This year’s Academy Awards likely have been already decided in recent weeks, amid the cluster of pre-Oscars competitions.

You know, Golden Globes, Critics Choice, SAG, BAFTA, etc.

ABC will televise the ceremonies, set to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday (March 10) Hawaii time, with Jimmy Kimmel hosting  from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. A pre-show ceremony starts at 1:30 p.m.

Our predictions in seven key categories:

  • Best Picture – “Oppenheimer.”
  • Best Director Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer.”
  • Best ActorCillian Murphy, “Oppenheimer.”
  • Best Actress – Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
  • Best Supporting ActorRobert Downey Jr., “Oppenheimer.”
  • Best Supporting Actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers.”
  • Best Song – “What Was I Made For,” from “Barbie,” Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell.
  • Some observations:

Disclosures: I didn’t see “The Holdovers” – it was on island screens briefly – so I’ll go along with Da’vine Joy Randolph’s previously amassed trophies. In the same film, Paul Giamatti (one of my respected faves over time) has won a Globe, seemingly won’t be able to surpass the rollercoaster that “Oppenheimer” has been this season.

Upsets could happen: Emma Stone (“Poor Things”) was a fave in the Golden Globes, so could bump Gladstone, the first Native Ameriican nominee this year. While Randolph was an earlier winner in the SAG, America Ferrera’s long monologue in “Barbie’ was quite the essence of a supporting actress performance.

Longest running films this year: “Flower Moon,” 3 hours 26 minutes.  “Oppenheimer”? 3 hours. “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” 2 hours 48 minutes. Length could be a winning element.

Documentary snub: Why was Swift’s (pictured) concert film was ruled ineligible for Best Documentary consideration?: The Academy’s take: “Works that are essentially promotional or instructional are not eligible, nor are works that are essentially unfiltered records of performances.” Oh-kay. Still, the doc was tailor-made for Swift’s abundant talent.

More snub-bery: “Barbie” earned eight nominations but was absent in key actress and direction categories. Why?  “Barbie” was nominated for Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Ferrera) and Best Supporting Actor (Ryan Goslyn), and two  Best Song contenders, for a total eight slots. Everything considered, “Barbie” was a fun, stylish and popular box office hit. Pink and pretty, too, but it won’t win Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, or Best Supporting Actor, so let’s hope it cops a couple of techie awards. Its fame will have to settle for Best Song.

A galaxy of stars will be assembling: As is the tradition, last year’s Oscar winners will be on hand to present trophies to this year’s winners. So, anticipate seeing Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis. Other celebrities expected: Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino are set to appear, along with  Zendaya, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Lange, Nicolas Cage, Mahershala Ali, Sam Rockwell and Luptia Nyong’o. More names should be added by show time. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


“Moana 2,” the animated sequel from Disney, will open in theaters on Nov. 27 this year.

The film originally was set to stream on Disney+, but the casting was vague  then,  mostly focusing on Dwayne Johnson repeating his role as Maui, the demi-god.

Auli‘i Cravalho,  the Kamehameha Schools student who voiced the original film when she was 14, earlier declined to continue as the titular character in the sequel, but ultimately returned to repeat the role that launched her film career.

Auli’i Cravalho, left, will recreate Moana’s voice, and will co-produce an upcoming live-action “Moana” film but won’t be in it.

“Moana 2” was directed by David G. Derek Jr., with music by Grammy winners Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, Grammy nominee Opetaia Foa’i and three-time Grammy winner Mark Mancina

Meanwhile, the  live action “Moana” also will emerge as a theatrical film, with the aforementioned Dwayne Johnson recreating his Maui role.

 A young actress has yet to be named to play Moana, since Cravalho would be too old now, to recreate her cartoon character. However, she will be an  exec producer of the live-action project, which will be directed by Thomas Kail, pictured left, of “Hamilton” fame, with casting still under way, and filming set from June to September in Atlanta . Johnson also will also earn co- producer credit.

 The live-action film is pegged to premiere June 27, 2025. …

Emme’s celebratory moment set for April 27

A Celebration of Life for Emme Tomimbang Burns is slated from 3 to 7 p.m. April 27 at the FilCom Center in Waipahu. Full details are still being finalized.

