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

Category: Robert Downey Jr.

Poll: Can Lindsay Lohan stage a Hollywood comeback?

July 21, 2010 |  1:28 pm

Lindsay Lohan faces the biggest crisis of her troubled career. She will spend the next two weeks in an L.A. jail and then 90 more days in rehab. This means she won't be available to promote her next film, the Robert Rodriguez action flick "Machete," which opens Sept. 3.

Lindsay lohan inferno And her summer in the slammer has delayed production on "Inferno," in which she is to play 1970s adult film star Linda Lovelace. That project holds promise and if done right could have Hollywood talking about Lohan's acting ability rather than her antics.

However, writer-director Matthew Wilder has just one credit to his name -- the 2008 dark comedy "Your Name Here" inspired by the life of sci-fi writer Phillip Dick. And a recent explanation of his vision for this new film remains murky. As Wilder explained to, "There will be full frontal nudity but it will not be cinematic nudity, it will be more violent nudity. For example, linked images of the Vietnam war, that kind of context." Just what that means remains to be seen.

Lohan's efforts to promote this picture at the Cannes filmfest in May went awry. Volcanic ash ground flights and she missed a court appearance tied to her 2007 arrest for cocaine use and reckless driving. Back then, Lohan served 84 minutes in jail and was put on probation for three years. That was extended by one year when she failed to complete an alcohol-education course.

2007 marked a low point in her film career as well. Lohan starred as a pair of separated-at-birth twins in the horrific "I Know Who Killed Me." The film won a record eight Razzie Awards, including three for Lohan, who tied with herself for worst actress and won worst screen couple. 

Less than a decade earlier, Lindsay Lohan had won over audiences and critics playing another set of twins in the 1998 Disney remake of "The Parent Trap." Five years later she starred in another Disney do-over -- "Freaky Friday" -- and won the breakthrough award at the MTV movie kudos. In 2004, she headlined the critically acclaimed "Mean Girls" and won both MTV Movie and Teen Choice awards.

Two years later, Lohan earned good reviews as part of the ensemble casts of a pair of prestigious projects. "A Prairie Home Companion" was the last film from auteur Robert Altman while "Bobby" marked the first feature helmed in a decade by actor Emilio Estevez. That film about events surrounding the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy was a contender at both the Golden Globes and Screen Actor Guild.

If Lohan is looking for inspiration in these dark days, one shining example is Robert Downey Jr., who also came to fame at a young age. He landed an Oscar nomination for "Chaplin" in 1992 but slid off the rails soon after and was arrested numerous times in the late 1990s before serving a year in jail. After his release, he turned to the small screen, winning a Golden Globe for a role on "Ally McBeal." While he lost that job after more trouble with the law, Downey eventually turned himself around and is now at the top of the A-list.

Photo: "Inferno" promotional poster. Credit: Tyler Shields.

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'Avatar' leads with 10 Saturn Awards nominations

February 19, 2010 | 11:08 am

Avatar Oscars Nuggets"Avatar" leads the competition at the upcoming Saturn Awards, with 10 nominations including bids for best fantasy picture, leads Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana and supporting players Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver.

"Sherlock Holmes" has eight nominations while "Watchmen" and "Inglorious Basterds" earned seven apiece. "District 9" and "Star Trek" both contend in six races, though Oscar nominee "District 9" did not earn a best picture bid from these kudos.

This 36th annual edition of the awards honors films across four genres -- sci-fi, fantasy, horror and action/adventure/thriller. Though there are four best film awards, the other categories cull nominees from all four genres.

The best director race includes "Avatar" helmer James Cameron -- who has won this award four times -- and two of his Oscar rivals Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") and Quentin Tarantino ("Inglorious Basterds"), with both their films contending in the catch-all action/adventure/thriller category. The other nominees: J.J. Abrams ("Star Trek"), Neil Blomkamp ("District 9"), Guy Ritchie ("Sherlock Holmes") and Zack Snyder ("Watchmen").

Robert Downey Jr. -- who won the best actor award last year for "Iron Man" and in 1993 for "Heart and Souls" -- is nominated for "Sherlock Holmes" against "Brothers" star Tobey McGuire -- who won in 2004 for "Spider-Man 2" -- four-time runner-up Viggo Mortensen ("The Road") and first-time nominees Denzel Washington ("The Book of Eli") and Worthington.

