Film: CityBeat Oscar Pick

Best original screenplay Nominee: Charlie Kaufman

A trip to the March 26 Oscars ceremony deserves a fashion make-over. After all, you can't expect to wear that foam-green tux from your 1984 prom. A flashy, red-carpet entry into the Shrine Auditorium needs a jolt of Versace. Think about it: High fashion is necessary if you want a shot at Rollergirl-turned-Oscar-presenter Heather Graham.

CityBeat's Oscar scorecard is ready to help with all your Oscar preparations. After all, we've spoken with many of the Oscar nominees in recent months. And when you're borrowing that diamond brooch at Harry Winston, just tell them CityBeat sent you. They'll probably let you keep it.

Best Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman for Being John Malkovich

His story: A wiry scribbler who started with a simple adultery plot and somehow ended up with a portal to John Malkovich's head.

Bio: Being John Malkovich was Kaufman's first sale, the one to break him out of television. He has sold other stories since.

Las Vegas Odds: 10-1

CityBeat Odds: In an ordinary year, we'd say this is a shoo-in. But American Beauty, the rare, great film with the potential to sweep the Big Five, just might steal it away.

Kaufman on creative process: "If I know the story from beginning to end, I'd get bored. If I'm always asking myself, what would be the consequence if such-and-such happened to this character, that's how I stay engaged."

On the various interpretations of the film: "It may have wound up being very unconventional. But I think it deals with a very basic problem (adultery) that's very prevalent in the world."

On inspirations: "OK, you got me." (Kaufman mockingly confesses a collaboration with Kurt Vonnegut when one journalist comments on the similarities in style).

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