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Myanmar’s politicians vow to fight. Ousted speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than said that a group of legislators in hiding refuse to accept the coup as they seek international recognition as Myanmar’s rightful government.
Russia detained 200 democracy activists. The Kremlin claimed they were violating Covid protocols.
The US isn’t sharing vaccines. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden Administration has turned down calls to share vaccine doses with other countries.
China eased visa rules for vaccinated visitors. Recipients of Chinese vaccines will face less paperwork and skip Covid testing in mainland China.
The EU is still fine-tuning their vaccine rollout. After Austria, Croatia, and several other countries complained of uneven distribution, officials said coordination would again be addressed by bloc members.
Paris ponders another lockdown. ICUs are filling up while vaccine supply remains limited.
North Korea has been unresponsive to America’s communication efforts. Pyongyang hasn’t spoken much to the US in a year, and has yet to acknowledge the new president.
What to watch for
Nominations for this year’s Oscars drop today. Expect to see a lot of Nomadland and its director and screenwriter, Chloé Zhao. Expect to see a lot of Trial of the Chicago 7, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Mank, which all streamed on Netflix. And expect to see, for once, some actual diversity in the top categories.
As a result of the Academy’s long overdue but not insignificant effort to promote diversity within its ranks, combined with a strange year for the industry during which most eligible films had either limited or no theatrical runs, the Oscars might not be so blindingly white (or male) this time around. Zhao could be the first woman of color to receive a best director nomination. (That category will have at least one, but as many as three women nominated.) The late actor Chadwick Boseman will certainly get a nod for his role in Ma Rainey, and maybe another one for his turn in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods—another Netflix movie.
While there will always be a contingent of film purists who bemoan what streaming has done to the sanctity of the cinema experience, it has inarguably allowed for new kinds of voices to be heard on a global scale. That will likely be reflected in this year’s slate of nominees. But Hollywood hasn’t suddenly fixed its diversity problem. Quite the contrary: a McKinsey report released this week revealed the film industry is one of the least diverse sectors in the US. More than 90% of C-suite film executives are white. McKinsey also concluded that Hollywood leaves $10 billion on the table each year by not properly addressing this issue.
Celebrating the great work of diverse artists at the Oscars could force those who do the industry’s decision-making to realize, at long last, that not only do they have an obvious moral imperative to lift up new voices, but also an economic one.
Charting sobriety’s rise
Some drinkers were tired of waking up hungover, while others saw the negative toll alcohol had taken on their relationships. For whatever the reason, a new movement towards sobriety—for those who don’t consider themselves alcoholics—is birthing online communities and dating apps while lending increasing credence to the idea that sober living can be fun.
In the US and UK, where admitting sobriety meant admitting a previous issue, aspirational sobriety is reinventing the mocktail and writing a new guide to quitting alcohol.
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Manilow?
Why are Shakira, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Barry Manilow, and other veteran musicians selling their catalogs to companies like Universal and Hipgnossis Songs Fund, which has spent more than $1.5 billion to snap up at least 61,000 songs?
Because almost every piece of content on your television, tablet, or phone, needs some sort of musical accompaniment. Royalties from having a song played in public, streamed by a Spotify or Apple Music user, or used in the opening credits of a TV show earn money, and licensing fees for projects like big-budget blockbusters, for example, might run into six figures.
While Dylan’s rumored $300-$400 million payday might be the high-water mark for catalogs now, Hipgnossis expects their portfolio to triple in value by the decade’s end. Big money for music rights might be here to stay, Samanth Subramanian writes, though that raises plenty of concerns.
✦Samanth Subramanian covers the future of capitalism. Read his stories and everything else we’ve got to offer with a Quartz Membership. Try it out for a week, free.
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Avatar retakes revenue crown. A re-release in China took James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster over $2.8 billion.
Goodbye, Marvelous Marvin. Hall-of-Fame middleweight boxer Marvin Hagler, known for winning a brutal 1985 match-up remembered as “The War,” passed away at 66.
Alabama lifts yoga ban. Attributed to anti-Hindu racism, the ban blocked students from learning the globally popular practice, but bafflingly, instructors still can’t use Hindi terminology.
Africans rethink massive marriage celebrations. Economic pressures and social distancing have even made one government push for “scientific weddings.”
Dragons triumph over pandemics. Dungeons & Dragons, the table-top fantasy game, soared in popularity last year as quarantining gamers learned its ins and outs online.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, scientific wedding planners, and Avatar spoilers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Samanth Subramanian, Adam Epstein, Katherine Bell, Tim Fernholz, and Jordan Lebeau.