Cate Blanchett was the big winner at a top Australian prizegiving on Monday night (18Aug14) as she took home her fourth Helpmann Award. The Australian actress was named the Best Female Actor in a Play for her leading role in the Sydney Theatre Company's (STC) production of The Maids. She previously won the same award for her work in STC shows Gross Und Klein in 2012, Uncle Vanya in 2011 and Hedda Gabler in 2005.
Director Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom the Musical had six nominations in the theatre categories, and impressed the audience at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney with a glitzy live performance, but it scooped just one prize, with performer Heather Mitchell winning Best Female Supporting Actor in a Musical.
Other winners in the theatre categories included Angels in America (Best Play) and The King and I (Best Costume Design).
The trophies, recognising achievement in live performing arts, were also given out to Bruce Springsteen, who was named Best International Act for the second year in a row, and rock band Hunters & Collectors, who were voted Best Australian Act.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
In the wake of The Fault in Our Stars' ride to the top of the box office on a wave of tears, there's been a great deal of debate about YA novels and their film adaptations. While the genre has many defenders, both young and old, some critics believe that anyone out of their teen years should abandon YA novels in favor of more mature, intellectually stimulating, and therefore more rewarding books. Still, as anyone who went to see the hit tearjerker can attest, moviegoers of all ages turned out for The Fault in Our Stars, since everyone, no matter how young or how old, loves a good cry. Just like everyone who enjoys a fun, exciting action movie went to see the first two installments of The Hunger Games, which broke box office records. And both adults and children filled out theaters to watch Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort fight a corrupt government in Divergent.
The films seems to be enjoyed by a wide, varied audience, so why should the books that they're based on be restricted to only middle schoolers? They're just as dark, just as complex, and just as entertaining, if not more so, than their big screen counterparts. Yes, these books and films are being targeted at a younger audience, but that doesn't mean that you have to be a certain age to find meaning and depth in these stories. Luckily, the trend of YA franchise adaptations doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon, with four major blockbusters due out before the rest of the year. That's not to mention the countless novels that have either been optioned by studios or are currently in the middle of casting and filming. All of these stories have plenty to keep an all-ages audience entertained, so we broke down the biggest YA releases of the year in order to make a case for why you should take a chance on them, both at the box office and at the book store.
The Fault in Our Stars What It’s About: When cancer-stricken Hazel Grace Lancaster is forced by her mother to attend a support group for other survivors, she meets the charming Augustus Waters, and after bodning over their favorite book and their illness, the two embark on a slightly twisted teenage love story. Who’s In It: Shailene Woodley as Hazel, Ansel Elgort as Gus, Nat Wolff as Isaac, Laura Dern as Hazel’s mom and Willam Dafoe as Peter Van Houten. Why It’s Worth Reading (at Any Age): Though sometimes the pretension of the main characters can rub people the wrong way, it’s a genuinely touching love story that feels realistic, rather than simply being a series of rom com clichés. Hazel and Gus’ relationship really is all about the small moments, and they’ll win you over and warm your heart… before they shatter it into a million pieces. Our Thoughts on the Film: Since The Fault in Our Stars did so well at the box office, we’re hoping it can help usher in a new generation of realistic, down-to-earth teen movies. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good fantasy adventure or dystopian future as much as the next person, but normal teenagers, without powers and without an oppressive government to overthrow can be just as moving and compelling.
The Giver Opens: August 15 What It’s About: Jonas lives in a futuristic utopian society that makes everyone equal through “Sameness,” which also eradicates emotions and color from their lives. However, when he starts his job as the Receiver of Memories, he gets a glimpse at the way the world used to be – messy, emotional, colorful, tragic and hopeful – and starts to question the world that he has always called home. Unfortunately, questioning is the one thing the government doesn’t want people to do. Who’s In It: Brenton Thwaites as Jonas, Jeff Bridges as The Giver, Meryl Streep as Chief Elder, and Taylor Swift as Rosemary. Why It’s Worth Reading (at Any Age): It encourages people to question their surroundings, to search for more, to not be content with accepting the status quo just because that’s the way things are, which is an important message not just for children, but for adults as well. The Giver also argues that even though life can be difficult and heartbreaking, we wouldn’t truly be living without experiencing those things. Plus, the ending still gets people of all ages riled up more than a decade later, which means it must be worth checking out. Our Hopes/Worries for the Movie: We’re pretty wary about this one, from what we’ve seen in the trailers. It looks like they’ve finally caught onto the fact that the lack of color is important to fans, but we’re still worried that the film has had some unnecessary action added to it in order to make it fit in better with the current slew of dystopian teen movies. Still, it has Streep and Bridges in the cast, so it’s got be good, right?
