News Roundup, Jan. 3: Las Vegas Film Critics Pick “Confessions”

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Further clouding the Oscar race, the Las Vegas Film Critics have chosen George Clooney‘s directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind as this year’s best film. Daniel Day-Lewis picked up best actor for Gangs of New York, while Nicole Kidman took best actress for The Hours. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers took four awards, including best director for Peter Jackson. Across the country, the Washington D.C. critics tapped Road to Perdition as the year’s best, with Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt) and Julianne Moore (Far From Heaven) taking the lead acting prizes. Where it stops, nobody knows.

Celebs reports Six Feet Under star Rachel Griffiths tied the knot on New Year’s Eve with artist Andrew Taylor in a small ceremony in Australia. Guests were told to dress “bohemian glam”–the couple printed a statement in the Australian newspaper Melbourne Herald Sun, saying “We wanted to embrace the sensual.” Asked why she had no bridesmaids, Griffiths said, “women in their 30s should never appear in matching dresses.” It’s the first marriage for the 34-year-old actress.

Character actor Royce Applegate, who appeared in many films including Splash and The Rookie, died in a New Year’s Day house fire that also left two firefighters seriously burned. The 63-year-old actor, who lived alone in his hillside home in Los Angeles, is believed to have died of smoke inhalation, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office told Reuters. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Television director Ian MacNaughton, best known for directing all but four of the BBC’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus episodes between 1969 and 1974, died Dec. 10 in Munich, Germany, from injuries sustained in a 2001 car accident. He was 76.


Hot off the success of his latest film, Talk To Her, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is setting his sights on his next film, La mala educacion (Bad Education). The story follows the lives of two boys from their days as students in a 1960s church school to adulthood. Filming will start in April.

The New Mexico Investment Council is shelling out $4.7 million to invest in Val Kilmer‘s new film Blind Horizon, also starring Neve Campbell and Sam Shepard. “The intent of the film investment program is to invest in projects that hire New Mexicans and help us develop our professional crews,” Nancy Everist, director of the state Film Office, told the Associated Press. “We believe we are leveraging our assets to create an environment that will support development of a local film production industry.”


Disney has decided to make a change. Coming off the dismal performance of their latest animated film Treasure Planet, Variety reports the Walt Disney Co. has appointed David Stainton, who has been running the studio’s television animation division since January 2000, the new head of feature animation. He will replace Thomas Schumacher, who is relocating to Disney’s stage operations in New York.


Mississippi University for Women has withdrawn permission for MTV to interview women on their campus for MTV’s new reality series Sex in the Itty Bitty City, claiming they didn’t know the title of the series when they initially said yes. A spin on HBO’s Sex and the City, the series will interview real women, 18-30, about their strategies, successes and failures in looking for Mr. Right.


Bluegrass music legend James McReynolds, who, along with his mandolin-playing brother Jesse, was best known as the Jim & Jesse duo, died Tuesday of cancer at a hospital in Gallatin, Tennessee. He was 75.