NEW YORK — Yes, ‘‘The Departed’’ was smart, highly entertaining moviemaking. But nary a critic would say it was Martin Scorsese’s best film — not by a mile. Yet nobody but a heartless grinch would begrudge the masterful director his hard-won Oscar, the first in six nominations. It just points to a simple rule of Oscar history: An award isn’t always about the actual work at hand. Often it amounts to a statement: that someone has finally arrived, or, in Scorsese’s case, is long overdue. In other words, when Oscar comes calling, it’s not always for the right film.
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) - A global mix of British stars, Hispanic ingenues, hip-hop royalty, politicos and Oscar winners united under one language at this year's Academy Awards parties: glamour. From Vanity Fair's celebrity-packed after-party to Elton John's annual Oscar viewing bash, Sunday night's festivities were as diverse as they were glitzy.
Best supporting actress winner Jennifer Hudson, wearing a snug gold beaded gown, showed up to Vanity Fair's party at Morton's just before 1 a.m., thrusting her trophy for "Dreamgirls" into the air. ...
To kiss or not to kiss. That was the debate Melissa Etheridge and her lesbian partner were having before this year's Oscar show.
"I have not been one to kiss my partner in public just for sensationalism," Etheridge, who won the Academy Award for original song, told reporters after Sunday's show.
But when her name was called for "I Need to Wake Up" from the film "An Inconvenient Truth," Etheridge planted one right on the lips of Tammy Lynn Michaels.
"I was kissing her because that's what you do, you kiss your loved one when you win an Oscar, that's what I grew up believing," Etheridge said backstage. Then, holding up the golden statue she'd just won, the musician quipped, "This is the only naked man that will ever be in my bedroom."
Who knows? If not for the new "Thank-You Cam," Sunday night's nearly four-hour Oscar telecast might have run six hours.
The new backstage Internet alternative to the long-held practice of Oscar winners reading long and boring lists of people to thank, and then finding themselves out of time to say anything meaningful, proved a success in its first outing. ...
It's not like Alan Arkin has spent the past four decades worrying about it, but Lyndon Johnson was president the last time the winner of the supporting actor Oscar was nominated for an Academy Award. That was in 1968, for "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter."
Arkin finally took home the gold statue on Sunday for his tragi-comic role as a heroin-snorting grandfather in "Little Miss Sunshine."
"I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it," he said of winning awards. "I do my work. My main concern is being in projects where I can be excited about something."
He also has his thoughts on why, at age 72, he finally won.
"It's because of my age," Arkin said. "Everybody thinks I'm going to keel over in a year or two."
It was a memorable but not completely triumphant Oscar night for black actors as Forrest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson won trophies but Eddie Murphy lost in an upset.
As expected, Whitaker won best actor Sunday for his frightful yet charismatic performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Chicago's Jennifer Hudson, a former "American Idol" contestant, scored the best supporting actress award for her debut performance in the musical "Dreamgirls."
"Receiving this honor tonight tells me that it's possible, it is possible for a kid from East Texas, raised in South Central L.A. and Carson, who believes in his dreams, commits himself to them with his heart, to touch them and to have them happen," Whitaker said as he accepted his award.
• Also, Ebert cohort and Web site editor Jim Emerson presents his complete report on the night's show: "In an evening of upsets, 'The Departed' pulled ahead in the final moments of the 79th Academy Awards to take best picture Oscar and also the director prize — at last — for the long overlooked Martin Scorsese."
• Sun-Times TV columnist Doug Elfmanrates the telecast's better moments: "Maybe 'Little Miss Sunshine’s' Abigail Breslin, 10, and Will Smith’s son Jaden, 8, should have been co-hosts. They announced two awards for short films (Abigail and Jaden are short, ha ha). And they were more relaxed and composed than just about anyone else, including DeGeneres, but then anxiety is part of Ellen’s shtick."
• Sun-Times celebrity columnist Bill Zwecker rounds up the hottest moments from the red carpet: "Michael Sheen, when asked how he felt about following up his performance as Tony Blair in “The Queen” with the upcoming 'Frost/ Nixon' — portraying David Frost in the film based on the play — joked, 'I’d better find a fictional character — quick! And hopefully, an American at that!' "
• Fashion reporter Maureen Jenkins awards couture's winners and losers on the red carpet, such as, "Best vintage-inspired flashback: Although Jennifer Lopez walked the red carpet in a vintage-looking stone-adorned, empire waist gown from Marchesa (she also wore Marchesa to this year’s Golden Globes), the design was new. But her much shorter bobbed hair looked straight out of a 1960s roller set (albeit a glamorous Hollywood-ready one)."
HOLLYWOOD — Backstage at the Oscars ceremony, Jennifer Hudson said the statuette is “going home to my new house in Chicago — along with my SAG Award, my Golden Globe and my BAFTA [from the British film academy].”
Asked if she brought any of her local roots into her “Dreamgirls” performance, she said, “I just drew on it all. It comes from the heart, and that’s what I put into it.”
The front-runner for the prize throughout the Oscar season, Hudson might have had a scare when her “Dreamgirls” co-star Eddie Murphy lost unexpectedly to Alan Arkin.
“I was definitely shocked, but you just can’t count on anything,” Hudson said. “Once again, everything is unpredictable. I'm still in shock. It will take awhile to get used to this.”
She’s always called herself a singer first and an actress second. But after tonight, she said, “Maybe I have to think that through again!”
LOS ANGELES — It was a celebrity mash-up backstage at the Academy Awards as A-list presenters and winners met and mingled in the wings, stage right. Tom Hanks met Anne Hathaway. Host Ellen DeGeneres chatted with young Jaden Christopher Syre Smith. And Naomi Watts bumped into George Clooney, literally, as he left the stage and she prepared to take it. And where else but the Oscars could you see a line for the bathroom that included Jack Black, Jerry Seinfeld and Robert Downey Jr.? ...
It took 26 years, six directing nominations and two screenplay nominations, but Martin Scorsese finally has his Oscar.
Righting an injustice that had seemingly swelled to the ranks of poverty in Africa, tonight the Academy Awards bestowed a best-directing Oscar on Scorsese for ‘‘The Departed’’
The great director had lost in his previous five nominations for best director. He had clearly sought the statue, and seemed likely to finally get it two years ago for directing ‘‘The Aviator.’’ ...
Wow. Ellen DeGeneres was the first openly gay Oscars host, but she didn't mention it. Instead, it was best song winner Melissa Etheridge who thanked her wife in an acceptance speech.