The best actress race includes first-time nominees Melanie Laurent ("Inglorious Basterds"), Alison Lohman ("Drag Me to Hell") and Saldana as well as "Brothers" star Natalie Portman -- who won this race in 2007 for "V is for Vendetta" -- two-time nominee Charlize Theron ("The Burning Plain") and one-time nominee Catherine Keener ("Where the Wild Things Are"). 

Members of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror decide on both nominees and the winners, which will be announced June 24. Begun in 1972 to honor often overlooked films, the organization has expanded its reach in recent years, adding TV awards in 1989 as well as that expanded category of action/adventure/thriller films in 1994 and DVD releases in 2003.

For the full list of nominees, visit the academy's website.

Photo: "Avatar" publicity still. Credit: Fox


Will BAFTAs preview Oscars again?

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Avatar' actors snub explained | Harvey Weinstein campaign tactics | Tina Fey encoring Sarah Palin?

More pundits dish: Can 'Inglourious Basterds' pull off an Oscar upset for best picture?

Gold Derby nuggets: Brits go Lady Gaga | Oscars set set | Prince William presenting at BAFTAs

Pundits pipe in: 'Yes, "Inglourious Basterds" can pull off an Oscar upset'; 'No, "Basterds" will not win best picture'

Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars: No singing, lots of dancing | Oscars nominee luncheon reports | James Cameron: 'Failure is an option'

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Avatar' & 'Hurt Locker' win with guilds | Barbara Walters ends Oscars specials | Emmy champ David Canary leaving 'AMC'

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Poll: Who'll win the Golden Globe for best comedy/musical actor?

January 15, 2010 | 11:09 am

Personally, I think Daniel Day-Lewis will win the Golden Globe for best musical-comedy actor even though "Nine" is being pooh-poohed by movie-goers and many film critics. Globe voters are, simply put, crazy about songfests when nominated in those separate categories they have just for comedies/musicals.

Golden globes robert downey jr joseph gordon levitt news 2

Recent champs in this lead-actor race include Johnny Depp and Joaquin Phoenix, but "Sweeney Todd" and "Walk the Line" were successful tuners. So Day-Lewis is vulnerable, not only because "Nine" flopped, but because many film critics blame Day-Lewis' scowling performance bereft of winking charm. However, many members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. liked his performance and are blinded by superstars in general.

Robert Downey Jr. has a socko chance to win considering his recent career rebound (thank you, "Iron Man") and his surprisingly successful "Sherlock Holmes" ($169 million U.S. box office), but his role doesn't have actorly pretention, that overused word gravitas.

Michael Stuhlbarg certainly displays that in "A Serious Man," but it's not nominated for best picture, which is surprising considering it's a Coen brothers' flick. Maybe voters don't like it all that much?

Matt Damon gives a full-bodied performance, literally, in "The Informant!" but a few Golden Globe voters told me that HFPA members didn't like the flick. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is adorable in "(500) Days of Summer," but that film is a light comedy, which some voters might confuse with lightweight. Hmmm … so who will win, do you think? Also vote in our polls for best drama film, lead drama actor, lead drama actress, best comedy/musical film and  lead comedy/musical actress.

Photos: "Sherlock Holmes" (Warner Bros.), "Nine" (Weinstein Co.), "(500) Days of Summer" (Fox Searchlight

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'The Dark Knight' dominates Saturn Awards with 11 nods while 'Twilight' is almost shut out

March 11, 2009 |  4:39 am

"The Dark Knight" dominates the competition at the upcoming Saturn Awards, leading with 11 nominations, including a best picture bid as well as acting nods for leads Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhaal and supporting players Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart. Three years ago, "Batman Begins" won three of its nine Saturn Awards races — fantasy film, lead actor (Christian Bale), and writing (Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer).


This 35th annual edition of the awards honors films across four genres — sci-fi, fantasy, horror and action/adventure/thriller. That last catch-all category is where "The Dark Knight" is competing against "Changeling," "Gran Torino," "Quantum of Solace," "Traitor," and "Valkyrie."

