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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Hollywood's Gold Rush

Aired February 24, 2008 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: The stars are arriving. The red carpet is rolled out. Live from the Academy Awards, this is "HOLLYWOOD'S GOLD RUSH."
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice over): Violence and villainy. The Oscars go to a very dark place. Bringing on baby. Leading ladies show Oscar who's got the bump. And we are up close with Oscar's bleacher creatures. They've have seen it all if the stands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jennifer Lopez. Angelina Jolie came over. George Clooney and Will Smith came over. They were right there.

ANDERSON: And this guy's Oscar's a losing streak is one for the record books.

KEVIN O'CONNELL, ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING NOMINEE, "TRANSFORMERS": I feel like a winner being nominated 20 times.

ANDERSON: The nominees are ready.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's pretty cool.

ANDERSON: And the world is watching.

Live from Oscars, this is "HOLLYWOOD'S GOLD RUSH."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Hi, everybody and welcome to our live coverage of the 80th Annual Academy Awards. I'm Brooke Anderson on the red carpet outside the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

Now some of the world's biggest stars are heading this way right now. George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks, to name a few, and I will be speaking with lots of them over the next hour.

Throughout the night, I will be joined from our sky lounge overlooking the red carpet by my colleagues, Kareen Wynter and host of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" A.J. Hammer.

Guys, you've got a great view of all the action up there, right? A bird's eye perspective

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: We do have a bird's eye perspective, Brooke. A little different than yours past, though, because as you can see, over the red carpet this year, well, there's a big clear tent because of the rain and it's funny with all of the metaphors there have been throughout this Oscar run-up, about the election year, you're going to be hearing a lot of metaphors about the weather, I think, because a cloud has been hanging over this town for months now, as we know, not knowing if the Oscars would actually take place.

But here we are. The writers' strike is over. And we are all set for the big Academy Awards.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And that's a great point. Even though, you know, it was a cliffhanger for a while, it's a dreary day, but people are so happy that the big night is even going on.

Hey, it's in the 50s but it doesn't feel like it. It feels like the 90s because...

HAMMER: Yes.

WYNTER: ....the adrenaline's going.

HAMMER: Yes, let's be clear. You know, everyone thinks it's always hot in Hollywood. It's about 55 degrees and pretty damp right now.

WYNTER: Yes.

HAMMER: I think a lot of the ladies will be checking their hair for some reasons as soon as they get inside.

WYNTER: I think they will be.

HAMMER: Well, from our perch-up here, of course, we're going to be doing a lot tonight. We'll be checking in a little later on with our CNN i-Reporters who were planted right there in the Oscar bleachers. This is pretty cool. They are loaded up with their cell phones and their cameras right in the middle of all the excitement tonight.

WYNTER: Absolutely. And of course, we'll be talking fashion with an expert in Oscar style. It's the "Dish with Katrina Szish."

I love the ring that up, by the way.

HAMMER: I do, too, and everybody, of course, looking forward to the fashion.

But right now, let's turn our attention to the nominees. When they're good, they're good. But when they're bad, they're even better. In fact, one of the most surprising developments of this year's awards, Oscar's trip to the dark side.

WYNTER: Recognizing a number of performances, A.J, that are downright chilling.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THERE WILL BE BLOOD")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The whole ocean of oil under our feet. No one can get at it except for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WYNTER (voice over): This year it's good to be bad in the race for Oscar gold.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You can't stop what's coming.

WYNTER: Brace yourself for the venomous villains who rule the big screen with heart-stopping performances like supporting actor nominee Javier Bardem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN")

JAVIER BARDEM, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINEE: Call it.

WYNTER: He stars in the psychological thriller "No Country for Old Men."

BARDEM: Is this guy supposed to be the old man's bad add?

WYNTER: Some will be critics say, he comes pretty darn close. But so do these cold-blooded contenders who caught the Academy's eye in the lead actor category -- Daniel Day-Lewis, the ruthless oilman from "There Will Be Blood."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THERE WILL BE BLOOD")

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, BEST ACTOR NOMINEE: I want no one else to succeed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WYNTER: Johnny Depp, the demonic barber in "Sweeney Todd".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SWEENEY TODD")

JOHNNY DEPP, BEST ACTOR NOMINEE: Welcome to the grave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WYNTER: Viggo Mortensen, a Russian tough guy in "Eastern Promises."

VIGGO MORTENSEN, BEST ACTOR NOMINEE: Are you calling me a villain? I don't think I am a villain but I don't want to ruin the story for anybody.

WYNTER: Neither do we, but let's face it t. The Academy has a history of embracing evil on occasion.

Anthony Hopkins's cannibalistic performance as Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs" earned him an Oscar in 1995. The year before, Cathy Bates took home a statue for her maniacal role in "Misery." Denzel Washington's crooked cop portrayal in "Training Day" and Charlize Theron's sinister role as a serial killer also won Oscars.

What's the appeal?

ANTHONY HOPKIS, 1991 BEST ACTOR: I guess people like to be scared, whatever. You know? Like psychos.

KATHY BATES, 1991 BEST ACTOR: It was such a challenge to play a character that complex, to take all of those wild, way out characteristics and make them real.

WYNTER: Real enough to leave viewers shaken. That's what Bardem told what happened after one of his movie screenings.

