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					oscars ’09 o scars ’09 oscars ’09                                                                           o

 Gold Rush                                                Chasing Oscar has become a year-round
                                                          pursuit for movie publicist Peggy Siegal, who
                                                          worked on all the nominated films this year. It
                                                          may have been her 25th trip to the red carpet,
                                                          but Siegal has never lost her enthusiasm for
                                                          movies and the people who make them. Her
                                                          star-studded insider’s guide to Oscar weekend’s
                                                          most glamorous gatherings features indelible
                                                          moments with Elton, Oprah, Ba r b r a ,
   Peggy Siegal
                                                          Madonna, Valentino and more.

                                     by PEGGY SIEGAL                                     Marisa Tomei




 I
            started on the Oscar trail       Kathy Ken n edy and Frank Ma rs h a ll
            last May in Cannes. I saw        deserved recogn i tion.
            Angelina Jolie in T h e            By Decem ber, I was in Ghent, Bel-
            Changeling and that night        gium, for a hip opera ti on. Th en to
            at a dinner in the hills,        Pa ris on crutches for New Year’s Eve,
            having yet to see Ben But-       Prince Andrew’s Royal Lod ge and
 ton, I insisted to Brad Pitt that he        Lord and La dy As tors’ Ginge Ma n or
 and Angelina would be nominated.            for the weekend in England.
 He didn’t know whether to thank             Annabel As tor’s son-in-law Davi d
 me or call security.                        Ca m eron, Con s erva tive Pa rty leader,
    Floating to the Venice Film Festi-       came to lunch and got a crash course
 val, then on to Toronto in Septem-          on the Oscar nominees. I also went
 ber, I went to a scree ning of an           to the Golden Globe s , the SAG
 unknown fable called Slumdog Mil-           Awards and the BA F TAs. I took
 lionaire. I grabbed Danny Boyle’s           notes and got a previ ew of who wi ll
 shoulders, shook him and said,              win every Oscar. Welcome to the
 “Look into my eyes. You have just           year of no surpri s e s .
 won the Oscar.” Fox Searchlight’s
 Peter Ric e, producer Christian             THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19
 Colson, screenwriter Simon Beau-                My room is not ready at the Bev-
 foy and agent Robert Newman, all            erly Hi lls Hotel and I head to the
 standing there, already knew there          Polo lounge . Frank La n gella is in a
 was gold in the Hollywood Hills.            booth with his daugh ter. I tell him
    My of f i ce helped on all the Oscar     he deserves a trophy, he should be
 contenders . The studios thought of         thrill ed to be here and wi ll be back.
 us as Switzerland and we worked             This is not what he wants to hear. He
 endlessly to get people to see these        tells me no matter what the odds, at
 films. Ben Button was positioned as         that very moment before they
 the film to be a t , but became the         announce the wi n n er, you sti ll hope
 most po l a rizing. Popular producers       it’s you. Unable to get lunch quick ly,
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9 oscars ’09 o scars ’09 oscars ’09
                    Sam Mendes,      he leaves to buy his daugh ter an Oscar
                     Ka te Winslet
                                     dress.
                                        Michael Douglas, also staying at the
                                     hotel, appears and denies, with a smile,
                                     he is on the show. He is about to film
                                     the sequel to Wall Street, Money Never
                                     Sleeps, again playing Gordo n Gekko,
                                     the role he won Best Actor for in 1988.
                                        First stop is photographer Tierney
                                     Gearon’s show at the Ace Gallery. Two
                                     sitar players are seated on a Persian rug.
                                     Tierney, an elegant bohemian, is show-
                                     ing double-exposure pictu res of her
                                     four partially-clothed children fathered
                                     by three different men. Admiring her
                                     oversized work are Russell Simmons
                                     and Jean Pigozzi, mingling with art afi-
                                     cionados Diane Keaton, Ben Stil ler
                                     and Lauren Taschen. West Side moms
                                     Jamie Tisch and Crystal Lourd hang
                                     out with East Side socials Kristy Hume
                                     and Donovan Leitch.
