Ellen DeGeneres

Glenn Weiner/ZUMA Press

Yours truly was begging--in print, on air, in person--for some non-white (Chris Rock notwithstanding) or non-dude or non-heterosexual or, for Gawd's sake, just non-tired human to please, please, please take over the Academy Awards hosting duties. Queen Latifah and Ellen DeGeneres were on the top o' my list.

Obviously, one of those wishes just came true, as producer Laura Ziskin nabbed E.D. for the Feb. 25 show.

And even though Ellen-hon ain't African-American, I gotta say she's far less lily-Anglo that most stiff honkies I know, so there's hope. (Gal can get down.) More importantly, I'm told by superinside Oscar sorts that Ms. DeGeneres has not been given any mouthing marching orders whatsoever. None. This is so unlike all the (unfortunate and most unwise) edicts poor Chris Rock was stuck with by the scaredy Academy cats.

Whoo! Love it!

Now, in all fairness, perhaps this no-censor news may have something to do with Ellen preferring to joke about frogs and such, while Chris generally errs toward freakier fare, but still, DeGeneres isn't exactly know for being consistently subtle. She's taken on Bin Laden, for heaven's sake.

Regardless, I think the Academy is waking up and smelling the poor ratings, n'est-ce pas?

Oh, and that gorgeous gal-friend to Ms. D., Portia de Rossi? Don't expect the ambitious Aussie to have anything to do with the fancy-schmancy show, other than sitting "front and center," said those who know all broads well.

Oh, hell, Ellen, can't ya at least get P.d.R. to be a presenter for some lame-ass category? 'Cause we sure know we can't count on you for those cut-to-the-navel fashions.

Nevertheless, congrats, girlfriends!

Reese Witherspoon, gettin' her java fix in Tejas. The southern sweetie has been poppin' into Starbucks in Austin as of late, while hub-unit Ryan Phillippe is busy filming a flicker. Reese-doll takes her lattes sans whip, for the calorie-countin' record, and she's "always nice," reported Desk Foam. I'd expect nothin' less from the gal who kisses my behind with finesse I've never felt from anyone else (and that's saying' a lot). Another caffeinated consumer was...

Farrah Fawcett, lookin' surly on Sunset. City of Fallen Faces. F.F. was wearin' a frown, a tank top and a denim mini "low enough to show her plumber's crack," said a butt witness who wasn't exactly gettin' into the mood, as a result. (Still, is that hot or not? Can't quite decide.) Anyhow, Farrah looked "skinny as a towel rack," as she waited in line at the Coffee Bean and yapped on her cellie. Fellow sippers left the gal alone, and she zipped off in her silver Infiniti SUV. Travelin' by foot elsewhere was...

Serena Williams

Lester Cohen/WireImage.com

Serena Williams, sauntering through the streets of InWhySee, where the U.S. Open was goin' down, 'course. Serena sported a white tank, jeans and long-ass blond extensions. Maybe she could get some fashion tips from Phillip Bloch, whom she strolled right by at the corner of 12th and Greenwich? The celeb stylist was seen talkin' on his cell for almost 45 minutes right near the Fashion Week tents. Wardrobe or man crisis, S-doll? Also on the New Yawk scene was...
Josh Brolin, puffin' a ciggie in Chelsea. Josh-babe was without wifey Diane Lane, quelle surprise. J.B. sported sunglasses and some sex-ay scruff as he waited outside the Gap. Shoppin' for some new pretend-tough-guy duds, perhaps? Checkin' out jewels, not jeans, was...
Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown, at celeb jeweler Chris Aire's runway show. The once-incarcerated rapper looked smaller than she did pre-prison, in a black halter dress and chunky gold metal belt. Kim, Foxy and other lucky guests got a surprise performance from Gnarls Barkley and the chance to watch models like Tyson Beckford and Lydia Hearst, who hit the runway in a barely there bikini made of
bling. Nice ice!
Josh Brolin, Diane Lane

Lisa O'Connor/ZUMA Press

Diane Lane's repper wouldn't answer me outright when I asked whether or not things were okay with Lane and hubby Josh Brolin, who's not exactly known for being sweetie-poo to Ms. L. 100 percent of the time. "He was in New York for a movie," she replied when I asked, specifically, why J.B. didn't hit Diane's Hollywoodland premiere. "They're very big on picking each other up at the airport," she added, after I pressed for how things were (or were not) going. I guess that's hopeful.


Jasmine Guy, executive director of the Turks & Caicos International Film Festival (yes, it actually exists, on Oct. 17 through 21, to be exact-a-rooney about it) has quite the Colin Farrell-size package for ya! Not the sex kind, though, just the big kind: as in a travel package that includes airfare, accommodations and the opportunity to see films and celebs in the Caribbean--all to be auctioned off this Monday night at the Artists for New South Africa event at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, where Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu is being feted for his AIDS work and his 75th B-day. Happy-happy, Dez!

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