Oscars: Bette Midler to Perform
The Divine Miss M will sing onstage for the first time at the Academy Awards.
The Divine Miss M has received two Oscar nominations and won several Grammys.
“We are thrilled to have Bette perform on the Oscars for the very first time,” Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said in a statement. “We believe she will make our Oscar telecast an especially moving evening.”
Midler, who recently portrayed late Hollywood agent Sue Mengers on Broadway in I'll Eat You Last, was nominated for best actress Oscars for her roles in For the Boys and The Rose.
She's sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and won three Emmys.
The 86th annual Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will be broadcast live on ABC on Sunday, March 2.
V Ratings: Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight' Premieres Strong, Ties Conan O'Brien's 2009 Debut
UPDATED: Ten days after signing off at his old show, the new face of NBC late night premieres at a special time with a handsome Olympic lead-in.
Overnight returns give the episode a 7.1 rating among households, tying the launch of Conan O'Brien's Tonight tenure in 2009. That figure also was the second-highest Tonight Show overnights since May 29, 2009 (8.8), for Jay Leno’s last telecast before O’Brien took over as host,
Leno's last Tonight broadcast on Feb. 6, which pulled 14.6 million viewers in final ratings, averaged a 9.2 household rating.
It goes without saying that Fallon's new Tonight launched under very unusual circumstances. Trying to capitalize on the big audience watching lead-in the Sochi Olympics, NBC aired the episode at midnight -- and not the 11:35 p.m. time slot that will be its regular home. (Local news has been delayed to accommodate Olympic overage.)
The new era of Tonight begins with the series as the de facto champ in the broadcast networks' late-night ratings race. Leno passed the baton with season-to-date averages (4.1 million viewers, 1.0 rating adults 18-49) topping all of the competition.
Fallon's initial demo rating also bodes well. In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, Tonight averaged a 3.4 rating with adults under 50. That's Fallon's biggest late-night showing to date.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Goes for Three on 50th Cover
Models Chrissy Teigen, Nina Agdal and Lily Aldridge strike a playful pose for the magazine's coveted top shot, revealed Thursday on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
Sports Illustrated is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its iconic swimsuit issue with a more-is-more approach. Three models -- Chrissy Teigen, Nina Agdal and Lily Aldridge -- strike a playful pose together in the mag's coveted cover image, revealed Thursday night on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!
David Letterman had handled the Sports Illustrated cover unveiling for the past six years, but Kimmel managed to steal it away from him this week, while Letterman was on a one-week break. The job would seem a natural fit for the former co-host of Comedy Central's The Man's Show.
While the SI swimsuit issue is some of the most valuable real estate in the modeling world – known to launch established models to international superstar status – the three young women told Sports Illustrated Swim Daily, they were happy to share the spotlight.
“We really, honestly liked each other,” Teigen said. “Of course you are going to hear that from anybody who does a group shot, but this time it’s true. The connection was natural and the mood was fun.”
Expect possible shout-outs in the music world to follow the announcement. Teigen, is married to R&B singer John Legend, while Aldridge is married to Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill. Teigen and Agdal have appeared in earlier issues of the Swimsuit Issue, while Aldridge has made the cover cut as an SI newbie.
Former Playmate Among Investors Sued for Fraud in L.A. Nightlife Legal Fight (Exclusive).
Fellow investors seek $5 million from Jayde Nicole, who also is a reality TV veteran, and her business partners in top Hollywood club AV.
Top Los Angeles nightclub AV -- frequented by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Lil Jon and which hosted the SAG Awards afterparty in January -- is in the midst of a nasty investor rift, THR has learned.
Two minority investors, businessman Erik Litmanovich and Kobi Danan, a partner in nearby club Sound, have enlisted Charlie Sheen's attorney Marty Singer to sue the rest of the principals for $5 million, according to a lawsuit quietly filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Jan. 17.
The claim accuses a group of veteran nightlife operators as well as onetime Hills fixture and 2008 Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole of using AV "as their own personal piggy bank," describing them as "swindlers" and "hustlers" who have committed "brazen acts of fraud."
Who will win the Superbowl? Our followers say Seattle
Tea Leoni to Star in CBS' 'Madam Secretary'
The actress will play the secretary of state in the drama from "Homeland's" Barbara Hall and Morgan Freeman.
Tea Leoni has been tapped to star in the network's Madam Secretary drama pilot, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
From Homeland's Barbara Hall, Madam Secretary centers on the personal and professional life of a maverick female secretary of state as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life.
Leoni will play Elizabeth Faulkner McGill, a teacher turned secretary of state who is described as striking in every way and full of passion for everything she does.
Hall will pen the script and executive produce the CBS Television Studios and Revelations Entertainment drama (which is in first position to Showtime's Homeland) alongside Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and Tracy Mercer.
For Leoni, the pilot marks the actress' return to the small screen following her roles on Flying Blind and The Naked Truth. Her big-screen credits include Deep Impact, Bad Boys, Spanglish and Tower Heist. She's repped by UTA, Mosaic and Hirsch Wallerstein.
Jay Leno on Watching His Competition, Stand-Up Future
The exiting "Tonight Show" host says he's looking forward to being able to "go out on a school night" once he leaves the NBC late-night show.
During the daytime show, the late-night host talked why he watches his competition and what his future of focusing on stand-up, which he's done while he's hosted Tonight, will be like.
Leno said he watches other late-night shows so he can try to avoid charges he stole someone's joke.
"You have to watch other late-night shows because you've got to find out, like we live in an era now with blogging, nobody ever happens to do the same joke by accident. You've always stolen the joke. So you try to watch other shows. 'OK, that sounds like something Craig Ferguson did, I don't want to do that. That sounds like something Dave [Letterman] did; I don't want to do that.' So you really have to be aware of your surroundings," he said.
The day after his final Tonight Show, as he told The Hollywood Reporter in this week's cover story, he'll go to Florida for a stand-up gig and spend some time on the road as a stand-up comedian.
While he has continued to do stand-up gigs while hosting Tonight, Leno is looking forward to being able to focus on just his live shows.
"I can go out on a school night, which I've never been able to do," he said."I've never been out in 22 years on a Wednesday night. It's like you're doing something wrong. You have to go home and write jokes every single night."
He added that because he'll be playing to different crowds every night, he can do the same jokes, but tweak them a bit with each performance.
"When you work on the road, Monday night you can do the joke, Tuesday you can work on it, Wednesday you can change it and you can take what was a three- or four-second joke and pull it out, make it breathe a little bit," he explained.
Leno and DeGeneres also reminisced about their first meeting in San Francisco when DeGeneres, who had just started doing stand-up, was excited to be on the same bill as Leno. She was also touched by the fact that he signed her poster, "See you at the top."
Leno then joked, "The Top closed in 1984. It was a strip joint right off of Broad Street."
Miley Cyrus to Perform With Madonna on 'MTV Unplugged'
The two pop singers will join forces for the special, which airs Wednesday.
A source confirms to The Hollywood Reporter that the Material Girl will take the iconic Unplugged stage with the "Wrecking Ball" singer during the Tuesday night taping in Hollywood as one of the network's promised surprise guests.
"The Unplugged stage has been home to some of the most iconic live performances of all time," said Amy Doyle, executive vp music and talent programming strategy for MTV, of the special. "Miley's vision for the performance is like nothing we've ever seen. I can say that this will easily be one of the most memorable Unplugged performances to date."
On a recent press call, Cyrus praised Madonna for her creative use of projected visuals on tour, noting that she looked to the performer's concerts for inspiration when strategizing her upcoming Bangerz tour.
The singer also noted on the call that though her tour features a 90-minute set list that includes many of her Bangerz tracks, she said she would preserve the acoustic section of previous tours, which "can go for as long as I want," depending on the city and the audience.
Unplugged debuted in 1989 and has featured performances from artists like Nirvana, Jay Z, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennett, Mariah Carey, Katy Perry, Lil Wayne, Adele and Florence and the Machine.
Jac Benson II, Joanna Bomberg, Doyle and Garrett English are executive producers. Alex Coletti will direct the special. Unplugged was created by Robert Small and Jim Burns.
E! Online first reported the team-up.
Cyrus' Unplugged concert airs Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Grammy Awards 2014: Winners List
Lorde, Jay Z, Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams, Bruno Mars, Kacey Musgraves and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are among the night's big winners.
Ryan Lewis, left, and Macklemore accept the Grammy for new artist at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2014.
Daft Punk took home album of the year at the 56th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night.
The duo beat out the likes of Sara Bareilles, Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Taylor Swift with their album Random Access Memories. Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams' Grammy haul also included record of the year for "Get Lucky."
LL Cool J once again hosted the show, which aired on CBS, while performers include Daft Punk and Williams with Stevie Wonder and Nile Rodgers, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons, Billie Joe Armstrong and Miranda Lambert, Ryan Lewis & Macklemore, Metallica and Lang Lang, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and Robin Thicke and Chicago. Jay Z and Beyonce opened the show with a joint performance.
The winners included:
Record Of The Year:
"Get Lucky" — Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams (WINNER)
"Radioactive" — Imagine Dragons
"Royals" — Lorde
"Locked Out Of Heaven" — Bruno Mars
"Blurred Lines" — Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams
Song Of The Year:
"Royals" — Joel Little & Ella Yelich O'Connor, songwriters (Lorde) (WINNER)
"Just Give Me A Reason" — Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Pink Featuring Nate Ruess)
"Locked Out Of Heaven" — Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Bruno Mars)
"Roar" — Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry & Henry Walter, songwriters (Katy Perry)
"Same Love" — Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis, songwriters (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Mary Lambert)
Best Pop Vocal Album:
"Unorthodox Jukebox" -- Bruno Mars (WINNER)
"Paradise" -- Lana Del Rey
"Pure Heroine" -- Lorde
"Blurred Lines" -- Robin Thicke
"The 20/20 Experience - The Complete Experience" -- Justin Timberlake
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration:
"Holy Grail" — Jay Z Featuring Justin Timberlake (WINNER)
"Power Trip" — J.Cole Featuring Miguel
"Part II (On The Run)" — Jay Z Featuring Beyoncé
"Now Or Never" — Kendrick Lamar Featuring Mary J. Blige
"Remember You" — Wiz Khalifa Featuring The Weeknd
Best Rock Song
"Cut Me Some Slack" -- Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear, songwriters (Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear) (WINNER)
"Ain't Messin 'Round" -- Gary Clark Jr., songwriter (Gary Clark Jr.)
"Doom And Gloom" -- Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, songwriters (The Rolling Stones)
"God Is Dead?" -- Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi & Ozzy Osbourne, songwriters (Black Sabbath)
"Panic Station" -- Matthew Bellamy, songwriter (Muse)
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:
"Get Lucky" — Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams (WINNER)
"Just Give Me A Reason" — Pink Featuring Nate Ruess
"Stay" — Rihanna Featuring Mikky Ekko
"Blurred Lines" — Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams
"Suit & Tie" — Justin Timberlake & Jay Z
Best Dance/Electronica Album:
Random Access Memories — Daft Punk (WINNER)
Settle — Disclosure
18 Months — Calvin Harris
Atmosphere — Kaskade
A Color Map Of The Sun — Pretty Lights
Best Rock Performance:
"Radioactive" — Imagine Dragons (WINNER)
"Always Alright" — Alabama Shakes
"The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" — David Bowie
"Kashmir" (Live) — Led Zeppelin
"My God Is The Sun" — Queens Of The Stone Age
"I'm Shakin'" — Jack White
Best Rock Album:
Celebration Day — Led Zeppelin (WINNER)
13 — Black Sabbath
The Next Day — David Bowie
Mechanical Bull — Kings Of Leon
…Like Clockwork — Queens Of The Stone Age
Psychedelic Pill — Neil Young With Crazy Horse
Best Alternative Music Album:
Modern Vampires Of The City — Vampire Weekend (WINNER)
The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You — Neko Case
Trouble Will Find Me — The National
Hesitation Marks — Nine Inch Nails
Lonerism — Tame Impala
Best R&B Performance:
"Something" — Snarky Puppy With Lalah Hathaway (WINNER)
"Love And War" — Tamar Braxton
"Best Of Me" — Anthony Hamilton
"Nakamarra" — Hiatus Kaiyote Featuring Q-Tip
"How Many Drinks?" — Miguel Featuring Kendrick Lamar
STORY: Pharrell's Ugly Grammys Hat Spawns Twitter Account
Best Urban Contemporary Album:
Unapologetic — Rihanna (WINNER)
Love And War — Tamar Braxton
Side Effects Of You — Fantasia
One: In The Chamber — Salaam Remi
New York: A Love Story — Mack Wilds
Best R&B Album:
Girl On Fire — Alicia Keys (WINNER)
R&B Divas — Faith Evans
Love In The Future — John Legend
Better — Chrisette Michele
Three Kings — TGT
LIVE BLOG: 2014 Grammys
Best Rap Album:
The Heist — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (WINNER)
Nothing Was The Same — Drake
Magna Carta…Holy Grail — Jay Z
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City — Kendrick Lamar
Yeezus — Kanye West
Best Country Solo Performance:
"Wagon Wheel" — Darius Rucker (WINNER)
"I Drive Your Truck" — Lee Brice
"I Want Crazy" — Hunter Hayes
"Mama's Broken Heart" — Miranda Lambert
"Mine Would Be You" — Blake Shelton
Best Jazz Instrumental Album:
Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue — Terri Lyne Carrington (WINNER)
Guided Tour — The New Gary Burton Quartet
Life Forum — Gerald Clayton
Pushing The World Away — Kenny Garrett
Out Here — Christian McBride Trio
Best Gospel Album:
Greater Than (Live) — Tye Tribbett (WINNER)
Grace (Live) — Tasha Cobbs
Best For Last: 20 Year Celebration Vol. 1 — Donald Lawrence
Best Days Yet — Bishop Paul S. Morton
God Chaser (Live) — William Murphy
Best Tropical Latin Album:
Pacific Mambo Orchestra — Pacific Mambo Orchestra (WINNER)
3.0 — Marc Anthony
Como Te Voy A Olvidar — Los Angeles Azules
Sergio George Presents Salsa Giants — Various Artists
Corazón Profundo — Carlos Vives
Best Americana Album:
Old Yellow Moon — Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell (WINNER)
Love Has Come For You — Steve Martin & Edie Brickell
Buddy And Jim — Buddy Miller And Jim Lauderdale
One True Vine — Mavis Staples
Songbook — Allen Toussaint
Best Comedy Album:
Calm Down Gurrl — Kathy Griffin (WINNER)
I'm Here To Help — Craig Ferguson
A Little Unprofessional — Ron White
Live — Tig Notaro
That's What I'm Talkin' About — Bob Saget
Kendrick Lamar: The Hottest -- and Most Conflicted -- Rapper in the Game
He has feuded with Drake, provoked rappers on both sides of the country and picked a fight with Phil Jackson. But this 26-year-old "good kid" from Compton has been embraced by the music industry with no fewer than seven nominations.
Should the city burn slowly or spontaneously combust?
Inside a coffin-like glass and concrete rehearsal space on the fringes of Las Vegas, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons deliberate this question, among other logistics of their Grammy Awards collaboration.
The performance -- a duet, in the Grammy tradition -- features a mash-up of the Dragons' apocalyptic anthem, "Radioactive," nominated for record of the year, with Lamar's "M.A.A.d City," the angel dusted aorta of the rapper seven-times nominated album good kid, m.A.A.d City. "In a perfect world, it would be like the Hunger Games and at the end, me and Kendrick would light on fire," says Dragons' lead singer Dan Reynolds. The discussion veers to flying white chalk clouds, epileptic strobe lights, Molotov cocktails, cannons, a waterfall... A minder from the Grammys production team and members of each camp add suggestions, including an interactive police riot. Strings -- real or synthetic -- are nixed because Kanye West brought out the violins a few years earlier. Ludacris, too.
Imagine Dragons huddle up. The conundrum is that fake strings are mocked in rock, but "considered cool" in pop. A pensive silence ensues.
"Don't go against your own shit," Lamar instructs them. "I don't want anybody to do anything fake."
If Lamar were to crystallize his philosophy into 140 characters, this could be it. The dizzying lash of his anthems comes from acrobatic rapping, alien melodicism, and characters that resist text message aphorisms and in-the-club cliché, no matter what mostly media-concocted "feuds" are attached to his name. Lamar's rhymes are flesh and blood and flawed.
His highest-charting single, "Swimming Pools (Drank)," mines a personal struggle with peer pressure and familial alcoholism to basically invert Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice." It might be the heaviest single since Eminem's "Cleaning Out My Closet" to climb to No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. If major label rappers often reduce themselves to pro wrestling-sized personas, Lamar wields a complex austerity better suited to a Roman philosopher king or Shaolin monk.
Currently, he's understated in a long-sleeved white thermal, gray designer sweatpants, and crisp Nikes. No jewelry. Later that night at the Beats by Dre CES afterparty, he performs in a plain rolled-up sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberlands.
"I'm most comfortable when I'm Plain Jane in my Nike Cortez and my white tees," the Compton-raised 26-year-old says later. "That's who I am and the era I came from. I always have to remind myself of that. I thought I wanted jewelry and cars, but as soon as I got a taste, I realized it wasn't fulfillment. A thrill is being as creative as possible and supporting the people I love."
Most rappers alternately crave and shun the spotlight like a whimsical despot. It's even more expected from platinum-selling "Best Rapper Alive" candidates, ordained by Dr. Dre, and up for best new artist, album of the year, and best rap album (against Drake, West, Jay Z and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.)
Lamar instead listens intently and cradles his chin in "the thinker" pose. Sometimes he air drums. Every ten minutes, he retreats into the corner, idly pacing the thin burgundy carpet like a playwright meditating on a red herring. He's the artist as keen observer and lucid dreamer. It's easy to mistake the isolation for aloofness, but it's symptomatic of someone permanently immersed in thought.
"I'm like that all day," he says of the turbulence. "It drives me crazy sometimes. I try to shut off my mind, but I can't."
"Kendrick is wise, he's like an old Buddha or Yoda Junior," offers Dave Free, an accomplished producer, longtime friend, and the current general manager of Lamar's label, Top Dawg Entertainment. "He's always been this way."
Any hint of ego seeps out primarily through the music. You don't call yourself "King of New York," as he did on last summer's controversial "Control," without some heaven-sent belief in your talents. But he's determined to wall himself off from the pestilential demands of industry. Yes, he's in a bunker with a mostly Mormon rock group from Sin City, who are trying to sell him on the finer points of the Blue Man Group's stage show. But he can still return to the Westside of Compton and be "K.Dot" as though none of this ever really happened. Mostly.
In theory, Lamar and the Imagine Dragons should interact with the awkwardness of a first date on eHarmony, but there's a mutual respect. Lamar raves about Imagine Dragons' "energy and stage presence." Imagine Dragons treat him like a sage. They do a dry run of the Grammy performance. Lamar moves with an intense glare and lynx-like grace. The Dragons head-bang, thwack drums, and rifle off guitar licks sculpted for arena shows, not subwoofers blaring gangsta rap on Rosecrans Blvd.
If there's a communion, it's through their shared fascination of a city under siege, via natural or man-made destruction. Lamar raps his verse about driving past burger stands where people got their brains blown out. One of his early memories was the chaos of L.A.'s 1992 riots, so he intuitively grasps what Joan Didion and Nathanael West understood: Los Angeles' deepest image of itself is the city burning. Imagine Dragons' vision belongs to Vegas -- the city as phosphorescent tumor -- a place that could recede into the Mohave with a random pull of the wrong lever.
More ideas are bandied about. A "tribal feel." "Extras onstage." Imagine Dragons will wear all white against a pitch-black backdrop -- unless they won't. Free suggests more colors, but the Grammy producer pipes in. "Colors feel like too much fun," he says.
"That's why it's perfect; You don't have to ride the line," retorts Free, articulating TDE's mission statement to shatter convention. "You don't have to wear baggy jeans to be gangsta."
* * *
"Where you from?" Kendrick Lamar asks before sitting down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in his hotel suite at the Las Vegas' Cosmopolitan Hotel. When the answer isn't specific enough, Lamar repeats himself, shouting out Westside Compton with his lips pursed and an extra emphasis on the you. He's not asking a question, he's looking for the correct password.
"Tree Top Piru…" -- a reference to an infamous Compton Blood sect that clearly is not in the business of accepting journalists as members. After a long nervous pause, Lamar laughs, flashes a childlike gap-toothed smile, and invites this writer to sit down.
The question, "Where You From," beats at the heart of good kid, m.A.A.d city. Where Lamar was raised, it's not a matter of pleasantries, but a pop quiz with potentially fatal ramifications.
His Aftermath/Interscope debut depicts a day in the life of Lamar in the summer after 10th grade. He borrows his mom's mini-van to navigate an asphalt labyrinth littered with sinners, redemption, home invasions, malt liquor and cheap hallucinogens. The ghosts of dead friends haunt every cul-de-sac. There are 40 Blood and Crip sets that bang in the 10-square miles of Compton. And Kendrick plays the chronicler of those caught in the crossfire, bounded between Stephen Dedalus and 2Pac.
"I wanted to speak from the perspective of my block and neighborhood, but in a different manner," Lamar says. "Anyone can talk about bottles of champagne and getting signed, but I wanted to relate how I grew up and what I saw every day. Where I come from, it's not always about joining or not joining a gang. By nature, whatever neighborhood you're in, there's a certain affiliation. You might have a cousin over here…an uncle over there…"
Few spots are further from Compton than the Cosmopolitan. The lobby is a blinding jujitsu of crystal and mirrors. You feel like you're trapped in an upside down champagne glass. Lamar's room overlooks the neon fog of the southern strip. There are pseudo-artsy black and white photos adorning the walls. This place has seen enough debauchery to make a Borgia blush, but Kendrick mildly sips a bottle of water.
His story fits the American Dream blueprint to an almost unthinkable degree in the 21st century. Kid emerges from poverty and bloodshed thanks to stellar parenting, celestial talent, and an absurd work ethic. He does it without artistic compromise or self-caricature. No shoehorning in pop hooks, trendy sounds, or even a single Dr. Dre beat. And now he's sitting in a hotel room that costs more per-night than most monthly mortgages.
Yet the experience is bittersweet. Perched 30 stories above the strip, Kendrick is thinking mostly about the summers he spent in Vegas visiting his grandparents. They had been enticed by dollar signs in the desert. Says Lamar: "When you're nine or ten, you're really carefree. Everything is over-exaggerated. You only see the colors."
He continues, partially lost in the nostalgia (up close, Lamar looks significantly younger than 26, especially when he laughs). "Vegas is a beautiful city, but some resentment comes from it luring my grandparents here with the dream of getting rich," Lamar explains. "It took them from our family in L.A. and they passed away, all the while thinking they'd get wealthy here. They could've just stayed home with us."
Family and place operate as Lamar's North Star. He mentions his sister, mom and dad, who leave voicemails on good kid, m.A.A.d City. The realism comes from his pops. The early awareness of a bigger world outside of Compton comes from his mother.