                                        I take Englishman Euan Rellie, a
                                     ringer for Jude Law who is dressed in
                                     jeans, for cocktails at Betsy Blooming-
                                     dale’s annual elegant dinner for Nancy
                                     Reagan in her magnificent Holmby
                                     Hills house. Reagan, at 87, arrives with
                                     two escorts and walks with a cane. She
                                     is a bit frail, but still has a commanding
                                     presence with her friends Bob Cola -
                                     cello, Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera,
                                     Dominick Dunne, Calvin Klein and
                                     Wendy Stark, daughter of Hollywood
                                     royalty Ray Stark and granddaughter of
                                     Fanny Brice.
                                        Euan takes me to the invite-only
                                     restaurant, Cecconi’s, West Holly-
                                     wood’s newest eatery, which is owned
                                     and op erated by N ick Jones’ Soho
                                     House. The $6 million-renovated loca-
                                     tion is the old Morton’s, scene of Vanity
                                     Fair’s past parties.
                                         Donna Gigliotti, Oscar-nominated
                                       producer of The Reader, is dining with
                                        director Stephen Daldry, Sir Elton
                                         John and David Furnish. I worm
                                          my way next to Elton and name-
                                           drop his friends Ingrid Sischy and
                                            Billie Jean King. We are off and
                                            running in conversation. I te ll
                                            him I was at the foot of his drive-
                                            way January 2 at Windsor Great
                                            Park in a Range Rover with the
                                            Duke of York, his next-door
                                     neighbor. I be gged the Duk e, a.k.a.
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oscars ’09 o scars ’09 oscars ’09                                                                              o
       Anne Hathaway   Prince Andrew, to drive up and ring         retirement, until he announces his next
                       his bell, but he was horrified at the       project.
                       thought of an unannounced visit. Elton         For years,         Endeavor’s     Ari
                       loves it and tells me next time I’m in      Emmanuel, ICM’s Ed Limato and
                       the area to come right over and he will     CAA’s Bryan Lourd have been rivals
                       show me his 43 dogs. I am amazed he is      for the best press-free party with the
                       so for thcoming. The next day Ingrid        hottest talent. Limato, now at William
                       tells me he thought I was Marisa            Morris, no longer has an agency willing
                       Tomei, but funny nonetheless.               to pay $500,000 for a shindig. This year,
                          Madonna, having snuck in the back        newcomer Sandy Gallin has slipped
                       door, is sitting in the corner with her     into top position. His impromptu
                       22-year-old Brazilian boy to y model        secret dinner for Hugh Jackman is at
                       Jesus Luz, who does not speak one           his new $47 million, 16,000 square foot
                       word of English, along with the rabbi       Bel Air house, which he is hoping to
                       Michael Berg, her Kabbalah Center           flip to the first person who r ings his
                       business partner.                           doorbell and still has $47 million.
                          Harvey Weinstein is wo rking the            Sandy’s houseguests are his best
                       room. Sienna Miller runs into her old       friends     Calvin Klein and Donna
                       flame Rhys Ifans. Milk producer Bruce       Karan. Donna’s best friend is Barbra
                       Cohen, in a milk white suit, is hosting a   Streisand.
                       dinner in the back room for Wrestler           The night before Sandy’s party in his
                       nominee Tomei. Elsewhere, actors Eliz-      house, director Baz Luhrmann played
                       abeth Banks, Eva Longoria, Rufus            the piano and sang “Somewh ere” from


                       Sean kisses Penelope. Penelope kisses Kate.
                       Kate kisses Meryl. Meryl kisses DeNiro and
                                 Amy Adams, and so on.
                       Sewell, Josh Hartnett, Jason Statham;         Georgina
                       directors Andrew Jarecki, Oliver Stone        Chapman
                       and Peter Berg; producers Jason Blum
                       and Lawrence Bender and CAA super
                       agent Br yan Lourd with Bruce Bozzi
                       are all getting free fo od, free Grey
                       Goose martinis and free Perrier Jouet
                       Champagne.

                       FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20
                         The Academy Awards is still the
                       biggest global red-carpet platform fo r
                       luxury brands. Tamara Mellon and
                       Diana Jenkins host a lunch to celebrate
                       Jimmy Choo shoes named “Silent
                       Seduction” and “Naughty Neon.”
                         On the patio are slipp er mavens
                       Elton John with D avid Furnish and
                       Valentino with Giancarlo Giammetti.
