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(CHICAGO) -- Empire star Jussie Smollett, who claimed he was assaulted on January 29 by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs, is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by Chicago police.

According to a tweet by Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, Smollett will be charged with filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony. Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.

The news comes after Chicago police continued their investigation into the alleged attack on the Empire actor. ABC News confirmed that police and prosecutors met with Smollett's attorneys in Chicago on Wednesday.

Guglielmi said that no evidence had been presented to a grand jury on behalf of the Smollett case on Tuesday. He also said he could not confirm reports that half a dozen subpoenas seeking Smollett's cell phone and bank records have been issued.

Despite an initial report that Smollett was being written out of Empire, Fox has released a statement on Wednesday confirming that Smollett is still an important part of the series.

"Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show," said Fox and 20th Century Fox TV in a statement to ABC News.

The statement was issued prior to Smollett being named a suspect.

Two brothers known to Smollett have reportedly told police that the actor paid them to orchestrate and carry out the attack.  According to the brothers, Smollett was upset because a threatening letter directed at him, sent to Empire's Chicago studios on January 22, wasn't being taken seriously enough. 

The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Smollett played a role in sending the threatening letter himself, two federal officials confirmed to ABC News.

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Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) -- Oscar nominee Ruth E. Carter had a specific goal in mind when she worked to create the extraordinarily detailed Afro-futuristic costumes featured in Black Panther.

The veteran costume designer, who was previously Oscar-nominated for 1992's Malcolm X and 1997's Amistad, tells ABC Radio what she focused on when she created her designs.

"Well, you know, it's for the culture," Carter says. "And, it's doing what I love."

And while awards aren't what drives her, the talented visionary says she's also mindful of what it would mean to take home one of Hollywood's most coveted honors this Sunday night.

"Getting acknowledged by the Academy would be a nice, nice present," she admits. "But, it really is for the culture."

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ABC(UTAH) -- Gwyneth Paltrow isn't taking a lawsuit from a guy who claims she injured him on a ski slope lying down. 

According to the court filing, Utah man Terry Sanderson is suing the actress and the Deer Valley ski resort for $3.1 million, claiming a hit-and-run collision between him and Paltrow on Feb. 26, 2016 left him with "a concussion, brain injury and four broken ribs."

At the time, Paltrow's rep told ABC Radio in a statement, "This lawsuit is completely without merit." Now, in a new legal filing, she's has fired back, claiming it was she who was struck by the plaintiff.

"Ms. Paltrow remembers what happened very clearly. She was enjoying skiing with her family on vacation...when Plaintiff...plowed into her back," sustaining "a full 'body blow,'" reads the complaint. 

Ms. Paltrow was angry with [Sanderson], and said so. [He] apologized. She was shaken and upset, and quit skiing for the day, even though it was still morning."

The suit adds that a Deer Valley employee and Paltrow prepared a report stating that Sanderson had "taken [Paltrow] out from behind,'" meaning the collision was his fault.

Paltrow's suit also claims that Sanderson, 69, is exaggerating his injuries.

"Plaintiff had told his doctor about one year earlier that he was blind in his right eye, and that his vision in his left eye was decreasing. Just three weeks before the incident, Plaintiff told his doctor that Plaintiff had 'gotten old all of a sudden,'" states the suit, which also notes Sanderson had "15 other chronic medical issues." 

The countersuit also claims that after the accident, Sanderson's doctor tested him and did not find any "deficits in his cognitive functioning..." and that a friend insisted Sanderson "acted the same" after the collision as he did before.  

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AMPAS(LOS ANGELES) -- Oscar winner Barbra Streisand, Daily Show host Trevor Noah, tennis legend Serena Williams, and Civil Rights icon Congressman John Lewis have just been added to the latest batch of celebrity presenters at the 91st Oscars telecast. 

The new batch also includes former Saturday Night Live star Dana Carvey and his Wayne's World co-star Mike Myers, recording artist and Girls Trip star Queen Latifah, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's Diego Luna.

These newly announced presenters will introduce one of the eight Best Picture nominees -- so you can try to guess who will do each one.  For example, since Mike Myers is in Bohemian Rhapsody, and Wayne's World helped re-popularize the Queen song of the same name, it's a good bet that he and Carvey will present that movie. And since Streisand starred in a previous iteration of A Star Is Born, we're pretty sure she'll be presenting that one.

