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Category: Tom Cruise

Even with Razzies, Tom Cruise trounced by Adam Sandler

June 28, 2010 |  2:00 pm

Knight and Day Tom Cruise Cameron Diaz The Tom Cruise comeback vehicle "Knight and Day" stalled at the box office this weekend earning just $20.5 million despite generally decent reviews. Audiences proved to be relatively indifferent to Cruise and his costar Cameron Diaz, another one-time draw desperately in need of a hit. Instead, they went flocking to the critically reviled "Grown Ups" -- the latest comedy from Adam Sandler -- which took in exactly twice as much as "Knight and Day." The combination of boffo box office and boos from the critics for "Grown Ups" proved irresistible to those rascals at the Razzie Awards, who are already touting its potential. 

Even pairing up with Diaz -- a two-time worst actress nominee -- cannot get Cruise any love from the Razzies. However, he does have a pair of these trophies already. In 1994, Cruise and his "Interview With a Vampire" costar Brad Pitt tied for worst couple with Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone ("The Specialist"). And in 2005, Cruise and his intended Katie Holmes captured the tabloid target prize. Alas, he went down to defeat in both of his worst actor races at the Razzies, losing in 1988 for "Cocktail" to Stallone (Rambo III") and in 2005 for "War of the Worlds" to Rob Schneider ("Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo"), who features in "Grown Ups."

That Cruise can't even capture the attention of these kudos devoted to celebrating the best of the worst in movie-making says something about his dwindling star power. After all, there were enough scathing notices to drag the Meta Critic score for "Knight and Day" down to a middling 47, including one by Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal who thought, "the source of this movie's energy is near-perpetual desperation." And A.O. Scott of the New York Times did describe the film as "a loud, seemingly interminable, and altogether incoherent entry in the preposterous and proliferating action-comedy genre." But other top-notch critics were more impressed. Claudia Puig of USA Today thought, "It's a quintessential movie hybrid: a romantic thriller with exciting high-speed chases, brisk comedy and exotic scenery." And admitted Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, "Basically, what I wanted was more of it ... More of the stars. Because movie stars really do make a difference. I insist on it."

Grown Ups Adam Sandler Ebert was dismissive of "Grown Ups," calling it "a pleasant, genial, good-hearted, sometimes icky comedy that’s like spending a weekend with well-meaning people you don’t want to see again any time real soon." And that was one of the best reviews. Most were more along the lines of Stephen Holden, who wrote in the New York Times, "It doesn’t get worse than 'Grown Ups,' Adam Sandler’s sloppy entry into this year’s man-child-comedy sweepstakes. Lazy, mean-spirited, incoherent, infantile and, above all, witless." Ouch! Such pans produced a Meta Critic score for "Grown Ups" of just 30, placing it along side "Marmaduke" and below even the box office bomb "Jonah Hex."

While Cruise's track record at the Razzies is embarrassing enough, it seems downright respectable next to Sandler's list of dubious achievements. He has amassed six worst actor bids and won for "Big Daddy" in 1999. Sandler has also racked up two worst screenplay noms as well as a worst couple mention. And, as the Razzie post notes, the pedigree of those associated with "Grown Ups" -- Kevin James, Sandler, Schneider as well as helmer Dennis Dugan -- combine for a "staggering career total of 19 Razzie nominations."

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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.

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Did Rob Pattinson's hair rescue Tom Cruise's career at the MTV Movie Awards?

June 6, 2010 |  9:45 pm

Ah, not too long ago, Tom Cruise was a heartthrob coddled and cooed over at the MTV Movie Awards. Between 1993 and 2005, Cruise was nominated a dozen times and won twice: best male performance of 1997 ("Jerry Maguire") and 2001 ("Mission: Impossible II"). But now that his career looks like it's had all the blood sucked out of it, a vampire swooped down to Cruise's rescue at the awardscast tonight: stud du jour Robert Pattinson ("Twilight: New Moon"). Here's a replay of their memorable vignette.


