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Reflecting on the Oscars nods

So as not to be redundant, I won't go on much about the Oscar nominations. Personally, I'm thrilled for "Capote's" five big nods, Judi Dench's recognition for "Mrs. Henderson Presents," which I thought, despite critical snubbing, was a delightful movie, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams, who give the finest performances in "Brokeback Mountain," George Clooney, who was nominated three times, plus the incredible David Strathairn for their "Good Night, and Good Luck" and the nods to "Crash," which is perhaps the most thought-provoking film of the year.

I am sorry that the great women of "In Her Shoes" were overlooked, but I suppose that movie was just too sentimental for Academy voters. (And perhaps released too early.) With only five categories each, many, many great performances and films are overlooked. As Philip Seymour Hoffman said at the SAG Awards, the competitive nature of such honors can be a dicey thing. He added that it's best for the community to stick together. But, competition and winning are human nature.

Now comes the hysterical roller-coaster of predicting who's got the best chance -- this week Felicity Huffman will be high up, next week Dame Judi Dench or Reese Witherspoon will have the "inside track." It is a miracle that anybody arrives at Oscar night standing upright and coherent after a month of such strain. And let's not even get into the choosing-the-gown stress!

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"Ai, ai, ai I like you very much. Ai, yi, yi yi yi I think you're grand." So sang the fabled Carmen Miranda.

Latins have come a long way since Carmen did her boom-chick-a-boom kind of singing and dancing in the 1940s. Now ABC is bringing back the Latino "ALMA Awards" and this year they'll be hosted by none other than the hot Latin actress of the moment, Eva Longoria -- yes, the sultry sexy one on "Desperate Housewives."

The ALMAs have been on a three-year hiatus. This gala honors actors, producers, directors and music talent promoting positive portrayals of Hispanics in the media. The show will tape May 7 at the Shrine Auditorium and air June 5. Nominees will be announced early in April.

Eva is also going to co-produce the ALMA Awards. She quipped to Variety: "I wanted to produce it so I could control what I was wearing."

By the way, speaking of the incredible Portuguese-born/Brazilian-raised Miranda, once again -- as happens every 10 years or so -- the high-heeled platform shoe, which the tiny dynamo popularized, is back in style. As are round toes on women's shoes. Keep your stuff in good shape and don't throw it out. It's bound to come back in the Peter Allen-inspired idea that "Everything Old Is New Again!"

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Kirsten Dunst didn't wow me in "Elizabethtown" but then that Cameron Crowe movie was one of the most irritating experiences of my film-going life, so it probably wasn't her fault. (Most of the movie took place on cell phones!)

Upcoming for Dunst is Sofia Coppola's movie "Marie-Antoinette." In a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, director Coppola expressed her vision: "There were these two teenagers partying and they were supposed to be running the country." (The other teen being Louis XVI.) Well, Louis was no party animal, nor even a husband who could consummate his marriage for seven years -- which is one of the reasons young Antoinette went off on her merry extravagant way for such a long time. (By the time she calmed down, it was too late!)

Coppola says that the infamous and untrue "Let them eat cake" remark is included in her version. (Oh, well, there's no fighting a good story.) If Sofia can capture the dauphine's sexual frustration and the horror of a lively Austrian princess of 14, smothered under French etiquette, she might have something hot to offer, and something for Miss Dunst to sink her tiny, seed-pearl teeth into. (Kirsten hit it big as the child vampire of "Interview with the Vampire." Now she plays the woman blamed for sucking the blood out of France and causing the great revolution! Plus ca-change...)

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Our favorite swinging crooner, Michael Buble, was adorable with Ellen DeGeneres the other day. What a sweetie. Buble, up for a Grammy for his smash CD, "It's Time," will perform in Rockefeller Center today for a "Today Show" mob. Buble's fans are hysterical in their adoration. I hope the barricades hold out! Michael promises to attend the Feb 8 Grammy ceremony with Brit actress Emily Blunt. (They say Emily sizzles in the screen version of "The Devil Wears Prada," starring Meryl Streep. It opens later this year.)

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