Volkswagen’s Passat wins Car of the Year 2015!

Volkswagen’s Passat is the 2015 Car of the Year. A jury of 58 motoring journalists from 22 countries anointed the VW top dog from a seven-strong shortlist, which also included the BMW 2-series Active Tourer, Citroën C4 Cactus, Ford Mondeo, Mercedes C-class, Nissan Qashqai and Renault Twingo.

Each juror has 25 points to split among the shortlisted seven, with the Passat racking up 340 points in total. That was almost 100 points clear of the second-placed Citroën C4 Cactus which landed 248 points, while the Mercedes C-class came in third with 221 points.

CAR has two jurors on the shortlist, Phil McNamara and Georg Kacher, who both nominated the C4 Cactus as their favourite, giving it six points. But the Car of the Year approach, asking jurors to spread 25 points among the contenders rather than just pick one outright winner, means a consistently scoring car with broad international appeal tends to come through the pack to gain victory.

How the editor of CAR voted

McNamara gave the Passat four points – the same as the Mondeo. Part of his verdict read: ‘Buyers have shifted from saloons to crossovers, but the new Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat attempt to fight back. The Mondeo is the most fun dynamically: drive it hard on our demanding test routes, and its body control, ride quality and responsive controls are exceptional. It’s a very refined motorway car, and the punchy 1.5-litre Ecoboost is great, but the drab, cheap-feeling cockpit is a real letdown.

‘The Passat reeks of quality engineering throughout: it’s a little lighter than the Mondeo, its cabin feels very special, and its sophisticated technology delivers for the consumer: self-driving in traffic jams, automated piloting if the driver is incapacitated, forthcoming active binnacle, and world first trailer assist. If you could combine the Passat’s quality and tech with the Mondeo’s chassis, you’d have an ideal (if trad) car to stem the crossover exodus.

‘But my winner is the Citroën C4 Cactus. It eschews the complex tech of its peers, making a virtue of simplicity to minimise weight and cost, for the consumer’s benefit. So mpg and CO2 figures are impressive. It’s compact but has decent cabin space. The exterior design is handsome, and the interior design peppered with delightful touches, from the asymmetric vents to the cloth grab handles to the gearbox lever.

‘Citroëns often flop in our dynamic assessments, but the controls, peppy 1.2-litre triple, ride and steering are a step forward for the brand. The good value Citroën is brimming with feelgood factor, and it’s my Car of the Year.’

Volkswagen’s strong record in Car of the Year

But that’s one person’s opinion: 57 other voters ensured the Volkswagen won by a comfortable margin. The Passat’s victory means Volkswagen’s three core current models, the Polo in 2010 and the Golf in 2013, have all won Car of the Year.

The award has a long heritage: it dates back to 1964, when the Rover 2000 scooped the first win. ‘It’s the most prestigious award in the automotive industry,’ said CotY president Hakan Matson. ‘Our voting is totally transparent: all the points and the jurors’ verdicts are published on our website.’

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‘Birdman’ flies over Oscars 2015, Full List of Winners

America Ferrera,, Anna Kendrick and Josh Hutcherson

“Birdman” soared late at the 87th Academy Awards, winning the big prize — best picture.

“This guy is as bold as bold could be,” said star Michael Keaton, referring to director and co-writer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

The film also won three other honors: directing, cinematography and original screenplay. Inarritu is the second straight Mexican to win director, after “Gravity’s” Alfonso Cuaron.

David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris

“Two Mexicans in a row — that’s suspicious,” Inarritu joked.

Eddie Redmayne won best actor for his performance as the ALS-afflicted scientist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” Julianne Moore won best actress for her performance in “Still Alice.”

Patricia Arquette

“Boyhood” performer Patricia Arquette won best supporting actress — and made sure that her award was a call for equality.

“We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United Stares of America,” she said, to rousing applause.

David Oyelowo and Michael Keaton

Her activist message also resonated online.

Also resonating was a stirring speech by Common and John Legend, who won best song for “Glory.” Their performance of “Glory” brought star David Oyelowo to tears.

Felicity Jones, Dakota Johnson, Melanie Griffith, Marion Cotillard

‘Call your mom, call your dad’

The best supporting actor Oscar went to J.K. Simmons of “Whiplash.”

The longtime character actor — known to audiences for his roles in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” the TV show “The Closer” and ads for Farmers Insurance and M&Ms, among many others — paid tribute to his family in his speech, praising his wife and his “above-average” children.

