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Hollywood's Gold Rush

Aired February 27, 2005 - 19:00   ET


SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a knock down, drag out as Hollywood heavyweights go for Oscar's big prize. The Oscars get ready to rock, but is the provocative host making some people nervous?
The stars try out their best material on the world's biggest runway and nibbling on the nominees, Oscar contenders find out how their cookie crumbles. It's Oscar time in Hollywood with statuettes at stake. Join us on the red carpet for Hollywood's gold rush.

You are looking at a live picture of Hollywood Boulevard where the stars are arriving for the 77th annual Academy Awards. Hi everybody and welcome to our special coverage of the Oscars. I'm Sibila Vargas. We'll be coming to you for the next hour with all the excitement from the world's biggest awards show. Down on the red carpet is my co-host Karyn Bryant of Headline Prime's SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Karen, how you doing down there?

KARYN BRYANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sibila, I am doing fantastic. I'm here with Laura Linney, her second nomination for best actress, while this time she's up for supporting actress of course for "Kinsey." Laura, welcome and how do you feel to be representing the film tonight?

LAURA LINNEY, OSCAR NOMINEE: I'm very, very proud to be here. I'm proud to represent Bill Condon (ph) and Liam Neeson and Peter Sarsgard (ph) and Tim Curry and the entire cast. It's a thrill.

BRYANT: Do you think that the fact, the subject matter is a little risque for some, do you think that that had an effect on the nominations at all and why perhaps Liam wasn't recognized?

LINNEY: You know, I have no idea. You never know and there were a lot of wonderful performances this year and I'm fortunately, it fell the way that it did. But I know that Liam is with me, certainly as far as I'm concerned every second of my journey through this evening. So I'm going to raise the "Kinsey" banner high and proud to be its representative.

BRYANT: And how much weight did you gain and lose for that role?

LINNEY: A little over 20 pounds.

BRYANT: Well, you look lovely. Your dress was made by who?

LINNEY: Jay Mendel (ph).

BRYANT: Thanks very much, Laura, good luck to you, Laura Linney of course up for "Kinsey," best supporting actress. Back to you Sibila.

VARGAS: That's right and imagine, being able to add those words to your resume, Academy Award winner. That's the exciting prospect facing tonight's nominees. Now to find out who's going to win, we turn to Larry Hackett, deputy managing editor of "People" magazine. Larry, let's talk about the best picture, keep hearing about "Million Dollar Baby" and "The Aviator."

LARRY HACKETT, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: There's a lot of hot races and that race is probably the hottest. "Million Dollar Baby" of course is the Clint Eastwood movie that's got a lot of attention lately. It's up against "The Aviator" which has the most nominations with 11, big, big production. Martin Scorsese directing it, Leo DiCaprio. It was sort of the odds on favorite, but in the past three or four months, been a lot of attention to "Million Dollar Baby." The critical reviews for "Million Dollar Baby" have been incredible. The awards been flowing in, what with (INAUDIBLE) and Golden Globes and what not. It's going to be a very, very tight one and I think it's going to be "Million Dollar Baby." I think that the Academy will split between that and Martin Scorsese, I think "Million Dollar Baby" is going to (INAUDIBLE).

VARGAS: Two different, very different movies. I mean "The Aviator," very big, very grand, Hollywood as well.

HACKETT: Exactly, but when you talk to people, not a lot, there's appreciation for it, but not a lot of fondness for it, not a lot of - I really love that movie, whereas "Million Dollar Baby" a smaller movie and people feel very, very emotional about it. They all say, I love that picture, with what it's about. I don't want to give it away here, but those who've seen it are very, very moved by it and I think...

VARGAS: It lingers with you.

HACKETT: Absolutely and I think that's what people are looking for and again the momentum is what this is all about. I mean how many voters attended last week? I think (INAUDIBLE) going to pull it out.

VARGAS: All right. Well, let's talk about best actor category, keep on hearing about Jamie Foxx being the man, but we've got Leo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp again back this year.

HACKETT: There's only one sure thing tonight and it's Jamie Foxx, no question about it. He is someone that everybody has love. He's won all the awards thus far, Golden Glove, SAG. His speeches have been great. This guy is working it. He's been out every night around here. It's everything that Oscar movies ought to be. It's an amazing performance. It's up and down and he's a shoo-in. There's no two ways about it. (INAUDIBLE) but he really wanted to do it, but he's a shoo- in.

VARGAS: This poor guy, so sorry for them, because everybody's talking about Foxx (INAUDIBLE) talk of the town for the last, how many months? Now let's talk about the actress category. HACKETT: Another tight one. It's between Annette Bening and Hilary Swank and it is in many ways a rematch of 1999, when Swank in "Boys Don't Cry" really upset Annette Bening, who was in "American Beauty." People didn't really expect it. Now you have the same (INAUDIBLE). They see it as another rematch.

VARGAS: But "Being Julia," Annette Bening in that film, not many people saw that. Now how does that play in something like this?

HACKETT: I think it's going to hurt. I think most people want to see pictures that they've seen and the fact of the matter is, "Million Dollar Baby" has all the attention. They appreciate Annette Bening. She's married to Warren Beatty, who's a guy who has one of the biggest Rolodex's in town and you know he's been campaigning for his wife. But again I think that Hilary Swank's going to pull it out.

