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This image released by Universal Pictures shows Viggo Mortensen, left, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from "Green Book." The National Board of Review announced their 2018 honorees, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, with top awards going to "Green Book" as best film of the year and best actor of the year going to Mortensen. (Patti Perret/Universal Pictures via AP)

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Viggo Mortensen, left, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from "Green Book." The National Board of Review announced their 2018 honorees, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, with top awards going to "Green Book" as best film of the year and best actor of the year going to Mortensen. (Patti Perret/Universal Pictures via AP)


This image released by Universal Pictures shows Viggo Mortensen, foreground, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from "Green Book." The National Board of Review announced their 2018 honorees, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, with top awards going to "Green Book" as best film of the year and best actor of the year going to Mortensen. (Universal Pictures via AP)


This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows director/co-writer/producer Bradley Cooper on the set of "A Star is Born." The National Board of Review has named the feel-good road-trip drama “Green Book” the best film of the year, and its star, Viggo Mortensen, best actor. “A Star Is Born” also took several top awards, including best director for Bradley Cooper, best actress for Lady Gaga and best supporting actor for Sam Elliott. (Clay Enos/Warner Bros. via AP)


National Board of Review names ‘Green Book’ year’s best film

By JAKE COYLE

AP Film Writer

Thursday, November 29

NEW YORK (AP) — The feel-good road-trip drama “Green Book” was named the best film of the year, and its star, Viggo Mortensen, best actor, by the National Board of Review in one of the first in a parade of awards season honors.

The NBR awards, announced Tuesday, gave the Oscar hopes of Universal’s “Green Book” a jolt. The film, directed by Peter Farrelly (who typically makes broader comedies like “There’s Something About Mary” with his brother, Bobby) was declared an Oscar favorite after taking the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

But in two weeks of release, it has struggled to latch on at the box office, and some critics have called its portrayal of race relations old-fashioned and criticized it for relying on “white savior” tropes. It stars Mahershala Ali as classical pianist Don Shirley, who tours the Deep South in 1962 with a racist Italian-American driver played by Mortensen.

Bradley Cooper’s lauded remake of “A Star Is Born” also took several top awards, including best director for Cooper, best actress for Lady Gaga and best supporting actor for Sam Elliott.

Barry Jenkins’ James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk” took prizes for Jenkins’ screenplay and for Regina King’s supporting performance.

Though sometimes called an Oscar harbinger, the National Board of Review, a 109-year-old organization of film enthusiasts, academics and professionals, has typically deviated from eventual best picture winners. It last year chose Steven Spielberg’s “The Post.” Before that, its top winners were “Manchester By the Sea,” ”Mad Max: Fury Road” and “A Most Violent Year.”

On Monday night, the Gotham Awards , which honor independent film, selected Chloe Zhao’s “The Rider” as its best feature film of the year. Critics groups will soon start weighing in with their picks, starting with the New York Film Critics Circle on Thursday.

Other prizes from the National Board of Review included best ensemble for the cast of the romantic-comedy hit “Crazy Rich Asians”; best documentary to the popular Ruth Bader Ginsberg chronicle “RBG”; best screenplay to Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed”; best animated feature to “Incredibles 2”; best foreign language film to “Cold War.”

The awards will be handed out in on January 8 in New York at a gala hosted by Willie Geist.

The Conversation

AIDS treatment has progressed, but without a vaccine, suffering still abounds

November 30, 2018

Author: Maureen Miller, Professor, Columbia University Medical Center

Disclosure statement: Maureen Miller does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

I mentioned to a friend, a gay man nearing 60, that World AIDS Day, which has been observed on Dec. 1 since 1988, was almost upon us. He had no idea that World AIDS Day still exists.

This lack of knowledge is a testament to the great accomplishments that have occurred since World AIDS Day was created 30 years ago. It is also due to an accident in the timing of his birth that my friend escaped the devastation wreaked by AIDS among gay men in the U.S., before there was antiretroviral therapy.

Many people have forgotten AIDS, but there are consequences to forgetting. The fight against AIDS is at a tipping point. Increasingly, there are signs that we may be heading in the wrong direction.

Many successes, yet the grand prize is elusive

I am a social epidemiologist with more than 20 years of research experience in HIV and STD prevention. I am also the founder of The Basics with Dr. Mo, a sex health communications project that translates prevention science directly for people who need it most.

It is true that global HIV/AIDS success stories abound: Mother-to-child transmission can be reduced to below 5 percent, 75 percent of people living with HIV know their status and 59 percent receive antiretroviral therapy.

Most recently, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – the use of antiretrovial drugs to prevent HIV infection among those exposed – has proved to be a successful prevention approach.

Yet the prize – a vaccine that can prevent HIV infection – remains elusive, and makes impossible the use of the only known strategy to have ever eradicated an infectious disease: widespread vaccination. That disease was smallpox, in 1980.

The seeds of unease

Despite the lack of a vaccine, in 2016 United Nations member states adopted a political declaration on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

As part of the accountability framework, interim 2020 goals set a target of 500,000 new HIV infections for that year. A review of the most recent data estimated 1.8 million new HIV infections in 2017, exactly the same number as in 2016.

