Strapping Irish stud Colin Farrell was named the year's best actor for his work in "Tigerland" by the Boston Society of Film Critics on Saturday.
And if that alone does not cause a bit of head scratching, take a look at the heavyweights whom the young upstart has beaten out for the nod: Tom Hanks in "Cast Away," Javier Bardem in "Before Night Falls" and Mark Ruffalo in "You Can Count on Me."
Perhaps just as surprising is actress Ellen Burstyn snagging a best actress win for "Requiem for a Dream." Before this award, some thought of Burstyn as more of a supporting actress contender. Burstyn beat out Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich") and Laura Linney ("You Can Count on Me"). The Boston critics handed the best picture award to "Almost Famous," as well as the best director mention to the film's helmer Cameron Crowe, who also shared the best screenplay award with "Wonder Boys" scribe Steven Kloves.
Best supporting actress went to Frances McDormand for her performances in both "Almost Famous" and "Wonder Boys," and best supporting actor belonged to "Best in Show's" Fred Willard as the faux-pas-spilling announcer.
Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" continues to do well with the critics, nabbing best foreign film and best cinematography for Peter Pau.
Along with the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review have all unveiled their top picks for the year.
HEAR ME ROAR: Looks like Cameron Diaz has found her voice. The "Charlie's Angels" actress managed to scare off a pair of thieves rummaging through her Rome hotel room Friday night -- by screaming really loud, The Associated Press says. On their way out, two men dropped two leather jackets and a laptop computer.
BLACK FRIDAY: Stan Lee Media laid off nearly all of its Los Angeles staff on Friday because it was unable to secure new financing, Reuters reports. The company recently has experienced a drastic drop in its stock price.
ANOTHER "GRADUATE" ALUM: English actress Amanda Donohoe ("L.A. Law") will assume the post of Mrs. Robinson in the London stage version of "The Graduate." The play has grossed more than 6 million pounds since it opened in April. Previous Mrs. R's includes Kathleen Turner and Jerry Hall.
American viewers agree: There's nothing like watching democracy unfold on the tube.
And we are not talking about weekly episodes of "The West Wing."
A preliminary Nielsen report shows that more than 66 million viewers tuned in to Tuesday's night coverage of the presidential race between the four major networks, three cable outlets and PBS.
The 66 million figure marks a 73 percent jump in viewership from the 1996 election.
According to the estimates, NBC came out on top Tuesday night with about 19 million viewers, followed by ABC with 16 million and CBS at 14 million.
Actual numbers will be released later today.
VANITY MIRROR: The Associated Press says that "Today" show host Katie Couric, "Survivor" survivor Richard Hatch and "Harry Potter" novelist J.K. Rowling are among the honorees featured in Vanity Fair's 2000 Hall of Fame issue in December.
BYE, BYE, BYE: Daily Variety reports that Spike Feresten, one of the executive producers of "The Michael Richards Show," has quit the series after only two shows. Feresten, along with the show's other three executive producers, previously collaborated on the hit show "Seinfeld." His vacancy is not expected to be replaced.
BASEBALL, ANYONE? So much for the Subway series between the Mets and the Yankees. The Fox network has apparently lost more than $70 million due to poor ratings during its post season coverage of Major League Baseball. The victory ring eventually went to the Yankees in just five games.
HE'S BACK: Foul-mouthed 1980s relic Andrew "Dice" Clay has landed the lead in a new weekly comedy called "Colosseum." The comedian will play a Chicago street hustler and fight promoter being hurled back in time to ancient Rome. Uh-huh.
So you pay your taxes, then you pay off some loans and after that you decide to get that tummy-tuck you’ve always wanted. And before you know it, your $1 million winnings just doesn’t seem like that much money anymore.
Perhaps that’s what sole "Survivor" Richard Hatch has been feeling lately, for he sure has been hustling hard for dough despite his seven-figure jackpot.
After a report from Inside.com this week that the 39-year-old corporate trainer has signed a $500,000 book deal with St. Martin’s Press, word today is that he has also set his eyes on showbiz.
Daily Variety says that Richard has singed with Creative Artists Agency, the management firm Pure Arts and publicist Polaris PR as his representatives. They will assist the pot-belly one, who is said to be looking for on-air commentator gigs and TV show guest spots -- in fielding various offers.
DO WE HEAR EBAY!? Apparently, defection happened both on and off the set of "Survivor." After the show’s big finale last week, the publicity folks at CBS discovered that a box of autographed "Survivor" photos had been looted. The network suspects that workers who were involved with the show’s town hall special may have walked off with the goods, which was intended for various charities and fundraisers.
SEE JENNA ‘TALK’: Didn’t get enough of Jenna on the regular season? Well, the single mother will host E!’s "Talk Soup" tonight. She’s the third "Survivor" contestant to moonlight on the show this week, after Kelly on Monday and Sue last night. So what about Colleen?
Yes, it’s that time of the year when men chase and clobber one another for a little weekly ritual ABC likes to call "Monday Night Football." And in case you haven’t already heard: It’s also Miller time. Actually, make that, Dennis Miller time.
