Superstar Pharrell Williams is getting animated for an upcoming episode of The Simpsons. The Happy hitmaker and the famous Vivienne Westwood hat he wore to the Grammy Awards last year (14) are heading to the fictional town of Springfield for an episode titled Walking Big & Tall.
The plot of the cartoon instalment is based on a true story from the 1980s, about bosses at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin TV station who hired a composer to create a new anthem for the city, only to discover the musician offered up the same song to other city officials.
In The Simpsons story, Lisa Simpson will help to find a solution to the problem by bringing in Pharrell to pen a new track for the town, reports Entertainment Weekly.
The episode will air in the U.S. on 8 February (15).
Pharrell isn't the only special guest to make a cameo in the longrunning cartoon's 26th season - rocker Sammy Hagar and actors Nick Offerman and Sarah Silverman have also booked gigs on The Simpsons.
Robert Zemeckis is a blockbuster director at heart. Action has never been an issue for the man behind Back to the Future. When he puts aside the high concept adventures for emotional human stories — think Forrest Gump or Cast Away — he still goes big. His latest Flight continues the trend revolving the story of one man's fight with alcoholism around a terrifying plane crash. Zemeckis expertly crafts his roaring centerpiece and while he finds an agile performer in Denzel Washington the hour-and-a-half of Flight after the shocking moment can't sustain the power. The "big" works. The intimate drowns.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker a reckless airline pilot who balances his days flying jumbo jets with picking up women snorting lines of cocaine and drinking himself to sleep. Although drunk for the flight that will change his life forever that's not the reason the plane goes down — in fact it may be the reason he thinks up his savvy landing solution in the first place. Writer John Gatins follows Whitaker into the aftermath madness: an investigation of what really happened during the flight Whitaker's battle to cap his addictions and budding relationships that if nurtured could save his life.
Zemeckis tops his own plane crash in Cast Away with the heart-pounding tailspin sequence (if you've ever been scared of flying before Flight will push into phobia territory). In the few scenes after the literal destruction Washington is able to convey an equal amount of power in the moments of mental destruction. Whitaker is obviously crushed by the events the bottle silently calling for him in every down moment. Flight strives for that level of introspection throughout eventually pairing Washington with equally distraught junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Their relationship is barely fleshed out with the script time and time again resorting to obvious over-the-top depictions of substance abuse (a la Nic Cage's Leaving Las Vegas) and the bickering that follows. Washington's Whitaker hits is lowest point early sitting there until the climax of the film.
Sharing screentime with the intimate tale is the surprisingly comical attempt by the pilot's airline union buddy (Bruce Greenwood) and the company lawyer (Don Cheadle) to get Whitaker into shape. Prepping him for inquisitions looking into evidence from the wreckage and calling upon Whitaker's dealer Harling (John Goodman) to jump start their "hero" when the time is right the two men do everything they can to keep any blame being placed upon Whitaker by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The thread doesn't feel relevant to Whitaker's plight and in turn feels like unnecessary baggage that pads the runtime.
Everything in Fight shoots for the skies — and on purpose. The music is constantly swelling the photography glossy and unnatural and rarely do we breach Washington's wild exterior for a sense of what Whitaker's really grappling with. For Zemeckis Flight is still a spectacle film with Washington's ability to emote as the magical special effect. Instead of using it sparingly he once again goes big. Too big.
Hard rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose's death has been ruled a suicide by the San Mateo County coroner. The 64-year-old rocker died last month of a self-inflicted gunshot wound — and was found in his home in Brisbane. The autopsy report stated that Montrose had been intoxicated at the time of his death. He had a .31-percent blood-alcohol ration — that's four times the legal limit in the states.
While Montrose's wife claimed that he had a suffered from depression throughout his life, the guitarist didn't leave a suicide note. He had also been battling prostate cancer, but reportedly went into remission in 2009.
