The Envelope Logo

Gold Derby

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

Category: Harry Potter

Gold Derby nuggets: Pond & Hammond: Oscar race recaps | Stone: Oscars for 'Harry Potter'? | Cheers for Matt Damon on '30 Rock'

September 24, 2010 |  2:14 pm

Oscars Academy Awards Statues • Noted Oscarologist Steve Pond begins his savvy survey of the state of the race as follows: "'The King’s Speech' and 'The Social Network' proved their mettle, 'Black Swan' and '127 Hours' stirred up passions, 'The Tree of Life' is officially out of the running, and 'The Conspirator' and 'Conviction' dinted their Oscar chances. With the first round of fall showcases behind us -- Venice, Toronto and Telluride -- and the New York Film Festival set to unveil 'The Social Network' on Friday -- the Oscar picture is clearer. But there’s still room for lots of movement, for favorites to fade and dark horses to come out of nowhere." THE ODDS

Pete Hammond turns his attention to those potential Oscar contenders that weren't previewed at the film festivals. He starts his rundown with the "Wall Street" sequel opening Friday and concludes 17 films later with the remake of "True Grit" due out Christmas Day. Pete is bearish about "Money Never Sleeps," noting, "sequels rarely compete and Oliver Stone’s 1987 original received just a single nomination -- and won Best Actor for Michael Douglas. His bigger-than-life Gekko remains its best chance to jump in the race, particularly with goodwill for the actor running high due to his cancer and memories of his acclaimed work in the indie 'Solitary Man' still fresh from earlier this year." As for the Coen brothers' take on "True Grit," Pete says, "John Wayne won an Oscar. But it’s really Mattie’s tale, so look for a possible supporting actress in newcomer Hailie Steinfeld. Thankfully, the La Beouf role which Glen Campbell screwed up 40 years ago is now in Matt Damon’s hands. And reigning Best Actor winner Jeff Bridges takes on Cogburn. Never, but never, underestimate what the Coens are up to. So this could also be the rare western to make the Best Picture honor roll. No one has seen it yet, though." DEADLINE

Lane Brown kicks off his must-read weekly Oscar futures this week. Leading off his list is this assessment of key movements in the best picture race: Up -- "The King's Speech": "A great trailer and an audience award in Toronto allay fears that it might be too boring. Plenty of probable contenders are still unseen, but for right now, 'Speech' is in a two-horse race with 'Social Network.'" Down -- "Never Let Me Go": "Okay reviews and not-bad box office. Hasn't picked up much steam, though." VULTURE

Harry Potter and the Deadly HallowsSasha Stone asks, "Is it finally time for AMPAS to recognize the 'Harry Potter' series?" Her answer: "The biggest problem with the films so far is that they’re only really good if you’ve read the books. Like the 'Twilight' series, the plots to these films don’t work so well without the filled in context. Filmmakers don’t need to work as hard because they know they have a built in audience. With the 'Harry Potter' movies, it has never been a question of technical excellence -- art direction, visual effects, costumes, makeup -- always first rate. But what about the story? Can this, the second to last 'Harry Potter' film either have enough gravitas, or depth, to place it in the top ten for Best Picture? The odds are against it. It’s a sequel. It’s an effects-driven movie. None of the other 'Harry Potter' movies have been nominated before. On the other hand, if there was ever a time to honor this beloved series, it is now. After seven reliable years of box office success, why the hell not. If they can award Sandra Bullock with an Oscar for her box office achievements throughout her career (but mostly for 2009), why not the 'Harry Potter' series?" AWARDS DAILY

• The romantic comedy-drama "Love and Other Drugs" has been slotted in as the opening night film of the AFI filmfest on Nov. 4 while "Black Swan" closes out the festivities a week later. Last year, those honors went to the stop-motion  "Fantastic Mr. Fox" -- which contended for best animated feature --  and "A Single Man," which landed Colin Firth his first lead actor nomination. AFI FEST