"I was always a bit of a dreamer," Lamar says. "After those long crazy nights in high school, I'd go back to my room and sit up staring at the ceiling, thinking that I could get out of this craziness if I ever found something that I loved."
Rap was a lunchroom hobby that became an obsession and calling. Recorded at 16, his first mixtape circulated to Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, one of the few in Compton with an industry foothold. To many, Lamar's ascent appeared to happen overnight. In reality, it followed a decade of experimentation with sounds and vocal tics. The tributaries can be traced back to influences like Eminem, Outkast, 2Pac and Biggie, Nas, Jay Z, Lil Wayne and DMX.
There were several ghostwriting gigs and a clutch of mixtapes. A buzz slowly built that eventually landed him in the Santa Monica offices of Interscope Records. With the imprimatur of Dr. Dre's Aftermath imprint, Lamar became the next great rap hope. While most contenders to the throne hedge their bets and recruit the biggest names and producers du jour, Lamar doubled down on a cinematic concept album done mostly in-house -- one that combined Pulp Fiction with Menace II Society and a little bit of Martin.
"I didn't want to flood it with features just because I had the opportunity," Lamar says. "That would have been the easy way out. It would've felt like a cop-out. I would've felt unsuccessful."
That's one reason why the immediate success of good kid, m.A.A.d City in Nov. 2012 surprised industry observers. You're supposed to use social media to build a cult of personality and bastardize your original rawness for the sake of pop appeal. You're expected to model, act, or seek mogul-dom. In an attenuated industry, you're not supposed to move albums until you've sold Clear Channel on your first single. Kendrick did none of these things, but he debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 220,000 albums in its first week out, the best-selling debut for a male artist that year.
It triggered a sixteen-month coronation parade that included sold-out shows across the globe and cameo verses that briefly shut down the Internet. The ego can only be walled in so much. Lamar is polite and modest in person, but once he steps in the recording booth, his competitive streak fells more Darth Vader than Yoda.
Pusha T, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Mac Miller... The name-dropping on "Control," a Big Sean track with verses by Lamar that boast, "I got love for you all but I'm tryna murder you" and "What is competition? I'm tryna raise the bar high," drove LeBron James to tweet, "This is real hip-hop at its best." Russell Simmons called it an "instant classic." Even former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who found himself mentioned, gently chided Lamar about the need for mentorship. Rumors of bad blood surfaced between Lamar and Drake and innumerable enraged responses came from New York mixtape rappers.
"It wasn't pre-meditated, it just came to me when I was writing that bar," says Lamar. "The crazy part is, I didn't think it would ever go to where diss records were coming at me. I thought people would be like… he threw some challenges out there… that was dope."
The root concept of "Control" was mostly drowned in the commentariat deluge. Rap is built on braggadocio. If you think you're the best, but don't say you're the best, then you're probably not the best. Kendrick Lamar anointing himself was a righteous investiture. So the only logical way to end 2013 was by opening for Kanye West on his Yeezus Tour -- playing the Stoic King to Kanye's wrathful Zeus.
"Kanye taught me to never to downplay your ideas," adds Lamar. "I learned to always stay as creative as possible and never have any boundaries. Those things that people called 'rants' on-stage are real conversations that we had behind closed doors -- about business and how when you get to a certain level people won't want to see you break through because they only see you as a rapper."
For now, there are no plans to act, start a clothing line, do razor commercials, or even introduce a stable of artists. He says he's into being the best rapper alive, but there's the tacit understanding that he wants to stand for something, not merely get the gold in lyrical gymnastics.
There are ideas for his next record, but he mostly demurs when asked about it. "I'm still seeing what I feel like," says Lamar. "When I really catch it, I'll be out there with it." He doesn't acknowledge anticipation, but he knows it exists. Whenever the album does drop, it's bound to be the most debated hip-hop release of that year. It also stands to serve as a test: to see if Lamar can continue to expand his territory without bending to industry dogma.
In the interim, there are the Grammys and the city that may or not turn into a fiery apocalypse. Neither winning, losing, or caring what people will think, seems to make Lamar remotely nervous. He takes another sip of water, exhales, politely excuses himself, and goes out alone to the balcony to contemplate the glow. He's already figured out who he is, where he's from, and what feels true. The rest of the questions can be answered later.
Lil' Kim Sued Over Zombie Makeup Photo
After putting up an image on Instagram, a Vancouver artist says the hip-hop star splashed her photo all across the Internet.
Samantha Ravndahl, a Vancouver artist, is going to court to protect the image of herself modeling a zombie-style makeup design.
The target of her lawsuit filed in California federal court is hip-hop star Lil' Kim (born Kimberly Jones), alleged to have taken the plaintiff's work and "splashed [it] all across the internet, including on Lil Kim's personal and social media sites, to promote Lil' Kim's new work and most recent comeback attempt."
The complaint provides a side-by-side comparison of what's in dispute. "This comparison reveals that the elements, composition, colors, arrangement, layout, and appearance of the images are identical or substantially similar," says the lawsuit.
Ravndahl, 20, reportedly put the image up on Instagram and other social media sites along with a step-by-step tutorial on how to create the zombie look.
In some intellectual property quarters, there's been some concern about a future filled with 3D-printed objects and digital masks. Ravndahl's legal action provides a small hint at what's coming as the Vancouver artist stakes some claim in her "original makeup design." However, the bigger emphasis appears to be on Ravndahl's photo. That's a more traditional copyright focus, save the existence of zombies on Instagram.
According to the complaint, "Ravndahl believes that Lil' Kim, acting through her agent, Whosay, Inc., slapped Lil' Kim's name and copyright notice over Ravndahl's face and makeup design on Ravndahl's photograph before distributing it all over the web."
The lawsuit against Lil' Kim makes the case that whatever the rapper did, including allegedly exploiting the image as an album cover for an album entitled "Dead Gal Walking," was unfair, that Lil' Kim and her agents profited from unauthorized reproduction, that they violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by removing and altering copyright management information, that they misappropriated Ravndahl's likeness and that they even violated the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 by disrupting Ravndahl's right to claim authorship.
There's even a gratuitous shot at Lil' Kim's attitudes towards intellectual property. Says the complaint, "Lil' Kim is a staunch advocate for intellectual property rights who once complained publicly about fellow performer Nicki Minaj's misappropriation of her (Lil' Kim's) properprietary 'swag,' stating 'They kind of used me to stamp it, because they knew that they were gonna kinda steal my swag,' and 'If you are going to steal my swag, you gonna have to pay.'"
The defendants couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Here's the complaint filed by attorney Scott Burroughs.
Jagger's New Swagger: Mick Moves to Movies, Blasts Idea of Memoir
On set in Mississippi as he starts up a new career as a Hollywood producer, the icon shrugs off the outcry over a white director for his James Brown biopic, reveals his brushes with rejection and vows never to write a rock autobiography like Keith Richards did: "If someone wants to know what I did in 1965, they can look it up on Wikipedia."
Mick Jagger is having a Hollywood moment … in Natchez, Miss., of all places. He's come here to be on the set of Get on Up, the James Brown biopic he is producing with his Jagged Films partner, Victoria Pearman. It is Nov. 24, and Jagger is well into his first week on the set, just a few miles away from where the film's director, Tate Taylor, lives. He slinks into the gilded ballroom of the former plantation-turned-historic Dunleith Inn, settles his tiny frame into a plush velvet couch and slips on his glasses, notes in hand. He's ready to talk business, or more specifically, how he has found himself, at age 70, juggling production duties in several notable film and television projects. He is lithe, dressed in sneakers and a baby-blue cashmere sweater, and radiates the kind of healthy glow that comes with Jagger's all-organic sober lifestyle, something he has practiced since 2001.
"Then," he says, "you get on with the creative part of it."
There's also time for fun. The night before, in this same room, Jagger hosted a dinner that morphed into a raucous dance party for some 25 cast and crewmembers of Get on Up. After the plates were cleared, Jagger's longtime partner, the fashion designer L'Wren Scott, 47, slipped her iPod onto a dock and began dancing with the film's executive producer John Norris. Then, a circle formed, and everyone -- including Jagger -- took a turn in the center, busting out their best moves. No one seems to remember the songlist, as the alcohol was flowing fast and freely.
"It was a little intimidating," Taylor says. "I was keenly aware that a rock star was watching, but I just said, 'What the hell?' "
It didn't take long, though, before Jagger began showing actor Nelsan Ellis how his character, Brown's collaborator and producer Bobby Byrd, actually danced. This is the type of expertise that almost nobody else has, based on first-hand experience: In 1964, Jagger and the Stones performed at the concert captured on film as The T.A.M.I. Show with Brown and Byrd.
But it's not just insight into dancing and music that Jagger intends to bring to this $30 million undertaking from Universal Pictures. On this project and the many others he has on tap -- including an Elvis Presley biopic with Fox 2000, an untitled HBO rock 'n' roll series with Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter, and both a scripted drama series and a Broadway play based on 20 Feet From Stardom, Morgan Neville's Oscar-nominated documentary about backup singers (in which Jagger appears) -- he wants to prove his ability to be more than a rock legend.
Last year, Jagger's tour with The Rolling Stones grossed an estimated $126 million. On Feb. 21, the band kicks off another world tour with stops in Australia, New Zealand, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, Macau, China and maybe Tel Aviv. He himself is estimated to be worth $305 million. In his presence, multigenerational crowds flock to watch the infamous Jagger swagger, something so familiar that even today's music stars like Adam Levine worship at his feet (Maroon 5's ode "Moves Like Jagger" was one of the biggest hits of 2011). Mick Jagger, arguably the world's last great rock star in a town where the term "rock star" is used loosely to define any variety of people with success, is the real deal.
But in Hollywood, where Jagger's forays thus far have included the promising (2001's Enigma as a producer) and the not-so-acclaimed (1992's Freejack as an actor), the elusive icon still is emerging. But this is where the musician, whose band has sold 250 million albums (but amazingly has won only two Grammys), now says he wants to devote much of his time.
Jagger today splits his time between London, a castle in France's Loire Valley and a home on the Caribbean island of Mustique. He is infinitely fascinated with the human psyche and a voracious reader, tearing through three books a week on a wide range of subjects. A night owl, he often rises at midday. Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad and The Sopranos are among his all-time favorite TV shows.
With producing partner Pearman, a fellow Brit whom he met through his close friend Arnon Milchan when Pearman was an executive at Milchan's New Regency, Jagger will discuss the latest Booker Prize winner or hot British playwright. And, at least on this day, he seems outright uncomfortable talking about music. Otherwise calm, if not slightly guarded, he is most at ease talking about the more mundane, like meeting the local sheriff of Natchez during a tour of the town. But he begins tugging his sweater and fussing with his hair when the conversation shifts to The Rolling Stones, whose last studio album, 2005's A Bigger Bang, sold 2.4 million copies.
He also appears disinterested at this moment in establishing his rock legacy. When asked about the success many of his rock peers have had with their books, notably his own bandmate Keith Richards, whose 2010 best-seller, Life, included some uncharitable observations about Jagger, he scoffs: "I think the rock 'n' roll memoir is a glutted market. I'd rather be doing something new. I'd rather be making new films, making new music, be touring. If someone wants to know what I did in 1965, they can look it up on Wikipedia without even spending any money."
So Jagger, in this role, now is juggling an array of projects, from his small shop, wielding the influence necessary to be a successful producer. Most of the projects are being developed with and financed by major studios or networks. "There's virtually nobody on the planet who's not gonna take the call from Mick Jagger, which as a producer is an incredible asset to have," says Neville, who also worked with Jagger on 2012's HBO documentary Crossfire Hurricane. "It moves mountains, which is what a lot of producing is about."
Jagger, however, also has learned the hard rule of Hollywood Rejection 101: People in the entertainment business are not too star-struck to turn him down. "It's a bit like saying no in Japan," he says. "They don't say no, directly. They say no indirectly."
The idea for the James Brown biopic, set to be released Aug. 1, was first hatched by producer Brian Grazer more than a decade ago. Before Jagger came on board, Spike Lee was attached to direct the project, which was written by Brit brothers Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, with Wesley Snipes and later Eddie Murphy as Brown. But he insisted on a $75 million budget.
"Spike could have made the movie years ago," says Grazer, whom Jagger knew socially before bringing him to the project. "But he assigned such a high number to make the movie for that no studio would do that."
When Brown died in 2006, his estate was in flux, and the project hit a dead end. Then Peter Afterman, who runs the James Brown estate, approached Jagger about doing a documentary on the Godfather of Soul.
"I said, 'Let me think about it,' " Jagger recalls. "So I woke up in the morning and said, 'I'll do the documentary. But would you like to do a feature?' "
With the music rights secured thanks to Jagger's involvement, suddenly the stalled project was revived. In late 2012, Jagger and Grazer hired Taylor, whose star was rising in the wake of the box-office and critical success of The Help. The choice sparked controversy, though, with some complaining that only a black director should tackle James Brown's life story. Director John Singleton expressed unease with the project in an essay last year for THR even as he praised Grazer's past work with African-American actors and noted that Brits often have a greater appreciation for black culture than some white Americans.
"Still, it gives one pause that someone is making a movie about the icon who laid down the foundation of funk, hip-hop and black economic self-reliance with no African-American involvement behind the scenes," Singleton wrote.
Jagger has no patience for such criticism. "By that logic, only English people can play English people, only Americans can play Americans," he says, a little fire showing in his eyes. "I mean, come on. Look at [Cate Blanchett's] Elizabeth. That was a really great movie directed by an Indian [Shekhar Kapur]. I don't care if you come from Timbuktu or Tonkin or, you know, London. It doesn't matter."
Casting the actor to play Brown was the final critical decision. Jagger and Grazer drafted Chadwick Boseman, who already had stepped into the shoes of another trailblazer as Jackie Robinson in 2013's 42. Jagger says that casting Boseman was "such a key thing." He adds, "You gotta get the guy right. You've got to get him perfect. Chad's really worked very hard on [preparing].
Seahawks win NFC title, beat 49ers 23-17
The Seahawks advance to the Super Bowl to meet the Denver Broncos.
Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos, 3:30 p.m., Feb. 2 @ MetLife Stadium, New Jersey, Ch. 13
The Seahawks forced turnovers on each of the 49ers’ last three possessions:FUMBLE 10:07
Cliff Avril stripped the ball from QB Colin Kaepernick at the 49ers’ 23-yard line. Michael Bennett recovered and returned it to the 6.INTERCEPTION 7:37
Kam Chancellor intercepted a pass intended for Anquan Boldin at the 49ers’ 40.INTERCEPTION 0:22
Kaepernick’s pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone was tipped by Richard Sherman and intercepted by Malcolm Smith.
It was frustrating. Then dizzying. Then nail-biting.
When it ended, though, there was simply celebrating as the Seattle Seahawks beat their rival San Francisco 49ers 23-17 to advance to play the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, doing so to the delight of a CenturyLink Field record crowd of 68,454.
“It doesn’t get any better,’’ said Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who overcame a fumble on the first play of the game to lead Seattle back from an early 10-0 deficit, throwing the go-ahead touchdown on a 35-yard pass on fourth-and-seven to Jermaine Kearse with 13:44 left.
The victory wasn’t sealed, however, until a Colin Kaepernick pass in the end zone intended for Michael Crabtree was tipped by Seattle’s Richard Sherman into the hands of linebacker Malcolm Smith with 22 seconds left.
The play came on first down after San Francisco had driven from its own 22-yard line, seemingly poised to spoil the party.
Seahawks players, though, said they never doubted, remembering all the times this season when the NFL’s No. 1-rated defense had come through when it mattered most.
“Yeah, we’ve got a bunch of playmakers all over the field, so we knew somebody was going to make a play,’’ said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. “I thought he was going to pick it or tip it. It was dumb (by Kaepernick). He didn’t really throw it far enough to where the player could catch it, and you know we’ve got corners.’’
Indeed Seattle does, and Sherman let everyone know it afterward, giving a choke sign he said was meant for Kaepernick, and taunting Crabtree, who he later emphatically called in his postgame news conference “a mediocre receiver.’’
“When you try the best corner in the game with a mediocre receiver, that’s what happens,’’ Sherman said. “Game.’’
It was then left to Wilson to take three snaps to run off the final seconds and fulfill a goal he had presented to his teammates during a players-only meeting before the season. In that meeting, Wilson said he told them, “Why not us?’’
“We believed from the beginning of the year we could get there,’’ Wilson said.
It didn’t look good early, though, when Wilson fumbled on the first play from scrimmage, leading to a San Francisco field goal.
Kaepernick then used his running (he had 98 of his 130 yards in the first half) to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Anthony Dixon.
A 51-yard Wilson to Doug Baldwin pass set up a Steven Hauschka 32-yard field goal that cut the lead to 10-3 at halftime. Still, there were nervous murmurs throughout the CenturyLink Field crowd at the half.
Coach Pete Carroll, though, said it was business as usual in the locker room, saying he reiterated a message from a Friday meeting that “We needed to take the next step, finish this football game playing better than they did longer. And our guys got that done.’’
A 40-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch on Seattle’s first second-half possession that tied the game got it started, kicking off a second half filled with big plays and momentum-changing moments on each side.
After a Kaepernick 26-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin made it 17-10, a 69-yard kickoff return by Baldwin set up another Hauschka field goal (of 40 yards) to make it 17-13 entering the final quarter.
On its first possession of the fourth quarter, Seattle faced a fourth-and-seven at the 49ers 35, and a big decision — attempt a long field goal, or go for it?
Initially, the field goal team went out, with Wilson saying “I’m begging on the sidelines’’ to instead go for it. After a time out, Carroll changed his mind. As San Francisco’s Aldon Smith jumped offsides on a double-count by Wilson, Seattle changed its play on the fly, receivers running deep instead, knowing there was no risk to an interception.
“If they jumped offsides we were going to try to take a shot down field, and sure enough they did,’’ Wilson said.
Wilson threw into the end zone where Kearse caught it in traffic, tumbling to the ground as he did.
Cliff Avril then forced a Kaepernick fumble that Seattle returned to the 6, and it looked like it might go from hard to easy quickly. Instead, a bad exchange between Wilson and Lynch led to a fumble on a fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Kaepernick was then intercepted by Kam Chancellor at the 40. But Seattle was held to a 47-yard Hauschka field goal that made it 23-17 with 3:37 remaining.
“When we had a chance to go ahead and end it, we didn’t do a very good job of that,’’ Carroll said.
Seattle’s defense had another opportunity to end it with 2:01 left when San Francisco had a fourth-and-two at its own 30. But Kaepernick hit Frank Gore for 17 yards, and then the 49ers began to move, eventually moving to the 18 with 30 seconds remaining.
Crabtree ended up matched up on Sherman, who said he’d had only one other pass thrown his way all day (a play on which he was called for holding).
“As soon as the ball went up in the air I knew we had a chance to make that play,’’ Sherman said. “We stood up when it counted. None of us wanted to feel what we felt in Atlanta (when the Seahawks allowed a winning field goal in the final seconds of the playoffs last year) ever again.’’
Sherman said he intentionally tried to tip the ball high. “I knew one of our guys would have a chance at it,’’ he said.
That turned out to be Smith, who got what was Seattle’s third forced turnover of a raucous fourth quarter and said, “I was just happy to be the guy to catch it. That’s just the way our defense works.’’
Then the realization hit one and all that they were off to play Denver on Feb. 2 in Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey.
“It’s a dream come true,’’ said safety Earl Thomas. “I always dreamed about this since I was a little boy. I’m just happy, man. It’s a great feeling.’’
|Lynch vs. Gore|
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch outrushed the 49ers’ Frank Gore by a wide margin Sunday:
|Marshawn Lynch, Sea||22||109||5.0||40||1|
|Frank Gore, SF||11||14||1.3||9||0|
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or
Jay Z's Roc Nation Signs Yankees Pitcher CC Sabathi.
He joins former teammate Robinson Cano, fellow New York athlete Geno Smith and NBA star Kevin Durant as clients of the burgeoning sports agency.
Jay Z's sports agency says it has signed New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia to join former teammate Robinson Cano in its emerging client base.
Sabathia is signed through 2016 at salaries of $23 million in each of the next two seasons and $25 million in 2016. The Yankees hold a $25 million option for 2017 with a $5 million buyout.
He was 14-13 last year with a career-worst 4.78 ERA.
Cano left Scott Boras last year for the new agency and agreed to a $240 million, 10-year deal with Seattle.
Sandra Bullock on 'Gravity' Oscar Nom: 'I've Just Gotten Better at Not Picking
The 49-year-old, who has scored two best actress noms within four years and starred in four best pic noms within just nine years, tells THR, "Somehow I got here. I don't know how, but here I am--and I'm not taking any of it for granted."
Sandra Bullock is just a few months shy of turning 50, an age by which most film actresses have long ago been put out to pasture. But, as she quipped at an awards show earlier this awards season, "I don't want to go to pasture -- it's cold, and I'm allergic to grass and the cows are mean!" And so she has refused to go. On Thursday morning, minutes after it was announced that Bullock had scored her second best actress Oscar nomination in four years, for Gravity, I hopped on the phone with her for just the most recent of many conversations we have had over the course of this awards season, partly to get her reaction to the news (she was happy, duh), but also to get a sense of how she feels about her success and place in the industry toda
"I don't think I'm fully awake yet, so I don't think I'm processing it," Bullock said of the news, which she learned as she was getting her son ready for pre-school. "I was already up because allergy season has hit the little people in the house." She continued, "I know how to process the bad. I never know how to process the good. I think it's just so overwhelming that you sort of shut down a little bit. This business is so wonderful and so crazy and so unexpected. Even those people that have been nominated more times than I can count [probably a reference to Meryl Streep, who has been nominated for best actress both times that Bullock has] will probably say the same thing: you don't expect it, you don't assume it and it's just sweet."
Bullock, like only two of the other four nominees in her category this year -- Amy Adams (American Hustle) and Judi Dench (Philomena), not Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) or Streep (August: Osage County) -- received a nomination this year for a film that was also nominated for best picture, which sweetened the day even further for her.
When she brought this up, I reminded her of a stat that I had unearthed and shared with her at a luncheon in New York late last year: a nomination for Gravity would mean that she had starred in four best picture Oscar nominees within a span of just four years -- Crash (2005), The Blind Side (2009) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) -- something that only a very elite group of other leading ladies have ever done: Jean Arthur, Anne Baxter, Ingrid Bergman, Blanchett, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Greer Garson, Katharine Hepburn, Deborah Kerr, Myrna Loy, Agnes Moorehead, Ginger Rogers, Streep, Elizabeth Taylor and Emma Thompson.
"I remember your stat at the table, yes!" she laughed. I suggested that it proves that she brings out the best in the people around her -- "or," she interrupted self-deprecatingly, "that I've just gotten better at not picking crap. I think the latter is true."
