The critics have had their chance, now it's time for the people to give their two cents.
Pretty woman Julia Roberts, who carried last year's "Erin Brockovich" to the top of many a critics' lists, was chosen as favorite female movie actress by the People's Choice Awards on Sunday night.
And "The Patriot" and "What Women Want" star Mel Gibson proved to be what the whole nation wants as he was named favorite male movie star.
Funnyman Jim Carrey continues to charm audiences as the "Me, Myself and Irene" and "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" star was given the favorite star in a comedy.
Interesting, though, as the people seemed to have gotten a bit behind the times as they picked "The Green Mile" -- yes, that's the 1999 prison drama with Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan -- for both favorite film and favorite motion picture drama.
On the tube front, comedian Drew Carey -- who stars in his eponymous ABC sitcom and hosts the improv gem "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" was the People Choice's favorite male TV performer.
The favorite female TV star went to Jennifer Aniston for her work as Rachel in the NBC veteran sitcom "Friends" and actor Brad Pitt's wife. The NBC comedy series also walked away with favorite TV comedy, as did "ER," which won favorite drama series.
Erstwhile "Roseanne" guy John Goodman was named best performer in a new TV show for his swiftly extinguished "Normal, Ohio." The Fox sitcom was dumped by Fox in December after only six episodes.
In the music categories, Garth Brooks and Faith Hill were named best male and female musical performers, respectively.
And sorry Backstreet Boys, rival boy band 'N Sync was chosen as favorite musical group or band.
The People's Choice Awards -- which was broadcast live on CBS from the Pasadena Auditorium -- are chosen by a nationwide Gallup telephone poll. The "people" involved in are actually just 1,200 individuals chosen at random, which are given no nominees and can vote for any person or program they choose for each category.
If anything, it won't be a total and complete shutout for "Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
Or will it?
The Jim Carrey blockbuster is among the seven films being considered for this year's Visual Effects Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday.
Going up against the Grinch himself will be "Cast Away," "Dinosaur," "Gladiator," "Hollow Man," "The Perfect Storm" and "X-Men."
After the Visual Effects Award Nominating Committee have screened all the 15-minute clip reels from each of the seven films on Feb. 7, the group will nominate three of them for Oscar consideration, which will be announced with the rest of the nominees in the other 22 categories on Feb. 13 at 5:30 a.m. PT.
In other Oscar news:
The Academy today released the seven films in competition for the Sound Editing Oscar. They are "Cast Away," "Gladiator," "M:I-2," "The Perfect Storm," "Space Cowboys," "U-571" and "Unbreakable".
Ioann Allen, Mark Harrah and Robin Bransbury, the creators of the Trailer Audio Standards Associations' Trailer Loundness Standard, will be presented with an Award of Commendation by the Academy on March 3 at the Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation dinner.
Danette Herman will reprise her role as the executive in charge of talent for the 73rd Annual Academy Awards. She recently completed the 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards and the Kennedy Center Honors.
GOLDEN GLOBES PRESENTERS: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced Wednesday that recent Oscar winners Hilary Swank, Angelina Jolie, Denzel Washington and Phil Collins and Jamie Lee Curtis, Peter Fonda, Patricia Heaton and Sarah Jessica Parker will join previously announced presenters Tom Cruise, Edie Falco and James Gandolfini at the 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 21 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey will present Al Pacino with this year's Cecil B. DeMille Award for his outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.
Apparently, the Internet is not the only place where advertising money is hard to come by these days.
Daily Variety is reporting that NBC is expected to hand out pink slips to as many as 600 employees -- that's 10% of its 6,000 strong work force -- over the next six months as part of a network-wide cost-slashing move.
The layoffs are due to a slowing economy and a weak ad sales marketplace. According to the report, cuts are expected across the board, affecting all departments and divisions including affiliated cable channels such as MSNBC and CNBC. THE POWER OF 'TEMPTATION': Close, but not enough. Fox's dream of island fever was smashed Wednesday night as its controversial reality series "Temptation Island" placed second behind NBC's "The West Wing" in overall ratings, according to Nielsen Media Research.
