All that is known about the 2021 Grammys

Nominees, scandals, date, and new records

Reading time 5 minutes

The Grammy is the most prestigious music award in the world. Each year the National Academy holds an award ceremony. A jury of producers, sound engineers and musicians award the artists by voting. Each musician dreams about gaining at least a Grammy nomination. Here’s what you need to know about the 63rd Awards.

When and where?

The awards ceremony will be on 31of January at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It has been held there for 40 years, since the beginning of its broadcasting. It’s not yet clear what format the event will take: it all depends on whether the coronavirus situation in the U.S. worsens. «We will make a decision about the audience and the carpet closer to the date,» the Grammy website says. In addition, the names of the presenters and performing artists are unknown.

55th Grammy Awards, 2013

Beyoncé got the most nominations.

After the «Black is King» album released in July of this year the singer got 9 nominations. Now Beyonce has 79 nominations and 24 statuettes. If she wins 8 more, it will be the record-breaking quantity of Grammys. In addition to Beyonce Dua Lipa (5) and Billie Eilish (4) lead the way in the number of nominations.

A still from Beyoncé’s visual album «Black is King» 2020

BTS’s first serious nomination

BTS is a Korean boys band that continues to break records and conquer the West. The guys finally received Academy recognition and a nomination for «Best Pop Duo/Group Performance» for their song «Dynamite». Their hit topped the Billboard Hot 100 music chart for two weeks. BTS will compete for the statuette with other pop stars: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.
The band did not receive a nomination for «Best Album», although their release «Map of the Soul: 7» was recognized as the best-selling album in the first half of 2020.

BTS on the carpet at the 62nd Grammy Awards, 2020

The Weeknd vs. the Grammys

This year’s announcement of nominees was not without scandal. The Weeknd did not receive any of the nominations and accused the Academy jury of corruption. There really is the reason for doubt: the album by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd’s real name) exploded all the charts and received critical acclaim. It’s all the more strange that the singer’s work has been ignored.
Abel shared his thoughts on his Instagram page. «The Grammys are still corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry in general», he wrote. Drake, Ariana Grande and Halsey supported the performer and agreed with his words

The Weeknd’s «After Hours» album cover, 2020

Russians in the West

Two musicians from Russia received nominations at once. Pianist Daniil Trifonov will compete for the award for «Best Solo Instrumental Classical Music Work» for his performance of Rachmaninov. The second, conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, was in the «Best Opera Recording» category. Leonid Agutin, who originally applied for five categories, received no nominations after the Academy vote.

Daniil Trifonov was nominated in the category «Best Classical Instrumental Solo Work»

How to be employed in 2030

What skills employers will need in 10 years

Reading time 5 minutes

It is not enough for today’s employers that a programmer knows how to create applications and a translator has a good grasp of texts. Potential employees must have not only professional but also «soft» skills.

Soft skills are supra-professional competences, which help to work more effectively in any sphere. For example, they include the ability to communicate with people and quick learnability. The value of these skills has increased in today’s world, where humanity’s opportunities are increasingly global. You need to adapt to technological changes and communicate with people of different nationalities.

According to Kontakt InterSearch Russia consulting company’s research for Forbes Woman employers already expect soft skills from potential employees. Creators of the  «Atlas of professions» project predict even more significant changes on the labor market.

What is worth getting better at today to be a sought-after specialist in 10 years?

1. Working with people

Communication with people is a skill worth learning

This skill has 3 components::

Multiculturalism and multilingualism. More and more companies are operating in the international market, so employees need to know foreign languages. Knowledge in the specifics of intercultural communication will be a plus.

Representatives of different cultures working together

Customer centricity. It is possible to win the battle with the competitors only if the product is created exactly for the client’s needs. That is why employers appreciate the ability to see the demand and to adjust to it.

Emotional intelligence. Empathy, the ability to feel another person is valued in today’s world. People with these qualities find it easier to find common ground with others, which helps not only in everyday life but also in work.

2. Flexibility

Quick learning curve helps you adapt to the demands of the modern world

Quick learning curve. In today’s world, new technologies often appear and you need to adapt to them in a minimum of time. The needs of the labor market are also changing, so you need to learn new professions quickly.

