Hugh Jackman's Jokes & Other Oscar Secrets

  • Hugh Jackman called Ricky Gervais to "brainstorm jokes" for the Oscars. Will Jackman bring the funny as well as the song and dance? [EW]
  • This column says that since the parties and swag suites are super scaled back or canceled, this year's Oscars may actually be — gasp — about the awards. [MSNBC Scoop]
  • Ooh — renderings of the Oscars stage! There's a bandstand and glittery lights and chandeliers. The architect set out to "craft an immersive environment evocative of an intimate club." [AP]
  • Ha! The Academy would like to get rid of the red carpet so that people will actually watch the award ceremony. We want to see the purty dresses, mmkay? [NY Post]
  • Heath Ledger's family has arrived in Los Angeles to accept the Oscar for Heath, should he win. [NY Post]
  • Twilight's Robert Pattinson is presenting at the Oscars. No real explanation why. [E!]
  • Police are investigating who leaked the photograph of Rihanna's battered face: "The Los Angeles Police Department takes seriously its duty to maintain the confidentiality of victims of domestic violence," the LAPD said in a statement Thursday. The department has yet to publicly identify Rihanna as the alleged victim in Brown's case. The picture was taken when cops arrived on the scene in Hancock Park, but apparently there were more pictures taken at the hospital, where, a source says, "the swelling is even worse." [E!, CNN]
  • Anthony Geisler, president of LA Boxing, has created a Facebook group called "I Want To Fight Chris Brown." [Fox News]
  • Heidi Klum tried pole dancing, but just for Germany's Next Top Model. Quoth Heidi: "It was hard!" [Gatecrasher]
  • If you want Gerard Butler to be amused by you, get your chest tattooed with scenes and characters from 300. [Page Six]
  • Did Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia break up over a pregnancy scare? [Chicago Sun Times, Yahoo News via E!]
  • Some of Madonna's most famous ensembles are on display in London starting tomorrow: See the "Open Your Heart" bustier, the "Like A Virgin" wedding gown and the baseball uniform she wore in A League Of Their Own. Plus! You can bid on the pink strapless number from the "Material Girl" video. [People StyleWatch]
  • Kate Winslet has sisters named Beth and Anna. They are actresses as well, though as this paper so helpfully points out, they "toil in obscurity." Beth looks the most like Kate, no? [Daily Mail]
  • Whoa: Linda Hamilton might play Sarah Connor again — in Terminator Salvation! Oh wait, just a voiceover? [ONTD]
  • Field trip alert: Hollis Famous Burgers in Hollis, Queens, New York, offers mini-burgers for $1 and a viewing of the Hollis Hip Hop Museum. DMC from Run-DMC donated memorabilia. [IHT]
  • Kanye West's new ladyfriend is a model named Amber Rose. Why yes, she was nude in Smooth magazine, why do you ask? [Gatecrasher]
  • Do what you must to prepare: Frances Bean Cobain is moving to the UK with mom Courtney Love. Will she join London's "brat pack" and party with Pixie Geldof? [Daily Mail]
  • Freida Pinto's engagement photos have hit the web. She allegedly broke up with her fiancé when Slumdog Millionaire turned into a success. Is it so terrible for her to end a relationship because her life changed? [ONTD]
  • Slumdog's Freida Pinto and Dev Patel are dating in real life, confirms costar Anil Kapoor: "I think this is the beginning of something exciting. They definitely make a great pair and look very good together." [Daily Mail, Mirror, Independent]
  • Speaking of Slumdog, all nine actors who play the three main characters in three stages of their lives will attend the Oscars. Kids on the red carpet! Rubina Ali, 9, says: "I'm not scared. I'm going to go and take a lot of pictures and show them to people over here [in India]." [AP]
  • "Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors, and I got an original of The Cannery, signed, from my boyfriend," Mischa Barton "trilled" to New York magazine. The mag points out: "Presumably, she was referring to Steinbeck's classic, Cannery Row." [NY Mag]
  • The actor who played a steroid dealer in The Wrestler was busted for selling steroids. [AP]
  • Usher's wife was spotted at the airport, leaving Brazil, so she must be doing better after complications from lipo. [Concrete Loop]
