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Fed fanatics mourn Roger’s loss Down Under

Roger Federer Of Switzerland WavesWatched an episode of Hot In Cleveland last night then slept for a few hours before waking up around 1 a.m. to watch Roger Federer play Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

With top seed Rafael Nadal out, this match felt like a final with the winner the heavy favorite to take the title.

Flipped on ESPN and Roger had lost the first set and was down a break in set two but rallied to lead 5-2.

From there, all kinds of things went wrong and the third seeded Djokovic ended up winning 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 and will face either Andy Murray or David Ferrer in Sunday’s final.

“It’s really one of the best matches I’ve played in a while,” Djokovic said after the match.

For us Fed Fanatics, it was tough to see our Roger go out that way. Even though he has won more majors than any other male player in history, we are a greedy bunch and we want to see him add more to his 6 Wimbledons, 5 US Open, 4 Australian Opens and 1 French Open.

The Swiss star had lost just three matches since Wimbledon, won five tournaments along the way and was riding a 15 match winning streak coming into the semifinal. But he was simply outplayed by Djokovic who beat him in the semifinals of the US Open in September and in the semifinals in Australia in 2008.

“It’s disappointing and it hurts in the moment itself,” Federer told reporters after the match. “I wish I could have won here again for the fifth time. But wasn’t possible tonight. It’s not the end in any way. It’s a start for many other tournaments after this. … “Every time I had slight opportunity, either I didn’t play my best or he played his best. It was a tough night from this standpoint. Those are sometimes the way matches go.”

Serbia's Novak Djokovic GesturesDjokovic is a young and exciting player to watch and God knows he’s due more major titles. He’s only won one (2008 Australian Open) because either Federer or Nadal have won 21 out of the last 23 slams.

“On one side it’s good for the sport to have more players being able to win against Federer and Nadal,” Djokovic said. “All the credit to them what they have done in last five, six years. They’ve been very dominant and just a great example of champions. It was really hard to challenge them, especially in the big events where they play their best tennis. Now these things are changing a little bit, so from that perspective it’s good for the sport.”

With Federer still playing terrific at 29 and rarely injured and Nadal the reigning champ at the other three slams, I’m not sure if this result is a changing of the guard. Only time will tell.

I sure hope the Roger and Rafa show has many more performances left!

“I feel very good. I’m very optimistic about the next 15 tournaments, however many I’m playing,” Federer said. “I’ve barely lost matches lately really, so I’m happy with where my game is at, with where my condition is at. I’m really excited for what’s to come. This is obviously a bit of a blow. At the same time, I played a good tournament. I have no regrets.”

FILE UNDER: Tennis

Robert Gant to come between “Mike & Molly”

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http://images.tvrage.com/shows/26/25050.jpgShhh. Don’t tell anyone, but Robert Gant is an openly gay actor who regularly gets cast in straight roles.

According to a certain Newsweek writer, Richard Chamberlain and even Jane Lynch, this isn’t the way it works.

But in getting cast as the hunk who threatens to come between the leads in the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, Gant is once again paving the way.

The actor came out publicly during his run on Showtime’s Queer as Folk and since then has regularly accepted both gay and straight roles on television and in film.

According to TVLine, Gant  will guest-star as Kyle, a bakery boss who is very sweet on Molly.

Mike gets wind of Molly’s never-divulged relationship with Kyle when he happens into a conversation with the handsome gent during a visit to Molly’s (hmmmm) “favorite bakery.”

Gant’s appearance will come in episode 16 of the season.

Before Queer as Folk, Gant had  mostly been cast as “the boyfriend”  on such shows as Caroline in the City and Friends and had a recurring role on the cult favorite Popular as the young high school principal who all the female students were in love with.

He also played a very straight guy from Texas in the UK series PAs.

In a 2009 interview with Greg In Hollywood, Gant talked about playing it straight: That was most of what I did before. It’s actually really refreshing to go back to my roots a bit that way. I just appreciate getting to expand again after having the concept of me contract somewhat. You have to deal with people’s own mindsets and people’s own limitations and, fortunately, that’s all expanded.”

