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›  These 'La La Land' Songwriters Are Also Behind Your Latest Broadway Obsession

Before a shower of Academy Awards rain down upon all those associated with  “La La Land” on Sunday, let’s take a moment to remember that two of the film’s nominees are also responsible for the biggest musical theater hit of the year.

Years before Mia and Sebastian danced among the stars, composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul were already being hailed as the heirs to Rodgers and Hammerstein. With the debut of their celebrated new musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” currently playing at the Music Box Theatre in New York City, Pasek and Paul are poised to become the premier songwriting team working today. 

The two first met during their freshman year at the University of Michigan where they were both studying musical theater. Bonding over the shared embarrassment of being the two worst dancers in a ballet class, Pasek and Paul soon turned their attention to writing songs. After a transformative apprenticeship with “Avenue Q” co-creator Robert Lopez, the duo began developing an impressive resume filled with musical adaptations of movies like “Dogfight” and “A Christmas Story.” 

But it was “Dear Evan Hansen” that catapulted Pasek and Paul into the upper echelon of the musical theater community. Starring Ben Platt of “Pitch Perfect” as the anxious teenage depressive boy next door, “Dear Evan Hansen” has all the trappings of a hit modern musical. After a classmate he barely knew commits suicide, high schooler Evan (Platt) inserts himself into the lives of the deceased’s family, as he struggles with his own demons and self-confidence. The irresistibly catchy ballads pair well with the story of a teenager grappling with his place in the world, as big themes of love and loss are boiled down to a fiercely relatable level.

As the “Dear Evan Hansen” team was preparing for the show’s Broadway debut, the two already had their eye on another project: Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land.” In a pitch to the director, Pasek and Paul wrote the proposed lyrics for the song “City of Stars,” which garnered the duo a Golden Globe award earlier this year and is nominated for an Academy Award. Chazelle was immediately impressed, describing the duo as a “goldmine,” and the rest is award show history. 

Although “La La Land” and “Dear Evan Hansen” have little in common thematically ? one is consumed by nostalgia, while the other is decidedly forward-thinking ? in Pasek and Paul’s eyes, the two productions do share a connection. 

Speaking with The New York Times in November, Pasek said, “I think we’re attracted to material that’s hopeful and messy, and in that mess, there’s an attempt at getting at truth.”

Get to know Pasek and Paul a little better in the interview below. 

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  19 Reasons Your Obsession With Dev Patel Is Justified

We need to talk about Dev Patel

The 26-year-old British Indian actor could walk away with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Lion.” In the film, Dev plays Saroo Brierley, a man desperately searching for his family in India after being separated from them at the age of 5. 

It’s a great, fiery performance that deserves recognition in and of itself, but there’s another reason we’re rooting for him. Just read this tweet:

That is a huge deal. On-screen representation matters, and it’s especially important for Asian actors. According to a 2016 diversity study, Asian actors nabbed only 3.9 percent of speaking roles in film ? a stark contrast from the 73.7 percent white actors receive.

That’s not the only reason we’re pulling for Dev to win an Oscar, though. Below, a few reasons why we’re obsessed with the Oscar-nominated actor: 

— Before receiving all this Oscar buzz for “Lion,” Dev was in 2008’s massive hit “Slumdog Millionaire” and was equally amazing in that. Remember when he danced like this and low-key stole your heart? 

— He was also great on HBO’s “The Newsroom,” playing a blogger and the office’s resident computer geek.

— He was super cute back then, of course.

— But right around the time of “The Newsroom,” something began to change. Our nerdy-cute pretend boyfriend started to grow into his looks in a major way. It’s like one day the hair gods smiled down at Dev and said, “Hey, ‘Slumdog’ guy, it’s time to grow out that hair and drive everyone crazy with lust for your locks.” 

And grow it out he did. The swooshy-hair era began and nothing has been the same since. Dev has pretty much blossomed into full babe mode now. 

Woah, right?

— Those curls.

Seriously, THOSE CURLS.

— And dat smile.

— He also has a beautiful, classical profile. And the beard is good, too. (Let’s give credit where credit is due, guys.)

— He’s so good at posing for photo shoots, his side hustle should be modeling. (But please don’t stop acting, Dev.) 