Working under uncertainty. The year 2020 showed that you can’t always be sure of tomorrow. It is necessary to be able to work here and now, to try to foresee the further development of events and not to be afraid of the unknown.

3. Project Management

Project management is no longer the task of the manager

The strict hierarchical structure of companies is replaced by project groups. Representatives of different professions have to show leadership and take responsibility for leading part of the work.

4. Green thinking

Businesses pollute the environment

Manufacturers of goods are thinking about the impact of their business on the environment. Therefore, modern professionals in any field must understand at a basic level how to reduce harmful emissions and the use of natural resources. In Russia this culture is in its infancy, but in Japan the environmental friendliness of production is already controlled at the legislative level.

To develop soft skills, you can join a discussion club, read books on the topic, watch professionals on TED, or take a course.

«Soft» skills are useful not only in work. In life, we communicate with people, learn, and set goals, each of which can be viewed as a project. Above-the-professional skills will help in these areas of life as well.

Russian sensation

"To the lake" - the most expensive Russian series on Netflix

Reading time 3 minutes

“To the Lake” is a Russian sci-fi thriller series directed by Nika Award nominee Pavel Kostomarov. It was added to the Netflix catalogue in October 2020. The platform bought the series for a record-breaking sum – $1,5 million. The Russian name of the series is “Эпидемия” (Epidemic).

Главный герой сериала
The main character moves to Karelia because of the epidemic

It is based on the novel ‘Vongozero’ by author Yana Vagner. The plot is literally repeating the events of the current pandemic. Life in Moscow has become life-threatening because of the new disease. The main character, accompanied by his family, ex-wife and neighbours, moves to Karelia, to a small island in the middle of a lake.They have a dangerous way to go. Netflix got interested in the series in January, when the pandemic just started.

“To the lake” was ranked the 4-th most watched series in the Netflix rating. Stephen King tweeted about the series: he called it “pretty darn good” and highlighted the excess of snow, cold and vodka in the show. There is even a fan-page of the series on the Internet.

Стивен Кинг написал твит об «Эпидемии»
Stephen King’s tweet

This is not the first time when Netflix wants to buy a project created by Valeriy Fedorovich and Evgeniy Nikishov. In their interview to Meduza producers said that they had already refused to sell their projects to Netflix because the terms weren’t beneficial. At first Netflix wanted to pay for “To the lake” less than the other streaming platform. When the offer was rejected, the company suggested releasing the series with a “Netflix Originals” mark. Products from this category are generally more expensive. After some consideration producers accepted the offer.       

Netflix has already purchased more than 40 Russian cartoons, movies and tv shows. Before “To the lake” was added to the catalogues, the most expensive Russian project on Netflix was “Better than us”. The series cost one million dollars. 

«Берлинский пациент» умер от рака

История первого в мире человека, победившего ВИЧ

Reading time 2 minutes

Тимоти Рэй Браун, известный как «Берлинский пациент», умер 29 сентября после продолжительной борьбы с лейкозом. Ему было 54. Об этом сообщил его партнер на странице в Фейсбуке.

Тимоти Браун учился в университете Берлина, когда врачи поставили мужчине диагноз ВИЧ. Отсюда и пошло прозвище «Берлинский пациент». Затем у Брауна обнаружили лейкоз — заболевание кроветворной системы. Геро Хюттер, лечащий врач Тимоти, предложил пересадить пациенту костный мозг донора с иммунитетом к ВИЧ-инфекции. Иммунитет возникает, когда у человека отсутствует поверхностный лимфоцитарный белок CCR5.

Геро Хюттер и Тимоти Браун
Геро Хюттер и Тимоти Браун

При попадании в организм вирус старается проникнуть в лимфоциты — иммунные кровяные клетки. Для этого белок вируса должен связаться с двумя белковыми рецепторами лимфоцитов, один из которых — CCR5. Некоторые люди обладают с рождения генной мутацией. Она останавливает синтез CCR5.