He has no regrets but it’s taken awhile for the industry to realize that he is just as capable of playing straight roles as he was before he went public. He believes  “the last real frontier in Hollywood”  is an openly gay leading man type actor playing a romantic straight role.

Robert Gant on Friends

“What helps is that I know what I’m capable of and I think when you have a sense of yourself that way, the rest follows,” he says. ” The problem is when we as individuals don’t know all of who we are which is really the whole issue around being gay. I think as we as a community have come into our own in terms of our recognition of who we really are and our innate equality, then the laws are following.”

It’s not that Gant has shied away from gay roles since the end of Queer as Folk. He starred opposite Chad Allen and Judith Light in the acclaimed independent film Save Me as man struggling to live by the rules at an “ex-gay” ministry. He also played the lead role in Kiss Me Deadly, a gay spy in the adventure flick co-starring Shannen Doherty.

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FILE UNDER: Out Stars

Thursday Morning Man: Kelly Slater!

ZzzzzBoy Culture featured this cover of surfing champion Kelly Slater yesterday. This led me to check my archives and I was shocked that I have never featured this gorgeous athlete at a Morning Man.

The blue-eyed 38-year-old has been crowned the Association of Surfing Professionals world champion a record 10 times making him, by far, the most successful surfer in the history of the sport.

He remains at the top of the sport but those handsome looks have brought other opportunities as well. Kelly was in several episodes of Baywatch in the 90s and in 2003, he released his autobiography, Pipe Dreams: A Surfer’s Journey, which I actually read a few years back and enjoyed. In 2008 he released a second book with Phil Jarratt entitled Kelly Slater: For the Love.

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FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2011)

Arkansas supermarket reverses decision to hide US Weekly cover featuring Elton John, David Furnish and baby

I got a lecture from a reader the other day for writing in a post excerpting an US Weekly interview with Elton John and David Furnish that Elton at times has been a little bitchy.
The reader chastised me for not acknowledging the historical significance of two gay men and their baby making the cover of one of the major weekly magazines.
It’s a good point and one that really hit home after I read on Towleroad.com today that Harps grocery store in Mountain Home, Arkansas, covered the magazine with a shield “to protect young Harps shoppers.”
Thankfully, this outrageous act was made public by a vigilant shopper and tweeter.
Now comes word that the store has reversed its decision.
Reports CNN: The Arkansas-based grocery chain lets managers at its 65 stores decide when customers complain if the shield is needed, but it is usually for photos that are “sexually provocative or too revealing,” Harps Food Stores President Kim Eskew said.Complaints poured into the chain’s headquarters this week after photos of the shielded magazine spread across internet blogs and news websites.

“When we began receiving complaints at our corporate office, we reviewed the magazine in question, removed the shield and are selling the magazine in all our locations today without any cover,” Eskew said Wednesday. “Our true intention is not to offend anyone in our stores and this incident happened at just one of our 65 locations, which, when brought to our attention, we reversed.”

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Ugly war of words erupts between “Glee” boss Ryan Murphy and The Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill

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http://collider.com/wp-content/uploads/Ryan-Murphy.jpgThere is an escalating war of words going on between the rock band Kings of Leon and Glee creator Ryan Murphy that is rather unfortunate.

The band had declined to allow the phenomenally popular show to cover its songs in a future episode and Murphy blasted them in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“F— you, Kings of Leon,” Murphy said. “They’re self-centered assholes, and they missed the big picture. They missed that a 7-year-old kid can see someone close to their age singing a Kings of Leon song, which will maybe make them want to join a glee club or pick up a musical instrument. It’s like, OK, hate on arts education. You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music.”

Okay. Murphy is clearly not handling the band’s rejection well and it must have come as a shock since virtually everyone on the planet seems to want to be on Glee or have their music featured on the show.

But when drummer Nathan Followill replied via Twitter to the openly gay Murphy’s comments, he took a homophobic road that is just beyond the pale: “Dear Ryan Murphy, let it go. See a therapist, get a manicure, buy a new bra. Zip your lip and focus on educating 7yr olds how to say fuck.”

