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Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: Halle Berry

Yes, 'Frankie & Alice' does qualify for this year's Oscar derby

October 26, 2010 | 11:41 am

Halle berryEven though "Frankie and Alice" appeared on the Oscars' reminder list of 2009, it is eligible for Academy Awards in 2010, according to a spokesperson for Freestyle Releasing.

On Monday, the distributor announced "Frankie and Alice" will receive a qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles starting Dec. 17 before it opens wide on Feb. 4, 2011. Soon thereafter, Guy Lodge (InContention) noted that "Frankie and Alice" appeared on last year's Oscar reminder list, which introduced doubt about its current eligibility.  He warned that the reminder list is issued in early December and only reflects distributors' intent. It is not the official eligibility list.

An academy spokesperson tells Steve Pond at the Wrap, "Having been included in the list last year does not disqualify it, and in any given year there may be one or more movies in the reminder list that don't end up opening after all."

According to the Index to Motion Picture Credits on the academy's website, "Frankie and Alice" was released in Los Angeles on Dec. 25, 2009, so that means it didn't complete a full week's run in both L.A. and New York City.

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Sandra Bullock and Kate Winslet: Victims of Oscar curse?

March 17, 2010 |  3:32 pm

Just days after last year's Oscar winner Kate Winslet announced her split with hubby Sam Mendes comes news that the marriage of the newest champ, Sandra Bullock, may be on the rocks. In Touch Weekly reports that Bullock's hubby, Jesse James, had an affair on the sly while Bullock was filming "The Blind Side."

Kate winslet sandra bullock Oscars news

Now Oscarologists wonder: Is there really a kiss of death curse associated with winning best actress?

Over the past 12 years, eight of the best-actress champs busted up with their lovers after winning: Kate Winslet (won for 2008), Reese Witherspoon (2005), Hilary Swank (1999, 2005), Charlize Theron (2003), Halle Berry (2001), Julia Roberts (2000), Gwyneth Paltrow (1998), Helen Hunt (1997). Five of the splits occurred less than a year after their Oscar triumphs (Winslet from hubby Mendes, Witherspoon from hubby Ryan Phillippe, Swank from hubby Chad Lowe, Paltrow from boyfriend Ben Affleck, Roberts from boyfriend Benjamin Bratt). Berry's break-up with Eric Benet occurred 18 months after winning; Hunt split with Hank Azaria less than two years later.

It's ironic, looking back, at how effusively the stars gushed at the Oscar podium while thanking their men on the eve of their relationship's end.

Witherspoon: "I want to say thank you to my wonderful husband."

Swank in 2005: "Chad, you're my everything. Thank you for your support. It means the world."

Berry: "My husband, who is the joy of my life."

Bullock to James: "You get dressed up in monkey suits and you sit at a table with people you don't know. I love you so much, and you're really hot. And I want you so much!"

Can it be a mere coincidence that these women's romantic lives go kaput so soon after the biggest triumph of their careers? Is it because victory goes to their heads and these women become impossible divas to live with? Or is it because their men are overly macho types who can't tolerate being upstaged by their female partners' success? The latter may be a contributing factor in the split of Witherspoon and Phillippe. There were reports that Phillippe looked miserable and pouted all night at the parties — where he obviously didn't want to be — after Witherspoon won. Ryan should've exulted in his own victory too. That same night his film "Crash" won best picture, but he didn't win a statuette himself. Some observers believe that bothered him a lot as Reese flashed her glittering golden boy right and left, leaving her lover boy sitting alone in a corner, looking downcast.


Robert Osborne has 'several quibbles' about the Oscars show

Quiz: Who gave this cheeky acceptance speech at the Oscars?

So what did we learn from this year's Oscars?

What movies are the next Oscar front-runners?

How 'Casablanca' beat nine other nominees to win best picture at the 1943 Oscars

Farrah Fawcett missing from 'In Memoriam' at Oscars

How did 'The Hurt Locker' defy the odds at the Oscars?

'The Hurt Locker' wins six Oscars, including history maker for director Kathryn Bigelow

This Oscars show was not a winner

Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

Photo: Los Angeles Times 

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DVDs play secret starring role in who wins SAG Awards

January 23, 2010 |  1:01 pm

Many Oscarologists believe that one of the key reasons "Crash" pulled off an Oscar upset for best picture was because Lionsgate tried a sneaky new ploy: The studio sent DVD screeners to nearly 100,000 SAG  members who vote on the guild awards. "Crash" ended up winning the SAG ensemble award, then beat "Brokeback Mountain" for the top Oscar.

