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Category: U2

Three-time loser Kanye West gripes about who won Grammy's top prize

October 21, 2010 |  1:24 pm

Kanye West Disses Grammys newsKanye West just can't resist slamming awards when he thinks they made a wrong choice. Didn't he get into enough trouble interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards to complain that Beyonce should've won?

Now he's blasting the Grammys over recent picks for best album, including Taylor Swift's victory. "Why are the last four albums of the year Taylor Swift, Dixie Chicks, Ray Charles and Herbie Hancock? Like, you know, with all due respect, that's inaccurate," Kanye told Access Hollywood. "Where's our instant replay clock?"

Instead, he believes voters should've picked top-selling discs: "It's like 'SexyBack' -- you know what I’m saying? Like [Justin Timberlake's] 'FutureSex/LoveSounds,' Gnarls Barkley. How about Usher -- 'Confessions'? How about albums that sold 10 million?"

"I pinpoint the Grammys and the VMAs because they have to take responsibility, because they mean something to us," he added. "Little kids, 6 years [old], that are singing in front of the mirror. They're also thinking about their Grammy speech; they’re thinking about when there will be a VMA, so these people, whoever run them ... they have to take some responsibility to say what really happened in culture this year because we're marking it down."

Could his real gripe be sour grapes? Curiously, he's picking on the prize for best album, which he's lost three times. His "Graduation" got skunked by Herbie Hancock's "River: The Joni Letters" in 2007. U2's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" demolished his "Late Registration" in 2005. In 2004, his "The College Drop-Out" lost to Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company."

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'Mad Men' returns in July | 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' back next year | '24' movie script ready

April 20, 2010 |  5:35 pm

Mad-men-logo-300x159 • "Mad Men" returns to the AMC lineup for a fourth season on July 25 at 10 p.m. ET. The reigning two-time Emmy champ for best drama series is a strong bet to contend for a third consecutive year when nominations are announced on July 8. The third season ended with many of the characters in a state of flux. Just how long this series will continue to explore the lives of Don Draper and company is up for debate. Creator Matthew Weiner has voiced concern about continuing beyond six seasons, but the network says no end date has been discussed. TV SQUAD   

• As Steve Pond reports, "The Screen Actors Guild has chosen the nominating committees for its 2011 SAG Awards, selecting 2,100 of its more than 125,000 members for a committee that will select the feature film nominees, and another 2,100 to choose the television nominees." Actors are only allowed to serve on a committee once every five years. And the studios are kept from knowing the names of the nominators, with SAG acting as a clearinghouse for screeners. Nominations for the 17th annual kudos will be announced Dec. 16, with the awards handed out Jan. 30. THE ODDS

564_curb_your_enthusiasm_468 • "Curb Your Enthusiasm" will be back for a 10-episode eighth season in 2011. The five-time Emmy contender for comedy series drew its best ratings for Season 7, which used a reunion of "Seinfeld" as a plot device for creator and star Larry David to repair his TV marriage. In making the announcement, David said, "After much soul searching — and by the way, it was nowhere to be found — I have decided to do another season of 'Curb.' I look forward to the end of shooting, when I can once again resume the hunt for my elusive soul. I know it’s here somewhere or perhaps in the rugged mountainous regions of Pakistan." ZAP 2 IT

Emily Christianson has compiled a fun and fact-filled photo gallery saluting the various casts of classic TV fare who have reunited over the years at the TV Land Awards. This year, it was two-time Oscar champ Tom Hanks who joined his "Bosom Buddies" on-stage. In years past, these kudos have saluted Emmy-winning fare like "The Carol Burnett Show" and "The Golden Girls" as well as rerun staples such as "The Brady Bunch." THE ENVELOPE

24-logo-1Kiefer Sutherland just wrapped the finale of "24," but he is already talking about a movie version of the 2006 Emmy champ for best drama series. The real-time crime drama is signing off May 24 after eight event-filled years. And says Sutherland, screenwriter Billy Ray ("State of Play") has finished a film script that may be more in keeping with the spirit of the early years of the TV show. "It doesn't have to be a bomb. It can be something personal that people understand." IGN

