December 2008 Archives

25 films chosen for Library of Congress preservation

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"The Terminator" trailer, 1984

The Library of Congress announced this morning the 25 films being added to the National Film Registry. The annual list ranges, as it always does, across the decades, from "White Fawn's Devotion" in 1910 to Ah-nuld's career-making turn as "The Terminator" in 1984. Who knew that the best way to launch a political career was to appear buck naked in a sci-fi film and stab Bill Paxton?

Of course, you realize the irony: We're only preserving this account for our mechanized overlords to discover one day in the rubble, meaning they'll have to send another Terminator back in time to clear out the Library of Congress vault ... or perhaps just to talk Schwarzy into sticking to porn movies ...?

Here are some clips from some of the films chosen for preservation for generations to come ...

Oscar nomination ballots are in the mail

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mailed 5,810 official Oscar nominations ballots to voting members last Friday. The ballots are due back by Jan. 12, and the nominations will be announced the morning of Jan. 22. (Fear not. This Academy isn't so desperate to try and pull off a lame primetime nominations announcement show.)

How to handicap the Globes?

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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's decision to divvy up its Golden Globe nominations among a slew of pictures has made the task of predicting winners at the Jan. 11 event harder.

So where do the leading candidates stand?

Three movies tied for most nominations with five apiece: Paramount's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Universal's "Frost/Nixon" and Miramax's "Doubt." That would seem to make "Button" and "Frost/Nixon" the best bets for best picture (drama) ("Doubt" wasn't nominated) and hence the early front-runners for Academy Awards.

In fact, handicapping the Globes race is much more complicated.

More Globes presenters announced

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Glenn Close, Ricky Gervais and Jake Gyllenhaal are bringing their star power to the Golden Globes.

The three actors are set to serve as presenters at the 66th annual awards ceremony, to be broadcast live on Jan. 11 on NBC.

Musical cowboy Gene Autry is among the lifetime achievement Grammy recipients announced today. (File)

Gene Autry, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Four Tops, Hank Jones, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin and Tom Paxton all will receive the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony on Feb. 7. They will be acknowledged during the Grammy telecast the next evening.

Tom Cruise will be stag at the Globes

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Jan. 11 will be a big night for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes -- but for different reasons.

Cruise is nominated for best supporting actor for his comic turn (and, ooh baby, chest hair) in the movie "Tropic Thunder" at the Golden Globes that night. But wife Holmes will be back in New York wrapping the last performance of "All My Sons," the Broadway show she helped make a hit.

Chicago critics pick 'WALL-E' as best picture

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The movie awards from the Chicago Film Critics Assoc. were announced this morning, live on WGN. (What? They just announced nominees on Monday!)

Here's the list of the top awards, as reported by Sun-Times film critic (and CFCA voting member) Roger Ebert ...

No 'Doubt' who tops the SAG Awards nominations

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The Catholic school drama "Doubt" led contenders today for the Screen Actors Guild Awards with five nominations, including honors for Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis.

The late Heath Ledger also earned a supporting-actor nomination, whose maniacal turn as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" has made him an Academy Awards front-runner. The Batman blockbuster also had a nomination for best stunt ensemble.

List of songs eligible for Oscars

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The Academy today announced the list of songs eligible for the Best Song award at the Oscars. The list is 49 long, including 11 from "High School Musical 3."

According to Variety, to be eligible, a song must contain original words and music written specifically for the film. In a change to the rules, only two songs from a single film may be nominated.

Carrie Underwood singing at People's Choice Awards

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The People's Choice Awards says Carrie Underwood will perform at its 35th annual ceremony next month.

Chicago critics weigh in with film nominees

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The Chicago Film Critics Association today announced its nominees for the ... well, their annual movie awards don't have a catchy name.

Their picks for best picture are "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Milk," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "WALL*E."

Winners are announced in three installments on the morning of Dec. 18 on WGN.

A remembrance of Oscar hosts past

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Host Whoopi Goldberg gives her opening monologue at the 74th annual Academy Awards in 2002. (AP file)

Hugh Jackman isn't the first actor -- or the first Australian (Paul Hogan was a co-host in 1987) -- to host the Academy Awards.

Here's a look at Oscar hosts through the years since the ceremony was first televised in 1953 ...

Hugh Jackman will host the Oscars

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Hugh Jackman will host the 81st annual Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed today.

(So, no Ricky Gervais!)

'WALL-E' success keeps rollin', rollin,' rollin'

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Andrew Stanton, director of the animated film "WALL-E," poses with a toy version of the film's robot star today in Beverly Hills. The film received two Golden Globe nominations. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Hollywood's most famous trash compactor continued his journey from the dump to the Oscars.

The robot star of "WALL-E" will roll the red carpet at the Golden Globes, now that the Disney/Pixar animated film secured nominations for animated feature and original song.

