- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2006

The envelope, please

Come Sunday, all eyes will be on the Oscar telecast (live on ABC at 8 p.m.).

But the coveted golden guy isn’t the only game in town.

If you want to see filmmakers really letting it rip, check out the Independent Spirit Awards, held annually on the Saturday before the Oscars.

Originating live from a big tent on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif., its ceremony is far less stuffy than the academy’s high profile event and is even dubbed “the Oscars for cool kids” on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) Web site.

This year, of course, indies are heavily represented among the Oscar nominations, notes NorthJersey.com. And the list of movies vying for the best feature film Spirit Award — “Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” and “The Squid and the Whale” — nearly mirrors the lineup of best picture academy contenders.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson hosted last year’s Spirit Awards; comedian Sarah Silverman does the honors this time. One sign of this event’s growing popularity: For the first time in its two-decade history, the awards will air internationally, carried by more than 65 broadcasters. If you miss it live, uncut and uncensored (tomorrow at 5 p.m. on cable’s IFC), catch the edited repeat later that night (at 10) on AMC.

All that Razz

There is, however, one awards show you won’t see on TV (although we wish we could) — the annual Golden Raspberry, or Razzies for short, a dubious distinction bestowed on the year’s worst films and on-screen performances.

The worst picture nominees, as determined by more than 725 film professionals, film journalists and film fans from around the U.S. and 15 foreign countries are: “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo,” “Dirty Love,” “Dukes of Hazzard,” “House of Wax” and “Son of the Mask.”

The Razzies will be presented at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Hollywood’s Ivar Theatre. News of the winners should soon follow (see tomorrow’s late night newscasts), since nominees tend to avoid this ceremony at all costs — thereby ruling out never-ending acceptance speeches.

More Oscar buzz

Still craving more Oscar coverage? ABC, not to be outdone, will air live red carpet arrivals an hour before Sunday’s big show at 7 p.m. That’s still no match for E!’s “Countdown to the Red Carpet: The 2006 Academy Awards,” which will feature nonstop coverage of all things Oscar, starting Sunday at noon.

Speaking of E! and Oscar, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, who will offer red carpet commentary for the cable channel, told Associated Press he has no intention of toning down the outlandish behavior that landed him in hot water at the Golden Globe Awards.

In televised pre-show Globe interviews, Mr. Mizrahi groped Scarlett Johansson’s breast, asked Eva Longoria about her pubic hair and peeked down Teri Hatcher’s dress. However, the flamboyant designer strongly defended his behavior.

“The thing is, I am very connected to popular culture, I am,” he told AP. “And I watch ‘Will & Grace’ and I watch ‘My Name is Earl’ and I watch prime-time television a lot and every other joke is about pubic hair…. So I don’t feel it’s wrong to talk about that on the red carpet,” he said.

E! said it did not receive any official complaints from the actresses involved in Mr. Mizrahi’s Golden Globes escapades and the network issued no apologies.

Turning our attention to other Oscar matters, Cable’s TCM winds down on its “31 Days of Oscar” film showcase with “Lust for Life,” the Vincent van Gogh biopic tomorrow at 5 a.m.

The 1956 film earned several Oscar bids, including a best actor nomination for Kirk Douglas as the eccentric and troubled artist. He lost to Yul Brynner for “The King and I,” but his co-star Anthony Quinn — who portrayed painter Paul Gauguin, van Gogh’s contentious friend — took home the prize for best supporting actor.

An ‘Image’ for Fox

Fox will air coverage of the 37th Annual NAACP Image Awards, presented last weekend at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, tonight at 8.

Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. will be master of ceremonies for the gala ceremony, which recognizes outstanding achievements by blacks in film, television, music and literature.

“Crash,” the Oscar-nominated ensemble drama about bigotry and racial tensions in Los Angeles, earned the top film award, and “The Boys of Baraka” — an acclaimed documentary about at-risk boys from inner-city Baltimore who gain life lessons and growth while attending a boarding school in Kenya — took home the Image Award for Outstanding Independent or Foreign Film (beating out such Oscar hopefuls as “Syriana” and “The Constant Gardener”).

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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