News Nuggets: Joan Collins, Kristin Scott Thomas made dames; John Hurt becomes a knight

The annual New Year Honours list in the United Kingdom includes actresses Joan Collins and Kristin Scott Thomas becoming dames and actor John Hurt becoming a knight. Collins is known for her years on the American drama “Dynasty.” Scott Thomas is a past Oscar nominee for “The English Patient.” Hurt is a previous Oscar nominee for “The Elephant Man.” A total of 1,164 people are featured as honorees this year, many of them not famous but recognized for charitable and community work. Other celebrities being honored include James Corden (OBE), Mary Quant (Damehood), Esther Rantzen (Damehood), Sheridan Smith (OBE), Meera Syal (CBE), and Emily Watson (OBE). BBC

Ileane Rudolph previews the fifth season of “Downton Abbey,” which premieres on PBS this Sunday. She says that Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) might take a lover or at least take control this season. She has also “regained the regal air and acerbic wit inherited from her formidable grandmother” Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith). Her plans this year often conflict with her father Robert (Hugh Bonneville). TV Guide

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Two-time Oscar-winning actress Luise Rainer dies at age 104 in London. She was the first actor to win consecutive Academy Awards, prevailing for “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936) and “The Good Earth” (1937). High expectations by those awards, the death of producer Irving Thalberg, and bad advice from her husband led to a major career decline. Variety

Craig Wayne Boyd, the seventh season champ of “The Voice,” has the new top song on the country charts. His single “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face” beats out Tim McGraw‘s “Shotgun Rider” and Carrie Underwood‘s “Something in the Water” this week. Boyd was coached by Blake Shelton, who originally planned to sing the song himself. The Wrap

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Who are the MVPs of television from 2014? A new photo gallery showcases Matt Bomer, Martin Freeman, Tony Goldwyn, Allison Janney, Keegan-Michael Key, Lisa Kudrow, Ryan Murphy, Jim Parsons, Amy Poehler, Shonda Rhimes, Jeffrey Tambor, and more. TV Line

Actress and voiceover artist Christine Cavanaugh dies at age 51. She was best known as the title character in the Oscar-nominated film “Babe” (1995) and as Chuckie in the animated series “Rugrats” (1991-2003). Other well-known roles were Gosalyn Duck in “Darkwing Duck” and Dexter on “Dexter’s Laboratory.” She retired from voice acting in 2001 and was replaced by Nancy Cartwright on “Rugrats.” USA Today

Nearly four months after the death of host Joan Rivers, the E! Network debuts a promo for “Fashion Police” featuring new host Kathy Griffin. Co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne return to the show along with newcomer Brad Goreski. The first episode will air on January 12, the day after the Golden Globe Awards. Deadline

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