'Twilight: New Moon' vampires ruled the night at MTV Movie Awards

Poll: Was Sandra Bullock awesome or awful at MTV Movie Awards?

MTV Movie Awards prediction: 'Twilight: New Moon' will slay 'Avatar'

Pssst! Here's everything you need to know about tonight's MTV Movie Awards

Video: MTV

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Do you think Johnny Depp is the actor most overdue to win an Oscar?

March 11, 2009 |  6:05 pm

In our poll on actors most overdue to win at the Oscars, Johnny Depp is leading by a wide margin. Currently he has received almost 44% of the votes while Leonardo DiCaprio sits in second place with 16% of the total. And none of the remaining eight choices — Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr., Ralph Fiennes, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law or Brad Pitt — is above 7% in the latest results.


All of the actors in our poll have been jilted by the Oscars at least once. At 60, Samuel L. Jackson is the oldest of them and he picked up his lone supporting nod for "Pulp Fiction" in 1994. Jeff Bridges, 59, has four Oscar nods under his belt — supporting: "The Last Picture Show" (1971); "Thunderbolt & Lightfoot" (1974); and "The Contender" (2000); and lead: "Starman" (1984). Ed Harris, 58, also has four Oscar nominations that follow the same pattern — supporting: "Apollo 13" (1995); "The Truman Show" (1998); and "The Hours" (2002); and lead: "Pollock" (2000).

Of those men in their 40s, Cruise and Fiennes are both 46. Tom Cruise has three losing bids — lead for "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989) and "Jerry Maguire" (1996); and supporting for "Magnolia" (1999). Ralph Fiennes was nominated for his roles in two best picture champs — supporting in "Schindler's List" (1993) and lead for "The English Patient" (1996). Both Depp and Pitt are 45. Johnny Depp has earned three lead actor bids in the last six years: "Pirates of the Caribbean" (2003); "Finding Neverland" (2004); and "Sweeney Todd" (2007). Brad Pitt lost supporting actor in 1995 for "Twelve Monkeys" and was a lead actor nominee last month for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Now 43, Robert Downey Jr. was a lead actor contender for "Chaplin" in 1992 and just lost the supporting race for "Tropic Thunder."

Jude Law is 36 and has contended once for supporting ("The Talented Mr. Ripley," 1999) and once for lead ("Cold Mountain," 2003). And while Leonardo DiCaprio is the youngest of these actors at 33, he has already earned three Oscar nominations: supporting for "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" (1993) and lead for "The Aviator" (2004) and "Blood Diamond" (2006).

Of these 10 men, three appear in upcoming pictures that appear to be viable Oscar vehicles, at least on paper. Johnny Depp stars in Michael Mann's "Public Enemies." Leonardo DiCaprio has reunited with Martin Scorsese for "Shutter Island." And Brad Pitt has the lead in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds"

Cast your vote here. Then check back to see how your choice is doing. If your pick is not among the 10 in this poll, vote for whomever you like by clicking on the "Comments" link below. Ed Norton has already earned a load of write-in votes. And join in the heated discussion on this topic in our message boards.

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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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Which actor is most overdue to win an Oscar?

March 8, 2009 |  9:24 am

Now that Kate Winslet is no longer poor Kate Winslet, five-time loser of the Academy Award, it's time to decide who deserves our pity next.

Nathaniel Rogers got this new pity party started over at Film Experience, combining male and female performers and deciding that we should all be boo-hoo-hoo-ing over Michelle Pfeiffer. Not a bad choice. She's lost three times and may be nominated next year for "Chéri," director Stephen Frears' adaptation of the romance novel penned by Colette. But there are so many snubbed stars in the Hollywood firmament, frankly, we'd like to break up this Oscars discussion into two parts based upon gender.

Let's start with the guys and have you pick the star you think we should all be rooting for.


Of course, Peter O'Toole is most overdue in the literal sense, being the Oscars' biggest loser (eight defeats). But at this point, let's be honest, his hopes look dim. Besides, he's already got an honorary Oscar.

