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Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber Host Star-Studded Defiance Screening
Liev Schreiber & Naomi Watts Daniel Craig Jamie Bell
Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber
Daniel Craig
Jamie Bell
Eric Mabius Alexa Davalos Josh Bell
Eric Mabius
Alexa Davalos
Violinist Josh Bell

New York, January 12, 2009 – The Cinema Society held its first screening of 2009 on Monday, and from the stellar crowd, it seems everybody was ready to hit the New York party scene after the holiday doldrums.  Martha Stewart, Tony Bennett, Ellen Barkin, Marc Jacobs, Ivanka Trump, Russell Simmons and Duncan Sheik were just a few of the high-profile folks who came out to see Defiance.

Part of the draw was undoubtedly the presence of the film’s star, Daniel Craig, who fluttered his sparkling blue eyes at the bash.  Co-star Liev Schreiber had his squeeze, Naomi Watts on his arm – the two were bubbling with happiness just a month after the birth of their second child, a son named Samuel.  The talented Watts looked impossibly svelte so soon after giving birth. 

Craig, Schreiber and Jamie Bell play the Bielski brothers, whose amazing World War II survival story keeps you on the edge of your seat in Defiance.  Schreiber told us that despite the cold and wet on the set in Lithuania, the shoot was “surprisingly easy, given the subject matter.  We all got along really well,” he said. “There was a real sense of camaraderie on the set, and I made two friends.”

After the screening, everyone partied late into the night at the new dining spot Shang, at the Thompson LES Hotel. 

At The Golden Globes: Dark Glasses, Big Hair
Drew Barrymore Renee Zellweger Evan Rachel Wood
Drew Barrymore
Renee Zellweger
Evan Rachel Wood
Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore Robert Downey Jr. & Susan Levin Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore
Robert Downey Jr. & Susan Levin
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie

Los Angeles, January 11, 2009 – The Golden Globe Awards brought a big splash of Hollywood glamour to the gloomy, recession-plagued days of January. And with the huge number of really, really big stars in fancy clothes walking the red carpet at The Beverly Hilton, the two most notable trends were sunglasses on men, and blowsy hair on women. 

Sunglasses at evening events are something we’ve never understood to begin with, but we noticed so many men wearing shades while their female companions, standing right next to them, at the very same moment in time, had no trouble handling the glare of the flashbulbs bare-eyed.  Either men are more sensitive to light, or perhaps Robert Downey Jr., Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt, Marc Anthony and Tom Hanks had a late guys’ night out the night before and had to cover the dark circles under their eyes.

Drew Barrymore’s powder blue gown and 1960s hairstyle totally reminded us of Justin Bond’s drag character Kiki DuRane, of Kiki & Herb fame.  And then Renee Zellweger arrived, all teased out, and a trendlet was born.

A few weeks back, Evan Rachel Wood told us she dyed her hair red because she wanted a fresh start, and chose a happy medium between brunette and blonde.  She told us how explained to her hair stylist the color she had in mind: “I brought in pictures of Nicole Kidman, and was like, here,” Wood said.  “She’s beautiful, and she’s the only one in this world that’s as pale as me, so I thought it would match.”

People's Choice + Critics Choice = Award Overload
Sarah Silverman Robin Williams
Sarah Silverman chose comfy and affordable foorwear for the Critics Choice Awards
Robin Williams is a vision in purple velvet at People's Choice Awards
Mickey Rourke Jordin Sparks
Mickey Rourke has his hand in his pants at the Critics Choice Awards
Jordin Sparks delighted with People's Choice award

Los Angeles, January 7-8, 2009 – Award overload!  Award overload!  Anyone else exhausted by hitting the People’s Choice Awards on Wednesday, and then the Critics Choice Awards on Thursday?  Can’t they pace these things a bit?

Anyway, rather than gawk at who wore the best and worst dresses, we chose our own favorite looks for both award shows. 

Robin Williams was the epitome of the distinguished gentleman in the knee-length purple Edwardian jacket over purple tight shiny pants he wore to the People’s Choice Awards. His two-tone purple shoes completed the snazzy look.  Also backstage at the People’s Choice, Jordin Sparks showed off her talent for crossing her eyes while sticking out her tongue at the same time.  No wonder people love her!

