Entertainment

‘Roma’ Leads With Ten Oscar Nominations Including For First Time Actress Yalitza Aparicio

The 91st Academy Awards announced their long list of nominations for films released in 2018 — and Latinos scored in a significant way. “Roma helped Netflix finally break into the Oscars for the first with 10 nominations, including Best Picture.

“Roma” tied with “The Favourite” for the most honors leading with ten Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture.

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

“Thank you to the Academy for recognizing ‘Roma’ across these categories,” director Alfonso Cuarón said in a statement, according to CNN. “Human experience is one and the same, and it’s so gratifying that a black and white film about life in Mexico is being celebrated around the world. We are living a great moment in cinema where diversity is embraced by audiences. This kind of visibility pushes our industry forward and creates more opportunity for new voices and perspectives to emerge.”

Yalitza Aparicio, who had never acted before, received a nomination for Best Actress.

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

The 25-year-old, former student, working toward being a teacher, tweeted that she had to be woken up and informed the good news. She said that she’s “Extremely happy” and “was not expecting this news.”

Aparcio’s nomination is the only the second time a Mexican actress has received such an honor for Best Actress. In 2002, Salma Hayek scored a nomination for her role in “Frida.”

Aparicio is the first indigenous woman to be nominated for and Oscar for Best Actress.

Safe to say that her nomination is groundbreaking for an industry that has been plagued with diversity blindspots for decades.

Marina de Tavira received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

Tavira, who played the role of Sofia, the mother. Tavira is a veteran stage and film actress in Mexico.

Alfonso Cuarón received a nomination for Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Screenplay.

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cuarón now has as many Oscar nominations for a single film as two other screen legends including Orson Welles and Warren Beatty. Cuarón is the competitor to beat as he has won most awards he has been nominated for this year as “Roma” continues to dominate the awards shows.

“Roma” is also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

Early on during the film’s initial release, Cuarón supported the idea of alternatives for movies such as Netflix. He said releasing a movie like “Roma” would have been risky if it would have gone simply through the theaters.

“My question to you is, how many theaters did you think that a Mexican film in black and white, in Spanish and Mixteco, that is a drama without stars — how big did you think it would be as a conventional theatrical release?” Cuarón said during a press conference at the Golden Globes. “I just hope the discussion between Netflix and platforms, in general, should be over. I think those guys, platforms and theatrical, should go together…They both together can elevate cinema, and more important, they can create diversity in cinema.”

The only other nomination for the Latino audience is in Best Animated Feature.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is nominated for Best Animated Feature. The story brings an Afro-Latino into the Spiderman universe and pushes him to the forefront as the main superhero.

Who are you rooting for in the 91st Academy Awards?


READ: 21 Reasons Why You Simply Must Watch Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’

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Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

Entertainment

Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

A new teen series has dropped on Netflix that the internet can’t stop talking about. The newest cultural phenomenon that has hit the juggernaut streaming service is a musical series called Julie and the Phantoms, based on the 2011 Brazilian show of the same name.

The series follows a 16-year-old insecure girl named Julie who has lost her love of music after the tragic death of her mother. But with the help of a (stay with us here) band of musical ghosts she stumbles across in her garage, she soon re-discovers her love of singing and performing. Backed by her band of “phantoms”, Julie confidently takes the stage again, blowing everyone away in the process. ,

But the wacky, heartfelt story-line isn’t the only reason people are excited about the show. The buzz around the show is building because its star, 16-year-old newcomer Madison Reyes, is an Afro-Latina singer-actress of Puerto Rican descent.

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Before landing the role of Julie, Reyes was just a regular shmegular Nuyorican girl going to high school in Brooklyn. Needless to say, the process of auditioning for Julie and the Phantoms was both a whirlwind and a game-changer.

“I found out about Julie and the Phantoms through my school. At first I was nervous to send my video in, but after talking to some friends, I sent it in and got a call back,” Reyes told Refinery 29. “From there it was just figuring out when I could fly to L.A. When I finally made it out there, the audition process lasted two days.”

Reyes, for one, understands the burden of her load. “[Julie] is Latin American, she’s got textured hair, she’s a strong and independent female character,” Reyes recently told the LA Times. “As a person of color who wants more diversity [on-screen], I’m kind of scared about the hate comments that I’ve seen other people have to go through, especially women.”