• "Modern Family" and "The Big Bang Theory" both fared well with their first episodes of the season. In its second-season opener on Wednesday, the comedy series winner "hit all-time highs in both viewers (12.7 million) and adults 18-49 (5.1 rating)" while Thursday's fourth season premiere of the showcase for lead actor champ Jim Parsons drew 14 million viewers and was up 4% among adults 18-49 from last year when it followed "Two and a Half Men" on Monday night. ZAP2IT

• Two-time Emmy winner Steve Bass has signed on as production designer for the 83rd Academy Awards. While this will be his first time working on the Oscars, he and the kudocast's director, Don Mischer, are old colleagues. They recently collaborated on the Emmy Awards telecast at which Bass contended for his work on last year's Tony Awards. While he lost that bid (his sixth), he did win for the second of his four nominations for the Grammy Awards in 2005 as well as for his work with Mischer on the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In the announcement, Mischer says Bass is "the perfect person for this year’s Oscar. He’s an innovative, creative talent who I know will do justice to the tradition and glamour of the Academy Awards." AMPAS

100924mag-30-rock-matt-damon1Bruce Fretts gives a cheer to "30 Rock" guest star Matt Damon. "In the fifth-season opener, the Oscar-nominated actor reprised his role as airline pilot Carol, Liz Lemon's high-flying love interest from last spring's finale." For Fretts, "Whether Carol was bonding with Liz over their mutual fondness for Muppets presenting awards or weeping about his desire for "grown-up love," Damon showed a refreshingly silly side in keeping with 30 Rock's anything-goes spirit. And we haven't seen the last of him, as Liz bid him a temporary farewell: 'See you Oct. 14!' That happens to be the date of 30 Rock's live episode. Sounds like perfect timing for a little more goodwill hunting." TV GUIDE

• Presenters for the 31st edition of the News and Documentary Emmy Awards Monday night in Gotham include: Lester Holt, Sheila Nevins, Dan Rather, Diane Sawyer, Bob Simon and Paula Zahn. "PBS NewsHour" picks up the chairman award while documentarian Frederick Wiseman is feted for his lifetime achievement. Emmys will be handed out in 41 categories including breaking news, investigative reporting, outstanding interview, and best documentary. NATAS

• One nominee who won't be attending the festivities at Lincoln Center is Robert Halderman, who made news last year for his attempted extortion of David Letterman. Recently released from jail, he is in the running for a "48 Hours Mystery" report on Amanda Knox. As per his lawyer Gerald Shargel, "he's not doing any interviews and just wants to return to a quiet and productive life." THR

Photos, from top: Academy Award statues. (Credit: AMPAS); "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" promotional still. (Warner Bros.); Matt Damon on "30 Rock." (NBC)

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.

MTV Movie Awards ratings not rising with 'Twilight: New Moon'

June 8, 2010 |  7:37 am

Rob Pattinson Kristen Stewart Twilight MTV Movie Awards Despite including appearances by much of the cast from the night's big winner -- "Twilight: New Moon" -- and the much-hyped debuts of trailers for the latest installments of both the "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" film franchises, ratings for Sunday's MTV Movie Awards were off from last year.

On the main channel, viewership was off by a lot, dropping from 5.3 million to 4.6 million. However, with the addition of sister station VH1 to the simulcast lineup along with MTV2, total viewership was down only slightly from 5.9 million to 5.8 million. MTV reports that total viewership (i.e., anyone tuning in for a minute or more) totaled 16.4 million.The kudocast faced fierce competition with ABC airing Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Last year's awardscast, hosted by "Saturday Night Live" star Andy Samberg, was notable for the staged meeting between Sacha Baron Cohen's butt and Eminem's face, which prompted a walkout by the latter. Each had a project to promote -- the actor's new movie, "Bruno," and the rapper's latest disc, "Relapse" -- and the resulting controversy spiked interest in them.

