Here are my picks for best actors and actresses in films for 2004.
1. Annette Bening — "Being Julia"
2. Hilary Swank — "Million Dollar Baby"
3. Imelda Staunton — "Vera Drake"
4. Téa Leoni — "Spanglish"
5. Nicole Kidman — "Birth"
6. Uma Thurman — "Kill Bill: Vol. 2"
7. Laura Linney — "P.S."
8. Sophie Okonedo — "Hotel Rwanda"
9. Catalina Sandino Moreno — "Maria Full of Grace"
10. Kate Winslet — "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
1. Jamie Foxx — "Ray"
2. Johnny Depp — "Finding Neverland"
3. Leonardo DiCaprio — "The Aviator"
4. Gael García Bernal — "The Motorcycle Diaries"/"Bad Education"
5. Don Cheadle — "Hotel Rwanda"
6. Liam Neeson — "Kinsey"
7. Javier Bardem — "The Sea Inside"
8. Kevin Bacon — "The Woodsman"
9. Clint Eastwood — "Million Dollar Baby"
10. Paul Giamatti — "Sideways"
*Special mention: Geoffrey Rush — "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" (HBO)
I received a lot of calls yesterday about Nate Berkus, a person I'd never heard of.
He's Oprah Winfrey's on-air interior decorator who, as a regular guest, remakes people's homes. Berkus and his traveling companion Fernando Bengoechea were vacationing in Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit.
Berkus survived, but Bengoechea apparently did not — although he has not been confirmed dead. As of yesterday afternoon, his voice could still be heard on his outgoing message on his home answering machine.
Bengoechea — though his name was glossed over in passing in most accounts of the catastrophe — is a famous South American fashion photographer said to be fluent in five languages.
Like Berkus, he was a part of Oprah's world as well. He worked for her TV show and magazine and listed credits on his Web site for Elle Decor, House & Garden, Town & Country, Harper's Bazaar and Vanity Fair, as well as for K-Mart, J. Crew, In Style and Vogue (American, German, and French).
Among the celebrities he has taken portraits of: Marc Anthony with then-wife Dayanna Torres, designer Carolina Herrera, singer Roberta Flack and pop stars Enrique Iglesias and Gloria Estefan.
In a contest between two Conde Nast-related books to see which one the public wanted less, I suppose it's a tie.
Evidently, no one is as interested in the annual Vanity Fair Oscar party as much as its own PR department.
The coffee table book, "Vanity Fair's Oscar Night," (weighing in at 7.2 lbs), now stands at an astonishingly sad No. 453 on the Amazon.com sales rankings.
At the same time, former Gucci guy Tom Ford's self-titled book is around No. 511 (and 10.9 lbs).
The former retails for $75, the latter for $125. But you can buy them together right now for a total of $120. ("Oscar Night" on its own has been reduced to $45 and still there are few takers.)
The two souvenir tomes do have one thing in common: Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair's editor, is listed as a contributor to both.
Carter's own book of incoherent ramblings, "What We've Lost," never caught on either. It's ranked at No. 25,253 and sells for $16, marked down from $25, in case you're interested.
By the way, there's a deluxe edition of Tom Ford's book also available for $280 (discounted from an original $350).
The funny thing is, you're scratching your head right now wondering who the heck Tom Ford is and why he has such expensive and unpopular volumes available at all. (The deluxe version is ranked at 72,770.)
Beats me. All I know is, he used to design clothes no one wore and now he wants to make movies.
P.S.: The Strand bookstore's Web site, home of remainders and overstock copies, lists both books as available, with "Oscar Night" available for $37 and Tom Ford's for $93 — bargains!
There are also 47 copies of "What We've Lost" (subtitled "How the Bush Administration Has Curtailed Our Freedoms, Mortgaged Our Economy, Ravaged Our Environment, and Damaged Our Standing in the World") gathering dust for $18 apiece.
The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) couldn't stop downloading, but the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is a different story. It has managed to pull the plug on a Web site called suprnova.org that was offering free movies to the world courtesy of software called BitTorrent.
Funny, isn't it? The RIAA went for years without truly addressing illegal downloading, and when it did, it sued college kids and grandmothers. The MPAA takes one look at the horror and case closed. Game over.