The Rock Report: Awards, nominations and snubs


February, with all its holidays – including Valentine’s Day – has arrived! We are in the midst of the annual award show ceremonies, nominations and snubs to some very worthy talent.

My wonderful Puerto Rican sister, Jennifer Lopez, was robbed of a nomination and I felt an empty feeling, since her performance and involvement in Hustlers was stellar. However, my favorite of all, Renee Zellweger, who got the Golden Globe this year for Judy, is also a nominee for her incredible performance as the late Judy Garland, an icon for all her life.

I had a personal friendship with Judy, Mickey Deens and her wonderful children, Lorna Luft, Joey Luft, and of course, Liza Minnelli. They are still in my friends’ circle, and the main missing link is Liza. Where is Liza? I just want to holler out, “Liza, Liza, where are you? We all miss you very much and would like to see you again in public.”

On the Vegas track, we have the dueling divas and I emphasize the use of the term ‘divas.’ At one side, we have Paula Abdul, and on the opposite, we have Shania Twain. Also in this mix, is Gwen Stefani, but hands down, the winner is absolutely Lady Gaga. She never stops and keeps on working after hours and in all areas of entertainment. She is a fabulous pianist, a grand singer, a writer, a producer, an actress, and a chameleon. I must say, the duel is not a question of the winner. It is totally Lady Gaga.

At this writing, we have other dueling divas, RuPaul and Frank Marino. I use “dueling” in a very professional sense, as they happen to be good friends with each other. Frank is coming back to host Legends and RuPaul is the star of a brand-new production that, rumor has it, will be opening in Las Vegas. I say, “rumor has it,” because for some reason, it’s the best kept secret in town. I have only seen one ad in this entire town and that was over the escalator as you exit the Flamingo parking garage.

I did some sleuthing, and the show really does open on Jan 30, just a few days before this magazine hits the streets. Welcome “RuPaul’s Drag Race LIVE!” Perhaps our friend RuPaul forgot to negotiate a public relations and advertising agreement with the great Caesar.

Would it be too sacrilegious to hang a sign off David’s peeper in the Forum Shops? You know that’s where everyone looks! They do put sports jerseys on Lady Liberty, so let’s take marketing to the next level. Just kidding, but if it does happen, send me the commission check!

On RuPaul’s talk show, not so much. It tends to be a drag, but it is still well done! He has been around a long time and knows the ropes as well as Frank Marino. RuPaul is a solid commercial success, worldwide. We love you RuPaul. Welcome to Vegas!

Billy Porter was in the new film, “Like a Boss,” in a supporting role and was terrific. His Pose series on TV, was honored with awards. He would be a welcome entity in the Las Vegas headliner residency series. My “welcome” actually depends on one thing. I want Billy to lend me his dressmaker for my new show wardrobe, Mr. Magnificent!

My good friend, Criss Angel, needs all our prayers for his son who is no longer in remission. Criss, you are one of my favorite people and I want to support you emotionally and with my love and prayers for a positive outcome for your son, Johnny Crisstopher Sarantakos.

We have bombarding us new television shows, and streamed shows for only those eyes that are connected to the various apps and corporate entities that showcase them. We have America’s Got Talent returning, again with a cast of America has no talent! Trust me on this one! Then we also have The American Idol and guess what? Soon, we will have THE PUERTO RICAN IDOL! JLo, Ricky Martin and yours truly, Monti Rock III, will be the judges. So, watch out! Here comes da judge! This is all in the wind…

In the Academy Award nominees, I have several hunches. Best Picture, I feel should be going to “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.” The Best Actor, a repeat from the Golden Globes, Joaquin Phoenix for his role as the crazed, demented, tortured soul in the title role of the “Joker.” He was born to play that role. Best Actress, again a GG repeat, Renee Zellweger for her incredible interpretation of Judy in the film of the same name.

The Best Supporting Actor category has me in a conundrum. I really think Anthony Hopkins should be honored for “The Two Popes,” but, as the Academy tends to bind together in the old boys/girls club fashion, Brad Pitt will be on the top of the list for that honor. The Irishman – which was not released in full to theaters because of corporate problems with its production company’s policy, has two great contenders, but most of America has not been able to see them in their perfectly cast roles.

For Best Director, I have a quandary as well Sam Mendes’ “1917” was great, and an Academy favorite, but Tarantino really rocks! For the international film category, there is no doubt in my mind that “Parasite” from S. Korea will grab the gleaming golden statue. It was an amazing film in all areas!! If you have not seen this gem, do so before the awards. Incredible, is putting it mildly. Last, but not least, I had a great evening at the Italian American Club seeing my old and true friend, Bob Anderson. Bob, we want you back on the Strip. Rumor has it though, that his show is opening on Broadway. I will be there Bob, as I travel between the coasts regularly for my own NY performances.

I would be remiss if I mentioned the Italian American Club and not mention that Frank Marino’s Divas will be performing at the IAC on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $40 and this is the first time you’ll see the “World’s Most Famous Male Actress,” perform along with his full cast since the show closed at the Linq. Call Janine at (702) 457-3866 for reservations.

On a lighter note, yours truly is being honored as one of the vinyl stars as Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes, the combination of the late Bob Crewe (executive producer) and myself, my arranger and conductor, Bruce Miller (my pal Lu’s cousin!). I also give a nod to Kenny Nolan for his writing and producing “Manhattan Millionaire.” This honor gives me great pride as I feel that the long-ago time has finally been elevated to the status of legend.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Readers, please realize that if you are not in a relationship do not fret, be your own Valentine! Get together with some other singletons and have a small celebration party or go to a show and enjoy yourself. Do not hide, or fear the day, it is a day of love, so love yourself on that day!

Love and happy hearts, Monti Rock III and ZoZo (my Valentine’s Day Wonder Dog)