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It’s the other kind of March Madness: The hype-driven prelude to the Oscars. What is it that makes us tune in for a tedious, four-hour broadcast of corny jokes, effusive acceptance speeches and close-ups of bejeweled and teary starlets? It’s our nation’s fascination with film, and with the movies’ brightest stars. In the spirit of the Academy Awards, we asked GCs about their favorite flicks, then and now — and their guesses about which movies and performers will take Oscars home on March 24. ERIC GRIMSHAW Vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, Syntroleum Corp. The Legal Department Grimshaw, Syntroleum’s first in-house counsel, oversees a three-member team at the Tulsa, Okla.-based energy technology company. Syntroleum recently struck gold (not oil) by licensing its patented gas conversion process to energy giants like Texaco Inc. Film Faves and Oscar Plans When Grimshaw got a new DVD player last Christmas, he says, he “bought ‘Citizen Kane,’ just like any self-respecting film buff would do.” On the weekends, though, he “bolts for the theater” in search of newer fare. “I’m a huge fan of Ridley Scott’s movies — they’re always beautiful, graphic, awful and intense,” remarks Grimshaw, then eagerly awaiting his icon’s latest, “Black Hawk Down,” about the failed U.S. mission in Somalia. Grimshaw and family plan to watch the Oscars with a group of friends at a restaurant bar, where they’ll all chip in on a jackpot for the person who picks the most winners. And This Year’s Oscar Should Go To Billy Bob Thornton, for “The Man Who Wasn’t There.” Says Grimshaw: “His performance was incredibly subtle; it just crept up on you.” L. LAMIS HOSSAIN Legal counsel, Cox Interactive Media The Legal Department Atlanta-based Cox Interactive — a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc. — reaches 5 million viewers a year through its network of local city Web sites. Film Faves and Oscar Plans “This has been the year of the kiddie movie for me,” Hossain confesses. “It’s been such a horrific year — with Sept. 11 — that I didn’t want to deal with any stressful movies.” And with smart, adult-friendly children’s films like “Shrek” and “Harry Potter” to see, Hossain is not alone in her viewing habits — even if she doesn’t have any kids. In the same spirit, Hossain has also seen several romantic comedies this season. She went to see “Serendipity” because she was smitten with John Cusack — “he’s natural, self-deprecating and not typically hunky,” she explains — yet the film failed to impress. “It was the most sickly, sugary movie of the year!” she says. Even if Cusack gets snubbed by the Academy this year, Hossain and her pals still plan to tune in: “It’s fun to see people dress up and make bad speeches.” And This Year’s Oscar Should Go To “Renee Zellweger, for ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ — for most surprising, unexpected good turn.” In that film, the willowy, Texas-born Zellweger packed on 30 pounds to play a lovelorn Brit. JUDITH SAPIR Vice president and general counsel, APCO Worldwide The Legal Department Sapir is the only in-house counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based APCO, an international public affairs and strategic communications firm. Film Faves and Oscar Plans Like Hossain, Sapir also sought out lighthearted films this season. Sapir also has a soft spot for movies that depict love in a time of tragedy. Her all-time favorite is “The Way We Were,” she says, because the sweeping Redford-Streisand epic “showed the sociological and political environment of the times and the conflict it caused in personal relationships.” She also loves Roberto Benigni’s performance in “Life Is Beautiful,” because it portrays a father’s determination to protect his son from the Holocaust’s horrors, “in a charming, fanciful and creative manner.” Sapir looks forward to watching the Oscars this year for both the fashions and the festivities. And This Year’s Oscar Should Go To “Kate and Leopold,” a time-travel romance and Meg Ryan vehicle that Sapir describes as a “charming, romantic fantasy.”

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