VARGAS: Well, Larry, a lot of people think that the race is between those two actors, that it comes to two contenders, Hilary Swank versus Annette Bening and those who know their Oscar history can tell you, this one's a rematch.


VARGAS (voice-over): In this corner, weighing in with almost 20 feature films, three Oscar nominations and one very famous husband, Annette "Being Julia" Bening. And in this corner, weighing in with more than a dozen films, one Academy Award and one slightly less famous husband, Hilary "Million Dollar Baby" Swank. The Oscar heavy- weights face off for best actress gold, a rematch of their original bout five years ago.

Back then, the statue made its way to Swank's mantle for her work in "Boys Don't Cry" beating out Annette Bening's performance in "American Beauty." This time around, Bening plays a prima donna theater actress in "Being Julia" while Swank plays a boxer.

HILARY SWANK, BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE: It's so rare I think to be nominated with someone and then be nominated again only a few years later.

ANNETTE BENING, BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE: It's a funny coincidence, I think.

VARGAS: As far as Annette and Hilary are concerned, the battle exists only in the media. The only jabs they're taking at each other are compliments.

SWANK: Annette is such an inspiration.

BENING: She's fantastic.

SWANK: She is, I've had the opportunity to meet her and she's so generous and lovely.

BENING: I love the movie, "Million Dollar Baby," and I loved Hilary Swank. VARGAS: The only gloves worn at this year's Oscars will likely be made of satin.

SWANK: I think in the end there's so many other great performances this year and just to talk about us is just unfair to them.

BENING: Whatever happens.


VARGAS: And we're certainly going to see what happens tonight at the Academy Awards. Now Karyn, she's down on the red carpet. Karyn, I hear that you've gotten Natalie Portman for us.

BRYANT: I do. I'm here with Natalie Portman, up for best supporting actress for her role in "Closer." Natalie, how important is it for you to play against type? People are saying this was really kind of an unusual role for you.

NATALIE PORTMAN, OSCAR NOMINEE: Well, a really challenging role emotionally and physically and also, I mean, obviously to be working with Julia Roberts and Judd Law and Clive Owen and (INAUDIBLE) and Mike Nichols directing you, you're sort of just on pressure, under pressure every day to just to meet the very level of work.

BRYANT: And it certainly elevates your game, which I have a feeling, after it was on the stage too, to turn it into a film, how did that affect it, knowing that it has already been in a certain incarnation before?

PORTMAN: Yeah, it was interesting because we had to think about what works on film rather than stage and the ending was changed and all of that and Clive had actually been in the play, playing the other role, so he had a lot of sort of input and insight into what they did in the play.

BRYANT: Now I know you often wear (INAUDIBLE) and what are you wearing tonight?


BRYANT: You look great and congratulations on your nomination and I look forward to see you in "Star Wars" because I'm a big fan.

PORTMAN: Good night.

BRYANT: Sibila, of course, Natalie Portman right there, up for best supporting actress for her role in "Closer," looking lovely as she usually does.

VARGAS: As usual. She certainly does look lovely and let's talk about the supporting actress category. Natalie Portman was just on the red carpet. What are her chances here? I mean Cate Blanchett walked off the SAG awards. HACKETT: I've got to be honest. Natalie Portman's chances are pretty remote. I think it's going to be about Cate Blanchett. It's something from "The Aviator," the great role. She's of course playing a Hollywood icon in Katherine Hepburn. If she does win, it would be the first time somebody won an Oscar award playing an Oscar winner. It happened with Robert Downey being nominated in the early 1990s playing Chaplin, but she would be the first one to take it away.

VARGAS: Supporting actor category?

HACKETT: Support actress Karyn is another great tight one, Thomas Haden Church in "Sideway," huge affectionate favorite, a guy who was really off the radar and then he comes back. He won yesterday at the independent spirit awards. There's great affection for him. On the other hand, there's even greater affection for Morgan Freeman. It's his fourth nomination. He's never won. People love him. He's 67 years old and I think there's a real feeling in town that it's time.

VARGAS: All right. Hold on. Hold that thought for a second, because Karyn Bryant, Karyn Bryant, I hear you got Taylor Hackford, director of "Ray."

BRYANT: Well, right now Sibila, I'm here - we've got Regina King and Taylor Hackman, he'll be joining momentarily. But Regina, I want to talk to you, what did you find the most incredible thing about Jamie's performance in this film?

REGINA KING: Oh, just the fact that he was just fearless. I mean for him to actually wear the prosthetics over his eyes while we were shooting. I know the first time he did it, he kind of hyperventilated a little. I mean it was scary, so I think just his fearlessness, just amazing.

BRYANT: Taylor Hackford, we (INAUDIBLE)

KING: about this whole process for me. He's been on my wish list for years and I finally got to work with him.

BRYANT: Well, Taylor, we were just talking about Jamie's fearlessness in taking on this role. He much of that did you have to direct and how much of that really was just him channeling as Ray?