• The much-delayed Broadway musical "Turn Off the Dark," based on Spider-Man, has lost its villain with Tony Award winner Alan Cumming ("Cabaret") committing to a regular role on TV's freshman hit "The Good Wife" instead. The tuner, first announced in early 2009, had already lost its leading lady, Evan Rachel Wood ("The Wrestler"). Only newcomer Reeve Carney, who is to play the webbed crusader, remains on board. The tunes are by Bono and the Edge of U2 with two-time Tony winner Julie Taymor ("The Lion King") helming the big-budget production. PLAYBILL

Top photo: "Mad Men" logo. Credit: AMC

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

Bottom photo: "24" logo. Credit: Fox

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How U2 and Paul McCartney got shut out of Oscar nominations

February 2, 2010 | 11:21 am

Paul McCartney U2 Oscars Nominations Academy Awards 13579 While there were 63 songs contending for a place at this year's Oscars, only five made the final cut. Last year it was Oscar champ Bruce Springsteen who was snubbed for his Golden Globe-winning title track to "The Wrestler." This year U2 and Paul McCartney got slapped down by the music branch of the academy for tunes written specifically for films. U2 wrote and performed "Winter" for "Brothers," while McCartney did the same for "(I Want to) Come Home" from "Everybody’s Fine."

Both of these musical powerhouses have a connection to the Academy Awards. U2 lost a best song bid at the 2002 Oscars for "The Hands That Built America" from "Gangs of New York" to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile."

This year, the Irish rockers and Sir Paul both lost the best song race at the Golden Globes to "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart." That track — written by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett — is in contention at the Oscars, as are two tunes from "The Princess and the Frog" by Oscar champ Randy Newman, "Take It All" from "Nine" by two-time Tony winner Maury Yeston and "Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36" by Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas.

Newman, who was not a Globe nominee this year, won his only Oscar out of 17 nominations in 2001 for the song "If I Didn't Have You" from "Monsters, Inc." Among those he edged out was Paul McCartney, who was nominated for the title track of "Vanilla Sky." In 1973, McCartney and his wife Linda had landed in the best song race for the theme to "Live and Let Die" — they lost to "The Way We Were." McCartney had shared in an Oscar win with the rest of the Beatles in 1970 for their original song score to "Let It Be."

With such musical pedigrees, how did U2 and McCartney not make it into the final five this year? Oscars' Rule 16 sets out the criteria for winnowing the list of eligible songs down to the final nominees. There was no need for the executive committee of the music branch to recommend that there be only three nominees, as the number of songs far exceeded the threshold of 25 that might have triggered such action.

Unlike other branches — such as acting, which uses a preferential ballot — the music makers screen clips of all the eligible entries and then score them on a sliding scale from 6 to 10, with half-point increments in between. If a member has a song in contention, they are ineligible to vote.

As per the rulebook, "If no song receives an average score of 8.25 or more, there will be no nominees in the category. If only one song achieves that score, it and the song receiving the next highest score shall be the two nominees. If two or more songs (up to five) achieve that score, they shall be the nominees."

With five nominees this year, we know they all scored at least 8.25. Perhaps the tunes by U2 and McCartney broke that barrier as well but fell short of the even higher scores registered by the nominees.

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Photo: "(I Want to) Come Home" download artwork. Credit: Hollywood Records

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Who'll nab Grammy bids for best album: Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Black Eyed Peas, U2 or Green Day?

November 24, 2009 |  6:44 am

Our forums moderator David "Guru" Schnelwar and I have already dished who we think will score bids for best record of the year when Grammy nominations are unveiled on Dec. 2. Below, we duke it out over best album and add the views of our other forums moderator Darrin "DoubleD" Dortch. See his text write-up below; he'll join us in the future for video slugfests. We all agree that top contenders for this Grammy trophy include Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Green Day, Kanye West, Lady GagaTaylor Swift, U2 and Whitney Houston.


