Review: ‘DC League of Super-Pets,’ starring the voices of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart

July 26, 2022

by Carla Hay

Merton (voiced by Natasha Lyonne), PB (voiced by Vanessa Bayer), Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), Chip (voiced by Diego Luna) and Ace (voiced by Kevin Hart) in “DC League of Super-Pets” (Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

“DC League of Super-Pets”

Directed by Jared Stern; co-directed by Sam Levine

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in the fictional city of Metropolis, the animated film “DC League of Super-Pets” features a racially diverse cast (white, black, Asian and Latino) portraying talking animals, superheroes and citizens of Metropolis.

Culture Clash: Inspired by DC Comics characters, “DC League of Super-Pets” features a group of domesticated pets, including Superman’s dog Krypto, fighting crime and trying to save the world from an evil guinea pig that is loyal to supervillain Lex Luthor.

Culture Audience: “DC League of Super-Pets” will appeal primarily to fans of DC Comics, the movie’s cast members and adventure-filled animated movies centered on talking animals.

Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon) in “DC League of Super-Pets” (Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Even though “DC League of Super-Pets” sometimes gets cluttered with subplots and characters, this animated film is a treat that has a winning combination of pets and superheroes. There’s plenty to like for people of many ages. In addition to the appeal of having familiar characters from DC Comics, “DC League of Super-Pets” is a well-cast film for its voice actors, because the cast members bring their own unique flairs to the characters. It’s helpful but not necessary to have knowledge of DC Comics characters before watching this movie.

Directed by Jared Stern and co-directed by Sam Levine, “DC League of Super-Pets” makes good use of mixing zany comedy, engaging action and some heartwarming and touching moments. Stern makes his feature-film directorial debut with “DC League of Super-Pets,” which he co-wrote with John Whittington. Stern and Whittington also co-wrote 2017’s “The Lego Batman Movie.” Where “DC League of Super-Pets” falters is when it tries to cram in certain plot developments to the point where “DC League of Super-Pets” comes dangerously close to biting off more than it can chew. (No pun intended.)

If you have no interest in watching an animated movie about pets and would-be pets of superheroes, then “DC League of Super-Pets” probably is not for you. The world already has more than enough animated films about talking animals. However, “DC League of Super-Pets” mostly succeeds at being entertaining when putting comic book characters in a predictable but dependable story of a group of misfits that become friends while trying to save the world.

“DC League of Super-Pets” begins by showing how Superman (whose birth name is Kal-El) ended up with his loyal Labrador Retriever dog Krypto. Kal-El was born on the planet Krypton. When he was a baby, Krypton went under attack, so his parents put Kal-El on a spaceship alone and sent him to Earth for his safety. Kal-El’s parents Jor-El (voiced by Alfred Molina) and Lara (voiced by Lena Headey) say their emotional goodbye to Kal-El.

Jor-El says, “Krypton is about to die.” Lara adds, “But you, dear son, will live on.” Suddenly, the family’s Labrador Retriever puppy jumps on the spaceship with Kal-El. At first, Jor-El wants to try to get the dog back, but the space ship has already been set in motion. Lara tells Jor-El: “Our boy will need a friend.” Jor-El says to the dog: “Watch over our son.”

Years later, Kal-El is now an adult living in the big city of Metropolis under the name Clark Kent. He’s a bachelor who works as a reporter at the Daily Planet newspaper, but Clark Kent is an alter ego to his secret identity: a superhero named Superman (voiced by John Krasinski), who has super-strength, X-ray vision and the ability to fly. The dog, named Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), is still his loyal companion and knows about the secret life of Superman, because Krypto often fights crime alongside Superman.

Krypto has superpowers that are the same as Superman’s superpowers. And they both have the same weakness: an energy force called kryptonite that can drain their superpowers. Krypto and Superman are a lot alike, when it comes to how they view crime and justice. However, Superman and Krypto are very different when it comes to adapting to life on Earth: Superman/Clark Kent is social with humans, while Kypto is very aloof with other pets on Earth.

An early scene in the movie shows Krypto trying to get Superman to wake up because Krypto wants to go for a walk. But “walking the dog” for Superman really means “flying through the air with the dog.” Krypto often leads the way on the leash. The Metropolis in “DC League of Super-Pets” is designed to look like a modern, well-kept city with many tall buildings, just like in the comic books.

In this version of Metropolis, Superman is such a familiar sight, no one really thinks it’s unusual to see Superman in a park with his dog Krypto. It’s during one of these park outings that Krypto sees that things at home will soon change for Superman and Krypto. Superman/Clark Kent and his Daily Planet journalist co-worker Lois Lane (voiced by Olivia Wilde) are very much in love, and they meet at the park for a date. They show lovey-dovey public displays of affection, much to Krypto’s dismay.

The relationship between Superman/Clark Kent and Lois has gotten serious enough where it looks like this couple could be headed toward marriage. Krypto is jealous and fearful that Superman/Clark Kent will no longer have the time and attention for Krypto if Lois moves in with them. Krypto doesn’t dislike Lois. Krypto just sees her as a threat to the comfortable existence he has always known with Superman/Clark Kent.

As Krypto worries about how his home life will change if Lois moves in, some other pets in Metropolis are worried if they’ll ever have a permanent home. At an animal shelter called Tailhuggers, several pets are up for adoption, but so far, they have no takers. The shelter is run by a bachelorette named Patty (voiced by Yvette Nicole Brown), who is very kind to the pets and keeps them under vigilant protection.

Brash and sarcastic hound dog Ace (voiced by Kevin Hart) is the leader of the shelter pets. Other animals at the shelter are elderly turtle Merton (voiced by Natasha Lyonne), cheerful pig PB (voiced by Vanessa Bayer) and nervous squirrel Chip (voiced by Diego Luna), who are Ace’s closest friends at the shelter. Also at the shelter is a cat name Whiskers (voiced by Winona Bradshaw), whose loyalty to the shelter pets is later tested.

Ace is anxious to run away from the shelter and is constantly plotting his escape. He tells his animal shelter friends that he knows of a paradise-like farm upstate where they can all go to live freely. One day, Ace actually manages to run away from the shelter, but he doesn’t go far. He’s literally stopped in his tracks by “law and order” Krypto, who uses his superpowers to freeze Ace’s legs to the sidewalk when he sees that Ace is a runaway shelter dog. Needless to say, Ace and Krypto clash with each other the first time that they meet.

