Ethan and Uma  | Oscar Shocker  | Bad Day for the Yanks  | Rock Music Is Alive | And Finally

Ethan and Uma: It May Not Be Over

The five-year marriage of Oscar nominees Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke is not completely over.

Even though Hawke has reportedly moved into the Chelsea Hotel after being too public about an affair, the word is that divorce has not yet entered the couple's lexicon.

Hawke was one of the hosts last night of a premiere for Miramax's really wonderful Sundance acquisition, "The Station Agent." He was joined by Candice Bergen (who glows like a movie star in person) and Marisa Tomei (cute, funny, back in New York from London during a short filming hiatus) in celebrating this terrific film by actor Tom McCarthy.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Rockwell (with his dad Pete as his guest), documentary directors Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, director Sidney Lumet, theatre genius George C. Wolfe  and screen stars Sylvia Miles and Peter Boyle were also there to applaud McCarthy's work.

"The Station Agent," which stars Patricia Clarkson, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Williams and Bobby Cannavale , opens Friday. It's the story of a "small person" or dwarf (the astounding Dinklage) who comes to terms with his life in a proportionately small town.

The performances are each spot-on; Clarkson, who's also in the forthcoming "Pieces of April" and was in "Far From Heaven" last year, deserves some kind of special award for her cumulative work. She's the real thing.

As for Ethan and Uma: Hawke looked somewhat gaunt but was in good spirits last night. He said he was hosting the screening as a tribute to his friend Dinklage, but had not seen the movie. Friends of the couple tell me that despite the bad publicity and chaos, Uma and Ethan could be "in a different place this time next year."

What will happen? There are two small children involved, so you can only hope there's some kind of reconciliation or rapprochement between these two extremely nice, complex, but flawed human beings.

By the way: You'll recognize the handsome, hardworking Cannavale from a lot of the TV work he's done in the last couple of years. This was his first real movie, and he was so good in it that Miramax cast him in the Richard Gere/Jennifer Lopez remake of "Shall We Dance?"

Screener Shock: Oscars Make Controversial Decision

Yesterday, Jack Valenti  — who's been the head of the MPAA longer than nearly anyone else in the group has been alive — made headlines with a controversial decision.

This year, studios are being asked not to send screening tapes or DVDs of their films to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. All the big studios, most of which have few Oscar nominees, have agreed to do this.

I can't say I agree with this decision. It seems designed as a measure by the large monolithic studios to blunt the advance of independent films at awards ceremonies.

Without "screeners," studios such as Miramax, Fine Line, Focus, Paramount Classics, Lions Gate, Artisan, Fox Searchlight and others would not get their films into the hands of the largely older and passive Academy voters.

"The Pianist," for example, would not have gotten the attention it deserved last year without a screener that Academy members could pop into a VHS player.

Many movies could suffer from this change in policy. Among them: "Thirteen," "The Station Agent," "Lost in Translation," "Winged Migration," "Whale Rider," "American Splendor," "Pieces of April," "Swimming Pool," "Bend It Like Beckham," "Le Divorce," "The Company" and "The Magdalene Sisters."

For several years now the Hollywood establishment has found itself outplayed at Oscar time by indie companies brandishing quality films. This no-screener rule seems to be its best new defense against quality movies getting award attention.

But the big studios should be warned: In the record business, the promotion of commercial blockbusters over artistic endeavors at Grammy time has left that industry in a mess and a huge sales slump.

The movie studios should be wise enough to realize that the widest selection of films possible made available to Oscar voters makes for a richer experience on the night statues are handed out. No matter what they do, "Pirates of the Caribbean" or "The Italian Job" are not going to win Best Picture.

Yankees Lose and So Does Rudy's Security

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner couldn't have been too happy about the Yanks' loss yesterday to the lowly Minnesota Twins. After all, he'd stocked his VIP viewing box with some big names. Regis Philbin, restaurateur Elaine Kaufman, Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani were among the onlookers. Poor Joe Torre!

Meantime, I am told that Giuliani's security outfit with former New York Police chief Bernard Kerik, called Giuliani-Kerik Security, is having trouble barely out of the gate. Many A-list guests have complained that their security people have been out of control at celebrity-packed recent events.

The result is that Giuliani-Kerik is already ceding business back to more popular and user-friendly security firms such as GSS and Mike Zimet 's self-named outfit. Giuliani-Kerik may have even more trouble if popular pop-star security guy Alan Jacobson, whose clients have included Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, as well as Rodney Jerkins, branches out into the New York area.

Rock Music: It's Not Dead After All

The biggest indie band blowing up on the music scene right now is Maine-based Vacationland. Currently being wooed by several major labels, the group has just issued its first album on Tacid Records (see them at www.vacationlandmusic.com). Their single, "She's Addicted to the Knife" cuts both ways — it's about self-mutilation (see the movie "Thirteen") but can also be heard on the soundtrack for the new hit show, "Nip and Tuck." The band play New York on October 29th at Don Hill's in Soho. 

Meanwhile, if you haven't heard Fountains of Wayne yet, now is the time. My much younger cousin, David Friedman, made me listen to this (he thinks all I like is Steely Dan!)

Fountains of Wayne are tuneful and witty. Once you hear their hit "Stacy's Mom," you'll realize that real pop isn't dead and that all young people are not illiterate. Bonus deal — apparently their lead singer now dates the much older and beautiful Rachel Hunter, who plays Stacy's hot mom in their video and is still very much married to Rod Stewart.

And Finally...

Congratulations to Miramax corporate public relations guy Matthew Hiltzik and his wife Dana . They gave birth yesterday to a 7-pound, 10-ounce bouncing baby girl. No word on her length, but word is that Harvey Weinstein immediately told Matt to make her shorter. (Just kidding!) Mazel tov!