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Mt. Oscar

February 11, 2009|Elena Howe, Chris Lee, Rich Nordwind and Lisa Rosen

PEAKING

GAME FACE: Kate Winslet on her Oscar losing streak: "I have a really good losing face now. The strange Zen blank calm you have to have when they don't call your name."

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CLIMBING

RON HOWARD, NO. 1: At a DGA symposium, Ron Howard drew big laughs when moments after telling the crowd he no longer reads with actors because he's not good at it anymore, he realized, "I just told a roomful of directors that I can't act. I can still act! I can still do it!"

ACTORS ARE FUNNY: Josh Brolin, on advice he's received from father James Brolin: "Don't do it. Become a lawyer." Viola Davis, on how her life has changed after her Oscar nomination: "My family loves me a little bit more."

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AT BASE CAMP

PUCKER UP: Gus Van Sant says he didn't initially tell Sean Penn the "Milk" script called for kissing scenes. But at the first meeting with Penn, the actor himself insisted that he needed to kiss James Franco in the first scene to get it out of the way.

RON HOWARD, NO. 2: Two endings were shot for "Frost/Nixon." In the first, Nixon tries on shoes David Frost gives him; in the second, he casually leaves the shoes behind. Test audiences picked the first because it seemed "Nixon learned something and he's not a bad guy." Precisely what Howard was not going for. He chose the second version.

FUNNY ACTORS, PART 2: Richard Jenkins, on his 23-year-old son, an accountant for Oscar vote counters PricewaterhouseCoopers. Conflict of interest? "How do you think I got the nomination?"

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LOOKING FOR A SHERPA

R-RATED AWARDS: Is it too late to switch Oscar hosts? We think Christian Bale could keep things lively and help the ratings.

OUT OF CHARACTER: For Anne Hathaway, the scariest thing about finishing "Rachel Getting Married" was wondering if director Jonathan Demme "was going to like me -- the real me -- because I had only been Kym around him."

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT: All five best picture nominees also received nods for their directors and their screenplays. Something that has happened only twice before -- in 2005 and in 1964.

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