BEST ALBUM Dortch O'Neil Schnelwar
"The E.N.D.," Black Eyed Peas  

X

 
"Together Through Life," Bob Dylan    

X

"21st Century Breakdown," Green Day

X

X

X

"The Fame," Lady Gaga

 

X

"BlackSummers' Night," Maxwell

X

X

X

"Twang," George Strait

X

 

 
"Fearless," Taylor Swift

X

X

X  

"No Line on the Horizon," U2

X

 

 



ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SCHNELWAR'S PREDIX
FRONT-RUNNERS
"Together Through Life," Bob Dylan
"21st Century Breakdown," Green Day
"The Fame," Lady Gaga
"BlackSummers' Night," Maxwell
"Fearless," Taylor Swift

POSSIBLE
"I Am...Sasha Fierce," Beyonce
"The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies)," Black Eyed Peas
"I Told You So," Whitney Houston
"No Line On The Horizon," U2
"808's And Heartbreak," Kanye West


ALBUM OF THE YEAR: DORTCH'S PREDIX
FRONT-RUNNERS
"21st Century Breakdown," Green Day
"BlackSummers' Night," Maxwell
"Twang," George Strait
"Fearless," Taylor Swift
"No Line on the Horizon," U2
 
POSSIBLE
"Black Ice," AC/DC
"I Am . . . Sasha Fierce," Beyonce
"The E.N.D.," Black Eyed Peas
"Big Whiskey & the Groogrux King," Dave Matthews Band
"Together Through Life," Bob Dylan
"Relapse," Eminem
"I Look to You," Whitney Houston
"The Fame," Lady Gaga
"Dark Horse," Nickelback
"Working on a Dream, Bruce Springsteen
"808s & Heartbreak," Kanye West
"It's Blitz!" Yeah Yeah Yeahs
 
DOUBLED'S COMMENTARY: This category is ridiculously weak this year. ANYONE could get a nomination. Swift is in for obvious reasons and I think the country voting bloc will get George Strait, a well-respected veteran, a nod here as well. Maxwell will get the R&B vote over Beyonce and Whitney Houston since his album has been so well received. Past nominees/winners Green Day and U2 are likely, but I wouldn't be surprised if Lady Gaga or even the BEPs replaced them. Even an under-the-radar act like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose album is critically acclaimed, could surprise with a nod here.

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Taylor Swift, Green Day and Kanye West will nab noms for best album, our Grammy seers say

August 24, 2009 |  9:27 am

Since the cut-off date for Grammy eligibility is approaching (Aug. 31), it's time for award nuts like us to start predicting the top races. Sure, nominations won't be revealed until December, but, hey, that just means we have more time to noodle, argue, harrumph and pontificate.

Of course, nobody's better at that than David "Guru" Schnelwar and Darrin "Double D" Dortch, moderators of our Grammy forums. Below, they offer their early forecast for the album of the year category. Curiously, they agree on three of five nominees: Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown," Taylor Swift's "Fearless" and Kanye West's "808s & Heartbreak."

While reading their expanded views, keep in mind the voting process used by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. All 16,000 members may cast ballots for the top four awards known as the general field — best record, song, album and new artist — but their input only has partial weight. They merely whittle down the list of contenders in each race to a top 20. Thereafter, music of those finalists is listened to by a secret committee of 25 music experts who gather in a Los Angeles hotel for a weekend and choose the final five in those four categories.

Taylor Swift Lada Gaga Kanye West

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: GURU'S PREDIX
(Front-runners)
"Together Through Life," Bob Dylan
"21st Century Breakdown," Green Day
"The Fame," Lady Gaga
"Fearless," Taylor Swift
"808s & Heartbreak," Kanye West
 
(Possible)
"Black Ice," AC/DC
"I Am . . . Sasha Fierce," Beyonce
"The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies)," Black Eyed Peas
"Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King," Dave Matthews Band
"Relapse," Eminem
"I Look to You," Whitney Houston
"BLACKsummers'night," Maxwell
"Lotus Flower," Prince
"Working on a Dream," Bruce Springsteen
"No Line on the Horizon," U2
"Wilco (The Album)," Wilco

GURU'S COMMENTARY: In the past two years, the album of the year race has had a single representative from each genre.

Example: In 2008 — Robert Plant & Alison Kraus (folk), Coldplay (rock), Lil Wayne (rap), Ne-Yo (R&B) and Radiohead (alternative).