SAG Awards Screen Actors Guild George Clooney news

It's expensive to blitz the full SAG membership, but some studios will spring for the investment if their film has been in theaters for a while and they can ship cheap, nonwatermarked DVDs. (If movies are new releases that must be sent via watermarked screeners, the cost is far, far too high.) As Pete Hammond reports, sending nonwatermarked DVDs costs about $200,000 and this year the following screeners were shipped trans-SAG: "An Education," "Inglourious Basterds," "Julie & Julia," "Precious" and "Up in the Air."

If Meryl Streep, Gabourey Sidibe or Carey Mulligan prevail in the best-actress race, it may because all voters saw their films, but they didn't get a DVD of "The Blind Side" starring rival Sandra Bullock. Jeff Bridges is widely considered to be the front-runner for best actor, but "Crazy Heart" wasn't sent to all SAG voters. It also wasn't widely seen in movie theaters, reaping only $2.5 million at the box office compared to $65 million for George Clooney's "Up in the Air," which was sent to guild members.

But maybe it doesn't matter if Streep and Clooney end up winning SAG awards tonight. Two years ago, DVDs of "Away from Her" were sent to SAG members, boosting Julie Christie to a SAG victory over Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose," which wasn't sent via DVD to SAG voters). But Cotillard won the Oscar later.

However, lots of SAG champs do go on to win at the Oscars, many more in the lead races (66%) than in supporting (about 50%). Ten of the past 15 SAG winners of best lead actor and actress repeated at the Oscars. Direct comparison between the two awards is a bit tricky because sometimes stars compete in different categories. For example, last year Oscar's best lead actress Kate Winslet ("The Reader") won in supporting at SAG, giving Meryl Streep ("Doubt") victory in the top guild race. Benicio del Toro ("Traffic") won in supporting at the Oscars and lead at SAG (crushing "Gladiator" hulk Russell Crowe).

The reason for such impressive overlap is more than just the fact the two awards are voted upon by like-minded showbiz insiders. Indeed, they share many of the same voters. Winning at SAG can give a derby player momentum to leap ahead of rivals even after losing most previous precursor prizes. That's what happened to Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball") in 2001 when she triumphed on Oscar night after winning only at the National Board of Review before triumphing at SAG. That year Sissy Spacek ("In the Bedroom") romped early in the derby, sweeping up awards from the critics' groups and Golden Globes, and she looked unbeatable.

Last year only "The Dark Knight" was shipped on DVD to the full SAG membership. Heath Ledger won best supporting actor.

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Rewind: Epatha gave the ultimate heart-felt acceptance speech

March 26, 2008 |  9:59 am

Memo to S. Epatha Merkerson: Now that you're back shooting TV episodes of "Law & Order," don't forget about the consequences of your recent stint on Broadway in "Come Back, Little Sheba." Theater critics loved your performance so much that you're a shoo-in to be nominated at the upcoming Tonys. (USA Today said Merkerson delivered "a performance of aching sweetness and devastating sadness." Read more hosannah reviews — HERE.)


Yeah, yeah, you lost the last time you were nommed back in 1990 for "The Piano Lesson," but let's not forget that Shirley Booth won the Tony and the Oscar for portraying the pathetic, downtrodden Lola, who suffers the grief of her husband's alcoholism while yearning for their runaway dog, Sheba (symbolizing the happy life they once had), to come home.

Also, let's recall how you beat the odds at the Emmys in 2005 and pulled off a jawdropper in the race for best actress in a TV film ("Lackawanna Blues") over Blythe Danner ("Back When We Were Grownups"), Debra Winger ("Dawn Anna"), Halle Berry ("Their Eyes Were Watching God") and Cynthia Nixon ("Warm Springs").

Yes, you prepared a truly heartfelt acceptance speech at the Emmys, but it ended up too close to your heart — and out of reach in time of need. Let's now revisit one of the most memorable acceptance speeches in recent Emmy history.


(Video: ATAS / Photo: Biltmore Theater)


Oscars theory No. 2: The babe factor

February 21, 2008 |  2:38 pm

When Oscar is not comforting the long-suffering wife, he can often be found in the arms of a young beauty.

Last year's best actress winner, Helen Mirren ("The Queen") was the first leading woman older than 40 to take home an Oscar in a decade. Up until then, the list of recent winners looked like the lineup at a beauty pageant: Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow. Personally, I think Mirren was able to overcome that trend by embracing it. At age 62, she's still quite sexy (remember her nude scene in "Calendar Girls"?) and she was brazenly frisky while out on the Oscar campaign trail last year, even appearing on the cover of Los Angeles magazine tugging at her bra.