Bullock says that her experience with Gravity was, in certain ways, "oddly similar" to her experience with The Blind Side, the film for which she received her first best actress Oscar nom (and win) four years ago -- even if one movie is an epic space-set thriller and the other was a family drama: "The Blind Side was out of left field, if I may use another sports pun. We made that movie quietly and no one paid attention. No one, I don't think, in the whole world, expected it to do what it did. That was completely unexpected. Like with The Blind Side, when we made Gravity, no one knew what we were making, no one knew if it would work and, up to the first couple of screenings, I don't think there were hopes of this film turning into anything. You didn't get the sense that, 'Oh, we have this piece that's Academy worthy!' You know? In both cases, you weren't setting yourself up for anything other than just being a part of making a movie and then going on with life. [In the case of Gravity], everyone was panicked to just create and figure out this technology and 'Are we getting the right story?'"
But, as the second phase of her second awards season begins, Bullock has a better sense of what she's in for. "How is it different? It's four years later. I hope I'm a little wiser. But I'm not any less panicked. I still don't feel like I'm in the right place at the right time -- ever. I don't ever feel like anything good is gonna come my way in the work world. Now [having learned of her nomination], I go, 'What's gonna take me down a notch today? What's the bad thing that's gonna happen that's gonna level this all out?' That's just my morbid way of thinking!"
But she is trying to be more positive, and one of the things for which she is grateful for is the terrific company she has in the best actress category. "It's a beautiful group," she says, "and all incredibly cool women." Sandra elaborated, "We all know each other from the non-work environment. You just see each other at these things, where you feel like cattle, at times. And people want to make it such a til death competition. That's not the way we feel. You know, it is what it is. We've all had the experience of a great year with work that we obviously love. Some of us see each other at preschool dropping off our children, and we both look like hell, and we both have on sweatpants, and we give each other a squeeze. I know that the competition needs to be there because that drums up interest, but it's not there when the women are in the room. We know what this is, and we just are really excited for everybody. It's nice, I gotta say. It's apples and oranges at this point. You can't compete, nor do we want to."
So what will Bullock do over the coming days and weeks? "We'll do what all women do, which is roll our eyes and dread the fact that we have to do a fitting for a dress that someone will make fun of and might be a little too tight and painful and then all you want to do is come home and take a shower and take your shoes off. Do you see how hard it is?!" she says with the famous Bullock laugh. "People just don't understand!"
More seriously, she says, she'll just try to remember to be grateful. "I love what I do. I love that I have multiple personalities that want to be in multiple genres of film. That doesn't always bode well when you want a serious career, but I've never worried about that, you know? At this time in my life, I've been really, really lucky, in that when I wanted to stop one thing and experience something else, people let me. [Such as starring in comedies like The Heat in-between dramas like The Blind Side and Gravity.] You know, you don't always get that opportunity. It's really hard to break out of one thing. I just stopped doing too much and started just doing what I really, really, really loved, whether it was comedy and drama, and somehow I got here. I don't know how, but here I am, and I'm not taking any of it for granted."
Oscars: Nine Films Nominated for Best Picture
Chris Hemsworth and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs made the announcement Thursday morning.
Chris Hemsworth and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the nominees for the86th Academy Awards at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Thursday morning.
American Hustle and Gravity led with 10 nominations each, while 12 Years a Slave followed closely with nine. Nine films were nominated for best picture.
Here are the complete list of nominees:
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Performance by an actor in a leading role
Christian Bale, American Hustle (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Bruce Dern, Nebraska (Paramount)
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount)
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight)
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Amy Adams, American Hustle (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics)
Sandra Bullock, Gravity (Warner Bros.)
Judi Dench, Philomena (The Weinstein Company)
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County (The Weinstein Company)
Best performance by an actor in a supporting role
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best performance by an actress in a supporting role
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
June Squibb, Nebraska
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Best Animated Feature
The Wind Rises
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Achievement in cinematography
The Grandmaster, Philippe Le Sourd
Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska, Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners, Roger A. Deakins
Achievement in costume design
American Hustle, Michael Wilkinson
The Grandmaster, William Chang Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin
The Invisible Woman, Michael O’Connor
12 Years a Slave, Patricia Norris
Achievement in directing
American Hustle, David O. Russell
Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón
Nebraska, Alexander Payne
12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen
The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese
Best documentary feature
The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
Cutie and the Boxer, Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
Dirty Wars, Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
The Square, Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
20 Feet from Stardom, Nominees to be determined
Best documentary short subject
CaveDigger, Jeffrey Karoff
Facing Fear, Jason Cohen
Karama Has No Walls, Sara Ishaq
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall, Edgar Barens
Achievement in film editing
American Hustle, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips, Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club, John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
12 Years a Slave, Joe Walker
Best foreign language film of the year
“The Broken Circle Breakdown” Belgium
“The Great Beauty” Italy
“The Hunt” Denmark
“The Missing Picture” Cambodia
Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
“Dallas Buyers Club” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” Stephen Prouty
“The Lone Ranger” Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“The Book Thief” John Williams
“Gravity” Steven Price
“Her” William Butler and Owen Pallett
“Philomena” Alexandre Desplat
“Saving Mr. Banks” Thomas Newman
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Alone Yet Not Alone” from “Alone Yet Not Alone”
Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song” from “Her”
Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson
Best motion picture of the year
“American Hustle” Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
“Captain Phillips” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
“Dallas Buyers Club” Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers
“Her” Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
“Nebraska” Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
“Philomena” Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
“12 Years a Slave” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Nominees to be determined
Achievement in production design
“American Hustle” Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
“Gravity” Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
“The Great Gatsby” Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
“Her” Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
“12 Years a Slave” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker
Best animated short film
“Feral” Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
“Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
“Mr. Hublot” Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
“Possessions” Shuhei Morita
“Room on the Broom” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer
Best live action short film
“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)” Esteban Crespo
“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)” Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
“Helium” Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
“Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)” Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
“The Voorman Problem” Mark Gill and Baldwin Li
Achievement in sound editing
“All Is Lost” Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
“Captain Phillips” Oliver Tarney
“Gravity” Glenn Freemantle
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Brent Burge
“Lone Survivor” Wylie Stateman
Achievement in sound mixing
“Captain Phillips” Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
“Gravity” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
“Inside Llewyn Davis” Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
“Lone Survivor” Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow
Achievement in visual effects
“Gravity” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
“Iron Man 3” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
“The Lone Ranger” Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
“Star Trek Into Darkness” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton
“Before Midnight” Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips” Screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena” Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave” Screenplay by John Ridley
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Screenplay by Terence Winter
“American Hustle” Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine” Written by Woody Allen
“Dallas Buyers Club” Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
“Her” Written by Spike Jonze
“Nebraska” Written by Bob Nelson
The Oscars will air live Sunday, March 2, on ABC. Ellen DeGeneres will host the show, which is produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The show will have a "movie heroes" theme, honoring big-screen real-life heroes, superheroes, popular heroes and animated heroes, both past and present, as well as the filmmakers who have brought them to life in theaters.
Walt Disney's Grandniece Agrees With Meryl Streep: He Was 'Racist'
Abigail Disney also slammed "Saving Mr. Banks" on Facebook for being "a brazen attempt by the company to make a saint out of the man."
Abigail Disney, the filmmaker/social activist grandniece of Walt Disney, has weighed in on Meryl Streep's scathing criticism of the animation legend, revealing that she has "mixed feelings" but ultimately "loved" the actress' remarks.
On Jan. 7, Streep set off controversy during her National Board of Review presentation when she dubbed Walt a "bigot," and called him a racist, sexist and supporter of anti-Semitism -- points which have been disputed, to one degree or another, by some historians and people who knew the man.
On Friday, Abigail posted two Facebook statuses that left no doubt about her own views regarding her great-uncle, Streep and Walt Disney Pictures, the distributor of Saving Mr. Banks, in which Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney.
That morning, Abigail, whose grandfather Roy O. Disney was Walt's older brother and co-founder of The Walt Disney Company, posted: "I hadn't heard a word about this Meryl Streep/Walt Disney flap till this morning. Funny how no one mentioned it to me.... Like I was living in some kind of information bubble and nobody wanted to hurt my feelings or something. But if anyone is going to have mixed feelings about a cultural icon, wouldn't it be a member of the family??? More than anyone else???
"And if you are going to have mixed feelings about a family member (and we all do) take it from me, you really need to be as honest as possible about those feelings, or else you are going to lead yourself into many a blind alley in life!! ... Anti-Semite? Check. Misogynist? OF COURSE!! Racist? C'mon he made a film (Jungle Book) about how you should stay 'with your own kind' at the height of the fight over segregation! As if the 'King of the Jungle' number wasn't proof enough!! How much more information do you need? But damn, he was hella good at making films and his work has made billions of people happy. There's no denying it. So there ya go. Mixed feelings up the wazoo."
Abigail posted again 10 hours later: "I feel I have to clarify. I LOVED what Meryl Streep said. I know he was a man of his times and I can forgive him, but Saving Mr Banks was a brazen attempt by the company to make a saint out of the man. A devil he was not. Nor an angel. That's the point and if you read ALL her remarks you'll know that's exactly what she was getting at. She said exactly what I said about how in spite of it all, his vision was amazing and he brought joy to so many around the world. So I say Brava Meryl. I don't believe in bashing for bashing's sake but whenever we see a misplaced attempt at hagiography we need to speak our minds!"
The Walt Disney Company declined to comment on the Facebook posts. This is not the first time that Abigail has spoken out to criticize Walt or the studio he founded.
On Dec. 12, 2013, she posted to Facebook a note that included her thoughts on Banks and Disney in general: "What my family's business has done is to dumb down and middle-ify and oversimplify (ok, ok DISNEYFY) so much, and while that has rightly and admirably brought a lot of pleasure--joy even-- to a lot of people who needed it given that life can be hard and pleasure hard to come by, it has also encouraged that most grim and American tendency to gloss over the untidy complexities of life, sometimes at great cost to the lived experiences of many others."
Back in 2012, Abigail attempted to renounce her share of the profits from the Disneys' investment in the Ahava cosmetics company, which is based in a West Bank settlement, stating, "I cannot in good conscience profit from what is technically the 'plunder' or 'pillage' of occupied natural resources." When she found that she was legally unable to do so, she donated the investments and profits "to organizations working to end this illegal exploitation."
The New 'American Idol': A Cheeseburger, a Coke and a Smile (And Shut the F--- Up)
Speaking with THR, the show's judges and producers explain how they had to look back in order to move forward with the floundering Fox hit.
The biggest difference viewers will notice when American Idol season 13 kicks off on Jan. 15? Not the snazzy Roman numeral logo or the postcard-inspired, Greetings from Asbury Park-esque graphics denoting each audition city. With a new team in place -- including executive producers Per Blankens; Den of Thieves, comprised of MTV veterans Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager; and David Hill, CEO of Fox Sports Media Group -- the changes are less visual but no less impactful: the show's three judges, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr., leaning in to confer amongst themselves, agreeing with a pointed commentary rather than rolling their eyes, respecting each others' careers and not gloating in another's failure.
"We stressed that we wanted a panel [of people who] enjoyed each others' company and could actually sit down together or go out to lunch," says Blankens, who was showrunner of the Swedish version of Idol from 2007 through 2011. (During Blankens' last season on the show, it commanded a 51 percent share of the country's total TV viewers). "If we don't have a good time behind the camera, then we can't expect the viewers to have a good time when they see the show."
It's a congeniality that was painfully missing during season 12, when Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj scrapped like two high schoolers, as fellow judges Randy Jackson and Keith Urban struggled to keep the peace. "It was a nightmare," one show insider tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding that the casting ended up, "really biting everybody in the ass."
Even now, eight months later, host Ryan Seacrest has a hard time talking about the drama that went down both onscreen and off. "Keith and I got along really well last season," he cracks when asked if he enjoyed going to work last year. Urban swiftly jumps in to elaborate. "There’s more focus in front of the desk this season instead of behind it, which is where it should be," says the country singer.
With the Fox show's 2013 ratings in free fall (averaging 13.2 million viewers in season 12, down from 17.2 in season 11), matching the numbers of 2002, the powers-that-be, which also include production partners FremantleMedia and CORE Media group, are looking backwards in order to move forward. "Our motto this year is back to basics," says Blankens. "We think that this is the best show there is -- the original that's inspired others -- so it's not that viewers necessarily want that big gimmicky change in order to come back to the TV couches. They want to see the show they've grown to love."
Prager, whose production role is on the floor, while Ignjatovic's is in the control room, agrees. "We're finding the elements that we want to reinvigorate, but each one has to check all those boxes of what makes Idol great."
Indeed, Connick likens the appeal of Idol to that of an American mainstay like cheeseburgers ("It ain’t nothing fancy — it's a familiar, simple formula: 50 years from now, people are still going to be making cheeseburgers.") or a brand like Coca-Cola. "Remember when they came out with new Coke and everybody was upset by it? It couldn't have teed up the return of Coke Classic any better," he explains. "When Coke Classic came out, it exploded even bigger than it was before because it created this void and people missed it. And I think that's what this year can potentially do for this brand. People sort of missed their classic American Idol. And it's back." Adds Lopez, "There can be tons of other sodas out there, but there's only one Coca-Cola, baby."
But the battle for eyeballs and engagement has been a fierce one in recent years, with NBC's The Voice advancing to the front of the pack. Its season five finale, after which Tessanne Chin would be declared winner, drew 12.6 million viewers, while Idol's season 12, won by Candice Glover, notched 12.1 million. And with The Voice's Emmy win for Outstanding Reality-Competition in Sept. 2013 (a prize never achieved by Idol), the competition got more heated. Even former Idol EP Nigel Lythgoe, who was let go following the 2013 finale (and learned of his firing while on vacation in the Bahamas), weighed in on the perceived snub, tweeting that Idol was "The first, the best and the program that changed the face of TV."
With a trailblazer legacy and a proven track record of hits in the music world (among the alums to succeed beyond the show: season one's Kelly Clarkson, season 11's Phillip Phillips and season four's Carrie Underwood, who helped draw nearly 19 million people to NBC's live musical presentation of The Sound of Music), why, then, has Idol lost so much of its luster?
According to Brad Adgate, Senior VP of Research at Horizon Media, the buzz has simply dissipated. "The show was always mentioned on morning radio and featured on the covers of entertainment magazines. … There was this kind of ancillary press that Idol was always able to get. Now, it's not there." The trick, he says, is to "recapture that in some way." Only then will the show feel relevant to younger viewers "who are leaving in droves."
The judges and producers don’t necessarily disagree, and in an effort to appeal to the younger sect, have made one major change in updating the music. With musical director Rickey Minor returning to the fold after a two-year stint on The Tonight Show (and bringing along season eight finalist Allison Iraheta as a backup singer), season 13's Hollywood Week saw group numbers of songs like Lorde's "Royals" and Alex Clare's "Too Close," an EDM hit. "It was a concerted effort to get fresh music into the show," says Ignjatovic. "We want to reflect what’s popular today."
When later speaking to THR, Lopez cited Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" and newcomer Ariana Grande as "pop stars," yes, but also "great singers." Another plus, said Lopez: "There's exposure to so many different types of music that anybody can do anything. That's what's being reflected on the radio right now, you're seeing a lot of variety."
Viewers may however be surprised to learn that even though the contestants have their choice of many more contemporary songs, plenty still go for the classics, like Jackson 5's "I Want You Back." Pink's "Give Me A Reason," for example, was on the Hollywood Week list, but "nobody picked it," a source reveals, still flummoxed.
Perhaps it's a way of testing someone's ability to make the right song choice in a relatively unrestricted environment. As the insider explains, the directive by Idol's new team is to allow "more wide-open themes" so that "everyone will always be able to sing whatever song they want to do."
Adds Ignjatovic, "It's really a simple concept. And it works."
Blurred Lines' Lawsuit: Sony/ATV Settles With Marvin Gaye's Family (Exclusive)
The publishing company was accused of protecting Robin Thicke's hit song.
In response, Gaye's children not only brought counterclaims against Thicke and his producers, but also targeted EMI April, owned by Sony/ATV, for allegedly breaching its obligations to protect the Gaye catalogue. According to the Gaye family's court papers, EMI also administered rights on "Blurred Lines" and didn't want Gaye's family getting in the way of the song's ongoing success. The chairman of EMI is even said to have contacted Gaye's legal representative with warnings about making a frivolous claim.
Put in the cross-fire, Sony/ATV responded that the family's move to rescind their contractual relationship had been "ill-advised." Now, comes a settlement agreement between Gaye's family and the music publisher. Terms haven't been made public.
The agreement means that Sony/ATV won't have to defend their impartiality in administering copyrights to both Thicke's work and Gaye's. It will also release the company from having to address what was said to have been a conflict inherent in owning 30 percent of the music publishing market.
However, it won't completely finish the involvement of Sony/ATV in the lingering dispute between Thicke and Gaye's children. As discovery is pursued, and as the case pushes its way to a potential trial, Thicke's camp will likely want a jury to hear exactly why Sony concluded the songs were not substantially similar.
Was Meryl Streep Correct Calling Walt Disney a 'Bigot'? .
The actress accused the mogul of being sexist, racist and anti-Semitic, but experts who have dug in to the icon's controversial legacy say the truth is more complicated.
Meryl Streep caused eyebrows to raise throughout Hollywood with her appearance Jan. 7 at the National Board of Review awards ceremony at which she attacked Walt Disney as a man who “had some racist proclivities” and “supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group and [was] a gender bigot.” Streep, who is starring in the Disney Studio’s big-screen adaptation of the musical Into the Woods, which will be released next Christmas, was on hand to present a best actress trophy to Emma Thompson, who plays Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers opposite Tom Hanks’ Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks.
“I thought, ‘Oh, wow, she didn’t have to do that,’” says one startled awards consultant. “She’s giving an award to Emma Thompson for a film that’s sort of a love letter to Disney! But she’s Meryl Streep, she can say whatever she wants.” Says one male Academy member of Streep, “What a silly woman! How the hell does she say that? Pick on a dead guy whom she didn’t know.”
While Streep’s remarks spread like wildfire, industry observers doubt any reputations were seriously harmed in the process. “Her film [August: Osage County] was not going to get nominated for best picture anyway,” says the awards consultant, so Streep likely didn’t hurt its chances. Saving Mr. Banks – which THR awards analyst Scott Feinberg rates as a frontrunner for best picture, actress (Thompson), supporting actor (Hanks) and score – has more to lose. But according to a female Academy member, Streep’s anti-Disney comments won’t harm Disney’s film either. “I am a huge fan of Ms. Streep, Ms. Thompson and that old anti-Semite himself, Mr. Disney, and I'm a Jewish feminist,” says the voter. “I long ago learned that my idols frequently hold values very different from my own and, up to a point, I'm okay with it. It wouldn't keep me from voting for anyone in Saving Mr. Banks, that's for sure.”
In fact, that was part of the point Streep was making. While hailing her friend Thompson as a fellow “rabid, man-eating feminist,” she argued that art can redeem an artist who harbors prejudices and that Disney, for all his flaws, “brought joy, arguably, to billions of people.”
"This wasn't her intention, I'm sure, but what Streep did fits elegantly with the positioning strategy of the film,” says David Hajdu, Columbia University film and music scholar. “The Disney company made it, with the encouragement of the Disney estate, to help boost the Disney brand by showing that Walt Disney was actually a real person, and not merely a logo that signifies industrialized blandness and cheer. To be a real person is to be flawed in your humanity, and Meryl Streep reminded us just how deeply flawed Walt Disney was as a human being. A misogynist? You bet. An anti-Semite? That, too. In terms of the Disney company’s strategy, Streep was right on script.”
Spokespeople for Streep and Disney had no comment on the incident. However, several Disney experts THR consulted contend that Streep wasn’t fair to Walt. Here are their reactions to Streep’s three charges against Disney:
Racist? Though Disney shared the racial insensitivity of his day – thinking it would be funny, for example, to have a watermelon-eating black centaur girl in Fantasia -- he also attempted to be sensitive as well. Disney biographer Neal Gabler notes in Walt Disney: The Triumph of the Imagination that he sought input for his live action/animated film, Song of the South, from NAACP official Walter White and other leaders and removed some offensive phrases like “darkey” from the script.
Sexist? Streep quoted Disney animator Ward Kimball, who said, “He didn’t trust women or cats,” and she read from a 1938 letter from Disney informing a female job applicant, “Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men. For this reason, girls are not considered for the training school. The only work open to women consists of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with India ink, and then, filling in the tracing on the reverse side with paint according to directions."
But women were shut out of animation and confined to inking and painting all over Hollywood in the ‘30s. “That was an industry-wide practice,” says one animation expert. “There were, however, a number of women working at [Disney] in a creative capacity during that time, mostly in story development.” In 1941, Walt told male artists working on Dumbo, "If a woman can do the work as well, she is worth as much as a man. The girl artists have the right to expect the same chances for advancement as men, and I honestly believe they may eventually contribute something to this business that men never would or could.” Retta Scott became Disney’s first female animator on 1942’s Bambi, and in the ‘40s and ‘50s, Mary Blair was art supervisor and color stylist for Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan.
In 1959, Disney wrote, “Women are the best judges of anything we turn out. Their taste is very important. They are the theatergoers, they are the ones who drag the men in. If the women like it, to heck with the men.”
Anti-Semite? That may be the most misunderstood aspect of Disney’s legacy, say some scholars. “It would be unfair to label him an anti-Semite himself,” wrote Gabler in 2009. “There is no evidence whatsoever in the extensive Disney Archives of any anti-semitic remarks or actions by Walt.” He employed Herman "Kay" Kamen as his merchandising chief, and he once said that Disney’s New York office “had more Jews than the Book of Leviticus.”
He employed a Jewish man Kay Kamen as his merchandising chief, and he once said that Disney’s New York office “had more Jews than the Book of Leviticus.”
Disney gave to the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of the City of New York, Yeshiva College, and the Jewish Home for the Aged, and was voted 1955 Man of the Year by the Beverly Hills Lodge of the B'nai B'rith.
So why did Snow White animators Art Babbitt and David Hilberman claim that Walt was anti-Semitic? Gabler and other experts say that, while Babbitt’s and Hilberman’s charges are hard to prove or disprove, they were deeply angry over the animators’ strike of 1941. Disney was paternalistically convinced he was a great boss, which in some ways he was, and the strike also left him bitter, convinced that it had been fomented by Communists to damage him.
Streep was correct to note Disney joined the anti-Semitic, anti-communist MPA – the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. Other big studio chiefs avoided the group, but Disney was either naïve politically or willing to put up with its anti-Semitism to advance the cause of bashing Communism.
