Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce won major honors at the NAACP Image Awards on Thursday night, where The Secret Life of Bees was named best picture.
But both Rihanna and Chris Brown stayed away from the most prestigious African-American awards show of the year, which took place less than a week after Brown, 19, was arrested for making criminal threats against Rihanna, 20.
Will Smith and Rosario Dawson took the top actor and actress awards for Seven Pounds, while Hudson took home trophies for outstanding new artist, best album and best collaboration.
Beyonce was named best female artist and Jamie Foxx was best male artist. Rap mogul Sean Combs was named best TV actor for his role in Raisin in the Sun. Slumdog Millionaire won the prize for outstanding independent motion picture.
Meanwhile, new details emerged on Wednesday about Brown’s alleged attack.
According to E! Online, Rihanna told police that her superstar boyfriend threatened to kill her and then choked her until she lost consciousness.
The glamorous young couple started fighting in Brown’s rented Lamborghini following a star-studded pre-Grammy party late Saturday, Feb. 7. According to OK magazine, the tiff was sparked when Brown received a text message from another woman after reportedly flirting with Paris Hilton at the party.
When Brown pulled over in a swanky Los Angeles neighborhood, Rihanna grabbed the car keys and threw them out the window, E! reported. After struggling to find the keys, Brown then wrapped his hands around his girlfriend’s neck and screamed, “I’m going to kill you.”
Rihanna reportedly told police she lost consciousness and woke up to find Brown gone. Police were called by a neighbor and took Rihanna to hospital in a squad car, where she was treated for a split lip, contusions on her forehead and bite marks on her arms.
Rihanna and Brown missed the Grammy Awards ceremony on Sunday of last week, at which both had been scheduled to perform.
Brown was arrested on charges of making criminal threats and is free on US$50,000 bail. Prosecutors have ordered police to continue their investigation into the incident, a sign that more serious charges are being weighed.
Peter Gabriel’s minute in the Oscars spotlight will lack one important element: Peter Gabriel. The Academy Award-nominated singer won’t perform at the Feb. 22 ceremony to protest an apparently revamped presentation of best original song contenders. Gabriel says in a video on his Web site that he objects to the songs being shortened to 65 seconds apiece and made part of a medley. Gabriel is nominated alongside Thomas Newman for Down to Earth from WALL-E.
“It’s a bit unfortunate because the songwriters, even though they’re a small part of the whole filmmaking process, we still work bloody hard and deserve a place in the ceremony as well,” the 59-year-old singer said.
In other film news, director Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow, a movie that addresses the fears of women abused during Peru’s turbulent recent history, won the Berlin film festival’s top Golden Bear award.
The movie stars Magaly Solier as Fausta, a young woman suffering from a mysterious illness that is said to be transferred through the milk of mothers who were raped or physically abused during Peruvian authorities’ long war against leftist guerrillas. The Spanish-Peruvian co-production is Llosa’s second feature film.
The festival’s jury grand prize, which comes with a runner-up Silver Bear, was shared Saturday by two films. Argentine director Adrian Biniez’ debut feature Gigante tells the story of a supermarket security guard who falls in love with a cleaner, while German director Maren Ade’s Everyone Else follows a couple during a difficult vacation.
Iran’s Asghar Farhadi was chosen as best director for About Elly, which looks at thirtysomething Iranians’ attitudes to life.
Sotigui Kouyate was named best actor for his part in director Rachid Bouchareb’s London River. He plays a French Muslim desperately awaiting news of his son after the 2005 terrorist attacks in London.
Birgit Minichmayr won the best actress honor for her role as half of the awkward couple in Everyone Else.
Last week BBC updated its backgrounder on China and Taiwan, entitled “What’s behind the China-Taiwan Divide?” BBC’s backgrounders on Taiwan have been (cough, cough) very creative, and this latest iteration, while an improvement over the earlier versions, is a proud torch-bearer for that tradition. The BBC begins by observing that “Austronesian tribal people” were the first people in Taiwan. What does the use of the word “tribal” suggest about those people, compared to the Chinese? After that, the Aborigines disappear from the story. Because they have the earliest and strongest claim to Taiwan? To keep them in view would of course
Well that wasn’t a particularly auspicious start. The town of Dawu deep in southern Taitung County is not, it turns out, the gateway to Dawu Mountain (大武山) Nature Reserve. From their reaction, it seemed that nobody in this tiny collection of indigenous-styled wooden houses and its post office had ever heard of the mountain. So I headed out of town on my rented scooter and followed a road that appeared to lead into the interior. Rice fields, power stations, pretty mountain roads and birds, but no Dawu Mountain. Heading back north on Provincial Highway 9, the views of radiant blue Pacific
April 19 to April 25 Taipei’s Dalongdong Baoan Temple (大龍峒保安宮) was in a sorry state following the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) retreat to Taiwan in 1949. About 200 refugees and military dependents had taken over the 119-year-old structure and set up camp in makeshift dwellings. When writer Wu Chao-lun (吳朝綸) moved to Dalongdong in 1950, he saw “little incense burning; it was extremely crowded … and there was barely any space to sit. They washed their clothes with dirty water and hung them up still dripping. This is not only blasphemous, but unsanitary.” To save the temple, locals put together a restoration
Magic mushrooms have a long and rich history. Now scientists say they could play an important role in the future, with their active ingredient a promising treatment for depression. The results from a small, phase two clinical trial have revealed that two doses of psilocybin appears to be as effective as the common antidepressant escitalopram in treating moderate to severe major depressive disorder, at least when combined with psychological therapy. “I think it is fair to say that the results signal hope that we may be looking at a promising alternative treatment for depression,” said Robin Carhart-Harris, head of the center for