Meanwhile, Superman has a crime-fighting incident where he summons the help of his Justice League superhero colleagues: Batman (voiced by Keanu Reeves), Wonder Woman (voiced by Jamila Jamil), Aquaman (voiced by Jemaine Clement), Green Lantern (voiced by Dascha Polanco), The Flash (voiced by John Early) and Cyborg (voiced by Daveed Diggs). Through a series of incidents, all of these superheroes are captured by billionaire supervillain (and longtime Superman nemesis) Lex Luthor (voiced by Marc Maron), who is keeping his captives hidden in a secret lair. Lex also has a cynical assistant named Mercy Graves (voiced by Maya Erksine), who isn’t in the movie as much as she could have been. Mercy’s screen time is less than five minutes.

All of that would be enough of a plot for this movie, but “DC League of Super-Pets” also has a plot about a devious guinea pig named Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon), who manages to escape from a Lex Luthor-owned scientific lab that was experimenting on guinea pigs. Somehow, Lulu gets ahold of orange kryptonite (she’s immune to kryptonite), she develops telekinesis powers, and goes on a mission to prove her loyalty to Lex by trying to destroy the Justice League.

Lulu has an army of former lab guinea pigs to do her bidding. Two of Lulu’s most loyal of these accomplices are mutant guinea pigs that also have newfound superpowers: Mark (voiced by Ben Schwartz) is fiery red and can shoot flames, while Keith (voiced by Thomas Middleditch) is ice-blue and has the ability to freeze things. Lulu also has a plot to (cliché alert) take over the world.

It should come as no surprise that Krypto ends up joining forces with Ace, Merton, PB and Chip to try to save the Justice League and save the world. During the course of the story, certain superpowers are gained, lost and possibly gained again for certain characters. Viewers of “DC League of Super-Pets” should not expect the Justice League superheroes and Lex Luthor to get a lot of screen time, because the movie is more about the pets.

Lulu’s revenge plot gets a little convoluted, but not so confusing that very young children won’t be able to understand. The movie has the expected high-energy antics, with animation and visual effects that aren’t groundbreaking but are aesthetically pleasing on almost every level. Once viewers get used to all the characters that are quickly introduced in the movie, it makes “DC League of Super-Pets” more enjoyable.

The movie has some recurring jokes, such as self-referencing all the movies and licensing deals that come from comic-book superheroes. “DC League of Super-Pets” also has a running gag of guinea pig Lulu being insulted when she’s often misidentified as a hamster. After one such misidentification, Lulu snarls, “A hamster is just a dollar-store gerbil!”

Lulu has some of the funniest lines in the movie. When she sees the DC League of Super-Pets together, she makes this snarky comment: “What is this? PAW Patrol?” And even though Batman isn’t in the movie for a lot of time, he also has some memorable one-liners, which he delivers in a deadpan manner.

It soon becomes obvious that these Super-Pets have another purpose besides saving the world: Each pet will be paired with a Justice League superhero. PB is a big fan of Wonder Woman. This star-struck pig thinks that Wonder Woman has the confidence and independent spirit that PB thinks is lacking in PB’s own personality.

Turtles are known for walking slow, so it should come as no surprise that Merton admires The Flash, whose known for his superpower of lightning-fast speed. Ace sees himself as an “alpha male” who strikes out on his own when he has to do so, which makes Batman a kindred spirit. Chip is attracted to the fearlessness of Green Lantern. As for Aquaman and Cyborg, it’s shown at the end of the movie which pets will be paired with them.

Amid the action and comedy, “DC League of Super-Pets” also has some meaningful messages about finding a family of friends. Ace has a poignant backstory about how he ended up at an animal shelter. Ace’s background explains why he puts up a tough exterior to hide his vulnerability about being abandoned.

Johnson (who is one of the producers of “DC League of Super-Pets”) and Hart have co-starred in several movies together. Their comedic rapport as lead characters Krypto and Ace remains intact and one of the main reasons why “DC League of Super-Pets” has voice cast members who are perfectly suited to each other. Hart is a lot less grating in “DC League of Super-Pets” than he is in some of his other movies, where he often plays an over-the-top-buffoon.

Even though Ace is an animated dog, he has more heart than some of the human characters that Hart has played in several of his mediocre-to-bad movies, Law-abiding Krypto and rebellious Ace have opposite personalities, but they learn a lot from each other in ways that they did not expect. All of the other heroic characters have personal growth in some way too.

“DC League of Super-Pets” is a recommended watch for anyone who wants some escapist animation with entertainment personalities. The movie’s mid-credits scene and end-credits scene indicate that “DC League of Super-Pets” is the beginning of a movie series. It’s very easy to imagine audiences wanting more of these characters in movies if the storytelling is good.

Warner Bros. Pictures will release “DC League of Super-Pets” in U.S. cinemas on July 29, 2022.

Review: ‘This Is Stand-Up,’ starring Jerry Seinfeld, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Sebastian Maniscalco and D.L. Hughley

April 13, 2020

by Carla Hay

D.L. Hughley in “This Is Stand-Up” (Photo courtesy of Comedy Central)

“This Is Stand-Up”

Directed by Paul Toogood and Lloyd Stanton

Culture Representation: This documentary is a compilation of interviews, performances and off-stage footage of a racially diverse group (white, African American, Latino and Asian) of well-known, mostly American stand-up comedians.

Culture Clash: The general consensus in the documentary is that being a professional stand-up comedian goes against what most people consider as having a “normal life.”

Culture Audience: “This Is Stand-Up” will appeal primarily to people who are stand-up comedy fans, even though the documentary ignores many problems (such as sexism, joke stealing and monetary rip-offs) in the business side of stand-up comedy.

Garry Shandling in “This Is Stand-Up” (Photo courtesy of Comedy Central)

“This Is Stand-Up” is kind of like the documentary equivalent of speed-dating. The movie packs in many famous stand-up comedians, who deliver a lot of personality soundbites, but ultimately there’s not a lot of depth or anything new that’s revealed for people who already know about the stand-up comedy world. Although a few of the comedians talk about their personal struggles, most just share anecdotes and advice, and the documentary doesn’t acknowledge the sexist and cutthroat side of the business.

