Never mind the exposed flesh, revealed cleavages and hanging buttocks -- the most scrutinized body part at this year's Oscars is going to be the precariously bulging (and well-covered) belly of Annette Bening. Annette Bening Yes, the Best Actress nominee is very, very pregnant. And, yes, she is going to Sunday's awards.
And even though Mrs. Warren Beatty has done the whole birth thing before (three times, actually), we inquired if the "American Beauty" and her hubby were taking any special medical precautions to gear up for Sunday's whiteknuckler.
"Not really," another worker at the office says. "[Bening] is due in early April. They're just carrying on about their business day by day."
Of course, a quick look at the calendar reveals that the ceremony (held Sunday, March 26, to be exact) is really not that far away from "early April."
Could the stress created by the excitement of an Oscar win (or the despair of an Oscar defeat) throw Bening into early, spontaneous labor?
Not to spoil your dreams of some potentially cool and/or gross telecast footage, but the experts at iParenting.com essentially say no.
According to the information e-mailed to us by the online parenting site: (1) There's no quantitative method in measuring "stress" -- Oscar-related or otherwise; (2) "Daily stress" is not known to interfere with pregnancy; and (3) "Extreme stress is another matter," but there's no evidence that it causes early labor.
While the experts seem to rule out unforeseen prenatal activities on Oscar night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is not as casual when it comes to the matter of health emergencies -- despite the fact that a midwife is ostensibly missing from the team of medical personnel to be stationed at Oscar Central at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.
"We have a nurse and a little infirmary in a room set up at the Shrine Auditorium all week," Academy spokesman John Pavlik tells us. "There'll not be a doctor on the night of the show, but there'll be paramedic crew standing by."
"And we're very close to the fire department and two blocks from a hospital. We think we're pretty well-covered for the normal things."
And how about those out-of-the-ordinary things? Is the Academy likely to provide extra medical coverage given Bening's very delicate condition?
"No," Pavlik replies. "I think everyone's set up to handle that under normal circumstances. We have the nurse and the crew. I don't remember anything [serious ever occurred] during the ceremony. But every year, [there's usually] someone fainting or having some sort of seizure."