BARDEM: They were facing me and they were really like freaking out. Oh, like oh my god -- right after they saw the movie.

WYNTER: This could be another year where the good guys finish last.

BARDEM: You know how this is going to turn out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WYNTER: And folks, we have many surprises for you throughout the evening. This is one of them. We're going to toss it to you, Brooke Anderson. She has one of the best supporting actress nominees standing by. Right, Brooke?

ANDERSON: That's right, Kareen. She's actually the youngest nominee this year at the Academy Awards. How are you feeling? And it must be surreal to walk down this red carpet.

SAOIRSE RONAN, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE, "ATONEMENT": Yes. It feels amazing. And, I mean, I watch the Oscars every year so to walk down this red carpet and then -- and see a big gold man as I come in, it's pretty amazing.

ANDERSON: And this is great exposure for your film "Atonement." And I want to ask you this: how has the awards recognition over the past few months impacted you and possibly your career?

RONAN: Well, I think an Oscar nomination always helps a little bit. And I suppose just because I'm at the awards and stuff that more people will hear me.

ANDERSON: Who do you look forward to seeing tonight?

RONAN: Ellen Page, Kate Blanchett, and there's many people. I think I saw Natalie Portman a little while ago. That might be cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Danny.

RONAN: Oh Daniel Day-Lewis.

ANDERWON: Oh, well, I'm sure you will see them all. Enjoy yourself. Best of luck. Thank you, Saoirse.

A.J., what have you got happening up there?

HAMMER: Well, joining me now to talk about the Oscar race, Brooke, Pete Hammond of TheEnvelope.com. And of course, just a couple of weeks ago, it looked like the writers' strike might do in the Oscars as we know them. Thankfully, the strike is over, the cloud has almost lifted. But what do you think the impact will be of the writers' strike on the Academy Awards tonight?

PETE HAMMOND, THEENVELOPE.COM: Strike? What strike? You know? They had a plan B to do show without actors, which would have been a disaster. But all the stars are here and now they have one of the starriest lineups of presenters in several years so I think people are excited about the Oscars again. I think, though, with the strike ending just two weeks ago, they had to get a writing staff really together really fast and that cost them some comedy bits with Jon Stewart that they were planning to do, because it takes a couple of weeks to produce them.

HAMMER: Well, I think we certainly can anticipate that Jon Stewart will be working into his routine tonight, plenty of talk about the writers' strike.

HAMMOND: Yes, absolutely. And -- but everybody is so happy that it's over because all the actors were planning on staying away if there were pickets out here and that really would not have been good for this show.

HAMMER: Well, let's talk about some of the races. Wow. What great pictures in the best picture category. Let's go right to the top. Let's go right to the category that ends the show tonight. Everybody is saying "No Country for Old Men" has the race all tightened up in the last couple of weeks. Not in the best picture race.

HAMMOND: You know, all these guild awards, the SAG Awards, the Writers' Guild Awards, the Directors' Guild Awards, the Producers' Guild, they have the same kind of membership as the Academy does. They have gone for "No Country for Old Men." It's been a sweep. And all the critics' awards, also most of them went for it, too. I think that is a favorite. I think everything else will be an upset.

But hey, we saw a beagle win the Westminster dog show.

HAMMER: Yes, you'll never know.

HAMMOND: And we saw the New York Giants wins. So there could be. But if there is, I think it's "Michael Clayton."

HAMMER: Pete Hammond from TheEnvelopme.com, thank you very much.

Brooke, down on the red carpet with one of tonight's nominees.

ANDERSON: That's right. Speaking of "Michael Clayton," I've got the star of "Michael Clayton" right here. George Clooney, a big nominee tonight.

Great to see you. GEORGE CLOONEY, BEST ACTOR NOMINEE, "MICHAEL CLAYTON": Great to see you, Brooke. How are you?

ANDERSON: Doing well. And hey, you have compared yourself to Hillary Clinton here. You have said that you are the Hillary Clinton of the Oscars. What do you mean by that?

CLOONEY: Oh no, I was making a joke because, you know, everybody sort of feels like -- and we all sort of feel like Daniel Day-Lewis is going to win tonight. So I was just saying I was having a good year. You know, it was like Hillary would be having a good year if it weren't for Barack. You know?

ANDERSON: Very good.

CLOONEY: It was a joke.

ANDERSON: That's a great joke.

CLOONEY: Didn't well play in certain circles.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you this. You are a peace activist and recently you are working tirelessly to get the crisis in Darfur back in the headlines. What do you think about Steven Spielberg's decision to pull out of the Beijing Olympic Games because he doesn't agree with the Chinese government's policies on Darfur?

CLOONEY: Steve and I talk weekly about it. We had a long conversation the day before he wrote the letter. I think it's a really -- I think it's the exact sort of right play. People -- you know, it's very difficult. You want to be able to find ways to send signals. And we all have that and we took Olympic athletes there to China a year ago just to constantly keep it in peoples' minds that, you know, we're not threatening to boycott. We just want them to understand that there's -- when they join the world, that there are other responsibilities that you hope they look out for.

ANDERSON: And on a lighter note, "Michael Clayton," a big nominee this year, seven nominations.

CLOONEY: I know.