Filmed over five years, “This Is Stand-Up” (directed by Paul Toogood and Lloyd Stanton) has a “who’s who” of stand-up comedians (almost all American) who are interviewed in the documentary. They include Judd Apatow, David A. Arnold, Dave Attell, Maria Bamford, Bill Bellamy, Gina Brillon, Cocoa Brown, Cedric The Entertainer, Tommy Davidson, Mike Epps, Jamie Foxx, Gilbert Gottfried, Eddie Griffin, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, D. L. Hughley, Mia Jackson, Jim Jefferies, Jessica Kirson, Bert Kreischer, Bobby Lee, Carol Leifer, George Lopez, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jay Mohr, Jim Norton, Rick Overton, Paul Provenza, Chris Rock, Bob Saget, Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Sarah Silverman, Owen Smith, Kira Soltanovich, Beth Stelling, Taylor Tomlinson, Theo Von and Keenen Ivory Wayans. (Noticeably missing: Dave Chappelle.)

Toogood and Lloyd are Brits who previously directed the documentary “Dying Laughing,” which had a limited theatrical release in 2017. “Dying Laughing” was an interview-only film about stand-up comedians, and featured many of the same people as in “This Is Stand-Up,” such as Seinfeld, Hart, Silverman, Rock, Shandling, Schumer and Cedric The Entertainer. “Dying Laughing” also had more international representation, since it included comedians from Canada (such as Russell Peters), the United Kingdom (Billy Connolly) and Australia (Jim Jeffries).  In “This Is Stand-Up,” Jeffries is the only non-American comedian interviewed in the movie. British comedian Ricky Gervais is shown as a guest on Norton’s SiriusXM radio show, but he’s not interviewed specifically for this movie.

Although it’s important for the documentary to include on-stage footage of the comedians, the best parts of the movie are when the comedians are shown off-stage. Stand-up comedy routines on stage can easily be accessed on the Internet, so “This Is Stand-Up” shines when it has exclusive footage of what the comedians are like in their homes or backstage. Mohr, Tomlinson and Kresicher are among those interviewed in their homes, while some of the memorable tour footage includes Maniscalco and  the “Kings of Comedy” team of Hughley, Lopez, Cedric The Entertainer and Eddie Griffin.

“This Is Stand-Up” is also a good introduction to hear some origin stories from famous comedians if you’ve never heard before how they got interested in doing stand-up comedy. (Die-hard fans of these comedians probably know these stories already, but the documentary assumes not everyone will know about these comedians’ backgrounds.) Silverman says, “When I was 3 years old, my dad taught me to swear, and he thought that was hilarious. I got crazy with power over that. I got addicted to that feeling.”

Schumer says her first introduction to performing in front of an audience and getting laughs was when she was in school plays—but she was getting laughed at for the wrong reasons. It made her angry until a teacher pointed out to her that people laughing at her performance is a good thing because laughter makes people happy.

Foxx remembers being the type of kid who was always mouthing off in class. Instead of sending him to the principal’s office, one of his teachers set aside time in class for Foxx to tell stories. According to Foxx, it was such a hit that other teachers would visit the classroom to watch him perform.

Maniscalco says that he was the opposite of the class clown. He describes himself as a shy and quiet kid who preferred to observe people. And for Rock, his first inclination to perform on stage was inspired by his grandfather, who was a reverend for their family’s church. Rock says that he saw how his grandfather was the center of attention, and it was the kind of attention that Rock wanted too.

In fact, almost all of the comedians in the documentary say in one way or another that being the center of attention is their main motivation for doing stand-up comedy, despite it being a very emotionally demanding way to make a living. Lopez comments, “What I like about comedy is that it’s given me a great life. And now, I know I’m important.”

However, it’s not a revelation that comedians are very insecure in their real lives. Most have openly admitted to being insecure and/or emotionally damaged. And many have even used their insecurities as the basis of their on-stage personas. It’s also clear from watching this documentary that most of the comedians use comedy as a way to fill a deep emotional void to make themselves feel wanted in this world.

Von (who first came to national prominence in the 2000s as a star of the MTV reality show “Road Rules”) is one of the comedians in the documentary who is followed on tour, instead of just doing an in-studio interview. He talks about his financially deprived background and unhappy childhood, which are the foundation for much of the material in his stand-up act. But he also opens up by saying that part of his motivation for doing stand-up comedy is so his mother will approve, since he says he’s never seen her laugh.

The problem with how the filmmakers deal with these stories and anecdotes is that there’s no outside verification. The documentary does not interview anyone who knew these comedians “way back when” or even people who helped give these comedians their big breaks. Everything in the film exists in the vacuum of what the comedians want to say, without including hardly any other perspectives.

One of the exceptions is when the documentary goes to the home of Kreischer and shows some of his life with his wife and two young daughters, who are all interviewed on camera. He gets visibly uncomfortable when his daughters admit that they don’t like it when he’s away on tour. Family members of the other comedians are not interviewed in this documentary.

The nature of stand-up comedy is for comedians to often exaggerate about their lives in order to be funny. “This Is Stand-Up” takes everything that these comedians say at face value and doesn’t dig much deeper. For example, several of the comedians, such as Hart and Bellamy, talk about the importance for comedians to find their unique voices and identities, but the movie doesn’t give examples of how these comedians have evolved.

Hart says, “It takes a little time to develop who you are or who you want to be. I was definitely guilty of that in the beginning of my career. I didn’t have a voice. I didn’t know I could be myself.” That’s all well and good, but if we’re being honest, that’s pretty generic and vague advice.

The comedians talk a lot about how honing the craft of stand-up comedy involves a lot of practice at open-mic nights for little to no money. And getting to the level of headlining a show can sometimes take years. Comedians such as Seinfeld don’t believe there should be any shortcuts to stand-up comedy fame—people have to pay their dues on stage in front of live audiences, not in front of a mirror or on a YouTube channel.