                       Elton still waves, knowing I know he
                       knows I am not Marisa Tomei.
                       Valentino has me sit with him to dis-
                       cuss the premiere of his documentary
                       Valentino: The Last Emperor we are
                       organizing at MoMA. He is enjoying
9 oscars ’09 o scars ’09 oscars ’09
                    Penélope Cruz
                                    West Side Sto ry to Ba rbra in the hopes of
                                    getting her to perform the final ph rase in
                                    Jackman’s big song-and-dance nu m ber
                                    on the Oscars. Only Baz would have the
                                    g uts to even attempt the impossible.
                                        Now Barbra sits on a U-shaped
                                    couch in the media ro om next t o
                                    Oprah, Gayle K ing, Leonardo
                                    DiCaprio and Harvey Weinstein, with
                                    Donna Karan and me on her other
                                    side. Babs in a black muumuu wears a
                                    blinding diamond necklace with a
                                    humongous pendant and little makeup
                                    as her adorable white Maltese wiggles
                                    in her lap hysterically kissing her. Jason
                                    Gould hovers be hind. Oprah lounges
                                    in a long black dress. We are all wolfing
                                    down desserts. Harvey and Oprah dis-
                                    cuss their best friend, President
                                    Obama, and the premiere of next year’s
                                    Oscar contender Nine, as a benefit for
                                    their other best friend, humanitarian—
                                    and Madoff victim—Eli Weisel.
                                        Leo, with Is raeli Spo rts Illustra ted cover
                                    gi rl Bar Refaeli, shows off his plastic cig-
                                    arette that all ows one to inhale some
                                    mysterious wh i te air, wh i ch excites Har-
                                    vey. Jackman is holding co u rt in the
                                    k i tch en with his wi fe Deborra - L ee Fur-
                                    ness and his parents, who want to meet
                                    Oprah. Hugh’s fans include David Gef-
                                    fen and Wendi and Ru pert Murdoch,
                                    who bring Kelly and Jay Suga rm a n,
                                    Fox’s Tom Rothman and Jim
                                    G i a n opoulos, Universal’s Ron Meyer
                                    with his very-pregnant daugh ter Jen and
                                    h er husband Tobey Ma g u i re, Mariah
                                    Ca rey, Anna and Graydon Ca rter,
                                    An ders on Cooper, Arianna Huffington,
                                    Fran Lebowi t z, and Ed Limato, who
                                    wh i s pers his party is back on next year.
                                        Sandy’s entire party moves down the
                                    road t o Bryan Lourd’ s, where
                                    paparazzi line the street. Bryan greets
                                    Madonna and Jesus, as well as T om
                                    Cruise without Katie, Penelope Cruz,
                                    Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Demi
                                    Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Bruce
                                    Willis, Jennifer Aniston and John
                                    Mayer, Judd Apatow, Tom Ford, Kathy
                                    Kennedy and Frank M arshall, Jane
                                    Rosenthal, Ed Z wick, Paramount’s
                                    Brad Gr ey, Universal’s David Linde
                                    and James Shamus, Fox Searchlight’s
                                    Peter Rice,         Working T itle’s Eric
                                    Fellner, Sydney and Charles Finch,
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                                        Diana Von
                                                    Sandy Gallin, who brings Oprah and           never seen a spre ad like this. Daldry
                                      Furstenberg   Gayle King. Also there, CAA’s Kevin          encourages Kross to walk around with
                                                    Huvane, Richard Lovett and H ylda            me.
                                                    Queally. She tells me her client Kate           Geffen and Oprah are deep in con-
                                                    Winslet is resting in bed for the biggest    versation as I announce, "This is David
                                                    night of her life. Time magazine has         Kross." No response. "This is the actor
                                                    just predicted Kate’s win on the cover.      in the bathtub with Kate Winslet. Look
                                                        I end my night having bu r gers and      at his eyes." Sudden interest from the
                                                                      l
                                                    f ries with Sony C assics’ Co - Presidents   power couple. Geffen had mistaken my
                                                    Tom Bernard and Mich a el Barker in the      intentions as a fix-up.
                                                    Polo Lounge.                                    George Hamilton with his girlfriend
                                                                                                 Barbara, a German anti-aging doctor,
                                                       SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21                     shares tanning secrets with Valentino.
