News from the entertainment capital

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Jan. 8, 2002 at 7:59 PM
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, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- IT'S IN THE MAIL

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences mailed nomination ballots Tuesday for the 74th Academy Awards to the 4,263 academy members who live in California.

Ballots were mailed Friday to voting members who live outside of California. Completed ballots must be returned to the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5 p.m. Feb. 1.

Nominations will be announced Feb. 12 and the Oscars will be handed out March 24 at their new permanent home, the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Beverly Hills Postmaster Koula Fuller was on hand to ensure that the ballots were safely carried from academy headquarters to the post office.

The academy announced last week that 248 movies released during 2001 met the eligibility requirements for Academy Awards.


They're getting ready to receive lots of visitors in Park City, Utah, this week, as filmmakers, distribution executives and talent managers -- call them dealmakers in general -- arrive for the Sundance Film Festival.

The brainchild of Robert Redford, Sundance has grown from a celebration of independent filmmaking into a buzzing marketplace where people who made movies on a shoestring hope to interest buyers with millions to spend in the search for box-office gold.

The dramatic competition this year features 16 finalists -- all hoping to follow the path set by last year's discoveries, "In the Bedroom" and "Memento." Both of those movies are recovering their investments in the marketplace and have racked up an impressive list of nominations and awards during the current awards season.


Producers of the 29th Annual American Music Awards announced earlier this week that Michael Jackson will perform on the AMA telecast Wednesday night -- a curious announcement given that Jackson was at the center of the lawsuit that AMA producer Dick Clark filed last month against Recording Academy President/CEO Michael Greene.

The suit alleged that Greene caused Jackson to breach a verbal contract with Clark, by insisting that the pop star could not perform on next month's Grammys telecast if he performed on any other show during the current awards season.

Clark had already announced in December that Jackson would appear on the AMA show to receive the Artist of the Century Award -- but the announcement that he would perform was a new wrinkle.

It turns out that Jackson's performance will not be live -- but will actually be a never-before-seen clip of Jackson performing his hit, "Man in the Mirror" in concert.


Stephen Sommers -- writer-director of "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" -- will use the technology from those projects to bring Greek myth to the screen in "The Argonauts."

According to a report in Daily Variety, the story will be set in post-World War II Greece, as a team of treasure hunters closes in on what it thinks is the legendary lost ship of Jason and the Argonauts. In the search for the mythical Golden Fleece, the adventurers find themselves in the land of Greek mythology -- where they do battle with mythic creatures including Cyclops and a Minotaur.


Heirs of the Three Stooges are pleased with a ruling Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court that they are entitled to profits from posthumous depictions of their slapstick forbears.

The court refused to hear a case involving Los Angeles artist Gary Saderup, who argued in lower courts that he did not need permission from the heirs of Larry, Moe, Curly and the other Stooges in order to use the comedians' images on T-shirts and other merchandise.

The California Supreme Court had ruled last year that Saderup was violating state law. Now that the Supreme Court has refused to hear his appeal, Saderup is on the hook to pay the Stooges' heirs $75,000 that he earned selling his Stooges stuff, and to cover their legal fees.


Fabian -- one of the many teen idols who came along in the wake of Elvis Presley's arrival on the rock 'n' roll scene in the 1950s -- received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday.

Born Fabian Anthony Forte in Philadelphia in 1943, Fabian made his movie debut in 1959 as a good old boy in "Hound-Dog Man," directed by Don Siegel -- who later directed Clint Eastwood in such hits as "Dirty Harry" and "Coogan's Bluff." He co-starred with James Stewart in the 1962 comedy, "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation," and with Hugh O'Brien in the 1966 film version of "Ten Little Indians."

In the recent TV movie, "Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The Early Years (1955-1970)," he appeared uncredited as himself. Prior to that, his most recent project was the 1999 TV movie, "Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Alan Freed Story," in which he and fellow teen idol Frankie Avalon made special appearances.


The Producers Guild of America has announced that it will honor director-producer Robert Wise ("West Side Story," "The Sound of Music") at its 13th annual gala March 3 in Los Angeles.

The American Society of Cinematographers has announced that it will present director Stanley Donen ("Singing in the Rain") with its board of governors award, at its annual awards dinner Feb. 17 in Los Angeles.

Organizers of the Sundance Festival have announced that Stockard Channing ("The West Wing," "Grease") will host the Sundance Film Festival 2002 Awards ceremony on Jan. 19. The ceremony will be televised live on the Sundance Channel.


"Weakest Link" host Anne Robinson came out "on top" of this year's list, as Hollywood designer Mr. Blackwell rated the Worst Dressed Women of 2001.

Robinson looks like "Harry Potter in drag," said Blackwell.

Britney Spears fell one spot to No. 2, with Mr. Blackwell castigating her as "re-hashed Madonna ... on a really bad day." No. 3 was Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche -- a "haute couture catastrophe."

Pop divas Destiny's Child took No. 4 for being "trilogy of taste-free terror," in Mr. Blackwell's eyes. As if singer Björk didn't already hear enough ridicule for the outfit she wore at last year's Academy Awards, Blackwell called her get-up "A 'Swan Lake' mistake" and ranked her No. 5.

Rounding out the list: Princess Stephanie of Monaco ("Her wardrobe has the allure of nuclear waste"); Kate Hudson ("Looks like a cyclone victim from the OK corral"); Camilla Parker Bowles (Packs the punch of a dilapidated Yorkshire pudding"); Cameron Diaz ("Chaos in heels, period!") and Gillian Anderson ("A grunge plunge resembling an escape from a Bohemian barbecue."

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