Nicole Kidman is not getting married to rocker Lenny Kravitz.
She said it to me last night, as clear as a bell, and loudly enough for several others to also hear. This took place at the premiere for Anthony Minghella's Oscar-bound epic romance "Cold Mountain."
"I am not getting married," she said, emphatically but sweetly. She held up all her fingers and waved them for me. "Do you see a ring? No. I've told you before, I take this seriously. I am not getting married."
So much for all those exclusive reports in the tabloids, and the endless pictures of Kidman trying to hide a diamond ring. It's not happening.
In fact, I would rather guess that whatever "relationship" existed between Nicole and Lenny — one which he'd be a lucky man to have had — is not as hot as the papers made it out to be.
But the star of "Cold Mountain" is on her way to a relationship with another man. His name is Oscar, and Kidman will be nominated to meet him for the third year in a row.
Her work as Ada, the prim and beautiful Civil War heroine, is among her best ever. Will she win? I don't know.
After all, you've got Diane Keaton, Uma Thurman, Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts, among others, vying for the lead position. But Kidman is the rare combination of Grace Kelly and Meryl Streep. And she's made lemonade out of lemons (her marriage to the "Last Samurai").
As for Watts, Nicole told me that if she and her best friend from Down Under were indeed both nominated for anything, she'd be thrilled.
"We should go as each other's dates, shouldn't we?" she said.
We'll have to watch for this, as the likelihood is both beautiful Aussies will be headed for more red carpets.
The "Cold Mountain" premiere also featured star Jude Law with a new girlfriend, director Minghella and the fine supporting players Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Kathy Baker.
The special guest star of the evening was Clive Owen, the British star of "Beyond Borders" and those BMW mini-films. He's about to start shooting Mike Nichols' film version of "Closer" with Law and Julia Roberts.
Gleeson, the consummate Irish actor, will be seen next in "Troy" with Brad Pitt come May 2004.
But wait, what about "Cold Mountain," you ask? The answer is that it's headed for a repeat of Minghella's "The English Patient." The nominations and kudos are many: Kidman, Law, and Minghella are all assured them. Ditto for the production.
More importantly, I don't see any way that Renée Zellweger can lose Best Supporting Actress to anyone for her role here. She is simply unforgettable as Ada's sensible sidekick Ruby Thewes.
Like "The English Patient," "Cold Mountain" is told in fragments, cutting back and forth across time, to tell several layers of a story. Is it perfect? I'd say it's 99 percent so, which is pretty damn good.
The look, the tone, the sensibility are all there. It's the kind of sweeping epic love story missing so far from this season of glum, morose or flawed films.
For Best Picture, its only real competition should be "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." "Cold Mountain" will be the one drama everyone will recommending to their friends through the holiday season.
Michael Jackson's accuser — or at least the child's mother — went "shrink shopping" last winter. The result was that the psychiatrist who wound up reporting Jackson to the police as a potential child molester this time was the same one who pointed the finger at him 10 years ago.
Sources tell me that the mother of the 12-year-old boy in the current case took her son to see Dr. Mathis Abrams, a noted Beverly Hills psychiatrist, on the advice of attorney Larry Feldman.
Not so coincidentally, Feldman and Abrams were the lawyer and doctor who represented the 13-year-old boy who was involved in a similar case with Jackson in 1993.
"They went shrink shopping," a source tells me, "until they found the answer they wanted to hear."
I'm told the family saw at least one other psychiatrist before they settled on Abrams.
They also went "attorney shopping," apparently. Feldman was brought into the case — as this column was first to report back on Nov. 19 — by one lawyer, William Dickerman, who may have been called in by a third person.
Neither Dickerman, Abrams nor Feldman returned calls yesterday.
Abrams, by the way, is considered a shrink to the stars. Among his former patients is eternally troubled bad-boy actor Mickey Rourke. Considering that the family of Jackson's accuser is notably described as being too poor to afford regular medical help for their cancer-stricken son, it's interesting that the boy wound up on such an expensive couch.
This revelation that the family sought the team that ended up with a $20 million settlement in 1993 comes on the heels of a disturbing revelation yesterday on the Web site The Smoking Gun.
The Smoking Gun posted a report from the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services that concluded during an investigation last February that there had been no abuse by Jackson.
The report is a summary, issued on Nov. 26, of the findings last February and which was clearly ordered after the Jackson arrest on Nov. 21.
Even though the report may be used in court, it does not actually clear Jackson in the current case. If the prosecution is on the ball, it will be able to show that reports such as these — conducted by social workers easily swayed by affluent or famous people — are often inaccurate.
Nevertheless, the embarrassment factor for Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon has to be huge at this point. Did he even know such a report existed when he launched his pre-dawn raid on Neverland? And how cynical is the public at this point about Sneddon's role in this case?
As one Jackson insider said yesterday: "Robert Blake is on home arrest, Phil Spector is out on a million dollars' bail. And those are murder cases. Three million dollars' bail and a public arrest for Michael Jackson? What's really going on here?"
Through the doors of Restaurant Jean-Luc Monday night came the one and only Geraldo Rivera with his beautiful young wife, Erica. The occasion was a reunion of the people with whom Geraldo started his career some 35 years ago: New York's Eyewitness News team.
You may think your local news show has always been there, but the idea of hard-hitting news local reports mixed with banal levity began with Eyewitness News on ABC's Channel 7 here in New York back in 1968.
Al Primo invented it, and last night he got to see old pals such as Doug Johnson, Kaity Tong, Sal Marchiano, John Johnson and Mary Garafalo, all of whom are well known now but were Al's proteges back in the day.
Richard Liebner, the agent for all the TV anchors in the world, spent some time at the bar kibbitzing with former "Today" show producer Steve Friedman (no relation, though I'd be honored).
Friedman is now working with Bryant Gumbel on HBO's "Real Sports" and reports that Gumbel's lost more than 35 pounds. "You won't even recognize him when he comes back on the air."
Primo, by the way, is now producing "Eyewitness Kids News," with 13-to-16-year-old anchors. They were all there last night, looking at these hard-drinking, hard-driving journalists as if they were from another planet: Felipe Dieppa, Mwanzaa Brown, Lauren Weiss, Natalie Distler. That is, all but one: Haley Cohen happens to be the daughter of Paula Zahn and husband Richard Cohen.