New York, Dec 9 (AP/UNB) — After being nearly muted at this year's ceremony, the 2019 Grammys are shaping up to be the year of the woman, with powerful female voices representing the majority in two of the top categories.
Kacey Musgraves, H.E.R. and Janelle Monae, performers who play instruments, write or co-write all of their songs and are also listed as producers on their projects, earned nominations for the coveted album of the year.
They are joined by singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Brandi Carlile, whose recent album is critically acclaimed and scored nominations in the big three categories, and Cardi B — a former stripper, social media darling and reality star who has become a pop culture sensation now competing for both album and record of the year.
Nominees for album of the year at the 2018 Grammys only included one woman — Lorde — and she was not given a performing slot on the show. The only woman to win a solo award during the televised broadcast was best new artist winner Alessia Cara. But this year nominees in the top four categories expanded from five to eight, and in album of the year, five are powerful female acts.
"I love being in the company of genius women and I think that every woman that is nominated has contributed so much excellent work and heartfelt work and truthful work this year, and it's just deserving," Monae said in an interview with The Associated Press after Friday's nominations were announced.
Six of the eight best new artist nominees are women, including H.E.R.
Monae gave a powerful speech at the 2018 Grammys ahead of Kesha's emotional and striking performance celebrating sisterhood and women's rights. Monae said back then she was hoping to see the upcoming Grammys make a change.
"This is what I envisioned. This is what I imagined. I imagined us having a stronger presence this year," she said. "I'm so proud of them and I can't wait to see them at the Grammys and celebrate them and let them know that they have my support, win or lose, we are stronger together and it's incredible to see women who are so in control of their narrative."
"Dirty Computer," Monae's third full-length album, features the singer and guitarist working behind-the-scenes to craft the right songs and style: "I did produce and engineer a lot of this record. I had a perspective and a vision that only I could sit down and execute."
Other women nominated this year have multiple roles on their own albums. Musgraves, also a guitarist, co-produced her entire album, "Golden Hour," which earned four nominations, including best country album, best country solo performance ("Butterflies") and best country song ("Space Cowboy").
"I knew I wanted to do something different than what I had been doing. I was craving the time to explore and just find that creative center again. Like when I first moved to Nashville and I just wrote every day for years and stumbled across songs that really meant something to me," Musgraves, who worked on the album for a year and a half, told the AP on Friday. "I feel like I learned a lot about myself in making this record and I feel like I got to the heart of my own matter more so than I ever have."
This year's nominees mark a departure from the Grammys held earlier this year, where Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow was criticized when he said women need to "step up" when asked about the lack of women in the top categories. He later acknowledged that it was a "poor choice of words," and it forced the academy to launch a new task force focused on inclusion and diversity.
Kendrick Lamar and Drake are the top Grammy contenders for the 2019 show, earning eight and seven nominations apiece, respectively. They both are nominated in the album, record and song of the year categories.
But they are in competition with some top-notch female acts, including Lady Gaga, SZA, Maren Morris, Ella Mai and Carlile, nominees in either song or record of the year, or in both.
The singer H.E.R., who earned five nominations, is the only best new artist contender to receive an album of the year nomination. In best new artist, she's one of six women nominated for the prize, along with Bebe Rexha, Dua Lipa, Margo Price, Chloe x Halle and Jorja Smith.
H.E.R. not only co-wrote and co-produced each song on her self-titled album, she also plays guitar and piano.
"That's inspirational for other young women. Like, 'You can do it. You can be a producer. You can play an instrument,'" she said on Friday. "I had to work twice as hard. I had to earn my respect as a musician growing up as a little girl because you don't expect a little black girl to pick up the electric guitar. So, to be in that position where I can tell other little girls, 'You can do this too' — it's special."
Monae, who scored a best music video nomination for "PYNK" — which she shares with director Emma Westenberg and producer Whitney Jackson — recalls filming the video for the song celebrating womanhood.
"There were so many women on set that day and it was magical. We were uplifting each other and telling each other how much we loved each other and just celebrating all that we are," she said. "I'll never forget that."
Dhaka, Dec 8 (UNB) - Bangladeshi beauty Jannatul Ferdous Oishee, only the second Miss Bangladesh to have gone on to compete for the Miss World title, has finished in the Top 30 at the 68th edition of the 'Miss World' competition.
Vanessa Ponce from Mexico won the 'Miss World' crown for 2018, ahead of Miss Thailand Nicolene Limsnukan.
Oishee, from Pirojpur, represented Bangladesh in the competition held in the city of Sanya in China as the reigning Miss Bangladesh.
Earlier she emerged top of Group-6 in the head-to-head challenge phase of the competition, guaranteeing her place in the final 30. At the spectacular Grand Finale held today at the same venue, Oishee again performed creditably.
Oishee was born in Mativanga village of Pirojpur district. The 18-year-old beauty passed her Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination from science group this year.
