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‘Black Panther’ enjoys record weekend at box office

Moviegoers have been flocking to theaters this weekend to see Black Panther, shattering records with $192 million for the three-day weekend and a possible gross of $218 million for the four-day Presidents Day weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

>> Read more trending news

The film by Marvel and Disney clinched the fifth-largest domestic opening of all time, Variety reported. With estimates of $169 million from international markets, the film, which stars Chadwick Boseman and was directed by Ryan Coogler, has an estimated global debut grossing more than $361 million through Sunday, Variety reported.

>> 2 kids dressed as ‘tall man’ unable to gain admission to ‘Black Panther’

“Black Panther” is unprecedented among movies since it features a nearly all-black cast in a big-budget movie, according to the Reporter. It also earned a 97 rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The movie also broke the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend, cruising past the $152 million set in 2016 by “Deadpool,” Variety reported.

The Latest: 'Three Billboards' named best picture in Britain

The Latest on the British Academy Film Awards (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" has capped a winning evening at the British Academy Film Awards by taking the trophy for best picture.

The tragicomic tale of a bereaved mother in search of justice beat rivals including "The Shape of Water" and "Darkest Hour."

Writer-director Martin McDonagh said a film about an angry woman who decides to act is appropriate in an awards season dominated by the campaign against sexual misconduct and bullying.

He said at Sunday's awards ceremony in London that "our film is a hopeful one in lots of ways, but it's also an angry one. As we've seen this year, sometimes anger is the only way to get people to listen and to change."

The British Academy Film Awards are Britain's equivalent of the Oscars.

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9:15 p.m.

Frances McDormand has won the best actress prize at the British Academy Film Awards for her performance as a bereaved mother in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

Critics and viewers have called McDormand riveting as a mother seeking justice for her murdered daughter in Martin McDonagh's tragicomic film.

Unlike most women in attendance, McDormand did not dress all in black in a gesture against sexual harassment. She opted for a red and black dress.

McDormand acknowledged her attire, noting "I have a little problem with compliance. But I want you to know that I stand in full solidarity with my sisters tonight in black."

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9:10 p.m.

Gary Oldman has won the best actor prize at the British Academy Film Awards for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour."

Oldman said the prize is "all the more special because I can share it with my family," including his three sons in the London audience.

He also thanked the makeup team that rendered him unrecognizable in the biopic.

And he hailed the late prime minister himself, saying Churchill helped maintain Britain's honor and freedom "in those dark uncertain days" at the start of World War II.

The win cements Oldman's place as the favorite to win the best-actor Academy Award at the Hollywood ceremony on March 4.

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8:45 p.m.

Allison Janney has won the best supporting actress prize at the British Academy Film Awards for playing ice skater Tonya Harding's ferocious mother in "I, Tonya."

Janney praised her co-stars and the team behind the "beautiful movie," which stars Margot Robbie as the champion skater from the 1990s caught up in a tragicomic rivalry with competitor Nancy Kerrigan.

Janney is also up for an Academy Award at the Oscars on March 4.

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8:25 p.m.

Sam Rockwell has won the best supporting actor prize at the British Academy Film Awards for his performance as a brutal, racist police officer in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

At a ceremony dominated by the movement against sexual misconduct, Rockwell said he stood on the shoulders of "strong, intelligent, righteous women." He praised the film's star, actress Frances McDormand.

Rockwell also praised the film's writer- director, Martin McDonagh, saying "there are no great actors, only great roles."

The awards are Britain's equivalent of the Oscars.

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7:25 p.m.

Revenge comedy "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" has been named outstanding British film at the British Academy Film Awards.

The film — which has a U.S cast, but a British producer and director — took the trophy at a ceremony dominated by the movement against sexual misconduct and inequality in the entertainment industry.

Producer Graham Broadbent said the movie about a bereaved mother seeking justice is "the story of a woman taking on the establishment and status quo. It seems more timely now than we could ever have imagined."

"Three Billboards" is also nominated in the separate best picture category at Britain's equivalent of the Oscars.

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6:55 p.m.

The Duchess of Cambridge has joined in with the muted palette on the BAFTA red carpet, wearing a dark green Jenny Packham dress with a black belt.

Kate, who is expecting her third child in April, is attending the British Academy Film Awards with her husband, Prince William, who is president of the U.K. movie academy.

Most female guests are wearing black to the ceremony as a statement of support for the "Time's Up" movement against sexual harassment and abuse.

