The Oscar Goes To

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leoThe Oscars mark the end of awards season and it was quite the night. Chris Rock returned as host and he totally nailed his monologue, which called out Hollywood for its diversity problem.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored the films they deemed to be the best and brightest the industry had to offer in 2015, with “Spotlight” winning the award for Best Picture. “Max Max: Fury Road” cleaned up by taking home six of the 10 awards it was nominated for, including Best Editing and Best Hair & Makeup. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio finally nabbed the award for Best Actor, and “The Revenant” director Alejandro González Iñárritu took home top honors in his category for the second year in a row.

Check out the full list of Oscar Winners below:

Best Picture

“The Big Short”‘ “Bridge of Spies” “Brooklyn” “Mad Max: Fury Road” “The Martian” “The Revenant” “Room” “Spotlight”

Best Director

Lenny Abrahamson, “Room” Adam McKay, “The Big Short” George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road” Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant” Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, “Carol” Brie Larson, “Room” Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy” Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years” Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo” Matt Damon, “The Martian” Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs” Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight” Rooney Mara, “Carol” Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl” Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, “The Big Short” Tom Hardy, “The Revenant” Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight” Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies” Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Best Adapted Screenplay

Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, “The Big Short” Nick Hornby, “Brooklyn” Phyllis Nagy, “Carol” Drew Goddard, “The Martian” Emma Donoghue, “Room”

Best Original Screenplay

Matt Charman, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, “Bridge of Spies” Alex Garland, “Ex Machina” Josh Cooley, Pete Docter and Meg LeFauve, “Inside Out” Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, “Spotlight” Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff, “Straight Outta Compton”

Best Foreign Language Film

“Embrace of the Serpant” “Mustang” “Son of Saul” “Theeb” “A War”

Best Documentary Feature

“Amy” “Cartel Land” “The Look of Silence” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Best Animated Feature

“Anomalisa” “Boy and the World” “Inside Out” “Shaun the Sheep Movie” “When Marnie Was There”

Best Film Editing

“The Big Short” “Mad Max: Fury Road” “The Revenant” “Spotlight” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Original Song

“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey” “Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction” “Simple Song #3” from “Youth” “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground” “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”

Best Original Score

Thomas Newman, “Bridge of Spies” Carter Burwell, “Carol” Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight” Jóhann Jóhannson, “Sicario” John Williams, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Cinematography

“Carol” “The Hateful Eight” “Mad Max: Fury Road” “The Revenant” “Sicario”

Best Costume Design

“Carol” “Cinderella” “The Danish Girl” “Mad Max: Fury Road” “The Revenant”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Mad Max: Fury Road” “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” “The Revenant”

Best Production Design

“Bridge of Spies” “The Danish Girl” “Mad Max: Fury Road” “The Martian” “The Revenant”

Best Sound Editing

“Mad Max: Fury Road” “The Martian” “The Revenant” “Sicario” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Sound Mixing

“Bridge of Spies” “Mad Max: Fury Road” “The Martian” “The Revenant” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Visual Effects

“Ex Machina” “Mad Max: Fury Road” “The Martian” “The Revenant” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Short Film, Live Action

“Ave Maria” “Shok” “Day One” “Stutterer” “Everything Will Be Okay”

Best Short Film, Animated

“Bear Story” “Prologue” “Sanjay’s Super Team” “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” “World of Tomorrow”

Best Documentary, Short Subject

“Body Team 12” “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” “Chau, Beyond the Lines” “Last Day of Freedom”

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Why Was Stacey Dash At The Oscars?

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vvThat seemed to be the question of the night after the outspoken Fox News contributor made an unexpected appearance at the Academy Awards following a sketch that poked fun at the lack of black actors in movies.

“The Academy has taken steps to fix this problem and that is why, it’s my honor to introduce the new director of our minority outreach program,” Oscar host Chris Rock introduced. “Please welcome, Miss Stacey Dash!”


“I cannot wait to help my people out. Happy Black History Month!” Dash said with a laugh before exiting the Dolby Theatre stage and to tepid applause.

Following her random Oscar cameo, the former “Clueless” star answered the question everyone was Googling and asking themselves: “Who is Stacey Dash and what is she doing at the Oscars?”