This year, Tom Cruise of the upcoming flick "Knight and Day" hoped for a boost by appearing throughout the awards in a running gag reprising his "Tropic Thunder" character Les Grossman. He opened the show, was featured in promos with "Twilight" stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, and did a dance-off with Jennifer Lopez.

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: MTV Movie Awards preview 'Twilight' & 'Harry Potter' | EW predix Tony Awards

June 4, 2010 |  5:26 pm

• Sunday's MTV Movie Awards will include a preview of the penultimate entry in the most successful film franchise of all time -- "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1." That movie won't be out till Thanksgiving. However, the "Twilight" series will also be represented with a sneak peek of "Eclipse" which opens at the end of the month. 

• A viral infection may be hurting Catherine Zeta-Jones's shot at winning the Tony Award for best musical actress, according to Michael Riedel of the New York Post. She's missed five performances of "A Little Night Music" while many voters are checking out the shows for the first or second time. However, Riedel adds, "While CZJ may not be an aggressive campaigner like, say, that old master Harvey Fierstein, she has been making the rounds of the Tony circuit. She's appeared at benefits and second-tier awards, schmoozing even some of the scarier members of the theater press corps, most of whom have become bloggers." NEW YORK POST

MTV Movie Awards logoMark Malkin dropped by the Gibson Amphitheater, which is hosting Sunday's kudos and reports on who is sitting where: "Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner didn't snag front-row seats at Sunday's MTV Movie Awards. That honor goes to Sandra Bullock. Even so it's not like the 'Twilight' trio was shafted. They're right behind Sandy B. As of this morning, there was an empty seat between Rob and Kristen's placeholders, so it's still not known if they'll eventually end up totally next to each other on show day. Taylor's a seat away from KStew with Scarlett Johansson rounding out the row. Just behind them are Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens and Eva Mendes. Across the aisle is Mark Wahlberg, who's sitting behind Betty White and Katy Perry. A gaggle of funny dudes gathered in a pod to the side includes Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Hangover boxer Mike Tyson." E ONLINE

• On Wednesday, Philip Berk was reelected president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. A correspondent for FilmInk (Australia) and Galaxie (Malaysia), Berk has been an HFPA member for 33 years and is serving his eighth term as president. The group, which hands out the Golden Globes, also re-upped Hans Spurkel, Meher Tatna and Jack Tewksbury as vice president, executive secretary and treasurer, respectively. The new board of directors is Ali Sar (Chairman), Jorge Camara, Yoram Kahana, Theo Kingma, Lorenzo Soria, and Ruben Nepales (alternate).

Tony Awards logo • Entertainment Weekly theater critics Thom Geier and Melissa Rose Bernardo have posted their predictions for the Tony Awards. While they agree that "Red" will win best play, Thom thinks "Fela!" will take the top tuner prize while Melissa chooses "Memphis." Among the acting awards, the two agree on just two of the four lead categories -- Viola Davis in the play "Fences" and Douglas Hodge in the musical "La Cage aux Folles."  They think those productions also will win their respective revival races. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Top photo: MTV Movie Awards logo. Credit: MTV.

Bottom photo: Tony Awards logo. Credit: American Theater Wing.

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.

Gold Derby nuggets: 'The Hobbit' hobbled by helmer's exit | Homer Simpson tops with EW | 'Curb' appeal

June 1, 2010 |  1:11 pm

The Hobbit • The status of "The Hobbit," the long-in-the-making two-part prequel to the hit trilogy "The Lord of the Rings," just became much cloudier with the news that helmer Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labryinth") has walked. The first of the films -- produced by Peter Jackson, who picked up three Oscars for the final installment of "LOTR" -- was slated to arrive in theaters in December 2012 with the second out a year later. In a statement, Del Toro said, "In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming 'The Hobbit,' I am faced with the hardest decision of my life. After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as [J.R.R.] Tolkien's Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures." The much-in-demand Del Toro has decided to move on but harbors no ill will to the project. "Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wish the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director." REUTERS

