Daily Insider

02/26/2004 AT 10:38 AM EST

February 27, 2004
OSCAR'S FEVER PITCH
As the Oscar countdown heats up, so do the parties in Tinseltown. The GM ten fashion show and party on Tuesday played host to Paris Hilton, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and a flock of other celebrities, who cheered on fellow stars as they sang with their bands (Juliette Lewis, Mark McGrath, Macy Gray) and strolled the catwalk (Matthew Perry, Kim Cattrall, Heather Graham) to raise money for each performer's favorite charity. Perry later turned up at Hollywood hotspot Nacional, where he plopped down on a couch next to Neve Campbell, then scooted over next to Tara Reid. ...

Jerry Bruckheimer and Cuba Gooding Jr. seemed to prefer a more casual scene. After their weekly Sunday night hockey game (neither attended this year's SAG Awards), the pair popped in for a few cocktails at Busbys, a neighborhood sports bar in Santa Monica. ...

Tom Arnold – who turns 55 on March 6 – is looking forward to his favorite pre-Oscars event: Jeffrey Katzenberg's Night Before soiree on Saturday at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "You wear jeans, there's no press. It's just casual," he tells us. Perhaps a bit too casual: "Last year, Shelby (Roos, his wife) dumped a whole glass of red wine down the front of my shirt. I am a recovering alcoholic, so I had to explain to everybody, 'I'm still on the wagon. My wife dumped it.' "

DINING OUT WITH THE STARS
• Best Supporting Actress hopeful Marcia Gay Harden was approached by dozens of well-wishers at Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills one night. On her way out, the pregnant actress was stopped by almost every table, offering her good luck for Sunday.

• Another star mom-to-be, Courteney Cox, covered in a blue knit shawl, joined hubby David Arquette for dinner at Il Sole in West Hollywood.

• A few blocks away, Elisabeth Shue was tucked into a corner table at Sushi Roku, trying out one of the chef's special creations: tuna belly in a martini glass. Wonder if she spotted Denzel Washington, wearing jeans and a cap, dining at the sushi bar?

Peter Coyote got two compliments for the price of one during breakfast with his wife at the Fountain Coffee Shop over the weekend: Not only was the Erin Brockovich star recognized, but he had to whip out his driver's license to convince the fan that he really is 62 years old.

OSCAR NO-SHOW
Party girl Nicole Richie tells us she will not be attending this year's Oscars. "I don't like award shows. I have ADD, so I really don't like to sit a lot," she says. Instead, she is focusing on the second season of The Simple Life. On March 10, Lionel's little girl will hit the road with childhood pal Paris Hilton, motoring across the United States in a Winnebago. "We have to take driving lessons," she admits, "because between her and I, we're definitely going to crash the thing."

Written by: SEAN DALY and ZORIANNA KIT
Reported by: PEOPLE's L.A. BUREAU

NEXT: Calming Oscar Nerves>

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