LA Film Festival Features Diverse Slate of Films, Directors

While the rest of Hollywood lags behind, the LA Film Festival continues to break the mold with its robustly diverse programming.

The festival begins Wednesday and includes a slate in which 42% of the films playing are directed by women and 40% by filmmakers of color.

The festival includes the directorial debut of actress Lea Thompson, who directs herself and her daughters Zoey and Madelyn Deutch in “The Year of Spectacular Men” and Whitney Cummings’ ensemble relationship pic “The Female Brain,” with Sofia Vergara and James Marsden.

Festival Director Jennifer Cochis says the numbers are due to exhaustive outreach, a diverse programming staff and a shared goal of amplifying underrepresented voices.

The festival begins Wednesday in Culver City with the premiere of Colin Trevorrow’s “The Book of Henry.” (AP)

CBS, NBC Also Refuse to Air Trump Advertisement

CBS and NBC have joined CNN in refusing to air an advertisement that lists President Donald Trump’s accomplishments while blaming the “fake news” media for not reporting on them.

Trump’s campaign team also says ABC would not air the ad, although an ABC representative did not immediately respond to queries on Friday. CNN said it did not air the ad because its request to eliminate a “fake news” graphic was refused. NBC similarly cited the “incorrect” graphic that was shown over the face of NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell, among others.

CBS isn’t commenting on why it turned down the ad.

The Trump campaign is using the networks’ refusal in fundraising pleas and says the decisions “set a chilling precedent against free speech rights.”

David Letterman Replaces Neil Young at Rock Hall Show

David Letterman will replace an ailing Neil Young as the person inducting Pearl Jam into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Friday.

According to a statement from the hall, Young “is regrettably no longer able to induct Pearl Jam” due to illness and is “thrilled” that former TV talk-show host Letterman will substitute. Pearl Jam made its “Late Show with David Letterman” debut in 1996 with a version of “Hail, Hail.”

In addition to Pearl Jam, the new rock class incudes the late rapper Tupac Shakur, ELO, Journey, Nile Rodgers, Joan Baez and Yes. The ceremony will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland. (AP)

Tribeca Film Festival to Close With ‘Godfather’ Reunion, Screenings

The 16th Tribeca Film Festival will close with a “Godfather” cast reunion and a back-to-back screening of parts one and two of Francis Ford Coppola’s classic saga.

Tribeca announced Wednesday that the 45th anniversary screenings will be followed by a conversation with Coppola, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall, James Caan and Talia Shire. Robert De Niro, co-founder of the festival, naturally, will also join.

The New York festival also plans several other anniversary celebrations. A 25th anniversary of “Reservoir Dogs” will be followed by a chat with Quentin Tarantino and the cast. A sing-along will be held for the 25th anniversary of Disney’s “Aladdin.” And Michael Moore will be at the festival for the 15th anniversary of his “Bowling for Columbine.”

Tribeca will take place April 19-30. (AP)

Coroner Says George Michael Died of Natural Causes

A British coroner says George Michael died of natural causes as the result of heart disease and a fatty liver.

Darren Salter, senior coroner for Oxfordshire, says a post-mortem has found that the singer died of “dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver.”

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart’s ability to pump blood is limited, while myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle.

Michael died at his home in Oxfordshire county, southern England, on Dec. 25. He was 53. An initial autopsy failed to determine the cause of death.

Salter said Tuesday that because Michael died of natural causes, no inquest will be held. (AP)

Robert Osborne, Face of TCM, Dies at 84

Robert Osborne, the genial face of Turner Classic Movies and a walking encyclopedia of classic Hollywood, has died. He was 84.

Jennifer Dorian, general manager of TCM, announced Osborne’s death Monday. A publicist for the network said he passed away Monday in New York.

Osborne, who began his career as an actor, was a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter. He was the on-air host of Ted Turner’s fledgling classic movie network from its inception in 1994. He was there from the start, to introduce “Gone With the Wind,” and remained Turner Classic’s primary – and often sole – host since.

For TCM viewers, Osborne was a constant and calming presence. He introduced films with bits of history and trivia, and conducted interviews with stars about their favorite old films.  (AP)

Drake Shatters American Music Awards Nominations Record

Drake earned a record-breaking 13 American Music Awards nominations on Monday, shattering Michael Jackson’s mark of 11 nominations in a single year from 1984.

Rihanna got seven nominations and Adele and Justin Bieber tied with five each. Beyonce and The Chainsmokers each received four nominations. Bryson Tiller, Twenty One Pilots, Carrie Underwood, Fetty Wap and The Weeknd earned three nominations each.

Nominees for artist of the year are Adele, Beyonce, Bieber, Drake, Selena Gomez, Adriana Grande, Rihanna, Twenty One Pilots, Carrie Underwood and The Weeknd.

Nominees for the title of new artist of the year are Alessia Cara, The Chainsmokers, DNCE, Shawn Mendes and Zayn.

The awards show will air live Nov. 20 from Los Angeles on ABC (AP)