CHARTS In the race to top Americans’ holiday wish lists, the Beatles have come out ahead. The original boy band’s compilation ”1” sold 670,673 copies this week, surpassing the Backstreet Boys’ ”Black and Blue,” which scanned a mere 546,691 units, putting ”Blue” at No. 2. Usually an album’s sales decline after several weeks in stores, but the Fab Four’s actually went up this week, from 606,809. The teen pop package ”Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 5” hung in at No. 3, with 383,374 records sold, and Creed’s ”Human Clay” moved another 299,235 copies to claim the No. 4 spot. Meanwhile, the Boys’ Jive label mate Britney Spears is also enjoying a Xmas season boon. ”Oops! I Did It Again” climbed from No. 8 to No. 5 as an additional 207,334 copies were moved to the gift wrap line. Now that’s what we call consumer blitz.
AWARDS Steven Soderbergh’s ”Traffic” smuggled the most awards out of the New York Film Critics Circle this year, scoring the illustrious Best Picture prize. Supporting actor Benicio Del Toro was honored for his work on the film, while Soderbergh got the Best Director nod for both ”Traffic” and ”Erin Brockovich.” Tom Hanks landed the Best Actor prize for his role in the soon to be released ”Cast Away,” and Laura Linney grabbed the best actress award for ”You Can Count on Me.” Meanwhile, the Taiwanese film ”Yi Yi” took home the Best Foreign Film award, which some perceived as a bit of an upset. Ang Lee’s ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was favored for several nods, but was only honored for cinematography. New York critics had praised the martial arts film almost universally – but some say Sony Classics’ überhyping the flick created a backlash. True: We really need to see a lot more of Hanks and Soderbergh in the press.
SPLIT Alas, the Grinch may have to spend Christmas alone. Jim Carrey and his ”Me, Myself & Irene costar Renée Zellweger have officially split. Carrey’s publicist confirmed the breakup after one of Zellweger’s reps mentioned it in a TV interview. ”I just want to say that it is true and that it’s a private matter between the two of them,” his spokesperson told the Associated Press. That’s why we thought we should tell all of you.
THE WEDDING The intrepid Sun tabloid has added another bit of spice to the dish on Madonna’s upcoming Highlands wedding. The Material Mom is allegedly planning to wear the diamond encrusted tiara once owned by the late Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco. But never fear: Madge will retain her latest pop hip hop image by traipsing down the aisle in diamond studded cowboy boots, according to the paper. That’s sooo ghetto fabulous.
SKELETONS A long buried Leonardo DiCaprio flick entitled ”Don’s Plum” has surfaced at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. The improvisational film – made four years before ”Titanic” – focuses on a gang of twentysomethings hanging out and gabbing in an L.A. diner. It also stars Tobey Maguire. Last year, ”The Beach” boy and Maguire took the makers of ”Plum” to court, claiming they had never intended to make a feature film for release. Under a settlement, the filmmakers agreed not to sell the picture in the United States or Canada. Gosh, Germans get to have all the fun.
SPIDER-MAN In other Maguire-related news, a love interest has been found for ”Spider-Man”. Kirsten Dunst has been cast as Peter Parker’s (Maguire) main squeeze Mary Jane in the Sam Raimi directed pic, according to the Hollywood Reporter.