Kate's choice found a middle way between making a political statement — something the royal family scrupulously avoids — and ignoring the gesture by wearing a bright color.

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5:25 p.m.

Stars are starting to arrive for the British Academy Film Awards at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Apart from some brightly clad Cirque du Soleil entertainers, the dress code on the red carpet is black. Many female guests are eschewing color to show support for the "Time's Up" movement against sexual harassment and bullying.

Kristin Scott Thomas, a supporting actress nominee for "Darkest Hour," says she is pleased by the conversation the entertainment industry is having about misconduct, but thinks a tougher task will be "moving it from conversation to action."

Actress Andrea Riseborough, who brought U.K. Black Pride co-founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah as her guest, says the film industry sorely needs greater diversity.

She said: "It's more likely we'll see an alien onscreen than we'll see an Asian woman at the moment, which is disgraceful."

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7:50 a.m.

Many of Britain's most prominent female entertainment stars have signed an open letter demanding an end to sexual harassment ahead of Britain's major film awards.

A letter published Sunday has been signed by Academy Award winner Emma Thompson, Naomie Harris, Emma Watson, Gemma Arterton and many others.

The letter in The Observer calls for an end to impunity and says "this movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone."

Backed by more than 190 entertainers, academics and activists, the letter aligns British film stars with the fight against sexual harassment set off by the allegations against U.S. movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

It comes ahead of Sunday night's British Academy Film Awards, where many women attending plan to wear monochromatic black in solidarity with victims of abuse.

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

Remembering Harry Caray 20 years after his death

It’s hard to believe that the joyous voice of the Chicago Cubs was silenced 20 years ago today.

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Broadcaster Harry Caray, who was the play-by-play man for the Cubs from 1982 to 1997, died on Feb. 18, 1998, in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 83, although at the time of his death, he was believed to be 78.

Caray had collapsed at his restaurant in Palm Springs four days earlier.

Before joining the Cubs. Caray called games for the St. Louis Cardinals (1945-1969), Oakland Athletics (1970) and Chicago White Sox (1971-1981).

In addition to his signature call of “Holy, Cow!” Caray was famous for his off-key, passionate rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch.

Since baseball players are returning to Florida and Arizona for spring training, it’s only appropriate to hear Caray singing one more time. Here is a video from the last Cubs home game of 1997, which was his final appearance at Wrigley Field:

'Black Panther' blows away box office with $192M weekend

A wave of feverish anticipation, fawning critical acclaim and groundbreaking cultural meaning pushed "Black Panther" to a record-setting $192 million debut in U.S. and Canada theaters, firmly establishing the superhero sensation as a box-office landmark.

The Marvel film from the Walt Disney Co. blew past expectations to become the fifth-highest-grossing debut ever, not adjusting for inflation, following only "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," ''Star Wars: The Last Jedi," ''Jurassic World" and "The Avengers."

In estimates Sunday, Disney predicted a four-day holiday weekend of $218 million domestically and a global debut of $361 million.

Though the film's international footprint doesn't include several of the largest markets — China, Russia and Japan — it still ranks among the top 15 global debuts ever. It's also the highest-grossing February opening weekend.

"All hail the King of Wakanda!" Disney declared, referring to the movie's mythical and highly advanced African nation.

Ryan Coogler's film, which cost about $200 million to make, is the most expensive movie with a largely black ensemble and among the few to be centered on a black superhero. The strong opening suggests "Black Panther" will easily set a box-office record for films directed by a black filmmaker.

The previous best is Sidney Poitier's 1980 comedy "Stir Crazy," which took in $322 million domestically, when inflation is calculated.

"Black Panther" set pre-sale records and saw lines around theaters over the weekend, including some who came costumed for the event.

"This is the very definition of a blockbuster: People lining up around the block to see a great movie," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "A movie like 'Black Panther' is a cultural event that nothing on the small screen can really match in that way."

Chadwick Boseman stars as T'Challa/Black Panther in the first stand-alone film for the superhero created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. The cast also features Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright.

The movie has been hugely acclaimed, with a 97 percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences agreed, giving it an A-plus CinemaScore. The film especially resonated among African-Americans, who made up 37 percent of moviegoers, according to comScore.

Dave Hollis, distribution chief for Disney, called the film's success "a real source of pride" for Disney.

"Inclusion and representation matters," Hollis said. "We know that great stories can come from anywhere, and our goal is to make films that reflect the wonderful diversity of our world and resonate with audiences everywhere — no matter who they are, no matter where they come from."