В 2007 врачи первый раз провели пациенту трансплантацию костного мозга. Она не была полностью успешной: ВИЧ не определялся в организме, но рак продолжал развиваться. Вскоре процедуру повторили, и на этот раз наступила ремиссия. Оба раза биологический материал брали у одного донора.

Браун со своей собакой по имени Джек
Браун со своей собакой по имени Джек

В 2008 на Международной конференции по борьбе со СПИДом о выздоровлении Тимоти узнали все. История Брауна вызвала скептицизм в научном сообществе. Некоторые исследователи хотели самостоятельно протестировать кровь на наличие инфекции, так как не доверяли результатам. Были и те, кто считал полное выздоровление невозможным: у пациента мог случиться рецидив. Несмотря на громкие заявления прессы о лекарстве от ВИЧ, трансплантация стволовых клеток не используется для борьбы с вирусом. Операции сложные и рискованные: доноры с иммунитетом встречаются очень редко, а сама процедура опасна из-за возможных осложнений и летального исхода.

Незадолго до смерти в интервью изданию Associated Press Браун рассказал, что лейкоз вернулся. Он лечился при помощи химиотерапии, но рак победил. До конца жизни у Тимоти сохранился иммунитет к инфекции.

Тимоти никогда не жалел, что решился на операцию
Тимоти никогда не жалел, что решился на операцию

На данный момент лекарства от вируса иммунодефицита не существует. Ученые много лет работают над вакциной, но результатов нет: вирус встраивается в геном клетки, поэтому его сложно изучить. ВИЧ-положительные люди принимают специальные антиретровирусные препараты, которые задерживают развитие СПИДа и сопутствующих заболеваний. Инфицированные при успешном лечении могут дожить до старости.

Заведующая центра по профилактике СПИДа Наталья Сизова отмечает, что после случая «Берлинского пациента» исследователи не исключают факт разработки мутации рецепторов CCR5. Это значит, что появится возможность искусственно создавать иммунитет к ВИЧ у заболевших.

Mulan is affected by coronavirus

Disney premiere may be delayed

Reading time 4 minutes

On February 29, the popular American mass culture news aggregator Comic Book reported that Disney did not approve the rental plan for its new “Mulan” movie in China. The picture was supposed to be released in late March, but now it is highly likely that the premiere of the picture in the Middle Kingdom will be postponed indefinitely. The main reason is an outbreak of coronavirus, which still cannot be controlled. The performer of the leading role, Liu Yifei, a native of Wuhan, the city where the epidemic started, spoke about the situation: “People are doing everything right. They cherish themselves and others. It is very scary to see that they have not left the house for weeks. I hope that a miracle will happen and everything will soon be behind.”

Пример диснеевского ремейка - "Король Лев". Слева версия 1994 года, справа - 2019
An example of a Disney remake is The Lion King. 1994 version on the left, 2019 on the right

This situation can bring huge losses to Disney. The corporation has already announced significant financial losses after the temporary closure of two theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong – more than $ 150 million per quarter. In addition, the situation with Mulan is special, because the movie was obviously made with the expectation of a great profit from the Chinese audience: the plot is based on the medieval Chinese ballad about the girl Hua Mulan, who went to war with the Huns instead of her father, pretending to be a man. The film is part of a series of numerous “Disney remakes” of popular cartoons from the 80s and 90s with living actors like Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin, or photorealistic animations like The Jungle Book and The Lion King. All previous remakes, despite critical reviews and accusations of secondary nature, repeatedly recouped their production budgets. “Mulan” should not have been an exception, especially given the enormous budget: according to rough estimates, it is about $ 300 million, which makes “Mulan” one of the most expensive movies in history. For comparison, the largest budget ($ 365 million) came from last year’s blockbuster Avengers: Final.

Поцелуй из оригинального мультфильма. Вроде очень милый и не пошлый...
A kiss from the original cartoon. It seems to be very cute and not vulgar …

The creators faced certain problems even until the film transfer. For example, due to the massive military scenes, the picture received an age rating of PG-13 (13+), becoming the first Disney remake with such indicator. PG is considered to be the standard rating for studio films (6+ with parental recommendation). In addition, after the pre-screening, Chinese viewers demanded to cut the scene of the main character’s kiss with Li Shang, a military commander, considering it vulgar and unchaste. As a result, the creators decided to completely remove the character of Li Sang, considering his relationship with Mulan not corresponding to the era of #MeToo. Besides the Chinese criticized the historical inaccuracies of the movie: for example, the Mulan family lives in the adobe house “Tulou”. In reality, they began to be built only a thousand years after the events described in the film.