ANDERSON: You know, looking at the films, "Juno" is the only best picture contender that has surpassed $100 million. I heard you took like a bargain basement salary for this. It was a labor of love, wasn't it?

CLOONEY: Yes. But you know, the last few films I've done for the most part -- you know, I've done, you know, "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "Syriana" and "The Good German," go down the list, "Solaris," I don't do them for the money. You do them for nothing because you know that the studio won't really make them if you don't. So it's not as much a labor of love as it's the only way to get the films made. Period. You know? So that was this.

ANDERSON: And you say that you don't really have a shot because of Daniel Day-Lewis. But it could happen. Everyone in Hollywood loves you so you never know.

CLOONEY: I paid them all off. I bought everybody in the Academy a watch.

ANDERSON: That should do it. But what would another Oscar win mean to you?

CLOONEY: Well, listen. It's -- honest to god, it's really nice to be here and be in a group with Tommy Lee Jones and Viggo and Johnny Depp and, of course, Daniel, who's irritating, he's so good. So just being on that -- in that club, you know, we've gotten to spend time around each other for the last few weeks and you get to really spend a great time and have a really enjoyable time with them and so I'll miss that more than anything.

ANDERSON: Good luck tonight.

Sarah, what's it like being on this guy's arm for the Academy Awards.

SARAH: No pressure.

CLOONEY: No pressure at all. It is easy. Simple.

ANDERSON: Best of luck. Great to see you both. Thanks, George.

A.J., what's happening up there at the sky suite?

HAMMER: You know, Brooke, we're up in the sky lounge and you know, when George Clooney says, it's just great to be here, you can actually believe he's telling the truth.

ANDERSON: Right.

HAMMER: We have so much more to come on HOLLYWOOD'S GOLD RUSH, including more interviews with the stars live with Brooke on the red carpet, plus we'll be checking in with our CNN i-Reporters in the Oscar bleachers. The bleacher creatures, we call them. They have been coming to this dance for going on 40 years.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: I'm Lola Ogunnaike. We're driving down Sunset on our way to the Academy Awards. I'm in the back of a lovely limousine and I'm also here with a very special nominee. I'll have who that is and more coming up next.

LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: Your first Oscar trivia question, everybody. This man was nominated as best actor four years in a row in the 1950s. Who was he? Got a hunch? I'll be back with the answer right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: I'm Brooke Anderson live on the red carpet at the 80th Annual Academy Awards. And coming up, I'll speak with director Jason Reitman from "Juno."

JASON REITMAN, BEST DIRECTOR NOMINEE, "JUNO": Don't move a muscle. Stay right here.

ANDERSON: That's right. But first, Larry King answers our Oscar trivia question.

KING: Here's your Oscar trivia question again. This man was nominated for best actor four years in a row in the '50s. Who was he? The answer, my friend, the late, great Marlon Brando. Nominated four years in a row. He won his first Oscar in his career in 1955 for "On the Waterfront."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ON THE WATERFRONT")

MARLON BRANDO, 1955 BEST ACTOR: I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And now back to A.J., Kareen and Brooke outside the Kodak Theater.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WYNTER: Thanks, Larry. OK. Stars are pouring on to the red carpet from their limousines right now. But one of tonight's special guests is still en route. Lola Ogunnaike of CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING" is with him right now. We can't wait for this and get this, she's actually able to join us live on the road from our limo cam with the help of some amazing technology. Right, Lola?

OGUNNAIKE: We are on our way to the Oscars. (INAUDIBLE) It's been nominated for best animated short film. (INAUDIBLE) for you live right now.

JERRY LEVITAN, INTERVIEWED JOHN LENNON: Stunned. I mean, a long time ago as a 14-year-old kid I spent the day with John Lennon. And now it was the greatest moment at that point, and the fact that it's taken all this time to talk about it and tell people about it, and go to the Academy Awards, it's bizarre.

OGUNNAIKE: And you got your tickets in your hand. Show me what you got there.

LEVITAN: My Oscar ticket, the Governor's Ball, my girl (INAUDIBLE) is with me. She's coming, too. So it's pretty outstanding.

OGUNNAIKE: You can't see her right now. She is in a gorgeous dress, by the way. But let's talk about the film. This is a film -- you shot it a long time when you were 14 years old. You met John Lennon. How did you pull that off?

LEVITAN: There was a rumor he was in Toronto. And I went on a search to find him. I went to a hotel 7:00 in the morning downtown Toronto where I thought he'd be. Went to the top floor. Knocked on every floor. Woke up a lot of people and I found him and he let me in and let me hang with him. OGUNNAIKE: Pretty persuasive kid, aren't you? So tell me, have you got your acceptance speech all ready to go? Other than thanking me first, obviously, who else are you going to thank?

LEVITAN: CNN. Domestic and international. I'm -- I have a few words that I have planned. Nothing etched in stone but at its core I want to talk about John Lennon.

OGUNNAIKE: And what do you want to say about John Lennon, real quickly?

LEVITAN: John gave me a great gift many years ago. He let me have quality time with him and the central point of his interview to me which is the central point of our film is he talks about peace and what everybody can do to make this a better world. I want to repay my hero with bringing his voice back.

