Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Rap music dominated the nominations for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, announced Friday night live in Los Angeles and telecast on CBS. Only six categories were announced during the hour-long nominations special, but overall, Jay Z tops this year's nominations with nine. Rappers Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have seven each. Justin Timberlake also scored seven nominations each, as did Pharrell [fuh-RELL] Williams, who was featured on two of the year's biggest hits: Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." Rapper Drake scored five nods.
More importantly, instead of being relegated to its own category, rap music showed up in two of the so-called Big Four categories, which include Album, Song and Record of the Year, as well as Best New Artist. Kendrick Lamar's album good kid, m.A.A.d city is up for Album of the Year, while he himself scored a nod for Best New Artist.
There were a few big shockers in the announcements during the telecast: one was the fact that Sara Bareilles' latest album The Blessed Unrest scored an Album of the Year nod. While the disc was well-received, and produced the hit single "Brave," nobody predicted it would appear in this category. Even more surprising was the fact that Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, the best-selling album of 2013, didn't receive an Album of the Year nod.
Another shocker was Lorde's absence from the Best New Artist category: she had been considered a shoo-in, and her hit "Royals" was nominated for Record and Song of the Year. Instead, British musician James Blake, who isn't well known in the U.S, was nominated. Another Brit, Ed Sheeran, who received his first Grammy nod last year for Song of the Year, also got a Best New Artist nod.
Speaking of Brits, Grammy darling Adele, who's been out of the spotlight for a while, managed to snag one nomination: for "Skyfall," her James Bond theme. It was in the category of Best Song Written for Visual Media. Coldplay was also nominated in that category for "Atlas," their song from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and so were Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw for their duet, "We Both Know," from the movie Safe Haven.
The Grammy Nominations Live! CBS telecast began with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis walking into L.A.'s Staples Center and up onto the stage, along with their buddy Wanz, to perform their hit "Thrift Shop." The stage was decorated with racks of thrift shop clothing, as dancers gyrated wildly, and Macklemore threw items of clothing into the audience.
Taylor Swift was shown singing "I Knew You Were Trouble" from Australia, and before she went on, she turned to the camera and said, "Thank you for the nominations." However, at that point, she hadn't received any, though later on in the show, her album Red received nods for Album of the Year and Best Country Album. Did she have advance knowledge, or did she just assume? We may never know. She tweeted later, "LOVE YOU GUYS WE GOT AN ALBUM OF THE YEAR NOMINATION AND I AM TOO EXCITED TO USE PUNCTUATION."
Viewers also saw R&B star Miguel duetting with Keith Urban on Bill Withers' classic "Ain't No Sunshine," Katy Perry performing an acoustic version of "Roar" from a club in Toronto, and Lorde singing "Royals." Robin Thicke closed the show by performing his nominated single "Blurred Lines" with rapper T.I. and members of Earth, Wind & Fire. Presenters for the night included Ed Sheeran, Kelly Rowland, Melissa Etheridge,Enrique Iglesias and Arsenio Hall.LL Cool J was the evening's host, and when a major screw-up occurred -- Etheridge and actress Pauley Perrette were introduced at the wrong time -- he managed to cover quite smoothly.