Followill later tweeted: “I’m sorry 4 anyone that misconstrued my comments as homophobic or misogynistic. I’m so not that kind of person. I really do apologize.”

Everyone needs to cool off and Followill needs to seriously grow up. Murphy’s comments were out of line in my opinion but the drummer’s reaction was outrageous.

FILE UNDER: Controversy, Glee

GLAAD lectures Leno on joke about child acting gay

http://www.foxnews.com/images/476782/0_61_0_61_leno_jay06.jpgI thought Jay Leno had learned his lesson back in 2008 after the brouhaha that erupted when he asked Ryan Phillippe to make a “gay face” when discussing the actor playing gay on a soap opera in the 90s.

But Jay, who has publicly supported gay marriage, did it again last week when Amy Poehler was a guest and told The Tonight Show host a story about her 4-year-old son seeing a sad Patriots coach Bill Belichick doing as post-game press conference and kissing the TV screen to cheer the coach up.

Leno reacted to the cute anecdote by going into a bit of gay panic: “Was dad concerned by this?” he asked.

Watch the exchange for yourself and below it, I will share with you part of a well-written reaction from GLAAD President Jarret Barrios, something I hope Leno has read.

Writes Barrios:

What’s sad about Jay Leno’s joke is that it was so unsurprising. Comedy routinely plays on types and often makes fun of people from all walks of life. But jokes like this one — ones that reaffirm these stereotypes for laughs — can also make things harder for gay and transgender people who already face tremendous hurdles.

What’s even sadder was that he made the joke about a child’s behavior and a parent’s expectations. When young people come out, the first people they should be able to go to are their parents. And at a time when so many of us are asking why our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth are being physically or verbally bullied or worse — shouldn’t we want a child to believe they can go to their father to talk about it? But who would go talk to a dad like the one in Leno’s joke?

FILE UNDER: Controversy, GLAAD

Justine Henin retires from tennis … again

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http://french.open-tennis.com/images/justine-henin.jpgI’m really sad that former No. 1 player Justine Henin is retiring from tennis again.

She had the most gorgeous game to watch with a tremendous fighting spirit. She was also one of the few players able to beat Serena Williams several times on the sport’s biggest stages.

The retirement announcement came today, a few days after she lost in the Australian Open, a tournament she won in 2004 and was the runner-up in twice including last year.

“I have undergone several tests the past few days, confirming that my elbow has sustained a lot more damage during my adventure in Australia,” the 28-year-old Belgian said on her website. “The past few weeks, there was a little bit more pain every day, but I thought my willpower would prevail. Today, the tests and my doctors are adamant.”

Henin, a four-time French Open champ, fell and injured her elbow (partially tearing a ligament) at Wimbledon last year during a match against fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters and it resulted in a premature end to her comeback season after 20 months away from the game.

Wimbledon had been the main motivation for her return to the game. While she made it to the finals of the famed grasscourt tournament twice, she lost both times (to Venus Williams and Amelie Mauresmo, respectively) and it ended up being the only one of the game’s major titles to elude her.

When she first walked away from the game in 2008, it was a stunner because she was just 25 and number one in the world. She had won seven grand slam titles and an Olympic Gold Medal in singles and was the reigning French Open and US Open champion.

But she just seemed burned out then and I had a hunch she might return to the game someday.

That someday came in late 2009 when she played in a series of exhibitions then began competing on the tour in January 2010 reaching the finals of her first two tournaments including the Australian Open. She easily played her way back to a top 13 ranking after less than a dozen tournaments.

“It is clear now that I have to accept that my career ends for good,” said Henin. “Even if it is hard, very hard, at a time when I came back with enormous fighting spirit.”

Women’s Tennis Association CEO Stacey Allaster said in a statement.“We have all been fortunate to once again have had the opportunity to witness the beauty of her game during these many past months, and no doubt we will miss seeing her on court competing like only Justine can. Justine Henin will go down as one of the greatest female athletes of her era.”

