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Thursday, March 18, 1999 Published at 15:22 GMT


Xena under fire from Hindu group

Xena: Viewed by some as a lesbian icon

Cult TV show, Xena Warrior Princess has been criticised by Hindu groups for a recent portrayal of the deity Krishna.

The World Vaishnavas Association is unhappy about an episode where Xena prayed to Krishna to help her and sidekick Gabrielle out of a scrape.

It says the deity was reduced to "cheap entertainment" in helping Xena "save her lesbian lover".

But producers say Gabrielle is merely Xena's "best friend and companion".

Tusta Krishnadas, the Hindu group's spokesman said they were considering a boycott of Universal Studios or of the series.

Vinnie film scores with UK cinema-goers

[ image: Vinnie Jones made his acting debut in the top UK film]
Vinnie Jones made his acting debut in the top UK film
Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels has been voted best film in the first Odeon Oscars, a poll of UK cinema-goers.

The low budget gangster caper, shot for less than £1m, beat off competition from Hollywood blockbuster Saving Private Ryan to win the new title.

Odeon cinemas surveyed nearly 1,200 filmgoers to find out what they thought should win at the real Oscars ceremony which are being held in Los Angeles next Sunday.

Their other choices were closer to the bookies' tips, with Tom Hanks topping the poll for Best Actor for his role in Saving Private Ryan and Gwyneth Paltrow scooping Best Actress for Shakespeare In Love.

Steven Spielberg was named Best Director, an award he has always missed out on at the real Oscars.

Malick wants Oscar ban on his producers

[ image: Terrence Malick is nominated for a Best Director Oscar]
Terrence Malick is nominated for a Best Director Oscar
Director Terence Malick is trying to bar producers of his film The Thin Red Line from the Oscars ceremony.

Malick, Fox and Phoenix Pictures want to enforce a contract signed by producers Robert Geisler and John Roberdau promising they would not attend.

But it is not clear whether or not the ban is legally binding.

Malick is angry about comments the pair made in a Vanity Fair interview.

Malick's World War II picture, recently picked up the Berlin Film Festival's top award, the Golden Bear, for best film.

Oscar gowns to be auctioned for charity

[ image: Julia Robert's 1991 coat dress comes under the hammer]
Julia Robert's 1991 coat dress comes under the hammer
Some of the most stunning dresses worn at Oscars ceremonies in the last 30 years are to be auctioned for charity.

Among the 56 gowns to come under the hammer at Christie's are those worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Sharon Stone, Racquel Welch, Madonna and Julia Roberts.

Actress Natasha Richardson, who is chairing the event in aid of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, said she got the idea from the sale of Princess Diana's dresses.

The collection includes gowns from top designers Valentino and Calvin Klein, as well as more unusual pieces such as an emerald green crepe evening dress, co-designed and worn by Anjelica Huston in 1985.

Court victory for Fred Astaire's estate

[ image: Fred Astaire: Restyled the song-and-dance film]
Fred Astaire: Restyled the song-and-dance film
The widow of Fred Astaire has won a key victory in her legal quest to prevent her late husband's image being used without the authorisation of his estate.

Robyn Astaire has campaigned for nearly a decade against the publisher of a dance video.

Previously the courts had ruled against Mrs Astaire saying the video was for instructional use and not commercial.

But the state of California has now drafted new legislation to protect people's estates, an important issue in an age where digital technology can recreate performers.

Fred Astaire died in 1988, aged 88.

Britney song becomes a million-seller

[ image: Britney Spears: Now at number three in the charts]
Britney Spears: Now at number three in the charts
Teenage pop sensation Britney Spears has sold more than a million copies of her single and she's thought to be the youngest artist to do so in the UK.

The 17-year-old American went through the seven-figure barrier on Monday with 1,000,163 copies of her debut Baby One More Time sold.

The hit, now at number three after being toppled by Boyzone's Comic Relief song, became the first record this year to spend more than a week at number one.

A spokeswoman for Spears' label Jive Records said: "We're really, really pleased for her, it's fantastic".

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