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Scoop Oscars Link: After Tumult, Hollywood Ready

After Tumult, Hollywood Ready for Big Oscars Night

By Arthur Spiegelman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The great guessing game -- who will win the 2000 Oscars -- ends Sunday night as the world tunes in to see if a darkly comic tale of a doomed suburban family can triumph over two tales of the supernatural and stories of a whistle-blower and an orphan's coming of age.

``American Beauty,'' the tragicomic tale of a dysfunctional family, is the favorite to win the coveted best film award at the 72nd Academy Awards. A month ago the race for best picture was wide open, but a series of high-profile film awards and growing industry buzz have given it a momentum that many experts think is unbeatable.

The film starring Annette Bening and Kevin Spacey as a couple coming apart is up against ``The Cider House Rules'' novelist John Irving's tale of a Maine orphan's coming of age, ''The Insider'' a story of tobacco company whistle-blower and two tales of the supernatural -- the death row drama ``The Green Mile'' and ``The Sixth Sense'' a story about a young boy who sees ``dead people.''

Spacey and Denzel Washington are considered the favorites for best actor -- with Spacey going into show business's big night sporting a prestigious Screen Actors Guild best actor's award for his work in the film. If Washington, the star of ``The Hurricane'' wins he will become only the second African American to win a best actor's Oscar.

Both Spacey and Washington have previously won Oscars for best supporting actor. Also in the category are New Zealand-born Russell Crowe for ``The Insider,'' Sean Penn for ``Sweet and Lowdown,'' and 79-year-old Richard Farnsworth for ``The Straight Story''

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