The Oscar celebrations continued as Jerry Weintraub, the producer of the star-packed Ocean’s 11, threw a party for Academy Award winners Steven Soderbergh and Julia Roberts at the swank Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, where the film is now shooting. The guests of honor came, as did costars George Clooney, Matt Damon and Elliott Gould. But Brad Pitt was a little late. First, he had to watch Friends, reports Gould. (“I have to spend time with my wife,” Pitt said.) Coincidentally, Gould left early to catch a flight to L.A., where he taped the season finale of the hit sitcom, on which he plays the father of TV siblings Courteney Cox Arquette and David Schwimmer. When he got to the set, Gould told Jennifer Aniston of her hubby’s devotion. “Jen was so pleased,” he says.
Russell Crowe won the Oscar for Best Actor—and the evening’s faux pas award for breach of protocol. To honor his deceased grandfather, World War II cinematographer Stan Wemyss, Crowe pinned Wemyss’s Member of the Order of the British Empire medal—one of England’s highest honors—on his Armani tuxedo jacket. But according to Clive Cheesman of the British College of Arms, Crowe, or anyone else who did not actually receive the honor, is technically not permitted to wear the MBE medal, which was given to We-myss for his film work in the Pacific, Singapore and Tripoli for the New Zealand National Film Unit. “It’s not a criminal offense,” says Cheesman, “but it’s not appropriate.”
Speaking of the Oscars, where was Erin Brockovich-Ellis? She had her dress picked out and hair and makeup appointments scheduled—but then her daughter Katie, 16, became seriously ill with a sinus infection at school in Oregon. Brockovich-Ellis made the 13-hour drive from her house north of L.A. to bring her daughter home (doctors wouldn’t allow Katie to fly). They got back in time for the show, but Brockovich-Ellis opted to stay home with her daughter to watch it on TV. Katie is expected to make a full recovery.
Xena: Warrior Princess wrapped its sixth and final season on March 31 in Auckland, New Zealand. Just after the all-night shoot, the 75-person crew presented star Lucy Lawless and costar Renee O’Connor with gifts that were more than a year in the making. The crew bought a large piece of jade, which holds spiritual significance among the Maori, New Zealand’s native people, and had an artist cut it into two pieces resembling the chakram, the weapon used by their characters on the show. Producers are mum about the two-part finale, airing in late May-June.
When Elton John heard Scottish actor Ewan McGregor sing his love ballad “Your Song” in the upcoming musical Moulin Rouge, which costars Nicole Kidman, John told the film’s director, Baz Luhr-mann, “This guy’s going to be a huge rock star.” Well, John’s prediction could come true. We hear that McGregor is negotiating a recording deal.