It’s time to squeeze into your Oscar de la Renta gown or Armani tux. Get out the expensive diamond jewelry (a.k.a. “bling-bling” for the ghetto fabulous). And don’t forget to make sure your skin is flawless because the paparazzi will capture every angle of your physique as you strut down the crimson carpet.

Oh, wait – you’re not a movie star – guess you’ll just have to watch all the glamour of the 73rd Annual Academy Awards from your humble living room couch when it airs on March 25. Or will you? For those jaded fans of mainstream cinema, this year’s major Oscar nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are less than thrilling.

“I haven’t seen any of the movies,” said Michelle Morgan, a junior arts and humanities major. She doubts she will be watching the Oscars. “It’s kind of a little too Hollywood,” Morgan said. “I have homework to do.”

Yet, for serious movie fans, Oscar night is an opportunity to see successful actors, directors and producers bask in the limelight while exposing their humanness.

“The year the little girl from The Piano won, I cried,” said Heather Zietz, an undecided nontraditional student. “She was so cute.”

Zietz said the last time she watched the Oscars was in 1998, when Kim Basinger won the best actress award for LA Confidential. “That was a good movie, but I can’t believe she was the best actress that year,” Zietz said.

Kathryn Lasky, associate professor of media studies and communication, took a shot at picking this year’s Oscar winners. Lasky, who teaches Introduction to Film among other courses, predicted that Gladiator (Dreamworks and Universal) will win best motion picture of the year.

Her predictions for other awards were best actor – Russell Crowe in Gladiator, best actress – Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich, best supporting actor – Benicio Del Toro in Traffic, best supporting actress – Kate Hudson in Almost Famous, and best director – Steven Soderberg for Traffic or Erin Brockovich.

But whom would Lasky like to see win the Oscars? Most of her favorites were not even nominated. Her choice for best picture is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Sony Pictures Classics). For best actor, she likes Benicio Del Toro.

“He’s getting a best supporting actor nod, but really he’s starring in that film,” Lasky said of the actor’s performance in Traffic. Del Toro, a native of Puerto Rico, recently won a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actor for that role.

Lasky said she would like to see Michelle Yeoh win best actress for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. “She should have gotten a nomination,” Lasky said. She also chose Crouching Tiger’s director, Ang Lee, for best director.

Over at Videoport, Portland’s alternative video store on Middle Street, there is an “Oscar wall” with best pictures from the past now available on video. Like Lasky, sales clerk Regan Elderidge, 22, of Portland, was not overjoyed with this year’s Academy nominations.

“They don’t really pick good movies,” she said. “Gladiator was a big popcorn movie, not a high-quality film.”

Elderidge said she would have rather seen John Cusack get nominated for his role in High Fidelity. “Comedies never really get nominated for some reason,” she said. “Instead they pick the English Patient and Titanic.”

True, the Academy does seem to stick to the dramatic, epic film genre. But is the show still worth watching?

“I’ll probably see some of it,” said Greg Teft, a computer science major. Teft said he would rather see Russell Crowe win best actor over Tom Hanks, who has won Oscars for his roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. Then again, there are some other good TV shows on Sunday night. “I might watch `The Lone Gunman’ instead,” said Teft, who is a fan of the new X-Files spin-off.


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