                                                               Today rivals the Oscars in        Alex von Furstenberg lounges with the
                                                                terms of the sheer volume of     young on the hillside, including Diane’s
                                                                 events.                         model Natalia Vodianova with hus-
                                                                   At the Academy, Mark          band Justin Portman. Stavros Niar-
                                                              Johnson, chairman of the           chos brings Paris Hilton, who creates
                                                             Foreign Language Film Com-          little interest with the A-listers. Also
                                                           mittee, moderates a scholarly dis-    soaking up the sun are Robert De Niro,
                                                       cussion with the nominated direc-         Sean Combs, Uma Thurman with her
                                                    tors. Sony Classics’ Waltz with Bashir is    son Levon, Christian Loub outin,


                                                       George Hamilton with his girlfriend
                                                    Barbara, a German anti-aging doctor, shares
                                                          tanning secrets with Valentino.
                                                    neck and neck with the Japanese film,        Alba and Francesca Clemente, the
                                                    Departures.                                  Kennedy Center’s George Stev ens Jr.,
                                                       At the Film Independent’s Spirit          Jeff Berg, Viacom’s Philippe Dauman,
                                                    Awards in Santa Monica, nominee              Vivi Nevo, Joan Collins, Ron Howard
                                                    Mickey Rourke is asked to take his           and Vanity Fair’s Jane Sarkin.
                                                    shades off by female photographers on
                                                    yet another red carpet. Clearly suffer-         The se venth annual Night Befo re
                                                    ing from vic tory fatigue, he replies,       party benefiting the Motion Picture &
                                                    “Show me your t-ts.” This is exactl y        Television Fund at the Bev erly Hills
                                                    why he will never win an Oscar.              Hotel has always been the most expen-
                                                       Spirit nominees Sean Penn, Richard        sive and toughest ticket in town. I have
                                                    Jenkins, Anne Hathaway, Michelle             never b een, but this year Donna
                                                    Williams, Melissa Leo, Penelope Cruz,        Gigliotti is invited by Jeffrey Katzen-
                                                    James Franco,          Tom M cCarthy,        berg and I am her plus-one.
                                                    Philippe Petit, and Darren Aronofsky            The lounge created over the BHH
                                                    also battle award exhaustion as the          pool w ith a clear tent is stunning.
                                                    power b rokers, moguls, suits, money,        Everyone from 18-year-old Dev Patel,
                                                    friends and family head to Diane and         dripping with girls, to 91-year-old Kirk
                                                    Barry’s stress-free lunch for Graydon        Kerkorian is here. We see Michael
                                                    Carter at their Coldwater Canyon             Douglas and Adrien Brody, both still
                                                    house.                                       denying they are on the show, Steven
                                                       On a perfect sunny day, the lawn is       Spielberg, George Lucas with Mellody
                                                    filled with oriental rugs and pillows,       Hobson, Chris Rock, Tom C ruise,
                                                    picnic tables, and surrounded with an        Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllen-
                                                    endless buffet. I sit on the ground with     haal, Whoopi Goldberg, Daniel Craig,
                                                    Stephen Daldry, David Hare, Peter            Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford,
                                                    Morgan and David Kross, who has              Brian Grazer, Rupert Murdoch, Ben
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            Carolina
                       Stiller, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld,
            Herrera    Sarah Jessica Parker with M atthew
                       Broderick, Amy Poehler and W ill
                       Arnett, Ca m e ron Diaz,          Zooey
                       Deschanel, Sascha Baron Cohen, Seth
                       Rogen, Tina Fey, Overture’s Chris
                       McGurk, Relativity Media’s Ryan
                       Kavanaugh and Variety’s Editor-in-
                       Chief Peter Bart.
                          A sign of the times. No gift bag. No
                       one notices. No one cares.
                          The part y raises $5.5 million and,
                       yes, as their motto says, “In times of
                       change, we continue to take care of our
                       own.”
                          At Charles Finch’s (Peter Finch’s
                       son) and Chanel’s dinner at Madeo,
                       Stephen Daldry and Dav id Hare are
                       drinking at the bar talking about
                       David’s 40-minute solo show, Wall,
                       which Stephen is directing in London.