But all was not lost as the Fox series kicked the presidential drama's butt in the key demographic of adults ages 18 to 49. Of note: The show's debut drew more viewers than the debut of another little 'ol reality series called "Survivor."
WRITERS GUILD UNVEILS NOMINATIONS: The Writers Guild of America has announced the nominees for its annual awards honoring excellence in television and radio writing, Variety reports.
On the tube front, NBC nabbed a field-best 10 nods, with "The West Wing" taking three, followed by "Frasier" and "Saturday Night Live" with two apiece.
"Will & Grace," the soap opera "Passions" and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" each received one nod for the Peacock Network.
As to the other networks, CBS received four nods and ABC six.
HBO led the cable networks with five, including two apiece for "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City."
PBS grabbed nine noms, mostly for its documentary offerings.
For a complete list of nominees, go to WGA's Web site www.wga.org.
NEW TV SKED: Here's a rundown of the series renewals, schedule changes and cameo surprises that will take place at NBC and CBS next season, coming straight atcha from the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.
"Passions" -- the daytime soap -- will be renewed for a third season. Critically acclaimed rookie sitcom "Ed" will be picked up for its second season. Susan Sarandon and Jason "Seinfeld" Alexander will make a special appearance on "Friends" in February. ABC sportscasters Jim McKay will work as a member of NBC's broadcast team in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, to take place in Salt Lake City, Utah. CBS
"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" will move to Thursdays at 9 p.m. beginning Feb. 1 after "Survivor: The Australian Outback." "The Fugitive" will move to Fridays at 9 p.m. beginning Feb. 2. "Diagnosis Murder" will move to Fridays at 8 p.m. starting from Feb. 2. Chance around your life schedule accordingly.
Y2K's top grossing film "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" has pocketed another $60 million in the bank.
And this time, the money is coming from a massive TV deal.
Daily Variety reports that ABC and the Disney Channel have inked a network broadcast deal for the Jim Carrey holiday starrer for $60 million. The two tube channels will share the rights to the movie for a 10-year period.
But before going to ABC and Disney, "The Grinch" will first go to Starz! Pay TV network via the pay-per-view cycle, meaning that the non-pay network broadcast of the film will likely happen in the fall of 2004.
ANOTHER AGENT IS OUT THERE: The files on "The X-Files" is definitely getting bigger. After the introduction of Robert Patrick to fill in for part-timer David Duchovny, the Fox sci-fi staple will be adding Annabeth Gish (who you might remember from "Mystic Pizza") as another FBI agent in the mix.
Gish will join the series in a three-episode plotline this season wherein her still-unnamed character will be enlisted by agent John Doggett (Patrick) in the case involving Agent Mulder (Duchovny).
Her first episode will air Feb. 25, which also marks Duchovny's return to the series this season. According to series creator Chris Carter, Gish's character will likely become a regular if the show returns for a ninth season.
KEEPING AN 'EDGE': Undoubtedly a proponent of the saying that "it's too good to be true," the Sci Fi Channel has agreed to pick up 13 episodes of "News from the Edge" -- a comedy series about a tabloid newspaper journalist who finds out that all the absurd stories covered are true, Variety reports.
The series was originally being considered as a midseason replacement on NBC, but the network decided otherwise in October.
Starring Chad Willet, Rena Sofer and Reno Wilson, the pilot episode will serve as the series' opener, and future shows will begin production in mid-February.
Studio honchos can finally stop holding their collective breath.
Despite a somewhat lackluster summer and early autumn at the box office, Y2K has still managed to set another record year in overall ticket sales with $7.7 billion, up 3 percent from last year's $7.5 billion, Reuters says.
Leading the pack is Jim Carrey's children's book turn in "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with its $235 million take since its November debut. Following the green-faced miser is the Tom Cruise summer actioner "M:I-2" at $215.4 million, with third place going to Aussie tough guy Russell Crowe's Roman epic "Gladiator" at $186.6 million.
However, "The Grinch's" dominance might still not be enough to push Universal Pictures -- the film's distributor -- to the top of the studio race this year. Running neck and neck with Universal is Walt Disney Co., the top studio for the past two years.
And if the estimate by Daily Variety is anything to go by, the battle between the two studios will likely resemble this year's presidential election.
