Daily Insider for December 24

updated 04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 12/23/2003 5:53PM

December 24, 2003
A POLISHED LOOK
Catherine Zeta-Jones was in Montreal this month shooting the final scenes of Steven Spielberg's latest film, The Terminal, when she had an emergency of the manicure kind. "She said she had a bad wrap on her nails and she was freaking out," said Fanny Ohayon, a popular manicurist who came to the rescue. Ohayon and a technician immediately went to the actress's downtown hotel suite with a suitcase full of products. The technician removed the silk wrap (used to cover several broken nails), then buffed her nails, hydrated them and gave them an oil treatment, before giving them a soft, square shape. Zeta-Jones selected Essie polish in "Ballerina Slipper," a pale pink color, for a French manicure. Says Ohayon: "She was very grateful ... and knew exactly what she wanted."

GOOD SPORT
Maybe actor Alan Cumming ruled the New York stage during his Tony Award-winning run as the Emcee in Broadway's Cabaret, but that was not the case at a recent performance of A Murray Hill Christmas, the burlesque holiday show running at The Cutting Room, a New York club co-owned by Sex and the City's Chris Noth. Cumming, who was wearing brown leather pants and a blue T-shirt emblazoned with the word "Jerk," was selected to compete against two audience members in an onstage air-guitar contest. He was trounced by a middle-aged woman whose aggressive playing won over the audience. For second place, Cumming received a year's subscription to the Village Voice. The X2 star took it in stride, giving the winner a standing ovation.

CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Recently spotted:
Denzel Washington, looking like he just stepped out of a scene in Training Day at New York's new hotspot Marquee. He showed up in the wee hours, wearing raggedy jeans and a skullcap. After pounding down a steady stream of cosmos, he shocked the 60 or so patrons left in the bar by trying to dance too close with one of the club's sexy waitresses.

• Also at Marquee, on a different night, New York Giants star player Jeremy Shockey, showing off shirt pockets full of $100 bills. A woman who was at his table tells us Shockey made a public appearance at a major corporation just before heading out for the night and was paid $50,000 – in cash. Perhaps he didn't have time to stop at the bank before hitting the club?

Reported by: SEAN DALY, EILEEN TRAVERS, LAUREN KERN and MARK DAGOSTINO

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