IPhones are only for the good guys

An interesting feature of Apple products usage in the cinematography

Reading time 4 minutes

On February 26, Vanity Fair, an American magazine in the field of politics, culture, fashion and film, published another video interview on its Youtube channel (more than 2 million subscribers).  This interview was conducted by Ryan Johnson, a popular filmmaker. First of all, he is known as the creator of the science-fiction film “Loopers” and the 8th episode of the Star Wars movie saga, “Last Jedi”. In a 23-minute long video, Johnson talked about his last movie, “Knives Out”. A detective drama tape was released last September (in Russia on November 28) and received rave reviews from critics (97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and extremely positive reviews from viewers (a rating of 8.0 on IMDB). In addition, the film was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Screenplay category. Financially, “Knives Out” also became successful: with a budget of $ 40 million, he raised 306. In the beginning of 2020, it was announced that Johnson is already working on a continuation of the picture. He is planning to release it before the end of 2021. The plot of the first part tells the story of Benoit Blanc, a detective, who is investigating the mysterious murder of the famous author of crime novels Harlan Tromby. Hollywood star actors such as Daniel Craig, Chris Evans and Jamie Lee Curtis have performed in the movie.

Райан Джонсон раскрыл секрет Apple
Ryan Johnson revealed Apple’s secret

The interview instantly became popular due to Johnson revealing of a rather interesting secret: it turns out that Apple, whose products and accessories are regularly featured in movies and TV shows, prohibits negative characters to use them. Indeed, the real killer in “Knives Out” does not use anything related to Apple, unlike some suspects who ultimately turn out to be innocent. Johnson noted with humor that all other detective directors would probably want to kill him because of the exposure of this fact. And not only detective directors: now, watching any Hollywood movie, you can know in advance who is the villain and who is not. If the character in the frame uses Iphone, MacBook, AirPods and any other Apple products, then he or she is, by definition, a positive character. Thus, the company avoids negative associations with its products. According to representatives of the American CNBC channel, not only Apple has such a reverent attitude to the perception of their products by viewers. This is also true, for example, for manufacturers of various food products. It is unlikely that the company will like the fact that something with the label of its brand is thrown into the bin or broken into pieces in the frame.

Самые популярные бренды дорожат своей репутацией даже в кино
The most popular brands value their reputation even in the movies

 

Two out of five is twenty five

Harvey Weinstein trial took place in New York

Reading time 4 minutes

On February 24 was the final hearing of Harvey Weinstein’s case, a  famous Hollywood producer. The jury found him guilty in two of the five counts – criminal acts of a sexual nature and a rape of the third degree. The victim of the first crime was Weinstein’s former assistant Miriam Haley. It happened in 2006. The prosecution proved that she was prone to an oral sex. Jessica Mann, a stylist and actress was raped in 2013.

Мириам Хейли
Miriam Haley
Джессика Манн
Jessica Mann

The former director of Weinstein’s company is also charged with sexual abuse, threats and other extenuating circumstances. Due to a pronounced lack of consent to sex, the sentence is up to 5 years. However, Weinstein was acquitted of “predatory sexual abuse.” If this did not happen, the producer would face a life-long sentence. The estimated conclusion is from 5 to 25 years. The verdict will be issued on March 11. Weinstein should be waiting for further decisions in a prison on Riker Island, but immediately after the court he was taken to the hospital.

