GOOD MORNING and good luck Oscar nominees — when next we talk to you it will be from the red carpet at the Shrine on Monday evening and then in Tuesday’s column. … Meanwhile, during Thursday morning’s satellite multicity radio tour, Gil Cates was asked (by an anonymous voice), “What do you think about NABET saying they’re going to pull the plug on the last five minutes of the show?” Cates reminded he’s secretary-treasurer of the DGA and a past president, adding “I’m very union-oriented and the Academy show is 100% union. Everything has been done properly and if there is a dispute between NABET and ABC, they should take it to court. and not penalize the viewers. It would be outrageous.” … As we spoke, rehearsals were going on at the Shrine, as skedded, with Louis J. Horvitz directing his 16 cameras inside, six skedded outside and the images in front of him on 35 monitors. He said Roy Christopher’s lavish set, with two 30-foot Oscars traveling on and off, will be utilized for a very “classic approach” to the show. While giving a theatrical feeling “of grandeur, it will also be up close and personal” to home viewers. More of the musical-score nominees will be presented live under Bill Conti’s baton, while songs will be presented throughout the show by the (previously reported) singers. … Still being worked out is the introduction of 75 previous acting Oscar winners so as to maintain the energy of the show while also making this a “great moment.” … Winner Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking,” 1995, as well as four-time nominee) will present the past winners segment. … Warren Beatty, Oscar winner for directing “Reds,” will be a presenter, probably for director. He leaves Tuesday morning for N.Y. to join wife Annette Bening co-starring in “Marshal Law.” Word on Beatty’s “Bulworth” continues to be excellent, with Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography also getting hefty praises. He also lensed Beatty’s “Reds” and “Dick Tracy.”
“EVERYTHING’S GREAT,” Tommy Lasorda said as he dined down in Dodger Town, Vero Beach, Thursday night with Peter Chernin and Chase Carey for Fox Corp. and Peter O’Malley after the deal for News Corp.’s buyout of the team from the O’Malley family became final. “Everybody’s happy,” said the exuberant Lasorda. “We feel Fox will do a sensational job and maintain the tradition of the Dodgers’ great organization.” Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers for 49 years, told me he believes if any changes will be made they will be physical in the ballpark — like luxury seats, also an increase in signage. He did 48 telecasts on KTLA last season, and 40 for Fox. He’s certain there’ll be more on Fox in the future. … When Giorgio Armani’s Emporio million-$show in Paris was abruptly shuttered by police for “security reasons,” many celebs were left waiting at the Hotel Ritz bar — not such a bad place to be left waiting. They included Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Charles Lambert, Naomi Campbell, Joachim Cortez, etc. But they will be on hand, along with a large celeb turnout, as Armani moves his show to New York’s Cipriani Hotel site April 3 followed by a star-studded private bash. … Vanity Fair staffers in L.A. readying the mag’s Oscar party are easy to spot: they’re driving the new Volkswagen Beetles, while party guests will arrive in super-stretch limos. … Today’s Wishing on a Seville fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation in L.A.’s California Plaza has lined up supporting celebs ranging from Oscar-nominated Gloria Stuart and Danny Nucci from “Titanic” to “As Good as It Gets'” pooch Trimmer. … Shirley Jones was on hand at Cedars-Sinai Thursday afternoon as son Sean Cassidy and his wife Susan Diel welcomed their third child, Juliet Jones Cassidy — the first girl in four generations of Cassidys. … Nicole Yorkin, supervising producer on “Chicago Hope,” and Tim Shaheen welcomed daughter Natalie Rose March 12 at Santa Monica Hospital. They also have a 3-year-old son.
“I’M THRILLED TO HAVE the challenge,” says Brenda Vaccaro, who bows in the one-woman show, “Full Gallop,” March 30 at the Coronet in West Hollywood. The show’s directed by Nicholas Martin, with whom she worked in stock years ago. The play, about Diana Vreeland, was written by Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson, also a friend of Brenda’s. Veronica Chambers produces. As for Vaccaro’s last unpleasant experience in “Nine Armenians” at the Taper, she now philosophically notes, “Everything happens for the best.” … Add Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon to Don Henley’s all-star (indeed!) band among those entertaining at the April 4 gala reopening of UCLA’s Royce Hall. … Estelle Reiner bows at Luna Park tonight The Film Foundation’s “Night of 100 Stars” Oscar party is now a night of — 200 stars — to benefit the foundation, whose president is Martin Scorsese. … Karl Malden gets the Pacific Pioneer B’casters honors today at the Sportsmen’s Lodge. His dais includes Hal Kanter, Norman Corwin, Sheldon Keller, Norman Lloyd, Louis Nye, Darlene Carr (his daughter on “Streets of SanFran”) and Robert Easton. Easton dialect-coached Helen Hunt (N.Y.-Irish) for “As Good as It Gets.”