Fans flock to parade of stars

'Leo or Bust' t-shirts the garb of the day

Under the blazing sun of Monday afternoon, movie fans who had been waiting forever for that flash of recognition — “It’s Minnie Driver!” “Hey, Kate! Over here!” “My God, Madonna!” — finally got their reward. Armed with inadequate cameras, they recorded it, treasured it, and moved on.

“I just want to get the pictures for my mother-in-law,” said Sarah Patty, who had made a home of the hard wooden benches outside the Shrine on Sunday morning after driving from Mission Viejo with four girlfriends.

Kate Winslet, being a regular sort, took a moment to wave to the stands and caught sight of the blue T-shirts worn by a group of smitten Leonardo DiCaprio followers. “Leo or Bust,” the legend read. “I like the T-shirt!” Winslet shouted. The girls squealed.

Outside, on Figueroa Street, two other DiCaprio advocates, stung by the actor’s exclusion from the Oscar stakes, held up a banner that said, “Best actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar himself knows it.”

There were other expressions of discontent outside the Shrine. “ABC look around, L.A. is a union town!” a group of protesters chanted, railing against the network that broadcasts the Oscars for not reaching a contract agreement with the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians.

The union, which has traditionally represented technicians working the Oscar telecast, was upset that ABC, fearing a walkout during the show, handed over producing duties this year to the Academy itself. Most of the techies then chose to be represented by IATSE.

“We’re getting very difficult to control,” said NABET officer Richard Daszkowski in ominous tones, although the crowd looked peaceful enough. “We really can’t promise anything.”

On the carpet, stars were making news.

Madonna said her next film will be “50 Violins” for Miramax, to be directed by Wes Craven (“Scream”).

Director Atom Egoyan, nominated for directing and writing “The Sweet Hereafter,” said he will soon turn to another novel-to-film adaptation, for Mel Gibson’s Icon Prods.: “Felicia’s Journey,” from William Trevor’s book.

Anjelica Huston said she would next direct “The Mammy” in Ireland, and Jim Sheridan is expected to produce.

Asked what his next project would be, Joel Coen just shook his head, but his wife, 1997 best actress Oscar winner Frances McDormand, said, “He’s directing a diaper commercial, I’d say.”

“Good Will Hunting” producer Lawrence Bender said he most likely will produce Fox’s “Anna and the King of Siam” with Chow Yun-Fat attached to star.

Sean Connery said that his next film, “Entrapment,” won’t start until June now, since the film recently has had a change of directors (from Antoine Fuqua to Jon Amiel) and had to be pushed back.

Asked if an Oscar sweep by “Titanic” would further validate the rising costs of films, Motion Picture Assn. of America prexy Jack Valenti said, “It will not set a trend. It’s about the story … That’s why ‘The Full Monty’ is nominated as well.”

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