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Not about to bring down the New York Film Critics Circle Awards winners with questions about the devastating breakup of Brennifer, I instead raised higher-plane subjects like whether the fact that pinot noir was found in MICHAEL JACKSON‘s bathroom diminishes Sideways‘s cachet in any way. “It’s to the man’s credit!” Best Actor PAUL GIAMATTI told me, grinning. “But I’m surprised. I’d have expected bottles of something much more sinister.” Like pinot blanc? The nervous publicist tried to pull Giamatti away, so I moved on to his co-star, Best Supporting Actress VIRGINIA MADSEN, and posed the same insightful query. “Jackson knew pinot noir was Jesus juice and that’s why our film is blessed!” she exulted, laughing. “Actually, I don’t think he did anything with that kid. Take another look at that documentary and that kid and that mother! All the speculation is so smutty and disgusting. Everyone should shut up until the trial is over.” I looked hurt, so she nicely said, “I didn’t mean you!”

Rather than completely wrap my yapper, I asked Madsen what motivates her character, the warm yet skeptical wait-server Maya. “She’s not gonna stand for less than total honesty,” Madsen said. “She’s not gonna say, ‘OK, just don’t do that next time.’ She won’t take it once.” Thoughtful pause. “That’s why I don’t have a boyfriend!” she blurted, cracking up.

I demanded total honesty from Maria Full of Grace star CATALINA SANDINO MORENO when I wittily asked if she really swallowed heroin pellets in the film. “They were made of marshmallow,” she said, mischievously adding, “Don’t tell anyone!”

But it was easy to swallow what PEDRO ALMODOVAR (the Best Foreign Language Film winner for Bad Education) told me about why the gay content in his movie is so special: “In a year like this, where there are many movies with characters that are at least bisexual, you don’t see that on the screen!” Pedro mentioned The Aviator, but he probably could have also meant Finding Neverland, Alexander, or even The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie!

And cartoon sexuality kept my fertile mind stoked when The Incredibles creator BRAD BIRD told me that, despite one review, the film’s flamboyant German-Japanese designer character, Edna “E” Mode, isn’t a transsexual at all (though Bird himself did the voice). Is the role based on Edith Head? KARL LAGERFELD? “Everyone has their different version of who it is,” he said, evasively. “I’m up to 25 people. Everyone feels they know her, which I take as a compliment.” OK, LINDA HUNT!


While we’re playing the name game, let me swallow a big marshmallow pellet and announce my indispensable predictions for the Oscar nominations (but bear in mind, I liked Swept Away). For Best Picture, I brilliantly foresee nods for The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Ray, Sideways, and Finding Neverland. (A healthy mix of biopics, social issues, and whimsy, with a touch of caca.)

Best Actor: This one’s harder than my pecker during the Ice Capades, but I’ll go with our friend Giamatti (terrific, but still eligible); JAMIE FOXX for Ray (his old In Living Color co-star Jim Carrey will be thrilled, I’m sure); JAVIER BARDEM, The Sea Inside (a nice movie about euthanasia); LEONARDO DICAPRIO, The Aviator (“I’m the king of the ex-bisexuals!”); and DON CHEADLE, Hotel Rwanda (could you have played Paul Rusesabagina any better?).

Best Actress: IMELDA STAUNTON, Vera Drake (plodding movie, fab abortionist); HILARY SWANK, Baby (this time she’ll thank her husband); ANNETTE BENING, Being Julia (she tamed Warren Beatty, for chrissake); that fab Maria Full of Grace chick (drug smugglers, maids—another banner year for Latinas); and KATE WINSLET, Eternal Sunshine (by now Jim Carrey is killing himself).

Supporting Actor: MORGAN FREEMAN, Baby (they’ll forgive him all that narration); FREDDIE HIGHMORE, Neverland (if he doesn’t get it, he’ll go “Waa!”); THOMAS HADEN CHURCH, Sideways (playing a washed-up actor revived his career); CLIVE OWEN, Closer (what did you think—for King Arthur?); and ALAN ALDA, The Aviator (well, I have to put someone).

