Niko Tavernise/Netflix; Lucasfilm Ltd.; Nick West/A24; Andrew Cooper/Columbia; A24; Barbara Nitke/STXfilms
Some of these actors we knew well, others hardly at all. But this year, each gave cinematic performances that moved, surprised, and enthralled us.
Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Two scenes in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood best explain why DiCaprioâ€™s actor character, Rick Dalton, is one of the Osca r winnerâ€™s best performances. In one, between shooting scenes of his latest TV Western, Dalton chats with a wise child actress, who compels the washed-up cowboy actor to consider the state of his career. In the next, Dalton drunkenly melts down after failing to remember his lines, launching into a monologue about his fall from grace. DiCaprio plays both with deep soul and a sense of regret. Recent roles â€” whether getting high on quaaludes or eating raw bison liver â€” havenâ€™t felt so personal. This felt thrillingly human.
Zhao Shuzhen in The FarewellÂ
A TV veteran in China, Shuzhen wowed American audiences in her U.S. film debut as Awkwafinaâ€™s Nai Nai. Thereâ€™s trickery to the character (the entire film hinges on a secret to which she is not privy), plus Shuzhen made this grandma so hilariously lovable the thought of losing her was heartrending.
Joe Pesci in The Irishman
Lured out of retirement for another Martin Scorsese Mob film? We thought we knew what to expect from Pesci here, and yet he rose to The Irishmanâ€™s mournful challenge with devastatingly subtle work. His latest (last?) gangster turn is quiet, reflective, funny, and, finally, tragic.
Adam Driver in Marriage Story;Â The Report; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Wilson Webb/Netflix; Atsushi Nishijima/Amazon Studios; Lucasfilm
Few have ever had this kind of year. It began in January with the splashy Sundance premiere of The Report, in which Driver stars as a Senate staffer investigating post-9/11 torture programs. Then, at Telluride, Noah Baumbach unveiled Marriage Story and Driver became an Oscar front-runner for his emotionally naked portrayal of a divorcing dad. Finally, a big role in a little movie called Star Wars closed out his 2019. What else ya got?
Daâ€™Vine Joy Randolph in Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes occupy plenty of space in Dolemite Is My Name, but not enough for the indefatigable Randolph to miss a spotlight of her own. The Tony nominee steals every one of her scenes as neophyte actress Lady Reed, playing her with comic gusto and imbuing her with rousing dignity.
Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers
Sheâ€™s been a rom-com queen and an indie darling; in Hustlers, she proves sheâ€™s a true movie star. J. Lo embodies the essence of kingpin Ramona, rocking huge fur coats and glitter-dusted dancing ensembles like royalty. You canâ€™t take your eyes off of her; sheâ€™s utterly mesmerizing.
Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems
For a guy as prolific as Sandler, youâ€™d think weâ€™d know everything he could do by now. But in Uncut Gems, his most ambitious role since Punch-Drunk Love, the comedy legend plays a jeweler so detestably desperate he somehow makes him endearing. Through no small amount of effort, though â€” specifically, lots of blood, sweat, and tears.
Jordyn Woods: ‘Everything in My Life Changed’ After Tristan Cheating Scandal
Jordyn Woods opened up in a new interview about the “shame” she felt after her hookup with Khloe Kardashian‘s then-boyfriend Tristan Thompson made headlines in February 2019. In an interview conducted before the coronavirus pandemic with Natalie Manuel Lee for her YouTube series, Now With Natalie, the model, 23, spoke about the scandal and the…
Jordyn Woods opened up in a new interview about the “shame” she felt after her hookup with Khloe Kardashian‘s then-boyfriend Tristan Thompson made headlines in February 2019.
In an interview conducted before the coronavirus pandemic with Natalie Manuel Lee for her YouTube series, Now With Natalie, the model, 23, spoke about the scandal and the aftermath that saw Kardashian, 39, dump the Cleveland Cavaliers player, 29, and Woods’ close friendship with Kylie Jenner derailed and her connection to the famous family severed.
Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson MediaPunch/Shutterstock; Brian To/Shutterstock“I remember just sitting in a very dark place and I didn’t really … You know, I had my family to talk to, I had you to talk to but I felt like I had no one,” Woods said. “You take everything you think you know for a whole decade, the people you think you know, the life you think you know, everything that you’ve grown up doing and you take it all away from someone. I didn’t even know how to feel.”
