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THE OSCARS

One Well-Prepared Host

March 25, 2001|BRUCE VILANCH

Hey, it's not easy keeping millions of people awake. That's why Steve Martin plans to use everything he's got.

Hair: Already white so it can't turn that way after seeing what Geena Davis is wearing.

Eyebrows: To lift in amazement when names of certain winners are announced.

Ears: Always open to hear the producer's plea to "stretch" in case the show is running short, or to hear a meteorite hitting the building, which is equally likely.

Noncommittal smile: To give to every winner who he knows would not make a picture with him if he were the last 6-foot-tall actor on the face of the Earth.

Shoulder: For Julia Roberts to cry on should the unthinkable happen. Come to think of it, should Jennifer Lopez have a problem, she can come to the host too. Or Juliette Binoche. Or Bjork.

Tuxedo: Covering comfy jammies to be worn during long moments offstage between appearances and during Jack Valenti speech.

Wristwatch: To tell how soon breakfast will be served on the East Coast.

Elbows: For getting through the crowd of chorus boys dressed as tigers, crouching in the wings waiting to spring onstage for their dance number.

Stomach: For some of the acceptance speeches, especially the long ones from the makers of the short films.

Strong bladder: To get through the night without sprinting to the nearest bathroom, which is in the USC student union three blocks from the Shrine.

Toes: To tap during Bjork's number.

*

Grooming by Eric Barnard for Cloutier; styling by Joanna Dendel, tuxedo by Giorgio Armani, Beverly Hills.

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