TAYLOR BACKFORD, OSCAR NOMINEE: When Jamie and I decided early on to become partners in this project, I needed his input and his African-American experience, my entire cast for this. But on the other hand, there were a lot of things that I could him and asked him to do and I said, you know, from the very beginning, if you put yourself in my hands and I ask you to do something, it's not because I'm a sadist. It's because this will help you get there and the man committed to me 100 percent. So the work that we did in anticipation of this and at the very beginning of the film when he really listened, all of a sudden, they could see him kind of take control, be possessed by Ray Charles. And as the film went on, it was easier and easier for us to work together. We developed a shorthand that it was just almost a couple of words. BRYANT: OK, great, well congratulations to you on a job well done. "Ray" of course up for best picture, Taylor Hackford, Regina King, thanks for joining us here on CNN. "Ray" was a fantastic movie. Sibila back to you.

VARGAS: Absolutely, very fantastic and also did you see P. Diddy coming down that line?

BRYANT: Diddy.

VARGAS: Yes Diddy was up there. Well, coming up, we'll talk about the most suspenseful part of the night. It's not P. Diddy. It's not who's going to win, but what is Chris Rock going to say? And the stars quiz you on your Oscar knowledge. Take a look.


CATE BLANCHETT: The shortest performance to earn an Oscar totaled less than eight minutes of screen time. Who was the performer and what was the film (INAUDIBLE)?




BLANCHETT: The shortest performance to earn an Oscar totaled less than eight minutes of screen time. Who was the performer and what was the film? The answer, Judy Dench (ph) in "Shakespeare in Love." She played Queen Elizabeth.

BRYANT: Welcome back to Hollywood's gold rush. We are live around the world, which luckily includes Colombia. I have got Catalina Sandino Moreno with me now. She is nominated for best actress for playing a Colombian drug deal in the movie, "Maria Full of Grace." Catalina, welcome and congratulations. It's your very first film. Where did it go from here? You got an Oscar nomination?

CATALINA SANDINO MORENO, OSCAR NOMINEE: I don't know. That's the scary part, because I don't know. I have to keep up with Maria and it's very difficult.

BRYANT: Have you see now more scripts coming your way now that you've made such an impact with your first film?

MORENO: They're wonderful and I'm happy but I'm taking my time with this. I want to do this good and I am doing it and I'll be - tomorrow I'll just have to keep reading scripts because the end for "Maria Full of Grace."

BRYANT: Who made your dress tonight?


BRYANT: Great. Well, thank you very much for joining us. I want to talk to - have you guys met before?

SEAN "P. DIDDY" COMBS: My name is Sean Combs.

MORENO: Catalina, nice to meet you.

COMBS: Nice to meet you.

BRYANT: Nice to meet you too.

COMBS: She looks beautiful tonight.

BRYANT: So welcome of course to CNN. We did a nice special on you on your SHOWBIZ TONIGHT show the other day. How are you feeling about Chris's chances tonight? How do you think he's going to do?

COMBS: I think he's going to knock it out the park. He's been so focused. I'm so proud of him. It's an honor to be at it. This is not just history. It's really black history also and it's revolutionizing the Oscars. I did the commercial with him for the Oscars and also I designed his tuxedo tonight. So it's a great night. I designed his tuxedo too, so I'm here as a designer, also as a struggling actor.

BRYANT: Well, it's a great night for black actors tonight, so we're going to go and root for them. Have a great evening.

COMBS: All right. Thank you very much.

BRYANT: Sibila, it's just getting packed out here with the big A listers. Send it on up to the break (ph) so I can take a breather.

VARGAS: It certainly is getting hot down there. Now you can bet members of the Academy are on pins and needles right now, not over who's going to win, but over what is Chris Rock going to say. We know Puff Daddy likes him. The Oscar host takes the stage in about an hour but CNN's top culture correspondent Toure has all, has been racking (ph) it out. I mean exactly you've bumped into him in your hotel room, didn't you?

TOURE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did. I saw him in the hallway of the Renaissance Hotel. He's wearing his Yankee's hat all low. I said, hey, are you nervous, excited? How you feeling? He said, hey, I got a gig.

VARGAS: He's got a gig. We like that. We like to work. But is he the right choice though?

TOURE: Oh, absolutely. I mean who else will drive people to their sets (ph), make them want to watch the Oscars, right, people who wouldn't normally watch the Oscars, will watch to see what Rock's going to say.

VARGAS: And that's why they brought him along.

TOURE: Absolutely, makes the Oscars younger, hipper, a little edgier, brings it out to people who wouldn't normally want to watch.

VARGAS: And I think that with all this controversy, I mean isn't it going to make more people watch?

TOURE: OK, All right. Listen, this year, Rock is the host. He's the...

VARGAS: He's the host and you know what, he's wonderful and you like him so...

TOURE: Absolutely.

VARGAS: Let's take a look at this package.


CHRIS ROCK: If you're black, you got to look at America a little different. If you're black, America's like the uncle that paid your way through college but molested you.

TOURE (voice-over): Chris Rock is one of the most unpredictable mouths in show biz.

ROCK: Look at this crowd. It's like the million white man march here today.

TOURE: Now the motion picture academy is passing the host mike to Rock, hoping he'll help the Oscars avoid the rating slide other awards shows have had.

GIL CATES, PRODUCER, 77TH ACADEMY AWARDS: He really is someone who is very adept at dealing with an audience of people under 40, funny, irreverent.

