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Category: Pulitzer Prizes

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Boardwalk Empire' renewed after red-hot premiere | 'Ruined' playwright Lynn Nottage succeeds | Two 'Lost' stars may be reuniting

September 21, 2010 | 11:01 am

Buscmei Boardwalk Empire • "Boardwalk Empire" rolled out its first episode Sunday, and 7.1 million HBO subscribers tuned in to the three airings of the new drama that night. That marks the best numbers for a debut on the paycaster since "Deadwood" premiered after an episode of "The Sopranos" in 2004. On Tuesday, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo confirmed a second season renewal, saying in a statement: "All the ingredients aligned for this one, from Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson's initial pitch, to Martin Scorsese's enormous contributions as director and executive producer, to the genius of Terry Winter and the expertise of Tim Van Patten, to a stellar cast led by Steve Buscemi." ZAP 2 IT

Sean Macaulay commemorates the 20th anniversary of the release of Martin Scorsese's best picture contender "Goodfellas" with an essay that begins thus: "When I first saw 'Goodfellas' at the Curzon Cinema in London when I was 25, I was so overwhelmed that I had to go back to see it again the same week. It was an immediate guilty pleasure. No 'classic' film could be this much fun, I thought, or this dense. Even the celebrated shot of Uncle Paulie cutting garlic with a razor blade has a sprig of parsley in the foreground. But I was also compelled to return to the theater because I found the movie so unsettling -- it was simultaneously seductive and queasy. It is a 25-year life of crime presented with the verve of a movie trailer -- and without one hint of sanctimony." THE DAILY BEAST

• Two Emmy darlings -- Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds") and Laura Linney ("The Big C") -- are ensured of continued TV time with the renewal of their shows for seasons seven and two, respectively. In a statement Showtime president of entertainment David Nevins said, "The unprecedented viewership for both 'The Big C' and 'Weeds' proves that audiences love these shows as much as we do. There are definitely more comedic adventures in store for these fascinating, complex women."

Ruinedposter • Playwright Lynn Nottage -- who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for "Ruined" -- is having a very good week. On Monday, this work -- a stark look at life in post-colonial Africa -- won the inaugural Horton Foote prize for best American play; this new kudo is named in honor of the late Oscar and Pulitzer champ. On Tuesday, the Steinberg Trust announced that Nottage will receive the distinguished playwright prize which comes with bragging rights and a check for $200,000. And HBO has just inked a deal to partner with Oprah Winfrey on a telefilm version of the piece.

• Four-time Tony champ Harvey Fierstein is collaborating with composer Alan Menken -- who has eight Oscars -- on a stage version of the 1993 movie "Newsies." As Menken told Kenneth Jones, "Yeah, it is in development. What it's going to be is -- honestly, right now -- undetermined. I think Disney is still trying to decide whether it's a first-class production or whether it's stock and amateur. But there will be available a stage musical of 'Newsies.' That's all I can say. I've been writing it with Harvey Fierstein and Jack Feldman. [How it emerges is] just gonna be [a] business decision of how Disney wants to proceed with it. But yes, we are developing it." PLAYBILL

Jerry Seinfeld turned his hand to stage directing and scored a hit the first time out with Colin Quinn's "Long Story Short." That one-man show featuring the former "SNL" star is a 75-minute romp through history. After a successful run off-Broadway this summer, it is being remounted this fall at the Helen Hayes Theater in the heart of the rialto. ARTS BEAT

Lost Emerson OQuinn • Two of the Emmy winners from "Lost" could be reuniting reports Josef Adalian. "Are you ready for Linus & Locke? In news that could cause the 'Lost' fan base to have a synchronized aneurysm, Vulture hears that last week, J.J. Abrams and frequent collaborators Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec ('Alias,' 'Mission: Impossible 4') began pitching a comedic drama to the networks that would have Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn -- a.k.a. Benjamin Linus and John Locke/Smokey -- playing former black-ops agents. VULTURE

• Screenwriter Irving Ravetch died Sunday at age 89. He and his wife, Harriet Frank Jr., were nominated twice for best screenplay at the Oscars ("Norma Rae" in 1979, "Hud" in 1963) and once at the Golden Globes ("Hud"). The New York Film Critics Circle gave them its script prize for "Hud." He also wrote "The Reivers" (1969) and "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1960). He was also a producer of "Hud" and "The Reivers."