Elizabeth Guider reports that HBO did great business selling foreign rights to the upcoming first season of "Boardwalk Empire" at the just-concluded LA screenings. This is the paycaster's marquee series for 2010 and could be a major awards player based on the pedigree of the behind-the-scenes talent alone. Oscar champ Martin Scorsese ("The Departed") is executive producing the series about bootleggers in 1920s Atlantic City and directed the first episode. Terence Winter -- who adapted Nelson Johnson's novel of the same name -- won two Emmys for scripting episodes of "The Sopranos" and another two when that HBO hit won best drama series in 2004 and 2007. THR

• The first rialto revival of "Fences" continues to break Broadway box-office records. Yet again, it topped the $1-million mark last week. This remounting of the 1987 Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner by August Wilson is up for 10 Tony Awards and is a front-runner in the best play revival race. The two stars -- two-time Oscar champ Denzel Washington ("Glory," "Training Day") and Oscar nominee Viola Davis ("Doubt") -- are strong contenders in their categories too. "Fences" is also nominated for best featured actor (Stephen McKinley Henderson), score (Brandford Marsalis), scenic design, costumes, sound design and lighting.

The Simpsons Entertainment WeeklyHomer Simpson edged out Harry Potter to top the Entertainment Weekly roundup of the 100 most memorable characters of the last two decades. "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening told the magazine that people relate to the tubby hubby "because we're all secretly propelled by desires we can't admit to." "The Simpsons" has won 25 Emmys over its first two decades: 10 for top animated program under one hour, 13 for voice-over (including four for "Homer" himself, Dan Castellaneta) and two for top song. The title role of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as played by the perpetually Emmy-snubbed Sarah Michelle Gellar came in third, and Tony Soprano ("The Sopranos") -- which won James Gandolfini three Emmys -- was fourth. Comic-book arch-villain the Joker -- so brilliantly reimagined by the late Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" -- was fifth. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• As Greg Ellwood observes, "Last year, four of the best picture nominees were released in the summer: 'Up,' 'Inglourious Basterds,' 'District 9" and 'The Hurt Locker.' The 83rd Academy Awards probably won't match that total, but there are more summer players than usual for awards season overall. Just previewing the feature films, there are eight releases that should easily make some noise over the next three months." For Greg, among those upcoming releases that could make the top 10 at the Oscars are "Inception" and "The Kids Are All Right." HIT FIX

Mike Ausiello chats with "House" leading man Hugh Laurie, who reveals he has no idea how long he will keep playing the curmudgeonly character that has netted him four Emmy nominations but no wins. Whether the upcoming Season 7 will be the last for Laurie remains a question mark. He told Mike, "I only hope we’ll know when the time is right [to close up shop]. When people blunder on for five years after [they should have called it quits] … it gets taken out of your hands. Someone will say, "That’s it." But for now, I’m immensely proud of the things we did this season." The show has lost the drama series race for the last four consecutive years. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

564_curb_your_enthusiasm_468 • Reruns of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" debut on the TV Guide network Tuesday, and though the basic-cable caster will edit the show for nudity and language, it is not cutting it for length. "Curb" ran 30 minutes or so on commercial-free HBO, so to round out the hour time slot, the net is programming "Curb: The Discussion." Hosted by "Curb" star Susie Essman and co-produced by the show's creator and star Larry David, the first panelists will be David's old pal Jerry Seinfeld, Emmy nominee Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Oscar nominee Taraji Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). The five-time Emmy contender for comedy series drew its best ratings for Season 7, which used a reunion of "Seinfeld" as a plot device for creator and star Larry David to repair his TV marriage. As for the future, David says, "Usually when a season ends, especially a season as successful as last season, it takes a while to recharge and come up with enough ideas so you know that you'll have a funny season. So it took some time, but I think we've got some good stuff coming up for Season 8." TV GUIDE

• Jerry Seinfeld is trying his hand at directing this month, helming Colin Quinn's one-man show, "Long Story Short." This showcase for the former "SNL" star begins a summer run off-Broadway on June 18. While "Curb Your Enthusiasm" has had lousy luck at the Emmys, winning just one of its 30 bids (best director for Robert B. Weide for the "Krazee-Eyez Killa" episode in 2003), "Seinfeld" snagged 10 laurels out of its 70 nominations, including best comedy series of 1993. PLAYBILL

Top photo: "The Hobbit" book cover. Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Middle photo: Entertainment Weekly cover. Credit: EW.

