2017 Halloween Horror Nights: ‘The Horrors of Blumhouse’ mazes added at Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando

August 29, 2017

The following is a press release from Halloween Horror Nights:

Jason Blum, one of today’s most prolific producers of contemporary horror films, brings his signature movies to life in the uniquely distinctive “The Horrors of Blumhouse” maze at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” event at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, beginning Friday, September 15.

Based on “The Purge,” “Sinister” and “Insidious” franchises, as well as the upcoming thriller “Happy Death Day,” Blumhouse Productions (“Split,” “Get Out,” “Whiplash “), is teaming with the creative minds behind the nation’s most intense and immersive Halloween event to unleash three twisted Blumhouse films in one bone-chilling experience at each Halloween destination.

At Universal Studios Hollywood, legions of terrified guests will come face-to-face with the most iconic and unnerving moments from the blockbuster “The Purge” franchise, “Sinistermovies and soon-to-be released “Happy Death Day.” In The Purge, guests will attempt to survive the night as they are immersed in the film’s depraved world, where all crime is declared legal as part of the government’s annually sanctioned 12-hour Purge. In what can be described as a living trailer for “Happy Death Day,” guests will experience a deja-vu scenario as they are forced to relive the last day of their lives over and over again in an attempt to escape a masked killer. The final nightmare will unmask itself in Sinister, where guests will encounter an ancient pagan deity who is determined to trap them in the sordid shadow world of the dead…for all eternity.

“It’s a privilege to collaborate with Jason Blum and his team at Blumhouse Productions to create ‘The Horrors of Blumhouse,’” said John Murdy, Creative Director at Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “The decisive, inventive way in which he interprets underlying issues plaguing today’s society into his films provides us with a plethora of content to create truly captivating, one-of-a-kind modern horror experiences for our guests.”

Upon entering “The Horrors of Blumhouse” maze at Universal Orlando Resort, guests will attempt to survive three of the most menacing anthologies in the Blumhouse assemblage. First, guests will face the horror of becoming stars in the next home murder movie of the menacing demon Bughuul, from the infamous “Sinister” franchise. Then, they’ll run for their lives to escape the gang of bloodthirsty home invaders from the first installment of “The Purge” saga. Finally, guests will be thrust into the Further from the “Insidious” legend, where they’ll come face-to-face with the paralyzing Lipstick-Face Demon from Chapter 1 and witness Dr. Elise Rainier’s own personal hauntings from her nightmarish childhood in a first-look at “Insidious: Chapter 4” – in theaters January 5, 2018.

“We’re thrilled to bring the terrifying vision of Jason Blum and the Blumhouse Productions team to life on an even grander scale at Halloween Horror Nights 2017,” said Charles Gray, Show Director for Creative Development, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort. “He is the modern voice of horror, whose films run the gamut of intense, in-your-face terror – and this year, we’re taking our guests deeper into the horrific world of Blumhouse than ever before.”

“We are so excited to expand our collaboration with the terrific creative team at ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ this year,” commented Blum. “With ‘The Horrors of Blumhouse’ maze, people will be able to fully immerse themselves into the cinematic worlds of our most terrifying films – with bone-chilling results.”

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 20 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims inside their own horror film. The streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing “scare-actors” lunge from every darkened corner. Multiple movie-quality haunted houses are erected throughout the event, based on everything from iconic slasher films to hit horror television series to haunting original stories.

Additional details about Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” will be revealed soon. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at either Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

2017 Halloween Horror Nights: ‘Insidious: Beyond the Further Maze’ debuts at Universal Studios Hollywood

August 28, 2017

Universal Studios Hollywood Unleashes Insidious: Beyond the Further,” an All-New Terrifying “Halloween Horror Nights” Maze and Living Trailer for Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures’ Stage 6 Films Insidious: Chapter 4.
(Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood)

The following is a press release from Universal Studios:

Beginning Friday, September 15, paranormal activity grips “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood in the all-new disturbing maze, “Insidious: Beyond the Further,” inspired Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures’ Stage 6 Films upcoming supernatural thriller, Insidious: Chapter 4.

The creepy new maze will delve deep into brilliant parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier’s past, starting with a childhood in which her paranormal abilities emerged…until her mother’s untimely death by a demonic entity. Troubled by a lifetime of evil supernatural spirits trapped in the Further—a vacuous netherworld caught between the living and the dead—Dr. Rainier will take guests on an unsettling journey back in time through a portal into the Further…to defy the most depraved and intimidating beings that have tormented her since the 1950s.

Opening in theatres nationwide on Friday, January 5, 2018, Insidious: Chapter 4 is a Blumhouse Production, Oren Peli Production distributed by Universal Pictures domestically and Sony Pictures’ Stage 6 Films internationally. Directed by series newcomer Adam Robitel, the supernatural thriller is written by co-creator Leigh Whannell and produced by Insidious series regulars Jason Blum, Oren Peli and co-creator James Wan. The film stars Lin Shaye as Dr. Rainier, who faces her most fearsome and personal haunting yet: in her own family home.

“Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror. Featuring an all-new slate of unrivaled film production quality mazes, frightful scare zones and a fully re-imagined “Terror Tram” experience uniquely themed to today’s most definitive horror properties, “Halloween Horror Nights” will taunt, terrorize and torment guests with spine-chilling haunted attractions as part of Southern California’s most extreme Halloween experience.

To date, “Halloween Horror Nights” will also feature the following mazes: “American Horror Story: Roanoke,” based on FX’s critically-acclaimed, Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning television series; “The Shining,” inspired by the greatest horror film of all time; and “Ash vs Evil Dead” from the hit cable series based on the cult classic.

Updates on “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood are available online at HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Hollywood and on Facebook at: “Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood,” Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter at @HorrorNights as Creative Director John Murdy reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information. Watch videos on Halloween Horror Nights YouTube and join the conversation using #UniversalHHN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxmESxnuLrw

2017 MTV Video Music Awards: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Humble’ wins six prizes, including Video of the Year

August 27, 2017

by Carla Hay

MTV VMAs

With six prizes, including Video of the Year, Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” video was the top winner at the 34th Annual MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), which was held at the Forum in Inglewood, California, on August 27, 2017. The wins were not much of a surprise since “HUMBLE.” had the most VMA nominations (eight) this year.

