GOOD MORNING: There were several walkouts at Sunday’s Academy screening of “Antares,” the Austrian government submission to the Acad’s foreign language film awards committee. As reported to me by attendees, the film shows closeups of explicit sex in various forms, shapes and sizes. Mark Johnson, chairman of the Acad’s committee (for five years) and a film producer of more than 50 (U.S.) films, confirmed that the movie does indeed show frontal nudity. “Pretty graphic — with a man’s head between a woman’s legs and vice versa,” he admits. “It was very surprising to me.” Johnson said he was thankful his 17-year-old daughter, who had come to the screening with him, was occupied in the lobby on a lengthy phone call during the screening … Martin Short’s Gold Circle Film feature, “Jiminy Glick in LaLawood,” gets an MGM release, bowing May 6. Short will also be seen in a seg of “Arrested Development” and as a 90-year-old in an upcoming seg of “Law and Order.” And he will head out on a concert tour with the bow of his feature. He signed with the Gersh Agency for TV and movies … Jeff Margolis, exec producer of the Feb. 5 SAG awards — whose nominees (eight TV categories, five theatrical features) were announced this morning by Dennis Franz and Rosario Dawson, tells me the Honorary Life Achievement Award to James Garner “will be presented in a way like never before.” And we won’t spoil the surprise to Jim … The People’s Choice Awards, seen Sunday night on CBS, was a triumph over nature — the incessant downpour didn’t dampen the spirit of the arrivals. Some, like Mel Gibson, required five hours to get through to Pasadena. Rene Russo, who presented to Gibson, cut her forehead in a spill, but insisted on going on — with the help of makeup camouflage. Paramedics had been standing by … Gibson and Michael Moore received the most exuberant standing ovations from the audience that I’ve ever heard for any People’s Choice winner … Johnny Depp’s sensa humor was evident in his live acceptance speech from what he called “the Carpathian mountains.” He was actually speaking from his home in Cannes — in a gypsy wagon that was appropriately shaken for mountain road movement effects. While waiting to go on I gleaned these notes from participants: Mike Meyers said he’ll start filming (recording) “Shrek 3” in May; and Ellen DeGeneres says she’s having such a good time with her show, she’ll do it “forever.” And judging by her win — she could. William Shatner paid tribute to David E. Kelley’s intestinal fortitude with subjects upcoming including an attack on the Food and Drug Administration. Tom Selleck said he’s so high on the Feb. 20 “Stone Cold” for CBS, directed by Robert Harmon, that he and fellow producer Michael Brandman want to continue with more of the Robert Parker books on their own — mebbe as theatrical features … And talking books: Sidney Sheldon’s newest, “Are You Afraid of the Dark,” deals with a think tank that’s figured how to control the earth’s weather and global warming.
PAUL NEWMAN WILL race again. He was not hurt when an engine blew up in the car he was testing in Daytona Saturday, but he will be behind the wheel again in the Feb. 5-6 24-hour Daytona’n … The Sunday bow at the Shubert of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” celebrated well into the night at Chi’s LaSalle Bank building. The Shubert will be renamed the La Salle, where it has sold out through its run, Jan.23. Previews at N.Y.’s Shubert start Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day; it opens March 17, St. Patrick’s Day … Kim Cernak (Mrs. Art Garfunkel) makes her nitery bow Monday at N.Y.’s Jazz Au Bar … Among those on hand to cheer Corky Hale at her new jazz boite, Corky’s: Ray Evans, Shirley Livingston, the Joe Smiths, of course, Mike Stoller. Listening to the sensaysh jazz in the packed club, I was reminded of the great jazz on La Cienega, La Brea and the Sunset Strip in the ’50s –Nat Cole, Bobby Troup, Bobby Short. among others. And Corky’s Em eatery is also attached to her club to round out a long needed spot in L.A. … Barry Bonds was a big hit at Nate’ Al’s Saturday night where he was autographing everything in sight for fans when he wasn’t busy swinging away with a knife and fork … Marion Seldes accepted a request from Theater Hall of Fame producer Terry Hodge Taylor to host the Jan. 24 event at the Gershwin, stepping in for the late Jerry Orbach who had accepted in November to host. Elaine Orbach, Jerry’s widow, will induct Jerry’s longtime friend Len Cariou into the Hall of Fame. And Kate Burton will accept for awardee Ian McKellen, on stage at the Old Vic … The American Cinematheque honored Laura Dern Saturday with a screening of “We Don’t Live Here Anymore” and “Citizen Ruth.” Naomi Watts, John Curran and Larry Gross partied Dern at the Café Des Artistes.