December 2007 Archives

What they covet: Album of the Year

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A Grammy Award is ‘‘probably the most coveted award in the music industry,’’ Universal Music Group Nashville chairman Luke Lewis says. Even the nod leading up to the statuette can boost artist awareness and album sales, as some nominees this year have already observed.

Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters, Vince Gill and Herbie Hancock will vie for the album of the year honor at the 50th annual Grammy Awards, Feb. 10 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. And in the days following the Dec. 6 nominations announcement in Hollywood, the impact was felt at retail. ...


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Although the writers strike has created a swirl of uncertainty, Hollywood’s awards season was business as usual Wednesday, when the academy mailed Oscar nomination ballots to its 5,829 voting members. And strike or not, nobody was more excited about helping bestow one of the world’s most prestigious honors than Brett Morgen and the 114 other new academy members who are casting Oscar ballots for the very first time this year.

‘‘It’s great to be part of a democratic process where your vote actually matters,’’ said the documentarian, who was up for an Oscar in 1999 and was invited to join the academy this year. ‘‘In a way, this is more exciting than getting nominated.’’ ...

Oscar nomination ballots have been mailed

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Thousands of Oscar nomination ballots were mailed out Wednesday, heralding the official start of Academy Awards season.

U.S. Postal Service bins overflowed with ballots shipped to 5,829 academy members from the film academy’s headquarters in Beverly Hills, Calif. ...

Rainn to reign over Spirit Awards

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Actor Rainn Wilson, who plays tyrannical salesman Dwight Schrute in "The Office," will host the Spirit Awards, the art-house world's version of the Oscars, on Feb. 23. ...

Some sorta serious ideas for Oscars alternatives

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The Carpetbagger, like the Gold Rush, is just sure the Oscars will prevail — strike or no strike. But just in case, he offers some other options on how to work around the strike and make things really interesting.

'Heroes' star sees Globes snub as motivation

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Milo Ventimiglia tells Entertainment Weekly he hopes the lack of Golden Globe nominations for his show, "Heroes," will inspire his fellow cast and crew to work even harder next season.

"Heroes" didn't get any nominations for next month's Golden Globes.

“I think it’s one of those things that’s going to make us work harder, make us be a little more focused," he says. ...

Spirit Awards show gets OK from striking writers

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The Writers Guild of America says its members will be allowed to work for the Spirit Awards honoring independent film, despite uncertainties surrounding other awards shows because of the Hollywood writers strike. ...

Another victim of the writers strike: the 34th annual People's Choice Awards. The show hasn't been canceled, but the format of the fan-voted awards broadcast on CBS will change dramatically. ...

More critics awards for Coen Bros. film

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The Las Vegas Film Critics Society — what screens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas — has joined other critics groups in picking the Coen Brothers' "No Country for Old Men" as best picture. The society announced its annual Sierra Awards today.

The film is the one movie to emerge as a serious Oscar contender, having also won the top honors at the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle, Toronto Film Critics Association, Washington D.C. Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics and our own Chicago Film Critics Association. It's also up for several Golden Globe awards.

The Sierra Awards also gave best supporting actor to Javier Bardem from the film, as well as best director to Joel and Ethan Coen.

SAGs may be the only red carpet worth watching

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So with the writers striking and their union failing to grant waivers for the Golden Globes and the Oscars — meaning many celebs will stay away from those events in support of the strike — the SAG Awards, whose nominees were announced today, may be the show for this year's star spotting.

The writers guild, at this point, plans to picket both the Globes and the Academy Awards. When a similar strike lingered in 1980, many stars stayed at home rather than cross the picket lines to reach the red carpet for that year's Emmy Awards.

The SAG Awards, however, have been granted one writer to help pen jokes and speeches for that show. It's on TV, too, albeit cable, on Jan. 27. Still, at least the celebrities won't shy away from it. It may be the only red carpet worth watching all year.

