News Roundup, Feb. 18: “Joe” Gets Zora and $1 Mil Check

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For those who opted not to watch the drawn-out two-hour series finale of Fox’s limited-run reality show Joe Millionaire, here’s a brief recap of the night’s anticlimactic events. Evan Marriott picked animal-lover Zora over fetish poster girl Sarah, then told her the truth: He wasn’t worth $50 million but was really a $19,000-per-year heavy-equipment operator. “I’m sorry I lied to you, but I wanted to find someone who loved me for who I am, not for what I may or may not have,” Evan said. So he was looking for someone who loved … a liar? Must have been reciprocal, because after acknowledging regrets over Marriott’s deceptive scheme, Zora told him, “The good news is, I really was turned off by the fact that you inherited all that money.” (Would she have preferred $5 million as opposed to $50 million?) Marriott then put a diamond ring on her right hand and Zora toasted to the adventure “after France.” Fox then delivered the “shocking” twist it had been unrelentingly promising viewers for days: Resident butler Paul Hogan surprised them both with, surprise, surprise, a million-dollar check delivered on a silver tray. The network plans to milk the series further by airing Joe Millionaire: The Aftermath, a one-hour special that will reunite Evan and Zora for the first time since filming ended in France.


Actor Peter O’Toole, who has never won an Oscar despite being nominated seven times, has agreed to accept an honorary Academy Award after politely balking because he thought the honor meant his career was over, an Oscar official told The Associated Press. O’Toole‘s manager, Johnnie Planco, declined to confirm the Academy’s announcement, saying the matter was being kept a surprise.

Billy Bob Thornton, who won an Academy Award for his 1997 film Sling Blade, will be honored Saturday with the Horton Foote Special Achievement Award for Screenplay Writing, the AP reports. The award is part of the 14th annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, which begins Wednesday and features writing seminars, screenings, signings and publishing tips. The award honors Foote, who won Oscars for his screenplays for To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies.


The Golden Bear for best film at the 53rd Berlin International Film Festival went to Michael Winterbottom‘s refugee drama In This World, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The film beat out Hollywood heavyweights such as The Hours, Adaptation and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Spike Jonze won the Jury Grand Prix Silver Bear for Adaptation, while Sam Rockwell earned the Silver Bear for best actor for his portrayal of Gong Show host Chuck Barris in Confessions. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore walked away with a joint best actress Silver Bears for their ensemble performances in The Hours.

The American Society of Cinematographers on Sunday gave its annual award for best film photography to Conrad L. Hall, who died in January at age 76, for his work last year on drama Road to Perdition, Reuters reports. Hall, who was considered a master of directing the way a movie is photographed, died of complications from bladder cancer on Jan. 4. His son Conrad W. Hall accepted the award.

Cedric the Entertainer has become one of the first actors to sign on to the sequel to MGM’s hit comedy Barbershop. The studio, meanwhile, is still negotiating with the movie’s original’s star Ice Cube, according to Variety. Negotiations have taken longer than expected because the film’s stars are demanding salary hikes to make the follow-up. Tim Story, the film’s original director, is already on board to shoot from a script still being penned by Don D. Scott. The film is slated for release later this year.


More on Joe. According to Nielsen numbers, Fox’s Joe Millionaire finale, which aired 8 to 10 p.m. EST Monday, drew an average 34.6 million viewers, a number that soared to 40 million in the second hour. According to Fox, the numbers–close to that of last year’s Academy Awards broadcast of 41.8 million–make this the highest series telecast on any network since CBS’ premiere of Survivor II in January 2001. The numbers also surpassed the 11.9 million audience for the 9-10 p.m. airing of Dateline NBC‘s special, Michael Jackson Unmasked, the AP reports.


NBC will release its new crime drama Kingpin on DVD on Feb. 16–two days before the series finishes its limited six-episode prime time run. NBC told Reuters the Kingpin DVD would include behind-the-scenes footage, cast interviews and explicit footage not seen on broadcast TV. The show, about a Mexican drug lord and his family, has been characterized by many as network TV’s answer to HBO’s popular crime drama The Sopranos.


Paul McCartney announced plans Tuesday to kick off his first British tour in 10 years in April, with three-hour gigs featuring 22 Beatles songs from “All My Loving” to “Let It Be.” His “Back in the World” tour will also hit European cities in France, Spain, Germany and Scandinavia. Beatles fans will also be happy to hear that a reunion performance by McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison filmed in 1994 will be released on DVD in March. The session is the only time the three played together after the Beatles split in 1970.