Likely you’ve seen the promos featuring co-hosts Shawn and Marlon Wayans dressed up as Venus and Serena Williams. Maybe you flipped through the channels Thursday and caught the reruns of last year’s show, "behind the scenes" insights, "TRL" live from the show, the countdown to the pre-show (called the Opening Act), the actual Opening Act, the …. Well, you get the picture.
Those folks at MTV really put on an Oscar-size display hyping their Video Music Awards, but this year’s telecast lacked the style, zip, even poignance of last year’s millennial ceremony.
The performance lineup had its blasts and pyrotechnics, but mostly failed to generate any real excitement. Janet Jackson’s face was masked by her hair throughout the entirety of "Doesn’t Really Matter"; Nelly ran around the stage with his pants hanging to his knees; Sisqo brought his Dru Hill bandmates at the end of his solo number, but it was for little longer than a chorus; and Britney Spears … well, more about her later.
'N Sync The big winners of the evening, Eminem and 'N Sync, were more successful, the latter performing with TV screens in front of their heads for half of their medley routine. Blink-182 closed the evening with a bang.
But in case you missed the awards -- and you won’t, really, because they’ll rerun it five million more times -- here are some highlights:
Rage Against the Machine SOY BOMB RETURNS? During Limp Bizkit’s acceptance speech for Best Rock Video ("Break Stuff"), there was suddenly a commotion. As black-clothed security bounded onstage, everyone saw a lone figure rocking back and forth on the 15-foot high set piece directly behind the podium, close to knocking it over and demolishing the band. The band jokingly urged the man to jump, then continued their speech. Turns out the guy was not a crazed fan, but a crazed rival: Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim C., whose group was nominated in the same category. The commotion disrupted the awards as the show struggled to continue while security tried to coax him down. Tim C. and an event security worker for the band were removed from the venue in handcuffs by police.
MAKING NICE, PART I: Who’d ever have thought a boy band compliment would come from Kid Rock? While there were no grand political or social commentaries made this year, the "Cowboy" singer arrived to present an award with wrestler The Rock and took that time to make a political statement of his own. "No offense to the Backstreet Boys, but the commercial that 'N Sync did for McDonald's was way cooler than the one that the Backstreet Boys did for Burger King," he joked (we assume) with a straight face.
Limp Bizkit MAKING NICE, PART II: Earlier in the day, it was reported that Christina Aguilera closed her run-through to the press so they wouldn’t know the identity of her "secret guest," who turned out to be none other than Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst. After finishing a boppy performance of "Come on Over Baby," Durst ran up on stage, grabbed the mike, started rapping and Aguilera began headbanging her peroxide blond-and-red-streaked hair and yelling along.
Why was this weird? Because both were the subject of Eminem’s "The Real Slim Shady," where the rapper says Durst and MTV VJ Carson Daly of "TRL" fame argued over who Aguilera, um, serviced first. Aguilera was enraged by the lyrics and was upset at Durst for appearing in the accompanying video. Says Eminem of this trend of sunny pop and angry rock putting aside their differences: "I don’t have any differences with them. I just don’t like them."
Britney Spears MAKING NICE, PART III: Teen divas Aguilera and Spears appeared arm in arm at the close of the evening, the first time anyone’s seen these two buddying up since their days on "The Mickey Mouse Club." Luckily, they were not there to present Eminem’s Video of the Year Award (which the rapper says he was very relieved about), but to introduce surprise presenter Whitney Houston. Ironically, as frequent jail-bird hubby Bobby Brown appeared to give away the trophy, Houston began singing "Free! Free!"
Eminem THE SCARIEST VISUAL IN NYC: Take your pick. There was Eminem singing "The Real Slim Shady" while leading hundreds of stony lookalikes down the streets of New York, into the Radio City Music Hall and on to the stage (Marlon Wayans called it the "million white man march"). Or there was Spears’ illusional flesh-colored top and pants, which made one pay no attention to her performance but merely wonder, "Is she naked? Is that just see-through? Is she wearing a sequin bikini and nothing else? Is she going Vegas showgirl?"
THE SCARIEST VISUAL IN NYC, PART II: The Wayans brothers, no doubt plucked after their successful "Scary Movie," bombed as co-hosts. Opening the show with a spoof of last year’s host, Chris Rock, only made us miss him. And in a fit of desperation, Marlon finally dropped his pants and bared his buns to the crowd to close their opening monologue. They also showed taped sketches on Napster and Macy Gray’s ‘fro … which was parlayed into jokes about her "bush" … which, when depicted by Marlon, is not something you want to see on primetime television (or any television, for that matter).
ADVICE FOR NEXT YEAR’S SHOW: Don’t invite DMX to perform (for the second year in a row, the rapper was invited and pulled out at the last minute). Stop with the strange presenter pairings (Lil’ Kim and the thug from "The Sopranos"?). Teach your presenters how to pronounce the winner’s name (Ricky Martin called Aaliyah "Uh-LIE-ah"). And please, please, PLEASE get Jim Carrey to host next year (his ad-lib appearance was the single funniest moment of the night).
