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Film festival draws a pair

Steve Martin and Sissy Spacek will receive the Boston Film Excellence Awards, festival organizers said.

Forty feature films and 24 shorts from 17 countries are being featured at the festival, which opened Friday and runs through Sept. 16.

Martin will receive his award Monday prior to a screening of his new film, "Novocaine."

Spacek, who won an Oscar for 1980's "Coal Miner's Daughter," will receive her award on Tuesday. She stars in "In the Bedroom."

"Usually we pick people who pick different roles and try different types of roles that may be against personality. Everyone thinks of (Martin) as a comedian; we just like his work," said Mark Diamond, the festival's artistic director.

And the Oscar goes to �

Independent film producer Laura Ziskin will produce the 74th Academy Awards telecast next March, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced.

This will be Ziskin's first involvement with the production of an Oscar broadcast, but films she has produced or been involved with have received 10 nominations and two awards, including for "As Good as It Gets" and "Pretty Woman."

She takes over from Gil Cates, who produced the annual awards show for the last decade. The announcement was made Friday.

"In an environment where there is an awards show or two or more every week, the Academy Awards show is still the jewel in the crown," Ziskin said.

The Oscar telecast will be March 24 in its new home, the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

An inspiring tale � no lie

In preparing for his role as a robot boy in Steven Spielberg's "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," Haley Joel Osment says he looked to another child star for inspiration � Pinocchio.

The 13-year-old actor said that he studied the classic Italian tale before filming "A.I." because both the puppet Pinocchio and Osment's character share the same obsession � to be loved.

"A.I.," which also stars Jude Law, tells the story of a robot, played by Osment, who is adopted by a human family.

Trekking to Sin City

William Shatner spared die-hard "Star Trek" fans his famous admonishment to "get a life" and instead recalled his days as Capt. James T. Kirk, commander of the starship Enterprise.

Shatner was one of 57 people associated with "Star Trek" and its spinoffs taking part in a four-day convention.

Besides the roster of stars, attendees said they were drawn by the chance to mark Saturday's 35th anniversary of the airing of the first episode of "Star Trek."

Organizers said the convention drew about 3,500 Trekkies and sci-fi fans.

Grace Lee Whitney, now 70, portrayed Capt. Kirk's love interest, Yeoman Janice Rand, in the first year of the original series. Her autograph table drew a sizable crowd on Thursday.

"I come here, and the fans tell me how great I am," she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "What a life."

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