Henin, who is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, often seemed distant from fans during her career which she acknowledged in her farewell letter: “If there is one thing I could regret, it is that I protected myself too much and could not be closer to you. I hope you will forgive me.”

Considering her personal history, that distance was somewhat understandable. Justine’s mom died while she was young and she had a bitter falling out with her father when she left home to pursue tennis. She also suffered through a divorce during her reign as number one.

Best of luck to Justine in the future!

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FILE UNDER: Tennis

Rafael Nadal may have lost in the Australian Open but his new Armani underwear shots are winners!

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I am sure looking this hot is small consolation to the world’s number one tennis player right now but the rest of us are sure feeling joyous!

Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the Australian Open earlier today in the quarterfinals by fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. Nadal was playing hurt but went through the motions and lost in three straight sets.

He had been trying to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1968 to win four consecutive grand slam tournaments. He had won the 2010 French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

Hopefully Rafa will recover quickly and be able to play at 100 percent again. Meanwhile, we will enjoy these images from his Emporio Armani underwear campaign. They certainly rival those of predecessors David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of shear hotness.

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FILE UNDER: Guy Candy, Tennis

Cher expresses disappointment over Oscar snub of Diane Warren’s song from “Burlesque”

In recent weeks Cher celebrated the fact that the gorgeous anthem she sings in her film Burlesque reached number one on the Billboard Dance Chart giving the icon a number one hit in each of the last six decades.
Days later, You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me won songwriter Diane Warren the Golden Globe Award for best original song from a movie and an Oscar nomination seemed assured.
But when the nominations were announced Tuesday morning, the song – which made for the most dramatic moments in the movie, shockingly did not make the cut.
Cher, an Oscar winner in 1988 for Moonstruck, did not hide her disappointment.
“We didn’t get a nomination 4 best song ! That sucks !” Cher said via Twitter. “Diane’s song Is so beautiful! It’s hard to understand how u win.”
She added: “The Golden Globe 4 BEST SONG & not even get nominated by the OSCARS? Oh well it is..what it is ,,,,the sun is still shining !”
Songwriter Warren is a six-time Oscar nominee but this song was extra special to her. She told me in an interview earlier this month: “I wanted the song to not only be for what the character was going through and they are trying to take away her club but I wanted to write her defining song. I wanted to write the song that she comes out at the end of her concert, her encore, and everyone gets on their feet – the You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me Tour! I think this is the best thing she’s ever done, the best vocal.”
When Warren won the Globe last week, she thanked the late Ronni Chasen, the publicist who was murdered in November after attending the Burlesque premiere in Hollywood. Chasen had been pushing for the song to get an Oscar nod.
FILE UNDER: Awards

Happy 53rd Birthday to Ellen! Portia, Pink, Julia Roberts, Colin Farrell and Jaden Smith help celebrate!

Birthday girl: Ellen DeGeneres is joined on stage by some surprise guests including Julia Roberts and Colin FarrellEllen DeGeneres turned 53 years young today with Julia Roberts, Colin Farrell and Jaden Smith among those stopping by the set of her talk show to help her celebrate.

But that probably wasn’t Ellen’s favorite part of the festivities: Ellen’s wife Portia de Rossi, channeling with Marilyn Monroe famously sang happy birthday to President John F. Kennedy, dressed up as Marilyn and sang on a video. The festivities were kicked off with a performance by a very pregnant Pink.

Here is Portia’s birthday present:

Party performer: Ellen gets a gift in the form of a pregnant Pink who sings her a song

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Wednesday Afternoon Man: Eric Close!

http://j.bdbphotos.com/news/pictures/1L/47/11147_large.jpgGood afternoon everyone!

My apologies for the lack of fresh posts so far today, I was finishing up a project. But I’m settling down now for an afternoon of blogging so check back often.

First of all, let’s present to you an “Afternoon Man” since morning is long gone: He’s Eric Close, the handsome blue-eyed actor best known for his years on the CBS drama Without a Trace.

