What are the best-kept secrets in Hollywood?
The first, and obvious answer, is the names of the Oscar winners.
A second, but not so well-known answer, is the lineup of the presenters and performers for the Academy Awards show.
"Keeping it a secret is part of what people go to see shows for," said Gil Cates, who as producer decides on the talent and lineup. Like his predecessors, Cates has kept the lineup a secret until the day of each of the four previous Oscar shows he has produced.
"One year I arranged to have an Oscar sent up with the Space Shuttle crew and televised from space during the show. A few days before the show (Daily Variety columnist) Army Archerd got wind of it and called me about it. I told him it wasn't true. Then, after the show, Army said to me, 'You lied.' I said, 'Yes, I wanted to keep it a surprise.' "
And so it has gone, show after show.
This year, however, a source has managed to sneak a copy of the lineup to The Times.
According to the hush-hush schedule--which no doubt could undergo last-minute changes--the first Oscar presented at Monday's 66th annual Academy Awards show will be given by Tom Hanks for the art direction category. The program will end some three hours later with Harrison Ford announcing the best picture.
In one unusual twist, the Oscar for director will be announced immediately before best picture, with Clint Eastwood, the winner of 1992's best director prize for "Unforgiven," doing the honors.
Typically in the history of the televised show, the Oscar for direction is fourth from last, preceding best actor and actress. The reason for the change this year is unclear, but the speculation is that the change was made because of the strong likelihood that "Schindler's List" will win Steven Spielberg the director's prize as well as the producer's prize for best picture. Such a back-to-back win would add to the night's drama.
There is also the thinking that Spielberg, perhaps the world's most famous filmmaker, thanks to the top-grossing movies of all time--"Jurassic Park" and "E.T."--is, perhaps, a bigger attraction to the 1 billion or so in the international TV audience than any of the nominated actors.
Nowhere to be seen on the list are the names of presenters who last year made controversial political statements: Richard Gere, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. Cates said because he believes such comments are inappropriate for the evening, they would not be invited back and it appears he kept his word.
Asked to comment on the lineup, Cates declined, only saying that there have been occasions where he has made changes while the show was on the air. "There's just no way of knowing. . . . I don't know who's going to come down with a cold. . . . There was one year when Charlton Heston was to make a presentation, but his car had a flat tire, so Clint Eastwood stepped in. But just as Eastwood took the stage, Heston arrived.
"Look, rundowns change. Whatever you print is going to be wrong. That's one reason why we don't give out lineups. I don't think it's anybody's business. If (viewers are) curious they should sit down and watch the show."
If you are inclined to take Cates' advice, the show will be telecast live on Monday at 6 p.m. on ABC from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center.
Lining Them Up for Oscar's Big Night
Here is the tentative program schedule and the presenters of the awards as of Thursday:
* Academy president's welcome: Arthur Hiller.
* Introduction to opening production number, "Putting It Together," featuring Bernadette Peters.
* Whoopi Goldberg, emcee, entrance.
* Art direction award: Tom Hanks, presenter.
* Visual effects: Macaulay Culkin, presenter.
* Best picture clip: "The Fugitive," introduced by Jeff Bridges.
* Actor in a supporting role: Marisa Tomei, presenter.
* Janet Jackson and Jimmy Jam perform best original song nominee "Again."
* Makeup: Joan Chen, Val Kilmer, presenters.
* Sound effects editing: Liam Neeson, presenter.
* Honorary award to Deborah Kerr: Glenn Close, presenter.
* James Ingram and Dolly Parton perform song nominee "The Day I Fall in Love" with dogs Beethoven and Missy.
* Introduction of animation package: Rosie O'Donnell.
* Animated short films: Rosie O'Donnell, presenter.
* Live-action short films: Rosie O'Donnell, presenter.
* Best picture clip: "Schindler's List," introduced by Richard Dreyfuss.
* Sound: Andie MacDowell, presenter.
* Actress in a supporting role: Gene Hackman, presenter.
* Science and technical award winners: Laura Dern, presenter.
* Johnny Depp introduces nominated song "Philadelphia," performed by Neil Young.
* Best picture clip: "The Remains of the Day," introduced by Alec Baldwin.
* Costume design: Sharon Stone, presenter.
* Documentary short subject and feature films: Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill, presenters.
* Introduction to dances choreographed to the music of the five nominated original scores: Goldie Hawn and Bill Conti.
* Original score: Goldie Hawn, presenter.
* Introduction of Kirk Douglas by Jack Valenti.
* Introduction of cinematography clips and award: Kirk Douglas, presenter.
* Best picture clip: "The Piano," introduced by Madeleine Stowe.
* Nominated song "A Wink and a Smile," performed by Keith Carradine.
* Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award presented to Paul Newman by Tom Cruise.
* Foreign-language film: Anthony Hopkins, presenter.
* Film editing: Geena Davis, presenter.
* Antonio Banderas introduces nominated song "Streets of Philadelphia," performed by Bruce Springsteen.
* Original song: Whitney Houston, presenter.
* Original screenplay and adaptation: Jeremy Irons, presenter.
* Actor in a leading role: Emma Thompson, presenter.
* Best picture clip "In the Name of the Father," introduced by Donald Sutherland.
* Actress in a leading role: Al Pacino, presenter.
* Director: Clint Eastwood, presenter.
* Best picture: Harrison Ford, presenter.