It was a pretty gay Oscars, and I mean that in a good way, not in a "South Park" way. For those of us who know (or think we know) who in Hollywood is in the closet, we could point out to you which actors and actresses were probably applauding in their secret heart. But we can't tell you that, since we don't "out" people.
More backstage vignettes from tonight's Oscars ...
After earning the first of ‘‘Pan’s Labyrinth’s’’ multiple Oscars, art direction winners Eugenio Caballero and Pilar Revuelta speculated about the film’s popularity. ‘‘In this cruel world right now, it is important to give a chance to fantasy,’’ said Caballero, who nabbed his first Oscar with his first nomination. ‘‘I think it’s a movie about hope. That’s why it has been a lucky year for us.’’ For Revuelta, who also took home a statuette on her first try, the movie demonstrated the power of pan-Hispanic coalition. ‘‘It’s good that it was a collaboration between Spanish people and Mexican people,’’ said Revuelta, who took most of the backstage questions in the countries’ common language, Spanish. ...
Al Gore was backstage still talking to the press when Melissa Etheridge won for best original song for "An Inconvenient Truth." Gore was clearly moved — almost to tears listening to Etheridge pay tribute to him in her on stage remarks — putting his arm around Davis Guggenheim as they listened to Etheridge.
Not surprisngly, nearly all the questions backstage for the Oscar-winners for "An Inconvenient Truth" went to the former vice president. When he was first addressed as "Mr. President," Gore quipped, "Well, I was the president of the Senate, so that's not improper."
As for the political aspects of solving the question of global warming, Gore said "This is not a political issue. It's not a political movie. Some issues will have to be worked out in the political sphere. It is the overriding moral challenge of our time. We have to find a way to build a bipartisan and non-partisan way to solve the climate crisis."
The Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars if they weren’t a big liberal fest of feel-good backslapping. Not only was Al Gore the star of the best documentary winner, but Leonardo DiCaprio asked Gore onstage if he would run for president in 2008.
“I’m just here for the movies, Leo,” Gore said seriously.
But then DiCaprio pressed Gore, and Gore taunted the crowd.
“You’ve been very convincing,” Gore said. “So my fellow Americans, I’m going formally announce my intentions to …” And then that Oscar speech-interrupting music chimed in to cut the Gore joke short.
Ellen DeGeneres’ best line was liberal, too, the one about people named Oscar. But it was also funny when she said her dream was always to host the Oscars, not to win an Oscar.
“Let that be a lesson to you kids out there: Aim lower.”
More coming from Elfman on the Oscars telecast in tomorrow's Sun-Times!
LOS ANGELES — Sure, Melissa Etheridge is used to singing in front of thousands of people. It’s just that Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg aren’t usually in the audience, at least not all at once.
Etheridge, on hand to perform her Oscar-nominated song ‘‘I Need to Wake Up’’ from the documentary ‘‘An Inconvenient Truth,’’ admitted to no small amount of stage fright before tonight's Academy Awards show. She added that trying to avoid eye contact with her audience wouldn’t help either.
‘‘Then you go, ‘I’ll just look at the camera,’ and there’s a billion people out there,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s a little crazy.’’
James Taylor, on hand for a duet with Randy Newman on the Oscar-nominated song ‘‘Our Town,’’ was taken aback when he arrived on the red carpet to the screams of fans in the bleachers.
‘‘It’s like another world,’’ he said, holding tightly to his wife Kim’s hand. ‘‘We’ll just concentrate on the music, do our best and try to enjoy the moment.’’
LOS ANGELES — Is Jack Nicholson playing Lex Luthor in the next ‘‘Superman’’ movie? Maybe he’ll be Daddy Warbucks in a remake of ‘‘Annie.’’ Or perhaps he’s going to the same hairstylist as Britney Spears.
As host Ellen DeGeneres walked onto the stage at the beginning of tonight's Oscars, the camera found its way to an applauding Nicholson, who appeared wearing his signature sunglasses and sporting a very non-signature shaved head.
Turns out the extreme haircut is just devotion to craft.
Nicholson and co-star Morgan Freeman are filming director Rob Reiner’s film ‘‘The Bucket List,’’ a buddy comedy/drama about two terminally ill men who flee a cancer ward to complete a list of things they want to do before they die. It is scheduled for release in November.
Jennifer Hudson was just as flustered and unprepared backstage as she was at the microphone. For the Oscars Web site "Thank-You Cam" she was still at a loss for names to thank. As she stammered and took cues from people off-camera, she did manage to thank Jennifer Holiday ("the one and only original 'Dreamgirl'"), her producer, her fellow cast members, the Academy again and "Did I say God? Yes, God."
LOS ANGELES — Germany’s ‘‘The Lives of Others,’’ a political thriller about spying in 1980s East Berlin, won the Academy Award for best foreign language film tonight, staging an upset over favorite ‘‘Pan’s Labyrinth’’ from Mexico. The film marked the feature debut of German writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who had previously made short films and done some TV work. ...
Yeah! Our homegirl Jennifer Hudson wins best supporting actress!
Breathless at the microphone, she fanned herself and said, "I just have to take this moment in. I can't believe this. Look what God can do! I didn't think I was going to win."
She thanked "Dreamgirls" director Bill Condon (who she called a "genius"), her mother, and her grandmother, who "was a singer who had a passion for it but never had the chance" — much like the role she played as Effie White.
LOS ANGELES — Backstage was bustling tonight at the Oscars as celebrities lined up to take the stage and announce winners. Daniel Craig, aka James Bond, stood with his arms folded and his face stiff as he watched the opening monologue on a monitor and waited to present the Oscar for art direction with Nicole Kidman. Craig finally cracked a grin when host Ellen DeGeneres joked that Americans were the most qualified to fill seats at the Kodak Theatre.
Bad news, B listers: Elton John has scaled back his Oscars afterparty to only 600 of his closest friends at — get this — a reported $50,000 a table. Meanwhile, Prince is having a secret after-after party that even the guests don't even know where it is until they're informed later tonight. Wonder if "Little Miss Sunshine" will be carded ...
I was going to make fun of Sally Kirkland, who seems to be a permanent fixture on the Oscars red carpet every year, for no discernible reason. For God's sake, she even got the brush-off from Joan Rivers.
I was going to say that she's no longer relevant, not having been nominated for an award since 1987's "Anna." I don't personally remember her in anything since 1999's "EdTV."
