September 10, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

MTV WINNERS These music-awards-show stories are starting to write themselves: Just add Lauryn Hill‘s name, the phrase ”big winner,” and then go home for an early lunch. The Miseducator took home four trophies at Thursday night’s MTV Video Music Awards for ”Doo Wop (That Thing),” trailed by Fatboy Slim’s ”Praise You” (three awards), and Ricky Martin’s ”Livin’ La Vida Loca” and Korn’s ”Freak on a Leash” (two each). Alas, the teenyboppers were teenyfloppers, with Backstreet Boys taking home only the Viewer’s Choice award, and Britney Spears and ‘N Sync going home empty-handed. Look for black armbands on the next episode of ”Total Request Live.” (For a complete list of winners, check out MTV News online.)

CASTING After re-upping her development deal with Warner Bros., Sandra Bullock is madly stocking her production company with scripts to star in. Two of her potential upcoming projects are: ”Alison’s Starting to Happen,” about a car-crash victim who has to discover what her life was all about before she gets an entry pass to heaven; and ”Babe Behind Bars,” a comedy about a high-powered, pushy Hollywood exec who ends up in jail. Wishful thinking…. Charlize Theron is considering joining the Western ”Kingdom Come.”

REEL DEALS What a happy day for dramatic lighting! Director David Fincher is mulling over reteaming with his ”Fight Club” and ”Seven” star Brad Pitt for the low-budget indie, ”The Mexican,” in which Pitt would play a mobster searching for a cursed pistol…. Antonio Banderas‘s first directorial effort hasn’t been released yet (”Crazy in Alabama” is supposed to come out on Oct. 22), but he’s already signed up for a second shot, adapting the book, ”Malaga Burning: An American Woman’s Account of the Spanish Civil War.” His wife Melanie Griffith will star, because nobody resonates ”grace under fire” like ol’ Mel…. NBC will tell the Little Richard story in a TV movie that will start shooting in November. Wee Richie will lend his voice to the musical numbers and has completely authorized the script, which means it will likely support his theory that he created rock n’ roll. Whether he will also fight to include scenes of him inventing the telephone, the automobile, and gravity is unclear…. Miramax will produce ”Malena,” the next film by ”Cinema Paradiso” director Giuseppe Tornatore, which follows the hardships of an Italian woman during World War II…. Native American author Sherman Alexie (”Smoke Signals”) will make his directorial debut with ”Reservation Blues,” the story of an Indian rock band.

SPLIT It’s official: Smashing Pumpkins are bassless now that D’Arcy Wretzky has left the band. She did perform on the band’s new album, which will be released on Feb. 15, and the Pumpkins announced in a statement that they will go on tour next year as planned.

HONORED Stanley Kubrick was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Directors Guild of Great Britain on Thursday night. ”He did not relish the attention of those who thought he was something special,” said his widow Christiane, who accepted the award with their daughter, Anya.

DISHONORED The American Lung Association gave ”3rd Rock From the Sun” the dubious ”Phlemmy” award, which chastises the TV show that most glamorizes smoking. The cough squad singled out one episode in which John Lithgow and Kristen Johnston are smoking cigars around children. Look for next season’s episodes to come with a Surgeon General warning.

LAWSUIT Macy Gray has been sued by her ex-manager for more than $750,000 for allegedly breaking their contract. Lori Leve claims that she and Gray made a verbal agreement in January 1988, but after the singer finished her debut album ”On How Life Is” that November, she axed Leve and wouldn’t give up her promised 15% cut. Leve is also suing Gray’s record producer for the same amount, claiming that he interfered with their contract. The attorney for both defendants told the Associated Press that she hadn’t been formally served with the papers yet, but that ”the complaint that was filed is fraught with inaccuracies.”

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