Coming at one of the slower periods of the year, "Black Panther" benefited from little competition, and it can be expected to dominate the marketplace for weeks.

Last week's top film, the erotic romance sequel "Fifty Shades Freed," slid to third place, with $16.9 million in its second week for Universal. Sony's children's book adaptation "Peter Rabbit" held much stronger, taking the No. 2 spot with $17.3 million in its second week.

But moviegoers — and Hollywood — were focused on "Black Panther," including how it would fare overseas. Though considered by most to be an outdated myth, some have claimed that foreign audiences have less appetite for films with largely black casts.

"Black Panther" vanquished those notions with $169 million in ticket sales. It was No. 1 in most international markets, though "Fifty Shades Freed" bested it in Germany.

Its release in China will come later. This weekend, the Chinese New Year holiday, local productions led by "Detective Chinatown 2" and "Monster Hunt 2" dominated Chinese theaters, with more than $140 million in ticket sales each.

"Black Panther" also performed especially well on large-format screens. Imax reported $30 million in ticket sales for the three-day weekend.

"There was a groundswell of wanting this movie to work, and then when it actually did as a film, itself, it just kicked it up a notch to a level no one could have ever predicted," said Greg Foster, Imax Entertainment's chief executive. "That makes me feel really good about the movie business."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday also are included. Final four-day domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

1. "Black Panther," $192 million ($169 million international).

2. "Peter Rabbit," $17.3 million.

3. "Fifty Shades Freed," $16.9 million ($47.7 million international).

4. "Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle," $7.9 million ($4.8 million international).

5. "The 15:17 to Paris," $7.7 million ($2.8 million international).

6. "The Greatest Showman," $5.1 million ($9.6 million international).

7. "Early Man," $3.2 million ($3.7 million international).

8. "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," $2.5 million ($11 million international).

9. "Winchester," $2.2 million.

10. "Samson," $2 million.

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Black Panther," $169 million.

2. "Detective Chinatown 2," $155 million.

3. "Monster Hunt 2," $141 million.

4. "Operation Red Sea," $70.3 million.

5. "The Monkey King 3: Kingdom of Women," $52.3 million.

6. "Fifty Shades Freed," $47.7 million.

7. "Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink," $32.6 million.

8. "The Shape of Water," $12.3 million.

9. "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," $11 million.

10. "The Greatest Showman," $9.6 million.

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Here's why Olympic figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu's fans throw Winnie the Pooh bears on the ice

In one of the strangest stories that we’ve seen out of the 2018 Winter Olympics, beloved bear Winnie the Pooh is making a comeback.

>> Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz wows with 'Game of Thrones' costume

The lovable bear is the unofficial mascot of Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu. Every time Hanyu takes to the ice, he keeps a stuffed bear on the side of the rink for good luck, often bowing to the toy before performing, Time magazine reported. Fans know of Hanyu's love for the character and throw Winnie the Pooh bears onto the rink. The carefree bear has proved to be a pretty effective spirit animal for Hanyu, who is considered by some to be the best figure skater in history.

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

And the bears aren’t wasted, either. After Hanyu leaves the ice, the stuffed animals are collected and donated to local charities.

Too racy for the Olympics? Figure skaters Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir tone down controversial lift

The 23-year-old won a gold medal in Pyeongchang on Saturday, making him the first male skater since 1952 to win back-to-back Olympic golds. In a New York Times profile of the star, the paper wrote that thousands of Hanyu’s fans traveled to South Korea to see him compete. Some of them wore Winnie the Pooh hats while others donned Winnie the Pooh costumes.

>> Olympic figure skater Yura Min suffers wardrobe malfunction, handles it with class

>> Read more trending news 

And the story of Hanyu’s gold medal performance has the kind of storybook twists and turns that you might expect from something a lot more dramatic than Winnie the Pooh. In the months leading up the games, when he should have been entering his final round of preparation, Hanyu suffered an injury to his ankle that threatened his performance. But, in a comeback story for the ages, the Japanese star managed to return with a vengeance, cementing himself as the greatest ice skater in the world. And, Winnie the Pooh was there on the sidelines for the entire thing.

A Very Special “Black Panther” Screening from Serena Williams!