Bottom photo: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" logo. Credit: HBO

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.

'Harry Potter' stars dominate BAFTA TV nominations

May 10, 2010 |  9:24 am

Bafta Statues Although Daniel Radcliffe was snubbed two years ago by the BAFTA TV Awards -- the British equivalent of the Emmy Awards -- for his performance in the telefilm "My Boy Jack," six of his older "Harry Potter" co-stars are contending in top races at this year's kudos.

Leading that list is Julie Walters, the on-screen mother of Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), who competes with herself in the best actress race. All four of the nominated performances are for real-life roles -- Walters as politico Mo Mowlam in "Mo" and assisted suicide advocate Anne Turner in "A Short Stay in Switzerland"; Helena Boham Carter -- the dastardly Bellatrix LeStrange in "Harry Potter" -- as beloved children's author Enid Blyton in "Enid"; and Sophie Okonedo as Winnie Mandela in "Mrs. Mandela." Both of Walters' works contend for best single program against "Five Minutes of Heaven" with Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt and Samantha Morton's directorial debut, "The Unloved."

Three of the four nominees for best actor, also a catch-all category that includes performances in one-offs, minis and series, are "Harry Potter" stars. Kenneth Branagh -- who played vain professor Gilderoy Lockhart -- was snubbed last year for the first season of "Wallander," which earned him an Emmy nomination, but contends for the second season of the mystery series. Brendan Gleeson -- who plays Phoenix member Alastor Moody -- won an Emmy last year for his BAFTA-nominated performance as Winston Churchill in "Into the Storm." John Hurt -- who was wand merchant Mr. Ollivander -- won the BAFTA 34 years ago for his portrayal of Quentin Crisp in "The Naked Civil Servant" and contends again for the sequel "An Englishman in New York." Rounding out the race is David Oyelowo for "Small Island," which vies for best serial against "Occupation," "Red Riding" and "Unforgiven."

Okonedo is also contending in the supporting actress race for the miniseries "Criminal Justice" against Rebecca Hall ("Red Riding 1974"), Lauren Socha ("The Unloved") and Imelda Staunton ("Cranford"), so memorable as Harry Potter's nemesis Dolores Umbridge. Supporting actor nominees are Benedict Cumberbatch ("Small Island"), Tom Hollander ("Gracie!"), Gary Lewis ("Mo") and Matthew Macfadyen ("Criminal Justice").

Continue reading »

Will Daniel Radcliffe cast a spell over Tony Awards voters?

April 16, 2010 |  6:42 pm

Daniel Radcliffe Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Daniel Radcliffe has found his first post-"Harry Potter" role. He is to star next year in a Broadway revival of the Tony-winning tuner "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Radcliffe will play the plum part of J. Pierpont Finch, a window cleaner who rises to the top of a huge company while, of course, wooing and winning a girl along the way.

"How to Succeed" is one of only eight tuners to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The original production won the top Tony for best musical in 1962 as well as six more, including awards for lead Robert Morse and supporting player Charles Nelson Reilly. And the 1995 rialto revival of "How to Succeed" won Matthew Broderick the lead actor Tony. Loads of talent are involved in this second revival. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("Chicago") lead the producing team while Tony Award winner Rob Ashford ("Thoroughly Modern Millie") is to direct and choreograph.