OGUNNAIKE: Well, thank you so much, Jerry. We're actually going to go to the red carpet with Brooke Anderson.

ANDERSON: Hi there, Lola. Thank you so much. That was cool. We were live via broadband from a limousine basically. What great technology, basically a phone card enabled us to do that.

Thanks so much, Lola Ogunnaike.

And I'm joined right now by director Jason Reitman from "Juno."

Congratulations on your nomination.

REITMAN: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: You're here with your lovely wife I see tonight.

REITMAN: This is my wife Michelle and she looks gorgeous tonight.

ANDERSON: Yes, she does. You make a striking couple. And were you able to bring your father, director Ivan Reitman, as well, because I know you had mentioned that you would love to bring him?

REITMAN: Yes. If you can believe it, this is my father's first time to the Academy Awards.

ANDERSON: Really? How special is it to be a family affair like that?

REITMAN: Oh, I think this nomination is our -- belongs to our whole family. I could have never done this but my wife, my daughter or my parents, they've all taught me to be the guy that I am. And so, yes. This is the Reitman family nomination.

ANDERSON: And the movie, did you expect it to be the huge success that it is? Because it started off word a little bit word of mouth and now it's a blockbuster at the box office.

REITMAN: You know, I always assumed that we would win more Oscars than "Ben-Hur" and outgrows "Star Wars" but, you know, I'll take this. I'm perfectly fine with this.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you this. A lot of people are excited not only about the Oscars but also about the writers' strike having ended. Do you feel a collective sense of relief among Hollywood?

REITMAN: Oh you have no idea. A highlight of my career. You know, after this, I can kind of go direct anything and it was during a writers' strike. I thought, please, let this end. I want to work. And I'm real thrilled.

ANDERSON: Well, best of luck and congratulations. Great to see you, Jason.

REITMAN: Thank you so much.

ANDERSON: Thanks so much.

And it looks like Ruby Dee is making her way down the carpet, as well. She is nominated for "American Gangster." A.J., we will be speaking with her in just a minute.

HAMMER: Looking forward to that, Brooke,.

And before I let you go, can you give me a quick cliche to sort of communicate to our audience who's watching what the energy is like tonight?

ANDERSON: How about: the excitement is palpable? Does that work?

HAMMER: I couldn't have said it better myself.

Now coming up, we're going to be chatting live with two of our CNN live i-Reporters. They're in the Oscar bleachers. Not just this year. They have been a fixture in the stands since 1970.

Plus, fashion tension. There is plenty of "seam-stress" on the red carpet when the entire world is watching what you wear.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI CORRESPONDENT: I'm John Zarrella. The red carpet is out. The glitz is on as Miami Beach prepares to celebrate Oscar as only Miami Beach can. I'll have that story coming up on HOLLYWOOD'S GOLD RUSH.

But first here's Larry King with more Oscar trivia.

KING: This song earned an Oscar nomination in 1985, the year after it hit number one on the Billboard singles chart. Can you name that tune? The answer's coming up right after this.

ANNOUNCER: HOLLYWOOD'S GOLD RUSH is sponsored by...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Here's your Oscar trivia question again. This song earned an Oscar nomination in 1985, the year after it hit number one on the Billboard singles chart. What's the song? The answer is "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr. from the Bill Murray comedy.

I had a role in that film, by the way, playing myself.

Now back to A.J., Kareen and Brooke outside the Kodak Theater.

ANDERSON: Thank you so much, Larry. And I'm here on the red carpet and I'm joined by Miss Ruby D, a nominee tonight for her performance in "American Gangster."

Ruby, great to see you. And listen, you have been acting for, what, more than 50 years.

RUBY DEE, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE, "AMERICAN GANGSTER": Yes, yes. Since -- well, since I was a kid, really. In schools and libraries and churches and...

ANDERSON: How does it feel to finally get your first Oscar nomination?

DEE: Well, it's an extraordinary thing and of course, I've tried before. And I worked in many areas. I had given up sort of in Hollywood because it had given up on me or something, but so I didn't feel really part of the whole scene but I've worked a lot in Hollywood so -- and I've known people who have been here so it finally all comes together at this time in my life. And I've written stuff and I've been on television and (INAUDIBLE) lots of work. So to finally get an Oscar nomination is a heady kind of business.

ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE) that. And I want to ask you this, in recent years, Miss Ruby, there have been many African-Americans honored and nominated in the acting categories. This year, you are the only one. What are you thoughts about the level of diversity?

DEE: Well, I really don't know. There's something -- that's not predictable about it. It's still has to sink in. It's still opening up. Hollywood is still growing up, you know? Because for such a long time for a while I thought it included me but it didn't so I gave up. But it's a growing -- it's still a growing up area but it is still an astonishing center for ideas and change and possibility, and I sense that, and madness and great sanity, too.

And there are some extraordinary people who have come from Hollywood and some extraordinary people from this area have been part of my life. And that's why I worked so much in Hollywood because I have done a number of films out here.

ANDERSON: Well, speaking of someone extraordinary, how proud would Ozzie Davis be of you tonight?

DEE: Well, I think he's up there, he's in heaven now and he's caused this kind of recognition as far as I'm concerned. You know? He is up there pulling strings for me and my hat's off to all of you who do this kind of work. I brought my grand -- my grandkids wanted to come and my children.