Black Girls Code is a nonprofit organization offering technology education to young African American girls who might not otherwise have access to it. Serena Williams organized a screening of “Black Panther” for some girls who participate in the Black Girls Code program. Little did they know Serena herself came out to greet them at this screening. She addressed them by saying; “I’m glad you guys could make it out, obviously this is a huge moment for us and for black people. We’ve never had a superhero movie, so we’re so excited. I feel like I waited my whole life for this.” https://www.instagram.com/p/BfQv0oxhLeR/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=embed_profile_upsell_control

Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz wows with 'Game of Thrones' costume

“Game of Thrones” fans from around the world were loving German Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz’s costume at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Fentz was clearly not on the fence when it came to a tribute to the character Jaime Lannister, and neither were people on the internet when it came to voicing positive opinions about it.

>> Too racy for the Olympics? Figure skaters Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir tone down controversial lift

The Olympian also skated to the “Game of Thrones” soundtrack.

Here's what fans had to say:

>> Olympic figure skater Yura Min suffers wardrobe malfunction, handles it with class

Even commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir were into it.

>> Read more trending news 

“It was not his best, but a Lannister always pays his debts,” Lipinski said. “This music gets me.”

What will Meghan wear? Royal wedding dress a top UK secret

Where does one shop for a wedding gown set to be the dress of the year — an outfit chic enough for a fashion-loving bride but suitable for a church so regal it's the burial place of monarchs?

Everyone at London Fashion Week — and elsewhere — is dying to know.

With only three months to go before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's May 19 wedding at Windsor Castle, both the fashion and bridal worlds are abuzz with talk of who the bride will pick to design her dress and what kind of look she would go for.

It's no wonder: There's not been a bigger royal wedding since Harry's brother Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011 in an extravaganza broadcast around the world. Seven years later, Kate's lacey, long-sleeved Alexander McQueen gown is still influencing bridal designs today.

"It's going to be the greatest fashion commission of 2018. There'll be millions of eyeballs on it," said Jade Beer, editor at the British edition of Brides magazine. "It's her major fashion moment."

"She'll definitely need an upgrade from the dress she wore for her first wedding," Beer added, referring to the simple strapless white gown the American actress wore at her 2011 Jamaica beach wedding to film producer Trevor Engelson. The couple divorced in 2013.

While the design — as well as the designer — of the dress is a closely guarded secret, many are positive that Markle will choose a British designer.

Kate wasn't the only bride in Britain's extended royal family sticking with a British designer. Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth II's second-eldest grandchild, wore royal couturier Stewart Parvin. In 1981, then-Lady Diana Spencer — the late mother of groom Harry — surprised many when she chose David and Elizabeth Emanuel, a pair of designers fresh out of college.

Front-runners for Markle's choice include British-Canadian Erdem Moralioglu, known for his elegant, feminine styles; Ralph & Russo, the couture designers Markle chose for her engagement dress; heritage fashion powerhouse Burberry; as well as McQueen and Giles Deacon, who designed the wedding gown for Kate's sister Pippa Middleton.

Victoria Beckham has denied rumors that she's been asked. French designer Roland Mouret has also been cited as a possible pick.

"I mean, she could surprise us all and choose a Canadian brand — she was so loyal to them while she was filming up there," said Miles Socha, editor-in-chief at Women's Wear Daily, referring to the time Markle spent in Toronto filming the TV series "Suits." ''But probably we would have to place our bets on a British designer."

Some are hoping Markle will pick something less traditional because she has more leeway. After all, Harry is only fifth in line to the throne — and will be sixth after Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to her third child in April. In addition, their wedding venue, St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, is less imposing than St. Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey in London.

"I really expect something different from her. Her style is so clean, really modern, and bridal has been so traditional in the past few years," said London-based bridal designer Naomi Neoh. "I think — I hope — it would be clean, simple with beautiful detailing."

Neoh hopes Markle will choose a dress that celebrates her individuality.

"Meghan's very different from the English tradition. She's got her career, she's half-black," she said. "She's not going to be queen. It has to be respectful and appropriate of course, but it can be a bit more exciting with the cut and the lines. I think maybe a high neck, low back — that'd be demure enough."

Still, it's a dress that needs to live up to the grandeur of its surroundings. St. George's Chapel is intimate only by royal proportions. It seats 800 guests and has a very important place in British history as the resting place of scores of kings and queens — including both of the queen's parents.

"She's going to be walking over dead monarchs on the way up the aisle," said Beer. "There's a huge sense of occasion."

Markle has already signaled a break from the conservative styles that dominate British royal wardrobes, ditching stuffy frock coats for sleek trousers. Many admired the sharp trouser suit she wore to match Harry's outfit at a recent official event.

