It's never easy to gauge the true tastes of American audiences when it comes to what they watch and listen to.
The nominations for the 28th Annual People's Choice Awards--sponsored by the Gallup Organization--were announced on Tuesday and some surprising picks lead the pack. Actor Jason Alexander (of ABC's axed sitcom Bob Patterson) received a nod as favorite male performer in a new television series, and the high-octane flick The Fast and the Furious scored a nomination as well.
Here's the complete rundown of those nominated for the upcoming ceremony to be held Jan. 13, 2002 in Pasadena and broadcast on CBS:
Motion Picture: The Fast and the Furious, Pearl Harbor, Shrek
Motion Picture Star in a Comedy: Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller
Motion Picture Star in a Drama: Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Denzel Washington
Motion Picture Actor: Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington
Motion Picture Actress: Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez
Television Comedy Series: Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Friends
Television Dramatic Series: ER, Law & Order, The West Wing
Male Television Performer: Drew Carey, Kelsey Grammer, Ray Romano
Female Television Performer: Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Calista Flockhart
Male Performer in a New Television Series: Jason Alexander, (Bob Patterson), Scott Bakula (Enterprise), Damon Wayans (My Wife and Kids)
Female Performer in a New Television Series: Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen Show), Kim Delaney (Philly), Jill Hennessy (Crossing Jordan), Reba McEntire (Reba)
Male Musical Performer: Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, George Strait
Female Musical Performer: Faith Hill, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez
Musical Group: 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys, Dixie Chicks
The mood was somber and celebrity little more than a means to an end when tonight's telethon, America: A Tribute to Heroes, was shown on every major network and most of the major cable channels. There was no audience applauding; there was no audience, period, except those at home. There were no introductions; that wasn't the point, as celebrity speakers made clear throughout the night by telling the stories of the many heroes who lost their lives and saved the lives of others.
To commemorate Sept. 11, a day that could easily be thought of as "the day the music died," talented and famous faces came together for an evening of songs, stories, and yes, the occasional call for contributions.
The speeches tonight came in all varieties, all impassioned, some tearful, others awkward. A clearly nervous Jim Carrey spoke of Winston Churchill, then told the story of heroes who saved a woman by carrying her down 68 flights of stairs. George Clooney spoke of John Perry, a New York City policeman who'd filed his retirement papers the morning of Sept. 11, but heard of the tragedy and went to help. He never came back, Clooney said.
Cameron Diaz told stories of teachers who saved children at schools near the World Trade Center. Robin Williams talked of a hero who'd saved lives in the 1993 bombing and again this time, only last Tuesday he didn't make it out himself. Jimmy Smits spoke of police heroes, "cops who are willing to sacrifice their lives in an instant, for people they do not know." Julia Roberts spoke tearfully of heroes at the Pentagon, and the flying of the flag and the applause that greeted it.
Kelsey Grammer, who lost a co-worker aboard one of the flights that crashed, quoted words of strength from John F. Kennedy. Clint Eastwood talked gruffly of a day that would live in infamy.
Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Calista Flockhart, Conan O'Brien, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ray Romano, Jane Kaczmarek, Sela Ward, Chris Rock and Dennis Franz also spoke.
With some of the biggest names in music on the bill, America: A Tribute to Heroes was bound to be good. Bruce Springsteen opened with a candlelit acoustic performance of "My City of Ruins." Willie Nelson closed the two-hour event with "God Bless America," backed by an all-star cast of celebs who had been manning the phones all night. Does it get any better than that? Cut the album; give the proceeds to charity. We're there.
Of course, there were those who pointed out the reason for the event in their songs. Stevie Wonder, who followed The Boss, sang, "Love's in Need of Love Today," with the rather pointed line, "Don't delay, send yours in right away." Wyclef Jean's version of "Redemption Song" was peppered with cries of "Brooklyn" and "New York City" and "we've got to full-fill that book," which he sang while pointing to the phone bank.
The much-maligned Mariah Carey sang the only song she could under the circumstances, "Hero," of which she said, "When I wrote this song," she said, "it had a lot of meaning for me, and tonight it has even more meaning." Well said.