Daniel Radcliffe has been worried about his career prospects once he finishes filming the final two installments of the "Harry Potter" franchise. The 20-year-old knows that many of his contemporaries will just be graduating from drama school. Last year, he explained to Esquire about his decision to take twice-weekly ballet lessons, "They’ve been learning dance or singing and all that stuff, and I’m going to need to compete with them because I won’t have 'Harry Potter' as my safety net anymore. I need to make myself as viable a choice for any part as I possibly can."

After completing the sixth film in the franchise -- "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" -- in 2007, Radcliffe made his stage debut in a revival of the 1975 Tony-winning best play "Equus." He persuaded both the tough London and Gotham theater critics he could actually act. For his efforts, Radcliffe earned a Drama Desk nod in New York and two WhatsOnStage Awards in the West End.

Radcliffe's only other major screen roles since "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" shot him to worldwide fame in 2001 were in two 2007 projects -- the telefilm "My Boy Jack," and the feature "December Boys." He received good reviews in the former as the title character  -- the son of Nobel-winning author Rudyard Kipling -- determined to fight in World War I. However, this small-screen success did not translate into any awards recognition for the young actor. Similarly, his work in "December Boys" was well-regarded but was not recognized come kudos time.

Indeed, Daniel Radcliffe has reaped surprisingly little in the way of awards hardware. He has lost five successive Saturn Award bids for best performance by a younger actor. He failed to win any of his three Broadcast Film Critics Assn. nods for best young actor for his performances in "Sorcerer's Stone," "Prisoner of Azkaban," and "Goblet of Fire." And he still doesn't have an MTV Movie Award on his mantle, despite four nominations in various categories.

Photo: Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1." Credit: Warner Bros.


Gold Derby nuggets: 'Avatar' only 2-D on DVD for now | Peter Jackson on 'The Hobbit' | Drew Barrymore's fashion faux pas

Emmy predix: Best lead comedy actor

Emmy predix: Best supporting actor in a drama series

Cannes film festival competition short on Oscar contenders

Webby Awards pit Jim Carrey against U2

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Glee' in vogue with viewers | 'South Park' celebrates 200 episodes | Rachel Weisz as 'Jackie'

Emmy predix: Best TV drama actress

Seth Myers to host live airing of ESPY Awards

Can Oprah Winfrey squash Conan O'Brien AND Jon Stewart?

Gold Derby nuggets: Sigourney Weaver blasts Oscars over 'Avatar' snub | Behind the scenes drama at Pulitzers | 'Polytechnique' sweeps Genies

What's behind 'Modern Family's' surprising Emmy ploy?

'Next to Normal' wins Pulitzer Prize for drama

Can Conan O'Brien get back in the race for the Emmys?

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.

Can Daniel Radcliffe ride 'Equus' to the Tony Awards derby?

September 26, 2008 | 10:31 am

Daniel Radcliffe of "Harry Potter" fame overcame the advance publicity about his nude scene in the Broadway revival of "Equus" and convinced the tough Gotham critics he can actually act.

While they were, for the most part, less than enthused about the overall production, the theater scribes raved about Radcliffe's performance. The English actor, 19, earned similar notices last year for the London run. Then he won only two kudos from the WhatsOnStage Awards, which were sealed with a notorious gay kiss. Now Daniel Radcliffe could well be a contender next spring for the Tony Award for best actor in a play.

Back in 1975, the original mounting of "Equus" was nominated for five Tonys, winning best play for Peter Shaffer (he would win again in 1981 for "Amadeus") and the director prize for John Dexter (a winner again in 1988 for helming "M. Butterfly"). Peter Firth, who originated the role of the troubled teen who blinds six horses, lost the best actor race to a rare double nominee — John Kani and Winston Ntshona — from the twin bill "Sizwe Banzi Is Dead" and "The Island."


This time 'round, the field for best revival is crowded with upcoming productions of classics "The Seagull" and "Hedda Gabler" as well as Tony winners "All My Sons" (1947) and "A Man for All Seasons" (1962). And, as the directors' race draws from both original and revived plays, it is unlikely that Thea Sharrock will make it into the final four.

