Caine exuberant over Oscar win

GOOD MORNING after: “I want to live forever,” Michael Caine exuded Monday morning as he was whisked in front of People magazine cameras for next week’s issue. Sunday night, he had segued from the Academy’s Board of Governors Ball at the Shrine to the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Miramax was holding a gala party — even though it only won two of its multiple nominees. I reminded Michael that Harvey Weinstein had told me Saturday he wouldn’t be upset if Miramax didn’t win any more Oscars. Caine said, “I think Harvey’s slowing down; I don’t think he’s going to make as many movies in the future. I think he’s gotten to realize that the priority is yourself. And I agree, my priority is myself — and my health. I gave up smoking, I don’t drink in the daytime and I watch my diet. I want to live forever!” He admitted, “The standing ovation (he received at the Shrine) blew me away.” The footage from “Alfie” during the Oscarcast musical medley “made me realize I’ve been very blessed. And I was very blessed to be there.” He’ll continue to be feted at private dinners here this week as he relaxes before the start of “Miss Congeniality” with Sandra Bullock. Next week, he leaves for D.C., where he’ll stay at the British Ambassador’s before a fundraiser for a building at Salisbury Castle to house the Magna Carta … Mel Torme’s family and many friends are chagrined that he was omitted from the “In Memoriam” seg of the Oscars. Torme, who died June 6, was certainly a major contributor to movies, having been under contract to MGM, starting in “High and Higher.” He appeared in more than 20 films, sang “Blue Moon” in “Words & Music,” and his “Christmas Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” continue to be heard in movies today.

JACK LEMMON ADMITS he was overwhelmed by Kevin Spacey’s dedication of his Oscar to him. Jack heard this dedication as he watched the Oscars at the home of Veronique and Gregory Peck along with Pat and Larry Gelbart. Lemmon reminded, “Kevin and I have been very close since we did ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ on B’way (1986), then ‘The Murder of Mary Phagan’ and ‘Dad.’ I should look where he’s working so I’ll known where I’m going next,” he laughed. Lemmon, you’ll recall, was the recipient of Ving Rhames’ Golden Globe when the latter won his award and dedicated (gave) it to Jack. Although Lemmon backstage tried to return the award to its rightful owner, he says Rhames refused to take it. “So I had it engraved, ‘Jack Lemmon, first recipient of the Ving Rhames Award.’ ” … Lemmon is now voicing the entire narrative of Robert Redford’s “Bagger Vance” starring Will Smith and Matt Damon. Lemmon also appears on screen “in a small part” as an old golfer who was around at the time of Bobby Jones. In the spring, Lemmon stars in Larry Gelbart’s “Power Failure” as a wealthy munitions manufacturer. His wife is played by Jennifer Tilly — a casting that pleases Lemmon enormously. Other members of the cast include Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Langella, Jamie Lee Curtis, Richard Dreyfuss and Steve Zahn. David Zablin directs and produces with Steve Hewitt … At the Governors’ Ball, Don Rickles was continually hassled by a waiter who kept banging on his table with a napkin — it turned out to be Robin Williams. How could Rickles have noticed who it was: Don was too busy telling Billy Crystal what a terrible job he did emceeing the Oscars. Of course, it was Rickles’ own brand of compliment. Rickles went on to the Miramax party, where he spread his joy to those there — including the irrepressible Roberto Benigni. Although Benigni told me he has yet to decide on his next film, his wife Nicoletta Braschi is skedded to star in two Italian movies … Rickles continued to Dani Janssen’s, where guests included Warren Beatty’s sister Shirley MacLaine and his close pal Garry Shandling. Whoopi Goldberg, who had been busy on her Web site during the Oscar show, arrived later. A very thin Tom Hanks, heavily camouflaged with the beard he’ll wear in “Castaway” was there with wife Rita Wilson … Billy Crystal was to have made his Oscar entrance on a police motorcycle — but at the last moment it was decided to have him simply carried on stage by a cop. Bruce Vilanch again did a masterful job on the show’s opening … I caught up again with Warren Beatty after he did the full press rounds in the tents behind the Shrine. Annette Bening, in her very bouffant Giorgio Armani gown, was at the tent to meet him (he in an Armani tux). As they walked back toward the Shrine’s VIP stage entrance I thought they were going to call for their limo and head home, but Bening beamed, “We’re going to the ball!”

REGIS PHILBIN’S IN L.A. — and environs — for some promotionals, but he’s got a vacation from both of his shows! … Oscar winners Hilary Swank and Helen Hunt, nominee Michael Clarke Duncan, plus Jason Alexander, Sally Kellerman, Jennifer Grey and Chad Lowe are among those who will perform at a fundraiser April 15 for Larry Moss’ new Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica. Moss is the acting coach Swank thanked profusely in her acceptance speech; he also coached the above-named thesps (including Hunt for her Oscar-winning “As Good As It Gets” role). Moss is also coach to Hunt’s husband Hank Azaria, playing the Walter Matthau role in the “Fail Safe” remake for George Clooney. Moss is also readying to direct his first feature, “The Lily Field” by Pamela Gien for producers Franka Bedore and Matt Salinger. Which of these “students” will star in his pic?

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