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The Oscar Race Is All About Gaga vs. Glenn—But What About Women of Color?

Much has been made of the competition between Lady Gaga and Glenn Close in this year’s Oscars race for Best Actress, and for good reason: It’s an interesting narrative. Gaga has been characterized as an underdog, a Hollywood newcomer, for her breakout role in A Star Is Born (despite being a global superstar and winning a Golden Globe for acting in 2015). Glenn Close, meanwhile, has a long, illustrious career and is the record-holder for most Best Actress nominations without a win; she could finally receive her due for her role in The Wife. It’s intriguing to see these two industry titans go head to head, yes, but a question concerning this category still remains for me: What about lead actresses of color?

It’s been 17 years since Halle Berry made history as the first black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress. Since then, only a handful have been nominated—and no woman of color has won. Despite the efforts of #OscarsSoWhite and calls for mainstream recognition of minority actresses, the disparity within this particular category seems to have gone largely unnoticed. It’s frustrating, and I’m not alone in this:

There is good news: Yalitza Aparicio made history this year as the first indigenous woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role as Cleo in Alfonso Cuaron’s stunning Roma. It’s a meaningful achievement, as indigenous people lack basic representation in the industry and are rarely given these kind of thoughtful, developed parts in major studio films.

Aparicio’s nomination is important and exciting, but she is the only woman of color present in the category despite several landmark leading roles for women of color this year. Where is the nomination for Viola Davis in Widows? Or Regina Hall in Support the Girls? What about Kiki Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk or Amandla Stenberg in The Hate U Give? Was Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians even considered? These women defied the one-dimensional tropes often allotted to minorities thanks to filmmaking worthy of their talent. For so long, the film industry has only been able to conceive of black, brown, and Asian woman as ancillary parts to white narratives. This year, I saw so many women of color in charge of their own narratives.

One of my favorite performances, for example, was Regina Hall’s Lisa in the indie comedy Support the Girls. Lisa is the benevolent general manager of a Southern Hooters-style restaurant, and she struggles to balance the needs of her employees with the needs of her household and own wellbeing. Hall grounds what could be a chaotic character, nailing every scene with palpable sincerity. But Hall’s introduction into distinguished award spaces comes at a strange but typical time for black women. Last November, she was the first black woman to win the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress—a statistic that I think should’ve sparked more backlash.

But the lack of urgency regarding women of color in the film industry is hardly a surprise. A short-lived discussion regarding this topic occurred last year, when the Los Angeles Times revealed its magazine cover for a lead actress roundtable featuring only white women. Jessica Chastain, an outspoken feminist and champion of diversity in Hollywood, responded to the controversy on Twitter, saying, “the industry needs to become more inclusive in its storytelling.”

According to awards pundits and predictions, Glenn Close is slated to take home this year’s Oscar for Best Actress because of the Academy’s failure to recognize her in the past. It’d be nice to see the Academy show the same sense of duty to women of color.

The Oscar Race Is All About Gaga Versus Glenn—but What About Women of Color?

Much has been made of the competition between Lady Gaga and Glenn Close in this year’s Oscars race for Best Actress, and for good reason: It’s an interesting narrative. Gaga has been characterized as an underdog, a Hollywood newcomer, for her breakout role in A Star Is Born (despite being a global superstar and winning a Golden Globe for acting in 2015). Glenn Close, meanwhile, has a long, illustrious career and is the record holder for most Best Actress nominations without a win; she could finally receive her due for her role in The Wife. It’s intriguing to see these two industry titans go head to head, yes, but a question concerning this category still remains for me: What about lead actresses of color?

It’s been 17 years since Halle Berry made history as the first black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress. Since then, only a handful have been nominated—and no woman of color has won. Despite the efforts of #OscarsSoWhite and calls for mainstream recognition of minority actresses, the disparity within this particular category seems to have gone largely unnoticed. It’s frustrating, and I’m not alone in this:

There is good news: Yalitza Aparicio made history this year as the first indigenous woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role as Cleo in Alfonso Cuaron’s stunning Roma. It’s a meaningful achievement, as indigenous people lack basic representation in the industry and are rarely given these kind of thoughtful, developed parts in major studio films.

