by Rolando Recometa

For your Oscar consideration: Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.

Three-hour movies, eyes glazed out and asses numbed wide, ostentatious Miramax ads everywhere, list-happy critics with thumbs way up, a Tom Hanks movie...

Brace up, people. It's Oscar fever. To paraphrase the clever tagline from Sleepy Hollow: Eyes will roll when the nominees are finally announced. Meanwhile, let us pretend that we care. Really, really care. So here are my predictions.

Tom Hanks is back with another long movie and more hand-shaking (the trailer for The Green Mile shows him grabbing a black prisoner's hand). Add a touch of Gump ("Miracles are funny things, you never know when they're going to happen") and you've got male best performance and best picture nominations in the can.

Kevin Spacey gives his own interpretation of the "shaky hand" in American Beauty, a self-important movie made especially for the self-important Academy. Even Meryl Streep's hand will not be outshaken. She plays the violin in Music of the Heart, Wes Craven's latest horror film. It remains to be seen if Meryl Streep in curlers and Gloria Estefan acting would be too scary for Academy viewers.

I see dead people getting nominated. Bruce Willis dies harder in The Sixth Sense, and nobody does dead better than he. Child actors who win Oscars quickly disappear. Haley Joel Osment, beware! Toni Collette's asking price will soar after she gets a supporting nod. Expect her career to nosedive. And it's only a matter of time before Hollywood kills director Shyamalan with loads of money.

The Straight Story may be the best movie ever made about the lawnmower. However, no lawnmower has ever been nominated for an Oscar. Someone suggested Cher. He may be right. But I think Richard Farnsworth will beat out the lawnmower for sentimental reasons.

Al Pacino doesn't get to yell as much in The Insider, so he pretty much concedes the nominations to his co-stars. Expect him back in loud form, however, in Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday.

One word to describe Pedro Almodovar's Oscar chances for All About My Mother: Benigni.

The director of Boogie Nights unveils his biggest and longest...flick yet. Magnolia is the kind of bloated...epic that brings Oscar voters to their knees. Look out for the short...Tom Cruise and his small but effective...cameo.

The talented team of producer Harvey Weinstein and director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) will try once again to turn crap into Oscar gold with The Talented Mister Ripley.

The studio releasing Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo thinks it has a winner on its hands. It will open the movie on the same day as The Green Mile. Judging from the enthusiastic response to the trailer, Deuce may be a box-office and Oscar ace. Anything but anything with Tom Hanks would be greatly appreciated by many, I think.

Rolando Recometa

CineScene 1999