GOOD MORNING: Although he had already received several other Guild nominations and crix’ kudos, Steven Spielberg was too nervous to watch the 5:30 ayem unveiling yesterday of the Oscar nominations — even though he could not sleep and was wide awake. However, wife Kate (Capshaw) went into an adjoining room and turned on the TV. She came back into their bedroom with both arms upright. Steven didn’t know if she was just stretching to wake up or –. He was, natch, thrilled beyond belief … Sidney Sheinberg didn’t want to take a chance of awakening Spielberg — but Steve called the studio chief (who was responsible for getting the project made) to tell his joy. But, Sheinberg said, “I’m a little depressed — how do we do this again?” Spielberg answered: “Keep reading the New York Times Book Review section.” On a philosophical note about “Schindler’s List,” Sheinberg hopes this movie makes people realize, “We’re seeing a holocaust in Bosnia — although it’s not our (the movies’) job, we hope it helps people realize something must be done. The lesson learned in Vietnam shouldn’t keep us from acting when we should, like in Bosnia”… When Tom Pollock called Spielberg to offer congrats, the modest moviemaker said, “Let’s talk about the movies we’re making now.” Pollock, who had made the deal with Jim Sheridan and his Hell’s Kitchen Prods. for “In the Name of the Father,” spoke with the happy Sheridan in Ireland, where the movie’s the No. 2 pic of all time there — following “Jurassic Park.” Among the pix being developed by Sheridan for U is “The Yellow Handkerchief ,” to be his first made in the U.S. … When Acad president Arthur Hiller called Christine Lahti to sub for the N.Y. snowbound Marisa Tomei to make the early-ayem announcements with him, Lahti generously accepted, “Of course. I’m up that early anyway — I have twins!”… Gil Cates didn’t know Lahti’d been set until he arrived in the early ayem darkness as well. Cates is happy with the song nominees — gives the show a good shot at an opening number …”Who sez TV and movies can’t mix?” said Aaron Spelling. Spelling Film Intl. got three nominations for its “Shadowlands” and “Short Cuts”– for which they get all TV and foreign rights. Aaron’s made 11 theatrical features and his company is readying another — on their own. The banner’s biggest moneymaker was “Mr. Mom,” which cost $ 6 million and made $ 68 million. But, he admits, “movies are not as much fun as TV. They take two years to make one, meanwhile we’d shoot 150 (TV) episodes”… A very happy Oscar nominee, Laurence Fishburne, got on the phone to his “What’s Love Got to Do With It” co-star/co-nominee Angela Bassett — both were almost speechless. But Larry won’t be at a loss for words as he now starts rehearsals with John Singleton on “Higher Learning,” playing a professor of political science … Word on Oscar nominations was heard early at the White House, where press secretary Dee Dee Myers phoned to congrat screenwriter Gary Ross, who penned the White House laffer “Dave.” And Clinton’s campaign strategist James Carville also phoned Ross — who had written campaign bon mots while also working on the movie script!
BILLY FRIEDKIN IS OK after undergoing angioplasty Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai following successful N.Y. and Boston screenings of his “Blue Chips.” And he’ll be back in his Par office Friday readying the pic’s Feb. 18 openings … The American Music Awards were not only embarrassed by their poor ratings but by the interminable acceptance speeches that forced ABC to order the producers to cut short the awards — including the elimination of a prepared tribute segment to Frank Sinatra. It had been publicized in advance, and Sinatra, his friends and fans were shocked when it didn’t air. You can be sure Sinatra’s Living Legend tribute will air on the Grammys … Dominick Dunne makes some startling revelations about himself — as an abused child — in his March Vanity Fair conclusion (?) of coverage of the Menendez trials. “My brothers will be up in arms,” he admits. Dunne now burrows into his Connecticut home to write the book for Crown. He’s unperturbed about the retrial’s effects.
AFTER-SHOCKING NEWS from the quake’s aftershocks: Tony Danza, who is still recuping from his near fatal ski accident, had to move out of his condemned Valley house, which will be torn down this week. Temporarily at the (muddy) beach, Danza’ll rent a place in Encino … And Doug Cramer had to move out of his Bel Air home because “not a single room remains undamaged.” Fortunately only one painting and a few sculptures in his vast collection were damaged. He’s busy readying his 11th Danielle Steel vidversion, “Perfect Strangers” for NBC — and eight more are in development.