Aparicio’s nomination is important and exciting, but she is the only woman of color present in the category despite several landmark leading roles for women of color this year. Where is the nomination for Viola Davis in Widows? Or Regina Hall in Support the Girls? What about Kiki Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk or Amandla Stenberg in The Hate U Give? Was Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians even considered? These women defied the one-dimensional tropes often allotted to minorities thanks to filmmaking worthy of their talent. For so long, the film industry has only been able to conceive of black, brown, and Asian woman as ancillary parts to white narratives. This year I saw so many women of color in charge of their own narratives.

One of my favorite performances, for example, was Regina Hall’s Lisa in the indie comedy Support the Girls. Lisa is the benevolent general manager of a Southern Hooters-style restaurant, and she struggles to balance the needs of her employees with the needs of her household and own well-being. Hall grounds what could be a chaotic character, nailing every scene with palpable sincerity. But Hall’s introduction into distinguished award spaces comes at a strange but typical time for black women. Last November she was the first black woman to win the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, a statistic that I think should’ve sparked more backlash.

But the lack of urgency regarding women of color in the film industry is hardly a surprise. A short-lived discussion regarding this topic occurred last year, when the Los Angeles Times revealed its magazine cover for a lead actress roundtable featuring only white women. Jessica Chastain, an outspoken feminist and champion of diversity in Hollywood, responded to the controversy on Twitter, saying, “The industry needs to become more inclusive in its storytelling.”

According to awards pundits and predictions, Glenn Close is slated to take home this year’s Oscar for Best Actress because of the Academy’s failure to recognize her in the past. It’d be nice to see the Academy show the same sense of duty to women of color.

The Best Picture Oscar Nominees, Ranked By Their Chance At Winning

This is, without question, the most wide open field I can ever remember at the Oscars. There are five movies I’d legitimately consider putting money down on, if given enticing odds, and I have absolutely no idea who is going to end up winning. It’s utter chaos, and I love it.

That being said, I think there is a rough order of where things stand right now, based on how much love the films got in other categories, how well each did during the precursor ceremonies and what the buzz on the street is like. So, prior to any of the campaigning that’s about to go on, I’m going to take my shot at ordering the field. As always, feel free to bookmark this page and scream at me when it turns out I was way off base.

Bohemian Rhapsody

What a world. After parting ways with its director in the middle of production, Bohemian Rhapsody originally was headed for dark places. The mediocre reviews that followed didn’t seem poised to help a ton, but then fans started flocking to the film and loving it. Good word of mouth spread quickly, and suddenly the film found itself in the middle of awards season as a real contender, even outside of the Rami Malek Best Actor nomination that was always coming. It ultimately won Best Drama at the Golden Globes and now, here we are. There was such backlash after the Globes win, however, that you’d have to think it won’t win here. Stranger things have happened, but I think all involved should enjoy their nomination and be content knowing they produced one of the most seen and liked films of the year.

Vice

With only pretty decent reviews and much of the chatter centering on its incredible acting performances, Vice‘s Best Picture nomination is definitely the most surprising of the group, but in a vacuum, it also has a lot going for it. Today, the film picked up additional nominations in a ton of categories, including major ones like Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Original Screenplay. Normally, that combination would be enough to push a film to favorite status, but Vice is definitely going to be too political for some voters. It’s also widely considered, even amongst its supporters, to be a worse film than The Big Short, which lost all of its categories back in 2016 except for Adapted Screenplay.

Black Panther

It’s a good day for Black Panther. There’s no arguing that. The film picked up seven nominations and hopefully proved once and for all that superhero films can and should be considered among the top echelon of work being produced in Hollywood. There’s a very good chance the movie might clean up on some of the technical awards, as well, but its case for Best Picture is a bit harder to make. It didn’t pick up nominations in any of the acting, directing or screenplay categories, and it even missed out on editing. Typically, you want a wide variety of nominations to show broad support from different branches of the Academy. That being said, there is a lot of love for Black Panther. It’s a movie that was almost universally liked by fans, critics and people within the industry, and that puts it in a better spot than the two movies above.

The Favourite

Three acting nominations were all but certain for The Favourite, and in some ways, its Best Picture nomination seemed like a slam dunk too. What I was interested to watch for was how it did in other categories, and the answer is very well. It also got nominations for directing, screenplay and a bunch more, ultimately tying Roma for the most with ten. Leading the pack in nominations does matter, and The Favourite is definitely in play. Anecdotally, however, I think there is more respect for what the film tried to do and how weird it is than there is genuine love for the movie itself. That’s not to say people don’t love the movie, but there haven’t been nearly as many for or against type editorials as we’ve seen for the other major contenders. It’s almost as if everyone is happy it’s getting recognized but also content to fight for other things.

