There really is no accounting for taste, especially in the minds of youngsters. Will Smith and his summer box-office disappointment "Wild Wild West" grabbed three awards at Nickelodeon’s 13th annual Kids’ Choice Awards taped Friday night at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Smith won three orange blimps for favorite song ("Wild Wild West"), favorite song from a movie (ooh … guess the song) and favorite male singer.
Rosie O'Donnell (who emceed the event) and Adam Sandler each won two awards. O’Donnell, in fact, picked up the highest honor of the evening, the Hall of Fame Award for her humor and charity work.
Other orange blimp winners included the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Melissa Joan Hart and Mandy Moore.
And in a surprise career move, Robert De Niro (yes, Robert De Niro) presented an award, as did LL Cool J, 98 Degrees, Carly Pope and Leslie Bibb from the WB’s "Popular" and Mel Gibson.
GARBO’S SECRETS INTACT: Historians unsealed more than 100 letters and other correspondence between Greta Garbo and Mercedes De Acosta on Saturday, but anyone hoping that rumors of a lesbian love affair between the actress and her socialite friend would be confirmed are likely to be disappointed. Garbo's grandniece, Gray Reisfield Horan, told the Associated Press, "I see nothing that refers to a liaison … I don't think there's much here to back it up. I only knew her to be interested in men." The items were unsealed 10 years after Garbo’s death, as she requested in her will. Garbo’s estate won’t let the media quote the letters, but it’s possible the letters may be published in a book.
LATIN SIZZLE: Actors Antonio Banderas and Cameron Diaz, along with singers Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, were among the Hispanic performers who were honored Sunday in Pasadena, Calif., at the fifth annual American Latino Media Arts Awards.
ALMA kudos also went to Latin tube talents Hector Elizondo of "Chicago Hope," Wilson Cruz of "Party of Five" and Laura Ceron of "ER."
Ten musical performers were recognized, including the Backstreet Boys, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan (with 'N Sync), Enrique Iglesias, Mariah Carey, Rage Against the Machine and Santana. Martin nabbed the male entertainer of the year award for shaking his bon-bon while Lopez, also of bon-bon fame, and Aguilera, of future bon-bon fame, received awards for female entertainer and new female entertainer, respectively.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MOUSE: Disney has paid horror director Clive Barker an advance of $4 million against nearly $8 million for all movie and ancillary rights to four unpublished fantasy novels he is writing. Collectively, the books carry the tentative title ``The Abarat Quartet.''
BLAME CANADA: Actor, Canadian and former Julia Roberts fiance Kiefer Sutherland joined thousands of protesters in Calgary, Alberta, on Saturday to protest plans to privatize some of Canada’s public health care system. Perhaps he was worried about his own benefits, since his acting career has apparently gone into cardiac arrest.
MURDOCH HAS CANCER: Doctors are planning several weeks of radiation treatment for Fox media mogul Rupert Murdoch. In a statement published by Murdoch's newspapers over the weekend, a spokesman said: "His doctors have told Mr. Murdoch the prognosis is very good. ... He has no intention of changing his work schedule."
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: All it takes to own the pair of ruby red slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" is a whole lotta of cash. A pristine pair of slippers made for Judy Garland will be sold to the highest bidder May 24 by Christie's auction house, and collectors estimate the pair could fetch $750,000. Also available are the Cowardly Lion's "Oz" costume, a Rolls-Royce from the James Bond classic "Goldfinger" and Christopher Reeve's Superman capes and body stockings.
Cybill Shepherd, actress, model, spokeswoman, is giving new meaning to the term "tell-all." In her new Jerry Springer-style confessional, "Cybill Disobedience: How I Survived Beauty Pageants, Elvis, Sex, Bruce Willis, Lies, Marriage, Motherhood, Hollywood and the Irrepressible Urge to Say What I Think" (in stores today), the outspoken actress/model lives up (or down) to her rep.
To save inquiring readers the time of sifting through the tome's 294 pages, we've poured over the manuscript ourselves and highlighted the more lubricious moments below for quick reference and easy access. (Indexed by their corresponding page numbers, but of course):
Pgs. 43-44: Scene of deflowering with a Mick Jagger lookalike mop top named Mike at the nubile age of 15. Writes Shepherd of the experience: "I felt oddly detached from my first time, as if it were more a rite of initiation to be crossed off a list than a sexual epiphany." Scale of raciness: Low. Neither her age nor her subsequent disappointment in her first sexual experience constitutes any kind of revelatory surprise in this day.
