If you invent an award, the world will beat a path to your door; at least all those who want to win it will. Washington Journalism Review invented the Best in the Business awards last year and was astonished by the outcome. Dan Rather, one of the winners, broadcast the "CBS Evening News" from Washington the evening of the presentation so he could accept his personally. Other winners, such as Bill Kurtis, then of the "CBS Morning News," also came to Washington as did ABC sports commentator Howard Cosell.
With the second annual awards coming up Jan. 14 and the fact that the magazine has begun photographing and interviewing "finalists," speculation about winners has already begun. Three names that are said to be winners this year are ABC's Sam Donaldson as best White House television reporter, Mutual Radio's Larry King as best radio talk show host and the Los Angeles Times' Jack Nelson as best Washington newspaper bureau chief.
WJR editor Katherine Evans argues, however, that "it would be a mistake" for the "finalists" to assume that just because they are being interviewed or photographed that they are winners. She said the magazine may profile more than just the winners. In this year's contest, the categories on the entries announced in the September issue were changed to give other journalists a chance to win the prize. The winners will appear in the February issue, which will be available at next month's awards reception at the Grand Hotel. But no matter what, this has become a coveted award that many journalists seem desperate to win. New York Film Critics Circle Winners
Director John Huston's black comedy "Prizzi's Honor" may have had a strange, distasteful ending, but it nonetheless won the best picture of the year award of the New York Film Critics Circle. Huston won best director and his daughter Anjelica Huston won best supporting actress in the first film the father and daughter made together. Jack Nicholson, Anjelica's longtime companion in this family affair movie, won the best actor award for the same film. The movie is also a favorite in the upcoming Academy Award nominations.
Among the other winners were Klaus Maria Brandauer for best supporting actor and David Watkins for best cinematography for the newly released "Out of Africa," another major contender for the Oscars. Woody Allen won best screenplay for the magical and poignant "The Purple Rose of Cairo." "Shoah," about the Nazi Holocaust, won best documentary for filmmaker Claude Lanzmann. There apparently was so much agreement among the 26 film critics that TV Guide critic Judith Crist said, "I think it was about the shortest voting meeting in memory." End Notes
Former Washington Times publisher and editor James R. Whelan can't seem to stay away from media organizations with religious affiliations. He lost his job at The Times because, he said, its owner, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, tried to impose its beliefs on the newspaper. He doesn't think he'll have the same problem with his latest employer, the Rev. Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. He's planning a daily television news program that will debut Jan. 27 and present viewers with a system of values as conveyed in the scriptures . . .
Friends of singer Connie Francis are reporting that she is having emotional problems again. She was arrested at Atlanta International Airport earlier this month for refusing to extinguish a cigarette during a refueling stop. A spokesman for the singer said "she has been hospitalized for a rest." Friends said she was at the Cedars-Sinai Hospital Thalians Mental Health Center in Los Angeles, but the center would neither confirm or deny that report . . .
That horsey British royal family does take its chances. Last week Capt. Mark Phillips, the husband of Princess Anne, was preparing to go on a hunt when his horse kicked him in the face. He went to the hospital, where the cut required eight stitches, and then the spunky captain returned to the hunt and rode the horse that kicked him. Those members of the royal family aren't tougher than the rest of us, they just have their priorities . . .