In other words: Too close to call.
Move over, Grinch, for Mel Gibson is in the house.
That said, looks like Jim Carrey's "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" will finally meet its match this weekend in the form of Gibson's romantic comedy "What Women Want."
With a big opening (playing on 3,000-plus screens) and "The Grinch's" natural decline, Mel and his "Women" should be able to take the box office crown this weekend.
Here's a look at the films opening this weekend .
"What Women Want"
THE SKINNY: After playing a stuffy revolutionary-type in this summer's "The Patriot," Mel Gibson switches gear in a comedy about a guy (Gibson) endowed with the ability to hear what women think. Helen Hunt plays one of those lucky females he mind-reads, and the cast also includes Marisa Tomei, Bette Midler and Delta Burke. THE UPSIDE: Pun intended: Women want Mel Gibson. And don't just take our word for it: "I think 'What Women Want' is pretty much guaranteed the No. 1 spot. The star and the premise should be strong enough to carry the picture. It's a high-concept movie, I say high teens to $20 million is quite feasible," Brandon Gray, editor of boxofficemojo.com, told Hollywood.com. THE DOWNSIDE: 'Tis the season not so jolly for the movies. Gray explains, "It very rare for a movie to have a huge opening at this time of the year, and that is what the film has going against it."
"The Emperor's New Groove"
THE SKINNY: Disney's newest venture to regain the crown in animated features. This particular one has to do with a young emperor who fights to return to human form after he is transformed into a (yes) llama in an act of treason committed by his adviser. THE UPSIDE: It's a Disney animated film. And everyone loves that! THE DOWNSIDE: Or, do they? Let's not forget that recent Disney flicks -- "Dinosaur," for one -- have not fared so well in the new animation game.
And then there's "The Grinch."
"The Grinch" is its only competition, but that's a behemoth," Gray said. "I will place my bet in the low teens, less than 'The Grinch' probably. It could be in the No. 3 spot, depending how 'Vertical Limit' do. We have a bunch of movies here that are very close this weekend, including this one, ''Vertical Limit' and 'Dude, Where's My Car?'"
"Dude, Where's My Car?"
THE SKINNY: "That '70s Show" hottie Ashton Kutcher and "Road Trip" and "American Pie" guy Seann William Scott are a couple of stoners a la "Beavis and Butthead" who wake up one day and can't remember where they parked their car. And yes, the rest of the film is about them looking for it by retracing the night's events. THE UPSIDE: It has got the dedication of a core audience, namely the type of boys embodied by lowbrow fare such as the "Bill and Ted" flicks, "Road Trip" and "American Pie." THE DOWNSIDE: "There's no indication that this would be another "Road Trip" and "American Pie," but it's certainly not going to be another 'Whatever It Takes," Gray says. "It could come within range with 'Vertical Limit' and 'Emperor.' It's definitely going to be in the Top Five, but which movie is going to do better is a flip of the coin. But I'm leaning toward the fifth place for this film."
Also, if you happen to be in Los Angeles or New York this weekend, check out Chocolat with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, and Pollock, about the life of Abstract Expression painter Jackson Pollock, with Ed Harris as both the star and the director. Both films are opening in those cities today.
And don't forget holdovers such as "The Grinch," "Vertical Limit" and "Proof of Life."
'The Grinch' is unstoppable.
Jim Carrey's "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" edged out Chris O'Donnell's mountain-climbing "Vertical Limit" and held on to the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office, taking in an estimated $18.46 million, according to estimates obtained by Hollywood.com's box office analyst Martin Grove.
"The Grinch," directed by Ron Howard and also starring Christine Baranski, Molly Shannon and Jeffery Tambor, reached a four-week total gross of $195.5 million.
Bowed Friday, outdoor thriller "Vertical Limit" was only good enough for the No. 2 spot with a $16 million take.
The week's other new releases: Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe's "Proof of Life" and the game adaptation "Dungeons and Dragons" opened this weekend at No. 3 ($10.41 million) and No. 5 ($7 million), respectively.
And M. Night Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" took the No. 4 spot with $7.5 million. The Bruce Willis-Samuel L Jackson starrer has thus far grossed $77.4 million.