A Star Is Born

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Remember when everyone assumed A Star Is Born was going to coast to victory? Well, it has lost a whole lot more than it has won this awards season, and while eight nominations is nothing to scoff at, that’s still less than both Roma and The Favourite. In addition, Bradley Cooper missing out on Best Director seems like a comment on the quality of the film itself, and it’s hard to look at the larger picture and see any real momentum. It’s still a leading contender. I wouldn’t be shocked if it won, but there is no way A Star Is Born is the frontrunner anymore, which would have been unthinkable a few months ago.

BlacKkKlansman

Outside of John David Washington missing out on a Best Actor nomination, it’s hard not to see today as validation for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. The film picked up six nominations, and it did so across a lot of branches. We’ve got acting, directing, screenplay, editing and score. There’s also just a lot of positive buzz around the film, and it all seems to be peaking at just the right time. Editing and directing are typically really good signs, and so is overachieving on nomination day. There were some who thought BlacKkKlansman might not be recognized at all. As such, this big performance today will vault it back into the spotlight, and you’ll likely start seeing editorials written about how it deserves to win.

Green Book

Well, Green Book certainly hasn’t suffered from a lack of conversation. When the film was originally released, it was met with mostly solid reviews and a feeling of “hey, that was a nice story.” Then it started picking up awards buzz and the editorials about how it wasn’t progressive enough or how the story may not be exactly accurate followed. Later, there were less than flattering stories about the director and one of the writers published, and yet, it still won at the Golden Globes and picked up five nominations today. I tend to agree with the pundits that Green Book will likely clean up with older voters, and in a split field, that may be enough. I don’t know. A few weeks ago, I would have put Green Book as the frontrunner, but it feels like it’s losing steam.

Roma

I think Roma has the best chance of winning. It tied for the most nominations. It has a ton of good buzz. People love Alfonso Cuaron. Most of the things you look for in a potential winner are here, except it has two glaring, huge shortcomings. First, it’s a foreign language film, and second, it’s a Netflix movie that only received a token release in order to qualify. Those might not be huge issues to you, but they’re two big issues to a lot of people. Whether people should see Roma or not, there are plenty of everyday Americans who will never give it a chance because they don’t feel like reading something, and there are voters who will never vote for a Netflix movie because they think the theater experience has to be protected. So… can Roma overcome all of that? I bet yes, but I’m not confident at all.

Ultimately, I have no idea exactly what’s going to happen over the next few weeks. That uncertainty always makes the Oscar race exciting, but the key difference this year is that instead of two or maybe three total movies fighting with each other, damn near everything on the board is actually in play. That’s incredible, and it should make for one of the most exciting Academy Awards in a long time. So, keep it here for more Oscar coverage than you can handle over the next few weeks, and please let us know in the poll below who you think is going to win…

What Will Win Best Picture?

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Leaked Toy Design Possibly Reveals Pepper Potts’ Avengers: Endgame Armor

Since the devastating release of Avengers: Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been in a fascinating state of flux. Marvel Studios had been keeping its secrets, with the after affects of Thanos’ finger snap of death (aka The Decimation) a total mystery. The first brief trailer for Avengers: Endgame may have arrived, but the film’s actual contents are unknown by the public.

There are plenty of rumors swirling around about Endgame, one of which revolving around Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts. The OG girl of the MCU has been rumored to be gearing up in her own Iron Man armor, after the actress revealed a few photos when working on the upcoming blockbuster’s set. Now a possible leak of upcoming action figures may have revealed what the suit will look like. That is, except for the helmet.

While these images are a bit bizarre (where are their heads?), you can see Pepper’s possible armor on the middle left. It seemingly matches up with what we’ve seen from Gwyneth’s social media, so it should be fascinating to see how things shake up as Endgame slowly approaches.

This new image comes to us from Twitter. While not confirmed by Marvel Studios, this possible suit reveal does track, given what we’ve gathered about Pepper Potts’ upcoming Endgame role over the past year or two. While not quite as guilty of spoilers as Mark Ruffalo and Tom Holland, Gwyneth Paltrow has been known to be chatty about her role in the MCU. Even if she’s never seen an Avengers movie.

In addition to posting photos wearing motion capture suits from the the set of Avengers: Endgame, Paltrow has also been a bit chatty about Pepper’s mysterious fate in the next blockbuster. For instance, she mentioned months ago that she and Tony had a kid. And since they were child-less in Infinity War, this seemingly gives away her character’s fate, and could tease a time jump for Endgame.

