2004 had its fair share of highs and lows. Celebrities like to live life in the fast lane so there's been no shortage of wild entertainment news to report.
Right from the beginning of the year, major stories continually rolled in. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck ended their turbulent engagement in January, while the following month Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman announced their marriage was over. But, like the silver lining of every cloud, some of Hollywood's finest tied the knot this year: Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid and Robert Evans all walked down the aisle with their loved ones, while Diane Lane and Josh Brolin married each other. Clearly believing there's no time like the present, J.Lo secretly wed Marc Anthony in June.
2004 also saw the passing of several legends, including Sir Peter Ustinov, Ronald Reagan, Fay Wray, Russ Meyer, Janet Leigh, Rodney Dangerfield and Superfly star Ron O'Neal. But it was Marlon Brando's death in July that garnered the most headlines.
Away from the big screen, three of television's most popular shows all ended within the space of a few weeks of each other. Many fans were left fearing the world would be a lonelier place without the likes of Friends, Frasier and Sex and the City.
But it's difficult to sum up a year in a few sentences, so read on and reminisce on the eventful 12 months that made up 2004.
The year began with the heart-warming announcement that Dawson's Creek actress Katie Holmes and American Pie star Chris Klein became engaged over the 2003 Christmas break. At the time, the couple had been dating for four years and decided not to set a date for their nuptials.
Actress Chloe Sevigny had a more pressing start to her year, which she began by rubbishing reports she was dumped by the William Morris Agency after performing a sex act on screen--saying it was she who ended their association. The 29-year-old star shocked critics and audiences alike with her performance in Vincent Gallo's movie Brown Bunny, in which she is seen giving the controversial filmmaker oral sex. But Sevigny insists that, despite the media storm, she made the decision to end her eight-year business relationship with the firm.
Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin escaped a public rebuke from Australia's child welfare officials after dangling his one month-old baby dangerously close to a crocodile in a stunt on New Year's Day. The incident at Australia Zoo prompted a storm of controversy, but Irwin insists his son, Bob, was never in danger. The animal expert-turned-TV star was interviewed by the Office of Workplace Health and Safety, who concluded there wasn't enough evidence to suggest he violated any safety regulations.
Angelina Jolie started 2004 by angrily hitting out at claims her adopted Cambodian son Maddox may have been illegally taken from his birth mother. American police shut down the Seattle international Adoptions Inc agency--which the Tomb Raider star used to adopt--following concerns it paid mothers as little as $119 to give up their children, rather than "rescuing" them from orphanages, as claimed. Jolie said, "I would never rob a mother of her child. I can only imagine how dreadful that would feel. If a parent survived then I would want Maddox to meet them--but I have not seen any evidence."
Love was in town for Stuck on You co-stars Matt Damon and Eva Mendes, who ended months of media speculation over their relationship when they joined pals Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez to see in the New Year in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Orlando Bloom began 2004 in a similar manner--by confirming he was dating actress Kate Bosworth. At the time, The Lord of the Rings hunk had been dating 21-year-old Bosworth for some months, but had refused to discuss their romance. But, Bloom announced, "I'm in love with love. It's heavenly when you're falling for someone and you can't stop thinking about her."
The story of the month had to be the news Affleck and Lopez were ending their high-profile romance. The stars, who cancelled their September 2003 wedding blaming an intrusive press made their privacy impossible, split amid persistent rumours they were growing apart.
Kate Hudson and her rocker husband Chris Robinson were celebrating on Jan. 7 after becoming first-time parents. The actress gave birth to baby boy Ryder Russell in Los Angeles. Elsewhere, Cameron Diaz categorically denied she would wed lover Justin Timberlake in 2004, hoping her comments would end the media circus surrounding the couple's relationship.
Actor and writer Spalding Gray went missing on Jan. 11. The Killing Fields star's body was found washed up on the Brooklyn side of New York's East River on Mar. 7. He had committed suicide by jumping off the city's Staten Island ferry.
An ex-boyfriend of Halle Berry stepped forward to accuse Wesley Snipes of being her abusive ex-lover, who struck the Catwoman star so hard, she lost most of the hearing in her right ear. R&B singer Christopher Williams--who dated Berry in the early 1990s--made the startling accusation against the Blade star after getting upset with the number of people who assumed it was him who dealt the screen beauty the damaging blow.
Nicole Kidman ditched her lover Lenny Kravitz amid reports of his infidelity. The Cold Mountain beauty had been dating the rock wildman for eight months but was horrified to hear he had been spotted romancing Brazilian artist Isis Arruda and actress Michelle Rodriguez behind her back.
Veteran actor Carmine Caridi admitted lending his screener copies of
February's Oscar contenders to a friend who put them online. The Godfather:
Part III star, 70, later told investigators he sent VHS copies of approximately
60 films per year to pal Russell Sprague who converted them onto the DVD
format. Caridi insists he had no idea that Sprague would distribute the films
via the internet and had sent them to him because he believed they were for the
51-year-old's personal entertainment. Caridi became the first person to be
expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for his part in
the affair. In November he was fined $300,000. The US District Court
in Los Angeles imposed two fines of $150,000 each on Caridi, one for
The Last Samurai and one for Mystic River, after studio Warner Bros filed a
Animation giants Pixar and Walt Disney ended their record-breaking
partnership this month, despite the international success of films including
Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Monsters Inc. Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs said
the company decided to end its distribution deal with Disney, after its request
for a greater percentage of the profits was declined.
January saw the passing of Superfly star Ron O'Neal, who died after a long
battle with cancer. The blaxploitation legend was 66. Renowned fashion
photographer Helmut Newton also died this month, in a car crash in Los Angeles.
He was 83. Newton reportedly lost control of his Cadillac car after leaving
Hollywood's Chateau Marmont hotel and crashed into a wall.
February began with Jamie Foxx being placed on two years probation after
pleading guilty to charges of fighting with security guards at a New Orleans,
Louisiana, casino in April 2003. The actor and comedian entered a disturbing
the peace plea on and also received a $1,500 fine. It was to be a
good year for Foxx, however, with movie hits in Collateral and Ray.
A new biography claimed four-times Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn had affairs
with Judy Garland, Greta Garbo and other A-list ladies. Author Darwin Porter
wrote in the book Katharine The Great that Hepburn, who died in June 2003, was
busy romancing both men and women during her younger years.
Meanwhile, Mel Gibson was slammed as "ignorant" and "insensitive" for
defending his dad over his view that the Holocaust has been exaggerated. Gibson
stated his unwavering support for Hutton Gibson during a magazine interview,
even though his father has previously rubbished the belief six million Jews
were exterminated by Nazi Germany during World War II. Gibson acknowledged the
Holocaust happened, but said, "I love (my dad). So I'll slug it out, until my
heart is black and blue, if anyone ever tries to hurt him." But it was Gibson's
The Passion of the Christ which caused the most controversy for the Lethal
Weapon star in February. In the weeks leading up to its release, The Passion was criticized by many religious leaders for supposedly blaming Jews
for Jesus' crucifixion. However, on its release, the film--about the final 12
hours of Jesus' life--went on to become a surprise box office smash, taking
$23.6 million on its opening day alone.
Actor and murder suspect Robert Blake's ongoing legal problems continued this
month, when his third attorney, Thomas Mesereau, quit because of
"irreconcilable differences". The news was unwelcome for Blake, standing trial
for the murder of his actress wife Bonny Lee Bakley, who was fatally shot while
sitting in a car outside Studio City, California eatery Vitello's following a
meal with her husband in 2001. Mesereau ended 2004 by representing Michael
Jackson in another one of the most high-profile legal battles of the year.
It came to light in February that Nicole Kidman had been given the all-clear
following a breast cancer scare the previous month. The Oscar-winning beauty,
36, was sent for further tests after doctors spotted a suspicious area during a
routine check-up, but fortunately was found to be in perfect health.
Liza Minnelli's and David Gest's divorce became increasingly bitter
throughout February. First, Gest asked Minnelli to take a lie detector test, in
a bid to prove she beat him up during drunken rages. Then, he appeared on
news show Dateline and showed interviewer Stone Phillips 'claw' marks
he claimed Minnelli had left on his stomach, and asked, "See those finger
Hotel heiress Paris Hilton filed a $28.8 million lawsuit
against an internet company for showing her explicit sex-tape on the web. The
22-year-old slapped the lawsuit on Kahatani Ltd, claiming a violation of
privacy over the film which shows her having sex with former boyfriend Rick
Salomon. The tape--which surfaced on the website in November 2003--was made
when Hilton was 19.
Kiefer Sutherland was rushed to hospital to receive six stitches after his
face was slashed during a bar fight. The 24 star was left disfigured following
the brawl in Los Angeles--forcing the show's bosses to delay filming while his
face heals. Sutherland's publicist said the star was "defending himself".
Also this month, Ethan Hawke confirmed his marriage to Uma Thurman was over
for good and that they'd filed for divorce. The couple split in 2003.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered officials to stop granting
gay wedding licences in San Francisco. The Terminator star ordered
the clampdown after a judge decided not to impose a restraining order on
same-sex marriages. Before he could, though, Rosie O'Donnell married her lesbian
lover Kelli Carpenter in the city.
Former boxing champ Mike Tyson agreed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct
instead of assault for his part in a New York hotel brawl in 2003. Tyson agreed
to 100 hours of community service--lecturing, training and instructing at
Gleeson's boxing gym in Brooklyn--and to undergo counselling.
Hit medical drama ER axed a two-second slot featuring an elderly woman's bust
following the outrage sparked by Janet Jackson's Super Bowl breast exposure.
Jackson caused a nationwide scandal when she revealed one of her bosoms during
her performance with Justin Timberlake at American football final on Feb. 1. ER wasn't the only victim of censorship as the result of the 'nipplegate' furore. The Oscars, which took place on Feb. 29, were broadcast with a five-second delay. However, ceremony producer Joe Roth promised nominees the planned delay in the telecast would not be used to cull any controversial political remarks.
Blake Edwards kicked off March by slamming Academy Awards bosses for placing a
five-second delay on the live TV broadcast. The Breakfast at Tiffany's
filmmaker, who picked up an honorary Oscar on Feb. 29 for his
long-standing movie career, was irritated America's moral guardians had reacted
to Janet Jackson's breast-baring at the previous month's Super Bowl. Edwards
said, "It's such hypocrisy. I really don't see how you can run Sex and the
City, and then turn around and raise this kind of fuss."
The legal woes of troubled actor Robert Blake continued unabated in March as
he appeared with his fourth lawyer, M. Gerald Schwartzbach, at a preliminary
hearing to answer charges he murdered his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley.
Steven Seagal's lawyers wanted to be released from representing him this
month. The attorneys defending the Under Siege star from a $60 million civil suit brought by former business partner Julius Nasso filed papers in New York asking to be let loose from the case.
Elsewhere, a judge threw out a claim by Sony Pictures that it be
allowed to use remarks by a non-existent critic to promote films including A
Knight's Tale. The argument, presented by Sony's lawyers--that adverts with
fake quotes are protected by freedom of speech--was dismissed. The
controversial case was filed by filmgoers against the Hollywood studio after a
2001 Newsweek article uncovered fake critic David Manning, who'd written
favourable 'reviews' for movies including Vertical Limit and Hollow Man.
Oscar winner Charlize Theron broke down in tears after former South African
President Nelson Mandela praised her for putting their country on the map. The
actress, who picked up the Best Actress Oscar for her role as a
serial-killing prostitute in Monster in February, was guest of honour at the
Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
Scottish actor Alan Cumming slammed President George W Bush's stance on
gay marriage--branding him "out of step" with public opinion. The openly
bisexual X2:X-Men United star, who lives in America, was horrified to hear Bush's plans
to outlaw the practice and urged liberal-minded Americans to use their vote
this year to oust him in November's presidential election.
Pamela Anderson was celebrating after being paid staggering $250,000
advance to pen her first novel, Star.
Newlywed Kate Winslet stunned Inside The Actor's Studio host James Lipton by
breaking down in tears while talking about life with husband Sam Mendes and their new son, Joe. In an interview broadcast in March, but recorded weeks after giving birth to the couple's first child together in December 2003, Winslet was clearly overcome by her emotions as she talked about how happy the American Beauty director had made her. She gushed, "I had a baby. His father is Sam Mendes. He is a wonderful... I will start crying in a minute because I'm so emotional because we just had the baby."
The Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel had a private meeting with Pope
John Paul II on Mar. 15. The religious Caviezel, who plays Jesus Christ in the
controversial Mel Gibson-directed epic, was reportedly blessed by the pontiff
during a brief meeting at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.
A Canadian man accused of stalking German supermodel Claudia Schiffer was
deported from Britain. Louis Alexandre Brisette, 21, was arrested after
repeatedly calling at the mansion Schiffer shares with filmmaker husband
Matthew Vaughn and their one-year-old son Caspar in Bury St Edmunds, England.
Unemployed Brisette appeared in court on Mar. 13 to face harassment charges
but returned to Schiffer's house just hours later, police said. On Mar. 14,
cops arrested Brisette at the hotel he was staying at in Bury St Edmunds and
handed him over to immigration officers.
Catherine Zeta-Jones failed in her bid to prevent a businessman from running
his company close to her new home in Swansea, Wales. The Oscar winner was
furious when she discovered Steve Gwynn planned to run his telecommunications
business near her lavish property, and had gained permission to use a garage
which is situated on the same estate as her house.
Actor Paul Reubens agreed to register as a sex offender for three years as
part of a plea bargain to remove charges of child pornography from his record.
The child porn charges against Pee-Wee Herman's alter-ego were dismissed after
the actor confessed to a separate misdemeanour obscenity charge. Under the
terms of the plea agreement, Reubens also agreed to pay a $100 fine and
to enter a counselling program for a year. He launched an appeal to clear
this name in April.
Hollywood beauty Sharon Stone became a single woman again in March when her
divorce from newspaper editor Phil Bronstein was finalized. The Basic Instinct
actress, 46, and the San Francisco Chronicle editor split in July 2003, with
Bronstein citing "irreconcilable differences".
The entertainment world was in shock this month, when Tom Cruise and Penelope
Cruz announced they'd split up after less than three years together. The
glamorous pair met on the set of the 2001 film Vanilla Sky as Cruise's marriage
to Nicole Kidman fell apart, and they began dating publicly in July 2001.
Cruise's sister and publicist Lee Anne DeVette confirmed the couple "broke up
at the end of January and it's amicable".
Hollywood actor Jason Patric was arrested after a drunken encounter with
police in Austin, Texas, at the end of the month. Patric was booked on
misdemeanour charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was taken
to the Travis County Jail and released five hours later. A few days later
Patric launched a blistering counterattack on police, claiming he was assaulted
without motive. The charge of resisting arrest was dropped in May.
Acting legend Peter Ustinov died in Switzerland on Mar. 28. He was 82.
Ustinov's acting career spanned more than 60 years--including Academy Awards
for two supporting roles in Spartacus (1961) and Topkapi (1965).
Not an April Fool's joke, but the month started with the news California
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had enrolled on a training course which teaches
attendees how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Schwarzenegger,
who at the time still faced 16 accusations of sexual harassment from women, had
voluntarily attended the two-hour seminar along with many of his senior staff
shortly after taking office, his spokesperson said.
Jennifer Lopez mother Guadalupe won a staggering $2.4 million on a Wheel of Fortune gambling machine in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino. The elder Lopez scooped the prize from just a $3 stake at the city's Borgato Casino.
Will & Grace star Debra Messing became a mother on 8 April, when she gave birth to a baby boy.
New York radio disc-jockey Howard Stern was dropped by Clear Channel Communications in
April, after the American media giant was fined $495,000 fine for indecency following a foul-mouthed interview with Paris Hilton's ex-lover Rick Salomon. Stern had been suspended from broadcasting on the network's six stations following the "vulgar and insulting" February interview, but was removed as a result of the size of the fine. Stern found an ally in comedian Chris Rock, who launched a furious attack on the indecency craze sweeping America this month, labeling the furor "sad". Rock criticized the harsh laws that have took Stern off the air, and believes America overreacted to Janet Jackson's nipple flashing stunt at the Super Bowl in February.
Quentin Tarantino was reprimanded by producers of hit TV talent show American
Idol on April 13, when he used a swear word to describe his thoughts about a
contestant. Red-faced TV bosses had to reshoot guest judge Tarantino's reaction
to singer Latoya London's performance so the show didn't feature his expletive
when it aired on April 14. The usually live telecast was cancelled at the last
minute when chiefs at Fox TV decided to air a live broadcast by President
George W. Bush's instead. Regular judge Paula Abdul says, "He said 'I have three
words for you LaToya: F**king power house.'"
Mystery surrounded Kevin Spacey's "mugging" in a south London park at 4.30 a.m.
on April 17. The Usual Suspects star told police he had been attacked and had
his mobile phone stolen while walking his dog. However, after reporting the
crime and receiving hospital attention for a minor head injury, Spacey returned
to the police station to withdraw his claim. Spacey explained, "I fell for a
con and I was, I think, incredibly embarrassed by it. Some sob story about
someone needing to call their mother and could they use my phone. This kid
took off and I ran after him and it was 4 a.m. and I tripped up over my dog and I
ended up falling onto the street and hitting myself in the head."
And basketball star Dennis Rodman was placed under heavy restriction on the
road, after pleading no contest to a drunk driving charge in a Las Vegas court.
A judge fined Rodman $1,000, ordered him to serve 30 days of home
detention, and required him to use a device in Nevada which will measure his
blood-alcohol content before he can start his car for the next year--to
prevent him from driving after drinking alcohol.
Cosmetics impresario Estee Lauder died of a heart attack on April 24. She was 97.
The actors who voice Homer and Bart on The Simpsons were delighted at the
beginning of May, when they were awarded a huge pay rise. Dan Castellaneta and
Nancy Cartwright--who voice Homer and Bart respectively--won their battle
with TV bosses at 20th Century Fox Television to be paid $8 million each for the 22-episode 2004-05 season.
Anna Nicole Smith was banished from shock jock Howard Stern's New York radio
studio on May 4 after turning up with a TV crew and demanding an apology. The
busty blonde had hoped to film the DJ's apology after he poked fun at her
weight during a 2002 interview. But, not only did Stern refuse to say sorry, he
kicked Smith and her reality TV crew out of his studio.
The same day, supermodel Heidi Klum gave birth to a baby girl called Leni.
Klum split with the child's father, Formula One boss Flavio Briatore earlier in
the year, and later hooked up with her current beau, Seal.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell was celebrating after the British High Court ruled
her privacy was invaded when the Daily Mirror newspaper published photographs
of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. The London-born catwalk queen's
lawyers claimed the article breached her confidence and was an invasion of
Tough guy actor Tom Sizemore's legal problems swarmed around him this month.
Firstly, a former assistant sued the actor for allegedly forcing her to hide
his drugs and trying to have sex with him. Then, the Saving Private Ryan star
was accused of violating his probation terms, imposed for abusing his former
fianceé Heidi Fleiss, after reportedly tested "dirty" for methamphetamine in
March. His spokesperson immediately dismissed claims he'd tested positive for
the drug as "bogus".
Two of America's most beloved sitcoms came to an end in May. For many, both
Friends and Frasier left a hole that couldn't be filled. Frasier enjoyed an
hour-long finale with a show of stars. The regular cast was joined by Robbie
Coltrane, Richard E Grant, Laura Linney, Wendy Mallick, Jennifer Beals and
Anthony LaPaglia. But while Frasier drew a total of 25.2 million viewers when
it aired on May 13, this couldn't compare to the 52.5 million fans the
final Friends drew on May 6.
French film legend Brigitte Bardot faced up to a year in jail when she
appeared in court to deny charges of inciting racial hatred in a book. Bardot,
69, has been defending herself in court over her best-seller A Cry in the
Silence, in which she opposes the "Islamisation of France". In June, a French
court fined her $5,400 for the offence.
British actress Kate Beckinsale wed director Len Wiseman in Los Angeles, in
front of guests including Ben Affleck and Christian Slater.
Canadian-born actress Pamela Anderson was officially sworn in as an American
citizen this month. The former Baywatch star, who moved to California from her
native British Columbia 15 years ago, passed a citizenship test and was sworn
in at a private ceremony.
Australian super couple Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts officially ended their
turbulent on/off romance, with close friends blaming the 10-year age gap for
Good news for Gwyneth Paltrow and her Coldplay singer husband Chris Martin
when their first born, a girl called Apple Blythe Alison Martin, was born in a
London hospital on May 14.
The spotlight was on Michael Moore at the Cannes Film Festival in France,
when his Fahrenheit 9/11 was given an unprecedented 15-minute standing ovation.
The controversial film--which looks at the links between President George W.
Bush and the Bin Laden family, as well as the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners
of war by American servicemen--took home the Palme D'Or best movie award at
the event, which was chaired by Quentin Tarantino. While in France, Tarantino
was made an Officer of Arts and Letters by the French government. The Kill Bill
filmmaker was presented with the honor by French Culture Minister Renaud
Donnedieu De Vabres, leaving Tarantino uncommonly "speechless".
Meanwhile, Bush received further criticism from Superman actor Christopher
Reeve, who blasted the president for failing to increase federal spending on
embryonic stem cell research. Reeve, who was paralyzed from the neck down
following a horse-riding accident in 1995, told 625 graduates at Middlebury
University in Vermont that Bush's "inaction is unacceptable".
Halle Berry won a restraining order against a former Navy SEAL stalker who
made threats against her life and those of her manager and publicist. In June,
Greg Broussard, who insisted he was destined to marry the actress, was
ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from her and two of her associates.
Blaxploitation movie legend Lincoln Kirkpatrick died after a long battle with
lung cancer in May. The 73-year-old actor appeared in more than 40 movies,
including Uptown Saturday Night and Hoodlum. He earned his acting break by
understudying for Sidney Poitier in the play A Raisin in the Sun. Emmy-winning
actor Tony Randall died on May 17at the age of 84. Randall,
most famous for playing photographer Felix Unger in TV spin-off series The Odd
Couple, died in New York after developing pneumonia following heart-bypass
surgery in December 2003. Soap and sci-fi star Richard Biggs died of a
reported stroke at his home in California on May 22. He was 44. The actor was
best known for playing Dr. Stephen Franklin in cult hit Babylon 5.
June started with the news Julia Roberts was nine weeks pregnant with twins,
reportedly a boy and a girl. Roberts had spent the preceding two years trying
to conceive with husband Danny Moder.
Lucky Ben Affleck scored a big hit at the California State Poker
Championship, scooping up a $360,000 first prize. The actor now
plans to join the likes of pop star Robbie Williams at the European Poker
Series in March.
The upcoming release of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was on the mind of
former President George Bush at the start of the month, when he blasted
Moore over the film which questions his son's presidential actions after the
Sept. 11 atrocities in 2001. Bush senior said, "I have total disdain for
Moore. His film is a vicious attack on our son. My son served with honor, and
to get knocked down by this guy. Why should we hear about body bags, and
deaths? Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? To have to
answer anything about what that slime ball says is just too much."
Comic-book giant Marvel settled its legal dispute with film studio Sony
Pictures over Spider-Man merchandise, after accusing the firm of wrongfully
using the character for promotional purposes. Marvel sued Sony in February
2003, claiming it had violated an agreement by using the super-hero--played by
Tobey Maguire in the hit movie--to advertise other Sony products. Sony
countersued, saying Marvel had itself breached their licensing deal. But Marvel
announced on June 1 it had reached an agreement that would give it "additional
Jennifer Lopez surprised many when news of her secret wedding to boyfriend
Marc Anthony leaked out. The actress-singer married Anthony on June 5, just
five months after splitting from fiancé Ben Affleck.
Recovering alcoholic and Baywatch creator David Hasselhoff was arrested on
drunk driving charges when he was pulled over by Los Angeles police. When his
case was heard in court in late October, Hasselhoff was ordered to attend 50
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, fined $200, placed on probation for
36 months and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service after pleading
"no contest" to driving with excess alcohol.
DJ Howard Stern's indecency case ended after the biggest American radio chain
agreed to pay out in a record settlement. Clear Channel Communications--who
dropped Stern earlier in the year after he conducted a sexually explicit
interview live on air--will pay $1.75 million in a deal with the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the largest ever negotiated by the FCC
and a broadcaster.
Good news arrived for Friends star Courteney Cox and husband David Arquette
when they became parents for the first time. Baby girl Coco was born in Los
Angeles on June 13.
