The bad boy behaves: Word is that Sean Penn, who generally doesn't attend the Oscars, even when he's nominated, has decided to attend this year. Perhaps it's out of respect for Clint Eastwood, who direced the film Penn is nominated for ("Mystic River") -- or he may be planning to make a political statement from the podium. Stay tuned. (IMDB)
Knight Rider who brought down the wall! David Hasselhoff, who is a huge star in Germany, had his feelings hurt when he was left out of a museum collection of memorabilia about the fall of the Berlin Wall. The TV hero said in 1989 he sang his song "Looking for Freedom" at the Brandenburg Gate and moved millions of Germans to unite. "After my appearance I hacked away at pieces of the wall that had the black, red and yellow colors of the German flag on it. I kept the big piece for myself and gave the smaller pieces to colleagues at 'Baywatch.'" (Ananova)
"Cathy" engaged? For 27 years the comic strip character Cathy has been the same age and had the same problems (weight, boyfriend, career). For Valentine's Day this year, Cathy's life could change dramatically when she gets a marriage proposal. (CNN)
The Donald's no dummy: Taking advantage of his hit show "The Apprentice," Donald Trump announced today he's written a new book that will be released in April to coincide with the show's season finale. The title of the tome? "How to Get Rich." One way is to write a book, since Trump is -- according to a spokesman -- getting "a lot more than a million dollars" for his jottings. (AP)
-- Karen Croft
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Charlize Theron, who gained 30 pounds and donned fake teeth and prosthetic blemished skin to play prostitute-turned-serial-killer Aileen Wuornos in "Monster," has been nominated for an Academy Award for best actress for the role. Her diet, she says, "consisted mainly of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and anything that was swimming in cream or had cheese on top of it," the South African actress, who won a Golden Globe last weekend, recently told Jane magazine. "I would also eat really late at night and not exercise at all."
Extraordinary lengths, perhaps, but Theron's Oscar nod comes as little surprise. The Academy voters have a way of rewarding actors and actresses who physically transform themselves for meaty roles.
Here are the most famous examples:
Fredric March: In 1931's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," he wore fake fangs, eyebrows and tons of makeup for a portrayal of Mr. Hyde that's just as scary now as it was then. His reward: Oscar win, best actor.
Jose Ferrer: Donned a fake nose -- long before Nicole Kidman -- to play Cyrano de Bergerac in the 1950 film adaptation. Oscar win, best actor.
Laurence Olivier: Reportedly spent three hours daily applying makeup and prosthetics -- fake nose, hand, hunchback and wig -- to play the lead role in 1955's "Richard III." Oscar nomination, best actor.
Jack Lemmon: In drag for much of 1960's "Some Like It Hot" -- wig, eyelashes, rosy cheeks and all. Oscar nomination, best actor.
Robert De Niro: Gained 60 pounds to play boxer Jake LaMotta in decline in 1980's "Raging Bull." ("I looked like an animal," he has commented.) Oscar win, best actor.
John Hurt: In 1980's "The Elephant Man," he played a character so deformed that audiences literally didn't see any of Hurt's real face in the movie. Oscar nomination, best actor.
Dustin Hoffman: Dressed up like a woman -- wig, false teeth, fake breasts, the whole deal -- for "Tootsie" in 1982. (A big year for transvestites.) And? Oscar nomination, best actor.
John Lithgow: Played Roberta Muldoon in 1982's "The World According to Garp." During filmmaking, crew members reportedly enjoyed grabbing his fake prosthetic breasts. Oscar nomination, best supporting actor.
Jaye Davidson: Starred in 1992's "The Crying Game," in perhaps cinema's most notorious case of cross-dressing. Oscar nomination, best supporting actor.
Daniel Day-Lewis: Lost 30 pounds to play Gerry Conlon in 1993's "In the Name of the Father." And? Oscar nomination, best actor.
Tom Hanks: Lost 45 pounds for his performance in 1993's "Philadelphia." Oscar win, best actor.
Ralph Fiennes: Gained 20 pounds in order to play a menacing Nazi in 1993's "Schindler's List." Oscar nomination, best supporting actor.
Woody Harrelson: Strapped on a prosthetic stomach and wore a skullcap to play famous pornographer Larry Flynt in 1996's "The People Vs. Larry Flynt." Oscar nomination, best actor.
Hilary Swank: Transformed herself into a boy-girl, cutting her hair, taping down her breasts and talking in a low mumble, for 1999's "Boys Don't Cry." Oscar win, best actress.
Russell Crowe: Gained 60 pounds on a diet of bourbon and cheeseburgers to play a homely whistle-blower in 1999's "The Insider." Oscar nomination, best actor.
Tom Hanks: Grew a massive beard and lost 55 pounds for his role in 2000's "Cast Away." Oscar nomination, best actor.
Willem Dafoe: As blood-sucking Max Schreck in 2000's "The Shadow of the Vampire," he wore ears, fingernails and teeth -- all fake, all pointy. Oscar nomination, best supporting actor.
Renée Zellweger: Gained 20 pounds to play ice-cream-scarfing Bridget Jones in 2001's "Bridget Jones's Diary." Oscar nomination, best actress.
Ed Harris: Gained 30 pounds for his part in 2001's "Pollock." Oscar nomination, Best Actor.
Will Smith: Gained 35 pounds of muscle to play Muhammad Ali in 2001's "Ali." Oscar nomination, best actor.
Jon Voight: Also in "Ali," wore prosthetics and a toupee to effect his stunning transformation into sports announcer Howard Cosell. Oscar nomination, best supporting actor.
Nicole Kidman: Sported a prosthetic nose to play Virginia Woolf in 2002's "The Hours." Oscar win, best actress.
Chris Cooper: Wore what he calls a "very expensive set of Halloween teeth" for role in 2002's "Adaptation." (It was actually rumored that he'd had his front teeth removed for the part.) Oscar win, best supporting actor.
Adrien Brody: Lost 30 pounds to look emaciated for his role in 2002's "The Pianist." Oscar win, best actor.
Salma Hayek: To approximate artist Frida Kahlo's mustache and unibrow in 2002's "Frida," Hayek stopped plucking her own eyebrows -- but had to go further for the mustache. "We tried eye shadow, but that didn't work because it looked like eye shadow," she told the press. "Then we tried gluing on little hairs, but the glue was more visible than the hair." She finally shaved her upper lip so the hair would grow in, but even that didn't result in a 'stache as thick as Frida's. Oscar nomination, best actress.
-- Christopher Farah
Snap ... goes the lawyer: Chicago judge rules that R. Kelly, who's facing child pornography charges, avoid contact with Michael Jackson, who's facing child molestation charges, at Grammy Awards. Kelly's lawyer says: "What's the difference if someone makes an order not to see someone he didn't want to see in the first place?" (Associated Press)
King of Pop, indeed: Vanity Fair reports that Michael Jackson gave wine in a Coke can to the 13-year-old kid he's accused of molesting. Says Jackson calls white wine "Jesus juice" and red wine "Jesus blood," telling the boy and his brother, "Jesus drank it, so it must be good." (N.Y. Newsday)
Joke's on us: Turns out Bill Murray may not have been kidding when he told the Golden Globe audience, "You can all relax. I fired my agents a couple months ago. My trainer, my physical trainer, killed himself." (E! Online)
What is that, a bathrobe? You've surely already heard the news about James Brown's arrest for alleged spousal abuse. But if you haven't seen his mug shot yet, you really gotta take a look. (ABC News)
You think we'd make something up?! New York Times Magazine editor huffily responds to Slate's Jack Shafer, who is skeptical of the magazine's sensational cover story on sex slaves. (Slate)