Monday, March 29, 2010

Ricky Martin comes out!

Ricky Martin is livin' la vida open, says he's gay
By Nekesa Mumbi Moody, AP
NEW YORK – Ricky Martin is no longer denying the rumors: He's gay.

In a statement posted via Twitter in both Spanish and English, and later confirmed with his representative, Martin said: "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am."

For many, Monday's announcement will come as no surprise; the "Livin' La Vida Loca" singer's sexuality has been speculated about for years. But the Puerto Rican star, who got his start as a child in the teen group Menudo, never directly addressed it and was usually seen at events with beautiful women on his arm.

Martin, 38, said he decided to reveal the truth after working on his memoirs helped him realize that he had to be free with himself, and not keep any more secrets.

"From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that were too heavy for me to keep inside," he said. "Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth. And this is something worth celebrating."

Martin said one of the reasons why he kept his homosexuality hidden was because he was told by some that it would hurt his career. While his U.S. career peaked after the release of his 1999 self-titled English album, a multiplatinum success that included the hits "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "Shake Your Bon-Bon," he is still a hugely successful Latin artist.

"Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth," he said in his statement. "Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions."

Martin, who is the father of two boys born via surrogate in 2008, said he couldn't continue to hide his sexuality now that he is a father: "Enough is enough. This has to change."

Martin's book is still a work in progress.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

83rd Oscars to air Feb. 27, 2011!

report from the net

Oscars moved back into late February for 2011

LOS ANGELES – The Academy Awards are moving back to February.

Awards organizers said Thursday next year's Oscar ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 27. That's about a week earlier than this season's awards show, which was held March 7 to avoid conflicting with the Winter Olympics.

Though the show used to be held in late March, the Oscars have been staged in late February in most recent years to shorten the long Hollywood awards season.

This year's winners are:

Best Picture - "The Hurt Locker"
Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow "The Hurt Locker"
Best Actor - Jeff Bridges "Crazy Heart"
Best Actress - Sandra Bullock "The Blind Side"
Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz "Ingluorious Basterds"
Best Supporting Actress - Mo'nique "Precious"

Nominations for the 83rd annual Oscars will be announced Jan. 25.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Oscar best actress curse strikes again???

It's not even two weeks after Sandra Bullock won her best actress Oscar and yet gossip websites are swirling with talks that Sandra caught her husband Jesse James cheating! Oh no!

Here's a story from USA Today with the news!

When in Rome

When in Rome: Do as the Romans do
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star)
Updated March 18, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Josh Duhamel walked in late into the function room inside the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills during an early January junket for When in Rome, the new Touchstone Pictures’ romantic-comedy starring him and Forgetting Sarah Marshall star Kristen Bell, and for this he was subjected by his petite co-star Kristen and comedians Will Arnett, Jon Heder and Dax Shepard to a series of teasing and heckling.

It didn’t help that when the stars started to introduce themselves, Kristen playfully switched the pattern and introduced herself as Josh Duhamel. The good-looking actor, who is singer Fergie’s husband in real life, only nodded and remained silent. “You are supposed to introduce me,” prodded Kristen. Josh, who seems to have been jolted by Kristen’s nudge blurted out, “Oh yeah, I am Josh Duhamel!” Kristen and the entire cast all laughed.

“If you love this mic check, you’re gonna love When in Rome,” comedian Will joked after the journalists laughed along with them.

The stars’ introduction practically set the tone of the half-hour press conference. The cast were all pretty much light-hearted that day and most of our questions were either addressed with a funny made-up story or just a plain joke which cracked everyone in the room every now and then.

To have comedians in the panel is always a daunting task to any journalist. To get a really good response from them, one must be creative on how he phrases his questions.

In the movie, Kristen is Beth. She is an ambitious but loveless museum curator who flies to Italy for her sister’s weekend wedding only to be chased by a bunch of love-struck men after she plucks some magical coins from the fabled Fontana D’Amore or the fountain of love.

One of the men who fall madly in love with the workaholic and love-phobic Beth is Josh’s character Nick who finds himself competing for Beth’s affection along with a street magician, a sausage magnate, a lovesick painter, and a male supermodel. It’s a hilarious romantic romp that starts in Italy and ends on the streets of New York.

Using this plot as a jumping board, we asked the beautiful Kristen if she is as much a workaholic as her character in real life and whether she would fall for a guy who is also as workaholic as her.

“I think your significant other should be way more important than your work,” she said. “Personally, I love working, but I don’t know if I can say I am workaholic because I also like relaxing. I can say that I am in a place right now that’s lovely.”

If one were paying close attention to what she was saying between the lines, we would not have asked the following series of questions:

Does she believe in magic and love at first sight?

“I am not superstitious at all. I never have been. No, not at all, I walk under ladders, so who cares?” she replied.

“One of her hobbies is breaking mirrors, in fact,” supplied Dax.

“Absolutely, I like to smash mirrors every chance I get. No, I am not superstitious at all,” Kristen added.

If she were to choose among the guys, who would she want to end up with?

“I will choose Josh!” she immediately exclaimed while co-star Jon was softly whispering to the mic, “Pick me, pick me.”

Later she would correct herself and say, “I will pick the funny guy.”

We didn’t catch on to the hints she was giving us and we assumed she was still engaging us with candid replies because if we did we would have found out that very day what would happen a mere three weeks after our interview.