— Then there’s his accent. Dev pulls off a pretty convincing Aussie accent in “Lion,” but his real-life British lilt will melt your heart.

Sigh. Please never stop touching your hair.

— All awards season long, Dev has been a big booster of Sunny Pawar, the adorable 8-year-old who plays the younger version of his character in “Lion.”

Like, he literally boosts him up: 

Sunny very impressively carries the first half of “Lion” all by himself and Dev gives him credit for that every chance he gets.

“He’s so incredible in this film, and I share this nomination with him in a big way,” Dev told the Los Angeles Times recently. 

Don’t pretend you weren’t deeply affected by the cuteness of their introduction of “Lion” at the Golden Globes. 

Same, girl, same. 

— Who’s he taking to the Oscars? Apparently, his mom, Anita. “That’s her moment,” he told the LA Times. “I’m her guest.”

D’aww. Here they are at a 2009 British awards party.

Gotta love a man who respects his mama.

— We also want him to win because we’re positive he’d be so humble and bashful during his acceptance speech. Just look at how he reacted to his name being called for his SAG award nomination. 

— And in spite of all the Oscar buzz surrounding him, Dev realizes we’re living in politically tumultuous times and there’s weightier things happening in the world right now. Here’s what he told the LA Times on the SAG Awards red carpet:

“At times like this, you’re constantly questioning what you’re doing at awards like this or promoting a movie. It feels so pointless. I look to the people around me and they remind me the message of this film, of the art we’re trying to inject into the world right now. It’s about unification,” he added. “When I think about that, it makes me have a little bit more strength.”

— Oh, and another thing: He’s an animal lover. (Dev + doggo = happy us. And loud squee-ing noises, to be honest.)  

— On another shallow note, boy fills out a suit quite well. 

— And in case you were wondering, he has a mean street-style game, too.

— We’re in good company in our Dev devotion. Ellen DeGeneres gave him the title of “Sexiest Man Alive” when he visited the show back in January. So well deserved, even if Dev was like, “Aw, shucks, me?”

And his “Lion” co-star Nicole Kidman recognizes his swag as well. 

Watch out, Keith Urban.

— Heck, even his ex-girlfriend and “Slumdog Millionaire” co-star Freida Pinto gave him props on Instagram for his Best Supporting Actor Oscar nom.

So clearly, he’s best supporting ex-boyfriend, too.

Now would be a good time to mention what a ridiculously good-looking couple they were a few years back.

So pretty.

— Lastly, Dev’s work on “Lion” didn’t end when he was done filming. He’s been busy promoting #LionHeart, a social impact campaign which will provide financial support to the over 11 million children who live on the streets of India. Here’s our boy asking people to contribute: 

In conclusion, Dev Patel is a super talented actor and a stand-up guy with amazing hair. 

Cheers to you, Dev. We’re pulling for you and your epic curls Sunday night!

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›  The Story Behind That Photo Of Leo Texting After His Oscar Win

It took Leonardo DiCaprio five nominations to win an Oscar and one photo to prove he was chill about it. 

You remember the one: Leo, seated away from the crowd at the Vanity Fair party, head bent over a phone while his Oscar sits on the floor between his legs. Just a casual night out in an Armani tux.

Evidence of an A-lister acting normal after scoring Hollywood’s biggest prize is made for online vitality, and the Leo photo didn’t disappoint. Even Oscar winners need to text their buddies, right?

Jeff Vespa, a veteran celebrity photographer who used to work for Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, was the lucky person to snap the picture. Vepsa has captured Hollywood events since shooting the “Bulworth” premiere in 1998. On that fateful Oscar night last year, he spotted DiCaprio in a corner, an entourage flanking him. Vespa asked to grab the Best Actor winner for a few posed shots, to which his publicist responded, “No problem, just give him a minute.” 

Vespa noticed DiCaprio set his Oscar on the floor, which struck him as interesting. Who would let go of their coveted little gold man? “That alone is crazy,” he said. “You just don’t see that.” And then, like the parting of the Red Sea, the crowd surrounding DiCaprio dispersed, leaving the actor typing on his phone. There was Vespa’s moment. He seized it. “Literally after, I saw the people move back in front of him, obscuring the view,” Vespa said. 