“When they added ME to increase the diversity, I’m sure many black people rolled their eyes,” wrote Dash, who has spoken out against the existence of Black History Month, in a new blog post. “I’m not ‘black enough,’ they say. But guess what? I’ve heard that all my life. I would rather be a free thinking, black than a cookie cutter black who thinks — and votes –- just like all my friends.”

The 49-year-old actress continued: “Yes, I’m the actress from the South Bronx who has always dreamed of winning an Oscar. But God has a great sense of humor and this is my first encounter with one of my dreams of destiny. Bringing diversity to Hollywood… not merely because of color, but politics as well. (After all, different colors of skin is an easy kind of diversity. Ideological diversity is much harder, because it forces everyone to come face to face with actual beliefs. Hollywood needs BOTH.)”

Dash ended her lengthy post with a promise that her Oscars surprise is merely just “a beginning.”

“So that’s who I am. Nice to meet you,” she concluded.

Celebrities didn’t know how to react to Dash’s awkward — and incredibly brief — moment onstage. When the camera panned to the audience, The Weeknd had his hand over his mouth in disbelief and shock at what just transpired.

Chrissy Teigen, who attended with husband John Legend, was also caught reacting unfavorably to Dash.

Teigen confirmed on Twitter that her hilarious reaction was in fact in response to Dash.

Demi Lovato, Brooklyn Decker and “Magic Mike XXL” star Adam Rodriguez were among the stars who were not feeling Dash’s drop-by.

In January, Dash didn’t mince words in response to the call for an Oscars boycott over the lack of diversity in this year’s Academy Award nominees.

“I think it’s ludicrous,” she said back then. “Because we have to make up our minds. Either we want segregation or integration.”

“If we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET, and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you’re only awarded if you’re black,” she explained. “If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard.”

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Jimmy Smits Joins ’24: Legacy’

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ffJimmy Smits has booked his next leading role.

The Emmy and Golden Globe winner — and Sons of Anarchy alum — has been tapped to play a major role in Fox’s 24: Legacy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The new take features an all-new cast of characters and will be structured in the same style of the original series. 24: Legacy revolves around a military hero’s (Straight Outta Compton‘s Corey Hawkins) return to the U.S. and the trouble that follows him back — compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil. Otto will star as Rebecca Ingram, the blazingly smart former head of CTU. Now married to Sen. John Donovan, she struggles with second thoughts about having left the counter-terrorism agency.

Smits, who was juggling multiple pilot offers this season, will star as John Donovan, a senator running for president who is looking forward to having his wife, Rebecca (Miranda Otto), by his side in his bid for the White House.

For Smits, the role comes as he’s wrapping his one-year starring role on Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix 1970s hip-hop drama. Smits’ credits include three seasons of FX’s Sons of Anarchy and his Golden Globe-winning part in NYPD Blue as well as Dexter and The West Wing. He’s repped by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson.

Manny Coto and Evan Katz will pen the script and executive produce 20th Century Fox Television’s 24: Legacy alongside Teakwood Lane’s Howard Gordon and Imagine TV’s Brian Grazer. Stephen Hopkins will direct the pilot, which will film in mid-March in North Carolina. Teddy Sears co-stars

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Everyone Is Waiting For Chris Rock

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chris-rockHosting the Oscars is seen as the ultimate honor in show business but no one has a trickier task of balancing humor, diversity politics and celebrating movies on Sunday than Chris Rock.

Rock, a black stand-up comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, was chosen to host Sunday’s Academy Awards for a second time last October – long before the #OscarsSoWhite furor that has overshadowed the biggest annual celebration of the movie industry. He first hosted the awards in 2005.

Most award watchers agree he’s turned out to be the perfect choice.

“He’s really good at skewering show business and at skewering race relations in this country,” said Variety’s Tim Gray. “I think Chris Rock will address the diversity issue head on, which is exactly what the show and the Academy need.”

Rock, 51, has kept silent during the uproar over the 20 all-white actors nominated this year.

He declined to join the fray, even after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose 6,200 members vote on the Oscars, announced it would double the number of minorities and women in its ranks in the next four years.

