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A red-carpeted Quest for Oscar glory

By Producer Matthew Percival
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(CNN) -- This month on Quest we're in Los Angeles to follow the build-up to the Academy Awards 2007 -- it's the Oscars!

Yes, the awards season is upon us, Hollywood is decked in red carpet and movie stars are dreaming of a gold statue with their name on it.

With all the major studios in publicity overdrive, Oscar fever has taken hold and everybody wants a piece of the action... including Richard Quest. With his tuxedo freshly pressed, he mingles with the contenders and commentators to understand the workings of the world's biggest entertainment event and what it really means to win.

This is a journey that began in December 2006, in the humble surrounds of the R.S. Owens factory in Chicago. It is here that we witness the production line of the Oscar awards themselves -- at 34.3cm tall these figurines will soon come to dominate the hearts and minds of Hollywood's elite.

Having touched the "holy grail," Quest can concentrate on what everyone else does to get his or her hands on the industry's most coveted accolade.

In 2007 the award season begins in earnest on January 15 when Hollywood's Foreign Press Association hosts the 64th Golden Globes Awards. It's an early indication of which films are in the hunt and the first chance to grab a chat with the glitterati on the red carpet.

In front of Quest's outstretched microphone, established players mix it up with fresh-faced starlets -- a laugh with Clint Eastwood, a chit-chat with Helen Mirren and Warren Beatty... a brush with Penelope Cruz.

Behind the scenes, we talk to two distinguished actors who add their wealth of experience to the quest- - Robert Redford and Jeremy Irons. Both men reflect on their careers, Oscar success and how times have changed.

Meanwhile, throughout January and February, the hype escalates as we begin to get an idea where the Oscars might end up.

Quest attends all the key events, continuing in the footsteps of the Oscar hopefuls. The Screen Actors Guild Awards, the announcement of the nominations and finally, when the field is narrowed, the exclusive Nominees Luncheon.

Along the way, we hear from the president of the Motion Picture Academy (Sid Ganis), the producer of the Oscars show (Laura Ziskin) itself and a veritable who's who of movie stars -- Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smtih, Julie Andrews, Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers and Mark Wahlberg to name but a few.

There'll be laughter, tears and perhaps a surprise in store for an actor or actress who thought they didn't need to prepare a speech. Whatever the outcome, by the time the Oscars reach their final destination, we'll have a much better idea what the whole circus is about. And the Oscar goes to...


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Richard poses in front of the world-famous sign.

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