  • Jenna Elfman has been cast in the lead of the CBS comedy show Accidentally On Purpose. She'll play a movie cirtic who gets pregnant after a one-night stand and decides to raise the child with its much-younger father. Are there any plots for women which don't involve the uterus? [Variety]
  • Wait! Here's one: Cybill Shepherd will star in a flick called Mrs. Washington Goes To Smith, in which a woman in her 40s returns to Smith College to finish her degree. Oh, but: It's on the Hallmark Channel? [Variety]
  • A couple accused of kidnapping and killing a young girl for ransom got the idea for the crime from the Clint Eastwood movie Dirty Harry. [Daily Mail]
  • Blind item! Which TV personality is "too white" for a Spanish-based program? He tested well, but execs were worried because he doesn't really speak the language. [Gatecrasher]
  • "I live in Hollywood, I work for E! Have I ever lied on the red carpet - erm, yes, I have! Sometimes I find myself saying: 'That looks...' and sometimes 'great' comes out before I can process I've said it, or 'fantastic.' And then I watch it back - and it does look different on television - and think that was not a 'great', that was a 'less than great'." —Ryan Seacrest. [The Star]
  • "I wanted to be a movie star. I had a difficult set of circumstances to deal with, particularly for a movie career. Being gay, really. It just doesn't work. As actors we don't play gay, straight... we play human beings." — Rupert Everett, who is convinced his sexuality killed his career. [Daily Express]
  • "People we worked with in the slums said, 'You're not going to show us as being poor, are you? Because that's what Westerners always do.' I tried to make the film with a kind of energy that reflects what the place is like, that it has a vitality despite its poverty" — Danny Boyle, on Slumdog Millionaire. [Time]
  • "There is a fantastic scene in Trainspotting where a character disappears down the toilet. And when we came to do this scene [in Slumdog], I remember thinking, We can't do that—it's exactly the same as Trainspotting! But it's such an extraordinary scene because all his character is right in that moment. Obviously, it's a big audience favorite." — Danny Boyle, on his penchant for graphic toilet scenes. [Time]
  • "I come from a long line of real cart horses. Very stoic, insides-made-of-iron people. So I can take any shit you can fling at me. I can cope with any workload. I can deal with lack of sleep. I can multitask like you've no idea. But two weeks ago, I actually had a panic attack. My first one. I didn't know what it was! It was a little like when your water [breaks], and you think, Did I just pee a bit, or is this it? I called my sister and said, 'I can't breathe, and I feel like I've got a brick on my chest and I'm seeing funny, and it sounds like everyone's talking to me in Hebrew.' She said, 'Yeah, that's a panic attack.'" — Kate Winslet, 10 days before the Oscars. [Time]
  • "It is not like your taste suddenly changes because you're a mother, but I would love to do a movie that would impress my kids. Most of all I would love to do a voice in an animated movie, but people don't come to me for that. They don't think of me, and break into fits of giggles." — Naomi Watts. [Independent]
  • "There's no standup comic hosting it. Hugh [Jackman] is going to come out and say a few things, but he's not going to do a 10-minute monologue... He's going to be doing a lot of musical stuff, so that will have a different feel to it. The show's got a narrative line this year, so all the awards are grouped around that. The sequence in which they're given is dictated by this narrative. There are different people doing groups of awards instead of a different set for each one, so all that stuff kind of makes it different. But, you know, it's still the Academy Awards, and there are 24 of them to give out." — Bruce Vilanch, on his 20th gig writing for the Oscars. [AP]
  • "You can't expect to win something like this. [The Academy] could just as easily turn left, as it could go right. You can't take anything for granted." — Kim Ledger, Heath's dad, who says if if his son does win, Kim "may say a few words." [Mirror]
  • "I wouldn't raise [Matilda] [in LA]. For all the obvious reasons – being the daughter of… Being an actor's daughter. It's a town that's about one thing and I want her to have options." — Michelle Williams. [Telegraph]