Montrose was born in San Francisco. He formed his own band, Montrose, in 1973 — and did work with the likes of Sammy Hagar, Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, Gary Wright, Tony Williams, and The Neville Brothers. Some of Montrose's most recognized singles include "Rock the Nation" and "I Got the Fire."
"By now, the devastating truth of Ronnie's death is public knowledge," Montrose's official website posted in a statement. "We hope you can understand why we wanted to keep this news a private family matter for as long as possible."
[San Francisco Chronicle, [Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images]
The black and white film completed a weekend trio of triumphs after also winning gold at the Cesar Awards in Paris on Friday (24Feb12) and the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California on Saturday (25Feb12).
The Artist filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius was also triple weekend winner after claiming the Best Director honour at the Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday, and the film also took home trophies for Costume Design and Score, while Jean Dujardin became the first Frenchman to pick up the coveted Best Actor award for his portrayal as silent film star George Valentin.
Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese's first 3D film Hugo picked up five of its 11 nominations in categories including Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
Other big winners at the 84th Academy Awards included Meryl Streep (Best Actress), Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress), Woody Allen (Best Original Screenplay), Alexander Payne (Best Adapted Screenplay), Christopher Plummer, who, at 82, became the oldest actor ever to win an Academy Award, for his supporting role in Beginners, and A Separation, which became the first movie from Iran to win a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Billy Crystal returned to host the ceremony for the ninth time and kicked off the show with one of his famous movie montages, playing The Artist's leading man George Valentin in a silent torture scene and George Clooney's comatose partner in The Descendants.
The odd couple shared a kiss as the movie hunk and Oscar nominee woke the sleeping comic and told him he had to host the ceremony, joking, "The Academy has got the youngest, hippest writers in town."
Crystal also placed himself in scenes from The Help, Bridesmaids, The Adventures of Tin Tin, Moneyball and Midnight in Paris, where he doubled up as Sammy Davis Jr. opposite Justin Bieber.
There was also a cameo for Tom Cruise in a brief Mission: Impossible skit.
In his opening monologue, Crystal joked, "The movies have always been there for us... so tonight, enjoy yourself because nothing can take the sting out of the world's economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with golden statues."
The full list of 2012 Oscar winners is:
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Best Achievement in Directing
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Alexander Payne, Jim Rash & Nat Faxon (The Descendants)
Best Animated Feature Film
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
A Separation (Iran)
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Robert Richardson (Hugo)
Best Achievement in Editing
Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)
Best Achievement in Art Direction
Dante Ferretti & Francesca Lo Schiavo (Hugo)
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Mark Bridges (The Artist)
Best Achievement in Makeup
Mark Coulier & J. Roy Helland (The Iron Lady)
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Ludovic Bource (The Artist)
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Bret McKenzie (Man or Muppet from The Muppets)
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Tom Fleischman & John Midgley (Hugo)
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Phillip Stockton & Eugene Gearty (Hugo)
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman & Alex Henning (Hugo)
Best Documentary Feature
Best Documentary Short
Best Short Film, Animated
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Best Short Film, Live Action
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Awards
James Earl Jones, Dick Smith & Oprah Winfrey
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Green Zone is a story we’ve already heard shot in a manner we’ve already seen and starring Matt Damon in a role he’s already played. Remember those WMDs that were never found in Iraq and later exposed to be the invention of a dubious and poorly-vetted informant? Remember the misguided and hideously botched attempt at establishing democracy after the fall of Saddam and the violent prolonged insurgency that ensued? If you’ve been away from the television for the past hour and somehow managed to forget any of these details Green Zone is here to remind you.
Damon plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller an Army weapons inspector whose frustration over repeatedly coming up empty in his search for Iraqi WMDs leads him on a quest to track down and expose the people responsible for leading him (and us) down that infamously bogus path. Though his hand-to-hand skills are a notch below Jason Bourne’s Miller’s single-mindedness moral certainty and permanent expression of square-jawed defiance — always threatening another “How do you like them apples?” rebuke — in the face of an insidious multi-level government conspiracy are essentially equivalent to those of Damon’s Bourne trilogy soulmate.
