3:25pm PDT, Mar 15, 2021
Elton John criticizes the Vatican’s ‘hypocrisy’ on new same-sex marriage ruling
Elton John is calling out the Catholic church after The Vatican ruled on Monday that same-sex unions cannot be blessed by priests. According to Reuters, the Vatican’s announcement came in response to questions from different dioceses about whether ministers can bless same-sex unions “in lieu of marriage,” a practice that’s been adopted in countries including the U.S. “Negative,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) said in its ruling, adding that Pope Francis had approved the decision. Elton, who married his longtime partner David Furnish in 2014, was quick to voice his opinion on the news on Twitter Monday. “How can the Vatican refuse to bless gay marriages because they ‘are sin'”, yet happily make a profit from investing millions in ‘Rocketman’ – a film which celebrates my finding happiness from my marriage to David??” he asked, adding the hashtag, “#hypocrisy.” He wasn’t alone. Singer Lauren Jauregui cimed in on the social media platform as well in a series of tweets, one of which pointed to the Inquisition and the Crusades. “I promise you that marrying a couple that loves each other is the least of the Church’s worries as far as disobeying God goes,” she wrote.
Keep reading for the latest on this year’s diverse roster of Oscar nominees, Billie Eilish’s Grammys speech and more …
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Wilmer Valderrama reveals sweet story behind his daughter’s name
New dad Wilmer Valderrama is sharing the sweet meaning behind his daughter’s name. In a new interview with People, the “NCIS” actor, 41, explains that he and fiancee Amanda Pacheco chose to name their little girl Nakano Oceana partly to honor a trip they took to Japan, where they first said “I love you.” “There was something very spiritual about traveling there and really understanding the culture, to take it in, the spirituality of it all. It really touched us. That trip was just so beautiful and eye-opening,” he says. “That was the trip where we decided we would be together, that we would really be together. Japan was a big moment for us. I was really proud of that trip because it really bonded us and gave us this security to just move forward and really plan life and really think about what we both really wanted,” Wilmer continues. The name Nakano specifically comes from a female samurai, Takeko Nakano. “Nakano became something that felt strong, felt unique, felt different,” Wilmer explains. “I thought what a cool, fun little conversation topic for our daughter to have as she grows older. But also, the respect and the heritage, and the tribute to one of those beautiful moments where my fiancée and I said ‘I love you’ for the first time. To commemorate that trip to Japan with our first labor of love.” The couple chose their little one’s middle name, Oceana, as “a tribute” to Amanda, who Wilmer says is “incredibly passionate about the ocean and diving and ocean life.” Wilmer goes on to reveal that he and Amanda started planning to have a family “long before the pandemic,” and plan to wait on their wedding until they can be sure everyone will be safe.
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Viola Davis, Chloe Zhao, more stars make Oscar race history
Viola Davis just became the most nominated Black actress in Oscar history. The 2021 Academy Award nominees were announced on Monday, and thanks to ongoing updates to the organization’s representation and inclusion standards, the announcement included a number of diversity-related “firsts.” Viola’s nod for Best Actress (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) gives her four total acting nominations, the most a Black actress has ever earned. She’s up against Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”), Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) and Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”). Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”) and Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) both made the cut for Best Director, marking the first time two women have been included in the category, according to the New York Times. Elsewhere, “The Sound of Metal” star Riz Ahmed became the first Muslim to be nominated for Best Actor, while Steven Yeun’s “Minari” performance earned him the distinction of becoming the first Asian-American to be nominated in the category. Riz and Steven are joined by fellow Best Actor nominees Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Gary Oldman (“Mank”) and Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”). Overall, David Fincher’s “Mank” leads this year’s Oscar race with 10 nominations, including Best Picture.
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Billie Eilish’s deference to Megan Thee Stallion elicits strong reactions at the Grammys
Strong reactions continued to surface on Monday following Billie Eilish’s guilt-soaked, “I don’t deserve this” acceptance speech at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Billie, 19, picked up her seventh Grammy when she won Record of the Year for “Everything I Wanted,” besting Megan Thee Stallion, whose “Savage” collab with Beyonce won Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance but not the higher-echelon category. “You deserve this,” Billie said, addressing Megan directly. “You had a year that I think is un-toppable. You are a queen… Genuinely, this goes to her … Can we just cheer for Megan Thee Stallion, please?” As critics multiple outlets would later note, the moment was more than a little awkward, if well intentioned, as it sparked memories of other white artists (like Adele in 2017 and Macklemore in 2014) who’ve said their awards should have gone to a Black artist (like Beyonce in 2017 and Kendrick Lamar in 2014). As The Wrap pointed out, Billie — who said in an acceptance speech last year she thought Ariana Grande should have won Album of the Year — “was clearly troubled” by her win, “and maybe the Recording Academy should be, too, because it simply continues the trend that Black artists have more trouble than they should winning” in the top categories. “I hate it when whites do this,” “Slave Play” playwright Jeremy O. Harris groaned on Twitter. Still, lots of other viewers, including Chrissy Teigen, came to Billie’s defense. “Winning record of the year sucks because you can’t enjoy it when everyone’s telling you why you don’t deserve it,” Chrissy tweeted. “People suck,” she added, “and it’s not the record of the year winner.”
