Bennett Miller film will open telecast

OH, YES, they say the talk of the coming Academy Awards will be the short introductory documentary, being made by Bennett Miller of “Capote” fame. This one will include glimpses of about 100 people active with the Oscars — some really well-known, others not so. Included in the snippets, we’ll see our friend Peggy Siegal, PR woman par excellence. It was Peggy who told me five months ago that a little unknown movie called “Slumdog Millionaire” could well win the Academy Award! I laughed in her face, but it looks like Peggy may have the last laugh. She could have many “last laughs,” for I believe she worked on every movie and every person nominated. But when asked, Peggy won’t cop to that accomplishment.

IF YOU watched the Golden Globes you saw Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange giggling and having a ball together. That’s because these worthy talents are so happy at having their “Grey Gardens” movie finished amid rumors that it will change Drew’s career and make her — not just a Hollywood business success as she has been in the past — but a r-e-a-l-l-y big acting star again. And the formidable Oscar-winner Lange is right on the “comeback” success road with Drew! Last week, Lee Radziwill was offered a private screening of the film about her eccentric East Hampton cousins, the women who lived in cat-ridden squalor among the rich of eastern Long Island. (This story has been told by a documentary, in a recent Broadway musical and is now a feature movie.) At one point, this recent effort shows the late Jacqueline Kennedy visiting her cousins. At the time, Jackie was wed to Aristotle Onassis and he offered up $30,000 to clean up the “Grey Gardens” property. (It is today privately owned by Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee and is a Hamptons landmark showplace.)

IF YOU want to see acting chops grab a ticket for the Richard Greenberg play “The American Plan” which the Manhattan Theater Club is proudly re-presenting on Broadway. You’ll see a luminous young star, Lily Rabe, at her best. (In the audience opening night were her proud parents — playwright David Rabe and Jill Clayburgh — Lily’s guy, actor Nicky Hoge and his mother Olivia.) The very married Matthew Brodericks were applauding on the aisle. Also glimpsed Marian Seldes, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Newman, John Guare, Patricia Clarkson, Donna Murphy, Joan Hamburg and people like that. I don’t pretend to understand what happens onstage in this play one little bit. But it was a fascinating mysterious night and the cast is riveting. Biggest mystery of all? The German accent of Mercedes Ruehl. (Frankly, it doesn’t matter. Ms. Ruehl made the movie “Married to the Mob” and after that, I would forgive her anything!)

THE GRAND vizar of the Shubert Organization, Gerald Schoenfeld, left a tremendous void with his death last November. This terrific Mr. Broadway kind of guy will be celebrated on Monday, Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. in the Majestic Theater. Invitation only, but you might try to get one. It’ll be star-studded.

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