Woods came to terms with her role in the scandal, explaining, “It’s easy to beat yourself up over things you could’ve done differently, but you can’t hold on to what you could’ve or should’ve done. You just have to accept what actually happened and then you can let it go,” she added. “I think that letting go of shame is learning how to accept what’s happened.”
But as the shockwaves continued to reverberate and online commenters came for her, the beauty shut down as she felt that “everything was against me.”
“I deleted everything off of my phone. I wouldn’t respond to anyone. … I pushed people away that probably shouldn’t have been pushed away but I just couldn’t trust anyone. Everything in my life changed.”
While she has moved on, Woods is not without her regrets.
“I’m not happy that people were hurt and people had to go through what they went through,” she said. “It was a lot for everyone, my family, other families, friends, and not in a million years have I had a negative intention to do something bad to anyone I love. I wouldn’t say I’m happy something like that happened, but I’m happy I was able to become who I am today.”
Kardashian went on to reconcile with the NBA star as they quarantined together earlier this year with daughter True, but Woods’ friendship with Jenner remains on the rocks.
The beauty mogul “misses Jordyn at points,” a source told Us Weekly in February, “but she was more affected by the hurt that was inflicted upon her family versus her relationship with Jordyn directly. She was very conflicted initially, but after observing all the chaos across the board, she knew she had no choice to step away from the friendship.”
Meanwhile Woods and her boyfriend, basketball star Karl-Anthony Towns, made their relationship Instagram official on Saturday, September 26, while on vacation in Mexico.
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Celebrity splits are none of our business, but we still care
“As soon as I finish my work, I’ve got some things planned,” she said last month. “Probably in, like, a year or two.” How quickly things change. Whatever the future holds for these two successful artists, we lay people have a talent for projecting ourselves and our own relationships onto celebrity couples. If Cardi and…
“As soon as I finish my work, I’ve got some things planned,” she said last month. “Probably in, like, a year or two.” How quickly things change. Whatever the future holds for these two successful artists, we lay people have a talent for projecting ourselves and our own relationships onto celebrity couples. If Cardi and Offset — with their adorable daughter and the means to travel privately or order unlimited Postmates meals or sleep in one of several spare bedrooms — can’t make it through a pandemic together, how can the rest of us?Here’s why it matters to some folks more than it probably should:We fell in love with their love: Count me among those CRUSHED to discover Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock were divorcing.I have followed her career since Clarkson burst on the scene as the winner of the first season of “American Idol” in 2002.I dissected every single love song she wrote and performed, and listened to her sing about her difficult relationship with her dad and her inability to find true love.Plenty of Clarkson’s followers thought that had changed when in 2012 she started dating Blackstock, a talent manager, and married him a year later.She embraced his two kids from a previous marriage, and the pair had two of their own.They seemed so happy, so in love. We were smitten listening to the lyrics to her 2015 hit single, “Piece by Piece,” which revealed how Blackstock’s love for her and their young daughter helped Clarkson reevaluate her estranged relationship with her own father.”A lot of the reason why I wrote ‘Piece by Piece’ was, I guess, I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until I had a child of my own, and until I experienced love like I do with Brandon on the daily,” she told the Huffington Post in 2015. “I guess you don’t realize something is missing until you feel it. I can’t imagine walking away from my little girl. I can’t imagine not having that love anymore. I didn’t know it was missing because I never had it. It was a revelation and that’s why I wrote that song. I think a lot of people go through that.”Clarkson filed for divorce in June and recently said her life “has been a little bit of a dumpster” since then.Our hearts broke for her a little bit this week when she spoke of protecting the hearts of their children while they go through the divorce process.”What I’m dealing with is hard because it involves more than just my heart, it involves a lot of little hearts,” Clarkson said Monday during the premiere of her daytime talk show’s second season. “We have four kids, and divorce is never easy.”They just seemed like they worked: Back when Christina Anstead was Christina El Moussa, I remember telling my own husband she and her first husband, Tarek El Moussa, seemed like an unlikely pair.We were watching an episode