That likely means rubbing elbows -- are those technically elbows? -- with this awards season's hottest celebs, including Brad Pitt, who'd do well to avoid a red-carpet throwdown with the little 'bot, "WALL-E" director Andrew Stanton joked today.

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Colin Farrell (right) and Brendan Gleeson in a scene from "In Bruges."

Though "In Bruges" was released in February -- an eternity away from the fall premieres of most awards-seeking films -- the Colin Farrell film emerged as an unlikely contender at the Golden Globes.

"In Bruges" scored three nominations from the Globes this morning, including best picture for a musical or comedy and dueling best actor in a musical or comedy nominations for Farrell and his co-star Brendan Gleeson -- a first for each.

"That was my agent on the phone. He says the Globes screwed us!" Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey on "Grey's Anatomy." (File)

Today's Golden Globes nominations contained few real surprises -- though the "Tropic Thunder" nods reminded us why we like this awards show so much better than the Oscars, who never would have deigned to honor such wacky comedies.

But one message is clear after one look-see at the nominees list: broadcast TV is doomed.

Among the Golden Globe nominees announced today: Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Miley Cyrus and Beyonce Knowles are among the music-related nods.

Dude! Globes give props to wacky comedies

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Dude, we got a Golden Globe nod! James Franco (left) and Seth Rogen in "Pineapple Express."

When the casts of "Pineapple Express" and "Tropic Thunder" assembled, they likely weren't dreaming of their awards speeches.

Despite the outlandishness of the two comedies, each was honored this morning when Golden Globes nominations were announced.

Golden Globes nominees list

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Brooke Shields (from left), Rainn Wilson, Elizabeth Banks and Terrence Howard celebrate after they announced nominations for the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards this morning in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP)

Here's the list of nominees for the Golden Globe Awards announced this morning in Beverly Hills, Calif. ...

"Is that what you're wearing to the Globes, dear?" Jon Hamm and January Jones in "Mad Men," both nominated. (File)

The HBO psychotherapy series "In Treatment" and the movie dramatization of the 2000 election aftermath "Recount" both earned five Golden Globes nominations this morning.

"In Treatment" was nominated for best television drama, with series star Gabriel Byrne, Melissa George, Dianne Weist and Blair Underwood getting nods for their acting. "Recount" will compete for best TV movie or miniseries, with Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson, Laura Dern and Denis Leary nominated for their acting.

Two very different sides of Meryl Streep received Golden Globes nominations this morning, for "Doubt" (left) and "Mamma Mia!" (File)

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Frost/Nixon" and "Doubt" led the Golden Globes with five nominations each this morning, though the former two had a leg up with best-drama slots.

Other best-drama nominees: "The Reader," "Revolutionary Road" and "Slumdog Millionaire."

Meryl Streep had two nominations, best dramatic actress for "Doubt" and musical or comedy actress for "Mamma Mia!"; and Kate Winslet also had two, best dramatic actress for "Revolutionary Road" and supporting actress for "The Reader."

The late Heath Ledger was saluted for his role in "The Dark Knight" with the announcements of Golden Globe nominees for best supporting performance.

Also named in that category are Tom Cruise and Robert Downey, Jr., both for "Tropic Thunder," Ralph Fiennes in "The Duchess" and Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt."

Early Globes analysis on MSNBC

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So, maestro Clint Eastwood, do you feel lucky?

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Clint Eastwood will be competing at the Golden Globes this year ... not for acting or directing, but for best original motion picture score in his film "Changeling."

Other nominees for best score unveiled Thursday include: Alexandre Desplat for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," James Newton Howard for "Defiance," A.R. Rahman for "Slumdog Millionaire" and Hans Zimmer for "Frost/Nixon."

Golden Globes back to inaugurating Oscars season!

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That was the year that was: Jennifer Hudson poses with the award she won for best supporting actress for her work in "Dreamgirls" at the Golden Globe Awards back in January 2007. (AP file)

Hobbled by last year's writers strike -- but safe from this year's possible actors walkout (not so, the Oscars) -- the Golden Globes return to their rightful place this year as the big, fun party of awards season. And tomorrow's nominations are once again the official start to the Oscars race.

Batman has a shot at an Academy Award -- for musical score, at least.

The music branch committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has reversed an earlier decision that would have made "The Dark Knight" score ineligible to compete for the Oscar.

New York Critics name 'Milk' best picture

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Sean Penn and "Milk," Gus Van Sant's biopic about gay rights leader Harvey Milk, continued to gain awards momentum today, winning best film from the New York Film Critics Circle.

And still more best pic picks

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The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has gone populist on its picks for best movies of 2008, with the animated smash "WALL-E" at No. 1 and the Batman flick "The Dark Knight" as runnerup.

More best picture picks

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Brad Pitt's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and Sean Penn's "Milk" lead contenders for the Critics' Choice Awards with eight nominations each, including best picture and actor.