On the weekend after When in Rome opened in the US, Kristen announced her engagement to co-star Dax by parading down the red carpet at this year’s Grammy Awards with a sparkler on her finger.

The couple has been apparently dating for over a year and kept their relationship mostly under wraps until after the movie came out.

So we know who won Kristen’s heart in real life, but who she ends up with in the movie is for the moviegoers to find out.

“What I like about this movie is that it’s not about the girl chasing the guy which is what you often see,” Kristen stated. “This is not the sad downtrodden girl who is just chasing after this guy and sort of revolving around his world. This is sort of the opposite — and who wouldn’t want all of these guys chasing after them?”

When it was Josh’s turn to speak about the movie, he stammered a bit and said, “She and I,” he was immediately stopped by Kristen who said, “It’s Kristen, my name is Kristen,” and everyone laughed again before Josh could continue with his reply.

Unlike his funny co-stars, Jon, who is famous for his title role in Napoleon Dynamite, stayed mostly quiet but when asked about it replied, “I am playing in character. I am the creepy mysterious guy who is smiling but is taking your watches now.” He portrays the street magician who performs various tricks to win over Beth’s attention.

For Kristen, being with the funny guys “is so flattering because I have a style of comedy that is laugh-out-loud funny,” she said. “I am just grateful for this opportunity, I am glad that they had the faith in me to pull it off and I tried the best I could…” she paused and whispered to the microphone, “Guys, cover your ears,” she commanded and said, “This is so lame. This is just lame!” Everyone laughed again. They just couldn’t get serious — and we just couldn’t stop laughing.

When in Rome is now showing in theaters.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oscars best actress award is cursed!

Am not hysterical, i am just plainly recognizing a startling pattern.

Among recent Oscar winners in the Best Actress category, the following women all suffered marital grief a year or two after their wins:

Gwyneth Paltrow & Ben Affleck
Julia Roberts & Benjamin Bratt
Hilary Swank & Chad Lowe
Reese Witherspoon & Ryan Philippe
Halle Berry & Eric Benet
Charlize Theron & Stuart Townsend (only this January 2010)

and just today,

Kate Winslet & Sam Mendes!!!

Should Sandra Bullock be wary now? Hmmm...

Kate Winslet splits from husband Sam Mendes!

British actress Kate Winslet splits from husband
By Raphael G. Satter

LONDON – British movie star Kate Winslet has split from her film director husband Sam Mendes after nearly seven years of marriage, their British law firm said Monday.

With their matching Oscars and string of high-profile commercial and artistic successes, Winslet and Mendes were a golden couple of Britain's show business world.

But the surprise announcement, sent in an e-mail to journalists, said they had been separated since the beginning of the year without specifying an exact date.

Law firm Schillings said the split was "entirely amicable and is by mutual agreement."

Winslet, 34, married Mendes, 44, in a small, low-key ceremony in the Caribbean in May 2003. It was Winslet's second marriage. Her first, to British director Jim Threapleton, ended in divorce in 2001.

Winslet has one child from her marriage with Threapleton and another from her marriage with Mendes. The statement said both she and Mendes were "fully committed to the future joint parenting of their children."

It wasn't clear whether divorce proceedings have begun. Calls and e-mails seeking comment from Schillings weren't immediately returned.

Winslet's breakthrough role was in Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures," which traced the obsessive relationship between two girls in 1950s New Zealand.

She went on to run through a number of other stage and film roles — including a memorable turn as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of "Hamlet" — but stardom would not come until James Cameron's "Titantic," one of the most commercially successful films in cinematic history.

The film would earn Winslet one of many Academy Award nominations, but her first win would not come until 2009, when she scooped the prize for best actress for her role in "The Reader."

Mendes, an acclaimed stage and film director, won the coveted best director Oscar for "American Beauty."

He directed his wife in "Revolutionary Road," a recent film about a crumbling marriage that reunited Winslet with her "Titanic" co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.

Reviews were largely favorable, but the film failed to set off the same box office fever that made "Titanic" one of the most successful films in history.

In "Revolutionary Road," Winslet portrayed a suburban housewife who became increasingly bored and desperate with her stay-at-home life. The film won Winslet a Golden Globe for best dramatic actress, and in her acceptance speech she thanked her husband for pushing her so hard.

"Thank you for directing this film, babe, and thank you for killing us every single day and really enjoying us actually being in such horrific pain," she said last year.

Mendes said at the time that directing his wife had been one of the best experiences of his life, although he said she liked to discuss the movie 24 hours a day while he preferred to do something else, like watch a baseball game, at night when work was done.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Johnny Depp's "Alice in Wonderland" tops box office for 2 weeks in a row!

Alice' extends her No. 1 stay with $62 million
by DAVID GERMAIN, AP Movie Writer

LOS ANGELES – Alice is still ruling the movie palace.

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" easily remained the No. 1 weekend draw with $62 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Disney fantasy has climbed to a $208.6 million total domestically, becoming the first $200 million hit released this year.

In its second weekend in theaters, "Alice in Wonderland" pulled ahead of the $206.5 million domestic haul of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" to become the top-grossing of Depp and Burton's seven films together, which include "Edward Scissorhands," "Sweeney Todd" and "Corpse Bride."