NELSON GEORGE, FMR PRODUCER, CHRIS ROCK SHOW: The reason the Oscars have him there, Oscars will have him hosting the show is not to make Warren Beatty laugh. They have him there to make Joe Six Pack laugh.

TOURE: In an interview with "Entertainment Weekly," Rock's comment that straight black men don't watch the Oscars, may have unnerved some Academy members, but not the show's producer.

CATES: ...Chris. In the sense that he's a comedian, he's supposed to make people laugh and he gets bombarded for doing that.

TOURE: Rock appeared on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno to clarify his remarks.

ROCK: I was quoted in the magazine as saying only gay people watch the Oscars. I did not say that. I said only gay people watch the Tonys.

TOURE: And he sounded surprised over the brouhaha about his recent interviews.

ROCK: I think I'm just doing a gig. I'm like OK. (INAUDIBLE) I act like I'm playing yuck yucks (INAUDIBLE) people are really - don't you disrespect the Oscars. (END VIDEOTAPE)

TOURE: Sibila, a source told me it was at Rock's urging that Prince, Puffy and Beyonce were added to the show and there's going to be a taped segment where Rock goes to the Magic Johnson theater and asks regular folks about the Oscar nominees. He's so great with that on the street comedy. We're also hearing that Robin Williams, who's presenting tonight, planned to do a song parodying the Sponge Bob Square Pants gay controversy, but ABC balked. So that's not going to be in the show, but they're giving Chris Rock creative license to do pretty much whatever he wants.

VARGAS: Well, that's going to be interesting. I guess it's fair to say that the Academy's got its fingers crossed over Chris. Thank you so much Toure. And coming up, more live interviews with stars. Plus we'll put the spotlight on fashion and the very fashionable Hilary Swank's got an Oscar trivia question for you.


HILARY SWANK: In 1979, this actress won an Oscar for playing an Oscar loser. Who was she? The answer coming up.




SWANK: In 1979, this actress won an Oscar for playing an Oscar loser. Who was she? The answer, Maggie Smith. The film, "California Suite."


BRYANT: It's Hollywood's gold rush out here now on the red carpet with Sophie Okonedo. She is nominated for best supporting actress for "Hotel Rwanda." Sophie, congratulations first and foremost. Who are you wearing tonight?


BRYANT: Well, it looks great. I want to know, you said you were at the museum when you found out that you were nominated. Do you remember what you were looking at?

OKONEDO: (INAUDIBLE) we were just chatting, you know, it was cold outside so we went in because it was cold outside.

BRYANT: I was imagining perhaps now this would - you would buy this and it would be your favorite piece of art.

OKONEDO: No matter, what it would be well beyond my pay packet.

BRYANT: How has your nomination affected your career, script wise and opportunity wise? OKONEDO: The career, affected enormously, just from the film coming out here. But it certainly helped the amount of stuff coming in (INAUDIBLE).

BRYANT: Well, good luck to you. Thanks for joining us. Sophie Okonedo and she is up for best supporting actress. She of course played opposite Don Cheadle in "Hotel Rwanda." Sibila.

VARGAS: And she does look lovely. But take a look at the Oscar statue and you may notice that he's not wearing any clothes, which is ironic, because this event is so much about what the people are wearing. For more insight on this year's look, we talked to "People" magazine's style watcher, (INAUDIBLE).


UNKNOWN: Watching the red carpet this awards season, it's become clear than the overall trend is to wear a dress that has a very simple silhouette, but that will have either a dramatic color or perhaps some beading or you'll have amazing shoes or over the top jewelry or an embellished bag.

In terms of hair, wavy hair is a big trend. High pony tails is another big trend. Hilary Swank wore one very high, very elegant pony tail with her Calvin Klein dress to the Golden Globes. Jennifer Garner had a pony tail that she wore a diamond clip of at the SAG. One person who typifies the look that we've been seeing on the red carpet is Nicole Kidman at the Golden Globes. She wore a peacock blue gown that was cut very close to the body, a very simple silhouette. At the Golden Globes, many people wore chocolate brown. Then at the SAG awards, a lot of women wore black dresses, big dramatic black dresses, so I think at the Oscars we'll barely see any black dresses at all.

Everyone puts a lot of care into their other awards show look, but that's sort of leading up to the Oscars. That's the homecoming dance and the Oscars are the prom.

After an awards ceremony, everyone's always talking about (INAUDIBLE) and Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Gardner and Cate Blanchett. She always looks like an elegant old Hollywood actress. Kate Winslet tends to favor bright colors and body hugging shapes. Hilary Swank likes simple clean silhouettes with "Sideways" Virginia Madsen has really leapt back into the public eye. Catalina Sandino Moreno is one of the fresh new faces. A lot of the (INAUDIBLE) will compete to dress her.

Often, Oscar watchers remember the dress the person wore long after they remember who won the award.

VARGAS: And joining me now to talk fashion is stylist supreme, the one, the only Phillip Block. What are you liking out there Phillip?

PHILLIP BLOCH, STYLIST: Oh, I'm loving it. Did you see Emmy Roson (ph) in that Ralph Lauren, was so gorgeous, strapless, burgundy, amazing and I had lunch today with Andre Leontelli (ph), who dressed Sophia from "Hotel Rwanda" and Rochaugh (ph), French designer. We're seeing a lot of new designers on the red carpet this year.