U2 appeared from London. Billy Joel tossed off a powerful rendition of "New York State of Mind" with a firefighter's helmet perched atop the piano. Faith Hill, Enrique Iglasias, Alicia Keys, a bearded and shaggy Tom Petty (with requisite Heartbreakers), a cowboy-hatted Neil Young performed as well. The Dixie Chicks were spot on, and Dave Matthews did an impressive solo acoustic tune.
Jon Bon Jovi did "Living on a Prayer"; Sting dedicated his performance of "Fragile" to a friend who died in the attacks. Sheryl Crow performed, and Paul Simon sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, James Woods, Meg Ryan, Cuba Gooding Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Ben Stiller, Penelope Cruz, Danny DeVito, Halle Berry, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Benicio Del Toro, Cindy Crawford, Sylvester Stallone, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Brad Pitt, Sally Field and other famous faces were seen answering phones at the telethon bank or singing backing vocals on the finale of "God Bless America."
The stars also took the time to make a point about the evils of racism and hate. Several Arab children spoke of the tragedy and its affect on their lives, then Will Smith appeared on stage, with Muhammad Ali, whom he'll be portraying in the forthcoming Ali.
"It was hate, not religion that motivated the attacks," Smith said.
Then Ali spoke. "I'm here because of the troublin' thing that happened the other day. I'm a Muslim, and I've been a Muslim for 20 years…. I think people should know the real truth about Islam. You know me, I'm a boxer…and a man of truth, and I wouldn't be here defending Islam if it was really like the terrorists made it look…. Islam is peace."
Later in the show, Lucy Liu said "America's greatest enemy is hatred itself."
The telethon was Hollywood's effort to generate contributions for the September 11th Telethon Fund, which is administered by the United Way and guaranteed to be distributed 100% to the victims of the terrorist attacks on America last week and their families.
Several network execs have confirmed to Hollywood.com that the TV celebrity charity event set to take place on Friday night will move forward as planned, despite recent concerns that the massive undertaking could not be realized with such short notice.
The event, titled America: A Tribute to Heroes, which will be broadcast on all four major networks--CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX--is being produced solely to raise funds for relief efforts surrounding the recent terrorist attacks in Manhattan, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.
The star-studded event will feature such celebrities as: Tom Cruise, Faith Hill, Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Robin Williams, Calista Flockhart, Sela Ward, Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Wyclef Jean, Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Romano, The Dixie Chicks, Jimmy Smits and more.
While the major four networks are carrying the event, broadcasters are also urging other networks and cable outlets to air the proceedings.
The WB has already agreed to carry the broadcast, and a wide range of other networks are following suit.
An MTV spokeswoman told Hollywood.com early Wednesday that they intend to air the event, and are also considering providing MTV talent to appear on the show. The spokeswoman said that the network is prepared to contribute MTV-produced segments. MTV's counterpart network, VH1, will air the event as well, she said.
HBO also announced on Wednesday that they will air the presentation, as will their sister network HBO Latino.
Other networks that have recently announced that they will carry the event are: Showtime, TNT, Comedy Central, FX, USA, the National Network, Discovery, TLC, Lifetime, Black Entertainment Television, E! Entertainment Television, Court TV, Fox Family Channel and Sundance Channel.
For security reasons, those associated with the show declined to tell Hollywood.com exactly where the show will be held; however, TV Guide has reported that the event will take place in both New York and Los Angeles. Keeping security tight, the show's producers have refused to allow media coverage of the event both inside and out.
America: A Tribute to Heroes will air from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday night, broadcast live in Eastern and Central time zones and tape-delayed in Mountain and Pacific zones. Producer Joel Gallen (of MTV Movie Awards fame) is slated to produce the event.
This one just gets weirder and weirder. Now in its 27th year, the People's Choice Awards have announced their nominees and the results are even more worth a recount than that mess in Florida.
Culled by a nationwide Gallup poll of 213 million Americans, according to Reuters reports, the voters picked "The Patriot," "Remember the Titans" and "The Green Mile" as best film nominees. But the problem is, "The Green Mile," starring Tom Hanks, was released last year. Hmmm.
