News, Sept. 24: Crystal To Host Oscars Again, Grammys Return to L.A., Springsteen Album Named Most Popular Ever, More…

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Billy Crystal To Host Oscars Again

With planning for next year’s 76th annual Academy Awards ceremony well under way, veteran comedian Billy Crystal is once again being tapped to host the 2004 telecast, according to a press release from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This marks his eighth time as host, the last time being in 2000 at the 72nd annual awards show, and a reunion of sorts for Crystal and show producer Joe Roth. Crystal and Roth last worked together on the 2001 comedy America’s Sweethearts, which Roth directed and Crystal starred in. The 76th annual awards show is scheduled to air live from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood on ABC Feb. 29.

Streisand Bored by Her Own Songs

According to Reuters, Barbra Streisand said in an interview for the Oct. issue of Reader’s Digest that one of the reasons she gave up public performances in 2000 is that she’s bored of her own music. “Really, I just get sick of it. That’s why I gave up concerts–in addition to having stage fright and the exertion of singing 30 songs a night. It’s boring to sing your own songs,” the 61-year-old performer said. In regard to her albums, Streisand commented, “I never listen to my records for maybe 10 years.” Since bidding farewell to the public three years ago, the diva has performed once at a Hollywood fund-raiser for friends in the Democratic Party. Though her latest recording, The Movie Album, will hit record store shelves in October, Streisand told Reader’s Digest that she doubts any public performances will follow.

Springsteen Album More Popular than Beatles’

According to Zagat Survey’s Music Guide, which hit stores on Tuesday, Bruce Springsteen’s album Born to Run has surpassed the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as the most popular album of all time. The new 332-page guide lists the top 1,000 albums in music history as determined by more than 10,500 music experts. Zagat trimmed its original list of 2,500 albums down to 1,000 by having survey respondents list their five favorite albums, and rating other selections that they were familiar with on a 30-point scale. Springsteen’s Born To Run has been praised for its “cinematic vision of American teenage romanticism,” along with its “promise of the endless Saturday night.” Other entries in the 10 most popular albums list are U2′s The Joshua Tree, the Beatles’ The White Album, Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town, The Beatles’ Revolver, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and U2’s Achtung Baby.

Ian McKellen To Be Honored at British Film Awards Ceremony

The Associated Press reports that actor Ian McKellen will receive the Variety U.K. Personality award at the British Independent Film awards for his contributions to the British film industry. McKellen is perhaps best known for his portrayal of the magician Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings films. Nominees for best film at the ceremony are Dirty Pretty Things, 28 Days Later, Buffalo Soldiers, The Magdalene Sisters, and Young Adam. The sixth annual awards presentation will be held in Hammersmith, West London, on Nov. 4.

Grammys to Return to L.A.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that the 2004 Grammy Awards will be held at the Staples Center arena in Los Angeles, AP reports. In the past, the awards show, which honors the best of music, had regularly changed locations between L.A. and New York City, until former head of the Grammy organization Michael Greene had a highly publicized feud with New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. As a result, the show remained in California from 1998 until 2002, when Michael Bloomberg took over the mayoral duties in New York. Greene has since stepped down as head of the Grammy organization amid accusations of sexual harassment. Current leader Neil Portnow said in a statement that he was “delighted” that the Grammy’s will be returning to Los Angeles. CBS will carry the awards show telecast live on Feb. 8.

Kelsey Grammer Considering a Move to Politics

AP reports that the star of the hit TV series Frasier may very well take up politics when he’s finished with his acting career. “If you have the good fortune to become wealthy doing what you love to do, what happens is you now have an obligation to give back in some way,” explained Grammer on Fox News Channel’s Hannity & Colmes. Though this is the final season of the NBC’s Frasier, the 48-year-old actor insists that there is more he wants to do before leaving that profession to possibly run for the U.S. Senate.

MTV Cancels Tom Green’s Talk Show

Gross-out comedian Tom Green had been given another chance at success with a new late-night talk show on MTV, but production of new episodes has been halted, according to AP. Despite favorable reviews, ratings suffered dramatically after its first week on the air. “Tom remains a part of the MTV family and we look forward to working with him in the future,” said MTV spokeswoman Marnie Black on Tuesday.

Role Call: Baldwin Dives Into Swimmer

Reuters and the Hollywood Reporter report that actor Alec Baldwin will star in a remake of the 1968 film The Swimmer. In the original film, Burt Lancaster plays a middle-aged advertising executive who makes his way home by swimming through every backyard pool in his high-class neighborhood. Production of the updated version is slated to begin in the spring or summer of 2004.