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

Category: Tom Cruise

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)

New 'Valkyrie' date puts Tom Cruise back in the Oscars derby

August 14, 2008 |  1:56 pm

United Artist denies that Tom Cruise's film "Valkyrie" is being given a new, Oscars-friendly release date of Dec. 26 because of high kudos hopes, but now the Nazi thriller is back in the derby, like it or not.

Variety reports: "Sources close to events said the move was made for purely commercial reasons, after a screening of the film went well. The studio sees it as a holiday pic and award consideration was not a factor, they say."


Even if you believe that party line, Oscar expectations are inevitable. It's based upon a real, heroic person in a World War II flick (think past winners Adrien Brody in "The Pianist" or William Holden in "Stalag 17"), a guy with a handicap, no less (that eye patch — voters are suckers for stars who adopt a physical or mental disability, of course, like Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot" and Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman") and it's directed by a chap who got Kevin Spacey that Oscar in the supporting slot for "The Usual Suspects" (Bryan Singer).

Originally, "Valkyrie" seemed like such obvious Oscars bait that it was set to open right at the start of derby season (Oct. 3), but then the first trailer came out and bloggers started lambasting Tom Cruise for not bothering with a German accent while portraying a Nazi officer who plots to murder Hitler. Director Singer had made that creative decision. He asked all of his actors to speak in their natural voices. But once the kvetching started, the studio pushed "Valkyrie" out of Oscar alley and moved its release to Presidents Day weekend next February where it would compete against Disney’s "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and Sony’s "Pink Panther 2."

But now it's moved back. Hmmm . . . the timing of the decision is rather curious, coming less than a day after Tom Cruise's biz partner Paula Wagner left her management job at UA. Coincidence?

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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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Katie Holmes is heading to Broadway – Will Tony follow?

May 19, 2008 |  5:39 pm


It's now confirmed that Katie Holmes will make her Broadway debut this fall in Arthur Miller's "All My Sons." Two-time Tony winner John Lithgow and two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest will play the parents of her World War II pilot boyfriend, who crashed after hearing of his father's imprisonment for war profiteering.

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."

Of course, considering that Katie Holmes is renowned more as tabloid vamp than serious thespian, it may seem ridiculous to wonder if she could be a serious Tony Award contender, but the previous Mrs. Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, won a Theater World Award for her Broadway debut in "The Blue Room" 10 years ago (and went on to win an Oscar, of course). It's not known if Lois Wheeler, the star who originated Katie's role, reaped a Tony bid for the first production of "All My Sons" in 1947. The Tonys didn't reveal nominees until their 10th year. Before 1956, only winners were announced. (Patricia Neal won best featured actress of 1947 for "Another Part of the Forest.") When the play was revived in 1987, Jayne Atkinson, who played the role of Ann Deever, was not nominated. However, the production did win best play revival.


Did Tom Cruise's humbling before Oprah Winfrey improve his Oscar chances?

May 5, 2008 |  6:42 pm

There something's weird about the timing of Tom Cruise groveling before Oprah Winfrey this past week. Why now? I think it's no coincidence that it comes just a month or so after the news that the release of his next big pic, "Valkyrie," got bumped from this fall to next spring — and therefore out of Oscars competition.


Sure, Tom Cruise appeared on Oprah's show to celebrate his 25th year in films. But if the powwow had been, say, two months ago, back when "Valkyrie" was still skedded to launch the next Oscar derby, I don't think we would've seen Tom so eagerly gobble up a dozen humble pies. He would've done damage control for his ole couch dance, yes, but in the past few days we've witnessed a surrender that has, I'm convinced, an underlying Oscar message.

In the past, Cruise was the kind of guy who never backed down, even daring to bully poor Matt Lauer on the "Today" show. But at Oprah's knee these past few days, he caved on every point. He admitted that he shouldn't have badgered Matt about kids taking psychiatric medication. Parents should make that decision for themselves, Tom now says. He shouldn't have attacked Brooke Shields either. He regrets that his Scientology videos were "taken out of context." Etc. Etc.

Just eight weeks ago "Valkyrie" was still skedded to launch Oscar derby season this fall and confident Cruise was poised to make another run for the gold he's lost three times ("Magnolia," "Jerry Maguire," "Born on the Fourth of July"). But I think Tom learned a scary lesson over the past two months and he saw it through Oscar's eyes.


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Tom Cruise's Oscar hopes dim for 'Valkyrie'?

