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Alfonso Cuaron My Chances on Winning at Oscars? ... Let's Just Play 'What If'

2/24/2019 2:21 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Alfonso Cuaron is keeping his cards close to the vest as to whether he thinks he's a lock to win big at this year's Academy Awards ... but he's (somewhat) prepared if he does.

We got the renowned filmmaker at the Independent Spirit Awards Saturday in Santa Monica and asked him if how much we should put down on odds that he cleans up during Sunday's award show. Alfonso is up for Best Director, and his film, "Roma," is expected to take home a lot of prizes -- including, potentially, Best Picture. Needless to say, he could easily sweep. 

Alfonso won't tell us one way or another if $100 would be a good bet, but he does play the hypothetical game here. He also tells us how he'll celebrate if he does take home some statuettes this year ... even if he doesn't have an acceptance speech prepared quite yet.

BTW ... we also spoke with Rosanna Arquette -- and lots of other stars -- at the Spirit Awards Saturday, and she told us that award show was much more progressive than the Oscars, based on which directors were nominated for each respective ceremony. 

This ain't a shot a shot at Cuaron by any stretch of the imagination -- he wasn't nominated for Best Director at the Spirit Awards, FWIW -- but it's an interesting commentary on gender parity in the biz.

Stunt Man Wade Eastwood Oscar Does Lights, Camera Why Not Action???

2/24/2019 12:25 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Wade Eastwood -- one of Hollywood's unsung heroes in charge of stunts -- thinks it's time Oscar started acknowledging his field, 'cause there's no movie magic without the action. 

Wade has been a stunt coordinator, as well as a stunt man, on a number of projects over the years -- including 'Mission Impossible' flicks and other blockbuster films -- so we asked him Saturday at LAX how he felt about the Academy snubbing stunt work ... again.

He says it's kinda nuts that Oscars are handed out for just about every other behind-the-scenes category contributing to a film -- makeup, costume design, etc. -- but stunts continue to go unacknowledged year after year ... even though they're arguably responsible for the biggest moments of any given movie, especially action ones. 

That said, Wade tells us he's not "an awards crazy guy," so not being recognized by the Academy doesn't bother him all that much. He suggests it would be nice, though.

He also weighs in on which movie this year had the best stunts/action on screen. Considering he worked with Tom Cruise pretty recently, his answer might come as no surprise. 

Academy Awards Huge Police Presence ... To Prevent Terrorism, Oscar Stunts

2/24/2019 12:50 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Whatever money The Academy's saving by bailing on a host this year is apparently being put to good use -- beefing up security to ensure there's not a terrorist attack or other act of violence ... or Oscar hijinks.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the Academy is plunking down close to $150,000 on around 190 additional uniformed police officers to patrol the 91st Academy Awards Sunday at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre. We're told cops will be stationed at posts all around the venue, and LAPD will utilize cameras, plain-clothed officers and help from the feds.

Our sources say another focus will be stopping trespassers and people trying to sneak into the show with false credentials -- there's a zero tolerance policy and anyone busted will be charged with trespassing.

Cops will also be on the lookout for Oscar thieves ... to avoid any sort of fiasco like Frances McDormand dealt with last year.

You'll recall ... the actress had her Oscar stolen off a table at The Governor's Ball afterward, and the guy posed with and kissed the award on video. He was quickly caught and booked for felony grand theft.

All of this might explain why Vanity Fair is also spending big bucks -- according to law enforcement -- for its annual Oscars party. We're told the cost for the magazine to shut down streets, hire cops and cover lost parking meter revenue is almost $83k.

Top-notch security ain't cheap.

Robert Kraft Still Partying Amid Prostitution Scandal

2/23/2019 3:36 PM PST

Robert Kraft's facing charges for allegedly soliciting a prostitute in Florida, but he doesn't seem too concerned ... because he's on the opposite end of the country living it up.

We got the New England Patriots owner as he was leaving Barry Diller's pre-Oscars party Saturday afternoon in Beverly Hills ... he hurried to his ride and was mum on being implicated in a prostitution sting Friday.