There’s also an entire segment of the documentary devoted to how to deal with heckling and bombing on stage. Shandling talks about once being so paralyzed with humiliation after bombing from a show that he stayed in a car and couldn’t move for about 15 minutes. Rock’s advice for comedians is to resist the inclination to talk faster when being heckled and instead to slow down and take back control.

However, there’s no mention in the documentary about all the sleazy things that comedians encounter on the way to the top—the rip-offs, the unscrupulous managers/agents, or even the difficulty in getting managers or agents in the first place. And because there’s a limited number of comedy clubs in any given big city, it’s a very insular network where the venue owners and concert promoters have a lot of control.

The documentary includes a diverse mix of comedians, yet doesn’t mention a big problem in stand-up comedy: sexism against women. And the movie has an unrealistic portrayal of stand-up comedians as this “we all support each other” community. (The movie uses “The Kings of Comedy” tour as an example.)

Although there can sometimes be camaraderie among comedians, the reality is that stand-up comedy is and can be very cutthroat. This documentary doesn’t even mention the widespread problem of comedians stealing each other’s jokes. And this documentary completely ignores the bitter rivalries that happen in stand-up comedy.

Seinfeld, one of the highest-paid stand-up comedians of all time, echoes what many of the comedians say in the film: Preparing a stand-up comedy show is a lot harder than people think it is. He says, “I adore the rigorous difficulty of creating and preparing a joke.”

He also says that there are four levels of comedy: (1) Making your friends laugh; (2) Making strangers laugh; (3) Making strangers laugh and getting paid for it; and (4) Making strangers laugh, getting paid for it, and then having them talk like you after seeing your show.

The documentary also covers the issues of social commentary in stand-up comedy and “how far is too far.” When asked if any topic is off-limits in stand-up comedy, there’s a montage of comedians who say “no.” Hughley says, “I’ll never apologize for telling a joke.”

Griffin adds, “It’s always comedy’s job to speak knowledge to power about what people are upset about, because comedy has always been about the people.” He compares stand-up comedians to being the modern equivalents of court jesters.

Silverman (who’s no stranger to controversy) comments on how smartphones and social media have impacted stand-up comedy: “It’s especially daunting now, because people are recording with their stupid phones and posting stuff. There’s more at stake to failing than just in the safe walls of a comedy club. That said, you have to not care.”

Although “This Is Stand-Up” fails to address the predatory side of the business (maybe that’s why managers, agents, promoters and venue owners weren’t interviewed), at least the documentary does include the reality that stand-up comedy takes a toll on comedians’ personal lives. Depression, divorce and substance abuse are common with stand-up comedians, as these problems are in many professions that require frequent traveling. But they’re especially toxic for comedians, who are more inclined to be insecure than most other people.

Brillon comments on what stand-up comedians experience in their personal lives: “Relationships suffer—not just romantic relationships, but family relationships, because stand-up becomes the longest relationship in your life—and the most abusive. And you still love it and go back to it.”

Mohr, who’s been very open about his struggles with mental illness and drug addiction, says that for him, stand-up comedy is his greatest love and biggest addiction. Even if he wanted to stop, he says, he’s compelled to keep going: “To be a stand-up comic, you have to be completely unreasonable, unwell and unhinged.”

Haddish explains why stand-up comedians are driven to do what they do: “When you’re on stage, it’s like being next to God … Comedy is the most fantastic medicine you can imagine, not just for the audience, but for the comedian.”

“This Is Stand-Up” might not be very revealing about a lot of showbiz realities, since documentaries and biographies about several famous comedians have already uncovered the dark sides to stand-up comedy. This documentary is, as Toogood describes it in a Comedy Central press release, “a love letter” to stand-up comedians—at least the ones who are famous enough to be in this film. If you want some in-depth insight into on all the sleaze and heartaches these comedians had to go through to get to where they are now, then you’ll have to look elsewhere for those real stories.

Comedy Central premiered “This Is Stand-Up” on April 12, 2020.

2019 CinemaCon: What to expect at this year’s event

April 1, 2019

by Carla Hay

CinemaCon

CinemaCon, the annual convention for the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), will be held April 1 to April 4, 2019, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. About 5,000 people attend the event, which gives movie studios the chance to showcase what they expect to be their biggest hits of the year.

A major change to this year’s event is that Sony Pictures Entertainment and 20th Century Fox will not be giving presentations. Movie studios scheduled to give their presentations at the event are STX Films and Warner Bros. Pictures on April 2; Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures on April 3; and Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate on April 4.

Independent film studio Neon will promote its music-based drama “Wild Rose” with a screening of the movie on April 1 and a “Wild Rose” party on April 2. Other movies that will be screened in their entirety at CinemaCon 2019 will be Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Blinded by the Light” on April 2, Amazon’s “Late Night” on April 3 and Lionsgate’s “Long Shot” on April 4.

CinemaCon culminates with the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards ceremony, which will take place April 4.

Here are the announced winners of the awards:

CinemaCon Icon Award
Steve Buscemi

Steve Buscemi (Photo by Kristina Bumphrey/Starpix)

One of the most respected actors in the entertainment industry, Emmy-winning “Boardwalk Empire” star Steve Buscemi has played a wide range of characters in movies and television. His most memorable films include 1992’s “Reservoir Dogs,” 1996’s “Fargo” and 2001’s “Ghost World.” He has also voiced several roles in hit animated movies such as 2017’s “The Boss Baby,” and the “Hotel Transylvania” films. Buscemi’s 2019 film is the horror comedy, co-starring Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton.

CinemaCon Vanguard Award
Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis (Photo by Andrew Eccles/Universal Pictures)

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Jamie Lee Curtis has made her mark in the film industry, beginning with her starring role in her movie debut: the 1978 horror classic “Halloween.” She has starred in multiple “Halloween” sequels, most notably 2018’s “Halloween,” which made her the first woman over the age of 60 to star in a movie that debuted at No. 1 in the United States. Curtis’ other well-known movies include the 1980 horror flick “Prom Night,” the 1988 comedy “A Fish Called Wanda,” the 1994 action film “True Lies” and the 2003 remake of the comedy “Freaky Friday.” Curtis has two films due out in 2019: the crime drama “Knives Out” and the comedy “Senior Entourage.”