• The Latin Recording Academy will bestow lifetime achievement awards to Joao Donato, Armando Manzanero, Las Hermanas Márquez, Joseito Mateo, Jorge Oñate and Susana Rinaldi. Trustee awards will go to Manuel Bonilla, Juan Carlos Calderón and Hebe Camargo. The kudos will be doled out on Nov. 10 at a private ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. That's one day before the main Latin Grammy ceremony will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

• One young lady is so desperate to lose weight in order to be a seat filler at the Latin Grammys that she's had a tongue patch implanted, which causes pain when she eats. TERRA

Top photo: Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire." Credit: HBO

Middle photo: "Ruined" poster. Credit: MTC

Bottom photo: Terry O'Quinn, left. and Michael Emerson in "Lost." Credit: ABC

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Gold Derby nuggets: Laura Linney shines on Showtime | 'Big Bang' gang theories | Songbird Gwyneth Paltrow

July 28, 2010 |  1:06 pm

Laura Linney Big C Showtime • Three-time Emmy champ Laura Linney is the subject of a lengthy profile in this Sunday's magazine section of the New York Times. Among the highlights of the piece: when writer Frank Bruni accompanied Linney to a rehearsal for the recent Tony Awards where the nominated actress clearly was in her element. "'You just have to see this!' she exclaimed at one point, tugging me backstage. 'It’s just too much fun, all the different casts bumping into each other.'" Along the way, Bruni also visited Linney on the set of her new Showtime series "The Big C," which is set to debut Aug. 16. This first regular TV role for the versatile talent sees her playing a teacher who must learn what is important in her life when told she has terminal cancer. The paycaster has proved to be a Hollywood haven for actresses like Linney, and it is currently showcasing Emmy nominees Toni Collette ("The United States of Tara") and Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"). NEW YORK TIMES

• The tuner "Next to Normal" -- which won this year's Pulitzer prize for drama -- welcomed three new cast members Tuesday. Husband and wife Marin Mazzie and Jason Daniely replace Tony winner Alice Ripley and Brian D'Arcy James as the couple coping with her mental illness, while understudy Meghann Fay is permanently stepping in for Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano as the less-than-understanding teenage daughter. PLAYBILL

• CBS has revealed that four of the companies to get a visit from an "Undercover Boss" in the upcoming second season are NASCAR, DirecTV, Great Wolf Resorts and Chiquita Brands. "We're thrilled with this season's new batch of bosses," said the show's creator and executive producer Stephen Lambert. They are NASCAR's senior vice president and chief marketing officer Steve Phelps; Mike White, chairman, president and CEO of DirecTV; Chiquita Brands chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre; and CEO Kimberly Schaefer of Great Wolf Resorts. The hit show is in contention for best reality series at the upcoming Emmy Awards.

The Big Bang Theory CastHanh Nguyen does a deft job live blogging the lively discussion of "The Big Bang Theory" cast and creators that kicked off the annual TV critics confab Wednesday. Among the tasty tidbits is one from Emmy nominee Jim Parsons, who said he loves Comic-Con, "but seeing the thousands of Sheldon t-shirts was a little disturbing." And when asked about the show's fans, he replied, "They're the sweetest, least psychotic bunch of people I've ever met." ZAP 2 IT

• Our good friend Mike Ausiello caught up with the "Big Bang" gang at Comic-Con last week for a video interview that was punctuated throughout with merriment. Among the subjects covered in the lively conversation were the Emmy snub for best comedy series, upcoming plot points and ongoing salary negotiations. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Joel Keller chats with Emmy winner Felicity Huffman on the set of "Desperate Housewives." The one-time Oscar lead actress nominee ("Transamerica") admitted, "I was anticipating doing more movies. I got a lot of movie scripts for a while... I don't really get them anymore." And she said, "Independent films have taken a dive. They're becoming harder and harder to do and somewhat extinct because there's a glut on the market, and they're just so hard to get funding. So I feel like the golden age of independent movies, at least the way they were being done, is over." TV SQUAD

