Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in “Carol”; The Weinstein Company (NEW YORK) — GLAAD has announced the nominees for its annual GLAAD Media Awards, recognizing and honoring media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.

A couple of Oscar-nominated films received nods: Carol and The Danish Girl. They are joined by Dope, Freeheld and Grandma in the Outstanding Film — Wide Release category.

TV nominees include the Fox hit Empire; the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, Grace and Frankie, Master of None and Sense8; Amazon’s Transparent; and Caitlyn Jenner’s E! reality series, I Am Cait.

The 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards will be presented as two ceremonies, to be held in Los Angeles April 2 and in New York May 14. The Los Angeles ceremony will air on Logo as a one-hour special premiering in April.

Here’s a partial list of nominees:

The Danish Girl

52 Tuesdays
Appropriate Behavior
Boy Meets Girl
Drunktown’s Finest

Arrow, The CW
Black Sails, Starz
Empire, Fox
The Fosters, ABC Family
Grey’s Anatomy, ABC
How to Get Away with Murder, ABC
Nashville, ABC
Orphan Black, BBC America
Sense8, Netflix
Shameless, Showtime

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, FOX
Faking It, MTV
Grace and Frankie, Netflix
Looking, HBO
Master of None, Netflix
Modern Family, ABC
Orange Is the New Black, Netflix
Please Like Me, Pivot
Transparent, Amazon Instant Video
Vicious, PBS

OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL EPISODE (in a series without a regular LGBT character)
“Gender,” The Carmichael Show, NBC
“Please Don’t Ask, Please Don’t Tell,” Black-ish, ABC
“The Prince of Nucleotides,” Royal Pains, USA Network
“Rock-a-Bye-Baby,” NCIS: New Orleans, CBS
“We Build, We Fight” NCIS, CBS

Banana, Logo
Bessie, HBO
Cucumber, Logo

Kumu Hina, PBS
Limited Partnership, PBS
Mala Mala, Strand Releasing
Tab Hunter Confidential, The Film Collaborative
Tig, Netflix

I Am Cait, E!
I Am Jazz, TLC
New Girls on the Block, Discovery Life
The Prancing Elites Project, Oxygen
Transcendent, Fuse

The Bold and The Beautiful, CBS

Brandi Carlile, The Firewatcher’s Daughter
Miley Cyrus, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz
Adam Lambert, The Original High
Le1f, Riot Boi
Troye Sivan, Blue Neighbourhood

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Mark Sagliocco/GC Images(PARK CITY, Utah) — Danny Glover thinks Hollywood can solve its diversity problems by doing away with the Oscars altogether.

“Artists are the gatekeepers of truth,” Glover told Variety while promoting the indie flick Mr. Pig, which had its premiere Tuesday at the Sundance Film Festival. “[But] I don’t see diversity in film in the world at all anymore.”

Glover explained that in the 1970s, he could easily go to mainstream theaters and watch Italian, Japanese and African films. But now, big-budget movies are kicking these “real” stories out of theaters, and now all he can find is a very “narrow” version of his himself onscreen.

“We need to talk about the process, the democratization of making movies, not 15 men deciding, ‘You’re going to see this movie this year and this movie,’” he suggests.

The Lethal Weapon star, 69, notes, “The Academy and everything else has been what it is since the outset,” adding that award shows are “subjective. They always have been.”

“Maybe we should do away with them,” he offers, before conceding that the Academy Awards are a giant business influenced by money, among other factors.

“We don’t find movies that tell us about the real, everyday survival people. How they build families, communities…how to redefine family, community in the wake of all the devastation” — the type of films he says he watched as a kid.

Glover appears in the comedy Dirty Grandpa, starring Robert De Niro and Zac Efron, in theaters now.

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Michael Tran/FilmMagic(LONDON) — According to The Guardian, British actor Joseph Fiennes has been cast to portray the late music legend Michael Jackson in an upcoming British TV film based on a reported road trip following the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.

