Friday, March 03, 2006


FIRST: Download an Oscar® ballot at IMDB (pdf).

SECOND: Academy Award®-winning actor Jack Nicholson will join Oscar® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, Eric Bana, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Stiller, John Travolta and Ziyi Zhang as presenters at the 78th Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producer Gil Cates (pictured above) announced today.

These presenters will join Hilary Swank, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Jessica Alba, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Will Ferrell, Queen Latifah, Terrence Howard, Meryl Streep, Will Smith, Steve Carell, Nicole Kidman, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Uma Thurman, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Lily Tomlin, Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek on the telecast.

THIRD: Robert Altman (pictured above), previously nominated in the Best Director category five times ("M*A*S*H," NASHVILLE, THE PLAYER, SHORT CUTS, GOSFORD PARK), has never taken home the Oscar. He will this year, but not for directing. He receives an honorary Oscar® statuette to honor "a career that has repeatedly reinvented the art form and inspired filmmakers and audiences alike."

Altman has directed 37 films, produced 27, and written 16 of them. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, he began his film career there working on documentary, employee training, industrial and educational films. He made his first feature film, THE DELINQUENTS, in Kansas City in 1957, a low budget exploitation film which was distributed by United Artists. He moved to Hollywood and found work directing episodes of television series such as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Bonanza." In 1969, he was offered the script of "M*A*S*H," the success of which galvanized his feature film career.

Altman's films include McCABE and MRS. MILLER, THE LONG GOODBYE, THIEVES LIKE US, POPEYE, A WEDDING, and KANSES CITY. His current film, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, is in post-production.

Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," will host the Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2005. Unless you have been in a coma, you know by now that the Oscar gala will be Sunday, 5 March, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 8 p.m. EST. A one-hour red carpet arrivals show will air one hour before the main telecast.

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