Supporting Actress: CATE BLANCHETT, The Aviator (but who was that scrawny Ava Gardner?); LAURA LINNEY, Kinsey (could she maybe even winsey?); NATALIE PORTMAN, Closer (cut snatch scene equals added Oscar nom); SOPHIE OKONEDO, Hotel Rwanda (Sophie is choice); and my best friend Virginia Madsen (she deserves a boyfriend—named Oscar).

Where is The Phantom of the Opera, you ask? Well, voters may be confused by the latest commercials, which strangely don’t include any singing at all, just dialogue! Have they decided to try to cover up the fact that it’s a big, old, lumbering musical? Don’t let this conspiracy happen—tell all your friends!


A proud creator of Broadway musicals, Tony winner Cy Coleman was so tireless that when he died, he was working on a show about Princess Grace, a tuner based on a WENDY WASSERSTEIN children’s book, and a song-fest about ELAINE KAUFMAN. (And yes, those are three separate things.) For Coleman’s memorial celebration at the Majestic last week, I hear they tried to get three other separate things—LIZA MINNELLI, CHITA RIVERA, and SHIRLEY MACLAINE—to do “Hey, Big Spender,” but because of scheduling conflicts and that head-banging incident, they ended up with just Chita (and ANN REINKING and dancers) and it popped everyone’s cork anyway —in fact, it was the hoochie-coochie highlight.

On the penile-noir scene, it was fun to run into the Dell dude, BEN CURTIS, at the gay bar Therapy. (Ancient observation: He was hired to act stoned on commercials, then was fired when he was caught with pot. Pathetic!) Meanwhile, TV viewers have been ingesting strange stuff by watching the dreck-fest The Bachelorette. Though the French guy babbles on about dating women, it must be a joke—or le plot device—because fans of fine literature seem to remember he had a profile on Of course maybe he’s bi and The Bachelorette is secretly directed by SCORSESE! (ABC operators and even the Bachelorette hotline were clueless as to how to help me get an official comment.)

Ex-bachelor RANDY JONES, the openly gay original cowboy from the Village People, has agreed to perform at BUSH‘s inaugural gala (along with other vets like LESLIE GORE). His reasoning? “I’m doing it for the office, not the man; my mother will be thrilled; and it’ll be good for gay visibility.” Judges?

But the week’s most glamorous judging had the Ford agency’s Supermodel of the World contest parading international beauties around a nightclub for cash prizes, though after PETRA NEMCOVA clung to a tree for eight hours, mere runway-strutting didn’t seem quite so impressive anymore. Still, I’ll raise my pinot high in hopes that the winner hits puberty and even learns English.


Clint and Hilary bring up Baby.

photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment


My favorite pervy thing to do is give away twisty endings of hot movies. In fact, for years I’ve practically orgasmed while running through crowds and screaming, “They drive off a cliff,” “The chick’s got a dick,” and “He’s already dead!” Now I’ve learned to ask or at least warn people first, so I’m asking and warning: Can I please unleash the finales of this year’s cinema chestnuts? No? Well, I’m positively jonesing to dabble in spoilers, so if you mind, can you kindly not read another word?

And so—again, don’t read this because I’m recklessly giving stuff away—here are the big endings of ’04: The Village is set in the present. Clint unplugs Hilary. Maria full of grace stays in New York. The kid ain’t NICOLE‘s dead husband. Most of the Born Into Brothels young ‘uns go back to the brothels. TRAVOLTA is SCARLETT‘s father. Giamatti rings Madsen’s bell. Fat Albert goes back into the tube. The Kranks submit to the tyranny of Christmas and decide it’s wonderful. BILL MURRAY finds the killer shark, but he’s lost his taste for vengeance. The hubby dies after a (different) shark bite and then wifey lets herself drown. Napoleon Dynamite triumphs with his dance routine and Pedro wins for school president. ETHAN and JULIE seem about to rekindle (or maybe just kindle). CAVIEZEL gets nailed. Phew—I feel better now.

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