Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Feb. 24, 2003 at 2:33 PM
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France awarded Meryl Streep an honorary Cesar Award in Paris on Saturday and named her a Commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

French Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon also presented an honorary Cesar to director Spike Lee at the French equivalent of America's Academy Awards.

"The Pianist," Roman Polanski's drama about a man eluding capture by the Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto, won seven Cesars -- including best film, best director for Polanski and best actor for Adrien Brody. The picture also won for best screenplay or adaptation, cinematography and original music score.


Director Roman Polanski -- a fugitive from U.S. justice -- will take part in a panel discussion in Beverly Hills, Calif., Saturday, but only by satellite hookup.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Polanski has agreed to appear by satellite from France, to join the other four nominees for the Directors Guild of America award for best feature film director in a discussion about their movies.

The other nominees are Stephen Daldry ("The Hours"), Peter Jackson ("The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"), Rob Marshall ("Chicago") and Martin Scorsese ("Gangs of New York").

The symposium is a regular feature of the DGA Awards, which will be presented Saturday night in Los Angeles. The DGA has announced that the list of presenters will include Kathy Bates, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Salma Hayek, Ron Howard, Julianne Moore, Rob Reiner, Martin Sheen and Renée Zellweger.

Steven Spielberg will present the DGA's lifetime achievement award to Scorsese.


"Daredevil" is still the No. 1 movie at the U.S. box office, taking in an estimated $18.9 million in its second weekend in release.

"Old School" -- the slacker comedy starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn -- opened at No. 2, grossing an estimated $17.5 million. "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" was third in its third weekend in theaters, taking in $11.9 million.

"The Jungle Book 2" was fourth with $8.6 million, followed by "Chicago" at No. 5 with $8.5 million.


Security concerns have prompted producers to put off plans to start shooting a new ABC TV movie version of "Fiddler on the Roof" in Czechoslovakia this spring.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have put off plans to open a production office in Prague, where they had anticipated rehearsals would begin in April and shooting would commence in June.

In addition to security concerns, the decision was also motivated by higher insurance premiums. The Reporter said anxiety about the prospect of war in the Middle East has led major productions shooting overseas to obtain coverage against the possibility of being shut down by war or terrorism.

"Fiddler on the Roof" is planned as a three-hour show, with Victor Garber in the title role.


Viewers at home heard very little talk of war and peace on Sunday's Grammys telecast from New York, but the subject came up quite a bit backstage.

During the telecast, Limp Bizkit frontman was presenting the Grammy for best hard rock performance when he said: "I just really hope we are in agreement that this war should go away as soon as possible." Sheryl Crow wore a peace sign and a guitar strap with the words No War for her duet with Kid Rock -- who is on record as wanting the United States to kick Saddam Hussein's rear end.

Backstage, the artists had more to say about war and peace.

"Am I the only guy who said something about the war on the televised show?" Durst wondered aloud. "I'm happy that I did. I'm glad to be alive and I love my son and I just want it to go away."

Crow -- who was outspoken against war at the American Music Awards earlier this year -- told reporters backstage why she didn't say anything during the Grammys telecast.

"I didn't want to pick that particular bone tonight onstage," said Crow. "But I think that we know it's on everyone's mind. No one wants to rush into a war. Peace is what's important."


Warner Bros. has announced that Michael Gambon will replace the late Richard Harris as Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the "Harry Potter" movie series.

Harris died last year of cancer. Gambon will play Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," the third movie adaptation of author J.K. Rowling's phenomenally successful series of books about a boy wizard and his magical world.

Gambon is best known for his performances as Sir William McCordle, the murder victim in "Gosford Park," and as President Lyndon B. Johnson in "Path to War."


Producer Gil Cates said Monday that Jennifer Garner will make her first Oscars telecast appearance as a presenter on the 75th Anniversary Academy Awards show.

Garner -- a Golden Globe-winner for best actress in a drama series for "Alias" -- co-stars with Ben Affleck in the box-office hit "Daredevil." Her other screen credits includes "Pearl Harbor," "Dude Where's My Car?" and "Deconstructing Harry."

The Oscars will be presented on March 23 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

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