Watch Oscar 2019 Best Short Documentary winner & nominees

The Oscars named the winners for all its 24 categories on Feb 25. While full-length features usually get most of the attention, the achievements in short form storytelling are no less important too.

Here’s a list of the four nominees and winner in the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category:

Period. End Of Sentence. (WINNER)

Period. End Of Sentence. documents the efforts of a group of woman installing a machine that makes sanitary pads in a remote village in India, battling the stigmas of menstruation and improving the lives of the community. Directed by Iranian-American Rayka Zehtabchi, the 26-minute short was crowned Best Documentary (Short Subject) at this year’s Oscars.

Period. End Of Sentence. is available on Netflix.

Black Sheep

Produced by British newspaper The Guardian, Black Sheep touches on race relations in Britain. After the murder of a Nigerian boy took place just five minutes away from where they lived, a black family, including 11-year-old Cornelius Walker, relocates out of London.

Later, Cornelius finds himself living in a white estate run by racists. After getting verbally and physically abused, he decides to become like them, dressing and speaking the way they do and even putting on blue contact lenses.

Watch Black Sheep here: 


To escape war-torn Libya, many risk their lives by travelling on flimsy rubber boats, taking them from Libya to Italy for a better life. Some of these overcrowded boats end up capsizing midway. This 34-minute documentary chronicles a non-profit organisation’s effort to rescue the passengers on these sinking vessels.

Watch Lifeboat here:

End Game

This 40-minute documentary follows a handful of terminally-ill patients as they live their final days, accompanied by their loved ones. Besides contemplating about life after death, the documentary shines a light on the importance of hospice and palliative care.

End Game is available on Netflix.

A Night At The Garden

This seven-minute documentary recounts the events of a Nazi rally in 1939 that was attended by 20,000 people in Madison Square Garden, New York.

Watch A Night At The Garden here:

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BIGBANG’s Seungri denies drug, sex-for-favours allegations in police questioning

Seungri of the popular boy group BIGBANG denied drug use and sex-for-favours allegations during a questioning, police said Thursday.

An investigation team of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent him back home after grilling him overnight.

The 29-year-old singer, during the questioning, denied all suspicions surrounding him ranging from narcotics use to attempting to buy sex services for potential foreign investors.

He, in particular, stated that he never exchanged the text messages disclosed by an Internet newspaper as proof of his sex-for-favours suspicions and even has no memory of what happened that day more than three years ago.

On Tuesday, the Internet media site reported that the singer-businessman used various nightclubs in Seoul’s posh Gangnam area as places for lobbying and even attempted to escort women to the foreigners in exchange for their potential investment in his businesses at one of the nightclubs.

The media disclosed conversations he allegedly exchanged with the co-founder of the company and one of its employees on the KakaoTalk mobile phone messenger service. The messages hinted that they attempted to buy sex for business favours.

But according to sources well informed of the investigation, the police have yet to secure the original version of the KakaoTalk conversations from the reporter who first broke the news of the case.

“We’ll try to figure out more about the sex-for-favours suspicions,” a police investigator said on condition of anonymity, noting that they have yet to launch a formal investigation into the case.

The police agency has been separately probing Burning Sun, another nightclub in Gangnam where Seungri was a public relations director, over allegations of narcotics use, sexual assaults, violence and corrupt ties with district police.

The police plan to question Seungri and more people allegedly involved in the suspicions after closely looking into what the singer stated.

They have taken urine and hair samples from the singer and sent them to the National Forensic Service for drug tests.

Seungri complied with the authority’s request to submit the samples but denied drug use allegations. – The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

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Lady Gaga quashes Bradley Cooper romance rumours

It appears that the Bradley Cooper-Lady Gaga romance rumours that sprang into being after the pair’s kinetic performance at the Academy Awards can be put to bed.

Lady Gaga stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live on Feb 27, where Kimmel was quick to bring up the Internet’s fixation on the moment at the end of the pair’s performance of Shallow, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. “You had such a connection with Bradley that, instantly, and I guess this is a compliment, people started saying, ‘Oh, they must be in love’,” Kimmel said.

The Oscar-winning songwriter, who brought her statue along for the interview, gave a massive eyeroll, and then went in: “First of all, social media, quite frankly, is the toilet of the Internet. And what it has done to pop culture is abysmal. And people saw love, and guess what, that’s what we wanted you to see.”