Example: In 2007 — Herbie Hancock (jazz), Foo Fighters (rock), Vince Gill (country), Kanye West (rap), Amy Winehouse (pop)

This pattern is not set in stone, but I expect that this year will be no different.

Taylor Swift's "Fearless" is the biggest-selling album of 2009. Swift performed on the 2008 Grammy nomination special and telecast without any nominations. That is usually a good indicator. I expect Taylor Swift to represent the country field in the album of the year race.

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Will 'No Line on the Horizon' get U2 a chance at a record third album of the year Grammy?

March 12, 2009 |  2:31 pm

The new U2 album "No Line on the Horizon" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts by selling 484,000 copies. The band's last album -- "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" -- moved 840,000 units in its first week of release back in November 2004. However, as the always insightful Todd Martens of the Pop & Hiss blog points out in this must-read story, "a closer look at U2's sales stats suggests that 'Atomic Bomb' was an aberration in the career of the Irish superstars." Turns out that U2 usually sells its albums over the long run rather than in a short burst in the first few weeks of release. All of its first 11 albums eventually went at least platinum. Interestingly, "Atomic Bomb" moved almost 30% of its 3 million copies in that first week.

U2_grammy_awards_no_line_on_the_h_2

Reviews for this new album were always respectful if not raves. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Ann Power gave the disc three out of four stars. She thought, "U2's celebration of life has always also been a celebration of itself, and Bono still has a gift for radiating joy in a way that feels inclusive, not egotistical. At the same time, 'No Line on the Horizon' is most interesting when the band and its producers let their well-deserved wallowing become a drift down the river toward something different."

While part of the promotional effort had U2 appearing all last week on "The Late Show With David Letterman," the band premiered the first single -- "Get on Your Boots" --- on the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards telecast. Though that track has been only a modest success with 188,000 downloads, there are many more to come in the months ahead. And taken individually and as a whole, how many of these will figure in the Grammy nominations when they are announced at the end of the year?

Over the years, U2 has won 22 Grammys spread out over 11 categories. That haul ties the group with Stevie Wonder. However, Wonder has won three album of the year Grammys, as did Paul Simon and the late Frank Sinatra. U2 has taken this top honor twice -- for "The Joshua Tree" and "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb."

While the band's first five albums failed to break through with Grammy voters, all that changed with disc No. 6 — "The Joshua Tree." U2 won album of the year in 1987 and the first of seven rock duo or group awards (the other wins in that category came in 1988, 1992, 2000, 2001, 2004, and 2005).

U2's next studio album, "Achtung Baby," lost album of the year to Eric Clapton's "Unplugged" in 1992. While "Zooropa" won the alternative album award in 1993, U2's follow-up "Pop" went flat with Grammy nominators. "All That You Can't Leave Behind" contended for the top prize in 2001 but lost to the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack. But "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" won album of the year in 2005.

Besides their two album of the year Grammys, U2 has won record of the year twice -- "Beautiful Day" (2000) and "Walk On" (2001) -- and song of the year twice as well: "Beautiful Day" (2000) and "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" (2005). And in addition to those seven Grammys for rock group, U2 has won rock album twice -- "All That You Can't Leave Behind" (2001) and "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (2005) -- and rock song twice: "Vertigo" (2004) and "City of Blinding Light" (2005). And they have three video wins -- performance ("Where the Streets Have No Name," 1988)' long-form ("Zoo TV," 1994), and short-form ("Vertigo," 2004) -- as well as single wins for alternative album ("Zooropa," 1993) and pop group ("Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," 2001).

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Photo: Interscope Records

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U2 could set Grammys record with 'No Line on the Horizon'

February 26, 2009 | 11:01 am

The new U2 album "No Line on the Horizon" does not go on sale till next Tuesday but advance word is strong. This will be the 12th studio album for the Irish rockers and the first since 2004's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." As part of the promotional effort which has them appearing all next week on "The Late Show With David Letterman," U2 premiered the first single — "Get on Your Boots" — on the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards telecast. And U2 could well be back at next year's Grammys as nominees for an array of awards including album of the year, a prize they have won twice before ("The Joshua Tree," 1988; "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," 2006) .