Движение "MeToo", ставшее популярным после дела Вайнштейна
The MeToo movement became popular after the Weinstein’s case

The scandal around Harvey Weinstein’s persona begun in October 2017. Ex-employees of The Weinstein Company and actresses who starred in the company’s films massively claimed sexual harassment from the former Boss. Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, Angelina Jolie and others. He was fired right after the applications were received. Later, criminal cases were brought against him and investigated in February. MeToo social movement, organised  by actress Alyssa Milano, became popular after these accusations. At the same time an Oscar-winning actor, Kevin Spacey and a  famous comedian, Louis C. Key , were accused. The disclosure began to spread in other areas of life, not only in the United States, but also in the rest of the world. Of the most striking cases is a Lockhart Steele’s one. He was an editor-in-chief of Vox Digital Media. He lost his job after being accused by the former secretary. Another unusual example is the head of the South African Football Association, Danny Jordan. He was also removed from the office and prosecuted after being accused by Jennifer Ferguson, a politician. The wave of scandalous revelations of celebrities that began after the Weinstein’s affair gave rise to the term – “The Weinstein Effect”.

Nonexistent clothes

What is virtual clothing and why is it becoming popular?

Reading time 4 minutes

Imagine that you browse online stores in search of new clothes, and your eye involuntarily clings to a magnificent jacket. After a moment of thought, you decide to purchase it. But instead of ordering this jacket and getting it in your hands, you send one of your photos, and after a while you get it back. The only difference is that now you are depicted in a new jacket.

виртуальная одежда
The collection of virtual clothing by “Carlings”

This concept of digital clothing may seem strange, but it was based on games and applications. The users spend real money on their virtual character’s clothes and hairstyle. Thus, the profit of the game “Covet Fashion”, which allows players to try on designer clothes and accessories using digital visualization, amounted to $ 53.4 million for 2018.

The first collection of virtual clothing, which was released in November 2018 by “Carlings”, instantly gained popularity. “In real life”, says Kiki Person, a manager of Scandinavian company, “such designer clothes cost thousands of pounds and are worn only once —to be posted on social networks.”

виртуальная одежда
The collection of virtual clothing by “Carlings”

Digital clothing has received many positive reviews and has become a trend not only in Scandinavia. So, the influencer Daria Simonova was one of the first in the world to try on virtual trousers and a jacket. The girl noted that the concept was interesting and in line with modern trends.

“Firstly, it is eco-friendly, and secondly, clothing these days is more of an art on social networks. Virtual clothing is very convenient, and its design potential is huge, because it is cheaper to create.”

 Since 2018, digital clothing has spread throughout the world. In May 2019, a virtual dress was sold at a charity auction for £ 7,500. “In ten years, everyone will be wearing digital clothes”, says Mr. Ma, a buyer of this dress. “It’s definitely very expensive, but it’s a bit of an investment”, he added.

виртуальная одежда
The collection of virtual clothing by “Carlings”

There are also companies producing digital clothing in Russia. The “Грань” brand presented a collection that was advertised by Alyona Pole, a virtual model: “I experiment a lot with digital materials, because I believe that new fashion should be environmentally friendly and should not destroy the environment.”

 

 

“Ice 2” has broken

The fees of the new film with Alexander Petrov reached a billion rubles

Reading time 4 minutes

On February 14, Valentine’s Day, “Ice 2” was released in cinemas – a continuation of the melodramatic musical of 2018 with Alexander Petrov, Aglaia Tarasova and Maria Aronova in the lead roles. The film companies “Hydrogen” and Art Pictures Studio, which are part of the National Media Group, were engaged in the creation and promotion of the film. And now we can say that they have done a very high-quality work to promote the picture: after 10 days, it has already submitted a billion rubles to the box office. Thus, “Ice 2” was included in the list of 14 Russian films that achieved such success at the box office. Earlier, more than a billion rubles were collected by the first part of “Ice”, as well as the films “Serf”, “Stalingrad”, “Crew”, “Irony of Fate. Continuation ”,“ Viking”,“ Fir-trees 3 ”,“ Wii 3D ”,“ Attraction ”,“ Last hero ”,“ Policeman from Rublevka. New Year’s lawlessness ”,“ Upward Movement ”and“ T-34 ”. In addition, “Ice 2” set a record for fees on the first day – 193 million rubles, leaving behind the “T-34” with an indicator of 114 million rubles. However, for the first weekend, the military action figure still collected more than the sequel of “Ice”: 713 million rubles against 610 million rubles. The novelty set its first record even before the release in theaters. Preliminary ticket sales amounted to about 72 million rubles. For comparison, with the first part, this indicator amounted to approximately 18 million rubles, and with the “Serf” it increased to only 9 million rubles.

