By Bill Zwecker
HOLLYWOOD — As I arrived on the red carpet, I heard, "Bill! Bill" Four Chicagoans — Tina Koegel, Sue Peterson, Denise Stefan and Ann Carson — recognized me. This is their second year sitting in the bleachers, having arrived at 9:30 a.m. They used Joan Rivers' famous line on Peterson — "Who are you wearing?" She's wearing her own creation — she's a designer herself — maker of Sue P. Knits. Who are they most hoping to see today? Penelope Cruz! ...
Also, Janet Davies from WLS-TV and her producer, Nancy DeLosantos -- one of the original producers of Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel's first TV review shows ("Sneak Peviews") -- were running around with hand-made signs saying, "We miss you Roger" "See You Next Year," getting many of Roger's Hollywood pals to pose with the signs -- for photos that will be shared with our favorite film critic.
Ebert is home tonight, still recuperating from several surgeries last year. This is the first Academy Awards show Roger has missed in 38 years. He will, however, be writing for the Sun-Times' extensive Oscars coverage and likely will post at suntimes.com late this evening!