Tribe opposed to 'Furnace' heat, sues
Also: Debbie Allen's winning way to crack nuts and the Oscars' white Christmas.
EXCEPT FOR 6-month-old North West receiving designer presents 99 percent of working adults couldn't afford, Christmas was typically slow in the world of celebrity shenanigans.
But there are always lawsuits.
Members of the Ramapough Lenape Nation of Native Americans filed a $50 million suit against the makers of the movie "Out of the Furnace," saying it depicts their people in a negative light.
In that case, the makers of "The Wolf of Wall Street" better prepare for a $50 billion suit from stock-market con men.
The suit was filed in New Jersey against the film's producers and writers ("Furnace" was co-written by local guy Brad Ingelsby). It claims the film makes false representations about the people who live in the Ramapo Mountains along the New York-New Jersey border about 25 miles west of New York City, and its filers are especially annoyed that the film's unsavory characters have last names common among the Ramapough.
Relativity Media, which released the film, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press. But a rep told other news outlets that the company couldn't comment because it hadn't seen or had time to review the suit.
The movie's villain, played by Woody Harrelson, has the last name DeGroat, which is common among the Ramapough. Most of the 17 plaintiffs in the suit have the DeGroat last name.
(One can almost see the Smaug family meeting with its lawyers.)
Harrelson's character is the leader of a gang of "inbreds," according to the suit, who are depicted as lawless, drug-addicted, poor and violent, and live in the "mountains of New Jersey."
The film also uses the term "Jackson Whites," a historically derogatory term for the Ramapough, and refers to "the inbred mountain folk of Jersey," according to the suit.
Ramapough Chief Dwaine Perry, who is not party to the suit, held a news conference when the movie was released to denounce it as a "hate crime."
The Ramapough do not have federal recognition but identify themselves as an American ethnic group recognized as a tribe by New York and New Jersey.
'Nut' cashe(w)s in
Debbie Allen has won the Goldstar National Nutcracker Award.
The ticket discounter has declared the Debbie Allen Dance Academy the winner of the seventh annual contest that crowns the best "Nutcracker" in the land.
The DADA show "The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker," which was mounted earlier this month in LA, beat out nearly 60 other productions of "The Nutcracker." It's Allen's second time winning the award.
Her show begins when young Kara Johnson receives a nutcracker filled with hot chocolate, falls asleep and wakes up to find that the nutcracker has come alive. Written and directed by the "Fame" star, the show stars Allen and Carlo Imperato and had an original score by Mariah Carey, Arturo Sandoval, Chau-Giang Thi Nguyen, James Ingram and Thump.
Academy celebrates too-white Christmas
Although the upcoming Oscars look as if they will be the most inclusive ever for people of color, the Los Angeles Times reports that despite efforts by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to expand and diversify its ranks, the overall group of 6,028 Academy Award voters remains overtly pale.
The Academy has invited 452 people to join its ranks over the last two years, an unusually high number, and although the two new classes are noticeably more diverse than in past years, they failed to change the face of the Academy in a material way because new members make up such a small percentage of the entire constituency, according to the Times analysis.
Even with the new members, the overall academy is still 93 percent white, a decrease of less than 1 percent from what the Times found in a 2012 membership study, and 76 percent male, also a less than 1 percent decrease from what the Times found two years ago.
Both classes from 2012 and 2013 were about 69 percent male. The 2012 class was about 87 percent white and now has a median age of 50, while the 2013 class was about 82 percent white and has a median age of 49, the Times analysis found.
"It certainly reads better than it has. So we are moving in the right direction," said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the academy's first African-American president, who was selected in July. Improving diversity, she added, is a "constant goal."
The average age of Academy members also continued to inch up - from 62 to 63 - despite the organization's efforts to bring in younger people. That's a difficult trend to reverse because there are far more existing members than new members, and those existing members are all another year older.
But thanks to their plastic surgeons, they all look another year younger.
- Daily News wire services contributed to this report.