DAKOTA FANNING hosted a Sunday premiere of Paramount’s “Charlotte’s Web” with Cedric the Entertainer lending hand. When I asked Dakota if it was true that she learned to read at age four, she chuckled, “Actually, I was 2½.” The benefit was for Literacy Partners. … Life is imitating art now. Jennifer Holliday, who was incredible onstage in “Dreamgirls” as the original Effie, has incurred the wrath of Paramount for being uncooperative and not helpful in publicizing the movie. Word came down to omit any photo of her from the publicity for the movie version.
IN MANHATTAN, there are two places to see and be seen at lunch these days — Michael’s and the Four Seasons Grill. You can table hop and shout to be heard in Michaels. You do the same thing at the Grill, but intelligent conversation can ensue as tables are strategically separated. The Grill is a haunt for powerful men and captains of industry. But the other day it was women, women everywhere and not one of these health nuts was drinking a drop. The opera’s Mercedes Bass and the governor’s right-hand Diana Taylor at one table … the Lady Lynn de Rothschild and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg deep in talk …. Barbara Walters, Louise Grunwald, Suzanne Goodson doing a holiday get-together … At Michael’s, the very same noon, there was the New York’s incoming first lady Silda Wall (Mrs. Eliot Spitzer) being toasted by a host of VIPs — Kathy Lacey, Linda Janklow, Maria Cole, Kati Marton, Mona Ackerman, Linda Fairstein, Margaret Carlson, Shirley Lord, Jennifer Maguire, Cynthia McFadden and Sherrie Westin. P.S. Diana Taylor, who is also the mayor’s ladyfriend, lunched first at Michaels and then at the Four Seasons.
SHARON STONE and Anjelica Huston co-host the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway on Monday. Performers include opera’s dazzling Renee Fleming. … Joe Pantoliano, known to pals as Joey Pants, won the best performance in a dramatic role award at the Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. This is for director Joe Greco’s “Canvas,” a frank, moving look at schizophrenia and how it impacts family and friends. Joey says, “The movie made me realize how subtle and pervasive mental illness can be … it has forced me to confront some of my own struggles.”
BEST GUY-WATCHING in New York City is over at the Midtown Tennis Club, where Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor in their tennis whites, practice. Hugh and Ewan are in New York filming “The Tourist,” a thriller in which they swing those rackets. Their coach is Stephen Bauer, who has tutored Jim Carrey and others celebs in the fine art of jumping the net. … With Oscar nominations coming soon, will this be the year when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences whomps up honorary Oscars for Doris Day, one of the biggest box office heroines of the ’50s and ’60s, and for the veteran Richard Widmark, who made his debut in “Kiss of Death,” pushing an old lady in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs. Widmark went on to make more than 70 movies. In December he’ll be 92. He — and Doris — each deserve an Oscar.
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)