So goes the clamor of post-Oscar photographs. Vepsa is a key figure in that scene, having co-founded WireImage, the entertainment platform that Getty Images acquired in 2007. Vespa has shot the Governors Ball and the Vanity Fair party ? two illustrious Oscar galas ? for more than a decade. Having befriended many celebrities and their publicists throughout his tenure, which includes serving as official photographer of the Sundance and Toronto film festivals, Vespa has captured defining backstage moments now lodged in the Oscars’ glitzy history.

“My life is lived in a matter of seconds,” Vespa said. Miss an unlikely interaction or the shimmer of a winner’s golden statues, and that’s that. 

For the time time in years, Vespa will sit out Sunday’s Oscars. He directed his first film last year, the historical drama “Amre,” so Vespa is stepping away from certain photographic duties to embrace the other side of Hollywood. Soon, the photographer could become the photographed.

In the meantime, The Huffington Post has a gallery of Vespa’s celebrity images over the years. You can see more on his Instagram.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  A Quick Guide To This Year?s Oscar Best Picture Nominees

The battle for Best Picture at the 89th annual Academy Awards is stacked with incredible performances from some of Hollywood’s best. With films like “La La Land,” “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures” all competing for the industry’s top prize on Sunday, you might find it tough to choose which movie to root for. But don’t worry ? we’ve got you covered. 

To help you decide which nominee deserves your support, we compared past fan favorite films with this year’s nominees. And don’t forget to tune in to the Oscars this Sunday to see which film takes home the golden statue!

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›  Watch Beyoncé's Stunning 20-Year Evolution In This 20-Second GIF


A new GIF, created by the people behind the website aromahq.com, features 20 years of Beyoncé looks, one each year from 1997 to 2017. And it’s pretty remarkable, especially considering Bey has been a staple in pop culture for two full decades now.

Beyonce is 35-years-old and was only 15 when Destiny’s Child landed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1997.

“From a social standpoint, she hasn’t missed a step over the years,” a rep from aromahq.com told HuffPost. “She... continues to just expand her star power consistently by being a great performer and putting out good music.”

Plus, it’s also tons of fun to see all of the phases and styles she’s had over the years. We mean, she’s gone from this:

To this:

And now this:

And this:

It’s been a pleasure to see her grow and evolve. Here’s to 20 more years, B!

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Sidney Poitier And Denzel Washington?s Longstanding Connection Is About More Than Oscars

Denzel Washington has always admired the historic achievements of Sidney Poitier. This year Washington made some history of his own by becoming the only African-African actor to land seven Oscar nominations, and is on the verge of becoming the first black actor to win three Academy Awards.

Washington has often referred to Poitier as a mentor, and said that the actor was instrumental to his own career trajectory.

In a 2010 discussion with TimesTalks, Washington credited Poitier for advising him to be prudent about his selection of movie roles, specifically referencing a offer he got in 1986 to star in film he referred to as “The N****r They Couldn’t Kill.”

“I called Sidney and told him ‘man they are offering me $600,000 to play the ‘N****r They Couldn’t Kill,’” Washington recalled. “And he told me, ‘I’m not going to tell you what to do. But I will tell you this, the first, two, three or four films you do in this business will dictate how you are perceived.’ He didn’t tell me what to do, I give him credit for that. So I turned it down and 6 months later I got ‘Cry Freedom’ and got an Oscar nomination.”

With the help of Poitier’s sage advice, Washington has evolved into one of Hollywood’s most bankable actors.

Poitier’s daughter, Beverly Poitier-Henderson, sees Washington’s long relationship with her father ? the two actors initially met in 1982 during Washington’s role in the off-Broadway production “A Soldier’s Play” ? as having a indirect impact on the increasing diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.

“Denzel has climbed that hill and he’s very instrumental in helping others come after him, that my father was very keen of as well,” Beverly Poitier-Henderson told The Huffington Post. “He [Poitier] would be the only black person on the set sometimes. He would inquire as to why there weren’t any black people working the set, all of that kind of stuff. So he helped open up not just the field of acting, but the movie industry in general.”

In 2002 the actors shared a monumental Oscar moment when Poitier won the Honorary Award, while Washington and Halle Berry took home the awards for Best Actor and Best Actress. The trio’s triumphant win marked the first time in Oscar history that three black actors dominated the ceremony’s top three categories.   