Douglas Brode, the proudly Jewish author of Multiculturalism and the Mouse: Race and Sex in Disney Entertainment, says, "There is zero hard evidence that Disney ever wrote or said anything anti-Semitic in private or public. His films feature a wide array of great Jewish actors in the most diverse roles imaginable, more so than any other studio of Hollywood's golden age, including those run by Jewish movie moguls. Finally, there is no evidence in the work of anti-Semitism via negatively portrayed Jewish characters. Disney, let's recall, was the first filmmaker ever to cast a Jewish actor, Ed Wynn, as Santa Claus, in Babes in Toyland. We ought to give Disney the benefit of the doubt. Such attacks, including the recent one by Ms. Streep, constitute the repetition of a vicious rumor that has no basis in anything that can be thought of as fact."
Cable TV Contributes More than 60 Percent of Hollywood Profits (Analysis)
Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, Fox, NBCUniversal and CBS have all seen gains from ad growth and carriage fee negotiations, according to a THR analysis of data from the first three quarters of 2013.
How dependent is Hollywood on cable TV networks? Thanks to ad growth and gains from carriage fee negotiations, cable network units now contribute more than 60 percent of nearly all entertainment giants' operating profits, according to a THR analysis of data from the first three quarters of 2013. (CBS Corp., which has a smaller cable portfolio, is the exception, though its growth outpaced most peers.)
Disney, led by ESPN, and Time Warner, home of HBO, recorded the highest profits from their cable nets, while NBCUniversal's cable unit saw the lowest profit growth. And a whopping 89 percent of Viacom's profit now comes from cable.
Notes analyst Matthew Harrigan, "Carriage disputes have generally not had material effect on results."
Jay Z Is Beneath Harry Belafonte
The Root magazine writer Keli Goff has voiced an opinion on the current war of words between political activist Harry Belafonte and rap mogul Jay Z by pointing out Jigga's faults.
In a feature titled "5 Ways Harry Belafonte Is Greater Than Jay Z," Goff paints Young Hov as more of a penny-pincher compared to Belafonte.
1. Harry Belafonte gives money to black people. Jay Z takes money from black people. When it comes to philanthropic endeavors that have benefited the black community, Belafonte's contributions are too numerous to list. A brief overview includes helping to financially support the family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while King was a struggling pastor and up-and-coming civil rights icon, and helping to bail King out of jail following his arrest in Alabama. Belafonte also helped fund the Freedom Rides. Yep. That means if you are black and reading this article from an integrated location somewhere in the South, you owe Harry Belafonte a big old "thank you." (The Root)
Goff goes on to point out various examples of Jay not being as charitable as he makes himself out to be.
As far as Jay Z (birth name Shawn Carter), here's an analysis of his charitable giving by one outlet: In 2010, Jay-Z only reportedly donated $6,431 of his $63 million earnings to his own Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund, and Beyonce is being drawn into the mix too. Out of the $87 million she earned in 2010, not a single penny went to her husband's foundation. According to Jay-Z's representative, Jana Fleishman: "Jay, along with his family, provided office support, overhead support, Mrs. Gloria Carter's 100 percent effort and time [his mother], computers, FedEx expenses, accounting, and treasury function support," she wrote in an email to The Daily, adding. "This was at no cost to the charity." But that office support didn't add up to much that year. According to tax records, $1,209 was spent on office expenses, $1,401 for the telephone, and $4,696 for other expenses. Of the three charitable donations that were given to the Shawn Carter Fund that year, which totaled $218,849, Jay's was the smallest. (The Root)
Recently, Belafonte said he wanted an opportunity to see Jay and his wife face-to-face.
"I would hope with all my heart, that Jay-Z not take personally what was said because it was not said to him personally. ...I would like to take this opportunity to say to Jay Z and Beyonce: I'm wide open, my heart is filled with nothing but hope and the promise that we can sit and have a one-on-one to understand each other rather than trying to answer this question and answer these nuisances in a public place. I think it is not the right place for us to be having our exchanges." (MSNBC)
Recently, Jigga spoke out on staying mum despite being criticized by the 86-year-old last summer.
"I'm offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama's is. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation, and outside of America is enough," Jay said in an interview. "Just being who he is. You're the first black president. If he speaks on any issue or anything he should be left alone... Of course we want to challenge him to do better. I felt Belafonte he just went about it wrong. Like the way he did it in the media, and then he big upped Bruce Springsteen or somebody. And it was like, 'whoa,' you just sent the wrong message all the way around...Bruce Springsteen is a great guy. You're this Civil Rights activist and you just big upped the white guy against me in the white media. And I'm not saying that in a racial way. I'm just saying what it is. The fact of what it was. And that was just the wrong way to go about it." (#FACTSONLY)
NASA on Beyonce's Use of Challenger Audio: Tragedy 'Should Never Be .
The agency officially responds to the singer's use of a recording from the 1986 explosion, which former astronauts and family members have called "insensitive."
NASA has officially responded to Beyonce's use of audio from the space shuttle Challenger explosion in her new song "XO," saying that the tragedy "should never be trivialized."
“The Challenger accident is an important part of our history; a tragic reminder that space exploration is risky and should never be trivialized," NASA said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "NASA works every day to honor the legacy of our fallen astronauts as we carry out our mission to reach for new heights and explore the universe.”
Beyonce has been criticized by former NASA employees, astronauts and their family members for using a six-second clip of a NASA public affairs officer commenting on the tragedy as it was unfolding.
The Challenger space shuttle exploded shortly after liftoff in 1986, and all seven crew members aboard were killed.
Current and former NASA astronauts, employees and Challenger family members called Beyonce's choice to use audio from the tragedy at the beginning of a track about a troubled relationship, "insensitive."
June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger space shuttle commander Dick Scobee, told ABC News: "We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song 'XO.' The moment included in this song is an emotionally difficult one for the Challenger families, colleagues and friends. We have always chosen to focus not on how our loved ones were lost, but rather on how they lived and how their legacy lives on today."
Former NASA employee Keith Cowing added: "This choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme. The choice is little different than taking Walter Cronkite's words to viewers announcing the death of President Kennedy or 911 calls from the World Trade Center attack and using them for shock value in a pop tune."
Cowing, who now runs NASAWatch.com, also told ABC that he wants Beyonce to remove the clip and apologize to families of the Challenger crew.
In a statement released to ABC News, Beyonce expressed her sympathies for the families of those who died in the Challenger disaster and indicated she didn't mean any offense by using the audio.
"My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster. The song 'XO' was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones and to remind us that unexpected things happen, so love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you," she said. "The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten."
Watch the "XO" video below.
New Year's Eve: What to Watch on TV
Who is performing in Times Square on Dec. 31? THR rounds up the broadcast and cable networks' special New Year's Eve programming.
From Ryan Seacrest to Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, New Year's Eve is bound to be one to remember with scheduled performers like headline-makers Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke and Blake Shelton expected to take the stage.
The Hollywood Reporter compiles a compete guide to the networks' special New Year's Eve specials and programs.
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2014 (10 p.m., ABC)
Hosts: Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy from Times Square; Fergie from the West Coast
Performers: Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Blondie and Icona Pop (Times Square); Ariana Grande, Capital Cities, Daughtry, The Fray, Robin Thicke, Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo, Fall Out Boy, Florida Georgia Line and Jennifer Hudson (West Coast); Pitbull (Miami); Billy Joel (Brooklyn)
Beginning 8 p.m., Seacrest, McCarthy and Fergie will co-host a two-hour New Year's Rockin' Eve Presents the 30 Greatest Women in Music, counting down the best female musical artists.
New Year's Eve With Carson Daly (10 p.m., NBC)
Hosts: Carson Daly and Jane Lynch
Performers: Mariah Carey, Blake Shelton
Natasha Leggero and Anthony Anderson will also appear as guests during the two-hour telecast. Today's Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb will lead into Daly's countdown with a two-hour NBC News-produced special at 8 p.m., A Toast to 2013! It will take a look at the year that was, including the biggest stories, scandals, celebrities and more. A slew of stars, including Jane Lynch, Michael Buble, Sheryl Sandberg, Pharrell Williams, Questlove and Ian Ziering are expected to be featured.
New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin (9 p.m., CNN)
Hosts: Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin
CNN correspondents will also report from around the country and world. Isha Sesay reports from Times Square, Brooke Baldwin will be in New Orleans, Susan Hendricks from Nashville and Gary Tuchman from Vincennes, Ind. for the Watermelon Drop. At 8 p.m., an Anderson Cooper 360 special titled "All the Best, All the Worst 2013" will highlight the highs and lows of the past year in politics, pop culture, economy and entertainment hosted by Tom Foreman. Following the countdown, Baldwin takes over at 12:30 a.m.
New Year's Eve Live (11 p.m., Fox)
Host: Mario Lopez
Performers: J. Cole, Krewella, New Politics and Panic! at the Disco
The special will be broadcast from Las Vegas, with performances from Light Nightclub at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Fox will also broadcast the Times Square ball drop to welcome 2014.
All-American New Year's Eve (9 p.m., Fox News Channel)
Hosts: Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Bill Hemmer
Performers: Rodney Atkins, Blues Travelor and Susan Boyle
Fox News' Kimberly Guilfoyle, Bob Beckel, Ainsley Earhardt and Rick Leventhal will contribute.
TeenNick Top 10: New Year’s Eve Countdown (11 p.m., Nickelodeon)
Host: Nick Cannon
Performers: Nick Cannon, 4Count and Echosmith
The one-hour telecast -- broadcast across all Nickelodeon networks in the U.S. -- will take place in New York City overlooking Times Square and count down the year's top music videos. Cannon will take the stage for “Looking for a Dream," Southern California indie pop band Echosmith will perform “Cool Kids” and boy band 4Count will close out the evening with "Epic.”
Girl Code Presents: New Year's Code (10 p.m., MTV)
Hosts: Carly Aquilino (Girl Code) and Charlamagne tha God (Guy Code)
Girl Code and Guy Code castmembers will also talk about the "code" for New Year's Eve parties, midnight kisses, resolutions and how to recover from a hangover. They will also highlight the best moments in pop culture from the past year, with celebrities sharing New Year's Eve stories.
New Year's Eve Dance Party (9 p.m., Fuse)
Need some music to help ring in 2014? Fuse has scheduled a night-long "dance party" featuring the year's top tunes.
Best of 2013: MIEN
Personal faves include a mix of indies and studio pics, a music doc, an NC-17 love story, a Danish character study, a dialogue-free drama and a 3D thriller.
Editors Top Movies of 2013
Okay confession, I only went to 3 movies this year however I did like
1. The Butler
2. Jangled Unchained
3. 12 Year Slave
Humm, why are they all slave movies...... I need to work on that, therefore I defer to Scott the movie guru.
The following list and remarks reflect my personal opinions and do/will not in any way impact my projections or analyses on this site, through which I strive above all else to correctly forecast what will happen. My demonstrated ability to do that over the years is what has led many of you to my coverage, and any failure on my part to do that would undoubtedly lead many of you away from it, so you can rest assured that I mean it when I say that one has/will have no bearing on the other.
Scott Feinberg's Top 10 Films of 2013:
10. Gimme the Loot (Sundance Selects, 3/22, NR, trailer)
The directorial debut of 31-year-old Adam Leon -- a white kid who majored in African-American studies -- offers a gritty, immensely fun and funny look at class and race in present-day New York, as seen through the eyes of two teenage graffiti artists (the remarkably naturalistic first-timers Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson) whom you can't help but like in spite of their petty crimes and who can't quite bring themselves to admit that they like each other. The duo's quixotic quest to raise $500 to gain access to and "bomb" the home-run apple at the Mets baseball stadium, as written and directed by Leon, has the vibe of a Spike Lee joint and the verbiage of a Quentin Tarantino flick, with laugh-out-loud riffs on subjects ranging from yarmulkes to condoms. The film premiered at last year's South by Southwest, where it was awarded the Grand Jury Prize; played at Cannes; and recently garnered Leon the Someone to Watch accolade at the Spirit Awards; plus noms for best breakthrough director at the Gotham Awards and best first feature at the Spirit Awards.
9. 20 Feet From Stardom (RADiUS-TWC, 6/14, PG-13, trailer)
Morgan Neville's crowd-pleasing doc offers both a macro and micro look at the history of backup singers in American music -- people whose faces and voices have always been overshadowed by others but without whom many of our most treasured songs would never have been possible. A glossy production featuring fresh interviews with many famous frontmen (including Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger and Sting) testifying to the importance of the people who stand behind them (among them Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and Judith Hill, who also discuss their work with great candor), it causes viewers to take notice of, appreciate and never again look the same way at something that was always right before their eyes, which is one of the most remarkable things a doc can do. The film premiered at Sundance, was nominated for the best doc Spirit Award and was named one of the year's top five docs by the National Board of Review.
8. The Hunt (Magnolia, 7/12, R, trailer)
A few excellent films have revolved around people who committed crimes against children, from M (1931) to The Woodsman (2004), but none, to my knowledge, has ever focused on a person who is falsely accused of this sort of behavior -- which is, understandably, as stigmatized as any -- until this character study from Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg. Set and shot in a small village in Denmark, it tells the story of a kind-hearted daycare employee (Mads Mikkelsen) whose life is thrown into disarray after one of his young charges (Annika Wedderkopp) -- the lonely daughter of his best friend (Thomas Bo Larsen), to whom he has always been particularly attentive -- claims that he exposed himself to her. The film serves as a haunting reminder that the most valuable possession any of us have is our reputation and an almost biblical warning to be very careful before tarnishing someone else's ("Judge not, lest ye be judged"). Mikkelsen was awarded the best actor prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival and the film, which is nominated for the best foreign language Golden Globe and Spirit awards, is one of the Academy's nine finalists for the best foreign language film Oscar.
7. All Is Lost (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions, 10/18, PG-13, trailer)
The year's most surprising movie, in a sense, was this dramatic thriller, not because the people who made it weren't already known to be supremely talented -- writer-director J.C. Chandor's debut feature, Margin Call, was an Oscar-nominated masterpiece and actor Robert Redford is universally regarded as one of the greatest movie stars of all-time -- but because this film is so different from, and yet just as good if not better than, anything those two individuals had ever done before. Whereas Margin Call was a dialogue-heavy look at a group of people trying to do damage control in a corporate setting, this is an almost dialogue-free look at one man trying to do damage control out in the middle of the ocean as his yacht starts to sink. And while Redford has usually played perfectly coiffed, smooth-talking and in-control characters, here the actor, now 77, gets to be none of those things; he instead plays a man who is just trying to survive, like everyone else, and he is as magnetic onscreen as he has ever been, proving beyond a doubt that he is not "just" a great movie star but also a great actor. (No wonder he has already received best actor Gotham, Critics' Choice and Golden Globe award noms and won the New York Film Critics Circle's best actor prize for this performance.) And what is better than an ambiguous ending that forces you to form your own conclusions, rather than spoon-feeding them to you? Nothing -- at least for people who like to think.
6. Blue Is the Warmest Color (IFC Films/Sundance Selects, 10/25, NC-17, trailer)
Initially described to me during the Cannes Film Festival as "the three-hour French lesbian movie with the seven-minute graphic sex scene," Abdellatif Kechiche's film proved to be so much more, as the Steven Spielberg-led Cannes jury acknowledged in awarding the Palme d'Or to not only its director but, in a festival-first, also its stars, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux. The movie is an epic examination of the emotional turmoil that comes with falling in and out of love, generally, and "forbidden love," specifically. In that sense, it is not unlike Ang Lee's widely celebrated Brokeback Mountain (2005), except that the love story at its center involves two young women instead of two young men and unfolds in France instead of America. No one demonstrated greater commitment to their work in 2013 than these two, who gave great performances because or in spite of an incredibly demanding director whose approach -- such as shooting the sex scene on day one and more than 100 takes of other scenes without offering any notes after each -- makes Hitchcock look like a pushover. The film is ineligible for this year's best foreign language film Oscar due to its French release date, but it has scored Golden Globe and Spirit Award noms in that category and was voted the year's best foreign film by both the Los Angeles and New York film critics; Exarchopoulos was also chosen as the year's best actress by the New York film critics and best breakthrough actress by the National Board of Review.
5. 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight, 10/18, R, trailer)
Some things aren't fun but are necessary, and watching Steve McQueen's film, the finest ever made about American slavery, is one of them. Adapted by John Ridley from Solomon Northup's 1853 autobiography of the same title, the movie recounts the remarkable true story of a free black man from the North (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who was deceived and sold into slavery in the South in mid-19th century America, whereupon he bears witness to acts of cruelty (Michael Fassbender's slave master and his Southern belle wife, played by Sarah Paulson, are unspeakably sadistic toward Lupita Nyong'o's slave) and kindness (Benedict Cumberbatch's slave master gives him a violin and Brad Pitt's carpenter becomes his advocate), all while keeping his head down in the hope of one day seeing his family again. We all know where this film is heading before it starts -- the duration of Northup's nightmarish experience is given away in the title and we know he lived to write about it -- but it is impossible to truly grasp what his journey must have been like until we see it come to life on the big screen in a way to which no verbal or literary account could ever compare. (Consequently, no film received more Critics' Choice, Golden Globe or SAG award noms than did 12 Years, and all of its principal talent have won individual nominations and honors, as well.) And to think that slavery remained in practice in America as recently as 150 years ago helps one appreciate how far America has come and how far it still has to go when it comes to matters of race.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount, 12/25, R, trailer)
For my money, this fifth collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio is the best one yet -- yes, even better than the Oscar-winning The Departed -- and features the most impressive, Oscar-worthy work of the latter's distinguished career. DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort (from whose memoir Terence Winter adapted for the script), a guy who emerges from a working-class background to become a Wall Street hotshot who financially screws working-class people for a living. Belfort assembles a loyal team of like-minded outsiders who are willing to sell their souls for "a better life" (none more eager than the character played by Jonah Hill), picks up a trophy wife (the stunning and fiery Margot Robbie) and engages in every sort of debauchery imaginable on the way to his eventual comeuppance. Even though the financial shenanigans chronicled in the film happened well before and on a much smaller scale than those that caused the Great Recession, the film does capture the sort of corporate greed, excess and disregard for the average American that was far too prevalent in the run-up to it, something that few other films have managed to do. Thanks in no small part to several scenes featuring DiCaprio-as-Belfort that are mini-masterpieces -- a lunch with a chest-thumping mentor (Matthew McConaughey), a telephone conversation with a client while miming sex, a mental game of chess with an FBI agent (Kyle Chandler), three separate addresses to his employees and, especially, a heavily physical sequence involving quaaludes that would have impressed Chaplin -- Wolf feels like neither a three-hour film nor one directed by a 71-year-old, but rather like an awesomely fun but somewhat sickening roller-coaster ride. (It has received Golden Globe noms for best picture and best actor in a musical or comedy -- and would have undoubtedly fared better with critics groups and SAG Award voters had it not been unveiled so late in the year that many were unable to catch it before having to cast a ballot.)
3. Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films, 12/6, R, trailer)
With the possible exception of Sideways, I don't think that there has ever been another movie that I initially disliked more but later came to love more than this latest dramedy from the brothers Ethan and Joel Coen. What was the problem? Well, in the middle of dozens of screenings during a compact period of time at the Cannes Film Festival, I wasn't able to appreciate its wry humor (the Coens' calling card), beautiful music (hat-tip to longtime Coens collaborator T Bone Burnett), perfect casting (Oscar Isaac was tailor-made for the title role) and poetic portrait of an artist's struggle. (Upon each subsequent viewing I pick up new and wonderful things that I'd never noticed before, which, as I see it, is the sign of a truly great movie.) Set amid the 1961 Greenwich Village folk music scene, just before Bob Dylan emerged with his folk-protest/folk-rock brand and closed the door of history on the troubadours who preceded him, it follows, for a week, a struggling young singer who possesses the talent to be great -- and, for better or worse, knows it -- but lacks the ability to get out of his own way for long enough to let others see that for themselves. With a musical partner who killed himself, countless others disparaging him to his face (among them characters played memorably by Carey Mulligan, John Goodman and F. Murray Abraham), an elusive cat (a metaphor for his elusive stardom) and a punch in the face waiting for him as he -- representing his breed -- cedes the stage to others, Llewyn Davis just can't win. (Happily, Inside Llewyn Davis won the Grand Prix at Cannes, has since won the best feature Gotham Award and been nominated for the best picture and best actor in a musical or comedy Globes and the best feature and best actor Spirit Awards.)
2. Short Term 12 (Cinedigm, 8/23, NR, trailer)
After a summer of big-budget duds, this tiny, moving, beautiful little indie restored my faith in the movies. It boasts no bells or whistles or explosions -- just a script that is alternately hilarious, heartbreaking and heartwarming (by Destin Daniel Cretton, who splendidly expanded his own short of the same title into a feature) about compelling characters (a young couple who run a facility at which minors are observed and assisted after being removed from environments in which they were threatened or threatened others -- and who have troubles of their own) brought to life by performances that I would stack up against any this year (particularly that of Brie Larson, who deserves to win the best actress Oscar for which she probably won't even be nominated, but also John Gallagher Jr., Keith Stanfield and Kaitlyn Dever). In a fair and just world, everyone would know about and have seen this movie, but in the world in which we live few do or have. That must change. If my recommendation isn't enough to convince you to check it out, perhaps the film's South by Southwest's Grand Jury prize, Larson's best actress Gotham Award win and Critics' Choice and Spirit Award noms, and Stanfield's best supporting actor Spirit Award nom will be.
1. Gravity (Warner Bros., 10/4, PG-13, trailer)
Alfonso Cuaron's 3D space-set thriller was the best reason to buy a ticket to see a movie at a movie theater since Avatar; it is the most visually immersive and awe-inspiring film that I have ever seen and my experience of watching it for the first time was probably akin only to the experience that I've often heard described of seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars during their initial runs. A critically acclaimed blockbuster about two American astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) who become lost in space and struggle to survive after a freak accident caused by space debris, it literally shows what sort of magic can be achieved when every member of a filmmaking team -- writers, director, actors, cinematographers, visual effects artists, sound editors, composer, etc. -- dares to dream outside the box and then does the work necessary to expand the box in order to make those dreams achievable. Cuaron and his son, Jonas, penned a script for a story they didn't know how to tell technically; cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and visual effects supervisor Tim Webber, both longtime Cuaron collaborators, designed the technology necessary to realize the Cuarons' vision; and Bullock and Clooney, two A-listers who could have played it safe and avoided such a gamble of a project (with a $100 million production budget), instead embraced the challenges of telling a story in such an unprecedented manner. The script is not perfect -- some of the dialogue is a bit stilted and awkward and Bullock's character is unnecessarily given a cliched backstory -- but these shortcomings pale in comparison to the majesty of the rest of the cinematic achievement, which is nothing short of extraordinary. (Accordingly, it has been nominated for the best picture Critics' Choice and Golden Globe awards and was chosen, in a tie, as the year's best film by the Los Angeles film critics; its star Bullock has been nominated for every major best actress award; and it has pending nominations for -- or has won -- every VFX award out there.)
