ShoWest showers kudos

Howard, Spielberg, Smith saluted

The awards handed out at ShoWest are ideal for Hollywood kudo-hounds with jangled nerves. The winners are chosen ahead of time by the confab’s organizers, and they are usually stars, directors and producers who either just had a big B.O. hit or have a big movie coming up.

For the audience at Paris Las Vegas on Thursday, however, all of the above meant one thing: a very long evening. Director of the year Ron Howard seemed to be reading the phone book as he saluted everyone but the key grip on “A Beautiful Mind.”

“If it sounds like I’m drumming for votes, well, I am,” he said.

The event drew more major players than usual due to the lifetime achievement award given to Steven Spielberg. A montage of clips from his films concluded with this staggering stat: Counting producer credits, his pics have grossed $10.7 billion worldwide.

But male star of the year Will Smith managed to keep the evening’s four-hour ego stroke in perspective. “Of all the awards I’ve received,” he said, “this is the most recent.”

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