Eric returns to the network this year in Chaos, a comedic drama about a group of rogue CIA spies in the division of Clandestine Administration and Oversight Services (CAOS). I’ve seen the first episode and it looks very promising – lots of action but some lighter moments too.

Eric, 43, is no stranger to series TV. After appearing for a short time on the daytime soap Santa Barbara, he was a cast member in the following series:McKenna (one season, 1994–1995),  Sisters (1995-96) Dark Skies (one season, 1996–1997), The Magnificent Seven (two seasons, 1998–1999), Now and Again (one season, 1999–2000), and the Steven Spielberg produced miniseries Taken (2002).

This guy knows how to be steadily employed! It’s a good thing: Eric and his wife Keri have two young daughters.

Chaos is scheduled to premiere in early April.

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FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2011)

90210: Dixon confronts Teddy about kissing Ian!

http://www.outfrontcolorado.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/90210teddy.jpgTeddy and Ian are making out in a corridor and Dixon sees them. He watches for awhile then tries to tiptoe away, makes some kind of noise which spooks Teddy.

Teddy wants Ian to come over to his house but starts all this “You leave first” jazz and Ian, growing frustrated, asks in exasperation: “Is this a relationship or The Bourne Identity?”

Teddy: “Just be patient with me.”

Ian: “Okay. I always thought Matt Damon was cute.”

Meanwhile, Dixon is acting like he’s seen a ghost and asks a classmate: “Can a guy kiss another guy and not be gay?”

The next day Dixon confronts Teddy on the beach and says: ‘Are you gay?” He says it the way it is in your worst nightmare, like with a bad taste in his mouth.

Teddy at first denies he was kissing a guy but finally just asks Dixon to not tell anyone what he saw.

To be continued!

Here are last night’s scenes:

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

EW considers Neil Patrick Harris & Anderson Cooper to be among top 10 possible replacements for Regis

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http://urie.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/061008_ripa_400x400.jpgWe learned earlier this month that soon-to-be 80 year old Regis Philbin will be leaving Live With Regis and Kelly either in late summer or early fall.

We’ll miss Regis – he is one of a kind.

So who will replace him alongside the wonderful Kelly Ripa?

Entertainment Weekly has amassed a list of top 10 candidates and listed the buzz and various pros and cons for each.

Since Regis has missed so many shows in recent years – particularly Fridays – we’ve gotten to see Kelly with various guest hosts. My two favorites have been Neil Patrick Harris and Anderson Cooper. She has great chemistry with both and both these guys have the smarts and charm to do the job and do it well.

Problem is, and EW points this out, both are very in demand in other places. Anderson, who works as a newsman for CNN and for 60 Minutes, is also launching a syndicated talk show this fall called Anderson. So he’s not going to have time now which is a pity.

Neil is still starring in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, is a new father of twins and has plenty of movie and stage offers during his off time from the sitcom.

http://www.mytelevision.com/tv_stars/pictures/billy_bush.jpgHere’s the rest of the list. I like some of the guys on it like Chris Cuomo, Jeff Probst and Mark Consuelos but Billy Bush would be too much like Regis!

Entertainment Weekly writes:

Ryan Seacrest: You can’t have a major talk show vacancy without his name coming up. He could clearly handle the job. The trick (as is the case with several names below) is working around his existing deals.

Jeff Probst: The Survivor host is a superb interviewer, he has co-hosted the show in the past, and his contract is up this year.

Mario Lopez: Another former Live! co-host. We’re told he’s potentially a popular contender, but that his deal with Extra may hold things up.

Chris Harrison: The Bachelor host is already in the ABC family. If he can handle crazed bachelorettes, surely he can work with sweet Kelly, right?

http://img2.timeinc.net/instyle/images/2007/parties/071607_ripa_400X400.jpgMark Consuelos: Yup, Kelly’s husband. He’s an actor and reality show host.  We’re hearing he’s an unlikely choice.

Chris Cuomo: The 20/20 host is another ABC insider.

Anderson Cooper: Woulda-coulda-shoulda. He’s busy trying to get his own daytime talk show off the ground.

