By Sandra Kraisirideja
It used to be the only exposure I had to ShoWest would be through articles in “Premiere” magazine. In fact, that was the first place I heard about ShoWest and even though I have been before this year marks the first time I will attend the final night banquet and award ceremony. This is where the organizers behind ShoWest award up-and-coming actors who seem the likeliest to be the biggest box office draw for the year. And since ShoWest is just a way for movie studios to thank theater owners for their support and ensure them that audiences are still going to the movies, the stars who receive the awards show up.
The award recipients are usually actors and actresses who are starring in the year’s most highly anticipated releases. Chris Pine, who will be honored as the Male Star of Tomorrow, stars in the update to the “Star Trek” franchise. Sienna Miller, Supporting Actress of the Year, takes on the action genre in “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”
Rachel McAdams, who stars in the upcoming drama “State of Play,” has two more releases that look promising this year: “Sherlock Holmes” with Robert Downey Jr. and the “Time Traveler’s Wife” with Eric Bana.
Bradley Cooper will receive the award for Comedy Star of the Year. Cooper’s got several more films coming out this year including “The Hangover,” “All About Steve” (with Sandra Bullock), “New York, I Love You.”
After the blockbuster success of the “High School Musical” franchise, Zac Efron is doing a non-musical comedy with a familiar formula. He’ll receive the Breakthrough Performer of the Year award for “17 Again,” in which Efron plays a high school Matthew Perry, who gets to go back to his high school days to figure out where he went wrong with his life.
In an interesting twist, the entire female cast of “Sorority Row” is being honored with the award for Female Star of Tomorrow.
“Yes, this is certainly a first, in being able to honor not one, but an ensemble group of six extremely talented and promising young actresses as our Female Star, or should we say, Female Stars of Tomorrow.”, said Mitch Neuhauser, co-managing director.
“ShoWest has had a longstanding tradition of honoring stars in this category and we couldn’t be more excited than to be able to bring to the forefront of the industry, the vibrant and exciting breakout stars of the upcoming film ‘Sorority Row’, Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Audrina Patridge, and Margo Harshman, by honoring them as the 2009 Female Stars of Tomorrow.”
“Watchmen” director Zack Snyder will receive the award for Director of the Year. The Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed on Michael Caine. Dennis Quaid is another film veteran being honored this year as Male Star of the Year. Quaid lends his voice talent to one of the lead characters in “Battle for Terra.”
Director Michael Bay, of the upcoming “Transformers” sequel “Revenge of the Fallen,” will receive the Vanguard Award for Excellence in Filmmaking.
At a luncheon honoring independent film to be held on Thursday, Roger Ebert will be honored with the Career Achievement in Film Journalism Award. Patricia Clarkson will receive the Independent Award for Excellence in Acting. Clarkson will star in Woody Allen’s upcoming “Whatever Works.” Katherine Bigelow will be honored for Outstanding Direction.