News Roundup, Jan. 29: Christie Brinkley Concerned About Crash

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Christie Brinkley is taking ex-husband Billy Joel to task over the safety of their 17-year-old daughter, Alexa Ray, after Joel wrapped his car around a tree in Sag Harbor, Long Island, last weekend. In a statement released to the press by her publicist, Brinkley said, “The seat Alexa was sitting in only hours before this latest crash was completely decimated. I’m worried about Billy, but like any mother would be, I am alarmed and concerned about my child’s safety by this frightening pattern of accidents.” Joel was also involved in a similar car crash last June in East Hampton, whereupon he checked himself into a substance abuse and psychiatric center for treatment of depression. Sag Harbor officers insist Joel was not DWI, although he was not tested.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences might want to give him an honorary Oscar, but Peter O’Toole doesn’t want to take it–at least, not just yet. Variety reports after AMPAS announced Monday the intent to salute him, the 70-year-old veteran actor wrote an open letter to the organization saying that while he was “enchanted” by the gesture, he is “still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright,” and asked the Academy if it would “please defer the honor until I am 80.” Academy president Frank Pierson intends to award the actor anyway, saying in his own letter to O’Toole, “As to being ‘in the game,’ nobody ever thought you were out of it. The award is for achievement and contribution to the art of the motion picture, not for retirement.”


In more Oscar news, the deadline for submitting Academy Award nomination ballots ends at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday. The nominations will be announced Feb. 11.

Variety reports Matt Damon will join his Ocean’s Eleven director Steven Soderbergh once again to star in The Informant, based on a book by New York Times investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald. The real-life story focuses on Mark Whitacre, a high-level mole who wore a FBI wire for two years to uncover corrupt dealings and prize-fixing scams at the corporation Archer Daniels Midland, the self-declared “supermarket to the world.” ADM pleaded guilty in 1996 and paid a $100 million fine.

Product placement is the name of the game. According to Variety, Heineken beer bottles featured in Miramax Films’ upcoming View From the Top, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, had to be digitally replaced with the Coors label, due to the seven-year agreement Miramax has with the beer company.


Three’s Company star and television veteran John Ritter will host the first-ever TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV on March 2 and will air on the cable networks TV Land and Nick at Nite March 9. The kudos-cast will recognize TV shows that have withstood the test of time, Variety reports.

For now, the bar has been closed on Jimmy Kimmel‘s new late-night talk show. After a raucous premiere show early Monday, when guest George Clooney passed around a bottle of vodka and an audience member threw up, ABC execs decided to shut down a bar which served drinks to audience members, AP reports. Daniel Kellison, the show’s executive producer, told AP, “They just said, ‘Let’s chill out on it and take it away for now’ and we said fine.”


Grammy nominees Bruce Springsteen and Norah Jones are among some of the artists who will perform live at the 45th annual Grammy broadcast Feb. 23 at Madison Square Garden. Others joining them include nominees Faith Hill and rapper Nelly (featuring Kelly Rowland).