Marvel fans have been waiting to see Pepper Potts suit up and kick ass in the MCU since her character debuted back in 2007’s Iron Man. In the comics, Pepper Potts has used her own suit a number of times, taking on the superheroic mantle of Rescue in the process. Rescue’s armor has a variety of different abilities than Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit. Rather than being equipped with destructive weaponry, her abilities are more defensive, including the heavy use of electromagnetic force fields.

It should be fascinating to see which rumors about Pepper Potts come to fruition, and how much she’d suited up throughout the course of Avengers: Endgame. Since Tony is stranded in space with Nebula, it might be the perfect time for Pepper to become Rescue, and save the love of her life.

Avengers: Endgame will arrive in theaters on April 26th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Anne Hathaway Is Quitting Drinking for 18 Years

Anne Hathaway has never had a public reputation as a big partier or drinker. Even so, she didn’t love the role alcohol was playing in her life—so she quit last October.

The actress opened up about her decision in a recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, though she says the change isn’t necessarily permanent. It does, however, have a lot to do with Jonathan, her two-year-old son with husband Adam Shulman. “I’m going to stop drinking while my son is living in my house,” she told DeGeneres, “just because I don’t totally love the way I do it, and he’s getting to an age where he really does need me all the time in the morning.”

“I did one school run one day where I dropped him off at school; I wasn’t driving, but I was hung over and that was enough for me,” Hathaway continued. “I didn’t love that one.”

Hathaway shared a story about another time drinking impacted her work: a hungover business meeting after a night out with Matthew McConaughey, her costar in the upcoming film Serenity, and his wife, Camila Alves. “We drank the night away, and then I had to go to a meeting with Steven Knight, our director, the next day, and I was just kind of…have you guys ever had to go to a meeting hungover?” Hathaway asked the audience. “I was just kinda stumbling in with one eye open, and I was trying to convince him about certain things about my character.”

“And at the end of it I said, ‘Listen, I have a confession. I was hungover the entire time.’ And he just goes, “Oh, really? I couldn’t tell,'” Hathaway said. “Then two days later we had another meeting and I showed up and he said, ‘Oh, now I can tell.'”

See the full interview, below:

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The Man Behind Billionaires’ Row Battles to Sell the World’s Tallest Condo

Mr. Barnett in the sales office of Central Park Tower, where potential clients can sip Champagne while listening to a marketing pitch.
Mr. Barnett in the sales office of Central Park Tower, where potential clients can sip Champagne while listening to a marketing pitch. Photo: Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal

Gary Barnett was sitting in his Manhattan office one morning in the fall when his old-fashioned flip phone started to buzz. On the line was a real-estate agent who was marketing the New York developer’s latest condo project, a soaring 1,550-foot tall building known as Central Park Tower. With a total projected sellout of more than $4 billion, the skyscraper is the country’s priciest-ever condominium project and, when complete, will be the tallest residential building in the world.

The agent had bad news. Mr. Barnett had agreed to reduce a condo’s asking price, but now the client refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement concealing the details of the deal. Mr. Barnett’s response: Turn him away. “If we’re going to give someone a special deal, we don’t want them saying it all over the market,” he said.

This is a harsh new reality for Mr. Barnett, who has made a fortune fulfilling the real-estate dreams of the world’s elite. The Extell Development Co. founder kicked off the U.S. condo boom with One57, the first of the supertall towers that line the 57th Street corridor now known as Billionaires’ Row. The building’s penthouse sold for $100.5 million in 2014 to tech mogul Michael Dell, the record high for New York City.

His success opened the door for other high-end towers across the city, permanently altering the Manhattan skyline. “The frenzy around One57 gave everyone the idea that this was a market that was ripe to be harvested,” said real-estate appraiser Jonathan Miller.

Central Park Tower is by some measures more audacious than anything that’s preceded it. The supertall skyscraper will feature panoramic views of the city and offer amenities like indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a 1,000-foot-high private club and a basketball court. Of the building’s 179 units, no fewer than 18 are priced above $60 million.

