Luke Bryan made a triumphant return to the stage after a short break from the spotlight, with three wins at the first ever American Country Countdown Awards on Monday night (15Dec14). The Crash My Party hitmaker took a brief break following the death of his brother-in-law, Ben Lee Cheshire, who passed away last month (Nov14) at the age of 46, seven years after his wife Kelly - Bryan's only sister - died unexpectedly, aged 39.
Earlier this month (Dec14), the star decided to skip the CMT Artists of the Year event, where his friends Lady Antebellum dedicated a song to him, and on Monday, Bryan returned to the stage as he won the first prize at the American Country Countdown Awards.
As he picked up the Male Vocalist of the Year trophy, Bryan said, "I wanna thank all of my fans for the past couple of weeks in my life for keeping my family in your prayers and I want to recognise the country music community - they have rallied around me and helped me and my family through the past couple of week and its just nice to feel loved in this situation."
Bryan also won the Collaboration of the Year and Digital Song of the Year award for This Is How We Roll, his duet with Florida Georgia Line.
In addition to the two awards, the Cruise hitmakers, who also hosted the event, were named Group/Duo of the Year.
Mother-to-be Carrie Underwood kicked off the night of star-studded performances, by singing a medley of her hit songs to celebrate her 10 years in the music industry.
Other sets came from the likes of Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Artist of the Year Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, Brett Eldredge, and Hank Williams, Jr., who closed out the show.
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems hitmaker Kenny Chesney was presented with the Groundbreaker Award by actor pal Vince Vaughn in honour of the singer's contributions in "moving country music into new directions with his pioneering, record-breaking tours".
Music icon Reba McEntire was given the special Nash Icon prize for her outstanding achievements over the past four decades, and she was honoured by her daughter-in-law Kelly Clarkson and Miranda Lambert, who belted out a medley of some of McEntire's biggest hits.
The prizegiving, determined by the longest-running radio countdown in the U.S. hosted by Brooks & Dunn star Kix Brooks, was held at Nashville's Music City Center in Tennessee.
The full list of winners is:
Artist of the Year: Jason Aldean
Male Vocalist of the Year: Luke Bryan
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
Group/Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
Album of the Year: The Outsiders, Eric Church
Song of the Year: Beat of the Music, Brett Eldredge
Collaboration of the Year: This Is How We Roll, Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan
Digital Song of the Year: This Is How We Roll, Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan
Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Kip Moore
Groundbreaker Award: Kenny Chesney
Nash Icon: Reba McEntire.
Matthew McConaughey is suddenly a role model. While the McConaissance exploded into full view at the Academy Awards with the actor taking home the Best Actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club (and providing a gift to late night comedians everywhere with his rambling speech), the truth is that was a clear build-up to that moment.
Starting with 2011's The Lincoln Lawyer, McConaughey crafted an impressive run of characters, going from the psycho cop of Killer Joe to the fugitive in Mud and then onto the cocksure trader in The Wolf of Wall Street. Buyers Club’s AIDS-stricken Ron Woodruff was just the icing on the proverbial cake.
Just before that run, however, McConaughey had fallen into a rut of starring in lightweight fare like Failure to Launch and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, after showing promise early in his career in films like Lone Star and Armistad. The Texas-born actor never went away for very long, yet he managed to reinvent his image by choosing roles that offered a challenge… while still mixing in projects like Magic Mike to pay the bills. Loopy as he may be, there's a method to the madness.
That's a lesson that some of McConaughey's contemporaries should take to heart, even ones that are cashing nice paychecks for their work. Here's a look at some of his peers (in pairs) that could do with a little bit of that McConaissance magic.
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn
The Internship and Wedding Crashers costars both have a tendency to cash a check for any role that's thrown their way. There's nothing wrong with that — Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep aren't always choosy either — but there comes a time when an actor needs to commit to doing some strong work the way that McConaughey did. Wilson, thanks to his association with Wes Anderson, always has the opportunity to put a run together. It's even possible that he's already started after earning an Oscar nomination for Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Just like with his work with Anderson, however, the performance was credited more to Allen than Wilson. He needs to step away from the persona that audiences have come to expect from him and find a small movie to dazzle in.