CinemaCon International Star of the Year
Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart (Photo by David Lee)

Kevin Hart is one of the busiest people in showbiz, with starring roles in movies, TV and Web series, in addition to headlining successful arena tours. The year 2019 started out with the dramedy “The Upside” (starring Hart and Bryan Cranston) debuting at No. 1 in the United States. His 2018 comedy film “Night School” was also a hit.

CinemaCon Ensemble Award: The Cast of “Terminator: Dark Fate” – Linda Hamilton, Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis and Gabriel Luna

Natalie Reyes, Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton of “Terminator: Dark Fate” (Photo by Kerry Brown)

“Terminator: Dark Fate” is the 2019 entry in the longtime “Terminator” film series. “Terminator: Dark Fate” stands out from the rest of the films in the series because the cast is led by women: Linda Hamilton (who starred in the first two “Terminator” movies), Natalie Reyes and Mackenzie Davis. The movie’s cast also includes Gabriel Luna. Original “Terminator” star Arnold Schwarzenegger is reportedly making a cameo appearance.

CinemaCon Directors of the Year
Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

Joe Russo and Anthony Russo (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Director brothers Joe Russo and Anthony Russo helmed the superhero movie “Avengers: Endgame,” which is expected to be the biggest box-office blockbuster of 2019. The Russo brothers also directed several other Marvel movie blockbusters, including 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War” and 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

CinemaCon Action Star of the Year
David Harbour

David Harbour (Photo by Marion Curtis/ StarPix for Summit Entertainment)

David Harbour might be best-known as a co-star of Netflix’s horror series “Stranger Things,” but he’s aiming to make a big splash in movies by starring as the title character in the 2019 superhero flick “Hellboy.” Harbour takes over the role that was originated by Ron Perlman.

Cinema Spotlight Award
Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer  (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Octavia Spencer won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her breakthrough role in 2011’s “The Help.” She has also has Oscar nominations for her supporting roles in 2016’s “Hidden Figures” and 2017’s “The Shape of Water.” Spencer has branched out into producing films, including the 2019 horror flick “Ma,” where she has a starring role.

CinemaCon Male Star of Tomorrow
Henry Golding

Henry Golding (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC)

Henry Golding made his feature-film debut with a starring role in the 2018 blockbuster romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians.” He was also in the 2018 crime thriller “A Simple Favor,” co-starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. Golding has re-teamed with “A Simple Favor” director Paul Feig for the 2019 romantic comedy “Last Christmas,” co-starring Emilia Clarke, Emma Thompson (who wrote the movie’s screenplay) and “Crazy Rich Asians” co-star Michelle Yeoh.

CinemaCon Female Stars of Tomorrow
Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever (Photo by Francois Duhamel)

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever co-star in the 2019 comedy “Booksmart,” about two straight-laced best friends who decide to go wild on the day before their high-school graduation. Feldstein is also known for her supporting roles in the 2018 Oscar-nominated comedy film “Lady Bird” and the 2016 comedy film “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” while Dever is a co-star of the comedy series “Last Man Standing.” Dever’s other recent film roles include the 2018 dramas “Beautiful Boy” and “The Front Runner.”

CinemaCon Breakthrough Director of the Year
Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images)

Olivia Wilde made her directorial feature-film debut with the 2019 comedy film “Booksmart,” which got rave reviews when it had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. Wilde is an accomplished actress who has starred in such films as 2018’s “Life Itself” and 2010’s “Tron: Legacy.” She is also known for her past TV roles in the medical drama “House” and the nighttime soap opera “The O.C.”

CinemaCon Comedy Stars of the Year
Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron

Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron (Photo by Philippe Bossé)

Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron play unlikely love interests in the 2019 political comedy film “Long Shot.” Rogen is best known for his comedic roles in movies (such as 2007’s “Knocked Up,” 2008’s “Pineapple Express” and the “Neighbors” films), while Theron does mostly dramatic and action movies, including 2005’s “Monster” (for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress), 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” and 2017’s “Atomic Blonde.”

Other awards that will be given at the ceremony:

  • CinemaCon International Filmmaker of the Year Award: Graham King, producer of 2018’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • CinemaCon Passpartout Award: Helen Moss, Paramount Pictures senior vice president of international distribution
  • NATO Marquee Award: John D. Loeks, Studio C chairman
  • Career Achievement in Exhibition Award: Jérôme Seydoux, Pathé co-chairman/CEO and Les Cinémas Gaumont Pathé chairman/CEO
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Anthony Bloom, Cineworld Group chairman

2019 Academy Awards: Kevin Hart quits as Oscars host after homophobia controversy; Academy faces another PR disaster

December 6, 2018

by Colleen McGregor

Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart in “Night School” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Just two days after announcing that he would host the 91st Academy Awards show, Kevin Hart has quit the job after homophobic remarks from his past caused controversy over his hiring. In a series of social-media posts that began on December 6, 2018, Hart admitted that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had pressured him to make a public apology or else they would fire him. Hart says he chose to quit instead. Several of the homophobic remarks that he made on social media have now been deleted.

The 91st Oscars will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 24, 2019. ABC will have the U.S. telecast of the show, which is being produced by Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss. Gigliotti, who won an Oscar with Harvey Weinstein and others for producing 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” will be producing the Oscar telecast for the first time. Weiss has been the director of the Oscars telecast for the past several years, and he won an Emmy for it in 2018. The Oscars, like many televised award shows, has faced a steep decline in ratings in recent years. Hart is a popular comedian who has been in several hit movies, and he regularly sells out arenas. His homophobic remarks have been public knowledge for quite some time, ever since he made those comments in 2009 and 2010, but the producers of the Oscars telecast chose to take the risk of hiring him, clearly under-estimating the public outcry that would follow.

Hart said in an Instagram video on December 6, 2018: “My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, everyone’s upset by tweets you did years ago. Guys, I’m nearly 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify the past, do you. I’m the wrong guy, man.”

He added, “I chose to pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has come up. I’ve addressed it. I’ve spoken on it. I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it. I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different place in my life.”

