Oscar Morning Howlers 

Wednesday, Feb 1 2006

Again, I got up at 5:30 a.m. for the announcement of the Academy Award nominations on E! because the network reliably provides at least a half hour of live coverage. And again I was disappointed — not in the nominations, but in who E! chose to offer nerdy analysis. This time, E!’s Giuliana DePandi introduced standard-issue hyper radio guy Leo Quinones, host of The Film Freak Show on 97.1 FM, as its “film expert,” and sleepy-eyed L.A. movie geeks everywhere must have instantly scratched their bedheads. He assessed Russell Crowe’s absence in the Best Actor category as stemming from having won twice before, when Crowe has only one statuette. He loudly proclaimed that Brokeback Mountain would “win it all,” and then a split second later blurted out, “It’s gonna be a great race!”

Weirdest of all, when asked by DePandi for insight into Terrence Howard’s Best Actor nomination, Quinones mentioned how he thought Howard would get a supporting nod, but he guessed those seven minutes in Crash must have really “brought it home” for Academy members. Wrong movie, Leo: Howard was nominated for Hustle & Flow.

Then I switched to KABC, and veteran TV personality George Pennacchio effortlessly offered up the first nifty factoid of the early morning, about how this is the first time since the Animated Feature category was introduced that none of the nominees — Howl’s Moving Castle, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit — relied on computer animation. George did his homework. Why can’t the supposed entertainment channel?

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