The Oscar view from the Malibu tube


The champagne flowed, the hors d’oeuvres were out and the buzz was all Oscar. DGA members Elaine Perkins and Robin Groth agreed on one thing, “American Beauty” would most likely walk away the winner for Best Picture.

Other categories were trickier. Annette Bening or Hilary Swank? And what about Best Supporting Actor? Would the academy go for “Sixth Sense” scene-stealer Haley Joel Osment because “kids make great Oscar TV” or “sentimental favorite” Michael Caine?

Like many Malibu residents — those who weren’t actually at the Shrine or on their way to one of the many posh post show bashes — the two took their seats in front of the tube. First the fashion front. “That gal from Alley McBeal looks absolutely stunning,” crowed Perkins as she watched Charlie’s latest angel grace the red carpet. “Tyra Banks looks like she’s wearing a lampshade,” quipped Groth. The highlight, of course, was South Park creator Matt Stone who came dressed as Gwyneth Paltrow in drag.

Between sips of Rhoderer, they raced to mark their ballots. “I don’t know what to pick for Live Action Short,” complained Perkins. “But I am picking “One Day in September” — that was one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.”

The two were also split on the way to vote — Perkins went with those she thought would win, Groth with those she thought should win. They laughed out loud at Billy Crystal’s opening antics and burst into applause at Caine’s win for “The Cider House Rules.” “I love clapping,” giggled Groth. “It makes me feel like I’m there.”

From Visual Effects to Screenplay Adaptation, they tallied their ballots and counted up their categories. At the end of the four-hour telecast, Perkins, who went with what she thought the academy would pick, seemed to have the better strategy. She got 12 of 25 categories correct on the Oscar scorecard. Groth’s determination to stand by the deserving resulted in just three.

But both were right on one thing. When it came to best picture, “American Beauty” had the competition beat — by a rose.