The only sure thing at this point may be Javier

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"Atonement" lead the Golden Globes nominations last week, but the Screen Actors Guild utterly ignored the film in today's nominations for its own awards. Same thing for the Tim Burton-Johnny Depp film adaptation of the musical "Sweeney Todd" — four Globes nods, no SAGs.

This is further proof that this year's Oscar race is wide open and voters haven't reached any real concensus yet about what's best — except for Javier Bardem's performance in "No Country for Old Men."

That means this year's Oscar show could be an entertaining nail-biter — if the show goes on. C'mon, writers and studios, work it out!

List of SAG Award nominees

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The list of nominees for the 14th annual Screen Actors Guild awards ...

SAG nominations reverse Globes picks

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LOS ANGELES — The road-trip drama ‘‘Into the Wild’’ received a leading four Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations today, including honors for lead actor Emile Hirsch and supporting players Hal Holbrook and Catherine Keener.

Directed by Sean Penn, ‘‘Into the Wild’’ also was nominated for performance by its overall cast, along with the Western ‘‘3:10 to Yuma,’’ the crime sagas ‘‘American Gangster’’ and ‘‘No Country for Old Men,’’ and the musical ‘‘Hairspray.’’

Conspicuously absent from the guild field was the British romantic melodrama ‘‘Atonement,’’ which was shut out after leading the Golden Globe nominations a week earlier with seven nominations. ...

Horvitz returning to direct the 80th Oscars

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Louis J. Horvitz is returning to direct the Academy Awards, his 12th time running the show for Hollywood’s biggest party.

A four-time Emmy winner for his past Oscar telecasts, Horvitz will direct the 80th Oscar telecast, show producer Gil Cates said today.

Oscar nominations come out Jan. 22, with awards handed out Feb. 24.

Writers play hardball, aim to snuff Oscars

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LOS ANGELES — Could striking writers really shut down Hollywood’s biggest party?

The producer of the Academy Awards promised Tuesday that the show would go on, although some Oscar watchers said the result could be a disastrous telecast with celebrities forced to stumble through ad-libbed presentations of awards.

‘‘Awards shows are the best chance that writers have to prove how valuable they are. Without a script, we may finally find out how vapid and empty these stars really are,’’ said Tom O’Neil, columnist for the entertainment-awards Web site ‘‘The awards shows will have no choice but to go on with the show, but not the telecast.’’ ...

And the Lifetime Achievement Grammys go to ...

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Songwriting legend Burt Bacharach, the Band and late jazz vocalist Cab Calloway are among the acts that will receive the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement award at the upcoming 50th annual Grammy Awards.

Swing vocalist Doris Day, Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman, jazz drummer Max Roach and bluegrass innovator Earl Scruggs will also receive Lifetime Grammys. ...

Attention Golden Globes fans: Due to the writers strike and the likelihood now that celebs will stay away from the event in droves, Alec Baldwin is inviting everyone to his place for the show.

No writers reprieve for Globes, Oscars

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Oscar and the Golden Globes will have to go without WGA writers on their telecasts, barring any last-minute reprieves.

That’s the bottom line from a dramatic rebuff of both awards shows made public Monday night, though Oscar has gotten only a portion of the bad news so far.

The WGA said Monday night that it has nixed a writing-waiver request from producers of the Golden Globes telecast and also a request for some clips clearances for the Oscars. But a WGA insider said a decision also has been made — though not announced — to reject a request for a writing waiver for the Oscars as well. ...

Will Jon Stewart still host the Oscars?

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If the jokes are lamer than usual at this year's Golden Globes and Oscars, blame the writers strike. Now that the WGA has barred its writers from assisting those shows — they've even prevented the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from being able to show clips of the nominated films during the ceremony — everyone at the podium (if anyone shows up) will have to wing it. And you know how well that goes over at the Oscars.

The real question now hanging in the air: Will Jon Stewart — a member of the writers guild, and one who has honored the strike thus far — still host the Oscars?

Jimmy Kimmel improvised for the American Music Awards last month, and Stewart is no stranger to improv comedy. But he's also no stranger to principles. At this point, only his contract knows for sure whether hell stick to the gig.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Producers of Hollywood’s annual self-congratulation rites have more to fear this year than boring, drawn-out acceptance speeches.