"I believe it's literally the magical, if you would, pairing of Tim and Johnny," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney. "When you take those two, they always seem to make something really out of the ordinary."

"Alice in Wonderland" added $76 million overseas to bring its international total to $221 million and its worldwide gross to $430 million.

A rush of new movies had so-so openings, led by Matt Damon's Iraq War thriller "Green Zone," which debuted at No. 2 with $14.5 million domestically. Released by Universal, "Green Zone" stars Damon as the leader of a U.S. Army team who stumbles onto a conspiracy over the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Paramount's romantic comedy "She's Out of My League" debuted at No. 3 with $9.6 million. The movie stars Jay Baruchel as a geek in an unlikely romance with a babe.

"Twilight" star Robert Pattinson's romantic drama "Remember Me" opened at No. 4 with $8.3 million. The Summit Entertainment release stars Pattinson and "Lost" co-star Emilie de Ravin in a dark story of young lovers with tragedy in their past.

In its fourth weekend, Paramount's "Shutter Island," the latest collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, was No. 5 with $8.1 million, raising its domestic total to $108 million.

Debuting at No. 6 with $7.6 million was Fox Searchlight's comedy "Our Family Wedding," starring America Ferrera as a Hispanic bride marrying a black man.

"Alice in Wonderland" took in nearly as much as the rest of the top-10 movies combined.

"It's like this great divide between the No. 1 and 2 films, which says that without `Alice in Wonderland' in the marketplace, we'd be hurting right now," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for "By itself, it's really propelling huge box office."

Hollywood's business soared, with overall revenues at $144 million, up 43 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Race to Witch Mountain" led with a $24.4 million debut.

For the year, revenues are at $2.24 billion, up 9 percent compared to receipts last year, when Hollywood took in a record $10.6 billion.

Factoring in higher admission prices, movie attendance this year is running 6.7 percent ahead of 2009's, according to Before "Alice in Wonderland" opened, attendance was lagging slightly behind last year's.

"In just a couple of weeks, `Alice' has turned the entire marketplace around almost single-handedly," Dergarabedian said.

James Cameron's science-fiction sensation remained a strong draw after nearly three months in theaters, taking in $6.6 million to raise its domestic total to $730.3 million. The 20th Century Fox release has topped $2.6 billion worldwide.

Summit Entertainment's "The Hurt Locker," which beat "Avatar" for best picture at the Academy Awards, got a slight box-office bump from its Oscar triumph. The Iraq War drama, which is out on DVD but came back to theaters for Oscar season, pulled in $828,000, raising its box-office total to $15.7 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Alice in Wonderland," $62 million.
2. "Green Zone," $14.5 million.
3. "She's Out of My League," $9.6 million.
4. "Remember Me," $8.3 million.
5. "Shutter Island," $8.1 million.
6. "Our Family Wedding," $7.6 million.
7. "Avatar," $6.6 million.
8. "Brooklyn's Finest," $4.3 million.
9. "Cop Out," $4.2 million.
10. "The Crazies," $3.7 million.
On the Net:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'80s teen idol Corey Haim dead at 38 :(

Rest in Peace, Corey

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Film critic takes a swipe at Globes' poor Oscar predictor record

James Cameron, Golden Globes lead Oscar losers
By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Twelve years ago, James Cameron declared he was "king of the world" when "Titanic" won the Oscar for best picture.

But on Sunday, his hopes for a repeat with the 3D blockbuster "Avatar" were blown up by "The Hurt Locker," a low-budget war movie directed by his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow.

The two films led the field with nine nominations each, including best picture and director. "The Hurt Locker" won both those races and four other prizes. "Avatar" ended up with just three awards, all in technical categories.

Cameron, personally nominated in three categories, went home empty-handed.

The other big loser was "Up in the Air," once considered an Oscar front-runner. Its nominated star, George Clooney, made no attempt to hide his morose expression as the light drama was snubbed in all six of its categories.

The film was also on the wrong end of one of the night's biggest surprises. Director Jason Reitman and playwright Sheldon Turner lost the adapted screenplay category to Geoffrey Fletcher for "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."

Reitman and Turner, who did not meet until after the film was finished, awkwardly shared the awards-season spotlight after Turner gained a co-writing credit through Writers Guild arbitration.

"What an evening," Reitman wrote on Twitter.

The Golden Globes, often considered to be an Oscar barometer despite a patchy track record, sustained heavy collateral damage. They awarded their best drama and directing prizes to "Avatar" in January. Fletcher was not even nominated.

The awards are organized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose 80-or-so members do not appear to do much writing. None of them are Oscar voters.

The Critics Choice Awards also have no membership overlap with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but they maintained their impressive success rate. In the past 10 years, eight best-picture winners and seven directing winners have gone on to Oscar glory.

The event is organized by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, which represents about 240 television, radio and online critics in the United States and Canada.

"If you want to win an Oscar, the first thing you've got to do is win a Critics Choice," Joey Berlin, the association's president, told Reuters. "We're movie professionals and it's a big enough sampling to say what the other movie professionals are going to say."

"Inglourious Basterds," which followed "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" with eight nominations, ended up with just one Oscar, for Austrian actor Christoph Waltz's supporting turn as a sinister Nazi. The film's director, Quentin Tarantino, had been considered a good bet for his original screenplay, but he was crushed by the "Hurt Locker" juggernaut.

