- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 12, 2004

Critics’ choice

Associated Press

“Sideways” has taken another step forward with critics, winning top honors from the New York Film Critics Online.

The group named the comedy, about mismatched best friends on a wine-tasting road trip, as the year’s best film Saturday, Associated Press reports. Two of the movie’s stars, Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen, won the supporting acting categories.

Jamie Foxx was named best actor for his uncanny portrayal of Ray Charles in “Ray,” and Imelda Staunton won the best-actress award for playing a housekeeper who secretly performs abortions in 1950s England in “Vera Drake.”

Martin Scorsese was named the top director for the Howard Hughes epic “The Aviator,” and Charlie Kaufman won screenplay honors for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” the film about a lovelorn man who wants to erase his ex-girlfriend from his memory.

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association also chose “Sideways” as the year’s best film on Saturday, and earlier this month the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures listed it among the top 10 movies of the year.

Honors for Rattle

Agency France-Presse

Sir Simon Rattle, conductor of the renowned Berlin Philharmonic, accepted Germany’s Comenius Prize for inspiring interest in music among young people.

The award, which carries a monetary prize of $33,000, has been presented since 1991.

The awards jury cited Mr. Rattle’s educational programs with the Berlin Philharmonic since taking up the post in 2002, highlighted in the recent documentary film “Rhythm is It!”.

Mr. Rattle said he would give the prize money to two men in Venezuela, Jose Antonio Abero and Wilfried Merle, who had developed musical and social welfare projects in the country over the last decades including founding more than 170 youth orchestras.

Lost in translation

Internet Movie Data Base

Oscar-winning director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) is finding filming on his latest movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” a tad complicated because his cast members all speak different languages.

Sony Studios refused to cast non-Asian actors in the big screen adaptation of Arthur Golden’s best-selling book about the life of a Japanese geisha.

“Geisha” stars Ziyi Zhang and Li Gong (both are from China), Malaysian native Michelle Yeoh and Japanese actors Cary-hiroyuki Tagawa and Ken Watanabe (an Oscar-nominee for 2003’s “The Last Samurai”).

The filmmakers, however, don’t see a problem.

“We have a Chinese and Japanese interpreter,” the Internet Movie Database quotes producer Lucy Fisher as saying. “The movie may or may not be a day over schedule, but we are brilliantly on time for an epic and on budget.”

Surgery bound

E! Online

The Godfather of Soul isn’t feeling good.

James Brown announced Friday that he’s battling prostate cancer and will undergo surgery for the disease this week. The 71-year-old performer, also known as the “hardest working man in show business,” is expected to take three weeks to recuperate from the procedure.

“I have overcome a lot of things in my life. I will overcome this as well,” Mr. Brown said in a statement.

The legendary entertainer, who also suffers from diabetes, wrapped a two-week Canadian tour Thursday night. He’s slated to release an autobiography next month, titled “I Feel Good: A Memoir of a Life in Soul” and plans to hype the project with a spate of appearances.

Clash of the titans

Associated Press

The bitter business relationship of Hollywood heavyweights Michael Eisner and Mike Ovitz will be played out again in a made-for-TV movie.

“Two Blind Mikes” is being developed by Showtime with writer Frederic Raphael, who co-wrote the Stanley Kubrick film “Eyes Wide Shut,” Daily Variety reported Friday.

Mr. Ovitz, co-founder of the powerful Creative Artists Agency, was hired as president of The Walt Disney Co. under Mr. Eisner, the company’s chief executive officer, but served only 14 months after the pair clashed.

A shareholders’ lawsuit, now being heard, contends that Disney’s board was negligent in hiring Mr. Ovitz to a lucrative deal and for agreeing to a $140 million package settlement.

Casting for the film and an air date were not announced.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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