* * *
Scott Feinberg's Top 10 Films of 2013
2. Short Term 12
3. Inside Llewyn Davis
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. 12 Years a Slave
6. Blue Is the Warmest Color
7. All Is Lost
8. The Hunt
9. 20 Feet from Stardom
10. Gimme the Loot
Beyonce Sings 'Survivor' With Terminally-Ill Fan (Video)
Beyonce brought a terminally ill girl to tears by helping her fulfill her dying wish to dance with the superstar.
In a video posted to Beyonce's YouTube channel on Tuesday, the girl, Taylon, and the Make-a-Wish foundation explain how she ended up dancing with the Queen B. at her concert in Las Vegas.
Taylon notes that she just found out a few days earlier that she was attending the concert, as she excitedly anticipates the beginning of the show, grinning and bouncing up and down in her wheelchair.
"They found an inoperable tumor on her brain and her dying wish was to dance with Beyonce," philanthropy strategist Ivy McGregor says in the video.
During the show, Beyonce floats out to the catwalk near where Taylon was sitting and introduces herself to the girl, giving her a kiss on the cheek and a hug.
The two then sing part of Destiny's Child's hit "Survivor" and dance together.
After Beyonce gives her another kiss on the cheek and walks away onstage, the girl appears to start crying, overcome with emotion.
Battle of the Search Engines: Google and Bing Differ on Most-Searched Fashion Brands of 2013
Google lists Versace as its No. 1 most-searched high-end label, while Bing says it's Victoria Beckham.
The data is in for the most-searched fashion brand of 2013 -- and topping the lists are Versace and Victoria Beckham.
According to this year's Google Zeitgeist (released Tuesday), Versace takes the top spot with Michael Kors and Diesel Black Gold hot on its heels, ranking No. 2 and 3, respectively. Bing, which debuted its year in review lists Monday, ranked Victoria Beckham as its No. 1 most-searched fashion designer, with Kors and Ralph Lauren trailing at No. 2 and 3. The only overlap between the two search engines' lists is Kors.
It's likely Versace ranked No. 1 since Drake's single, "Versace," and Lifetime's House of Versace both debuted this year. When a user Googles "Versace," the search engine already auto-populates the first couple of search queries with "Versace lyrics" and "Versace Drake."
While the former Posh Spice doesn't appear on Google's list, it's not surprising that she topped Bing's list, since she's had quite a year. In 2013, the fashion designer launched an e-commerce site for her namesake label, planned for her first store opening in London, partnered with Skype for an upcoming fashion doc, and moved back to London from L.A. after her husband, soccer player David Beckham, finished his last season with L.A. Galaxy.
Former Project Runway judge Kors seems to be holding onto his popularity with Googlers and Bing-ers alike, as he was bumped down just a notch from the No. 1 spot on Bing's 2012 list and moved up from No. 4 on Google's 2012 index. Stella McCartney, who doesn't appear on either list, was the most popular on Google's list last year.
See the complete search-term lists below:
2. Michael Kors
3. Diesel Black Gold
5. Kate Spade
6. Rachel Zoe
7. Prabal Gurung
10. Luca Luca
1. Victoria Beckham
2. Michael Kors
3. Ralph Lauren
5. Kimora Lee Simmons
7. Tory Burch
8. Kate Spade
9. Steve Madden
10. Louis Vuitton
Palm Springs Film Fest: Amma Asante's 'Belle' To Open Lineup
Roger Michell's "Le Week-End" will close the festival, which runs Jan. 3-12.
Amma Asante’s Belle will serve as the opening night film of the 25th annual Palm Springs Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 3-12. Roger Michell’s Le Week-End will close the festival, which is screening 187 films from 60 countries, including 8 world premieres.
Belle, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Wilkinson, tells the true story of a mixed race girl raised by English aristocrats in the 18th century and is scheduled for release in the spring by Fox Searchlight. Le Week-End, stars Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as a married couple who reassess their relationship during a visit to Paris and will be released by Music Box.
"We launch our 25th anniversary edition with Amma Asante's entertaining and inspiring Belle and wrap with Roger Michell's enchanting tragi-comic Le Week-end, starring Lindsay Duncan and Jim Broadbent, thus illustrating the festival's commitment to celebrating the work of both emerging and seasoned filmmakers," artistic director Helen duToit said. "A further pool of exciting new talent is featured in our New Voices/New Visions showcase -- which bodes extremely well for the future of international cinema. In addition, we will present an archival program of seven audience favorites, including an outdoor screening of Cinema Paradiso. Many of our archival selections went on to win the foreign language Oscar, making our audience a harbinger of award winners and box office success."
The line-up for New Voices/New Visions, which is focused on emerging international directors, includes: Peter Franzen’s Above Dark Waters; Dan Harnden’s Bristel Goodman; Rok Bicek’s Class Enemy; Max Currie’s Everything We Loved; Lee Su-jin’s Han Gong-ju; Germinal Roaux’s Left Foot Right Foot, Andrea Pallaoro’s Medeas; Isabel de Ayguavives’ The Magnetic Tree; Benedikt Erlingsson’s Of Horses and Men; Reem Kherici’s Paris or Perish; Craig Goodwill’s Patch Town; and Matias Rojas Valencia’s Root.
To mark the festival’s 25th anniversary, the festival will screen films that played previous editions of the festival: Giuseepe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso; Yojiro Takita’s Departures; Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful; Danis Tanovic’s No Man’s Land; Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom; Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others; and Alejandro Amenabar’s The Sea Inside.
Jay Leno in Demand: CNN's Jeff Zucker Among Suitors
The late-night host will be without a TV job in February, with the architect of the "Tonight Show" debacle joining Tribune, "American Idol's" Core Media and even ex-NBC chief Jeff Gaspin among those courting him.
How in demand is Jay Leno? The most watched late-night host, who will be without a TV job in February when NBC transitions The Tonight Show to Jimmy Fallon, has been approached by some unlikely suitors.
Sources tell THR that CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker -- who, while running NBCUniversal, famously set in motion Leno's first ouster from Tonight by promising the show to Conan O'Brien in 2009 -- is among those who have approached Leno for a late-night or primetime show on his network. Zucker recently visited briefly with Leno at NBC in Burbank. Also among the 10 or so outlets courting the comic are Tribune, American Idol producer Core Media Group and even former NBC chief Jeff Gaspin. But Leno, 63, and his lone representative, attorney Ken Ziffren, are said to be refusing to entertain offers until the host fulfills his obligation to NBC on Feb. 6.
The workaholic Leno, whose ratings consistently beat those of rivals David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel, could decide to jump into another TV gig, tour or write a book. An unlikely option would be him staying with NBC in a new role, though entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt tells THR he'll make a strong push: "Nothing would make me happier than to find ways to keep him involved with this network. That's really up to him."
Bradley Cooper Wanted to 'Kill Myself' While Filming 'Alias'
The "American Hustle" tells GQ that he also considered quitting acting while struggling early in his career.
The actor -- who would go on to become an A-lister thanks to his breakout role in 2009's The Hangover -- says he became frustrated and disillusioned while working as a struggling actor on Alias as his role on the J.J. Abrams TV series was reduced.
“I would only work three days a week," the American Hustle star says in the January issue of GQ. "And then for the second season, I got even more sidelined. I was like, ‘Ugh.’ And then next thing you know, I was like, ‘I want to fucking kill myself.’ ”
Despite having another job lined up, he asked to be written off the show, against the advice of his friends and handlers.
“J.J. was like, ‘OK,’" Cooper says. "He probably would’ve fired me, anyway.”
He even thought about quitting acting entirely: "At some point, you have to come to terms with 'The business just doesn’t want you', you know what I mean?"
It also didn't help that Cooper was struggling with his drug and alcohol use, an issue that he's opened up about previously.
"If I continued it, I was really going to sabotage my whole life," he tells GQ, adding: "I think work was getting f---ed up. … The one thing that I've learned in life is the best thing I can do is embrace who I am and then do that to the fullest extent, and then whatever happens, happens. The more steps I do to not do that, the farther I am away from fulfilling any potential I would have."
After he got sober, he began taking roles in TV series like Nip/Tuck and Kitchen Confidential and appeared in Wedding Crashers -- he describes his character as "a f---ing tyrant" -- and in All About Steve opposite Sandra Bullock.
"I was doing these movies, and I got to meet Sandra Bullock and meet these people and work with them. And I’m sober, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m actually myself. And I don’t have to put on this air to be somebody else, and this person still wants to work with me? Oh, what the fuck is that about?’ I was rediscovering myself in this workplace, and it was wonderful."
While he said he wasn't creatively satisfied, he was "grateful and happy to be working."
Pink, Janelle Monae, Atlantic Records' Julie Greenwald Honored by Billboard
The magazine's 9th annual Women in Music event was held at Capitale in New York City on Dec. 10. Said 2013 Woman of the Year honoree Pink: "I wish for every woman that has ever helped me to know how much I feel their part in this story."
Pink and Janelle Monae
Pink with Billboard's Rising Star artist Janelle Monae, who cited President Obama's speech at Nelson Mandela's memorial from the podium at Capitale. Said Monae: “One of the things the President said today about Nelson Mandela was, ‘Don’t ever underestimate the power of one man. So don’t ever underestimate the power of one woman.
"I remember when I won Female Rock Vocal for Grammys for ‘Trouble,’ I think it was 10 years ago,” P!nk recalled from the stage at Billboard’s Women In Music luncheon Tuesday, accepting the award for Woman of the Year. “And the very next day, they dissolved the category. So Billboard, if this speech sucks, please wait one year. If you’re thinking about not doing this again, it’s not my fault.”
All of the honorees were feted Tuesday (Dec. 10) afternoon at the annual Billboard Women in Music event at Capitale in New York City sponsored by Nikon, Target, CoverGirl and City National Bank.
The event was co-hosted this year’s by broadcast journalist/executive producer and CEO of Starfish Media Group, Soledad O’Brien, alongside Billboard Editorial Director, Bill Werde. A full list of the Women In Music honorees was posted Tuesady on
P!nk was interviewed on stage by Andy Cohen, host and executive producer of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” while Monae spoke with Tamron Hall, host of NewsNation on MSNBC. Indie pop duo, Tegan and Sara, and breakout synth rock band, Chvrches, paid musical tribute honor P!nk and Janelle Monáe with respective performances. Atlantic Records Group’s singer and songwriter Christina Perri also performed new single “Human” to honor her label’s Chairman/COO Julie Greenwald, Billboard’s top-ranked Woman In Music.
Billboard's 2013 Women in Music's top honoree Atlantic's Julie Greenwald (left) and Janelle Monae, who won Billboard's Rising Star award. (Photo: Michael Seto)
Nate Ruess of fun. was also on hand to honor collaborators and honorees P!nk and Janelle Monáe, as well as his label boss, Greenwald. “To be able to work with Julie Greenwald has been such
an honor. I have been dropped by Julie Greenwald, and to know Julie Greenwald is to be dropped by Julie Greenwald,” Ruess said, referencing previous musical projects of his like The Format, “and then
to turn around and do what we’ve done [with fun.] I learned from every single thing and I learn from her every single day. I’m so proud to be on your label.”
Ruess had similar words of tough love for P!nk, based on their dysfunctional process of writing and eventually recording hit duet “Just Give Me A Reason” together. “To know P!nk is to have been hung up on the phone from her in a heated debate,” he said. “I didn’t want to sing on that song, I just wanted to write it with you. And you twisted my arm and I’ve never been happier for doing anything. And it is such a testament to what an unbelievable songwriter you are. I spend all my time hoping that in our career we can emulate what you’ve done, which is just be yourself .”
Monae had words of wisdom to share for the next generation of “Electric ladies” she hopes to inspire, having come from very humble upbringings to a custodian mother who raised her as a teenager in the impoverished Wyandot County, Kansas. “One of the things the President said today about Nelson Mandela was, ‘Don’t ever underestimate the power of one man. So don’t ever underestimate the power of one woman.”
P!nk had similar wishes for the next generation of young women. “I wish that girls embraced their power and words and value in their youth, and not sell it or barter it and have to buy it back later in life. I wish for my daughter to grow up in a world where wonderful publications like Billboard celebrate them for their originality and individuality and willingness be to be themselves, and the courage to be scary and get shit done. I wish for women to stop apologizing for those very things that make us women. And I wish for every woman that has ever helped me to know how much I feel their part in this story.”
Fox Shifts 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' to 'Fast & Furious 7' Release Date .
Production on the car action sequel is on hold indefinitely after the death of star Paul Walker.
Fox has shifted the release date for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes up one week, from July 18, 2014 to July 11, 2014.
The July 11 release date is currently home to Fast & Furious 7, the next installment in the action franchise. However, after the death of star Paul Walker in a car crash on Nov. 30, Universal delayed the restart of production. Already on a very tight schedule, the film's release will likely have to be pushed back, opening up that date for another tentpole film.
Fox's sequel to the 2011 film Rise of the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke and Keri Russell. The story, set more than a decade after the events of Rise, follows a group of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (a motion-captured Serkis), who is trying to maintain dominance over his kingdom.
Peter Chernin, Dylan Clarke, Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa are producing the movie, which is working off a script by Mark Bomback.
Sarah Palin Heads to Sportsman Channel With New Series
UPDATED: The Fox News contributor, who has been seeking additional TV opportunities, will debut "Amazing America" in 2014.
Sarah Palin is making another play for TV stardom. The Fox News contributor and former vice presidential candidate will host a new show on the Sportsman Channel. Dubbing her the "First Lady of the Outdoors" in a Monday release, the cable channel is slotting Amazing America With Sarah Palin for April 2014. It's described as an "anthology of stories that explore some of the most original, interesting -- and sometimes inspiring -- people, places and pastimes connected to America's outdoors lifestyle."
"I'm excited to help shine a light on all the great American sportsmen and women in the country who live the outdoors lifestyle," said Palin. "Sportsman Channel is the leader in their industry and I am thrilled to be partnering with them on this show."
An outdoors enthusiast and perhaps Alaska's most famous daughter, the project is not a stretch for Palin -- but it is her most niche TV outing to date. She previously starred in Sarah Palin's Alaska for TLC back in 2010. The show was canceled after one season.
Palin, who briefly exited her role on Fox News in late 2012 only to return as a contributor in June 2013, has been looking for additional opportunities. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter she's been exploring an Internet subscription model, much like Glenn Beck's TheBlaze, but TV has been a priority.
'Twenty Feet From Stardom' Singers to Perform Rose Bowl National Anthem
Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the Jan. 1 game.
Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the Pasadena football event on Wednesday, Jan. 1, announced The Weinstein Co.'s Radius label, which acquired the doc.
The documentary, directed by Morgan Neville, spotlights the background singers who supported iconic acts like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones and Sting, among many others. The title, which was released theatrically in June, also opened the Nantucket Film Festival the same month.
Clayton had recorded vocals for the Stones' "Gimme Shelter," Fischer toured with the Stones and Nine Inch Nails, Hill backed Michael Jackson and Love's vocals have been heard alongside Elvis Presley and Marvin Gaye. The singers' contributions also were included in a soundtrack for the doc released by Columbia Records.
The film was shortlisted for the 2014 best feature documentary Oscar.
TV Ratings: American Music Awards Surges Against Strong Sunday Night Football
Posting its best overnights for a November primetime NFL game in 17 years, NBC's overtime Broncos-Patriots matchup tops the evening -- though ABC's music kudos make strong gains for a four-year high.
Fast National returns will see significant adjustments when time zones are taken into account, but the game is off 3 percent from last week with an early 8.8 rating among adults 18-49. Initial
audience estimates give it 23.98 million viewers before adjustments. NBC's early averages for the night give it a 7.0 adults rating and 19.6 million viewers.
Despite the increased competition, ABC's airing of the American Music Awards surged from its 2012 outing. The three-hour kudos jumped 32 percent for a 4.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 36 percent to 12.9 million viewers. The show had a lead-in from America's Funniest Home Videos (1.5 adults), up a tenth from last week, giving ABC an average 3.7 adults rating and 11.4 million viewers for its primetime block.
Fox's animation block saw a healthy lead-in from NFL overrun (7.3 adults) and The OT (6.2 adults), making subsequent scores subject to adjustment. The Simpsons (2.9 adults) grew by 1.1 points from last week, and Bob's Burgers (1.9 adults) improved by four-tenths. Family Guy (2.2 adults) held last week's score, and American Dad (1.8 adults) moved up by two-tenths of a point. Fox averaged a 3.7 rating with adults 18-49 and 9.8 million viewers.
CBS' lineup, skewed in several market by football overrun, kicked off with 60 Minutes (1.6 adults) -- down a tenth of a point from last week. The Amazing Race (1.5 adults) dropped half a point to a series low, and The Good Wife (1.3 adults) was down by just a tenth. The Mentalist (1.5 adults), inching up a tenth of a point from last week, saw its best audience since January, with 10.6 million viewers. The network averaged a 1.5 rating in the key demo and 9.8 million viewers.
'Scandal' Creator Shonda Rhimes Inks First Book Deal
The veteran showrunner will detail her personal and professional journey as the single mother of three daughters in a book to be published in 2015.
The creator of Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal has signed with Simon & Schuster to write a memoir, the publisher announced.
The book will trace Rhimes' decision (prior to coming to Hollywood) to build a family and the challenges of being a single mother while striving for professional success. Publication is scheduled for 2015.
S&S describes the book as "part memoir, part inspiration, part prescription."
In a statement announcing the deal, Rhimes joked, “Simon and Schuster is crazy for giving me a book deal, as I am clearly in no position to be handing out wisdom.”
But on a more serious note, she added, "I have made a lot of mistakes as a single mother, and as a working mother, and as a sleepless mother, and as a dating mother. And I did all of it while running a bunch of TV shows. So I'm going to write about that and hope my kids don't use it against me in therapy later."
S&S vp and editor-in-chief Marysue Rucci also commented on the deal. "Shonda Rhimes is bar none in the storytelling realm. Now fans of her phenomenal shows can read Shonda’s story in her own words – and marvel at how Shonda built a phenomenal career. Readers everywhere will cheer the fearless decisions Shonda has made to achieve happiness."
For her television work, Rhimes has been honored as Television Producer of the Year by the Producers Guild of America, received a Lucy Award for Excellence in Television from Women in Film, and a GLAAD Golden Gate Award. She was also recently appointed a Trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts by President Barack Obama.
The deal comes as Rhimes remains busy running two of ABC's most valuable shows -- third-year hit Scandal and Grey's Anatomy, which is in its 10th season and recently celebrated 200 episodes. In addition to developing new projects via her ABC Studios-based Shondaland banner with Betsy Beers, Rhimes also is prepping War Correspondents, a feature film based on an early teleplay, for Sony.
ICM's Jennifer Joel represented Rhimes in the publishing deal.
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013 Stars Taylor Swift Giving The Angels Competition
But the show was, as always, about the models. Candice Swanepoel, the lucky Angel chosen to wear this year's $10 million Fantasy Bra, led the pack as Fall Out Boy took to the runway's stage for the first performance of the night. Fellow Angels Karlie Kloss, Alessandra Ambrosio, Lily Aldridge and Adriana Lima followed soon after, gliding down the glittery catwalk. Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn, two of our favorite Brits, also made appearances at the blowout show.
The six themes of the evening were "British Invasion," "Birds of Paradise," "Parisian Nights," "Shipwrecked," "Snow Angels" and "PINK Network," with the latter motif bringing out some bizarre, balloon-clad costumes as Neon Jungle gave an energetic performance. Luckily, as Swanepoel told us before the show, "That's part of being a model -- we wear stuff we don't like, stuff that's uncomfortable. But it's our job to make it work."
Like we said, though, T. Swift really rocked it, making two appearances on stage. The first, a cameo during Fall Out Boy's set, saw the singer give the models some competition in an Britannia-themed get-up. But it was when she returned to the runway to perform "I Knew You Were Trouble" in a shimmery minidress that the show really kicked into high gear. Even the Angels (aka Swift's newfound besties) couldn't resist taking part in her performance, with Kloss busting a move in her VS catsuit and Aldridge and Lima each grabbing Swift's hand as they stomped down the runway.
Look out, Angels -- Taylor could mean "trouble" if she turns up to next year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show model casting. See Taylor Swift on the VS runway below and scroll down for all the looks from the show!
Jamie Foxx's Directorial Debut Is 'Frankenstein' by Way of Kanye West
The "Amazing Spider-Man 2" actor says a feature thriller could arrive on the heels of his sci-fi romance short "...And She Was My Eve."
In partnership with Ron Howard and camera manufacturer Canon for their Project Imaginat10n initiative, Jamie Foxx has stepped behind the camera to show off his skills as a director.
Taking inspiration from 10 contest-winning photographs, Foxx worked with writer Allan Loeb (Rock of Ages) to cobble together ...And She Was My Eve, a science fiction romance that's trippier than any of Foxx's screen work.
“I've watched over the shoulder of some of the best directors in the world,” Foxx tells MTV. “Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, Antoine Fuqua, Taylor Hackford. A lot of those shots that I used in my short [were] directly from rubbing up against those guys.”
...And She Was My Eve stars Tyrin Turner as a man who sets out to construct the perfect mate. But this is a sci-fi story, so inevitably, playing God blows up in his face. The film is highly stylized and paced with music composed by Foxx and Ains "Brainz" Prasad, not unlike Kanye West's surrealist music video trademarks.
Foxx next will be seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. On the behind-the-scenes side, the multi-talented actor is developing a horror anthology series for SyFy. With ..And She Was My Eve, more directing could be in Foxx's future.
“It gave me the bug. I want to be able to do things with no constraints and really just go at it. I've got a couple of comedies I want to make and a thriller I want to direct.”
Reese Witherspoon in Talks to Star in Nancy Meyers' 'The Intern'
UPDATED: Robert De Niro is also circling the Scott Rudin-produced comedy, which Worldview Entertainment has come aboard to finance.
Reese Witherspoon is in discussions to star in the Nancy Meyers-helmed The Intern. She's serious enough that she is reportedly turning up at the American Film Market today, where Lotus Entertainment is shopping the project to foreign buyers.
Tina Fey was initially attached to star when the project was packaged by WME (Fey is repped by WME, which formerly handled Meyers). CAA, which reps Witherspoon, Meyers and De Niro, is now putting together the deal, which a source says is at a delicate stage.
Meyers wrote the screenplay, which centers on the owner of a successful fashion website (Witherspoon) who bonds with the elderly intern her company has hired (De Niro).
In recent days, the project has popped up on the radar of international sales agents and foreign buyers preparing for the American Film Market, which gets underway Wednesday. Over the weekend, at least one buyer was told that The Intern could be shopped at AFM with Witherspoon and De Niro's names in the mix. Selling off foreign rights would help cover the production budget, which is said to be upwards of $30 million.
Meyers recently exited an untitled romantic comedy at Sony.
Witherspoon, who recently switched managers from Management 360's Evelyn O'Neill to LBI Entertainment's Rick Yorn, most recently played a supporting role in Jeff Nichols' Mud and starred in the Atom Egoyan-helmed Devil's Knot, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival. The Oscar-winning actress is currently shooting Jean-Marc Vallee's Wild.