Granted, the younger screen lovelies would often win acclaim and awards by deglamourizing themselves to show Hollywood that they were more than just pretty faces. But during Oscar campaign season, off came the false noses, boxing gloves and trailer-trash outfits, to be replaced by designer gowns and comely coifs.

This year, classic Gallic beauty Marion Cotillard turns from ugly duckling to swan and back playing tragic chanteuse Edith Piaf. With her head shaved and her eyebrows plucked, the French actress, 32, is transformed into the "little sparrow" at the end of her troubled life.

While 1960s siren Julie Christie, star of "Away From Her," still sizzles in real-life, like Mirren, for this 66-year-old to win would be to buck the trend. Though this age bias is less blatant in the category for supporting actresses, older gals still triumph there only now and then: Judi Dench once, Dianne Wiest twice in recent years, for example.

Pace University proved the obvious a few years ago when it conducted an Oscar study spanning the 25 years before 2000 and discovered that best actor winners were, on average, five years older than their female equivalents. And seven years separated male and female nominees.

In the last 15 years only two actresses older than 50 have won an Oscar in the lead or supporting races: Dames Mirren and Dench. Meantime, consider all of these chaps north of the half-century mark who've triumphed during the same years: lead actors Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Anthony Hopkins as well as supporting players Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Chris Cooper, Jim Broadbent, Michael Caine, James Coburn, Martin Landau, Gene Hackman, and Jack Palance.

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QUIZ: Who rejected Halle Berry's Oscar-winning role?

November 9, 2007 |  7:44 am

To see the answer, CLICK HERE!


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Uh-oh! Maybe Helena should drop to supporting, after all?

October 27, 2007 |  3:40 pm


Come to think of it, considering Oscar history, Helena Bonham Carter might be better off pulling that sneaky ole trick successfully employed by other crafy divas: drop to supporting where lead roles — just because of sheer size — have a better chance to win. Carter is old academy news. She was nominated for best actress in 1997 for "Wings of the Dove," losing to Helen Hunt ("As Good As It Gets"), who is one of many dames who claimed that category upon her first nomination.

Oscar voters, remember, love ingénues. These are just some of the gals who won best actress their first time up: Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank, Marlee Matlin, Sally Field, Louise Fletcher, Glenda Jackson, Julie Christie, Sophia Loren, Joanne Woodward, Anna Magnani, Shirley Booth, Judy Holliday, Bette Davis (after a failed write-in campaign for "Of Human Bondage" — that doesn't count as a nomination), Luise Rainer and Katharine Hepburn.

PODCAST: N.Y. Post's Lou Lumenick sizes up the Oscars derby

October 22, 2007 |  1:24 pm

A "bloodbath" at the box office this past weekend may have slain the Oscars hopes of some top contenders like "Things We Lost in the Fire" star Halle Berry, says Lou Lumenick of the New York Post. Since costar Benicio del Toro gave the more dynamic performance, he may still emerge from the ashes, but, "I'm not extremely optimistic," Lou says in our podcast chat. "Any time a studio sends out a DVD screener on opening day to awards voters, you get the impression they don't have a whole lot of confidence in it."


Listen to our full chat CLICK HERE to Download the MP3 File. Note: You may need to hold down your computer's control key while clicking.

"Gone, Baby, Gone" was also hurt at the b.o. this past weekend, Lou says: "They may have opened it a little too wide. It doesn't have much star power compared to other stuff out there."

Of the ponies still in the derby, he thinks "Atonement" is out front.

"It hits all of the right notes for the academy," he says. "It's similar to 'The English Patient,' although I think it's a better film. It even has a cameo by Anthony Minghella at the end. It's got strong performances, strong crafts across the board. It has literary cache. I could see that going all the way, although it's always dangerous to be the frontrunner in an Oscar race, as you know. Look at 'Brokeback Mountain,' which is the same studio. What it also has in common is a star — Keira Knightley — who tends to shoot her mouth off in interviews and I think we saw what happened with 'Brokeback Mountain' (when its) two male stars, particularly Heath Ledger, said a lot of very stupid things on the interview trail."

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'Dismal' b.o. weekend for 'Rendition,' 'Baby' and 'Fire'

October 21, 2007 |  2:40 pm

Reporting on movie turnout this weekend, Reuters reported: "In what amounted to a movie massacre, high-powered dramas from the Oscar-winning stars debuted disastrously, as audiences continued to opt for escapist fare."


