By Kim Devore/Entertainment Writer

    It was quite the scene at Lilly Lawrence’s Malibu castle the other night as several dozen notables and close friends gathered for the unveiling of a portrait fit for a queen. The statuesque hostess was a vision in her Leon Paule gown-a dazzling white satin number, slit up to there, festooned with pearls and a matching wrap.

    “Isn’t it yummy,” she declared as she greeted a steady stream of guests, which included Mayor Jeff Jennings, retired state Justice Malcolm Lucas, music maker Sheila Bazleh, celebrity mom Jaqueline Stone and prize-winning petal-pusher Raul Rodriguez.

    A classical troubadour picked a few licks while waiters made the rounds with crab cakes and bruschetta, and Lilly chatted away about her latest pet cause-the Adopt-A-Stormdrain program.

    Inside, invitees admired the castle’s latest decorative touches-some stunning Baccarat chandeliers, a pair of colossal silver urns filled with red roses and a glorious gilt mirror the size of Delaware.

    Outside, the tables were done up in gold and white, topped with red and pink blooms, strands of ivy and white hydrangeas.

    Soon dinner was served, but not before a bit of pomp and ceremony.

    Lovely Lilly descended from the top of her elegant staircase wearing a flowing red cape, an eye-popping pendant and dazzling diamond earrings. Amid great applause, the covering was removed from the portrait and Lilly matched it perfectly.

    Her likeness was captured by legendary Ralph Wolfe Cowan, whose works can be found in the National Gallery in Washington as well as the National Portrait Gallery in London. With luminaries like Liz Taylor, Donald Trump, the Sultan of Brunei and Princess Grace among his subjects, the celebrated queen of Kashan Court finds herself in first-class company.


    The hype-the hoopla-the hullabaloo. No question, it’s Oscar time and the race is underway in all its glory. One of the most hotly debated topics is who will grab the gold for Best Director. They’re taking sides and even Robert Wise has entered the fray.

    The acclaimed filmmaker took out a large ad in the Los Angeles Times touting the many artistic achievements of pal Martin Scorsese, saying Marty should be the man of choice for his gritty street epic “Gangs of New York.” Scorsese has been at the helm of classics such as “Taxi Driver,” “Casino,” “The Age of Innocence,” “Goodfellas” and “Raging Bull,” but has never earned the academy’s top honor.

    His biggest competition is Rob Marshall, a former song-and-dance man who’s already waltzed off with the Directors Guild of America prize for “Chicago.” The winner of the DGA trophy almost always goes on to score at Oscar time. Will this year be different? According to the odds-makers in Vegas, Scorsese is even money to win. Stay tuned …