Other multiple contenders that went home empty-handed included "District 9" and "Nine," which each landed four nominations.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Meryl is the winner in my books!

16 Nominations
2 Wins
The only actress with a nomination for every decade since the '70s

Simply, the greatest living actress in Hollywood!

When will i ever see Meryl accept an Oscar trophy live???

Oscars' big winners!

82nd Oscars, a big TV success!

TV ratings smile on Oscar as viewership rises
By David Bauder

NEW YORK – An estimated 41.3 million people saw "The Hurt Locker" top the popular "Avatar" for best picture in the most-watched Academy Awards telecast since 2005.

Oscar viewership was up 14 percent over last year, the Nielsen Co. said Monday, keeping with a trend of bigger audiences for major events on broadcast television a month after the Super Bowl set the mark for most-watched telecast ever.

In true film fashion, the Oscars built to a big climax when the Iraqi war thriller "The Hurt Locker" and its director, Kathryn Bigelow, topped "Avatar," directed by her ex-husband James Cameron. Bigelow was the first woman to win the Oscar for best director.

The audience was up from the 36.3 million who saw "Slumdog Millionaire" win best picture last year and 32 million — Oscar's smallest audience on record — in 2008, Nielsen said. The Oscars had just over 42 million watch in 2005, when "Million Dollar Baby" was the big winner.

The Oscar ratings fall in line with bigger audiences for awards shows in recent months. The Golden Globes were up 14 percent over the year before, and the performance-heavy Grammys up 36 percent, Nielsen said. The Emmys, the Tonys and the Miss America pageant all saw higher ratings.

Analysts say fewer chances for Americans to gather in front of the television set for communal events may help make these events more popular. With a poor economy, more people are staying home, too. The Internet may also help draw viewers; experts say many people are online while the shows are on, and they comment about them to friends.

Ratings for the New York market appeared unaffected by a business dispute between Cablevision and ABC's parent, Walt Disney Co.

ABC had been dropped by Cablevision for its 3.1 million subscribers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Sunday, and the network was not restored until 13 minutes after the Academy Awards telecast began.

Still, New York ranked No. 13 among among the 56 biggest media markets in the country, Nielsen said. New York's overnight rating was 11 percent above the average for all of the big markets.

2010 Oscar Winners!

Here's a list of those who took home Academy Awards at Sunday night's Oscars:

Picture: "The Hurt Locker."
Actor: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart."
Actress: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side."
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds."
Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."
Director: Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker."

Foreign Film: "El Secreto de Sus Ojos," Argentina.
Adapted Screenplay: Geoffrey Fletcher, "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire."
Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, "The Hurt Locker."
Animated Feature Film: "Up."
Art Direction: "Avatar."
Cinematography: "Avatar."

Sound Mixing: "The Hurt Locker."
Sound Editing: "The Hurt Locker."
Original Score: "Up," Michael Giacchino.
Original Song: "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart," Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.
Costume: "The Young Victoria."

Documentary Feature: "The Cove."
Documentary Short: "Music by Prudence."
Animated Short: "Logorama"

The statement that cost Michael Haneke his Oscar for Foreign Language Film

There were few surprises to tonight's Oscar awards and the Best Foreign Language film choice going to Argentina's "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" instead of the more favored German film "The White Ribbon".

If Michael Haneke had been more gracious in his reaction to his nomination last month, he would have been the one holding the trophy tonight!

Here's the AFP story and the take a closer look at the last paragraphy containing the snobbish quote!

Austria welcomes Oscar "hat-trick"

(AFP) – Feb 3, 2010

VIENNA — Austria scored a hat-trick this year, with three of its countrymen nominated for an Oscar, including "Inglourious Basterds" star Christoph Waltz, commentators praised on Wednesday.

"This is a hat-trick, not just for Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" but also for Austrian cinema," the Film and Music Industry trade association said after nominations were announced in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

"The White Ribbon," directed by Austria's Haneke and co-produced by the small alpine country, was nominated as best foreign language picture for Germany, while its Tyrolean cinematographer Christian Berger also won a surprise nod.

Waltz, who has swept awards as the devilish Nazi officer in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," was nominated as expected in the best supporting actor category.

"After an almost unbelievable streak, this confirms the enormous international significance of Austrian cinema," noted Film Institute director Roland Teichmann.

The small country scored its first big Oscar success in 2008 when "The Counterfeiters" won the golden statuette as best foreign-language film.

Last year, another Austrian film, "Revanche," was again nominated in that category.

"I am really excited," Berger told the Austria Press Agency, after hearing he was nominated.

"I think we'll allow ourselves a little drink tonight," he added.

The ever discreet Haneke only communicated a few sentences via his producer, Veit Heiduschka: "If it turns into something, I will be very happy."

"With the Golden Palm, I already received the top artistic award, now if the "commercial" side, the Oscar Academy, also thinks me worthy, that will obviously be a great honour."

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Team Meryl!!!