VARGAS: Is that what this is all - I mean really about this year, do you think, the new designers, because.

BLOCH: Definitely.

VARGAS: The Valentino, the Calvin Klein, all of those. I mean those are established, but now I'm hearing this names that I've never heard before.

BLOCH: Well, funny you should mention that, because Cate Blanchett will be in Valentino this evening and they signed an exclusive deal.

VARGAS: Hold that thought. Hold that thought. Is this true? Karyn, do you have Leo DiCaprio with you right now?

BRYANT: Sibila, in fact I do. I'm here with Leonardo DiCaprio, nominated for best actor of course for "The Aviator," the most celebrated film in nomination. How did you finally get Marty to direct this movie?

LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, OSCAR NOMINEE: You know, it wasn't that long of a process. We worked on "Gangs of New York" together for nine months, great camaraderie and I have a great amount of respect for him as a director and I found this piece of material, didn't find it, I developed it for eight years and brought it to him and I don't think there's anyone else in the world that can capture a complicated multi- dimensional haunted character like this better than Martin Scorsese on film. He's done it so many times in the past and he immediately said yes even though he's petrified of flying.

BRYANT: Well, what's incredible about Martin Scorsese, he's one of those guys that you just assume has Oscars and yet he doesn't. Do you think tonight he's finally going to get one?

DiCAPRIO: Do I think? I hope. That's all you can really do because the Oscars a huge surprise. There's always going to be an upset. There's always going to be something nobody ever expected. You can never truly predict it and of course, I'm open for the best for him, man. I truly am. He deserves it more than anyone.

BRYANT: And who are you wearing tonight? Because the men don't get enough fashion love.

DiCAPRIO: Prada, I'm wearing a little nice Prada suit.

BRYANT: Another Prada. One last question. If you could have been in any of the other films that are up for best picture this year, which one would you have been in?

DiCAPRIO: The best picture this year.

BRYANT: Or any of them actually.

DiCAPRIO: Maybe Hilary Swank's part in "Million Dollar Baby" would have been good.


DiCAPRIO: "Sideways" is a great movie too, hey, "Hotel Rwanda," I don't know if I could have played anybody, but it's a tough question to answer.

BRYANT: All right. Leonardo, thank you for joining us. Congratulation to you on your nomination. It's "The Aviator." Of course he really nailed the role of Howard Hughes. He's up for an Oscar for best actor, "The Aviator," the most nominated picture here at this - Sibila, back to you.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nice giving the men fashion love. Coming up more live interviews with the stars as they arrive for the 77th annual Academy Awards. And think you know your Oscar history? Well, the stars of "Sideways" have a question for you.


PAUL GIAMATTI: Only two show biz families can claim three generations of Oscar winners. Who are they Tom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The answer coming up.

GIAMATTI: Correct.




... you were so rudely interrupted. I asked you, only two show biz families can claim three generation of Oscar winners. Who are they Tom?

THOMAS HADEN CHURCH: Well, Paul, the ruggedly handsome Houston family, Walter of course, John and... The second is the ruggedly Italian handsome family (INAUDIBLE) father Carmine, son Francis (INAUDIBLE) and granddaughter Sophia.


VARGAS: Welcome back to our live coverage of the 77th annual Academy Awards. I'm Sibila Vargas. The red carpet is crowded with stars now an hour before the show begins. And my co-host Karyn Bryant is right in the thick of it. Karyn, any ogres (ph)? I know you got some really great people down there.

BRYANT: I'm down here right now with Mike Myers and his wife Robin. Mike, "Shrek" is just a phenomenon. How did you - I mean (INAUDIBLE) involved in this project. Did you just jump for joy?

MIKE MYERS: I ran into Jeffrey Katzenberg at the premier of "Saving Private Ryan." He said would you ever do an animated movie? And I said sure, I'd love to and I said, what's it called? And he said "Shrek." I said change the title. It will never do good.

BRYANT: It's not going to play in Peoria.

MYERS: No one knows what "Shrek" is. It's a bad title. So never listen to me.

BRYANT: And you know, Adam Durst (ph) was on our program not too long ago, up for best original song for "Accidentally in Love." How do you feel about their chances tonight?

MYERS: I think that America is in love with it and it's no accident. Hi, I'm Mike Myers.

BRYANT: And you have to live with that every night. You're a strong woman. What do you think, what do you think about Chris Rock tonight? Because as a comedian, you know that people are not always going to love every joke you tell. People are not always going to be happy that you're picking on them. What do you think about the flak about Chris being the host this year?

MYERS: I think it's much to do about nothing and I think that Chris Rock is a brilliant comedic mind and he's one of the funniest guys I've ever hung around with both professionally and personally and I think it's a genius choice and I think he's going to knock it out of the park.

BRYANT: Well, Mike and "Shrek" of course obviously up for best animated feature. One day the animateds will get in with the real pictures, so won't they?

MYERS: Well, yes, it will soon.

BRYANT: Not that they're not real.

MYERS: One brain cell (ph) at time we'll take over.

BRYANT: Mike and Robin, thanks for joining us. Good luck tonight. And Sibila back to you. He's just a super star, but he's just a humble guy at the same time, Mike Myers.