In the aftermath of the tragedy — which happened the day following the second taping of his 30th Anniversary Tribute concert at Madison Square Garden — the King of Pop reportedly rallied close friends Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando in a mad-dash attempt to make it back to California.

Both Hollywood legends took part in the glitzy tribute, which was later aired for broadcast.

Details of the alleged trip were reported by a former employee of Jackson’s to Vanity Fair in 2011.

Stockard Channing is reportedly on board to play Taylor, and Brian Cox is slated for the Brando role.

Fiennes received raves for his leading role in 1998’s Shakespeare In Love and most recently appeared in American Horror Story: Asylum.

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“The Birth of a Nation” cast; Jeff Vespa/WireImage(PARK CITY, Utah) — If there’s one film generating buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, The Birth of a Nation is it. And it’s already set a record.

Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to the slave drama for a reported $17.5 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That’s the most ever paid for a film at Sundance.

The Birth of a Nation, which will be released later this year, is based on the true story of Nat Turner, who orchestrated a slave uprising in 1831 Virginia. Nate Parker wrote, directed and stars in the film, which also features Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Penelope Ann Miller, Gabrielle Union, and Jackie Earle Haley.

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RB/Redferns(NEW YORK) — January 27, marks the 60th anniversary of the release of “Heartbreak Hotel,” which became Elvis Presley’s first #1 hit on the Billboard pop singles chart. The song was among the first tracks Presley recorded for RCA Records after the label purchased his contract from Sun Records.

“Heartbreak Hotel” was written in 1955 by Mae Boren Axton — mother of singer/songwriter Hoyt Axton — and Tommy Durden, inspired by a newspaper story about a man who’d committed suicide and left a note that read, “I walk a lonely street.” According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, Axton had handled public relations for Col. Tom Parker in Florida, and when Parker became Elvis’ manager, Mae promised the singer that she would write him a million-selling single. After “Heartbreak Hotel” was written, Axton arranged to meet Presley in Nashville to hear a demo of the song and ended playing it for him 10 times.

In the weeks following the single’s release, Elvis performed the tune several times on Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s CBS variety series Stage Show. Then, in April of 1956, Presley sang the song on the hugely popular NBC program The Milton Berle Show. The single hit #1 on the Billboard chart on April 21, and remained atop the tally for eight weeks. It also reached #1 on Billboard‘s Country and Western singles chart and made it into the top five of the magazine’s R&B chart. It was Billboard‘s top overall single for 1956, and has gone on to sell more than 2 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Depending on the source, “Heartbreak Hotel” was the first of Elvis’ 17, or 18, #1 hits on the Billboard pop singles chart.

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A longtime Fort Wayne city employee and U.S. Air Force veteran is Findlay’s new human resources director.

Don Essex began working last week in a role that had not been filled since Jim Barker left two years ago. Hiring a replacement had been postponed until the city’s budget stabilized.

Mayor Lydia Mihalik said Essex was one of five who interviewed for the position during vetting that included face-to-face interaction with city department heads.

Essex, 47, rose to the top because of his work experience and personality, Mihalik and Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer said.

Findlay’s two-page job description includes duties such as evaluating department management, development of best practices based on other cities’ successes, assisting administrators with maintaining fiscal stability, and supervision of health and life insurance programs.

Communication will be an additional component of the job. Essex will be assuming some duties that Mihalik had proposed last year when suggesting that a communication director be hired.

He has been tasked with:
• Working with the mayor to develop and implement external communication strategies that highlight city successes.
• Supporting city leadership efforts to increase civic engagement and grow innovative partnerships.
• Leading three internal and two external groups that will focus on improving communication within city government and throughout the community.
• Working with Mihalik and Schmelzer to manage sensitive and controversial issues.