The award show, which honors those in film, music and TV, will pay tribute to favorites like Mel Gibson, Britney Spears and, um, Alabama.
On the TV front, Michael Richards ("The Michael Richards Show") and John Goodman ("Normal, Ohio") are each nominated in the favorite male performer in a new TV series category along with "Ed's" Tom Cavanagh -- despite the fact that these shows are all ratings stinkers (yeah, that makes sense).
"Dark Angel's" Jessica Alba will face off with Bette Midler and Geena Davis in the same category for women.
Once again, however, the American masses are sticking with NBC favorites like "Frasier," "Friends" but are taking a chance this year by adding "The West Wing" to their nominees list.
Musically, the Backstreet Boys were snubbed this year and replaced with rival 'N Sync to go up against the Dixie Chicks and Alabama -- which makes us wonder if the boy band has somehow gone country.
In the girl pop column, Britney Spears and Shania Twain are back to contend with Faith Hill this year.
Here's the list of nominees:
Favorite Male Television Performer
Drew Carey Kelsey Grammer Ray Romano
Favorite Female Television Performer
Jennifer Aniston Jenna Elfman Calista Flockhart
Favorite Male Performer In A New Television Series
Tom Cavanagh -- ``Ed'' John Goodman -- ``Normal, Ohio'' Michael Richards -- ``The Michael Richards Show''
Favorite Female Performer In A New Television Series
Jessica Alba -- ``Dark Angel'' Geena Davis -- ``The Geena Davis Show'' Bette Midler -- ``Bette''
Favorite Motion Picture
"The Green Mile" "The Patriot" "Remember the Titans"
Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture "The Green Mile" "The Patriot" "Remember the Titans"
Favorite Comedy Motion Picture
"Meet the Parents" "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" "Scary Movie"
Favorite Motion Picture Star In A Comedy
Jim Carrey Eddie Murphy Adam Sandler
Favorite Motion Picture Star In A Drama
Mel Gibson Tom Hanks Denzel Washington
Favorite Motion Picture Actor
Mel Gibson Tom Hanks Denzel Washington
Favorite Motion Picture Actress
Sandra Bullock Julia Roberts Meg Ryan
Favorite Male Musical Performer
Garth Brooks Ricky Martin George Strait
Favorite Female Musical Performer
Faith Hill Britney Spears Shania Twain
Favorite Musical Group Or Band
Alabama Dixie Chicks 'N Sync
As the under-18 female world continues to mourn the loss of bachelorhood for Backstreet Boys (and cousins) Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell, we've hunted down who we think are their blond, lucky fiancées, or as Backstreet fans know them, The Witches Who Stole Our Future Husbands.
Richardson and Willits Richardson, 28, is engaged to Kristin Willits, a dancer for Cher, says USA Today. The two met in a Disney World cafeteria when Richardson was working as a Ninja Turtle and have been dating off and on for seven years.
As for 24-year-old Littrell, we say his betrothed is longtime girlfriend Leighanne Wallace, a budding actress whose credits include "Wild America," "My Fellow Americans" and two Backstreet videos. She has a few Web sites of her own out there (whether they're hateful or supportive sites is another story). She's 30, which already puts her two decades ahead of most Backstreet fans and as far as they're concerned, dangerously close to Michael Douglas cradle-robbing territory.
Spurned fans, meanwhile, are pouring their hearts out on chat boards across the world, some slamming the Backstreet fiancées as "Yoko Onos" (how do prepubescents even know that reference?) and warning that the group "probably won't be number one or number two on [MTV's 'Total Request Live'] I'll tell you that." Others, who say they have met Wallace, call her everything from "really sweet" to "trash." On MTV Online, another fan wrote: "Now they're just throwing us away like a piece of trash."
Leighanne Wallace But others, bless their hearts, take comfort in knowing the other three Boys -- young blond heartthrob Nick Carter, tattooed, follicularly challenged A.J. McLean and bearded, ponytailed Howie Dorough -- are still single, and their Meaty Cheesy-inspiring music lives on. But one fan dared to speculate, "With all this negativity looming around with those who are obviously fair-weather fans, I wonder what will happen when ANY of the guys from 'N Sync become engaged."
Okay, now that's not funny.
