The Oscars red carpet is well underway down at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. It feels weird being this far away from ground zero. And not a bad weird.
There are shows on ABC and E! so we can all ogle the stars as they make their way in. I don't know anything about fashion, sorry. I thought that was just an awesome stuffed animal, not a puppy purse. But hey, I'll say that Jessica Chastain has nailed it a second year in a row. She just looks different at this awards show than she does anywhere else. Rockin' it. But Jennifer Lawrence is owning it, too.
Anyway, here's your space to say what you will on the pre-show shenanigans. We'll be back during the ceremony for various filing throughout. Enjoy the show!
Not for me, of course. I'm not the one who hit delete on whatever folder led to the desperate phone call I got at 4:30 in the afternoon on Saturday. I'm actually pretty flattered, considering all the time and energy I've spent writing about how much I don't like awards season. See, there's been a catastrophe at Price Waterhouse (1) and the Academy has been scrambling for the last few days to figure out how to handle it (2). Someone must have decided that it is my healthy disdain for the process that made me perfect to help them fix things, and as a result, I have been asked to step in this year and pick every single Academy Award on my own (3).
The weirder part is that they not only lost the winners, but the nominees and the categories, and so I've got to put it all back together. I'm pretty sure I got most of this right, and perhaps in a few cases, I've made slightly different choices than the Academy would have. Perhaps.
You tell me… as today wraps up this year's edition of what increasingly feels like a Bataan Death March… what movies would you like to celebrate today, whether they were nominated or not? Because if that's what today is genuinely supposed to be about, and if the Oscars are just a conversation starter, then what movies from 2012 would you like to celebrate one last time before we all move on to 2013?
1. “Harlem Shake”: A change in methodology for the Billboard Hot 100 leads to Baauer’s viral sensation “Harlem Shake” debuting at No. 1 on the chart. Somewhere, Rebecca Black is screaming, “It’s not fair!!”
2. Mumford & Sons: Not only does the British quartet get new hardware for its mantelpiece, but album of the year winner “Babel” soars back to the top of the Billboard chart, selling 185,000 copies, up 242% from the previous week.
3. Morrissey: Is there any other artist who could turn an entire arena vegetarian? Even McDonald’s will close when the former Smiths singer performs at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on March 1.
4. Kelly Clarkson: She dares to speak her truth to power as she challenges Clive Davis’s account of their falling out over the making of her third album, “My December.” The he said/she said ends with both sides standing by their story, but Clarkson wins in the court of public opinion.
5. Beyonce: Her HBO special, “Beyonce: Life is But A Dream,” attracted 1.8 million viewers in its Feb. 16 bow, making it the cable outlet’s top-drawing documentary since 2004. Blue Ivy got all her “Mommy and Me” classmates to tune in.
6. Pearl Jam: It only took 22 years, but this week the group’s debut album, “Ten,” hits sales of 10 million copies in the U.S., making it the 22nd album to reach the milestone in the Nielsen SoundScan era. Synchronicity.
7. Rihanna: “Stay” becomes her 24th Top 10 single, as she surpasses Whitney Houston and Rolling Stones, both of whom had 23 Top 10s.
8. M.I.A.: The artist accuses the Grammys of ripping off her set design for the Bob Marley tribute on Feb. 10’s show and announces she will “keep a steal log” on Tumblr calling out others who take her ideas. Here’s an idea: M.I.A. is C.R.A.Z.Y.
9. Bonnaroo: While there are plenty of young acts to entertain the crowds, Bonnaroo turns to proven crowd pleasers such as Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Paul McCartney to headline the summer festival.
10. Ja Rule: The good news is the rapper got out of a New York prison after serving two years for illegal gun possession. The bad news is he goes straight to a federal prison to finish serving his time for tax evasion. And he did not pass Go.
Santa Monica, CA - Every year awards season ends with a Sunday night Academy Awards extravaganza, but for 28 years Oscar's little brother the Independent Spirit Awards have been having their own party the Saturday before. Once again, Film Independent decided not to broadcast the show live and instead taped the afternoon proceedings to air at 10 PM on both coasts (sigh). Happily for those in attendance, host Andy Samberg did a memorable job emceeing the event and there were some unexpected moments that should entertain the broadcast audience as well.
Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch anycompetition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too.
In a normal year I would have been working on an interesting blood-Jameson content on the beach of Santa Monica today. Film Independent's Spirit Awards are, after all, the great stretch of the legs at the tail end of the season with the big Sunday showdown on the horizon. It's a good party, even if it still seems to be chasing what "independent filmmaking" is in this day and age. (I don't know that they've caught it.)
