News from the entertainment capital

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Digest  |  Jan. 29, 2002 at 7:09 PM
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When the Screen Actors Guild announced the nominations Tuesday for its 8th Annual Actor Awards, some actors were conspicuous by their absence from the list.

For example, three of the four winners of this year's top four TV acting awards at the Golden Globes failed to make the SAG list. "Sex and the City's" Sarah Jessica Parker -- winner of the Globe for best actress in a TV comedy -- was nominated for a SAG Award, but Jennifer Garner, Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland, were not.

Garner won the Golden Globe for lead actress in a TV drama, "Alias." Sheen won for lead actor in a TV comedy, "Spin City." Sutherland won for lead actor in a TV drama, "24."

In the movie award categories, Billy Bob Thornton -- who generated a lot of buzz for his performances in "The Man Who Wasn't There," "Monster's Ball" and "Bandits" -- was not nominated by his peers. Will Smith, Jon Voight and Jamie Foxx -- who all received good reviews for their work in "Ali" -- also were left of the list of SAG nominees.

The actors union also did not see fit to nominate Gene Hackman's turn as the patriarch of a seriously dysfunctional family in "The Royal Tenenbaums" -- a performance that earned Hackman a Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy movie.

On the other hand, SAG members did recognize Kevin Kline's work in "Life as a House," nominating him for outstanding male actor in a leading role. It's Kline's first major nomination of the awards season.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that Edmund M. Di Giulio -- described as "one of the industry's foremost engineering minds" -- has been voted the Gordon E. Sawyer Award by the academy's Board of Governors.

The Award -- which comes in the form of an Oscar statuette -- is presented to filmmakers "whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry."

Di Giulio is probably best known within the film community for his part in the engineering and development of the Steadicam. He has been active on various academy subcommittees, and has chaired the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee for five years.

Di Giulio will receive the honor at the Scientific and Technical Awards Dinner on March 2 in Beverly Hills.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to present an Award of Commendation to the American Society of Cinematographers at the Scientific and Technical Awards dinner on March 2.

The ASC will receive the award "for its ongoing publication of the American Cinematographer Manual, the premiere reference book for motion picture cinematographers," according to an academy press release.

The publication, which dates back to 1930 when it was called The Cinematographic Annual, is still the most-used reference manual on movie sets -- covering everything about cinematography from loading film to calculating foot-candles and understanding aspect ratios.

With 40 chapters and 929 pages, it's commonly referred to as "The Filmmaker's Bible."


Organizers of the Berlin Film Festival said Tuesday they expect Russell Crowe and Ron Howard to show up to promote "A Beautiful Mind" at the first major European movie festival of the year.

According to Daily Variety, such luminaries as Cate Blanchett, Steve Buscemi, Judi Dench, Catherine Deneuve, Kevin Spacey and Marisa Tomei also are expected at the festival.


Hard on the heels of the box-office success of the comedy, "Legally Blonde," Reese Witherspoon has set up an $8 million deal to for a dramatic role as a tennis pro who may be past her prime at 24.

The movie does not yet have a director -- or even a title.

Witherspoon's character -- who cracked under pressure while playing in the U.S. Open -- is keeping body and soul together as a club pro at a ritzy resort. She meets a younger, more glamorous pro who is making tons of money from commercial endorsement, but not making the most of her game -- a character that may remind some sports fans of Anna Kournikova.


Five members of the Screen Actors Guild have filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor to stop the union from rerunning last November's election.

SAG announced earlier this month that its bylaws require the rerun, because of several irregularities -- including that SAG members in New York had two more voting days than members elsewhere in the United States. A five-member SAG panel declared that the election of new union president Melissa Gilbert and other national officers was invalidated by the irregularities.

Gilbert's supporters argue in their challenge of the SAG panel's ruling that the irregularities were so minor that they would not have affected the outcome of the voting. The panel that vacated the election results and ordered a rerun said the primary consideration is the integrity of SAG's election process.


NBC had such good results with its "super sizing" strategy during last year's February sweeps, they're bringing the technique back for the upcoming sweeps period -- when networks slug it out with their best stuff, in a campaign to generate the best possible ratings and therefore set the highest possible ad rates.

"Super sizing" is what they called it when NBC brass realized that if they let a hit show run a few minutes longer than usual, it could keep the audience from tuning to another network at the top or bottom of the hour -- as U.S. network TV viewers have been conditioned to do for half a century.

This time around, NBC will show elongated episodes of "Scrubs" and "Will & Grace."

The Feb. 5 episode of "Scrubs" will run about eight minutes longer than normal. Two nights later, "Will & Grace" will use up an extra four minutes of primetime, with guest star Matt Damon expected to attract large numbers of viewers.


Sarah Jessica Parker and Bruce Willis are the Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals woman and man of the year.

The star of "Sex and the City" and the upcoming movie "Hart's War" will receive their traditional pudding pots at separate ceremonies next month.

Parker gets a parade through Harvard Square on Feb. 7 leading up to the presentation at the Hasty Pudding Theater. Willis gets his honor one week later.

The club said it is recognizing Parker not only for her talent, but also for being a "dedicated humanitarian." Parker serves as national ambassador for the U.S. fund for UNICEF.

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