“It’s a good idea for him to keep a tight lip and say what he’s going to say when he has that big platform of the Oscars stage,” said Daniel Montgomery, senior editor of awards website

The Academy has drawn on talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and actor Neil Patrick Harris in the past two years for hosting duties, but this year, having Rock return to the helm gives the Academy a chance to look good in front of a TV audience of some 40 million in America and millions more worldwide.

“Making jokes at their expense is going to show they’re aware there is a problem. But he can’t go for the jugular,” said Montgomery.

Even in uncontroversial years, hosting the Oscars can be a thankless task in which a good host may be praised briefly but a bad job – like the awkward 2011 stint by Anne Hathaway and James Franco – is remembered for years.

Rock also has to keep moving a 3-1/2-hour live show aimed principally at celebrating the year in movies and entertaining Hollywood’s biggest players inside the Dolby Theatre, as well as television viewers.

“People sometimes say after they are hired that it’s the greatest job in the world, but it’s so difficult,” said Gray.

“Most of the people in the room are nervous because they are either nominated themselves or affiliated with a film or studio, so they are not the most receptive audience.”

“And you have to hook the TV viewers in the first 10 minutes to make them stay with the show,” Gray added.

As for Rock, he has to walk a fine line on Sunday between going too far or not going far enough, Montgomery said.

“If he pleases everyone, he wouldn’t be doing his job in a year like this.”

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Phil Collins’ Return

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Phil-CollinsSinger and drummer Phil Collins is taking one tentative step out of musical retirement by offering up huge chunks of his past.

The multiple Grammy Award-winner is this winter releasing all eight of his solo albums, each remastered and accompanied by a second CD of demos and live recordings, many previously unreleased.

His hope is that fans and nonfans will explore more than just his hits, which include “In the Air Tonight,” ”Groovy Kind of Love,” ”One More Night,” ”Sussudio,” ”Can’t Hurry Love,” ”Against All Odds,” and “Separate Lives.”

“People that don’t like me — and there are some, I know it’s hard to believe — most of the time have based their opinion on what they hear on the radio. It’s played to death,” he said. “I’m a bit more than that. And the ‘bit more’ is on the albums.”

He’s already released 1981’s “Face Value” and 1993’s “Both Sides.” Next up is 1982’s “Hello, I Must Be Going!” and 1996’s “Dance into the Light,” both out Friday. Each new double CD has Collins recreating his pose from the original album cover.

A long list of current artists — including Adele, Lorde, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams — have publicly come out as fans. “I’m very flattered by that and I think there’s a lot of people out there that may think, ‘OK. Let’s see what the fuss is about,'” said Collins.

Nick Davis, a producer, engineer and mixer whose credits include music by Bjork, Deep Purple, Genesis, Mike + the Mechanics, The Pogues and XTC, remastered the new Collins albums and hopes fans dig past the hits.

“There are some incredible songs on there and there is some incredible musicianship on there. That’s almost a treat, really: It’s finding the album tracks rather than just the singles,” he said.

Collins, 65, was the drummer and then lead singer for the band Genesis in the 1970s who embarked on a solo career in the ’80s that made him one of the most commercially successful artists of all time. He is estimated to have sold 100 million albums with Genesis and another 100 million as a solo artist.

He won an Academy Award and a Grammy for his soundtrack to the film “Tarzan” and his album “No Jacket Required” won a Grammy for album of the year in 1985. His “Another Day In Paradise” won Record of the Year in 1990.

Collins made hits but didn’t always get respect. In an episode of “South Park” that was more than usually cruel, Collins was booed off a stage and ridiculed. His last album of new material was 2002’s “Testify.”

In 2011, Collins formally announced his retirement, three years after his third marriage ended in divorce and as health issues mounted. Nerve problems meant the father of five could no longer grip with his left hand. He was deaf in one ear.

“I felt I owed myself some time off. And also I wanted to bring up my two young boys” — now 14 and 11. “I just wanted to be a dad for the first time. A proper dad.”

Now living in Miami near his third wife, Orianne Cevey, and their two kids, Collins has built a recording studio and hopes soon to begin making music again. He already has some lyrics that need music and “lots of bits.”

“The longer it goes, the bigger the jump,” he said.

He even hopes he can drum again after injuring nerves in his elbow during a Genesis reunion tour in 2007. “Living life — cutting bread, cutting a bit of cheese — was just impossible. But it’s got better. And I think I just have to learn to play in a different way. That’s my intention.”