• And our great pal Ray Richmond sat down with "Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, who said "he could see handing off his 6-year-old baby to someone else to run after the coming 7th season. In fact he thought it was likely, as he’s now penning a pilot for a potential new ABC series that he hopes will be up and running by next June. He wouldn't elaborate on what the pilot is about, only noting it 'will not be set in suburbia.'" Cherry also revealed to Ray, "I’ve got a contract that keeps me around ABC for a few more years. I hope (Housewives will be around) for a couple of more seasons, and my thing is I always will be executive producer and consultant on the show. It’s my baby. I can’t let go. I have control issues. They can’t totally get rid of me." DEADLINE

Country Strong Gwyneth PaltrowDonna Hughes previews the just-released title track from the upcoming film "Country Strong." The ditty is done by Oscar champ Gwyneth Paltrow who stars as fallen singer Kelly Canter. As Donna notes, "The actress is no stranger to the music scene, having charted a hit single with Huey Lewis on a remake of 'Cruisin' from the film 'Duets' in 2000. She also happens to be married to Coldplay's Chris Martin." Country crooners Vince Gill and Patty Griffin perform background vocals on this debut single. Though the film won't be out till Dec. 22, the soundtrack is set for release on Oct. 26.  While there is no word yet on the full track listing, another singing star -- Tim McGraw -- appears in the film as Canter's husband/manager. He sets out to resurrect her career with the help of a songwriter she meets in rehab. THE BOOT

Anne Thompson thinks that "Get Low" -- the new Robert Duvall picture about a hermit re-entering 1930s society -- "should be a soft lob down the middle for Oscar voters." As Anne notes, the film, which she saw at last year's Toronto filmfest, is doing well with the mainstream critics and she planned on attending Tuesday's premiere at the academy which was chronicled by our team. THE ENVELOPE

Photos, from top: Laura Linney in "The Big C" promotional still. Credit: Showtime; "The Big Bang Theory" 3rd season Blu-Ray cover art. Credit: Warner Home Video; Gwyneth Paltrow in "Country Strong." Credit: Screen Gems.

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

April 13, 2010 |  2:27 pm

James Cameron Sigourney Weaver Avatar • Actress Sigourney Weaver certainly believes in standing by her director, telling the Brazilian news website Folha Online that her good friend James Cameron was snubbed at the recent Oscars due to reverse sexism. "Jim didn't have breasts, and I think that was the reason [he didn't win]," she said in this candid interview. And Weaver thinks that the record box office takings of "Avatar" kept it from collecting more gold. "In the past, 'Avatar' would have won because they [Oscar voters] loved to hand out awards to big productions, like 'Ben-Hur.' Today it's fashionable to give the Oscar to a small movie that nobody saw."

Meryl Streep may also have been snubbed at this year's Oscars -- as she has been with 13 of her 15 other  nominations -- but she made history Monday as the first person extended honorary membership in the 112-year old American Academy of Arts and Letters solely for their acting work. Other screen notables admitted -- including the late Orson Welles and current member Woody Allen -- worked behind the camera as well as in front of it. Streep admitted, "I have to say that I was stunned, and when they sent me the roster of people in the academy I just burst into tears. I couldn't believe that I'd be even allowed in the kitchen." AP

• For the producers of the 2006 Tony-winning "Jersey Boys," imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. They "have sued a touring stage show called 'The Boys,' labeling it a 'copycat' production that competes unfairly with the original musical." As per the lawsuit filed in Manhattan, the producers are seeking "an injunction against further performances of 'The Boys' that make use of copyrighted or too similar materials, and asked for $150,000 in damages for each copyrighted song 'The Boys' might have used." REUTERS