Poor Albert Finney doesn't have one of those and he's lost five times in the competitive races, but, truth be told, he also looks like a lost cause. He should have been nominated for "Big Fish" in 2003 but was snubbed. That tells us something, probably that the Oscar  voters don't appreciate how often he snubs them back, usually not bothering to attend the ceremony when he gets into the race. That started with his first big nom as best actor in 1963. The night "Tom Jones" won best picture at the Oscars, its star preferred to be in Hawaii partying with some foxy gals, so press reports tattled.

There are many others too, but our poll can only accommodate 10 names, so I had to be selective. Obvious choices are highly regarded, red-hot actors such as Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Johnny Depp could be back in the running soon with Michael Mann's "Public Enemies," Brad Pitt with Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" and Leo DiCaprio with Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island."

Stars like Donald Sutherland aren't here because they've never been nominated. Some chaps like Bill Murray and Edward Norton aren't listed because, well, they have PR problems within the industry and winning would be difficult for them, though not impossible. Others, including Liam Neeson and Dennis Hopper, aren't here because of my whim, but they were carefully considered. Really! Feel free to vote for whomever you like by clicking on the "Comments" link below. And please join in the heated discussion on this topic on our message boards.


Heath Ledger's Oscar goes to Michelle Williams, not the Ledger clan

Quiz: What Oscar champ also won the Nobel Prize?

Truly rotten: 'Slumdog Millionaire' ranked below 'Unforgiven' on Oscars list

Did 'Casablanca' deserve to win best picture at the Oscars?

Quiz: Who was the youngest winner of best actress at the Oscars?

Photos: the Weinstein Co., Universal

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Gold Derby nuggets: Barbara Walters fascinated by Will Smith & Frank Langella | Debate over lead vs. supporting at Oscars| Emmy champs coming and going | Grammys welcome Oscar rejects

December 4, 2008 |  5:19 pm

• Two potential best actor Oscar nominees — Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon") and Will Smith ("Seven Pounds") — as well as improbable best song Oscar nominee Miley Cyrus, possible Razzie acting nominee Tom Cruise ("Valkyrie") and Emmy darling Tina Fey ("30 Rock") are among those who fascinated Barbara Seven_pounds_will_smith Walters enough to make her top 10 list. Rounding out the roster are Olympic champ Michael Phelps, VP also-ran Gov. Sarah Palin, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, and man-turned-mother Thomas Beatie. And the No. 1 pick to be revealed on tonight's ABC special — almost certainly President-elect Barack Obama.

• Envelope colleague Pete Hammond offers a fascinating look at the decision-making process behind category placement for actors at the Oscars. He focuses on the debate about whether Kate Winslet should go lead or supporting for "The Reader" as well as the reasoning underlying Philip Seymour Hoffman being put forward as a supporting player for his leading role in "Doubt." Notes on a Season

Allison Waldman of TV Squad reports on the newest inductees into the TV academy's Hall of Fame -- star Bea Arthur ("Maude," "The Golden Girls"), writer Larry Gelbart ("M*A*S*H*"), talker and game show pioneer Merv Griffin, creator Sherwood Schwartz ("Gilligan's Island," "The Brady Bunch") and ABC execs Daniel B. Burke and Thomas Murphy. The six honorees will be feted Dec. 8 in Beverly Hills. TV Squad


Guy Lodge of In Contention provides insight into the Grammy nominees for best score. While TV shows can contend, all five nominees come from the movies, including two ruled ineligible for the Oscars — Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard ("The Dark Knight") and Johnny Greenwood ("There Will Be Blood") — as well as Thomas Newman for "WALL-E," Ramin Djawadi (surprise!) for "Iron Man" and John Williams (yawn) for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." In Contention

Variety details the new NBC sked with one-time Emmy champ "The Office" slated for the post-Super Bowl slot with a one-hour special (rather than splitting the time with the upcoming spin-off) and one of the all-time Emmy champs "ER" signing off after 15 seasons March 12. "Medium" starring Emmy winner Patricia Arquette is slated to return Feb. 2, while "Celebrity Apprentice" hits the airwaves March 1.