Oscars race: Who will be 'it', Meryl or Sandra?
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. correspondent (The Philippine Star)

That is one of the two biggest questions leading to Sunday’s (Monday morning, Manila time) Oscars and many Oscar prognosticators have already crowned Sandra Bullock, the effervescent queen of romantic-comedies, the eventual Best Actress winner even before the curtains start to unfurl at the much-awaited 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

But I will dare go against the almost universal consensus. No one should ever count out the greatest living actress in Hollywood. In fact, this writer declares that it will finally be Meryl Streep’s year to win her third Oscar after having lost 12 times since winning for Sophie’s Choice in 1982. This year, the accomplished actress collected her record-making 16th acting nomination which also made her the only actress to have received at least one nomination for five successive decades since the ‘70s.

But then again, I cannot completely discount Sandra’s uncharacteristic and impressive performance in the heart-tugging The Blind Side. Sandra has racked up most of the awards leading to this Sunday’s show with wins at the Globes, SAG Awards and the Critics Choice Awards, which she shared with Meryl for a rare tie.

This is the second year in a row that Meryl finds herself in a tight race for Best Actress. Last year her tour-de-force performance as a stern nun in Doubt lost to a marvelous Kate Winslet in the Holocaust drama The Reader.

The Academy has a history of bestowing belated honors to actors for deser-ving performances delivered in previous years. Penelope Cruz is the most recent example of that. The Spanish actress wowed critics in 2007 for her turn in Volver but she lost to Helen Mirren, who was excellent as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen. The following year, Cruz received the Best Supporting Actress award for her neurotic ex-wife turn in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Of course she was good in the movie and being good could work for Meryl, too.

But Meryl was not merely good she was extraordinary as Chef Julia Child in Julie & Julia. So on Sunday, if Sandra wins for Best Actress, this writer will be among many fans cheering her on, but should Meryl pull the night’s biggest surprise then I am claiming her win.

The other Best Actress nominees are Gabourey Sidibe as an abused illiterate teen in Precious, Helen Mirren as the suffering wife of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station and Carey Mulligan, the British newcomer who was initially considered the frontrunner for her heartbreaking role as a teenager in love with an older man in An Education before Sandra and Meryl took charge.

If the Best Actress race is too close to call, the frontrunners in the other acting categories are just awaiting their formal coronation.

Jeff Bridges is tipped to win his first Oscar nearly 40 years after his first nomination in the classic Peter Bogdanovich film The Last Picture Show. Other nominees for Best Actor are George Clooney (Up in the Air), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Colin Firth (A Single Man) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker).

Singer-actress Mo’nique and German actor Christoph Waltz dominated the Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor race respectively during the entire award season that the Academy could already engrave their names on the trophy and not feel embarrassed by it.

The pair delivers villainous performances that are both commanding and wickedly charming in the case of Christoph in Ingluorious Basterds and profoundly pathetic for Mo’nique in Precious. Their exceptional performances provide fodder to the old saying that there are indeed no small roles, only small actors. They may be considered small actors yet their performances are the biggest things in their respective movies.

The only other suspense going into Sunday’s show has the potential to deliver the night’s other biggest surprise whichever way it goes.

Whoever wins between Avatar and The Hurt Locker for Best Picture is going to be a surprise either way.

Avatar is the biggest-grossing film in movie history. It has amassed nearly $3-B in global box-office which, unfortunately, is the only thing going its way. Its only significant win for Best Picture was at the Golden Globes — Drama category.

On the other hand, The Hurt Locker, the small independent movie that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008, has only grossed a measly $19-M in global ticket sales yet has won the most awards and recognition. The Iraq-themed movie was named Best Picture by both the New York and L.A. film critics, which rarely pick the same movie, while also winning the Critics Choice, BAFTA and the Producers Guild nods.

With all the accolades going its way, The Hurt Locker might win Best Picture and its director, Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win Best Director, and she might do it at the expense of her ex-husband James Cameron. And if I’m proven wrong at least you still had a nice surprise.

Oscar pool tie-breaker: Avatar will win four technical Oscars. The Hurt Locker will also win for Best Editing, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography for a total of five Oscars. In the pre-Oscars show, watch out for Filipino fashion designer Oliver Tolentino whose gown might just win the Philippines its first Oscar in the Oscars Designer Challenge contest.

Sandra Bullock wins Razzies!!!

Oscar hopeful Sandra Bullock crowned worst actress
By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Sandra Bullock has earned a few honors in Hollywood, "America's Sweetheart" among them, and on Saturday she was crowned with the dubious title of worst actress of 2009, one day before she's favored to win an Oscar.
Bullock, whose drama "The Blind Side" has made her the odds-on favorite to claim the best actress Oscar, was given a Razzie Award for worst female performance in "All About Steve." No performer has ever won a Razzie and an Oscar the same year.

The actress played a socially awkward designer of newspaper crosswords, who falls in love with a cameraman (Bradley Cooper) and stalks him in the movie.

Organizers of the Razzies, an annual event that began in 1980 to spoof the glitzy Oscars, which take place on Sunday, also named Bullock and Cooper the worst screen couple of 2009.

Hollywood stars are rare sightings at the Razzies, but in 2005 Halle Berry sportingly claimed her award for "Catwoman," and brought along the Oscar she had previously won for her role in "Monster's Ball."

The Razzies this year also turned their inside Hollywood sarcasm on one of the biggest box office hits of 2009, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." The critically panned blockbuster was named worst film, and organizers bestowed a second trophy of shame upon its director Michael Bay.