of their hit HGTV series “Flip or Flop” and to me, their energy just seemed … off.”But what do I know?” I said to my hubs. “Some people wonder how we work!”Apparently, I wasn’t too far off the mark because the couple announced in 2016 that they were splitting after seven years of marriage and two kids.Then she met Ant Anstead, host of the car series “Wheeler Dealers,” and found a new match.The now-erstwhile couple had a secret three-month engagement — he told her they were going on a bike ride and then grabbing dinner and proposed at sunset on the beach — and held a surprise wedding in December 2018. They seemed ideally suited for one another.They both had children from previous marriages and welcomed a son together after they married.On her solo show, “Christina on the Coast,” the Ansteads appeared to have fun together and seemingly succeeded at blending their families.Alas, she announced over the past weekend that she and Ant have separated.I did not see that split coming either.We can’t move on, even when they have: Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt divorced way back in 2005. Yet, to this day, the public can’t let them be within 100 miles of each other without turning it into a cause for speculation.There was genuine love there, people!Pitt and Aniston recently participated in a virtual table read of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and the world only had eyes for them.What makes people continue to be drawn to a couple 15 years after they have broken up?Ask those who still miss Justin Timberlake with Britney Spears, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, or Nick Lachey being a newlywed with Jessica Simpson.No disrespect to their current partners, but we had history and investment in the old ones. I interviewed Ben Affleck back in February and had to stop myself from asking, “What happened with you and Jen (Garner, not Lopez)?!? You guys were my faves!”That’s pretty much what it boils down to. Celebrity couples are our real-life romance novels. We seemingly want them, scratch that, need them to have a happily ever after — for us.Randall Kessler is a divorce attorney, author and CNN/HLN contributor who has represented clients including “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes, rapper Juvenile and Usher Raymond’s first ex-wife, Tameka Foster, in their respective high-profile divorces and family court cases.Relationship drama is one of the great equalizers, Kessler told me.”It makes (celebs) human,” said Kessler, who is also an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law. “We see these superstars who have it all, they have money and fame, and guess what? They have the same failings and the same issues we all do.” When you think about it, that’s simultaneously sad and comforting.For your weekendThree things to watch:’Schitt’s Creek’Dying to see what all the fuss is about? This comedy series swept the Emmys and makes for perfect binge watching.Created by father-son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy, who also star in the series, it follows the wealthy Rose family as they find themselves down on their luck and forced to move to Schitt’s Creek, a town they purchased as a joke.Those who love it, really love it.The first fives seasons of the series are currently streaming on Netflix.’Goodfellas’In honor of the 30th anniversary of the mob movie to end all mob movies (how has it been that long?), you need to slice some garlic cloves for your marinara with a razor blade and hang out this weekend with Henry Hill and the boys.Anyone who knows me knows that I am kind of obsessed with “Goodfellas.” (I rewatch it weekly, seriously.)I shared an essay about my devotion to the Martin Scorsese film for the CNN podcast “Lisa, Sandra and Kristin Go to the Movies.” “Goodfellas” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and YouTube.’Filthy Rich’I’m a fan of trashy TV. CNN’s Brian Lowry described the Fox series as a bit of “a Franken-soap” about a mega-wealthy televangelist (played by Gerald McRaney) whose secrets come out after his death.I love a good Southern Gothic drama filled with hypocrisy and illegitimate children, especially when it stars Kim Cattrall, one of the main reasons I was a devoted fan of “Sex and the City.” The series airs on Sunday nights, and the first episode is currently streaming on Fox Now. Two things to listen to:It has been 22 years since its last studio album, but Public Enemy is making up for lost time by releasing a new album on Def Jam. “What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?” is jam-packed with collaborations with other hip-hop royalty like the Beastie Boys, Nas, Ice-T, Run-DMC and Cypress Hill.This latest album is worth it just for the single “Fight the Power: Remix 2020,” the visual of which debuted this year as the opener for the BET Awards.And don’t you worry about that little feud between Chuck D and Flavor Flav as it was all a stunt, according to Chuck D.The new album drops Friday.Carrie Underwood may have had to share the Entertainer of the Year award