In a 2008 interview, Poitier reflected on the significance of Washington winning Best Actor 38 years after he had broke barriers in the same category.  

“It represented progress. It represented dimensionalizing of the film industry. It meant the embracing of a kind of democracy that had been very long in maturing,” Poitier said. “It was an example of the persistence and the effort, and determination of young people of color...It was a spectacle evening. I paid then, and I pay now a great respect to Denzel Washington. He has been a quintessential element in the finest of all American actors.

Poitier continued: “[Washington] had taken the concept of African-Americans in films to a place where I couldn’t, I didn’t. And he has taken it there with the same kind of integrity that I tried to articulate. So I thank him for that.”

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›  Women Are More Than What They Wear At The Oscars

It’s common practice on the Oscars red carpet for interviewers to ask the women in attendance, ”Who are you wearing?” before they ask about their accomplishments. It’s an old tradition, and it’s one that needs to die hard because, let’s face it, nobody asks the men the same question.

You might say, “If they don’t want to be asked, then they shouldn’t dress up so fancy-like!” But just because someone dresses up for a formal event, doesn’t mean they’re dying to tell you about who designed their clothing. Instead, maybe they’d like to talk about their inspirations, their journey to this monumental achievement, or their philanthropic work.

We’re not saying to never ask about fashion. Some people love this part of the Oscars, and that’s cool. We’re just saying it doesn’t need to dominate every interview with a woman. Let’s hope this year at the Oscars that reporters ask women on the red carpet more than who they’re wearing.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Before He Disappeared, Richard Simmons Was A Beacon Of Hope To Thousands Of Fans

Upon hearing the name “Richard Simmons,” you’re likely reminded of a handful of things: the hair, the outfits, the dancing.

Yet none of these associations ? these bits of iconography connected to Simmons and his exercise legacy ? speak to the multifaceted and goodhearted person Simmons truly is.

Dan Taberski’s podcast, “Missing Richard Simmons,” is attempting to change that.

“Missing Richard Simmons” launched earlier this month, asking viewers a simple question: What happened to Richard Simmons? The exercise sensation has seemingly fallen off the face of the earth in the last few years, abandoning his workout classes, devotees and, most unfortunately, his friends. The public intrigue behind this question, percolating for the past three years, has driven the podcast to the top of iTunes’ charts.

Taberski, as he explains in the podcast, was friendly with Simmons ? he regularly attended his Los Angeles classes and has, on occasion, visited Simmons’ home. After a bit of digging, Taberski found that potentially thousands of others had established similar relationships.

In short, Simmons was this bubbly, friendly guy who would prolong going to the hospital for an injury just to take a photo with a fan. He’d make daily calls to someone he’d met one time, who lived across the country, just to check in on them. He’d drive elderly fans to classes when they couldn’t make the trip at night.

So, how does someone who gives the world so much goodness decide to make a complete 180 and disappear? I talked to Taberski on the phone about his endeavor to find Simmons and what drove him to embark on this podcast.

“I think there’s a lot of answers to that,” Taberski explained. “I am extremely worried. I am concerned. I do think something’s going on. I don’t know what it is. I don’t mean to get grim here ? I’m hoping everything’s great. I’m hoping at the end of this process Richard and I reconnect and get to talk and he gets to go live the life he wants. I hope the hundreds of people who loved him and are his friends and don’t understand what’s going on, that they get an answer too. I hope that’s what happens.”

He took a pause before elaborating further.

“There are countless stories of celebrities who just want to be left alone,” he added, “and people have thought there’s something wrong [when there’s not]. But then there are others where you hear about the horrible ending that they’ve had. I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen to him ... He’s not just retired. He’s not just taking time off. He’s not still working behind the scenes to continue the work he’s been doing for the past 40 years. That’s all been abandoned and [his management and publicist] are not acknowledging that. There’s something scary about this that I think is worth pursuing.”

The thing about Simmons that Taberski kept coming back to in our discussion was his empathy. Simmons had seemingly boundless amounts of it. According to Taberski, Simmons would wake up at 4 a.m., spending his morning calling up to 50 people a day who “were isolated, alone and lived in the middle of nowhere.” They might have been experiencing problems with their weight, health, self-esteem or levels of happiness. Simmons would listen to their stories and “give to them just empathy ? for free!”