At least we won’t see any gross-out spoofs. Wait, nevermind.
Kidney surgery wasn't enough to keep Steven Spielberg from making an impassioned plea for diversity. The 53-year-old director skipped the red carpet arrivals but mustered the strength to make it to the podium at the 31st NAACP Image Awards on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif.
Only a few days after having a kidney removed, the filmmaker -- looking no worse for his recent wear -- urged his peers in the industry to continue to "expand the opportunities of the portrayal of diversity in all medium." His call to action came after receiving the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Vanguard Award for his "pioneering courage to promote social justice through creative endeavors."
"A couple of days ago, I was in the hospital,'' the director said. ``This is the first time I've been out since my operation and it feels like a dream, an absolute dream.''
Spielberg was praised by the NAACP for tackling issues of diversity in films such as "The Color Purple" and "Amistad" -- even if more than a decade ago, questions as to whether Spielberg, as a white guy, was qualified to direct the story of black women in "The Color Purple" seemingly undermined the flick's chances for the 1985 Academy Awards. (It got 11 nods -- and zero wins.)
The night's big-screen acting awards, meanwhile, went to "The Best Man's" Nia Long and "The Hurricane's" Denzel Washington. The former pic was also the overall winner for outstanding motion picture. Washington's award, after his Golden Globe win for best actor, bodes well for his Oscar chances as wrongly imprisoned boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.
Less recognized by the NAACP on the night of the Image Awards were the accomplishments of the television industry. The group had previously announced that it had trouble finding enough minority characters on the small screen to honor. On the television front (such as it was), "ER's" Eriq LaSalle and "The Steve Harvey Show's " Steve Harvey were the winning actors in the drama and comedy categories, while "Touched by an Angel's" Della Reese and "Sister, Sister's" Tia and Tamera Mowry were the recognized actresses for drama and comedy series, respectively. Overall, "The Steve Harvey Show" was tapped best comedy, "Touched By an Angel" best drama.
Another notable winner: Rosa Parks. The real-life crusader, whose refusal to move to the back of a Alabama bus in 1955 sparked the modern-day civil rights movement, was honored for her work as an actress in a guest spot on CBS' "Touched By an Angel."
The Image Awards honor the work of minorities in film, TV, music and books. The awards will be presented in an April 6 telecast on Fox.
Here's a complete list of the 31st NAACP Image Awards winners:
Outstanding Motion Picture - "The Best Man" Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture - Denzel Washington, "The Hurricane" Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture - Nia Long, "The Best Man" Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Terrence Howard, "The Best Man" Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture - Angela Bassett, "Music of the Heart"
Youth Actor/Actress - Jurnee Smollett in "Cosby"
Outstanding Comedy Series - "The Steve Harvey Show" Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series - Steve Harvey, "The Steve Harvey Show" Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series - Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry, "Sister, Sister" Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Cedric "The Entertainer," "The Steve Harvey Show" Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - Jackee Harry, "Sister, Sister" Outstanding Drama Series - "Touched by an Angel" Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series - Eriq La Salle, "ER" Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Della Reese, "Touched By an Angel" Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Clarence Gilyard, "Walker, Texas Ranger" Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Rosa Parks, "Touched By an Angel" Outstanding Television Movie/Mini-Series/Dramatic Special - "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie/Mini-Series/Dramatic Special - Sidney Poitier, "The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn" Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie/Mini-Series/Dramatic Special - Halle Berry, "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series - Shemar Moore, "The Young and The Restless" Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series - Tonya Lee Williams, "The Young and the Restless" Outstanding Variety Series/Special - "1999 Essence Awards" Outstanding Performance in a Variety Series/Special - Steve Harvey, "It's Showtime at the Apollo" Outstanding News, Talk or Information Series - "BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley: Black Men in Crisis" (BET) Outstanding News, Talk or Information Special - "True Life: I Am Driving While Black" (MTV) Outstanding Youth or Children's Series/Special - "Teen Summit" (BET) Outstanding Performance in a Youth or Children's Series/Special - Lynn Whitfield, "The Planet of Junior Brown"
Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction - "Blues: For All Changes" by Nikki Giovanni Outstanding Literary Work, Non-Fiction - "Yesterday, I Cried" by Iyanla Vanzant Outstanding Literary Work, Children's - "If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks" by Faith Ringgold
Outstanding New Artist - Eve - "Ruff Ryder's First Lady" Outstanding Male Artist - Brian McKnight - "Back At One" Outstanding Female Artist - Whitney Houston, featuring Faith Evans and Kelly Price - "Heartbreak Hotel" Outstanding Duo or Group - Destiny's Child - "The Writing's On The Wall" Outstanding Rap Artist - Will Smith - "Wild Wild West" Outstanding Jazz Artist - Quincy Jones - "From Q, With Love" Outstanding Gospel Artist - Traditional - Vickie Winans - "Live in Detroit II" Outstanding Gospel Artist - Contemporary - Yolanda Adams - "Mountain High ... Valley Low" Outstanding Music Video - "Wild Wild West" - Will Smith (directed by Paul Hunter) Outstanding Song - "Spend My Life With You" - Songwriters: Eric Benet, George Nash Jr., Demonte Posey (Artist: Eric Benet) Outstanding Album - "The Best Man - Music from the Motion Picture" - Various Artists (Columbia).
