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Behind the Screens

Prediction: It'll be show business as usual in '06

January 02, 2006|James Bates | Times Staff Writer

It's a new year and the beginning of awards season, which means it's time for pretentious, self-important predictions about the events of the next few months.

In fairness, since we still haven't seen "The Island," "Aeon Flux" or "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo," we don't feel qualified to say with confidence yet who will take home all the hardware.

However, we do feel reasonably sure of our ability to discern who will join Barbara Walters on Oscar night, how certain actors will react to their nominations, and what will happen to at least one low-level agent, among other items.

Here then is the first and only batch of awards predictions you really need for 2006:

* Indignant pundits will complain that the Independent Spirit Awards should drop the name "independent" because virtually every film is released by specialty divisions of big studios.

* If Mariah Carey and/or Kanye West are big Grammy winners, dozens of headlines will play off their names. Some possibilities: "Mariah Carries Home the Grammys" and "Kanye Kan't Be Stopped."

* Someone will note that Rick Springfield and the people behind "Afternoon Delight" are the only artists who have yet to receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards.

* TV entertainment reporters will regurgitate the cliched line that the Golden Globes is a predictor of the Oscars, forgetting that "The Aviator" beat "Million Dollar Baby" last year.

* The Screen Actors Guild will not hire extra security for its star-studded awards show to combat a more aggressive paparazzi. SAG, however, will hire extra security to keep fights from breaking out among members.

* Whoever is named to host the Oscars will be asked during the news conference how it feels to be the second or third choice.

* The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will insist that there never was a plan to have Billy Crystal host, that whoever was named was always at the top of everyone's wish list and that everyone "couldn't be more thrilled" that the person agreed to host.

* Every actor and actress nominated, including the favorites, will recall how they were "shocked," "pleasantly surprised," "deeply honored" and "overwhelmed" to learn of the nomination.

* At least one will recount in great detail about learning of the nomination in a phone call from a manager while sitting in the makeup chair before shooting a scene on location in Morocco.

* If Joaquin Phoenix is nominated for a best acting Academy Award for "Walk the Line," Oscar trivia geeks will note that, should he win, it won't be the first time someone born in Puerto Rico scored such a victory because Rita Moreno and Jose Ferrer were also born there.

* If Heath Ledger is nominated in the best actor category for "Brokeback Mountain," Oscar trivia geeks will note that, should he win, he would be the first Australian-born male to earn the honor since Geoffrey Rush, because Russell Crowe was born in New Zealand.

* If Philip Seymour Hoffman is nominated for best actor for "Capote," Oscar trivia geeks will note that, should he win, he would be the first actor who uses his middle name to be so honored since Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot."

Oscar trivia geeks will also note that if Day-Lewis doesn't count because of the hyphen, then you have to go back to F. Murray Abraham in "Amadeus."

* The combined box office of the five Academy Award best picture nominees won't equal the grosses for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and probably won't equal the take of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

* At least one TV anchor will ask the station's entertainment reporter on air, and in all seriousness, if Tom Cruise took himself out of the Oscar race when he jumped on Oprah's couch.

* The Barbara Walters annual post-Oscar show will include a segment featuring "Brokeback Mountain's" Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Ads promoting the show will feature Walters asking a sexually provocative question along the lines of whether the heterosexual guys enjoyed their gay love scenes, followed by a cutaway to a tense close-up of the actors pretending they had no idea the question was coming.

* Another Walters segment will feature George Clooney, who will be dubbed as "Hollywood's renaissance man who can do it all -- act, direct, produce ... even build a casino!"

* An emperor penguin will march onstage at the Oscars carrying the envelope for a lesser category.

* In keeping with the recent use of the Oscars as a plug-a-thon to hype upcoming movies or fresh stars, one of the presenters in another lesser category will be new James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

Another will be new Superman star Brandon Routh, who may be teamed with Craig.

* Someone will tell a Jude Law joke, which will go over the heads of most viewers because they won't remember that last year's host, Chris Rock, made fun of him during his monologue.

* If there is no major natural disaster within three weeks of the Oscars, no single cause will dominate the ribbons and bracelets worn by stars at the ceremony.

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