"Valkyrie," directed by sci-fi veteran Bryan Singer, earned mixed reviews but did surprisingly well in terms of the Saturns. Besides that best picture bid, the film's seven Saturn nods include one for leading man Tom Cruise and another for Singer. Cruise is a previous seven-time Saturn nominee with one win for "Vanilla Sky" back in 2001, while Singer is a five-time contender winning for "X-Men" in 2000.

As the acting races span all four genres, Cruise's competition besides Bale (a two-time nominee) includes Oscar nominee Brad Pitt, who picked up his third Saturn nod with his bid for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." That epic time-traveling fantasy earned nine nods in total. Sci-fi hit "Iron Man" scored eight including a lead actor nom for Robert Downey Jr., who won this award in 1993 for "Heart and Souls" and had one other nod. Harrison Ford contends for his work in the sci-fi romp "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which has six nominations in total. Ford won lead actor for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1982 and has now been nominated for all four films in the franchise.

Heartthrob Robert Pattinson was snubbed for his leading role in "Twilight." Did past four-time nominee Will Smith, who won the award last year for "I Am Legend," edge him out with his nod for "Hancock"? That critical flop but commercial hit also landed a bid for best fantasy film as well as a second supporting actress nod for Charlize Theron. The only nomination for "Twilight" came in the fantasy film race where it faces off against "Hancock" as well as "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Spiderwick Chronicles" and "Wanted."

Pattinson's "Twilight" love interest, Kristen Stewart, was likewise left off the list of lead actress nominees. Oscar contender Angelina Jolie competes here as "Changeling" earned her a third Saturn nod. Among her competiton are two other Oscar winners — Cate Blanchett, who picked up Saturn nod No. 4 for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and Gwyneth Paltrow, who landed her second Saturn nom for "Iron Man" — as well as four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore, who is now a four-time Saturn nominee with her bid for "Blindness," newbie Emily Mortimer ("Transsiberian"), and one-time past Saturn nominee Gyllenhaal.

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Week in Review - Oscars Edition: Predictions for every race | Telecast details | Nominees cursed and blessed | Quizzes galore

February 22, 2009 |  2:26 am


Gold Derby's gutsy, 100% accurate Oscars predictions

Gold Derby odds on the top Oscars races

Experts predict who'll win the Oscars

Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke in a real heavyweight bout

Can Meryl Streep beat Kate Winslet at the Oscars?

Rookie pundit needs a new Oscars crystal ball



Will Rob Pattinson sing with Mary Poppins at the Oscars?

Will Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, Zac Efron and Rob Pattinson wow Oscars' viewers?

'Twilight' star Robert Pattinson will be an Oscars presenter

Some Oscars TV ads still for sale — only $1.4 million a pop!

Oscars are the Emmys' biggest winner


Sneak Peek: See Hugh Jackman warming up his Oscar act

Can Hugh Jackman continue the Oscars' love affair with Emmys?


Heath Ledger's ultimate joke on the Oscars?

Heath Ledger's family plans to take his Oscar, which should go to Matilda if he wins!

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could be latest couple cursed at the Oscars

Will Brad Pitt lose best actor due to Oscars' Slap the Stud Syndrome?

Will the Babe Factor help Kate Winslet in a close Oscars contest with Meryl Streep?

Watch out, Mickey Rourke: Indie Spirit is Oscar's consolation prize

Penelope Cruz: 'Whatever happens, I will probably have a few beers and I don't drink!'

No 'Doubt' Viola Davis could win at Oscars for portraying a long-suffering wife


'Slumdog Millionaire' isn't doomed at the Oscars just because its actors got snubbed

The Oscars' best picture usually = big picture

Could 'Curious Case of Benjamin Button' suffer the worst shut-out in Oscars history?

No, there is no bias against foreigners at the Oscars

Here's why there will be an Oscars upset for best foreign film


Did 'Ben-Hur' deserve to win best picture at the Oscars?


Quiz: Which actor had the most Oscar bids in a row?

Quiz: Which Bette Davis flick suffered the worst Oscars' shut-out?

Quiz: Who turned down Jodie Foster's Oscar-winning role in 'Lambs'?

Quiz: Who won an Oscar on her birthday?