at the recent Academy of Country Music Awards, but this week her music won’t have to share the spotlight. Her new album, “My Gift,” is out Friday, and it’s her first-ever collection of holiday music.She’s got some special guests joining her, including John Legend and her 5-year-old son, Isaiah Fisher, as she croons some Christmas classics.Yes, Halloween isn’t even here yet, but I’m not mad about any attempts to hurry up and get to the end of 2020. One thing to talk about:Much love to my colleague, Sandra Gonzalez, who was the mastermind behind one of my favorite things about this year’s Emmy Awards — the Room Rater critiques.I’ll admit to being disappointed that Claude Taylor and Jessie Bahrey, who run the Twitter account @ratemyskyperoom, didn’t notice me enough to rip apart my bookcase backdrop featuring a stuffed teddy bear during my last CNN appearance. But I absolutely loved their observations on the rooms during this year’s virtual Emmy Awards.I need whoever designed the room for the “Schitt’s Creek” cast to come light up my life. Please and thank you. Something to sip onDear Hilary Duff, your husband really loves you.Matthew Koma recently revealed on Instagram that he had his wife’s name tattooed on his behind.Yes, you read that correctly. His left butt cheek now reads “Hilary.”Now, I don’t know if “tattoo shaming” is a thing or not. However, allow me to say that while I understand being in love, I have to interject a but here (applaud me for being so clever with my phrasing, please) and add that this feels very late 1990s/early 2000s.I thought we had tossed out inking our bodies with the names of our partners along with sex tapes and Nerds candy.Perhaps it was a gag meant to entertain Duff and us, but it sure looks real. To me it was a great reminder that our decisions can be long-lasting and everything is not for everybody. Yes, I am now culling life lessons from derriere tattoos. So, thanks, 2020. Mr. Koma, if you felt it was your duty to proclaim your devotion on your booty then God bless. Duff can’t ever say you weren’t willing to publicly go there. Pop back here next Thursday for all the latest happenings that matter in Hollywood.
Ant Anstead Breaks His Silence on Christina Anstead Split
Ant Anstead has broken his silence on his split from wife Christina Anstead after less than two years of marriage. “Anyone who really knows me knows that I don’t like to share private matters publicly,” the British TV personality, 41, captioned a black-and-white selfie with the HGTV star, 37, on Instagram on Saturday, September 26.…
Ant Anstead has broken his silence on his split from wife Christina Anstead after less than two years of marriage.
“Anyone who really knows me knows that I don’t like to share private matters publicly,” the British TV personality, 41, captioned a black-and-white selfie with the HGTV star, 37, on Instagram on Saturday, September 26. “I have remained silent while holding on to hope. I never gave up on us. I pray Christina’s decision brings her happiness.”
His post came hours after the Christina on the Coast star spoke out about their breakup and talked about divorcing her husband in her own social media post.
“While I never wanted to be on tv, stepping out of my comfort zone and into the unknown has always been my thing,” she wrote in a long caption on a selfie. “I live in a state of anxiousness and I’m so used to it that when it’s not there I tend to feel a void and hop into something that causes the feeling I’m used to. This can be good and bad. And it’s one of the things I’m working on breaking the pattern of.”
Ant Anstead and Christina Anstead and the premiere of ‘Serengeti’ in L.A. on July 23, 2019. AFF-USA/Shutterstock“Sometimes anxiety and pursuit of new dreams leads me down amazing paths, other times it leaves me feeling lost and in a state of fight or flight / or crying in my closet,” she continued. “Tv changed my life and I am grateful for the life it’s provided, the experiences, the friends I’ve made along the way. Sometimes our calling is bigger than our plans. I never thought I would have one divorce let alone two. I never thought I would have 2 baby daddies – but sometimes life throws us curve balls. Instead of getting stuck in these ‘setbacks’ I choose to look at these challenges as opportunities to grow. So while some may judge me and throw around rumors about me, most of you support me. And that says a lot about this world and where we are headed. I’m messy, I’m real and I’m working on healing.”
The Flip or Flop star announced her split from the Wheeler Dealers host via Instagram on September 18. The pair, who wed in December 2018, share a 12-month-old son, Hudson.
“[Their] friends are shocked to hear the news because they seemed happy together publicly and while in front of others,” a source told Us Weekly at the time.
Christina was previously married to Tarek El Moussa. The pair, who tied the knot in 2009, finalized their divorce in 2018. They share two children, daughter Taylor, 10, and son Brayden, 5.
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