safe from the fray.

But the determined Rose hatches a plan to take the shabby little boat down the wild river, past a German fortress, and onto Lake Victoria. Once there, she wants to torpedo a German warship patrolling the lake, using mining supplies aboard the African Queen. The astonished Charlie resists, arguing “there’s death a hundred times over” on the river.

But Rose insists…and bit by bit, Charlie bends. They battle fierce rapids, make ingenious repairs to the old boat, flee insect swarms, and even brave huge leeches as they pull the boat through swamps.

Do they make it? I wouldn’t dream of spoiling it for you.


The Cast of ‘The African Queen’

Hepburn was 44 when she made The African Queen and the film marked her graduation to roles for mature, older women. Her mild, almost absent-minded delivery as she proposes her daring plan is nicely underplayed. And there’s a wonderful moment after their first night as lovers when the very proper Rose shyly asks “Mr. Allnut” what his first name might be.At 52, Bogart delivered what might be his most relaxed, natural and powerful performance. No slick detective here. He’s a grubby, earthy man whose stomach rumbles uncontrollably at tea with the missionaries, and his face when Rose pours his beloved gin bottles into the river is a sight to behold. He’s coarse and funny, yet manly and utterly steadfast. (The performance garnered his only Best Actor award after many snubs from Oscar for earlier roles.)

Robert Morley gives a heart-wrenching performance as Rose’s broken brother. And of course, the African Queen herself is a member of the cast, a scrappy little 30-foot boat with a ragged canopy and a sputtering motor Charlie always meant to fix. By the end of the movie you’re cheering as much for the battered little boat as for Charlie and Rose.

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Casablanca – Bogart and Bergman in a Timeless Romance

Casablanca. Sometimes it all just comes together – the story, the cast, the dialog, the direction – and you get a movie that stands the test of time.

Casablanca is a great romance, a stirring wartime adventure, a suspenseful action movie, and in 

the end, a terrific buddy movie. It’s listed again and again on the top ten lists of critics and fans alike. Its snappy lines are repeated by movie buffs the world over. What more could you want?

The plot

World War II has engulfed Europe, reaching all the way to Rick Blaine’s Café Americain in French-held Morocco. The Nazis have overrun France and are heading into its unoccupied possessions in Africa – and all kinds of people are trying to escape by way of Casablanca.

The plot revolves around “letters of transit” that will provide safe passage by air to Lisbon, and then to America, a rare and precious commodity indeed. And even though Blaine (Humphrey Bogart in his first romantic lead) is an embittered expatriate who would prefer to sit out the war in his café, the tightening conflict eventually forces Rick – and everybody else – to take sides.

The Cast of ‘Casablanca’

Bogart is wonderful as the mysterious café owner with a past, set up in the nightclub business with his longtime friend and piano player, Sam (Dooley Wilson). As we meet his employees, we see Rick’s not quite the cynic he pretends to be. All are clearly refugees under his protection. The emotional Russian bartender, the polished French croupier, the grandfatherly German waiter and Sam at the keyboard make Rick’s café the only place to be.

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Comic-Con 2010 — Interviews with the Thor Cast

SAN DIEGO, CA – Saturday night was a big evening at Comic-Con for superheroes, superfans, and supergeeks alike. But few had it better than a certain Norse god who has graced the pages of Marvel Comics for nearly fifty years, and finally got to debut the trailer for his first feature film.

Due in theaters next May, Thor  stars relative unknown Chris Hemsworth as the muscle-bound warrior cast out of Asgard and into a new gig as one of Earth’s most powerful defenders. Complicating matters is his mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), his Earthbound love interest Jane (Natalie Portman), and a seriously-ticked-off father in Odin (Anthony Hopkins), all in the service of a big-budget directorial effort by Kenneth Branagh.

Still soaring from the rapturous applause of Hall H, the cast of Thor sat down with us to hammer out some revealing details about the flick. Read on for their thoughts on battling brothers, learning humility, and helping those beloved Avengers to assemble.

Q:This is the biggest movie you’ve ever made. What have you been able to do on this superhero epic that you couldn’t do before?
Kenneth Branagh: Spend some money (laughs). Not carte blanche, but what’s exciting is that when everyone is determined that we have to deliver .

Q:This is the biggest movie you’ve ever made. What have you been able to do on this superhero epic that you couldn’t do before?
Kenneth Branagh: Spend some money (laughs). Not carte blanche, but what’s exciting is that when everyone is determined that we have to deliver .

Q: By now, everyone knows that these Marvel films are building up to The Avengers assembling. How does your film fit into the master plan, while retaining its own identity?
Branagh: Well, there is the integration of story elements. So, in the footage shown here tonight you saw some of how Thor interacts with S.H.I.E.L.D., parts of the Iron Man thing. I think you’ll see in different parts that we have the chance to expand, and because of the nature of the places we go you’ll see it add up to something that belongs but also has a very distinct flavor. People have asked me since way back: “How the hell does Thor fit into the Avengers thing?” Well, I think it can fit there, but there’s also a very exotic thing that will be going on in our film.

Q: Chris, this is your first starring performance. Give us your breakdown of the Thor character.
Chris Hemsworth: At the beginning of this film he’s a brash, cocky warrior who is about to inherit the keys to the kingdom. But his father realizes he’s not ready, and it becomes the journey of him learning some humility throughout the film. His heart’s in the right place – he does things for his family and to protect the kingdom – but he has a very aggressive way of doing it, which probably isn’t the right way.

