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Teen singer's SUV bursts into flames

Aaron Carter managed to escape serious injury Thursday when the teen pop singer's luxury sport utility vehicle erupted into flames in a bizarre accident, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Carter, 17, was driving his 2004 Cadillac Escalade north to Orlando about 12:30 a.m. when a mattress came loose from the cargo bed of a delivery truck in front of him, said his spokesman, Brad Zeifman.

Carter drove over the mattress, which got stuck under the sport utility vehicle and caught fire, probably from the heat of the exhaust system.

The singer pulled over and escaped from the vehicle, then watched it explode in flames, Zeifman said. A friend traveling with him also escaped.

Carter and his friend were treated at the scene.

"Everything happened in such a whirlwind," Carter said in a statement released to the Associated Press. "It was like the mattress flew out of nowhere."

Carter, the younger brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, has released several albums. State troopers said the delivery truck never stopped.

Scorsese, Eastwood get Directors Guild nods

LOS ANGELES _ Martin Scorsese, shut out five times previously for the top prize from his filmmaking peers, has earned another shot at the Directors Guild of America Awards.

Scorsese earned a nomination Thursday for the guild's best-director honor for his sprawling epic The Aviator, a film biography starring Leonardo DiCaprio as aviation pioneer and Hollywood rebel Howard Hughes.

Also nominated was Clint Eastwood for his boxing drama Million Dollar Baby; Marc Forster for Finding Neverland, a whimsical look at the inspirations behind J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan; Taylor Hackford for the Ray Charles film biography Ray; and Alexander Payne for the quirky road-trip flick Sideways.

The winner will be announced at the guild's 57th annual dinner Jan. 29, one of Hollywood's warmups for the Academy Awards on Feb. 27.

The guild honors have a good track record at predicting who will go home with the best-director Academy Award. Only six times since 1949 has the guild recipient failed to go on to win the Oscar.

Doctors pin down

what's ailing Garner

Elektra star Jennifer Garner was reported ill on Monday, felled by a nasty virus, but her physical woes are the result of a different problem.

The 32-year-old action star is instead suffering from nerve damage caused by an accident performing a stunt on the set of ABC's hit drama Alias.

Doctors finally identified the cause of her painful injury late Wednesday, after Garner was laid up for a week. The actor has canceled most of her scheduled appearances to promote her latest film, including the Elektra press junket and a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live.

Despite missing out on SNL, Garner will attend Saturday's Las Vegas premiere of Elektra at the Palms Casino and Hotel.

Elektra opens nationwide Jan. 14.

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