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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Dec. 3, 2002 at 2:23 PM
SONY'S BIG BOX-OFFICE NUMBER

With "Spider-Man" showing the way, Sony Pictures Entertainment has set a new worldwide box-office record -- grossing $2.75 billion so far this year.

The old record -- $2.68 billion -- was set in 1998 when 20th Century Fox grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide with "Titanic."

"Spider-Man" has grossed more than $815 million worldwide. Sony has also gotten big numbers from "Men in Black II" ($439 million) and "XXX" ($242 million).

The studio can add significantly to its 2002 overall gross with two major releases on the schedule -- "Adaptation," starring Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep (Dec. 6) and "Maid in Manhattan," starring Jennifer Lopez (Dec. 13).


'SATURDAY NIGHT' HEAVYWEIGHTS

NBC is trumpeting a couple of casting coups for its long-running sketch comedy series "Saturday Night Live," with plans calling for two-time Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro to host the show this Saturday, followed by former vice President Al Gore on Dec. 14.

De Niro has appeared on "SNL" three times, but never as host. He appeared as himself when "GoodFellas" co-star Joe Pesci hosted in 1992, and came back in 1997 to surprise cast members doing De Niro impressions as part of the recurring "Joe Pesci Show" sketch. In 2000, De Niro was on the show to respond to a "Weekend Update" review of "Meet the Parents."

Gore has also appeared on "SNL," and will also be hosting for the first time. During the 2000 campaign, when he was the Democratic Party nominee for president, Gore joined Republican Party candidate George W. Bush in a sketch on "Saturday Night Live's Presidential Bash 2000."

De Niro's musical guest will be Norah Jones, whose double-platinum debut CD "Come Away with Me" has established her as one of the hottest new acts in music. The musical guest when Gore does the show will be Phish, the jam band that has spawned a cult of loyal fans who follow them from town to town to attend their sold-out concerts.


HONORS FOR MOVIE GREATS

The National Board of Review has announced that Oscar-winning film score composer Elmer Bernstein and cinematographer Conrad Hall will receive special honors at the organization's annual awards gala in New York next month.

Bernstein will receive a career achievement award for music composition, in recognition of a career in which he has been nominated for 13 Academy Awards. He won the Oscar for "Thoroughly Modern Millie" in 1967.

Hall will receive a career achievement award for cinematography, in recognition of a career in which he has been nominated six times for an Oscar. He won twice -- for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) and "American Beauty" (1999).


A NEW OSCAR RECORD

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that filmmakers from 54 countries have submitted entries for this year's foreign language film Oscar -- a record number of submissions.

The old record, 51, was set last year. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Chad submitted films for the first time this year.

The academy's foreign language film award committee will screen the entries beginning Wednesday. The committee will narrow the list down to five nominees, which will be announced on Feb. 11 when the academy announces all the nominees for the 75th Academy Awards.


CALLING ALL VOTERS

The 30th annual American Music Awards has put out the call for the public to cast votes online for their favorite musical artist of 2002.

The nominees for the Fans' Choice Award -- selected by a blue ribbon panel -- are Ashanti, Creed, Dixie Chicks, Eminem, Enrique Iglesias and Nelly.

Fans can vote at two Web sites -- americanmusicawards.com or abc.com. Voting is open until Jan. 13, when ABC will televise the American Music Awards, in ceremonies hosted by The Osbournes.


'RAGE' RETURNS TO THE OPRY

Patti Page -- "The Singing Rage" -- has a pretty full calendar for the next few months, including her first appearance in two years on Grand Ole Opry Live at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Dec. 14.

Page will also be featured in upcoming articles in Senior Living Magazine, Southern California's Senior Life Magazine, American Profile, Country Weekly and Senior Positive. She is also promoting her new holiday album, "Sweet Sounds Of Christmas."

Page is marketing the new album on her Web site (misspattipage.com). Page's appearance at the Opry is scheduled to air on CMT.


IT'S A GIRL!

Bradley Whitford of "The West Wing" and Jane Kaczmarek of "Malcolm in the Middle" have a new baby girl, their third child.

A publicist for Kaczmarek said that Mary Louisa Whitford was born Monday at 9:32 a.m. She weighed 10 pounds, 3 ounces and was 21 inches long.

Kaczmarek, 46, and Whitford, 43, also have a 5-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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