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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Jan. 10, 2003 at 3:08 PM
HONORS FOR 'ANTWONE FISHER'

The Producers Guild of America will honor "Antwone Fisher," Denzel Washington's feature film directorial debut, with its second annual Stanley Kramer Award.

Washington also stars as a U.S. Navy psychiatrist who helps a sailor come to terms with his violent temper and the circumstances of his life that made him angry.

The award -- named for the late producer-director best known for such classics as "High Noon," "Judgment at Nuremberg" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" -- was established last year to honor producers for work that "illuminates provocative social issues in an accessible and elevating fashion." The first Stanley Kramer Award was presented to Marshall Herskovitz, Jessie Nelson, Richard Solomon and Edward Zwick for "I Am Sam."

The PGA will present the award to Washington and "Antwone Fisher" co-producer Todd Black at its 14th PGA Awards on March 2 in Los Angeles.


HONORS FOR ROGER EBERT

The American Society of Cinematographers will honor film critic Roger Ebert at its upcoming 17th annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards.

The ASC said Ebert is being recognized for his "integrity and passion" for movies and his "intelligent and insightful" reviews.

The organization will also honor veteran cinematographer Bill Butler with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Butler's credits include such Hollywood classics as "Jaws" and "Grease." He won Emmys for the TV movies "Raid on Entebbe" and "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Butler joins a list of previous ASC Lifetime Achievement Awards that includes Haskell Wexler, Conrad Hall, Gordon Willis, Sven Nykvist, Vittorio Storaro, Vilmos Zsigmond and Laszlo Kovacs.

The ASC will present its awards on Feb. 16 in Los Angeles.


HOME VIDEO'S NEW CLOUT

Home video has passed the box office in the pecking order of commercial success in Hollywood, with DVD sales alone surpassing U.S. box-office revenues in 2002.

According to an independent survey, DVD sales and rental revenue amounted to more than $11.6 billion last year -- easily topping the record-breaking $9.5 billion box-office grosses for the year. Toss in VHS sales and rentals figures, and you get a home video business that accounted for more than $20 billion in revenue for the entertainment industry last year.


MEET THE NEW BOSS

The Sony Corporation has announced that veteran TV executive Andrew Lack will succeed Tommy Mottola as the chief executive of its music division.

The New York Times said the appointment is likely to surprise many music industry executives, since Lack's background is primarily in TV news. Lack has served as president and chief operating officer of NBC since June 2001, and was president of NBC News for eight years before that.

Mottola resigned Thursday, following a disappointing sales performance in 2002 for the recording industry in general.

The Times reported that although Lack has no experience in the music business -- which conventionally relies on longstanding relationships between executives and musical artists -- he does have experience with TV performers.


CASTING NOTES

According to published reports in Hollywood, Brad Pitt will produce and may star in a movie about the psychiatrist who treated "The Birdman of Alcatraz."

Burt Lancaster won an Oscar nomination for his 1963 portrayal of Robert Stroud, who became an acknowledged authority on birds during his stretch at the notorious federal prison in California. Pitt's project -- "The Madman of Alcatraz" -- would examine the story of the psychiatrist who treated Stroud.

Halle Berry will co-star with Penélope Cruz in -- "Gothika" -- a supernatural thriller about a psychiatrist (Berry) who inexplicably finds herself committed to the asylum for the criminally insane where she is on staff, and then learns that she is a murder suspect. Cruz will play another inmate at the asylum.

There is also word in Hollywood that Ving Rhames -- who won a Golden Globe for the HBO movie "Don King: Only in America" -- may star in a series of USA Network TV movies updating the Emmy-winning police drama "Kojak."

Telly Savalas won an Emmy in 1974 for his portrayal of Theo ("Who loves ya, baby?") Kojak, the tough-talking police lieutenant who was instantly recognizable for his shaved his head and the lollipop in his mouth.


THE BALLOTS ARE IN THE MAIL

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has put the nomination ballots in the mail for the upcoming 75th Academy Awards.

The ballots were mailed this week to more than 5,800 voting members of the academy, who have until 5 p.m. on Jan. 29 to return them to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The accounting firm will then tabulate the results, and the academy will announce the nominees for this year's Academy Awards on Feb. 11 in Beverly Hills.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has been tabulating the Oscar ballots since 1936.

The Academy Awards will be presented on March 23 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.


SPIELBERG'S STAR

Steven Spielberg -- who has three Oscars to go with his phenomenal commercial success as a filmmaker -- finally has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The director of "Schindler's List, "Saving Private Ryan," "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" and the "Indiana Jones" adventures received his star Friday in front of the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, the new home of the Academy Awards.

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