By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated January 24, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Steve Pond claims to be merely a seasoned entertainment reporter, but surely he’s got superhuman powers of time-space travel, too? The Premiere vet appears to have overheard everything during 15 years of total access behind the scenes at the Academy Awards, and he reports it all, too, with the concentration and devotion to minutiae of a true Oscar nerd. (That’s a compliment.) Yet he writes The Big Show with such low-key propriety — no tabloidy dirt digger he — that his tidbits could never be mistaken for, ooh, tawdry gossip. One choice morsel: Told during rehearsal that David Letterman would be presenting a Stupid Pet Trick during his, ah, less than comfortable gig as host in 1995, an aesthetically sensitive Keanu Reeves angrily commented, ”Whatever happened to restraint and decorum?” Cue Bill Conti and the get-off-the-stage music.