Quiz: Which Oscar-winning role was not gay?

Quiz: How much does an Oscar cost to make?

Quiz: Which movies won for writing, directing and acting, but failed to win best picture?

Illustration by Ty Wilson

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Can Robert Downey Jr. beat Heath Ledger at the Golden Globes?

December 11, 2008 | 11:59 am

There are two serious threats to Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight") at the Oscars, who did not receive Golden Globe nominations today: Dev Patel ("Slumdog Millionaire") and Josh Brolin ("Milk"). If "Slumdog Millionaire" wins best picture at the Oscars, as many pundits believe, remember this: The top champ often claims an acting award. That means Patel, if nommed, must be taken seriously. In Brolin's case, he starred in the academy's best-pic champ of last year ("No Country for Old Men"), wasn't nommed, so he's got a big Oscar IOU. Also, Brolin just happens to be on a hot streak over all. He's got just the kind of momentum and cool factor that might tempt voters to pick him over Heath Ledger.


But a star with a mega-cool factor did make the Golden Globes lineup — Robert Downey Jr. ("Tropic Thunder") — who could also pose a serious challenge at the Oscars. What's fascinating about his run for these awards is the sharp contrast his personal story has to Heath Ledger's. In a sense, Downey is the anti-Ledger — he's a studly star who demonstrated serious acting promise when young, but didn't die tragically from drugs. In fact, he rallied in rehab spectacularly. Voters may find that a hopeful spin, especially considering this has been his break-out year with the surprise success of "Iron Man."

Another promising young stud who died tragically and got nominated at the Oscars (twice) didn't win despite having sentiment on his side: James Dean lost posthumous bids for "East of Eden" and "Giant." Spencer Tracy seemed like a shoo-in to win best actor at the Globes and Oscars when nommed posthumously for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," but lost. Peter Finch ("Network") won the Globe and Oscar posthumously, but he died immediately before those ceremonies. His loss was still weighing heavily upon their minds when voters were inking their ballots. In January, Heath Ledger will have been dead one year.

Photos: Paramount, Warner Bros.

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscar hopes dim (again) for Tom Cruise? | Gotham Awards to honor Penelope Cruz | See Hugh Laurie's and Michael C. Hall's Emmy eppys

August 19, 2008 |  4:03 pm

• Just days after United Artists moved the release "Valkyrie" back into derby season, thus generating renewed hope that Tom Cruise might be back in the running for best actor, comes disappointing news. Brian Kinsley of says about Tom Cruise's role after reading the script: "I can’t Valkyrie_tom_cruise imagine (Cruise) being nod-worthy in such a packed year." Kinsley describes the flick as "seemingly more of a people pleaser than an Oscar chaser." So that means we'll probably see another one of Cruise's ex-lovers beat him to the podium. First, there was Cher, then Nicole Kidman, next Penelope Cruz . . . .

Penelope Cruz may begin her march to Oscar glory later this year when she'll be presented with a special Gotham Award Tribute at the Gotham Awards on Dec. 2 in New York City.

• Much web-howling could be heard when Jeff Wells of suggested that Robert Downey Jr. might be nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor for portraying a ridiculous Oscar winner in "Tropic Thunder," but now Sasha Stone of takes the notion seriously too.


• The second season of "Dexter" (Emmy nominatee for best drama series) just came out on DVD. If you buy it, pay careful attention to the episode titled "There's Something About Harry" — that's the one Michael C. Hall entered in the best-actor derby. Pay attention to the episode of "House M.D. " titled "House's Head" on the new DVDs of Season 4 that just got came out. That's the one Hugh Laurie submitted to Emmy jurors in the race against Hall. Kona Gallagher of calls "House's Head" one of the greatest TV episodes ever and offers video sneak peeks of the upcoming season, which starts on Sept. 16, but can be previewed HERE.

• Don't expect Michael Jackson to "join his siblings on Sept. 4 when they pick up their lifetime achievement salutes at the BMI Urban Awards," reports the New York Post. The singer, who is reportedly in a wheelcheer nowadays, "hasn't spoken to his brothers since he was acquitted of child molestation charges three years ago — even though they've been trying to reach him about money he owes them," adds the Post. "Sources say Wacko Jacko owes Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and Jackie Jackson $840,000 in royalties from their Jackson 5 hits."