And like Bourne his most dangerous adversary isn’t found on the battlefront but rather within the government he once served so proudly. As Miller delves ever deeper into the Case of the Faulty WMD Intelligence Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) the duplicitous arrogant Defense Department bureaucrat in charge of U.S. operations in Iraq summarily relieves him of his post. (Hint: the better dressed a Green Zone character is the more sinister his ambitions.) But Miller remains undeterred and he goes rogue to locate the CIA informant “Magellan ” a formerly high-ranking Iraqi official whose supposed confirmation of Saddam’s nuclear ambitions served as the basis for U.S. invasion.
We know how the story ends. Green Zone’s pervasive overarching sense of deja vu is accentuated by director — and veteran Bourne helmer — Paul Greengrass who employs the trademark hand-held super-shakycam style which was so fresh and inventive in 2004 but now feels stale and predictable. (Admittedly my aversion to Greengrass’ approach was no doubt heightened by a previous night’s viewing of Roman Polanski’s excellent The Ghost Writer a political thriller as subtle and precise and finely tuned as Green Zone is ham-fisted and haphazard — and which also uses the phantom WMD controversy to far greater narrative effect.)
Green Zone culminates in essentially a violent footrace between Miller and the Army Special Forces as they scour a heavily-armed insurgent stronghold to find Magellan with Miller hoping to secure his potentially damning testimony before the Army can silence him for good. The climactic sequence for all I could tell was either shot in Damon’s backyard culled from Bourne trilogy deleted scenes or assembled from scattered YouTube clips. This punishingly chaotic often incoherent and ultimately exhausting approach to storytelling isn’t cinema verite; it’s dementia pugilistica.
Robbie Williams won best male singer at the MTV Europe Music Awards on Thursday, Reuters reports. The British singer, who won the best song award last year, gave a bleak acceptance speech, saying his earlier claim to be "living the dream" turned out to be wrong. "I'm very humbled to receive an award from MTV once again. Last year I was very arrogant with my acceptance speech," he said. "This year it's completely different." He closed his address by saying, "Live the nightmare."
Also at the MTV Europe Music Awards, virtual band Gorillaz, who picked up the best song award for "Clint Eastwood," spoke out about the current bombing in Afghanistan. According to Reuters, lead singer Damon Albarn sported a CND T-shirt and told the crowd, "This is the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Bombing the poorest countries in the world is wrong."
Members of the British band Depeche Mode said that the Sept. 11 hijack attacks had hardly affected European musicians and concertgoers, Reuters reports. The group's keyboardist Andy Fletcher said that because Europeans had had more experience with terror attacks than the United States, they were able to get on with their lives more quickly. "It's not to say the attacks are not awful," he said. "But we are more used to it in Europe."
Recording companies and musicians reached an agreement Wednesday to pay artists' royalties from cable, satellite, and Internet broadcasts directly to the artists rather than to the recording companies, Reuters reports. The agreement means artists and copyright holders will be able to collect money, rather than have their record labels collect for distribution.
A superior court judge has ruled that Lisa Agbalaya's lawsuit accusing James Brown and his company of sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and retaliation could proceed to trial, The Associated Press reports. The judge, however, dismissed one section of Agbalaya's lawsuit that accused the 68-year-old singer of discriminating against all female employees.
A series of TV commercials aimed at boosting New York City's tourism were previewed at City Hall Thursday. One ad features Woody Allen ice skating at Rockefeller Center, Barbara Walters auditioning for a Broadway show and Henry Kissinger sliding into home plate at Yankee Stadium wearing a suit and tie. Other ads feature Billy Crystal, Robert De Niro and Yogi Berra, AP reports.
HBO is in talks with documentarian Peter Kuhnhardt to make a film about New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and how he and his City Hall team handled the Sept. 11 crisis, Variety reports. The film will help raise money for the Twin Towers Fund, formed by Giuliani.