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 9, 2000 -- So he got to shoot on an island off Thailand for months, flying friends in for visits and soaking up an island paradise. But Leonardo DiCaprio, star of "The Beach," has one little quibble.
Says Leo to the British magazine The Face, "It truly bothered me ... that [Richard, DiCaprio's character] never had any kind of sexual contact with Francoise," a stunning Frenchwoman played by Virginie Ledoyen, with whom he does a little smooching and frolicking in the surf.
"The constant foreplay between the two characters never amounted to anything," the 25-year-old DiCaprio says. "And I really wanted something, whether it be complete and utter rejection or some sort of wild sexual encounter. ... It just had to happen." Well, it just goes to show that even the King of the World can't have it all.
SCANDAL SHEET: Vanity Fair's 13-page article this month has revived controversy over Natalie Wood's mysterious 1981 drowning by suggesting that she and husband Robert Wagner argued on the night of her death.
The story, written by Sam Kashner, says previously unpublished police records appear to contradict statements that there was no fight between Wood and Wagner that night. The report features a new interview with Christopher Walken, who says he and the couple had been drinking on the night of Nov. 28, 1981, and had a conversation in which "you put all your cards on the table." The confessionals snowballed into a marital argument, and Walken "stepped outside for some air" and when he returned, everyone was apologizing and everything seemed fine. Wagner says it was a political discussion.
Wood, 43, was found drowned wearing a nightgown, socks and a jacket after apparently trying to leave her yacht off Catalina Island in California to board an inflatable dinghy. Her death was ruled an accident.
DAS FESTIVAL: In Germany, the 50th Berlin Film Festival kicked off today with a screening of "The Million Dollar Hotel," starring Mel Gibson and Jeremy Davies and co-written by U2 frontman Bono.
In the fest's coming days, French actress Jeanne Moreau, who recently did a diva walk-off during a planned guest appearance on "ER," will receive a special homage, as will Robert De Niro.
Other stars to raid Berlin: George Clooney and Ice Cube, on hand to promote "Three Kings" and the aforementioned Leo, a possible for "The Beach."
HONORS: Legendary writer/director Billy Wilder, who fled Nazi Europe in the 1930s for France (and later the United States), will receive the Federal Republic of Germany's Knight Commander's Cross (badge and star) on March 10. The 93-year-old Wilder is also to be honored by the Producers Guild on March 2 at Los Angeles' Century Plaza on the occasion of his "Some Like it Hot" joining the guild's landmark movie list ...
... Blake Edwards will receive the Art Directors Guild's Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award on Feb. 26 at the Beverly Hilton. The 77-year-old director-writer-producer, who is married to Julie Andrews, is the director of films such as "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Days of Wine and Roses" and eight "Pink Panther" movies ...
... The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, running today through Sunday in Aspen, Colo., will honor funnyman Robin Williams with its American Film Institute Star Award. Also on the docket: Baltimore-loving director Barry Levinson receiving the AFI Filmmaker Award and career tributes for Jerry Lewis, Mike Nichols and Elaine May.
QUICK TAKES: Martin Lawrence's cop comedy "Big Momma's House" is getting an early move-in date, says The Hollywood Reporter. Twentieth Century Fox is moving the film's release up from October to June 2. It was originally moved to fall after Lawrence was hospitalized Aug. 22 from heat stroke after jogging under heavy clothing in 100 degree heat. He fell into a coma but emerged after three days and began production on the film ...
... James Coburn will join the ranks of presenters at this year's Academy Awards on March 26 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. Coburn won a Best Supporting Actor statue last year for "Affliction," and, as tradition dictates, will likely present this year's Best Supporting Actress award ...
... And if you turn to the Grammys this year, you'll see the following artists perform (no, not together): The Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Kid Rock, Britney Spears, Santana, the Backstreet Boys, TLC and Ricky Martin. The Grammys air Feb. 23 on CBS.
LOVE LINES: In honor of the upcoming Valentine's Day, we give you the skinny on how to kiss Woody Allen -- straight from the lips of his "Mighty Aphrodite" co-star, Helena Bonham Carter.
"He tells you up front certain ways of kissing, he does not want,'' Bonham Carter tells the UK Sun. "No exchange of liquid is permitted."
As if that weren't enough info, Bonham Carter adds: "There's absolutely no tongue encounter. ... It can be a bit offensive because he makes no effort at all. But he does warn you, and says everyone gets the same treatment. His mouth is a no-go area. It's like kissing the Berlin Wall, really."
Somebody get the Listerine.