'Roots' Remake in the Works at History
Wolper will executive produce History's new take, with a search under way for a writer on the project, which is described as a contemporary take.
The original mini -- which aired on ABC in January 1977 -- earned a whopping 37 Emmy nominations, taking home nine including best limited series and wins for Ed Asner (supporting actor) and Quincy Jones (music).
For History, the Roots mini comes as the network continues to ramp up its original scripted programming on the back critical and ratings success with its longform fare, including The Bible and Hatfields & McCoys, the latter of which shattered network records during its three-day run last year. The network has a rapidly growing roster of miniseries in the works, including a four-hour Houdini vehicle starring Adrien Brody.
Lady Gaga Sports Yellow, Decaying Teeth at YouTube Music
The singer wears a black top hat, leather shirtdress
and dark glasses to complement the false teeth.
Following her previous headline-making choices of wearing a meat dress,
arriving in an egg and channeling a male alter ego, the singer donned yellow,
decaying false teeth at Sunday's YouTube Music Awards in New York. She also wore
a black leather shirtdress, black top hat and black sunglasses.
The overall effect was reminiscent of the cover art for her single "Dope,"
the next track off of her forthcoming album, ARTPOP, which will be
released Nov. 11.
Among the winners at Sunday night's inaugural YouTube Music Award were
artist of the year Eminem and breakthrough artists
Hollywood Art: Secrets From A-List Art Advisers
Inside info from the pros who guide and protect Hollywood collectors, from Jeffrey Katzenberg to Steven Spielberg to Michael Ovitz: "Art is the last unregulated business."
HBO's Michael Lombardo had wanted to build an art collection for as long as he could remember. He loved modern painting, but for a very long time, he didn't have the money, the wall space or the time. Once he got the money and the wall space, he had even less time.
Between his duties as president of HBO Programming and his family life, he felt he didn't have the time to properly educate himself on the art market. So about five years ago, his friend, CAA agent Steve Smooke, who had been collecting for a while, recommended he talk to an art adviser and introduced him to Mia Romanik.
And like any handshake deal that precedes preproduction, so began the wait. Romanik met with Lombardo and his partner, architect Sonny Ward, to learn what they were drawn to. She took them to galleries and shows; she sent them catalogs and links. And in return, Romanik learned what they were interested in. Lombardo, it turns out, wasn't that concerned about investment -- though of course he didn't want anything that would depreciate. What he wanted was something that would bring him joy. "I wanted to surround myself with art that I love seeing."
Finally, more than a year after they met, they headed to New York with a certain spending limit in mind. Lombardo's first big purchase was a Per Kirkeby from Michael Werner Gallery -- which exceeded that limit, but no matter. Lombardo doesn't regret a penny of it. "I couldn't get it out of my head," he says.
Another painting Lombardo spoke of lovingly is a Jonas Wood work called "Robin with Juba." It's a portrait of the artist's mother, who has since passed away, holding a parrot in bold color. Romanik introduced Lombardo to Wood. "The minute he talked about this painting, I felt so close to him," says Lombardo. "That was an exciting experience, to develop a relationship with an artist." In fact, because of Romanik's introduction, he was able to see the work immediately when it was completed and before it went on the market.
It is now a prized possession in his home. "It makes me happy every day," says Lombardo.
Romanik is an art adviser, a fine-art professional who helps the very busy, the slightly clueless and those with poor art world connections build collections. As the art market has flooded with more works, and more people interested in collecting, it's become imperative to have a guide to sort through what is worth the time and money and what isn't -- and, even more importantly, help to obtain the work. Because with growth comes demand, and getting your hands on coveted work is harder than ever.
The best way to approach art collecting is slowly. "Like in any discipline, you require time to develop an eye," says Barbara Guggenheim, an art adviser who has worked with DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise.
The ones who are willing to work get the most out of the process, both figuratively and literally. "The important collectors teach themselves and build strong relationships with dealers and artists," says Cecelia Stucker, an independent curator. Art advising, she says, is a role that emerged once the ranks of collectors swelled to the point that gallerists and dealers no longer had the time to educate them all.
"I would say the most important thing about hiring an art advisor is hiring someone you trust," says adviser Andrea Feldman Falcione, who has advised mega-collector and former CAA chairman Michael Ovitz. "Someone who will work with you to find works you love and point you in the direction of smart purchases."
Guggenheim suggests beginning the art adviser relationship with a simple interview. "You should feel comfortable and engaged with this person." And though few adviser insist on a formal contract, "You're picking someone you'll be with for a long, long time," she adds.
The best thing you can do when you're starting out in collecting is to listen. "You have to learn how to look at a work of art," says Guggenheim. "That's what we do. We teach you what you're looking at."
And you should be honest about your commitment. Romanik says what bugs her most are clients who just don't take the time. "I like for someone to be really engaged. I need dedication -- reading Artforum and browsing catalogs. I can't totally educate you." That said, if you want her to just buy paintings for you because you know she has great taste, she's happy to do it. But don't put an art adviser in a position where she can't get your ear or your eye for a decision.
It's only after you take the time to educate yourself that an adviser can really help you navigate the art world and decide what to put in your finite space. Years ago, producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy came to Guggenheim to help with their collection. "They view their lives as socially responsible storytellers," she says now. "We hit on this idea after a lot of talking and ended up with a lot of Social Realism, American art between the wars -- Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, both of whom have a storytelling quality to them."
And that's how the right adviser can help you most -- getting you what you want, and getting you access to what you don't even know you want yet. A new collector is a stranger to both gallerist and artist -- no matter how long the IMDb page -- and so an art adviser can be helpful in reassuring them that the collector is serious. When Viet-Nu Nguyen approaches a gallery about a Sterling Ruby or Isa Genzken, the gallerist knows the piece will end up well-loved in the hands of her client Ovitz. When Tiffiny Lendrum was helping build the collections at Paradigm, gallerists knew that the works she wanted by Anton Henning, Uta Barth, Raymond Pettibon, Don Suggs, Robert Longo, Marcel Dzama and Patrick Wilson would be prominently displayed and cared for -- not because of the agency's reputation, but because of Lendrum's.
Another role of an adviser is to negotiate price and terms of payment. "Most new collectors don't realize there is usually room for a discount as well as extended payment, depending on the price," says Romanik.
But the wrong adviser could be deadly. "Art is one of the last unregulated businesses," says Romanik. "There have never been this many collectors in the market, ranging from actual art lovers to people purely in it for investment opportunities. While it's wonderful that there's so much art being traded, particularly in the emerging market, there's a potential risk to the careers of these young artists. In the short-term, it's exciting for the artist and buyers alike, but we need to question the notion of 25-year-old artists being ‘worth' more than 75-year-old artists overnight."
She's referring to what one adviser called "covens" of spec collectors, who buy up a bunch of work from a young artist with the intention of driving up the artist's value for secondary market sales. Not even the artist really wants this. They know they have to take some time building value if they want a long career, because generally the artists who get too expensive too early don't end up receiving the institutional investment -- museums and retrospectives -- like the artists that work their way up the system's ladder more slowly.
So find the right adviser, but definitely don't try to collect without one. "Would you go and dig an oil well without a geologist," asks Guggenheim. "Would you do brain surgery without a brain surgeon?"
The question may be moot as these days it's almost impossible to build a great collection without an adviser. "It's the Wild West out there," says Veronica Fernandez, an art adviser who works with Shelley Reid, senior vp and head of television legal affairs at MGM Studios, and Tina Perry, senior vp and head of business and legal affairs at OWN, among others. "You have all these players entering the contemporary art market. The demand makes for a power of ownership. You want to be able to have someone who can cut in line and say you have it first."
And with advisers having more than just a few clients, it's important to remember that to get to the front of the line, you have to be a good client. That means finding the right adviser, and then treating him or her well.
Karyn Lovegrove, a former gallerist in Australia who is now an adviser, says that "your relationship with galleries are your bread and butter." An adviser works hard at maintaining those relationships, so that "when shows come up, maybe you'll be offered first choice."
"It took me a while to get that just because you want to buy something doesn't mean they want to sell it," says producer Marty Adelstein, another client of Romanik's, who began building his collection with her two years ago. "But that only made me get more involved. It really ignites my competitive nature."
Because, perhaps surprisingly, money isn't an artist's or gallerist's first concern when parting with a work. Rather, it's knowing that a piece will be displayed prominently and lovingly, and not flipped immediately to drive up the value of the artist.
"Your reputation is completely wrapped up in the fact that your collectors are not flippers and that you know who you're dealing with," says Lovegrove. "You can take the other route, but it's a small world. There are advisers out there who don't get offered things because they've done that."
Still, it would be foolish to pretend that liquidity of investment isn't a factor in all this buying. "I work for people who have worked very hard for their money," says Fernandez. "I have to make smart choices on their behalf."
Therein lies the rub. "That's the irritating thing about art," says Lisa Schiff, an art adviser in New York. "You don't talk about money or the investment. You just talk about the art, because that's the most important thing. But if you're asking $200,000 for a painting, then I have every right to ask some questions. Where is this going? When we leave with this painting, will it be worth something in 190 years. It's hypocritical to pretend we don't care."
And even more so to pretend that the same instinct that drives a Hollywood executive to build a collection is not the same one that drew him to Hollywood in the first place. Consider Adelstein's story: When he decided he wanted a collection, he didn't want to wait. "I had a lot of friends who were building art collections, and I had been admiring them at their houses," he says. He was introduced to Romanik two years ago at the Art Basel Miami Beach art fair, and she suggested he just look -- but he ended up buying, and he ended up buying smart. With her blessing, he purchased an Oscar Murillo that was just hanging out at the back of some booth "for practically nothing." He just liked it. He also bought a Lucien Smith, also for very little money. Now, two years later, both are worth many times what he bought them for. The price of Murillo's works particularly has exploded. Just two years ago, his pieces were selling for $3,000; now they are fetching from $200,000-$400,000 at auction.
"I once bought a bunch of horses with Larry David and Ari Emanuel and David E. Kelley, and the horses won the first time out and I thought I was a genius," he says with a laugh. "When I buy a painting from a new artist, I feel like I used to feel when I was an agent and I discovered a new writer."
In just two years, Adelstein has bought 20 paintings. "I bought an Albert Oehlen that I love. And Rashid Johnson is somebody I really, really like. I love looking at these in my house." He pauses and laughs. "I'm running out of room, though."
Emile Hirsch to Play John Belushi in Biopic
Emile Hirsch will play John Belushi in a biopic on the comedian.
Production company Film 360 confirmed Monday the casting of Hirsch in the currently untitled independent feature. Directing will be Steve Conrad, who wrote the screenplay of the upcoming Ben Stiller film, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." Conrad will also pen the screenplay, adapting the biography "Belushi."
The 28-year-old Hirsch has starred in Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" and the 2008 action film "Speed Racer." He co-starred earlier this year with Paul Rudd in David Gordon Green's "Prince Avalanche," and also co-stars in the upcoming Navy SEAL war film "Lone Survivor."
Production on the film is planned to begin in the spring.
One of the original "Saturday Night Live" cast members, Belushi starred in "The Blues Brothers" and "National Lampoon's Animal House" before dying at the age of 33 in 1982.
Reese Witherspoon Talks Parenting, Producing "Gone Girl"
Reese Witherspoon can't tell if her kids want to get into show business yet.
"You know, it's been a great opportunity for me," Witherspoon said Monday at Elle's Women in Hollywood gala, where she was honored for work in the biz. "I've seen the world. I've met the most amazing people...It's afforded me many wonderful opportunities. So whatever they want to do with their lives, whatever dreams they have, I support them."
Witherspoon has two children, Ava, 14, and Deacon, who turns 10 tomorrow, with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe. She and her agent hubby Jim Toth have a 13-month-old son, Tennessee.
The young ones certainly have a mom to look up to.
"It's incredible," Witherspoon said of being honored by Elle. "I love this magazine. It's wonderful and I love this event because you get all these wonderful women, different ages, different countries and they're all just doing extraordinary things and extraordinary work in this business.
"And we all know as women, it's not easy," she said. "So it's really exciting to be here with these people who have really worked hard and gotten to this place in their lives."
You won't be seeing Witherspoon in one of her next projects. She's producing, but not acting in, director David Fincher's movie adaptation of "Gone Girl." Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star with Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry rounding out the cast.
Witherspoon said it "feels good" to be the boss woman (our job description, not hers).
"I like it," she said. "It's great to collaborate when people are so talented. I'm just thrilled that the movie is getting made so quickly...and this author Gillian Flynn, who is so talented, is having so much of her work produced now."
Oprah's Yard Sale Revealed
When Oprah Winfrey tweeted she was having the "biggest yard sale ever!" on Oct. 9, the Internet went into overdrive regarding the opportunity to own items that once belonged to the media mogul.
That tantalizing tweet was accompanied by a release from Kaminski - the auction house hosting the event - saying that "antiques, contemporary furnishings, and fine art" from the TV star's homes in Indiana, Hawaii, Chicago, Santa Barbara and her "La Quinta" estate would be going under the hammer on Nov. 2 at the Santa Barbara polo and Racquet Club.
But prospective bidders were left hanging for actual information on what would be available.
That all changed Friday when the full catalogue of what will be up for grabs was posted on the Kaminski website.
And buyers hoping to nab something once owned by Oprah can take heart: there's items to suit budgets both big and small. More than 300 items, including furniture, artwork, rugs, autographed prints, throw pillows, picture frames, chandeliers and assorted tchotchkes, are listed with price estimates ranging from $100 to over $50,000.
At the upper end of the spectrum is a set of six 18th century Louis XVI A La Reine, Jean Baptise Lelarge chairs with hand embroidered yellow upholstery (est: $20,000-$40,000). Those chairs would look great around that 19th century English breakfast table in burlwood veneer with satin wood and ebony inlaid border (est: $4,000-$6,000).
Too fancy for your design scheme? How about a simple white ottoman upholstered in white terry cloth with painted wood legs (est: $100-$200)? Perhaps a steamer trunk by luxury Italian leathergoods label Bottega Veneta in black leather with brass hardware (est: $1,000-2,000) may be more to your taste.
A Jumeau Doll (below) with the marking "Tete Jumeau" on back of her neck can be yours to cherish for an estimated $5,000-$8,000. Or if you prefer your toys to be a little racier, why not bid on one of three neon-hued Jetson Electric Bikes featuring Winfrey's autograph (est: $1,000-$2,000).
Snoop Dogg Rebrands as Snoopzilla For New Album
First came Snoop Doggy Dogg, then Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion, and now Snoopzilla.
The rapper and singer-songwriter (real name Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.) has changed up his moniker once again for a new collaborative album titled 7 Days of Funk.
Recorded alongside groove singer and DJ Dam-Funk, the album is set to drop on Dec. 10 with the first single, "Faden Away," released Thursday on iTunes.
"I've had funk influences in my music my whole career," Snoopzilla said in a press release. "Dam-Funk is cold. He's keeping the funk alive and I knew I had to get down with him." 7 Days of Funk will feature cameos from Snoop's Tha Dogg Pound cohorts Daz and Kurupt and drummer-singer Steve Arrington, a recent Dam-Funk collaborator.
Dam-Funk is the one-man project of Los Angeles's Damon Riddick. 7 Days of Funk is the second pairing for the duo who first collaborated in 2011 when Snoop invited Dam-Funk onstage during a performance at the SXSW festival in Austen, TX.
"Snoop knew what I was thinking without me having to articulate it," said Dam-Funk of the new album. "That's how you know when you gel artistically with someone. These beats were made for him and he laid down some of the smoothest harmonies and melodies I've ever heard. It's hip-hop, but you can also hear what we grew up on, from Zapp to Evelyn 'Champagne' King and Patrice Rushen.
Snoop's new title has no connection to the giant fictional lizard that loves to terrorize Japan. Instead, it's an homage to legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins, who has recorded under the nickname Bootzilla.
Madonna Banned From Movie Theater
Madonna has been banned from Texas-based theater chain Alamo Drafthouse Cinema after she was seen texting during the New York Film Festival premiere of "12 Years a Slave."
According to reports by the New York Post, Madonna, who was seated alongside the likes of Jason Ritter, J. Alexander and Michael K. Williams, spent part of the screening typing away at her phone. Reportedly one audience member asked her to stop, prompting the "vogue" singer to respond by saying, “It’s for business…enslaver.”
Alamo founder and CEO Tim League tweeted that Madonna would no longer be able to return to the theater until she “apologizes to movie fans.”
Following the tweet, League told Entertainment Weekly that the initial tweet was an “offhand joke, a spur of the moment 140 characters,” but followed up by saying he is going to enforce it now that the word is out. “I’m serious, but I don’t think it really affects her life that much.”
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has a long-standing, strict no-talking and no-texing policy in it’s movie theaters and has been known to eject audience members who violate the policy. Alamo even features an anti-texting PSA before some of its R-rated movies that contains an actual voice mail left by an angry patron who was kicked out.
Though her business was apparently pressing, the Material Mom was reported to have been a fan of the movie. Directed by British filmmaker Steve McQueen, the film - which follows Solomon Northup, a free black man who was sold into slavery - is already receiving Oscar buzz.
According to The New York Post Madonna made a hasty exit when the credits rolled but returned to the theater when McQueen began Q&A. “I want to hear Steve speak,” a source overheard her say.
Craig Robinson pleaded guilty to drug possession and paid a fine in the Bahamas.
According to the Associated Press, the comedian was stopped in Nassau at the airport. The Office actor was in town for a comedy show and was coming back to the United States.
Custom agents found a small amount of marijuana and 18 ecstasy pills that were "deemed suspicious," Supt. Stephen Dean of the Royal Bahamas Police Force told the AP.
"It was nothing major," Dean added.
The 41-year-old was fined $1,000 and ordered to leave the country after he pleaded guilty to two counts of drug possession. Robinson said before a judge that he did not know the drugs were illegal in Bahamas and he brought them from the U.S. He could have faced up to four years in prison.
This is not Robinson's first run-in with authorities. The actor was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of being under the influence of a controlled substance in June 2008.
Sinead O'Connor Slams Miley Cyrus In Fourth Letter to Pop Star
Oh, you thought the feud between Miley Cyrus and Sinead O'Connor was over? Well, think again.
The "Nothin' Compares 2 U" crooner has penned a fourth letter to the 20-year-old pop star, in which she slammed Cyrus for "stigmatizing mental illness" and implored the "We Can't Stop" singer to apologize for her actions.
And it's safe to say the war of words has taken a turn for the worst.
But first--let's back track for a minute.
Miley initially brought up the 46-year-old singer-songwriter while explaining that she wanted the music video for her single "Wrecking Ball" to be similar to the famous hit "Nothin' Compares 2 U."
After Sinead got wind of the singer's remarks, she took her blog to post a few sage words for the twerking songstress, suggesting Cyrus is allowing herself to be "pimped" by the music industry while expressing her concern that those around Miley have led her to believe "that it is in any way 'cool' to be naked and licking sledgehammers" in her video.
O'Connor's first letter then prompted Cyrus to post a series of Sinead's tweets (which the veteran claims are two years old) and compare her to Amanda Bynes.
Which led Sinead to pen a second letter to Miley, calling the performer "anti-female" and "f--king stupid," to which Miley replied (on Twitter, natch), "Sinead. I don't have time to write you an open letter cause Im hosting &performing on SNL this week. So if youd like to meet up and talk lemme know in your next letter. :)"
Of course, O'Connor then wrote a third letter to the performer, telling Miley she has "no interest in meeting" her while ordering the singer apologize for her remarks.
"You can take five minutes today between g- string f--kin' changes to publicly apologize and remove your abusive tweets," she wrote. "When you publicly apologize to Amanda and myself and all mental health sufferers as well as all who were abused by priests that will end the matter as far as I am concerned...When you end up in the psych ward or rehab I'll be happy to visit you.. and would not lower myself to mock you."
Miley was then asked about Sinead's many missives during her appearance on the
"I think she's [Sinead O'Connor's] an incredible artist, I think she's an awesome songwriter, and I was really inspired by her for my "Wrecking Ball" video, which was what started the whole thing," Miley told Matt Lauer. "I don't know how someone can start a fight with somebody who said, 'Hey, I really respect you. And I really love what you what you did.' 'You know what? You suck! I don't like you!' That was kind of crazy. But as I said, I'm a big fan of hers, so it doesn't really matter."
"It's all good. You can write as many open letters as you want," she added. "That's really what blogging is. I get open letters every day. It's nothing too new for me."
Be careful what you say, Miles.
Kevin Hart Comedy Snapped Up by ABC
The network has made a put pilot commitment for a half-hour comedy project based on the red-hot comedian's stand-up act. The project, from Community's Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, takes a candid look at the post-divorce life of a couple trying to forge a friendship for the sake of their kids, despite their differences. Hart doesn't plan to star but likely will play a recurring role if the series goes forward.
Goldman and Donovan will pen the script as well as executive produce the multicamera effort set up at 20th Century Fox TV, where the producing partners are under an overall deal. Joining them as EPs are Hart and his 3 Arts manager, Dave Becky (Louie).
The news follows a breakout couple of years for Hart, who has become one of the most successful stand-up acts working today. In addition to his comic timing, executives across both film and TV are drawn to his ability to connect with his fans, which includes 9 million Twitter followers. It is for that reason that Hart's name has found itself onto a shortlist of talent who can get a movie greenlighted today.
Hart is no stranger to the small screen either, getting his big break in a recurring role on Judd Apatow's short-lived cult darling Undeclared, which bowed on Fox in 2001. In the decade or so since, Hart has turned up on everything from ABC's Modern Family to BET's Real Husbands of Hollywood, for which he executive produces and stars. Additionally, his stand-up tours have sold out at arenas around the world, including The Staples Center in L.A., Madison Square Garden in New York and The O2 Arena in London. His recent stand-up doc, Let Me Explain, grossed more than $32 million.
For their part, Garrett and Donovan have had ample experience in the TV comedy space, starting as writers on Fox's long-running Family Guy. More recently, they've written and produced half-hours such as Scrubs, Community and Fox's Ben and Kate.
Hart, whose other credits include Think Like a Man, This Is the End and upcoming films Ride Along and About Last Night, is repped by UTA, 3 Arts and Schreck Rose. Garrett and Donovan are repped by UTA.
Kaley Cuoco Says She's "Too Busy" to Plan Her Wedding to Ryan Sweeting Right Now
Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting's engagement may have come quickly, but their wedding won't take place for a while. "We are too busy to wedding plan," the "Big Bang Theory" actress, 27, told reporters at L.A.'s Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic event on Saturday, Oct. 5. "In a year we will start talking about it. We are enjoying being engaged."
Together a mere three months, Cuoco added that she's feeling "excited" and "on top of the world" since the 26-year-old tennis pro proposed late last month. "We're so happy!"
