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HFPA investigating actor Brendan Fraser's groping claim

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association says it is investigating actor Brendan Fraser's claim that its former president, Philip Berk, groped him in 2003.

Fraser, 49, best known for his role in "The Mummy" trilogy, made the accusation in an interview with GQ magazine .

A statement from the HFPA, the organization that puts on the Golden Globes, says the interview "includes alleged information that the HFPA was previously unaware of" and is looking into the accusation. It also stresses that the organization has long had what it calls "a positive working relationship" with Fraser.

Attempts to find a working phone number for Berk were unsuccessful.

Jennifer Lopez celebrates twins Max and Emme’s 10th birthday

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s twins are growing up so fast!

Max and Emme celebrated their 10th birthday on Feb. 22, and Lopez was right there to celebrate with her kids, sharing multiple posts on Instagram. 

>> Read more trending news 

Sharing a video of her kids’ -- whom she affectionately calls her coconuts -- cutest moments throughout the years, Lopez wrote, “It's hard to get my head around the fact that it's been 10 years since these two forces of nature came into my world and changed my life forever... you healed my soul and rejuvenated my existence... you taught me about love and life and myself in a way I never imagined... and I am forever in love with those beautiful faces...”

The proud mother shared two other tributes to her children in their own posts on Instagram with individual heartfelt messages.

“Max you are my heart, my love and my light,” Lopez wrote to her son. “You brighten up every day for me with your kindness and caring, your love and awareness… your energy is unmatched, your sense of humor makes everyone around you laugh, and I marvel at your depth of understanding of people and the world… my old soul, my beautiful boy, Happy 10th Birthday I know you are getting so big but you will always be my precious coconut.”

For her daughter, Lopez celebrated Emme’s “independence and strength,” writing, “Emme you are my soul, my inner child personified the most joyful deep and sensitive human being I have ever met…and I adore everything about you…your artistry, your independence, your strength and your sensitive spirit… Happy 10th Birthday my marshmallow princess…I know you’re growing up so much but you will always be my precious coconut.”

Proud dad Marc Anthony reposted his former wife’s video tribute to Max and Emme on his Instagram page Feb. 22.

According to TMZ, Lopez ceebrated her twin’s milestone birthday Thursday at the Sugar Factory in Las Vegas. From 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., 30 guests celebrated with custom cakes for each child. 

Trump says he goes to great lengths to hide his bald spot

President Donald Trump says he goes to great lengths to hide the bald spot revealed in a recent photo.

Speaking before the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday, Trump turned around onstage and smoothed the back of his famous hair.

He said, "I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks." The crowd cheered as Trump glanced at a monitor and added, "Doesn't look bad. Hey, we're hanging in."

During the 2016 campaign, Trump let a woman tug the hair on top of his head to prove it is attached.

The president's bald spot was exposed Feb. 2 when he turned away from cameras to climb aboard Air Force One. As Trump climbed the stairs, a wind gust blew aside a flap of hair.

Ryan Reynolds shuts down troll who criticized Make-A-Wish kids visiting ‘Deadpool’ set

Ryan Reynolds isn’t just a charming actor. He’s also a renowned social media goofball who is really great at shutting down trolls

On Monday, the 41-year-old movie star took to Instagram to share a few photographs of himself — in character as the R-rated mercenary Deadpool — hanging out with some children with life-threatening illnesses on the set of the upcoming sequel “Deadpool 2.” 

>> Read more trending news 

“Deadpool kicked cancer ... but these kids do it for real every day,” Reynolds captioned the images.

“These foundations make dreams come true for a lot of super-brave kids. They also make dreams come true for parents, who just wanna see their kid smile. HUGE thanks to our Prop Master, Dan Sissons, for making sure every kid left with his/her own sword. (Bamboo versions. Not stabby-stabby versions.)”

Most of the comments on the post were positive and inspiring, with many people commending Reynolds for his altruism, but one comment in particular was negative.

“Guys Deadpool is R rated movie and those kids are watching it… I think something is wrong here…,” a comment on the post said.

Reynolds wasn’t about to let that slide.

“Yup. Deadpool is Rated R. If my kid went through a fraction of the (expletive) these kids deal with daily, I think they can watch whatever they like,” Reynolds replied. “That’s just my .02 cents.”

Make-A-Wish America commented a message of gratitude on the actor’s post. 

“You. Are. Awesome. Thank you so much for being an amazing wish granter and supporter of our mission,” the comment said.

“Deadpool 2” will be in theaters May 18.

French customs officials find stolen Degas in luggage on bus

French customs officers have found an impressionist painting by Edgar Degas stowed on a bus, more than eight years after it was reported stolen.

The French Culture Ministry said Friday that customs agents in Marne-la-Vallee were surprised to find a work of art bearing the signature "Degas" inside a suitcase in the bus' luggage compartment. The ministry says none of the passengers claimed the suitcase during the Feb. 16 search.

Experts verified the artwork as Degas' "Les Choristes" ("The Chorus Singers"), which depicts a scene from Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni."

The painting was stolen from a Marseille museum in 2009 while on loan from Paris' Musee d'Orsay.

French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said she was delighted by the recovery of a work "whose disappearance represented a heavy loss for the French impressionist heritage."

The language of 'Black Panther'? It's real. Give it a try.

Much of what is seen in "Black Panther" is fictional, including the country where the movie is based. But in Wakanda, they do speak a language that is very much real, with distinctive click sounds that had some cast members struggling to speak it.

"The clicks are no joke," Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o said recently, calling isiXhosa "one of the hardest languages on the planet."

The idea to use isiXhosa, one of South Africa's 11 official languages, in the blockbuster came from South African actor and cast member John Kani. Kani plays the father of the king T'Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman.