Collins has been getting encouragement from his children, including sons Simon, 39, and Nicholas, 14, who are both in bands. Nicholas, a drummer and guitarist, likes to rehearse at Collins’ house.

“I give them advice but no one listens to it,” he said, laughing. “I’m kind of the elder statesman. They come in, sit around. Occasionally I’ll say, ‘What about…?’ They’ll listen but they’ll go their own way.”

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Jennifer Garner Speaks

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Jennifer Garner is speaking out for the first time about her public divorce from BenAffleck.

“It was a real marriage,” she told Vanity Fair as their latest cover star. “It wasn’t for the cameras. And it was a huge priority for me to stay in it. And that did not work.”

Shortly after announcing their split in June, reports began to surface that Affleck had an affair with their nanny claims he has adamantly denied. Garner opened up about the scandal, saying it had nothing to do with their decision to split.

“We had been separated for months before I ever heard about the nanny,” she said. “She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce. She was not a part of the equation. Bad judgment? Yes.”
The actress admits that one of the hardest parts of the ordeal was having to explain it to their three children.

“It’s not great for your kids for [a nanny] to disappear from their lives,” she said. “I have had to have conversations about the meaning of ‘scandal.'”

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Chris Rock Jokes He’s Only Hosting The Oscars Because Ellen Said No

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crChris Rock was named the host of the 88th Academy Awards months before the nominations were announced. In the interim, Rock went about business as usual — filming promos, giving interviews, posing for photoshoots — that is, until it became clear that this year’s ceremony might be the most controversial in Oscars history.

After the nominations for acting failed to recognize a single person of color, sparking a national conversation and reviving 2015’s hashtag about racial inequality in the film industry, Rock reportedly scrapped his plans for the opening monologue and canceled all press interviews, including a profile in The Hollywood Reporter.

Before the wall went up, however, the news outlet was given access to the comedian during the filming for the Oscar promos, providing some insight into Rock’s mindset before he steps out on the Dolby stage.

“I told my agent I wanted to present because it’s like, what’s easier and better than presenting? You come in, do something really funny and get out of there,” he told the magazine. “But it just seemed like a good time. I hadn’t [hosted] in a while.”

In between potential jokes for the promo — “My favorite Disney memory? I became so rich and famous that I could skip in front of white people in line. Now you know how it feels to be black” — Rock mentioned the increased attention surrounding this year’s ceremony, considering at that point he was still two and a half months away from the big day.

“You could learn how to take out a pancreas in two and a half months,” he quipped.

Rock had hosted the Oscars back in 2005, but looks to hosts of yesteryear, like Steve Martin and Ellen DeGeneres, as classic examples of comedic excellence.

“Steve Martin wanting to be funny is about as funny as a human being can get,” he said. “And let’s not get it twisted: I’m only here because Ellen said no.”

After #OscarsSoWhite took over Twitter and big-name celebrities like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith decided to boycott the award show altogether, all eyes are on Rock to determine the tone for this year’s ceremony. Will he skewer the nominees? Turn his monologue into an important statement about the lack of diversity? Or do a signature mic drop and just leave the stage all together?

The one thing we do know is that Rock never plays it safe.

The 88th annual Academy Awards airs Feb. 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Dick Cavett Gives Advice To Chris Rock