“This is a love song, Shallow,” she continued. “The movie, A Star Is Born, is a love story. We worked so hard, we worked all week on that performance. Bradley, who – and you know, I never relinquish control about a live stage performance and I’ve done a million of them – but he directed this film and he directed, obviously, the musical moments in the film, and Shallow, the moment, in the film. So I knew that he had the vision for how it should go, and so I was like, ‘What do you think Bradley?’ And he laid it all out.”

Gaga went on to chalk her and Cooper’s apparent chemistry up to the demands of performing love songs.

“From a performance perspective, it was so important to both of us that we were connected the entire time. Look, I’ve had my arms wrapped around Tony Bennett for three years touring the world. When you’re singing love songs, that’s what you want people to feel.” – Reuters

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Luke Perry hospitalised after suffering a stroke

Luke Perry has been hospitalised after reportedly suffering a massive stroke, according to TMZ.

Perry’s reps confirmed to Variety that the Riverdale star “is currently under observation at the hospital.”

Paramedics responded to a call about a stroke at Perry’s Los Angeles home on Thursday (Feb 28) morning, TMZ reports. He was taken to a nearby hospital, and his condition is currently unclear.

Perry is currently playing Archie’s dad on Riverdale and previously played Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210.

Coincidentally, the 52-year-old was hospitalised the day after the CW announced a revival Beverly Hills, 90210 featuring returning cast members Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, and Tori Spelling. Perry had not been announced to return. – Reuters

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‘Ultraman’, ‘My Fair Princess’ & more TV revivals coming in 2019

The well-loved Malaysian workplace comedy series, Spanar Jaya, returned to the small screen early this month for the first time in 14 years.

The 13-episode Spanar Jaya X isn’t the only show getting a new lease of life this year. Here’s a list of old shows made new again, premiering this year.

My Fair Princess (Huanzhu Gege)

Who can forget the wildly popular My Fair Princess which catapulted its leads Vicki Zhao and Ruby Lin to fame in 1998?

The series is set to return some time this year. There’s little information about what the reboot will hold. What we do know for now is it will be accompanied by an animation series and a role-playing game.

My Fair Princess was already remade once back in 2011 but unfortunately, it wasn’t well-received. Let’s hope the latest revival will have better luck.

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists

Pretty Little Liars may have gone off air just two years ago after seven seasons, but it’s clear there’s still a lot of interest in the show with its spin-off Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists slated to air next month.

The Perfectionists is set in the fictional town of Beacon Heights where perfection is the benchmark … until a murder takes place.

The spin-off will feature two original main cast members Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish, reprising their roles as Ali and Mona respectively, plus newcomers Sofia Carson as trendsetting blogger Ava, Sydney Park as the perfect daughter with big dreams and Hayley Erin in an unnamed role.

Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars is undoubtedly one of the most highly-anticipated reboots this year.

Fans were so bummed the show got cancelled after three seasons in 2007 that they raised US$ 5.7mil (RM23.2mil) to fund the production of a Veronica Mars movie, which was released in 2014.

This year, fans will have more to chew on, with an eight-episode series currently in the works.

The titular character, played by Kristin Bell, is back in Neptune, California, to do some detective work after a string of students were murdered over spring break.

Quite a number of the original cast will be back to reprise their roles including Enrico Colantoni as Veronica’s father, Jason Dohring as her boyfriend and Percy Dags III as her best friend.

Veronica Mars

Blue’s Clues & You

Having grown up watching Blue’s Clues, a children educational programme that first aired in 1996, I have a soft spot for this reboot in particular.

The original series saw its host Steve Burns, always clad in an oversized rugby shirt, inviting viewers to help him solve a puzzle. His animated dog Blue leaves a series of clues, and after collecting the clues, Steve sits down on his Thinking Chair and tries to come up with an answer for the day’s puzzle.

The show finished its run in 2006 after six seasons. This year, the show is back with a new name – Blue’s Clues & You – and a new face – Filipino-American host Joshua Dela Cruz.

Burns gushed about the new host: “I had the great honour of being a part of the search for the new host, and I give Josh two thumbs up! He can definitely fill my shoes, and the rugby shirt.”



One of the most iconic TV heroes for kids all over the world, Ultraman is getting an update when it premieres on Netflix on April 1.

The live action 1960s TV series is being made into an anime series and will feature a fresh storyline based on the recent Ultraman manga by Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi.

