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Last Updated: Monday, 25 December 2006, 10:02 GMT
The year in film: 2006
From gay cowboys to spoof journalists and a new-look James Bond, 2006 proved an eclectic year at the box office and beyond.

Read on for more adventures in motion pictures.

CRASH LANDS OSCAR GLORY

Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon in Crash
Crash featured an impressive ensemble cast

Crash, the racial drama from director Paul Haggis, defied the predictions, taking the best picture award at the 78th Academy Awards in Los Angeles in March.

The coveted prize was expected to go to Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, which won a slew of awards ahead of the Oscars. Lee picked up the best director award.

Capote star Philip Seymour Hoffman and Walk The Line's Reese Witherspoon won the top acting accolades.

UK success included supporting actress Rachel Weisz, and Wallace and Gromit.

PITT AND JOLIE PLAY FAMILY FORTUNES

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
The couple were rumoured to be marrying in March in Italy

Celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie celebrated the birth of daughter Shiloh Nouvel in Namibia in May.

The birth sparked yet another paparazzi frenzy, with the first images of the baby selling for a rumoured $7m.

Earlier in the year, a judge ruled that Jolie's adoptive children, Maddox and Zahara, could take Pitt's name. But a rumoured wedding did not go ahead.

Meanwhile, Pitt's ex-wife Jennifer Aniston's relationship with Break-Up co-star Vince Vaughn - broke up.

DA VINCI TRAIN ROLLS IN TO CANNES

Audrey Tautou at the Cannes Film Festival
Dan Brown's book was at the centre of a plagiarism case

Cannes Film Festival launched the film adaptation of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, amid calls from Christian groups to boycott the "blasphemous" movie.

Director Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou worked the crowds on the Croisette, but reviews were mixed.

The stars of the third X-Men sequel, The Last Stand, proved more popular both in Cannes and at the box office.

Sofia Coppola's Marie-Antoinette also debuted at the annual French festival, but fell foul of national pride.

GIBSON ROW AS STAR 'FALLS OFF WAGON'

Mel Gibson (police mugshot)
Gibson earned positive reviews for his latest film, Apocalypto

Actor Mel Gibson, 50, apologised after making anti-semitic remarks following his arrest for drink-driving in Malibu.

The Passion of the Christ director said he was "not a bigot". "Hatred of any kind goes against my faith," said the devout Catholic and reformed alcoholic.

His outburst led some to question his future, but former co-stars defended him and new film Apocalpyto topped the box office this month.

Gibson was given three years' probation and ordered to attend AA meetings.

MAN OF STEEL FLIES AGAIN

Brandon Routh in Superman Returns
Superman tries to reignite his love affair with Lois Lane

Actor Brandon Louth stepped into Superman's tights for the Man of Steel's long-awaited screen comeback.

Both Nicolas Cage and Jude Law were originally rumoured to take the role.

It marked the superhero's first big-screen appearance since 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace starring the late Christopher Reeve.

Director Bryan Singer won a critical thumbs up for the film, with Variety saluting its "artistic elegance and genuine emotional investment".

BORAT SPOOF BENEFITS BARON COHEN

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat
Borat portrayed Kazahks as ignorant, sexist and racist

Borat topped the box office in the US and the UK after a huge publicity drive by his British creator Sacha Baron Cohen.

The film saw Baron Cohen, in the guise of Kazakh journalist Borat, travelling across America duping US citizens into revealing their prejudices.

The "racist" comedy is now the subject of a number of legal actions, with two US students and residents of a Romanian village among those suing film-makers.

Reports claim Baron Cohen has signed a $42.5m deal to make another film, and there are rumours of an Oscar.

THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR 'TIRESOME' TOM

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise
The Scientologist ceremony took place at a castle outside Rome

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes tied the knot in Italy in November, surrounded by A-list stars and the paparazzi.

It marked a rare public appearance for Holmes, who had become the subject of bizarre press speculation ahead of the birth of their baby, Suri, in April.

After poor box office returns for MI:3, Cruise, and studio Paramount Pictures severed ties, ending a 14-year relationship.

Nicole Kidman, Cruise's second wife, beat him up the aisle, marrying singer Keith Urban in Sydney over the summer.

BOND IS BACK: CRAIG MAKES 007 DEBUT

Daniel Craig in Casino Royale
The choice of a 'blond Bond' upset some fans

After months of negative attacks from fans and the media, Daniel Craig made his debut as the seventh James Bond.

Craig's raw performance in Casino Royale, based on Ian Fleming's first Bond adventure, drew a rapturous response from critics and film-goers.

Best known for roles in Layer Cake and Munich, the 38-year-old was the object of myriad downloads for his muscular torso and tight-fitting swimwear.

Bond, and Craig, will be back - at least for another two films.




SEE ALSO
The year in arts: 2006
28 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
The year on TV: 2006
27 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
The year in music: 2006
26 Dec 06 |  Entertainment



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