The world of country came together for one of several nights honoring their top talent for the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards. Hosted by The Voice's Blake Shelton and the two-first-named Luke Bryan, the night belonged to Shelton's wife, Miranda Lambert, and group Little Big Town. Taking home trophies for Female Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Single Record of the Year, Lambert proved herself the toast of Nashville with her track "Only You."
Other big winners included Eric Church and Jason Aldean, and featured performances by an increasingly-varied roster of artists from across the spectrum — including John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, and Kelly Clarkson. Also came the announcement that the Artist of the Decade award would be renamed to honor the show's former producer, Dick Clark.
Check out the full list of nominees (with winners in bold), below!
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Entertainer of the YearJason AldeanLuke BryanMiranda LambertBlake SheltonTaylor Swift
Male Vocalist of the YearJason AldeanLuke BryanEric ChuchToby KeithBlake Shelton
Female Vocalist of the YearMiranda LambertMartina McBrideKacey MusgravesTaylor SwiftCarrie Underwood
Vocal Duo of the YearBig and RichFlorida Georgia LineLove and TheftSugarlandThompson Square
Vocal Group of the YearThe Band PerryEli Young BandLady AntebellumLittle Big TownZac Brown Band
New Artist of the YearJana KramerBrantley GilbertFlorida Georgia Line
Album of the YearCarrie Underwood, ‘Blown Away’Eric Church, ‘Chief’Taylor Swift, ‘Red’Luke Bryan, ‘Tailgates and Tanlines’Little Big Town, ‘Tornado’
Song of the YearLee Brice, ‘A Woman Like You’Eli Young Band, ‘Even if It Breaks Your Heart’Miranda Lambert, ‘Over You’Eric Church, ‘Springsteen’Hunter Hayes, ‘Wanted’
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Single Record of the YearEli Young Band, ‘Even if It Breaks Your Heart’Miranda Lambert, ‘Over You’Little Big Town, ‘Pontoon’Eric Church, ‘Springsteen’Hunter Hayes, ‘Wanted’
Video of the YearEric Church, ‘Creepin’Hunter Hayes, ‘Wanted’Little Big Town, ‘Tornado’Kacey Musgraves, ‘Merry go round’Taylor Swift, ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’Zac Brown Band, ‘ The Wind’
Vocal Event of a YearKelly Clarkson (Feat. Vince Gill), ‘Don’t Rush’Rascal Flatts (Feat. Natasha Bedingfield) ‘Easy’Kenny Chesney (Feat. Tim McGraw), ‘Feel Like a Rock Star’David Nail (Feat. Sarah Buxton), ‘Let It Rain’ buxtonJason Aldean (Feat. Luke Bryan and Eric Church) ‘The Only Way I Know’
Songwriter of the YearRodney ClawsonDallas DavidsonJosh KearLuke LairdShane McAnally
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[Photo Credit: CBS]
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
HBO cancels hit drama series
With the cast of Six Feet Under headed into their fifth season of taping, the HBO television network announces that this will also be their final one. According to the Associated Press, Six Feet Under's creator and executive producer, Alan Ball, recently informed HBO executives of his decision to end the series. "Working on Six Feet Under has been enormously fulfilling creatively, but if the show is about anything, it's about the fact that everything comes to an end," said Ball. With the end of Sex and the City and now Six Feet Under in the recent future, HBO will soon have plenty of spots to fill in their primetime lineup. With dozens of Emmy nominations to brag about, the drama series has yet to win the top prize of outstanding drama series.
Actor Howard Keel dies at age 85
Former Dallas star Howard Keel, also known for his good looks and broad shoulders, died of colon cancer on Sunday morning in his Palm Desert home, the AP reports. Before landing a role in the hit show Dallas, Keel starred in a number of hit musicals. Always finding a way to keep himself busy, Keel starred in Man of La Mancha, South Pacific, Annie Get Your Gun and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In addition, Keel also appeared in a number of western movies including: Waco, Red Tomahawk, The War Wagon and Arizona Bushwhackers. Keel was married three times and divorced twice. Married to former airline stewardess Judy Magamoll until his death, Keel is also survived by his four children, 10 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. The funeral is scheduled be private, with a memorial service to follow.
