Bruce Vilanch on writing for the Oscars

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Bruce Vilanch, king of the Oscars writers, remembers Sharon Stone flashing her essential parts in “Basic Instinct.”

He says, ” The Joke then was, ‘This year’s biggest part was Sharon Stone’s in Basic Instinct.?’ She then grimaced in the audience.

“Oscar nights, we get audience seats. Sometimes, they’re on top of the balcony. Once I asked Chris Henchy, Brooke Shields’ husband, if he wanted a pair of tickets. Brooke said, ‘No. Forget it.’ They didn’t even sit through the show.

“Often in our room we writers throw jokes at each other. Once documentary winner Michael Moore made a speech about George W. Bush. Stagehands began booing. Emcee Steve Martin then announced the stagehands were helping Michael into the trunk of his car.

“For jokes some stars need rehearsal. Jane Fonda wants a pre-reading. Johnny Depp: ‘I don’t know how to do this because there’s no real character here.’ I said, ‘Make one up.’ So he remembered being chemically altered in one picture and delivered his lines as if he was slightly oiled.

“I actually started with Bette Midler. She was then nobody but — like me — she came from New Jersey so I wound up writing for her.”

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