January 25, 2017: Oscar Nominations Embrace Diversity, Sundance Tech-Focused Program Highlights Festival's VR Evolution, Trump’s D.C. Hotel Loses $1.1 Million in First Two Months

1. OSCAR NOMINATIONS EMBRACE DIVERSITY: Tuesday morning's Oscar nominations announcement offered a much more diverse lineup compared to last year's, which sparked the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. The Hollywood Reporter: "Seven people of color were among the 20 acting nominees, including best actor nominee Denzel Washington for Fences and best actress nominee Ruth Negga for Loving, and black directors dominated the documentary film category. Thanks to movies like Moonlight (which got six noms), Lion (which collected another six), Fences (with four) and Hidden Figures (with three), diversity was center stage. All four of those films were nominated for best picture, where they will compete with La La Land as well as Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water and Manchester by the Sea. The presence of people of color was most in evidence in the acting categories: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Dev Patel (Lion) were both both nominated for supporting actor, and Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) were nominated for supporting actress. … But before anyone rushes to bring down the curtain on #OscarsSoWhite, April Reign, the writer and commentator who coined the hashtag two years ago, notes that it was created to shine a spotlight on an industry-wide problem when it comes to telling diverse stories on screen. Still, Reign applauded the fact that the movies that are being celebrated this year — which she adds were in development and preproduction even before the first #OscarsSoWhite outcry — cover a wide spectrum, from the story of a young man finding his way under tough circumstances in Moonlight to the accomplished women mathematicians who lend their talents to the space program in Hidden Figures." http://bit.ly/2kp4a31

2. TECH-FOCUSED SUNDANCE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS FESTIVAL'S VR EVOLUTION: This year marks the 11th edition of the Sundance Film Festival's New Frontier program, which highlights the intersection of film and technology. The program's renewed focus on virtual reality has given attendees a sense of how the technology has evolved since it was first introduced in the program five years ago. Variety: "But while New Frontier has shone a spotlight on VR for the past five years, 2017 represents a particularly crucial juncture for the technology. This year’s showcase comes after a full year of availability for all sorts of hardware dedicated to VR viewing. What throughout its tortured history seemed about as commercially viable as jetpacks is now a reality, bringing a newfound urgency to the content exhibited at New Frontier. Which isn’t to say VR is basking in the glow of being The Next Big Thing either. As headset manufacturers from Sony to Samsung have discovered the hard way, adoption of this technology is coming along slowly. To borrow research firm Gartner’s famous 'hype cycle' paradigm, VR currently finds itself in the inevitable 'trough of disillusionment' that hits just about every product innovation cursed by unreasonably high expectations. But part of the blame for what’s held back VR has been assigned to content. The complaints come in all flavors: there isn’t enough content, it’s hard to find on existing platforms, and most damning of all, it’s just not compelling enough to move this market forward. Even VR’s most diehard evangelists—and they were out in force in Park City—concede that it’s time for the technology to make a more lasting impression on consumers than that fleeting 'gee whiz' moment that comes soon after donning goggles." http://bit.ly/2jaq1do

3. TRUMP’S D.C. HOTEL LOSES $1.1 MILLION IN FIRST TWO MONTHS: President Donald Trump’s new hotel in Washington, D.C., has lost more than $1.1 million since opening in September, according to numbers given to House Democrats from a federal agency that leases the hotel. Politico: “The Pennsylvania Avenue hotel, which Trump leases from the General Services Administration, trailed its revenue projections by almost $2.3 million in September and October, House Democrats said in a letter today, citing documents provided by the GSA. In the letter, sent to the agency’s acting administrator, Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings, Peter DeFazio, Gerald Connolly and Andre Carson argued that Trump violated the terms of his lease once he became president because it doesn’t allow elected officials to benefit. They asked the agency to turn over its correspondence with Trump’s company and to show how it’s addressing the issue. … Trump’s team has argued that Trump could not violate the terms of the GSA because Trump was already the tenant before becoming president, while the lease language prohibits a government official from entering the contract. Legal experts have debated that interpretation of the contract’s wording, but the House Democrats previously said the GSA told them it agreed with their reading that Trump is in violation.” http://politi.co/2jwy4lO


CHICAGO:  BCD Meetings & Events has appointed Therese Kelleher senior vice president of enterprise solutions.

DALLAS/FORT WORTH:  Rap duo Run the Jewels and indie act Purity Ring will co-headline the inaugural Fortress Festival, taking place April 29-30 in Fort Worth's Cultural District.

LOS ANGELES:  Retail, dining, and lifestyle destinations the Americana at Brand and the Grove will host Lunar New Year celebrations on January 29 and February 4, respectively. In partnership with the Original Farmers Market, the Grove celebration will include martial arts performances, arts and crafts for kids, a horticulture garden, and festive decor at the Farmers Market. The Americana at Brand event will include traditional lion dances, a performance by Culture Shock L.A., and Chinese calligraphy demonstrations.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The fourth annual Jack McKeon Golf Classic will take place February 13 at Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne.

Rental company Events On The Loose will open its second showroom in West Palm Beach on February 1.

NEW YORK:  The Empire State Building will host its 40th annual Empire State Building Run-Up presented by Marriott. Runners include defending women's champion Suzy Walsham, defending men's champion Darren Wilson, Boston Marathon bombing survivor Roseann Sdoia, and actors Patrick Wilson and Theo Rossi.

Public Art Fund will launch its 40th anniversary season on February 6 with Commercial Break, a citywide exhibition celebrating new-media-based artwork. The exhibition, which runs through March 5, will feature art installations at sites including Times Square, the Barclays Center, and Westfield World Trade Center.

The 19th annual New York Tartan Parade will take place April 8 on Sixth Avenue from 44th Street to 55th Street. Sons of Anarchy actor Tommy Flanagan will be the parade's grand marshal.

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  SeaWorld Orlando's new Seven Seas Food Festival begins February 11. The event includes food, beer, wine, and entertainment and will run every Saturday until May 13.

SAN FRANCISCO:  The 25th annual Noise Pop Festival has announced the final additions to its lineup, which now includes Kelis, Julien Baker, and a DJ set by members of Animal Collective.

TAMPA:  Mainsail Lodging & Development has promoted Tom Haines to vice president of operations. Haines will oversee operations at all hotels in Mainsail Lodging’s portfolio, as well as pre-openings for new hospitality projects.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health will host its fourth annual charity gala, "An Evening for Hope," on April 29 at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from BizBash.com.

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