The Grammy Awards air January 26, 2014, live on CBS
Here's a selection of the nominees:
Album of the Year The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles Random Access Memories, Daft Punk good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar The Heist, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Red, Taylor Swift
Record of the Year "Get Lucky," Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams "Radioactive," Imagine Dragons "Royals," Lorde "Locked Out of Heaven," Bruno Mars "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams
Song of the Year(Award to Songwriter) "Just Give Me a Reason," Pink featuring Nate Ruess "Locked Out of Heaven," Bruno Mars "Roar," Katy Perry "Royals," Lorde "Same Love," Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Best New Artist James Blake Kendrick Lamar Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Kacey Musgraves Ed Sheeran
Best Pop Solo Performance "Brave" — Sara Bareilles "Royals" — Lorde "When I Was Your Man" — Bruno Mars "Roar" — Katy Perry "Mirrors" — Justin Timberlake
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance "Get Lucky" — Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams "Just Give Me A Reason" — Pink Featuring Nate Ruess "Stay" — Rihanna Featuring Mikky Ekko "Blurred Lines" — Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams "Suit & Tie" — Justin Timberlake & Jay Z
Best Pop Vocal Album Paradise, Lana Del Ray Pure Heroine, Lorde Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke The 20/20 Experience -- The Complete Experience, Justin Timberlake
Best Rock Performance "Always Alright" — Alabama Shakes "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" — David Bowie "Radioactive" — Imagine Dragons "Kashmir" (Live) — Led Zeppelin "My God Is The Sun" — Queens Of The Stone Age "I'm Shakin'" — Jack White Best Rock Album 13 — Black Sabbath The Next Day — David Bowie Mechanical Bull — Kings Of Leon Celebration Day — Led Zeppelin …Like Clockwork — Queens Of The Stone Age Psychedelic Pill — Neil Young With Crazy Horse
Best Rock Song "Ain't Messin 'Round," Gary Clark Jr. "Cut Me Some Slack," Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear "Doom And Gloom," Rolling Stones "God Is Dead?," Black Sabbath "Panic Station," Muse
Best Alternative Music Album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You — Neko Case Trouble Will Find Me — The National Hesitation Marks — Nine Inch Nails Lonerism — Tame Impala Modern Vampires Of The City — Vampire Weekend
Best R&B Performance "Love And War" — Tamar Braxton "Best Of Me" — Anthony Hamilton "Nakamarra" — Hiatus Kaiyote Featuring Q-Tip "How Many Drinks?" — Miguel Featuring Kendrick Lamar "Something" — Snarky Puppy With Lalah Hathaway
Best Urban Contemporary Album Love And War — Tamar Braxton Side Effects Of You — Fantasia One: In The Chamber — Salaam Remi Unapologetic — Rihanna New York: A Love Story — Mack Wilds Best R&B Album R&B Divas — Faith Evans Girl On Fire — Alicia Keys Love In The Future — John Legend Better — Chrisette Michele Three Kings — TGT
Best Rap Performance "Started From The Bottom" — Drake "Berzerk" — Eminem "Tom Ford" — Jay Z "Swimming Pools (Drank)" — Kendrick Lamar "Thrift Shop" — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz Best Rap/Sung Collaboration "Power Trip" — J.Cole Featuring Miguel "Part II (On The Run)" — Jay Z Featuring Beyoncé "Holy Grail" — Jay Z Featuring Justin Timberlake "Now Or Never" — Kendrick Lamar Featuring Mary J. Blige "Remember You" — Wiz Khalifa Featuring The Weeknd
Best Rap Album Nothing Was The Same — Drake Magna Carta…Holy Grail — Jay Z good kid, m.A.A.d city — Kendrick Lamar The Heist — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Yeezus — Kanye West
Best Country Solo Performance "I Drive Your Truck" — Lee Brice "I Want Crazy" — Hunter Hayes "Mama's Broken Heart" — Miranda Lambert "Wagon Wheel" — Darius Rucker "Mine Would Be You" — Blake Shelton
Best Country Album Night Train, Jason Aldean Two Lanes of Freedom, Tim McGraw Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves Based on a True Story…, Blake Shelton Red, Taylor Swift
Best Country Duo/Group Performance "From This Valley," The Civil Wars "Don't Rush," Kelly Clarkson Featuring Vince Gill "Your Side Of The Bed," Little Big Town "Highway Don't Care Tim McGraw," Taylor Swift & Keith Urban "You Can't Make Old Friends," Kenny Rogers With Dolly Parton
Best Country Song "Begin Again," Taylor Swift "I Drive Your Truck," Lee Brice "Mama's Broken Heart," Miranda Lambert "Merry Go 'Round," Kacey Musgraves "Mine Would Be You," Blake Shelton
Best Dance Recording "Need U (100%)," Duke Dumont Featuring A*M*E & MNEK "Sweet Nothing," Calvin Harris Featuring Florence Welch "Kaskade," Finn Bjarnson & Ryan Raddon "This Is What It Feels Like," Armin Van Buuren Featuring Trevor Guthrie "Clarity," Zedd Featuring Foxes
Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The electric guitar owned and used by Bob Dylan, most notably during the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, sold for $965,000 by Christie's auction house.
