Sam Smith was the toast of the 57th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday (08Feb15), walking away with four of the six honors he was nominated for, including the coveted Record of the Year.
The British soul sensation kicked off his celebrations early after claiming the very first award of the televised show for Best New Artist. He soon followed it up with the Best Pop Vocal Album for In The Lonely Hour, and was back onstage towards the end of the Los Angeles ceremony to wrap up his big night with wins for Song of the Year and Record of the Year for Stay With Me.
Taking to the stage for the fourth time, Smith poked fun at the ex-boyfriend who inspired the album, saying, "This is the best night of my life. I wanna thank the man who this record is about... Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammys!"
Fellow six-time nominees Beyonce and Pharrell Williams each went home as triple winners, while Beck landed Best Rock Album and Album of the Year for Morning Phase - and almost had Kanye West repeat his infamous stage invasion at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, when he interrupted Taylor Swift to defend his pal Beyonce's honor. This time, the rapper approached Beck as he collected the Album of the Year accolade, which Beyonce was also nominated for, and pretended to head towards the mic, before laughing and returning to his seat in the front row - much to everyone's amusement.
AC/DC got the Grammy Awards off to a rocking start with a hits medley, while Madonna dazzled the Staples Center audience in a red and black matador costume to sing her new release Living For Love, and Rihanna, Kanye West and Sir Paul McCartney staged the first ever performance of their new collaboration, FourFiveSeconds.
Other performance highlights at the event, hosted by LL Cool J, came from Ed Sheeran and Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne; Katy Perry, who honored victims of domestic violence with a powerful rendition of By The Grace of God; Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige's soulful collaboration on Stay With Me, and Pharrell Williams, who gave his Happy tune a gospel makeover, complete with Hans Zimmer on guitar and Lang Lang on piano.
The full list of winners at the 2015 Grammy Awards is:
Record Of The Year - Stay With Me (Darkchild Version) by Sam Smith
Album Of The Year - Morning Phase by Beck
Song Of The Year - Stay With Me (Darkchild Version) by Sam Smith
Best New Artist - Sam Smith
Best Pop Solo Performance - Happy by Pharrell Williams
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance - Say Something by A Great Big World With Christina Aguilera
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Cheek To Cheek by Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
Best Pop Vocal Album - In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith
Best Dance Recording - Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne
Best Dance/Electronic Album - Syro by Aphex Twin
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album - Bass & Mandolin by Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer
Best Rock Performance - Lazaretto by Jack White
Best Metal Performance - The Last In Line by Tenacious D
Best Rock Song - Ain't It Fun by Paramore
Best Rock Album - Morning Phase by Beck
Best Alternative Music Album - St. Vincent by St. Vincent
Best R&B Performance - Drunk In Love by Beyonce featuring Jay Z
Best Traditional R&B Performance - Jesus Children by Robert Glasper Experiment featuring Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm-Jamal Warner
Best R&B Song - Drunk In Love by Beyonce featuring Jay Z
Best Urban Contemporary Album - Girl by Pharrell Williams
Best R&B Album - Love, Marriage & Divorce by Toni Braxton & Babyface
Best Rap Performance - I by Kendrick Lamar
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - The Monster by Eminem featuring Rihanna
Best Rap Song - I by Kendrick Lamar
Best Rap Album - The Marshall Mathers LP2 by Eminem
Best Country Solo Performance - Something In The Water by Carrie Underwood
Best Country Duo/Group Performance - Gentle On My Mind by The Band Perry
Best Country Song - I'm Not Gonna Miss You by Glen Campbell
Best Country Album - Platinum by Miranda Lambert
Best New Age Album - Winds Of Samsara by Ricky Kej & Wouter Kellerman
Best Improvised Jazz Solo - Fingerprints by Chick Corea
Best Jazz Vocal Album - Beautiful Life by Dianne Reeves
Best Jazz Instrumental Album - Trilogy by Chick Corea Trio
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album - Life In The Bubble by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band
Best Latin Jazz Album - The Offense Of The Drum by Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Best Gospel Performance/Song - No Greater Love by Smokie Norful
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song - Messengers by Lecrae featuring For King & Country
Best Gospel Album - Help by Erica Campbell
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album - Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. by For King & Country
Best Roots Gospel Album - Shine For All The People by Mike Farris