Mark Wahlberg and Hugh Jackman may be starring in Intermedia Films' Pride and Glory, Variety reports. The project centers on a three-generation family of New York City cops torn apart by revelations of a corruption scandal.
Nicole Kidman is in negotiations to star in Revolution Studios' The Forgotten. According to Variety, the project follows a man and a woman in their 30s who join forces to search for answers to the unsolved abduction of children.
Ben Stiller and his Red Hour Films banner have signed a three-year first-look deal with DreamWorks. DreamWorks reportedly paid $2.6 million to Warner Bros. for Stiller's next project, an adaptation of Budd Schulberg's novel What Makes Sammy Run. Stiller will direct the film and star as hustler Sammy Glick.
In an interview published on Thursday in TV Guide, Michael Jackson said he will build a computer school on the grounds of his Neverland estate so his children, Prince, 4, and Paris, 3, won't have to go "into society." Jackson also plans on making a movie with Liza Minnelli about two struggling entertainers trying to make it, Reuters reports.
Fox's new drama 24 starring Kiefer Sutherland failed to beat out ABC's cop drama NYPD Blue in the Tuesday night battle for ratings, Variety reports. While 24 posted decently, a November sweeps premiere opposite NYPD Blue and NBC's Frasier proved too tall an order. Network execs admitted to being surprised that more viewers did not sample the new show.
So just how saucy is Aussie Nicole Kidman now that she's a single gal again? The latest tabloid rumors out of London have her romping in the altogether with Brit pop sensation Robbie Williams--but you can forget a steamy star-crossed romance. It seems that if indeed Nic was naked--and her reps say she wasn't--it was a purely professional move.
According to London's Daily Star, the titillating titian-tressed actress appears wearing little but a glittering diamond necklace, matching diamond handbag and a dazzling smile in the video for her duet with Williams on "Something Stupid," a remake of the 1960s hit performed by Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy. The video, set in the 1950s, is reportedly far steamier than anything the Eisenhower Era ever saw on TV, and the singers' vocals reportedly reflect a sinuous sexual chemistry.
Other tabloid accounts, however, have Kidman more demurely costumed in a mauve lace Collette Dinnigan evening gown with green sequins that was flown in from her native Australia especially for the shoot, topped off with a multimillion-dollar necklace
"No, she's not nude," Kidman's publicist said, without ruling out the suggestion of nudity, however, or even the elaborate Dinnigan dress: "They don't want to ruin the surprise." Indeed, Capitol-EMI, Williams' (and, for many years, Sinatra's and Martin's) recording label, is keeping the video under wraps until Williams' new Rat Pack-retro album Swing When You're Winning bows Nov. 19.
On it, the pop singer covers a plethora of tunes made famous by the likes of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole and Bobby Darin. In addition to his song with Kidman, Williams also duets with stars including Rupert Everett, Jon Lovitz and Jane Horrocks (Little Voice).
The actress first publicly flexed her vocal chords for Moulin Rouge earlier this year. But it's the video that's got everyone wondering if anyone will actually be listening, given that she's reportedly showing more flesh on camera than she's shown her ex Tom Cruise in the last year.
Kidman's certainly proven she's comfortable with her whippet-thin, alabaster bod, having displayed it amply on film in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and on stage in the Sam Mendes-directed play The Blue Room. Meanwhile, in his groundbreaking video for "Rock DJ," the well-toned Williams strip-teased his way down to his black bikini briefs--and beyond, removing his skin, his muscles and his vital organs.
On his official website, Williams recounted his nervousness over collaborating with one of Hollywood's hottest actresses. "So I've got this meeting on Saturday, at two o'clock with Nicole Kidman and the arse fell out me world for a couple of days, so how am I going to get through this and not look like an idiot, or try to lick her face?" Williams said, "She was shy and she was nervous and it was nice to see that I'm not the only one that's shy and nervous."
