Trump goes after Spike Lee after Oscars speech
Monday, February 25
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is going after director Spike Lee, who used his Oscar acceptance speech to urge mobilization for the 2020 election.
Trump tweeted Monday that Lee did a “racist hit on your President.” Trump claimed that he had “done more for African Americans” than “almost” any other president.
Lee won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay Sunday for his white supremacist drama “BlacKkKlansman,” sharing the award with three co-writers. The film includes footage of Trump after the 2017 violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Lee did not directly name Trump. He spoke about black history and his family history, saying his grandmother’s mother was a slave, before stressing the presidential election next year.
Said Lee: “Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate.”
Trump inflamed racial tensions after a white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, when he said “both sides” were to blame, a comment some saw as a refusal to condemn racism.
Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal and civil rights activist, was killed, and nearly three dozen others were injured when James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into counter-protesters. Fields claimed he acted in self-defense. A jury convicted him in December of first degree murder and other charges, including aggravated malicious wounding and hit and run.
Triumph and disappointment for Spike Lee at Oscars
By LYNN ELBER
AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Spike Lee’s first-ever competitive Oscar award turned a mostly staid ceremony into one with joy and passion, but that later gave way to frustration.
Lee, who captured the best adapted screenplay trophy for “BlacKkKlansman,” jumped into the arms of presenter, longtime collaborator and close friend Samuel L. Jackson when he took the stage Sunday to accept his award with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott. The audience gave him a standing ovation.
But Lee’s mood appeared to turn sharply when the trophy for best movie went to competitor “Green Book.” Seated in the audience, a visibly angry Lee waved his hands in disgust and appeared to try to walk out of the Dolby Theatre. He made his way back to his seat and later backstage to answer questions.
“This is my sixth glass, and you know why,” he said, smiling and holding a champagne flute aloft when he met with reporters. He briefly touched on his reaction to the “Green Book” win.
“I’m snake-bit. Every time someone’s driving somebody, I lose,” Lee said. He was drawing a parallel between “Green Book,” about the real-life Southern journey of a white man driving African-American pianist Don Shirley, and the 1989 best-picture Oscar winner “Driving Miss Daisy,” about a wealthy white woman and her black chauffeur.
“Green Book” has been lauded by its makers and cast as tribute to racial tolerance, but critics have condemned it as sentimental and outdated.
Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” was a best original screenplay nominee and not in direct competition with “Driving Miss Daisy,” he noted, wearing rings bearing the words “LOVE” and “HATE” on his left and right knuckles, recalling a key prop from “Do the Right Thing.”
The veteran filmmaker had waited a long time to be recognized by his peers in the movie industry beyond the honorary Oscar he received in 2016 for his contributions to movies, earning his first Oscar nod for his 1989 film.
On stage as he won his award, Lee was the epitome of excitement. After unleashing an expletive as he warned Oscar producers not to put a clock on his speech, Lee noted that his award came during Black History Month, and recited a litany of facts, among them the 400-year-old enslavement of Africans and transport to America. He also said his grandmother was a graduate of the predominately black Spelman College, despite her mother having been a slave.
“Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who helped build this country,” Lee said. “We all connect with our ancestors … when we love our humanity.”
He also waded into politics, citing the 2020 presidential election and calling on people to mobilize and “be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate.”
“Let’s do the right thing — you know I had to get that in there.”
Lee’s film includes footage of Trump after the 2017 violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Lee did not directly name Trump at the Oscars but Trump tweeted Monday that Lee did a “racist hit on your President.”
Trump claimed that he had “done more for African Americans” than “almost” any other president.
Oscar winners and losers party with champagne and statuettes
By ANDREW DALTON
AP Entertainment Writer
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Oscar night’s epic Vanity Fair party is a black-tie affair but also a lose-the-black tie affair, a place where stars can unbutton their shirts — or in some cases lose them entirely — kick off their high heels and celebrate the end of a long awards season by eating, drinking and dancing with abandon.