Katy Perry hosted and performed at the show. For the most part, her hosting fell flat with awkward jokes that weren’t very funny and even more awkward physical gags, such has Perry carrying a baby doll on stage and the doll “vomited” on Perry.

Pink, winner of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, gave a moving and inspirational speech in which she talked about how dismayed she felt when her 6-year-old daughter, Willow Sage Hart, told her that she felt ugly because she thought he looked like a boy. Pink then said that she then gave Willow a Power Point presentation to show her different artists such as Prince, Michael Jackson, Elton John and Freddie Mercury to show Willow that it was okay to be yourself, look different and be special. Pink also said she wanted to be that kind of role model, and she thanked artists who are “living their truth” for inspiring her. Before her speech, Pink performed a medley of her hits.

Another emotional moment at the award show came during an anti-racism speeches from pastor Robert E. Lee IV and Susan Bro, who is the mother of Heather Heyer, the counter-protestor who was murdered August 13 during a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Bro announced the formation of the Heather Heyer Foundation to support the anti-bigotry causes that Heyer supported. She also announced that all six of the MTV VMA nominees in the category of Best Fight Against the System would win the prize this year. It was for the first time in MTV history that all of the nominees in a MTV VMA category won the category prize.

Jared Leto, lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars, gave a tribute speech to Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell and Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, who both committed suicide this year. MTV showed a clip from Linkin Park’s 2010 MTV VMA performance at the end of the tribute.

Taylor Swift’s music video for “Look at What You Made Me Do” made its world premiere at 2017 MTV VMAs.

The following is a complete list of nominees winners and performances at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards.

 

NOMINEES AND WINNERS

*=winner

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)*
Bruno Mars – “24K Magic” (Atlantic Records)
Alessia Cara – “Scars To Your Beautiful” (Def Jam)
DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller – “Wild Thoughts” (Epic Records/We The Best)
The Weeknd – “Reminder” (XO/Republic Records)

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars (Atlantic Records)
Kendrick Lamar (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)
Ed Sheeran (Atlantic Records)*
Ariana Grande (Republic Records)
The Weeknd (XO/Republic Records)
Lorde (Republic Records)

BEST NEW ARTIST (Presented by Taco Bell®)
Khalid (RCA Records)*
Kodak Black (Atlantic Records)
SZA (TDE/RCA Records)
Young M.A (3D)
Julia Michaels (Republic Records)
Noah Cyrus (Records)

BEST COLLABORATION
Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez – “We Don’t Talk Anymore” (Atlantic Records)
DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller – “Wild Thoughts” (Epic Records/We The Best)
D.R.A.M. ft. Lil Yachty – “Broccoli” (Atlantic Records)
The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey – “Closer” (Disruptor Records/Columbia Records)
Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean – “Feels” (Columbia Records)
Zayn & Taylor Swift – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)” (Republic Records)*

BEST POP
Shawn Mendes – “Treat You Better” (Island Records)
Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You” (Asylum/Atlantic Records)
Harry Styles – “Sign Of The Times” (Columbia Records)
Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane – “Down” (Syco Music/Epic Records)*
Katy Perry ft. Skip Marley – “Chained To The Rhythm” (Capitol Records)
Miley Cyrus – “Malibu” (RCA Records)

BEST HIP HOP
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)*
Big Sean – “Bounce Back” (Def Jam)
Chance the Rapper – “Same Drugs” (Chance the Rapper LLC)
D.R.A.M. ft. Lil Yachty – “Broccoli” (Atlantic Records)
Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert – “Bad & Boujee” (300 Entertainment)
DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne – “I’m The One” (Epic Records/We The Best)

BEST DANCE

Zedd and Alessia Cara – “Stay” (Interscope)*
Kygo x Selena Gomez – “It Ain’t Me” (Ultra/Interscope)
Calvin Harris – “My Way” (Columbia Records)
Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber and Mø – “Cold Water” (Mad Decent)
Afrojack ft. Ty Dolla $ign – “Gone” (Wall Recordings/Latium/RCA Records)

BEST ROCK
Coldplay – “A Head Full of Dreams” (Parlophone/Atlantic Records)
Fall Out Boy – “Young And Menace” (Island)
Twenty One Pilots – “Heavydirtysoul” (Fueled by Ramen/Atlantic Records)*
Green Day – “Bang Bang” (Warner Bros. Records)
Foo Fighters – “Run” (RCA Records)

BEST FIGHT AGAINST THE SYSTEM
Logic ft. Damian Lemar Hudson – “Black SpiderMan” (Def Jam)*
The Hamilton Mixtape – “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” (Atlantic Records)*
Big Sean – “Light” (Def Jam)*
Alessia Cara – “Scars To Your Beautiful” (Def Jam)*
Taboo ft. Shailene Woodley – “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL”*
John Legend – “Surefire” (Columbia Records)*

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope) (Scott Cunningham)*
Imagine Dragons – “Thunder” (KIDinaKORNER/Interscope) (Matthew Wise)
Ed Sheeran – “Castle On The Hill” (Asylum/Atlantic Records) (Steve Annis)
DJ Shadow ft. Run The Jewels – “Nobody Speak” (Mass Appeal Records LLC) (David Proctor)
Halsey – “Now or Never” (Astralwerks/Capitol) (Kristof Brandl)

BEST DIRECTION
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope) (Dave Meyers & the little homies)*
Katy Perry ft. Skip Marley – “Chained To The Rhythm” (Capitol Records) (Mathew Cullen)
Bruno Mars – “24K Magic” (Atlantic Records)  (Cameron Duddy & Bruno Mars)
Alessia Cara – “Scars To Your Beautiful” (Def Jam) (Aaron A)
The Weeknd – “Reminder” (XO/Republic Records) (Glenn Michael)

