And the winner is …

The NBA All-Star Game or the Oscars?

I can’t take either event seriously, but each has its merits. You just have to dig deep to find them. How deep? Really deep.

They’re on television opposite each other tonight, so fans of the NBA’s no-defense, razzle-dazzle showcase and Hollywood’s ultimate insider awards show will have to choose.

For me, I’ll skip the red carpet but will try to catch the last half hour or so of the show when the broadcast races through the most important awards to finish on time.

Like the NBA All-Star Game, it’s live television and nearly as disorganized as basketball’s glitziest players trying to stay out of each other’s way as they style for the cameras. In other words, anything can happen. And I’m not talking about Sacha Baron Cohen coming in costume as “The Dictator,” his latest movie role.

A naked guy running across the stage; a woman pretending to be a Native American while rejecting Marlon Brando’s Best Actor Award and delivering a lecture to the nation at the same time; or even Roberto Benigni, who climbed from seat to seat to get to the stage and accept the Best Picture Award for “Life Is Beautiful.”

David Niven was hosting the Oscars when the streaker struck in 1974.

“The only laugh that man will ever get in his life by stripping … and showing his shortcomings,” the debonair actor quipped.


Billy Crystal, this year’s host, is a student of Hollywood, so he certainly remembers. Crystal has proved to a popular and capable emcee in the past, although I’m not a fan. But that’s a story for another day.

For now, I’ll sit back and ponder how Brad Pitt (best actor) and “Moneyball” (best picture) received nominations.

I thought the movie was okay, but if I was putting together a list of my 10 favorite sports movies it wouldn’t make the list. In fact, I could go another 10 deep – at least – before “Moneyball” even entered the picture.

I have no criticism of Pitt’s performance, but his Billy Beane role never once struck me as something that was worthy of an Oscar nod. Pitt was good. But the role, in my opinion, didn’t require a lot of heavy lifting. In fact, I liked Jonah Hill better, especially considering it was a totally different role for the comedian.

So, in bringing to mind Bill Murray’s Oscar selections on “Saturday Night Live” years ago, here are my picks in the major categories:

Who will win:

Best Picture: “The Artist”

Best Director: Martin Scorsese for “Hugo”

Best Actor: George Clooney for “The Descendants”

Best Actress: Viola Davis for “The Help”

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer for “Beginners”

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer for “The Help”

The NBA All-Star Game?

Didn’t see it.

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