If I Stay Opens: August 22 What It’s About: After a car accident puts her in a coma, Mia has an out-of-body experience where she can hear and see everything that’s going on around her. After learning about the death of her family, she must decide whether to go with them, or stay in a world full of tragedy. Who’s In It: Chloe Grace Moretz as Mia and Jamie Blackley as Adam. Why It’s Worth Reading (at Any Age): Everyone loves a good, cathartic cry, and this is just the book to cause one. But it’s also a story about the choices we make and how they affect our lives, as well as one about persevering through heartache and loss. Our Hopes/Fears for the Movie: The trailer seems to focus more on Mia’s romance with Adam than on her love for music and her relationship with the family, both of which are just as crucial to the story. While their relationship is a major part of what makes If I Stay so great, we don’t want it to dwarf all of the other great aspects of Mia’s story.
20th Century Fox Film
The Maze Runner Opens: September 19What It’s About: Thomas wakes up in a place called The Glade with no memory of anything other than his name. As he tries to recall his past life, he learns about the society of boys that has been established there, and about the Maze that might be their only hope of escape. Nobody has ever survived a night in the Maze, but Thomas thinks that nighttime might be their only opportunity out, as more and more kids start dying. And then, one day, a girl arrives at The Glade, claiming to know Thomas… Who’s In It: Dylan O’Brien as Thomas, Kaya Scodelario as Theresa, Will Poulter as Gally and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt. Why It’s Worth Reading (At Any Age): If you’re looking for a fun, exciting adventure with a slowly unravelling mystery at its center, The Maze Runner is the book for you. It’s a quick read, but an enjoyable one, and all of the characters at The Glade are funny, frustrating and compelling. Our Hopes/Fears For the Movie: The film will succeed or fail on its version of the Maze and the Grievers that inhabit it, as both are such a key part of the story. They’ll need to be genuinely terrifying in order for the story to have any weight, but the Grievers are a tricky creature to adapt. However, we’re looking forward to a different take on the dystopian genre, and The Maze Runner should make for a fun fall popcorn movie.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Opens: November 21 What It’s About: After defeating the Quarter Quell, Katniss Everdeen becomes the eluctant face of the revolution to overthrow the Capitol and free the citizens of Panem. Who’s In It: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore. Why It’s Worth Reading (at Any Age): Though it’s the least popular installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, it still has everything you loved from the first books: action, excitmement, high emotional stakes, a strong heroine, and compelling, flawed characters. Our Hopes/Fears for the Film: Mostly, we’re just concerned with how and where the film will be split in two, as choosing that point of separation is always difficult. We’re also hoping that a third (and fourth) record-breaking opening will finally convince studios to make more female-fronted action films. Clearly, there’s an audience for them.
Insurgent Opens: March 20, 2015 What It’s About: Tris and Four must continue to fight against a powerful alliance that will tear the city apart, and could lead most of the population to their deaths. Who’s In It: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Kate Winslet, and Octavia Spencer. Why It’s Worth Reading (at Any Age): Because you read or watched the first installment in the Divergent series and you’re dying to know what happens next. Our Hopes/ Fears for the Film: Look, Hollywood, it’s a second successful female-led blockbuster franchise. Is that enough to help change your mind?
Cinematic audiences just love watching people thrown into the gauntlet of competition... but games in film aren't anything like schoolyard tag or hide-and-go seek, unless your version of hide-and-go seek had pistols or mutant dogs. Hollywood's biggest "games" tend to be deadly, dangerous, and dehumanizing. But if you had to pick, which of these movie games would you most like to play?
