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This was early last Monday evening and up on the television screens Barbara Walters was interviewing movie stars while, there in the front room at the bar of Elaine's restaurant in Manhattan, Barbara Walters was being interviewed by someone else. Routine, really, on Oscar night, at what has become an annual hot ticket, the Academy Awards-watching dinner for 180 media and celebs hosted by Time Inc.'s Entertainment Weekly magazine, James W. Seymore Jr., prop.

There are of course excellent parties out there in Hollywood on this same night with handsome leading men and gorgeous women and powerful magnates and girls in their scanties and studio chiefs and tycoons of every manner and sort. Plus the occasional winner dropping in after the show actually clutching a gold statuette.

But if you are to be three thousand miles away there is no more splendid place to watch the sport than at Elaine's with Editor Jim Seymore. On Second Avenue, Sunday's snow had melted and searchlights punched brilliant holes in the night sky while a couple of "dudes" in gold paint and posing jocks took turns greeting guests in the chill of the sidewalk under a slick white marquee-tent (this thing is getting pretty classy). Inside was a working bar (which efficiently produced a vodka on demand) and the magazine's Peter Bonventre, who introduced people to Entertainment Weekly's new president, John Squires.

Phew! All this and Donald Trump, too? The Donald, naturally, with a honey. There was much talk of how the Germans, that very day, had taken over Random House. It was all too reminiscent of "Casablanca," with Bogie and Bergman in that small Paris bistrot listening to, in the distance, "German 88s." But why? Wasn't Newhouse an acquirer and not a seller? Nan Talese said she was simply going to have a good time tonight and not worry about it. Which it seems to me is at all times, German 88s or no, the philosophy of her husband Gay.

Betsy and Walter Cronkite arrived and I got to talk with Al Roker and met, for the first time, Don Logan, the Time Inc. chairman and CEO, a good fellow who amiably agreed to look at pictures someone was showing around of an exceptionally handsome baby, and on the basis of which I called for a second Absolut on the rocks.

Producer Elliott Kastner was in from London and talking on a cell phone and when I said hello, Elliott kissed me. A Danny de Vito lookalike hired for the night went about shaking people's hands and actress Elizabeth Berkley arrived in what a woman called "lingerie as evening wear." Ms. Berkley, however, was not lavishing kisses as Mr. Kastner was, alas. Peter Jennings and Harry Smith and Judd Rose were all there by now as well as Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes" and his wife, writer Jennet Conant whose grandpa (I believe) was president of Harvard. I meant to check that with Old Cantabridgian George Plimpton but he was too busy telling me his next oral history book might be about Elvis Presley. So I had another Absolut instead.

They herded us now to wine-laden tables of 10 (a succulent filet mignon or scallops as entree choice), and I got to talk with Andy Wang of A.C. Nielsen whose grandmother is 104 and lives in Hong Kong and actor Robert Loggia and a dapper young man in evening clothes and sporting a monocle who works for Page Six of the New York Post. By God, I like that: chaps with monocles writing gossip. Very Addison De Witt. Norm Pearlstine said hello and I got to chat with a Sullivan & Cromwell lawyer, Marianne McKeon. Elaine came over and I got another kiss.

Lee Radziwill and husband Herbert Ross, the Bob Wrights of NBC, Les Moonves of CBS, Juliet Mills, baseball's Keith Hernandez, fashion's Danny Zarem (who kept telling entirely contrived stories about me in my WWD days), Star Jones of "The View" on ABC, Phyllis George, Jim Dolan whose daddy owns Cablevision, covergirl Frederique (though not SI swimsuit covergirl Heidi Klum), Mr. and Mrs. Regis Philbin, and Ellen Levine and her husband were others I saw but did not kiss (except for Ellen). And now in L.A., the show began with a boffo! Billy Crystal opening. Kim Basinger, who lives in Amagansett, was an enormously popular winner, though Julianne Moore, who lives near me in Bridgehampton, would equally have graced the podium (in the Hamptons we have our rooting interests, I can assure you!).

Applause from all of us for the great movies of all time and for nimble Stanley Donen. Bobby de Niro and Michael Caine drew a hand because both hang out at Elaine's. Nice hand also for Scorsese from us because Tim Forbes' wife Anne works for Martin. There were some nice obits of Mitchum and Jimmy Stewart and Lloyd Bridges and Toshiro Mifune. I love Robin Williams but had been pulling for Burt Reynolds because I'd profiled him for Parade. Helen Hunt looked fine, but someone at our table said, "I hear she's a bitch," so I applauded louder to reassure the lovely Ms. Hunt. And Nicholson was, well, he was Nicholson.

Oh, yeah, "Titanic" won a lot of stuff, too.

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