NY Mirror

It's a whole new world since 9-11—a place of caring, awareness, and deeply reconsidered values. But anyway, my predictions for this year's Oscar Nominations are:

Best Picture: The Lord of the Rings'(because everyone in the movie biz was a nerd once—like two minutes ago), In the Bedroom (a return to bedroom-sink drama), A Beautiful Mind (the story of a lovable paranoid-schizo prick who exposes himself—in the book, anyway), Moulin Rouge (as subtle as Khmer Rouge, but it saved viewers a lot of drug money), Black Hawk Down (a/k/a Saving Ryan's Privates).

Runner-up: Mulholland Drive (Hollywood thinks of it as a TV reject—maybe because it was a TV reject).

Oscar contender Halle Berry
photo: Robin Holland
Oscar contender Halle Berry

Best Actor: Denzel Washington for Training Day (only he could turn a borderline-tawdry genre film into a cult classic), Russell Crowe for A Beautiful Mind (for saying the movie's fraudulence is a favor to gays), Will Smith for Ali (a/k/a Schlocky II), Tom Wilkinson for In the Bedroom (it's time to forgive that Jackie Chan flick), Gene Hackman for The Royal Tenenbaums (comedy is Hollywood's bastard child, but if this one doesn't get the nod, it'll be a bitch).

Also-rans: Billy Bob Thornton for The Man Who Wasn't There (his brand of generous, self-effacing acting doesn't rate in Oscar's book), Sean Penn for I Am Sam (on the other hand, this kind of thing screams nomination—so Oscar screams back, "Fuck you!"), Benjamin Bratt for Piñero (though the chance to see his ex, Julia, present him with a trophy would be the ultimate trash-TV moment).

Best Actress: Nicole Kidman for The Others (her ex must be gagging, even though he produced it), Sissy Spacek for In the Bedroom (if you loved her as a coal miner's daughter, you'll adore her as a lobster fisherman's wife), Judi Dench for Iris (a grand Dame plus Alzheimer's equals award consideration), Halle Berry for Monster's Ball (so convincing, and not just because there's a car accident), Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive (it's not her fault Hollywood doesn't care much for the movie).

Also-rans: Audrey Tautou for Amélie, Renée Zellweger for Bridget Jones's Diary, Tilda Swinton for The Deep End—the French, the wench, and the next Judi Dench.

Best Supporting Actor: Ben Kingsley for Sexy Beast (Gandhi-lightful), Steve Buscemi for Ghost World (Fargo-go-go, Steve!), Jim Broadbent for Iris (the flick would be flopsy-turvy without him), Jon Voight for Ali (because people still find his daughter h-o-t), Ian McKellen for The Lord of the Rings (he'd do great on 47th Street or even QVC).

Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet for Iris (it's time to forgive Titanic), Jennifer Connelly for A Beautiful Mind (the nomination she didn't get for The Rocketeer), Helen Mirren for Gosford Park (a classy Brit who knows how to get down with her bad self), Maggie Smith for Gosford Park (ditto, honey), Marisa Tomei for In the Bedroom (proving once and for all that last time wasn't a mistake).

But don't listen to me, folks—I'm wrong! By the way, the real nominations will be announced on February 12. My TV's set on E! through then—and even after then.

In other Oscar news, if it's true that Miramax bad-mouthed A Beautiful Mind as a whitewash, I find that hilarious, since they're the ones who took all that gay content out of 54 (a/k/a A Beautiful Behind). But now, the columns say that DreamWorks, Mind's coproducers, may have started the rumor that Miramax started the rumor against the film—are you following me, people?

As for those flashy, trashy Golden Globes, it's no rumor that just when they'd started to gain some credibility, they came up with that wacky category that pitted Stanley Tucci's performance in some Holocaust movie against Jack from Will & Grace. Even worse, Tucci won!

Wacky Nazis figure in the dialogue of Todd Solondz's Storytelling, his most you'll-either-love-it-or-hate-it flick of all and not the kind of thing that wins Oscars. (At least with Happiness, you had the pedophile to root for). At a Man Ray party for the film, Solondz was deep in talk with Selma Blair, whose Storytelling character has sex with a crippled boyfriend and screams racial epithets on command when her black teacher shtups her from behind. She seemed nice, but Solondz was covering his face and saying "It's late!" Is this his most subversive movie yet? "I love that question," he replied, "and you say it with such a straight face. You are so amusing. [pause] Selma will give you a great sound bite." I obediently turned to the actress, batting my luxurious lashes, but she cutely talked about how she shouldn't talk. "My publicist is so mad at me about today's roundtable," she said. "I'm always so afraid I'm not gonna amuse someone that I make an ass of myself. I'm gonna take a vow to never speak again!" Finally, a premiere as nutsy-cuckoo as the movie it celebrates.

I have my own vow: After judging the open auditions for The Puppetry of the Penis, I never want to see a dick again. Maybe. The event was the saddest, sickest, funnest thing ever, a parade of golden trophies in search of awards. Eleven game contestants lined up naked onstage, ready to flip their ding-dongs around into stunts from the Windsurfer to the Loch Ness Monster (which are eerily similar, actually). The Hamburger—a bulbous schlong sandwich—is particularly hard to look at, but Puppetry costar Simon Morley admiringly said of one guy's attempt, "You've got a facile set of nuts on you!" It was even harder to resist the jokester who stuck a candle in his piece and set in on fire, a stunt not even found in Puppetry. "If you spin that round and round," called out Morley's costar, David Friend, "you can actually do the Catherine Wheel." Hey, let's not and say we did.

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