The TV star previously explained how she knew Sweeting was The One during an interview with "Entertainment Tonight." "From day one, I just knew immediately, and it's been magic," she gushed. "We have all the same family friends. We grew up with the same people, we just never met. So I kind of feel that I've known him my whole life. I know that it seems a little crazy on paper, but it's what works for us."
Those closest to Cuoco are elated for the star, who's been engaged once before. "She's very happy, which makes me terribly happy," her "Big Bang Theory" costar and ex-boyfriend Johnny Galecki recently told E! News.
Cuoco's close pal Ali Fedotowsky said she thinks it's sweet that Sweeting proposed so early on in their relationship. "I actually think it's super romantic. They met, they fell in love. Friends of both their families have known each other for a really long time, so they feel like they've known each other forever," she said on E! News' Oct. 1 episode. "It's romantic
Jane Fonda to Receive AFI Achievement Award
Jane Fonda will receive the American Film Institute's 42nd Life Achievement Award, one of Hollywood's most prestigious career honors.
"Jane Fonda is American film royalty," AFI chairman Howard Stringer said in a statement released Thursday. "A bright light first introduced to the world as the daughter of Henry Fonda, the world watched as she found her own voice and forged her own path."
At 75, Fonda's career hasn't slowed, including roles in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and HBO's "The Newsroom."
Fonda drew the ire of many Americans when she visited North Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War, leaving a stigma that would last for decades.
The AFI award will be presented at a star-studded gala on June 5, 2014, to be televised later that month on TNT.
Miley Swings to "SNL"
Miley Cyrus is set to host "Saturday Night Live" this week in her first extended live TV appearance since her raunchy August performance on the MTV Video Music Awards got tongues wagging.
The former child star, whose twerking antics offended some and made her a laughingstock to others, no doubt hopes to shake some intentional chuckles out of "SNL" viewers. While there’s plenty of potential for humor, the show is shaping up as a test of whether Cyrus in on the joke or whether the joke's on her. Perhaps more important: Does she understand the difference or does she even care?
Cyrus, whether by design or accident, has succeeded in grabbing attention, though in a way more akin to a talent-free reality show star than someone who exhibited some comedy and musical potential in her not-so-distant teenage years. Like other former kiddie show veterans, the ex-Disney fixture is clearly in an image-busting phase.
There’s a blurred line, though, between image busting and long-term career busting. Success won’t be determined alone by Cyrus inspiring buzz over whether she's a train wreck or a wrecking ball (even if “Wrecking Ball” isn’t a bad pop song).
While Cyrus’s long-term strategy is unclear, her “SNL” stint is certainly a good short-term coup for the comedy program, which hasn’t shied away over the years from enlisting hosts touched by controversy.
Andrew Dice Clay's appearance in 1990 spurred cast member Nora Dunn to boycott the show in protest of the comic's misogynist stage persona. Heiress, sex tape star and reality show figure Paris Hilton offered a memorably one-dimensional performance in 2005.
Lindsay Lohan launched one of her comebacks last year with an “SNL” hosting gig, mining her troubles for humor. She's experienced more woe since, though she recently began working the late night comedy circuit again, appearing last week in a skit with Jimmy Fallon mocking Cyrus’ twerking spectacle.
Lohan, at 27, could tell the former “Hannah Montana” star plenty about the pitfalls of transitioning from child actor to adult celebrity. Cyrus, who turns 21 next month, at least showed a good sense of humor when she last hosted “SNL” a couple years ago. She played Justin Bieber in the program’s "Miley Cyrus Show" skit, which is likely to be revived this weekend.
Pamela Anderson Running New York City Marathon to Raise Money for Haiti
Pamela Anderson, best known for hitting the beach on Baywatch, is about to pound the pavement. All for a worthy cause.
"I'm running the New York Marathon this year and raising funds for the J/P Haitian Relief Organization," the 46-year-old blond beauty tweeted on Sunday.
"Together, I hope we can raise at least $500,000 and make a huge impact in this magical country," Anderson wrote on her fundraising page. "Keep checking my page and Facebook and Twitter to find out about all sorts of contests I'll be running from now until November - I will give updates on my training too."
Paparazzo Helps Out Hugh Jackman, Buys His Son a Toy
Lingering paparazzi are proving to be more of a blessing than a curse for Hugh Jackman.
Not only did the Prisoners star reveal that a photog helped him find his lost son recently, but another paparazzo came to Jackman's rescue this week when he tried to buy a toy for his son in Berlin and his credit card wouldn't work.
After noticing the 44-year-old thesp left the store toy-less Thursday, the paparazzo bought the item for the actor and surprised him with the gift.
And Jackman, who was all smiles as he accepted the toy, seemed to really appreciate the gesture.
Jackman recently praised the paparazzi after his son went missing during a family outing at Sydney's Bronte Beach and a photog found 13-year-old Oscar in a tree.
"I've never been so happy to have paparazzi follow me," Jackman said, according to the UK Express.
Following yet another positive experience with the paps, the 44-year-old thesp headed to Spain Friday for the 2013 San Sebastian International Film Festival, where he received the Donostia Award Friday in San Sebastian.
"I have to say how humbly grateful and how surprised I am to receive this award," Jackman said in a press conference after receiving the lifetime achievement honor.
"It means a lot to me for many reasons. It is a rare thing as an actor to take a moment and look back at sometime, you always tend to think ahead to the future."
Robin Williams' Rapid-Fire Return to Sitcoms
The last time I was on TV, ‘wired’ meant a gram and a bottle of Jack Daniels,” says Robin Williams in one of those offhand, rapid-fire one-liners he specializes in, leaving you just a moment to get it before he moves to the next topic.
That signature lightspeed delivery and brilliant comedic cross-references dazzled television audiences nearly 40 years ago when the standup comic, improv artist and Julliard-trained actor became a nearly overnight superstar on the “Happy Days” spinoff “Mork & Mindy" and served him well through a long a varied career in film.
Throughout his colorful, sometimes controversial personal life which included multiple marriages, drug and alcohol abuse, rehab and heart surgery, Williams headlined top-grossing comedies like “Aladdin,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Birdcage.” There were touching dramas such as “Awakenings," his Oscar-winning turn in “Good Will Hunting,” and specialized projects somewhere in between like “Good Morning Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Society” and “The Fisher King.”
It’s that middle ground of comedy and pathos that Williams hopes to mine as he returns to television with “The Crazy Ones,’ a half-hour comedy that casts him as a brilliantly inventive ad man whose career seems at its zenith unless it can be salvaged by his more practical minded daughter – the project cannily teams him with dramedy-definer David E. Kelley (“Ally McBeal,” “Boston Legal”) and co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar, who trod a similar line on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Williams says that while he’s tamed his lifestyle excesses over the years, his creative process going into the new series remains the same: “It’s the idea of getting a stimulus and seeing how far you can go with it, pushing your mind and seeing what you can wrap around it in a new way,” he says. “That’s what’ll be exciting about this. Where do you go and how do you find it? With David, that’s why I signed on, because it was him: he knows characters. If it was just the idea and ‘Be funny,’ well, good luck.”
His particular brand of hyperdriven hilarity seemingly happening in the moment is the stuff of comedy legend and talk show gold, but while he’s been encouraged to make “The Crazy Ones” material his own, he wants to manage the manic-ness. “It has to be appropriate,” he says. “You try something, you go for it, and even in failing you might find interesting stuff. In an ad agency, you find some weird ideas and try them in the creative process. That’s what will be fun, if it works. You’re really improvising – good and bad, both of them.”
Kelley says that when real-life ad agency icon John Montgomery suggested the notion of a series set in the contemporary world of advertising, he felt the timing was off but “I couldn't get it out of my mind. I kept going back to it. Finally, I took a stab at writing it. Once the script was written and it was about this iconic, crazy advertising genius and his relationship with his daughter, we said, "Okay – who best to play all of these parts?" because there were certainly many different muscles to flex within this role.”
Michael Jackson Will Be Star of Closing Arguments
Michael Jackson, immortalized by music videos, will be the star of closing arguments by his mother's lawyers in the civil negligence case against concert giant AEG Live LLC.
The videos have been shown frequently during testimony in the 21-week trial to remind jurors of Jackson's musical triumphs as well as the rehearsals for his ill-fated "This Is It" concert tour when some witnesses claim he was ailing.
They are expected to ask for more than $1 billion, citing testimony of experts who said Jackson had a long lucrative career ahead of him when he died at the age of 50.
Final arguments are likely to draw a crowd, leading the judge to move proceedings from her tiny courtroom to a larger courtroom that can accommodate media, spectators, lawyers and Jackson fans who line up daily for a lottery to win seats in the courtroom.
The fans huddle and discuss the case in the hallway and wait to see Katherine Jackson enter the courtroom. Some wear T-shirts emblazoned with her picture and messages of support.
AEG Live is accused of negligently hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted in 2011 of giving Jackson an overdose of the anesthetic propofol as he tried to sleep during preparations for comeback shows in London.
The company claims it was Jackson who insisted that Murray treat him because the former cardiologist was giving him propofol as a sleep aid.
AEG Live drafted a contract for Murray's services, according to testimony, but it was never signed by anyone except Murray before Jackson died.
Stars React to Corey Monteith Emmy Tribute
The inclusion of young "Glee" actor Cory Monteith among individual salutes at the Emmy Awards was a tough topic on the red carpet.
Monteith, who was 31 when he died in July of a drug overdose, was chosen by show producers over such veteran actors and Emmy nominees as Larry Hagman of "Dallas," Charles Durning of "Evening Shade" and Jack Klugman of "The Odd Couple."
"Cory had a very special place in our cultural history this year," said Mayim Bialik of "The Big Bang Theory." ''It's such a hard thing to handle either way. Different people are honored for different reasons."
Veteran actress Margo Martindale of the new show "The Millers" called Hagman, Durning and Klugman "icons for me."
"Everyone should be included," she said. "Is it that there could only be so many people and so little time?"
The individual segments were in addition to the traditional "in memoriam" piece that groups together industry members who died in the past year.
Monteith was by far the youngest of the individuals singled out and had never been nominated for an Emmy.
Others honored individually were "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, Jean Stapleton of "All in the Family," comedian and actor Jonathan Winters and "Family Ties" producer Gary David Goldberg.
Britney Spears Announces Las Vegas Residency
Britney Spears is heading to Las Vegas.
The pop star announced a residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday. "Britney: Piece of Me" will debut Dec. 27. The singer announced 16 dates, but she will perform 50 shows each in 2014 and 2015.
Spears was in the Nevada desert for the announcement with more than 1,000 fans. Some dressed like the singer's signature schoolgirl look from her "... Baby One More Time" music video.
The Grammy-winning singer's confirmation about the residency comes months after rumors swirled online. She said in an interview on "GMA" that the show will feature her greatest hits as well as new material.
"I'm definitely ready," she said, adding that she's training five hours each day.
Tickets for "Britney: Piece of Me" go on sale Sept. 20. Prices range from $59 to $179.
The 31-year-old Spears released a new song, "Work B----," this week. The song is from her untitled eighth album, due out Dec. 3. It will include songs about her ex-fiance Jason Trawick.
"They suck," she said. "Breakups suck."
New Miss America's Visit to Boardwalk Fire Site Cancelled
A visit to the scene of New Jersey's devastating boardwalk by the newly-crowned Miss America was cancelled on Monday.
The Miss America Organization told The Associated Press that Nina Davuluri, who won the title Sunday night in Atlantic City, was to head to Seaside Park and Seaside Heights Monday afternoon to support the reconstruction efforts.
The visit was cancelled after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was having cabinet officials meet with affected business owners at the same time as Davuluri's scheduled visit, according to Newsday.
More than four blocks of the iconic boardwalk were destroyed by a raging wind-whipped fire on Thursday.
"Pirates of the Caribbean 5" Delayed Beyond 2015
So much for summer 2015.
The start of production on the fifth installment of Disney's multibillion-dollar "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise has been delayed until at least this fall, prompting the studio to change its projected release date from July 10, 2015, to "Unset."
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer told The Hollywood Reporter that there are issues with the script (something that's probably pretty common when you're on to Popcorn Movie No. 5) and they're hoping to get the show on the high seas by summer 2016.
But they better hurry up before the end comes nigh for franchise cornerstone Johnny Depp.
The 50-year-old actor, who at this time is the only returning star officially attached to "Pirates 5" (which is currently listed on IMDb as "POTC: Dead Men Tell No Tales"), told the BBC in July that his retirement from moviemaking is "probably not too far away."
Of course, that may just have been "Lone Ranger" burnout talking--a feeling Disney is more than familiar with.
The $250 million flop may result in a reported $190 million write-down for the studio, so there must be concerns that even having Captain Jack Sparrow aboard won't be enough to carry a "Pirates" film into the black if the script isn't ship-shape.
Jeff Nathanson is working on the screenplay for "Pirates 5" and Joachim Rnning and Espen Sandberg are signed up to direct.
"We have an outline everyone loves but the script is not done...We want a script that everyone's signed off on and a budget that everyone's signed off on," Bruckheimer told THR.
The first four "Pirates" films grossed more than $3.7 billion at the box office worldwide.
Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' vs. Marvin Gaye: The War Over Summer's Song
Although musical influences can be heard in nearly every song on the radio, such artists as John Lennon, Led Zeppelin and Black Eyed Peas have been brought to court for song theft, which under copyright law means their music is "substantially similar" to another song. In 1976, for example, George Harrison was found to have lifted 1970's "My Sweet Lord" -- "subconsciously," said the judge -- from The Chiffons' "He's So Fine."
a similar song -- Madonna had to pull "Frozen" from Belgian radio after a Belgian artist won a plagiarism case -- there are countless disputes that go nowhere. That's due in part to the murky and subjective nature of copyright law -- blurred legal lines, you might say. As Questlove tweeted about Thicke's suit: "Just because a song is derivative that doesn't mean it's plagiarized."
Copyright authority includes the ability to control "derivative works." "You can't make 'Hotel California 2' or 'Welcome Back to the Jungle' any more than you could make Star Wars: Episode VII without a license," notes copyright lawyer Eric German.
But courts often are left to make subjective evaluations of how much similarity is too much. Just ask the songwriter who sued Kanye West over 2007's "Stronger" and was ridiculed by judges for attempting to "own" a particular rhyme pattern. The plaintiff "cannot claim copyright over a tercet," scoffed an appeals court this year.
In fact, in a song theft case, one of the first things argued is what is protectable and what isn't. Musicologists are hired, time signatures are scrutinized, and the measures in a verse become a battleground. An ongoing $10 million lawsuit against Justin Bieber and Usher, for instance, makes the case that "Somebody to Love" took a valuable hook from a Virginia songwriter.
"Of course, the lyrics had to change," an attorney for the plaintiff argued in court papers. "But to keep the value of the underlying song, they had to keep the 'hook,' that part ... listeners will sing to themselves in the car or shower ('I … need somebody to loooooove!')." And what do Bieber's attorneys say? "The law is clear that this phrase is too short and cliche to be protected."
If the songwriter suing Bieber were more popular, he'd likely have an easier time. Under the "inverse ratio rule," a lower standard of proof of similarity is necessary when a high degree of "access" is shown. Parties also battle over "extrinsic" similarity -- objective measures like chord progression -- and "intrinsic" similarity, or what an ordinary listener might think. Other considerations include whether the artist accused of lifting has made "transformative" use of the original.
Digital advances only have confused the legal issues. Websites give artists instant access to millions of previous songs. At the same time, forensic software allows the lesser-known artist to sniff out unlicensed samples, explaining why Madonna is facing a lawsuit over 1990's "Vogue" and The Beastie Boys are fighting over its 1989 album, Paul's Boutique.
The preemptive move by Thicke against Gaye's family and Bridgeport Music Inc. (rightsholder for Funkadelic, whose "Sexy Ways" also was named) is a somewhat ingenious gambit: By suing over two allegedly similar songs, Thicke's lawyer Howard King implicitly argues that music can't be plagiarized from a duo of distinct tunes. On the other hand, the Gayes' lawyer, Richard Busch, likely will make the case that the war over the song of summer 2013 isn't much different than the one over the song of summer 1963. Brian Wilson gave Chuck Berry props. Should Thicke do the same for Marvin Gaye?
MTV VMAs: Justin Timberlake Wins Top Prize, Macklemore Earns Three Moonmen
Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke joined forces for a controversial performance, while 'N Sync reunited -- if briefly.
The 2013 MTV Video Music Awards aired Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV from Brooklyn's Barclays Center, with Justin Timberlake taking home the night's top prize of Video of the Year for "Mirrors."
"This is amazing," Timberlake said, "'cause it's so personal for me."
Lady Gaga opened the ceremony with the world-premiere performance of "Applause" (and a whopping five costume changes during her performance alone). Other artists to hit the stage included Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Drake and a collabo from Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, which set Twitter into a frenzy from the over-the-top, teddy-bear-and-grinding-filled performance. Cyrus, introduced by Saturday Night Live cast member Vanessa Bayer doing her best Cyrus impression, set tongues wagging when she stripped down to a nude-colored two-piece and danced suggestively with Thicke.
Timberlake brought his former boy band 'N Sync to the stage while accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award from presenter Jimmy Fallon. After a medley of his biggest solo hits, including "Take Back the Night," "SexyBack," "Cry Me a River" and "Rock Your Body," JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick emerged from below the stage for a brief rendition of 'N Sync's "Girlfriend" and "Bye Bye Bye." As quickly as they arrived, they descended again and Timberlake tied up the performance on his own with his 20/20 Experience hits "Suit & Tie" and "Mirrors."
Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jared Leto, Emeli Sande and A$AP Rocky were among the show's presenters, with DJ Cassidy as the official DJ.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed their gay rights anthem "Same Love" with vocalist Mary Lambert after winning the Moonman for Best Video With a Message. Surprising the audience, Jennifer Hudson joined in the performance and engaged Lambert in a vocal back-and-forth onstage.
"I really wanted to win the Best Rap Video, but this Moonman right here stands for so much more," said Macklemore during his acceptance speech. The duo won the award for Best Rap Video earlier in the evening and, off-camera, their "Can't Hold Us" won Best Cinematography.
"Gay rights are human rights, there is no separation," he added of the recent legal victory in California over Prop 8. "To watch this song in the last year spread across the world is a testament to what is happening right now in American on the forefront of equality."
Introducing the Seattle-based rapper was Jason Collins, the NBA player who came out earlier this year. Standing next to A$AP Rocky, Collins said: “The only way things change is when you stand up for what you believe in."
Comic Kevin Hart appeared multiple times during the broadcast to crack jokes, but was quick to clarify that he wasn't the night's official host.
"They just keep asking me to do stuff," he explained. "I'm just up here to talk about some stuff right now."
Hart hosted last year's ceremony at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
In standard fashion, Swift also made a pointed dig at one of her exes. While accepting the honor of Best Female Video for "I Knew You Were Trouble," Swift thanked the man who inspired the song, saying that he "knows exactly who he is."
"Now I got one of these," she said with a big grin, holding her Moonman high in the air.
Katy Perry closed out the show with a live rendition of "Roar" from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Marvin Gaye's Family Rejected Robin Thicke's Six-Figure Offer (Exclusive)
Billboard has learned that Robin Thicke’s team offered a six-figure sum to members of Marvin Gaye family in order to preempt a copyright infringement showdown, but the family turned it down.
According to sources knowledgeable with the lawsuit, the settlement offer came after Frankie Christian Gaye, Marvin Gaye III and Nona Marvisa Gaye accused Thicke's "Blurred Lines" hit single of plagiarizing "Got To Give it Up," written and composed by Marvin Gaye, who died in 1984.
Subsequently, Thicke, along with "Blurred Lines" co-writers Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris, Jr., filed a lawsuit on Aug. 15 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles requesting a ruling that "Blurred Lines" does not infringe on "Got To Give It Up." It also requested a similar judgement with regard to another accusation, by Bridgeport Music Inc., that "Blurred Lines" infringed on George Clinton's "Sexy Ways."
Bridgeport and the Gaye family's attorney, Richard Busch, did not return calls requesting comment. Thicke's law firm, King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner, declined to comment.
In an interview with TMZ, Gaye's son, Marvin Gaye III said, "We’re not happy with the way that he went about doing business let alone suing us for something where he clearly got his inspiration from at the least."
During an interview with GQ magazine in May about his career and the making of "Blurred Lines," Thicke said, "one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye's 'Got to Give It Up.' I was like, 'Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.' Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it. The whole thing was done in a couple hours."
Thicke's lawsuit said the "intent in producing 'Blurred Lines' was to evoke an era. In reality, the Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre.... The reality is that the songs themselves are starkly different."
The question remains, how different are they? Which may be up to a judge to decide.
Lindsay Lohan Admits to Lying About Cocaine Use, Thriving on 'Chaos' in Oprah Interview
The actress also confirms she's an "addict," defends her parents and talks about her jail time during the sit-down, which aired Sunday night on OWN.
Lindsay Lohan admitted to lying about how many times she used cocaine during an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Sunday night on OWN.
While the actress has previously stated that she used the drug three or four times, she told Winfrey that the actual number is more like 10-15 times.
"I was terrified of being judged," she said, adding that she snorted -- and never injected -- the drug.
Lohan also admitted, "I'm an addict," but insisted that her addiction is to alcohol.
"That, in the past, was a gateway to other things for me," she said. "I tried cocaine with alcohol."
Lohan added that she didn't enjoy using cocaine: "I never felt good the next day." But she took it because it "allowed me to drink more. It was a party thing. People would have it, and I'd do it."
Lohan also said when she found out she was going to jail -- she first was ordered to jail time in 2010 for violating probation -- that moment was "terrifying." But, subconsciously, she knew that she needed help.
"Having all the chaos around me that I was so comfortable with, I somewhere inside knew I wanted to go to jail," she said. "And I think that that was subconsciously being put out there just by my actions, or lack thereof."
She also praised her attorney, Shawn Holley, who has appeared on The Hollywood Reporter's list of most powerful entertainment attorneys: "She's my family, she's been through a lot with me, she's stood by me. I love her. She's got a great spirit and cares for me and wants what's best for me."
Lohan, who has been in rehab six times, says she's clean now and takes only vitamins along with Nexium for her acid reflux. She said that she once took Adderall for her ADD, but has since stopped because she doesn't believe she needs it anymore -- and functions better without it. She added that it wasn't a sudden a-ha moment that spurred her to change her ways but more of a realization over a period of time.
Asked if she is "addicted to chaos," Lohan replied: "I think so. Yeah, it was a comfortable choice to me. What was chaotic to other people in the outside looking in was normal. There is something to be said about me learning to be comfortable with things just being OK."
Meanwhile, Lohan's parents -- Dina and Michael Lohan -- have been accused in the past of exploiting their daughter, but the actress denied that she felt they had ever done such a thing. However, she did admit that she wishes certain family problems -- such as her leaked phone call with her father in which she accused her mother of doing coke (an accusation she told Winfrey was false) -- hadn't been aired in public.