Billy Bush: Like Lopez, there’s an entertainment news program deal to work around — this time, with Access Hollywood.

Neil Patrick Harris: Considered a fantastic substitute co-host on the show. But would he want the gig?

Mike Rowe: Now this is an interesting name. The Dirty Jobs host and Deadliest Catch narrator has a ton of female fans. Could this blue collar man’s man pull off the celebrity bantering and hamming it up with Kelly? Why, this could be his toughest job yet.

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FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

2011 Oscars: “The Kids Are All Right” gets best picture, screenplay nods; Bening & Ruffalo nominated too!

No, I did not bother to wake up before 6 a.m. to watch the Academy Award nominations be announced live even though last year’s best supporting actress winner, Monique, looked terrific in doing so.

I think it would have been just too early for me to process that Diane Warren’s wonderful anthem sung by Cher in Burlesque, You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me, was not among the nominees for best original song or that Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work was not nominated for best documentary.

So what does a gay blogger have left to be happy about in reviewing the 2011 Oscar nominations?

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The Kids Are All Right, that’s what!

The film about a lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) dealing with the sudden appearance of the man who is the sperm donor father (Mark Ruffalo) of their two children, was among the 10 best picture nominees.

As expected, Miss Bening was nominated for best actress and Mr. Ruffalo for best supporting actor.

I was hoping director Lisa Cholodenko would get a nod for best director but she did not make the cut. However, Miss Cholodenko was nominated for best original screenplay with Stuart Blumberg.

Miss Bening, a previous nominee for The Grifters, American Beauty and Being Julia, is certainly deserving of a win. But can she stop the Natalie Portman express? We shall see.

Here are the nominees in some of the major categories:

Best Picture: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter’s Bone.

Actor in a Leading Role: Javier Bardem in Biutiful, Jeff Bridges in True Grit, Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network, Colin Firth in The King’s Speech, and James Franco in 127 Hours.

Actress in a Leading Role: Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right, Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole, Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone, Natalie Portman in Black Swan and Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale in The Fighter, John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone, Jeremy Renner in The Town, Mark Ruffalo in The Kids Are All Right, and Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Amy Adams in The Fighter, Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech, Melissa Leo in The Fighter, Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit and Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom.

Best Director: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan, David O. Russell for The Fighter, Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech, David Fincher for The Social Network and Joel & Ethan Coen for True Grit.

Adapted Screenplay: 127 Hours by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin, Toy Story 3 by Michael Arndt and story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich; True Grit by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen and Winter’s Bone by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini.

Original Screenplay: Another Year by Mike Leigh, The Fighter by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson and story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Inception by Christopher Nolan, The Kids Are All Right by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg and The King’s Speech by David Seidler.

Here is a LINK to the full list on nominees.

FILE UNDER: Awards

Lunch Break Videos: From Sally Field to John Wayne to Cher, some memorable Oscar moments

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5sZdPjTGuSU/TOaGcBRvg2I/AAAAAAAAB1o/1APr9Fmi8zw/s1600/sally+field+oscar+1985+black+dress+academy+award.jpgSome of the people who were announced as Oscar nominees this morning will end up as winners when the Academy Awards are handed out at the end of next month.

Who wins and how they handle their acceptance speech will impact how memorable the show is. Back in 1985, Sally Field picked up her second best actress prize for Places in the Heart. She was clearly emotional and felt so appreciated by her peers that at the end of her speech she blurted out: “You like me! You like me!”

Looking back, it’s a wonderful speech and so unlike when people read a list of names off a piece of paper. Cher certainly did not do that when she won for Moonstruck in 1988.

I’ve included those speeches, a compilation of Oscar moments as well as John Wayne’s emotional final appearance on an Academy Awards telecast in 1978. He was battling cancer and died the next year.

I’ll have a full report on this year’s Oscar nominees later this morning!




Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis to guest on “Oprah” today as part of the show’s 25-year LGBT retrospective

Oprah

http://www.ericmarcus.com/images/bookcovers/full/louganis.jpgThere’s no way I’m missing today’s episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

In this, Oprah’s final season, Oprah takes a look back at 25 years of covering LGBT issues on her talk show with special guests Greg Louganis and India’s Prince Gohil.

