Lights, cameras and action abound as Hollywood prepares for Oscar night

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Workers brought an Oscar statue to the red carpet outside the Kodak Theatre on Saturday. The 80th Academy Awards will be presented today. (JEFF CHRISTENSEN ~ Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES -- Jewels and parties. Stars and stand-ins. Rehearsals and news conferences. So much swag even Hollywood canines could rack up free goodies. The city is abuzz with all things Oscar as celebrities flock from all over the world for today's Academy Awards.

Star-studded rehearsal

The eve of the Academy Awards is rehearsal day for celebrity presenters. One by one, Oscar winners and other celebs come to the Kodak to walk on stage and practice their lines.

An unassuming Alan Arkin started Saturday's star parade. Wearing jeans and a black fleece jacket, he skipped to the microphone at center stage. He read from the teleprompter, then said, "And the Oscar goes to me!"

Harrison Ford was next. Carrying a coffee cup, he walked to the edge of the stage to see where he'd be sitting Sunday. A placard with his name and photo sat next to one bearing Calista Flockhart's.

"Aw, she's sitting right next to me," Ford said with mock annoyance about sitting beside his longtime girlfriend.

"We can fix that," stage manager Dency Nelson joked back.

A few academy officials brought their children and grandchildren to the theater Saturday, and just before 11 a.m., it became clear why: Miley Cyrus was coming in to rehearse. The gregarious teen star greeted her young fans with a megawatt grin.

Girl power

Don't expect to see Allison Janney, who plays the dog-obsessed stepmother in Best Picture nominee "Juno," at today's ceremony.

During a Friday night cocktail party hosted by Women in Film and Perrier-Jouet at a Bel Air mansion, the "West Wing" actress revealed she plans to watch the show at a viewing party and celebrate any "Juno" wins at a Fox Searchlight afterparty.

"I'd rather not go unless I'm nominated," she said.

"I've been to enough award shows to know it's not a lot of fun. It's actually stressful. I'd rather be somewhere where I can just chill and not worry."

However, fellow Women in Film cocktail partygoers Nancy Oliver and Tamara Jenkins definitely intend to endure the festivities at the Kodak Theatre. That's because the two female screenwriters are nominated, respectively, for their "Lars and the Real Girl" and "The Savages" scripts.

"I think it'll be like a big theme park ride," said Oliver, who's never attended the Oscars.

This year's 43 female Oscar nominees were toasted at the exclusive event. Potential winners mingling at the soiree were easy to spot in the party's cluster of black cocktail dresses and suits: all nominees donned white corsages. Dana Delaney, Judith Light and Sharon Lawrence were among some of the famous faces in the crowd.

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