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73rd annual Oscars on ABC-TV Sunday, March 25, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

A wild and crazy host

Will this be the first time that the host of the Oscar telecast also has a book on the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times best-seller lists? Probably so.

The host for this year's 73rd annual broadcast on ABC-TV is comedian and author Steve Martin. And his book is a novella, "Shopgirl," now in its seventh printing. The telecast will be Sunday, March 25, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. — or thereabouts.

This will be Martin's eighth appearance on an Oscar telecast, his first as host. He has served as a presenter on six shows, and he introduced a Best Picture clip in 1997. He also participated in a gag film sequence in 1995.

Up for Best Actor this year are Javier Bardem in "Before Night Falls," Russell Crowe in "Gladiator," Tom Hanks in "Cast Away," Ed Harris in "Pollock" and Geoffrey Rush in "Quills." Best Actress nominees are Joan Allen in "The Contender," Juliette Binoche in "Chocolat," Ellen Burstyn in "Requiem for a Dream," Laura Linney in "You Can Count On Me" and Julia Roberts in "Erin Brockovich."

Competing for Best Director are Stephen Daldry for "Billy Elliot," Ang Lee for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Steven Soderbergh for "Erin Brockovich," Ridley Scott for "Gladiator" and Steven Soderbergh for "Traffic." But the one everybody will be up late waiting for will be the Best Picture category. Nominees this year are "Chocolat," "Billy Elliot," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Erin Brockovich," "Gladiator" and "Traffic."

For a list of nominees in all categories, point your Web browser to

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