BEST ART DIRECTION
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope) (Spencer Graves)*
Bruno Mars – “24K Magic” (Atlantic Records) (Alex Delgado)
Katy Perry ft. Migos – “Bon Appetit” (Capitol Records) (Natalie Groce)
DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller – “Wild Thoughts” (Epic Records/We The Best) (Damian Fyffe)
The Weeknd – “Reminder” (XO/Republic Records) (Creative Director: Lamar C Taylor / Co-creative Director: Christo Anesti)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope) (Company: Timber/Lead: Jonah Hall)*
A Tribe Called Quest – “Dis Generation” (Epic Records) (Company: Bemo/Lead: Brandon Hirzel)
KYLE ft. Lil Yachty – “iSpy” (Atlantic Records) (Company: Gloria FX/Leads: Max Colt & Tomash Kuzmytskyi)
Katy Perry ft. Skip Marley – “Chained To The Rhythm” (Capitol Records) (Company: MIRADA)
Harry Styles – “Sign Of The Times” (Columbia Records) (Company: ONE MORE/Lead: Cédric Nivoliez)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Kanye West – “Fade” (Def Jam) (Teyana Taylor, Guapo, Jae Blaze & Derek ‘Bentley’ Watkins)*
Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj – “Side To Side” (Republic Records) (Brian & Scott Nicholson)
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)  (Dave Meyers)
Sia – “The Greatest” (Monkey Puzzle Records/RCA Records) (Ryan Heffington)
Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane – “Down” (Syco Music/Epic Records) (Sean Bankhead)

BEST EDITING
Future – “Mask Off” (Epic Records/Freebandz/A1) (Vinnie Hobbs of VHPost)
Young Thug – “Wyclef Jean” (300 Entertainment/Atlantic Records) (Ryan Staake & Eric Degliomini)*
Lorde – “Green Light” (Republic Records) (Nate Gross of Exile Edit)
The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey – “Closer” (Disruptor Records/Columbia Records) (Jennifer Kennedy)
The Weeknd – “Reminder” (XO/Republic Records) (Red Barbaza)

SONG OF SUMMER
Presented by Verizon
Lil Uzi Vert — “XO Tour Llif3”

MICHAEL JACKSON VIDEO VANGUARD AWARD
Pink

PERFORMANCES

KENDRICK LAMAR – “DNA” + “HUMBLE.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VDv6h-3StI

Pink
“Get The Party Started”
“Raise Your Glass”
“So What”
“Just Give Me a Reason”
“Perfect”
“What About Us”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_iTJxR_Wb8

SIR ROD STEWART FT. DNCE – “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDT_EZHiBaA

ED SHEERAN & LIL UZI VERT– “Shape Of You” + “XO Tour Lilf3”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r2ovn-PTxo

MILEY CYRUS – “Younger Now”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqUwkSWBV-c

LOGIC FT. KHALID – “1-800-273-8255”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLe1dddgZrg

DEMI LOVATO – “Sorry Not Sorry”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwdmkFfF9M8

THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS – “Walk On Water”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKn5-6FP5iY

FIFTH HARMONY FT. GUCCI MANE – “Angel” + “Down”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b22vPo0_wBg

SHAWN MENDES – “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71-Ay3GcjHw

LORDE – “Homemade Dynamite”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4hUmKZvBBE

KYLE – “iSpy”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6Ja_JhACjY

ALESSIA CARA  – “Scares To Your Beautiful”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kslXg-yj5Fs

JULIA MICHAELS – “Issues”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRW4eP877u0

KATY PERRY FT. NICKI MINAJ – “Swish Swish”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrV5a9aLBWk

Jesse Ignjatovic returns as Executive Producer for the 2017 “MTV Video Music Awards.” Bruce Gillmer, Garrett English and Lee Lodge are Executive Producers. Melanie Block serves as Executive in Charge of Production. Amani Duncan is Music Executive in Charge. Wendy Plaut is Celebrity Talent Executive in Charge.

Official sponsors of the “2017 MTV Video Music Awards” include: Cadillac, Extra® Gum, PEPSI®, Swiffer®, Taco Bell®, truth®, and Verizon.

Here are some video highlights of the 2017 MTV VMA ceremony, as well as the pre-show event.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ui3H03MOtc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1R1kUzSrCaM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPIB_vU0aYI

2017 MTV Video Music Awards: Taylor Swift will premiere ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video

August 25, 2017

MTV VMAs

MTV has announced that Taylor Swift will exclusively premiere the music video for her smash hit new single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” at the 2017 “VMAs.”  Hosted by Katy Perry, the 2017 “VMAs” will be broadcast live from the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. on Sunday, August 27th at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Performers at the 2017 “VMAs” include host Katy Perry, “Video Vanguard” recipient P!nk, Sir Rod Stewart featuring DNCE, Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Kendrick Lamar, Demi Lovato, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Fifth Harmony featuring Gucci Mane, Shawn Mendes, Lorde, Logic featuring Khalid, Post Malone and Julia Michaels.  “Pre-Show” performances will feature Bleachers, Khalid and Cardi B.

The full list of nominees for the show is available here.

Jesse Ignjatovic returns as Executive Producer for the 2017 “MTV Video Music Awards.” Bruce Gillmer, Garrett English and Lee Lodge are Executive Producers. Melanie Block serves as Executive in Charge of Production. Amani Duncan is Music Executive in Charge. Wendy Plaut is Celebrity Talent Executive in Charge.

Official sponsors of the “2017 MTV Video Music Awards” include: Cadillac, Extra® Gum, PEPSI®, Swiffer®, Taco Bell®, truth®, and Verizon.

2017 Halloween Horror Nights: Eli Roth directs his first commercial for Halloween Horror Nights

August 24, 2017

Eli Roth
Eli Roth (Photo by Eli Reed/Universal Orlando)

The following is a press release from Universal Studios:

This year, filmmaker Eli Roth – acclaimed director of blockbuster horror films such as Hostel and Cabin Fever – makes his commercial directorial debut with Universal Studios’ new “Halloween Horror Nights” television spot, entitled “The Mourning After.”

“Halloween Horror Nights” kicks off at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort on Friday, September 15.  The commercial begins airing after the Labor Day weekend and can be seen here.  A behind-the-scenes making of and extended Director’s Cut version can be viewed here.

With Roth’s creative direction and filmmaking expertise, the compelling 30-second commercial becomes one of the most cinematic, horror-film-inspired, “Halloween Horror Nights” commercials ever created.  “The Mourning After” spot follows a group of friends as they attend an unusual Halloween costume party and unfolds with a series of suspenseful twists and turns that begs for more.

