People

People

BARBARA WICKENS April 8 1996
People

People

BARBARA WICKENS April 8 1996

People

BARBARA WICKENS

Oscar's night of sentiment

They came to give and receive what Canadian comic Jim Car rey called "the lord of all knick knacks." And the 68th annual Academy Awards were a family affair. Mira Sorvino reduced her father, actor Paul Sorvino, to a puddle of tears as she accepted the best sup porting actress prize for playing a lame-brained hooker in Mighty Aphrodite. Michael Douglas cried on cue as his stroke-aifficted father, Kirk Douglas, was honored. And a breathless but eloquent Susan Sarandon reserved her final, most heartfelt thanks for live-in compan ion Tim Robbins, who directed her

Oscar-winning per formance as a nun in Dead Man Walking. Deftly hosted by~ Whoopi Goldberg, the show steered an even course between glamor and sentiment. Drawing a standing ovation, wheelchair-bound paraplegic

Christopher Reeve urged Hollywood to "Put social issues ahead of box-office success." But a Holocaust survivor was almost whisked off the stage before delivering the event's most moving speech. And the only issue raised by Braveheart, the picture that took the top prize, was the length of Mel Gibson's kilt.

Babe, meanwhile, was bacon. The Postman was toast. And Sense and Sensibility star Emma Thompson made do with an Oscar for her script of Jane Austen's novel. Thompson said she recently visited Aus ten's grave and "told her about the grosses." Perhaps the evening's tackiest moment belonged to Cana dian singer Bryan Adams, who crooned the nominated hit Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman in a red shirt, smothered by models with big hair. He didn't win.

From hoser to hard-headed hotshot

fter six years playing the hoser Harold Green on the CanWest Global Television comedy The Red Green Show, Hamilton-based actor Patrick McKenna has some loyal fans-especially among older men. But as Marty Stephens, the buffish head trader at a fictional brokerage house in the drama Trade,~-which CanWest Global has renewed for a second season-McKenna, 35, has some new admirers. "Do a Marty" has become a catchphrase in some brokerages to describe stirring things up on a slow day. Casting agents are also taking a fresh look: McKenna has just finished one movie in which he plays a bigoted gun-shop owner, and is about to start another in which he will portray a Ukrainian priest. But McKenna says the part of Marty almost eluded him: "I had to beg for an audition."

Rewriting history, for the fun of it

T he line between fact and fiction can be easily blurred-something that Montreal writer and retired Indian civil servant Bhagwan Gidwani has cheerfully ex ploited in his two best-sell ing historical novels. Gid wani, 72, says he turned to writing "fictionalized alterna tive history" after he became bored trying to write more conventional history. "To give facts merely and not to go into a man's feelings, impulses, his loves-what is the use?" he adds. In his newest novel, Return of the Aryans-the result of 18

years of research into an cient poems and songs relat ing the trials and travels of the Aryan civilization-Gid wani weaves imaginary char acters through the historical record stretching back to 8000 BC. In the process, he challenges the accepted be lief that the Aryans emerged from scattered regions in Europe and instead traces their origins to the ancient Hindu culture of India. While no historians have endorsed his thesis, the book has clearly caught the popu lar imagination. It has sold 25,000 copies, and is in its fifth reprint in India, where it was published last year. Gid wani is also discussing seri alizing it for television. As the old adage goes: never let the truth get in the way of a good story.