Since 2008, Essex had supervised staffing and recruitment for Fort Wayne’s Human Resources Department. He had also been records bureau manager for that city’s Police Department from 1996 to 2004, and worked as a judicial assistant and jury manager for Allen County Superior Court in Fort Wayne.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources administration from Saint Leo University, Shaw Air Force Base Extension, in Sumter, S.C.; and a master of business administration from Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne.

Essex said he accepted the position here because he clicked with administrators and likes the community.

“I didn’t really know a lot about Findlay when I applied,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect. But when I came in to interview with the mayor and (Law Director) Don Rasmussen and Paul, I just liked the vibe, I liked how they were.”

Essex also enjoyed speaking with department supervisors, who told him about their organizational methods and departmental culture.

“I feel good about the people, about the ownership they take over their work,” Essex said.

He said Findlay “is like a smaller Fort Wayne” because of its primarily conservative politics.

The kicker for Essex, he said, was the friendly atmosphere. While waiting in line at the downtown Subway restaurant one day while he was in the midst of interviews, he said a customer in front of him randomly bought his sandwich. He regretted there was no one in line behind him so that he could “pay it forward.”

Essex said he recognizes his job as a “balancing act,” necessitating careful hiring, targeted retention measures, strategic money-saving, and training that ensures optimal efficiency.

“There’s an art to it,” he said.

He said he also expects time will be needed to gain co-workers’ trust, particularly since he is a community outsider.

He said he expects to immerse himself in organizational involvement just like he did in Fort Wayne, where he was a Greater Fort Wayne YMCA board member, African-American Museum board member, and participated in other groups.

“I think it has a lot to do with his excitement to be a public servant, and with his excitement to be in Findlay,” said Mihalik. Some other job applicants indicated they’d be willing to commute, she said, but Essex expressed interest in moving to the city.

Schmelzer said he is impressed with Essex’s experience as an “HR generalist” who hasn’t just specialized in particular areas; with his military background, which “spoke to discipline and commitment to a goal;” with his longevity in past positions; with his desire to take on more responsibility; and with his demeanor.

Fort Wayne’s 2012 population was 254,555, making it the second-largest city in Indiana after Indianapolis. The city employs more than 1,500.

Essex will be paid $72,000 annually in Findlay, a significant increase compared to Barker’s negotiated $59,883 pay rate, which reflects Essex’s heavier workload and expertise.

Barker’s 2012 appointment was controversial because some decisions he had helped former Mayor Pete Sehnert make, while he was Sehnert’s safety director, were unpopular. In particular, renegotiated union contracts that resulted in pay and benefit changes, and reductions for safety forces in the wake of the Great Recession were not well received.

Mihalik initially stood by her decision to retain Barker, but two months later he resigned. Barker cited his lack of human resources experience as the reason. Mihalik blamed “philosophical and professional differences, which were unable to be resolved.”

Brown: 419-427-8496
Send an E-mail to Joy Brown
Twitter: @CourierJoy

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Workers were hanging banners showing Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. employees on the outside of the company’s Findlay headquarters on Thursday, as part of Cooper’s observance of its 100th year. The company began in Akron in 1914, moving to Findlay a few years later. Today, Cooper Tire is a global company with more than 65 manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities around the world. It is one of Findlay’s largest employers with about 2,000 workers in the factory and corporate headquarters. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

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Wendy Rizor, left, Lisa Armeni and Rex Rizor prepare food for the City Mission in the Blanchard Valley Center kitchen Thursday afternoon. The Blanchard Valley Center joined forces with Walmart to feed clients of the City Mission. Walmart donated the food, while employees of both the store and the BVC prepared, cooked and served the meal. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

Wendy Rizor, left, Lisa Armeni and Rex Rizor prepare food for the City Mission in the Blanchard Valley Center kitchen Thursday afternoon. The Blanchard Valley Center joined forces with Walmart to feed clients of the City Mission. Walmart donated the food, while employees of both the store and the BVC prepared, cooked and served the meal. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

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