Academy Awards highlight films from smaller studios

By Jean Verlich: CNJ news editor

Hollywood’s biggest night of the year is tonight when the Academy Awards are presented.

But Hollywood insiders are predicting low ratings for the ABC broadcast because four of five best-picture nominees did not have the benefit of a big studio’s big marketing budget.

It’s a mixed bag for area movie buffs, some of whom will tune in and some of whom will tune it out. Those who plan to tune in have favorites they’ll be rooting for.

Amy Hartley of Portales will watch the Academy Awards as she usually does. She thinks Joaquin Phoenix, who portrayed country singer Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line,” and Reese Witherspoon, who was Cash’s wife and singer, June Carter Cash, in the movie, have a good chance to win as best actor and actress.

Donald and Janet Young of Clovis will watch, too. His vote also goes to Phoenix, and she predicts that Witherspoon will take best actress honors “absolutely.” They’ll tune in because “Janet likes to evaluate the dresses,” Young said of his wife.

Rodney Hendricks of Clovis may root for his candidate for best actor, Terrence Howard, nominated for his role in “Hustle and Flow.” The father of two young boys watches the awards presentation when the movies are ones he’s seen and likes.

Cherrie Hayden, 57, of Clovis, will have her TV on tonight as she does most years to see which picture gets the Oscar. “I do like movies,” the associate real estate broker said. She favors “Brokeback Mountain” to win. “It’s a very good movie,” she said. And she’ll be rooting for the film’s Heath Ledger to win for best actor and Jake Gyllehaal as best supporting actor.

Although J.C. Darrow of Portales hasn’t seen most of the nominated movies, she also believes “Brokeback Mountain” will take a lot of the awards because of favorable reviews she’s read.

“I hope Keira Knightley wins for best actress,” Darrow said, who liked the young actress in “Pride and Prejudice,” the movie for which she is nominated. Darrow will be glued to her TV set to learn the outcome.

Freddie Bryant of Clovis plans to see the show with his wife, Danielle, because they are frequent movie-goers. “It’s one of our hobbies,” he said. He likes watching movies in the theater because it is relaxing and “you forget what time it is.”

Although he sees movies “quite a bit,” Tony Magness of Clovis isn’t planning to watch the Academy Awards.

Neither is Erica Jones because “it’s boring,” she said.

Shaun and Raylene Miller go to the movies about once a month, but as the parents of a 2-year-old son they’re not sure they’ll be watching tonight.

Parents Cindy and Bryan Kosier of Clovis are more likely to see movies such as “Doogal” or Disney movies with their two little girls than Oscar-nominated films, so they didn’t expect they’d see the Academy Awards.
But Marina Peinamalie, 13, of Texico, thought she’d turn on her TV to watch.

Ryan Hudson of Clovis who works the concession stand and operates the projector at Cinema 7, likes movies, which is one reason he got a job at the theater. “I see a lot of movies and it gets expensive,” Hudson said. Seeing movies for free is one of the perks of his job.

Hudson said he will watch the telecast to root for “Walk the Line.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.