Naya Rivera’s fans slam the Recording Academy for leaving her out of In Memoriam segment
Despite an expanded In Memoriam segment at the Grammy Awards over the weekend, two-time nominee Naya Rivera was not included in the video montage of music industry pros who died in the past year — and her fans are not happy. “What about naya rivera @RecordingAcad?” one viewer demanded on Twitter. “One of our most terrible losses this year. It doesn’t matter if she didn’t have a solo musical career of her own, she made history through glee. you don’t find a voice like hers anywhere, she was unique …” Others on Twitter weighed in with similar sentiments, expressing their disappointment with the Recording Academy. “Since the recording academy failed to include GRAMMY-nominated Naya Rivera in the tribute, please take some time to think about her today. #GRAMMYs,” urged a fan. As Grammy host Trevor Noah explained at the beginning of the segment, which rolled on long enough for four separate musical performances, the video tribute would highlight only some of some of those who died in the past year, with the full list of names available online and in the event’s program book. The “Glee” alum, 33, passed away over the summer while on a boating trip in Southern California with her young son, whom authorities believe she saved before drowning.
Ryan Reynolds opens up about being a dad to three girls
For Ryan Reynolds, life’s biggest challenge has nothing to do with acting — it’s being a Girl Dad. During a chat with Alison Hammond on the British daytime show “This Morning” on Monday, the “Deadpool” star was asked which of his various roles in life — actor, businessman, husband or father — was the hardest. “It’s probably Dad, that’s the thing that keeps you up at night. I’ve got three daughters,” he said of the girls he shares with wife Blake Lively, according to the Daily Mail. “They’re like little Rubix Cubes that you can never figure out!” It was the second time Ryan and Blake’s daughters, James, 6, Inez, 4, and Betty, 17 months, got a shout-out on TV this week — when Taylor Swift accepted her Album of the Year award for “folklore” at the Grammys on Sunday, she thanked her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, calling him the first person she plays new music for, then added, “I want to thank James, Inez and Betty and their parents, who are the second and third people that I play every new song that I write.” Ryan returns to the big screen in May alongside Jodie Comer in “Free Guy.”
Buckingham Palace hires external firm to investigate claims Duchess Meghan bullied staff
In a new wrinkle to the ongoing drama between Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan and the royal family, Buckingham Palace has revealed an external law firm will conduct an investigation into claims Meghan bullied royal staff. “Our commitment to look into the circumstances around allegations from former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex is being taken forward but we will not be providing a public commentary on it,” a palace rep told CNN in a report published Monday. In a statement via Meghan and Harry’s spokesperson, the duchess denied the allegations, which were made mostly in general terms, calling them part of “a calculated smear campaign.” While claims regarding Meghan’s alleged bad behavior will get a formal investigation, Meghan and Harry’s claim a senior member of the royal family expressed “concerns … about how dark [their son Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born” will be handled “privately,” the palace said last week. The back-and-forth comes one week after the Sussexes revealed in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey that they faced racism, among other kinds of ugliness, from the royal family prior to their decision to step back from their royal posts. Even Michelle Obama has sounded off on the royal rift at this point. Speaking to “Access Hollywood” recently, the former FLOTUS said she hopes, “… that there is forgiveness and there is clarity and love and resolve at some point in time … because there’s nothing more important than family.”
How Prince Harry honored Princess Diana on U.K. Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day arrived in the U.K. over the weekend and although Prince Harry couldn’t be in England where Princess Diana is buried, he reportedly took care to honor her in his absence. A royal source tells Us Weekly Harry arranged to have flowers placed at his late mother’s grave, which is located in Northamptonshire at the Spencer family’s Althorp estate. Harry’s estranged brother, Prince William, recognized his mother on Instagram in a post shared by the KensingtonRoyal account he shares with his wife, Duchess Kate. “… For those experiencing bereavement, today may be particularly challenging,” the post read, in part. “Each year on Mother’s Day, George, Charlotte and Louis make cards remembering their Granny, Diana, for William.” Diana died in a car accident in Paris in 1997, when she was just 36.
Kim Kardashian says her goal as a lawyer will be to abolish the death penalty
With the final season of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” set to begin airing on Thursday, Kim Kardashian West sat down with Vogue to reflect on the show and what’s next for her as she looks ahead. “Abolishing the death penalty is, like, so high up my list,” said Kim, who’s been studying for the California bar exam, which she hopes to pass in 2024. “And as I have clients that, you know, have gone through close situations like Julius Jones in Oklahoma City that I’m really fighting for,” she explained. “It really makes you stop and just feel that you can’t sit still until they right all of these wrongs.” According to the Daily Mail, Kim currently devotes 18 hours a week to her law studies. She’s been working with Van Jones, among others, in her criminal justice field of interest and hopes to start her own firm at some point. The SKIMS founder will also return to the small screen in late 2020 courtesy of the new content she and her family have signed on to create for Hulu/Star.