News Nuggets: Kennedy Center honors Billy Joel, Shirley MacLaine, Carlos Santana

The 36th annual “Kennedy Center Honors” celebrates the careers of opera singer Martina Arroyo, jazz man Herbie Hancock, rock and pop star Billy Joel, actress Shirley MacLaine, and rock guitarist Carlos Santana. The special was taped in Washington Sunday night and will air on CBS December 29. Santana was first up and was feted by Harry Belafonte, Juanes, Tom Morrello, Buddy Guy, Sheila E., and Steve Winwood. Arroyo was then honored by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, tenor Joseph Calleja, and soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. Bill O’Reilly introduced the Hancock segment which included Snoop Dogg and Mix Master Mike. Kathy Bates began the MacLaine tribute with Sutton Foster, Patina Miller, and Anna Kendrick performing. The final tribute for Joel featured Tony Bennett, Don Henley, Garth Brooks, and Rufus Wainwright. USA Today.

The Santa Barbara Film Festival taps seven stand-out performers for their Virtuosos Awards. Daniel Bruhl (“Rush“), Adele Exarchopoulos (“Blue is the Warmest Color“), Oscar Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis“), Michael B. Jordan (“3Fruitvale Station#”), Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club“), and June Squibb (“Nebraska“) will be honored on February 4. Hitfix.

Carrie Underwood takes to Twitter over the weekend, responding to critics who “slammed” her performance as Maria in NBC’s live production of “The Sound of Music.” She says, “Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight… 1 Peter 2:1-25.” Just after the special wrapped on Thursday, her prior tweet said, “I couldn’t be more proud. What a tough thing to pull off and we did it! I am so blessed!” New York Daily News.

The British Independent Film Awards choose “Metro Manila” as their Best Picture this weekend. James McAvoy (“Filth”) is Best Actor; Lindsay Duncan (“Le Week-end”) is Best Actress; Ben Mendelsohn (“Starred Up”) is Best Supporting Actor; and Imogene Poots (“The Look of Love”) is Best Supporting Actress. L.A. Times.

The weekend box office after the Thanksgiving holidays “is usually one of the year’s weakest.” Disney’s animated “Frozen” moves into the top slot with $31.6 million. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” falls to second place with $27 million. “Out of the Furnace” debuts in third position with a modest $5.3 million. Thompson on Hollywood.

Scott Feinberg interviews Oscar winner Christian Bale about his new roles in awards contenders “American Hustle and “Out of the Furnace.” In the lengthy Q&A, they discuss his experiences as a child actor (working in his first film with Steven Spielberg), his reservations about being famous, and his blockbuster run in the Batman franchise. Hollywood Reporter.

New HBO documentary “Six by Sondheim” focuses on six songs written by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim. Airing Monday night, the project was the brainchild of conductor James Lapine and writer Frank Rich. The 83-year-old Sondheim has won an Oscar and multiple Tony and Grammy Awards. He says, “I’m aware that the people who like my work are expecting so much. It’s very hard at my age. You’re getting public accolades, being reminded how people have praised you – and criticized you. You have to try to forget all that, because it can be paralyzing.” USA Today.

Tom Shaw looks at the ratings decline for the Fox network and wonders if several of their programs might be cancelled? He gives the worst prospects to new show “Almost Human” from producer J.J. Abrams. Also on the possible cut list are “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Andy Samberg), “Dads” (Seth Green), and “The Mindy Project” (Mindy Kaling). TV by the Numbers.

On this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live,” host Paul Rudd brings on his “Anchorman 2” co-stars as surprise guests. In the opening monologue, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, and David Koechner join Rudd in a battle of the bands against teen sensations One Direction. Huffington Post.

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