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MOVIESThe Oscar Clause: Actor Tim Allen said...

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

MOVIES

The Oscar Clause: Actor Tim Allen said Wednesday that he has not been approached about hosting this year’s Oscar broadcast, but probably would not take the job if he were. “It might mean the end of my career,” quipped Allen to television writers, saying he might make jokes about Jack Nicholson or “Roger Moore’s liver spots.” He also said it would be difficult being funny when the audience is looking at their watches “saying, ‘Come on!’ ” Allen, the star of TV’s “Home Improvement” and Disney’s “The Santa Clause,” has been seen as a possible candidate to replace Billy Crystal, who for the second straight year has nixed the host job.

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Joining Forces: Sixty-five Hollywood figures including Oliver Stone, Robert Altman, Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster and Martin Scorsese signed a letter to film academy President Arthur Hiller expressing “distress” over rules barring Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Red” from Oscar consideration in the foreign language category. The film was submitted by Switzerland but rejected because key artistic personnel came from countries outside of Switzerland. The rules should be amended, the letter stated, because they in effect turn co-productions between foreign countries into “orphaned” films. Among others signing the letter, which was delivered Wednesday in time for an academy board of governors meeting tonight, were Alan Alda, Quentin Tarantino, Glenn Close, Penny Marshall, Raquel Welch and National Endowment for the Arts head Jane Alexander.

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TELEVISION

Talking to America: Cable’s America’s Talking network is giving viewers a forum to question a different member of Congress each day via telephone, fax or Prodigy. Called “We the People,” the interactive forum is part of “A-T in Depth,” the station’s weekday 3-4 p.m. news analysis program. It will be offered throughout the 104th Congress’ first 100 days.

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His ‘So-Called’ Decision: ABC Entertainment President Ted Harbert reiterated Wednesday that there still may be some life in “My So-Called Life,” the critically praised drama about a teen-age girl that has been struggling in the ratings since its premiere last year. “Reports that the show has been canceled are untrue,” Harbert told the winter gathering of TV writers in Pasadena, saying that a final decision about the series won’t be made until May. Harbert said he is a huge fan of the show, which he called “art,” and added he was aware of the passion of the show’s fans. The series closes its current run at the end of the month.

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POP/ROCK

Fighting Back: Michael Jackson spoke out Wednesday about recent rumors that he has engaged in illicit sexual activities. “I will no longer stand by and watch reckless members of the media try to destroy my reputation. I intend to protect myself and my family,” Jackson said in a statement, adding that he would begin legal action “against those persons who continue to spread vicious lies and rumors about me in their attempts to make money, benefit their careers, sell papers or to get viewers to watch their programs. Enough is enough!” The statement was prompted by British tabloid reports about an alleged videotape showing the entertainer engaging in unlawful conduct. Jackson’s attorney has denied the existence of such a tape.

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Pop Chart: Garth Brooks’ “The Hits” album sold an estimated 352,000 copies last week and will continue to command the No. 1 position on this week’s Billboard pop album sales chart. The remaining Top 5 best-sellers are: Boyz II Men’s “II” (181,000 units), Pearl Jam’s “Vitalogy” (177,000), the Eagles “Hell Freezes Over” (174,000) and Green Day’s “Dookie” (172,000).

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CLASSICAL MUSIC

Schifrin Resigns: Lalo Schifrin has resigned as music director and conductor of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra, effective at the end of the current season. Schifrin, who has held the post since 1989, noted that his work as a composer and recording artist was taking up increasing time, conflicting with the symphony’s plans to expand its programs. Along with his resignation, Schifrin recommended a successor: conductor Lucas Richman, a former assistant conductor at Orange County’s Pacific Symphony. The Glendale Symphony’s board of directors is scheduled to vote Monday on Schifrin’s replacement.

QUICK TAKES

This week’s storms forced the closure on Wednesday of Malibu’s J. Paul Getty Museum, which reported no damage to the facility but was isolated by road conditions. For the remainder of the week, prospective visitors are advised to phone ahead at (310) 458-2003 to see if the roads are open. . . . Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump,” “Back to the Future”) will be honored as director of the year March 9 at the annual motion picture industry trade convention, NATO/ShoWest ’95, in Las Vegas.

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