British and Australian talent featured highly in this year's Bafta awards, Britain's equivalent of the Oscars. Moulin Rouge and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring each received 12 nominations, Reuters reports. The two films will battle it out in the best film category against A Beautiful Mind, Shrek and the French romantic comedy Amélie. The stars of Richard Eyre's Iris, Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville, each received nominations, as did Ian McKellen for his portrayal of the wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. Dench also received a best supporting actress nod for her role in The Shipping News. Nicole Kidman received a best actress nomination for The Others while fellow Aussie Russell Crowe won a nomination for best actor in A Beautiful Mind.
Britney Spears looking...prim? The pop princess will appear in two Pepsi commercials dubbed "Now and Then" during the upcoming Super Bowl XXXVI wearing period outfits instead of her typical midriff-baring getups and singing jingles from the 1950s, '60s, '70s and '80s. Internet users will then be asked to vote on their favorite generation. The winning era will be featured in a 30-second commercial shown during the second quarter of Sunday's game.
Playboy Playmate Petra Verkiak, aka Miss December 1989, took a high school teen to his girl-ask-guy winter formal after reading his college entrance essay, The Associate Press reports. Verkiak, 35, said she thought Toby Hawking's essay, which she received from a friend who got it from Hocking's mother, was "really deep." The former pinup showed up at Foothill High School in a limousine with the straight-A clarinet player and exclaimed, "This is like a fairy tale."
Anschutz Entertainment, the company that built the new homes for the Oscars and the L.A. Lakers, has reportedly set its sights on the Emmys. According to Variety, representatives from the company met with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences board of governors and executive committee to sway them into moving their annual primetime Emmy awards show to a venue in downtown Los Angeles. Anschutz Entertainment plans to build a 7,000-seat theater across from its Staples Center, which would be ready in time for the 2005 ceremony.
Last Wednesday's Inside the Real West Wing, an up-close-and-personal look inside the Bush White House that aired on NBC from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., surpassed The West Wing episode that followed it in the ratings race. While the special drew 15.2 million viewers, The West Wing averaged 14.7 million viewers. Perhaps the fact that the episode was a rerun was to blame. Figures show that on average, 18.4 million viewers tune in to President Josiah Bartlet.
Just a few months after CBS announced a full-season order of 22 episodes of The Ellen Show, the network has shut down production of Ellen DeGeneres' struggling comedy. The five remaining original episodes have been yanked through the February sweeps and will air instead in March and April.
Astrid Lindgren, the creator of braided redhead Pippi Longstocking, died Monday at her Stockholm home after several days of illness. She was 94. Lindgren wrote more than 100 works, including novels, plays, short stories and poetry, but her most popular character was Pippi Longstocking, the freethinking freckled girl with mismatched stockings.
Two weeks after his succumbing to cancer, the secrecy surrounding George Harrison's last rites and the actual place of his death suggests a deliberate attempt to protect his dignity and prevent his final resting place from becoming a stop on tour attraction. According to Reuters, a death certificate listing a nonexistent address contradicts reports that Harrison died at the home of friend and security consultant Gavin de Becker. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said Wednesday that celebrities often use this ruse to throw off reporters and that giving a different address as the place of death is not a crime. Harrison's ashes were reportedly scattered in the Ganges River following his death on Nov. 29.
Julia Roberts will host the A&E documentary Old Friends, which focuses on three women from a small town outside Chicago who have remained good friends since 1906. The show is scheduled for broadcast next year, The Associated Press reports.
Alanis Morissette will release an album of all new material on February 26, followed by a world tour. According to Rolling Stone, Under Rug Swept will feature 11 songs written and produced entirely by Morissette and include guest spots from Me'shell Ndegéocello, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Stone Temple Pilots guitarist Dean Deleo and former Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery. Songs written and recorded during the Under Rug Swept sessions that were not featured on the final album will be released as a separate album at a later date.
The NFL announced Tuesday that pop star Mariah Carey will sing "The Star Spangled Banner" before Super Bowl XXXVI at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on Feb. 3. U2 will perform during the halftime show and pre-show performers will be announced next week, SonicNet reports.
Fox announced it will release X-Men 2, the sequel to last year's X-Men, on May 2, 2003. While the original cast will reprise their roles, including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry, the sequel will feature several new mutants from the X-Men comics universe, Variety reports. Shooting will begin next May in Canada.
The two surviving members of the influential rock group Nirvana have filed a counterclaim to Courtney Love's lawsuit seeking control of the Nirvana catalogue, Launch.com reports. In conjunction with the suit, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic released a letter to Nirvana fans stating they had no choice but to respond to her misguided campaign and lawsuits to appropriate the music of Nirvana. "Our music is just a pawn in her endless legal battles and her obsessive need for publicity and attention," the letter states.
Barbra Streisand received the Liberty and Justice Award from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition civil rights organization on Tuesday night at the Beverly Hilton hotel, AP reports. Jesse Jackson founded the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition 30 years ago. Sugar Ray Leonard, Chris Tucker and Smokey Robinson attended the gala, which was also a celebration of Jackson's 60th birthday on Oct. 8.
Billy Joel will be honored in February as the 2002 MusicCares Person of the Year for his accomplishments as a musician and as a humanitarian, Reuters reports. MusicCares was established in 1989 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to provide assistance to musicians. Joel will receive the honor at a special tribute dinner, concert and silent auction held on Feb. 25 in Los Angeles.
Joni Mitchell, Al Green, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney and Count Basie will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 2002 Grammy Awards on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone reports. The Lifetime Achievement Awards recognize artists for lifelong contributions to the recording medium.
French actor Jean Richard died Wednesday at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer, AP reports. Richard appeared in some 80 movies but was most famous for his pipe-smoking detective on the long-running TV show The Investigations of Inspector Maigret. He also created the Jean Richard Circus in 1957 and the La Mer de Sable theme park in 1963, which are still owned by his family.
Fox is "floating" a price tag of $2.4 million to $2.5 million for Super Bowl XXXVI, set for Jan. 27, 2002, the trade publication Advertising Age reported Monday. However, Ad Age noted, "because of the sinking economy, few advertising executives take this price seriously." The magazine observed that the figures are about par with those bandied about by CBS around this time last year. However, that network was eventually forced to cut its price to around $2 million, the trade publication noted.