THE BIRTH ACCORDING TO TRAVOLTA: John Travolta's about to become a father again, and reveals that he and wife Kelly Preston plan to introduce the unborn child to Scientology right out of the womb. According to "Entertainment Tonight" and the New York Daily News, Travolta, 45, says Preston, who is eight months along, will have a "quiet birth."
"We do the traditional French Lamaze, but in Dianetics [the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard], you try and keep the delivery room quiet so there's nothing recorded in the child's mind that shouldn't be there while there's pain going on," Travolta explains.
It's not completely quiet, though. Preston, 37, is allowed to moan in pain -- thank goodness -- but "any people saying any kind of negative verbiage may adversely affect the baby later on," says Travolta. Does this mean no discussing around the kid why Travolta agreed to star in "Michael"?
AGE MADE HIM DO IT: Film critic Rex Reed has been working to lift the negative reviews he's gotten since his shoplifting arrest last week. In a column for the Feb. 21 edition of the New York Observer, Reed, 61, claims a "senior moment" caused him to take three CDs from a Manhattan Tower Records store. When he was caught with the compact discs (by Mel Torme, Peggy Lee and Carmen McRae) in his pocket, he offered to pay by credit card, "or the $500 in cash I had in my wallet," but was rejected. "I don't consider myself guilty of anything but careless stupidity," Reed says.
But all is not lost. Reed got a call from Lee's press agent, who said the pop-jazz legend "was so thrilled I wanted one of her CDs enough to put myself through so much hell that she was sending me an entire collection. I hope none of the songs is 'My Funny Valentine.' "
MUSIC BEAT: Carlos Santana, closing in on his likely Grammy sweep on Wednesday, retook the top spot on Billboard's album chart this week. "Supernatural" was followed by: Dr. Dre's "Dr. Dre 2001" and Celine Dion's "All the Way: A Decade of Song," which each moved up one spot. D'Angelo's "Voodoo," which held at No. 1 for two weeks, slipped to No. 4, and Christina Aguilera's self-titled debut stuck to No. 5.
The Top Five singles in the country are as follows: "I Knew I Loved You," Savage Garden; "Thank God I Found You," Mariah Carey featuring Joe and 98 Degrees; "Amazed," Lonestar; "What a Girl Wants," Christina Aguilera; and "Breathe," Faith Hill.
QUICK TAKES: A court has dismissed a bid by the undercover Los Angeles policeman who arrested George Michael in a public restroom in 1998 to sue the British pop star for $10 million on the grounds of emotional distress. Marcelo Rodriguez claimed emotional and mental distress and slander after Michael released the music video for "Outside" shortly after his arrest. The video was shot partly in a lavatory and features two policemen kissing. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed the case on Monday, saying Rodriguez was a public official and could not under law recover damages for alleged emotional distress ...
... "As the World Turns" star Michael Park, who plays Jack Snyder, and wife Laurie welcomed 7-pound daughter Kathleen Rose into the world Monday in New York ...
... Universal Studios president Ron Meyer threw an engagement/baby party for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones last weekend, according to the New York Daily News. Sean Connery and Danny DeVito were among those in attendance ....
... So Leo and Brad won't be there, but you can always count on Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Terminator himself has been tapped as a presenter for the 72nd Annual Academy Awards. Same goes for "Austin Powers" groovester Mike Myers. Look for both dudes at the big show, happening March 26 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.
... After playing God (literally) in "Dogma," rocker Alanis Morissette will make her Broadway debut in "The Vagina Monologues" March 21-April 2 at Los Angeles' Westside Theater, says Variety. Morissette filled in for Calista Flockhart Wednesday night in Los Angeles for a V-Day 2000 benefit performance.
If the Gallup pollsters of America had their way, "The Sixth Sense" and "Big Daddy" would sweep the Academy Awards. The two films dominated the film categories at the 26th Annual People's Choice Awards on Sunday night at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
"The Sixth Sense," which also stands a strong chance of Oscar nomination, won awards for Favorite Motion Picture and Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture; its star, its star, Bruce Willis, picked up the award for Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Drama.