Now, in the wake of "Black Panther," the language is having a moment. Even the foundation of Nobel Peace Prize-winner and anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu, who rarely makes public statements these days at the age of 86, pointed out this week on Twitter: "Archbishop Tutu comes from a #Xhosa background as well."

Some South Africans at the film's Johannesburg premiere said it was humbling to hear isiXhosa spoken in a major Hollywood film, even if they found the accents of some actors a little eyebrow-raising.

"I'm not so impressed, but they tried," said South African reality TV star Blue Mbombo with a good-natured smile.

Somikazi Deyi, a lecturer at the University of Cape Town's School of Languages & Literature, said of isiXhosa: "It's a wonderful language." Deyi also dismissed any assertion that the clicks of the language were hard to grasp.

"They're kind of easy," she said.

She walked The Associated Press through it. For the "X'' sound, push your tongue against the side of your mouth and click as if calling a horse. For the "C'' sound, do the same but against your front teeth. And for the "Q'' sound, pop the tip of your tongue off the roof of your mouth.

The tricky part, perhaps, is incorporating them into words at normal speed.

Those "click" sounds that are unusual to many outside South Africa are a combination of the Khoi and San languages of the region's original inhabitants, Deyi said. Now they're a key part of isiXhosa, which is spoken by almost everyone in Eastern Cape province and whose famous speakers include South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela.

IsiXhosa carries a person's emotional identity, a sense of kinship, Deyi said.

"You own it. You're in control. There's some spirituality to it."

You speak more to a person's heart when using their Xhosa clan name, she added — a reason why Mandela is often warmly called "Madiba" in South Africa.

Deyi hasn't yet seen "Black Panther" but is thrilled by the film's prospects for globalizing a language that she said is well-equipped for economy and law, not only for communication in one corner of the world.

"I hail the movie-makers. I pray they make more space for it," she said, already looking ahead to a sequel. "Let there be another 'Black Panther.' I want to see more!"

Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defense in dispute

A New York man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defense after the comedian climbed into a vehicle and tried to punch him during a profanity-laced traffic dispute.

Chase told police he was cut off by another driver on Feb. 9. Thinking his car might be damaged, he followed the car across the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Both drivers pulled over in South Nyack (NY'-ak).

A truck passenger, Michael Landrio, tells the New York Post that the former "Saturday Night Live" star got into their vehicle and tried to punch him.

Landrio says that's when he kicked Chase, sending him flying.

A spokeswoman for Chase says the actor didn't get into the vehicle and didn't try to attack Landrio.

Landrio was charged with harassment. Chase was not charged.

British comedian Stephen Fry reveals he has prostate cancer

British comedian and actor Stephen Fry has revealed that he is suffering from prostate cancer.

The 60-year-old Fry said Friday on his Twitter page that he has been fighting the disease for the past two months.

He says he had surgery in January to remove the prostate.

"It all seemed to go pretty well," he said, apologizing for his inability to talk about the cancer until now.

"For the last two months I've been in the throes of a rather unwelcome and unexpected adventure," he says.

Fry is a versatile actor with many film and TV credits who has also been a frequent presenter and host at the British Academy film awards.

He has in the past disclosed suffering from depression.

Finalists announced for Lukas Book Prize

Stories of immigrants, transient workers and a Wisconsin auto plant are among the nominees for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize.

The $10,000 award honors nonfiction books of both literary quality and social impact. The finalists announced Friday include Helen Thorpe's "The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom," Jessica Bruder's "Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century" and Amy Goldstein's "Janesville: An American Story." The other nominees are Nate Blakeslee's "American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West" and Lauren Markham's "The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life."

The Lukas prize, named for the late author and journalist, is presented by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. The Columbia school and Nieman also announced finalists for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award, which provides $25,000 grants to two authors currently working on a "significant" nonfiction book, and the $10,000 Mark Lynton History Prize, for which nominees include Frances Fitzgerald's "The Evangelicals" and Jonathan Eig's Muhammad Ali biography "Ali."

Other Lynton finalists are Edward L. Ayers' Civil War history "The Thin Light of Freedom," Caroline Fraser's Laura Ingalls Wilder biography "Prairie Fires" and Stephen Kotkin's "Stalin."

The finalists for the Work-in-Progress Award are Chris Hamby's "Soul Full of Coal Dust," Arthur Holland Michel's "Eyes in the Sky," Rachel Louise Snyder's "No Visible Bruises," Katherine E. Standefer's "Lightning Flowers" and Susan Vinocour's "The Trials of Barbara Briggs: Poverty, Insanity, and Justice in America."

Winners will be announced March 27.

____

Online:

https://journalism.columbia.edu/announcing-2018-j-anthony-lukas-prize-project-awards-shortlist

Blige, Day, Lafourcade, Common among Oscars music performers

The original singers of the year's five Oscar-nominated songs will reprise their performances live on the Oscar stage.

Academy Awards producers said Friday that supporting actress nominee Mary J. Blige, Common, Andra Day, Gael Garcia Bernal, Miguel, Natalia Lafourcade, Keala Settle and Sufjan Stevens will perform during the March 4 ceremony.

Blige will sing "Mighty River" from "Mudbound," for which she is also nominated for supporting actress. Oscar-winner Common and Day will perform "Stand Up for Something" from "Marshall." Bernal, Miguel and Lafourcade will sing "Remember Me" from "Coco."

Settle is singing "The Greatest Showman" track "This is Me," and Stevens will perform "Mystery of Love" from "Call Me by Your Name."

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For full coverage of awards season, visit: https://apnews.com/tag/AwardsSeason

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