Gary Barnett kicked off the U.S. condo boom with One57. Central Park Tower, shown in a rendering, is the company’s latest project on Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row.
Gary Barnett kicked off the U.S. condo boom with One57. Central Park Tower, shown in a rendering, is the company’s latest project on Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row. Illustration: Wordsearch (Rendering)

Mr. Barnett is marketing this super-luxury tower in a challenging climate: Manhattan home sales plunged by 14% in 2018, the steepest drop the industry has seen since the financial crisis in 2009, according to a report by brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Today, developers are slashing prices amid an oversupply of new luxury condos.

Some people wonder if Mr. Barnett will become a victim of the condo explosion he helped create. The great Manhattan condo boom “started with One57,” said Mr. Miller, “and it may end with Central Park Tower.”

Earlier this week, Mr. Barnett announced that he had hired Sush Torgalkar, formerly the chief operating officer of Westbrook Partners, as CEO to assist in managing the company’s growth. Mr. Barnett will stay on as the company’s chairman.

A self-described “poor boy from the Lower East Side,” Mr. Barnett grew up as Gershon Swiatycki, the son of a Talmudic scholar. His entry into the world of luxury goods came in 1980s, when he met his late wife Evelyn Muller, whose father owned a diamond business. Mr. Barnett traded precious stones in Belgium for over a decade before starting to invest in U.S. real estate.

Arriving at the sales office in a dark suit with black sneakers and a bold, flowered tie that he said is “probably 20 years old,” the 63-year-old developer is an unlikely purveyor of luxury homes. An observant Jew who largely eschews the flashy trappings of the industry, Mr. Barnett lived in Queens until moving recently with his wife and children to the heavily Orthodox suburb of Monsey, N.Y., about an hour’s drive north of the city. (He keeps a one-bedroom unit at One57 to make more time for work.)

Mr. Barnett’s refusal to give up the antiquated flip phone is a source of indulgent eye-rolling from colleagues. He often avoids computers, said a person who has worked with him; instead, his assistant prints out his emails and leaves them on his desk, where he annotates them in what one employee describes as “serial-killer scrawl” for staff to decipher.

He’s “a total nerd,” real-estate agent Nikki Field said affectionately. “He’s not a New York developer personality in any way.”

Other Manhattan developers thought Mr. Barnett was crazy when he started building One57 in 2010, the depths of the real-estate downturn. And after no major U.S. lenders would back him, he turned to the Middle East to obtain financing from two of Abu Dhabi’s wealthiest investment funds.

His gamble paid off handsomely. As One57 started sales, U.S. economic growth snapped back. As one of the few new luxury condo buildings on the market, One57 attracted billionaires from Russia, China and the Middle East. The condominium is the first ever New York City building to break the $100 million threshold for a single condo.

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Central Park Tower faces a far more crowded field of competitors—including One57, where Extell still has units to sell. Approximately 3,763 new Manhattan condo units are in the pipeline for 2019, followed by an additional 4,539 in 2020, new development marketing firm Corcoran Sunshine said late last year. By contrast, in 2011 when One57 started sales, only 277 Manhattan new units launched.

Today, the builders of pricey mega-towers “are going to find themselves in a lot of trouble,” said Andrew Gerringer of the Marketing Directors, a development-marketing firm. “Those are just going to be really difficult to sell.”

But Mr. Barnett is pulling out all the stops. In a newly opened sales office at Central Park Tower, potential buyers sip Champagne and Johnnie Walker Black Label amid a onyx-clad walls and Lalique crystal chandelier. In a dimly lighted room with 14-foot ceilings, strains of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” fill the air as New York City landmarks are projected on the walls—Yankee Stadium, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building. “Is there any place that has symbolized individual success and collective ambition as boldly as New York?” booms the voiceover, describing Central Park Tower as “1,550 feet of steel, ambition and aspiration anchored to 40,000 square feet of Manhattan schist…a shimmering beacon of class, optimism and chutzpah.”

Central Park Tower has already overcome some hurdles. When real-estate company Vornado Realty Trust started planning a competing condo two blocks north, Mr. Barnett stalled the project by taking control of a parking garage on Vornado’s property in addition to other property and air rights it owned on the block. Then Mr. Barnett refused to let Vornado tear down the parking garage to make way for its tower. The dispute was eventually resolved in 2013 when Vornado agreed to pay Extell $194 million for development rights on the block. As part of the settlement, both developers agreed to move their towers slightly so they both could have Central Park views.

