April 02, 2001 12:00 PM

Gwyneth Paltrow has been the belle of the ball at the Oscars, but this March 25 she won’t even be in Los Angeles. The 1999 Best Actress winner is taking a break from the Hollywood party circuit. “Sometimes it’s good to get away from that scene,” she told us. So where will the actress be Oscar night? At home in her New York City apartment, curled up on the couch and watching it on TV, like most of us.

When I ran into Helena Bonham Carter at a Hollywood soiree honoring Oscar nominee Javier Bardem, she seemed spent. Planet of the Apes had just wrapped principal filming after five grueling months. The British actress, who plays a “human rights activist,” endured five hours of makeup each day for her simian transformation. That adds up to more than three weeks spent in the makeup chair.

Two Guys and a Girl will soon become two guys and a pregnant girl. But which girl? The audience gets to make the call. Starting in late April the sitcom’s fans can log onto ABC’s Web site and vote for one of the show’s three main actresses-Suzanne Cryer, Traylor Howard or Jillian Bach. Voting continues right up to the season ender in May, when votes will be tallied. The producers have already shot three different versions and will broadcast the winner’s pregnancy on the final episode. And talk about a long gestation: The baby won’t be born until the end of next season.

In the upcoming Claire’s Hat, Juliette Lewis plays a French-Canadian who is mistaken for a bank robber. The actress spent six intensive weeks working with a dialect coach to learn the language before filming began. But the lessons lost something in translation. On a recent trip to Paris, Lewis couldn’t even parler un peu de frangais; she had learned a form of French-Canadian slang. Plus, she told us, “a lot of the dialogue I learned was curse words, so I couldn’t very well order dinner in Paris.” At least she could complain about the service.

Brooke Shields is back in a sitcom for the first time since Suddenly Susan went off the air last year. She’ll play Wendie Malick’s sister on the March 29 episode of NBC’s Just Shoot Me. Unsure whether Shields would be interested, Shoot executive producer Marsh McCall first approached her fiancé, Chris Henchy, a basketball buddy and Spin City supervising producer, who loved the idea. Brooke readily agreed, we’re told, especially after learning her character gets into a barroom brawl and has a chance to bed David Spade, although we’re thinking Spade would be getting the better deal.

Kevin Costner’s fameisn’t totally global. For the actor’s latest movie, Dragonfly, in which he plays a man searching the Amazon for his missing wife, producers flew 100 members of four indigenous Indian tribes from Venezuela to the Hawaiian location as extras. Some asked if Costner was the guy who starred in the Die Hard or Indiana Jones movies. By the end of their 10-day stay, however, they were better informed, especially after catching Wyatt Earp on the hotel TV.

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