Tomimbang Burns died Feb. 19 at Queen’s Medical Center, while undergoing open heart surgery. She was 73 and a pioneering figure in the Filipino community, best known as a journalist and the producer, anchor and host of her TV magazine franchise, “Emme’s Island Moment”…

Broadway grosses, for week ending Feb. 25

“Wicked,” which has been bridesmaid to “The Lion King” for quite a spell, last week switched positions with the Disney show, claiming the No. 1 slot of top Broadway shows with grosses topping $2 million.

Here are the Top 10 grossing shows, courtesy The Broadway Guild:

1—”Wicked,” $2,017 million.

2—“The Lion King,” $2,004 million.

3—”Hamilton,” $1,876 million.

4—”Merrily We Roll Along,” $1,566 million.

5—”MJ The Musical,” $1,478 million.

6—”Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” $1,424 million.

7—”Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” $1,350 million.

8—”Aladdin,” $1,340 million.

9-“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $1,298 million.

10—”& Juliet,” $1,137 million.

Here’s the full roster of the Broadway attractions:

And that’s Show Biz…


Watch out for roaring dinosaurs; they’ll soon  be roaming in Hawaii again.

“Jurassic World IV,” a Universal project, is in development and part of the film will be filmed in the islands again.

So, the terrorizing, chomping creatures will be before the cameras later this year.

The project will apparently be a total reboot of the franchise; it’s not a prequel, nor a sequel, but a newbie.

Thus, don’t expect to see familiar actors and actresses from previous casts and projects, unless there are flashbacks.

“Jurassic World IV” will be the seventh in the long-running franchise, following “Jurassic Park” (1993), “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997), “Jurassic Park III” (2001), “Jurassic World “ (2015), “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (2018), and “Jurassic World: Dominion” (2022).

Producers Frank Marshall and Patrick Cowley, who worked on the last three films, will return, but Steven Spielberg, still associated with the franchise since he directed the first “Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World,” will only be an executive producer. A director is not yet attached to the film…

More Bruno, with Silk Sonic, in Vegas

We posted recently that Hawaii’s Bruno Mars will do 12 shows this summer in Las Vegas.

But an update: He may also be involved, with  Anderson .Paak, his collaborator in R&B group, Silk Sonic, at the Dolby Live venue at the Park MGM Resort in Sin City.

“It’s happening!” Mars tweeted a few days back. “The sexiest party of the year! Them Silk Sonic Boyz are performing Live in Las Vegas!”

The Silk Sonic residency started Sunday  (Feb. 25) and will continue through April 2. If you’re Vegas bound, you might inquire at the MGM about specific show times and dates…

Around town…

The Shari Lynn Trio will do a one-nighter March 2 at Medici’s at Manoa Marketplace. It’s a familiar venue for Shari, who will be reunited with Jim Howard, pianist, and John Kolivas, bassist.

Shari (pictured) is hoping that the booking – her first time there in a long time — will materialize into a monthly gig again;  Medici’s used to be one-a-month stop for her. As her fans know, her repertoire is chicken soup for the soul, relying on old school favorites from the Great American Songbook, the files of jazz greats,  and the catalogue of Broadway melodies.

I would normally try to be there, but I don’t do stairs anymore, since I have a walker following surgery and other health issues. There is an elevator nearby at the shopping center, but it does not service Medici’s.

Dinner is served at 6 p.m., entertainment is from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Tickets: $49, includes a served meal. Call (808) 351-0901…

And that’s Show Biz…


Taylor Swift’s unparalleled concert film, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” has raised the bar for filmed musical concerts.

The spectacle was filmed over three nights last August at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA, and it’s not surprising that it Swiftly grossed $93 million in its opening screenings last weekend. It’s still in theaters, and is set for a 13-week run (with screenings only Thursdays through Sundays).  If you’re a diehard fan, you’ve already seen it and screeched nirvana squeals, throughout its 2 hour-45 minute playout.

I’ve not been a Swiftie fan, but admit I’ve admired, from afar, her business tactics. At 33, she is the master of her craft with skills in collating tales that define her as a composer.  I was curious to experience her glory on the movie screens, and have no regrets in buying tickets to the “Eras Tour.”

And in retrospect, “Eras Tour” was a revelation, demonstrating the singer’s acumen in packaging and showcasing her music, and it was a risk to launch such a behemoth endeavor, when audiences have mostly dodged the movie theaters this year.  The last biggies on screen were summer’s “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” likely the big guns in next year’s Academy Awards.

