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Producer Gil Cates once again all but begged Oscar winners to keep their acceptance speeches brief and entertaining, reiterating his warning that anyone who pulls out a piece of paper with a list of names will be smothered by music (that would be "Mr. Stick Man" Bill Conti) and escorted from the stage. He said thank you's may be expressed on the www.oscar.com site. "Who says that an acceptance speech has to be about gratitude?" he said. Cates is no less under the gun than before to keep the awards ceremony tight. But last year's gimmick of presenting some categories in the aisles instead of on stage did not set well with those who were not allowed their moments in the glitzy set's spotlights. So this year, he says, all nominees in some categories will be moved to the first few rows of Kodak Theatre immediately before their category is presented. During the next commercial break, they will be escorted back to their original seats - those, that is, who have not already made a beeline for the lobby bar to drown their sorrows.
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