Previously announced presenters include Helen Mirren, Michael B. Jordan, Tyler Perry, Awkwafina, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Allison Janney, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lopez, Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Amy Poehler, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Charlize Theron, Tessa Thompson, Constance Wu, Javier Bardem, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Jason Momoa and Sarah Paulson.

The 91st Academy Awards -- without a host this year -- air Sunday at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

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ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) -- ABC isn't missing out on the chance to remind people that the new season of American Idol is right around the corner.

At 4 p.m. ET, before the network starts its Academy Awards coverage this Sunday, viewers can watch the half-hour special American Idol: A New Journey Begins. It features Ryan Seacrest interviewing judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie about the new season of the show, and offers a preview of some of the talent we'll be seeing this year.  The three singers will also answer fan questions and reveal "behind-the-scenes secrets."

Then, during the Oscars themselves, viewers will see a musical performance by American Idol hopefuls from the show's premiere episode on March 3.  The prospective contestants will be seen singing from a rooftop in "the heart of Hollywood," and Ryan Seacrest will appear as well.

American Idol: A New Journey Begins begins at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on ABC.  At 6:30 p.m., the 90-minute preview Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live from the Red Carpet begins, followed by the Oscars at 8 p.m. ET.

Interestingly, many of the artists you'll see singing on Sunday's Academy Awards have appeared on American Idol in the past, including Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, the rock band Queen and their lead singer Adam Lambert-- who was the runner-up on season eight -- and, of course, season three standout Jennifer Hudson.

American Idol premieres Sunday, March 3 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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ABC(CHICAGO) -- A previously unreported misdemeanor complaint about Empire actor Jussie Smollett surfaced on Tuesday, related to an arrest for driving under the influence 12 years ago.

According to the complaint, Smollett -- who claims he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack on January 29 -- was pulled over by police in 2007.  He told police his name was Jake Smollett -- who is actually his younger brother -- and signed Jake’s name on the written promise to appear in court.

Smollett was charged with providing false information to law enforcement, driving under the influence and driving without a valid license. He pleaded no contest and completed an alcohol education program, NBC News confirmed at the time. 

Brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo have claimed they helped Smollett concoct the alleged January 29 assault after he became upset that a letter threatening him, which had been sent to the Empire show's studio, did not get enough attention, sources told ABC News on Monday.

The pair told investigators that Smollett paid them to help him orchestrate and stage the "attack."

Police have not independently verified the allegations, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

The Osundairo brothers agreed to cooperate with authorities after detectives confronted them with evidence that they bought the rope that Smollett claimed was put around his neck "like a noose."

The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Smollett played a role in sending the threatening letter himself, two federal officials confirm to ABC News.

The letter, which was sent Jan. 22, is currently in the FBI crime lab for analysis, one of the sources said.

A spokesperson for Smollett said Monday the actor's attorneys are keeping an active dialogue going with Chicago police on behalf of the actor.

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AMPAS(LOS ANGELES) -- Helen Mirren, Michael B. Jordan and Tyler Perry are among the latest stars announced as presenters at the 91st Oscars telecast.

They'll be joined by Elsie Fisher, Danai Gurira, John Mulaney, Brian Tyree Henry, Pharrell Williams, Krysten Ritter, Paul Rudd, and Michelle Yeoh.

Previously announced presenters include Awkwafina, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Allison Janney, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lopez, Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Amy Poehler, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, Charlize Theron, Tessa Thompson, Constance Wu,Javier Bardem, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Emilia Clarke, Laura Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Stephan James, Keegan-Michael Key, KiKi Layne,James McAvoy, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Momoa and Sarah Paulson.

The 91st Academy Awards -- without a host this year -- air Sunday at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- Virginia "Pepper" Potts will bid farewell to the Marvel Cinematic Universe following this spring's Avengers: Endgame, Gwyneth Paltrow tells Variety. However, Paltrow -- who's played the personal assistant turned fiancée of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man for the last decade -- left open the possibility of showing up in a cameo or appearing in flashbacks somewhere down the line. 