ANDERSON: Well, enjoy yourself tonight. Your family's with you. Good luck.

Miss Ruby Dee, thank you so much.

And A.J., I'll toss it back up to you. I understand that you've got a really neat report from the bleachers behind me.

HAMMER: It is really cool, Brooke. I've been looking forward to seeing the stars all night but Oscar is presenting us with some other fans you have to see. A lot of fans out there, of course, none more dedicated than this particular pair of sisters who come from Southern California. Their names are Babe Churchill and Sandy Stratton.

These two have been a fixture in the Oscar bleachers, and listen to this, going on more than 40 -- or going on 40 years now. Tonight, they are CNN i-Report contributors to boot. Sandy is joining me from her cell phone, from the bleacher.

Stand up and wave for us, Sandy.

SANDY STRATTON: I can't stand up. They won't let us.

HAMMER: Oh I don't want you to get thrown up. You've been coming to this so long.

STRATTON: No.

HAMMER: Sandy, who have you seen so far? You have some of the best seats in the house there.

STRATTON: We have seen Cameron Diaz and John Travolta and Seal and Heidi Klum, and Miley Cyrus and Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones. It was pretty cool. So far.

HAMMER: It's interesting you say -- to hear you say it's pretty cool because, you know, I've been thinking maybe you'd be a little jaded by now. You're going on 40 years of doing this. I can understand it'd be exciting, you know, the first few times. Why do you keep coming back year after year?

STRATTON: Well, the first year we came, there was nobody in the bleachers that's here in the morning. Just us. And there was no red carpet, there were no flowers. There was nothing. And so to see it evolving to this, it's pretty something.

HAMMER: It is quite different and we're seeing some of the i-Report photos that you guys have taken and sent off to us today. Talk to me about some of the stars who you've seen through the years because, obviously, you know, you have seen pretty much all of them.

STRATTON: The clothes? Is that what you're asking me?

HAMMER: The stars that you have seen.

STRATTON: Oh the stars. I'm sorry. HAMMER: Take me back. Take me back. STRATTON: Yes. Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, Lucille Ball, Deborah Carr, you know, way back. It was incredible the first year we saw John Wayne who won for "True Grit" that year.

HAMMER: Is there any one star in particular who had stood out to you in all the years you've been coming here who has been your absolute favorite? Who's the biggest crowd pleaser from a perspective of somebody who's always sitting in those bleachers?

STRATTON: Yes. George Clooney because -- because not because he is so good looking, which e is, but because he's so personable with his fans and he comes over to us to talk to us. He signs autographs. He's wonderful. And the fans love him.

HAMMER: Well, there...

STRATTON: And Will Smith as well.

Katrina Szish

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Clooney because, not because he's so good looking but he is. But because he is so personable to the fans. He went to us, talks to us, signs autographs and he's wonderful and the fans love it. And Will Smith, as well.

A.J. HAMMER, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: There's a really good reason that both of those guys have the reputation of being two of the best guys in the business. Sandy, I appreciate you being with us. It's really great to have you here and of course, to check out more i-report photos from the Oscars, you got to visit cnn.com/ireport.

Well, one of the most lavish parties of the night is not here in Hollywood, although, of course, there are many here. It's all the way across the country in Miami Beach. John Zarrella is there joining us live. John, set the scene in the southeast for us.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Hey, A.J., you know, we're 2,700 miles from where you are and if you can't be in L.A., what better place to be would be to be right here at the fabulous Hotel Victor on South Beach. Outside, the weather is spectacular, a lot of folks milling around down on South Beach. Inside here, inside the hotel, got about 200 people who have come for one of the 52 sanctioned Oscar parties around the nation and this party is to benefit the Cinema Tech, the Miami Beach Cinema Tech. Now, all of the 52 sanctioned parties benefit different charities. None of the others are sanctioned. Just the 52 around the nation. Now, look at this. We took sort of an informal poll and most of the people we talked to said it was "No Country." What do you think, best picture?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's got to be "Atonement."

ZARRELLA: "Atonement." That's only the second one for "Atonement."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Juno."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say "No country for old men."

ZARRELLA: Almost everybody says "No Country for old men." We have "Atonement." We got "Juno." Everybody here gets one of these cool bags that they have and just like the stars get, we get like a bottle of water, we get here and we get some chocolate candy. I don't know, A.J., do you think that Clooney gets a better bag than this?

CORINNE: Hi there, Kohn. It's Kareen stepping in. Looks like a load of fun. Thanks so much. And you don't want to forget to tune in later tonight for a special live edition of "Showbiz Tonight" right here from the Academy Awards. That will be 11:00 p.m. Eastern on "Headline News" and lots more in store. In fact, coming up next on Hollywood's gold rush, more live interviews with the stars as they head toward the big Kodak Theater. Plus, baby on board. Some major stars, we're talking big-time celebrities throw a big curve into Oscar style. But first, here's Larry King once again with another Oscar trivia puzzler. What do you have, Larry?

LARRY KING, CNN, HOST: More Oscar trivia now, this Oscar-nominated film featured my voice in one of the roles. What was the film and what character did I play? Back in a moment with the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

You're going to hit that firs stop. Coming up in about 90 seconds, nominee Laurie Linney joins me live as she makes her way down the red carpet. I think you know the answer to that Oscar trivia question? Larry King has got the 411 when we come back.

