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Notes from the back row

Tooting the horn for Brokeback Mountain

Well it’s Oscar weekend and if you don’t have four hours to waste on a Sunday-night fashion show I may as well go ahead and give you my predictions for Hollywood’s biggest night.

Best Actor — People are tooting the horn of Brokeback Mountain’s Heath Ledger because he acted, gasp!, gay and tough at the same time. But his performance in last year’s Brothers Grimm should cancel that out. Give the golden statue to Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote . The guy’s one of the best actors of our era and it’s time people realized that.

Best Actress — Will go to Reese Witherspoon for her singing/acting brilliance as June Carter in Walk the Line , the Johnny Cash biopic, and because Hollywood loves its blonde bombshells.

Best Animated Film — While King Kong had enough visual effects to qualify for this, I think Wallace and Grommit: Curse of the WereRabbit should win. Starring the loveable inventor and his dog sidekick, this flick used simple old school stop-motion animation but, as a movie, it stands above the rest.

Best Documentary — Tough one since so many good docs are made these days. March of the Penguins was touching and beautiful so it’ll probably take it even though the Morgan Freeman narration lulled me to sleep.

Best Director — Ang ( Brokeback Mountain) Lee is the frontrunner but I thought he dropped the ball on how he shot this movie; it could have looked a lot better so let’s give the best director award to George Clooney for Good Night and Good Luck. Although Clooney is a true master and doing lots of exciting things the academy probably won’t go his way and here’s why…

Best Supporting Actor — George Clooney in Syriana . Clooney chunked up and acted so well in this he gave himself serious health issues. The academy will recognize that and this saves them from skipping past him in best director or picture categories.

Best Picture — How about this? Not Munich. Seriously I think the stiffs at the academy will go with popular opinion and hand this over to Brokeback Mountain even though it was too long and got a bit repetitive at the end. This was the toughest race of the awards though and I figure Good Night and Good Luck should win.

Best Original Screenplay — Crash , the LA racism/family/drama was very popular and while it may take more awards home I think it deserves this one. A tight script with lots of interesting characters that unfolds back onto itself pretty well. Give it to them.

Best Supporting Actress — Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener. A woman with balls is always a good thing. This film should win best cinematography too, except it wasn’t even nominated.

Best Visual Effects — King Kong. That was an epic.

Okay, enough. This week the Village 8 is opening 16 Blocks, a cop/lowlife, cat and mouse, buddy, action/comedy starring Bruce Willis and Mos Def. Also, Aquamarine a boob-centric, pre-teen chicklet flick about two friends who discover a mermaid in their swimming pool and learn about friendship, independence and, you guessed it, the magic of love. Think Encino Man meets Splash only not as good.

And finally, Ultraviolet, a mutant-revenge-action thriller starring Milla Jovovich who was so awesome in The 5 th Element that you should go see this despite the fact that everything about it has been kept very hush, hush.

By the way, I won’t be attending the Oscars unless I get to sit beside Angelina Jolie.

AT VILLAGE 8 March 2-9: 16 Blocks; Aquamarine; Ultraviolet; Date Movie; Pink Panther; Capote; Brokeback Mountain; Firewall; Running Scared; Eight Below .

AT RAINBOW THEATRE March 2-9: Memoirs of a Geisha.