“He did that for a decade,” Taberski said. “He helped thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people with that empathy.”

One can imagine how much effort it takes to be present for so many individuals; how much energy it must take to forge those bonds. In light of this, I asked Taberski if he felt that Richard owed us (the podcast listeners, his friends, etc.) his presence now.

“We’re not owed anything. Straight up,” Taberski replied. “Richard Simmons owes us nothing ... I have a feeling that Richard Simmons is isolated and alone and needs some empathy. I think, and how I see this project, this is a chance for us to return that favor. Sometimes, that requires being a little pushy, but sometimes the best friends are the pushy ones. It comes from love. And I hope he sees it that way.”

Taberski explained that Simmons’ intense relationships with people are what help make the podcast so much deeper than just finding out what he’s been up to.

“This isn’t just Richard Simmons’ story,” he said. “This isn’t a story about a celebrity and the fans who miss him. This is also about people who know him and miss him. This is their story, too.”

Taberski said that just as Simmons gave so much to these people, they gave something to him in return. And the general concern for Richard is one that stems from “sheer love, respect and confusion.”

“There’s not a vindictiveness, no one’s like, ‘That asshole!’ It comes from a complicated place, but it comes from a place where people really feel for him and want him to be OK,” Taberski said. “I just want to understand. I feel like what I’m doing is what I hope I’d do for any friend. If they’re doing something weird, you push it a little bit to make sure they’re OK. I envy his ability to connect with people ... I really think he’s a superhero in that sense. It astounds me how giving he is to other beings.”

According to Taberski, the podcast is currently planning to roll out only six episodes, despite his ability to talk about Simmons “until he turns blue.” And he wants everyone to know that his plea to Simmons at the end of each episode to reach out and get in touch with him is genuine.

“There’s no secret like, ‘We know how it ends!’ and we’re just playing coy. This is an open investigation. And ‘investigation’ sounds so serious. But this is an open-ended project,” he said. “I want this to create enough of a ripple that it moves Richard to respond. Just a phone call or something. I’m trying to get his attention. That’s the end goal right now. We don’t know how it ends.”

When I asked Taberski if he’s hoping for a Richard Simmons renaissance at the end of all of this, he said that no, he wasn’t. Instead, he’s hoping for Richard to find peace.

“I don’t feel like [Richard] has it now,” he concluded. “I don’t feel like anyone who knows him has it now. It’s a sinking feeling that I’m just not quite willing to put aside yet.”

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At only 13 years old, aspiring astronaut and devoted “Hidden Figures” fan Taylor Richardson is leading quite the philanthropic cause. 

Earlier this week, Richardson was deemed GoFundMe’s February “Hero of the Month” after raising $17,000 through the fundraising website for people throughout the nation to go see the hit movie. “Hidden Figures” is centered around three black women mathematicians who played a pivotal role in sending the first American into space.

“I hope [the movie] inspires them to know they can do anything they put their mind to,” Richardson told The Huffington Post earlier this week.  

Thus far, Richardson and her mother have given over 800 people the opportunity to attend a free screening of the movie (with snacks) and ? for a number of them ? receive the Hidden Figures book.

Richardson said her initial infatuation with “Hidden Figures” came after her regal experience attending The White House Hidden Figures in Space Exploration event in December where the movie was screened. 

“It shows me that women, and especially African-American women, can do anything a guy can do and anything a white male can do,” she said of the movie. 

Richardson said her initiative to send people to free screenings initially targeted young girls, but she and her mother later decided to broaden the audience. 

“We wanted to have other groups see not just what three black women did, but just to know [of our] contributions,” Richardson’s mother said. 

While the two know the movie won’t compel everyone to aspire towards having a career in space, like it has with Richardson, they hope that through the Hidden Figures books, kids will at least be able to develop a heightened interest in literacy, something Richardson has regularly been working towards in her community.

When she was nine years old, Richardson said she encountered a young boy at a hospital who didn’t have easy access to books. After that, she decided to hold broke drives in her hometown in his honor called “Taylor Takes Flight With A Book.”