Special awards were given for the past decade. The 2000 film "Battlefield Earth," based on the writings of Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard, was named worst picture of the decade.

Comedian Eddie Murphy, who has had several box office duds in recent years, and Paris Hilton were named the worst actor and actress of the 2000s, respectively.

The so-called "winners" were determined by mailing ballots to 657 voters in the United States and 19 foreign countries.

Following is a list of 2009 Razzie winners:

Worst picture: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
Worst actor: The Jonas Brothers ("Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience")
Worst actress: Sandra Bullock ("All About Steve")
Worst supporting actor: Billy Ray Cyrus ("Hannah Montana: The Movie")
Worst supporting actress: Sienna Miller ("G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra")
Worst screen couple: Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper ("All About Steve")
Worst screenplay: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
Worst director: Michael Bay ("Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen")
Worst remake/rip-off or sequel: "Land of the Lost"

"Precious" tops Indie Spirit Awards!

"Precious" sweeps indie film awards
by Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – "Precious," the harrowing tale of an incest survivor's struggle for self-acceptance, swept the Spirit Awards on Friday, taking home five prizes at the independent film world's version of the Oscars.

The film's haul included best feature, director and first screenplay. Its actors, newcomer Gabourey Sidibe and comedienne Mo'Nique, took home the honors for female lead and supporting female, respectively.

For Mo'Nique, who played an abusive mother, it represented yet another statuette for her groaning shelf this awards season. The only event left is the Academy Awards on Sunday.

But the 42-year-old actress told reporters backstage that she was not preparing an Oscar acceptance speech, because "I think the universe would say, 'You have a lot of nerve.'"

Sidibe, 26, plucked from obscurity to play an illiterate schoolgirl impregnated by her stepfather, recalled that her mother would give her $2 a day for going to school. She saved her funds and saw her first 1995 independent movie, "Welcome to the Dollhouse."

"Perhaps that was when my independent spirit was born," said Sidibe, who described herself as "kind of a dork."


The film, whose full name is "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," also won the screenplay award for Geoffrey Fletcher. Lee Daniels, accepting his award for best director, indicated it might be his last time at the podium during awards season.

"Kathryn Bigelow's not here tonight. I am," a tearful Daniels said, referring to the "Hurt Locker" director, who is the favorite to win the Oscar.

Backstage he said, "We've won already," when asked about his Oscar chances. The film, a testament to the struggle that filmmakers undergo every day, received six Oscar nominations.

Daniels made the movie with $10 million in funding from a Denver couple, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, and launched an extensive casting search to find the title character. He settled on Sidibe after realizing that she was the diametrical opposite of her on-screen character.

He unveiled the film at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009 with the modest goal of securing a straight-to-DVD deal. But it inspired a bidding war and it ended up at independent distributor Lionsgate. The studio released it last November to critical and commercial acclaim.

Another Oscar favorite, Jeff Bridges, won the male lead award for playing a washed-up country singer in "Crazy Heart." The 60-year-old Hollywood veteran, who has never won an Oscar, told reporters that he was "not counting any chickens."

"Crazy Heart" also won for best first feature.

Each year, a handful of Spirit winners usually go on to earn Oscars thanks in part to the success of low-budget films.

But this year's top Oscar race appears to be a showdown between the mega-budget sci-fi extravaganza "Avatar" and the indie war drama "The Hurt Locker," which was not eligible for the Spirits this year because it was nominated last year.

Along with the Tolstoy drama "The Last Station," "Precious" led the field with five nominations each. "The Last Station" went home empty-handed.

Other winners included Woody Harrelson for his supporting turn in "The Messenger." The 48-year-old actor played a U.S. Army captain who must notify soldiers' next-of-kin when they are killed in service.

The British period drama "An Education" was named best foreign film. Documentary honors went to "Anvil! The Story of Anvil." The indefatigable heavy-metal band at the center of the action performed at the ceremony.

The Spirit Awards, now in their 25th year, honor low-budget American films based on such criteria as original, provocative subject matter and the degree of independent financing. The event is organized by Film Independent, a nonprofit group that champions arthouse movies.

Who are the Academy members?

Top Hollywood names not among Oscar voters
By Alexis Zotos

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Taylor Lautner isn't a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Nor is Woody Allen. Nor is George Lucas.

But Rupert Murdoch is. And so are Pedro Almodovar and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Wade through a list of the Academy's 5,777 voting members (or at least try, since the Academy pretty much keeps it under lock and key) and you'd be surprised who's part of the club and who isn't.

Hollywood "bad boys" like screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, uber-agent Michael Ovitz and actor Christian Bale are all there. And so are obvious figures like Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates and Tom Hanks.

But some of Hollywood's best-known names haven't made the list, ranging from NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson -- who might seem an unlikely candidate with movies like "The Tooth Fairy," but who is, after all, a box office favorite.

Joining the Academy is a rare privilege that's accorded to roughly 100-plus new members per year. Members range from 15-year-old actress Dakota Fanning to 81-year-old composer Burt Bacharach, from German filmmaker Wim Wenders to Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston.

Invitations usually go out annually in late June, following a lengthy process that starts when two members "sponsor" a person and ends when the board of governors extends the invite.

