AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS
Producers have announced an all-star line up of presenters for the 29th annual American Music Awards -- including Cedric The Entertainer, Melissa Etheridge, Nelly Furtado, Ginuwine, Ja Rule, Alicia Keys, Master P. with his son Lil' Romeo, "Malcolm In The Middle's" Frankie Muniz, Nelly, LeAnn Rimes, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, SHeDAISY, Tyrese and Luther Vandross.
The list of presenters also includes India.Arie, Blu Cantrell, actor Chris Klein, Lifehouse, Ludacris, Method Man, Jamie O'Neal, O-Town, Redman, supermodel Niki Taylor and Trick Pony.
Producers previously announced that Brooks & Dunn, Cher, Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Shaggy and Yolanda Adams would perform at the awards ceremonies in Los Angeles on Jan. 9. The show will air on ABC.
NAACP IMAGE NOMINATIONS
"Ali" and "The Steve Harvey Show" led the field when nominations were announced this week for the 33rd annual NAACP Image Awards.
"Ali" -- starring Will Smith as the legendary boxing champion -- received four nominations, including one for outstanding motion picture and a best actor nomination for Smith. "Baby Boy" -- writer-director John Singleton's tale of a young black man living with his mother, even though he has a child of his own -- was also nominated for best picture. Its star, singer Tyrese Gibson, was nominated for best actor.
The other nominees for outstanding motion picture are "The Brothers," "Rush Hour 2" and "Training Day." The other nominees for best actor are Morgan Freeman ("Along Came a Spider"), Chris Tucker ("Rush Hour 2") and Denzel Washington ("Training Day").
"The Steve Harvey Show" was nominated for outstanding TV comedy series. Harvey and his co-star, Wendy Raquel Robinson, are nominated for best actor and actress. Cast members Cedric The Entertainer, Merlin Santana and Terri J. Vaughn are up for best supporting actor and actress awards.
The other nominees for outstanding TV comedy are "The Bernie Mac Show" (Fox), "Girlfriends" (UPN) "The Hughleys" (ABC) and "My Wife & Kids" (ABC). The other nominees for best comedy actor are Mac, Hughley, Damon Wayans ("My Wife and Kids") and Michael Boatman (HBO's "Arli$$"). The other nominees for outstanding comedy actress are Tracee Ellis Ross ("Girlfriends"), Mo'Nique ("The Parkers"), Holly Robinson Peete ("For Your Love") and Tisha Campbell-Martin ("My Wife and Kids").
Showtime's "Soul Food" received six nominations, including one for outstanding TV drama. The other nominees in that category are "Any Day Now" (Lifetime), "ER" (NBC), "Boston Public" (Fox) and "The Practice" (ABC).
(The above two items thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
Producer Jerry Weintraub says producing the star-studded crime comedy "Ocean's Eleven" was "the most fun I've ever had on a picture."
He's not alone in that opinion. "You guys know me well enough now to know I am a method actor, so I spent, really, years training for the drinking and carousing that I had to do in this film and I was perfectly prepared for it when I got in there," said George Clooney, former star of TV's "ER."
Julia Roberts, who won an Oscar for her performance in Soderbergh's "Erin Brockovich" earlier this year, also said there were a lot of good times, practical jokes and hi-jinks on the film's set. "It was nice to be the only girl," said the "Pretty Woman" actress. "I thought it would be a more, kind of, queenly experience, like something that never happened in high school. But, it was more like high school."
The actors said they didn't even try to live up to the indelible impressions that screen legends Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop made in the original movie.
"When they first said, 'Hey, want to do "Ocean's Eleven"?' I was like, 'I don't know. I don't really want to get sort of caught in that," said Clooney. "But once we started the movie and it was such a great script, we never looked back at that. We never once said, 'This is sort of like Frank and Sammy and Dean ...' This was a whole movie unto itself ... We're never going to be as cool as those guys."
"Ocean's Eleven" opens Friday.
(Thanks to UPI's Karen Butler in New York)
WORLD MOVIE PREMIERES
Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris and director Ron Howard are scheduled to attend next Thursday's world premiere of their new movie, "A Beautiful Mind." The screenings will be held at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, Calif. "A Beautiful Mind" opens in exclusive engagements on Dec. 21 and nationwide on Jan. 4.
Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, director/writer Michael Mann, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight and Nona Gaye are scheduled to attend the world premiere of their new film, "Ali," next Wednesday. The subject of the biopic, boxing champion Muhammad Ali, also is expected to be on hand at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The movie opens nationwide Dec. 25.
'THE ELLEN SHOW'
"Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-stars Mary Tyler Moore and Edward Asner are reunited with "The Ellen Show" regular Cloris Leachman for a holiday episode that airs Monday, Dec. 17 (at 8:340 p.m. ET/PT) on CBS-TV.
In "Ellen's First Christmess," series star Ellen Degeneres decides to surprise her mom, Dot (Leachman), by inviting Dot's sister, Mary, for the holidays -- but the surprise is on Ellen when the family reunion is anything but pleasant. Moore plays Mary, a very successful news reporter, and Dot is jealous of her sister's success. Asner makes a cameo appearance as Santa Claus.
Beau Bridges is joining the cast of the CBS CIA drama "The Agency." He'll play the Director of the CIA starting with an episode to be broadcast in early 2002. His character replaces Director Alex Pierce, portrayed by Ronny Cox, who is ousted from The Agency in an episode that'll air Dec. 20.
AND THAT'S THE WAY IT IS, COMRADE
Public radio stations across America are airing two documents on the future of Russia during December, anchored by veteran journalist and former Unipresser Walter Cronkite. The first -- "Russia: Can This Be A Democracy?" -- looks at issues like the impact of the rise of fanatical Islamic groups, potential nuclear disasters, and includes a discussion between Cronkite and former government media operative Vladimir Posner comparing press freedom in Russia and the United States. The two documentaries are part of the Russia Project, a radio endeavor made possible by a grant from the Stanley Foundation, a philanthropic group based in Iowa.
(From UPI's Capital Comment)