Tina Fey and her co-star Alec Baldwin are both up for Outstanding Performance in a Comedy Series honours in their respective categories, while the entire 30 Rock cast has been nominated for the ensemble comedy prize.
Kevin Bacon (Taking Chance), Cuba Gooding. Jr. (Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story) and Jeremy Irons (Georgia O'Keeffe) will battle it out for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries, against Kevin Kline (Great Performances: Cyrano De Bergerac) and Tom Wilkinson (A Number).
Drew Barrymore's TV movie Grey Gardens has scored a double mention - the Hollywood star and her colleague Jessica Lange are both nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries. They will compete against Sigourney Weaver (Prayers For Bobby), Ruby Dee (America) and Joan Allen (Georgie O'Keeffe).
Other primetime TV nominees Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?) and Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) in the outstanding actress comedy category, Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Hugh Laurie (House) for outstanding actor in a drama series, and Glenn Close (Damages) and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) for outstanding actress in a drama series.
The nominations were announced on Thursday morning (17Dec09) by Michelle Monaghan and Chris O'Donnell and the prizegiving ceremony will take place on 23 January (10).
The full list of primetime TV nominations for the 16th Annual SAG Awards is as follows:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:
Kevin Bacon - Taking Chance
Cuba Gooding, Jr. - Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
Jeremy Irons - Georgia O'Keeffe
Kevin Kline - Great Performances: Cyrano De Bergerac
Tom Wilkinson - A Number
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries:
Joan Allen - Georgia O'Keeffe
Drew Barrymore - Grey Gardens
Ruby Dee - America
Jessica Lange - Grey Gardens
Sigourney Weaver - Prayers For Bobby
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series:
Simon Baker - The Mentalist
Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall - Dexter
Jon Hamm- Mad Men
Hugh Laurie - House
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series:
Patricia Arquette - Medium
Glenn Close - Damages
Mariska Hargitay - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Holly Hunter - Saving Grace
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife
Kyra Sedgwick - The Closer
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series:
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock
Steve Carell - The Office
Larry David - Curb Your Enthusiasm
Tony Shalhoub - Monk
Charlie Sheen - Two And A Half Men
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series:
Christina Applegate - Samantha Who?
Toni Collette - United States Of Tara
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey - 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - The New Adventures Of Old Christine
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series:
The Good Wife
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series:
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The first Santa Clause had a somewhat clever premise on how an ordinary guy can become Santa Claus just by putting on the red suit while the second Clause was about finding a Mrs. Claus. What’s the third clause? The Escape Clause which allows anyone who is Santa the option to give it all up and become a mortal man again. Of course Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) aka the current Santa has no intentions of leaving the job. But his lovely wife Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell) is expecting their first child and missing home a great deal so Scott has to juggle having his in-laws (Alan Arkin and Ann-Margaret) come to the North Pole--which he has to disguise as Canada to keep the “Secret of Santa” alive--with getting ready for Christmas. It’s kind of hectic. And throwing a huge wrench in the whole deal is the envious Jack Frost (Martin Short). Relegated as the “opening act” to Christmas Frost wants his own gig and sabotages Scott at every turn in order to steal the job away from him. There’s no nipping at your nose with this guy; it’s all-out war. Allen makes no apologies for his career. Why should he? He’s been moderately successful playing everyday dads in Disney comedies displaying the right mix of milquetoast-iness and humor. Plus as Scott/Santa he also gets to be sentimental. I just wonder if he still wouldn’t like to do something more cutting edge? Short on the other hand never could find the right kind of starring vehicle for himself but instead has created some hilarious supporting characters (if you don’t believe me rent The Big Picture). Jack Frost is another one to add to the list. The comedian has way too much fun playing the nasty ice man with steely blue eyes a smart--if frosty--three-piece suit and who gets to say lines like “I invented ‘Chill!’” Mitchell (TV’s Lost) reprises her role as the sweet-as-pie Mrs. Claus and has some nice moments with Scott. And what a surprise to see Alan Arkin and Ann-Margaret in this! They are perfect as the meddling in-laws especially Arkin who finds everything wrong with Scott and his “toy factory.” Buena Vista didn’t feel it was necessary to pre-screen Santa Clause 3 for critics. They probably believe the audiences for this franchise is already built in and they don’t need jaded critics slamming the film for being silly and meaningless. Smart. But as much as it pains me to say it Santa Clause 3 directed by Michael Lembeck (who did Santa Clause 2) really isn’t that awful. Yes it’s all terribly predictable with the schmaltz so thick you could cut it with a knife. But there’s also something surprisingly endearing about these movies. They have always provided a sort of warm family-friendly feel without too much forced circumstances—and most importantly they are legitimate Christmas movies--even its being released just as we are putting away the Halloween decorations. Honestly I’d take a Santa Clause 3 over a Christmas with the Kranks (sorry Tim Allen) any day.
