NEWS BRIEFS: 'Master' in British Race

NOMINATED: With six nods, “Master and Commander” leads the field for the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards, whose winners will be announced Feb. 11, reports the BBC. Its nominations include those for best film, best actor Russell Crowe and best director Peter Weir. Other best picture nominees are “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “Mystic River” and (released in 2003 in Britain) “The Hours” and “Far from Heaven.” Running alongside Crowe for best actor will be Ed Harris (“The Hours”), Sean Penn (“Mystic River”), Bill Murray (“Lost in Translation”) and Nicolas Cage (“Adaptation”). Best actress: Nicole Kidman (“Cold Mountain”), Holly Hunter (“Thirteen”), Meryl Streep (“Adaptation,” also released in 2003 in Britain), Scarlett Johansson (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) and Julianne Moore (“Far from Heaven”).

BUSTED: Alex Zivojinovich, 50 (better known by his stage name Alex Lifeson), lead guitarist for the rock band Rush, faces criminal charges after a New Year’s Eve fight with sheriff’s deputies at the Naples Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Florida, reports the Associated Press. Deputies said they used a stun gun on Zivojinovich, who faces six charges that include aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, and disorderly intoxication.

QUOTED: “I think she’s a very brave movie star. I love her spirit. I think she knows that nothing can defeat her.” — Diane Keaton, 57, on her admiration of Nicole Kidman, to the Associated Press

WED: Australian pop star Natalie Imbruglia, 28, married Daniel Johns, 24, frontman for Australian rock band Silverchair, in a secret ceremony at a tropical resort Wednesday, reports the AP. The couple exchanged vows at an exclusive resort on Australia’s northeastern coast, on the lawns of the Thala Beach Lodge, near Port Douglas. The couple, who announced their engagement earlier this year, flew into nearby Cairns airport Tuesday night and were driven off the tarmac in a gold limousine.

DIED: Distinguished bestselling author John Gregory Dunne, 71, who frequently collaborated with wife Joan Didion, died Tuesday night, friend and fellow writer David Halberstam tells the Associated Press. Dunne died after suffering a heart attack at his Manhattan apartment as he sat down to dinner with Didion, reports the Los Angeles Times. Dunne’s breakout novel came in 1977 with “True Confessions,” a tough, bleak account of a woman’s brutal murder and its connection to two brothers, a policeman and a priest. The novel sold more than 1 million copies, and he and Didion collaborated on the 1981 film adaptation starring Robert Duvall and Robert De Niro.

REFITTED: After three years of holding the title as America’s fattest city, Houston shed the weight of the title. The city dropped to No. 2 on the Men’s Fitness list of “fattest cities” in America. Detroit moved to the top spot. Civic leaders credited initiatives started under Mayor Lee Brown’s “Get Lean Houston” program and the work of the city’s first fitness czar, former Mr. Universe Lee Labrada, for the accomplishment, says the AP. In other weigh-ins, Dallas ballooned from last year’s ninth fattest city to third; San Antonio went from No. 13 to No. 4; and Fort Worth jumped from 16th to sixth.

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