Welcome to the Smart Set. Every morning we bring you the gossip coverage, filtered. Today: Bret Ratner is reportedly targeting Eddie Murphy to host the Oscars, photographer Steven Meisel may have recycled a portfolio, and some strange 9/11 logic from a former Tiger Woods mistress.
- New Oscars producer Brett Ratner has reportedly been gauging Eddie Murphy's interest in hosting the 84th Academy Awards next year, and will float Murphy's name to Academy President Tom Sherak during a meeting today to discuss Ratner's choices to host the event. Nikki Finke says that Ratner's conversations with Murphy have been "along the lines of, 'If the Academy asked you to host, would you accept?'" with Murphy supposedly "showing interest" in the possibility. According to Finke, Ratner has "only been talking to" Murphy since he got the job in August. Other names have inquired about hosting, but those are being handled by Don Mischer, the ceremony's other producer. Ratner directed Murphy in the upcoming film Tower Heist. [Deadline]
- Photographer Steven Meisel shot "a 22-page black-and-white portfolio" for the September issue of W, but staffers have since "discovered that Meisel shot a nearly identical concept for the August Italian Vogue," which Meisel didn't tell them about. In the W spread, "Meisel took 10 models and shot them in 'before' and 'after' shots — what they look like all dolled up alongside a more natural look," while the Italian Vogue portfolio features "black-and-white photos of model Raquel Zimmermann dressed naturally juxtaposed with photos of her all dolled up" in poses nearly identical to the ones in W. According to one source, "some W insiders believe Meisel may have financed the Italian Vogue photo on their dime." [WWD]
- Tiger Woods's former "alpha mistress" Rachel Uchitel tells Page Six Magazine in an upcoming interview that the death of her former fiance James Andrew O’Grady in the 9/11 attacks was meant to happen "because he was too good." She also confesses, "I'm almost happy it ended the way it did because I’ve learned so many lessons from him. It would have been tragic if we got into fights and then divorced." [Page Six]
- My Chemical Romance drummer Michael Pedicone has been fired from the band after he was "caught red handed stealing from the band and confessed to the police after our show [Thursday] night in Auburn, Washington," the band said in a statement posted to its Web site. Pedicone confirmed his dismissal on Twitter, but noted the situation was "more complicated than it sounds." Neither the statement nor Pedicone's tweets elaborate on what he's accused of stealing. [Arts Beat]
- Actor Stellan Skarsgaard says he's been offered the male lead in director Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac, the sexually explicit new project the director mentioned at this year's Cannes film festival. Said Skarsgaard, who has appeared in four films for the controversial Danish director, "Lars called me and said 'Stellan, my next film will be a porno and I want you to play the lead in it'." At Cannes, von Trier hinted that Kirsten Dunst was also interested in the project, comments that were largely overshadowed by the director's subsequent announcement that he could "understand Hitler." [The Hollywood Reporter]
- Former Department of Defense spokesman Geoff Morrell starts today as BP's American spokesman." That's a great pickup by BP," former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates tells Mike Allen. "Geoff's the battle-tested, cool-under-fire communicator they've clearly needed." [Playbook]
- Michael Moore writes in a new memoir that he hired a personal security detail of nine former Navy SEALS to protect him in the wake of his "Shame on you, Mr. Bush!" acceptance speech at the 2003 Oscars. He also says people were jumping out of the way to avoid being photographed with him at the post-Oscars Governor's Ball, and that Robert Duvall complained to the management at the hotel where the two were staying that Moore's presence "was causing a commotion." [Page Six]