- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Dressing safely

Holly Hunter stands to take home her second Oscar trophy, for her performance in the movie “Thirteen,” and when she walks down the red carpet, she won’t be taking any fashion risks.

“I know that I have to be comfortable — especially in my shoes,” she told Associated Press. “And the dress has to be infinitely wearable because it feels like you have it on for 25 hours.”

Also, she’s looking again to designer friend Vera Wang, who designed the black illusion gown she wore to the 1993 Oscars, when she won for “The Piano.”

Said the petite Miss Hunter, “She understands dressing for a small woman.”

Unshockable

Will Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl stunt translate into big sales for her upcoming album?

Rolling Stone magazine is skeptical.

“As a society, we’re becoming numb to this,” Kirk Harding, a marketing executive at Universal, is quoted as saying on the rock magazine’s Web site. “Think how hard it would be to be the Sex Pistols or N.W.A right now — to shock people with just lyrics or music.”

Rebuffing Playboy

She’ll be keeping her hat — and the rest of her clothes — on.

Country singer Terri Clark, whose hits include “I Just Wanna Be Mad,” said this week that she (pardon the pun) rebuffed an offer to appear on the cover of Playboy magazine for the May music issue.

“I’m mostly just a regular ol’ girl who likes to have fun, play her guitar, drink some tequila, hang out with my friends,” she said in a statement. “Exotic beauties and total sexpots get asked to do the cover of Playboy, not girls like me.”

That’s not to say the Canadian-born Miss Clark, 35, wasn’t flattered. “I’m not typical, and the experts evidently saw something in me that said a normal-size woman can be sexy.”

“But,” she added, “for me, even as full-tilt as I am, there are just some things I can’t quite get comfortable with.”

Winning strategies

Academy Award-nominated actors employ various methods of downplaying Oscar handicapping.

Often they say they have no chance, that they’re glad just to be considered. Others say the trophy would be nice, but “the privilege” of working with “so many wonderful people” is a “reward all its own.”

Jude Law, who is nominated for best actor for his role in “Cold Mountain,” is taking another tack: Root for the other guy.

“I’ve always loved Sean Penn’s work,” he told reporters at the Berlin Film Festival. Mr. Penn is nominated in the same category for his emotional work in “Mystic River.”

“He’s someone I’ve respected and looked up to and admired for years and years and years, and I think it should be his year,” Mr. Law said.

At least we think it was meant as a compliment.

Meet the new boss

Barely a month since being booted from a top post at Arista Records, Antonio “L.A.” Reid has soft-landed as the new chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group.

Mr. Reid’s three-year deal with the label, owned by Universal Music Group, will pay him a little less than $10 million, according to Associated Press. As a label head and producer, Mr. Reid mentored the careers of acts such as Whitney Houston and, more recently, Avril Lavigne and OutKast to the top of the charts.

Doomsday

Ireland is gearing up to celebrate the centenary of “Bloomsday,” the 1904 day in which James Joyce’s “Ulysses” is set — but in some circles, the novel is eliciting a big snore.

” ‘Ulysses’ could have done with a good editor,” Roddy Doyle, author of the comic best seller “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha” and the screenplay for the hit film “The Commitments,” told a literary gathering in New York, Reuters News Agency reports.

“People are always putting ‘Ulysses’ in the top 10 books ever written, but I doubt that any of those people were really moved by it.”

Irish Times columnist Kevin Myers shot down the celebrated novel yesterday as “one of the most unproductive cul-de-sacs in literary history.”

“It is about 400,000 words long, which is probably about 250,000 words too many.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from wire and Web reports.

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