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News 01/14/2007

Proving that she cares little about what Angelina Jolie or anyone else thinks of her Malawian adoption, Madonna is urging more people to follow in her footsteps and adopt from the impoverished nation, despite the legal issues involved. "There's over a million orphans in Malawi, and in my opinion the laws need to change because these children need to be rescued," the Material Mom said Thursday during an appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

The author and screenwriters of Children of Men won the USC Scripter Award, which honors the year's best big-screen adaptation of a book or short story.

The Queen picked up 10 nominations for the BAFTAs, the British equivalent of the Oscars, including a Best Actress nod for Helen Mirren. Casino Royale following close behind with nine nods, including a Best Actor nomination for Daniel Craig. Winners will be announced Feb. 11.

Mel Gibson will travel to Mexico City next week for the Mexican premiere of Apocalypto, his publicist said. The director has faced criticism from Mayan descendants in Mexico and Guatemala, who have complained about the savage portrayal of Mayans in the film.

Reality-TV guru Mark Burnett is set to produce the 2007 MTV Movie Awards airing live on June 3, MTV announced Thursday.

Close to half of the short films screening at the Sundance Film Festival this month will be available for purchase through the iTunes Music Store under a deal announced Friday. For those on a budget, the shorts will also be screened for free on Sundance's Website for a three-month period.

News 01/11/2007

Stephen Frears, director of The Queen, has been tapped to lead the jury at the 60th Cannes Film Festival in May.

The Writers Guild of America has announced its nominations for the 2007 WGA Awards, which honor outstanding achievement in writing for the big screen. For Best Original Screenplay, the group's picks were: Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen, Stranger Than Fiction, and United 93. For Best Adapted Screenplay, the nominees were: Borat, The Departed, The Devil Wears Prada, Little Children, and Thank You For Smoking. Winners will be announced Feb. 11.

The Cinematography Society has nominated Children of Men, The Illusionist, The Good Shepherd, Apocalypto, and The Black Dahlia in the Outstanding Feature category for the 21st Annual American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards, which will be announced Feb. 18.

In the latest war of words over The Hobbit, New Line head Bob Shaye told Sci Fi Wire that Peter Jackson would never direct the film as long as he had any say in the matter. Jackson previously posted a letter to fan site theonering.net in November, stating he was bowing out of the project, due to an unresolved lawsuit against New Line over accounting practices on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Oprah Winfrey will present her first-ever Oscar special, featuring Academy Award-winning actors interviewing other Academy Award-winning actors on, presumably, what it's like to win an Academy Award. Julia Roberts will sit down with George Clooney, Nicole Kidman will interview Russell Crowe, and Jamie Foxx will chat with Sidney Poitier for the special, set to air Feb. 22.

Madonna has sided with her A League of Their Own costar Rosie O'Donnell in her battle with Donald Trump during an interview on Thursday's "Today" show. "People are giving Rosie a hard time. I wish they'd stop. I don't think it's fair," the singer said.

Meryl Streep is taking a chance on the big-screen adaptation of Mamma Mia!, the hit Broadway show featuring the music of ABBA, Daily Variety reports. The film will mark the actor's first chance to showcase her accomplished singing voice in a full-blown musical, though she's previously proved she can carry a tune in Postcards From the Edge and A Prairie Home Companion.

News 01/10/2007

The Queen and Casino Royale has won the eighth Annual Golden Tomato Awards, given by rottentomatoes.com to the best-reviewed films of the year. Basic Instinct 2 took the Moldy Tomato Award for worst-reviewed film of the year.

Shannon Elizabeth reached a settlement with her estranged husband, Joe Reitman, who had sued her in March for half of all property, assets, earnings, and investments accumulated in the five years the couple lived together before marrying in June 2002. Terms of the settlement were not revealed.

A court has ruled that Alpha Dog, starring Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis, and Sharon Stone, can open Friday as scheduled, despite a defense lawyer's contention that the film could taint the jury pool for the upcoming murder trial in the case on which it is based.

Madonna hit the Big Apple Wednesday to host a special screening of her upcoming kiddie film, Arthur and the Invisibles, for students of two charter schools.

