Showbiz Sandbox 310: Diversity Makes A Comeback At Sundance

This year’s Sundance Film Festival wrapped up over the weekend in historic fashion by awarding the dramatic competition grand jury and audience prizes to “The Birth of a Nation”, a historical biopic a Virginian slave revolt. The film made headlines earlier in the week when Fox Searchlight purchased the film for a record $17.5 million after beating out Netflix in a heated bidding war.

We’ll tell you about all the big Sundance awards and continue the Oscar season slog, in which this year’s front runners are as mixed up as a Republican presidential primary. SAG added to the confusion, making “Spotlight” this week’s hero, after “The Big Short” looked like a winner the week before.

Meanwhile the Federal Communications Commission is about to vote on ending the monopoly of set top boxes for US cable subscribers, a decision that could have big ramifications for everything from what you watch to the stock prices of numerous tech companies, including Apple and Roku.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including Louis CK bypasses television networks and brings his new series directly to viewers, Pope Francis gets ready for his closeup in a feature film and sales of new music were outpaced by catalogue titles over the past year.

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‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Nears $2 Billion in Worldwide Box Office
https://variety.com/2016/film/box-office/star-wars-the-force-awakens-worldwide-box-office-2-billion-1201693347/

‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ Scores Biggest Animated Film Opening in China
https://variety.com/2016/film/box-office/kung-fu-panda-china-box-office-opening-1201693281/

SAG Awards: The Complete Winners List
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/2016-sag-winners-complete-list-856945

France’s Cesar Awards Nominations Spotlight Women and Ethnic Minorities
http://variety.com/2016/film/news/cesar-awards-nominations-2016-france-diversity-1201689840/

Michael Douglas to Receive Honorary Cesar Award From French Academy
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/michael-douglas-honorary-cesar-award-859737

‘Golden Years,’ ‘Marguerite,’ ‘Dheepan,’ ‘Mustang’ Lead Cesar Nominations
https://variety.com/2016/film/global/golden-years-marguerite-dheepan-mustang-lead-cesar-nominations-1201689761/

‘The Birth of a Nation’ Sweeps Top Prizes
https://variety.com/2016/film/festivals/sundance-film-festival-awards-1201693027/

Sundance Wrap: Why Netflix and Amazon Dominance Matters
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sundance-wrap-why-netflix-amazon-860987

The 21 Best Films of Sundance 2016
https://variety.com/2016/film/festivals/best-films-of-sundance-2016-1201693354/

Sundance: 19 Biggest Breakthrough Performances
https://variety.com/2016/film/festivals/sundance-breakthrough-performances-1201692891/

‘The Birth of a Nation’ Takes Top Prizes at Sundance as Festival Enters Diversity Debate
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-birth-of-a-nation-sundance-film-festival-20160130-story.html

Writers Guild of America West Blasts Industry on Diversity
htttps://variety.com/2016/film/news/oscar-diversity-writers-guild-labor-1201690372/

Tony Kushner Comes Aboard Denzel Washington’s ‘Fences’ For Paramount
https://deadline.com/2016/01/tony-kushner-scripting-denzel-washingtons-august-wilson-fences-movie-paramount-1201692129/

Review: Louis C.K.’s ‘Horace and Pete,’ Mournful and Unshakable
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/arts/television/louis-ck-horace-and-pete-episode-1-review.html

Pope Francis to Make Acting Debut in ‘Beyond the Sun’
http://variety.com/2016/film/news/pope-francis-movie-beyond-the-sun-1201693656/

Blizzard Jonas Was Far Worse For Broadway Than Nick Jonas
http://www.forbes.com/sites/leeseymour/2016/01/27/blizzard-jonas-was-far-worse-for-broadway-than-nick-jonas/#758064bb763a

Breaking News: James Corden to Host the 2016 Tony Awards!
http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Breaking-News-James-Corden-to-Host-the-2016-Tony-Awards-20160202

National Tour Is Planned for ‘Hamilton’
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/national-tour-is-planned-for-hamilton/?_r=0

Bezos Set to Expand Empire to Take On Spotify
http://nypost.com/2016/01/27/bezos-set-to-expand-empire-to-take-on-spotify-sources/

‘Avatar 2’ Delayed Indefinitely, Won’t Arrive Christmas 2017
http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/avatar-2-delayed-indefinitely-after-star-wars-invades-december-2017-20160122

NFL To Split ‘Thursday Night Football’ Rights Between CBS, NBC
https://variety.com/2016/tv/news/thursday-night-football-nfl-1201684945/

Hong Kong’s Missing Booksellers
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/opinion/hong-kongs-missing-booksellers.html

Wife Of Missing Hong Kong Bookseller ‘Reunited With Him In China’
http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/24/asia/hong-kong-missing-bookseller-wife-meeting/

China Confirms Missing Hong Kong Bookseller, Lee Bo, Is On The Mainland
http://www.ibtimes.com/china-confirms-missing-hong-kong-bookseller-lee-bo-mainland-2270191

Dick Wolf Sets Mammoth 5-Year Deal with NBCUniversal, ‘Law & Order: SVU,’ ‘Chicago Med’ Renewed
https://variety.com/2016/tv/news/law-order-svu-chicago-med-renewed-dick-wolf-nbc-deal-1201693944/

Old Albums Now Outsell Current Ones
http://music3point0.blogspot.com/2016/01/old-albums-now-outsell-current-ones.html

F.C.C. Proposes Changes in Cable Set-Top Box Market
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/28/technology/fcc-proposes-changes-in-set-top-box-market.html

Cable Lobby Is Really Mad About FCC’s Set-Top Box Competition Plan
http://arstechnica.com/business/2016/01/cable-lobby-is-really-mad-about-fccs-set-top-box-competition-plan/

Ignoring Cable Industry Protest, FCC Says It Will “Unlock the Set-Top Box”
http://arstechnica.com/business/2016/01/in-blow-to-cable-lobby-fcc-wants-tv-to-be-available-on-any-device/

Jacques Rivette, French New Wave Director of Enigmatic Films, Dies at 87
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/30/movies/jacques-rivette-french-director-dies.html?_r=0

Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner Dies at 74
http://www.sfgate.com/music/article/Jefferson-Airplane-s-Paul-Kantner-dies-at-74-6791483.php