The Directors Guild of America has named first-time director Billy Crystal as one of its five nominees for best director of a TV movie.
Crystal won the nomination for the HBO film "61*" -- which also received 12 Emmy nominations last year, including one for best made-for-TV movie and one for best director.
The other nominees for best TV movie director are Robert Allan Ackerman for "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows"; Jon Avnet for "Uprising"; Frank Pierson for "Conspiracy"; and Mark Rydell for "James Dean."
The DGA will hand out its annual awards on March 9.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that Oscar-winning actor Benicio Del Toro will make his first appearance as a presenter in the Oscar show.
Del Toro ("Snatch," "The Pledge," "The Usual Suspects") won the supporting actor Oscar last year for his complex performance as an honest drug cop in "Traffic." He's due on movie screens this year in "The Hunted," co-starring with Tommy Lee Jones -- who won the supporting actor Oscar for "The Fugitive" in 1993.
The Oscars will be handed out March 24 in ceremonies at the new Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
(The above two items thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
Actress Meg Ryan, according to Santa Monica, Calif., court records, has asked for and gotten a three-year restraining order to keep a man away from her -- a man who claims to be her husband.
The man in question is 30-year-old John Michael Hughes of Florida. He was recently arrested for trying to drive onto the private Texas ranch of President George Bush, carrying a cache of high-powered automatic weapons.
Police on the West Coast arrested Hughes at a home belonging to a man named Tomas Ryan. That Ryan is not related to the actress.
Meg Ryan, who did not appear at the court hearing, was represented by a lawyer who claimed that her client feared for her safety. By the way, Hughes claims that he and Meg Ryan were married, in Canada, on Sept. 11.
(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)
Pop star Britney Spears and actors Taryn Manning, Zoe Saldana, Anson Mount and Kim Cattrall are expected to attend the world premiere of their new film "Crossroads." The event is being held Monday at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
Also expected to attend -- Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees, Jon Voight, Rita Wilson, Melissa Joan Hart, Frankie Muniz, Danny Masterson, Alan Cumming, KISS's Paul Stanley, Brittany Murphy, David Hasselhoff, Jennifer Blanc, Clare Kramer and Josie Bissett.
The movie -- marking Spears' motion picture debut -- opens nationwide Feb. 15.
SEPT. 11 MOVIE
CBS has acquired the rights to a never-before-broadcast video of the World Trade Center attack from French filmmakers Gedeon and Jules Naudet. The eyewitness story will air March 10 in a two-hour "CBS Special Presentation" (9-11 p.m. ET/PT).
On Sept. 11, the Naudet brothers were in lower Manhattan taping a documentary on the Engine 7, Ladder 1 firefighters when Jules suddenly heard a roar from above and turned his camera upward. In doing so, he captured the only known video of the first plane striking the World Trade Center.
Cameras still rolling, Jules followed the firefighters to what would soon become known as Ground Zero. Gedeon also rushed to the scene with members of Ladder 1.
During the next several hours, Gedeon and Jules Naudet captured video unlike any broadcast since -- including 45 minutes of footage from inside the North Tower as the rescue effort was underway and dramatic scenes of escape in the minutes before the building collapsed.
The Naudet brothers, along with Ladder 1 firefighter James Hanlon, are donating proceeds from the project to the Uniformed Firefighters Association Scholarship Fund for the family members of firefighters. The March 10 broadcast will include information about how viewers can also support the fund.
A coalition of family and children advocates have asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the Fox Network for flouting the FCC's decency regulations. It specifically targets the network's Monday night drama "Boston Public," which airs during family hour.
According to a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, which was released by the coalition, the show's story lines in the show have included a female candidate for class president performing oral sex on a male opponent in exchange for his support; a student earning extra cash by working as a stripper; and a prolonged affair between a teacher and a student.
"It is our view that shows like 'Boston Public' and its ilk do not belong in prime time when any child in America can see them," the groups write in their letter.
Last year, the show earned the No.1 Worst Show on Television slot on the Parents Television Council's annual list of worst shows. In 1999, Bill Bennett's public policy organization Empower America awarded the Fox Network its Silver Sewer Award "in recognition of Fox's outrageous contribution to the degradation and coarsening of our culture."
Those making the complaint include Focus on the Family, National Association of Evangelicals, Morality in Media, Christian Coalition, Family Research Council, Citizens for Community Values, Religious Freedom Coalition, American Family Association, American Decency Association, Wilberforce Forum, American Association of Christian Schools, American Values, Concerned Women for America, Culture and Family Institute and Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Council.