Viewers will see an array of hidden references woven throughout the spot that pay tribute to the horror films and television-themed mazes guests will encounter at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” events.  These include FX’s critically-acclaimed, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning television series, “American Horror Story,” Stanley Kubrick’s psychological horror film, The Shining and the upcoming SAW: The Games of Jigsaw movie.

Roth is a long-time fan of “Halloween Horror Nights” and has previously served as a creative consultant for the event, including a Hostel-inspired maze.  He said the commercial gave him the opportunity to combine a love of horror films with how those films are brought to life within “Halloween Horror Nights.”

“I first got involved with ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ as a fan – I felt that I was in a horror movie and I didn’t want it to end,” said Roth. “For this spot, I wanted to pay homage to these brilliant and scary films, and yet put my own spin on it.”

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 20 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims inside their own horror film. The streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing “scare-actors” lunge from every darkened corner. Multiple movie-quality haunted houses are erected throughout the event, based on everything from iconic slasher films to hit horror television series to haunting original stories.

For more information and to purchase tickets to “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

2017 ACM Honors: Event recap and photos

August 24, 2017

Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and George Strait at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)
Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and George Strait at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)

The following is a press release from the Academy of Country Music:

On August 23, 2017, the Academy of Country Music® presented the 11th Annual ACM Honors™, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards™. Portions of the event, held at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, were taped for a two-hour special that will air on Friday, September 15 (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

The event, sponsored by City National Bank, featured a star-studded lineup of live performances and award presentations celebrating Special Awards recipients Kelsea Ballerini (Gene Weed Milestone Award), Toby Keith (Poet’s Award), Bob Kingsley (Mae Boren Axton Service Award), Reba McEntire (Mae Boren Axton Service Award), “Nashville” (Tex Ritter Film Award), Dolly Parton (Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award), Shel Silverstein (Poet’s Award, awarded posthumously), and George Strait (Cliffie Stone Icon Award). The evening also honored winners of the Industry and Studio Recording Awards, along with Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Lori McKenna. The Academy of Country Music will present trophies to previously announced Special Awards recipients Eric Church (Merle Haggard Spirit Award) and Willie Nelson (Poet’s Award) at a later date.

Highlights from the event include:

Hillary Scott opened the evening with a performance of “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” and was then joined by Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild for a powerful duet performance of “Does He Love You” for which they received a standing ovation. The duo then welcomed Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman for a special performance of “Little Rock” in tribute to Reba McEntire. Fairchild, Schlapman, and Scott then presented McEntire with the Mae Boren Axton Service Award.

Kelsea Ballerini performed “Legends” before receiving her award, which was presented to her by Lady Antebellum. Following her acceptance speech, Ballerini performed a medley of #1 hits including “Dibs,” “Love Me Like You Mean It,” and “Peter Pan.”

Chris Stapleton performed “When Did You Stop Loving Me,” and Alan Jackson performed a medley of “Marina Del Rey” and “The Fireman” in tribute to George Strait before he accepted his award to a standing ovation. Following his acceptance speech, Strait took the stage and performed “Here For A Good Time” to a dancing audience to close out the evening. Reigning Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean presented the award to Strait.

George Strait at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM)

Chris Janson performed “A Boy Named Sue” and “Cover of the Rolling Stone” in tribute to Shel Silverstein, who received his award posthumously. Silverstein’s family friend Susan Nadler accepted the award from Janson on Silverstein’s behalf.

Chris Janson at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM)

Toby Keith performed “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” and “Who’s Your Daddy?” after songwriter Jimmy Webb presented him with his award.

Maren Morris performed “Galveston” in tribute to the late Glen Campbell.

Maren Morris at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM)

Brad Paisley performed “My Tennessee Mountain Home” in tribute to Dolly Parton.

Kelsea Ballerini and Brad Paisley at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)

Bobby Bones presented Bob Kingsley with his award, after which Thomas Rhett sang a medley of his hits “Die A Happy Man” and “Craving You.”

Bobby Bones and Thomas Rhett present Bob Kingsley with the Mae Boren Axton Award at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM)

Songwriter Ross Copperman introduced Little Big Town, who performed “When Someone Stops Loving You,” written by Lori McKenna, before presenting McKenna with the award.

Additional off-camera highlights included:

Brett Young presented Studio Recording and Industry Award winners with their awards prior to the show taping.

Cassadee Pope presented the television series “Nashville” with the Tex Ritter Film Award. “Nashville” stars Clare Bowen and Charles Esten performed “Sanctuary” in a special moment before CMT’s Frank Tanki, Opry Entertainment’s Steve Buchanan, and Lionsgate’s Russell Ziecker accepted the award.

Cassadee Pope at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM)

 

Presenters who took the stage at the event included Jason Aldean, Bobby Bones, Ross Copperman, Chris Janson, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Brad Paisley, Cassadee Pope, Hillary Scott, Jimmy Webb, and Brett Young.

Below is a full list of special award recipients:

SPECIAL AWARDS

Chris Stapleton, George Strait, and ACM’s Pete Fisher at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)

Cliffie Stone ICON Award – George Strait has been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Icon Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader who throughout their career has advanced the popularity of the genre through their contributions in multiple facets of the industry such as songwriting, recording, production, touring, film, television, literary works, philanthropic contributions and other goodwill efforts.

With 61 No. 1 singles under his belt, George Strait has captivated the charts for longer than any other artist in any genre. Winning his first ACM Award for 1984’s Male Vocalist of the Year, “King George” went on to build his country kingdom one great song at a time. Now-classic hits like “Amarillo by Morning,” “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” “The Fireman,” “The Chair” and “Give It Away” established Strait’s smooth voice and no-nonsense style, making his live show a must-see event. Strait is one of the best-selling artists of all time with 100 million albums sold worldwide. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and was named the Academy’s Dick Clark Artist of the Decade in 2009.  Though he officially retired from the road after his Cowboy Rides Away tour wrapped in 2014, Strait continues to pack houses at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with his “2 Nights of Number 1s” show featuring all his number one hits performed live.

The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award has been renamed the Cliffie Stone Icon Award.

