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November 28, 2018

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Toys2019The National Board of Review named Green Book, a period drama starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, as 2018's Best Film on Tuesday.

Mortensen also won the prize for Best Actor for his role in the movie.

Lady Gaga earned the Best Actress honor for her performance in the musical A Star is Born and her co-stars Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott won the awards for Best Director and Best Supporting Actor respectively.

Regina King was voted Best Supporting Actress for her work in If Beale Street Could Talk and the film's writer-director Barry Jenkins was rewarded in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Paul Schrader picked up the prize for Best Original Screenplay for penning First Reformed and RBG was deemed Best Documentary.

The cast of Crazy Rich Asians, including Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh, was selected Best Ensemble. The Incredibles 2 was chosen Best Animated Film.

The National Board of Review's Top 10 Films of 2018 in alphabetical order are:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Black Panther
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Eighth Grade
First Reformed
If Beale Street Could Talk
Mary Poppins
A Quiet Place
A Star is Born

I've only seen Black Panther. I need to get out of the house and see some movies.

Be Well,

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'SpongeBob' creator Stephen Hillenburg dies of ALS

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants, died less than two years after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Nickelodeon announced Tuesday. He was 57. Hillenburg died Monday.

"We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS," said Nickelodeon, which produces SpongeBob. "He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family. Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination."

Hillenburg announced his ALS diagnosis in March 2017, saying he planned to continue working on the cartoon "for as long as I am able."

Hillenburg was born Aug. 21, 1961, at the U.S. Army post Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla. He graduated from Humboldt State University in 1984 with a degree in natural resource planning and interpretation with an emphasis on marine resources. He was a marine biology teacher at the Orange County Marine Institute in Dana Point, Calif., and used his drawing skills to illustrate stories and teaching tools.

In 1992, he earned a degree in experimental animation at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia. He was a director and writer for Nickelodeon's Rocko's Modern Life.

Hillenburg created SpongeBob SquarePants in 1999. The series includes nearly 250 episodes over its 19-year run on the children's network and features the voices of Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass and Clancy Brown.

Multiple feature and television films also have been produced, including the forthcoming It's a Wonderful Sponge.

Nickelodeon said it planned to observe a moment of silence Tuesday "to honor his life and work."

Hillenburg is survived by his wife, Karen Hillenburg, son Clay Hillenburg and mother Nancy Hillenburg.

Netflix plans animated shows based on Roald Dahl's stories

Netflix announced it is working on a slate of animated series based on the stories of Roald Dahl.

Among the children's tales destined for reinvention are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, The Twits, George's Marvellous Medicine, Boy -- Tales of Childhood, Going Solo, The Enormous Crocodile, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Henry Sugar, Billy and the Minpins, The Magic Finger, Esio Trot, Dirty Beasts, and Rhyme Stew.

"Our mission, which is purposefully lofty, is for as many children as possible around the world to experience the unique magic and positive message of Roald Dahl's stories," the late Dahl's wife, Felicity Dahl, said in a statement Monday. "This partnership with Netflix marks a significant move toward making that possible and is an incredibly exciting new chapter for the Roald Dahl Story Company. Roald would, I know, be thrilled."

Many of Dahl's works have already been brought to the big screen, while stage productions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda were recent hits on Broadway.

The author died in 1990 at the age of 74.


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Which former Nickelodeon star says her 'strange' behavior was 'drug-induced'?

Oprah Winfrey honors late mom Vernita Lee: 'She lived a good life'

Oprah Winfrey is paying tribute to her late mom, Vernita Lee.

The 64-year-old media mogul shared a throwback photo with Lee and their extended family Monday following her mother's death last week.

The picture shows Winfrey, her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, and family gathered around Lee at a table. Winfrey thanked fans for their support in the caption.

"Thank you all for your kind words and condolences regarding my mother Vernita Lee's passing. It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at Peace," she wrote.

Lee died Thursday on Thanksgiving at her home in Milwaukee, Wisc. Winfrey's rep told People Lee was laid to rest at a private funeral.

Lee is survived by Winfrey and daughter Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, whom she placed for adoption as an infant. She was preceded in death by her two other children, Jeffrey Lee and Patricia Lee Lloyd.

Winfrey was raised by her grandmother before being sent to live with Lee at six years old and had a strained relationship with her mom. She encouraged fans to have "a perfect love for imperfect people" in an Oprah's Lifeclass in 2013.

Jerry Springer's 'Judge Jerry' courtroom show to debut in fall 2019

Jerry Springer's new television series Judge Jerry, which will feature the television host presiding over a courtroom, is set to launch in fall 2019.

Springer will render verdicts on small-claims cases on the program which will be distributed by NBCUniversal.

Judge Jerry comes after production on new episodes of The Jerry Springer Show ended in June. Springer hosted the daytime talk show for 27 years. Reruns continue to be aired on The CW.

"For the first time in my life, I am going to be called honorable," Springer said in a statement. "My career is coming full circle, and I finally get to put my law degree to use after all these years."

"Judge Jerry will merge Jerry's talent for connecting with people, his incredibly relatable and funny personality and his legal training and governing experience to bring viewers a more entertaining court show," executive VP of creative affairs at NBCUniversal television distribution Tracie Wilson said.

"We are so happy to continue our fantastic partnership with Jerry, who is a proven TV icon with a dedicated and broad fan base," she continued.

Springer, previously a lawyer, served on the city council in Cincinnati and was mayor of the city for one year before he began his television career.

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Which former Nickelodeon star says her 'strange' behavior was 'drug-induced'?

Amanda Bynes says her "strange" behavior of years past was caused by drugs.

The 32-year-old actress recalled in an interview with Paper magazine published Monday how her drug use influenced her bizarre tweets and led to a "really dark, sad world."

"I started smoking marijuana when I was 16," she shared. "Later on it progressed to doing molly and ecstasy. [I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it ... [but] I definitely abused Adderall."

Bynes said her drug use affected her performance on set, making her "scatterbrained" and unable to focus on her lines. It also had a strange effect on her perception and self-image, which led to her abrupt retirement.

"I literally couldn't stand my appearance in [Easy A] and I didn't like my performance," she said, referencing her 2010 movie with Emma Stone. "I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it."

The former Nickelodeon star said she retreated from the spotlight and "got really into" her drug use. She stayed at home "getting high, watching TV" and tweeting bizarre messages about celebrities.

"I'm really ashamed and embarrassed with the things I said. I can't turn back time but if I could, I would," the star said. " And I'm so sorry to whoever I hurt and whoever I lied about because it truly eats away at me. It makes me feel so horrible and sick to my stomach and sad."

Bynes today has been sober nearly four years and will receive her associate degree at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising this month. She warned those struggling with substance abuse that drugs "can really take a hold of your life."

"Everybody is different, obviously, but for me, the mixture of marijuana and whatever other drugs and sometimes drinking really messed up my brain. It made me a completely different person," the actress said. "Be really, really careful because you could lose it all and ruin your entire life like I did."

"Truly, for me, [my behavior] was drug-induced, and whenever I got off of [drugs], I was always back to normal," she added.