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February 13, 2005

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The Aviator,' 'Vera Drake' top winners at British film awards

By Jill Lawless

Associated Press Writer

London -- "The Aviator" soared Saturday at the British Academy Film Awards, taking four prizes including best film. The abortion drama "Vera Drake" won three, including best director for Mike Leigh.

"The Aviator" -- which has 11 nominations for the Feb. 27 Academy Awards -- had led the field with 14 nominations. But members of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts scattered the prizes widely.

While "Aviator" director Martin Scorcese and star Leonardo DiCaprio went home empty-handed, the film won a best supporting actress award for Cate Blanchett, as well as prizes for production design and best hair and makeup.

Imelda Staunton won best actress for her wrenching performance as a 1950s Cockney housewife who performs illegal abortions in "Vera Drake." The film also took the costume design prize.

Jamie Foxx was named best actor for his uncanny depiction of singer Ray Charles in "Ray"; the film also won the award for best sound. British star Clive Owen was named best supporting actor for "Closer."

The British awards, known as BAFTAs, have become an essential pre-Oscars stop since they were moved in 2000 from April to a February date, preceding the Academy Awards.

"My Summer of Love," Pawel Pawliowski's bittersweet tale of romance between two teenage girls, was named best British film. The Orange Film of the Year prize -- the only award decided by the public -- went to "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

Rising to a challenge

Aspen, Colo. -- Cartoonist Garry Trudeau didn't let a skiing accident -- and a broken collar bone -- get in the way of a good award.

The "Doonesbury" creator suffered the mishap on Aspen's ski slopes Thursday, leaving U.S. Comedy Arts Festival organizers scrambling to find a way to proceed with Friday's show, in which Trudeau was given a Freedom of Speech Award.

At Trudeau's suggestion, the ceremony was revamped to work in his injury -- with emergency medical technicians carrying him in on a gurney.

The Freedom of Speech Award acknowledges artists who speak out on social issues despite challenges.

Queen of Denmark outranks queen of hip-hop

Copenhagen, Denmark -- Missy Elliott's street wear collection hit a snag in Denmark -- its logo was a bit too similar to that of the country's queen.

Clothing maker Adidas-Salomon AG withdrew the line from Danish stores after the royal court said the logo infringed on Queen Margrethe II's copyright.

The shoes, bags and shirts in the collection carry a logo that consist of a crown on top of the words "Respect" and Missy Elliott's initials "M.E." The queen's logo consists of a crown on top of the letters "M-2-R," with the "R" standing for the Latin word for queen, Regina.

Adidas spokeswoman Margaret Sap said the company agreed to remove the clothing from Danish stores, and that the similarity was a coincidence.

"It came as a surprise to us; the logo merely had the crown to signal that Missy Elliott is the queen of hip-hop," Sap said of the three-time Grammy Award winner.

Collective effort

New York -- Sharon Stone and Denise Rich are producing a song to benefit victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami disaster in Asia.

The "Basic Instinct" actress and the socialite-songwriter are co-writing a single, "Come Together Now," to be sung by a collection of recording artists in the style of the 1985 song "We Are the World," which raised funds for Africa.

Aretha Franklin, Lindsay Lohan, Natalie Cole, Wyclef Jean, Peter Gabriel, Patti LaBelle, Lionel Richie, Mya, JoJo, Gavin DeGraw, Kelly Price and Paulina Rubio are among those scheduled to participate.

Making a name for himself

New York -- Don't call him Mr. Britney Spears.

After six months of marriage to the pop star, Kevin Federline is emerging from Spears' shadow. On the March cover of Details magazine, the former backup dancer is for the first time stepping out to reveal something about the man known as Britney Spears' second husband.

To begin with, Federline, 26, is done with dancing. "I'll always dance for fun, but for work? I've done it, dude," Federline tells Details in an issue to hit newsstands Feb. 22.

Instead, Federline's ambitions lie in creating a fashion line with Spears, 23, which he says could launch sometime this year. "I'm gonna design the men's and she will design the women's. We're thinking about calling it Pair A Dice -- because dice are lucky for us."

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