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The men of 'The Full Monty' face Oscar's spotlight

The men of ‘The Full Monty’ face Oscar’s spotlight — Two days with Paul Barber, Hugo Speer, and Mark Addy

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Hollywood is a tough town. You star in the highest-grossing British film of all time; you drop your pants for 20 million people. You fly halfway around the world to the Academy Awards, and they seat you…in the bleachers. Here’s what happened when the boys of The Full Monty journeyed to Oscar country.

Sunday, 8:10 p.m. Fox Searchlight’s Monty party at Orso. In the house: Paul ”Horse” Barber and Hugo Speer — the guy with the Dirk Diggler-size appendage. Chubby Chippendalian Mark Addy is expected tomorrow — he’s in Truckee, Calif., shooting Frost, with Michael Keaton. While Speer and self-professed Monty fanatic Drew Carey recall a recent all-nighter in Vegas, Jennifer Beals, the flashdancing object of the Montys’ affection, chats with Barber. ”I worked hard to learn how to weld,” she says. ”Yeah,” Barber quips. ”And we to dance like you.”

Monday, 11:30 a.m. Four Seasons hotel, near Beverly Hills. Bored and jet-lagged, Barber goes for a walk. Suddenly, motorists are rolling down their windows: ”Hey, Monty, dude!” they shout. ”Good luck!”

3:15 p.m. Time to go. The guys mug for a miniature contingent of paparazzi. Barber makes friends with the hotel doorman.

4:28 p.m. As the limo speeds to the ceremony, Mark Addy arrives at LAX. He wrestles himself into his tuxedo. Meanwhile, the film’s producer, Umberto Pasolini, calmly puts on his tux — in the men’s room of the airport.

4:45 p.m. Outside the Shrine. Speer and Barber get the red-carpet treatment. The Dom Perignon they sipped in the stretch limo fades away, and their nerves kick in. Barber fidgets with his shades. Walter Matthau intervenes: ”Keep ’em on in case your bookie’s here.” Robin Williams gives the boys hugs. ”I’ve got so much ressspeccttt for you,” he wails. ”But not that,” he says, pointing to their posteriors. ”The film!”

6 p.m. The balcony. Welcome to nosebleed country. Non-nominees Barber, Speer, and Addy sit with the civilians, awed to be there. Pasolini and director Peter Cattaneo sit up front with the stars. Monty wins its lone Oscar (best musical/comedy score), and the actors high-five each other. The film then loses best screenplay, director, and picture.

10:45 p.m. The Monty crew arrives at the Fox/ Paramount bash just as a security guard is shooing limos away. ”Famous people only!” he bellows. Someone rolls down a window: ”We’re the Monty!” Without missing a beat, the guard barks, ”Get on the carpet and show us some hot stuff!”

2:02 a.m. The Four Seasons. Speer and Barber spill out of the limo and head upstairs. Could this be Monty‘s last hurrah? Not according to Speer. ”I plan to be back in a few years. It was such complete cosmic mayhem — I loved it. Of course, I’ll have to do some work, won’t I?”