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April 2002
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Halle Berry's tear-laden Oscar win has some crabby curmudgeons saying it was a put on. But the truth is, it was all genuine. In fact, Berry was so taken by surprise when Russell Crowe announced her name that when she jumped up, she lost her purse. It was found several hours later by Academy security guards. It was definitely real. After all, how many recipients conciously thank their - lawyer? And fellow Oscar winner Denzel Washington confirmed it with a laugh saying, "She doesn't know where she is--she's gone."


FBritney Spears, 'N Sync and R. Kelly are among the first artists to have their works made available on a new portable media format, DataPlay digital media, intended to eventually replace the CD. Zomba Recording Corp. has unveiled its roster of artists whose works will be distributed on the new DataPlay disks and Universal Music Group, EMI Group and BMG Entertainment have also announced plans to switch to DataPlay discs. DataPlay discs are tiny, about the size of a half-dollar, and they look like a miniature CD inside a translucent shell. The technology is also designed to resist piracy but still allow consumers to make their own personal copies. So why is everyone getting excited? Well, the tiny DataPlay discs come in two capacities: single-sided 250MB and double-sided 500MB. That means the larger capacity one can hold more than 11 hours of compressed music files, or the equivalent of five complete prerecorded CDs, and if that's not enough, these discs can also store about one hour of video (work goes on to develop more video capacity), 1,000 high-resolution photographs, 100 e-books or one video game. That's a lot of data in a pocket-sized unit! DataPlay discs and music players are scheduled to go on sale this summer with players targeted to sell for around $280-$450. Blank discs will cost $5-$12 depending on capacity.


ROME -- Three men wearing dark glasses and baseball caps walked into the Fox production office last month while extras were being paid, drew guns and demanded the contents of the office safe. They warned everyone by saying, "This is not a movie." They then grabbed 90,000 euros ($80,000), and escaped in a small Fiat parked outside a back entrance. The production office was that of 20th Century Fox's "The Sin Eater," which was filming Italian location shots at the time. Directed by Brian Helgeland ("A Knight's Tale"), the $35 million supernatural thriller, is about a religious figure who consumes the sins of the dead. Its U.S. release is scheduled for August.


Monster's Ball producer Lee Daniels told Jet magazine he's surprised at the overall success of the "Monster'a Ball." "A lot of times people don't see us, especially black men, as producers," he says. "I want people to know that blacks can do this too in mainstream Hollywood." Monster's Ball was Daniels' first film.


Spike Lee's documentary "Jim Brown: All American" premiered March 22 at New York's Film Forum, but the ex-athlete was unable to attend. On March 13, Brown began serving a six month jail sentence arising from an incident in 2000 involving allegations that Brown vandalized his wife's car. Brown refused to undergo counseling and community service, so two years later, Municipal Court Judge Dale S. Fisher ordered Brown locked up. In the documentary, Lee attempts to capture both the goodness and badness that has made Brown the individual that he is. The movie covers Brown's civic work with LA's gangs, Brown's well documented promiscuity and his run-ins with LAPD. "It's been documented that LAPD had it in for him," Lee told Tribune Media Services. Lee freely admits that the subject of his film is complex. "I'm not saying Jim Brown has never been wrong," he said. "He has flaws like anyone else."


Singer/actor Prince has purchased a $3.5 million mansion in one of the Toronto's richest neighborhoods for himself and wife, former employee Manuela Testolini. But guess what? Land registry records uncovered by Toronto's National Post indicate the expansive home was bought by a company called Gamillah Holdings, whose president just happens to be Testolini.


Director Penny Marshall says she wants to make a documentary about Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. Apparently, Marshall has been an avid Laker fan for years, and wants to chronicle the team and the NBA as seen through the eyes of Magic Johnson. "These kids go around today wearing the sneakers and they have no idea who the people are whose names are on them. So it's going to be educational for them and a history lesson," she said. Marshall directed the acclaimed "A League of Their Own," and several other films.


To quelch the Hollywood rumor mill that "Ali" star Will Smith was booted from the ceremony after punching Etahn Hawke backstage, the publicists for the two actors immediately reacted to set the record straight, much to the disappointment of tinsel town's salicious wags. The apparent bruise on Etahn Hawke's face during the ceremonies was actually lipstick, left behind by a great big sloppy kiss from Denzel Washington's wife Pauletta, which Hawke received as he left the stage with Gwyneth Paltrow after presenting the original screenplay award to "Gosford Park" writer Julian Fellowes. And the absence of Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith during the best actor announcement was because of an emergency message telling the couple that their 16-month-old daughter Willow, was ill and being taken to the hospital. The couple definitely know where their priorities lie and immediately left the ceremonies to be with their child. It turned out to be an ear infection and Willow is expected to get well soon.


After winning the Academy Award Oscar for Best Actress, Halle Berry's official website was attacked by hackers who defaced pictures by drawing moustaches and beards on faces and writing racist remarks across the screen pages. One email address left on the site included the letters KKK. The web site was taken down temporarily, all the pages repaired and it is now back on line with added security measures in place


Reporters made more of the black-actor-wins-an-Oscar angle than Denzel Washington did. When reporters pressed him about the ethnic win, he nobly replied, "Say an actor won."


