How Washington Sees the Statuary HaulStill struggling with your ballot for the office Oscar pool? We tapped into the wisdom of D.C. VIPs who know a thing or two about showbiz, prognosticating and winning.
Best Picture: "The Departed"; Best Actor: Will Smith; Best Actress: Meryl Streep; Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy; Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson; Director: Clint Eastwood.
Larry Sabato, director of the U-Va. Center for Politics
"The only movies that I watch are on transcontinental flights, which is where I saw 'Little Miss Sunshine.' Therefore, I declare it likely to sweep the Oscars." Best Documentary: "An Inconvenient Truth." "For Al Gore, winning the Academy Award may be better than winning a presidential election."
Carol Schwartz, D.C. council member
Best Picture: Predicts "Letters From Iwo Jima" (pictured below) over her preference, "Sunshine." Actor: Forest Whitaker (despite finding "The Last King of Scotland" a "disturbing, stressful movie"); Actress: Helen Mirren; Supporting Actress: Hudson; Supporting Actor: Murphy; Director: "It's whatchamadoodle's time -- you know, from 'The Departed.' "
Bob Ryan, WRC-TV chief meteorologist
What's the chance of "Sunshine"? "In this current environment, people want something that's sort of funny." Other picks: Whitaker, Mirren, Hudson.
Donnie Simpson, WPGC-FM morning host, member of nominating committee for 2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
"Forest Whitaker cannot be beat. I feel sorry for Peter O'Toole, but he cannot beat Forest Whitaker. . . . Meryl Streep was off the hook, but I have to go with Helen Mirren." Best Picture: "Dreamgirls." "I won't vote for anything else. It's a shame it's not [nominated]."
Michelle Fenty, first lady of D.C.
For Best Actress, would love to see Streep win. "I made Adrian watch ['The Devil Wears Prada'] and he enjoyed it." But she predicts Mirren, and "The Queen" for Best Picture. Supporting Actress: Hudson. "This is great revenge to Simon Cowell."
Alex Pareene, editor of political blog Wonkette
"The Departed" "because a) it's American, b) it's in English, and c) it doesn't have Greg Kinnear." Director: "The card will say 'Alejandro González Iñárritu,' but whoever's reading it will say 'Clint Eastwood.' "
Frank Luntz, pollster, author of "Words That Work"
"If Al Gore doesn't win, I bet he demands a recount. That's the ballot I want to see. Could you imagine if he lost because of the Academy voters from Florida?" Best Picture: "The Queen." "It's living proof that politicians and public figures need to learn when to concede."
Marcus Washington, Redskins linebacker
Best Picture: "Little Miss Sunshine"; Actor: Smith; Supporting Actor: Mark Wahlberg; Actress: Penelope Cruz; Supporting Actress: Abigail Breslin.
Aviva Kempner, filmmaker, "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg"
"With an unpopular war still raging, the most political films will win" -- "Letters From Iwo Jima" for Best Pic, "Pan's Labyrinth" for Foreign Film, "An Inconvenient Truth." "And to top it all off, Al Gore will declare he's running that night, since he has a worldwide audience."
Tony Reali, host of ESPN's "Around the Horn"
Best Director: Martin Scorsese. "The biggest error and omission of all time has been that the Academy has given this guy squadoosh in 40 years of primo filmmaking."
George Pelecanos, author of 14 crime novels set in D.C., producer and writer for HBO's "The Wire"
"Best Picture, 'The Wild Bunch'; Best Actor, Steve McQueen; Best Actress, Ann-Margret; Best Director, Sergio Leone . . . Oh, did you mean this year's Academy Awards?"
Ralph Nader to Moviegoers: I Got Your Inconvenient Truth Ralph Nadermay have cost Al Gorethe presidency, but he probably landed his fellow activist the Oscar.
Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is heavily favored to win an Academy Award tonight, before a worldwide audience approaching a billion people.
Nader? He's flacking a new book, "The Seventeen Traditions," and doing Q&A's after screenings of "An Unreasonable Man" for . . . well, a handful of moviegoers.
Nader, who turns 73 on Tuesday, ambled into the E Street Cinema on Friday night to answer questions about the documentary by filmmakers Henriette Manteland Steve Skrovan, which chronicles Nader's life as a consumer activist and his decision to run in the 2000 presidential election.
The big questions: Is Nader a scapegoat for Gore's loss, or a megalomaniacal spoiler? Would there be name-calling? Boos? Tomatoes?
Wearing his customary rumpled suit, Nader stood in the aisle, fumbled with his mike and opened the floor. The crowd was notably polite: A couple of softballs, then a challenge -- one young man said he had "tremendous respect" but was disappointed by Nader's presidential bid, which he believed "set back the country."
Nader was characteristically unflappable, fascinating, infuriating, single-minded and utterly convinced that the flaws lie in the system. He rejected the "spoiler" label, slammed both the "worst-ever" Republicans and the "cash-register" Democrats ("You can't believe how bad it is") and dismissed notions of working with flawed-but-electable candidates: "Once you get on the least-worst bandwagon, we're going down."