But then I looked up her entry at the Internet Movie Database, and I must say: Sally's been staying busy! She's got more projects in the works than Leo DiCaprio:
1. The Last Guy on Earth (2006) (pre-production)
2. Resurrection Mary (2007) (filming) .... Lois
3. Big Stan (2007) (post-production)
4. Under the Knife (2007) (post-production) .... Pat Mazur
5. Richard III (2007) (completed) .... Queen Margaret
6. Factory Girl (2006) (uncredited) .... Grandma Sedgwick
7. Coffee Date (2006) .... Mrs. Muller
8. Off the Black (2006) .... Marianne Reynolds
9. Fingerprints (2006) .... Mary
10. Spiritual Warriors (2006) .... Realtor
11. A-List (2006) .... Olga
Ryan Gosling earns points for leaving pink-haired girlfriend Rachel McAdams at home, and instead bringing his thrilled mom and sister to the Oscars as his entourage. "I thought I'd do it like Snoop," he explained.
And yet I find it annoying that Beyonce brought her mom. Again. Does that woman not have a sofa?
HOLLYWOOD — Chicago’s own Jennifer Hudson has received a lot of press for her big weight loss as she has glammed-up her image since the release of “Dreamgirls.” As for the South Side native, she claims she has started something she calls the “Jennifer Hollywood Party Diet. You run from one party to the next one and just as you’re about to eat something someone grabs you to talk to you, so you have no time to eat!”
Ever worried about drinking on an empty stomach at all those fancy parties? “Nope,” said the deeply-religious actress and singer. “You can’t get into trouble when all you drink is club soda with a slice of lemon!” ...
Once an evening of backslapping and merrymaking within the narrow confines of Hollywood, the Academy Awards this time looked like a United Nations exercise in diversity. The 79th annual Oscars feature their most ethnically varied lineup ever, with stars and stories that reflect the growing multiculturalism taking root around the globe.
‘‘What a wonderful night. Such diversity in the room,’’ said Ellen DeGeneres, serving as Oscar host for the first time, ‘‘in a year when there’s been so many negative things said about people’s race, religion and sexual orientation.
‘‘And I want to put this out there: If there weren’t blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars,’’ she said, adding’’ ‘‘Or anyone named Oscar, when you think about that.’’
LOS ANGELES — Davis Guggenheim played the dutiful date 10 years ago when his wife, Elisabeth Shue, was Oscar-nominated for ‘‘Leaving Las Vegas.’’ His payback came tonight.
‘‘Now she’s my date, so it’s kind of fun,’’ said Guggenheim, who directed ‘‘An Inconvenient Truth,’’ the story of former Vice President Al Gore’s commitment to reversing the effects of global climate change. It was nominated for a documentary feature Oscar.
‘‘I told him to just try to stay in the present and keep reminding himself that he’s actually here,’’ Shue said.
The dancing-penguin musical ‘‘Happy Feet’’ won the Oscar for feature-length animation, denying computer-animation pioneer John Lasseter (‘‘Toy Story’’) the prize for ‘‘Cars,’’ which had been the big winner of earlier key animation honors.
‘‘I asked my kids, ‘What should I say?’ They said, ‘Thank all the men for wearing penguin suits,’’’ said ‘‘Happy Feet’’ director George Miller.
LOS ANGELES — Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron shook up Oscar night with an incredible 16 nominations between them, leading some to compare the group to another trio of renowned filmmakers: Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and John Ford. Del Toro, for one, wasn’t buying it.
‘‘I was thinking more like Larry, Curly and Moe,’’ joked the director, whose film ‘‘Pan’s Labyrinth’’ garnered six nominations, including foreign-language film and screenplay.
‘‘We need like six of us for one Scorsese,’’ Alfonso said. ‘‘The great thing is to be sharing this moment together.’’ His film, ‘‘Children of Men,’’ was nominated for three Oscars.
Inarritu was up against Scorsese in the best director category for his film ‘‘Babel,’’ which was nominated in six other categories, including best picture.
LOS ANGELES — Celebrities are just like the rest of us when it comes to meeting and greeting famous folks: They’re star-struck.
Steve Carell of ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine,’’ making his way along a jam-packed red carpet at Sunday’s Oscars, suddenly found himself next to a tongue-tied Leonardo DiCaprio. ‘‘Leo said, ‘Hey buddy,’ and he’s about the most suave person I know,’’ Carell said. ‘‘I’m going to text message him later.’’ ...
It was rumored to be a shoo-in for Eddie Murphy, who'd won numerous other awards for his role in "Dreamgirls," but Alan Arkin — a Chicago homeboy, as we reported this week — wins the award. I guess that's what you get for turning in "Norbit" while the ballots are still out.
‘‘More than anything, I’m deeply moved by the open-hearted appreciation our small film has received, which in these fragmented times speaks so openly of the possibility of innocence,’’ Arkin said.
Arkin, 72, won the same prize for supporting actor a day earlier at the Spirit Awards, which honor the best of independent film. ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine,’’ which premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, ruled the Spirit Awards with four prizes, including best picture.
Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert — who picked "Babel" to win to top prize tonight — wrote earlier tonight: "By the time 'Sunshine' began to run up its victories Saturday at the Independent Spirit Awards, I had a sinking feeling that my Oscar prediction was wrong, wrong, wrong.
If you're like the rest of us here in the Sun-Times newsroom, you're falling asleep from boredom right now as the Academy slogs through these boring technical awards. And if you're scratching your head and wondering if it was always this boring at the start of the Oscars — no, it wasn't. They used to start the show with best supporting actor and actress; this dull lull usually came an hour or so into the show. This year, with so much drama and expectation behind the top acting awards, they're pushing them much later into the show. So order that pizza (we have!) and settle in.
In a year filled with an amazingly diverse group of Academy Award nominees and films, it’s only fitting that looks spotted on the Kodak Theatre red carpet spanned the style gamut, as well. There were starlets in strapless gowns and beautifully bare necks; over-50 actresses in dramatically stunning flesh-tone gowns. And while we won’t call any names, there were those who would have done better to skip the oversized shoulder bows, cropped jackets and overdone dress jewelry and let their lovely gowns speak for themselves.
But here, a peek at those whose red carpet looks earned them four-star reviews tonight.
Joan Rivers' mink stole matches the red carpet. Classy!
Maggie Gyllenhaal arrived at 5:09 p.m. That's a little early for a star of her stature, yes? When you're in the next "Batman," you can arrive fashionably on time.
Melissa Rivers and Sarah Silverman: separated at birth?
Al Gore, being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest, is asked who would play him in the movie of his life. "William Hung," he responds. Funny! At least, it was funny three years ago!
Sponsorship update: The fashion camera on the TV Guide Channel is brought to you by Jell-O. The countdown clock is sponsored by M&Ms. And I guarantee you that no one at the ceremony tonight has ever, ever had any, not even the pastel ones.