Lining up financing for Central Park Tower was also a challenge, since banks have pulled back from financing ultra-luxury condos amid worries of oversupply. Mr. Barnett cobbled together debt from a public offering on the Israeli bond market and tapped the EB-5 program, which grants green cards to foreigners who invest in the U.S. He also brought on SMI USA, the U.S. subsidiary of the real estate investment firm Shanghai Municipal Investment, as a co-developer. Ultimately, Mr. Barnett began construction on Central Park Tower using Extell’s own funds before securing the money to finish it, an unusual move on such a large project. He had built more than 10 stories before J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. agreed to provide a $900 million construction loan. Now he must sell $500 million in apartments at Central Park Tower by December 2020 and pay down $300 million of his loan to J.P. Morgan Chase by the following year, according to information disclosed to Israeli bond investors, who have money in the project. If he fails to meet those deadlines, the bank can increase his interest payments.

Extell has many units to sell in addition to Central Park Tower, including One Manhattan Square on the Lower East Side, which has roughly 800 units.

Of the 179 units in Central Park Tower, no fewer than 18 are priced above $60 million.
Of the 179 units in Central Park Tower, no fewer than 18 are priced above $60 million. Photo: Dorothy Hong for The Wall Street Journal

In an email to brokers last month, Extell advertised major incentives at its projects, saying it would pay three to five years of common charges on any Extell condo purchased before the end of 2018—at Central Park Tower, that could save the buyer of a full-floor apartment about $120,000 per year. That incentive wasn’t renewed for 2019, although Extell is still paying 50% of brokers’ commission upfront and says it will roll out new incentives soon. With buyers “saying they’ll wait a little bit and see if prices come down more,” Mr. Barnett explained, “we want to give them an incentive to act.”

He declined to say how many units he’s sold at Central Park Tower, noting only that traffic had been “decent” and that he isn’t concerned about missing financing deadlines. “We’re certainly going through a dip in the market, but we’re priced for that dip,” Mr. Barnett said confidently. In the current market, he added, “you’ve got to be a little more flexible on price.”

Extell is also leveraging the roster of billionaires it accumulated during One57’s glory days. But the strategy could backfire, especially as sellers who bought condos there a couple of years ago are suffering losses. In one instance, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll sold a One57 unit for $54 million, over $1 million less than what he paid in 2014. One57 has even seen a foreclosure, a rarity in New York’s high-end real estate. In 2017, an apartment that had been owned by shell companies linked to a Nigerian businessman sold in a foreclosure auction for $36 million, far less than the $50.9 million purchase price in 2014.

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But these challenges seem to be part of the allure for Mr. Barnett, who said in comparison to his former business, he relishes the complexity of New York City real-estate deals. “These buildings are amazing buildings—they’re complicated, they’re fine-tuned,” he said. “Diamonds are a much simpler business.”

‘Billionaires’ Row’ Boom
Completed in 2015, One57 helped turn nondescript 57th Street into ‘Billionaires’ Row.’
Completed in 2015, One57 helped turn nondescript 57th Street into ‘Billionaires’ Row.’ Photo: Dorothy Hong for The Wall Street Journal

Since the emergence of ‘Billionaires’ Row’ in Manhattan, home values in the area have skyrocketed.

An analysis of sales data looked at transactions between 2010 to 2018 of homes from 57th to 59th streets between Park Avenue and Broadway. During that time, the median sale prices leapt 64.3%, from $1,261,406 in 2010 to $2,072,500 eight years later, according to Streeteasy.com. By comparison, the median home sale price across Manhattan rose 25.7%, from $835,000 to $1.05 million, during that same period.

—Candace Taylor

Write to Katherine Clarke at katherine.clarke@wsj.com and Candace Taylor at candace.taylor@wsj.com

Appeared in the January 18, 2019, print edition as ‘The Man Who Reshaped the Manhattan SKYLINE.’

Drake’s Newest Tour Is Called ‘Assassination Vacation,’ And He’s Hitting The Road With A Former Rival

Though Drake spent a good portion of late 2018 on the road with Migos for his Aubrey & The Three Migos Tour, the roadshow wasn’t without its own minor controversies. The rapper ended up cancelling seven dates between the tour kickoff in August and its completion in November, including stops in Denver, Miami, and one hometown show in Toronto.

But all that’s in the rearview already. The Scorpion rapper announced a new string of shows — his first in 2019 — hitting Europe this spring. The Assassination Vacation tour kicks off March 10 in Manchester, England and wraps April 26 in Amsterdam.

