News, Dec. 14: N.Y. Film Critics Honor “Sideways,” Jackson’s Lawyers Want Charges Dismissed, Dick Clark To Miss New Year’s Telecast, More…

N.Y. Film Critics honor Sideways

The indie comedy Sideways, which received seven Golden Globe nominations Monday, continued raking in accolades yesterday as the New York Film Critics Circle named it the best picture of 2004. The film stars Paul Giamattiand Thomas Haden Church as two middle-aged best friends who go on a wine-tasting road trip outside Santa Barbara, Calif. Thelma Adams, a critic for Us Weekly magazine, told The Associated Press the film’s appeal was a generational thing. “I don’t think this is a twentysomething movie. I think it’s a movie that works for the over-30 crowd,” she said. “This is an indie movie. It has Virginia Madsen–it doesn’t have Julia Roberts. It has Sandra Oh–it doesn’t have Natalie Portman. It hinges on Paul who? Giamatti, a guy with hair on his shoulders–and a great, great actor. And these are the people who are overlooked.” Sideways also earned acting honors for Giamatti and Madsen, and for its screenplay, which director Alexander Payne co-wrote with Jim Taylor. The N.Y Film Critics also honored Clint Eastwood as best director for Million Dollar Baby; Christopher Doyle as best cinematographer for the martial-arts epic Hero; and writer-director Joshua Marston as best first film for Maria Full of Grace. In the film categories, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 was named best nonfiction film; Pedro Almodovar‘s Bad Education was awarded best foreign-language film; and Pixar’s The Incredibles won best animated film. Acting nods also went to Imelda Staunton in best-actress category for Vera Drake and Clive Owen was named best supporting-actor for Closer.

Jackson’s lawyers want charges dismissed

Lawyers for Michael Jackson have filed a motion Dec. 10 to dismiss the child molestation charges against the pop star on grounds of “vindictive prosecution and outrageous government conduct,” the AP reports. Jackson‘s legal team also filed a motion to push back the Jan. 31 trial date set by Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville. The motions stem from an unexpected search of Jackson‘s Neverland ranch on Dec. 3 and 4–the eve of a deadline for turning over all discovery materials–during which authorities also took a DNA sample from Jackson. The motions are scheduled for argument in hearings to begin Dec. 20. Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to charges of child molestation, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, to his alleged victim.

Clark bows out of New Year’s Eve celebration

After suffering a minor stroke last week, Dick Clark will not be able to host his annual Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve–the first time he’s had to miss the festivities in more than three decades, Reuters reports. Citing the fact he needs more time to recover, the 75-year-old Clark has arranged for morning talk show host Regis Philbin to take his place. “I’m so glad that Regis hadn’t yet made any New Year’s plans,” Clark said in a statement. “It’ll feel strange watching it on TV, but my doctors felt it was too soon. I’m sure Regis will do a great job and I’m thankful that he was able to step in on such short notice.” Said Philbin: “It’s the greatest ‘temp job’ in the world. I just hope I can uphold the standards Dick Clark has set for this annual event, and I look forward to his return next year.”

Madonna’s tour tops the year’s most profitable

Madonna‘s blockbuster Re-Invention concert tour was named tour of the year, bringing in $125 million in total box office gross, Reuters reports. According to Billboard Boxscore, Madonna sold out 55 of 56 performances worldwide, with an average nightly take of $2.23 million. “My Re-Invention tour was by far the most creatively satisfying experience I have ever had,” Madonna told Billboard. “I was able to put everything I love into one entertaining event: film, music and dance.” Prince‘s Musicology tour came in second, drawing nearly 1.5 million people and grossing $90.2 million. Shania Twain was third, reporting grosses totaling $62.5 million and playing to nearly 950,000 fans. The rest of the top 10 included Simon & Garfunkel ($59 million), Metallica ($53.8 million), Bette Midler ($53.3 million), Sting ($52.4 million), Kenny Chesney ($49.3 million), David Bowie ($46 million) and Toby Keith ($44.3 million).

Dench honored for contribution to theater

Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench received a standing ovation Monday as she accepted a special honor given to her to mark the 50th anniversary of the Evening Standard Theater Awards, the AP reports. “I’ve only been given this award for 47 years of doing a job that I absolutely adore,” Dench said. “I didn’t set out to be an actress but I changed my mind and I couldn’t be more pleased that I did.” Nathan Lane and Lee Evans, who star in the West End version of The Producers, accepted the best musical award for the Mel Brooks‘ musical. Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall, who will appear in the West End starting next month in Whose Life Is It Anyway?, attended the ceremony, as did Christian Slater, who is currently starring in a stage version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

U2, Pretenders tagged for Hall of Fame

Irish rockers U2, along with The Pretenders, soul veterans Percy Sledge and the O’Jays, and blues guitarist Buddy Guy will be inducted into the 20th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, Mar. 14, Reuters reports. U2’s induction will come shortly after they begin a world tour in Florida on Mar. 1, promoting their recently released new album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which topped the charts around the world and garnered three Grammy nominations last week.