The actress herself has offered some clues about her dream wedding dress.

In March 2016, before she met Harry, she told Glamour magazine that she favored "classic and simple" styles with "a modern twist," and that she preferred "wedding dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic." She named Ellie Saab and J. Mendel among her favorite designers, and said her favorite celebrity wedding dress was the simple slip of a gown that Carolyn Besette Kennedy wore in 1996.

Circumstances have changed since then — but whatever style she picks, Markle's choice will soon be seen in bridal salons everywhere.

Referring to Kate's gown, Neoh said: "Literally the next day, everyone wanted long lace sleeves — the year after getting lace was impossible. It was bananas."

Many say with Markle's looks and the young royals' popularity, she could get away with nearly anything.

"I think everybody here loves her so dearly," said designer Jasper Conran. "She can wear a dishcloth and people won't mind."

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Hilary Fox and Gregory Katz in London contributed to this story.

'Three Billboards' wins, women make waves at UK film awards

Ferocious female-led tragicomedy "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" was the big winner Sunday at the British Academy Film Awards in London, where women demanding an end to harassment, abuse and inequality dominated the ceremony.

Martin McDonagh's film about a bereaved mother seeking justice won five trophies including best film, outstanding British film and best actress, for Frances McDormand.

Producer Graham Broadbent said the movie is "the story of a woman taking on the establishment and status quo."

"It seems more timely now than we could ever have imagined," he said.

Writer-director McDonagh said it was fitting, in the year of the "Time's Up" campaign, that "Three Billboards" is "a film about a woman who refuses to take any s(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) anymore."

"Our film is a hopeful one in lots of ways, but it's also an angry one," McDonagh said. "As we've seen this year, sometimes anger is the only way to get people to listen and to change."

McDonagh won the original screenplay prize for "Three Billboards," which also netted Sam Rockwell the supporting actor trophy. Allison Janney was named best supporting actress for playing ice skater Tonya Harding's domineering mother in "I, Tonya."

Guillermo del Toro won the directing prize for monster fantasy "The Shape of Water," which also took trophies for music and production design.

Gary Oldman, the favorite among bookies, won the best actor prize for playing British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour."

The British prizes, known as BAFTAs, are considered a key indicator of likely success at Hollywood's Oscars in two weeks' time.

The film awards season in the United States and elsewhere has been overshadowed by the allegations of sexual harassment and abuse leveled at scores of entertainment figures since women began coming forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.

England's Old Vic Theatre has been rocked by allegations against former artistic director Kevin Spacey. London police are also investigating nine claims of sexual assault by Weinstein.

The red carpet and the auditorium at London's Royal Albert Hall were a sea of black as actresses such as Lupita Nyong'o, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence and Margot Robbie eschewed color as a statement against sexual misconduct and gender inequality.

Several actresses brought feminist activists as guests, and men showed solidarity with "Time's Up" lapel pins.

McDormand opted to wear black and red rather than all black, and noted: "I have a little trouble with compliance."

"But I want you to know that I stand in full solidarity with my sisters tonight in black," she said.

On the red carpet, actress Andrea Riseborough, who brought U.K. Black Pride founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah as her guest, said she also hoped the film industry was on the road to greater equality and diversity.

"It's more likely we'll see an alien onscreen than we'll see an Asian woman at the moment, which is disgraceful," Riseborough said.

Prince William — the British Academy's president — and the Duchess of Cambridge were guests of honor at Sunday's ceremony, hosted by "Absolutely Fabulous" star Joanna Lumley. Kate acknowledged the evening's muted fashion by wearing a dark green Jenny Packham dress with black belt.

The call to wear black put Kate in a delicate position, because the royal family is careful to avoid political statements.

Ahead of the ceremony, almost 200 British women in entertainment called for an international movement to end sexual misconduct.

Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Naomie Harris, Emma Watson and Gemma Arterton were among signatories to a letter saying that 2018 should be "the year that time was up on sexual harassment and abuse."

The stars called for an end to impunity for abusers and announced a fund to support women and men battling workplace abuse, modeled on the "Time's Up" movement in the U.S.

Former "Harry Potter" star Watson has given the fund 1 million pounds ($1.4 million), according to its page on the Go Fund Me website.

The ceremony honored several generations of talent. Filmmaker James Ivory, 89, took the adapted screenplay prize for "Call Me By Your Name."

The 80-year-old director Ridley Scott, whose films include "Blade Runner," ''Alien," ''Thelma and Louise" and "Gladiator," received the academy's highest honor, the BAFTA Fellowship.