Past recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award include Alabama, Bob Beckham, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Crystal Gayle, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, The Judds,  Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs, The Statler Brothers, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Keith Whitley, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

Dolly Parton accepts the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM)

GARY HABER LIFTING LIVES AWARD – Dolly Parton has been chosen to receive the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry professional who is devoted to improving lives through the power of music, has a generosity of spirit, and is committed to serving others, voted on by the ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors.

Dolly Parton has held many titles over her storied 50-year career – singer, songwriter, actress, legend—but philanthropist is one that is close to her heart. Since her earliest days of stardom, Dolly has used her celebrity to support the causes she loves most. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library has to date provided 100 million books to preschool children in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In 2016, Parton stepped up to raise money for victims of the massive wildfires in her native East Tennessee. Hosting Smoky Mountains Rise, a three-hour telethon, Dolly helped raise more than $10 million for the Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund, which provided money for temporary housing for families that lost their homes in the fires.

The Humanitarian Award has been renamed/incorporated into the existing Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award.

Past recipients of the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award and Humanitarian Award include Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, Lonestar, Martina McBride, Neal McCoy, Reba McEntire, Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood.

Kelsea Ballerini poses with the Gene Weed Milestone Award at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)

GENE WEED MILESTONE AWARD – Kelsea Ballerini has been chosen as the recipient of the Gene Weed Milestone Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader for a specific, unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of country music during the preceding calendar year.

Kelsea Ballerini went straight to the top of the charts with her first single, 2014’s “Love Me Like You Mean It.” Her self-penned debut was just the beginning of her winning streak. Her next two singles, 2015’s “Dibs” and 2016’s “Peter Pan,” also went to No. 1, making Ballerini the first female solo artist to have three consecutive No. 1 singles from a debut album since Wynonna Judd in 1992.  Ballerini was named the ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year for 2015, was nominated for Best New Artist at the 59th Grammy Awards and came in at No. 2 on the Forbes “30 Under 30 – Music” list. Having wrapped up her first headlining tour, aptly titled “The First Time Tour,” Ballerini is currently working on a new album and is hitting the road with Thomas Rhett on his 2017 Home Team Tour.

The Crystal Milestone Award and Gene Weed Special Achievement Awards have been combined and renamed the Gene Weed Milestone Award.

Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Award and the Gene Weed Milestone Award include Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, George Burns, Kenny Chesney, Jeff Foxworthy, Merle Haggard, Gayle Holcomb, Loretta Lynn, Little Big Town, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Nettles, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood.

Mae Boren Axton SERVICE Award – Bob Kingsley and Reba McEntire have been chosen as the recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Service Award. This award is presented to an outstanding country music artist, duo/group or industry leader in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music.

One of the most recognizable radio voices in the world, Bob Kingsley has been a friend to both country fans and country artists for generations. As host and executive producer of Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40, the Texas resident has been inducted into both the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame. Early in his career as a young disc jockey at KFOX in Los Angeles, Kingsley became involved with the fledgling Academy of Country and Western Music, which would eventually be called the Academy of Country Music. He won the Academy’s On-Air Personality of the Year award for 1966 and 1967. He was first elected to the Academy’s board of directors in 1967. He has since won a third ACM trophy for National On-Air Personality of the Year (2006) and continues to serve on the board today, making Kingsley the Academy’s longest-serving board member.

For more than 30 years Reba McEntire has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Academy of Country Music. Hosting her first ACM Awards in 1986 at Knott’s Berry Farm, McEntire has returned to the ACM stage as a host for a record 14 times—-eight of those solo. A 14-time ACM Award winner (including 7 as ACM Female Vocalist of the Year), Reba has also been an avid supporter of the Academy’s charitable efforts, donating her time and talents to numerous ACM specials and other events supporting ACM Lifting Lives. In 2017, Reba partnered with the Academy and Omaze to offer a fan a chance to meet her backstage in Vegas, with proceeds from the auction going to ACM Lifting Lives.

The Mae Boren Axton Award has been renamed the Mae Boren Axton Service Award.

Past recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Award include Barry Adelman, John Dorris, Tim DuBois, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Paul Moore, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Keith Urban, Gene Weed, Tommy Wiggins and David Young.

MERLE HAGGARD SPIRIT AWARD – Eric Church has been chosen to receive the Merle Haggard Spirit Award. This award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of country legend and 20-time ACM Award Winner Merle Haggard by following his/her own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Merle’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.

Over 12 years and five studio albums, Eric Church has established himself as an artist who stays true to an uncompromising path. As an intense performer and songwriter, he has brought to life the eternal themes of life, love and heartbreak in his own hellraising way through songs like “Smoke a Little Smoke,” “Springsteen,” “Give Me Back My Hometown” and “Record Year.” He has also bucked convention in the way his recorded and live music is delivered. He surprised fans—and the media—with his 2015 album, Mr. Misunderstood, which landed in the mailboxes of his fan club members without any promotion first before going out to the general public and the media the next day. For the 2017 60-city “Holdin’ My Own Tour,” Church went out solo without a support act and played two sets himself. Church holds five ACM awards, including Album of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year, Video of the Year, New Solo Vocalist of the Year and the ACM Jim Reeves International Award.

Past recipients of the Merle Haggard Spirit Award include Miranda Lambert.

Toby Keith poses with the Poet’s Award at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)

Poet’s Award – Toby Keith, Willie Nelson and Shel Silverstein (awarded posthumously) have been chosen to receive the Poet’s Award. This award is presented to a country music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, with special consideration given to a song or songs’ impact on the culture of country music.

Toby Keith has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and is routinely cited as one of country’s top businessmen with bars, restaurants, race horses and golf courses to his name, but it’s his accolades as a songwriter than mean the most to the Oklahoma native. Keith began writing as a teenager and charted his first self-penned No. 1 with his debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” Since then, he has pretty much ignored the Nashville tradition of cutting Music Row writers’ songs and personally written or co-written just about every song he’s ever recorded. Among the highlights of his two-decade hit-making career are blue-collar anthems “How Do You Like Me Now,” “Beer for My Horses,” “I Love This Bar” and “American Soldier.” A 12-time ACM Award winner, Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.