Hart later tweeted: “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars. This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past. I’m sorry that I hurt people. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love and appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”

The messy controversy over Hart is yet another embarrassment for the Academy, which in the past few years has had its own share of problems when it comes to accusations of bigotry. In 2015 and 2016, there was backlash against the Academy when all the actors and actress nominated for Oscars were white, which led to to the social media hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. After several media outlets published statistics revealing that the overwhelming majority of Academy members were white men over the age of 50, the Academy made very public efforts to invite more women, people of color and younger people into its membership.

In October 2017, after the Harvey Weinstein scandal hit and the #MeToo movement became a major cultural force, the Academy expelled Weinstein from its membership, but received widespread criticism for letting filmmaker Roman Polanski, a convicted rapist, still be a member of the Academy. Polanski, who still has not served his sentence for the 1977 rape of an underage girl in California, is a fugitive from the law living in Europe. Polanski was eventually expelled from the Academy in 2018, as was Bill Cosby after Cosby was convicted of rape. Polanski received his first Academy Award for directing the 2002 movie “The Pianist,” and received a standing ovation from several Academy members when he was announced as the winner. Polanski was not at the ceremony because he has not been in the U.S. since he fled in 1978.

In March 2018, the Academy faced more controversy when president John Bailey was accused of sexual harassment. A female former colleague alleged that he inappropriately touched her when they worked together. Bailey, who denied the accusation, was cleared in an investigation two weeks later, and he was re-elected president of the Academy in August 2018.

The Academy then had a public-relations misstep in August 2018, when it announced that it was adding a new Oscars category for popular films, but said that it hadn’t been decided yet what the qualifications would be for films to eligible for this category. The announcement was very controversial with most Academy members, who say the decision was largely made by the Academy’s board of directors without letting the Academy members vote on the decision. The idea for a “popular films” category also got a mostly negative reaction from the media and the general public. A month after announcing the decision, the Academy announced that the “popular films” category was indefinitely shelved.

Hart quitting as host of the Oscars isn’t the first time that someone has walked away from the job. In 2011, Eddie Murphy (who also has a history of making homophobic remarks when he was doing stand-up comedy) quit the job of hosting the 2012 Academy Awards, after filmmaker Brett Ratner, who had been hired as the Oscar telecast producer, stepped down for saying a homophobic slur in an interview. Murphy was later replaced by Billy Crystal. (Years later, during the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017, Ratner was accused of sexual harassment by several women, including actress Olivia Munn, who claims that while on a film set, Ratner masturbated in front of her without her consent. Ratner has denied all the allegations, but he has lost several business deals, including with Warner Bros. Pictures and Playboy Enterprises, as a result of the accusations.)

The Murphy/Ratner debacle for the Oscars telecast was years before the rise of the #MeToo movement, and the controversy over Hart shows that the producers of the Oscar telecast have not learned from past mistakes about hiring people who’ve made bigoted remarks, no matter how long ago those remarks were made. Because the Oscars telecast has been losing millions of viewers and because there is more pressure than ever to be a host who can bring in the desired ratings without offending people, it’s no longer as prestigious to host the Oscars as it used to be. Many A-list entertainers don’t want to be under that type of pressure for a dwindling audience.

One thing is clear: Anyone who hosts the Oscars from now on better have a non-offensive background. We are now living in an era where, for many people, it’s not enough for apologies to be made for past bigoted remarks. People are expected to have the type of moral character to not say those hateful comments in the first place. The gray area comes in evaluating how much people are sincerely remorseful for their offensive mistakes, how they have possibly changed for the better to not make the same mistakes, and giving them a chance to prove it.

2019 Academy Awards: Kevin Hart named as host

December 4, 2018

by Carla Hay

Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart at the Los Angeles premiere of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”

Comedian/actor Kevin Hart will host the 91st Academy Awards, which will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and February 24, 2019. ABC will have the live U.S. telecast of the show.

He made the announcement on his Instagram account: “For years I have been asked if I would ever host the Oscars and my answer was always the same… I said it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it is suppose [sic] to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a very long time…

“To be able to join the legendary list of host [sic] that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time…

“I will be sure to make this years [sic] Oscars a special one. I appreciate @The Academy for the opportunity…now it’s time to rise to the occasion.”

It’s the first time that Hart is hosting the Oscars. Most of the previous hosts of the ceremony have had an extensive background in comedy, including Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Ellen DeGeneres, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Rock, Seth MacFarlane and Jimmy Kimmel.

Hart has starred in hit movies such as “Ride Along,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Central Intelligence.” He hosted the MTV Video Music Awards in 2012, and he co-hosted the MTV Movie Awards with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in 2016. In addition to starring in movies, Hart is one of the top-grossing stand-up comedians of all time, with his sold-out headlining arena shows. He is also a producer for TV and Web series, with credits that include BET’s “The Real Husbands of Hollywood,” Comedy Central’s “Kevin Hart Presents: the Next Level” and website Laugh Out Loud Network’s “Laugh Out Loud by Kevin Hart.” In 2018, Hart signed a first-look deal to develop and produce content for Nickelodeon.

Oscar-winning producer Donna Gigliotti (“Shakespeare in Love”) will produce the 91st Oscars, while Emmy-winning director Glenn Weiss will co-produce and direct the show.  Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on January 22, 2019.

As previously reported, the Academy is implementing new policies for the award show in 2019, including enforcing the three-hour time limit and dropping a few categories from the telecast. It has not yet been announced yet which categories will be dropped from the telecast, but winners of the dropped categories will be announced during commercial breaks, and then listed on screen sometime during the show. The Academy says that it every year, the Oscar ceremony will have a different set of dropped categories from the telecast.

Nickelodeon signs deal with Kevin Hart to develop and produce children’s shows

October 11, 2018

by Carla Hay

Kevin Hart at Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards
Kevin Hart at Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles on March 11, 2017. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/KCA2017/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

Nickelodeon has entered into an exclusive first-look deal with comedian, actor and television personality Kevin Hart (“Night School,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” “The Secret Life of Pets”) and his production entity, HartBeat Productions. Hugely popular among Nickelodeon’s audience, Hart will develop and produce live-action, scripted kids’ content for the network through HartBeat.

