Following is a summary of current entertainment news briefs.
History alive and kicking at 2013 Oscars
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - History is alive and kicking at this year's Oscars in an unusually rich year for movies that plumb the distant and recent American past and have resonated with both audiences and voters. Four of the nine Best Picture nominees at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony - Iran hostage drama "Argo," Osama bin Laden thriller "Zero Dark Thirty," slavery revenge fantasy "Django Unchained" and U.S. presidential drama "Lincoln" - are the most discussed films of the awards season, with their very different takes on historical events.
"Amour" director's take on death could have a Hollywood ending
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Austrian director Michael Haneke will arrive at the Academy Awards ceremony with his stark drama "Amour" vying for a surprising five Oscars including Best Picture, despite its distinctly non-Hollywood ending. The French-language film that tackles death and aging is up against Best Picture favorites "Lincoln" and "Argo" on February 24, as well as competing for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress.
Troubled singer Mindy McCready dead in apparent suicide
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - Troubled country music star Mindy McCready, whose platinum singing career was shadowed by substance abuse and suicide attempts, was found dead on Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, an Arkansas sheriff said. She was 37. McCready's body was found on the porch of a house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, on Sunday afternoon. She was pronounced dead at the scene "from what appears to be a single self-inflicted gunshot wound," the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
"Zero Dark Thirty" and "Argo" win top Writers Guild Awards
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. film and television writers gave their top two movie awards on Sunday to "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Argo" in the final Hollywood guild awards show before next week's Oscars. Writer Mark Boal won the Writers Guild of America award for Best Original Screenplay for "Zero Dark Thirty," which chronicles the intense U.S. manhunt and daring raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Romanian cinema triumphs again with top Berlin award
BERLIN (Reuters) - Romania claimed another major scalp on the European film festival circuit this weekend when "Child's Pose" won the Golden Bear in Berlin, underlining the country's emergence as a powerhouse of hard-hitting cinema in the post-Communist era. The film, directed by Calin Peter Netzer, tells the story of Cornelia, an obsessive mother who uses every trick in the book to prevent her son from going to jail after he kills a boy in a car accident.
Bird droppings, bull testicles among pre-Oscar beauty treatments
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood stars wanting to look their best for Tinseltown's biggest night of the year are being offered beauty treatments ranging from the lavish to plain loony such as $250,000 black diamond nail varnish and bird excrement facials. The Academy Awards on February 24 are almost as much about fashion as they are about films, with the televised red carpet arrivals and ceremony drawing an estimated audience of one billion people worldwide.
Russian developer pledges $3 billion for DreamWorks parks
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian developer Regions Group said it planned to invest around $3 billion in the construction of three theme parks under a licensing agreement with Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc <DWA.O>. The California-based animation studio behind "Shrek" may thus become the first Hollywood studio to have theme parks in Russia, which the company said was one of the most important markets for it in the world.
Rihanna brings high street to catwalks at London show
LONDON (Reuters) - Pop singer Rihanna launched her first clothing line with British high-street retailer River Island on Saturday, adding A-list glitz to the British leg of the international fashion circuit. The fashion credentials of the British high street have flourished in recent years as more household clothing brands inch onto the catwalks of major fashion centres.
British actor Hugh Grant announces birth of second child
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hugh Grant announced on Saturday that he had become a father for the second time after Tinglan Hong gave birth to a baby boy. "In answer to some journos (journalists)," the British actor posted on the social media website Twitter, "am thrilled my daughter now has a brother. Adore them both to an uncool degree. They have a fab mum."