updated 02/22/2005 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/01/2005 AT 6:00 AM ET
While all of Hollywood was in high gear prepping for the Academy Awards last week, Julia Roberts – an Oscar presenter – was kicking back with husband Danny Moder, enjoying a casual dinner out (without their newborn twins, Finn and Hazel) at Orlando’s, a local eatery near their ranch in Taos, N.Mex. A casually dressed Roberts – who ordered one of her favorites: a chicken taco salad, avocado on the side, hold the onions – hugged her cameraman hubby several times during the meal and leaned over at one point to give him a smooch on the cheek. Though word of the Closer star’s presence spread throughout the restaurant, fans didn’t approach her table directly. Instead, “Everyone was heading to the rest room,” which required passing by her table, says a spy. As the happy couple, who turned down dessert but took a quesadilla to go, made their way out, “She turned and waved and said, ‘Thanks’ ” to the kitchen staff, and wished them a good evening, our spy reports.
Meanwhile, in L.A. during the pre-Academy Awards frenzy: Best Actress nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace) may be relatively new to Hollywood, but she knew who to bring with her to W magazine’s Oscars pampering party at the Four Seasons. Moreno strolled in celebrity stylist Jessica Paster, who immediately exclaimed: “Give us presents!” Subtle. After trying on and ordering some of designer Penny Preville’s jewelry, Moreno, Paula Abdul and actresses Michelle Trachtenberg, Teri Polo and Ashley Scott took home comfy pajamas and slippers from Subtle Tones and sweet-smelling creams from Jaqua.
Speaking of Meet the Fockers’ Teri Polo (currently starring on TV’s The West Wing), we caught up with her again at a pre-Oscar party thrown by Revlon and Kwiat Jewelry at the Four Seasons Hotel. After she picked up a diamond necklace, we asked how it was working with screen legends Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand in the hit comedy. “They are so kind and down to earth. They treated me as if I was one of them! Which I’m not. I’m in awe of them,” she said. “Barbra even gave me a funny welcome gift when we started filming: a white-chocolate boob on stick. That’s how funny and easy she is. She’s got a great sense of humor.”
Why does this make us feel better?
Even statuesque Charlize Theron went into slim-down mode for the Oscars. Starting six weeks before the big night, we’re told she used the Nutrifit home delivery system to help her stick to a 1,400-calorie-per-day plan. The company even developed a South African dish for her, bobotie, which is traditionally made with beef but which Nutrifit lightened up by using chicken. We’re told Theron is also a fan of the company’s double fudge cake. Other star customers include Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell – and we’re told the Elf star has dropped 10 lbs.
Caught in the Act
Mr. And Mrs. Smith actor David Keith, at L.A.’s Pacific Design Center pre-Oscar suites. Also spotted walking toward the suites: Mischa Barton and stylist George Blodwell.
Tim Robbins, at the tony Alpha Omega watch and jewelry store in Boston’s Harvard Square. The owners bestowed upon the Oscar winner a congratulatory gift for his Hasty Pudding Award: an IWC watch valued at nearly $3,000. Robbins’s response? “I never wear a watch – this is great!”
By INEZ RUSSELL, KIMBERLY LANSING, MARISA LAUDADIO, MAUREEN HARRINGTON and MARK DAGOSTINO