Uncle Oscar's Surprises -- If you didn't get up at 5:30 am on Tuesday, you missed Adrien Brody joining the elderly Academy president onstage and breaking out the Binaca before feinting a kiss at the geezer.
It's still a wide-open Oscar horse race. Of The Aviator's 11 nominations, five are in technical categories, whereas several movies received all (or nearly all) their nods among the major awards: Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, Hotel Rwanda and Vera Drake.
Alan Alda? He wasn't even the best supporting actor in his own movie (Alec Baldwin was, and Kinsey's Peter Sarsgaard was still more deserving).
Clint Eastwood over Paul Giamatti for Best Actor? The Academy favors the inspiring over the quirky and sad, which is why Finding Neverland and Ray got the last two Best Pic slots over Eternal Sunshine and Hotel Rwanda, and why M$B is now Aviator's chief rival.
It's great that blacks earned 20 percent of the acting nominations -- even better, that in a Best Actor field so crowded that you could erase all five names and still select a valid slate (Bacon, Bardem, Bridges, Giamatti, Neeson), the odds-on favorite remains Jamie Foxx's channeling of Ray Charles.
Bodhisattva in Browne's -- Musing of late on the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings about daily mindfulness, we were pleasantly surprised to discover, on a recent walking meditation through Browne's Addition, that a new pizza parlor is in the works for the neighborhood. How did we not see it before? The hip-looking Pacific Avenue Pizza is slowly taking shape in the space between Tawney's Cleaners and the Avenida building. Also, word on the street is that Two Wheel Transit, the bike shop now at the corner of First Ave. and Cedar, is either moving to, or opening a new location on, the empty lot due south of Cabin Coffee. And the Rockman said: "You see what you want to see."
Meet the Flintridge -- There are ordinary awards and then there are mind-blowing, life-changing honors such as the biennial Flintridge Foundation Awards for Visual Artists. We're delighted to announce that two Eastern Washington/Oregon artists, James Lavadour and Robert Helm, have just been awarded Flintridge Awards for the 2003-04 cycle. The Flintridge Foundation honors artists who have at least two decades of serious commitment to their art. Lavadour, whose fiery, landscape-inspired abstracts exhibited at the MAC in December 2001, lives on the Umatilla reservation. Helm received his BA and MFA from WSU in the late '60s/early '70s and continues to work in Pullman.
Happy Pie Day -- It was Jan. 23, but we're still feasting on the leftovers here at Buzz HQ. Thanks, Cyrus O'Leary's!