Picket lines could block the red carpet. Fiery, pro-union talk could spew from the podium. Hosts and presenters could unravel without the benefit of a polished script.

Or the most frightening, if unlikely, prospect: Nobody shows up.

While awards shows would hardly be the most sympathetic casualty of the writer’s strike, now in its sixth week, they’d be perhaps the most visible. Studios depend on the season’s buzz to boost box office for specialty films, actors ride recognition into ever-bigger roles, and a whole industry thrives on the ancillary parties and preparations for ceremonies like the Oscars and Golden Globes. ...


It was a cataclysmic collision of notable names. On Thursday, both the Golden Globe nominations and the Mitchell Report of baseball players suspected of steroid use were announced.

One list, you want to be on — the other, not so much.

Certainly there must be parallels ... right? Here’s a look at how they match up. Or don’t. ...

Academy adding a new TV awards show

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The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is launching an awards show next year to honor what it’s calling ‘‘television with a conscience.’’

The Television Academy Honors will recognize programming that presents ‘‘issues of concern to society in a compelling, emotional and insightful way,’’ the organization says. The awards will be handed out April 22 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. ...

Yes, they're thrilled just to be nominated

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Despite the sometimes nasty nature of her character, Patty Hewes, on FX’s ‘‘Damages,’’ Glenn Close insists she really is a nice person. Close learned of her nomination for best TV drama series actress from a friend in Florida while visiting her hometown of Greenwich, Conn. The multiple award-winner, who won a Globe in 2005 for ‘‘The Lion in Winter’’ and was nominated in 2006 for ‘‘The Shield,’’ said her character gets noticed because it’s rare for a woman her age to get such a role. ‘‘She keeps people off balance all the time, and people are intrigued by that.’’

Shortly after finishing up an interview with ‘‘The Today Show’’ in New York, Ellen Page was told of her nomination for best actress in a comedy. ‘‘I’m excited,’’ Page said. ‘‘Diablo Cody wrote one of the best screenplays I’ve ever read.’’ The character Juno was one the 20-year-old actress had never seen before. ‘‘She had this character ... devoid of stereotype. It was a unique, witty and absolutely genuine screenplay. I read it. I loved it. I became obsessed about playing this role,’’ she said. Page will celebrate her first Golden Globe nomination with a Manhattan dinner and then head back to her native Nova Scotia for the holidays. ‘‘There will be a lot of celebrating and hanging out with my friends,’’ she said. ...

Producers Guild giving award to Oprah

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LOS ANGELES — Oprah Winfrey and other producers behind the Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker film ‘‘The Great Debaters’’ — also nominated for a Golden Globe for best drama film this morning — will receive an award from the Producers Guild of America for illuminating provocative social issues. ...

The big winner in the Globe noms? Cable TV

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If there was any doubt before, the Golden Globes have sounded a clear message: This year, the best TV is on cable.

Broadcast networks scored only 20 of the 60 television nominations announced this morning. Most of them went to ABC’s ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ Fox’s ‘‘House’’ and NBC’s ‘‘30 Rock’’ (all represented by awards last year) and ABC’s freshman series ‘‘Pushing Daisies.’’ ...

So excited she burned the waffles

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‘‘I was making waffles for my kids, then my phone rang and my publicist called saying I was nominated. And I noticed this strange smell, and the waffles were burning, and the smoke alarm went off.’’ — Mary-Louise Parker, nominated for best actress in a television series, comedy or musical for ‘‘Weeds.’’

And here are some other reactions from some of the Golden Globe Award nominees this morning ...

List of songs being considered for Oscar

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Fifty-nine songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are being considered in the original song category for the 80th annual Academy Awards. ...

HBO tops WGA Award noms with five

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HBO led all TV networks in attracting nominations in the 60th anniversary WGA Awards, fetching two noms for dramatic series writing and three for comedy series writing.