VARGAS: Karyn it seems like the consensus is that Chris Rock is going to do a great job tonight.

BRYANT: Of course he is. It's Chris Rock. He is the preeminent comedian. I don't care if you believe in some of the politics or some of the things that he says, the man is brilliantly funny and I think he's going to bring a lot of spirit and a lot of levity to a night that sometimes gets a little bit too serious.

VARGAS: I wonder what he's going to wear, because as you heard, Toure was saying something about him wearing a little hat, but that was in the hotel. I think he's probably going to be very fashionable.

BRYANT: I would imagine.

VARGAS: Talking about fashion, we've got (INAUDIBLE) extraordinaire, Phillip Bloch, thank you so much for joining us. Talk about the fashion.

PHILLIP BLOCH, STYLIST: Well, Jamie Foxx is actually supposed to be in a purple (INAUDIBLE) suit.

VARGAS: No way.

BLOCH: You got to be a winner in purple.

VARGAS: That's a royal color.

BLOCH: That is the royal color.

VARGAS: You know, the last time I spoke to him, he said, no, he wasn't going to make anything, no big fuss about getting dressed. I didn't believe it.

BLOCH: I've been to five parties of his this week. He's making a fuss and we're loving it.

VARGAS: We're loving it. Who's the best person to dress I mean in your opinion.

BLOCH: Vivica Fox and Halle Berry are my two favorites, absolutely.

VARGAS: I wonder why.

BLOCH: Sexy, sexy. It's all about sexy, great bodies and great personalities. You know, the women have to have a great personality to carry off all these clothes. Designers can give you a gorgeous gown, but if you don't have the charisma like Vivica or Halle, you can't carry it off.

VARGAS: And the curves too.

BLOCH: And the curves.

VARGAS: It's not all about just being thin and a waif anymore. You've got a full figured women. I mean you've got Imelda Staunton. Imelda's (INAUDIBLE)

BLOCH: And Beyonce.

VARGAS: Beyonce.

BLOCH: Amazing in that Versace dress, absolutely stunning.

VARGAS: And she's going to be performing three songs tonight.

BLOCH: She is going to hit it tonight.

VARGAS: I think she's going to get more airtime than anybody else, really.

BLOCH: And she should. I'm all about Beyonce. VARGAS: All right. Well, hold off a second, because coming up, I want to ask you, would you like to nibble on a nominee. I know I would.

BLOCH: I have.

VARGAS: You have. Well, I'm not going to get into that. We'll explain how you can plus more interviews live from the red carpet. And Glenn Close has an Oscar trivia question for you.


GLENN CLOSE: In 1968, two women tied for best actress. Who were they?




CLOSE: In 1968, two women tied for the Oscar. Who were they? Katherine Hepburn for "Lion in Winter" and Barbra Streisand for "Funny Girl."


VARGAS: Welcome back to our special coverage of the 77th annual Academy Awards. I'm Sibila Vargas and Karyn Bryant is on the red carpet right now with a Hollywood heavyweight, Hilary Swank. Karyn.

BRYANT: That's right Sibila. I'm joined with - by Hilary Swank. It's your second time here. You won of course before for "Boys Don't Cry" up for best actress. How does it fell the second time around?

HILARY SWANK, OSCAR NOMINEE: It feels just as amazing. I'm just as speechless. I'm just - I'm amazed. I'm just amazed. I'm so appreciative too. You know, I think that the difference that I feel is that how few and far between the really great roles are and I'm just - I'm lucky to be living my dream.

BRYANT: And you know, there are great roles for older men in your film. How do you feel about Morgan's chances tonight? How do you feel about Clint's chances tonight to take home the gold?

SWANK: Well, I think that Morgan and Clint gave such great performances like they always do. I think this is, you know, Clint performance of the year, I mean performance of his lifetime actually and I just, I'm - it was such an honor to work with both of them and I can't wait to see them. I haven't seen Clint yet tonight or Morgan. So it's just, it's wonderful to be here together, to have, see their work get recognized. I think they're really deserving.

BRYANT: Your dress is gorgeous. Who are you wearing?

SWANK: I'm wearing Di la Roche (ph). BRYANT: You look lovely, best of luck to you tonight. Hilary Swank, up for best actress for her role in "Million Dollar Baby." Sibila.

VARGAS: All right. Thanks Karyn. Now there are hundreds of fans in the bleachers hoping to get as close as possible to the stars and maybe a few of them just have to be (ph) Hilary Swank. Now they may not know it, but there's a way to get close enough to nibble on a nominee. What's the trick? Well, just order up (INAUDIBLE) Eleni's cookies.


ELENI GIANOPOLOUS, ELENI'S BAKERY: I personally absolutely love the Oscars and wanted to find a way to incorporate it in my business and I thought by having an illustrator do unique drawings, it would be a great way to have fun pictures of the nominees.

Each year I think it's fun to prepare a different icon. This is clearly from "The Aviator" and now we're using some edible silver piece (ph) to give it the whole airplane effect.

ALAN ALDA: This in my own personal Leo cookie?

GIANOPOLOUS: We have (INAUDIBLE) in the little book and we really spend a lot of energy on the boxing gloves and then with "Sideways," we went with the (INAUDIBLE). We've also made pianos and stars. Come on. I'll show you how to make the stars.