Richard E. Grant, who did not win best supporting actor for his role in “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” looked like he’d won a shelf full of Academy Awards, throwing off his jacket, untucking his shirt and loosening the top few buttons as he walked through the party with its thumping music, his face lit up with delight as Sunday night became Monday morning.
Jason Momoa of “Aquaman” was missing the shirt he wore earlier in the evening as a presenter, going bare-chested under his tuxedo jacket with his hair up in a bun as he handed out hugs and high-fives, towering over everyone around him.
James McAvoy turned his tuxedo shirt into an autograph book. It was covered with star-studded signatures in red sharpie as he danced alongside Emilia Clarke to “This Is How We Do It.”
Nearby on the dance floor, photographers and well-wishers crowded around newlyweds Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra, with many seeing them for the first since they married in India in December.
Just off the dance floor, Dick Van Dyke, 93 years old and holding a cane, swayed and grooved to hip-hop tunes as though he were still the romping chimney sweep from the original “Mary Poppins” 55 years earlier.
Oscar statuettes, as always, were the most popular accessories at the annual gala hosted by Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones and held both indoors and out between the Annenberg Space for Photography and Beverly Hills City Hall.
Lady Gaga made one of the biggest stirs of the night when she walked in with platinum hair and golden trophy for best original song, for “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.”
Spike Lee, dressed all in purple, proudly strode in holding his first competitive Oscar in a 30-year career, earned earlier in the evening for best original screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman.”
At the end of the show, Lee had nearly stormed out of the ceremony when the feel-good tribute to racial harmony “Green Book” beat his and six other films for best picture, but a few hours later he said he had made peace with it and had congratulated several people who worked on the movie.
“I’m not going to trash the film. They won,” Lee told The Associated Press as he walked in on the party’s striped carpet. “This is not like sports, where you could go to the video and overturn the call. It’s done.”
There were also plenty of not-so-famous faces proudly sitting with statuettes and downing Dom Perignon. Winning an Oscar means instant celebrity status and a hard-to-get invitation to the party for the sound editors, special effects supervisors and short-form filmmakers fortunate enough to have their names called from the stage.
The party, as usual, had a big dose of big stars from outside of movies, including Taylor Swift, Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and NFL star Odell Beckham Jr.
Many gorged on the traditional highbrow and lowbrow fare, as servers walked the floor with boxes overflowing with In-N-Out burgers, trays of bottled milkshakes with paper straws and platters stacked with tiny carrot cakes.
Diana Ross, Ava DuVernay and Tracee Ellis Ross were among the approximately 100 guests who watched the Oscars telecast over a formal dinner that preceded the bigger party.
Just after the ceremony, where multiple winners included “Green Book,” ”Roma,” ”Black Panther” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” most victors and nominees made a first stop at the Governors Ball, the official after-party just held a few floors up from the Oscars, to sip some champagne and sample some Wolfgang Puck cuisine, including thinly sliced Spanish ham, Japanese beef and fresh vegan pasta.
“Eighth Grade” star and presenter Elsie Fisher wandered the party with her dad, while Awkwafina did the same, grateful her public appearance was over. “It was nice to play a nervous person,” she said after presenting a pair of Oscars with comedian John Mulaney, both acting intimidated at being part of Hollywood’s biggest night.
Glenn Close may have missed out on the best actress prize for the seventh time, but she was in good spirits and in an entirely different outfit at the ball, where many stopped to tell her how great she is. “We’re here for you, Glenn,” one man said.
Many of the winners were all smiles, including “Free Solo” directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, and the women behind the short documentary “Period. End of Sentence,” whose energy had not waned since their win a few hours prior.
Attendees clamored to talk to best actress winner Olivia Colman, who got her trophy engraved next to best director winner Alfonso Cuaron. He eventually found his “Roma” cast and crew, including Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, to toast their win before heading to the Netflix party. And Mahershala Ali gladly posed with Angela Bassett, clutching his supporting actor trophy for “Green Book” proudly while smiling for the cameras.