The Hunger GamesThe big mean Capitol rips 24 starving children from their homes so that they can starve on live TV. But now they're starving while fighting to the death. Such great television! The last child alive wins and gets a big house to live in... not in the fancy Capitol, of course. Can't have that District riff raff mixing into society. You still have to live in your poor, decrepit neighborhood. But at least your house is bigger than your neighbors'.Fun Level: 2
Ender’s GameIn Ender’s Game, Ender has to spend his childhood on a space station where he plays simulated battles that will train him to fight off an alien invasion. If he fails and the aliens blow up the Earth, he'll have to deal with been reminded incessantly of how he let down the human race. Oh, wait, no, everyone would be dead. But hey, at least he went to space camp.Fun Level: 5
The Game In The Game, Nicholas Van Orton is given the gift of an interactive game whose sole purpose is to ruin his life to such an immeasurable degree that he leaps off of a building at the end of the film just to get away from it all. You know what, how about next year you just get him a nice card, or a fruitcake? Yes, even a fruitcake would be better. A fruitcake.Fun Level: 2.5
Funny Games You think you're going to enjoy a peaceful weekend at the old lake house when a couple of creepy blond guys dressed in white bust in wanting some eggs. Next thing you know, they've broken your leg, killed your dog, and tortured your family. Oh, and they also have a tendency for breaking the fourth wall and warping reality... so things are really looking up for you this vacation. You should have just went to Disneyland. People don't kill you at Disneyland. Well... usually.Fun Level: -5
ConclusionAvoid movie games at all cost. Except The Movie Game, that one's usually a good time.
Actress Julianne Moore has joined the all-star cast of The Hunger Games for the upcoming third and fourth installments of the film franchise. The Oscar nominee will play President Alma Coin, the manipulative leader of the rebellion against the Capitol, alongside the movie's stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.
Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland and Philip Seymour Hoffman are also part of the action adventure series, which is based on the bestselling books by Suzanne Collins.
The casting confirmation comes three months after the Game Change actress was first linked to the role.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 are due out in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Film bosses are offering U.S. troops and veterans the chance to watch Channing Tatum's new action thriller White House Down for free on the Fourth of July. Current and former personnel will be able to take advantage of the offer on Thursday (04July13), which is Independence Day in the U.S., by showing their military identification.
Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures, says, "We think White House Down is the summer's best action movie. (Seeing White House Down) is a great way to celebrate the holiday and to honour and thank the troops for their service to our country."
The movie stars Tatum as a Capitol policeman who saves the president, played by Jamie Foxx, when the White House is overrun by a paramilitary group. It debuted in fourth place at the U.S. box office over the weekend (28-30Jun13), taking $25.7 million (£16.6 million) in ticket sales.
Neil Diamond has recorded a patriotic anthem to raise funds for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. The singer, whose Sweet Caroline has become a baseball sing-along at Boston Red Sox home games, visited the city in the wake of the atrocity, which claimed the lives of three people and left more than 250 injured, and admits he felt he had to do something to aid the relief effort.
He tells Billboard.com, "I was moved by the unity and the attitude of the people in Boston, and that's really all a songwriter needs, is to be inspired. It doesn't happen very often but when it does you have to follow that muse and I did."
As a result, the singer has recorded The Freedom Song (They'll Never Take Us Down), which he will release through iTunes and Amazon.com on 2 July (13). All proceeds from sales of the download will benefit the Boston One Fund and The Wounded Warriors Project.
Diamond plans to perform the song live for the first time on America's Independence Day holiday next week (04Jul13) at a Washington Nationals/Milwaukee Brewers baseball game and during the annual A Capitol Fourth concert broadcast from the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The Father of the Bride star and his group The Steep Canyon Ranchers will perform Me & Paul Revere at the United States Capitol on Independence Day (04Jul11), according to the Associated Press.
Other singers scheduled for the A Capitol Fourth event include Glee star Matthew Morrison, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, Little Richard, and You Raise Me Up hitmaker Josh Groban.
Britney's wedding: An elaborate hoax?
Did Britney Spears stage a fake wedding to throw the paparazzi off her path to domestic bliss with beau Kevin Federline? That's the latest theory, at least according to Us Weekly. The tabloid claims to have an authenticated four-page document saying Spears and Federline agreed "to participate in a 'faux' wedding with one another on Sept. 18 ... however they do not intend to and shall not validly marry one another on said date," which was signed by Spears, 22, and Federline, 26, four days before the ceremony. According to Us, the couple could not tie the not as planned because of arguments over a prenuptial agreement. But the sham wedding theory isn't sitting well with rival publication People Magazine, who released exclusive pictures of Saturday's nuptials at a private house in Los Angeles along with interviews in which the newlyweds discuss the ceremony. People also denied suggestions it and Britain's OK! magazine paid a reported $2 million for the pictures. "What's more likely is that a magazine that didn't get the wedding is now crying sour grapes," People executive editor Larry Hackett told Reuters Wednesday. Although Spears' New York publicist confirmed the two "are married," the pop singer admits she and Federline have yet to file a marriage license, which they are required to do within 90 days under California law, under advisement by a lawyer to wait for a grace period after finalizing the prenuptial agreement.