                       The soliloquy examines the 486-mile
                       barrier that will be e rected b etween
                       Israel and the West Bank. At the dinner
                       tables are Claire Danes and H ugh
                       Dancy, Selma Blair, Camilla Belle ,
                       Milla Jovovich, Ben Silverman next to
                       Marjorie Gubelmann, Tory Burch and
                       Lyor Cohen, Vanessa Getty, Eric Fell-        Sir Elton
                       ner, Daniel Battsek, Fred Iseman and         John, David
                                                                    Furnish
                       manager John Carrabino.
                          Harvey and         Bob Weinstein,        mink Dennis Basso jacket. I am pick-
                       Valentino and Giancarlo host a “bipar-      ing up real estate mogul and first-time
                       tisan” afterparty at the Andaz Hotel        film producer Charles Cohen of Frozen
                       rooftop. Magnums of Moet champagne          River. He is given one ticket to the show
                       with The Reader labels are flowing.         and the Governor’s Ball.
                       Food is everywhere. Private palapas, lit-      His tall, gorgeous, English wife Clo, a
                       tle bungalows, surround the pool. Such      former Jimmy Choo executive, is using
                       an exciting environment to celebrate        my extra seat. The Cohens have never
                       five nominations for my favorite Holo-      been to the Oscars. I have been to the
                       caust film. Those who party into the        carpet at least 25 times so ther e is a
                       night are Georgina Chapman, Chase           marked difference in our anxiety level.
                       Crawford, Dita von T eese, Elle                We arr ive at the 81st Academy
                       MacPherson, Emile Hirsch, Jennifer          Awards at the Kodak Theatre. I lead
                       Lopez, Jessica Alba, Marion Cotillard,      them through the left side of security
                       Mickey Rourke, Twilight’s Rob Pattin-       and we are nose to nose with Seal and
                       son, and Wolfgang Puck. Their Nazi          Heidi Klum. I chat Heidi up and we
                       camp guard is still home resting.           follow their bodyguards onto the
                                                                   mother of all red carpets.
                       SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22                            With the world economy in turmoil,
                         One more day of dressing up and we        glamour lives in Hollywood tonight as
                       can all go home and relax.                  well it should. The circus is in full
                         A baby blue/gray stretch limo fetches     swing. The caged-in press on the left
                       me at 3 p.m. The car matches my grey        scream, “Who are you wearing?” The
                       chiffon Marchesa gown, designed by          helicopters whirl abo ve. Every acto r
                       Georgina Chapman and the pale grey          previously mentioned at the parties is
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oscars ’09 oscars ’09 oscars ’09                                                                                                    o
 Tamara Mellon
                                                                                                                      Madonna




                                          Once again, Graydon is king of the we e kend.
                                          here scrubbed, polished and assaulted        chihuahua loss, the Oscar belongs to
                                          on all sid es as their personal pr ess       Sean. Six children flown in from Mum-
                                          agents calmly guide them to the global       bai clearly steal the show.
                                          media. They have 20 minutes to pose,               Penélope Cruz glides in, having
                                          knowing these pictu res will define          survived an emotionally gr ueling year
                                          them for a year of tabloid fodder. Kate      of nomination ups and downs against
                                          Winslet’s arrival, her sixth, is electric.   Winslet. Woody Allen, having just won
                                          She is radiant and clutching husband         his first Indie Spirit Award for the Vicky
                                          Sam Mendes. Her parents, Sally and           Cristina screenplay, is simultaneously
                                          Roger, are in tow and she is, as Stephen     having his weekly 6 p.m. Sunday dinner
                                          Daldry co nfirms later, riddled with         with the Ezerskys in their Park Avenue
                                          fear. Anne Hathaway and Sean Penn            apartment and refuses to watch the
                                          also bring their parents. Some say it’s a    show. When Penelope does win, she is
                                          dog race between Sean and Mickey, but        the one who calls Woody to say ,
                                          with no disrespect to Mickey’s tragic        “Thank you.”
