David Lynch: Lionel Cironneau/Ap Wide World
Gary Susman
May 23, 2001 AT 04:00 AM EDT

PALME PIRATE ”The Son’s Room,” an Italian film that arrived at Cannes with little buzz, captured the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize Sunday night, defeating more highly touted French and American movies. Nanni Moretti, who won Best Director at Cannes in 1994 for his autobiographical ”Caro Diario,” directed and starred in ”Son’s Room,” about a family torn apart by the death of a child. This year’s Director award was a tie for Joel Coen (”The Man Who Wasn’t There”) and David Lynch (”Mulholland Drive”), both previous Cannes honorees. ”The Piano Teacher” picked up three awards: the runner up Grand Prix and Best Actress and Best Actor for Isabelle Huppert and Benoit Magimel, respectively. <!–Visit the Cannes website for a full list of winners.–>

The ”Son’s Room” upset capped two weeks of shock and scandal at the festival: the sight of Huppert cutting her genitals in ”Piano Teacher”; the flesh chomping lovers in ”Trouble Every Day”; all kinds of perverse acts in Todd Solondz‘s ”Storytelling”; a hairy and naked Patricia Arquette in ”Human Nature”; Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor singing in ”Moulin Rouge.” There were plenty of shocks offscreen as well, and not just the lifetime achievement award for Melanie Griffith, who put on a brave face after the death of her father, Peter Griffith, from emphysema last week and gave a tearful acceptance speech, telling her dad, ”I know you’re out there, old cowboy, asking me, ‘Why are you wearing that dress?” There was the Hilton hotel manager who professed shock that the performers gathered in his restaurant for an awards luncheon were porn stars (doesn’t he watch E!’s ”Wild On…”?) and kicked them all out. And finally, rotund Miramax mogul Harvey Weinstein tried to raise money at the Cinema Against AIDS benefit by offering to dance in a thong for $2 million. How much would he have charged not to dance in a thong?

WHAT A PITTY Brad Pitt ripped to shreds the news spread by his own stylist that the actor planned to design his own line of menswear. Stylist Todd Shemarya had told fashion trade magazine DNR last week that he and Pitt and some other Hollywood costumers were starting their own line, inspired by a much copied suit alteration that Pitt wore to a premiere. Pitt responded with a statement: ”Guys, slow down. I have no interest in producing a B. Pitty clothing line, based upon my alleged style… so let’s put this bonfire out right here. The only kernel of truth to this is that I have been pushing friends who design for film to create their own lines, because I think their work is fantastic.” What a blow to all those guys who wanted to wear the dress Pitt wore on the cover of Rolling Stone.

DAYTIME DRAMA Regis Philbin‘s Susan Lucci-esque losing streak at the Daytime Emmys ended Friday when, after 11 years as an also ran, he won both the best daytime talk show host and best game show host awards. Philbin didn’t attend the ceremony at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and had to accept his awards via satellite from an Atlantic City nightclub, where he was performing with none other than Lucci. Reege tied for best talk show host with Rosie O’Donnell, who won the award for the fourth straight year. The night’s other big winner was ”As The World Turns,” which won eight Emmys, tying the record set by ”General Hospital” two years ago. <!–Visit Emmy Online for a complete list of winners.–>

PUFFING GREEN Eddie Van Halen played in a charity golf tournament in Los Angeles Saturday, telling reporters, ”I’m fine,” but saying he’s still undergoing cancer treatment every day. He wasn’t specific about what kind of cancer he had when he acknowledged the illness last month, but wife Valerie Bertinelli has said he’s had a lesion removed from his tongue. The rocker doesn’t know how much longer treatment will take, he said on the fairway to a Reuters correspondent, who described him as ”puffing furiously on cigarettes.” Hey, don’t tell Eddie’s doctor.

‘JACK’ SPLAT Another accident attributable to MTV’s ”Jackass” — this one suffered by one of the show’s performers — is not as serious as initially feared. Stephanie Hodges, 21, broke her back and shattered her pelvis while shooting a stunt last month that had her jumping a mattress off a snowbank. She was expected to lose a year of work as a model and commercial actress, but her manager now says she’s likely to recover within a month. ”There’s absolutely no anger or remorse,” said manager Nisa Ahmad. Translation: Johnny Knoxville probably doesn’t have to worry about a backbreaking lawsuit.

WEIGHING ANCHOR Andrea Thompson isn’t the only celebrity with naked pictures in her past to become a TV news anchor. Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, who’s been an occasional interviewer on ”The Today Show,” took a guest anchor spot on Los Angeles station KTLA’s morning news on Thursday. Can a CNN post be far behind?

CASTING CALL Mel Gibson may star in ”Signs,” the latest poltergeists in Pennsylvania thriller from writer/ director M. Night Shyamalan (”The Sixth Sense,” ”Unbreakable”). Variety reports that Disney is negotiating with Gibson for the leading role in the film, which has to do with the appearance of mysterious crop circles…. ”Ally McBeal”’s Portia de Rossi will star in ”Love Smarts,” shooting at the end of this year in Sydney, Australia. She’ll play a journalist who serves as a guinea pig for a ”The Rules” like dating strategy. (Rule No. 1: you’ll look healthier if you’re seen in the company of alarmingly skinny women.)… Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey, and Fairuza Balk will each star in a vignette in ”Enter Fleeing,” writer/ director Rebecca Miller‘s follow up to 1995’s ”Angela.” Based on ”Personal Velocity,” Miller’s upcoming book of short stories, the film will tell three stories of women seeking freedom from controlling men. Miller herself is probably best known for her connection to prominent men; her father is playwright Arthur Miller and her husband is Daniel Day Lewis.

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