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Award Seasoned

Announcing the official launch of the Glutton campaign to see Kevin O'Connell win an Oscar for Sound Mixing. Plus: the '''Dreamgirls' snub,'' Bruce Jenner's claim to acting fame, and your letters

Kevin O'Connor | 'APOCALYPTO' NOW! The Glutton is ready to mix it up on O'Connell's behalf
'APOCALYPTO' NOW! The Glutton is ready to mix it up on O'Connell's behalf

Announcing the first Official Glutton Oscar Endorsement!

Who will win? Marty or Clint? Helen or Meryl? Eddie or Marky Mark? Frankly, when it comes to the Oscars, I never really care about these big-name battles, so I went smaller in my search for a nominee upon whom to bestow the first Official Glutton Oscar Endorsement. And that is where I found Kevin O'Connell. Along with Greg P. Russell and Fernando Camara, O'Connell is nominated in the Sound Mixing category for his work on Apocalypto. Granted, it is a somewhat odd choice for me. For one thing, I know nothing about sound mixing. For another, I know nothing about sound mixing. Oh, and then there's this — I haven't even seen the film.

But no matter; Kevin is my man. You see, here is the thing about Kevin O'Connell. He's been nominated before. A few times. Oh, who am I kidding, Apocalypto marks his 19th — yes, 19th — nomination. Just one problem: The first 18 times didn't go so hot, and O'Connell remains winless. (Go ahead, insert your own Susan Lucci joke here.) I took it upon myself to launch a full-scale promotional blitz for Kevin, and called him on the day of his latest nomination to share the awesome news that he had received the highly sought-after Official Glutton Oscar Endorsement. Kevin was moved, but then again, it had been a moving day. He had just gotten back from visiting a nursing home where his 83-year-old mother, Skippy O'Connell, is recovering from a massive stroke she suffered 12 days prior. (She was also diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in November.) It was Skippy — a former employee in the sound department at 20th Century Fox — who'd helped Kevin get out of firefighting and into the movie business back in 1977. ''I just went out there this morning when I heard I was nominated to tell her,'' said O'Connell, 49. ''The emotion that happened in that room at that hospital today with the hugs and kisses and tears is more than anything in the past 20 years that has ever happened to me.''

I was starting to get a bit mushy myself hearing Kevin's story, but had to shake it off. After all, we had an Oscar campaign to run! First thing up was settling on a catchy slogan. I suggested either ''Vote O'Connell: The O Is for Oscar'' or ''19th Time's the Charm!'' but Kevin didn't seem particularly impressed. (A perfectionist! We can use that!) While we mulled over other options, I tried to get him to start talking a little smack about the other nominees (''Just who does this Bob Beemer clown think he is anyway?''), figuring a war of words could drum up a little press, but Kevin wasn't having that, either. ''Bob is a good mixer,'' he replied. ''I don't really have anything bad to say about those guys.'' (He's humble, too! Totally usable!)

Amazingly, Kevin remains completely upbeat despite not winning for films like Top Gun, Terms of Endearment, Twister... and those are just the ones that begin with the letter T. ''I believe every year I get nominated that it's a gift,'' he says. ''There are worse things that could happen to a guy than being nominated 19 times and not winning. There are no sour grapes here.'' How decent is this man? He even promised to thank me for my support in his acceptance speech should he finally take home the golden statue. But what if the orchestra cuts him off, I worried. ''After 18 times of me not getting up there and giving speeches, I think I can get a little leeway,'' jokes O'Connell. ''Plus, I'm a sound man. All I gotta do is pull the plug on that orchestra.'' So to the Academy, I humbly say: VOTE O'CONNELL! And to this year's Oscars conductor, I say: Don't even think about it.

OBSESSION OF THE WEEK

It's the talk of the movie biz — Dreamgirls snubbed! But is it really a snub if the movie did not deserve to be nominated in the first place? I saw Dreamgirls. Like everyone else, I thought Jennifer Hudson was magnificent. I thought Eddie Murphy was great. The movie itself? Fine, but nothing more. Certainly not in a league with Letters From Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, or another movie that was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film — Pan's Labyrinth. Everyone apparently assumed Dreamgirls would be nominated because it was big and showy and seemed constructed specifically for an Oscar race — but those things don't make a movie great. I'm not trying to dis and dismiss the film. Like I said, I thought it was good — but since when did good make a film an Oscar shoo-inn? Now if Hudson somehow does not win for Best Supporting Actress — that would be a shock, but until then I will remain obsessed over people's obsession over this so called ''snub.''