Michael Moore slammed the American censor's decision to give his acclaimed
documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 an R rating, making it unsuitable for under-17s to
view alone. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) cited the "violent
and disturbing images" contained in the film, as well as instances of bad
language for their decision--but distributor Lion's Gate blasted the ruling as
"totally unjustified". Moore said, "It is sadly very possible that many 15 and
16-year-olds will be asked and recruited to serve in Iraq in the next couple of
years. If they are old enough to be recruited and capable of being in combat
and risking their lives, they certainly deserve the right to see what is going
on in Iraq." Moore and Lion's Gate lost their appeal.
Sharon Stone headed to a Los Angeles court to fight for lost cash she claimed
she was owed after producers of a Basic Instinct sequel scrapped the project.
Stone said she was owed more than $100 million by Rambo producers
Andrew Vajna and Mario Kassar after they promised her a $14 million salary to make the follow-up and a healthy cut of the profits. Stone dropped the lawsuit in July and agreed to appear in the sequel after all.
Legendary actor Ryan O'Neal was hailed a hero when he saved a boy from
drowning, after spotting him struggling while swimming in the sea near his
home. The brave 63-year-old star of classic movies including Paper Moon and The
Driver ran into the waves when he noticed the youngster having difficulties.
Winona Ryder returned to court in Beverly Hills to discuss her shoplifting
arrest and it was all good news. A Los Angeles judge reduced criminal theft
charges against her to misdemeanors after noting she had served 480 hours of
community service at a California hospital after being sentenced for
shoplifting in December 2001. Ryder, who was in court for her latest hearing,
thanked the judge for his time. She was placed on unsupervised probation.
Former President Bill Clinton's autobiography My Life broke records after
fans bought more than 400,000 copies of the book in America on its first day of
release. The huge opening sales figures made it the best-selling non-fiction
book of all time. Sales doubled that of the previous record holder, Clinton's
wife Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's book Living History.
June saw the deaths of movie star and former President Ronald Reagan, who
died from pneumonia at his home in Hollywood, aged 93, and screenwriter Robert
Lees, whose severed head was discovered in his murdered neighbor's Hollywood home.
Lees, 91--whose credits include episodes of the western Rawhide and Alfred
Hitchcock Presents--was found murdered with his neighbor Dr. Morley Hal
Engleson after an airline agent heard a commotion while Engleson booked a
flight by phone. Suspect Keven Lee Graff was arrested near the gates of
Paramount Studios--two miles from the victims' homes--after a studio guard
recognized his picture from a recently aired TV news conference. He was later
charged with the killings.
Ewan McGregor was "delighted" after winning damages in a settlement over photos
of him and his children. The Moulin Rouge star was furious when British
newspapers published snaps of him holidaying with daughters Esther Rose and
Clara Mathilde in Mauritius in 2002. Tabloid newspapers the Daily Record and
The Sun, photographer Jason Fraser and his company Fraser Woodward Ltd. all
contributed to the undisclosed sum. It was a great month overall for McGregor
who completed a three-and-a-half month motorbike trek around the world with pal
Charley Boorman. Ewan McGregor roared into New York City on July 29 after
completing his "very, very long" journey. The stars left London in April and
drove 20,000 miles through eastern Europe, Mongolia,
Siberia and Alaska.
Independence Day was made extra special for Dennis Quaid, when he married
fiancee Kimberley Buffington in Montana. Jack Henry Ryan, Quaid's 12-year-old
son with ex-wife Meg Ryan, was best man at the low-key ceremony.
Gossip columns around the globe were filled with the story of Hugh Grant
romancing British socialite Jemima Khan this month, just weeks after Jemima's
divorce from Pakistani politician and former criketer Imran Khan. The pair
vigorously maintained a media blackout on the subject of their relationship,
before finally admitting they were a couple later in the year.
Socialite Paris Hilton's $30 million lawsuit against an
internet company that distributed her infamous sex tape, was thrown out of
court on July 9. A Los Angeles judge dismissed the invasion of privacy suit
filed by The Simple Life reality TV star against Panama City, Florida-based
Kahatani Ltd. The video, suggestively titled "One Night in Paris," made Hilton,
who claimed it was "intended only for personal use", and her ex-boyfriend Rick
Salomon household names. The tape was leaked onto the internet in November 2003--over two years after it was filmed in May 2001. Meanwhile, Hilton split from her boyfriend of seven months, boy-band star Nick Carter. A spokeswoman for the hotel heiress blamed her busy schedule for the breakup, but
insisted it was amicable.
Hollywood couple Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal split up in July after two
years together. The stars blamed "filming commitments" for the separation.
Lifestyle queen Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in
prison and a further five months of home confinement after being convicted of
lying to a court about the sale of shares in 2001. The 62-year-old
billionairess was also placed on probation and fined $30,000. She
began her jail sentence in October.
Hollywood producer Robert Evans was granted a divorce from his sixth wife,
Versace model Leslie Ann Woodward. The 74-year-old Rosemary's Baby mogul's
marriage to Woodward, 35, lasted just seven months--they tied the knot in
August 2003, but the model filed for divorce in March citing "irreconcilable
differences". Evans previous wives include Love Story star Ali MacGraw, former
Miss America Phyllis George and Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg.
On a happier note, Harry Potter author J.K.Rowling announced she was pregnant
with her third child this month. The 38-year-old writer will give birth to her
second child with second husband Neil Murray in 2005. Rowling also has a
daughter, Jessica, with first husband Jorge Arantes.
Teen actress Mary-Kate Olsen was released from a health facility on the July 23
after undergoing six weeks of treatment for an eating disorder. Olsen headed
off for her first semester at New York University in August.
Veteran character actor Robert Sorrells was hit with a murder charge after
witnesses told police he walked into a California bar and shot two patrons,
killing one. The 74-year-old actor, who appeared in popular TV western
Gunsmoke, was arrested close to the Simi Valley ba--called The Regency Lounge--shortly after the shooting on the 24th. He was booked for investigation of murder and attempted murder.
Pierce Brosnan announced his retirement from the role of movie spy James
Bond, starting an endless bout of speculation as to who would replace him.
British actors touted for the dream role have included Clive Owen, Ioan
Gruffudd, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor,
as well as Australians Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger and Eric Bana.
Sad news flew around the world on July 2, when it was announced movie legend
Marlon Brando had died from lung failure the previous day on his private South
Pacific island, Tetiaroa. He was 80. Brando--best known for a series of
era-defining film roles including A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront,
The Godfather and Apocalypse Now--was cremated at a family ceremony in Los
Angeles on July 3. And the body of Michael Douglas' troubled half-brother Eric
was discovered inside a Manhattan, New York, apartment on July 6. New York
authorities ruled Eric, who was the youngest son of screen legend Kirk Douglas,
was killed accidentally by alcohol and prescription drugs.
Snatch star Jason Statham vowed to give actor Billy Zane "a good slap" this
month, when he found out he was dating his actress girlfriend, Kelly Brook.
Statham was left fuming after seeing photos of Brook in a passionate embrace
with Titanic star Zane. Zane and Brook emerged as an inseparable couple later
in the year.
Hollywood stars Diane Lane and Josh Brolin married at a secret ceremony on
the west coast of America. The Oscar-nominated Unfaithful actress and her
Hollow Man beau exchanged marital vows on Aug. 14.
News emerged this month that superstar couple David and Victoria Beckham were
expecting their as-yet-unborn third child, amid rumors their marriage was
floundering, following allegations the Real Madrid ace had an affair with his
personal assistant Rebecca Loos.
Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover was arrested outside the Sudan Embassy in
Washington D.C. during a heated protest march on Aug. 25. Glover was charged
with disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly after he spoke to a crowd calling
for a peace-keeping force to stop violence in western Sudan.
Meanwhile, tough guy actor Russell Crowe confessed he fought with his
bodyguard on the Canadian set of Cinderella Man. In a letter to an Australian
newspaper, the Oscar-winner confirmed recent reports of a brawl with long-term
pal Mark "Spud" Carroll during a party on the set of the film--in which Crowe
plays a boxer--in July. He wrote, "Spud and I had a push around after work on
a Friday night. The misunderstanding arose when Spud came over to tell me what
he thought other people in the room might have been thinking of my
conversation. I thought he was accusing me specifically of something and I took
offence to it. Spud was passing on other people's 'perceptions' and I shot the
Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron suffered an injury to her neck while
shooting stunts for her upcoming movie Aeon Flux in Germany on Aug. 30. The
production was shut down while Theron recovered at home in Los Angeles.
Legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson died at the age of 95 on Aug. 3, after a successful career snapping leading figures of the mid-20th century. Cartier-Bresson--whose work appeared in leading American publications Vogue, Life and Harper's Bazaar--died at his home in the south western Luberon
region of France. Other August deaths included film editor Geraldine Peroni who died at her New York home on Aug. 3 after reportedly committing suicide. She was 51. The city's medical examiner's office ruled Peroni--who frequently worked with director Robert Altman, most spectacularly on his 1993
masterpiece Short Cuts--had killed herself, however, her family are disputing that finding. And actress Fay Wray--best known for her role in 1933 movie King Kong--died on Aug. 8. She was 96. In tribute to the famous scene from King Kong that featured Wray hanging in the giant ape's grasp from the top of the Empire State Building, officials at the skyscraper dimmed the building's lights for 15 minutes on Aug. 10.
Former President Bill Clinton underwent heart surgery in a New York
hospital on Sept. 6, and went on to make a full recovery. After complaining
of chest pains and tiredness, medics discovered he had four clogged arteries
that needed to be bypassed.
Gorgeous Italian actress Monica Bellucci and her actor husband Vincent Cassel
were celebrating on Sept. 12 when their first child, Deva, was born.
Terminator 2 star Edward Furlong was arrested after attempting to free live
lobsters from a grocery store while drunk. The 27-year-old, a longtime animal
rights supporter, was caught with pals trying to help the creatures escape from
a store in Florence, Kentucky, on Sept. 15. Furlong was on location
shooting Jimmy & Judy.
Former child star Macaulay Culkin was arrested and charged with two
misdemeanor drug counts in Oklahoma City. Culkin and a friend were in a rental
car on Sept. 17, when police pulled them over and discovered marijuana and
a dangerous controlled substance without a prescription. On Sept. 21,
Oklahoma City prosecutors charged the troubled star, who was freed on bail
after posting a $4,000 bond.
Kevin Costner wed fianceé Christine Baumgartner on Sept. 25. The Dances
With Wolves star, 49, rode in on a horse-drawn carriage while handbag designer
Baumgartner, 30, traveled in a pick-up truck to the Aspen, Colorado, wedding.
Cult filmmaker Russ Meyer died in Los Angeles from dementia and complications
of pneumonia on Sept. 18. He was 82. Meyer made 23 films in total, but he
is most famous for his saucy 1960s and 1970s movies, featuring scantily-clad
buxom women--most notably Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Beyond The Valley
of the Dolls.
Golf superstar Tiger Woods married Swedish beauty Elin Nordegren on Oct. 5
in an extravagant Barbados ceremony.
Former child star Mark Everett was placed on America's most wanted list in early October, after being accused of beating his girlfriend to death and then kidnapping their son Benjamin. The star of Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Stand & Deliver is accused of murdering Stephanie Spears in her Hawthorne, California, apartment and remains on the run.
Rape charges against Barbershop star Anthony Anderson were dismissed on
Oct. 6. A woman seeking a job as an extra on the set of the actor's movie
Hustle and Flow in Memphis, Tennessee, had claimed Anderson and director Wayne
Witherspoon attacked her in a trailer on the set. The unnamed plaintiff also
alleged she had forced sex with both men over a period of several days before
the reported rape took place in July. But in court, a Tennessee judge said the
accuser's testimony did not produce probable cause to let the charges stand and
that the woman's testimony was the most "incredulous" he had ever heard.
American lifestyle guru Martha Stewart began serving her five-month jail
sentence in West Virginia, after being found guilty of lying about a suspicious
stock sale. Stewart entered Alderson Prison Camp in the early hours of
Oct. 8, sneaking by the photographers and reporters who had been posted there
for more than a week.
Billy Bob Thornton had further reason to celebrate on Oct. 7, when he
received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The actor, who has
been married five times, and girlfriend Connie Angland had their first child
together in September, when daughter Bella was born.