Oprah's car giveaway comes at a price
It seems nothing is free these days. Audience members, who received one of 276 cars given away by talk show host Oprah Winfrey last week, got a rude awakening when they were told they had to pay a hefty tax bill if they wanted to keep their brand new Pontiac G-Six. According to CNN/Money, recipients must pay a tax on the winnings just like any prize; therefore, depending on the individuals tax bracket, the tax on the $28,500 car could be as high as $7,000--and that's after Pontiac agreed to pay state sales tax and licensing fees. A spokeswoman for Harpo Productions Inc., Winfrey's company, said winners were given three choices: keep the car and pay the tax, sell the car and pay the tax with the profits or forfeit the car.
Elton John cusses out Taiwanese paparazzi
Arriving in the Taiwanese capitol of Taipei for a concert performance, singer Elton John swore at reporters who surrounded him at the airport early Thursday morning, Reuters reports. "Rude, vile pigs!" he shouted at photographers and TV crews at the Chiang Kai Shek airport after he arrived. "Do you know what that means? Rude, vile pigs. That's what all of you are." When one of the photographers shouted for the entertainer to get out of Taiwan, John, who was wearing a bright blue tracksuit and dark sunglasses, replied: "We'd love to get out of Taiwan if it's full of people like you. Pig! Pig!" Details on John's strong reaction to the Taiwanese media was unclear.
WB delays release of Oliver Stone's Alexander
Warner Bros. has delayed the release of its Oliver Stone film Alexander by about three weeks to give the epic a better shot at Oscar gold, handed out in February. The film, which stars Colin Farrell as the conqueror Alexander the Great, had been set to premiere Nov. 5 against the computer-animated film The Incredibles. It will now open Nov. 24, the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, where it will go head-to-head with Christmas with the Kranks, Beauty Shop and Flight of the Phoenix.
Billy Bob Thornton becomes father again
Billy Bob Thornton, who stars in the upcoming high school football drama Friday Night Lights, and his girlfriend announced Wednesday that she has given birth to a baby girl, The Associated Press reports. The girl, named Bella, weighed 6 pounds, 1 1/2 ounces. Thornton's publicist Arnold Robinson said the mother, Connie Angland, 39, and the baby were both said to be doing well. It is the fourth child for Thornton, 49, and the first for Angland. Thornton, who divorced Angelina Jolie in May 2003, has three children from two previous marriages.
Spector May Face Grand Jury Indictment
Phil Spector was ordered to appear in court Monday--a possible sign the music producer has been indicted by a grand jury for murder, his attorney Roger Rosen told the AP. Rosen said that although he hasn't been told there is an indictment, he can't think of a reason why he and Spector have been called to court. A grand jury indictment would preclude the need for a preliminary hearing, in which prosecutors would have to present enough evidence to hold Spector for trial. Spector, 64, is suspected in the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, 40, in his Los Angeles home on Feb. 3, 2003. He is free on $1 million bail.
Lil' Kim's bodyguard sentenced to 12 years in prison
A bodyguard for Lil' Kim, who admitted firing a gun at least 20 times in a shootout outside a Manhattan radio station, was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison, the AP reports. The charges stem from a Feb. 25, 2001, incident, where Lil' Kim, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, and associates from the rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A. were involved in a shootout with rap rival Foxy Brown. U.S. District Judge Gerard Lynch said Suif Jackson, 34, deserved a harsh sentence because society had to be protected from a machine gun-toting man convicted five times on criminal charges. Jackson was ordered to finish a state prison sentence, which ends Aug. 7, 2006, before beginning the federal term. The state sentence was for an unrelated crime.