Louganis, winner of four Olympic Gold Medals and a silver medal in diving at the 1976, 1984 and 1988 Olympics, last appeared on Oprah back in 1995 when he had just published his deeply moving autobiography Breaking the Surface and announcing to the world that he is HIV-positive.

I was in the middle of my big coming out process which was such a hugely emotional time. Greg’s book and hos appearance on Oprah – where I saw how absolutely accepted and loved he was by that crowd – was very inspiring and gave me the encouragement I needed to keep coming out to my friends and family.

In the past few years, I’ve seen Greg on several occasions at various events and had the chance to tell him how much his story, his book, and the interviews he did with Oprah and Barbara Walters as well, impacted me.

Obviously I was not alone. A viewer who was only 12 years old at that time in 1995, was given the courage by Greg’s appearance that day to come out to himself and accept himself as being gay. He will be a surprise guest and is pictured with Greg and Oprah above.

To read my interview with Greg Louganis from last June, click HERE.

FILE UNDER: Out Stars

Tuesday Morning Man: Hal Sparks!

http://www.stephaniemiller.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Hal-Sparks-cd01.jpegMost fans of the US version of Queer as Folk, which ran for five seasons on Showtime, probably wished they had a boyfriend or a best friend like Michael Novotny.

While Michael was written as the emotional backbone of the series, what made him so appealing was the actor who played him so well and with so much heart: Hal Sparks.

I was only familiar with Hal’s work as an actor because I hadn’t watched him as host of E!’s Talk Soup. But a few years back, I saw him perform at an LGBT benefit and was learned what a first-rate stand-up comedian he is as well as astute social commentator and steadfast straight ally to the LGBT community.

Hal is also lead singer and guitarist for the rock band Zero 1 and frequently appears on radio (The Stephanie Miller Show) and television (CNN) where he riffs on whatever is in the news. He’s a smart guy who knows what he’s talking about but it’s clear that he also has a big heart.

Prior to Queer as Folk, Hal had a funny role in the film Dude Where’s My Car? as Zoltan, the head of a clan of nerds obsessed with outer space. He also had roles in Spider-Man 2, Dickie Roberts: Child Star and Extract.

Cutie pie Hal is 41 and single!

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FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2011)

Roger Federer reaches the semifinals of the Australian Open for the eighth time in his illustrious career

Roger Federer Of Switzerland Returns

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: When you’ve won as much as Roger Federer, the records just keep coming.

We won’t know if he will go on to win the Australian Open for the fifth time (he’s two wins away) but he’s already tied Jimmy Connors record of 27 consecutive grand slam quarterfinal appearances (he has not lost before the quarterfinals of a slam since 2003!) and set a record last week for most match wins at the Australian by a male player: 57.

The previous record was 56 match wins by two-time champion and three-time runner-up Stefan Edberg. Federer’s record is now at 59 wins.

Already Tuesday in Australia, Federer sailed by fellow Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the year’s first major for the eighth time. He is the defending champion, also won the title in 2004, 2006 and 2007 and reached the semifinals in 2005 and 2008.

Roger Federer Of Switzerland Plays

FILE UNDER: Tennis

How will “The Kids Are All Right” fare when Oscar nominations are announced tomorrow morning?

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The Academy Award nominations will be announced early tomorrow morning and I’m rooting for The Kids Are All Right, the winner of the Greg In Hollywood 2010 Greggy for Best Movie, to nab some major nominations.

It deserves to get nods for best picture, best director (Lisa Cholodenko), best screenplay (Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg), best actress for co-leads Annette Bening and Julianne Moore and best supporting actor for Mark Ruffalo.

We shall see. It seems like nominations for Bening and for screenplay are the only shoo-ins based on pre-Oscar buzz and critics prizes’s but a best picture nomination could very well happen with 10 slots open now.

http://www.365gay.com/wp-content/uploads/news-the-kids-are-all-right-top.jpgUSA Today notes in an article published today that should the film be nominated for best picture, it would mark only the second time in  Academy history that two films directed by women (after The Hurt Locker and An Education last year) are in the race since Winter’s Bone directed by Debra Granik is considered a strong contender.

