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Oscars will have 'movie hero' theme

The 86th Academy Awards will celebrate movie heroes, producers have announced.

American chat show host Ellen Degeneres will host this year's Oscars. Credit: Reuters

The show, hosted this year by comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, will celebrate popular, animated, real-life and movie heroes, as well as film makers who took risks.

Producers said in a statement they want to create "an evening of fun and joy" when the show is broadcast on Sunday March 2.


Philomena and 12 Years A Slave carry UK Oscar hopes

Films starring Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch head up the British hopes for nominations at this year's Oscars.

The jubilant cast of 12 Years A Slave after winning best film at the Golden Globes. Could an Oscar be next? Credit: Reuters

Nominations for the annual awards show are due to be announced at 1:30pm later today, with British-American production 12 Years A Slave tipped as a hot contender.

The Steve McQueen film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free-born African American violinist who is captured and sold to Michael Fassbender's sadistic plantation owner.

It won best film at the Golden Globes on Sunday and British film fans are hoping it will repeat that success throughout the awards season.

Steve Coogan may also get a nod for his work on Philomena - the man behind Alan Partridge has already been nominated for writing the screenplay, which follows Judi Dench's attempts to find the son she was forced to give up for adoption.

Film watchdog to study effects of 'gore' in horror

The body that decides movie ratings is to put a new emphasis on the effects of "gore" in horror films under new guidelines published today.

The British Board of Film Classification said in future it will further scrutinise the "psychological impact of horror" by examining the visual detail in films.

Films such as Evil Dead are given an 18 rating due to their gory content. Credit: PA

The BBFC said there will be more focus on "theme and tone" rather than simply specific scenes and details on screen, particularly at the 12A/12 and 15 levels.

It also said it will be tougher on strong language in films aimed at family audiences, and pay further attention to sexual content.

Julie Walters to land gong for contribution to UK film

Julie Walters will be recognised for her outstanding contribution to the UK film industry at an awards ceremony tonight celebrating the best in independent British cinema.

Julie Walters is up for a gong. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The 63-year-old actress, star of Educating Rita and the Harry Potter films, will accept the Richard Harris Award at the British Independent Film Awards (Bifas) in central London.

Previous winners include John Hurt, Daniel Day-Lewis and Helena Bonham Carter.

Tonight's ceremony could be a triumph for Philomena with its stars, Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, both in the running to pick up gongs.

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