In the dramatic series category, HBO’s ‘‘The Sopranos’’ and ‘‘The Wire’’ are joined by Showtime’s ‘‘Dexter,’’ NBC’s ‘‘Friday Night Lights’’ and AMC’s ‘‘Mad Men.’’ ...

We had to double-check to make sure the list was accurate — seven, seven best picture nominees? The Golden Globes nominations this morning definitely brought the love: seven top films, six TV shows up for best drama and numerous small-screen stars up for best drama TV actress. As E! has already pointed out this morning, all that love makes the omissions even starker, like the absence of "Desperate Housewives" from the TV slots and a no-show for Russell Crowe in "American Gangster."

In line with the New York critics awards announced earlier, the Chicago Film Critics Association picked Joel and Ethan Coen's "No Country for Old Men" as the best picture of 2007. The CFCA announced its 20th annual awards this morning.

The CFCA announced yesterday there would be no ceremony for this year's awards.

Here is a complete list of the winners ...

The Golden Globes nominees!

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A complete list of nominees for the 65th annual Golden Globe Awards announced this morning in Beverly Hills, Calif. ...

'Atonement' leads Globe noms

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The British historical romance ''Atonement'' led the competition this morning for the Golden Globes with seven nominations, among them best drama and acting honors for Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. ...

Early Globes announcements

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The Golden Globe nominations got under way this morning with "Charlie Wilson's War" and "Michael Clayton" taking an early lead with two nods each.

Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman were nominated for supporting roles in "Charlie Wilson's War," and Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson got the same for "Michael Clayton."


NEW YORK — The HFPA is looking for a way to ensure that a struck Golden Globes doesn't turn into a ghost-town Golden Globes.

If the WGA doesn't grant the awards show a strike waiver, the group is considering pitching the show to talent as a platform to stand in solidarity with writers — a move that could turn the podium and red carpet at the Beverly Hilton into a de facto picket line. ...

Hopefully, Globes will narrow Oscar field

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Clear front-runners have yet to emerge in Hollywood’s awards season, though Golden Globe voters have no shortage of fine films and performances to choose from with their nominations at hand.

Among big contenders for Thursday morning’s nominations are the crime saga ‘‘No Country for Old Men’’ and the historical drama ‘‘There Will Be Blood,’’ both films anointed by major critics groups as Hollywood’s awards season starts to shape up. ...

Chicago critics awards show canceled

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Sun-Times Columnist

Due to a number of scheduling issues, the Jan. 7 awards show for the Chicago Film Critics Association has just been axed, and also the announcement of the actual recipients of the 2007 CFCA awards is being moved up a day. The winners will be broadcast at 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. Thursday by Dean Richards on WGN-Channel 9.

John Travolta’s Vision Award for Artistic Excellence — announced yesterday — will now be sent to him. Travolta is the first actor to receive the Vision Award — only presented twice before, to filmmakers Robert Altman and William Friedkin.

Fall Out Boy bitter over Grammy snub

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Kanye West leads this year's Grammy nominations, so he's not having a fit (yet). But apparently another Chicago music star is voicing his disappointment about being snubbed from this year's nominations ...

Will writers strike spoil award shows?

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Variety posts an informative article today about how the ongoing writers strike will affect Oscar season. Several of the shows have asked the Writers Guild of America for a waiver, which would allow striking writers to work on jokes, monologues and speeches for the stars. No word yet on whether the Globes will get its waiver — and nominations are revealed tomorrow morning — but the WGA has granted such a waiver to the 14th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. But the real question is, waivers or none, will the stars still attend the shows if the strike marches on?

ABC also has this story about what the shows might be like without writers. It ain't pretty.

Panettiere and Judd to announce Globes

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'Heroes' star Hayden Panettiere and Ashley Judd will announce the nominees for the 65th annual Golden Globe Awards tomorrow morning.

Nominations in 25 categories will be announced at the Beverly Hilton in California tomorrow morning.

Stay tuned here for the news, the guffaws, the lists and what not!