Nevertheless, it's a good bridesmaid roll call for films like "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Silver Linigns Playbook" to have their day while Oscar's heavies go at it the following day. But there is the rare occasion, like a Harvey Weinstein player last year, that dominates both ceremonies and feels like synergy, if for a moment. Could that play out again?
Though Elton John’s new album, “The Diving Board,” doesn’t come out until the fall, he previewed it for a handful of reporters on Friday at Los Angeles‘ The Village recording studio. “I’m not the sort of artist who will get played on radio,” he admitted, adding he will also be out of the country for quite some time on tour, so he wanted to start to spread the word of the project now.
John, in a blue Adidas track suit, prefaced the playback by calling “The Diving Board” the most “piano-orientated album” he’s ever made (and that’s saying a lot), and the logical follow-up to 2010’s Grammy-nominated project with Leon Russell, “The Union.” John was then silent as he sat at the console in producer T Bone Burnett’s studio for the 13-song album, other than to clap his hands along with the dynamic “Take This Dirty Water” and play air piano to “Voyeur,” which sounds like a cut straight out of 1971’s “Madman Across the Water.”
Over two writing and recording sessions a year apart —the first in January 2012 and the second in January 2103— John took longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin’s lyrics, some of his most cinematic, and wrote 15 songs in 5 days and then recorded the basic tracks just as quickly.
It was the first time he’s ever had the luxury of revisiting tracks after such a hiatus. “The time enabled us to go back and put a little sugar on it. Make it a little Eltonized,” he said.
The core band on the project is drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist Raphael Saadiq. John also pointed out that percussionist Jack Ashford, the Motown great who played on such tracks as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” also performs throughout the album.
The album sounds broadly expansive at times, such as on the rollicking, galloping “Mexican Vacation,” and then shatteringly intimate at others, such as on the yearning ballad “Home Again.”
“It’s got everything I love about American music,” John said of the album. “Gospel, soul, country, and brass arrangements like New Orleans.”
Three of the songs are prefaced with solo piano interludes, including a jazzy Weather Report-like intro before the title track. “Those were improvised in one take,” John said.
The album is one of two high-profile releases John has coming this year: This fall will also see the 40th anniversary reissue of his 1973 masterpiece, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” In addition to the remastered recording, the release will come with remakes of eight of the album’s songs by contemporary artists. Peter Asher is producing the new tracks.
And FYI, John, who played “The A-Team” on the Grammys with Ed Sheeran, loved the Grammy Award telecast’s performances by Jack White and Miguel, and raved about Adam Levine’s voice.
"The Diving Board" track listing
"Oscar Wilde Gets Out"
"A Town Called Jubilee"
"The Ballad of Blind Tom"
"Can't Stay Alone Tonight"
"Take This Dirty Water"
"The New Fever Waltz"
"Mexican Vacation (Kids in the Candlelight)"
"The Diving Board"
Mark Millar and Matthew Vaughn are slowly, surely building a shared filmography that is absolutely positively comic book crazy, and it looks like little by little, they're taking over 20th Century Fox's entire superhero agenda.
When I first talked to Vaughn about Millar's work in the days leading up to his decision to option the rights to "Kick-Ass," it was obvious that Vaughn responded to Millar's storytelling on an almost chemical level. It's not just which stories Millar was telling, but his voice. Vaughn loves to throw a shot to the ribs of propriety whenever he can, and in Millar, he seems to have found a fellow provocateur.
What I respect about Vaughn is the way he's built a very loyal crew that works for him not only when he's directing but also when he's producing. When I was on the set for "Kick-Ass 2," it may have been a Jeff Wadlow film, but I saw the same familiar faces in many of the key technical positions that I've seen on "Stardust" and "Kick-Ass" and "X-Men: First Class." His collaboration with Jane Goldman has been incredibly important to the overall voice of his films, and I would imagine Jane will be part of everything moving forward as long as Hollywood doesn't finally figure out that she's awesome and work her so hard that she's no longer got time to be part of each of Matthew's movies.
Allie Pohevitz's elimination from "Survivor: Caramoan" can be explained using simple math:
If you're in an alliance of four in a tribe of 10, you shouldn't assume that the lone guy who everybody hates will be seen as more of a threat than your tightly bunched, cuddling group of pretty people. Because 6 > 4.