Slain bodies found on Donaldson's ranch
ABC newsman Sam Donaldson discovered what authorities called an "obvious crime scene" when he went to check on a family of caretakers on his New Mexico ranch Tuesday, AP reports. Cody Posey, the 14-year-old son of caretaker Delbert Paul Posey, was arrested Wednesday on charges of killing his father, stepmother and stepsister, authorities said, after the bodies were found buried in a shallow grave on Donaldson's ranch. Donaldson and his wife, Jan, were in Santa Fe in northern New Mexico during the Fourth of July weekend when the slayings apparently occurred. "We didn't see them Tuesday morning or Tuesday afternoon, so I went over--and on the porch was a large stain that was instantly recognizable," Donaldson told Albuquerque television station KOB-TV. Donaldson said he had hired Posey and his family in October 2001 to work the ranch. "Jan and I are so very, very sorry about the loss of these fine people."
Fahrenheit closes in on DVD distributor
Sony Corp.'s home entertainment division is close to acquiring DVD and home video rights to Michael Moore's controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Variety reports. Although neither Sony nor the Fellowship Adventure Group, the entity formed by Miramax Films co-chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein to distribute the film theatrically, would comment on the home video deal, Variety reports Sony would release the DVD and VHS versions of Fahrenheit this fall through its Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment unit. The film, which grossed a record $60 million through its first two weekends in the United States and Canada, the most ever for a political documentary, also opened in France on Wednesday, where it wracked up huge ticket sales, as well as in Switzerland, Belgium and the Middle East; it will open in Britain on Thursday.
Spider-Man, set to song?
Producer Tony Adams and Marvel Comics are looking to take the comic-book-turned-hit-movie franchise and stage it as a musical, Variety reports. They are in talks with an eclectic group of musicians to make Spidey sing, including U2's Bono and the Edge and director/writer Neil Jordan (The Crying Game). The Lion King's Julie Taymor is on board to direct.
Jackson's defense wants indictment tossed out
Michael Jackson's lawyers are asking a judge to throw out his grand jury indictment on child molestation charges, claiming the prosecutors bullied and coerced witnesses, running the proceedings "as if they employed the grand jurors," The Associated Press reports. The court released the motion, filed Tuesday by attorney Robert Sanger, on Wednesday after being heavily edited by Santa Barbara County Judge Rodney Melville to remove names of witnesses and references to the specifics of the indictment, AP reports. The motion cites that the prosecutors ran the secret grand jury hearings "by innuendo and sarcasm, impugning Mr. Jackson by ridiculing those allegedly associated with him and even those who sought to legally represent him." The dismissal issue will be argued at a future hearing in Santa Maria, Calif.
UPN to debut Amish in the City
UPN and New Line Television have wrapped production on the controversial reality TV show Amish in the City and plan to debut the show at the end of this month in what Variety calls "a stealth move designed to head off potential critics." The show puts five Amish youth, who are allowed to leave their rural communities in a coming-of-age rite known as "rumspringa," and six streetwise roommates into a Hollywood Hills home and captures the culture clash on film. When UPN first announced plans for the series in January, it came under fire from TV critics and politicians, who urged the network to drop the project. UPN will air back-to-back episodes of Amish in the City from 8-10 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28. The series will then air Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
Brit watchdog group brands OutKast poster "irresponsible"
Britain's Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint Wednesday branding a poster for hip-hop duo Outkast's double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below as "irresponsible." According to Reuters, the group said the ad, which shows OutKast's Andre 3000 brandishing a pink, smoking gun, could be seen to glorify gun use, but rejected another claim that the poster promoted racial stereotypes. Record label BMG argued that because the gun is pink, it would be interpreted as an ironic image, but the ASA found that the color of the gun was irrelevant, and added that the fact it was smoking implied that it had been recently fired. "It's a play, it's a spoof. They're a very dramatic, flamboyant group (and) they're famous the world over for being the least gangster-posturing hip-hop group ever," BMG's press director, Paul Bursche, said.
Rapper Jadakiss faces drugs, weapons charge
Rapper Jadakiss, whose real name is Jason T. Phillips, faces misdemeanor weapons and drug charges after police in Fayetteville, N.C., discovered two concealed, loaded handguns and marijuana in his recreational vehicle, the AP reports. According to police reports, an off-duty officer stopped the RV Monday after he spotted someone throwing firecrackers from the window. Sgt. Alex Thompson told the AP the officer spotted the marijuana, which weighed less than an ounce, during a search and then asked for permission to search the vehicle. During the search, two loaded .45-caliber pistols were found under a pillow. Phillips was the only one of the eight people in the vehicle to be charged.
