Note the supporting-actor contenders. Albert Finney, Benecio Del Toro (will he recite his acceptance speech in Spanish, or speak in English but make no sense?), Willem Dafoe (so sure he would be nominated that as the nominations are announced he's already wired for an interview with Matt Lauer on "Today"), Joaquin Phoenix (camped it up in "Gladiator" as if he'd learned acting by watching John Travolta in "Battlefield Earth"), Jeff Bridges (who camped it up as a president in "The Contender" as if he'd learned acting from John Travolta in "Primary Colors").
Jot down the Actress nominees. Julia Roberts (Only two things in Hollywood are certain: One is that Roberts will win for her role in "Erin Brockovich," the other is that Calista Flockhart will never eat her young), Laura Linney ("lovely, leggy Laura Linney" as she's known among heterosexual males who work in the New York theater, where she got her start), Ellen Burstyn (brilliant performance as a drug addict in "Requiem For a Dream"; wonder if Robert Downey Jr. will be at the Oscars), Juliette Binoche, Joan Allen (want to go back to sleep but can't; confused at the idea of heterosexual males in the New York theater).
Actor nominees announced. Tom Hanks (zzzzzzzzzzz), Geoffrey Rush, Russell Crowe (Who will he take to the Oscars? Meg Ryan? Courtney Love? Leelee Sobieski? Nicole Kidman? Tom Cruise?), Javier Bardem, Ed Harris (directed himself in "Pollock," as if he learned acting from Barbra Streisand).
Finally, Best Picture nominees! "Gladiator" (receives 12 nominations, more than any film this year)," "Traffic" (directed by Steven Soderbergh), "Erin Brockovich" (directed by Steven Soderbergh, who just made history by becoming the first director to garner two Best Director nominations and two Best Picture nods in the same year), "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (Also up for Best Foreign Film; just hoping its director, Ang Lee, hasn't learned to make acceptance speeches from Robert Benigni), "Chocolat" (the most controversial nomination; Miramax has been accused of buying a nod for a film that most critics considered a sugary nothing; the film is punished with the omission of its director, Lasse Halstrom, in the directing category; "Billy Elliot" director Stephen Daldry gets the nod instead). Worried about Soderbergh, the year's most deserving director, having given us one solid crowd-pleaser ("Erin Brockovich") and one minor masterpiece ("Traffic"). He could split his votes, thereby making way for Ridley Scott (whose "Gladiator" is expected to win Best Picture) or Ang Lee (whose Golden Globe makes him formidable competition).
Make more coffee. Feel sorry for Zeta-Jones and her husband, Michael Douglas, who was overlooked for "Wonder Boys" despite his unkempt appearance in the film and wardrobe consisting largely of a gnarly bathrobe. It practically screamed "Serious Actor." Next time he should show some cleavage, which seems to be working for Julia Roberts and Russell Crowe.