Arch rivals Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow are set to start 2005 with a battle for the box office - and the Best Actress OSCAR.

Both actresses have films produced by Miramax coming out next year (05), which Harvey Weinstein intends to release at the same time, reports American website PAGESIX.COM.

J.LO has been a shock name on many Oscar-prediction websites for Best Actress as she stars opposite Robert Redford in AN UNFINISHED LIFE.

Pregnant ACADEMY AWARD-winner Paltrow has also been named on the sites for her yet-to-be-seen performance in PROOF.

This week (begs10MAY04) Miramax announced it was releasing Lopez's movie during the same week as Paltrow's Proof, over Christmas (24/25DEC04).

An industry insiders says, "Both movies are having a limited release in December and opening wide in January.

"Whoever does better at the box office and with critics will get the full force of Miramax's Oscar campaign machine behind them."

And sources claim Paltrow has fallen from favour as Miramax's golden girl and Lopez will be receiving preferential treatment.

The source says, "Gwyneth was originally slated to be on the cover of January VOGUE, which would appear on stands in December to coincide with the release of Proof.

"But then Miramax wanted to capitalize on Jennifer Lopez's popularity with moviegoers, so they gave her the January Vogue cover, and Gwyneth doesn't have one at all yet. It is a slap in the face to Gwyneth. She did the play Proof in London for six months in order to do the movie. And she has always been Harvey's in-house go-to girl."

14/05/2004 17:15