Kevin Hart noted, “For me, Nick has always represented everything fun about being a kid, and it’s still at the forefront today of kids’ and family entertainment. I’ve been slimed at Kids’ Choice, won a lot of Orange Blimps and my kids are my very own built-in focus group, so I’m ready to dive in and make some next-level shows with Brian and everyone at Nickelodeon.”

Added Brian Robbins, Nickelodeon’s newly named President: “I’m excited to inherit this terrific content deal with Kevin Hart just as I step into my new role at Nickelodeon. Kevin is an incredible talent whose appeal cuts across practically every age group and every member of the family. He knows how to create unforgettable characters, and I can’t wait for him and HartBeat Productions to focus their creativity on making great new content with us.”

Hart is no stranger to Nickelodeon and its audience, having garnered numerous Kids’ Choice Awards nominations and Orange Blimp wins. In 2014, Hart won for “Favorite Funny Star.” In 2017, he took home two awards in the categories of “Favorite Villain” and “Most Wanted Pet” (Snowball, The Secret Life of Pets), and one for “BFFs” (Central Intelligence).

About HartBeat Productions

Founded by Kevin Hart, HartBeat Productions is multi-platform production company creating unique content for worldwide audiences. With a focus in Feature Films, Television and Digital Content, HartBeat aims to provide content from culturally diverse storytellers that resonate on a global scale. HartBeat currently has a First-Look deal with Universal Studios to produce Feature Films. Their first production together, Night School, had the highest grossing opening weekend for a comedy in 2018. Other projects include “The Next Level” and “Hart of the City” on Comedy Central, and “Cold as Balls” and “What the Fit” on LOL Network. HartBeat currently has numerous Film, and Television projects in various stages of development.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 39th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

2017 BookCon: Kevin Hart set to do a Q&A and meet-and-greet

April 20, 2017

by Carla Hay

Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart (Photo by Charles Sykes/Bravo)

Superstar comedian Kevin Hart will make his first BookCon appearance at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on June 1, 2017. he fourth annual BookCon, a fan event for book consumers, will also be held at the Javis Convention Center on June 3 and June 4, 2017.  The event follows BookExpo, a trade event for people in the book industry,  that will take place May 31 to June 2 at the same location. Both events are produced by ReedPOP.

According to a press release, Hart will do a meet-and-greet session with fans, as well as a Q&A discussion with radio personality Charlamagne Tha God, co-host of “The Breakfast Club.” These two events, only available to BookCon ticketholders, will each require a separately purchased ticket, which includes Hart’s book “I Can’t Make This Up,” which Atria Books will publish on June 6, 2017.

Charlamagne Tha God will be also be at BookCon to promote his new book “Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It.” Other celebrities announced for BookCon appearances this year include Chelsea Clinton, Bill Nye, Dan Brown, Mayim Bialik, Chad Michael Murray, Krysten Ritter and Matt Bomer.

2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards: ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Finding Dory,’ Kevin Hart are the top winners

February 12, 2017

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

With three prizes each, the 2016 remake of the comedy film “Ghostbusters,” the animated movie “Finding Dory” (a sequel to “Finding Nemo”), and Kevin Hart were the top winners at Nickelodeon’s 30th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards (KCAs), which took place March 11, 2017, at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles.  Hosted by WWE Superstar John Cena, Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards aired on Nickelodeon.

“Ghostbusters” received the awards for Favorite Movie, Favorite Actress (for Melissa McCarthy) and Favorite Actor (for Chris Hemsworth). “Finding Dory” won the prizes for Best Animated Movie, #Squad, Best Voice from an Animated Movie (for Ellen DeGeneres’ voice work as the forgetful fish named Dory). “Finding Dory” won the prizes for Best Animated Movie, #Squad, Best Voice from an Animated Movie (for Ellen DeGeneres’ voice work as the forgetful fish named Dory).  Hart’s voice work as a cat named Snowball in animated comedy “The Secret Life of Pets” earned him the awards for Favorite Villain and Most Wanted Pet, while his pairing with Dwayne Johnson in the action comedy “Central Intelligence” garnered the BFFs (Best Friends Forever) prize. The female singing group Fifth Harmony won two awards: Favorite Song (for “Work From Home”) and Favorite Music Group. “Henry Danger” also won two awards: Favorite TV Show – Kids Show and Favorite TV Actor (for Jace Norman).

Performers at the 2017 KCAs were Little Mix, as well as MGK with former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello.  Little Mix also won the prize for Favorite Global Music Star. And, of course, the tradition of showering unsuspecting stars with green slime at the KCAs continued. This year, the “green slime victims” were Chris Pratt, Cena and Demi Lovato.

Kids cast their votes for the awards at Nick.com and the Nick app on iPad, iPhone, Kindle and Android devices. Users were also able to vote through Twitter and Facebook using special KCA hashtags and the hashtag of their favorite nominee.

This year’s show featured nine new categories, including Favorite Frenemies, Most Wanted Pet, Favorite Viral Music Artist, Favorite Global Music Star and #Squad.

Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards was produced by Nickelodeon Productions. Elizabeth Kelly, Michael Dempsey, Shelly Sumpter Gillyard and Jay Schmalholz were executive producers of the show. Sponsors of Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards included Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Crest, Hot Wheels, Nintendo, Skechers, Toyota and Walmart.

 

Here is the list of winners and nominees for Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards:

* =new categories

*** = winner

TELEVISION:

Favorite TV Show – Kids’ Show
“Game Shakers”
“Girl Meets World”
“Henry Danger”***
“Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn”
“The Thundermans”

Favorite TV Show – Family Show
“Big Bang Theory”
“Black-ish”
“Fuller House”***
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Supergirl”
“The Flash”

Favorite Reality Show
“America’s Funniest Home Videos”
“America’s Got Talent”***
“American Ninja Warrior”
“Paradise Run”
“Shark Tank”
“The Voice”

Favorite Cartoon
“ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks”
“SpongeBob SquarePants”***
“Teen Titans Go!”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
“The Amazing World of Gumball”
“The Loud House”

Favorite Male TV Star
Benjamin Flores Jr. (Triple G, “Game Shakers”)
Aidan Gallagher (Nicky, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn)
Jack Griffo (Max, The Thundermans)
Jace Norman (Henry, Henry Danger)***
Casey Simpson (Ricky, “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn”)
Tyrel Jackson Williams (Leo, “Lab Rats”)