Typical of the mixed reviews was Ben Brantley of the New York Times, who said, "Daniel Radcliffe steps into a mothball-preserved, off-the-rack part and wears it like a tailor’s delight — that is, a natural fit that allows room to stretch. Would that the production around him, first presented in London, showed off Mr. Shaffer’s 1973 psychodrama as flatteringly as it does its stage-virgin star."

Linda Winer of Newsday enthused, "The actor, tiny but a commanding feral presence, manages to be both extraordinarily lucid and mysterious as Alan Strang, the alienated provincial English boy who literally worships horses but blinds six of them in an explosion of psychosexual religiosity. Radcliffe, despite the visceral physicality of the role, appears supremely comfortable in his own skin — and, yes, kids, thanks to the nude scene, we get to see all of it."

Said Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News: "He's terrific and gives a passionate performance as Alan Strang, the 17-year-old stable hand who worships -- and blinds -- six horses. Yes, he's nude in a scene, but not gratuitously. And yes, he's (at least partially) in good company in the revival of Peter Shaffer's play, which intrigues but shows its age."

The USA Today review began, "The good and bad news about the new Broadway revival of 'Equus' with Daniel Radcliffe is that the actor is aging a lot more gracefully than the play. In this London-based production, which opened Thursday at the Broadhurst Theatre, the Harry Potter star puts to rest any arguments that his appeal should be limited to moony adolescents and maudlin grown-ups. If only the same could be said for Peter Shaffer's 35-year-old drama."

Clive Barnes of the New York Post found "Radcliffe, with his luminously intense eyes and fragile but wiry body, looks wonderfully right as Alan, the 17-year-old British boy besotted by everything equine. His acting, beautifully understated and withdrawn, has just the right manner for this horribly mixed-up adolescent, at the prey of a wayward religiosity and a twisted sexuality cemented together with suburban hypocrisy."

For David Rooney of Variety, "Daniel Radcliffe significantly helps overcome the fact that Peter Shaffer's 1975 Tony winner doesn't entirely hold up. The play is an astute career move for the 'Harry Potter' frontman as he confidently navigates the transition from child stardom to adult roles -- and Radcliffe's performance provides 'Equus' with a raw emotional nerve center that renders secondary any concerns about its wonky and over-explanatory psychology."

Continue reading »

'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' exits 2008 Oscars derby, but was it ever in?

August 18, 2008 |  9:23 am

Regardless of why Warner Bros. bumped "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" from this fall to next summer, the shift takes this special effects-laden film out of this year's award derby. While you might think that this blockbuster flick would be a major player in the technical categories, it turns out the first five films of the franchise, though boffo in ticket sales, have been busts at the Harry_potter2 Academy Awards. Try as he might, Harry Potter can't work his magic on Oscar voters, conjuring up six nominations so far but cursed with zero wins.

The first wizard film, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001), did the best of the lot to date with three nominations: art direction, costumes and music score. It lost to, respectively, "Moulin Rouge!" "Moulin Rouge!" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

Nos. 2 and 5 — "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002) and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007) — weren't nominated for anything! Third time was no charm either as "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004) lost its bids for music score and visual effects to "Finding Neverland" and "Spider-Man 2." respectively. For film No. 4 — "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005) — its lone nod for art direction lost out to "Memoirs of a Geisha."

As for the reason for the release date change: disagrees with a Fox News report by Roger Friedman that Warners made the move because of star Daniel Radcliffe's upcoming Broadway appearance in a controversial production of "Equus." While Defamer correctly points out that Radcliffe was stripping off in the London production of the play last year when the release of "Phoenix" rose up, Friedman is right that the rialto run this fall will attract even more attention.

(Warner Bros.)