To date, Richardson has collected and donated over 5,000 books in Jacksonville and read to over 300 children. 

She’s also worked on an anti-bullying campaign with the CEOs of Florida First Coast YMCA and Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

But Richardson’s philanthropic trajectory isn’t what’s made her mother most proud: it’s her resilience. 

“I tell people all the time: what makes me most proud of Taylor is not what you hear and all these success stories, but how she handles her failures,” her mother told HuffPost.

But the persevering spirit of Richardson ? who was bullied, held back in the second grade and once struggled with literacy ? can best captured in the way she turned around her ADHD diagnosis. 

“She calls ADHD: Abundantly Different Happily Divine,” her mother said. “I hope I live to see her go Mars.”

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  11 Times The Oscars Honored White Actors For Playing People Of Color

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made strides to become more diverse in recent years, but there’s a long road ahead to make up for the organization’s long legacy of exclusion.

Throughout its 90-year history, the Academy has not only failed to recognize the talent of many actors and actresses of color but awarded whitewashed roles in the industry.

Hollywood has consistently given diverse roles to white actors over the years; in fact, quite recently Tilda Swinton was cast as a Tibetan monk in 2016’s “Doctor Strange.” And the Oscars haven’t helped alleviate this long-standing issue by rewarding this kind of whitewashing. 

Several notable white actors have been nominated for an Oscar for portraying people of color through the years. Many of them have actually won. 

Take a look at 11 times the academy has nominated actors for blackface, brownface and yellowface. 

Jennifer Connelly, “A Beautiful Mind”

Jennifer Connelly portrayed Alicia, the wife of mathematician John Nash in 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind.” In real-life, Alicia Nash (born Alicia Lardé) was Salvadorian. The actress, who has no Latin American roots, won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the role.

William Hurt, “Kiss of the Spider Woman”

In “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” William Hurt plays Luis Molina, a queer South American prisoner. The film was adapted from Argentine author Manuel Puig’s novel of the same name. Hurt, a white man who doesn’t identify as LGBTQ or Latino, won an Oscar for Best Actor for the role in 1985. 

Linda Hunt, “The Year of Living Dangerously”

Actress Linda Hunt won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1983 for portraying Billy Kwan in “The Year of Living Dangerously.” In the film, Kwan is a Chinese-Australian male photographer with dwarfism working in Jakarta, Indonesia.

 Laurence Olivier, “Othello”

Shakespeare’s “Othello” is a Christian Moor, who is often portrayed as having a dark-complexion. Legendary British actor Laurence Olivier wore blackface when he portrayed Othello in the 1965 film version. The actor was nominated by The Academy in the Best Actor category for the role. 

George Chakiris, “West Side Story”

Greek-American actor George Chakiris portrayed Bernardo, leader of the Puerto Rican gang The Sharks in “West Side Story.” He, as well as other white actors portraying Latino characters in the film, darkened their complexion with make-up. Chakiris won an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category for the role. 

Hugh Griffith, “Ben-Hur”

Hugh Griffith portrayed Sheik Ilderim, an Arab character who owns the horses Judah ends up using in his chariot race, in 1959’s “Ben-Hur.” The British actor won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role. 

Spencer Tracy, “The Old Man and the Sea”

Fans of Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea might recall the book’s titular character is a Cuban fisherman. But in the 1958 film adaptation of the novel, Spencer Tracy was given the titular role. The actor, who is not Latino, was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category for his role. 

Yul Brynner, “The King and I”

Yul Brynner, who is mainly of Russian descent, starred as the King of Siam (present-day Thailand) in the 1956 musical “The King and I.” The actor won an Oscar in the Best Actor category for the role. 

Marlon Brando, “Viva Zapata!”

Hollywood brought the story of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata to life in the 1952 film “Viva Zapata!” The titular role went to Marlon Brando, who is not Latino. The actor was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category for the role. 

Luise Rainer, “The Good Earth” 

“The Good Earth” is a 1937 film based on the historical novel of the same name, its story focuses on a family of Chinese farmers. Actress Luise Rainer wore yellowface to portray O-Lan, one of the film’s protagonists, and she took home an Oscar for Best Actress for the role. 