Q: Natalie, tell us about your character.
Natalie Portman: My character is working on this theory of connecting dimensions through these Einstein theories about uniting time and space. Thor comes from another dimension, so he is this missing piece to her scientific inquiry. Everyone thinks she’s a kook, but here’s her opportunity to prove herself.

Q: Chris, your younger brother Liam also auditioned for the role of Thor. Was that weird, competing against him?
Hemsworth: I’d auditioned, and it didn’t go any further. Then, next I heard, he was being flown over from Australia to test with Ken! I was as excited as I was secretly angry (laughs) – nah, we’re very close. When he was auditioning I supported him, and with me the same thing. We gave each other feedback, and helped wherever we could.

Q: And Clark, you return as fan favorite Agent Coulson, working with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury to bring The Avengers together. Has the plan for your character always been so ambitious?
Clark Gregg: No, it started out as nothing, just a couple scenes in Iron Man. Then it just became a better role – every time Marvel calls I’m like “Really? I get to do this guy again?” and every time I do, they pull back more layers and he’s got more interesting stuff to do…Now I’m the Super-Glue of the series. Thor is an origin story – a hammer is found in New Mexico, surrounded by a giant crater – it’s Agent Coulson’s job to show up and investigate that, and this is very much the reason why S.H.I.E.L.D. is in existence.

Q: Tom, tell us about Thor’s anarchic evil brother, Loki.
Tom Hiddleston: Well, tonight’s footage was amazing; this was my first time seeing it, I hadn’t seen a single frame…The relationship between Thor and Loki is as complex as any relationship between any two brothers. There is a huge trigger halfway through the film, a reveal about Loki and his true lineage, explaining that he’s not as close to Thor as he may have once thought. And that news triggers the jealousy that had been hidden inside him, and it becomes a cancerous rage that makes him want to destroy his brother and usurp his power. So yeah, it’s complicated!

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Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese chicken salad is a great recipe when you need to put something together at the last minute. Leftovers taste great served in a wrap for lunch the next day. Serves 4 to 6.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken meat breasts, boneless, skinless
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce, or as needed
  • Dressing:
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian sesame seed oil
  • Other:
  • 1 head lettuce
  • 1 – 2 red peppers as desired
  • 1 10-fluid ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts (or fresh water chestnuts, peeled and sliced)
  • 3/4 cup chow mein noodles

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry. Lightly rub the 1 teaspoon of soy sauce over the breasts (use more soy sauce if needed). Place the breasts on a roasting and cook for 45 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking. Remove the chicken and cool.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dressing and vegetables. In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, orange juice, light soy sauce, sugar and sesame seed oil. Refrigerate until needed.
Wash the lettuce, remove the core and shred the leaves. Remove the seeds from the red pepper and cut into thin strips.
Remove the cooked chicken and cool. Shred the chicken meat with your hands.
Pour the dressing into the bottom of a large salad bowl.
Add the lettuce and chicken, tossing with the dressing. Add the red peppers, water chestnuts and mandarin orange slices. Garnish with the chow mein noodles.
Sprinkle the sliced almonds or toasted sesame seeds on top if using.

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O2 African Music Awards Set To Take London By Storm

This year’s O2 African Music Awards (AMAs) is ready to take London by storm with its unique blend of African music and culture. It will be held at Wembley Arena, London on October 15th and looks set to make major strides towards becoming one of Africa’s premier global events.

With UNICEF UK as a beneficiary, the AMAs is a celebration of African inspired talent and, within its niche, the AMAs will aim to expose the incredible richness of African music and culture, showcasing the breath-taking performances from the Continent’s music giants and top musicians. Music Moguls, Film Legends, Fashion gurus, and Football stars, will all participate in the event’s presentations, making it truly the most glamorous African event in the UK for the year 2010.

Since its successful launch in 2008 the AMAs have become a fixture in the London entertainment calendar and have attracted some of Africa’s best talent from around the world. The 2009 AMAs was a sell-out success with a worldwide audience of 50 million people and plaudits from everyone who saw the event.

Speaking about this years event founder Eric McKaiser said, “Music industry experts have tipped African music to “explode” into the UK market and the AMAs is there to provide a platform that will recognise their achievements annually. We want to change the perception of African music as a niche into entertainment that will appeal to the masses”.

With 10 headline acts and 8 representing North, South, East and West Africa, the AMAs will be a vessel to inform people about African tradition and principles and contribute to the vibrant multicultural community in the UK.

The AMAs will also include African Music Unsigned (AM Unsigned), the first national music competition for unsigned artists; bands, vocal groups and solo artists for artists of African origin, providing a great opportunity for people to perform live in front of some of the country’s top producers, Label execs, promoters and DJs to exhibit their musical talent.

The winner of the competition will be announced at the AMA’s and given the opportunity to perform at the event, as well as receiving a £50,000 record deal to start them off on their career to stardom.

The launch of this year’s AMAs will take place at the African Centre in Covent Garden on Wednesday 18th August from 6.30pm and will include some sneak previews of artists due to perform at the Awards. The launch will introduce the charity single, ‘Africa’, an acapella rendition of the Toto original, performed by Perpetuum Jazzile which will be released in August. The single will be performed at the AMAs.

David Paich from Toto, who co-wrote the song said, “When I wrote Africa I never dreamed of hearing such an innovative rendition. All I can say is awesome! I am truly honoured”

10% of this year’s proceeds from the ceremony are going towards supporting UNICEF’s project of helping HIV/Aids Orphans in Africa which works tirelessly to help project a positive face of Africa in London, providing a focal point for all forms of cultural and social activities related to Africa.

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