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        Ushers demand we take our seats.           Ston e, in a see-through bl ack lace dress,   and M ick Jagger hover around with
     G on gs and bu z zers go off and ch a ri s-   tells us she is going to Af rica to work on   Anna and Graydon Carter.
     m a tic Hu gh Jackman explodes on the         water puri f i c a ti on. We see Victori a       Once again Graydon is king of the
     stage.                                        Beckham, Kate Beckinsale, Elle                weekend . . . somehow he has more
        Director Bill Condon and producer          MacPhers on and designer Ozwald               movie stars than the actual awards cer-
     Larry Mark put on the best Academy            Boaten g, Eva Lon goria, Smokey Robin-        emony. His party is always the greatest
     Awards in years. My favorite moments          s on and Jamie Niven. Four million do l-      gathering of the famous.
     are the personal t ributes during the         lars is raised.                                  Carlos Souza takes me to breakfast
     acting nominations. My biggest disap-            Pellegrino has just spilled onto my        in the coffee shop of the Beverly Hills
     pointment is Bennett Miller’s opening         Blackberry and I am without a lifeline.       Hotel that Graydon has arranged to
     film being cut for time.                      At the Vanity Fair party at the Sunset        keep open. Ingrid Sischy, Alba and
        As predicted, Slumdog sweeps. Danny        Tower Hotel, the dinner tables have           Francesco Clemente, Fran L ebowitz
     Boyle, Christian Colson, Simon Beau-          long been cleared and the ce lebrity          and my neighbor Lisa Robinson pig
     foy, Dev Patel, Frieda Pinto and every-       tribe has migrated to dance. Sean kisses      out on bacon and scrambled eggs.
     one at Fox Searchlight ran a perfect,         Penelope. Penelope kisses Kate. Kate             Fran does a rou tine on why does
     clean and classy race that will be stud-      kisses Meryl. Meryl kisses DeNiro and         Sandy Gallin, who lives alone, need five
     ied for years. They did everything right      Amy Adams, and so on. Nicole Kid-             identical washing machines in the
     and deserve the eight statuettes, which       man, Will Smith, Halle Berr y and             laundry room of his $47 million house.
     Beaufoy calls “the most famous piece of       Reese Witherspoon drink and                   Barry Diller and David Geffen do not
     sculpture in the Western World.”              schmooze. Caryn and Jeff Zucker, Ron          have five identical washing machines.
        We head to Elton John’s AIDS benefit       Perelman, Sony’s Rob Wiesenthal,              What could Sandy possibly wash?
     at the Pacific De s i gn Cen ter. Sharon      Barry Diller, Diane Von Furstenberg              I reminisce and tell the story how
                                                                                                 years ago Ron Silver told me Christo-
                                                                                                 pher Reeve was making his first
        Ru p e rt and Wendi                                                                      appearance after his accident on the
        Murdoch
                                                                                                 Oscars. I was sworn to secrecy. I told
                                                                                                 my dear friend, the late entertainment
                                                                                                 reporter Claudia Cohen, who spilled
                                                                                                 the beans the Friday before the Oscars
                                                                                                 on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. It was
                                                                                                 a huge story.
                                                                                                    The night of the awards Claudia and
                                                                                                 I ran to the Governors Ball early and
                                                                                                 who was in the vast empty ballroom?
                                                                                                 Chris Reeve was sitting all alone in his
                                                                                                 wheelchair. I was consumed with emo-
                                                                                                 tion, having not seen him since the fall.
                                                                                                 I kissed his face and he said, “You told.”
                                                                                                 I looked straight at him and lied. “The
                                                                                                 bellboy told her.” People spit out their
                                                                                                 coffee.

                                                                                                 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23
                                                                                                    A friend gives me a ride home on his
                                                                                                 jet with Andre Balazs, and Vogue’s Alex
                                                                                                 Kotur and Shelley Wanger.
                                                                                                    Nothing makes me happier than
                                                                                                 going to the Oscars. This is the year a
                                                                                                 fairytale in Hindi took home eight
                                                                                                 awards, and earned close to $150 mil-
                                                                                                 lion. Box office is up 17 per cent. In
                                                                                                 troubled times, we all love to sit in the
                                                                                                 dark and transport ourselves into cine-
                                                                                                 matic paradise.
                                                                                                    I make a reservation to ret urn to
                                                                                                 Cannes. !
                                                                                                            APRIL 2009 · AVENUE MAG A Z I N E | TK

				
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