GOOD MORNING: Although Columbia Pictures is “applauded” for its “courage” in today’s Daily Variety ad bought by Larry Flynt’s children, they — and he — are madder’n’ hell at Col, today. Howcum? There’s no ticket for Larry to attend the Oscars in which “The People vs. Larry Flynt” has two nominations — for Woody Harrelson and director Milos Forman. Col confirmed there was no ticket left for Larry, saying “We, as every studio, only have a limited number of tickets for important executives and the talent involved with the nominated pictures.” Flynt says he even called John Calley with no luck. Flynt claims, “Anyone who’s been the subject of any (nominated) picture in the past has always been invited. Can you think of anyone (alive) who was portrayed in a movie who wasn’t invited to the Awards?” He says he was originally promised tickets should the movie get nominations. Meanwhile, the Oscar show preparations go on with the crew busily transforming the Shrine into a shrine to Hollywood. The spectacular set by Roy Christopher is the biggest ever on that stage, I’m told. And Emmy-winning TV director Louis J. Horvitz, on his first Oscar show, says he is going all out to make the Shrine look truly “exotic” and to bring the show “up close and personal” to those at home who will think “they are but three feet away from everything and everyone onstage.” He is using 16 cameras to cover every angle. And contrary to doomsayers who say the general, TViewing public is unfamiliar with most of the nominees, Horvitz says the hefty Oscar press push on “The English Patient,” “Shine,” “Sling Blade,” “Fargo,” “Secrets & Lies” and their principals has made ‘em well-known. (Of course everybody’s familiar with “Jerry Maguire” and Tom Cruise) … As first reported here, Natalie Cole sings the nominated “I Finally Found Someone” originally chirped by Barbra Streisand in “The Mirror Has Two Faces” — and who will duet in place of Bryan Adams? Arturo Sandoval — on trumpet The glamour for the evening gets an extra dazzle — from Harry Winston: James Woods’ date, his mom, Martha Dixon, will wear $2 million in sapphires and diamonds from Winston while nominees Cuba Gooding Jr. and Armin Mueller-Stahl were also in at Winston’s on Rodeo Drive to choose trinket$ for their ladies to wear. Natalie Cole, Juliette Binoche and Jodie Foster will also have added security around ‘em as they sport sparklers from Winston coffers.AND TALKING ABOUT JEWELRY: Brian Grazer will put the wedding ring on fiancee Gigi Levangie Sept. 20 at the home wedding ceremony. She, of course, was among those Thursday applauding Grazer as he received his star on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s next to Eddie Murphy’s star. Murphy who starred for Grazer in “The Nutty Professor” will definitely sequel with him. Ron Howard and Mel Gibson were both comedic and emotional in their remarks, with Howard calling Grazer, the producer whose pix have grossed $2 billion, his “best friend.” And when Mel Gibson (“Ransom”) said he wanted to do another pic with Grazer, Brian told me, “I hope so some day — boy am I trying!” Grazer credited the “new management” at Universal with putting out his “Liar Liar” today on nearly 3,000 screens. “I had to fight to get 2,200 for ‘Apollo 13,’ ” he said. He next starts “Simple Simon” at U with Bruce Willis starring, Harold Becker directing the undercover FBI agent pic in Chi. … And talking of stars on the Boulevard, Rod Steiger, Oscar winner for “In the Heat of the Night” in 1967, gets his star April 10. The ever-busy Steiger recently wound “Animals,” “Truth or Consequences,” “Incognito” and “The Kid,” and voices Captain Ahab in the animated “Moby Dick”. … Add Star-getters: David Carradine April 1. The Smithsonian is displaying his wardrobe from the original “Kung Fu” series. Carradine’s star was paid for by David/Kung Fu fans around the world. A HOLDOVER AT THE RONALD REAGAN Library & Museum is Barbara Eden’s personal collection of “I Dream of Jeannie” memorabilia in the museum’s “Back to the Sixties’” exhib. Museum director Mark Hunt told me the “Jeannie” show, now airing on Nickelodeon’s “Nick at Nite,” brought out a new audience, well as the vintage fans at the Reagan Library. P.S. among Reagan items on exhibit, the gavel he used as president of SAG. … Add Oscar gatherings: Nancy & Sid Ganis, who have ties to the Bay Area, host Sunday brunch for the Northern Calif. nominees — led by Saul Zaentz. … And Norby Walters again hosts and Nygard underwrites the BevHills Hotel Oscar viewing party with 150 celebs confirmed — to benefit the Film and Performing Arts Foundation, which has been providing low-cost housing for indigent actors since 1929.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more