Cate Blanchett

He also put in a plug for actual phone calls.

“Call your mom, call your dad; don’t text, don’t email; tell them you love them,” he said.

Sophie Hunter, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Aniston and Emma Stone

Host Neil Patrick Harris tweaked him by humming the Farmers theme as Simmons left the stage.

“Whiplash” won three Oscars, winning sound mixing and film editing along with supporting actor. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” has four Oscars — for score, production design, costume design and makeup.

JK Simmons

“Big Hero 6” won best animated feature. “Citizenfour” won best documentary feature.

Director Laura Poitras thanked the film’s subject, Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked classified files and earned the ire of the government. An attempt at a pun from Harris — Snowden couldn’t be at the Oscars “for some treason” — got immediate pushback online.

“The Imitation Game” won adapted screenplay.

NPH leads with jokes

The Oscars — the “epicenter of noise and world attention,” as “Ida” director Pawel Pawlikowski called them — wasted no time at poking fun at some of the big issues facing Hollywood: diversity, economics and self-involvement.

Harris led off the show with a joke about the lack of diversity among the acting nominees.

“This year we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest — sorry, brightest,” he joked.

Then, in a mammoth opening number, he and Anna Kendrick were joined by Jack Black, who angrily hopped on stage to throw a sarcastic wet blanket over their hailing of “Moving Pictures,” noting that the business is as much about “raising tents with tentpoles and chasing Chinese bucks” than it is about art.

He was summarily dismissed by Harris.

The host also wandered into the audience, greeting two seat fillers among the celebrities, and at one point parodied “Birdman” by walking through the backstage area in his underwear — right onto the stage.

The show aired from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

Full List of Winners:

Best Picture

“American Sniper”

“Birdman” (*WINNER)

“Boyhood”

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

“The Imitation Game”

“Selma”

“The Theory of Everything”

“Whiplash”

Best Director

Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman” (*WINNER)

Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”

Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”

Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”

Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” (*WINNER)

Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”

Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Best Actor

Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”

Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”

Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”

Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything” (*WINNER)

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood” (*WINNER)

Laura Dern, “Wild”

Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”

Emma Stone, “Birdman”

Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, “The Judge”

Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”

Edward Norton, “Birdman”

Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”

J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash” (*WINNER)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”

Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”

Jason Hall, “American Sniper”

Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything”

Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game” (*WINNER)

Best Original Screenplay

Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, “Foxcatcher”

Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, “Birdman” (*WINNER)

Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Best Foreign Language Film

“Leviathan”

“Ida” (*WINNER)

“Tangerines”

“Timbuktu”

“Wild Tales”

Best Documentary Feature

“CITIZENFOUR” (*WINNER)

“Finding Vivian Maier”

“Last Days in Vietnam”

“The Salt in the Earth”

“Virunga”

Best Animated Feature

“Big Hero 6” (*WINNER)

“The Boxtrolls”

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”

“Song of the Sea”

“The Tale of The Princess Kaguya”

Film Editing

“American Sniper”

“Boyhood”

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

“The Imitation Game”

“Whiplash” (*WINNER)

Best Song

“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”

“Glory” from “Selma” (*WINNER)

“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”

“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”

Best Original Score

Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (*WINNER)

Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game”

Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”

Gary Yershon, “Mr. Turner”

Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins, “Unbroken”

Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman” (*WINNER)

Dick Pope, “Mr. Turner”

Robert Yeoman, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, “Ida”

Best Costume Design

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (*WINNER)

“Inherent Vice”

“Into the Woods”

“Maleficent”

“Mr. Turner”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Foxcatcher”

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (*WINNER)

“Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Production Design

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (*WINNER)

“The Imitation Game”

“Interstellar”

“Into the Woods”

“Mr. Turner”

Best Sound Editing

“American Sniper” (*WINNER)

“Birdman”

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

“Interstellar”

“Unbroken”

Best Sound Mixing

“American Sniper”

“Birdman”

“Interstellar”

“Unbroken”

“Whiplash” (*WINNER)

Best Visual Effects

Captain America:

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

“Guardians of the Galaxy”

“Interstellar” (*WINNER)

“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Best Short Film, Live Action

“Aya”

“Boogaloo and Graham”

“Butter Lamp”

“Parvaneh”

“The Phone Call” (*WINNER)

Best Short Film, Animated

“The Bigger Picture”

“The Dam Keeper”

“Feast” (*WINNER)

“Me and My Moulton”

“A Single Life”

Best Documentary, Short Subject

“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” (*WINNER)

“Joanna”

“Our Curse”

“The Reaper”

“White Earth”

Source

Oscar-Nominated ‘American Sniper’ Wins Top Box Office Position!

american sniper movie

“American Sniper,” Clint Eastwood’s war-drama that’s nominated for six Oscars, was the top-grossing movie in the U.S. andCanada over the weekend, collecting $90.2 million in ticket sales to set a record for January.