Reynold, Allie, Eddie and Hope formed an early alliance within the Fans tribe based on shared interests, shared youth and shared attractiveness. They were convinced that because everybody seemed to hate lazy, ornery Marine Shamar, he'd be an easy first elimination and they could skate. They were incorrect. Led by Sherri, the outsider alliance reminded the Foursome of the basic math I mentioned earlier and voted Allie out.
In this week's "Survivor" exit interview, Allie talks about hating Shamar, failing to properly obscure her alliance and knowing about the Reynold's Idol, even if the editing made it look like she didn't.
It’s a static Billboard 200 next week as no new albums debut in the Top 10. We’re at the tail end of the winter doldrums and things should pick up in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we see a few lingering effects of Grammy bumps and the huge one-two punch appearing on the Grammys and then on “Saturday Night Live” had for Alabama Shakes.
Grammy album of the year winner “Babel” from Mumford & Sons stays at No. 1 with sales of 65,000.
Josh Groban’s former No. 1, “All That Echoes” will be No. 2, while it's likely that Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” will be No. 3.
The biggest mover of the week is “Boys & Girls” from Alabama Shakes, which could bounce to a new high at No. 4. Its previous summit in its 43 weeks on the Billboard 200 has been No. 8. Following lead singer BrittanyHoward’s participation in the Levon Helm tribute at the Grammys, the group’s album jumped 42-20 this week. Next week, after its triumphant appearance on “Saturday Night Live” it is in a dead heat with the “Now 45” for No. 4. Both titles are slated to sell between 35,000 and 40,000, according to Hits Daily Double.
The Lumineers’ self-titled album, which has just been certified platinum for sales of more than 1 million copies. will be at No. 6. It’s a possible tie for No. 7 right now with both the 2013 Grammy Nominees album and Rihanna’s “Unapologetic” too close to call. Same goes for No. 9 and No. 10: Three albums are all slated to sell between 24,000 and 27,000 copies next week to claim the two spots: Fun’s “Some Nights,” Tim McGraw’s “Two Lanes of Freedom” and Taylor Swift’s “Red.”
In addition to wondering who will win Best Picture and Best Actress, we have another question to ask ourselves -- who, if anyone, will be rocking sideboob on the red carpet? The hottest fashion trend of late, sideboob has been popping up (couldn't resist) in soms surprisingly places, so we can expect at least a few brave celebrities to be exposing themselves. The question is, who will take the plunge (alas, cleavage is so passe)? Here are our best guesses as to who will be wearing what (and who will be showing sideboob) for Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Adele, Michelle Williams and more.
Listen to new music out this week, from Sallie Ford, Nick Cave, Samantha Crain, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Iceage, Lusine and Sin Fang.
I've frothed over Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside many times before, and their new album "Untamed Beast" has me in a damned-near tizzy. It was released on Tuesday, and you can stream it in all it's full-throated, big bassy, dumbfounding glory here.
Oklahoma-based, folk-inspired rocker Samantha Crain has another new one, too. "Kid Face" not only has a delightful name, but a sparse-but-lush arrangement around her trove of lyrics. She gets wiser with age, and at 26 with three albums and one EP, I can't wait to hear more and more. Hear "Kid Face" in whole here.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy is putting something out every other week, which means every other every other week my heart breaks with good music. He and longtime collabo Dawn McCarthy made a whole album of Everly Brothers covers, "What the Brothers Sang," and released this week. KCRW has the whole stream here.
Copenhagen punk-rockers Iceage put out their second full-length "You're Nothing" out through Matador this week. It sounds like hormones on fire, so here's "Ecstacy" in case you thought you had your sh*t together.
Jamie Lidell has all these sneaky, sexy dance songs fitted in-between seasoned funk freak-outs, and his new, self-titled album has plenty of both. And the video "You Naked" is both. MySpace has his whole damn album streaming, and -- I swear to God -- if it didn't take me five different tries to try and establish a new damn profile on the damn new damn MySpace, I'd recommend you listen to it there. Alas. So here's just the video.
Ghostly put out one of my favorite albums last year -- Matthew Dear's "Beams" -- so it doesn't surprise me they have something else that I love this early into 2013. Check out this chilly action from electronica mastermind Lusine, called "Another Tomorrow."
The first time I listened to Sin Fang's organized, noisy kum-ba-ya "Flowers," I was like, "no... wait, let me hear that again." Then it was like, "huh." Then, "I got this," and now, "Listen to this loveable nonsense."