Here are the weekend's Top 10 films (final figures will be released Monday):
1. "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," $18.47 million ($195.5 million total)
2. "Vertical Limit," $16 million (new)
3. "Proof of Life," $10.41 million (new)
4. "Unbreakable," $7.54 million ($77.4 million total)
5. "Dungeons and Dragons," $7 million (new)
6. "102 Dalmatians," $6.3 million ($44.3 million total)
7. "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie," $4 million ($60.5 million total)
8. "Meet the Parents," $2.97 million ($157.1 million total)
9. "Charlie's Angels," $2.7 million ($119.3 million total)
10. "Bounce," $2.6 million ($34.1 million total)
You loved his cameo-filled opening sequence, the side gags, his effervescent personality and, most of all, the way he made the usually tedious Oscar telecast fun and fast.
So who isn't going to miss Billy Crystal just a little bit at this year's Academy Awards?
"I like Billy Crystal. I know [he won't be hosting], but I'd like to talk to him about that because he is my favorite. I think he is the best," Jennifer Love Hewitt told Hollywood.com at the Fire and Ice Ball for cancer research on Tuesday night.
Crystal said earlier this month that he absolutely, definitely and positively would not return to emcee the Academy Awards this year due to scheduling conflicts.
And if that's not enough, previous host Whoopi Goldberg has given her "no, thank you" to the hosting job.
So what is the Academy to do for a suitable replacement?
We asked around for some suggestions.
"I thought Garry Shandling did a great job at the Emmys. I loved him. I thought he was brilliant. That'll be my vote -- Garry Shandling for the Oscars 2001," "Will & Grace" star Eric McCormack said.
Hmmm, not a bad choice, except for the fact that Shandling did host the Emmys this year, and the Academy probably wouldn't want to share a host with another high-profile awards show.
"Christopher Guest, how about that?" "The Contender" co-star Christian Slater told us.
Another good -- and interesting -- choice. But oh, in case the name Christopher Guest doesn't immediately ring a bell, he is the comedian and mastermind behind such spoof classics as "This Is Spinal Tap," "Waiting for Guffman" and this year's "Best in Show."
As for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, it has just chosen Gilbert Cates as the producer for this year's awards telecast.
And if previous Oscar timetables are any indication, news of the Oscar emcee should be announced any day now.
"The producer decides who's going to go on to do the show. And then we can either go along with that choice or not," John Pavlik, Academy communications director, told Hollywood.com.
"There's a ton of people that would be great for the job. It's a hard gig to get someone to do. It's a lot of work for one night, and it's a long way from now."
And who would know that better than Crystal, who has done the gig for seven years. The erstwhile host had said that it takes at least two months alone to work out the intricacies of his signature Oscar opening, not counting other responsibilities.
With Crystal and Goldberg out of the picture and potential scheduling conflicts with other hopefuls on the horizon, finding the right person with enough star power, time and the willingness to commit might be a much tougher task than it seems.
For all it's worth, Crystal has nominated Jim Carrey, Jay Leno and David Letterman as his successor. But given the awards' history with the "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" star (word is that Carrey is sore about being snubbed twice -- for "The Truman Show" and "Man on the Moon" -- by the Academy) and the CBS "Late Show" host (Letterman hosted the event before but bombed), it is unlikely that Crystal's recommendation would be heeded.
"At some point, Gil will talk somebody into doing it. I supposed he'll do that in the next couple of weeks," Pavlik said.
"Knowing Gil, he has someone in mind [as the host] before he commits to doing it," Pavlik said. "He has talked about who he wants [to be the host] with people here, but I'm afraid I can't say anymore until the time comes closer."
So there's still enough time to send in your headshot.
Uh oh, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" might just hit its limit this weekend at the box office.
And who might bring Jim Carrey's megahit film down?
Answer: Former boy wonder Chris O'Donnell and his bunch of mountain-scaling unknowns in "Vertical Limit", that's who.
"I think 'Vertical Limit' and 'The Grinch' are neck and neck for No. 1, but I would give the edge to "Vertical Limit." The film is a spectacle, the studio is going for the adrenaline rush, and they have been marketing it very aggressively," says Brandon Gray, editor of boxofficemojo.com. "And it really doesn't matter that the film doesn't have any stars in it, that's irrelevant for this kind of film.
