Oscar Gets Final Polish Before Big Show

Associated Press Published: February 24, 2008
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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Will Meryl Streep's outfit match her talent? Will Diablo Cody actually refuse to wear those million-dollar, diamond-encrusted shoes? Will Katherine Heigl need to squint? The city was abuzz with all things Oscar as celebrities flocked from around the world for Sunday's Academy Awards ...

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FUNNYMEN UNITE: Oscar freshmen Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill were welcomed to the Kodak Theatre by sophomore Jon Stewart.

He jumped up and down on the side of the stage as the "Superbad" stars rehearsed for their Academy Awards debut on Saturday night. Stewart, who hosted the Oscars in 2006, rushed across the stage to greet them, then disappeared into the wings.

Wearing matching black horn-rimmed glasses, Rogen and Hill cracked jokes and scoped out their seats in the theater from the stage. Afterward, they met with Stewart in his dressing room.

"It's going to be so weird," Rogen told the show host. "It's so epic."

Stewart chatted with the pair before sending them on their way with a snack.

"Can I offer you a rugula?" he said.

Each actor took one of the cookie-like confections, then headed off.

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PROJECT OSCARS: Tim Gunn hopes Meryl Streep can make it work on the red carpet.

The "Project Runway" mentor suggested Streep wear something more flattering than last year when the actress, who was nominated for her part as a cutthroat fashion editor in "The Devil Wears Prada," donned a long black dress and was infamously draped in chunky coral and turquoise jewelry.

"I worry about Meryl," Gunn told the AP at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. "She's so smart. She's so talented. I felt so bad for her last year at this event. I had the highest expectations for her because of the role she was nominated for."

Gunn's most looking forward to seeing fashions on Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie, Angelina Jolie - and Helen Mirren, "the most stunning and ravishing woman on the red carpet" at last year's Oscars.

"If everyone follows current fashion trends, we should see a lot of jewel tones, black and ivory, and a little birdy told me we'll see lots of yellow on the red carpet," said Gunn. "But, boy, yellow is a difficult color. Very difficult."

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FOOD FIGHTS: Language and war may divide us, but catering troubles are universal.

Directors of the five Oscar-nominated films in the foreign-language category met Saturday, showing clips from their movies - little-seen so far in the U.S. - and talking over the joys and frustrations of international production.

Sergei Bodrov said his epic "Mongol," Kazakhstan's entry, was shot in Mongolia over the course of two years, with two separate cinematographers. The Russian crew of the film about a young Genghis Khan refused to eat the Chinese food they were served so workers drove 12 hours to pick up new meals, Bodrov said. His movie will be released by Picturehouse in the U.S. on June 6.

Nikita Mikhalkov, actor-director for Russia's entry, "12," recalled similar difficulties on the set of his Oscar-nominated 1992 film "Close to Eden."

"We had Chinese food and the Russians lost their minds," he said through a translator.

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SHOE FLAP: Fancy-footwear designer Stuart Weitzman chose Diablo Cody to wear his specially designed $1 million Retro Rose shoes on the red carpet, but the "Juno" screenwriter might leave the diamond-encrusted high heels off her feet Sunday. Cody's not completely thrilled, "now that I think about it."

"They're using me to publicize their stupid shoes and NOBODY ASKED ME," Cody wrote on her MySpace blog Friday. "I would never consent to a lame publicity stunt at a time when I already want to hide."

Weitzman wasn't at his Four Seasons Hotel shoe suite in Beverly Hills on Saturday afternoon while Taryn Cox, assistant to Scarlett Johansson (size 9), and "Today" show entertainment correspondent Jill Rappaport (size 10) browsed Weitzman's wares.

"I would expect she probably won't wear them. She made that very clear," Weitzman later told the AP about the shoe tussle during a telephone interview Saturday night. "If she decides not to wear the shoes, that's Diablo's decision, and I wouldn't try to convince her otherwise. It's Diablo's day, and she can do whatever she wants."

Weitzman says he made the cost of the metallic beige shoes - more than $2.5 million, including parts that were not used in the final pair - clear to Cody when he met with her. He blames Cody's behind-the-scenes team for not communicating the value of the shoes to the Oscar-nominated screenwriter.

"I'm just embarrassed that she wrote what she wrote," he said.

Even so, the designer says he wouldn't change his decision to give the ultra-expensive slippers to Cody.

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