April 1, 2008 |  4:59 pm

Tom Cruise fans have high expectations for "Valkyrie." Since the superstar is rather overdue for an Oscar, they hope he may be helped by portraying a real, heroic person in a World War II flick (think past winners Adrien Brody in "The Pianist" or William Holden in "Stalag 17") directed by a chap who got Kevin Spacey that Oscar in the supporting slot for "The Usual Suspects" (Bryan Singer).


But now Roger Friedman of says that, contrary to recent reports, that very public lunch Tom Cruise had with Sumner Redstone last week at the Polo Lounge wasn't a sign that the heartthrob's life is increasingly sunny.

"For one thing, sources tell me it was Cruise who called Redstone, not the other way around," Friedman says. "The fact that Cruise groveled in public with Redstone would indicate that the actor knows just how bad 'Valkyrie' is and that he’s trying to shore up his future before the eye patch hits the fan this fall.

"Since Cruise’s departure, he’s made the terrible box-office flop 'Lions for Lambs' under his new deal with MGM/United Artists," he adds. CLICK HERE to read more.

Some sources dispute Friedman's take on the Polo Lounge powwow and note that no one's seen "Valkerie" in its totality yet. A few final scenes are still being shot. But one source who's seen big chunks of the flick insists that it's actually "fantastic — it's a great story told by a great director, Bryan Singer. How could it not be?" You be the judge. Click on the trailer below.

Tonys 2009: Can Katie upstage Nicole on Broadway?

March 28, 2008 | 10:40 am

Word comes via the Daily Mail that the third Mrs. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, is in talks to make her Broadway debut this fall in a prestige production of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons." Two-time Tony winner John Lithgow and two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest will play the parents of her World War II pilot boyfriend, who crashed after hearing of his father's imprisonment for war profiteering.


With such star-studded support, all under the sure hand of acclaimed British actor/director Simon McBurney, Holmes, who has not acted on the stage since high school, could do well. In the surprisingly small world of show biz, McBurney's most recent acting job was as one of Nicole Kidman's minions in "The Golden Compass."

Ten years ago, Kidman won a Theater World award for her Broadway debut in "The Blue Room." That sizzling adaptation by David Hare of Arthur Schnitzler's "La Ronde" was a showcase for Kidman and her co-star Iain Glen. Each played five roles in a circular story of love and lust that required them both to strip down. Though they and the play got good reviews, the hoopla turned off Tony voters, who snubbed the show.

Audiences certainly won't see as much of Holmes when she plays the prim and proper Ann Deever. However, as her character is the catalyst for the family feud that has the surviving son challenging his father, she will get a chance to show off her acting chops. And by making her debut in a stage classic, Holmes could have an edge over Kidman when it comes to awards season. Those appearing in revivals of previous Tony winners often nab nominations.

The play was Miller's first success, following the failure three years earlier of the inaptly named "The Man Who Had All the Luck," which ran for a mere four performances. When "All My Sons" debuted on Broadway in 1947, it 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 epic, "The Iceman Cometh."

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Why I'm picking Clooney for the upset

February 23, 2008 |  8:42 am

"There's no way Daniel Day-Lewis won't win," George Clooney told The Envelope during a video interview at the Oscar nominee luncheon and recently insisted to Time. That's what all the pundits (save one cliff-jumper) believe, but I remind you that he also predicted he'd lose in the supporting slot when up against Paul Giamatti ("Cinderella Man"). And all of the pundits have been wrong before, like they were the last time they insisted that Daniel Day-Lewis ("Gangs of New York") would win for a different sinister role after he swept the precursor awards.

However, jawdroppers happen all the time at the Oscars. (Remember when the wrong Richard — Dreyfuss — beat Burton?) If they didn't, we bloggers would be out of biz and the Oscars no fun to watch.


The reason that the shockeroos occur is because Hollywooders are a bull-headed, contrary-minded lot and often they don't tip their cards. They also don't like to admit that they're going against the pack — everybody's got to be a team player, after all — but, alone at home where no one is looking and with sly smirks on their faces, they fool Oscarwatchers now and then by checking off their ballots for Marcia Gay Harden or Juliette Binoche. 

I think there's a fascinating hint of the Clooney upset to be spotted in the videos of two alleged academy voters, those reelgeezers who blabbed their voting preferences on YouTube.

