Outlook Champagne bonuses, Christmas cracker competitions, "Grand in your Hand" contests: welcome to the wacky world of Lloyds bank's staff incentive plans.

To Have and to Hold, by Philipp Blom

Human beings (mainly male) are compulsive collectors. Geoff Nicholson snaps up a history of their hobbies

Full list of Oscar winners

THE 1990s IN REVIEW: Theatre - The voice-over was king

Diversity rules, and that's fine. But, with a few brave exceptions, where have the politics gone? By Robert Butler

Football: Doughty deliveries scupper Whyteleafe

Chester City 3 Whyteleafe 1

Only In LA: Exposed! Kevin Costner's favourite part

IN HIS new movie, For Love of the Game, Kevin Costner plays an ageing baseball pitcher facing the sunset of his career. Not much of a stretch, one would have thought, for the veteran of such feel-good baseball movies as Bull Durham and Field of Dreams. Then again, just about anything might be considered a stretch for a man regularly accoladed with the Golden Raspberry for worst performer in Hollywood, whose most accomplished credit - at least among industry wags - is his turn as the briefly glimpsed corpse in The Big Chill.

Only In LA: Glitzy party for $500: beware cheap imitations

WHO WOULD want to take a holiday in Los Angeles? Answer: almost nobody. Ah, but who would give their eye teeth to go to a celebrity awards show, including the party afterwards? Answer: zillions of people.

Satellite and Cable; Pick of the Day

LA CONFIDENTIAL (10pm Sky Premier), a marvellous film noir from Curtis Hanson, receives its satellite premiere tonight. In the labyrinthine plot, set in the LA of 1953, Russell Crowe, and Guy Pearce play ill-matched detectives - one a sledgehammer, the other a rapier - who team up to investigate corruption within their own ranks. It is such a classy film that stars such as Danny DeVito and Kevin Spacey were prepared to take supporting roles. Kim Basinger deservedly won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as the upmarket call-girl with whom both Crowe and Pearce become involved.

Cinema: The millennium bugs

First Antz. Now A Bug's Life. Since Hollywood's animators have apparently convinced themselves that they've exhausted the anthropomorphic potential of ducks, rabbits, dogs, cats and mice, what next? Amoebae? Microbes? Molecules? Quarks?

Film: Meaty, Beatty, big and flouncy

Annette Bening's career has been overshadowed by her husband. It's time for a change.

The Critics' Awards 1998: Stage actor - Go West End, young woman!

I sat on the panel for the Evening Standard Drama Awards, and each of the judge's choice for Best Actor was the same. The choices for Best Actress differed widely. No one's first choice (or second, or third, as far as I recall) was Nicole Kidman. She received a special award of her own for making theatre a hot topic of conversation.


London Top 10 Weekend box office No of screens Weeks open

Clubs; Club of the week: The End'sthird birthday @ the end

Three years of The End has meant three years of top-level clubbing for the capital. Since its inception Mr C and Layo have guaranteed Londoners innovative promotions. It's no coincidence that both Sasha and Fatboy Slim made this club the headquarters for their musical invasion.

Film Charts

London Top 10 Weekend box office No of screens Weeks open

Theatre Curtain Calls

Awards committees do sometimes get it right. A cheer went up at Barclays Theatre Awards last week when Bryony Lavery's astonish- ingly powerful and deeply moving Frozen won Best Play. Similar pleasure was induced by the Best Actor, Kevin Spacey, whose witty acceptance speech for his towering performance in The Iceman Cometh was filmed (appropriately enough) in a bar.


LA CONFIDENTIAL (left) and Goodfellas - an odd pairing, really. Goodfellas gets too snared up in its depiction of men who worship violence to be completely exonerated of that charge itself. Curtis Hanson's film of James Ellroy's novel, LA Confidential, is less complicated material, although not in plot terms - the movie is a spaghetti junction of characters with interlocking grudges, desires and pasts. Kevin Spacey's alluringly amoral persona is a perfect fit for the jaded but starstruck detective who can't even remember why he joined the force.
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