PUNDITS LIKE 'CHICAGO'
According to the pundits at GoldDerby.com, "Chicago" looks like a winner for the Best Picture Oscar.
The pundits have also declared that Nicole Kidman is looking good for a Best Actress Oscar for "The Hours," and Chris Cooper will take home the statuette for Best Supporting Actor for "Adaptation." Those acting predictions may be somewhat counterintuitive, since Renée Zellweger and Christopher Walken won for best actress and supporting actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 10.
The GoldDerby.com team made "The Pianist" its second choice for Best Picture, and predicted that Rob Marshall will take the Best Director Oscar for "Chicago" -- in a close race with Martin Scorsese for "Gangs of New York."
STARS LINE UP FOR OSCARS
It will be Streep's first appearance as a presenter, and Sarandon's ninth.
Streep has won two Oscars -- for Best Supporting Actress in 1979 ("Kramer vs. Kramer") and Best Actress in 1982 ("Sophie's Choice"). She is nominated in the supporting actress category this year for her performance as novelist Susan Orlean in "Adaptation."
Sarandon won for Best Actress in 1995 for "Dead Man Walking."
PAUL NEWMAN WON'T BE THERE
Paul Newman watchers will be disappointed to learn that he will not be attending Sunday's Academy Awards ceremonies in Los Angeles.
Newman is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as gangster John Rooney in "Road to Perdition." Variety columnist Army Archerd reported Tuesday that Newman has a prior commitment -- an auto race in Mexico City.
Archerd also reported that Leonardo DiCaprio -- the star of Best Picture nominee "Gangs of New York" -- will also not be attending the Oscars on Sunday.
WHO WILL WEAVE SPIDEY'S WEB?
There is speculation in Hollywood that Tobey Maguire might not put on the spandex in "The Amazing Spider-Man," the sequel to the 2002 blockbuster "Spider-Man."
According to published reports, producers are taking a look at Jake Gyllenhaal ("The Good Girl," "October Sky") as the new Peter Parker. There has been talk that Maguire might leave the project -- possibly because of a back injury -- but a publicist for Maguire said in a statement that the actor will be ready to go when shooting starts on the sequel next month.
"After doing two physically demanding films in a row, Tobey has experienced mild discomfort in his back, which is in the final stages of healing," said the statement. "With an April 12 start date around the corner, everyone involved wants to be certain he is able to do the intense stunts."
Maguire was required to lose a good deal of weight -- and participate in demanding stunts -- for his role as jockey Red Pollard in "Seabiscuit."
AND WHERE IS SUPERMAN?
Hollywood is still looking for someone to play The Man of Steel in the upcoming remake of "Superman."
GREAT EXPOSURE ON 'SIX FEET UNDER'
The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles is getting some nationwide exposure from a high profile gig -- a series of appearances on HBO's hit drama "Six Feet Under."
The chorus appeared in Sunday night's episode, in which one of the main characters -- David Fisher -- joined the organization. Plans call for the chorus to appear in four more episodes of the show, including one scheduled for March 30.
It is not the first appearance on a prime-time series for the GMCLA, which was featured last year -- in its network TV debut -- on an episode of "Will & Grace."