Vaughn came through the indie ranks early on same as Wilson, so we know that he's capable. With his slightly dark manic streak, he could shine in supporting roles as McConaughey did in The Wolf of Wall Street. It also might not be a bad idea to get his buddy Jon Favreau to direct him in something hand-picked to let him flex some different acting muscles.
Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell
Much like Sandler and Ferrell's sophomoric comedies, McConaughey's various lukewarm romantic comedies weren't exactly high art, and both funnymen have shown something more than their usual silly humor on occasion: for Sandler, and Punch Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, and Ferrell, Stranger Than Fiction, and Melinda and Melinda. Though the SNL keep primarily to broad comedy, both are smart and capable. Even though there are millions to be made by sticking to what audiences want, there are legacies to be had if they can find time to jump on roles that let them be funny in a more natural way, like McConaughey's dying schemer in Dallas Buyers Club. Being at turns oblivious and self-loathing is what comedians do on a regular basis for laughs. Letting the audience see the actual pathos that it comes from isn't the most comfortable thing in the world, but start doing it consistently for a while and they start giving you awards.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
You might argue that Damon gets plenty of kudos for his acting and Affleck has turned into a respected director and producer with an Oscar to show for it. They don't need a career renaissance. In some respect, that's true. The Good Will Hunting wunderkinds have become Hollywood elite. That said, Affleck's track record as an actor still has as many misses as hits on it (Gigli, anyone?) and Damon falls back on familiar ground more often than not. How often do you watch either of their performances and think, "Man, he's really showing me something new!"? The beauty of what McConaughey has done is that in challenging himself, he challenged our expectations for him. Damon and Affleck could both use some of that. Taking the role of Liberace's lover, opposite Michael Douglas, in HBO's Behind the Candelabra was a nice departure for Damon, but he needs to put himself to the test on a bigger stage and with more at stake. Just as McConaughey found another type of character from his native Texas to play, it might be time for Damon to find a character from Boston that can't be described as "street tough."
As for McConaughey's Dazed and Confused costar, Affleck really just needs to put himself in the hands of directors other than himself that are interested in making him work, the way that McConaughey did with William Friedkin and Martin Scorsese. He doesn't have to lose 47 lbs. for a part like McConaughey, but he needs to lose the self-awareness and fully immerse himself in a character. How great would it be to see Affleck go "all in" on a character like McConaughey did in Friedkin's Killer Joe? He is proven he's a good director… it would be nice to see him live up to the same standard as an actor.
We all know, thanks to that acceptance speech, that McConaughey looks up to his future self. His peers would do well to use the Oscar-winner's past to come up with a whole new future of their own.
New Line via Everett Collection
Vince Vaughn's new movie Delivery Man is in theaters now and, while he may not be an Oscar-winning A-lister, many of us have a favorite Vince Vaughn movie that has brought us great joy over the years. Vaughn tends to play this protoypical, ordinary dude who finds himself in somewhat extraordinary -- or at least bizarre -- situations. Although he could totally be accused of playing different variations of a character that is really, well, Vince Vaughn himself, you gotta admit that you dig it. Here are just a few memorable Vince Vaughn characters that we totally love.
Peter La Fleur, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
He literally owned a gym called "Average Joe," which is hilarious. And when he went up against Ben Stiller's Globo-Gym we all found ourselves rooting for the underdog.
Gary Grobowski, The Break-Up
Remember that douchey boyfriend you had who wouldn't do the dishes, and then wouldn't move out even after you dumped him? Yeah. That was Vince Vaughn in The Break-Up, and it was a lot more fun to experience watching Jennifer Aniston manage the drama.
Beanie, Old School
Will Ferrell and Luke Wilson may have been the standout stars of this 2003 comedy, but Vaughn's character was hugely important to the crew. Beanie's boredom and dissatisfaction with his everday life as a soccer dad became the inspiration behind the coolest, old school-est, fraternity ever.