The 1964 Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar set a new World Auction Record for any guitar, according to Christie's.
"A tremendous amount of international interest was generated at the time of the sale's announcement," Christie's specialist and sale's auctioneer Tom Lecky said in a statement Friday. "Today's result justifies the mythic status of this guitar in the annals of music history."
Dylan played the guitar at the folk festival, marking a defining moment in music history where he publicly moved from acoustic folk to electric rock n' roll, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Media24/Gallo Images/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When Nelson Mandela appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000, the South African leader, who passed away Thursday at the age of 95, was, understandably, not just any other guest.
“As he was getting ready to leave the building, everyone of the Harpo staff lined the hallway to shake his hand,” Winfrey would later recall. “We now call that hallway the ‘Nelson Mandela Hallway’ here at Harpo.” (Harpo is Winfrey’s production company.)
“This has not happened before or after,” she said.
Before Winfrey’s staff lined up to meet the anti-apartheid leader who emerged from prison to become South Africa’s first black president, Mandela discussed his heroic life and how, branded a terrorist and traitor by South Africa’s apartheid government, he survived nearly 30 years in captivity.
“You must fight the battle for dignity on the very first day you go to jail and that’s what we did. We put our foot down and insisted on being respected even though were prisoners,” Mandela said.
Mandela spent much of his time in prison on Robben Island, where he was made to do forced labor and was permitted just one visitor a year; he could either write or receive one letter every six months. Despite those limits on communication, he completed a law degree, organized protests within the prison and helped lead the movement against apartheid.
“If I have not been to prison, I would not have been able to achieve the most difficult task in life and that is changing yourself,” Mandela told Winfrey in 2000.
“I was in the company of great men,” he said of his fellow prisoners. “Some of them were more qualified, more talented than I am, and to sit down with them to exchange views was one of the most revealing experiences I had.”
In reflecting on how he held no bitterness towards his captors and went on to lead the country, Mandela said that thinking of his time in prison left him feeling “angry.”
“Our emotions said the white minority is our enemy [and] we must never talk to them, but our brains said if you don’t talk to this man, your country will go up in the flames. And for many years to come, this country would be in rivers of blood,” Mandela said. “So we had to reconcile that conflict and our talking to the enemy was the result of the domination of the brain over emotions.”
After developing a personal bond with Mandela, Winfrey went on to found the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls just outside Johannesburg, in Mandela’s native country.
“To be in his presence is like being in the presence of grace and royalty at the same time,” Winfrey said in introducing Mandela on her 2000 show. “It is one of the greatest honors of my career to welcome Nelson Mandela.”
In 2011, when Winfrey ended her show, she named the Mandela interview as one of the top 17 headline-making moments in the show’s 25-year history.
Upon hearing of Mandela’s passing on Thursday, Oprah called Mandela her “hero” and said his life was “a gift to us all.”
“One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela’s home, spend private time and get to know him,” Winfrey said in a statement. “He was everything you’ve ever heard and more — humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time.”
Nicky Loh/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After a fake tweet supposedly from Paris Hilton ran last night following Nelson Mandela’s death at the age of 95, the former reality TV star struck back, confirming it wasn’t real and slamming the person who made it up.
“RIP Nelson Mandela. Your ‘I Have A Dream’ speech was so inspiring. An Amazing man,” the fake tweet read. After this message went viral, Hilton responded.
There was immediate suspicion that the tweet was bogus, but Hilton, 32, confirmed it by posting, “Whoever made that stupid fake tweet lacks respect to the loss the world is mourning right now. Same goes for all the blogs who ran with it.”
Her real tweet read: “Just landed & heard the sad news about Nelson Mandela. He was a true Hero & the world is a better place because of him. May he rest in peace.”
Fox(NEW YORK) -- Family Guy fans can rest a bit easier. It looks like Brian the dog will be coming back, one way or the other.