First I outline the cookies with the (INAUDIBLE) and then we threw (ph) icing down to have the picture adhere to it, like this. The pictures are made out of really thin sugar film that we then paint with edible color.

ANNETTE BENING: Let's see, who do I want to have a taste of?

GIANOPOLOUS: They take about eight hours to set up. The illustrations are very Hollywood like, with the glow of the yellow behind each star and it really adds to any Oscar party's dessert table.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I have it? Thank you. I'm not going to eat it.

GIANOPOLOUS: Each (INAUDIBLE) comes with the fine nominees in the envelope. There's 18 cookies. My guess is that Hilary Swank and Jamie Foxx and going to win.


VARGAS: That's great. Now Phillip, who would you like to nibble on?

BLOCH: Jamie Foxx seems like a winner tonight. I could take a bit out of that.

VARGAS: I could take a bit of him as well.

BLOCH: Johnny Depp could be good.

VARGAS: Johnny Depp too and so is Leo. He's not bad. Well, let's go to Karyn right now. Karyn, who you got for us?

BRYANT: I'm here with Selma Hayek, one of course the most lovely ladies to grace the red carpet tonight. Who are you wearing?


BRYANT: Again with the Prada. Leo DiCaprio was wearing Prada tonight as well. What are you presenting?

HAYEK: I am presenting with (INAUDIBLE) sound (INAUDIBLE) and sound mixing and then I'm introducing the song for the "Motorcycle Diaries," "Al Otro Lado Del Rio," which is the first song ever to be nominated in Spanish.

BRYANT: ... of course Carlos Santana and...

HAYEK: (INAUDIBLE) will be recording it.

BRYANT: Do you know Catalina Sandino Moreno?

HAYEK: Yes I do. Oh, yes I do and I'm very excited about her nomination.

BRYANT: It's a great year.

HAYEK: It is. A lot of (INAUDIBLE)

BRYANT: Thanks for joining us. Salma Hayek presenting tonight and again wearing Prada so that's two for Prada. (INAUDIBLE) and Salma. Back to you Sibila.

VARGAS: All right. Thanks Karyn and she did look great. Did you see Salma?

BLOCH: Salma can't look bad. I've seen her in all hours of the morning and the woman looks gorgeous and the (INAUDIBLE) jewel is pretty gorgeous too.

VARGAS: Yes. Who else are you impressed with? I mean I just saw Cate Blanchett in a yellow canary kind of beautiful dress.

BLOCH: It's so gorgeous, by Valentino and they did an exclusive with her this year which they've never done with anybody and she's actually wearing Katherine Hepburn's gloves for good luck.


BLOCH: Pretty amazing and Rene Zelwegger (ph) looks so gorgeous in that Caroline Hererra (ph). I end up getting into the presenter's gift bag and they gave me one of the Sprint phones by Samsung, so if you want to text message me what all the actress are wearing are wearing, it's kind of cool and I'm getting picture and we actually have some sketches. This is really amazing. (INAUDIBLE) dressed by Monique (INAUDIBLE).

VARGAS: Gorgeous.

BLOCH: Real ball gown feel there, definitely a lot of detail. I love the designers. They put all the descriptions, pretty exciting. We have the exclusive of these sketches by the way.

VARGAS: OK and you were showing me something else that's (INAUDIBLE)

BLOCH: Scarlet Johansen (ph) (INAUDIBLE) designer and both of these designers we don't see a lot.

VARGAS: Hold on. Speaking about fashion and speaking about some of the extraordinary fashion, Gwyneth Paltrow. Karyn Bryant, you've got Gwyneth Paltrow down there on the red carpet.

BRYANT: I do have Gwyneth, one of the sexiest baby mommas working. Good to see you. You of course won for "Shakespeare in Love." How does it feel to come tonight without the burden of a nomination?

GWYNETH PALTROW: Oh, it's lovely. It's a lot of fun. It makes it very easy and you can come and enjoy all of the festivities. It's lovely.

BRYANT: And you are presenting tonight though, right?

PALTROW: I am. I'm presenting best foreign film.

BRYANT: Who are you pulling for in any of the categories? Have you got any favorites?

PALTROW: Well, gosh, I think it's a really interesting year. I really, my two favorite films were "Motorcycle Diaries" and "A Very Long Engagement." They only got a couple, so I hope they win those.

BRYANT: Well, thank you for joining us and who are you wearing?

PALTROW: Stella McCartney.

BRYANT: Thank you very much, Gwyneth Paltrow in Stella McCartney. There's another fashion bite for you Sibila.

VARGAS: Yeah. She certainly looks great. She always does. Can she ever do anything wrong? Well we're back in a moment with more live interviews from the red carpet, but the Oscar winner weighs in with a trivia question.


GEOFFREY RUSH: How tall is the Oscar statuette and how much does it weigh? The answer coming up.



RUSH: How tall is the Oscar statuette and how much does it weigh? The answer. It stands 13 1/2 inches tall and weighs in at 8 1/2 pounds.


BRYANT: It's Hollywood's gold rush here on CNN. I'm joined by our own Soledad O'Brien. You clean up nicely girl.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Girl, you know I try. I try hard.

