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January 08, 2009

'Dark Knight' romps 'People's Choice'


And the People's Choice Award goes to ... the folks who showed up, preferably if they star in host network CBS television shows. "Kath & Kim," did you really think you had a chance?

Truth be told, "The Dark Knight" blazed its way through the 35th annual fan-voted kudos last night -- named favorite in the action movie, movie, superhero, cast and onscreen matchup categories -- but aside from that there was a "Gary Unmarried," "Two and a Half Men" and "The Mentalist" for every "House," "Dancing with the Stars" and "Ellen."

And it was a decent night for "The Secret Life of Bees," despite its reception at the boxoffice that can best be described as, "Meh."

Queen Latifah worked hard to make it seem like there was some excitement in the air -- though the crowd shots suggested otherwise -- and Robin Williams might've had the best line of the night when he called Richard Belzer, "the Keith Richards of comedy." Williams picked up an award for a guest appearance on Belzer's "Law & Order: SVU."

84202646 The other good quip of the night came from Ellen DeGeneres, who presented the first award, to funnyman Adam Sandler, by saying she was standing in for a traffic-delayed Kate Hudson. "That's no way to sell a movie, Kate," DeGeneres deadpanned. (Never mind -- there's precious little else opening this weekend, and the studio, Hudson and co-star Anne Hathaway have been burning up the PR circuit for "Bride Wars." It'll be this year's "27 Dresses!")

And speaking of, that rom-com won an award last night, as did "The Simpsons," Kid Rock, Hugh Laurie, Christina Applegate, Reese Witherspoon, Carrie Underwood (three times) and, after she arrived, Hudson.

The romp belonged to "The Dark Knight," with star Christian Bale giving a hearty, "Here's to Heath!" during his gracious thank you.

On a night of repeats and specials, "People's Choice Awards" didn't do too badly in the ratings with 9.3 million viewers. THR's Live Feed says that's down 17% from '07 but up 44% from last year, when the writers strike made it a celeb-less affair.

The awards season will be televised, and it's all started now. Brace yourselves!


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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