New York Vulture feeds on the news that a legit tuner version of "The Flintstones" is in development. This one-time Emmy-nominated TV show from the 1960s has already spawned a hit 1994 movie and a miss 2000 sequel. Speculating on the casting, "we hear the movie version of Betty Rubble, Rosie O'Donnell, is newly available. But let's focus on the important stuff, shall we? Please, lordy, let them cast Suri Cruise as Pebbles." New York Vulture

Photos: Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros.

'Valkyrie' to 'Heil Razzies'?

November 26, 2008 |  9:44 am

Looks like the Razzies are confident in their prophesy that "Valkyrie" will land in their next derby, which commences on Jan. 21 when noms are unveiled. Last year the Razzie ceremony ended with big photos on stage of films they expect to see next year. Tom Cruise in that eyepatch got the biggest play — and the most howls, guffaws and applause from the audience.

Now check out the far left column of their website and follow the link to Courtney Hazlett's "'Scoop" column at She gives her tattle report on a screening of "Valkyrie," which notes, "A scene where Cruise's character, Claus Von Stauffenberg, is forced to give the infamous 'Heil Hitler' salute. 'It's an unsettling scene but you almost start to laugh,' a source says. 'His character is resisting it but you never forget it’s Tom Cruise saying 'Heil Hitler.' It's funny and shocking at the same time . . . . 

"The film just isn't a thriller at all," said one 'Valkyrie' viewer. 'It's a bunch of white guys in Nazi uniforms. It's too bad. And Tom doesn't speak with a German accent — though they did add a voiceover of him speaking German to the beginning of the film. Still, it's as if he could say "I complete you" at any time. This is not his Oscar moment."


Photo: United Artists

Will winning 'Sexiest Man Alive' lose 'Australia' hunk Hugh Jackman the Oscar?

November 19, 2008 |  3:16 pm

This has been quite a week already for Hugh Jackman and it is only Wednesday. On Monday, he got good reviews from his hometown papers when the long-awaited epic "Australia" world premiered in Sydney. And today, People magazine named him the "Sexiest Man Alive." However, while those critical hurrahs help Hugh in his first serious Oscar campaign, being hailed as a himbo won't win him many votes.


Indeed, older male academy members have a long-standing tradition of slapping the stud of the moment when it comes time to hand out hardware. (Read all about my Slap the Stud Oscar Theory.) Jackman certainly checks all the boxes when it comes to qualifying as a stud: rugged good looks, those abs, a dreamy accent, a lovely blonde wife. And he won't be winning over any of those old-timers by playing the romantic cowboy who rides to Nicole Kidman's rescue in "Australia."

While Kidman benefitted from the Babe Factor when she won best actress six years ago for "The Hours," her ex-hubby Tom Cruise has seen his Oscar hopes dashed three times. Old-timers who have been put out to pasture still love the young fillies, but they resent these handsome bucks. Their message to Hollywood heartthrobs: "You already have it all — fame, fortune and females aplenty. So, sorry, pal, no Oscar for you just yet."

The solution? Just like the pretty women who de-glamourize themselves (Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"; Charlize Theron, "Monster") to win an Oscar, so too can the handsome hunks who pack on a few pounds, a la two-time Sexiest Man Alive (1997, 2006) George Clooney in 2005's "Syriana." Last year, Javier Bardem was the hunk du jour whose unflattering Buster Brown bowl cut in "No Country for Old Men" probably helped him win the supporting actor award. And this year, two-time Sexiest Man Alive (1995, 2000) Brad Pitt hides his good looks under layers of latex in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

Last year, with Clooney reverting to his usual movie-star-handsome-self in "Michael Clayton," the Slap the Stud Syndrome put Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood") back in the winner's circle, just as it had in 1989 when his performance in "My Left Foot" edged out first-time nominee Cruise up for "Born on the Fourth of July." Cruise had to make do with winning the 1990 Sexiest Man Alive title. Last year's other pretty-boy nominee — Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd") — was the 2003 Sexiest Man Alive.