Lohan, who is currently starring in The Canyons, which hit theaters Aug. 2, also made her case that she's not the same wild child of the past several years. She said she's ready to prove that she is a responsible adult who can be trusted by directors, producers and the like.
"[I'm ready] to get the thing that has made me happiest my whole life back, which is to work really hard, stay focused and prove myself," she said. "I have to regain trust in people, in my career, that had doubts, and I fully respect that on their behalf. As long as I stay honest in myself and do the work I'm willing to do and have been willing to do and am doing, then nothing can stand in my way. I am my own worst enemy, and I know that."
Next up, Lohan is traveling with her brother to Europe to take part in a yoga and meditation retreat.
"I'm different," the actress said when pressed by Winfrey whether that was the best decision for her, only four days out of rehab. "I feel different I'm in a different headspace. I don't want those things I wanted before."
Still, Winfrey encouraged her to stay in New York for some time before embarking on such a trip, an idea Lohan said she would consider.
Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley Returning to Host 2013 CMA Awards
Why get rid of a good thing?
At least, that seemed to be the thinking process of the Country Music Association when it came to choosing the cohosts for the 2013 CMA Awards.
Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley will return to take on the duty of hosting "Country's Biggest Night" for the sixth year in a row.
The news of the popular and entertaining duo taking on the role of cohosts yet again was announced during CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock last night on ABC.
"Carrie and Brad are the consummate hosts," said Ed Hardy, President of the CMA Board of Directors. "They have the respect of our industry, artistic credibility, critical acclaim, and a quick-witted, genuine rapport that makes them popular with our audience and the viewers at home. We are delighted to have them back as hosts for the sixth year."
The 47th Annual CMA Awards will air live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Nov. 6 on ABC.
Jimmy Fallon Opens Up About "Awful" 5-Year Fertility Struggle
Jimmy Fallon revealed that with he and his wife struggled for five years to start a family before they decided to choose surrogate pregnancy.
"We've tried a bunch of things," he told Savannah Guthrie on the "Today" show. "Anyone who's tried will know it's just awful."
Fallon and wife Nancy Juvonen had their first baby on July 23, a day after the royal baby was born.
Winnie's birth was a surprise to many, he said. Fallon told the show last Friday that his past disappointments with family and friends led him and his wife to decide not to tell anyone they were expecting a child.
Fallon encouraged couples facing difficulties with pregnancy to not lose hope and to try every possible avenue to start a family. He continued his burst of his excitement and expressed his happiness to Guthrie.
He also reveals how his daughter got the name "Winnie." Fallon told the "Today" show that Winnie was short for Lake Winnipesaukee, the location of a New Hampshire lake house where Fallon and his wife got engaged and adds that "Winnie" from the "The Wonder Years" was an extra inspiration.
"And also, she's a 'win' for us," he said. "I'm just so happy right, I'm freaking out."
This year has been a productive year for Fallon who not only is now a proud father, but his show has been nominated for an Emmy, and NBC officially announced Jimmy Fallon will take over "The Tonight Show" in the spring of 2014.
The "Today" show will air part two of Guthrie's interview with Fallon this Wedesday.
George Lucas and Wife Mellody Hobson Welcome a Baby Girl
It's a girl!
George Lucas and wife Mellody Hobson welcomed a daughter named Everest Hobson Lucas Friday, Aug. 9, according to the Huffington Post.
The little one, who was delivered via surrogate, is the first biological child for the couple and joins Lucas' adopted children 32-year-old Amanda, 25-year-old Katie and 20-year-old Jett.
The Star Wars creator and the Ariel Investments president wed in late June at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Calif.
Prior to the pair's engagement, the 69-year-old filmmaker sold Lucasfilm to Disney for a whopping $4.05 billion in Oct. 2012.
"It was 40 years of work," Lucas told E! News at the Ebony Power 100 Gala in November. "It has been my life, but I am ready to move on to bigger and better things."
Including a newborn baby girl. Congrats to the happy couple!
Usher's Child Custody Battle Back in Court
A judge in Atlanta is set to hear arguments in a child custody battle between R&B singer Usher and his ex-wife.
Tameka Foster Raymond requested the hearing earlier this week after the former couple's son got caught in a pool drain while in the care of the Grammy winner's aunt. Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger set the hearing for Friday afternoon.
Raymond's court filing says the 5-year-old boy "suffered a near-death accident" while left unsupervised at Usher's home Monday. She's seeking temporary primary custody of the former couple's two children.
Usher and Tameka Raymond married in 2007 and divorced two years later. They went through a lengthy child custody battle, and Usher was awarded primary custody of the boys last year.
Matt Damon Heads Back to "Jimmy Kimmel Live"--Watch Guillermo Ambush His "Elysium" Interview
Jimmy Kimmel is reigniting his "feud" with Matt Damon.
Six months after the Oscar winner took over "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in retaliation for all the times the funnyman bumped him over the years, Kimmel sent sidekick Guillermo Diaz on a mission to crash a junket interview Damon was doing to promote his new sci-fi blockbuster, "Elysium."
And Matt was none too thrilled about it.
"Look, man. I'm trying to do my job here. I have an interview I have to do, OK?" said Damon after the show's parking-lot security guard suddenly interrupted his sit-down.
"Me too! I have to do a junky for my movie!" responded Guillermo.
After Damon wondered just what the heck he was talking about ("You're gonna do a junky for your movie? You have a movie?"), Guillermo held up a poster for his own flick, "Estupido" with a giant arrow pointing at the "Bourne Identity" star.
"It's about a man. Who's stupid from Boston. It's basically a true story!" quipped Guillermo.
After asking his uninvited interlocutor to step out of the shot, Guillermo proceeds to plug "Estupido," announcing in Spanish that he's "very proud of this movie," which also features a friend named Ben--as in Ben Affleck, of course--"who's also stupid."
After Damon informs him he speaks Spanish, Guillermo turns the poster around to reveal another one-sheet for a film called "Ass Face" with yet another arrow pointing at him.
"Jimmy paid thousands and thousands of dollars to fly you from L.A. to Miami to carry a sign that says 'Ass Face' with an arrow pointed at me, double-booking a hotel room so you can do this?" asked the thesp.
"Jimmy's very rich. He can do whatever he wants," laughed Guillermo.
At that point, just as Damon turns toward the camera to give Kimmel a stern message, his speech is cut off by a voice-over from Guillermo, who plugs the actor "in the role of a lifetime" in "Ass Face."
Somehow we doubt an apology from Jimmy is forthcoming. It looks like it's on again
Nick Cannon Writes Open Letter to "Sister" Amanda Bynes: "I Care and I Appreciate You"
"As of lately I have been hit with an onslaught of questions about someone I consider family, someone I watched grow up, and someone I genuinely feel is one of the most pleasant human beings I have had the pleasure of meeting, Amanda Bynes," Cannon said.
The TV host and actor stated that he used to "brush it off," but after Bynes' was admitted for psychiatric care, he said, "I see this as no laughing matter."
Mariah Carey's hubby continued to say that although "fame and entertainment is one of the best and easiest occupations to ever have," it can also swallow a person up if they don't know how to navigate through, what he calls, the "matrix."
"I've seen it happen to many of my friends and colleagues young and old. It goes back to that old saying; 'Too much of anything is bad for anyone.' Whether it's fame, money, sex, drugs, attention. It's all a dangerous addiction," Cannon wrote.
"We all end up alone in that dark hole at some point in our lives and if you don't have a foundation of friends and family to help bring you up and out it makes that journey long and detrimental."
Nick wanted to make sure that Bynes knew he was only a phone call away, if she ever needed it.
"So I say to my sister Amanda Bynes you're not alone. I'm here for you. I understand. I care and I appreciate you, because that's what family does and that's what family is for."
Last week, E! News confirmed that Bynes was detained by police and taken into custody for a mental health evaluation after being "involved in a disturbance in a residential neighborhood," and ultimately placed on a 5150 hold.
Jimmy Fallon Welcomes a Baby Girl with Wife Nancy Juvonen
Jimmy Fallon had a later night than usual--in the maternity ward!
The "Late Night" host and wife Nancy Juvonen welcomed a baby girl early Tuesday morning, their first child together, People reports. (And in secondary news: Jimmy Fallon and his wife were expecting a baby.)
Somewhat hot on the heels of the royal birth (not to mention Fallon's jokes about it), their child arrived at 6:21 a.m. in New York and the new parents "are overjoyed about the arrival of their beautiful daughter."
The couple have not announced a name yet.
Meanwhile, Fallon was on the air last night — which is reasonable, considering his 12:35 a.m. show actually tapes at around 5 p.m. — but NBC will be airing a repeat tonight.
The 38-year-old funnyman, who will take over as host of "The Tonight Show" next year, married Juvonen, 46, in December 2007 after meeting through mutual friend Drew Barrymore. She runs Flower Films with Juvonen and starred in "Fever Pitch" with Fallon.
And to think, Fallon was just making all those royal baby jokes without giving any indication that he was about to become a dad!
"That's right, Kate Middleton went into labor this morning in London. When the rest of the royal family heard, they were like, 'Oh my God — what's "labor"?'" he quipped during Monday's monologue.
Preceding the happy personal news, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon recently scored its third Emmy nomination for Best Variety Series.
Congrats to Jimmy and Nancy!
Stevie Wonder Boycotting Florida Following Zimmerman Verdict
The singer refuses to perform in the state until its Stand Your Ground law is "abolished."
Stevie Wonder won't be performing in Florida anytime soon.
In the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal, the singer said he would not be performing in the Sunshine State until its Stand Your Ground law is "abolished." He also said he would not be performing in any other state that recognizes the law, which some say contributed to Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012.
"I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again," Wonder said Sunday while performing in Quebec City. "As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world."
Some have argued that the law played no role in the acquittal. However, The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed out that it was cited in the jury instructions.
Meanwhile, Wonder also called for his fans' support of his boycott.
"The truth is that -- for those of you who’ve lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world -- we can’t bring them back," he said. "What we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That’s what I know we can do." (Watch Wonder's full announcement below.)
Protests have broken out in major U.S. cities including New York and Los Angeles since the jury rendered its not-guilty verdict last week.
Recording artists including Beyonce, Young Jeezy, Wyclef Jean and Lil Scrappy have already paid tribute to Martin.
BET Awards 2013 - Great Show!
Rihanna Dethrones Justin Bieber as Most-Viewed YouTube Artist
Rihanna has nabbed Justin Bieber’s claim as YouTube’s most-viewed artist.
Rihanna has 8.7 million subscribers on her channel, which is almost twice as much as Biber's 4.9 million.
The other musicians that round out the top most-viewed list are PSY at 3.1 billion views, Eminem at 2.4 billion views, Lady Gaga at 2.25 billion views and Shakira with 2 billion views, according to Billboard.
Johnny Depp Exits Whitey Bulger Biopic Over Salary Dispute
Johnny Depp has fallen out of Black Mass, Cross Creek and Exclusive Media's biopic of Boston gangster Whitey Bulger for director Barry Levinson.
Depp was to have been paid his usual quote of $20 million, according to sources, but with sales of the project at Cannes on the soft side, producers were looking to trim the budget, in the high $60 million range. Depp was asked to take half, according to sources, and the actor and his reps at UTA refused. The situation came to a crux Wednesday.
The movie was to have been Depp's follow-up to Transcendence, the sci-fi Alcon project he is currently shooting.
Though Cross Creek and Exclusive hope to salvage Black Mass by hiring another actor, it is unclear how Depp's exit will affect the involvement of Joel Edgerton, who recently became attached to play a disgraced FBI agent.
UTA had no comment.
Depp will next be seen in The Lone Ranger, opening July 3 in North America.
Berry Gordy to Be Honored by Songwriters Hall of Fame
The founder of Motown Records will be awarded the Pioneer Award at this year's gala.
Record producer and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy will be honored with the Pioneer Award at this year’s Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards gala. The award was established last year to "honor the career of a historic creator of an extensive body of musical work that has been a major influence on generations of songwriters," according to the organization. The 2012 award was given posthumously toWoody Guthrie.
"Berry Gordy is an innovator and a visionary," said Jimmy Webb, Songwriters Hall of Fame chairman. "Yes, he created a label, but more than that, he created a genre. Think about it, he pioneered a marketplace for African-American artistry, and then he invited the world in to enjoy it."
Gordy and Motown Records are responsible for the careers of artists such as Diana Ross and The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, to name a few.
A musical based on Gordy’s life, Motown: The Musical, debuted on Broadway this week.
Gordy will join previously announced Hall of Fame inductees Tony Hatch, Mick Jones, Lou Gramm, Holly Knight, JD Souther, Steven Tyler, and Joe Perry at this year's event. The Songwriters Hall of Fame’s 44th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner is slated for Thursday, June 13.
Jimi Hendrix New Release - People, Hell and Angels
In her autobiography about being a young artist in New York City, Just Kids, Patti Smith described attending the opening night party for a new recording studio in August of 1970. Being shy and easily overwhelmed by crowds, she spent a great deal of time outside on the fire escape with the equally shy musician responsible for the studio's existence. Jimi Hendrix didn't have too much longer to live when he sat on the fire escape outside his newly opened Electric Ladyland Studios with the young poet. The studio was to be the place where he would experiment and play music away from the demands of the world-he was only able to do so for four weeks before going on the road and ultimately passing away in September. Today, more then 40 years after Hendrix's death, the studio is one part of his legacy to the world of music. (Smith is only one of many artists who recorded there too, taking advantage of what Hendrix created.)
Bruce Lee Origin Story Heading to Big Screen
Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele, whose credits include "Nixon" and "Ali," have been hired to write the script.
QED International and banner Groundswell Productions are aiming to tell a Bruce Lee origin story with Birth of the Dragon, tapping scribes Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele to pen the tale.
Dragon, according to QED and Groundswell, is inspired by the true-life duel between Lee and Wong Jack Man, who was China’s most famous kung fu Master. The no-rules fight took place in San Francisco in 1965, when the city’s Chinatown was controlled by Hong Kong triads.
The writers are using this true event as a jumping-off point for a wider-canvas action movie in which Wong and Lee team up to battle a band of Chinatown gangsters.
QED CEO Bill Block and Groundswell’s Michael London will produce the project along with Wilkinson and Rivele. Groundswell’s Kelly Mullen will exec produce.
"Stephen Rivele and Chris Wilkinson have taken a little-known chapter in the life of Bruce Lee and used it as a jumping-off point for a bold, exciting story about the making of an international legend,” said London in a statement.
Wilkinson and Rivele are best known for their biopic work. The duo’s credits include Nixon, the 1995 drama directed by Oliver Stone that netted them an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay, and 2001's Ali, directed by Michael Mann. They also wrote Mercury, the story of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, which is set up at GK Films with Sacha Baron Cohen to star.
Sofia Vergara's 'Killer Women' Adaptation, Score Pilot Orders at ABC
ABC is expanding its relationship with Emmy nominee Sofia Vergara -- ordering to pilot an adaptation of Argentine series Killer Women -- and is adding a drama from Awake creator Kyle Killen
Killer Women is a soapy procedural revolving around a female Texas Ranger, with the Modern Family star attached to executive produce the hour-long project. The project landed at the network with a script commitment in October.
The drama is based on the POL-KA Productiones' Argentine series Mujeres Asesinas, which itself is based on the book trilogy of the same name by Marisa Grinstein.
Hannah Shakespeare (The Raven) will pen the pilot script and executive produce alongside feature director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), Vergara and her Latin World Entertainment partner Luis Balaguer.
The drama hails from ABC Studios and Electus, with Ben Silverman also on board to executive produce. It marks Electus's first pilot order this season; the company has a pilot presentation for a semi-autobiographical Jessica Simpson comedy set up at NBC.
Worth noting: ABC also has a semi-autobiographical comedy from Vergara's Modern Family co-star Ty Burrell awaiting word on its future. Burrell co-wrote the script with his brother, Duncan Burrell.
For its part, Killen's Influence is being billed as a provocative workplace ensemble centered on the complicated relationship between two brothers who head a unique agency designed to attack their clients’ problems using the real science of human motivation and manipulation.
The pair of dramas becomes the network's sixth and seventh pickups this pilot season, joining a legal drama from House creator David Shore, among others.
Killen, who wrote theMel Gibson/Jodie FosterfilmThe Beaver, is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Lichter Grossman; Vergara is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson; Shakespeare is repped by CAA, Silent R Management and Felker Toczek.
'Crouching Tiger' Actress Prostitution Story
The lawyers fighting Zhang Ziyi's defamation lawsuit as an impingement of free speech, are objecting to the unmasking of "politically vulnerable" Chinese sources.
On Friday, a California federal court will play host to an important hearing in actress Zhang Ziyi's defamation lawsuit against U.S.-based China Free Press and a journalist over published claims that she is a prostitute who has earned more than $100 million for having sexual relations with high-ranking Chinese officials.
Zhang, who has starred in such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and Rush Hour 2, is looking to force Weican Null Meng, who writes for the Chinese dissident news website Boxun, to give up the sources that led to his prostitution reports. Zhang says the scandal has cost her quite a bit of income in the entertainment industry and ruined potential endorsement deals with luxury designer brand Michael Kors, French automaker Citroen and others.
But this is hardly the typical defamation case.
The defendants are gearing up for the Friday hearing that will determine whether and how the lawsuit proceeds. Lives will be on the line.
The stories originally gained attention not only due to the inclusion of a famous actress but also Bo Xilai, a former member of China's Communist government who was ousted from his post and entangled in a political scandal that forced his house arrest on charges of playing a role in the murder of a British businessman. The scandal drew international news attention, and Meng reported an untold aspect of the story -- that Bo and other high-level Communist Party officials in China had hired Zhang as a prostitute.
The stories were picked up by a plethora of news outlets including CNN, The Huffington Post and Yahoo.
Zhang's libel lawsuit that followed said the prostitution story was based on anonymous stories and not true at all and that when Boxun News was contacted about the falsity of the allegations, the publication refused to run a retraction.
Meng's attorney Marc Randazza then stood up to challenge the lawsuit as a "SLAPP," meaning an alleged use of the legal process to interfere with his client's First Amendment rights. In this instance, Randazza said the actress' legal move "seemed like a clever Chinese government plan to flush out the source, or, as a consolation prize, to shut down a journalistic gadfly."
In bringing an anti-SLAPP motion to strike the claims, Randazza also says the suit was filed "solely to create a Hobson's choice for its defendants: Either divulge their anonymous sources inside the People's Republic of China so that they may be subject to cruel, unusual and inhumane persecution, or surrender their own rights to free expression under the United States Constitution."
During the course of the litigation, Meng testified that there were three sources that formed the basis of his reports. "Source A" was someone Meng had relied upon extensively in the past who had learned the information from a Chinese businessman who was arrested as part of the corruption case against Bo. This primary source is described by the journalist as having a track record of reliability. "Source B" was an entertainment industry insider or a researcher in the social science area who had familiarity with the entertainment business. "Source C" was a freelance reporter Zhao Yan, who formerly worked for The New York Times and was arrested in China for leaking info about the Chinese leadership to foreign media.
Meng's attorneys has submitted a declaration from David Ardia, a media law professor at the University of North Carolina, who met with Meng about her sources, reviewed materials and documents in the case and conducted a post-publication libel assessment. His conclusion? "There is no basis to correct or retract the stories at issue in this case," he says in court documents.
Meanwhile, Zhang's attorneys at the Glaser Weil Fink law firm call the information provided by these sources to be "nothing more than rumors, innuendo and hearsay -- several if not many times removed."
Additionally, they have submitted their own declarations attacking the journalism practices of the defendants. For example, Hollywood attorney Larry Stein has submitted his own opinion in which he states it to be remarkable and against industry practice that Meng never attempted to verify his story with Zhang's representatives. He says that at a minimum, this demonstrates a reckless disregard for the truth.
He also says that "if reporters are permitted to write false statements and then hide behind anonymous sources known only to them allegedly out of concern about what might happen to such sources if they are disclosed, they can say whatever they want with impunity."
Friday's hearing will get into all sorts of legally tricky issues.
One is jurisdiction. Should a North Carolina-based journalist who has written about a Chinese actress receiving $100 million from Chinese officials in exchange for sexual services be forced to defend litigation in California?
Another has to do with whether Zhang needs to post a $200,000 bond for the case to continue. If Zhang loses on the anti-SLAPP motion, California law provides the defendant with the possibility of recovering legal fees. Meng's attorneys say they don't want a situation where Zhang, a Chinese citizen, can skip out on paying; Zhang's attorneys say the bond motion is moot because the concurrently heard motion to strike the lawsuit will settle this money issue.
And finally, the hearing will resolve how the case proceeds.
In reaction to Meng's anti-SLAPP motion, the actress' attorneys say that their lawsuit isn't meritless -- that she has a right to her reputation and business interests. The plaintiff says Meng has failed to meet the burden of showing the alleged defamatory statements concern an issue of public interest, arguing that supposed "sex deals" don't have much to do with a "major political scandal." The plaintiff say they have alleged sufficient evidence to prevail on their claims that the defendants acted with actual malice by avoiding the truth in regards to libelous statements. And Zhang's attorneys say that at a minimum, their client is entitled to know more about these confidential sources.
"The identities of Defendants' sources are necessary to test their veracity and reliability and to determine whether such sources even exist," Zhang's legal papers say.
Oprah Winfrey No Longer World’s Richest Black Woman
*Oprah Winfrey has reportedly been unseated as the world’s richest black woman.
According to a report published by Ventures Africa, an African business magazine and news service, the new title holder is Nigerian fashion designer and oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, who is worth an estimated $3.3 billion. That’s $500 million richer than Winfrey, whose wealth Forbes magazine estimated at $2.7 billion in September.
Alakija, 61, is the founder and owner of Famfa oil, a Nigerian oil company which owns a 60% working interest in OML 127, an offshore oil field which produces 200,000 barrels of oil per day.
“Total E&P recently sold off its 20% stake in a similar oil field to China’s Sinopec for $2.5 billion,” explains Ventures Africa editor Douglas Imaralu. “The oil field in question has a daily production capacity of 180,000 barrels a day.
“Similarly, other hand, OML 127 in which Famfa has a 60% interest produces about 200,000 barrels a day. When we did the math using the Total-Sinopec deal as a comparator, we came to the realization that Alakija’s stake is easily worth billions of dollars. We showed our calculations on ventures-africa.com. At this point, we have no doubt that she is indeed, richer than Oprah.
What's Going On? Top 20 UFO Sightings 2012 Watch Now!
Kim Kardashiam Skirt Cause outrage
Kim Kardashian looks to have left her underwear at home as she heads out for an early dinner with boyfriend Kanye West in Miami. As Kim checked out her outfit in the reflection of her car, it became apparent that the reality star was not wearing any underwear as she showed off her see-through grey skirt.
Award Show (Dates)
Our Website is Now Up and Running!
We are pleased to announce that our new website is now up and running. Find out more about us and our community and stop by. Guests are always welcome!