KING: Here's the Oscar trivia question again. This Oscar-nominated film featured my voice in one of the roles. What was the film and what character did I play? The answer, "Shrek 2" nominated for best animated feature of 2005. I lent my voice to the role of the ugly stepsister Doris.

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DORIS: Hey, Buddy. Let me clue you in. There's only fellow to handle a job like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Back now to the red carpet and Hollywood's Gold Rush.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: We appreciate that, Larry. And right now, I'm joined by Laura Linney. She's a nominee tonight for her role in "The Savages." Laura, great to see you again. This is your third Oscar nomination. Does it get better each time?

LAURA LINNEY, OSCAR NOMINEE: You know, you're able to enjoy it a little more each time. Because you know what to expect and that, you know, the nerves, what used to take up the time with nervousness and fear sort of now you get a little joy sneaking in.

ANDERSON: You know women screenwriters are well represented this year at the Oscars including the screenwriter for "The Savages," Tamara Jenkins. Do you think that represents a possible change in Hollywood?

LINNEY: I think good writing is good writing and I'm glad that the good scripts are being made. It's difficult to get them made, particularly the low budget ones but whether it's a female writer or a male writer, I'm just thrilled that they're out there.

ANDERSON: And we're thrilled you are here again tonight and a lot of people are excited not only for the Oscars and the writers' strike being over but also because of this very fascinated political season. You and I have talked about this before. Whom are you supporting and why?

LINNEY: Well, I'm thrilled that the democratic party has two wonderful candidates. I happen to be a Hillary supporter but you know, it's so exciting and I don't know if any of us ever thought that in our lifetimes that we would see this happening. So it's -- it's going to reinvigorate the country I'm pretty sure. You know.

ANDERSON: Have you seen your co-star yet, Philip Seymour Hoffman yet?

LINNEY: Not yet. But he won the Independent Spirit Award last night. So, I'm excited to get my arms around him.

ANDERSON: I'm sure it will be a fun reunion. Great to see you, as always. Thanks, Laura.

LINNEY: Take good care. Bye-bye.

ANDERSON: Bye-bye. And Kareen, let's go back up to the Sky Lounge because you are going to talk Oscar fashion. Right?

WYNTER: Absolutely, Brooke. And you know me. That's my favorite topic. Fashion, this year's fashion tip from the red carpet. Curves are in. It's a kind associated with expectant moms, of course. Expectant or otherwise, stars prepping for this night. Well, they had plenty of fashion decisions to make.

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AMY RYAN, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE: Keep your fingers crossed that the Oscars happen.

WYNTER (voice-over): That worry is gone. Amy Ryan, the party is on. Sister, on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so happy.

WYNTER: Next worry, nominees, what to wear?

RYAN: My style. I'm thinking Princess Grace, You know? Grace Kelly. I want to look back on photos 20 years from now and I want it to be timeless.

LAURA LINNEY, BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE: I'm looking at shapes of gowns and colors and still sort of trying to figure out what I want to look like.

ELLEN PAGE, BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE: Well, today I took my old prison uniform and I just like kind of learned how to sew and made it into a dress and leather jacket and the slapped on some heels.

JULIE CHRISTIE, BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE: When they look at the people out here, Kate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton, both terribly stylishly young women. And one of them stylishly pregnant. Style icons and moms to be Kate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Jessica Alba ignite the red carpets' most identifiable trend. Call it expectant dressing whether the pregnancy is confirmed or simply buzzed about.

RACHEL WEISZ, 2005 OSCAR WINNER: We got a little baby in there. A human baby.

WYNTER: Red carpet mamas always made Oscars memorable and Oscars '08 is a maternity couture with all eyes watching for the best baby dress.

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WYNTER: And we'll be talking a little bit more Oscar fashion in just a second but I'm hearing that Brooke Anderson, you have someone special lined up right now, don't you?

ANDERSON: Well, we're working on Sean Combs. He's a few feet away from me but he is looking dapper in his tuxedo and hopefully he will make his way down in just a moment. In the meantime, Kareen, chat a little bit fashion.

WYNTER: All right. My pleasure. Joining me to talk more Oscar fashion and Brooke gave us the OK, the green light. So, you'll know that we're going to go full steam. None other than national correspondent of "In Style" magazine, Katrina Szish. I love that name.

KATRINA SZISH, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "IN STYLE": Why, thank you so much. We're going to give you the dish.

WYNTER: We were talking, we're on the theme of pregnancy. We had a nice little piece. You just saw Jessica Alba. She's expecting What can we say about her?

SZISH: Jessica Alba always looks gorgeous. She really is one of those young Hollywood elegant women who no matter what she is wearing, what event she's at, she looks great. Tonight is no exception. We're wearing that she is wearing Marquesa, a beautiful strapless gown. She looks stunning. She is just setting a trend on the carpet here, a dark strapless dress with a little bit of ruffle. She looks fantastic.

WYNTER: Wow. And some other guests that we saw. George Clooney, for example, with a perfect accessory, Sarah, his girlfriend. Let's talk a little bit about George.