"Big Daddy," which stands virtually no chance at an Oscar nomination (unless voters suddenly concoct a Best Achievement in Spitballs category), won for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture; Adam Sandler won Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Comedy.
Julia Roberts, who scored a double box-office whammy last summer with "Notting Hill" and "Runaway Bride," bested Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock for Favorite Motion Picture Actress, while Calista Flockhart and Jennifer Love Hewitt tearfully accepted their awards for Favorite Female Television Performer and Favorite Female Television Performer in a New Series, respectively.
"I don't know why I'm so shaky right now," Flockhart said backstage. "I think that one of the reasons I became an actress is to have a night like this."
During the telecast, winners such as Flockhart were taken behind the scenes to meet the media hounds -- reporters hungry for good sound bites, not to mention the tasty little sandwiches that seemed to keep disappearing. Some backstage highlights:
TRUE CONFESSIONS? Sandler, upon accepting his awards for "Big Daddy," declared that he had "slept with 6,000 women," a revelation that caused the cast of "Stark Raving Mad" to pause in their press conference to watch on the monitor. Ford countered by humbly noting in his acceptance speech, "I made love to the two women Adam hasn't made love to."
SOMEONE'S BITTER: Matthew Perry, presenting the favorite dramatic-film actor category, lamented that he wasn't nominated for his film turn in "Three to Tango" (which wasn't even a drama, but whatever works for a joke). When members of the crowd screamed back, "We love you, Matthew!" He retorted, "Evidently, not enough."
WHAT NOT TO ASK: Jennifer Aniston thought she had escaped The Brad Question (as in, "When are you marring Mr. Pitt?") backstage after the "Friends'" win. But one reporter managed to call it out to her as she was leaving. The good-natured Aniston just patted her arm and said, "Oh, come now," before she disappeared.
BUT WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO IS ACT: Haley Joel Osment, the 11-year-old co-star of "The Sixth Sense," is on top of the world, or so it seems to Bruce Willis. Said Willis of Osment's recent Golden Globe nomination: "I expected it. I also expect him to get an Oscar nomination, too ... I never felt like I was working with a kid. People would ask me how it was working with 'the kid,' and I would have to correct them." Osment, meanwhile, is looking to other things. "I actually really want to do stage work," he said. "I know a lot of people went the other way, starting in theater and moving to film, but I'd really like the experience." (Maybe he could play Hamlet, since that guy saw dead people, too.)
WHAT'S HIS NAME AGAIN? The bleacher crowd outside the Pasadena Civic served as a cheering section for any star walking down the red carpet. But despite the likes of Julia Roberts and Calista Flockhart waving and smiling, the biggest cheers went to Betty White ("Ladies' Man"), who was delighted when the audience shouted her name, and Neil Patrick Harris of NBC's "Stark Raving Mad." However, Harris soon found it would be long before he escaped his 1980s television role when the mostly Gen-X crowd chanted, "DOOGIE! DOOGIE!"
SPOTTED: At least one (male) journalist bopping up and down when a video clip of the Backstreet Boys' bubble-gum pop anthem "I Want it That Way" was aired.
Here's a complete rundown of the winners at the 26th Annual People's Choice Awards:
Favorite Motion Picture: "The Sixth Sense" Favorite Motion Picture Actor: Harrison Ford Favorite Motion Picture Actress: Julia Roberts Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture: "The Sixth Sense" Favorite Comedy Motion Picture: "Big Daddy" Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Drama: Bruce Willis, "The Sixth Sense" Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Comedy: Adam Sandler, "Big Daddy" Favorite Television Dramatic Series: "ER," NBC Favorite Television Comedy Series: "Friends," NBC Favorite Male Television Performer: Drew Carey, "The Drew Carey Show" Favorite Female Television Performer: Calista Flockhart, "Ally McBeal" Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series: Billy Campbell, "Once and Again" Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series: Jennifer Love Hewitt, "Time of Your Life" Favorite New Comedy Series: (voted online) "Stark Raving Mad," NBC Favorite New Dramatic Series: (voted online) "Providence," NBC Favorite Musical Group: Backstreet Boys Favorite Male Artist: Ricky Martin Favorite Female Artist: Shania Twain