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Calendar Goes to the Oscars | The Arrivals

Yes, Even the Stars Are Struck by the Red-Carpet Treatment


Stars were born outside the 69th Academy Awards ceremony Monday, where the red carpet was filled with the wide-eyed first-timers from the independent films that dominated the Oscar nominations.

It was the first Oscar stroll for nominees Barbara Hershey of "The Portrait of a Lady," who likened the experience to a Marx Brothers movie, and "Fargo's" William H. Macy, who said his maiden turn at bat for best supporting actor didn't make him nervous. "It's more like horror," he said.

But no one whipped up quite the frenzy of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, who scored a ticket from a friend after being snubbed by Columbia Pictures, which had filmed his life story in "The People vs. Larry Flynt." When Flynt rolled in in his trademark gold wheelchair, dozens of protesters who apparently had spent many hours and possibly days staking out bleacher seats hollered and waved signs saying "Porn Is Pollution" and "Free Dumb of Speech."

Oscar ringmaster and Variety columnist Army Archerd chastised the crowd to pipe down, and the protesters, several wearing shirts that said "Pure Love Alliance," filed out peacefully. Milos Forman, nominated for best director for "Flynt," defended his controversial cohort against attempts to exclude him when other film subjects such as Muhammad Ali were able to attend. "I think it was petty to drag politics into this kind of event," Forman said.

Shortly before snagging the gold for best supporting actress for her role in "The English Patient," the regal-looking Juliette Binoche said her slow trip down the flash-popping aisle was not the madhouse she'd been told to expect. "It's human being after human being," she said of the chorus line of press.

But for veteran Randy Newman, whose score for "James and the Giant Peach" earned him his ninth nomination, it was just another day at the Oscars. "I feel I'll be getting beat up again," Newman said. "It's too weird to be blase. This is what the moon would be like."

Exhaustion was in the air even for Oscar favorites such as nominee Anthony Minghella, director of the much-nominated "The English Patient," who was looking forward to the morning after. "We're planning a vacation tomorrow. Somewhere as far away as I can find. This is the belated honeymoon."

As for Barbra Streisand, rooting on Lauren Bacall's best supporting actress nod for her performance in Streisand's "The Mirror Has Two Faces," the radiance she exuded was spelled with three letters--"him," she said, gazing into the eyes of her escort, James Brolin.

It wasn't just new faces who wished their colleagues well. No one beamed with pleasure more than the resurrected Hollywood grande dame Debbie Reynolds, who said, "I want everyone to win. We should have a hundred Oscars."

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