Jeremy Grey, Wedding Crashers
Vince Vaughn has had a lot of memorable roles, but watching Gloria (Isla Fisher) terrorize him for an entire movie was nothing short of splendid. She may have been a stage-5 clinger, but she totally broke him down in the end. It was awesome.
Even Anchorman 2 can't contain its excitement for Anchorman 2. According to Deadline, Paramount has decided to push up the release date of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues from Dec. 20 to Dec. 18.
The decision to move up the release date is most likely another way for the film to increase the amount of hype it's garnering from media attention. In recent months, Anchorman 2 and Ron Burgundy himself have been plastered everywhere. From the newsman attempting to sell Dodge cars, to a new flavor of Anchorman-inspired Ben and Jerry's ice cream, to an upcoming rumored look at Ron Burgandy taking over ESPN's flagship show Sportscenter, Paramount has successfully drowned us all in Anchorman advertisements and promotional spots. And most recently, the news team got together at the Australian premiere of the film and skillfully reprised their rendition of "Afternoon Delight," which you can watch in the below clip:
The Adam McKay-directed sequel to the 2004 film reunites the ultimate news team made up of Carell, Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, and David Koechner. The cast also includes the likes of Christina Applegate, Harrison Ford, Kristen Wiig, Vince Vaughn, James Marsden, Greg Kinnear, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
Even as we eagerly await the arrival of Anchorman: The Legend Continues, we're bound to worry just how well the sequel will hold up. Some think the best option would be to vie for something new and fresh, avoiding the deep well of the original's gags for call-back laughter. But we can't expect the sequel to breeze through without at least a few scenes or jokes that are reminiscent of Anchorman. There might not be another performance of "Afternoon Delight," nor a second ride through Pleasure Town, but there appears to at least be a follow-up to the famous cameo-laden news anchor brawl. This one involves Will Ferrell friends Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Last time around, Ron Burgundy's Channel 4 News team faced off with the likes of Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, and Tim Robbins in a deadly battle royale. This time, new stars are joining in... to kick the crap out of other new stars.
As we can see from the below picture, snapped on the set of Anchorman 2, Fey and Poehler, both draped in news anchor attire and armed with crowbars, are beating the hell out of a similarly clad Baron Cohen (with whom Ferrell worked in Talladega Nights).
We don't know if this fight will escalate to the proportions of Anchorman's explosive melee, or if it will involve some more familiar faces... but we are excited to learn why Baron Cohen's character earned this degree of wrath from the SNL vets in question, and if the surprise guests will be popping up in any other Anchorman 2 scenes. What do you think — should we looking forward to a revival of the old Weekend Update formula?
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
More:'Anchorman 2' and the Event Horizon of Movie Star CameosHarrison Ford Joins 'Anchorman 2''Anchorman 2' Casts John C. Reilly (Or, at Least, His Look-Alike)
From Our Partners:What Happened to 33 Child Stars (Celebuzz)40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)
The current season of Saturday Night Live has felt a little, well, off. Something has been missing. Despite the best efforts of top-notch cast members like Bill Hader, Taran Killam, and breakout star Kate McKinnon, there has still been a tangible comedy void that just can't seem to be filled. That being, of course, the absence of one of the all-time greats: Kristen Wiig.
But comedy gods have smiled down upon us from Studio 8H and delivered Wiig back to the place that made her a star. Wiig will host SNL for her first time since capping her 7 seasons on the show with an emotional farewell in 2012. In her brand new promo, it feels like she never left. Of course, it doesn't hurt that she's paired up with her good pal and former cast member Fred Armisen (who recently described Wiig as "a family member" in the SNL world). The whole thing plays out like an improv dream come true.
Watch the silly clip below, complete with new Wiig-patented characters and promises of Olivia Newton-John cameos. Everything just feels right again, doesn't it?
