The Emmy Awards aren't until next month but winners in some animation categories were announced Monday by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, including Hank Azaria and Ja'Net DuBois for their voice-over work.
Azaria was cited for playing several characters in an episode of Fox's "The Simpsons" called "Worst Episode Ever." The actor, who also won in this category in 1998, received another Emmy last year as best supporting actor in the TV movie "Tuesdays With Morrie."
DuBois won for playing Mrs. Avery in an episode of the WB's "The PJs" titled "Let's Get Ready to Rumba."
Emmys for individual achievement in animation were awarded to Rodney Clouden, a storyboard artist on Fox's "Futurama"; art director Curt Enderle and animator Brad Schiff of UPN's "Gary & Mike"; and Kyle Menke, a storyboard artist on Nickelodeon's "Invader Zim."
The prizes, to be presented Sept. 8 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, were decided by juries rather than by a nomination process.
Homogeneity Slowly Eroding, SAG Reports
Employment for Screen Actors Guild members in TV and theatrical roles increased 7% last year, with roles for minorities reaching record numbers, the union reported Monday.
The guild's Casting Data Report said the number of roles for all SAG members jumped from 49,662 to 53,134 in 2000. African Americans were cast in 14.8% of the roles, up from 14.1% in 1999. Latinos received 4.9% of the roles, up from 4.4% in 1999. Asian-Pacific Islanders' roles increased from 2.2% to 2.6%, while Native Americans climbed from 0.2% to 0.3%.
"We're moving slowly but steadily toward the reality of portraying the American scene," SAG President William Daniels said. "We are delighted to see gains for all ethnicities on the large and small screen, but there's no question there's plenty of room for growth in diversity in the television and film world."
Thatcher Inspires Exhibition in London
Margaret Thatcher, once admired by late French leader Francois Mitterrand for having "the eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe," is to be the inspiration for an "erotic-iconic" art exhibition.
A London gallery has commissioned up to 30 artists who lived through the 1980s era of Britain's redoubtable "Iron Lady" to produce works that reflect the "Thatcher phenomenon."
"She is still deeply embedded in the British psyche," Blue Gallery curator Tara Howard was quoted as saying in Monday's edition of the Times newspaper. "I'm interested in her erotic-iconic quality and her ability to provoke extremes of response."
A spokesman for the former Conservative Party leader, who was prime minister from May 1979 until November 1990, called the attention flattering.
Nobel Laureate Takes On Italian Leader
When Nobel Prize-laureate Dario Fo ("Accidental Death of an Anarchist") created the opera "La Gazzetta" from an unfinished 1816 Rossini score, the anti-establishment writer added a contemporary thrust. The last scene of the work, performed Saturday during the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy, shows newspapers crumbling into pieces with TV dominating the new media age.
The vision is a not-too-subtle dig at Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who came into power in May. Because the politician owns the country's three state channels, his extensive use of the airwaves was perceived as a conflict of interest.
"Today newspapers are finished," Fo said. "Very few people read them anymore. The real power belongs to he who has TV--and when you say TV in Italy, you say Berlusconi."
Fo, a staunch leftist who was denied an American visa during the McCarthy era, is off to the U.S. in September. He'll perform "Mistero Buffo" (Comic Mystery) at Columbia University in New York and at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass.
'Exorcist' Resurfacing With Frankenheimer
John Frankenheimer has signed on to direct a prequel to "The Exorcist"--an as-yet-untitled fourth installment in the Warner Bros. horror series.
The project, adapted by screenwriter William Wisher from the William Peter Blatty novel, was rewritten by Caleb Carr ("The Alienist"). It is being produced by James G. Robinson, chief executive of Morgan Creek Productions, for a 2002 release.
The prequel's story goes back in time to trace Father Merrin's first encounter with the devil while doing missionary work in post-World War II Africa. In the original, Merrin was played by Max Von Sydow. William Friedkin's 1973 film, a box-office smash, spawned two sequels: 1977's "Exorcist II: The Heretic" and 1990's "Exorcist III."
Drew Carey was released from a hospital Saturday after undergoing a successful procedure to unblock a coronary artery. He's expected back at work on his ABC-TV series next week.... Despite complaints about high ticket prices, Jermaine Jackson has decided to join the rest of the Jackson 5 for Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary bash Sept. 7 and 10 at Madison Square Garden.