Oishee won the 'Miss World Bangladesh-2018' title leaving behind 30,000 contestants earlier this year.
It is to be noted that Jessia Islam took part in last year's Miss World competition as the first contestant from Bangladesh. She managed to place herself among the best 40 beauties.
So Oishi’s performance is definitely an improvement. Especially her performance in winning her group beating out representatives of Brazil, Denmark and hosts China will remain commendable.
Los Angeles, Dec 7 (AP/UNB) — The Golden Globe nominations recognized Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's talents as actors, but Thursday's announcement also came with a nod for their soulful duet "Shallow" from "A Star is Born."
They join an impressive roster of music stars who earned Globe nominations Thursday, including Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Dolly Parton, Annie Lennox and Troye Sivan and Jonsi.
Cooper and Gaga were each nominated for best drama acting honors for their performances in "A Star is Born," and Cooper also earned a directing nod.
"Shallow" co-writer Mark Ronson received his first Golden Globe nomination for his work on the song. He told The Associated Press he sent text messages to Cooper and Gaga telling them both, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
"When you go into writing a song for a movie like this, you hope that it's good enough to make it in the film. But to be nominated is amazing," said Ronson, who learned about the nomination after taping a talk show with Miley Cyrus in London. "It's just a really good song. The way (Gaga and Bradley) performed the song takes it to another level."
Gaga said in a statement, "The film has truly been a passion project for everyone involved and we've all become a family."
Lamar, a Grammy winner, and SZA became first-time Globe nominees for their song from the Marvel Studios blockbuster "Black Panther." The superhero film also received a nomination for best original score along with "A Quiet Place," ''Isle of Dogs, "First Man" and "Mary Poppins Returns."
"It's a nice surprise to be woken up. I thought it was another evacuation," said "Quiet Place" composer Marco Beltrami, who had to evacuate from his studio for a week during a massive Southern California wildfire last month.
Dolly Parton and Linda Perry were nominated for "Girl in the Movies" from the upcoming film "Dumplin," while Annie Lennox was recognized for "Requiem for a Private War" from "A Private War" and Troye Sivan and Jónsi for "Revelation" from "Boy Erased."
"Black Panther" composer Ludwig Goransson said he was awakened by his wife who flashed her phone in his face with the news.
"I'm just really proud, but totally surprised," said Goransson, who worked with Childish Gambino on "This Is America." ''You never want to take anything for granted, especially in this business."
It's the sixth Globes nomination for Parton.
Troye Sivan and Jónsi said it was an incredible honor to create the song "Revelation" for the film "Boy Erased" in hopes of spreading the message of love.
The 76th annual Golden Globes will air live on January 6, 2019.
Los Angeles, Dec 5 (AP/UNB) — Kevin Hart has a new job — he will host the 2019 Academy Awards, a role the prolific actor-comedian says fulfills a longtime dream.
Hart announced his selection for the 91st Oscars in an Instagram statement Tuesday. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences followed up with a tweet that welcomed him "to the family."
The announcement came hours after trade publication The Hollywood Reporter posted a story calling the Oscars host position "the least wanted job in Hollywood."
Hart clearly doesn't feel that way, writing on Instagram that it has been on his list of dream jobs for years. The 2019 Oscars will be broadcast Feb. 24 on ABC.
"I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time...To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced this stage is unbelievable," Hart wrote. "I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now.
"I will be sure to make sure this years Oscars are a special one," Hart wrote.
Hart takes over hosting duties from Jimmy Kimmel, who presided over the last two ceremonies, including 2016's flub that resulted in the wrong best picture winner being announced. Last year's ceremony was an all-time ratings low, and the film academy has announced a series of changes to the upcoming show .
Those include shortening the broadcast to three hours, and also presenting certain categories during commercial breaks and broadcasting excerpts of those winners' speeches later in the show.
The 39-year-old Hart has become a bankable star with films such as "Ride Along," ''Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Night School."
Celebrities including Martin Lawrence and Chris Rock, who hosted the ceremony in 2005 and 2016, posted congratulatory messages about Hart's selection Tuesday night.
"Damn I've lost another job to Kevin Hart," Rock posted on Instagram, echoing a joke he told during his 2016 opening monologue . "They got the best person for the job."
Chicago, Dec 3 (AP/UNB) — Bono will speak in Chicago about his efforts to combat AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa.
The lead singer of the rock band U2 is scheduled to appear Thursday at an Economic Club of Chicago dinner meeting. He'll participate in a discussion with Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson, who is also the club's chairwoman.
Bono is co-founder of ONE, an advocacy organization that lobbies governments around the world to address poverty. He also co-founded RED, which partners with well-known brands to raise public awareness of AIDS. It has raised more than $500 million for AIDS prevention and treatment in Africa.
The discussion will be livestreamed on the club's YouTube channel .