Jane Birnbaum

Oscars 1993: Statue stats

Handed out 2,030 times since 1928, Oscar is a coveted and well-known fellow. His facts and figures:

* Stands 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds.

* Designed by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons in 1927.

* Named in 1931 by an Academy librarian who said it reminded her of ”my uncle Oscar,” though the moniker is often erroneously attributed to Bette Davis noting a likeness to an ex.

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Oscars 1993: The ballot

It’s Hollywood’s elite who vote for the Oscars, right? In fact, kids or housekeepers could be filling out those final ballots — they’re anonymous. Return envelopes are prestamped with 29 cents postage. But there’s more:

* Printed in black ink on white paper, the ballot measures approximately 8.5 by 17.25 inches unfolded and looks like nothing so much as a Chinese takeout menu.

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MGM gets erotic

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, famous in the ’40s for making ingenues cover up before filming, soon will be marketing not one but two hypererotic movies: Body of Evidence, with Madonna and Willem Dafoe, due in January and possibly headed for an NC-17 rating, and The Lover, an R-rated affair about a wealthy young Chinese man (Tony Leung) and a poor French girl (Jane March), due in late October.

While Evidence has been getting all the ink, thanks to talk of Madonna’s out-there sex scene, The Lover may quietly provide the season’s real steam.

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Hollywood is the place for mood disorders

If you’re studying nervousness and depression, what better place to do research than Hollywood? At least that’s the thinking of Ron Podell, M.D., who codirects the L.A.-based Center for Mood Disorders. Trying to recruit subjects for ongoing FDA-approved clinical trials for the new mood-altering drugs abecarnil and zatosetron, Podell is running an ad in the Hollywood Reporter for volunteers with anxiety disorders.

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Fox star gets the axe

When Fox TV’s newest star used a live nude male to make a point about censorship at a management conference two weeks ago, his bright idea burned up his boss. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch promptly fired the prankster, Stephen Chao, 36, the handpicked up-and-comer who had helped create such Fox-y fare as Studs, America’s Most Wanted, and Cops. Chao, who had been tapped only 10 weeks ago to become president of the Fox Television Stations, immediately became part of the year’s show-biz lore.

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Sir Mix-A-Lot defends ''Baby Got Back''

The song has been called racist and sexist. Many top radio stations won’t touch it. And MTV wouldn’t run the video without edits. But ”Baby Got Back,” rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ode to women with large posteriors, was on Billboard’s top 10 singles chart last week and just hit No. 1 on The Box, the viewer-programmed cable-TV channel.

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''Boxing Helena'' experiences star dropouts

What actress would break her neck to appear on screen as a woman without arms or legs, imprisoned in a box by a love-obsessed doctor? Oddly enough, two major stars did, only to later renege. And each did so four weeks before the slated start of production on Boxing Helena, the first directorial effort of Jennifer Lynch, 24, daughter of David Lynch. Madonna had committed to the role (Entertainment Weekly, 43), then dropped out in December 1990 with no explanation.

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