February 22, 2004 |
As the last week builds up to this year's Academy Awards, I pause to ask one, perhaps impertinent, question about the best-actress category: Why does it exist? After all, there will be no award next Sunday for the best screenplay by a woman. Sofia Coppola wasn't nominated as best female director. There's no award for a best picture by a woman producer. Why are there separate acting awards divided by gender? There doesn't appear to be anything about acting skill that is gender-specific.
February 8, 2004 |
She went through a world of pain during her drug-and-alcohol-fueled transition from child actor to grown-up starlet, but Drew Barrymore has landed on top. So much so that the Charlie's Angels star has gotten herself big-time recognition from the United Nations. On Thursday, the New York-based international body awarded Barrymore a Dove of Peace pin, making her a member of Artists for the U.N., an initiative of Global Vision for Peace founded at the start of the Iraq war. The Dove of Peace pin has replaced the red ribbon (for support of AIDS victims)
March 25, 2003
Make-believe. Fantasy. Made-up people and stories and worlds. When much is broken, make-believe can help salve the wounds. Sunday night in Los Angeles, a bunch of professional make-believers got together and had some fun at the 75th annual Academy Awards. It was, to be sure, an awkward affair, a show muted by war thoughts, by fraidy-cat advertisers who pulled out at the last moment. But it mostly managed to sidestep the ugliness, in a needed respite from the grim clash in Iraq.
March 23, 2003 |
In the Most-Nominated scenario, Chicago wins. In the Oscar-Remembers-the-Holocaust model, The Pianist wins. According to the Prosthetically-Enhanced-Thespian theory, Nicole Kidman takes the statuette - by a nose. During the weeks leading to this year's Academy Awards, pundits, studio execs, oddsmakers, fervent fans, and many of the 5,700-plus voting members of the academy have offered up arguments concerning who, what, why and how respective nominees will grab the prize. "Sometimes it's a guessing game, and in other cases it's obvious.
March 26, 2002 |
I got a telephone call about 12:30 a.m. Monday. It was a family member asking if I was watching the Academy Awards, in which Halle Berry had just become the first African American woman to win a best-actress Oscar in the 74-year history of the event. A few minutes later, the phone rang again. Denzel Washington had just won for best actor, the first black to win that top honor since Sidney Poitier received it in 1963 for Lilies of the Field. I haven't done a scientific study.
March 25, 2002
WHY ON EARTH were the Academy Awards held on Palm Sunday this year? Doesn't Hollywood and the academy know that Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week and commemorates the day that Christ rode into Jerusalem? This was not the appropriate time for Hollywood to honor its best in filmmaking achievements. The academy should have rescheduled the ceremony for after Easter. If they could reschedule it after Martin Luther King was killed, when Reagan was shot (holding it on the Wednesday after Easter)
March 21, 2002 |
At Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, Russell Crowe, Halle Berry and Ron Howard will share more than Oscar nominations. They and the rest of Hollywood's glitterati will rest their designer-clad derrieres on brand-new seats from Theatre Solutions, a four-year-old Quakertown company. The $1.5 million contract - for 3,600 plush, attached chairs, plus 130 wooden ones for private boxes in Hollywood's new Kodak Theatre - is the firm's largest job. But Theatre Solutions has no shortage of big-name customers.
March 13, 2002 |
The last time Oscar held court on Hollywood Boulevard, Ben-Hur cleaned up. The event was televised in black-and-white, and "bomb sweeps" weren't a negotiating point. Now - 42 years later, and six months since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington - the Oscar telecast is returning to the heart of Hollywood, in the new Kodak Theatre. But not before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences resolved a post-Sept. 11 squabble with real estate developers over the issue of clearing nearby stores for security sweeps in the hours preceding the March 24 ceremony.
January 5, 2002 |
It might go without saying that the world doesn't need another televised movie awards show, but the first AFI Awards, airing live at 8 tonight on Channel 3, deserves its own recognition for wretched excess. The show - it will also include another unnecessary set of awards for TV - was conceived by the American Film Institute, which began life in 1967 with the objective of "preserving the heritage and advancing the art of film in America," and which has evolved into a giant, money-sucking parasite.
March 28, 2001 |
The dumbing-down of American film seems complete now. Judging from the Academy Awards, mediocrity is the new standard. Imitation is no longer the sincerest form of flattery; it's an art form unto itself. Ridley Scott's "Gladiator," which falls somewhere between a poor man's "Ben-Hur" and a rich man's "Hercules Unchained," has been deemed the best film of 2000. And Russell Crowe, who went from Maximus to Gluteus Maximus in one year, is the man who would be king. Thumbs. . .down, I say!