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No longer niche: Oscar contenders embraced beyond the art house –



By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – From billion-dollar blockbuster “Joker” to one of Quentin Tarantino’s highest-grossing films, many of this year’s Oscar best-picture nominees have drawn crowds to the box office.

It is the second straight year that Academy Awards voters have spotlighted widely seen movies, bucking a trend toward honoring independent films like “Moonlight” and “The Hurt Locker” that played to smaller audiences in art house theaters.

Six of nine contenders for the film industry’s most coveted trophy, which will be awarded on Sunday, have grossed more than $100 million worldwide, according to data from Box Office Mojo. Dark comedy “Joker,” from AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros, leads the pack with $1.07 billion.

Next is the $389.3 million for Tarantino’s love letter to 1960s Tinseltown, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” released by Sony Corp’s 6758.T> film studio. That ranks as the second-biggest box office take of Tarantino’s career.

And both World War One epic “1917” and 1960s racing drama “Ford v Ferrari” have crossed $200 million worldwide.

The sizable ticket sales showed that moviegoers last year flocked to adult-oriented dramas and not just the action hero spectacles and sequels that dominate modern multiplexes, said Vulture film critic Alison Willmore.

“It’s been a heartening year in that way,” Willmore said. “It felt counter to the narrative that the only movies people really turn out to see in larger crowds are franchises.”

Past honors for smaller films had stoked concern that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was out of touch with movie audiences and that its choices where hurting TV ratings for the Oscars telecast. When “Moonlight” was named best picture in 2017, it had sold just $22.3 million worth of tickets in the United States and Canada.

Oscars organizers considered creating a best “popular” film category for the 2019 awards ceremony. They dropped the idea after a backlash that it would establish a two-tiered system of popular and what might have been seen as “unpopular” fare.

Popular films did, however, break into the best picture race last year. The field included Marvel’s superhero film “Black Panther” and rock biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

This year’s nominees feature two movies from Netflix Inc , “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman.” The company does not reveal how much money its films earn in theaters but has said that Mafia epic “The Irishman” is a hit on streaming.

More than 26 million Netflix accounts streamed at least 70 percent of the film over the first seven days, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in December. He projected that figure would reach 40 million over 28 days.

Netflix has not released figures for divorce drama “Marriage Story.” Both movies are still playing in theaters and streaming on Netflix.

Even the Korean-language film “Parasite,” a dark satire about inequality and best picture nominee this year, has lured audiences to movie houses. It has collected $163.3 million at ticket windows around the world.

“You have a case of a foreign language film that has crossed over and become an incredible success and just a buzzed-about phenomenon,” Variety film critic Owen Gleiberman said.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Additional reporting by Alicia Powell in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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A new way to connect to Winnipeg's world of art – CTV News Winnipeg



The Winnipeg Arts Council is rolling out a new app that helps bring the city’s art right to your phone.

Over the last several months, the Winnipeg Arts Council has been working on making Winnipeg’s art world more accessible and fun. Tamara Rae Biebrich, senior public art project manager for the Winnipeg Arts Council, said there are usually guided walking and bike tours through the summer, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things had to change.

(‘Metis Land Use’ by Tiffany Shaw-Collinge at Markham Station. Photo by Anna Mawdsley)

“We thought this is really the right time to create a mobile app so that people can have a self-guided experience, so that they have a safer social distance way to explore the city and to kind of make sense of the strange times we are living in,” says Biebrich.

The Winnipeg Public Art Works app features art and murals all over the city. Biebrich says along with maps, there are also interactive elements, including trivia questions, fun facts about each piece, and even clips from the artists talking about their work.

Each art piece that is included in the project has been commissioned by the City of Winnipeg’s Public Art program.


(“Bokeh” by Takashi Iwasaki and Nadi Design in Kildonan Park. Photo by D Works Media)

“We have been working with artists and city administration and community members for the last 15 years, creating art work throughout our city,” Biebrich said. “So, we included all of those pieces that are owned by the City of Winnipeg and are part of the city’s collection.”

