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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   Dec. 5, 2002 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

'THE HOURS' NAMED YEAR'S BEST FILM

The National Board of Review has named the Virginia Woolf drama, "The Hours," the Best Film of 2002.

Based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the film features a number of a memorable performances by cast members Nicole Kidman (as the doomed writer,) Julianne Moore (as a dissatisfied 1950's housewife whose life is transformed after she studies Woolf) and Meryl Streep (as a woman caring for her dying ex-boyfriend, a man who calls her "Mrs. Dalloway.")

Moore won the Best Actress honor for her portrayal of a troubled housewife in another period drama, "Far From Heaven," while the Best Actor title went to "Rodger Dodger" star Campbell Scott.

The board bestowed the Best Supporting Actor prize on Chris Cooper for his unforgettable portrayal of an off-beat orchid thief in Spike Jonze's equally off-beat drama, "Adaptation." Cooper's female counterpart was Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates, who was honored for her performance opposite Jack Nicholson in the comedy-drama, "About Schmidt."

The National Board of Review is the first major critics' association to release a list of the best films and performances of 2002. Dozens of others will follow in the next three months, culminating in March 2003 at what is considered the granddaddy of all film awards ceremonies -- the Oscar telecast.


CARREY SAVES ANISTON'S LIFE

Actor Jim Carrey reportedly saved the life of leading lady Jennifer Aniston by pushing her out of the way of a toppling crane.

A source on the set of Carrey and Aniston's new film, "Bruce Almighty," tells the World Entertainment News Network the actor sprang into action after high winds tipped the huge machine right over where Aniston was standing.

"It was so windy, it was difficult to do the scenes," says the spy. "But Jennifer and Jim decided to keep going. Suddenly a gust of wind blew over a huge crane. Jennifer had her back to the crane and didn't see it coming. But thank God, Jim did -- and he pushed her out of the way. Jim was a real hero. She could have been killed. It could have been a real tragedy."

According to WENN, Aniston was so shaken by the incident she embraced her leading man, sobbing: "You saved my life. You're a real hero."


DE NIRO WEIGHS IN ON 'SOPRANOS' DEBATE

Not allowing cast members of the hit mob drama "The Sopranos" to march in Manhattan's Columbus Day parade was a "ridiculous" decision, says actor Robert De Niro.

Parade organizers banned "Sopranos" stars Lorraine Bracco and Dominic Chianese from the festivities in October on the basis their show promotes negative Italian-American stereotypes. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg boycotted the parade in protest, instead marching in the Bronx then dining out with Bracco and Chianese.

Asked how he felt the ethnic group was portrayed in movies and on TV, the "GoodFellas" and "Analyze That" star told reporters: "I don't want to offend anybody, but I really thought that 'Sopranos' thing with Bloomberg was ridiculous. And that they should have let them be in the parade. It just made no sense to me and I think what Bloomberg did was what he had to do, which was to go up to the Italian neighborhood in the Bronx. And have lunch and dinner up there with Lorraine Bracco and everybody. I felt that it wasn't worth making that much over something like that. It just wasn't."

He adds: "That's part of our culture, and you can't deny it. You know, there are certain things that are there. And you just have to accept them, acknowledge them, have fun, and make fun of them. And we all know what it is. You don't have to make more of it, and take issue and take a stand like that."


'INTO THE WOODS' TO CLOSE

Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony Award-winning production of "Into the Woods" is set to close later this month.

Starring Vanessa Williams as the witch and John McMartin as the narrator, the show will have its final performance on Sunday, Dec. 29, after playing 18 previews and 279 regular performances.

"Into the Woods" blends five of Grimms' famous fairy tales with an original story of a childless baker and his wife, who attempt to reverse a curse on their family to have a child.

The show features versions of "Cinderella," "Rapunzel," "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Jack the Giant Killer" as it explores what happens after the "happily ever after."

The show has earned a number of honors, including 10 2002 Tony Award nominations and two 2002 Tony Awards, for Best Musical Revival and Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt).

© 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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