Gale Sondergaard, “Anna and the King of Siam”

Gale Sondergaard portrayed Lady Thiang, the king’s head wife, in “Anna and the King of Siam.” The actress, who is not of Asian descent, was nominated for the role in the The Academy’s Best Supporting Actress category. 

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›  The Essence Women In Hollywood Event Was Full Of Black Girl Magic

Essence magazine held its 10th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills on Thursday night, where four black women were honored for their contributions to the entertainment industry. 

Among the nominees were Aja Naomi King of “How to Get Away With Murder”, Yara Shahidi of "Black-ish", Janelle Monae of "Hidden Figures" and Issa Rae of "Insecure." The four women each took the stage to accept their awards at the Beverly Wiltshire Four Seasons, where guests in attendance included Gabrielle Union, Tina Knowles, Cynthia Erivo and Viola Davis. 

The event will air on March 5 on OWN, but until then, check out some of the beauties who attended below: 

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  How Demi Lovato Is Using Her Voice To Elevate Mental Health

Demi Lovato is the poster child for mental health advocacy.

The “Body Say” singer has been forthright about her bipolar diagnosis and addiction for years, establishing herself as an outspoken champion for the cause. Now she’s hoping to step back from the mental health spotlight a bit and use her platform to elevate the stories of others, starting with a new documentary.

“It’s important for me to open up a new chapter in my life,” she told The Huffington Post. “I’ve shared a lot about my past and my experiences with my mental health condition and it’s important that now it’s about other people. I want to raise their voice as well.”

Lovato’s getting her start with “Beyond Silence,” a film that follows three people who learned to live well with their own mental health conditions. Rather than being on camera, Lovato is the executive producer ? a role that’s entirely new for her.

“These stories really stick out to me,” she said of the documentary. “I’m very excited that people are going to be able to hear about their journeys.”

The film is a project of Be Vocal: Speak Up For Mental Health, a campaign Lovato’s been involved with since it was started in 2015 by the National Alliance for Mental Illness, the Jed Foundation, Mental Health America, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and the National Council for Behavioral Health. Through Be Vocal, which focuses on starting conversations about mental health, Lovato shared about her treatment for bipolar disorder and even went to Capitol Hill to campaign for better mental health reform in America.

Even though the singer is now working to promote other people’s experiences over her own, she doesn’t intend to let her own voice completely fade. Lovato knows that she can’t step away from the advocacy podium entirely ? and she doesn’t want to.

“It feels great to be a role model for this cause because I’m just being myself,” she said. “There’s no burden. As an advocate it’s something that I’m passionate about.”

She also hopes that by continuing to talk about her own experiences, it encourages others to do the same ? or, at the very least, seek support. This is particularly true when it comes to professional treatment, which Lovato says helps immensely with her own psychological wellness.

“The biggest surprise for me is how many people are afraid to talk about mental health,” she said. “Therapy is something everyone should try. I think that whether you have a mental health condition or not it’s good to talk to somebody ? especially someone who is a licensed professional.”

I think that whether you have a mental health condition or not it?s good to talk to somebody ? especially someone who is a licensed professional.?
Demi Lovato

Approximately one in five American adults will experience a mental health condition in a given year. It’s not uncommon, then, for people to need treatment to manage those issues. But research suggests stigma and poor misconceptions about mental health often stand in the way, preventing people from seeking the professional care they deserve.

Lovato’s advocacy can help change that in significant ways. Experts say that celebrity testimonies can help chip away at the negative stereotypes attached to mental health conditions. It also tells the world that a person with a psychological disorder can not only manage it, but thrive in spite of it.

“When celebrities are willing to be open about their mental health challenges it helps to convey that people can be successful ? and even famous ? and have mental health issues,” Victor Schwartz, the chief medical officer of the Jed Foundation, told HuffPost. “Speaking up about these issues makes it clear that mental health conditions are all around and are not anything to be ashamed of.”

Ultimately, Lovato hopes that talking about mental health and lending her status to others who want to share their stories will prove that wellbeing is a holistic issue. The brain, she stresses, is a critical part of your body, after all.

“Wellness is not just about being happy,” she said. “It’s about taking care of yourself and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health.”

Head over to Be Vocal to see the documentary and check out the mental health panel above hosted in partnership with HuffPost, in which Lovato and the cast talk more about psychological wellbeing.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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