“Eras Tour” is not the kind of flick that picks up Oscars. It could be deemed a documentary, but specifically, it’s a unique theatrical concert film.

Clearly,  Swift is not a one-hit wonder, but instead a one-woman wonderment, delivering and curating her menu with 44 songs, many boasting admirable storylines, lifestyle vignettes, happy love and breakup blues, with original lyrics and melodies all penned by the singer herself.

The songs derive from nine of her 10 albums, themed with titles that reflect her moods and her succinct notions. She immerses herself in the moment, curating her tunes to elevate her storytelling.

Directed by Sam Wrench, “Eras Tour” is an experiment of sorts. It also is a damn good commercial for Swift’s successful tour — a sanitized showcase of the first leg of her global jaunt — which amassed $4.1 billion and unhinged Ticketmaster when tickets first went on sale. Her tour will continue in the summer of 2024 – a long wait — but with a $19.89 ticket price to see “Eras,” Swift is going to collect a lot more change. Most attendees, in the first go-round of the film, are likely folks who didn’t buy tickets to the live concert, because simply, they couldn’t — the demand was larger than the supply. The film documents, happily, what happened in the concert, so she’s double-dipping with the theater concert. Because of her deal in staging the film, the film producers (natch, she’s one of ‘em)  and her partner family  — thanks to a SAG strike agreement —  supposedly will get 56 per cent of the grosses, without picketing. Ka-ching!

Swift is dressed to thrill. Her costumes run the gamut, from short shorts to pants outfits, from flowing gowns to oversized capes; if Swift’s not visible, she’s changing outfits, but much of the fashion plate changes happen before your eyes. When a jacket is removed, it reveals a short outfit; when a floor-length coat is removed, it reveals formal wear. And with her model-inspired lanky legs and fashion-savvy demeanor, she is never mundane or dull in dress, radiating a rainbow of hues including white, purple, gold, silver, orange, red, blue and more, with twinkling rhinestones, beads and sequins to embrace her bright and glittery galaxy of style.

And here’s the thing; if you’ve previously attended a concert on a football field, you get the gratuitous video that shows the performer on so-so-sized screens. In “Eras,” it’s a whole new era – you see Swift in actual size, with larger-than-life images dwarfing her and enabling spectators to truly see her greatness and glory. No lawn seat or upper-level stadium seating can match the enlargement element of this production.

A splendid corps of back-up singers and dancers, who provide not just harmonic pleasures for the ears, help fill out that long walkway and incredible varied platforms.

A small but effective live band – no, not a full orchestra, but a manageable unit — keeps the beat and tempo going.

The live visuals include the mixed crowd, defining her broad audience base, from screeching fanatics singing along, word for word (yep, they know all of Swift’s music by heart) but also flashing collectible wrist bracelets that clearly identify ‘em as Swifties. But this superstar also attracts gay men, who can challenge and keep pace with the young ones.

Swift is tireless and effusive, in every tune she delivers; unlike some unnamed women superstars of the past who lip-synched some tunes, notably on songs with rigorous choreography,  she is a work horse who doesn’t rely on Teleprompter monitors  to depict lyrics. She is the real deal, at the peak of her career, and second to none in the competitive pop circus.

She is all over the map — in the Kansas City Chiefs box because of a supposed relationship with a football hero, in a TV commercial boosting “Eras” during NFL primetime, hosting Beyonce at her “Eras” film launch, and even had time to chime in at the launch of  the return of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Swift is not afraid of the cameras, so she sings straight into the lens, making viewers feel like she’s conferring with them. The cameras also regularly scan the crowds, and show diehard fans —  female and male – singing and dancing along. Everyone has a good time, including the theater fan, whose seat is prime whether the movie house is filled to the max or not; there’s no stress and strain of being in the nosebleed seats in the SoFi or in the last row on the field, where discomfort includes a mass of fellow fans and a long trek to the bathroom for relief.  The movie? No strain to be part of the game, and you have the liberty to applaud or get on your feet to dance.

I can understand her reason to earmark her themes – “Fearless,” “Enchanted,” “Red,.” “1989,” “Lover,” “Folklore” —  her version of catagorising –but I certainly could live without these subtitles.