But by 9:30, many had already started making their way to the Vanity Fair party, including Melissa McCarthy, who looked in good spirits despite having to hold up her own train.
Associated Press writers Lindsey Bahr in Los Angeles and Krysta Fauria in Beverly Hills contributed to this report. Follow Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton .
‘Green Book’ wins best picture in an upset at the Oscars
By JAKE COYLE
AP Film Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The segregation-era road-trip drama “Green Book” was crowned best picture at the 91st Academy Awards, delighting those who see the film as a feel-good throwback but disappointing others who ridicule it as an outdated inversion of “Driving Miss Daisy.”
In a year when Hollywood could have made history by bestowing its top award on Netflix (“Roma”) or Marvel (“Black Panther”) for the first time, the motion picture academy instead threw its fullest support Sunday behind a traditional interracial buddy tale that proved as popular as it was divisive. But Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” weathered criticism that it was retrograde and inauthentic to triumph over more acclaimed films and bigger box-office successes.
It was an unexpected finale to a brisk, hostless ceremony that was awash in historic wins for diversity, including Spike Lee’s first competitive Oscar. More women and more individual black nominees won than ever before.
The Oscars otherwise spread awards around for Ryan Coogler’s superhero sensation “Black Panther,” Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white personal epic “Roma” and the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
It won’t be known until later Monday if the Oscars topped last year’s record-low viewership of 26.5 million. But early indications from big-city markets are that the audience will be bigger, which would be a significant relief to ABC and show organizers.
Lee, whose “Do the Right Thing” came out the same year “Driving Miss Daisy” won best picture, was among those most visibly upset by the award handed to “Green Book.” After presenter Julia Roberts announced it, Lee stood up, waved his hands in disgust and appeared to try to leave the Dolby Theatre before returning.
“Green Book” also won best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali and best original screenplay.
“The whole story is about love,” said Farrelly, a filmmaker best known for broad comedies like “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary.” ”It’s about loving each other despite the differences and find out the truth about who we are. We’re the same people.”
Backstage, Lee clutched a glass of champagne while reflecting on the 30 years between “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Green Book.” ”I’m snake bit,” he said, laughing. “Every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose!”
Lee’s win for best adapted screenplay for his white supremacist drama “BlacKkKlansman,” an award he shared with three co-writers, gave the ceremony its signature moment. The crowd rose in a standing ovation, Lee leapt into the arms of presenter Samuel L. Jackson and even the backstage press room burst into applause.
Lee, whose film includes footage of President Donald Trump following the violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, urged mobilization for the upcoming election.
“Let’s be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love and hate,” said Lee, who was given an honorary Oscar in 2015. “Let’s do the right thing! You knew I had to get that in there.”
One of the biggest surprises of the night was in the best actress category. Olivia Colman won for her Queen Anne in the royal romp “The Favourite,” denying Glenn Close her first Oscar. Close remains the most-nominated living actor never to win, with seven nominations.
“Ooo. It’s genuinely quite stressful,” said a staggered Colman, who later turned to Close to say she was her idol, “and this is not how I wanted it to be.”
The night’s co-lead nominee “Roma” won best director and best cinematography for Cuaron, whose film also notched Mexico’s first foreign language film Oscar. Cuaron and his “Three Amigos” countrymen — Alejandro Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro, who presented Cuaron with best picture — have had a stranglehold on the category, winning five of the last six years.
Cuaron, who becoming the first director to ever win for serving as his own director of photography, referenced an especially international crop of nominees in one of his three acceptance speeches.
“When asked about the New Wave, Claude Chabrol said there are no waves, there is only the ocean,” said Cuaron, referring to the French filmmaker. “The nominees tonight have proven that we are a part of the same ocean.”
The wins for “Roma” gave Netflix its most significant awards yet, but “Green Book” denied the streaming giant the best picture win it dearly sought. Netflix remains to some a contentious force in Hollywood, since it largely bypasses theaters. The wins for “Black Panther” — along with best animated film winner “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse” — meant the first Academy Awards for Marvel, the most consistent blockbuster factory Hollywood has ever seen.