"But obviously, 'The Grinch' is a major player also, it did $27 mil last week (which was not a huge drop). Plus, it has the momentum, [which] definitely makes it a top contender for the No. 1 spot this weekend" Gray says.
And those two films are not the only battle going on in town, for there're also the Meg Ryan-Russell Crowe half romance, half drama "Proof of Life" and the big screen materialization of the role-playing game "Dungeons & Dragons" with Jeremy Irons, Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans, among others.
So without further ado, let's take a peek at all the major releases coming out this weekend.
THE SKINNY: Chris O'Donnell plays a disillusioned mountain climber who's been pulled out of early retirement to save the life of his sister (Robin Tunney) trapped in a really cold and dangerous peak. What a guy!
THE UPSIDE: The film has being brand new on its side, "The Grinch" does not. Or in Gray's words, "I think it should be able to just edge out 'The Grinch.' It should be good enough for the high teens."
THE DOWNSIDE: It's probably utterly predictable and shamelessly cliche -- but that's fine as long as you don't care about plot development, character development or, uh, stuff like that. "PROOF OF LIFE"
THE SKINNY: Russell Crowe roars as a hostage negotiator who is charged to save an American captive in Latin America but ends up hooking up with the poor guy's wife, played by, ahem, Meg Ryan.
THE UPSIDE: Finally, we get to watch the film which during its shooting Crowe and Ryan shacked up! But that is if you even cared in the first place.
THE DOWNSIDE: "The press seems more concerned with the Crowe-Ryan romance than the film itself. The marketing campaign for the film seems to highlight Crowe rather than the romance between the two actors. That could hurt the picture because audiences associate Ryan with romantic comedies. [Still,] it will have a decent opening, [albeit] a soft one. It could put it in the low to mid teens," says Gray, who puts the film at a solid No. 3 for the weekend. "DUNGEONS & DRAGONS"
THE SKINNY: Jeremy Irons, Justin Whalin, "American Beauty's" Thora Birch, Marlon Wayans and others play medieval in this rather untimely adaptation of the popular role-playing game in the 1980s.
THE UPSIDE: Well, the film certainly gives the avid fans and players of the game one reason to leave the house.
THE DOWNSIDE: "This film is going to remain in the dungeon," Gray said. "Fantasy pictures tend not to do well. It's possible for the film to be No. 5 -- and it's basically between that and '102 Dalmatians'. Probably $5 mil, give or take a million or so."
"CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON"
THE SKINNY: Taiwanese director Ang Lee's homage to a long and persistent Chinese cinematic tradition: the swordsman epic. And oh, it stars two of Hong Kong's raddest actors: Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh ("Tomorrow Never Dies").
THE UPSIDE: Hey dude, it's sort of like "The Matrix." Or dude, is it actually the other way around?
THE DOWNSIDE: Not to be a tease, but the film only opens in New York this weekend. Why? "[Because] the studio is trying to build a word of mouth for this film. They're probably praying for an Oscar nomination and have the film go wide," Gray said.
And don't forget films such as "Rugrats in Paris," "Men of Honor," "Charlie's Angels" and "Unbreakable," which Gray predicts will take the No. 4 spot this weekend.
Hey, a man's got to make movies, too.
And that apparently is what seasoned emcee Billy Crystal is telling the Academy Awards people when it comes to hosting the gala event this year, the Associated Press says.
"I can't do it, you have to understand," Crystal told Fox News. "If everything goes according to plan, I'll just be finishing a new movie on March 22. I can't host the show five days later."
And how can you blame him. After all, the funnyman is getting to stretch His muscle in the high-profile comedy "America's Sweethearts" with Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
But Crystal didn't exactly leave the Academy people high and dry, since he did jokingly nominate Jim Carrey, Jay Leno or David Letterman for the job.
HONORED: You don't get to a big-time producer for nothing. Brian Grazer, 48, who produced this year's moneymakers "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Nutty Professor II," will receive this year's David O. Selznick Award from the Producers Guild of America. He will be honored at the group's annual Golden Laurel Awards event in March.