Willie Nelson is an American treasure, and the songs he has written will stand the test of time. Writing since the age of six, the Texas native has penned tunes that are part of the very foundation of country music. His credits as a songwriter include classics for other artists including “Crazy” (Patsy Cline), “Funny How Time Slips Away” (Ray Price) and “Hello Walls” (Faron Young). He co-wrote the outlaw anthem “Good-Hearted Woman” with his friend Waylon Jennings. Nelson’s signature song, “On the Road Again,” won the Grammy for Best Country Song in 1980. Willie was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001.

The late Shel Silverstein (awarded posthumously) is known the world over as the offbeat poet and cartoonist behind beloved children’s books Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree, but he was also an accomplished songwriter. Silverstein penned inventive songs about unusual characters for a variety of artists, including “One’s On the Way” for Loretta Lynn, “Marie Laveau” for Bobby Bare and the classic rock anthem “Cover of the Rolling Stone” for Dr. Hook. He brought his madcap imagination to the song, “A Boy Named Sue,” which became a No. 1 hit for Johnny Cash. The song won the 1969 Grammy for Best Country Song. Silverstein died of a heart attack in 1999 at the age of 68. He was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Guy Clark, Jack Clement, Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Bob McDill, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Eddie Rabbitt (awarded posthumously), Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker, Jimmy Webb and Hank Williams.

Tex Ritter FILM Award – “Nashville” has been chosen as the recipient of the Tex Ritter Film Award. This award recognizes an outstanding television movie, series or feature film released during the preceding calendar year which prominently features country music.

Now in its fifth season, “Nashville” continues to tell Music Row’s stories to a world-wide audience. Airing domestically on CMT and Hulu, the hour-long drama is seen in 225 territories around the globe. Main characters Deacon Clayborne, Will Lexington, Avery Barkley, Gunnar Scott and Scarlett O’Connor have made real-life music stars out of actors Charles Esten, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio and Claire Bowen. The cast has released 17 soundtrack albums on Big Machine Records and has toured regularly, playing to sold-out crowds in both the United States and abroad. The show has been credited as part of the recent tourism boom in the city of Nashville, which has seen an amazing increase in visitors over the past five years.

Past recipients of the Tex Ritter Film Award include Beer For My Horses, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Country Strong, Crazy Heart, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, O Brother, Where Art Thou, Sweet Dreams and Walk the Line, among others.

Lori McKenna at the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on August 23, 2017 (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD – Previously announced winner Lori McKenna – the first female to win this category ­– has been chosen as the recipient of the Songwriter of the Year Award. This award is presented to an individual known predominately as a songwriter, selected by a Professional Panel of judges composed of songwriters, publishers, producers, and performing rights organization representatives.

Lori McKenna has never lived in Nashville, yet she’s gradually become one of the most sought-after co-writers in Music City. At her kitchen table in Stoughton, Massachusetts, she wrote a heartfelt message to her five kids in the form of “Humble and Kind.” Tim McGraw carried the song to No. 1, and it also led to McKenna winning her second consecutive Grammy for Country Song of the Year. The first one was for Little Big Town’s triple-platinum single, “Girl Crush.” One of McKenna’s earliest champions was Faith Hill, who recorded “Stealing Kisses” for 2005’s Fireflies. McKenna continued recording her own albums as more stars cut her songs, including Hunter Hayes (“I Want Crazy”) and Keith Urban (“The Luxury of Knowing”). She released a new album, The Bird & The Rifle, in 2016. The project received a Grammy nod for Best Americana Album, while “Wreck You” was up for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song. She is a co-writer on Little Big Town’s new single, “Happy People.”

Past recipients of the Songwriter of the Year Award include Ross Copperman, Dallas Davidson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Roger Miller.

INDUSTRY AWARDS

CASINO OF THE YEAR – SMALL CAPACITY: Foxwoods Resort and Casino – Mashantucket, CT
CASINO OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM CAPACITY: The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV
FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR: Tortuga Music Festival – Fort Lauderdale, FL
NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR: Joe’s Live – Rosemont, IL
VENUE OF THE YEAR – SMALL CAPACITY: Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN
VENUE OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM CAPACITY: Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO
VENUE OF THE YEAR – LARGE CAPACITY: Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR: Lenore Kinder – AEG Live
PROMOTER OF THE YEAR – Ed Warm – Joe’s Live

STUDIO RECORDING AWARDS
(Note: ** Indicates a tie.)

BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Glenn Worf
DRUMMER OF THE YEAR – Miles McPherson
GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Tom Bukovac & Danny Rader**
PIANO/KEYBOARDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Dave Cohen
SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Dan Dugmore
STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Dan Dugmore
AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR – Chuck Ainlay
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR – Jay Joyce

2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Morgan Freeman will receive Life Achievement Award

August 22, 2017

Morgan Freeman

The following is a press release from SAG-AFTRA:

Morgan Freeman – Academy Award® winning actor, producer, voice actor and activist – has been named the 54th recipient of SAG-AFTRA’s highest tribute: the SAG Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment. Freeman will be presented the performers union’s top accolade at the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® ,  which will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan.21, 2018 at 8 p.m. (ET), 7 p.m. (CT), 6 p.m. (MT) and 5 p.m. (PT). Given annually to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession,” the SAG Life Achievement Award will join Freeman’s exceptional catalog of preeminent industry and public honors, which includes a Screen Actors Guild Award, an Academy Award, HFPA’s Cecil B. DeMille Award®, an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, seven Image Awards, a Silver Berlin Bear, several Obies®, a Kennedy Center Honor, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“I am thrilled to announce Morgan Freeman as this year’s recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award. Some actors spend their entire careers waiting for the perfect role. Morgan showed us that true perfection is what a performer brings to the part,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “He is innovative, fearless and completely unbound by expectations. As a chauffeur, convicted murderer, boxing gym attendant, pimp or president, Morgan fully realized every character baring their souls and showcasing their humanity. It has been a privilege to see his genius at work.”

A Life Devoted to His Art and Craft

Freeman first earned recognition for his acting skills at age 12, when he won a statewide drama competition in Mississippi. As a young actor he paid his dues in small roles, pausing only to serve in the U.S. Air Force. Theater beckoned first, then film and television.