If the rumors are true, it sounds like both stars got over their initial bouts of the shys in a big, big way.
We respect that the Writers Guild of America awards are really important and prestigious and stuff, but what we really respect is that they make winning the office Oscar pool a heck of a lot easier.
"American Beauty" To whit: If you've got a chance to pick "American Beauty" for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar or "Election" for Best Adapted Screenplay, do it. Both films took top honors in their respective categories Sunday night at the 52nd Annual WGA awards, handed out at twin ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles.
The "Beauty" trophy went to scribe Alan Ball, the "Election" one to co-screenwriters Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. All three men have the chance to repeat at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards on March 26 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.
"Election" In taking the best original screenplay prize, Ball defeated Paul Thomas Anderson ("Magonlia"), M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense"), David O. Russell ("Three Kings") and Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich"). All but Russell are up for the Oscar. (Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy" is the Academy's wild card.)
The "Election" team downed screenplays for "The Insider," "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "The Cider House Rules" and "October Sky." Again, all but one ("October Sky") are in competition come Oscar night. The only screenplay "Election" won't have gone head-to-head against is the one for "The Green Mile," the surprise Academy nominee.
The WGA Awards also honor TV. We'd tell you that HBO's "The Sopranos" and NBC's "Frasier" took top honors for drama and comedy series, respectively, but that wouldn't help you with your Oscar handicapping, now would it?
Maybe when the Emmys roll around, we'll send you a reminder.
In other award-show news from an award-show-filled weekend:
-- "ER" was named favorite TV drama and "Everybody Loves Raymond" favorite TV comedy at the 2nd Annual TV Guide Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. Other key winners: Martin Sheen, tapped Favorite Actor in a New Series for NBC's "The West Wing" and Amy Brenneman, honored as Favorite Actress in a New Series for CBS' "Judging Amy." Overall, hardware in a whopping 25 categories -- from Favorite Soap ("Days of Our Lives," NBC) to bestest pet (Eddie the dog from "Frasier") -- were handed out. Awards were voted on by regular ol' TV Guide readers, explaining why The Guy From "Jag" (David James Elliott) beat out Emmy favorites such as Dennis Franz ("NYPD Blue") for Best Drama Actor.
-- Hip-hop trio TLC hopped to it with two wins -- for best R&B group and best R&B/soul album ("Fanmail") at the 14th Annual Soul Train Music Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles. Mary J. Blige also took multiple honors -- for best R&B/soul album by a female solo artist ("Mary") and the Sammy Davis. Jr. Award for the top female entertainer of the year. Old-timers Whitney Houston and the Guy Who Used to Be Called Prince were singled out as artists of the just-wrapped decade.
-- "Being John Malkovich" has been deigned the Best Stoner Movie of 1999 by the high-minded folks at High Times, a magazine (and Web site) devoted to all things, um, medicinal. Other winners of High Times' first-ever Stony Awards include: Michelle Williams, Kirsten Dunst and Dan Hedaya for Best Pot Scene for "Dick," and Sarah Polley, Katie Holmes and Nathan Bexton for Best Tripping Scene for "Go." ("Go" also took best movie and best director honors. Sounds like an endorsement.) Oscar favorite Kevin Spacey was named best actor for lighting up in "American Beauty." Winners presumably were determined per the polling of a smoke-filled room. A very smoke-filled room.
French film controversy
Ricky on stage
"Weakest Link" video game
Sharon Stone drops restraining order
Sharon Stone (The Quick and The Dead, Basic Instinct, The Muse) has dropped her request for a permanent restraining order against Italian visitor Agostino P'omato, according to reports by People magazine.
Stone was granted a temporary restraining order on March 19 to keep P'omato at least 100 yards away from her, her husband and their son. P'omato allegedly arrived at Stone's house in the Los Angeles area saying that he wanted to "take her and marry her."
P'omato's family convinced him to return to Italy, which prompted Stone to drop the request for a permanent restraining order, said her lawyer.
