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From the Red Carpet, an Oscar Preview

Only Available in Archive Formats.
From the Red Carpet, an Oscar Preview

From the Red Carpet, an Oscar Preview

From the Red Carpet, an Oscar Preview

Only Available in Archive Formats.

Is Helen Mirren a lock for best actress? Will Forest Whitaker hold off Peter O'Toole for best actor? What happened to the goodie bags? And what in the world is the Thank You Cam? Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon looks ahead to Sunday night.


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Roll out the red carpet. The 79th Annual Oscar Awards will be handed out tomorrow night. "The Queen" takes on "The Departed" and "Little Miss Sunshine." Scorsese versus Eastwood versus Frears. Helen Mirren's Queen versus Meryl Streep's Miranda and Forest Whitaker's tin-horned despot versus Peter O'Toole's randy old codger. Ellen DeGeneres hosts the proceedings.

Joining us now from the actual red carpet in Los Angeles is Sandy Kenyon, who's WABC TV in New York and is a reporter with Life&Style - is it weekly?

Mr. SANDY KENYON (Entertainment Reporter): Yes. Life&Style Weekly. That's right, Scott.

SIMON: Sandy, you're on the red carpet?

Mr. KENYON: Yes. I am in the holding room where some of the world's biggest stars, and a lot of them, will be tomorrow night. We are here right in the tent where they are brought after they get out of the limousine and before they walk the red carpet.

SIMON: Sandy, there are no damn goodie bags this year, right?

Mr. KENYON: No. The IRS cracked down. You know the story about that.

SIMON: People had to declare them as income, right, and that sort of takes the charm off it.

Mr. KENYON: Exactly.

SIMON: Let me ask about some of the awards. It arguably helps this year to have a British accent, as opposed to an Australian one in years passed.

Mr. KENYON: Everybody I talked to says Dame Helen is a lock for Best Actress. The really interesting race for me will be Best Actor because Forest Whitaker took an early -

SIMON: I thought he was a lock. Yeah.

Mr. KENYON: He was a lock for a while, but remember Peter O'Toole nominated all those times without a win.


Mr. KENYON: Now, that said, I went to see "Venus" and there is a high squirm factor with that movie.

SIMON: Now this is where Peter O'Toole plays an actor who was getting on in years.

Mr. KENYON: And who was lecherous.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. KENYON: And who drinks a bit too much. And the best line of this, the whole week, was Peter Bart of Variety, told me wouldn't it be ironic if Peter O'Toole, who has given us all these wonderful characters through the years, wins for essentially playing himself.

SIMON: I was going to point out as you were furnishing the description.

Mr. KENYON: Actors by far the largest block of voters. They're a sentimental lot. They love Peter O'Toole. I still think it's still going to be Mr. Whitaker.

SIMON: I can't think of any director whose work I have found more interesting and engaging over the years than Stephen Frears.

Mr. KENYON: That's correct. And I happen to agree with you, but there's no support out here for "The Queen." It has been called a TV movie with an Oscar-winning performance, and worse, there is absolutely no support for anybody that I could find except Martin Scorsese. But -

SIMON: In some ways, as much a lifetime achievement award as an Oscar for "The Departed." Yeah.

Mr. KENYON: Absolutely. But the Oscar frequently is, and remember, they passed on the opportunity to give it to him for "Gangs of New York," despite heavy campaigning. Mr. Scorsese has turned down every single interview. He has stayed in the shadows. He made a picture firmly in his genre. It's a box-office hit. It could go all the way on Sunday night.

SIMON: There's something I read about this year called the Thank-You Cam.

Mr. KENYON: When you win, who you thank is extremely important as to your future. They have to thank a list of people and we find that really, really boring. So right after they get offstage, there will be a camera that is linked to the Oscar Web site and they can go on with as lengthy thank you as they want.

SIMON: Until the IRS kind of shut it down, we used to give out goodie bags to people who were guests on our show. But unfortunately it's your first time on the show and, you know, we had to get rid of them. So please be our guest and go to the NPR tent there and get a free pedicure, okay?

Well, Sandy, a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much.

Mr. KENYON: Thanks a lot.

SIMON: Sandy Kenyon, WABC TV in New York and Life&Style Weekly, speaking from the red carpet.

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