Movie Article

The Win Crowd

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards -- The second annual ceremony could reward Emma Thompson and Brad Pitt

''And the winner is Emma Thompson for... Junior?'' While Sense and Sensibility's star and screenwriter may be courting Oscar, it's her performance as Arnold Schwarzenegger's girlfriend that on March 6 could earn her a Blockbuster Entertainment award. And if Brad Pitt grabs a Blockbuster for Favorite Actor in a Mystery/Thriller, he'll have to split his statue with Morgan Freeman (Seven) or Tom Cruise (Interview With the Vampire), whose names appear next to his on shared nominations.

Those are just two quirks in the second annual awards show, hosted by Kelsey Grammer and aired live from L.A. Because Blockbuster parent Viacom also owns Paramount, some may find a credibility problem in nominees being selected by the video and music retailer's execs (customers picked the winners). ''We've bent over backward to [avoid] any Paramount connection,'' says producer Ken Ehrlich. Paramount releases nabbed only 5 of 49 nominations, but this year the show moves from CBS to UPN to promote the fledgling Paramount network.

With award shows becoming as ubiquitous as Friends cast members, does America really need another? Says Ehrlich: ''Nobody ever says there are too many sitcoms.''

Originally posted Feb 23, 1996 Published in issue #315-316 Feb 23, 1996 Order article reprints