Harry Potter and the curse of the Oscars

July 31, 2008 | 11:09 am

OK, OK, it's great to go wild about Harry again with the release of the new trailer for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," but beware, kudos nuts. Harry Potter can shake his magic wand over and over, but it fails to enchant Oscar voters.

Turns out, in fact, that Harry Potter is the new Susan Lucci of the Oscars. Since 2001, his five films have netted six nominations and no wins.


"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002) and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007) weren't nominated for anything! The only Oscar bid cooked up by "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005) was for art direction (it lost to "Memoirs of a Geisha"). "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004) did slightly better, nabbing noms for music score and visual effects. It lost to, respectively, "Finding Neverland" and "Spider-Man 2."

It was the first wizard flick that did the best. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001) reaped three nominations: art direction, costumes and music score. It lost to, respectively, "Moulin Rouge!" "Moulin Rouge!" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

However, Harry Potter has had the magic touch at the Grammys where two of Jim Dale's recordings won best children's spoken word album: "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2000) and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (2007).

By the way, when you view the new trailer for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," don't be upset that it doesn't include more of your fave characters.

"It’s only a teaser, just to get people excited," Rupert Grint told MTV News.

The MTV report continues: "Ron Weasley nearly dies after he drinks Professor Slughorn’s poisoned mead, a gift the professor was meant to pass on to Dumbledore, in an assassination attempt gone horribly wrong. Ron had already been poisoned in one sense — 'He gets poisoned quite a bit in this film,' Grint laughed — because he ate Romilda Vane's chocolate cauldrons (also meant for someone else, this time Harry) which were spiked with love potion. Harry rushes his friend off to the potions professor for a quick fix, only Ron goes from a bad predicament to a lethal one in mere moments. 'That was a really fun scene,' Grint said."

(Photos: Listening Library)

Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe will give Shia LaBeouf the big kiss-off @ MTV Movie Awards

May 31, 2008 | 10:47 am

At the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday, the hottest prize — best kiss — is a contest between Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Leung ("Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"), Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer ("Disturbia") and Ellen Page and Michael Cera ("Juno").

Forget the other nominees. (See a full list of all MTV Movie Awards contenders, CLICK HERE.) Patrick Dempsey gives Amy Adams such a passionate peck of the classic storybook kind in "Enchanted" that he wakes a frozen princess, yes, but it's too cliche, too Disney, thus too anti-cool for the MTV crowd.

You don't have to forget about Robert Hoffman bussing Briana Evigan because we didn't know them in the first place, nor their insignificant sequel — "Step Up 2: The Streets."

I think we can probably shrug off the "Juno" smooch, too, since all the hype — which was always more about the movie than its stars — is over.

This a matchup between Daniel Radcliffe, who has cast a magic spell over movie-goers for years, and hottie-of-the-moment Shia LaBeouf. The latter doesn't have the following that the former does, and "Disturbia" isn't a movie that really matters. So this award goes to the Harry Potter lovebirds.

If Radcliffe kissed LaBeouf, they'd be a cinch to win, considering the duos who've prevailed in this category over the past two years: Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen in "Talladega Nights" and Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain."


(Warner Bros., Fox Searchlight, Disney, DreamWorks)

BAFTA's kids' kudos are wild about 'Harry'

October 22, 2007 | 12:25 pm


Brits are so civilized, so gracious. Since kiddies seldom get a seat at the adult movie table at awards time, BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) conducts separate kudos just for wee ones' media fare. For example, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" nabs a higher score (71) at than "La Vie en Rose" (66) and "Lars and the Real Girl" (69), but it doesn't share those films' Oscar buzz. Outrage!

But now "Harry's" a top contender for the BAFTA's children's awards, which just announced nominees. Beware: they're a bit odd here and there. They include some of last year's Yankee pix and, most curious of all, "Flushed Away" is up for best picture, but not best animated picture. Huh? CLICK HERE to see the list.



In Case You Missed It...

Stay Connected:

About the Blogger

Pop & Hiss



In Case You Missed It...