Jackson's legal team denying allegations of scheduled rallies
Prosecutors in the Michael Jackson child molestation case say that Jackson's legal team may have set up organized rallies for the pop star. According to Reuters, prosecuters found evidence that Jackson's defense team coordinated demonstrations to generate media buzz and crowds outside the courtroom. Jackson's legal team denies the allegations that they attempted to create media and fan involvement. Superior Court Judge, Rodney Melville, did not allow the materials to be shown in court, stating that organized rallies on behalf of the defendant did not break any rules. Jackson is charged in a 10-count indictment with child molestation. The trial is scheduled to begin in January.
Colin Firth speaks out about Zellweger's weight gain
Renee Zellweger, who plays Bridget Jones in the new film, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, has gained lots of media buzz for gaining weight to play the role--again. According to the Associated Press, co-star Colin Firth is amazed that any celebrity who gains weight must be subject to this rush of media attention. "It's not that unusual for actors to alter their appearance to play a part. But I think if I did it, it wouldn't get anywhere near the amount of attention," said Firth, who plays Zellweger's lawyer boyfriend in the sequel.
Actor Jim Belushi sues neighbor Julie Newmar
Reporting over $4 million in damages, actor Jim Belushi is suing his neighbor and former Catwoman star Julie Newmar for attempting to drive him from his Brenthood home, the AP reports. On Nov. 2nd, Belushi filed a lawsuit against the actress for destroying a fence and landscaping on his property and for making defamatory statements about him to his friends and family. Belushi also claims that Newmar spied on his family and played loud music targeting his backyard. "Newmar has engaged in a malicious and premeditated campaign to prevent and destroy Belushi's quiet peace," the lawsuit claims. Newmar could not be immediately reached for comment.
Barker gives $1 million to UCLA for animal rights
Longtime game show host on The Price is Right, Bob Barker, has given $1 million to the UCLA law school for an animal rights law endowment. According to the Associated Press, UCLA announced last week that Bob Barker donated the money with hopes that the money will get more law students involved in supporting animal rights. "Animal exploitation happens throughout this country and elsewhere," Barker said. "Animals need all the protection we can give them."
Notorious B.I.G. lawsuit is altered
According to the Launch Radio Networks, mother of the late Notorious B.I.G., Voletta Wallace, has altered her wrongful death lawsuit with the Los Angeles Police Department. Voletta Wallace dismissed Harry Billups as a defendant in the lawsuit. Billups was dismissed after he offered to take a lie detector test to prove that he was not involved in the killing of the former rapper. Wallace filed the lawsuit in 2002 alleging that former police officer, David Mack, planned the murder and hired Billups to kill her son. Now that Billups is out of the picture, the theory might be hard to prove in court. Originally, Voletta offered to settle the lawsuit for $105 million, soon lowering the amount to $18 million. The Los Angeles City Council would not approve the settlement.
Singer Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio have obtained a permanent restraining order against Venezuelan actor-singer Juan Carlos Diaz, the Associated Press reports. Diaz, 33, was ordered to keep away from the Estefan family, home, businesses and gym. Diaz had previously accused Emilio Estefan of making unwelcome sexual advances toward him at the gym, but the Estefans sued Diaz for defamation and accused him of stalking them.
Warren Beatty has dropped out of the lead role in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill and will be replaced by David Carradine. Tarantino told Variety: "Me and Warren and Lawrence [Bender] were having dinner the other night, and Warren said, 'Why haven't you gone to David Carradine with this?' And it became mutually obvious to us that this wasn't the one for me and Warren to do together." Carradine, who starred in the 1992 television series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, will join Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah and Lucy Liu when filming begins in June.
