The daily gossip: Taylor Swift fangirls over NSYNC as she dominates the VMAs, Drew Barrymore dropped as host of National Book Awards amid backlash, and more

 Taylor Swift and NSYNC at the VMAs.
Taylor Swift and NSYNC at the VMAs.

1. Taylor Swift fangirls over NSYNC as she dominates the VMAs

It's me, hi, it's gonna be me. Taylor Swift utterly dominated Tuesday night's MTV Video Music Awards, which doubled as a surprise NSYNC reunion. The singer picked up a whopping nine wins, including Artist of the Year. She also won Video of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop for "Anti-Hero," as well as Show of the Summer and Album of the Year for "Midnights." Swift tied the all-time record for most VMAs won in a single night, and she has the second-most VMAs ever after Beyoncé. Other wins included Ice Spice taking Best New Artist and Nicki Minaj taking Best Hip Hop for "Super Freaky Girl." A reunited NSYNC presented the Best Pop award, and Swift, who Justin Timberlake dubbed "unstoppable," was visibly psyched to see them on stage. Lance Bass also gave her a friendship bracelet. "I had your dolls," Swift told the boy band. "You're pop personified." Sadly, Allan didn't join them ... or did he? MTV

2. Drew Barrymore dropped as host of National Book Awards amid backlash

They're throwing the book at her. Drew Barrymore has been dropped as host of the 2023 National Book Awards amid backlash over her decision to bring her show back during the writers strike. "The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature, and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture," the National Book Foundation said. "In light of the announcement that 'The Drew Barrymore Show' will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore's invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony." Barrymore was confirmed as host of the ceremony in July. But she has been facing heat this week after announcing her talk show will return amid the writers strike, even though the Writers Guild of America noted it is a "WGA covered, struck show." Barrymore previously stressed, "I own this choice." National Book Awards

3. Sean Penn slammed for bizarre AI comments

You know you've made a mistake when you're slamming the major studios and social media isn't on your side. Sean Penn is facing backlash after putting forth a disturbing proposal to prevent actors from being replaced by artificial intelligence. "So you want my scans and voice data and all that," the actor told Variety, addressing studio heads. "OK, here's what I think is fair: I want your daughter's, because I want to create a virtual replica of her and invite my friends over to do whatever we want in a virtual party right now. Would you please look at the camera and tell me you think that's cool?" Wait, what? Penn's comments were slammed as gross and sexist, and the actor's name quickly began trending on X, formerly Twitter. Other highlights from the interview included Penn suggesting that if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had been invited to the Oscars in 2022, the Will Smith slap "never would have happened." Variety

4. Selena Gomez declares she will 'never be a meme again'

It's hard out here for a meme. Selena Gomez took to Instagram early on Wednesday to cryptically declare she "will never be a meme again," posting this in white text on a black background. She provided no context, but it's possible she was referring to a few moments that went viral from Tuesday’s VMAs. Chris Brown was nominated for Best R&B for his collaboration with Chlöe, and when his name was read, Gomez was seen making a disgusted face and declining to clap. She was also spotted appearing to cover her ears while Olivia Rodrigo performed, presumably because of a part where the stage was meant to look like it was malfunctioning. "I'd rather sit still than be dragged for being myself," Gomez posted on Instagram. "Much love." She may soon be joining the meme support group along with the Chocolate Rain and Numa Numa guys. Instagram

5. Chris Pine's directorial debut is getting horrible reviews

The title of Best Chris may once again be up for grabs. Chris Pine's directorial debut has premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it's not going over super well with critics. "Poolman," which also stars Pine as a pool cleaner, is "a film so abysmal in its writing and assembly that there were numerous walkouts" during the screening, IndieWire's Siddhant Adlakha wrote, giving it an F grade and dubbing it "simply one of the worst movies to ever play at a major festival." The Hollywood Reporter's Michael Rechtshaffen also called it a "shrill misfire" that's "overstuffed with cartoonish caricatures lacking any sort of deeper connective tissue," noting it got a "tepid response from the customarily effusive festival audience." Slashfilm's Rafael Motamayor also said the film "bellyflops almost as soon as it starts." And with that, the Chris Wars rage on, and Chris Hemsworth is back in play. IndieWire, The Hollywood Reporter