Jennifer Hudson has arrived in a gorgeous gown, and ... a metallic shrug? Help. Can we please open up commentary to the general public? Because I'm struggling to stay positive here.
Chicago nominee Jennifer Hudson, the favorite to win best supporting actress for her show-stopping role as Effie White in ‘‘Dreamgirls,’’ has started the big night on a sour note — thanks to her fahsion choice. The early buzz from the red carpet is astonishment at her metallic python bolero over a floor-length brown gown by Oscar de la Renta, picked out by Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley.
‘‘I love you, but there’s too much going on here,’’ said fashion critic and E! commentator Jay Manuel as he deconstructed the bolero jacket on television. (By the way, he was no where near Miss Hudson when he said that.)
Quote of the night: "People come to see my movies to laugh. They don't usually come to see me dancing, singing and dying of a drug overdose." Words courtesy of best supporting actor nominee Eddie Murphy for "Dreamgirls." ...
Jennifer Hudson, we love you, but please ditch the "Star Trek: Next Generation" coat.
Beyonce, who is performing tonight, on Jennifer Hudson's chances: "I hope she wins. I hope Eddie wins." What about "Dreamgirls" getting dissed as best picture? "I can't complain. Eight nominations is not so shabby," she says. ...
The Oscars site has another great "Road to the Oscars" video — this one showing a parade of film students walking the red carpet, each bearing one of the Oscar statuettes to be given out tonight, and led by the Chicago trophy maker, R.S. Owens & Co., who's been making the Oscar statuettes for years.
Maggie Gyllenhaal admits that she's "scared of tripping. I'm presenting the science tech award." Now, only if she could walk in heels. And, yes, she would like to work with brother Jake again. She also just did a short film with fiance Peter Scarsgaard. When it the wedding? No date is set. ...
Ryan Seacrest on E!'s red-carpet show caught Chicago's Jennifer Hudson and chatted with her, looking ... er, certainly noticeable in her silver-gold lame sci-fi shrug.
Ryan, of course, being the boob he is, remarked on her weight. She attributed her slimmer silhouette to "working out with my trainer in Chicago every day the whole summer. I get up at 4 a.m., run for an hour. ... No short cuts. If you're not working hard for it, it's not worth it."
David Spade is somehow blogging on his "Showbiz Show" site, reporting that the atmosphere on the red carpet isn't "exactly ... 'electric.' More 'coal-powered.'" Also says E! red-carpet slut Ryan Seacrest "appears very at-home talking about dresses and other things female."
Gray clouds floated over the red carpet as limousines began delivering early guests to the Kodak Theatre tonight, but the hint of rain didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of spectators on Hollywood Boulevard as the likes of Maggie Gyllenhaal, James McAvoy, Al and Tipper Gore and Melissa Etheridge passed by.
‘‘You can feel the excitement building,’’ said Kyle Wilson, 45, an events planner for a nursing home in San Diego who had been in the bleachers for about eight hours. ‘‘This is when the wait is all worthwhile.’’
Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck walked the red carpet showing off specialties created for the post-show Governors Ball: Oscar-shaped smoked salmon with caviar, mini-cheeseburgers, and gold-colored desert chocolates shaped like Oscar statues.
Papa John's just released some surprising data about pizza sales and Oscar night. Papa John's sells 2-1/2 times as many pizzas on Oscars' Sunday as it does on an average Sunday. Nearly 1 million households will be ordering in pizzas on Hollywood's biggest night.
The No. 1 pizza ordered is just plain cheese, with no toppings. A heck of a lot different than the meat fest that is Super Bowl Sunday. The No. 2 most ordered pizza is pepperoni with one veggie topping — be it mushrooms, black olives or green peppers.
Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert is home here in Chicago tonight — not on the red carpet for Oscars, as he's been every year for nearly four decades. He's still recuperating from several surgeries last year. But he will be writing (like we could stop him ... or would want to) his thoughts about the show. Stay tuned at the Sun-Times Web site for his comments late this evening and at his site.
LOS ANGELES — Movie studios spend millions of dollars this time of year touting the Academy Award nominations garnered by their films. But does an Oscar translate into box-office bucks? The answer is hard to determine, although most industry analysts and economists seem to agree that nominations and wins can add anywhere from $10 million to $50 million to the gross revenue of a film. Figuring the worth of an Oscar to a film or even an individual is tricky in a town where budgets are hazy at best and where studio economics increasingly include deals that give some participants a slice of gross ticket sales, even if the movie is a stinker. ...
Five things we're hoping for on tonight's Oscars telecast:
• Here's to producer Laura Ziskin's idea for the online Thank-You Cam and the push to make sure nominees are prepared to give meaningful, interesting and — dare we say it — entertaining acceptance speeches, relegating their laundry lists of thank-yous to the Web site. Now let's pray it works.
• A fresh hosting gig from Ellen DeGeneres. No reruns of the Grammy and Emmy gigs. We need belly-laughs.
• An upset or two. Except for Jennifer Hudson. And we're nervous about this — because a few no-name Academy voters, in pre-Oscars interviews, have voiced their weariness with Jen's accolades leading up to tonight, which means they might have voted for someone else. An anonymous actor in last week's Entertainment Weekly said it this way: "This whole bulls--- with Jennifer Hudson is completely out of hand." Gulp. Don't be a Jen hata!
• A truly wicked iPhone commercial.
• And, hey, we know we're destined for disappointment, but our faith in Hollywood and humanity would enjoy a boost if "Little Miss Sunshine" drove away in its little VW bus with the best picture trophy.
Putting the Oscars in a social context, this article looks at tonight's milestones already — the show's first openly gay host, the number of strong roles recognized for women and the growing presence of African Americans in Hollywood. Good links ot further reading, too.
HOLLYWOOD — As I arrived on the red carpet, I heard, "Bill! Bill" Four Chicagoans — Tina Koegel, Sue Peterson, Denise Stefan and Ann Carson — recognized me. This is their second year sitting in the bleachers, having arrived at 9:30 a.m. They used Joan Rivers' famous line on Peterson — "Who are you wearing?" She's wearing her own creation — she's a designer herself — maker of Sue P. Knits. Who are they most hoping to see today? Penelope Cruz! ...
Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper is in Hollywood this weekend, reporting on the Oscars hoopla for suntimes.com — but if you tune in the Starz and Encore cable movie channels today, you might catch a glimpse of him lounging in a lounge chair, wearing a black Tarrantino suit and sunglasses, introducing films as host of those channels' “Black Tie Tailgate” movie marathon today — all Oscar-winning movies, including "The Aviator" (which Rich just introduced), "My Cousin VInny," "Wall Street" and more.
