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December 10, 2008

Bill Condon won't spill Oscar host


Poor Bill Condon. The newly minted producer of next year's Oscar telecast was just trying to grab a Christmas cookie, socialize a little and take a look at the display of fabulous costumes from "Dreamgirls" during a holiday party last night at the Hollywood Museum when he was set upon by some reporter types.

Your resident grinchy Gold Rusher couldn't resist hitting him up with The Big Question: Who's hosting the Oscars? Ricky Gervais? Ellen? Whoopi? Someone new? Someone not new? Funny, Jon Stewart's name never came up.

But no amount of hair pulling could get Condon to spill. Can you believe that?

Actually, Condon, an Oscar winner himself (for the "Gods and Monsters" screenplay) couldn't have been more gracious and affable. Unflappable? Well, we swear we could see the sweat beads pop out on his forehead when he realized we'd all switched on the tape recorders built into our brains.

Curse you party sponsor and Envelope guru Tom O'Neil, who agreed for the group to something crazy called "off the record." Curses!

So there are a few tidbits we can't share, but for the most part, Condon kept any real news close to the vest. He said he's letting his love of the movies guide him (he and his "Dreamgirls" producer Larry Mark have taken on this gig) and they'll try to put the "live" back in the live telecast. And though they're both longtime fans of the Oscars, that doesn't mean they haven't noticed some of the program's failings.

Could that mean fewer montages in the '09 show? For all that's holy, we can hope.

Meanwhile, we'll be anxiously waiting for that host (hostess?) announcement. Do us all proud, Bill.



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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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