Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   March 5, 2003 at 2:15 PM   |   0 comments

STARS COME OUT FOR ACTORS

Producers said Wednesday that an all-star lineup including Halle Berry and Renée Zellweger will appear at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.

The lineup of talent for the 9th Annual SAG Awards also includes Pierce Brosnan, Nicolas Cage, Michael Chiklis, Daniel Day-Lewis, Peter Falk, Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing and screen legend Maureen O'Hara. Executive Producer Jeff Margolis previously announced that Ray Romano will present the union's 39th Life Achievement Award to Clint Eastwood.

Sean Astin ("The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"), Cage ("Adaptation"), Gere and Zellweger ("Chicago"), Ed Harris ("The Hours") and Nia Vardalos ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding") will introduce the films for which they and their fellow cast members have been nominated for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Motion Picture.

Berry, Brosnan, Day-Lewis, Chiklis, Falk, Lane, McCormack, Messing and O'Hara will present Actors -- the union's nickname for its acting awards -- along with Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Julianne Moore, Donnie Wahlberg and others.

"Will & Grace" star Megan Mullally will introduce a tribute to "Actors Who Sing," and Michael Clarke Duncan ("Daredevil") will introduce a salute to "Regional Actors."

The 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be presented on March 9 in Los Angeles, in ceremonies to be televised live by TNT.


ONLINE OSCAR POOL LIKES 'CHICAGO'

The Yahoo! Movies Awards Challenge -- billed as the nation's largest Oscar pool -- has "Chicago" as a heavy favorite to win this year's Oscar for Best Picture.

This is the third year for the Yahoo! Pool, which correctly predicted the top Oscar in each of its first two years -- for "Gladiator" and "A Beautiful Mind."

In online voting (movies.yahoo.com/Oscars), Yahoo! Movie users have given "Chicago" 63 percent of their votes for best picture.

"The Hours" was a distant second with 11 percent.

Jack Nicholson ("About Schmidt") leads Daniel Day-Lewis ("Gangs of New York") in the Best Actor voting, 40 percent to 31 percent. Nicole Kidman ("The Hours") is way ahead of Renée Zellweger ("Chicago") for Best Actress -- 54 percent to 21 percent.

Martin Scorsese ("Gangs of New York") is the online voters' favorite for the Best Director Oscar, with 65 percent. Rob Marshall ("Chicago") -- who won the Directors Guild of America Award on Saturday -- is a distant second with 17 percent.

The race for Supporting Actor is close, with Chris Cooper ("Adaptation") polling 26 percent and Paul Newman ("Road to Perdition") getting 23 percent. Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Chicago") is the Yahoo! Fan favorite for Supporting Actress with 38 percent, to 21 percent for Meryl Streep ("The Hours").


MOVIES AND MONEY

Movie industry pros meeting in Las Vegas were told Tuesday that the business made more money than ever in 2002.

Motion Picture Association of America President and CEO Jack Valenti told ShoWest, the entertainment industry's annual convention, that the U.S. box office took in a record $9.52 billion last year. That represented a 13 percent increase over the box-office take for 2001.

Part of that was due to higher ticket prices -- but exhibitors also reported a 10 percent increase in admissions, with 1.64 billion tickets sold. Theaters haven't sold that many movie tickets in 45 years.

At the same time, Valenti said in his annual report, the cost of making and marketing a movie last year increased 14 percent over 2001. The average cost for making and selling a Hollywood movie in 2002 was $89.4 million.


TIMOTHY BOTTOMS REPRISING GEORGE BUSH ROLE?

The Hollywood Reporter said Wednesday that Timothy Bottoms is in talks to reprise his comedy portrayal of President George W. Bush, but in a serious setting.

Bottoms played Bush as a good-natured doofus in Comedy Central's 2001 comedy series "That's My Bush!" The series, created by "South Park" producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, suffered from low ratings and went off the air on Sept. 5 -- six days before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Reporter said Bottoms would play Bush in a Showtime made-for-TV movie, "DC 9/11" -- with Penny Johnson ("24") as National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and George Takei ("Star Trek") as Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.

The project is described as an inside look at the Bush White House in the days after Sept. 11, written by Lionel Chetwynd ("The Hanoi Hilton," "Varian's War") and directed by Daniel Petrie Sr. ("Kissinger and Nixon," "Sybil").

The Reporter said Showtime had no comment on its report.


ASHLEY JUDD'S NEXT

According to a report in Daily Variety, Ashley Judd is in talks to join Kevin Kline in "De-Lovely," based on the life of legendary songwriter Cole Porter.

Judd would play socialite Linda Lee Porter, who married Porter even though he was homosexual. Variety called Linda Lee Porter a source of inspiration for such hit Porter shows as "Anything Goes" and "Kiss Me Kate."


ANNA NICOLE AUDIENCE SHRINKS

The second season of "The Anna Nicole Show" got off to a slow start for E! on Sunday, as just 1.8 million viewers tuned in.

That was a considerable drop-off from ratings for the show's first season, when 4.1 million viewers tuned in for the premiere. The audience tapered off after that, and the show finished its first season with an average of 2.1 million viewers.

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