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Should Oscarologists be leery of that wacky Tom Cruise in that sneaky Nazi flick?

October 31, 2008 |  3:29 pm

United Artists insists that Tom Cruise's next flick "Valkyrie" is not an Oscar contender. Studio execs claim it's just a great, old-fashioned popcorn thriller that just so happens to showcase an Oscar-overdue superstar in a film opening up at peak Oscar time: Dec. 26. That's the same day that top derby contender "Revolutionary Road" debuts and, curiously, one day after another lead pony, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," hits the track running.


Do we believe UA? Should we write off "Valkyrie"? Or are the studio chiefs just downplaying Oscar expectations to dodge humiliation if the controversial Cruise gets snubbed? No such Oscar pooh-poohing went on early this year when "Valkyrie" was still scheduled to debut in theaters at the start of Oscar season — Oct. 3. However, when the trailer came out in summer and some bully bloggers mocked Tom Cruise for using a Yankee accent to portray a Nazi, "Valkyrie" suddenly got pushed out of the derby entirely. Its release date got bumped to next February.

But then later, quietly, it got moved back onto the 2008 calendar and we Oscarologists must now wonder: Should we watch that sneaky Nazi flick closely? "Valkyrie" has a lot of Oscar-friendly elements and, if it's as good as its early buzz (which is strong), it could take us by surprise and break out as a major contender if Hollywood suddenly decides that this is the moment to forgive Cruise for all past craziness. In recent months, he has been handling his PR rehabilitation admirably.

At 46, Tom Cruise is at a crossroads career-wise. His action movies are not the guaranteed hits they once were and his last serious film, "Lions for Lambs," was slaughtered by critics. However, after three losing Oscar bids ("Born on the Fourth of July," "Jerry Maguire," and "Magnolia"), some may consider Cruise overdue to win. His latest role certainly ticks a lot of boxes on the acting checklist.

Tom Cruise plays a true-life WW II hero, as did past acting champs Adrien Brody ("The Pianist") and William Holden ("Stalag 17"). This hero has a physical handicap (covered by that eye patch) just like past winners Al Pacino ("Scent of a Woman") and Daniel Day-Lewis ("My Left Foot"). However, just as his "Lambs" co-star Robert Redford chose not to attempt an accent while portraying an Englishman in "Out of Africa," Cruise chooses not to sound too German as an officer plotting to kill Hitler. His other "Lambs" co-star, Meryl Streep, could have reminded Cruise that, if a foreign accent is successfully employed, it can boost a star's odds to be nominated, but he didn't want to chance it. Perhaps wisely. As a payoff for pulling off a Danish lilt in "Out of Africa," Streep received one of the 11 nominations reaped by the eventual best picture champ of 1985. However, costar Robert Redford got skunked.


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No Tonys hope for Katie Holmes in 'All My Sons' on Broadway

October 17, 2008 |  2:10 pm

Katie Holmes now shares something more with Nicole Kidman than just being another Mrs. Tom Cruise. Both debuted on Broadway to a less-than-warm welcome. A decade ago Kidman played five parts and even appeared naked in "The Blue Room," a sizzling new adaptation by David Hare of Arthur Schnitzler's "La Ronde." While she earned decent reviews and even won a Theater World award, Kidman was snubbed by the critics' kudos and the Tony Awards.

Apparently, the same fate awaits Holmes, who opened Thursday night to so-so notices in a secondary role in Arthur Miller's "All My Sons," with John Lithgow and two-time Oscar Broadway_holmeschamp Dianne Wiest as the parents of her now-dead World War II pilot boyfriend and past Tony nominee Patrick Wilson as the surviving brother.

While reviews for these theater vets were generally good, both Holmes and the director, Simon McBurney, came in for some sharp criticism. (In the surprisingly small world of show biz, McBurney, who also acts, was as one of Nicole Kidman's minions in "The Golden Compass.")

