From black tie to blue jeans, the Oscar team convened at noon Monday at Junior’s delicatessen in Westwood to hash over the 78th Academy Awards at the Kodak. It was the 13th time Gil Cates had produced the show and as many times he and his troupe had switched from champagne to chopped liver. Those on hand included director Louis J. Horvitz, Mike Seligman, Danette Herman, Bill Conti, Roy Christopher, Bob Dickinson, Chuck Warren and Robert Shapiro. The Academy’s board will meet later this month for its discussion. “It was a challenge this year,” Cates told me. He thought Jon Stewart did “a terrific job.” Would he be asked back? “I have to be asked back, first,” Cates laughed.
As for the questionable lyrics in the nominated (winning) song, “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp,” Cates was satisfied that the group had altered the lyrics for the Oscar show and laughingly added that the rendition by Three 6 Mafia “makes me very cool with my grandchildren.” And there were no objections by ABC’s Standards and Practices standing by as usual — for the five-second “Janet Jackson delay.”