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Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2004 / 21 Shevat 5764

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Oscar Nominees Have Bush For Lunch … O'Reilly Replaces Crystal | In what was supposed to be the traditional Academy Awards nominees luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel turned into a rehearsal that one anonymous nominee, Renée Zellweger, said "would turn the 76th Annual Academy Awards into the mother of all Bush Love-Ins.

A long list of surprises was topped by the announcement that Fox News Channel's declared Independent, Bill O'Reilly, would take over the MC reigns replacing the much shorter Billy Crystal. A nonplussed Crystal took it well, "Hey, have you ever seen the Factor? The guy is funny."

The 6'4" O'Reilly said to look for some surprises, including what many hinted would include a mouth on mouth kiss with Ann Coulter. "I think a non-Arab man kissing Coulter is something America is ready for," said the beaming O'Reilly adding, "Did I mention, 'Who's Looking Out For You,' will be out in paperback just in time for the show?"

For too long, we of the Hollywood community have been painted as left-wing liberal unpatriotic whiners," said Academy president Frank Pierson. "What better way to show America that they've got it all and that we can become right-wing conservative patriotic whiners at the drop of a ratings point."

Sean Penn, who is up for best actor, was accompanied to the luncheon his mom, Eileen Ryan, showed some unaccustomed anger. "I get so p-oed at these so-called pundits who think that just because we live in Hollywood we can't celebrate the big guy in the elliptical office," said the normally aloof star of "Mystic River" this year's favorite to sweep the most awards. "It wasn't until I visited those sick kids in Iraq, who ended up being big fans of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High,' that I realized that just how much President Bush had meant to America." Then prompted by the film's PR man, Penn added, "My own little daughter and I can't even cry for her."

"No more lies, no more secrets," pandered Penn's co-star and fellow nominee, Tim Robbins, "We can't just give John Kerry and the rest of those fact-spewing Democrats a free ride. It's time we show him that Hollywood stands behind our president no matter how he got into office."

"Ditto that for me," said supporting actor nominee and "The Cooler" star Alec Baldwin. "In fact, if Kerry wins, I'm moving to Bakersfield," declared the closet dittohead."

"There's a lot of us in Hollywood who feel that the President has been getting a raw deal," said Michael Moore, who won last year for Best Documentary. "I'm in the midst of filming, "Bowling For Crawford," offering the positive side of declaring war, another documentary that I'll be editing excessively to make my point."

Uninvited luncheon guest, Bob Saget, allayed Internet rumors that he was out of the business with his disclosure that he will be honoring our regime change of Iraq, filming "Funniest Iraqi Invasion Home Videos...The Movie." "There'll be more pummeled crotches, botched suicide bombings and adorable babies than you can shake a WMD at," said the legendary home video voice-over quipster.

Academy officials have announced a long list of first time presenters including, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, and in what promises to be the highlight of the evening, author and former satirist, Al Franken. "I'm here to straighten some things out. I find out now that the President and all the guys at Fox News were telling the truth," said Franken. "My bad."

"I think it's going to be a fast, funny, and Conservative night," said Awards producer Joe Roth. "Enjoy."


JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is film correspondent for BBC radio. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," "The 130 Tales of Winchell Mink," Harper Collins (Winter, 2003) and the director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz." His website is Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, Steve Young