'Into the Wild' leads Critics' Choice Awards

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Sean Penn’s ‘‘Into the Wild’’ received a leading seven nominations for the Critics’ Choice Awards, announced today by the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

‘‘Juno’’ got six nominations, while ‘‘Atonement,’’ ‘‘Michael Clayton,’’ ‘‘No Country for Old Men,’’ ‘‘Sweeney Todd’’ and ‘‘Hairspray’’ tied with five each.

The 13th annual awards will be presented during a live VH1 broadcast Jan. 7, with D.L. Hughley as host. ...

On the Oscars' red carpet: It's Regis!

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LOS ANGELES — Regis Philbin is taking on more television duties. The co-host of ‘‘Live with Regis and Kelly,’’ who holds the Guinness World Record for the most time spent in front of a TV camera, will host the official Oscar red carpet show, producers have announced. ...

Critics' awards are for the critics, not the films

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Time movie critic Richard Corliss just posted an insightful examination of the motivation behind the critics' awards in LA and NY and beyond. Despite the headline, "Do Film Critics Know Anything?," it's not another marginalization of arts critics. "By the time I'd got back to my office, I had realized that we critics may give these awards to the winners, but we give them for ourselves," he writes. "In fact, we're essentially passing notes to one another, admiring our connoisseurship at the risk of ignoring the vast audience that sees movies and the smaller one that reads us."

Looking at the Golden Globes' signs and sins

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"The Golden Globes are so often touted as a bellwether for the Academy Awards that when the two don't match up, the Globes are taken to task for getting it wrong. But while the Globes' checkered history is studded with strange and even inexplicable calls -- in 1993, the year the Oscars named "Unforgiven" best picture, the Globes bestowed their highest honor on "Scent of a Woman" -- the deviations are sometimes inspired."

So begins a Hollywood Reporter's hearty analysis of the Globes — which are announced this Thursday. The critics awards have begun trickling in, but the Globe announcements officially start The Gold Rush.

Awards Tracker ’07-’08 begins

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Once again, we begin posting AP's occasional list of honors the top movies are winning leading up to the Oscars ...

NY critics weigh in, picking 'No Country'

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NEW YORK — The Coen brothers’ ‘‘No Country for Old Men’’ was named best picture today by the New York Film Critics Circle, further adding to the crime drama’s awards haul in the lead-up to the Oscars. ...

LA critics' picks move Oscar race forward

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LOS ANGELES — The oil-boom epic ‘‘There Will Be Blood’’ was chosen as 2007’s best film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, one of the first key groups to weigh in during the long buildup to the Academy Awards.

Based on the novel ‘‘Oil!’’ by Upton Sinclair, the film received three other honors: Best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis as a California petroleum baron who clashes with his son and a local preacher in the early 1900s; best director for Paul Thomas Anderson; and production design for Jack Fisk. ...

Grammy predictions ... already?

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Grammy nominations came out just yesterday, but Rolling Stone is already offering predictions on who will (and should) win.

Chicago artists at the Grammys

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Kanye West, of course, leads all Grammy nominees with a total of eight nods. Fellow Chicago rapper Common also picked up three nominations. Here's a list of other Chicago-native nominated acts, which includes — alas — no polka this year ...

Hillary vs. Obama — at the Grammys, too!

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They're getting testy with each other on the campaign trail, and now Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama face each other in another contest: the Grammys. Both were nominated this morning in the Best Spoken Word Album category.

Clinton was nominated for "Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World," and Obama's entry is "The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream." Former President and previous Grammy winner Jimmy Carter's "Sunday Mornings in Plains: Bringing Peace to a Changing World" is also up for the award. ...

No clear front-runners yet in Oscar race

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LOS ANGELES — There’s no Helen Mirren this time around, no Forest Whitaker.

Unlike last year, when clear front-runners already had emerged in key categories, this awards season looks wide open.