BRYANT: So what brings you to the red carpet?

O'BRIEN: I just thought I'd come and check out all the celebrities, everybody all dolled up for the night and of course I'm rooting for my guy, Jamie Foxx to win tonight as well.

BRYANT: Look who's right here with you. We've got Virginia Madsen. Congratulations to you and Sandra (INAUDIBLE) Now ladies, I know yesterday at the independent spirit awards, "Sideways" did pretty well. How do you feel?

SANDRA OH: It's amazing. We won every category that we were up for.

BRYANT: That was pretty amazing acting.

VIRGINIA MADSEN: ... pretty amazing feeling, it really was and we were crying, like every time someone won, we were crying. It was pathetic, by the end of the day.

BRYANT: It's an interesting idea that this year, it's sort of a smaller film and your husband, Alexander, has made some of the films that have been smaller and yet open to wider appeal. Does that feel sort of underdoggy at all to you tonight or do you feel like you know what, it's just, we've done as we could.

OH: I understand what you're saying. But that's the way he chooses to work. You know, some people are directors who work with $100 million budgets and he doesn't. He prefers to work with smaller budgets and you get a much more personal film and you also have more creative control and I prefer to work in films like that. This is actually the most expensive movie I've ever worked on.


BRYANT: I want to talk about expensive. I'm looking at the ice. You guys are wearing some serious jewelry and dresses. Can you tell me who you're wearing?

MADSEN: Expensive ladies. OH: Oh yes we are. I'm wearing Lauren (ph) Schwartz.

MADSEN: And I'm wearing Larry Rodkins (ph).

BRYANT: Well great. Anybody that you guys are pulling for other than the guys in your own team tonight?

MADSEN: Well, you know what, I'm kind of pulling for all the girls in my category, because we're all digging each other and all of our films were films that people probably didn't want to make and all of our performances are so unique and we've all sort of like been hanging out during this process so if any of us wins, it's going to be a celebration.

BRYANT: Well congratulations to you Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh and Soledad O'Brien. (INAUDIBLE) with Virginia Madsen up for best supporting actress in "Sideways." Oh my gosh and speaking of best supporting, we've now got a best supporting actor nominee, Clive Owen. Clive, hello, welcome. Who are you wearing?

CLIVE OWEN, OSCAR NOMINEE: I'm wearing Georgio Armani.

BRYANT: And you're wearing it well. How are you feeling tonight? Are you feeling lose? You feeling easy?

OWEN: I am. I'm feeling both those things. Yeah, I'm just enjoying myself. I've made a decision. I'm just going to have a good time.

BRYANT: What did you do to calm your nerves before you came tonight?

OWEN: It's weird. I'm not actually that nervous because I'm not expecting anything. I'm just really thrilled and proud to be here and I made a decision I'm just going to enjoy myself. So...

BRYANT: But didn't you take home the Golden Globe?

OWEN: I did.

BRYANT: Well there's nothing that I like more than a humble man, so Clive good luck to you in "Closer." A wonderful film and you look terrific.

OWEN: Thank you.

BRYANT: Clive Owen up for best supporting actor in the film "Closer" and obviously you saw before, we had Natalie Portman. She also is in that film. An interesting tidbit if you didn't know. In the original stage production, Clive Owen played the part that Judd Law played in the film. So obviously a multi-talented actor and when we talk about multi-talented actor, actress, actually I have to be honest with you. One of my favorite actresses Kate Winslet, Kate, thanks for joining us here on CNN. You're up for best actress for a role that I've read that you really sort of were almost surprised you even got. KATE WINSLET, OSCAR NOMINEE: Well, I was always so thrilled to be cast in something that I was not obviously right for because are used to seeing me in period films and more classical pieces and I was always just so thrilled that the director took such a punt (ph) on me and it was a wonderful challenge and I loved, loved, loved the experience.

BRYANT: Charlie Kaufman, as a writer, how do you, I mean, when you get one of those scripts, how many times do you have to read it before you even process what went on?

WINSLET: Many times, many and in fact most days, I would read it all over again, even though I was shooting and I would still keep reading the script from start to finish, just to keep myself up to speed with everything and it never got dull and it was always a wonderful read.

BRYANT: Well, best of luck to you tonight. That's of course Kate Winslet, up for best actress.

WINSLET: I've been so much money on your winning, so much.


BRYANT: We're having a moment here with Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman, really quickly, hi, it's CNN. Of course, how do you think Clint's chances are tonight to take home the best picture.

FREEMAN: I think they ought to be pretty good. What do you think? That's what you're supposed to say.

BRYANT: Well, I think it's pretty good. I'm going to chat with you about that. I have to say a little bit of a good bye right here right now. But thank you and good luck to you tonight. You're up for best supporting actor. It's CNN Hollywood's gold rush, live from the Academy Awards, the 77th annual. That's it for me.

VARGAS: What a way to end this show. Thanks so much for joining us for Hollywood's gold rush. Yes, thank you and tomorrow, tune in to CNN's AMERICAN MORNING for reaction from the winners. Plus a look at the best and the worst of Oscar fashion. You don't want to miss that. Plus a special edition of "90-Second Pop" with Soledad O'Brien. Until then, so long from the 77th annual Academy Awards. Thanks.


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