Pulitzer Prize • The fall-out from yesterday's announcement of "Next to Normal" as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama continues. First the jury chair -- Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty -- vented about the board overruling the recommendations of his panel, chiding them for "geographical myopia, a vision of the American theater that starts in Times Square and ends just a short taxi ride away." (The last work to win the Pulitzer without a New York run was "Anna in the Tropics" in 2003.) Now Patrick Healy reports that since none of the jury's three finalists failed to earn the requisite approval by the majority of the board last Thursday, the 20 members looked further afield among the 70 or so works submitted for consideration. It seems "a lot of them" went to see "Next to Normal" that night and voted it the winner the next day. NEW YORK TIMES

• The Grammy Awards are shifting back to their traditional February time slot next year. The 53rd annual edition of these top musical awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 13 at the Staple Center in Los Angeles and air on CBS. This year, the Grammys were handed out on Jan. 31 so as to avoid competing with the Winter Olympics for viewers. That strategy paid off as the kudocast earned the best ratings since 2004. However, as that earlier date meant abbreviating the eligibility period by one month, next year's awards will reward discs released from Sept. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010.

• The 13th annual Teen Choice Awards will air on Monday Aug. 9 on Fox. These kudos -- honoring teen icons in movies, TV, music, sports and fashion -- are voted on by the public. Last year, "Twilight" won a record 11 surfboards -- including two for star Robert Pattinson -- while the Jonas Brothers took home five awards and Miley Cyrus won an even half dozen times.

• Oscar nominee Kristin Scott Thomas ("The English Patient") will be mistress of ceremonies once more at the Cannes film festival this year. This English rose is equally at home in France and will emcee the opening ceremony on May 12 as well as the closing festivities and awards presentation on May 23. She also performed these hosting duties back in 1999.

Polytechnique Genies • "Polytechnique" -- a black-and-white docudrama about a 1984 Montreal school shooting that left 14 women dead -- swept the 30th annual Genie Awards Monday winning nine of its leading 11 nominations. The film made simultaneously in both French and English dominated Canada's version of the Oscars taking home best picture, director (Denis Villeneuve), lead actress (Karine Vanasse), supporting actor Maxim Gaudette, screenplay (Jacques Davidts), cinematography (Pierre Gill), editing (Richard Comeau), overall sound and sound editing. Joshua Jackson won lead actor for "One Week" while Martha Burns won supporting actress for "Love & Savagery." The full list of winners can be found at the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television website. GENIES

Don Mischer will once again be involved in the staging of the academy's Governor awards this year. At the event set for Saturday, Nov. 13, one or more of the kudos approved by the academy board -- the Thalberg and Hersholt awards and the honorary Oscar -- will be presented.

Top photo: James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver on the set of "Avatar." Credit: Fox

Middle photo: Pulitzer prize medals. Credit: Pulitzer Prizes

Bottom photo: "Polytechnique" poster. Credit: Don Carmody Productions

OTHER POSTS:

'Next to Normal' wins Pulitzer Prize for drama

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

'Pyramid' to rise again on CBS daytime sked?

'Treme' -- HBO's next fierce Emmy juggernaut?

Tina Fey on 'Saturday Night Live': Give her another Emmy!

Emmy battle over best drama actor: Michael C. Hall vs. Bryan Cranston?

Tony Awards predix: 'American Idiot' and 'Enron' are front-runners to win best musical and play

David Sheward's gutsy, early Tony Award predictions

Photo gallery: Emmy's biggest snubs

'Lost' Emmy mystery solved: Terry O'Quinn returns to the supporting-actor race

Emmy gamble: 'Mad Men' star Elisabeth Moss drops to supporting

Again, Showtime ships first campaign mailer to Emmy voters

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'Next to Normal' wins Pulitzer Prize for drama

April 12, 2010 |  1:33 pm

Next to Normal poster The 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama has gone to the musical "Next to Normal." The tuner about a woman coping with mental illness contended for 11 Tony Awards last season, winning three: lead actress Alice Ripley, score by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (who share the Pulitzer and the $10,000 cash prize) and orchestrations. In the 92-year history of the Pulitzers, seven other musicals have won the award: "Of Thee I Sing" (1932); "South Pacific" (1950); "Fiorello" (1960); "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (1962); "A Chorus Line" (1976); "Sunday in the Park with George" (1985); and "Rent" (1996).

