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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 11:31 GMT
Hulk and Rings' Oscar battle
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hulk are among the films battling for contention for the best visual effects Oscar at next year's Academy Awards.

The academy has released the shortlist of films in contention for the technical prize, which also include Russell Crowe's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Peter Pan and X2: X-Men United.

The final two contenders are Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and T3, the third of the Terminator films starring California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Fifteen-minute clip reels from each of the films will be screened for the Visual Effects Award Nominating Committee on 21 January, who will then pick three films for official consideration.

Actress Hope Lange dies

Actress Hope Lange, who received an Oscar nomination for her part in the 1957 film Peyton Place, has died aged 70.

Lange died on Friday at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica after suffering intestinal inflammation, said her husband Charles Hollerith.

Lange was also a veteran of US TV and won two Emmys for lead actress in a comedy series for her role in the show The Ghost and Mrs Muir.

She was described as a "great beauty" and reportedly made co-star Marilyn Monroe jealous when the pair starred together in the 1956 film Bus Stop.

Law tipped for Bowie role

A film about the life of singer David Bowie is being planned, with Jude Law considered for the title role, it has been reported.

The pair are said to have discussed the project after the 55-year-old singer's New York concert last week.

The Daily Star newspaper says three Bowie film ideas are being considered.

Bowie's spokesman is quoted as saying of the link with Law: "They are very good friends and David always has lots of ideas for new projects."

Blunkett beaten by EastEnders man

EastEnders actor Shaun Williamson beat Home Secretary David Blunkett and BBC news correspondent Jeremy Bowen in a Christmas edition of Mastermind.

The actor, who plays dim-witted Barry Evans in the BBC soap, answered questions on actor Richard Burton.

Chef Anthony Worrall Thompson also took part in the show, to be screened on BBC Two on Boxing Day.

Osbournes' festive reunion hopes

The family of recovering rock star Ozzy Osbourne are hoping to reunite for Christmas, their agents have said.

Son Jack, 18, has flown to the UK from Los Angeles to visit his father in hospital in Berkshire where he is being treated after a quad bike accident.

Osbourne, 55, fractured a neck vertebra, crushed an arm, broke eight ribs and his collarbone in the crash at his Buckinghamshire mansion earlier this month.

It is still not clear whether the former Black Sabbath singer will be allowed home for Christmas.


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