U2_grammys

In total, U2 has won 22 Grammys spread out over 11 categories. That haul ties the group with Stevie Wonder. However, Wonder has won three album of the year Grammys as did Paul Simon and the late Frank Sinatra.

While the band's first five albums failed to break through with Grammy voters all that changed with disc No. 6 — "The Joshua Tree." U2 won album of the year in 1988 and the first of seven rock duo or group awards (the other wins in that category came in 1989, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2006).

U2's next studio album "Achtung Baby" lost album of the year to Eric Clapton's "Unplugged" in 1993. While "Zooropa" won the alternative album award in 1995, U2's follow-up "Pop" went flat with Grammy nominators. "All That You Can't Leave Behind" contended for the top prize in 2002 but lost to the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack. But "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" won album of the year in 2006.

Besides their two album of the year Grammys, U2 has won record of the year twice — "Beautiful Day" (2001); and "Walk On" (2002) — and song of the year twice as well — "Beautiful Day" (2001); and "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" (2006). And in addition to those seven Grammys for rock group, U2 has won rock album twice — "All That You Can't Leave Behind" (2002); and "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (2006) — and rock song twice — "Vertigo" (2005) and "City of Blinding Light" (2006). And they have three video wins — performance ("Where the Streets Have No Name," 1989); long-form ("Zoo TV," 1995); and short-form ("Vertigo," 2005) — as well as single wins for alternative album ("Zooropa," 1995) and pop group ("Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," 2002).

U2's and Stevie Wonder's 22 Grammys are four less than Alison Krauss (26). Quincy Jones has 27. The all-time record is held by Sir Georg Solti (31), former conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

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Gold Derby Nuggets: Hey, what does Clint think of 'Gay Torino'? | BAFTA nominating process explained | How Bruce Springsteen was snubbed at the Oscars | Why U2 is performing on Grammys

January 31, 2009 |  8:22 pm

Gay_torino_daytime_emmys_oscars

• A mischievous cyber-gremlin sneaked into this Gold Derby blog the other day and mysteriously zapped a nuggets post that included some prize items we're repeating here in case you missed them. A real gem was a link to a vicious video spoof of the plight of the Daytime Emmys show, which has been snubbed by the main broadcast TV networks for the first time in decades. At this point it's still unknown if there will even be a telecast as leaders of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences scramble to get a cable deal backup. Meantime, some wags produced a naughty video spin on the hubbub, casting Adolf Hitler as the Daytime Emmys Fuhrer who receives the latest bad news from his army commanders. Here's the link, but beware: the video is laced with profanity. WELOVESOAPS

• While we're on the subject of savage naughty spoofs of awards fare, we spotted a screamingly hilarious gay riff on "Gran Torino" that's also packed with profanity, but just as funny. Instead of Clint Eastwood facing down racist thugs, "Gay Torino" stars writer-producer Brian Reiss as flamboyant chap who knows how to toss his pink scarf around and outrageous insults too, while taking on a street gang of homophobes. FUNNYORDIE

• Among nuggets zapped by the gremlins was news that writer-director John Patrick Shanley will receive the Ian McLellan Hunter Award for lifetime achievement from the Writers Guild of America East at its awards gala Feb. 7 at the Hudson Theater in New York. His screen adaptation of his Tony Award-winning play "Doubt" is nominated for best screenplay by the guild and Oscars voters. The Writers Guild of America West has tapped Carl Reiner and former president Victoria Riskin as recipients of its Valentine Davies Award for contributions to the entertainment industry, which will be bestowed Feb. 7 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Hopefully, Reiner will recover from food poisoning by then so he can attend. He was supposed to host the Directors Guild of America awards show tonight, but "Two and a Half Men" star Jon Cryer stepped in.

