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November 09, 1999

The exuberance of YoungStar

Chris Gennusa
The Hollywood Reporter

Jason Schwartzman ("Rushmore"), Haley Joel Osment ("The Sixth Sense"), Leelee Sobieski (TV's "Joan of Arc") and pop music sensation Britney Spears were among the winners at the fourth annual YoungStar Awards.

Soap star Jonathan Jackson received his fourth consecutive YoungStar honor, and two young thesps from "The Sopranos" went home singing high notes after the Sunday night event at Universal Studios Hollywood's Panasonic Theater.

Produced by The Hollywood Reporter and Dick Clark Prods., the 1999 YoungStar Awards honor the best film, TV and music performances by 6-to-18-year-olds. More than 500 people attended the two-hour show hosted by former childhood stars Donny Osmond and Melissa Joan Hart.

Robert J. Dowling, editor-in-chief and publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, told the throng: "It's great to be young (in Hollywood); everybody wants a piece of you." There are 60 million youngsters living in America, he observed. "A quarter of these kids have their own credit card," he pointed out, "and it is the largest moviegoing group."

For portraying high school slacker Max Fischer in "Rushmore," Schwartzman was given the trophy for best young actor in a comedy feature film. Rachael Leigh Cook earned the best young actress in a comedy feature film honor for her work opposite Freddie Prinze Jr. in the teen laugher "She's All That."

"Simon Birch's" Joseph Mazzello and "Stepmom's" Jena Malone took home the top acting awards in the dramatic feature film categories.

Osment's performance in "The Sixth Sense" has put the 11-year-old on every star map in town. But he won not for his role in the mega-grossing film but for his turn as Bobby in the CBS MOW "Cab to Canada." This is Osment's second YoungStar award for best actor in a miniseries or made-for-TV movie. In 1997, he won for his work in the telepic "Last Stand at Saber River."

Sobieski's portrayal of Joan d'Arc in the CBS' miniseries allowed her to walk away with the award for best actress in a miniseries or made-for-TV movie. Sobieski also was nominated for "Never Been Kissed" but lost out to Cook in the comedy feature category.

Spears, who was unable to attend the event, was named the top young recording artist for the record " Baby One More Time." Spears dethroned country star LeAnn Rimes, who was awarded a YoungStar trophy the previous two years. Rimes was not nominated this year.

"General Hospital's" Jackson won again for playing "Lucky" on the long-running soap. His counterpart on the show, Amber Tamblyn, was named best young actress in a daytime TV drama.

While "The Sopranos" suffered some disappointment at the Emmys, the mob drama fared exceptionally well at the YoungStars. Robert Iler (Anthony Soprano Jr.) and Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow Soprano) were named the best young actor and actress in a drama TV series.

Sitcom players Zachery Ty Bryan ("Home Improvement") and Mila Kunis ("That '70s Show") were named best young actor and actress in a comedy TV series.

Brandon Baker from "One World" won for best young actor in a Saturday morning TV program, and Lindsey McKeon of "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" was best actress in the weekend category.

Myles Jeffrey received the award for best voice-over performance for his work as Easy in "Babe II: Pig in the City." Will Rothhaar, who played in "Cryptogram" at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, and Megan Drew, who had a role in "Jane Eyre" at the La Jolla (Calif.) Playhouse, were named 1999 YoungStar Thespians.

This year's YoungStar nominees were selected by members of the Casting Society of America. About 3,500 THR subscribers _ representing a cross-section of the industry _ voted in this year's competition.

YoungStar Awards ceremony sponsors included AENTV, American Express Tax and Business Services, Celebrity Sightings, KIIS-FM and Universal Studios Hollywood. The evening benefited AIDS Project Los Angeles' Skills for Teen AIDS Risk Reduction (STARR) Program.

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