As we reported ... Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr announced that the 77-year-old Kraft will be charged with 2 counts of "soliciting another to commit prostitution."

Kraft is accused of soliciting a prostitute on at least 2 separate occasions at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Florida roughly a month ago. Investigators say they have videos of the men who paid for sex at the massage parlor -- including Kraft -- and the footage is graphic.

A spokesperson for Kraft has denied that he engaged in any illegal activity. 

The scandal's apparently not stopping Kraft from hitting up Hollywood hot spots this weekend, though ... just business as usual.

Beyonce & Jay-Z Didn't Drop $$ for Meghan Painting ... But Artist Says It's Cool!!!

2/21/2019 12:30 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

The artist behind a Meghan Markle painting Beyonce and Jay-Z used during the Brit Awards says they never got his permission, nor did they pay him a cent -- but he's letting it slide.

Tim O'Brien tells us ... he was shocked and honored to see his piece behind the Carters at Wednesday's award show. Bey and Jay recorded their acceptance speech for Best International Group -- and Tim's homage to the Duchess of Sussex was prominently displayed.

The speech was a recreation of their "APES**T" music vid ... but instead of the Mona Lisa behind them, it was "Queen Markle."

Tim says no one from Jay and Beyonce's camps hit him up for permission. He explained why he's also certain they didn't buy the portrait from him online. It costs $75 so ... yeah, they can afford it.

This kinda sitch typically leads to big fat lawsuits, but Tim's willing to give 'em a pass. Well, at least this time. Watch ... it's pretty clear he's happy for the publicity, but he'd be way happier with a check.

WWE's X-Pac Chyna Getting In Hall of Fame with D-Generation X ... 'It's a Win!'

2/19/2019 12:41 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

WWE legend X-Pac understands why people are upset Chyna is going into the WWE Hall of Fame as a part of D-Generation X ... and not individually ... but he insists it's still a VICTORY for her. 

"I totally understand where they're coming from," Sean Waltman tells TMZ Sports ... "Of course, she deserves to go in by herself."

But, Waltman -- who was engaged to Chyna in real life in 2003 -- says the WWE only has a limited number of people they can induct each year, and he believes they're doing the best they can. 

WWE announced on Monday the main members of DX (as a group) will be included in the H.O.F.  class of 2019. Meaning, Chyna will be enshrined with Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and, of course, X-Pac. 

But, a swell of wrestling fans feel Chyna was such an important figure in WWE -- the first and only female Intercontinental champ -- that she shouldn't have to share the honor with anyone. 

X-Pac says he understands the frustration -- but says Chyna would still be thrilled with the honor. 

"I hope that the people who think this about her are still grateful that she's going in, because this is a win and sometimes we should take the win."

As for himself, X-Pac says he's grateful to be included -- and can't wait to get the gang back together!!!

Chyna -- real name Joanie Laurer -- passed away in 2016. She was only 46. 

Cardi B 'Tom Petty' Flowers ... Mystery Sender Revealed!!!

2/14/2019 12:50 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Cardi B did not get flowers from the great beyond -- as she insinuated by thanking Tom Petty for a Grammys bouquet she received -- but, TMZ has learned who REALLY did the honors.

Sources tell us ... celebrity florist Annie Wonderlich, owner of Art Fleur, sent the bouquet wishing Cardi luck at the award show. We're told Cardi is one of her clients, and Annie also delivered a Grammy arrangement to Lady Gaga

After getting the flowers, Cardi looked at the back of the card -- which contained a Petty lyric -- and thought they were from him. She thanked Tom on social media ... prompting the internet to quickly point out that would be pretty freakin' amazing (as in, impossible) since TP sadly died nearly 2 years ago.

Although, we're sure Ghost Tom's probably a Bardi fan. 

The sender's true identity was there the whole time ... because the other side of the card had a note from Annie reading, "Cardi B! Wishing you LOVE, LIGHT & LUCK tonight at the Grammys! All the best! XOXO, The Art Fleur Team."