Wiig will host the Mother's Day weekend installment of SNL, along with musical guests Vampire Weekend. Get excited.
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
More: Kristen Wiig Returns to 'SNL' to Host, Ben Affleck Joins Five-Timers Club'SNL' Star Fred Armisen on Zach Galifianakis: 'We Always Have a Really Great Time With Him' Zach Galifianakis Shoots a Porno For 'SNL'...No, Sorry, That's a Promo
From Our Partners:Watch Justin Bieber Attacked in Dubai (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
Yep, it's official: everyone gets a kick out of Zach Galifianakis. Comedy nerds, moviegoers, Bored to Death enthusiasts (yeah, they're out there) and even Fred Armisen. The Saturday Night Live cast member got the chance to work with Galifianakis again this week, as The Hangover Part III star returned to Studio 8H to host the show for the second time.
During a backstage chat with NBCUniversalDirect.com, Armisen talks about Galifianakis' return to the show. "He's a friend of the show and we always have a really great time with him," he says. Check out the rest of the video — made exclusive to Hollywood.com — in which the SNL and Portlandia star chats about former cast member Kristen Wiig's upcoming hosting stint ("She's a family member"), why he thinks Seth Meyers would make for a great documentary subject, and explains in obvious terms how SNL works. What a wise guy.
Watch it here and tune into SNL this weekend at...well, you know how it works:
More: Zach Galifianakis Shoots a Porno For 'SNL'...No, Sorry, That's a Promo Kristen Wiig Returns to 'SNL' to Host, Ben Affleck Joins Five-Timers Club'SNL' Recap: Fast-Forwarding with Vince Vaughn
From Our Partners:Nina Dobrev, Julianne Hough Bikini in Miami (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
Actors Ben Affleck and Vince Vaughn have been unveiled as honourees of the Guys Choice Awards ahead of this year's (13) ceremony. The Argo star and director has been named Guy of the Year, Vaughn has landed the Guycon award and funnyman Kevin Hart has bagged the Stand-Up of the Year honour.
Also among the winners of Spike TV's annual ceremony are chat show host Jimmy Kimmel (Funniest M.F. award) and Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke, who was named the recipient of the Holy Grail of Hot prize.
The ceremony, which will also feature public-voted awards, is slated to take place in California on 8 June (13).
Zach Galifianakis is an SNL five-timer in the making. (Just three more hosting gigs to go!) A best-of DVD compilation waiting to happen. (Which could really just have this sketch on repeat for an hour). His first time as host on Saturday Night Live back in 2011 had one of the most hilarious opening monologues of the past decade, if not in the show's history. Okay, in case you couldn't tell, we're pretty damn excited that Galifianakis is returning to host SNL this weekend with musical guests Of Monsters and Men. But, I mean, look at that face. You're laughing already, aren't you?
In the clip, the The Hangover Part III star heads to the roof of 30 Rock alongside cast member Jason Sudeikis for a promo that takes place right next to a tree — not between two ferns, sadly — but Galifianakis thinks they are shooting a porno, not a promo (hence the robe). In fact, a lot of the video is of Galifianakis getting things wrong, like calling him Will Bithers instead of Bill Withers (turns out, other than the word 'butt munch,' the actor can't tell his w's from his b's, and vice versa) and spending an obscene amount of money of nail art of Justin Bieber and Taylor Lautner.
Watch the very funny two-and-a-half minute clip (imagine how good 90 minutes of this will be) here, because as Sudeikis puts it, "a little public shaming never hurt anyone."
Galifianakis' episode of SNL airs on Saturday, May 4 at 11:30 PM on NBC. However, his comedy special Live at the Purple Onion is on Netflix instant watch and you should be watching that right now.
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
More: Kristen Wiig Returns to 'SNL' to Host, Ben Affleck Joins Five-Timers Club'The Hangover Part III' Calamity Continues in Two New Clips, Posters 'The Hangover Part III' May Abandon the Formula — Trailer
From Our Partners:Miley Goes Braless for Magazine Cover (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)