Studios hoped "Rendition" and "Gone Baby Gone" would pull $10 million, but "Rendition" reaped $4.2 million and "Baby" $6 million.

"Bringing up the rear was 'Things We Lost in the Fire,' a domestic tragedy that has earned raves for Del Toro's portrayal of a heroin addict," Reuters added. "The DreamWorks-Paramount release failed to ignite, opening at No. 15 with $1.6 million. Industry pundits had expected a $10 million-plus bow, but DreamWorks said $3 million to $4 million was more realistic.

To read the L.A. Times report, CLICK HERE. To see the chart at, CLICK HERE.

Here's the site's breakdown of info on Oscar pix:

4.) "Michael Clayton" ($7,100,000) -31.6%, $2,746 per theater (2,659), $21,986,000 total
5.) "Gone Baby Gone" ($6 million), $3,502 per theater (1,713)
9.) "Rendition" ($4,175,000), $1,855 per theater (2,250)
11.) "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" ($3,139,000) -49.0%, $1,564 per theater (2,006) $11,213,000
14.) "Into the Wild" ($2,150,000) +131.5%, $3,267 per screen (1,163), $6,502,000 - 5
15.) "Things We Lost in the Fire" ($1.6 million), $1,404 per theater (1,142)
16.) "The Darjeeling Limited" ($1,320,000), + 21.6%, $6,534 per theater (309), $3,903,000
19.) "Lust, Caution" ($586,000) -3.9%, $4,688 per screen (173), $2,107,000
20.) "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" ($560,000) +29.5%, $1,860 per theater (439) $2,208,000

Oscars frontrunners list: Your ultimate, updated cheat sheet

October 19, 2007 |  6:43 pm

Oscar_frontrunnersBEST PICTURE
"American Gangster"
"Before the Devil Knows You're Dead"
"Charlie Wilson's War"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"The Great Debaters"
"Into the Wild"
"The Kite Runner"
"Lions for Lambs"
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"Sweeney Todd"
"There Will Be Blood"
"3:10 to Yuma"

Casey Affleck, "Gone Baby Gone," "Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Mathieu Amalric, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Christian Bale, "Rescue Dawn" / "3:10 to Yuma"
Josh Brolin, "No Country for Old Men"
Don Cheadle, "Talk to Me"
George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"
Russell Crowe, "3:10 to Yuma"
John Cusack, "Grace Is Gone"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"
Benicio Del Toro, "Things We Lost in the Fire"
Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd"
Richard Gere, "The Hoax"
Ryan Gosling, "Lars and the Real Girl"
Tom Hanks, "Charlie Wilson's War"
Emile Hirsch, "Into the Wild"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" / "The Savages"
Frank Langella, "Starting Out in the Evening"
Tommy Lee Jones, "In the Valley of Elah"
James McAvoy, "Atonement"
Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises"
Jack Nicholson, "The Bucket List"
Joaquin Phoenix, "Reservation Road"
Brad Pitt, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Sam Riley, "Control"
Mark Ruffalo, "Reservation Road"
Denzel Washington, "American Gangster" / "The Great Debaters"

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'Things We Lost in the Fire' ignites passionate support

October 6, 2007 |  9:33 am

"Susanne Bier's 'Things We Lost in the Fire' is like a thousand emotional wind chimes made into a quiet symphony," asserts Jeffrey Wells of "It's my idea of a flat-out masterpiece, certainly within the realm of the family-tragedy drama. Bier knows exactly how to make every moment feel true and on-target, and Benicio del Toro's lead performance as a heroin addict struggling to recover and stay that way is the best I've seen this year from anyone of either gender, country or classification. Yeah, that's what I said.


"Over the course of this two-hour film he climbs out of his drug hole, brightens up, chills out and settles in, relapses, almost dies, and then gradually climbs out of it again. I'm starting to see this actor (whom his friends and Esquire magazine profilers call 'Benny') as almost God-like. He's holding bigger mountains in the palm of his hand, right now, than De Niro held in the '70s and '80s. He's one of the top four or five superman actors we have out there. There isn't a frame of his performance that doesn't hit some kind of behavioral bulls-eye." READ MORE

Edward Douglas of concurs: "I will go on the record that Benicio del Toro will absolutely be one of the five in the acting category for 'Things We Lost in the Fire.' He gives a brilliant, heart-felt performance as a recovering junkie and I personally think that Halle Berry's performance in the movie far surpasses the one she got an Oscar for. With the DreamWorks gang behind that one, I expect both of them to get into the five but Benicio will probably stand the better chance because he's done less bad movies in between."



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