Oh, and it’s not just Aubrey this time — he’s bringing onetime rival Tory Lanez along with him, too. After squashing that beef at OVO Fest in 2017, the pair are now heading to Europe on the same bill.

Tickets for the Assassination Vacation trek go on sale this Friday (January 25) right here. You can see the full list of dates in Drake’s IG post above.

8 Biggest Snubs From The 2019 Oscar Nominations

Going into this morning’s Oscar nomination presentation, a lot of people probably thought they had a good idea what to expect. And for the most part, things went largely as expected. A Star is Born got nominations for acting and music. Roma had a very good morning, as did its director Alfonso Cuaron. However, a lot of names we expected to hear were surprisingly missing.

There are always a few surprise nominees, and that means there are always a few names left off the final ballots. However, this year the list of snubs feels even more shocking than recent years. Here are the deserving films and people that the Academy completely forgot this year.

Bradley Cooper – Best Director

A Star is Born was expected to compete in numerous categories and it certainly will. It received acting nominations in three of four categories, nominations in sound mixing and cinematography, and one for Best Adapted Screenplay. Conspicuous by its absence, however, was a nomination for Bradley Cooper as Best Director. While this was Cooper’s first directing gig, many fully expected him to get a nomination. Actors turning directors have frequently been rewarded by the Academy (Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson), but this year, that transformation didn’t even warrant a nomination. Considering all the other places the movie was recognized, not recognizing the person who brought it all together seems odd.

Mary Poppins Returns – Best Actress/Picture

While the Best Actress category is absolutely stacked with some deserving nominees and powerful performances, there were a couple of surprise nominations, and that meant that a couple of more expected names weren’t going to make the cut. Emily Blunt not getting nominated for her performance in Mary Poppins Returns feels like a serious mistake was made somewhere along the line. Many felt that Mary Poppins Returns was a surprisingly strong follow-up to the original, and since that film won Julie Andrews an Oscar, many expected the sequel to at least get a nomination for Blunt. The film was also left off of the Best Picture slate. Blunt also missed out on A Quiet Place, in a year where some predicted she could get love for BOTH films.

Eighth Grade

Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade has a total of 237 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the number deemed negative is three. This movie was one of the most universally loved films of the year. It had one of the most powerful performances of the year from an actress who is all of 15-years-old. And yet, somehow, the movie was entirely shutout of the Oscar nominations. No acting nomination for Elsie Fisher. No directing or writing nomination for Burnham. Nothing in Best Picture. It seems like everybody loves this movie, except, somehow, all the people who nominate for the Oscars. It feels like the Academy just forgot this movie existed, which seems impossible to do for most of the people who have actually seen it.

If Beale Street Could Talk – Best Director/Cinematography/Picture

If Beale Street Could Talk had a solid morning today with three good nominations. The screenplay and score both received nominations, as did Regina King for Best Supporting Actress. However, that recognition put into sharp relief two places where Beale Street got snubbed. Barry Jenkins was nominated for his screenplay, but not for his skills as a director. In a move that was probably related, If Beale Street Could Talk was also left off the slate of Best Picture nominees. One other surprising snub was that the film wasn’t nominated in the cinematography category, a place where it has received praise from many other corners during the awards season.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – Documentary Feature

Documentary feature isn’t usually a category that a lot of people care about, and yet this year, if you were paying attention, it was likely because of one of the films that did not get nominated. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the documentary about children’s television host Fred Rogers, received universal acclaim and certainly seems to have been one of the more widely seen documentaries in recent memory. And yet, somehow, it did not get a nomination. While other films can make do with snubs in one category with nominations in another, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? only had one shot, and Mr. Rogers got denied.

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians felt like a watershed moment in a lot of ways. It was the first movie with an exclusively Asian cast in years. It was one of the best romantic comedies in recent memory, and to top it all off, it was successful at the box office. The film has received some awards consideration, and so it seemed likely that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences would recognize the film in some way. And yet, we sat through the entire presentation of all the nominees and didn’t hear the title of this film once.

First Man – Best Supporting Actress/Score/Picture

First Man hasn’t received the universal love from audiences and critics that Damian Chazelle is used to receiving. However, the movie has done just as well during awards season. Justin Hurwitz won the Golden Globe for his score to the film, and yet the music did not receive a nomination today. Likewise, the performance of Claire Foy, which was regarded by many as the strongest of the film, went without any recognition. It felt like a Best Picture nomination was also in this movie’s future, so not receiving it felt surprising. First Man did walk away with four technical awards.

