FILM / Rushes

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The Independent Culture
The Oscars do the voodoo that they do so well next Monday. If you have satellite, you can catch edited highlights on UK Gold, and there's a BBC 1 Film 94 Special on Tuesday, but you won't be able to see it live. BSkyB, which carried the ceremony in 1993, did not bid for it this time around. Poor ratings? 'I don't know,' a BSkyB spokesman says.

This seems a shame, and not only because this year's hostess, feisty Whoopi Goldberg, has been alarming the Academy with such pronouncements as: 'They don't know what they've let themselves in for.' Editing undoubtedly means we'll lose the trash treats that are the Oscars' essence.

For instance, the opening number. Who can forget Rob Lowe singing 'Proud Mary' to Snow White and her Dwarfs, when Allan Carr, producer of Can't Stop the Music, was charged with putting the show together?

Then there's the unmitigated joy of the nominated songs, lavish Las Vegas horrors featuring lasers and explosions (Sheena Easton warbling 'For Your Eyes Only') or a capering phantom or two ('Ghostbusters'). How sad that these contributions to mankind's cultural storehouse should be denied a UK audience.

There's also the matter of patriotism. Britain is represented in most categories, as the following odds from William Hill prove. Best Picture: Schindler's List 1-9 (the hottest favourite for Best Picture ever). The Piano 5- 1. Remains of the Day 10-1. In the Name of the Father 10-1. The Fugitive 33-1. Best Actor: Tom Hanks 8-13. Anthony Hopkins 100-30. Daniel Day-Lewis 9-2. Liam Neeson 9-2. Laurence Fishburne 33-1. Best Actress: Holly Hunter 1-5. Angela Bassett 7-1. Emma Thompson 7-1. Debra Winger 8-1. Stockard Channing 25-1.

British cinema has not had much success in attracting interest from the business community, writes Sheila Johnston, so Rushes welcomes a generous initiative from the man from the Pru. For the last five years, the Prudential Corporation has backed an annual Award for the Arts - and this year, for the first time, film practitioners are invited to apply.

The awards are open to individuals and companies, and aren't geared towards the mainstream industry. Entrants are judged upon 'consistent innovation and creativity, coupled with excellence and accessibility'; pounds 25,000 goes to the winner in each section - Dance, Visual Arts, Theatre, Film etc - and pounds 5,000 to two runners-up. But the main attraction must be the prize awaiting the overall winner, chosen from the best entries in each category, who will receive an additional pounds 75,000. Feature films have been made for less.

Application forms are available from: Jill Podbury, Sponsorship Manager, Prudential Corporation, 142 Holborn Bars, London EC1N 2NH (071-548 3716). Closing date: 15 April.

Finally, upholders of artistic freedom will be glad to learn that the censorship board of the Philippines can no longer cut films, only classify them . . .

(Photograph omitted)