Daniel Kaluuya, the 28-year-old British star of "Get Out," won the rising star award and made a plea for public arts funding, which helped him get his start.

Kaluuya, who is also Oscar-nominated, joked that success meant taking Ubers rather than the subway.

"I get that Prius everywhere," he said.

___

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

Christopher Bailey's Burberry farewell tops London shows

Christopher Bailey's final show as Burberry creative director dominated London Fashion Week on Saturday. Bailey is leaving the popular brand later this year after a 17-year stint that helped it regain its prominence as a global fashion power.

Newcomer Simone Rocha and veteran Jasper Conran were among the designers showcasing their latest styles as fashion week kicked into high gear. Some highlights from the style extravaganza:

A BURBERRY FAREWELL BRINGS DOWN THE STAR-STUDDED HOUSE

Animal rights activists may have hassled the high-fashion crowd entering the Burberry show, but once the 1,300 guests were safely inside the event turned into a lovefest.

The affection was for Christopher Bailey, who is leaving Burberry later this year after serving as creative director and chief executive, among other jobs. Bailey's final show was a milestone for him and for the company he helped revive.

He dedicated his farewell show to organizations that support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

"There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength and our creativity," Bailey said.

The spectacle was part fashion show, part performance art and part laser lighting display. It ended with Bailey walking down the fog-filled runway to a prolonged standing ovation from a crowd that included Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Chelsea Clinton and many others famous fans.

"It was exquisite," said Miller, who seemed near tears moments after the show ended. "One of the most spectacular things I've ever seen. It was brave and it was political and it was beautiful."

Clinton also seemed overcome with emotion.

"It showed so much humanity, so much of what he is as a person," she said. "I'm just so glad I could be here and see it in person to celebrate Christopher as he goes on to the next chapter."

Model and actress Cara Delevingne made a now-rare catwalk appearance for Bailey and the Burberry brand. She closed the show wearing a regal, rainbow-themed outfit and leading the other models through the finale, which was set off by a spectacular laser show.

The audience was filled with luminaries, including actor Idris Elba and actresses Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley, and Naomi Watts. Former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher and Michael Jackson's daughter, Paris, also were in the crowd.

The show featured many references to the familiar Burberry check, which was worked into a number of jackets, caps and tops, along with some gorgeous gowns and stylish bomber jackets.

___

PRETTIFIED TAILORING AT SIMONE ROCHA

Dainty lace, ruffles, pretty bows: Simone Rocha's latest collection may include every girly cliche, but there's more than meets the eye.

The young designer, known for her modern take on sweet, doll-like looks, dressed models in frilly gold or black tulle and lace dresses over slim tailored pieces such as a buttoned-up shirt or a trouser suit. The outfits were finished off with mannish brogue shoes or furry flat slippers.

There were exaggerated puff sleeves, embroidered roses, fur trims and rich floral brocade fabrics, perhaps a nod to the John Constable portraits Rocha referred to in her show notes. They were certainly a match with the show's venue, an ornate red and gold room adorned with giant candlelit chandeliers in London's palatial Goldsmiths' Hall.

Rocha did break away from delicate dresses, and those were some of the show's strongest looks: Belted, double-breasted patent leather coats that came in a striking red or military green, as well as red and navy plaid outfits adorned with a tinsel-like trim.

___

ELEGANCE AND RICH COLORS AT JASPER CONRAN

Designer Jasper Conran pared down the in-your-face, bombastic style some rivals have adopted for London Fashion Week. Instead, Conran showed an elegant collection that relied on many monochromatic outfits with subtle shifts of texture and drape to set them off. The apparent simplicity, offset by the detailing and workmanship, made for an often captivating result.

"I think it's very much what I've learned in my career. These are the things that I know," said Conran, one of the founding designers of London Fashion Week. "So it's an expression of quite a long time of learning."

Conran described the basic elements he used as navy, white and sulphur yellow, with a wide variety of other unusual colors and textures weaved in. He found expressive ways to mix and match, but also relied on one color from head to toes walking the runway in matching, understated shoes. Most models wore their hair long and natural, giving the collection an airy, ethereal feel.

When shades were mixed, it was frequently striking — as in a surprisingly effective dress that paired olive green with dark brown.

Trousers and some dresses were often pleated, and lightweight parkas set off some outfits. Conran seemed to show a special flair in various shades of yellow, including a hooded yellow parka that seemed both practical and sexy.

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