News Roundup, Jan. 6: “The Pianist” Nat’l Film Critics’ Best of 2002

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The National Society of Film Critics has honored director Roman Polanski‘s Holocaust drama The Pianist with four awards, including best picture and best director. The group also named Adrien Brody as the year’s best actor and gave scribe Ronald Harwood top screenplay honors. The New York-based National Society of Film Critics consists of 55 members who write for many of the United States’ major newspapers and magazines. Along with other critics’ groups, their picks normally help narrow the list of possible nominees for Oscars; this year, however, film critics’ choices have been across the board, making predictions difficult to call.


Actress and singer Jennifer Lopez is denyin rumors that she and her beau, actor Ben Affleck, plan to tie the knot on Valentine’s Day in a $1.5 million wedding ceremony. According to The Associated Press, Lopez told a Brazilian newspaper, “We don’t know when the wedding will be. We need to sit down together and choose a date.” The interview, conducted at a new York hotel, was published Sunday in the Rio de Janeiro newspaper Jornal do Brasil.

Actor George Clooney, whose directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind premiered last Tuesday, said he will not direct again for a while, the AP reports. “I need to go make a living somewhere,” Clooney told a crowd at a special screening of his film at the 14th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. Clooney added that starring in and directing film was a little harder than he thought. “You can’t yell at the director when you’re acting,” he said.

A judge ruled that actor Paul Reubens, best known for playing Pee-wee Herman, will be allowed to challenge evidence against him in a misdemeanor child pornography case, the AP reports. Reubens, who was not present at Friday’s hearing in Los Angeles, pleaded innocent to one count of possession of material depicting children under 18 engaging in sexual conduct. The charge stems from a search in November 2001 of Reuben’s home.


Twentieth Century Fox is mounting an aggressive pursuit of top Oscar nominations for the sci-fi thriller Minority Report and its star Tom Cruise, which the studio claims is being ignored by the Golden Globes and critics’ associations. “There has been a weird Academy bias against sci-fi,” Fox chairman Tom Rothman told Variety. “There is that historical genre hurdle to cross.”


Networks are kicking off the year with series and season premieres–20 big-ticket projects–making January look more like September, according to Variety. The shows range form dramas, such as NBC’s Mister Sterling and CBS’ Queen Supreme, and reality, including Fox’s Joe Millionaire and the WB’s The Surreal Life. After weeks of holiday reruns, TV’s existing hits will return with original episodes, including FX’s The Shield and The Dead Zone.

Outgoing Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who has been in negotiations for several months with MSNBC to have his own program, is dropping hints about the gig. “As of Monday, you will fear me,” he told reporters at a news conference Friday. “I’m having a party tomorrow night. Well, my new boss will be there. And that’s all I’m going to say,” Ventura later said in a follow-up radio interview.


A publicist for Tom Hanks said the actor never made an appearance at Phish’s New Year’s Eve concert at Madison Square Gardens in New York. “There is no way he would come to New York for New Year’s Eve,” spokeswoman Wendy Morris told the AP. During the song “Wilson,” a clip of Hanks‘ movie Castaway was played and a man who looked like the actor appeared on stage.

North American concert ticket sales hit a record $2.1 billion last year, thanks in part to acts such as Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones–and fans who shelled out up to $350 each for tickets. According to Reuters, data collected by concert trade publication Pollstar showed that while ticket prices for the top 100 acts averaged $46.56 per ticket, major acts like McCartney averaged $129.92 per ticket. Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni blamed high ticket prices on greedy rock stars who cripple the industry by demanding hefty guarantees from promoters.