Best Latin Pop Album - Tangos by Rubén Blades
Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album - Multiviral by Calle 13
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) - Mano A Mano - Tangos A La Manera De Vicente Fernandez by Vicente Fernandez
Best Tropical Latin Album - Mas + Corazon Profundo by Carlos Vives
Best American Roots Performance - A Feather's Not A Bird by Rosanne Cash
Best American Roots Song - A Feather's Not A Bird by Rosanne Cash
Best Americana Album - The River & The Thread by Rosanne Cash
Best Bluegrass Album - The Earls Of Leicester by The Earls Of Leicester
Best Blues Album - Step Back by Johnny Winter
Best Folk Album - Remedy by Old Crow Medicine Show
Best Regional Roots Music Album - The Legacy by Jo-El Sonnier
Best Reggae Album - Fly Rasta by Ziggy Marley
Best World Music Album - Eve by Angelique Kidjo
Best Children's Album - I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education And Changed The World (Malala Yousafzai) by Neela Vaswani
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling) - Diary Of A Mad Diva by Joan Rivers
Best Comedy Album - Mandatory Fun by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Best Musical Theater Album - Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Jessie Mueller, principal soloist; Jason Howland, Steve Sidwell & Billy Jay Stein, producers; Carole King, composer & lyricist; Original Broadway Cast)
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media - Frozen (Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, Tom MacDougall & Chris Montan, compilation producers)
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media - The Grand Budapest Hotel by Alexandre Desplat
Best Song Written For Visual Media - Let It Go by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez Best Instrumental Composition - The Book Thief by John Williams
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella - Daft Punk (Ben Bram, Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Avi Kaplan, Kirstin Maldonado & Kevin Olusola, arrangers; Pentatonix)
Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals - New York Tendaberry by Billy Childs, arranger (Billy Childs Featuring Renée Fleming & Yo-Yo Ma)
Best Recording Package - Lightning Bolt by Pearl Jam Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package - The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27) by Susan Archie, Dean Blackwood & Jack White, art directors (Various Artists)
Best Album Notes - Offering: Live At Temple University by Ashley Kahn, (John Coltrane)
Best Historical Album - The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 by Hank Williams
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical - Morning Phase by Beck Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical - Max Martin
Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical - All Of Me (Tiesto's Birthday Treatment Remix) (Tijs Michiel Verwest, remixer (John Legend)
Best Surround Sound Album - Beyoncé (Elliot Scheiner, surround mix engineer; Bob Ludwig, surround mastering engineer; Beyoncé Knowles, surround producer (Beyoncé)
Best Engineered Album, Classical - Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem; Symphony No. 4; The Lark Ascending (Michael Bishop, engineer; Michael Bishop, mastering engineer (Robert Spano, Norman Mackenzie, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus)
Producer Of The Year, Classical - Judith Sherman
Best Orchestral Performance - Adams, John: City Noir by David Robertson, conductor (St. Louis Symphony)
Best Opera Recording - Charpentier: La Descente D'Orphee Aux Enfers by Paul O'Dette & Stephen Stubbs, conductors; Aaron Sheehan; Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer (Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble; Boston Early Music Festival Vocal Ensemble)
Best Choral Performance - The Sacred Spirit Of Russia by Craig Hella Johnson, conductor (Conspirare)
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance - In 27 Pieces - The Hilary Hahn Encores by Hilary Hahn & Cory Smythe
Best Classical Instrumental Solo - Play by Jason Vieaux Best Classical Solo Vocal Album - Douce France by Anne Sofie Von Otter; Bengt Forsberg, accompanist (Carl Bagge, Margareta Bengston, Mats Bergström, Per Ekdahl, Bengan Janson, Olle Linder & Antoine Tamestit)
Best Classical Compendium - Partch: Plectra & Percussion Dances by Partch; John Schneider, producer
Best Contemporary Classical Composition - Adams, John Luther: Become Ocean by John Luther Adams, composer (Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony)
Best Music Video - Happy by Pharrell Williams
Best Music Film - 20 Feet From Stardom by Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & Judith Hill
Grammy Trustees Award - Richard Perry, George Wein, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil President's Merit Award - Martin Bandier
Lifetime Achievement Award - George Harrison, Bee Gees, Buddy Guy, Louvin Brothers, Wayne Shorter, Pierre Boulez and Flaco Jimenez.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
Follow Thomas Leupp on Twitter.
Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.