What a Wonderful World

Brody Gets an Oscar, Madonna Gets a Raspberry

As Chicago was picking up "Best Picture", and Adrian Brody was giving his acceptance speech at the Oscar ceremony on March 23 for "Best Actor" in The Pianist, another award ceremony for the worst films coming out of Hollywood was underway. The 23rd Razzle Awards this year gave the "Worst Picture" trophy to Swept Away, starring Madonna and directed by her British husband, Guy Ritchie. Though their marriage might have been made in heaven, it seems that their working relationship was made somewhere much less agreeable.

Madonna shared the award for "Worst Actress" with another singer-turned- actor, Britney Spears, for her role in Crossroads. Britney also won the award for "Worst Song" with her rendition of the truly awful I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman. Perhaps she should have called the song Maybe a Singer, Not Yet an Actress.

Should the winners of the Razzles want to collect their awards - and nobody ever does, for some reason - then
they would be presented with a handcrafted gold-painted Raspberry. Hayden Christenssen was given a raspberry for "Best Supporting Role" in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. But the night belonged to Madonna. Alongside "Worst Actress", she also won "Worst Screen Couple" with Adriano Giannini (Swept Away, again) and she received a raspberry for "Worst Supporting Actress" in the Bond film, Die Another Day.

If You Want To Know About the British, Read an American

A new survey conducted on World Book Day in Britain, March 6, found that the most popular book written about the British national identity is not written by a Brit at all, but by an American! It seems that travel writer Bill Bryson, from Iowa, US, has best defined contemporary Britain, according to British book readers.

Bill Bryson moved to England in 1977, where he got a job as a journalist at the business section of The Times. He also began to travel around Britain and Europe making fun of the strange cultures, traditions and customs he found there. His book on the British Isles, Notes from a Small Island has been a best seller in that country ever since it was published in 1992. And the 4,000 Britons who took part in the survey chose Notes as the most outstanding portrait of British national identity.

Other books that were included in the list that best sum up the British national character were by native authors, including Zadie Smith's novel White Teeth, and Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch. Bill Bryson, who sells millions in Britain and the US, has also written two excellent books about the English language you might like to read: A Dictionary of Troublesome Words and Mother Tongue.