- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2009

‘Netherland’ wins PEN

Joseph O’Neill’s “Netherland,” an acclaimed post-Sept. 11 novel bypassed for the National Book Awards and the National Book Critics Circle prize, finally has received a literary honor: the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction.

The choice was announced today by Susan Richards Shreve and Robert Stone, directors of the Washington-based PEN/Faulkner Foundation on Capitol Hill, Associated Press reports.

Mr. O’Neill, whose book is narrated by a man who lived in downtown Manhattan at the time of the 2001 terrorist attacks, will receive $15,000. The finalists - Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum’s “Ms. Hempel Chronicles,” Susan Choi’s “A Person of Interest,” Richard Price’s “Lush Life” and Ron Rash’s “Serena” - each get $5,000.

Previous winners include Philip Roth, John Updike and E.L. Doctorow.

Page leaving Ladies

Steven Page, lead singer of the popular Canadian band the Barenaked Ladies, is leaving the band to pursue a solo career, Reuters news agency reports.

Last year, Mr. Page, 38, was charged with drugs offenses in the United States. He was arrested in July 2008 and charged with drug possession after police found the singer with cocaine at an upstate New York apartment. The charges were later reduced to a misdemeanor.

Barenaked Ladies was best known for its hits “One Week,” “Pinch Me” and “If I Had a Million Dollars” and received two Grammy nominations. The remaining members of the five-man band plan to stay together, Reuters says.

“These guys are my brothers,” Mr. Page said in a statement.

“We’ve grown up together over the past 20 years. I love them and wish them all the best in the future.”

Oscar still buzz worthy

Tuesday night’s E Street Cinema screening of “An American Affair” - a new film based in early 1960s Washington, which stars Gretchen Mol and Cameron Bright - took place just before President Obama’s speech before Congress.

The night’s dish, however, wasn’t about politics, instead centering on Sunday night’s Oscar telecast.

Actor James Rebhorn, best known for his roles in “Scent of a Woman” and “Independence Day” and a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, thinks the Oscars really aren’t all that.

“They’re kind of unfortunate,” said Mr. Rebhorn, whose next film is “Sour Grapes.” “We are all worthy. It’s a group effort.”

Meanwhile, Cameron, the 16-year-old Canadian-born actor, was too busy having dinner with his mom to watch any of the awards. Yet the star of “Birth and God Send” told The Washington Times that he has a film, “11:11,” coming out in 2010 - and that he expects to be an Oscar nominee someday.

House honors Newman

Paul Newman, the late actor and 10-time Academy Award nominee, has been honored by lawmakers as a screen legend and humanitarian.

Mr. Newman died Sept. 26, 2008, at age 83 after a long battle with cancer. On Tuesday night, the House of Representatives approved a resolution, H.R. 18, recognizing Mr. Newman’s achievements on- and off-screen.

The resolution said Mr. Newman’s “humanitarian works and incomparable talents have made him an American icon who will never be forgotten,” AP reported.

The Hollywood legend won one Oscar and took home two honorary statuettes, and also had major roles in more than 50 motion pictures - including “Cool Hand Luke,” “Exodus,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Verdict,” “The Sting” and “Absence of Malice.”

Through his popular food company, Newman’s Own, Mr. Newman gave more than $250 million to charity over the years. He also helped to start “Hole in the Wall” camps across the world for children with life-threatening illnesses.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse, Stephanie Green and Elizabeth Glover from staff, Web and wire reports

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