OUT OF COMPETITION Sadly, you won’t be hearing the Academy Award orchestra charge through the sheet music for ”Uncle F—ka” at this year’s Oscars: The category of ”Best Original Song Score” has been eliminated from this year’s competition since there weren’t enough eligible films — only ”South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” and ”Tarzan.” The ”Song Score” category was created in 1995 to split up dramatic scores from those of comedies and musicals, which usually include tunes with lyrics. The individual songs from ”South Park” are still eligible for consideration in the ”Best Original Song” category, so you still may finally get to see that Oscar-night flatulence solo that you’ve always dreamed of.
IT’S BACK If you took solace in the fact that in the next millennium our country might stop getting drunk and singing all the words to Don McLean’s ”American Pie” in bars, here’s some bad news: According to MTV News, Madonna is going to cover the song for the soundtrack of her upcoming film, ”The Next Best Thing,” meaning a whole new generation will slur the words into a beer bottle microphone until you want to weep.
REEL DEALS The ”Blair Witch Project” makers have a new film in the works, and this one even has a script! It’s a comedy called ”Heart of Love” that codirector Daniel Myrick tells Variety will be like ”Monty Python meets ‘Airplane.”’ It ”will be no ‘Blair Witch,’ which was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” says Myrick, who explains that Artisan is planning a sequel to the horror hit, which his team won’t be involved with, but if a third is given a go they will make that one. And, wisely planning ahead, Myrick adds that they are prepared for their ”Heart” to be their ”sophomore bomb, when people will say our careers are over”…. With ”Good Will Hunting,” Gus Van Sant seems to have abandoned the quirky films of his past: His next project will be ”Finding Forrester,” a tale of a Salinger-like reclusive writer (played by Sean Connery, who will also executive-produce) who befriends a poor African-American novelist. It doesn’t exactly sound like ”Drugstore Cowboy”…. Adrian Lyne (”Fatal Attraction”) will direct an untitled thriller about a woman whose love for her husband is rekindled after he kills her lover. (They don’t teach that in couples therapy.)
TOP OF THE CHARTS The Eagles album ”Their Greatest hits, 1971-1975” has been named the best-selling album of the century in the U.S. by the Recording Industry Association of America, having sold 26 million copies. However, the century’s not over until Dec. 31, 2000, so runner-up Michael Jackson (whose ”Thriller” now stands at 25 million) still has a chance to pull ahead, especially because he has a new album coming out next year which could goose his catalog sales. Even if Jackson doesn’t topple the Eagles in America, he still has the advantage globally, where ”Thriller” has moved 46 million copies, compared to the Eagles’ 40 million.
HOST NAMED Because it’s not enough to copy ABC’s game-show strategy, networks also have to copy its casting pattern too, NBC has commissioned another daytime talk-show veteran — Maury Povich — to host its remake of the 1950s gamer ”Twenty One.” (What’s the matter, couldn’t find someone named Phegis Rilbin?) The show will premiere on Jan. 9 (two days before the return of ”Millionaire”) and will initially only air four times in two weeks. When Leeza Gibbons starts hosting ”Card Sharks 2000,” can we officially declare this trend dead?
AILING For the second time this year, Barry White has had to cancel a string of shows due to exhaustion. In August he had to nix seven dates in the U.S., and now he’s had to postpone 12 European shows and is heading back to California for a checkup.
ARRESTED Hollywood manager Jay Bernstein — whose clients have included Michael Jackson, Drew Barrymore, and Farrah Fawcett — was arrested Monday for allegedly beating an unidentified 29-year-old man in the head with a flashlight at Bernstein’s home, according to the Associated Press. ”What went on at the house had to do with the protection and safety of my only child, my 6-month-old daughter, Amber Leigh,” said Bernstein, who was booked for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon and freed on $20,000 bail.