Paramount Pictures and Deep River Productions have acquired the screen rights to the classic CBS TV series The Honeymooners, Variety reports. Mad About You co-creator Danny Jacobson, who will be writing the script, said he will concentrate on the actual honeymoon rather than replicating the original episodes.
ABC has pulled the plug on the drama Once and Again starring Sela Ward, the New York Daily News reports. The show debuted in September 1999 to rave reviews, but a steady decline in ratings, which some speculate was caused by frequent scheduling moves, left programming executives wondering about the show's future. The final episode will air on April 15.
Following weeks of speculation, it appears as though the Grammy award show may be heading back to New York. According to Reuters, Grammys chief Michael Greene moved the awards show to Los Angeles in 1998 after a feud of sorts with former mayor Rudy Giuliani. Although officials at the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences declined to comment on the rumors, they did say a major announcement will be made next Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
It seems Jennifer Lopez's plans to open her new Cuban-style family restaurant in Pasadena, Calif., in time for the Oscar rush didn't pan out. Although the necessary permits are in place, her publicist told People the eatery would open some time in April. The restaurant is located in Pasadena's historic retail shopping district.
Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean has put his two-year-old waterfront Orlando home up for sale, Launch.com reports. The 6,200-square-foot home--which has six bedrooms, five full bathrooms, an in-ground screen-enclosed swimming pool and a THX-equipped theater--can be yours for a cool $1.95 million. McLean is apparently interested in buying a bigger place in southern California.
George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic have announced the tour dates for the first leg of their upcoming spring tour, Launch.com reports. Known for their legendary showmanship, outrageous costumes and theatrical sets that feature a spacecraft called the Mothership, the funk musicians will begin their tour April 2 in Washington, D.C. No word on whether the Mothership will accompany the group.
Rodney Dangerfield received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday, the AP. The 80-year-old comedian and star of Caddyshack was honored at a ceremony and praised by Jay Leno and Bob Saget. Although he suffered a mild heart attack last November, Dangerfield continues to perform regularly at Las Vegas' MGM Grand hotel and casino and is finishing his autobiography, It's Not Easy Being Me.
A hospital spokesman said Thursday that Grammy-winning singer Lyle Lovett was resting comfortably after being trampled by a bull Wednesday. Dr. Kevin Coupe, who performed the three-hour surgery on Lovett's badly broken leg, said 20 pieces of bone were broken in his leg and that a full recovery could take at least six months, CNN reports.
Rollling Stones guitarist Ron Wood has fallen off the wagon and checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic in Arizona, Sky News reports. This is not Wood's first time in rehab. In 2000, the musician checked into UK's The Priory for treatment of alcohol addiction. Wood is currently working on a solo album and will be joining the Stones' 40th anniversary tour later this year.
Epic Records released the first single from Michael Jackson's latest album Invincible Friday, to radio stations worldwide, Reuters reports.
The Sony-owned label unexpectedly distributed "You Rock My World" exclusively to radio stations via satellite at 6 a.m. after the song was leaked by two New York City stations who played the song every two hours last Saturday. WJTM-FM and WKTU-FM played the tune until Epic Records called and asked them to remove the song from rotation.
"You Rock My World," which is described as an upbeat pop tune, features an intro with comedian Chris Tucker (Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2). The song was co-produced by songwriter-producer Rodney Jerkins, who has also produced hits for Britney Spears and Whitney Houston.
"It makes you want to dance," Jerkins told Reuters. "It's a feel good song."
Jerkins added that while the song was an ode to love, it was not written with anybody in mind.
Epic Records will be make "You Rock My World" available online at Michael Jackson's official Web site starting today at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Most of the songs from the album were produced at the studio where the Jackson 5 once recorded and was once the personal studio of Marvin Gaye. At a cost of $30 million, the album is one of the most expensive ones ever recorded.
Invincible, Jackson's first studio album since the release of Dangerous in 1991, is scheduled for release overseas Oct. 29 and in North America on Oct. 30.