I still wonder how her staging can be so fluid and organic, when Swift plays on a grand piano with moss-like greens on the precious instrument; the moss also is part of her tribute to nature in her house set with that green stuff on the roof.

But worry not, her playlist revives 44 titles and the ones I like best include “Anti-Hero,” “We Ae Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Shake It Off,” “Betty,” “You Belong to Me,”  “Love Story” and “Bad Blood.” Create your own besties at your screening.

I marvel at one special moment, when Swift is on the walkway heading for the stage, then leaps off the stage into what appears to be water, but clearly not. It’s an illusion that one might expect at a David Copperfield magic spectacle.

You know Swift has star power when the concession stand offers large soda drinks and that huge bucket of  popcorn, branded with her image.

Surely, there will be a DVD version of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,’” possibly a director’s cut with 45 minutes of footage trimmed from the original film.  …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Hail Kail!

Tony Award-winning director Thomas Kail, pictured below, is best known as the director of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musicals, “Hamilton” and “Into the Heights,” and he’s been tapped to direct Disney’s live-action film-with-music, “Moana.”

The announcement was made earlier this week by Dwayne Johnson, who voiced the demigod Maui in the animated version of “Moana,” and natch, he’s already set to repeat the role. But Johnson will also be a co-producer for the remake with real folks.

Johnson said in a statement, re-imagining of the animated film and his character, Maui, is “deeply personal” to him and his Polynesian culture.

“Our culture is rooted in pride, emotion, expression, storytelling, music and mana,” he said. ‘Moana’ is a once in a lifetime endeavor for us and I’m honored to go shoulder to shoulder with our director Thomas Kail and our entire team.”

“Our ancestors are watching, and the ocean will always have a pulse,” he added.

Auli‘i Cravalho, who was a high school senior at Kamehameha, is too old now to recreate the “Moana” role she created, but she’ll have a minor role in the newbie, and also with co-producer credits. You might recall, Moana was a different brand of a Disney princess with seafaring/voyaging skills and a mind and manner to navigate her own destiny.

Neither a name, nor an image, of the new Moana has been revealed yet; hope she’s someone from our midst, who looks and talks like a local girl, and can sing her heart out. Folks here would be huhu if a non-resident lands in the throne abandoned by the aforementioned Auli‘i.

The original “Moana” film, circa 2016, featured a soundtrack of melodies composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, pictured right, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘i, embracing lyrics in English, Samoan, Tokelauan and Tuvaluan.

I would assume that the prolific Miranda could be challenged to oversee the soundtrack and then provide some of the original songs; the live-action flick demands it. The silence is deafening…he could not just compose, but sing, and even be in the live-action. Stay tuned…

After all,  he introduced music and appeared in earlier Disney projects. In the “Mary Poppins Returns” sequel, he had a had a featured role, and  for the just-released live-action version of  “The Little Mermaid,” he put pen to music.  He’a Disney do-it-all-er.

Kail is known for directing theatrical productions written and starring his Broadway buddy collaborator of “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” and yep, he seems to be in the room where it happens in Miranda’s musicals. …


The Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Paradise Lounge, in the hotel’s Rainbow Tower, continues to focus on jazz, delivered by locals. For instance, the Bruce Hamada Trio takes the limelight from 7 to 10 p.m. today (June 2), with singer Shari Lynn and pianist Jim Howard returning from 7 to 10 p.m. tomorrow (June 3).  Seats are not plentiful, so arrive early so you can see the acts, not only hear ‘em.  You can order drinks and pupu, and if you do, you get validated parking. …

Gail Mack and Gordon Kim,  longtime musical partners, will perform from 5 to 8 p.m. July 2 and 9 at Mango Street Grill, 130 Mango St. in Wahiawa. The club was formerly known as Dot’s in Wahiawa. Reservations: (808) 627-5451.…

Tito Berinobis also keeps on chugging, bless him. His summer slate: from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, at Champs on Waialae …  from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday June 9 with Billy Beimes on sax, and from 7 to 11 p.m. June 13, 17 and 24, David Kauahikaua on keyboards and vocals, at the Chart House in Waikiki … and from 6 to 8 p.m. June 4 and 11 and from 7 to 9 p.m. June 30 at Elk’s Club Waikiki.

And that’s Show Biz. …