(Photos: United Artists, Fox, Showtime)

Will Ben Stiller finally get the last awards laugh for 'Tropic Thunder'?

August 14, 2008 | 11:47 am

While funnyman Ben Stiller continues to bring his fresh approach to a string of successful comedies with the just-opened "Tropic Thunder," he is treated like old-time comic Rodney Dangerfield at showbiz awards: He gets no respect.

Despite appearances in such box-office smashes as "Night at the Museum" and both "Meet the Parents" and sequel "Meet the Fockers," Ben Stiller's mantle is surprisingly bare. He did win an Emmy Award for being part of the writing team of his short-lived self-titled TV variety show back in 1992. However, all this son of TV stars Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara has to show for his 15 years of films are three MTV Movie Awards and one win at the Teen Choice Awards. He has racked up 14 nods apiece with these two popular vote contests.


And it is unlikely that, despite some glowing notices, "Tropic Thunder" will change this lack of love for Stiller. Meta Critic scores the Hollywood satire at a respectable 73 while the top tier of critics surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes comes in at 84. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly said, "It's raunchy, outspoken — and also a smart and agile dissection of art, fame, and the chutzpah of big-budget productions" while David Ansen of Newsweek calls it "the funniest movie of the summer."

While Ben Stiller wrote, directed and stars in the movie, his co-stars get the lion's share of good reviews. As Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times writes, "All but stealing the show, Robert Downey Jr. is not merely funny but also very good and sometimes even subtle as Kirk Lazarus, an Australian actor who has won five Oscars and has surgically dyed his skin to transform himself into a black man." Jack Black also gets kudos for skewering his typical manic movie style while Tom Cruise scores in a showy supporting role as a studio chief.

For Stiller, attention has focused instead on his controversial depiction of the developmentally challenged in a subplot of the movie. He told ABC, "In the context of the film I think it's really clear, they were making fun of the actors who try to use serious subjects to win awards."

Ironically, his satirizing such craven moves on the part of his Hollywood brethren is unlikely to win him any awards. His best shot at an acting nod would be at the Golden Globes, which have ignored him in the past. Instead, his co-stars in "Something About Mary" (Cameron Diaz) and "Meet the Parents" (Robert De Niro) have gotten the nods.

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MTV Movie Awards wrap-up: How hot were they?

June 2, 2008 |  8:45 am


Reax to the MTV Movie Awards show is pretty good, which is impressive considering that the gala was under fire or, rather, just a few hundred yards above when a scary blaze raged on the Universal lot just earlier in the day.

I'm on vacation this week out in Ohio with my family, so I missed the gig. Check out the thorough coverage elsewhere on the site: list of winnahs, dishin' on the best and worst of the show, photos of arrivals, red carpet rewind, report on the fire aftermath.

Also, check out other media reports: Associated Press , Reuters, USA Today , E! Online.

Below are some snarky comments from our forum posters. To read more, CLICK HERE.

booyahboy: Ugh, seriously. Can't people get over their obsession long enough to realize (Johnny Depp's) actually right when he says he isn't even funny.

Pacinofan: "Transformers" winning over "Juno" or "Superbad"!!??!! No sir. Didn't see that coming. The show was worth it for the Ben Stiller/Jack Black/Robert Downey Jr. sketch.

Continue reading »

EW: 'Iron Man' deserves an Oscar!

May 5, 2008 |  2:59 pm

Entertainment Weekly insists that "Iron Man" should be a strong player at the Oscars — and not just in the tech categories. Iron_man_robert_downey_jr_3Critic Ken Tucker harrumphs at EW's PopWatch blog: "Hey, remember the whining about the last Oscar telecast, with its low-wattage star vehicles and lower ratings, and all the hand-wringing the media, including EW, did over how to improve the Oscars? Here’s a thought. Hey, Hollywood and the Motion Picture Academy: Take a closer squint at the big summer movies. Take them, ahem, seriously. As far as I’m concerned, Downey’s performance should go on any short list that anyone draws up of potential Oscar nominees."

(Photos: Paramount/ AMPAS)



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