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Spielberg gets the Oscar . . . from Sotheby’s

GOOD MORNING: Steven Spielberg was the anonymous buyer (again!) of a vintage Oscar put up for auction. This time he paid $207,500 for Bette Davis’ Oscar for “Dangerous” (1935) at the Sotheby’s auction of items from Planet Hollywood. Spielberg will present the Oscar to the Academy as he had with his previous two auction-bought Oscars, Bette Davis’ win for “Jezebel” (1938) and Clark Gable’s Oscar for “Gone With the Wind” . . . And in the spirit of preservation, Harvey Weinstein announced at Tuesday’s L.A. preem of Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” that he was donating $50,000 to the Scorsese-led Film Foundation to save movies for future generations. Pic perfectionist Scorsese laughingly admitted to me after Tuesday’s DGA screening that he was still editing the pic — not really — but he did find some mistakes in the spelling of names in the final credits. He and editor Thelma Schoonmaker, among the filmmakers on hand, were to go over it again Wednesday evening after the “below the line” screening of “Gangs.” Among those on hand whom Scorsese thanked was executive producer Michael Ovitz, “Who once said to me, ‘Why don’t you do ‘Gangs’?” When I asked Ovitz what his next venture in showbiz would be, he said, “I’m retired!” . . . Scorsese remained long after the screening to talk with and receive congrats from Oliver Stone, Quincy Jones, Michael Mann, Sydney Pollack well as Dennis Hopper, Jodie Foster, Jennifer Tilly, Joe Pesci, Peter Boyle, Gary Busey, Jacqueline Bisset and cast members Henry Thomas and John C. Reilly … Scorsese takes a coupla weeks off, then p.a.’s “Gangs” in Europe and readies a May start of “The Aviator” (the Howard Hughes story) with Leonardo DiCaprio again starring. John Logan is scripting the $100 million (sez Harvey) pic to be shot in Hollywood, the story winding in 1946 with Hughes testifying before a Senate committee. Hughes’ Spruce Goose and plane crash in BevHills will have to be CGI’d, Scorsese allows. And as for look-alikes of Hughes’ glamorous girlfriends Ava Gardner, Katharine Hepburn, etc. — “we’ll have a world-wide search”– sez Harvey, who claims this is the only pic on his plate. After making their red carpet “Gang” appearances at the DGA, co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz hied to dinner at Ago where Harvey joined them. But he later returned to the DGA to linger until midnight with guests emerging from the screening. He then caught his plane back to N.Y. for the two final Miramax preems — “Chicago” and “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.” And to plot further openings for the six Miramax award-hopeful films.

RICHARD GERE ISN’T HERE to hear the sweet music about his terrif performance in “Chicago” — he’s in India . . . Margaret O’Brien is skedded to visit Robert Blake today. His preliminary hearing is tentatively set for Feb. 26. Blake’s been in isolation eight months . . . Former L.A. District Attorney Gil Garcetti heads to West Africa in January with the Conrad Hilton Foundation to further health programs and the Empowerment of Women. Garcetti will do a photo book on the trip. His current photo book, “Iron: Erecting the Disney Concert Hall” (Balcony, $39.95) is in its second printing, proceeds to the iron workers scholarship fund. In February, he continues teaching a special course at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government — “The Interaction of the Criminal Practice System, Racism, Politics and the Media.” Garcetti says, “There are other things in life besides practicing law.”

BULWORTH’S” COSTARS WARREN BEATTY and Halle Berry were lunching at the Sunset Strip’s Mirabelle on Wednesday with her manager, Vince Serenzione . . . Fifty-seven minutes of the Kennedy Center Honors (Dec. 8) had to be axed for the Dec. 27 airing (CBS, 9-11 p.m.). One of the segs that will not be edited, Steve Martin’s intro to Paul Simon in which he said, “Coming in here tonight, I heard (someone) behind me saying, ‘Steve, Steve, Hey Steve’ and I turned and I said, ‘Yes, Mr. President.’ And he said, ‘Do you know where I can get some Paul Simon records?’ And I said, ‘Sure. At the record store.’ And he said, ‘No, no, no. I don’t want all the album notes and all that stuff. I need bootleg stuff.’ Then he said, ‘And while you’re at it could you get me some Barbra Streisand records? I love her music, but I can’t be seen buying it. I need pirate stuff.” And I said, ‘But Mr. President, that’s illegal. And he said, ‘Oh right.'” Martin gave a knowing thumbs up sign to George Dubya, who laughed from his box seat . . . Hollywood’s Kodak Theater was the scene Wednesday for the (no charge) PBS taping of “The American Tenors,” Nathan Granner, Daniel Montenegro and Mauricio O’Reilly, plus a 59-piece symphony orchestra and the Angel City Chorale, to air in March. The Kodak’s giant stage just hosted the American Ballet Theater’s lavish “Nutcracker.” On those boards next is “Grease,” Jan. 7-13 . . . Martin Landau returns to the stage for the first time in 15 years, to star in “16 Wounded,” a contemporary Amsterdam-set story about a Holocaust survivor and a Palestinian at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn. Matt August directs and Gretchen Becker costars . . . Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I will return Jan.6.

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