HOLLYWOOD — Hollywood, as usual, is in full Oscar mode this morning. There are paparazzi everywhere! Last night I was coming out of dinner at Mastro's, a popular Gibson's-like steakhouse in Beverly Hills where Steven Spielberg and separately Jim Carrey (and Jenny McCarthy) were having dinner. When I walked out of the restaurant, there was one photographer quietly hanging out a few feet from the restaurant's entrance, but as soon as Carrey's white Cadillac Escalade pulled up —
at least 20 paparazzi came out of nowhere and started flashing away! Then several jumped in cars and gave chase — all I could think of was Princess Diana and Paris! Anyway, Carrey's driver pulled a fast one — without warning — just before a light changed; he did a U-turn and roared off in the opposite direction. ...
A writer for Britain's Guardian newspaper expounds on why the best actors are British. "Steeped in Shakespeare and a culture committed to live performance, they have by necessity developed their physical instruments and, in particular, that region of the body that lies between the back of the throat and the tip of the tongue."
CBS commentator Mo Roccareminisces about the Oscars of yesteryear: "Audrey Hepburn or Ingrid Bergman would float across the stage to present an award, then disappear from our TV screens for the rest of the year. These days the show makes up for a lack of wattage with montages of yesterday's greats. Lots of montages."
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The road comedy "Little Miss Sunshine" won best picture and three other prizes for independent films at the Spirit Awards today, one day before competing for Hollywood's top honors at the Academy Awards. The hilarious though dark-tinged tale of a deeply dysfunctional family also won the supporting-actor award for Alan Arkin; best director for the husband-and-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and best first screenplay for Michael Arndt. ...
LOS ANGELES — Sharon Stone should have trusted her first ‘‘Basic Instinct’’ and left it alone, according to voters of the Razzies, which mocks the worst of Hollywood. ‘‘Basic Instinct 2’’ won four Razzies on Saturday, including worst picture and worst actress for Stone. ...
Ellen DeGeneressays she's a little nervous ahead of our Oscar hosting gig tomorrow night — this despite having previously hosted the Grammys and the Emmys. Will she dance her way to the stage the way she does on her popular daytime talk show? "If I dance, it'll be a surprise to me," she says. "I'm not planning on it, but there's a DJ during commercial breaks. I'm going to try and dance with Clint Eastwood or Jack Nicholson during the breaks."
The Oscars site has some nifty video featurettes, called "The Road to the Oscars," that nicely catch up with all the pre-show prep and news leading to tomorrow night's ceremony. Watch the crews build the red carpet — so much more than just unrolling some crimson shag.
LOS ANGELES — The Oscars are all about movies, of course, but on this night only music filled the golden guy's hallowed hall. Beyonce, Celine Dion, James Taylor, Randy Newman and Melissa Etheridge were among those who stepped onto the Kodak Theatre stage on Friday evening to rehearse for Sunday's 79th Academy Awards ceremony. ...
LOS ANGELES — A classic Hollywood cliffhanger will conclude Sunday's Academy Awards, and organizers hope the suspense of an up-for-grabs best-picture race will be enough to keep TV audiences tuned in through the finale.
Hollywood's biggest party has lost some of its luster for viewers at home over the last decade, with TV ratings on a general decline and smaller movies that fewer people have seen dominating key Oscar categories. Fewer eyeballs on the movies usually translates to fewer eyeballs on the Oscar ceremony, as the TV audience feels less vested in the outcome. This time, though, the best-picture race is as wide open as it has been in years, lacking the usual front-runner or two that everyone just knows will end up winning. ...
LOS ANGELES — Most people watch the Academy Awards on a single TV screen — but not Louis J. Horvitz. He watches on 85 screens at once.
Horvitz, 60, directs the Oscar show. But he won't be rubbing tuxes with the fancy folks inside the Kodak Theatre. His seat is out back in the parking lot, past the loading dock and smoking area, inside a high-tech production truck that controls Oscar's television operations.
"We're in the space shuttle," Horvitz says, "and they're on land."
At the Oscars, it's all about the bling. "It's all about the jewels," celeb Stylist Phillip Bloch told "Good Morning America Weekend Edition." "Now more than ever it's not just about the classic diamond. … People are more willing to take chances and do different things with jewelry … just to jazz it up."
And precisely for that reason — and, no doubt, because the film "Blood Diamond" got such a high profile this year — Amnesty International USA and Global Witness have asked artists and filmmakers to wear a red teardrop pin to raise awareness about conflict diamonds and their impact on child soldiers. Artists who will wear the pin at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony include nominees Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling and Djimon Hounsou. ...
Just how crazy does Oscars week make Los Angeles? Try this LA Times column, which begins with one of the greatest first sentences ever: "You don't appreciate how easily sperm travels through a vagina until you try to drive it across Los Angeles during Oscar week."
Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper is already in Los Angeles — and already reporting on the Oscars hoopla. He'll be posting his Red Carpet Diaries through the Sunday Oscars ceremony and perhaps beyond. His predictions are included.
NEW YORK — What are Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion, Metallica, Yo-Yo Ma, Roger Waters, Renee Fleming and Andrea Bocelli all doing on the same album? Paying tribute to composer Ennio Morricone, the prolific film composer who at age 78 is also getting a long-awaited Academy Award. ...
LOS ANGELES — Among the five Academy Award directing nominees, one name seems to be on everyone’s lips: Martin Scorsese. Nominated five times previously for best director since the 1980 masterpiece ‘‘Raging Bull,’’ Scorsese has gone home a loser each year. With Scorsese’s sixth directing nomination, this one for his return to the vivid and violent crime genre on ‘‘The Departed,’’ seemingly everyone in Hollywood figures he finally will have his Oscar come Sunday.
LOS ANGELES — They’ve held more Oscars than Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson combined, but they never give a speech or take the golden guy home. They aren’t nominees, they’re trophy presenters. The statuesque beauties who accompany Oscar and his winners on and off stage are actually models for hire.
BURBANK, Calif. — On Feb. 25, Ellen DeGeneres will make good on a six-year-dream. She’s had her eye on hosting the Oscars since her turn as the Emmy Awards frontwoman in 2001. ‘‘I thought, well this is fun and if I’m going to do this, I should do the biggest one of all,’’ says the 49-year-old comedian, who’s tinier and more intense than she appears on TV. ‘‘I’ve been hoping they would ask me for probably six years now.’’
