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MANTRA

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

Speech coach Dorothy Sarnoff, whose speciality is teaching people how to control nervousness, has some advice for nail-biting, sweaty-palmed Oscar nominees as they sit in the Shrine Auditorium tonight waiting to learn whether they’ll be called on to deliver an acceptance speech. “Have an opening line on the tip of your tongue, and keep saying the mantra, ‘I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad you’re here. I care about you. I know that I know.’ The first part declares the joy of being there. ‘I care about you’ says I love you all, and ‘I know that I know’ says I know how to do this well. I have rehearsed at home, and I have control of me and the audience.” What about nominees who don’t get an Oscar? “They need to say to themselves, ‘Maybe next time.’ It’s positive thinking that gives out strong messages.” Sarnoff knows whereby she speaks. A former opera and stage star (most notably as Yul Brynner’s head wife in “The King and I” on Broadway), she has helped a host of clients, from Sens. Bob Dole and Lloyd Bentsen to Leslie Stahl and Hodding Carter, maximize their speaking skills.


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