Lisa Bonet was awarded a restraining order against an alleged stalker who the
The Cosby Show actress claims regularly performs voodoo rituals outside her
Californian home. Bonet, who once dated Lenny Kravitz and has starred in a
string of films including Enemy of the State, claims Francesca Jacobs Assandri
has also sent her over 100 letters and packages. A Santa Monica, California,
judge ordered Jacobs to remain at least 24,100 yards away from Bonet, her home,
her place of work and her car.
Teen actress Lindsay Lohan was hospitalized in Los Angeles with a mystery
fever. The Mean Girls star, who spent "a relaxing" five nights at Cedars Sinai
hospital recovering later claimed she was overworked and exhausted. The
actress' family problems didn't help matters--her father Michael claimed he
did not approve of his daughter's partying lifestyle and the friends she chose
to hang out with. The young Lohan later released a statement blasting her father for
his insensitive comments upon her release. The hospital stay topped a troubling
year for the actress. Her father was arrested after beating up her uncle at a
family party in the summer and her ended the year in police custody again after
violating a restraining order filed by his estranged wife Dina--Lindsay's mum.
Meanwhile, upon her release from hospital, she ended her six-month romance with
fellow pin-up Wilmer Vanderrama.
Former French movie siren Brigitte Bardot was celebrating after a Paris court
threw out a defamation lawsuit against her. Radio Courtesy host Marc-Olivier
Fogiel infuriated the actress during a May 12, 2003
broadcast, when he insisted she talk about her controversial best-selling book
Un Cri Dans Le Silence (A Cry In The Silence). Bardot, 70, was convicted in
June of inciting racial hatred in her 2003 book with her comments comparing
Muslims to "invaders, cruel and barbaric". The Parisian court ruled Bardot had
been provoked into calling Fogiel "a little jerk". Judge Nicolas Bonnal agreed
that "the expression little jerk seemed injurious" toward the presenter.
News circulated around Tinseltown that longtime couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt
Russell had split. Hawn was reported to be romancing Pakistani cricket legend
Imran Khan. The couple seemed to have patched up their differences in November
when they bought a house together in Pacific Palisades, California.
Actor Rip Torn was cleared of drunk driving charges by a New York court at
the end of the month. The Emmy-winning star, real name Elmore Torn, had stood
accused of driving under the influence of alcohol after crashing into the back
of a taxi in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, in January.
Psycho star Janet Leigh died on Oct. 2 at the age of 77. The actress had
been suffering from vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, for a
year and died peacefully at her Beverly Hills, California, home with her
husband, Robert Brandt, and her daughters, actresses Kelly and Jamie Lee, at
her side. Leigh was best known for her Oscar-nominated part as Norman Bates'
first victim in Alfred Hitchcock's notorious shower scene, but also starred in
classic movies Little Women, The Manchurian Candidate and Touch of Evil. On Oct. 5 comedian Rodney Dangerfield died in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 82.
The funnyman slipped into a coma following a heart-valve operation in August
and never recovered. Nearly 400 mourners turned out to pay their respects at
the Caddyshack star's funeral, including Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock,
Jay Leno and Tim Allen. And Hollywood mourned the loss of paralyzed Superman
actor Christopher Reeve, who died of heart failure on Oct. 10. He was 52.
Reeve had been receiving treatment from the hospital for several weeks for a
pressure wound--a common complication for people living with paralysis--which
had become infected. He fell into a coma after suffering a heart attack in his
Kiefer Sutherland's troubled year continued when he was sentenced to serve 50
hours of community service after pleading no contest to a drunk driving charge
in Los Angeles. The 24 star was arrested by police in late October. As well as
the community service, Sutherland was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer gave birth to her second child with husband
Matthew Vaughn, a baby girl named Clementine, on Nov. 11. The tot, a sister
for the couple's 22-month-old son Caspar, was born at London's exclusive
Greek lawyers attempted to force maverick movie maker Oliver Stone to admit
his Alexander The Great epic, Alexander, was a pure work of fiction by filing a
class lawsuit against him. The proud Greeks were upset that Stone had focused
on the historic hero's bisexuality in the film. The Greeks later dropped the
lawsuit after seeing the film in its entirety. They were, it seems, among the
few who actually liked the epic, which was one of the year's big flops at the
when it opened in November.
Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor admitted she was suffering from congestive
heart failure to W magazine. The 72-year-old actress was hospitalized
with the condition, but told fans she hopes to recover.
Meanwhile, Johnny Depp was so keen to explain himself after Germany's Stern
magazine misconstrued a comment he made about America in a 2003 interview, he
chose to personally call the patriots who had bombarded him with hate emails.
Depp was nationally blasted as being unpatriotic when a reporter quoted him as
saying America was "an ignorant puppy dog", but he insists the quote was taken
out of context. He told Vanity Fair, "I called them, three or four people, and
I said, 'It's very easy for a publication to print whatever they want to print
as a representation of me, but it's not me. If you would allow me just a moment
to represent myself...if you still feel like I'm a s**thead or a schmuck
afterwards, then fine. But at least hear me out.' These were heavy, right wing,
military people: one was a cop, one had a nephew who'd been wounded in Iraq. I
told them, 'What was printed was ugly, but this is what I meant...' And each
one of them said, 'I understand.'"
Movie legend Omar Sharif proved he still had his hell-raising ways intact at
72, after he became involved in a drunken brawl with a fellow actor in India.
The Doctor Zhivago star was quarrelling with The Lord of the Rings: The
Return of the King villain John Noble in a Jodhpur hotel--before reportedly
hitting him with a lamp. The two stars, in India filming One Night with the
King with Sharif's Lawrence of Arabia co-star Peter O'Toole, stopped fighting
as soon as the lamp smashed.
Gossips found the possibility of a romance between Nicole Kidman and Liz
Hurley's ex, Steve Bing, mouth watering. The pair were spotted out and about
together in New York and Los Angeles as insiders buzzed about the prospect of
another high-profile love match.
Two Los Angeles photographers launched legal proceedings against Cameron Diaz
and Justin Timberlake for assault and battery. The snappers claim the pair
attacked them as they tried to take pictures of them in the street outside a
Los Angeles hotel on Nov. 6. Saul Lazo and Jose Gonzalez allege the couple
taunted and threatened them before Diaz took Lazo's camera after beating him.
The alleged attack was caught on camera by another snapper, who sold his
pictures to Us Weekly. Diaz later handed Lazo's camera over
to police, insisting she only took it so she could find out who the snapper
was. In a lawsuit filed on Nov. 12, the photographers blasted allegations
from Diaz and Timberlake's publicists that they harassed the couple and jumped
out of bushes on them in a bid to stir up an angry reaction. The snappers
insist they did nothing to harass the couple and stood more than three feet
away from them at all times. The photographers claim they suffered emotional
distress and physical harm.
In a clampdown, Hollywood film studios began a legal assault on Internet
pirates across America, after announcing their quest to sue anyone caught
swapping or downloading digital copies of films. The Motion Picture Association
of America (MPAA) pledged to take perpetrators to court in an effort to abolish
the threat posed to future film production. Officials said the civil suits
would seek damages of up to $30,000 per movie, to combat the billions
of dollars piracy is costing film studios every year.
Bridget Fonda and her composer husband Danny Elfman were celebrating after
discovering the actress was pregnant with her first child. The latest member of
the famous Fonda clan is due to arrive next February.
Shelley Long suffered an alleged drug overdose this month, prompting mass
media reports the former Cheers actress was struggling with depression. The
55-year-old actress' spokesman Martin Mickelson later denied, an American newspaper
reports, the star took an overdose following the break-up of her 22-year
marriage. Mickelson said Long merely took one pain pill too many to combat a
Dustin Hoffman confessed to Playboy magazine that he had enjoyed sexual
threesomes in his youth and once had sex in the DJ booth at New York's famed
Studio 54 nightclub.
Actress Julia Roberts gave birth to twins on Nov. 28--more than a month
before they were due. The actress is now a proud mother to a boy
and a girl, named Phinnaeus Walter and Hazel Patricia. The babies' safe
delivery came after Roberts had a pregnancy scare in October, when she was
confined to bed after suffering early contractions.
TV star Robert Conrad was sentenced to six moths house arrest for a
2003 car accident that left another driver seriously injured.
A Paris court ruled Jean-Pierre Jeunet's new film A Very Long Engagement is not French enough to qualify for funding from the country's film agency. The Amelie filmmaker was furious
about The Centre National De La Cinematographie's (CNC) claims the drama was
not Gallic, despite having a French cast speaking their native language,
directed by a Frenchman in a Paris setting. The CNC argued the film had partial
backing by Warner Bros and therefore was not French. The Paris
administrative court ruled it was too American to compete in French film
festivals, including Cannes and Deauville.
Drew Barrymore's actor father John D. Barrymore died in Los Angeles at the age
of 72 near the end of the month. In a statement issued by her publicist, Drew
said, "He was a cool cat. Please smile when you think of him." Meanwhile, Dutch
film-maker Theo Van Gogh was shot dead in Amsterdam on Nov. 2 by a radical
Islamist. Van Gogh, 47--who was related to legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh--
had received death threats since his controversial film Submission, which
depicted violence against women in Islamic societies, was broadcast on Dutch
television. After the attack, police arrested a man in a nearby park but,
before they restrained him, there was a vicious exchange of gunfire that left a
policeman and the suspect with bullet wounds. Both were taken to hospital. A
26-year-old man was arrested by Dutch police investigating the killing.
Other deaths in November included that of French movie maker Phillipe De
Broca, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 71. And Dallas star Howard
Keel lost his battle with colon cancer on Nov. 7 He was 85. The
Illinois-born actor launched to fame in 1950 as Betty Hutton's love interest in
musical film Annie Get Your Gun. Keel went on to play the romantic lead in MGM
classics Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, Calamity Jane and Seven Brides For Seven
Brothers. Author and screenwriter Arthur Hailey also lost his life in November.
The 84-year-old novelist died in his sleep.
An interview Will Smith gave to a German newspaper in which he downplayed the
effect Sept. 11, 2001 had on black Americans prompted angry activists to
call for a boycott of his films at the start of December. The I, Robot star had
unleashed his controversial comments in Frankfurter Allgemeine four months
previously, when reporter Johanna Adorjan asked Smith if the events had
personally changed him. He'd replied, "No. Absolutely not. When you grow up
black in America you have a completely different view of the world than white
Americans. We blacks live with a constant feeling of unease. And whether you
are wounded in an attack by a racist cop or in a terrorist attack, I'm sorry,
it makes no difference."
New mother Julia Roberts was given an extra reason to celebrate when she
topped The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of highest-paid actresses yet
again. The Oscar-winning star pulled in a salary of $20 million per picture. Others named in the Women In Entertainment issue included Cameron Diaz, who also takes in $20 million, and Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore, who each earn $15 million.
Natalie Portman wrote a letter to style magazine Allure to explain
herself for comments she made in an interview in which she empathized with
being a black American. The star insisted the attributed quote, "I'm not black,
but I know what it feels like," was "personally offensive" when she read the
article in August's Allure. She said, "If I had spoken more articulately, I might
have conveyed what I truly feel: I could never know what it is like to be a
Not such good news for Catherine Zeta Jones and her husband Michael Douglas, whose legal woes continued unabated when British showbiz magazine Hello! decided to appeal the damages awarded to its rival OK! after it printed photographs of the couple's wedding. However, Hello! doesn't dispute the $27,740 awarded to Zeta Jones and Douglas for breach of confidence, but insisted the $1,982,197 awarded to OK! was "far too high."
Luscious Liv Tyler and her rocker husband Royston Langdon became first-time
parents on Dec. 14, after she gave birth to a boy called Milo.
Articles Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Top Story: Miramax Gets Fahrenheit Back From Disney
After an undoubtedly few tense weeks, Miramax Films and Walt Disney Co. have finally reached a deal regarding Oscar-winning Michael Moore's controversial new documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Reuters reports. Disney--who has refused to distribute Fahrenheit, which chronicles America's response to the Sept. 11 attacks and links the Bush family to Osama bin Laden--will let Miramax acquire the rights to the film, giving Miramax's co-chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein freedom to look for another distributor. Miramax spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said the Weinsteins are providing a "term sheet" to Disney based on a similar deal for a previous, controversial Miramax film, Kevin Smith's Dogma, and that the brothers "look forward to promptly completing this transaction," Reuters reports.
