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Movie planner: Weekend of awards with Oscars (and watch party), Independent Spirit Awards, Razzies


Hollywood's awards season finally concludes Sunday with the 88th annual Academy Awards.

It'll be nice to put 2015's movie year to rest, just a day away from March. The slog began Labor Day weekend at the Telluride Film Festival. Student loans get paid off faster than Hollywood takes to congratulate itself.

The Oscars aren't the only game in Tinsel Town, though. They're actually the third-most entertaining awards show around this weekend.

Saturday's 31st annual Independent Spirit Awards, broadcast live at 5 p.m. on the IFC channel, make the freewheeling reputation of Golden Globes look like, well, the Oscars. Held under a massive tent on Santa Monica Beach, the nominees are casual and uncensored, their speeches actually interesting. The Spirits are an anti-awards show, yet matching numerous major Oscar choices in recent years.

This year's comedian hosts are SNL's Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani of HBO's Silicon Valley.

The list of best feature nominees prove the Spirits don't have the diversity issues of their academy counterparts: Anomalisa's animated ennui, African child soldiers in Beasts of No Nation, the lesbian love story Carol, Spotlight's journalism drama and Tangerine, a transgender dramedy filmed on iPhones.

Also on Saturday — but sadly never televised — are the 36th annual Golden Raspberry Awards, a.k.a. the Razzies, dishonoring the worst Hollywood has to offer.

It's all in the name of clean, mean-spirited fun, taking movies and stars deserving it down a notch. This year's worst picture finalists include Fifty Shades of Grey, Pixels, Jupiter Ascending, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2, and Fantastic Four. The first four are tied for most overall nominations, with six each. The show begins at 11 p.m., so check for results Sunday morning.


Tampa Bay's premier Academy Awards watch party is held in a theater older than the Oscars. Tampa Theatre opened in 1926, three years before Wings became the first best picture winner.

The venue's 17th annual Hollywood Awards Night includes the broadcast and a 7 p.m. red-carpet entrance with a limo ride around the block. Arrivals are announced by "Roan Jivers," cheered by "fans" and snapped by paparazzi. A cash bar is available, and costumes are encouraged.

Tickets are $20, or $15 for Tampa Theatre members.

Finally, a few shameless plugs: I'll be discussing the Academy Awards Friday on WTVT-Ch. 13's Good Day Tampa Bay twice during the 9 a.m. hour, and Sunday on ABC Action News, 8 a.m. on WFTS-Ch. 28.

To find our annual Oscars preview, predictions and more, go to



In a rich coincidence, on the same weekend the Oscars confront a diversity problem, Lionsgate releases an example of a culturally insensitive movie.

Gods of Egypt (PG-13) raised hackles when its trailer dropped last November, revealing yet another African movie chiefly populated by whites with European accents. Gerard Butler stars as a despotic god challenged by a thief (Brenton Thwaites) and another deity (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).

Charges of whitewashing Egyptian culture came swiftly, as did Lionsgate's apology: "In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize."

Judging by ads for Gods of Egypt, another Lionsgate apology may be forthcoming.


Something's fishy about the crime drama Triple 9 (R), and it has nothing to do with the plot. It's the cast, crammed with so many terrific actors that the movie should've been on everyone's radar, not just slipping into town.

Triple 9 stars Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, (pause for a breath) Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Clifton Collins Jr. and Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot. Makes for an impressive trailer, but director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) has his hands full giving them all enough to do.

Triple 9 is police code for "officer down," a hit staged by crooks and crooked cops to divert attention from a heist. Hillcoat's ensemble potboiler wasn't screened in time for Weekend.

A review is available tomorrow at

> in theaters: our Top 5 >

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 The Revenant: Twelve Academy Award nominations, including best picture, actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and supporting actor (Tom Hardy).

2 The Witch: An exercise in slow fuse occult horror, like watching something forbidden.

3 Deadpool: Gleefully graphic adventures of Marvel's superantihero (Ryan Reynolds).

4 Son of Saul: Holocaust grimness, and the leading candidate to win the best foreign film Oscar.

5 Eddie the Eagle: A real-life Olympics laggard inspires a better movie than Jesse Owens did last week.


(dates subject to change)

March 4: Zootopia, Desierto, London Has Fallen, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, The Other Side of the Door

March 11: 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Brothers Grimsby, The Perfect Match, The Young Messiah

March 16: Miracles from Heaven

March 18: The Divergent Series: Allegiant

March 25: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, The Disappointments Room

Movie planner: Weekend of awards with Oscars (and watch party), Independent Spirit Awards, Razzies 02/24/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 5:29pm]
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