Back in 1947, "All My Sons" won Tonys for both the playwright and the director, Elia Kazan, as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle award, edging out Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh." It's not known if Lois Wheeler, who originated the role of Ann Deever in that first production, was even considered for a Tony Award. Only winners were announced until 1956 when the Tonys began to name nominees. (In that year's supporting category, Patricia Neal won best featured actress of 1947 for "Another Part of the Forest.") When "All My Sons" was first revived in 1987, Jayne Atkinson, now known for her work on "24," made her Broadway debut as Ann Deever, but was not nominated. However, that production did win best play revival and Richard Kiley and Jamey Sheridan, as the feuding father and son, were both nominated.

Weighing the current production, Elysa Gardner of USA Today says, "At best, Holmes exhibits a girlish exuberance that could serve her well in certain stage roles, provided she finds a director who can ease her obvious self-consciousness and get her to focus on the often-intricate process of character development. Sadly, Simon McBurney, who helms this production, is not that director." Gardner did think Lithgow "painfully convincing," that Weist "offers a witty, heartbreaking portrait," and that Patrick Wilson "movingly traces the disillusionment of their surviving son."

Linda Winer of Newsday thought the leads "shattering" but dismissed Holmes as "earnest and pretty, like a talented girl in a school play."

Michael Kuchwara of the AP found Holmes "a striking physical presence, although not much vocal variety. She may be acting under the constraints of McBurney's direction, which encourages high-voltage pronouncements." While Ben Brantley of the New York Times loved Lithgow, he thought Wiest misdirected and that Holmes missed the mark completely as she "delivers most of her lines with meaningful asperity, italicizing every word." And Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune thought, "Holmes does not embarrass herself in any way. But you wish she channeled a little more of her modest origins in Toledo, Ohio, and a little less of her current heightened reality."


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Recall the gold, yes, please! Who really was the best actor of 2003?

October 16, 2008 |  4:55 pm

I think Entertainment Weekly has a great idea to take on past Oscars races, asking readers to "Recall the Gold." I cried "Yes!" when they targeted Sean Penn's best-actor win of 2003 for "Mystic River," but so far their readers are giving it back to Penn anyway with 36% of their vote with Bill Murray ("Lost in Translation") coming in second place at 30%. That's not the final EW tally, though. READ MORE


But of the results to date, come on! Penn cut off a 10-inch slice of salty ham in "Mystic River," mugging, scowling, shouting, screaming, yellin'. That same year Penn had a topnotch perf in "21 Grams" that won best actor at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated by BAFTA. If he was going to win for anything, it should've been "21 Grams." Or he shouldn't have won at all. Why give an Oscar to someone who often acts like he doesn't want it? Just a few years earlier Penn didn't even bother to show up when nominated for "Dead Man Walking."

And, well, as for Bill Murray in one of the two overrated Oscar pix I love most to trash, "Lost in Translation" (the other is "The Hours" — natch), one of Hollywood's most notorious grouches just growled on screen most of the time, looking bored, as if his bartender wasn't pouring fast enough.

Besides, even if you disagree about Murray's performance, he shouldn't have won because of obvious hypocrisy. Remember how ticked off he got when the best-actor envelope was opened up? It's one of the classic, close-up TV shots in Oscar history, right up there with Lauren Bacall's diva meltdown when she got beat by Juliette Binoche.

Before Oscar night, Bill Murray told reporters: "It's a really unattractive sight to see an actor or actress who really wants an Oscar. And you often see it on the show, you see their faces and the desperation is so ugly. Desperation is not a quality I long for. I'm over the Oscar. Sometimes people win it and you think, 'This can't be true.' It's a little bit of a popularity contest, too. Sometimes it's right, but it's wrong just as often, so I don't care. I'd rather make movies that lots of people saw and liked. I'm happy with the results."

Speaking of ticked-off divas, the one superstar who was M.I.O.A. (Missing in Oscar Action) that year was Russell Crowe. When "Master and Commander" got 10 nominations, including best picture, it looked like everyone associated with the flick got a bid except its own master and commander. Crowe's bad boy antics had finally caught up with him even though he was trying hard to be a sudden good boy.


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