The lush, big-budget craft of “Black Panther” won for Ruth Carter’s costume design, Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart’s production design, and Ludwig Göransson’s score. Beachler had been the first African-American to ever be nominated in the category. Beachler and Carter became just the second and third black women to win non-acting Oscars.
“It just means that we’ve opened the door,” Carter, a veteran costume designer, said backstage. “Finally, the door is wide open.”
Two years after winning for his role in “Moonlight,” Mahershala Ali won again for his supporting performance in “Green Book” — a role many said was really a lead. Ali is the second black actor to win two Oscars following Denzel Washington, who won for “Glory” and “Training Day.” Ali dedicated the award to his grandmother.
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” which kicked off the ABC telecast with a performance by Queen, won four awards despite pans from many critics and sexual assault allegations against its director, Bryan Singer, who was fired in mid-production for not showing up. Its star, Rami Malek, won best actor for his full-bodied and prosthetic teeth-aided performance, and the film was honored for editing, sound mixing and sound editing.
“We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant who lived his life unapologetically himself,” said Malek who after the ceremony fell and was checked out by medics before making the rounds at post-show festivities. “We’re longing for stories like this. I am the son of immigrants from Egypt. I’m a first-generation American, and part of my story is being written right now.”
Queen launched Sunday’s ceremony with a medley of hits that gave the awards a distinctly Grammy-like flavor, as Hollywood’s most prestigious ceremony sought to prove that it’s still “champion of the world” after last year’s record-low ratings.
To compensate for a lack of host, the motion picture academy leaned on its presenters, including an ornately outfitted Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry and a Keegan-Michael Key who floated down like Mary Poppins. Following Queen, Tina Fey — alongside Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph — welcomed the Dolby Theatre audience to “the one-millionth Academy Awards.”
Rudolph summarized a rocky Oscar preamble that featured numerous missteps and backtracks by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: “There is no host, there won’t be a popular movie category and Mexico is not paying for the wall.”
The trio then presented best supporting actress to Regina King for her pained matriarch in Barry Jenkins’ James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk.” The crowd gave King a standing ovation for her first Oscar.
The inclusivity of the winners Sunday stood in stark contrast to the #OscarsSoWhite backlash that marked the 2016 and 2015 Oscars. Since then, the academy has worked to diversify its largely white and male membership, adding several thousand new members and opening the academy up internationally. Still, this year’s nominations were criticized for not including a female best director nominee or a best-picture nominee directed by a woman.
Though the once presumed front-runner “A Star Is Born” saw its chances flame out, it won, as expected, for the song “Shallow,” which Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed during the ceremony. As she came off the stage, Cooper had his arm around Gaga as she asked, “Did I nail it?”
Best documentary went to Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s “Free Solo,” which chronicles rock climber Alex Honnold’s famed, free solo ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan, a 3,000-foot wall of sheer granite, without ropes or climbing equipment. “Free Solo” was among a handful of hugely successful documentaries last year including the nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary “RBG” and the snubbed Fred Rogers doc “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”
“Thank you Alex Honnold for teaching us to believe in the impossible,” said Vasarhelyi. “This film is for everyone who believes in the impossible.”
Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” won makeup and hairstyling for its extensive physical transformations. The category was one of the four that the academy initially planned to present during a commercial break and as its winners — Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney — dragged on in a litany of thank-yous and were the first to have their microphone cut off.
To turn around ratings, Oscar producers pledged a shorter show. In the academy’s favor was a popular crop of nominees: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” ”A Star Is Born” and, most of all, “Black Panther” all amassed huge sums in ticket sales. Typically, when there are box-office hits (like “Titanic”), more people watch the Oscars.
Associated Press writers Kristin M. Hall, Andrew Dalton and Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report.
For full coverage of the Oscars, visit: https://apnews.com/AcademyAwards
The soaring cost of US child care
February 22, 2019
Author: Heidi Steinour, Visting Instructor in Sociology, University of South Florida
Disclosure statement: Heidi Steinour 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.
