Today's News: Our Take


MORE MOVIE KUDOS

In America led this year's Independent Spirit Award nominations with six nods, including best feature. Director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot) and his two daughters wrote the just-released film, which follows a family of Irish immigrants who befriend an American man with AIDS (Djimon Hounsou). The other contenders in the best feature category are Lost in Translation, American Splendor, Raising Victor Vargas and Shattered Glass. read more

Scarlett Johansson Quiets Down


As moviegoers know, It Girl Scarlett Johansson is scooping up rave reviews for Lost in Translation. But while that film allowed her to wise off and show off her singing talent, she's practically mute in Girl with a Pearl Earring (opening Dec. 12). Set in Holland circa 1665, Girl tells the tale of a young housemaid's romance with her married employer ( Colin Firth). Back then, servants didn't speak until spoken to. So was it difficult for the 19-year-old star to act with so few lines?

"I think that everyone's emotions are conveyed on their face most of the time," Johansson tells TV Guide Online. "Sometimes, words can be sort of deceiving, and even as you're speaking, it's what is showing on your face that gives you away. [The film] was quite a delight, actually. I didn't have to fumble with awkward read more

TOUR DE FORCE

Britney Spears will launch her 25-city In the Zone tour on March 2 in San Diego. Other stops include Las Vegas (March 6), Los Angeles (March 8), Seattle (March 12), Chicago (March 19), Miami (March 28) and New York (April 10 or 12). read more

GIRL KONG WILD

Naomi Watts is near a deal to play King Kong's female sidekick in Peter Jackson's upcoming remake of the 1933 classic. Filming is expected to get underway next August. read more

NO SURPRISE HERE

Simon Cowell will serve as the American judge for the World Idol competition, which finds American Idol champ Kelly Clarkson competing against 10 of her international counterparts. The contest airs Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 on Fox. read more

AND THEY'RE OFF!

Clint Eastwood's Mystic River got a major Oscar boost Wednesday when the The National Board of Review named the acclaimed drama the best film of 2003. Sean Penn was chosen best actor for his roles in Mystic and the just-released 21 Grams, while Diane Keaton won best actress for Something's Gotta Give. Supporting kudos went to Alec Baldwin for The Cooler and Patricia Clarkson for Pieces of April and The Station Agent. Edward Zwick was named best director for The Last Samurai. read more

SHAKESPEARE IN LABOR

Gwyneth Paltrow and boyfriend, Coldplay's Chris Martin, are expecting their first child next summer, her publicist confirms. The couple has been dating for about a year. read more

GRAMMYLICIOUS

Nominations for the 46th annual Grammy Awards were announced this morning and Beyonce, Jay-Z, OutKast and Pharrell Williams scored a field-best six nods apiece. OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below will compete for Album of the Year with Missy Elliott's Under Construction, Fallen by Evanescence, Justified by Justin Timberlake and Elephant by The White Stripes. Beyonce and Jay-Z's "Crazy in Love" is up for record of the year, along with Black-Eyed Peas and Timberlake's "Where is the Love?," Coldplay's "Clocks," Eminem's "Lose Your read more

VIEWERS CHOOSE LIFE

Turns out Paris Hilton doesn't have to be engaged in a sex act to draw a crowd. Roughly 13 million curiosity seekers watched the celebutante slum it in the heartland with pal Nicole Richie on Tuesday's premiere of Fox's The Simple Life. The show handily beat the debut of NBC's The Tracy Morgan Show. Meanwhile, controversy did little to help The Reagans, which averaged only 1.1 million viewers Sunday on Showtime. read more

SO THAT'S WHERE THEY WERE

USA Network is developing an alien-abduction series that revolves around the return of 4,400 missing people to Earth, Variety reports. The project, titled The 4400, is being exec produced by Francis Ford Coppola and Dark Angel's Rene Echevarria. read more

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