Office Christmas Party Starts Strong Behind Critical Praise

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Office Christmas Party is already burning the ho-ho-house down.

Fans love it, with a social media following of nearly 40 million. This early interest led to a tidy opening – it made almost a million dollars last night alone.

Critics love it too. Forbes Scott Mendelson writes, “Office Christmas Party is exactly what it promises, and delivers it in spades. … It is filled to the brim with funny men and women being allowed to be funny in both expected and surprising ways, in a story which respects the inherent drama of its story without drowning in schmaltz. The characters are funny, the situations are funny and the film just plain works.”

It’s easy to see why the consensus is so favorable: a raucous, feel-good holiday flick filled with Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, Kate McKinnon and more at their very funniest.

Office Christmas Party is just one entry in a strong late-year slate for Paramount, which also includes the acclaimed Arrival and the powerful Allied, and will soon add Martin Scorsese’s Silence (Dec. 23) and Denzel Washington’s reprisal of Fences (Dec. 25), both of which are riding critical praise and awards buzz.

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Trevor Noah to Visit Barack Obama in The White House for Daily Show Interview

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

As President Obama’s second term in office winds down, the appreciations and stock-taking of his legacy have been multiplying. One of the most recent was from our own BET, who saluted the 44th president with BET Presents Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration last month.

The president will return to our airwaves next week, when he appears on The Daily Show with Trevor NoahThe show, which Noah will tape at the White House will air not only on Comedy Central, but also on MTV and BET. It will be Obama’s eighth appearance on The Daily Show, and his first since Noah began hosting last September.

It’s little surprise that the president would make Noah’s show part of his farewell tour, as the host has been surging behind critical praise during and after the recent election season, with large increases in ratings and digital traffic.

What will Obama and Noah discuss on Monday? Hard to say. But you can check out an extended version of the POTUS’ more memorable past appearances below:

Viacom Employees Celebrate Talent For Good

When four teams of Viacom employees convened with Viacommunity and various nonprofit organizations at company headquarters in Times Square, they welcomed the celebratory event as an opportunity to reflect back on their endeavors. Over the past few months, these handpicked groups of employees joined forces across the brands on Viacommunity Talent For Good projects, dedicating their time and skills to supporting the initiatives of causes that they care about. The four team projects explored a variety of pro-bono volunteer work. Whether it was providing a social media plan, creating a brochure, developing a communications strategy, or producing a promotional video, all of the groups made lasting connections with their nonprofit partners.

The four subsequent nonprofits – FIGMENT NYC, Musicians On Call, Unlocking Futures, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund – attended the Talent for Good team project event at Viacom headquarters. Viacommunity representative Alexandra Tuck and staff members from Catchafire kicked off the team wrap up event emphasizing Viacom’s unique cross-brand passion for volunteering and employee engagement.

Check out the video created for Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Name Change Project.

The event switched to an arena for the presentations that each group worked on. Teams discussed the various challenges, processes, and assets that they acquired throughout the course of their three to four month long projects. As a special treat, each corresponding nonprofit also had the chance to share their points of view and project experiences. Emotions ran strong as each nonprofit expressed its sincere gratitude to their Viacom team members, making the event a truly inspiring one.

Throughout the rest of the evening, the Viacom teams mingled, swapping anecdotes here and there about their project experiences. A common sentiment from many of the team members that night was that Talent For Good connected employees with others at Viacom that they normally do not get the chance to work with on a daily basis. In such a large company, it was refreshing to meet new peers and learn about the different work that goes into each department and brand. It was clear that not only did these close-knit partnerships create outlets for each employee to strengthen his or her skills to benefit great causes, but through these collaborative efforts, cross-brand friendships were forged as well.

Paramount Secures 23 Critics’ Choice Nominations, Led by Arrival, Fences

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Paramount has stormed theaters this year with a slate of critically acclaimed films, from the cerebral alien invasion flick Arrival to the buoyant Florence Foster Jenkins to the explosively powerful Star Trek Beyond, with Martin Scorsese’s Silence dropping Dec. 23 and a highly anticipated reprisal of August Wilson’s Fences due on Christmas Day. With this sort of high-caliber film drumming regularly from the lot, it is no surprise that, when the Critics’ Choice Awards announced their 2016 nominations this week, Paramount secured a total of 23 nominations.

Arrival leads with 10 nominations, second only to La La Land and tied with Moonlight. Fences follows with six nominations, two for actor and director Denzel Washington. And fully half of the Best Sci-Fi/Horror nominations belong to Paramount, with 10 Cloverfield Lane, Arrival, and Star Trek Beyond all vying for the honors.

Check out all of Paramount’s nominations, as well as a peak at each film, below. The 22nd Critics’ Choice Awards air Sunday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. on A&E.

Arrival – 10 Nominations

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Denis Villeneuve)
  • Best Actress (Amy Adams)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Heisserer)
  • Best Cinematography (Brandon Young)
  • Best Editing (Joe Walker)
  • Best Production Design (Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte, André Valade)
  • Best Score (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Fences – 6 Nominations

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Denzel Washington)
  • Best Actor (Denzel Washington)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (August Wilson)
  • Best Acting Ensemble

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CMT Releases First Nashville Trailer; Date of Sneak Peak

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

We teased Nashville back in September, when CMT released its first teaser of season five and announced a Jan. 5 debut date. The net has not only come back with the first official trailer for the series, but a gift for anxious fans: the first hour of the two-hour season premiere will air on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 9 p.m.

You can get more details on the intrigue and the excitement to expect here. But, really, you should be following @NashvilleCMT on Twitter or Facebook to make sure you get the latest updates as soon as they’re released.