News, Jan. 8: It’s a Boy for Kate, Minnelli Begins First Leg of Divorce, Ford Officially Divorced, more……

Top Story: It’s a Boy for Kate

Kate Hudson and husband Chris Robinson gave birth to their first child yesterday, making her mom Goldie Hawn a proud grandmother, Reuters reports. Ryder Russell Robinson weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds, 11 ounces. Hudson, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Almost Famous, has been married to former Black Crowes frontman Robinson since 2000. This is the first child for both and Hawn’s first grandchild.

Minnelli Begins First Leg of Divorce

Liza Minnelli and her lawyers attended the first pretrial hearing in her divorce case, but her soon-to-be ex, David Gest, was a no show, AP reports. According to Gest’s lawyer, the producer and promoter is in Hawaii getting physical therapy treatments to resolve the injuries inflicted by Minnelli during their brief marriage. Gest is seeking $10 million in the civil assault case he has filed against her in addition to the petition for divorce. Minnelli is suing for $2 million in restitution, a financial accounting, legal fees and a court order requiring Gest to keep all financial records that may pertain to her. Minnelli is the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli.

Ford Officially Divorced

Harrison Ford and his wife of nearly 20 years have officially divorced after living apart for more than three years, AP reports. Ford and his wife, screenwriter Melissa Mathison, met on the set of Apocalypse Now and married several years later. Ford’s current relationship with Calista Flockhart has caused a few raised eyebrows due to their nearly 20 year age gap.

Carrey Makes Bank

Jim Carrey is the top moneymaker of 2003, according to Quigley Publishing Co., a company which polls theaters on which stars made them the most profit over the last year, Associated Press reports. The poll, which has been taken by the publishing company every year since 1932, also named Ashton Kutcher and Scarlett Johansson as future big earners for theaters. Other stars who found box office success in 2003 were Nicole Kidman, who finished second behind Carrey, followed by Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell and Renee Zellweger.

Paltrow Defends Choices

Gwyneth Paltrow is tired of all the scrutiny surrounding her life and career, AP reports. The 31-year-old actress, who won an Oscar for her role in Shakespeare in Love and recently married Brit rocker Chris Martin of Coldplay, tells Vanity Fair in the February issue it doesn’t matter to her if she’s not number one in Hollywood–her heart’s in London. “I feel like in L.A. everyone is looking over their shoulder, and in London nobody does that,” Paltrow says. “I’m really (expletive) good at my job, and people who are interesting and good know that, and that’s all that matters.”

In America Wins Top Producers Award

Jim Sheridan’s semi-autobiographical story of Irish immigrants trying to make it in New York City has been tapped for the Producers Guild of America’s Stanley Kramer Award for excellence in portraying relevant social issues, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film, which has also been nominated for six Independent Spirit Awards, was co-written by Sheridan’s daughters Naomi and Kirsten. The award celebrates the late director, who created such seminal works as Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and Inherit the Wind. The Guild will present the award January 17 in Los Angeles, California.

Nemo Swims to Top of Annie Noms

Last year’s record breaking hit Finding Nemo leads the pack at the 31st Annual Annie Awards presented by the International Animated Film Society with 12 nominations, AP reports. The awards, doled out annually, recognize accomplishments in feature-length film, television, commercials and short subjects. Awards will be given for best directing, character design, and voice acting as well as many other categories during the February 7 ceremony in Glendale, California.

Simmons Leads Voter Registration Charge

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons will record public service announcements encouraging young people to register to vote as part of an effort to register 2 million new voters in 2004 and 18 million more over the next five years, AP reports. The announcements, which will feature a number of hip-hop stars and other celebrities, will air during syndicated radio personality Doug Banks’ show as part of a deal with The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, founded by Simmons. The program, “One Mind. One Vote.” will launch in Times Square January 19.

Role Call: Producers To Be Re-Reproduced

The Producers, which began as a Mel Brooks film in 1968, will return to the big screen in an adaptation based on the current Broadway hit, AP reports. The film will star Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, whose recent return to their Tony Award-winning roles to packed houses ends in April. Mel Brooks will produce the new film with the play’s director Susan Stroman as director. The Producers is slated for a Christmas 2005 release.