La Toya Ousted From American Idol
Outrage rocked Wednesday night's episode of American Idol once again as one of the favorites, La Toya London, was voted off the Fox TV talent competition. Many had predicted London and fellow contestant Fantasia Barrino would be going head-to-head in the finals, but the two singers actually received the lowest viewer votes. As the crowd jeered in reaction to her elimination, the judges also voiced their discontent for the viewers' picks. "I think America got this one wrong this week," Paula Abdul stated. The finalists have now been whittled down to three, including Barrino, Diana DeGarmo and Jasmine Trias--whom many assumed would be the one to get the boot.
Anderson Waves American Flag
Actress Pamela Anderson, a native of Canada, became an American citizen Wednesday after being sworn in during a brief ceremony in Los Angeles, Reuters reports. "I felt it was important to become a U.S. citizen in order to vote in the United States," Anderson said in a written statement. "U.S. citizenship will allow me, in the future, to petition to bring my children's grandparents down to the United States to care for them once they become older. I have no intention of giving up my citizenship in Canada and am very proud to be a Canadian."
Shriver Launches Calif. Jewelry Line
California's first lady Maria Shriver is launching a line of jewelry featuring the state's landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood Sign and Yosemite National Park, with a portion of the proceeds to go to the California State Protocol Fund, The Associated Press reports. The collection ranges in price from $18 to $170 and includes sterling silver bracelets, key chains, money clips and cufflinks. About 25 percent of the price of each piece goes to the fund. The California State Protocol Fund is set up so that the cost of hosting foreign dignitaries, promoting international trade and cross-cultural activities is paid for by private donations, AP reports.
Schwarzenegger Endorses Calif. School Degrees
Meanwhile, Shriver's hubby, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is now putting his John Hancock on degrees handed out to graduates from California's two largest university systems. AP reports students expressed mixed reactions. "It kind of makes the diploma seem like a bit of a joke that an action hero has signed and validated it," Bridget O'Brien, who graduated in December from the University of California, Los Angeles, told AP. "I got a B.A. in geography, but I think my diploma is B.S." Devin Theobald, who graduates this week from Humboldt State University, however, said the signature has symbolic value to him because Schwarzenegger rose from roots as an Austrian immigrant to become one of Hollywood's biggest stars and California's governor.
Brokaw Signs 10-Year Deal With NBC
Tom Brokaw may be stepping down as anchor of NBC Nightly News in December, but viewers won't get to miss him. Reuters reports the veteran TV journalist has signed a 10-year contract that will keep him with the network as a documentary producer and host through 2014. He will also contribute to NBC's coverage of major news events as an analyst. Brokaw, 64, announced last month he was stepping down as anchor for NBC's evening newscast Dec. 1, 2004 and would be replaced by anchor and managing editor by Brian Williams.
California Porn Film Moratorium Lifted
The California porn industry has lifted a self-imposed moratorium Wednesday on filming in Los Angeles--a month earlier than expected, Reuters reports. Sharon Mitchell, director of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, which runs an HIV-screening program for the industry, said about half of the 50 porn actors under quarantine had been cleared after testing negative three times in 45 days. In all, five actors have tested positive for HIV in the biggest outbreak of the AIDS virus in Southern California's multibillion-dollar adult film industry since 1998.
Rumsfeld's Press Conference Set to Music
Two San Francisco musicians have set Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Feb. 12, 2002, briefing on the situation in Iraq to chamber music. Rumsfeld's famous explanation to the state of world affairs, "As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns," is being sung by soprano Elender Wall on the self-published CD, The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld and Other Fresh American Songs. But the song hasn't ruffled Rumsfeld's feathers. He told the AP, "Someone gave me a copy of this thing, and here is this woman with a wonderful voice singing my press conference. Now, if that doesn't tell you something about the state of the world!"
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.
Top Story: Schwarzenegger Plays Real-Life Hero
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took his movie hero status seriously when he rescued a cramp-stricken swimmer Wednesday in Hawaii, The Associated Press reports. On a break from his gubernatorial duties, Schwarzenegger, who was vacationing with wife Maria Shriver and their four children, spotted a man in trouble while swimming off the coast of Maui. "He saw a man in distress in the water and brought him back to the shore," an aide to Schwarzenegger told AP. "The man was hanging onto a boogie board and the governor knew there was something wrong and asked the guy if he was OK. The swimmer said he had cramps all over and couldn't swim back to shore, so the governor told him to hang on and swam him 100 yards (meters) back to the beach," the source said. The swimmer is reportedly well and thanked his unlikely rescuer before both resumed their holidays.
Yankovic's Parents Found Dead
Tragedy struck on Good Friday for parody musician "Weird Al" Yankovic, when his elderly parents were found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in their home, the county medical examiner's office told Reuters. Nick Yankovic, 86, and his 81-year-old wife, Mary, were discovered on Friday by family members at their Fallbrook, California, residence. It was unclear how long they had been dead. A fire was still burning in the fireplace and authorities said that the home had filled with toxic fumes because the chimney flue was closed, Reuters reports.
Rebecca and John Call It Quits
Another Hollywood couple bites the dust. A spokesman for Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and John Stamos confirmed to New York's Daily News that the couple are separating after five years of marriage. "It's very amicable," says spokesman Lewis Kay. "There's no third party. There's no real reason except they've decided to go in separate directions." They married in 1998. "About a year ago we went through a difficult time, because we were apart too much," Stamos told People last December. "So we made a pact to spend more time together." But their schedules seemed to have gotten even busier since then. Stamos has been shooting a pilot for an ABC comedy, while Romijn-Stamos has two movies, The Punisher and Godsend, opening within the next few weeks.
Hilton's Ex Drops Suit
Paris Hilton's former boyfriend, Richard Salomon, who appeared with the hotel heiress in the now-infamous sex video that made the rounds on the Internet a few months ago, has dropped his $10 million slander lawsuit against Hilton and her parents, AP reports. Salomon filed suit last November, alleging Hilton was an "active participant" in making the video, but she and her family have waged a "cold, calculated and malicious campaign to portray Salomon as a rapist" to protect her image. In court papers filed Tuesday, attorneys for Richard Salomon asked to dismiss claims against the Hiltons. No reason was given for the request, AP reports.
Victoria's Secret Special Canceled
Lingerie company Victoria's Secret has canceled its yearly televised runway show, which has aired on CBS network for the last two years, due to a crackdown by regulators on indecency, the Wall Street Journal reports. The decision not to go forward with the program was made after one of Janet Jackson's breast's was exposed during the Super Bowl half-time show, Ed Razek, chief marketing officer for Victoria's Secret, told the Journal.
Beckham Affair Intensifies
Just as the media frenzy around allegations David Beckham had an affair with a former assistant hit a fever pitch, the British tabloids reported Sunday that a second woman has claimed she had an affair with the soccer star, Reuters reports. The News of the World printed that 29-year-old Sarah Marbeck, who met Beckham in Singapore during a Manchester United pre-season tour of the Asia-Pacific region, had an affair with him in 2001. Beckham, as well as his famous wife of five years and former Spice Girl, Victoria, have vehemently denied the allegations, saying their relationship is stronger than ever.
Actress Snodgress Dies
Actress Carrie Snodgress, best known for her Oscar-nominated turn as a cheating housewife in the 1970 Diary of a Mad Housewife but who dropped out of the limelight to raise a child with rocker Neil Young, died last week in Los Angeles of heart failure, Reuters reports. She was 57.
Sportscaster Summerall Gets Liver Transplant
Legendary sports broadcaster Pat Summerall, 73, received a liver transplant Saturday in Florida, Reuters reports, which, his family stated, was necessitated by the effects of alcohol abuse. There were no complications, the hospital said in a statement, and he was recovering in intensive care after the surgery.
Role Call: Keaton's Mad Over Money, Bogdanovich Hustles
Diane Keaton has signed on to do Mad Money for MGM, directed by writer/director Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood). Described as a low-tech version of Ocean's Eleven, the story--a remake of a British TV movie and based on a true story--focuses on three female janitors who rob the Federal Reserve…Veteran filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show) is sliding into first to direct an ESPN cable TV biopic on baseball player Pete Rose. The film will focus on Rose's career as well as his gambling-related downfall. It's set to air Sept. 25.
Top Story: "EW" Names Chris Rock Funniest Man in America
Comedian, actor and writer Chris Rock has been named the funniest man in America by Entertainment Weekly in the magazine's March 19 issue. Rock began performing in Manhattan comedy clubs as a teenager and by 1987 had made an early TV appearance on the HBO special Uptown Comedy Express--the same year the comedian made his feature film debut as a parking valet in Beverly Hills Cop II. But it was during his three-year stint on NBC's Saturday Night Live that people really took note. Rock, 39, is now on his Black Ambition Tour, which will culminate in his fourth HBO special set to air April 17. "Watching Rock in 2004--21 years into his comedy career--is like watching a great prize-fighter in peak condition," the magazine said. Also gracing the list of the 25 funniest Americans are Jon Stewart, Will Ferrell, Larry David, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Murray, Jim Carrey and Jack Black.
"Wardrobe Malfunction" Invades English Language
The Global Language Monitor, a group that analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on culture, declared "wardrobe malfunction" as Hollywood's Top Word or Phrase for Impact on the English language. The phrase became famous after Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson's bustier during the Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show, revealing her right breast, later calling it a "wardrobe malfunction." Other words or phrases on the group's "HollyWord LingoList" include "Bootylicious," "extreme makeover," "Gigli" (as in "gigli bad"), "Give it up!" (replaces "please applaud for"), "Governator" (as in CAH-lee-FOR-nee-ah Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger), "snap" (from Freaky Friday, meaning very cool), and "Smiths" (to lack individuality, like the multi-duplicated agent Smith in The Matrix Reloaded).
Russell Crowe's Cinderella Man Gets Pushed Back
Universal Pictures has delayed the release of Russell Crowe's boxing drama Cinderella Man until Mar. 18, 2005, claiming it needs more time to mount a marketing campaign. The film was originally set for release on Dec. 17 of this year. Cinderella Man, which reunites Crowe with A Beautiful Mind director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer, had been considered a potential Oscar contender in the 2004 race, but now it will have to take aim at the 2005 contest instead. "Certainly, the May release of Gladiator and our experiences with Erin Brockovich and last year with Seabiscuit prove that there is no dedicated season for high-caliber films," a studio representative told The Hollywood Reporter of the fact that the project will be released in March rather than the fourth quarter preferred by Oscar fodder.
Sex Outfits Sell Like Hot Pants
Hundreds of size "2" women lined up outside the New York consignment shop Ina on Thursday to fight for castoff clothes from the trend-setting HBO series Sex and the City, which ended last month after a six-season run. Most of the items available were purchased by the show's costumers but never used. The priciest item was a black sequined Chanel minidress priced at $5,000, while a pair of red silk hot pants went for a mere $70, Reuters reports. But Carrie's beloved Manolo Blahnik stilettos were nowhere to be seen: Many of the show's signature outfits have already been claimed by cast members, while other pieces were auctioned by the cable network for the actresses' favorite charities.
Judge in Jackson Case Keeps Audiotapes Secret
On Thursday, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville kept sealed an audiotape that apparently contains defense interviews with Michael Jackson's accuser and his family, but allowed prosecutors to see videotapes he called "innocuous," The Associated Press reports. The judge said the audiotape, which is of an interview conducted early last year by an investigator for defense attorney Mark Geragos, could identify areas of defense strategy and should remain secret. Melville added, "the persons interviewed are equally available to the prosecution. Jackson pleaded innocent on Jan. 16 to seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. He's free on $3 million bail.
R. Kelly's Sex Photos Inadmissible in Court
A Florida judge ruled yesterday that sex photos were illegally seized from the Florida home of R. Kelly and cannot be used as evidence in his child pornography trial, Reuters reports. Prosecutors in central Florida charged the R&B singer with 12 counts of possessing child pornography in January 2003, based on digital photos that Polk County deputies said showed him engaged in sex acts with a girl under the age of 18. Kelly, whose first name is Robert, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which stem from a 26-minute videotape that allegedly depicted the singer in sex acts with a girl who police say was 14 at the time. Kelly has denied the charges and is out on bail awaiting trial.
Rodney Dangerfield Finally Gets Respect
Fox Television has secured rights to Rodney Dangerfield's upcoming HarperCollins autobiography, It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs, the AP reports. "I'm excited that Fox is making a movie on my life story, but I hope they do it soon! I'm 82 years old," the "No Respect" comic said in a statement Wednesday. "At my age, I'm looking for a one-night sit! I'm thrilled about finishing my first book. Now I'm going to read another one."