"I feel very lucky that I did it, because I actually got talked into it," the Oscar winner tells the trade," noting her friend and eventual series co-star -- and Iron Man director -- Jon Favreau talked her into it. Indeed, the filmmakers had also eyed Rachel McAdams for the role -- though she eventually joined the MCU as Dr. Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange.

"It was such a wonderful experience making the first Iron Man and then to watch how important it has become to fans," Paltrow said.

Incidentally, Paltrow's comments about the MCU were brief, but the 46-year-old might have confirmed a spoiler about Endgame. Explaining her MCU exit, Paltrow noted, "I mean, I'm a bit old to be in a suit and all that at this point." While Gwyneth wore Tony's Iron Man armor briefly in Iron Man 3, there's a chance "in a suit" refers to Rescue, an alter-ego she assumes in the comics after finding a suit of armor Stark designed for her -- and that would confirm this on-set spy snap of her apparently wearing just that. Chances are, it's "all hands on deck" in the fight against Thanos in Endgame, and Pepper becoming Rescue would make sense.

Although she might be done as an MCU full-time player, she doesn't discount coming back for the occasional cameo, as she did in the final moments of Spider-Man: Homecoming. "I feel honored to be a part of something that people are so passionate about," she said. "Of course, if they said, 'Can you come back for a day?,' I will always be there if they need me."


Avengers: Endgame
 opens nationwide April 26. Marvel Studios, like ABC News, is owned by parent company Disney.

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Kit Harington as Jon Snow; Courtesy HBO(NEW YORK ) -- The show that brought you the bloody Red Wedding is now offering you the chance to attend its premiere...if you open a vein.

Game of Thrones is teaming with the Red Cross that will allow some some lucky fans to attend the world premiere of the show's eighth and final season -- in exchange for your blood. Literally.

The Red Cross is in dire need of blood, platelets or AB Elite plasma, and is willing to trade trips to the premiere for it.

If you donate blood between between Feb. 19 and March 17, you will be automatically entered to win one of five trips to the premiere.

A teaser showing some of the show's characters' suffering, and asks, "They all bleed for the Throne. Will you?"

If you give blood to the Red Cross between March 7 and 12, you could get a bloody Iron Throne T-shirt and sticker -- while supplies last.  Go to ForTheThrone.com/Bleed for more details.

In case you don't win, Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 14.

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Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is ready to make a film about a real-life Black Panther.

Deadline has learned that Coogler is producting Jesus Was My Homeboy, a film about legendary Black Panther member Fred Hampton.

The film, to be released through Warner Bros., is set to be directed by Newlyweeds director Shaka King. Da niel Kaluuya, who starred in Coogler's Black Panther as W'Kabi, and Sorry to Bother You's LaKeith Stanfield are currently to in talks to star. The two previously starred in Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning film Get Out.

Deadline reports that Kaluuya would play Hampton, while Stanfield would play William O'Neal, the man who worked with FBI to betray him. The film will focus on how the FBI infiltrated the Black Panthers and O'Neal's part in bringing down the young leader.

Fred Hampton was a respected civil right activist who led the Illinois chapter of the Panthers. His popularity, however, made him target of the FBI.  In 1969 he and fellow Panther Mark Clark were killed during a controversial raid ordered by the Chicago Police Department in tandem with the FBI.

Although their deaths were ruled to be justifiable, a number of investigations "pointed to state-sponsored assassination" and subsequently led to civil lawsuits and settlements. Hampton’s funeral was attended by thousands and he was eulogized by civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy.

O’Neal later committed suicide in 1990, with some speculating that he was haunted by his part in Hampton's death.

This is the latest project for Coogler, who is on board to produce Warner Bros' Space Jam 2 and the highly anticipated sequel to Marvel's Black Panther.

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ABC/Image Group LA(LOS ANGELES) -- As the Internet continues to question the legitimacy of Jussie Smollett's alleged attack plot in light of new evidence, plain-spoken rapper Cardi B has taken to Instagram Live to flame him.

The latest reports now claim that Smollet staged the assault after he became upset that a now-suspicious letter allegedly threatening him, which was sent to Empire's studio, did not get enough attention. 

"So, I'm really disappointed in Jussie Smollet, [sic]" the Grammy-winning rapper began. "I feel like he f***** up Black History Month, bro."