That’s right, the stand-up comic-cynic will assume his duties as "MNF’s" newly anointed commentator in the Hall of Fame game between the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots tonight, completing a revamped booth crew which includes veteran play-by-play Al Michaels and new analyst Dan Fouts.
"I do know football reasonably well. I know well enough that I didn't play the game," Miller told The Associated Press. "So therefore I would defer on most things to people who had the guts to play it. I watch it as much as anybody and I can bring a little humor, hopefully. I just want to make it entertainment to some extent."
Which is exactly what ABC is looking for. "Monday Night Football" has been suffering from a consistent dip in ratings in its past five seasons, and the addition of Miller is expected to inject some much-needed life and attitude to the usual shoptalk.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. EDT/PDT.
And that’s "MNF" for you, and we’re outta here.
The truth is out there: Are Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston getting married this weekend? And an even bigger truth is out there: If they are getting married, then why the heck weren't we invited?
If the rampant rumors are true, the wedding will take place this weekend in the tony, beach blanket bingo city of Malibu, Calif.
The British Sun tabloid was first to deliver the matrimonial shocker last week, followed by well-connected stateside gossip columnists who say the invitations have been sent and the cake has been ordered.
Meanwhile, protocol-observing entertainment news outfits (us included) checked with the actor's people, who told us the scoop is bogus.
Do we believe it? Not for a moment.
Not when we've heard the rumor about Gwyneth Paltrow crying when she heard the news. And not when we so obviously were dissed, omitted from the guest list despite the fact that we (unlike almost everyone else) gave good reviews to both "Fight Club" and "The Object of My Affection."
Asking Pitt or Aniston's publicists to put us on the guest list was, natch, out of the question. So, we decided to put our nose to the ground and try to locate this star wedding on our own.
Step 1: The Official Evidence If Pitt and Aniston are really tying the knot, then surely they've made a visit to the Los Angeles County Hall of Records' marriage license division to file the necessary papers. Like all good intrepid reporters, we decided to use some charm and, if needed, a little muscle, and maybe even a couple of greenbacks (just kidding!) to get what we needed, Barnaby Jones-style.
Unfortunately, the good woman we talked to -- apparently not as disgruntled as we thought all municipal workers are -- kindly told us that such information is only available ex-post-facto, meaning that marriage records only enter into the public domain after the ceremony takes place, not before.
Step 2: Comb the Area for Clues ... and Jen ... Sure, we've driven through Malibu. But really, the only landmarks we know are Point Dume, Trancas and Gladstone's. We wouldn't exactly know where to sniff out the location of the big event.
So, in the spirit of journalistic brotherhood (and, because we thought it'd be fun), we called the local Malibu newspaper, conveniently called the Malibu Times, hoping that it, by virtue of proximity, would have stuff that non-Malibu denizens are not privy to.
And to make a long story short, they didn't know jack.
"We think it's a rumor, we don't know anything," is how one of their reporters, Laura Tate, put it.
Back to square one. But then, we got a bright idea ...
Step 3: Follow the Food If anyone knows whether Brad and Jen are really getting hitched, it's Along Came Mary Productions Inc., the famed Los Angeles caterer. Word on the street is that it has been hired by the enjoining parties as the wedding's coordinator, so naturally we did the only sensible thing and called 'em up.
But, to avoid coming across as a nosy fan, we telephoned under the guise of "a friend of a girlfriend who's going to get married next month," and posed a few queries, the answers to which gave us an idea what this Pitt-Aniston ceremony (if indeed it happens) will cost.
We learned that an A list wedding, like the star couple's alleged 200-plus-guest affair -- runs in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $25,000, plus a catering fee of $300-a-head for grub, live entertainment, flowers and whatnot.
"So, basically," the lady at ACMP knowingly tells us, "if your friend has $100,000 to spend on a wedding, have her give me a call."
Sensing that continuing this friendly conversation would be futile, we cut right to the chase and asked if the company is indeed catering for Brad and Jen this weekend, at which point the ACMP representative paused, put up her guard, and said, "We don't know anything about that."
That seals it. We can see right through this "X-Files"-esque maze of deception orchestrated by the powers that be, just to keep us out of the wedding, just because they can.
So now, there's only one thing left to do.
Step 4: Shopping for the Gift We're determined to crash the big party, but we certainly don't want to show up empty-handed. We thought of a lot of places to shop for the perfect gift -- Kmart, the store on Hollywood Boulevard that sells velvet paintings, one of those "four T-shirts for $9.99" places -- and finally settled on Cartier.
... but what about us? We consulted with Fernando, a salesman at the Beverly Hills boutique, as to what we should get the lucky couple.
"That's a tough one, a gift for two people who have everything," Fernando mused. "Well, we make beautiful candlesticks, silver picture frames and many, many things. The price for the candlesticks is $500."
The silver frames were also $500. Hmmm ... suddenly, we felt a change of heart.
Have a nice wedding, Brad and Jennifer. Whenever and wherever it is.