Oscars_duds_2

• "Australia" isn't the only film with high Oscars expectations that got skunked with nominations came out. With the help of some of The Envelope's forum posters, I compiled a photo gallery of past snubees worth recalling, including "The Shipping News" and "Alexander." OSCARS DUDS

• Also check out our photo gallery of top contenders for the Indie Spirit Awards to be bestowed Feb. 21. Features lots of little-seen scenes from 30 flicks, including award categories they compete in. Here's a full list of nominations. INDIE SPIRITS PHOTOS

• Elsewhere at The Envelope, Scott Feinberg has been dispatching reports from the Santa Barbara Film Festival and Pete Hammond is musing over allegations of an Oscars conspiracy against "Slumdog Millionaire." My two cents on the latter biz: There is no conspiracy! Please don't get me all wound up on this subject or I'll have to launch into my frequent tirade about that old balderdash about a smear campaign against "A Beautiful Mind"! FEINBERG FILES, NOTES ON A SEASON

• The first round of BAFTA voting, which involves the whole membership, produces a long list of 15 candidates in each section (five asterisked as the choice of the relevant chapter for each category, such as acting or sound, and 10 selected by the BAFTA membership at large). This year, the nominations, which come from the second round of voting, mirror the chapter preferences in all but four cases. In other words, 75 out of 79 nominations matched the chapter vote. BAFTA introduced chapter voting only in the last couple of years, with the intention of drawing attention to otherwise overlooked talent. But there's concern in BAFTA circles that the chapters have started to exert a distorting influence over the final outcome. BAFTA officials plan to conduct a detailed review of how the chapter system is working after this year's awards. In the meantime, the areas where the membership vote does diverge from the chapters offer a clue about which film has the greatest BAFTA support. Neither Dev Patel nor Freida Pinto were among the five picked by the acting chapter, but the membership voted to nominate them nonetheless (Patel replaced Michael Sheen in lead actor, and Pinto pipped Viola Davis in supporting actress). That establishes "Slumdog Millionaire" as the clear favorite for the film prize, which, like the four acting awards, is chosen by the whole membership. VARIETY

• How Bruce Springsteen failed to be Oscar nommed for title track to "The Wrestler": First, the spots aren't guaranteed — songs are ranked by voters on a 6-10 scale, and only movies that garner an 8.25 or higher make the cut (which creates the possibility that there could be no nominees, but they're hoping that never happens). That's why only three songs were nommed. More important, that 6-10 scale isn't just voted on once — it's voted on twice, first on the merits and the second on how a song works in the film. So a song that plays the end-credits — especially one that plays the end-credits without any visuals behind it — is going to be disadvantaged. Which is pretty much what happened to Springsteen; the song is more powerful because it comes in on a black screen right after the film's powerful final moments. But it's kind of hard to talk about how it worked in the context of the film, since it's not really in the film. That means it's possible Springsteen nabbed an average of 10 on the merits, but only a 6 on how it worked in the film, which is why it didn't make the 8.25 cut. RISKY BIZ

Tcm_oscars_academy_awards

• Cablecaster TCM kicks off its annual "31 Days of Oscar" schedule Sunday morning at 6 a.m. with "My Favorite Year," the 1982 comedy that earned Peter O'Toole the seventh of his record eight losing best actor bids. The channel has scheduled a wide array of films that were either Oscar contenders or winners. On Oscars Sunday, the day starts with "The Country Girl," which won Grace Kelly an Oscar over sentimental favorite Judy Garland up for the 1954 musical remake of "A Star is Born," while the original 1937 version — starring the very first best actress, Janet Gaynor — airs opposite the ceremony. This feast of films wraps up March 4 at 4:30 a.m. with "Eskimo," winner of the first Oscar for editing in 1934. TCM

Jeffrey Wells says: It's no secret that Wayne Kramer's "Crossing Over" (Weinstein Co., 2.27), which I saw last night, has had a difficult (some would say agonized) post-production history. The integrity of Kramer's vision violated up the wazoo, all kinds of re-editing and arguing about which cut works better, Sean Penn's footage being cut from the film over his discomfort with an Iranian honor-killing subplot, etc. Generally speaking a film that goes through this much grief and second-guessing ends up feeling muddled and compromised all to hell. I'm not saying that "Crossing Over" is a masterwork — it's not. It uses a familiar strategy — five or six story lines woven into a social-issue tapestry — in an attempt to be an illegal-immigrant "Traffic." But it's really "Crash." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

