The fourth and final day of ShoWest largely belonged to Sony Pictures, opening the day with a special screening of Mr. Deeds, the latest comedy starring Adam Sandler; and following that with a luncheon that focused on the studio's four key summer players: Spider-Man, Men in Black II, Stuart Little 2, and XXX. Since Sony barred all press that did not have the fabled passport, I have no other details to offer on these events, except for the above picture of Sony's hallway display.
In one of the few procedural improvements at ShoWest 2002, the traditional press line waiting for celebrity arrivals at the final night awards dinner was jettisoned in favor of a pre-ceremony press conference in a number of the ballrooms at the Paris. For the media this was helpful since it meant not having to yell at people to get people to stop and talk; for celebrities, it meant not having to answer the same dumb questions more than once.
Despite those benefits, there was one rather limiting problem: each award winner was onstage for roughly five minutes each, including Coca Cola Refreshing Filmmaker Award winner David Pastor Vallejo, who was sadly hurried off the stage when a more high profile winner was ready. While having all the press gathered in one room meant dumb questions didn't get asked multiple times, that didn't stop people from asking them once--or, in the case of one reporter, asking the same question to every single person who took up to the microphone. Most of the reporters, though, asked questions of some substance, and the evening's moderator, local Las Vegas weathercaster Bob Jeswald of KTNV/Channel 13, did a good job of trying to squeeze in as many questions as possible and keeping the event moving swiftly.
Sometimes, though, the event moved a bit too swiftly as there was some considerable down time between stars, time that often dragged on for longer than the actual press conference sessions themselves. The delays were for a variety of reasons: late celebrity arrivals, being held up in the room of rabid photographers--or, in the case of Female Star of Tomorrow Naomi Watts, a combination of both and unfortunate show scheduling. Set to be the last award winner to appear in the press room, her session ended up taking place a full half-hour after everyone else had passed through because the award ceremony had started, and her and friend/Distinguished Decade of Achievement winner Nicole Kidman's awards were up first. In a sad but not entirely unexpected development, by the time Watts had her turn in the press room, only about eight press people (yes, including myself) were there to greet and congratulate the talented (and quite friendly) up-and-comer.
While questions throughout the press conferences were of the soft "How much does this mean to you?" variety, there were some priceless moments. During Director of the Year Ron Howard's press conference, a lone voice from the middle of the room asked him, "Would you consider putting a handsome black man in your next film?" The voice belonged to none other than Actor of the Year Will Smith, who had somehow slipped into Howard's session unnoticed. Actress of the Year Jennifer Lopez also had her own improv moment. A local Vegas journalist asked her how she likes the city, and as Lopez was telling a story about rearranging busy schedules so she and her husband could stay, the Paris fire alarm went off. As the sirens and the "we are currently investigating the source of the alarm" recording droned on for a couple of minutes, Lopez quipped, "I think we're leaving tonight."
And most of her fellow winners did just that, as the barren backstage area post-show would attest that most of the luminaries quickly bolted from the Paris, at least, once their time onstage was over. Unlike last year, I was not able to see the entire series or indulge in the actual dinner, but I was able to catch the last two awards--Smith's, and Steven Spielberg's Lifetime Achievement award--as well as go away with one of the lovely centerpieces: a gold film can and film reel configuration that itself looked like a trophy. Taking my final steps away from Le Centre de Conventions, the last sight I saw was of one of the convention employees cleaning up, storing away a box full of... unused passports.
Distinguished Decade of Achievement:
Nicole Kidman (accompanied by Baz Luhrmann)
Supporting Actress of the Year:
Actress of the Year:
Jennifer Lopez (accompanied by Enough director Michael Apted)