Ashley Judd moved by visit to Cambodia
De-Lovely star Ashley Judd was moved to tears when visiting an AIDS hospice and a museum of the "Killing Fields" genocide of the Khmer Rouge during a visit to Cambodia's capitol, Phnom Penh. "I'm very pleased that they received me and allowed me to visit with them. I'm very grateful to the people that provide their health care with such dignity," AP reports a tearful Judd said about the hospice, which was set up to give some of Cambodia's estimated 170,000 AIDS victims a place to die with dignity. Judd then stopped by the genocide museum at the Tuol Sleng interrogation center, where thousands of Cambodians were tortured by Pol Pot's regime before being executed in what were known as the "Killing Fields."
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.
Rosie O'Donnell, who recently came out as a lesbian and expressed her opposition to the Florida ban on adoptions by gay parents, has asked to have her name and narration removed from the Oscar-nominated documentary short Artists and Orphans: A True Drama. The film is about a New York theater group that goes to the former Soviet republic of Georgia to assist orphaned and abandoned children.
The talk-show host's publicist, Cindi Berger, told the Associated Press that O'Donnell found out the film's creators, including the director, Lianne Klapper McNally, were tied to the Fourth Way School, a cult-like group that focuses on personal development but apparently bans homosexuals and believes they should not be parents. O'Donnell, who has three adoptive children, was "angry that the background [of the filmmakers] wasn't disclosed to her," Berger added.
Gwyneth Paltrow is complaining Hollywood is just too "male dominated." According to PageSix.com, she told a German newspaper, "I would like to leave. At the moment, there is definitely a lack of interesting female roles and nothing that I would really like to undertake." The "real" world isn't much better, Gwyneth. Get used to it.
Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger are in negotiations to star in Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain, the big-screen adaptation of Charles Frazier's best-selling novel about a wounded soldier's treacherous journey home from the Civil War. Tom Cruise was reportedly attached to the project last year but has now dropped out of the picture. Good thing for ex-wife Nicole--that could have been awkward. Filming is tentatively set to start in July.
First celebrity boxing, now amateur nude modeling. How low can you go? Fox is developing a two-hour special, Girl Next Door: The Search for a Playboy Centerfold, that will follow 12 women shooting for a chance to be the next pinup for Playboy, Variety reports. There is no air date as yet (sorry, guys), but Fox is aiming for a May sweeps airing.
Comedian Paula Poundstone received high praises from Judge Bernard J. Kamins for following her terms of probation, including attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and regular counseling sessions, in the child-endangerment case against her. Poundstone lost custody of her three adopted children when she pleaded no contest last year to driving the children while under the influence. She will return to court June 5 for a probation review.
USA Today reported that NBC has decided not to air liquor commercials, after all. Three months ago, NBC lifted its self-imposed ban against televised liquor ads but received such a backlash of criticism from lawmakers and advocacy groups that the network reconsidered. NBC said in a statement, "We are, therefore, ending the first phase of branded social responsibility advertising on our network and will not proceed into the next phase of carrying product advertising for distilled spirits." In laymen's terms, you won't be seeing anyone on NBC swigging down a bottle of vodka to try to get you to buy it.
R&B crooner Alicia Keys is going to have to build a trophy case in her house soon. She picked up three awards, including female entertainer of the year, at the 16th Annual Soul Train Music Awards on Wednesday. The other big winner of the evening was the Isley Brothers, who also took home three awards.
Irish rocker Bono may be headed for Parliament before he knows it. U2's lead singer and his tireless campaign to help the world's needy were recognized by U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on Wednesday. At a United Nations press conference, O'Neill told Reuters, "This is a person who's invested enough of his own time and energy to learn about and go see what life is like on the ground that he has my respect." The two will be traveling to Africa next month. How cozy!
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in favor of artist Stevie Wonder, saying that he did not violate copyright laws with his song "For Your Love." Derrick Coles and Gwendolyn Daniles, who claimed Wonder stole the copyrights of the song from them, were unable to provide proof of their allegations.
Singer Bonnie Raitt got her own little bit of fame Tuesday as she received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame--right in front of her record label, Capitol. "I can't believe that in my 50s, I'm standing here with my Walk of Fame star," Raitt told CNN. "If someone proposed this to me 20 years ago, I would have said, 'No way,'" she said.