News, Mar. 1: “Gigli” Gets Razzed, Costner Defends Gibson, Masked Jackson Alarms Wal-Mart Staff, More…

Top Story: Gigli Gets Razzed!

Believe it or not, the Oscars weren’t the only awards show to take place over the weekend. The Razzie Awards, which “honor” the worst films of the year, were handed out Saturday night in a conference room at a Sheraton hotel in Santa Monica, Calif. While The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King swept the Academy Awards, the 24th annual Razzies were hijacked by a cinematic fiasco called Gigli. The drama took home the Golden Raspberry for worst film of the year, while its stars, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, won worst actor and actress as well as worst screen couple. Gigli‘s Martin Brest received the worst director and screenwriter honors. Despite Gigli‘s six accolades, the film won’t go down in history for the most Razzies; that honor still belongs to Showgirls and Battlefield Earth, which have seven each. Worst supporting actor and actress trophies went to Sylvester Stallone for his performance in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and Demi Moore for her role in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, which was also named worst sequel. Mike MyersDr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat won the newest category, “worst excuse for an actual movie.”

Kevin Costner Defends Mel Gibson

Director/actor Kevin Costner told the syndicated entertainment TV show Access Hollywood that people should not attack Mel Gibson for his film The Passion of the Christ. “We shouldn’t be attacking a filmmaker like Mel Gibson who, number one, is an honorable filmmaker … and probably questioned himself more than anybody even knows. So leave him alone,” Costner, 49, said. The film, which depicts the final hours and crucifixion of Christ, has been criticized for implying Jews were collectively responsible for Christ’s death. It took in $76.2 million over the weekend and posted a five-day total of $117.5 million since its Wednesday opening, making it the biggest February opener ever.

Masked Jackson Alarms Wal-Mart Staff

Perhaps shopping with a ski mask on is not the wisest thing. According to Reuters, Wal-Mart employees in Glenwood Springs, Colo., became concerned last Tuesday when they spotted a shopper with a ski mask covering his face and promptly alerted police, who then stopped the masked man in his vehicle just a few blocks away. But when an officer asked the man and his driver for identification, off came the ski mask–to reveal none other than embattled pop star Michael Jackson. Turns out Jackson, who is vacationing at a ranch near Old Snowmass in the Aspen area, was simply shopping incognito. Police let the singer go without incident.

Sofia Coppola Sweeps Indie Awards

Sofia Coppola, who took home an Oscar Sunday night for best original screenplay for Lost in Translation, won directing and screenplay honors for that quirky comedy Saturday at the Independent Spirit Awards, while star Bill Murray was named best actor. The best actress award went to Charlize Theron for Monster, which also received the best first feature prize for director Patty Jenkins; supporting actor honor went to Djimon Hounsou for In America; supporting actress prize went to Shohreh Aghdashloo for House of Sand and Fog; best debut performance went to Nikki Reed for Thirteen; best foreign film went to Whale Rider; best documentary went to The Fog of War; and the best cinematography prize was awarded to Declan Quinn for In America. The best first screenplay was given to Tom McCarthy for The Station Agent, which also won the best film shot for under $500,000.

Judge Dismisses Stewart Securities Fraud Count

Martha Stewart, who is accused of staging a stock tip cover-up with her former Merrill Lynch & Co. broker, Peter Bacanovic, scored a major victory Friday when U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum dismissed the most serious count of securities fraud on grounds the prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence. Stewart now faces one count of conspiracy, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of agency proceedings. Each count carries a possible prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine. Closing arguments began today, Reuters reports, and are expected to last through Tuesday, with jury deliberations likely to begin on Wednesday.

Some Charges Dropped in R. Kelly Case

In what they described as a routine pretrial move, prosecutors in Chicago dropped seven of the 21 charges in R&B singer R. Kelly‘s child pornography case. According to, the seven counts dropped involved charges of soliciting a minor to appear in child pornography. Kelly, whose “R.” stands for Robert, pleaded innocent to the remaining 14 counts of child pornography. The next hearing is April 2 but no trial date has been set. The 34-year-old singer, whose hits include “I Believe I Can Fly,” was arrested in June 2002 after videotape surfaced allegedly showing him having sex with an underage girl.

MTV Sponsors Spears’ Onyx Hotel Tour

Music cabler MTV has rolled out its first global tour sponsorship. MTV Presents Britney Spears Onyx Hotel Tour 2004 kicks off March 2 at the San Die