However, Cardi did not completely dismiss the seriousness of the Empire star's claims.

She continued, "I don't want to completely blame him. You know, police in Chicago are racists. So, they probably tryna' frame him and make him look like he's a liar."

"But, if he's not...then bro you f***** up for real. Why would you do that?"

Cardi's comments follow the news that the two men implicated in attacking Smollett -- brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo -- told police the actor paid them to help him orchestrate and stage the January 29 attack.

Meanwhile, the FBI and the US Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Jussie Smollett played a role in sending that letter -- which was addressed to the actor at Empire's Chicago studio prior to the alleged attack, two federal officials confirm to ABC News.

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Sony Pictures Animation © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. (LOS ANGELES) -- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is pulling out all the stops for its Oscar-nominated animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The film will be released on digital Tuesday, February 26 and on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on 3/19.

The movie, which features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Lily Tomlin, Mahershala Ali, Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Zoe Kravitz, has made more than $355 million worldwide, and is in the running for Best Animated Feature Film at this weekend's Oscars.

The movie centers on a device that tears the fabric of reality and unites different versions of the web-slinging hero from various dimensions in the Brooklyn, New York home of a young Spider-Man named Miles Morales.

The company has also announced that the film will come packaged with a host of special features, including a showcase of the movie's diverse characters; a look into the film's unique visual style; a tribute to Spider-Man's co-creators, the late Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; character design breakdowns, and more.

In addition, the release features an all-new original short Spider-Ham: Caught In a Ham, centering on a pig version of Spidey who was voiced by comic John Mulaney.

There are also a pair of lyric music videos for two songs from the soundtrack: "Sunflower" by Post Malone and Swae Lee and "Familia" by Nicki Minaj & Anuel AA (feat. Bantu).



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(L-R) "Alita" star Rosa Salazar, director Robert Rodriguez/Courtesy 20th Century Fox(NEW YORK) -- Director Robert Rodriguez got his start literally bleeding for his art, undergoing medical tests to raise the $6,000 to make his debut film, the action movie El Mariachi.  But when director James Cameron approached Rodriguez to take over for him on his pet project Alita: Battle Angel, the guy who once described himself as "El Cheapo Productions" found himself overseeing a $200 million project.

Regardless of the budget, Rodriguez told ABC Radio he's always had one goal: "Keep that spirit, that independent spirit no matter what you do."

He said of Cameron, who got his start as a special effects guy on low-budget horror films, "Jim's from that world, you know...scrappy do-it-yourself. And that's why he knows every job [on a movie set] so well."

Rodriguez said working with Cameron and producer Jon Landau was a dream come true.

"I had the support team that you could only dream about because it's the guys that they've vetted and worked with for all these years on cutting-edge technology and cutting-edge movies," he told ABC Radio.

"And it's always...story first, character first. It's got the heart and mind in the right place, so I was blessed to be in the right situation."

Based on the beloved graphic novel series, the sci-fi film is currently the number one movie in America. 

Alita: Battle Angel has made $94.3 million worldwide since its release last week.

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Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images(PARIS) -- Karl Lagerfeld has died. Considered by many to be the most prolific designer of the 20th and 21st centuries -- at the same time a self-described "caricature" and the groundbreaking creative force behind luxury fashion labels Chanel and Fendi for decades -- would have been 85 in September.

The outspoken designer, who also created his own eponymous fashion label, was as famous for look -- pitch-black shades, starched white shirts, black jeans and white ponytail -- as for his contributions to the runway world.

On Tuesday morning, twitter feed showed a picture of the designer, who dressed celebrities like Princess Diana, Oscar winners like Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett and Madonna, along with the memorial caption, "Rest in peace, Karl. Love forever from your TeamKarl family."

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ABC/Randy Holmes(LONDON) -- J.J. Abrams hit up Twitter on Friday to announce the completion of principal photography on Star Wars IX.

The film is said to be the final installment of the Skywalker family saga, which launched in 1977. The movie stars series newcomers Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie, and Richard E. Grant, along with he main cast from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, led by Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, and Joonas Suotamo.

Original trilogy cast members Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams also return, as does Carrie Fisher, who will appear posthumously using previously unreleased footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Star Wars IX, due out in December from Lucasfilm, is still untitled.

Lucasfilm is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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