NEW YORK — The Academy Awards are not only a big spectacle for the Hollywood crowd, but also for Madison Avenue folks. According to a new report from research firm TNS Media Intelligence, annual advertising during the Oscar broadcast has more than doubled during the past 12 years to more than $80 million in 2006, but the ad field is less cluttered than during other big events, making it ‘‘one of the premier television events for advertisers.’’ ...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Christian singer Chris Tomlin, the Dove Awards’ artist of the year in 2006, is the leading nominee of the gospel music awards again this year with nine nominations, including another nod for artist of the year. Other leading nominees announced today for the Gospel Music Association’s 38th annual awards were Jars of Clay with six and The Crabb Family with five. Newcomers Aaron Shust and the group Leeland had five each. ...
LOS ANGELES — The Academy Awards typically are a gloomy Sunday, ending with a heavy drama crowned as best picture. Yet there’s good news for this year’s exhilarating romp, ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine’’: Over the last decade, academy voters have lightened up and handed the top trophy to the occasional comic frolic rather than a big, tragic pageant. ...
Humphrey Bogart once suggested that since it’s impossible and maybe even a little nutty for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to compare comic performances and dramatic performances during Oscar season, the best actor race should be decided by making every nominee get onstage and perform Hamlet’s soliloquy. That makes sense in a way: Let actors do the same job and compare the results. Ditto directors, cinematographers, costumers and so on. There’s only one problem: How do we pick best picture? ...
HOLLYWOOD — Whatever flaws the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ voting system has — no matter how greatly the nominations might be influenced by massively financed advertising campaigns — most insiders agree that this year has provided an exceptionally fine vintage. Nowhere is that clearer than in the four acting categories, where knowns and unknowns, Americans and foreigners, Caucasians and minorities are all competing in an astonishingly diverse and talented pool. And in choosing these nominees, the Academy has shown a willingness to look beyond celebrity...
PARIS — French President Jacques Chirac inducted American actor-director Clint Eastwood into the Legion of Honor on Saturday, saying he represents ‘‘the best of Hollywood.’’ The Oscar-winning director was named a knight in France’s elite Legion of Honor. ‘‘France of course wants to pay homage to your immense talent as an actor, your genius as a director and to your place in the world of cinema,’’ Chirac said in a ceremony in the presidential Elysee Palace. ...
"Winners like F. Murray Abraham, Brenda Fricker, Linda Hunt, Marlee Matlin and Louise Fletcher are hardly household names despite earning the film world's most coveted award." This article finds actors discussing how winning an Oscar sometimes busts a career instead of boosting it.
The Oscar science awards ceremony got positively geeky. And you gotta love a sentence like this: "Ceremony host and movie star Maggie Gyllenhaal won the second-biggest round of applause for correctly pronouncing the word 'densitometer.'"
MEXICO CITY — A year ago, Rinko Kikuchi was appearing in mothball ads on local Japanese television. Today, she’s nominated for an Academy Award as the world breaks into that most exclusive of clubs: the Oscars.
No matter who wins at the Feb. 25 ceremony, the global movie community is already gushing over this real-life version of a Hollywood feel-good movie. This year’s lineup is the most ethnically diverse ever, with five black people, two Hispanics and an Asian among the 20 acting nominees. Best-picture nominee ‘‘Letters From Iwo Jima’’ is almost entirely in Japanese. Hispanics alone garnered a record 19 nominations, including three Mexican directors contending for some of the biggest prizes of the night. ....
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — You may not know his name, but you certainly know his work.
A little something called the Academy Awards. John Pavlik is the official spokesman for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. And after 39 Oscar shows, he’s calling it quits. ...
LOS ANGELES — Looking at winners of the best-director category at the Academy Awards over the past decade is a study in extremes. The filmmakers have crafted either visual spectacles (Anthony Minghella’s ‘‘The English Patient,’’ James Cameron’s ‘‘Titanic,’’ Steven Spielberg’s ‘‘Saving Private Ryan’’) or intimate character-driven dramas (Sam Mendes’ ‘‘American Beauty,’’ Clint Eastwood’s ‘‘Million Dollar Baby,’’ Ang Lee’s ‘‘Brokeback Mountain’’). There is no in-between.
Not that looking back is necessary for predicting this year’s winner. Martin Scorsese should finally capture the prize that has eluded him for decades, despite having been nominated for such classics as ‘‘Raging Bull’’ and ‘‘Goodfellas.’’ ...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country radio still isn’t ready to make nice with the Dixie Chicks.
With a haul of Grammys on Sunday, the Texas trio topped their comeback from their 2003 Bush-bashing comment that turned them from superstars to pariahs — but Music Row isn’t welcoming them back into the country-music fold. ‘‘Most country stations aren’t playing the Chicks, and they aren’t going to start now,’’ said Jim Jacobs, owner of WTDR-FM, a country radio station in Talladega, Ala.
LOS ANGELES — Grammy voters just couldn’t decide. Twice. Which led to two ties at Sunday’s awards ceremony. Jimmy Carter’s spoken-word album, ‘‘Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis,’’ tied with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee’s ‘‘With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together.’’ In the Latin pop album category, Arjona’s ‘‘Adentro,’’ tied with Julieta Venegas’ ‘‘Limon Y Sal.’’
From the blog Edward Copeland on Film: "Recently, I wrote a post here because of anger at some incorrect Oscar facts that were being repeated in news stories in various sources. The issue prompted me to think about other statistical and historical questions about different Academy Award statistics through the years, so I decided to write the Academy itself to get official rulings on some of the most common questions I could think of at the time. Wonder whether Orson Welles and Warren Beatty both are the only people to earn producing, directing, acting and writing nominations for the same film? Want to know if Sunrise's prize in 1927-28 is equivalent to best picture? Those official answers from the Academy's standpoint are here."
GLENDALE, Calif. — A cocky race car that learns the wisdom of slowing down won the race for best animated feature Sunday at the 34th annual Annie Awards, honoring achievements in feature film and television animation. ‘‘Cars,’’ from The Walt Disney Co. and Pixar Animation Studios, defeated a crowd of contenders that included ‘‘Happy Feet’’ from Warner Bros., ‘‘Over the Hedge,’’ from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., ‘‘Monster House’’ from Sony Pictures, a division of Sony Corp., and ‘‘Open Season,’’ also from Sony Pictures. ...
LOS ANGELES — It’s a dramatic shift, when funny men turn serious. Even Eddie Murphy, the latest of Hollywood’s top comic performers to try, has had some laughs over his own transformation, which could bring him an Academy Award.
