Super movie lover Jack Nicholson is the perfect performer for the 80th Oscars show. He will introduce — “live” — the segment tribute to the 80 Best Picture Winners. “I just called him and he said ‘yes’,” says producer Gil Cates. The 80 film segment is produced by Mike Shapiro, who worked with Nicholson when he directed/starred in “The Two Jakes.” Nicholson won three Oscars, was nominated for an additional nine… The Academy’s President, Sid Ganis, promises me that Cates has a few more surprises for the show and he himself will be cast in a light-hearted segment introducing the de rigeur segment “starring” the PriceWaterhouseCooper accountants who hold the winners’ envelopes. Ganis is again high on host Jon Stewart — and no holds barred. Ganis is well-aware of Stewart’s talents — not only because of last year’s Oscar outing. Their relationship dates back 10 years to “Big Daddy,” which Ganis produced and in which Stewart appeared as star Adam Sandler’s buddy… Jerry Seinfeld, who shuns “live” Oscar appearances, will however, again be seen on tape. He is away working his first love–stand-up. this weekend in Florida.
I sat with Craft’s Tom Colicchio, restaurateur of Century City, N.Y., Las Vegas at Spago with Judith Light (“Ugly Betty”) and husband Robert Desiderio at the Food & Wine celebration at which Wolfgang Puck outdid — even himself — for the press’ most-particular palates. The Century City Craft was to have been the site for the (canceled) Vanity Fair Oscar party. While it is open to the general public Sunday night, Disney will host an Oscar party there for about 40. As for Morton’s, Pam Morton tells me she is actively searching a new site.
Friday, press agent Julian Myers celebrates his 90th birthday — by beginning a 90-mile run from San Diego to L.A. With stops en route, he’ll finish in time to compete in the L.A. Marathon’s 5k race March 2. And he’ll also take time off Sunday to attend the Oscars — he’s been an Academy member for 59 years. So far, he’s raced in 25 marathons, many to publicize Amigo Day.
Re-casting is on for “The Sunshine Boys” to bow at the Odyssey Theater April 12. Dick Benjamin and George Segal departed following the first day’s rehearsal after a difference of opionin with director Jeff Hayden. Now set to play the role of “Willie” is Hal Linden. In the film version, Walter Matthau played the part opposite George Burns, who was “Ben.” Sam Levene and Jack Albertson starred on Bradway. Also now set is Eddie Kehler as “Ben,” “Wilie’s” nephew.