King Of The Oscars

March 01, 2004|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN FILM CRITIC

LOS ANGELES - Overheard on the red carpet:

"She was always good at drawing and making pictures, and this was the result."

- Francis Ford Coppola, speaking of his daughter, best director nominee Sofia Coppola.

"That's Lady Kingsley."

- Best actor nominee Sir Ben Kingsley, after his wife was introduced as Mrs. Kingsley.

"The human car wash continues."

- Comedian Robin Williams, as celebrities were being herded inside the Kodak Theatre.

Everyone gets to be a winner

The stars weren't the only ones being pampered yesterday. To be sure, Oscar presenters and nominees received goodie bags worth tens of thousands of dollars, but the academy didn't overlook the fans in the bleachers - some of whom had arrived at 6:30 a.m.

Their reward? A gift bag including M&Ms, lip moisturizer and a disposable camera. "They really take care of their bleacher fans," said Megan Wolle, 22, who flew in from Minneapolis.

If that doesn't sound very extravagant, consider this: In previous years, not only were there no free gifts, but to get a seat, fans had to camp out - often overnight. "The Academy's [shows]are the best," says 49-year-old Malia Sobel, who came from San Diego. "The cream of the crop."

A dress made of diamonds

Even before the stars arrived, there was plenty of glitter: Entertainment Tonight's Maria Menounes paraded up and down the red carpet wearing a painted-on, cream-colored dress festooned with $2.5 million worth of diamonds. Photographers clicked away.

And no, she said, "I don't get to take it home."

The ceremony's first fashion misstep may have occurred when E! TV host Melissa Rivers tripped and broke her shoe (a Jimmy Choo, no less). Eventually, she handed it to a lucky fan.

"I am now officially shoeless," she announced.

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