At the Screen Actors Guild awards, where he won yet another supporting-actor prize for ‘‘Dreamgirls’’ amid the build-up to Oscar night, Murphy copped a British accent as he soberly remarked how honored he was to be recognized by his peers. Murphy could not keep the wiseguy with the broad grin in check for more than a few seconds, though. ‘‘No, I’m sorry,’’ Murphy said after a moment, cracking up with laughter. ‘‘It’s just when the British people come and get the awards, it’s so smooth with their stuff. And I feel goofy up here, ’cause I don’t be winning stuff.’’
BERLIN — Judi Dench won’t be at the Academy Awards ceremony; instead, she will be watching from bed. ‘‘I can’t go to the Oscars because I’m going to have a knee operation,’’ said Dench, who’s a best-actress nominee for her performance in ‘‘Notes on a Scandal.’’ ...
LOS ANGELES — Texas teenager Robyn Troup got a taste of fame — and a super 19th birthday present — as the winner of ‘‘My Grammy Moment,’’ a talent contest that culminated live during the Grammy Awards last night. ...
LOS ANGELES — Without ‘‘American Idol’’ to worry about, the Grammy Awards bounced back strongly in the ratings this year. An estimated 20.1 million people watched the Dixie Chicks take home every trophy they were eligible for last night. That’s up 18 percent over last season, according to Nielsen Media Research. ...
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — In a packed ballroom filled with bling-wearing divas, one unlikely singer shined brightest of all at Sony BMG’s Grammy after-party — tall, gangly John Mayer. The bushy-haired singer, who snagged trophies for best male pop vocal performance and pop vocal album for ‘‘Continuum,’’ was the toast of Sunday’s swanky bash at the Beverly Hills Hotel — just one of several glamorous Grammy parties around town. ...
In one of the most competitive Grammy categories, two slightly hunched, long-since hip music veterans bested the likes of Mary J. Blige, U2, Nelly Furtado and Timbaland. Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder, who have a combined 136 years of legendary crooning between them, took home the award for best pop collaboration with vocals, the first award handed out at the Grammys tonight.
Gnarls Barkley’s unlikely but unstoppable crossover continued at the Grammys tonight, where the duo won two awards. The collaboration between Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse won best alternative music album for their ‘‘St. Elsewhere’’ and best urban/alternative performance for the sensational single ‘‘Crazy.’’ Their mature, show-stopping performance of their hit song was also one of the high points of the award show. ...
NEW YORK — James Brown, given scant attention from the Grammys when alive, was paid slight tribute tonight. While the Eagles were honored with a three-song medley, the late Godfather of Soul was remembered with a performance by Christina Aguilera that managed to hit all the wrong notes, even while staying pitch-perfect. ...
It was more than a love of their music that was behind the Dixie Chicks’ victory lap at the Grammy Awards tonight. The Texans won the three biggest awards — song, record and album of the year — for a disc in which they fought back against a country-music establishment that turned its back on them following 2003 remarks critical of President Bush. They won everything they were nominated for. ...
In the Grammy Awards collaboration between Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and John Mayer, you could almost see a struggling music industry beg: ‘‘please don’t give up on us.’’ The showcase was clearly designed to get Baby Boomers who can’t remember the last time they set foot in a music store interested in someone new. ...
Showing a punkish verve that echoed back to 1978, The Police opened the Grammy Awards tonight with a reunion that advertised an upcoming tour.
‘‘Ladies and gentlemen, we are the Police and we’re back!’’ Sting shouted at the beginning.
Wearing a punk-short haircut and displaying biceps that most 55-year-olds would kill for, Sting sang the rock trio’s first hit, ‘‘Roxanne.’’ He even managed to make the high notes during the reggae-tinged story about a prostitute.
Drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers joined him onstage, the gray-haired Copeland grinning throughout the song.
The Police are scheduled to announce a reunion tour on Monday.
They performed to an audience filled with musicians who were crawling around in diapers during their heyday. Comic Jamie Foxx noted the changing times.
‘‘There was a little confusion,’’ he said. ‘‘When they said the Police were opening up the Grammys, Snoop left.’’
LONDON — A gracious monarch and a charismatic dictator took the top prizes Sunday at the British Academy Film Awards. Dame Helen Mirren was crowned best actress for playing Queen Elizabeth II in ‘‘The Queen,’’ which also was named the year’s best picture. Forest Whitaker took the best actor prize for his riveting turn as Idi Amin in ‘‘The Last King of Scotland,’’ the story of a young Scottish doctor’s entanglement with the Ugandan dictator. ‘‘Last King’’ was named best British film and also took the prize for best adapted screenplay. ...
LOS ANGELES — Mary J. Blige, the self-described Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, has a chance to become the Queen of the Grammys tonight with a leading eight nominations for her best-selling, critically acclaimed album, ‘‘The Breakthrough.’’ ...
LOS ANGELES — John Mayer and the Dixie Chicks helped guide Don Henley on a trip through his musical memories that left the singer-songwriter feeling ‘‘very strange.’’ They joined Henley’s Eagles bandmate Timothy B. Schmit, Sam Moore, Keb Mo, Trisha Yearwood, Michael McDonald, Shawn Colvin and Seal in launching Grammy weekend by honoring the 59-year-old Henley as MusiCares Person of the Year on Friday night.
BURBANK, Calif. — Flanked by a television crew, three young women huddle around a keyboard on an airy sound stage trying to out-sing each other. ‘‘American Idol’’? No, but close. It’s ‘‘My Grammy Moment,’’ the Recording Academy’s mini-edition of reality TV; a talent search for unsigned artists that maybe could offer a little ratings help for the Nielsen-troubled Grammys show (7 p.m. Sunday on CBS). ...
The Recording Academy announced today that current multi-nominees singer/songwriter James Blunt and rapper T.I. will perform on the 49th annual Grammy Awards this Sunday night, and six-time Grammy winners Earth, Wind & Fire will join previously announced performers Mary J. Blige and Ludacris in an electrifying special segment. ...
LOS ANGELES — Celine Dion will unveil her new song, ‘‘I Knew I Loved You,’’ during a tribute to Italian composer Ennio Morricone at this year’s Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said today. ...
It's down to three finalists in the "My Grammy Moment" contest, in which one performer voted by fans online will perform with Justin Timberlake at this Sunday's Grammys. Here are some profiles of the finalists from their hometown newspapers — Brenda Radney in Staten Island, Robyn Troup in Houston Africa Miranda in Montgomery, Ala.