The board that administers the Pulitzers overruled the recommendation of the jury, which listed "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" by Kristoffer Diaz, "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" by Rajiv Joseph and "In the Next Room or the vibrator play" by Sarah Ruhl as the three finalists. The last of these also-rans played on Broadway earlier this season and could contend at the upcoming Tony Awards.

Three years ago, the board did another end-run when it awarded the Pulitzer to David Lindsay-Abaire for "Rabbit Hole." That nominating jury of five -- including New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel -- had put forth three other finalists. Snubbed were "Orpheus X" by Rinde Eckert, "Bulrusher" by Eisa Davis, and "Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue" by Quiara Alegría Hudes in favor of what many theater critics considered a mainstream commercial play admired mostly for the performance of red-hot "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon, who had won the 2006 Tony as lead actress for her raw portrayal of grief. "Rabbit Hole" lost the Tony for best play to "The History Boys" by British playwright Alan Bennett, just as "Next to Normal" was bested by the British "Billy Elliot" for the best musical Tony.

Last year, the board of the Pulitzers defied its stated creative mission when it bestowed the drama prize on Lynn Nottage's off-Broadway play "Ruined." According to its guidelines, the Pulitzer Prize is supposed to reward "a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life," but "Ruined" focused on the rape and genital mutilation of women during the civil war in the African Congo. Nonetheless, "Ruined" had been considered the front-runner to win, beating two other shows making the list of finalists: "Becky Shaw" by Gina Gionfriddo and 2008 Tony champ "In the Heights" by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes.

Two years ago, "August: Osage County" won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Penned by actor-turned-playwright Tracy Letts, this sprawling three-hour-plus play traced the slow disintegration of a contemporary Oklahoma family. First staged by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago in the summer of 2007, the production transferred to Broadway in November 2007, opening to near universal critical acclaim. Two months after winning the Pulitzer, "August: Osage County" swept the Tonys, taking home five awards, including best play.

For a complete list of winners and finalists, visit the Pulitzer website.

Photo: "Next to Normal" playbill. Credit: Booth Theater

OTHER POSTS:

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'Pyramid' to rise again on CBS daytime sked?

'Treme' -- HBO's next fierce Emmy juggernaut?

Tina Fey on 'Saturday Night Live': Give her another Emmy!

Emmy battle over best drama actor: Michael C. Hall vs. Bryan Cranston?

Tony Awards predix: 'American Idiot' and 'Enron' are front-runners to win best musical and play

David Sheward's gutsy, early Tony Award predictions

Photo gallery: Emmy's biggest snubs

'Lost' Emmy mystery solved: Terry O'Quinn returns to the supporting-actor race

Emmy gamble: 'Mad Men' star Elisabeth Moss drops to supporting

Again, Showtime ships first campaign mailer to Emmy voters

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: Oprah goes wild for 'Australia' | 'Defiance' gets mixed kudos reax | Harvey Weinstein follows Scott Rudin from Broadway to screen

November 11, 2008 |  4:09 pm

Sasha Stone reports that Oprah Winfrey went gaga over "Australia" when she hosted stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman on her daytime talkfest Monday. Even though she saw the original downbeat ending, Winfrey enthused, "I have not been this excited for a movie since I don’t know when. I’m telling you, have I got the movie for you. It's Australia_oprah_2 the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long, long, long time. It literally swept me off my feet." Given the resounding success of Oprah's last endorsement, rival studios might well wonder if Fox has a winning candidate here. Awards Daily

