Hillary Atkin

Reel World

DOUBLE TALK He may have planted his lips on Halle Berry, but Oscar winner Adrien Brody also knows how not to use them at all. In the low-budget indie Dummy, Brody plays Steven, a geeky suburbanite – still living at home with his parents and sister (Illeana Douglas) – who quits a sales job to pursue his passion: ventriloquism. The role didn’t exactly require Pianist-level Method prep, but Brody still felt challenged. ”You have so much to tackle when you’re being a ventriloquist and acting in a scene,” Brody tells EW. ”You have your dialogue and the dummy’s dialogue.

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Alan Cumming on his dramatic ''X-Men'' makeover

Alan Cumming, X2: X-Men United

Help wanted: a shrink for the cast of summer’s ”X-Men” sequel, ”X2.” ”We offer each other blue-people counseling,” says Alan Cumming, who plays the teleporting Nightcrawler opposite Rebecca Romijn-Stamos’ returning cobalt baddie, Mystique. ”The airbrushing is an absolute nightmare from hell!” (In the X-Men comics, Nightcrawler is Mystique’s son, but the film doesn’t address the connection.) The ”Femme Fatale” actress is thrilled to commiserate with someone about the four-hour process. ”Our makeup trailers are next to each other,” she says, ”so we whine and complain.

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Jim Dandy

Somewhere in Oscar-loser purgatory, a wizard is shaking hands with a Jedi master. Just as Alec Guinness (Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi) lost the Best Supporting Actor race in 1978 to Jason Robards (Julia’s Dashiell Hammett), this year a mystic in a cloak got beaten by a man of letters all over again. Despite predictions that Ian McKellen was a sure bet for anchoring the box office giant The Lord of the Rings as Gandalf, the trophy went instead to another Brit, Jim Broadbent, who played academic John Bayley in Miramax’s little-seen Iris.

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The Big Night

If you looked closely at the red carpet leading into the new Kodak Theatre, you might have noticed something different this year. The red carpet wasn’t really red at all. Cordoned off by an army of security guards and trampled underfoot by an endless procession of diamond-festooned stilettos, the traditional fire-engine-hued runway had been replaced with a carpet that seemed almost burgundy or cranberry.

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