David Crosby Denounced Drug Use Prior to Arrest
Singer David Crosby, who was arrested March 7 in New York on marijuana and gun possession charges, told The Frederick News-Post February in an interview published yesterday that he was through with drugs. "I haven't been tempted by that stuff for 15 years. You get past it," said Crosby, who was to perform in Frederick, Md. today. "When I really got toasted towar
Top Story: David Blaine Emerges From Box
Illusionist David Blaine emerged Sunday from the transparent box hanging over London's River Thames in which he spent 44 days for a starvation stunt and was taken to the hospital after making a brief statement, Reuters reports. Looking disheveled and visibly thinner, Blaine, who says he consumed only water during his ordeal, broke down in tears in front of a crowd of thousands. "I learned how important it is to have a sense of humor and to laugh at everything because nothing makes any sense," he said. Medical teams checked the 30-year-old New Yorker on the scene before he was carried on a stretcher into an ambulance and taken to the London Independent Hospital. Doctors said Blaine faced disorientation, muscle loss and may have damaged his appetite, which could put him at a longer-term risk of eating disorders. Blaine sold the television rights to broadcasters Sky TV and Channel 4 in deals reportedly worth at least $1 million.
Prosecution Says Enough Evidence for Blake Trial
Prosecutors say there is "more than sufficient" evidence to try actor Robert Blake for killing his wife. According to The Associated Press, prosecutors, responding to the defense motion to dismiss murder charges against the actor, said testimony at a preliminary hearing showed that Blake discussed killing his wife "in a manner strikingly similar to the manner in which she actually was killed." The prosecution added that Blake was in the area when she was killed and had gunshot residue on his hands and clothing. Blake, 69, is accused of shooting Bonny Lee Bakley to death on May 4, 2001, while she waited in his car as he allegedly went to retrieve a gun he had accidentally dropped under a table in a Studio City restaurant where they had just dined. But in September, the defense motion claimed there was no forensic evidence linking Blake to the shooting or the murder weapon and asked that murder charges against the Baretta star be dismissed. A hearing on the dismissal motion is scheduled for Oct. 31 with the trial set for Feb. 9.
Schwarzenegger Mural Gets Terminated
Los Angeles officials want a building owner to take down a giant mural of California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger that went up a week after the Terminator star won the state's Oct. 7 recall election, Reuters reports. The city attorney charged owner Robert Lusk Davis Thursday with failing to get a permit for the ad promoting the DVD release of Terminator 3 but Davis, who is no relation to outgoing Gov. Gray Davis, said he would take the case to court before taking it down. The mural, on Cahuenga Blvd. in Studio City, is about 40 feet high and about 100 feet wide. Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn told Reuters the apparent political implications of the case were coincidental.
Woody Allen Bio Doubtful
Woody Allen's publicist said Friday that, contrary to published reports, the filmmaker was not close to a book deal. "Many times over the past two to three years, they've asked him to write his memoirs and he said he wasn't interested," Leslee Dart told the AP Friday. "They then told him they could get a phenomenal amount of money for it, and he said that for a phenomenal amount of money he could see if he could get interested." The New York Times reported last week that Allen was near agreement with Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin, for a deal worth around $3 million. Dart said Allen had turned down Riverhead and that no other offers were being considered, but added that he had not given up.
Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against Eminem
A judge on Friday dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by a former schoolmate of rapper Eminem. DeAngelo Bailey, 32, claimed that Eminem slandered him in the song "Brain Damage" on his 1999 album The Slim Shady LP. He was seeking $1 million. But Mount Clemes, Mich., Judge Deborah Servitto sided with the rapper, saying Eminem's lyrics are "stories no one would take as fact, they're an exaggeration of a childish act."
Ozzy Osbourne a New Man
In an in-depth interview with MTV, Ozzy Osbourne revealed he is a brand new man. Osbourne announced last week that he was postponing his upcoming European tour because of the effects of medication he's taking to treat tremors. After seeking out Dr. Allan H. Ropper, who had treated famous Parkinson's sufferer Michael J. Fox, Osbourne said he is feeling better than he has in years. "It turns out that it's a hereditary thing that I have from my mother's side of the family," an animated Ozzy told MTV. "This guy in Boston fixed me great. He's taken me off all the medication that I was on. I'm taking one medication now for this tremor." So don't expect to see Osbourne shuffling around his house on The Ousbournes anytime soon. The singer said that was simply a consequence of the constant pain he was in.
Afghan Film Wins Canadian Prize
Afghan director Siddiq Barmak's film Osama, which won the top prize Sunday at Montreal's New Movie and New Media Festival, has become one of the first features produced in Afghanistan and nominated since the fall of the Taliban, Reuters reports. The film, named after Osama bin Laden who at the time was established in Afghanistan, tells the story of the social situation and women's lack of status in society after the Taliban came to power in 1996.
Web Piracy Could Cost Hollywood Millions
A new survey by Britain's Informa Media Group found Monday that selling films across the Internet could be an industry worth more than $800 million a year by 2010, but would be worth more than $1.3 billion if it were not for illegal downloads, Reuters reports. The survey found that Internet users with broadband connections download an estimated 144,000 films illegally every day worldwide. If 50 percent of those downloads is considered a lost sale worth an average $3.50, it means that this year alone Hollywood misses out on about $92 million in revenues, Informa added. The report also estimated that sales of hard copies of DVDs and video will remain by far the largest category of film sales: $2.62 billion in 2010, up from this year's $804 million.
Role Call: Duvall and Farrell Play Ball, Warner Options Pearl Memoire
Robert Duvall, who starred as the coach of a
Top Story: Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston Top Best Dressed List
Actresses Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry and Nicole Kidman were all recognized for their fashion flair in People magazine's best dressed of 2003 special issue, which hits newsstands Thursday. Singers, however, didn't fair so well. Taking top honors in the worst dressed categories went to Britney Spears, Lil' Kim and Mariah Carey. Almost Famous star Hudson was named "Free Spirit" tapping into her inner hippie, while Friends star Aniston was named "The Purist" for her no-frills style. Oscar-winner Berry was crowned "The Showstopper" for her ability to wow crowds with her figure-flaunting gowns, while fellow Oscar-winner Kidman was named "The Goddess" for her timeless elegance. Steven Cojocaru, People magazine's style editor, also awarded actresses Winona Ryder, Cynthia Nixon and singer Da Brat his "Sag" awards for their revealing tops.
Schwarzenegger Does Oprah, Stern
Actor-turned-Republican gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger has booked an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show with his Democrat wife, Maria Shriver, on Monday's season premiere of the syndicated daytime talk show. The show, which will air live from Winfrey's studio in Chicago, will mark Schwarzenegger and Shriver's first joint TV interview since he announced his campaign for California governor. According to Reuters, Schwarzenegger is also slated for a guest spot on Howard Stern's morning radio show.
Chong's Bongs Land Him in Jail
Tommy Chong, of the dope-smoking comedy duo Cheech & Chong, was sentenced Thursday to nine months in prison and fined $20,000 for distributing marijuana pipes over the Internet, Reuters reports. The 65-year-old Canadian-born entertainer asked U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab for a sentence of community service, saying that while he has a problem with marijuana, he had overcome dependency through constructive hobbies such as salsa dancing. But the judge ruled that jail time was appropriate for a felony charge of conspiring to distribute drug paraphernalia, to which Chong pleaded guilty last May.
Bail in Diaz Photo Case Set
Superior Court Judge Ann Jones ruled Wednesday that Los Angeles photographer John Rutter, who is accused of trying to extort $3.3 million from Cameron Diaz for topless pics taken about 10 years ago, must remain jailed in place of $250,000 bail, The Associated Press reports. Rutter, 41, faces felony counts of attempted extortion, attempted grand theft, perjury and forgery. Last month, he was denied release on his own recognizance and a court commissioner ordered him to stay away from the 31-year-old actress. He was arrested Aug. 12 after authorities raided his apartment and seized the photos.
Film's Golden Year: 1939
Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights, the John Wayne Western Stagecoach and Of Mice and Men contributed to 1939 being voted the golden year of Hollywood, according to a poll of British filmgoers. The survey, compiled from votes of 2,000 moviegoers by Internet pollster YouGov, gave second place to 1974, the year of the mob drama The Godfather, Part II and The Great Gatsby, while third spot went to 1946, which provided The Big Sleep, It's a Wonderful Life and The Postman Always Rings Twice. None of the past 29 years made it in to the Top Five list.
Kelly Osbourne Signs With Sanctuary
Kelly Osbourne has signed a multi-album recording contract with Sanctuary Records Group. According to Billboard, the label plans to re-release her 2002 Epic debut Shut Up under the name Changes on Sept. 30. The album's title track will feature a duet with her father, Ozzy Osbourne, a reworking of the Black Sabbath song of the same name, which appeared on the group's 1972 album, Black Sabbath, Vol. 4. Kelly split from Sony's Epic label shortly after the release of Shut Up, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and has sold 155,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Jewel Cancels Tour
Singer Jewel has canceled her North American tour due to the death of her bass player, the AP reports. Terome "T-Bone" Hannon died Sept. 4 after suffering a stroke. The 39-year-old Detroit native had played with Jewel for three years. The tour, to support her latest album, 0304, had been set to begin Sept. 19 in North Charleston, S.C. Atlantic Records said Jewel plans to perform alone at acoustic shows in the near future.
Role Call: Queen Latifah Plans Cookout
Queen Latifah has joined the cast of director Lance Rivera's The Cookout for Lions Gate Films. The film also stars Quran Pender, Ja Rule, Eve, Jonathan Silverman, Tim Meadows, Farrah Fawcett and Danny Glover. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cookout revolves around a basketball star who becomes the No. 1 NBA draft pick. To celebrate, he organi
Top Story: L.A. Photographer Charged Over Diaz Pics
A Los Angeles photographer was charged Wednesday with attempting to extort $3.3 million from actress Cameron Diaz over photos taken at a private modeling session in 1992--before the Charlie's Angels star became famous, Reuters reports. John Rutter, who was arrested Tuesday at his Venice apartment, was also charged with attempted grand theft and perjury and two counts of forgery. Diaz's publicist, Brad Cafarelli, had alleged the photographer was trying to extort money from Diaz, now 30, by giving her first shot at purchasing the pictures before contacting media outlets. Rutter claimed to have a signed release for the pictures, which he says include topless shots of a then-21-year-old Diaz, but the actress says she never signed a photo release and that the signature he produced is a forgery. Last month, Diaz sued Rutter to stop the release of the photos and Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Alan B. Haber agreed to seal the photos. Rutter, 41, and is being held on $250,000 bail pending an arraignment and faces a maximum of six years in prison if convicted.
Deliberations Resume in Sizemore-Fleiss Case
Jurors in the Tom Sizemore-Heidi Fleiss domestic violence trial will begin their second day of deliberations this morning, The Associated Press reports. The jury asked Superior Court Judge Antonio Barreto Jr. for the transcripts of the tape-recorded phone calls Sizemore made to his ex-girlfriend Fleiss and asked the judge for the specific definition of "intent to annoy." Sizemore, who starred in Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down, is facing charges of vandalism, threatening to inflict injury to a person or property, corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, and making harassing phone calls. If convicted, he faces up to 13 years in prison.
Producer Pleads Guilty in Seagal Shake Down Case
Steven Seagal's former business partner, Julius Nasso, admitted in federal court Wednesday that he plotted to have the mob shake down the action star. Under a plea deal, Nasso, who produced early Seagal films such as On Deadly Ground and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, will serve one year in prison and pay a $75,000 fine. According to the AP, Nasso said he had an "understanding" that a reputed capo in the Gambino crime family, Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone, would confront Seagal about a debt in a way "that would be perceived to be a threat." Ciccone was convicted along with Peter Gotti, brother of late mob boss John Gotti, in a racketeering case and is awaiting sentencing. Nasso, however, maintains Seagal owes him $2.5 million and would sue him to get it back.
AMPAS Need Film Credits Sooner Than Later
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which each year asks studios and production companies to be punctual in submitting official screen credit forms for Oscar consideration, is requesting they be submitted earlier than the Dec. 1 deadline. According to Variety, the forms must officially be submitted to the Academy no later than 60 days after the opening of the qualifying Los Angeles release, or Dec. 1, whichever comes first. But because of next year's earlier Feb. 29 Oscarcast date, the official reminder list of eligible releases must be proofed, printed and ready to mail along with the nominations ballots on Jan. 2. Credits coordinator Torene Svitil told Variety there will therefore be very little time to make last-minute changes to the list.