As he breathed life into memorable characters, widespread critical acclaim came accompanied by enraptured audiences and commercial success. Freeman invariably ranks as one of the five worldwide top-grossing actors of all time, with his films having earned over $4.5 billion in cumulative ticket sales.

An Indelible Presence in Film

Freeman has earned four Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. He received the SAG Awards Actor® for his performance in the Best Picture Oscar® winning “Million Dollar Baby,” a role that also garnered him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award and an Image Award. Two films starring Freeman are held in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry: Unforgiven, which received four Oscars, and The Shawshank Redemption, for which Freeman received Best Actor nominations for a SAG Award, Oscar and a Golden Globe.

Among Freeman’s extensive list of credits – now nearing 100 films – another milestone is “Invictus.” His portrayal of Nelson Mandela received the National Board of Review Award for Best Actor and an Image Award along with nominations for another SAG Award, Oscar and Golden Globe. In addition, the picture was produced by Revelations Entertainment, the company Freeman and Lori McCreary co-founded in 1996 with a mission “to produce films that reveal truth” and to stay in the forefront of digital entertainment.

Other credits in that still-growing list include “Street Smart” (Freeman’s 1987 breakthrough role), “The Dark Knight,” “The Bucket List,” “Glory,” “Lean on Me,” “Se7en,” “Amistad,” “Bruce Almighty” and “Along Came a Spider.”

Further demonstrating his astonishing versatility, Freeman most recently starred in Warner Bros.’ “Going In Style,” Paramount Pictures’ “Ben-Hur,” Summit Entertainment’s “Now You See Me 2” and Focus Features’ “London Has Fallen.” Freeman’s upcoming films include Broad Green Pictures’ “Villa Capri” and Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”

Integrity and Inspiration in Television

Freeman first became nationally known and loved in 1971 when he starred in the seminal Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) show “The Electric Company,” for which he created characters including the iconic Easy Reader. Known as the most popular instructional show on television over its six-year run, the series won an Emmy® for Outstanding Children’s Series and a Grammy® for its soundtrack album. Freeman’s indelible impact on a generation was reflected when fellow cast member Rita Moreno, a life-long friend he met on the show, asked that he presented her with the 50th SAG Life Achievement Award.

Most recently, Freeman is an executive producer with McCreary on the Revelations Entertainment series “Madam Secretary” for CBS, which will air its fourth season starting in October. Freeman hosts and is an executive producer for the Revelations Entertainment, three-time Emmy nominated series “Through the Wormhole” with Morgan Freeman, which recently completed its seventh season for the Science Channel. Also through Revelations, he hosted the Emmy-nominated event series “The Story of God” with Morgan Freeman on the National Geographic Channel, which completed its second season. Through Revelations, he will next host “The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman,” which premieres October 11 on the National Geographic Channel.

A Respected, Trusted Voice

Freeman’s is one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved voices. He most recently narrated “The C Word,” the latest in a string of prestigious documentaries that includes the IMAX film Island of “Lemurs: Madagascar,” Science Channel’s “Stem Cell Universe with Stephen Hawking,” and the informative IMAX feature “We the People.” Three previous narrations are the Peabody Award winning ESPN 30 For 30 documentary “The 16th Man” and two Academy Award-winning documentaries, “The Long Way Home” and “The March of the Penguins.”

He could also be heard in the presidential campaigns for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In a lighter vein, Freeman was the overwhelming choice when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked the millions of Facebook users what voice Zuckerman’s smart home system should have.

Authenticity and Insight on Stage

After earlier roles in the off-Broadway stage productions of “The Niggerlovers” and the transformational all African-American production of “Hello Dolly,” Freeman’s 1978 role as “Zeke in The Mighty Gents” earned him a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award® nomination. His arresting, moving performances went on to earn three Obie Awards even before he portrayed Hoke Colburn in Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Driving Miss Daisy,” a role for which Freeman received an Oscar nomination when he reprised it for the Best Picture Oscar winning film of the same name. Freeman most recently trod the boards in the triumphant revival of Clifford Odets’ “The Country Girl,” directed by Mike Nichols.

Helping to Shape the Future

In 1973 Freeman co-founded the Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop, now in its 37th season, which supports and nurtures promising African-American playwrights to ensure those voices can be heard. He additionally supports Artists for a New South Africa and the Campaign for Female Education, organizations working to create hope and better lives for countless people.

Freeman provides a boost for another group of artists on an immediately practical level. He co-owns the Ground Zero Blues Club®, which celebrates and features performances by authentic blues musicians. It’s next-door to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the heart of the area’s rich blues heritage that Freeman loves.

In his spare time, Freeman enjoys the freedom of both sea and sky – he is a long-time sailor and has earned a private pilot’s license.

About the Life Achievement Award
Nominated and voted on by members of the SAG-AFTRA National Honors and Tributes Committee, the Life Achievement Award is bestowed for outstanding achievement in fostering the best ideals of the acting profession. The recipient of this award is a well- established performer who has contributed to improving the image of the acting profession and has a history of active involvement in humanitarian and public service endeavors.

About SAG-AFTRA
SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcaster journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. With national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond

About the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®
The 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® presented by SAG-AFTRA with Screen Actors Guild Awards, LLC will be produced by Avalon Harbor Entertainment, Inc. and nationally simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018 at 8 p.m. (ET) / 5 p.m. (PT). Nominations will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017.

One of the awards season’s premier events, the SAG Awards annually celebrates the outstanding motion picture and television performances from the previous calendar year. Of the top industry honors presented to actors, only the SAG Awards are selected entirely by performers’ peers in SAG-AFTRA. The SAG Awards was the first televised awards show to acknowledge the work of union members and the first to present awards to motion picture casts and television ensembles. For more information about the SAG Awards®, SAG-AFTRA, TNT and TBS, visit: sagawards.org/about

2017 MTV Video Music Awards: VMA Weekend performances announced

August 21, 2017

MTV VMA 2017 logo

The following is a press release from MTV:

MTV has announced that the VMAs will take Los Angeles by storm for a newly-minted “VMA Weekend” of free live performances during a three-night residency at The Avalon in Hollywood.  With marquee sponsors including Taco Bell® and DIRECTV NOW, the incredible “VMA Weekend” lineup features some of today’s hottest artists, including Echosmith, Why Don’t We, Cheat Codes, Kacy Hill, with more acts to be announced. MTV & Taco Bell® will present “Best New Artist ‪Night” on Saturday with ‪DNCE, ‪Bebe Rexha, Noah Cyrus and Sammi Sanchez performing.  All events are 18+.  The “VMA Weekend” concerts will lead up the biggest live music event of the year, the 2017 “MTV Video Music Awards,” on Sunday, August 27th at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Visit VMAWeekend2017.com to register for tickets.  Admission is not guaranteed and subject to venue capacity.