It's clear they don't think much of Day-Lewis' ham-boning in "There Will Be Blood" — bashing it with scowls and derision — but, strangely, they don't tell us who they're going to vote for instead, as they do in most other categories. They really don't need to. Throughout the videos, they swoon, gush and giggle with delight over every mention of "Michael Clayton" (which, mind you, has seven head-scratching nominations, including best picture) and George Clooney.

Just like the rest of Hollywood. He's the ultra-cool kid in a Clooney-crazy town, the most beloved swashbuckler since Jack Nicholson, who holds the record for most wins by a male actor (three). Clooney's never lost an acting award and has never before been nominated in lead. We don't know his secret voting strength across the whole academy electorate once this matinee star has managed to snag a bid from the snobs in the acting branch.


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Oscars theory No. 4: Slap the Stud Syndrome

February 21, 2008 | 11:28 pm

While glamour girls fare well at the Oscars (see theory no. 2: the babe factor), their male counterparts, those sexy studs, have a much harder time of it. This year's best actor front-runner, British thespian Daniel Day-Lewis, won his first Oscar back in 1989 by prevailing over Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise. While both men played wheelchair-bound real-life heroes in "My Left Foot" and "Born on the Fourth of July" respectively, some Oscarologists attribute Cruise's surprising loss to the 'Slap the Stud Syndrome.'


The theory goes that many academy voters are geezer guys who love the younger fillies but resent the handsome bucks. Their message to these Hollywood heartthrobs: "You already have it all – fame, fortune, and females aplenty. So, sorry pal, no Oscar for you, just yet."

However, just like the pretty women who de-glamourize themselves (Charlize Theron, "Monster"; Nicole Kidman, "The Hours") to win an Oscar so too can the handsome hunks who pack on a few pounds, a la George Clooney in "Syriana." This year, Javier Bardem is the hunk du jour whose unflattering Buster Brown bowl cut in "No Country for Old Men" could win him the supporting actor award.

And speaking of Clooney, as he is back to his usual movie-star-handsome-self in "Michael Clayton," the Slap the Stud Syndrome could well put Day-Lewis back in the winner's circle — at the expense of poor, two-time loser Johnny Depp, 44, who can take comfort in the fact that other studs won a best-actor Oscar later in their career when they were less of a threat to get the babes the geezers can't.


Al Pacino was 52 when nomination number seven for "Scent of a Woman" turned out to be the lucky one. But, by the time voters caught up with Paul Newman, he didn't care anymore. Even though he was widely favored to win best actor for the 1986 film, "The Color of Money," the 62-year-old actor skipped the ceremony. At that point he'd lost seven times and was tied with Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole as Oscar's biggest loser. Disgusted by the whole game, Newman told the Associated Press that his pursuit of the statuette had been "like chasing a beautiful woman for 80 years. Finally, she relents and you say, 'I am terribly sorry. I'm tired.'"


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Behind the scenes at the N.Y. critics' wily voting session

December 10, 2007 |  2:44 pm

Always count on members of the New York Film Critics Circle for howlers when they cast ballots for awards. A few years ago there was that notorious vote for Tom Cruise as best actress in "Vanilla Sky." Today it was a vote for the blow-up sex doll Bianca as best supporting actress in "Lars and the Real Girl." Sadly, poor Bianca had the wind taken out of her chances by winner Amy Ryan ("Gone Baby Gone") Other gag votes: "Walk Hard" for best picture and its supporting star Paul Rudd, who was also cited for his role in "Knocked Up." Perhaps Rudd wouldn't think that's so funny since he's occasionally mentioned as a looooongshot at the Golden Globes.


"I'm Not There" did surprisingly well in many top races today. It didn't win any awards, but it came in third place for best picture after champ "No Country for Old Men" and runner-up "There Will Be Blood." Ditto for its helmer Todd Haynes, who placed third in the directors' lineup behind the winning Coen brothers and second-placed Paul Thomas Anderson.

"Blood's" big victory was in the best-actor slot for Daniel Day-Lewis. In second place was Viggo Mortensen ("Eastern Promises").

Ellen Page ("Juno") gave Julie Christie ("Away from Her") a run for the lead-actress laurels, but Christie ended up winning handily. In the supporting-actress race, Cate Blanchett ("I'm Not There") came in second place; all three "Atonement" co-stars made strong showings, too. Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men") romped in the supporting-actor category. "No Country" won the screenplay prize over "Juno," "The Savages" and "Zodiac."

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POLL - VOTE: Who was the Oscars' most gracious loser?

