March 6 doesn't seem that long ago, but that's the night Jamie Foxx — unpretentious, carefree, unspoiled by fame — won the Academy Award for best actor for his role in "Ray."
At 37, Foxx had worked his way up, paid his dues and would never succumb to Hollywood's dastardly ways. Never.
Well, never is now. From what I'm told, Foxx has not shown a lot of loyalty to those who've hung in there with him and done a lot of work.
In fact, sources say that Foxx has let his longtime managers, Markus and Jamie King, be the bad guys when it comes to keeping Foxx's friends away from him.
And all of this comes as word from the set of Michael Mann's "Miami Vice" suggests that Jamie is getting second tier treatment compared to Colin Farrell.
The latter plays Sonny Crockett to Foxx's Ricardo Tubbs. And if you remember how the TV show went, it was not about Tubbs.
"Colin is the star of the movie," says a source who has been following the action. "Jamie doesn't have a lot of lines."
This would be weird, considering Foxx won the Oscar and was also nominated for a second Oscar for Mann's "Collateral."
In the meantime, shooting drags on — like in any other Mann movie.
But Foxx has other fish to fry. He finally completed his first album, which will appear in November from Clive Davis' J Records.
Already, a single has been "leaked" to radio. "One Night Extravaganza" is a lilting ballad sung in the key of John Legend with a non-sequitur rap by Kanye West.
To return the favor, Foxx is currently featured as the singer on West's new rap single "Gorilla."
West, who dresses nicely, cannot sing, it seems. Nevertheless, he is a recording artist.
"Extravaganza" was written and produced by hot producer Mike City.
While he awaits the release of the still untitled album, Foxx has a problem with his partner in music ventures.
He's had some kind of falling out with the CD's executive producer and guiding light Breon Prescott.
My sources on the West Coast say that the Kings weren't crazy about sharing the spotlight with Prescott (or anyone else for that matter), and have done a lot to separate him from Foxx.
Also suddenly out of the loop are also Foxx's former personal assistant and his trainer/bodyguard.
"He's not the Jamie Foxx you knew a few months ago," one source said.
We've seen it before, of course. But Foxx was going to be different. The problem might be with the Kings, who evidently put him into "Stealth," which is a bust, and the forthcoming "Jarheads."
In the meantime, the buzz is that Foxx will definitely be in "Dreamgirls" — as I first reported here in March — which is probably a good idea.
But there's also a rumor he's thinking of doing a "Ray" sequel with Taylor Hackford. It would cover Charles' "We Are the World" years.
Taylor, Jamie: Please don't do it. Leave well enough alone. Think "The Godfather: Part III," "More American Graffiti" or "Staying Alive."
It's not worth it.
Think you've got it tough? The Walt Disney Company has a conference call scheduled for 4 p.m. today for investors.
That would be tough enough, but also expected this afternoon is the ruling in their shareholders' lawsuit against the board of directors. This was the Chancery Court case heard in Delaware concerning the $140 million payout to Michael Ovitz.
Could the court decision be timed any worse? I don't think so. The Ovitz case is only one source of embarrassment, but it's maybe the most public.
Disney also has to answer for the demise of Miramax, which they instigated, as well their inability to negotiate with Pixar.
Then, there are the movies. Yikes! It was a rough year for the studio, as they watched their only real successes occur with Miramax and Pixar.
I hope someone on that conference call asks the key question: What sort of movies does Disney think they're going to make at faux-Miramax without the filmmakers who reaped hundreds of Oscars? They are all gone now.
That's an answer I'd like to hear.
As for the Ovitz decision, keep in mind that the shareholders' lawsuit was brought by the law firm of Milberg Weiss. That's the same firm suing Dreamworks Animation in another class action suit on behalf of shareholders.
The two suits have nothing to do with each other, except that their authors are the same.
Album of the Year: 'Cold Roses'
I come to praise Ryan Adams. I know almost nothing about him. He was in a band called Whiskeytown. He's had about five solo albums and a bunch of bootlegs. He's dated pretty girls like Winona Ryder and Parker Posey. Elton John likes him. He's said a lot of stupid things, too, from what I can figure out on the Internet. It doesn't matter. Somehow I missed him completely.
All the better. Not knowing much about Ryan Adams means I don't have to be snarky about him. All I had to do was put "Cold Roses," his double CD, in my car over the weekend. I can't see how there is anything better that's been released in 2005.
"Cold Roses" is an 18-song masterpiece. Adams, from North Carolina, combines a new wave country sound that blends The Allman Brothers, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan into a smoothie. But he's also got a sound all his own and a bunch of memorable, catchy songs.
"Cold Roses," of course, was released in May and has sold only 100,000 copies. Adams, from what I've gleaned on Web sites, is on the road constantly. Not only that, he's planning on releasing two more albums this year, which he should not do.
"Cold Roses" is plenty for one year. His label, Lost Highway, should shake some money from the Universal Music Group tree — the dough that's wasted on one-off rappers — and invest it here. If this were the 1970s, Adams would be a superstar.
The album boasts two megahit songs: "When Will You Come Back Home" and "How Do You Keep Love Alive?" Rearranged, they could be hits for half a dozen different singers looking for material. These are real songs, kids, the kind I grew up on.
"If I could find my way home/ Where would I go?" Adams sings in the former. Ouch!
In the latter, he channels Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway's "Where is the Love?" darkly.
He's full of purple Western imagery too: "She runs through my veins like a long black river/ And rattles my cage like a thunderstorm."
Songs like that used to get you on the cover of Esquire.
And there's a band involved. They're called The Cardinals, even though they're not from St. Louis. They sound like Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue setup, circa 1974-75, or George Harrison in his "Isn't It a Pity" mode.
Everything about them is fresh. In every way they've made a set here that is to rock music in 2005 what Outkast's "Speakerboxx" was to R&B in 2003.
Check out the lovely female vocals (uncredited) on the magnificent "Cherry Lane" or the rockin' guitar on "Beautiful Sorta." The album would be a radio programmer's best dream — that is, if you didn't have to send them laptop computers or air tickets to get airplay.
But under normal circumstances, "Life Is Beautiful" would be a radio staple by now.
There are reprinted lyrics to about 90 Ryan Adams songs on a Web site. He's a cult artist, so there will be people fussing about this review on message boards today. I can't help it. I can't get into that. But if the Grammy committees are listening, this is a chance.
In the meantime, I'm going back and checking out the previous albums — all of them. I've already heard a lot of songs, including Adams's classic version of Oasis' "Wonderwall."
So it's late to "discover" Adams, but better late than never.