The other best-picture nominees Tuesday: "Changeling," "The Dark Knight," "Doubt," "Frost/Nixon," "The Reader," "Slumdog Millionaire," "WALL-E" and "The Wrestler."

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Barbra Streisand arrives for Sunday night's Kennedy Center Honors. (AP)


Barbra Streisand got an awkward kiss on the cheek from the president, and yes, she gave him a smooch back.

Streisand, a vocal critic of President George W. Bush, was a guest Sunday at the White House just before one of Washington's few A-list events: the Kennedy Center Honors.

"Art transcends politics this weekend," the longtime Democrat said beforehand. Still, she said it would have been "lovely" if she could have received the award while President-elect Barack Obama was in office.

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Dev Patel (left) and Freida Pinto in a scene from "Slumdog Millionaire."

The National Board of Review has picked "Slumdog Millionaire" as the year's best film.

The board's picks, announced this afternoon, are considered the first major harbinger of the Academy Awards. The win boosts the awards hopes for "Slumdog," which is viewed as the independent film most likely to follow "Juno" and "Little Miss Sunshine" in Oscar contention.

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As the box-office bankroll climbed for "The Dark Knight" last summer, the Hollywood consensus was that a posthumous nomination for Heath Ledger was the Batman blockbuster's best Academy Awards hope.

But now that critics have gotten a peek at all the last-minute Oscar contenders, "The Dark Knight" has emerged as a solid contender for best picture and best director for Christopher Nolan.

Web sites such as and rank Nolan and Ledger among key Oscar contenders and list "The Dark Knight" alongside best-picture possibilities such as Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon," Gus Van Sant's "Milk" and David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

Who is Jazmine Sullivan?!

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Jazmine Sullivan backstage at last night's "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live" in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles/AP)

Jazmine Sullivan's first song was a No. 1 hit on the R&B and hip-hop charts, and her raspy voice has drawn her comparisons to Lauryn Hill. Still, the singer-songwriter was struggling for name recognition in a crowded field of music newcomers.

The Recording Academy just made it easier for her. On Wednesday, it nominated her for five Grammys, including best new artist. Her nominations match veterans like John Mayer and Alison Krauss.

And she's only 21.

It's hard to be a working mom, even for Christina Aguilera.

The 27-year-old pop star said she's navigating the "balancing act" she expected when she took on parenthood with her husband, Jordan Bratman.

LL Cool J at the Grammy nominations concert

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An interview with LL Cool J at Wednesday night's live Grammy nominations event:

But wait, there's more ...

Chicago makes music again at Grammys

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Chicago shines again on Grammy nomination night. Kanye scored six nods tonight, mostly for production and co-writing. Lupe Fiasco, however, earned his four nominations based on how cool is his album "The Cool."

Also in Chicago, as reported tonight by music critic Jim DeRogatis ...

Complete list of Grammy nominees

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Here's the full list ...

Live blogging the Grammy nominations concert!

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An early look at how the Oscar race is shaping up

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Scripps Howard News Service

This time last year, anyone attempting to divine the Oscar nominees would have had a lot more to go on. ''No Country for Old Men,'' ''Michael Clayton,'' ''Into the Wild,'' ''Eastern Promises,'' ''Away From Her,'' ''La Vie en Rose'' and ''In the Valley of Elah'' were all already in release. Other potential nominees such as ''Atonement'' and ''Juno'' had played festivals, leaving a trail of reviews to aid one in prognosticating.

This time around, reels of the most likely Oscar nominees are locked in a vault somewhere in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Oscar buzz for earlier releases such as ''W.'' and ''Rachel Getting Married'' is barely audible anymore. The perception that this is an off year for movies could change once the studios march out their top-of-the-line product.

Here's how the Oscar race is shaping up ...

A look inside the new Grammy Museum

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The Grammy Museum, opening Saturday in Los Angeles, is more than just a glorified Hard Rock Cafe-style collection of music memorabilia. The $34 million facility boasts three floors of exhibit space filled with artifacts, sound stations and interactive, video-driven elements that invite deep exploration of how music is created, recorded and consumed.

Here's a look inside the place ...

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Tim Leiweke, CEO of AEG (left), and Neil Portnow, president/CEO of The Recording Academy, stroll out of the Grammy Museum yesterday in Los Angeles. (Ric Francis/AP)

See more photos after the jump ...

Independent Spirit Awards nominees out

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Anne Hathaway's family drama ''Rachel Getting Married,'' the border-smuggling tale ''Frozen River'' and the Deep South saga ''Ballast'' lead the nominees for the Spirit Awards with six nominations each, including best picture.

Other best-picture nominees announced today: Michelle Williams' down-on-her-luck drama, ''Wendy and Lucy,'' and Mickey Rourke's broken-down athlete tale ''The Wrestler.''