Prominent scientists have already begun to question the ability to eradicate AIDS by the 2030 deadline, and concede that the situation has stagnated. The attainment of eradication looks bleak, without the aid of either an effective vaccine or the immediate large-scale promotion and utilization of existing prevention tools (i.e., condoms, voluntary circumcision and potentially PrEP). Given that the vast majority of new HIV infections are sexually transmitted and that condoms have played a decisive role in the global control of HIV transmission, ongoing condom availability and use will be essential to future eradication.

Condoms – both male and female – remain a highly effective mechanism of HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as of other sexually transmitted infections that greatly enhance the risk of HIV transmission.

Condom use is also strongly advised by global public health institutions, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction will all other HIV prevention tools including PrEP, because of their lower levels of effectiveness in preventing transmission.

Condom availability is a different matter and varies greatly from country to country. Countries with the highest levels of HIV often rely heavily on donor support. According to the most recent data, in sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, only 10 condoms were available annually for every man aged 15 to 64 (as compared with the recommended 50 to 60), and, on average, there was one female condom available for every eight women. Funding required to maintain – let alone scale up – HIV commitments, particularly those dedicated to prevention, are increasingly uncertain.

The hydra, sprouting new heads

Even though condoms are an extremely effective barrier method, it is usage that makes condoms efficacious in preventing HIV transmission. Reported condom use varies considerably around the world, and ranges from 80 percent use by men in Namibia and Cambodia to less than 40 percent usage by men and women in other countries, including some highly affected by HIV such as Sierra Leone and Mozambique.

Age plays a role, too. Among young people aged 15 to 24, condom use at last sex varies from more than 80 percent in some Latin American and European countries to less than 30 percent in some West African countries. In the U.S., condom use is at the lower end of the spectrum: Only one-third of the population uses condoms, a number that has not changed significantly over the past two decades.

The majority – 66 percent – of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases are in sub-Saharan Africa, where there has been much progress, particularly with the provision of antiretroviral therapy.

However, there are worrying signs in other parts of the world. There has been little change in new HIV infections in countries outside of sub-Saharan Africa between 1990 and 2017.

In fact, six of the 10 most populous countries in the world have experienced 10 percent to 45 percent increases in new HIV infections since 2010: Russia, China, Brazil, Pakistan, Mexico and Bangladesh. Even in countries such as the U.S., where new HIV infections have decreased by 8 percent overall, the rates of change are unevenly distributed. For example, young African-American men who have sex with men show no decrease in new infections; African-American gay and bisexual men represent the largest percentage of new HIV infections: more than one-quarter.

The increased provision of antiretroviral therapy to people living with AIDS has had a huge impact on extending life and in preventing new HIV infections. However, there remains 25 percent of the population who live with HIV, about 9 million people, who do not know their status.

While we have been necessarily focused on the head of the hydra in sub-Saharan Africa, other hydra heads are beginning to make their presence known, many in countries ill-prepared to deal with increases in the number of new HIV infections.

In the absence of a vaccine, behavior change in the form of condom use promotion, acceptance and adoption, at a scale that many gay men utilized during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in the industrialized world, will need to occur. There are many challenges: continued stigma and gender inequality, not to mention issues of availability, distribution and proactive, nonjudgmental promotion.

We must not forget. Progress on reducing the rate of new HIV infection has been done before. It can be done again, but only if we take forceful, funded action now.

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Viggo Mortensen, left, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from "Green Book." The National Board of Review announced their 2018 honorees, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, with top awards going to "Green Book" as best film of the year and best actor of the year going to Mortensen. (Patti Perret/Universal Pictures via AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/12/web1_121873565-0aee03ee0db0496fb8360a929269327e.jpgThis image released by Universal Pictures shows Viggo Mortensen, left, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from "Green Book." The National Board of Review announced their 2018 honorees, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, with top awards going to "Green Book" as best film of the year and best actor of the year going to Mortensen. (Patti Perret/Universal Pictures via AP)

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Viggo Mortensen, foreground, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from "Green Book." The National Board of Review announced their 2018 honorees, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, with top awards going to "Green Book" as best film of the year and best actor of the year going to Mortensen. (Universal Pictures via AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/12/web1_121873565-fda0b021e8d44909bcbcda1d418ab5eb.jpgThis image released by Universal Pictures shows Viggo Mortensen, foreground, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from "Green Book." The National Board of Review announced their 2018 honorees, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, with top awards going to "Green Book" as best film of the year and best actor of the year going to Mortensen. (Universal Pictures via AP)

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows director/co-writer/producer Bradley Cooper on the set of "A Star is Born." The National Board of Review has named the feel-good road-trip drama “Green Book” the best film of the year, and its star, Viggo Mortensen, best actor. “A Star Is Born” also took several top awards, including best director for Bradley Cooper, best actress for Lady Gaga and best supporting actor for Sam Elliott. (Clay Enos/Warner Bros. via AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/12/web1_121873565-5b91da5846ff4167923e26c7db6463c4.jpgThis image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows director/co-writer/producer Bradley Cooper on the set of "A Star is Born." The National Board of Review has named the feel-good road-trip drama “Green Book” the best film of the year, and its star, Viggo Mortensen, best actor. “A Star Is Born” also took several top awards, including best director for Bradley Cooper, best actress for Lady Gaga and best supporting actor for Sam Elliott. (Clay Enos/Warner Bros. via AP)
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