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The Morning Roundup: Sad Deaths, Quantum of Solace Review, B.O. Report and Topsy-Turvy Oscar Race

Written by: Phoebe Raven, CC2K Staff Writer

This morning we have too many sad deaths to report, news on the Oscar race being turned upside down, the first review of Quantum of Solace and the awesomest photo you have seen in years.

Sad news first, this weekend was filled with tragedy.

Image Legendary designer and creator of the annual "Worst Dressed List", Richard Blackwell died Sunday from an intestinal infection. Blackwell was 86 years old and in the past crowned women like Britney Spears and Zsa Zsa Gabor as the worst dressed women on the planet. We will have to rely on others to do that for us now.

A day prior to Mr. Blackwell, soul singer Dee Dee Warwick died Saturday at the age of 63. She often performed with her sister Dionne Warwick and had several hits in the 60's and 70's, including a version of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me", later covered by Dianna Ross.

And on Friday legendary Motown artist and Four Tops leader Levi Stubbs died at the age of 72. He had been diagnosed with cancer in the past and suffered a stroke in 2000, but no immediate cause of death was given. The Four Tops, with which Stubbs performed for over 50 years, had more than 40 pop hits, beginning in the 1950's. You all definitely know their first No. 1 single, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” from 1965.

Boy, now I am depressed and have that song stuck in my head.

Image In more depressing news, let's move on to the weekend box office.

It's as if Rob van Winkle predicted it, Max Payne in the incarnation of Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg blew to the top and grossed $18 million. Beverly Hills Chihuahua and The Secret Life of Bees had to settle for places two and three respectively. Yet the animals were still more interesting than the life of George W. Bush. Oliver Stone's W. only came in fourth.

Will any of these movies be relevant though when Award Season rolls around?

It's almost here anyway, the Gotham Independent Film Awards announced nominations Monday. Nabbing four nominations, including best feature, breakthrough director, breakthrough actor and best ensemble performance, is Ballast. It ran at Sundance and was an instant hit, but a distribution deal with IFC fell through, making Lance Hammer's film a self-distributed picture. It opened in theaters on Oct 1st, so you can see for yourself what the hype is about.
Other nominees are Afterschool, Frozen River, Rachel Getting Married, Synecdoche, New York, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Visitor.

Image And while we're on the subject of awards:
The Oscar race has just been turned on its head by distributors . The list of possible nominees in the "Best Leading Actor" category was long when looking at the releases planned for December, but now several movies have been pushed back and might not even be eligible come Oscar time. Among the victims are Viggo Mortensen (for The Road), Daniel Craig (for Defiance), Jamie Foxx (for Soloist) and Robert Downey Jr. (cf. Foxx).
This opens the race for Brad Pitt, Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin or even the stars of The Dark Knight.
While my heart would bleed for Viggo, I would be simply outraged if Heath Ledger isn't at least nominated. How about you?

Oh, and since I mentioned Daniel Craig just now, the first review of Quantum of Solace is in and running on the websites of the BBC. Just a snippet here to get you going:
"This is a Bond adventure that's badder, better but not bigger." Read the full review here.

But maybe instead of worrying about what is in the theaters right now or what will be there come December, we should really worry about the vast pit of nothingness that might await us if the SAG actually decides to strike like the WGA did. In a move to keep this from happening and saving us all from having to entertain ourselves, the SAG has now brought in a mediator to help with negotiations. Let's hope it works. Let's hope and pray.

I don't want to leave you with a knot in your stomach though, so here's the most awesome picture I have seen the past few years, taken by Chris McVeigh and not photoshopped in the least:


Read an interview with the photographer about the pic here.