But would a best director nod go along with the best picture nod? Not likely notes the article despite a win last year by Hurt Locker director Katherine Bigelow, no female directors are in the running for the upcoming Directors Guild Awards, which Bigelow also won last year, along with best picture.

http://daily.greencine.com/The-Kids-Are-All-Right-Lisa-Cholodenko.jpg“In a deeper analysis, especially after the DGA nominations came out, you wonder how much of people’s taste is about a style of filmmaking that might be in vogue right now — quick-cutting, thriller aspects, special effects. The films that are front and center right now are very much genre films,” Cholodenko (pictured left) tells the paper. “My film relies heavily on psychological character study.”

Since the Oscars began, only eight best-picture nominees have been directed or co-directed by women.

A separate article in USA Today notes that Kids has been called Brokeback Mountain for lesbians. But  the article points out that Brokeback was a period drama that portrayed a male homosexual relationship as conflicted and tragic. Kids is a contemporary comedy-drama that is matter-of-fact about the normality of same-sex marriage and lesbian moms.

“It’s the perfect post-gay film,” says Howard Bragman, a longtime Hollywood publicist. “Gays are just part of the landscape.”

Director Cholodenko, a lesbian mom, set out to relate a family story, not a lesbian story. “We wanted to make a film about a marriage in midlife, at a low point, the things you don’t see in most movies about what families look like behind closed doors.”

In the process, the movie smashes traditional Hollywood depictions of gay people as dysfunctional, murderous or psychotic, says Dustin Lance Black, the writer/director who won an Oscar for the screenplay of Milk, about the murdered San Francisco gay politician Harvey Milk.

“And unlike in Milk and so many (past) gay movies, the lead characters (in Kids) don’t die,” he says.

FILE UNDER: Awards

Razzies nominate the gals from “Sex and the City 2,” Cher, Liza and Streisand for worst in film in 2010

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Our gay icons got no respect from The Razzie Awards which earlier today announced their nominations for the worst in film during 2010.

Not realizing the nominations were coming out today, I just happened to watch Sex and the City 2 on DVD last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I decided that it had been unfairly maligned and with a worldwide gross of $288.3 million ($95.3 million domestically), it certainly makes business sense to do a third film.

http://www.accesshollywood.com/content/images/101/415x0/101913_the-girls-of-sex-and-the-city-2-on-the-set-in-new-york-city-on-september-8-2009.jpgAnyway, then the nominations for The Razzies come out and not only is Sex and the City 2 a nominee for worst picture (along with Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The Last Airbender, The Bounty Hunter and Vampires Suck) but the four stars were nominated jointly for worst actress.

Okay Razzie people, say what you will about the film, but don’t say Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis do not exquisitely inhabit the roles of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte each time out.

The cast was also nominated in the “worst ensemble” category and Michael Patrick King got a nod for “worst director.” In addition, SATC2 was nominated for “worst screenplay” and “worst sequel.”

Good grief! Someone get me a cosmopolitan quick!

To add insult to injury, the Razzie folks gave Liza Minnelli, who performed a gay wedding in the movie and performed an energetic version of Beyonce’s Single Ladies, a nomination for worst supporting actress!

Liza, an Oscar winner for 1972′s Cabaret, is in pretty good company. Among her fellow nominees are Oscar winner Cher for Burlesque and Oscar winner Barbra Streisand for Little Fockers.

Not to worry though. Jessica Alba would appear to have the category sewn up since she is nominated for FOUR films she appeared in: The Killer Inside Me, Little Fockers, Machete, and Valentine’s Day.

Last year, Sandra Bullock received the Razzie for Worst Actress for her performance in All About Steve. She actually showed up to accept the booby prize. Perhaps Sandra was feeling super-secure since she would go on the win the Academy Award for best actress for The Blind Side the very next day.

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FILE UNDER: Awards