Jay Leno Invites Recall Candidates on Show
Jay Leno has invited everyone making a bid in the California gubernatorial recall race to appear on NBC's The Tonight Show two weeks before the election, Reuters reports. "We're going to invite every single person running for governor to be in our audience Sept. 22," Leno said on Tuesday night's telecast during his opening monologue. "Here's your chance to get on national television with your issue." Leno jokingly added that he would even provide a booster seat for Diff'rent Strokes star Gary Coleman, who is running. A spokesman for Coleman told Reuters the former child star would take Leno up on his offer. According to state election officials, 135 candidates, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, have officially qualified for the ballot.
Madonna Lends Song for Estee Lauder Ad
The Fifth Element director Luc Besson has filmed a commercial for Estee Lauder's
new fragrance, Beyond Paradise, starring supermodel Carolyn Murphy and featuring Madonna's "Love Profusion" single from her American Life album. According to Reuters, top special effects experts in France spent several months composing each frame of the 30-second spot, which will observe Murphy is in a magical world of water, flowers and fairies. The ad will debut in more than 10,000 movie theaters nationwide in September with a TV version set to air on MTV, VH1, E! and Style cable channels. What could be next for Madonna, an Old Navy commercial?
Insane Clown Posse Named Worst Band Ever
The Detroit rap duo Insane Clown Posse, known for their creepy face makeup and X-rated lyrics, have been named the worst band ever by Blender magazine. According to Reuters, Blender's September issue said Insane Clown Posse "sound even stupider than they look," and ridiculed them for rapping about "40-ouncers and venereal disease." Officials at the band's Psychopathic Records label were not happy about the rating and noted that the Insane Clown Posse's album The Wraith: Shangri-La, which was dubbed the worst by Blender, actually received a three-star review in the publication's January/February issue. No. 2 on the list
Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff admits to having hit the bottom of the barrel. He told TV Guide that after checking himself into an alcohol treatment program in June, he left after one day, got a hotel room and starting drinking nonstop, winding up in the hospital. Hasselhoff said, "I woke up going, 'This is rock bottom.'" He told the magazine he has since returned to the Betty Ford Clinic, where he is attending daily meetings for recovering alcoholics, and filming a reunion movie for his hit show Baywatch. Quipped the actor, "I thought about writing a book called The Minibar and Me. [I'd be] social drinking, having fun--and damn, I'd just have a blackout."
In this case, he won't be back. Arnold Schwarzenegger has asked a group in his hometown of Graz, Austria, to please stop plans to erect an 82-foot statue of the actor's most famous character: The Terminator. A spokesperson for The Forum Stadtpark, which is trying to get the $4.9 million statue made to stand in Graz's central park, told The Associated Press Schwarzenegger sent a letter requesting the money be used for better things, such as the Special Olympics.
AP reports the $60 million lawsuit against actor Steven Seagal, which alleges the actor backed out of a multi-movie deal worth $125 million at the suggestion of his Buddhist spiritual adviser, will go to trial as planned. On Thursday Judge Joseph Maltese ruled that the case, filed by Seagal's former partner, Julius Nasso, is valid and refused to throw it out.
Supermodel Kate Moss gave birth to her first child in London on Sunday. The baby girl, whom Moss and her partner Jefferson Hack have named Lola, weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces. London's Daily Mirror reports the couple is "deliriously happy" and anxious to add more to their growing family.
The filmmakers of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's next film are asking permission from the state to film a stunt around the sacred Hawaiian site Kapena Falls, where royalty once bathed. The film (yet to be titled after the original title Helldorado was scrapped) has The Rock playing the Hawaiian warrior king Kamehameha, who ruled the islands from 1795 until his death in 1819.
Sex and the City's creator Darren Star is a hot commodity these days. Not only does Star have a development deal with HBO for a new series called Pacific Palisades, Variety reports NBC has now made a seven-figure pilot commitment to another Star project, a one-hour comedy-drama based on the real-life story of Samantha Daniels, a matrimonial lawyer who also doubles as a high-class matchmaker. "It's all about relationships--getting into them and getting out of them," Star told Variety.
MTV Europe Music Awards host Sean "P. Diddy" Combs promises the Nov. 14 show in Barcelona, Spain, will be "a big ol' party," Reuters reports. "There is not going to be a dull moment. I really don't think it gets sexier than this--MTV, Barcelona, Diddy," Combs said at the London news conference when the nominees were announced.
ZZ Top is hitting the road again, Euro style. The group postponed the European leg of their tour in 2000 when bassist Dusty Hill was diagnosed with hepatitis C. Now that the 53-year-old Hill is better, he and band members guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard will continue their European tour throughout October beginning Tuesday in Helsinki, Finland.
Beware, evildoers: Ar-nuld's back and he's ready to kick some terrorist butt.
Postponed from its Oct. 5 release in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Collateral Damage arrives in theaters Friday as more than just another attempt by one of the world's biggest action stars to revive his flagging fortunes at the box office.
Suddenly, Collateral Damage represents a vicarious experience for audiences eager to punish those who dare to create terror on American soil. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a firefighter-is there a nobly profession these days?-who hunts down the Colombian terrorist responsible for planting a bomb that killed Schwarzenegger's wife and son. Accordingly, what unfolds as a tired and cliched throwback to the days of Commando should give Arnold Schwarzenegger his first No. 1 film since 1997's disappointing Batman & Robin. Given that Schwarzenegger faces competition in the action-oriented Rollerball remake, and Friday's opening night 2002 Winter Olympics ceremony, Collateral Damage should mirror the $18.7 million opening that the equally simplistic Behind Enemy Lines enjoyed in late November.
The controversy swirling around Collateral Damage's depiction of Colombians as terrorists and drug manufacturers ironically should help the film at the box office. Newspapers are devoting the kind of coverage to Collateral Damage that not even Schwarzenegger, who is famous for being doggedly devoted to promoting his films, could hope to generate.
Yet no effort seems to have been made during Collateral Damage's four months on the shelf to reflect what happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Thus dialogue about today's America not experiencing the horrors of war could result in audience dismissing Collateral Damage as irrelevant despite its timeliness.
Schwarzenegger has fallen somewhat out of favor since his rare villainous turn as Mr. Freeze in the unintentionally campy Batman & Robin ($107.3 million total). The gloomy horror yarn End of Days made a lackluster $66.8 million in 1999 while The 6th Day's $34.5 million in 2000 represented Schwarzenegger's worst haul at the box office since 1982's Conan the Barbarian heralded his arrival as a major action hero.
Schwarzenegger faces a few challenges in his bid to teach such whippersnappers as Vin Diesel and Jet Li a lesson or two in saving the day. Collateral Damage is the first Schwarzenegger offering since 1985's Commando to open outside of the summer and winter holidays, times when a big-budget thriller such as this would thrive. Also, the last time Schwarzenegger took on terrorists, he had Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold and director James Cameron by his side to turn True Lies into a $146.2 million smash.
All things considered, Collateral Damage will likely end up with about $70 million. Not bad, but not great for a man once considered the most bankable star in the world. Schwarzenegger will have to wait until next year's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines celebrate his seventh $100 million smash.
Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage debuts against Rollerball, from his Predator and Last Action Hero director, John McTiernan.
Without Schwarzenegger, McTiernan scored major hits in the 1980s and 1990s with Die Hard, Die Hard With a Vengeance and The Hunt for Red October.
Lately, though, McTiernan seems intent on remaking just about every film made by director Norman Jewison. McTiernan and MGM scored a steamy hit with their 1999 remake of Jewison's The Thomas Crown Affair. Now McTiernan and MGM reunite for Rollerball, a remake of Jewison's 1975 look at a world in which war has been replaced by a violent sport more popular than football.
Rollerball hardly rushes into theaters. MGM yanked the remake from its original Aug. 17 release date following terrible word of mouth. McTiernan is used to such delays. He directed The 13th Warrior before The Thomas Crown Affair. His adaptation of Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead remained on the shelf for so long that it ended up in theaters four weekends after the release of The Thomas Crown Affair.
The remake stars Chris Klein as Rollerball's very own Michael Jordan. His presence certainly will not lure too many spectators to Rollerball. Audiences do not display much interest in Klein unless he's wooing Mena Suvari in the American Pie series.
Also, the well-reviewed The Thomas Crown Affair tantalized audiences with the promise of Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo getting hot and heavy in some exotic locales. Rollerball offers no such draw, and consequently will fail to make even half of The Thomas Crown Affair's $69.3 million total. Rollerball might not even have enough steam to push past The 13th Warrior's less-than-noble $32.6 million gross.
And perhaps that's not such a bad thing for McTiernan. Rollerball flopping might convince McTiernan to leave Jewison's classics alone before he does damage to In the Heat of the Night or Fiddler on the Roof.
Not interested in a shot of testosterone? Then try Big Fat Liar, a family comedy that could provide a welcome alternative to parents worn out by Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Alaskan adventure Snow Dogs. Teen TV stars Frankie Muniz (Malcolm and the Middle) and Amanda Bynes (The Amanda Show) unite to put greedy Hollywood producer Paul Giamatti in his place.
Malcolm in the Middle debuted on Fox in early 2000 to great reviews and ratings, a factor that no doubt helped Muniz's My Dog Skip to become a modest hit a few weeks later. Big Fat Liar should benefit from Muniz's Malcolm in the Middle antics to the point where it equals My Dog Skip's $34 million total. Big Fat Liar also faces little competition for the pre-teen market in the weeks to come, with the upcoming Disney Peter Pan sequel Return to Neverland aimed at preschoolers.
The triple threat of Collateral Damage, Rollerball and Big Fat Liar, plus the art house expansion of Billy Bob Thornton's Monster's Ball ($1.4 million through Sunday), should drive audiences to theaters this weekend. Football fans, of course, stayed at home last Sunday to watch the New England Patriots' Super Bowl upset over presumed winners the St. Louis Rams. The 2002 Winter Olympics will keep some people glued to their TVs, but not on the same scale of the Super Bowl.
As expected, the Super Bowl resulted in disastrous debuts for two delayed offerings, Birthday Girl and Slackers.
Birthday Girl failed to capitalize on Nicole Kidman's likely Oscar nomination for either Moulin Rouge or The Others. The messy mix of comedy and drama, with Kidman as an Internet-ordered bride with a shady past, opened with a less-than-celebratory $2.3 million at 1,000 theaters. Birthday Girl won't make much more than $6 million, or just under half of the $13.7 million that Moulin Rouge earned in its first weekend in wide release.
Teens wanted nothing to do with Slackers Devon Sawa, Jason Schwartzman and James King. The R-rated college comedy opened with a fittingly lazy $2.7 million from 1,893 theaters, and has amassed a lowly $3.4 million through Wednesday. Seems no one assumed that Slackers is a sequel to Slacker, which Richard Linklater, the director of the philosophically meandering Gen X classic, initially feared. Slackers will likely end up with about $8 million, proving once again that raunchy teen comedies are currently out of vogue.
The Super Bowl did not hurt Black Hawk Down, The Count of Monte Cristo, A Walk to Remember, I Am Sam and Snow Dogs.
Black Hawk Down will surrender the No. 1 spot to Collateral Damage after serving as the champ for three weekends. Ridley Scott's bloody account of a showdown between U.S. troops and Somalian warlords has made $77.8 million through Wednesday, with $100 million a certainty.
The Count of Monte Cristo continues to surprise. Director Kevin Reynolds' remake of the Alexandre Dumas literary classic declined by just 23 percent in its second weekend, from $11.3 to $8.7 million. It again ranked behind A Walk to Remember in the Top 10, but has made more money thanks to strong weekday business. With $25.2 million through Wednesday, The Count of Monte Cristo will ride past the lackluster $27 million that The Musketeer made in September and should make do with a booty of about $40 million.
Mandy Moore's fans clearly aren't interested in football. The pop singer's A Walk to Remember dropped 27 percent in its second weekend, from $12.1 million to $8.8 million. With Valentine's Day approaching, A Walk to Remember will clearly benefit this week from boyfriends willing to do anything for their loved ones, including seeing an unabashedly soppy teen romance starring Mandy Moore. A Walk to Remember, however, is set to take a big hit next weekend with the arrival of Britney Spears' Crossroads. With $24.3 million through Wednesday, A Walk to Remember will likely singto the tune of $40 million.