The Fox comedy plans to bring back the beloved talking dog on Dec. 15, but how he will come back after dying on Nov. 24 is unknown, reports Entertainment Weekly.
The episode titled, "Christmas Guy,” states that “Stewie devises a master plan to get the one and only thing he wants for Christmas.” Wonder what that one and only thing could be?
Fans were up in arms after the show killed off Brian, and about two weeks later a change.org petition to bring back the beloved furry friend has more than 128,000 supporters. There’s no reported connection between the outrage and the decision to bring Brian back.
But EW adds that the dog will continue to play a role in the show, citing a Maya Rudolph episode set to air next fall, where Brian takes up jogging to impress Rudolph’s character.
After Brian’s death, E! News spoke with Family Guy executive producer Steve Callaghan to find out why kill off this show staple.
“This was an idea that got pitched in the writers’ room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up,” he told E!.
Chelsea Lauren/WireImage(HOUSTON) -- She lives her life on camera, but TLC TV personality Jen Arnold has been fighting a private battle too. The Little Couple star has cancer, she revealed to ABC News.
“I have recently been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer and am currently undergoing treatment, including surgery and chemotherapy,” she said in a statement, which was first reported by People. “I am very fortunate as the prognosis is very good.”
She did not specify what kind of cancer she has.
Arnold, 39, and her husband Bill Klein, 38, have a son Will, 3, whom they adopted from China and a daughter Zoey, 2, whom they recently adopted from India. The family lives in Houston, where Arnold works as a neonatologist and Klein runs a store, Rocky and Maggie’s Pet Shop.
“While there is never a good time to get news like this; getting it just as we are building our new family is tough in many ways,” Arnold continued, “but being surrounded by the love of my husband and our two beautiful children is actually in many ways giving me the strength to fight it even stronger.”
TV cameras have captured many of the ups and downs of Arnold’s life as of late, and her cancer battle won’t be any different.
“TLC has chronicled Bill and Jen’s lives since 2009 and at their request, we will be following them through this challenge,” a TLC spokesperson told ABC News. “Jen is a doctor and teacher and she saw this as an opportunity to educate and possibly help, through sharing her story.”
Arnold has been receiving well-wishes on Twitter, with the hashtag #getwelljen, and she seems to be feeling strong.
“It’s out there!” she tweeted of her health news. “But I am in the process of beating this!”
UN Photo/John Isaac(NEW YORK) -- In the hours after Nelson Mandela's death was announced, many celebrities, some of whom had a connection to the former South African president, expressed their condolences and paid tribute.
Here's a sample of the reactions, ranging from statements released by reps to comments published on social media: Idris Elba, who plays the title role in the current film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which had its London premiere Thursday: “What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Naomie Harris, who plays Winnie in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of one of the greatest inspirational leaders of our time. Today South Africa lost its spiritual father. Too often violence and oppression lead to further violence and retribution. He taught us to fight back with peace....While no single film can replicate a person's life, I am very proud to be part of our tribute to this extraordinary man. His accomplishments and approach to peace are lessons that will live on for generations."
Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Co. made Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: “We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.”
Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela in the film Invictus: "Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve -- a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us."
Dennis Haysbert, who played Mandela in the film Goodbye Bafana: "Portraying Nelson Mandela, in the film Goodbye Bafana was a defining moment in my life and my career. We as a society, have been blessed to live in a time that Nelson Mandela has lived, loved, and led. What he has done for his country, his countrymen, and everyone on this planet may not be achieved again...ever."
Jennifer Hudson, who played Winnie in the film Winnie Mandela: "The Mandela family is in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Mr. Mandela fought for freedoms and equality that changed the face of South Africa and the world. We can all learn from his extraordinary journey."
Oprah Winfrey: "One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela's home, spend private time and get to know him. He was everything you've ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all."
Charlize Theron, a native of South Africa: "There will never be words to say what I'm feeling right now. I am saddened to the depths of my soul. Truly."
Kerry Washington: "RIP Nelson Mandela. God Bless You."