• Following yesterday's revelation that Baz Luhrmann has changed the ending of "Australia", Brad Brevet writes of, "a long chat with a Fox rep yesterday about the situation, and what I got from the conversation was that Luhrmann would not have changed the ending had he not wanted to, regardless of what Fox suits wanted." As Brevet explains, "In a short e-mail message sent to me one sentence pretty much seemed to sum up the conversation: Baz Luhrmann is a 'final cut' director and the studio has always been supportive of his choices." Rope of Silicon

Pete Hammond reports on the ultimately successful screening of Oscar contender "Defiance" as the closing film for the AFI filmfest last weekend. As per Pete, the film stopped halfway through for an unscheduled break due to a faulty fire alarm. This Oscarologist thinks, "This could be a sleeper contender for Vantage, particularly when it plays for the academy, which often goes for Holocaust-themed dramas." Notes on a Season

• "Defiance" received defiant reviews in the trades, however. Variety called it "a potentially exceptional story is told in a flatly unexceptional manner." The Hollywood Reporter agreed that it's "a story that needed to be told, (but) one wishes it could have been told more dynamically. "

August

Hmmm . . . did the early positive Oscar buzz for "Doubt" just get Harvey Weinstein all riled up? Now that it looks like his nemesis, producer Scott Rudin, has successfully transferred his Tonys and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway production to the silver screen, Harvey announces that the Weinstein Company has secured the film rights to the Tonys and Pulitzer Prize-winning "August: Osage County," which he invested in on Broadway. Variety reports that "playwright Tracy Letts is doing the adaptation. Harvey Weinstein said his company will fully finance and distribute the film with an eye toward a 2011 release." While Chicago-based thespian Deanna Dunagan won the lead actress Tony for playing the monstrous mama at the head of one helluva dysfunctional family, expect every woman of a certain age in Hollywood to lobby for this meaty part. However, with Meryl Streep topping our latest pundit roundup for her work as a different kind of manipulative mother in the screen version of the 2005 Tony and Pulitzer prize winning play "Doubt," the hunt may be over before it even began. Variety

Scott Feinberg serves up a treat with his podcast with best actress contender Kristin Scott Thomas ("I've Loved You So Long"). This one-time nominee ("The English Patient") is a pick of six of the seven pundits just surveyed. The Feinberg Files

• The acting branch of the academy and the SAG nominating committee are being sent screeners of the indie flick "Wendy and Lucy" on Wednesday. This low-budget feature stars one-time supporting nominee Michelle Williams ("Brokeback Mountain") as a woman at the end of the road both literally and metaphorically. Unlike years past, when voters were deluged with early screeners, this year's candidates, for the most part, held back till that other election was over. Expect mailboxes to be crammed full in the coming weeks.

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: Oops, Britney Spears won't do it again at the MTV Video Music Awards | Woody Allen satirizing diarizing | Humanitas scripting nods include 'Juno' scribe

August 26, 2008 |  4:58 pm

• The New York Daily News reports  Britney Spears will not perform on the MTV Video Music Awards. Says a spokesman for her manager, Larry Rudolph, "She did the promo for them, but there never were any Britney_spears_mtv_vma_2plans for her to appear on the show," which airs on Sept. 7.

While Britney is still expected to attend as a regular contender for "Piece of Me" (nominated for three awards, including video of the year), there was widespread hope that Britney Spears would redeem the performance she gave last year when she fell to pieces while staging "Gimme More." The Daily News adds, "The spokesman said it was 'wishful thinking' when Britney's hair colorist told E! News that he might be working on a look for her VMA performance."

• "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is already one of Woody Allen's best reviewed films in years, boasts a buzz-worthy performance from Penelope Cruz, and continues to do good business at the box office. Last weekend, Allen penned a fanciful series of diary entries for the New York Times that remind us why he has racked up a record number of Oscar screenplay nods (14), compared with 12 for Billy Wilder.