Favorite Female TV Star
Rowan Blanchard (Riley, “Girl Meets World”)
Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie, “Liv and Maddie”)
Lizzy Greene (Dawn, “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn”)
Kira Kosarin (Phoebe, “The Thundermans”)
Breanna Yde (Tomika, “School of Rock”)
Zendaya (K.C., “K.C. Undercover”)***

FILM:

Favorite Movie
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”
“Captain America: Civil War”
“Ghostbusters”***
“Pete’s Dragon”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”

Favorite Movie Actor
Ben Affleck (Batman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Will Arnett (Vernon, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”)
Henry Cavill (Superman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, “Captain America: Civil War”)
Chris Evans (Captain America, “Captain America: Civil War”)
Chris Hemsworth (Kevin, “Ghostbusters”)***

Favorite Movie Actress
Amy Adams (Lois, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Megan Fox (April, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”)
Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow, “Captain America: Civil War”)
Felicity Jones (Jyn, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”)
Melissa McCarthy (Abby, “Ghostbusters”)***
Kristen Wiig (Erin, “Ghostbusters”)

Favorite Animated Movie
“Finding Dory”***
“Moana”
“Sing”
“The Secret Life of Pets”
“Trolls”
“Zootopia”

Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie
Ellen DeGeneres (Dory, “Finding Dory”)***
Kevin Hart (Snowball, “The Secret Life of Pets”)
Dwayne Johnson (Maui, “Moana”)
Anna Kendrick (Poppy, “Trolls”)
Justin Timberlake (Branch, “Trolls”)
Reese Witherspoon (Rosita, “Sing”)

Favorite Villain
Helena Bonham Carter (The Red Queen, “Alice Through the Looking Glass”)
Idris Elba (Krall, “Star Trek Beyond”)
Will Ferrell (Mugatu, “Zoolander 2”)
Kevin Hart (Snowball, “The Secret Life of Pets”)***
Charlize Theron (Ravenna, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”)
Spencer Wilding (Darth Vader, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)

Favorite Butt-Kicker
Ben Affleck (Batman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Henry Cavill (Superman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Chris Evans (Captain America, “Captain America: Civil War”)***
Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”)
Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow, “Captain America: Civil War”)
Felicity Jones (Jyn, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”)
Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique, “X-Men: Apocalypse”)
Zoe Saldana (Lieutenant Uhura, “Star Trek Beyond”)

BFF’s (Best Friends Forever)*
Ruby Barnhill & Mark Rylance (Sophie/BFG, “The BFG”)
Kevin Hart & Dwayne Johnson (Bob/Calvin, “Central Intelligence”)***
Kevin Hart & Ice Cube (Ben/James, “Ride Along 2”)
Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto (Captain Kirk/Spock, “Star Trek Beyond”)
Neel Sethi & Bill Murray (Mowgli/ Baloo, “Jungle Book”)
Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson (Derek/Hansel, “Zoolander 2”)

Favorite Frenemies*
Anna Kendrick & Justin Timberlake (Poppy/Branch, “Trolls”)
Ben Affleck & Henry Cavill (Batman/Superman, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”)
Chris Evans & Robert Downey Jr. (“Captain America/Iron Man, Captain America: Civil War”)
Ginnifer Goodwin & Jason Bateman (Judy/Nick, “Zootopia”)***
Dwayne Johnson & Auli’I Cravalho (Moana/Maui, “Moana”)
Charlize Theron & Emily Blunt (Ravenna/Freya, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”)

Most Wanted Pet*
Baloo from “The Jungle Book” (Bill Murray)
Dory from “Finding Dory” (Ellen DeGeneres)
Po from “Kung Fu Panda 3” (Jack Black)
Red from “The Angry Birds Movie” (Jason Sudeikis)
Rosita from “Sing” (Reese Witherspoon)
Snowball from “The Secret Life of Pets” (Kevin Hart)***

#Squad*
“Captain America: Civil War”Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman

“Finding Dory”Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Willem Dafoe, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy***

“Ghostbusters” Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” – Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson

“X-Men: Apocalypse”James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, Ben Hardy, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn

MUSIC:

Favorite Music Group
The Chainsmokers
Fifth Harmony***
Maroon 5
OneRepublic
Pentatonix
Twenty One Pilots

Favorite Male Singer
Drake
Justin Bieber
Bruno Mars
Shawn Mendes***
Justin Timberlake
The Weeknd

Favorite Female Singer
Adele
Beyoncé
Ariana Grande
Selena Gomez***
Rihanna
Meghan Trainor

Favorite Song
“24K Magic”Bruno Mars
“Can’t Stop the Feeling!”Justin Timberlake
“Heathens”Twenty One Pilots
“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”Adele
“Side to Side”Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj
“Work from Home”Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign***

Favorite New Artist
Kelsea Ballerini
The Chainsmokers
Daya
Lukas Graham
Solange
Rae Sremmurd
Hailee Steinfeld
Twenty One Pilots***

Favorite Music Video*
“24K Magic”Bruno Mars
“Can’t Stop The Feeling!”Justin Timberlake
“Formation”Beyoncé
“Juju on That Beat”Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall***
“Me Too”Meghan Trainor
“Stressed Out”Twenty One Pilots

Favorite DJ/EDM Artist*
Martin Garrix
Calvin Harris***
Major Lazer
Skrillex
DJ Snake
Zedd

Favorite Soundtrack*
“Hamilton”
“Me Before You”
“Moana”
“Sing”
“Suicide Squad”***
“Trolls”

Favorite Viral Music Artist*
Tiffany Alvord
Matty B
Carson Lueders
Johnny Orlando
Jacob Sartorius
JoJo Siwa***

Favorite Global Music Star*
5 Seconds of Summer (Australia/New Zealand)
BIGBANG (Asia)
Bruno Mars (North America)
Little Mix (UK)***
Shakira (South America)
Zara Larsson (Europe)

OTHER CATEGORIES:

Favorite Video Game
“Just Dance 2017″***
“Lego Marvel’s Avengers”
“Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“Minecraft: Story Mode”
“Paper Mario: Color Splash”
“Pokémon Moon”

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