Highlights of the more highbrow Critics Choice Awards the following night included Sarah Silverman’s red high top sneakers worn with a ballgown, and Mickey Rourke with his hand in his pants while posing for photos.  Maybe that’s why he didn’t take the Best Actor award for which he was nominated?

B.I.G. Night at Notorious Premiere
Angela Bassett Sean "Diddy" Combs Mary J. Blige
Angela Bassett
Sean Combs
Mary J. Blige
Anthony Mackie Beyonce Knowles Busta Rhymes
Anthony Mackie plays Tupac Shakur
Busta Rhymes

New York, January 7, 2009 – The premiere of Notorious, the biopic about Notorious B.I.G., was a bit like a celebration for the slain rapper’s family and friends.  Held in Biggie’s hometown, New York’s hip-hop royalty turned out to pay tribute to their late friend. 

Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, was a producer on the movie. “I had mixed feelings.  There were times when I was saddened, and then I smiled,” Wallace told us.  “But I felt good that I did it.”  

Biggie’s friend and collaborator Sean Combs executive-produced (and it’s been years since we’ve heard people call him “Puffy.”)  “I was more of a fan when I met Puffy.  You could get intimidated, but he was so humble,” said Derek Luke, who plays Combs in the movie.  And Diddy was gracious at the premiere:  “I think Derek did a great job,” he told us. 

Jamal Woolard, a rapper known as Gravy, went through acting boot camp to prepare for the title role as Biggie.  But one thing came naturally: “I didn’t practice dying, I just, uh, nailed that by the feelings inside,” Woolard said. 

Old school and new school paid tribute with Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Ciara, Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes, Ja Rule, Jay-Z, DJ Skribble, Fabolous and Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans in the house. 

On The Scene at 2008 New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Josh Brolin Sean Penn Penelope Cruz
Josh Brolin
Sean Penn
Penelope Cruz sticks out her tongue
Sally Hawkins & Mike Leigh Jenny Lumet
Sally Hawkins & Mike Leigh
Rachel Getting Married writer Jenny Lumet

New York, January 5, 2009 – Milk was the big winner at the 2008 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, named best picture, with best actor and supporting actor nods for Sean Penn and Josh Brolin.  The two actors were ebullient at the awards, although Penn wasn’t quite excited enough to speak to reporters.  (No surprise there.)  Brolin praised the entire cast of Milk:  “I thought [Penn] did such an incredible job.  Emile, Diego, everybody.  Amazing,” Brolin gushed before the award program.

Milk scriptwriter Dustin Lance Black is amazed by the film’s acclaim.  “This has sort of gone beyond my wildest dreams,” Black told us.  “When you’re doing it alone like that over the past four years, you just want to try and get it made.  So this stuff is icing on the cake,” he said.  “Hopefully it means that the movie gets out there a bit more, and the message gets out there a bit more,” Black added. 

Madrid native Penelope Cruz, who won best supporting actress for her work in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, gave a shout out to that other Spanish city so lushly portrayed in Woody Allen’s film.   “It’s a beautiful city,” Cruz said of Barcelona.  “I’m from Madrid, but both cities are so beautiful.”

Other New York Critics favorites at the gala were best actress Sally Hawkins, who starred in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, Jenny Lumet, who wrote Rachel Getting Married, and Andrew Stanton, director of the animated box office champ Wall-E.

Photos: Caroline Torem Craig

Kate Hudson Shows New Patterns in 2009
Kate Hudson Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson sparkles in bold pattern at David Letterman show
Kate Hudson goes graphic at Bride Wars premiere

New York, January 5, 2009 – Kate Hudson woke us from our post-holiday stupor by wearing eye-popping fashions while promoting her new movie, Bride Wars, on Monday. 

In the afternoon, the bubbly actress wore a sequined mini dress in a crazy-quilt pattern to tape her appearance on the David Letterman show.  A short time later, Hudson showed up at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square theater Bride Wars premiere in this boldly patterned Oscar de la Renta gown. 

We’re awake now, Kate!

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