Can’t make it to the shows in person?  No worries!  MTV Live has you covered with live streams of all the shows.  To further celebrate VMA week, starting today, MTV Live will feature all things VMA with round-the-clock videos from this year’s performers and nominees, special short form VMA content pulled from the MTV vault and replays of last year’s iconic VMAs.  Check your local listings for MTV Live.  The shows will also be available on vma.mtv.com.

MTV Weekend Events

Thursday, August 24, 2017

MTV Presents “VMA Weekend”

Show at 7:00 p.m. PT

Line Up: Echosmith, Why Don’t We and More

Tickets: VMAWeekend2017.com

Friday, August 25, 2017

MTV and DIRECTV NOW present “VMA Weekend”

Show at 7:00 p.m. PT

Line Up: Cheat Codes, Kacy Hill and More

Tickets: VMAWeekend2017.com

Saturday, August 26, 2017

MTV & Taco Bell® present “Best New Artist” Night

Show at 7:00 p.m. PT

Line Up: DNCE (2016 “Best New Artist” winner), Bebe Rexha, Noah Cyrus (2017 “Best New Artist” Nominee) and  Sammi Sanchez (“Feed the Beat” Artist)

Tickets: VMAWeekend2017.com

The “VMA Weekend” concerts will be packaged into a special MTV World Stage production that will air globally across MTV’s platforms later this year. MTV World Stage is a global series that showcases the hottest performers from around the world. Recorded live at the most exclusive gigs, world-renowned music festivals and unique concert locations, MTV World Stage is the “front row seat” for music lovers to experience the biggest artists on the globe without leaving the comfort of their sofas.

“VMA Weekend” events are produced by Done + Dusted.

Jerry Lewis dead at 91; entertainer was an icon in comedy

April 20, 2017

by John Larson

Jerry Lewis, who was considered a legend in comedy, died in Las Vegas on August 20, 2017, according to the Associated Press. He was 91.

Lewis (whose real name was Joe Levitch) began entertaining at the age of 5 as part of his parents’ vaudeville act. He rose to fame in his early 20s as a comedy duo with Dean Martin.  It was a partnership that lasted from 1946 to 1956, and included the TV series “The Martin and Lewis Show,” as well a several movies, including “That’s My Boy, “The Stooge” and “Pardners.” Lewis’ other well-known movies included “The Nutty Professor” and “The King of Comedy.”

From 1966 to 2010, Lewis hosted a Labor Day weekend telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He served as MDA chairman until 2011.  He had many health problems that he battled over the years, including Lewis had had prostate cancer, diabetes, pulmonary fibrosis and heart disease.

Lewis had six sons with his first wife Patti Palmer, whom he was married to from 1944 to 1982.  Lewis and his second wide SanDee Pitnick (whom he married in 1983), had a daughter together

2017 Halloween Horror Nights: new ‘Saw’ maze debuts at Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando

August 14, 2017

Saw
(Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood)

The following is a press release from Universal Studios:

The “Saw” series – one of the highest grossing horror film franchises of all time – makes its return to “Halloween Horror Nights,” bringing the blockbuster’s most terrifying traps to life in an all-new original maze opening at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, beginning September 15, 2017.

Based on the Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures hit horror film franchise, “SAW: The Games of Jigsaw” will bring to life the scariest game yet. In this all-new maze guests will come face-to-face with the work of master craftsman “Jigsaw” and a collection of his most infamous traps from the ‘Saw’ film series and upcoming eighth installment ‘Jigsaw.’

“We’re thrilled to be partnering again with Universal Studios on an immersive experience that celebrates everything that our ‘Saw’ fans love,” said Lionsgate Senior Vice President of Global Live and Location Based Entertainment Jenefer Brown. “The maze features the most terrifying traps that made the ‘Saw’ franchise such a Halloween tradition, including some of the best from our upcoming film ‘Jigsaw.’ What better way to complement the film’s release this Halloween than taking audiences into the over-the-top action at Halloween Horror Nights.”

SAW is one of the top grossing horror film franchises, and we’re thrilled that the fan-favorite is making its return to ‘Halloween Horror Nights,’” said John Murdy, Creative Director at Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “‘Saw: The Games of Jigsaw’ will encompass the greatest collection of traps featured in all eight ‘Saw’ movies to bring to life the most twisted ‘Saw’ maze ever produced, and we can’t wait for our fans to relive moments from the films.”

“We’re excited to bring ‘Saw’ back to Halloween Horror Nights and to take fans even deeper into the mind of ‘Jigsaw,’” said Charles Gray, Show Director for Creative Development, “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Orlando Resort. “Filled with unimaginable horrors from the hit saga and the upcoming film ‘Jigsaw,’ this maze is truly a trap in itself.”

Created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the SAW film series has ratcheted up tension and invention with each successive film, while rattling millions of nerves worldwide. The eighth film of the powerhouse franchise is scheduled to hit theatres on October 27, 2017 – in its traditional opening weekend slot leading into Halloween. JIGSAW is written by Josh Stolberg & Peter Goldfinger and directed by The Spierig Brothers

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 20 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims inside their own horror film. The streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing “scare-actors” lunge from every darkened corner. Multiple movie-quality haunted houses are erected throughout the event, based on everything from iconic slasher films to hit horror television series to haunting original stories.

Additional details about Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” will be revealed soon. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at either Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

Updates on “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood are available online at HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Hollywood and on Facebook at: “Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood,” Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter at @HorrorNights as Creative Director John Murdy reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information. Watch videos on Halloween Horror Nights YouTube and join the conversation using #UniversalHHN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ocdo6tGdgI

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