[Above, a set model by production designer Roy Christopher.] If the Academy Awards sometimes seem rehearsed to within an inch of their life, that's because they are. A visit to the Shrine Auditorium on Thursday, March 22, three days before the Oscar ceremonies, found stand-ins taking the place of presenters, and also of nominees. Every possible outcome in the major categories, however unlikely, is staged; for the purposes of the Thursday rehearsal, for example, Ellen Burstyn beat ...

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