After submitting reference letters and examples of their work, prospects are reviewed by the executive committee of the branch to which they are applying. Those approved are passed on to the general membership committee and finally to the board.

Oscar nominees in any given year are thrown into the mix of candidates, but that doesn't mean they make the cut. Quality of work is one thing, but the Academy also likes its members to have a body of work behind them.

Among recent Oscar nominees, Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married") and Viola Davis ("Doubt") received invites -- but Ellen Page, nominated for "Juno," didn't.

Similarly, after getting nominations for 2006's "Brokeback Mountain," actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were invited -- but not their fellow nominee and co-star Michelle Williams. (Williams did get asked to join this past June.)

As to newcomers like "Twilight's" Robert Pattinson or "Suberbad's" Jonah Hill, they've yet to be invited -- though the wait might be briefer than it was in the past, given that the Academy has been making a concerted push to bring younger members into the fold.

For the youngsters, getting an Oscar nomination may actually be easier than becoming an Academy member.

"It's not uncommon for people with very few credits to receive a nomination," says the Academy's director of membership, Kimberly Roush, "whereas some people with many, many credits don't get an Academy Award nomination. The committees are looking at the bigger picture."

But perhaps not the entire picture: The Academy looks at the professional side but is quiet about people's private lives. Hence the membership roster includes a number of jailbirds, like "Pulp Fiction" co-writer Roger Avary and Canadian entrepreneur Garth Drabinsky, and exiled sex offender Roman Polanski.

"We don't have a felony clause," Roush quips.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Oscar odds favor Bridges, Waltz and Monique!

Jeff Bridges among Oscar gamblers' top picks
By Paul Bond
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Those who are betting real cash on the Oscars have determined that "Crazy Heart's" Jeff Bridges is a lock for best actor, so much so that most online bookies will require you to risk $6 just to win $1.

But if there's an upset in that category, it will come from George Clooney for his portrayal of a frequent flyer in "Up in the Air," and gamblers can get much better odds on him, as much as 13-1. Jeremy Renner for "The Hurt Locker" is the long shot at about 28-1.

Gambling on the Oscars has become a tradition for some, and participants can check out the odds from several different options at a single Web site:

While checking in with folks who are putting up real money is a sound strategy for those seeking help with their office Oscar pools, it's not foolproof. After all, five years ago "The Aviator" was odds-on favorite for 2004's best picture among Oscar gamblers, but "Million Dollar Baby" took the statuette.

This year's best-picture pick among gamblers is "Hurt Locker," but "Avatar" is so close among the odds-makers that it's probably more accurate to call it a tie.

The same can't quite be said for best director, where "Hurt Locker's" Kathryn Bigelow is favored over "Avatar's" James Cameron by a bigger margin -- comparatively speaking. One site has Cameron at 3-1, while you'd have to wager $5 to win $1 on Bigelow.

Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side" is favored over Meryl Streep for "Julie & Julia," though it is almost as close as the race for best picture.

Judging from where the money is flowing, the biggest surprises Sunday night would be if "Avatar" didn't win for best visual effects or if Christoph Waltz did not win a best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a twisted Nazi in "Inglourious Basterds." One site requires a $40 bet on Waltz just to win $1.

Like director, picture and actress, both writing categories are also tight: In adapted screenplay "Up in the Air" is favored over "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire," and in best original screenplay it's "Basterds" over "Hurt Locker." A couple of Web sites let you bet on which movie will earn the most Oscars. "Avatar" edges out "Hurt Locker," and you can get 4-1 odds if it's a tie.

Sandra Bullock up for rare double this weekend!

Bullock on brink of bizarre double as Oscars loom
by Rob Woollard

HOLLYWOOD (AFP) – Sandra Bullock is on the brink of a rare double this weekend which could see her become the first actress to win an Oscar and a slightly less-coveted Razzie award in the space of 24 hours.

The 45-year-old star is regarded as the favorite to win the best actress prize at Sunday's Oscars for her performance in "The Blind Side," a role which has already won Bullock a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards.

However, the popular leading lady is also expected to see one of her less successful roles honored at Saturday's Golden Raspberry Awards, the irreverent Oscars parody intended as an annual salute to Hollywood's worst of the worst.

Bullock is up for a Razzie for her performance in the romantic comedy "All About Steve," which suffered a critical savaging on its release last year.

Unlike most celebrity Razzie winners -- who usually steer well clear of the awards -- Bullock has vowed to attend on Saturday if she wins.

"It's exactly the way it should have happened because it's a great leveler," Bullock said last month.

"If you don't show up for something like the Razzies then you're a little hypocritical. You can't just show up for the good stuff."

Bullock's willingness to laugh at herself is one of the reasons why she is widely expected to pip Meryl Streep for Sunday's best actress Oscar.

Oscars voters have responded to the storyline of her personal journey this year, where she is widely perceived as being deserving of an Oscar after an outstanding year where she has starred in two hit films.

"Sandra Bullock won the Globes, she won the SAG. She's won over Hollywood," said Tom O'Neil, an award season pundit with the Los Angeles Times's "There seems to be a consensus that she's got it.

"This is a great reminder that the Oscars are not always awarded to the best movie or best performances of the year. Sometimes it comes down to whose turn it is. And the feeling is it's Sandra's turn."

