Thursday, September 25, 2003

Crystal reclaims Oscar host role

Beverly Hills, Calif. -- Billy Crystal is planning a reunion with Oscar.

The star of "City Slickers" and "Throw Momma from the Train" said Wednesday he had signed on to be host of the Academy Awards for the eighth time.

"I'm really excited about coming back," Crystal said about resuming his host job for the first time in three years. "I've had a nice, long sleep."

He declined to offer any early speculation about who may win this year's top awards. "I don't go to the movies," he deadpanned. "Have you seen what they've become?"

Crystal, who often launches the Oscar ceremony with a song-and-dance number poking fun at the top nominees, has won Emmys for his Oscar host performances in 1991, 1992 and 1998.

Letterman bears up

Choteau, Mont. -- Talk about stupid pet tricks: David Letterman found a bear in his cabin over the weekend, and needed help from a local teenager to get the animal to leave.

Letterman told viewers on CBS' "Late Show" about a bear that came into his home before dawn and started rummaging around his kitchen.

Letterman turned to some locals to help him get rid of the bear, but all they succeeded in was chasing the bear around the house for a few hours. They then called in Brandon Lightner -- and his M-80s. They dropped the large firecrackers into a room where the bear was sleeping, chasing it out.

The 17-year-old works for Letterman during the summer, his parents, Kevin and Tammie Lightner, told the Great Falls Tribune.

Rockers can't get rowdy

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Linkin Park has received the government's permission to perform next month in Malaysia -- but the American rap-rock band won't be allowed to scream, jump around or wear shorts onstage.

The Ministry of Culture and Arts said Wednesday it had approved plans for the band to play Oct. 15 at a 50,000-seat stadium in this conservative, predominantly Muslim Southeast Asian country.

"The government believes the performance will provide an alternative type of entertainment in Malaysia," the ministry said, while warning that the rock stars must abide by a strict code of "artist performance ethics."

Western entertainers are popular in Malaysia, but they often bypass this country of 25 million people in Asian tours for more lucrative stops with larger audiences, such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

McKellen in line for award

London -- Ian McKellen is to be honored at this year's British Independent Film Awards on Nov. 4.

McKellen, who appeares as the wizard Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings" movies, will receive the Variety U.K. Personality award for his contribution to the British film industry, it was announced Tuesday.

"Dirty Pretty Things," a thriller about illegal immigrants living in London, received seven nominations, including best film and best director for Stephen Frears.

Other nominees for best film are "28 Days Later," "Buffalo Soldiers," "The Magdalene Sisters" and "Young Adam."