February 17, 2004 01:00 PM

BUMPED: Ben Affleck, selected to be the grand marshal of Sunday’s Daytona 500, was cheered the loudest among the celebrities attending the NASCAR race Sunday. But Affleck, who is used to drawing a crowd, found himself overshadowed by a last-minute addition to the stars attending the race: President Bush, the Associated Press reports. “They told me I was going to be bumped, and I was like ‘bumped? What are you talking about bumped? Who’s bumping me?'” Affleck said. “‘The president of the United States.’ OK, terrific. Guess I’m bumped then.” The 31-year-old star, who drove the race’s pace car, still served as the grand marshal, though some of his duties were handed to the president.

APOLOGIZED: CBS on Friday issued yet another apology, this time for musical group OutKast’s performance at the Grammy Awards. For the final performance of the show, OutKast, who won three Grammys including album of the year, dressed in feathers and war paint to sing their hit “Hey Ya.” The performance drew protests from Native American organizations around the country that claimed the bit was racist, AP reports. “We are very sorry if anyone was offended,” a CBS spokeswoman said.

SELECTED: Quentin Tarantino will fulfill “a magnificent obsession” when he presides over the jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the 40-year-old filmmaker tells AP. “For a filmmaker and film lover, there’s no greater honor than to be on the (Cannes) jury,” the “Kill Bill” director said in a statement. Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” won the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize, in 1994. The festival will run May 12-23.

ENGAGED: Star Jones, one of the hosts of ABC’s daytime hit “The View,” proved to be the real winner at Sunday’s NBA All-Star game. Jones’s boyfriend, Al Reynolds, presented the talkative TV hostess with an engagement ring during halftime, AP reports. Actor Denzel Washington was on hand to lead Reynolds’s cheering section. No word yet on a wedding date.

SURPRISED: Mariah Carey surprised fans at the MTV Asia Awards in Singapore on Saturday, when the songstress made an unexpected appearance to receive a Lifetime Achievement award, world news organization AFP reports. Carey, 33, flew in from South Korea to collect the honor.

BORN: “Bridget Jones’s Diary” author Helen Fielding is the mother of a new baby boy, Reuters reports. The 43-year-old writer gave birth to a 7-lb. 5-oz. boy Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with partner Kevin Curran. Fielding’s novel was turned into a hit movie with Renee Zellweger in the title role in 2001. Zellweger is reprising her role for a sequel to the film, “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” due out later this year. Fielding’s baby does not have a name yet, the author said.

ABANDONED: Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has abandoned his quest for the seat of Washington state lieutenant governor, according to the AP. Novoselic, a Democrat, had expressed an interest in running against Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, but he changed his mind. Novoselic went on to other musical projects following the suicide of frontman Kurt Cobain in 1994. But he is now retired from music and says he intends to remain active in politics.

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