October 22, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

Oprah Winfrey network earns early raves

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Oprah Winfrey welcomed 2011 by launching her eagerly anticipated OWN Network and, so far, the critics are being kind.

Critic Alessandra Stanley wrote in the NY Times that the new network “was most striking for what it lacked: nowhere in that opening gush of feel-good highlight reels, self-improvement plans, spiritual quests, aha! moments, celebrity master classes, and people finding their truths and living their own best lives was there a snicker of malice or a hint of raillery.”

OWN, Stanley continued, is “a place where cynicism takes a holiday and mockery hasn’t yet been invented.”

That sounds very much in tune with the tone of Winfrey’s long-running, beloved daytime talk show, which frequently promoted but only occasionally probed.

It’s the first step in OWN’s journey. The Philly Daily News reports that future endeavors for the network include:

– A reality series on the wind down, after 25 years, of Winfrey’s syndicated daytime talk juggernaut “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” “Behind the Scenes: The Oprah Show Final Season.” airs Saturdays and, like other OWN fare, will have frequent repeats.

– “Master Class,” a series where such boldface names as Diane Sawyer, Simon Cowell, Jay-Z and Condoleezza Rice will show how they’re just like the rest of us. Airs Sundays.

– “In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman” will counsel couples to help them repair their sex lives. Airs Monday.

– “Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star,” where 10 contestants compete to win a hosting job on their own OWN show, so to speak. Premieres Friday.

“There are so many things happening here at OWN, and we’re just getting started,” Winfrey said in a statement. “Every day, here’s what I’m hoping – that you will find something here to inspire you.”

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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