Redgrave honored at GLAAD media awards
Vanessa Redgrave received the Excellence in Media Award at Monday's 12th Annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards in New York.
Redgrave's daughter, actress Natasha Richardson, made the presentation. In a report filed by People, Redgrave told the attendees, "If Anne Heche can play a lesbian, so can I. I think I have done my part for heterosexuality." The award honors a member of the entertainment community who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.
Also at the ceremony, Kathleen Turner presented Liz Smith the Vito Russo Award, which honors a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered member of the entertainment or media community for their outstanding contribution in combating homophobia.
Other guests and presenters included: host Mo Gaffney, Joan Collins, Gina Gershon, Sharon Gless, Florence Henderson, Jill Henessey, Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Susan Lucci and Eden Riegal (All My Children), Lou Reed, and John Ritter.
Splittsville for Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman's (Hannibal, The Fifth Element, Lost in Space) wife Donya Fiorentino filed papers to end their marriage due to irreconcilable differences. The AP reports that the couple of four years separated on Friday, the same day the papers were filed.
The Oscar-nominated Oldman (Best Supporting Actor for last year's The Contender) and Fiorentino have two sons together, Gulliver and Charlie. Oldman has had two prior marriages, with Lesley Manville and Uma Thurman (Gattaca, Pulp Fiction, The Avengers). Oldman has a third son with Manville.
Director Michael Ritchie dies
Director Michael Ritchie (Smile, Downhill Racer, The Golden Child) is dead of prostate cancer at the age of 62, says the New York Times.
Ritchie was often unconventional, as evidenced by the Holly Hunter feature The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, which aired on HBO in 1993. Ritchie also directed major flops, including The Island.
The last film Ritchie completed was last year's The Fantasticks.
French rape film sparks controversy upon arrival in U.S.
The controversial French film Baise-Moi (Rape Me) is set for release in New York and Los Angeles this June, reports Variety.
The film features two stars of the French adult film world, Raffaela Anderson and Karen Bach, and tells the tale of a prostitute and a rape victim who embark on a bloody, violent road trip. The film portrays a violent rape and its effect on the victim, who is spurred to acts of violence.
Censors, according to Variety, banned the film from mainstream movie theaters in France. In England, the film was screened only after the distributor cut 10 seconds of particularly objectionable footage.
The film is based on the novel of the same name, written by Virginie Despentes.
News blackout blankets resumption of WGA talks
No reporters, no cameras, no statements, no photo opportunities.
That is the "cone of silence" surrounding the negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the movie and TV alliance, as talks resumed at 2:30 p.m. yesterday.
Designed to keep negotiators focused on reaching an agreement, the blackout, according to Variety, allows for only a bare bones account at the end of the day. The arrangement takes the negotiations out of the public arena, where they have been since they began on January 22.
With the May 2 expiration of the current writers' deal, it is imperative that the two sides reach an accord as soon as possible. The last round of talks broke off on March 1, with the parties more than $100 million apart and a strike looming on the horizon.
Ricky's role call
It's curtains for singer Ricky Martin: the Latin heartthrob is in talks to star in Zorro, a stage production to premiere in London's West End, according to Britain's Sun tabloid. The musical, produced by Adam Kenwright, is also attracting singer Robbie Williams, who has expressed an interest in writing some of the show's lyrics.
Country crooners to wed
Two of Nashville's biggest stars--Lorrie Morgan and Sammy Kershaw --announced on Tuesday's Live with Regis and Kelly that they plan to get hitched. The couple has set a wedding date of Sept. 29. Morgan, 41, and Kershaw, 43, have both had previous marriages.
"Weakest Link" video game?
The latest game-show sensation to sweep America could invade stores later this year. According to Variety, British phenomenon The Weakest Link is being converted into a video game by Activision, Inc. The only catch: they're scrambling to get it produced before the hype surrounding the show dies down. Though typical video games take 18 months to produce, Activision is aiming for an October release.