I Am Sam, hear me warble The Beatles. The critics hated it, but the Sean Penn drama continues to make audiences cry for all the right reasons. I Am Sam, starring Penn as a mentally challenge father fighting for custody of his 7-year-old daughter, dropped 24 percent in its second weekend, from $8.5 million to $6.3 million. Playing at only 1,303, I Am Sam has made an excellent $18.7 million through Wednesday.
There's no rest for Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Snow Dogs. The family comedy continues to run much of the competition ragged as it enjoyed a third weekend haul of $10.1 million, or 22 percent less than the previous weekend's $13 million. That was the smallest decline in earnings for any of the films in the Top 10. Snow Dogs now has $52.3 million through Wednesday. Even with competition arriving in the form of Big Fat Liar and Return to Neverland, Snow Dogs should run its way to $75 million.
Richard Gere's The Mothman Prophecies flew lower by a better-than-expected 34 percent in its second weekend, going from $11.2 to $7.3 million. With $22.6 million through Wednesday, The Mothman Prophecies could survive being dismissed as a substandard X-Files knockoff and end up making close to the $37.7 million that Gere's Autumn in New York made in 2000.
The Super Bowl sacked Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. The martial arts spoof tumbled 45 percent in its second weekend, from $7 million to $3.8 million, for a total of $12 million through Sunday. Kung Pow: Enter the Fist will be lucky to kick its way to $17 million.
Leading Oscar contenders A Beautiful Mind, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Gosford Park should continue to do strong business in advance of Tuesday's nominations announcement.
Director Ron Howard celebrated his fifth $100 million hit last weekend with A Beautiful Mind. The biography of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. has made $106.3 million through Wednesday. A slew of nominations, plus a win or two, will result in a possible $140 million total for A Beautiful Mind.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring will vanquish Shrek this weekend to become the second-highest earner of 2001. Peter Jackson's epic has $267.5 million through Wednesday. Shrek ended its run with a $267.7 million. Securing a Best Picture nomination will help The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring climb to a $300 million total.
Robert Altman's classy murder mystery Gosford Park dropped by only 15 percent in its third weekend in wide release, from $2.7 million to $2.3 million. With its total standing at $19.9 million through Wednesday, Gosford Park will surpass The Player's $21.7 million this weekend to become Altman's biggest hit in more than two decades. A shot at Oscar gold would be the icing on the cake for an iconoclastic director who seems to be back at the peak of his creative powers.
It wasn't exactly like the nosy newspaper said it was going to be, but as expected, "American Beauty" was the big winner, nabbing a field-best five Oscars, including Best Picture, at tonight's 72nd Annual Academy Awards.
"Beauty" star Kevin Spacey was named Best Actor. The relatively no-name Hilary Swank ("Boys Don't Cry") bested Spacey's big-name co-star Annette Bening in the Best Actress race. The Wall Street Journal may have spoiled some of the surprises (including the Swank victory) with its controversial scoop-the-Oscars story Friday, but nobody here seemed to care.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was looking at the night's scorecard and realizing that, after "American Beauty" (which also claimed wins for Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Original Screenplay), the other big film was "The Matrix," which swept the four technical categories in which it was nominated.
Here's an annotated recap of the night's winners at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium:
BEST PICTURE: "American Beauty."
Kevin Spacey BEST ACTOR: Kevin Spacey, "American Beauty." Heavy favorite or no, Spacey says he's "stunned" and goes on to inexplicably thank, um, Jack Lemmon. Backstage, when the "American Beauty" winners converge with the adoring press, Spacey explains that he first met Lemmon when he was 13 (Spacey, not Lemmon) and considers him a mentor. Lemmon's turn as a corporate schmuck in "The Apartment" (1960), in fact, was the inspiration for Spacey's Oscar-winning performance. "He really was a model for Lester Burnham. Without his performance in 'The Apartment,' it never would have been possible for me," Spacey says. The press here are adept at posing some odd questions, and when a scribe asks Spacey if he was "surprised" that he got so emotional onstage (and thus stammered through his acceptance), the actor retorts: "Actually, I was experiencing an aneurysm."
BEST ACTRESS: Hilary Swank, "Boys Don't Cry." "We have come a long way," says the star, formerly of "The Next Karate Kid." And, for those wondering what husband Chad Lowe said in Hilary's ear before she accepted her award, it was: "Breathe and be free." He should have said, "Don't forget to thank me when you're up there," 'cause once she took the stage, he started bawling (aw!) and she started talking about not him.
Hilary Swank Backstage, Swank fixes the boo-boo with a "Thank you, honey, you're my everything," and explains that the faux pax occurred because "it's very surreal up there." Meanwhile, Swank proves the hippest and most chatty Oscar winner paraded in front of reporters. She waxes about living in a car with her mom ("My mom has been the biggest believer in me. … We picked up from Washington state, we got in our Oldsmobile with $75 to our name, and we drove down to Los Angeles" and lived on air mattresses until Swank got a job on "Growing Pains").
Michael Caine BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Caine, "The Cider House Rules." On stage, a hyperventilating Caine reels off a the-other-guys-were-really-wonderful-too speech. By the time he finishes, it's Friday. When Caine finally comes backstage, we raise our number in the air (that's the way it works back here if you want to ask a star a question -- getting called on is kind of like winning a raffle), but, no, we don't get called on. We actually had two questions we wanted to ask Caine -- one was about all the abortion protesters lining Jefferson Boulevard outside the Shrine tonight (he plays an abortion doctor in "Cider House'), the other one was, "Hey, Michael, what was the best part about making 'Jaws: The Revenge?'"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Angelina Jolie, "Girl, Interrupted." Angelina Jolie Onstage, Jolie (looking like Wednesday from "The Addams Family") thanks her brother (a lot). Backstage, the 24-year-old-star offspring of Jon Voight (a winner himself for 1978's "Coming Home") gets used to the feel of Oscar. "My dad's mother had his [trophy] in a goldfish bowl, on the mantelpiece," Jolie says. "I never held it. You know, you grow up with it, and you kind of think it's just this strange thing in grandma's house." As for the brother thing -- the guy's name is James Haven Voight and, according to Jolie, "he and I were each other's everything."
BEST DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes, "American Beauty."
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Alan Ball, "American Beauty." Ball used to write for "Cybill." He doesn't write for "Cybill" anymore. Instead, he uses his mike time at the Shrine to thank plastic bags that float in the wind and, you know, inspire him.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: John Irving, "The Cider House Rules." After author Irving thanks Miramax on stage for having the guts to make a film about the "abortion issue" and praises Planned Parenthood for getting behind the film, Irving ducks out -- he's the only high-profile Oscar winner to avoid meeting the press backstage.
IRVING G. THALBERG MEMORIAL AWARD: Warren Beatty. In a rambling to-all-the-girls-I've-loved-before speech, Beatty pays tribute to wife Annette Bening: "She is my treasure." Reflecting on his award in the press boom afterward, Beatty talks a lot of cybertalk about the "broadband revolution" and delivers some of that great stammering that he's known and loved for. Asked whether he's dismayed that Bening didn't get the Best Actress nod, the almost-presidential candidate star says: "I'm disappointed, but Annette did win. She's, it, it's, this thing about, I mean, who could possibly say that Annette is anything other than a winner? So, uh, it's one, one, and, and I think that Hilary gave a terrific performance in a wonderful movie, you know. I don't think it's the greatest idea in the world to think of these things as competitive."
TELECAST ASIDE NO. 1: Jack Nicholson introduces a filmed tribute on the subject of Warren "Mad Dog" Beatty. In a fit of good taste, the package features just one testimonial from a Beatty ex-girlfriend (Julie Christie).
TELECAST ASIDE NO. 2: Edward Norton pulls duty on introducing the perfunctory people-who-died-last-year clips. Madeline Kahn and George C. Scott win on the applause-o-meter. Proving timing is everything, Hedy Lamarr, who passed away in January about 50 years after she was really famous, draws only minor hand-clappage. And, hey, what about Bones McCoy? Didn't DeForest Kelley, who played the good "Star Trek" doctor die in 1999, too? Respondeth Academy spokesman John Pavlik when asked about the omission: "Who?"
BEST SONG: "You'll Be in My Heart" (from "Tarzan"), Phil Collins. Backstage, as Mr. "Sussudio" drones on about how the critics never like his music and so forth, most of the disinterested reporters watch Michael Caine on the TV monitors. To add insult to insult, one writer prefaces his question to Collins with a "Congratulations, guy."
TELECAST ASIDE NO. 3: Best Song presenter Cher is attacked by her dress. She declines to press charges.
TELECAST ASIDE NO. 4: "South Park" warbler Robin Williams sings "fart" and "bitch" on national television. In other news, the world goes to hell in a handbasket.
TELECAST ASIDE NO. 5: Horshack from "Welcome Back Kotter" sings the Oscar-nominated "Music of My Heart" with Gloria Estefan. Er, make that 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake sings "Music of My Heart" with Gloria Estefan.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: "The Red Violin." We do not think Keanu Reeves was forced at gunpoint to present this category. We just think it sounded that way.
TELECAST ASIDE NO. 6: The Oscar producers may have eliminated The Pointless Dance Number, but they've come up with a new one: The Pointless Song Medley. Time to go to refrigerator. Unless you're into hearing Queen Latifah "sing" "The Way We Were." Others on hand: Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks, apparently after taking a wrong turn at the Coun ry Music Association Awards.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Conrad L. Hall, "American Beauty." This is Hall's second win. He won his first Oscar a hundred years ago (well, back in 1970 for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid").
BEST ART DIRECTION: "Sleepy Hollow."
BEST MAKEUP: "Topsy-Turvy."
BEST EDITING: "The Matrix."
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: "The Matrix." Presenter Arnold Schwarzenegger's hair color, while a fine visual effect in itself, apparently did not qualify.
BEST SOUND-EFFECTS EDITING: "The Matrix" (again). Somewhere, George Lucas broods.
BEST SOUND: "The Matrix." A few minutes after this category is announced, an Academy staffer asks the backstage media if anyone is interested in meeting "The Matrix" sound-geek guys, no hands are raised; ditto for the "Topsy-Turvy" folks who took the Oscar for Best Makeup. Know this: The Oscar press cares about stars, not necessarily winners.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: "Topsy-Turvy." Backstage, winner Lindy Hemming isn't totally ignored, but the best question a reporter can muster is, "What do you think of all the outfits the stars are wearing?"
HONORARY OSCAR: Andrzej Wajda Jane Fonda -- sans Ted Turner or a cause -- does the presenting honors on this one. Without incident, she introduces Polish filmmaker Wajda who surprises no one by speaking in, yes, Polish.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "All About My Mother" (Spain). "PEEEEDROOO" Almodovar (in the vernacular of presenter Penelope Cruz) accepts the Oscar. When the Director Who Made Antonio Banderas a Star comes backstage, he's greeted by rousing applause, much of which comes from the substantial Latin media corps. In addition to picking up the Oscar, Almodovar gets points back here for his wild hair, cool all-black tuxedo and (natch) cool name.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "One Day in September." This is first (and only) upset of the night. The heavy, heavy favorite was "Buena Vista Social Club" (aka the only doc civilians have heard of).
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: "King Gimp." Was this an upset? Heck if we know.
BEST ANIMATED SHORT: "The Old Man and the Sea."
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: "My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York." No, we've never heard of it, either.
TELECAST ASIDE NO. 7: In his opening, host Billy Crystal acknowledges Willie Fulgear, the man who found Oscar, ending a week's worth of media oversaturation.
TELECAST ASIDE NO. 8: Hackneyed or tradition? Doesn't matter. Billy Crystal's going to do it, anyway -- his opening song salute to the Best Picture nominees. This year, "The Green Mile" gets set to the tune of "Green Acres," "The Sixth Sense," to "People," "The Insider" to "The Minute Waltz," "The Cider House Rules" to "Mame," "American Beauty" to "The Lady Is a Tramp."
TELECAST ASIDE NO. 9: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Robert Rehme opens the show. Exciting, no? No. But it's only a front -- a way to intro host Billy Crystal's romp through cinema history, including stops in "Casablanca," "The French Connection" and "West Side Story." Fortunately, Crystal avoids a detour to "My Giant" Village.