“The Wedding Ringer” came in second with weekend sales of $21 million for Sony Pictures (6758)’ Screen Gems, industry researcher Rentrak Corp. said Sunday in a statement. Weinstein Co.’s “Paddington” collected $19.3 million.

Eastwood’s movie surprised the industry by reaping amounts usually not seen until summer weekends, helping kick off a year that’s expected to haul in at least $11 billion for the first time on the back of new entries from past successful franchises including “Star Wars,” “Terminator” and “Jurassic Park,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Rentrak. The three-day take for “American Sniper” was a record for a January weekend, surpassing the $68.5 million brought in by “Avatar” over the first weekend of 2010.

“No one saw this coming. This really obliterated expectations,” Dergarabedian said of Eastwood’s movie. “He’s an octogenarian and he’s still rocking it.”

In a crowded box office over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, “American Sniper” benefited from Oscar nomination buzz. The Warner Bros. film entered the weekend after picking up Academy Award nominations on Thursday, including best picture and best actor for Bradley Cooper.

Weekend sales for the top 10 films percent rose 22 percent to $179.7 million from a year earlier, according to Rentrak. The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for Jan. 16 to Jan. 17, with estimates for Sunday.

Movie               Rev.    Pct.  Theaters   AVG    Total 
=========================================================
1 American Sniper  $90.2   15,466  3,555  $25,374   $93.6  
2 Wedding Ringer    21.0     --    3,003    6,993    21.0  
3 Paddington        19.3     --    3,303    5,839    19.3  
4 Taken 3           14.1    -64    3,594    3,909    62.8  
5 Selma              8.3    -27    2,235    3,714    26.0  
6 Imitation Game     7.2      0    1,611    4,464    50.8  
7 Into The Woods     6.5    -32    2,758    2,372   114.3  
8 Hobbit             4.9    -48    2,220    2,189   244.5  
9 Unbroken           4.3    -48    2,602    1,640   108.6 
10 Blackhat          4.0     --    2,567    1,571     4.0 


Top 10 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $179.7        $146.9      22.4


Year-to-date Revenue

     2015          2014
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
      $618          $598       3.4

Source

Android 5.0 Update: Which Smartphones will get Lollipop and When?

The Android 5.0 update release: which smartphones will get Lollipop and when
The launch of a major software update is an exciting event for any smartphone geek. Updates patch bugs and bring goodies of all sorts, including visual and functional improvements. But an update’s release can be annoying in that it always takes time for the software to arrive. And sometimes, the wait is a lengthy one – it has been six months since Google previewed Android L, which subsequently became Android 5.0 Lollipop, and the update has yet to land on most popular smartphones out there.
Still, it should be easier to cope with the wait when you know how long you’ll be waiting for. That’s why we combed the web in search of official and trustworthy information on the matter. Here’s when the popular Android smartphones are going to get their Lollipop updates. Keep in mind that we’ll be updating the post if/when new information becomes available.

Samsung 

The Android 5.0 update release: which smartphones will get Lollipop and when

Samsung Galaxy S5 – Android 5.0 Lollipop for the smartphone is already available in a number of markets worldwide, including South Korea, Russia, Malaysia, as well as parts of central and Western Europe. Galaxy S5 owners in the U.S., however, still have Android 4.4.x KitKat running on their handsets. The AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile variants of the smartphone are probably going to get the new software in the coming weeks, although that’s just an assumption.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – While official information on the Android 5.0 update for the Galaxy Note 4 is scarce, rumor has it that the new software should start rolling out before January is out. U.S. carriers are also expected to launch Lollipop on the Galaxy Note 4 within this time frame. Interestingly, Samsung is said to be skipping the 5.0 version of the OS and will update the Galaxy Note 4 straight to Android 5.0.1, which brings along a number of bug fixes.
Samsung Galaxy S4 – Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S4 will get its Lollipop treat, and we’ve already had the chance to see what the new software should look like. However, we’re not exactly sure when the update is going to land on the non-GPe versions of the handset.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Unofficial Lollipop ROMs for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 have been floating around, but an official update is still nowhere to be found at this point. At least we know that an update to Android 5.0 is definitely in the works and will come sooner or later, most likely after the company’s newer phones have been updated.
Furthermore, Samsung is planning on pushing out Android 5.0 Lollipop updates to the Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy S5 Active, Galaxy S5 Mini, and the Galaxy Note 2. We’ll update this post once we learn more details as to when the updated software might launch.