SZISH: She didn't look so bad. You have to go with George because George every year he picks that perfect tux. And he always claims that he just goes to his closet, takes out the same tux and wears it every year but, every year George, you got to say that tux looks hot. He wears it so darn well. Classic Hollywood is all about George Clooney.

WYNTER: And we're making out way through seeing more stars. Anne Hathaway. She looked beautiful.

SZISH: I love Anne. I thought Anne looked great. Also, a Marquesa. Double hit form Marquesa. A beautiful red asymmetrical gown. Lots of red out there on the carpet. Lots of asymmetry, lots of big, beautiful details. A long train. She looks stunning. She is definitely one to watch in terms of rising style icons.

WYNTER: All right. We're definitely watching.

SZISH: Oh, yes.

WYNTER: Also watching, Marion Cotillard.

SZISH: Oh, who looked beautiful, as well. She was wearing cream. It was embellished. It was gorgeous. It was regal. Looked very, very fresh.

WYNTER: All right. Thank you so much. We'll be checking in with you later. Don't go away, we have so much more in terms of interviews with the stars coming up live from the red carpet.

Plus, meet a long-time nominee who's written 19 Oscar acceptance speeches but delivered not a single one. But first, our own Larry King's back with more Oscar trivia.

KING: Three comedians performed a musical numbers at the Oscars last year that ended with a salute to the stars of "The Queen." Who were those three amigos? The answer coming up right away. So don't go away.

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ANDERSON: When we come back, I will chat with this man, Sean P. Diddy Combs.

SEAN P. DIDDY COMBS: So, keep it right here.

ANDERSON: That's right. Meantime, Larry King has got the answer to our Oscar trivia question. Back in 90 seconds. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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KING: The musical number at the Oscar last year that ended with a salute to the star of "The Queen." Who were they? The answer Jack Black, John C. Riley and Will Farrell. A funny moment from last year's Oscars. Now back to this year's festivities outside the Kodak Theater.

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ANDERSON: Thank you, Larry. And I'm joined right now on the red carpet by this man, Sean P. Diddy Combs, entrepreneur, rapper, producer and actor. In fact, your movie "A Raisin in the Sun" premiers tomorrow night on ABC. We talked about this at Sundance. You know, you could be here at the Oscars as a nominee one day. You are really taking acting seriously now, aren't you?

COMBS: Definitely. Sometimes, I'm taken seriously. You know, it's hard because sometimes when people see you're a celebrity. You're coming from the music world, they don't know if you take it that seriously. That's why I starred on Broadway and had taken a lot of those cliche roles that were offered to me. And now doing "A raisin in the sun" on television, I hope it's going to be a testament of how serious I am as an actor. And hopefully, people will love the work. So, everybody, tune in tomorrow night on ABC 8:00 p.m.

ANDERSON: Your performance is phenomenal. And you and I were speaking in the commercial break and someone even as successful as you said that when you get here to the Oscars, you turn into a fan.

COMBS: Yes, yes. I'm overwhelmed. I'm enamored by, you know, the great talent. Especially being an aspiring actor. I'm a fan of so many of these people that are here today. It's like a big kid going to the circus. So, I'm just happy to be here.

ANDERSON: Well, enjoy yourself. Great to see you, Sean. Take care.

COMBS: Thank you.

ANDERSON: And we'll send it right back up to our Sky Lounge and see what's happening up there.

HAMMER: Brooke, I want to remind everybody to be sure to join us for a special edition of "Showbiz Tonight" live from right here at the Academy Awards at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on "Headline News" and coming up next when "Hollywood's Gold Rush" continues, the Susan Lucci of the Oscars hopes tonight will finally be his night. Plus, more live interviews with the stars as they head toward the Kodak Theater. First, Larry King and more Oscar trivia.

KING: In 1940, this star was presented with a special juvenile Oscar. Who was she and why she did receive the award? The answer is coming up.

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KING: Here's your Oscar trivia question again. In 1940, this star we presented with a special juvenile Oscar. Who was she and why did she receive the award? The answer, Judy Garland. She won the award for her outstanding work in "The Wizard of Oz" and other films. And now back to your hosts of "Hollywood's Gold Rush."

ANDERSON: OK. Thanks so much, Larry. I'm joined right now by Tilda Swinton, nominated for her performance in "Michael Clayton." Tilda, great to see you.

TILDA SWINTON, OSCAR NOMINEE: Nice to see you.

ANDERSON: And you said recently you have never watched the Oscars.

SWINTON: No.

ANDERSON: And that you couldn't think of anything more terrifying than walking across that Oscar stage. But how was the experience tonight.

SWINTON: You know, it's kind of mellowed. I mean, it's just so insane. And I'm getting the hang of this, people screaming thing. I mean, as I said the other day, it feels like being in a dog show.

ANDERSON: It is a little bit surreal.

SWINTON: Well, I don't think it's surreal for some people. I think they do this every day.

ANDERSON: Good thing you're not one of those people.

SWINTON: No. I mean, I'm standing in a flower bed here in high heels. I'm not complaining.

ANDERSON: Thanks for being here with us. And your next project also with George Clooney, "Burn after Reading," is that something that you have written in the contract now, work with George each and every time.

SWINTON: I'm spreading that rumor fast and loose.

