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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Dec. 17, 2002 at 2:58 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK CRITICS LIKE 'FAR FROM HEAVEN'

The New York Film Critics Circle has named "Far from Heaven" best picture of 2002.

Writer-director Todd Haynes' story of an American family in the 1950s dealing with issues of race and sexuality won five awards from the New York critics -- including best director, supporting actor (Dennis Quaid), supporting actress (Patricia Clarkson) and cinematography.

The New York critics named Daniel Day-Lewis best actor for his performance as Bill the Butcher in "Gangs of New York," and gave the best actress prize to Diane Lane for her work as an unfaithful wife in "Unfaithful." Charlie Kaufman and his alter ago Donald Kaufman won for best screenplay for "Adaptation."

Alfonso Cuarón's "Y tu mamá también" won for best foreign-language film and Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" was named best animated film. "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" was named best non-fiction film.

The best picture selection of "Far from Heaven" underscores the lack of an apparent favorite for the best picture Oscar. No film has won the top prize from more than one out of the five major awards announced so far.

Los Angeles critics named "About Schmidt" the best picture of 2002, while Boston critics went with Roman Polanski's "The Pianist." The National Board of Review put "The Hours" at the top of its list of the 10 best pictures of the year. "About Schmidt" and "The Hours" made the American Film Institute's Top 10 list, but "Far from Heaven" and "The Pianist" did not.


PRODUCERS WILL HONOR REALITY, GAME SHOWS

The Producers Guild of America has added a new category to its annual awards -- honoring reality, informational and game shows on TV.

The PGA will present the award for the first time at its upcoming awards on March 2, 2003 -- along with the awards it has traditionally presented for producer of year award for film, drama series, comedy series and long-form TV. The guild will announce its nominees on Jan. 16.

The producers guild previously announced it will present its Milestone Award to Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti. It will also present its David O. Selznick lifetime achievement award to producer Robert Evans, and its Vanguard Award to "Star Wars" creator George Lucas.


ARNOLD TO CO-STAR WITH CEDRIC?

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cedric the Entertainer are reportedly in talks to co-star in the upcoming comedy "Joe's Last Chance."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Schwarzenegger would play a hit man sent to a tropical resort to kill Cedric's character, who earns a reprieve by inadvertently saving the killer's life. The project is being directed by Andrew Bergman ("Honeymoon in Vegas").


'DINO'-SAURS EXTINCT

ABC has decided to cancel "Dinotopia," the weekly series based on last year's miniseries of the same name.

The show -- set in a lost continent where humans and dinosaurs enjoy a life of peaceful coexistence free of the complications of the outside world -- will leave the prime time schedule after its Dec. 26 telecast.

ABC has the Orange Bowl lined up for Jan. 2. Plans call for the Thursday night lineup to include a mix of movies and reality shows after that.


CASTING NOTES

Tom Wilkinson is joining Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet and Kirsten Dunst in the cast "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

Carrey and Winslet star as a couple who decide to have surgery to erase painful memories of a once-wonderful relationship gone bad. They eventually decide against going through with it, but the surgeon (Wilkinson) is intent on finishing the job,

Wilkinson was nominated for the best actor Oscar last year for "In the Bedroom." French director Michel Gondry is directing from a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman ("Adaptation," "Being John Malkovich").


STARS COME OUT FOR AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS

Producers of the American Music Awards have announced a roster of presenters for the upcoming show including Creed, Sheryl Crow, Lonestar, Nelly and Justin Timberlake.

The Jan. 13 telecast will also feature appearances by 3 Doors Down, Paula Abdul, Pat Boone, JC Chasez of 'NSync, Jakob Dylan, Carmen Electra and Daryl Hall & John Oates, as well as Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), George Lopez, Martina McBride, Jo Dee Messina, Mya, Mekhi Phifer ("ER"), Shaggy, Tyrese and Lee Ann Womack.

Producers previously announced that Christina Aguilera, Kenny Chesney, matchbox twenty and Shania Twain will perform on the telecast -- which will also feature duets by Toby Keith and Willie Nelson, and Tim McGraw and Elton John. Kelly Osbourne is also scheduled to perform, as well as host the show with her family, The Osbournes.

© 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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