Sunday, February 27, 2011

LIVE COVERAGE 83rd-Annual Oscars!

8:26 p.m. Let the Oscar madness begin! LIVE BLOG COVERAGE of the 83rd-annual Academy Awards! I must preface that, uh, I have seen none of the noms for Best Picture. So what you'll be reading is highly opinionated, less than educated, bombastic rhetoric... in other words, the usual...

8:30 p.m. Opening sketch with Anne Hathaway & James Franco inserted into Best Pic noms... long-winded but cute... Morgan Freeman cameo... Anne winking at Colin Firth... Franco in tights... Anne dancing shedding leaves... Alec Baldwin in and out... "Back To the Future"... adorable. Now let's get on with it...

8:38 p.m. Aren't they beautiful?

8:42 p.m. Tom Hanks presenting two awards. Wow, no longer looks like a baby... 54 years old and kind of looks it, huh?... Hey, I hear the "Titanic" theme. Celine!! We're off to a grand start... Set Design award... time to get a gin and soda... Now Best Cinematography... boy, they really know when to send people to the bathroom, don't they?

8:48 p.m. McDonald's commercial with children speaking; oh, how I loathe precocious kids. That's why I hope 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, nominated for "True Grit," loses in a big way. Dogs... Abby & Spencer, much cuter.

8:52 p.m. Kirk Douglas... oh, how painful... god bless him at 94 years old.

8:55 p.m. Big one: Best Supporting Actress. God, here's that detestable kid Hailee... I adore Amy Adams, Helena Bonham-Carter is such a bizarre, admirable creature, Aussie Melissa Leo, while unknown here, is fab from an Oscars preview I watched earlier today, and Jackie Weaver plays trash beautifully. Wow... I'm going with Amy or Helena...

8:58 p.m. And the winner is... (stop talking, Douglas dude!!!)... Leo from "The Fighter." She said "fuck" during her acceptance speech and got bleeped out. Hey, now I love her!

9:00 p.m. Justin Timberlake and some chick from "The Black Swan." Let's see if Justin smiles for a change... Oh wait, they're presenting animated awards. Okay, I would be grimacing, too... Wow, they're really holding back on trophies that anyone gives a half-shit about, aren't they?

9:15 p.m. What's happening? I refilled my gin... Oh, it's dreamy Josh Brolin... how in the world is he 43? Geez, I thought he was a decade younger... Spanish Academy Award winner Javier Bardem really needs to learn to speak English at some point... obviously, partner Penelope Cruz has rubbed off in all the wrong ways.

9:18 p.m. Award for Adapted Screenplay: "The Social Network." Beginning of a trend? Best Original Screenplay: "The King's Speech." Ah, the two leading bets for Best Pic have both won complementary awards... I'm still convinced that "The Social Network" is too youthful for the Academy. "Speech" fits Best Pic like a glove.

9:28 p.m. Anne singing... God, she is such a doll... And what a fucking voice!... Mercy, Franco is in drag! I love this man!

9:33 p.m. Who in god's name put Helen Mirren and Russell Brand together? That's like pearls and swine... Okay, so they've acted together, I get it... Foreign-Language Film... let me get some more ice for my beverage. This stupid woman who won just said, "Is this a real Oscar?" Duuuh! Next!

9:36 p.m. Reese Whitherspoon is dressed like she's hosting a Tupperware party... ponytail?!... while presenting a major award: Best Supporting Actor... Love Mark Ruffalo... And the winner is: Christian Bale, with his first nom and win. Fine, fine. Cool guy, though Mark is prettier.

9:49 p.m. Best Original Score: Good god, almighty, that's Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails? When did he clean up and become such a hottie? He and some other guy won for "The Social Network." And now Sound Mixing and Sound Editing... zzzz...

9:57 p.m. Okay, if the power were to blow right now, I'd be happy in darkness. First, James Franco just appeared in a tux and then Matthew McConaughey presented some boring Sound awards. Swoon!

10:10 p.m. Poor Cate Blachett has to present make-up? Who did she piss off? Obviously, her dress designer for putting her in an embroidered pillow that's only half-finished. She looks 95 years old in that get-up. Dreadful.

10:15 p.m. Oh, this is fun. Costume Design winner Colleen someone is reading her acceptance speech as if someone else wrote it. Okay, granted, it's probably slightly stressful to be standing before a worldwide audience of millions, but girlfriend sounds like she's seeing each word for the first time. Next time, honey, take a Xanax!

10:20 p.m. Favorite movie song... interviewing everyday folks in Las Vegas... and there's Celine singing "My Heart Will Go On." Sigh... And speaking of gay... here's Kevin Spacey! Man, he is queening it up tonight. Is he ever going to come out? He's introducing the dreadfully off-pitch Randy Newman performing "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3." Drinking gin, drinking gin... somebody give me a straw!

