The freshest prince

Why Will Smith left the Oscars early; little "hobbit" people excluded from show; Tom makes friendly with Nicole; Sharon Stone: Only a sliver of genius!

By Amy Reiter

Published March 26, 2002 5:38PM (EST)

Where was Will Smith when they read the best actor nominations?

After the ceremony, ABC would tell reporters only that "He had to leave for personal matters," but those of you speculating that Smtih made an ill-timed trip to the bathroom or that he'd simply decided the meandering proceedings were going on too long to bear would be wrong, wrong, wrong.

Turns out the best-actor nominee and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, sneaked out of the Kodak Theater's Smith section, as Whoopi Goldberg so aptly termed it, in order to attend to a sick child.

The couple's publicist has told the Associated Press that Will and Jada were informed midway through the show that their 1 1/2-year-old daughter, Willow, had come down with an ear infection and was running a fever of 103. So they skipped the scene and drove to the hospital in Santa Monica where Willow had been brought for treatment.

Willow's health is reported to have improved sufficiently for her to return home.

And, of course, the rest of us all now know who would have won the Oscar for best parents, if there were one.

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Trading red carpets for red noses

The Smiths could have turned over their empty seats to a couple of the worthy young stars of "The Lord of the Rings" who were left out of the glitzily intimate proceedings Sunday night.

Though Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan (who played elf warrior Legolas and the hobbits Pippin and Merry, respectively) were all flown to Los Angeles for the Oscars, alas, they were not given tickets to attend.

The three actors, who were on stand-by in case an invited guest failed to show, took matters in stride.

"I'm going to go out to get drunk anyway," Bloom told the U.K. Sun.


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More heartwarming Oscar news

Tom Cruise did his best to make sure there wouldn't be any uncomfortable moments between him and Nicole Kidman on the red carpet by dialing up his ex just before the ceremony for a little nice-making chatter.

"Tom said he thought she deserved to win the Best Actress and that, as a member of the Academy, he had voted for her," a Kidman buddy told "They talked for about 10 minutes about the awards and their children and he also chatted to Nicole's sister Antonia. Nicole was really moved by the gesture."

But presumably not quite so moved as Tom was by his own show-opening speech.

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Green's Golden moment

"I'd just like to say to all the other nominees in the audience, I don't think that I deserve it any more than the rest of you. I'd like to say that. I don't think that it would be true, though."

-- Tom Green, personally accepting the Golden Raspberry award for the year's worst movie ("Freddy Got Fingered") as well as awards for worst actor, worst screen couple ("Green and any animal he abuses"), worst director and, with Derek Harvie, worst screenplay.

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Stone shocker

The most revealing moment on the red carpet had nothing to do with Halle Berry's or Gwyneth Paltrow's dresses, but rather with the words burbling out of Sharon Stone's mouth.

Asked by Joan Rivers about her purported Mensa membership, Stone admitted that she was not now -- nor has she ever been -- a member of the genius organization.

"People say that I am, but as far as I know I'm not," Stone told Rivers. "I went to a special Mensa school when I was a kid, but I don't think I'm actually in Mensa."

However, Stone was quick to add, "I am so, so smart."

Though not smart enough to know when to stop talking.

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

Amy Reiter

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