We're told Annie's company has TONS of celeb clients, including Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift, and every special delivery comes with a card quoting someone famous -- like Oscar Wilde, Claude Monet, David Bowie, and in this instance, Petty.

As for the flowers ... we're told the $600 arrangement is dubbed "Ms. B" and stands 3 and a half feet tall!!! There are 250 vendulas, orange crush and garden roses ... and monster leaves painted with 24-karat gold!!!

Yeah, if you spend that much on flowers, you deserve the credit. No offense to Tom ... who we all know was more of a wildflowers guy anyway. 

Smokey Robinson Lay Off J Lo ... Motown's Not Just for Black People

2/12/2019 3:00 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Smokey Robinson is outraged at all the people who are slamming Jennifer Lopez for representing Motown at the Grammys, and he thinks confining the Motown sound to African Americans is a "stupid philosophy."

Smokey thinks people who think there's something wrong with a Hispanic woman showcasing Motown completely misses the point ... that Motown is about breaking all color barriers. The man who was pivotal in turning the label's sound into a world force acknowledges it represents black culture, but he's quick to add it also represents other cultures ... Hispanic, Asian, everyone.

Smokey posted a tribute to J Lo Tuesday, saying she did an awesome job ... calling out critics, saying, "So now you're gonna try to diminish the scope of Motown and narrow it down to just music for Black people and you call yourself defending the image of Motown. Well you're trying to set us back a hundred years."

He has a big job ahead of him Tuesday night ... he's cohosting the big Motown 60th Anniversary show in downtown L.A.  

By the way, if you don't think Motown changed the world ... watch the vid and listen to Smokey.  

Childish Gambino Just A 'House Slave' Who Ripped Me Off ... Says Rapper Jase Harley

2/12/2019 12:50 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Childish Gambino is being called a "house slave" by an artist who claims his own tune was ripped off for Gambino's latest Grammy-winning work. Warning ... VERY hot take ahead.

Jase Harley explained to us Monday in NYC why he was upset with CG walking away with 4 Grammys for his monster hit, "This Is America" -- which took home Record of the Year among other top accolades during Sunday night's award show.

It's a bit tough to follow Jase's logic, but he apparently feels Gambino set black culture back by not attending the show and speaking on behalf of the racial issues he raises in the song ... and, perhaps most importantly, not acknowledging Jase as an inspiration.

This was a thing a few months back when the song first dropped -- people accused Gambino of ripping Jase off, 'cause 'TIA' sounds a lot like Jase's track, "American Pharaoh." 

At the time, Jase appeared to be chill with the whole situation ... and even said he was "extremely humbled" that 'Pharoah' might've served as an influence for Gambino.

Well, it looks like all that is out the window now -- 'cause Jase makes a very controversial analogy that invokes slavery.

Tell us how you really feel, man.

A$AP Rocky Proclaims Himself ... The Best Director Of My F***ing Generation!!!

2/12/2019 12:20 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

A$AP Rocky just declared himself the best music video director of his generation ... humblebrag much?

We got the rapper out Monday at LAX, and Rocky kinda jokes -- we think -- about how he needs a Grammy for Best Music Video. In case you missed it ... Childish Gambino got the statue Sunday night for "This is America."

And, in case you didn't know ... Rocky does direct a bunch of his own videos, so he knows a thing or two about what goes into making them. Our photog jokingly tells Rocky he shoulda ran up onstage and snagged the award, and this image had Rocky laughing at the idea of bustingKanye

Check it out ... Rocky also weighs in on Cardi B making history.

J Lo's Motown Tribute 'Haters Can't Help Themselves' ... Says Whitney Houston's Sis

2/11/2019 3:56 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Jennifer Lopez hit it outta the park with her Motown tribute at the Grammys ... and anyone who disagrees is missing the point about music and race ... so says Whitney Houston's sister-in-law.

We got Pat Houston out Monday morning at LAX and got her take on the criticism J Lo faced before, during and after she honored Motown ... in the middle of Black History Month.