Set in 1984 Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) returns to her ice-cold hometown in Northern Minnesota after fleeing from an abusive husband. In order to care for her two young kids she needs a job--and for most of the townsfolk including her distant dad (Richard Jenkins) that means working in the local iron mines. Problem is not too many women work there and those who do are subjected to continual harassment by their male coworkers. Josey lands a job anyway and starts to get her fair share of sexual innuendos. One day her former high-school sweetheart also a mine employee takes it way too far with her. Although met with strong resistance of course a lawsuit ensues that results in a groundbreaking decision for women’s rights in the workplace. Ah what an Oscar can do for a career. It wasn't that long ago Theron wouldn’t even have been considered for such a dramatic role. But with deserved recognition she gets to strut her stuff in North Country. She's no Monster but she's no supermodel either--and while it's impossible to erase her beauty its glare has been reduced. A second-consecutive Oscar win? Maybe not but a nomination wouldn't be out of the place. Co-star Frances McDormand might also be in line for a nod of her own. She plays Glory a woman who gets Josey the job and encourages her to fight the good fight something that seems visceral for McDormand. Woody Harrelson is also solid as Josey's attorney though his Midwest-stoner drawl gets in the way of the northern accent he's supposed to be selling. New Zealand director Niki Caro mightily impressed us with Whale Rider a poignant mixture of grief and vigor and with North Country she continues to impress. As more an observer than anything else Caro lets the true story tell itself--of what happened in this small town with its frigid denizens and sexist behavior. And the film is definitely a period piece á la Norma Rae in that it's from a specific period albeit a recent one and pertains to a specific region. But it's kind of slow going. There’s a lot of weeping and dramatic speeches. Still Caro makes up for it by including several Bob Dylan songs who rarely grants the use of his songs in films. Perhaps he felt a certain a kinship to this film since it takes place in the desolate cold Northern Minnesota where he comes from--and so resents.
Heaven. Hell. Us humans in the middle. It's all very complicated. But John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) seems to have a handle on it. Born with a gift he says no human should ever have he has the ability to see what he calls "half-breeds"--angels and demons that walk the earth in human skin (and apparently there are a lot of them). Of course the horror of it is too much to bear and Constantine tries to take his own life. But he fails. Now having been to hell and back again quite literally Constantine is marked as an attempted suicide with a temporary lease on life. He patrols the earthly border between heaven and hell acting as an exorcist of sorts. Of course the guy isn't doing it because he feels empathy for the human race or anything. It's for purely selfish reasons. He hopes that if he sends the devil's foot soldiers back to the depths he'll gain some kind of redemption a free get-out-of-jail card so to speak. Constantine's attitude changes however when a skeptical police detective Angela (Rachel Weisz) enlists his help in solving the mysterious death of her beloved twin sister. They end up uncovering a twisted master plan brewing between the demons and angels which could bring about a catastrophic series of otherworldly events. Perfect.
John Constantine is a little like The Matrix's Neo--an ultra-cool but tormented man of little words with a sardonic fatalistic outlook on life who kicks a myriad of nasty-looking demons (instead of a myriad of nasty-looking machines) back from whence they came. Yes Reeves has done this before but that's because he's good at it. You can't blame him for sticking with something that works. Weisz also holds her own as the devoutly religious Angela who nonetheless has a hard time believing there are actual angels and demons running around among us. That is of course until she spends about 10 minutes with Constantine and sees just how real they are. As far as the rest of the humans in the film Shia LaBeouf (Holes) does a nice comical turn as Constantine's sidekick and protégé while Djimon Hounsou (In America) works his voodoo mojo as a witch doctor who has a long-standing if strained relationship with Constantine. The not-so-human counterparts are equally intriguing. Peter Stormare (Fargo) delivers a somewhat over-the-top but devilishly eccentric performance as Satan. Tilda Swinton (The Deep End) dons the wings of the arch-angel Gabriel to whom Constantine is always asking for a reprieve but who has got her own agenda.
Based on the DC Comics/Vertigo comic-book Hellblazer Constantine is demonic eye candy. Obviously inspired by the many music videos he's helmed in the past director Francis Lawrence making his feature film debut paints a pretty dark and moody world with shadowy wet rat-infested (or cockroach-infested) corners that hide the horrific demon half-breeds as well as all other kinds of terrible baddies. Then when we get into Hades itself where the demons and seplavites--a sub-genre of the damned who are sightless mindless soul eaters--prowl it's an apocalyptic landscape. Lovely place. Unfortunately the script isn't nearly as stimulating. It must be an arduous task adapting a series of comic books so to his credit screenwriter Kevin Brodbin does do a nice job introducing us to Constantine and his world. But Brodbin seems to have incorporated too much. As the action escalates more and more plot points and characters are thrown in complicating matters. By the time the long-winded climax is over you're exhausted.
Based on H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger's bestselling book of the same name Friday Night Lights tells the true story of the dusty West Texas town of Odessa where nothing much happens until September rolls around. That's when the town's 20 000 or so denizens pour into Ratliff Stadium the country's biggest high school football field every Friday night to watch the Permian Panthers Odessa's "boys in black " take to the field. All the town's hope and dreams are pinned on the padded shoulders of these young gridiron heroes--including insecure quarterback Mike Winchell (Lucas Black); cocky self-assured running back Boobie Miles (Derek Luke); headstrong self-destructive tailback Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund) who must contend with an overbearing abusive dad (Tim McGraw--yes that Tim McGraw the country singer); and the team's spiritual leader middle linebacker Ivory Christian (newcomer Lee Jackson). The Panthers begin their season with one thing on their minds--winning their fifth straight championship for the first time in the team's 30-year history--but for their coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) it also means instilling a love and joy of the game in the boys' hearts amidst tremendous pressures and expectations. Easier said than done.