ANDERSON: He is incredible.

SWINTON: He certainly is. Although he's not, he's very credible. That's why I like working with him.

ANDERSON: Very good. And the film "Michael Clayton" started off small. It's gotten an up tick at the box office since the nomination but did you ever think it would have the success it has? Seven nominations here tonight.

SWINTON: Honestly, it doesn't surprise me because I always knew it was going to be this good and Tony Gilroy who wrote it is such a cracking script and he's such fantastic guy. And I knew that it was going to be something really solid but you never know what people are going to want to see and anyway, I'm gratified that people -- really this year cinema audiences are telling us they want really, really classy films. I mean, look at the films that are nominated this year. And so I hope it will embolden the studios to just, you know pull their fingers out and keep making good films.

ANDERSON: Well, enjoy yourself tonight. Well said. Thank you, Tilda. We appreciate it. And Kareen, let's back up to you for a fashion update. By the way, during the commercial break, Tilda helped me with my own wardrobe adjustment. We girls have to look out for one another, don't we?

WYNTER: Absolutely. We have a lot of help right down there in the red carpet. We are back with Katrina Szish with "In Style" magazine. Let's talk a little bit, picking up where we left off with trends, a lot of dark colors, right?

SZISH: Oh, yes. A lot of dark colors. In the Grammy's, we saw bright colors. Here, we're seeing dark colors. Back to basics. Lots of the best Oscar nominees dark colors. Tilda Swinton, who we just saw Brooke talking to down there. We're also seeing Laura Linney in dark colors, Jennifer Garner, of course, Ellen Page. Big favorite tonight wearing black.

WYNTER: Anyone who's absolutely bombed already?

SZISH: No one has totally bombed but I would have like to see Cameron Diaz do little more something than a ponytail with her hair. Come on Cameron, your dress was gorgeous. Let's do something with the hair.

WYNTER: She is beautiful. She can roll out of bed and --

SZISH: The ultimate California girl.

WYNTER: Surfer girl.

Let's about strapless? A little of that too.

SZISH: Strapless is a big trend. Strapless and asymmetrical necklines. Laura Linney in a strapless gown. Kelly Preston, Jennifer Garner. Strapless is everywhere and also asymmetrical gowns. Anne Hathaway. We saw Hillary Swank, Tilda Swinton. All the rage.

WYNTER: You heard it from our expert here. By the way, quickly, who are you wearing?

SZISH: I'm wearing J. Mandel and Stasha (Premak). Lots of bling on the ears here.

WYNTER: Lots of bling folks, right next to it. I can see it. Tank you

SZISH: The bodyguard's always there.

WYNTER: Always a blast. Thank you so much.

SZISH: Thank you. WYNTER: Brooke, we'll send it your way, baby.

ANDERSON: And guess who I'm with? The lovely Cameron Diaz who looks beautiful in a ponytail tonight.

CAMERON DIAZ, ACTRESS: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Welcome.

DIAZ: Wait a second. I'm not really wearing my hair any different than what I do every single day.

ANDERSON: But I like you're here so relaxed and have such ease about you and you're presenting tonight, right?

DIAZ: Yes, I am, yes.

ANDERSON: And how important is the Oscars in terms of a recognition of an actor's career. Because I'm sure you aspire one day to be here as a nominee, as well?

DIAZ: No. It is a little bit too much pressure. Contests are weird for me. Like, I don't like to be put up against - like who's better than who. I just like everybody to sort of to be in it and have fun. But, you know, coming into the event and getting to honor peoples' work is also just a wonderful thing as well.

ANDERSON: You got a movie coming out. "What happens in Vegas" with Ashton Kutcher. We look forward to that. Cameron Diaz, good to see you.

DIAZ: Thank you.

ANDERSON: And now we are joined by Oscar nominee Marion Cotillard. She is nominated for her performance in "La Vie en Rose" portraying Edith Piaf. Great to see you again.

MARION COTILLARD, OSCAR NOMINEE: Great to see you, too.

ANDERSON: You have recently won the BAFTA Award. Britain's version of the Oscar awards. The first French actress to do so, how is the award season impacted you and your career?

COTILLARD: Well, it's really my life has changed. For a while now. And so - I'm really enjoying it.

ANDERSON: I bet you are. Best of luck tonight. Great to see you.

COTILLARD: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Marion Cotillard.

And we are live from the 80th Annual Academy Awards. It's been a lot of fun but that's all the time we have for right now. Live from the red carpet in Hollywood, I'm Brooke Anderson.

WYNTER: And up in the Sky Lounge, I'm Kareen Wynter along with A.J. Hammer. It's been quite a blast.

HAMMER: A blast indeed and the sun starting to pop out which is a good sign and don't forget that tonight at 11:00 Eastern. We're going to have a special edition of "Showbiz Tonight" from the Academy Awards. Join Brooke Anderson and I for that on "Headline News."

WYNTER: We'll have updates from the Oscars throughout the night on CNN and tomorrow morning, watch CNN's AMERICAN MORNING for a full wrap, plus reaction from the winners. That's starting at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. Up next, if you missed Thursday's democratic presidential debate, we have more between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. You can see it right here after a break. I'm Kareen Wynter. So long, everyone from the 80th annual Academy Awards.

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