Today's News: Our Take


THEY HAD IT COMING...

The 75th Annual Academy Awards went on as scheduled Sunday night, and war politics and jazz were in the air. As expected, Chicago danced off with a field-best six trophies, including best picture and best supporting actress for Catherine Zeta-Jones. In two major upsets, Roman Polanski scored best director kudos for The Pianist and the film's star, Adrien Brody, walked off with best actor honors. Elsewhere, a tearful Nicole Kidman (love her) won best actress for The Hours and Chris Cooper won supporting actor honors for Adaptation. Several celebs used their time at the dais to speak out against the war, most notably filmmaker Michael Moore, whose over-the-top anti-Bush tirade drew mostly boos from the audience. (Someone needs to simmer down now!) Oh yeah, and Eminem won for best original song. So from now on, it's "Oscar winner Slim Shady" to you. For a complete list of winners, click read more

AGAINST ALL ODDS

War concerns have led Paramount to delay the April 25 debut of its Meg Ryan boxing flick Against the Ropes. According to Variety, the studio feared that TV ads for the film would get lost in the midst of the wall-to-wall battle coverage. read more

BOOKWORM FUN

Though expected to appeal to readers of all ages, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — in stores June 21 — will have two British covers: one for grown ups, one for kids. The adult cover depicts a somber black and white phoenix. The kid's cover of the fifth Potter novel shows an orange and red bird rising from the flames. read more

MEMORABLE DAY

The "shock and awe" portion of the U.S.-led campaign in Iraq kicked off Friday afternoon — and it's safe to assume the entire planet was glued to their TV sets. MSNBC's Peter Arnett, one of the few remaining journalists still in Baghdad, referred to the air strikes as much more intense than those he witnessed during the 1991 Gulf War. Later, an emotional Tom Brokaw broke down on air after the mother of one of the U.S. Marines killed in combat called into the program and cautioned the news media to remember the toll war takes on servicemen and their families. It was an extraordinary moment in a day full of them. read more

GET OUT THE BROOM

Madonna made headlines on Oscar weekend — but not the kind she would have liked. The aspiring actress's stink bomb of a film, Swept Away, was the big "winner" at the 23rd annual Razzie awards, which recognize the year's lamest cinema efforts. The movie picked up five trophies, including worst film, worst performance by an actress (Madonna), worst remake, worst screen couple (Madonna and co-star Adriano Giannini) and worst director (Madge's hubby Guy Ritchie.) Adding insult to injury, the singer — who shared worst actress honors with pop tart Britney Spears for Crossroads — was also singled out as worst supporting actress for her cameo in Die Another Day. And what can only be described as an egregious oversight, Jennifer Lopez went home empty handed for her role in Enough. Jenny was robbed! read more

SMART MOVE

After "much internal discussion," USA Network has decided to remove a scene from its upcoming Rudy Giuliani biopic that shows a body falling from the north tower of the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11 attacks. In a letter to critics, the network said, "We have decided that the potential distress that could be caused by [that] shot... outweighs its place in the accounting of the life of [the former New York City mayor]." Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story airs on March 30. read more

IS FOX NEWS BEHIND THIS?

CNN is being driven out of Baghdad. The network confirms that Iraqi officials have expelled four of its staffers — including correspondent Nic Robertson — from the war-torn country. read more

LEGAL WOES

Breakfast Club star Anthony Michael Hall is being sued by the insurer of The Dead Zone, his Stephen King-inspired TV series about a psychic school teacher. Chubb Insurance of Canada claims the 34-year-old actor owes them $900,000 because he missed work back in 2001, when he was hospitalized for "bipolar affective disorder depression with psychotic features." In court papers, Chubb says he failed to disclose his mental illness on insurance forms filled out by Zone's cast. read more

LIZ MOVES ON

Flintstones star Elizabeth Taylor, who can't seem to get arrested in Hollywood these days, is doing the only honorable thing: She's retiring from acting to focus on AIDS activism. The 71-year-old Tinseltown legend tells Access Hollywood that showbiz "doesn't really interest me that much anymore. It seems kind of superficial because now my life is AIDS, not acting." read more

HELLO AGAIN

Everybody Loves Raymond actress Patricia Heaton is in talks to star in TNT's upcoming TV remake of Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl. Heaton would play the role originated by Marsha Mason in the 1977 film. The Richard Dreyfuss part, meanwhile, has yet to be cast. read more

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