For Bullock, this year's accolades are a handsome vindication of a mantra she has lived by throughout her career: "Expect as good as you give."

The actress revealed recently she kept that motivational maxim by her bedside as a reminder to keep pushing herself to bigger and better things.

"I used to be a control freak where every minute of my life was planned out and nothing ever went according to plan," Bullock said at a luncheon for Oscar nominees last month.

"So the day came that I sort of said If I get up and I'm breathing and I'm happy then I know it's going to be a good day. And also for many years I had a little note beside my bed which said 'Expect as good as you give.'

Bullock's performance in "The Blind Side," where she plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, a feisty southern matriarch who mentors a troubled teenager and sets him on the road to an American football career, has helped rewrite Hollywood law.

The film is the first movie carried by a female lead to do big business at the box office, becoming the first to break the 200 million dollar barrier.

Despite being one of Hollywood's best-paid actresses, Bullock says she does not let money govern her artistic choices.

"Everyone says 'I don't care about money' but look: I've been blessed with crazy money but a lot of times it was attached to films that weren't great," Bullock told reporters.

"So I decided to stop several years ago and start from scratch at starting scale pay. I feel more comfortable taking pay on the back end. If the film is successful it will work out, but you don't have to pay me up front.

"So that everyone who has faith in the project gets rewarded. To me that makes more sense. It's an investment in my work."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

5 days to Oscar Sunday!

It's only going to be five days more before Uncle Oscar (as Stephen King playfully calls the ceremony in his current EW column) will once again bring sunshine to all movie fans everywhere.

This early, predictions are being tossed and controversies are monopolizing the entertainment headlines. It's Oscar week! What can we do? One of the nominated producers of the frontrunner "The Hurt Locker" was banned today by the Academy for violating the sacred rule against negative campaigning. Good for him. At least, he wasn't stripped of his nomination as was originally feared. But to be absent at your own party (assuming Locker does win the big award) is fair enough punishment.

As dear Roger Ebert has concluded in today's Oprah, this year's Academy awards is going to end up being the most predictable ever.

Roger has picked "The Hurt Locker" and Kathryn Bigelow for best picture and best director, respectively. His acting picks are Jeff Bridges (leading actor), Sandra Bullock (leading actress), Christoph Waltz (supporting actor), and Monique (supporting actress).

I somewhat agree to his assessment about probable winners except that i think the best actress is gonna be really tight and i dare say that Meryl Streep could pull an upset in this category. Now, that last sentence is short of being sacriligeous. Meryl is the greatest Hollywood actress alive and to consider her pulling an upset against Sandra is almost unacceptable but that is one of the harsher truths in the Oscar contest: Everything is fair and every performance is judged by one single movie only.

I loved Sandra in "The Blind Side" (i thought the movie was her entire cinematic moment!) and if she wins on Sunday, i will be one of those cheering for her. But if Meryl does win, i'll be the first to claim her victory. Go Meryl!!!

Hurt Locker producer banned from the Oscars!

"Hurt Locker" producer punished for Oscar violation
By Zorianna Kit

Los Angeles (Reuters) – "The Hurt Locker" producer Nicolas Chartier on Tuesday was denied attendance at the upcoming Oscar ceremony for sending an e-mail to Academy Award voters urging them to name his movie as best film.

In the e-mail, which was sent to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in late February, Chartier asked members to choose "The Hurt Locker" over what he described as "a $500 million film" -- a clear dig at "Avatar."

Though Chartier apologized for his move in a follow-up e-mail, the Academy deemed his initial actions a violation of their campaigning standards and punished him by stripping him of his Oscar ticket. Academy rules prohibit "casting a negative or derogatory light on a competing film."

Should "The Hurt Locker" win best picture at the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 7, Chartier will still receive his Oscar statuette.

The punishment is ironic, considering the Academy rules state that only three producers are eligible to be awarded the best picture statuette. The rules also state that an additional producer can be added under extraordinary circumstances.

Director Kathryn Bigelow, screenwriter Mark Boal -- both of whom are also producers on "The Hurt Locker" -- and the film's third producer Greg Shapiro all lobbied for Chartier's inclusion. After deliberations, the Academy conceded.

"Hurt Locker" distributor Summit Entertainment, had no comment on the Academy's decision, and Chartier was not immediately.

Ebert predicts Oscar winners!

Mute Chicago film critic Ebert "voices" Oscar picks
By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Film critic Roger Ebert, rendered mute by several cancer surgeries, delivered his Oscar picks on Oprah Winfrey's television chat show on Tuesday using his newly synthesized voice fashioned from old audio clips.

"I can't remember a year when it was easier to pick the Oscars. Those may be famous last words," the now cancer-free Ebert, 67, said in a recorded segment on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

"The only dicey category is Best Picture," said Ebert, who copyrighted his famous "thumbs-up" or "thumbs-down" ratings created for his pioneering televised review show with Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel, who died of cancer in 1999.

Ebert predicted Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" would win the Oscar for best picture, and Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock would win for best actor and actress, respectively.

Ebert won a Pulitzer Prize in 1975, the first film critic to do so. Since being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002 he has undergone numerous surgeries that have left him without most of his lower jaw and cost him his voice.

But he communicates by writing notes, uses crude sign language and "speaks" with the aid of a software program loaded onto his laptop computer that generates a generic voice.

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