Whoopi Changes Her Mind About Oscar

Whoopi and the Oscars  | Vegas Goes With Rings, Rouge   | Sundance Equals Spirit 

Whoopi Changes Her Mind About Oscar

I did a terrific interview with the warm and funny Whoopi Goldberg two years ago for Talk magazine's Oscar issue. Much of our conversation had to do with Whoopi hosting the Oscars. She'd done it three different times, and told me — with her writer friend Bruce Vilanch on the other end of the line — that she'd never do it again.

So imagine my surprise when it was announced yesterday that Whoopi was hosting this year's Oscars show. Of course, it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind, but this is in just two years.

Here's the exchange as it appeared in Oscar Talk 2000:

Talk: Will you ever host again?

WG: No. I can't do it any better than I did it. There will never be a better entrance for me than Queen Elizabeth. There'll never be a moment higher than being dressed in all that drag from Beloved with that ring on my finger.

Talk: Never? No matter who asks you?

WG: No, I'll never do it again. I loved it, it was a great time. One day I'll present again. But I think it was right for me to do the last one. And right for Billy to do this one. And they'll have a lot of new folks. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of ego management.

I guess that Laura Ziskin, the smart producer of this year's show, made her an offer she couldn't refuse. How much do you want to bet Whoopi will make her appearance on stage as a Hobbit?

Vegas Oddsmakers Go With Rings, Rouge

The Golden Globes are upon us next week, so the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have to make their prognostications. Mind you, the folks at America's Line are choosing just from the Globe nominees and nothing else.

The group chose The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring for Best Drama, Moulin Rouge for musical comedy and actors Russell Crowe, Sissy Spacek, Gene Hackman, and Nicole Kidman to take top acting honors.

I agree with these choices, but just for the Globes, not the Academy Awards. A lot will change between now and the day Oscar nominees are announced, but more importantly, the Globes are no bellwether of the Oscars.

Indeed, last year Tom Hanks won Best Actor in a drama, George Clooney won for comedy and Renee Zellweger won for comedy. None of them won the Oscar, and Clooney and Zellweger weren't even nominated. Additionally, the Globes chose Kate Hudson for Best Supporting Actress, but Marcia Gay Harden took home the Oscar.

A better indicator of the Oscars will be the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Nominations are due shortly. In their short life, the SAG Awards have ably predicted the Oscars simply because their voting blocs overlap. So we'll sit tight and enjoy the Globes next Sunday, but remember they're not the last word on awards.

Sundance Equals Spirit

Everyone in the film biz is off to the Sundance Film Festival today. I'll be reporting from there starting tomorrow.

You may wonder what happens to films that are shown at Sundance. The answer is: plenty. This year's big Oscar contender, In the Bedroom, debuted at Sundance last January, for example.

Now the Independent Spirit Awards — easily the most looked forward to afternoon of the year — have announced their nominees, and the Sundance influence is felt throughout.

Best Picture nominees include Hedwig and the Angry Inch, L.I.E., Memento, Things Behind the Sun, and Waking Life. All but Sun were shown at Sundance.

But Sundance and the Spirit Awards are not limited solely to producers and directors. Among the many fine acting nominations, I want to cite three: Kerry Washington in Lift, Tamara Tunie in The Caveman's Valentine and Billy Kay in L.I.E. Someone should tell Procter and Gamble just how important their remaining soap operas are in New York.

Tunie has long been a mainstay of As the World Turns while working steadily on shows like Law and Order and NYPD Blue. It's about time she got some attention. And Billy Kay is a teen-ager over on Guiding Light, where he's been learning his craft. Meanwhile, Washington made such a splashy debut last year in Lift, a movie which should have been released already.