First Reformed – Best Actor

First Reformed has been something of an under the radar film, in large part because it was released back in May rather than waiting for the heated awards season of the fall. However, the film made a number of critics’ top 10 lists for the year and a large part of the reason for that was Ethan Hawke‘s remarkable performance. Hawke has been nominated for Academy Awards before but has never won. His body of work is incredibly well regarded, and whether or not that’s supposed to matter, we all know it does. The movie wasn’t entirely forgotten, however, as it did receive a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Every Oscar year has surprise snubs. It doesn’t make the performances of those who are overlooked any less impressive. In a few years, most people will likely forget who was even nominated anyway. Still, it’s nice when great work gets recognized as such, and in these cases, some truly great work did not get the love it deserved.

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Black Panther Had A Great Oscar Nomination Morning

It was a very exciting morning for the world of movies, as the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were announced. Hosted by the always delightful Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani, the film industry and fans tuned in to see which projects were recognized by the Academy, and will be battling to snatch some trophies when the ceremony airs in February.

Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther had a ton of buzz surrounding it before the nominations, with the Academy flirting with a new category to give the blockbuster a better chance. The new category was tabled until a future year, but Black Panther still had a very strong outing, as it was nominated for an impressive seven Oscars, including the coveted Best Picture.

Black Panther got a ton of nods this morning, largely related to the technical and design prowess of the MCU– specifically the team assembled by Ryan Coogler and producer Kevin Feige. This includes categories like Costume Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Wakanda was a vibrant and musical world unlike anything the MCU has ever seen, so it’s no doubt validating to be recognized in this way by The Academy

The music of Black Panther was one of the many ways the film succeeded; the soundtrack was super popular upon its release, with artists like Kendrick Lamar, SZA, The Weeknd, and Travis Scott all contributing tracks. “All The Stars” ended up getting a Best Original Song nomination, competing against A Star Is Born‘s “Shallow” and Mary Poppins Returns tear-jerker “The Place Where Lost Things Go.” Plus, Black Panther‘s score also got an Oscar nomination.

Overall, the 91st Oscar Noms have broken new ground, especially when it comes to how much Black Panther was recognized. The superhero genre isn’t usually considered for the biggest awards, as ceremonies like the Academy Awards and Golden Globes don’t always take comic book adaptations seriously. Black Panther is the first superhero movie to be nominated to Best Picture, showing what the genre is truly capable of.

Black Panther wasn’t the only superhero flick nominated for an Oscar this year, either. Avengers: Infinity War snagged a nom for Visual Affects, while Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is competing in the Animated Feature category alongside Disney frontrunners The Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Still, Black Panther‘s seven Oscar nominations are the most remarkable, and it should be fascinating to see how the blockbuster ultimately performs on Oscars night. T’Challa’s solo movie is in the same category as Oscar favorites like A Star Is Born, BlackKklansman, and Roma, so the pressure is certainly on. Especially as Ryan Coogler’s movie is breaking new ground for superhero flicks in general.

All will be revealed when the Oscars take place on February 24th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies this year.

18 Times Celebrities Got Real About Red Carpet Fashion

Sure, we all love the glitz and glamour of red carpet appearances, but these things are never as easy as they seem. In fact, several actresses have been candid over the years about challenges that go into awards-show season—namely, finding a designer who works outside of limited sample sizes, which are typically 0 through 4.

Most recently, Bebe Rexha shared that she’s having trouble finding designers to dress her for the 2019 Grammy Awards. (She’s nominated for Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.) “I had my team hit out a lot of designers and a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big,” she said in an Instagram video, clarifying that she’s a size 8.

In December, Megan Mullally took to Instagram to share that she can’t find a designer to dress her for the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards in January—even though she hosted the entire thing. “Looks like I will be buying my dress online though, as per my usual, even though there is literally a 100 percent chance that I will be on camera, because I’M HOSTING IT,” she wrote in an Instagram post in December. “Designers do not send me dresses.”

A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay also spoke out about not finding designers to dress her in a tweet on Dec. 23. “I’m a director, not an actress. Not a Size 0. I like to stay covered. Stylists weren’t inspired,” she tweeted.

They’re not alone: Stars like Leslie Jones, Tiffany Haddish, and Rachel Bloom have found themselves in the same boat and have had to purchase their own red-carpet gowns (we’re talking $$$, of course) to put together their looks. Below, here are 18 other times celebrities got real about the red carpet.