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Nicole Kidman Pregnant? Not Likely

Nicole Kidman Pregnant? Not Likely | Beyonce Bounces Back | Spirits Really Go Indie

Nicole Kidman Pregnant? Not Likely

The tabloids are full of stories speculating that Nicole Kidman is pregnant. The "evidence" seems to be a slightly enlarged midsection that comes and goes in paparazzi photos.

Well, kids, my sources who know Nicole and know the score say it's highly unlikely.

"First do the math," says a source, "Nicole and [husband] Keith Urban haven't been together that much recently. He's going to be in rehab for a while longer in California. She's making a movie in London."

Then my insiders point out that Kidman has a very heavy film schedule set in stone for 2007. She starts Baz Luhrmann's "Australia" in about three months, when — if the rumors were true — she'd be five months along.

"Australia" has already been postponed once, and it's not going to happen again. Kidman also has two or more projects which will be announced soon, I am told. There's no time for kids.

The irony of Urban's long-term rehab, of course, is that not only is he missing the first few months of his marriage, he's also cooped up while his album, "Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing," is selling like hotcakes. This week it remains in the top 10 for pop — not country — with 165,000 copies sold.

Beyonce Bounces Back

I told you back on Aug. 17, after listening to Beyonce's album "B'Day" at a London listening party, that only one track merited hit status. That song, I said, was "Irreplaceable," written and produced by a Norwegian team very much like the Swedes in Max Martin's group that made the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC their big hits.

Well "Irreplaceable" has finally been released as the third single from Beyonce's highly unlistenable album, and it's a hit, just as I predicted.

More importantly: "Irreplaceable" has lifted "B'Day" out of its flop status and back into the Top 10. Last week, "B'Day" sales increased by 169 percent, selling a very respectable 166,000 copies.

Two weeks earlier, "B'Day" was nearly off the charts. That was thanks to the first single, "Déjà Vu," which was just bad, and the second, "Ring the Alarm," a shrill shriek fest that had cats running for the floorboards under beds.

"B'Day" might have been over at that point had it not been for "Irreplaceable," a catchy ballad that features Beyonce singing too high. But it has hooks, and that's what the other singles lacked.

Now Beyonce should be able to turn lemons into lemonade. Following "Irreplaceable," she has "Listen," a song she and her team wrote specifically for the movie "Dreamgirls."

In the film, set to be a huge hit when it comes out on Dec. 22, Beyonce sings "Listen," in what seems to be an almost isolated video.

It's her best number in the movie, and sure to be a hit, right along with the Bill Condon-directed film.

If the timing is right, Beyonce will perform the song at the Academy Awards show come Feb. 25, giving "B'Day" a second life it might not have ordinarily had.

Meanwhile, Beyonce's rival for attention in "Dreamgirls," former "American Idol" star Jennifer Hudson, has finally signed a record contract. Hudson has unsurprisingly wound up with Clive Davis' J Records, which also happens to be home to Fantasia, the singer who beat Hudson in "American Idol." Small world.

Fantasia is expected to release a new album in the next couple of weeks. But it's Hudson who's tipped for an Oscar in the movie, and from there on her future looks good, to say the least.

And here's a nice postscript from the album charts: The Beatles' "Love" album finished at No. 4 with an astounding 280,000 copies sold. It's the ultimate rebuke of everything fake in the music business. Bravo!

Spirits Really Go Indie

The 2007 Independent Spirit Awards should be pretty interesting this year. With one exception — "Little Miss Sunshine" — the audience will have heard of just about none of the nominees. Hurray!

In the last few years, the Spirits came under fire for including too many movies that had been bought and distributed by major studios. The lines blurred between what was actually indie and what was big budget. All that is over this year.

"Little Miss Sunshine" and "Half Nelson" both got five nominations yesterday, including Best Picture, but the difference between them is great. "Little Miss Sunshine" was sold at Sundance for $12 million and has two Oscar nominees in its cast (Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear) not to mention a huge comedy star (Steve Carell) and a beloved vet (Alan Arkin). It's made about $60 million at the box office.

"Half Nelson" has made a fraction of that with a cast that includes two up-and-comers (Ryan Gosling and Anthony Mackie) and a total newcomer in Shareeka Epps. It deserves to win in all its categories, and Gosling should pick up Best Actor. There's an outside chance he'll get an Oscar nomination as well. His performance, which I wrote about here last January, is mesmerizing.

More good news from the Spirits: "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," which First Look has all but abandoned, picked up three nominations. Conversely, First Look's "The Dead Girl," directed by Karen Moncrieff ("Blue Car") got two nominations for film and director. And Robert Altman, just about the original indie director, got a posthumous nomination.

There were some serious omissions, though, like Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Sherrybaby" and "Saints" director Dito Montiel (the nomination for Steven Soderbergh for "Bubble" is beyond bizarre).

The best award is definitely for David Lynch and his star Laura Dern. They're getting the "Special Distinction Award" for making "Inland Empire," one of the worst, most self-indulgent pieces of junk ever to be shown to an audience. Cool.