Pgs. 47-48: A short (and essentially platonic) fling with upstanding Ivy Leaguer Joseph Graham Davis. Nicknamed Gray, the-then Columbia law student would go on to become the sitting governor of California, known as Gray Davis. Scale of raciness: High. Even though they never "did it," bedroom tales that involve a political figure still make for some jaw-dropping stuff. We put a call into Davis' office for comment, but they never got back to us. An oversight, we're sure.
Pgs. 49-50: A tepid account of two other trysts with college-age maletypes who were not and have never been famous or powerful. Scale of raciness: Low. Be warned, dear readers, this is the last sex-related entry until the fabled Bogdanovich affair some 30 pages later.
Pgs. 85-102: The aforementioned illicit affair with her "The Last Picture Show" mentor Peter Bogdanovich that began on, and outlasted, the film's shoot. Writes Shepherd of their first meeting: "The immediate attraction was so strong, I was flummoxed." Scale of raciness: Low. Despite the expository nature of the biography, this liaison is remembered with an exactitude and completeness that's strangely devoid of sexual details.
Pgs. 108-109: A rendezvous in 1972 with a pill-popping Elvis in his Graceland mansion where instead of "Love Me Tender," cunnilingus (yowza!) and an act of fellatio (hello!) were performed. Scale of raciness: High. Besides the innate humor in this whole scene, the incident also holds a mirror up to the somewhat sexist, peanut-butter-sandwich-chunking, drugged-up eccentric that the rock icon had become shortly before his death.
Pgs. 185-186: In the early 1980s, Shepherd came out of a post-divorce slump and had her first meaningful fling with "The Last Picture Show" co-writer and longtime friend Larry McMurtry. "Our friendship never faltered because we became sexual or because we stopped," writes Shepherd. Scale of raciness: Low. Frankly, not dramatic or titillating enough. And, anyway, does anyone even know (or care) who Larry McMurtry is? Pgs. 194-197: A menage-a-trois with two stuntmen subsequently known as "The Cybill Sandwich." This encounter is memorialized with an entire chapter -- dubbed, yes, "The Cybill Sandwich" -- and featuring excerpts such as: "'The Cybill Sandwich' turned out to be a positive sexual experience." Scale of raciness: Middling. Time's a changing -- a threesome just doesn't get the kind of head-shaking gasps that it used to.
Pgs. 203-204: The unconsummated sexual tension between her and co-star Bruce Willis on the set of "Moonlighting." Shepherd expounds, "[Bruce and I] never did finish what we started in private, but anytime we had a kissing scene, he stuck a big camel tongue halfway down my throat." Scale of raciness: Low. It would be infinitely more interesting if the Bruce Willis she was flirting with was the post-"Die Hard," Demi Moore-married mega-movie star.
Pgs. 214-215: A five-minute quickie with yet another one of her co-stars, this time Don Johnson, from the television movie "The Long Hot Summer." Scale of raciness: Middling. Yawn. The novelty is definitely wearing thin. We're just thankful that this is basically Shepherd's last conquest of the book. Besides, is it still news when somebody sleeps with Don Johnson?
Last weekend, it was a gang of car thieves who raked in the box office bonanza with "Gone in 60 Seconds," but now a badass cop-turned-private eye is here to run the bad guys outta town in "Shaft."
The reinvented 1970s black superstud, as portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, is this weekend's heaviest hitter, while Fox's animated sci-fi flick "Titan A.E." and the teen romance "Boys and Girls" starring "Freddie Prinze Jr. also wade into the increasingly crowded summer box office waters.
Meanwhile, Disney is expanding its "Fantasia 2000" onto 1,300 screens nationwide, to offer something else for parents who've already taken their kids to see "Dinosaur" 10 times.
Here's a brief rundown of this weekend's new entries:
SHAFT (See the trailer) The skinny: Director John Singleton puts a 2000 spin on "the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks," except that he's a cop instead of a PI, and he doesn't really get much tail. The upside: The new John Shaft is played by Samuel L. Jackson, the epitome of the fast-talking, street-smart tough guy. And ya gotta love that theme song, which stll holds up 30 years later. The downside: Brandon Gray, editor of BoxofficeMojo.com, tells us: "Much like 'M:I-2,' where the only similarity to the old TV show is the theme song and the exploding messages, the only thing similar in 'Shaft' to the old one is the theme song. It certainly hasn't hurt 'M:I-2,' and it probably won't hurt this one either, at least not in the opening weekend."
