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Thursday, December 17, 1998 Published at 13:08 GMT


Ryan gets critics' backing

Saving Private Ryan: Film of the year for New York's critics

New York film critics have voted Saving Private Ryan film of the year in one of the curtain-raisers for the 1999 Academy Awards.

Steven Spielberg's wartime epic picked up the best picture of the year award from the New York Film Critics Circle, while Cameron Diaz won best actress for her part in There's Something About Mary.

Circle chairman Godfrey Cheshire said: "There were a lot of surprises this year. Cameron Diaz was a big surprise for best actress because the film was such an unusual comedy."

Nick Nolte won the circle's best actor award for his performance in Affliction, while another war film also caused a stir.

Terence Malick won best director and John Toll won best cinematography for The Thin Red Line which stars Sean Penn and George Clooney. It is released in the US on Christmas Day. The film was Malick's first in 20 years.

The awards will be presented on 10 January at the World Trade Centre.

Wood's train strain

[ image: Victoria Wood: Held up on way to collect degree]
Victoria Wood: Held up on way to collect degree
Comedienne Victoria Wood almost missed collecting an honorary degree on Wednesday - thanks to a nightmare train journey to Manchester.

Ms Wood, star of the hit BBC One show Dinnerladies, only just made it in time to collect the award at UMIST after her first train - operated by Virgin - broke down just yards out of Euston station, London.

The service was cancelled and she was then forced to stand next to the toilets for the whole journey - despite having a first class ticket - because the next available train was so packed.

The comedienne said: "I stood outside the toilets all the way. The first train broke down and the second one was already full. The last three times I've travelled on Virgin they've been late."

She was said to be furious at the delay but managed to laugh it off after she finally arrived.

She was given an honorary Master of Science degree from the science, engineering and management university in Manchester to add to her others from Lancaster, Sunderland, Bolton and Birmingham. She also has a BA in Drama from Birmingham.

Welch to marry again

[ image: Raquel Welch: Lucky pizza delivery]
Raquel Welch: Lucky pizza delivery
Actress Raquel Welch has announced plans to marry for the third time.

The 58-year-old star of Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years BC will wed pizza restaurant owner Richie Palmer, who is 20 years her junior.

They plan to marry in May at a Beverly Hills hotel.

"I had told myself I would never marry again, then along came Richie," said Welch. "We never argue, we laugh together and sing together."

Situation Vacant: Fat Controller

[ image: Thomas: New Controller wanted]
Thomas: New Controller wanted
Thomas the Tank Engine is looking for a new Fat Controller - after current incumbent Simon Fisher-Becker decided to step down.

Thomas makes up to 100 appearances a year with the Fat Controller doing the talking. Hopeful applicants must be over 5ft 8ins tall and 55in wide.

After 10 years, Fisher-Becker is going on a diet to avoid typecasting while his employers, Britt Allcroft, are now recruiting through The Stage magazine.

Bowie's wider web

[ image: David Bowie: Helping fans get wired]
David Bowie: Helping fans get wired
David Bowie is expanding his Internet site BowieNet to provide Web access and shared music information for fans as well as the normal news, music and competitions.

Music fans can sign up for the Internet through Bowie's site and get their own Web space plus unlimited email addresses all ending "".

"I wanted an environment where all fans could be part of a community," said Bowie.

The site is to be a "vast archive of music" online.

Truman actor for Pollock movie

Hollywood star Ed Harris is to portray late artist Jackson Pollock in a film he also plans to direct.

Harris, tipped for an Oscar nomination for his role in The Truman Show, has long been fascinated by the artist who died in a car crash in 1956 aged 44.

"I'm curious about exploring this guy and trying to understand him," he said.

"Pollock put most of his feelings and a sense of purity into his work."

Q out, R in?

The 19th James Bond movie could be the last to star veteran actor Desmond Llewelyn as hi-tech gadget guru Q, according to reports from the US.

It is believed that Q is going to retire from Her Majesty's Secret Service while Bond's boss, M, hires a young weapons expert - to be called R - to be his replacement.

Llewelyn, 84. has been acting since the 40s, including 1970s TV shows Lillie and Follyfoot.

He is the only actor to have worked with every Bond.

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