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dcBob Hope once opened the Academy Awards with perhaps the best host opening line ever: “Hey, here it is, Oscar night again. Or, as it’s known at my house, Passover.” The audience’s laughter lengthened the show.
I worshipped Bob Hope, but I can’t help wondering how Rapid Robert would handle the controversies that loom over this year’s Oscars. Hope wanted to offend no one, ever, and his political “barbs” were pussy-willow soft. This year, the host may well find himself tiptoeing through poisonous tulips. My advice to the host and everybody is: Don’t be afraid to offend. People are resilient. Folks have been offended and actually lived. Here’s the proper attitude:
ABC: Dick, we feel that some people will be offended.
Me: So?
A good Oscar host should have ready wit, showbiz smarts, ability to deal with inevitable mishaps, and — in an ideal dream — willing to snatch out of a winner’s hands, as soon as it appears, that horrid list, a yard long, that goes with those awful, awful words, “I’d like to thank …”
What joke would I write for this year’s host? Probably a switch on Jimmy Fallon’s recent quip about a heavy snowstorm: “It was just a vast sea of white. I thought I was at the Oscars,” he said. How about: “I was in a room backstage earlier with all the nominees, but I had to leave. Snow blindness.”
Do forgive me, but I suspect that this year’s bleached-out spectacle has less to do with mathematical odds than with something else as American as apple pie. Perhaps it sneaked in unconsciously? Dare one speak its name?
Our stinking racism. Or must we not joke about it? “There are some subjects you can never joke about,” we’re constantly told.
That would come as news” to, say, Mort Sahl, Charlie Chaplin, Lenny Bruce, Joan Rivers, Paula Poundstone, Sarah Silverman, Jonathan Swift, Woody Allen, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Louis C.K. and on and on. Let’s recall that humor is a deadlier and more effective weapon than witless rage or insult can ever be. Let the master speak: “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand” (Mark Twain).
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Jeffrey Toobin Responds To Brown Family Criticism Of ‘American Crime Story’

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ffJeffrey Toobin, the author of the source material for FX’s “American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” responded to criticisms from the family of Simpson’s late ex-wife during a HuffPost Live interview on Tuesday.

The buzzy TV series, which is based on Toobin’s book The Run of His Life, depicts Simpson’s infamous trial following the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, which resulted in Simpson’s acquittal. But the families of the victims have complained that they were not contacted to share their side of the story with the cast and crew before production.

“It’s just a lack of respect for people to produce this show without notifying family or asking us what Nicole was like as a sister or a mom,” Brown Simpson’s sister Tanya Brown told the Daily Mail last week.

Toobin told HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani that “American Crime Story” executive producer Ryan Murphy and his team made a purposeful decision not to “dramatize” the victims of the crime, nor to recreate their deaths for entertainment value, which is why the victims and their families are kept on the periphery of the series. Toobin explained:

That was a very self-conscious decision by Ryan Murphy and the others, which was, “We are not going to reenact the murder.” And that’s a difference between The Run Of His Life and “American Crime Story.” My book is very explicit about my belief that O.J. is guilty. “American Crime Story” doesn’t reenact the crime, and it lays out all the evidence, but it doesn’t explicitly say that O.J. is guilty.

“American Crime Story” executive producer Brad Simpson told People that the victims are kept out of the series “out of respect,” and the creative team chose to use Toobin’s book, rather than the victims’ families, as their guide.

Toobin told HuffPost Live that “American Crime Story” is meant to be a story about the trial and investigation of Simpson rather than about the murders themselves. He added that while that decision was “intended to be respectful,” he does understand the pain of the families who face renewed publicity about their losses.

“Look, they are upset because their loved one was killed, and they’re going to be upset about that forever, as of course any person would be. I don’t think ‘American Crime Story’ is what they’re really upset about,” Toobin said.

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Stephen Stills’ New Band – The Rides

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vvSeparated in age by a musical generation but bonded by a mutual love of classic cars and the blues, two time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stephen Stills and five time Grammy nominated singer, guitarist and songwriter Kenny Wayne Shepherd draw fire from their extraordinary collective histories and join forces with famed Chicago rock/blues keyboardist Barry Goldberg to blaze a fresh trail for the historical American art form in the 21st Century. Launching an exciting new chapter in each of their storied careers, the trio’s new band The Rides—which Stills dubs “the blues band of my dreams,” built to last beyond the concept of a one time all-star gathering—is further powered by the explosive rhythm section of bassist Kevin McCormick and Shepherd’s longtime drummer Chris Layton (also a veteran of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble).

Their 429 Records debut Can’t Get Enough, helmed by longtime Shepherd producer Jerry Harrison, is a fascinating historical sweep featuring a hard hitting mix of Stills-Goldberg-Shepherd penned blues/rock originals, classic blues tunes by Muddy Waters (“Honey Bee”) and Elmore James (“Talk To Me Baby”) and blistering twists on Stills’ favorite Neil Young anthem “Rockin’ In The Free World” and the Iggy Pop & The Stooges’ early 70s classic “Search and Destroy.”

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