Partners: University of South Florida provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
The cost of having children in the U.S. has climbed exponentially since the 1960s. So it’s no wonder the growing crop of Democratic presidential candidates have been proposing ways to address or bring down the costs tied to raising a family.
Most recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she wants to provide universal access to child care. According to her proposal, the U.S. would partner with local governments and other organizations to provide various child care options, paying for it with revenue from her wealth tax.
Whether or not Warren’s proposal becomes law, the data show a worsening problem. In 2015, American parents spent, on average, US$233,610 on child costs from birth until the age of 17, not including college. This number covers everything from housing and food to child care and transportation costs. This is up 8 percent from 1990.
As a mother myself, as well as a sociologist who studies families, I have experienced firsthand the unexpected costs associated with having a child. And this spike in costs has broad implications, including leading fewer families to have children.
Labor and delivery
The overall costs of labor and delivery vary from state to state.
Expenses for a delivery can range from $3,000 to upwards of $37,000 per child for a normal vaginal delivery and from $8,000 to $70,000 if a C-section or special care is needed.
These costs are often a result of separate fees charged for each individual treatment. Other factors include hospital ownership, market competitiveness and geographical location.
It’s worth noting that these costs often include additional fees for ultrasounds, blood work or high-risk pregnancies.
As a result, for women who are concerned about the costs related to giving birth, it’s important to explore the average costs at their local hospitals and review their insurance plans before they decide to become pregnant.
Child care and activities
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deems child care affordable if no more than 10 percent of a family’s income is used for that purpose. However, parents currently spend 9 to 22 percent of their total annual income on child care, per child.
Child care has become one of the most expensive costs that a family bears. In fact, in many cities, child care can cost more than the average rent. This is particularly challenging for low-income families who often do not make more than minimum wage.
What’s more, Americans now view childhood differently. Whereas, in the past, children often engaged in family labor, now children are protected and nurtured.
Yet children’s activities can be costly. For example, Americans families will spend on average $500 to $1,000 per season on extracurricular or sports activities for each of their children.
In fact, due to the rising costs of sports, the number of children who aren’t physically active has increased to 17.6 percent. Low-income children are three times less likely to be physically active than children who reside in higher-income households.
Another hidden cost of having kids is time. In my experience, many parents do not realize how much time they will invest in their children, often at the expense of personal freedom and work expectations.
In fact, the American Time Use Survey shows that, on average, parents with children under the age of 18 spend about 1.5 hours per day on domestic and child care responsibilities. Women spend 2.5 hours a day, while men spend roughly only one hour on these tasks.
Weighing the causes
Researchers at Pew argue that the recent decrease in birthrate has as much to do with the Great Recession in 2008 as it does with the increase of women who are not willing to sacrifice their careers for family.
This speaks to yet another cost of having children: Mothers are often pushed out of careers or “opt out,” based on high demands of balancing family and work-life balance.
Researchers have also found a growing trend of men and women who become single parents by choice. This group of parents prioritize children over marriage and often are on single incomes. That also contributes to the reduction in overall childbirth, from a financial and practical perspective.
Ultimately, the decision to have a child is a personal one. The data show that the burden of costs and the stress of family life are real. Yet, despite the costs associated with having a child, many parents report overall satisfaction with their marriage and family life.
Considering the high costs of having of a child, coupled with the tension of balancing family and work, states and companies are starting to invest in family support policies, parental benefits and competitive education. And individuals are creating more innovative approaches to managing family-work balance, such as a reduction in working schedules, family support and a push for more shared responsibilities within the home.
This is an updated version of an article originally published on March 28, 2018.
Jon Bayley: Being a citizen of New Jersey, ouch! Yes it costs a lot to have children, but to say they aren’t as active due to the rising cost of sports is shameful. Most of the time I spent as an active kid wasn’t in a paid sport, but running around the woods or playing a pick-up game with the kids in the neighborhood.