For the lack of anything better to tell you (I'm going to court about my license tags on Wednesday, so that will be a story, I'm sure), and as a way of encouraging those of you who have not yet entered the Oscar Pool (and you know who you are, A. and C. and C. and D. and E. and M. and M. and M.), and because I'm going out of town this weekend for a bridal shower and will therefore not be able to do this the day before, I present you with my pre-Oscar picks and commentary, which won't be very informed as I have not seen either A Beautiful Mind or Lord of the Rings, which is like half the nominations, but here I go anyway.

Picture: A Beautiful Mind

If things were up to me, Moulin Rouge would win in every category, but it's not nominated in a lot of them, so I'm kind of screwed there, and too many people hated it for it to win in this one. A Beautiful Mind seems to have all the buzz, despite this freaky story that's come out over the past few days that it's being bad-mouthed. I'm betting it'll still win, particularly since the voting is probably over by now anyway.

Director: Ron Howard

Opie has been long overdue, so I'm guessing he'll get the "he's long overdue" vote. Of course, everyone said that a few years ago about Lauren Bacall, and that didn't happen. But it'd just be so cool if Winthrop from The Music Man grew up to win an Oscar.

Actor: Denzel Washington

I'm going out on a limb here (although, I actually don't have anywhere else to go, seeing as I haven't seen any of the Best Actor performances). Up until about a week ago, I was on board with everyone thinking it would be Russell. But he's made an ass of himself a few too many times, and I think people will think twice about it, and I think if people look around the category for someone else who should get it, it's going to be Denzel. It won't be Will Smith, because really, he used to be the Fresh Prince. (Don't get me wrong, he's a fine actor and I bet he will win one someday, but Denzel should get it first.) It won't be Tom Wilkinson, because really, whoever heard of him? And it's not going to be Sean Penn, as Sean Penn hates the Oscars and the Academy won't give an award to someone they know doesn't give a shit about them.

Actress: Sissy Spacek

I really, really, really wish Nicole Kidman would win. I never cared for her that much before last year, but then I felt a little sorry for her after Tom gave her the boot and she seemed genuinely flummoxed as to why, and then I was just amazed at her in Moulin Rouge, and now I like her and I think getting an Oscar on her first nomination after Tom's been nominated like seventeen times without winning would be the best screw-you ever.

But, I think it's going to be Sissy Spacek.

Supporting Actor: Ian McKellan

Truthfully, my heart belongs to Jim Broadbent. I haven't seen Iris, but I saw Moulin Rouge and Bridget Jones's Diary and I didn't know for months that it was the same actor, and once I found that out I decided he was the most talented person ever. But, the buzz seems to be with Ian McKellan, and he is all sorts of fabulous too, so he'll probably get it.

I do think it would have been cool if Jon Voight had been nominated last year and won, since Angelina Jolie would have been the one to hand it to him, and it would have been a touching father-daughter moment. Then again, if I had some ham, I'd have some ham and eggs -- if I had some eggs.

And pardon me, but... Ethan Hawke??

Supporting Actress: Jennifer Connelly

I've seen Gosford Park but there were so many damn people in that movie that it was hard for anyone to create a standout performance. Everyone else thinks Jennifer's going to win, so I will too.

Original Screenplay: Memento

Although I don't really understand why this is an original screenplay, because I thought it was based on a short story by the director's brother, but whatever, I'm sure someone checked that out before giving it a nomination in this category, and it was a terrific script.

Adapted Screenplay: Lord of the Rings

Much beloved book + movie that didn't suck = Oscar for Adapted Screenplay.

Foreign: Amélie
Don't kid yourselves. It's going to be Amélie.
Animated Feature: Shrek
Don't kid yourselves, it's going to be Shrek. And may I say "Bravo!" to the Academy for coming up with this category. Now if they can just break Best Pic into drama and musical/comedy, I'd be eternally content.
Cinematography: Moulin Rouge

To be honest, I don't know jack about what makes good cinematography, and the only movie I saw in this category is Moulin Rouge, so I'm picking that.

Editing: Memento

I'm going with Memento, because even though it didn't take much skill to put the film together backwards (I mean, hello, I could cut a movie apart and glue it back together backwards), the rest of the editing was excellent. (Like I know jack about editing, anyway.)

Score: John Williams for A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

The only film I saw from this category was Harry Potter, and the score wasn't as brilliant as I want John Williams to be. I haven't seen any of the others, though, so I'm going with A.I. because John Williams is brilliant most of the time, and he couldn't have had two off movies in one year.

Song: "Until" by Sting from Kate & Leopold

Sting. People. Sting.

Art Direction: Moulin Rouge

I don't really know what art direction means, but I know that at the actual Oscar ceremony they also always talk about set decoration, so with that in mind I'm picking Moulin Rouge.

Costume: Moulin Rouge

I don't care whether you loved the movie or hated it, if you don't think the costumes were fabulous, then I don't even want to know you.

Makeup: Lord of the Rings

I haven't seen it, but since it's the only one where there are non-human cast members, I'm thinking the makeup had to be more of a challenge than the all-human casts, even with the aging thing in A Beautiful Mind and the courtesan thing in Moulin Rouge.

Visual Effects: Lord of the Rings

I didn't see any of them, so I'm just going with buzz.

Which makes me wonder, do Academy members have to prove that they've seen all the movies in a category before they can vote? Or are they allowed to go with buzz too? And is, like, Tom Hanks allowed to vote in this category, or is it just people who actually do visual effects for a living?

You'd think I'd know the answers to these questions, but I really don't.

Sound: Moulin Rouge

I read this somewhere, but it made sense to me, that because it was ineligible for the score or song category but is still a musical, it probably deserves some kind of Oscar related to the auditory nerve.

Sound Effects Editing: Pearl Harbor

How feature-length cartoon and a war movie ended up being the only two movies in this category is beyond me. I don't know anything about sound effects, but I think it's probably harder to make them up for things that are actually supposed to be happening rather than things that could sound like anything because it's all made up, so I'm going with Pearl Harbor.

Documentary: Promises

I actually tried to learn a little bit about all the documentary movies in an effort to make a somewhat informed decision, but I picked the only one I had actually heard of anyway.

And finally, the categories where we make choices based solely on which title we like best:

Animated Short: Give Up Yer Aul Sins

Live Action Short: Copy Shop

Documentary Short Subject: Sing!

So there you have it. And since this is an Oscar-centric entry, I want to alert everyone that I have put up a list of everyone who has entered here. If you've already entered, please make sure your name is on it somewhere. (If the name you used to enter happened to be the same as someone else's and none one of you had links to distinguish yourselves, I added the first three letters of your e-mail domain for clarification.)

If you've entered and received my reply confirmation but your name is NOT on the list, then you'll have to send me your entry again, because I don't have it anymore.

If you haven't entered, then really, what on earth are you waiting for?

(I took a bit of a break -- the next entry is 6/13/02)