After thousands of votes on Entertainment Tonight's online poll, Halle Berry has officially been named the "Queen of the Oscars." The Best Actress award winner was voted as the most stylish star. Voters also liked Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon as the most glamorous couple but Gwyneth Paltrow's sheer look was the fashion faux-pas on Oscar night as determined by voters.


The Vialta company has devised ViMagazine -- a DVD-style disc of protected content that will be mailed out every month beginning this summer. Didier Pietri, president and CEO of Vialta, says the ViMagazine is a new distribution system. Each ViMagazine (which only play on Vialta's players – another expense?) will contain as many as 14 hours of entertainment. Some of the content will be free, the rest will be unlockable on a rental or purchase basis. EMI Recorded Music recently signed a licensing agreement with Vialta for new and catalog tracks from the EMI-Capitol library, and Artisan Home Entertainment has agreed to provide motion pictures, documentaries, lifestyle and children's programming. To sign on Artisan, Vialta paid as much as $10 million in a combination of license fee payments and investment in subordinate notes as part of the multiyear licensing agreement.


"Star Trek" fans will be glad to hear that helmer Rick Berman signed a new five year, eight-figure, overall film and TV deal with Paramount Pictures last month. Berman is currently working on production of the 10th "Trek" feature, "Star Trek: Nemesis," due for release later this year. He is also finishing production on the first season of UPN's "Enterprise," the fifth TV series resulting from Gene Roddenberry's 'Trek' vision. The "Star Trek" franchise was the first to shatter the black sterotype image on television and continues today to fight against intolerance and ignorance. Paramount Television Production president Garry Hart hailed Berman's "immense talent and dedication," while Paramount Motion Picture Group chairman Sherry Lansing called him "an enormous contributor to the success of the Paramount Motion Picture Group."


Star Trek's Lt. Uhura, known to non-Trekkies as actress Nichelle Nichols, will be honored by the Giving Back Corporation at their 4th Annual Celebrity Spring Toast/Roast. The roast will take place at the Southwest College Theater in Los Angeles. Nichelle Nichols, born in Robbins, Illinois, began her career at age 15 when she was discovered by the great Duke Ellington. Nichols has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was one of the first African-Americans to place handprints and signature in the cement at Mann’s Chinese Theatre.


Rumors of comedian Eddie Griffin's death were close to true just three years ago. Back then, he suffered a heart attack and says he "died for fifty-eight seconds." Doctors revived him during an emergency angioplasty to clear the center artery to his heart. Griffin blamed his heart attack on a poor diet. "I'm here to tell you the soul food diet is no good," he said. "I was eating seventeen times a day, eating like a pig but ain't gain no weight. [Then I start] exercising like a beast and I have a heart attack," he said. After recovering, Griffin changed his diet and his health has definitely improved. Back to work, he has appeared in "John Q" with Denzel Washington, completed a concert film, and wrapped on the films "Undercover Brother," "The New Guy," and "Baby's Mama" due out later this year. "I played so many characters this year I almost forgot who I was," he added.


Oprah Winfey has signed a new deal to host The Oprah Winfrey Show through the 2005-06 season, but then she says that's it. The 2005-06 season will mark the 20th anniversary of The Oprah Winfrey Show's debut in national syndication. When the show ends, many hope it will give the actress/producer more time to devote to film making.


How does a person get the name Whoopi? During an interview with Ed Bradley at the American Film Institute's US Comedy Festival, Goldberg, formerly known as Caryn Johnson, admitted the odorous truth. "It picked me. I get gassy," she admitted, and a friend told her, "You're like a whoopee cushion." She later took her mother's suggestion and changed her stage last name to Goldberg. The truth will out, but it makes you worry about getting stuck in an elevator with the very talented actress.


History was made at the Oscars® this year when the top acting honors went to two African-Americans, including the first ever best actress award to an African American. The awards to Denzel Washington (Best Actor, "Training Day") and Halle Berry (Best Actress, "Monster's Ball"). But Berry's tearful acceptance of her award was made even more historic by what she had to say:
"This moment is so much bigger than me," she said. "This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. . It's for the women who stand behind me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox and it's for every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened," she said. "I am so honored, I'm so honored, and I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel from which this blessing might flow." She later added, "One night doesn't take away something as monstrous as racism but every black woman should be hopeful because it can happen."


HBest Actress winner Halle Berry is keeping a cold-heart when it comes to her father. Jerome Berry, 65, is dying of liver failure. Berry thanked her mother Judith on Oscar night, but deliberatly left out any mention of her father. The two have been estranged ever since her father walked out on the family when she was just a young child. Family friends say despite his imminent death, Halle has no desire to reconcile. Halle has said, "I have no love for him, because to me he is a complete stranger. I don't want him to be part of my life." Halle's half-sister Renee has pleaded with her to take pity on their father, saying, "Dad told me that he'd be the happiest man alive if Halle would just pick up the phone and call him. We're begging her to find it somewhere in her heart to forget the past."


