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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Feb. 18, 2003 at 3:36 PM
CINEMATOGRAPHERS HONOR CONRAD L. HALL

The American Society of Cinematographers has given its top feature film honor for 2002 to the late Conrad L. Hall for "Road to Perdition."

It was the fourth time that Hall, who died last month from cancer, won the top ASC honor. He previously won for "Tequila Sunrise" (1988), "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (1993) and "American Beauty" (1999).

Hall was honored at the 17th Annual American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony Sunday in Los Angeles.

"Conrad Hall taking top honors four times in 17 years is a remarkable achievement," said ASC President Richard Crudo -- who also announced that Hall would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 1.

Hall is also nominated for an Academy Award for "Road to Perdition." He has won two Oscars for cinematography -- for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) and "American Beauty."

The ASC also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Bill Butler, to recognize a body of work that includes "The Conversation" (1974), "Grease" (1978) and "Jaws" (1975).

Film critic Roger Ebert received a special achievement award -- the first ever to be presented by the ASC to a film critic or journalist.


CREATOR RETURNS TO 'DAWSON'S CREEK'

"Dawson's Creek" creator Kevin Williamson -- who left the show four years ago -- has returned for the upcoming series finale on the WB.

Williamson told The Hollywood Reporter that series stars James Van Der Beek and Katie Holmes -- as well as some network executives -- asked that he be involved in the two-hour special, scheduled to air on May 14.

"Without hesitation, I said absolutely," said Williamson.

The Reporter said the series finale will show the "Dawson's Creek" regulars -- Dawson, Joey, Jen, Pacey and the others -- several years in the future.

Williamson, who is currently working with director Wes Craven on the thriller "Cursed," is co-writing the "Dawson's Creek" finale with series writer Maggie Friedman.


'DAREDEVIL' LEAPS TO NO. 1

"Daredevil," the latest movie based on a Marvel comic book hero, opened at No. 1, grossing $47.3 million during the four-day holiday weekend.

Exhibitors were left wondering how much more business the new Ben Affleck action picture might have done if the Blizzard of '03 hadn't kept audiences away from theaters in major East Coast markets -- including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Despite the weather, the U.S. box office overall took in 14 percent more than it did during the same weekend in 2002, and turned in its best President's Day holiday gross ever.

"How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" finished second with $21 million in its second weekend. "Chicago" -- which led this year's Oscar field with 13 Oscar nominations last Tuesday -- took in an estimated $15.5 million for third place.

Disney's "Jungle Book 2" finished fourth with $15.1 million in its opening weekend. The new Jackie Chan-Owen Wilson action-comedy "Shanghai Knights" was No. 5 with an estimated $12.8 million.


ROBERT BLAKE GIVES JAILHOUSE INTERVIEW

Actor and accused wife-killer Robert Blake finally got what he wanted Monday, when he gave a jailhouse interview to ABC's Barbara Walters in Los Angeles.

Blake talked with Walters for close to two and-a-half hours after Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca finally dropped his refusal to allow the Emmy-winning actor to be interviewed. Walters persuaded Baca to drop his objection after she pointed out that she had conducted interviews in the past at the jail where Blake is awaiting trial for allegedly killing Bonny Lee Bakley.

Blake's lawyer, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., said Monday he will continue to defend Blake, even though he disagrees with his client's decision to give an on-camera interview. Mesereau said he is concerned that prosecutors will try to use Blake's public statements against him.

The 69-year-old actor -- best known as the star of the '70s cop show "Baretta" -- has pleaded not guilty to murdering Bakley in 2001 as she sat in their car outside a Los Angeles restaurant where they had just eaten. He has been held without bail since his arrest last April.

ABC plans to televise Walters' interview with Blake on Feb. 28.


CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE

New York Knicks star Allan Houston got a thrill in Los Angeles Sunday, when he got a rave review from Jack Nicholson after the Knicks beat the Lakers, 117-110.

Nicholson, a three-time Oscar-winner, told the New York Daily News that Houston -- who scored 53 points on Sunday -- "was spectacular to watch -- a thrill."

When he heard what Nicholson had said, Houston made it clear that the thrill was mutual.

"He's one of the best actors ever," said Houston. "Just to have him notice and enjoy you is special. I thank God that he was with me tonight -- God and Jack."

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