COLUMBO star Peter Falk is well prepared for next year's Academy Awards (06) after he embarrassed himself at his Oscars debut in 1961.

The actor felt so humiliated when he stood as Peter Ustinov's name was read out he promptly sacked his publicity agent, who attended the awards show with him.

But Falk, who is again hotly tipped for an Oscar nomination, this time for his role in PAUL REINER's new movie THE THING ABOUT MY FOLKS, insists he'll be better prepared if he's lucky again - he'll even arrive in style.

He tells internet site, "My wife ALICE and I got in the Volkswagen and we were going to the Academy Awards. Of course, when we pulled up there were limousines... I was surrounded by Rolls Royces.

"I went in and I sat down with Alice and the publicity guy... When it came to my category, they said '...and the winner is Peter,' and I got up... 'Ustinov.'

"Man, I'm going down and when I hit the seat I said to the publicity guy sitting next to me, 'You're fired.' He didn't do anything wrong. I just didn't want to pay him for another day of this."