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Alfonso Cuaron wins best director Oscar for 'Gravity'

Mexican Alfonso Cuaron won the best director Oscar for 3D space drama "Gravity" on Sunday, as the 86th Academy Awards show drew towards its climax. Cuaron beat fellow nominees David O. Russell ("American Hustle"), Alexander Payne ("Nebraska"), Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave") and Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street"). mt/sst

'Gravity,''Dallas Buyers Club' win multiple Oscars

Space adventure "Gravity" and AIDS drama "Dallas Buyers Club" won early Oscars on Sunday, but suspense remained as the show moved towards its climax and the best picture award. At the halfway point, "Gravity" had won five awards, all in technical categories, "Dallas Buyers Club" took two and "12 Years a Slave" earned a key acting prize at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Offbeat facts about 86th Academy Awards

Here is a selection of interesting and offbeat facts about the 86th Academy Awards, taking place Sunday in Hollywood: - At 23, Jennifer Lawrence, in the running for the best supporting actress Oscar for "American Hustle," is the youngest actress to score three nominations (after "Winter's Bone" in 2011 and "Silver Linings Playbook" last year, for which she won best actress). The previous youngest was Teresa Wright, who was 24 when she won her third nod in 1942.

'12 Years a Slave' poised for Spirit Awards wins, ahead of Oscars

By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Gritty slavery drama "12 Years a Slave" leads the race for the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, as the film community gathers to honor smaller-budget and art house movies that are often strong contenders at the Academy Awards the next day. Directed by Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave" earned seven Spirit Awards nominations including best feature, director, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and best supporting nods for Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o.

'12 Years a Slave' poised for Spirit Awards wins, ahead of Oscars

By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Gritty slavery drama "12 Years a Slave" leads the race for the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, as the film community gathers to honor smaller-budget and art house movies that are often strong contenders at the Academy Awards the next day. Directed by Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave" earned seven Spirit Awards nominations including best feature, director, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and best supporting nods for Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o.

Racial barriers still hold back Hollywood's black talent

By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won the best-acting Oscar categories and Sidney Poitier was honored with a lifetime achievement award in 2002, the night was a watershed for black actors in Hollywood. Since then the debate about Hollywood diversity among the African American community has continued to ebb and flow, but one fact remains constant: nearly all black actors are still only being recognized by the Academy Awards for playing specifically black characters in film.

'Die Hard' director released from jail

"Die Hard" director John McTiernan was released from prison Tuesday after nearly a year behind bars in connection with a wire-tapping scandal, his wife said. Tiernan, whose films also include "The Hunt for Red October" and "The Thomas Crown Affair," was freed from prison in Yankton, South Dakota, his wife Gail told AFP, giving no further details immediately. He spent 328 days in jail, according to a "Free John McTiernan" Facebook page last updated shortly before his release. He was jailed last April.

'Die Hard' director released from jail

"Die Hard" director John McTiernan was released from prison Tuesday after nearly a year behind bars in connection with a wire-tapping scandal, his wife said. Tiernan, whose films also include "The Hunt for Red October" and "The Thomas Crown Affair," was freed from prison in Yankton, South Dakota, his wife Gail told AFP, giving no further details immediately. He spent 328 days in jail, according to a "Free John McTiernan" Facebook page last updated shortly before his release. He was jailed last April.

Hoffman leaves money to long-time girlfriend

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died this month from an apparent heroin overdose, left all his money to his long-time girlfriend and their young son, US media said Wednesday. Under the terms of the will, drawn up a decade ago before the couple's two daughters were born, Hoffman left his estate to Mimi O'Donnell -- from whom he had recently separated -- and set up a trust fund for Cooper. He stipulated that his son be raised in New York, Chicago or San Francisco, or visit at least twice a year to be exposed to the "culture, arts and architecture" on offer.

Philip Seymour Hoffman leaves bulk of estate to long-term partner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died suddenly earlier this month of a suspected drug overdose, left the bulk of his estate to his long-term companion Marianne O'Donnell, according to a will filed in New York court on Wednesday. Hoffman, 46, who won a best actor Oscar for his role in the 2005 biographical film "Capote," was considered to be one of the finest stage and screen actors of his generation.
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