You can find the app by searching for Winnipeg Public Art Works in the App Store or Google Play.


(Monument by Michel de Broin. Photo by Michel de Broin)

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Creative minds for reimagined times; PG Art Scene lives on –



By Ethan Ready

PG Art Scene

Sep 29, 2020 4:09 PM

PRINCE GEORGE – The arts are alive and well in the Northern Capital according to the Executive Director of the Community Arts Council of Prince George and District.

“In an odd way, demand for art and culture, and hands-on participatory in arts and culture, has never been this high,” stated Sean Farrell, Executive Director fo the Community Arts Council.

Farrell says they’re seeing people buying tickets to events that they never had any intention in attending, but are wanting to support local.

“I think a big goal for Prince George’s thriving arts and culture and entertainment community is to preserve this year,” said Farrell. “There’s a real effort right now, let’s get through to the other side and make sure what we had going into the pandemic and the shutdown gets through to the other side. It’s really interesting to see how many organizations like ours are reimagining how they can do things.”

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Artist uncovers ethically dubious history of statue in MacKenzie Art Gallery collection –



The MacKenzie Art Gallery and the University of Regina are taking on a quest to return a statue to its original home in India.

Winnipeg artist Divya Mehra sparked the investigation when she uncovered the story of how the small stone sculpture came to be in the Norman MacKenzie collection. 

“Norman McKenzie was known for taking trips across the world and collecting artifacts for his collection,” said John Hampton, interim executive director and CEO of the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina.

In 1913, on a trip down the Ganges River, he saw a sculpture near Benares, India, in a shrine that was actively being used by people in the area.

“He said, ‘I want a statue like that,'” Hampton told CBC’s The Morning Edition. “And he found someone that was willing to get it for him.”

Hampton said this was ethically suspect, but was a common practice at the time. 

“You’ll find many similar and maybe even more suspect stories across all [Western institutions], which just brings into question how these collections are built.”

The centerpiece of Divya Mehra’s exhibition at MacKenzie Art Gallery is an inflatable Taj Mahal. The exhibition explores the theme of reproduced, misclassified, staged and stolen cultural property. (Supplied by MacKenzie Art Gallery)

Hampton said Mehra’s findings “set a wave of motion into effect,” including conversations about whether the gallery had a right to show the artifact and who the artifact truly belonged to.

Norman MacKenzie’s collection technically still belongs to the University of Regina, so the MacKenzie Art Gallery started conversations with the university about repatriating the work.

“We’re going to make the offer to the Indian government to return this object,” Hampton said. “There’s no guarantee that they’ll accept that offer. But we’re all in agreement that it’s something that we should be doing.”

The gallery is also taking a closer look at the other 5,000 objects in its collection.

“It’s sparked our interest to make sure that we have a fulsome history of the provenance of all of these objects and to make sure that we know if there are any more,” Hampton said.

‘Dude, that’s a woman’

Divya Mehra has an exhibit at the MacKenzie until January 2021. It examines some of the themes from her research — including a piece inspired by Indiana Jones.

“It’s a sack of sand that weighs the same as the sculpture,” Hampton said. “She wants to swipe that piece from our collection and return it to the proper home and then replace it with a bag of sand as if there’s some booby traps, institutional booby traps that could prevent it.”

The object was previously identified as a statue of Vishnu, but Mehra noticed that didn’t seem right.

“I think her words were, ‘Dude, that’s a woman,'” Hampton said.

Dr. Siddhartha Shah with the Peabody Essex Museum of South Asian Art correctly identified it as an Annapurna, Hindu goddess of food and nourishment. 

“We’re a cultural institution and we want to represent those cultures accurately and ethically, and we have to make sure that we have buy-in from the people who produce this work and where it comes from,” Hampton said. 

“If we don’t have that right, then we don’t believe that we should be showing it in that light.”

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