THE FIVE

This week: The Five Worst Movie Roles by Athletes-Turned-Actors

1. Bruce Jenner in Can't Stop the Music
Don't IOC bylaws stipulate Olympic medals must be returned for starring in a film about the Village People?

2. Rosey Grier in The Thing With Two Heads
Black convict and white bigot share one body — and approximately 10,000 unintentional laughs.

3. Brian Bosworth in Stone Cold
''The Boz'' goes undercover in a biker gang for a movie that was even less memorable than his football career.

4. Julius ''Dr. J'' Erving in The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh
A hoops team of all Pisces makes about as much sense as The Thing With Two Heads.

5. Shaquille O'Neal in Kazaam
When all is said and done, it basically comes down to two words: rapping genie. Oh, one more: sucks.

READER MAIL

Before we get to reader mail, a little note about upcoming columns. The Kevin O'Connell Oscar campaign is far from over! We have a lot of work to do, and Kevin has graciously agreed to answer your questions! Wanna know what it was like working with Mel Gibson? Or the best and worst parts of Oscar night? This is your chance. Kevin will answer a few emails in a new Glutton section titled: ''Ask a 19-Time Oscar Nominee!''

Now, on to the mailbag, where people had some interesting thoughts regarding my stance on American Idol judging and a curious collection of blue Smurf figurines.

Thank you for pointing out that it was not the judges' choice to put Jonathan Jayne in that room, and that the judges were very kind and gentle towards him. Their response to his performance was tactful, gentle, and yet still honest. Enough Idol bashing! —Melissa Agar

As I said last week, don't get too used to me defending Paula Abdul, but it seems that she, Randy — and, more specifically — Simon, were really taking heat unnecessarily, especially for the Jonathan Jayne thing.

I agree with you in that the judges aren't entirely to blame for the uprise in nastiness on the show. Their behavior is consistent with previous seasons. It's the producers. Not only do they decide which singers get past the screeners, they also have a say in how the show is edited. They use editing tricks and camera effects to make people look even worse and to get a laugh or two from the viewers. When the subject being laughed at is a delusional, egotistical person who needs to be knocked down a peg, normally I'm ok with that, but when I see a nice, friendly person who may or may not have something genuinely ''wrong'' with them (like autism or some other behavioral disorder that makes them act differently) and the show going out of its way to encourage people to laugh at them, that's where I have a problem. If we the viewers can tell that some of these people aren't ''all there'' and shouldn't be laughed at, the producers should know where the line is as well. —Kelly West

Here's the tough part, Kelly. If someone like Special Olympics athlete Jonathan Jayne wants to be handled just like everybody else, meaning they don't want to be treated ''special'' or different, then you could make the case that they open themselves up to the same ridicule that other contestants receive. But I don't buy that. For every person that makes it on TV, there are thousands that do not. By putting him on the show, producers were treating him like a freak instead of just a normal person. Jayne was put on that show to be mocked, and it was not funny. I thought the judges did the best they could in an obviously awkward situation.

Dalton, why was it that you and every other male in this country had the hots for Smurfette? I guess I just never saw the attraction. Could it be the flowing blonde mane? The come-hither lashes? The sinful sway of her smurfy hips? Please, enlighten me. —Paige Lehnert

All of the above, Paige. Of course, considering she was the only female Smurf around, there weren't really a lot of options. Which brings up another question: Who was mothering all these Smurfs, anyway? Either Smurfette was getting a little too smurfy with the fellas, or there was some unseen Smurf harem locked away in servitude somewhere. Perhaps both.

I too went through the painfully awkward stage that I like to call my ''blue era'' involving the collection of Smurf figurines. I'm too ashamed to admit how many of them I have, and I say ''have'' intentionally because my mother won't throw them out; she insists they'll be worth big money someday like my brother's Star Wars figurines. I'm thinking that Gargamel doesn't have a strangle-hold on pop-culture relevance like Darth Vader does, but who am I to judge? —Paula Gillis

Yeah, Gargamel really doesn't stack up too well against the dark lord of the Sith. While Darth Vader administers choke holds and lightsaber beat-downs, Gargamel pretty much just orders his cat to chase around little blue men. Not too badass. But you know what, I'll take Gargamel any day of the week over those doofuses Yohan and Pee Wee. They were the Cousin Olivers of Smurfdom.

Have a question for 19-time Oscar nominee Kevin O'Connell? Wondering why Gymkata did not make my list of one of the worst movies to star an athlete-turned actor? Care to defend Yohan and Pee Wee? Send your questions, comments, and quibbles to theglutton@ew.com, or simply fill out the handy-dandy form below. See ya next week!

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