Paramount is partnering with Apple to sell downloads of its library titles through the iTunes Music Store, but stopped short of offering new releases so as not to undercut DVD retailers. The move makes the studio the second to offer films for download, after Disney.

The Broadway-bound version of Grease, currently the focus of the NBC reality series "Grease: You're the One That I Want," sold $1.3 million in tickets during the first two days of sales. The revival begins preview performances on July 24.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced its decision to do away with Golden Globe gift baskets at Monday's awards ceremony under an agreement with the IRS to satisfy past tax obligations on the plush gift packages handed out to presenters.

Carlo Ponti, the Italian producer and husband of Sophia Loren, has died in a hospital in Switzerland, his family said Wednesday. He was 94.

News 01/09/2007

Johnny Depp picked up three People's Choice Awards Tuesday, including Favorite Male Movie Star, on a night that also saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest win Favorite Movie and Movie Drama. Fans picked Jennifer Aniston as their Favorite Female Movie Star, after which her real-life and fictional Break-Up costar, Vince Vaughn, was named Favorite Leading Man.

The Online Film Critics Society has named United 93 the Best Picture of 2006 and Martin Scorsese Best Director for The Departed. Helen Mirren won Best Actress for The Queen and Forest Whitaker took Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland.

An attorney for Tyrese Gibson's pregnant girlfriend released a statement denying that the actor punched his client during an argument, as had been widely reported, though acknowledged the couple got into a heated fight, leading the woman to call 911. "Mr. Gibson and his girlfriend are very much still in love, together and excited about their expectant child. She is quite saddened that this event was so distorted," the attorney said.

Clive Owen has been tapped as the face of Lancome's new men's line of grooming products, including a fragrance and anti-aging skin care line.

News 01/08/2007

Night at the Museum topped the box office once again, with another estimated $24 million in ticket sales. The Pursuit of Happyness finished second with an estimated $13 million and Children of Men opened at third with an estimated $10.2 million. The Hilary Swank teacher drama Freedom Writers came in fourth with an estimated $9.7 million, the computer-animated Happily N'Ever After came in sixth with an estimated $6.8 million, the action comedy Code Name: The Cleaner came in eleventh with an estimated $4.6 million, and the Christian thriller Thr3e came in 21st place with an estimated $740,000.

Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres are expecting their first child together this summer, People reports. Fishburne has two children from his previous marriage.

The National Society of Film Critics have named Spanish-language film Pan's Labyrinth the Best Picture of 2006 and gave Best Director honors to United 93 helmer Paul Greengrass. Forest Whitaker took Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland and Helen Mirren won Best Actress for The Queen.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival bestowed the Ensemble Performance Award and the Director of the Year prize to Babel, while Cate Blanchett was honored with the Career Achievement Award.

Three-judge appellate panel upheld a Los Angeles Superior Court decision to dismiss Robert Wagner's lawsuit against Sony Pictures Entertainment. The actor sued in 2003, claiming he was entitled to half the profits from the Charlie's Angels films based on a decades-old contract he and late wife Natalie Wood had with Spelling-Goldberg Productions. The lower court ruled in 2005 that Wagner and his children's trusts were not contractually entitled to film profits.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest led the field with six nominations for the Visual Effects Society's fifth annual VES Awards. Winners will be announced at a Feb. 11 gala.

James Cameron set to direct Avatar, his first dramatic feature since 1997's Titanic, per the Hollywood Reporter. The sci-fi film, which Cameron also wrote, tells the story of a wounded ex-marine who is unwillingly sent to settle and take over a faraway planet where the inhabitants are unwilling to give up without a fight. The film is targeted for a summer 2009 release.

Alan Cumming married his boyfriend, illustrator Grant Shaffer, in a civil ceremony in London over the weekend, E! Online Senior Editor Marc Malkin reports.

Seasoned adopter Angelina Jolie reportedly told French magazine Gala that Madonna's planned adoption of a Malawian boy was "illegal," as the impoverished nation has "no real legal framework for adoption," and claimed that she would personally never adopt a child under those circumstances. However, Jolie also sympathizes with the Material Mom, stating she has been "horrified by the attacks she's been subjected to" since taking 16-month-old David Banda into her family.

Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank received the 2,325th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday.

All news gathered from E! Online and other sources

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