Quiz show


It's that time of year again when we sit perched in front of our TV sets, hoping against hope for a major surprise or at least a new tidbit of information.

Let's face it: The odds are slim. After months of interviews, speculation and analysis during an awards season that kicked off in November and is only now winding up, the amount of trivia written about the contenders could fill several encyclopedias.

Yes, everyone knows that Philip Seymour Hoffman met his collaborators on Sony Pictures Classics' "Capote" when they were mere teenagers. Yes, everyone also knows Hoffman is the favorite to win the Academy Award for best actor, just as Reese Witherspoon is the favorite to win the best actress Oscar. Yes, Joaquin Phoenix learned to play guitar for his role in Fox's "Walk the Line."

But what about the things we don't know? Or the things we once knew but have since forgotten? Or the things we should have known but never did?

Following is The Hollywood Reporter's second annual Oscar quiz, testing the limits of knowledge about everything related to this year's nominees. Answers to the questions below have appeared in this newspaper at one time or another during the past two months. So good luck. And good night.

1. One would think this acting nominee might have chosen a different profession, perhaps baseball. Who, and why?
2. A screenwriting nominee was once "engaged" to Calista Flockhart. Explain.
3. David Strathairn was not the first choice to play Edward R. Murrow in Warner Independent Pictures' "Good Night, and Good Luck." Who was?
4. "Capote" co-star Catherine Keener will be very much on Sandra Bullock's mind later this year. Why?
5. Fernando Meirelles was a last-minute choice to replace another director on Focus Features' "The Constant Gardener." Who was that helmer, and what happened?
6. This writer-director nearly pulled out of his film midway through the shoot. Who, and what went wrong?
7. It's not unusual for co-stars to fall in love while making a movie, but one 2005 affair put a new twist on that old theme. Explain.
8. This drama about the murder of a twentysomething woman in London originally was conceived as the murder of a thirtysomething woman in the Hamptons. Name the movie.
9. This period piece started life as a biographical TV movie. Its writer put the script in a drawer and reconceived it years later. Which nominated movie is it?
10. The star of this film with an Oscar-nominated screenplay modeled his role on a real-life character -- with uncomfortable consequences when that model showed up on the set during filming. Which film, and who was the model?
11. This Oscar nominee moonlights as a bookstore owner in Texas. Who is he?
12. While doing research for this Oscar-nominated drama, its screenwriter was nearly abducted by terrorists. Name the picture and the writer.
13. A famous French filmmaker offered to fully fund a low-budget period piece on one condition, but its American helmer turned the offer down flat. Who, and why?
14. If this veteran actress had appeared in this 2005 movie as planned, she would have been the only performer to star in the original and a remake of the same film -- more than 70 years apart. Name the actress and the movie.
15. The director of this biopic was amazed to discover that its subject's favorite movie was 1931's "Frankenstein." Name the film and its subject.
16. One nominated actress received free acting tips from past Oscar nominee William H. Macy. Why?
17. Rob Marshall was the producers' second choice to helm Sony's "Memoirs of a Geisha." Who was their first?
18. This Oscar nominee and occasional professor recently completed his Ph.D. thesis about the late, austere Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer. Name him.
19. What does the word "Syriana" mean in the title of the Warner Bros. Pictures film?
20. Actor David Strathairn nearly pursued another profession. What was it?
21. This actor made only $60,000 during the year in which he shot his Oscar-nominated role -- despite shooting six other movies that same year. Name him.
22. Ang Lee passed when initially asked to direct Focus' "Brokeback Mountain," opting to make another movie instead. Which movie was it, and which director came aboard to replace him?
23. Among this year's Academy Award nominees, who has received the most career Oscar nominations?
24. Who plays former Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy in "Good Night," and what is unusual about his performance?
25. Which nominee was named after a character in a famous 19th century romantic novel?
26. Keira Knightley, nominated for Focus' adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice," has what connection to another Austen novel, "Emma"?
27. What is the most obvious connection between Mel Gibson and Colin Farrell, star of New Line's Oscar-nominated "The New World"?
28. French foreign-language Oscar nominee "Joyeux Noel" (Merry Christmas) tells the story of what real-life incident?
29. This Oscar-nominated actor had to be airlifted out of Morocco and hospitalized in the U.S. after suffering an accident during filming. Name the actor and the movie.
30. Which Oscar-nominated movie opened with a 160-minute running time, then was rereleased at 135 minutes less than two weeks later?

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