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Julia's Bad Manners, and Other Oscar Moments

March 31, 2001

Julia Roberts' performance at the Oscars was a poor example of manners. Her crass comments to Bill Conti, a highly regarded musician and conductor, were totally tasteless and uncalled for. She did not even know his name, and her "Sir" did not sound respectful in the least.

Sorry, Julia, you're nowhere in my book!

MARC FOORMAN

Encino

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Roberts evidently did not know that the pit orchestra conductor was himself an Oscar winner (1983's "The Right Stuff") and composer of other memorable scores (does "Rocky" ring a bell?).

It would behoove Roberts and all who appear on awards shows to demonstrate a bit more respect to their colleagues. They just might learn that there are other talented people on the show too.

MARY MARGARET McGUIRE

Palmdale

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Limiting Academy Award winners to 45-second speeches is a good idea. Let's make that the rule for politicians too--it will restore people's faith in their officials.

CALVIN NAITO

Los Angeles

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Paul Brownfield's piece "The Big Night, as Julia Might Have Seen It" (March 26) was enormously disrespectful to Roberts. I enjoy "spoof" as much as the next person, but getting into someone's head with such sarcasm and negativity is really a personal violation.

I don't know Roberts from Adam--she seems like a nice person, who has been generous with her fans and the press. She should enjoy this time in her life without writers using her for journalistic fodder. If you wanted to get your impressions across, it may have been more creative, and less offensive, to write the diary entry from a "seat filler's" point of view.

J. KALICHMAN

Pacific Palisades

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How unfortunate that Kenneth Turan should perpetuate the myth that Richard LaGravenese's "uncredited rewrite made him the unsung hero of the 'Erin Brockovich' screenplay" ("Finally, a True Hollywood Thriller," March 26).

Although LaGravenese was indeed hired at the request of friend Julia Roberts, very little of his contribution made it into the shooting draft of the film. In fact, most of LaGravenese's work was ultimately excised in favor of rewrites by the script's original author, Oscar nominee Susannah Grant. All one has to do is read LaGravenese's drafts and read Grant's drafts, and it is clear that the latter penned the movie that captured America's hearts--a fact that a Writers Guild arbitration panel affirmed when they denied him screen credit.

How odd that Roberts' thanking of her friend for his attempts, and The Times' eagerness to print rumor as fact, has made Susannah Grant the unsung hero of her own screenplay.

SCOTT FIFER

Santa Monica

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Steve Martin's graceful handling of his emcee role brought a new elegance to the Academy Awards presentation.

Though he couldn't resist one barb, telling Tom Hanks that "between the two of us, we have had three Academy Award nominations," he was a good sport in accepting and fulfilling the task given him by a group that has continually overlooked and snubbed his extraordinary performances on the silver screen.

SUSAN MOSS

Los Angeles

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As Steve Martin would say, "Excuuuuuse me!" Is there anybody else out there who noticed the distinct lack of people of color at the Academy Awards? I'm not talking yellow or brown, but black. I saw two, Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman--presenters for "minor" categories--and I think I glimpsed maybe two other black people in the audience sitting next to white celebrities.

Hollywood has never, and will never, let blacks into the club, even now that black films are proven box-office winners. So a big shout out to Don Cornelius, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, anybody with power and money and influence in the entertainment industry: Now is the time for black filmmakers and actors to be given a forum honoring their achievements. And please, please, run the show opposite the Academy Awards and run them out of business.

By the way, as if it mattered . . . I'm white.

CHRISTOPHER PHILLIPS

Los Angeles

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I love watching the Academy Awards, but I always have to steel myself when it's time for the "in memoriam" segment. This year, as usual, the famous names generated huge cheers ("Walter Matthau! Yeah, he was great! Billy Barty! Woo-hoo!") while the more obscure people--silent movie stars, designers, screenwriters--were awarded a few claps or were met by a ghastly, puzzled silence.

This must be depressing for the friends and relatives of the deceased. Can't the director ask the audience to hold their applause until the end?

JEANETTE MORRISON

Torrance

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Memo to Jennifer Lopez: There are countless lovely boutiques in town that carry all sorts of stunning lingerie. They might even deliver.

GEORGE GALLUCCI

Los Angeles

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