Премьера "Лед 2
Premiere of “Ice 2”

There are several reasons for such success. First of all, the first “Ice”, which collected more than 1.5 billion rubles at the box office, made the continuation only a matter of time. First of all, Alexander Petrov is at the peak of popularity. “T-34”, “Text”, “Attraction”, “Invasion”, “Ice”, “Gogol” and the series “Call DiCaprio!” – this is an incomplete list of hits of the last 3 years, where Petrov has always been in the foreground . It is worth noting the change of director: instead of Oleg Trofim, who shot the first part, the sequel was led by Zhora Kryzhovnikov, the author of such box-office successful films as “Gorky!”, “Gorky! 2 ” and ” The Best Day. ” And it was him who created “Call DiCaprio!”. Simply put, the film looked very stellar by Russian standards. Finally, the producers of the film managed to start the premiere on Valentine’s Day – the best day of the year for melodramas and romantic comedies in movie theaters. In the next 3 weeks, we have holidays dedicated to Defender of the Fatherland Day and International Women’s Day. At this time, more and more people go to cinemas, especially with their family and with loved ones (“Ice 2” age rating is 6+).

Аглая Тарасова и Александр Петров в фильме "Лед 2"
Aglaia Tarasova and Alexander Petrov in the film “Ice 2”

May the Cancel be with you

Star Wars video game projects are being canceled more and more often - what is the reason?

Reading time 5 minutes

On February 23, the world most famous virtual gaming platform Kotaku reported that Electronic Arts gaming company had canceled the development of its Star Wars game. It was engaged in EA Vancouver. This was posted on Twitter by Jason Schreyer, an editor-in-chief of the portal, one of the main insiders in the field. The Vancouver branch of EA was developing the single-player open-world video game Orca. It was based on a failed project of Visceral Games studio under the working title “Ragtag”. In 2017, Visceral Games was closed for unknown reasons. In the same year, according to information received from Schreyer, Orca was also shut down. After that, EA Vancouver took up another Star Wars game, Viking, but it was also canceled.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - единственная успешная игра по вселенной "Звездных войн" за последние годы
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the only successful Star Wars game in recent years.

There is some good news. Schreyer said that Respawn Entertainment’s development studio has received permission to produce the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sequel. It was released on November 15, 2019. Its average rating on the Metacritic aggregator is 8.1 out of 10, the result is well above the average. Financially, the novelty also became successful: by the end of January 2020, more than 8 million copies of the game were sold, what is 2 times higher than expectations of EA CFOs.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 - крупнейший провал EA
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 – EA’s biggest failure

But the success of Respawn Entertainment is rather a pleasant exception to the currently generally negative video game situation in the George Lucas universe. In 2013, EA entered into a ten-year agreement for the exclusive Star Wars games publisher with its owner, Disney Corporation. Since that time, there have been as many canceled games as there are three released. And if the “Fallen Order” really gained popularity, then both parts of the multiplayer “Star Wars: Battlefront” were adopted very ambiguously. This is especially true considering the second one, which was released in 2017. The problem was not the gameplay but the greed of Electronic Arts. All progress was built on lootboxes – virtual cases, after “opening” them the player received items of random quantity and quality. These cases could be bought either for game currency or for real money, but if you did not want to pay from your pocket, the player had to earn this currency for many hours. Simply put, gamers were outraged by such a “segregation of rich and poor.” In addition, there was a problem in the element of randomness: an unnecessary thing could fall out of the lootbox, or it could be the most unique one, which gives a great advantage over other players.

EA не очень любят
Gamers don’t like EA

As a result, EA gained a bad reputation in the gaming community. Players do not like the company because of excessive greed, and developers do not like it because of the production hell that many of its projects has fallen into. Visceral Games is one of the three examples when a large studio under the supervision of EA was closed. In addition, BioWare Montreal and Headgate Studios were also affected by the corporation.