News Roundup, Feb. 7: War in Iraq Could Postpone Oscars

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With the White House hinting that war in Iraq will likely break out just prior to the March 23 Academy Awards ceremony, insiders are facing up to the possibility of the show’s postponement. According to Variety, Academy insiders say the ceremony could be delayed for two days in the case of war. But while a 48-hour postponement would cause only minor readjustments, a greater delay would wreak havoc with talent as well as network commitments worldwide. Presenters and nominees from out of town, for example, would have to return to Los Angeles and, as one exec pointed out, many might not want to fly in the event of war. A worst-case scenario is a major story breaking just before the Oscarcast or during the ceremony. A delay could also spell out bad news for ABC, the network airing the Oscarcast, since major news developments could cause viewers to flip over to news broadcasts. A spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences told Variety it is useless to speculate on a possible postponement because there are simply too many variables to consider.


Michael Jackson had his lawyers file complaints Thursday with Britain’s Independent Television Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Commission over the just-aired documentary about his life. According to The Associated Press, Jackson‘s legal team claims that Jackson was not allowed to see the documentary, Living With Michael Jackson, as promised before it was broadcast. It also said the show’s voiceovers, questions and editing gave credence to allegations made against him in 1993 of a sexual offense against a child. A whopping 27 million viewers tuned in to the broadcast of the documentary on ABC’s 20/20 Thursday night.

The New York Daily News reports that Al Pacino filed suit in Manhattan Family Court Jan. 23 against longtime girlfriend Beverly D’Angelo for custody or visitation rights, two days before the twins’ second birthday. A court date scheduled for Wednesday was postponed until Feb. 24. Pacino‘s spokeswoman, Pat Kingsley, told the Daily News she had not heard of the lawsuit, and lawyers for both parties had no comment.

Caroline Barrett, who worked as a personal assistant for Marlon Brando for 25 years, filed suit against the actor in a Los Angeles court on Thursday, claiming he was trying to force her to repay $185,000 that he gave her as a gift to buy a home in London, Reuters reports. The lawsuit claims Brando gave Barrett the money to buy a house in London after he moved there in 1985 and repeatedly assured her that she did not have to pay the money back. Barrett said Brando told her he would have to classify the transfer of money as a loan to avoid “dire tax consequences,” and she agreed to sign a promissory note and to use her Los Angeles home as collateral to further the appearance of a loan, the suit said.


Angelina Jolie will play an accomplished aviatrix in the pre-World War II adventure pic The World of Tomorrow, Variety reports. The film, which also stars Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, begins shooting in March in London. Giovanni Ribisi and Bai Ling are also in talks to join the film. Jolie would star as a pilot teamed with a swashbuckling colleague (Law) and a probing journalist (Paltrow).

Steven Spielberg is in final negotiations to direct his Catch Me If You Can star Tom Hanks in DreamWorks’ airport comedy Terminal, Variety reports. Shooting is set to begin sometime toward the end of the year–a scheduling move that could make him available to helm Paramount Pictures’ fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. Hanks would play an Eastern European immigrant who gets stuck a New York airport terminal when a war breaks out and erases his country from the map, voiding his passport.


Jennifer Lopez‘s second ex-husband Cris Judd has joined the cast of I’m a Celebrity–Get Me Out of Here!, the AP reports. Judd will rough it in the Australian Outback with Melissa Rivers, Robin Leach, Downtown Julie Brown, Alana Stewart and others while viewers decide who stays in the rainforest and who comes home, voting each night via phone or Internet. The show will air live for 15 straight nights starting Feb. 19 on ABC.


The Rolling Stones played their first free concert in 33 years on Thursday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Pierce Brosnan, Lisa Kudrow, Larry David, Mira Sorvino and Cameron Diaz as well as singer Christina Aguilera and director Rob Reiner attended the concert, which was introduced by Bill Clinton.

Rather than sell the Bad Boy label he says is worth $100 million, rap entrepreneur Sean “P. Diddy” Combs signed a three-year distribution deal with Vivendi Universal’s Universal Records, Reuters reports. In the deal, Universal pays marketing and promotion costs while giving Combs an undisclosed up-front fee, allowing him to get the backing of the biggest record maker without selling his own company in a down market.