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September 16, 2008

Tippi Hedren, 'The Birds' catch kudos


A chance to watch "The Birds" in a dimly-lit historic and gilded downtown L.A. landmark, see the still luminous Tippi Hedren in person, and eat some chicken wing appetizers dubbed Tippi's Revenge?

We're so there.

The occasion? "The Birds," which was Oscar nominated for best visual effects, just had its 45th birthday. Any excuse for a celebration, right? And the influential Hitchcock horror flick won something called the Jules Verne Legendaire Award, which was handed to Hedren at the Edison on Sunday night.

The packed event had a dual purpose -- Hedren also was recognized for her tireless work with wild animals at her Shambala sanctuary in north Los Angeles County. Gorgeous, tiny and poised, Hedren talked about "The Birds" as her springboard to being "the next Grace Kelly," which didn't exactly happen, and her quest to save mistreated, elderly and sick animals from certain doom.

Awards trivia: Hedren won a Golden Globe for "best promising newcomer" for "The Birds," but she had to share the spotlight with Ursula Andress for "Dr. No." Honey Ryder in that white bikini? There's no shame in that tie.

Along with a venue that was so dark you had to squint, there was another dim bulb in attendance. New "At the Movies" host Ben (I'm not Ebert or Roeper) Mankiewicz didn't so much fawn as drool over Hedren during a pre-screening Q&A.

She was far too gracious to tell him what she probably says to some of her rowdy boarders: Down boy!

For info on the Jules Verne film festival that's continuing at the Edison, go here. Darned if we can get our arms around all the activities/causes of this group, but proceeds from the screenings go to children's charities in L.A. and there's obviously some good taste mixed in with the philanthropy. Next movie: "2001: A Space Odyssey."


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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