When Sidney Poitier walked backstage after receiving his Honorary Oscar Award, Hollywood's most jaded, the entertainment reporters, did something they never do - they stood and applauded.


During a hearing on digital piracy of music, film and computer data, powerful senator, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., vowed to block any attempt in Congress to mandate that protection technology be built into computers, TV sets and other consumer electronics. The mandate for protection technology is a legislative solution being circulated by Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C. Leahy said the industries need to first stop fighting among themselves and come to some kind of industry standard before legislation would make any sense. "Without a lot more consensus, no legislation will pass this year," Leahy said. Intel president and CEO Craig Barrett's testimony during the hearing influenced Leahy's decision. Barrett testified that the best way to solve the problem is to let the computer and entertainment industries work it out. He also admitted that, "Completely stopping piracy of unprotected content is almost impossible."


MAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts have tied for the No. 1 position on the 2002 Star Power survey, which looks at the global bankability of selected actors in the theatrical marketplace. Actors were rated on criteria such as potential opening-weekend fire power, ability to secure financing and theatrical distribution based on their attachment to a project.
1. Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts
2. Mel Gibson
3. Jim Carrey
4. George Clooney
5. Russell Crowe
6. Harrison Ford
7. Bruce Willis
8. Brad Pitt
9. Nicolas Cage
10. Leonardo DiCaprio
11. Will Smith
12. Denzel Washington


The Pacific Theaters movie chain opened its newest theater, the ArcLight, in Hollywood last month with ticket prices starting at $14 ... each!! But in the movie chain's defense, the ArcLight Hollywood theater is a unique, definitely upscale undertaking. The theatre offers reserved seating, cocktails, a restaurant, wider seats, more legroom, and state of the art sound and projection. No word yet on whether the chain plans any more of these 'Ritzy' show palaces for other cities.


On "BET Tonight," Spike Lee revealed that he was one of several people considered to direct the film "Ali," but he wasn't picked. "I wanted to do it. Will didn't want me to direct it," Lee said. "Columbia/Sony had a list and Will had a list. I met with Will and his manager ... The first thing Will said was, so Spike, how can you expand your vision? When he asked that, I knew I was out." During the show, Lee used the "Ali" snub to regress to his favorite topic: racism in Hollywood. "It's about positions of power and gatekeepers ... people who sit behind the desk and say this movie gets made, this one doesn't..." "Few white directors can get our stuff right ..." he said. "'Ali' didn't get it ... I'm tired of other people documenting our history."


Singer/actor Ja Rule is working to raise AIDS awareness. He will team with BET and to conduct an online auction of signed and/or exclusive memorabilia. The Yahoo auctions event began last month and will run through Friday, May 3. Half the funds raised will go to BET's Rap-It-Up campaign with an equal portion to be donated to LIFEBeat. BET is running a series of HIV/AIDS awareness public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Ja Rule to promote the auction. The auction can be found at:
Items contributed to date, include:
Ja Rule's complete Phat Farm outfit from the PSA shoot
Brandy signed white Baby Phat bubble jacket
Magic Johnson signed #32 Lakers jersey
Master P's No Limit signed jersey
Mary J. Blige autographed Kate Spade sunglasses
Southwest Airlines Getaway to upcoming BET events


Many of Hollywood's top female stars stayed really cool at the Oscar ceremony - by having their sweat glands frozen! With a secret $1,190 BOTOX injection in their armpits to stop them sweating, many of Hollywood's top stars avoided the terror of sweat stains on their designer clothes. Insiders say celebs are terrified of being seen sweating, especially in front of the huge Academy Awards' audience. The controversial beauty treatment uses a form of botulism toxin and is usually used in the forehead to freeze the facial muscles and avoid wrinkles. But Hollywood invented a new use for it. One showbiz insider said, "Sweating in the wrong place - or even at all - is not what a star needs. On the year's night of nerves, perspiration has no place. Too much sweat could ruin a career. The Oscars hall gets very hot. Who wants to see their favorite actor or actress with sweat stains on their designer frock or shirt?"


Indiewire reports that Spike Lee has been named the Artistic Director of the graduate division of the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Lee's is an advisory position at the school, letting him teach and advise third year students, as well as help with industry networking. "Spike has unimpeachable professional and artistic credentials in both narrative and documentary filmmaking," said Tisch Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell. "I am confident that, working in tandem with Christine Choy, the new department chair, he will move the graduate program forward and ensure that it remain the top film program in the country."


Wish you had Halle Berry's cheeks or Nicole Kidman's nose or a knockout figure? Body parts of favorite celebrities is a staple of the plastic surgeon's business today. The most requested celebrity body parts, according to Los Angeles cosmetic surgeons, by individuals having plastic surgery and liposuction are:
For Women:
Nose: Nicole Kidman
Eyes: Heather Graham
Cheeks: Halle Berry
Lips: Denise Richards
Jawline: Cate Blanchett
Body: Britney Spears
For Men:
Nose: Edward Burns
Jawline: Johnny Depp
Body: Will Smith