TITAN A.E. (See the trailer) The skinny: Director Gary Goldman and animator Don Bluth, the team behind Fox's "Anastasia," reteam for this big-budget, post-apocalyptic sci-fi feature. The upside: Voices by Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane, Hank Azaria, Lena Olin, Jim Breuer, Janeane Garofalo, Joseph Corso and John Leguizamo. Oh, my! The downside: Says Gray: "It looks like it was made for the same kind of audience as 'Battlefield Earth,' but it won't have the Scientologists coming out during the opening weekend to beef up the box office. There is no evidence that the public really wants sci-fi animated movies. The only ones I can think of in the past are "Iron Giant," the "Transformer" movies and "Heavy Metal," all of which bombed."
BOYS AND GIRLS The skinny: Another romantic movie starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Claire Forlani. What else do you need to know? The upside: Prinze starred in "She's All That," which was a teen hit two years ago. The downside: He also starred in "Down to You" and "Wing Commander," which weren't hits.
FANTASIA 2000 (See the trailer) The skinny: The non-IMAX version of Uncle Walt's reinvented animation classic goes into national release. Hooray! The upside: Nothing will ever replace the 1940 "Fantasia," but this melange of digital and cell animation is pretty neat nonetheless. The downside: Is Disney trying to snuff out Fox's attempt to get a piece of the animation pie? Do carnivores eat meat? Just as it re-released "The Little Mermaid" on the same weekend as "Anastasia," so comes "Fantasia 2000" to compete with "Titan A.E." Then again, maybe that's not such a bad thing.
Elsewhere, "Gone in 60 Seconds," "M:I-2" and "Dinosaur" are expected to stay within the Top Five, while other recent contenders such as "Shanghai Noon," "Frequency" and "Gladiator" will vie to remain in Top 10 contention.
Oscar winners Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have joined Miramax Television and HBO in a project titled "Greenlight," in which an aspiring filmmaker will receive $1 million and the chance to direct his or her debut feature. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project will be chronicled by HBO and aired in a 13-episode, half-hour "reality" series on HBO, beginning with Damon and Affleck selecting the winner and ending with the director walking down a red carpet for the movie's premiere, Miramax Television President Billy Campbell said.
The filmmaker will also get to talk with directors, including Kevin Williamson and Kevin Smith, who found success with their debut projects.
Campbell said the contest will begin in the fall, and the movie is expected to be released in early 2002. Aspiring directors can submit screenplays to the "Greenlight" Web site www.projectgreenlight.com.
IN THE FAST LANE: Diane Lane, currently costarring in the blockbuster "The Perfect Storm," is in final talks to sign a perfect deal: two back-to-back films -- ``Hard Ball'' and "Criminal Conversation" -- for Paramount, Daily Variety reports. Lane’s current projects include Sony's "Glass House" opposite Stellan Skarsgard and Leelee Sobieski and "Hard Ball" opposite Keanu Reeves.
IN THE ZONE: Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, David Arquette, Natasha Lyonne and Steve Buscemi are in final talks to star in "The Gray Zone," a Holocaust drama slated to begin production Aug. 28. Variety reports that writer-director Tim Blake Nelson will helm the indie picture based on his award-winning Off Broadway play.
IN THE QUEEN’S COURT: "Friends"' co-star Matt LeBlanc has signed up to star in the $15 million indie comedy "All the Queen's Men," according to Variety. The World War II film, set to begin shooting Aug. 3 in Europe, centers on a team of British Special Forces agents that must in disguise infiltrate a female-run Enigma factory in Berlin and bring back a decoding device to end the war.
IN THE CLASSROOM: Mary Tyler Moore will attempt to teach a group of juveniles a lesson or two in "Cheaters," which goes before cameras for New Line Pictures on Wednesday in Vancouver, B.C., according to Variety.
IN "EPISODE II": Lucasfilm today announced the casting of horror-film star Christopher Lee in "Star Wars: Episode II." In an announcement posted on the Star Wars Web site www.starwars.com/episode-i/news/, Lucasfilm said that Lee will play a "charismatic separatist." Production is already under way on "Episode II" in Australia.