J Lo, of course, is of Puerto Rican descent and the Internet's been teeing off on her and the Grammys -- but Pat has a different view, which is ... there is NO color when it comes to music.

Many, many Motown fans disagree, saying things like ... "Sorry everyone, but I agree. She's a great performer, but they should have chosen someone else. No doubt Latinos would be upset if they had a black soul singer doing a tribute to Latin music."

As you know ... J Lo hit the stage with Motown legend Smokey Robinson and Ne-Yo. Houston's not the only one supporting her -- Tyler Perry admits he was skeptical, but adds J Lo won him over.

J Lo has said Motown producer Berry Gordy was thrilled she was involved in the tribute. Count Pat in that category too ... based on her rating for the night's most talked about performance.

Nicki Minaj Cancels BET Gig Over Twitter Diss ... BET Apologizes for Unauthorized Post

2/11/2019 2:20 PM PST
Exclusive Details

2:20 PM PT -- BET is making it clear the tweet targeting Nicki was unauthorized. The network says, “BET loves Nicki Minaj. We have supported her from the very beginning of her career and will continue to do so moving forward. Nicki has paved the way for so many performers and has solidified her place as one of the most powerful figures in the music industry."

The statement continues ... "Unfortunately the respect we have for Nicki was violated by this post that should never have been written. The post does not reflect how we feel about Nicki. And further does not reflect our company values. We deeply apologize for the hurt, disappointment and confusion that this post has caused. We are committed to doing everything we can to address the situation."

BET also says, "We are also conducting an internal audit to assure these types of posts are not published again.  We have apologized to Nicki and her team. The post has been removed and we have taken additional appropriate action. We understand Nicki’s position and look forward to continuing our dialogue with her. Finally, we apologize to all of her fans. This should have never happened.

BET's social media team thought it was a good idea to make fun of Nicki Minaj on Twitter when Cardi B won at the Grammys... and now Nicki's getting a little payback against the network.

The "QUEEN" rapper announced Monday that she and her label, Young Money, would not be part of the BET Experience later this summer -- which is a concert series she and Cardi were booked to co-headline just days before the BET Awards in June. 

Sources connected to Nicki tell us she did, in fact, cancel the gig in direct response to BET's crass joke -- and she made that quite clear with her follow-up tweets. 

People were putting BET on blast, saying they owed Nicki an apology since the comment was a low blow. Nicki seemed to agree, saying ... "Meanwhile, BET is being dragged by their lacefront," adding a laughing emoji for good measure.

It's unclear who, if anyone, at the network green lit the controversial tweet, but Nicki clearly doesn't care. If she and Young Money stick to the boycott ... it's a big loss, because it means Lil Wayne's also pulling out of the BET Experience concert.

You'll recall, Nicki and Cardi have had a salty past, getting into it at a NYFW party last September -- but both women said they were squashing the beef. It sounds like Nicki's just pissed about the jab at her, not so much about the celebration of Cardi.

Originally Published -- 12:12 PM PST

XXXTentacion Grammys Memoriam Was Total Diss!!! Says 9th Wonder

2/11/2019 1:47 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

9th Wonder says XXXTentacion absolutely deserved to be part of the Grammys' In Memoriam segment, because the guy left a musical legacy that's bigger than life.

The legendary hip-hop producer made no bones about it Monday at LAX, where he told us Grammy producers missed an opportunity to include someone who gave a lot to the industry and changed lives ... adding that every big artist deserves recognition in death.

9th -- who's worked with Jay-Z, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige and MANY other giants -- says X's impact on the culture is undeniable ... citing even his own son as proof the controversial MC was making waves before his tragic murder.

He suggests X's exclusion might have something to do with older Recording Academy members not knowing X -- but adds there were plenty of far less famous people honored on screen.

Our photog raised the issue that's reportedly the real reason X didn't make the cut -- his many legal issues and allegations of domestic violence.

9th says he has no idea if that had any bearing on the Recording Academy's decision, but he drives his point home ... the kid still should've been honored. 

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