Tyrese Gibson: "His heart will still beat for the world even in heaven....Winnie and the family my deepest condolences to you I'm sending my energy and prayers to you and your family... Just know that while he was with us he SERVED his God given purpose and saved millions while doing so."
Jamie Foxx: "Rest in Peace Mr. Nelson Mandela. A fearless leader, incredible human being, inspiration, a REAL hero. Truly one of a kind. God bless you. Thank you for your mark you left on humanity Mr. Mandela. Prayers to his family, friends and the people of South Africa."
Samuel L. Jackson: "Never met a better person in my life than Nelson Mandela. My sympathy to his family & his country."
Steve Martin: "You have to love the Mandela life."
Eva Longoria: "Today the world lost one [of] its greatest leaders. Rest in peace Mandela..."
Mark Ruffalo: "Sad Day. We will miss you...." Whoopi Goldberg: "I want 2give the world a hug I was told Mandeba just passed. Nelson Mandela R.I.P. Time for a well earned sleep. Condolences to his family."
Relativity(NEW YORK) -- Only one movie opens nationwide on Friday: Out of the Furnace, a drama starring Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck.
Bale stars as Russell, a steel mill worker who spends time in jail. After he's released, he sets out to save his brother -- Affleck's character, Rodney -- from a crime ring. Harrelson plays the leader of the ring.
Forest Whitaker, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard and Willem Dafoe also star in Out of the Furnace, which was written and helmed by Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper. The film is rated R. [Click here to read a movie review]
Another option this weekend is Lee Daniels' The Butler. The summer hit returns to theaters, just in time for awards season.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has been the box office champ the last two weekends. It made $74 million during the three-day Thanksgiving weekend.
Nino Munoz/NBC(NEW YORK) -- NBC on Thursday night presented the three-hour live event The Sound of Music Live, featuring Carrie Underwood and True Blood’s Stephen Moyer as Maria and Captain Von Trapp.
This adaptation of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic, about a young novice who falls in love with the Captain and his seven children, with Nazi-occupied Austria serving as the backdrop, was broadcast live.
NBC’s decision to remake the classic movie, which starred Julie Andrews as Maria, drew criticism from die-hard fans, who questioned whether Underwood could match Andrews’ performance in the 1965 film, as well as how the live element of the show would be handled.
The presentation had the occasional audio issue. Underwood earned kudos for her singing, but mixed reviews for her acting on social media.
Eamonn McCormack/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- California cops have arrested an 18-year-old man and another will reportedly surrender in connection to the alleged theft of a piece of the doomed 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that crashed in Santa Clarita on Saturday, killing Fast and the Furious series star Paul Walker and his friend, Roger Rodas.
The Santa Clarita Sheriff's Department said in a press release that after the wreck was removed Saturday evening, a witness spotted a particular vehicle tailing the truck towing what was left of the demolished car.
When the truck stopped for a traffic light, one suspect jumped out of the car and "grabbed a piece of the wrecked Porsche off the tow truck bed" before the pair drove off.
The tow truck driver reported the theft to the police, and soon investigators obtained a warrant and allegedly found the red panel in the possession of Jameson Witty and arrested him at his home Thursday.
Then again, all investigators needed to do to confirm they apparently nabbed the right guy was check Witty's Instagram posts that night. There, they would have seen a hand holding up the red roof panel, along with the caption, "Piece of Paul walkers car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light @anthonyjanow #paulwalker #rip #comeup."
Witty was booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, and bail was set at $20,000. He's expected to face charges of felony grand theft and tampering with evidence. The other suspect, said to be 25, is reportedly making arrangements to surrender.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office reported Wednesday that Rodas, the Porsche's driver, was killed on impact, while his passenger Walker died from the "combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries" caused by the fiery wreck. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC(NEW YORK) -- The Writers Guild of America announced its nominees for the 2014 Writers Guild Awards in the television categories on Thursday. Nominees include new series such as Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex and The Americans.
Breaking Bad and 30 Rock received nominations in their last year of eligibility, while 2013 nominees Girls and Game of Thrones didn't get nominated at all this time around.