10:30 p.m. Mandy Moore & Zachary Levi performing "I See the Light" from "Tango." Okay, yesterday I was awfully snarky about the animated flick nominees, but that was really lovely... not that it has any mainstream relevance. I stand by my belief that millennial nominees are sadly irrelevant.

10:36 p.m. Amy Adams & Jake Gyllenhaal are presenting some Short Film Awards... Hmm, I think I should vacuum the living room tomorrow. Oprah's presenting Documentary... yeah, let me get the bedroom sheets cleaned, too...

10:48 p.m. Robert Downey Jr., and Jude Law are presenting Visual and Editing awards. I'm not listening, but they look very handsome, don't they?

10:52 p.m. Newly skinny Jennifer Hudson seems ill at ease, huh? She really didn't have to lose all that weight to remain a beauty. Oh, wait, I get it now. She realized that the song she was introducing, "If I Rise" from "127 Hours" is a piece of crap. I get it, girl. And now... Gwyneth Paltrow singing "Coming Home" from "Country Strong." You know what? I want this to win (for composers Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey) because it's the only Oscar-nominated song with any real pertinence to the movie it's in...

10:57 p.m. And the winner is... Randy Newman for "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3." Time for another gin!

11:04 p.m. And now the moment I have been waiting for all night... Celine Dion singing "Smile" as a tribute to all the 2010 dead folks... She looks lovely, albeit the sentiment is a tad dreary... "Smile... you're deceased!"11:16 p.m. Halle Berry, the whitest black woman alive, is talking smack about how much Lena Horne inspired her as a "black woman." This is about the 81237490823174th time I've heard her talk about her pride as an African American woman. But what have you done for us lately?

11:24 p.m. Hilary Swank, whom I cannot fathom is a straight woman (did you see her in "Amelia," unconvincingly conjuring romance with Richard Gere? As eye-rolling as Ellen Degeneres playing straight in 1996's "Mr. Wrong"). The horse face is introducing Kathryn Bigelow, who won Best Director last year for "The Hurt Locker," which is among the worst movies I have seen in my life. Ever. And I'm old...

11:28 p.m. Best Director: "The King's Speech." I think we know what's going to be named best film at this point, yes?

11:45 p.m. The ever-cool Jeff Bridges is presenting Best Actress. Enjoying the suspense... They all seem wildly talented, don't they? Love how he's offering personal props for each performance...

11:49 p.m. And the Oscar goes to... Natalie Portman. But of course. As if there was any doubt. She's paid Hollywood dues, so I have no complaints. Lovely acceptance speech, weepy but without sobbing, thank god.

12:00 a.m. Love this sleek royal blue dress Anne Hathaway is wearing... Here's lovable Sandra Bullock awarding Best Actor. Is there any way not to adore her? Her performance in last year's Oscar-winning "The Blind Side" was genius, and so deserved.

12:05 a.m. Okay, let's just wait for Colin Firth to get his Oscar. Who else is nominated? Does it matter? Oh, wait, James Franco! Next time... Yup... Never seen him in a bad role, so a-okay. Let's see how Colin's acceptance speech is... Actually, a snoozer... Kind of rambled about nothing much. Better with a script, brother.

12:15 a.m. Steven Spielberg is presenting the Oscar for Best Picture... I'm still predicting "The Social Network" is too hip for the Academy and "The King's Speech" will win... let's watch together, cool cats!

12:18 a.m. Okay, that really wasn't a tough call. "Speech" wins. Typical Oscar pick. I have not seen the flick, and assume it's likely brilliant. But I also haven't (yet) seen "The Social Network," so I reserve judgment.

12:22 a.m. Oh, how lovely. The first dude speaking on behalf of "King's" thanked his "parents and my boyfriend Ben. You help me everyday do what I do." It's about time that gay equality evolved beyond the Tony Awards, eh?The show is closing with a children's chorus. Oh, thank god I've had just enough gin to make it go away... And that, cool cats, is a w-r-a-p! Good night!!

Matthew McConaughey Covers Men's Fitness

I am uh, utterly, um, speechless. March 2011. My god.Here's where my love affair with Matthew McConaughey began: with his early Vanity Fair and Interview covers. Since, it's been tough to keep up with this cover boy. Mercy, is it hot in here?

Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way': No. 1 In 1 Week

One week after its release, Lady Gaga's new single "Born This Way" is at the top of BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart. It is also the fastest-selling single in iTunes history, moving one million copies in five days.

The song about pride and equality is also No. 1 in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It's No. 2 in another half-dozen nations.

Obama At Last Behaves Like The Modern Prez We Elected: Down With DOMA

In a bold, 360-degree turn-around, President Obama—who has never publicly supported federal laws legalizing gay marriage—said he will no longer defend the constitutionality of the 15-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, which excludes same-sex couples from wedding.

Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged that the White House recognizes that DOMA contains language "reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships, precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking" the Constitution is designed to guard against.

Obama’s stance is in line with the majority of Americans: An AP poll last August found that 52% believe in legal recognition of gay marriage. A similar ABC News/Washington Post poll found support for legalizing gay marriage climbed from 37% in 2003 to 47% in February 2010.

Holder added, “The legal landscape has changed since Congress passed” DOMA. He noted the Supreme Court has ruled against laws criminalizing homosexual conduct, while Congress recently repealed the military's moronic "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and overturned California’s reckless Proposition 8.

While the Justice Department has defended DOMA in court, Obama realized it targets minority groups with a history of discrimination. Holder said the prez has concluded that, given documented discrimination against gays, more scrutiny should be applied to legal challenges. Throughout the George W. Bush presidency, gays and lesbians were repeatedly swept aside as second-class citizens, denied the constitutional protection afforded to racial minorities and to women.

At a December news conference, Obama admitted that his position on gay marriage is "constantly evolving." He has supported civil unions—which offer no federal protection or the legal rights of straight married couples.

Obviously, that’s simply no longer enough in a modern society. There’s a word for it: progress.

'Dear Genevieve': We're On the Schedule!!!

NOTE: It appears our bedroom makeover is airing at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 5, NOT 9 p.m., as previously scheduled!!

Happy Birthday Josh Groban

Joshua Winslow "Josh" Groban has seen a mountain of success, all before the age of 30. All five of his studio releases have reached the top 10 and sold at least platinum, including No. 1's "Closer" in 2003 and "Noel" in 2007; along with five No. 1 hits on the U.S. AC chart. Worldwide, he has sold 24 million albums.

Today, on his 29th birthday, I'm sure he remains mighty appreciative of the lucky break that launched his career, with thanks to producer David Foster and Celine Dion. The former had heard a demo of Groban singing "All I Ask of You" from "Phantom of the Opera" and invited him to stand in for an ailing Andrea Bocelli to rehearse "The Prayer" with Celine Dion at the 1998 Grammy Awards.

Despite his terror, the teen-ager delivered, and was soon asked to appear on "Ally McBeal" singing "You're Still You." That led to a record contract, and the rest is glorious history.

Celine also invited a now-famous Josh to appear on her 2008 TV special, "That's Just the Woman In Me," where they at last sang "The Prayer" for the masses, which was released as a "live" single.

I reviewed numerous Groban singles for Billboard, and had the opportunity to meet and greet several times in New York and Las Vegas. What a nice guy—and humble as shit.
Above left: with Fred Bronson; right, Ayhan Sahin; below left, almighty publicist Liz Rosenberg.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

'Dear Genevieve': ONE WEEK AWAY!

Okay, cool cats. We're scheduled as Episode 410 on "Dear Genevieve," and tonight Episode 409 aired, so it appears all systems are go for our bedroom makeover to appear in one week, Saturday, March 5 at 8 p.m. eastern on HGTV. Hope you can tune in!

Remember When Oscar Songs Didn't Suck?

Remember when the Oscar for Best Original Song included a field of noms you had not only heard of, but cared about? Anymore, every nomination seems to be A) from an animated kiddie movie or B) composed by Randy Newman. Oh, wait, those are kind of one and the same. (Among 21 nods for Song and Score, Newman has won only once: for 2002's "If I Didn't Have You" from "Monsters, Inc.," which nobody has ever heard of.)

You have to go all the way back to 2002 before you find a victor that isn't wholly dubious: Eminem's loud, angry "Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile." Before that, it was Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" in 1999 (granted, from animated "Toy Story").

Oh, for the days of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," "I've Had (The Time of My Life)" from Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley, Irene Cara's "Flashdance," "Take My Breath Away" from Berlin, "Beauty and the Beast" from Dion & Peabo Bryson (geez, again animated), "Up Where We Belong" from Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker, Cara's "Fame," "Arthur's Theme" from Christopher Cross (which, curses, trumped the more deserving "For Your Eyes Only" from Sheena Easton)...

"Last Dance" from Donna Summer, Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life," Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen" and "The Way We Were," Maureen McGovern's "The Poseidon Adventure" or B.J. Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head."

You get the point. These songs are classics—markers of their era, made all the more noteworthy by their association with films. A win-win.

Where the fuck is Cher's "You Haven't Seen the Last Of Me" in 2011, which won the Golden Globe for writer Diane Warren? This year's nominations: "Almost There" and "Down in New Orleans" by Newman from "The Princess and the Frog"; "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)"; "Loin de Paname" from French musical "Paris 36" (?!?!); and "Take It All" from the flop musical "Nine." Oh, good god, who cares? What a flaccid category. Where's Esparanza Spalding when you need her?