LOS ANGELES — On Feb. 25, the Kodak Theatre lobby will be filled with superstars in tuxedos, designer dresses and boatloads of bling. On Tuesday, though, it was occupied by the Oscar-show staff — from the producer to the parking guy. Most wore jeans and sneakers. They gathered for the annual Oscar production meeting, which serves as an official call to arms for the big show. ‘‘Blast off is actually in, I think, 20 days,’’ producer Laura Ziskin told the group. ‘‘Scary!’’
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Beyonce positioned herself as the performer to beat in next month’s annual Soul Train Music Awards, gathering a leading three nominations Tuesday, including one for best female album for ‘‘B’Day.’’ She was also up for honors for best female single, for the hit song ‘‘Irreplaceable,’’ and for the Michael Jackson Award for best music video.
In an exclusive interview with E! News from yesterday's annual Oscars Nominees Luncheon, Jennifer Hudson confirms that she and her "Dreamgirls" cast will perform during the Academy Awards telecast on Feb. 25. "We have a few songs that are nominated … yeah, we'll be singing," Hudson said. When asked who of the cast would be joining her up on stage, Hudson responded, "Yes, my 'Dreamgirls' sisters … my dream sisters." Tune in to E! News at 6 tonight for the full interview, or watch the E! Web site.
NEW YORK — When the Oscar is given for best actress, everyone watches for waterworks. Best actresses are renowned for their weepy acceptance speeches, just as their winning performances often feature crocodile tears. An analysis of this category over the past decade found several such trends — including the academy’s propensity to honor beautiful women who hide it. ...
Shakira and Wyclef Jean will team up for a performance during Sunday’s Grammy Awards, while Chris Brown, Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson will perform during a tribute segment to male R&B artists. In addition, Rascal Flatts will join previously announced performer Carrie Underwood for a tribute to country-influenced rock. ...
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Talk about a power lunch. Chew on this: Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Will Smith and Penelope Cruz were just some of the 140 nominees chowing down Monday at the 26th annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon. There were luminaries all around the International ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. ‘‘There are no power tables in this room,’’ academy president Sid Ganis told the crowd, noting the luncheon’s ‘‘relentlessly democratic’’ seating process. ‘‘This is a power room.’’ ...
Even the most dedicated movie buffs probably won’t find their mailboxes jammed with invites to hip Hollywood parties. So the trick to hosting your own buzz-worthy Academy Awards party is to make your home and guests feel as glam as the real thing. A little planning and a few simple recipes and party tips from Oscar party veterans are all that’s required. ...
The Grammy Online Charity Auction — an exclusive array of celebrity-signed music and entertainment memorabilia as well as VIP experiences — is under way now through Feb. 22 at a special eBay page, presented in partnership with Kompolt. All proceeds raised through this special auction will benefit programs and services of the MusiCares and Grammy foundations.
The Sun-Times' Scurrilous column reports today: "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which gives out the Oscars, has laid on three speechwriters to help people write acceptance speeches. Can’t hurt, I guess, if it stops flustered stars from thanking their accountants, lawyers, baby-sitters, dental hygienists, mechanics, drug dealers, etc. ...
NEW YORK — ‘‘Wake up and smell the coffin.’’ Venomously delivered by Jack Nicholson’s character in ‘‘The Departed,’’ this line was cut from the film but remains a deadly wake-up call for an unsettling number of the characters. Now that ‘‘The Departed’’ is nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, it’s worth discussing the most troubling part of Martin Scorsese’s morbid crime drama: the ending. ...
WARNING: The rest of this post discusses the end of the film — lots of spoilers. Don't read on if you haven't seen the film!
LONDON — Daniel Craig was honored but Helen Mirren was denied Sunday at the 34th annual Evening Standard British Film Awards. Craig was named best actor for ‘‘Casino Royale,’’ his debut outing as James Bond. Craig, who has won both critical praise and box office favor as the first blond Bond, is also up for the best-actor prize at next week’s British Academy Film Awards. ...
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — During today’s Super Bowl pre-game show, The Recording Academy announced the three finalists in the "My Grammy Moment" program. Music fans now can vote for three unsigned artists to compete for a special performance slot on the 49th annual Grammy Awards with Justin Timberlake (who also is performing in a solo segment). Fans can log on to Yahoo! Music to view the video submissions, bios and photos of all three hopefuls, and vote to determine their favorite. The final three will fly to Los Angeles to rehearse individually with Timberlake during Grammy Week, as well as attend various Recording Academy events.
The finalists (in alphabetical order)
Africa Miranda (age 30), Montgomery, Ala. Brenda Radney (age 22), Staten Island, N.Y. Robyn Troup (age 18), Houston, Tex.
AMC Theaters said Friday it will show the five movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar back-to-back at 78 theaters across the country on the Saturday before the Academy Awards.
The nation’s second-largest theater chain is selling $30 tickets to the mini-film festival set for Feb. 24.
Beginning at 11 a.m. with ‘‘Babel,’’ the showing also will include ‘‘The Queen,’’ ‘‘The Departed’’ and ‘‘Letters from Iwo Jima,’’ before ending with ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine’’ at 9:45 p.m.
In all, that amounts to 10 1/2 hours of film time, not including 15 minute breaks and a longer dinner break. Each ticket grants the moviegoer unlimited refills of soda and popcorn during the shows, said AMC spokeswoman Sun Dee Larson.
‘‘They’re some of the most celebrated movies this year,’’ Larson said. ‘‘We recognize that some people haven’t had a chance to see all of them and others might want to see them again and the best way to see them is on the big screen.’’
Other theater chains and individual movie houses have tried similar movie marathons with the ‘‘Star Wars’’ films.
These Chicago-area AMC theaters are included in the event:
• River East 21, 322 E. Illinois
• Randhurst 16, 101 E. Euclid Ave. in Mount Prospect
• South Barrington 30, 175 Studio Drive in South Barrington
• Crestwood 18, 13221 Rivercrest Drive in Crestwood
• Cantera 30, 28250 Diehl Rd. in Warrenville
UNITED NATIONS — Ennio Morricone, who has been performing for some six decades and is heading to Hollywood to pick up a long-awaited Academy Award, finally made his conducting debut on the shores of the United States. The night before his first official U.S. concert at Radio City, the 78-year-old Italian conducted the Rome Sinfonietta Orchestra on Friday in a performance for invited guests who filled the U.N. General Assembly hall.
LOS ANGELES — Martin Scorsese’s long-overdue glory at the Directors Guild of America Awards clearly paves the way for his long-overdue glory at the Academy Awards. That leaves just one category at the Oscars — the biggest of all — still up for grabs as this busy awards season nears its end. ...