Archive for Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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December 16, 2009

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‘Up in the Air’ soars at Golden Globes

Beverly Hills, Calif. — “Up in the Air” landed at just the right time, emerging as a potential Academy Awards favorite with themes of job loss and economic calamity that offer a heartbreaking yet hilarious reflection of these hard times.

The film grabbed a leading six Golden Globe nominations Tuesday, including best drama, plus directing and screenplay honors for Jason Reitman. George Clooney earned a best dramatic actor slot as a frequent-flyer junkie traveling the country in first-class seats and premium car rentals as he fires the rank-and-file at downsizing companies.

“We just got a little lucky. Jason’s been writing this movie for like six or seven years now and it only really came about right at this moment, and he kind of adapted the screenplay to fit the times,” said Anna Kendrick, a supporting-actress nominee as a bright young efficiency expert whose innovations threaten the livelihood of Clooney’s character. “I think it’s a better movie for that.”

Kendrick’s competition includes “Up in the Air” co-star Vera Farmiga, who earned a supporting-actress honor as Clooney’s frequent-flyer dream woman.

Other drama picks were the space fantasy “Avatar,” the Iraq War tale “The Hurt Locker,” the World War II saga “Inglourious Basterds” and the Harlem teen story “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”

Rock Hall to induct ABBA, Genesis

Cleveland — ABBA is dancing its way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies and The Stooges.

The list of the next class of inductees was released Tuesday by the Cleveland hall. ABBA and The Stooges made it in this time after being nominated previously but not making the cut.

ABBA, a Swedish pop group that became one of the most successful acts in pop history, continues to sell millions of records each year and has been finding new fans through the popularity of “Mamma Mia,” a stage musical and film incorporating its songs, including “Dancing Queen,” “Money, Money, Money” and “The Winner Takes It All.”

ABBA’s name is an acronym formed from the first names of band members Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Annifrid Lyngstad. They broke up in 1982 and have resisted reunion offers.

Sports Illustrated puts Colbert on cover

New York — Stephen Colbert has joined the legions of athletes and swimsuit models to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” appears on the front of the magazine’s latest issue wearing an Olympic speedskating uniform. The issue is devoted to sports media. It’s on newsstands today.

In November, devoted Colbert fans known as the Colbert Nation became the official primary sponsor of U.S. Speedskating. The team’s largest annual cash sponsor, DSB Bank NV, left the team in the lurch after it declared bankruptcy in October.

With contributions from fans, more than $250,000 has been raised.

Colbert has made Olympics-related material a nearly nightly fixture on his show.

Other celebrities have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, including late actor Bob Hope in 1963 and comedian Chris Rock in 2000.

Randy Quaid a no-show in California court

Santa Barbara, Calif. — Arrests warrants have been issued for actor Randy Quaid and his wife after they failed to appear for a court hearing, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

The couple didn’t show up in a Santa Barbara criminal court Tuesday on a felony charge that they defrauded an innkeeper. The no-show will cost the couple $40,000 in forfeited bail.

It was the most recent in a string of court absences that have resulted in arrest warrants and an aborted attempt to extradite the pair from Randy Quaid’s home state of Texas.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter said the couple are felony fugitives again and will have to post $40,000 if arrested.

The Quaids’ attorney, Robert Sanger, declined comment on the case.

Randy and Evi Quaid were arrested on Sept. 24 in West Texas after being accused of using an invalid credit card to defraud the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito of more than $10,000.

Sanger has said the couple paid the bill and had hoped to resolve the case.

Suspect sought to mask blackmail attempt

New York — A TV producer accused of trying to blackmail David Letterman for $2 million said he needed money to visit his son and would mask the transaction as a business deal, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Robert J. “Joe” Halderman also told the comedian’s lawyer he would keep copies of his information on Letterman’s love life for “protection,” worrying that he could be fired — or even killed — in retaliation for the scheme, Manhattan prosecutors said in court papers.

“The issue is your client does not want this information public,” Halderman told Letterman’s attorney in a secretly taped conversation, according to prosecutors. “I have said, for a price, I will sign a confidentiality agreement and I will not make this information public. That’s, that’s the deal.”

A judge is expected to rule next month on Halderman’s argument for dismiss the attempted grand larceny case, which prompted Letterman to disclose on-air that he had had affairs with staffers.

Halderman says he was just shopping a thinly veiled screenplay about Letterman’s life to the late-night TV icon.

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