About a dozen films could be considered viable nominees for best picture at the Academy Awards, and Wednesday’s selection of ‘‘No Country for Old Men’’ as the year’s best by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures doesn’t make the outlook much clearer. The Coen brothers’ beautifully brutal depiction of lawmen, guns and money along the Rio Grande has earned rave reviews and packed theaters in limited release, but it was expected to be a favorite even before it came out. ...

Comedian George Lopez began announcing the 50th annual Grammy nominations this morning — in Spanish. Then he stopped and said, "Sorry, I forget, it’s still English just for a few more years.’’

Some other quips and quotables from today's revelations...

Early list of top Grammy nominations

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The top categories have been announced thus far...

Kanye leads with 8 Grammy noms!

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Early word is Chicago rapper Kanye West has scored the most Grammy nominations this morning, totaling eight — including Album of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album.

LOS ANGELES — Things couldn’t get much better for country star Taylor Swift. Her self-titled debut album has gone double-platinum, the Recording Academy invited her to help announce this morning's 50th annual Grammy nominations, she was considered a favorite in the best new artist category, and her 18th birthday is less than one week away.

‘‘I can’t believe all this has happened in just one year,’’ she said. ‘‘There’s a lot to celebrate!’’

Stay tuned — Grammy nominations about to be announced!

Board of Review: Coen Bros. best film of 2007

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NEW YORK — ‘‘No Country for Old Men,’’ the Coen brothers’ searing take on crime and carnage along the Rio Grande, is the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures’ pick for the best film of 2007. ...

Grammy nominations could save Winehouse, Kanye

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NEW YORK — At first, Amy Winehouse was heralded as a gifted new artist with an amazing albums. Now she’s known for erratic behavior and alleged substance abuse — but Thursday’s Grammy nominations should put the focus back on her music. ...

Don't forget: Grammy nominations coming Thursday!

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At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the nominations for the 50th annual Grammy Awards will be announced at the Music Box in Hollywood, Calif. Artists scheduled to announce nominations include R&B singer-songwriter Akon, three-time Grammy winner Fergie, 18-time Grammy winner Vince Gill, two-time Grammy-winning group Linkin Park, actor-comedian George Lopez and platinum country singer Taylor Swift. The Grammy ceremony will be Feb. 10.

ACM country awards staying in Vegas

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LAS VEGAS — The Academy of Country Music Awards will be held in Las Vegas for a sixth year, but will move from Tuesday night to Sunday. ...

‘Ratatouille’ leads Annie Awards noms

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LOS ANGELES — The rodent tale ‘‘Ratatouille’’ leads contenders for the Annie Awards honoring animation, picking up 13 nominations, among them best picture and voice-acting honors for Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm and Janeane Garofalo.

‘‘Ratatouille,’’ from Disney and Pixar Animation, was joined in the best animated feature category by DreamWorks’ insect story ‘‘Bee Movie,’’ Sony Pictures’ penguin romp ‘‘Surf’s Up,’’ Sony Pictures Classics’ coming-of-age chronicle ‘‘Persepolis’’ and 20th Century Fox’s ‘‘The Simpsons Movie,’’ a big-screen take on the TV cartoon hit. ...

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Kanye West tops the list of nominees for the 2008 Chicago Music Awards, receiving nominations in five of the event’s 42 categories.

West was nominated for Best Hip Hop/Rap Entertainer, Best Hip Hop/Rap Album/CD, Record Producer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Pop Entertainer of the Year. ...


WASHINGTON — From ‘‘Good Vibrations’’ to ‘‘GoodFellas,’’ Brian Wilson and Martin Scorsese scored. Steve Martin strutted as one of the ‘‘wild and crazy guys.’’ Diana Ross sang to Motown stardom. Pianist Leon Fleisher surmounted a debilitating injury.

Their contributions to American culture won them a visit Sunday to the White House and recognition by President Bush, followed by an evening of celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For their career achievements, the five were named in September as members of the 30th class of Kennedy Center honorees. ...

BERLIN — Romanian director Cristian Mungiu’s ‘‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’’ won the best film prize Saturday at the 20th annual European Film Awards in Berlin. ...

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