GOOD MORNING: “I didn’t know I had so many friends,” a very happy Roman Polanski told me when I finally got through by phone to him in Paris Monday ayem. Of all times — his answering machine had broken and Hollywood well-wishers were unable to leave their congrats until morning. He got back to us by 11 ayem Monday. He said he’d watched the Oscar telecast at the Plaza Hotel in Paris “with friends — who have nothing to do with the business (he laughed) — and there we were, opening champagne at 6 o’clock in the morning (Paris time).” But he almost missed watching the show — son Elvis (5) had taken a fall and had to be rushed to a doctor, where he got stitches in his forehead. Polanski said of the Acad members’ votes for him and “The Pianist’s” Adrien Brody and screenwriter Ronald Harwood: “I was so happy for them, and it’s so great to know your peers enjoy your work.” He admits not having any plans at all for his next film project. “I want to spend time with my family,” he says, reminding how much time away from them was taken by the making of “The Pianist” . . . Focus co-president James Schamus says the film will expand its domestic screens to 760 Friday. They acquired the U.S. and North America rights at Cannes. Polanski (rightfully) owns a large chunk of the pic.
THE KODAK STAGE assemblage of 59 Oscar-winning actors will long remain a happy remembrance of the 75th Academy Awards — and sad to note those who chose to be absent. Like Elizabeth Taylor, Goldie Hawn, Robin Williams, Helen Hunt and Sidney Poitier. I asked Sidney howcum? “I didn’t want to wear out my welcome,” he said. He’d won for “Lilies of the Field” and last year received an honorary Oscar. “Last year,” he explained, “I made my heartfelt expression about the Academy and all it meant to me. This would have been overkill for me.” He watched the awards at Morton’s . . . Before the show began I had an opportunity to talk with two past winners, Olivia de Havilland and Luise Rainer, the former who had flown in from France, the latter from London to attend the memorable event. They both reminisced . . . The family that plays together, stays together: Kirk and Michael Douglas, who teamed for the final (best picture) award, continue to team Wednesday in Chicago on Oprah Winfrey’s show along with co-stars Diana and Cameron Douglas as they build the publicity trains for their movie “It Runs in the Family.” Meanwhile, Catherine Zeta-Jones continues on to the Douglases’ NYC home to await the birth of their second child next month. While watching the “What Is a Movie Star?” seg of the Oscar show, I couldn’t help but note that Catherine Zeta-Jones truly shines as the epitome of stardom . . . Among guests at the Oscars, Carole and Bill Haber — he is already making plans to head to Iraq on behalf of Save the Children.
TONIGHT THE CELEBRATION in Hollywood shifts to the south side of the street and the site of the first Academy Awards — the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It’s the opening of glamorous supper club Feinstein’s at the Cinegrill. Martin Richards was toasted there last week with a preview by Michael F. of his sensaysh show. It is a must-see-hear. Michael’s produced a sight-and-sound show to delight everyone who has applauded movie musicals — from those of Fred and Ginger to “Chicago.” He’s assembled classic film clips to back his singing and unique pianistics. The show has you humming as you leave — and wanting to return. Whatta welcome addition for a new Hollywood. Michael also generously performed at Miramax’s abbreviated “Max Awards” at the St. Regis, where he finale’d with “God Bless America” . . . Also Wednesday, at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Debbie Reynolds receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Debbie was Oscar-nominated for “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” one of her 30 starring roles. A long list of friends plus co-stars from those films will be on hand. They include Cyd Charisse, Janet Leigh, Margaret O’Brien, Hugh O’Brian, Stefanie Powers, Ann Rutherford, John Saxon, Esther Williams, Jane Withers, Rod Taylor, Jayne Meadows, Ruth Buzzi, Jack Carter and Richard Anderson. For years Debbie has been working tirelessly for an all-encompassing, nonprofit museum for motion picture history to be located in the Hollywood & Highland complex. She promises all profits will go to the MPTF and the AFI . . . Among honorees Wednesday at the Human Spirit awards at the BevWilshire, hosted by the Wellness Community, will be Nate ‘n’ Al’s “waitress-to-the stars” Kaye Coleman. She is still slinging bagels — without an ounce of gloom — though with Stage 4 metastatic melanoma . . . Upcoming on April 7, a Hollywood Walk of Fame star for Beau Bridges, who will join the stars of his brother Jeff and their late father, Lloyd, at 7065 Hollywood Blvd.– the former site of the SAG building . . . Tonight on the Travel Channel Donna Kanter debuts her film banner with “Ringling Bros., Revealed” — a show for children of all ages . . . Joe Bologna “surprised” his “girlfriend of 37 years, Renee Taylor on the occasion of her 33rd (!) birthday.” Her friends of most of those years were on hand and Sal J. Scognamillo, chef of N.Y.’s Patsy’s, winged out to prepare the birthday feast. Bologna proposed to Renee at Patsy’s . . . Another Hollywood party in this Oscar season — the kickoff of Rod McKuen’s “Prime of Your Life” tour — bows with an April 30 concert at Carnegie Hall. The concerts that follow will be free to “seasoned,” not “senior” citizens. Hewlett Packard sponsors the tour.