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A trace of Trace...

Trace Adkins summed up his role in the new film "The Lincoln Lawyer" in his own succinct way when he gathered friends and media for a screening of it recently.

"I'm in it at the beginning and the end, and there's a buncha [junk] in the middle," a smiling Adkins said of the movie, which opened Friday.

He's on screen about 3 minutes, but it's another solid step in the country singer's second career, with a handful of parts slated for later this year.

While short, Adkins' scenes are humorous, memorable and key character development moments for star Matthew McConaughey's character, a defense attorney who operates his practice out of a Lincoln. Adkins plays a biker who has engaged McConaughey to represent a member of his gang.

McConaughey, a country music fan, invited him to try out for the role, but it wasn't given to him.

"I had to go read for it," Adkins said last week. "And I really appreciate the fact that the director Brad Furman told me, 'I didn't know who you were. You got the part because you won the part.' I appreciated that. But it kind of hurt my feelings at the same time. I thought I was a bigger deal than that. What do you mean you don't know who I am?' "


Crystal on Oscars...

Billy Crystal says he'd consider a return as Oscar host -- if some changes are made to the show.

The eight-time Academy Awards host said he was moved by his warm reception at last month's ceremony and that "it might be fun" to host the show again.

"I think the show needs to change," he said. "There's too many awards, and it has to sort of freshen itself up, and if I can be a part of that, that would be great."

The 63-year-old entertainer made the comments last week in an interview with the Associated Press as he prepared to introduce longtime friend Muhammad Ali at Saturday's Celebrity Fight Night in Phoenix, an annual fundraising event to support the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and research toward a cure.

Reba McEntire emceed the 17th annual Celebrity Fight Night, which featured appearances by Ali and Halle Berry and performances by Matchbox Twenty, Kelly Clarkson and Bret Michaels, among others.

Crystal and Ali have been close personal friends since 1974, when they met at one of the comedian's first televised gigs.

The comedian opened with his impression of sports reporter Howard Cosell, then began imitating Ali.

"He went berserk. He couldn't stop laughing," Crystal recalled.


For the kids...

Colombian singer Shakira and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff are pledging to improve the welfare of children in Brazil.

Shakira met with Rousseff for about 20 minutes Thursday in front of reporters in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia prior to a scheduled concert.

The two discussed the work of Shakira's Alas Foundation, which promotes early-childhood development in Latin America.

The singer gave Rousseff a guitar after the meeting. Before coming to Brazil, Shakira inaugurated 20 childhood development centers in Argentina. She has said she has plans to do similar work in Panama and Mexico.


Asian Film honor...

Raymond Chow, the veteran Hong Kong producer who introduced Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan to an international audience, will be honored for lifetime achievement at the fifth Asian Film Awards ceremony today.

Organizers of the Hong Kong event said Friday that the 83-year-old filmmaker was "instrumental in making Asian cinema the global cinematic and box office force it is today."

Chow worked at the famed Shaw Brothers studios before leaving to found Golden Harvest in 1970. The breakaway company jump-started Lee's career with hits like "Fist of Fury" and "Enter the Dragon." In 1979, it signed Chan, casting him in his first English-language productions, including the star-studded 1981 action comedy "The Cannonball Run."

Golden Harvest also made the "Once Upon a Time in China" series starring Jet Li.

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