LG 

The Android 5.0 update release: which smartphones will get Lollipop and when

LG G3 – LG was quick to bring the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to its flagship smartphone; the software has been out since November. Its availability, however, is still limited. So far, we have reports of the update launching in South Korea and select parts of Europe, including Poland and the Nordic countries. Vodafone subscribers in the U.K. have been reached by the update as well, reportedly.

LG G2 – The good news is that LG’s former flagship, the LG G2, will surely be updated to Android 5.0. Unfortunately, we don’t have any specifics as to when the software might launch. What we know is that the Lollipop update will reach the G2 soon after it rolls out to the G3 globally. The new software is expected to update the G2’s UI by bringing the skin currently present on the G3, along with some or all of its perks.
Another smartphone we’re expecting to get Android 5.0 is the LG G Pro 2, but its maker has not announced any update plans yet. Likewise, there’s no word on whether any recent mid-range Android smartphone by LG will get the Lollipop treat.

HTC

The Android 5.0 update release: which smartphones will get Lollipop and when

HTC One (M8) – Android 5.0 Lollipop was expected to arrive on the One (M8) by January 3, but that didn’t quite happen, obviously. Word on the street has it that the software is actually bound to roll out within 1 to 2 weeks, although we’re assuming that U.S. carriers may take longer to push the update to their subscribers.

Lollipop will not bring a new version of HTC Sense, as thought at first. Or at least that’s what the latest leaks indicate. Of course, this doesn’t rule out the possibility of seeing a Sense 7.0 interface update launched in the future.
HTC One (M7) –  HTC’s former flagship is also in line for an update, but your guess as to when the software might start rolling out is as good as ours. It seems safe to assume that the HTC One will be updated soon after the One (M8) gets the Lollipop update.
In addition, the Android 5.0 Lollipop update is likely to be released for smartphones covered by the HTC Advantage program. These include theHTC One (E8), One Mini 2 (also known as the HTC Remix on Verizon), One Max, and the One Mini. Older devices will take longer to update, we assume.

Motorola

The Android 5.0 update release: which smartphones will get Lollipop and when

Motorola Moto G (2014) – The Moto G (2014) was one of the first non-Nexus devices to receive an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop. That happened back in mid-November, when the software launched for both the US and global versions of the device. However, there’s still a number of markets where the update has not been given the green light yet. Motorola isn’t giving any specific times and dates regarding the software’s further release.

Motorola Moto G (2013) – Yup, last year’s Moto G is getting updated to Lollipop as well. In fact, there have been reports of Android 5.0 already reaching some Moto G owners, although there appear to be many who are still waiting for their update to arrive.
Motorola Moto X (2014) – Android 5.0 launched for the handset back in November, when the Pure Edition of the device was served some Lollipop goodness. The Verizon model followed suit several days later.
In addition to these smartphones, Motorola will update the following handsets to Android 5.0 Lollipop: Motorola Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx, Droid Mini, Moto E, and the 2013-edition Motorola Moto X.

Sony

The Android 5.0 update release: which smartphones will get Lollipop and when

Sony Xperia Z3 – First, the good news: the Xperia Z3 will most likely be the first non-GPe Sony smartphone to get the Android 5.0 update. As for the not-so-good news, the new software is going to take about a month more to arrive; Sony is aiming for an early February roll-out.

Sony Xperia Z2 – The Xperia Z2 should get its Lollipop dose soon after the software hits the Xperia Z3. This means we’re probably going to see the update launching in February.

Sony Xperia Z1 – There’s definitely an Xperia Z1 Android 5.0 update in the works, but, to no surprise, the Z2 and Z3 are being prioritized over the former flagship. If you’re an Xperia Z1 owner, you might want to brace yourself with patience.

As for the rest of the Xperia lineup, Sony has confirmed that all of its premium Z-series smartphones and tablets will be updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop. These include the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia Z1S, Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z2 Tablet, Xperia Z3v, Xperia Z3 Compact, and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.