U2_grammys

• A quick scan of the nominations shows that U2, a perennial Grammy favorite, is not up for any Grammys on Feb. 8 because the Irish band didn't release anything during the Oct. 1, 2008-Sept. 30, 2009 eligibility period. And therein lies the rub. Not only is U2 playing the show, but the rumor is they are opening it. With a new album coming March 3, the timing is perfect for them, but their appearance shows just what a delicate dance NARAS (the body that puts on the Grammys) must negotiate between trying to earn high ratings and staying true to honoring the current slate of nominees. Last year's ratings were the third-lowest in the history of the show (it still drew more than 17 million viewers, so that's hardly anything to sneeze at) and the Grammys, like almost all awards show, are reexamining what they need to do to boost ratings without completely selling out. HITFLIX

• "The Office" spin-off starring Amy Poehler was supposed to debut after this Sunday's Super Bowl, back when the network thought it would be ready (and that it would be an actual "Office" spin-off). Instead, they've produced a star-studded, hourlong edition of "The Office." This could be a disaster. Or at least, there's a disturbing precedent for it. In 1998, "Third Rock From the Sun" got the same treatment, but it's 1996's special episode of "Friends" that has us worried. Guest stars Brooke Shields, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chris Isaak and Julia Roberts (who, preposterously, was dating Matthew Perry at the time) all contribute to what's generally considered one of the very worst episodes of the show. Sunday's "Office" will feature Jack Black and Jessica Alba, and involve the Dunder-Mifflin gang watching a pirated Hollywood movie. (Prepare for lots of 'tsk-tsking,' Internet pirates.) If the episode ends with Dwight in Alba’s thong, we’re turning back to ESPN. NEW YORK VULTURE

Brian Lowry opines: Although the TV business once revolved around the race to reach 100 episodes in five years - promising untold syndicated riches — both business and creative considerations in key areas indicate a shift away from that model. For starters, few dramas — especially those with continuing story lines — cash in on syndication anymore, and DVD boxed sets sell just as well with fewer episodes. A significant source of income is also derived from international sales to territories like the U.K., where viewers are accustomed to limited six- or eight-episode "seasons." At the same time, producing a smaller number of episodes could be an act of creative self-preservation. VARIETY

Photos: FunnyOrDie.com, WeLoveSoaps.com, MGM, Island Records

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QUIZ: Who's won the most MTV Video Music Awards?

August 17, 2008 | 11:57 am

To see the answer, click on the "Continue Reading" link below the photos.

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Hochman is The Envelope's best Grammy seer

February 9, 2006 |  6:03 pm

Congrats to Steve Hochman of the Los Angeles Times for beating five of us at predicting Grammy winners. While sizing up 10 races, Steve had the best score — six. I scored five, tying for second place with Glenn Gamboa of Newsday and Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly. Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot scored four. Dave Bauder of the Associated Press reaped three correct predix. Chris and Dave were the only pundits who correctly forecast U2's win for album of the year. None of us predicted Green Day for best record or Emmylou Harris for best female country vocalist. Our racetrack odds were correct in five races out of 10.


Scorecard: Three so far for U2, Kanye and Mariah

February 8, 2006 |  6:50 pm

Kelly Clarkson's undefeated! Two for two! Ha! U2 (three wins) hasn't lost either and the victory of their own Steve Lillywhite as producer of the year means Kanye and Mariah have reason to be nervous as we get closer to discovering the winner of best album. Kanye and Mariah have three wins each too, but they have some losses. Lucky for them U2 isn't nommed in the record of the year category! Whew! Poor Gwen Stefani — shut out so far. Ditto for Foo Fighters — five losses, no wins.


U2, Kanye and Mariah all proving to be early champs

February 8, 2006 |  4:49 pm

The heavy Grammy faves for the top categories all seem to be doing well in the early, nontelevised award races. U2 has won two trophies (rock group vocal, rock song), Kanye West's earned two (rap solo, rap song) and, as mentioned below, Mariah's nabbed three. That makes the contests for best album and song all the more suspenseful, since the three rivals demonstrate impressive strength. Ditto for best record, which is a fierce face-off between Kanye and Mariah.

Poor still-Grammyless 50 Cent keeps coming up broke at these music-industry kudos.


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