The son of the original Ultraman learns about his father’s heroic legacy one day. Almost immediately he has to step up to the plate and fight an evil force who is going by his father’s name.

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Spanar Jaya is back! Meet the show’s new chief mechanic

It’s been a slow and steady rise to fame for actor Ben Amir, and he doesn’t mind it.

Ben got his first taste of showbiz in the male modelling competition, Hero Remaja, in 2012 and was immediately drawn to a career in acting.

But while a number of Hero Remaja contestants from his cohort catapulted to fame relatively quickly after the competition – namely, Fattah Amin and Syafiq Kyle who placed first and second respectively – that wasn’t the case for him.

Ben worked as an extra for two years before nabbing his first supporting role in his third year.

“When I was an extra, I observed everything that happened on set. I would sit next to the director and see what he was doing and learn from him,” he recalls in an interview with StarLifestyle.

“Not only did I learn how to be a director, I learned to be a producer, how to take care of catering, wardrobe, everything. I learned how the system works.”

He believes his experience as an extra was invaluable, allowing him to pick up skills both in front and behind the camera.

Ben finally landed his first lead role in a drama series in 2017’s Semusim Merindu – the first of many. “The target I set for myself was to land a lead role within my first five years. Now that I’ve achieved that, in the next five years, I’m looking at starring in action films.”

Currently, Ben can be seen playing foreman Zaki on Spanar Jaya X, a reboot of the beloved 1990s sitcom set in a motor shop.

He talks about acting on the show he grew up watching and recounts his acting journey so far.

Spanar Jaya

Ben Amir got his start in showbiz as a contestant on male modelling competition Hero Remaja in 2011. Photos: The Star/Yap Chee Hong

1. Spanar Jaya X is your first sitcom. What was that like?

I grew up watching Spanar Jaya and I remember talking about the show the next day in class. I loved everyone on the show.

The first time I met Opie Zami (who plays Mat Rock) was during rehearsals. I asked myself if I was really acting on set with him. It was so surreal. He’s such a cool guy and he taught me a lot.

Acting on a sitcom, sometimes, I do worry that this other character is very funny, and mine isn’t funny. But that’s someone else’s character. My character isn’t like that.

Everyone wants to be funny and make jokes and deliver punchlines, but that’s not how a sitcom works. You have to know your role.

2. Do you remember your time as an extra? What did you learn?

I was an extra for about two years. I had no lines at all. I’d just be walking around in the background. At the same time, I was helping out with my family’s business so I didn’t focus on acting completely. Whenever there’s a job, I’d go for it.

After one year, people started to notice me. I got promoted to supporting extra. I had some dialogues. In an episode, I might be in one scene. In the next episode, I might not be there at all.

In my third year, I got my first supporting role, in which I played the lead character’s best friend.

In any career, you have to start from the bottom and learn everything, whether it’s acting or lighting. I didn’t have the luxury of studying acting formally. Those few years were my “diploma”.

3. Did you ever feel frustrated seeing other actors, who started out around the same time you did, nab lead roles quicker than you?

I think everyone has their own time. I don’t think everyone comes up at the same time.

This year, this person’s name will go up. Next year, another one. It depends on the projects you’re in.

And in this business, it’s not about how fast your name goes up, it’s about how long you can sustain yourself.

I don’t want to enter in the industry and be famous in two to three years, and then I’m gone, I have no jobs. I don’t want that. I want to be relevant in this industry for a long time.

4. You’re currently undergoing martial arts training to prepare yourself for action roles although there aren’t any offers to play one yet. Why is that important to you?

Going into action films, it’s a goal I have in mind. And if I want to achieve it, I have to start now. If I get an offer but I’m not ready, it’s going to look bad on me and the production.

People may say, “how can this guy star in action films but have no basics in martial arts.”

Besides doing Muay Thai, I just started taekwando two months ago. I used to do it in school but I’m starting with the white belt again and I’ll work my way to a black belt.

In the end, if I don’t get offers for action roles, I’ll do it myself. I’ll start small and do a web series and show people what I’ve got. I have to make my own opportunities.

5. You’re rather quiet when it comes to your personal life. Is that something you’ve always practised?

I try not to expose my personal life. It’s hard, and if people know about it anyway, there’s nothing I can do.

I don’t want people to know me through a piece of gossip about me with someone like, “oh this guy is with this girl.” I want people to know me for my acting career, not my personal life.

Spanar Jaya X airs every Saturday at 9pm on TV3.

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