December 8, 2007 |  5:41 pm

Our Oscar's Sorest Losers Poll (click here) got 2,700 votes, plus lots of media attention worlwide. Now it's time for us to prove that we're not really so sore and grouchy around here at So I asked my Oscarologist pal Tariq Khan to give us his list of Oscars' 10 Most Gracious Losers Since 1990 to offset his list of sorest losers that we used as the basis of our first poll.

Below is his rundown, but he's not the last word! We want YOU to vote in our new poll. What follows are Tariq's words:

1.) Holly Hunter, best supporting actress nominee of 1993 for "The Firm" — losing to Anna Paquin for "The Piano." Hunter was a rare double nominee that year (also up for lead actress for "The Piano.") She was considered a virtual lock in the lead category, and with the supporting category so fuzzy that year, there was serious speculation that she might actually walk away with BOTH statues. But judging from her reaction, she didn't seem to want both awards. As Gene Hackman finished reading the names of all five nominees in the supporting slot, the camera showed close-ups of both Hunter and Paquin. The two "Piano" co-stars were actually seated Felicity_waz_robbedside by side, which is rather unusual for two competitors. Hunter looked down at Paquin, looked up at Hackman, looked down at Paquin again with a slightly mischievous smile, then looked up at Hackman as he prepared to read the name. When Hackman announced Paquin as the winner, Hunter raised her arms and cheered. (Paquin, as you may recall, was in a state of utter shock.) Hunter clapped wildly and turned to see the reactions of "The Piano" director and producer a few rows behind her, while Paquin made her way to the podium. The question I would love to ask Hunter is if she voted for herself twice, or if she opted to mark Paquin's name in the supporting category. Judging by her exhilaration at Paquin's win, I think that she voted for her co-star. (The two reportedly became very close during the making of the film.) But everyone else tells me that Hunter surely voted for herself twice. Can someone please ask Hunter and get me the answer?

2.) Judi Dench, best actress nominee of 1997 for "Mrs. Brown" — losing to Helen Hunt for "As Good As It Gets." It was Dench's first of six nominations, and surely the veteran British stage actress must have wanted to walk out in protest when she lost to the "Mad About You" TV actress. But Dench smiled and applauded as if to agree with Academy's choice. At least Hunt went on stage and immediately said that the first time she saw "Mrs. Brown" she expected Dench to win an Academy Award. You weren't the only one, Helen.

3.) Meryl Streep, best actress nominee of 1995 for "The Bridges of Madison County" — losing to Susan Sarandon for "Dead Man Walking." It was the second time the two usuals-uspect nominees competed against each other (the first was in 1981 when Sarandon was up for "Atlantic City" and Streep was nominated for "The French Lieutenant's Women.") When Tom Hanks read Sarandon's name, Streep nearly jumped for joy, as if to say "Finally!" Of course, it was Sarandon's fourth nomination in five years without a win, so how could anyone be unhappy?

4.) Tom Cruise, best supporting actor nominee of 1999 for "Magnolia" — losing to Michael Caine for "The Cider House Rules." Two-time best actor loser Cruise thought he had a chance competing in the supporting category this time, and after his Golden Globe win, he probably did. But he still managed to flash that famous smile without any hint of disappointment when Judi Dench read Michael Caine's name. At least Caine said in his acceptance speech, "Tom, if you had won this, your price would have gone down so fast. Do you have any idea what supporting actors get paid?"

CLICK HERE to Continue Reading the List!

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Noble 'folly' 'Lions for Lambs' is too preachy, critics say

November 9, 2007 |  7:42 am

"Lions for Lambs," Tom Cruise's first film for his United Artist banner, was leapt on by the critics. The talkfest starring helmer Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Cruise managed only a mediocre 46 score from the 25 reviews compiled by Meta Critic. The wider field of 71 surveyed at Rotten Tomatoes was even more critical coming in at only 28.

One of the better reviews was by Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly who deftly described the plot: "The movie consists mostly of people sitting around rooms, usually two at a time, debating the conflict in Afghanistan, the quagmire of Iraq, the arrogance (or is it stay-the-course courage?) of war-on-terror politicians, the superficiality (or is it muzzling?) of the press, and the complacency of everyone else." He gave the film a B grade, saying, "There's audacity in its attempt to seize us with nothing but a war of rhetoric. Maybe 'Lions for Lambs' wouldn't seem like such a folly in a movie culture that risked making more follies like it."

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