The awards will be given out on Feb. 1, 2014, at simultaneous ceremonies held in Los Angeles and New York. The list of TV nominees is posted on the official Writers Guild website. Movie nominees will be announced on Jan. 3.
Columbia Pictures(NEW YORK) -- "Every day, I wake up knowing that the more people I try to save, the more enemies I will make. And it's just a matter of time before I face those with more power than I can overcome."
That's the first thing we hear Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, says in the new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. And a multitude of super-villains is exactly what Spidey is facing in this sequel to the reboot that introduced Andrew Garfield as everyone's favorite web-slinger.
In the trailer, we're introduced to Peter's good buddy Harry Osborn, played by Dane DeHaan, who may or may not turn out to be the new Green Goblin, Spidey's biggest foe. There's also Jamie Foxx as Electro, who mocks, "Soon everyone in this city..will know..how it feels to live in a world without power. Without mercy. Without Spiderman!”
In addition, we see a glimpse of Paul Giamiatti as The Rhino, and some hints that there will be, at some point, future appearances by both Doctor Octopus and The Vulture.
There's also Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Peter's great love, telling him, "This is bigger than you." And Peter discovering that his late father had some sort of involvement with the villainous Oscorp, the company run by a dying Norman Osborn, Harry's dad, played by Chris Cooper.
"Not everyone has a happy ending," he says.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters in May of 2014.
Relativity(NEW YORK) -- Out of the Furnace takes place in the Rust Belt town of Braddock, Pa., around the time of President Obama’s first election. The country is in a funk economically, and the residents of this depressed town aren’t doing much better.
Christian Bale is Russell Baze, older brother of Rodney Baze, played by Casey Affleck. Russell has a pretty normal life -- a pretty girlfriend played by Zoe Saldana and a decent job at the steel mill -- while Rodney seems to be reeling from his time spent fighting in the Middle East. He’s got a drinking problem, as well as a gambling problem, along with a perpetual debt that his big bro is always trying to cover. A tragic set of circumstances lands Russell in prison, and by the time he gets out, things have gotten even worse for Rodney.
It seems the younger Baze was stop-lossed back into action and returns from combat even more psychologically damaged than before. While Russell tries to help his brother out, Rodney prefers to take his chances as a bare-knuckle boxer, with help from Willem DaFoe’s John Petty, a local bar owner who arranges these sorts of fights.
Enter Woody Harrelson’s Harlan Degroat, a sociopath and the much-feared boss of New Jersey’s Ramapo Mountain underworld. He runs an underground bare-knuckle boxing operation, among other illegal activities, and has a dysfunctional business relationship with John. When John introduces Rodney to Harlan, a particular chain of events suddenly turns Out of the Furnace from a meditation on life in a struggling blue collar Rust Belt town, to a twisted and graphic tale of revenge.
Harrelson, Bale and Affleck are phenomenal in the film, with Harrelson giving what could be the best performance of his career. Because he plays such a dark and twisted character, though, it is unlikely he’ll get the type of recognition associated with standout performances during awards season.
Director Scott Cooper, who brought us the celebrated, Oscar-winning Crazy Heart, follows up that film by spinning a much darker and violent tale, and making a few bold choices, giving Out of the Furnace a Deer Hunter aesthetic.
Out Of the Furnace is a superbly-acted film that feels a bit disjointed and loses some steam by the end. Still, the performances are thrilling and, in some cases, remarkable.
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images(LONDON) -- News of Nelson Mandela’s death at the age of 95 made its way to the London premiere of the highly anticipated biopic, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, about the former South African president and liberator.
After the Mandela photo montage played over the credits, the house lights came up at the Odeon Leicester Square theater and an announcement was made and a moment of silence was observed by the cast, including the film’s star Idris Elba, who played Mandela, ABC News sources report.
Elba, 41, released a statement after hearing about Mandela’s death.
“What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family,” he said. “I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth, I only feel honored to be associated with him. He is in a better place now.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also on hand for the premiere and apparently learned of Mandela’s death while the movie was in progress. They left after the credits.