Joseph_jefferson

• While the Tony Awards celebrate the best of Broadway, regions around the country have their own versions of these stage kudos to salute homegrown productions. In Chicago, these awards, named for Joseph Jefferson — one of America's most popular touring actors of the 19th century (photo as Rip Van Winkle, left) — are celebrating their ruby anniversary this year. The burgeoning theater scene there has prompted a division of nominees for the Jeff Awards into large and midsize categories. Last year's big winner was the Steppenwolf Theatre production of "August: Osage County," which went on to sweep this year's Tonys. Tracy Letts, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of that epic family drama, returns to the competition this season with a much more low-key comedy "Superior Donuts." For the full list of nominees, CLICK HERE.

• The Humanitas prize was established in 1974 to "encourage, stimulate and sustain the nation's screenwriters in their humanizing task, and to give them the recognition they deserve." To that end, winners will be honored Sept. 17 with both a trophy and a cash prize. This year's nominees, drawn from film and TV, include two Oscar-nominated screenwriters — Ronald Harwood ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") and Nancy Oliver ("Lars and the Real Girl") — as well as Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning scripter of "Juno." For the full list of nominees in all nine categories,  CLICK HERE.

Fred_crane_2

Variety reports on the death of Fred Crane, pictured at right, who made his screen debut uttering the first line in the epic 1939 classic "Gone With the Wind." As one half of the Tarleton twins, (the other being George Reeves, best known as TV's "Superman"), Crane clamored for the attention of Scarlett O'Hara, (Vivien Leigh) who dismissed them both with "Fiddle dee dee!" The film, which won eight Academy Awards including best picture, is still thought to have sold more movie tickets than any other.

• Those wags at New York Magazine's Vulture blog are eagerly awaiting next week's release of "Shine Through It," the debut album of Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard. They showcase a recent promotional appearance of his and promise that this album may, indeed, be "something special."

• The Oscars just sent out an e-mail blast reminding filmmakers that Tuesday, Sept. 2, is the deadline for the submission of short subject and feature documentaries. Read about the rule requirements HERE and HERE.

(Photos: MTV, Denver Public Library)


L.A. Times wins Pulitzer Prize for "Altered Oceans" series

April 16, 2007 | 10:24 pm

The Los Angeles Times has won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for its widely acclaimed five-part series, "Altered Oceans." Marking the 38th award in the paper's history and recognized by the Pulitzer Board for Explanatory Reporting, "Altered Oceans" was conceived by Times' staff writer Ken Weiss. Weiss spent 18 months on the feature series exploring the current state of the ocean and was assisted by Times' photographer Rick Loomis and former Times' reporter Usha Lee McFarling. READ MORE - CLICK HERE!



Tony loser 'Rabbit Hole' pulls, well, a rabbit out of hat: Pulitzer!

April 16, 2007 |  1:47 pm

Rabbitx

In a move more befitting the tortoise than the hare, "Rabbit Hole," a play about the loss of a child written by David Lindsay-Abaire, won this year's Pulitzer Prize race for best play after the board overruled the Nominating Jury, which had put forth three other finalists.

The snubbed "Orpheus X" by Rinde Eckert, "Bulrusher" by Eisa Davis, and "Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue" by Quiara Alegría Hudes were chosen by a panel of five, including New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel. They were rejected in favor of what many theater critics considered a mainstream commercial play admired mostly for the performance of a red-hot former star of "Sex and the City." "Rabbit Hole" did win Cynthia Nixon a Tony last June as best actress for her raw portrayal of grief, but it lost the Tony for best play to "The History Boys" (a British work not eligible for the U.S. Pulitzer). This new honor comes with an added bonus: $10,000 in Yankee greenbacks as prize booty.

To see the full list of other Pultizer champs, too CLICK HERE, then click on the date "2007" in the timeline at the top of the page.

Photo: In "Rabbit Hole," Nixon starred opposite Tyne Daly, who lost the Tony race for best featured actress to Frances de la Tour of "The History Boys." In his review of their play, New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote, "'Rabbit Hole' dispenses with the flashy metaphors . . . . The resulting work belongs squarely to the school of what were once called kitchen-sink dramas. But the sink, in this instance, has been polished to a high, reflective sheen." (Biltmore Theatre)


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