'MULHOLLAND DRIVE' WINS NY FILM CRITICS HONORS
The New York Film Critics Circle has named David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" best picture of the year -- but Robert Altman's new movie, "Gosford Park," and first-time director Todd Field's "In the Bedroom" won the most NYFCC awards with three each.
Altman won for best director, Helen Mirren won for best supporting actress and Julian Fellowes won for best screenplay, for "Gosford Park" -- a drama set in 1930 about the lives of upstairs guests and downstairs servants at a country house in England. Fellowes' screenplay was based on a story by Altman and Bob Balaban.
Steve Buscemi was named best supporting actor for his portrayal of an offbeat man who wins the attention of a young woman who just graduated from high school in "Ghost World."
"In the Mood for Love" -- a drama about a Hong Kong newspaper editor and a neighbor who realize their spouses are having an affair -- was named best foreign film. Christopher Doyle and Pin Bing Lee were honored for outstanding cinematography for their work on "In the Mood for Love."
"The Gleaners" was voted best non-fiction film.
Richard Linklater's "Waking Life" -- which follows a man's dreams as he tries to discern the difference between waking life and the dream world -- was named best animated film.
HONORS FOR ARTHUR COHN
The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures has announced that producer Arthur Cohn will receive the first NBR Humanitarian Award, honoring "his work for the advancement of social reform and the betterment of human welfare through film."
The Swiss-born Cohn has been nominated for four Academy Awards for best feature documentary, winning the Oscar three times -- for "One Day in September" (1999); "American Dream" (1990) and "Le Ciel et la Boue (Sky Above and Mud Beneath)" (1961).
In 1971, his production of "The Garden of The Finzi-Continis," won the Oscar for best foreign film. In 1998, his production of "Central Station" was nominated for best foreign film.
Cohn will pick up the award on Jan. 7, when the NBR presents its annual awards at Tavern on the Green in New York.
'X-MEN 2' HAS A DATE
Fox has announced that it will release "X-Men 2" on May 2, 2003.
The announcement will probably keep other studios from planning any major releases for that weekend, which still leaves the Memorial Day weekend slot up for grabs.
The summer box-office season for 2003 also includes -- tentatively -- "The Hulk," "The Matrix Reloaded" and "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."
DE NIRO ON BOARD FOR TV SERIES
Robert De Niro and his production company are working on making a TV series out of "Fully Committed" -- playwright Becky Mode's piece about a struggling actor who works at a trendy New York restaurant.
De Niro will executive-produce the project. There is word that his "Meet the Parents" director, Jay Roach, will direct the pilot. Roach is busy right now, directing "Austin Powers in Goldmember" -- his third collaboration with Mike Myers in the film series about the super-hip, super-groovy British spy and his nemesis, Dr. Evil.
SODERBERGH TAKES ON CIA
Soderbergh won the Oscar this year for directing "Traffic," the drug-war drama starring Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. He and Clooney have come to terms on a deal with Warner Bros. to develop the movie based on the soon-to-be-published memoir of former CIA man Robert Baer --"See No Evil: The True Story of a Foot Soldier in the CIA's Counter-Terrorism War."
The book is an account of the CIA following the Cold War. Baer tells a story of a deteriorating agency, done in by budget cuts and Washington politics.
Soderbergh reportedly does not plan to direct the picture, leaving that up to Steve Gaghan who won the adapted screenplay Oscar for "Traffic." Gaghan recently made his directing debut on "Abandon," a thriller starring Katie Holmes and Benjamin Bratt.
APPECIATING THE VALUE OF A BUCK
Will Smith is apparently on good terms with the IRS now, but he says it wasn't always that way.
The star of "Ali" told ABC's "Primetime Thursday" that when he was a successful rapper -- but not yet a successful actor on the NBC-TV comedy, "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" -- he got pretty far behind in paying his taxes and learned the hard way that the government takes that sort of thing pretty seriously.
"Man, it was bad there for a minute," said Smith. "I didn't see the necessity to pay all them taxes they were asking for. But they're very serious about wanting their money."
He said he got the message when he came home one day to find a lock on the door of his house. He said getting "Fresh Prince" was "like the saving grace" that enabled him to get caught up, even though the government took more than 70 percent of his paycheck for the first three years he worked on the show.
Apparently, his take-home pay is still in the same ballpark.
"I know for a fact that when I make a movie and I earn a dollar," said Smith, "it's worth 33 cents to me."
NEW DEAL FOR DIRECTORS
Negotiators for the Directors Guild of America have reached a tentative deal on a new three-year contract with movie studios and TV networks, seven months before the existing contract is scheduled to expire.
The DGA's national board will examine the terms this weekend before deciding whether to recommend the deal to the guild's members.
The agreement reportedly includes provisions for higher residual payments for foreign distribution, broadcast and basic cable screenings of movies and TV shows. It also provides for bonus payments to first-time movie directors when their movies are successful enough to lead to sequels.
Producers also agreed to meet with the DGA again next year to examine the growing trend of runaway production -- in which studios and networks increasingly are producing projects outside the United States in order to save money on production costs.