News, Dec. 15: AFI Honors “Samurai,” “Nemo”; Saddam’s Capture Dominates News Networks; Charges Against Jackson Imminent; More…

Top Story: AFI Tags Samurai, Nemo Year’s Best

The American Film Institute has announced its top 10 choices for this year’s best in film and television. In film, the top 10 AFI Awards were, in alphabetical order: American Splendor, Finding Nemo, The Human Stain, In America, The Last Samurai, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Monster and Mystic River. In television, the top 10 were: Alias, Angels in America, Arrested Development, Everybody Loves Raymond, Joan of Arcadia, Nip/Tuck, Playmakers, Soldier’s Girl, 24 and The Wire. A 13-person jury of scholars, artists, critics and AFI trustees discuss, debate and determine the AFI’s most outstanding achievements of the year. “We don’t rank them because what we want to celebrate is the creative collaboration in front and behind the camera that made these stories possible,” Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI director and chief executive officer, told Reuters.

Hussein’s Capture Covers Networks

The news of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s capture completely dominated cable and broadcast networks Sunday morning. Reuters reports CNN edged the competition by going on the air first at 5:03 a.m. after grabbing the Reuters story. CNN’s reporter, Alphonso Van Marsh, was also with the unit that captured the former Iraqi dictator. CBS, NBC, Fox News and MSNBC followed in quick succession. ABC put Good Morning America‘s Charles Gibson on in the morning but flew anchor Peter Jennings from a stint in Los Angeles to New York to do the story on the evening’s World News Tonight. CBS and NBC also ran special reports in the evening on 60 Minutes and Dateline, respectively.

Jackson on Verge of Being Charged

Michael Jackson could be charged this week in the child molestation case currently pending against him, The Associated Press reports. Law enforcement officials have yet to disclose their evidence against the pop singer, who was arrested Nov. 20, but former Santa Barbara County sheriff Jim Thomas, who has discussed the case with Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas Sneddon, expects the charges to allege that Jackson molested one child repeatedly, probably over a period of more than a month, AP reports. “You will see allegations of multiple counts of child molestation on this particular child,” Thomas said, despite the recent report about a confidential memo, leaked last week from a Los Angeles County child welfare office, which said there was no basis for allegations that Jackson had molested the boy. In the memo, which was written last February, Jackson‘s accuser, his brother and his mother all denied the boy had been molested, AP reports.

Bowie Kicks Flu Bug and Kicks Off Tour

After postponing several dates due to illness, David Bowie finally took the stage Saturday in Montreal to kick off his A Reality tour, Reuters reports. “I didn’t know if I could do the show tonight; I felt really ill, to be honest with you,” Bowie, 55, revealed near the end of his 110-minute set at the Bell Canada Center. But, in his words, the show turned out to be “really memorable” as he performed hits from all facets of a diversified career spanning almost 40 years, Reuters reports. It’s his first concert tour in eight years.

Snoop’s in tha Dogg House

Actress Doris Burns, who appeared in Snoop Dogg‘s MTV show Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, has sued the rapper, claiming she was unwittingly made to appear as if she were naked and engaging in sexual relations with another actor, AP reports. In a lawsuit filed Friday, Burns accuses Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, and MTV of breach of contract, fraud, invasion of privacy and defamation. She is seeking unspecified damages, AP reports.

Actress Crain Dies

Actress Jeanne Crain, best known for her Academy Award-nominated performance in the controversial 1949 classic Pinky, in which she played a black girl passing for white, died Sunday of a heart attack in Santa Barbara. She was 78.

Free Willy Whale Dies

Keiko, the 6-ton killer whale who portrayed Willy in the hit film Free Willy, died Friday in western Norway’s Taknes Bay of pneumonia at the age of 27. Taken into captivity when he was two years old, the whale was rescued from horrid conditions at an aquarium to star in the film. After preparing him for several years, Keiko was released back into the wild in 2002 off the coast of Iceland where he was born, but he ended up swimming to the Norwegian bay to live.

Role Call: Idol‘s Frenchie Lands Gig

Frenchie Davis, the spirited second season American Idol contestant who got booted for allegedly appearing on an adult Web site, has landed a starring role in a Los Angeles production of the musical Dreamgirls, AP reports. “There are a lot of people who were on American Idol,” Davis told AP. “But not all of them are getting lead roles.”…ABC is bringing Stephen King’s novel Desperation to the small screen in a three-hour adaptation, Variety reports. The story centers on a man who winds up in a bizarre mining town in Nevada named Desperation after being pulled over by the strange local sheriff. King, currently recuperating from a bout of pneumonia, wrote the screenplay.