Julia and Benicio win SAG awards
Plus, Ang Lee wins the Directors Guild Award, Janet Jackson breaks radio and chart records, and more
PRE-OSCAR PRIZES Julia Roberts and Benicio Del Toro received top acting awards Sunday at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Roberts solidified her Oscar lead with her ”Erin Brockovich” win. ”Traffic” star Del Toro, who is competing in the supporting category at the Academy Awards, beat Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe, among others, for the best acting trophy at the SAGs. Albert Finney and Judi Dench won for their supporting roles in ”Brockovich” and ”Chocolat,” respectively. And for best cast performance, Steven Soderbergh‘s ”Traffic” walked away with a prize.
”The West Wing” swept the TV drama awards: Martin Sheen and Allison Janney were named best actor and actress, and the political series also won best cast performance in a drama series. Robert Downey Jr. won best actor in a comedy series for his extended stint on ”Ally McBeal,” while Sarah Jessica Parker won for her leading role on ”Sex and the City.” But the best cast performance award went to neither show. The ”Will & Grace” kids won that.
MORE AWARDS A day before double nominated director Steven Soderbergh‘s leading lady and ensemble cast won at the SAG Awards, the helmer himself wasn’t so lucky — he lost at the Directors Guild of America Awards. The DGA honored Academy front runner Ang Lee instead, for his Taiwanese language epic ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lee was ”stunned” at his victory over Soderbergh, Cameron Crowe (”Almost Famous”) and Ridley Scott (”Gladiator”). Only four times since the DGA Awards began in 1949 has the guild winner not won the Oscar for best directing. TV trophies went to dramatic series director Thomas Schlamme for ”The West Wing” and James Burrows for the comedy ”Will & Grace.”
CHART ATTACK Janet Jackson has made radio and chart history. The singer’s title track from her upcoming album ”All For You” was added to the songlists of every pop, R&B, and urban radio station that reports to the music trade magazine ”Radio & Records.” No other song has debuted on all reporting radio stations its first week on the airwaves. ”All For You” also landed at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart — the highest debut ever for a single that isn’t available in record stores. Jackson’s album is due out April 24.
NO MORE SONGS? Napster was given a list of 135,000 songs that must be blocked from the file swapping service by Wednesday. Amy Weiss, spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), said the detailed list was e-mailed to Napster Friday evening. According to a court injunction issued March 5, Napster must keep users from downloading specific songs within three days of receiving notification by the copyright holders. Napster already tried to bar the transfer of more than 500 song titles last week, but in some cases users found ways to rename their files and keep sharing songs.
CASTING Kick boxing expert Kelly Hu (”Martial Law”) will star opposite WWF star the Rock in Universal Pictures’ ”The Scorpion King.” The action prequel to ”The Mummy” follows the story of how the Scorpion King became the first pharaoh of Egypt. Hu will play the Scorpion King’s trapped but tough love interest. The film starts shooting this week in Los Angeles.
TUBE NEWS Emmy winning actress Dana Delany (”China Beach”) must’ve figured if her ”Beach” pal Marg Helgenberger (”CSI”) had a hit series, it was time for her to return to prime time too. Delany has decided to star in a Fox drama pilot called ”Pasadena.” Directed and executive produced by Diane Keaton, the pilot features Delany as the heiress of a famous but greedy Los Angeles publishing family…. ”Ally McBeal” guest Jami Gertz (”Less Than Zero”) will star in an NBC comedy pilot about two couples: one recently married and the other recently broken up…. Grant Show (”Melrose Place”) and Jon Seda (”Homicide: Life on the Street”) will star in an NBC drama pilot that’s being described as a cross between ”NYPD Blue” and ”Miami Vice.” Each week, a different detective on the show ”Undercover” will go on an a covert mission. Maybe Don Johnson can donate some of his white loafers to the show.
YET ANOTHER AWARDThe Robert De Niro – Cuba Gooding Jr. drama ”Men of Honor” was named best patriotic picture at the American Veteran Awards. Ironically, the true story of Carl Brashear, the first African American man to become a Navy diver, beat fellow nominee ”The Patriot.” Other nominees included ”Rules of Engagement,” ”Tigerland” and ”U-571.”
TOURING Eric Clapton will kick off the first leg of a North American tour promoting his album ”Reptile” May 10 at Dallas’ Reunion Arena. The legendary singer/ guitarist will then hit stadiums in the South, Midwest, and East Coast, ending this part of the tour June 21 and 22 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
CONGRATULATIONS Actress Lauren Holly, who most recently played Ethel Kennedy in the TV mini ”Jackie, Ethel, Joan,” married Francis Greco, a Canadian born investment banker, Saturday in Toronto. This is a third marriage for Holly, 37, whose exes are Anthony Quinn‘s son Danny and Jim Carrey.