Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter
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Russell Crowe said at Tuesday's Sydney, Australia premiere of "A Beautiful Mind" that he sees no "need to apologize" for allegedly assaulting the director of Sunday's BBC telecast of the British Academy Film Awards.


At a party after the BAFTA Awards -- after he learned that his best actor acceptance speech had been cut from the BBC telecast of the award show -- witnesses said Crowe shoved director Malcolm Gerrie up against a wall, cursed him and threatened to punish him professionally. As it turned out, BBC officials said it was someone else's call -- not Gerrie's -- to cut the part of Crowe's speech in which he read the poem "Sanctity" by the Irish writer Patrick Kavanagh.

"I don't feel that I need to apologize to him," said Crowe in footage aired in the United States by the syndicated show "Inside Edition."


"I believe in everything I said and I'll stand by it," said the actor. "We're talking about over a minute of a speech ... about a thank you to John and Alicia Nash, who this movie is based on, being cut out."

"Who on Earth had the ... audacity to take out the best actor's poem?" witnesses quoted Crowe. "I'll make sure you never work in Hollywood."

Someone asked Crowe whether the incident might damage his chances for a best actor Oscar.

"I think the Oscars are supposed to be about the performance that you've given," he said. "I don't think I'm nominated for 'worst argument with an English TV executive.'"

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finished mailing final ballots to voting members on Wednesday.

The poem was cut from the version of the show seen on the BBC, but was left intact in the version provided for international TV viewing. Other speeches were also cut.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has settled the matter of which three people will be the official Oscar nominees as producer on "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

Director Peter Jackson and his partner and co-writer Fran Walsh will be listed, along with producer Barrie M. Osborne. Only they will be eligible to take home Oscar statuettes -- and take the stage to deliver acceptance speeches on Oscar night if "Rings" should win for best picture.


That leaves producer Tim Sanders as the odd man out. The three-producer rule is new to the Oscars this year -- intended to eliminate the mob scenes that sometimes materialize on the Oscar stage, and the excess speechifying that causes the show to run long.

"Rings" has four producers and five executive producers. The academy rule says that if more than three producers are credited, the Oscar nomination will go to "those three who have performed the major portion of the producing functions."

"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is up for 13 Oscars, including best picture.


If the best revenge is living well, then record executive Clive Davis might be excused for feeling somewhat vindicated over his ouster from Arista Records a couple of years ago -- considering how well his new label did at this year's Grammys.

Arista, the label Davis helped create after his ouster from Columbia Records a generation ago, put out a press release Thursday touting the label's five Grammy wins. That happens to be the exact number of trophies that Alicia Keys snagged more or less single-handedly for "Songs in A Minor," her debut album on J Records -- the label that Davis started up after Arista shoved him out the door.


Arista's winners were OutKast for best rap album ("Stankonia") and rap performance by duo or group ("Ms. Jackson"); Usher for best male R&B vocal performance ("U Remind Me"); Pink for best pop collaboration (with Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim and Mya on "Lady Marmalade"); and Dido for best remix ("Thank You" Deep Dish version).

Keys -- who won for best new artist -- also won for song of the year, R&B song and female R&B vocal performance for "Fallin,'" Her album won for R&B album of the year. Her big night was all the more remarkable considering that the album was not even one of the five nominees for overall album of the year.

The New York Daily News reported that music impresario Dick Clark stood in admiration of Davis at the J Records post-Grammys party.

"Everybody put the old man out to pasture," said Clark. "In one year, he's become successful all over again."

Keys' album has sold 8 million copies, to go along with six Grammy nominations, and J Records' roster now includes Rod Stewart and Luther Vandross -- who left Warner Music Group and Epic records to join up with Davis.



Concerts West has announced that Britney Spears will add a second leg to her "Dream Within a Dream" tour, due to popular demand.

The tour will kick off in Las Vegas on May 24 and make stops in 30 North American cities -- including Chicago, Vancouver, Houston, Boston, Portland and Los Angeles. It's scheduled to wrap up in Dallas on July 22.

Before taking the show on the road again, Spears will travel to Italy, Germany and England in March to promote the release of her movie starring debut in the teen comedy "Crossroads."


Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox have announced that "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" will premiere on May 12 in 11 cities across the United States and Canada, with benefit screenings to raise funds for local charities.

"Throughout the years, 'Star Wars' films have entertained generations of children," said producer-director George Lucas. "I'm delighted that these premieres will provide an opportunity to benefit the children who need it the most."

Screenings are scheduled to raise funds for Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Metropolitan Family Services of Chicago, The Family Place in Dallas, The Kempe Children's Foundation in Denver, The Fulfillment Fund in Los Angeles, Children's Aid Society in New York, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The California Mentor Foundation in San Francisco, Childhaven in Seattle, Child Find Ontario and For Love of Children, Inc. in Washington, D.C.


The charities will receive portions of the box-office receipts from the screenings and a limited number of tickets to give to disadvantaged children.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus' new NBC comedy ''Watching Ellie" is off to a strong start in the ratings, drawing an audience estimated at 16.7 million during its premiere Tuesday night -- second to CBS' ''JAG'' in its time slot.

It was a stronger performance than that turned in by new comedies starring Louis-Dreyfus' former "Seinfeld" cast mates. ''The Michael Richards Show'' debuted to 13.2 million viewers in October 2000, and Jason Alexander's ''Bob Patterson'' drew just 9.8 million viewers when it premiered last year.


In the 1970s, National Lampoon Radio got laughs out of fanciful references to coming spectator sports -- including celebrity boxing and wheelchair diving.

Wheelchair diving may still be way off, but celebrity boxing is here.

Fox has scheduled a special called "Celebrity Boxing" for March 13 -- featuring Tonya Harding in the ring with Amy Fisher for three rounds in a bout the network is promoting as "the battle of the bad girls."


Harding -- a former national ice skating champion -- ruined her life in 1994 after her then-husband cooked up a plot to eliminate skating rival Nancy Kerrigan from the national championships in Detroit. After pleading guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution, Harding was stripped of her national title and banned for life from competitive skating in the United States.

On her Web site, Harding has posted a statement she made on CNN -- that the media had given her the bad girl image "just because of the few things that have gone wrong in my life, and also because I grew up living in a trailer."

Fisher was popularly known as "the Long Island Lolita" after she shot and wounded a Long Island woman while she was having an affair with the woman's husband, auto mechanic Joey Buttafuoco. Fisher did more than six years in prison for the crime.

"Celebrity Boxing" will also pit Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce for three rounds in what you might think of as a battle of the bubblegum boys. Williams starred as Greg Brady in the '70s comedy "The Brady Bunch" and Bonaduce was the precocious Danny Partridge on "The Partridge Family."


Fox said the fights will be "real."

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