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Critics' Choice Awards: Gary Oldman receives another best actor prize

Gary Oldman’s march towards the Oscars has continued with another best actor prize for playing Winston Churchill. The Briton’s Critics’ Choice award for Darkest Hour follows the Golden Globe he won last weekend and the Bafta nomination he received on Tuesday. Globe winner Guillermo del Toro was on hand to pick up another best director prize for The Shape of Water, which won best picture at the Santa Monica event. But James Franco was not there to pick up the best actor in a comedy award. A number of women…

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Kendrick Lamar's Damn was the critics' favourite album of 2017

Kendrick Lamar’s sparse and hard-hitting rap treatise, Damn, is music critics’ favourite record of 2017. The album, which explores the conflicts in Lamar’s personal life, his faith and American society, has topped a “poll of polls” compiled by BBC News. Second place went to SZA’s sensual, intimate and partially-improvised R&B album, CTRL. Pop star Lorde came third with Melodrama, an exhilarating song cycle about the angst and ecstasy of youth. Melodrama was co-written and produced by Jack Antonoff, who worked on two other albums in the critics’ top 20 –…

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Pitch Perfect 3 is music to (some) critics' ears

Pitch Perfect 3 begins with a rendition of Britney Spears’ song Toxic, which is exactly how some critics found it. Yet other reviewers found plenty to love in the third instalment of the hugely popular franchise. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and others reprise their roles in the latest film to explore the fortunes of the Barden Bellas, an all-girl a capella group. John Lithgow and DJ Khaled have also joined the cast for Pitch Perfect 3, which is released in the UK today. Its plot sees Beca (Kendrick), Fat Amy…

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Jorja Smith wins Brits Critics' Choice

R&B singer Jorja Smith has won the Brits Critics’ Choice award, singling her out as one to watch next year. The 20-year-old, who comes from Walsall in the West Midlands, beat two other newcomers, Mabel and Stefflon Don, to the prize. The award, which recognises “the future stars of British recording talent”, has previously gone to Adele, Emeli Sande and last year’s winner, Rag N Bone Man. “This is such a special way to end the year,” said Smith. The singer, who took fourth place on the BBC Sound of…

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Brit Awards announces first all-female Critics' Choice shortlist

Before they were famous, Sam Smith, Florence + The Machine, Adele and Emeli Sande were all tipped for success by the Brits’ Critics’ Choice award. This year’s line-up has just been announced and, for the first time, it’s an all-female field. Birmingham-born MC Stefflon Don is joined on the list by soul singers Jorja Smith and Mabel. The winner will be announced on 4 December, ahead of next year’s Brit Awards. Stefflon Don has already tasted chart success this year, reaching the top 10 with Hurtin’ Me, and featuring in…

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Music & Arts 

Beyonce's Lemonade is critics' top album of 2016

Beyonce’s politically charged visual album Lemonade is the music critics’ favourite album of the year. The record, which tackles themes of black empowerment and female identity, topped a “poll of polls” compiled by the BBC. It beat David Bowie’s elegiac swansong Blackstar, which was released two days before his death in January. Third place went to Frank Ocean’s Blonde, a sprawling, impressionistic take on art-soul. The top 10 albums of 2016 Beyonce’s sister Solange also fared well. A Seat At The Table, her soulful, thoughtful portrayal of the struggles faced…

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