As if having an Afro-Latina actress at the center of a popular Netflix show wasn’t exciting enough, the series is also being helmed by Mexican-American director and all-around legend Kenny Ortega. For those of you unfamiliar with Ortega, he is the creative genius who directed bonafide classics like High School Musical and Hocus Pocus.

Ortega has been publicly effusive in his praise of Reyes. “She has this raw talent that can take on any genre of music, and this promise of greatness that excited everybody,” he told the LA Times. “And yet she’s so relatable and grounded.”

Fans are already calling for a second season after watching the cliffhanger season finale. Reyes, herself, can’t wait to get back in the shoes of Julie. When asked in an interview about where we’ll see her next, she responded: “Hopefully in the next season of Julie and the Phantoms!”. We second that wish.

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‘Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris Is Being Held In Federal Custody For Child Pornography Charges

Entertainment

‘Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris Is Being Held In Federal Custody For Child Pornography Charges

Update: September 23, 2020

After being arrested last week by the FBI, it has been decided that Netflix’s “Cheer” star Jerry Harris, the “Cheer” fan favorite will remain in federal custody on child pornography charges.

According to reports, Harris has been charged in federal court with the production of child pornography. The charge stems from a criminal complaint filed against Harris alleging that he sought sexual acts and photos from boys as young as 13 at cheerleading competitions.

Harris was scheduled to appear before a court magistrate on Thursday to face the charge. The charge of the production of child pornography comes with a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if he is convicted.

The charges are connected to Harris’ alleged advances on a 13-year-old cheerleader. Harris, who was 19 at the time, was soliciting photos and videos from the minor on Snapchat in 2018. The charge also states that Harris confronted the young cheerleader in the bathroom at a cheerleading event and asked for solicited oral sex.

The news continues to shock and surprise people on social media.

The news broke earlier this week that the FBI had opened an investigation into Harris because of a complaint filed claiming the sexual misconduct. The charge includes several photos, videos, and messages sent between Harris and minors demanding sexually explicit images from the minors.

Harris has been held at the MCC in downtown Chicago since his arrest. According to the Chicago Tribune, Harris admitted in an interview with FBI agents that he solicited lewd images and sex from one of the minors who reported him on several different occasions. The complaint states Harris also admitted to soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat from “at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors.”

Harris, 21, gained national attention earlier this year when he was introduced to Netflix viewers in a six-part docuseries called “Cheer.”

The series followed the nationally ranked Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team as they prepared for a Daytona Beach competition. Fans of the show became captivated by Harris a cheerleader whose positivity and energy seemed utterly contagious. Soon after his appearance on the show, Harris rocketed to stardom and made appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” nabbed interviews with Variety magazine, and even made a guest appearance on the cheerleading themed song “Mas(k)ot” by Todrick Hall.

A recent revelation however is revealing that Harris’ standing as a lovable household name is no longer.

Recently, fans of Harris learned of an FBI investigation into him is underway and regards allegations that the celebrity cheerleader solicited sexually explicit photos as well as sex from minors.

In a statement to USA Today, Siobhan Johnson, a FBI special agent and public affairs officer said that “The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area.”

The criminal investigation stems from allegations brought forward by 14-year-old twin brothers. The two minors claim that Harris made them endure a pattern of harassment, both online and at cheer competitions. The two claim the harassment started when they were 13 and Harris was 19 and continued for over a year.

At the start of August, Varsity Brands, a private company that governs the cheerleading industry, reported to police in Florida and Texas that its Chief Legal Officer Burton Brillhart had learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris. Brillhart reported the information to police officials as required by law.

“Harris is accused of asking one of the brothers to have sex with him in 2019 at two Varsity cheerleading competitions,” reports USA Today.

“As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future,” Brillhart wrote.

Brillhart described Harris as a former employee and emphasized that he was no longer actively working for Varsity at the time of when the alleged incidents took place.

The current lawsuit against Harris claims that the Netflix star solicited explicit photos from the twin brothers and also asked one of the twins for oral sex.

Last week, Harris denied the accusations.

“We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager,” a spokesperson for Harris said in a statement to Variety last week. “We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”

The twin brothers are seeking $1 million in damages. If convicted Harris could face a minimum of 15 years in prison.

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