Rob Marshall’s “Nine” opens tonight in London. The premiere should be a glamorous spectacle, with all the stars ‘ all those famous women! ‘ and Daniel Day Lewis, making a splash.

This is what also happens today: “Nine” jumps into the main Oscar competition. With “Lovely Bones” and “Invictus” not quite what everyone hoped, the Best Picture picture is getting clearer. “Nine” joins “Precious,” “Up in the Air,” “The Hurt Locker,” and “Inglourious Basterds” as the top tier competitors.

And here is what “Nine” is all about: glamour. It’s style AND substance. Every one of the famous ladies gets her big musical number, and they are each knockouts. Daniel Day Lewis actually seems Italian. The sets are gorgeous, the editing is fast and furious. It’s not “Chicago” all over again, but rather, a descendant of Bob Fosse’s “All that Jazz.”

“Nine” is also about fantasy. DDL plays film director Guido, a stand-in for Federico Fellini. He dreams of his women ‘ his wife (Marion Cotillard), lover (Penelope Cruz),’ best pal (Judi Dench), mother (Sophia Loren), and so on ‘ in these elaborate expressions of drama and theater and sex. They don’t disappoint.

With bombs going off in “The Hurt Locker,” televisions thrown at people in “Precious,” and George Clooney firing everyone in “Up in the Air,” the pleasures of “Nine” are all the more welcome this Oscar season. Cruz is luscious, like a dessert, you could eat her with a spoon. She’s a cinch for Supporting Actress nods. Cotillard is the lovely constant in the lead role of Guido’s life. Even though she has an Oscar from “La Vie En Rose,” this is her breakout role.

And then there’s Fergie. If only she sang like this all the time! What a voice, and a presence. And no one will leave a theater without humming, singing, dancing “Be Italian.” Sand may be in short supply after her dance number is seen.

By the way, you can listen to the whole score from “Nine” here.‘Press number 5 and listen to Nicole Kidman sing “Unusual Way.” It’s a hit!

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