AWARDED The American Music Awards were handed out last night, and if you were looking for surprising choices, you were disappointed. Taking home two awards each were trophy mainstay Lauryn Hill (for favorite female artist and favorite album – both in the soul/rhythm and blues categories) and Shania Twain (favorite female artist in the country and pop/rock categories). Garth Brooks nabbed three, for favorite male artist and album (both country), and for artist of the decade. Also taking home awards were Will Smith, Backstreet Boys, Carlos Santana, TLC, and Britney Spears.
JUSTICE PENDING Hawaiian authorities are still deciding whether to file charges against Whitney Houston after she was caught with half an ounce of marijuana at a Hawaiian airport last Tuesday but flew to San Francisco before police could arrive. The Hawaii County Prosecutor told the Associated Press that his office doesn’t usually track down tourists who are charged with petty misdemeanors, but he could issue a summons; if Houston ever returned to the island and ignored it, she could be arrested. This isn’t the Houston family’s first contretemps with Hawaiian law enforcement: In 1997, Honolulu police reportedly investigated a report that Houston’s hubby, singer Bobby Brown, slapped her in a mall parking lot, but dropped the case when she wouldn’t cooperate. And later that year in Maui, Brown accidentally punched a liquor control inspector when he was aiming for a patron who he thought was trying to touch Houston. Something says that if Houston and Brown never return to answer their summons, the island won’t have hurt feelings.
HEALING ”Stone Cold” Steve Austin will have to lay off the piledrivers for a while, having just had spinal surgery on Monday to remove bone spurs from vertebrae in his neck that had been giving him chronic pain, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Lloyd Youngblood, the chief of neurosurgery at San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital, says that it may be six months to a year before Austin can get back in the ring: ”If he were an office worker, he’d be back at work in two to three weeks. But strenuous physical activity takes longer. What we’re looking for is solid healing of the bone, and that takes a matter of several months.”
DREAM TEAM? Ten years after it would have mattered, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone are looking for a project to do together, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Their current outrageous salary levels ($20 million for Stallone, $25 for Schwarzenegger) make this a risky undertaking, but sources say that the two would take pay cuts to make a dual project work. If it’s anything like the blockbuster pairing of Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds in ”City Heat,” we say give them whatever they want, and throw in cab fare!
SNAPPING You may think that Garth Brooks’ concept album ”…in the Life of Chris Gaines” was a horrible idea, but for God’s sake don’t tell HIM that. A reporter tried to do just that backstage at the American Music Awards, asking him if the night’s victories made up for the ”Chris Gaines fiasco.” Brooks practically blew the Stetson right off his head, answering, ”People that think that’s a fiasco are short-minded, unintelligent in music who [don’t] know anything about taking risks.” Sure, the album (which introduces the rock singer character that Brooks will play in a movie in December) only sold 1 million copies while 3 million were shipped, but Brooks implied that he was just ahead of his time: ”Trust me, anybody that has a movie in the future, that has a musical entertainer in it, will do it this way. They’ll introduce the artist a year before.” Hopefully in Brooks’ futuristic society, science will also have perfected earplug technology.
BOOK DEAL It takes more than being run over by a car to stop Stephen King from making money. He’s just extended his contract with Simon & Schuster for three more books.
IN DEVELOPMENT New Line has announced a 10th installment of the ”Friday the 13th” series, called ”Jason X,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. (No, Jason doesn’t become a Black Muslim.) The boys over in NL development have come up with a plot that will lure in the slasher crowd AND the sci-fi crowd: It takes place in the year 2455, when a professor and student find the cryogenically frozen Jason and bring him back to their spaceship…. The ”Gandhi” team of actor Ben Kingsley and director Richard Attenborough may reteam to bring to life another Big Man in History: The Pope. However, the two-part miniseries has already received controversy after its Italian production company announced it was a done deal, thanks to an ”exclusive” deal with the Vatican, but a Vatican spokesman told Variety that ”as far as I know, no authorization was requested or granted.” Also, the idea of a life story is a little controversial right now, what with the Pope’s health and future as the Catholic leader currently being debated.
CASTING ”Seinfeld” cocreator Larry David will continue the tradition of obsessing over minutiae in his own HBO series, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The 10-week half-hour comedy was inspired by his special ”Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm,” a fake documentary about his return to stand-up that aired on HBO last year…. David Caruso is giving fame another shot: He’s been cast to join Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe in an untitled movie about a hostage negotiator who falls in love with the wife of a hostage. Taylor Hackford (who worked with Caruso in ”An Officer and a Gentleman”) directs.
RATED The film version of ”American Psycho” (which premieres Friday at Sundance) has been given the dreaded NC-17 rating, and distributor Lions Gate is appealing. In true MPAA tradition, the adult rating did not come from any of the violence in the serial-killer movie, but from one sex scene.
SPLIT Marie Osmond has separated from her husband of 13 years, Brian Blosil. This was Osmond’s second marriage, and the couple have seven children, some of them adopted. Their youngest child, Matthew, was born in July.
DRAWING THE LINE Twisted Sister has changed its legacy from ”that garishly unsettling makeup ‘n metal band” to ”that garishly unsettling makeup ‘n metal band… with a social conscience”: The group has asked the Atlanta Braves to stop using its hit ”I Wanna Rock” to introduce pitcher John Rocker at games, because of his racist comments in Sports Illustrated. ”We’ve got Hispanics in this band, Italians in this band, people who are Polish and Russian,” said guitarist Jay Jay French, who cofounded Sister. ”We’re all immigrants, all foreigners – quote unquote – and this is our way of saying his comments were not acceptable.” French told the Associated Press that the entire band agreed on the statement, and that he would not speculate on what their next move would be if the Braves refused to pull the song. The Braves had no comment.