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Van Halen made a “jump” into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Monday along with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, R.E.M., the Ronettes and Patti Smith.

A panel of 600 industry experts selected the five artists to be inducted at the annual ceremony, to be held March 12 in New York.

Van Halen was the 1980s hard-rock quartet led by guitarist Eddie Van Halen, outrageous lead vocalist David Lee Roth, and later rocker Sammy Hagar, that put out hits such as “Jump” and “Dreams.”

R.E.M. was the quintessential indie rock band until breaking through to mass success in the early 1990s with songs like “Losing My Religion.”

Grandmaster Flash led the most innovative act in early hip-hop, and the song “The Message” was like a letter from urban America.

Punk rock poet Patti Smith and Phil Spector favorites the Ronettes round out the 2007 class.

To be eligible, artists must have issued a first single or album at least 25 years before nomination.



CRITICS’ CHOICES

“Pan’s Labyrinth,” Guillermo del Toro’s phantasmagorical cocktail of fairy tale and history, was named the top film of 2006 by the National Society of Film Critics in New York Monday.

The exquisite movie, about a 10-year-old who retreats into fantasy as a coping mechanism after the Spanish Civil War, was one of many films about authority and resistance that won prizes at the 41st annual meeting.

Helen Mirren took actress honors for her majestic performance as Elizabeth II in “The Queen,” Stephen Frears’ captivating chronicle of the relations between the monarch and Prime Minister Tony Blair in the week after the death of Princess Diana. It was one of two awards voted to the film: Screenwriter Peter Morgan was cited for his witty and literate screenplay, which explores the inner lives of public figures.

Forest Whitaker’s performance as the lethally charismatic Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, in “The Last King of Scotland” (cowritten by Morgan) earned the prize for best actor.

For his sensitive account of a doomed airliner on 9-11, “United 93,” Paul Greengrass received director honors.

The documentary prize went to “An Inconvenient Truth,” another film that explicitly connects the dots between political decisions and their atmospheric fallout.

Meryl Streep won supporting actress honors for her roles both as the imperious fashionista in “The Devil Wears Prada” and the ditsy folkie in “A Prairie Home Companion.” The group named Mark Wahlberg best supporting actor for his turn as a tenacious Boston cop in “The Departed.”

The society’s 58 members include critics from major newspapers and magazines in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.



GIMME SHELTER

Britney Spears, who filed for divorce in November, has purchased a new home in a gated Beverly Hills community for $7.2 million.

The pop princess, 25, had been living in Malibu but wanted to move back to town, nearer clubs and restaurants.

The house she bought has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 7,400 square feet. It has an office, a media room, a maid’s quarters, a balcony and a lush yard.

Spears is expected to put her Malibu home with eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms in 9,000 square feet on the market. She moved there from the Hollywood Hills after she married backup dancer-rapper Kevin Federline in 2004. The Malibu house, which Spears purchased for close to $6.9 million, has a tennis court, pool, spa, gym and outdoor kitchen.



TOPS IN THE CARIBBEAN

Rihanna has won the top entertainer award for the second consecutive year at the Barbados Music Awards.

The 18-year-old R&B singer, who was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on the Caribbean island, won several other categories including best album for “A Girl Like Me” and best song for the Top 10 single “Unfaithful.”

“I am always delighted to win awards, but it’s especially great to win awards at home,” she said. “I’m actually working on my third album, so you will be seeing and hearing a lot from me.”

Rihanna, who moved to the United States from Barbados in 2005, edged out Mary J. Blige and Beyonce for the best female artist of the year award last month at the Billboard Music Awards.

In November, she received the best R&B award at the MTV Europe Music Awards. She won the same category at September’s Music of Black Origin awards in London.



GREAT EXPECTATION

Laurence Fishburne and his wife, Gina Torres, are expecting their first child, the actor’s spokesman, Alan Nierob, said Monday.

Nierob had no other details. Fishburne, who has two children from a previous marriage, and Torres were married in 2002.

Fishburne, 45, was nominated for an Oscar for 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” His screen credits also include “Apocalypse Now,” “The Matrix” and “Bobby,” directed by Emilio Estevez.

Torres, 38, stars in Fox’s “Standoff,” about hostage negotiators. She will costar opposite Chris Rock in the forthcoming movie “I Think I Love My Wife.”



(Staff writer Carrie Rickey and wire services contributed to this report.)



(c) 2007, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Visit Philadelphia Online, the Inquirer’s World Wide Web site, at http://www.philly.com/

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-01-08-07 1840EST

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