There isn't a false note in any of the performances and no one falls back on clichéd versions of their characters as is so easy to do in rah-rah sports movies. Thornton does a particularly good job as Gaines keeping you guessing whether he's going to be a hardass insensitive to his players' emotional needs (like so many movie football coaches before him) or if he truly means to coach his boys in a fair and decent way. Gaines too has to deal with his own pressures especially from the townsfolk who are likely to string him up if the team loses the championship. As for Gaines' players Black (the oh-so-serious kid from Thornton's Sling Blade) is all grown up and buffed out and still very serious. It works for the young actor though as the beleaguered Winchell struggles with the love-hate relationship he has with his chosen sport. Other standouts include Luke (Antwone Fisher) as the star player Boobie whose cocksureness leads him to an injury; Hedlund as the volatile Billingsley trying desperately to please his father; and McGraw making his film debut as the father a former Permian Panther champion who sure hasn't given up his competitive spirit basically beating it into his son. First Faith Hill (McGraw's real-life wife) in The Stepford Wives and now McGraw--who knew country singers could act?
From All the Right Moves to Varsity Blues to Remember the Titans Friday Night Lights unfortunately doesn't completely distinguish itself from the pack of football movies before it--like those this is all about how the young players--be they underdogs second-string nobodies or stars--rising above the mounting pressure and playing the best they can bless their hearts. Still there's no question the sports genre--particularly football--always gets the juices pumping with FNL being no exception. It might have something to do with our sick fascination with watching bone-crunching hits and body-punishing tackles. It's dangerous out there for these guys; no other sport (besides maybe hockey) can elicit such wince-inducing emotion and actor/director Peter Berg (The Rundown) exploits that. Obviously influenced by Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday Berg effectively paints his own gritty documentary-style picture of the competitive sport without relying on too many trite gushy over-the-top moments. And to give it credit the film does not necessarily have a feel-good "let's win one for the Gipper" ending; it is based on a true story after all and as we know real life isn't all sunshine and roses especially in the bloodthirsty world of Texas high school football.
Money issues aside, it looks like CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond will be returning for a ninth and final season, although its not completely official yet.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, sources say series creator Phil Rosenthal and star Ray Romano have agreed to go for a ninth season but will most likely shorten the order to less than the full 22-episodes.
With a shortened season, however, CBS will have to work out new salary deals for Romano, who currently ranks as primetime's highest paid star at nearly $2 million per episode, as well as co-stars Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts.
CBS chief Leslie Moonves said Tuesday he would only say that he's "very guardedly optimistic" that the network's top-rated sitcom will be back next season.
Meanwhile, CBS claimed a victory for total viewership during the February sweeps week (Feb. 5-Mar. 3), which came to a close Wednesday, while NBC looks to be the winner in the coveted adults 18-49 demographic, the trade paper reports.
CBS won the period by its widest February margin in a decade with 14.1 million viewers, up 1 percent from the year-ago period, followed by NBC (12.1 million, down 3 percent), ABC (10.3 million, unchanged) and Fox (9.3 million, down 23 percent). UPN and the WB Network were tied at 3.9 million viewers, with UPN up 7 percent from year-ago and WB off 10 percent.
NBC held onto its grip on the adults 18-49 crown after losing to Fox and the Joe Millionaire phenomenon in last year's February sweeps. The runner up, however, is expected to be a tie between CBS and Fox, according to the Reporter. But Fox could pull ahead by a hair if this week's regularly scheduled editions of American Idol bring in the big numbers.
In other TV news…
Fox has ordered comedy pilots from Chris Rock and Steve Martin, and has cast Andy Richter as the father of quintuplets in a sitcom, the trade paper reports.
The untitled Rock project is described as an autobiographical coming-of-age comedy loosely based on his experience growing up "on the nicest block in the ghetto," while Martin is executive producing a pilot about a multigenerational Cuban-American family in Miami, as seen through the eyes of a 16-year-old boy.
Richter, Conan O'Brien's former sidekick who starred in Fox's short-lived comedy Andy Richter Controls the Universe, is trying it again with an untitled comedy centered on 15-year-old quintuplets living in a three-bedroom suburban house.
In other pilot casting news, Dominic Monaghan, Ian Somerhalder, Jorge Garcia and Evangeline Lilly will play castaways in J.J. Abrams' drama Lost for ABC…Mykelti Williamson is close to joining ABC's drama The Secret Service, which revolves around a married woman (Sarah Wayne Callies) who works for the clandestine government agency…Marisa Coughlan (Super Troopers) has been tapped as the lead in ABC's Kat Plus One, about a young New York publicist whose life turns upside down when she has to raise her nephew (Jimmy Bennett) after his parents suddenly die.